Category Archives: SCI-TECH

Besting coronavirus requires mass-testing

A medical staff member in protective gear uses a swab to take samples from a visitor at 'drive-thru' testing center for the novel coronavirus disease of COVID-19 in Yeungnam University Medical Center in Daegu, South Korea, 3 March 2020 (Photo: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon).

Author: Kim Sawyer, University of Melbourne

As the coronavirus contagion unfolds, we are seeing patterns that should be emphasised. The novel coronavirus is now affecting 192 countries and there are nearly 425,000 cases. More than 295,000 cases are active and this means there are probably more than a million infections. Yet the news is not all bad. The data reveals how to fight the virus.

The data across 192 countries raises two issues. First, is there is a uniform curve of contagion or does each country have a different curve? In other words, are there country-specific factors that are affecting the spread of this virus? The data suggests there are.

Second, the data shows the virus is more successful than other viruses because it hides better. Those without symptoms or with mild symptoms are driving the virus: 95 per cent of current active cases have mild symptoms or none at all. The virus has power because it is unobservable. SARS, too, was asymptomatic in many people, but not as many as in the case of COVID-19.

When we examine cross-country data, country-specific factors are visible. Within Europe, four countries are prominent: Italy with 69,000 cases, 6800 deaths and more than 3400 in critical care; Spain with 42,000 cases, 2990 deaths, and 2600 in critical care; France with 22,300 cases, 1100 deaths, and 1700 in critical care; and Germany with 33,400 cases, but only 159 deaths and none in critical care.

It is possible that Germany is on an earlier part of the curve and that the contagion in that country had different types of clustering. It is also possible that country-specific factors are in play. For example, demographic factors like the proportion of elderly; environmental factors such as air quality; and social customs relating to how individuals interact.

The most important factor, however, seems to be …continue reading


In Japan, there’s no visible coronavirus epidemic because the government won’t test you for it?

On March 18th, the Japan Medical Association announced that there were 290 cases of doctors deciding that a patient needed to be tested for coronavirus, and even then the patients were not tested. The term used by JMA “不適切事例” literally translated means “inappropriate/unsuitable cases”.

The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seems intent on keeping the official numbers of infected down and that means not only making the standards for getting a test very high (for example, you must have a fever of over 37.5 degrees Celsius for four days) but it also seems to be actively discouraging tests.

Japan tests roughly 117 people per million for coronavirus as of March 19th. South Korea tests 6148 people per million. Do the math.

Japan’s testing for coronavirus falls severely behind many other countries. see

Nathalie Kyoko-Stucky interviewed one woman who was denied testing in Tokyo. This is her story.

Patient Zero, age 31 is a project manager in Japan working for an IT firm. She asked for her name to be omitted and some details of her story obscured for fear of being stigmatized socially. She lives in Tokyo.

“I started to feel very tired March 7th and had a low fever of 37.2. Thought i was just tired from work. On Monday, I felt really tired at work and on Tuesday, I struggled to go to the office and only stayed 2 hours and came home. Tuesday night, I started to get a cough and by 10pm I felt i was getting sick and my fever was 37.5 degrees.

Wednesday morning I woke up feeling sick and extremely tired and had a fever of 38 degrees.

Over the next few days, I stayed in bed sick. I started feeling a pain in my chest and …continue reading


Watch Sony unveil the PlayStation 5 live right here

A couple of days after Microsoft unveiled a ton of info about the Xbox Series X, Sony is about to do the exact same thing in a live video. Sony is hosting a live broadcast about the PlayStation 5 today at 9 AM PT, 12 PM ET, 4 PM GMT.

Lead system architect Mark Cerny will unveil the console’s architecture and what it means for both developers and gamers. We already know that the PlayStation 5 will be launched in late 2020. It’ll feature an eight-core AMD CPU, a custom AMD GPU with ray-tracing support and SSD storage.

The controller will support haptic feedback and adaptive triggers depending on what you’re doing in the game. But many details are still missing. Today’s announcement should answer some questions.

…continue reading


ReMarkable’s redesigned e-paper tablet is more powerful and more papery

It’s no secret I’m a fan of the reMarkable, a tablet with a paper-like display that’s focused on text and sketching rather than rich media and games. The sequel to the original, announced today, looks to make a good thing even better.

Designed for the creation and consumption of monochromatic content like long documents, ebooks, notes and sketches, the reMarkable set itself apart as a more minimalist alternative (or complement) to the likes of the iPad or Surface. The device was crowdfunded and has sold more than 100,000 units; meanwhile the company has grown and attracted a $15 million A round. One sees in retrospect that the money helped launch this successor.

The most obvious change is to the design. It has a bold asymmetrical look with a chrome band along the left side, indicating the tablet’s main use as an alternative to a paper notebook: Hold it with your left hand and write with your right. Sorry, lefties.

The new tablet is just 4.7 mm (0.19 in) thick, thinner than the iPad Pro and Sony’s competing Digital Paper tablets, both of which are 5.9 mm. Let’s be honest — at these levels of thinness it’s getting hard to tell the difference, but it’s an accomplishment nevertheless.

Probably the best thing about the original reMarkable, however, was how good it felt to write and draw on, and the company has spent the last few years improving that wherever they can. For one thing, the already very small delay of about 40 ms between touching the screen with the stylus and a line appearing has been nearly …continue reading


Google でいますぐできること。本日公開

在宅や遠隔で仕事や学習を続ける動きが始まっている一方で、そのような働き方や学習方法に慣れない、初めてで戸惑っている方もいらっしゃるのではないでしょうか。そんな不安を少しでも払拭するお手伝いとなることを期待して、本日より 「

テレワークを始めるにあたって、いつも顔をあわせている同僚やメンバーとの間に物理的な距離ができることは、些細なことのようで実はとても大きなチャレンジです。「Google でいますぐできること ー テレワークのはじめ方」では、テレワークを始める皆さん向けに、チャットやクラウド サービスの上手な活用法や、予定の共有の仕方、テレビ会議システムの使い方など、チームがつながりを保ち、高い生産性を維持するためのアイディアやノウハウを紹介しています。
また、今回新たにオンラインで 2 種類のトレーニングプログラムを公開します。最初はテレワークの実践を支援する「はじめてのテレワーク」で、第一回の講座は 3 月 11 日に実施します。2 つ目は、250 名まで参加可能なオンラインセミナーを実施するノウハウを紹介する「無料オンラインセミナーを開催するための講座」で、第一回は 3 月 19 日です。いずれも本日より参加申込み可能です。ご興味・ご関心をお持ちの皆さまはこちらからお申し込みください。
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「Google でいますぐできること。」でご紹介した技術や情報が、お互いにつながりを保ち、働き、学びを続けるためのお手伝いとなることを願い、今後も様々なアイディアを追加していきます。

Posted by Grow with Google チーム, Google for Education チーム …continue reading