Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category


By Abel Majur Leek, Bor, Jonglei State

corruption in rss

Corruption in South Sudan

December 12, 2015 (SSB)  —-  I have heard different stories about people who lost their phones either by their own carelessness or by no fault of theirs. I, also have lost my phone once, but the focus will be on ways to checkmate re-use of stolen phones. Imagine you trying to shop in a large mall or market and before you are done with your shopping, your phone is gone. The truth is that your phone can be stolen anywhere, office, bus, mall, stadium etc.

One thing we should know, for those who do not know, is that virtually every phone has an anti-theft feature. This anti-theft feature helps the owner of the phone to prevent the person who stole the phone from using it. It also allows the owner to send messages to the stolen phone to either block, delete stored data or damage the phone.

(more…)


Ajang Barach-Magaar, Nairobi, Kenya

A selfie of Ajang Barach Daau

A selfie of Ajang Barach Daau

June 4, 2015 (SSB)  —  This article is generally addressed to the public, and in particular to the folks that are touted to be ardent apologists of feminism. For quite a long time now, I have had to humble myself and begrudgingly bottle up as crusaders of feminism defend it with an aesthetic devotion of a juvenile, mostly elsewhere.

The primary purpose of the article is to remind everyone of some well-established, brutal human behavioural realities. The biological discrepancies between the dominant man and sullen woman extend far beyond the anatomical aspects. There are marked physical and intellectual inequalities between the two genders.

The male superiority is sufficiently certain to serve as a point of departure from the spurious equality that people have arbitrarily imposed on modern societies. Feminism is a dangerous philosophy confounded by relative poverty of knowledge of evolutionary science.

In any human population, the female’s physical and intellectual inferiority is strikingly evident. Taxonomy of our distant posterity might eventually sub-divide Homo sapiens by placing women in a distinct, inferior sub-species. Some Scientists have even already suggested Homo frontalis for man, and Homo perietalis for woman. But let’s defer deliberations on that subject to a future date.

There may be a few exceptions, incidences where a woman exhibits venerable capabilities, vastly superior to the average man; evidence of this trend has been observed in studies involving the weak, emaciated and effeminate man, congenital idiot or a senile man. But as Gustave Le Bon brilliantly observed, this is as rare as the birth of any monstrosity – like the birth of a gorilla with two heads.

First of all, the behavioural patterns of the juvenile of both genders conspicuously resemble the woman during their early stages of development. As they hurtle headlong towards maturity, the male acquires superior intellectual and physical traits. The girl undergoes an arrested development. She continues to be timid, emotional and irregular in her actions. In fact, a mature woman is a stunted man! She is a replica of man’s past and a lower state of civilization.

As Gutave Le Bon succinctly quipped, women are closer to children and savages than they are to grown up civilized men. If you are a Dinka, then you must have witnessed a girl submitting to an elemental force during a marriage. Submission is a profound manifestation of inferiority. The explanation for the redundancy in women is encapsulated in our tortuous evolutionary history. The guiding generalities for our supremely disproportionate behavioural ramifications were the selective pressures.

The tasks of man have always involved complicated, high stake manoeuvres. Our ancestors used to hunt to mince off a living from their wild environment. As we all know, history is replete with innumerable instances where the hunter becomes the hunted. Our hunter progenitors had to balance between the risks of family starvation and avoid being devoured by the carnivals while scampering about on the remote Savana.

Taking this analogy as nicely elucidated by Charles Darwin, we can conclude that natural selection would have eliminated the weak, and allowed the strong to thrive. So a muscular, fast, intelligent hunter would be more apt to survive the hunt and bring back home the meal. This was in stark contrast to the woman who was exclusively restricted to a sedentary life of child-bearing and house-keeping.

Therefore, the woman’s brain & physique weren’t adequately challenged. Reports amongst South Sudanese Australians suggest that a substantial portion of women opt to offer child day care services. I’m genuinely not baffled by this widespread eventuality. For all practical purposes, even the woman of our modern era would optimally excel in small, repetitive role!

Secondly, there’s a stiffer competition for wives amongst men than amongst women in their bid to get husbands. To eclipse the chasing pack and carry off the prize (the wife), the man must not only be physically superior to his rivals, but also ought to be wittier. The man who is unfortunate enough to be deficient of these benevolent qualities have historically been dumped to the periphery of any society.

Through time, natural selection eventually ensures his descendants fizzle out of the gene pool, effectively rendering him extinct. While the man essentially requires these to gain a competitive edge, the woman only needs to be beautiful in order to summon his attention. She is also only tasked with choosing a suitable spouse, a far mundane challenge.

