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Get the crowd to innovate for you!

Cooperative tools and exponential technologies are reshaping our globe. You no longer have to sit on the sidelines and wait for the future to happen. You are now empowered to get involved to change the world. If you’re sick of the doom and gloom and ready to get in the game, explore the resources below. Here are some great crowdsourcing and collaboration tools on the web:

  • CoFundos (cofundos.org): cheap and really good platform for the development of open-source software.
  • Genius Rocket (geniusrocket.com): solid crowdsourced creative design agency composed solely of vetted video production professionals producing content as a fraction of the cost of a traditional ad agency.
  • Amazon Mechanical Turk (mturk.com): popular and powerful crowdsourcing platform for simple tasks that computers cannot perform(yet), such as podcasts transcribing or text editing. There are also companies, like CrowdFlower, that leverage Mechanical Turk (and similar tools) for even more elegant solutions.
  • Innocentive (www.innocentive.com): one of today’s best online platform for open innovation, crowdsourcing and innovation contests. This is where organizations access the world’s brightest problem solvers.
  • UTest (http://www.utest.com): the world’s largest marketplace for software testing services.
  • IdeaConnection (www.ideaconnection.com): open innovation challenge site for new inventions, innovations and products.
  • NineSigma (www.ninesigma.com): open innovation service provider, connecting clients with a global innovation network of experts.
  • Ennovent (www.ennovent.com): worldwide expert platform seeking solutions for sustainable development in energy, food, water, health and education in rural India.
  • TopCoder (www.topcoder.com): the world’s largest competitive software development & creative design community, with over 200,000 at your fingertips.
  • CrowdRise (www.crowdrise.com): Crowdrise is an innovative, crowd-sourced community of volunteers and online fundraisers that have come together to support online fundraising for charity, events and special projects. It’s a way to raise money in new ways, turning participants and supporters into effective online fundraisers.
  • Kickstarter (www.Kickstarter.com): Kickstarter is the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects. In 2011 the platform raised over $100 million for projects from the worlds of music, film, art, technology, design, food, publishing and other creative fields. Uniquely, on Kickstarter, a project must reach its funding goal before time runs out or no money changes hands, it’s an “all or nothing model”.
  • IndieGoGo (www.indiegogo.com): IndieGoGo you can create a funding campaign to raise money quickly and securely. This trusted platform has helped to raise millions of dollars for over 65,000 campaigns, across 211 countries.

Poverty has fallen in all regions of the world

In every region of the developing world, the percentage of people living on less than $1.25 a day and the number of poor declined between 2005-2008, according to estimates released today by the World Bank. This across-the-board reduction over a three-year monitoring cycle marks a first since the Bank began monitoring extreme poverty.

An estimated 1.29 billion people in 2008 lived below $1.25 a day, equivalent to 22 percent of the population of the developing world. By contrast, in 1981, 1.94 billion people were living in extreme poverty. The update draws on over 850 household surveys in nearly 130 countries.

REGIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

East Asia and the Pacific: About 14 percent of its population lived below US$1.25 a day in 2008, down from 77 percent in 1981, when it was the region with the highest poverty rate in the world. In China, 13 percent, or 173 million people, lived below $1.25 a day in 2008. East Asia achieved MDG1 about 10 years ago.

In the developing world outside China, the extreme-poverty rate was 25 percent in 2008, down from 41 percent in 1981. The number of people living in extreme poverty, however, was about the same in 2008 as 1981 at around 1.1 billion, after rising in the 1980s and 1990s and falling since 1999.

South Asia: The $1.25 a day poverty rate fell from 61 percent to 39 percent between 1981 and 2005 and fell a further 3 percentage points between 2005 and 2008. The proportion of the population living in extreme poverty is now the lowest since 1981.

Latin America and the Caribbean: From a peak of 14 percent living below $1.25 a day in 1984, the poverty rate reached its lowest value so far of 6.5 percent in 2008. The number of the poor rose until 2002 and has been falling sharply since.

