Bit.ly Sees The Private Gap Between What You Click and What You Share

first_imgalicia eler In another example, Mason looked at Bit.ly links from Tunisia over the past year, where a revolution occurred in January 2011. “The way people consume social media changes as their government changes,” said Mason. “Human activity is reflected by something so simple as the number of people clicking links.” At today’s Web 2.0 conference, Bit.ly Chief Scientist Hilary Mason reminded us that what we share is only a part of what we’re clicking. Her talk delved into the difference between the links we’re sharing versus the links we’re just clicking and most likely reading, and also took a look at the ways topics are discussed differently based on geography. The real focus of the talk was centered on what happens between identity and privacy, that space where the secrets of our subconscious come out.Using word clouds, Mason looked at how pizza was discussed in New York, where slice was the biggest keyword, in Rome where it’s all about the cheese and San Francisco, which is far more artichoke-focused. If we can see how people are feeling about pizza based on their geographical location, that’s just the beginning.Take a politician for example: Discussions about Herman Cain varied depending on geography, too. In the midwest, more people were talking specifically about his 9-9-9 plan, whereas Floridians were listening to Bill O’Reilly and South Carolina was mostly paying attention to how Cain was leading in that state’s polls. This data map shows some of the top headlines by state. Tags:#web#Web 2.0 Summit 2011 A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… What Does This Mean for Privacy?What you share is your identity, and what you read is your privacy. There’s a space in-between, and that’s what Mason is most interested in. Yesterday, 80 million links were fed into bit.ly, and 27% of those were from the U.S. She breaks it down by the top shared posts from yesterday, which include a Fast Company story about the great tech war of 2012, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle noses, a press release about free RIM stuff and a news article about the oldest marathon runner. What do these all have in common? They make us go “wow,” or satisfy our entitlement to free stuff from tech companies who we feel like have screwed us over. We share those stories with our fellow man, who we believe probably feel the same way. We receive more shares, likes and clicks, and we feel better. The top most-clicked stories from yesterday look at lot different. They probe our inner thoughts – they are our private lives, the parts we don’t share publicly. They are a story called “Know Your Neighbor: He’s Racist,” an animated boob GIF on Tumblr and a story about Hilary Duff revealing if her baby is a boy or a girl. Racism, oddly sexual imagery and ambiguous gender – is that what we’re all really thinking about? According to bit.ly, the answer is yes.“We need better tools to curate, search and analyze in order to consciously curate the things we keep private and the things we share,” said Mason. But don’t be fooled – bit.ly isn’t trying to help you, per se – they are just trying to “build products that help people express themselves in the way they want to express themselves,” said Mason. We might want to appear like Superman, but we’re really all a bunch of Clark Kents, right? What if we’re a little bit of both? And if we are, why shouldn’t our identity reflect that?Images courtesy @hmason.center_img Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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Optimize Your Infrastructure with the Intel Xeon D

first_imgIn case you missed it, we just celebrated the launch of the Intel Xeon processor D product family. And if you did miss it, I’m here to give you all the highlights of an exciting leap in enterprise infrastructure optimization, from the data center to the network edge.The Xeon D family is Intel’s 3rd generation 64-bit SoC and the first based on Intel Xeon processor technology. The Xeon D weaves the performance of Xeon processors into a dense, lower-power system-on-a-chip (SoC). It suits a unique variety of use cases, ranging from dynamic web serving and dedicated web hosting, to warm storage and network routing.Secure, Scalable StorageThe Xeon D’s low energy consumption and extremely high performance make it a cost-effective, scalable solution for organizations looking to take their data centers to the next level. By dramatically reducing heat and electricity usage, this product family offers an unrivaled low-powered solution for enterprise server environments.Server systems powered by the new Intel Xeon D processors offer fault-tolerant, stable storage platforms that lend themselves well to the scalability and speed clients demand. Large enterprises looking for low-power, high-density server processors for their data stacks should keep an eye on the Xeon D family, as these processors offer solid performance per watt and unparalleled security baked right into the hardware.Cloud Service Providers Take Note1&1, Europe’s leading web hosting service, recently analyzed Intel’s new Xeon D processor family for different cloud workloads such as storage or dedicated hosting. The best-in-class service utilizes these new processors to offer both savings and stability to their customers. According to 1&1’s Hans Nijholt, the technology has a serious advantage for enterprise storage companies as well as SMB customers looking to pass on savings to customers:“The [Xeon D’s] energy consumption is extremely low and it gives us very high performance. Xeon D has a 4x improvement in memory and lets us get a much higher density in our data center, combined with the best price/performance ratio you can offer.”If you’re looking to bypass existing physical limitations, sometimes it’s simply a matter of taking a step back, examining your environment, and understanding that you have options outside expansion. The Xeon D is ready to change your business — are you ready for the transformation?We’ll be revealing more about the Xeon D at World Hosting Days; join us as we continue to unveil the exciting capabilities of our latest addition to the Xeon family!If you’re interested in learning more about what I’ve discussed in this blog, tune in to the festivities and highlights from CeBit 2015Opens in a new window.To continue this conversation, connect with me on LinkedIn or use #ITCenter.last_img read more

