Dominican Air Force Supports Olympic Hopes of Country’s Athletes

first_imgSports, the FARD, and his mother’s support helped 1st Lt. Santos stay away from bad choices in the tough neighborhood where he was raised. “Some 98 percent of the high-performance athletes in the Dominican Republic are members of the Military or police,” Colonel Julio César Hernández Olivero, the Dominican Army’s Director of Sports, told Diálogo on April 2015. The FARD has a registry of about “170 athletes in track and field. “These young, high-performance athletes represent the Military and our country,” Colonel Antonio Santos Gómez, the FARD’s Director of Sports, told Diálogo. “Every time an athlete from the Dominican Air Force wins a competition, the Air Force’s sports and social assistance efforts are validated.” “This construction was a fervent dream for many, and now thanks to the cooperation of friends, businesses, officials, and Defense Minister Máximo William Muñoz Delgado, it has all come to pass,” Major General Elvis Marcelino Feliz Pérez, Dominican Air Force Chief of Staff, stated during a November 3rd press conference to showcase the Multidisciplinary Sports Complex. “The FARD has supported me since I was little, when they lent me a helping hand in sports,” 1st Lt. Santos told Diálogo. “It is the institution that has always been by my side in good times and in bad. I am proud to represent my country’s Air Force. “This training is conducted so the athletes are in optimal condition and can continually improve their physical training with a view to their commitments this year, such as the Military Games, the Central American and Caribbean Games, and the Olympics,” FARD Chief Master Sergeant José Rubio Rodríguez, who is training the athletes, told Diálogo in an interview. “I feel physically ready to take the gold. I am focused on my job as an athlete,” he said. “This time, things are looking better than they did for the London Olympics [in 2012].” Some athletes representing the preliminary Dominican national team train at the new track. The runners include FARD 1st Lt. Santos; FARD Second Lieutenant Masielis Sánchez; FARD Staff Sergeant Jordania Díaz Hottesse; FARD Staff Sergeant Álvaro Luis Abreu Martínez; FARD Senior Airman Evelyn Del Carmen Hichez; FARD Airman Jayline De León Concepción; Dominican Army Private Stanly Del Carmen; and National Police Privates Juander Santos Aquino and Juan Aroldis Santos Aquino, according to a FARD press release. Guiding youth In addition to Dominican athletes, a number of foreigners are being trained at the Multidisciplinary Sports Complex, including Rose Mary Vargas and Víctor Santana from Puerto Rico and Liemarvin Bonevacia from the Netherlands. There is also a short track where “children from 8 to 12 years old come to practice every Friday. The FARD has developed a program to train children as the athletes of the future who will represent the Armed Forces and the country,” Col. Santos Gómez stated. First Lt. Santos’s goal is to win gold at the 2016 Olympics, which will be held August 5th-21st in Rio de Janeiro. Approximately 10,500 athletes from 205 countries will compete in 42 events. “I was born in a dangerous barrio [Santo Cristo] with drug deals on every street corner,” said 1st Lt. Santos, who took silver in the 400-meter dash and the 4×400-meter relay at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara in 2011. “I never chose that path. Thanks to my mother and the FARD, I have been able to carry my country’s flag as far and wide as possible. There are no borders in track and field, regardless of which military or country you’re from. We are all one family, united by sport.” center_img In addition to protecting the sovereignty of the country’s airspace and combating illegal piracy, the Air Force of the Dominican Republic (FARD) is training the nation’s high-performance athletes, many of whom are from the Army and National Police, for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and other competitions. Supporting sports programs not only helps Dominican athletes win their competitions, but it promotes a greater sense of connection between the FARD and civilians, according to Col. Santos Gómez. Athletics also keep young men and women away from crime. “The Air Force General Staff Office incentivizes and encourages the development of close relationships with civilian communities because we perform social work with the community,” Col. Santos Gómez said. “The Armed Forces are seeing success in keeping youths away from crime. The results appear in the public’s great interest in joining the Armed Forces.” CM Sgt. Rubio employs the discipline he learned as a member of the Armed Forces, specifically the FARD, to train 24 high-performance athletes. “We work all year long, in country and abroad. This is just one more year of hard work for Dominican athletes,” said CM Sgt. Rubio, who is widely regarded as the country’s best track and field coach, having guided FARD 1st Lieutenant Luguelin Miguel Santos Aquino, 23, to a silver medal in the 400-meter dash at the 2012 Olympics. “Sports are a method of prevention and it molds you as a human being. Countries should start choosing the sports path so that youths are not abandoned to the influences of those who would pull them away from where they should be,” he continued. To better support its national athletes, the FARD recently built a race track near the San Isidro Air Base. The eight-lane track is 200 meters long and composed of two layers of synthetic materials. A new race track “Just like service members prepare for their missions with clear objectives, athletes require a lot of physical and mental effort, a great deal of discipline, dedication, and consistency to get results, regardless of the competition,” CM Sgt. Rubio explained. In addition to training Dominican service members and police officers, he also coaches several international athletes, including Honduran national Rolando Palacios, a sprinter who won a gold medal at the Central American and Caribbean Games in 2014, according to the website El Caribe. By Dialogo February 09, 2016 “We’re going for the gold,” CM Sgt. Rubio agreed.last_img read more

