NewsFeed of Today

Daily news, science and technological discoveries, current events and commentary.

There Will Be Change

Several months ago, I reached the realization that I was unhappy hosting a common news blog.

You see, dear readers, if you’re still with me, in the past I would peruse various news broadcasting websites (CNN, Philip Defranco, SourceFed, Google News, Fox News, NBC News, etc.) in the hopes of finding news articles which would interested me. I would then compile dozens of articles on to NewsFeed of Today on WordPress.com, in an attempt to set up my own type of news broadcast.

However, from the very beginning, I have always known that I have never liked the majority of news posts. To put it simply, I don’t like watching or reading sad news. I think if our world has a problem that collectively we can fix, then we should truly put our all into fixing the problems instead of just broadcasting the problems, resulting in everyone knowing, but doing nothing to make our world a “better” place.

I still wish to continue with this blog; however, I no longer want to (re)post news most individuals can commonly find.

The purpose of this post is to state:

  • I am going to continue this blog; however, my future posts will attempt to address news articles or current issues on a philosophical scale.
  • I am going to keep the name “NewsFeed of Today” because I believe the type of “news” we see, hear and read about should be changed.
  • There will be change.

Virus Scares!

At a glance:

  • A new outbreak of the Ebola virus is believed to have killed at least 14 people in the last few weeks in Kibaale, Uganda, East Africa.
  • Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever (EHF) is the name of five known and incurable Ebola viruses. Symptoms of the Ebola virus include: fever, severe headache, chills, sore throat, weakness. Over time, the symptoms expand and become more severe including: nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, red eyes, raised rash, chest pain and cough, stomach pain, severe weight loss, and bleeding from the nose, mouth, rectum, eyes and ears. Read more (Mayo Clinic)
  • A new seal flu could pose as much of a threat as H1N1, in time.
  • Autopsies of five of the 163 harbor seals which died last year off the coast of New England indicated the remains harbored a new viral strain of influenza that could potentially affect other animals and humans.
  • “Since it’s similar to the bird flu virus that has devastated U.S. avian populations, scientists suspect the seals may have caught the virus from birds. Once inside an affected seal, the virus then evolved to become the H3N8 flu. This new version of the strain has the ability to target a protein found in the human respiratory tract, say the researchers who published their report in the journal of the American Society for Microbiology.” Read more (Discovery News)

Viruses of any kind are a scary breed. If you get a computer virus, there’s risk of losing valuable information and files which may be on your computer, but if you get an infection virus, there’s risk of human capabilities, hospitalization, isolation and even death.

Recently, an Ebola virus outbreak has roared its gruesome head into the lives of the people living and visiting Uganda.

“The president of Uganda is calling on people in the East African country to avoid physical contact, including handshaking and kissing, to prevent the spread of the deadly and highly contagious Ebola virus that is believed to have killed 14 people in the last few weeks.

“The disease has no known cure or vaccine and some strains can kill up to 90 percent of victims within days. Ugandans are so fearful of the disease that residents in Kibaale province where the outbreak was reported said that people immediately fled the hospital after hearing patients with Ebola were there.

“In a nationally televised speech today, President Yoweri Museveni said health officials are working to contain the disease to the rural district where the outbreak was confirmed Saturday, but at least one of the suspected victims was taken to a hospital in the capital city of Kampala. Now, nearly two dozen medical workers at Mulago Hospital are being held in isolation.

“”We have asked people in the whole country to be careful and aware of those who present with symptoms. We have informed health facilities of the right way to respond,” said Dr. Anthony Mbonye at Uganda’s Ministry of Health.

Mbonye said no other patients at Mulago Hospital in Kampala are at risk, and he is optimistic the outbreak in the Kibaale district 125 miles west of the capital city can be contained soon.

“I have hope because since Friday we have not had any new suspected cases of Ebola,” he said.

“However, another health official from the affected district told the Associated Press up to six more patients suspected to have Ebola have been admitted to a hospital there and said people in other villages are reporting possible Ebola infections.

“Mbonye said people are frightened because many illnesses that are common in the region, such as malaria, have the same symptoms as Ebola. He said health officials have to balance the need to inform the public while not wanting to cause unnecessary panic. In Kibaale, schools are closed and social gatherings have been cancelled.

“Experts from the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are in Uganda to advise health officials responding to the outbreak.” Read more (Yahoo! News)

Furthermore, a new seal flu could pose threat to humans. “A new influenza strain found in New England harbor seals could potentially threaten people as well as wildlife, new research suggests.

“Scientists cautioned that viruses like the newly discovered seal flu must be monitored in order to predict new strains and prevent a pandemic flu emerging from animals. The report was published online July 31 in mBio.

“”There is a concern that we have a new mammalian-transmissible virus to which humans haven’t been exposed yet. It’s a combination we haven’t seen in disease before,” report editor Dr. Anne Moscona, professor of pediatrics and of microbiology and immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, said in a journal news release.

“Another expert agreed that the flu strain could someday pose a threat to people.

“”Infections that threaten wildlife and human lives remind us how our health is intermingled on this dynamic planet,” said Dr. Bruce Hirsch, attending physician in infectious diseases at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. He said that while transmission via direct contact between humans and harbor seals is unlikely, the virus could find other ways to get to people.

“”A dangerous virus infecting mammals increases the risk to us — not by direct infection — but by evolutionary development of even more riskier strains,” Hirsch explained. For example, he said, the strain might pass from seals to birds, expand its presence in the environment and mutate in ways that make it easily passed to or between humans.

“Scientists from several organizations, including Columbia University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, co-wrote the new report. They said that flu viruses found in mammals, such as the H1N1 “swine flu” that emerged in 2009, can put people’s health at risk. The new seal flu, they warned, presents a similar threat to humans.” Read more (Yahoo! News)

Sources:

“Ebola Outbreak Prompts Ugandans to Stop Kissing” (Yahoo! News)

“Ebola Virus and Maburg Virus” (Mayo Clinic)

“New Seal Flu Could Pose Threat to Humans” (Yahoo! News)

“Next Scare: Seal Flu?” (Discovery News)

Tradegy at a Aurora, Colorado Midnight Screening of “The Dark Knight Rises”

“Numerous lives were taken and dozens were injured in a shooting at a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” at a movie theater outside Denver on Friday. The incident took place about 12:30 a.m. at the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Police say 71 people were shot, twelve people were killed, ten of them at the theater. James Holmes, 24, was identified as the shooting suspect and arrested by police.”

“The gunman, who was wearing a gas mask, reportedly set off a smoke or tear gas bomb then walked up to the front of the screen in one of the theaters and opened fire. When the movie patrons realized the attack was real and not part of the movie, pandemonium erupted and they began to flee. The film continued to play on the screen as bloodied customers took refuge outside. According to witnesses on the scene, some of the bullets also went through the walls of an adjacent theater, injuring patrons.”

“Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates confirmed that the suspected shooter was James Eagan Holmes, who entered the theater during a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” dressed in all black and with heavy body armor. He is believed to have used three weapons and had four with him in total. An assault rifle, a shotgun, and a .40-caliber Glock were found in the theater. Another handgun was found in Holmes’ car, which was parked at the back of the theater.

According to Oates, Holmes allegedly set off two devices to distract the crowd. The devices let out an “irritant or smoke.” He then started shooting. Some rounds, according to Oates, penetrated “into an adjoining theater” and hit one person.

The first call of a shooting came in 39 minutes after midnight, and police were on the scene between one and one-and-a-half minutes. Oates estimated 25 officers in total responded. Holmes was arrested in the back of the theater and “surrendered without any significant incident for our officers,” Oates said.

“We are not looking for any other suspects,” he said. “We are confident that he acted alone.”

Oates declined repeatedly to speculate on motive. He noted that Holmes had no prior criminal record, save a speeding ticket. He said the department had already conducted 200 interviews. He also said he could not answer a question about the legality of the weapons involved.

“I know we are working up the investigation of those weapons but I don’t know what their legal status is,” he said.

Jim Yacone of the FBI said the agency has about 100 people on scene working with local police to investigate the shooting. The FBI is working to look at links outside the state, he said. “At this point we do not see a nexus to terrorism,” he said, but it is being investigated.”

“President Barack Obama, who is in Palm Beach, Fla., was notified of the shooting by Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan at 5:26 a.m. ET. He released the following statement:

“Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado. Federal and local law enforcement are still responding, and my Administration will do everything that we can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time. We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded. As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family. All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends, and neighbors, and we must stand together with them in the challenging hours and days to come.”

Timeline since:

Officials Name Alleged Suspect
Video: Chaos and Panic of Aftermath of Shooting
Police: What To Do If You Had Loved One In Theater
‘He Had A Gas Mask On, Kevlar And A Gun’
Death Toll Revised Down To 12
4 Guns Reportedly Found
Watch: Witness Account Of The Shooting
Romney Event Will ‘Go Ahead As Planned’
Shooting Suspect’s Apartment Reportedly ‘Booby Trapped’
Video: Another Witness Account of Attack
‘Dark Knight Rises’ Paris Premiere Cancelled
Suspect’s Mother: ‘You Have The Right Person’
Listen: Police Respond To Scene Of Shooting
Police: 38 Wounded In Shooting
Alleged Victim Posts Pictures Of Bloodied Shirt On Reddit
Report: Crowd Thought Smoke, Costume Were Part Of Show
Twitter Timeline: How News Of The Shooting Spread Online
Picture: Fire Truck Ladder At Suspect’s Apartment
Warner Bros Releases Condolence Statement
CNN: No Explosives Found At Suspect’s Apartment
NYPD To Beef Up Security At ‘Dark Knight Rises’ Screenings In City
Red Cross Urges Area Residents To Update Social Media
Aurora PD Hotline
‘There Was Blood On The Stairs, And Smoke, And Everyone Was Crying’
Witness: ‘I Have Never Been More Scared’
Shooting Victim Narrowly Escaped Gun Violence In Mall Weeks Earlier
Gunman ‘Threw Tear Gas And Began Shooting’
Obama To Speak At 11.20 ET
What We Know About Shooting Suspect James Holmes
White House Press Sec: No Apparent Link To Terrorism
Obama Campaign Holding Negative Ads In Colorado Until Monday
Bloomberg: ‘Time For Candidates To Tell Us What They’ll Do About Guns’
Hollywood Reacts To Aurora Shootings
GOP Rep: Shootings Result Of ‘Ongoing Attacks On Judeo-Christian Beliefs’
Police: Suspect’s Apartment ‘Booby Trapped’
More: Explosives In Suspect’s Home ‘Very Sophisticated’
MSNBC: Suspect’s Apartment Building And Five Others Evacuated
Shooting Suspect Was Studying For PHD, Withdrew From Studies
Michael Moore: ‘Too Sad About This Recent Tragedy’
Pentagon: U.S. Service Members Apparently Among Casualties
Suspect’s Mother Given Police Protection
Suspect’s Family Issue Statement
Suspect’s Family ‘Very Upset’
Suspect’s Neighbor: ‘I’m Numb’
Victim Had Narrowly Escaped Mass Shooting Weeks Before
Obama Cancels Surrogate Event In New Hampshire
Blood Donations Required
Full Text Of Holmes Family Satement
Brady Campaign To Obama, Romney: “We Don’t Want Sympathy. We Want Action.”
Photo Reportedly Shows Shooting Suspect
Suspect Presented On ‘Psychiatric & Neurological Disorders’ For PHD
Details Of Service Members Wounded It Shootings
NRA Sends Out Unfortunate Message After Aurora Shooting
Cinemark ‘Deeply Saddened About This Tragic Incident’
AMC Releases Statement

Additional Details:

  • NY Police Commissioner said gunman told police he was The Joker
  • Shooter James Holmes, 24, dropped out from neuroscience PhD at University of Colorado in June
  • Holmes bought a movie ticket, entered with crowd and put on ballistic gear
  • Set off smoke bomb then fired indiscriminately with as many as four guns
  • 59 people injured including three-month-old baby and six-year-old
  • At least 12 dead with youngest victim just 12 years old
  • Aspiring sportscaster Jessica Ghawi among those killed
  • Shooter listened to one song on repeat before shooting
  • Questions over why young children and babies were at late-night screening
  • Man was arrested without incident in a car park nearby and told the police that explosives were stored at his home
  • Apartment block in north Aurora has been evacuated as police figure out how to disarm ‘sophisticated’ devices inside shooter’s home
  • Read more

NewsFeed of Today Statement: We would also like to offer our condolences to those and their families who have been involved with this unfortunate tragedy. Furthermore, this incident is an act of violence, not politics, perhaps other media outlets could offer more respect to the deceased and not whoever is running for the next presidential election. There is a time and a place for everything.

Sources:
Colorado Shooting News Conference (Huffington Post)

Drop Out PhD Student Who Massacred 12 at Batman Movie Screening Looked Like and Said He Was the Joker (Daily Mail)

What’s “ObamaCare”?

Simply stated, “ObamaCare” is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). It’s a United States federal statute signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. “After months of uncertainty about the law’s fate, the court’s ruling provides some clarity — and perhaps an alert — to states, insurers, employers and consumers about what they are required to do by 2014, when much of the law comes into force.”

That’s great, but what does “ObamaCare” mean for me?
The individual mandate was upheld by the Supreme Court, which makes American’s have to have health care. At the moment, it has been decided that if an individual does not have health care, they will get a tax.

