Flint water never tested for Legionella

Compliments of Detroit News 

Sixteen months after it was identified as a likely source of a deadly Legionnaires’ outbreak, Flint’s water supply still hasn’t been tested for the Legionella bacteria.

None of five government agencies aware of the outbreak in Genesee County investigated the water system for Legionella despite concerns raised by the county’s Health Department over the water as early as October 2014. That was six months after the city left Detroit’s system and began drawing its water from the Flint River.

Experts say the lack of a water evaluation made it impossible to know if the city’s new water source contributed to the respiratory disease outbreak that sickened 87 people between May 2014 and November 2015, killing nine. And to date, no source for the bacteria has been determined.

In March 2015, the state Department of Environmental Quality considered taking samples from Flint’s water system to be tested for Legionella at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ laboratory. But neither agency followed through.

That same month, the Environmental Protection Agency also suggested city water should be tested for Legionella during an EPA meeting about the outbreak and expressed that opinion to the DEQ in an email reviewed by The Detroit News. Again, no testing was done.

Experts, including Marc Edwards, the Virginia Tech professor whose research uncovered the problem of lead contamination in Flint water, argue the municipal water should have been tested for Legionella because the outbreak could be tied to changes in the water system. Genesee County Environmental Health Supervisor Jim Henry also called for such testing. Experts say had the source of the Legionella been confirmed as the water system, targeted chlorine treatments could have been applied to kill the bacteria.

“MDEQ should have done such testing, especially after they were alerted to Legionella problems by the Genesee County Health Department,” Edwards said. “Better yet, they should have allowed CDC to come in and do that testing for them.”

Besides the state’s DEQ and health department, the federal EPA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also confirm to The News they’ve done no water testing for Legionella in Flint. The Genesee County Health Department says it does not have the expertise to do so.

The reasons why Flint’s water supply wasn’t tested aren’t entirely clear, although the local, state and federal agencies now largely blame each other or claim that typical procedures don’t involve testing municipal water supplies.

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Narcissism: Its Relation to Social Media and Animal Cruelty

By Paris Finnie 

Let us journey back. To a moment before the common era, over the atlantic ocean. To the country of greece, directly under the beautiful face of Narcissus. The Story of Narcissus is a simple one. He so in love with the way he looked. Found himself enamored by the discovery of his reflection in a pool of water. Unaware, he drew himself closer and closer to the reflection in the water until submerged. Narcissus unable to capture his desire, drowned in the pool that had casted his reflection.  In two recent incidents lives were lost to similar pursuits of Narcissus, but instead of a lake, it was the selfie which claimed the lives of the unsuspecting.

Visitors at Yunnan Wild Animal Park holding a peacock as they pose for photos. Visitors at Yunnan Wild Animal Park holding a peacock as they pose for photos. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM CCTVNEWS'S FACEBOOK PAGE

Over the course of the Chinese New Year many tourist saw the zoo as a great vacation space, perhaps to be visit the monkey in its new year popularity. The Kunming Zoo also hosts a petting section. The peacocks in the area with their bountiful feathers seemed to have caught the eye of onlookers. Tourist after tourist manhandled the tiny avians for a picture opportunity. Plucking their tail feathers, tossing them around, and forcibly grabbing them. The trauma resulted in shock to to the birds, killing them as the park closed. The death by selfie in china was not the  first of its kind. A similar story unfolded in Argentina.

 

The La Plata dolphin being held aloft amid a crowd of people on the beach at Santa Teresita in Buenos Aires.The La Plata dolphin being held aloft amid a crowd of people on the beach at Santa Teresita in Buenos Aires.PHOTO: HERMAN CORIA/FACEBOOK

A baby dolphin suffocated to death after a crowd of beach goers suspended it in the air grabbing for it in attempts to take pictures. In the babies last moments of life the crowed tossed the dolphin in the sand and slowly dissipated from the spectacle, while a few stragglers took any photos they could.  Once again innocence is marred by another’s devotion to self indulgence. To no surprise recent studies show how dangerous self indulgence can be, especially in the form of The Selfie.

Research has shown that the desire to take pictures of yourself can cause narcissism, mental illness, addiction and even suicide. The mental damage does not pertain to those who occasionally take a photo because there is no one around or who don’t trust a stranger with their device. In the spectrum of potential mental instability, people who should be weary are those individuals who risk their safety while driving, the lives of animals, or whose Instagram is 80% shot in the bathroom mirror. Perhaps the Greeks were trying to tells us something thousands of years ago. Either way it is time to take a step back from the over self indulgence. It is a clear sign of the digital age when one has to ask “When was the last time I took a selfie?”