Hashim Amla talks up Yuvraj Singh influence in Abu Dhabi T10 league

first_imgAdvertisement a6y8siNBA Finals | Brooklyn Vs5zWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre Ecrh0( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) bkmWould you ever consider trying this?😱93uCan your students do this? 🌚6kmy7Roller skating! Powered by Firework Yuvraj Singh is set to return to cricket with Maratha Arabians in the Abu Dhabi T10 league and former South African batsman Hashim Amla reckons that his involvement will influence the youngsters by all means. There are inadequate number of Indian players in various T20 leagues round the globe, but with Yuvraj’s inclusion in the Abu Dhabi league, the Protea batter is confident that the young players will take notes from the former world cup winning all-rounder.Advertisement “I suppose you want cricketers from all over the world and Yuvraj now is involved and that is fantastic. It is difficult to comment because Indian cricket have their own set of regulations. But to have Yuvraj involved in T10 and to have youngsters being able to play with him, he has been a fantastic cricketer for 20-odd years and he has got so much to add value to. It is just great having him around and there is no doubt that youngsters will look to feed off him,” said Amla, who has been picked up by the Karnataka Tuskers as their icon player.Advertisement Amla himself is also excited about cricket’s newest format, saying, “I am very excited. T10 is a new format in the sense that it has been around for only three or four years. But it has been around for many years in our backyards and when we were growing up playing with our friends. But to have it on a professional level is fantastic. The first few editions have been spoken of very highly and I am excited to be a part of it and see how it progresses and different skills it allows you to bring to the table.”Advertisement Advertisementlast_img read more

Tuesday’s QPR quiz

first_imgTest your Rangers knowledge by seeing how many of these five questions you can answer correctly.[wp-simple-survey-48]Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img

