Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Freedom At Last

Edward Snowden, the whistle blower that revealed the doings of the NSA might finally be at ease with the recent legislative changes regarding domestic surveillance . The Senate has recently passed the USA Freedom Act which will change the policies regarding how U.S. agencies manages surveillance and widespread data collection. I, for one am happy about the transparancy such a bill brings because the public should have the right to know what the government is looking at.

A year ago in November, the USA Freedom Act did not have enough support to pass. This Act at that time was philibusted and failed in the Senate. The Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch Mcconnell even said that the policies of the President and that the USA Freedom Act would weaken America's ability to protect itself. My response to this is why would the USA Freedom Act weaken America when the people of America can't even protect their own rights from those they put in power through election?

 Fortunately, this bill would ultimately pass with a simple majority, 67 in favor, and 32 against. President Obama has also tweeted out how he will "sign as soon as I [he] gets it". I believe this is a step in the right direction in terms government transparancy with the public. 

Eye-candy in Stores?

Throughout American Studies, a class I attend at New Trier High School, we have talked about the rights of the individual and how these rights are more complex in certain situations. Specifically in this case, the right to express one's religion in the workplace.  Samantha Elauf, a young Muslim woman, was denied a job at Abercrombie and Fitch because she wore a headscarf. The controversy was that the store policy prohibits its salespeople from wearing caps. So when Samantha was denied her job because of this reason, she took it to the courts. I personally believe that someone should not be barred of an occupation if what they wear does not interfere with the well-being of the companies' employees and customers.

This case ultimately reached the Supreme Court where it was decided 8-1 in favor of Samantha Elauf that she was unjustly prohibited from her job. Abercrombie defended its case by saying that Ms. Elauf's clothing was, 'too informal for the image we project'. I find this absurd since I thought the public is protected by "equal employment opportunities" and people can file a Charge of Discrimination if this right is violated. Is this a way class structure could be constructed by companies? That only certain people of a specific stature and of a certain 'image' may be employed? This question was hinted at during the trial and in response to the ruling, Abrecrombie has now shifted its mindset of employment instead of just hiring those that are deemed as "attractive".

However, the case was not won because of that reason. This case has religious implications since it is because of Samantha Eluaf's religion that she chooses to wear a headscarf. Therefore the courts ruled that "religious practice is one of the protected characteristics that cannot be accorded disparate treatment and must be accommodated". "Disparate treatment" is a means to prove that one was unjustly unemployed because of illegal discrimination. When someone makes this claim it is when the employer treats him/her differently in a similar situation of others where the difference was based on a protected characteristic. Samantha Eluaf's right to express her religion is protected by the law and Abercrombie violated that. This is why the courts decided that the company who did not employ her did so illegally.

How do you think companies express the American class structure and society? Does it prove or disprove that people tend to associate with those of similar qualities? 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Measles Mystery Exposed

As refusal rates for vaccinations increase around the nation, critical information has been discovered by a medical student which could provide a vital boost for the vaccination cause.  Michael Mina, a postdoc in biology at Princeton University and a medical student at Emory, uncovered a link between vaccinating and general health. Specifically that vaccinating against Measles can prevent many other infectious diseases. I think this is an incredable discovery that adds another reason why parents should choose to vaccinate their kids and themselves.

Back in the 1960's, the United States started to vaccinate kids against Measles. Obviously the amount of Measles cases dropped significally, but the other beneficial side affect of this vaccination movement was that childhood deaths from all infectious diseases plummeted. Even deaths from pnuemoia and diarrhea were cut by half. This beneficial side-effect of the Measles vaccine was also documented by scientists in Europe as well as developing countries today who have just implimented this vaccine.

There may be those that argue that becoming a more industrialized country increases the quality of healthcare which obviously would cause less deaths overall. Michael Mina agrees with this argument however his stand comes from microbiological standpoint. Mina and his colleagues found out from the epidemiological data from the U.S., Denmark, Wales and England dating back from the 1940's, that measles cases predicted the number of deaths from infectious diseases that would occur 2-3 years later. Mina explains this by explaining how measles works on a biological level. It is known that measles do suppress the body's immune system, but to what degree was the million dollar question. Mina and his colleagues found out that measles erases immune protection for other diseases as well. "Its as if the immune system has amensia", says Mina.  This is all still hypothesized however more research seems to indicate that measles do suppress the immune system and may suppress it longer than just 2-3 years.

