Thursday, December 27, 2007

“REPLY ALL” Named Economic Impact Problem Of The Year

The Horrible Truth About The "Reply All" Button - This entry was posted on Thursday, August 31st, 2006 at 4:06 pm and is filed under Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed, bookmark the Permalink in your Browser, leave a response, or trackback from your own site. Image Credit: SPACE MONKEYS

“REPLY ALL” Named Economic Impact Problem Of The Year

Information and the ease at which information is created and moved is blossoming into a great problem. So much so that it has caught the attention of a noted consultancy firm as 2008’s Problem-Of-The-Year!

The problem and its growth is “Information Overload”. It costs our economy in productivity and time some serious money. In 2006 the estimated cost came in at $650,000,000,000 … that’s six-hundred and fifty BILLION. A figure that is roughly equal to the Gross Domestic Product of the 16th largest economy in the world, The Netherlands.

Buildings along canal in Amsterdam’s consulate row area. The Netherlands is often called Holland. This is formally incorrect as North and South Holland in the western Netherlands are only two of the country's twelve provinces. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (6-15-2002)

Economic costs are run up when we are distracted and interrupted from our core duties and have to take the time to get re-engaged after responding to needless or repetitive communications.

This from the Associated Press via WIRED TECH BIZ News -

Researcher: Info Overload Costs Economy

By ANICK JESDANUN - AP Internet Writer - Dec 26, 12:04 PM EST

Think twice before you copy someone on an e-mail or hit "reply all." Such practices have made today's workers less productive, a research firm concludes.

After years of naming a product or person of the year, Basex Inc. decided to forecast "information overload" as problem of the year for 2008.

"It's too much information. It's too many interruptions. It's too much lost time," Basex chief analyst Jonathan Spira declared. "It's always too much of a good thing."
Workers get disoriented every time they stop what they are doing to reply to an e-mail or answer a follow-up phone call because they didn't reply within minutes. Spira said workers can spend 10 to 20 times the length of the original interruption trying to get back on track.
Spira has a number of recommendations: Resist the urge to immediately follow up an e-mail with an instant message or phone call. Make sure the subject line clearly reflects the topic and urgency of an e-mail. And use "reply all" sparingly.
Reference Here>>

Poll Answers

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Tracking Santa The NORAD Way Christmas 2007

Illustrators’ Visions of Santa Claus - Over the years, great illustrators have created and shaped the popular vision of Santa Claus. Clockwise from top, left: Thomas Nast, who gave Santa Claus a form almost like the modern idea in the mid-1800’s, with his clay pipe and arm full of toys (including a sword). You can see some of his visions of Santa here. /// J. C. Leyendecker, who really created the modern vision of Santa, and painted a number of memorable Saturday Evening Post covers featuring the jolly elf over the years. You can find them in the SEP cover archive. /// Norman Rockwell, along with Leyendecker, provided numerous SEP covers with images of Santa, often with clever takes on the vision of his traditional role. The SEP cover archive has a section devoted to Rockwell Christmas covers. /// Haddon Sundblom was an American illustrator who became noted for his yearly portrayals of Santa Claus for the Coca-Cola company. There is a section on the Coca-Cola site, and an album of Sundblom Santas here. Image Credit: Charley Parker

Tracking Santa The NORAD Way Christmas 2007

Christmas is a time we come together to celebrate forces that are beyond our own experience. On December 25, the birth of the son of God is the source of the excuse for additional forces we know are beyond our own experience to come to life.

The one force that creates the most wonder and awe is the force of Santa Claus and his amazing journey around the world as he drives his Reindeer powered Sleigh. The Sleigh, loaded with gifts, stops at every home throughout the world where Santa knows people believe in giving and the amazing grace of God and his power.

Santa is even known to stop and leave a gift where some people are not even aware they actually believe in him and/or God’s power because he knows what resides deep in all people who wish for a better world but have not found a conscious way to its understanding.

Technology and the internet were made for times like these.

