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Everything posted by Shaksaw

  1. Spencer Grammer was stabbed in front of an East Village Mexican restaurant Friday night. Grammer is not only the daughter of famed actor Kelsey Grammer (Fraiser, Cheers), but she is also the voice of Rick and Morty's Summer. She has had a lengthy acting career dating back to her lead role Casey Cartwright on the TV series Greek. According to TMZ, the incident occurred in front of The Black Ant around midnight. The restaurant was preparing to close for the day when a man who appeared to be drunk approached the restaurant. When the staff refused to let him in, he took out his blade and went into a tirade, attempting to stab property and patrons. Grammer and her friends stepped in to try to contain the attacker but were slashed in the process. The attacker managed to escape the crime scene, and he has not been caught yet. The police have uploaded a 12-second surveillance video of the attacker talking to The Black Ant staff before the assault and are asking anyone who may have seen the man to come forward for a reward. FireShot Capture 8621 - Rick & Morty Voice Actress Stabbed in_ - https___screenrant.com_rick-mor.jpg After the attacker made his escape, Grammer was left with gashes on her arm. The two friends that were with her had gashes on their back. The three were immediately rushed to the hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries. The Rick & Morty star then made a point to thank the emergency workers for their quick response in this incident as well as for how hard they've been working during these critical times.
  2. Researchers have now reported data from early (and small) clinical trials of four candidate COVID-19 vaccines. So far, the data is positive. The vaccines appear to be generally safe, and they spur immune responses against the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. But whether these immune responses are enough to protect people from infection and disease remains an important unknown. The four candidates are now headed to larger trials—phase III trials—that will put them to the ultimate test: can they protect people from COVID-19 and end this pandemic? The challenge While early trials looking at safety and immune response required dozens or hundreds of volunteers, researchers will now have to recruit tens of thousands. Ideally, volunteers will be in places that still have high levels of SARS-CoV-2 circulating. The more likely it is that volunteers will encounter the virus in their communities, the easier it is to extrapolate if a vaccine is protective. As such, researchers are planning to do a significant amount of testing in the US and other parts of the Americas, which have largely failed at controlling the pandemic. There has been much debate about the use of “human challenge trials,” in which researchers would give young, healthy volunteers at low risk from COVID-19 an experimental vaccine and then intentionally expose them to SARS-CoV-2 in controlled settings. This could potentially provide a clearer, faster answer on vaccine efficacy. It’s certainly an appealing idea given the catastrophic pandemic—and it's an idea that has gained traction in recent weeks. An advocacy group called 1Day Sooner has collected the names of more than 30,000 people willing to participate in such a trial, for instance. But experts remain divided on the idea. The main concern is that there is no “rescue” treatment for COVID-19 that can fully protect a trial volunteer from severe disease and death if an experimental vaccine fails. Though young, healthy people have less risk than older people and those with underlying health conditions, some still suffer severe disease and death from COVID-19—and it’s unclear why. Opponents also note that challenge trials may not be faster or necessary, given the high levels of disease spread in the US and elsewhere. Though the debate on challenge trials is ongoing, it’s unclear if researchers will end up needing or using them. Meanwhile, traditional phase III trials are now underway—and they have generated plenty of enthusiasm from the public. According to a report this week, more than 138,600 people have signed up through the National Institutes of Health to participate in vaccine testing. If all goes well, we could have data from these trials by the end of the year. So how do the four top vaccine candidates work, and what do we know about them? mRNA-1273: Moderna, NIAID mRNA-1273 is a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine made by the biotechnology company Moderna, which was working with the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The idea behind the mRNA vaccine platform is that it delivers snippets of a target virus’s genetic code—in this case, code in the form of mRNA—into human cells. Those cells can then translate that code into viral protein. From there, the immune system can mount a response to the protein, which can be activated if the target virus ever tries to invade. In the case of mRNA-1273, researchers used a fatty nanoparticle to package up mRNA that codes for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which is usually found jutting out from SARS-CoV-2 viral particles. Vaccines using genetic material—RNA or DNA—are new and untested. So far, there are no approved vaccines using this type of platform. It’s unclear if they will be successful here or elsewhere and—if they are—how easy it will be to manufacture such a vaccine on a global scale. (For background on the different types of vaccine platforms, see our vaccine primer.) On July 14, researchers published results from a phase 1 trial, which primarily looks at safety in a small group of people. The study, appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine, included 45 healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 55 and tested three dose levels of the vaccine. That is, there were three groups of 15 people, with each group getting either a low, medium, or high dose of the vaccine (25 micrograms, 100 micrograms, or 250 micrograms dose). Each participant got two shots of their dose, 28 days apart. The vaccine was generally found to be safe. More than half of the participants had mild to moderate side effects, mainly including fatigue, chills, headache, myalgia, and pain at the injection site. Side effects were more common after the second dose, regardless of the strength, but those who received the two higher-dose vaccinations reported more side effects. Two people (one in the 100-microgram group and the other in the 250-microgram group) had severe skin redness at the site of the injection. Two people in the 250-microgram group experienced lightheadedness and fainted. All participants produced antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, with antibody levels jumping up after the second shot. Those who got the higher doses had slightly higher levels of antibodies. The researchers compared participant antibody levels to those seen in 41 people who had recovered from a COVID-19 infection. Those vaccinated all had antibodies in the same range as the recovered people. The researchers also tested specifically for neutralizing antibodies—that is, antibodies that don’t just bind to a virus particle but can completely disable it. Researchers found that the vaccine prompted higher levels of neutralizing antibodies than was seen in most of the people who recovered. For instance, 57 days after the first dose, people in the 100-microgram group had neutralizing antibody titers ranging from 163 to 329, while the range was about 60 to 200 in the patients who had recovered from COVID-19. Last, the researchers looked at responses from T-cells—which can attack cells infected with virus—and found that the vaccine did generate certain types of T-cell responses against SARS-CoV-2. Overall, the results are encouraging but not conclusive. Researchers don’t yet know what immune responses or levels of antibodies are necessary to prevent a SARS-CoV-2 infection and/or disease. And, being only six months into the pandemic, it’s unclear how long any such protective immune responses would last. According to a listing on the NIH’s registry for clinical trials, Moderna plans to begin a phase III trial of mRNA-1273 on July 27. Moderna wants to enroll 30,000 people in the trial, looking at efficacy as well as further safety and immune response data. AZD1222 (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19): Oxford University, AstraZeneca On July 20, researchers published results from a phase I/II trial of AZD1222, a candidate vaccine made by researchers at the University of Oxford and the international pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. AZD1222 (also called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19) is a viral vector-based vaccine. With this platform, researchers can package bits of a dangerous virus into a far less dangerous virus. The mostly harmless viral parcel then gets delivered to the immune system, which can learn to seek and destroy the dangerous virus based on the smuggled fragments. In the case of AZD1222, genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is packaged into a weakened type of adenovirus that infects chimpanzees. Human-infecting adenoviruses normally cause mild infections, often considered common colds. The chimpanzee virus, which doesn’t typically infect humans, is made even more harmless by engineering that prevents it from replicating in human cells. In early tests, AZD1222 protected monkeys from developing pneumonia after researchers exposed them to high doses of SARS-CoV-2. The clinical trial results, published in The Lancet, show that AZD1222 is generally safe and spurred immune responses in humans. The trial involved 1,077 participants (aged 18 to 55), 543 of which were randomly assigned to get AZD1222, and the remaining 534 were given a meningococcal vaccine as a control. Researchers divided the participants into four groups and ran different types of tests on their immune responses. Ten of the participants who received AZD1222 were in a “boost” group that got a second vaccine shot after 28 days. The other participants who received AZD1222 only received one dose. Mild side effects from AZD1222 were common, including pain, feeling feverish, chills, muscle ache, headache, and malaise. Some participants were preemptively given paracetamol (acetaminophen/Tylenol) to lessen these effects. No serious side effects were reported. In 127 participants vaccinated with AZD1222, all produced antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. The levels were within the range seen in people who had recovered from COVID-19. The researchers conducted two separate tests to look for neutralizing antibodies in 35 vaccinated participants. In one test, 32 (91 percent) were positive for neutralizing antibodies 28 days after vaccination and, in the other test, 100 percent were positive. The ten participants who got a booster shot all produced neutralizing antibodies, some which were at levels higher than those typically seen in the COVID-19 recovered patients. The researchers also reported that AZD1222 induced T-cell responses. Researchers have already begun a phase III trial of AZD1222 at sites in Brazil, the UK, and South Africa. They also plan to test the vaccine in the US soon. AstraZeneca said it will use two doses in trials moving forward in order to maximize immune responses. Ad5-vectored COVID-19: CanSino, Chinese military Alongside the AZD1222 results published July 20 in The Lancet, Chinese researchers published phase II trial results for their Ad5-vectored COVID-19 vaccine, made by biotechnology company CanSino Biologics and the Chinese military. Like AZD1222, CanSino uses the viral vector-based vaccine based on a weakened adenovirus. However, the adenovirus in this vaccine—Ad5—is one that circulates in humans, not chimpanzees. This is problematic because past exposure to the human adenovirus appears to throw off immune responses to the bit of the vaccine that’s derived from SARS-CoV-2. In earlier published phase I trial data—previously reported by Ars here—researchers noted that those who had already been exposed to the adenovirus did not produce immune responses as robust as those who had not been exposed. Nevertheless, CanSino forged on with a randomized phase II trial, involving 508 volunteers (aged 18 to 83) who received either a placebo or a single injection of Ad5-vectored COVID-19 at one of two dosage levels. Mild side effects including fever, fatigue, headache, or pain at the site of injection were common. Though 24 participants in the high dose group and one in the low dose group had side effects rated as severe, there were no serious reactions. Researchers found that more than 96 percent of participants who received Ad5-vectored COVID-19 developed antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. But researchers detected SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies in only 59 percent of the high dose group (148 out of 253 participants) and 47 percent of the low dose group (61 out of 129 participants). For those who developed antibodies, the level of those antibodies was only compared with those from the placebo group, not with those found in people who recovered from COVID-19. Finally, around 89 percent developed T-cell responses. The researchers note that 52 percent of participants showed high pre-existing immunity to the human adenovirus, Ad5, used to make the vaccine. They also note that in some populations, immunity to Ad5 is as high as 80 percent. Still, CanSino is now planning its phase III trial, and—as Ars reported previously—the vaccine has already been approved for use by the Chinese military. BNT162b1: BioNTech, Pfizer BNT162b1 is an mRNA-based vaccine made by German firm BioNTech and the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. Like Moderna’s vaccine, BNT162b1 uses a fatty nanoparticle wrapping to deliver a fragment of the genetic code for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein into human cells. On July 1, researchers released results of a phase I/II trial of BNT162b1 on a preprint server, where scientists can air their study data before it is published in a peer-reviewed journal. The study involved 45 participants (ages 19 to 54), with three groups of twelve. One group got two shots of a low dose (10 micrograms), spaced 20 days apart. A second group got two shots of a medium dose (30 micrograms), also spaced 20 days apart. And the third group got one shot of a high dose (100 micrograms). The remaining nine people in the trial got a placebo. Most participants reported side effects, which were largely mild to moderate. Common side effects included pain at the injection site, fatigue, fever, headache, chills, and muscle pain. The occurrence of side effects increased with dose level and were stronger after the second dose. Researchers decided against giving the 100-microgram group a second injection for this reason. No serious side effects were reported. All vaccinated participants developed antibodies and neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. Researchers noted that after the second injection of the low and medium doses, participants developed higher levels of antibodies and neutralizing antibodies than those seen in blood samples from 38 people who had recovered from COVID-19. For example, those given the low dose had 1.8 times the mean level of neutralizing antibodies seen in people who have recovered from COVID-19. And those who received the medium dose had 2.8 times the level. On July 20, the researchers released a second batch of data from 60 participants, again on a preprint server. The data echoed the earlier findings that the vaccine is generally safe and produces strong antibody responses. In addition, the researchers found that more than 80 percent of those vaccinated mounted strong T-cell responses to SARS-CoV-2. Like the others, Pfizer and BioNtech are moving toward phase III trials for BNT162b1 That’s not all While it’s unclear how successful any of these vaccines will be in larger trials, there are plenty of other vaccine candidates following close behind in the pipeline. According to the latest vaccine tracking by the World Health Organization, 20 other COVID-19 vaccines are currently in some phase of clinical trials, with 142 others in preclinical development.
