Monday, 31 July 2017

Bringing Technology Closer To The People

If there is one thing that stands out in the world today, it is the dominance of technology in almost all aspects of our lives. Wherever you look, there is some sort of tech device that takes center stage. A few decades ago, the closest thing to technology the people have access to were the TV, radio, kitchen appliances, and the telephone. You have to do thing manually for everything else that is left. But today, there is a tech gadget to do the job for you in virtually everything.

While they have generally made our lives easier, they somehow made it more complicated too. Your brain has to learn how to operate all these gadgets and even use them simultaneously at times. Smart gadgets are a personal favorite of just about everyone, though, because there are a myriad of things you can do with them, so you can finally say to boredom for good – that is if you don’t forget to charge it so it does not run out of battery when you need it the most. For the upcoming innovative technologies that are yet to hit the market, the best place to learn more about them and see them beforehand are in tech fair and conferences where their makers flaunt their specs and features for all to see.

Get on your walking shoes and prepare to traipse exhibition floors. Australia’s premier business technology event CeBIT is on again. And it’s back in the Sydney CBD at the rebuilt International Convention Centre at Darling Harbour starting on May 23.

For three years, CeBIT used digs at Sydney’s Olympic Park, which meant a smaller fair, reduced crowd numbers and apparently questions about its standing as an international event.

“There were international brands, international attendees, who question their involvement because the venue we moved to wasn’t familiar to them on an international basis,” says CeBIT Australia organiser Harvey Stockbridge, the managing director of Hannover Fairs Australia.

This year’s CeBIT looks a bumper event with more speakers, more conferences and bigger venues in the new centre.


Expect to see all sorts of technologies and contrivances during these tech fairs. While you won’t find some of them useful in your daily life, others can really blow you away for sure.

MORE than 2,800 projects, with an estimated value of over 24 billion yuan (US$3.5 billion), concluded transaction during the 2017 Chengdu Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fair, which was held in the capital city of Sichuan Province during May 10-12.

Special events related to investment, entrepreneurship and technology attracted more than 11,000 foreign and domestic investors and entrepreneurs. Technology-related deals reached 8.36 billion yuan, while equity-investment transactions totaled 15.67 billion yuan.

Several Chinese and overseas experts gathered in the 2017 World Future Science and Technology Forum on May 11, which was part of the fair, and spent almost two hours discussing the country’s world-leading work in developing nuclear fusion — which promises to offer clean, limitless energy.

China is one of the seven core members of ITER, an international nuclear fusion research and engineering project, to build the world’s largest magnetic fusion device to create clean and sustainable energy. The ambitious plan cost more than 100 billion yuan.


Attending these tech conferences is a great way to stay in the loop on emerging tech trends that will soon dominate the market even if you are not actively working on the tech sector yourself. It is also an excellent way to network with peers and potential customers for various reasons. You’ll be able to build a strong and diverse network of peers and professionals alike that may or may not be aligned with your profession.

Tech conferences are there so that their makers can share their discoveries with a wider audience and ask for the feedbacks of the people in attendance. It’s the perfect opportunity for tech companies to interact with the people who will likely buy and support their products once they are sold in the market.

Bringing Technology Closer To The People Read more on: I Am Not An Artist Blog


Monday, 24 July 2017

An Addict’s Life: Is Help Available?

Addiction affects people of all walks of life in America. From the youth to the elderly, whether you are a man, a woman, or gay, rich or poor, educated or not, there are different forms of addiction that plague addicts and dominates their lives. Addiction often pertains to vices – smoking, alcohol, prohibited/recreational drugs and even to medicines such as painkillers – but most prominent of all is drugs, leaving people unable to function normally in its absence but more so when they are high.

The lives of these addicts are crippled and devoid of opportunities to start anew. But in as much as we loathe addiction, there are fewer stigmas surrounding it, but it is still there. Help is now available if they only learn to acknowledge that they need help in the first place.

“You know, man, I’m in this place where part of me hesitates to tell my story because of concerns about reputation and my business and all that, but at the same time, this is just who I am. It’s who I am to want to help people. That’s what this is about. Addiction doesn’t have the stigma that it had ten years ago, but it still has a stigma. A lot of people think that it’s a moral failure, and it might be that with some people, I don’t know. That was part of it for me. I did bad shit. I lied. I treated people wrong. I took advantage of people. I was ungrateful. I was inconsiderate… all that stuff. I was a nasty person. But, the thing that was fueling all that was what I know today as the sickness of addiction- that I was obsessed with doing drugs and getting more drugs. Anyone that slowed me down or got in my way, family events, Christmas, whatever, it was just ‘Get the fuck off me, I’ve got to go.’”