This from the How Stuff Works website -

How Santa's Sleigh Works
by John Fuller – How Stuff Works

Christmas Eve, millions of children around the world will settle uneasily into bed, hardly able to contain themselves. What vision could possibly dance through their heads, turning them into twitchy, restless insomniacs for just one night? Is it the Sugar Plum Fairy from Tchaikovsky's ballet "The Nutcracker" or the sugarplums from Clement Clarke Moore's poem "The Night Before Christmas"? Can sugarplums really do such a thing?

Chances are the children are thinking about
toys, Santa Claus and his team of reindeer -- if the children have been nice this year, jolly old St. Nick should be landing his sleigh on their roofs sometime late in the night.

Everyone has their own traditional image of Santa's sleigh, but could there be more to it than just a sled and a team of reindeer? Although no one may ever know for sure just how Santa operates, we at HowStuffWorks have what we think are the most logical explanations for how the big guy accomplishes all that he does:
science and technology.

Sure, demystifying Santa's modus operandi puts us at risk of getting nothing but
coal in our stockings this year, but it's all for the noble pursuit of yuletide knowledge. After all, have you ever wondered how Santa's sleigh flies? What about the reindeer? And how does Santa fit all of those presents into one bag? In the next section, we'll look at the possible technology behind Santa's sleigh.­

Rustic on the outside and state-of-the-art on the inside, Santa's sleigh would have to be a marvel in engineering. These are the main parts of the sleigh that would be needed to get Santa across the world in one night.

The Sleigh's Interior

The front of the sleigh's dashboard would be dominated by Santa's own GPS navigator -- the elves would map out millions of destinations before Christmas Eve, just to make sure Santa doesn't miss anyone. The device would also have a built-in Naughty-or-Nice sensor that keeps Santa updated on children's activities. This is important, as even the most minor of naughty deeds committed within the last few hours of Dec. 24 can determine whether or not a child receives a shiny lump of coal.

speedometer on the far left of the dashboard would allow Santa to monitor his flying speeds. On the far right would be a radio communicator -- Mrs. Claus sends broadcasts, and the elves update Santa with weather reports and toy inventory.

For in-flight entertainment, we'd like to the think that the elves would have installed an
iPod dock -- perhaps even a red-and-green iPod, which would come with enough memory to play Christmas songs for the entire year through. There would also be a hot cocoa dispenser in the middle of the console, and fuel for the reindeer (in the form of carrots) in a compartment located on the left side of the sleigh.

Transdimensional Present Compartment (The Bag)

Ever wonder how Santa fits all of those presents into one bag? Think of a transdimensional present compartment in the form of a traditional gift sack, which would act as a portal between the sleigh and the North Pole. However, we'd also like to think that Santa may have harnessed the power of nanotechnology and found a way to miniaturize millions of presents into one large bag. But this information remains unconfirmed.

The Stardust Antimatter Propulsion Unit

What is antimatter? Is it some kind of magical substance Santa uses to power his sleigh?

Antimatter is the opposite of regular matter -- the mirror image of normal particles that make up everything we can see or touch. The big draw to antimatter is the amount of energy it helps create. When antimatter and matter come into contact, they annihilate each other -- breaking apart into tons of smaller particles -- and 100 percent of their masses convert into energy.

Although antimatter propulsion rockets are mainly used in science-fiction shows to allow spaceships to travel at warp speed, the possibility of designing one is very real --
NASA is currently developing one that would get us to Mars within a matter of weeks. [source: NASA]

Santa's would have to be way ahead of the game, however, and we'd like to imagine that he has his own custom Stardust Antimatter Rocket. It would be small enough to install in the back of his sleigh and fast enough to deliver every present to all good children across the globe. Of course, if the rocket ever malfunctions, the reindeer would be there to back Santa up.
References Here>>

Track Santa Claus across the globe as he performs his amazing task and journey -

Santa maintains a huge list of children who have been good throughout the year. The list even includes addresses, ZIP codes and postal codes. The list, of course, gets bigger each year by virtue of the world's increasing population. This year's population right now is 6,634,570,959!

Santa has had to adapt over the years to having less and less time to deliver his toys. If one were to assume he works in the realm of standard time, as we know it, clearly he would have perhaps two to three ten-thousandths of a second to deliver his toys to each child's home he visits!

