South Africa beefs up forensic services

first_img22 November 2012 At least 800 forensic analysts are to be employed in the current financial year to beef up South Africa’s forensic science laboratories, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said in Cape Town on Wednesday. He was responding to a Parliamentary question on how many cases were brought to the South African Police Service (SAPS) forensic science laboratories from 2009 and how many are still outstanding. In 2009/10, 207 660 entries were received at the SAPS laboratories. In 2010/11 the number of entries received increased by 26% to 260 826. “The number of entries received in 2011/12 increased by an additional 23% to 320 729,” Mthethwa said. “Between 1 April and 30 September 2012, they received 209 431 entries, which is a 67% increase in comparison to the same period in the previous financial year.” Increased confidence in forensic services The substantial increase in the number of exhibits submitted to the laboratories is evidence of the increased confidence that the investigating officers have in the ability of the forensic services to contribute to the investigation of crime and bring perpetrators to book, according to Mthethwa. “The increase in the number of cases presented to the forensic science laboratories will be addressed through the employment of additional 800 forensic analysts within the current financial year,” he said. One of the fundamental components of the criminal justice system was ensuring that the evidence that is presented before a court of law is accurate and can enable police to secure convictions. He said central to the collection and analysis of such evidence, is ensuring that the SAPS forensic science laboratories are effectively capacitated and effective. Over the past few years, there have been unsatisfactory reports around how courts could not finalise cases on the court roll, including the reasons for postponement of cases in criminal courts – all were attributed to forensic delays. “However, we are now beginning to experience a positive turn-around strategy. What becomes important is to ensure that we sustain these best practices, continue to capacitate this division and ensure that it continues to become an additional arsenal in the fight against crime,” he said. “This progress can be attributed to the modernised systems, coupled with adequately equipped human capital which ultimately resulted in improved turn- around time in terms of processing forensic case work.” Source: SANews.gov.zalast_img read more

Investing in Alpha Geeks, Hackers, and Hobbyists

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market audrey watters A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts center_img “Good ideas” can come from a variety of sources of inspiration. But according to Bryce Roberts, the Managing Director of O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, “disruptive ideas” in technology often come from “hobbyists, hackers, and alpha geeks.” In a blog post today, Roberts lays out some of the investment themes and signals that are of particular interest to him and his partners, Mark Jacobsen and Tim O’Reilly. Citing Tim O’Reilly, he writes that “Over our years watching the alpha geeks, we’ve concluded that many big technology revolutions don’t start with entrepreneurs, but with hobbyists having fun. Think the Wright Brothers and others who enabled the age of flight, the Homebrew Computer Club that helped birth the personal computer industry, the early web sites that were built with no expectation of financial return, the open source developers who wrote code, as Linus Torvalds admitted ‘just for fun.’”What the Kinect Hacks SignalThe explosion in the numberofhacks for Microsoft Kinect demonstrate just this sort of disruptive innovation. As Roberts points out, although the Kinect is a “slict little peripheral” for the Xbox 360, it really does have a specific intended use. However, with the open-sourcing of the drivers, that initial intended use seems, quite frankly, the least interesting thing about the Kinect. To that end, hobbyists and hackers have developed some really amazing new applications.As the Kinect demonstrates, when expensive and proprietary hardware and software becomes more accessible, affordable and open source, it provides the opportunity for “hobbyists, hackers, and alpha geeks” to really expand what’s possible.Roberts asks the important question of how something like the Open Kinect projects can actually signal trends – for tech and for investment. He writes, “We look at what these hackers do in their spare time then try to find possible connections between them and any underlying trends they’re trying to expose. For instance, what do these Kinect hacks have in common with something like Google’s self driving car? They could be pointing to a trend among alpha geeks of exploring machine vision. If so, we ought to look at what immediate investment opportunities may be available directly in the field; but also, what pieces of infrastructure need to be in place for this trend to be fully realized at scale.”Looking to the alpha geeks – their hobbies and side projects – as a signal to future trends and technology movements is fascinating. And of course, it prompts the question: what are you working on this weekend? Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#start#tips last_img read more

