Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Ebola Questions Now Greet Visitors To Canada At Border Crossings when they return from Black Friday shopping -

Ebola Questions Now Greet Visitors To Canada At Border Crossings when they return from Black Friday shopping - 

Cross-border bargain hunters will be met with a new slate of questions from Canadian border guards when they return home this week.

Thousands of Canadians are expected to shop for deals on Black Friday in the U.S.

The Canada Border Service Agency has started asking travellers more pointed and specific questions about Ebola.

Border agents at land border crossings have recently started asking those entering Canada if they have been in contact with someone suspected of having Ebola, have travelled to a location known to be dealing with the disease and whether they feel sick.

Jean Pierre Fortin, the national president of the Customs and Immigration Union, says the new questions aren't expected to create a backlog at border crossings.

"On Black Friday, I don't think the questionnaire would have a huge impact, but it's the volume that will have an impact on the time waiting," he said.

If travellers have been to an Ebola stricken country, they will be asked more in-depth questions.

"If somebody would say or we would feel the person is sick or the person actually looks like he is having fever or any kind of symptoms immediately the person would be isolated," Fortin said.

Fortin says the border agents are comfortable asking these questions.

He doesn't know of any incidents at the border that prompted the new inquires.

The local health unit  in Windsor, Ont., directly across from Detroit, Mich., raised concerns during the summer.

There is no strict screening process at North America's busiest land border crossing, the Ambassador Bridge, and the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.

Dr. Wajid Ahmed, the unit's public health adviser, says the fact border-crossers are in vehicles makes it even more difficult to identify sick people.

"I don't think that there is anything that we can do to protect ourselves, unless the person is really symptomatic and the border security forces identify them as an ill person and may contact us," Ahmed said.


Israeli police in Jerusalem have been caught on video spraying Palestinian neighborhoods and schools with “skunk spray” -

Israeli police in Jerusalem have been caught on video spraying Palestinian neighborhoods and schools with “skunk spray” - 


Israeli police in Jerusalem have been caught on video recently spraying East Jerusalem Palestinian neighborhoods with a concoction they call “skunk spray”. The liquid is a mixture of sewage and rotting animal roadkill.

The result of the police hosing down neighborhoods, elementary schools and protesters with the mix is a putrid smell that seems almost impossible to get off or be around without inducing nausea. As a result, thousands of East Jerusalem children have been forced to stay home from school.

In the neighborhood of At-Tur (The Mount of Olives), police hosed down local elementary schools at 5:30 p.m., according to Khader Abu Sabitan, a member of the parents’ committee. He told 972mag that he “was on the road and saw them pass with their machine, and saw how they began shooting water at the school. I’m telling you – there was nothing there. It is Friday at 5:30 in the evening, and there was no one in the school or on the streets. Nothing. Everyone was home. They went to all four schools in the neighborhood, shot the water, and left.”


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Ebola Survivor has been Quarantined after his semen tested positive for the virus -

Ebola Survivor has been Quarantined after his semen tested positive for the virus - 

An Ebola survivor has been quarantined in India after his semen tested positive for the virus, health officials there have announced.
The 26-year-old man, an Indian national, traveled to New Delhi from Liberia on November 10, almost two months after he was hospitalized in the West African nation after showing symptoms of the illness, India's health ministry said in a statement.
He was released from the Liberian hospital on September 30 with documents declaring him free of clinical signs linked to Ebola, the ministry added.
As a precautionary measure, Indian authorities carried out tests on his body fluids, which confirmed traces of the virus in his semen, the statement said.
"Currently, this person is not having any symptoms of the disease. However, he would be kept under isolation in the special health facility of (the) Delhi Airport Health Organization, till such time his body fluids test negative and he is found medically fit to be discharged," it said.
Passenger surveillance
 Ebola death toll rises in Sierra Leone Economist: Ebola hurting Africa's economy World Bank: Nigeria a great success
In the wake of the first detection of the deadly virus in India, the country's health minister, J.P. Nadda, held talks with top officials from various departments, the government said.
The minister advised strengthening passenger surveillance at the country's airports and seaports, the government said. He also ordered expert teams to visit states and report back to him on preparedness to deal with the virus, it added.


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Birds are getting drunk and passing out all over Yukon - Authorities had to set up a Drunk Tank to help them sober up -

Birds are getting drunk and passing out all over Yukon - Authorities had to set up a Drunk Tank to help them sober up - 

Birds are getting drunk and passing out all over Yukon

Friends, don’t drink and fly.

Birds are having a bit of trouble holding their liquor in the Yukon. As the cold weather approaches, Bohemian waxwings are busy stuffing their faces full of mountain ash berries in preparation to wait out the frosty season. But the declining temperatures are affecting the bird’s favourite snack in a way you’d never expect.

“What happens around this time of year is that after the frost, the berries will ferment and so the birds actually can get a little intoxicated from eating these berries and they do in fact get drunk,” Meghan Larivee with the animal health unit at Environment Yukon told the CBC.

A “little intoxicated” is probably an understatement. The alcohol makes the birds’ flight patterns a little wonky, and they’ve begun crashing into windows and other objects. As a solution, Environment Yukon set up an avian drunk tank to help the birds sober up. Residents are even being encouraged to pick up any drunk or unconscious birds they find and bring them in so the animals can ride out what’s sure to be a nasty hangover.

And for any birds that require a little extra care, they’re sent to a rehab (we’re not kidding) at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve.

Never. Drinking. Again.


Friday, 14 November 2014

Apple Now Worth More Than Entire Russian Stock Market - with enough money left over to purchase over 190M iPhone6 + -

Apple Now Worth More Than Entire Russian Stock Market - with enough money left over to purchase over 190M iPhone6 + - 

With Apple at record highs, its market capitalization is now bigger than Russia's entire stock market (the 20th largest market in the world). What's more, as Bloomberg notes, there would be enough money left over after selling Apple and buying Russia to purchase over 190 million contract-free 64Gb iPhone6 Pluses (enough for every Russian).

As Bloomberg adds,

If you owned Apple Inc., and sold it, you could purchase the entire stock market of Russia, and still have enough change to buy every Russian an iPhone 6 Plus.

Russia, the 20th largest among the world’s major markets, is not the only one Apple has surpassed. The company, which forecasts a record holiday-sales quarter and has $155 billion in cash, is also bigger than 17th-ranked Singapore and 18th-ranked Italy.


Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Doctors testing Seniors for cocaine, heroin, and “angel dust” -- and Medicare pays the bill -

Doctors testing Seniors for cocaine, heroin, and “angel dust” -- and Medicare pays the bill - 

Dont do drugs.. Drugs are bad.... Mkay.<br /> Peace!. DONT DO DRUGS.. Drugs are bad mkay. downers, man

Doctors are testing seniors for drugs such as heroin, cocaine and “angel dust” at soaring rates, and Medicare is paying the bill.

It is a roundabout result of the war on pain-pill addiction.

Medical guidelines encourage doctors who treat pain to test their patients, to make sure they are neither abusing pills nor failing to take them, possibly to sell them.

Now, some pain doctors are making more from testing than from treating.

Spending on the tests took off after Medicare cracked down on what appeared to be abusive billing for simple urine tests. Some doctors moved on to high-tech testing methods, for which billing wasn’t limited.

They started testing for a host of different drugs—including illegal ones that few seniors ever use—and billing the federal health program for the elderly and disabled separately for each substance.

Medicare’s spending on 22 high-tech tests for drugs of abuse hit $445 million in 2012, up 1,423 percent in five years.

The program spent $14 million that year just on tests for angel dust, or PCP. Sue Brown, a laboratory director in Brunswick, Ga., said she has never seen someone over 65 test positive for angel dust, in 25 years in the business.


America's best-selling drug is ... Viagra? Prozac? Nah, it's actually an anti-psychotic called Abilify -

America's best-selling drug is ... Viagra? Prozac? Nah, it's actually an anti-psychotic called Abilify - 

America's best-selling drug is ... Viagra? Prozac? Nah, it's actually an anti-psychotic called Abilify that comes with two surprising factoids: It's designed to treat severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder but is now also widely prescribed for depression, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can't explain how it works, the Daily Beast reports.

Americans, meanwhile, spent $6.9 billion on the drug between April 2013 and March 2014, topping sales of all other major anti-depressants combined. So what is Abilify? Ads by the drug's maker, Otsuka America, compare it to "a thermostat" that restores balance, PLOS Medicine reports, while a company rep says the drug's "mechanism of action" is described in a USPI insert that accompanies the medication.

Only problem: The USPI says that the "mechanism ... is unknown." "However, it has been proposed" that Abilify works "through a combination of partial agonist activity at D2 and 5-HT1A receptors and antagonist activity at 5-HT2A receptors," the USPI adds—yet that's only a proposal.

Testing has shown that Abilify successfully improves "quality of life" for schizophrenics, Reuters reports, but critics say that that makes Abilify "like a bazooka" compared to other anti-depressants.

Meanwhile, Abilify's ads promote the drug as a supplement to other anti-depressants. Abilify will surely add to the debate over whether anti-psychotics help people or simply zone them out, the Daily Beast notes, adding that Abilify "is extremely powerful medicine, being prescribed at an astonishingly high rate." (One study says that anti-depressants "change feelings of love.")


Scientists attempt a landing on a comet - like landing the head of a pin on the head of a pin, traveling at 84,000 mph -

Scientists attempt a landing on a comet - like landing the head of a pin on the head of a pin, traveling at 84,000 mph - 

Landing a probe on a comet whizzing through deep space isn't easy, but this week, the European Space Agency (ESA) will attempt to do just that. If successful, it will be the first time a probe has landed on the surface of a comet. 

Officials working with ESA's Rosetta mission are planning to land the robotic Philae probe on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko's surface Nov. 12. You can track Philae's historic progress in live webcasts from ESA and NASA starting Nov. 11 and throughout the day Wednesday. Officials on Earth should know if the landing went well by 11:02 a.m. EST on Nov. 12.

The landing is a risky operation.

Detailed mapping of Comet 67P/C-G only began in August, when Rosetta arrived carrying Philae. The comet's surface is strewn with boulders and cracks, and Philae's landing system has no way to maneuver at the last minute. [See amazing images from the Rosetta mission]

It will take about 7 hours for scientists on Earth to find out if Philae's trip to the surface was successful. A NASA video has even dubbed that block of time "7 hours of terror," an homage to the NASA Curiosity rover's "7 minutes of terror" video that described the Mars rover's landing sequence.

"This comet is very, very rough," Andreas Accomazzo, Rosetta operations manager at the European Space Agency, said in a Google+ Hangout Friday (Nov. 7). "But this is what we have, and this is what we are trying to do. We have to be a bit lucky as well."

First Comet Landing

If Philae's landing is successful, it will crown Rosetta's decade-long journey in space. The mission is doing the first orbit of a comet right now. Rosetta has already become the first spacecraft to orbit a comet, and if Philae safely touches down on Comet 67P/C-G, the lander will be the first to make a soft landing on a comet.

A comet is a tough environment. The gravity is so low that Philae will need to deploy a harpoon into the surface in order to stay put on Comet 67P/C-G. During landing, the spacecraft will face a dusty environment — not to mention, rocks on the surface. Success will also largely depend on how well the probe's hardware and software perform during those final few hours on the way down.

Rosetta planners will spend Nov. 10 and Tuesday looking at the landing orbit and preparing the parent spacecraft to release Philae. One of the busiest times will be late Tuesday night, when controllers have only 4 hours to send commands to Philae and make sure it's ready to go. [See more news about the Rosetta mission]

"We have 4 hours to put them together, check to verify they are consistent, uplink to the spacecraft ... and double-check they are OK to the spacecraft," Accomazzo said. "It's a pretty dense set of activities we have to do."

The plan then calls for Rosetta to release Philae Wednesday at 3:35 a.m. EST. (ESA officials on the ground will find out if the release was successful 28 minutes and 20 seconds later, once the signal reaches Earth.)

The spacecraft is too far away for controllers to do anything but hold their collective breath as the probe makes its descent. ESA mission controllers should acquire a signal from Philae during its descent at about 5:53 a.m. EST. Once that signal is established, Rosetta can start beaming back science information gathered by Philae on its way down to the comet's surface.

And by about 11 a.m. EST, scientists should know if Philae reached the surface.

Rosetta will also need to make several maneuvers to stay in touch with Philae during its descent, landing and post-landing activities. ESA added that both Rosetta and Philae appear to be in good shape to date, so they are planning for the best.

Not all science would die with Philae

Even if Philae doesn't successfully land, ESA anticipates that only 20 percent of the scientific findings expected to be gathered from the Rosetta mission would be lost. The remaining science would come from the orbital mission, which is projected to remain active until at least December 2015 — five months past Comet 67P/C-G's closest approach to the sun.

Philae's potential landing would make it the seventh location in which spacecraft have touched down outside Earth. The other bodies visited include Venus, the moon, Mars, Saturn's moon Titan, and asteroids 433 Eros and Itokawa.

"It's a very, very risky business, but it's a business in which we have invested a lot of know-how — a lot of technical know-how, a lot of scientific know-how and a lot of cooperation," Jocelyne Landeau-Constantin, head of European Space Operations Centre communications, said in the same webcast.

"Sometimes, we wake up and wonder if this dream is going to be true," she added. "Sometimes, we know it can go wrong. But we are ready for every option, and are still very confident we can make it."


Friday, 7 November 2014

A Creepy Website Is Streaming From 73,000 Private Security Cameras -

A Creepy Website Is Streaming From 73,000 Private Security Cameras - 

It shouldn't be so easy to peer into a stranger's bedroom, much less hundreds of strangers' bedrooms. But a website has collected the streaming footage from over 73,000 IP cameras whose owners haven't changed their default passwords. Is this about highlighting an important security problem, or profiting off creepy voyeurism—or both?

Insecam claims to feature feeds from IP cameras all over the world, including 11,000 in the U.S. alone. A quick browse will pull up parking lots and stores but also living rooms and bedrooms. "This site has been designed in order to show the importance of the security settings," the site's about page says. But it's also clearly running and profiting off ads.

To be sure, the streaming feeds aren't anything a determined person couldn't already find through Google or Shodan, the latter of which lets you look for connected devices like IP cameras. But the website puts all those streams into one easily and creepily accessible place. A lawyer tells Motherboard that the site "a stunningly clear violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act" in the U.S since it involve hacking into someone's password-protected account, even if it's a default password-protected account. It's unclear who exactly is behind the site, though the domain is registered with GoDaddy with a IP address linked to Moscow.

At least there is an easy fix to get your private camera off of Insecam, which is just putting in a new password. But that's assuming people know about the site's existence at all. 


Thursday, 6 November 2014

Japan scientists make see-through mice -

Japan scientists make see-through mice - 

Invisibility may still be the stuff of fictional works like Harry Potter, but researchers in Japan have developed a way to make mice almost totally transparent.
Using a method that almost completely removes colour from tissue -- and kills the mouse in the process -- researchers say they can now examine individual organs or even whole bodies without slicing into them, offering a "bigger picture" view of the problems they are working on.
The techniques will give scientists a "new understanding of the 3D structure of organs and how certain genes are expressed in various tissues," said Kazuki Tainaka, the lead author of a research paper published in the US-based Cell magazine.
"We were very surprised that the entire body of infant and adult mice could be made nearly transparent," he said in a statement issued by Japanese research institute RIKEN and its collaborators
The work, which also involved the University of Tokyo and the Japan Science and Technology Agency, focuses on a compound called haem, the constituent that gives blood its red colour and is found in most tissues of the body.
The process involves pumping a saline solution through the mouse's heart, pushing the blood out of its circulatory system and killing the creature.
A reagent is then introduced, which works to divorce the haem from the haemoglobin that remains in the animal's organs.
The dead mouse is skinned and soaked in the reagent for up to two weeks to complete the process.
A sheet of laser light, which can be set to penetrate to a specific level, builds up a complete image of the body, much as a 3D printer creates physical objects in layers.
"Microscopes have so far allowed us to look at things in minute detail, but that has also deprived us of the context of what we are looking at," Tainaka told AFP.
The new method, which cannot be applied to living things, "will give us details while enabling us to grasp the bigger picture," he said.
Hiroki Ueda, who led the research team, said in the statement that the method "could be used to study how embryos develop or how cancer and autoimmune diseases develop at the cellular level.
It was hoped the method would lead "to a deeper understanding of such diseases and perhaps to new therapeutic strategies".
"It could lead to the achievement of one of our great dreams: organism-level systems biology based on whole-body imaging at single-cell resolution."

Read more -