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Author: Robert Vinet (page 1 of 67)

UN expert warns of enormous privacy concern over health data

New York, NY (29 October 2019) The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, Joseph Cannataci, has unveiled a set of international standards on how health data should be used and protected, warning of enormous threats to privacy if the industry is not regulated.

“My recommendations, which I believe are the first of their kind, provide a common international baseline for minimum standards of protection for health data,” said Cannataci, presenting a report on them to the UN General Assembly.

“Health-related data is very sensitive and has high commercial value. There is a largely hidden industry that is already collecting, using, selling and securing health data. This has a major impact on our privacy and is of enormous concern.”

The recommendations set out good practices for data management, and address particular issues such as electronic health records, mobile apps, marketing, and employers’ and insurers’ access to health-related data. They also take into account groups with particular data protection needs, such as indigenous peoples, people living with disabilities, refugees and prisoners.

“Health technologies, if used in a way that respects the privacy of patients, can assist health practitioners and researchers as well as those seeking healthcare, but this cannot be at the expense of people’s privacy,” the Special Rapporteur said.

“The release of ‘unit record’ health data as Open Data is incompatible with privacy obligations, as is the use of health data for marketing purposes without free, informed and explicit consent.

“I will be delighted to work with States, civil society organisations and all sectors of society, including the private sector, so we can exchange best practices on how to implement these recommendations.”

Cannataci reminded States and data processors that they were legally obliged to ensure the highest attainable standard of protection of health-related data, regardless of factors such as people’s disability, gender identity, origin, nationality or age.

The recommendations were developed in consultation with health practitioners, civil society organisations, States and others, after evidence that there was a need for international guidance.

Migrating Russian eagles run up huge SMS data roaming charges

BBC ≫

Russian scientists tracking migrating eagles ran out of money after some of the birds flew to Iran and Pakistan and their SMS transmitters drew huge data roaming charges.

and

The SMS messages deliver the birds’ coordinates as they migrate, and the team then use satellite photos to see if the birds have reached safe locations. Power lines are a particular threat for the steppe eagles, which are endangered in Russia and Central Asia.

They are currently tracking 13 eagles. The birds breed in Siberia and Kazakhstan, but fly to South Asia for the winter.

Read more ≫

Derek Thompson thinks the millennial urban lifestyle is about to get more expensive » I think it’s on the verge of crashing

Derek Thompson, writing for The Atlantic »

But as their promises soared, their profits didn’t. It’s easy to spend all day riding unicorns whose most magical property is their ability to combine high valuations with persistently negative earnings—something I’ve pointed out before. If you wake up on a Casper mattress, work out with a Peloton before breakfast, Uber to your desk at a WeWork, order DoorDash for lunch, take a Lyft home, and get dinner through Postmates, you’ve interacted with seven companies that will collectively lose nearly $14 billion this year. If you use Lime scooters to bop around the city, download Wag to walk your dog, and sign up for Blue Apron to make a meal, that’s three more brands that have never record a dime in earnings, or have seen their valuations fall by more than 50 percent.

I think many of these companies are about to crash and burn. It’s just not sustainable to keep going back to investors for more money with little or no prospect of making a profit. These unicorns are bubbles on the edge of bursting, and many will.

WeWork, for example, pulled out of a planned IPO (failed IPO), they are cutting up to 25% of it’s employees,  Goldman Sachs announced an $80 million loss in their WeWork investment, … this is just not sustainable.

Brigid Kosgei sets new women’s marathon world record in Chicago

Wynne Davis, writing for NPR »

Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei won the Chicago Marathon on Sunday with a time of 2 hours 14 minutes 4 seconds, breaking the previous world record by 81 seconds.

At 25, the Kenyan defended her title after winning last year’s event, and put almost 7 minutes between herself and her competition. Both from Ethopia, Ababel Yeshaneh finished second with a time of 2:20:51 and Gelete Burka came in third at 2:20:55.

The previous world record time of 2:15:25 was set by Britain’s Paula Radcliffe in 2003 at the London Marathon.

More » AFP

Video » Reuters

Eliud Kipchoge becomes the first person to run a marathon in under two-hours

A feat once believed to be impossible, Eliud Kipchoge is the first person to run the marathon distance in under two hours.

BBC »

Eliud Kipchoge has become the first athlete to run a marathon in under two hours, beating the mark by 20 seconds.

The Kenyan, 34, covered the 26.2 miles (42.2km) in one hour 59 minutes 40 seconds in the Ineos 1:59 Challenge in Vienna, Austria on Saturday.

It will not be recognised as the official marathon world record because it was not in open competition and he used a team of rotating pacemakers.

Read more at the BBC »

More » The Associated Press via CBC, NY Times, Washington Post, Reuters,

How much faster can human’s run? » Popular Science

Background » The New Yorker » Inside the Race to Break the Two-Hour Marathon

Cows painted like zebras can fend off flies

Zebras may have evolved their distinctive black and white stripes to interfere with flies’ vision.

