Bird Flu Causing Suffocation Shows Severe Spectrum of New Virus; Bird flu turned fatal for a 52- year-old Shanghai woman whose lungs became so damaged that she began to suffocate, causing her vital organs to rapidly shut down; “The big question here is, are these severe cases the tip of a very big iceberg or do most cases get really ill like this?’

Bird Flu Causing Suffocation Shows Severe Spectrum of New Virus

Bird flu turned fatal for a 52- year-old Shanghai woman whose lungs became so damaged that she began to suffocate, causing her vital organs to rapidly shut down, doctors in China said.

The retiree became ill March 27, with a fever that soared as high as 40.6 degrees Celsius (105.1 Fahrenheit), doctors at Huashan Hospital in Shanghai wrote in a report on the case in the journal Emerging Microbes & Infections. Treatment with intravenous antibiotics, steroids, antibody therapy, and mechanical ventilation failed to help, and she died April 3.

Her illness, the first H7N9 avian influenza case to be described in a medical journal, highlights the seriousness of the new strain, which has sickened at least 35 people in eastern China, killing 10, in the past two months. Hospital doctors didn’t know the cause of the woman’s illness when she was admitted. Tests identified the H7N9 virus after she died.

“What they had here was a seriously ill patient and they didn’t know what was going on,” said Dominic Dwyer, director of the Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital, who reviewed the case report. “This person was so ill, they just threw everything” at her. Read more of this post

Alibaba’s Taobao Bans Live Poultry Trading on Bird Flu

Alibaba’s Taobao Bans Live Poultry Trading on Bird Flu

(Corrects that Alibaba hasn’t banned poultry trading.)

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and other Chinese e-commerce sites are taking steps to protect against the spread of bird flu as concerns rise the H7N9 variant that’s killed nine people could spur an epidemic.

Alibaba’s e-commerce platform Taobao Marketplace said it would shut down online trading of live poultry “under necessary circumstances” this week. Shanghai-based Tony’s Farm and Beijing-based have halted the sales. Web retailer 360buy Jingdong Inc. will cut down on face-face meetings with suppliers, and stop offering pork and poultry at its employee cafeteria, Richard Liu, chief executive officer of Jingdong, said in a letter to employees last week.

The H7N9 cases may become an opportunity for e-commerce companies as fears of infection prompt more people to stay home and shop online. A 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome helped make e-commerce popular just as it was getting started, said Cao Lei, a director at Hangzhou-based China e- Business Research Center. Read more of this post

Swedish Banks Make Money Ditching Cash as Krona Goes Virtual

Swedish Banks Make Money Ditching Cash as Krona Goes Virtual

If you’re looking for Swedish cash, don’t go to a Swedish bank.

Most of the country’s biggest lenders, SEB AB, Swedbank AB (SWEDA) and Nordea Bank AB (NDA), have stopped manual cash-handling services in 65 percent to 75 percent of their local branches. They say cash is out as Swedes rely on credit cards, the Internet and mobile phones to make all their payments.

The country’s bank notes, which are adorned with images of famous Swedes including botanist Carl Linnaeus and will soon also feature legendary actress Greta Garbo, are only used in about 20 percent of shop transactions, according to data from the Swedish Trade Federation. In the U.K., whose capital London is a global hub for high finance, all banks still offer cash at their branches.

“We’ve removed the manual cash handling simply because we’re seeing a change in behavior among our customers,” Swedbank spokeswoman Anna Sundblad said in an e-mailed reply to questions. “Only 5 percent of our customers make over-the- counter cash transactions.”

Customer demand for cash services at Nordea, Scandinavia’s biggest bank, is dropping by about 20 percent a year, spokesman Erik Durhan said. According to Nordea Chairman Bjoern Wahlroos, the end of cash is a natural next step in an evolutionary process that has already led to the extinction of cheque books. In this respect, Scandinavia is far ahead of the U.K. and the U.S., he said. Read more of this post

China’s New Leaders, New Credit Binge; China’s economy has new leaders, not yet new ways. A surge in lending and capital inflows in the first quarter may be a precursor for tightening down the road.

April 11, 2013, 3:13 a.m. ET

China’s New Leaders, New Credit Binge



China’s economy has new leaders, not yet new ways.

