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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Weird news - Children as young as 11 in the US can now order condoms over email

In a development that seems necessary for the transmission of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, the US city of Philadelphia seems to have gone in for something very new and different. The rate of sexual activity among high school students is very high, and out of them, a number of them do not use any form of sexual prevention, around 37%, and as a result of this, the rate of STD among this population is very high. To enable more of this at-risk population to get sexual protection, the city has decided to allow girls in this age group to get sexual protection mailed to them without anyone knowing (and this includes the parents of the children). This program seems to meet approval of activists, but parents are concerned by this action (link to article):

"Playing it safe just got easier. If you live in Philadelphia and are between the ages of 11 and 19, you can now have condoms mailed directly to you for FREE. Maybe it's difficult for you to stop by one of our sites to pick up condoms. Or maybe you're just shy or feeling weird about picking up condoms," the website reads. "Every girl is different. Figure out what position works for you. You can stand with one foot on a chair, sit on the edge of a chair, lie down, squat, or for fun, have your partner help you out," it says.
The website that asks visitors to the city to use condoms "each and every time", also provides an option where users can order free male condoms to be mailed directly to their homes. Recent national data shows that Philadelphia has one of the highest rates of STDs among comparable cities, with African-Americans and adolescents being disproportionately affected, officials said.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Weird news - Student dies in Yale after hair gets stuck in machine

One hears of freak accidents all the time; sometimes these accidents happen in regular everyday places where one would not dream that such accidents happen. Even when such accidents do happen, rare is the case where such an accident could cause a high degree of harm, or cause injury or loss of life. Consider the following case where a female student died in an accident inside a school lab at Yale (link to article):

A Yale University student nearing graduation was killed inside a school lab when her hair was pulled into a piece of machine-shop equipment, an official said today. Michele Dufault, a senior majoring in astronomy, died yesterday night "in what appears to have been a terrible accident involving a piece of equipment," school officials said Wednesday. The school said the accident took place inside a chemistry lab machine shop but didn't say what the equipment was.
On its website, Yale's chemistry department says it maintains a state-of-the-art machine shop to allow students, faculty and staff to construct or modify research instruments. Access is limited to those who have completed a shop course, according to the website.
Such deadly incidents remind us how much sudden tragedies can strike anywhere anytime.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weird news - Getting infected due to a kidney donation, even after checking

Being affected by a kidney problem can be a severe issue, especially since it requires frequent attention and medical treatment. Getting replacement kidneys can be quite a problem, since there are long waiting lines for organ donation and there are also issues with regard to the body accepting the replacement organ. Also, based on previous cases where the replacement organ could be coming from a body / cadaver that had some sort of communicable disease, there is a check for some of the more common diseases before the transplant takes place.
But, one wonders about what can happen in the below case ? Here, when the donor (who was a living person) was checked for diseases, the person checked out fine. But, after the transplant took place, it was found that the recipient was suffering from AIDS, and investigation revealed that the transplanted organ was in fact responsible for the disease (link to article):

In 2009, a patient with hemodialysis-dependent kidney failure was given a new kidney from a living donor at a New York City hospital - known in the report as "Hospital A". There was no trace of any STIs (sexually transmitted infections) in the individual's medical history, neither was there any history of high-risk activity, such as injection drug use or sexual encounters with injection drug users.
The patient had received blood transfusions in 2006, but none before that date. 12 days before the transplantation procedure started, the recipient tested negative for HIV. After the operation the patient went through multiple hospitalizations, fevers, episodes of renal insufficiency, and evaluation of possible transplanted organ rejection. The recipient did not take part in any behaviors which might have increased his/her risk of becoming infected with HIV.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Weird news - A giant sinkhole in Guatemala City, looks like a scene from a science fiction movie

When you see horror science fiction movies, anything can happen. Aliens can attack from outside, giant creatures can be created due to nuclear mishaps, undersea monsters can rise up, tectonic movements in the earth's crust can cause huge damages, solar flares, and so on. when you see these in a movie, you know that this is just fiction, and you can move on. But, when you suddenly come across something major happening, you realize that there are many things that can happen on the earth itself, in real life. would you imagine that suddenly the earth opened up, a giant sinkhole appeared that went for a large depth, and houses, roads, and trees started falling into the sinkhole ? Well, it happened for real in Guatemala City, in Latin America (link to article):

The appearance of a massive sinkhole in Guatemala City (map), Guatemala, on Sunday is thought to have been triggered by tropical storm Agatha, a violent tempest that struck Central America over the weekend.
From photographs, the new Guatemala sinkhole appears to be about 60 feet (18 meters) wide and about 300 feet (100 meters) deep, said James Currens, a hydrogeologist at the University of Kentucky—which explains how the sinkhole was reportedly able to swallow an entire three-story building.
Sinkholes can form when water-saturated soil and other particles become too heavy and cause the roofs of existing voids in the soil to collapse, Currens said.
When you take a look at the photo in the linked article, it looks downright scary.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Weird news - Spiders killing trees by enveloping them with webs after floods

Was browsing around when I came across these extraordinary photos. In the year 2010, there was a series of massive floods in Pakistan; these floods occurred for days and weeks at a time, and caused wide-spread death and destruction. These floods also inundated wide sections of the country, including fields (which are typically low lying regions). As a result of all this, an unusual phenomenon was seen, something that you would see in some B-grade horror Hollywood movies. Imagine whole trees infested by spiders, with the trees totally covered by large spider webs (a communal mission by spiders to cover entire trees). One byproduct of this was that many trees covered by these webs did not get adequate nutrition or were impacted by the spiders, and died; here, in this report, you can see photos of these trees and wonder as to how this happened (link to article):

Trees shrouded in ghostly cocoons line the edges of a submerged farm field in the Pakistani village of Sindh, where 2010's massive floods drove millions of spiders into the trees to spin their webs.
Beginning last July, unprecedented monsoons dropped nearly ten years' worth of rainfall on Pakistan in one week, swelling the country's rivers. The water was slow to recede, creating vast pools of stagnant water across the countryside.

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