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Woman dies after eating at Michelin-starred restaurant

CNN - 2 hours 43 min ago
A Michelin-starred restaurant in the Spanish city of Valencia is at the center of a food poisoning outbreak that has killed one woman and affected 28 further diners.

It'll be a snowy weekend for the upper Midwest and a wet one for the South

CNN - 2 hours 50 min ago
A full-fledged winter storm is in the cards this weekend for the Upper Midwest, while drenching rains will pound the South, threatening localized flooding and tornadoes, forecasters said.

House moves to block Trump's emergency

CNN - 2 hours 53 min ago
House Democrats introduced a resolution Friday to block President Donald Trump's effort to build a wall on the southern border through his emergency powers, setting up votes in Congress to rebuke the President's proclamation.

At least 245 children have been separated from family at border since June, Trump admin says

CNN - 2 hours 55 min ago
Since the Trump administration announced it would end its practice of separating families apprehended at the southern border last June under its "zero tolerance" immigration policy, at least 245 children have been separated from their parents, according to a new court filing.

Sarah Sanders says White House confident about Mueller report, that Trump had no reason to collude with Russia

Washington Post - 2 hours 55 min ago
During a television appearance, Sanders said Trump didn’t need help from Russia in 2016 because he was the “infinitely better” candidate.

Pelosi Begins Drive to Block Trump’s Emergency Declaration

NY Times - 2 hours 58 min ago
Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched her drive to overturn President Trump’s emergency declaration, seeking to raise pressure on Republicans to defend congressional prerogative.

New Election Ordered in North Carolina Race at Center of Fraud Inquiry

NY Times - 3 hours 40 sec ago
The unanimous ruling by the state Board of Elections was a startling turn in a case that underscored the risks of absentee ballot fraud.

House Democrats set Tuesday vote on overturning Trump emergency declaration

Washington Post - 3 hours 5 min ago
The House is expected to pass the measure rejecting the president’s bid to beef up border wall funding, but its prospects in the GOP-controlled Senate remain uncertain.

MIT engineer creates remote-controlled snowplow

CNN - 3 hours 6 min ago
MIT engineer Dane Kouttron built a remote-controlled snowplow so people could clear snow without having to go outside.

news analysis: Can Peer Pressure Defeat Trump?

NY Times - 3 hours 7 min ago
In 2020, Democrats need millennials to turn out. Vote shaming apps can help.

Roger Stone takes the stand — and much ridiculousness ensues

Washington Post - 3 hours 11 min ago
Stone's shifting arguments didn't convince the judge, and it's not difficult to see why.

Data from dirt improve monsoon predictions

Futurity.org - 3 hours 12 min ago

New soil moisture and temperature data can help better predict the impact of severe monsoons, researchers report.

Thunderstorms within Indian monsoon systems can deluge areas with dozens of inches of rain in little time, causing severe flooding and the loss of hundreds of lives each year. Better predictions of when, where, and how much rain will fall are key to saving property and lives.

Researchers developed multi-decade soil moisture and soil temperature fields using variety of surface and satellite data. They have shown that fine-scale data, never before available for India’s monsoon regions, are a critical ingredient to understanding and improving predictions of how violent storms will behave over land.

Just as storms change behavior based on the landscape—such as moving from water to land—or from encountering a cold or warm front, they also react to changes in wet or dry and warm versus colder soils.

“For a long time Indian monsoon research has focused as an oceanic feedback, but in recent years we have seen localized heavy rain embedded within thunderstorm events with flooding and cloud bursts that occur over land,” says Dev Niyogi, professor of agronomy and earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences at Purdue University, whose findings appear in the journal Scientific Data.

“These thunderstorms often flare up because they’re responding to a boundary—meaning an edge of a different environment. What we have learned is that gradients in soil moisture and soil temperature help create an atmospheric frontal boundary and can unleash violent reactions from a storm. Understanding these locations climatologically is therefore quite important to help these predictions.”

Niyogi and colleagues worked more than three years on an intensive project to compile different datasets and assimilate global satellite soil moisture and soil temperature data from 1981-2017 and beyond. Their product now provides gridded data every three hours for every 4-kilometer (just under 2.5 miles) parcel of land giving soil moisture and temperature in India. Combined with observed weather during that period, the data can improve models used to predict future storms.

“This data is useful for a host of applications, including to help make decisions about where to grow crops or places in which we can adapt to prevent flooding or erosion,” Niyogi says.

Additional researchers contributing to this project came from the Indian Institute of Technology Bhubaneswar, the National Institute of Technology Rourkela, the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Science, the Indian Ministry of Earth Sciences, and the US National Center of Atmospheric Research.

Support for the study came from the Indian Ministry of Earth Sciences, the US National Science Foundation, and the US Department of Agriculture’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture.