At this point dear reader, I must stop, for this is certainly not a scientific paper where you would expect a catalogue of postulations to serve as justifications behind the aetiology of the female’s inferiority. My argument was to demonstrate why feminism is a farce. In this paragraph, I would like to summarise my case. In 1860s (please refer to T. Bischoff’s work), Scientists performed series of craniometric experiments to determine the size of the woman’s brain.

The highest measurement ever obtained from a woman was 1,565 grams and it belonged to a woman who had killed her husband. Throughout human history, the woman has always played second fiddle to the man. Any deviation from this norm must be closely monitored. Too much of grandeur might be detrimental for some people. The women who have always proved superior to men have never made the requisite grade of good wives, or house-keepers.

Instead of lending a helping hand to the feminists, I feel that they deserve to be treated to a chorus of utmost contempt. Those who advance feminist views should be educated on the dangerous warmongering they are engaging in as equating a woman to a man would propagate perpetual elevation in the disintegration of family unit. The general implications of this should be better imagined than experienced.

In conclusion, the boy child is born brave, with all the hopes and responsibilities of the future. It is the man who is constantly active in combatting the hurdles of human advancement. Let the girl child remain weak and vulnerable. In evolutionary terms, education induces an almost insignificant transformation in anyone. Nothing will ever harmonise our biological disparities.

Formulating ideas for the welfare of women as a prelude to elevating them to equal societal status as men is an idea of a feeble logical maxim. This facet of activism is a sheer waste of everybody’s energy. Its proponents must know that there are phenomena that you cannot exonerate by just fighting.

The man will always be the serial paragon of wisdom in any human society. Nature has confined women to a position of permanent inferiority. Not even a professorial virtuosity can astutely counter the woman’s innate propensity of excelling in indolence, skewed logic and domination by emotions.

The author, Ajang Barach-Magaar, is a 4th Year Student of B.Sc. Biomedical Technology at the University of Nairobi, Kenya and can be reached through his email: Dau Barach <daubarach@gmail.com>

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB does reserve the right to edit the material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.


By Isaac Achol Malony

‘Only when the last tree has died
The last river has been poisoned
and the last fish has been caught
will we realised that we cannot eat money’

Based on the Cree saying of the wise Indian Scholar.

The initiative to establish the center for environment and Nile conservation has come as a result of strict observations made by scientists based in South Sudan on how rapidly the environment is being polluted. Well ware of the highest level of pollution being discharged directly into the river Nile and the surroundings; also well acquainted to long term pollution cases of rivers like the Ganges in India and the Ruhr in Europe and how the people and Governments there are now regretting such a state of being.

Hence we are coming up with a proposal to establish the Centre for environment and Nile conservation in South Sudan in order to preserve our environment and waters by teaching our people (public) and spread awareness to all before it’s too late to rescue the situation. There is a very high release of pollutants into the air and the water ways in South Sudan and up stream in Uganda.

The centre will focus on giving awareness on dangers of polluting the environment so badly so quickly to the current high levels of pollution within few years especially within the last decade and the speed with which it is escalating; which is quite alarming.

The targeted outcomes of this center will be to protect the abundant resources in the Sudd basin and other areas mainly for the seek of human race’s benefit worldwide and particularly the South Sudanese, Ugandans, Sudanese, Egyptians and others who depend or enjoy the Sudd basin and the Nile resources. Most of the pollutants going into the river are non degradable materials like PET bottles, glass materials, plastic bags, and all kinds of plastic materials from broken chairs, tables etc.

There are also many cases of observed and to some extent, unconfirmed sewage discharges into the river Nile and its tributaries especially small feeder streams in South Sudan that join it. The air in South Sudan is also being badly polluted within the vicinity of populated areas by burning tires, plastic bags and bottles anyhow; releasing possibly highly carcinogenic gases into the air of which people around the surroundings just keep breathing in with no choice at all. The said materials we are spoiling our environment with are successfully recycled in other parts of the World but such kind of practice is nonexistent in South Sudan, therefore worsening the situation and leaving the only option of dump everything everywhere with volumes increasing day by day.

We are seeing more water factories and other manufacturing properties coming up very rapidly in South Sudan, the oil sector is also seen to develop effectively in the next years to come with some number of refineries that may spring up, this raises a very worrying phenomenon of increased uncontrolled pollution of our environment.

The issue of generators is also disturbing with high levels of noise and smoke pollution. Although it’s well known in South Sudan that people have no choice for clean power sources like hydroelectricity electricity, solar (existent but very minimally used) and other clean sources, the population generally resorted to the use of the said generators, the public can be made aware of clean options like the solar energy which many over look in South Sudan.

Thus extensive teaching of the population can turn the scenario around. There is also an alarming manner in which petroleum waste is being disposed of here in south Sudan; this kind of waste is well known to have long term effect on the environment with tendency of being transferred to further locations by running water polluting large land surface and water sources from where it was dumped.