  3. At work I face the promotion of sites and it is not easy for me. Since I work not long ago I do not quite understand all the nuances of creating and maintaining sites.
  4. A researcher at Oxford University in the U.K. said on Monday that a million doses of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine could be produced by September, but experts say it's unlikely they will be administered until next year. Dr. Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University said "certainly there'll be a million doses around in September," thanks to a manufacturing "scale-up." Hill also estimated some high-risk groups in Britain could be immunized as soon as December. Hill's comments came as Oxford researchers published new research on Monday suggesting their COVID-19 vaccine produced a "dual immune response" in people between the ages of 18 and 55 that lasted at least two months after they were immunized. Hill said researchers saw a "good immune response in almost everybody," adding that neutralizing antibodies were produced, and that the vaccine caused a reaction in the body's T-cells, which help destroy cells that have been taken over by the virus. Dr. Matthew Miller, an associate professor at McMaster University’s department of biochemistry and biomedical sciences, said it's not "unreasonable" to think a million doses of the vaccine could be produced by the fall. He said Oxford has contracted pharmaceutical companies to produce doses of the vaccine in an effort to cut down any lag time between when the vaccine is approved, to when it is available to be distributed and administered. Oxford University has partnered with AstraZeneca, a British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company, to produce 2 billion doses of the vaccine. "In a way, they were kind of like hedging their bets that this is going to work and they want to be ready," he explained. However, Miller said in order for the vaccine to be administered by December, everything in the phase-three trials would need to go "perfectly." "And it is almost never the case that things go perfectly in these kinds of trials," he said. According to Miller, during late-stage vaccine trials researchers seek to determine how effective a vaccine is. "Late-stage or stage-three efficacy trials typically have to enroll thousands of people, sometimes tens of thousands of people," he explained. "And that's where you're immunizing people and actually looking to ensure that the vaccine prevents them from becoming ill. These larger trials evaluating this vaccine’s effectiveness, involving about 10,000 people in the U.K. as well as participants in South Africa and Brazil, are still underway. Another trial is slated to start in the U.S. soon, aiming to enroll about 30,000 people. But these late-stage trials often involve a number of hurdles, Miller said. He said there can be issues enrolling people to take part in the trial, and there is a long waiting period to see if the vaccine is effective in limiting infections. The vaccine will also have to satisfy regulators, he explained. "Is it effective in all populations, or does it really only work for people of certain ages?" Miller said. "These are all major questions that we can't really answer until those later phase studies." Dr. Brian Dixon, a biology professor at the University of Waterloo and Canada Research Chair in Fish and Environmental Immunology, said third-stage trials are also when researchers determine if there are any severe side effects associated with the vaccine. He said these can include excessive fever causing hospitalization or disability and excessive swelling causing meningitis or Kawasaki disease. Dixon said when vaccines proceed to stage-three trials, if more than one in 100,000 people have been found to experience severe side effects, the vaccine likely won't be approved. "In the normal course of vaccine development, like 90 per cent or 95 per cent of the vaccines that make it to those three phases of human trials do not make it to the market because of things like the serious side effects," he said. These trials are also when researchers can identify and attempt to tweak smaller issues with a vaccine, like trying to limit some of the less severe side effects, he explained. Overall, Dixon said while Hill's December timeline is "possible," it is "on the optimistic side of things." "I think it's going to be maybe next March or April, by the time that someone has a vaccine that will be will be available for the public," he said. Miller too said the research from Oxford is "promising," but likely won't change the overall timeline. "I don't think that the general public should be expecting to be receiving a vaccine any time earlier than next summer," he said. "I would be thrilled if we did, obviously, but realistically I think that's probably the most ambitious timeline — a realistic, ambitious timeline."
  5. Stressful events in the evening release less of the body's stress hormones than those that happen in the morning, suggesting possible vulnerability to stress in the evening. The body's central system reacts less strongly to acute psychological stress in the evening than it does in the morning, according to research conducted at Japan's Hokkaido University. In the study published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology Reports, medical physiologist Yujiro Yamanaka and his colleagues recruited 27 young, healthy volunteers with normal work hours and sleep habits to find out if the "hypothalamic -pituitary-adrenal" (HPA) axis responds differently to acute psychological stress according to the time of day. The HPA axis connects the central nervous and endocrine systems of the body. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone in humans, is released for several hours when the HPA axis is activated by a stressful event. This helps provide the body with energy in the face of a perceived need for fight or flight. Cortisol levels are also regulated by a master circadian clock in the brain, and are normally high in the morning and low in the evening. The team first measured the diurnal rhythm of salivary cortisol levels from the volunteers to establish a baseline. The volunteers were then divided into two groups: one that was exposed to a stress test in the morning, two hours after their normal waking time, and another that was exposed to a stress test in the evening, ten hours after their normal waking time. The test lasted for a period of 15 minutes and involved preparing and giving a presentation in front of three trained interviewers and a camera, and conducting a mental arithmetic. Saliva samples were taken half an hour before starting the test, immediately after, and at ten-minute intervals for another half hour. The researchers found that salivary cortisol levels increased significantly in the volunteers that took the stress test in the morning while no such response was observed in those that took the test in the evening. The volunteers' heart rates on the other hand, an indicator of the sympathetic nervous system which immediately responds to stress, did not differ according to when the test was taken. Yujiro Yamanaka commented "The body can respond to the morning stress event by activating the HPA axis and sympathetic nervous system, but it needs to respond to evening stress event by activating the sympathetic nervous system only. Our study suggests a possible vulnerability to stress in the evening. However, it is important to take into account each individual's unique biological clock and the time of day when assessing the response to stressors and preventing them."
  6. Brief, text-based, self-administered exercises can significantly increase in-the-moment happiness for adults recovering from substance use disorders, report researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Recovery Research Institute. The study, published online in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, is the first of its kind to test whether positive psychology exercises boost happiness in persons recovering from substance use. "Addiction scientists are increasingly moving beyond the traditional focus on reducing or eliminating substance use by advocating treatment protocols that encompass quality of life. Yet orchestrated positive experiences are rarely incorporated into treatment for those with substance use disorders," says lead author Bettina B. Hoeppner, PhD, senior research scientist at the Recovery Research Institute. Through a randomized, online survey, more than 500 adults who reported current or previous problematic substance use were assigned one of five short, text-based exercises that took an average of four minutes to complete. Participants reported the greatest gains in happiness after completing an exercise called "Reliving Happy Moments," in which they selected one of their own photos that captured a happy moment and entered text describing what was happening in the picture. An exercise called "Savoring," in which participants described two positive experiences they noticed and appreciated during the preceding day, led to the next highest gains in happiness, followed by "Rose, Thorn, Bud," in which they listed a highlight and a challenge of the preceding day and a pleasure they anticipated the following day. Conversely, "3 Hard Things," in which participants were asked to write about challenges they had faced during the preceding day, led to a significant decrease in happiness. The authors note that the ease of use and effectiveness of these positive psychology exercises suggest they may be promising tools for bolstering happiness during treatment, which may help support long-term recovery. "These findings underscore the importance of offsetting the challenges of recovery with positive experiences," says Hoeppner, an associate professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. "Recovery is hard, and for the effort to be sustainable, positive experiences need to be attainable along the way."
