Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Living in US raises risk of allergies -

Living in US raises risk of allergies - 

Children born outside the United States have a lower risk of asthma, skin and food allergies, and living in the United States for a decade or more may raise the risk of some allergies, said a study Monday.

The research in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that certain environmental exposures could trigger allergies later in life, overcoming the protective effects of microbial exposure in childhood.

The study examined records from 2007-2008 phone surveys of nearly 92,000 people in the United States, where food and skin allergies have been on the rise in recent years.

Allergies reported in the survey included asthma, eczema, hay fever, and food allergies.

"Children born outside the United States had significantly lower prevalence of any allergic diseases (20.3 percent) than those born in the United States (34.5 percent)," said the study led by Jonathan Silverberg of St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York.

"However, foreign-born Americans develop increased risk for allergic disease with prolonged residence in the United States," it said.

Children who were born outside the United States but came to live in the United States for longer than 10 years showed "significantly" higher odds of developing eczema or hay fever but not asthma or food allergies, said the research.

"These data indicate that duration of residence in the United States is a previously unrecognized factor in the epidemiology of atopic disease," it said.

"Further, this suggests that foreign-born US residents might be at increased risk for later onset of allergic disease."

Previous research has shown that children who grow up in developing nations tend to have lower rates of allergies, and experts believe this is because they are exposed to more infections and microbes that build up their immune systems.

Allergies are essentially a symptom of a hypersensitive immune system, reacting to substances that should normally be considered harmless.

The JAMA study noted that the United States may not be alone in this phenomenon, since previous studies have found that immigrants in Italy, Israel, and Australia had lower allergy rates than natives.

More research is needed to find out if allergies increase in those countries among immigrants who live there for long periods, said the study.


New Website Lets Users Rate Prostitutes... -

New Website Lets Users Rate Prostitutes... - 

People like to read reviews online before buying a car or reserving a hotel room. But one website, www.eccie.net, once based in North Texas, allows users to review the services of local prostitutes.

CBS 11′s I-Team Investigator Mireya Villarreal confirmed with the Texas Attorney General’s office that the website is a factor in a few of their investigations. They wouldn’t expand on what they’re looking for or share if anything on the site is illegal; but just the idea that you can review prostitutes has a lot of people concerned.

Google the words “escort review” and not far from the top is www.eccie.net, a website that’s been around for years, but flourished, while it was based right here in Fort Worth.

Women actually create profiles on this site and customers can post reviews about their services.

“I’m not amazed because I’ve seen worse ads and websites than this,” Jenny Ford, Human Trafficking Expert with ACH Child and Family Services, told us.

Ford’s sole responsibility is to help women and children who’ve been victimized. She says people posting on sites like this often use kinky sex and prostitution as a cover up for sex trafficking.

“It’s happening everywhere. I mean, you can call and get somebody delivered to your house, to your apartment, or to a hotel,” Ford explained.

Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) has Homeland Security Investigators that scour sites like this for potential trafficking cases. And while ICE works closely with police vice units, shutting down the site completely is nearly impossible.

“A lot of these internet websites are reflective of pure prostitution,” David Marwell, ICE Special Agent In Charge, told us. “Some of these websites have actual legitimate ways of means and services that they produce. So having these websites, looking into this aspect of the websites, doesn’t necessarily make the entire website seizable or being able to close it down.”

The website was once operated by KCN Infosys, LLC, a company created by three people living in North Texas. According to the Secretary of State’s website, the company dissolved last September. But information the CBS 11 I-Team uncovered shows KCN Infosys, LLC has ownership of the domain name till March 2014.

State Senator Leticia Van De Putte has been pushing for years for stricter trafficking laws in Texas. She believes sites like this can lead to human or sex trafficking. That’s why she’s filed SB94, a bill that go after the people using them.

“We know the internet is a problem,” Van De Putte said. “But what’s happened with these internet sites is that they’ve become advertising, money making ventures. This is not your prostitute standing on your street corner. This is online solicitation.”

Van De Putte says if law enforcement can connect individual postings with reports of human trafficking or prostitution complaint, then they’ll go after the poster. The overall goal is to decrease the demand for these kinds of sites and, consequently, decrease human and sex trafficking.

Right now, Van De Putte’s bill (SB94) has been voted through the senate and will be discussed in the house over the next few weeks.

For weeks, we’ve tried to get a hold of the current owners of eccie.net. We even talked to a previous owner, but no one ever took ownership of the site.


Budweiser unveils beer glass that connects to Facebook -

Budweiser unveils beer glass that connects to Facebook - 

Toasting with new friends just got a futuristic, and slightly creepy, upgrade.  
Budweiser recently unveiled the “Buddy Cup,” a pint glass with a built-in chip that connects to Facebook. The cup automatically connects people on Facebook when they clink glasses with another “Buddy Cup” user, creating a virtual friendship instantly.
The cup’s promotional video shows the glass being tested in Brazil as images of drinkers enjoyably clinking pints flash across the screen.
"So, they just did the same as always: Went out drinking Bud, and making new friends," a male narrator announces in the company's commercial. “Buddy Cup: the more Buds, the more friends.”
Feedback toward the Facebook-integrated glass has been mixed.
Tech blog BetaBeat writes, "In the olden times, clinking your beers together with a stranger was a sign of celebration—a mutual agreement that things were about to get weird. The fact that you’d never have to see them again or explain why you puked down the front of your shirt was a significant part of the appeal. Now, Budweiser is about to destroy that sacred experience with the introduction of the Buddy Cup."

Responses on Twitter highlight the creepy factor in sharing contact details with the clink of a glass.
“This is a bad idea, @Budweiser,” writes ecarlson23. “I don't want my drunk life posted all over facebook.”
Another user writes, “This is so wrong, in so many ways – Budweiser.”
The cup was developed by advertising agency Agencia Africa in partnership with Bolha, a digital innovation studio in Sao Paulo. The idea was to create an interactive relationship between consumers and the product.
“Innovation is in Budweiser's DNA,” Sergio Gordilho, chief creative officer at Agencia Africa, told The Drum. “Its platforms are constantly surprising consumers with the best there is in terms of premium experiences. The ‘Buddy Cup’ is another idea bringing the brand even closer to its consumers and opening new levels of interaction for them.”