Bill Gates Supports Use Of Technology To End Malaria

Billionaire Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has supported the use of technology to help put an end to malaria.

This was disclosed while on Wednesday while speaking at the Malaria Forum conference in London saying that it should not jeopardise exploration of tools such as CRISPR gene editing and so-called “gene drive” technologies.

“I’m very energised about the potential of gene drive. (It’s) the kind of breakthrough we need to support,” Gates said.

“It may prove critical here.”

Gene drive technologies alter DNA and drive self-sustaining genetic changes through multiple generations by overriding normal biological processes.

CRISPR technology enables scientists to find and modify or replace virtually any gene. The techniques are being explored across science – from human medicine to livestock- and crop-breeding.

In mosquitoes that transmit malaria, genetic alterations can be used to induce infertility to reduce populations, or alter the insects’ ability to carry and pass on the malaria parasite. The technologies can be extremely powerful.

However, they are also controversial, since such genetically engineered organisms released into the environment could have an unknown and irreversible impact on the ecosystem.

Asked in a interview with the Media about that controversy, Gates said there were understandable concerns about safety and efficacy that would need to be addressed in research and trials.

But he countered: “Malaria itself is quite controversial – it kills about 400,000 kids a year. So we’re definitely not on the side of malaria.”

He also noted that at their summit in January, leaders of the African Union endorsed gene drive research as part of the fight against a disease that continues to kill their people.

“They spoke out to say that, for them, getting rid of malaria is worth using innovative science,” Gates said.

The WHO warned late 2017 that global progress against malaria had stalled and could be reversed if momentum in the fight to wipe it out was lost.

The disease infected around 216 million people in 91 countries in 2016, an increase of 5 million cases over the previous year.

It killed 445,000 people, about the same number as in 2015, with the vast majority of deaths occurring in babies and young children in sub-Saharan Africa.

Gates told the Forum that his almost 20 years of involvement in global efforts to beat malaria had been both gratifying, in terms of progress, and tough, in terms of suffering he witnessed.

He described seeing a child in a hospital in Tanzania convulsed with seizures due to cerebral malaria.

“With the state of science and the wealth of the world, that really should be an affront,” he said. “We really shouldn’t accept that this disease can continue.”

Gates said that ending malaria for good would take many years and a range of tools both new and old – from bednets and mosquito traps to a new vaccine and next generation gene tools.

He said he thought it unlikely that creating gene drives in malaria-spreading mosquitoes would have a major impact on the wider ecosystem.

His reason is so because it would only target a few species and suppress their populations for a period of time.

“None of these (gene technology) constructs will actually wipe out the species,” he said. “It will evolve back. After all, evolutionary pressures always push back.”

Dramatically reducing mosquito populations with such technologies could give a window of opportunity to help limit the human-reservoir-of-disease so that transmission of the disease among people is stopped, he said.

Gates also said that genetic information and data, gathered in the field and transmitted swiftly to sophisticated surveillance systems, is allowing scientists to identify evolving strains of malaria parasites.

They are also tracking drug and pesticide resistance, helping them stay one step ahead of the disease.


Apple Unbothered By Concerns Of Addiction To Product

Apple Inc investors have shrugged off concerns raised by two shareholders about kids getting hooked on iPhones, saying that for now a little addiction might not be a bad thing for profits.

Hedge fund JANA Partners LLC and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) pension fund said on Saturday that iPhone overuse could be hurting children’s developing brains.

Some investors said the habit-forming nature of gadgets and social media are one reason why companies like Apple, Google parent Alphabet Inc and Facebook Inc added 630 billion dollars to their market value in 2017.

“We invest in things that are addictive,” said Apple shareholder Ross Gerber, chief executive of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth and Investment Management.

He also owns stock in coffee retailer Starbucks Corp, casino operator MGM Resorts International and alcohol maker Constellation Brands Inc.

“Addictive things are very profitable,” Gerber said.