The Centre plans to liaise effectively with other world conservation and study centers, the government of South Sudan and great Lakes Countries, the UN Environmental body and other relevant institutions especially regionally. It will work hand in hand with the university of Juba or any designated University and other local institutions for effective outreach to the students studying in South Sudan so as for them to benefit from the teachings, deliver the message to the population and benefit from it as well so as some of them will take lead in environmental conservation in the near future.

The scientists involved being well aware of the kinds of pollutants affecting South Sudan, will take tours around the World in Countries of interest and in neighbouring Countries to acquaint themselves with better means of containing the pollution locally, they will also print campaign materials to spread environmental awareness among the communities and frame academic teaching materials to the students in South Sudan.

The group will also work hard to ensure effective running of this Centre.

Cde Isaac Achol Malony can be reached on: achol.isaac@yahoo.com

George Mel: The Plane-Builder of South Sudan

Posted: February 12, 2015 by PaanLuel Wël in Technology

George Mel with the light aircraft he taught himself to build

George Mel has dreamed of flying since he was a boy, but when his father died he had to give up his studies, and any chance of training to be a pilot. Instead he built a plane in his back yard – which so impressed his country’s air force that it gave him a job.

“I’ve had the passion to become an aeronautic engineer since I was young,” says George Mel, a 23-year-old, who lives in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.

“I love to make aircraft.

“When I was still young I tried to fly. I got curtains and put metal in to form wings, and got on top of the roof. I wanted to see if I would fly like a bird, but I fell. I almost broke my leg.”

Despite such early disappointments, Mel set out to learn as much as he could about aviation.

He went to study at high school in Uganda, but in 2011, as he was preparing for his final exams, his father died, leaving him unable to pay his tuition fees.

He had no choice but to give up his studies and come home.

But he continued to do whatever he could to teach himself aeronautics.

George Mel in his bedroom/study

Losing his father was bad, Mel says, but it also seemed to give him the space to pursue his goal.

“When I didn’t go to school I had a lot of time,” he says.

“My brain was released to do a lot of research. I didn’t just sit down… I stuck to my dreams and I started doing them practically and researching a lot.”

He painstakingly gathered the materials to build an aircraft, scouring Juba’s metal workshops to piece together an aluminium airframe, and importing two small petrol engines to power it.

Using a garden chair for the pilot’s seat, he put it aircraft together with information he found in old textbooks and on the internet.

In late 2013, South Sudan slid towards civil war amid a power struggle between the country’s two top politicians.

But Mel continued working on his aircraft even as the conflict spilled on to the streets around his family compound.

Shooting could be heard in his neighbourhood as fighting approached the United Nations mission close to Mel’s home.

“I didn’t stop my project,” he says, “I kept on doing it in my research centre. I just locked myself inside, and did my work.

“A lot of people left the place but I didn’t move anywhere. I didn’t know where to go, so I kept on doing my work.”

Mel’s “research centre” is his own room, where his bed sits alongside pieces of aircraft.

Model aircraft on the wall of George Mel's bedroom/study

“You can see wooden propellers here, and UAVs, because these were my interest, this is what I focused on.

“This is where I sleep, and the same place where I do my research, because they don’t have any working places like hangars at the moment.”

Occasionally, as the family bread-winner in one of Africa’s least developed economies, he has deemed it wise to conceal his activities from the rest of the household.

“Sometimes when I bring materials I sneak them into the house through the fence so they will not see. If they see, they will start saying I’m wasting money on crazy stuff,” he says.

But when Mel eventually took his work to the South Sudan Air Force, officers were impressed and gave him a job in their IT department.

He is now hoping to get a scholarship to study aeronautical engineering abroad.

So far the authorities in Juba have refused Mel permission to test-fly his ultra-light, restricting him to taxi-ing the aircraft in his yard.

But he remains determined to realise his ambitions, for himself and for the future of his country.

One of his aims is to develop a farming drone to spray crops, though in the long run, of course, he wants to design and build full-size planes.

George Mel with his light aircraft

On the tail of his first aircraft he has painted the South Sudanese flag, along with the words: “We have a future”.

“I’m very hopeful. What happened has happened and we have to move on with life,” says Mel.

“So we forget about the past and struggle for the future. Mainly as the youth we need to do our level best and lift up this country.

“It’s logic. The youth are the future of the country.”

George Mel spoke to Outlook on the BBC World Service. Listen again on iPlayer or get the Outlook podcast.