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Taming nature’s fury: An in-depth look at natural hazards

first_img Here’s how the world could end—and what we can do about it These disaster machines could help humanity prepare for cataclysms Blogging the danger—and sometimes the art—of deadly landslides Review on Historical trends of tropical cyclone tracks by A. H. Sobel et al. and related Interactive graphic display of tropical cyclone tracks from 1980-2014 Review on global trends in satellite-based emergency mapping by S. Voigt et al. Review on connecting slow earthquakes to huge earthquakes by K. Obara and A. Kato  Editorial on hazards without disasters by M. McNutt Natural Hazards topic page Podcast: The science of the apocalypse ​Tornadoes sweep through central Kansas. Mudslides bury a neighborhood in Guatemala. A tsunami triggers a nuclear meltdown at a power station in Japan. Every day, the news brings fresh reminders of the great dangers our planet can unleash with little warning. The dangers remain, even as researchers slowly unpack the secrets behind volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tropical storms, and other natural hazards. That knowledge can reveal new threats, such as the planet-changing possibility of volcanic supereruptions or collisions with mountain-sized bodies from space. However, this information also leads to better tools for studying natural hazards and estimating where, how often, and how fiercely they are likely to strike.Our increasingly sophisticated toolbox is helping us understand the physical processes driving hazards such as large and damaging earthquakes; track tropical cyclones to project how increasing temperatures might change these powerful storms; provide much-needed warnings of volcanoes, landslides, and tsunamis; and recover from catastrophic events when they occur. These tools now allow researchers to analyze data collected as disasters occur, including the recent collapse of the Bárdarbunga caldera in Iceland. The ways in which communities prepare and respond to potential disasters are also becoming more sophisticated. Social media allows for rapid dissemination of information before and during a disaster. Although social scientists sometimes face challenges in interpreting the digital record of these events, they may provide a valuable insight into an effective response. Communities that face risks from natural hazards benefit from investing time and effort into preparing for unlikely yet unavoidable events.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)This special package explores some of the ways people are learning to assess risks, lessen dangers, and repair the damage from disasters that elude or breach our defenses. We will continue to highlight important research and news on our Natural Hazards topic page. Natural hazards will never go away, but we can always become better prepared for the inevitable.  Additional articles in our Natural Hazards feature package:center_img Video images: Twisting tornado looms over central Kansas; Chile’s Calbuco volcano spews ash and lava in 2015; Meteor Crater, in Arizona, marks the site of a 50,000-year-old asteroid crash; storm chasers study an approaching tornado; aftermath of landslide triggered by 2008 Tangjiashan earthquake in southwest China; lava from Sicily’s Piano del Lago volcano outshines the lights of Catania below.last_img read more

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IPL auction: No buyers for VVS Laxman

