Giving Birth Made Me Question the Informed Consent Process During Childbirth
Looking at this data, it’s clear that for many markers of maternal morbidity, C-sections come with higher risk than vaginal delivery—but the absolute risks of most of those complications are still quite low for the general population.

It’s also important that expectant mothers understand that when it comes to vaginal deliveries and vaginal-assisted deliveries, “lower” risk doesn’t actually mean without risk. And for certain measures of morbidity, like pelvic floor trauma, vaginal and vaginal-assisted deliveries can actually be riskier than C-sections—and the absolute risks of them can be much higher.

With vaginal deliveries, there is a real possibility not only of vaginal tearing, but pelvic floor problems that can manifest as urinary incontinence, anal sphincter injury and fecal incontinence, and pelvic organ prolapse. In some cases, these aren’t noticed right after birth because swelling and other factors can lead to a missed diagnosis or make some injuries truly “occult” (meaning hidden without imaging tools).

The meta-analysis in PLOS Medicine found that vaginal delivery is associated with greater risk of urinary incontinence (14.9% incidence after vaginal delivery, compared to 8.93% incidence after C-section) and pelvic organ prolapse (5.99% for vaginal delivery, compared to 1.81% for C-sections) in the mother. According to ACOG, the risks of tearing and urinary and fecal incontinence are higher with assisted vaginal delivery.

Here is where an extensive understanding of the various risks might come into play. While an unplanned hysterectomy due to complications from a C-section is generally viewed as much worse and more traumatic than urinary incontinence, the number of women who have the former is significantly lower than the number of women walking around with permanent pelvic floor damage. Ask a woman to weigh a 0.07% risk of unplanned hysterectomy to a significantly higher risk of spending the rest of her life peeing a little when she laughs, coughs, sneezes, runs, lifts, and other general life activities, and her answer might not be so obvious.
health  children  women  science  statistics 
17 hours ago
He Was Dying. Antibiotics Weren’t Working. Then Doctors Tried a Forgotten Treatment.
The treatment Strathdee had fixed on as a last-ditch hope is almost never used in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration has not licensed phage therapy, keeping it out of pharmacies and hospitals. Few physicians have used it even experimentally, and most civilians have never heard of it. But phages are a natural phenomenon, frequently deployed in the former Soviet Union. When used properly, they can save lives.
health  science 
5 days ago
How a Special Diet Kept the Knights Templar Fighting Fit
The knights’ diets seem to have been a balancing act between the ordinary fasting demands on monks, and the fact that these knights lived active, military lives. You couldn’t crusade, or joust, on an empty stomach. (Although the Knights Templar only jousted in combat or training—not for sport.) So three times a week, the knights were permitted to eat meat—even though it was “understood that the custom of eating flesh corrupts the body.” On Sundays, everyone ate meat, with higher-up members permitted both lunch and dinner with some kind of roast animal. Accounts from the time show that this was often beef, ham, or bacon, with salt for seasoning or to cure the meat...

But on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, the knights ate more spartan, vegetable-filled meals. Although the rules describe these meals as “two or three meals of vegetables or other dishes eaten with bread,” they also often included milk, eggs, and cheese. Otherwise, they might eat potage, made with oats or pulses, gruels, or fiber-rich vegetable stews. (The wealthier brothers might mix in expensive spices, such as cumin.) In their gardens, they grew fruits and vegetables, especially Mediterranean produce such as figs, almonds, pomegranates, olives, and corn (grain).* These healthy foodstuffs likely also made their way into their meals.

Once a week, on Fridays, they observed a Lenten fast—no eggs, milk, or other animal products. For hearty fare, they relied on dried or salted fish, and dairy or egg substitutes made from almond milk. Even here, however, there are pragmatic concessions. The weak and sick abstained from these fasts and received “meat, flesh, birds, and all other foods which bring good health,” to return them to fighting shape as quickly as possible.
food  history  health 
5 days ago
I Don’t Know How to Waste Time on the Internet Anymore
And then, one day, I think in 2013, Twitter and Facebook were not really very fun anymore. And worse, the fun things they had supplanted were never coming back. Forums were depopulated; blogs were shut down. Twitter, one agent of their death, became completely worthless: a water-drop-torture feed of performative outrage, self-promotion, and discussion of Twitter itself. Facebook had become, well … you’ve been on Facebook...

There is an argument that this my fault. I followed the wrong people; I am too nostalgic about bad blogs; I am in my 30s and what I used to think was fun time-killing is now deadly. But I don’t think so. What happened is that the internet stopped being something you went to in order to separate from the real world — from your job and your work and your obligations and responsibilities. It’s not the place you seek to waste time, but the place you go to so that you’ll someday have time to waste. The internet is a utility world for me now. It is efficient and all-encompassing. It is not very much fun.
internet  facebook  twitter  history  opinion 
5 days ago
Fact or friction: the problem with factchecking in the book world
Wood says that as the publishing industry stands now, constraints make it nearly impossible for publishers to be able to dedicate the kind of time and financial resources that would be required for a full factcheck on every book they publish. So while publishing houses provide copy-editing, proofreading and legal services who keep an eye out for issues of libel and intellectual property. Factchecking is usually outside the scope of what they can feasibly do.
books  media  money 
5 days ago
Could Ida B. Wells Have Exposed Lynching on Your Newsfeed?
To determine trustworthiness, [Facebook] plans to survey its 2 billion users about the sources with which they’re most familiar and best recognize.

However, by that standard, we’d never have had Tom Paine, Ida Tarbell or Ida B. Wells. We’d never have had a revolution, broken up the robber-baron monopoly corporations, or heard enough about the lynchings to have anything resembling a [National Lynching Memorial]—or even, probably, to make them stop.
history  media  racism  usa  facebook 
7 days ago
Democrats release Facebook ads linked to Russian troll factory
A random walk through some of the 3,000-plus files provided by the committee shows that the vast majority got a tiny, tiny number of “impressions” — which simply means they appeared in someone’s news feed. And most got an equally minuscule number of clicks, and in some cases none at all. Did simply viewing these ads cause anyone to change their mind about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, or about issues like immigration or Black Lives Matter?

