Bill Gates announces major donation to advance the fight against Alzheimer’s

Bill Gates speaks speaks at the Goalkeepers 2017 event on Sept. 20, 2017, in New York City.
Image: Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images for Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill Gates just donated a piece of his fortune to advance the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

The philanthropist and Microsoft founder announced in a blog post Monday that he will give $50 million to the Dementia Discovery Fund, a public-private partnership that invests in innovative dementia research. Gates will also donate another $50 million in startups working in Alzheimer’s research.

Through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates has a long track record of supporting research to eradicate diseases like malaria and polio. But Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of dementia that progressively affects memory and other brain functions, is the first noncommunicable disease he’s fighting.

The $100 million is his own investment, not his foundation’s. That’s, in part, because it’s personal. 

“This is something I know a lot about, because men in my family have suffered from Alzheimer’s.”

“It’s a terrible disease that devastates both those who have it and their loved ones,” Gates wrote in his blog post. “This is something I know a lot about, because men in my family have suffered from Alzheimer’s. I know how awful it is to watch people you love struggle as the disease robs them of their mental capacity, and there is nothing you can do about it. It feels a lot like you’re experiencing a gradual death of the person that you knew.”

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. An estimated 5.5 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s, and someone new develops the disease every 66 seconds. People of all ages are affected, but 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

Gates said he spent the last year learning everything he could about Alzheimer’s disease, speaking with researchers, academics, and other industry experts. Those conversations led him to focus on five areas: understanding how the disease unfolds, figuring out how to detect it earlier, funding more innovative and lesser-known drug trials, making it easier for people to enroll in clinical trials, and using data to inform better approaches.

Gates’ investment in the Dementia Discovery Fund will help support startups as it explores “less mainstream approaches to treating dementia,” he explained.

“The first Alzheimer’s treatments might not come to fruition for another decade or more, and they will be very expensive at first. Once that day comes, our foundation might look at how we can expand access in poor countries,” Gates wrote, explaining how he might look at the issue beyond his personal investment in the future.

The announcement is timely, coinciding with National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month in November. The goal of the month is to increase awareness and drive home the fact that as many as 16 million people could live with Alzheimer’s disease by the year 2050.

“People should be able to enjoy their later years — and we need a breakthrough in Alzheimer’s to fulfill that,” Gates said. “I’m excited to join the fight and can’t wait to see what happens next.”

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/11/13/bill-gates-alzheimers-disease-donation/

Joe Biden supports Julia Louis-Dreyfus after her breast cancer announcement like only a veep could

The "veeps" got this.
Image: HBO/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

After Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ breast cancer diagnosis announcement Thursday, former Vice President Joe Biden voiced his support to the acclaimed actress who has played a fictional vice president on HBO’s Veep.

Biden assured Louis-Dreyfus that he was there for her during her cancer fight. “We Veeps stick together,” he wrote. He included a photo from a 2014 spot the two did together before the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2014. Aviators are obviously involved.

Louis-Dreyfus, who plays vice president-turned-president (briefly) Selina Meyer on the show, had produced a spoof video in character with the then-real-life veep. The two had an adventurous day in the White House and bumped into Michelle Obama, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, and called former Speaker of the House John Boehner.

Julia liked Joe’s tweet, and posted her own response shortly after.

Like Biden tweeted, we’re with you, Julia.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/09/28/joe-biden-julia-louis-dreyfus-veep-breast-cancer/

The FDA has approved a blood sugar monitor that doesnt require a finger prick

Further proof the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been warming up to modern technology — it has just approved the first continuous blood sugar monitor that doesn’t require the user to prick themselves over and over for a blood sample.

Today, the FDA cleared Abbot’s FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System, a device that uses a small sensor wire inserted under the skin to determine glucose levels in adult diabetics. Another wand-like device is then waved over the sensor to measure and give a readout of those glucose levels.

This is a milestone move for the FDA as diabetes affects nearly 30 million people in the United States who currently have to test their blood sugar by pricking themselves several times throughout the day and every time they eat.

However, the idea for a prickless blood sugar monitor isn’t new. Tech companies have increasingly shown an interest in the massive diabetics market over the past few years. Apple is rumored to be working on such a device and its CEO Tim Cook has even been spotted wearing a possible prototype that could connect to the Apple Watch.

Other companies endeavor to build something similar, including Glucowise, which has a device still under development.

However, it seems it’s not so easy to create a needleless blood sugar detector. Google tried to build a contact lens that could detect glucose but it seems the project has gone nowhere since drug company Novartis licensed the tech in 2014. Another FDA-approved device for glucose monitoring without the prick called the GlucoWatch was approved in the early 2000’s, but consumers found it cumbersome and it happened to cause a bad rash in some.

But there’s new hope today that the Freestyle monitor has worked out all the kinks. The device is intended for those 18 and older and, after a 12-hour start-up period, can be worn for up to 10 days, according to a statement on the FDA’s website.

“The FDA is always interested in new technologies that can help make the care of people living with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, easier and more manageable,” said FDA spokesperson Donald St. Pierre. “This system allows people with diabetics to avoid the additional step of finger stick calibration, which can sometimes be painful, but still provides necessary information for treating their diabetes—with a wave of the mobile reader.”

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/28/the-fda-has-approved-the-first-blood-sugar-monitor-that-doesnt-require-a-finger-prick/

Yes, climate change made Harvey and Irma worse

(CNN)The right time to talk climate change is now.

