My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Why Apple Watch Sales are Dying and why Google Android, Pebble need to follow Garmin's lead

“It has also become evident that at present smartwatches are not for everyone. Having a clear purpose and use case is paramount, hence many vendors are focusing on fitness due to its simplicity”

Senior Research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers, Jitesh Ubrani, commenting on why smartwatch sales are dying off

Smartwatches are dying...or at least interest in them is, thanks to industry complacency.

According to market intelligence firm IDC reported, sales are way down as noted in the article “No One Is Buying Smartwatches Anymore”, published 24 October 2016 by Christina Warren, Gizmodo

Google Logo
The IDC figures year-over-year for the third quarter of 2016 is really bad:

1.      51.6% decline in smartwatch shipments
2.      71.6% decline in Apple Watch shipments

Apple, which has 41.3% of the market, has fared the worst of the smartwatch vendors based on figures year-over-year for the third quarter of 2016:

1.      1.1 million Apple Watches shipped
2.      3.9 million Apple Watches shipped in Q3 2015

That’s the 71.6% decline in shipment as indicated in the table below:

Google Logo

So why is this happening?

Smartwatch dying due to Industry complacency – Watches are fashion Products, not Tech items

Well, it's not all doom and gloom. Garmin fare well, with a 324% sales increase. This was mainly because the focus on health and fitness, the main perceived functions of a smartwatch by most customers.

Apple and Pebble’s new watches launched in September 2016 and Google Android Wear 2.0 isn't coming out until 2017. Wristwatch are not tech gadgets; they fashion as I've said before. People wear them to match their clothes, sweater and their car and often just have them for show, not function. So for fashion conscious people, wearing the same old watch get boring real fast.

The Apple Watch simple needs to have more frequent hardware updates per year, in keeping with Fashion shows, tech fairs, celebrity endorsements and other places where they can grab the attention of customers as I've long predicted in my blog article entitled “Apple Watch delays on Pre-Order Day – How to Sell a Wearable using Apple Watch Edition on Celebrities and Third Party Wristbands”. 

Apple has already responded with the App Watch 2.0 that was launched at the same time as the Apple iPhone 7 as noted in “iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and Apple Watch Series 2: Everything you need to know from today's announcements”, published September 7, 2016 by Lori Grunin, CNET

Also, better battery life akin to a regular smartwatch would not be a bad idea not only for the Apple Watch but for all Apple products as noted in my blog article entitled “Apple files patent for Hydrogen Fuel cell – Why Portable Hydrogen Fuel Cells needed to cut the Analog Power Cord”. 

Apple and other need to create new hardware on a quarterly basis or even monthly basis with a focus on the health, fitness and healthy eating sectors that are booming as pointed out in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “How Gracekennedy Aloe Vera Sinkle Bibles American Health Drinks in 2016”.

Senior Research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers, Jitesh Ubrani, puts it best, quote:”.....However, moving forward, differentiating the experience of a smartwatch from the smartphone will be key and we’re starting to see early signs of this as cellular integration is rising and as the commercial audience begins to pilot these devices”.

After all, it'll match with the current shift in focus of this generation towards spiritual wellness, health, fitness and healthy eating.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Kyushu University in Fukuoka researchers create Artificial Mice Eggs from Skin Cells

“This is truly amazing. To be able to make robust and functional mouse oocytes over and over again entirely in a dish, and see the entire process without the 'black box' of having to do any of the steps in host animals, is most exciting.”

Dr. Jacob Hanna, a stem cell biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel.

Cloning humans may be coming sooner than you think. In fact, you might not even need ova and sperm from humans.

Researchers from Kyushu University in Japan have developed a technique to create artificial ova from stem cells as reported in the article “Scientists Create Fully Functional Eggs from Skin Cells”, published September 17 2016 by George Dvorsky, Gizmodo.

Google Logo

Their research, published in the journal Nature on the 17th of October 2016, marks the first creation of eggs entirely outside a mouse. If the process is replicated using humans, researchers could produce artificial eggs without the need for human ovaries to complete the process as noted in the article “Mouse eggs made from skin cells in a dish”, published 17 October 2016 by David Cyranoski, Nature.

The team consists of the following scientists:

1.      Dr. Yayoi Obata, from Tokyo University of Agriculture
2.      Dr Katsuhiko Hayashi, from Kyushu University in Fukuoka
3.      Dr. Mitinori Saitou of the Kyoto University

The team, led by Dr Katsuhiko Hayashi, a reproductive biologist at Kyushu University in Fukuoka, had finally completed the cycle of research from skin cells to mice eggs. The original research work began when Dr Katsuhiko Hayashi and stem-cell biologist Mitinori Saitou reprogrammed skin cells to embryonic-like pluripotent stem cells and then into PGCs (primordial germ cells).

