Consumptive Issue

Today is world tuberculosis day, but there is “no better news” writes Global Post as complacency and lack of funding deter research into the disease.

Today is world tuberculosis day, but there is "no better news" writes Global Post as complacency and lack of funding deter research into the disease. Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne writes: "A year and a half ago, I attended the seventh birthday party of a young boy named Fanyana, who was quarantined at the Sizwe Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa due to his extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis. Fanyana's tuberculosis is virtually untreatable, and when I returned to Johannesburg this past fall, he remained in quarantine. He was as charismatic as ever, but slower and more tired than when I had first met him, evidence of a gradual decline that will end with his death. One hundred and twenty-eight years after Robert Koch discovered the bacteria that cause tuberculosis, the disease continues to thrive throughout the world. It kills nearly 2 million people a year and infects almost 9 million annually. One third of the world's population is estimated to be infected with the latent form of the disease. After a flood of antibiotics came on the market in the middle of the 20th century, research in the field of TB has been marked by a lack of funding and complacency, as the disease faded from high-income countries. The last new tuberculosis drug was introduced 40 years ago, and the disease has found a foothold in lower and middle-income countries, with China, India, and South Africa leading the world in new infections."

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

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  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
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Why the ocean you know and love won’t exist in 50 years

Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?

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  • Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
  • The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
  • If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
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Vikings unwittingly made their swords stronger by trying to imbue them with spirits

They didn't know it, but the rituals of Iron Age Scandinavians turned their iron into steel.

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Culture & Religion
  • Iron Age Scandinavians only had access to poor quality iron, which put them at a tactical disadvantage against their neighbors.
  • To strengthen their swords, smiths used the bones of their dead ancestors and animals, hoping to transfer the spirit into their blades.
  • They couldn't have known that in so doing, they actually were forging a rudimentary form of steel.
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Health care: Information tech must catch up to medical marvels

Michael Dowling, Northwell Health's CEO, believes we're entering the age of smart medicine.

Photo: Tom Werner / Getty Images
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • The United States health care system has much room for improvement, and big tech may be laying the foundation for those improvements.
  • Technological progress in medicine is coming from two fronts: medical technology and information technology.
  • As information technology develops, patients will become active participants in their health care, and value-based care may become a reality.
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