Middle East and North Africa: The region had 8.6 million people—or 2.7 percent of the population—living on less than $1.25 a day in 2008, down from 10.5 million in 2005 and 16.5 million in 1981.

Eastern Europe and Central Asia: The proportion living on less than $1.25 is now under 0.5 percent, having peaked at 3.8 percent in 1999. 2.2 percent lived on less than $2 a day in 2008, down from a peak of 12 percent in 1999.

Sub-Saharan Africa: For the first time since 1981, less than half of its population (47 percent) lived below $1.25 a day. The rate was 51 percent in 1981. The $1.25-a-day poverty rate in SSA has fallen 10 percentage points since 1999. 9 million fewer people living below $1.25 a day in 2008 than 2005.

Read more:
The World Bank’s survey of extreme poverty rates
The Economist Magazine’s coverage of the World Bank survey

Vaccine Manufacturing Gets Boost from Tobacco Plants

Canada-Based Medicago Opens U.S. Facility to Exploit Its Influenza Vaccine Production Method…

Medicago says it’s improving the production of influenza vaccines in two ways: The firm starts with virus-like particles (VLPs) to generate a vaccine, and then it manufactures large quantities of a vaccine in the leaves of tobacco plants. Its technology platform is readily adaptable for the mass production of seasonal and pandemic vaccines, as well as biosimilars and other types of proteins.

Medicago’s manufacturing platform uses Nicotiana benthamiana, also known as Australian tobacco. In 1999, Louis-Phillippe Vezina, Ph.D., co-founded Medicago to explore the manufacturing of proteins in alfalfa plants. Dr. Vezina, CSO, named the company Medicago after the Latin name for alfalfa. Company researchers later discovered that tobacco produces higher yields of VLP-based vaccines than alfalfa.

From Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

Making solar power competitive with coal

By the end of the decade, U.S. manufacturers could make solar panels that are less than half as expensive as the ones they make now.

At 52 cents per watt, that would be cheap enough for solar power to compete with electricity from fossil fuels, according to a new study by MIT researchers in Energy & Environmental Science. Assuming similar cost reductions for installation and equipment, solar power would cost six cents per kilowatt-hour in sunny areas of the U.S. — less than the 15 cents per kilowatt-hour average cost of electricity in the U.S. today.

Improvements would include an alternative to the wasteful process now used to make silicon wafers, methods of handling thin wafers to avoid breaking, installation cost-reduction, and improved light absorption, such as using nanostructured layers.

- From Kurzweil AI

DIY Bio: A Growing Movement Takes on Aging

A movement is growing quietly, steadily, and with great speed. In basements, attics, garages, and living rooms, amateurs and professionals alike are moving steadily towards disparate though unified goals. They come home from work or school and transform into biologists: do-it-yourself biologists, to be exact.

DIYbiology (“DIYbio”) is a homegrown synthesis of software, hardware, and wetware. In the tradition of homebrew computing and in the spirit of the Make space (best typified by o‘Reilly‘s Make Magazine), these DIYers hack much more than software and electronics. These biohackers build their own laboratory equipment, write their own code (computer and genetic) and design their own biological systems. They engineer tissue, purify proteins, extract nucleic acids and alter the genome itself. Whereas typical laboratory experiments can run from tens-of-thousands to millions of dollars, many DIYers knowledge of these fields is so complete that the best among them design and conduct their own experiments at stunningly low costs. With adequate knowledge and ingenuity, DIYbiologists can build equipment and run experiments on a hobbyist‘s budget. As the movement evolves, cooperatives are also springing up where hobbyists are pooling resources and creating “hacker spaces” and clubs to further reduce costs, share knowledge and boost morale.

This movement, still embryonic, could become a monster — a proper rival to industry, government, and academic labs. The expertise needed to make serious breakthroughs on a regular basis at home hasn‘t yet reached a critical mass, but there are good reasons to believe that this day will soon come…

Read more on h+ Magazine

Warren Buffet signs over $30.7 billion to the Gates foundation

Warren Buffett’s contribution of about $1.5 billion a year to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will be used to seek cures for the world’s worst diseases and improve American education, Bill Gates said Monday.