And no, changes in our planet’s atmosphere did not cause Hurricanes Harvey or Irma. But the consensus among scientistsis that the effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels and warmer oceans, made those storms far more destructive than they would have been in previous decades.
“The short version is, climate change makes these very bad storms worse,” said Sean Sublette, a meteorologist with Climate Central, a nonprofit group that studies climate change. “It’s not the approximate cause of the storm, but it makes these bad storms worse. And in the case of a really bad storm, climate change can make it totally disastrous or catastrophic.”
The data on how our warming planet specifically impacted Harvey and Irma won’t be known for quite some time. It can take months and even years to collect and analyze that information.

But the science is this: Hurricanes thrive over warm water and strengthen in intensity; oceans have warmed on an average 1 to 3 degrees Fahrenheit over the past century, and sea levels have risen about 7 inches during that time. Throw in compound flooding — the combination of rising sea levels from global warming, storm surge and extreme rainfall — and you have the perfect mix for record flooding.
We saw this in greater Houston from Harvey and along the 240-mile stretch of the Atlantic coast from Jacksonville, Florida, to Charleston, South Carolina as a result of Irma’s storm surge and heavy rains.
    Both storms were massive in scope. Harvey dumped a record 51 inches of rainfall as it sat over Texas and Louisiana, saturating the region with 27 trillion gallons of water in six days. Irma was the strongest Atlantic-basin hurricane ever recorded outside the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, spending three days as a Category 5 hurricane, the longest Category 5 on record. Irma maintained winds of 185 mph or above for a total of 37 hours, the most ever for a storm.
    “If this isn’t climate change,” Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado said as Irma bore down on Florida, “I don’t know what is.”

    ‘This brings it home’

    Last week, Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said it would be “insensitive” to talk about global warming as Irma took aim at Florida.
    Other administration officials also refused to address the matter. When asked Thursday whether the recent hurricanes had changed his views on climate change, President Trump said, “we’ve had bigger storms than this” — contradicting the hyperbolic language he had used to describe Irma days earlier as it neared Florida. In the past, Trump has said climate change is a hoax.
    But scientists said that talking climate change amid major storms is in their DNA.

    In August 2016, prolonged rainfall caused catastrophic and deadly flooding across southeastern Louisiana. A team of scientists studied the storm and determined within weeks that climate change had made it at least 40% more likely to occur.
    But the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration last month called it “premature” to conclude that human activities have had a detectable impact on Atlantic hurricane activity, although it added that global warming by the end of the century will probably make tropical storms more intense.
      Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, agreed that now is not the time to lecture hard-hit Florida and Texas residents about hurricane preparedness or how their energy consumption might impact the planet. But “now is absolutely the time to be having this conversation” about climate change’s real-time effects, she said.
      “The most dangerous myth that we have bought into as a society is not the myth that climate isn’t changing or that humans aren’t responsible,” she said. “It’s the myth that ‘It doesn’t matter to me.’ And that’s why this is absolutely the time to be talking about the way climate change amplifies or exacerbates these natural events. This brings it home.”
      Sublette and Hayhoe said they are all too familiar with the arguments of climate-change deniers. People point to images of devastating hurricanes from the early 1900s as examples of how extreme weather has always been part of coastal living. Or they say things like, “You can’t even get a weekly forecast correct, let alone predict stuff happening decades from now.”
      But Hayhoe said people shouldn’t cherry-pick scientific facts or think that their beliefs somehow trump reality.
      “You can say you don’t believe in gravity, but if you step off a cliff, you’re going down,” she said.

      ‘The public wants answers’

      Hayhoe and other climate scientists say it’s important to emphasize their belief that climate change didn’t cause Harvey and Irma.
      “No scientist ever said that,” Hayhoe said. “What you will find is that we’re basically saying the same thing, which is that climate change exacerbates those risks” posed by the storms.

      For example, Tropical Storm Allison dumped more than 30 inches of rain over Texas in 2001, causing widespread flooding around Houston. But Harvey was an even bigger storm, fueled by warmer waters, than was Allison. As a result, it dumped more than 50 inches of rain on the region, causing massive flooding stretching more than 150 miles from Houston to Lake Charles, Louisiana.
      “Are Irma and Harvey affected by climate change? Absolutely,” said CNN senior meteorologist Brandon Miller, who has studied global warming for more than a decade.
        “But everything in the atmosphere now is impacted by the fact that it’s warmer than it’s ever been,” Miller said. “There’s more water vapor in the atmosphere. The ocean is warmer. And all of that really only pushes the impact in one direction, and that is worse: higher surge in storms, higher rainfall in storms.”

          Irma’s destructive path through the Caribbean

        There’s some debate among scientists as to whether future tropical storms will be stronger or more frequent.
        The intensity, frequency and duration of North Atlantic hurricanes have increased since the early 1980s, according to the most recent National Climate Assessment, a periodic report by a team of more than 300 scientists and other experts. The 2014 report also found that the frequency of the strongest storms — Category 4 and 5 hurricanes — has increased in recent decades.
        But other scientists say the evidence is less conclusive.
        “The historical Atlantic hurricane record does not provide compelling evidence for a substantial greenhouse warming-induced long-term increase (in storms),” said Ryan Maue, a research meteorologist at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.
        In the future, most scientists say, there won’t necessarily be more hurricanes — just the potential for more hurricane-related flooding and destruction.
        “More than 90% of the people doing the research are in very good agreement about what’s going on,” Sublette said. “As we go forward in time, there’s going to be a tendency for the hurricanes that do form to have heavier rain and, perhaps, stronger winds.”
          Asked whether it’s appropriate to talk about climate change while hurricane victims are suffering, Sublette said, “The public wants to know, the public has the right to know, and the public wants answers. I think it’s up to us to give the most scientifically accurate information possible.”
          Hayhoe added, “You can say, ‘I don’t believe in climate change,’ but the planet is warming, humans are responsible, and the risks are becoming increasingly serious and even dangerous.”

          Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/15/us/climate-change-hurricanes-harvey-and-irma/index.html

          At least 8 dead after Irma leaves Florida nursing home with no A/C

          (CNN)Police are investigating the deaths of eight nursing home residents in Hollywood, Florida, where oppressive heat and humidity set in after Hurricane Irma knocked out much of the power in the area.

          The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills said the residents, ages 71 to 99, died “following a prolonged outage of our air conditioning system due to Hurricane Irma.”
          The center did not lose power during the storm, but it lost a transformer that powers the air conditioning, nursing home administrator Jorge Carballo said in a statement late Wednesday. He added that the center immediately contacted Florida Power & Light and continued to follow up with them for status updates on when repairs would be made. Outreach was made to local emergency officials and first responders, Carballo said, without specifying when.
            “Staff set up mobile cooling units and fans to cool the facility and continually checked on our residents’ well-being to ensure they were hydrated,” Carballo said. “We are devastated by these losses. We are fully cooperating with all authorities and regulators to assess what went wrong and to ensure our other residents are cared for.”
            CNN reached out to Florida Power & Light for its reaction to that statement and has not yet heard back.

            Questions abound

            The nursing home’s statement was the latest in a day of finger pointing among state officials, Florida Power & Light and the nursing home, leading to more questions than answers about how the sweltering conditions persisted for so long.
            Jeffrey Nova said he learned of his mother’s death Wednesday morning from a reporter who got his name and contact info from a nursing home employee. Communication with the staff had always been like “pulling teeth,” so it did not strike him as unusual that they had not been returning his calls since Sunday.
            Otherwise, he said he never experienced problems with the staff in the eight years his mother, Gail Nova, lived there.
            “The staff has never been in any way disrespectful to me or my mom,” he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “But it was always a challenge to get them to give me any input when there was things that came up with her care.”
            One resident died late Tuesday at Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills and was taken directly to a funeral home. Three more were found dead on the second floor of the facility after rescue units were called in. Four more died in hospitals after the sweltering facility was evacuated Wednesday morning in a chaotic blur of events that prompted checks of other nursing homes in the area.
            By Wednesday evening, the state had issued an emergency moratorium on the facility admitting new patients, and Hollywood Police were investigating whether any laws had been broken.
            In his latest statement, Carballo attempted to clarify some of the outstanding questions.
            “The Center and its medical and administrative staff diligently prepared for the impact of Hurricane Irma. We took part in emergency management preparedness calls with local and state emergency officials, other nursing homes and health regulators,” he said. “In compliance with state regulations, the Center did have a generator on standby in the event it would be needed to power life safety systems. The Center also had seven days of food, water, ice and other supplies, including gas for the generator.”
            Temperatures reached the 90s Tuesday in Hollywood; by Wednesday the heat index was near 100 degrees and low temperatures were in the upper 70s.
            In a statement, Richard Beltran, a spokesman for Florida Power & Light, said: “What we know now is that a portion of the facility did, in fact, have power, that there was a hospital across the parking lot from this facility and that the nursing home was required to have a permanently installed operational generator.”
            The utility said it urges facilities with patients dependent on electricity-powered equipment, and who don’t have power, to call 911 if there is a life-threatening situation.

            Calls come in

            The first rescue crews responded to a call from the facility around 3 a.m. Wednesday, for a patient in cardiac arrest. The patient was brought to the hospital and firefighters were called back to the facility at 4 a.m. to transport another patient experiencing breathing problems. Soon after, a third patient transport call came in, and the fire department sent over more crews, the City of Hollywood said in a statement.
            Police Chief Tomas Sanchez described the second floor “as excessively hot.” Hollywood Fire Chief Christopher Pratt said it was “more than likely” that heat played a factor in the residents’ conditions.
            In all, firefighters evacuated 158 people from the nursing home. Another 18 patients in an adjacent behavioral health facility also were evacuated.
            Some were brought to Memorial Regional Hospital, just across the street from the nursing center, and were treated for for respiratory distress, dehydration and heat-related issues, said Dr. Randy Katz, medical director of Memorial Regional’s emergency department.
            Hollywood Hill’s proximity to Memorial Regional was one of reasons Gail Nova stayed there, her son Jeffrey said, so she could seek care as she needed it.
            “It was literally feet away,” he said. “It fit the things she needed.”

            Governor wants answers

            Apparently, the center was in contact with the state Department of Health after Irma.
            Gov. Rick Scott said officials were in contact with the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills over the past three days. Hospital administrators were advised to call 911 if they had any reason to believe that the health or safety of patients was at risk, Scott said in a statement. Yesterday afternoon, the facility reported to the AHCA that they had power and access to fans and spot coolers provided by Memorial Healthcare.
            “I am going to aggressively demand answers on how this tragic event took place,” he said in a statement. “If they find that this facility was not meeting the state’s high standards of care, they will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
            Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration and the Department of Children and Families also launched investigations.
            The nursing home has had a list of safety violations and citations, including two for not following generator regulations in 2014 and 2016. In both instances, the nursing home corrected these deficiencies.