By Apioth Mayom Apioth

Artificial Intelligence could be our gravest existential threat, graver even than the possibility of a nuclear war. It would involve programming vast fields of human knowledge into machines we thought were going to make our lives easier and wealthier. A mere Google search can generate thousands of results. If we were to perpetually embark on feeding our vast arrays of knowledge into the machines, what will become of us when the unthinkable happen?  We have already witnessed how many deaths occur every year due to automobile accidents. Those accidents keep on happening even when we are controlling our vehicles; well, what about when we decide to let unmanned (independently uncontrolled) machines walk among us? Imagine, what could happen to a shopping mall whose robotic security guards suddenly turned violent due to a programmed defect of some kind in the system? The major cataclysmic threatening event they could inflict on us is of course war.

 In the case there is the possibility of a nuclear war; states could take sides, and thereby helping in the creation of alliances. And our human empathy could kick in when the victorious side is seeing the defeated side in dire circumstances. In the possibility of a nuclear war, once side could end up winning the war, leaving that side in a good shape, while in the case of machines rising up against us, we could face a never before seen annihilation of an apocalyptic proportions. Machines don’t have emotions, and so they don’t experience compassion the same way we feel pity for others who are going through tough times. We could never deny the fact that not all machines would turn against us; however, the thought of having an adversary’s side completely comprising of machines versus us with our allied Artificial Intelligence is a burdening concern. Our adversaries could come completely programmed with smarter devices, capable of ending all human life forms on earth. Our human brain is, in a sense, limited to store countless portfolio of information the way machines are created to do. Machines, on the other hand, have the storage capacity to take in whatever we can throw at them, and they can even process that information with greater power of efficiency, unlike our much slower brains, which are prone to take a 15-minute break in between.

To avoid the existential threat posed by Artificial Intelligence, we should invest much of our time, energies, and resources on those devices we can operate, and focus less on Artificial Intelligence that could operate independently without our humanly touch. The more we allow Artificial Intelligence to take over our social environment, the more they are going to hit us hard. We will be okay if we keep all our created devices at a lengthy distance.  Our biggest threat will come from diversification of Artificial Intelligence with everything pertaining our lifestyles. Creating independent Artificial Intelligent is tantamount to giving them our human spirit; which also means they can do everything we are all capable of, and much more, even driving us to the point of extinction. Obviously we are the brain behind all the modern Artificial Intelligence’s devices, and all the planned futuristic devices, so what is the big fuss all about? Anyone may ask. The speed by which they can attack our human race could be so damaging, that regenerating our kind may seem impossible to contemplate. Our brains go through some sort of procedures before they can actually come up with some inventive ideas.



Prospects for Peace in South Sudan

Speakers include:

Awan Guol Riak
Minister for the Presidency, Government of South Sudan


————————-

———————-

———————

——————-

Report on the trial of G4 in South Sudan

Makuei Kuir Biar is a member of the public who attended Court proceeding in Juba South Sudan where the four politicians are on trial on charges of treasons. This court came as a result of the December Juba crisis which was termed as a coup by the Government but disputed by the opposition as deliberate attempts by the Government in order to suppress the rest of political organisations.

http://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/dinka/highlight/page/id/327834/t/Report-on-the-trial-of-G4-in-South-Sudan/in/english#undefined.gbpl

——————-

Akutë kɔc ke dhetem jam në kake Panë Junup Thudän

Participants: Deng Duot Bior, Amer Mayen Dhieu, Deng Mayom Lueth, Mangok, and Adut Anthony dharuai

http://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/dinka/highlight/page/id/327830/t/The-forum-of-6

——————

Interview with Dr Luka Biong Deng

BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America has signed an executive order that will allow the congress and his Government to impose sanctions to individual South Sudanese who are believed to have perpetuated the violence or wanted to promote violence across the country, These conditions will apply to all parties involves in the fighting.

http://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/dinka/highlight/page/id/327846/t/Interview-with-Dr-Luka-Biong-Deng/in/english

—————–

Interview with Atem Yaak Atem

Atem Yak Atem is a former Deputy Minister of Information and Broadcasting in Republic of South Sudan, a professional journalist who has served in various high profile positions Sudan Government, Sudanese People Liberation Movement and freelance writer for various newspapers.

http://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/dinka/highlight/page/id/327842/t/Interview-with-Atem-Yaak-Atem/in/english

The Relativity of Wrong

Posted: November 6, 2013 by PaanLuel Wël in Philosophy, Science, Technology

The young specialist in English Lit, having quoted me, went on to lecture me severely on the fact that in every century people have thought they understood the universe at last, and in every century they were proved to be wrong. It follows that the one thing we can say about our modern “knowledge” is that it is wrong. The young man then quoted with approval what Socrates had said on learning that the Delphic oracle had proclaimed him the wisest man in Greece. “If I am the wisest man,” said Socrates, “it is because I alone know that I know nothing.” the implication was that I was very foolish because I was under the impression I knew a great deal. My answer to him was, “John, when people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.” The basic trouble, you see, is that people think that “right” and “wrong” are absolute; that everything that isn’t perfectly and completely right is totally and equally wrong. However, I don’t think that’s so. It seems to me that right and wrong are fuzzy concepts, and I will devote this essay to an explanation of why I think so.


