A third of coral reefs ‘entangled with plastic’

Plastic bottle wedged in the coral reef

Plastic is one of the biggest threats to the future of coral reefs after ocean warming, say scientists.

More than 11 billion items of plastic were found on a third of coral reefs surveyed in the Asia-Pacific region.

This figure is predicted to increase to more than 15 billion by 2025.

Plastic raises by 20-fold the risk of disease outbreaks on coral reefs, according to research. Plastic bags, bottles and rice sacks were among the items found.

“Plastic is one of the biggest threats in the ocean at the moment, I would say, apart from climate change,” said Dr Joleah Lamb of Cornell University in Ithaca, US.

“It’s sad how many pieces of plastic there are in the coral reefs …if we can start targeting those big polluters of plastic, hopefully we can start reducing the amount that is going on to these reefs.”

Precious resource

More than 275 million people rely on coral reefs for food, coastal protection, tourism income, and cultural importance.

Infected coral snagged in plastic

It’s thought that plastic allows diseases that prey on the marine invertebrates that make-up coral reefs to flourish. Branching or finger-like forms of corals are most likely to get entangled in plastic debris.

These are important habitats for fish and fisheries, the scientists say.

“A lot of times we come across big rice sacks or draping plastic bags,” said Dr Lamb, who led the study.

“What we do find is these corals with a lot of complexity like branches and finger-like corals will become eight times more likely to be entangled in these types of plastics.”

In the study, published in the journal Science, international researchers surveyed more than 150 reefs from four countries in the Asia-Pacific region between 2011 and 2014.

Plastic debris on the beach in Sulawesi, Indonesia

Plastic was found on one-third of the coral reefs surveyed. Reefs near Indonesia were loaded with most plastic, while Australian reefs showed the lowest concentration. Thailand and Myanmar were in the middle.

“The country’s estimated amount of mismanaged plastics – so the way they deal with their plastic waste – was a strong predictor of how much we would see on the reef,” said Dr Lamb.

Coral reefs face many threats. Coral bleaching is caused by unusually warm water. Coral polyps loose algae from their tissues, which drains them of their colour. They may recover if temperature changes are reversed in a reasonably short time, but this process can take many years.

In the case of diseases, organisms attack coral, leading to likely death. Previous research has found that plastic debris can stress coral through blocking out light and oxygen, thereby giving pathogens a chance to take hold.

Plastic floating over corals

Based on projections of plastic waste going into the ocean, the researchers suggest that the number of plastic items snagged on Asia-Pacific corals may increase from 11.1 billion to 15.7 billion plastic items by 2025.

An estimated 4.8 to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic waste enter the ocean in a single year.

More than three-quarters of this plastic is thought to originate on land.

Lost history of African dinosaurs revealed

Reconstruction of the new dinosaur on a coastline in what is now the Western Desert of Egypt

A new species of dinosaur found in the Egyptian desert is shedding light on Africa’s missing history of dinosaurs.

Few fossils have been unearthed from the last days of the dinosaurs, between 100 and 66 million years ago, on the continent.

Scientists say the dinosaur, which lived about 80 million years ago, is an “incredible discovery”.

The giant plant-eater was the length of a school bus and weighed about the same as an elephant.

It had a long neck and bony plates embedded in its skin.

The dinosaur’s fossilised remains were unearthed during an expedition by palaeontologists from Mansoura University in Egypt.

Named Mansourasaurus shahinae, the new species is regarded as a critical discovery for science.

“It was thrilling for my students to uncover bone after bone, as each new element we recovered helped to reveal who this giant dinosaur was,” said Dr Hesham Sallam of Mansoura University, who led the research.

He said he expected the pace of discovery to accelerate in the years to come.

The course of dinosaur evolution in Africa has remained much of a mystery, particularly for the last 30 million years or so of the reign of the dinosaurs.

Study co-researcher Dr Matt Lamanna of Carnegie Museum of Natural History said that his jaw “hit the floor” when he first saw pictures of the fossils.

“This was the Holy Grail,” he said. “A well-preserved dinosaur from the end of the Age of Dinosaurs in Africa that we palaeontologists had been searching for for a long, long time.”

