Wednesday Morning: Full of Whoa
Zika virus infects media with crappy reporting
I can’t tell you how many times in the last 24 hours I yelled at my computer, “Are you f****** kidding me with this crap?” With so many news outlets focused on hot takes rather than getting the story right, stupidity reached pandemic levels faster than mosquito-borne viruses. And all because Dallas County health officials and the Center for Disease Control used the words “sexually transmitted” in reference to a new Zika case in the U.S.
The following sampling of heds, tweets, and reports? WRONG.
- US reports first case of sexually transmitted Zika in Texas (Gizmodo, io9)
[Not the first sexually transmitted case in the U.S., just the first in Texas]
- First US case of the Zika virus infection was sexually transmitted, officials say (Verge)
[Not the first U.S. case of Zika virus]
- The first known case of the #ZikaVirus contracted within the US confirmed in Dallas (Newsweek)
[Not the first known case of Zika contracted within the U.S.]
- The first case of the #ZikaVirus contacted within the US was through sexual transmission (Newsweek)
[Neither the first sexually transmitted case in the U.S. or the first contracted within the U.S.]
- The First Sexually Transmitted Case of the Zika Virus Is Confirmed in Texas (Slate)
[Not the first sexually transmitted case in the U.S.]
The first case in which Zika virus was contracted inside the continental U.S. occurred in 2008. This was the first sexual transmission of the virus in the continental U.S. as well. Scientist Brian Foy had been studying Zika in Senegal during an outbreak; he had been infected by the virus, became ill, and was still carrying the virus when he came home to Colorado. His wife became infected though she had not traveled abroad, had not been bitten by a mosquito, and children residing in their home did not contract the virus. More details on the case can be found here.
The first cases of Zika virus in the U.S. in this outbreak were not locally transmitted inside the U.S., but contracted outside the continental 48 states and diagnosed on return here. States in which cases have been reported include Hawaii, New York, Virginia, Arkansas, Florida, and now Texas — in the case of the traveler who brought the disease home and infected their partner through sex.
It’s incredible how very little effort many news outlets put into researching the virus’ history or the case in Texas. Bonus points to Newsweek for trying to get it wrong in multiple tweets for the same story.
Gonna’ be a massive Patch Day for F-35 sometime soon
Whether or not Monday’s earthshaking sonic booms over New Jersey were generated by F-35 test flights, there’s still a long and scary list of bugs to be fixed on the fighter jet before it is ready for primetime. Just read this; any pilot testing these now is either a stone-cold hero, or a crazed numbnuts, and they’d better weigh between 136 and 165 pounds to improve their odds of survival.
Oral Roberts University mandates students wear FitBits for tracking
Guess the old “Mark of the Beast” is interpreted loosely at ORU in Oklahoma. Fitness is measured on campus by more than theological benchmarks. Begs the question: who would Jesus monitor?
The last straw: Fisher Price Wi-Fi-enabled toys leave kids’ info out in the open
Fisher Price is the fourth known manufacturer of products aimed at children and their families in which the privacy and safety of children were compromised by poor information security. In this case, Smart Toy Bears are leaking information about their young owners. Maybe it’s about time that either the FCC or FTC or Congress looks into this trend and the possibility toy makers are not at all concerned with keeping their youngest customers safe.
Forgot to note the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on lead contaminated drinking water in Flint, Michigan at 9:00 a.m. EST. C-SPAN3 will carry the hearing live.
Tap the brakes a few more times before you take off, eh? It’s all downhill from here.