Foot-and-mouth disease

HANOI – Vietnam has asked international health experts to help investigate a mystery illness that has killed 19 people and sickened 171 others in an impoverished district in central Vietnam, an official said today.
The infection has mostly affected children and young people. It begins with a high fever, loss of appetite and a rash that covers the hands and feet. Patients who are not treated early can develop liver problems and eventually face multi-organ failure, said Mr Le Han Phong, chairman of the People’s Committee in Ba To District in Quang Ngai province.
Nearly 100 people remain hospitalised, including 10 in critical condition. Patients with milder symptoms are being treated at home. The illness responds well to treatment if detected early, but 29 patients have been reinfected, Mr Phong said.
The Ministry of Health sent a team of health officials to the area earlier this month, but they were unable to determine the cause of the illness. The ministry has since asked the World Health Organisation and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help investigate.
A WHO spokesman said the Geneva-based body had not yet received the request from Vietnam.
“We can’t investigate without an official request,” said Mr Tarik Jasarevic.
The ailment was first detected last April, but the number of cases had died down by October. A fresh spate of infections started last month, with 68 cases and eight deaths reported between March 27 and April 5, Mr Phong said.
Most of the patients are from Ba Dien village in Ba To. It is one of the poorest districts in the province and home to many from the Hre ethnic minority. AP

Foot-and-mouth disease or hoof-and-mouth disease (Aphtae epizooticae) is an infectious and sometimes fatal viral disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals, including domestic and wild bovids. The virus causes a high fever for two or three days, followed by blisters inside the mouth and on the feet that may rupture and cause lameness.
Foot-and-mouth disease is a severe plague for animal farming, since it is highly infectious and can be spread by infected animals through aerosols, through contact with contaminated farming equipment, vehicles, clothing or feed, and by domestic and wild predators.[1] Its containment demands considerable efforts in vaccination, strict monitoring, trade restrictions and quarantines, and occasionally the elimination of millions of animals.
Susceptible animals include cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, pigs, antelope, deer, and bison. It has also been known to infect hedgehogs, elephants,[1][2] llama, and alpaca may develop mild symptoms, but are resistant to the disease and do not pass it on to others of the same species.[1] In laboratory experiments, mice and rats and chickens have been successfully infected by artificial means, but it is not believed that they would contract the disease under natural conditions.[1] Humans are very rarely affected.
The virus responsible for the disease is a picornavirus, the prototypic member of the genus Aphthovirus. Infection occurs when the virus particle is taken into a cell of the host. The cell is then forced to manufacture thousands of copies of the virus, and eventually bursts, releasing the new particles in the blood. The virus is highly variable,[3] which limits the effectiveness of vaccination.

Developing software prototypes

Software prototyping, refers to the activity of creating prototypes of software applications, i.e., incomplete versions of the software program being developed. It is an activity that can occur in software development and is comparable to prototyping as known from other fields, such as mechanical engineering or manufacturing.
A prototype typically simulates only a few aspects of, and may be completely different from, the final product.
Prototyping has several benefits: The software designer and implementer can get valuable feedback from the users early in the project. The client and the contractor can compare if the software made matches the software specification, according to which the software program is built. It also allows the software engineer some insight into the accuracy of initial project estimates and whether the deadlines and milestones proposed can be successfully met. The degree of completeness and the techniques used in the prototyping have been in development and debate since its proposal in the early 1970s.[6]