This is why it is vital for the United States to start implimented more legislation on vaccinating. Vaccinating is not dangerous by any means and the fear of a needle may no longer be relevant.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Ted Talks on Earth Science

Ted Cruz, a senator that is in charge of the House Committee of Space, Science, and Exploration, has said countless times that, "NASA in the current environment has lost its full focus on that core mission" (Guardian). That focus in Ted Cruz's mind is that NASA should be fully committed to the exploration of space. That NASA should not be focus on scientific discovery on earth. However the statement I agree with and that refutes Cruz's -said by Charles Bolden, NASA's administrator- "It is absolutely critical that we understand Earth's environment, because this is the only place we have to live".

This relates to my last post against the policies that made budget cuts on NASA's earth-science program because the head of the committee that oversaw the bill was Ted Cruz. Cruz is a climate change skeptic which is bizarre in my mind because why would the House allow for a person like Cruz, an open skeptic of climate change, to oversee policies regarding exploration on all fronts? There is a clear conflict of interest at hand however Cruz is still allowed to attend these hearings that make big policy decisions.

Bolden's comment does make sense but some may say earth, in the future, will not be the only planet which we call home. They might say that if all efforts are put towards space exploration we may find numerous other homes within our galaxy. I understand both sides of the argument however for now that is not the case. Our insurance policy should not be relying on finding another planet to inhabit, but rather understand our planet fully so that we are not a species that destroys every planet we set foot on which may ultimately lead to our extinction.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

NASA is Superman

Climate change is a topic that is widely debating that has seen heated arguments from both sides. However climate change denialists now have a step up against their opposition because the House Science, Space, and Technology committee have recently approved a bill that would cut $300 million from NASA's earth-science budget. Ted Cruz, the head of the Senate committee overseeing this bill has claimed that NASA should be focused more on space exploration than being invested in earth-science. What the Senator has said brings up its own issue itself however the focus is on those who deny climate change.

NASA is a very profound organization and due to the feats it has achieved from its many missions to the moon and else where off in space, the statements issued by NASA hold a lot of weight. This means NASA can play a very big role in the climate change debate. Who would you listen and believe in more, a regular talk show host or NASA? It is obvious that most would tune into the organization that put man on the moon and climate denialists fear the impact NASA has on the validity of the denialists' claim. That within itself signifies that climate denialists fear an organization who's sole purpose is to explore and understand the science of the space which speaks a lot about what denialists think about their own claims. Why would someone fear a legitimate answer or confirmation about climate change from a giant in science such as NASA? Unless they [denialists] have the wrong answer, that would be the only possible explanation.

In many people's perspective NASA is superman. NASA has achieve first what many countries could not even begin. Unfortunately, this bill has been approved to cut earth-science budget within NASA and denialists no longer have to fear this from happening.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Political Epidemic

California is the state in the United States that has the most amount of people that choose not to vaccinate for their kids. This has not only cause mass protest and debate, but also has contributed to a recent measles outbreak at the Disneyland located in California. Legislation is to be passed on whether or not children should be allowed to attend public schools if they are unvaccinated. Both sides have near equal support, however not all claims are true.

Parents who say they do not support the bill use claims such as "it is severly legislation that is overreaching parent's rights to choose what gets injected into their child". Claims such as these give no direct evidence whatsoever and are all opinionated without facts to back it up. From my junior theme research, it has been proven many times that vaccinating is mandatory because it impacts the health of others who are medically unable to be vaccinated. Many parents claim that it is a "choice", however other children who want to be protected from deadly disease and cannot do so because of being medically alergic to the vaccination and others are putting their lives at risk.

The information and case studies are plentiful regarding the right to liberty vs. mandatory vaccination however what most parents research online these days are stories that may or may not be true and believe what they have read. One such example is how vaccines lead to autism however this study done by Andrew Wakefield was proven false countless times and Wakefield's motive was money. Unfortunately, many still believe this myth and are still using it as an excuse for not vaccinating their children.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Bandage Vaccination

As I mentioned in my previous blog, the fear of vaccination is mainly due to the procedure and also the false reports heard through the media. However, one solution to the scare of the vaccination procedure could be near. Mark Prausnitz's goal, a professor  was to make a bandage size patch that could be put on the patient's skin that would effectively insert the vaccine into the human body.

