Interview with Dr. Naweed Syed, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Neurochip co-lead researcher

Friday, 17 August, 2012

Interview with Dr. Naweed Syed, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Neurochip co-lead researcher

Earlier this month I had a fascinating interview with Dr. Naweed Syed, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, head of University of Calgary Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy. Dr. Syed is one of the lead researchers behind neurochip − “a microchip with the ability to monitor several functions of the brain.Neurochip is “a novel lab-on-a-chip technology that, through an ultra-sensitive component built directly on the microchip, also enables direct imaging of activity in brain cells.”

In one fascinating part of the interview, Dr. Syed talked about Parkinson’s patients who have really bad tremors and don’t respond to drugs anymore. Currently, surgeons insert a deep brain stimulation electrode to allow the patients to stimulate the electrode themselves which release dopamine to stop the tremors. Unfortunately, the electrode can continue to stimulate the brain cells beyond the limit. Resulting in what is known as excitotoxicity. (Too much dopamine constantly being produced and brain cells being over excited.) In essence, nobody is there to tell the electrode when the stimulation is enough and can be stopped to avoid damage because there is no loop going back to tell it. Dr. Syed suggests implanting a two-way link where machines (capacitors and transistors) and the brain cells can talk to each other to better control the stimulation loop and avoid/reduce the problem of excitotoxicity.

Have a watch of my extensive interview with Dr. Syed to hear of his explanations and the background info in his own words for the latest advancement in research in neurochip.

As an alumnus of University of Calgary, it makes me really proud to see cool research done in Calgary, Alberta. At the same time, near the end of the interview, I asked Dr. Syed about the challenges of getting the required funding for the research program to succeed and to keep doing cutting edge researches right here in Calgary. Given the achievements his team has made so far, I would hate to see any of these world class scientists leaving Canada to go to United States/China, etc because our three level of governments and private industry partners are not putting in the needed funding to keep doing these ground-breaking researches that can lead to better medical devices, better drugs, etc right in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

On a personal note, a very close friend has Parkinson’s and I hope the device Dr. Syed talked about can be developed, tested, and approved soon so that my friend and other Parkinson’s patients can benefit.

News references:

University of Calgary, UToday “New advances for neurochip

CTV News (with video), “U of C researchers achieve major milestone

Calgary Herald, “New microchip helps take detailed images of brain – University of Calgary researchers achieve new milestone


Social media video interview with Royal Canadian Mounted Police Ontario expert Jean Turner-Floyd

Tuesday, 14 August, 2012

Social media interview with Royal Canadian Mounted Police Ontario expert Jean Turner-Floyd

Astute readers may remember I had insightful chats with social media experts from Toronto Police (see video interview) and UK Police (video interview) few weeks ago. Well, after some planning, I had the pleasure to talk to Royal Canadian Mounted Police “O” Division (Ontario Division) (English: @RCMPONT, French: @GRCONT) social media expert Jean Turner-Floyd (@jturnerfloyd) two weeks ago about how RCMP “O” Division is currently using social media to help with policing work. I really appreciate Jean taking time in sharing her insights.

Following is my video interview with Jean.

P.S. When I find more time, I still plan to write up an in-depth article (possibly also conducting one or more interviews) to allow Canadians (and citizens in other countries) to see how social media tools have been used by police forces from around the world. And may be opportunities for police forces to learn from each others. Stay tuned.


Councillor Brian Pincott interview re Calgary 100th Stampede and Peace Bridge

Saturday, 7 July, 2012

Councillor Brian Pincott interview re 100th Stampede & Peace Bridge

I can’t believe this year is already the 100th anniversary of Calgary Stampede. To join in the fun, we went out to one of the many free Stampede breakfasts this morning. And I ran into Calgary city councillor Brian Pincott. I jumped on the chance to interview Brian for a few minutes to talk about Calgary 100th Stampede and the $25 million Calgary Peace Bridge. Yes, before & during last city election, I wasn’t too convinced of the $25 million price tag for a foot bridge even I was and still is a fan of renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. You see, I got hooked on Calatrava when I watched a documentary about his Turning Torso project years ago at Calgary International Film Festival. I will let you watchBrian‘s explanation of how pedestrian foot traffic has exceeded the council’s original expectation and there was an even unexpected added benefit of the bridge.

