Archives August 2016

Long Beach Doctor Collects and Donates 100,000 Pairs of Shoes

One shoe company has now sold more than 19 million pairs of its very first shoe. While this is certainly an impressive feat of business, one doctor has an even more heartwarming story of footwear.

Though he hasn’t quite hit the 19 million mark, Dr. Don Kim of Long Beach has led a shoe drive for nearly 20 years. As of 2016, he has collected and donated approximately 100,000 pairs of shoes to those in need.

Kim was inspired while providing free podiatry care in Mexico.

“Kids that I saw in Mexico, they were playing soccer, but they didn’t have shoes. Even though they were great players, obviously it couldn’t protect them from injuring their toes, and when they’re kicking and spraining ankles and a lot of different things they do playing soccer, they can really help when you have shoes,” he said.

When he returned to Southern California, he realized that kids here in the U.S. were in need of shoes as well.

Kim has a 13-year-old helper, Monica Hyndman, who has been contributing to the shoe drive since she was in second grade. For the past six years, Monica has been setting up collection boxes at her school and encouraging her friends to bring in old shoes.

“It makes me feel good to help other kids,” Monica said. “I do this because it’s the right thing to do, and I was inspired when I went to Guatemala when I was in first grade. I took a trip to Guatemala, I saw kids with no shoes and I said I need to make a difference.”

Earlier this month, Monica and other volunteers sorted through shoes during this year’s drive, which took place at the Dr. Kim Foot Center in Long Beach.

Drone Delivery Dream Starting to Become a Reality

People have been fantasizing about drone delivery programs for a long time and it looks like it’s finally happening.

According to Packaging Digest, Google, Amazon, Walmart and plenty more organizations are working toward aerial drone delivery programs. Imagine ordering an item online and receiving it in 30 minutes, rather than waiting a few days. Even in today’s immediate world, drones could speed up the immediacy.

In a Walker Sands Communications 2016 Survey, 79% of respondents stated that they would be either “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to request delivery by drone if it meant faster delivery speeds. These 1,433 respondents believe we will soon be living in this drone-delivered world, as 26% expect drone delivery to be available in the next two years and 30% believing this technology will be available in the next five years.

E-commerce websites like Etsy, which has over 250,000 active users at any moment and more than 2 million new listings each month, will benefit from having yet another delivery option available for their customers. Roughly 73% of Walker Sands’ survey respondents admitted that they would pay up to $10 for drone shipping if it was available.

“What is it that a bike messenger can’t do, a delivery truck can’t do, FedEx can’t do?” asked Frank Ketcham, CEO and founder of Senord Technologies, which uses aerial drones to inspect infrastructure and properties. Ketcham is skeptical about the benefit of drones in the packaging deliver industry because the items that would be delivered aren’t necessarily needed immediately.

“There’s a very small segment where delivering by drone really makes sense,” added Ketcham. “It’s getting medications to people that are in remote areas — getting the serum to the dying baby.”

Flirtey, a Reno, Nevada, drone-delivery startup company, has already completed demonstrations of delivering medical items to those in need. Working along with Johns Hopkins, they transported medical supplies and bio-samples between an area of New Jersey and an offshore barge.

The New York Times reports that autonomous drones flying through the air could still be a few years off because of social issues and regulations, but it’s still much closer than self-driving cars, which many companies believe could soon come to fruition.

“It’s a vastly easier problem — flying than driving,” said Keller Rinaudo, co-founder of Zipline, another drone-delivery startup company that plans on delivering medical goods to Rwanda over the next few months. “If we had regulatory permission, we’d be delivering to your house right now.”

Despite a few glitches, social problems and laws and regulations to hurdle, it’s no doubt that drone delivery can soon change the way business is done and how the world operates.

Scientists Discover New Anti-Malaria Compound, Hopeful It Can Lead to a Cure

The ongoing battle against Malaria continues, but scientists are getting closer to a potential cure.

According to Quartz, scientists at the University of Cape Town’s Drug Discovery and Development Centre (H3D), along with the help of Medicines for Malaria Venture, have discovered a new anti-malaria compound. This has “the potential for both treatment and prevention of malaria,” said H3D researches.

The compound, known as UCT943, is currently being developed in labs. H3D drug center selected the MMV390048 compound for assessment in 2012, but researchers believe that this new discovery may be more effective against the malaria parasite, as well as being easier to produce.

Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine reports that since 2000, the rate of malaria infections across Africa have been cut in half. Efforts to fight this disease have certainly increased, but there is still a long way to go. H3D researchers hope this new compound can speed up the process and eventually lead to a cure.

“It is very important to build a pipeline of candidate drugs, as there are no guarantees,” said Kelly Chibale, H3D director. “Even if MMV390048 makes it [onto the market], it is only a matter of time before resistance develops, and we will need backups.”

Business Day Live reports that the preclinical assessment of the new compound — UCT943 — would take about 18 months. After that, the next stage would be a phase 1 clinical trial.

Having these two compounds in the works provides plenty of optimism around the health industry. Even if these two aren’t going to completely solve the problem, this research could soon lead to it.

“Delivering two preclinical candidates within five years is an outstanding record by international standards, especially for a drug discovery centre at an academic institution,” said Max Price, University of Cape Town vice-chancellor. “The value of a second candidate signals that the first compound was not a one-off, but part of a sustained and systematic programme.”

Cyber-Monitored Buildings Could be the Future of Enhanced Construction Site Safety

Approximately 35% of construction site injuries and 14% of construction site deaths are caused by machine-related accidents, but job sites could be getting a lot safer in the not-so-distant future.

The use of Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) will allow temporary structures often used on construction sites to be monitored and assessed for any potential safety hazards that they may possess.

The National Science Foundation defines CPS as engineered systems that are built from, and depend on, the seamless integration of computational algorithms and physical components.

The agency hopes that these systems will be the driving and enabling force in capability, adaptability, resiliency, safety, and security on construction sites around the world.

A recent study by Xiao Yuan, an architectural engineering Ph.D. candidate, focused on enhancing these systems and their monitoring capabilities.

Yuan’s study investigated how linking sensors to structures and virtual models could better ensure the safety of over 75% of construction workers who work on or around temporary structures, which may include sheeting and shoring, temporary bracing or guide rails, soil backfill, formwork systems, scaffolding, and countless other hazards.

Although countless safety advances have been made in construction, it doesn’t mean that injuries are non-existent.

Junior Strickland is still recovering from injuries that he sustained in June when he fell two stories to the ground.

“Workers told us that one of their workers with Wise Construction Company was on the roof using a jackhammer to break loose some concrete. They were trying to open up the building … the concrete collapsed underneath him. He … fell down to the ground floor,” said Chattanooga Fire Department Spokesperson Bruce Garner.

Strickland suffered several broken ribs and severe injuries to the head, spine and leg, all of which required multiple surgeries.

OSHA contacted Strickland to inquire about his injuries and the safety measures put in place at the time of the accident.

“They said we were supposed to have safety harnesses and stuff like that on. We should have had safety gear and a safety net. That’s what the [OSHA] guy told me. He said that’s what we should have been wearing. We had none of that,” Strickland said.

Although OSHA-required safety training programs, safety practices, and regulations have been put in place to address the alarming number of deaths and injuries on construction sites, continued advancement and research into innovative safety is needed.