Archive for June 16th, 2020

Qualcomm launches new Snapdragon 690 processor to add 5G to budget phones – Circuit Breaker

June 16th, 2020

Hal Johnson says popular ‘Body Break’ series was created to battle racism – CTV News

June 16th, 2020

TORONTO — Despite the iconic tagline “keep fit and have fun,” Body Break founder Hal Johnson says the idea for the health and fitness segment wasn’t rooted in fitness, but a personal desire to combat racism and a lack of diversity in the Canadian media landscape.

On Monday, the Canadian television personality became the latest celebrity to open up about his experience with systemic racism.

In a four-minute YouTube video, Johnson revealed he was hired by TSN to be a sports reporter in 1988 only to be fired two hours later because the network already had a Black reporter and executives didn’t want to have two.

Speaking to CTV’s National Affairs Correspondent Omar Sachedina on Tuesday, Johnson said this and other experiences early in his television career opened his eyes to the lack of diversity in Canadian media — a realization that would go on to shape Body Break.

“It’s important to advocate for women, for persons with disabilities… Those are things that I think are really important,” Johnson said.

“We’ve thought about that for all these years of Body Break, to have diversity and advocate for someone other than yourself.”

TSN, a division of Bell Media, issued a public apology to Johnson Tuesday afternoon.

“We apologize to Hal Johnson for the racism he experienced at TSN beginning in 1988, a shameful part of our past, and thank him for sharing his story as a reminder of the impact of racism in Canadian media that continues today. We recognize that even 30 years later, there is still much work to do to improve our commitment to on-air and editorial diversity,” read the statement.

“As a first step, TSN is part of Bell Media’s recently announced Content Diversity Task Force, which as part of its mandate is committed to amplifying voices from BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of colour) on-air talent.”

Johnson said his decision to break his silence about his personal experience with racism comes at a time of turmoil for the Black community.

But he says doesn’t consider himself a victim. In fact, he hopes the discussion will instead be focused on what a positive effect Body Break has had on Canadians.

“I wasn’t looking for an apology. I’m not a victim. I’m someone that hopefully is contributing in a positive way to Canada,” he said.

Johnson says that these lessons go beyond race, noting that he often sees wife and Body Break co-star Joanne McLeod being dismissed in meetings because she is a woman.

In fact, the couple was initially met with resistance when shopping Body Break around to Canadian companies, and were told the Canadian public wasn’t ready for a Black and white couple.

“We haven’t wanted to yell and scream at you, ‘You should do this.’ You do it in a subtle way if you change the hearts and minds. It’s a lot easier than trying to hit them over the head of the club,” he said.

“Our original idea for Body Break was we do an activity, let’s a gardening as an example. And if you’re a gardener, you’re going to pay attention because you’re a gardener. Well, if you’re a person of minority, if you have a disability, and we included you you’re going to pay attention.”

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Trump Mentions AIDS Vaccine That Does Not Exist, Predicts Covid-19 Vaccine By End Of 2020 – Forbes

June 16th, 2020

Today, at a press conference in the Rose Garden, President Donald Trump said, “They’ve come up with the AIDS vaccine.”

That would be great news. Except, that it’s not. Because there is currently no AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) vaccine available to humans. At least not in 2020, on planet Earth, in this Universe, and in this dimension.

In his speech, Trump was predicting that before the end of the year there would be a “very successful vaccine, therapeutic, and cure,” for the Covid-19 coronavirus. How could he make such a prediction, given that he himself is not a scientist or a doctor? Well, he said that he deals with these “incredible” scientists and doctors “very very closely” and “has a great deal of respect for their minds.” He proceeded to say that these scientists and doctors “have come up with things,” which is great because you want scientists and doctors to come up with things.

Perhaps to make it clearer that these “things” were actually significant advances (as opposed to something like strapping a washboard to a llama), Trump gave an example of a thing that scientists and doctors have supposedly already developed. That’s when the “they’ve come up with the AIDS vaccine” thing came up, as seen in this Bloomberg Quick Take News video:

Well, that would be news to people who are still working on developing things such as vaccines against HIV, which stands for human immunodeficiency virus, the cause of AIDS. One of the scientists or doctors that Trump deals with very, very closely probably should have told him, “Mr. President, you know when you plan on saying, ‘they’ve come up with the AIDS vaccine’? Don’t. Just don’t.”

