Donald and Melania Trump to Skip Kennedy Center Honors

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President Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump, on the grounds of the White House last month. They will not participate in this year’s Kennedy Center Honors.

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Justin Gilliland/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The White House announced early Saturday that President Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump, would not participate in this year’s Kennedy Center Honors, “to allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction.”

Some of those to receive the award, which honors lifetime careers in art, music, dance, film, television and culture, had already said they would not attend a gala event at the White House held in conjunction with the official presentation.

The dancer and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade, who is among those to be honored by the Kennedy Center in December, announced on Thursday that she would forgo the related reception at the White House.

“In light of the socially divisive and morally caustic narrative that our current leadership is choosing to engage in, and in keeping with the principles that I and so many others have fought for, I will be declining the invitation to attend the reception at the White House,” Ms. de Lavallade, 86, said in a statement.

Another honoree, Norman Lear, a television producer known for progressive political activism, had said he would not attend the White House reception before the ceremony where he is to receive an award for lifelong artistic achievement.

“Each year, the Kennedy Center honors the careers and achievements of artists who have helped shape cultural life in the United States with a weekend that includes celebrations and events,” the White House statement on Saturday said. “The president and first lady have decided not to participate in this year’s activities to allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction. First lady Melania Trump, along with her husband President Donald J. Trump, extend their sincerest congratulations and well wishes to all of this year’s award recipients for their many accomplishments.”

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Could City Lights Raise Breast Cancer Risk?

By Randy Dotinga

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 17, 2017 (HealthDay News) — New research reveals an unexpected potential risk factor for breast cancer: city lights.

The Harvard Medical School study found an association between living in areas with high amounts of ambient nighttime light and slightly increased odds for breast cancer in younger women who smoke.

“In our modern industrialized society, artificial lighting is nearly ubiquitous. Our results suggest that this widespread exposure to outdoor lights during nighttime hours could represent a novel risk factor for breast cancer,” study author Peter James said in a Harvard news release. He’s assistant professor of population medicine at Harvard’s Pilgrim Health Care Institute.

As the investigators explained, earlier research had suggested that high levels of exposure to light at night disrupts the body’s internal clock. In turn, that might lower levels of a hormone called melanin which, in turn, might boost the risk of breast cancer.

Testing the theory further, James’ group tracked almost 110,000 U.S. women, followed as part of a long-term study of nurses from 1989-2013.

The researchers used nighttime satellite images and records of night shift work to help figure out the amount of nighttime light each woman might have been exposed to.

The study wasn’t designed to prove cause and effect. However, the Harvard group found that breast cancer levels in premenopausal women who currently smoked or had smoked in the past grew by 14 percent if they were in the 20 percent deemed to have had the most exposure to outdoor light at night.

Furthermore, as levels of outdoor nighttime light went up, so did the likelihood of breast cancer for this subgroup of women, James’ team said.

Older women, and women who’d never smoked, did not seem affected, the researchers said.

The study also found evidence that working night shifts might boost the breast cancer risk.

Given that millions of younger women have little control over the amount of nighttime ambient light they’re exposed to, what, if anything, should be done?

One expert in breast cancer care said it’s just too soon to take anything concrete from this research.

Continued

“The findings in this study have to be taken with caution,” said Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “Although circadian rhythm disruption may be a factor in increasing the risk of cancer, it could be other factors related to working at night as well.”

For example, she said, “women who work night shifts may not eat well or exercise, both of which affect breast cancer risk. Also, the study found the risk greatest in smokers — which leads one to believe these women might not be living as healthy a lifestyle as the group that was sleeping at night.”

Overall, Bernik said, “more insight as to the root cause of the increased rate of cancer in night owls is needed.”

The study was published Aug. 17 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Stephanie Bernik, M.D., chief, surgical oncology, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Harvard T.H. Chan School Of Public Health, news release, Aug. 17, 2017



Copyright © 2013-2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


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Deceased Deadpool 2 Stuntwoman May Have Been Traveling At Less Than 10 MPH During Scene

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More information is being released about the tragic death of Joi “SJ” Harris.

