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‘Smart’ loo that identifies a person from ‘analprint’ wins spoof Ig … – Evening Standard


“smart” toilet that can identify a person from their “analprint” has won one of this year’s spoof Ig Nobel prizes.

Just like fingerprints, the creases in the lining of a person’s anus – known as analprint – is said to be unique.

The toilet – developed by experts at Stanford University in the US – features cameras that take photos of a person’s bottom to analyse these distinctive creases.

However, the key aim of the Smart Healthcare Toilet is to look for signs of diseases by analysing stools and urine.

In addition to the anus, the cameras also take pictures of stools to look for tell-tale signs of cancer and other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.

The technology comes with test strips that can detect substances such as glucose and red blood cells in the urine, which are associated with various health issues.

Our bathrooms, often seen as the most private of spaces, have the potential to become the silent guardians of our health

Dr Seung-min Park, an instructor of urology at Stanford’s School of Medicine, who led the research, told the PA news agency, said: “Our bathrooms, often seen as the most private of spaces, have the potential to become the silent guardians of our health.

“The Smart Healthcare Toilet is our vision of the next frontier in healthcare, where preventive healthcare melds effortlessly into our daily routines.”

The toilet is among 10 other winners at the annual spoof awards for wacky science, which are supposed to “make us laugh but then make us think”.

The prize is awarded annually by the science humour magazine the Annals of Improbable Research.

Winners receive a 10 trillion dollar bill from Zimbabwe alongside a trophy.

Dr Park, who won the public health prize, described it as a “humbling experience”, which “serves as a tribute to the researchers, mentors, and visionaries who dare to seek answers in unconventional places”.

We might laugh at the thought of a Smart Healthcare Toilet today, but with this recognition, it becomes evident that the potential for positive health impact, even in our most private moments, is immense

He told PA: “We might laugh at the thought of a Smart Healthcare Toilet today, but with this recognition, it becomes evident that the potential for positive health impact, even in our most private moments, is immense.”

Other awards at the virtual ceremony on Thursday included the medicine prize for using cadavers to explore whether there is an equal number of hairs in each of a person’s two nostrils, and the nutrition prize for experiments to determine how electrified chopsticks and drinking straws can change the taste of food.

The education award was scooped up by the research team studying the boredom of teachers and students.

Dr Wijnand Van Tilburg, an experimental social psychologist at the University of Essex, who was part of this team, said their studies showed “the mere expectation that classes will be boring caused students to feel bored”.

He said studying boredom is very important because it has been blamed for behaviours like lacking attention, loss of motivation, and even student drop outs.

Dr Van Tilburg told PA: “Beyond education, boredom is associated with poor mental health, such as depression and anxiety.

“To combat the negative outcomes of boredom, it is crucial to study it scientifically.

“This will help us answer questions such as who is likely to get bored and why, what the causes are of boredom, and what can we do to avoid (it).”

An international collaboration won the communication prize for studying the brains of people who are expert at speaking backwards, some of whom are able to rapidly reverse sentences of up to 12 words.

Dr Adolfo Garcia, of the Global Brain Health Institute in the US, told PA: “It all began when we learned that a famous Argentine photographer had this ability and was willing to have his brain scanned.

“We were intrigued by the oddity of the situation, but then became amazed at how proficient he was at reversing speech.”

He said their work gives insights into how the fundamental aspects of human language shape the brain.

The mechanical engineering award went to a team who re-animated dead spiders to use as them as mechanical gripping tools.

Faye Yap, a PhD student at Rice University in the US, said the findings, published in the journal Advanced Science, showed that spiders “are able to grasp objects greater than their own weight”, potentially opening the doors to a new area of robotics.

A study of the “unfamiliar or peculiar” sensations people feel when they repeat a single word many times was awarded the literature prize while the chemistry and geology gong went to Jan Zalasiewicz, emeritus professor of palaeobiology at the University of Leicester, for explaining why geologists like to lick rocks.