That’s because the AIDS vaccine is not the greatest example of a thing, since it really isn’t a thing yet. Back in December, I wrote for Forbes about the possibility of an HIV vaccine being available in 2021 due to some vaccine candidates entering later phase clinical trials. Since then unfavorable results led to the stoppage of one of these trials, as a press release from UNAIDS in February 2020 revealed. This may make the 2021 goal less likely to be achieved and may mean that the world may have to wait even longer for a vaccine that researchers have been trying to develop since 1984.

In this National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) video, Anthony Fauci, MD (you know the Director of the NIAID and the guy whom Brad Pitt played on Saturday Night Live) explained why developing an HIV vaccine has been so difficult:

In general, it’s not a good idea to use something that doesn’t yet exist to show what you have accomplished. For example, don’t put on your resume jobs that you haven’t really had yet, such as “Space Force Ship Captain” or “five-term U.S. President.” Instead, choose a real accomplishment that has already occurred. Scientists and doctors have invented many things. Trump could have selected one of a number of vaccines that already exist such as the rotavirus, hepatitis B, or human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccines.

Perhaps Trump realized shortly after the words “come up with the AIDS vaccine” had left his mouth that there may indeed be no available vaccine against AIDS. Or against “the AIDS,” for that matter. That may be why his next words were, “They have come up — or the AIDS. And, as you know, there’s various things and now various companies are involved, but the therapeutic for AIDS. AIDS was a death sentence. Now people will live a life with a pill. It’s an incredible thing.”

Incredible, indeed. Not exactly a “four score and seven years ago” speech.

Again, there is no AIDS vaccine currently available. There are medications, such as Truvada and Descovy, that you can take every day if you are at higher risk for catching HIV. This is considered pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) against HIV infections. These medications are not the same as a vaccine. They don’t act the same way. They don’t stimulate your immune system to protect you against HIV. Although these medications can be highly effective at blocking the virus from making more copies of itself, once you stop taking PrEP you are no longer protected if the virus enters your body. PrEP can be much more expensive than a vaccine too, with Truvada potentially costing around $2,000 a month in the U.S., according to an article in Healthline.

If you say, “so the President accidentally said, ‘they’ve come up with the AIDS vaccine,’ what’s the big deal,” keep in mind that this isn’t just some stranger at the local Chuck E. Cheese. This is the President. People listen to what the President says.

It is important to make it very clear that no AIDS vaccine exists. Otherwise, people may go seeking this non-existent vaccine, making them more susceptible to vaccine scams. Moreover, they may not take proper precautions, incorrectly believing that AIDS is a vaccine-preventable disease like the measles or the mumps. There also may not be the same urgency to get an AIDS vaccine developed.

Speaking of vaccine development, until more scientific evidence emerges, don’t expect a “very successful vaccine, therapeutic, and cure,” for the Covid-19 coronavirus to be available by the end of 2020. The Covid-19 vaccine development efforts may be called “Operation Warp Speed,” but it shouldn’t be “Operation Warped Speed” or “Operation On Speed.” Vaccines typically take years (at least three to five years) to develop. There is no guarantee that a vaccine against the Covid-19 coronavirus will ever be developed. Coming up with a safe, reliable, and effective vaccine within a year of identifying a new virus would be unprecedented.

It could happen. However, in some ways, vaccine development is like sex. You don’t want to rush it. You don’t know what challenges you may have until it happens. The end result may not be what you expected. Crying may be involved. And you don’t want to keep saying how great it will be until it actually occurs.

The key in both cases is to temper expectations. There should be no premature congratulations. An initial vaccine, should it reach the market, may not even be that effective. Inappropriately rushing a vaccine through clinical trials could result in a vaccine that either doesn’t work, or worse, is dangerous.