Experts in this type of disinformation and propaganda warfare, which has been going on since before the internet and social media were invented, say pushing people in a specific direction often isn’t the point. As Facebook noted in an internal security report released last year, much of the activity involving fake social-media accounts spreading misinformation didn’t seem to have any specific goal, but instead appeared to be designed simply to sow confusion.
democrats  politics  facebook  internet  u.s.-elections  usa  russia  trump-presidency 
7 days ago
Out of 26 Major Editorials on Trump’s Syria Strikes, Zero Opposed
None of the top 100 newspapers questioned the US’s legal or moral right to bomb Syria, and all accepted US government claims to be neutral arbiters of “international law.” Many editorials handwrung about a “lack of strategy” or absence of congressional approval, but none so much that they opposed the bombing. Strategy and legal sanction are add-on features—nice but, by all accounts, not essential.

The total lack of editorial board dissent is consistent with major papers’ tradition of uniform acceptance of US military action. The most influential paper in the country, the New York Times, has not opposed a single US war—from the Persian Gulf to Bosnia, to Kosovo to Iraq to Libya to the forever war on ISIS—in the past 30 years.
media  politics  trump-presidency  war 
12 days ago
I tried leaving Facebook. I couldn’t
Facebook had replaced much of the emotional labor of social networking that consumed previous generations. We have forgotten (or perhaps never noticed) how many hours our parents spent keeping their address books up to date, knocking on doors to make sure everyone in the neighborhood was invited to the weekend BBQ, doing the rounds of phone calls with relatives, clipping out interesting newspaper articles and mailing them to a friend, putting together the cards for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas, and more. We don’t think about what it’s like to carefully file business cards alphabetically in a Rolodex. People spent a lot of time on these sorts of things, once, because the less of that work you did, the less of a social network you had.
facebook  internet  relationships 
21 days ago
Drew Cloud Is a Well-Known Expert on Student Loans. One Problem: He’s Not Real.
Drew Cloud’s story was simple: He founded the website, an "independent, authoritative news outlet" covering all things student loans, "after he had difficulty finding the most recent student loan news and information all in one place."

He became ubiquitous on that topic. But he’s a fiction, the invention of a student-loan refinancing company.
education  media  money 
23 days ago
Facebook retracted Zuckerberg’s messages from recipients’ inboxes
You can’t remove Facebook messages from the inboxes of people you sent them to, but Facebook did that for Mark Zuckerberg and other executives. Three sources confirm to TechCrunch that old Facebook messages they received from Zuckerberg have disappeared from their Facebook inboxes, while their own replies to him conspicuously remain. An email receipt of a Facebook message from 2010 reviewed by TechCrunch proves Zuckerberg sent people messages that no longer appear in their Facebook chat logs or...
facebook  funny  corruption  usa 
6 weeks ago
Facebook explored data sharing agreement with hospitals
As recently as last month, the company was talking to several health organizations, including Stanford Medical School and American College of Cardiology, about signing the data-sharing agreement.

While the data shared would obscure personally identifiable information, such as the patient's name, Facebook proposed using a common computer science technique called "hashing" to match individuals who existed in both sets. Facebook says the data would have been used only for research conducted by the...
privacy  health  usa  facebook 
6 weeks ago
'Corporations Are People' Is Built on a 19th-Century Lie
A few years later, in an opinion in an unrelated case, Field wrote that “corporations are persons within the meaning” of the Fourteenth Amendment. “It was so held in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad,” explained Field, who knew very well that the Court had done no such thing.

His gambit worked. In the following years, the case would be cited over and over by courts across the nation, including the Supreme Court, for deciding that corporations had rights under the Fourteenth Amendm...
history  u.s.a.  money  corruption 
6 weeks ago
Only One Bank Was Indicted For Mortgage Fraud Tied To The 2008 Collapse — And It Was Innocent
You might think the Manhattan district attorney had his choice of banks to prosecute for these obvious and far-reaching crimes, but in the end only one bank has been indicted on felony fraud charges related to the 2008 collapse: Abacus.
money  economy  u.s.a.  politics  corruption 
september 2017
The Sickness of American Healthcare
Here’s who the media failed to cover: the 177 million Americans who get their insurance through job-based coverage. They are Clinton voters, Sanders voters, Johnson voters, Stein voters and, yes, Trump voters. Media generally overlook the crushing impact the ACA has had on their health insurance. To the extent people with employer-provided insurance are interviewed on healthcare, they are often wrapped in the wrong frame—that their concerns about the ACA are irrational, because the ACA didn’t impact people who were already covered.
health  politics  u.s.a. 
september 2017
Offshore wind farms could tame hurricanes, Stanford-led study says
Computer simulations by Professor Mark Z. Jacobson have shown that offshore wind farms with thousands of wind turbines could have sapped the power of three real-life hurricanes, significantly decreasing their winds and accompanying storm surge, and possibly preventing billions of dollars in damages.
science  environment 
september 2017
Archeological find affirms Heiltsuk Nation's oral history
B.C. archaeologists have excavated a settlement in the area — in traditional Heiltsuk Nation territory — and dated it to 14,000 years ago, during the last ice age where glaciers covered much of North America. 

"This find is very important because it reaffirms a lot of the history that our people have been talking about for thousands of years," Housty said.
canada  history  native-american-tribes  amazing 
september 2017
As prices rise, mortgage lenders are making it easier to buy a house
After the housing crisis, Fannie Mae established a debt-to-income cap of 45 percent, except for those who put at least 20 percent down and could show they had enough savings to pay their mortgage for 12 months if they lost their job. Exceptions were also made if a borrower received income from someone who lived in the house, but was not on the loan.

Last month, Fannie did away with those special requirements, raising its cap to 50 percent....

With the exploding cost of higher education causing some students to borrow more than $100,000, several changes are directly targeting young homebuyers typically burdened with hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in monthly student-loan payments.

Among Fannie Mae’s changes:

• If a borrower has some student loans or other nonmortgage debt paid by parents or others, those payments will no longer count toward their debt-to-income ratio.

• Once a borrower becomes a homeowner, Fannie will allow them to qualify for a cheaper cash-out refinance if they use it to pay off their high-interest student loans.

