Enterovirus 71 kills 20 children in China

Of course, we don’t know how much this is being understated. This is a higher fatality rate than in previous years. Enterovirus 71 is one of several enteroviruses that causes a disease in humans called Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease.

From Medbroadcast.com:

Provided by: The Canadian Press
Written by: Audra Ang, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

BEIJING – Health officials in eastern China say a viral outbreak has killed 20 children and left almost 1,200 others ill.

The Enterovirus 71 infections were discovered in March in Fuyang, a city in Anhui province. But health officials say the malady may have gone undetected for a time because the symptoms are similar to other ailments common in children.

It was not immediately clear what triggered the outbreak, but the province’s health bureau said it is the season when the virus is prevalent.

Enterovirus 71 is characterized by fever, mouth sores and a rash with blisters. It is spread by direct contact with nose and throat discharges, saliva, fluid from blisters, or the stool of infected persons.

What that means is that it comes around about every ten years and older children have developed some immunity.

The official Xinhua news agency reported that most of the patients admitted to hospitals in Fuyang were under age two, and none was older than six.

There were 1,199 reported cases between early March and Sunday, 20 of which were fatal, the health bureau said in a statement on its website.

Maybe it comes around every few years. Here’s the CDC page on Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease.

HFMD caused by coxsackievirus A16 infection is a mild disease and nearly all patients recover without medical treatment in 7 to 10 days. Complications are uncommon. Rarely, the patient with coxsackievirus A16 infection may also develop “aseptic” or viral meningitis, in which the person has fever, headache, stiff neck, or back pain, and may need to be hospitalized for a few days. Another cause of HFMD, EV71 may also cause viral meningitis and, rarely, more serious diseases, such as encephalitis, or a poliomyelitis-like paralysis. EV71 encephalitis may be fatal. Cases of fatal encephalitis occurred during outbreaks of HFMD in Malaysia in 1997 and in Taiwan in 1998 [and China in 2008].

I didn’t know there were so many of them. Non-polio enterovirus infections:

Enteroviruses are small viruses that are made of ribonucleic acid (RNA) and protein. This group includes the polioviruses, coxsackieviruses, echoviruses, and other enteroviruses. [There are] 3 different polioviruses [and] 62 non-polio enteroviruses that can cause disease in humans:

  • 23 Coxsackie A viruses,
  • 6 Coxsackie B viruses,
  • 28 echoviruses, and
  • 5 other enteroviruses.

Enterovirus 71 was first isolated in 1969.

Creation: the Shinto version

Shinto in Japanese characters

Animewriter has distilled some of the Shinto Creation Myth for us, choosing the most popular and poetic from as many as eight different choices in versions that have been passed down orally before they were written down in the Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters). Before the earth was formed there were several generations of gods, usually a brother and sister who were also husband and wife. I’ve added some paragraph breaks.

The creation myth taken from the Kojiki as follows.

It the begining before the seperation of In and Yo, this is the same thing as the Chinese concept of Yin and Yang, this also mean that heaven and earth, light and dark male and female had not separated. The entire mass of existence formed a egg with the pure elements rising to the outside forming the heavens, and the impure elements congealing on the inside forming the Earth. The first generation of gods were born in the heavens, and they were called.

  • Ame no mi-naka-nushi (heaven middle master)
  • Umashi-ashi-kabi hikoji (sweet reed-shoot prince elder)

The next generation of gods and also the first god to touch the earth was:

Kuni-toko-tachi (land eternal stand of august thing), he formed out of a reed shoot that appeared out of the earth and grew into the heavens.

Now I will skip several generation of gods, if you would like to know them consult a copy of the Kojiki or buy a copy of Myths and Legends of Japan by Hadland Davis. Most of the other generations of the gods were born as brother/sister/husband/wife pairs with each generation giving birth to the next generation. Now I will skip to the seventh generation of the gods, the one which has the most influence on Japanese Shintoism.