PGC need to go into ovaries to become mature eggs, so this was half of the process. The next advance came when a team in July 2016 led by Yayoi Obata, at the Tokyo University of Agriculture, transformed PGCs extracted from mouse fetuses into oocytes (egg cells) without using a live mammal. 

The three (3) soon teamed up and completed the work. They did this by immersing the PGCs in a complex chemical bath that converted the PGC's into immature egg cells. They then added tissue taken from the ovaries of mouse fetuses, causing the immature egg cells to mature into functional oocytes.

These eggs were then fertilized using mice sperm in vitro and transplanted into surrogate mice.  The results speak for themselves: twenty six (26) healthy pups born from functional eggs created in a petri dish.

Good to note that this process isn't 100% perfect; only 3.5% of artificial eggs gave rise to pups, compared with 60% of eggs inside a mouse. Hayashi claims that these mice went on to have more children of their own.

Researchers create Artificial Mice Eggs - Human reproduction and Immortality possible without a woman's eggs 

The implications for humans are staggering.

If the process can be ported to human eggs, not only would it be an excellent way to treat human infertility, but it would allow same-sex couples to have children via a surrogate.

It would also mean that women wouldn’t have to store their eggs or men store their sperm; any cells from their body could be reprogrammed to become stem cells and then be used to produce humans eggs to produce children as noted in “Japanese Scientists Master Egg-Creation Process in Mice”, published Oct. 17, 2016 by Robet Lee Holtz, The Wall Street Journal.

Combined with  CRISPR-Cas9 research fund by the Government of the Netherlands as detailed in my blog article entitled “Netherland's Plan to create Artificial Wombs, improve invitro-fertilization and eradicate Genetic Diseases”, this could create a whole new race of near perfect humans, cloned from the skin cells of deceased humans using artificial wombs.

It would also be a great way to spread human kind across the cosmos as pointed out in my blog article entitled “Claudius Gros of Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany Genesis Project may be Plan B for Earth 2.0”. 

The researchers figure it’ll take them another five to ten years to sort out the outstanding technical issues. So immortality is coming to a clinic near you.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the ISPA prove Placebos work without Deception

“It’s the benefit of being immersed in treatment: interacting with a physician or nurse, taking pills, all the rituals and symbols of our healthcare system. The body responds to that.”

Dr. Ted Kaptchuk, study co-author on the Placebo Effect with researchers from researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the ISPA in Lisbon, Portugal

Placebos aren’t cures and they require deception to work. Or so I thought!!

Research done by researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the ISPA (Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada) in Lisbon, Portugal suggests that they still work even when the patient knows they are placebos as reported in the article “The Placebo Effect Works Even When People Know the Pills Are Fake”, published 17 October 2016 by George Dvorsky, Gizmodo.

Google Logo

Their study, published in the science journal Pain, suggests that the placebo effect can still happen EVEN if the patient is aware they're taking a placebo.

But a step back here.

The placebo, which is latin for “I will please” is where you trick the mind into thinking that a pill or therapy will have an intended effect, despite lack of any scientific proof that it works. It’s even been theorized that there is a genetic link to how well the placebo effect works in some people.

So basically, these scientists, in their study, pleased their patients with a placebo. So how did they do the experiment?

Research into the Placebo Effect - Sugar pills actually work better than Painkillers

The researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the ISPA in Lisbon, Portugal, created two groups out of 100 patients

1.      50 in a control group given pain medicine
2.      50 in an experiment group given a placebo clearly labled “placebo pills”

To make sure the patients knew what was going on, they even went a far as to educate all of them thoroughly on what a placebo was with a 15-minute primer of the placebo effect.

Google Logo

They then took their pain regiments for the next three (3) weeks and reported back to the researchers.

Surprisingly, the placebo group returned some fascinating results:

1.      30% reduction in usual pain
2.      30% reduction in maximum pain
3.      29% reduction in pain-related disability

The non placebo group, who were given scientifically tested medication, surprisingly, fared worse off:

1.      9% reduction in usual pain
2.      16% reduction in maximum pain
3.      0% reduction in pain-related disability

So what cause this to happen?

Placebo effect debunked - Positive integration with health care system empowered patients

Many theories abound as to how the placebo effect works, but this experiment has shattered one idea; the fact that you have to deceive the persons into thinking the drug will work. Albeit this is a very small study and many demographic variables may be at play here, assuming all was equal, this is astounding and statistically significant.

lead author Claudia Carvalho suggests that the positive interaction with people in the health care system might have empowered them, triggering the body own natural healing, to quote noted lead author Claudia Carvalho: “It’s the benefit of being immersed in treatment: interacting with a physician or nurse, taking pills, all the rituals and symbols of our healthcare system. Our findings demonstrate the placebo effect can be elicited without deception. Patients were interested in what would happen and enjoyed this novel approach to their pain. They felt empowered.” 