As we reported, on the set of Deadpool 2 in Vancouver, the stuntwoman lost control of her bike, jumped the curb, and crashed through the window of Shaw Tower. Her brakes were not applied, and she was not wearing a helmet.

Related: Ryan Reynolds Releases Somber Statement

The incident has been investigated by WorkSafeBC who describes the situation in a report dated August 15. They wrote:

“During the first shooting of the scene the stunt driver continued driving beyond the planned stopping spot on the stairway landing, and continued to drive down a second ramp built over the bottom stairs and across the roadway. The motorcycle struck the concrete sidewalk curb, the worker was thrown off the motorcycle and propelled through a plate glass window of a building.”

Despite being reported as “the first shooting of the scene,” a Deadline source says the crash happened on Harris’ sixth take. Additionally, the professional motorcycle racer was reportedly only traveling at less than 10 MPH. The insider reveals:

“In the maneuver, which was never more than 15 kilometers per hour – [a little less than] 10 miles an hour – she rode on a flat surface through two open doors and then turned left and went out of camera range… Her exit was a safety ramp to a big platform where the bike was supposed to stop, but she overshot the platform, hit a curb, and was thrown from the bike through a glass window.”

Although the Ryan Reynolds-sequel was her first job as a movie stuntwoman, the source says Joi was indeed qualified for the position.

“To say an unqualified person was put in this position is absolutely untrue… She was the best candidate for the job.”

Production resumed two days after her tragic death.

The movie is scheduled to be released June 1.

[Image via Joi Harris/Instagram.]

Tags: deadpool 2, film flickers, joi harris, joi sj harris, r.i.p., ryan reynolds, sad sad


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This week in Donald Trump’s conflicts of interest: Lots of focus on his hotels

President Donald Trump’s conflicts of interest have not abated, even as he has spent the past week dealing with the fallout of his incoherent and pro-white nationalist rants.

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch is speaking to a conservative group at Trump International Hotel in Washington.

When Justice Gorsuch delivers the keynote address for a meeting of the Fund for American Studies at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. on September 28, he will raise serious questions about his own ethics, according to a report by The New York Times. Part of the problem is that his speech will occur less than two weeks before the court will hear arguments on Trump’s proposed travel ban. Just as significant, however, is the mere fact that Trump has failed to fully divest from his business empire. As Stanford professor Deborah L. Rhode told the Times, “It’s a terrible signal for this group to be holding their meeting at the Trump International Hotel and for a Supreme Court justice to legitimate it by attending. It just violates basic ethical principles about conflicts of interest.”

Speaking of the Trump International Hotel . . .

Although the Trump Organization said that it expected Trump International Hotel to lose $2.1 million in the first four months of 2017, it actually earned $1.9 million in that period, according to a report by The Washington Post. In case the problematic nature of this profit doesn’t become immediately apparent, check out this passage from the Post’s story:

Since Trump entered the White House in January, the hotel has emerged as a Republican Party power center and popular destination for conservative, foreign and Christian groups holding meetings in Washington, earning Trump’s company $19.7 million through April 15, according to his financial disclosure with the government.

With guests paying an average of $652.98, the hotel is most likely the most expensive one in Washington.

Don’t forget the so-called “Donald of Dubai.”

That’s the nickname used for Hussain Sajwani in a recent piece by The Independent, and with good reason. As the Associated Press recently chronicled, Sajwani is a real estate magnate who prominently features Trump in his marketing. As ethics watchdog Norman Eisen told the AP, if Sajwani “is featuring the Trump name in his marketing materials and if, as one can fairly assume, that’s being furnished to government officials and others, then that would be a not-very-subtle attempt to trade on his business partner’s presence in the White House.”



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Seeking Reset, Trump Dines With Some of His Biggest Donors

Mr. Mercer’s presence was noteworthy, since the White House confirmed Friday that Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, had been ousted. Mr. Mercer has long funded the political and business activities of Mr. Bannon, who was brought onto Mr. Trump’s campaign at the recommendation of Mr. Mercer’s daughter, Rebekah Mercer.