Dinosaur fossils in Africa are rare as much of the land is now covered in lush vegetation, rather than the exposed rock that has yielded dinosaur treasure troves elsewhere.

There is a huge gap in the fossil record during the Late Cretaceous, when the continents were coming towards the end of huge geological changes.

“Africa remains a giant question mark in terms of land-dwelling animals at the end of the Age of Dinosaurs,” said Dr Eric Gorscak of The Field Museum, who worked on the research, published in the journal, Nature Ecology & Evolution.

Mansourasaurus helps us address longstanding questions about Africa’s fossil record and palaeobiology – what animals were living there, and to what other species were these animals most closely related?”

Geological upheaval

Throughout much of the Triassic and Jurassic periods, during the early years of the dinosaurs, the Earth’s continents were joined together as one large land mass, known as Pangaea.

During the Cretaceous Period, the continents began splitting apart and shifting towards the configuration that we see today.

It has not been clear how well-connected Africa was to other Southern Hemisphere landmasses and Europe during this time and to what degree Africa’s animals may have been cut off from their neighbours to evolve along their own separate lines.

By analysing anatomical features of its bones, the researchers determined that Mansourasaurus was more closely related to dinosaurs from Europe and Asia than to those found further south in Africa or in South America.

This, in turn, shows that at least some dinosaurs could move between Africa and Europe near the end of these animals’ reign.

“It shows Africa wasn’t this strange lost world of dinosaurs that lived nowhere else,” said Dr Lamanna. “That at least some African dinosaurs had other close relations in other continents at the time.”

Mansourasaurus belongs to the Titanosauria, a group of sauropods, or long-necked plant-eating dinosaurs, that were common during the Cretaceous. Titanosaurs are famous as some of the largest land animals on Earth.

Mansourasaurus, however, was relatively small for a titanosaur, and about the weight of an African bull elephant.

Its skeleton is important in being the most complete dinosaur specimen so far discovered from the end of the Cretaceous in Africa. Parts of the skull, the lower jaw, neck and back vertebrae, ribs, most of the shoulder and forelimb, part of the hind foot, and pieces of dermal plates are preserved.

Rather than being a piece of a jigsaw filling in the gaps in dinosaur history, it is more like “a corner piece”, said Dr Gorscak. “It’s like finding an edge piece that you use to help figure out what the picture is, that you can build from.”

Commenting on the study, Dr Philip Mannion of Imperial College, London, said, “This is just the tip of the iceberg – it points to the fact that Africa has the potential to reveal a much richer fossil record.”

And Dr Michael D’Emic, Adelphi University, added: “It’s just an incredible discovery. It’s special because of where it was found.”

The EVGA X299 FTW K Motherboard Review: Dual U.2 Ports

The EVGA X299 FTW K is our first X299 motherboard from EVGA. The FTW K aims to bring users a solid power delivery, three-way multi-GPU capabilities, two M.2 slots, and a unique feature so far on our X299 coverage: two U.2 ports. The X299 FTW K looks to fit into the crowded mid-range segment for X299 motherboards at its price point. We will put it on the test bed and gave it a thorough inspection.

EVGA is a bit unique when it comes to their motherboard product stack. Unlike the four major motherboard companies that have almost a dozen options apiece, EVGA usually has only three boards in the market for a given chipset. This time around, the EVGA boards consist of the X299 Micro (a MicroATX offering), the X299 FTW K (this review), and the X299 Dark (a flagship X299). While a ‘gaming’ or ‘professional’ designation is missing, the fundamental requirements for a good X299 board are still the same. The X299 FTW K attempts to hit the mainstream of X299 users, without going above and beyond like the Dark or for small-form-factor builds like the Micro.

One of the more unique items to crop up in our X299 coverage comes from the X299 FTW K: here there are the two U.2 ports on the board. Only a select handful of X299 motherboards on the market have one, let alone two. Not that it is a hugely popular item, but if you are looking for the performance of the top M.2 PCIe x4 NVMe based drives without the potential hassle of cooling them, U.2 and standard sized drives may be your answer. Be aware that in order to use both the U.2 ports, a 44-lane CPU (a Core i7-7900X or higher) is required.