The seventh generation of the gods was a brother/sister pair called

  • Izanagi no Mikoto (he who invites)
  • Izanami no Mikoto (she who invites)

They stood on the floating bridge of heaven overlooking the impure germ which would become the earth, they wanted to find out what was below them so the thrust a giant jeweled spear into the ocean and pulled it out, the spears drippings formed an island called (Onogooro-jima) (some interpret this to be the main island of Japan). The pair then descended to the surface and erected a pillar to the heaven, then Izanami chased Izanagi around the pole and said what a fine male I have found, then they made love, and she gave birth to an monster and it was discarded into the void.

Then Izanagi said I am the man and should have spoken first, so he chased Izanami around the pillar and said what a lovely maiden I have found, then they made love, and Izanami gave birth to islands, river, mountains, crops, birds, and so forth (some say that this version establishes the dominance of men over women).

After a while they wondered if they should produce the future ruler of this universe, after a while Izanami gave birth to the Sun Goddess (Amaterasu), so great was her light, and brilliance that they sent her up into the high plain of heaven so her light could be spread over the heavens and earth.

Next Izanami gave birth to the Moon God (Tuskiyumi), the parents thought he would make a mate for Amaterasu, but she disliked his pale nature, so he was sent to the other side of the high plane of heaven, so they could be separated.

Then Izanami next gave birth to the God of Ill Omens/Wind God/Storm God (Susa-no-o), he was eventually banished to the land of the dead (I talk about that later).

the Goddess Amaterasu enters the cave of night in Japanese Shinto mythLater Izanami gave birth to the Fire God (Kagutsuchi) burning herself, and making her ill, so she departed to the land of the dead over the objections of Izanagi. She told Izanagi not to follow her into the impure land, but he missed her so much that he followed her there, she saw him looking at her impure and disfigured body, and grew very angry. She and some demons from the land of the dead chased him out into the world, and in her anger she killed many people, Izanagi told her to stop and that he was sorry, so Izanami returned to the land of the dead, Izanagi then gave birth to many more people than Izanami had killed.

After this, Izanagi purified himself giving birth to many more gods, and his job being done he then departed to an island of gloom to hide himself away. In another version of the creation myth the gods (Amaterasu, Tuskiyumi, and Susanoo) are not created until after Izanami’s departure to the land of the dead. In this version the three gods were created as a result of Izanagi purification, with the three gods being created from his eyes and nose. Thus ends the story of Izanagi and Izanami.

Note. Their story is the basis for the dominance of male over female, life over death, light over darkness, separation of the pure and impure, and the Divine birth of the lands of Japan.

There’s more–much more–at the original post, including the story of Amaterasu and the cave of night (pictured),

Preserving the second law of thermodynamics

It’s odd how long it takes some nonsense to be refuted. On Smashboards in 2005, a creationist almost discovered the sun:

One of the most basic laws in the universe is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This states that as time goes by, entropy in an environment will increase. Evolution argues differently against a law that is accepted EVERYWHERE BY EVERYONE. Evolution says that we started out simple, and over time became more complex. That just isn’t possible: UNLESS there is a giant outside source of energy supplying the Earth with huge amounts of energy. If there were such a source, scientists would certainly know about it.

hyrdrological cycle or rain cycle

Lagniappe: Rain-cycle online game for children.

ToRCHI presentation on User Interface patents

Toronto Regional Computer-Human Interaction Group, ToRCHI

The Toronto Regional Computer-Human Interface group presents a panel on “UI Patents: Pleasure or Pain?” tonight at 7:00 p.m. Panelists: Gordon Kurtenbach and Jin Li; moderator,, David Modjeska.

here’s been a lot of talk recently about software patents, and in our area, particularly UI patents: Are they legitimate, helpful, pleasant, efficient? The debate rages on, while UI patents are filed in large numbers. Large corporations are particularly active in this area.

The panel will attempt to answer some of the basic questions; outline the process of invention and filing; and take positions on key issues.

The two panelists are Jin Li, a User Experience Lead at the IBM Toronto Software Laboratory, and Gord Kurtenbach, Director of Research at Autodesk. The moderator will be David Modjeska, a free-lance Information Architect in Toronto.