Addiction and substance abuse are a problem not only in Macon, but in towns all across the country. The Surgeon General’s report describes this chronic illness as “the use of alcohol or drugs in a manner, situation, amount, or frequency that could cause harm to the user or to those around them. Alcohol and drug misuse and related substance use disorders affect millions of Americans and impose enormous costs on our society. In 2015, 66.7 million people in the United States reported binge drinking in the past month and 27.1 million people were current users of illicit drugs or misused prescription drugs.”


It may be a struggle for addicts to free themselves from their addictions but it is possible.

Research suggests that accurate drug tests during the addiction recovery process can be invaluable tools in fostering recovery and that removing the stigma attached to drug tests may promote addiction recovery.

A study published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction posits that mitigating the stigma associated with drug tests in the clinical setting can promote addiction recovery. Drug tests often carry a number of stigmas, especially when the tests are associated with the legal system or with the workplace, where a positive result might mean legal consequences or a lost job.

Along with other addiction managements, drug testing is a powerful tool to reform addicts or even prevent a relapse.

As laid out by the American Society of Addiction Medicine White Paper, there are numerous therapeutic benefits to clinical drug testing. These include self-report verification: when a patient claims they have not been using their substance of choice, a drug test can be administered in order to confirm the accuracy of the self-report. Among the many additional benefits of drug tests in clinical settings are the monitoring of relapse and the enhancement of motivation for participating in addiction recovery treatment.


Even if help is readily available for adults in big American cities, the opposite can be said in rural areas.

The drug addict in rural America faces special struggles to get help.

Topping the list are the stigma of drug addiction in small towns and lack of transportation to get to treatment centers. Then there are the general problems: not enough treatment centers, lack of money, insurance doesn’t go far enough, and the pharmaceutical companies aren’t playing a big enough role.

And it is a problem that the government needs to address, like any other issues concerning its citizens.

He cited the issues particular to rural America, including the lack of treatment and recovery facilities, transportation problems and the long distances people must drive to access treatment.

He also noted the stigma the addict faces in a small towns where it’s common to know everybody, which, he said, “limits the people’s willingness to come forward and get the help they need.”

“It’s not a character flaw. It’s a disease,” Eschmeyer said.


More work is still needed to eradicate the addiction problems in the country. The best recourse is a collaboration between private/ non-profit organizations and the government to reach out to addicts and help them recover from their addictions (through drug rehabilitation centers and psychological support) and lead a normal life once again.

It is a difficult process and may take years but is a necessary step to give these people a new lease on life and cut off their reliance on their addictions. The bottom line is for addicts to acknowledge that they have a problem and to tell the people who care for them that they need help to get out of this situation for once and for all.

An Addict’s Life: Is Help Available? was first seen on The IANAA Blog


Monday, 17 July 2017

Why Students’ Mental Health Deteriorate?

Young kids can’t wait to go to school. The idea of meeting new friends, having new school stuff and learning a lot of things excites many young students. However, their enthusiasm wanes down over the years.

Peer pressure, problems with bullies, and increasingly difficult class lessons can put a strain on a student’s mental health. Add to that, parents have less and less time for their kids because of added demands at work and the desire to earn more to provide for their family.

As student’s progress through school, they face more and more stressors that affect their outlook on life. Gone was the bright-eyed child so full of excitement and curiosity to learn more in life. College proves to be the hardest hurdle of all as the pressure of rising tuition fees, relationship conflicts with peers, lack of funding for educational groups and the opposite sex and academic challenges leave students drained and mentally exhausted.

“Going to university coincides with a period of immense change and personal development. We know that one in four young people are going to have an issue with their mental health. I just felt it was important to break the stigma attached to things like anxiety and depression,” Connolly says.

Such is the prevalence of ­mental health among university students that increasingly institutions are being forced to focus their attention on it.

From puberty to their late teens, students find it difficult to make the transition from their youth to adulthood because help is not always there when they need it. And many of them also feel alone once they go to college.

“This is largely due to the timing of onset of these disorders during the critical period of emerging adulthood,” Veness reports.

A study last year by 11 academics from the University of Melbourne, published in the journal Studies in Higher Education,confirmed that one in four of the 5000 undergraduate respondents to the study had reported suffering some form of severe psychological distress — most commonly depression, anxiety and stress — and noted that those levels were higher than found in the general community. The results were particularly strong for those studying arts and veterinary science.

“While severe levels of student psychological distress are reported across diverse academic programs, there are particular stressors associated with some fields of study,” the researchers note.