This goes to show the power of positive thinking.......or the fact that the pharmaceutical industry is slowly poisoning our immune system’s ability to heal itself. More research is clearly needed, but it does shed new light on the idea of positive thinking and empowerment of athletes during the Rio 2016 Olympics loved wearing all that tape!

As for me, I'm saying positive things to my water, using eucalyptus sweets to stay awake and endure the bad carpet smell of Advantage Call Center. I’m also eating chocolate to empower myself with positive energy so that it will heal me while I work the night shifts at my Call Center.

Monday, October 17, 2016

How Michigan State University Study suggests rollercoaster help patients pass Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are mineral deposits found in urine. So is there an easy to get rid of them?

Turns out it may be as simple as riding a rollercoaster as reported in the article “Riding rollercoasters makes it easier to pass kidney stones” published Sep 26, 2016 by Angela Chen, The Verge.

Google Logo

A study published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association was conducted by urologist Dr. David Wartinger at Michigan State University and co-author Dr. Marc Mitchell tested the idea of using rollercoasters to allow patients to dislodge kidney stones. Most interestingly, this requires no doctor's visit; anyone with kidney stones can try this.

There has been no previous study on what causes humans to pass kidney stones. General, it's known that some types of physical labour will loosen kidney stones:

1.      Bungee jumping
2.      Bouncing on a trampoline
3.      Dirt bike riding
4.      Violent sneeze

Pregnant women often pass kidney stones after taking vitamin supplements. However, doctors had not yet isolated a single trigger that was reproducible....until now.

So what exactly are kidney stones?

What are kidney Stones - Drink more Water as Dehydration plays a role

A kidney stone, also called Nephrolithiasis, is a hard crystalline mineral material formed within the kidney or urinary tract. Humans have a risk of developing kidney stones based on the following factors:

1.      Decrease in urine volume
2.      Excess of stone-forming substances in the urine
3.      Dehydration i.e. not drinking enough water

1 in 20 or 5% of humans develope kidney stones and is mainly due to dehydration as I'd explained in my blog article entitled “How to find work in Jamaica at Call Centers - Drink Bottled Water as Dehydration and Salty Foods makes you lose concentration”. 

The symptoms are very severe:

1.      Sever pain in mid-region and groin area of the body
2.      Hematuria or blood in urine

The smaller stones, roughly 4mm in size, can often be harmlessly passed through the ureter to the bladder on their own. The larger stones require lithotripsy or surgical techniques, with ultrasound being used to confirm that they have indeed been passed. But passing kidney stones is a painful affair and is usually accompanies by some Hematuria.

Google Logo

Clearly though, drinking more water can help prevent the formation of kidney stones, preferably the usual 8 glasses a day. However, the two had been hearing anecdotal tales from their patients of riding rollercoasters and passing kidneys stones, particularly from one of their patients.

So they decided to try it out for themselves.

How Rollercoaster can help pass kidney stones - Gravity and sudden turns did the trick

They did a test using a 3D printed silicon kidney filled with urine and packed inside of a backpack the same height of a typical person as described in the article “How a Roller Coaster Can Help You Pass a Kidney Stone”, published 9/26/16 by George Dvorsky, Gizmodo.

More interestingly, the modelled the kidney after one of their patient that had claimed he consistently passed kidney stones while on Walt Disney World's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to quote Dr. David Wartinger: “A kidney looks like a tree with branches. The forces move the stone from being positioned where a leaf is located, down through the branches and out through the trunk—and onward to the bladder. It’s not surprising that the model we used passed kidney stones on this coaster because it’s based on a gentleman that passed three stones on this exact roller coaster”.

Thus, based on this anecdotal information, they took their test subject (can I call it that?) to Walt Disney World where they rode the following rides as follows:

1.      20 rides on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad 
2.      20 rides on the Space Mountain
3.      20 rides on the Walt Disney World railroad

Here’s a video of each of these rides to get an idea of how they look.

Firs, try out Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Ok, now take a ride in Space Mountain.

Finally try out Walt Disney World railroad

Albeit the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad isn't a very hard ride to endure, the moderate left, right and drops cause the test subject to respond in an interesting way:

1.      64% chance of passing kidney stones if sitting in the back
2.      17% chance of passing kidney stones if sitting in the front

It makes sharp left and right turns, but doesn’t have huge drops or climbs and children often ride it. Still, even this moderate movement showed promising results: sitting in the back of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad caused stones to be passed by the silicon kidney 64 percent of the time. Sitting in the front caused the stones to be passed 17 percent of the time.