On Newegg

Regarding storage options on the X299 FTW K, aside from the dual U.2 ports, there are also eight SATA ports and two M.2 slots. One of the M.2 slots is directly connected to the CPU while the other sources its lanes through the chipset. The board supports up to 3-way SLI and 3-way Crossfire using three of its four full-length slots, despite supporting x8/x8/x8/x8 which would allow 4-way with single-slot or thin liquid cooled GPUs. With it being called the ‘FTW K’, the K in this case stands for Killer, and one of the gigabit Ethernet ports is powered by an E2500 controller.

Our performance results for the FTW K were mostly found to be average with it doing very well in power use.  From long idle power testing to our load testing, it used less power than all of the previous X299 boards tested so far because the load voltage was a low, due to the CPU dropping to its base clocks to run. This motherboard, with the latest BIOS we used for testing, automatically applies an AVX offset of -300 MHz no matter if the cores are set to Auto or either of the manual overclocking options. Because of this, and no other board we’ve tested so far behaves this way, we see a lower power use stock settings. Outside of this, the rest of the results have the FTW K an average performer sitting in the middle of the pack in most other tests. For overclocking, we managed to hit 4.5 GHz on our i9-7900X and ran into our temperature limit. The voltage required to reach this clock speed was on par with the other boards.

Manual overclocking results

The EVGA X299 FTW K is currently priced at $330 on Newegg US. This places the board, by price, squarely in the crosshairs of other boards like the MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC at $330, the ASRock X299 Taichi XE at $323, and the Gigabyte X299 AORUS Ultra Gaming Pro at $350. There is a lot of competition around this price range so it will come down to included features and use to pick between them.

EVGA X299 Strategy

EVGA’s X299 strategy has three motherboards, competing against the other major manufacturers that have 10 or more boards filling out many of the niches of the market.

EVGA’s X299 Motherboard Lineup (11/28)
Amazon Newegg
X299 Dark requested
X299 FTW K this review $330
X299 Micro upcoming $290 $290

The least expensive board is the X299 Micro which as its name implies, is a MicroATX size motherboard. Next up the stack is the product we are reviewing here in the FTW-K. This board will compete with other mid-range offerings through its feature set and price. Finally, the flagship of the EVGA X299 stack is the X299 Dark which will match up with other board partner’s flagship offerings.

Information on Intel’s X299 and our other Reviews

With Intel’s release of the Basin Falls platform, encompassing the new X299 chipset and LGA2066 socket, a new generation of CPUs called Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X were also released. The Skylake-X CPUs range from the 7800X, a hex-core part, all the way up to an 18-core 7980XE multitasking behemoth. Between the bookend CPUs are five others increasing in core count, as in the table below. The latter HCC models are set to be launched over 2H of 2017.

Skylake-X Processors
7800X 7820X 7900X 7920X 7940X 7960X 7980XE
Silicon LCC HCC
Cores / Threads 6/12 8/16 10/20 12/24 14/28 16/32 18/36
Base Clock / GHz 3.5 3.6 3.3 2.9 3.1 2.8 2.6
Turbo Clock / GHz 4.0 4.3 4.3 4.3 4.3 4.3 4.2
Turbo Max Clock N/A 4.5 4.5 4.4 4.4 4.4 4.4
L3 1.375 MB/core 1.375 MB/core
PCIe Lanes 28 44 44
Memory Channels 4 4
Memory Freq DDR4 2400 2666 2666
TDP 140W 140W 165W
Price $389 $599 $999 $1199 $1399 $1699 $1999

Board partners have launched dozens of motherboards on this platform already, several of which we will have an opportunity to look over in the coming weeks and months. This specific review will cover the MSI X299 SLI Plus.

