National / International News
Health officials transferred Dallas nurse Nina Pham to the National Institutes of Health facility in Maryland Thursday.
Now both Dallas nurses infected by a patient with the disease have been sent to specialty hospitals with biocontainment units. There are four such hospitals in the U.S., with sites in Maryland, Georgia, Nebraska and Montana.
Given mistakes in Dallas, health officials are talking about whether certain hospitals should be designated to treat Ebola cases. But there really aren’t any Ebola experts, no super doctors who have special tricks. Doctors say treating Ebola is actually pretty straightforward business.
“Most of the treatment issues really are the generic treatment of very, very sick people with multiple organs that are failing, and most reasonable-sized hospitals can do that competently,” says Dr. Bob Wachter of University of California-San Francisco.
Wachter says with Ebola, what matters more than medical brilliance is organizational acumen, where everyone from the hospital CEO to the top nurse to the waste hauler knows how to handle something this infectious.
“That’s really, really hard, and I don’t think every single hospital will be able to sort that out,” he says.
The events over the past week in Dallas drive that home, but what’s happened there shouldn’t come as a shock. Remember, estimates suggest nearly 100,000 people die from hospital acquired infections every year. Mistakes in hospitals happen; they’re expected. With the danger of Ebola there’s increasing talk in the healthcare world that these cases should go top hospitals.
But Dr. Ricardo Martinez, who oversaw EMS efforts for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, says every hospital needs to be better prepared.
“There are other diseases coming, so we should be able to provide some level of protection that not only care for the patient but contain the spread,” he says.
Martinez says if Doctors without Borders can protect many of its workers in field-like settings, U.S. hospitals should be able to do the same.
The stock market jitters of the last week have numerous causes: ebola panic, Europe's economic slump, the settling in of weak economic growth and the imminent end of the Fed's bond-buying program.
The effects, beyond temporary shifts in stock prices, are less evident. But stock market volatility can have a real-world impact.
"In research I've looked at 19 previous stock market jitters in the U.S.," says Nicholas Bloom, professor of economics at Stanford University. "These are normally followed by nasty contractions. And the reason is reasonably easy to see."
Bloom says that volatility can lead to uncertainty, and when individuals and businesses are uncertain about the future, they put off big purchases.
"So, for example, firm investment tends to drop very heavily. If you look at consumers you see it’s consumer durables that drops a lot. So things like new cars, furniture, clothing," he says.
And a lack of investment, whether it's by companies or consumers, has a real effect on the economy. But before you lock up your credit cards, Bloom says the volatility we’ve seen this week is all smoke and no fire--so far.
First, consider stock prices.
"I think at this point, if, say, we were lucky and things stopped today, didn’t get any worse, probably not too big of an impact," says Russ Kinnel, director of mutual fund research for Morningstar.
Kinnel says shares have lost--at most--the gains from one year of a five year rally.
Then consider the stock volatility. One common measurement is the VIX.
"It’s risen by about 50 percent over the last week," says Bloom. "Historically big jumps that I’ve examined have a VIX increase of more than 100 percent. They also lasted around a month."
In other words, if the current volatility doesn't last, its effects shouldn't linger either.
"After it’s out of the news, you know, people’s perceptions and sentiment tend to shift back," says Gary Thayer, macro strategist at Wells Fargo. "And that’s I think what we’re likely to see here."
Online advertising has long been dominated by the click and impression — how much an ad is shown to users. Now the industry is establishing a new metric: our attention.
People click on the average Internet display ad about .1 percent of the time. It's a dismal fraction for advertisers, and it doesn't tell the full story. Ads can have a large branding impact on us even if we don't click on them. That's why advertisers need metrics that deliver a more nuanced picture, says Chartbeat CEO Tony Haile.
His company is the first to have its techniques for quantifying attention certified by the Media Ratings Council, an organization that determines if an audience measurement tool is “valid, reliable, and effective.” For years, Chartbeat has been measuring attention for web content — trying to determine if we are really engaging with websites, or just happen to have the tab open while watching a cat video elsewhere. The company is now taking the tools it built for content and applying them to advertising.
To analyze our engagement, Chartbeat measures things like how we move the mouse, scroll, and tap on our keyboards. “All of those signals effectively allow us to get a picture of behavior,” Haile says, “it gives us a sense of when attention is happening or when someone is distracted.”
Chartbeat's content analytics have been especially popular with news organizations. They use it and other services to see what articles engage readers. You might recognize a few of Chartbeat's clients: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN. Now, some are starting to use it for ads as well.
Jon Slade directs digital advertising for the Financial Times. With attention metrics, he says, “I'm able to value engagement and commercialize it.” That helps the site compete against websites with a larger volume of content that people interact with more superficially. The metrics are changing how the Financial Timessells ads. Advertisers can now pay for how long people will see and engage with an ad instead of how many times it will be shown and clicked on. It's quality over quantity, Slade says — a huge shift for online advertising, and a better business model for those who create content.
This shift in the advertising industry could be a big boost for news sites. In the words of Trevor Fellows, “the recognition that not all impressions are equal is huge.”
Fellows is the chief revenue officer for The Wall Street Journal. He says attention metrics will show advertisers it's worth paying to have ads displayed next to engaging content. It's a way for news sites to stand out from the soup that is the Internet.
Fellows predicts it will be a while before engagement becomes a standard measurement in the advertising industry. “A change of this magnitude is going to be a long time in becoming commonplace,” he says. Advertisers still quibble over the old metrics—how to determine whether an ad has actually been viewed and intentionally clicked.When it comes to human attention there's more going on than just the push of a button.
Growing numbers of lenders are getting tech savvy, remotely disabling debtors' cars and tracking customer data to ensure timely payment of subprime auto loans.
The debate began not with discussions about the economy or even about Obamacare, but about whether candidate Charlie Crist should be allowed to have a small fan to keep him cool.
More than half of Americans polled said they were concerned about an Ebola outbreak in the U.S. within a year. When asked the same question in August, 39 percent of people expressed the same concern.
Termites and mung beans are among the ingredients that can bring better nutrition to the 800 million undernourished people in the lower-income world.