first_imgAll-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was the biggest draw for the franchises with Chennai Super Kings buying him for a whopping Rs 9.72 crore but struggling veteran VVS Laxman found no takers in the players’ auction for the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League. Live blog The 23-year-old, whose base price was $100,000, went to Chennai after the tie-breaker clause was invoked when two teams – CSK and Deccan Chargers – bid the maximum ($2million) for the Saurashtra player.Both the franchises were asked to bid a secret amount in the tie-breaker and it was Chennai which managed to outbid Deccan in the final round.But the cricketer himself will be paid $950,000 as per the contract he had signed with the now-disbanded Kochi Tuskers Kerala last year and even the secret amount that was bid on him by Chennai would go into the BCCI coffers.Laxman, in contrast, expectedly remained unsold after a string of poor performances on the tours of England and Australia.Laxman started his IPL stint as Deccan Chargers captain in 2008 but at 37 right now, age and reputation of being a Test specialist could also have been factors for the franchises’ snub.Former Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene, incidentally the KTK captain last season, was also a big draw going to Delhi Daredevils for $1.4 million (approx Rs 6.8 crore).Jayawardene will, however, get $1.5 million as per his contract last year.Some surprise beneficiaries at the auction were West Indian spinner Sunil Narine, who was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders for $700,000 (Rs 3.40 crore) and Indian paceman Vinay Kumar, taken by Royal Challengers Bangalore for $one million (Rs 4.86 crore). Narine had a modest base price of $50,000.advertisementA total of 146 players went under the hammer with a purse of $16.94 million between the eight teams after Pune Warriors did not turn up following Sahara’s decision to give up on the franchise’s ownership.Each team had a maximum cap of $2 million, which Chennai exhausted by spending on Jadeja.Other big gainers at the auction were New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Brendon McCullum was bought for $900,000 by Kolkata Knight Riders. McCullum’s base price was $400,000.Indian stumper Parthiv Patel went for $650,000 to Deccan Chargers, which was quite high from his base price of $200,000.Among others who went unsold in the auction were England’s James Anderson, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara and Matt Prior, West Indies’ Ramnaresh Sarwan, Adrian Barath and Darren Bravo and South Africa’s Mark Boucher.Sri Lankan spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan, who was with Chennai Super Kings and Kochi in the previous editions, was bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore for $220,000 (approx. Rs 1.06 crore).South Africa’s veteran opening batsman Herschelle Gibbs, who was released by Deccan Chargers, fetched $50,000 (approx. Rs 24 lakh) from Mumbai Indians, while Australian batsman Brad Hodge was taken by Rajasthan Royals for $475,000 (approx Rs 2.3 crore).Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson went to Mumbai Indians at his base price of $300,000 (approx Rs 1.4 crore). West Indies Andre Russell fetched $450,000 from the Delhi Daredevils, a substantial hike from his base price of $50,000.Sri Lankan wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Chandimal was turned out to be a bargain buy for Rajasthan Royals, who bought him at his base price of $50,000.Jadeja was supposed to be the highlight of the auction on Saturday and so it turned out to be with almost all franchises placing their bids on the all-rounder.Ironically, just two years ago, Jadeja was banned for a year after trying to negotiate a deal with Mumbai Indians while still on contract with Rajasthan Royals.Dubbed the “rockstar” by Australian spin legend and Rajasthan captain-cum-coach Shane Warne, Jadeja was bought by Kochi for $950,000, and he did well by making 283 runs at a strike rate of 124.12, and taking eight wickets at an economy rate of 7.26.Another big gainer in the auction was Karnataka pacer R Vinay Kumar who was bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore for a whopping $1 million against a base price of $100,000.Pacers RP Singh and S Sreesanth, who were part of India team not so long ago, were bought by Mumbai Indians for $600,000 and by Rajasthan Royals for $400,000 respectively. Their base prices were $200,000 and $400,000.RP Singh was bought by now defunct Kochi Tuskers Kerala for $500,000 in the IPL auction last year while Sreesanth had fetched $900,000.Off-spinner Ramesh Powar was bought by Kings XI Punjab for $160,000 against a base price of $100,000 while Australian Brad Hogg was sold to Rajasthan Royals for $180,000 against a base price of $100,000.Laxman apart, those who went unsold in the auction include India’s VRV Singh, Englishmen Luke Wright, Owais Shah and Graeme Swann, Bangladeshi Tamim Iqbal, Australian pacer Peter Siddle, South Africans Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Justin Kemp and Vernon Philander, Sri Lankan Upul Tharanga, West Indians Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Smith, Fidel Edwards and Ravi Rampaul, New Zealander Tim Southee and big hitting Irishman Kevin O’Brien.advertisementlast_img read more