  7. A 16-year-old boy being held at a Los Angeles County juvenile hall developed enlarged breasts after he was prescribed estrogen to treat a behavioral disorder, a move that baffled doctors who said the treatment defied medical logic, according to a lawsuit filed last month. The teen, whose identity is being withheld because of his age, was diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder, or ODD, two days after he was arrested and housed at Eastlake Juvenile Hall in June 2019, the lawsuit said. Medical records reviewed by The Times show that the teen’s testosterone levels were “slightly high” when the doctor who diagnosed him prescribed daily doses of estrogen. Estrogen regulates the development of female sexual characteristics and reproduction. Men produce the hormone at much lower levels. After taking approximately 13 daily doses of the hormone, the teen was diagnosed with gynecomastia, defined as the enlargement or swelling of breast tissue in males whose estrogen level is too high, medical records show. ODD, a behavioral condition that is sometimes suffered by patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is normally treated with therapy, said James McGough, a professor of clinical psychiatry at UCLA. “Estrogen is not a treatment for ODD. I can’t be more emphatic about that,” McGough said. “You won’t find a reference anywhere that supports the use of estrogen for ODD.” The lawsuit described the treatment as “experimental.” The doctor who prescribed the estrogen, Danny Wang, could not be reached for comment. Los Angeles County’s juvenile detention facilities are overseen by the Probation Department. Medical needs are provided by Juvenile Court Health Services, which falls under the county Department of Health Services. In an e-mail, a Department of Health Services representative confirmed that Wang has been employed by the county since 2012 but declined to comment on his current status with the agency, describing it as a “confidential personnel matter.” The department declined to comment on the lawsuit. The suit — which names as defendants the county, Wang and David Oh, medical director of Juvenile Court Health Services — alleges medical battery and negligence. Probation officials and the teen’s attorney, Wesley Ouchi, declined to say why he was in custody. Ouchi said the boy, now 17, was released in April and will require surgery to treat the physical issues he developed as a result of the estrogen treatment. Wang prescribed a daily regimen of 2 milligrams of estrogen to be taken in pill form, according to medical records. The boy’s parents were not aware that he had been diagnosed with ODD or was undergoing treatment until late July 2019. Doctors said the treatments should not have been carried out without the parents’ consent. The boy’s father, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect his son’s identity, said he found out about the estrogen pills when he visited the juvenile hall one weekend last July. “When I found out they were giving him the pill, I was like, why didn’t they ask me? When I found out what kind of pill was it, I was like, this is terrible,” the father said. “He’s only 16, and they were forcing him to take it.” The father said he later confronted Oh, the medical director, over the phone. Oh admitted that Wang had made “a mistake,” the father said. The health services representative declined to comment on Oh’s alleged remark due to the ongoing litigation. The treatments stopped last July, after the teen began to complain of negative side effects and refused medication, records show. Prior to that, Ouchi said, his client felt compelled to take the pills because he feared that disobeying Wang would have a detrimental effect on his pending criminal case. Reports from probation officers about a youth’s time in custody can carry significant weight at sentencing hearings, and the teen’s case had not been adjudicated at the time Wang prescribed him the estrogen, Ouchi said. Ouchi also alleges the boy was bullied by other youths in custody once his gynecomastia symptoms developed. “As a teenager, he felt self-conscious already,” Ouchi said. “Going through these changes made it a lot more traumatic for him.” Sara Coffey, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at Oklahoma State University, said ODD is normally diagnosed in children between the ages of 6 and 12. Children diagnosed with the disorder often struggle with authority, in school or in social settings. Common treatments include family therapy or medications that have had success in aiding juveniles with ADHD, including Ritalin and Adderall. Using hormones to treat ODD might actually worsen the situation, Coffey said. “The other concern I have, as a psychiatrist, is that we know hormones play a role in mood,” she said. “If his mood got disrupted, that could only further complicate things.” Estrogen is normally stocked at L.A. County juvenile facilities for use as part of hormone therapy for contraception and treatment of gender dysphoria, according to the health services representative. The boy’s father said the hormone therapy has had a long-term effect on his son, who now scares easily and has become antisocial. “He’s like a different person. He just wants to be in his room, and he don’t come out for nothing, all day in his room,” the father said. “He was never like that.”
  8. Higher consumption of fruit, vegetables and whole grain foods are associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to two studies published by The BMJ today. The findings suggest that even a modest increase in consumption of these foods as part of a healthy diet could help prevent type 2 diabetes. In the first study, a team of European researchers examined the association between blood levels of vitamin C and carotenoids (pigments found in colourful fruits and vegetables) with risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Vitamin C and carotenoid levels are more reliable indicators of fruit and vegetable intake than using dietary questionnaires. Their findings are based on 9,754 adults who developed new-onset type 2 diabetes and a comparison group of 13,662 adults who remained free of diabetes during follow-up from among 340,234 participants who were taking part in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-InterAct study in eight European countries. After adjusting for lifestyle, social and dietary risk factors for diabetes, higher blood levels of each of vitamin C and carotenoids and their sum when combined into a "composite biomarker score" were associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Compared with people who had the lowest composite biomarker score, the risk in people whose biomarker score was in the top 20% of the population was 50% lower. The risk in those with biomarker scores between these two extremes was intermediate. The researchers calculate that every 66 grams per day increase in total fruit and vegetable intake was associated with a 25% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In the second study, researchers in the United States examined associations between total and individual whole grain food intake and type 2 diabetes. Their findings are based on 158,259 women and 36,525 men who were free from diabetes, heart disease and cancer and were taking part in the Nurses' Health Study, Nurses' Health Study II, and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. After adjusting for lifestyle and dietary risk factors for diabetes, participants in the highest category for total whole grain consumption had a 29% lower rate of type 2 diabetes compared with those in the lowest category. For individual whole grain foods, the researchers found that consuming one or more servings a day of whole grain cold breakfast cereal or dark bread was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes (19% and 21% respectively) compared with consuming less than one serving a month. For other individual whole grains with lower average intake levels, consumption of two or more servings a week compared with less than one serving a month was associated with a 21% lower risk for oatmeal, a 15% lower risk for added bran, and a 12% lower risk for brown rice and wheat germ. These reductions in risk seemed to plateau at around two servings a day for total whole grain intake, and at around half a serving a day for whole grain cold breakfast cereal and dark bread. Both studies are observational so can't establish cause, and there's a possibility that some of the results may be due to unmeasured (confounding) factors. However, both studies took account of several well known lifestyle risk factors and markers of dietary quality, and the findings back up other research linking a healthy diet with better health. As such, both research teams say their findings provide further support for current recommendations to increase fruit, vegetable and whole grain consumption as part of a healthy diet to prevent type 2 diabetes. And for fruit and vegetables, the findings also suggest that consumption of even a moderately increased amount among populations who typically consume low levels could help to prevent type 2 diabetes.
  9. Positive thinking has long been extolled as the route to happiness, but it might be time to ditch the self-help books after a new study shows that realists enjoy a greater sense of long-term wellbeing than optimists. Researchers from the University of Bath and London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) studied people's financial expectations in life and compared them to actual outcomes over an 18-year period. They found that when it comes to the happiness stakes, overestimating outcomes was associated with lower wellbeing than setting realistic expectations. The findings point to the benefits of making decisions based on accurate, unbiased assessments. They bring in to question the 'power of positive thinking' which frames optimism as a self-fulfilling prophecy, whereby believing in success delivers it, along with immediate happiness generated by picturing a positive future. Negative thinking should not replace positive thinking though. Pessimists also fared badly compared to realists, undermining the view that low expectations limit disappointment and present a route to contentment. Their numbers are dwarfed though by the number of people -- estimated to be 80 percent of the population -- who can be classed as unrealistic optimists. These people tend to overestimate the likelihood that good things will happen and underestimate the possibility of bad things. High expectations set them up for large doses of destructive disappointment. "Plans based on inaccurate beliefs make for poor decisions and are bound to deliver worse outcomes than would rational, realistic beliefs, leading to lower well-being for both optimists and pessimists. Particularly prone to this are decisions on employment, savings and any choice involving risk and uncertainty," explains Dr Chris Dawson, Associate Professor in Business Economics in Bath's School of Management. "I think for many people, research that shows you don't have to spend your days striving to think positively might come as a relief. We see that being realistic about your future and making sound decisions based on evidence can bring a sense of well-being, without having to immerse yourself in relentless positivity." The results could also be due to counteracting emotions, say the researchers. For optimists, disappointment may eventually overwhelm the anticipatory feelings of expecting the best, so happiness starts to fall. For pessimists, the constant dread of expecting the worst may overtake the positive emotions from doing better than expected. In the context of the Covid-19 crisis the researchers highlight that optimists and pessimists alike make decisions based on biased expectations: not only can this lead to bad decision making but also a failure to undertake suitable precautions to potential threats. "Optimists will see themselves as less susceptible to the risk of Covid-19 than others and are therefore less likely to take appropriate precautionary measures. Pessimists, on the other hand, may be tempted to never leave their houses or send their children to school again. Neither strategy seems like a suitable recipe for well-being. Realists take measured risks based on our scientific understanding of the disease," said co-author Professor David de Meza from LSE's Department of Management. Published in the American journal Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin the, findings are based on analysis from the British Household Panel Survey -- a major UK longitudinal survey -- tracking 1,600 individuals annually over 18 years. To investigate whether optimists, pessimists or realists have the highest long-term well-being the researchers measured self-reported life satisfaction and psychological distress. Alongside this, they measured participants' finances and their tendency to have over- or under-estimated them.