In computer science, a formal specification is a mathematical description of software or hardware that may be used to develop an implementation. It describes what the system should do, not (necessarily) how the system should do it. Given such a specification, it is possible to use formal verification techniques to demonstrate that a candidate system design is correct with respect to the specification. This has the advantage that incorrect candidate system designs can be revised before a major investment has been made in actually implementing the design. An alternative approach is to use provably correct refinement steps to transform a specification into a design, and ultimately into an actual implementation, that is correct by construction.
A design (or implementation) cannot ever be declared “correct” in isolation, but only “correct with respect to a given specification”. Whether the formal specification correctly describes the problem to be solved is a separate issue. It is also a difficult issue to address, since it ultimately concerns the problem constructing abstracted formal representations of an informal concrete problem domain, and such an abstraction step is not amenable to formal proof. However, it is possible to validate a specification by proving “challenge” theorems concerning properties that the specification is expected to exhibit. If correct, these theorems reinforce the specifier’s understanding of the specification and its relationship with the underlying problem domain. If not, the specification probably needs to be changed to better reflect the domain understanding of those involved with producing (and implementing) the specification.
The Z notation is an example of a leading formal specification language. Others include the Specification Language(VDM-SL) of the Vienna Development Method and the Abstract Machine Notation (AMN) of the B-Method. In the Web services area, formal specification is often used to describe non-functional properties [1] (Web services Quality of Service).

Windows Phone 8 to arrive on all Windows Phone 7 devices


Some folks have held off the purchase of Windows Phone 7 devices simply because they are not sure whether Windows Phone 8 will be available as an update or not in the future. Well, it is time to make an informed decision now that you heard from the horse’s mouth, as Nuno Silva, Microsoft evangelist, shared over an interview that Windows Phone 8 (also known as Apollo) will be arriving on all current handsets as an update in due time.As to the exact dates of Windows Phone 8 updates hitting the various devices, that remains to be seen since plenty of kinks still need to be worked out. Do bear in mind though that while Microsoft did not come up with an official statement to back up Nuno’s statements, whatever was shared should be taken with a grain of salt. Check out the clip with Nuno Silva above for more details. Needless to say, while current hardware could run on Windows Phone 8, that will still mean some of the other features found in Windows 8 may be be inaccessible – such as support for higher resolution and a speedier performance, thanks to multi-core processors. I guess the saving grace is this: you may not need to make any hardware upgrade at all. With this bit of news out, has it helped nudge you towards making the correct purchase decision, or would you rather wait for a native Windows Phone 8 device?

Key features of four editions of Windows 8

April 16, 2012 09:48pm EST  
Microsoft on Monday revealed more details about the four editions of Windows 8 it will release when it makes its next operating system available later this year, including some key features that will be part of Windows RT, the SKU that’s optimized for ARM processors.
“First, Windows 8 is the official product name for the next x86/64 editions of Windows,” Brandon LeBlanc, Microsoft’s Windows communications manager, wrote on the official Windows blog.
Microsoft’s next OS for PCs and tablets powered by 32-bit and 64-bit x86 chips will come in two flavors, Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro, that can be purchased by consumers. Another edition of the x86-optimized Windows 8 will be made available to bulk purchasers, while the Windows on ARM (WOA) offering, Windows RT, comes in just one flavor and is only available as a pre-installed OS.
With just four editions, and just two that most consumers will have to make an active choice between, Microsoft is at last going the simple route with an OS release. Moving away from the multi-edition OS releases it’s done in recent years is sure to please critics who have complained that it can be difficult for the average user to know which of several versions of Windows is best for their needs. 

Who can uncover the entire story?

I have deliberately placed information all over the internet describing all events over a timeline. Only now you get all the links at one place. Who can uncover the entire story?

Oogle’s Ideas Factory

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Why drastic reforms is necessary to move Singapore from a profit centric model to a goal oriented model

Why drastic reforms is necessary to move Singapore from a profit centric model to a goal oriented model

From a profit centric model
That is what you will get
Whereby compromising all the other goals
Money is what you get but at what costs?
Outright GDP growth is a mistake a model
If you do not have a balanced approach
Match with the goals you want to achieve
You will have all the wrong policies
That is why Singapore is in a big mess
You need drastic reforms at all levels
To change the wrong direction
Be competitive in the global economy again
If I can fix the global economy
What is Singapore’s economy to me
I hate it when everybody treats me as a fool.

– Contributed by Oogle.