“There is no reason we can’t cure the top 20 diseases,” Gates said while appearing with Buffett during a donation ceremony at the New York Public Library.

The Buffett and Gates families, as well as onlookers, were beaming as the so-called Oracle of Omaha officially made his benevolence a reality.

“There is more than one way to get to heaven, but this is a great way,” said Buffett. He presented the biggest gift to Gates, and $1 billion donations to his own foundation and the foundations run by each of his three children.

“I am not an enthusiast for dynastic wealth, particularly when the alternative is 6 billion people having much poorer hands in life than we have,” Buffett said at the ceremony.

In a letter dated Monday, Buffett had informed Bill and Melinda Gates that the first donation of Berkshire Hathaway stock would go to the foundation next month…

Read more on USA Today

$9 a month is all it takes to own a smartphone in Africa

A basic phone that send texts, makes calls and connects to friends and family through social media. Isn’t that all anyone really needs in a phone?

Orange thinks so, and have launched three new low-cost, low-spec phones for African and emerging European countries.

“It’s our ambition that everyone should be able to access the internet,” Patrick Remy, Vice President Devices at Orange, told Huffington Post. “We want to democratise the mobile internet, and put it in the hands of everyone.”

The phones will be priced at 9 euro per month for the 908, 60 euro outright for the 813 and 40 euro for the 585…

Read more on huffingtonpost.com

A reprogrammable cell could revolutionize synthetic biology

Scientists at The University of Nottingham are leading an ambitious research project to develop an in vivo biological cell-equivalent of a computer operating system.

The success of the project to create a ‘re-programmable cell’ could revolutionise synthetic biology and would pave the way for scientists to create completely new and useful forms of life using a relatively hassle-free approach.

Professor Natalio Krasnogor of the University’s School of Computer Science, who leads the Interdisciplinary Computing and Complex Systems Research Group, said: “We are looking at creating a cell’s equivalent to a computer operating system in such a way that a given group of cells could be seamlessly re-programmed to perform any function without needing to modifying its hardware.”

Read more on nanowerk.com

Managing revolution—the Arab Spring reaches a critical juncture

The aftermath of the Arab Spring uprisings is at a critical juncture and needs to be managed in an orderly way so change benefits everyone, the head of the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said political change across the Middle East and North Africa faced headwinds from an economic slowdown across the oil-importing countries, which was pushing up already-high unemployment and increasing social tensions.

Popular uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa this year have toppled veteran rulers in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, and forced Yemen’s president to sign away his powers. Syria is grappling with an eight-month-old anti-government protest movement and Bahrain is still dealing with the fallout from a crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations in March.

Read more on reuters.com

Electronic healthcare records—finally

Costco has launched a comprehensive Electronic Heath Records (EHR) and Practice Management (PM) software and service solution nationally to healthcare providers announces Etransmedia Technology, Inc. Costco entered into an agreement with two healthcare technology leaders, Etransmedia, and Allscripts, to test market the software solution to its healthcare provider members. With the early success and high demand for the solution in test markets, Costco has progressed from the test phase to full national launch.

This exclusive Costco offer includes ARRA certified Allscripts MyWay EHR and PM software solutions. This solution includes a web based Patient Portal, training and implementation services, and is fully hosted with maintenance and support. The solution was engineered to revolutionize the process of EHR delivery by providing a simple, comprehensive, and all inclusive package at a price that sets a new standard in the industry. Healthcare providers can learn more about the offer at www.costcoehr.com.

“As the leading ASP provider of EHR and PM solutions, we have the ability to leverage our partnership to deliver the product quality and value associated with Costco Wholesale,” said Vikash Agrawal, Chairman of Etransmedia. “And with the early success of this program, we can now offer nationally through Costco, an ARRA-certified software and service solution to help physicians qualify for up to $44,000 in federal stimulus.

Read more on marketwatch.com

 

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