When it comes to Covid-19 vaccine possibilities or any vaccine for that matter, listen to scientists and doctors, you know the people with those minds. Wait until real, peer-reviewed scientific information comes out about the vaccine candidates before making any predictions about the vaccines. After all, you don’t want someone to say that “they’ve come up with the Covid-19 vaccine,” before it really has happened.


Church tied to Oregon’s largest coronavirus outbreak – ABC News

June 16th, 2020

A church in rural northeastern Oregon is now the epicenter of the state’s largest coronavirus outbreak, as 236 people tested positive for the disease

SALEM, Ore. — A church in rural northeastern Oregon is now the epicenter of the state’s largest coronavirus outbreak, as 236 people tested positive for the disease, authorities said Tuesday.

The outbreak also led to Oregon’s second consecutive record-setting daily case count.

“I think generally we are seeing increasing numbers, which is what we expected with reopening,” said Thomas Jeanne, the deputy state health officer and deputy state epidemiologist.

In response to the increasing case counts Gov. Kate Brown last week said she was putting all county applications for further reopening from her COVID-19 restrictions on hold for seven days.

The Oregon Health Authority reported 278 new statewide cases Tuesday — a 51% increase from Monday’s case count. Officials cited the rise in cases due largely to increased testing, contact tracing, workplace outbreaks “as well as potential spread in the community.”

The largest outbreak, which was first made public Monday, is associated with Lighthouse Pentecostal Church in Union County.

The Observer newspaper of La Grande reported that the church held services in April and May even though Oregon COVID-19 restrictions limited gatherings. Also, The Observer reported the facility recently held a wedding and a graduation ceremony, each with more than 100 people.

Attempts by The Associated Press to reach representatives of the church were not successful Tuesday.

The health authority and county officials teamed up with the church over the weekend to hold a clinic where 356 people were tested for the virus — 66% tested positive for coronavirus, officials reported.

Currently, five people associated with the outbreak are hospitalized, Jeanne said. The county does not have any confirmed fatalities from coronavirus.

Prior to the outbreak, the county had less than 25 cases during the pandemic.

“We have tested the majority of the congregation at the church in Union County,” Jeanne said. “At this point we hope there will not be a lot more (cases), but that is what contact tracing, quarantine and follow up will be important for.”

Over the last 14 days, 35% of cases have not been linked to a specific transmission, Jeanne said.

“We are concerned about these trends, particularly the sporadic cases that can’t be traced to a specific outbreak or cluster, because they indicate how much community spread is occurring — the type of spread that we are less able to control through testing, case investigation, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine,” Jeanne said.

Tuesday’s case count brings the new total number of people who have tested positive for coronavirus in Oregon to 6,098. In addition, two more people have died from the disease, raising the state’s death toll to 182.

For most, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.


Flushing the toilet may fling coronavirus aerosols all over –

June 16th, 2020

Knvul Sheikh,

The New York Times Company

June 16, 2020 | 7:10 PM

Here’s one more behavior to be hyper-aware of in order to prevent coronavirus transmission: what you do after you use the toilet.

Scientists have found that in addition to clearing out whatever business you’ve left behind, flushing a toilet can generate a cloud of aerosol droplets that rises nearly 3 feet. Those droplets may linger in the air long enough to be inhaled by a shared toilet’s next user, or land on surfaces in the bathroom.

This toilet plume isn’t just gross. In simulations, it can carry infectious coronavirus particles that are already present in the surrounding air or recently shed in a person’s stool. The research, published Tuesday in the journal Physics of Fluids, adds to growing evidence that the coronavirus can be passed not only through respiratory droplets but also through virus-laden feces, too.


And while it remains unknown whether public or shared toilets are a common point of transmission of the virus, the research highlights the need during a pandemic to rethink some of the common spaces people share.

“The aerosols generated by toilets are something that we’ve kind of known about for a while, but many people have taken for granted,” said Joshua L. Santarpia, a professor of pathology and microbiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center who was not involved in the research. “This study adds a lot of the evidence that everyone needs in order to take better action.”

