Thursday, January 07, 2010

DARPA To Host Workshop in Support of Flying Transportation Vehicle Transformer (TX) Program on January 14, 2010!

Seriously, I am going to have to start a special section on just Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) articles, because that organization is producing technological hit after hit. From interplanetary Internet capabilities, a comprehensive lifelog program and the harnessing of lightning, DARPA is like the mad scientist wing of the Pentagon. Now, DARPA is ready to create Transformers! Except these Transformers won't be robots in disguise.

These Transformers will be vehicles that can drive and fly!

And once we have flying cars, then we will know that the future is indeed here. Even though the future has already here for years!

Check out DARPA's solicitation bid for the Transformer (TX) program below.


Proposer's Day Workshop Announcement for Transformer (TX)
Solicitation Number: DARPA-SN-10-14
Agency: Other Defense Agencies
Office: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Location: Contracts Management Office

Solicitation Number:
Notice Type:
Special Notice
Added: Dec 23, 2009 3:30 pm
Proposer's Day Workshop Announcement

Transformer (TX)
Tactical Technology Office
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will host a Proposers' Day Workshop in support of a planned Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for the Transformer (TX) program. The workshop will occur at 0700-1500 EST on January 14, 2010, at Westin Arlington Gateway, 801 North Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22203.

This Special Notice is issued solely for information and program planning purposes. The Proposers' Day Workshop is intended to introduce to the research community the TX program vision, goals and objectives, and opportunities associated with the development of interdisciplinary teams to respond to an anticipated Broad Agency Announcement (BAA). The workshop does not constitute a formal solicitation for proposals or proposal abstracts. Attendance at the workshop is voluntary and is not required to propose to any potential related Broad Agency Announcements or potential research solicitations on this topic. DARPA will not provide reimbursement for any costs incurred to participate in this workshop.

The objective of the Transformer (TX) program is to demonstrate a 1 to 4 person transportation vehicle that can drive and fly, thus enabling the warfighter to avoid water, difficult terrain, and road obstructions as well as IED and ambush threats. The vehicle will be capable of driving on prepared surface and light off-road conditions, while flight functionality will require Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL). In addition, range and speed efficiencies will allow for tactically relevant missions to be performed on a single tank of fuel. The ability to provide the warfighter a platform that enables terrain-independent mobility would significantly affect how distributed operations are performed today. Current transport systems present operational limitations where the warfighter is either anchored to the ground with HMMWVs and thus vulnerable to ambush, or reliant on helicopters, which are limited in flight speed and availability. TX provides the flexibility to adapt to traditional and asymmetric threats by providing the operator unimpeded movement over difficult terrain. In addition, transportation is no longer restricted to trafficable terrain that tends to makes movement predictable. This enables the warfighter to approach targets from directions opportune to them and not the enemy.

Within the TX program, DARPA seeks to: 1) Develop a robust vehicle design that maximizes military utility at a reasonable cost, 2) Identify and mature the critical enabling technologies necessary to vehicle development, and 3) Build a single prototype vehicle that demonstrates the program goals through ground and flight tests. Technologies relevant to the objectives of the TX program can be found in numerous disciplines and areas of research including: adaptive wing structures, ducted fan propulsion, lightweight composite materials, advanced flight control technology for stable transition from vertical to horizontal flight, hybrid electric drive, advanced batteries, and others.

To facilitate maximum participation DARPA will host a TX Proposers' Day Workshop. The workshop will: (a) Introduce the research community (industry, academia, and Government) to the TX program vision and objectives; (b) Explain the mechanics of a DARPA program and the milestones and metrics of this potential effort; and (c) Promote teaming arrangements among organizations having relevant expertise, facilities, and capabilities to execute an interdisciplinary research program responsive to the TX program goals. The workshop will include overview presentations by Government personnel and a poster session to facilitate interaction and team building among the session participants. Potential participants should note that formation of teams with sufficient expertise to address all technical areas is critical. Workshop participants are strongly encouraged to prepare posters describing areas of capabilities in order to facilitate discussions during the poster session.

There is no fee to attend the TX Proposers' Day Workshop. Registration for the workshop is limited by the venue capacity. To maximize the number of organizations participating, there is a limit of three persons per organization. Early registration is strongly recommended. The poster session will be limited to 1 poster per organization with a cut-off of 100 posters total. The registration cutoff date is 4:00PM ET, January 7, 2010.