A source familiar with the dinner said that Mr. Bannon’s future was not a topic of conversation.

But the day before the dinner, Mr. Bannon and Mr. Mercer huddled for hours at Mr. Mercer’s Long Island estate to discuss possible ventures.

In a statement, Rebekah Mercer said she and her father were “ecstatic to have him back at the helm of Breitbart News, where he will continue to fight for personal liberties and against an elite establishment that seeks, above all else, to amass its own power at the expense of the people.” Two people close to the Mercers said they never favored Mr. Bannon being in the White House, and they noted that their support for Mr. Trump came late in the campaign.

Other donors also were invited to Thursday’s dinner but did not attend, including Paul Singer, the New York hedge fund billionaire.

He declined the invitation weeks ago because he was going to be on vacation, according to one of the people familiar with the planning of the event.

Mr. Singer, who ardently opposed Mr. Trump during the Republican primary, seemed to warm to the new president after his election. He donated more than $1 million to the committees funding Mr. Trump’s transition and inauguration and visited Mr. Trump at least twice in the White House.

But Mr. Singer also is a major donor to Jewish causes, including the Republican Jewish Coalition, which criticized Mr. Trump this week over his response to the events in Charlottesville. In a statement, the coalition called on the president “to provide greater moral clarity in rejecting racism, bigotry, and anti-Semitism.”

Mr. Singer’s representatives did not respond to a request for comment on whether he felt similarly about Mr. Trump’s response to the Charlottesville white supremacist rally, at which a counterprotester was killed after a car plunged into the crowd.

Representatives for Mr. Mercer, Mr. Craft and Ms. Hendricks did not respond to requests for comment.

The White House did not respond to questions about whether the Charlottesville rally and aftermath were discussed.

But people familiar with the dinner cast it as part of an ongoing series of donor-outreach events headlined by Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to cultivate and maintain support for the administration’s agenda from wealthy activists who have the capacity to fund conservative advocacy groups that seek to influence policy debates.

White House allies were disappointed with what they considered insufficient support from those groups for the failed Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The White House has worked assiduously to cultivate more support from advocacy groups and their donors ahead of a push to overhaul the tax code. Their support could be even more critical if businesses and trade groups, which might otherwise support tax reform, hold back out of concern of affiliating with Mr. Trump.

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Researchers Developing Test For Lyme Disease

Aug. 18, 2017 — Although the research is in its infancy, scientists say they’re on the hunt for an early detection blood test for tick-borne Lyme disease infection.

The test uses a “signature” of molecular patterns in blood to help ID infection with the Lyme bacteria, and differentiate it from another tick-borne illness called Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI), the Associated Press reported.

According to the AP, Lyme disease currently infects about 300,000 Americans annually. It’s spread by bites from the black-legged tick (deer ticks) that are found primarily in the Northeast and Midwest. Heralded by the onset of fever, fatigue and flu-like symptoms, Lyme can often be stopped with the quick use of antibiotics.

But Lyme disease is often tough to diagnose — while the hallmark “bull’s-eye” rash is one indicator that you may have the illness, the rash isn’t always present with Lyme disease. And if it goes undiagnosed and untreated, Lyme disease can have much more serious, debilitating long-term symptoms.

According to the AP, today’s best test for Lyme disease is only 40 percent accurate, so a better diagnostic tool is needed.

“We are trying our best to come up with something to help the diagnosis in the very early stages of this infection,” researcher and microbiologist Claudia Molins of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the AP. “Our goal really is to try to fill that gap.”

She worked with Colorado State University microbiologist John Belisle, and others, to come up with a much more specific screening.

The newly developed test looks for what Belisle called a biological “fingerprint” that shows that the body is moving to fight off the Lyme bacteria — even before the immune system develops telltale antibodies.

The test focuses on cellular byproducts called metabolites that would show up in the blood of Lyme-infected people but not uninfected people.

In their research, the team discovered just such a “signature” that not only pointed to Lyme infection, but also was able to distinguish Lyme from STARI.

