Brad Thor nails it on why we should be worried about Ebola

http://twitter.com/#!/BradThor/status/517070336093728769

He’s right about zombie movies and yesterday’s CDC briefing on Ebola was straight out of Hollywood, but should we ignore our concerns and trust the Obama administration when it says everything is under control?

Here’s your answer, via Brad Thor:

Yes, we totally handed out lab coats to bamboozle you re: #Obamacare, but you need to believe us now re: #Ebola pic.twitter.com/p8iO3OqK8X

— Brad Thor (@BradThor) October 1, 2014

We hope the good doctors at the CDC are the kind that earned their lab coats and not the kind that had their lab coats handed to them as a public relations stunt.

Or this?

If you like your Dr. you can keep your Dr. & there's only one case of #Ebola inside the United States & we totally have it under control…

— Brad Thor (@BradThor) October 1, 2014

Good question. Does Obamacare cover Ebola?

And don’t forget the same people who missed the ISIS threat are in charge of our borders:

We didn't see #ISIS coming, but we totally saw Muslim terrorists using #Ebola as a bio-weapon and have sealed our borders up super-tight!

— Brad Thor (@BradThor) October 1, 2014

Feel safer yet? We don’t.

 

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2014/10/01/brad-thor-nails-it-on-why-we-should-be-worried-about-team-obamas-response-to-ebola/

These People Came Up With Hilariously Genius Fixes To Everyday Problems

When something needs fixed in your home, you have two options: call a professional, or do it yourself.

In order to save a few bucks, some people opt for the latter option. But if your family is anything like mine, the last word you would use to describe yourselves is handy.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, though, which can force you to get pretty creative with DIY solutions. Not every fix is guaranteed to be a surefire winner, but every once in a while, genius strikes.

The 28 solutions below are certainly interesting, but are they genius or simply beginner’s luck? We’ll let you be the judge.

1. Never lose another book to the treacherous bathwater again.

2. I have to give this guy credit. That’s a pretty awesome way to cover up the fact that he’s a bad driver.

3. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/diy-solutions/

Third time’s a charm: Neil Patrick Harris hosting Tony Awards again

http://twitter.com/#!/shonaunulundgre/status/187193447273349122

Neil Patrick Harris is GOD. No other words for the guy

— SAUNDERS (@JaySaunders17) April 3, 2012

Here are a few more details from Ester Goldberg:

Neil Patrick Harris will host his third Tony Awards, airing Sunday, June 10 on CBS.

The Emmy-nominated “How I Met Your Mother” star previously hosted the 63rd annual Tonys in 2009 and last year’s 65th annual awards. He will also serve as producer of this year’s 66th annual awards, with Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss of White Cherry Entertainment.

https://twitter.com/#!/mandimickuss/status/187196047783755776

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2012/04/03/third-times-a-charm-neil-patrick-harris-hosting-tonys-again/

The First Picture Shocked Me. But Not Nearly As Much As The Next Five… Whoa.

Agee is unlike any other polar bear you’d ever see in captivity or in the wild. Her best friend is her human animal trainer, Mark Abbot Dumas. He took her in and began hand-raising her when she was only a tiny cub. Now, he can wrestle, play and train her while completely trusting her. Not everyone can take a long nap with a polar bear after a long day of work.

Mark Abbot Dumas is the only person you’ll see in a position like this.

Barcroft USA

Honestly, Mark is the only man in the world who can touch a polar bear in this way.

Barcroft USA

But taking a little swim with Agee the bear is completely normal for Mark.

Barcroft USA

Mark and the 800lb bear are very close and share a lot of trust.

Barcroft USA

The trainer and his wife Dawn took in and trained Agee when she was only just eight weeks old.

Barcroft USA

She was a surplus cub at Kolmarden Zoo, Sweden. Instead of staying in a zoo, she was taken into a family and trained to be in movies.

Barcroft USA

Agee performs a variety of commands for Mark, but in exchange for her favorite treats. She loves to chow down on steak, cookies, salmon and chocolates. Her trainer believes that she actually loves her work. “They are extremely intelligent animals and you can see she gets enjoyment out of being stimulated through her work.” She could have never lived in the wild, so it’s important to keep her busy. Her work and play with Mark makes her happy (even if she does get a little jealous when she sees him working with other women). Via Daily Mail Agee is pretty fantastic, share this wonderful polar bear with your friends by clicking on the button below.

