Advertisements

H7N9 bird flu may have infected twice as many people as the 105 cases reported, Hong Kong researchers say

H7N9 Cases May Be Double Known Figure, Hong Kong Researchers Say

H7N9 bird flu may have infected twice as many people as the 103 cases reported, an analysis by researchers at the University of Hong Kong showed. There may be 90 to 120 ill adults who haven’t been detected because their infections are mild, Benjamin Cowling, associate professor at the university’s public health research center, said today. The researchers’ analysis suggests risk of serious illness from the virus rises substantially with age, with more than half of reported cases age 60 or older, he said. Flu specialists including those from the World Health Organization are investigating how people are catching the H7N9 virus, with no evidence yet of sustained human-to-human transmission. Disease trackers haven’t been able to figure out why another deadly bird flu strain known as H5N1 afflicts mostly younger people in their 20s and 30s, while H7N9 mainly targets the elderly. “One thing that is very striking is the age distribution of the cases,” Cowling said at a briefing at the university’s medical school today. “They’re very different from the confirmed infections of H5N1.”

Read more of this post

Advertisements

Chili Peppers Seen Helping 36 Million Migraine Sufferers; “We’re all looking for the next magic pill.”

Chili Peppers Seen Helping 36 Million Migraine Sufferers

Chili peppers and migraines have traits in common, a fact scientists are exploiting to develop drugs capable of preventing the debilitating headache’s painful symptoms before they attack.

The link between how skin reacts when rubbed with chili oil and what happens in the brain during a migraine has attracted the world’s largest biotechnology company, Amgen Inc. (AMGN), and other companies seeking to create medicines for the more than 36 million Americans who suffer from migraines.

Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, dizziness and sensitivity to touch, yet treatment options are limited. Some pharmaceutical companies that have tried recently to develop migraine therapies, such as Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMY) and Merck & Co. (MRK), have abandoned their efforts while the few drugs on the market are ineffective for many people and carry the danger of serious side-effects for those at risk of heat attack or stroke.

“Migraines are an extremely common disorder, and it effects people really in the prime of their lives,” Rob Lenz, who is leading Amgen’s migraine drug development, said in an interview. Still, no drugs have been “developed specifically for the treatment of migraines,” he said. “They were developed as anti-epileptics, or blood pressure lowering agents.”

That may soon change. Amgen, based in Thousand Oaks, California, and other biotechnology companies such as Alder Biopharmaceuticals Inc., Arteaus Therapeutics LLC, and Labrys Biologics Inc. are targeting a chemical released during a migraine that carries a “pain” signal from nerve to nerve. By blocking a receptor from receiving the message, these companies aim to create drugs that cut off developing migraines before symptoms start. Read more of this post

China says new bird flu case found in northeastern Shandong province, the first case found in the province, bringing the total number of infected victims in China to 105

China says new bird flu case found in northeastern China

7:26am EDT

BEIJING (Reuters) – A man in the northeastern Chinese province of Shandong has been infected by a new strain of bird flu, the first case found in the province, state news agency Xinhua said on Monday, bringing the total number of infected victims in China to 105.

The H7N9 virus has killed 20 people in China. But it is not clear how people are becoming infected and the World Health Organization (WHO) says there is no evidence of the most worrying scenario – sustained transmission between people. Read more of this post

The end of macro magic; Economists lose faith in once-trusted policies.

The end of macro magic

By Robert J. Samuelson, Monday, April 22, 7:53 AM

The International Monetary Fund recently held a conference that should concern most people despite its arcane subject — “Rethinking Macro Policy II.” Macroeconomics is the study of the entire economy, as opposed to the examination of individual markets (“microeconomics”). The question is how much “macro” policies can produce and protect prosperity. Before the 2008-09 financial crisis, there was great confidence that they could. Now, with 38 million unemployed in Europe and the United States — and recoveries that are feeble or nonexistent — macroeconomics is in disarray and disrepute.