Workshop details including registration, poster session, meeting location, and lodging are provided on the registration website.

Workshop Details:
Time: January 14, 2010, 7:00am-3:00pm
Location: Westin Arlington Gateway
801 North Glebe Road
Arlington, VA 22203
(800) 627-7076 (Reservations)
(703) 717-6200 (Hotel Operator)
Registration Website: (Password = TX2010)

For any questions related to this workshop please email
Contracting Office Address:
3701 North Fairfax Drive
Arlington, Virginia 22203-1714

Primary Point of Contact.:
Stephen Waller,
Program Manager

Secondary Point of Contact:
Chris Glista,
Contracting Officer

United States Avoids Technical Default by Three (3) Days (Raises Debt Ceiling to $12.394 Billion on Christmas Eve)

Major news always seems to happen during holidays when the public is distracted from its political diligence. On Christmas Eve, the United States avoided a technical default by three (3) days on its debt when the United States Senate agreed to raise the federal debt ceiling without a vote to spare! Uh-oh! What will happen if the United States defaults on its debts?

Check out the original blog article at Zero Hedge.


US Avoids Technical Default By Three Days

Tyler Durden's picture

On December 24, the Senate passed a vote by a razor thin margin (with not a vote to spare) to raise the Federal debt ceiling from $12,104 billion to $12,394 billion. The actual debt ceiling increase took effect on December 28. And as the chart below shows, the Treasury's cash flow projections were spot on: 3 days later, and the debt subject to limit surged to $12,254, a jump of over $200 billion in 2 days, and a whopping $150 billion over the old debt ceiling. Three days is all the buffer the administration's reckless spending spree has afforded this country to avoid bankruptcy. Had one more Democratic vote dissented from the stopgap measure, the US would now be in technical default. There is just $140 billion left before the revised debt ceiling is breached. We hope for the country's sake that Bill refunding in January is massive, because as we already pointed out, on January 7th we expect another ~$130 of new Treasuries to be announced for auction by January 15th. And then there are two more weeks in January... Which is why the Treasury better be using that TARP money to pay down all it can, because if the general population understands how close this nation was to the fiscal brink, many more answers may be demanded out of the ruling party as to how it could allow things to get so out of hand.

More Than 2,000,000,000 People Are Infected with Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Bacteria That Causes Tuberculosis (TB)

When I was kid I remember my Granny talking about how folks used to get "the TB" way back in the day, and if we didn't wear a beanie outside in the cold, then we might get the dreaded TB. I paid her no attention when I was a youngster, because I thought that tuberculosis had been eradicated from the face of the Earth. It turns out that I was wrong. Very wrong.

Instead of hyping up the H1N1 "swine flu," the powers-that-be should be focusing on TB, because it is being reported that
more than 2,000,000,000 (2 billion) people are infected with the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis that causes tuberculosis.

Folks, that is scary!

Tuberculosis is the world's seventh-leading cause of death. It killed 1.8 million people worldwide last year, up from 1.77 million in 2007. It is one of three primary diseases that are closely linked to poverty, the other two being Aids and malaria.

Source: Telegraph

Zbigniew Brzezinski to Speak at Brigham Young University on January 12, 2010 About the Geostrategic Challenges Facing the United States!

Paging We Are Change Salt Lake City, Utah! The Zbigniew Brzezinski 2010 World Tour will be touching down in Provo, Utah next week on January 12 in case you are interested in checking him out. The rest of the press release may be viewed below.


Zbigniew Brzezinski to speak at BYU Jan. 12
U.S. national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter

Zbigniew Brzezinski, former U.S. national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, will be speaking at Brigham Young University in the Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni and Visitors Center Assembly Hall Tuesday, Jan. 12, at 7:30 p.m.

A professor of American foreign policy at Johns Hopkins University, Brzezinski will be speaking on “Geostrategic Challenges Facing the United States.” His address will be hosted by BYU’s Wheatley Institution and David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies.

Brzezinski received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from McGill University and a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1953. He was a member of the Harvard faculty until 1960 when he became a member of the Columbia University faculty. He also holds honorary degrees from Georgetown, Williams College, the College of the Holy Cross, Warsaw University and the Catholic University of Lublin.