  10. 200629120204_1_540x360.jpg Thousands of words, big and small, are crammed inside our memory banks just waiting to be swiftly withdrawn and strung into sentences. In a recent study of epilepsy patients and healthy volunteers, National Institutes of Health researchers found that our brains may withdraw some common words, like "pig," "tank," and "door," much more often than others, including "cat," "street," and "stair." By combining memory tests, brain wave recordings, and surveys of billions of words published in books, news articles and internet encyclopedia pages, the researchers not only showed how our brains may recall words but also memories of our past experiences. "We found that some words are much more memorable than others. Our results support the idea that our memories are wired into neural networks and that our brains search for these memories, just the way search engines track down information on the internet," said Weizhen (Zane) Xie, Ph.D., a cognitive psychologist and post-doctoral fellow at the NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), who led the study published in Nature Human Behaviour. "We hope that these results can be used as a roadmap to evaluate the health of a person's memory and brain." Dr. Xie and his colleagues first spotted these words when they re-analyzed the results of memory tests taken by 30 epilepsy patients who were part of a clinical trial led by Kareem Zaghloul, M.D., Ph.D., a neurosurgeon and senior investigator at NINDS. Dr. Zaghloul's team tries to help patients whose seizures cannot be controlled by drugs, otherwise known as intractable epilepsy. During the observation period, patients spend several days at the NIH's Clinical Center with surgically implanted electrodes designed to detect changes in brain activity. "Our goal is to find and eliminate the source of these harmful and debilitating seizures," said Dr. Zaghloul. "The monitoring period also provides a rare opportunity to record the neural activity that controls other parts of our lives. With the help of these patient volunteers we have been able to uncover some of the blueprints behind our memories." The memory tests were originally designed to assess episodic memories, or the associations -- the who, what, where and how details -- we make with our past experiences. Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia often destroys the brain's capacity to make these memories. Patients were shown pairs of words, such as "hand" and "apple," from a list of 300 common nouns. A few seconds later they were shown one of the words, for instance "hand," and asked to remember its pair, "apple." Dr. Zaghloul's team had used these tests to study how neural circuits in the brain store and replay memories. When Dr. Xie and his colleagues re-examined the test results, they found that patients successfully recalled some words more often than others, regardless of the way the words were paired. In fact, of the 300 words used, the top five were on average about seven times more likely to be successfully recalled than the bottom five. At first, Dr. Zaghloul and the team were surprised by the results and even a bit skeptical. For many years scientists have thought that successful recall of a paired word meant that a person's brain made a strong connection between the two words during learning and that a similar process may explain why some experiences are more memorable than others. Also, it was hard to explain why words like "tank," "doll," and "pond" were remembered more often than frequently used words like "street," "couch," and "cloud." But any doubts were quickly diminished when the team saw very similar results after 2,623 healthy volunteers took an online version of the word pair test that the team posted on the crowdsourcing website Amazon Mechanical Turk. "We saw that some things -- in this case, words -- may be inherently easier for our brains to recall than others," said Dr. Zaghloul. "These results also provide the strongest evidence to date that what we discovered about how the brain controls memory in this set of patients may also be true for people outside of the study." Dr. Xie got the idea for the study at a Christmas party which he attended shortly after his arrival at NIH about two years ago. After spending many years studying how our mental states -- our moods, our sleeping habits, and our familiarity with something -- can change our memories, Dr. Xie joined Dr. Zaghloul's team to learn more about the inner-workings of the brain. "Our memories play a fundamental role in who we are and how our brains work. However, one of the biggest challenges of studying memory is that people often remember the same things in different ways, making it difficult for researchers to compare people's performances on memory tests," said Dr. Xie. "For over a century, researchers have called for a unified accounting of this variability. If we can predict what people should remember in advance and understand how our brains do this, then we might be able to develop better ways to evaluate someone's overall brain health." At the party, he met Wilma Bainbridge, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of psychology at the University of Chicago, who, at the time was working as a post-doctoral fellow at the NIH's National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). She was trying to tackle this same issue by studying whether some things we see are more memorable than others. For example, in one set of studies of more than 1000 healthy volunteers, Dr. Bainbridge and her colleagues found that some faces are more memorable than others. In these experiments, each volunteer was shown a steady stream of faces and asked to indicate when they recognized one from earlier in the stream. "Our exciting finding is that there are some images of people or places that are inherently memorable for all people, even though we have each seen different things in our lives," said Dr. Bainbridge. "And if image memorability is so powerful, this means we can know in advance what people are likely to remember or forget." Nevertheless, these results were limited to understanding how our brains work when we recognize something we see. At the party, Drs. Xie and Bainbridge wondered whether this idea could be applied to the recall of memories that Dr. Zaghloul's team had been studying and if so, what would that tell us about how the brain remembers our past experiences? In this paper, Dr. Xie proposed that the principles from an established theory, known as the Search for Associative Memory (SAM) model, may help explain their initial findings with the epilepsy patients and the healthy controls. "We thought one way to understand the results of the word pair tests was to apply network theories for how the brain remembers past experiences. In this case, memories of the words we used look like internet or airport terminal maps, with the more memorable words appearing as big, highly trafficked spots connected to smaller spots representing the less memorable words," said Dr. Xie. "The key to fully understanding this was to figure out what connects the words." To address this, the researchers wrote a novel computer modeling program that tested whether certain rules for defining how words are connected can predict the memorability results they saw in the study. The rules were based on language studies which had scanned thousands of sentences from books, news articles, and Wikipedia pages. Initially, they found that seemingly straightforward ideas for connecting words could not explain their results. For instance, the more memorable words did not simply appear more often in sentences than the less memorable ones. Similarly, they could not find a link between the relative "concreteness" of a word's definition and its memorability. A word like "moth" was no more memorable than a word that has more abstract meanings, like "chief." Instead, their results suggested that the more memorable words were more semantically similar, or more often linked to the meanings of other words used in the English language. This meant, that when the researchers plugged semantic similarity data into the computer model it correctly guessed which words that were memorable from patients and healthy volunteer test. In contrast, this did not happen when they used data on word frequency or concreteness. Further results supported the idea that the more memorable words represented high trafficked hubs in the brain's memory networks. The epilepsy patients correctly recalled the memorable words faster than others. Meanwhile, electrical recordings of the patients' anterior temporal lobe, a language center, showed that their brains replayed the neural signatures behind those words earlier than the less memorable ones. The researchers saw this trend when they looked at both averages of all results and individual trials, which strongly suggested that the more memorable words are easier for the brain to find. Moreover, both the patients and the healthy volunteers mistakenly called out the more memorable words more frequently than any other words. Overall, these results supported previous studies which suggested that the brain may visit or pass through these highly connected memories, like the way animals forage for food or a computer searches the internet. "You know when you type words into a search engine, and it shows you a list of highly relevant guesses? It feels like the search engine is reading your mind. Well, our results suggest that the brains of the subjects in this study did something similar when they tried to recall a paired word, and we think that this may happen when we remember many of our past experiences," said Dr. Xie. "Our results also suggest that the structure of the English language is stored in everyone's brains and we hope that, one day, it is used to overcome the variability doctors face when trying to evaluate the health of a person's memory and brain." The team is currently exploring ways to incorporate their results and computer model into the development of memory tests for Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.
  11. While 2020 has been decidedly unkind to comic books, with the COVID-19 pandemic basically bringing the entire industry to a standstill, recently released data shows that 2019 was a banner year for the medium, with North American sales reaching a record high. An estimated total of $1.21 billion worth of comics and graphic novels were sold in the US and Canada last year, an 11% uptick over 2018, which itself saw an $80 million rise in sales over 2017. The steady growth is being credited to an increased interest in graphic novels, particularly ones meant for younger audiences. But sales for traditional, periodical comic books also saw a 5% rise. The numbers come from a joint estimate from comic book analytics sites ICv2 and Comichron. Sales of graphic novels reached approximately $765 million, while traditional, single issue comics were around $355 million. “Print comics sales had never before topped $1 billion in current dollars, and one has to go back to the boom of the early 1990s to find sales at or above that level when adjusted for inflation,” said Comichron's John Jackson Miller, one of the researchers behind the report. FireShot Capture 7355 - Comics And Graphic Novels Shattered S_ - https___screenrant.com_comics-s.jpg However digital sales went down 10%. The 2018 report put digital sales numbers at $100 million, while this new report has that format at $90 million. Another interesting finding in the analysis is the fact that 2019 saw the first time that traditional book channel - chain bookstores, mass merchants, major online retailers, and Scholastic Book Fairs - topped regular comic shops in sales for the first time ever. Unfortunately, the steady rise in sales is likely not to continue for 2020. Most stores were forced to close their doors to customers amid virus fears, and when Diamond Comics Distributors - the largest distributor of comic books in the world - announced it was halting new deliveries, any stores that were still operational were left with no fresh content and empty new release shelves. Milton Griepp of ICV2, who worked on the study alongside Miller, noted, "Demand for comics content remains high,” Griepp noted, “and retailers have been finding inventive ways to fill that demand.” Many retailers have turned to eBay and social media to keep fans engaged and stocked with reading material, but it's been an uphill battle for many. And Diamond's hiatus was far from the only major drawback the industry has seen on account of the pandemic. Majortrade events - most notably San Diego Comic Con, which is now going to be held online - were forced to delay or just flat out cancel. And with the success of comic book movies likely driving viewers to their local book stores, it's possible the impact could be long-lasting. With Hollywood mostly still effectively shut down, and with the future of theater-going experiences largely unknown, it's possible that may also have an impact, with fewer new readers being first introduced to these characters on film. Only time will tell how long-lasting an impact the virus will have on the comic book world, but for right now, fans have something to celebrate.
