Stringfoot is a term used to describe pigeons whose feet have become entangled with foreign matter, whether actual string, thread, monofilament, real or artificial human hair (most common), dental floss, yarn, or the many other materials discarded by the human population of cities.
Whether adult birds or chicks, these foreign materials wrapped around their feet or legs — and sometimes binding their feet together — results in pain, infection, loss of digits or entire feet, and the subsequent inability to walk, stand, perch, land, feed or bathe properly, sometimes leading to illness or death...
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On a continent famous for its welfare systems, school closures threaten to widen divisions of education, ethnicity and class. Compared with the rest of the world, Europe has not done badly during the pandemic. Most of its schools reopened in the autumn, while in South America and South Asia they largely stayed shut. But covid-19’s second wave has forced many European schools to close again.
This hurts all pupils, but it hits the poor and vulnerable ones harder. France’s education ministry says that last spring’s lockdown increased the gap in exam scores between normal schools and ones in hard-up areas by several points. In Germany, that first lockdown cut studying time from 7.4 hours per day to 3.6. An analysis of last year’s national exam results in the Netherlands came up with the depressing finding that during the spring lockdown the average pupil had learned nothing at all. Those whose parents were poorly educated did even worse: they emerged from their first two months of schooling by internet knowing less than when they started.
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The disease poses a grave and fast-moving threat to every nation. Governments have, quite reasonably, assumed emergency powers to counter it. But such powers can be abused. Governments have selectively banned protests on the grounds that they might spread the virus, silenced critics and scapegoated minorities. They have used emergency measures to harass dissidents. And they have taken advantage of a general atmosphere of alarm. With everyone’s attention on covid-19, autocrats and would-be autocrats in many countries can do all sorts of bad things, safe in the knowledge that the rest of the world will barely notice, let alone to object.
https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/easy/k10012661241000/k10012661241000.html, posted Oct '20 by peter in health injapanese science
(A group of researchers found the risk of coronavirus spreading among people sitting together eating was five times higher when they were seated next to each other, compared to when they were sitting opposite.)
https://fof.se/tidning/2020/8/artikel/bli-stark-for-livet, posted Aug '20 by peter in health inswedish science
Styrketräning kan förlänga livet och minska risken för hjärt- och kärlsjukdomar, diabetes och cancer. Även minnet förbättras. Ändå har styrketräning hamnat i bakvattnet av konditionsträning. Är det dags för en förändring?
https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2020/4/22/21228158/coronavirus-pandemic-risk-factory-farming-meat, posted Apr '20 by peter in environment food health
That’s because we eat a ton of meat, and the vast majority of it comes from factory farms. In these huge industrialized facilities that supply more than 90 percent of meat globally — and around 99 percent of America’s meat — animals are tightly packed together and live under harsh and unsanitary conditions.
“When we overcrowd animals by the thousands, in cramped football-field-size sheds, to lie beak to beak or snout to snout, and there’s stress crippling their immune systems, and there’s ammonia from the decomposing waste burning their lungs, and there’s a lack of fresh air and sunlight — put all these factors together and you have a perfect-storm environment for the emergence and spread of disease,“ said Michael Greger, the author of Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching.
To make matters worse, selection for specific genes in farmed animals (for desirable traits like large chicken breasts) has made these animals almost genetically identical. That means that a virus can easily spread from animal to animal without encountering any genetic variants that might stop it in its tracks. As it rips through a flock or herd, the virus can grow even more virulent.
Greger puts it bluntly: “If you actually want to create global pandemics, then build factory farms.”
https://www.statnews.com/2020/02/04/two-scenarios-if-new-coronavirus-isnt-contained/, posted Mar '20 by peter in health science
“It’s not too soon to talk about this,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease specialist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “We know that respiratory viruses are especially difficult to control, so I think it’s very possible that the current outbreak ends with the virus becoming endemic.”
Experts see two possibilities, each with unique consequences:
Health care spending in the United States greatly exceeds that in other wealthy countries, but the U.S. does not achieve better health outcomes. Policymakers commonly attribute this spending disparity to overuse of medical services and underinvestment in social services in the U.S. However, there has been relatively little data analysis performed to confirm that assumption. Writing in JAMA, researchers led by former Commonwealth Fund Harkness Fellow Irene Papanicolas and mentor Ashish Jha, M.D., report findings from their study comparing the U.S. with 10 other high-income countries to better understand why health care spending in the U.S. is so much greater.