Typically, the coronavirus is most at home in cells in the lungs and upper respiratory tract. But studies have found it can also dock to cell receptors in the small intestine. Patients have been reported to experience diarrhea, nausea and vomiting among other symptoms.

And researchers have found viable virus particles in patients’ feces, as well as traces of viral RNA on toilet bowls and sinks in their hospital isolation rooms, although experiments in the lab have suggested that material may be less likely to be infectious compared with virus that is coughed out.

A computer simulation of the toilet flushing mechanism showed that when water pours into the toilet and generates a vortex, it displaces air in the bowl. These vortices move upward and the centrifugal force pushes out about 6,000 tiny droplets and even tinier aerosol particles.


Depending on the number of inlets in the toilet, flushing can force anywhere from 40% to 60% of the produced aerosols high above the seat.

“It’s very alarming,” said Ji-Xiang Wang, who studies fluid dynamics at Yangzhou University and was a co-author of the study.

It’s virtually impossible to keep bathrooms sanitized all the time, and sharing a toilet may be unavoidable for family members, even when one person is sick and isolating in a separate room at home, Wang said.

As cities around the world navigate the reopening of restaurants, offices and other businesses, more and more people will also need to use public or shared restrooms. But while diners can be moved outdoors and employees spaced out, people may find it harder to practice social distancing in small bathrooms.

Aerosolized particles may still linger in single-use toilets, and bathrooms are frequently poorly ventilated spaces, which can increase the risk of exposure to infection. Users also have to consider risks from high-touch surfaces, like doorknobs and faucets.

Experience with other coronaviruses shows how quickly the fecal-oral route can lead to spread of disease. In March 2003, more than 300 people living in the Amoy Gardens apartment complex in Hong Kong got infected with the original SARS coronavirus because infectious fecal aerosols spread through faulty plumbing and ventilation systems.

While Wang acknowledged that scientists had yet to look at toilet aerosols in real-world situations involving the new coronavirus, other research has shown that viral RNA was found in shared toilet areas at one hospital in Wuhan, China.


But researchers do not know how much infectious virus is in aerosols or whether people with more severe cases of COVID-19 shed more virus than patients with milder illness, he said.

Thankfully, people can also easily prevent the spread of infections from the toilet plume.

“Close the lid first and then trigger the flushing process,” Wang said, which he acknowledged isn’t always possible in public bathrooms.

You should also wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, especially if you’re using a shared restroom where the toilet doesn’t have a lid or the flush is automatically triggered on standing up. Avoid touching your face, and keep your mask on in the bathroom, which could prevent some exposure to the coronavirus.

Wang hopes the new research will help lead to improvements in bathroom design, including increased attention to contactless dispensers for soap and paper towels, and toilets that flush only after they have been covered with a lid.

Other experts are already considering indoor ultraviolet lights and automated disinfectant sprays that will zap the coronavirus and relieve some of the pressure on keeping public toilets clean.

And Santarpia said that Wang’s study could point to a way of monitoring coronavirus clusters.

“You could simply monitor samples from a shared bathroom on a daily basis,” he said. “And if something were to come up positive, you could then go look at everyone who was there and who they had contact with, rather than testing everybody all the time.”

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‘It’s definitely a nail biter’: Canada braces for UN Security Council vote after long campaign – CTV News

June 16th, 2020

OTTAWA — On the eve of a vote to determine which two countries will secure sought-after seats on the United Nations Security Council, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made his 61st phone call to a world leader since the day he entered self-isolation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

While not every call was necessarily made in the pursuit of currying favour from the 193 countries deciding the fate of Canada’s Security Council bid, former foreign affairs minister John Manley says it definitely wouldn’t hurt.

“You can’t overlook anybody, because those votes will all count,” explained Manley.

“Given the amount we’ve staked on this, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s redoubling efforts, given that he has time, and given that there are other subjects to talk about, to try to push for that support.”

The Security Council vote will take place Wednesday in New York City, with Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne casting Canada’s vote around noon. The winners will need to win the support of two-thirds of the voting countries, or 129 votes each.