Source:

Straits Time 

Liberty Voice 

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NSA Targets World Leaders for US Geopolitical Interests

Compliments of Wikileaks 

Today, 23 February 2016 at 00:00 GMT [updated 12:20 GMT], WikiLeaks publishes highly classified documents showing that the US National Security Agency bugged a private climate change strategy meeting; between UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin; singled out the Chief of Staff of UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for long term interception targetting his Swiss phone; singled out the Director of the Rules Division of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Johann Human, and targetted his Swiss phone for long term interception; stole sensitive Italian diplomatic cables detailing how Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu implored Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to help patch up his relationship with US President Barack Obama, who was refusing to talk to Netanyahu; intercepted top EU and Japanese trade ministers discussing their secret strategy and red lines to stop the US “extort[ing]” them at the WTO Doha arounds (the talks subsequently collapsed); explicitly targetted five other top EU economic officials for long term interception, including their French, Austrian and Belgium phone numbers; explicitly targetted the phones of Italy’s ambassador to NATO and other top Italian officials for long term interception; and intercepted details of a critical private meeting between then French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Merkel and Berluscon, where the latter was told the Italian banking system was ready to “pop like a cork”.

Some of the intercepts are classified TOP-SECRET COMINT-GAMMA and are the most highly classified documents ever published by a media organization.

WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange said “Today we proved the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s private meetings over how to save the planet from climate change were bugged by a country intent on protecting its largest oil companies. Back in 2010 we revealed that the then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had ordered her diplomats to steal the UN leadership’s biometric data and other information. The US government has signed agreements with the UN that it will not engage in such conduct. It will be interesting to see the UN’s reaction, because if the United Nations Secretary General, whose communications and person have legal inviolability, can be repeatedly attacked without consequence then everyone is at risk.”

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Yahoo,One Of The most Powerful Internet Companies is Officially For Sale

Compliments of Mashable 

Yahoo has admitted what everyone already knew — the company is up for sale.

And to make sure it’s taken seriously, Yahoo is bringing in outsiders to drum up interest.

The company announced on Friday the formation of “a Strategic Review Committee of independent directors” to explore “strategic alternatives.” Put more plainly, Yahoo has hired bankers and lawyers to field offers that can be presented to the company’s board of directors.

The moves come after a particularly dark time for Yahoo, marked by layoffs that are cutting around 15% of its workforce and include the shuttering of many of its content verticals such as food, health and travel.

Yahoo and its CEO Marissa Mayer have faced increasing pressure from activist investors to sell what has been referred to as its “core assets” but really just means its actual business.

Despite remaining a major and powerful web destination, driven by the power of its curated, news-focused homepage, Yahoo’s core web advertising business suffered along with the rest of the media industry and efforts to grow into newer areas such as mobile and video have been middling.

The formation of an independent board is a step that could force the company to act if a buyer is found.

Meanwhile, Yahoo has held a sizable stake in Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba, something that made its stock very appealing as a way for U.S. investors to invest by proxy into the company before it went public.

Now that Alibaba is a publicly traded company, Yahoo has been pushed to figure out a way to sell its stake in a way that returns money to shareholders while avoiding a major tax hit. One way to do that is to sell Yahoo’s core business to another company.

Maynard Webb, chairman of the board of Yahoo, said that the company is looking at this strategy, noting it could be the best thing for Yahoo shareholders. Investors tepidly agreed, sending Yahoo shares up 1.7%.

“We believe that pursuing these complementary paths is in the best interests of our shareholders and will maximize value,” Webb said in a press release.

Yahoo had previously announced in its most recent quarterly earnings release that it would be considering “strategic alternatives,” which is code for selling to the highest bidder.

In thia March 3, 1997 file photo, Yahoo! co-founders David Filo, left, and Jerry Yang hold up a fish prop in Filo’s office in Santa Clara, Calif.

IMAGE: ASSOCIATED PRESS/PAUL SAKUMA

Friday’s announcement comes after some doubt had been expressed over whether Yahoo’s leaders had really been that interested in a sale.

SunTrust analyst Robert Peck on Thursday said in a note that some possible buyers had found little interest from Yahoo, “making them question the seriousness of the firm and management in seeking strategic alternatives.”

That sluggishness has been attributed to Mayer, who has publicly and privately shown little interest in making a deal, according to Re/code.