            Patients evacuated to hospitals

            The incident raised concerns about the welfare of residents at other nursing centers. There are 683 nursing homes in Florida with more than 84,000 beds, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, which licenses and regulates these facilities. In addition, there are more than 3,100 assisted living facilities with more than 99,000 beds.
            Florida Health Care Association, which represents 81% of Florida’s nursing centers — but not the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills — said about 150 facilities out of nearly 700 nursing facilities in the state do not have full power services restored. The association is working with the state to identify homes without power in greatest need so utility companies could prioritize them.
            As a precautionary measure, police checked 42 more nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the city of Hollywood, Sanchez said. One of them was later evacuated because of the heat.
            Police evacuated 79 residents of another nursing home in North Miami Beach on Wednesday, citing safety concerns about lack of air conditioning. Police used city trolleys to transport residents of Krystal Bay Nursing and Rehabilitation Center to another facility, a spokesman said.

            Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/13/health/florida-nursing-home-deaths/index.html

            Kate Middleton chats about mental health in video for children and parents

            Kate Middleton has spoken out about the difficulty in opening up about one’s mental health in a video aimed at children and parents. 

            Appearing in a video for charity Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, the Duchess of Cambridge explained in simple terms what “mental health” means. 

            “Mental health is how we feel and think, things that can’t really be seen but affect us everyday. And talking about them can feel difficult,” she said. 

            The Duchess’ words act by way of introduction to a short animation aimed at children to help them find the words to talk about mental health. The Duchess explained that the animation can help figure out “what to say and who to talk to when we have feelings that are too big to manage on our own.” 

            The animation gives a simple breakdown of what the term “mental health” means, and it features tips and advice from children and adults on talking about thoughts, feelings and emotions. 

            “Sometimes it’s just a simple conversation that can make things better,” Kate added. 

            Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/09/19/duchess-of-cambridge-mental-health/

            You Lied Your Way Into A Job As A Surgeon! Can You Avoid Killing Anyone Long Enough To Collect Your First Paycheck?

            Surgeons. The masters of the flesh. The gatekeepers of the organs. The doctors who get to shave patients.

            These are the green-wearing gods who know that the human body is but a chessboard, and that the nipples are the king and queen, and the belly button is the opposing king or queen.

            Today, finally, you are beginning your journey as one of them.

            You have already gone through the arduous process of becoming a surgeon. After calling the hospital over and over every day for three weeks straight and praising Tylenol in the deepest voice you could muster to whoever picked up, being hung up on by countless doctors and nurses, you finally hit the big time.

            Yesterday, you managed to get the chief of medicine on the line, who offered you a job after a mere 50 minutes of you bellowing to her about the white-and-red pill. Congratulations!

            Okay. Being a surgeon is sweet as hell. You get to wear patients’ clothes around a hospital once the chemicals put them to sleep, you can eat as many tortilla chips as you want, and you can hide all of your favorite DVDs and family heirlooms inside toxic waste bins, the one place thieving pricks are too grossed out by to steal from.

            Cool. But the best part of being a surgeon, bar none, is that incredible surgeon paycheck.

            It’s no secret that surgeons are paid well, as every single day at 8 p.m., hardworking surgeons all over the world reap the fruits of their labor: a plastic bag filled with $600, given to them by their chief of medicine on their way out the door, in addition to a goodnight kiss on the forehead.

            Exactly. So now that you’re a surgeon, you better do everything in your power to make it your $600 payday, because there is one universal stipulation that could jam you up: If a surgeon kills someone, everything completely goes to shit.

            1) For starters, once a surgeon kills someone, they are NEVER allowed back in a hospital, ever. Even if you just want to go to hang out or to meet new lovers.

            2) Your professional reference completely goes out the window. If a new job calls to ask about you, instead of a recommendation, the HR department hands the phone off to the absolute sickest pervert patient they have, and lets them air out whatever they’ve got kickin’ around up in their minds.

            3) Lastly—and this one is the worst of all—you don’t get paid a dime, which would mean all of your efforts to become a surgeon were for NOTHING.

            So, if you want to get to that sweet paycheck, you’re going to have to make it through one entire day as a surgeon without killing someone.

            The hospital. The place where people come when they are bored to take off their pants and scream. This will be your new surgeon home, and today is your first day of work. As far as anyone inside is concerned, you are now a fully qualified surgeon, so if you want those 600 clams, you’re going to have to hold your own and stay off everyone’s radar.

            “Please give me a surgery.”

            Ah, shit. A sick kid is waiting for you right inside the lobby, and he looks all kinds of fucked up.

            “I need a surgery pronto. I am dying, and it feels like none of my bones are connected to my other bones. I also have a rash that comes and goes. Please do surgery to me with your other doctor friends.”

            “If you don’t give me a surgery right now, I will scream. I will scream so loud and for so long, and I will point at you the whole time. It will go on for so long that the rest of the doctors here will have no choice but to send you to jail.”

            That was close. You’ve pissed your pants real good, and now you’re in the bathroom splashing your pants with water, the best way to clean pants that you’ve urinated in.

            “You sure know your way around cleaning a pair of pissed pants, sport. Not bad at all.”

            You look over and see that it’s the hospital’s janitor talking to you. He somehow opened the door in perfect silence while you were inside splashing your pants, and has been watching you for upwards of 90 full seconds.

            “I’ve been watching you for upwards of 90 full seconds, and I can tell just by looking at you, you’re no surgeon.”

            “Easy, easy. I’m not gonna rat you out. I’m gonna help you.