Read more: http://viralnova.com/polar-bear-trainer/

This “Pro-Vaccine” Doc Has Enraged The Medical Mainstream

Dr. Robert Sears is wrong on the science of vaccine safety, but he knows how to talk to concerned parents. His success exposes a gaping communication failure among mainstream scientists — one that social scientists have been shouting about for years.

“I am a pro-vaccine doctor. I am also a pro-information doctor.” So says Robert Sears in his preface to The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child, a best-seller billed on Amazon.com as a “fair, impartial, fact-based resource.”

The average reader might never guess that Sears, a pediatrician in Dana Point, California, is actually an intensely controversial figure in the mainstream medical community. For parents who worry that vaccines might be harmful, he offers alternative vaccination schedules that omit or delay certain shots. Sears argues that this is the best way to get through to hesitant parents, who may otherwise fail to get their children vaccinated at all.

But many of his fellow doctors accuse Sears of downplaying the dangers of infectious disease and misrepresenting the evidence from studies that have shown vaccines to be safe and effective. The Vaccine Book is “peppered with misleading innuendo and factual errors,” wrote Rahul Parikh, a doctor in Walnut Creek, California, in a 2010 article for Salon, describing the book at “a nightmare for pediatricians like me.”

Sears’ vaccine schedules, according to his critics, put children at risk by extending the period during which they are susceptible to infectious disease. “I think it’s wholly irresponsible,” Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told BuzzFeed News.

But Sears’ schedule enrages the mainstream for a more abstract reason too. It implicitly validates a dangerous idea: that vaccines are something to worry about. “It’s not just that he fails to educate parents who are afraid of vaccines,” Offit added. “He stokes those fears and says you can avoid those problems by using his schedule.”

Offit has been an energetic and passionate advocate for vaccination for years, often taking flak from the anti-vaxxers for his troubles. I share his reading of the scientific evidence, and I have big problems with the way that evidence is portrayed in The Vaccine Book. But as Offit responded to my query about Sears, and his tone became increasingly strident, I couldn’t help but wince. I understand why concerned parents would be drawn to Sears — known as Dr. Bob to his 41,000 fans on Facebook — and find Offit, well, off-putting.

This isn’t just about personal styles of communication. The contrast between Sears and Offit exposes a wider problem for the scientific establishment, and one that social scientists have been shouting about for years. It’s not enough just to be right. You need to think about how to sell the truth. If Offit and his allies paid as much attention to the science of communication as they do to the science of vaccines, it would be good news for public health.

The problem is that people’s opinions are influenced by a host of factors, including their personal experiences, social circles, religious beliefs, and political views.

Working out how to frame messages grounded in science so they hit home is hard, and the best approach varies from topic to topic. But the clear message from research on communication strategies is that lecturing people with the scientific facts will not, by itself, change their minds. It’s a strategy doomed to fail.

Few parents are hardcore anti-vaxxers, and most don’t accept celebrities’ advice on vaccine safety. They just want what’s best for their kids. They yearn for credible expert opinions, and they want their concerns and questions to be addressed with respect, not dismissed.

Sears has positioned his book to appeal to that audience. Its cover identifies the author as “Robert W. Sears, MD, FAAP,” stressing his medical credentials. Inside, friendly Dr. Bob lays out his take on the scientific evidence in what seems an even-handed way. He makes frequent references to parents’ worries, and recounts his own experiences from pediatric practice.

The Vaccine Book also sits within a circle of trust created by the Sears family business. Dr. Bob’s father, William Sears (aka Dr. Bill), is perhaps America’s best known pediatrician, the author of more than 30 books on parenting. On his popular website, askdrsears.com, he dispenses advice on parenting and health with his wife, Martha, a registered nurse, and his three physician sons — Dr. Bob, Dr. Peter, and Dr. Jim.

From the preface to Dr. Bob’s closing message, The Vaccine Book appears safe and welcoming. “I hope I’ve answered all your questions,” Sears signs off. “Your children are precious, and you have the right to make informed medical decisions for them. I wish you the best.”

