DAILY DOSE: Anti-vax news agencies; the digital mafia; scientific proof Colonialism sucks

The Anti-vax News Agencies: Facebook and Google are coming under increased pressure from Capitol Hill lawmakers to address the mountains of anti-vaccine misinformation on their websites. Representative Adam Schiff sent letters to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai about anti-vax propaganda on their sites. According to Schiff, “Repetition of information, even if false, can often be mistaken for accuracy.” The current measles outbreaks around the world are largely blamed on people who refuse to be vaccinated and parents wary about the supposed “dangers” of inoculation. http://bit.ly/2V57faG

Meet the digital Mafia: A parliamentary report regarding Facebook accuses the company of deliberately flouting privacy as well as fair competition laws in the United Kingdom. The unusually blunt report denounced Mark Zuckerberg and his executives as “digital gangsters.” This was the culmination of the Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport select committee’s 18 month investigations into the spread of disinformation on the social media platform. http://bit.ly/2Ehpu7C

Security through safety: The First International Food Safety Conference was held in Addis Ababa. The aim of the meeting was to identify actions that would ensure the availability of safe food. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Director General Jose Graziano da Silva, “There is no food security without food safety.” The conference was organized by the African Union, the FAO, the World Health Organization, and the World Trade Organization. Over 130 countries participated in the two day event. http://bit.ly/2EhTC2x

Salmonella-tainted turkey update: The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta is reminding consumers that the multi-state Salmonella outbreak from raw turkey products is still ongoing. Over a hundred cases have resulted in hospitalization and nearly 300 cases have been reported. To date there has been one fatality. They suggest always handling raw turkey carefully and cooking it thoroughly. They also advice that hand washing as a way to minimize the risks. The source of the tainted meat has been traced back to a single, common supplier of turkey products. http://bit.ly/2EgAUsb

New insulin pump: In industry news, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted approval of a new type of insulin pump. Tandem Diabetes Care’s t:Slim X2 pump is the first in a novel category of hardware called alternate controller-enabled infusion pumps. It allows patients to personalize their diabetes management. http://bit.ly/2EiewPb

Pharma head-to-head: Astellas and Affinivax’s pneumococcal vaccine, called ASP3772, has entered human clinical trials. The phase 1.2 study aims to evaluate the vaccine’s safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity. It is also designed to be a head-to-head against Pfizer’s wildly popular Prevnar 13. http://bit.ly/2EgHfnh

Sending humans back to the Moon: NASA is planning to return humans to the Moon and is currently searching for private sector partners to design and develop new reusable systems for astronauts to land on the lunar surface. The agency will test new human-class landers beginning in 2024 with the aim of sending a crew to the Moon in 2028. https://go.nasa.gov/2EiIcvp

Climate change censorship: An outspoken climate change scientist lost her position at the National Park Service, reportedly due to her refusal to remove all references to human causes of climate change in a report. Maria Caffrey’s contract with the Park Service was not renewed even though officials had informed that it would be. According to the agency, no funding is available for her work. So far during the Trump Administration, Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change has “reported 194 examples of federal government censoring, hindering or sidelining climate change science. http://bit.ly/2EiIjaj

Scientific proof Colonialism sucked: Here’s some food for thought. According to an article published by McGill University’s Office for Science and Society, the spread of malaria resulted from the another human plague: Colonialism. Scientists believe malaria coevolved with humans in Africa. About 3000 years ago it began to spread to other areas. Wars and slavery hand delivered the deadly disease to ports around Europe, dating as far back as 502 BCE when the Carthaginians conquered Sardinia, just south of Italy. When the Romans took control of the island, they facilitated its spread because, as everyone knows, if the Romans did one thing effectively, it was building roads. By the 1400s, malaria had firm footholds in England and France. After the Colombian Exchange, the America’s fell victim to the plasmodium curse. And after that, it’s all history. http://bit.ly/2EioFLP

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

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