STARI’s symptoms appear very much like Lyme disease, but it’s spread by another species of tick and is caused by an as-yet-unknown bacterium. As the AP explained, STARI is also very hard to diagnose, because other illnesses must first be ruled out to come to a diagnosis.

Continued

Overall, the new blood test was 82 percent accurate in diagnosing Lyme disease, the researchers reported Aug. 16 in Science Translational Medicine.

Still, many more years of research are needed to translate the findings to something that could be routinely used in laboratories, Molins said.

Reviewing the findings, Lyme disease expert Dr. John Aucott told the AP that — if successful — the test might also someday be able to tell if a particular treatment is helpful to patients infected with Lyme disease.

“If you can show the host metabolic signature goes back to normal, that could be a great test of cure,” said Aucott, who runs Johns Hopkins University’s Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center in Baltimore.

WebMD News from HealthDay


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JAY-Z Says Kanye West ‘Crossed The Line’ When He Talked About Beyoncé During Onstage Rant!

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Leave the wife and kids out of it, Kanye West!

Recently, JAY-Z spoke to Rap Radar‘s Elliott Wilson and Brian “B.Dot” Miller where he opens up about his feud with Kim Kardashian‘s husband.

As we reported, back in 2016, Yeezy went on a rant during a concert in Sacramento where he SLAMS Beyoncé for reportedly refusing to perform at the VMAs unless she won “Video of the Year” over him and Drake. He also said Jay doesn’t bring Blue Ivy Carter over to play with his kids.

Related: The Ups & Downs & Ups Of Beyoncé’s Marriage To JAY-Z!

In the interview, Shawn Carter talks about his track Kill Jay Z which seems to reference the drama. Although the 4:44 tune is “not even about Kanye,” he brings up Ye’s name to reveal the truth about the situation.

Out of everything, The Blueprint musician is PISSED West talked smack about his family. He said:

“But what really hurt me was, you can’t bring my kids and my wife into it. Kanye’s my little brother. He’s talked about me 100 times. He made a song called Big Brother. We’ve gotten past bigger issues. But you brought my family into it, now it’s a problem with me. That’s a real, real problem. And he knows it’s a problem.

While Jay appreciates Kanye’s honesty, he really “crossed the line”!

“He knows that he crossed the line. I know him. He knows. I know he knows, because we’ve never let this much space go between one of our disagreements, and we’ve had many, because that’s who we are. That’s what I like about him. He’s an honest person, he’s open and he’ll say things and he’s wrong a lot of times and he’ll confront it.”

As we wrote in July, North West‘s dad cut ties with Tidal because the streaming service allegedly failed “to honor its financial obligations.”

Hopefully these two dudes can work it out!

[Image via WENN.]

Tags: beyonce, blue ivy carter, celebrity feuds, drake, jay-z, kanye west, kim kardashian, music minute, north west, vmas


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This math puzzle will help you plan your next party

Let’s say you’re planning your next party and agonizing over the guest list. To whom should you send invitations? What combination of friends and strangers is the right mix?

It turns out mathematicians have been working on a version of this problem for nearly a century. Depending on what you want, the answer can be complicated.

Our book, “The Fascinating World of Graph Theory,” explores puzzles like these and shows how they can be solved through graphs. A question like this one might seem small, but it’s a beautiful demonstration of how graphs can be used to solve mathematical problems in such diverse fields as the sciences, communication and society.

A puzzle is born

While it’s well-known that Harvard is one of the top academic universities in the country, you might be surprised to learn that there was a time when Harvard had one of the nation’s best football teams. But in 1931, led by All–American quarterback Barry Wood, such was the case.

That season Harvard played Army. At halftime, unexpectedly, Army led Harvard 13–0. Clearly upset, Harvard’s president told Army’s commandant of cadets that while Army may be better than Harvard in football, Harvard was superior in a more scholarly competition.

Though Harvard came back to defeat Army 14-13, the commandant accepted the challenge to compete against Harvard in something more scholarly. It was agreed that the two would compete — in mathematics. This led to Army and Harvard selecting mathematics teams; the showdown occurred in West Point in 1933. To Harvard’s surprise, Army won.

