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Street Gang Leader Tries to Take Over Chicago Punk Scene

Saturday, July 18, 2009
From Reuters:

"The founder of a street gang that administered beatings and made threats in its drive to control the punk rock music scene has been charged with extorting a Chicago performer, authorities said on Tuesday."

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McPhD?

Thursday, May 14, 2009
From News.com.au:
FAST food giant McDonald's is hoping to offer PhDs, after receiving approval to award its own nationally recognised qualifications in Britain, the company's "chief people officer" said...He cautioned, however, that the company wanted to perfect its current training regimen, which includes courses in shift management that are equivalent in level to high school courses, before putting together a post-graduate qualification...The company has long sought to challenge the perception that it only creates low-level, poorly-paid "McJobs".

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Just in Time for Spring: A Lethal New Strain of the Flu!

Friday, April 24, 2009
From Reuters:

"A strain of flu never seen before has killed up to 60 people in Mexico and also appeared in the United States, where eight people were infected but recovered, health officials said on Friday."

"The World Health Organization said tests showed the virus from 12 of the Mexican patients was the same genetically as a new strain of swine flu, designated H1N1, seen in eight people in California and Texas."

"Mexico reported 1,004 suspected cases of the new virus, including four possible cases in Mexicali on the border with California.

Most of the dead were aged between 25 and 45, a health official said. It was a worrying sign as seasonal flu can be more deadly among the very young and the very old but a hallmark of pandemics is that they affect healthy young adults."
[Full Story]

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Al-Qaeda + The Plague = ?

Thursday, January 22, 2009
A few days ago, the Sun reported that the plague (though which variant -- bubonic or pneumonic -- was not specified) had broken out among al-Qaeda recruits training in Algeria, killing more than forty people in the organization's remote enclave in the country's Tisi Ouzou province. Although the tabloid's story seems to make light of the situation ("ANTI-TERROR bosses last night hailed their latest ally in the war on terror — the BLACK DEATH"), a related article in the more reputable Telegraph suggests that the cell may have actually been developing biological weapons when the plague broke out. Given the fact that "[i]t was reported last year that up to 100 potential terrorists had attempted to become postgraduate students in Britain in an attempt to use laboratories" to hone their skills, such possibilities are indeed quite frightening.

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British Ambulance Crew Decide Against Saving Man

Saturday, January 3, 2009
From The Telegraph:

Ambulance controllers overheard a private conversation between the crew members in which they supposedly made disparaging remarks about the victim's untidy home, allegedly failed to attempt to resuscitate him, and then apparently decided to claim he was already dead when they arrived.
[Full story]

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Tyson Slaughters 15,000 Hens in Wake of Avian Flu Outbreak

Thursday, June 5, 2008
From WESH-Orlando:

"Officials with Tyson Foods said some of their hens tested positive for the disease in Arkansas.

Authorities said the strain of the virus is not harmful to humans, but Tyson decided to slaughter and bury 15,000 hens after they showed signs of exposure."

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Hospitals Learn Not to Reuse "Disinfectant" Wipes Infected With Drug-Resistant Bacteria

Wednesday, June 4, 2008
From Reuters:

"Disinfectant wipes routinely used in hospitals may actually spread drug-resistant bacteria rather than kill the dangerous infections, British researchers said on Tuesday.

While the wipes killed some bacteria, a study of two hospitals showed they did not get them all and could transfer the so-called superbugs to other surfaces, Gareth Williams, a microbiologist at Cardiff University, said."

and

"MRSA infections can range from boils to more severe infections of the bloodstream, lungs and surgical sites. Most cases are associated with hospitals, nursing homes or other health care facilities.

The superbug can cause life-threatening and disfiguring infections and can often only be treated with expensive, intravenous antibiotics."

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This Isn't Good

Friday, May 16, 2008
From the New York Times:

"Scientists do not quite know what to call them, they are so new. But folks in the damp coastal belt south of Houston have their own names (some of them printable) for the little invaders now seemingly everywhere: on the move underfoot; infesting woodlands, yards and gardens; nesting in electrical boxes and causing shorts; and even raising anxiety at Hobby Airport and the Johnson Space Center."

"The ant is a previously unknown variety with a staggering propensity to reproduce and no known enemies. The species, which bites but does not sting, was first identified here in 2002 by a Pearland exterminator, Tom Rasberry, who quickly lent his name to the find: the crazy rasberry ant."

"Variants of the species found in Colombia have been known to asphyxiate chickens and even attack cattle by swarming over their eyes, nasal passages and hooves, according to the Center for Urban and Structural Entomology at Texas A&M, which is conducting much of the research on the ants."


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More Disease

Thursday, November 8, 2007
According to Reuters's Will Dunham, "[a] new and virulent strain of adenovirus, which frequently causes the common cold, killed 10 people in parts of the United States earlier this year and put dozens into hospitals, U.S. health officials said on Thursday."

And it gets worse. Quoth the CDC's John Su: "[w]hether you're a healthy young adult, an infant or an elderly person, this virus can cause severe respiratory disease at any age" and "[w]hat makes this particular adenovirus a little different is that it has the capability of making healthy young adults severely ill. And that's unusual for an adenovirus, and that's why it's got our attention."

Yep.

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I'm Not Certain Which is More Frightening

Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Bad Thing #1: On the heels of the recent flurry of stories pertaining to Naegleria fowleri, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (henceforth MRSA) has been making waves in newspapers across the country. According to a story by The Washington Post's Rob Stein, United States health officials have reported that MRSA "causes more life-threatening infections than public-health authorities had thought and is killing more people in the United States each year than AIDS." In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have stated that "[t]he microbe - a strain of a once innocuous staph bacterium that has become invulnerable to first-line antibiotics, is responsible for more than 94,000 serious infections and nearly 19,000 deaths each year." Stein continues,

"The germ, spread by casual contact, rapidly turns minor abscesses and other skin infections into serious health problems, including painful, disfiguring "necrotizing" abscesses that eat away tissue.

The infections often can be treated by lancing and draining sores and quickly administering other antibiotics, such as Bactrim. But the microbe enters the lungs in some cases, causing unusually serious pneumonia, or spreads into bone, vital organs and the bloodstream, triggering life-threatening complications."

Bad Thing #2: The Associated Press reports that "[t]he nation's first baby boomer, a retired teacher from New Jersey, applied for Social Security benefits Monday, signaling the start of applications from the post-World War II boomer generation."

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Another Reason to Avoid Spring Break

Friday, September 28, 2007
Sensationally billed as a "Brain-Eating Amoeba," Naegleria fowleri has been identified as the cause of Aaron Evans's death. According to a story appearing on KPHO-Phoenix's website, the Lake Havesu native "has become the sixth victim to die nationwide this year of a microscopic organism that attacks the body through the nasal cavity, quickly eating its way to the brain."

According to Barnett Gibbs, a doctor writing for eMedicine.com, "[e]arly diagnosis, treatment, and aggressive supportive care hold the only chance for patient survival" of primary amebic meningoencephalitis, the disease caused by N fowleri. Even so, despite having been discovered nearly fifty years ago in Australia, "[f]ew people have survived PAM, and no standard treatment regimen has been developed" for victims of the disease.

At least Jaws was visible.

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