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Category: Health (Page 1 of 14)

Birth control does not eliminate the need for abortion

FiveThirtyEight »

Statistically, Sarah’s experience was very unlikely. There’s a reason why vasectomies are touted as one of the most reliable forms of birth control: They have a failure rate of less than 1 percent,2 as opposed to something like condoms, which has a failure rate closer to 24 percent. But because a 1 percent chance isn’t zero, some vasectomies fail every year, just like every other form of birth control. As a result, thousands of Americans who took steps to avoid getting pregnant will seek an abortion anyway. A report from the Guttmacher Institute found that about half of abortion patients used contraception in the month they became pregnant. Framing abortion as a procedure that can be avoided through personal responsibility doesn’t prevent abortions from happening, experts told us. Instead, it just places more blame on women. »

Researchers find the reason infants die from SIDS

BioSpace »

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) accounts for about 37% of sudden unexpected infant deaths a year in the U.S., and the cause of SIDS has remained largely unknown. On Saturday, researchers from The Children’s Hospital Westmead in Sydney released a study that confirmed not only how these infants die, but why.

The Sydney researchers were able to confirm this theory by analyzing dried blood samples taken from newborns who died from SIDS and other unknown causes. Each SIDS sample was then compared with blood taken from healthy babies. They found the activity of the enzyme butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) was significantly lower in babies who died of SIDS compared to living infants and other non-SIDS infant deaths. BChE plays a major role in the brain’s arousal pathway, explaining why SIDS typically occurs during sleep.

The study is available here »

Elsewhere » ABC News (Australia) / The GuardianNew Atlas / Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network

Could Almere provide a glimpse of what living in cities will be like in the future?

BBC »

Almere’s evolution is inspiring other cities too, by providing examples of innovative urban planning in action. “Professionals – politicians, architects, city planners – come from all over the world to look and learn from Almere,” says JaapJan Berg, citing particular interest from China. “They have been working on new towns and cities there on a completely different scale – places like Shenzhen. In the UK, I would mention Milton Keynes, and in France, Marne-la-Vallee.”

MVRDV, meanwhile, have drawn on principles from Almere in their ongoing redevelopment of the city centre of the Dutch city of Eindhoven, which aims at allow that city to expand significantly, yet still retain an air of “cosiness”. Cues from Almere include creating green city centre living spaces and using brightly-coloured buildings in striking shapes to enliven the feel of the cityscape.

Principles learned in Almere are also being deployed on a smaller scale in the little Dutch village of Overschild, which saw almost 80% of its homes badly damaged as a result of earthquakes triggered by fracking in the area.

Key ideas trialled in Almere that are being introduced here include the chance for residents to design their own new homes, alongside collective decision making on infrastructure and facilities. “Residents were asked what their wishes were and how they felt the village should look like in 10 years – [then] we have given the residents a toolbox which will give them the help and inspiration needed to take the future into their own hands,” says Winy Maas. »

Coronavirus wave this fall could infect another 100 million Americans

The U.S. has so far confirmed nearly 82 million cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic’s beginning. Those figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, though the actual case count is undoubtedly much higher. A wave of 100 million would more than double that country’s total.

WSJ »

In forecasting 100 million potential infections during a cold-weather wave later this year and early next, the official did not present new data or make a formal projection. Instead, he described the fall and winter wave as a scenario based on a range of outside models of the pandemic. Those projections assume that omicron and its subvariants will continue to dominate community spread, and there will not be a dramatically different strain of the virus, the official said, acknowledging the pandemic’s course could be altered by many factors.

Several experts agreed that a major wave this fall and winter is possible given waning immunity from vaccines and infections, loosened restrictions and the rise of variants better able to escape immune protections.

Many have warned that the return to more relaxed behaviors, from going maskless to participating in crowded indoor social gatherings, would lead to more infections. The seven-day national average of new infections more than doubled from 29,312 on March 30 to nearly 71,000 Friday, a little more than five weeks later. »

Margaret Atwood » ‘Enforced childbirth is slavery’

This is an edited extract from the book ‘Burning Questions: Essays and Occasional Pieces, 2004 to 2021’ by Margaret Atwood, originally published March 2022.

Nobody likes abortion, even when safe and legal. It’s not what any woman would choose for a happy time on Saturday night. But nobody likes women bleeding to death on the bathroom floor from illegal abortions either. What to do?

Perhaps a different way of approaching the question would be to ask: What kind of country do you want to live in? One in which every individual is free to make decisions concerning his or her health and body, or one in which half the population is free and the other half is enslaved?

Women who cannot make their own decisions about whether or not to have babies are enslaved because the state claims ownership of their bodies and the right to dictate the use to which their bodies must be put. The only similar circumstance for men is conscription into an army. In both cases there is risk to the individual’s life, but an army conscript is at least provided with food, clothing, and lodging. Even criminals in prisons have a right to those things. If the state is mandating enforced childbirth, why should it not pay for prenatal care, for the birth itself, for postnatal care, and – for babies who are not sold off to richer families – for the cost of bringing up the child?

More at The Guardian »

Facebook (aka Meta) deliberately caused havoc in Australia to exert negotiating leverage over the Government

WSJ »

Facebook documents and testimony filed to U.S. and Australian authorities by whistleblowers allege that the social-media giant deliberately created an overly broad and sloppy process to take down pages — allowing swaths of the Australian government and health services to be caught in its web just as the country was launching Covid vaccinations. The goal, according to the whistleblowers and documents, was to exert maximum negotiating leverage over the Australian Parliament, which was voting on the first law in the world that would require platforms such as Google and Facebook to pay news outlets for content.

Despite saying it was targeting only news outlets, the company deployed an algorithm for deciding what pages to take down that it knew was certain to affect more than publishers, according to the documents and people familiar with the matter. It didn’t notify affected pages in advance they would be blocked or provide a system for them to appeal once they were. The documents also show multiple Facebook employees tried to raise alarms about the impact and offer possible solutions, only to receive a minimal or delayed response from the leaders of the team in charge. After five days that caused disorder throughout the country, Australia’s Parliament amended the proposed law to the degree that, a year after its passage, its most onerous provisions haven’t been applied to Facebook or its parent company, Meta Platforms. “We landed exactly where we wanted to,” wrote Campbell Brown, Facebook’s head of partnerships, who pressed for the company’s aggressive stance, in a congratulatory email to her team minutes after the Australian Senate voted to approve the watered-down bill at the end of February 2021. »

More at BBC / CNBC / XDA / The RegisterEngadget / TechXplore / Gizmodo

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