Source: Purdue University

The post Data from dirt improve monsoon predictions appeared first on Futurity.

BBM beta adds new invite methods, improved replies and more!

CrackBerry - 3 hours 14 min ago

The latest BBM beta has started rolling out through the Google Play Store and according to the changelog, there's plenty new here.

The latest BBM beta has started rolling out through the Google Play Store, and according to the changelog, there's plenty new here to try out including new ways to invite users to BBM, a new mention system, and improved replies.

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The slowly written Mueller report that’s sitting in plain sight

Washington Post - 3 hours 15 min ago
The 300-odd pages of indictments and information documents make up much of what any report would say anyway.

Simple change cuts unnecessary UTI tests

Futurity.org - 3 hours 16 min ago

Encouraging doctors to first look for signs of a UTI before testing a patient’s urine—a change in protocol—could reduce unnecessary testing and overuse of antibiotics, say researchers.

“Over-testing for UTIs drives up health care costs and leads to unnecessary antibiotic use which spreads antibiotic resistance,” says infectious diseases specialist David K. Warren, a professor of medicine at Washington University in St. Louis and senior author of the paper, which appears in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

“Ordering tests when the patient needs them is a good thing. But ordering tests when it’s not indicated wastes resources and can subject patients to unnecessary treatment. We were able to reduce the number of tests ordered substantially without diminishing the quality of care at all, and at a substantial cost savings.”

Harmless bacteria

Bacteria in a person’s bladder may cause UTIs, which typically involve burning or pain while urinating, frequent urges to urinate, and fever.

“Everyone always worries that…we might miss some UTIs, but we showed that we did not.”

Doctors treat UTIs with antibiotics. But some people, often elderly people or those with diabetes, harbor harmless bacterial communities in their bladders that don’t need antibiotic treatment.

Before ordering a urinalysis to check for bacteria in the urine, infectious disease specialists recommend that physicians look first for signs of bladder infection using a urine dipstick test.

This test detects inflammatory cells in the urine—signs of a problematic UTI that may require treatment with antibiotics. Discovering bacteria growing in the urine without knowing whether the patient has signs and symptoms of infection leaves physicians uncertain of whether the patient will benefit from antibiotic treatment.

“Doctors get stuck with a result they don’t know how to interpret and often prescribe antibiotics because that seems like the safest path to take,” says Warren, medical director for infection prevention at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Two changes to the system

The researchers made two changes to encourage more informative urine testing among their colleagues at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. First, they sent an email to all clinicians explaining the rationale behind ordering a urine dipstick test for signs of infection before ordering a bacterial culture test.

Then, they changed the electronic ordering system and set the default to a urine dipstick test followed by a bacterial culture test, rather than a culture test alone, previously the first option. Clinicians who wished to order a culture test alone could still do so, but they had to open an additional screen on their computers.

The researchers compared all urine culture tests ordered at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in the 15 months before the intervention, staged in April 2016, to the 15 months after. Before the intervention, doctors ordered 15,746 urine cultures, or 38 orders per 1,000 patient-days. After, they ordered 45 percent fewer: 8,823 total, or 21 orders per 1,000 patient-days.

In particular, the number of urine cultures from people with catheters—patients at high risk of UTIs—dropped from 7.8 to 1.9 per 1,000 patient-days while the number of catheter-associated UTIs did not change at all. Doctors diagnosed 125 diagnosed catheter-associated UTIs in each time period.

“Everyone always worries that by ordering fewer urine cultures we might miss some UTIs, but we showed that we did not,” Warren says.

Since it costs about $15 to perform a urine culture, the intervention saved approximately $104,000 in laboratory costs alone over the 15-month period.

The researchers didn’t obtain pharmacy records to determine whether more careful testing decreased antibiotic prescriptions, but previous studies show that minimizing unwarranted testing does reduce antibiotic overuse.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Epicenters Program partially funded the work.

Source: Washington University in St. Louis

The post Simple change cuts unnecessary UTI tests appeared first on Futurity.

Stamps.com stock plummets 50%

CNN - 3 hours 20 min ago
Stamps.com says it is ending an exclusive relationship with the US Postal Service, sending shares of its stock plunging more than 50%.

Sanders insists White House isn't focused on Mueller

CNN - 3 hours 23 min ago
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Friday that the White House isn't focused on bracing for the conclusion of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, despite reporting which suggests Attorney General Bill Barr is preparing to announce the completion of the investigation as early as next week.

Judge: Prosecutors’ deal with Jeffrey Epstein in molestation case violated law, misled victims

Washington Post - 3 hours 27 min ago
The ruling is sharply critical of how prosecutors, including future Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, handled a non-prosecution agreement with billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
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