Among economists, there is no consensus on policies. Is “austerity” (government spending cuts and tax increases) self-defeating or the unavoidable response to high budget deficits and debt? Can central banks such as the Federal Reserve or the European Central Bank engineer recovery by holding short-term interest rates near zero and by buying massive amounts of bonds (so-called “quantitative easing”)? Or will these policies foster financial speculation, instability and inflation? The public is confused, because economists are divided. Read more of this post

Cal Newport: The Secret To Success Is The “Craftsman’s Mindset”

Interview – Author Cal Newport on how you can become an expert and why you should *not* follow your passion

by eric barker

Newport

Cal Newport holds a PhD from MIT and is an assistant professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University. He runs the popular blog Study Hacks (which I highly recommend) and is the author of four books including, most recently, So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love. Cal and I talked about the secrets to becoming an expert, how deliberate practice works and why following your passion can be a *bad* idea. My conversation with Cal was over 45 minutes, so for brevity’s sake I’m only going to post edited highlights here.

Don’t Follow Your Passion

Cal:

I set out to research a simple question:  How do people end up loving what they do? If you ask people, the most common answer you’ll get is, “They followed their passion.” So I went out and researched: “Is this true?” From what I found, “Follow your passion” is terrible advice. If your goal is to end up passionate about what you do, “Follow your passion” is terrible advice. So the first fundamental misunderstanding is this idea that we all have a pre-existing passion that’s relevant to a career, and if we could just discover it, then we would be fine. Research says actually most people don’t have one. The second problem is that it’s built on this misbelief that matching your work to something you have a very strong interest in is going to lead to a long-term satisfaction and engagement in your career. It sounds obvious that it should be true, but actually the research shows that’s not at all the reality of how people end up really enjoying and gaining great satisfaction and meaning out of their career. If you study people who end up loving what they do, here’s what you find and if you study the research on it, you find the same thing: Long-term career satisfaction requires traits like a real sense of autonomy, a real sense of impact on the world, a sense of mastery that you’re good at what you do, and a sense of connection in relation to other people. Now, the key point is those traits are not matched to a specific piece of work and they have nothing to do with matching your job to some sort of ingrained, pre-existing passion.

The Secret To Success Is The “Craftsman’s Mindset”

Cal:

My advice is to abandon the passion mindset which asks “What does this job offer me? Am I happy with this job? Is it giving me everything I want?” Shift from that mindset to Steve Martin’s mindset, which is “What am I offering the world? How valuable am I? Am I really not that valuable? If I’m not that valuable, then I shouldn’t expect things in my working life. How can I get better? Like a craftsman, you find satisfaction in the development of your skill and then you leverage that skill once you have it to take control of your working life and build something that’s more long-term and meaningful… When I talk about the habits of the craftsman mindset, it’s really the habits of deliberate practice. So someone who has the craftsman mindset is trying to systematically build up valuable skills because that’s going to be their leverage, their capital for taking control of their career and they share the same habits you would see with violin players or athletes or chess players.

The craftsmen out there are not the guys checking their social media feeds every five minutes. They’re not looking for the easy win or the flow-state. They’re the guys that are out there three hours, pushing the skill. “This is hard but I’m going to master this new piece of software. I’m going to master this new mathematical framework.” That’s the mindset, the habit of the craftsman.

How To Become An Expert At Something

Cal:

What you need is a clearly identified sort of skill you’re working on. You need some notion of feedback. So you have to have some notion of, “How good am I at this now, and am I any better now that I’ve done this versus not doing it?” So that’s sort of the coaching aspect of things. And then when actually working, you have to work deeply, which means you have to sort of work on the skill with a persistent, unbroken focus, and you have to try to push yourself a little bit beyond where you’re comfortable. So you should not really be able to easily get to the next step in what you’re doing. At the same time, you should, with enough strain, be able to make some progress.

What You’re Doing Wrong When Trying To Become An Expert

Cal:

I think when people want to get better at something the biggest mistake they make is seekingflow. It’s a very enjoyable state. It’s where you’re lost in what you’re doing, you’re applying your skills seamlessly and fluidly, and you feel like you have control.

But we know from research on how people actually gain expert levels of performance that the actual state in which you’re getting better is one of strain, and that’s different than flow. It’s a state where you actually feel like you’re being stretched. It’s uncomfortable. You’re doing things beyond your current abilities. It’s not fluid. You’re not necessarily lost. Your mind might be saying, “This is terrible. This is terrible. Check your e-mail. This is terrible. What if there is something on Facebook?

