Category: WTF

African virus that infected Caribbean & Central America spreads to US

A mosquito-borne virus that can cause debilitating joint pain lasting for years has spread to the continental U.S. after infecting hundreds of thousands of people in the Caribbean and Central America.

The virus is called Chikungunya, an African name meaning “to become contorted.” While the illness, first identified in Tanzania in 1952, has long bedeviled Africa and Asia, the only recorded cases in the U.S. before July involved patients who contracted the virus abroad.

Now, 11 cases have been confirmed as originating in Florida, spurring concern this may be the beginning of the type of explosive growth seen elsewhere from a disease that has no vaccine or cure. Medical and environmental experts are debating how best to quell the outbreak before it takes off…

Patients who contract Chikungunya have joint swelling and pain, fever, headache and rash for about a week, though some symptoms last months or years in some patients, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While the disease generally isn’t fatal, more than 100 people have died in the Western Hemisphere since December, according to the Pan American Health Organization…

Now that Chikungunya is in Florida, it could infect 10,000 people in that state alone, according to Walter Tabachnick, the director of the Florida Medical Entymology Laboratory, who said his estimate is based on the exponential growth of other outbreaks. More than 700,000 people, for instance, are suspected of being infected with the virus in South America, Central America and the Caribbean since it appeared there, according to the Pan American Health Organization.

RTFA for all the delightful details.

Just like the Ebola “outbreak” – which means a few medical missionaries returning home plus another patient obviously infected in Africe – Americans only pay attention to headline health news.

The actual danger from Chikungunya is immediate – though it may not impact widely till next year’s mosquito season. And it will be an enormous surprise to the Talking Heads on network TV and White House responders.

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Dumb Crook of the Day

ung3

Albuquerque resident David Ung didn’t forget his luggage, cell phone or plane ticket in a returned rental car Tuesday.

Instead, police say he forgot 139 pounds of “high grade” marijuana — packed in several black trash bags — in the trunk of a rental car he had returned to Hertz Rent a Car near the airport.

Aviation police officers told an Albuquerque Police Department officer that 40-year-old David Ung dropped off a car, but returned, saying he left a bag inside the vehicle.

By the time he returned, police had already found several black trash bags full of marijuana, packaged in 124 individual heat-sealed clear bags…

Ung was detained at the scene, and refused to talk to officers without an attorney…He was charged with possession of drugs with intent to distribute and booked into the county jail on $10,000 bail.

Been sampling the product, eh?

Stupid gun nut trick of the day!

granny gun

Sheriff’s deputies in Colorado arrested a 60-year-old woman who pointed a rifle at her neighbor’s 11-year-old son as he played his clarinet in the backyard…

Officers were called to an address in the Rocky Mountain city of Grand Junction after Cheryl Pifer allegedly told the boy, who was doing his music class homework for school, to “get his ass back inside,” the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office said.

According to an arrest affidavit, there were five other children aged one to eleven in the backyard at the time of Wednesday’s incident, and it said the boy’s grandmother told them all to return to the house.

“When they were coming inside they saw Cheryl at the door with the gun aimed at them. (The boy) stated Cheryl yelled ‘fire in the hole.’ He stated all of the kids ran into the house and called 911,” the affidavit added.

The deputy who filed the report, who said she was “very familiar” with Pifer and her address, said the woman appeared drunk when officers arrived, and that they found a 7 mm Mauser rifle by the door with two rounds in its magazine.

She was booked into jail on four counts of felony menacing, seven counts of reckless child abuse/no injury, and one count of prohibited use of a weapon. She was released on a $5,000 bond on Thursday…

No one is surprised at gun nuts having an understanding of life’s priorities roughly akin to a demented jihadist. Understanding incompetence doesn’t excuse endangering the lives of others folks, children or otherwise.

Throw away the key.

Infection, death risk increases with every day of hospital stay

Infection risk in patients increases by 1 percent each day of hospitalization, a new research reveals.

Researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina examined 949 documented cases of Gram-negative infection at their academic medical center. This study is the first to quantify the risks for patients over time.

The team noted that in the first few days of hospitalization the percentage of infections from Gram-negative bacteria (a multidrug-resistant one) was around 20 percent and the rate constantly went up as days passed and reached 35 percent at 10 days.

Researchers stated that the infections developed in hospitals represent a large and possibly preventable segment of hospital-related deaths. These infections are on the rise year by year. According to one European study, Gram-negative infections comprise of two thirds of the 25,000 hospital-acquired infection deaths each year.

The CDC says that around 722,000 hospital-acquired infections resulted in 75,000 deaths. A death rate greater than 10%. And folks wonder why we call our local hospital, “Saint Victims”?

Thanks, Mike

Throw barnacle-encrusted stone for your dog to fetch — another beachcomber identifies it as hand grenade!


Another grenade found on the beach – absent barnacles

A beach walker threw a stone for his dog to fetch – only to discover that it was a live wartime GRENADE.

The man picked up the barnacle-encrusted “stone” for his pet to chase along the sands without realising it was deadly World War 2 explosive.

In an incredible stroke of luck, an off-duty military explosive expert also on the seafront at Dovercourt, near Harwich, Essex recognised the dog’s new “toy” and immediately raised the alarm.

A 100-foot cordon was hastily put up by police around the grenade as a bomb disposal team rushed to the scene.

It is the fifth World War 2 hand grenade that has been washed up on the same beach over the last five weeks

Inspector Paul Butcher of Essex Police said…”We think the grenades may have been in a crate that ended up in the sea during World War Two and that it might now be breaking up or has been disturbed by dredging work in the area.

“The result is that these five devices have all been washed ashore on the same stretch of the bay so we are asking people to be vigilant if they go onto the beach and dial 999 if they find any of these devices.