He was a member of the Policy Planning Council of the Department of State from 1966 to 1968. He also served as chair of the Foreign Policy Task Force in the 1968 presidential campaign. He later served as principal foreign policy adviser to Jimmy Carter in the 1976 presidential campaign and became national security adviser for President Carter. In 1981, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his role in the normalization of U.S.-China relations and for his contributions to the human rights and national security policies of the United States.

He has also served as a member of the President’s Chemical Warfare Commission, the National Security Council–Defense Department Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy, and the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. In 1988, he was co-chairman of the Bush National Security Advisory Task Force, and in 2004 he was co-chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations task force.

Brzezinski is the co-chair of the American Committee for Peace in the Caucasus and a member of the International Advisory Board of the Atlantic Council. He has been the recipient of many honors and awards and has written many books, including “Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower,” “The Geostrategic Triad: Living with China, Europe and Russia” and “The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives.”

For more information, contact Richard Williams at (801) 422-5883.

Do the TSA Airport Scanners Violate Federal Child Pornography Laws?

On cue with the recent Underwear Bomber, the mainstream media outlets are suddenly saying that we now need to have full body scanners at all the Nation's airports. There are several issues about these scanners that I will probably write blog articles about over the next few weeks including whether these scanners (1) are safe; (2) violate privacy rights; and (3) are effective.

But one issue trumps all of the aforementioned issues and that issue is whether the airport scanners violate the child pornography laws? Federal law defines child pornography as any sexually explicit visual depiction of a minor's genitals or pubic area. You can read the full text of the federal statute at Title 18, Chapter 110, § 2252A Certain activities relating to material constituting or containing child pornography.

Unless there is a specific exemption or law passed protecting the operators of these airport scanners, the operators may potentially expose themselves to criminal liability every time they take a full body scan of a minor child and view the computer-generated image on screen. It has been shown that these body scanners will reveal the details of the person's genitals and breasts. Therefore, when a child is scanned in the machine, the body scanners will produce a sexually explicit computer-generated visual depiction and that constitutes child pornography. The British media is making a similar argument and says that British airport scanners break child porn laws.

The rapid introduction of full body scanners at British airports threatens to breach child protection laws which ban the creation of indecent images of children, the Guardian has learned.

Privacy campaigners claim the images created by the machines are so graphic they amount to "virtual strip-searching" and have called for safeguards to protect the privacy of passengers involved.

Ministers now face having to exempt under 18s from the scans or face the delays of introducing new legislation to ensure airport security staff do not commit offences under child pornography laws.

These full body scanners are a ridiculous waste a money, offer a false sense of security and are also potentially hazardous to human health. I will be keeping my eyes on this matter both here and aboard.

Source: Guardian

Do You Want to Participate in the Cyberattack Against Payment Processes (CAPP) Emergency Drill in February, 2010?

If you do want to participate in this free drill, then Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) wants to hear from you especially if you work in the financial industry.

I am not too fond of this FS-ISAC organization's pyramid all-seeing eye logo, so I will NOT be participating in this drill. Nevertheless, the drill will held February 9-11, 2010. Further details are included below.


Are You Ready?

Bad news travels fast. When it comes to cyber security threats against financial services firms and industry partners, that adage has never been more accurate. When attacks occur, early warning and expert advice can mean the difference between business continuity and widespread business catastrophe.

FS-ISAC in conjunction with a variety of industry partners is testing their members' emergency response, notification, and communication procedures in response to a number of different types of cyber attacks against payment processes. The three-day exercise will simulate a different attack scenario each day. Detailed result collection is kept confidential.

By participating in this industry-wide exercise, your organization can:

  • Evaluate your current risk mitigation procedures related to cyber attacks and identify potential critical gaps in planning
  • Engage in a live test of your team's ability to respond to major cyber attack incidents
  • Raise awareness and educate your staff regarding procedures to respond to cyber threats
  • Learn best practices from other industry participants for improvements to cyber incident response procedures
  • Develop appropriate risk mitigation recommendations in response to the cyber attacks used in this exercise
  • Receive an after-action report highlighting lessons learned from the exercise and category benchmark results

Industry Participants:

  • Financial Institutions
  • Card Processors
  • Third Party Service Providers
  • Retailers
  • Corporate Treasurers
  • Government Entities

Registration Deadline: January 29, 2010
Exercise Dates: February 9 - 11, 2010
No Cost To Participate

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Farmer's Almanac Predicts America's Extreme Cold Weather in Winter 2010!