The fact that Santa Claus is more than 15 centuries old and does not appear to age is our biggest clue that he does not work within time, as we know it. His Christmas Eve trip may seem to take around 24 hours, but to Santa it could be that it lasts days, weeks or months in standard time. Santa would not want to rush the important job of bringing Christmas happiness to a child, so the only logical conclusion is that Santa somehow functions on a different time and space continuum.

We believe, based on historical data and more than 50 years of NORAD tracking information, that Santa Claus is alive and well in the hearts of children throughout the world.

Santa Claus is known by many names, but his first recorded name was Saint Nicholas. Historians claim that the history of Santa starts with the tradition of Saint Nicholas, a 4th Century Christian priest who lived in the Middle East in an area of present day Turkey.

Saint Nicholas became famous throughout the world for his kindness in giving gifts to others who were less fortunate. Typically, he placed gifts of gold down people's chimneys - sometimes into stockings. It may be that the Santa we know and love emerged from the legacy of Saint Nicholas. Clearly, Santa's basic approach to gift giving is strikingly similar to that of Saint Nicholas. What we know from history is that the tradition of Santa Claus and Saint Nicholas merged.

Could they be the same person? Only Santa Claus can tell us for sure.

Long before the Wright brothers flew the first airplane or the Montgolfier brothers flew the first hot air balloon, Santa knew he had to find a way to travel quickly from house to house at great speed. We know from our Santa Cam images that Santa's choice for quick transportation was a herd of flying reindeer. Of course, to this day, detailed information on these reindeer remains a mystery. We do know, however, that Santa somehow found a way to get the reindeer to help him with his worldwide mission of gift giving. A veil of sweet mystery hides the rest.

Virginia's letter, written in December 1897, is the most famous example of a child wanting to know about Santa.

Editor’s Response>>


We at MAXINE, Symblogogy, & Oblate Spheroid wish each and everyone a "Merry Christmas To All And To All A Good Night!"

Friday, December 21, 2007

It Takes A Village To Kill A Terrorist

Hugh Hewitt while broadcasting live from the exposition floor of Blogworld & New Media Expo. in Las Vegas - 11-08-2007. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (MAXINE)

It Takes A Village To Kill A Terrorist

Yesterday afternoon, Hugh Hewitt was interviewing a Sergeant Long of the U.S. Marines and a Consultant to the Marines on asymmetric war tactics whose name I missed (I looked for transcript information on the interview) when the following exchange ensued.

The Consultant on war tactics stated that most of the larger battlefield successes on the ground in Iraq happened when the leaders and citizens in each of the small villages throughout the countryside became feed up with the violence. He went on to state his point just so, “It takes a village to control the insurgency in Iraq.”

Hugh asked, “So, it takes a village to kill a terrorist?” and the Consultant enthusiastically, and without hesitation responded, “Yes!”, then Hugh mused, “It takes a village … I like that.”

Over this Christmas holiday season, when a family member or friend wants to discuss the politics about the war in Iraq, just remember that when one happens to discuss the value of “The Surge” and its dramatic success, the Marines did not do this in a vacuum. They had help through a valuable partnership and relationships with the Iraqi people that had been built up with the boots-on-the-ground over the last four years … “It Takes A Village!”

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Patreaus Did Not Betray Us - Senate Did

Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander for U.S. troops in Iraq, appears at a graduation ceremony for 700 Iraqi National Police cadets in Baghdad, Iraq, on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2007. Image Credit: AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed

Patraeus Did Not Betray Us - Senate Did

In a move that can only be shouted back to the "Leftosphere" ... "FACTS DO MATTER"!

It was only a little over one month ago as was observed here, at MAXINE, that the Blogging community that held far left points of view - Markos Moulitsas ZĂșniga (Daily KOS), Jeralyn Merritt (TalkLeft), Joe Sudbay (AMERICAblog), and Jerome Armstrong (MyDD) - felt that the facts on the ground in Iraq did not matter.