            I take it that you’re in here lying to be a surgeon, hoping to get ‘The $600 Bag Treatment,’ huh? Well, you’ve got a friend in me. I’ve seen it before, and I’ll see it again. All you gotta do is make it until 8 p.m. without killing a soul and you’re in the clear. So whadya say you come lay low with me for the rest of the day, spend some time hanging with a new bud so you don’t end up killin’ no one before you get that money?”

            “I, uh, how do you mean?” he says, visibly becoming self-conscious about the entire interaction so far. “I’m just tired today, so if I’m acting weird, that’s what that’s about, probably. Allergies are being weird, too.”

            “Follow me!” the janitor says before sprinting down the hallway. You do your best to keep up with him as he weaves in and out of patients and doctors before you finally arrive at a huge metal door. He slides open the rusty door to reveal a set of long, winding stairs that lead to a dark, desolate basement, and turns to you with a half smile.

            “It’s not delivery, it’s DiGiorno,” he says before letting out a quick, uncertain laugh, looking over his shoulder at you to kind of check in and see if you’re laughing or anything at what must have been some sort of joke.

            “That was dumb, never mind,” the janitor says, shaking his head as his shoulders slump, trying to explain his joke before slowly progressing into full-blown self-deprecation. “I was thinking, like, how in the old commercials, I’d be the delivery guy and you’re the pizza—I don’t know, forget it. It was dumb. Sorry.”

            You follow the janitor down the stairs and into the basement of the hospital, and lo and behold, it’s a full-blown bachelor’s pad! The janitor has stocked the place with some of the best things: a ping-pong table, a “Forever 27” poster, an old-timey popcorn machine, and a bunch of orange pill bottles filled with Frosted Cheerios.

            “This is my chill zone. I’m down here almost all the time, which is why the hospital is filthy and patients always seem to get sick immediately after they get better.”

            “We got all day, brother, so we could either sit down and talk about that important-looking guitar I have mounted on the wall over there, or we could stand near the stairs and wonder if Slash has ever signed a guitar and sold it for $20,000 online before, or maybe we could lay down on the ground and trade stories about the most expensive thing we’ve ever mounted on a wall. Your call.”

            “I can’t lift my arms above my waist because of a power-washer accident.”

            “You got a good eye, kid,” he says as though you brought it up completely unprompted, proudly looking up at the guitar he somehow mounted unnecessarily high on his wall.

            “Believe it or not, Slash signed that guitar, and I was lucky enough to spend all of the money I have on it. I usually don’t do this for anyone, but for you, I’ll climb all the way up there and get it if you want to hold it.”

            “I’d climb anywhere for one of my boys.”

            “I’ll put a very wet towel over them. I’m sure that will be fine.”

            You’ve killed! You’ve killed!

            You put the janitor in grave danger by selfishly asking him to grab his Slash guitar off the wall. After the janitor put a soaking-wet towel on top of his countless basement wires in order to walk over to the wall and begin his climb, he was immediately electrocuted and fell crashing to the ground without the ability to raise his arms and break his fall. It’s unclear if it was the electricity surging through his body that did him in, or if it was the way his neck snapped on a nearby stool because of the horrible, unnatural way he fell. But either way, he is definitely dead, and it is your fault.

            You’re no longer a surgeon, and you can kiss that bag of $600 goodbye.

            As you go back up the stairs and start heading toward the lobby, you can hear that he starts to follow you, but then locks himself in the bathroom you were in earlier and begins screaming at himself in the mirror for messing up what could’ve been a nice day. His screaming gets louder and louder before it comes to a halt after you hear the sound of him snapping his mop over his knee in fury.

            “I need you to give me a surgery right now.”

            Ah, damn. It’s the sick kid from earlier.

            “I feel like I’m on a boat at all hours of the day, and my elbows are dry. I need you to cut me open and drain me out, if that’s what it takes, and to please get me home by later today.”

            You pick the kid up, throw him over your shoulder, and walk through the hospital looking for a good room to cut him open in. After 20 minutes, you finally find the room with all of the surgeons in it, and you slam the kid down on the empty table they’re all staring at.

            Now all eyes are on you. You’re going to have to step up and say something pretty incredible to get all of these surgeons on your side.

            You’ve killed! You’ve killed!

            After you said that ridiculous, dumbass comment, every surgeon in the room became furious at you and began hammering you with questions about your qualifications. You tried mumbling through more Tylenol facts, which went much worse in person than it did on the phone, and somewhere during your 25-minute verbal beatdown from the other surgeons, the kid died on the table.

            You are no longer a surgeon, and you will never get a plastic bag filled with $600.

            Share Your Results

            Everyone starts nodding and smiling and patting each other on the back. Good shit.

            “Ha, nice,” a woman says, whose voice you recognize from the phone as the chief of medicine at the hospital. She quickly anesthetizes the patient to finally stop him from grabbing and clawing at everyone’s surgical masks, and within seconds the little spaz is sleeping.

            At that moment, the tallest doctor you’ve ever seen walks into the door wearing a backwards hat and confidently drinking Barq’s Root Beer out of a 2-liter bottle.

            “I’ve never seen you around here,” he says after putting the root beer down firmly into the lap of the unconscious kid and eyeing you up and down suspiciously. “Enlighten us, fresh meat. Now, what surgery are we performing on this little man, exactly?”

            Ah, this guy is onto you. Need something big here to throw everyone off your tracks.

            “Doctors, you two can be mean to each other in the parking lot all day long if you want to, but that’ll be enough fighting in my hospital,” says the chief of medicine after banging her fist down onto the kid’s chest like a gavel to get everyone’s attention.

            “This little boy is in dire need of a heart transplant. We need to start immediately.”