Considering how cold it has been across the Nation the last couple of weeks, I found it quite interesting that the 2010 Farmer's Almanac has accurately predicted this extreme cold period this Winter. Read the rest of the article below for further analysis on this prediction. Knowing what I know now, I guess I will have to pick up a Farmer's Almanac the next time I see one somewhere.


Frigid 2010 Forecast: How Cold will the Winter Weather Be?

2010_us_wintermapOld Man Winter doesn’t want to give up his frigid hold just yet, but his hold will mostly be in the middle of the country.

According to the 2010 Farmers’ Almanac, this winter will see more days of shivery conditions: a winter during which temperatures will average below normal for about three-quarters of the nation.

A large area of numbingly cold temperatures will predominate from roughly east of the Continental Divide to west of the Appalachians (see map). The coldest temperatures will be over the northern Great Lakes and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. But acting almost like the bread of a sandwich, to this swath of unseasonable cold will be two regions with temperatures that will average closer to normal—theWest Coast and the East Coast.

What about snow/rain/ice?

Near-normal amounts of precipitation are expected over the eastern third of the country, as well as over the Pacific Northwest and Northern Plains, while drier-than-normal conditions are forecast to occur over the Southwest and the Upper Midwest/Great Lakes.

Only the Central and Southern Plains are expected to receive above-average amounts of precipitation.


While three-quarters of the country is predicted to see near- or below average precipitation this winter, that doesn’t mean there won’t be any winter storms! On the contrary, significant snowfalls are forecast for parts of every zone. For the Middle Atlantic and Northeast States, for instance, we are predicting a major snowfall in mid-February; possibly even blizzard conditions for New England (indeed, even shovelry is not dead).

What about spring and summer?

Find out when the first and last snowflakes may fall in your area by ordering a copy of the 2010 Farmers’ Almanac today.

Picture of the Day - Elvis Presley Meets President Nixon at White House in 1970!

This picture is from the infamous 1970 meeting between President Nixon and Elvis Presley where Presley requested he be made a Federal Agent at large. The meeting was also kept secret for a couple of years. I can only imagine the media backlash if some top rapper stopped by to see Obama and asked to be a Federal Agent at large!

You can read more about this meeting and view the "When Nixon Met Elvis" exhibit at the National Archives. They say that this picture is requested from the National Archives more than the Constitution or Bill of Rights!

If you want to order one of these Elvis pictures, then click this Elvis-Nixon order form to get further information about how to order. You will likely to have to find an approved vendor (which can be located on the aforementioned form) and have them go reproduce the photo for you.


Press Release
December 21, 2009
When Nixon Met Elvis

National Archives Public Program Commemorates 75th Anniversary of Elvis Presley’s Birth

Washington, DC…December 21, 2009…Exactly 39 years ago today, a young man dressed in a black velvet jacket, adorned in gold chains and an oversized gold belt buckle presented himself at the northwest gate of the White House.

Elvis Presley, the most popular singer of his time, handed the White House security agents a handwritten letter addressed to the President of the United States, Richard Nixon, requesting a meeting with him. His five-page letter, written on American Airlines stationery, also indicated his desire to become a federal agent in the war on drugs and said, “P.S. . . I have a personal gift for you which I would like to present to you and I hope that you can accept it. . . ” The gift was a World War II-era Colt 45 pistol.

The letter set of a chain of events that eventually led to a meeting—within hours—between the “king of rock ‘n’ roll” and the “leader of the free world.” Security prevented Presley from presenting the President with the gun, but Nixon’s aides accepted it on his behalf, complete with some bullets.

At the meeting, pictures and detailed notes were taken. The photograph of Presley and Nixon, major figures in American culture and politics at the time, is still one of the most requested photographs from the National Archives’ holdings of 15 million images.

The famous meeting will be the highlight of a special event at the National Archives on Wednesday, January 6, 2010. Two eyewitnesses: Egil “Bud” Krogh, who was an Assistant to the Counsel to the President, and Jerry Schilling, a music industry professional and long-time friend of Presley will describe the encounter. The discussion, which is free and open to the public, will be moderated by Timothy Naftali, Director of the Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California and introduced by David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States.

