Month: July 2019

Measuring without labels: a different approach to information extraction

This is post was originally published on the SpringerOpen blog. Information extraction (IE) is a broad area in both the natural language processing (NLP) and the Web communities. The main goal of IE is to extract useful information from raw documents and webpages. For example, given a product webpage, one might want to extract attributes like the name of the product, its date of production, price and seller. A few decades ago, such extractors were built painstakingly using rules. In the modern artificial intelligence (AI) community, IE is done using machine learning. Supervised machine learning methods take a training...

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Pivotal moment in the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Ebola virus. Source: Wikipedia The ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo that started in August 2018, and has since been largely forgotten amid the flurry of everything else happening throughout the world. However, recent developments, such as the declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, have attracted renewed attention to the outbreak. What is the current situation of this Ebola outbreak in the DRC? At this point, it is the second longest Ebola outbreak, only surpassed by the 2014-2016 outbreak in West Africa. So far, 2592 cases have been reported, of which 1743 have...

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The little tissue that couldn’t – the hymen’s role in determining sexual history or assault

© zakokor / iStock Conversations about the female body, reproductive organs, sexuality, and virginity have dominated cultural discourse for centuries. They have been the subject of works of fiction, Renaissance art, romantic tales, religious missives, feminist theories and counter-theories, historical narratives, political movements, global health initiatives, and of course, scientific articles. This dialogue often begins with broad philosophical, cultural, and religious concepts, but, when discussing virginity, invariably turns towards biology, specifically a tiny, membranous tissue at the external vaginal opening with no known biological function: the hymen. The hymen has gained outsized status as the arbiter of virginity. ©...

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Towards a global dialogue about heritable germline editing: Mapping needs and challenges

(Picture by Arek Socha via Pixabay, CC0) The Hastings Centre has just published a report about heritable germline editing in a global context based on work carried out by Achim Rosemann in collaboration with (in alphabetical order) Adam Balen, Sarah Hartley, Christine Hauskeller, Nick Lee, Margaret Sleeboom-Faulkner, Xinqing Zhang, and Brigitte Nerlich. The report presents views of stakeholders in the United Kingdom on challenges to the governance of heritable genome editing and on possible policy options. It brings new empirical evidence to bear on issues of policy and practice. It appeared after a watershed moment in the debate about...

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Yellow fever: The new urban and international epidemics

Yellow fever is a virus transmitted by mosquitoes. It is found in 29 countries of sub-Saharan Africa and 13 in South America, resulting in 200,000 cases and 30,000 deaths in endemic areas. Transmission often occurs when humans encroach jungle borders for work or leisure activities. But recently, urban outbreaks have led to the international transmission of yellow fever outside its usual boundaries. Although in 80–90% of cases, yellow fever is only a mild infection with symptoms of fever, headache, chills, muscle pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting lasting for less than a week, for the remaining ~15%...

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