USDA expanding water quality efforts in Lake Erie

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest In August Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will invest an additional $5 million to help Ohio, Michigan and Indiana improve water quality in the western Lake Erie basin. These investments will enable the region’s farmers to reduce the amount of nutrients entering the watershed, one of the sources of disruptive algae blooms.The announcement expands on the substantial efforts already underway to help farmers implement conservation practices that benefit water quality. Already this year, NRCS has devoted approximately $7.6 million in financial assistance for producers in the Western Lake Erie Basin across a range of conservation practices like cover crops and nutrient management.“USDA is committed to helping farmers do their part to protect and improve water quality in Lake Erie, and this targeted funding will allow for solutions to be expanded and delivered more quickly,” Vilsack said. “A problem as complex as this one will demand wide attention, from agriculture to municipalities, and we will continue to work with the Western Lake Erie Basin Partnership and other partners across the region to find common ground to address water quality issues in the basin.”The funding announced today is being made through the Farm Bill’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and will allow NRCS to help farmers apply selected conservation practices shown to help water quality, such as planting cover crops, adding gypsum to soil, implementing conservation tillage or no-till systems on crop fields, installing agricultural drainage water management systems, and implementing nutrient management plans. On average, farmers and ranchers contribute half the cost of implementing conservation practices.Between 2009 and 2014, NRCS has invested approximately $57 million through Farm Bill Programs in the Lake Erie Basin. Studies are showing that between 2009 and 2014, the new steps farmers are taking with NRCS assistance have reduced annual nutrient and sediment losses by approximately 7 million pounds of nitrogen, 1.2 million pounds of phosphorus, and 488,000 tons of sediment in the Lake Erie Basin.The cause of algae blooms is complex; water temperature, lack of agitation, rainfall and runoff from farms and lawns, zebra mussels, and the impacts of climate change can all contribute to the problem.In addition to this targeted funding, NRCS is also leveraging partner investments through the new nation-wide Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) through a project benefiting water quality by reducing the runoff of phosphorous into the waterways in the western Lake Erie basin. NRCS is investing $17.5 million into this project — the largest investment in the first round of RCPP — which is joined by state governments and other partners.last_img read more

National Farm Safety and Health Week

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest One of the most hazardous industries in the United States is agriculture. As a result, many injuries and illnesses occur to farmers and ranchers almost everyday across the nation. The Miami East-MVCTC FFA Chapter salutes the hard-working farmers and ranchers that feed our country.Farmers and ranchers, and the general public are often injured when agricultural machinery is involved in roadway incidents. To increase the awareness of the limitations of agricultural machinery in traveling speed and maneuverability the National Safety Council will observe the National Farm Safety and Health Week focusing on this issue from September 14-23.As you travel the rural roads of Miami County please drive slowly and cautiously. Farmers can’t maneuver or slow as quickly as a passenger vehicle. Farmers also drive their equipment on the road during all hours of the day and night. Please be advised that large farm equipment often takes up more of the road than a car of truck.We live in a health conscious society and many of us exercise as part of our daily routine. Walking and running are common forms of exercise in rural areas. The safest way to walk or run on rural roads is to travel on the side of the road with the traffic coming at you. In this way, you can see the situation ahead. If you’re facing the traffic then you can react to the situation. If not…. well the result could be tragic.Riding a bicycle is a common form of exercise in rural areas. When riding a bicycle, wear your helmet and travel on the road with traffic. Mirrors are available to attach to either the bicycle or the helmet that can help you see what is coming up from behind. Remember that we all share the road, so take safety into your own hands.Farmers will watch out for you, if you watch out for them. Move slowly and keep alert at all times. The Miami East-MVCTC FFA Chapter wishes everyone a safe and productive harvest season. When you see a slow moving vehicle please slow down.last_img read more

Swallowing the Gilt: Woot-like Shopping Empire to Save Print Media?

first_imgRelated Posts dana oshiro In this climate of fiscal responsibility, it makes sense that luxury publications may have fallen by the wayside. While subscription sales for Conde Nast’s Traveller may have been lucrative in the past, it’s rare to find them outside doctors offices and treadmills. In an effort to kickstart dwindling subscription sales, Conde Nast Traveller is partnering with web shopping experience Gilt Groupe on the site’s Jetsetter service. Best known for it’s Woot-like approach to high-end fashion, Gilt has maintained steady revenue throughout the economic downturn. The site is invite-only and consumers keep a constant watch on Fendi, Marc Jacobs and Proenza Schouler deals at up to 70% off the regular retail price. As of this morning Gilt launched its latest spin off site, Gilt Man. The catch with Gilt, Gilt Fuse and Gilt Man is that consumers only have one day to buy items. Jetsetter travel hunters have a slightly longer sale time, but certainly no more than a week. Naturally, with this sense of urgency, users stay constantly connected to the sales via sms, email, a desktop application and the recently launched iPhone app. While many businesses complain that consumers have tightened their purse strings, Gilt is proof that while they’ve become more thrifty, they haven’t stopped purchasing all together. Rumor has it that it’s not uncommon for Gilt to earn $1 million dollars in a single sales day. With Jetsetter, Gilt users get limited-time deals on travel, in addition to editorial “curation” from Travellers’ well-respected staff. Meanwhile, by leveraging Gilt’s huge membership base and constant sales updates, Conde Nast will convert some of those uber connected bargain hunters into subscribers. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#start#startups center_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…last_img read more