The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad also dislodged the smaller 4mm stones. So what does this all mean?

Removing Kidney Stones helps Three Groups - High G Forces needed in Jamaica

This finding, which is reproducible by other scientist in the world, means that gravity can be used to dislodge kidney stones.

It can help the following types of people with kidney stones:

1.      Patients with small 4mm kidney stones
2.      Patients with larger kidney stones
3.      Young pregnant women planning to become pregnant why have kidney stones

The larger stones can be vibrated into smaller fragments using very high frequency ultrasound. Clearly more research.....and rides on more terrifying roller coasters and other rides that have high G needed.

But on a practical side, this is more of a reason why Jamaica needs to have a theme park with a rollercoaster, as it’s guaranteed that kidney stone suffers could take a ride and lose a stone.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

China's FAST Radio Telescope announcing Humans on the Menu for Aliens

China is leading, this time in the hunt for alien life.

Their FAST (five-hundred-metre aperture spherical radio telescope) went operational on Sunday September 25th 2016 as reported in “China’s alien-hunting telescope, the world’s largest, is now operational”, published September 25, 2016 By Trevor Mogg, DigitalTrends

Google Logo

Constructed at a cost of US$185 million, it's a part of China's grand Space ambitions which include:

1.      Getting an astronaut to the moon
2.      Construction of an orbiting space station by 2018

China already has a Quantum satellite called Micius that's testing out the idea of Quantum entanglement being used to make Satellite signals unhackable as noted in my blog article entitled “China Micius QESSS satellite heralds Quantum Communications, encrypted Fiber Waveguides and Li-Fi”.

Google Logo

So what can we learn from FAST?

China’s FAST Radio Telescope – Humans on the menu with a side dish of Greens

FAST is located in China’s south-western province of Guizhou, about 1,000 miles (1,610 km) south-west of Beijing. The telescope comprises 4,500 panels, each measuring about 11 meters (36 feet) in length.

At 500m, it’s the biggest single dish telescope in the world, dwarfing the Areceibo Radio Telescope located in the municipality of Arecibo, Puerto Rico.

Google Logo

Construction on FAST began back in 2011 as noted in the article “China starts up world’s largest single-dish radio telescope”, published Sunday 25 September 2016, AFP, The UK Guardian.

FAST's construction displaced some 2,000 families or around 9,000 people within a three (3) mile radius of the Radio Telescope. The region was chosen as it has relatively low radio noise and this would not interfere with the operation of the sensitive radio telescope ability to hear very weak signals being transmitted by intelligent aliens.

Google Logo

Still, one has to wonder if we're going about this all wrong; advanced aliens may not use radio as pointed out in the argument related to the Fermi Paradox

If they do, they'd think us a bit archaic and strange to still use such a primitive communication tool to give away our location so easily announcing humans are on the menu. Especially give the fact that FAST looks like a really large dinner bowl, with a side of greens.

But we are humans; exploration is in our blood. I just hope they don't find humans tasty when mixed with Soy Sauce!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

How NIDS coming in January 2018 means Electronic Transactions with GOJ to become standard

Say goodbye to carrying all those ID's around, be they Driver's License, Voter's ID or Jamaican Passport.

NIDS (National Identification System) is going live in January 2018 as reported in the article “AML-CFT Conference National ID System For January 2018”, Published Monday October 10, 2016 by Neville Graham, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Google Logo

The announcement was made by Prime Minister Andrew Holness at the opening session of the 5th annual Anti-Money Laundering /Counter-Financing of Terrorism conference on Monday October 10, 2016 in New Kingston. The NIDS would use advanced technology to eliminate the problems inherent in transacting legitimate business in Jamaica.

Google Logo

The NIDS is meant to replace all those cards that I have to essentially walk around with:

1.      NIS (National Insurance System)
2.      TRN (Tax Registration Number)
3.      National Voter’s ID
4.      Passport
5.      Driver’s License
6.      JADEP Health Cards

It also has the same benefits for both Public and Private Sectors:

1.      Registration of births and deaths
2.      Criminal records
3.      Traffic ticketing
4.      Tax compliance
5.      Records management
6.      Road and drivers licensing
7.      Travel within CARICOM

NIDS would be compliant with AML/CFT requirements, but within a shortened timeline, as NIDS was originally set for 2020 as noted in my blog article entitled “Why the NIDS coming in 2020 and How to replace your Stolen Driver's License and National”.

Combined with a move towards Electronic Transactions with the GOJ (Government of Jamaica) as pointed out in my blog article entitled “How Electronic Transactions in Jamaica can eliminate Hidden Economy via Universal Consumption Taxation”, it'll make money laundering very hard to commit in Jamaica indeed.