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New York Announces Plan to Boost HIV Testing, Treatment to End Epidemic

Tuesday, 01 July 2014 07:01 Written by
By: The Associated Press
 
New York state can end its three-decade HIV crisis by the year 2020, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday as he announced an ambitious plan to deliver a knockout blow to the epidemic by boosting testing, reducing new infections and expanding treatment.
 
The governor said the state is aiming to reduce new HIV diagnoses to 750 by the end of the decade - about the same number of tuberculosis cases seen in New York City each year - down from 3,000 expected this year and 14,000 new cases of the disease in 1993. If the state is successful, it would be the first time the number of people living with HIV has gone down since the crisis began with the first widely reported cases in 1981.
 
"Thirty years ago, New York was the epicenter of the AIDS crisis," Cuomo said. "Today I am proud to announce that we are in a position to be the first state in the nation committed to ending this epidemic."
 
To expand treatment, the state's Department of Health has negotiated bulk rebates with three companies producing HIV drugs. The state is also taking steps to make it easier to get tested, changing how HIV cases are tracked to ensure patients continue to receive treatment, and boosting access to "pre-exposure" drugs that can help high-risk people avoid infection.
 
Cuomo did not offer an estimate of the cost of the plan, but said it would end up saving the state more than $300 million per year by 2020 by reducing the amount the state pays for medical care for those with HIV.
 
Groups that have long advocated for HIV patients praised the governor's announcement, saying it shows that efforts to fight the disease are paying off, and that a scourge that once seemed unbeatable can be successfully fought.

‘Supercooling’ Technique May Preserve Transplant Organs Longer

Tuesday, 01 July 2014 06:55 Written by
A new technique may help preserve transplantable organs for days, Nature World News reported.
 
The ‘supercooling’ method of preserving transplant organs was developed by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, to help decrease the cost of organ transplants and increase the number of successful organ matches.
 
In a study published in the journal Nature Medicine, the researchers tested the four-step technique on rat models, pumping their organs with nutrients and oxygen, and then cooling them to below the freezing point. Freezing the organs helps reduce damage in the cells of the organ, which begin to die as soon as they leave the body. Currently, most transplant organs can survive outside the body for only five to 24 hours.
 
For the experiment, the rats underwent liver transplants; some received livers that had undergone supercooling, while others received organs preserved by traditional ice-cooling methods. Overall, rats that received the supercooled organs lived longer post-transplant, compared to rats that received  the ice-cooled organs.
 
Moving forward, the researchers plan to see if their technique can effectively preserve a human liver.
 
"The next step will be to conduct similar studies in larger animals," study author Rosemarie Hunziker, of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, said in a press release. "It is exciting to see such an achievement in small animals, by recombining and optimizing existing technology. The main point here is that using all of these approaches at once was what led to success."
 
 
 

Google Shutters Social Network Orkut, Cuts Quickoffice

Tuesday, 01 July 2014 06:49 Written by
By: Katie Roof
 
After a decade long attempt to popularize the service, Google (GOOGL) is shutting down its social network, Orkut.
 
Users can no longer create new accounts as of Monday and the site will officially close on Sept. 30. Orkut communities can still be accessed through an archive and profile data can be downloaded through September 2016.
 
One of Google’s early efforts in social media, the site struggled to gain traction in most regions beyond India and Brazil. At one point it was Brazil’s most popular social network, but Facebook surpassed it in 2012.
 
“Orkut was Google’s first foray into social networking,” Paulo Golgher, Orkut engineering director, said in a blog post. “Orkut helped shape life online before people really knew what ‘social networking’ was.”
 
Some of the company’s other social attempts like Google Wave and Google Buzz have also been shuttered. Going forward, Google will focus its social efforts on YouTube, Blogger and Google+.
 
"Google has been pushing Google+ so it is no real surprise that they are consolidating properties," Neil Doshi, analyst at CRT Capital, said. 
 