The Samsung 860 PRO (512GB And 4TB) SSD Review: Replacing A Legend

Kicking off a busy day in the SSD industry, today we’re looking at the launch of Samsung’s new 860 PRO SSD. The Samsung 860 PRO is an update to the venerable 850 PRO SATA SSD, and comes at a time where Samsung faces more serious competition than they have in several years, but also when the market has almost entirely moved on from premium SATA SSDs. The 860 PRO uses the latest 64L 3D MLC NAND and LPDDR4 DRAM from Samsung plus a new revision to their highly successful SATA SSD controller series. Accordingly, the latest PRO SSD from Samsung isn’t meant to be a game-changer like its predecessor, but rather is a natural evolution of Samsung’s SATA SSDs – at least as much as SATA SSDs can evolve. For the SATA SSD market then, the 860 PRO stands to be the latest, greatest, fastest, and possibly last(est) high-end desktop MLC SATA SSD that we’ll ever see.

The Samsung SSD 850 PRO introduced 3D NAND flash memory to the consumer SSD market over three years ago. Since then, it has reigned as the top SATA SSD. The combination of Samsung’s MLC 3D NAND and their top-notch SSD controller gave the 850 PRO performance and write endurance that were nearly unbeatable.

The SSD market now is very different from when the 850 PRO launched in mid-2014. All the attention for premium SSDs is now focused on the NVMe market where significant performance differentiation is possible. The mainstream SSD market has shifted to using TLC NAND instead of MLC NAND, first in the SATA segment and now even most NVMe SSDs are adopting TLC. At first, the switch to TLC was a race to the bottom that left the 850 PRO almost completely unchallenged. In 2016, Intel and Micron brought the second 3D NAND implementation to market, but their 32-layer 3D floating gate NAND flash proved to be slower (though cheaper) than Samsung’s. In 2017, Toshiba and Western Digital/SanDisk finally produced 3D NAND suitable for the mass market, and the second-generation 3D NAND from Intel/Micron debuted. With 64-layer 3D NAND and more mature SSD controllers, these competitors have finally started to challenge the performance of the Samsung 850 PRO—usually while beating it on price.

Samsung hasn’t been standing still. In addition to extending their dominance into the NVMe SSD market, Samsung has quietly updated the 850 PRO and 850 EVO without introducing new naming. In mid 2015, Samsung introduced 2TB models to both SATA families, and updated the controllers to support LPDDR3 DRAM instead of the LPDDR2 initially used by the 850s. Over the course of 2016, Samsung moved the 850s from their second-generation 32-layer 3D NAND to their third generation 48L 3D NAND. This brought a doubling of the capacity of each NAND die, and allowed Samsung to produce 4TB versions of the 850 PRO and EVO, though only the 4TB EVO actually made it to market.

Samsung 860 PRO Specifications
Capacity 256 GB 512 GB 1 TB 2 TB 4 TB
Form Factor 2.5″ SATA 6 Gbps
Controller Samsung MJX
NAND Samsung 64-layer 3D MLC V-NAND
Sequential Read up to 560 MB/s
Sequential Write up to 530 MB/s
4KB Random Read up to 100k IOPS
4KB Random Write up to 90k IOPS
DevSleep Power 2.5 mW – 7 mW
Endurance 300 TBW 600 TBW 1200 TBW 2400 TBW 4800 TBW
Warranty 5 years
MSRP $139.99 (55¢/GB) $249.99 (49¢/GB) $479.99 (47¢/GB) $949.99 (46¢/GB) $1899.99 (46¢/GB)

The changes the 860 PRO brings over the 850 PRO are pretty mundane. The controller has been updated again to support new memory: now codenamed MJX, it uses LPDDR4 DRAM. Samsung hasn’t shared whether it deviates from their pattern of two or three ARM Cortex-R cores, nor what the clock speeds or fabrication process node are. The flash memory has been updated to Samsung’s 64L 3D MLC, their fourth generation of 3D NAND. The Samsung 860 PRO is our first look at Samsung’s 64-layer MLC V-NAND, after several encounters with the 64L TLC last year. Both 860 PRO models we have tested use 256Gb dies that are substantially larger than the 256Gb 64L TLC dies we have used previously.

The most visible change is that Samsung is finally launching the 4TB capacity in the PRO line. The 4TB model may turn heads, but it should not be mistaken for a mainstream product. It is a product born from the same mindset that leads to the GeForce Titan GPUs, Extreme Edition or Threadripper CPUs, and 1.5kW power supplies. The total available market for such products is tiny and often insufficient to justify creating the product. Instead, these parts are valuable for their “halo effect”: Samsung’s ability to offer a 4TB SSD helps their brand image even among consumers who cannot afford to spend anywhere near this much on their SSD.