What is everyone so upset about?
When it comes to many other countries, mandatory healthcare insurance has been required for decades and as a result, citizens of other nations may experience difficulty in understanding why requiring mandatory health insurance is even a debate.

As far as we understand, “opponents in the U.S. argued that requiring Americans to buy insurance is an intolerable intrusion into an individual’s right to purchase what he or she feels is necessary and amounts to a move to Socialism, which they reject.”

Also, when it comes to the GOP election, in 2008 President Obama said, “For us to say that you’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. What its saying is: we’re not going to have other people carry your burdens for you.” But when it comes to politics, it’s likely the people of congress are going to insinuate that it’s the same thing.

So, U.S. citizens are getting a new tax…?
Pretty much, but, this is only if you don’t have health insurance. However, “the White House insisted Sunday the consequence for Americans not having health insurance is a penalty fee, despite the Supreme Court ruling that it is a tax, and said the debate on the Affordable Care Act should finally end.”

We view it similar to how we view car insurance – you have a license, a car and you need vehicle insurance. If you don’t have vehicle insurance, you’re going to get slammed with a fine if you get into an accident. Similarly, you have a body, the degree to which you’re healthy is determinable, and you’re going to need health insurance. If you don’t have health insurance, you’re going to get slammed with a penalty fee disguised as a tax so that your community doesn’t have to carry your health burdens for you.

Now, why is this “penalty fee” disguised as a tax? Simply because it’s the only ‘legal’ way the Supreme Court can accept charging U.S. citizens for something, by calling it a tax.

How much is the penalty fee?
“In 2014, uninsured people will face a fine of $95 or one percent of their income, and in 2015, the penalties are even steeper. This fee is meant to encourage younger people in good health to take up insurance, and the money go towards funding for the older patients and those who aren’t in good health. Those exempt from this fine includes people make very little income, certain religious groups, and families who pay over eight percent of their income to insurance premiums even after employer contributions and federal subsidies.”

Update, 07/10/2012: According to The Daily Beast, the penalty fee will be $285 per year or 1% of your annual income.

Tell me the specifics. What is “ObamaCare” going to do?

  • “It allows the Food and Drug Administration to approve more generic drugs – which will place more competition on the market and will drive down prices.
  • Increase the rebates people get through Medicare.
  • Makes chain restaurants, like McDonalds, display how many calories are in all of their foods, so people can have an easier time making choices to eat healthy.
  • Increases a new 10% tax on indoor tanning booths.
  • Kids can continue to be covered by their parents’ health insurance until they’re 26
  • No more preexisting conditions for people under the age of 19
  • Insurers have less ability to change the amount customers have to pay for their plans.
  • Insurers can’t simply drop customers once they get sick.
  • Insurers need to have an appeals process for when they turn down a claim, so customers have some manner of recourse other than a lawsuit when they’re turned down. (Previously, you had to file a lawsuit.)
  • Insurers must cover the cost of all preventative tests and procedures without requiring any sort of co-pay or deductible.
  • Reduces the costs for some companies that handle benefits for the elderly.
  • The court also substantially limited the law’s expansion of Medicaid, the joint federal-state program that provides health care to poor and disabled people.”

How will consumers fund the new law?
“In 2013, people who make more than $200,000 have to pay an additional 0.9 percent tax for the Medicare Part A payroll tax, on top of the 1.45 percent they already pay. This will help fund the healthcare changes. Those who make money through investments might have to pay a 3.8 percent tax on what they make on capital gains and dividends. The mandate to buy insurance or pay a fine will also help fund these new efforts.”

When will the law go into effect?
“Actually, parts of the plan have already gone into effect. For example, new health plans are required to provide free preventative care for services like colonoscopies and mammograms, and young adults are covered by their family’s insurance plan until they turn 26. So parts of the plan have already been implemented, but with this ruling, we’ll see more changes to come. And many of the major changes will happen in 2014.”

Is this law here to stay?
That’s hard to say. “It will stay in effect for now, but the future of the plan depends on the outcome of the November elections.”

Sources:
“Supreme Court Upholds Health Care Law, 5-4, in Victory for Obama” (NY Times)

Philip Defranco Show “Obamacare Upheld and What It Means For You” (PDS on YouTube)

“White House says health care debate is over: Fee for uninsured is a penalty, not a tax” (FOX News)

“Obamacare Ruling: A Simple Breakdown of What It Means For You” (Savy Sugar)

“Obamacare: It’s Cheaper!” (The Daily Beast)

What do you think, Newsfeed viewers? How do you feel about “Obamacare”? Do you think anything should be changed? Do you see any problems? Do you want the U.S. to keep or get rid of “Obamacare”? Let us know in the comments below!

What Is Up With All Of These “Zombie” Attacks?

Recently, it seems as though all of these attacks are pointing in the direction of a zombie apocalypse, at least this is what the media strongly suggests, but are they really? We, here at Newsfeed of Today, believe this increased enthusiasm began with the discussion and publicity of the Nodding Disease in Africa [Click here to read more], however, it’s not as though all of the symptoms of being a ‘zombie’ haven’t occurred somewhere in the medical history of humanity – they have, but perhaps not all at once.

In fact, here are five real disease that could make appear as a ‘zombie': sleeping sickness, rabies, necrosis, dysarthria, leprosy, and we’re sure they are more out there; however the question is: do these diseases actually make humans fully represent the theatrical zombies horror film lovers have come to know? No, not at all. As a matter of fact, even the Centers for Disease Control took the time to make a public statement to reassure otherwise.

The CDC speaks out:

“After a week of bizarre crimes, the Centers for Disease Control would like to reassure Americans that a zombie-virus outbreak is exceedingly unlikely.

“Despite a string of grisly incidents throughout North America, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared late last week that there is no evidence of a coming Zombie Apocalypse.

The CDC, based in the Atlanta area, has previously issued promotional materials on how to survive a zombie attack, but these were all “a tongue in cheek campaign to engage new audiences with preparedness messages,” according to a new post on the agency’s website. Following a series of ghastly incidents in Canada, Florida, New Jersey, Washington and Maryland, the organization was actually forced to address (mostly online) concerns about back-from-the-dead monsters feasting on the flesh of the living.

“CDC does not know of a virus or condition that would reanimate the dead (or one that would present zombie-like symptoms),” agency spokesperson David Daigle told The Huffington Post on Friday.

Zombie talk began May 26 in Florida after 31-year-old Miami resident Rudy Eugene stripped off all his clothes, attacked a homeless man and attempted to chew off his face. Eugene, naked and growling, only ceased his attack after police shot him several times, according to eyewitnesses.

A day later, a New Jersey man stabbed himself 50 times, cut out his own intestines and threw them at police. By the end of the week a Seattle man had killed six people, including himself, in a shooting spree that started in a local cafe and a Baltimore student was charged with slaying and eating the heart and brain of his housemate.

To make matters even more suspicious, a bear was caught eating the corpse of a convicted murderer last week in British Columbia, although until we hear otherwise we’ll assume it’s probably not a zombie bear.”

Even more, it has been reported yesterday, June 8th, that in Louisiana, a 43-year-old Carencro, La. resident Carl Jacqueneaux allegedly bit off a piece of a man’s face during an unspecified domestic dispute last weekend, according to ABC-affiliate KATC. As with the infamous Miami face-chewing incident that sparked a spate of Internet-fueled zombie rumors, this attack may have involved the now infamous synthetic drug “bath salts.”

While the CDC did make this statement, they also posted an article on preparing for a potential zombie apocalypse – we believe this to be publicity stunt or a way to inform the public on how to be prepared for any emergency.

Let’s section off these individual circumstances and reports to try to make logical sense of the matters at hand.

The Miami incident is said to be caused by bath salts, and let’s be honest here, if used in an unethical manner, many products can be used in the place of drugs and almost all drugs have bizarre side-effects.

For the New Jersey man and the Baltimore student, drugs or a mental illness could be the underlying cause.

For the bear, most bears are carnivorous and if given the opportunity, it has always been suggested that they will kill humans.

Finally, for the Louisiana man, in this incident, the word “allegedly” is significant enough that we’re not going to even both with assuming that Carl Jacqueneaux actually bit off a piece of a man’s face. However, to suit this article, we will contribute this happening to drugs, a mental illness, or uncontrollable anger.

So there you have it. In our opinion: if you believe there is a possibility of a zombie apocalypse, believe as you will and prepare yourself as you may. However, we believe that until there is significant, hardcore proof as to sights of a zombie apocalypse, we’re not going to rest our minds on information provided by word of mouth from humans waiting for the next  big event to occur – we’re waiting until there is better proof.

