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Tradition, faith and the spread of Ebola

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Ebola outbreak: fight against disease hampered by belief in witchcraft, warns British doctor

A British doctor fighting the devastating Ebola outbreak in west Africa has told how belief in witchcraft is hampering the fight to stop the spread of the deadly disease.
Benjamin Black, 32, a volunteer with the charity Médecins Sans Frontières in Sierra Leone, said that some of those in infected areas were not seeking medical treatment as they thought the disease was the work of sorcerers. Belief in witchcraft and traditional medicine is still prevalent in parts of west Africa, particularly the remote rural areas of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia where the outbreak has been concentrated.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Dr Black, who completed a four-day stint earlier this week at an Ebola treatment clinic in Kailahun, near Sierra Leone’s northern border with Guinea, said: “There is a section of population here who simply don’t believe Ebola is real, they think it is witchcraft and so they don’t come to the treatment centres.

“Sometimes, even those who turn up at clinics with symptoms of the disease will be resistant to the idea that they have it. They will say ‘yes, people in my family have died already, but this is witchcraft rather than Ebola’.”….

….But doctors can go on certain warning signs, in particular patients saying that they have recently attended a funeral of a friend or relative. Local funeral customs often include the practice of touching and kissing loved ones’ bodies, which by that stage are a prime incubator of Ebola.
Dr Black added that many of those referred to the clinic were children, some of whom had already lost both their parents to the disease. “We had one ambulance turn up with a mother and a child in it, but the mother had died during the journey to the clinic, leaving her daughter of eight on her own,” he said.

Ebola has a fatality of around 90 per cent, but if treated early enough, patients can fight the disease off.

Written by marypmadigan

July 31st, 2014 at 10:29 am

Posted in Africa

In Gaza – Reporters under fire

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and what editors are doing about it

It can hardly be lost on any sane journalist that tempers in combat zones can be short, and that Hamas has used the kidnapping of foreign journalists like Alan Johnson of the BBC to advance its own agenda. The fact that Hamas has closed the border and will not let journalists in or out of Gaza can’t make journalists who being used as de facto human shields by a terrorist organization feel any more eager to offend their hosts.

What Hamas has done, therefore, is to turn Shifa Hospital into a Hollywood sound-stage filled with real, live war victims who are used to score propaganda points, while the terrorists inside the hospital itself are erased from photographs and news accounts through a combination of pressure and threats, in order to produce the stories that Hamas wants. So if reporters aren’t entirely to blame for participating in this sick charade, then who is?

Written by marypmadigan

July 30th, 2014 at 8:31 am

Imaginary Time

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In his Last Week Tonight interview with John Oliver, Stephen Hawking complains that science fiction writers don’t use his theory of imaginary time.

But isn’t that an aspect of what True Detective Rust Cohle is talking about with his Membrane theory?

If not, what is Cohle talking about?

Written by marypmadigan

June 17th, 2014 at 8:56 am

Facebook takes the next step…

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…towards making this a Person of Interest universe:


Facebook wants to listen in on what you’re doing

“The aim was to remove every last bit of friction from the way we reference bits of pop culture on the social network,” writes Ryan Tate of Wired. Depending on how you feel about informational privacy and/or your friends’ taste in pop culture, that statement is either exhilarating or terrifying.

The feature is an optional one, something the company emphasizes in its announcement. The tech giant does seem well-aware that in these days of Snowden surveillance revelations, people might not be too keen for Facebook to take control of their smartphone’s mic and start listening in on them by default. It’s only rolling out the feature in the U.S. and a product PR person emphasized repeatedly that no recording is being stored, only “code.” “We’re not recording audio or sound and sending it to Facebook or its servers,” says Facebook spokesperson Momo Zhou. “We turn the audio it hears into a code — code that is not reversible into audio — and then we match it against a database of code.”

If a Facebooker opts in, the feature is only activated when he or she is composing an update. When the smartphone’s listening in — something it can only do through the iOS and Android apps, not through Facebook on a browser — tiny blue bars will appear to announce the mic has been activated. Facebook says the microphone will not otherwise be collecting data. When it’s listening, it tells you it is “matching,” rather than how I might put it, “eavesdropping on your entertainment of choice.”

They say the microphone will light up when Facebook is eavesdropping, but we already know that these indicators can be bypassed

Research shows how MacBook Webcams can spy on their users without warning

Most laptops with built-in cameras have an important privacy feature — a light that is supposed to turn on any time the camera is in use. But Wolf says she never saw the light on her laptop go on. As a result, she had no idea she was under surveillance.

That wasn’t supposed to be possible. While controlling a camera remotely has long been a source of concern to privacy advocates, conventional wisdom said there was at least no way to deactivate the warning light. New evidence indicates otherwise.

Marcus Thomas, former assistant director of the FBI’s Operational Technology Division in Quantico, said in a recent story in The Washington Post that the FBI has been able to covertly activate a computer’s camera — without triggering the light that lets users know it is recording — for several years.

I’m not opting in, but I’m not sure that it matters….

Written by marypmadigan

May 25th, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Posted in Tech,The Cloud

Author Earnings – May 2014 Earnings report

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Author Earnings

Here we see self-published authors earning 2% more while Big 5 authors hold steady. Again, with fewer daily sales but a higher price, the Big 5 publishers increased their own revenue while their authors stayed pat. Amazon Imprint authors saw a 3% decline, which might be due to the volatility they have as a small number of titles can see a large number of sales. What we can’t tell with these two data sets is if we are seeing real trends or just random fluctuations, but we can say that our findings from February have now been corroborated by this second data set. Self-published authors are clearly earning as much as traditionally published authors on the largest e-book sales platform in the world.

Written by marypmadigan

May 21st, 2014 at 9:15 am

Posted in writing

Overland Park shooting suspect had “a desperation for attention”

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Missouri Road

Today the LA Times reported:

“The killings of three people on the eve of Passover outside two Jewish facilities in a Kansas City suburb are being treated as hate crimes, law enforcement officials said Monday…

Frazier Glenn Cross, 73, is being held on a preliminary charge of first-degree murder after Sunday’s attacks in Overland Park, Kan. A doctor and his 14-year-old grandson were killed in the parking lot at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City and a woman was killed a short time later in a parking lot at Village Shalom, a nearby community for seniors, police said.

CBS News reports

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The man accused of killing three people Sunday in attacks at a Jewish community center and Jewish retirement community near Kansas City is a well-known white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan leader who was once the subject of a nationwide manhunt.

Frazier Glenn Cross, of Aurora, Mo., was booked into Johnson County jail on a preliminary charge of first-degree murder after the attacks in Overland Park.

At a news conference, Overland Park police Chief John Douglass declined to publicly identify the man suspected in the attacks. But CBS News confirmed Sunday that the suspect in custody is Frazier Glenn Cross, 73, of Aurora, Mo., also known as Frazier Glenn Miller.

Frazier Glenn Cross also goes by the name Fraiser Glenn Miller. Other sources refer to him as Glenn Miller.

Frazier Glenn Cross aka Frazier Glenn Miller was also known as the “Grand Dragon”. Jim Hoft of Gateway pundit writes:

He is the former leader of the defunct North Carolina-based White Patriot Party (formerly known as the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan). Convicted of criminal charges related to weapons and violation of an injunction against paramilitary activity, he is a perennial candidate for public office as both a Democrat and Republican.

Glenn Miller tried to run for Congress in 2006 but all the parties he tried to file with refused to accept his check (In Missouri, the receipt of the filing fee check is required to file).

Frazier Glenn Cross aka Frazier Glenn Miller aka Grand Dragon was also known as “Rounder” by his associates at the White Supremacist Website Vanguard News Network.

His former associates are now calling him a ‘self-detonating lone wolf’, but, like most self detonating lone wolves Grand-Dragon-aka-Frazier-Glenn-Cross-aka Fraiser-Glenn-Miller-aka-Rounder watched Russia Today (RT) News.

Like his associates at Vanguard News Network, he was a fervent Ron Paul supporter.

In April 2010, when he was running for US Senate in his home state of Missouri with the slogan “It’s the Jews, Stupid,” Miller had an interview with The David Pakman Show. In this interview, he displayed what Pakman called “a desperation for attention.”

Miller praised Ron Paul, Hitler and Pat Buchanan. He didn’t praise the Tea Party, the Republicans or the Democrats.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center:

This isn’t the first time a VNN user has been arrested for violence. On January 17, 2011, less than 12 hours after posting on VNN, Kevin William Harpham placed an improvised explosive device concealed in a backpack along a Martin Luther King parade route in Spokane Washington. The lead sinkers in the radio-detonated IED were coated with Warfarin rat poison, evidently intended to increase bleeding.  Had the device functioned, dozens of men, women and children would have been killed or injured. Harpham also distributed The Aryan Alternative….

…Our research shows that racist killers are hiding among us in plain sight. A forthcoming two-year study by the SPLC will show that nearly 100 people in the last five years have been murdered by active users on another prominent racist website, Stormfront.org.

Apparently there are a lot of self-detonating lone wolves.

Written by marypmadigan

April 14th, 2014 at 4:47 pm