In a unanimous show of support for ending our involvement in Iraq, these Bloggers spoke for the vast “Leftosphere” when they expressed their views during a conference module held at Blogworld & New Media Expo, Friday, November 9, 2007, in a Las Vegas Convention Center. The module was entitled “Right vs. Left: Who’s Winning The Battle Of The Blogosphere?”

Well, “FACTS DO MATTER” and the proof in the putting just came through last night when the Senate passed a spending bill combining funding for 14 Cabinet departments with $70 billion for U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When General Patraeus came back to address the Senate after his plan for “The Surge” in Iraq was finally underway, the people on the left proclaimed in an ad in the New York Times that General Patraeus Betrayed Us.

After this very lopsided vote by the US Senate (only 17 Senators voted no to funding the troops), the ad the left should be purchasing to run ... should read - Patraeus Did Not Betray Us - Senate Did!

This excerpted from the Associated Press -

Senate OKs $70B for Iraq, Afghanistan
By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press Writer - Tue Dec 18, 11:00 PM ET

By a bipartisan 76-17 vote, senators approved the massive bill, which bundles 11 annual appropriations bills funding domestic agencies and the foreign aid budget for the budget year that began Oct. 1.

Earlier, by a 70-25 vote in the Senate, President Bush and his GOP allies won a major victory in passing a measure providing $70 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — without restrictions that Democrats had insisted on for weeks.
Reference Here>>

Poll Answers

Sunday, December 16, 2007

When Green Thinking And Consumerism Collide, the digital home of NBC Universal's new initiative to bring an environmental perspective to our networks, our platforms, our audiences, our communities ... in fact, to everything we do. We kicked the initiative off with a week of green-themed programming and we'll be continuing the commitment to our efforts throughout the coming years. /// "Going Green" is no small undertaking - whether you are a big media company or an individual hoping to make a change - so we'll be posting all of our exciting news on this site along with green tips, green clips, and a fast-paced blog covering everything we're doing at NBC Universal, and beyond. /// We hope you'll dive in, join the conversation, and help us make "green" as universal as we can. Caption and Image Credit: NBC Uinversal

When Green Thinking And Consumerism Collide

Question: What costs more in electricity per year - A CRT style television or a brand new, solid state HD Plasma flat panel television?

Ever ask yourself, “When is enough, enough?"

In February 2009, our television technical standards are due to changeover to High Definition broadcast transmission standards. The impacts of this changeover will have a pretty large effect on our habits, or so we are told.

On the one hand, we need to be conscious about treating our Earth right ... on the other hand, we have a requirement to embrace technological advancement.

This changeover, as mandated by FCC law, excerpted from Wikipedia –

The FCC has notified U.S. television broadcasters that the standard for transmitting TV over-the-air shall change from analog to digital. While there are many technical, political, and economic reasons for and implications of this change, the end-result for some segments of the American TV audience will be an improvement in picture and sound quality.
From a consumer standpoint, every conventional TV with an antenna will become obsolete, unless connected to a digital tuner. After the switch to digital transmission, TVs will be unable to receive terrestrial analog RF TV broadcasts unless connected to a set-top box or other device that contains a digital tuner. Roughly 20% of viewers receive analog broadcasts over the air, and will be affected by the analog shutoff. The majority of TV watchers will not be affected. The 80% of television viewers that use cable or satellite television will not be immediately impacted. Virtually all satellite users and an increasing number of cable users already use set top boxes to view programming, and analog cable television is being phased out in many markets. For people unable to buy new digital TVs, Congress is arranging to offer cash vouchers for the purchase of digital tuners.
The last major change in TV transmission standards took place when compatible color broadcasts began in 1953. That change was engineered to be backwards-compatible, meaning that existing black-and-white TV sets would receive and display "compatible-color" broadcasts (in monochrome) without modification. The impending change to digital from analog is not backwards-compatible.
Reference Here>>

Funny that - we have global climate change and we have a global consumer change-over and neither are “BACKWARDS-COMPATIBLE”!