“Some have been covered in barnacles but the one found on Saturday looked almost like new despite the fact it had been in the sea for many years.”

I’m glad the dog was OK.

Thanks, Mike

What were they thinking?

Malaysia Airlines has provoked a storm of controversy by asking customers to list the things they would most like to do before they die.

The airline, which lost two planes this year in disasters that claimed 537 lives, committed the marketing gaffe when it launched a “My Ultimate Bucket List” campaign on Monday.

But with the world still reeling from the twin catastrophes of the MH370 and MH17 crashes, social media users swifly began mocking the marketing ploy.

The campaign called on Australian and New Zealand residents to write their own bucket list and enter it into a competition to win flights to Malaysia and iPads but the competition appears to have since been withdrawn…

The aftermath of the twin crashes has reportedly crippled the company financially, with plummeting share prices, near-empty flights and the axing of 6,000 jobs fuelling speculation that the company is contemplating filing for bankruptcy.

So, they hire a PR firm staffed with idiots. Unbelievable.

Thanks, Mike

Reality TV – coppers kill “COPS” crew member

Omaha police say officers who opened fire while disrupting a robbery killed a crew member with the Cops television show and the suspect, who was carrying a pellet gun.

Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said Wednesday that witnesses and officers thought the robbery suspect’s Airsoft handgun was real, but that it fires only plastic pellets.

Schmaderer said he believes the three officers involved acted properly during the attempted robbery Tuesday at a fast-food restaurant in midtown Omaha.

Schmaderer says 38-year-old Bryce Dion who worked for Langley Productions and the suspect, 32-year-old Cortez Washington, were killed…

Schmaderer said the incident will be investigated and all three officers are on leave.

Using a realistic pellet gun wouldn’t be any defense for the robbery – or the police response to what looked like an armed and dangerous robbery in progress.

What will be truly important to deal with is that now investigators know the thief was using a pellet gun – the bullet that killed a member of the film crew could only have come from one of the patrolmen.

Latest gun nut / Darwin Award story

A 9-year-old girl at a shooting range outside Las Vegas accidentally killed an instructor on Monday morning when she lost control of the Uzi he was showing her how to use.

A partial video of the incident — which does not show the instructor being shot — shows a slender young girl in a ponytail and pink shorts beside a man clad in camouflage pants, a black T-shirt and sunglasses. “Allriiight!” he says, congratulating her after she fires the gun in single-shot mode. “All right, full auto!” he says. Then comes a spray of bullets and a child’s scream before the video cuts off.

The girl, whose name wasn’t released, visited the outdoor shooting range while vacationing with her parents. She’d fired the 9mm weapon, designed for use by the Israeli defense forces in the 1940s, several times in single-shot mode. But when it was set to fully automatic, the weapon recoiled and she lost control.

“The guy just dropped,” Mohave County Sheriff Jim McCabe told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The instructor, Charles Vacca, 39, of Lake Havasu City, suffered at least one gunshot wound to the head. He was airlifted to a Las Vegas hospital where he died Monday night…

Sorry, folks – but, the only victim that concerns me in this episode of stupidity is the little girl. The incident will burn in her memory for the rest of her life.

The stupidity rests with her parents and especially with the instructor who thought arm muscle, reflexes, hand and eye coordination in a 9-year-old girl were adequate for a first-time experience firing a full automatic firearm.

The range owner, other instructors, all the NRA-types will take refuge in laws and regulations. Written and enforced by idjits.

Thanks, Mike

Realistic count of homicides by police = about 1100 per year

…The U.S. government doesn’t track how many people are killed by the police. The FBI tracks “justifiable” police homicides, which it reports to be about 400 per year, but that tally is an undercount.

Given this vacuum, attention has recently turned to some excellent nongovernmental attempts to compile this data, including the Fatal Encounters database, the recently created Gun Violence Archive and a new database created by Deadspin.

But one recent effort stood out for its apparent comprehensiveness: The Killed By Police Facebook page, which aggregates links to news articles on police-related killings and keeps a running tally on the number of victims. The creator of the page does not seek to determine whether police killings are justifiable; each post “merely documents the occurrence of a death.” He told FiveThirtyEight that he was an instructor on nonviolent physical-intervention techniques and that he prefers to remain anonymous.

Killed by Police had listed more than 1,450 deaths caused by law-enforcement officers since its launch, on May 1, 2013, through Sunday. That works out to about three per day, or 1,100 a year.

The page doesn’t claim that this is a comprehensive count, but it could be useful — like the count from the FBI’s annual Supplementary Homicide Report is useful — for setting a baseline number of police killings, as long as important caveats are acknowledged. For one, any database drawn from news sites relies on the assumption that the reports are accurate…

RTFA for an interesting examination of how the folks at fivethirtyeight.com went about their statistical task. They’re one of the most reliable, self-checking survey sources in the nation along with the Pew Foundation.

Giant crack in the Earth in Mexico

A giant crack has appeared in the ground in a rural part of Mexico, sparking concerns of seismic activity in the area.

Footage of the mile-long crack was captured by drones from the Hermosillo Sonora Mexico Emergency Management…It is over a mile long, three metres deep and five metres wide in some places. Locals from a rural area of Sonora, northern Mexico, discovered the crack running through a rural road connecting the area to a highway.

Rafael Pacheco Rodríguez, from the University of Sonora, said the crack could be the result of seismic activity or underground streams, but added geologists will have to investigate to determine the cause.

Martin Moreno Valencia, from the Institute of Geology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, told Mexican news website Excelsior that there is no cause for alarm.

Uh-huh.

He said initial indications suggest the trench was caused by ditch flows from rainwater that had infiltrated the ground.