  12. American presidents customarily leave office when voters reject them. Czars, emperors, and would-be prime ministers for life do whatever they can to hold on to power. To extend his rule until 2036, Russian President Vladimir Putin recently held a referendum to amend his country’s constitution. While some Russians publicly opposed the proposal, few had any doubt about the outcome. Two years ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping succeeded in eliminating term limits that had been established after Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution—a period of ideological madness that killed tens of millions of people, including family members of the country’s ruling class. In his grand presidential address of 2017, Xi stated specific objectives for his nation to achieve by 2025, 2035, and 2049, the centennial of the People’s Republic of China—suggesting that he intended to lead China until at least 2035 (when he would be 82). Even in democracies, circumstances sometimes allow deeply compromised leaders to remain in office. Benjamin Netanyahu has already become the longest-serving prime minister in Israel’s history, having survived repeated scandals. He is currently facing an indictment for bribery and fraud brought by Israel’s attorney general. In the past year, even though he could not win a majority of the Israeli Parliament in three successive elections, Netanyahu successfully maneuvered to keep his position on each occasion. Now in the second month of a three-year “deal” with Defense Minister Benny Gantz that allows him to remain prime minister for 18 months, Netanyahu has made a commitment to swap roles for the subsequent 18 months. But many expect him to renege on those terms, or try to renegotiate them, before Gantz takes over. In short, three leaders whom Donald Trump has praised have extended their tenure in office. On this canvas, what could Trump do? Undoubtedly, a whiff of paranoia is evident in many claims of potential skulduggery now swirling about. And yet the fear that Trump may not leave office, no matter what happens in November, has become mainstream. Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has called the prospect that “this president is going to try to steal this election” his “single greatest concern. Putin, Xi, Netanyahu, and Trump all differ from one another in many ways, of course. But each has reasons to avoid relinquishing his hold on power. Putin, Xi, and Netanyahu genuinely have grand ambitions. Each wants to expand his country’s formal borders—Russia’s into Ukraine, Israel’s into the West Bank, China’s to reintegrate Hong Kong and Taiwan. Trump’s signature banner promises to “Make America great again,” and the thought that this could include territorial expansion—specifically the purchase of Greenland—has also occurred to him. The most generous explanation for why these men might believe themselves indispensable is this: Who else can any of them trust to achieve their ambitions? The more cynical questions to ask are: If any of these four leaders leaves office, who could ensure his freedom from arrest and humiliation? Who would guarantee the wealth and well-being of his family and friends? Historically, heads of state clung to power until they died or were overthrown. Of the 23 czars who ruled Russia from 1547 to 1917, how many voluntarily handed over power to a successor? Zero. Fifteen died of natural causes, six were overthrown, and two were assassinated. Over roughly the same four centuries, China had 16 emperors—all but one of whose reigns ended involuntarily: by death or forced abdication. Call it the czar’s dilemma: However daunting the challenges of holding power, the dangers of losing it are even greater. America’s Founding Fathers recognized this dilemma. They created a republic, not a monarchy, with an elected chief executive. Acutely conscious of the abuses of “mad King George,” they designed a Constitution of what the presidential scholar Richard Neustadt called “separated institutions sharing power.” By dividing power among the president, Congress, and the courts—and by giving them separate sources of legitimacy—they created a complex system in which each checks and balances the others. While that has invited a continuous struggle for power that has made governing messy and often ugly, their purpose, as Justice Louis Brandeis famously explained, was “not to promote efficiency but to preclude the exercise of arbitrary authority.” Buttressing constitutional limits on presidential power was the wise precedent that George Washington established when he stepped down after two terms. No one broke that tradition until Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was elected four times during the Great Depression and World War II. As one of his colleagues quipped, the only way he would ever leave the White House was in a coffin. And that’s the way he exited in 1945. Within six years of his death, Congress had passed and three-quarters of the states had ratified the Twenty-Second Amendment, which now limits presidents to two terms. But the amendment does not close off every avenue by which a president could hang on. Lawrence Douglas, the author of Will He Go? Trump and the Looming Election Meltdown in 2020, argues that the current American electoral system has a “Chernobyl-like defect”: Nothing in the Constitution or federal laws guarantees a peaceful transfer of power from a sitting president to his successor. Why would an elected head of state transfer the immense powers of the presidency to an opponent whom he believes could be a threat to his nation, his vision, and even himself? Just because some people claim that the opponent received more votes in an election in which both parties are pointing to irregularities and abuses? Central to the democratic transfer of power is a norm of deference to process. All elections have many inconsistencies and aberrations. But successful democracies require a strong presumption of respect for the legitimacy of the electoral process—indeed, a willingness to accept outcomes that are messy, controversial, and perhaps even perverse. Yet as poisonous partisanship has spread into every aspect of government, claims of voter suppression, fraudulent mail-in ballots, and abuses in disqualifying voters and counting votes are eroding that presumption. And unfortunately, the labyrinthine process between a citizen’s vote and the outcome of a presidential election offers many opportunities for the suspicious or paranoid to claim that the election was rigged or the results a sham. While citizens across the nation will vote for president on November 3, the winner is determined not by the popular vote but by the Electoral College. The process has four steps that, under normal conditions, produce a clear result. First, prior to the election, Electoral College votes are allocated among states according to the decennial U.S. census (which presumes that the census is completed properly). Second, citizens cast their vote for the candidate of their choosing (and the corresponding slate of electors), and each state counts votes according to its own procedures. Third, the electors for the winning candidate in each state meet, vote for the candidate to whom they are pledged, and send that report to Congress. Finally, on January 6, a joint session of Congress certifies states’ electoral votes and declares a winner. To win, a candidate must have 270 electoral votes. But if no candidate reaches that threshold, because some states’ electoral votes are contested or disqualified, the Constitution says that the House of Representatives selects the president and the Senate the vice president. In making these choices, each state casts a single vote. That Democrats have the majority in the House today does not matter. What matters is that in 26 of the 50 states, Republicans hold a majority of the House delegation. If Republicans retain this advantage after the November election, they will elect Trump. Alternatively, if Democrats succeed in wresting a seat or two from Republicans in a few closely divided states, they would then have a majority and elect Biden. If Democrats flip only one state, neither party would reach the minimum 26 votes. The Constitution offers no guidance on what happens next. This November 3 will be unlike any previous presidential election. Some states are requiring in-person voting, while others are allowing mail-in balloting at an unprecedented level. Many are experimenting with new ways to protect the vote from foreign interference. Amid the many possible uncertainties, the outcome of the November vote could be as confused as that of the Iowa caucus in February. Could we see failures in voting systems like the fiasco in the Georgia primary election last month, or the long wait for results like in the more recent congressional primaries in New York and Kentucky? Under a cloud of fraud and abuse allegations, could Americans see both candidates claiming victory? For some readers, the thought of a presidential election without a clear victor may sound fanciful. Yet the United States has endured a number of seriously contested presidential elections, each of which highlights dangers that could arise again this year. In the 1824 contest between John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, Jackson clearly won the popular vote and had the largest number of votes in the Electoral College—though he fell 32 short of a majority. In what Jackson rightly denounced as a “corrupt bargain,” Adams made a deal with Henry Clay, the House speaker who had himself been a candidate for president but finished fourth in the Electoral College. For throwing his support to Adams, Clay became Adams’s secretary of state.* Although he accepted the loss, Jackson spent the next four years waging a political war against Adams, undercutting his authority in Washington and across America on the grounds that his presidency was illegitimate. And when the two faced off again in 1828, Jackson won by a large margin, ushering in the Jacksonian revolution. A decade after the Civil War, the presidential election of 1876 was even more bitterly contested. The Democratic candidate, Samuel J. Tilden, beat the Republican, Rutherford B. Hayes, in the popular vote, but 20 decisive electoral votes remained in dispute. When neither side could agree on an outcome, the country wobbled on the brink of chaos. Outgoing President Ulysses S. Grant developed contingency plans for martial law, lest the country return to civil war. The election was not resolved until months later, when the parties struck a secret deal. According to the Compromise of 1877, Hayes became president—but in return he agreed to remove federal troops from the South, effectively ending Reconstruction. In 2000, the presidential contest between George W. Bush and incumbent Vice President Al Gore came down to one swing state: Florida. Bush had a significant lead there as Election Night came to a close. But by morning the following day, television networks had to retract their announcements of the victor. Without a win in Florida, neither candidate had the required 270 electoral votes. As Florida began recounting its ballots, disputes arose about whether ballots with “hanging chads” should be disqualified and, eventually, whether and how the recount should continue. The matter finally went to the Supreme Court, which in a 5–4 decision sided with the Republicans—in effect, awarding victory to Bush. In his concession speech, Gore said: “Let there be no doubt, while I strongly disagree with the Court’s decision, I accept it.” Historically, the difference between a would-be U.S. president and a czar has been that the former accepts the possibility of defeat at the ballot box. After a heated campaign one year before the nation dissolved into civil war, Stephen Douglas conceded to Abraham Lincoln with the words “Partisan feeling must yield to patriotism.” Yet that clear principle may wither in the face of a close election—especially if the current president is insistent on holding on to power. If our society remains discombobulated amid a continuing pandemic, if voter-suppression measures keep some Americans from having their say, if mail-in-ballot glitches and foreign interference affect vote counts, and if exit polls suggest that the election is close, nightmare scenarios become more probable. Under these conditions, America’s best hope for escaping the czar’s dilemma is for one candidate to win decisively.
  13. Not exactly the message Trump is probably wants campaign staff to promote. In April 2020, Giancarlo Sopo said he was “honored” to announce his new job as the Trump campaign director of rapid response for Spanish-language media. “Our country is in the midst of an unprecedented crisis and l’m going to do all I can to ensure President @RealDonaldTrump‘s message of hope, strength, and renewal reaches America’s diverse Latino communities,” he tweeted at the time. 1.jpg But leaked DMs from less than two years ago show Sopo having a much different opinion of the president. On Thursday, Alex Howard, a communications professional who has worked for Democratic politicians, tweeted out messages from 2018 showing Sopo heavily criticizing Trump. The discussion between Sopo and account(s) Howard rendered anonymous centered around Cesar Sayoc, the “MAGA Bomber” who sent pipe bombs to media organizations and prominent Democrats. Sopo called the actions “disgusting,” adding, “I’ve never seen the country like this.” “This has been happening for a long time,” Sopo then continued, in response to speculation about the country’s political polarization. “I think Trump has taken it to a whole new level and has disgraced the office with his conduct.” 4.jpg At the time of the messages, Sopo was a self-professed Democrat, according to an op-ed published in USA Today. In an interview that same year on a friend’s podcast, he described volunteering and working for multiple Democratic presidential campaigns, including President Barack Obama’s and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s. He commented on Trump in this conversation, as well, saying he thought the president’s immigration policies were “horrible,” though he did not believe Trump’s fixation with building a wall between the United States and Mexico was “inherently racist.” Advertisement “I think some of the other comments that Trump has made regarding race are, are much more incendiary and problematic,” Sopo added. In the years since, Sopo started writing for numerous conservative outlets, including the Federalist, the National Review, and most recently, the Blaze. A source familiar with Sopo told the Daily Dot he shifted away from the Democratic party after being virtually “exiled” due to his ties to a voter fraud scandal in Florida. As Politico reported, Sopo was involved with the congressional campaign of Florida Democrat Joe Garcia in 2012, during which a top aide attempted to illegally request more than a thousand absentee ballots. That staffer, Jeffrey Garcia, was later sent to prison, and Sopo, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing, claimed he had been “tricked” into believing the requests were real. Soon after hiring Sopo, the Trump campaign pointed to this specific incident in an email denouncing mail-in voting. Advertisement Sopo has also been criticized in the past for statements he made about “old Cubans,” which resurfaced again Thursday morning. “…Trump’s Hispanic Rapid Response Director @GiancarloSopo said in the past that ‘old cubans should be prohibited from having political opinions’ and that they ‘fucked up their own country,'” tweeted Thomas Kennedy, including screenshots of a DM message with Sopo. 5.jpg David Smiley, a political reporter with the Miami Herald, tweeted that he had previously asked Sopo about these messages, to which the Trump staffer responded, “I have always criticized the Castro regime and its enablers because my grandfather died in a political prison and my dad was nearly executed. I could not be more proud of my Cuban heritage, my grandparents’ sacrifices, and the Miami exile community where I was born and raised.”
