Dogs train to sniff out COVID-19

With their superior nose power, dogs have been trained to sniff out various diseases, including diabetes, malaria and tuberculosis. Now, new preliminary research led by the University of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, suggests that pups could also detect when people are infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19…

In this study, it took one week to train eight sniffer dogs to detect the virus, by presenting them with saliva samples and swabs taken from COVID-19 patients, as well as healthy people with no history of the disease.

After training, the dogs were presented with 1,012 randomised samples, and they correctly identified 157 positive samples and 792 negative samples, for an overall detection rate of 94 per cent.

Bet folks could charge less for the test, too. Say, a couple dog cookies for each test. A few buck$ to the handler, record-keeper.

Trump affects America’s tourist business the way we expected


Click to enlarge

❝ Trump Tower, in midtown Manhattan, has become a modern-day Mount Vernon. Tourists have long visited George Washington’s homestead. Now they venture through Trump Tower’s brass doors to ogle the decor—“it’s so gold,” said a German teenager standing near the lobby’s waterfall on a recent afternoon—or buy souvenirs. The Choi family, visiting from South Korea, wandered the marble expanse with their new “Make America Great” hats (three for $50).

❝ The question for America’s hoteliers and airlines is whether such visitors are just anomalies. A strong dollar is one reason for foreigners to avoid visiting America. Donald Trump may prove another, suggests a growing collection of data. Yet measuring the precise impact of Mr Trump’s presidency on travel is difficult. In addition to the currency effect, many trips currently being taken to America were booked before his election. Marriott, a big hotel company, reported an overall increase, compared with a year earlier, in foreign bookings in America in February.

But Arne Sorenson, Marriott’s boss, has voiced concern about a potential slump in tourism. In February, ForwardKeys, a travel-data firm, reported that in the week after Mr Trump first tried to ban travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, international bookings dropped by 6.5% against the same period in 2016. Hopper, a travel app, found that average daily searches for flights to America have declined in 99 countries since Mr Trump tried to issue his travel ban, compared with the last weeks of Barack Obama’s term. Russia is one of the few places where demand has risen…Tourism Economics, a forecaster, expects 2 million fewer foreign visits to America this year, a 1% drop from 2016. Without Mr Trump it had expected a 3% jump…

❝ The industry has been here before. International tourism in America slumped by around 3% each year from 2000 to 2006. Most analysts blame not only the attacks of 2001 but stricter visa rules and anti-American sentiment abroad. Countries that had the dimmest view of America, according to surveys during that period, tended to see drops in travellers there, says Adam Sacks of Tourism Economics. “We are facing a potential rerun,” he says…

I’m not surprised. Are you? I expect the most insular, if not xenophobic of Trump voters will think the question unimportant. Some people hate realtors. Some people hate travel agents. Usually for not very well thought-out reasons.

“Whatever” voted most irritating word in poll

Whatever you think about using grating words, at the end of the day it’s actually better not to say whatever, if you know what I mean.

For the second consecutive year “whatever’ topped a Marist poll as the most annoying word or phrase in the English language.

Nearly 39 percent of 1,020 Americans questioned in the survey deemed it the most irritating word, followed by “like” with 28 percent and the phrase “you know what I mean’ at 15 percent…

Mary Azzoli said words like “whatever” can be quite dismissive depending on how they are used.

“It’s the way they are delivered and inherent in that delivery is a meaning.

NSS.

[And I know exactly who KB will think of]

GOP takes another image hit

Image, as the ad says, is everything and the Republican Party has an image problem in the United States, results from a Gallup Poll indicate.

Only 34 percent of Americans who participated in the survey say they have a favorable image of the Republican Party, down from 40 percent in mid-October. The 61 percent who suggested an unfavorable view of the party is the highest Gallup said it has recorded since 1992, when it began taking the image measurement.

In contrast, the Democratic Party maintained the positive image it had after the Nov. 4 election, the Princeton, N.J., polling agency said. Fifty-five percent of Americans polled said they have a favorable view of the Democratic Party and 39 percent an unfavorable view, results indicate.

Here’s the Gallup Poll in more detail. Whiners may wish to open a new box of paper hankies for their tears. Crocodile or otherwise.