Monday, March 17, 2008

Smart Cards

A smart card, chip card, or integrated circuit card (ICC), is defined as any pocket-sized card with embedded integrated circuits that can process information. This implies that it can receive input that is processed - by way of the ICC applications - and delivered as an output. There are two broad categories of ICCs. Memory cards contain only non-volatile memory storage components, and perhaps some specific security logic. Microprocessor cards contain volatile memory and microprocessor components. The card is made of plastic, generally PVC, but sometimes ABS. The card may embed a hologram to avoid counterfeiting.
Most advanced smart cards are equipped with specialized cryptographic hardware that let you use algorithms such as RSA and DSA on board. Today's cryptographic smart cards are also able to generate key pairs on board, to avoid the risk of having more than one copy of the key. Since by design there usually isn't a way to extract private keys from a smart card.
Such smart cards are mainly used for digital signature and secure identification. The most common way to access cryptographic smart card functions on a computer is to use a PKCS#11 library provided by the vendor. On Microsoft Windows platforms the CSP API is also adopted.
The most widely used cryptographics in smart cards excluding the GSM so-called "crypto algorithm" are 3DES (Triple DES) and RSA. The key set is usually loaded (DES) or generated (RSA) on the card at the personalization stage.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Naturopathic medicine

Naturopathic medicine (also known as naturopathy) is a complementary and alternative medicine. Naturopathic practice may include different modalities such as manual therapy, hydrotherapy, herbalism, acupuncture, counseling, environmental medicine, aromatherapy, orthomolecular medicine, nutritional counseling, homeopathy, and chiropractic. Practitioners emphasize a holistic approach to patient care. Naturopathy has its origins in a variety of world medicine practices, including the Ayurveda Nature Cure of Europe. It is practiced in many countries but subject to different standards of regulation and levels of acceptance.
Naturopathic practitioners prefer not to use invasive surgery, or most synthetic drugs, preferring "natural" remedies, for instance relatively unprocessed or whole medications, such as herbs and foods. Practitioners from accredited schools are trained to use diagnostic tests such as imaging and blood tests before deciding upon the full course of treatment. If the patient does not respond to these treatments, they are often referred to physicians who utilize standard medical care to treat the disease or condition.
Naturopathic practitioners find it difficult to obtain financing for research due to the lack of prior research in many areas and the fact that whole substances from nature, such as herbs, cannot be patented and are therefore not a profitable investment. Proponents claim that this is slowly changing as naturopathic physicians develop research programs to help build up a foundation for evidence based treatment.
Naturopathic modalities may be controversial (e.g. homeopathy, which several studies have indicated to be ineffective), or have proven effectiveness only for very specific conditions (eg: acupuncture, aromatherapy). Some of these modalities and remedies are known to be harmful if not used properly or under the care of a trained practitioner

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Sustainability is a characteristic of a process or state that can be maintained at a certain level indefinitely. The term, in its environmental usage, refers to the potential longevity of vital human ecological support systems, such as the planet's climatic system, systems of agriculture, industry, forestry, and fisheries, and human communities in general and the various systems on which they depend in balance with the impacts of our unsustainable or sustainable design.
In recent years an academic and public discourse has led to this use of the word sustainability in reference to how long human ecological systems can be expected to be usefully productive. In the past, complex human societies have died out, sometimes as a result of their own growth-associated impacts on ecological support systems. The implication is that modern industrial society, which continues to grow in scale and complexity, will also collapse.
The implied preference would be for systems to be productive indefinitely, or be "sustainable." A side discourse relates the term sustainability to longevity of natural ecosystems and reserves (set aside for other-than-human species), but the challenging emphasis has been on human systems and anthropogenic problems, such as anthropogenic climate change, or the depletion of fossil fuel reserves.
Despite differences, a number of common principles are embedded in most charters or action programs to achieve sustainable development, sustainability or sustainable prosperity. Dealing transparently and systemically with risk, uncertainty and irreversible. Ensuring appropriate valuation, appreciation and restoration of nature.
Conservation of biodiversity and ecological integrity.
  • Ensuring inter-generational equity.
  • Recognizing the global integration of localities.
  • A commitment to best practice.
  • No net loss of human capital or natural capital.
  • The principle of continuous improvement.
  • The need for good governance.