July 17, 2013 |
About 100 cases of West Nile virus infection -- and a dozen deaths -- could have been prevented last year if public health officials in Dallas had kept track of the proportion of infected mosquitoes caught in traps, a new study says. A detailed analysis of the 2012 outbreak in Dallas gave researchers the perfect opportunity to test a long-held theory that monitoring mosquitoes, rather than human cases, could predict epidemics and allow for early intervention. Keeping tabs on mosquitoes allows public health officials to estimate the rate of infection in the local mosquito population, as well as the mosquito population size; multiplying the two numbers produces a figure called the "vector index.
July 16, 2013 |
Your doctor hands you a prescription for a blood pressure drug. But is it the right one for you? You're searching for a new primary-care physician or a specialist. Is there a way you can know whether the doctor is more partial to expensive, brand-name drugs than his peers? Or say you've got to find a nursing home for a loved one. Wouldn't you want to know whether the staff doctor regularly prescribes drugs known to be risky for seniors or overuses psychiatric drugs to sedate residents?
July 11, 2013 |
City College of San Francisco's 85,000 students will lose their affordable public community college if its accreditation is revoked as scheduled. Some of the problems found by the regional Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges were indeed serious, but the situation also illustrates some of the problems with the accreditation process. It is at times focused more on disciplining schools and obscure governance deficiencies than on the educational issues that matter most.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 10, 2013 |
A convicted serial rapist who has been ordered released under strict supervision in Los Angeles County embraced intensive treatment for years while locked in a state mental hospital and is not a public safety risk, his attorney said Wednesday. Christopher Evans Hubbart's request for release was supported by his treating psychologist at Coalinga State Hospital and the hospital's medical director, said Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender Jeff Dunn. Dunn said his 62-year-old client will have to wear an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet, report his movements and submit to regular lie detector and other tests once he is conditionally freed.
June 26, 2013 |
MOSCOW - Russia's Justice Ministry on Wednesday suspended a prominent independent election monitoring organization for its refusal to register as a foreign agent as required by the Kremlin. The monitoring agency, Golos, and thousands of other nongovernment organizations oppose the law requiring groups that receive foreign funding to register as foreign agents, saying it would make them seem like spies. Golos, which received a six-month suspension, was among the organizations that reported voting irregularities in a parliamentary election in December 2011 and in a presidential election in March 2012.
June 21, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - In response to congressional demands, the Obama administration is considering disclosing portions of classified opinions by the secret court that oversees the National Security Agency's surveillance programs. "We would like to release into the public domain as much of this as we can without compromising national security," Robert Litt, the top lawyer for Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, told Congress last week. Liberals in Congress have been pressing the administration for years - without success - to release the classified orders by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which rules in secret on surveillance requests from the Justice Department and the intelligence community.
June 21, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - You can call it Big Brother. You can call it high-tech snooping. But be aware: If you are applying for a mortgage in the coming weeks, you can be sure that your credit will be checked and rechecked - possibly monitored daily - to make certain no hints of new debts pop up before you close on the loan. Just as the federal monitoring of phone traffic that's been in the headlines lately was a direct outgrowth of 9/11, pre-closing credit monitoring is a byproduct of the housing crash.
June 19, 2013 |
New York Muslims have filed a federal lawsuit against the New York Police Department over the department's surveillance of Muslims, which they called invasive and unconstitutional. The public debate over government surveillance has crescendoed over the last two weeks after a leaker revealed that the federal government had secretly collected detailed phone records, on a massive scale, for years. The lawsuit filed Tuesday emerged from a narrower but similar channel of criticism over the growth of surveillance on citizens since the Sept.
June 19, 2013 |
The nation's biggest banks haven't yet kept all the pledges they made 16 months ago to settle state and federal investigations into abuses of troubled homeowners and the foreclosure process, the national monitor for the settlement reported. The banks have said they are fulfilling their obligation to provide about $25 billion in aid to distressed borrowers. But monitor Joseph A. Smith, in a report Wednesday, said the banks have also reported failures to fully comply with their promised reforms in processing loan-modification requests, evictions and home seizures.
June 13, 2013 |
SAN FRANCISCO -- Most American parents keep tabs on their kids' activity on Facebook, but a significant percentage also say they are hands off. That's according to a survey from the Annenberg Center for the Digital Future at USC. Nearly two-thirds of parents monitor their children's Facebook visits and nearly half have their passwords. But three out of 10 parents said they let their kids handle their social media activities. One of the major reasons: trust. Either parents said they trusted their kids or they didn't want their kids to think they didn't trust them.