Councillor Brian Pincott interview re Calgary 100th Stampede & Peace Bridge


Did Bloomberg distort Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak’s view on Facebook as an investment?

Wednesday, 6 June, 2012

Did Bloomberg distort Apple Co-Founder Mr. Steve Wozniak's view on Facebook as an investment?

Here is an edited version of a request for clarification sent to Bloomberg reporters and editor for the May 13th, 2012 story “Apple Co-Founder Wozniak Would Buy Facebook At Any [Price]“.

*******

To: Bloomberg reporters Ms. Shraysi Tandon & Mr. David Fickling and editor Mr. Michael Tighe [see Bloomberg article for email contacts]
copy: Mr. Steve Wozniak

I was in touch with Apple Co-Founder Mr. Steve Wozniak electronically yesterday [see lengthy exchange in this public post's comments]. And I was very disturbed to hear Mr. Wozniak telling me his view on Facebook “investment” had been distorted by Bloomberg. At the core, Mr. Wozniak told me that he made it clear to Bloomberg’s reporters that any purchase of Facebook shares would be just “ceremonial” (he gave the analogy, like “waiting in line for iPhones“). The following are Mr. Wozniak’s words. Emphasis are added by me to draw your attention.

if I bought Facebook shares (it wasn’t possible due to my schedule) it would not be as an investor but rather ceremonial, like waiting in line for iPhones. But that got missed by a lot of people. I’m very sorry if they duped you.

This is in direct contrary to the video excerpt Bloomberg decided to include. Here is a transcript of the broadcasted video exchange between Bloomberg reporter Ms. Tandon and Mr. Wozniak re investing in Facebook (~00:22 to 00:37)

Reporter: “Would you invest in Facebook?”
Answer: “I would invest in Facebook. I don’t care what the opening price is. I would, just for good reasons. Especially if was an investor looking to make money.”

Mr. Wozniak also wrote the following. And again, I have added emphasis to draw your attention. [see excerpt from public post's comments]

“I have a great idea. Why don’t you contact the reporter and ask him if, before the interview, I told him how I don’t read financial papers and have never used the iPhone stock price app and that I couldn’t answer financial questions. He was a very good tech reporter but asked that question at the end. It was a trick and a setup, as he’d heard my explanation an hour before during my speech. I think this may have been in Singapore. You have to ask how ethical that was. He knew the truth but set it up in a way that would deceive you. And it was my intent at that time to buy Facebook stock, but not as an investment, and the reporter knew that well. I had told him that my wife and I don’t trade stocks and all we have is Apple and Fusion-io. So he knew the truth but published otherwise. Sorry, but at the end of a tired day one word may have been wrong (invest instead of buy) but 2 people, myself and the reporter, knew it was not an investment. I doubt I used the word “investment” since it’s a word not in my vocabulary. I have never in my life invested in stock. Please contact the reporter to verify this and let him know what you think. And ask him not to do it to the next “nice” guy.”

I personally don’t know Mr. Wozniak and had only got in touch with him yesterday. Mr. Michael Tighe, as the Bloomberg editor in charge of this article, can you please confirm with the Bloomberg reporters if Mr. Wozniak’s view got distorted seriously. At times I am a blunt reporter and based on Bloomberg’s original report, I had written,

“I love +Steve Wozniak for his tech but his investment “advice” was worst than idiotic.”