Sears is frequently wrong about the science, as many have noted. (Offit’s criticisms of Sears are analyzed here.) But unless you’ve had professional training in interpreting scientific studies, it’s hard to tell a flawed account of the science from the real deal. Sears’ book seems perfectly reasonable. And that explains its appeal.

Contrast Sears’ reassuring words with some of Offit’s recent comments, such as this radio interview with Democracy Now! broadcast earlier this month. He came on the air immediately after Mary Holland of New York University, a legal scholar who attributes her son’s autism to the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. Offit could not contain his exasperation with what he’d just heard.

“You know, what is upsetting to me about this — and I honestly think the last 10 minutes of your program set a new record for consecutive statements that were incorrect — is that when you do the science, when you do these excellent, retrospective, huge studies that answer the question, that people don’t believe them,” Offit said.

Calling Holland a “conspiracy theorist,” he went on: “I think that it is not important to have a debate about the science with someone who clearly doesn’t know the science. I’m sorry, Ms. Holland misrepresented the science again and again and again.”

I understand Offit’s frustration. And he’s right: Careful research has conclusively debunked the idea that the MMR vaccine causes autism. The 1998 study that claimed a link, setting off the scare over vaccines and autism, has been retracted by the journal that published it.

But Offit’s reaction provides a classic example of how scientists can get into trouble when they find themselves in the rough-and-tumble of public debate. The reason some people reject the scientific consensus, they assume, is a lack of knowledge. So if you simply educate the public, then opposition will melt away. When it doesn’t, scientists like Offit are prone to dismiss those who don’t accept the evidence in a shrill, self-defeating way.

The assumption that knowledge is what matters is called the “deficit model” of science communication. The irony, given scientists’ conviction that they are promoting an evidence-based view of the world, is that rigorous surveys have found little support for the idea that more knowledge leads to greater trust in science and for scientists — especially on controversial topics like climate change or the safety of genetically modified food.

Perversely, people who know more about science and are more numerate actually disagree more strongly over whether climate change is a serious problem, depending on their political views. Here, attitudes drive people’s interpretation of the scientific evidence, rather than evidence driving attitudes.

Once false beliefs have taken hold, they are hard to shift through factual corrections alone.

Vaccines are no exception, as Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, found in a study published in March last year. Nyhan and his colleagues divided nearly 1,800 parents into groups and presented each with different information, based on material provided on the web by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the federal agency responsible for the official recommendations on vaccination.

In an online survey, one group was shown text explaining the lack of evidence that the MMR vaccine causes autism, while a second got an explanation of the dangers of the diseases that the vaccine prevents. Two more groups were shown photos of children with measles, mumps, and rubella, or were presented with a dramatic true story from the CDC website about an infant who almost died of measles. The final control group received no information at all.

None of the messages had the desired effect on the parents’ intent to vaccinate, and some were counterproductive. The images of sick children actually increased belief in a link between vaccines and autism, and the story about the child who nearly died heightened concerns about vaccine side effects.

“Throwing facts and science at people is ineffective,” Nyhan told BuzzFeed News. “It doesn’t change people’s minds and it can make the problem worse.”

(This means, by the way, that posts like this and this, both from BuzzFeed, could just preach to the already converted and make hesitant parents less likely get their children vaccinated.)

I asked Offit what he thought of Nyhan’s study. “I just think he’s wrong,” Offit told me, arguing that studies like Nyhan’s can’t account for the persuasive powers of a caring and passionate doctor. “I think we’re pretty compelling,” he said.

Maybe so, but it’s strange to hear someone who urges parents to heed scientific evidence putting more faith in his own personal experience than the results of a controlled experiment.

I also worry that reactions from the pro-vaccine camp to the current measles outbreak could prove as counter-productive as some of the messages Nyhan put to the test. Parents who blame the non-vaccinating minority for putting children at risk are angry. That helps explain why lawmakers in California are trying to remove the state’s “personal belief” exemption from school-mandated vaccinations, and enthusiasm for ideas like making non-vaccinating parents pay a “no-vax tax.”

The danger is that some people who previously were unsure what they thought will see such moves as overreaching, and be pushed into the arms of the anti-vaxxers.