The program commemorates the 75th anniversary of Presley’s birth on January 8; the next day is the 97th anniversary of Nixon’s birth.

The program will be held at 7 p.m. in the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives. Admission is free. The McGowan Theater will open 30 minutes before the start of the program. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. The public should use the Special Events Entrance to the National Archives, 7th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW.

# # #

For more press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

U.S. Energy Department to Form $172 Million Private-Public Group to Secure Nation's Electric Grid from Cyberattacks

As much as I talk about potential cyberattacks and write articles about cyberattacks, you may realize that I feel a major 9/11 style cyberattack is forthcoming in our country. AND it will likely be a false flag cyberattack that will be used to usher in some type of Patriot Act for the Internet or an iPatriot Act. Nevertheless, as of December 29, 2009, Congress has appropriated $172,000,000 for the Department of Energy to form a group to evaluate and determine ways to protect the electrical grid!

A public-private group the Energy Department is forming to better secure the nation's electric grid from cyberattacks must be given strong regulatory and budgetary authority to drive sweeping changes to computer networks, security specialists said...

...Once its launched, the group's goals will be to establish "policies and protocol to ensure the effective deployment of technology and software controls to protect the bulk power electric grid," according to the fiscal 2010 appropriations bill, which President Obama signed into law on Oct. 28, 2009.

Congress required that within 60 days of the enactment of the appropriations law -- which was Dec. 27, 2009 -- Energy Secretary Steven Chu would have to invite qualified individuals from the power and security industries to disseminate best practices in cybersecurity; organize the collection, analysis and dissemination of the vulnerabilities and threats that networks face; and work cooperatively with Energy and other federal agencies that oversee efforts to enhance security of the bulk power electric grid.

Source: Nextgov

Insect Cells to Be Used for H1N1 "Swine Flu" Production Lines Insteads of Chicken Eggs!

A couple of people called me crazy last year when I told them that some H1N1 vaccines may be grown in insect cells as opposed to being grown in chicken eggs. I guess I will no longer be crazy in their eyes - at least until the next alleged conspiracy theory appears and needs to be proven to be true.

Scientists in Vienna have developed a new technique for producing vaccines for H1N1 -- so-called swine flu -- based on insect cells. The research, published in the Biotechnology Journal, reveals how influenza vaccines can be produced faster than through the traditional method of egg-based production, revealing a new strategy for the fight against influenza pandemics.

"Recent outbreaks of influenza highlight the importance of a rapid and sufficient vaccine supply for pandemic and inter pandemic strains," said co-author Florian Krammer from the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Science in Vienna. "However, classical manufacturing methods for vaccines fail to satisfy this demand."

Traditional influenza vaccines, which are produced in embryonated chicken eggs, can be manufactured in the quantities needed for seasonal strains of influenza. Yet because of limited egg supply this method may be insufficient in a pandemic scenario, such as the current H1N1 'swine flu' pandemic.

The team's new method turns to insect cell based technology to create recombinant influenza virus-like particles (VLPs), which resemble virus particles but lack the viral nucleic acid, so they are not infectious.

The Austrian team took just ten weeks to produce swine-origin pandemic H1N1 influenza VLPs for immunological study in mice. This shows that production of a mock-up vaccine is feasible in this time range, outcompeting conventional production methods which take months.

Using insect cells also bypasses the disadvantages of egg-based production, such as limited production capacity, allergic reactions to egg proteins and biosafety issues.

Don't forget that the vaccines have also been grown in canine kidney cells and human retina cells.

Source: Science Daily

Canada to Suspend Parliament Until After 2010 Winter Olympics (What Happens if There is a Potential False Flag Terrorist Attack?)

Check out the video above, because it has a detailed analysis on this subject of the current Canadian Parliament suspension. I do not like trying to predict dates out into the future, but let's keep our eyes on the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver for any suspicious activity. What happens in Canada if there is a false flag attack (or legitimate terrorist attack) during the Olympics while the Canadian Parliament is suspended?

The Canadian government will suspend Parliament until early March, a spokesman said on Wednesday, giving it political advantages but bringing an angry backlash from a sidelined opposition.

Dimitri Soudas, spokesman for Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, said the government would present a new policy speech on March 3, and a new federal budget the following day.