To me, Bloomberg’s reputation is on the line here. Distorting a “ceremonial” purchase of Facebook stocks and turning it into a story with title “Apple Co-Founder Wozniak Would Buy Facebook At Any [Price]” is a serious journalist blunder at least or an inexcusably unethical behaviour at worst.

Finally, Ms. Shraysi Tandon, Mr. David Fickling, and Mr. Michael Tighe, I hope if there was a mistake, Bloomberg will do the honourable thing and issue a formal correction and apologize. Since you are all professional journalists, I don’t need to remind why we in the business of reporting will all remember Jayson Blair (former reporter with New York Times) or Stephen Glass (former reporter with The New Republic) for a very long time to come.

Please kindly recheck the source and basis of your story and issue a correction and apology if a mistake was made. Please let me know an error was indeed made, I would like to promptly issue my apology to Mr. Wozniak in saying his “investment “advice” was worst than idiotic” based on Bloomberg’s May 13th report.

Best,
Kempton

Kempton Lam
B.Sc. MBA
mobile: 403.xxx.xxxx
freelance TV reporter, commentator & blogger

P.S. Cross posted onto examiner.com. I am hoping to hear from Bloomberg really soon to set the record straight.


Bank of Canada confirms poor-quality counterfeit polymer $100 notes as it launches 4 new PSAs to help educate public to prevent financial crimes

Wednesday, 16 May, 2012

Bank of Canada - pix 00

Yesterday, Bank of Canada unveiled four public service announcements (PSAs) at Toronto Police Service headquarters.

The Bank of Canada takes counterfeiting very seriously and responds by researching and developing new notes with innovative security features that are both easy to check and hard to counterfeit. The Bank of Canada will be unveiling four new public service announcements to help educate the public and assist in the prevention of Financial Crimes.

During the post-press conference Q&A, Bank of Canada representative confirmed with this reporter that since the launch of the new polymer $100 notes in November 2011, there have been attempts to counterfeit the polymer $100 notes and the counterfeit $100s were in circulation. Fortunately, according to the Bank representative, the quality of these counterfeit C$100 notes were of very poor quality, for example, these counterfeit notes didn’t even have the transparent windows, one of the most obvious and easily verifiable security features. Which is why the Bank is emphasizing the importance of educating the public to detect counterfeit polymer notes. You can watch my questions and the Bank representative’s answers at the 20:00 mark of this YouTube video.

Full press conference video: Fighting Fraud On The Front Lines ~ Bank of Canada & Toronto Police Financial Crimes Unit

Bank Note Counterfeiting – from Bank of Canada

A good way to check bank notes is FLP (Feel, Look, and Flip) as explained here at the 3:20 mark.

Some readers may remember I’ve previously written about polymer banknotes since Bank of Canada first announced (in March 2011) that it would launch polymer notes in Canada. The following are my in-depth research articles based on information known or found at the time.

March 2011, “Secrets of Bank of Canada’s new plastic money: An advance look of 12 possible security features

March 2011, “Bank of Canada’s new polymer banknote – Patents & technologies by Securency International

June, 2011, “Canada New Polymer $100 Notes in Nov 2011 – Now your money is smooth & will bounce!

November, 2011, “Canada polymer $100 banknote hands-on look finally! (with video)

Note: See also this 660 News article reporting about the BoC press conference, “Bank of Canada launches fraud prevention campaign“.

Note: article is cross-posted to examiner.com

Bank of Canada - pix 01

Bank of Canada - pix 02

Bank of Canada - pix 03


NAB 2012 – Newsight Japan Glasses-Free 3D TV President & CEO Kiyoto Kanda interview

Monday, 30 April, 2012

Newsight Japan's President & CEO Kiyoto Kanda - NAB 2012 interview

At NAB Show 2012, I had the pleasure to meet Newsight Japan‘s President & CEO Kiyoto Kanda. I was at Sony’s NAB Show booth checking out Sony’s latest prototype not-for-sale Glasses-Free 3D TV to see for myself the pros and cons. And then Kiyoto came up and we started talking. Kiyoto mentioned that his company is also working on Glasses-Free 3D TV. While I have not seen what Newsight Japan‘s Glasses-Free 3D TV actually look like (and the look and image quality is one of the most important thing), Kiyoto seems to be quite knowledgable and I like his talking of applying a Glasses-Free 3D filter on top of a traditional LCD/LED set and partnering with Chinese TV manufacturers. Here is my video interview with Kiyoto at NAB Show 2012.