            “Doctors, that’ll be enough talk about whether or not there are actually types of surgeries or not, because there simply is not a correct answer,” says the chief of medicine after banging her fist down onto the kid’s chest like a gavel to get everyone’s attention.

            “This little boy is in dire need of a heart transplant. We need to start immediately.”

            “Doctors, please stop winking at each other,” says the chief of medicine after banging her fist down onto the kid’s chest like a gavel to get everyone’s attention.

            “This little boy is in dire need of a heart transplant. We need to start immediately.”

            After noticing that no one is reacting to you pissing yourself, you look around and realize that every surgeon in the room has also already pissed themselves. Then you remember that surgeons are constantly pissing themselves during surgery, like bicyclists during races, for reasons completely unknown.

            The chief of medicine takes out a toolbox from underneath the surgery-room sink and hands each surgeon a tool. She takes each tool out one by one and starts passing them down the line. One doctor gets a small shovel, one gets a large knife, another gets a pickax, and on and on it goes, until you finally end up with the flashlight!

            “Um, yeah, that’s my flashlight, pal. I’m always the flashlight man around here,” says the root-beer doctor.

            “No,” interjects the chief. “New guy can hold the flashlight today. I have a good feeling about this.”

            Your new rival is stunned. He shoots you a dirty look, threateningly crosses his thumb over his neck, and then does it again with his other thumb, but slower. Then he quietly mouths something that you didn’t really get a good read on, but from what you did see, your best guess is that he was saying something like “Fracking mountains,” or “Simply delicious.” Then he is handed the worst tool: the blood napkin, the tool that wipes up all the loose goo and pus.

            “Ah, c’mon, man. Quit it. What the hell.”

            The surgery is now well under way. The chief is slicing and dicing and moving parts around left and right. It’s pretty much a one-woman show.

            Most of the other doctors are using their tools just to kind of scrape some bones and stuff when they feel like they should get in the mix, usually after not doing anything for a couple minutes straight and getting nervous that someone will notice how they’re not really that crucial to the operation.

            You’re getting bored by the whole thing at this point, but at least you’re holding your own with these docs and, most importantly, haven’t killed anyone yet.

            Surgery still going. Getting kind of repetitive. A couple doctors shuffled out for a minute and came back with crackers, but the crackers are all gone now. You didn’t even notice they had crackers until there were only, like, four left in the sleeve, so at that point, asking for some really wouldn’t have been cool.

            Surgery is getting boring.

            Surgery is boring as hell.Your arms got tired from holding the flashlight up, so you put it down for a minute and no one seemed to notice. You’re back up now.

            Kid woke up and started screaming LOUD, but now he’s sleeping again.

            “You were scared!” “No, you were scared!” “I wasn’t scared, you were scared!” The surgeons are all ragging on each other and having fun again. Finally got some juice in the room. Whole crew got a good laugh out of that one.

            Woah, wait a minute. Oh, man. You see something inside the kid’s body. Wedged deep in between his rib cage and his liver, there looks to be something shining and throbbing, and you’re pretty sure you’re the only one who sees it.

            Two doctors broke away from the surgery about 15 minutes ago to arm wrestle on a nearby stool, and the rest of the surgeons have all one-by-one walked over to form a circle around them so they can gamble. Meanwhile, the chief is still hacking away at this kid’s organs with all of her might, and seems way too dialed-in to notice the game changer you’ve found.

            You’ve killed! You’ve killed!

            You thought you were being a hero by yanking out what you thought were some sort of wet, shining metals, but were actually the poor kid’s veins. You are no longer a surgeon, and can go ahead and kiss that sweet paycheck goodbye.

            “Those are veins. They are not ‘evil copper and metals sticking out of this poor bastard’s guts.’ Do not call them that.”

            Damn. Misread that one. The chief is totally onto you now.

            “But I appreciate you speaking your mind when you think something is amiss,” she continues, looking up and making eye contact with you for the first time. “That takes a commitment to the job that some of my other doctors lack at times,” she says, motioning to the doctors across the room who are now attempting to disguise their arm-wrestling gambling ring by draping a hospital gown over the two meaty, dueling arms.

            The chief reciprocates your unblinking eye contact and begins nodding in perfect unison with your nodding. This goes on for a good 20 seconds or so, the grunts of the two arm wrestlers and the slaps of cold, hard cash hitting the tile becoming the only sounds in the room.

            At that moment, you and the chief simultaneously feel a romantic charge between you, and it feels beautiful and right. But that romantic feeling is immediately followed by a simultaneous paternal feeling, but it’s unclear who is the parent and who is the child. Then the two feelings of physical attraction and familial protectiveness fuse together into one singular emotion, and it feels disgusting to both of you.

            “Yeah, yeah, go catch up with them. I’ll hold it down over here, cool,” the chief kind of half-mutters to herself and to you while shaking her head and getting back to surgery.

            You walk over to the gambling circle and see the two exhausted surgeons pulling and pushing as hard as they can to win. The two doctors are so evenly matched that their arms aren’t moving or shaking in the slightest. If it weren’t for the veins about to explode out of their temples and the tears streaming down their faces, you’d have no idea how intense the duel was.

            All of the other surgeons are quietly going apeshit. Almost all of them are either gently pounding their chests, gingerly slapping the ground, or shaking their fists in the air, all the while whispering bad arm-wrestling advice like “Win the skin!” or “Make him smooth!”

            It’s definitely a pretty sweet scene, and you decide that you want to get in the mix.