“When you turn issues into us-versus-them conflicts, some proportion of people decides they identify with the ‘them,'” Dietram Scheufele, a specialist in science communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told BuzzFeed News. That’s even more likely if the debate becomes politically polarized.

Let’s not lose perspective: The vast majority of parents support the medical consensus on vaccination. Imagine where we’d be if more than 90% of people not only accepted the evidence that human activities are warming our planet, but also agreed on what should be done about it.

On issues like climate change, a healthy majority of public opinion is enough to carry the argument. But vaccination is different, because it only takes a minority of refuseniks to undermine the “herd immunity” on which protection for everyone — including those who can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons — depends.

So much for what doesn’t work. What does? The embarrassing truth, for vaccination, is that there’s little evidence to draw upon.

Doctors are used to being trusted figures whose advice is rarely questioned. So until recently, scant attention was paid to how to overcome problems like vaccine refusal. “We’re really relying on anecdote and not data,” Douglas Opel, a pediatrician at the University of Washington in Seattle, told BuzzFeed News. “Part of my work has been to try and fill that gap.”

Opel set up video cameras in 16 doctors’ offices and recorded their conversations about vaccination with more than 100 parents. The most important thing, Opel’s team found, was how the subject was raised: Parents were more likely to vaccinate if the talk began with something like “Well, we have to do some shots,” than if their doctor started by asking them what they wanted to do.

Finding that parents are more likely to get their kids vaccinated if it’s obvious that their doctor views getting the shots as imperative is hardly rocket science. Still, Opel’s work shows that it’s possible to convey this conviction subtly yet effectively, without confrontation. It was just clear from start of the conversation that the most persuasive doctors had no personal doubts that their advice was sound.

But it’s just one study, and by the time parents get to their pediatrician’s office, the seeds of doubt may already be sown. That’s why Saad Omer, a vaccine researcher at Emory University in Atlanta, is beginning to investigate how to communicate about vaccines to women when they visit their doctors during pregnancy. His approach includes providing doctors with suggested talking points, and an iPad app that pregnant women can view while they sit in the waiting room.

It will take several years to find out if Omer’s prescription has the desired effect of convincing hesitant parents to vaccinate their kids — and more studies will be needed to give doctors a range of tried-and-tested options that help get the message across.

Until the results are in, here’s some advice to anyone who cares about getting more kids vaccinated: Spend less time railing against Dr. Bob’s equivocal “pro-vaccine” stance, and refrain from beating up on those who heed his advice. Instead, let’s ask why some parents find his message more convincing than what the real experts have to say.

Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/peteraldhous/this-pro-vaccine-doc-has-enraged-the-medical-mainstream

This Guy Plays The Best Pranks On His Little Old Grandmother

YouTuber Julius Dein is a skilled magician, but his greatest talent to date is pranking his grandma.

Dein usually visits malls, parks, and street corners to find victims for his pranks and show off his magic tricks. Recently, though, he made one of his all-time best videos by simply staying home for a day and pranking his sweet grandmother. In less than a week, it’s been viewed almost 60,000,000 times on Facebook.

The YouTuber told Daily Mail that it was his grandmother who got him into magic in the first place. He said, “We have a great relationship — she loves the magic and she is a very energetic woman.”

Watch the hilarity that unfolds when Dein pranks his grandmother. Each one of his tricks is brilliant, but the Samsung phone explosion really takes the cake.

Read More: He Starts With A Deck Of Cards, But His Last Trick Is Particularly Unsettling

These two are a hoot! Here’s hoping they team up for more videos in the future.

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/grandma-pranks/

10 Of The World’s Greatest Unsolved Mysteries. I’d Never Even Heard Of #7.

Despite modern technology and our advanced understanding of the world, there are still a lot of mysteries out there. They all make you scratch your head and some even force you to question reality. Here are 10 of the world’s best unsolved mysteries for you to ponder:

1.) The Mary Celeste.

The Mary Celeste was a ship destined for Italy that departed New York in 1872. On board was the captain and his family, along with a crew of eight. However the ship never made it to Italy. It was found floating near the Straight of Gibraltar, abandoned. Everything was intact except that the captain’s log book was missing. 

2.) The Marfa Lights.