If that doesn’t happen on the first ballot, the voting will start up all over again on Thursday until the two victors are crowned.

“As I’ve said from the beginning, getting a seat on the UN Security Council for Canada is not an end in itself. It’s a means to an end, it’s a way for Canada to continue to be influential and have an impact in multilateralism and around the world,” Trudeau said, speaking from the front steps of Rideau Cottage on Tuesday.

Over recent months, Trudeau has held calls with multiple African nations, Middle Eastern countries and others in Central and South America. While it’s possible the calls were made to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic or other ongoing international issues, Manley said it’s “likely” that the security council election is being worked into those conversations.

That personal touch could make all the difference in a race that’s sure to be a “nail biter,” according to Ben Rowswell, a former diplomat and head of the Canadian International Council.

“In a campaign that we’re seeking to win, you’d really want the prime minister to be the person making the pitch for the largest number of countries possible,” Rowswell said.

Canada is up against Norway and Ireland for the seats, and with Norway’s track record of overseas development assistance, Rowswell said the odds are very good that the Nordic country will secure one of the two seats.

“I suspect that Canada will come [out] with the second largest number of votes, and therefore win one of the two seats. But I do think it’s going to be a very closely called election,” Rowswell said.

This is Canada’s second attempt at securing a seat at that Security Council since its last successful bid in 1999-2000, after then-prime minister Stephen Harper’s government lost its campaign in 2010.

The personal touch that Trudeau has taken to the race was missing during Canada’s last bid, Rowswell said, as then-prime minister Stephen Harper wasn’t keen on devoting his time to picking up the phone and massaging international egos in an effort to secure the seat –resulting in Canada losing to powerhouse contender Germany and the much smaller Portugal.

Canada’s 2010 loss raises the stakes in the current race against Norway and Ireland for a seat at this powerful table, according to Manley.

“To lose to Portugal? That was tough,” Manley said.

“You realize that this is no longer — we are no longer held in the same regard by countries around the world as we once were.”

According to Manley, Canada is lonelier than it once was. The extent of that loneliness might be thrust in our face, depending on the result of the UN Security Council vote.

“Let’s face it, we haven’t spent a lot of time and effort the last number of years on Africa. We’re clearly not in the Chinese or Russian orbits, the U.S. is not likely to be of any help to us. We are, we seem to be trying to warm up with Saudi Arabia, but our Middle Eastern relationships have been challenged as well, so it’s sometimes a problem of not, you know, where are your friends and are they going to show up for you,” Manley said.

“We’re not the country that everybody loves that we used to be.”

Manley said that Canada can expect countries from the European Union to vote in favour of Norway or Ireland. With Canada’s spats with Saudi Arabia, China, and the traditionally helpful Australia, which Manley said was offended during TPP negotiations, he said it will be “a very tough one for us to win.”

While Rowswell has a slightly more optimistic prediction for tomorrow’s vote, arguing that Canada and Norway will respectively secure the two seats, he agreed with Manley that the result could be an indicator of Canada’s place in the world.

“If we were to lose twice in two successive decades with two different political parties, that could really be quite an indictment of Canada’s role in the world,” Rowswell said.

Still, both experts believe that Canada was right to pursue the seat, whatever outcome tomorrow might bring. Manley said that Canada should aim to serve on the Security Council once every decade, and up until 2010, Canada had attained that quota.

“Frankly, we should be at as many tables of the powerful as possible so that we’ve got leverage with powerful countries,” Rowswell said.

Manley cautioned that Canada’s bid was somewhat rushed this time around, however, as he said such campaigns are usually launched a decade in advance — and Trudeau’s pursuit started when he was elected in 2015.

“If we lose tomorrow, I think we should decide to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and start over again. But let’s pick the year, and let’s be strategic from day one about it,” Manley said.

Come what may, Rowswell said tomorrow’s vote will be one to watch.

“It’s definitely a nail biter, because it’s sort of down to the wire, and this government, for better for worse, has staked a lot of our national pride on it.”

