Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Power Alternative: Nigerian School Girls Use Urine to Run Generator

Lagos — It’s ironic that Nigeria, Africa's leading oil producer, suffers from frequent fuel and power shortages. But four school girls have found a solution from an unlikely source: urine.
Most Nigerians have to rely on generators because of the epileptic power supply. Many businesses have also closed down because they cannot afford to buy expensive fuel from the black market to power their generators. Faced with this problem, four teenagers from the Doregos Private Academy School in Lagos developed a generator powered by urine.

"We noticed that many Nigerian businesses depend on a power supply have virtually been put out of business because of the high cost of power, so we decided to make a device that will reduce this problem. We noticed that waste products can be used to generate energy that is why we decided to experiment on urine," said Eniola Bello, one of the students.
The generator is powered by hydrogen and oxygen formed from urine stored in a compartment attached to the generator.

Adebola Duro-Aina, another student, said six litres of urine can power the small generator for 36 hours.
"This urine is being electrolysed, releasing hydrogen and oxygen gas, and this then goes into our gas tank. Our gas tank here stores the gases, and anytime we need the gas we can open up the gas tank and release the gas and our generator is powered."

When the girls power up the generator, the light bulbs in the room lit up.
"The generator powers everything in the house," one of the girls said. "We were so excited, we were so happy once the generator started working."

The girls say they were frustrated with growing up in an environment where they cannot read at night or watch their favourite television program because of the irregular power supply. The invention of this urine powered generator comes at a time when the Nigerian government is under increasing pressure to address the country's electricity problems.

Source: rfi news. By Sam Olukoya

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cameroonian Immigrant Killed on Dallas Highway Wreck

DALLAS — Fey Kidze, a 30-year-old mother of two moved to Dallas from Cameroon in 2007. In that time, she got her citizenship, worked several jobs, and earned a degree as a licensed vocational nurse.
Kidze's husband and two children back in Africa relied on her income from Texas. The money paid for her children's tuition and helped her husband, a nursing assistant, take care of the family.

Kidze had been preparing paperwork to move them to the U.S., her friend Samobo explained. But those dreams were dashed two weeks ago, when the home health care nurse was hit and killed in the 6900 block of LBJ Freeway.

She was on her way to see a patient when her car broke down in the middle of the freeway, friends said. Minutes later, a pick-up smashed into it. Kidze died from blunt force trauma, according to her death certificate.

"I was talking to her. I was screaming. I was crying," Samobo said as she recalled her visit to the emergency room. "She was just laying there like she was asleep. And then I felt like, 'Maybe if I pinch her, or maybe if I push her, she will stop pretending,' because she loved to giggle a lot."

Samobo described her co-worker as energetic, enthusiastic, and always inquisitive.
Friends have raised $7,000 for Kidze's funeral and wake, but said they need another $10,000 to send her body back to Cameroon in Central Africa.

"It doesn't look too good, but I still have hope that maybe we'll be able to do it," Samobo said.
The fate of her family is what worries friends most. They lost a provider, a mother and wife, and perhaps a shot at a better life in America.

Friends have planned a funeral for Kidze on December 1 in North Texas. They hope to have raised enough money to get her body back to her family before the holidays.
"I've seen her struggle," Samobo explained. "That's why I feel like it's not fair."
Friends have established a fund at Bank of America to help pay for Kidze's funeral and transportation costs. It's account number 004785784948.

Source: wfaa

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

US supercomputer crowned ‘World’s Fastest’

In the clash of the world's supercomputing titans, a new U.S. supercomputer named "Titan" is king. The $100-million Titan seized the No. 1 supercomputer ranking on the Top500 List with a performance record of 17.59 petaflops per second (quadrillions of calculations per second). The supercomputer, a Cray XK7 system based at Tennessee's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, leaped past the former champion, the Sequoia supercomputer at California's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

The top five supercomputers in the world are:
- Titan Cray XK47 at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (17.59 petaflops/s)
- Sequoia BlueGene/Q at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (16.33 petaflops/s)
- Fujitsu's K computer at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science in Kobe, Japan (10.51 petaflops/s)
- The Mira BlueGene/Q computer at Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Ill. (8.16 petaflops/s)
- The JUQUEEN BlueGene/Q computer at the Forschungszentrum Juelich in Germany. (4.14 petaflops/s)

U.S. supercomputers had fallen behind China's Tianhe-1A supercomputer and Japan's Fujitsu K Computer starting in 2009, but staged a comeback with Sequoia's rise in 2012.
Sequoia's 1,572,864 computing cores actually outnumber Titan's 560,640 cores, but not all computing cores are created equal. Titan draws 90 percent of its performance from having 261,632 of NVIDIA's new K20x accelerator cores.

