Broke States


Osun State is in big trouble. If you’ve been paying attention to the news, you would have seen stories of how the state is owing its workers anywhere from 3 to 7 months salaries. So much so that the Ijesha North Diocese of the Methodist Church of Nigeria issued a communique at the end of its recent synod asking Ogbeni to pay up at his earliest convenience:

The synod wished that the state government should look into the payment of her workers’ salaries and retirees’ pensions as at when due in order to save their dependants from untold hardship and untimely death

Safe to say that when the Methodist Church is on your case like this, the garri has been inundated by a surfeit of water. Everyone on social media has a story to tell about someone they know (or perhaps they themselves) being owed their salaries.

The Governor himself

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Meet the new meat: A TEDx talk to pair with the first lab-grown hamburger

TED Blog

Yesterday, the first lab-grown hamburger was cooked. And eaten! And according to The Week, it didn’t taste too bad. This lab-grown patty took two years and $325,000 to produce. And as sources revealed, the money came from Google co-founder and TED speaker Sergey Brin. (Watch his talk on Google Glass, or his talk with Larry Page on the genesis of Google.)

But the TED connection doesn’t end there. The burger is a product of Cultured Beef, a project born at Maastricht University in The Netherlands and headed by Mark Post, a specialist in tissue engineering.  At TEDxHaarlem, Post gave a talk called Meet the new meat, during which he introduced Cultured Beef to the world and explained the process behind its growth. He also discussed the future he envisions for in-vitro meat.

Here’s an excerpt from his talk, featured above:

“This hamburger contains 60 billion cells. Now, that’s a lot…

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BlackBerry Plans To Launch BBM Across Multiple Platforms This Summer

Inside BlackBerry

BBM BBM Across Multiple Platforms

If you’re already a fan of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), we’ve got some exciting news designed to make it easier for you to connect with your entire mobile social network. BlackBerry plans to make BBM, our wildly popular mobile messaging service, available for the first time to iOS® and Android™ users this summer, (subject to approval by Google Play and the Apple App Store, as applicable). This means that, once available, you can welcome your friends and family using these other mobile platforms to connect over BBM and share in the Team BlackBerry love.

As we’ve chronicled on our Inside BlackBerry blog for some time now, BBM set the standard for mobile instant messaging with fast and reliable service and an added layer of engagement with delivered and read statuses. You’ve shared with us your stories about how BBM has kept you connected when it mattered most to you. Upon release…

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Mobile Number Portability in Nigeria – The subscriber war has begun!

It has finally happened! After dancing around the issue, and numerous deadline shifts and compromises between the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the various Nigerian GSM network operators, Mobile Number Portability (MNP) has finally arrived in Nigeria. In typical Nigerian fashion, it landed unexpectedly with some strong moves being made by the various network providers in Nigeria to woo new customers into switching over.

The most surprising for me so far has been MTN. If you haven’t seen their most popular ad relating to MNP, you have missed a trick. MTN have made a major coup by securing the poster boy for a rival network – Etisalat (well, poster-man in this case). This is one of the most effective marketing ploys I have seen recently. (See it here: ) The other networks have responded with their various adverts, but I haven’t found any as effective as the aforementioned one. We await the continuing ripostes and counter-manoeuvres from each operator in the coming months.

Focus shouldn’t be lost on all the flash here however. I would hope that the main beneficiary of all the expected feuding will be the the end consumer. From experience with MNP in the UK, when a customer contacts his current network provider requesting to switch to another, the network usually tries to keep its customer by offering lower rates or additional services for free in order to sweeten the deal. This would be a desired outcome if that situation replicates itself in Nigeria.

Furthermore, with any large influx of customers to a particular network should spur the others to slash their rates or improve their services in order to win the patronage of the general public.

All we can do now is sit back and watch.

9 old drugs that learned new tricks: The head of the National Institutes of Health shares medicines that turned out to have multiple uses

TED Blog

When you pop a pill, do you know how it works? Most modern drugs target specific molecules, interacting with disease at the molecular level. But while we know the molecular causes of roughly 4,000 diseases, a very slim 6 percent of those diseases have a safe and effective drug to treat them. Why? Because of the incredible difficulty and cost of finding a compound that is perfectly shaped to interact with a molecular cause, and that also happens to be safe.

Francis Collins, the Director of the National Institutes of Health, wants to help this process along. [ted_talkteaser id=1696]In yesterday’s talk, given at TEDMED 2012, Collins makes a bold case for translational research to produce better drugs, faster. What does “translational” mean? It means research that takes a particular look at basic scientific discoveries and asks: how can we make an actual medicine from this? To that end he…

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