Network as a Service: Open Source Enables Efficient Cloud Hosting

first_imgTo keep up with the growth of cloud computing and virtualization, networks keep evolving. But unlike Twitter’s Trending Topics, IT budgets don’t scale up. In fact one of the major initiatives in many IT shops is creatively reduce their own expense. To get to a scalable cloud infrastructure where costs are contained, it sounds like the network industry is going to see a time where a “Linux” arrives on the scene. An open source alternative to building networks may disrupt the networking landscape and give network admins an open source network operating system. Virtualization: It’s in the Network TooDistributing workload across machines, storage, and environments has required networks to be smarter than ever. Now, the network needs to be intelligent enough to not only route traffic both a bridge and a toll-gate, but to also provision and de-provision all aspects of the environment at a moments notice. Providers like Rackspace are in the business of using the network to optimize the performance of the entire data center. To be effective in keeping up with dynamic system provisioning, technical teams need access to all tiers of the computing environment to reduce operations overhead. Hosting providers, such as Amazon Web Services and Rackspace innovate new integration patterns – including ones in the core of the network – to get their job done. Network operating systems that are open, like Extreme XOS enable large scale hosting providers to look deeper into networking gear and start to tune it themselves. And enterprises may follow this trend.Servers Don’t Sleep at Night, but Applications and Admins DoFor a long time, networks have been used to detect the peers and devices. Many of us use the nearly ubiquitous DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol), which is the the thing that automatically assigns IP addresses to a PC when plugging into the network. In an analogy, there is a need for a “super DHCP” is needed that can keep up with the highly virtualized cloud infrastructure per virtual instance. To do this, engineers look deeper to find efficiencies in how the network talks to the hardware and software for the virtual machines.A good example of benefit for this is where a resource has peak loads during the day. Due to natural usage, the applications compute power is not utilized during the night. Using monitoring and provisioning tools, the network can de-provision the extra hardware and offer it to another service. This “freeing up” allocation saves power and money. This is a simple example of where virtual data center solutions are being innovated in the industry to figure out how to further timeshare the computing resources. The network has the ability to help manage the scale down to the moment is enabled by it’s reach to everything over IP (Internet Protocol). The Open Network Wins, Developers RuleExtreme Networks is betting IT leaders that have become very familiar with Linux and open source Hypervisors like XEN want to tweak the network. For the data center manager that wants to go into the core network engines innovate, there comes a need for APIs, SDKS, and open access libraries.Extreme’s openness is in the form of web services, many offered that are offered as XML or CLI scripting that allow integrate tools into the core of the network via XML, and configure edge ports for security and VOIP access as dynamic provisioning.The company offers a code workbench of its own to download widgets to plug into the network. Designed for the open source developer, it shares the familiar pattern that presides in open source community for application frameworks and operating systems code sharing. Shown in the diagram, Extreme’s network offers real-time provisioning of code widgets in the network. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Play Nice: the Networks Worst Enemy May be SuccessWill the network evolve to see an open source player that drives change in pricing and value?In the rush to enable new efficiencies we wonder if this is an Apple A-HA moment in the making. The question seems to be can the giants in the space balance the fine line of better end-to-end experience of managing the environment and whether vendors do it best. If we follow the Apple example of industry success, and end-to-end play for the network may be in the cards.Last month, Juniper announced it has created a new business group and commitment to an Junos ecosystem. Juniper has made a big move towards open source innovation in it’s recent re-branding and at least to one analyst, John Furrier from Silicon Angle, seems to be suggesting that Juniper Judo’ing Cisco, like Google did with Open and Microsoft. That probably doesn’t feel the least bit nice to the market leader, especially when Cisco is priming it’s engines for changing the Internet forever.Cisco announced opening IOS in 2007 in an effort towards compartmentalizing IOS as part of its overall movement into a more software based organization. With the complex series of network enhancements and feature sets, it will be interesting to see how Cisco views “open” vs. “customizable” and where the control lives for network management and up-time. When visiting the Cisco IOS website today, we see the standard license and no clear mention of open source licensing. Cisco strikes the balance between open and controlled in it’s a approach to defining what an open network is and where networks will be encapsulated as services.We wonder if Cisco deliver the capabilities to pull more traffic into it’s end-to-end range, while open networking APIs rise as part of the network service stack. With this market, it’s likely both. At very least, open networking has a role in determining the fate of the network and where territories are being defined. The Cloud is a Network of ServicesThe cloud is defining a world where service orientation rules – both the software and physical layers. And, it is breaking the rules of workload distribution, where network topologies are changing. The requirements of connecting the layer 2 and layer 3 networks, as well as IT leaders that are building solutions for mass scaling (enterprises or service providers) are evolving and being driven by an ability to be efficient at the workload level. Extreme Networks Technical Brief, Dynamic Network Virtualization Overview, explains the value of plug and play network components in today’s topology. “By leveraging Extreme Networks® ExtremeXOS®, a modular, edge-to-core operating system, and our extensibility frame-work including Universal Port Scripting and an XML interface, Extreme Networks is able to tightly integrate the switching network with the virtualization environment to create a virtualization-aware network fabric that automates the network-level virtualization required in next generation data center and cloud computing environments. This unique functionality enables Extreme Networks to provide seamless support of virtualization capabilities across the various hypervisor platforms, including Citrix ZEN, Microsoft and VMware. The highly integrated solution allows the Extreme Networks solutions to trigger responses to virtualization moves as they happen in the network by virtue of a tightly integrated XML-based network management framework.”Extreme, and now Juniper, are moving in the direction of offering IT administrators control points in networks and protocols to optimize it opens the market. It looks promising to give administrators vendor leverage in buying services without vendor lock, or waiting for feature releases from the vendor. And, it mirrors the open-source movement in bringing communities together to solve problems and build compatible services. Open APIs may define the cloud’s network of the future for large hosting providers. We wonder if for the enterprise.Photo credit: opensourceway Related Posts Tags:#cloud#cloud computing#Vendors#Virtualization Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… mike kirkwoodlast_img read more