Insights from Montreal Student Protest Friday LIVE broadcast using Google+ Hangout On Air – Sarah Hill interview

Saturday, 28 April, 2012

Montreal Student Protest Apr 27 LIVE Google+ Hangout On Air - pix 02

Montreal Student Protest Apr 27 LIVE Google+ Hangout On Air - pix 01

This afternoon I interviewed +Sarah Hill to talk about her amazing coverage of Montreal student demonstration captured and broadcasted LIVE last night (Friday Apr 27) with video from +Jean Francois Desmarais‘s camera on the ground, and Sarah broadcasting LIVE from her kitchen in Columbia, MO in the US using Google Plus On Air Hangout technology!

The following is a partial list of questions I asked Sarah Hill in the interview talking about the LIVE broadcast last night from her perspective.

How did the LIVE broadcast come about? How did Sarah know Jean Francois (i.e. the vetting)? What other uses of the G+ Hangout On Air technology can already be used for today? Was there any Hangout On Air technical problems during the broadcast?

I was also able to talk to Jean Francois via G+ message and he was kind to share the setup he used last night and some technical issues he had. Here is my summary of his main setup.

- An old dual core portable computer with 4GB of RAM and a 1394 Firewire port (Firewire 400)

- a Sony HVR camera that was hooked up to the computer with a 1394 wire

- 4G key USB stick for video/data transmission

- Note: Here is a picture of Jean Francois’ gear for Sat night (Apr 28).

According to Jean Francois, the above setup worked well until he had to run after the demonstration. He ended up walking 3-5 km in total and ran into some technical issues. I’ve listed the issues here in Jean Francois’ words. My hope is by sharing the issues, others can have a better LIVE reporting experiences.

“1- [As there wasn't time to organize and tape everything together] The wires kept unhooking themselves
2- The portable kept shutting down as soon as I closed the lid – even if we went in the control panel and set the parameters so it doesn’t turn off.
3- When there is a large crowd sometimes getting the connection is very difficult. I lost a good 45 min trying to [regain connection].
4- The battery of the portable was a major issue. We could have had a power pack but we needed to convert the current, so we needed a “transfo”- It was already too heavy so that option was out of the question.
5- If I had more time I would have loved to be able to have somebody with a hand-held mic but we had an issue bringing the sound from the cam and into the mic headset. I need to do more R&D on this.
6- Also, as I learned from past experience, good streaming means a lot of light. So the more light you have the better the quality of the image will be. [Kempton: I suggest a battery powered LED light panel]
7- And there is a need for a feature to know if you are still on air. I kept asking Sarah if I was still on air because I was not able to see the computer.”

By the way, Sarah plans to do a LIVE hangout tonight (Sat Apr 28) at 10pm EST to talk about the issues re the student demonstrations. If you live in Montreal or in Quebec, watch out for Sarah’s Hangout or invite.

Again, special thanks to Sarah and JeanJean Francois for the amazing and ground breaking coverage last night!

Note: Apologies for the audio echo in my questions. Fortunately, the echo doesn’t affect Sarah’s answers.

Montreal Student Protest Apr 27 LIVE Google+ Hangout On Air - pix 03

Montreal Student Protest Apr 27 LIVE Google+ Hangout On Air - pix 04

Here is the video captured and broadcasted LIVE last night (Friday Apr 27)

Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:12 MST UpdateMontreal Demonstrations on the night of Apr 28, 2012


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