Blood test ‘finds Alzheimer’s early’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-26480756
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Blood test ‘finds Alzheimer’s early’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-26480756
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New threat to ozone layer identified http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-26485048
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The World Health Organization wants you to stop eating so much sugar. Seriously.
In draft guidelines proposed this week, WHO is encouraging people to consume less than 5% of their total daily calories from sugars. The organization’s current guidelines, published in 2002, recommend eating less than 10% of your total daily calories from sugars.
Most Americans still consume much more.
“There is increasing concern that consumption of free sugars, particularly in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages, may result in … an increase in total caloric intake, leading to an unhealthy diet, weight gain and increased risk of noncommunicable diseases,” WHO said in a statement.
Sugar raises heart concerns
Of particular concern, WHO said, is the role sugar plays in causing dental diseases worldwide.
For an adult at a normal body mass index, or BMI, eating 5% would be around 25 grams of sugar — or six teaspoons. That’s less than is typically found in a single can of regular soda, which contains about 40 grams of sugar.
To find the amount of calories from sugar in a product, multiply the grams by 4. For example, a product containing 15 grams of sugar has 60 calories from sugar per serving, according to the American Heart Association. If you eat 2,000 calories a day, that’s 3%.
WHO’s proposed guidelines apply to sugars added to foods by manufacturers, as well as those found naturally in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit concentrates. They do not apply to those found in fresh produce.
“Much of the sugars consumed today are ‘hidden’ in processed foods that are not usually seen as sweets,” the WHO website states.
Did you know sugar is often added to your frozen pizza? How about your bread, soup, yogurt and mayonnaise? As consumers became more concerned about the amount of fat in their food, manufacturers went out of their way to make low-fat items — often substituting sugar to preserve the taste.
Choosing foods with fewer added sugars at the grocery story may soon get a little easier. The Food and Drug Administration has proposed several changes to the nutrition labels you see on packaged foods and beverages.
The proposed labels would also note how much added sugar is in a product. Right now, it’s hard to know what is naturally occurring sugar and what has been added by the manufacturer.
The WHO guidelines will be open for public comment until March 31. Then WHO will finalize and publish its recommendations.
Around 4,000 babies are born prematurely in Scotland every year
Children born prematurely may be disadvantaged for the rest of their lives by poor understanding of their needs, according to experts.
Paediatricians’ research has shown premature babies are more likely to have difficulties at school but few teachers are aware of this.
The number of children born prematurely is rising because women are having babies later in life.
Researchers say the education system should adapt to reflect this change.
They are calling for a child’s gestation to be recorded on their education records as a way of flagging up any problems.
“We know from a Scottish study that the earlier you are born the more likely you are to have have problems at school”, said Glasgow paediatrician Dr Nashwa Matta.
“But these children may still be clever and the problems don’t appear until the workload increases at primary or secondary school.”
Children born prematurely are more likely to be emotionally immature, lonely and at greater risk of bullying.
They may have visual perception issues, including difficulties with numbers and mathematics.
Further traits of prematurely born children may include short memories, attention spans and problems with multi-tasking.
Some premature children are also disadvantaged if they are born at the end of the school year because they are effectively sent to school a year early.
If they had been born full term they would have gone to school the following year.
Around 4,000 babies are born prematurely every year in Scotland.
Dr Matta has organised a one-day conference to highlight the issue at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.
“The simplest thing to do is to put child’s gestation on their school entry form,” said Dr Matta.
Then, when a teacher has a child with difficulty with attention, certain work, and memory then they will know he’s born prematurely and can find out what can be done so gap doesn’t get bigger.”
Three-year-old Findlay Masterton was born three months early. His mum Lorraine is worried he won’t be able to cope when he goes to school.
“He has behavioural issues, there’s a strict regime of how he likes things done,” she said.
She added: “Findlay has different wee issues that a kid born full term wouldn’t have and I think these might show up when he goes to school next year.
“There’s nothing stated for schools that they have to do anything about this or give them extra time for their lessons.
“Schools recognise medical problems, but pre-term? I don’t think it’s taken seriously enough.”
The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) backed the call for tailored support for children with additional support needs.
An EIS spokesperson said: “Teachers and other education professionals working in our schools are aware of the broad range of additional support that is sometimes needed to allow all children to benefit fully from their education.
