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‘Help! What is this?’ Net users take to Reddit for STD diagnosis

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“How did I get chlamydia?” “Is this herpes?”

People are increasingly turning to strangers on social network Reddit to diagnose their sexually transmitted diseases, according to a new study published in a US journal Tuesday that called the phenomenon “crowd-diagnosis.”

Researchers from the University of California San Diego examined 17,000 posts on a Reddit thread devoted to STDs. They then analyzed a random sample of 500 posts.

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Fifty-eight percent of these messages explicitly requested a crowd-diagnosis, while 31 percent included a picture of the symptoms.

One in five such requests come from users trying to get a second opinion, after having consulted a doctor. These included the case of a person who tested positive for HIV, but wanted to know what other Reddit users thought.

Eight-seven percent of the time, such requests received a reply, and fast: the median time for a first response was three hours, with some receiving a reply in less than a minute.

“Everybody talks about Dr Google all the time,” John Ayers, an epidemiologist at UC San Diego and co-author of the paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, told AFP.

“But the reality is searching for information online is not how people use the internet anymore. They want to get real interactions with real people.”

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But the problem, Ayers added, was that “crowd-diagnosis, as it exists now, is wildly inaccurate and dangerous, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t turn millions of people seeking diagnosis on social media into something good.”

He and his colleagues envisioned a future in which health care professionals were available on social networks — not necessarily to make a diagnosis based on insufficient information, but to make a first screening and refer users to where they could get help — either at a clinic or via a teleconference consultation.

“The reality is that in the longer term, the bigger picture is crowd diagnosis could be a boon to public health information,” Ayers said, taking the example of a subreddit devoted to suicidal thoughts.

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“Trained experts are curating that Reddit, and they provide them referrals,” he added.

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Stop praising anti-Trump evangelicals: Their embrace of authoritarianism is a big part of the problem

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At this critical moment for American democracy our media landscape is doing a poor job in its coverage of conservative white evangelicals. Coverage of this relatively large segment of the population is characterized by, on the one hand, effusive praise for the slightest milquetoast criticism of Donald Trump, and on the other, by a periodic parade of nearly interchangeable unfounded predictions about how evangelical youth are going to change America’s most radically right-wing demographic for the better—any day now. In the words of the great sage Bullwinkle J. Moose, “This time for sure!”

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2020 Election

Intel official who briefed lawmakers on latest Russian meddling targeted for ouster by Trump White House: CNN

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During a discussion on the war on the intelligence community being waged by the Donald Trump's White House, CNN host Victor Blackwell stated that sources speaking with the network stated that the intel official who briefed lawmakers for both parties on new efforts by Russia to meddle in U.S. elections could be on the way out.

Speaking with contributor Lynn Sweet, Blackwell asked about the so-called "purge" being conducted by the White House.

"It sends the signal once again that President Trump is not a respecter of the United States intelligence services with the bigger issue that a permanent director has not been in that office since last summer when Dan Coates was forced out," Sweet explained. "This is a key position, subject to Senate confirmation and Trump hasn't seen fit to have a permanent director for months now."

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2020 Election

Trump’s latest national security adviser is undercutting FBI Director Wray to quash report of new Russian meddling: report

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In a scorching column for the Daily Beast, historian David Rothkopf accused Donald Trump's latest national security director, Robert O'Brien, of undercutting the United States intelligence services and uses his comments about recent reports of new Russian election meddling to make the case that he is contradicting FBI Director Christopher Wray to please the president.

According to Rothkopf, "For just over a century, since America arrived as a major force on the global stage, we have feared that should our enemies defeat us, it would be on the battlefield or via a devastating nuclear onslaught. We never could have imagined that an enemy might take another approach altogether: infecting us with a presidential virus who this week gutted our national security leadership structures like a fish."

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