Still, the investment community is increasingly holding companies to higher social standards, and there is some concern that market-leading tech companies could draw attention from regulators much like alcohol, tobacco and gambling companies have in the past.

Alphabet and Facebook could not immediately be reached for comment on Monday. Facebook has said social media can be beneficial if used appropriately.

In a statement to Reuters, Apple said it has offered a range of controls on iPhones since 2008 that allow parents to restrict content, including apps, movies, websites, songs and books, as well as cellular data, password settings and other features.

“Effectively anything a child could download or access online can be easily blocked or restricted by a parent,” Apple said in the statement.

Apple shares fell marginally on Monday. CalSTRS holds 1.9 billion dollars in Apple stock, a sliver of the company’s nearly 900 billion dollars market value, while JANA declined to disclose the size of its smaller stake.

“Before Apple speaks, I think it’s too early to change the narrative” for investors, said Peter Jones, vice president of research for Ferguson Wellman Capital Management, which has about 350,000 Apple shares.


Google Tracks Your Every Move, Even When You Disable Devices

A Quartz investigation has reported Google admitting to collecting Android users’ locations even when devices are disabled.

Since the beginning of 2017, Android phones have been collecting the addresses of nearby cellular towers and sending the data to Google’s system, according to a Google spokesperson.

Therefore Google has access to data about individuals’ locations and movements, even when their phones are turned off or disconnected from the Internet, which violates the privacy of smartphone users.

The spokesperson said the collected data was never used or stored and promised that by the end of November, Android phones would no longer send cellular tower location data to Google.

“It seems quite intrusive for Google to be collecting such information that is only relevant to carrier networks when there are no SIM card or enabled services,’’ Matthew Hickey, a security expert and researcher, told media in London.



Nigerian Facebook Hub Sets To Open Next Year

Facebook is set to open a “community hub space” in Nigeria next year to encourage software developers and technology entrepreneurs, and become the latest technology giant to pursue a training programme in fast-growing Africa.

The social media company said the centre would host an “incubator programme” to help develop technology start-ups, while it would also train 50,000 Nigerians in digital skills.

Africa’s rapid population growth, falling data costs and heavy adoption of mobile phones rather than PCs is attracting technology companies looking to attract more users.

Facebook did not provide details of the period over which its planned training would take place in Nigeria, which is Africa’s most populous country with 180 million inhabitants, according to Reuters.

“We understand the important role Facebook plays here in Nigeria with developers and start-ups and are interested in helping these communities,” Emeka Afigbo, its regional head of platform partnership said in a statement on Wednesday.

Facebook said the training, aimed at software developers, entrepreneurs and students, would be offered in cities, including Abuja, Port Harcourt, Calabar and Kaduna.

Last year, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, visited technology companies in Lagos and his charitable foundation provided $24m to Andela, which trains developers.

Google’s chief executive in a July visit to Lagos said the company aimed to train 10 million people across the continent in online skills over the next five years. He also said it hoped to train 100,000 software developers in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

Although Africa may not offer as much opportunity to add consumers as China or India, because large wealth gaps mean that many people in places like Nigeria have little disposable income, Facebook said more than 22 million people already use its social media website every month in Nigeria.

Widespread poverty means mobile adoption tends to favour basic phone models. That, combined with poor telecommunications infrastructure, can mean slow Internet speeds and less Internet surfing.



Solar Charging Booths Launched In Osun

A new technology, Solar Charging Booth for the charging of phone and other gadgets has been launched in Ile-Ogbo, headquarter of Ayedire Local Government of Osun state and Momu village of the same local government. The solar charging booths, manufactured by a power solution company, Powergies Nigeria Ltd, Lagos, was a test run of the project in Nigeria before going into full production.


The booths were stationed in four strategic points in Ileogbo, the hometown of the Chief Executive Officer of the company, Engineer Semiu Odeyinka for easy and all inclusive advantage.