As Interest Fades in the Humanities, Colleges Worry

Many do not understand that the study of humanities offers skills that will help them sort out values, conflicting issues and fundamental philosophical questions, said Leon Botstein, the president of Bard College. “We have failed to make the case that those skills are as essential to engineers and scientists and businessmen as to philosophy professors,” he said.

Science Is Not Your Enemy

Scientific ideas and discoveries about living nature and man, perfectly welcome and harmless in themselves, are being enlisted to do battle against our traditional religious and moral teachings, and even our self-understanding as creatures with freedom and dignity. A quasi-religious faith has sprung up among us—let me call it “soul-less scientism”—which believes that our new biology, eliminating all mystery, can give a complete account of human life, giving purely scientific explanations of human thought, love, creativity, moral judgment, and even why we believe in God. … Make no mistake. The stakes in this contest are high: at issue are the moral and spiritual health of our nation, the continued vitality of science, and our own self-understanding as human beings and as children of the West. 

Crimes Against Humanities

The question of the place of science in knowledge, and in society, and in life, is not a scientific question. Science confers no special authority, it confers no authority at all, for the attempt to answer a nonscientific question. It is not for science to say whether science belongs in morality and politics and art. Those are philosophical matters, and science is not philosophy, even if philosophy has since its beginnings been receptive to science. Nor does science confer any license to extend its categories and its methods beyond its own realms, whose contours are of course a matter of debate. The credibility of physicists and biologists and economists on the subject of the meaning of life—what used to be called the ultimate verities, secularly or religiously constructed—cannot be owed to their work in physics and biology and economics, however distinguished it is. The extrapolation of larger ideas about life from the procedures and the conclusions of various sciences is quite common, but it is not in itself justified; and its justification cannot be made on internally scientific grounds, at least if the intellectual situation is not to be rigged. Science does come with a worldview, but there remains the question of whether it can suffice for the entirety of a human worldview. To have a worldview, Musil once remarked, you must have a view of the world. That is, of the whole of the world. But the reach of the scientific standpoint may not be as considerable or as comprehensive as some of its defenders maintain.

Is the ‘Dumb Jock’ Really a Nerd?

In the frequent debates over the merits of science and philosophy, or the humanities in general, it is often assumed that the factual grounding and systematic methodology of the sciences serve as a corrective to the less rigorous wanderings of the humanities. And while many take the position that the humanities can provide their own important path to enlightenment, few argue that considerations from philosophy can or should correct the considered judgment of scientists. Even most defenders of the humanities hold that the sciences are directed at truth, whereas the humanities have an alternate goal, perhaps the molding of ideal citizens.


Sad Day As Renowned Blogger And Coder Idd Salim Passes On

Even before Kenyans are over with mourning the souls that we lost in the Westgate attack, we are hit by more bad news. The Kenyan online community has lost renowned blogger, coder and twitter bigwig Idd Salim who passed on Yesterday night at St. Mary’s hospital. Reports claim that the blogger died from a chest infection (Tuberculosis) after ailing for a few days.

His blog

http://www.iddsalim.com/blog/2013/07/08/3-reasons-why-silicon-semenya-kenya-will-never-match-silicon-valley-us/

Tribute Articles

1. http://www.trending.co.ke/even_when_gonethus_spaketh_idd-267564315.html?xrs=RebelMouse_tw

2. http://www.nation.co.ke/oped/blogs/KAMUNYU-A-tribute-to-Idd-Salim/-/634/2006370/-/15h5l9qz/-/index.html


29 August 2012—(Juba) —A South Sudanese Engineer has been awarded a patent for invention in the United States for designing a Canadian oil processing facility and Oil infrastructure equipment named as the ‘High Temperature high pressure Dehydrator.’

Everett Kamandala Minga who is currently working for the Nile Petroleum Corporation is a South Sudanese from Yei.

The Canadian oil is currently being produced with several techniques such as in situ Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage.

Using drilling technology, steam is injected into the deposit to heat the oil sand lowering the viscosity of the crude oil.

The heavy bitumen oil migrates toward producing wells, bringing it to the surface, while the sand is left in place.

Due to the cumbersome and expensive processes involved in drilling Canadian crude oil, the Texas-based Cameron Oil Company tasked Engineer Minga and his American colleague with a 15-20-year work, aimed at devising a simpler technology.