Aside from the inclusion of the 4TB model, there is little to make the 860 PRO appear superior to the 850 PRO. Power consumption ratings have decreased slightly, but the limits of the SATA connection mean there is little room for performance improvement. The warranty period has dropped from the outstanding 10 years to a more typical 5 years. On the other hand, Samsung has stopped severely lowballing the write endurance rating. At every capacity, the 860 PRO’s total write endurance rating is at least doubled, and given the shorter warranty period this yields a drive writes per day rating of 0.64, compared to a maximum of 0.16 DWPD over 10 years for the 850 PRO. The write endurance ratings are still lower than the enterprise PM863a to say nothing of the SM863a’s 5.5 DWPD, but among consumer drives the 860 PRO’s specified endurance no longer looks like a joke.

The other noteworthy recent MLC SATA drive is the Crucial BX300. This drive conveniently solved several problems for Micron. Since their 32L 3D NAND dies can be treated either as 384Gb TLC or 256Gb MLC, the BX300 gives Micron an outlet to sell dies that cannot meet the endurance requirements for use as TLC. At the same time, the smaller usable capacity of their MLC parts makes them more suitable for use in low-capacity SSDs. The Samsung 860 PRO isn’t as convenient for Samsung to produce—they have little use for the 64L 256Gb MLC parts elsewhere in their product line so far, nor for a 384Gb TLC part.

There aren’t any many SSDs to make a fair comparison against the Samsung 860 PRO, especially the 4TB model. This review includes test results from the 4TB 850 EVO and the 2TB 850 PRO, but otherwise focuses on comparisons in the 512GB capacity class. Those drives include:

  • The Samsung 850 PRO 512GB: Our sample is one of the original generation using 32L 3D NAND and LPDDR2 DRAM, rather than the updated model with 48L 3D NAND and LPDDR3.
  • The Intel 545s, using Intel’s 64L 3D TLC and the Silicon Motion SM2259 controller
  • The SanDisk Ultra 3D (unfortunately in the 1TB capacity) using SanDisk/Toshiba 64L 3D TLC and the Marvell 88SS1074 controller
  • Three Crucial SSDs with Micron 3D NAND: the MX500 with 64L 3D TLC and the SM2258 controller, the MX300 with 32L 3D TLC and the Marvell 88SS1074 controller, and the BX300 with 32L 3D MLC and the SM2258 controller
  • The Samsung PM981 512GB, a M.2 NVMe SSD for the OEM market, using 64L 3D TLC. A retail version of this is likely to be the successor to the Samsung 960 EVO, and the pricing will probably be on par with the 512GB 860 PRO. Thus, the PM981 illustrates the tradeoffs of sticking with the SATA interface and insisting on MLC NAND when cheaper TLC is good enough for almost all users.

The 860 PRO is going to be the most expensive SATA drive in this bunch, and even the one NVMe drive is probably not going to be much more expensive per gigabyte than the 860 PRO when its retail version arrives. Even without t

Rising mortgage rates could mean even fewer homes for sale this spring

Real estate agents arrive at a brokers tour showing a house for sale with a list price of $1.3 million May 17, 2007 in San Rafael, California.

There is still plenty of snow blanketing a wide swath of the nation’s neighborhoods, but the spring housing market is just around the corner. This year, it will be more competitive than ever, with the supply of homes for sale at record lows and rising mortgage rates threatening to make the situation even worse.

President’s Day is considered the start of the busiest season for housing, with big builders touting holiday sales to kick it off. Over in the existing home market, however, there is nothing to shout about.

There are 10 percent fewer homes for sale compared with a year ago, and in the hottest markets, where prices are appreciating fastest, there are up to 40 percent fewer homes for sale, according to Zillow. Low supply last year caused home prices, which were rising already, to accelerate, and that continues now. Prices are increasing far faster than incomes, even as the economy and employment improves.