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Photo: Someone Sprayed #BringBackBruce On Tennessee’s Famous Rock

first_imgTennessee rock spray painted with "Bring Back Bruce."The Rock is one of the major landmarks at the University of Tennessee. According to the UT Athletics website, for decades, students have painted the rock with messages ranging from “birth announcements to memorials, break-up messages to marriage proposals, protests of war to messages of peace, celebration of Vol victories to expressions of, shall we say, disappointment.”Apparently , at least one Tennessee student decided to use The Rock as a personal billboard to advocate the return of former men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl. Pearl enjoyed a successful six-year tenure in Knoxville from 2006-11, before being fired for numerous NCAA infractions. He is currently the head coach of Auburn University. The Vols are in the market for a new head coach after Donnie Tyndall was fired this week for…NCAA violations. Our amateur artist feels Pearl’s track record (at least the positive parts of it) make him the perfect replacement for Tyndall.#BringBackBruce on the rock @coachbrucepearl #VFL pic.twitter.com/QhYzgObwxb— Brandon Carpenter (@bcarp49) March 28, 2015last_img read more

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How Drake got his giant CN Tower replica from Las Vegas to

first_imgUnder a gigantic, glowing replica of his beloved CN Tower, rapper Drake told the Toronto crowd gathered at Monday’s OVO Fest he had called “19 companies” to build it and they all said no.So when Eric Pearce got the call, he too was a little skeptical it could be done.“They came up with the concept of the design for this show rather late,” said Pearce, owner of Las Vegas’ Show Group Production Services (SGPS), the outfit that helped design and build the faux tower. “It’s pretty large.” Facebook Advertisement Twitter Login/Register With: LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement The idea stemmed from the cover of the rapper’s 2016 album, Views, which features Drake perched atop the CN Tower, a moment he recreated with the replica during the show.Pearce and his team had about three weeks to take it from design to delivery, working around the clock, seven days a week in their Las Vegas factory to build it on time. They came up with the plans on how to build it in a single weekend.READ MORE Advertisementlast_img read more

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Health effects of smokefilled atmosphere

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 16 2018Every day, every human on the planet is exposed to one of the most toxic substances we know. However, it’s largely invisible and most people don’t know whether they need to worry. In new book Particles in the Air, Doug Brugge aims to raise awareness of serious consequences for public health.Doug Brugge says: “Fire has contributed to the survival and ultimate success of our species. We burn for food, warmth, light and, with the combustion engine, to get us about. However, fire has a nasty downside.”The burning process creates hot gases and tiny particles made of solids and liquids known as particulate matter. Once this is released into the air, we start to breath it in. Today we understand that particular matter not only causes respiratory diseases and lung cancer but also inflammation and heart disease. It takes a larger toll on human health than all other environmental hazards combined.Related StoriesResearchers identify gene mutations linked to leukemia in children with Down’s syndromeNew therapeutic food boosts key growth-promoting gut microbes in malnourished childrenLight at last: why do more women develop Alzheimer’s disease?In 1959, an Indian cardiologist concluded that the smoke-filled atmosphere in which many women cooked was contributing to a high death toll from heart disease. However, 50 years later little had changed. In that time, another one hundred million people – mostly women and children – died from exposure to the same type of particles.It wasn’t until 2015 that a first national project got underway to expand the use of gas instead. It made rapid progress, but this pattern of initial scientific discovery followed by a decades-long wait to change public policy is part of the story of particulate matter.The battles to highlight damage caused by cigarette smoke and car exhaust have been further complicated by industry lobbies prepared to fiercely protect their profits. Science is imbued with uncertainty and they exploited this trait to create doubt about the evidence. They also intimidated researchers with lawsuits and exploited the media’s weakness for controversy to present their case to the public.Today, the race is on to understand the impact on health of ultrafine particulate matter. These particles are largely unregulated despite evidence that they can become embedded in the brain. Studies show an increased risk of autism in children and more rapid cognitive decline in the elderly. Brugge asks: “How much evidence is enough to prompt action?” Source:https://preview.springer.com/gp/about-springer/media/press-releases/corporate/there-s-no-fire-without-smoke/16198238last_img read more

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New family planning app found to be as effective as modern methods

