California man learned he had only days to live from a telepresence robot

UnknownDoctor couldn’t be bothered to tell him face-to-face:

’Ernest Quintana’s family knew he was dying of chronic lung disease when he was taken by ambulance to a hospital, unable to breathe.

But they were devastated when a robot machine rolled into his room in the intensive care unit that night and a doctor told the 78-year-old patient by video call he would likely die within days.

“If you’re coming to tell us normal news, that’s fine, but if you’re coming to tell us there’s no lung left and we want to put you on a morphine drip until you die, it should be done by a human being and not a machine,” his daughter Catherine Quintana said Friday.

Ernest Quintana died Tuesday, two days after being taken to the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center emergency department in Fremont.…’

Via Chicago Tribune

Diver survives after being scooped up in whale’s mouth off South Africa

Whale man barcroftA story of Biblical proportion:

’A diver in South Africa survived an experience out of a biblical passage last month when he ended up almost being swallowed by a whale.

Rainer Schimpf, 51, was snorkeling off the coast of Port Elizabeth, South Africa, when he ended up in the path of a Bryde’s whale, which opened his jaws and engulfed him headfirst.

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“We were very astonished that out of nowhere this whale came up,” he told Sky News. “I was busy concentrating on the sharks because you want to know if the shark is in front of you or behind you, left or right, so we were very focused on the sharks and their behavior – then suddenly it got dark.”

Schimpf, who has worked as a dive operator for over 15 years, said he was in the water with two others for just a matter of minutes before the whale appeared. He had happened to be with a group recording a sardine run, which is where marine animals such as dolphins, whales, and sharks gather fish into bait balls.

The 51-year-old said once the whale grabbed him, he felt pressure around his body but soon realized he was too big for the whale to swallow him whole which was “kind of an instant relief.”

“So my next thought was that the whale may take me down into the ocean and release me further down, so I instantly held my breath,” he told Sky News. “Obviously he realized I was not what he wanted to eat so he spat me out again.”…’

Via Fox News

Is a Cure for the Flu Finally on the Horizon?

Flu virus 1 570fe65380ecc6605d4c8b96e2abea6299b25c36 s1600 c85New Approach To Flu Treatment Mimics Antibodies:

’Influenza’s shifty nature has thwarted scientists’ efforts to develop a vaccine that could be administered once, or rarely, and provide long-lasting protection against most or all strains. Antiviral drugs like Tamiflu, administered post-infection, can be effective, but some quickly shifting strains soon become resistant to the drugs.

Research published Thursday in Science details the early development of what might eventually become a drug that’s more broadly effective. It’s designed to target areas of the influenza virus that hold constant from strain to strain.…’


New Rules For Traveling to Europe

What Americans Need to Know:

Unknown’Starting in 2021, Americans, as well as others from visa-free countries, will have to do a little more work before they’ll be able to visit a number of European countries. Now, getting into places like Germany, France, and Spain just requires your U.S. passport, but in a little under two years you’ll also need to apply for entry into those countries and several others before you go. Curious what that means? Here’s a rundown of what you need to know…’

Via Lifehacker

A number of news outlets have been reporting that you will need a visa, but this is erroneous. One applies through the European Travel Information and Authorization System, ETIAS, and pays a fee estimated to be around $7. About 95% of applications will be approved, within a few minutes of an online submission, and authorization lasts 3 years. One applications covers travel to all countries in the Schengen Area, comprising: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Spanish scientists are experimenting on prisoners with direct electrical stimulation

ImagesNew, ethically controversial, era of neurointervention:

’A team of scientists in Spain is getting ready to experiment on prisoners. If the scientists get the necessary approvals, they plan to start a study this month that involves placing electrodes on inmates’ foreheads and sending a current into their brains. The electricity will target the prefrontal cortex, a brain region that plays a role in decision-making and social behavior. The idea is that stimulating more activity in that region may make the prisoners less aggressive.

This technique — transcranial direct current stimulation, or tDCS — is a form of neurointervention, meaning it acts directly on the brain. Using neurointerventions in the criminal justice system is highly controversial. In recent years, scientists and philosophers have been debating under what conditions (if any) it might be ethical.

The Spanish team is the first to use tDCS on prisoners. They’ve already done it in a pilot study, publishing their findings in Neuroscience in January, and they were all set to implement a follow-up study involving at least 12 convicted murderers and other inmates this month. On Wednesday, New Scientist broke news of the upcoming experiment, noting that it had approval from the Spanish government, prison officials, and a university ethics committee. The next day, the Interior Ministry changed course and put the study on hold.…’

Via Vox