Drug Checking Technology Challenge

Health Canada is putting their money where their mouth is, asking for help with a drug checking technology challenge. Most of us are aware of the opioid crisis here in Canada and around the world. For more information, please check out the detailed article in the link above. It describes the challenge to discover or modify the technology involved in detecting lethal, potent drugs like Fentanyl as well as other toxic substances. The article also contains additional links for those wishing to increase their knowledge of the crisis we are facing as well as one for substance abusers too.

Drug checking technology is out there, it just needs to be improved for increased reliability, accuracy, adaptability, ease of use as well as affordability. Any innovative (for or not-for-profit) Canadian post secondary institution, company, research or industry association is eligible to apply, although only the selected semi-finalists will be able to compete for the pilot phase and grand prize.

This challenge was launched on October 2nd, 2018 and the deadline for application is February 1, 2019. That means there is no time to waste! Semi-finalists will be announced February, finalists in June and grand prize winner in January 2020. Oh, and the prize is a cool million dollars.

It must be my thirty years of laboratory work; this challenge certainly piqued my interest. Do you have an innovative, ambitious personality with the resources to create a design ? Where can you apply? At the bottom of the webpage linked to above. Or right here!


Huawei worries: Are they warranted?

What/Who is Huawei and why are (most) countries worried about them?  To start, they are a HUGE manufacturer of technology components, (reportedly) capable of “invading” the industry globally.  The problem is, they are based in China whose government has relationships with the rest of the world on shaky ground these days.

Morning Brew, my newest addiction, has listed five (potential) reasons (from the MIT Technology Review) in today’s edition:

Kill switches: Huawei builds networks carrying data for power grids, financial markets, etc. And some fear the Chinese government could sneak “back doors” into Huawei’s gear with the ability to weaken or disable networks in foreign countries if a crisis occurred.

Data snooping: Chinese spies could theoretically gain access to Huawei’s networks undetected to extract sensitive info from people and businesses. Another possible avenue for espionage? Smartphones—Huawei’s one of the top manufacturers in the world.

The 5G rollout: The next generation of wireless networks is arriving fast…and the last thing the U.S. wants is for Huawei to connect the world with 5G. As the authors note, “This will dramatically expand the number of connected devices—and the chaos that can be caused if the networks supporting them are hacked.”

Defying U.S. trade rules: Huawei’s CFO is accused of tricking American banks into doing business with Iran, which would be a violation of U.S. sanctions. More of that activity could happen.

Chinese government influence: The U.S. and allies suspect Huawei’s execs are cozy with the Chinese government, which is the reason they’ve taken such a hard stance. 

Making headlines around the world last week, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who just happens to be the daughter of founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Canada for reason #4 above.  After all, Canada is one of USA’s allies, and is (should be) equally concerned for the same list of reasons.

Huawei

Is an irrigation system right for your yard?

Like anything else, there are pros and cons to installing an irrigation system in your yard.  The biggest advantage is quite obvious.  Your garden and/or lawns are automatically watered on a regular schedule that you select.   The largest disadvantage is the cost involved to install such a system.  This summer the pros appear to outweigh the cons.  If your lawn is as burnt as mine is you will know just what I mean.

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I have a soaker system in my back gardens to keep them looking good, but my front lawn has to rely on rainfall which we have none of for weeks.

I have come across many irrigation systems in the gardens (and yards) I look after.  Some have sprinkler heads, others have a copper piping drip system, others have a combination of both.  Which is better?  That depends on what you want to keep hydrated and how much you want to spend.  The experts you contact to install the system will advise you better than I can.

All I can say is that I can certainly tell the lawns and gardens that do have the luxury of an irrigation systems of some sort.

Sticks and stones

Sticks and stones will break your bones,  but names will never hurt you.  That’s what I was always taught as a youngster, but times have changed.  It is now obvious that those names do and have done more damage than we gave them credit for.  It is now referred to as bullying.  Names do hurt, the damage is just buried deep and not as visible.

I don’t think of myself as over sensitive, but I do admit I can remember every mean thing ever said to me.  For example, I remember a boy taunting me at the age of 12 because I was wearing a training bra.  I was an obvious late bloomer and very self-conscious about it. Did the insensitive comment ruin my life?  No, but it did hurt enough for me to remember it 45 years later.  I have never been at the (intentional) receiving end of the proverbial sticks and stones, so cannot compare the two hurts.

Bullying is rampant in today’s society.  Suicide rates are skyrocketing with bullying the leading cause.  With the availability and popularity of so many forms of social media, bullies can strike anywhere, anytime, without ever having to meet their victim in person, face to face.