Speaking with newsmen at the lunching of the gadget, Odeyinka said his company in collaboration with a socio-elites group, Ileogbo Development Forum (IDF), stationed the phone charging booths in Ileogbo as a mark of honour to his home town and a way of giving back to the society that produced him.


According to Odeyinka, the solar device can power 50 phones or Tablets on continuous charging 24/7. It can also be adapted to power Radio, Fan and Television set. Powergies Engineer, Oyekunle Musiliu disclosed that the solar gadget is made of 85per cent  local content which will in no small way boost the economic strength of Nigeria, imploring beneficiaries of the solar charging booths to make good use of them.


Odeyinka said, the same project had earlier been launched at Ondo State Rural Electricity Board, Akure where a unit of the gadget was presented to the State Government through the Special Advisor to Ondo State Governor on Public Utility, Engr. Tunji Ariyomo. Odeyinka hinted that technology has grown beyond conventional methods of the past of which Nigeria, her government and citizens must be dynamic in meeting world’s standard, saying that electricity is the bedrock of economic development of the nation.


He tasked government to holistically diversify the power generation of the country through the available optional means especially the solar. He urged the federal government to reduce what he described as bottleneck and long processing time that Foreign Investors experience when securing power plant license and Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).


Odeyinka said: “The bureaucracy, conflicting requirements within government agencies – Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and NBET and long processing time is very discouraging because no investors will tie down his or her money.”


He pledged to extend the project to some neighboring towns most especially Iwo before partnering with state and federal governments. Crediting the choice of the locations, the Coordinator of IDF, Mr. Alli Yakub, acknowledged that one charging booth was given to each of the four political wards in Ileogbo.


Alli said the technology age is a blessing to Nigerians and applauded Powergie Nigeria Ltd for making life more meaningful through their innovations/inventions.


Police Remain Mute As Nigerians Demand Arrest Of Man Who Released A ‘How To Rape’ Video On Facebook

Donatus Enyeobi a Nigerian man is on the run after he gave a lecture on how to rape women. This Facebook video went viral almost immediately drawing the ire of Nigerians and anti-rape advocates. Enyeobi’s action of teaching men interested in raping ladies shocked the social media space, especially the part where he admitted that his method has aided him in successfully raping several girls.



In the Facebook post, he wrote: “Well, for the guys that are interested, before you rape, make sure you punch her neck first so she can be unconscious. Then it will be easy to get into her pants. I am posting out of experience. Take it or leave it.” It was not surprising that it went viral with the general consensus being that he be found and brought to justice. When initially confronted, he showed no remorse about the post or even the fact that he admitted to have raped several girls using that method.



One of the appalled followers had tried to engage him to pull down the post as it would cause more damage and breed potential rapists in a society already riddled with several unsolved rape cases. In a chat between the duo, he was told that the post would put him into trouble but he rudely told the adviser to “go and sleep” as no one knows his whereabouts, therefore cannot be found.



Several Nigerians took to different social media platforms to condemn his post and call for his arrest. Lifestyle coach, Laila Mathew St.Daniel, who was among those calling for his arrest, said: “This young man’s post points to him as being a serial rapist. He must be located.” Also, anti-rape advocate, Esther Ijewere, said: “Please, let’s fish him out, it’s obvious this one is not only a rapist but a beast. Please help with details about him.”



In his hot pursuit, the Stand To End Rape initiative, a non-governmental organisation, tracked Enyeobi to his workplace. When his post went viral, the group took up the manhunt and put the power of social media to test by asking people to help identify his location so that he is brought to book. When all hope seemed lost, their search yielded results yesterday when some people helped tracked him to his work place. With the help of several Nigerians who provided pointers, he was traced and located to his workplace where his employers, DEPASA Marine International Nigeria, confirmed that he was on the run.



Giving an update on the matter, the NGO said: “We met with his employers and they confirmed he is presently on the run. We will meet again later this week to discuss further options.”