Where is the “Green Peacock” flying over at GE/NBC/Universal when we need it?
Just last month (November 4, 2007 to be exact), the viewers of all of the NBC broadcast television properties – NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, SciFi Channel, USA Network, Telemundo, to mention a few, were treated to a healthy dose of how we all can become better world citizens if only we begin to think and behave green. “Green is Universal” was the catchy phrase. After all, we are reminded over and over that Al Gore told/lectured us that the Globe Is Warming!

We consume resources at a record level and that, as we were reminded on NBC “Green Week”, if we all replace out incandescent light bulbs with the new Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL's) we can save the planet. During the broadcast day we were treated to “Green Friendly” TIPS like - Tip #2 - By allowing more natural light into your home, you can lower the use of electricity; artificial light adds up to almost 15% of the home's total electricity. That there is some mighty fine copywriting, we'd say!

Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) - CFLs are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs because they generate the same amount of light using less energy. CFLs generate light with trapped gas, while standard incandescent lightbulbs use filaments to generate light. Caption Credit: NBC Universal -- Image Credit: Wikipedia

And this little green glossary definition found on the NBC “Green Is Universal” website -

Energy Efficiency Energy - efficiency is a measure of how much energy is needed for a product to perform its function. For example, CFLs are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs because they generate the same amount of light using less energy. Reducing energy use is important to reduce human impacts on climate change.

Not one word was mentioned about the possibility of saving gobs of energy by just turning off our brand new, big screen, flat panel plasma TV!

Plasma Television - Behind the screens are millions of cells, each one for every pixel on the screen. Inside these cells are two gases, neon and xeon, and some chemical called phosphor that glows when hit by light. This chemical was founded in 1669, accidently, by a German scientist Hennig Brand who was doing some experiments on his urine. When electrical currents run through each cells, they charge both gases into a plasma state, or ionized state. This plasma emits UV light to hit the phosphors that glows afterward. In each single cell there are 3 subcells that contain 3 different phosphors – red, green, and blue phosphors. By controlling the current that goes into each one of the subcells, the amount of red, green, and blue glows combine into millions of color combinations. Image Credit: Ken Crane’s - Panasonic HD plasma television (biggest available) spanning 103 inches and weighing 485 pounds

This excerpted from The Wall Street Journal -

That Giant Sucking Sound May Be Your New TV

By Rebecca Smith, The Wall Street Journal - Last update: 11:01 p.m. EST Dec. 12, 2007
Consider that a 42-inch plasma set can consume more electricity than a full-size refrigerator -- even when that TV is used only a few hours a day. Powering a fancy TV and full-on entertainment system -- with set-top boxes, game consoles, speakers, DVDs and digital video recorders -- can add nearly $200 to a family's annual energy bill.
While most new types of TV sets use far more electricity than the old-fashioned gadgets they replace, some upstarts are bigger energy hogs than others. In general, liquid crystal display, or LCD, screens use less power than plasma sets of comparable size. And in the largest screen sizes, projection televisions typically use less electricity than LCD or plasma models.

A 28-inch conventional television set containing a cathode-ray picture tube, or CRT, for example, often uses about 100 watts of electricity. A 42-inch LCD set, a typical upgrade item, requires about twice that amount of electricity. But the real beast is the plasma set. A 42-inch model often sucks up 200 to 500 watts, and a 60-plus-inch plasma screen can consume 500 to 600 watts, depending on the model and programming, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

In the biggest screen sizes, a projection television is a better option from an energy-use standpoint because it consumes about 150 watts to 200 watts, far less than a plasma or LCD screen.

Assuming each screen is on five hours a day, the annual energy bill for the conventional 28-inch television set would be about $30 a year, compared with about $130 for the 60-inch plasma model, assuming power costs 12 cents a kilowatt hour. By the time other devices are added -- including game consoles, speakers and DVDs -- the cost to power the whole works can top $200 annually. (How to do the math: Something that draws a constant 100 watts of electricity uses 2.4 kilowatt hours of electricity in a 24-hour period or 876 kilowatt hours in a year. At 12 cents a kilowatt hour, the annual cost would be $105.12.)
Doug Johnson, senior director of technology policy for the Consumer Electronics Association, says the industry is working to improve disclosure and energy efficiency. He says comparing television energy use to refrigerator energy use is "hackneyed," adding, "when was the last time the family gathered around the refrigerator to be entertained."