The technology Minga and Sams invented, Electrostatic Dehydrator, can now process the Canadian heavy crude oil without the use of Naphtha, saving the industry billions of dollars and saving the environment from the Naphtha chemical in the process.

The invention will soon be made commercial Cameron company which specializes in Oil and Gas equipment’s based in Houston Texas.

It took Engineer Everett Minga the principle engineer 2 years of hard work to perfect the invention.

Speaking to SRS by phone from Juba on Wednesday, Engineer Minga said he dedicated his achievement to South Sudan.

[Everett Minga]: “I feel very proud because to me, this is not something that I have done for myself; this is something for the whole nation of South Sudan. I know we have a lot of brilliant people, there are far more brilliant people than me but our problem is that we were not given the opportunity to highlight what we can do. Unfortunately, most of us had to go outside in order to be able to achieve or climb up very high. This is something I am very proud of and I dedicate to our new country, South Sudan. I am hoping that our government and our people particlulary in the ministry of education will be able to use my example, to be able to give opportunities. Our universities and even places of work should give room for people to innovate. This is something our country should be able to encourage because now if you do not produce technology, you will be nothing. So, this is something I hope our government will take seriously to encourage more young people.”

Everett Minga is an Msc graduate of Chemical Engineering from the North Carolina State University and has worked for 12 years in the oil and gas industry in America.

He is an expert specialist and design engineer on oil and gas infrastructure and facilities including pipelines.

Currently he is the General Manager of Engineering and Infrastructure at the Nile Petroleum Corporation, the National oil and Gas Company of the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining of the Republic of South Sudan.

Minga went to the US in 1993 after completing high school in Comboni college in Khartoum.

http://www.sudanradio.org/science-technology-us-government-awards-south-sudanese-engineer-patent-inventing-oil-processing-tech


Great work!!

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-14/iburst-builds-fast-internet-for-south-sudan-in-three-year-plan.html

How to Generate a Good Idea

Posted: May 3, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël in Technology

Sam McNerney on May 3, 2012

Several years ago, Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister conducted a study that measured the productivity of computer programmers. Their data set included more than 600 programmers from 92 companies. According to Susan Cain, author of the recently released book Quiet: The Power of Introverts, DeMarco and Lister found that what distinguished the best programmers was not experience or salary, but privacy: personal workspace and freedom from interruption.

In fact, “sixty-two percent of the best performers said their workspace was sufficiently private compared with only 19 percent of the worst performers. Seventy-six percent of the worst programmers but only 38 percent of the best said that they were often interrupted needlessly.”

In Quiet, her manifesto, Cain criticizes the new “Groupthink” model that she says dominates our schools and work places. Indeed, students are encouraged to collaborate with their peers often, and many businesses (70% by Cain’s estimate) sport open office plans to encourage their employees to freely exchange ideas. The idea behind Groupthink models is that creativity and achievement requires other people. Lone geniuses are out, says Cain, and collaboration is in.

She’s right to criticize Groupthink, and to argue that society is snuffing out the potential of introverts – roughly a third to a half of the population – by forcing them to work in teams. When it comes to stimulating creativity, brainstorming is one of the least efficient methods.

Social scientists have known this for years. In a series of experiments conducted in the 1950s, researchers found that “individuals almost always perform better than groups in both quality and quantity, and group performance gets worse as group size increases.” Studies have replicated similar findings, and they all highlight the same problem: “People in groups tend to sit back and let others do the work; they instinctively mimic others’ opinions and lose sight of their own; and, often succumb to peer pressure.”

The lesson? Picasso was right. “Without great solitude, no serious work is possible.” So was Steve Wosniak, who in his memoir explained that, “most inventors and engineers I’ve met are like me … they live in their heads. They’re almost like artists… And artists work best alone …. I’m going to give you some advice that might be hard to take. That advice is: Work alone… Not on a committee. Not on a team.”

But let’s not forget that during that collaboration and feedback from other people are essential to the creative process at certain points. This is why English coffeehouses were central to the Enlightenment. As the writer Steven Berlin Johnson says, “[they] fertilized countless Enlightenment-era innovations; everything from the science of electricity, to the insurance industry, to democracy itself.” They were a place where ideas went to have sex, as Matt Ridley says. (Replacing a depressant – alcohol – with a stimulant – caffeine – didn’t hurt either.

Two interesting examples, both brought to my attention by Jonah Lehrer’s latest book Imagine, illustrate the important role other people play in the idea generation process. The first is a study conducted by Adam Jaffe, an economist at Brandeis University. After analyzing a paper trail of patent citations, Jaffe found that “innovation was largely a local process; citations were nearly ten times as likely to come from the same metropolitan area as a control patent.” Jaffe’s finding suggests that inventors are greatly inspired by their fellow inventors, and that the closer they live to each other the better they are at generating ideas. This helps explain why geniuses tend to arise in clusters – think Silicon valley or ancient Athens – and why these clusters are almost always located in metropolitan areas.

