Thursday, September 22, 2011

GPS COP 24/7

Every time I check the stats on this forum, they continue to amazed, shock and bewilder me as I assess the who, when, what and where readers are coming from to read this platform and then I try to figure our the "why." Many of you have stated that certain information posted here have allowed you to be "more in the loop" due your remoteness or lack of other interactivity. I heard this especially from those of you whom live in outlying areas such as Mena, Round Pond, Star City, many points in Northwest Arkansas as well as the Ozarks. However even more surprising are stats that reveal our foreign visitors from France, Great Britain, Ireland, the Middle East and Taiwan. Yes my friends, CorneliusOnpoint seems to have an extended reach allowing us to be apart of the "global public square," ala CNN's Fareed Zakeera. When we speak of the world as "flat" it truly is as our special brand of news, updates, coverage and what have you gets notice in places and from people who may never visit our shores let alone this state. Therefore I say, "Hello World and thanks for checking out COP 24/7!" Come follow us and be apart of what's really going on stateside and otherwise. Welcome!!!!

Gamers Tackle AIDS Enzymes

It's never obvious where the next "frontier" will occur when it comes to HIV/AIDS. Within the last three decades there have been tremendous break through and possibilities that are allowing individuals to live longer and full filling lives. Now comes words that "gamers" are becoming the latest warriors in the battle to end HIV/ AIDS in the 21st Century. The Internet has been abuzz with the story that online gamers have achieved a feat beyond the realm of Second Life or Dungeons and Dragons: they have deciphered the structure of an enzyme of an AIDS-like virus that had thwarted scientists for a decade. The exploit is published on Sunday in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, where exceptionally in scientific publishing -- both gamers and researchers are honoured as co-authors.Their target was a monomeric protease enzyme, a cutting agent in the complex molecular tailoring of retroviruses, a family that includes HIV.Figuring out the structure of proteins is vital for understanding the causes of many diseases and developing drugs to block them. But a microscope gives only a flat image of what to the outsider looks like a plate of one dimensional scrunched-up spaghetti. Pharmacologists, though, need a 3-D picture that "unfolds"the molecule and rotates it in order to reveal potential targets for drugs.This is where Foldit comes in.

Developed in 2008 by the University of Washington, it is a fun-for-purpose video game in which gamers, divided into competing groups, compete to unfold chains of amino acids -- the building blocks of proteins -- using a set of online tools. To the astonishment of the scientists, the gamers produced an accurate model of the enzyme in just three weeks. Cracking the enzyme "provides new insights for the design of antiretroviral drugs," says the study, referring to the lifeline medication against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It is believed to be the first time that gamers have resolved a long-standing scientific problem. "We wanted to see if human intuition could succeed where automated methods had failed," Firas Khatib of the university's biochemistry lab said in a press release."The ingenuity of game players is a formidable force that, if properly directed, can be used to solve a wide range of scientific problems." One of Foldit's creators, Seth Cooper, explained why gamers had succeeded where computers had failed."People have spatial reasoning skills, something computers are not yet good at," he said. "Games provide a framework for bringing together the strengths of computers and humans. The results in this week's paper show that gaming, science and computation can be combined to make advances that were not possible before."

State of Identity: Saving the Date

Have you saved the date October 15, 1-3:30 PM  La, Quinta Inn & Suites, 415 Broadway in downtown Little Rock for the Strengthening Arkansas: State of Identity event?  If not, you should do so. This programming will run during the Fall Midland and National Board meeting weekend of The National Association of Black and White Men Together, Inc. If you've saved the date, then be prepared to come share your interpretations, observations, introspective and expressions of what' community means to you, how your place within it has affected you as well as your interactions within it. Jointly produced by The Living Affected Corporation and Southern Men's Alliance for Sexual Health, the event is being offered free as a community wide forum to determine what's important to those within the SGL/LGBTQ communities and beyond. Results from mini focus groups revealed that individuals have cited a "generational" void involving role models and mentors for gay youth. Organizers are seeking to explore "mirror mirror" questions as to how locals see themselves or others from their daily interactions or over the course of their lives. The afternoon session is designed to create an non-threatening space for participants to bring their issues to the "community table." Jamal Clue, Harvard Graduate student and N A Ringo Fellow is scheduled to facilitate the exercise in conjunction with other local CBO's. For more info click: or call 877-902-7HIV  Tell them you heard about it on COP 24/7! Where else are you going to hear about it?


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