With files from The Canadian Press

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Toilet flushes create a vortex of airborne coronavirus poop particles – Business Insider – Business Insider

June 16th, 2020

It’s well-known by now that the coronavirus can spread from person to person via respiratory droplets. 

But droplets aren’t the only bodily fluid that the virus can travel in: multiple studies have found traces in infected patients’ poop.

A new study from the American Institute of Physics evaluated how far these potentially viral poop particles can spread when you flush a toilet. It found that a toilet’s flush could spew tiny droplets from the toilet — and the material inside — up to three feet from the toilet, which could land on other surfaces around the bathroom.

It also found that the turbulence from a flush generated such small particles that they could float in the air around the toilet for up to a minute, where they could be inhaled by another bathroom user. Shared bathrooms can be risky for this reason.

“One can foresee that the velocity will be even higher when a toilet is used frequently, such as in the case of a family toilet during a busy time or a public toilet serving a densely populated area,”  co-author Ji-Xiang Wang, who studies fluid dynamics at Yangzhou University, said in the study’s press release.

It’s unclear if the amount of virus that would be in these particles is enough to infect another person, but you should still lower the the lid before you flush.

The study helps highlight the risks that could be posed by shared bathrooms as the US and other countries reopen. In general, four main factors raise your risk of catching the virus: enclosed spaces, crowds, close contact with others, and difficulty social distancing.

A small enclosed space like a bathroom presents a high risk, particularly if many people are sharing it.

Toilet flushes create a ‘vortex’ of droplets above the bowl

The researchers used a fluid dynamics model to track the movement of the droplets in a toilet bowl after a flush.

When a toilet flushes, water from the tank above the bowl is pushed down into the water in the bowl — creating turbulence and changes in airflow.

The researchers studied two common types of siphon toilets. One has a single toilet inlet valve for flushing water. The other has two inlet valves, which creates a rotating flow.

These valves determine the amount of pressure that the water used for flushing applies to the raw waste in the bowl. That means different amounts of the wastewater in the bowl will be spewed out.

The simulation results for flushing a one-valve toilet for 1.4 seconds.

The simulation results for flushing a one-valve toilet for 1.4 seconds.
American Institute of Physics

For both types of toilets, as the water pours into the toilet bowl from one side, it splashes the opposite side, creating a vortex near the far wall.

The vortex continues upwards in the air above the bowl due to inertia.

“Therefore, an airflow vortex also appears in the air zone above the toilet seat,” the researchers wrote. The droplets in this vortex are carried to a height of up to three feet. The droplets are so small that they can float there for up to one minute.

A two-valved toilet creates an even faster vortex, forcing about 60% of these small particles into the air even more quickly, the simulation shows.

If there is infected fecal matter in the toilet, the clouds will contain them.

Still, it’s unclear if these viral poop clouds can get you sick

It’s unknown whether these small particles can get you sick, because scientists are still not sure how much of the coronavirus you need to be exposed to in order to get infected. 

The particles that are spewed from a toilet are tiny — they’re known as aerosols, which are smaller than the droplets that the virus prefers to travel in.

Scientists agree that the virus is primarily transmitted through respiratory droplets — particles larger than 5 micrometers — when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks.

coronavirus social distancing parks

People, some wearing protective face coverings and many without or with masks lowered, relax in marked circles for proper social distancing at Domino Park in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn during the current coronavirus outbreak, Sunday, May 17, 2020, in New York.
AP Photo/Kathy Willens

A clear solution to this dangerous problem is to close the lid before flushing. But in many countries, including the US, toilets in public restrooms don’t typically have lids.

The researchers suggest that a new toilet design could help prevent infectious disease transmission. A toilet with a lid that closes automatically before flushing, for example, could avoid the issue.

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Mustang Mach-F Renderings Imagine A Five-Door Electric Pony – Motor1

June 16th, 2020

Revealed: Your Top 5 PS5 Event Announcements – Power Ranking – IGN

June 16th, 2020

Galaxy Tab S7 Plus renders show off a big 12.4-inch display – The Verge

June 16th, 2020