Egypt Independent: Science-Main news http://www.egyptindependent.com//enhome_channel/Environment/rss.xml en Zika result of 'massive' mosquito control failures http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2469855 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2016/02/15/504802/zika_mosquito.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan lashed out at family planning and mosquito control &quot;failures&quot; as root causes of the ongoing Zika crisis in an address to the World Health Assembly Monday.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Chan said that countries &quot;dropped the ball&quot; on mosquito control in the 1970s and called the ending of effective control practices a &quot;massive policy failure.&quot;</div><div>She said that abandoning policies that kept mosquito numbers down set the stage for a resurgence of a disease that had &quot;slumbered&quot; for six decades in Africa and Asia, only to &quot;wake up on a new continent to cause a global health emergency.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Chan also said that family planning and sex education failures illustrated an &quot;extreme consequence&quot; of the disease, as causal links between the mosquito-borne virus and microcephaly, a condition which results in babies being born with severe brain abnormalities, become scientific consensus.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;The possibility that a mosquito bite during pregnancy could be linked to severe brain abnormalities in newborns alarmed the public and astonished scientists,&quot; she told the Assembly, the supreme decision-making body of the WHO, in Geneva.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In April, the WHO confirmed that the virus causes microcephaly and Guillain-Barre syndrome, a condition which attacks nerve cells in the victim&#39;s nervous system and can lead to paralysis.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Latin American and the Caribbean have the highest proportion of unintended pregnancies globally, she said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>&#39;The world is not prepared to cope&#39;</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Lambasting failures to prepare for global outbreaks with forward-thinking policies like ongoing mosquito control, she said that all the organization could do to protect women of childbearing age is &quot;offer advice. Avoid mosquito bites. Delay pregnancy. Do not travel to areas with ongoing transmission.&quot;</div><div>She said that increased cases of dengue, chikungunya and Zika were evidence of a &quot;dramatic resurgence&quot; from emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, exacerbated by urbanization and the excellent conditions for outbreaks that this population movement presents.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;For infectious diseases, you cannot trust the past when planning for the future... The world is not prepared to cope.&quot;</div><div>She added that &quot;in an interconnected world... few threats to health are local anymore.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Recent efforts in affected countries, such as Brazil, have led to innovative mosquito control techniques, such as genetic modification and mosquito-killing billboards.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>However, Zika&#39;s ongoing spread is threatening to have far-reaching consequences, with leading Canadian public health professor Amir Attaran, writing in the Harvard Health Review that the summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro should be postponed or moved to prevent &quot;a foreseeable global catastrophe.&quot;</div><div>IOC President Thomas Bach, meanwhile, said that the Games, which open in early August, will go ahead.</div><div>&quot;We are working closely with the World Health Organization,&quot; he told CNN. &quot;They are the ultimate authority... and we trust the [WHO] 100 percent.&quot;</div> Tue, 24 May 2016 12:22:00 +0000 CNN 2469855 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2016/02/15/504802/zika_mosquito.jpg Spanish mission discovers mummy in Aswan's Tombs of Nobles http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2469851 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2016/05/24/16030/2.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>A Spanish mission from Chowan University, headed by professor Alejandro Jimenez, has discovered the mummy of a woman named Sachiny inside a two-layered coffin of cedar wood, dating back to the era of the Twelfth Dynasty of ancient Egypt.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The mummy within her inner and outer coffins was discovered during excavations conducted by the mission at the Tombs of Nobles, just west of Aswan, Youm7 website reported.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The head of the Egyptian Antiquities Sector in the Antiquities, Ministry Mahmoud Afify, stressed the importance of the discovery, saying that Sachiny was a pivotal character during the Middle Kingdom of Egypt. According to Afify, Sachiny was the mother of two Aswan rulers under King Amenemhat III and was the daughter of Prince Sarnbhut II, who was the governor of the Elephantine region.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The mummy was wrapped in linen and her face was covered by the remnants of a mask made of cartonnage, Afify added, according to Youm7.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The coffins, placed one inside the other, bore hieroglyphic inscriptions, which helped in identifying the mummy, said Nasr Salama, General Director of Aswan and Nubia Antiquities Council. He added that the inner coffin was found in good condition, which allowed experts to detect the age of the wood it was made from.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Spanish mission has been conducting excavations west of Aswan since 2008. One of the most important discoveries made by the mission was the oldest case of breast cancer in a woman who lived at the time of the Sixth Dynasty. The Tombs of Nobles, west of Aswan, include tombs for governors of Aswan who governed during the periods of the Old and Middle kingdoms of Egypt.