In what could best be described as a bit of mixed messaging, Mayer said that the company would consider a sale but also continue to execute her plans

“As both shareholders and employees, all of us here at Yahoo want to return this iconic company to greatness,” she said in the press release. “We can best achieve this by working with the committee to pursue various strategic alternatives while, in parallel, aggressively executing our strategic plan to strengthen our growth businesses and improve efficiency and profitability.”

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Commercial Space Flights Coming Soon, Eat Your Heart Out Nasa.

By Paris Finnie 

Virgin has announced that they will be launching their new commercial space shuttle. SpaceShipTwo Will be unveiled Today in the Mojave Air and Space Port. The companies name is a little misleading, for this is not their first rendezvous with a commercial space shuttles.

The Original, named Enterprise, was decommissioned in 2014 after it erupted in flames above the Mojave Desert killing one test pilot and hospitalizing the other. The accident greatly slowed Virgins progression of a reliable space vehicle, but to their ambition was no cessation.  With aims of being the first human commercial space flight in history, the companies engineers are working tirelessly to guarantee a successful flight plan.

The procedure goes as  followed. The ship will be sent and released by WhiteKnightTwo roughly 50,000 feet in the air, right after SpaceShipTwo’s rockets will ignite launching all passengers 62 miles above earth. The journey will provide every individual with a glimpse of earth suspended in the vastness of the galaxy, and weightlessness comparable to Tom Hanks Experience filming apollo 13.

If you have a craving for adrenaline, vertigo pills handy, and a large checkbook. The $250,000 seat has an intergalactic ticket with your name on it. If that price is too high, perhaps you may want to wait for New Shepard space system or XCOR Aerospace to finish their crafts. We however, cannot promise your mobile service will be as strong on these two other carriers.

Source: Mashable 

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Porter Ranch Gas Leak Permanently Capped

Compliments of L.A. Times 

State officials on Thursday announced that the leaking natural gas well in Porter Ranch that spewed plumes of methane and other compounds into the atmosphere has been sealed.

“We have good news. The Division of Oil and Gas has confirmed that the leak in the Aliso Canyon storage field is permanently sealed,” Jason Marshall, chief deputy director of the state Department of Conservation, said at a news conference at a Southern California Gas Co. office in Chatsworth.

The news put an end to four months of foul air that sickened many residents and forced thousands of people to relocate to temporary housing far from the leaking well. Crewsreached the leak last week and injected heavy fluids and then cement to seal it.

Dennis Arriola, president and chief executive of Southern California Gas, said the company would develop a plan to mitigate the damage the leaking well did to the environment and will support “forward-looking” regulations.

“To the residents of Porter Ranch and the surrounding communities, I want to tell you I recognize the disruption that this gas leak has caused to your lives,” Arriola said. “I know there is nothing that I can say that will change the past, but I know that measurable actions actually speak louder than words.”

The company said in a statement that the leaking well had been taken out of service. A local assistance center that will help residents and businesses recover from the leak will open Friday morning at the Mason Recreation Center in Chatsworth.

Residents who moved out of their homes were notified by phone, text and email Thursday morning that they have eight days to vacate their temporary housing that the gas company has been paying for. By early Thursday, residents of 1,800 households had returned to their homes, said Gillian Wright, vice president of customer service for the utility.

An estimated 4,000 reimbursement checks were to be issued on Thursday to residents who incurred expenses related to the gas leak, she said.

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To Key or Not to Key: Apple’s Battle Against F.B.I’s Request Of A Backdoor

By: Paris Finnie 

In December of last year The United States was shaken to the core by a massive shooting in San Bernardino California. Media and Investigators settled on two shooters, Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik. Although witnesses claim three shooters were present and we have only brought two to justice is irrelevant to this story. What is relevant however, is that Farook was the owner on an iPhone 5C. That phone according to our government is a major piece of evidence and are demanding Apple create a backdoor decryption to access Farook’s device.

iPhone has gained fame amongst its users and infamy amongst hacker groups due to Apple’s OS heavy encryption.  In its consecutive search for evidence and claims to better our national security. The Federal Bureau of Investigations has requested by court order for Apple software engineers to build a key that would allow access passed the companies fortresslike encryption. Tim Cook, Apples CEO who like Steve Jobs recognized George Orwell’s claims in 1984 refuses to comply.

Tim Cook says, ” The court order an ‘unprecedented step’ by the federal government. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.” Which response one could imagine the F.B.I. did not take lightly. Cook then went on to say, “The F.B.I. may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a back door, and while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.” Prosecutors and F.B.I. responded with the All Writs Act of 1789. The law allows for a judge to require any third party to execute a court order, but Marc Zwillinger, a lawyer for Apple, found that

the Writ could not be interpreted to, “force a company to take possession of a device outside of its possession or control and perform services on that device, particularly where the company does not perform such services as part of its business and there may be alternative means of obtaining the requested information available to the government.”

The comfort comes in the company whose smart phones contribute to 96% of the market fights for our privacy rights. The case is ongoing and the controversy remains. If Apple is forced to fold, you may want to consider cleaning out the NSFW material on your device.

Source: NYTimes 

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Why American Students Are Flocking to Germany

Compliments of NBC

How do you say “sign me up” in German?

The number of Americans studying in Germany has risen sharply, recent figures show, driven in part by the low cost of higher education compared to the United States.

More than 10,000 U.S. students are presently enrolled in the country’s higher education programs, according to data from the Institute for International Education. It’s an increase of almost 9 percent compared to the previous academic year, and 25 percent more than in 2008-2009.

Natasha Turner, 25, from Rochester, New York, came to Germany on an exchange program three years ago but decided to stay when she realized how “cheap it was to study here.”

She is now working on her master’s degree in American Studies at the University of Bonn.

“For my undergraduate studies in the United States, I needed a lot of loans,” she said. “After my studies in Germany I essentially finish with no loans at all.”

Students in Germany pay a fee to cover university administrative costs and to support student unions. This “semester fee” rarely exceeds $250, and in many cases it also covers the cost of books and public transportation.

Minnesotan Sarah Johnson, also a University of Bonn master’s student, has a total monthly expenditure of $600 in Germany — or $7,200 per year. That compares to $20-30,000 dollars in tuition fees alone she would have paid back home.

It “makes all the difference” to Johnson, 25, who does not get any financial support or scholarship and has a part-time job as a hotel receptionist. Besides having the advantage of learning a foreign language and a different culture, “the system is very easy to pay for,” she said.

However, officials say the attraction is not just about the money.

“Germany and its universities have quite a good reputation in the United States,” said Dorothea Rueland, Secretary General of the German Academic Exchange Service. “And we have a huge increase in courses taught in English and this obviously makes it easier for American students to channel into the German system.”

More than 1,100 all-English-language classes across numerous fields have been established in recent years.

Berlin, with its three universities, is among the most popular destinations with more than 1,000 American students, followed by universities in the southern German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, which have enjoyed official tie-ups with U.S. colleges for many years.

In the U.S., fees for tuition at public and private higher education facilities have risen significantly in recent decades.

The cost of Germany’s essentially free public university education is met by the federal states and the central government. In 2015, state expenditure on higher education accounted for almost one percent of Germany’s gross domestic product.

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Pay Up or Pushed Out: People Arrested For Outstanding Loans

By Paris Finnie 

Just when you thought Navient could not pursue you any further. The Federal Government has begun hiring private debt collectors to retrieve outstanding loan agreements. How you ask? With guns and tactical uniforms.

Paul Aker a Houston resident was enjoying his day home, when seven U.S Marshals in tactical gear and assault rifles arrived to his door. Without his rights read nor legal representation  Aker was handcuffed and placed into a jail. Aker after an hour was released from his cell and brought to a judge to arrange his payment plan. The amount owed was $1,500 and the outstanding balance was from 30 years prior. Aker was the first of many arrests, for the government as announced there are still 1,500 warrants to people who have not paid their student loans.

Source: Fox 

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Fallout 5 Chinese Edition?

By Paris Finnie 

Recently China was successful in activating a plasma reactor. The Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak ( EAST) was able to outshine Germany’s Wendelstein X-7 Stellerator, by bringing their reactor to 90 million fahrenheit for 102 seconds.

China’s reactor took an interesting design approach compared to Germany’s extremely complex design. The Donut shaped reactor uses a magnetic field to balance the nuclear plasma. Perhaps EAST is more efficacious because the temperature reaches three times the temperature of the sun and was able to sustain activation 102 times the duration of Germany.

China’s  plasma data acquisition is of great resource. France hopes to use China’s discoveries as they continue to build The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). If these ventures prove successful we can be looking at a completely new sustainable energy source.  ITER expects for every 400 seconds of operation 500 megawatts of power. To put that into perspective, charging a Tesla Model S from drained to full costs 40 kWh. In one megawatt there are 1000 kilowatts, therefore you can charge 12,500 Teslas with the power ITER can generate in less than ten minutes.

The scientist and engineers spearheading this endeavor are being extremely meticulous within reason. The projections of completion are within the decade, so there is no need to find an Vault-Tec representatives any time soon.

Source: Yahoo.com 

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