The Impact of Technology on Politics Goes Far Beyond Social Media

first_imgLike it or not, politics and technology are forever intertwined in a symbiotic dance. The influence of social media bots on the outcome of the 2016 U.S. election has been much discussed over the past year, and with Mark Zuckerberg facing the Senate recently to provide his testimony regarding the Cambridge Analytica scandal, you don’t need to look far to see how government and progress have forged a “digital divide.”Regrettably, but perhaps not surprisingly, people are left alienated and frustrated by the struggle.What we need is a full-blown intervention between the two powers, or else they’re doomed to run in circles around each other. Why force this marriage? Quite simply because we’re headed into unique territory.When tech behemoths make the rulesIn a national and global perspective, the economic output is enough to cater to everyone’s needs. Amid a bevy of plenty, political focus will shift from growth to the distribution of resources and creating meaningful employment, inclusion, and integrity despite trackable footprints; encouraging and limiting genetic engineering; and maximizing the distribution of resources. Societies will grapple with what happens when artificial intelligence makes some jobs superfluous while the humans who once performed them live much longer lives.In other words, we’ll be forced to look at politics not only to organize and rule, but also to justly make determinations. That’s a tall order with a polarized political landscape, where everything goes back to control and not necessarily what is right.Who pulls the strings? It’s no longer Wall Street’s fat cats. Ironically, it’s the tech giants: Alphabet, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, etc. Just last year, five of the biggest Silicon Valley players contributed nearly $50 million to lobbying efforts. Zuckerberg has even hired a pollster to track his public perception in the wake of the backlash Facebook faced after the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Their ilk has shifted the focus and the balance, and the government is fighting to keep its feet firmly planted.The same thing happened with steam locomotives, telegraph cables, and electricity in the 19th century. Then, we were amazed, puzzled, and, yes, scared; eventually, though, we were able to learn, adjust, and use the technology to our advantage.Tech’s impact on our futureWe’re once again on the cusp of truly innovative technologies that will have serious effects on society and, thereby, politics. First is AI and the increased understanding of how to mine and utilize big data. The culled information will offer new perspectives and decision-making tools; if politicians and people are smart, it will also guide new methods of governance.Along with that is the way automation will create some serious challenges for society in regards to the human labor force. This is an ongoing transition that’s quickly gaining speed, but we must not forget the individuals who are faced with this new reality. If we cannot figure out how to remove feelings of alienation, we’ll risk social unrest and extremism. With an increasing digital and technological divide, this is already seen in increasing political populism.Another offshoot of our budding technologies is the stress that longevity will put on the social welfare system. When people outlive past generations’ life expectancies by years or decades, we’re forced to rethink retirement, aging, careers, relationships, and perhaps even death itself.Technology has also opened the doors to new energy solutions. Although global political and financial power is connected to fossil fuels, this will predictably shift with the increase in nuclear power and renewable energy sources. Think it can’t happen? It’s already been proven as a fact in North America: Ontario moved from a 25 percent coal reliance to a 0 percent reliance in just 11 years.Finally, we can expect blockchain technologies such as bitcoin to bring about greater societal transparency within financial and political systems. Such tech has been dubbed “liquid democracy,” but how will politics learn to secure everyone’s wealth with vastly changing standards of currency and trade?Bridging the digital divideEventually, technology will need a new approach to politics — and politicians a new approach to technology. Thus far, technology has proven a huge challenge for politics because politicians focus largely on short-term impact. Think about it: How many dedicate themselves to thinking beyond the next election cycle? Sure, their talk is visionary and ideological, but their actions seldom match up.To be sure, I’m a strong believer in a democratic system, but it’s hard to cope with long-term societal challenges — often fueled by technological change — within such systems. To increase the ability to govern more efficiently in a high-tech world, we need emergent forms of governing such as the Finnish Parliament’s 17-member future committee think tank or the development of 20-year future studies such as those by the National Intelligence Council.Other ideas to emulsify politics and technology, thereby stabilizing their relationship, include bipartisan agreements on the direction of the coming years and arenas for fueling curiosity and discussions around science, technology and innovation. To date, we already have Japan’s National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, as well as a plan for Dubai’s Museum of the Future. But we need more commitment to promote futuristic thought.The digital divide is real — that much is undeniable. But it’s going to take more than an app or social media play to fix the problem. We must become more cross-political, ignoring the borders set by parties. Otherwise, we’ll never surmount many of the challenges we’re currently facing, much less the ones to come. Right now, society is not future-ready and certainly not settled enough for the merger and cross-pollination of BANG (bits, atoms, neurons, and genes). That doesn’t mean it can’t be; it’s simply stalled at the chasm between a world in transition and a robust future. Nicklas Bergman How to Make the Most of Your Software Developer… Tags:#politics#technology Remote Working Culture: The Facts Business Owne… Nicklas Bergman (@ncklsbrgmn) is an entrepreneur and deep tech investor. He’s the author of “Surviving the Tech Storm: Strategy in Times of Technological Uncertainty” and a member of the European Innovation Council. Related Posts How to Use Behavioral Data to Inform Marketing … The False Choice Between Privacy and Safety in …last_img read more

