Global health diagnostics

Improved Diagnostic Technologies for the Developing World

December 2006. Nature Publishing Group and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are proud to present this free-access custom publication which presents findings of the Global Health Diagnostics Forum, in partnership with the RAND Corporation, to determine global health diagnostics needs.

From the introductory article:

An essential component of evaluating and improving global health is access to appropriate diagnostic tools. Through this series of papers we hope to further the dissemination of current knowledge on global health diagnostic needs for the conditions that most severely affect those living in the developing world…………The findings clearly articulate the acute need for new diagnostic tools, the potential impact of new diagnostics for people in developing countries and the specific performance requirements of these tools. We hope this information will encourage technology developers in the public and private sectors to do more to accelerate the development and delivery of new diagnostic solutions.

Thrillerfest scholarship for debut authors

Via an email from International Thriller Writers:

Are you a debut author with a book out in 2007 or 2008? Would you love to attend ThrillerFest 2007 in New York City but haven’t quite figured out how to pay for it?
ITW is offering two scholarships for debut authors to attend ThrillerFest 2007 in New York City July 11-15. The scholarship is for the conference registration fee, CraftFest, and the Thriller Awards Dinner. Lodging and transportation is not offered as part of the scholarship.

Criteria. You must have a book published or scheduled for publication in 2007 or 2008 by an ITW recognized publisher. You do not have to be an ITW member to apply.

To apply, you must send the following information to the Scholarship Committee Chair, Allison Brennan.

Contact information (address, phone number and email)
Pen Name (if any)
Book Title
Release date (tentative is okay)
Brief synopsis (one page or less)
Essay telling the committee in 500 words or less why you would like to attend ThrillerFest and what you hope to gain from the experience.
All submissions are blind. Only the committee chair will have the identity of the author; the synopsis and essay will be sent "blind" to the committee for review and discussion.
The deadline for applications is May 31, 2007. The two scholarship winners will be notified by June 7, 2007.

Red Cat by Peter Spiegelman

Yet again due to the generosity of Karen at Euro Crime, I’ve read another cracker of a book. This one, by Peter Spiegelman, is the third in the John March series. You need to have read the first two in order to enjoy this one fully, but if you haven’t read the predecessors you can still relish a private-eye investigation in the classic mould.

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Triptych by Karin Slaughter

Another book I received thanks to Karen at Euro Crime is “Triptych”, the bestselling stand-alone book by Karin Slaughter. I have loved the five previous books by this author, a series set in Grant county, Georgia, about Sara Linton, the town coroner and a paediatrician, and Jeffrey Tolliver, chief of police and Sara’s ex-husband. The series is involving for all the usual reasons in detective stories: intriguing plots, strong sense of place in the local community concerned, tragedies in the characters’ pasts, and well-drawn recurring characters. Sara’s family’s mild disappointment that she went into medicine rather than becoming, like her father and sister, a plumber, is a nice touch. The added attraction of the series, for me, is Sara’s back-story: her own life and that of her relationship with Jeffrey. I am looking forward to the next in the series, Skin Privilege (US title)/Beyond Reach (UK title), out in July.

As much as I enjoy the Grant County series, fast-paced they are not. This is one of the surprises about Triptych, Slaughter’s new book, which is a scorcher.

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A post and quiz, thanks to Jenny D

I am short of time today (Saturday): domestic duties have kept me busy until now and I’m away from my computer this evening. I have therefore done some pinching. I was intrigued by this post by Jenny D of Light Reading entitled "Bad novelists should marry one another (and not breed)". The post links to an interview at the site, and here I have copied five of the (many) questions. Friends of Petrona are invited to answer the questions  either in the comments here or on your own blog with a link in the comments. If I can find one, a prize may be in the offing. If you plan on answering the questions, I suggest reading the article after, not before.

Which literary character most resembles you?

What’s the last book you couldn’t finish?

What proportion of the books you own have you actually read?

What’s your current favourite word?

What would you go back and change?

Books and bookman in blogs

There are many varied and stimulating paragraphs on a range of topics in this post by Michael Allen, the Grumpy Old Bookman. Here’s a taster:

Bloggers are firmly put in their place by… no. no. Must resist the temptation to say what I really think about this woman, especially after yesterday’s piece on libel. But one Sheila Kohler says this:

Occasionally someone may mention my books in a blog. I believe the dangers of this indiscriminate reporting on books is that people who have no knowledge of literature can air their views as though they were of value and may influence readers.

(Link from Galleycat.) God forbid, of course, that anyone should ever believe any of the crap that people put on blogs. This brilliant piece of analysis comes, by the way, from a woman who has just hired a publicist, who is, naturally, contacting lots of blogs….

As I have frequently said, the first requirement for working in the book world is a sense of humour.

Michael Allen’s blog is, as I am sure many would agree, as close to perfection as it is possible to get for a commenter on the book publishing and writing scene. I tend not to highlight his posts very often for two main reasons: first, because everyone else does (we all think he is great); and second, because his posts, like the one linked above, tend to be so long and varied, covering a vast range of topics, that one cannot provide a link as shorthand for a particular take on a subject, as one can do for so many other blogs. This habit has become more common since Michael had his "I’m not going to be blogging very often from now on" moment a month or two back. Irrespective of this tendency to write one long kaleidoscopic, wide-ranging post, I am very glad Michael does continue to blog , as I always enjoy reading his highly individual point of view.

Conflict resolution skills

I disagree with Scott Adams’s opinions as often as I agree with them, but he is master of the blog (and usually very funny). He knows just how to play his readers: sometimes he teases them, other times he genuinely asks their opinion on a question and posts about the answers. Most of his posts get more than a hundred comments, so I no longer make any (having done so on a couple of occasions when, as a nascent blogger, I first discovered his blog, but rapidly realising I would be forever lost in the noise).

How about this, from his post on global warming:

"recently I got dragged into the debate by a comment left by reader Bruce Harrison. He objected to a prior post in which I noted our President was ignoring the consensus of scientists on the question of global warming. I called this sort of behavior stupid.

Bruce countered by calling me arrogant and ignorant. So far, his opinion was spot on, so I figured it was worth seeing what else he had to say"

Well done to you, Scott — the perfect response.

The rest of the post shows, unfortunately, why I think climate scientists face an almost intolerable task in getting on with their research to try to identify global trends. (If you are interested to know what  I mean, read Scott’s post and associated links, in particular the update from Chris Graham at the end.  I am glad Chris made his comment, and glad Scott for picked up on it.  Yes, Scott is a blogger through and through:  he  listens as well as performs.)

Fictional characters you would like to meet

Link: Carla Nayland Historical Fiction: Fictional characters you would like to meet.

Carla Nayland (link above) writes a variation on a meme that she’s done previously. Her variant is : three fictional characters you’d like to meet, three fictional characters you’d never want to meet, and three fictional characters who scare you.

I’d like to meet:

"Doc" from Cannery Row ; Albus Dumbeldore ; Marian Halcome.

I wouldn’t like to meet:

William Boldwood; Mrs Jellyby; Titus Andronicus.

Three who scare me:

Ralph (Lord of the Flies); Mr Brocklehurst; Madame Defarge.

(Note: Mr Collins and Mrs Danvers may have been up there, but Carla had already chosen them).

Please do undertake this "meme" yourself; I’d be interested to know your selection.

Books high, low and virtual

"Deliver books to readers one piece at a time so they can read it on their cell phone, BlackBerry, etc, when they have a few minutes to spare." That’s what DailyLit claims to do, and Joe Wickert thinks it is a great idea. I am not so sure. "The next time you see me in a meeting "checking my Blackberry for new messages I might really be reading today’s installment of Ben Franklin’s autobiography", writes Joe. Yes, quite. I can imagine it all too well.

Via Bookglutton, London is about to have its first literature festival — seems hard to believe that there hasn’t been one before.  "Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka joins Hari Kunzru, Pat Barker, Blake Morrison, Helen Oyeyemi, Jacqueline Wilson, Lauren Child and a host of other stars for the South Bank Centre’s inaugural London literary festival, due to begin on June 29."

I wasn’t shocked by The shocking truth about the slush pile. "I thought the piles of unsolicited manuscripts it was my job to sift through would contain undiscovered gems. Reader, I was very wrong", writes Jean Hannah Edelstein. It’s a good article, though, about what it is like to have the job of reading it. There are loads of comments, including one I particularly appreciated, about the most important job of the publisher being that of editing the book. Right on!

Tim Coates provides his usual blindingly obvious advice to the various UK library authorities, this time on how to reduce the piles of books waiting to be "processed" instead of being put on the shelves for people to read. Hope they are listening, whoever "they" are.

Ending this post on a lofty note, both spiritually and literally, Martin Wainwright describes the high-altitude launch of his book on hill walking in the Lake District. (And no, he is no relation to "the" Wainwright, so don’t expect suggestions of walks suitable for your granny.)

Harry Potter at the Natural History Museum

Link: Rowling to sign off last Potter book under moon-Arts & Entertainment-Books-TimesOnline.

From The Bloomsbury website:

To celebrate the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on 21st July 2007, JK Rowling will be signing the night away at the Natural History Museum in London. 

Ten years after publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the launch of this, the final book in the series, returns to where it all began: with a book, the author and her readers.

1,700 fans will have the opportunity to meet JK Rowling and have their book signed at the Natural History Museum. The first 500 randomly selected winners will attend the midnight reading.  The subsequent signing is expected to last until dawn.  Every ticket holder will receive a free book from Bloomsbury Publishing.

Tickets to the event are free and will be available by prize draw (go to the Bloomsbury site) which will run from 23rd May to 11th June.  Winners will be notified by 18th June.

Residents of the US should contact  Residents of English-speaking territories may also have the opportunity to apply for this event.  An announcement will be made at a later date.

According to the Times, Ms Rowling said: “It has been a long time since I’ve done a signing and had the chance to speak to readers individually so I’m delighted that we are launching the book in this way. It will be wonderful for me to get the chance to speak to people who have already read a few chapters in the queue.”

The Times also reported the unsurprising information that the book is expected to break publishing records, with advance sales of 1.5 million on Amazon.