The second example comes from a 2010 study by Harvard Medical School researcher Isaac Kohane. Kohane wanted to know how physical proximity affected the quality of scientific research, so he gathered more than thirty-five thousand peer-reviewed papers and mapped the location of the authors. An obvious correlation appeared: “When coauthors were located closer together, their papers tended to be of significantly higher quality, as measured by the number of subsequent citations.”

These examples reinforce a point the Harvard economist Edward Glaeser makes in his New York Times bestselling book Triumph of the City: “Cities speed innovation by connecting their smart inhabitants to each other… proximity makes it easier to exchanges ideas or goods.”

Exchanging ideas and collaborating is, however, worthless without honest criticism and good feedback. A great study conducted by Charlan Nemeth, Bernard Personnaz, Maris Personnaz and Jack A. Goncalo demonstrates this by “testing the potential value of permitting criticism and dissent.” The researchers created three groups of people – minimal, brainstorming and debate – and had them discuss a topic. They found that, “groups encouraged to debate—even criticize (Debate condition) did not retard idea generation, as many would have predicted. In fact, such permission to criticize led to significantly more (rather than less) ideas than did the Minimal condition, both in the group and in total production of ideas.” Exchanging ideas with your peers is good, then, as long as it doesn’t turn into a wishy-washy brainstorming session.

A similar line of reasoning applies to the office floor plans of which Cain is critical – some isolation is good, but too much is bad. At Pixar, for example, Steve Jobs insisted that the architect position the bathrooms at the center of the building so that an animator could easily strike up a conversation with a designer who could bounce ideas off of the COO. This model is the 21st century coffeehouse, and it can be found in the offices of some of the most innovative companies.

What all this means is that generating an idea is a balancing act. When it comes to getting work done and being creative, hell is other people, as Sartre said. But let’s not forget that no man is an island; other people are indispensable when they provide us with inspiration and thoughtful criticism. Steve Wosniak was, after all, one half of one of the greatest collaborations in the 20th century — despite his introverted nature.

Dmitriy Shironosov/Shutterstock.com

http://bigthink.com/ideas/how-to-generate-a-good-idea?page=all


Abdu Sekalala studies while his innovations make him money. Photo by Patience Ahimbisibwe

By Patience Ahimbisibwe Friday, April 20  2012

At just 22 years, Abdu Ssekalala’s appearance is that of an ordinary student, but looks can be deceptive. The young man, is no ordinary student, while his colleagues await to celebrate sitting their last exam, he is already thinking about his next big challenge, how to improve his first innovation, a computer application. While others worry about where to find a job and earn their first salary, Sekalala is keenly watching the number of downloads of his application in one column while he calculates the financial return the hits make in the other.

Sekalala is a student of at Makerere University’s School of Computing and Informatics Technology (CIT) who has so far developed at least nine internationally recognized mobile phone applications that are not only building his career as an innovator but minting millions for him.

Sekalala got his break when Nokia, an international mobile phone company organized a special training session to help software developers hone their skills. The training in April and May last year presented a major break for the young man, whose application has crossed quarter a million hits so far.
While Sekalala’s success has excited his colleagues and trainers at Makerere, the challenge is where he will manage to control the excitement and keep focused. Sekalala says this is exactly what he is gunning for.
Software development has lately become an a global hit to make dollar millionaires and billionaires with the likes of Mark Zuckerberg founder of the social networking site Facebook, which he founded with colleagues while a student at Havard in 2004. Mr Zuckerberg is only 27 and is worth US$17bn (one and a half times bigger than the entire Ugandan budget for last year).

Finding success
Sekalala’s most successful application is the Wordbook which has already gone commercial and is making for him a Euro per down load or Shs3,200. Wordbook is a dictionary application with word of the day capability fully packed with definitions, examples and a selection of related words.

Speaking to Jobs and Career, Sekalala said his current success was guided by a clear focus and paying attention and making the best of the training opportunity when it presented itself.

“I paid attention throughout the sessions because I didn’t want to miss any information that I would [later] need. When we were asked to develop our own, I put my best and luckily my applications have been adopted by Nokia,” Ssekalala told Jobs and Career.

The applications are available on the Nokia Ovi Store with one of them, the Uganda Theme is a free download which has attracted over 300, 000 downloads making it the third most downloaded application.

The Nokia Ovi Store, is the firm’s application store. The greatest number of the downloads was registered in the Asian countries of India and Thailand.