  14. Disney theme park employees voiced their frustrations and fears about reopening amid coronavirus concerns. In March, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic, leading civilizations around the world to take security precautions against the aggressive virus. In an attempt to prevent further COVID-19 outbreaks, the Mouse House shuttered all theme parks indefinitely. As of late, U.S. States are gradually lifting lockdown orders, leaving theme parks to workshop how to reopen amid the pandemic. Experiencing a financial shock due to the closure of the parks, the Walt Disney Company configured plans to stay in business, including padding up the Disney+ catalog, raising $11 billion in debt, and putting employees on furlough. In May, sections of Shanghai Disney reopened, while implementing new safety policies. These include limited capacity and mandatory mask-wearing. Earlier this month, Disney revealed Disneyland had a reopening date of July 17, pending government approvals. Following the announcement of a July reopening date, visitors started an online petition to delay the park’s planned reopening. Now, Disney employees have revealed they are not happy with the Happiest Place on Earth. Speaking with io9, Disneyland cast members revealed concerns at the possibility of the theme park reopening soon. Opting to remain anonymous, five non-union cast members expressed there are still a “number of health and safety concerns.” Speaking on the topic of masks, one Disney employee states that policing guests to wear masks would be difficult since guests could fail to comply with guidelines once inside the park. Additionally, these front line employees are “terrified” that they could expose high-risk family members to coronavirus since Disney allegedly has “no inclination or want at this time to test employees.” FireShot Capture 6737 - Disney Theme Park Employees Are Furio_ - https___screenrant.com_disney-t.jpg Recently, California has witnessed a surge in coronavirus cases, leading to the state’s governor, Gavin Newson, to implement additional security measures. Newsom assured Disney patrons that health officials continue to be in contact with the Mouse House to coordinate a safe reopening. As it stands, Downtown Disney will reopen, as previously announced, on July 9. One Disney employee expressed the sentiment, “Disney is a magical place where they can escape the realities of the world, but the reality of the situation is that the pandemic is everywhere, even at Disneyland. The pandemic doesn’t magically go away just because you’re at a theme park.” Despite the delay in reopening at Disneyland in California, Walt Disney theme parks around the world are cracking open their doors - with safety guidelines in place - including Hong Kong Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. However, maintaining worker morale and following guidelines that will ensure the safety of employees should be the top priorities for the company and will allow for Disney theme parks to safely reopen in the future.
  15. The amount of time children spend on devices has little effect on how long they sleep, a study from Oxford University suggests. It runs counter to previous research that suggested excessive screen time was linked to children failing to get sufficient rest. The survey concluded that the relationship between sleep and screen use in children was "extremely modest". But one UK GP said the findings did not tally with his clinical experience. The study, conducted by the Oxford Internet Institute, relied on data from a 2016 US study into children's health, in which parents from across the country completed surveys about their households. The children's "digital screen time" was based on answers to two questions about the weekday habits of children aged between six months and 17 years: how much time they spent on computers, mobile phones, handheld video games and other electronic devices how much time they spent in front of a TV watching programmes and other content as well as playing video games The findings indicate that the tech-abstaining teenagers slept only slightly longer than their counterparts who had spent much of their day in front of a screen. For example, teenagers who had not been in front of a screen for any part of the day got a total of eight hours and 51 minutes of sleep. Those who had spent eight hours of their day glued to a screen got eight hours and 21 minutes of slumber. The sample size for the survey was more than 50,000 youngsters from every state in the US. 'Mini case of jet lag' The study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, said every hour of screen time was linked to between three to eight fewer minutes of sleep a night. Screens are now a fixture of modern childhood and both professionals and parents are increasingly expressing concerns that the amount of time children devote to devices affects their physical and mental health. When it comes to sleep, there are concerns that children take devices to bed and continue to use them when they should be sleeping. Others have expressed worries about the role the blue light emitted from such devices plays on sleep habits and a related hormone. The US National Sleep Foundation has told parents that it is important to stop children using electronic devices before bedtime "because the blue light emitted from these screens can delay the release of sleep-inducing melatonin". "This is an especially big problem for teens whose circadian rhythms are already shifting naturally, causing them to feel awake later at night. The end result: sleep-deprived or poorly rested kids who have essentially given themselves a mini case of jet lag," it writes on its website. 'Imperfect data' But the study author thinks other factors should be considered. "Focusing on bedtime routines and regular patterns of sleep, such as consistent wake-up times, are much more effective strategies for helping young people sleep than thinking screens themselves play a significant role," said study author Prof Andrew Przbylski. Prof Przbylski told the BBC that many of the studies suggesting links between screen time and lack of sleep had very small sample sizes and need "much larger studies" to find conclusive evidence of a problem. "Because the effects of screens are so modest, it is possible that many studies with smaller sample sizes could be false positives - results that support an effect that in reality does not exist," he said. He acknowledged that the data used in the study was "imperfect" because it relied on reports from parents. A further study into the time that children turn off their devices before bedtime will be published shortly. Many of the large technology firms, including Apple, Google and Facebook, have introduced dashboards allowing people to keep a check on the amount of time they spend on screens. Some leading technology executives have banned their own children from using devices. The late Apple chief Steve Jobs's young children were notably not allowed iPads. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates banned phones until his children were teenagers. And Tim Cook, Apple's current leader, has said he would not let his nephew join social networks. One UK GP, Rangan Chatterjee, said the Oxford University study was "welcome" but that he did not plan to change his advice to parents, which was to turn off devices an hour before bedtime. "The more research on this area, the better because screens are here to stay," he told the BBC. "But the findings don't replicate what I see in clinical practice which is that the use of screens right before bed has a significant impact on the quality of sleep."
  16. Scientists have developed a completely automated technique for real-time detection of sleep/wake states in freely moving mice. Conducted by Karim Benchenane, Sophie Bagur and colleagues at the National Centre for Scientific Research in Paris, the study, publishing on November 8 in the open-access journal, PLOS Biology, describes how local brain activity in the olfactory bulb is enough to accurately classify mouse vigilance states into wake, REM sleep, and non-REM sleep. The olfactory bulb is a brain structure that transmits information related to the sense of smell to the rest of the brain, and in mice projects forward from under the cerebral cortex, towards the nasal cavity. Understanding the transition between wake and sleep is important for medical and clinical applications ranging from surgical anesthesia to sleep disorders such as insomnia. Although much has been learned from mouse models, tracking sleep/wake states in rodents and the transitions between the two is currently labor-intensive and suffers from variability both between scoring methods and between individual scorers. Using real-time local field potential recordings from the mouse olfactory bulb, the new method relies entirely on brain activity and a preset algorithm, thus making it more efficient, more objective and more reliable than current methods. After discovering that changes in gamma waves from the olfactory bulb are a reliable marker for sleep/wake states, the team developed an automated sleep-scoring algorithm that performed better than standard classification methods. Unlike standard methods that rely on recordings of muscle activity, the new method did not misclassify rodent "freezing" behavior as sleep. They also found that while brain activity from the hippocampus was the best signal for distinguishing REM and non-REM sleep, beta waves from the olfactory bulb could do the job almost as well, meaning that the automated system only requires one implanted wire per mouse. Once the system was established, the scientists were able to use it for several applications, including detecting the depth of anesthesia and characterizing the differences between wake-sleep and sleep-wake transitions. The automated real-time classification system thus has the potential to have wide-ranging applications in sleep research.
  17. Hello, I'm searching for the a CMT (Chartered Market Technician) course. There are 3 LVL, I welcome all you can find. I searched on TGG and most of the public meta motor and some big private like Torrentday without any success. I was thinking of trying to get invite on big E learning website, but that seems a little bit overkill just for 1 certification. I was thinking of site like Bitspyder, TheVault, BizTorrent, LearnBit,. (I don t know which one have a big Finance section) If any of you could do a quick search there with "CMT" & "Chartered Market Technician", I know for a fact that Wiley aka efficientlearning provide a online course but only the beginning is available for free. I'm mainly searching for Video course but if you find ebook i will welcome it too. If you make a search and that you found nothing on one of the big E learning site, plz respond to the thread saying so. If you know a tracker or website with lots of finance and trading course / certification, I'm all ear. Thank you for your time.