The first quarter brought a surge in credit creation. Total social finance, a measure that includes new loans as well as bond issuance and other forms of credit, increased 6.2 trillion yuan ($1 trillion)—a record high. China’s stash of foreign exchange came in at $3.44 trillion at the end of March—up $128.4 billion for the quarter after tepid increases in 2012.

It all looks like a throwback to China under its previous set of leaders. The People’s Bank of China is in the markets buying dollars, resulting in larger foreign-exchange reserves and more liquidity in the financial system. That should certainly allay fears about China’s growth. A 58% year-on-year increase in new finance will surely prop up an expansion in output above the government’s 7.5% target.

By extending the policies of previous Chinese leaders, though, Beijing exacerbates the risk of inflation and asset-price bubbles. Consumer price inflation for March came in at a moderate 2.1% year on year. But massive increases in credit can only add to the upward pressure on prices.

Equally worrying is the rapid rise in the ratio of credit to gross domestic product. That measure has moved from 120% in 2007 to about 180% at the end of 2012. On the current trajectory, it will end 2013 at 200%. Such a sharp shift raises concerns about the possible misallocation of credit on a grand scale, and a buildup of bad assets in the banking sector.

The central bank’s recent efforts to restrain credit growth have been limited to timid attempts to drain liquidity from the financial system. To head off problems down the road, much more aggressive moves will be required. A surge in lending and capital inflows in the first quarter may be a precursor for tightening down the road.

As ye decide, So shall ye innovate (Part 1)

As ye decide, So shall ye innovate (Part 1)

Published: 11 Apr 2013 at 00.00

Here’s a question for you: What organisation do you think is more likely to be a creative organisation: One where most decisions are made by a few individuals high at the top of the organisational hierarchy? Or one where decision-making is spread throughout the hierarchy, and decision authority is delegated and shared?

How an organisation structures its decision-making processes is a good predictor of the level of innovation you can expect from it. Let’s see how organisational decision-making affects organisational innovation.

Diagnosing organisational innovation readiness: For the past few years I have been working on a method to help ordinary organisations become creative ones. This method shows show businesses how to turn a “me too” copycat corporate culture into one with unlimited creative potential that can fluently produce new “wow” products and services. Read more of this post

Mark Zuckerberg: The keys to a knowledge economy; Immigrants can help take our nation to new heights — if we let them

The keys to a knowledge economy

By Mark Zuckerberg, Thursday, April 11, 10:16 AM

Mark Zuckerberg is founder and chief executive of Facebook and co-founder of Post Co. Chairman Donald E. Graham is a member of Facebook’s board of directors.)

Earlier this year I started teaching a class on entrepreneurship at an after-school program in my community. The middle-school students put together business plans, made their products and even got an opportunity to sell them.

One day I asked my students what they thought about going to college. One of my top aspiring entrepreneurs told me he wasn’t sure that he’d be able to go to college because he’s undocumented. His family is from Mexico, and they moved here when he was a baby. Many students in my community are in the same situation; they moved to the United States so early in their lives that they have no memories of living anywhere else.

These students are smart and hardworking, and they should be part of our future.

This is, after all, the American story. My great-grandparents came through Ellis Island. My grandfathers were a mailman and a police officer. My parents are doctors. I started a company. None of this could have happened without a welcoming immigration policy, a great education system and the world’s leading scientific community that created the Internet. Read more of this post

Brains as Clear as Jell-O for Scientists to Explore

April 10, 2013

Brains as Clear as Jell-O for Scientists to Explore



A mouse brain, with dye, after it was made transparent using a new method

The visible brain has arrived — the consistency of Jell-O, as transparent and colorful as a child’s model, but vastly more useful.

Scientists at Stanford University reported on Wednesday that they have made a whole mouse brain, and part of a human brain, transparent so that networks of neurons that receive and send information can be highlighted in stunning color and viewed in all their three-dimensional complexity without slicing up the organ.

Even more important, experts say, is that unlike earlier methods for making the tissue of brains and other organs transparent, the new process, called Clarity by its inventors, preserves the biochemistry of the brain so well that researchers can test it over and over again with chemicals that highlight specific structures and provide clues to past activity. The researchers say this process may help uncover the physical underpinnings of devastating mental disorders like schizophreniaautismpost-traumatic stress disorder and others. Read more of this post

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