At first it may sound too good to be true. However, instead of having one needle penetrate the skin the bandage has 100 microscopic needles that are used. The needles on the bandage are not made up of metal but rather, sugars, vaccine, and polymers. The solution of these materials are left overnight to dry and in the morning it would be ready to use.            

This discovery is groundbreaking because it allows for the ease of application when vaccinating. Most vaccinations nowadays are done by a certified doctor or physician but now with this bandage, many more people have easier access to vaccination. With this invention, in developing countries where vaccinations require travels far to see a doctor, people could vaccinate at home without having to travel. The only issue that Prausnitz has is now is how to compete with the current vaccination industry. What is the true price tag of a vaccination without the actual "shot"?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Vaccination Fear

Vaccination rates obviously have a direct correlation to the recent spread of Measles in the California area. Fearing vaccionate can be seen as a reasonable gut reaction because no one wants to see or be the one to receive an unknown liquid through a discomforting needle. Unfortunately, in the 21st century, the internet has been both a miracle invention yet it also hinders the progress of science when     fake claims get published as truth.

Most recently seen on the internet is the myth that vaccinations can cause autism. This has been "supported" by heart-wrenching stories of children getting their vaccinations and then hours later suffer from illness which eventually leads to brain damage. The spread of such stories online has impacted vaccination rates in the nation. These stories of traumatic experiences where vaccinations supposely causes autism have seen the spotlight and are held as truth.

Although healthcare officials warn that not vaccinating can put your child at risk from deadly disease, many opt out because of what they see online. Any stigma is hard to get rid off and vaccines especially when there is already an inherent fear of injection amongst people. Why do you think this human fear has such an impact on decision making regarding vaccinations? 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Polluting Judgment

Keeping the world the way it is is hard especially when everything we do nowadays, emits some sort of CO2 whether that be directly or indirectly. Australia has also found this to be an issue and its government is building towards the launch of its flagship climate change initiative, the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) in mid April. However, I couldn't believe I was reading a headline published on ABC that read "Top polluters to set own limits virtually penalty free, according to Direct Action policy paper". 

It was odd to me because, why would Australia allow companies themselves to construct their own limitation without punishment for violation? My opinion when I read the title was that this is just like giving your child the keys to the house while you go on vacation and trusting them not to break anything while you're gone. Of course they're not going to listen and mostly likely they'll throw a bunch of parties as well! This is how I felt at first from the title.

However, this year I've learned to read and think more critically and from seeing this article's title I was skeptical at first because it uses the term "virtually penalty free" which gives the impression that there is a catch to the policy. As I continued to read this article however, I found out that there was a penalty involved. In the article it says that companies will be selecting this baseline of CO2 emission according to the highest peak of emissions from the past five years and if any of these companies violate that baseline they will have to "purchase offsets as a penalty".

Profits vastly outweigh the fines.
I did not know what "purchasing offsets" meant and I decided to do a little investigating of mine own. I found out that whenever you purchase an "carbon offset" you're basically directly funding projects such as methane digesters, wind farms, and other types of projects that help cut down on CO2. You can "buy" or basically "fund" this personally for you or your business however most companies do not go out of their way to do such a thing. Which is why this is the penalty for companies that violate the "Direct Action" policy paper. However some say this penalty is not a great enough deterrent and I completely agree with them myself.

From what I have found about buying offsets is that businesses usually pay around $13 per metric ton of CO2 they emit. The biggest polluter in Australia emits around 100,000 metric tons of CO2 per year so they would pay roughly $1.3 million in fines. Keep in mind these companies are mostly made up oil, gas, and coal plants that provide energy for the country. I look into one of these companies, specifically at a energy company called Macquarie Generation and their 2012-2013 net profit after tax was $41.3 million. The company supplied only 12% of the electricity consumed by the National Electricity Market (Oceania). The fine is minuscule compared to what these companies make and from this example the fine rate is only 3% from their overall profit if they even choose to go over their baseline which is set by the history of the company.

What do you think might be a better way to motivate companies not to violate their CO2 emission baseline?

Alps plane crash Update #2

As matters unfold and from what investigators have now learned from the blackbox that was on the Germanwings flight that crashed earlier this week is that the plane descended "intentionally". Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin revealed that the co-pilot was alone in the cockpit and he initiated the plane's dive and refused to allow the captain back through the cockpit door.

