Friday, July 13, 2012

Fight for Reproductive Health Bill grows in the Philippines

The Lancet, Volume 380, Issue 9837, Page 98, 14 July 2012

Citing recent government statistics, which show that the maternal mortality rate (MMR) in the Philippines is increasing, groups in support of a long-awaited Reproductive Health Bill are calling for it to become law as the new Congress session starts on July 23.
In late June, senators in favour of the bill, which covers the allocation of funds for contraceptives and the introduction of better sex education for children, reiterated the urgency to pass this legislation. Senator Pia Cayetano, principal sponsor of Senate Bill 2865, the Senate's version of the measure, said the Philippines might fail to reach the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for maternal health by 2015, citing the results of the 2011 Family Health Survey. “During the past decade that the bill has been stalled in Congress, our MMR has not declined. In fact it has increased to 221 deaths per 100 000 livebirths from 162 deaths from the period 2000—2005”, Cayetano said in a statement, adding that the country's target is to reduce the rate to 52 per 100 000 livebirths by 2015.
Put simply, the results of the Family Health Survey mean that an estimated 11 women die every day in the Philippines from preventable complications arising from pregnancy and childbirth. During the launch of the survey on June 19, Health Secretary Enrique Ona, said: “The number of maternal deaths being reported today also gives us the much needed push to pass critical legislation in support of reproductive health, [and] the amendment of the midwifery and other health professions laws that will allow the provision of critical maternal health services to be provided by other health workers…”.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Memristor True Random-Number Generator

Noise in a compact resistive memory could bring true random digits to low-power logic

By YU-TZU CHIU  /  JULY 2012
Photo: National Tsing Hua University
CONTACT RRAM: The resistive memory cell sits between a tungsten contact and the transistor's drain region.

12 July 2012—Engineers in Taiwan say they’ve invented a tiny low-power circuit based on memristors that could improve the security of data transmission over the Internet and of using Near Field Communication (NFC) from smartphone wallets. The security of many digital transactions depends on generating truly random numbers, something that’s difficult to do using today’s digital circuits, which typically produce numbers that aren’t completely random. The new memristor circuit rapidly spits out true random numbers while consuming less energy compared with other techniques, according to research in an upcoming issue of IEEE Electron Device Letters.
Memristors and resistive random-access memories (RRAMs) store information as resistance rather than charge, as other memories do. They are made by sandwiching a resistive material or a stack of materials between two electrodes. The device’s resistance can be reversibly increased or decreased by applying a certain level of voltage across the device.