            As you go to ask the doctor next to you, your rival doctor steps in front and interrupts:

            “Looking to get in on the action but lacking the funds, newbie? Don’t worry, fresh meat. I got you covered. Also, we’re rival doctors, just in case that wasn’t clear.”

            Whoa, pretty cool to get a rival doctor on your first day on the job. That probably usually takes years.

            “That’s my coat over there,” he says, pointing to a white lab coat being worn by one of the arm-wrestling surgeons. “Go ahead and take my wallet out of the pocket and take out as much money as you want.”

            He then lets out a weird little laugh and looks around to see if anyone else is laughing. One other doctor did laugh, but he’s in the middle of a conversation with another surgeon, so you’re pretty sure the laugh had nothing to do with your rival.

            “I have coats all over this hospital that you wouldn’t know a thing about,” he says, raising his fist up to your chin real quick, trying to get you to flinch. You stand your ground and don’t flinch at all, though, and he sheepishly brings his fist back down to his side.

            You’ve killed! You’ve killed!

            In a brilliantly executed scheme, your rival tricked you into reaching into the coat of one of the doctors who is arm wrestling. When the arm wrestler saw you trying to steal his wallet, his mix of adrenaline and dangerously high blood pressure caused his heart to explode.

            Your misconduct has resulted in a death, meaning you can no longer be a surgeon, and you will never see that sweet, sweet bag o’ cash.

            Plastic fibres found in tap water around the world, study reveals

            Exclusive: Tests show billions of people globally are drinking water contaminated by plastic particles, with 83% of samples found to be polluted

            Microplastic contamination has been found in tap water in countries around the world, leading to calls from scientists for urgent research on the implications for health.

            Scores of tap water samples from more than a dozen nations were analysed by scientists for an investigation by Orb Media, who shared the findings with the Guardian. Overall, 83% of the samples were contaminated with plastic fibres.

            The US had the highest contamination rate, at 94%, with plastic fibres found in tap water sampled at sites including Congress buildings, the US Environmental Protection Agencys headquarters, and Trump Tower in New York. Lebanon and India had the next highest rates.

            European nations including the UK, Germany and France had the lowest contamination rate, but this was still 72%. The average number of fibres found in each 500ml sample ranged from 4.8 in the US to 1.9 in Europe.

            The new analyses indicate the ubiquitous extent of microplastic contamination in the global environment. Previous work has been largely focused on plastic pollution in the oceans, which suggests people are eating microplastics via contaminated seafood.

            We have enough data from looking at wildlife, and the impacts that its having on wildlife, to be concerned, said Dr Sherri Mason, a microplastic expert at the State University of New York in Fredonia, who supervised the analyses for Orb. If its impacting [wildlife], then how do we think that its not going to somehow impact us?

            A
            A magnified image of clothing microfibres from washing machine effluent. One study found that a fleece jacket can shed as many as 250,000 fibres per wash. Photograph: Courtesy of Rozalia Project

            A separate small study in the Republic of Ireland released in June also found microplastic contamination in a handful of tap water and well samples. We dont know what the [health] impact is and for that reason we should follow the precautionary principle and put enough effort into it now, immediately, so we can find out what the real risks are, said Dr Anne Marie Mahon at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, who conducted the research.

            Mahon said there were two principal concerns: very small plastic particles and the chemicals or pathogens that microplastics can harbour. If the fibres are there, it is possible that the nanoparticles are there too that we cant measure, she said. Once they are in the nanometre range they can really penetrate a cell and that means they can penetrate organs, and that would be worrying. The Orb analyses caught particles of more than 2.5 microns in size, 2,500 times bigger than a nanometre.

            Microplastics can attract bacteria found in sewage, Mahon said: Some studies have shown there are more harmful pathogens on microplastics downstream of wastewater treatment plants.

            Plastic fibres found in tap water across the world

            Microplastics are also known to contain and absorb toxic chemicals and research on wild animals shows they are released in the body. Prof Richard Thompson, at Plymouth University, UK, told Orb: It became clear very early on that the plastic would release those chemicals and that actually, the conditions in the gut would facilitate really quite rapid release. His research has shown microplastics are found in a third of fish caught in the UK.

            The scale of global microplastic contamination is only starting to become clear, with studies in Germany finding fibres and fragments in all of the 24 beer brands they tested, as well as in honey and sugar. In Paris in 2015, researchers discovered microplastic falling from the air, which they estimated deposits three to 10 tonnes of fibres on the city each year, and that it was also present in the air in peoples homes.

            This research led Frank Kelly, professor of environmental health at Kings College London, to tell a UK parliamentary inquiry in 2016: If we breathe them in they could potentially deliver chemicals to the lower parts of our lungs and maybe even across into our circulation. Having seen the Orb data, Kelly told the Guardian that research is urgently needed to determine whether ingesting plastic particles is a health risk.

            The new research tested 159 samples using a standard technique to eliminate contamination from other sources and was performed at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. The samples came from across the world, including from Uganda, Ecuador and Indonesia.

            How microplastics end up in drinking water is for now a mystery, but the atmosphere is one obvious source, with fibres shed by the everyday wear and tear of clothes and carpets. Tumble dryers are another potential source, with almost 80% of US households having dryers that usually vent to the open air.

            We really think that the lakes [and other water bodies] can be contaminated by cumulative atmospheric inputs, said Johnny Gasperi, at the University Paris-Est Creteil, who did the Paris studies. What we observed in Paris tends to demonstrate that a huge amount of fibres are present in atmospheric fallout.

