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History / 10 of the Worst Pandemics in History
« on: February 03, 2020, 03:56:56 PM »



Scientists and medical researchers have for years have differed over the exact definition of a pandemic (is it a pandemic, or an epidemic), but one thing everyone agrees on is that the word describes the widespread occurrence of disease, in excess of what might normally be expected in a geographical region.

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Cholera, bubonic plague, smallpox, and influenza are some of the most brutal killers in human history. And outbreaks of these diseases across international borders, are properly defined as pandemic, especially smallpox, which throughout history, has killed between 300-500 million people in its 12,000-year existence.

A final note: The most recent outbreak of the Ebola virus, which has killed thousands of people, is still confined to West Africa. It may someday be pandemic, but for now, it is considered an epidemic — and is therefore not included on this list.

Health and Food / How to Prepare for a Coronavirus Pandemic
« on: February 01, 2020, 06:12:21 PM »

How to Prepare for a Coronavirus Pandemic

The Worst-Case Scenario Isn’t Inevitable, But It Can’t Be Ignored

By Tom Inglesby
January 31, 2020

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A police officer at a roadblock in Jiujiang, China, January 2020
Thomas Peter / Reuters

When the first reports of a coronavirus outbreak hit the airwaves in early January, several dozen people had already caught the disease in or around the Chinese city of Wuhan. In the weeks since, the virus, nCoV, has spread quickly and the number of infections has grown by the day, even as Wuhan and other Chinese cities isolated large numbers of patients and quarantined some 50 million residents. At the latest count (as of Friday morning), there have been 213 deaths in China out of a total of 9,776 confirmed cases, and the virus has spread to more than 20 countries. On Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the disease a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern.”

The epidemic is still in its early days, and its defining characteristics will take time to understand. The scale of nCoV’s ultimate impact will depend on just how contagious it reveals itself to be and how lethal it is in those who fall ill—properties that cannot be precisely determined at this stage. The efforts underway to contain the disease in China and elsewhere could prove effective in the weeks ahead, and they should be fully supported. Yet there is a clear possibility that nCoV may not be contained in time to prevent a large global outbreak. Countries should start preparing for that prospect now.

Health and Food / Of Coronaviruses and Pandemics
« on: February 01, 2020, 02:34:56 PM »

What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Health and Food / 10 Healthy Foods To Avoid Eating When You're Sick
« on: January 29, 2020, 03:21:07 AM »

10 Healthy Foods To Avoid Eating When You're Sick

Whether you have a cold, a headache or a stomachache, these are the ingredients to avoid (and what to eat instead).

By Krissy Brady

When your sniffles and scratchy throat turn into a full-blown bodily fluid extravaganza, one thing’s for sure: Feeling sick sucks.

But you know the drill. Drink plenty of fluids. Add ginger to the menu when nausea strikes. Get as many nutrients into your body as you can, even if they’re only in liquid form at first. And once you finally work your way back to solid foods again, make sure they’re not processed or sugary. Easy peasy, right?

Well, not so much. There are some otherwise healthy foods that have a reputation for making an already sick person feel worse because they exacerbate or prolong symptoms in some way.

Which healthy foods are the biggest offenders, and what should you eat instead? Read on to find out, but keep one caveat in mind: Everyone reacts to foods differently, even when sick.

If there’s a food (or several) that made this list, yet don’t bother you when you’re sick, then listen to your body and keep enjoying them.

Science and Research / Ten women in science you should know
« on: January 28, 2020, 03:17:54 PM »

The heroines STEM: Ten women in science you should know

By Lauren Kent, CNN
January 27, 2020

(CNN)Science is often considered a male-dominated field.

In fact, according to United Nations data, less than 30% of scientific researchers worldwide are women.

Studies have shown that women are discouraged from, or become less interested in, entering the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) beginning at a young age. And according to the Pew Research Center, women remain underrepresented in engineering, computer science, and physical science.

But despite challenges of gender discrimination and lack of recognition in the scientific community, countless inspiring women in these fields have made historic contributions to science and helped advance understanding of the world around us. Many were not recognized in their own lifetimes, but their achievements have helped generations of female scientists to come.

We all learned about Marie Curie and Jane Goodall, but here are 10 more women in science you should know.


Your waist size may be more important than weight for multiple heart attack risk

By Katie Hunt, CNN

January 21, 2020

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(CNN)Heart attack survivors who carry extra weight around their belly are at greater risk of another heart attack, new research has found, another reason why measuring your waist may be more important than stepping on the scale.

