Taiwan Flu Vaccines Found To Suffer From Impurities, Have Been Put On Hold

The influenza virus has been particularly nasty in the last few years: in 2017, the U.S. death toll was the highest it had been in four decades. With such a high risk, the need for influenza vaccines worldwide has skyrocketed. While many inoculations have gone off without a hitch, Taiwan is facing an unsettling prospect. After discovering that two batches of influenza vaccines had been found to contain impurities, they were returned to the manufacturer. According to Wang Po-yu, a senior specialist at the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (TFDA), the vials contained “suspicious white and black suspended matter”; the normal color should be colorless and transparent. Bad batches arise from a number of beginnings: a mistake or missed step in the manufacturing process, contamination with bacteria (or other viruses), and failure to maintain temperature controls. That last one is the hardest to manage due to the extensive travel involved in vaccine transportation. Since vaccines need to be stored at an ideal temperature, and some of them are traveling from the U.S. to Asia, it can be increasingly difficult to guarantee that they’re kept precisely at that temperature through the long journey, and as such they may not be functional anymore upon arrival. Breakdowns can occur within laboratories as well if the three proper temperature guidelines are not followed: store the vaccine at the right temperature, record that temperature daily when the workday begins, and check it every time the refrigerator or freezer door is opened. The nervousness surrounding the impure batches forced TFDA to put two more batches on hold pending investigation into the problem. They had been imported, along with 6 million other flu vaccines, from French vaccine manufacturer Sanofi and Taiwan-based vaccine maker Adimmune Corporation during 2018. Fortunately, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-Hsiang confirmed ‘that none of the vaccines from the two batches have been distributed to local health centers.’ However, it is extremely likely that those in desperate need of their vaccines were forced to wait longer than is...

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Good Guy Griswold: Man Attempts To Rescue ‘Christmas Vacation’ Dummy Hanging From Roof

With the holiday season upon us, people are getting their property decorations ready for a lit holiday. You’ve certainly seen some of the extravagant setups that people put together with intricate, dazzling light displays. Americans spend $47.8 billion on home and garden retail, not least among these are holiday decorations. This is especially true from October to January. Homes everywhere are increasingly decked with pumpkins, turkeys, boughs of holly, and the like. As it gets colder and snow starts falling, people clambering around their roofs to hang lights are more prone to injuring themselves than in other seasons. They say 80% of illnesses are preventable with early intervention, but the same doesn’t ring true when it comes to gravity induced accidents. Unless, of course, there’s a good-hearted person around to rescue someone from a fall. This is exactly what happened in Texas. One man came to the rescue of what he assumed to be a person in danger, who appeared to have fallen from their ladder and was dangling high up from their own roof gutter. Alfred Norwood Jr. was driving by the residence of the Heerlein family and noticed a man hanging from the gutter with a tipped ladder just out of reach. He stopped and jumped into action. All of this was caught on the Heerleins’ home security camera, where you can hear him shouting up to the helpless man. What Norwood didn’t realize was that the Heerleins had decorated their house with one of the famous scenes from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation where Clark Griswold — played by Chevy Chase — falls off his ladder while hanging lights and dangles helplessly from his own gutter. “Oh, mister, please hold on! Can you reach it?” cries Norwood in the footage, shuffling the ladder toward the person, still unaware he’s talking to an inanimate Clark Griswold. Since dummies don’t respond, Norwood eventually figures it out and leaves the scene. The Heerlein’s saw the footage and reached out to Norwood. They got him a gift card and thanked him for being caring enough to stop for a rescue, albeit an unnecessary one. The Heerlein’s have since put up a sign telling passersby that the decorative setup is not real. “Hundreds of people drive by this house every day, seeing that mannequin hanging up there and I’m standing by the one guy who cared enough to save somebody’s life. Thank you,” Heerlein said to Norwood in an interview they had together. And that’s the spirit of the holiday...

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NBA Signs Breakthrough Deal For Sportsbook Data Distribution

