Amid the shiny, happy announcements of new features and new apps this week, file-sharing startup Dropbox quietly revealed another piece of news. Condoleezza Rice — Stanford professor, Iraq War architect, alleged warrantless wiretap supporter — is joining the board at the rising tech startup.
I just threw up in my mouth. What’s the alternative? Google Drive? God help us all
A team of French researchers reports that healthy travelers who had no contact with foreign medical systems brought back extremely drug-resistant bacteria, probably just from drinking water, and that the bacteria persisted in their guts for at least two months after they came home.
In the past several years, travelers from South and Southeast Asia and the Balkans have returned to western Europe with infections caused by bacteria that picked up extra DNA conferring extreme drug resistance. Those resistance factors, which go by the initials OXA and NDM (and more generally by the category name CRE, which the US CDC’s director has called “nightmare bacteria,” or CPE), protect against the killing action of almost every drug in the medicine cabinet, leaving only one or two very old and toxic compounds as possible remedies.
Most of the people who have returned to the West carrying these highly resistant bacteria had the misfortune to be injured, or otherwise need medical care, while they were traveling. Since hospitals even in the industrialized world tend to be places where problematic infections lurk, that made sense. But from time to time, people manifested with these infections when they could not remember doing anything to expose themselves. The assumption was that they had forgotten the exposure. But, it turns out, maybe they hadn’t.
These are bacteria so extremely resistant that, if they escaped the gut, they could cause a life-threatening untreatable infection. And “escaping the gut” is a very normal thing; that’s how people get urinary tract infections, and it’s how many hospital infections start.
The most troubling thing in this report is the authors’ sense that there’s no way for travelers to protect themselves against acquiring these bacteria. To protect Western hospitals, they suggest that anyone who has recently traveled to South Asia and needs health care when they return may have to be considered a contamination risk. That could mean just a flag in a medical chart, or it could mean isolation. Either way, it gives a whole new meaning to “adventure travel.”
Stories like this makes one wonder why isn’t everyone dying left and right.
Virus Shield claims it is an antivirus that “protects you and your personal information from harmful viruses, malware, and spyware” and “Improve the speed of your phone,” and it does this all with one click. It also claims to have a minimal impact on battery, run seamlessly in the background, and if that wasn’t enough, it also acts as ad-block software that will stop those “pesky advertisements.” This app costs $3.99, has been on the Play Store for just under two weeks and has already had 10,000 downloads with a 4.5 star review from 1,700 people. 2,607 people hit the Google “recommend” button. This means that the app must be doing something right… right?
Unfortunately for the buyers, Android Police has discovered that all the app does is change a red “X” graphic to a red “check” graphic. Literally. The 859kb app doesn’t protect, secure, or scan anything. More work went into the Settings menu than the actual “security” portion of the app, and it appears that thousands of users have been scammed out of their money.
The first time I was trolled was back in 2010. After watching Andrew Breitbart destroy Shirley Sherrod’s career, I fired off an angry tweet and he retweeted it, inviting thousands of his followers to defend his honor.And defend they did. I was a number of “dumb black bitches” and “stupid ni**er bitches,” with a few “dumb c**ts” thrown in for good measure. My mentions were a crime scene for hours.Last week, I decided to tweet Raffi Williams, he of the manufactured Ebony Magazine scandal. I fully admit to camping out in his mentions like Tisha Campbell did Eddie Murphy in “Boomerang.” But this time, the trolling I received was markedly different. Save for a few homophobic tweets, the worst insult I received was “libtard.” But this time, they thought they were engaging a white hipster.Being a white dude on Twitter has its advantages.To be clear, this whole thing started as a joke. Or a bet, really. Last fall, one of my Twitter followers dared me to change my avatar and assume the personality of a DudeBro for a week. It seemed easy enough. I’d spent my formative years studying white culture, and considered myself an expert on all of The Things White People Like™, like yoga, collie shepherds, and Stephen Colbert. So I hit Google, searched for a random picture of a random white guy, and threw it up on my profile. I left my name and bio unchanged.Sure enough, people (most of them, white dudes) engaged me differently. The number of snarky, condescending tweets dropped off considerably, and discussions on race and gender were less volatile. I had suddenly become reasonable and level-headed. My racial identity no longer clouded my ability to speak thoughtfully, and in good faith. It was like I was a new person.Once I went back to Black, it was back to business as usual.