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Showing posts from May 13, 2017

A non-profit warns EPA against expanding the use of oxyteracycline as pesticide (downtoearth)

On May 10, the Center for Biological Diversity along with Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future sent their comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), asking the regulatory agency to not expand the use of a medically important antibiotic for citrus crops.

A US crop protection company, Nufarm Americas Inc., had sought registration of an antibiotic, oxyteracycline, for use in citrus crops and in dried citrus pulp from the EPA. The agency called for comments from the public by May 10.

The Centre said in its press release that Nufarm Americas Inc. has already been permitted emergency exemption to use the antibiotic in Mycoshield to treat citrus greening disease in Florida starting January 2017 till end of the year. The release added that exposure to antibiotics can have serious unintended side effects on wildlife, including adverse drug reactions, and can also cause changes in the chemical composition and pH of water and soil with potentially serious consequences.

“Since t…

Does Africa's future lie in solar revolution? (downtoearth)

Janet Musyoka is a fuel pump operator at a remote shopping centre some 100 kilometres from Nairobi, Kenya. Till 2015, she had to store the fuel above the ground and dispense it manually as there was no electricity to pump it up from underground storage tanks. This was dangerous as the fuel could easily catch fire due to stray sparks. Musyoka would keep applying for a power connection from national utility company Kenya Power, but was often dissuaded by the quotations of over US $5,000 for setting up the power lines.

Things changed that year when a UK electricity mini-grid company, Steama Co, set up a solar energy generation unit, storing the energy in batteries and distributing it through a micro-grid to more than 100 customers around the trading centre. Electricity now allows Musyoka to use a modern fuel pump to dispense fuel, making her work less cumbersome and turning it into a thriving enterprise.

Musyoka represented an estimated 600 million people in Africa who do not have acces…

Rich nations unwilling to respect UNFCCC principles at Bonn talks (downtoearth)

Negotiations on Day 5 of the climate talks at Bonn were overshadowed by developed countries taking a non-cooperative stance on various issues including Global Stocktake (GST), transparency framework, loss and damage and others

On GST, developed countries argued that means of implementation, a component of GST, should have a broader framing as it is in a broader context and be presented in the light of collective efforts. Their view clearly implies that the scope of means of implementation should include support provided by developing countries too. According to the principles and mandate of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), developed countries are required to provide means of support to developing countries in their efforts to switch to a low carbon economy scenario. Developed countries’ proposals to carry out the process of GST was also mainly mitigation-centric, said Saudi Arabia, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group.

With regard to the operational…

New technology and old religion (.hindu)

Augmented reality is upending the interface between physical reality and human desire to shape our universe

The Oracle has spoken. His vision will soon become your personal gadget. In the latest F8 annual global developer conference last month, the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, announced his vision of new technologies. He wants to change our lives by changing the way we perceive, engage and experience the real world around us. He wants to create augmented reality to spice up the mundane reality of our everyday world such as using an app to fill a cereal bowl with images of tiny swimming sharks.

Augmented reality is like this. It begins with dissatisfaction with the way the world appears before us. It panders to the worst of our human desires when it creates a world which is special to each one of us as if the world should be amenable to our desires rather than the other way around.

A familiar lure

However, Mr. Zuckerberg’s vision is not really new. This vision is presented as if …

What’s in a generic name? (.hindu )

The core issues are affordable access to medicines and their rational prescription and use

The Medical Council of India (MCI) issued a circular on April 21 drawing attention to clause 1.5 of its regulations regarding the professional conduct of doctors: “Every physician should prescribe drugs with generic names legibly and preferably in capital letters and he/she shall ensure that there is a rational prescription of drugs.” Further, the circular said, “For any doctor found violating clause 1.5 of Ethics Regulation, suitable disciplinary action would be taken by the concerned SMC/MCI.”

This has caused considerable unease among medical professionals. It appears that the MCI has responded to the statement by the Prime Minister on April 17 that the government intended to ensure that doctors prescribe medicines by generic names only.

Nearly all drugs have three types of names, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), the non-proprietary or generic, most commonly the …