Prof Zalasiewicz, told PA: “These days field geologists sometimes lick rock samples they’ve collected before examining them with a hand lens, because it’s easier to see the mineral particles on a wet rock surface.

“A couple of centuries ago and more, though, some geologists had learnt to tell different rocks and minerals apart by their taste – that’s a skill we’ve now almost completely lost.”

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African 2026 World Cup Qualifying Fixtures

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Although the 2026 FIFA World Cup is still years away, the African qualifiers are set to begin soon. The next World Cup will be held in three locations for the first time in history – the US, Canada, and Mexico. CAF has secured 9 slots for African teams who will battle it out for a chance to play on the global stage. Below, we review the African 2026 FIFA World Cup qualification schedule and fixtures.

New Qualification Format

Nine CAF teams will make it to the World Cup. This is a change from the previous five, which means local and international betting sites have to update their betting lines even as the CAF adjusts its qualification format. The CAF announced this new format on May 19 this year. Now, participating teams will be drawn into nine groups of six teams, with each group winner qualifying directly for the World Cup. 

Draw and Groups

On July 13, the CAF performed the draw for the qualifications in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. All 54 CAF football associations will be represented, and the teams will be divided into the following groups:

  1. Group I: Chad, Comoros, CAR, Madagascar, Ghana, Mali
  2. Group H: Sao Tome and Principe, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, Equatorial Guinea, Tunisia
  3. Group G: Somalia, Botswana, Mozambique, Uganda, Guinea, Algeria
  4. Group F: Seychelles, Burundi, Gambia, Kenya, Gabon, Ivory Coast
  5. Group E: Eritrea, Niger, Tanzania, Congo, Zambia, Morocco
  6. Group D: Mauritius, Eswatini, Libya, Angola, Cape Verde, Cameroon
  7. Group C: Lesotho, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Benin, South Africa, Nigeria
  8. Group B: South Sudan, Sudan, Togo, Mauritania, DR Congo, Senegal
  9. Group A: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Egypt


The qualifiers will be held across 10 match days with some combined dates for the playoff semifinals and finals. The closest dates to look forward to are:

Matchday One: Nov. 13-21, 2023

  1. Group I: Comoros Vs. Central African Republic, Ghana Vs. Madagascar, Mali Vs. Chad
  2. Group H: Liberia Vs. Malawi, Equatorial Guinea Vs. Namibia, Tunisia Vs. Sao Tome e Principe
  3. Group G: Botswana Vs. Mozambique, Guinea Vs. Uganda, Algeria Vs. Somalia
  4. Group F: Burundi Vs. Gambia, Gabon Vs. Kenya, Ivory Coast Vs. Seychelles
  5. Group E: Niger Vs. Tanzania, Zambia Vs. Congo Brazzaville, Morocco Vs. Eritrea
  6. Group D: Eswatini Vs. Libya, Cape Verde Vs. Angola, Cameroon Vs. Mauritius
  7. Group C: Rwanda Vs. Zimbabwe, South Africa Vs. Benin, Nigeria Vs. Lesotho
  8. Group B: Sudan Vs. Togo, Senegal Vs. South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo Vs. Mauritania,
  9. Group A: Ethiopia Vs. Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso Vs. Guinea-Bissau, Egypt Vs. Djibouti

Matchday Two: Nov. 13-21, 2023

  1. Group I: Chad Vs. Madagascar, Comoros Vs. Ghana, CAR Vs. Mali
  2. Group H: Sao Tome Vs. Namibia, Liberia Vs. E. Guinea, Malawi Vs. Tunisia
  3. Group G: Somalia Vs. Uganda, Botswana Vs. Guinea, Mozambique Vs. Algeria
  4. Group F: Seychelles Vs. Kenya, Burundi Vs. Gabon, Gambia Vs. I. Coast
  5. Group E: Eritrea Vs. Congo, Niger Vs. Zambia, Tanzania Vs. Morocco
  6. Group D: Mauritius Vs. Angola, Eswatini Vs. Cape Verde, Libya Vs. Cameroon
  7. Group C: Lesotho Vs. Benin, Rwanda Vs. S. Africa, Zimbabwe Vs. Nigeria
  8. Group B: S. Sudan Vs. Mauritania, Sudan Vs. DR Congo, Togo Vs. Senegal
  9. Group A: Djibouti Vs. G. Bissau, Ethiopia Vs. B. Faso, S. Leone Vs. Egypt