“There is a requirement for continuing investment in adequate ASN resources in all schools, and for teachers and other professionals to have access to ongoing professional development to ensure that they can continue meeting the particular needs of all pupils.”
Sixteen people have died in Manchester in the past four years while infected with a highly resistant superbug, figures show.
Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC) is causing increasing concern and a rising number of cases.
Some 1,241 patients were affected within the Central Manchester University Hospitals trust area from 2009 to 2013, the figures show.
Despite infection control, the numbers have increased year on year.
The figures, revealed in a Freedom of Information request by the BBC, found 62 patients so far have suffered blood poisoning – with 14 confirmed deaths within 30 days of infection – at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Two further deaths have occurred in the current year, the hospital trust confirmed.
KPC, which causes urinary tract infections and pneumonia in sick patients, is resistant to carbapenems, the last major group of antibiotics to work against multidrug-resistant bacteria.
The trust said the chemical, an enzyme, that KPC uses to render antibiotics ineffective had now entered other bacteria, including E. coli and Enterobacter.
“This trust has and continues to make strenuous efforts to control and reduce this infection. We continue to work very closely with Public Health England at both a local and national level to develop solutions for the long-term management of patients,” it said.
The trust stated that all the patients who had died were seriously ill. Some had diabetes, kidney problems or transplant rejection; some were suffering from leukaemia or other forms of cancer.
Central Manchester Hospitals has already had to review guidelines on antibiotics and the treatment of patients who require bowel surgery or cancer treatment that may leave their immunity compromised.
Another Manchester hospital, the Christie, a specialist in cancer care, said nine patients had been colonised by KPC last year. but they had all been transferred to the cancer unit and there had been no cross-infection in the hospital.
A Freedom of Information request has also revealed two cases of KPC at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton, with one patient dying in the past two years.
Scientists say more research is needed into treating the KPC superbug
Microbiologist Dr Mike Cooper said that the patient who died was 96 and the form of KPC that had infected her was still susceptible to some drugs.
“There’s a huge element of luck in this. Either Manchester has been extremely unlucky or we have been extremely lucky not to have more cases,” he said.
Ten patients have also been infected at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire. Two had urinary tract infections, but neither patient died of blood poisoning.
Stoke’s microbiologist, Jeorge Orendi, said: “Unlike the situation in certain hospitals in Manchester and London, fortunately in our hospital and catchment area carbapenemase producers have remained rare to date.”
The KPC resistance mechanism first emerged in the US and spread to Israel. In Europe, it has taken hold in Greece and has reached epidemic proportions in Italy.
Gian Maria Rossolini, of the University of Siena, said that the first case was identified in Italy in 2008, but now 4% of all infections in Italy are resistant to carbapenems.
Dr Rossolini said deaths from blood infections were running at more than 40%, but for immune-compromised patients they could be as high as 80%.
Although KPC is still susceptible to an old and quite toxic antibiotic, colistin, in Florence this year more than 50% of KPC cases proved resistant to it.
“Although present in the UK, the problem seems to be still much more limited as compared to Italy and Greece,” he said.
Professor Laura Piddock, of Birmingham University, said: “It’s clear that what has gone on in Italy is our tomorrow. We have got to start preserving what we have got and use it wisely.
“If we are really serious about tackling this problem, we have to start viewing this in the same way as high-income countries viewed the Aids epidemic in the 90s.
“It’s going to take that sort of level of global policymaker decision-making to really tackle this issue properly.”
Research published in the Journal of Antibiotics found that colonisation with KPC is long-lasting, with 39% of patients still carrying KPC in their gut a year after being released from hospital.
In Birmingham, Prof Peter Hawkey is conducting nationwide research to identify the extent of KPC resistance and that of a more widespread, but slightly less virulent superbug, ESBL.
Patients in London, Southampton, Birmingham and Shropshire are being asked to send in faeces samples so the spread of the disease can be mapped.
Prof Hawkey said: “It makes sense whilst we are looking for these ESBL that we are also able to detect how many of these KPC organisms are in the community.
“I can conceive of techniques which may be able to make bacteria to kill these multidrug-resistant bacteria. It’s very much at an advanced research level at the moment, but in order to drive that, we need to know how big the problem is.”
Dr Rossolini said that the use of carbapenem antibiotics to control high levels of ESBL in the Midlands could actually help KPC take hold in the region.
