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Published at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies – January the 8th 2019 Natural disasters caused $160 billion in economic damage worldwide in 2018, dominated by costly wildfires in California and tropical storms in the United States and Asia, according to a new report from the reinsurance giant Munich Re. California’s Camp and Woolsey fires alone caused losses of $21.7 billion, $16.5 billion of which was insured. Overall, insurance companies paid out $80 billion in claims for damage from natural disasters last year, down from 2017’s $140 billion, but double the 30-year average. California’s wildfires accounted for nearly one in every $4 insurance companies paid out in disaster claims in 2018, Reuters reported. “Losses from wildfires in California have risen dramatically in recent years,” Ernst Rauch, the chief climatologist at Munich Re, said in a statement. “At the same time, we have experienced a significant increase in hot, dry…

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Download PDF Copy Reviewed by James Ives, MPsychDec 12 2018 Johnson & Johnson, the world’s largest health care products maker, is in the midst of more than 10,000 lawsuits claiming that its iconic baby powder is linked to cancer. In July, a verdict by a Missouri jury awarded 22 women $4.6 billion in a lawsuit against the company, supporting their claim that talcum powder caused their ovarian cancer. The case is under appeal. At issue in that litigation, as in many other cases, is whether the talc-based powder contains asbestos, a known carcinogen, and if the company was aware of the alleged cancer risk for decades and sought to suppress evidence rather than warn consumers. Now, a powerful resource at Columbia University has opened areas of inquiry about the corporate and regulatory histories of these companies. ToxicDocs is a database of some 20 million once-secret industry and trade association documents…

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Une étude d’Edelman Intelligence montre que les deux tiers des consommateurs français (65%) choisissent d’acheter ou de boycotter une marque pour ses prises de position. Ce qui n’était hier qu’un simple avantage devient aujourd’hui une obligation. Pour exister, croître et embellir, une société se doit d’être aux prises de positions sociétales. Voilà le principal enseignement de l’étude Earned Brand 2018 menée dans huit pays par le cabinet d’études et d’analyses Edelman Intelligence auprès de 8000 personnes en ligne et de 32 000 sondés sur mobile. Les chiffres de cette enquête ont de quoi donner à réfléchir aux dirigeants qui essaieraient encore de jouer la carte du « business as usual » en refusant de s’impliquer dans la vie de la société. Une lame de fond Près des deux tiers des consommateurs français (65%) choisissent aujourd’hui d’acheter ou de boycotter une marque pour ses prises de position. Plus intéressant encore, ce…

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Qu’est-ce que cela signifie aujourd’hui d’être un médecin ? Est-ce toujours une discipline que nous pratiquons lorsqu’une machine sait mieux que nous le diagnostic, le traitement ou le destin de notre patient ? Serons-nous toujours la main qui rassure par la parole et le soin ? Il reste difficile de prédire quand l’intelligence artificielle (IA) deviendra si puissante qu’elle devancera les êtres humains. Certains voient ce jour arriver bientôt et les prévisions extrêmes voient disparaître des disciplines entières comme la radiologie ou la dermatologie, remplacées par l’IA. La vérité est beaucoup moins claire. La perspective de l’IA est une tache de Rorschach sur laquelle beaucoup transfèrent leurs rêves technologiques ou leurs angoisses L’article à lire dans le Lancet – October 11, 2018DOI

New technologies have sometimes had very harmful effects, but in many cases the early warning signs have been suppressed or ignored. The second volume of Late Lessons from Early Warnings investigates specific cases where danger signals have gone unheeded, in some cases leading to deaths, illness and environmental destruction. The first volume of Late Lessons, published in 2001, was a ground breaking report detailing the history of technologies subsequently found to be harmful. The new 750-page volume includes 20 new case studies, with far-reaching implications for policy, science and society. Case studies include the stories behind industrial mercury poisoning; fertility problems caused by pesticides; hormone-disrupting chemicals in common plastics; and pharmaceuticals that are changing ecosystems. The report also considers the warning signs emerging from technologies currently in use, including mobile phones, genetically modified organisms and nanotechnology. The historical case studies show that warnings were ignored or sidelined until damage to…

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C’est dans le MIT review que j’ai décelé ceci – Analyzing the way you type and scroll can reveal as much as a psychological test. There are about 45 million people in the US alone with a mental illness, and those illnesses and their courses of treatment can vary tremendously. But there is something most of those people have in common: a smartphone. A startup founded in Palo Alto, California, by a trio of doctors, including the former director of the US National Institute of Mental Health, is trying to prove that our obsession with the technology in our pockets can help treat some of today’s most intractable medical problems: depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse. Mindstrong Health is using a smartphone app to collect measures of people’s cognition and emotional health as indicated by how they use their phones. Once a patient installs Mindstrong’s app,…

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