Advice to young people
There is nothing impossible once you are determined to achieve your goals. He encourages young people to utilize all chances available while still in school.

The College’s training was aimed at improving the student’s mobile application development techniques to enable the public use Ugandan products world over and improve the visibility of the local software developers in the country.

His other applications 
101 Romantic SMS, WhirlSports, nLightFlashlight and Tutu translate are free but have adverts provided by an Indian-based firm Vserv. Ssekalala is paid for the different brands that advertise through his applications.

He has already achieved his one million target downloads for his mobile applications and is set to earn $1million (about Shs2.5billion) before he turns 23.

“I make at least $100 (Shs250,000) a day from one application. I don’t have to look for a job after I finish school. In fact I make money while am seated in class learning and make more money than my lecturers,” Ssekalala boasted.
Michael Niyitegeka, a computer and information technology lecturer at the university said it is one of the university’s strategy to partner with government and the private sector to familiarize the students with employers so that they get to know what is needed before they are there.

Ssekalala already owns two companies; Gogetta which employs eight people and Foo Technology with seven employees. The companies focus on mobile and website development.

“Ever since I was a kid, I always wanted to do something with computers and my biggest motivation has always been a desire to innovate and leave a mark that says I was once here,” he said.

pahimbisibwe@ug.nationmedia.com

Mind-reading: The terrible truth

Posted: October 31, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël in Technology

This is an interesting article from The Economist Magazine. I got the audio edition from my subscription and then feel like I should post the printed version on the blog because, scary and eerily as it seems, the government would, sooner than later, be browsing our minds, just as we browse the net! Mind-Googling, Mind-Reading, Mind-browsing!

The CIA will be having a field day, not that it hasn’t been already! I guess the constitution should legalize lying since, as the article argues, it seems as one of our indispensable evolutionary traits.

Should this technology materialize, Emanuel Kant, whose theory of justice espouses telling the truth under all circumstances and all the time, would be celebrating in his grave!

Enjoy your lies before they last!!

PaanLuel Wel

Technology can now see what people are thinking. Be afraid

Oct 29th 2011 | from the print edition

DOUGLAS ADAMS, the late lamented author of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, dreamed up many comic creations. One of his greatest was the Babel fish. This interstellar ichthyoid neatly disposed of a problem all science-fiction authors have: how to let alien species talk to one another. It did so by acting as a mind-reader that translated thoughts between different races and cultures. Universal communication did not, unfortunately, lead to universal harmony. As Adams put it, “The poor Babel fish has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.”

For the moment, mind-reading is still science fiction. But that may not be true for much longer. Several lines of inquiry (see article) are converging on the idea that the neurological activity of the brain can be decoded directly, and people’s thoughts revealed without being spoken.

Just imagine the potential benefits. Such a development would allow both the fit and the disabled to operate machines merely by choosing what they want those machines to do. It would permit the profoundly handicapped—those paralysed by conditions such as motor-neuron disease and cerebral palsy—to communicate more easily than is now possible even with the text-based speech engines used by the likes of Stephen Hawking. It might unlock the mental prisons of people apparently in comas, who nevertheless show some signs of neural activity. For the able-bodied, it could allow workers to dictate documents silently to computers simply by thinking about what they want to say. The most profound implication, however, is that it would abolish the ability to lie.

Who could object to that? Thou shalt not bear false witness. Tell the truth, and shame the Devil. Transparency, management-speak for honesty, is put forward as the answer to most of today’s ills. But the truth of the matter—honestly—is that this would lead to disaster, for lying is at the heart of civilisation.

People are not the only creatures who lie. Species from squids to chimpanzees have been caught doing it from time to time. But only Homo sapiens has turned lying into an art. Call it diplomacy, public relations or simple good manners: lying is one of the things that makes the world go round.

Minds matter

The occasional untruth makes domestic life possible (“Of course your bum doesn’t look big in that”), is essential in the office (“Don’t worry, everybody’s behind you on this one”), and forms a crucial part of parenting (“It didn’t matter that you forgot your words and your costume fell off. You were wonderful”). Politics might be more entertaining without lies—“The prime minister has my full support” would be translated as, “If that half-wit persists in this insane course we’ll all be out on our ears”—but a party system would be hard to sustain without the semblance of loyalty that dishonesty permits.

The truly scary prospect, however, is the effect mind-reading would have on relations between the state and the individual. In a world in which the authorities could divine people’s thoughts, speaking truth to power would no longer be brave: it would be unavoidable.

Information technology already means that physical privacy has become a scarce commodity. Websites track your interests and purchases. Mobile phones give away your location. Video cameras record what you are up to. Lose mental privacy as well, and there really will be nowhere to hide.

http://www.economist.com/node/21534780