Indian wrestlers win Rustem-e-Indo-Pak title

first_imgIndian wrestlers on Sunday beat their Pakistani counterparts to clinch Mission Dosti Rustem-E-Indo-Pak Wrestling title at Katra in Jammu.Rehmat Ali of Punjab helped India retain the first Mission Dosti Rustem-E-Indo-Pak Wrestling title, Jammu and Kashmir Indian Style Wrestling Association President Shiv Kumar Sharma told reporters.Rehmat Ali defeated his Pakistani rival Yousaf Riaz in a 17-minute final bout, Sharma said.Rehmat Ali was awarded a silver Gadda, Patta and cash prize of Rs 11,000 and the runners-up got Rs 10,000.In other main contests, Abdul Gani of Punjab defeated Sumit of Delhi and Kulbir Singh of Jammu defeated Pakistani Safdar Ali of Lahore.Another Pakistani Muhammed Umair of Multan defeated Indian Wrestler Benia of Udhampur.In the six bouts, Indians won five while Pakistanis won one.Minister of Health and Family Welfare Sham Lal Sharma, who was the chief guest on the occasion, praised the organisers for promoting goodwill between the two countries.With inputs from PTIlast_img read more

Juan Enriquez & Kiran Mazumdar Shaw at India Today Conclave 2007

first_img“We are rising to God’s challenge”Kiran Mazumdar ShawKiran Mazumdar Shaw Chairman & Managing Director, Biocon LtdScience without religion is lame and religion without science is blind,” Albert Einstein once famously said. If we accept that God has bestowed upon us challenges and imperfections, we can do so in two ways.,”We are rising to God’s challenge”Kiran Mazumdar ShawKiran Mazumdar Shaw Chairman & Managing Director, Biocon LtdScience without religion is lame and religion without science is blind,” Albert Einstein once famously said. If we accept that God has bestowed upon us challenges and imperfections, we can do so in two ways. We can bow to our destiny and do nothing about it. Or we can strive to remove the imperfections and change our destiny. As bio-technologists, we believe we are searching for answers to imperfections. Is that playing god? Or is that rising to God’s challenge?Let’s take the 21st Century pandemic, diabetes. There are 170 million diabetics worldwide, slated to rise to 300 million by 2025. India is the world’s diabetes capital. The WHO estimates, in the next 10 years India will lose $330 billion in economic growth to this disease. Should we resign ourselves to our fate or focus on how we can change our destiny?Scientists have taken up the diabetic challenge. New knowledge is emerging. We know now that genetics and genomics have a major role to play in this disease. We also know that Indians are genetically predisposed to diabetes. Diagnosis is also taking a new turn. It’s no longer just about measuring blood-sugar levels, but predicting early warning signs and progression of the disease through biomarkers.IF OUR EFFORTS TRANSLATE INTO EFFECTIVE CURES, WE’LL HAVE THE CHANCE TO SAY WE CHANGED OUR DESTINY. Novel regimens for treating, managing and correcting the disease are coming up. For years, we have been trying to counter it with a single hormone, insulin. Now, scientists in Australia and New Zealand are focusing on geno-transplantation of the insulin-producing islet cells from human-compatible Auckland pigs. Gene therapy-whereby you can take parts of genes which are deficient in diabetics and inject them back into diabetics to correct the disease-is marching ahead. Stem cells research is growing. And effort is on to evolve a new type of vaccine that would to bring about immune tolerance among diabetics. Exciting products, like monoclonal antibodies that can correct immunological disorders leading to type 1 diabetes, are being developed.If all these translate into effective cures in the future, we will have the chance of saying that we have changed our destiny. This is what the excitement of biotechnology is all about. Are we playing God by going against nature? I believe, we are simply doing what Einstein articulated long back. We are “unblinding” religion with science and helping God and rising to his challenge.advertisement”Leave God out of it”Juan EnriquezJuan EnriquezAuthor,  Chairman & CEO, BiotechonomyThe difference between humans and animals is actually very small. If you take the human genome and put it next to that of a monkey, the difference would be about 1.23 per cent of gene code. But the real difference lies elsewhere. We can pass on information and data across time and space. No other animal on the planet can do that.Over the past centuries we simplified communication into letters and alphabets. In the last 30 years, we collapsed those into ones and zeros. This new set of alphabets can transmit music, images, and every word written and spoken in every language on the planet. This transition had enor-mous implications for the global economy. And it brought about enormous change in who was rich and who was poor. The rise of India comes, for the most part, because this is one of the very