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!


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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

God’s country

My father used to call the area where our cottage is located “God’s Country” for a reason.  Palmerston Lake is a clean, beautiful, serene lake in Ompah, Ontario where we refer to as the middle of nowhere.  Approximately 90 minutes southwest of Ottawa, Ompah is a sleepy, uncommercialized town, perfect for getting away from the headaches of big city life….

 

Moving into the era of modern technology, Ompah now receives cell phone service and Wifi thanks to a tower recently installed by Bell Canada…

tower

 

Even though the tower sticks out like a sore thumb in pictures of beautiful scenery, this service is great for cottagers that need to be connected to the rest of the world.  I must admit the cell phone service is great for keeping in touch with my sons when they are not with us.

A modern version of God’s country!