Artist Cornelia Parker has teamed up with a Nobel Prize-winning scientist to turn fragments of drawings by Picasso, Constable and Turner into a new artwork for Manchester’s Whitworth gallery.
Konstantin Novoselov, who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010, took tiny samples of pencil graphite from the drawings and turned them into graphene.
Parker will use the graphene in the venue’s reopening events in October.
The Whitworth is being extended in a £15m redevelopment.
Novoselov won the Nobel Prize with Andre Geim for their groundbreaking work on graphene, the thinnest, strongest known material, at the University of Manchester.
He worked with a conservator from the gallery to take “microscopic” samples from drawings from the Whitworth collection. They also used a drawing by William Blake and a letter written by nuclear physics pioneer Sir Ernest Rutherford.
The resulting graphene will be used to build an electronic sensor that is triggered by humidity.
On the Whitworth’s reopening night on 25 October, Novoselov will breathe into the sensor, triggering a firework display designed by Parker to look like a meteor shower, inspired by William Blake’s painting The Ancient of Days.
The redeveloped gallery will also host Parker’s largest solo exhibition to date.
It will include her 1991 installation Cold Dark Matter; An Exploded View, which was ranked in the top 10 in a survey to find the most popular British artworks last year.
The 19th Century Whitworth gallery has been closed for redevelopment since last summer. By October, it will have a new extension and a sculpture garden that will double its public space.
Other artists whose work will feature in the relaunch exhibitions from 25 October will include Chinese-born Cai Guo-Qiang, Turner Prize winner Laure Prouvost, photographer Johnnie Shand Kydd and German artist Thomas Schutte.
Whitworth director Maria Balshaw said: “The opening programme, led by Cornelia Parker’s remarkable exhibition, captures the spirit of the Whitworth – a place where marvellous, eclectic art works connect to people and our place in Manchester.”
University counselling staff and workplace health experts have seen a steady increase in numbers seeking help for mental health problems over the past decade, with research indicating nearly half of academicsshow symptoms of psychological distress.
“Culture of acceptance”
A recent blog on the Guardian Higher Education Network blog, which highlighted a “culture of acceptance” in universities around mental health issues, has received an unprecedented response, pointing to high levels of distress among academics.
The article, which reported instances of depression, sleep issues, eating disorders, alcoholism, self-harming, and even suicide attempts amongPhD students, has been shared hundreds of thousands of times and elicited comments outlining similar personal experiences from students and academics.
But while anecdotal accounts multiply, mental health issues in academia are little-researched and hard data is thin on the ground.
However, a study published in 2013 by the University and College Union (UCU) used health and safety executive measures, assessed against a large sample of over 14,000 university employees, to reveal growing stress levels among academics prompted by heavy workloads, a long hours culture and conflicting management demands. Academics experience higher stress than those in the wider population, the survey revealed.
Pat Hunt, head of Nottingham University’s counselling service for staff and students and a member of the UK body for heads of university counselling services, said all universities were experiencing an increase in mental health problems.
“There are increasing levels of anxiety, both generalised and acute, levels of stress, of depression and levels of what I would call perfectionism,” she says.
“By that I mean when someone is aiming for and constantly expecting really high standards, so that even when there is a positive outcome they feel they have fallen short. So instead of internal aspiration helping them to do well it actually hinders them.”
Academics are also caught up in a range of cycles, from league tables and student satisfaction surveys to research league tables, that dominate thinking, she adds. In one case, a department’s top position in a research profile “became a poisonous thing because everyone then fights to maintain that”.
Hunt said higher education should not be stigmatised for the increase in mental health issues, since it reflected a similar increase in wider society. Figures show more working days are now lost to the mental health problems than any other health issue.
Nottingham offers one-to-one and group help to students and staff, including support specifically targeted at men, who make up only a third of those seeking help, a figure likely to reflect the continuing stigma over seeking help for mental illness.
Increased workloads partly to blame
Dr Alan Swann of Imperial College London, chair of the higher education occupational physicians committee, blamed “demands for increased product and productivity” for rising levels of mental health problems among academics.
He says: “They all have to produce results – you are only as good as your research rating or as good as your ability to bring in funding for research.”
Swann says most academics are stressed rather than mentally unwell: “They are thinking about their work and the consequences of not being as good as they should be; they’re having difficulty switching off and feeling guilty if they’re not working seven days a week.”
Academics and researchers can become isolated and not realise how “out of kilter” their working lives are, he says.