Graphic Credit: MarketWatch, The Wall Street Journal

But consumers making an effort to go greener at home -- and who also want to ditch their bulky old TV set -- can be in a bit of a bind. The energy savings gleaned from swapping out incandescent light bulbs for energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights, for example, can easily be canceled out by the pileup in entertainment gear.
Set-top boxes, which deliver programs and movies through the Internet, cable or satellite dishes, also can be energy hogs. In fact, they typically consume about -the same amount of power whether they are being used or standing by.
According to a calculation by the Natural Resources Defense Council, a typical high-definition cable box with a built-in digital recorder consumes about 350 kilowatt hours of juice annually, more than a conventional television set and clothes washer combined.
For its part, the EPA appears to have settled on a process that will allow consumers to compare sets of the same size, across technology types. The agency expects to have improved Energy Star labels on television screens by November 2008 and to get them on set-top boxes, also in active and standby modes, by December 2008.
Reference Here>>

At MAXINE, our wallets and brains are exploding due to the collision of well intentioned and possible necessary technical changeover and nature.

The real and perceived change from both directions, the law of the FCC and the natural forces found here on Earth for hundreds of millions of years, require our attention and action, both are immovable forces, and both are not backward-compatible.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Voting Machines Sinking On Security In California

ES&S iVotronic voting machine - Image Credit:

Voting Machines Sinking On Security In California

A team from the office of the California Secretary of State found that voting machines manufactured by Dibold and Sequoia have significant security vulnerabilities. A new round of testing that focused on the machines sold by ES&S found that these machines were just as insecure than the rest.

Image Credit: California Secretary of State

While we all would like to see honest and open elections take place here in the good ol” Golden State, we are not delusional. We know that being a conservative in California places us solidly in second place.

Why would any conservative fear insecure voting machines here in this state?

Image Credit: California Secretary of State

This excerpted from Ars Technica, LLC -

ES&S e-voting system used in California cracked wide open
By Ryan Paul Published: December 05, 2007 - 09:01AM CT

Earlier this year, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen established strict new standards for electronic voting machines, requiring independent code audits, Red Team security testing, and support for paper records. The Red Team testing process primarily involves subjecting the machines to review by security experts who attempt to hack the software and bypass the physical security mechanisms. Recent Red Team tests of ES&S voting machines have uncovered serious security flaws.

The first round of tests focused on the physical security of the Polling Ballot Counter (PBC), which the Red Team researchers were able to circumvent with little effort. "In the physical security testing, the wire- and tamper-proof paper seals were easily removed without damage to the seals using simple household chemicals and tools and could be replaced without detection," the report says. "Once the seals are bypassed, simple tools or easy modifications to simple tools could be used to access the computer and its components. The key lock for the Transfer Device was unlocked using a common office item without the special 'key' and the seal removed."

After bypassing the physical security of the voting machines, the Red Team researchers were able to gain direct access to all of the files on the systems, including password files. "Making a change to the BIOS to reconfigure the boot sequence allows the system to be booted up using external memory devices containing a bootable Linux copy," according to the researchers. "Once done, all the files can be accessed and potentially modified, including sensitive files such as the password file which can be cracked by openly available cracker programs. New users may be added with known passwords and used by the same attacker or other attackers later."
The Election Loader System is populated with data from an Election Distribution CD, which is generated by a special Election Converter Application. The researchers were able to break the encryption used on the generated CD to "breakdown the CD, revise the election definition, and replace the CD with a new encrypted CD with an alternate election definition." The researchers note that this tactic could be used to alter vote tallies.
The results of the Red Team test, which demonstrate beyond doubt that the security of ES&S voting machines is utterly inadequate for use in elections, make it seem unlikely that ES&S will be able to continue peddling their defective products in the state.
Reference Here>>

Image Credit: California Secretary of State

Liberals with socialist, bigger government leanings (read that Democrats and Decline to State) will always get elected by large margins ... and our state, which sports a 10 billion (with a “B”) budget deficit, will eventually sink from the lack of fiscal responsibility.