Now mortgage rates, which sat near record lows for the bulk of 2017, are suddenly rising. The average rate on the popular 30-year fixed is up a quarter of a percentage point since the start of this year to around 4.25 percent, according to Mortgage News Daily. The expectation is that they will continue to move higher as the Federal Reserve raises rates and investors move away from the bond market. Mortgage rates loosely follow the yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury.

Rising mortgage rates will make the market more competitive because they will decrease supply and increase demand. Potential sellers will not want to lose the record-low rates they locked in after the recession, so they will stay put. Potential buyers will want to move in faster before rates rise even more and price them out.

Homebuilders have been increasing production slowly, but they are nowhere close to meeting the growing demand.

“The market is starving for new homes, but it won’t be easy for builders struggling with high and rising land, labor and lumber costs,” said Aaron Terrazas, senior economist at Zillow. “Aging millennials and young families may be able to find more affordable new homes for sale this year, but they’ll most likely be in further-flung suburbs with more grueling commutes to urban job centers.”

Newly built homes are also more expensive than comparable existing homes, so higher mortgage rates may make them less attractive, especially to buyers on the margins or those who have more trouble qualifying for a mortgage.

Here’s how much your home remodel will pay you back

As home prices and mortgage rates rise, more and more homeowners are choosing to stay put and remodel.

Yet, depending on the project, some of the returns are diminishing. Remodeling spending is expected to approach $340 billion in 2018, a 7.5 percent increase over last year, according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.

“Steady gains in the broader economy, and in home sales and prices, are supporting growing demand for home improvements,” said Chris Herbert, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies. “We expect the remodeling market will also get a boost this year from ongoing restoration efforts in many areas of the country impacted by last year’s record-setting natural disasters.”

More homeowners may be remodeling, but those who do high-end projects are seeing less value in those remodels — that is, the expensive upgrades and additions are paying back less in the resale value of homes, according to an annual cost versus value report from Remodeling magazine.

“It’s not clear if this is a sign of nervousness among real estate pros in the face of a booming housing market or if nationwide affordability concerns are leading pros to question the value of renovations that would make a house even more expensive at resale – particularly with the new tax law regarding the deductibility of mortgage interest and state, local and property taxes,” Craig Webb, editor in chief of Remodeling, wrote in a release.

For those who remodel, the average payback in a home’s resale value is 56 percent of the cost of the remodel, but for those who replaced things like garage doors or windows, the payback is a much higher 75 percent. That is according to real estate professionals surveyed by the magazine.

Those values change, however, depending on geography. After all, all real estate is local. The highest remodeling returns are on the West Coast, where the average payback is 64 percent of the cost. In the Mid-Atlantic, that falls to 51 percent.

As for types of renovations, external changes are paying back big time. Things that increase curb appeal, as well as outdoor living, are seeing the greatest increases in payback value: garage door replacement (up 18.6 percent), wood deck additions (up 17.7 percent) and manufactured stone veneer installation (up 15.7 percent).

Those that saw the least gains in value were interior projects: Master suite additions (down 14.7 percent) and major kitchen remodels (down 10.9 percent).

Homeowners who decide to rein in their big ideas are also seeing bigger returns. Minor kitchen remodels pay an 81 percent return, while major high-end kitchen remodels just 59 percent. It’s the same for bathrooms. Why? Taste. Not everyone likes the latest expensive trend. They do like appliances and fixtures that are functional and new.

“You might want a kitchen that looks like a 1980s replica from ‘Stranger Things,'” Webb said, referring to the television show. “But the person you’re selling to might hate an avocado and burnt orange color scheme. So regardless of what you spent, to the prospect that kitchen needs to go.”

Some betting Kid Rock will talk Trump at NHL All-Star Game

Kid Rock tells CMT why he thinks Al Franken should not have resigned from Senate.

It probably won’t just be hockey and music fans paying attention Sunday when Kid Rock performs at the NHL All-Star Game in Tampa, Fla.

Gamblers will likely be watching, too.

That’s because a European sports book called Bookmaker.eu has been taking bets on whether Rock will mention President Donald Trump during his set between the game’s second and third periods, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

As of Friday, most wagerers were guessing that Rock would not mention the president, the newspaper reported.

But history shows that Rock – who has supported Trump and even visited him at the White House — hasn’t been shy about expressing his political views.

Most recently, Rock told “CMT Hot 20 Countdown” that he doesn’t think Democrat Al Franken should have resigned from the U.S. Senate – even though he doesn’t share Franken’s political views.

The singer said he thought people overreacted to the photo in which Franken was shown pretending to grope a sleeping Leeann Tweeden during a USO tour in Franken’s pre-Senate days.

“He’s a comedian, he’s making a joke,” Rock said.

Earlier this month, Rock donated about $122,000 to CRNC Action, an affiliate of the College Republican National Committee that did voter registration work at his concerts last year.

Rock had raised the money through merchandise touting his parody U.S. Senate campaign.

“Man, it scared the crap out of the Democrats,” Rock told CMT.

Some speculated that Rock might even run for a Senate seat against Eminem, his fellow Michigander and recording artist.

Like Rock, Eminem also doesn’t hesitate to talk politics.

In an interview last week in Billboard magazine, Eminem continued to speak against the president.

“A (expletive) turd would have been better as a president,” he told the magazine.

In the same interview, Eminem said he wouldn’t care if his views alienated the people who buy his music and concert tickets.

“At the end of the day, if I did lose half my fan base, then so be it,” he said, “because I feel like I stood up for what was right and I’m on the right side of this.”

If he’s willing to bet on that, perhaps a wagering site in Europe would want to hear from him.

Anti-Trump celebs plan ‘People’s State of the Union’

Actor Mark Ruffalo, center, is among the celebrities participating in an evening of speeches and music in New York City on Monday, Jan. 29, 2018, a day before President Trump's State of the Union address.

A group of Hollywood elites, progressive groups and social activists are planning a “People’s State of the Union” as a “public alternative” on the eve of President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address.

Notable participants in Monday’s scheduled event in New York City include filmmaker Michael Moore, actors Mark Ruffalo, Alyssa Milano, Rosie Perez and Whoopi Goldberg.

They’ll congregate at the Town Hall in Manhattan, the venue where suffragists met in the 1920s. Singer Andra Day and rapper Common will be performing the song, “Stand Up for Something,” from the biopic film “Marshall,” about the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Tickets were still available Saturday at $47 each.

The event, coordinated by unions, organizers of the Women’s March and Planned Parenthood, is being marketed as a celebration of the “resistance,” closer to “the people’s point of view,” USA Today reported.

Ruffalo, an inveterate progressive and vocal critic of President Trump, told People magazine, “I think it’s important because we have a president who has a difficult time with the truth, who has a radical, divisive agenda, and spends an enormous amount of time focusing on the negative and hopelessness and despair.”

Monday’s event also will serve as a platform for the launch of “We Stand United,” the lead organizing group of the “People’s State of the Union.”

The group’s campaign director, Julia Walsh, said, “We’re all going to work together across all different movements to make sure that we win back Congress in 2018 and hold this president in check.”

“It’s the mother of all movements,” Ruffalo said.

The event will be livestreamed online at peoplessotu.org.

Mobile stroke unit brings hospital to patients – and could save lives

A specialized ambulance could one day save your life from a stroke in the driveway of your home or a public parking lot. Everything needed to diagnose and treat the stroke fits inside, bringing the hospital to the patient.

That’s a reality in a select group of cities around the country. Right now, University of California, Los Angeles and the Los Angeles County Fire Department are collaborating to operate a Mobile Stroke Unit (MSU). The unit is being used in a national study to test the cost effectiveness and long-term patient outcomes of faster treatment.

“It’s been like night and day,” said Kenny Harrell, a firefighter and paramedic with the LA county fire department. As part of his job, Harrell operates both a standard ambulance, and drives the Mobile Stroke Unit.

Every minute a stroke victim is untreated, they lose two million brain cells. Time spent driving back to the hospital could lead to lifelong, debilitating side effects.

“One may become paralyzed on one side of their body, unable to speak or understand, or unable to walk,” said Dr. May Nour, medical director of the UCLA Mobile Stroke Program.

