Meningitis Spreading Via Gay Sex: Officials
Health dept. urges men to get vaccinated
(Newser) – New York City’s health department is warning men who engage in anonymous, gay sex to get vaccinated against meningitis, ABC News reports. An outbreak has already killed seven New Yorkers and sickened 22, spreading mostly through men who meet at bars, parties, or online. “I urge all men who meet these criteria—regardless of whether they identify as gay—to get vaccinated now and protect themselves from this disease before it is too late,” says the city’s health commissioner.
It’s not known which websites and apps are linked to the outbreak, but more than half of infected men have HIV—which weakens the immune system and more easily leads to severe infections. Bacterial meningitis infects the membranous lining of the brain and includes symptoms like fever, vomiting, and headaches; it can lead to brain damage or death if left untreated. (Read about an outbreak that killed at least 15 people and sickened more than 200 last year.)
Stunned Couple Gets the Bubonic Plague
Husband slips into coma for nearly 90 days
Latest Gay-Marriage Backer: America’s Pediatricians
They believe such unions are in children’s best interests
Newser) – America’s pediatricians have come out in support of gay marriage. In an announcement published today, the American Academy of Pediatrics, which is comprised of 60,000 such doctors, expressed that such unions benefit children, providing them with legal and financial security. It also backed adoption and foster care rights for gay couples. The key statement:
- “Scientific evidence affirms that children have similar developmental and emotional needs and receive similar parenting whether they are raised by parents of the same or different genders. If a child has 2 living and capable parents who choose to create a permanent bond by way of civil marriage, it is in the best interests of their child(ren) that legal and social institutions allow and support them to do so, irrespective of their sexual orientation.”
The New York Times reports that in addition to its policy statement, the academy published a 10-page technical report that has been four years in the making and reviewed 30 years’ worth of research on the subject. It found that children’s “relationships with their parents, their parents’ sense of competence and security, and the presence of social and economic support” affect a child’s well-being more than the gender or the sexual orientation of his parents. Not everyone is on board, however, with some calling the statement premature and noting the limitations of the research used, including small sample sizes and a lack of nationally representative data.
Punxsutawney Phil Faces Execution Threat
Prosecutor furious over groundhog’s ‘misrepresentation of spring’
(Newser) – Punxsutawney Phil could be in serious trouble. He didn’t see his shadow this year, meaning spring should come early. But the season has shown no signs of arriving as of yet in Ohio’s Butler County, and a prosecutor there has “indicted” Phil, charging him with “misrepresentation of spring,” the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Mike Gmoser says Phil behaved “with prior calculation and design,” writing, “contrary to the Groundhog Day report, a snowstorm and record low temperatures have been and are predicted to continue in the near future.” (The city could see as much as three inches of snow on Sunday.)
Phil handler John Griffiths says that’s not a fair assessment, given there have actually been spring-like temperature jumps since Feb. 2, USA Today notes. But Gmoser is calling for the death penalty, worrying Griffiths, who asks, “This is tongue-in-cheek, right?”
Pope Francis to Wash, Kiss Inmates’ Feet
New pope will break Holy Thursday tradition
(Newser) – At least he’s washing them first: The new pope plans to wash and kiss the feet of juvenile delinquents in a rare gesture next Thursday, the Guardian reports. Instead of holding Holy Thursday mass in either St Peter’s basilica or the basilica of St John in Lateran, Pope Francis will celebrate in the chapel of a penal institute for minors in Rome. There, he will clean 12 inmates’ feet in a gesture to honor Jesus’ treatment of his disciples after the Last Supper.
More recently, Benedict XVI washed the feet of lay people during his first two years, but did it only with priests after 2008. John Paul II washed the feet of homeless men in 1980 but also stuck with men of the cloth after that. The Vatican says Francis’ gesture will continue his tradition as archbishop of Buenos Aires, when he held the mass of the Lord’s Supper in simple settings like shelters, hospitals, and prisons. For the record: Holy Thursday is the day before Good Friday. (Earlier today, Francis reached out to Islam and atheists.)
UN to Finally Probe N. Korea’s Secret Gulags
Prison camps could amount to crimes against humanity: official
Argument Triggers Deadly Religious Riots in Burma
With 20 dead, president declares state of emergency
57% of US Workers Have Less Than $25K in Savings
New survey suggests retirement trouble looms for nation
- 28% of Americans don’t think they’ll be able to retire comfortably, the highest percentage since the EBRI began such surveys 23 years ago.