It's been known for a while that having a pot belly, even if you are slim elsewhere, increases the odds of having a first heart attack, but the latest study, which published Monday in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology, is the first time researchers have found a link between belly fat and the risk of a subsequent heart attack or stroke.

The link was particularly strong in men, researchers said.

"Abdominal obesity not only increases your risk for a first heart attack or stroke, but also the risk for recurrent events after the first misfortune," said Dr. Hanieh Mohammadi of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, in a news release.

Learn English Online / Selenophile
« on: January 21, 2020, 04:16:19 PM »

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The most commonly used word in English might only have three letters – but it packs a punch.

By Hélène Schumacher
10 January 2020

‘The’. It’s omnipresent; we can’t imagine English without it. But it’s not much to look at. It isn’t descriptive, evocative or inspiring. Technically, it’s meaningless. And yet this bland and innocuous-seeming word could be one of the most potent in the English language.

‘The’ tops the league tables of most frequently used words in English, accounting for 5% of every 100 words used. “‘The’ really is miles above everything else,” says Jonathan Culpeper, professor of linguistics at Lancaster University. But why is this? The answer is two-fold, according to the BBC Radio 4 programme Word of Mouth. George Zipf, a 20th-Century US linguist and philologist, expounded the principle of least effort. He predicted that short and simple words would be the most frequent – and he was right.

The second reason is that ‘the’ lies at the heart of English grammar, having a function rather than a meaning. Words are split into two categories: expressions with a semantic meaning and functional words like ‘the’, ‘to’, ‘for’, with a job to do. ‘The’ can function in multiple ways. This is typical, explains Gary Thoms, assistant professor in linguistics at New York University: “a super high-usage word will often develop a real flexibility”, with different subtle uses that make it hard to define. Helping us understand what is being referred to, ‘the’ makes sense of nouns as a subject or an object. So even someone with a rudimentary grasp of English can tell the difference between ‘I ate an apple’ and ‘I ate the apple’.


The killing of Iran's top general won't stop a war. The US and Iran have already been fighting for more than 40 years

Opinion by Michael Ware

Michael Ware is a former Time magazine and CNN correspondent who was based in Baghdad from 2003 to 2009.

(CNN)US President Donald Trump says he ordered the assassination on Friday of Iran's top general, Qasem Soleimani, "to stop a war." But that's simply not true.

Rather than stop a war, Trump just called Tehran's bluff and wagered all in with the single most daring American act in a conflict that's been raging for years.

No American president has ever taken the fight to Tehran like this. It's bold. It's provocative.

And it could set the Middle East aflame -- but it is most definitely not stopping a war.

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The coffins containing Qasem Soleimani and others killed in the US drone strike are carried in the city of Mashhad, Iran on Sunday.

General Topic / Don't abbreviate 2020. It's for your own good
« on: January 06, 2020, 12:40:54 PM »

Don't abbreviate 2020. It's for your own good

By Harmeet Kaur, CNN
January 4, 2020

(CNN)2020 is finally here, and it's coming with its own set of challenges.

Not only do we have to break the habit of writing 2019, when we really mean 2020, but the dawn of a new decade also creates a unique opportunity for scammers, says Ira Rheingold, executive director for the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

How exactly, you ask?

Science and Research / The best space images of 2019
« on: December 30, 2019, 06:11:52 PM »

The best space images of 2019

By Paul Rincon
Science editor, BBC News website
30 December 2019

With some blockbuster space missions underway, 2019 saw some amazing images beamed back to Earth from around the Solar System. Meanwhile, some of our most powerful telescopes were trained on the Universe's most fascinating targets. Here are a few of the best.

Up in the clouds

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Nasa's Juno spacecraft has been sending back stunning images of Jupiter's clouds since it arrived in orbit around the giant planet in 2016. This amazing, color-enhanced view shows patterns that look like they were created by paper marbling. The picture was compiled from four separate images taken by the spacecraft on 29 May.

At the time, Juno was making a close pass of the fifth world from the Sun, approaching to between 18,600km (11,600 miles) and 8,600km (5,400 miles) of the swirling cloud tops.

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The image above shows swirling clouds that surround a circular feature within a jet stream region on Jupiter.

Health and Food / Fasting might help you live longer
« on: December 26, 2019, 06:38:53 PM »

Eating in a 6-hour window and fasting for 18 hours might help you live longer

By Scottie Andrew, CNN
December 25, 2019

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(CNN) Abstaining from food for 16 to 18 hours a day could be key to treating a variety of health conditions -- even if you've got to train yourself to push past the hunger.

A review of past animal and human studies in The New England Journal of Medicine suggests that intermittent fasting can reduce blood pressure, aid in weight loss and improve longevity.