Meanwhile, amidst all this tension, the Lagos State Police Command is silent on the issue as they are yet to declare him wanted. Facebook seem to be silent or unaware of the issue too.


New IPhone Comes With Face Recognition (And Fears)

Apple will let you unlock the iPhone X with your face — a move likely to bring facial recognition to the masses, along with concerns over how the technology may be used for nefarious purposes.

Apple’s newest device, set to go on sale November 3, is designed to be unlocked with a facial scan with a number of privacy safeguards — as the data will only be stored on the phone and not in any databases.

iPhone X

Unlocking one’s phone with a face scan may offer added convenience and security for iPhone users, according to Apple, which claims its “neural engine” for FaceID cannot be tricked by a photo or hacker.

While other devices have offered facial recognition, Apple is the first to pack the technology allowing for a three-dimensional scan into a hand-held phone.

But despite Apple’s safeguards, privacy activists fear the widespread use of facial recognition would “normalize” the technology and open the door to broader use by law enforcement, marketers or others of a largely unregulated tool.

“Apple has done a number of things well for privacy but it’s not always going to be about the iPhone X,” said Jay Stanley, a policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union.

“There are real reasons to worry that facial recognition will work its way into our culture and become a surveillance technology that is abused.”

A study last year by Georgetown University researchers found nearly half of all Americans in a law enforcement database that includes facial recognition, without their consent.

Civil liberties groups have sued over the FBI’s use of its “next generation” biometric database, which includes facial profiles, claiming it has a high error rate and the potential for tracking innocent people.

“We don’t want police officers having a watch list embedded in their body cameras scanning faces on the sidewalk,” said Stanley.

Clare Garvie — the Georgetown University Law School associate who led the 2016 study on facial recognition databases — agreed that Apple is taking a responsible approach but others might not.

“My concern is that the public is going to become inured or complacent about this,” Garvie said.


WhatsApp Will Soon Let Friends See Your Location In Real Time

WhatsApp has done something that might have it’s users with mixed feelings. The App has pushed out a new feature that enables its users to share their location in real time, making it possible for family and friends to see where you’re at and, depending on circumstances, whether you’re safe. The feature could come in handy during times when you’re venturing out into the unknown alone, or when you’re meeting someone for the first time, among other things.

The feature is simply called Live Location, and it is found within a chat under the ‘Location’ option. You’ll need to open a chat with the people or person you want to share your location with; after doing that, select the duration during which you want your live location to be visible to others. Once set, just tap the ‘Send’ button and it’ll be broadcast to whomever else is in the chat.

WhatsApp says this feature is secure with end-to-end encryption. Though the sharing will expire after whatever duration you pick, the user also has the ability to stop the sharing whenever they’d like. The feature will be available to both WhatsApp and iPhone users ‘in the coming weeks,’ according to the company.

When someone shares their location, it appears in chat as a map with their avatar in the center and a notice on the bottom that says “Live Until 2:00,” or whatever time the share is set to expire. To stop sharing, the user merely taps the “Stop Sharing” button. Tapping the shared location opens a full map that shows when the person’s location was last updated, as well as their avatar.

Dubai’s Informidable Growth In Tech Showcased

Known for its futuristic skyline and artificial islands, Gulf emirate Dubai has carved out a place alongside cities like Singapore as a hub for innovative ideas.

At this year’s 37th Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX), which runs until Thursday, city authorities were keen to show off they remain on the cutting edge. Dubai’s GITEX expo this week showcased innovations that were symbols of the city-state’s ambitions to be a metropolis of the future, ranging from flying taxis to Batman-style surveillance motorcycles.

The undisputed star of the expo, which has more than 4,000 companies from 71 countries participating, was Dubai’s flying taxi project. Videos of the craft’s first “concept” flight last month — albeit without passengers — generated widespread buzz on social media.

Authorities at the Dubai Road and Transport Authority (RTA) anticipate five years of testing to put in place safety procedures, infrastructure and legislation governing the system.