• If a student-loan borrower is enrolled in an income-based repayment plan, the lower monthly payment can be used when calculating a debt-to-income ratio. Before, lenders often had to use 1 percent of the outstanding student-loan balance as the monthly payment.
money  economy  housing  signs-of-recession  u.s.a.  politics 
september 2017
House flippers triggered the US housing market crash, not poor subprime borrowers
Come 2007, investors accounted for 43% of the total mortgage balance for the top credit-score quartile. For the middle two quartiles, speculators were responsible for around 35% in 2007.

This set up a dangerous dynamic. The mortgages these prime borrowers were able to secure were much bigger than those taken out by poor homebuyers. Worse, speculators have less incentive to hold onto their extra homes than those who only own one home. So when the housing market started tumbling and the economy soon followed...
poverty  economy  money  housing  politics  u.s.a. 
september 2017
‘Kill all white people’: Suspect in killings of five white men made threat in 2014
The 22-year-old man suspected of shooting five middle-aged white men since last year — including four on south Kansas City walking trails — threatened in 2014 to shoot up a school and “kill all white people,” according to court records.

Fredrick Demond Scott, who was charged Tuesday in two killings and named as a suspect in three more, made those statements in January 2014 at Center Alternative School, as documented in a municipal citation for harassment.

Scott, who is black, has been charged with murder...[of] five white men between ages 54 and 67. All five were fatally shot, most from behind, in surprise attacks as they walked dogs, visited parks and, in one case, walked down a city street.
racism  crime  missouri  u.s.a. 
september 2017
Video shows Utah nurse screaming, being dragged into police car after refusing to let officer take blood from unconscious victim
Wubbels says blood cannot be taken from an unconscious patient unless the patient is under arrest, unless there is a warrant allowing the draw or unless the patient consents. The detective acknowledges in the footage that none of those requirements is in place, but he insists that he has the authority to obtain the draw, according to the footage.
At one point, Payne threatens to take Wubbels to jail if he doesn’t get the sample, and he accuses her of interfering with a criminal case.
police  wtf  abuse  crime  utah  u.s.a. 
september 2017
Revealed: how gambling industry targets poor people and ex-gamblers
“Third-party data providers allowed us to target their email lists with precision,” said a digital marketer who counted betting companies among his clients before leaving his agency last year. “Lower-income users were among the most successfully targeted segments.

“We could also combine segments, ie we could target users who are on less than £25k a year, own a credit card and have three kids, via these providers.”
abuse  gambling  wtf  internet 
september 2017
Video of Georgia police officer: 'We only kill black people'
Video from a police car's dash camera shows an officer attempting to calm a nervous driver during a DUI stop by telling her "We only kill black people."

The video was obtained by WSB Channel 2 in Atlanta. The woman can be heard telling the officer she's afraid to move her hands because of recent police-involved shootings.
police  wtf  racism  u.s.a.  georgia 
august 2017
Missouri state rep says person who vandalized Confederate statue should be 'hung from a tall tree'
State Rep. Warren Love (R) shared an article to Facebook, titled "Vandal throws paint on Confederate statue," according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The article addressed the recent vandalism of a Confederate monument in Springfield National Cemetery.

"This is totally against the law," Love wrote in the post. "I hope they are found & hung from a tall tree with a long rope."
republicans  wtf  politics  u.s.a.  missouri  abuse  racism 
august 2017
Lupin seed extract could provide potent diabetes treatment, researchers say
Curtin University researchers say they are close to developing a food supplement which could prove more potent than some pharmaceutical drugs in tackling diabetes.

Research team leader Professor Philip Newsholme said lupin seed extract was being used in laboratory trials to regulate blood glucose levels.

He said research had shown broken down lupin seed could be used to stimulate insulin secretion in cells.
health  australia  science  food 
august 2017
465K People Need A Pacemaker Security Update To Protect Their Hearts From Hacking
If you need more evidence that we are living in an increasingly internet-connected world, look no further than a recent software update aimed at making sure 465,000 people with pacemakers don’t have hearts that are vulnerable to hackers.
wtf  health 
august 2017
Charlottesville White Nationalists Planned for Violence, Chats Show
While much of the discussion centered on flags, chants, and other forms of speech, the leaked exchanges also included advice on weapon construction. “You want something designed for longitudinal stress,” wrote one poster. “[Three] whacks and that thing is breaking.” Other topics included body armor and shield design. Users also shared memes alluding to using vehicles against opponents.
crime  u.s.a.  politics  virginia  weapons 
august 2017
PhoenixNewTimes on Twitter
We've been covering Joe Arpaio for more than 20 years. Here's a couple of things you should know about him...
arizona  crime  abuse  politics  u.s.a.  trump-presidency  twitter 
august 2017
Baltimore man among 3 more charged in Charlottesville, Va., white supremacist rally
The man, identified as Richard Wilson Preston, was charged by Charlottesville, Va., police with discharging a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school. Charlottesville Police said in a news release that Preston fired a gun in the 100 block of West Market Street.

Court records list his address in the 5800 block of Cedonia Ave. in the Northeast Baltimore neighborhood of Cedmont. Numerous news reports refer to Preston as imperial wizard of Maryland’s Ku Klux Klan chapter.
racism  crime  abuse  politics  u.s.a.  virginia  weapons 
august 2017
ICE Left 50 Immigrant Women And Kids Stranded At A Bus Station Before Hurricane Harvey Struck
Federal immigration authorities left about 50 immigrant women and children, most of them asylum-seekers from Central America, stranded at a downtown San Antonio bus station after service was canceled Friday due to Hurricane Harvey.
wtf  politics  texas  racism  u.s.a. 
august 2017
Woman jailed for 10 years for making series of false rape claims
Sentencing her on Thursday, the judge, Nicholas Loraine-Smith, said: “This trial has revealed, what was then not obvious, that you are a very, very convincing liar and you enjoy being seen as a victim.

“The prosecution described your life as a ‘construct of bogus victimhood’.”
uk  crime  abuse  wtf 
august 2017
America’s neo-Nazis don’t look to Germany for inspiration. They look to Russia.
It doesn’t take much to gather white nationalists’ affections for modern Moscow — a regime whose model they want to bring to bear in the United States. For David Duke, who has seen his books sold in the Russian Duma, Moscow remains the “key to white survival.” For Richard Spencer, a founding member of the alt-right’s rogues’ gallery — and someone married to the translator of Alexander Dugin, Russia’s illiberal polemicist extraordinaire — the Kremlin stands as the “most powerful white power in the world.” For Matthew Heimbach, who has said he would like to see the United States fracture on ethnic lines, Vladimir Putin has transformed into the “leader of the free world.”
opinion  russia  u.s.a.  politics  racism 
august 2017
The Ex-Sheriff Trump Wants to Pardon Ignored 400 Sex Crime Cases
The AP reported in 2011 that Arpaio's department failed to properly investigate over 400 sex crime cases, including attacks on children, from 2005 to 2007, when the department had a $2.7 million contract to run police services for the city of El Mirage.

According to the report, many of the victims were children of undocumented immigrants. "Officials discovered at least 32 reported child molestations—with victims as young as 2 years old—where the sheriff's office failed to follow through, even though suspects were known in all but six cases," AP revealed.
abuse  children  arizona  u.s.a.  trump-presidency  crime  politics 
august 2017
Pregnancy Double Discovery
At the heart of the paramount discovery is the dietary supplement vitamin B3, also known as niacin. Scientists at the Victor Chang Institute have discovered simply boosting levels of this nutrient during pregnancy can prevent miscarriages and birth defects.

Vitamin B3 is required to make NAD and is typically found in meats and green vegetables as well as vegemite. However, a recent study[i] found that despite taking vitamin supplements at least a third of pregnant women have low levels of vitamin B3 in their first trimester, which is the critical time in organ development. By the third trimester, vitamin B3 levels were low in 60% of pregnant women. This indicates pregnant women may require more vitamin B3 than is currently available in most vitamin supplements.
health  australia  science  children 
august 2017
The truth has got its boots on: what the evidence says about Mr. Damore’s Google memo
It’s funny, but despite being largely written by women interested in gender equality, many of the reviews I have linked include sections about ways in which these unequal expectations harm men. For example, the workplace backlash review I cited above includes a section pointing out that men who are more interested in focusing on communal coalition building in the workplace than competitive interaction are penalized, as are men who show proficiency in any skills that seem just a hair too feminine.⁸⁰ Scientists who work on gender from a feminist perspective are in no way hurting men by seeking to dismantle structural inequality, because the existing structural inequalities also hurt many men, as well as many people who identify as neither men nor women.
gender  science  internet 
august 2017
Sherman nurse's 'wait to bathe' newborns policy adopted by hospitals
Sherman's Family Birthing Center rolled out a policy in February 2016 where nurses waited about 14 hours to give full-term, healthy newborns a bath.... Buss began comparing births from February 2016 to the baseline statistics and was surprised at the numbers, she said. The percentage of babies with hypothermia decreased from 29 percent to 14 percent after baths were delayed.... Hypoglycemia rates dropped from 21 percent to 7 percent in the first month, she said. Breastfeeding rates increased from 51 percent to 71 percent, she found.

Nine months later, the figures were even more startling. Hypothermia rates dropped to 7 percent and hypoglycemia rates dropped to 4 percent while breastfeeding rates increased to 78 percent.

Breastfeeding rates increased because the vernix helps a newborn pick up its mother's scent, which makes it more likely the baby will latch, said Fran Tefi-Teal, director of the Birth Center.
health  children  science  illinois  usa 
june 2017
1,500 acid attacks have been recorded in London since 2011
Globally, roughly 80% of victims tend to women. Attacks are often carried out by vengeful men who have had their marriage proposals or sexual advances rebuffed.

However, acid attack charities in the UK estimate that British victims are predominantly men, at roughly 71% of victims.

Jaf Shah, the executive director of the support group Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI), told the Guardian: "Looking at the data in general, there is a fairly large probability that a high percentage of the incidents are male-on-male attacks and most likely to be gang-related....

"Acid is used as an extreme mark of dominance. It's letting the individual know I haven't killed you, but it's almost worse than that, it's a mark – on your face. It's a sinister legacy."
wtf  crime  abuse  statistics  england  uk 
march 2017
5 Numbers That Say a Lot About the Election
The share of the voting-eligible population that cast ballots — “voting eligible” means all adults who were legally entitled to cast a ballot, regardless of whether they registered — was the third best since 1972, slightly below the 60.7 percent turnout in the 2004 presidential race and slightly better than the 58.6 percent turnout in 2012. (Mr. Obama’s 2008 victory holds the crown for largest recent turnout.) Among the four in 10 who did not vote, a Pew Research Center survey suggested that about 25 percent believed their ballot would not change anything, and 15 percent believed the election outcome was in little doubt.
u.s.-elections  u.s.a.  politics  statistics  elections 
march 2017
Steve King: Blacks and Hispanics 'will be fighting each other' before overtaking whites in population
In the interview on Iowa radio, King reiterated comments he made Monday to Chris Cuomo on CNN's "New Day," saying, "This isn't about race."

He said his comments were instead about "our stock, our country, our culture, our civilization," and that "we need to have enough babies to replace ourselves."

But King argued that others, such as Ramos, were "celebrating" the success of a plan to make whites a majority-minority.

"Their effort here is to be celebrating because the United States is moving towards becoming, the whites becoming a minority, a majority-minority within the country according to what their plan is," he said.
racism  u.s.a.  politics  iowa 
march 2017
Winner in Trump’s Decision to Fire Bharara Might Be Murdoch
Trump oversaw the firing of Preet Bharara, the U.S attorney for the Southern District of Manhattan, whose office is in the middle of a high-profile federal investigation of Fox News. The probe, according to sources, is looking at a number of potential crimes, including whether Fox News executives broke laws by allegedly obtaining journalists’ phone records or committed mail and wire fraud by hiding financial settlements paid to women who accused Roger Ailes of sexual harassment.
corruption  politics  u.s.a.  trump-presidency  media 
march 2017
A diabetic boy’s religious parents ‘didn’t believe in doctors.’ Now they’re guilty of his murder.
For years, Alex was reportedly home-schooled and had little contact with the outside world. His parents' "intentional isolation of Alex from anyone who could intervene" had a profound effect on the teen, who had weakened to the point that he had trouble moving, the judge wrote. "His muscles had wasted away. His body was covered in painful bedsores, one was so advanced his jaw bone was openly visible. The pain at times must have been unbearable. He was unable to use the toilet. The only evidence of his food intake was baby food"....

On the night of Alex's death, Brancu and about a half-dozen people from the church visited the Radita family's home....

EMS workers would arrive to find a group chanting in the living room. Alex was pronounced dead shortly after 10 p.m.
crime  abuse  children  teens  canada  religion  christianity 
march 2017
Sweden to reintroduce conscription amid rising Baltic tensions
A resurgent Russia and tensions over Ukraine have prompted politicians to consider bolstering military capability while addressing the shortfall of people willing to pursue a career as a professional soldier.

The lack of military preparedness has been exposed in recent years, such as when Russian warplanes carrying out a mock bombing run on Sweden in 2013 caught air defences off guard....

With its reintroduction of the draft, Sweden will for the first time join Norway to become only the second country in Europe where military service is compulsory for women and as well as men.

“It’s very important to emphasise that military service is for girls and guys,” Hultqvist said. “It is important for the military to have a gender equal profile,” he added.
sweden  politics  war  russia  equality  europe  military 
march 2017
Robert Mercer: the big data billionaire waging war on mainstream media
Robert Mercer very rarely speaks in public and never to journalists, so to gauge his beliefs you have to look at where he channels his money: a series of yachts, all called Sea Owl; a $2.9m model train set; climate change denial (he funds a climate change denial thinktank, the Heartland Institute); and what is maybe the ultimate rich man’s plaything – the disruption of the mainstream media. In this he is helped by his close associate Steve Bannon, Trump’s campaign manager and now chief strategist. The money he gives to the Media Research Center, with its mission of correcting “liberal bias” is just one of his media plays. There are other bigger, and even more deliberate strategies, and shining brightly, the star at the centre of the Mercer media galaxy, is Breitbart.

It was $10m of Mercer’s money that enabled Bannon to fund Breitbart – a rightwing news site, set up with the express intention of being a Huffington Post for the right....

But there was another reason why I recognised Robert Mercer’s name: because of his connection to Cambridge Analytica, a small data analytics company. He is reported to have a $10m stake in the company, which was spun out of a bigger British company called SCL Group. It specialises in “election management strategies” and “messaging and information operations”, refined over 25 years in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan. In military circles this is known as “psyops” – psychological operations. (Mass propaganda that works by acting on people’s emotions.)
media  politics  war  programming  science  internet 
february 2017
Hidden Racism
Melfi shields white viewers from the uncomfortableness of seeing the totality of the horror their counterparts inflicted on the black women who worked at NASA, and he does so at the expense of the agency of those women, portraying them as being in desperate need for a white man’s validation.

The truth is that they lived freely in the fact that their lives were just as valid as anyone else’s.

What actually happened — documented in the book from which the film is adapted, Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race, written by Margot Lee Shetterly, a black woman — is Katherine Johnson refused to use NASA’s colored restrooms. She defiantly used the white bathroom, even though doing so was illegal.
media  film  history  u.s.a.  politics  equality 
february 2017
Pope quietly trims sanctions for sex abusers seeking mercy
Pope Francis has quietly reduced sanctions against a handful of pedophile priests, applying his vision of a merciful church even to its worst offenders in ways that survivors of abuse and the pope's own advisers question....

Burke said Francis' emphasis on mercy applied to "even those who are guilty of heinous crimes." He said priests who abuse are permanently removed from ministry, but are not necessarily dismissed from the clerical state, the church term for laicization or defrocking....

In a statement announcing Francis' decision to reduce the sentence, Crema Bishop Oscar Cantoni said "no misery is so profound, no sin so terrible that mercy cannot be applied."
religion  christianity  abuse  children  wtf  teens 
february 2017
Seattle home too toxic to enter sparked a bidding frenzy — now we know why
Tang is the latest in a long line of developers looking to profit by tearing down a smaller, older home in Seattle and replacing it with a larger and much more expensive one.

Seattle now sees one home teardown per day on average, with the rate of teardowns surging in the last year and a half. The typical new home that springs up on a tear-down lot sells for more than $1 million, about three times more than what its old, torn-down predecessor was worth.
seattle  u.s.a.  money  architecture  housing  washington-state 
february 2017
Same-sex marriage laws linked to fewer youth suicide attempts
State legalization of same-sex marriage appears to be linked to a decrease in adolescent suicide, based on a new analysis published today in JAMA Pediatrics. The results give more context to the potential effects of social policy on mental health.

The researchers found that suicide attempts by high school students decreased by 7 percent in states after they passed laws to legalize same-sex marriage, before the Supreme Court legalized it nationwide in 2015. Among LGB high school students, the decrease was especially concentrated, with suicide attempts falling by 14 percent.

But in states that did not legalize same-sex marriage, there was no change.
health  politics  u.s.a.  lgbt  suicide  teens  statistics  science 
february 2017
How Space Weather Can Influence Elections on Earth
"Everything was going fine, but then suddenly, there were an additional 4,000 votes cast. Because it was a local election, which are normally very small, people were surprised and asked, 'how did this happen?'"

The culprit was not voter fraud or hacked machines. It was a single event upset (SEU), a term describing the fallout of an ionizing particle bouncing off a vulnerable node in the machine's register, causing it to flip a bit, and log the additional votes. The Sun may not have been the direct source of the particle—cosmic rays from outside the solar system are also in the mix—but solar-influenced space weather certainly contributes to these SEUs.

These anomalies in electronic voting machines are extremely difficult to detect, as the offending particles are small and subtle, and normally don't leave any damage or recognizable fingerprints of having tipped the scales one way or the other. The only reason Schaerbeek officials caught the error was due to the improbable number of ballots cast. But for all we know, the Sun and its radiation buddies in the wider universe may have tampered in other elections and gotten away with it.
elections  belgium  wtf  science  environment  politics 
february 2017
Gone rogue
All, or most, of these accounts are fake. They’re phony. They’re liberal wish fulfillment. They’re telling you what you want to hear. There’s evidence that they’re fake. It’s fiction, like a social-media West Wing repackaged for the resistance, confirming your biases and giving you the (phony) gossipy thrill of insider knowledge....

I blocked these rogue government accounts as soon as they started proliferating on Twitter, and it was the best social-media decision I’ve made in 2017. They’re a distraction from reality — bad fiction to make you feel good. If we want to change the world, we have to support truth and transparency, and that means prioritizing good journalism over ineffectual fan fiction.
politics  u.s.a.  trump-presidency  media  internet 
february 2017
Millennials are moving less than earlier generations did at same age
In 2016, only 20% of Millennial 25- to 35-year-olds reported having lived at a different address one year earlier. One-year migration rates were much higher for older generations when they were the same age....

Labor market opportunities may be a factor. Millennials were hit hard by the Great Recession in terms of job-holding and wages. For many young adults who moved in the past year, job opportunities were a prime motivation for moving, and the modest jobs recovery may not be providing the impetus Millennials need.

When they do move, Millennials’ motivations for moving are significantly different from those of earlier generations of young movers. One incentive for moving is to buy a home, but Census Bureau migration data suggest Millennial movers are doing so at significantly lower rates than earlier generations. In 2016, homeownership among younger households was at its lowest level in at least 40 years. On the one hand, the different family demographics of Millennials – such as not having children – may undercut their desire to own a home. But financial considerations may play a role as well. Compared with Gen X young adults around 2000, lending standards are much tighter, making it more difficult for Millennial 25- to 35-year-olds to get a mortgage. Related to this, student debt may be deterring young adults from home ownership.
statistics  u.s.a.  politics  money  economy  equality 
february 2017
Schools Add Washing Machines, See Attendance Improve
“After just one month, we saw an impact,” Gunn tells CityLab. The more long-term results of the program have actually been remarkable. The first year saw over 90 percent of tracked students increase their attendance, with those most in need of the service averaging an increase of almost 2 weeks. Teachers surveyed reported that 95 percent of participants showed more motivation in class and were more apt to participate in extra-curricular activities. The results support research demonstrating that chronic absenteeism isn’t because of kids’ lack of smarts or motivation, but is largely due to coming from a low-income household.
poverty  education  children  teens  u.s.a.  kindness  equality 
february 2017
The Trump effect on travel to the United States
Overall average interest in flying to the US declined 17% from the three weeks before Trump’s inauguration to two weeks afterward, Hopper said, based on weekly averages of an analysis of billions of global flight searches. Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning residents of seven Muslim-majority countries a week after he was inaugurated.

Last year during the same period, interest in flying to the US fell 1.8%, suggesting that the recent downturn is much more than just a seasonal fluctuation....

The US city slated to miss out most is San Francisco, whose airport saw a 33% decline in international interest, Hopper said. Seven other US airports saw a 20% or more decline in search interest over the three week period....

On the other hand, there was a huge increase in interest in travel to the US from Russia. Flight searches from Russia to the US rose 88%, Hopper said.
u.s.a.  u.s.-elections  trump-presidency  politics  russia  california  statistics  travel 
february 2017
You have to be Christian to truly be American? Many people in the U.S. say so.
Thirty-two percent of Americans said one should be Christian to really be American, compared to just 13 percent of Australians, 15 percent of Canadians and 15 percent of Europeans who felt the same way about belonging in their homelands....

Republicans, who are themselves more likely to be Christian, said at a higher rate that one need be Christian to be American: 43 percent compared to 29 percent of Democrats and 26 percent of independents....

This opinion is apparently becoming much less popular with the younger generation of Americans, who are less likely to affiliate with a religion than generations before them. Among adults over 50, 44 percent told Pew that being Christian was key to being American; among those younger than 35, 18 percent said so.
u.s.a.  christianity  religion  politics  statistics 
february 2017
Dutch experiment with 'Tinder for orangutans'
The research, conducted with Leiden University, could improve breeding programmes for the apes, the park said.

The local De Stentor newspaper wrote: "Apenheul wants to know if female orangutans like Samboja, looking at pictures on a tablet, can show a preference for potential mates, before they are flown to the Netherlands."

Initial results indicate that bonobos, an endangered ape species, react most strongly to photos showing positive behaviours, such as sexual activity or searching for lice, the park said....

But the study had to be suspended for the orangutans, after Samboja, a young female, destroyed a tablet showing potential suitors.
funny  animals  sex  science 
january 2017
Obama averaged fewest executive orders since Cleveland
Obama issued 277 executive orders during his eight years in office, or 35 per year. That’s slightly fewer than the 36 per year that George W. Bush issued and the lowest average since Grover Cleveland, who issued 32 per year during his eight nonconsecutive years in office.
statistics  politics  u.s.a. 
january 2017
Four more journalists get felony charges after covering inauguration unrest
Four more journalists have been charged with felonies after being arrested while covering the unrest around Donald Trump’s inauguration, meaning that at least six media workers are facing up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine if convicted.
media  crime  politics  dc  u.s.a.  u.s.-elections  trump-presidency 
january 2017
New research charts surging income inequality in United States
The average pre-tax income of adults in the bottom 50 percent income share in the U.S. has stagnated since 1980.

The bottom 50 percent’s share of income share has collapsed from about 20 percent in 1980 to 12 percent in 2014.

Between the early 1980s and 2014, the average pre-tax income of the top 1 percent of adults rose from $420,000 to about $1.3 million, and their income share increased from about 12 percent.

In 1980, the top 1 percent adults earned on average 27 times more than bottom 50 percent adults, while they earn 81 times more today.
 
The share of women falls sharply as one moves up the income ladder, with only 11 percent in the top 1 percent today.

There has been close to zero growth for working-age adults in the bottom 50 percent of the distribution since 1980.

In the bottom half of the distribution range, only income for the elderly is rising, while income has fallen for those under the age of 65.
equality  money  u.s.a.  politics 
january 2017
Why in the post-truth age, the bullshitters are winning
This is what people mean when they refer to our political moment as a “post truth” age. It is not quite the same as lies, though lying may well be involved. “Post-truth” is closer to bullshit. It’s the “Hall of Mirrors” strategy perfected in Putin's Russia, where an explosion of fake news and cultured online trolling bolsters the regime not simply by pumping out pro-Kremlin propaganda, but by making it impossible for citizens to entirely trust anything they read or hear. This leaves them vulnerable to latching on to the ideas that simply feel as if they ought to be true, with no regard for objective fact, which has been devalued, along with the very concept of expertise and learning, across the world.
politics 
january 2017
The crisis of disabled millennials: 'It feels hopeless'
Phipps says the thought that this is what her life will always be like – never being able to have a career and earn money, or afford a decent place to live – is impacting on her mental health.

“My mum talks to me about her pension and I can’t imagine that. Or having my own home,” she says. “It feels hopeless. I can’t see how it’s getting better.”
uk  health  politics  money  equality  disability 
january 2017
Maiden America
The idea of sexual purity was a relatively late addition to Christian doctrine. Not even priests needed to be celibate until the twelfth century—and that change, according to Medieval historian R. I. Moore, had more to do with blocking church officials from transferring church wealth to their families than it did with forging any sort of resemblance between the lives of priests and how Jesus lived.

In the foundational years of Christianity, the sexual purity of women was of no great concern. An unmarried girl’s sexual activity was seen, according to historian of early Christianity Peter Brown, as “simply a bad omen for her future conduct.” A sexually active teen might grow up to be a wife who took lovers, not that that was such a bad thing either. The goal of marriage was not a sacred union of souls, but reproduction—needed to replenish the constantly keeling-over population at a time when the average lifespan was twenty-five years.

For a woman to take a vow of abstinence, then, was considered radical. St. Cecilia was a buzzkill at her own engagement party, wearing sackcloth and ashes. When Thecla left her fiancé to don men’s clothing and preach alongside Paul the Apostle, the rejected suitor complained that this denigration of marriage was “bizarre and disruptive to the human race.” It was certainly disruptive to families. Early women of the church had to fight their fathers to take their vows, and they fended off prospective suitors by making themselves repulsive: shaving their heads, scarring their faces, cutting out their own eyes.
history  u.s.a.  sex  sexism  religion  politics  christianity  gender 
january 2017
Point of View: North Carolina no longer a democracy
In the just released [Electoral Integrity Project] report, North Carolina’s overall electoral integrity score of 58/100 for the 2016 election places us alongside authoritarian states and pseudo-democracies like Cuba, Indonesia and Sierra Leone. If it were a nation state, North Carolina would rank right in the middle of the global league table – a deeply flawed, partly-free, democracy that is only slightly ahead of the failed democracies that constitute much of the developing world.

Indeed Carolina does so poorly on the measures of legal framework and voter registration, that on those indicators we rank alongside Iran and Venezuela. When it comes to the integrity of the voting district boundaries no country has ever received as low a score as the 7/100 North Carolina received. North Carolina is not only the worst state in the USA for unfair districting but the worst entity in the world ever analyzed by the Electoral Integrity Project.
u.s.-elections  politics  u.s.a.  north-carolina 
december 2016
Worries about access fuel women’s rush to get contraception
Immediately after the election, Google searches for IUD spiked and Twitter saw phrases like “get an IUD” jump in popularity.
health  equality  gender  u.s.-elections  u.s.a.  politics  trump-presidency 
december 2016
PIA: on a wing and a prayer
In an effort to seek divine intervention to keep a flight safe and secure, staff of the Pakistan International Airlines sacrificed a black goat for ‘sadqa’ near an ATR-42 aircraft after it was given clearance for take-off from the Benazir Bhutto International Airport on Sunday.
wtf  pakistan  religion  transportation  travel  animals 
december 2016
Cleveland creating 'Don King Way' where Don King killed a man
A Cleveland street where iconic boxing promoter Don King once killed a man 50 years ago is about to be renamed… Don King Way. Only in America.
wtf  ohio  history  sports  u.s.a. 
november 2016
United States confirms Manus Island and Nauru deal with Turnbull government
Refugees languishing on Manus Island and Nauru will be offered resettlement in the United States under a "one-off" arrangement announced by the Turnbull government.

The long-awaited breakthrough will see the 1800 detainees encouraged to return home, seek resettlement in the US or face an indefinite stay in the Nauruan community.
u.s.a.  australia  equality  racism 
november 2016
Trump Win Leaves Questions About Latino, African American Vote
The numbers suggested Clinton was not able to inspire African Americans in the way Obama did. Whereas Obama garnered 95 percent of the black vote, exit polls show only 88 percent of African Americans cast their vote for Clinton.

Most surprisingly, official exit polls show Trump won 29 percent of the Latino vote; Romney had won 27 percent in 2012. For researchers, this may be confounding. Data from pre-election polls gathered by other polling first show Trump's share of the Latino vote closer to 18 percent.
u.s.-elections  u.s.a.  politics  statistics  democrats  republicans 
november 2016
Voter turnout at 20-year low in 2016
Voter turnout this year dipped to nearly its lowest point in two decades.

While election officials are still tabulating ballots, the 126 million votes already counted means about 55% of voting age citizens cast ballots this year.
That measure of turnout is the lowest in a presidential election since 1996, when 53.5% of voting-age citizens turned out.
u.s.-elections  u.s.a.  politics  trump-presidency 
november 2016
Islamic State celebrates Donald Trump election victory
Extremists celebrated President–elect Donald Trump’s stunning victory at the polls Wednesday, hoping his triumph will “lead to civil war,“ according to a jihadist monitoring group.

"Rejoice with support from Allah, and find glad tidings in the imminent demise of America at the hands of Trump,” said the al-Minbar Jihadi Media network, which is affiliated with the Islamic State, according to the U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group.
religion  islam  islamic-state  trump-presidency  u.s.-elections  u.s.a.  politics 
november 2016
Trump Campaigned Against Lobbyists. Now They’re on His Transition Team.
President-elect Donald J. Trump, who campaigned against the corrupt power of special interests, is filling his transition team with some of the very sort of people who he has complained have too much clout in Washington: corporate consultants and lobbyists.
politics  u.s.-elections  u.s.a.  trump-presidency 
november 2016
DNC Staffer Screams At Donna Brazile For Helping Elect Donald Trump
"You and your friends will die of old age and I’m going to die from climate change."
politics  democrats  u.s.-elections  u.s.a.  trump-presidency 
november 2016
The Lost Civilization of Dial-Up Bulletin Board Systems
The sysops might initiate one-on-one chat at any time. Long before texting and Slacking and Facebook messaging became the norm for interchange, BBS chats felt like being with someone in person. Sometimes strong personal relationships were built. My best friend is someone I first met when he called my BBS in 1993.

That personal connection was sorely missing on big-name online subscription services of the time—Prodigy, CompuServe, and AOL. Even today, the internet is so overwhelmingly intertwined that it doesn't have the same intimate feel. Once the web arrived in the mid-1990s, it seemed inevitable that the BBS would die off.

But every mass extinction has its holdouts. Even today, a small community of people still run and call BBSes. Many seek the digital intimacy they lost years ago; 373 BBSes still operate, according to the Telnet BBS Guide, mostly in the United States.
history  media  bbs 
november 2016
The fight to punish US police killings: ‘We missed an opportunity to stop him'
Johnson told the documentary makers that as complaints from the public about his violence piled up, Rankin said they merely proved he was doing his job properly. He also became obsessed with a particular premise for a police officer opening fire on a suspect. He would return to this hypothetical constantly in conversations with colleagues, she said.

“Don’t you think you’d be justified in shooting somebody if they put their hand on their waistband?” he would ask.
u.s.-elections  police  weapons  politics 
november 2016
The Most Important WikiLeaks Revelation Isn’t About Hillary Clinton
This was October 6. The election was November 4. And yet Froman, an executive at Citigroup, which would ultimately become the recipient of the largest bailout from the federal government during the financial crisis, had mapped out virtually the entire Obama cabinet, a month before votes were counted. And according to the Froman/Podesta emails, lists were floating around even before that.
politics  u.s.a.  corruption 
october 2016
Exposing the great 'poverty reduction' lie
Some economists go further and advocate for an IPL of $5 or even $10 - the upper boundary suggested by the World Bank. At this standard, we see that some 5.1 billion people - nearly 80 percent of the world's population - are living in poverty today. And the number is rising.
equality  poverty  money  economy  politics 
october 2016
The ‘Welfare Queen’ Is a Lie
Over time, politicians have contrived modern equivalents of the welfare queen, with policy implications of their own. Newt Gingrich infamously lamented a food-stamp recipient who used her benefits to fly to Hawaii at taxpayers’ expense. As anyone who has actually enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would know, benefits are tightly restricted to food products off of the shelf and can’t even be used to buy other necessities, such as diapers, much less a plane ticket.
poverty  equality  u.s.a.  politics  racism  sexism  money 
september 2016
Why an obscure Indian journal has a growing international stature
The [Indian Journal of Medical Ethics] seems to be operating pretty ethically. It doesn’t charge authors a fee to publish, and its articles are available online to everyone for free (the print edition carries a modest annual subscription fee). It doesn’t accept advertising from drug companies or medical device manufacturers, Jesani said. The staff is 1.5 full-time employees — whose salaries are paid for by donations from individuals and philanthropies — and a cadre of volunteers.
uplifting  health  science  drugs  india 
september 2016
5,300 Wells Fargo employees fired for creating unauthorized accounts
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Wells Fargo sales staff opened more than 2 million bank and credit card accounts that may have not been authorized by customers. Money in customers' accounts were transferred to these new accounts without authorization. Debit cards were issued and activated, as well as PINs created, without telling customers.

In some cases, Wells Fargo employees even created fake email addresses to sign up customers for online banking services.

"Wells Fargo built an incentive-compensation program that made it possible for its employees to pursue underhanded sales practices, and it appears that the bank did not monitor the program carefully," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray.

The behavior was widespread, the CFPB and other regulators said, involving thousands of Wells Fargo employees.

Roughly 5,300 employees at Wells Fargo were fired in connection with this behavior, according to Los Angeles City Attorney's office.
money  corruption  crime  u.s.a.  california 
september 2016
Long-held theory on human gestation refuted: Mother’s metabolism, not birth canal size, limits gestation
"Under the EGG, babies are born when they're born because mother cannot put any more energy into gestation and fetal growth," Dunsworth explains. "Mom's energy is the primary evolutionary constraint, not the hips."

Using metabolic data on pregnant women, the researchers show that women give birth just as they are about to cross into a metabolic danger zone.

"There is a limit to the number of calories our bodies can burn each day," says Pontzer. "During pregnancy, women approach that energetic ceiling and give birth right before they reach it. That suggests there is an energetic limit to human gestation length and fetal growth."
science  health  amazing  amazing-women 
september 2016
What recessions teach us about preventing traffic deaths—and why we need driverless cars
In “Did the Great Recession keep bad drivers off the road?” Winston and Maheshri illustrate that traffic deaths decline during recessions (thus the rise when the economy recovers). They find that for every one percentage point increase in unemployment during the Great Recession, there was a 14 percent reduction in traffic fatalities—or about 5,000 fewer deaths per year.
health  transportation  economy  statistics 
september 2016
Apartment value in the Top 100 US Cities: What Can You Rent for $1,500?
The four-bed, three-bath home you could rent for $1,500 in Memphis or Wichita is seven times the size of the hypothetical Manhattan studio that you’d get for the same amount of cash. In other words, even its living room is larger than some micro units in NYC.
statistics  u.s.a.  money 
august 2016
Younger generations of voters could dominate 2016 election
As of July, an estimated 126 million Millennial and Gen X adults were eligible to vote (56% of eligible voters), compared with only 98 million Boomers and other adults from prior generations, or 44% of the voting-eligible population.
statistics  u.s.-elections  u.s.a.  politics  aging 
august 2016
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