first_img Source:https://gumc.georgetown.edu/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 16 2018Early results from a first-of-its-kind study suggests that typical use of a family planning app called Dot is as effective as other modern methods for avoiding an unplanned pregnancy.Researchers from the Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH) at Georgetown University Medical Center are studying women’s use of the app for 13 menstrual cycles, or about one year. The ongoing prospective study design is the first to apply best-practice guidelines for assessing fertility awareness based methods in the testing of an app.The interim results following Dot’s use for six cycles are published in the journal Contraception (title: Estimating six-cycle efficacy of the Dot app for pregnancy prevention.) Dot is owned by Cycle Technologies, which is solely responsible for the app.Related StoriesBlastocyst transfer linked to higher risk of preterm birth, large-for-gestational-age ratesExposure to EDCs can affect sexual development and reproduction of future generationsStress during early pregnancy may reduce future fertility of offspringDot provides a woman with information about her fertility status each day of her menstrual cycle. It uses an algorithm and machine learning to identify the fertile days of her cycle based on her cycle lengths.After women had been in the study for six cycles, the researchers found that the app had a typical-use failure rate of 3.5 percent, which suggests that Dot’s one-year typical efficacy rate will be comparable to other modern family planning methods such as the pill, injections, and vaginal ring.”Given the growing interest in fertility apps, it was important to provide these early results,” says Victoria Jennings, PhD, principal investigator of the Dot efficacy study and director of the IRH.718 participants in the United States enrolled in the study, and 419 participants completed six cycles of use. There were 15 confirmed pregnancies from cycles when participants used the method incorrectly (such as having unprotected sex on days of high fertility). No pregnancies occurred in cycles when participants reported correct use of the app during high risk days for pregnancy.”Our purpose is to provide guidance to women who want to use Dot as well as to health providers and policy makers who are interested in this emerging method of family planning,” Jennings says. “We hope this paper contributes to the on-going discussion about the effectiveness of fertility apps and how their efficacy should be assessed.”Final efficacy results are expected in early 2019.last_img read more

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Using untargeted metabolomics to find biomarkers and therapeutic targets for CVD

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Dec 26 2018Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are proven to be the leading cause of deaths throughout the world. If statistics are reviewed, almost four out of five deaths are due to myocardial infarction or stroke. Efforts to prevent CVD have little effect on the decrease of the number of CVD related deaths despite many medical advances. Therefore, the search for new and even better therapies and treatments for the betterment of those who are suffering from CVD is still in progress. The field of metabolomics has offered a good solution for these diseases. Metabolomic biomarkers help clinicians to identify the risk of CVD and take preventive measures before the diseases can surface. Early diagnosis of CVD is a good sign for a patient’s recovery and also for their health. Therefore, there is a need to establish reliable, sensitive and non-invasive biomarkers which can serve as therapeutic targets for prevention and treatment of CVD.In this study, analytical techniques are discussed along with the workflow that is used in untargeted metabolomics. Case studies that highlight the use of untargeted metabolomics in CVD research are also identified. Five of the case studies show approaches to identify untargeted metabolomics and apply this information in clinical situations. Analysis was conducted for the prediction of cardiovascular disease risk, myocardial ischemia, transient ischemic attack, incident coronary heart disease, and myocardial infarction risk. The use of the untargeted metabolomics for risk assessment is still relatively new and there is still a need for future advancements in metabolomics technologies. Source:https://benthamscience.com/last_img read more

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Popular weed killers alleged link to cancer spreads concern