Source: Angola Press

Monday, January 04, 2010

Cepheid Receives FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for First 2009 H1N1 Swine Flu Assay for CLIA 'Moderate Complexity' Laboratories

Cepheid Receives FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for First 2009 H1N1 Influenza Assay for CLIA 'Moderate Complexity' Laboratories

Xpert(R) Flu A Panel Identifies the 2009 H1N1 Influenza Virus in Less Than One Hour

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Jan. 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Cepheid (Nasdaq: CPHD) today announced it has been granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its Xpert® Flu A Panel test. The test, which runs on Cepheid's GeneXpert® System, identifies the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus in less than one hour. The FDA has authorized Cepheid's Xpert Flu A Panel to be used in laboratories certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) to perform "moderate complexity" (not waived) testing, enabling the test to be performed in hospital near-patient settings.

"Accuracy combined with ease-of-use and the broad testing applicability of the GeneXpert® System offers a helpful unique diagnostic solution in helping to address this healthcare issue," said John Bishop, Cepheid's Chief Executive Officer. "Although PCR testing is now recognized as the new gold standard for detection of influenza virus infection, test availability for 2009 H1N1 has so far been limited to high-complexity laboratories and results are not typically available around the clock. Xpert Flu A Panel combines the convenience and ease-of-use of rapid testing with the performance of PCR, in a test format that maximizes medical value by providing results when they are most needed."

2009 H1N1 is a new influenza virus that was detected in the United States in April 2009. As such, children and younger adults are less likely than older people to have immunity to this virus, and illness may be more severe and widespread as a result.(1) In June 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the spread of the novel 2009 H1N1 virus had reached pandemic phase 6, the highest level of pandemic alert designated by the organization.(2)

"So far, 2009 H1N1 appears to be the predominant influenza strain this season," said Dr. Preveen Ramamoorthy, director of molecular diagnostics at National Jewish Health in Denver CO. "An easy-to-use, rapid PCR-based 2009 H1N1 test can assist clinicians in making real-time medical decisions that help hospitals significantly improve their patient management."

Cepheid will continue development of an expanded influenza panel product that it expects to test for Influenza A with strain identification for H1 seasonal and H3 seasonal influenza A subtypes, the 2009 H1N1 subtype, and Influenza B. For that product, Cepheid expects to submit a separate 510(k) in 2010.

Cepheid expects Xpert Flu A Panel to become available in Europe as a CE IVD Mark product under the European Directive on In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices the week of December 28, 2009. Visit for Cepheid's complete CE IVD menu of Xpert tests.

About the FDA's Emergency Use Authorization

The US Secretary of Health and Human Services has declared a public health emergency because of the outbreak of the pandemic flu virus. The FDA has issued emergency use authorizations to make diagnostic and therapeutic tools available to public health and medical personnel for use in the diagnosis of 2009 H1N1 influenza virus under certain circumstances.

The FDA has not cleared or approved any tests for the identification of the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus. The emergency use authorization authority allows the FDA, based on the evaluation of available data, to authorize the use of unapproved and uncleared medical products following a determination and declaration of emergency, provided certain criteria are met. The FDA can only grant emergency use authorization for the duration of the emergency, which is currently set to expire on April 26, 2010, unless it is terminated sooner or renewed. The FDA may also revoke an EUA prior to the termination of the emergency.

About the GeneXpert System

The GeneXpert System is a closed, self-contained, fully-integrated and automated platform that represents a paradigm shift in the automation of molecular analysis, producing accurate results in a timely manner with minimal risk of contamination. The GeneXpert System is the only authorized system to combine on-board sample preparation with real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) amplification and detection functions for fully integrated and automated nucleic acid analysis. The system is designed to purify, concentrate, detect and identify targeted nucleic acid sequences thereby delivering answers directly from unprocessed samples. Modular in design, the GeneXpert System has a variety of configurations to meet the broad range of testing demands of any clinical environment.

About Cepheid

Based in Sunnyvale, Calif., Cepheid (Nasdaq: CPHD) is an on-demand molecular diagnostics company that develops, manufactures, and markets fully-integrated systems and tests for genetic analysis in the clinical, industrial and biothreat markets. The company's systems enable rapid, sophisticated genetic testing for organisms and genetic-based diseases by automating otherwise complex manual laboratory procedures. The company's easy-to-use systems integrate a number of complicated and time-intensive steps, including sample preparation, DNA amplification and detection, which enable the analysis of complex biological samples in its proprietary test cartridges. Through its strong molecular biology capabilities, the company is focusing on those applications where rapid molecular testing is particularly important, such as identifying infectious disease and cancer in the clinical market. See for more information.