When social media first came to be my eldest son was ten years old.  That was in 1999, the year AOL, Yahoo and MSN all released their own messenger services.  All of a sudden it became very easy to (bully) say hurtful things to classmates, (former) friends, acquaintances, even strangers.  His teacher was so concerned about the hurtful comments that were going around she organized a parent meeting to warn parents and curb the bullying behaviour.   I remember telling my son then “you should never message someone things that you do not have the nerve to say to their face”

That was before every child over the age of six had their own cell phone, in fact many parents did not yet have one.  Most of the messages sent, both good and bad, were done on a home computer.  Parents had some control over what and when their children were communicating and who they were communicating with.

Today our teens and preteens (and many adults) are glued to their cell phones, with access to everyone and everything, anywhere.  The advances in technology make it easier to do just about anything on a cell phone.

Everything except communicate face to face.

An inspirational message shared by a childhood friend on Facebook inspired this post:

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Please be sure to visit my other blogs:
Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at Your Daily Chuckle
and
Be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW
My gardening website can be viewed at gardens4u.ca

 

Surprise birthday party

 

 

A few posts back I wrote about my brother’s fast approaching sixtieth birthday. Well, his birthday is this coming Thursday (30th), but the surprise party was last night.  It took lots of scheming and coercing, (did I tell you my brother is stubborn?) but we did manage to surprise him at his own home.

picture from Pixabay

Thank heavens for Facebook and its event planner feature.  The whole party was arranged, staged and organized by creating the event on Facebook.  With his daughter in Barrie, me in Ottawa, the birthday boy and other friends and family members in Ingleside, social media (FB) came to the rescue, keeping us all connected.  I created the event adding key individuals as cohosts so we could each send out invitations from our own contact lists.  Keeping the party a private event ( an option when creating the event) ensured my brother would not find out as only invited guests could access the details.

      To create a private or public event on Facebook:
  1. Click Events in the left menu of your News Feed.
  2. Click Create Event in the top right.
  3. Click to choose between a private or public event. …
  4. Fill in the event name, details, location and time. …
  5. Click Create.

From the moment the event was created up to the moment of surprise, we were able to communicate as a group.  Except for the birthday boy of course, he was excluded from the group. Jobs such as purchasing the party essentials, organizing the potluck food contributions,  decorating the venue and even distracting the birthday boy (definitely the toughest job) were all delegated on Facebook.

It was the easiest party to organize, ever.  Judging by the turnout of all the guests and the delicious food, it was a great success!

air-balloon-balloons-birthday-42067

 

 

Breast or bottle feeding

Is it better or easier to breastfeed or bottle feed your baby?  Over the years I don’t think it has ever been disputed that breastfeeding is far healthier, but bottles are certainly very convenient, especially for fathers wanting (or needing) to feed their babies.

The health advantages of breast milk include:

  • contains antibodies that fight viruses and bacteria
  • contains all the essential minerals and vitamins needed in the first 6 months
  • lowers the risk of asthma and allergies in children
  • lowers the chance of diarrhea and ear infections
  • breastfeeding helps moms get back to pre-pregnancy weight faster

When my mother was feeding me and my siblings, (in the late 50’s and early 60’s) breastfeeding was not as popular as it is today.  Why that was I am not sure.  Moms were still predominantly “stay at home” and breastfeeding was (and still is) certainly the more economical way to go.  Maybe because of the larger families and the time commitment involved in breastfeeding.  It would be hard to concentrate on breastfeeding with a few other munchkins running around.  I have heard too that breastfeeding was considered to be an uncultured or low-class practice, an opinion that started in the early 20th century and extended almost to the 21st century.

When I was feeding my own babies (in the 90’s) breastfeeding was the thing to do.  I found it very convenient and relaxing, with no complications.  No sterilizing bottles and no filling bottles in the middle of the night.  I do know several women that had difficulties though, with low milk production or trouble with babies latching on properly.  I always said that was the advantage I had in having large babies; (my first was 10 pounds!) they had no trouble latching on and draining me every feeding.

Today, there appears to be mixed feelings about breastfeeding.  It has been making a comeback due to the increased interest in pursuing healthy, more natural lifestyles.   However, although no one can really dispute the health advantages, some modern women still feel tied down and men feel left out when choosing to breastfeed their babies.

The smart choice (in my opinion) is to do both.  Reap the health benefits for mom and baby, but make it more convenient.  Modern technology has produced very efficient (although the electric ones are costly) breast pumps and bottles with colic reducing nipples shaped like breast nipples so baby does not get confused with different sucking procedures going back and forth.

breastfeeding

I have seen my daughter-in-law pump two 5 ounce bottles in ten minutes, something that would have taken me hours to do by hand years ago.  Below are a few of the newest products out there for breastfeeding moms on the go; they are all greatly admired by this grandma…

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=0378a74a1dcc9e375fec7b8aad0d8909&bc1=000000<1=_blank&

fc1=333333&lc1=0066C0&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

//rcm-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?ref=tf_til&t=gardens4u0f-20&m=amazon&o=15&p=8&l=as1&IS2=1&asins=B00K5KVC52&linkId=1502a4d5cb692a326cbbf92ba78c9b9f&bc1=000000<1=_blank&fc1=333333&lc1=0066C0&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