The report functions as a road map of sorts for physicians to prescribe fasting as a method of prevention or treatment for obesity, cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Photos Unlimited / Tribute to animals lost in WWI
« on: December 22, 2019, 12:11:37 PM »

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A rare photo of World War I soldiers paying tribute to 8 million horses, mules, and donkeys lost in World War I.


Rosmah Mansor vs Imelda Marcos: Who spent more?

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Ms Rosmah Mansor (left), the wife of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, and former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos.

28 JUNE, 2018

PETALING JAYA — After the reveal of the value of luxury items seized in police raids on properties linked to former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, as part of the probe into state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad, comparisons to former Philippines president Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda Marcos were inevitable.

In the 1980s, during the Marcoses two-decade rule, they made headlines for corruption and kleptocracy scandals, similar to the current controversies surrounding former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor.

Former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos was known for her colossal shoe collection and opulent spending, which eventually led to her and her husband's exile.

The Malaysian authorities said the total market value of luxury watches, jewellery, high-end handbags, and cash recently seized at properties linked to Datuk Seri Najib amounted to a jaw-dropping RM1.1 billion (S$372 million).

The jewellery alone was worth between RM660 million to RM880 million.

Which "First Lady" and her husband spent more? Find out in the face-off below.

Health and Food / Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)
« on: December 15, 2019, 10:34:49 PM »

Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)

Epstein-Barr is the virus that causes mononucleosis. You might know this disease better by its nickname, "mono." It's also called the "kissing disease" because of one way you can spread it to someone else.

Even though Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) isn't a household name, you've probably been infected without knowing it. Lots of people carry the virus but don't get sick.


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Multi-billion SEA Games 2019 fund follows Cayetano where he goes

The money trail shows SEA Games organizing committee chair Alan Peter Cayetano wanted control over the budget regardless of which agency the money is lodged under.

November 29, 2019


-Aside from his role as Speaker of the House, Alan Peter Cayetano is also appointed chair of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc).

-The money trail for P6 billion worth of SEA Games funds leads to Cayetano.

-Phisgoc is a private entity that performs a function of a government office.

-Constitutional and ethical questions hound Cayetano’s appointment.



Valuable takeaways from Justice Carpio’s lectures

by Ellen T. Tordesillas
October 31, 2019

(The following piece was my remarks during the testimonial dinner given last Oct. 29 by some members of media for Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio, who retired Oct. 30, 2019.)

Sometime ago, Justice Carpio had a lecture on West Philippine Sea at the UST. Charmaine Deogracias of NHKTV, Dana Batnag of Jiji Press and I called up his office to ask if we could attend and we were told our names will be submitted to the organizer as his guests. So, off we went.

Charmaine arrived first and as instructed, she said, “Guest of Justice Carpio.” The guard asked for her ID and she showed her Press ID. She was told that Media is not allowed and was told to go to the University’s Public Affairs Office.

A staff in UST’s Public Affairs Office said a media request to attend a forum at UST will have to be approved by the higher-ups and that will take time. Taking pity on Charmaine, she smuggled her to the auditorium through a side door. Charmaine then texted us not to tell the guard we are “Media.” Just “guest of justice Carpio.”

Health and Food / Health Checklist
« on: November 24, 2019, 11:26:27 PM »

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USA and Canada / The Unprecedented in the US's Impeachment Hearings
« on: November 17, 2019, 02:31:05 AM »

What Was Truly Unprecedented in This Week’s Impeachment Hearings?

We’ve seen impeachment proceedings before—but not like this. We rounded up 5 experts on the process to tell us what we should have been paying attention to.

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AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

11/16/2019 06:32 AM EST

t’s easy to call an impeachment “historic,” but what kind of history did we really see this week? Most of us couldn’t answer that in real time, but POLITICO Magazine tracked down the tiny handful of Americans who can: The historians and legal analysts who specialize in the rare, high-stakes process of impeachment itself.

This week we invited a group of them to watch the Congressional hearings with an eye to what actually made history. They saw quite a bit of it unfold in the hearings on President Donald Trump’s conduct around Ukraine, and the conduct of the Congress looking into it.

First, one historian noted that the way we consumed the news this week was completely unprecedented: Unlike any previous impeachment, we were all able to follow along with the inquiry as it unfolded and witnesses revealed new information. Second, never before, two of the experts pointed out, has an impeachment turned directly on matters of national security. By any normal standard that should strip the domestic politics out of the proceedings—except, as another historian pointed out, the Republicans in Congress have chosen to act as his legal defense rather than as serious fact-finders about his conduct, which is another historical outlier.

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