It is high time that the government steps in and address these sensitive issues faced by students all over the country.

The last day to file bills during the 85th Texas Legislature was Friday, and local lawmakers are taking on some big issues in education, mental health and criminal justice.

State Sen. Kel Seliger, chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee, filed two priority bills aimed at reining in the rising cost of college.

The Amarillo Republican and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick have made tuition reform a key issue in the Senate, arguing that academic charges have risen at a much faster rate than household income.

It is definitely good news for everyone – especially households with college students.

Price, a Republican from Amarillo, became chairman of the House Public Health Committee this year after leading a select committee on mental health in 2015.

His legislation aims to achieve parity in insurance coverage for those with mental health issues and improve assistance for mentally ill students and prison inmates.

Price also added his name to a bill that makes texting and driving a crime. Attempts to pass such a bill have been shot down several legislative session in a row.


In as much as the community and the government have a role in improving the mental health of students, it is primarily the responsibility of their parents to do so. Aside from providing for their needs, parents should also be sensitive to their feelings and offer support when they need help. Students can cope better at school if they know that their parents got their back and that they are always there when they need them the most.

The following blog post Why Students’ Mental Health Deteriorate? was initially published on Blog


Monday, 10 July 2017

Transgender And Transsexual Activism

All human beings are different. Nobody was created equal – even twins. And as such, misunderstandings happen. Confusion adds up because of the fact that we come from different nations and speak different languages. Personal preferences also play a role in making the world more diverse than it already is.

There’s a saying that “Men are from Venus and Women are from Mars”. It is right on point. Men and women see things differently and may be poles apart but still can’t live without each other.

Then, there is also this confusion among gender roles in both sexes. Men would say they are a woman trapped inside a man’s body and vice-versa. Confusing more than ever, right? Transgenders and transsexuals are growing in numbers. Unfortunately, the World Health Organization considers it as a mental illness.

According to the World Health Organization, being transgender is a mental illness.

But that could soon change, as WHO prepares a new edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), its global codebook that influences national disease diagnostic manuals worldwide. The current version, ICD-10, has been around since 1990 and ICD-11 is expected to be approved in 2018.

The proposals to declassify transgender identity as a mental disorder have been approved by each committee that has considered it so far. A study published this week in the Lancet Psychiatry journal, offers up new evidence supporting the change.

A condition is designated as a mental illness when the very fact that you have it causes distress and dysfunction, said Geoffrey Reed, a professor of psychology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, a consultant on the ICD-11, and co-author of the study told the Washington Post. The study argues that this isn't the case with transgender identity.


But thankfully, some changes may soon take place after arguments of its nature not being a distress or a dysfunction come to light as of late – which can ultimately promote acceptance and less hate. A lot of activists fight for this cause to enjoy equal treatment from everybody and not be considered as social outcasts.

Transgenders and transsexuals are not sexual deviants. But the more we treat them like that, the deeper and lasting the stigma becomes making it impossible for them to lead normal lives. Hence, they rebel against the system and fight for their rights – even the right to use public bathrooms.

In other words, it is the advocates of transgender access to bathrooms and showers who, under the guise of their nondiscrimination rhetoric, are in fact seeking to discriminate on the basis of — in favor of — gender identity. That’s exactly what a policy of making gender identity override biological sex entails: It makes gender identity determine which restrooms and showers a person is allowed to use, just as a policy of race-segregated restrooms and showers makes race determine which facilities a person is allowed to use. (I am of course not asserting that racial discrimination and discrimination in favor of gender identity are moral equivalents.) The unsound proposition that separate facilities assigned by biological sex involves discrimination on the basis of gender identity collapses into incoherence. If a boy who identifies as female has a right under Title IX to use the girls’ restrooms and showers, then it would clearly be discrimination on the basis of gender identity to bar a boy who identifies as male from also using them. After all, the difference between these two biological males is that they have different gender identities. How could one of the males be allowed to use the girls’ facilities and the other be barred from doing so if Title IX bars discrimination on the basis of gender identity? In short, contrary to everyone’s (including the Obama administration’s) understanding of Title IX, the transgender illogic would disallow any system of single-sex facilities to survive.


Respect begets respect. And as long as we do not respect our individual differences, conflicts will persist and activism for various causes will continue.

The National Geographic staff chose a cover story of nine-year-old-boy who says he’s a girl for the January 2017 special issue, entitled “Gender Revolution.” Transgenderism is today’s popular social delusion which, contrary to the publicity surrounding it, affects a miniscule portion of the population.

Young Avery Jackson, whether deliberately or not, is an LGBTQ activist whose image is being used to promote transgender politics and raise money for a transgender house in Kansas. Now National Geographic is participating in the activism by spreading the progressive ideology of fluid genders and providing an easy rallying point for future LGBTQ fundraising campaigns.

The activists’ theory of gender fluidity, or gender spectrum, suggests that God-designated genders of male and female indicated by biology is too limiting. Their theory separates gender from sex and says that gender is determined by how people feel or think, not by the objective evidence of body parts, chromosomes, and other distinct biological markers.


Baby steps like this cover on the National Geographic pave the way for a more promising future for those who do not feel comfortable with the sex they were born with. Love more, hate less. Understanding and tolerance are the least we can afford them who are constantly ridiculed because of their identity.

The following blog post Transgender And Transsexual Activism is republished from


Monday, 3 July 2017

Cyber Safety and Security: How Safe Are You And Your Data Online?

Technology is advancing further and further as the days go by. It is hard to keep up if you are an ordinary person but the majority of us increasingly rely on technology in our day-to-day. Our home is full of various technological knick-knacks from cooking, entertainment, comfort, to communication, you name it. You can even shop or do your banking online too. Imagine how many hours you save from doing all the mundane things by yourself with the help of technology.

As we increase our dependence on these technological wonders, we also share more and more personal data on the web that may be at risk of hacking or data theft in the absence of reliable security measures. And we should not only be wary of nameless hackers but even of certain government agencies too.

WikiLeaks has offered to help the likes of Google and Apple identify the software holes used by purported CIA hacking tools - and that puts the tech industry in something of a bind.

While companies have both a responsibility and financial incentive to fix problems in their software, accepting help from WikiLeaks raises legal and ethical questions. And it's not even clear at this point exactly what kind of assistance WikiLeaks can offer.


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Thursday that the anti-secrecy site will help technology companies find and fix software vulnerabilities in everyday gadgets such as phones and TVs. In an online news conference, Assange said some companies had asked for more details about the purported CIA cyberespionage toolkit that he revealed in a massive disclosure on Tuesday.


Seems like straight out of the movies, right? True! The alarming thing about this is that it is not a movie and our data is indeed at risk from people whom we thought should be protecting us in the first place.

It also does not help that the budget on many services is being cut down, proper maintenance or even a much-needed upgrade of computer systems are far from the horizon. And worse, it is a reality in most U.S. states.

Many of the state of Minnesota's data centers are vulnerable to both intruders and water damage. The state's crack cybersecurity team doesn't have a night shift. And the only people who know how to maintain code handling billions of dollars in state transactions are near retirement — or long past it.

"Things haven't changed that much," said Mike Arlett, a retired 79-year-old programmer who still comes into work periodically because he's one of the few people left who can update the venerable COBOL code he's worked on for decades. "It's basically the same as it was many, many years ago. It's just running on a bigger, faster platform."

These cybersecurity risks and antiquated technology are front and center at the Legislature this spring, where lawmakers are considering whether to spend more than $100 million bringing the state's software into the current decade.


We should all take data security seriously because criminals have also leveled up their game and they can easily mess with your life with just a few clicks of a button. Learn the computing language since you use gadgets like smartphone, tablets, computers, laptops, and SmartTVs on a daily basis. An understanding of how they work means you’d also be able to better take care of them and make use of effective and up-to-date data security measures.

Moreover, these are not just your only causes for concern but as well as a more pressing and entirely sensitive item we use regularly.

We see it in the news almost every day: Despite being PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant, a company or a government agency has been breached, putting millions of financial records and personal data into the hands of hackers and ultimately, on the black market. The gaming industry is a high profile, payment transaction-rich environment living on borrowed time. With last October’s adoption of EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) and its credit and debit chip cards in the USA, card-not-present (e-commerce/online) fraud will likely increase dramatically over the next three years, as evidenced in European countries, following wide EMV adoption.

When it happens in the gaming industry, and according to experts it will, who will pay for it? Lisa Monaco, US Homeland Security advisor to President Obama, stated, "There are two types of merchants in this arena; those that have been hacked and those that will be hacked." There may be one more type; those that have been hacked but are unaware yet. Bad publicity and a loss of consumer trust come standard with a large data breach, but there is also the financial impact, which could amount to thousands or millions of dollars lost.


Even if most data loss issues are external, there is one that does not have to do with anybody else – a hard drive failure. Important files may be lost and can make life difficult for you for a while. However, all is not lost and you can recover your data with a few tricks of the trade or with the help of some who is handy with computers.

The blog article Cyber Safety and Security: How Safe Are You And Your Data Online? See more on: The IANAA Blog