- 57% of workers have less than $25,000 in household savings and investments, not including their homes. That’s up from 49% in 2008.
- 66% of workers say they have saved for retirement, down from 75% in 2009.
- Only about 50% were sure they could quickly have $2,000 in hand to pay for an unexpected emergency.
- All this comes as people are living longer: A man who turns 65 in 2013 is expected to live another 20.5 years, up from 19.5 in previous projections, and women 22.7 years, up from 21.3.
Police: Boris Berezovsky, self-exiled Russian tycoon and Putin rival, found dead in England
UK police: Russian tycoon Berezovsky found dead
By CASSANDRA VINOGRAD | Associated Press | 33 minutes ago in Money
Boris Berezovsky, a self-exiled and outspoken Russian tycoon who had a bitter falling out with Russian President Vladimir Putin, was found dead in southeast England on Saturday. He was 67.
Agricultural spats already sparking tension, as US, EU prepare for massive trade-deal talks
New US-EU talks threatened by agriculture spats
By DESMOND BUTLER and DON MELVIN | Associated Press | 7 hours, 33 minutes ago in Politics
President Barack Obama used Washington’s grandest stage _ the State of the Union speech _ to announce negotiations with Europe aimed at creating the world’s largest free trade agreement. Just weeks later, there are signs that old agriculture disputes could be deal-killers.
Dow’s ‘Enlist’ resists powerful herbicide
Case of Bluetongue Has UK Farmers on High Alert
One more ‘body blow’ to the industry
(Newser) – The discovery of bluetongue—an insect-borne illness that has killed livestock throughout Europe—in a cow on a rare breed farm in Britain yesterday was devastating news to a cattle industry already staggering from waves of foot-and-mouth outbreaks.Tests are underway to determine if England’s first case had spread to any other animals, reports the BBC.
The bluetongue virus creates severe flu-like symptoms and swollen mouths in sheep, cattle, goats and deer, but it doesn’t affect humans. It is often fatal to sheep. “It’s another body blow to the industry,” said one farmer. The virus was discovered after yet another case of foot-and-mouth disease was found in Surrey.
Young scientist has colorful ‘superpower’ — and she wants to know why
Pine Crest student produces cutting edge research on sensory condition called synesthesia
To the average reader, the words on this page are simply black. But for some, by the time they’ve reached this word, they’ve seen almost every color on the spectrum.
It’s called synesthesia – a rare neurological condition that causes a sort of sensory remix allowing people like 16-year-old Laura Mariah Herman to see pink when she hears or reads her name, see orange when she hears “hello” or see red when she sees the letter “A.”
It’s believed geniuses like Albert Einstein had this, too.
“I have a special connection with colors,” says Laura, a student at Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale. “It’s my special superpower.”
Laura describes it as a “ticker tape” lodged like a screen behind her eyes that constantly streams with colored words of what she’s seeing, hearing and even thinking – “I read my thoughts,” she says.
To Laura every letter and number is a specific shade – she has grapheme-color synesthesia. But there’s all types of variations. There are those that taste music – Laura for example thinks rap is salty and techno is tangy – others see colors to ideas and movements or feel sounds on their skin.
“It’s the interaction of any of the senses,” she says.
It wasn’t until 7th grade that Laura realized not everyone lived in her world of color. When her teacher mentioned Einstein’s strange color sensitivities, she thought, “Wait, doesn’t everyone see this way?”
Fascinated by what she soon discovered was a hereditary trait, Laura began researching the condition and was accepted into her school’s prestigious science research program. For the past year, she’s spent time researching with folks at Harvard University, spoken at national conferences and is trying to get her original research published.
“It’s pretty exceptional research for a junior in high school,” said Jennifer Gordinier, coordinator of the science research program. “Laura lives her research.”
Over the summer, Laura collected data from English, German and Spanish subjects to see if there was a correlation was between color and letters. She found that more frequently used letters are associated with longer wavelength colors – like reds and oranges.
Using the color-letter association data, Laura has come up with her own neurological theory: A fusion between two lobes in the brain causes synesthesia.
“This is all novel,” said Gordinier, adding that Laura is at the cutting edge of the research. “She’s content to be in the trenches … ‘what can I do next, how can I advance this?’ And that’s the sign of a true scientist.”
But Laura wants to take her research even further.
“I want to help people that are suffering from these connections that I benefit from,” says Laura.
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