The name of the co-pilot was Andreas Lubitz and on the recording of the blackbox it was not clear as to the motives of why he would crashed the plane. During the recording, for the first 20 minutes before the crash, the two pilots are heard talking normally and then you hear the captain telling the co-pilot to take over for him. Then you hear the sound of a chair being pushed back can be heard followed by the pounding of the door as the captain tried desperately to get back into the cockpit.
Prosecutors said there was no reason to suspect a terrorist attack because the co-pilot had no ties whatsoever or change of attitude within his work and life. The true reason of why he did what he did still is out there and may not be discovered.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Update on the Alps Crash

For those who haven't read my first blog about the planecrash in the Alps please feel free to read "Lost in Thin Air". The newest update about this situation was that there were no survivors of this plane crash. Airbus A320 crashed on Tuesday after an eight minute descent. The German, French, and Spanish leaders all came to survey the site as well as thank the rescue workers who were of a village nearby for their efforts.

President Hollande, Chancellor Merkel, and Prime Minister Rajoy were the leaders that went and saw the crash hand first hand. As of now, it is confirmed that among the 150 dead, 2 of them were Americans and as of now there are efforts in discovering whether or not more Americans were amongst the deceased. 

A helicopter crew recovered one of the "black boxes" within the aircraft and has shipped it to Digne for France officials to further review its contents. For those of you that don't know what a "black box"  is is it's basically a device that records all communication to and from the aircraft as well as current conditions of that time of day. The contents would give investigators a more in depth perspective to the crash and what actually caused it. Hopefully, from the contents of the black box we can avoid future crashes and help design airplanes that minimize the risk of such a disaster.  

Drones in the Amazon

Its been over a year since we first saw the comercial for Amazon's new delivery project called Amazon Prime Air. When I first saw this video I was amazed at that Amazon was trying to invest in drones to deliver small packages. I had my own doubts that these drones might be hunted down as the packages inside would be stolen. However my doubts about this project won't be confirmed any time soon since the company right now, is still going through the long process of negotitations with the FAA.

The reason for this long delay is certainly in part of 9/11 and the new trend of computerized control from afar. Drones themselves offer the threat of an attack without the sacrifice of life and this is beneficial to both sides of a battle. This is why the process is taking so long because in the United States, the airspace is monitered much more frequently than other countries and implimenting hundreds, mabye thousands of these drones with add more chaos to the mix. This is why Amazon has shifted their intent and started to test aboard in the United Kingdom.

This shift of testing site would not only be easier to do in the UK but also bring thousands of jobs to the location as well. Many testing sites and operators would have to be recruited to test out all the capabilites of Amazon Prime Air. Also in the UK there is no ban on unmanned aircrafts so this would be an optimal choice for the company. Another reason stated in the article was that they could test how well this service would do market wise and the costs of upkeeping such a service compared to the cost of employing couriers for these small packages.

As for politics, the loss of jobs due the the delay of the FAA may or may not cause some sort of protest or petition in Washington and the question whether or not these drones may be of harm to pedestrians is another debated question.

Travel in Style

It looks like something out of Tron, something that not only captures your attention but also allows you to travel down the road. This new gadget of the 21st century is called the Sidewinding Circular Skates. Not a very high-tech name but its features will surely impress you and make you want to buy a pair. I certainly am convince that this new trend will catch on.

Unlike regular skate boards and rollarblades this new device allows your feet to be rested upon 10 inch rubber wheels. You may wonder how it is possible to move and control the speed and at first I was even shocked at how you control it. Usually you can lean forward to move on a segway or just push off the grind when you're on a skate board, but on this device you twirl your body around like a snake would when its moving.

In my opinion, this device is just another version of the "RipStick" where you also sway your body side to side. However this device comes with the option of removing the middle part connecting the two wheels which is the only thing that seperates it from the "RipStick". The concept of having two seperate wheels to travel on is cool however I'm more concerned about the legal actions this product could entail. Since, the device so closely resembles the "RipStick" do you think after reading the article and watching the demo. video they might have lawsuits in their near future?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

How "Clean" is Soap?