The intense pressure of doctoral and post-doctoral study, and early-career academia can also reveal existing mental health problems, he adds. Universities, including Imperial, have improved systems to help, yet academia remains “pretty macho”.
Uncaring academic environment
“There’s still a degree of ‘if you can’t stand the heat, you shouldn’t be here’,” says Swann. He says there are “still people in senior positions in academia who actually don’t care”.
He adds: “But there are measures to counter that and there has been a lot of change for the good. What we have not been able to get rid of are the external pressures from government funding and the academic marketplace.”
Research by Gail Kinman, professor of occupational health psychology at the University of Bedfordshire, on behalf of the UCU, offers one of the few pieces of data on mental health problems among academics.
Kinman used the health and safety executive’s health and safety at work framework to assess the views of some 20,000 academics, and found “considerably higher” levels of psychological distress than in the population as a whole.
She points to poor work-life balance as a key factor, with academics putting in increasing hours as they attempt to respond to high levels of internal and external scrutiny, a fast pace of change and the notion of students as customers – leading to demands such as 24-hour limit for responses to student queries.
Internalised values hard to shake
There are examples of good practice within universities which could be shared across the sector, Kinman says, but, as an independently-minded group who are strongly committed to their work, academics are not always straightforward to support. “We don’t like being told ‘you can’t email at two in the morning’. You can’t impose solutions from other sectors – academics are quite different and there’s no ‘one size fits all’.”
And internalised values are hard to shake. Nadine Muller, lecturer in English literature and cultural history at Liverpool John Moores University, suggests that academia promotes the blurring of lines between the personal and the professional – often described as “doing what you love”.
“This means that doctoral and early-career scholars are seldom trained in how to firmly draw that line and value themselves beyond their work,” says Muller.
UCU says issues relating to mental health are frequently encountered by its representatives. General secretary Sally Hunt says sufferers experience particular prejudice at work. “Further and higher education workers who experience issues relating to mental health face ignorance, discrimination and stigma from their managers and colleagues.
“Negative and inflexible attitudes can often exclude those with mental health conditions from being able to do their job. Often these attitudes can intimidate a person away from feeling able to disclose their mental health condition at all.”
John Hamilton, head of safety, health and wellbeing at Leeds Metropolitan University, says academics’ problems are often a question of burnout, which he defines as a “significant disengagement” with an employer, in which a staff member no longer feels in charge of their role.
Some universities, including his own, are working hard to offer support, he says, but while many could “definitely do more”, there remains a fundamental problem that some academics simply do not like the changes in their sector that have taken place over the last 20 years. “For some, it’s going to be a case of ‘I’m sorry, but this is the way it is, this is the political landscape’. So there’s an element of putting up with it.”
If academics already in post must wrestle with the stresses of fast change, what of their successors? Edward Pinkney, a mental health consultant working in education, says: “Institutions have a broader civic duty to educate potential academics about the university environment, so that prospective academics can make a more informed decision about whether or not to proceed.
“As universities become increasingly businesslike, there’s a growing need for them to be independently monitored to ensure that they are not just meeting basic standards of support for their members, but also that they are providing an accurate representation of academic life and not misselling it.”
PhD in health sciences at a Canadian university
“At the beginning of my PhD, the director of the department gave our entire cohort a lecture about not getting pregnant and told one of my friends when she applied for maternity leave that the PhD should be a time of celibacy. Some of our supervisors publicly and proudly exchanged stories of failed marriages as if this was the ultimate proof of their devotion to research. Others gossiped about promising colleagues who ‘would have achieved so much more’ had they not had children. All of these subtle and not so subtle hints guaranteed that no graduate student, especially those with families, would ever sacrifice enough for their research and would thus, by implication, always be a failure in some respect.”
Lecturer at the Open University, UK
“I had only been working for the university for two years when I suffered a severe breakdown and was hospitalised. It was very difficult indeed to even contemplate going back to work but thanks to transition counselling from the union I was able to resume work after nine months. The transition counselling was invaluable for a number of reasons; it was linked to work so helped me to begin to think about going back; it carried on during my first few weeks back in the workplace, so it was invaluable in dealing with my feelings at returning to that environment again; and it enabled me to see my mental health problem as being no different to any physical one. One of the hardest things to face after a breakdown is facing the stigma (both real and perceived) that occurs in the workplace. The union gave practical and psychological support, without which I would not have been able to return work.”