Qatar's Supreme Council of Health Buys 300,000 H1N1 "Swine Flu" Vaccine Doses from France!

Qatar has bought 300,000 H1N1 "swine flu" vaccine doses from the French Health Ministry. I do not know how necessary these doses will be considering that there are reports that the swine flu pandemic has subsided. Further, Qatar will also be receiving an additional 300,000 doses of Pandemrix from GlaxoSmithKline. This site has previously discussed Pandemrix on numerous occasions and its squalene and thimerosal ingredients. Those articles are linked at the end of the quoted text.

SCH’s Director of Public Health Dr Sheikh Mohamed bin Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said that as part of its recent vaccination campaign Qatar had bought 300,000 doses from France, adding that the state was one of the first countries to receive ample supply of A(H1N1) vaccine and had purchased such quantity in a record time.

1. 350 Cases of Side Effects from Pandemrix H1N1 "Swine Flu" Vaccine Shot Reportedly in Sweden!

2. GlaxoSmithKline's Pandemrix Approved for Use in the United Kingdom (Ingredients Include Squalene, Thimerosal and H1N1)

3. Saudi Arabia Orders 10,000,000 Doses of GSK's Pandemrix™

Source: Gulf Times

Transportation Worker Identification Credential Now Acceptable ID for Trucks Visiting U.S. Military Bases

Charlie Morasch
Staff Writer
Land Line Magazine
December 30, 2009

TWIC now acceptable at military bases

The Transportation Worker Identification Credential recently became acceptable ID for trucks visiting military bases.

In early December, the U.S. Department of Defense released a brief, available here, that outlines its new acceptance of TWIC at military bases.

More than 1.4 million workers have enrolled in TWIC – the biometric card required for port employees, longshoremen, mariners, truckers and others who need unescorted access to secure areas of ports. They have background checks before being issued cards with their biometric data and residency documentation.

It’s been a pricey, complicated process and one that irked seasoned truckers from the get-go. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has been critical of several TSA processes during the TWIC rollout, including the price of enrollment and the ability of foreign nationals to access ports without background checks required by TWIC applicants from the U.S. One filing of the Association’s comments on TWIC can be found here.

Standard TWIC enrollment costs $132.50, although workers with “current, comparable” threat assessment background checks such as hazmat endorsements, Merchant Mariner Documents or Free and Secure Trade (FAST) cards may obtain a TWIC card for $105.25. The card is designed to last five years.

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, other acceptable identity source documents include current:

* U.S. passports;
* Permanent resident card or Alien Registration Receipt Card;
* Foreign passport with a temporary stamp or temporary printed notation on a machine readable immigrant visa;
* Foreign passport with a current arrival-departure record (INS Form I-94) bearing the same names as the passport and containing an endorsement of the alien’s non-immigrant status, if that status authorizes the alien to work for the employer;
* Employment authorization document that contains a photograph (INS Form I-766);
* Driver’s license or ID card issued by a state or outlying possession of the United States, provided it contains a photograph and biographic information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color and address;
* ID card issued by Federal, State or local government agencies, provided it contains a photograph and biographic information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color and address;
* School ID card with a photograph;
* U.S. Military or draft record;
* U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner CARD or TWIC; and
* Native American tribal document.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Couple in Southern Ontario, Canada Forced to Close Natural Gas Well That Has Provided Free Fuel Since 1931!

The government is not going to let people have free energy - even in Canada. A southern Ontario couple was recently forced to close a natural gas well that provided several families with free fuel. The well was ordered closed despite the fact that the well had been operated by various families since the 1930s.

For decades, the Murray family of southern Ontario has lived on a rare luxury - they've heated their household for free.

But a government order is now demanding that the couple in their 70s shut down a 1931 natural gas well on their property, and the two will have to cough up tens of thousands of dollars to cap the historic well.

"We got something we're not paying for so there's no money generated and so they want to close it," said Hector Murray, 73, wearily shrugging off the three-year battle, as he resigned himself to the loss.