P K

The Marfa Lights are mysterious lights that have frequently been sighted over the Mitchell Flats east of Marfa, Texas. They’ve been a regular sight in the area for much of the last century. Despite many theories about their origins, no one has been able to provide evidence for their theories. 

3.) Babushka Lady.

After President Kennedy was assassinated, the Babushka Lady was seen at the site taking pictures of what happened. She was dubbed that by the FBI because she was wearing a headscarf very similar to what Russian grandmothers wear, also know as Babushkas. No one knows who she is, or what photos she took. The FBI asked her to come forward during the investigation, but she never did. 

4.) Tunguska.

Back in 1908 there was a huge unexplained explosion over a forest in Tunguska, Siberia. The force and devastation of the blast was equivalent to more than 2,000 Hiroshima level bombs. Initially scientists thought it may have been a meteor. However there is a lack of hard evidence to prove that theory. 

5.) Ball Lightning.

Ball lightning is an extremely rare thing. Essentially it is electricity (lightning) that’s shaped like a sphere. When it has been spotted it looks like little balls of floating electricity. Sadly because it is so rare, almost no research has gone into figuring out what the heck causes it.

6.) Axeman of New Orleans.

In 1918 a married couple in New Orleans was killed in their home. The killer butchered them in their sleep. No valuables were taken in the attack, and the killer left the axe at the scene. At least eight more people fell victim to the so-called “Axeman” before the murders stopped. The Axeman was never found.

7.) Olof Palme.

Olof Palme was an outspoken Swedish politician and prime minister from 1982 – 1986. His platform included a referendum on nuclear energy and restoring socialist economic policies. In 1986 when he was walking home with his wife from the movies, he was assassinated. The killer was never found.

8.) D.B. Cooper.

D.B. Cooper hijacked a plane in November, 1971 en route from Portland, Oregon to Seattle, Washington. He demanded $200,000 in cash when the plane landed in Seattle. Once the plane was refueled and back in the air, Cooper parachuted from the plane with the money strapped to his body. Neither he nor the money were ever found.

9.) Hitler’s Fortune.

The Nazis were well known for plundering the wealth of their victims. It was rumored that because of this Hitler personally had the equivalent of $4 billion in hoarded gold, currency, and other valuables. While some isolated stores of Nazi plunder have been found, the main bulk of it is still out there somewhere. 

10.) The burial site of Genghis Khan.

Legend has it that when Genghis Khan died, all witness to his burial were killed. His loyal followers supposedly buried Khan then killed all of the slaves that helped with the burial. They then had their horses trample the ground to hide the grave. There’s even a story that some of his followers diverted a river to cover up his grave. 

(Via: Full Punch)

Wow. Alright those are some crazy mysteries. I had no idea Hitler had that much wealth by the end of World War II. I wonder where it went…

Read more: http://viralnova.com/unsolved-mysteries/

Bullied Mich. teen pushes MPAA for rating change; Update: Girl will receive award

http://twitter.com/#!/KFINEWS/status/177521224648368129

The Weinstein Co. is set to release “Bully” at the end of this month and it has been assigned an R rating by the MPAA. High school student Katy Butler, herself a victim of bullying, is appealing to the MPAA to reduce the rating to PG-13 in order to expose the documentary to a wider audience.

“This film is too important and potentially life-saving to give it an ‘R’ rating that will prevent kids from watching it,” Butler said. “… The stories told in `Bully’ and the experiences that bullied students face each day in schools across America, deserve to be shared with the world.”

Butler has already collected over 200,000 petition signatures and delivered them to the MPAA.  However, MPAA representative Joan Graves issued a statement last month saying the rating change is unlikely.

“The rating simply conveys to parents that a film has elements strong enough to require careful consideration before allowing their children to view it,” Graves said. “Once advised, many parents may take their kids to see an R-rated film. School districts, similarly, handle the determination of showing movies on a case-by-case basis and have their own guidelines for parental approval.”

via KFI News

Update:

Looks like Katy Butler will be honored by Harvey Weinstein and GLAAD:

EXCLUSIVE: Harvey Weinstein to Present Special GLAAD Award to Katy Butler, Anti-Bullying Activist http://t.co/Sf4d1Vts

— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) March 14, 2012

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2012/03/14/bullied-mich-teen-pushes-mpaa-for-rating-change/