University of Maine School of Law, US
“During my three years of law school, I had to come to grips with my acceptance of and seeking treatment for depression and PTSD. I’ve been lucky to have had a lot of support from close friends, but I’ve never shared these issues with the faculty. The law school culture is effectively one along the lines of ‘suck it up’. When I worked in the law school clinic, I actually hid and lied to my professor about the fact that I was struggling with suicidal thoughts because I was afraid of simply being booted out of a clinic I loved. While a very large amount of law students I have known have coped with mental health issues and even school-related nervous breakdowns, it’s not talked about, or even admitted beyond close friends.”
PhD in chemistry, Bangor University, Wales
“In 2010 I started a PhD in chemistry. A year on, and the pressure began to build, reaching the point where I had a nervous breakdown. I spent time going to counselling for help, but then decided to take a 10-month break from the research I was doing. Upon returning I was able to work for a few months before falling back into depression because I felt I had no chance of gaining the qualification I desired. I eventually got to the stage where I felt I was going nowhere and cleared my desk late one Saturday, saying nothing to anyone that I was leaving. While suffering from depression, I felt isolated, as everyone around me was able to get on with their PhDs. I felt I was the problem. I feel I received some support for my issues but more could have been done to ease me back into full-time study after returning.”
PhD in molecular biology, Uppsala University, Sweden
“My university and department supported me after I admitted I had been diagnosed with depression. In the beginning I took advantage of studenthälsan, the university’s student health centre. Their team of psychologists and psychiatrists helped me to find the right long-term support. Later, my depression worsened and I was offered a private psychologist at the cost of the department. Yes, my PhD studies are still a demanding job full of stress, mentally as well as physically, but I am glad that in the days where death was the only solution to everything, my colleagues, supervisors and other officials became friends that just wanted to help me.”
More than a century later and it’s tempting to see International Women’s Day as redundant, a celebratory event at best. Why do we need the event at all? The causes that triggered those first campaigns have been fought and won. Women in today’s society have all the equality they could ever need, right? Wrong.
International Women’s Day is still needed to motivate change, at home and abroad. Some of these statistics put into sharp relief just how far we still have to go.
Globally, about one in three women will be beaten or raped during their lifetime. About 44 per cent of all UK women have experienced either physical or sexual violence since they were 15-years-old. Britain ranks among the worst countries in Europe when it comes to women being violently abused.
On average, 30% of women who have been in a relationship report that they have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence by their partner.
38 per cent of all murders of women worldwide are committed by a woman’s intimate partner.
A UN report said 99.3% of women and girls in Egypt had been subjected to sexual harassment.
Female Genital Mutilation
This is where girls have either all or part of their clitoris and inner and outer labia sliced off without anaesthesia, and sometimes have part of their vaginas sewn up too.
Over 130 million women living in the world today have undergoneFemale Genital Mutilation.
There as as many as 24,000 girls are at risk of cutting in the UK.
In one Birmingham hospital as many as 40 to 50 women every month are treated after undergoing female genital mutilation.
Around 14 million girls, some as young as eight years old, will be married in 2014.
An estimated 1.2m children are trafficked into slavery each year; 80 per cent are girls.
In 10 countries around the world women are legally bound to obey their husbands
Only 76 countries have legislation that specifically addresses domestic violence – and just 57 of them include sexual abuse.
In the UK, the gender pay gap stands at 15%, with women on average earning £5,000 less a year than their male colleagues. The disparity is even greater in part time jobs, going up to 35 per cent.
Globally only a 24 per cent of senior management roles are now filled by women.
The Equalities and Human Rights Commission estimates it will take 70 years at the current rate of progress to see an equal number of female and male directors of FTSE 100 companies.
This hurts everyone. The gender gap in certain industries is even more apparent and damaging. Zemach Getahun estimates that closing the gender gap in agriculture could reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 12-17 per cent.
If the skills and qualifications of women who are currently out of work in the UK were fully utilised, the UK could deliver economic benefits of £15 to £21 billion pounds per year – more than double the value of all our annual exports to China.
In 1992, Dutch engineer Peter Meijer created vOICe, an algorithm that converts simplegrayscale images into musical soundscapes. (The capitalized middle letters sound out “Oh, I see!”). The system scans images from left to right, converting shapes in the image into sound as it sweeps, with higher positions in the image corresponding to higher sound frequencies. For instance, a diagonal line stretching upward from left to right becomes a series of ascending musical notes. While more complicated images, such as a person sitting on a lawn chair, at first seem like garbled noise, with enough training users can learn to “hear” everyday scenes.