Allergies and the reminisence of flu season has been causing a lot of sickness around this time of year. I've tried to avoid sickness and I wanted to learn more about ways to do so. One thing I found was that the common saying of washing your hands to keep clean may not be that true. There is a lot of misinformation regarding antibacterial soaps however one thing is for certain that antibacterial soaps do not use alcohols to kill bacteria.

In antibacterial soaps, there is a chemical called triclosan which prevents bacterial growth by inhibiting the bacterias abailty to make fatty acids. Fatty acids are critical to cells because it makes up the cell membrane and without the membrane the cell literally falls apart. Most bacteria will be killed by this also coupled with the fact that the majoity of bacteria will be washed down the drain upon handwashing. This means that antibacterial soap is effect in killing most bacteria.

Some may say that soap may not kill all bacteria and the 99.99% may leave the possibility of leaving the deadliest of bacterium. I don't think this is possible if you actually wash off the soap before eating and carrying out your day.

Lost in Thin Air

Recently a Germanwings Airbus A320 plane crushed Tuesday in the foothills of the Alps in southeartern France. This was reported by the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and he fears all 142 passengers and six crew members may be dead. I think this absurd for a Prime Minister to say since he is the voice of reason that should encourage the hope that these 150 lives will be found and saved in addition to reporting the truth that for now they are lost.

This plane was on a flight from Barcelona, Spain, to Dusseldorf, Germany. The crash occured near Digne-les-Bains, in the Alpes de Haute Provence region. Obviously, this took place in the Alps and it is difficult enough to scale the alps with proper gear so leading a rescue expedition is even more hard. However this event may have been averted if the airline company Lufthansa Group had inspected the airplane's condition. The average years of service its airplanes have been through is nine years but this plane has been in service for over 24 years.

The specifics of the crash are uncertain until we find the remains of the aircraft. Could airplane inspectors have prevented this by raising their concern for the aircrafts integrity? We may never know.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Background Check

In Springfield, Il, state officials want to fire a man because of his past involvement in street crimes, gangs, and criminal convictions. I think this is the right thing to do because there is no way to prove that that person has changed his morals so the safest choice would be to fire him if there is even the slightest hint that his past might affect his work. This persons real name is currently kept in to the public. Also the job he was fired from was a job with an annual salary of around $110,000.

However, the state arbitrator Xadrian Mccraven, has ruled that this person deserves his job back. Although the evidence shows that in 2012 this person was fired based on the fact that he had been sending illegal emails to an outside source. This person was fired from the Department of Children and Family Services. Then recently, he got fired by Correction officials based on a publishing of a newspaper that mentioned his criminal past. But once again Mccraven appealed for this. However next week Rauner will be taking office and it is up to him to decide what to do about this situation.

What would you do if you were governor and this file landed on your desk?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Separation of Religion and State

The recent shootings in France shocked the world when two masked gunman went into the headquarters of a French satirical newspaper and killed 12 people and injured many more. The motive of these gunners were clear; they were mad at the various cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad. Some of these Charlie Hebdo illustrations were obviously controversial towards the Islamic religion however I think this shouldn't justify disrespecting those who died in this incident.

Another front cover after the incident depicting
the Prophet Muhammad with "Tout Est Pardonné"
meaning "All is Forgiven"
The people who actually committed this absurd act were Muslim students. They did not attend in the minute of national silence. I think it is horrible and completely unacceptable that students would not honor the dead and it was only one minute, one minute and they still did not stay quiet for that small amount of time. In another part of France, a teacher mentioned that 80% of students did not participate in the moment of silence. This place in France is heavily populated by Muslims which explains why they did not attend. What the Muslim students said for their bulls*** alibi was that the newspaper did not have the right to publish those covers containing the Prophet Muhammad. They say that it is "blasphemous" and violate their prophet and radical beliefs. Many teachers had troubles convincing the students that blasphemy doesn't exist in French law. However many students are so deeply convinced in their beliefs that they think religion supersedes French law.

My evidence for why this is an absurd excuse for not participating is because of France's separation of church and state. The principle of laicite means the absence of religion within government affairs and later this principle evolved into the equal treatment of all religions. Knowing this, the satirical newspaper has all the rights in the world to publish what they want. There is no logical reason why the students shouldn't participate in the moment of silence for those that were killed and injured in the shootings.