The North American sports industry is expected to bring in roughly $69.4 billion from ticket and merchandise sales, sponsorship fees, and media rights. Thanks to gambling, however, sports leagues could soon cash in even more annual earnings. According to ESPN, the National Basketball Association (NBA) is partnering with sports data providers Sportradar and Genius Sports for nonexclusive rights to distribute official NBA and WNBA betting data. Now, real-time, official NBA data will be used to generate in-game betting odds, which can then be distributed to licensed sports book across the United States. This is the first ever arrangement for a major American sports league. “We feel strongly that official NBA betting data provides the best experience for our fans,” said Scott Kaufman-Ross, NBA vice president and head of fantasy and gaming. “We want all legal operators to be using official data, and this framework ensures that there is a competitive marketplace for it.” The NBA has already had a relationship with Sportradar, as they inked a deal in 2016 for distribution of the league’s data and statistics. “We are excited to continue working with the NBA on this multi-faceted partnership that now also covers the U.S.,” added Carsten Koerl, CEO of Sportradar. “We have invested in this partnership as it is not only a tremendous opportunity for us, but ultimately for the fans of the NBA.” According to Sports Illustrated, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May, striking down restrictions on national sports betting outside of the state of Nevada. Sports gambling as become much more prevalent since the ruling — and sports leagues have taken advantages. In addition to the NBA’s data distribution partnership, the NBA, WNBA, National Hockey League (NHL), and Major League Baseball (MLB) have announced partnerships with MGM Resorts International, as...

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Indoor Agriculture On The Rise As Technology Advances
Dec03

Indoor Agriculture On The Rise As Technology Advances

In recent years, indoor agriculture has allowed for faster crop growth and more efficient use of resources in areas where conservation is critical. New advancements in technology have allowed indoor farming to not only become easier but also more cost-effective, leading some to even use indoor growing methods within their own homes. LED And Indoor Farming Technology As LED technology advances and becomes more readily available, more and more farming and agricultural operations are moving indoors. LED light technology has now reached a point where they can change how plants grow, when they flower, how they taste and even their levels of vitamins and antioxidants. This amount of control over the growth of crops has allowed farmers to move more of their operations into high-tech indoor agricultural spaces. Benefits Of Indoor Farming Compared to standard agricultural practices, indoor farming can be incredibly beneficial to both the communities it takes place in and the environment as a whole. One of the main advantages of indoor agriculture is its higher yield compared with conventional farming, due to the high degree of control over the growing process and the fact that crops can be grown year round. Additionally, indoor agriculture allows farming to take place in communities that otherwise might suffer from a lack of available fresh food, such as in urban areas like Detroit, now home to several non-profit and for-profit urban farms. Indoor Growing On The Rise As technology becomes more affordable, more people are actively including indoor agricultural techniques in their homes. IKEA has even recently launched a series of indoor growing units, allowing consumers to grow their own select vegetables for incredibly low prices. The company has recently suggested that they intend to continue releasing products and working with designers to promote indoor agriculture. As technology continues to advance, it is likely we will see more of this new and innovative type of farming worldwide. Indoor agriculture is becoming increasingly affordable and available to more people than ever before. What this means for the overall agricultural and farming industries, however, remains to be...

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Apple CEO Claims Free Market Doesn’t Work, Says Tech Regulations Are Inevitable
Nov29

Apple CEO Claims Free Market Doesn’t Work, Says Tech Regulations Are Inevitable

The biggest tech company in the world has claimed that internet regulation is on its way. Apple CEO Tim Cook has reported that too many products have been used for the sake of evil, prompting the need for government regulation. For obvious reasons, it’s a highly unusual statement to hear from a corporate titan. Cook claims that though tech products are made from a state of neutrality, many products have inevitably been used for evil. As such, Cook has predicted that federal regulation of Silicon Valley is likely on its way. “Generally speaking, I am not a big fan of regulation. I’m a big believer in the free market,” claims Cook in a recent interview with Axios. “But we have to admit when the free market is not working. And it hasn’t worked here. I think it’s inevitable that there will be some level of regulation. I think the Congress and the administration at some point will pass something.” This comes after Cook reprimanded the “data industrial complex” surveillance of personal data back in October. At the 40th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners in Brussels on October 24, Cook claimed that the personal data of countless internet users are being traded and sold without user knowledge. Though Cook didn’t call out specific companies, many inferred he was referencing the actions of Facebook and Google, two of the most profitable tech companies on the internet today. These two companies have a track record of profiting from user data through targeted advertising. It’s estimated that Google receives more than 100 billion user searches every month, making it the undisputed leader in its field. Through these searches, Google is better able to tailor ads to the individual with virtually no government regulation, at least in the United States. And internet sales are only expected to increase. It’s estimated that the U.S. market for apparel will grow to more than $385 billion by 2025. As more people shop online, the information garnered from your purchases and searches can be used to target you in the future. It’s this kind of data mining that Cook seeks to reprimand, but the Apple CEO has recently been called out for his hypocrisy on the subject. Apple has profited from the same practices Cook admonished in his speech. It’s been reported that Apple receives billions of dollars from Google alone to use their search engine as the default browsing app on most Apple products. With Europe’s internet privacy law, known as the General Data Protection Regulation law (GDPR), in full effect, many online businesses have needed to change their policies. Despite Cook’s hypocrisy, the Apple CEO hopes that this regulation will extend...

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