  18. Light to moderate drinking may preserve brain function in older age, according to a new study from the University of Georgia. The study examined the link between alcohol consumption and changes in cognitive function over time among middle-aged and older adults in the U.S. "We know there are some older people who believe that drinking a little wine everyday could maintain a good cognitive condition," said lead author Ruiyuan Zhang, a doctoral student at UGA's College of Public Health. "We wanted to know if drinking a small amount of alcohol actually correlates with a good cognitive function, or is it just a kind of survivor bias." Regular, moderate alcohol consumption has been shown to promote heart health and some research points to a similar protective benefit for brain health. However, many of these studies were not designed to isolate the effects of alcohol on cognition or did not measure effects over time. Zhang and his team developed a way to track cognition performance over 10 years using participant data from the nationally representative Health and Retirement Study. During the study, a total of 19,887 participants completed surveys every two years about their health and lifestyle, including questions on drinking habits. Light to moderate drinking is defined as fewer than eight drinks per week for women and 15 drinks or fewer per week among men. These participants also had their cognitive function measured in a series of tests looking at their overall mental status, word recall and vocabulary. Their test results were combined to form a total cognitive score. Zhang and his colleagues looked at how participants performed on these cognitive tests over the course of the study and categorized their performance as high or low trajectories, meaning their cognitive function remained high over time or began to decline. Compared to nondrinkers, they found that those who had a drink or two a day tended to perform better on cognitive tests over time. Even when other important factors known to impact cognition such as age, smoking or education level were controlled for, they saw a pattern of light drinking associated with high cognitive trajectories. The optimal amount of drinks per week was between 10 and 14 drinks. But that doesn't mean those who drink less should start indulging more, says Zhang. "It is hard to say this effect is causal," he said. "So, if some people don't drink alcoholic beverages, this study does not encourage them to drink to prevent cognitive function decline." Also of note, the association was stronger among white participants versus African American participants, which is significant, said Zhang, and prompts further exploration into the mechanisms of alcohol's effect on cognition.
  19. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, infectious disease experts said that developing a vaccine for the virus would take at least 12–18 months. Now, in their continued blitzkrieg against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, several drug companies are keeping pace with their ambitious timelines, and some are moving even faster than they initially predicted. Three companies with funding from the US government—AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna—are on track to distribute the first commercial batches of their experimental vaccines in late 2020 or early 2021. Those firms are top players in Operation Warp Speed, the US plan to have 300 million doses of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine by January 2021. Separately, several groups began clinical trials in June of monoclonal antibodies designed to target and neutralize SARS-CoV-2. Although many older drugs are being repurposed as potential COVID-19 therapies, the antibody trials helmed by Eli Lilly and Company, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, and Singapore-based Tychan are the first to test drugs created specifically for treating COVID-19. The pandemic is pushing drug companies to develop and test their wares at unparalleled speeds. “There is no reason you couldn’t speed up drug development if you really focused on it, and that’s what the pandemic has brought,” says Lisa Kennedy, CEO of the life sciences consulting firm Innopiphany. Never have so many groups been working on vaccines and treatments for the same disease, says Esther Krofah, executive director of FasterCures, a medical research advocacy division of the Milken Institute. “We have to be cautiously optimistic,” Krofah says. “Clinical trials are notorious for not going well.” Large trials this summer and fall could provide the first evidence that some of the experimental COVID-19 vaccines are working. AstraZeneca, which is developing an adenoviral vector vaccine designed at the University of Oxford, is recruiting 10,000 people in the UK, 30,000 people in the US, and potentially 2,000 people in Brazil for its Phase III study to determine if the vaccine is effective. If the trial is successful, AstraZeneca says, it could start distributing the vaccine as early as September in the UK and October in the US. Moderna plans to begin a 30,000-person Phase III study of its messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine in July. The firm is working with the contract manufacturer Lonza to produce 500 million doses or more per year. And J&J, which like AstraZeneca is developing an adenoviral vector vaccine, says it will begin its first clinical trial in the second half of July—two months earlier than anticipated. The trial will test the vaccine in 1,045 healthy volunteers in the US and Belgium. J&J is also trying to move faster on planning for its larger trials. The Chinese companies Sinovac and China National Pharmaceutical Group—also known as Sinopharm—are prepping for Phase III studies of their vaccines outside China. Both firms are developing vaccines made from chemically inactivated SARS-CoV-2. They say people receiving their vaccines in Phase II studies developed neutralizing antibodies to the virus, but the data have not been published. Krofah says monoclonal antibodies could “be a bridge to a vaccine” before vaccines are widely available. Lilly was the first company to begin clinical trials of monoclonal antibodies, discovered by the Canadian company AbCellera Biologics and the Chinese firm Shanghai Junshi Biosciences. It took only about 90 days from the start of AbCellera’s discovery program to the first injection of the antibody in a clinical trial. “Typically, that process could take between 1 1/2 to 2 years minimum, so doing it in 3 months is extraordinary,” says Janice Reichert, executive director of The Antibody Society, a trade organization. Others are also moving fast. Regeneron has begun two clinical trials of an experimental therapy that includes two monoclonal antibodies that target SARS-CoV-2. Tychan says it has begun clinical trials of its antibody in China. By Reichert’s estimation, there could be upward of 20 SARS-CoV-2 antibody programs in clinical studies by the end of the year, and it should not take long to determine if these drugs are effective. Lilly says it could have data by the end of the summer. “The readout is pretty quick with COVID-19,” Reichert says. “You either get better or you don’t.” If the clinical trials are successful, vaccine and antibody developers alike have suggested that their products could be available to certain groups through the US Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization (EUA), rather than a formal approval. The FDA announced an EUA for the antiviral drug remdesivir in May, three weeks before data from clinical trials were published. Vaccines for COVID-19 are likely to first be available through EUA, Krofah says, and she stresses the need for companies to publish data quickly in such a situation. “It is very important that all of the safety and efficacy data is shared and available publicly so that the public has confidence that this is not being hurried,” she says.
  20. My local cheesemonger, having reinvented itself as a general produce store, has been open throughout lockdown. The proprietor tells me something strange and new has started to happen. Customers he hasn’t seen since March as they diligently shielded themselves from human contact, have finally re-emerged, blinking in the daylight. What’s more, he says, they have no concept of physical distance. While the rest of us have been honing our skills for 15 weeks, these poor souls haven’t got a clue how to behave when in public. But then, do any of us, really? We’re all still working it out. Some people wonder around maskless, sneezing, snogging, shaking hands. Others are paranoid: “Keep two metres away from me! Get out into the road!”, I saw one masked gentleman scream as a perplexed woman jogged in his direction. It’s a reminder that there is more to this pandemic than what governments tell us to do. Each of us has our own feelings about what is safe. Those emotions have shaped the arc of the pandemic. They will also define the path of the recovery. Consider the impact of lockdowns. Common sense suggests they have been decisive in driving the disease into retreat, but they have not been the only factor. Hand-washing, handshake-aversion and working from home began long before legal enforcement. A working paper from the economists Austan Goolsbee and Chad Syverson tries to separate out the effect of mandatory measures from voluntary ones in the US. For example, Illinois imposed restrictions before Wisconsin did. The researchers looked at activity on either side of such borders, using cell-phone data to track journeys to shops and other businesses. They were able to gain insight into how much of shutdown was effectively voluntary. The answer: a surprisingly large proportion. “Total foot traffic fell by more than 60 percentage points,” they write. “Legal restrictions explain only around 7 percentage points of that.” A similar message comes from a comparison of Denmark, which had a firm lockdown, with Sweden, with its notoriously light-touch approach. Aggregate spending dropped 29 per cent in Denmark and 25 per cent in Sweden. That means voluntary measures did much of the damage to the economy — and, one hopes, have delivered much of the public-health benefit too. I wouldn’t put too much weight on the precise numbers, but the basic message is important. People didn’t lock down merely because governments told them to. Now the converse applies: just because shopping is legal again does not mean people will rush out to the shops. In Germany, they did: Germans spent more in May 2020 than they did in May 2019, suggesting that not only were they willing to visit the shops, they wanted to make up for lost time. That is encouraging, but only up to a point. Germany had a good crisis by western standards, with fewer than 10,000 excess deaths, compared with 25,000 in France, nearly 50,000 in Italy and Spain, and more than 65,000 in the UK. The US is currently averaging about a hundred times as many daily new cases as Germany. Perhaps Germans feel safe because they*are*safe. Not everyone can say that. Once the virus is suppressed, then a sharp recovery is possible. But might this experience leave a lasting mark on our thinking? Perhaps so. The economist Ulrike Malmendier has published several studies suggesting that our early economic experiences can be formative of enduring attitudes. If the stock market is weak when we are young adults, we tend to shy away from investing, permanently. Similarly, the hawkishness or dovishness of Federal Open Market Committee members is shaped by their personal experience of inflation. A new working paper by Prof Malmendier and Leslie Sheng Shen suggests recessions reshape consumer behaviour long after they have passed. The after-effects are wonderfully described as “experience-induced frugality” — that is, people who’ve seen periods of high unemployment save more and accumulate wealth, just in case. Such thrift could lead to more investment, of course, but another recent paper by Julian Kozlowski, Laura Veldkamp, and Venky Venkateswaran argues otherwise. They assert that the psychological scarring is destructive, since a vivid appreciation of catastrophic scenarios will leave people fearful of making bold investments. Why risk anything in a capricious universe? I wonder. We do learn from bitter experience, of course. But we also have a great talent for forgetting. In particular, we forget how bad things feel. The pandemic will long be remembered, but the pain will fade. After Hurricane Katrina, the US National Flood Insurance Program saw a spike in demand. Three years on, demand for flood insurance had fallen back to pre-Katrina levels. My guess is that clever statisticians will be able to detect the psychological aftershocks of the pandemic for decades to come — but that, to a casual gaze, everyday life in 2022 will look a lot like it did in 2018. Scars do not always heal, but they fade.