Google announced a revamp of its Google Docs service at its Google I/O developers conference in San Francisco last week. On Monday, it also announced it was shutting down Quickoffice, an app for document editing.
 
"Now that Quickoffice is being built directly into Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, users can edit Microsoft Office files without needing a separate application,” Google said in a statement. "If you've already downloaded Quickoffice, you can still continue to use it.”
 
Google shares are up 31% in the past year. They are currently trading around $576, with a market cap of $391 billion.
 
 

3 Cool Virtual-Reality Projects from Oculus Rift and Sony's Project Morpheus

Tuesday, 01 July 2014 06:43 Written by
By: Karim Lahlou
 
Oculus Rift’s $2 billion purchase by Facebook made it clear that the social networking giant was betting big on virtual reality, or VR. This technology immerses the user in a digital world through a headset that tracks a user’s head movements. Also in March, Sony, the maker of the PlayStation 4, announced Project Morpheus, a VR headset that the company hopes will unlock new possibilities for gamers to interact with virtual environments.
 
While both headsets are currently not yet available for consumers (although the Oculus Rift may be ordered as a developer kit for $350), there have been some interesting attempts to showcase the possibilities these two hold for gaming and simulation enthusiasts. Here are three of the most promising projects we found.
 
Bird simulator
Designed by students at the Zurich University of the Arts, Birdly is a virtual reality simulation that gives players the ability to take to the skies in the form of a red kite, a bird of prey. Using the Oculus Rift headset and a pneumatic plank, the players may “flap” their wings to gain altitude and move their heads to get a bird’s eye view of the landscapes below.
 
To make the virtual flight even more realistic, a fan is placed in front of the player to provide the feel of air streams, and flying over different locations releases various scents. 
 
Hack and slash
Revealed at the Game Developers Conference in March, Project Morpheus emphasizes the player’s immersion in games by using accessories that enable enhanced interactivity, such as the PlayStation Move controller.
 
“We’ve discovered that the more you integrate the analogy of your body in the game,” said Andrew Kelly, a Public Relations Manager for Sony, “the better it feels, and the easier it is for your brain to get used to the virtual world.”

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Crowdfunding Helps Ukrainians Build ‘People’s Drone’ to Aid Poorly Resourced Army

Tuesday, 01 July 2014 05:28 Written by
By: Trevor Mogg
 
With Ukraine’s army coming under increasing pressure in its battle to keep pro-Russian forces at bay, supporters have turned to crowdfunding in a bid to build a drone designed to offer assistance to its troops on the front line.
 
According to a Guardian report Sunday, the web-based “people’s drone” campaign hit its $35,000 target after

Facebook Apologizes After Secret Psychological Experiments Caused Outrage Among Users

Tuesday, 01 July 2014 05:17 Written by
By: Dado Ruvic
 
The authors of a controversial Facebook study are apologizing after an effort to see if emotional states are contagious caused quite a stir over the weekend.
 
Facebook was abuzz with complaints over the weekend after it was revealed that the social networking site secretly manipulated the posts being seen by nearly 700,000 users in early 2012 in

GM Recalls 7.6M Vehicles, Plans New 2Q Charge

Tuesday, 01 July 2014 05:11 Written by
By: Matthew Rocco
 
General Motors (GM) on Monday announced six new recalls covering 7.55 million vehicles in the U.S., as the automaker continues to address safety issues.
 
After calling back 2.6 million compact cars for a defective

Jeb Bush Catching Up with Hillary Clinton in Presidential Polls

Tuesday, 01 July 2014 05:02 Written by

 

By: Jonathan Ernst / Mary F. Calvert

 

Hillary Clinton may still be leading potential Republican rivals Jeb Bush and Rand Paul in polling for the 2016 presidential election, but a new poll shows her advantage is shrinking considerably.


According to a new Zogby poll taken between June 27 – 29, Clinton leads Bush by 12 points, 47 percent to 35 percent. That’s a seven-point decrease when compared to poll results from

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