We Can I Can Reduce My Risk of Cancer DH

first_img Related Items:#magneticmedianews, #WorldCancerDay Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppPort of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. February 4, 2017.  The large number of deaths from breast and cervical cancer in the Caribbean is very alarming, since cervical cancer is largely preventable, and breast cancer can be detected early and treated successfully.Executive Director, Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Dr C. James Hospedales said, “Common modifiable risk factors that contribute to the development of cancers include tobacco use, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol.”  He also stated that, “There is strong evidence that a person’s risk of developing cancer can be substantially reduced through healthy lifestyles. A reduction in modifiable risk factors will contribute to a decrease in cancer cases, and as a consequence, deaths and costs from the disease in our Region.”This year, and through 2018, the theme for World Cancer Day (WCD) is “We can. I can” focusing on how everyone – collectively and individually – can do their part to reduce the global burden of cancer. The 3-year campaign which started in 2016, outlines actions that communities and individuals can take to save lives by achieving greater equity in cancer care and making fighting cancer a priority at the highest political levels.Cancer remains the second leading cause of death in the Caribbean, where rates of death from cervical cancer, breast, prostate and colon cancer are 2 to 9 times higher compared to the United States.  Dr Hospedales said “Cervical cancer is perhaps the most preventable, yet a recent study by CARPHA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that 16 of the 18 countries for which data were reported, cervical cancer accounted for 4.5%–18.2% of cancer deaths.”CARPHA encourages persons to adopt healthier lifestyles to prevent cancer.  Here is what you can do now to reduce your risk of cancer:avoid the use of tobaccolimit alcohol usekeep a healthy weightget sufficient physical activity increase daily intake of fruits and vegetables to 5 or more servings per dayparticipation in screening programmes is strongly encouraged for prevention of cervical cancer and early detection of breast, colon and rectum cancerget vaccinated against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Hepatitis BSo, on World Cancer Day, are you acting responsibly to prevent cancer?“We can”, collectively, inspire action, create healthy environments, build a quality workforce and shape policy changes for cancer prevention. As an individual “I can” understand that early detection saves lives. I can support others, and I can make healthy lifestyle choices.Act NOW to prevent cancer! We can…I can!#MagneticMediaNews #WorldCancerDay Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApplast_img read more

Thousands protest across county over immigration concerns

first_imgThousands protest across county over immigration concerns Categories: Local San Diego News, Trending FacebookTwitter Posted: June 30, 2018 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Thousands of county residents took to the streets for the second week in a row Saturday to protest immigration laws leading to the separation of families.At Waterfront Park several thousand demonstrators voiced their concerns about the two thousand immigrant children who have yet to be re-united with their parents.In National City they marched as part of the ‘Hell is for Children’ protest over what they say are inhumane conditions for children in detention facilities.In Carlsbad demonstrators feared the possibility of arrest because they did not get a permit. In the end the city chose to defer to the right of freedom of speech over proper permitting issues.It’s important to note Saturday’s protests were far more peaceful than last Saturday’s demonstrations when there was violence and arrests. June 30, 2018 John Soderman, John Soderman last_img read more