We, at MAXINE feel that having incorrect and corruptible automated voting results in California is a little like moving chairs on the Titanic. Who cares?

Let the voting begin. Paddles will not matter!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Mitt Romney's Best "Take-Away" Quote On Religion

“Liberty Is A Gift Of GOD,
Not An Indulgence Of Government”
--- Mitt Romney, December 6, 2007 ---

Actual full quote from the speech reads as follows - "Americans acknowledge that liberty is a gift of God, not an indulgence of government. No people in the — No people in the history of the world have sacrificed as much for liberty."
(ht: image credit -

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Financial Awareness To Avian Flu Threats Still Key

Dr. Daniel Miller, John Lange and Kent Hill address journalists at avian flu workshop in New Delhi. Image Credit: Cheryl Pellerin/State Dept.

Financial Awareness To Avian Flu Threats Still Key

Over the last four years, cases of Avian flu infection have been reported from sixty countries. Through the processes of improved detection and containment these reported threats had been kept in check, but the risk of a global pandemic affecting humans remains a real potential catastrophe.

Of 335 humans infected since 2003, some 205 have died, in twelve nations, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

A ministerial conference that started today in India has assembled hundreds of health officials from over 100 nations representing health and mobilization groups to discuss effective strategies and structures to combat this continuing threat. Money and the management of cost effective options to counteract this pandemic threat are expected to dominate the main topics of discussion.

This excerpted from -

Bird flu still a global threat, say experts

Posted : Tue, 04 Dec 2007 13:14:00 GMT - Author : IANS -

New Delhi, Dec 4 - Developing countries need to look at low-cost options to fight pandemics like avian influenza, India's Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said at the three-day International Conference on Avian and Pandemic Influenza in the capital Tuesday.

Addressing over 600 health professionals from 105 nations and 20 international and intergovernmental organizations, Ramadoss urged them to focus on empowering communities as the most powerful tool to combat epidemics.

The conference, which is from Dec 4-6, is the fifth in a row of similar conferences organized across the world to discuss issues of geographical spread of avian influenza - and the health challenges that come with it - and threaten the global community at large.

Jacques Diouf, director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said that avian influenza could still cause a global pandemic and requires continued vigilance and control efforts, particularly in animals.

Diouf warned in his speech that the spread of avian influenza typifies the potential emergence of major health crises with an increased risk of pathogens traveling over large distances in very short time periods, favored by globalization and climate change.
Most of the human deaths from the disease have been reported from Asia, the latest from China on Sunday.

'The World Bank has projected that for a reasonable level of preparedness for avian and human influenza, developing countries would need to spend at least $ 2.2 billion over two to three years period,' Ramadoss said at the inaugural session of the meet.

He said that the current gap for mobilizing resources for the country programs is $960 million, or over 40 percent of the identified needs. From earlier conferences, $649 million is available to help fill this gap.

'But these resources are in the form of loans, while grants would be a more appropriate form for financing this global public good.

'While this gap must be minimized, I would urge that we need to look at low cost options also,' Ramadoss said.

With avian influenza prevention and control programs being in place for almost four years, many countries have been able to contain or even eradicate the disease.
Reference Here>>

Grants may be called for in favor over loans at this conference, but it strikes us here, at MAXINE, that the loan path keeps all of the parties responsible to how the money is spent while health officials keep their eyes on the pandemic threat.

And this from the U. S Department of State -

The United States, which has contributed $434 million to its international effort against avian flu, hopes to mobilize more resources during the New Delhi ministerial.

“On Thursday [December 6],” Ambassador John Lange, head of the U.S. delegation, and special representative for avian and pandemic influenza at the State Department
said, “I will announce a new U.S. government pledge to this effort in terms of our international assistance.”

This would make the United States the major contributor to Avain Flu mobilization resources. Of the $649,000,000 of funds from previous conferences, the United States has already contributed $434,000,000 or over two-thirds of these available mobilization resource funds.