            Plastic fibres may also be flushed into water systems, with a recent study finding that each cycle of a washing machine could release 700,000 fibres into the environment. Rains could also sweep up microplastic pollution, which could explain why the household wells used in Indonesia were found to be contaminated.

            In Beirut, Lebanon, the water supply comes from natural springs but 94% of the samples were contaminated. This research only scratches the surface, but it seems to be a very itchy one, said Hussam Hawwa, at the environmental consultancy Difaf, which collected samples for Orb.

            This
            This planktonic arrow worm, Sagitta setosa, has eaten a blue plastic fibre about 3mm long. Plankton support the entire marine food chain. Photograph: Richard Kirby/Courtesy of Orb Media

            Current standard water treatment systems do not filter out all of the microplastics, Mahon said: There is nowhere really where you can say these are being trapped 100%. In terms of fibres, the diameter is 10 microns across and it would be very unusual to find that level of filtration in our drinking water systems.

            Bottled water may not provide a microplastic-free alternative to tapwater, as the they were also found in a few samples of commercial bottled water tested in the US for Orb.

            Almost 300m tonnes of plastic is produced each year and, with just 20% recycled or incinerated, much of it ends up littering the air, land and sea. A report in July found 8.3bn tonnes of plastic has been produced since the 1950s, with the researchers warning that plastic waste has become ubiquitous in the environment.

            We are increasingly smothering ecosystems in plastic and I am very worried that there may be all kinds of unintended, adverse consequences that we will only find out about once it is too late, said Prof Roland Geyer, from the University of California and Santa Barbara, who led the study.

            Mahon said the new tap water analyses raise a red flag, but that more work is needed to replicate the results, find the sources of contamination and evaluate the possible health impacts.

            She said plastics are very useful, but that management of the waste must be drastically improved: We need plastics in our lives, but it is us that is doing the damage by discarding them in very careless ways.

            Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/06/plastic-fibres-found-tap-water-around-world-study-reveals

            Apple reportedly in talks with Aetna to bring the Apple Watch to millions of customers

            Apple and Aetna have held several secret meetings to discuss offering the Apple Watch to Aetnas 23 million customers, according to CNBC.

            These meetings, held on Thursday and Friday of last week in Southern California,reportedly involved top executives from both companies, including Myoung Cha, who is in charge of Apples special health projects, and hospital chief medical information officers from across the country.

            Aetna could roll out the plan as early as next year, according to a CNBC source.

            Weve reached out to both Apple and Aetna and will be sure to update you if and when we hear more. So far Aetna has declined to comment.

            This is not the first time Apple has joined up with the health insurance company. Aetna already offers the Apple Watch to its 50,000 employees. Aetna also announced last September it would be offering the Apple Watch to select large employers and these talks could be an extension of that announcement.

            Aetna now reportedly has ambitions to offer it to a wider field adding large swaths of new health data to pull from and giving the health insurance company insight into the activities of its customers.

            The deal also would be beneficial to Apple, which heavily promotes the Apple Watch for health and fitness and briefly became the top wearable vendor this year, beating out Fitbit before Xiaomi took the top spot in Q2.

            Apple also has been secretly hiring biomedical engineers and beefing up work on sensors for tracking blood sugar levels and detection of other diseases, which would come in handy for any health insurer wanting data-driven insights into its customer base.

            Of course, whether customers will be willing to give up that information in exchange for the Apple Watch remains to be seen.

            Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/14/apple-reportedly-in-talks-with-aetna-to-bring-the-apple-watch-to-millions-of-customers/

            Terry Pratchett’s unfinished novels destroyed by steamroller

            Unpublished works are lost for ever with crushing of computer hard drive as the late fantasy novelist had instructed

            The unfinished books of Sir Terry Pratchett have been destroyed by a steamroller, following the late fantasy novelists wishes.

            Pratchetts hard drive was crushed by a vintage John Fowler & Co steamroller named Lord Jericho at the Great Dorset Steam Fair, ahead of the opening of a new exhibition about the authors life and work.

            Pratchett, famous for his colourful and satirical Discworld series, died in March 2015 after a long battle with Alzheimers disease.

            After his death, fellow fantasy author Neil Gaiman, Pratchetts close friend and collaborator , told the Times that Pratchett had wanted whatever he was working on at the time of his death to be taken out along with his computers, to be put in the middle of a road and for a steamroller to steamroll over them all.

            On Friday, Rob Wilkins, who manages the Pratchett estate, tweeted from an official Twitter account that he was about to fulfil my obligation to Terry along with a picture of an intact computer hard drive following up with a tweet that showed the hard drive in pieces.

            The symbolism of the moment, which captured something of Pratchetts unique sense of humour, was not lost on fans, who responded on Twitter with a wry melancholy, though some people expressed surprise that the author who had previously discussed churning through computer hardware at a rapid rate would have stored his unfinished work on an apparently older model of hard drive.

            The hard drive will go on display as part of a major exhibition about the authors life and work, Terry Pratchett: HisWorld, which opens at the Salisbury museum in September.

            The author of over 70 novels, Pratchett was diagnosed with Alzheimers disease in 2007.

            He became an advocate for assisted dying, giving a moving lecture on the subject, Shaking Hands With Death, in 2010, and presenting a documentary for the BBC called Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die.

            He continued to write and publish, increasingly with the assistance of others, until his death in 2015. Two novels were published posthumously: The Long Utopia (a collaboration with Stephen Baxter) and The Shepherds Crown, the final Discworld novel.

            The Salisbury museum exhibition will run from 16 September until 13 January 2018.

            Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/aug/30/terry-pratchett-unfinished-novels-destroyed-streamroller