  21. Newly appointed French Prime Minister Jean Castex waves after the official handover ceremony with outgoing prime minister Edouard Philippe (not in the photo) at Hotel Matignon, the French premier's official residence, in Paris, France, on July 3, 2020. Photo: Reuters/ Charles Platiau Reuters, Paris -- Jean Castex oversaw France's coronavirus lockdown exit -- Macron is seeking to "reinvent" his presidency -- Move comes after local election drubbing President Emmanuel Macron named Jean Castex, a top civil servant and local mayor who orchestrated France's coronavirus lockdown exit strategy, as his new prime minister on Friday as he acted to reinvent his administration and win back voters. Castex, 55, hails from the centre-right of French politics and served for two years as the second-highest ranking official in the Elysee Palace during Nicolas Sarkozy's presidency. An Elysee official described Castex as a senior civil servant whose experience in local politics would help Macron connect with provincial France. Castex was a "social Gaullist", the official said in reference to the more interventionist, socially minded wing of France's centre-right. The announcement followed the resignation of Edouard Philippe ahead of a widely anticipated overhaul of the government by Macron. Macron is reshaping his government as France grapples with the deepest economic depression since World War Two, a sharp downturn that will shrink the economy by about 11% in 2020 and reverse hard-fought gains on unemployment. Investors will be watching to see if Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who has overseen reforms to liberalise the economy and spent big to keep companies like Air France and Renault afloat during the crisis, keeps his job. "The return from summer holidays will be difficult, we must get ready," Macron told regional newspapers in an interview published late on Thursday. Macron and Philippe dined together on Wednesday and met on Thursday. The Elysee source described Thursday's discussions as warm and friendly. Both men agreed on "the need for a new government to embody the next phase, a new path," the aide said. FRESH START Macron said last month he wanted to start afresh as France embarks on a delicate and costly recovery from its coronavirus slump. Then came his party's dire showing in nationwide municipal elections on June 28. The local elections revealed surging support for the Green party and underlined Macron's troubles connecting with ordinary people. His La Republique en Marche party failed to win a single major city, depriving the president of a local power base ahead of 2022. The most notable win was Philippe's success in his old redoubt of Le Havre and his resignation clears the way for him to become mayor of the northern port, from where he could emerge as a rival to Macron in two years' time. Cardboard boxes were delivered to the prime minister's offices minutes after the government stepped down. Macron is taking a gamble by replacing Philippe, who is more popular than the president, political analysts say. But keeping Philippe would have suggested that Macron was too weak to let go of his prime minister and that his party lacked the depth for a full cabinet overhaul.
  22. 1.jpg A priest wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) walks in front of the body of a person who died of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), as he collects woods to make a funeral pyre at a crematorium in New Delhi, India, July 3, 2020. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis Washington, Reuters Global coronavirus cases exceeded 11 million on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, marking another milestone in the spread of the disease that has killed more than half a million people in seven months. The number of cases is more than double the figure for severe influenza illnesses recorded annually, according to the World Health Organization. Many hard-hit countries are easing lockdowns put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus while making extensive alterations to work and social life that could last for a year or more until a vaccine is available. Some countries are experiencing a resurgence in infections, leading authorities to partially reinstate lockdowns, in what experts say could be a recurring pattern into 2021. The United States reported more than 55,400 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, a new daily global record as infections rose in a majority of states. Several US governors halted plans to reopen their state economies in the face of a surge in cases. Almost a quarter of the known global deaths have occurred in the United States - nearly 129,000. A recent surge in cases has put President Donald Trump's handling of the crisis under a microscope and led several governors to halt plans to reopen their states after strict lockdowns. Latin America, where Brazil has 1.5 million cases, makes up 23% of the global total of people infected. India has become the new epicenter in Asia, rising to 625,000 cases. Asia and the Middle East have around 12% and 9% respectively, according to the Reuters tally, which uses government reports. In some countries with limited testing capabilities, case numbers reflect a small proportion of total infections. Health experts caution that the official data likely does not tell the full story, with many believing that both cases and deaths have likely been underreported in some countries. Worldwide, there have been more than 520,000 fatalities linked to the disease so far, roughly the same as the number of influenza deaths reported annually. The first death linked to the new coronavirus was reported on Jan. 10 in Wuhan in China, before infections and fatalities surged in Europe, then the United States, and later Russia. The pandemic has now entered a new phase, with India and Brazil battling outbreaks of over 10,000 cases a day, putting a major strain on resources. Countries including China, New Zealand and Australia have experienced new outbreaks in the past month, despite largely quashing local transmission.
  23. Ubisoft editorial vice president Maxime Beland has resigned from the company following allegations of assault and sexual harassment. Beland was previously suspended from work after the allegations surfaced on social media. Accusations of assault and harassment have been leveled at several prominent members of the video game industry in the past few, many of which centered around employees of Ubisoft. In addition, the CEO of Twitch was called out for ignoring abuse accusations against streamers. In the past few years, the fighting game community has been shaken by serious allegations as well. Several competitive Super Smash Bros. players are accused of sexually abusing minors in the community and a history of sexual misconduct by Evo CEO Joey Cuellar came to light, which eventually led to the cancellation of Evo Online and Cuellar’s suspension from the company. Both Beland and Tommy Francois, another executive on Ubisoft’s editorial team, were placed on suspension this week while allegations against them were being investigated. In an email sent to Screen Rant by Ubisoft, the company confirmed that Francois has been “placed on disciplinary leave” and announced that Beland has resigned, effective immediately. Ubisoft says it will continue to investigate the allegations against him, which include multiple accusations of sexual harassment and physically assaulting a Ubisoft employee at a party. A third, unnamed employee in Ubisoft’s Toronto studio has been fired for “engaging in behaviors that do not align with what is expected of Ubisoft employees,” and the developer confirms that there are additional investigations underway. FireShot Capture 6875 - Ubisoft Executive Resigns Following A_ - https___screenrant.com_ubisoft-.jpg The email was sent as a followup to an internal letter circulated through Ubisoft by CEO Yves Guillemot yesterday. In the letter, he announced the appointment of a head of workplace culture and the launch of several initiatives to collect anonymous feedback from employees. Guillemot also pledged to turn over investigations to independent third parties and revise the company’s policies to fix problems with the workplace. It was previously alleged that many of the allegations raised against Ubisoft employees were known to the company and ignored. As Guillemot’s previous communications on the matter make clear, there is no quick fix for the problems plaguing the industry. Too often, companies shield the employees who are accused of misconduct rather than protecting those who were harmed by it. The steps taken by Ubisoft seem to indicate that the developer is taking the allegations seriously, but difficult, sustained work will be needed to address the epidemic of abuse in the industry.
  24. It was already understood that Amazon Prime Day will not take place in July as it usually does every year, with the most recent report hinting that it might get delayed until September. According to a new report from CNBC, the annual sales event will be held in October. The company has supposedly given sellers a placeholder date of the week of October 5. A definitive date will likely be announced later. Those details were apparently shared by Amazon in an e-mail to third-party sellers. Officially, the e-tailer has not said anything about this year's Prime Day. In recent weeks, the coronavirus has shown signs of resurgence, prompting many businesses that had reopened to close their doors again. Amazon is apparently postponing Prime Day again because it fears its supply chain could get negatively affected because of the spike. At the beginning of the pandemic, Amazon suspended shipments of nonessential items to its warehouses as it struggled to deal with increased demand following the outbreak. The e-commerce giant prioritized essentials such as medical supplies and household items during that time. Towards the end of April, the company said it would allow third-party sellers to resume shipments of nonessential products. Last month, the company organized a fashion-oriented sale to help sellers reeling from the effects of the pandemic and clear inventory in preparation for the Prime Day. Now as coronavirus cases are rising again, Amazon's logistical challenges have resurfaced. Although the future is uncertain, a former Amazon executive does not think Prime Day will be delayed beyond October as the company wouldn't want its biggest sale event to coincide with the holiday shopping season.
  25. The popular streaming website, Twitch, has temporarily suspended United States President Donald Trump's Twitch channel. Twitch has stated that the reasoning behind the ban is "hateful conduct" due to comments the POTUS made on stream. While Twitch is primarily used by content creators to stream video games, President Trump uses the platform to live stream his rallies or important announcements. He is one of a growing number of politicians who are taking their campaigns to Twitch live streaming service. Trump launched his Twitch channel in October of 2019 and has since amassed over 120K followers. He averages more than 10K viewers per stream and streams under the politics category. According to StreamerBans, a website that tracks when partnered Twitch streamers are either banned or suspended, Donald Trump's Twitch channel was reported as banned at 12 p.m. EDT on June 29. Shortly after, esports journalist Rod "Slasher" Breslau posted on Twitter to clarifying that Trump was not banned but had been temporarily suspended, but confirmed the news all the same. A statement was then provided to ScreenRant by a Twitch spokesperson which is as follows: "Hateful conduct is not allowed on Twitch. In line with our policies, President Trump’s channel has been issued a temporary suspension from Twitch for comments made on stream, and the offending content has been removed." FireShot Capture 6807 - Donald Trump's Official Twitch Has Be_ - https___screenrant.com_donald-t.jpg As the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump has had a number of controversial moments on social media. From his constant stream of unfiltered tweets posted to his personal Twitter account, to allegedly having tweets censored, to Reddit removing the r/The_Donald subreddit to protect the site from its frequent hate speech and site abuses. Reddit stated that the removal of r/The_Donald was due to the subreddit's community breaking the rules on harassment and targeting. The subreddit ban was the result of the actions of the community, but Trump's Twitch ban was the result of hateful comments made on stream by himself. Twitch stated Donald Trump has been suspended for hateful comments made during two of his recent live broadcasts. The first was a recent rebroadcast of Trump's 2015 campaign kickoff where Trump is quoted saying, "When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people. But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes common sense. It only makes common sense. They’re sending us not the right people.” The second offense was during a live rally in Tulsa were Trump stated, "Hey, it’s 1:00 o’clock in the morning and a very tough, I’ve used the word on occasion, hombre, a very tough hombre is breaking into the window of a young woman whose husband is away as a traveling salesman or whatever he may do. And you call 911 and they say, 'I’m sorry, this number’s no longer working.' By the way, you have many cases like that, many, many, many. Whether it’s a young woman, an old woman, a young man or an old man and you’re sleeping.” FireShot Capture 6808 - Donald Trump's Official Twitch Has Be_ - https___screenrant.com_donald-t.jpg These two comments serve as the reason for Trump's suspension. Twitch also released a statement, "Like anyone else, politicians on Twitch must adhere to our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines. We do not make exceptions for political or newsworthy content and will take action on content reported to us that violates our rules." Donald Trump has been temporarily suspended from Twitch, bu the length of his suspension remains unknown at this time.