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24 May 2011 14:54


U.S.: More storms expected in devastated Joplin, Missouri

  • Scenes from Joplin, and fears of further storms: The death toll in Joplin continued to grimly creep upwards today, with 117 now confirmed dead, and relief and rescue services still faced with such a job that you should probably brace for that number to change again. To make matters worse, the NOAA has issued warnings of severe storms the next few days across a broad swath of the American heartland, with Joplin lying in the highest risk zone. Please do everything possible to stay safe, everybody. source

25 Apr 2011 15:24


U.S.: Amateur video shows violent Texas storms in action

  • Stormchasing across Texas: Impressive and awe-inspiring amateur video highlighting a very familiar sight of late — violent, volatile, inclement weather. The footage is always appreciated, but here’s hoping everyone stays safe! source

07 Feb 2011 14:10


World: Getting back to basic fears, shark attacks rise in 2010

  • Shark week? More like shark year: Reported shark attack rates reached their highest level since 2000 last year, topping out at seventy-nine. The most publicized were likely those in the Red Sea, where there were five attacks in four days, and four of those attacks were thought to have been done by just two sharks. Still, the biggest takeaway from this? Shark attacks are still, as ever, exceedingly rare, even with repeat offenders like the Red Sea duo stalking the waters. source

03 Jul 2010 13:43


World: Report: Cuban hunger striker Guillermo Farinas could die

  • 129 number of days he’s been on a prolonged hunger strike
  • Why did he protest?Since Feburary 24, Farinas has been hunger striking to protest the imprisonment of numerous political activists, as well as the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, a prisoner who died during his own hunger strike.
  • His current statusFarinas is currently at Arnaldo Milian Castro University Hospital in Santa Clara. His doctor says he’s being fed a little via intravenous feeding and has gained weight, but has a blood clot that could prevent blood from getting to his heart.
  • A surprising facetPerhaps the most interesting thing about the Farinas situation is that the source which reported on the opposition activist was Granma, a communist newspaper – and they played it very big, devoting two of their eight pages to him. source
  • » Programming note: This is based on an AP article, which as you might know, we try to avoid here at the ShortFormHQ. But this article seemed important enough that it was worth bypassing the picket line, at least today.

14 May 2010 15:00


Biz: So yeah, the plant where Children’s Tylenol was made is a disaster

  • This inspection report is pretty close to being the worst I’ve seen. It suggests that basically the FDA found an issue with almost every system at the plant.
  • Temple University professor (and former Johnson & Johnson employee) David Lebo • Regarding the conditions of a Pennsylvania Tylenol plant that was shut down recently by the Food and Drug Administration. The shutdown followed a mass recall of many children’s drug products by the manufacturer. Nearly three dozen complaints were filed regarding the drugs, which including foreign materials. The FDA’s report suggests that there was lacking quality control that made some of the drugs superpotent (as scary as it sounds). We’re guessing that this PR crisis won’t be fixed as easily as that other one. source

08 Apr 2010 21:22


U.S.: New thing for germophobes to be scared of: Antibacterial soap

Antibacterial soap’s main germ-killing element is triclosan, which the FDA is reviewing the safety of. One congressman, Edward Markey, wants to ban it altogether. source

01 Apr 2010 10:07


World: Did a Pope know about sex abuse claims nearly fifty years ago?

Pope Paul VI, shown in 1968, reportedly received a letter about sex abuse claims as early as 1963. A senior church official denies this. source

27 Mar 2010 16:41


Biz: Who wants to kill Ronald McDonald (well, besides obesity)?

  • The group that got Joe Camel killed now wants to kill a certain clown. Corporate Accountability International, a business watchdog group, is trying to get McDonald’s to “retire” (a.k.a. kill) their key corporate icon, due to the fact that he has so much influence on kids. They plan to release a poll suggesting this, too. McDonald’s, for their part, isn’t budging, saying he’s a huge part of the company and its charities. We think he won’t be as easy to kill as Joe Camel, kids; he’s too well-known. source

24 Feb 2010 11:03


22 Feb 2010 10:07


Biz: U.S. to Glaxo: Uh, you should pull Avandia from the market

  • The drug has long been linked to heart attacks. The Senate Finance Committee released a report over the weekend containing internal FDA documents recommending it should be pulled from the market. Glaxo, though, is trying its hardest to avoid the pulling of the diabetes drug, and is in the midst of a blind test with another drug, Actos, to show how safe it is. That’s despite the use of a fear-of-God “black box” warning on the drug, and despite a study noting a 43 percent increase in heart trouble for Avendia users. The report suggests Glaxo knew the issues but kept the drug on the market anyway. Yikes. source