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Fight Back Against Heartbleed

The Daily Beast

Think there’s nothing to do to protect yourself against the “catastrophic” security bug Heartbleed? There is. You might even come out of this with a better security regimen than you had before.

Any disaster can double as a learning experience, and Heartbleed, the massive security hole whose impact is being felt across the Internet this week, is no exception.By now you may have heard that Heartbleed is a major bug in OpenSSL, a cryptographic library used by two-thirds of all servers on the Internet to prevent eavesdroppers from seeing everything you do on the Web, including the usernames, passwords, and credit card numbers you enter while shopping or banking.

Bang Bang

Big Data’s War on Crime

Nam Y. Huh/AP

Fourteen years after the organization Cure Violence started in Chicago, studies show its tactics—which treat violence as a “disease” to be contained—are working. It’s newest partner? Syria.

When given a hammer, things have a way of looking like nails. That aphorism well describes the unlikely but effective tactics used by epidemiologist and expert in infectious disease control Dr. Gary Slutkin. He spent years in the field, working to control the spread of illness in far-flung places from Africa to Asia at the behest of the World Health Organization. Some of his most notable work was in Uganda, where he handled the AIDS program as it became the only place to turn back the tide on the deadly syndrome.

Bedside Manner

Patients Aren’t Customers

Getty

Reports say patients are increasingly asking doctors for drugs by name, and docs are complying. If they don’t write the script, they risk a low rating on one of many doc-ranking sites.

“The customer is always right.” We all know the saying. It’s a truism in business. Businesses need happy customers. Happy customers keep coming back and they tell their friends. Keeping the customer happy is a businessperson’s number one priority.Except when the business is a medical practice, and the customer is a patient.That ever-blurring line between patient and customer is one of the most difficult things to walk in medical practice. On the one hand, people need to keep coming through the door in order to keep it open in the first place, and making sure people have a good experience when they come to you for care is important.

Tweet Tweet

Twitter’s Ayatollah

Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty

If you want to check out the future of the web’s most addictive social networking site, check out the celebs who are getting the web profile before the rest of us, people like John Legend, Zac Efron, and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

You probably can’t get the new Twitter profile just yet. But if you want to peak into the future, check out First Lady Michelle Obama’s profile @flotus; or super-star actor @channingtatum; or Iran’s Supreme Leader @Khamenei_ir.All three twitter profiles have the brand new profile page, with its panoramic backdrop image and a seamless display that makes the photos look like distinct tweets. But only one of those accounts represents a man who has systematically jailed, executed, and monitored his country’s democratic opposition since 1989.

Electrified

Paralyzed No More

Getty

There’s new hope for paralysis patients. A study reports electrical stimulation and physical therapy helped wheelchair-bound patients stand for more than four minutes.

Superman, paralyzed. Violently thrown from his horse, actor Christopher Reeve, renowned for his role as the Man of Steel, fractured his first and second cervical vertebrae and sustained a crippling spinal cord injury (SCI) in 1995. Instantly, a broken neck incapacitated an American role model, and no doctor on the planet could help. Though Mr. Reeve passed away in 2004, his dream of helping SCI patients walk again lives on. His foundation provides generous support for counseling, education, activism, and research.

Creep Shots

We’re All Stalkers Now

Women Who Eat On Tubes/Tumblr

Smartphones have turned us into creeps—snapping strangers’ photos, tweeting about the person next to us on the train, updating a status to disapprove of a sidewalk passer-by. It’s time to check ourselves.

It’s hard to describe the feeling of seeing a photograph of yourself, taken without your knowledge. It’s a realization of vulnerability: you didn’t even notice someone using a device aimed at you. That particular moment now exists “forever.” Where Lincoln has a statue, you have a picture of yourself mid-sneeze.Or perhaps, like Sophie Wilkinson, a picture of you halfway through eating a meal.Wilkinson, an editor at DeBrief, was on a train, eating a rushed meal.

Gone Mental

How Prisons Became Insane Asylums

The Daily Beast

A new study reveals that prisons in America house ten times as many mentally ill as the state-run psychiatric wards that could actually treat them.

“If you wanna help, tell the CIA to stop trying to kill me.” It’s a familiar line that Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, a psychiatrist who’s spent 40 years studying America's treatment (or lack thereof) of the mentally ill, hears from schizophrenic prison inmates. Prisoners in their own mind with no way out, they wreak havoc at jails across the nation: throwing feces at guards, singing for days on end, battling with the voices in their own heads.

Red Alert

The Bug That Broke the Web’s Heart

Getty

On Monday, security researchers revealed a “catastrophic” security bug nicknamed “Heartbleed.” And if you’ve ever shopped or done banking online, it likely affects you.

If you've ever done banking or bought something online, chances are you've noticed the little “lock” icon sitting in your web browser's address bar. That lock is extremely important. It means that your connection to the website is protected with something called SSL/TLS, an encryption scheme that prevents eavesdroppers from seeing every page you view, every password you enter, and every credit card number or email address you submit through a form.

SUPERBAD

Is Kale Killing You?

Jeff Wasserman/Shutterstock

Kale is either going to kill you or save your life depending on which media report you read. Let’s sort superfood fact from fiction.

With every health trend, every celebrity-endorsed “superfood” and faddish juice cleanse comes the inevitable backlash.The irrigation of colons and flushing of kidneys with $10 (and typically green) juice concoctions are as dubious as they are ubiquitous, so the Wall Street Journal and Slate — to name merely two examples — took a hatchet to some of the juicers’ more grandiose health claims. In January, it was kale’s turn. A New York Times story highlighted a potential link between the trendy leafy green and hypothyroidism, fueling a flurry of concern (and some predictable outrage) from kale evangelists.

Contagion

The Greatest Polio Threat Ever

LOUAI BESHARA/Getty

First Syria, now Iraq—polio is spreading through these war-torn countries, and the challenges to get the spread under control are great.

The three-year long civil war in Syria, which has claimed an estimated 150,000 lives, has come to affect the infants and children of the region in a new way. From the start, bombs and chemical weapons brutally harmed many kids as well as adults, but now young ones are at risk from something new: the spread of infectious diseases.With the war-related deterioration of the government’s ability to provide even rudimentary services, the vaccination of infants can no longer reliably be performed.

Blam!

Special Ops’ Weapons Wish List

U.S Airforce

America’s special operators are already some of the best-equipped troops in the world. But that doesn’t mean they couldn’t use a laser blaster or two.

Laser rifles. Canine air conditioners. There are lots of gadgets that U.S. commandos would love to have, except for the fact that these items don't even exist.That's why the U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), which includes the Army's Special Forces and Rangers, has published a long list of equipment that it wants private industry to develop and build.What is fascinating about this list isn't just that it tells us what capabilities U.

Sickness and Health

AIDS Patients Flock to Obamacare

Astrid Riecken/MCT, via Getty

Early drug claims suggest exchange plan enrollees are sicker than average, but experts say it’s too early to draw conclusions about the impact on premiums.

Offering a first glimpse of the health care needs of Americans who bought coverage through federal and state marketplaces, an analysis of the first two months of claims data shows the new enrollees are more likely to use expensive specialty drugs to treat conditions like HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C than those with job-based insurance.The sample of claims data—considered a preliminary look at whether new enrollees are sicker-than-average—also found that prescriptions for treating pain, seizures, and depression are also proportionally higher in exchange plans, according to Express Scripts, one of the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit management companies.

Babies Having Babies

Teens: Sex Leads to Pregnancy?!

Catalina Martin-Chico/Cosmos, via Redux

A new CDC report finds significant progress in reducing teen pregnancy, but finds sexual education seriously lacking.

More than 80 percent of teens ages 15-17 have had no formal sex education before they have sex for the first time, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Tuesday.These findings point to the fact that although significant progress has been made in reducing teen pregnancy, further targeted measures are necessary in order to delay sexual intercourse and increase the use of effective forms of contraception for sexually active teens.

Fail

Gov't Stops Counting Drug Users

Andrew Burton/Getty

The Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring survey (ADAM) was terminated in March, and not one congressmen tried to save it. Now the U.S. is without an accurate estimate of its drug users. That means less funding for research and treatment.

A new study revealing 67 percent of Americans want the government to focus on treatment for drug abusers was met with joy last week. A “truce” in the war on drugs, experts opined, may be just around the corner.But while the public looks poised to make good, the government is quietly quitting. In March, the nation’s richest source of information about cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine abuse was terminated. Not one congressman tried to save it.

Moo

Raw Milk: Got E. Coli?

Mike Kemp/Tetra Images/Getty

Supporters of raw milk claim it provides good bacteria and enzymes. But throughout history, it’s made people extremely sick (especially women and children).

As a parent, I try to avoid absolutes in raising my kids. While I have definite preferences about television watching and fast food and various other aspects of their care, sometimes a little wiggle room is necessary. I keep the “never ever” list pretty short. For example, my sons will never play tackle football (a topic for another time, perhaps). So long as I have any say about it, none of my kids will ever ride a motorcycle. And my children are never, ever to drink unpasteurized milk.

Better. Faster. Stronger.

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Lincoln Center, NYC | APRIL 3-5, 2014

The Women in the World 2014 Agenda

The Women in the World 2014 Agenda

The fifth annual summit hits New York's Lincoln Center stage April 3-5, 2014. Hear stirring true stories that stretch from war zones to Washington, and learn how you too can get involved. Watch LIVE on The Daily Beast starting today at 6:30PM EST!