few countries to understand the alphabet shift. Not only did India speak English, it also spoke digits. And because they learnt this new language, the economy shifted. If you don’t teach kids this transition in language you get into real trouble. You become like Argentina-which is far wealthier than India but its kids kept working on farms and cattle and became a smaller and smaller part of the global economy.The language of wealth and what will generate wealth over the next 30 years is changing once again. At the centre of it is the DNA. February 12, 2001 was probably one of the most important dates in human history, when we decoded the full gene-code of every human being. You can now generate about a 100 million letters out of this gene-code every 24 hours. Very small changes in the code can change life-function and you can programme it. That’s fortunate, because otherwise we will all be clones. As each of your cells contains your entire gene code, it is not inconceivable that we will learn how to re-grow limbs in humans.It has already led to a huge churn in the global economy. Companies-GE, Intel, Microsoft-are focusing on life sciences. A restructuring similar to the IT revolution is taking place in life-sciences, as it moves from molecule-management to information-management. This is especially important for India. It has proved itself to be very good at the second part of the equation. You no longer have to establish enormous sequencing salaries and spend millions of dollars on hard lab work. You have already done large-scale information management-which you are very good at-on IT. You just have to pay attention to the education of your next generation so that they learn the language of the next economic growth and manage to dominate the brave new world that is unfolding.advertisement  DiscussionQ.We have been talking about a great change in biotechnology since the 1990s. But where exactly are we? Are we in science fiction or are we really doing something that would change the world? Enriquez: Is it just science fiction? Not for those who invested in Kiran’s company, surely! There have been some pretty extraordinary financial returns already. And as it goes forward, people who are involved in insurance, real estate, chemicals, textiles, food or energy are going to feel the impact. The initial impact is very small. You saw it coming and then all of a sudden it just took off. You are seeing the same thing here. The way it was launched also indicates its growthpath. It was a physicist, Erwin Shrdinger, who wrote a slim book, What is Life, that pulled many other physicists into this field. Watson, who discovered the DNA, was going to be an ornithologist, but he read this book and changed. The same thing happened to a range of other great physicists. The reason is, the dominant language of this century is going to be life. This is the century of biology.Q.If we have so much of knowledge of genetics, why don’t we genetically modify the embryo so that there are no diseases? Shaw: That’s a long, long way away, because it is difficult even to conceptualise the ‘perfect’ baby. But suffice it to say that, yes, there are efforts to look into certain diseases like Down’s Syndrome or Huntington’s Disease, which we have a pretty clear understanding of, and see how we can prevent those before the baby is born. These are big, tough challenges.Q. Which countries do you see as having the most potential in scientific research, applications and also in growing the businesses? Enriquez: The UK probably has the best life scientists on the planet. This is the place that discovered DNA, the penicillin, molecular antibodies and cloning. And it has been unable to make businesses out of these. All the knowledge gets exported to the US and it builds huge businesses. If you don’t tie academia to business, it is very hard for research institutions, universities and countries to develop. Those who adopt regulatory frameworks, teach their children the science and feel comfortable with it, are going to do well. In that sense, India may have a very significant advantage. Not just because it has an enormous trained workforce and excellence in training, but also because there’s a significant belief in re-incarnation here. It might be a lot more comfortable with the new directions in biosciences than other societies. The societies that oppose are going to fall behind. It is really important for not just businesses and countries but also for religions to adapt. Shaw: I think, the cultural acceptance in a country like India is far greater than in other parts of the world. But what we really need to focus on is the spirit of innovation and the curiosity of discovery. India really needs to do this, apart from having the regulatory mindset to accept new as well as ‘sensitive’ technologies, which might be perceived as ‘unethicalr’ in other parts of the world.advertisementlast_img read more