first_img This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Apr 4 2019Clumps of dandelions have popped up in your yard, so you reach for a bottle of Roundup, the popular weed killer. It is known for being very effective, but its main ingredient, glyphosate, is getting a lot of attention because of lawsuits alleging links to cancer.Last week, a federal jury ordered Monsanto, the maker of Roundup, to pay $80 million to a 70-year-old man with cancer who had used it for three decades on his 56 acres in Sonoma County, Calif. The jury found that Roundup was a “substantial factor” in his illness.Bayer AG, which bought Monsanto last year, said it would appeal the decision.Last year, a California superior court jury in San Francisco reached a similar verdict against Monsanto in favor of a groundskeeper with the same disease — non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a potentially fatal cancer of the immune system. Monsanto also appealed that decision.Glyphosate is by far the most widely used herbicide in the United States, and probably worldwide. It is used on nearly every acre of corn, cotton and soybeans grown in the U.S. You may have sprayed it on your lawn or garden.But many jurisdictions, in more than two dozen countries, have banned or restricted its use. Among the latest: Los Angeles County announced last month that it was suspending use of glyphosate on county property until more is known about its health effects.Bayer says on its website that the weed killer has been thoroughly tested, and “an extensive body of research” shows that products containing it “can be used safely and that glyphosate is not carcinogenic.”Cynthia Curl, an environmental health scientist at Boise State University in Idaho who studies the chemical, said, “many assumptions have been made about the safety of glyphosate that are now being actively questioned. We will see an explosion of information about glyphosate, and it’s about time. We’re really playing catch-up on this one.”Let’s try to provide a few answers:Q: What is glyphosate, and what is it used for? First sold commercially by Monsanto in 1974 under the name Roundup, glyphosate kills weeds by blocking enzymes that regulate plant growth.Over the four decades after its launch, use of Roundup increased a hundredfold. Monsanto genetically engineered crops to tolerate glyphosate in 1996, and these “Roundup Ready” seeds paved the way for the weed killer to be used on farm fields around the world.Q: Roundup isn’t the only weed killer with glyphosate, right?Right. Over 750 glyphosate-containing products are sold in the United States, either in solid or liquid form. In addition to Roundup, common ones include Ortho GroundClear, DowDuPont’s Rodeo, Compare-N-Save Concentrate Grass and Weed Killer, RM43 Total Vegetation Control and Ranger Pro Herbicide, also made by Monsanto. If you don’t know whether a weed killer contains glyphosate, read the label. It would be listed under active ingredients.Q: How extensive is human exposure to glyphosate? Because of its widespread use, glyphosate is in water, food and dust, so it’s likely almost everyone has been exposed. And human exposure, through food and water, will probably increase in tandem with growing use of the weed killer, according to a 2016 study published in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe.But little is known about the magnitude of human exposure, because food and water are not regularly tested for glyphosate residue. However, a few years ago, researchers tested the urine of a small group of people across the United States and found glyphosate residue in 93% of them.Curl said she is launching a project that will compare the exposure of pregnant women who live in farm areas and non-farm areas, then introduce organic diets to try to tease out how much of the glyphosate comes from food.Related StoriesSpecial blood test may predict relapse risk for breast cancer patientsBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerStudy: Nearly a quarter of low-risk thyroid cancer patients receive more treatment than necessaryQ: What do we really know about the human health risks of glyphosate? For decades, it was thought that glyphosate posed a risk only to plants, not people. That’s because it inhibits an enzyme that humans don’t even have.Its possible link to cancer has prompted a blizzard of claims and counterclaims over the past several years, and major public health agencies disagree about it. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has called glyphosate a “probable human carcinogen,” and in 2017, the state of California added it to its list of cancer-causing chemicals.The Environmental Protection Agency, however, decided in late 2017 that glyphosate was “not likely” to cause cancer in humans.But evidence is mounting that people who are heavily exposed to it — farmworkers and landscapers, for example — have an increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.A review led by University of Washington scientists published in February found that agricultural workers who used a lot of glyphosate had a 41% higher risk of contracting non-Hodgkin lymphoma over their lifetimes than people who used it infrequently or not at all.On average, about 2 out of every 100 Americans develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma. For people who are highly exposed to glyphosate, the disease rate jumps to 2.8 per 100. That means they still have a relatively small chance of contracting the disease, but their risk is substantially higher because of glyphosate use.Monsanto has submitted more than 800 studies to the EPA and European regulatory agencies suggesting that glyphosate is safe, according to Bayer.Q: What about the risks to the rest of us, who only occasionally use glyphosate — and only on a small scale?No one knows.“The data is really starting to suggest that there is a correlation between high glyphosate exposure and non-Hodgkin lymphoma,” said Curl. “But we have a lot of unanswered questions about the rest of us. We don’t know what that means for people who don’t have high exposures, and we don’t know what it means with a chemical that is so widely used.”Q: Should people still use glyphosate at home, or are there safer substitutes?All chemical pesticides are toxic. Some gardeners have limited success using vinegar or homemade remedies.The best non-toxic solution for killing weeds is good old elbow grease: Get a trowel and dig them out.”From a personal perspective, I prefer to use caution and avoid pesticides in my own garden,” said Rachel Shaffer, a Ph.D. student at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health and co-author of the university’s study on glyphosate and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.”Our understanding of the health effects of glyphosate will continue to evolve as the science advances,” said Shaffer, who blogs on her findings. “Individuals who are particularly concerned in the interim may want to take steps to reduce use in their home gardens.”Q: If I use glyphosate products, what precautions should I take?Carefully follow label instructions and warnings. Wear gloves and don’t let the chemical come in contact with your skin, clothing or eyes. Use it only on calm, rain-free days to prevent drift. Do not let it run off into waterways or gutters. Pets and people should wait until treated areas are dry before entering them.This KHN story first published on California Healthline, a service of the California Health Care Foundation.last_img read more

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