Wrapping Up

The African (CAF) qualification campaign will kick off in November and set the stage for the 54 participating countries to compete for the 9 World Cup slots. Meanwhile, Morocco’s run in the 2022 World Cup has revitalized enough hope on the continent for a real shot at the trophy.

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We do not recognise Mnangagwa as President – says opposition as MPs boycott 10th Parliament opening, SONA address

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By Staff Reporter

CITIZENS Coalition for Change legislators have snubbed the State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered by President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the opening of the 10th Parliament.

According to a source, the decision to steer clear of the SONA along with the official opening of the 10th Parliament came from the party.

This is the latest protest by the opposition party following the conclusion of the general elections in August.

President Mnangagwa emerged winner with a 52,6% share of the vote while Chamisa got 44%.

CCC has since disputed the election results while calling for a rerun.

“We have been told to remain in our constituencies. The directive came as a party position,” revealed the source.

Opposition spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi said: “We are boycotting the processes that Mnangagwa wants us to undertake on the basis of the fact that we as CCC do not recognize an election that put him there. The election was a sham, it did not go well. If fell abysmally short of the expected standards of a free and fair election in terms of the laws of Zimbabwe as well as in terms of SADC and AU protocols on free and fair elections.

“Accordingly, we are not attending that process. We want to send a clear message that there should be a free election in Zimbabwe under the auspices of SADC. So, that is the message that will be sending out.”

After the contested 2018 general election, then MDC-Alliance MPs walked out as soon as Mnangagwa began his SONA in protest.

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Zanu PF dispels any hope for Transitional government, maintains August elections were free and fair

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By Leopold Munhende | Chief Correspondent

ZANU PF Treasurer General Patrick Chinamasa has dispelled hopes for a transitional government or rerun, options being pushed regionally after Zimbabwe’s heavily criticised August polls.

Chinamasa took to Twitter Monday to declare that, despite regional and international criticism of the election, Zanu PF maintained it was free and fair.

He described calls for a rerun of the elections won by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, as neocolonial.

Mnangagwa claimed 52.6% of the presidential vote against main contender Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) President Nelson Chamisa’s 44%.

“I ask the CCC class and its Prefect, Nelson Chamisa, to repeat after me the following that the 23rd of August 2023 was free, fair, transparent, and credible; that there will be no rerun of the elections,” said Chinamasa.

“There will be no Government of National Unity (GNU), there will be no so-called Transitional Authority (whatever that may mean), Zimbabwe, under Zanu PF’s watch will never be a banana republic.

“Zanu PF will forever say “NO” to neocolonialism and hegemonism and an emphatic “NO” to subjugation by sanctions-imposing Western countries, Nyika Inovakwa Nevene Vayo, Ichitongwa Nevene Vayo, Ichinamatirwa Nevene Vayo, Ichichengetedzwa Nevene Vayo, Ichidzivirirwa Nevene Vayo. 

Zimbabwe will never, never, never be a colony again.”

Mnangagwa’s re-election has received massive criticism after heavy bungling by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) on August 23.

Late provision of voting material, allegations of voter intimidation by Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) backed Forever Associates Zimbabwe (FAZ), barring of opposition rallies, arrest of opposing politicians and accusations ZEC had been captured by the military all worked against its credibility.

The European Union (EU), Commonwealth, United Kingdom (UK), regional body SADC and AU all questioned its fairness.

Zanu PF has spent the greater part of Zimbabwe’s post election period to lay into Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema whom it accuses of orchestrating negative reviews of Zimbabwe’s polls by SADC.

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