FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2019

 

AI CAN TELL IF YOU’RE GOING TO DIE SOON

A new study of heart patients where a machine-learning algorithm decided who was most likely to die within a year based on echocardiogram (ECG) results. The algorithm performed better than the traditional measures used by cardiologists. The study was done by researchers in Pennsylvania’s Geisinger regional healthcare group, a low-cost and not-for-profit provider. Much of machine learning involves feeding complex data into computers that are better able to examine it really closely. To analogize to calculus, if human reasoning is a Riemann sum, machine learning may be the integral that results as the Riemann calculation approaches infinity. Human doctors do the best they can with what they have, but whatever the ECG algorithm is finding in the data, those studying the algorithm can’t reverse engineer what it is. To imitate the decision-making of individual cardiologists, the Geisinger team made a parallel algorithm out of the factors that cardiologists use to calculate risk in the accepted way. It’s not practical to record the individual impressions of 400,000 real human doctors instead of the results of the algorithm, but that level of granularity could show that cardiologists are more able to predict poor outcomes than the algorithm indicates. It could also show they perform worse than the algorithm—we just don’t know. Head to head, having a better algorithm could add to doctors’ human skillset and lead to even better outcomes for at-risk patients. (Popular Mechanics)

GOOGLE MAY HAVE PATIENT DATA

Google secretly collected millions of patient records across 21 states in an initiative code-named “Project Nightingale,” of which neither doctors nor patients were made aware. The tech giant has partnered with Ascension, the second-largest U.S. health system, to leverage patient data in designing a new software that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve care. The companies said the project has protections in place for patient data and is compliant with federal health law. (The Wall Street Journal)

AMERICA’S LARGEST MILK PRODUCER FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY

Dean Foods, America’s largest milk producer, is filing for bankruptcy. The 94-year-old company has struggled in recent years because Americans are drinking less cows milk. 2019 has been particularly brutal: the company’s sales tumbled 7% in the first half of the year, and profit fell 14%. Dean Foods (DF) stock has lost 80% this year. The company, which produces some of the country’s most recognizable milk and dairy products, including Dairy Pure, Organic Valley and Land O’Lakes milks, has blamed its struggles on the “accelerated decline in the conventional white milk category.” The company is saddled with debt and has been unable to fund all of its workers’ pensions. Dean Foods filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to keep the business operating, reorganize its debt and help fund the pensions while it looks to sell the company. Dean Foods said in a statement that it is working with the Dairy Farmers of America cooperative on a potential deal, in which the cooperative would buy almost all of the company. As part of the bankruptcy process, the company secured $850 million in financing from its existing lenders, including Rabobank (RSWLDD), to keep the company running. Once a staple of the American refrigerator, milk has slowly fallen out of favor with consumers as they seek less-sugary or plant-based alternatives. (CNN)

MCDONALD’S WORKERS SUE OVER SEXUAL HARASSMENT, ‘TOXIC’ WORK CULTURE

McDonald’s Corp was sued earlier this week by workers in Michigan who accused the fast-food chain of allowing pervasive sexual harassment to flourish at its restaurants nationwide. The proposed class action lawsuit filed in a Michigan state court accused McDonald’s of lacking policies to address sexual harassment, failing to train managers to prevent it, and retaliating against workers who complain. It said McDonald’s “creates and permits a toxic work culture from the very top,” citing last week’s firing of their Chief Executive for having an improper consensual relationship with an employee. He has not been accused of sexual harassment. McDonald’s said in a statement it is implementing safe-workplace training at its corporate-owned restaurants, and encouraging franchisees to do the same. Roughly 95% of McDonald’s U.S. restaurants are franchised, and the plaintiffs’ lawyers said the Chicago-based company does not push hard enough to improve training at the franchised restaurants. Workers have filed more than 50 similar complaints against McDonald’s and its franchisees in the United States over the last three years. (Reuters)

IT’S A ‘SCAM’ WARNS COSTCO, STOP SHARING THIS FAKE $75 COUPON ON SOCIAL MEDIA NOW

Costco posted a message to their Facebook page recently urging customers to stop sharing the fake coupon saying, “Costco is NOT giving away $75 coupons.” The company urged fans and members of the chain of membership-only warehouse clubs that “this offer is a SCAM, and in no way affiliated with Costco.” The company says that this isn’t the first time they have heard of a hoax like this, and wasn’t aware of this instance of the scam until customers warned them it was happening again. The fake coupon has been a recurring problem for the retailer. The scam works by promising social media users that a voucher will be sent to them if they share the image of a fake Costco coupon said to be worth $75. Do not do it, Costco says. (Cincinati.com)

PARAMEDICS FOUR TIMES MORE LIKELY TO BE INJURED ON THE JOB

Data from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reveals that ambulance workers in the United States are four times more likely to be injured on the job than any other profession. For every 100 paramedics, between eight and nine workers will experience an occupational injury. The leading cause of injury is repetitive duties, such as bending, kneeling, and lifting patients, while exposure to blood and bodily fluids is the second leading cause of injury. (EDM Digest)

UNICORN’ PUPPY HAS TAIL GROWING FROM HIS FOREHEAD

A very special puppy from Cape Girardeau, Missouri is going viral for being a ‘unicorn.’ His name is Narwhal and has a tail growing out of the middle of his forehead. He was found by Mac’s Mission, a Cape Girardeau rescue, earlier this month along with another dog. Since the rescue posted his picture to social media, the likes, comments and shares started rolling in, in the thousands. The rescue took him to the veterinarian to get the tail checked out and the vet said there is no reason to remove it. The rescue said it doesn’t bother him or slow him down. He’s just like any other puppy. He’s not available for adoption yet. The rescue wants to keep him around so he can grow a bit more and to make sure the tail doesn’t start bothering him. “He is pretty much the most unique amazing example of what we do here, and we are so thankful to have the chance to be part of his journey,” the rescue said in a Facebook post. And in case you were wondering, the tail doesn’t wag. (Mac’s Mission Facebook)

 

Worst floods for 50 years bring Venice to ‘its knees’

The  Italian city is experiencing its second-worst flooding on record, with  85% of the city flooded and water reaching about six feet in some areas.  At least one person died while he was trying to run electric pumps at  his home on the island of Pellestrina, and the damage to historic  landmarks including the St. Mark’s Basilica could be extensive. Venice’s  mayor estimates it’ll cost hundreds of millions of euros to repair the  city, and says that “Venice is on its knees.” He seemed ready  to call for a state of emergency and has asked the government for help.  The popular tourist destination was struck by an exceptionally high tide  on Tuesday (11/12) night, which peaked at 73.6 inches, according to a  statement by Venice’s government. It  is the worst flooding in Venice since 1966, when the city was hit by  tides up to 76.4 inches high, according to government statistics. (CNN)

FRIDAY SQUEAKS UP WITH:

  • America Recycles Day
  • George Spelvin Day or More Than One Role Day
  • I Love to Write Day
  • National Bundt (Pan) Day
  • National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day
  • National Philanthropy Day
  • Rock Your Mocs Day
  • Steve Irwin Day
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