The NVIDIA accelerator cores use the same graphics processing unit (GPU) technology that drives graphics cards for displaying video games. GPUs run tasks on many different "threads" that may run slower than traditional threads on central processing units (CPUs), but GPUs make up for that by running many more threads simultaneously.

GPU-driven supercomputers will become even more crucial in building the next generation of "exascale" supercomputers that would work 1,000 times faster than today's supercomputers. That's because GPUs use far less energy than the CPUs that have traditionally driven computing.
Titan used the new Tesla K20x accelerators to achieve an energy efficiency of 2,142.77 megaflops per watt (million calculations per second per watt), enough to also rank Titan No. 1 on the Green500 list of the world's most energy-efficient supercomputers.

 Source: technewsdaily

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Nigerian Woman Homeless in New York after ‘Sandy’

As Hurricane Sandy rolled into Brooklyn Peggy Ndubisi, a 51-year-old woman from Nigeria, went to the only place she has been able to call home for the past six months—Fort Greene Park.
Since the restrooms were locked in the park, Ndubisi said that the most protective shelter she could find was under the woman’s bathroom overhang.
As she sipped a cup of ice water in the ER on Seventh Ave., Ndubisi said she has been wet and cold since Sunday.

By the time she went to Park Slope Christian Help, the soup kitchen on Fourth Ave. better known as CHIPS on Wednesday she could barely walk. The director of CHIPS, Denise Scaravella has been speaking with Ndubisi for about a week and convinced her to go to the emergency room before she found a bed at the shelter set up for Sandy evacuees at John Jay High School on Seventh Ave.

“She looks like your typical bag lady, but she has a Bachelors’ Degree from Pace University and was a case worker for almost 30 years,” Scaravella said, explaining that Ndubisi was fired from her job two years ago.
Ndubisi, who is a naturalized citizen, moved from Lagos, Nigeria in 1980 as a foreign exchange student. Four years later, she moved into an apartment on Lafayette Ave. in Fort Greene. That apartment she called home for 27 years.

She worked at the Post Graduate Center of Mental Health in Manhattan for 12 years, but was fired one day when the vice president gave her a phone call, telling her never to come back. She also worked at The Family Center, when it was on Reade Street, from 1998 to 2010 but was laid off.
In 2007 she went to Lehman College in the Bronx for social work. At the height of her career, she was making $70,000.

But in 2011, she began to have a conflict with her landlord who wanted her to vacate the apartment. She got a lawyer, but one day she came home from working the midnight shift as a caseworker and saw her apartment on fire.

“I came home to see my house in flames,” Ndubisi said. “I lost everything.”
Three days later, when she went to get her belongings and talk to the landlord, she found that the landlord had locked up her apartment and she was never able to get back inside.
From there, she bounced around from shelter to shelter in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens for six months until someone stole her identification, she said, prohibiting her from entering another one.
After not being able to find a bed, she took to the streets and set up her home in Fort Greene Park. She would stay there for six months, outside of the woman’s bathroom with her shopping cart.
“During the hurricane, it was horrible. I was by myself under the overhang,” she said. “I just sat there wet and freezing cold.”

When Scaravella met her at CHIPS, they got to talking and they took to each other.
“It’s one sad, sad story after the other for her, but she’s not angry, she’s not crazy and she’s not hallucinating,” Scaravella said, explaining that she is now helping her figure out her finances. “She’s just not able to connect the dots and just needs a little bit of help to get back on her feet.”
Since she worked and contributed to Social Security for nearly three decades and has a retirement fund and a life insurance policy, Ndubisi has racked up $150,000 in retirement. For now, Ndubisi wants to get a couple thousand dollars to help her get back on her feet and collect Social Security Disability.
But, with no valid address she cannot get a disbursement.
Scaravella said she is helping her to solidify a new address and by Nov. 12 she’ll hopefully be able to get some money.

“She even has a life insurance policy, she is totally legitimate but has just been hit hard. This was a woman who was totally financially responsible, took care of her body and mind and now this is her situation,” Scaravella said. “It is the most devastating story I have seen.”
Ndubisi said once she gets her money together, she will get an apartment, a job and then go back to school to get a Master’s degree.

But for now, Ndubisi said, she needs to rest and figure out what is wrong with her feet. As a nurse came to take down her information at New York Methodist Hospital, she seemed to be worn by weather, and life.
“I just want to get my life back together,” Ndubisi said, while her eyes filled with tears. “But right now, I’m just tired.”

Source: Will Yakowicz – ParkslopePatch