“The air taxi is the star of our innovations, and I am confident that we will see the day it becomes reality,” said Khaled Abdul Rahman al-Awadhi, director of automated fare collection at the RTA.

Officials are keenly aware that even residents of ultra-modern Dubai may not be ready to step into a futuristic unmanned craft guided via a mobile phone application.

They are already working to explain planned safety measures for the craft, which will cost 200,000 to 250,000 euros ($235,000 to $295,000) each.

The two-seater drone is supported by 18 rotors and equipped with an emergency parachute to allow for an “easy landing” if necessary, Awadhi said.

It will fly at a height of 120 metres (130 yards), meaning it will be “out of the way of commercial flights”.

The Dubai police, which already uses robots to direct tourists, presented several innovations that would have been equally at home in a “Batman” or “Robocop” movie.

The One Thing You Must Do Before You Set Up Your New iPhone

Unwrapping a brand new smartphone can be a very exciting experience. All right, maybe not, but still it’s nice to take proud ownership of your new possession.

But once you’ve opened it, there’s the drudgery of setting it up. Well, there was, but things have just got a lot better in the world of Apple. So if you are getting your new iPhone here’s the one thing you must do:

Upgrade your current device to iOS 11.

Okay, you’re thinking, why should I bother, it’s only been out a few days and the new phone will come with it already installed, won’t it? Why do I need to do that?

Because of Automatic Setup (which really is as cool as it sounds), that’s why.

You may not have the option, of course, if you’re switching to Apple from an Android phone, in which case you need to launch Google Play (for possibly the last time!) and download an Apple app called Move to iOS.

Or maybe you have an iPhone that’s older than the iPhone 5s, which is the oldest phone compatible with iOS 11. You’re out of luck, but think of it this way, you’ve had that old phone a long, long time so a bit of effort now is long overdue.

 But if you do qualify, then definitely do update to iOS 11, and come back here when you have. All done?

Great. Now you can do Automatic Setup which is hands-down, hats-off, brilliant.

I tried it earlier this week when I was testing the iPhone 8 for review. It’s one of the things that sets iOS 11 apart and, once you’ve used it you realize it’s the thing you’ve been waiting for since the first time you switched mobiles.

When both your old and your new cellphone have iOS 11 on board, this is what you do.

Turn on the new phone and select your language. The next screen, called Quick Start, will appear and ask you to bring your old phone nearby. Do that and the old phone, as if by magic, will see the new phone is there and ask you to unlock it. The new phone will then display a sort of freckly, fizzing circle and when you hold the old phone in front of it, the camera will recognize this.

Then, you enter your passcode on the new phone.

And, er, no, that’s it. You’re done.

Just leave the phones to get to know each other, and the old phone will tell the new phone everything it knows and transfer everything to it. No setting a wi-fi password, nothing.

This is what switching from one phone to another should be like.

Good luck!

Dubai Launches Self-Flying Taxis

Dubai has launched the world’s first self-flying taxi at the Jumeirah Beach Park in Dubai, United Arab  Emirates today. The Autonomous Air Taxi (AAT) of Dubai was the brainchild of  Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA).

According to Dubai Media Office, the two-seater AAT, capable of transporting people without human intervention or a pilot, has been supplied by Volocopter, a Germany-based specialist manufacturer of automated air vehicles.

The AAT, expected to be put into use in the fourth quarter, is powered by electricity and is highly safe. Its design comprises 18 rotors to ensure secure cruising and landing in case of any rotor failure, said RTA.

“It is environment-friendly as it is powered by clean electricity, and it has very little noise. It has a maximum flight time of approximately 30 minutes at a speed of 50 km per hour, and a maximum air speed of 100 km per hour,” according to RTA.

“After the remarkable success of the first driverless metro in the region, we are glad to witness today the test flight of the Autonomous Air Taxi,” said Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.

“This is another proof of our commitment to positive change. We are constantly exploring opportunities to serve the community and advance the prosperity and happiness of society,” he added.