The Harvard–Army competition eventually led to an annual mathematics competition for undergraduates in 1938, called the Putnam exam, named for William Lowell Putnam, a relative of Harvard’s president. This exam was designed to stimulate a healthy rivalry in mathematics in the United States and Canada. Over the years and continuing to this day, this exam has contained many interesting and often challenging problems — including the one we describe above.

Red and blue lines

The 1953 exam contained the following problem (reworded a bit): There are six points in the plane. Every point is connected to every other point by a line that’s either blue or red. Show that there are three of these points between which only lines of the same color are drawn.

In math, if there is a collection of points with lines drawn between some pairs of points, that structure is called a graph. The study of these graphs is called graph theory. In graph theory, however, the points are called vertices and the lines are called edges.

Graphs can be used to represent a wide variety of situations. For example, in this Putnam problem, a point can represent a person, a red line can mean the people are friends and a blue line means that they are strangers.

For example, let’s call the points A, B, C, D, E, F and select one of them, say A. Of the five lines drawn from A to the other five points, there must be three lines of the same color.

Say the lines from A to B, C, D are all red. If a line between any two of B, C, D is red, then there are three points with only red lines between them. If no line between any two of B, C, D is red, then they are all blue.

What if there were only five points? There may not be three points where all lines between them are colored the same. For example, the lines A–B, B–C, C–D, D–E, E–A may be red, with the others blue.

From what we saw, then, the smallest number of people who can be invited to a party (where every two people are either friends or strangers) such that there are three mutual friends or three mutual strangers is six.

What if we would like four people to be mutual friends or mutual strangers? What is the smallest number of people we must invite to a party to be certain of this? This question has been answered. It’s 18.

What if we would like five people to be mutual friends or mutual strangers? In this situation, the smallest number of people to invite to a party to be guaranteed of this is — unknown. Nobody knows. While this problem is easy to describe and perhaps sounds rather simple, it is notoriously difficult.

Ramsey numbers

What we have been discussing is a type of number in graph theory called a Ramsey number. These numbers are named for the British philosopher, economist and mathematician Frank Plumpton Ramsey.

Ramsey died at the age of 26 but obtained at his very early age a very curious theorem in mathematics, which gave rise to our question here. Say we have another plane full of points connected by red and blue lines. We pick two positive integers, named r and s. We want to have exactly r points where all lines between them are red or s points where all lines between them are blue. What’s the smallest number of points we can do this with? That’s called a Ramsey number.

For example, say we want our plane to have at least three points connected by all red lines and three points connected by all blue lines. The Ramsey number — the smallest number of points we need to make this happen — is six.

When mathematicians look at a problem, they often ask themselves: Does this suggest another question? This is what has happened with Ramsey numbers – and party problems.

For example, here’s one: Five girls are planning a party. They have decided to invite some boys to the party, whether they know the boys or not. How many boys do they need to invite to be certain that there will always be three boys among them such that three of the five girls are either friends with all three boys or are not acquainted with all three boys? It’s probably not easy to make a good guess at the answer. It’s 41!

Very few Ramsey numbers are known. However, this doesn’t stop mathematicians from trying to solve such problems. Often, failing to solve one problem can lead to an even more interesting problem. Such is the life of a mathematician.
The Conversation
Gary Chartrand, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, Western Michigan University; Arthur Benjamin, Professor of Mathematics, Harvey Mudd College, and Ping Zhang, Professor of Mathematics, Western Michigan University



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Trump Criticized by James Murdoch: ‘There Are No Good Nazis’


James Murdoch, the chief executive of 21st Century Fox Inc. and a member of the board of The Wall Street Journal parent News Corp, became the latest major U.S. business leader to criticize President Donald Trump’s response to white supremacist violence in Virginia over the weekend, calling it concerning to all Americans.

“What we watched this last week in Charlottesville and the reaction to it by the President of the United States concern all of us as Americans and free people,” Mr. Murdoch wrote in a “personal note”…


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