Thermodynamics of visual images may help us see the world

first_img Explore further More information: Greg J. Stephens, et al. “Statistical Thermodynamics of Natural Images.” PRL 110, 018701 (2013). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.018701 (a) A grayscale image of a forest. Photo by Dan Ruderman. (b) The same image after it is quantized into two equally populated levels of black and white. The researchers found that small patches within this quantized image retain substantial local structure. This finding led them to discover that the photo is scale-invariant—its structure stays the same as its scale changes. Credit: Greg J. Stephens, et al. ©2013 American Physical Society (a) 4 x 4 patches from the quantized forest image with the lowest energy states, starting with the lowest energy states of all: solid black and white blocks. The other patches are local minima, and many of them can be interpreted as lines and edges. The scientists speculate that the visual system might build neurons that identify these local minima in order to build a representation of the world. In part (b), the researchers computed the average light-intensity images that correspond to those in part (a). These average images resemble those that trigger neuron responses in the primary visual cortex. Credit: Greg J. Stephens, et al. ©2013 American Physical Society This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Copyright 2013 Phys.org All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of Phys.org. The scientists saw this scale invariance as a hint that natural images may have something in common with a physical system at a critical point. In physical systems, scale invariance emerges only when the temperature reaches a critical value, at which point a phase transition occurs between two phases characterized by different forms of order.To examine whether the ensemble of natural images has its own critical point, the researchers treated the distribution of pixels as the Boltzmann distribution for a physical system, where the patterns of pixels in the small patches are associated with different energy levels according to their probability. Remarkably, as the patch size increased so too did a peak in the specific heat, a thermodynamic variable that characterizes fluctuations in the energy of the ensemble. These results suggest a sharp transition in the thermodynamic limit of large patch sizes, similar to how a physical system reaches this limit at a critical temperature.The researchers found that this approach to the thermodynamics of images also shares similarities with Zipf-like distributions. According to Zipf’s law, elements in a group (for example, words in a book) that are sorted from most common to least common will follow a pattern where the second most common element is 1/2 as common as the first, the third most common element is 1/3 as common as the first, etc. Zipf-like distributions have been found to hold for many different situations, and here the scientists found that they also closely describe the distribution of the size of pixel patches ranked by the structure as determined by their black and white pixels.Perhaps the most interesting implication of viewing natural images from a thermodynamics perspective is what it reveals about the nature of image patches that correspond to the low energy states. The patches with the absolute lowest energy states are those that are either all black or all white. However, a small number of patches have pixels in both states yet are considered local minima, since flipping any single pixel would increase the energy. Looking closer at these patches, the researchers found that many of them have distinct patterns, such as edges between dark and light regions.The researchers speculate that the importance of these local minima in natural images may help us and other creatures “see” our surroundings, even when our eyes don’t absorb every pixel. The visual system may build neurons that are tuned to these “basins of attraction.” In other words, these low-energy patches may assist the brain in filling in the details using some kind of error-correcting code based on the thermodynamics of the visual world. A team of researchers at Princeton University has taken a closer look at images of nature and proposed that the scale invariance of images closely resembles the thermodynamics of physical systems at a critical point, with the distribution of pixels in the images analogous to the distribution of particle states in a physical system such as a ferromagnet. The parts of an image that correspond to the low-energy states, or local minima, have surprisingly interpretable structure, and these thermodynamic characteristics may help the brain see.The researchers, Greg J. Stephens, Thierry Mora, Gašper Tkačik, and William Bialek, at Princeton University, have published their study on the thermodynamics of images in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters.In their study, the scientists analyzed an ensemble of photographs taken in a forest at Hacklebarney State Park in New Jersey. The researchers converted the grayscale camera images to binary (black and white) images. Although intensity information was lost in the quantization, many details such as the structure of the trees and a body of water could still be identified. The worlds smallest 3D HD display Journal information: Physical Review Letters The researchers then divided each binary image into much smaller patches composed of 3 x 3 and 4 x 4 pixels and examined the distribution of black and white pixels in these patches. To quantify how much structure is present in these tiny segments of natural images, the researchers measured the entropy of the distribution of pixels. Randomly distributed pixels would give an entropy level of 9 and 16 bits, respectively, for the 3 x 3 and 4 x 4 pixel regions. But the researchers found that the entropy levels of the same-sized regions from the photo were only 6.5 and 11.2 bits, suggesting that substantial local structure remains in the tiny patches.To explore how local image structure changes with scale, the researchers averaged neighboring pixels within each image and repeated their patch analysis. After such “coarse-graining,” the image had lower resolution, but remarkably both the entropy and pixel distribution were unchanged from the original image. Even after repeating this coarse-graining process four times, the pixel distributions in the small square regions remained the same, indicating that the photo is scale-invariant—its structure stays the same as its scale changes. Citation: Thermodynamics of visual images may help us see the world (2013, February 13) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-02-thermodynamics-visual-images-world.html (Phys.org)—Although researchers know that a large portion of the brain is devoted to visual processing, exactly how we interpret the complex patterns within natural scenes is far from understood. One question scientists ask is, is there something about the structure of the visual world itself that enables our brains to process and understand our visual surroundings, and is this structure something that can be described quantitatively?last_img read more