Sources:

Cannibal Alert: Another Face Chewer Surfaces in Louisiana (newsfeed.time.com)

Cannibal Alert: Another Face Chewer Surfaces in Louisiana (ksee24 news)

CDC Speaks Out About Zombie Apocalypse (patch.com)

CDC To America: There Is No Zombie Apocalypse (newsfeed.time.com)

Five Real Disesase That Could Make You Act Just Like A Zombie (io9.com)

Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse (cdc.gov)

Is There A Real Zombie Outbreak Going On Right Now In Africa? (newsfeedoftoday.wordpress.com)

SFW: Man on Fire, Life on Mars, Mammoth in Backyard, and Deceased Giant Squid in the Ocean

Short Features of the Week [SFW]: Man On Fire, Life on Mars, Mammoth in Backyard, and Deceased Giant Squid in the Ocean

Massachusetts Man Catches Fire After Applying Sunscreen

“A Massachusetts man said he suffered second-degree burns from a grill after applying sunscreen aerosol spray on parts of his body.

Brett Sigworth said he applied Banana Boat sunscreen to his body before walking over to his grill, not knowing it would still be flammable after it was on his skin.

“I went into complete panic mode and screamed,” Sigworth said. “I’ve never experienced pain like that in my life.”

The result was second-degree burns to his chest, ear and back, the only areas where he applied the sunscreen. Ten days after the incident, Sigworth is still showing the effects of the incident.

The warnings on the bottle of Banana Boat sunscreen read, “Flammable, don’t use near heat, flame or while burning.” But nothing about once it’s applied.

Banana Boat officials said in a statement they were sorry to hear about Sigworth’s experience and would begin a prompt investigation. “We are unaware of any prior incidents similar to what Brett has described, but because nothing is more important to us than the safety of our consumers, we are taking this matter very seriously,” the statement said.”

[Link to article (Yahoo!)]

Mars One: One-Way Ticket To the Red Planet

 “Mars One will establish human settlement on Mars in 2023. In that year, the first group of four humans will land on Mars. Every two days after that another group will join the settlement.”

“It sounds like a science-fiction fantasy, but the company Mars One says it’s for real—and that it will really establish a settlement on the planet Mars by 2023.

The privately financed Dutch company has a plan. All it needs is a lot of cash,  equipment and four Mars-bound astronauts who are willing to take a one-way trip to the red planet.

The idea is to first send rovers, which will stake out a good site for a settlement and then build out living units. In 2022, the crew will take a “transit habitat” for the seven-month trip to Mars and settle in to their new home. The intention is that the crew will live on the planet for the rest of their lives. Every two years after that, another group will join the settlement to populate the colony.”

[Link to the article (The Huffington Post)]

Iowa Family Finds Mammoth Bones In Back Yard

 “An Iowa family has discovered parts of a mammoth skeleton in their backyard  and, with the help of archeologists, they hope to dig up the rest.

ABC 5 reports a man named John and his sons were digging in their backyard  two years ago when they found what appeared to be an enormous bone buried in the  dirt.

“I got down on my hands and knees on the bank and I could see a marrow line  around the edge of this and I said boys, that’s a bone, that’s a really big  bone,” John told ABC 5.

The family kept the discovery to themselves for two years, but then decided  to enlist experts for help extracting the rest of the mammoth  skeleton.

Researchers from the University of Iowa identified the original bone as the  femur of mammoth. Since then they have uncovered the mammoth’s vertebrae and  ribs, all of which John keeps in his living room.

Archeologists and paleontologists are excited about the find because it is  unusual to find so many bones from a mammoth in one place. However, since the  bones were found on his property they belong to John, who says he’s not sure  what he will do with them yet.”

[Link to the article (FoxNews)]

Anglers’ Extraordinary Find Is No Sea Monster, But A Giant Squid

Al McGlashan, a prominent big-game fisherman in Australia, ventured to sea Friday in search of tuna and swordfish. The highlight, however, was the bizarre discovery of a fresh giant squid carcass.

Giant squid are elusive, mysterious denizens of the ocean’s darkest depths, believed to have spawned ancient tales of sea monsters. To find even parts of a dead specimen is rare, but to find a specimen largely intact and still with its bright-orange coloration is extraordinary.

[Link to article (Grind TV)]

Studies In The Fight Against Cancer

As many know, cancer is a disease caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a part of the body. It’s a malignant growth or tumor resulting from such a division of cells. While there are treatments for cancer, not all types of cancer are curable.

Luckily, “new research shows a sharp escalation in the weapons race against cancer, with several high-tech approaches long dreamed of but not possible or successful until now.

At a weekend conference of more than 30,000 cancer specialists, scientists reported: -New “smart” drugs that deliver powerful poisons directly to cancer cells while leaving healthy ones alone.

Doctors have successfully dropped the first “smart bomb” on breast cancer, using a drug to deliver a toxic payload to tumor cells while leaving healthy ones alone.

In a key test involving nearly 1,000 women with very advanced disease, the experimental treatment extended by several months the time women lived without their cancer getting worse, doctors planned to report Sunday at a cancer conference in Chicago.

More importantly, the treatment seems likely to improve survival; it will take more time to know for sure. After two years, 65 percent of women who received it were still alive versus 47 percent of those in a comparison group given two standard cancer drugs.

That margin fell just short of the very strict criteria researchers set for stopping the study and declaring the new treatment a winner, and they hope the benefit becomes more clear with time. In fact, so many women on the new treatment are still alive that researchers cannot yet determine average survival for the group.

“The absolute difference is greater than one year in how long these people live,” said the study’s leader, Dr. Kimberly Blackwell of Duke University. “This is a major step forward.”

A warning to hopeful patients: the drug is still experimental, so not available yet. Its backers hope it can reach the market within a year.” [For specifics please read the article "Study: 'Smart Bomb Drug Affects Breast Cancer"]

Furthermore, “an experimental cancer drug successfully shrank tumors in patients with different kinds of cancer, including typically hard-to-treat lung cancers, according to a new study. Oncologists said the research was encouraging, but more study was needed to know whether the drug would prolong life for cancer patients.

The study, led by Dr. Suzanne Topalian, was presented Friday at the Super Bowl of cancer professionals, a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In a small, early phase study, researchers used a drug targeting a portion of the body’s immune system, a pathway called PD-1, which usually works to stop the body from fighting cancerous tumors. By shutting down the pathway, the drug stokes the body’s immune system to fight tumor cells.

Researchers gave the drug to nearly 240 patients with advanced melanoma, colorectal, prostate, kidney and lung cancers. All the patients had tried up to five other treatments, which failed. After up to two years on the drug, tumors shrank in 26 of 94 patients with melanoma, nine of 33 patients with kidney cancer and 14 of 76 patients with lung cancer.

The drug was not without side effects. About 14 percent of patients in the trial reported conditions such as skin rashes, diarrhea or breathing problems.” [For specifics, please read the source article, "Study: Experimental Drug Shrinks Cancer Tumors"]

While these studies are proving to fight against cancer, we here at NewsFeed of Today sincerely hope the public will be informed of better and clear progress in the future. Overall, we wish good luck to all in the fight against cancer.

Sources:

Study: ‘Smart Bomb Drug Affects Breast Cancer” (MSNBC.com)

Study: Experimental Drug Shrinks Cancer Tumors” (Yahoo!)

New Therapies Aiding In The Fight Against Cancer” (ABC)

Are You Ready for the Transit of Venus This Tuesday?

“This Tuesday is probably the only chance in your lifetime to see Venus pass between the sun and the Earth, one of the rarest, cyclical, astronomical events. During this transit, Venus will appear as a small dot against the face of the sun for about 6 and a half hours.

Just how rare is the Transit of Venus? There has only been one other occurence in the last 100 years and after Tuesday, the next one won’t happen again until 2117. Transits of the planet Mercury are more common, the next one occurs in 2016, but that planet is so small that it’s nearly invisible, not that you would want to be looking.

Like a solar eclipse, it’s not safe to view the Transit of Venus with the naked eye, or even sunglasses. You either need specially made eye shades, a telescope with a solar filter mounted on the end, or Number 14 (NO.14) welder’s glass, which is extremely dark, or you can use a telescope to project the transit onto a piece of paper – that’s how the earliest know observer of the phenomena, Jeremiah Horrocks, viewed the transit in 1639.”

sources:

Transit Of Venus: Rare Planetary Event (Yahoo!)

Next Up: The Transit of Venus (citizenscientistsleague.com)

Venus Chases of the 18th Century (LA Times)

Rare Alignment for Venus (Boston.com)

Is the Chagas Disease Really Like HIV/AIDS?

As many know, the media doesn’t have a very good rap for providing through information for an informed reader. Luckily, we here with NewsFeed of Today try to make sure we are well-informed and get our point across.

Just today, Yahoo! News posted an article “Chagas: Is a tropical disease really the new ‘AIDS?'” and as per the usual with Yahoo! News, their information isn’t necessarily the greatest and appears to be designed to create a wide-set panic. The article claims, “There are a number of striking similarities between people living with Chagas disease and people living with HIV/AIDS,” the authors [of an editorial, published by the Public Library of Science's Neglected Tropical Diseases] wrote, “particularly for those with HIV/AIDS who contracted the disease in the first two decades of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.”

Yahoo! News also claims that “Both diseases disproportionately affect people living in poverty, both are chronic conditions requiring prolonged, expensive treatment, and as with patients in the first two decades of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, “most patients with Chagas disease do not have access to health care facilities.””

ALl of the information provided is shocking and not entirely correct.

According to U.S. National Library of Medicine – The World’s Largest Medical Library, “Chagas disease is an illness spread by insects. It is common in South and Central America. It is caused by Trypanosoma cruzi [the Kissing bug], a parasite related to the African trypanosome that causes sleeping sickness. It is spread by reduvid bugs and is one of the major health problems in South America. Due to immigration, the disease also affects people in the United States.”

“The risk factors include: living in a hut where reduvid bugs live in the walls, living in Central or South America, poverty, and receiving a blood transfusion from a person who carries the parasite but does not have active Chagas disease.”

“The symptoms of the acute phase include: fever, general ill feeling (malaise), swelling of one eye, swollen red area at site of insect bite. After the acute phase, the disease goes into remission. No other symptoms may appear for many years. When symptoms finally develop, they may include: constipation, digestive problems, pain in the abdomen, swallowing difficulties.”

However, as many people know, these various symptoms can occur for many different reasons and if they don’t clear up within a reasonable amount of time, then an individual should make haste to see a doctor. Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you think you may be infected with Chagas disease.

If you believe you have Chagas, “a physical examination can confirm the symptoms and the signs may include: Cardiomyopathy, enlarged liver and spleen, Enlarged lymph nodes, irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), rapid heartbeat (tachycardia). Tests include: Blood culture, Chest x-ray, Echocardiogram, electrocardiogram (ECG), enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA), and Peripheral blood smear.”

Finally, there are two drugs which are used to treat Chagas, benznidazole and nifurtimox, and treatment is recommended no matter which stage a patient is in.

As with most insect related diseases, there are certain precautionary measures which may assist in the control of the spread of the disease, such as “insect control with insecticides and houses that are less likely to have high insect populations.” It should also be noted that, “blood banks in Central and South America screen donors for exposure to the parasite. The blood is discarded if the donor tests positive. Most blood banks in the United States began screening for Chagas disease in 2007.”

Now Yahoo! News claims there are similarities between people living with Chagas disease and people living with HIV/AIDS. That’s possible, but there are distinctions between Chagas and HIV/AIDS because Chagas does not affect the immune system, and it is only transmitted by blood or mother to child – human to human. Instead of HIV/AIDS, it is actually quite similar to Lyme Disease, West Nile Virus or Malaria, which are transmitted by insects and can be life threatening.  “While HIV/AIDS attacks the body’s immune system, Chagas afflicts the heart and digestive organs.”

To conclude, if you are experiencing any health issues, it is probably best that you contact a doctor and set up an appointment for them to take a look at you. Unless you believe your symptoms require more urgency, then it is probably best that you immediately get to a local hospital/doctor. While the media industry tries its hardest to get relevant news to its readers/viewers, perhaps some media outlets should allow their viewers to make an informed decision, but this is just our opinion.

Sources:

“Chagas: Is a tropical disease really the new ‘AIDS?'” (Yahoo!)

Chagas Disease (U.S. National Library of Medicine)

U.S. National Library of Medicine – The World’s Largest Medical Library

“Chagas Disease; Tropical Insect-Borne Illness May Be ‘New HIV/AIDS of Americas'” (The Huffington Post)

Are you ready for a solar/annular eclipse? I am!

“When the sun vanishes behind the moon for the first time over the United States in this century, what better place to enjoy the view than from one of the 154 national parks that stand in its path?

Astronomy lovers in the United States will be treated to a partial disappearance of the sun behind the moon this Sunday (May 20). Only the Eastern Seaboard will be totally exempt. The eclipse will occur in the late afternoon or early evening of May 20 throughout North America, and May 21 for observers in Asia.

Over the course of the solar eclipse, the sun won’t vanish completely, but will remain as a ring around the moon for what is known as an annular eclipse. When the eclipse occurs, the moon will be near its most distant point from Earth, making it appear smaller in the sky and thus unable to block the entire sun. But it will still be a stunning sight.”

Please keep in mind that if you are not within the area indicated on the map, this doesn’t mean you won’t be privy to a partial eclipse, just keep an eye out. “Also, the next major solar eclipse in the US won’t come until August 21, 2017, although Australia and parts of the South Pacific will see one later this year, on Nov. 17.”

Source: Solar Eclipse 2012: All systems go for witnessing rare ‘ring of fire’

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