Gordon Kurtenbach – The Real Evils of Patents
When it comes to the subject of patents in user interface, the cliché image is of the innocent designer being blocked, by a patent, from using something which benefits the user. Beyond this cliché image are the complexities of creating and using patents. In the course of being an inventor on several dozen user interface patents, I’ve made some observations: answering the question “what exactly did you patent?” is difficult; dramatically unique inventions are just as hard to patent as small incremental improvements. User interface inventions require quite a bit of savvy to appreciate and understand; doing a good patent is much like going to the dentist—it’s not pleasant but you need to do it.

Jin Li – Grand Ideas and Myths
A patent is a mechanism for protecting intellectual property and encouraging innovation. For UI designer and researchers, patents provide a way to capture expertise, foster professional growth, and generating substantial value. The patenting process starts with brainstorming and invention; moves on to elaboration and expression; continues to formalization and filing; and (with luck) concludes with a patent granted by law. At IBM, patents have strategic importance. Accordingly, the company’s internal processes support inventors and have given IBM a significant place in the IP landscape. For UX (User experience) design, UI patents don’t need to block creativity, but can rather enhance and facilitate it.


Jin Li
Jin Li is a User Experience Lead at the IBM Toronto Software Laboratory. His work involves the full development cycle of software design, from user requirements gathering to beta testing. In particular, he gathers, analyzes and translates user requirements and usage scenarios into software and user interaction designs for application development tools and Web enabled applications. Jin holds and has filed numerous UI patents. Jin holds a MSc. in Computer Science (HCI option) from the University of Toronto. Jin is currently pursuing a PhD degree part-time in Human-Robotic Interaction in the medical domain. He can be reached at jinli@ca.ibm.com

Gord Kurtenbach
Dr. Gord Kurtenbach is Director of Autodesk Research, focusing on 3D interactive graphics with research in the areas of interaction technologies, modeling, animation and rendering. Prior to Autodesk, Dr. Kurtenbach was a researcher at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center and Apple Computer’s Advanced Technology group. He received his Ph.D. from University of Toronto in Computer Science and has published many research papers in important publications, as well as holding many patents involving human computer interaction. Gord’s areas of research include human-computer interaction input devices; bi-manual input; high degree of freedom input, menuing systems; UI for 3D graphics; human motor control and perception.

David Modjeska
David Modjeska is a free-lance information architect in Toronto. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Toronto, and has conducted research on information visualization in Toronto and in Umeå, Sweden. In addition to being a university lecturer at the University of Toronto, David has worked in industry in several roles: usability engineer and technical writer at IBM, and software engineer at Adobe Systems and at SPC. While at IBM, he filed several UI patents. David has also published a number of research papers in the HCI and visualization areas.

Note: ToRCHI is the Toronto chapter of ACM SIGCHI.

I’m back in Ontario

Yesterday I got up at 5:45, breakfasted, drove the 245 km from Revelstoke to Kelowna, returned a car and a camera to the rental company, and caught a plane to Toronto. I’m glad I bought a sandwich and some juice beforehand because the return flight didn’t include a meal (although the outgoing trip did). The return is with the prevailing winds and is almost and hour shorter.

I came to Revelstoke to celebrate a cousin’s (non-religious) wedding on Saturday:

newly married couple in Revelstoke, British Columbia

About bloody time!

Canada is following the example of South Africa and will strike a Truth and Reconciliation commission to bring light and air to the terrible treatment of Native Canadian children in residential schools, which were mostly run by churches. They were meant to bring British culture and education, not to mention salvation, to the children but they ended up oppressing and abusing them.

Judge LaForme has been selected to lead the commission.

As noted before, the schools did not even take precautions to prevent tuberculosis from spreading between the children.

Weather: jet stream

The jet stream these days is all over the place: very high, very low, and very swooshy. (That’s a technical term I just made up.) All this movement means that all of us are experiencing unusual weather. Above the line it tends to be cool, below warm.

weather, current fronts, April 24, 2008

Monorail cat: speed bump

This elevated monorail cat appears to be out of service.

humorous pictures

see more LOLcats

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