The stroke unit on wheels is staffed with a neurologist, nurse, CT technician and a paramedic. Doctors can video conference in and look at the patient using a high-resolution, 270-degree camera.

Stroke video conference

The stroke unit on wheels is staffed with a neurologist, nurse, CT technician and a paramedic. Doctors can video conference in and look at the patient using a high-resolution, 270-degree camera. Here is a video conferencing unit that doctors use.  (Fox News)

Paramedics put the patient inside the unit the same way they’d load a patient into an ambulance. The nurse and technicians take over from there to determine what type of stroke the patient is having and administer treatment.

“One stop shop. We can do labs, we can do CT scan, physician evaluation and we can give the medications,” said Nour. “We don’t wait for transport time. We don’t wait for the patient to get to the hospital. We get to them and treat them in the most expedient way possible.”


“One stop shop. We can do labs, we can do CT scan, physician evaluation and we can give the medications,” said Dr. May Nour, medical director of the UCLA Mobile Stroke Program. “We don’t wait for transport time. We don’t wait for the patient to get to the hospital. We get to them and treat them in the most expedient way possible.” Here is a CT scanner used to determine the type of stroke the patient is having.  (Fox News)

Doctors say the MSU may be especially helpful in very rural and heavy traffic urban areas. In small towns, some stroke patients could live a half hour away from the nearest hospital, while in big cities like Los Angeles, traffic can triple the time of a ride that’s just a few miles away.

Eliminating the time it takes to drive back to the hospital could save tens of millions of brain cells, which could be the difference between surviving, walking, talking or even death.

“If I have a stroke that affected my right hand, which is my dominate hand, I can’t do my job anymore. Which is something, it’s part of my identity. Being a physician is not just what I do, it’s who I am,” Dr. Clayton Kazan, Medical Director of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

If a patient becomes disabled as a result of the stroke, the costs could be lifelong.

“What are the direct and indirect medical costs as a result of somebody who’s unable to care for themselves, unable to participate in the work field, the health insurance costs for the rest of that person’s life,” Nour said.

Estimates for other stroke units across the country put the cost between $500,000 and $1,000,000. There are also staffing costs for the nurses, technicians and paramedics. Currently, those costs are mostly funded by private donations, with taxpayers sharing some of the staffing costs. But if use of these units continued, they’d be paid for by taxpayer dollars, and insurance providers, prompting more research about whether those costs would be sustainable.

Doctors believe even if the cost is high, Mobile Stroke Units are justified. There’s still a long way to go, however, before Mobile Stroke Units become standard across the country, if they ever do.

“If this unit does prove to be successful and patient outcomes are improved by its response,” Kazan said. “We have a lot of questions still to answer about how we would actually scale it up into a system as big as ours that actually has about 10 million people.”

Flu takes Alabama bride-to-be one week after diagnosis

Katherine Acton, 47, who planned to marry in the fall, died only one week after being diagnosed with the flu.

bride-to-be in Alabama was among the latest casualties this week as a serious outbreak of influenza continued to sweep across the U.S.

Katherine Acton, 47, of Shelby County, succumbed to the flu Wednesday, only a week after being diagnosed. She left behind two kids and a fiancé, Chuck Benzil, whom she planned to marry in the fall, the New York Post reported.

Family members and acquaintances said Acton maintained a regimented exercise routine and was very healthy.

U.S. health officials have called this winter’s flu outbreak the most severe since 2014-15. During that season, the flu sickened 34 million people and hospitalized 710,000.

Florida has endured a spike in flu activity this season, claiming three of the 37 children who have died, the Orlando Sentinel reported. In its weekly flu report, the Florida Department of Health listed 52 flu outbreaks in nursing homes and long-term care facilities last week.

The flu season is getting worse. This is the first time all states in the entire continental U.S. have reported widespread flu activity during the same week. Here's why this year's flu season is so severe.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that in this particularly deadly flu season, as many as 56,000 adults and children could die if proper safety precautions are not taken.

U.S. health officials have stressed the need for vaccinations as well as antiviral prescriptions like Tamiflu. Children, pregnant women, older people have a particularly higher risk of developing complications from the flu.