//rcm-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?ref=tf_til&t=gardens4u0f-20&m=amazon&o=15&p=8&l=as1&IS2=1&asins=B007HKOL92&linkId=31942df8009f32e72ef722019f496a5e&bc1=000000<1=_blank&fc1=333333&lc1=0066C0&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

//rcm-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?ref=tf_til&t=gardens4u0f-20&m=amazon&o=15&p=8&l=as1&IS2=1&asins=B007HKOLXI&linkId=dfdf8c959c133abf889c1291378c554f&bc1=000000<1=_blank&fc1=333333&lc1=0066C0&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

//rcm-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?ref=tf_til&t=gardens4u0f-20&m=amazon&o=15&p=8&l=as1&IS2=1&asins=B00IM8FX0E&linkId=8385f9037432d7a6b49221bd50af33ce&bc1=000000<1=_blank&fc1=333333&lc1=0066C0&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

It’s a small world!

=========================================================== Over 1,000,000 CLASSIFIED ADS, Broken Down by Country, City, and Categories In An EASY-TO-USE Site. Adpost is one of the most popular online advertisement opportunities.

Source: Advertise and shop around the world!

Another one

Right after I posted about SCAMS I received this email.  I just saw it today because it was filtered into my JUNK file where it belongs…

This is to inform you that after the evaluation and conclusion of our meeting with the board of directors and special representatives from BANK PLC BURKINA FASO on how to disburse and remit your funds to you.
 
BANK PLC and WESTERN UNION have collaborated in other to remit your total fund of $2.5M us dollar, via western union by transferring $8,500 usd to you everyday via western union until we conclude the remittance of your funds.
 
So please confirm your interest by providing the below details to enable us begin the payment of your funds and start to transfer your funds via western union.
 
1 . Your full names
2. Your contact address
3. Your country
4. Your occupation
5. Your contact lines
6. A copy of your id documentary or international passport
7. Personal email address
 
Upon receiving this details, we shall start the transfer of your funds via western union as stated transferring your funds to you in badges of $8,500 usd per day.

Please kindly contact our representative MR GABBERT PARKER with the details for your transfer of your fund.

Sincerely,
Yours Faithfully.
Manager(Operations) MR GABBERT PARKER
Chief Operating Officer, Financing & Portfolio
Money Transfer | International Money Transfer | Western Union
www.westernunion.com

 

Lucky me!

Scams, scams and more scams

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I received two more scams today by email.  The first one was from someone claiming to be “checking my Netflix account”  They (in broken English and poor spelling) wanted me to click on a link to verify my account information with a threat that my family’s access to Netflix would be cut off if I did not follow the instructions.

The second scam was an email from someone claiming to be from Canada Post telling me I had a package that they tried to deliver but no one was home.  Again, they asked me to click on a link to verify my information and find out where to pick up my package.

Both are scams, looking to get information on unsuspecting individuals.  Popular services (such as Netflix and Canada Post) are being targeted because many people use and rely on them.  Clicking on the link provided will introduce a virus into your computer which will track personal information including banking details.

Clicking on the link provided in these scams will introduce a virus into your computer which will track personal information including banking details.  Instead of clicking on the link, delete the suspicious email immediately.

Here are a few clues that should make you suspect an emailed scam:

  • poor grammar and spelling in the content
  • telling you about something you did not order (packages)  Canada Post would never email you if they stop by and no one is home, they leave a notice at your door.
  • offers of refunds or money for nothing or ways to help you save.  If it sounds too good to be true, it is!
  • emails from someone you know that do not make sense, are very vague (i think you might be interested in this)  or contain a link you know nothing about
  • emails asking for information the (fake) sender (eg. CRA, bank etc) would already have on file
  • they are providing a service you did not request.  For example, they are telling you something is wrong with your computer and want you to log in so they can “help you fix the problem”
  • miracle cures of any sort (skin care, weight loss, etc etc) go under the “too good to be true” category
  • reputable companies do NOT ask for updated personal information via email

 

A PREVIOUS POST talked about scams you might encounter when shopping online.  Remember and be aware that perpetrators can find innocent, unsuspecting victims by email, phone, regular mail and even at your front door.  With modern technology, the world is becoming a much smaller place.  Scams, especially ones through email, can and do come from anywhere in the world today.

If you are even the least bit suspicious, google the company represented to see if there are any known scams associated with that company.  Use information available online to educate and protect yourself and others.  For example, I googled Netflix scam, and guess what, a whole list of results turned up.  This particular scam has been going on across Canada for a while now.   Remember, the company is not at fault, they are being used too.  The scammers are relying on these reputable, trusted and popular companies to get your attention.

After you delete the offending email, share the knowledge and warn your friends, family members, and neighbours.  The RCMP has a website for you to report SCAMS  and other fraudulent activity.

Be scam savvy!