In 2007, neuroscientist Amir Amedi and his colleagues at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem began training subjects who were born blind to use vOICe. Despite having no visual reference points, after just 70 hours of training, the individuals went from “hearing” simple dots and lines to “seeing” whole images such as faces and street corners composed of 4500 pixels. (For comparison, Nintendo’s Mario was made up of just 192 pixels in his first video game appearance.) By attaching a head-mounted camera to a computer and headphones, the blind users were even able to navigate around a room by the sound cues alone. Every few steps the system snaps a photo and converts it into sound, giving the users their bearings as they traverse tables and trashcans. One patient even took up photography, using the head-mounted system to frame his snapshots.
The training program also devoted 10 hours to recognizing human silhouettes represented by sound. By the end of the training, participants could detect the exact posture of the person represented by the soundscape and replicate the pose, the team reports online today inCurrent Biology.
When the researchers mapped the brain activity of the participants, they found something astonishing. The generally accepted model of the brain contains regions devoted to each sense, such as the sight-centric visual cortex. Researchers had long believed that if those regions aren’t used for their intended sense, they are repurposed for other uses; for example, the visual cortex of someone blind from birth could be used to help boost her hearing. But Amedi and his colleagues found that the area of the visual cortex responsible for recognizing body shapes in sighted people—called the extrastriate body area—lit up with activity in the study participants when they were interpreting the human silhouettes.
Amedi says the traditional sensory-organized brain model can’t explain this activity; after all, the subjects only heard the information, and scientists believed that the body-recognizing area shouldn’t have fully developed without visual experiences during development. Neuroscientist Ella Striem-Amit of Harvard University, who co-authored the paper, thinks it’s time for a new model. “The brain, it turns out, is a task machine, not a sensory machine,” she says. “You get areas that process body shapes with whatever input you give them—the visual cortex doesn’t just process visual information.”
Ione Fine, a neuroscientist at the University of Washington, Seattle, who studies brain changes and did not work on the project, says Amedi’s work is the best evidence yet for functional constancy—the idea that areas of the brain do the same job even with different kinds of input. “The idea that the organization of blind people’s brains is a direct analog to the organization of sighted people’s brains is an extreme one—it has an elegance you rarely actually see in practice,” she says. “If this hypothesis is true, and this is strong evidence that it is, it means we have a deep insight into the brain.” In an alternative task-oriented brain model, parts of the brain responsible for similar tasks—such as speech, reading, and language—would be closely linked together.
Amedi’s team recently released a successor to vOICe, called EyeMusic, as a free iPhone app. The new algorithm produces more pleasant tones and can even provide color information. In the above video, a man blind since birth uses EyeMusic to “see” drawn faces. Amedi hopes EyeMusic will help blind users gain more independence and improve their quality of life.
This imagery is from the world’s first commercially available, real-time HD video satellite system. Watch it.
The footage, from Skybox Imaging‘s SkySat-1 micro-satellite, is as mesmerizing as the implications are powerful.
In a blog post this week, John Clark of SkyBox wrote:
Businesses can, for the first time, monitor a network of globally distributed assets with full-motion snapshots without needing to deploy an aircraft or field team. The movement captured in these short video windows, up to 90 seconds in length, yields unique insights that improve operational decisions.
Skybox’s vision is to “leverage timely satellite data to provide insight into daily global activity.”
Digital cartographers are figuring out ways to use the new source of geospatial data, but simply being able to watch the world in real-time is profound.
What the insights are, and who benefits from it, has not been seen yet. No one outside the military has ever been able to access data like this. Theoretically, one could follow individual people from space.
Nevertheless, the potential in industries like agriculture, airports, asset monitoring, security, supply chain management, nuclear plants is vast.
The technology is cutting edge. The company asked: ”What’s the smallest box I can fit something of real commercial value into?”
The challenge is that space assets are traditionally extremely valuable, extremely expensive, and extremely risky.
So the next technological frontier for quality imaging from space involves systems that can both capture data of high enough quality (resolution) to show economic activity and be cost-effective enough to deploy in large numbers (timeliness).
And Skybox thinks they’ve nailed it: