Monday, March 2, 2020

There is now a health-tracking sensor that can monitor pets’ vital signs

This new device has the potential to save their lives, according to a newly published study. Imperial College London researchers developed the first-of-its-kind sensor, which can go through fur to monitor breathing and heart rates, doing away with the need to shave a pet. The “stretchy, flexible invention” also works over clothing and can track vital signs in people, according to the lead author and one of the researchers who helped invent the device. In tests, the scientists found that the sensor can still work through as many as four layers of clothing. The next step is to validate the system further with animals, primarily focusing on sniffer dogs and then horses and livestock later on. (Good News Network)


Home sales see nearly 13-year high

New home sales jumped 7.9% in January, according to the U.S. Commerce Department, which marked a 12.5-year high for the housing market. Economists estimated new home sales would rise 3.5% to a pace of 710,000 units in January. While the housing market accounts for a small share of gross domestic product, it has a “giant footprint on the economy.” The strength of January’s numbers could help keep America’s longest economic expansion in history on track. (CNBC)


CDC says Americans need to prepare for coronavirus now

In the United States, there are currently 60 confirmed cases of coronavirus, aka COVID-19, in six states. The Centers for Disease Control confirmed the first possible community spread, or a case of unknown origin, in California last Wednesday (2/26). The virus that first started in Wuhan, China has infected more than 80,000 people and killed at least 2,700 globally. The World Health Organization has yet to declare COVID-19 a pandemic. COVID-19 is believed to spread through respiratory droplets that pass when an infected person coughs or sneezes, according to the CDC. Symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, and they can appear two to 14 days after exposure. Here are the steps that experts say would be helpful now before COVID-19 spreads in the U.S.:

  1. Figure out your work situation – The CDC says that businesses should have a way to communicate outbreak response plans to employees. “Anticipate employee fear, anxiety, rumors, and misinformation and plan communications accordingly,” the CDC’s website says. If necessary, the businesses need to explore strategies that would decrease the amount of exposure that people have with one another, for example, telecommuting and staggered shifts. Those who travel frequently for business should also consider cancelling any nonessential travel in the case of a sustained outbreak in the U.S.
  2. Know how to get in touch with doctors – Establish a line of communication with your healthcare providers, through a patient portal or video chat, in advance so you’re not waiting until the last minute, he says. You should also know how to access your state or territorial health department’s website, so you can stay well-informed of any news or advisories.
  3. Continue washing your hands – It’s still important to follow standard respiratory hygiene practices, such as washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Refrain from touching your face with unclean hands, because the eyes, mouth and nose are all portals for the virus. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue that you can throw away. If you’re sick, you should stay home and keep “high-touch surfaces” in your house clean with household cleaning spray or wipes.
  4. Shop for the essentials – While many people have taken to buying and wearing masks to prevent coronavirus, wearing surgical masks will likely not protect you from contracting COVID-19. Specific masks, called N95 respirators, reduce exposure to small particles and droplets, and are recommended for health care professionals, caregivers and those with disease symptom. However, you might want to go buy shelf-stable food to have in your home that could last you a few days. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)


Scientists say Earth has two moons now

Astronomers from the Catalina Sky Survey recently announced they’d found a second natural satellite orbiting the Earth. The newcomer is a small asteroid that was apparently snagged in the Earth‘s orbit where it now exists as a temporary “mini-moon.” Scientists discovered the new moon but wanted to confirm that it wasn’t an artificial satellite or random space junk. It may still turn out that the satellite is artificial but all indications so far indicate it’s the real deal. According to the astronomers, the Earth‘s new companion has an erratic orbit but there’s little cause for concern: it’s only about the size of compact car. It’s estimated that within a matter of months, the new moon will break free of the Earth‘s grip and hurtle off into space to continue boldly going wherever asteroids go. Aside from the cool factor of knowing we’re currently living on a planet with two moons, the occurrence also represents an opportunity for scientists to study asteroids and how they interact with planet-sized bodies up close. (New Scientist)


She didn’t drink, but her urine was full of alcohol, but it turns out her bladder was its own brewery

Medical professionals at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine discovered that the 61-year-old woman wasn’t trying to hide an alcohol-use disorder but had a rare medical condition called auto-brewery syndrome, or ABS. In a case study published in the peer-reviewed Annals of Internal Medicine, doctors said yeast in her bladder fermented sugar to produce ethanol because of “poorly controlled” diabetes. They proposed calling the phenomenon “urinary auto-brewery syndrome” or “bladder fermentation syndrome.” The study’s authors made the distinction from traditional auto-brewery syndrome, also known as gut fermentation syndrome, because patients with this medical condition produce alcohol in their gastrointestinal system. Patients with traditional ABS usually have alcohol in their blood or present symptoms of intoxication; however, the woman didn’t present any of these symptoms since her bladder produced the alcohol. Traditional ABS causes the carbohydrates one ingests to turn into alcohol, fermented by fungi or bacteria in the gastrointestinal system. Cases were first documented in Japan in the 1970s, then in the USA 10 years later, according to researchers. Doctors noted that no standard exists for diagnosing and treating gut fermentation syndrome, but a combination of “dietary modifications, appropriate antifungal therapy and possibly probiotics” should be studied as a possible treatment. After unsuccessfully trying to get rid of the yeast using an antifungal regimen, the woman diagnosed with urinary ABS is being considered for a liver transplant. (USA Today)


Woman collected disability checks, said she couldn’t leave home; turns out, she was exotic dancing

An Atlanta, Georgia woman who claimed to be disabled, but also worked as an exotic dancer, has pleaded guilty to Social Security fraud. She told the Social Security Administration that she was disabled and rarely left home, but the SSA found out that wasn’t true. The woman told the government she had extreme anxiety and depression and couldn’t even leave her room. She qualified for disability benefits. But actually, she was allegedly working at Stroker’s Adult entertainment in DeKalb County, Georgia under the name Chrissy the Doll. In 2010, she started getting Social Security benefits for major depressive disorder and panic disorder, but she got adult entertainer permits from DeKalb County in 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018. Prosecutors said the dancer stole $60,000 in federal funds that should have been going to people who are actually unable to work. (WSBT)


The best-performing US cities

San Francisco is where it’s at, according to the Milken Institute’s Best-Performing Cities. For two decades, researchers have tracked the economic performance of metro areas in the U.S., and San Francisco tops their list. Rounding out the top three are Provo, Utah, and Austin, Texas. The ranking uses indicators including job, wage and salary, and high-tech gross domestic product. San Francisco boasts a “skilled workforce, abundant venture capital, and innovation and entrepreneurial culture,” according to the report, along with a strong tech and biotech scene. (Milken Institute)


Lynching is hating

By a vote of 410-4 on Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would make lynching a federal hate crime, which comes 65 years after Emmett Till was lynched in Mississippi. The Emmett Till Anti-lynching Act is named after the 14-year-old black boy, who was tortured and killed after a white woman at a grocery store accused him of whistling and grabbing her. The Senate, which passed nearly identical legislation last year, will consider the House measure, which is expected to be signed by President Trump. Introduced by U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, he said ”From Charlottesville to El Paso, we are still being confronted with the same violent racism and hatred that took the life of Emmett and so many others.” Congress has previously failed to approve anti-lynching legislation close to 200 times, reports noted, which started with a bill that Rep. George Henry White, who was then the only black member of Congress, introduced in 1900. (Dallas Morning News)


For the first time, researchers tracked a great white shark to an area near the Louisiana coast, west of the Mississippi River in the Gulf of Mexico

OCEARCH, an ocean research group, began tracking the 2,000-pound female shark, named Unama’ki, last year. She was first tagged in an area near Nova Scotia’s Scaterie Island before she started her 3,300-mile journey down the U.S. East Coast, reaching the ocean just south of New Orleans on Fat Tuesday (February 25). “Looks like white shark Unama’ki wants to participate in #MardiGras2020 after all!” OCEARCH wrote in a tweet that day. Researchers believe Unama’ki could lead them to a site for giving birth and reveal a “new white shark nursery.” (KHOU)


Clearview AI, a company that created a facial recognition database for law enforcement to find suspects, confirmed that its client list was stolen in a data breach

A company memo saying that an unidentified intruder gained “unauthorized access” to Clearview’s entire client list, which is made up of federal and state law enforcement agencies that pay to access Clearview’s database and face recognition tech to help find criminals, is being investigated. The breach, which did not involve the more than 3 billion photos that Clearview has scraped from social media sites for the database, also accessed each client’s number of user accounts and their number of searches. The company said its servers weren’t breached and there its network and systems weren’t compromised. “We patched the flaw, and continue to work to strengthen our security,” Clearview said. (Ars Technica)


Hearse stolen outside Pasadena church with woman’s corpse inside crashes on 110 Freeway

A hearse that was stolen outside a Pasadena church with a woman’s corpse inside was involved in a short pursuit before it crashed on the 110 Freeway Thursday morning (2/27), officials said. The night before, a mortician parked an SUV customized for mortuaries outside Saint Anthony Greek Orthodox Church to deliver another body for an upcoming memorial service. While inside the church, someone stole the customized black Lincoln Navigator SUV, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said. Officials say the deceased body inside the hearse was not connected to the church. The sheriff’s office said there was an all-out search for the vehicle. It was originally reported the missing body was inside a casket, but investigators later determined the woman’s corpse was inside a body bag. The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department also posted a message on social media urging the bandit to return the body. “Out of all the bad decisions you have made, at least make one good one and bring back the deceased person & casket inside the Navigator,” the sheriff’s office said. Officers with the Los Angeles Police Department were in pursuit of the stolen vehicle with a matching license plate after the driver failed to stop. The vehicle then crashed on the southbound lanes of the 110 Freeway, striking multiple other vehicles in the process. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department confirmed there was a deceased body inside the vehicle, but it remained uncertain if it was the same body reported missing. Local media captured aerial images of officials transferring the body from the wrecked hearse to another Lincoln Navigator in the City of Vernon. The suspect was hospitalized and taken into custody, authorities said. Their identity was not immediately released. (Fox LA)


Monday Comes Knocking With:

  • Casimir Pulaski Day (First Monday in March)
  • Free Dentistry Day
  • Fun Facts About Names Day (Monday of First Full Week)
  • Orthodox Green Monday
  • Orthodox Lent
  • Read Across America Day
  • World Teen Mental Illness Day


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