Term of office of 6th Pay Commission extended by another 6 months

first_imgKolkata: The term of office of the sixth Pay Commission has been extended by another six months for submitting its report containing recommendations on restructuring of salary of the state government employees.A resolution has been issued stating that “the term of office of the chairman and the members of the sixth Pay Commission, West Bengal,” has been extended “for a further period of six months with effect from November 27”. It may be mentioned that the Commission, headed by economist Prof Abhirup Sarkar, was constituted in November 2015 and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced the setting up of the same for its recommendation for restructuring salary of the state government employees. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeIt may be recalled that the term of office of the sixth Pay Commission was extended twice and each time the term of office was extended for a period of one year. It was in 2016 and 2017 when the terms of office were extended. This time it has been extended for six months. The state government officials are expecting that the recommendations of the sixth Pay Commission will come after the next six months. It may be mentioned that this comes at a time when in June the Mamata Banerjee government had announced 25 percent additional Dearness Allowance (DA) for the state government employees with the merger of 10 percent interim relief despite financial constrains. The same will come to effect from January 1, 2019 and the total DA of the employees will be 125 percent. It is 90 percent more than what it was till the end of the Left Front period as CPI(M) had managed to give only 35 percent DA. It may be mentioned that the increase in the DA will cost Rs 5000 crore more to the state exchequer every year.last_img read more

The Google Tool That Helps You Make Better HR Decisions

first_img Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global 4 min read Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. January 26, 2016 Data has the power to strengthen everything businesses do, from the new products they launch to the marketing campaigns they use to promote those products. Gathering information and putting that information to use has become big business, creating jobs and cloud solutions. When a business is more informed before making decisions, that business can get more return from every dollar it spends.In recent years, businesses have realized the value of people analytics in making human resources decisions. Learning as much as possible about current staff performance improves the choices made about hiring, training and promotion. With technology powering much of what businesses do, gaining access to this data is easier than ever. However, small businesses can save money and time by learning from the lessons large businesses are sharing.People analytics in big business.Google is one of the highest-profile users of people analytics for human resources. The company bases many of its decisions on data analytics, believing that the choices it makes about employees are more important than any other decisions, impacting the organization at all levels. By labeling its human resources department “people operations,” the company is saying that HR is as integral as any other area of operations. With the right people in place, businesses can provide better customer service and increase productivity while also minimizing cost.Engineering firm Stantec uses people analytics to predict outcomes, including employee turnover trends. By looking at areas of the company that seem to have an increased rate of employee resignations and terminations, Stantec can determine where changes might need to be made. Predictive analytics help the company to maintain adequate staffing across the entire organizations. This sort of analytics has been used in retail for years, as companies look at last year’s numbers to determine how many employees are needed on the floor this year.Related: 10 Hilarious Signs You Should Not Take That Job (Infographic)Small business applications.Although small businesses can get the same benefits as larger businesses from people analytics, they often lack the resources necessary to gather information on employee actions. While cloud-based solutions provide an answer to that, often businesses simply need access to general information about hiring the right employees and getting the most out of them.Google’s re:Work is likely to become a go-to resource for businesses in this situation. With re:Work, Google provides the results of the research it has done in the form of articles, case studies and tips from experts in various industries. Businesses can search re:Work for keywords or browse topics like hiring, managing or training. The platform is designed to demonstrate how organizations can help each other better cultivate and nurture top talent.Related: Why You Need to Embrace the Big Data Trend in HRAnalytics makes HR more effectiveAs businesses launch their own people analytics programs, Google is offering support in that area. The company offers guides specific to topics like running employee surveys and identifying and defining metrics. Following the guide step by step, businesses can learn how to set up their own people analytics and make the most out of them. The company also has a book on its insights, as well as a people analytics-based hashtag called #makeworkbetter.By observing the way Google has changed its HR activities as a result of its analytics efforts, businesses can determine which behaviors work and which might be less effective. One major change Google made was in its interview process. After discovering that more than four interviewers didn’t increase the quality of hires, the company decreased the number of interviews required. The company also implemented an on-boarding process that it found increased productivity by 15 percent.Businesses are using analytics to power every important decision they make. A business’s employees are its most important assets, so why not use analytics to make decisions about hiring and employee retention? By following the example of large companies like Google, businesses of all sizes can gather the information they need to improve their hiring, training and employee promotion efforts.Related: Hire Better Talent With a Big-Data Scientist Register Now »last_img read more