Scottie Andrew, writing for CNN »

A team of Japanese researchers recruited six cows and gave them each black-and-white stripes, black stripes and no stripes. They took photos of the cow’s painted right side, counting the number of bites as they happened and watching how the cows reacted.

While unpainted cows and cows with black stripes endured upward of 110 bites in 30 minutes, the black-and-white cows suffered fewer than 60 in the same period, researchers found.

Read more at CNN »

More » Cows painted with zebra-like striping can avoid biting fly attack – PLOS ONE

The 10 cars you are most likely to trade in within a year of purchase (and the 10 you are most likely to keep the longest)

More Mercedes-Benz C-Class models are purchased and sold or traded-in during the first year than any other model.

Paul A. Eisenstein, writing in The Detroit Bureau »

Some cars look great – until you actually buy them, and then, suddenly, you discover any number of reasons why you want to trade them in in a hurry.

For a variety of reasons, about 3% of the vehicles American motorists buy new will be sold or traded in during their first year of ownership. But a new study by iSeeCars found that the figure runs substantially higher for some products.

The top 10 cars you are likely to trade-in or sell the soonest included eight German and British luxury cars, two Nissans, but no traditional American brands »

  1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class
  2. BMW 3-Series
  3. Land Rover Discovery Sport
  4. Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
  5. Mini Clubman
  6. BMW X1
  7. BMW X3
  8. Nissan Versa Note
  9. Jaguar XF
  10. Nissan Versa

Here are the 10 cars you are most likely to keep the longest »

  1. Toyota Land Cruiser
  2. Chevrolet Corvette
  3. Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
  4. Audi TT
  5. Ford Expedition
  6. Ford Mustang
  7. Toyota 4Runner
  8. Porsche 911
  9. Toyota Sequoia
  10. Toyota Avalon

A 70-year old grandmother bikes Bolivia’s ‘Death Road’

Mirtha Munoz, a 70-year-old runner from Bolivia, participated in the Sky Race, Bolivia’s toughest cycling competition which takes place in Andean mountains on a road known as “The way of death.”

Daniel Ramos, writing for Reuters »

The world´s most dangerous road spirals skyward nearly 11,000 feet, from the country´s lowland jungles to the snow-capped peaks of the Andes. Fog, rain, rockslides and sheer cliffs are main attractions. The road has likely claimed thousands of lives.

But for 70-year old Bolivian Mirtha Munoz, the oldest ever competitor in Bolivia´s 60 km (37 mile) Skyrace, an extreme bike racing competition, it was a natural extension of a passion she picked up years ago.

More » The Guardian

Are American cities ready to phase out cars? » I don’t think so

For reasons of safety and basic urban functionality, it’s time to start banning private automobiles from America’s urban cores.

The basic problem with cars in a dense urban setting like New York is that they go too fast and take up too much space. Dense cities are enormously more energy efficient than sprawling suburbs or exurbs because apartment buildings and row houses are far more efficient to heat and cool than single-family homes (due to shared walls), larger enterprises can take advantage of efficiencies of scale, and because lots of people packed into a small area enables highly-efficient mass transit. New Yorkers emit only about 2.3 tons of carbon dioxide per person, as compared to 45 tons from residents of Flagstaff, Arizona.

A car-centered transportation system is simply at odds with the logic of a dense city. For commuters, cars take up a huge volume of space being parked at home and at work. On the road, a lane of highway traffic can transport about 3,000 people per hour under perfect conditions, while a subway can easily manage 10 times that — and many do even better. And while subways can be delayed, conditions are rarely ideal on the highway — on the contrary, every day at rush hour most are jammed to a crawl with too many cars, or slowed by some gruesome accident.

Read more by Ryan Cooper at This Week…

» This is an interesting idea but I doubt it will gain much traction in America, for several reasons. While gas and diesel vehicles are bring banned in several European cities, in the land of the free, the open road automobile culture among Joe Public is very robust.

Lets not forget that this is the land where, despite overwhelming public support, legislatures don’t have enough backbone to put in place effective gun control measures, even after hundreds of mass killings and thousands of gun violent deaths every year.

The Atlantic reinstates its paywall, starting at US$49.99/ year for digital access

Freeloaders will have access five free articles per month.

More than a decade after it dropped its paywall, The Atlantic has joined the growing group of magazine publishers with a meter: Like New York and Wired in 2018, the 162-year-old publisher on Thursday announced that it’s enacting a subscription plan across its site. Users will be able to access five articles each month for free before being required to pay annual fees of $49.99 for digital access only, $59.99 for print and digital, or $100 for a “premium” package that includes print and digital, ad-free web browsing, a free digital subscription to give to someone else, and other perks. The Masthead, the membership (not to be confused with subscription) program that The Atlantic launched two years ago, will be folded in with the premium package.

Read more by Laura Hazard Owen at Niemanlab

More at The Atlantic

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