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/ei/13247729_1105437992835183_5006686468199675038_o.jpg" style="width: 536px; height: 302px;" /></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/ei/13263715_1105437999501849_6316993419803982269_n.jpg" style="width: 536px; height: 302px;" /></div><div>&nbsp;</div> Tue, 24 May 2016 10:49:00 +0000 Al-Masry Al-Youm,Egypt Independent 2469851 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2016/05/24/16030/2.jpg Football fans to get smartphone vote to substitute player http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2469783 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2016/05/21/504802/football.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>An English Premier League football club wants to allow supporters to vote via smartphone for the player they want substituted during a match, a data analyst has told a Doha football conference.<br /><br />Fans would cast their votes via an app on their phones after being given real-time performance data for every player on the pitch, said Mark Sear, chief technology officer with data and analytics company EMC.<br /><br />The leading club, which cannot be named, wants to introduce the interactive innovation for fans in order to boost attendances at Under-21 matches.<br /><br />If the club gets permission from the English Football Association, the scheme could be brought in from as early as next season.<br /><br />&ldquo;The club is considering allowing fans to vote on substitutions,&rdquo; said Sear.<br /><br />&ldquo;They are asking for permission to free up data for the crowd. They get small crowds for Under-21 games but they think they can get up to 10,000 fans for such games.&rdquo;<br /><br />The data the fans will look at will be gathered from &ldquo;wearable&rdquo; technology.<br /><br />In this case that will be a high-tech armband which can measure performance as well as such things as heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure.<br /><br />A spokeswoman for the FA said that at the beginning of the current season &ldquo;the Premier League permitted clubs to use EPTS (Electronic Performance Tracking Systems) devices provided they are approved by the League&rdquo;.<br /><br />The wearables in the proposal for voting on substitutes are used by players in training but are, for now, not allowed to be used in competitive matches, Sear told AFP on the fringes of the World Stadium Congress conference in Doha.<br /><br /><strong>&#39;Championship Manager&rsquo;</strong><br /><br />However, that will not stop clubs from lobbying for further change he said.<br /><br />Under this proposal, the information the fans will be able to see will be the same as that viewed by the club&rsquo;s coach via a tablet.<br /><br />However, despite the public vote, the coach will still be able to ignore the fan&rsquo;s wishes and substitute which player he wants.<br /><br />&ldquo;It actually makes it very similar to Championship Manager (football management computer game) because you judge people off their numbers,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It makes it a fascinating experience.&rdquo;<br /><br />Two other clubs are thought to have approached the FA seeking permission for using wearables during first-team matches, said Sear.<br /><br />The potentially ground-breaking scheme not only demonstrates the increasing power of analytics in professional sport, but also football&rsquo;s changing relationship with its fans, said Sear.<br /><br />He said at least 70 per cent of football fans use their smartphone while in a stadium watching a game.<br /><br />Turning up just to watch a match is no longer what the modern-day fan wants, but they also want to interact, he said.<br /><br />At the moment that is via social media platforms such as Twitter. But technology may take that interaction a step further.<br /><br />If the scheme gets the green light, in the future it could allow fans to see heart rates of players about to take a penalty, said Sear.<br /><br />It could even be used by supporters to see the analytics for players who have just been sent off.</p> Sat, 21 May 2016 11:11:00 +0000 AFP 2469783 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2016/05/21/504802/football.jpg Skywatchers can see close, bright Mars looming large this month http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2469782 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2015/07/08/501010/mars_07-08-15.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Mars makes its closest approach to Earth in a decade this month, providing sky-watchers with a celestial show from dusk to dawn starting this week, NASA said on Thursday.<br /><br />The red planet already looms large in the nighttime skies, appearing as a bright, fire-yellow, star-like light as a result of Earth, the third planet from the sun, and Mars, the fourth, coming into close alignment.<br /><br />&ldquo;Just look southeast after the end of twilight, and you can&rsquo;t miss it,&rdquo; Sky &amp; Telescope magazine editor Alan MacRobert said in a statement.<br /><br />This alignment occurs about every 26 months. On Thursday, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) released a photograph of Mars taken by the Hubble Space Telescope as the planet neared Earth last week. The detailed image showed polar caps and clouds above Mars&#39; rust-hued landscape.<br /><br />On May 30, Mars and Earth will come closer than they have been in a decade, NASA said. Mars will be 46.8 million miles away. The distance between Earth and Mars reaches up to about 250 million miles depending on the ever-changing positions of the two planets as they circle around the sun.<br /><br />If skies are clear, Mars will be visible for much of the night and can be easily seen without a telescope or binoculars. Mars has been even closer to Earth before. In August 2003, Earth and Mars were just 35 million miles (56 million km) apart, a quirk stemming from the planets&rsquo; slightly oval-shaped orbits around the sun. It will be almost 300 years before the planets come that close again.</p> Sat, 21 May 2016 11:03:00 +0000 Reuters 2469782 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2015/07/08/501010/mars_07-08-15.jpg