The counter argument to my claim, is that the new cover of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper still portrays the Prophet Muhammad in a negative light even after the shooting incident. The header means "All is Forgiven" however the prophet is holding a sign with two similar meanings, "I Am Charlie" and "I Follow Charlie" . This slogan was picked up by supporters of free speech and freedom of self-expression follow the attack on the newspaper's headquarters. However this may be seen as an act of defiance in the eyes of Muslims. This also may be the cause of their resistance to honoring the dead during the moment of intended silence. Even so, I find it baffling that Muslims would be against the idea of free speech and freedom of self-expression because their belief itself is a minority in Europe and why would they want that freedom taken away? I think they're causing their own demise which in turn is may be why their beliefs are even illustrated in a satirical newspaper.

Connecting to the overall Islamic situation, this may be why and how many of these organizations such as the Islamic State and Al Qaeda gained so much support. My assumption is that these organizations feed off of the deeply rooted beliefs of the Islamic religion and that these beliefs are passed down to children who live in many countries where there is a separation of religion and state. This might be why there is a unrelenting support for radical Islamic organizations that often cause harm towards those that are adamant about their own religious beliefs.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Solitary Confinement Policy

Rikers Island - an isolated stronghold in the New York area
On Tuesday of this week New York officials came to a unanimous decision to abolish solitary confinement for inmates under 21. I think this is a good step in the right direction for the incarceration system in the United States. Especially for those who are under 21 since the brain is mainly developing at those ages and even the smallest disturbances can have the greatest impacts.

This is a groundbreaking decision because in recent years the Department of Corrections has been accused of  inmate abuse on Rikers Island. Rikers Island is the second-largest jail in the U.S. This is significant because Rikers is located in the New York area and the only reason the outside world knows about prisoner abuse was due to the fact of whistleblowers who revealed the stories.

This connects to what we learned in class because we spent a considerable amount of time on the prison industrial complex specifically on the rates of incarceration for African Americans. However we never really touched on the brutalities of the solitary confinement. Now knowing this information, I do believe that the prison system has some flaws that remain hidden to the general population, and that the welfare of the prisoners is truly up to the guards that supervise them.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Early Retirement

Many businesses deal with numerous problems in a daily basis. Whether that be trying to compete with another company or managing their operations. However I didn't know that retirement could be a problem for companies since I personally don't have much experience in that field. In this NPR article, it talks about how retirement can hinder the growth of companies and how companies and how companies are trying to keep its workers.

Dave Tobelmann formerly retired now a specialist in retirement placement.
Dave Tobelmann worked at General Mills for 33 years until he retired 5 years ago. However now he's back in business with General Mills specializing in retirement placement. Employers are starting to incentivize working for those who are considering retiring by giving more healthcare benefits and less tedious hours. The reason for is because young workers are not rising through the ranks fast enough to replace the 10,000 workers that retire daily. At Michelin North America, more than 40% of the workforce is approaching retirement age. Michelin recommends those in technical maintenance to stick around part time because talent in that area is scarce.

This is bizarre for me to think about because with so many positions open at these illustrious companies, how are the young people not fighting or even in line for those job openings. My assumption is that these positions might not be taught or even explored during the learning career of young people. If so, what should schools implement to compensate for the retirement of many people in job positions that are not currently filled?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Influenza by Bird

In Europe, worries spread as researchers find that a wild duck tested positive for the H5N8. H5N8 is a bird flu and the reoccurrence of it scares many. I think this is shocking news and this flu should be contained as soon as possible because Ebola is already one epidemic the world is trying to deal with. Also with Thanksgiving coming up soon this week I wonder about the quality of turkey if the bird comes from Europe.

This flu was first discover in a domestic duck farm in Germany. Soon after it spread to the Netherlands, and other turkey farms in the United Kingdom. Till Backhaus, the agricultural minister of the German state of MecklenBurg-Vorpommern, where the first infected bird was found, ordered many of the farmers to keep their domestic ducks away from wild birds. The slaughter of 200,000 birds was ordered to contain the outbreak. Health officials say if one bird is found with the virus the whole flock has to be killed.

Fortunately, there have been no cases of humans with this flu and according to the World Health Organization, this flu has been classified as "highly pathogenic". This means that it is highly likely to cause disease and death within poultry. It is not known how bird flu spread to Europe but the World Health Organization has made efforts to contain this outbreak at the farms that have been affected.

With Thanksgiving coming up this week I wonder how many dinners will be ruined by this outbreak since all birds are at risk.