In The News 11-11-2011
Your Weekly Update In The World Of Technology
Flu No More
Some big news is coming out of the University of Texas Southwestern. The scientists there have created a new flu vaccine that is a “catch-all” vaccine. This means that the vaccine will protect against any type of flu and not just one strain. The bigger news is that this also means it can protect us against the flu if it mutates.
Mutation is a common problem with current flu vaccines. Current vaccines are created to protect against one type of the flu but if the virus mutates, it is rendered useless. The new vaccine targets a protein in our bodies that, when increased, makes it near impossible for the virus to invade cells. This applies to all flu viruses and not just one type.
According to the scientists, the new vaccine can protect us from the Spanish Flu, which caused one of the biggest losses of life from a disease worldwide in 1918, as well as more recent strains like the Swine Flu. The new vaccine is not ready for distribution yet, however this may be the first step to one day putting an end to the flu once and for all.
The Day The Internet Stood Still
The Internet, that wonderful network that seems to always stay strong, took a bit of a stumble last Monday morning. A software glitch in the “Border Gateway Protocol” created a series of events that took out networks across the globe. One network to suffer a massive but short-lived outage was Time Warner Cable, one of the largest internet providers in the US.
The issues originated further up in the Internet’s hierarchy, as one of the key Internet gateways into the US crashed. Juniper Networks, who create routers for larger networks, seemed to be the source of the issue. Luckily most networks were back by late morning, proving the Internet can be very resilient and recover quickly.
This is something that might keep you awake at night. According to the paper “Beyond the United Kingdom: Trends in Other Nuclear States”, mankind has created a total 128,000 nuclear weapons since 1945. A whopping 98% of that number have belonged to the United States and the Soviet Union/Russia. In case you’re crunching the numbers, that leaves 2,560 created by other nations. Of these nations, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, India, and China don’t disclose any of their nuclear information, while the UK and France do. That’s a lot of “Where are those nukes?… I don’t know”.
As of 2010 the original 128,000 nukes have luckily been decreased to only 22,400, 95% of which belong to the US and Russia. Despite the massive drop in arsenal, a small fraction of that 22,400 could result in all out nuclear annihilation. Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, huh? Technology can sometimes be a scary thing.