We avoid that for the most part, but we know that if you just keep doing what you know how to do already, you’ll hit a plateau almost immediately. So I think the avoidance of strain is the biggest mistake people make in trying to get better. Read more of this post

Busy is the new lazy

BUSY IS THE NEW LAZY

IF YOU’RE TELLING EVERYBODY THAT YOU’RE BUSY ALL THE TIME, IT’S TIME TO RETHINK YOUR IDEAS ABOUT PRODUCTIVITY.

BY: DRAKE BAER

“Going on about how busy you are isn’t conversation and doesn’t lead anywhere,” writes iDoneThis CCO Janet Choi on her company blog, “except making your conversation partner bored, or worse, peeved.” No one wants to be peeved. So why do we keep doing all this humblebragging about how busy we are? It’s a question Choi investigates thoughtfully: She observes that people who are “legitimately occupied” with work or family rarely play the “too busy” card (clearly, we don’t know the same people)–or, may even go out of their way to make a connection becausethey’ve been so swamped. To Choi, when we say “busy,” we’re really trying to say something else–although what exactly that might be depends on the harried soul that’s complaining. She supplies some translations:

I’m busy = I’m important.
Being busy gives people a sense they’re needed and significant, Choi says. It’s also a sign saying that you’re about to be on-ramped into somebody’s misguided ego trip.

I’m busy = I’m giving you an excuse.
Saying that you’re busy is a handy way to outsource your responsibility to your irresponsibility. Since you’re always distracted, you don’t have to do anything for anybody.

I’m busy = I’m afraid.
Look above at the “I’m important” part. Whether the speaker knows it or not, complaining of busyness is a subtle cry for help, one that reassures us that yes, we are in demand.

As Choi says, we’ve begun to regard busyness as a virtue. It’s maybe second to exhaustion when it comes to being cool at work. All this shows a major error in perspective, she says, one that takes us away from meaningful work:  It’s easy, even enticing, to neglect the importance of filling our time with meaning, thinking instead that we’ll be content with merely filling our time. We self-impose these measures of self-worth by looking at quantity instead of quality of activity. In this way, busyness functions as a kind of laziness. When we fill our schedules with appointments and hands with phones, we divest ourselves of downtime. When we’re endlessly doing, it’s hard to be mindful of what we’re doing.

How to eradicate busyness

Of course, it’s a interdependent issue. It’s hard to have downtime if your bosses subscribe to what Anne Marie Slaughter calls our time macho culture, “a relentless competition to work harder, stay later, pull more all-nighters, travel around the world and bill the extra hours that the international date line affords you.” But don’t let that excuse suffice. You can convince your bosses–if you know how to approach the conversation.

USA Today Founder Neuharth Dies at 89

April 19, 2013, 9:09 p.m. ET

AL NEUHARTH 1924-2013

USA Today Founder Neuharth Dies at 89

By STEPHEN MILLER

Al Neuharth was an irascible and ambitious newspaper baron who founded USA Today, at one time the largest-circulation daily paper in the country and still the largest in print.

OB-XD753_remneu_DV_20130419214116

Al Neuharth, shown in 2003, founded USA Today in 1982 with the idea of creating a national-circulation daily filled with bite-sized stories.

Mr. Neuharth, who died Friday in Cocoa Beach, Fla., at age 89, was the longtime chairman and chief executive of Gannett Co., a chain of local newspapers that he transformed into a diversified media conglomerate by his retirement in 1989. Mr. Neuharth founded USA Today in 1982 with the idea of creating a national-circulation daily filled with bite-sized stories. Though derided in some publishing circles at its founding, USA Today not only found a big audience but also became widely influential with its color photographs and infographics that included a vivid national weather map. A native of Eureka, S.D., Mr. Neuharth edited his high-school and college newspapers and held editing jobs at newspapers in Miami and Detroit before going to work for Gannett in 1963. He also was founder of the Newseum, the Washington, D.C., museum of the history of journalism.

%d bloggers like this: