The digitisation of Pokémon

first_imgThe digitisation of PokémonThe Pokémon Company’s Peter Murphy discusses the release of the new Isle of Armor DLCChristopher DringHead of Games B2BThursday 18th June 2020Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleThe Pokemon Company InternationalThe rate in which digital is overtaking physical in the games industry largely depends on who you are, what platforms you’re on and who your audience is.If you’re the developer of hardcore PC strategy games, your view on the physical games market will differ substantially from a developer of casual Nintendo titles. There are still numerous games that rely heavily on the boxed games business.One of the more physical friendly game franchises is Pokémon. Even in the wake of the digital-only Pokémon Go phenomenon, the brand is a major one for anyone working in physical products. There are even entire stores dedicated to Pokémon games and merchandise.Historically, the firm has always prioritised the physical space, even when it comes to updating previous titles. Back in 1998, developer Game Freak released an updated version of Pokémon Red and Blue as a boxed game called Pokémon Yellow, and that has continued with almost every mainline release. Even the 2016 3DS release of Pokémon Sun and Moon was followed a year later by Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, which was available to buy in a box from physical stores.Peter Murphey, The Pokémon Company InternationalYet things changed with last year’s Pokémon Sword and Shield. Earlier this year, Game Freak announced that it was releasing two expansions — Isle of Armor and the Crown Tundra — as downloadable add-ons to these games. The first of which, Isle of Armor, launched yesterday. “Previously we released boxed ‘upper versions’ of the core series games, the most recent being the 3DS titles Pokémon Ultra Sun and Moon, as this was the best way for us to deliver additional content,” explains Peter Murphy, senior director at The Pokémon Company International.”Pokémon Sword and Shield saw us take the core series onto Nintendo Switch, enabling us to take advantage of the platform’s ability to easily deliver additional content digitally. By expanding the gameplay experience this way players can continue their journey with save data from the main games without the need to replay content from the base games.”Although this approach is different, it isn’t entirely new territory for Pokémon. It has worked on expansions before, and there have been digital versions of mainline Pokémon titles since 2013.”Well, we’ve had a lot of experience with releasing content on eShop, so that’s not new. And we’ve previously released extensions to a core series, such as Black and White 2. So, while it will be exciting and interesting to see how combining those together goes, the launch is similar to a physical release in many respects. We still promote it in a similar way, work with retail to ensure the download cards are available for those who prefer to buy in-store, review pre-order sales data, and work with media to generate editorial coverage.”The first Sword and Shield DLC, Isle of Armor, is out nowMurphy says that the firm has worked closely with Nintendo to treat the DLC release like any “core” game launch, with TV ads, social media activity and in-game events. It is also speaking to existing fans through its various channels, including additional items appearing in the smartphone game Pokémon Go. “One of the main things is that the new season of the Pokémon animation show, called Pokémon Journeys — which takes place in the new Galar region [where Sword and Shield is based] — is beginning in most countries in and around the launches of Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra,” Murphy adds.The mainline Pokémon games may be hugely popular, but they are a challenging thing to promote and create when you consider the variety of different fans. The age of the series means that there’s a number of different audiences, from the people who have only just discovered the series through Pokémon Go, to those in their 30s and 40s who were there from the beginning, and everyone in-between. This challenge is evident in everything the company does. Sword and Shield has been a big success, but it nevertheless disappointed some fans with the decisions that the studio made — primarily around the Pokémon not included in the game. Yesterday, the firm put out a series of announcements, including two games aimed squarely at the younger audience — Pokémon Smile and Pokémon Café Mix — alongside a sequel to the cult N64 game Pokémon Snap from 1999, which is something for the long-time fans. Yet when it comes to the mainline Pokémon games, the aim is to try an appeal to as many of these different groups as possible. The second DLC, Crown Tundra, is due later this year”We work very closely with our friends at Nintendo to ensure campaigns have elements that appeal to different members of the Pokémon community, as well as brand new fans,” says Murphy. “Looking back to the campaign for Pokémon Sword and Shield, one of the TV adverts shone the spotlight on returning Pokémon from previous generations, even featuring their original sprite forms, which would clearly resonate more with older fans. While another, shot on location in the Cotswolds [UK], was aimed at a wider audience and focused the new starter Pokémon, adventuring with friends and battling giant Pokémon.”These new DLC releases have also been created with the widest possible audience in mind, and that includes gamers who typically like to buy things in physical shops — 17 million people bought Sword and Shield, and the physical boxed versions of those games were a large proportion of those sales. So when it came to promoting and selling the DLC, physical retail remained a key partner, irrespective of the lack of a box. Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games “You can still buy the expansion as a download code from retailers, and our retail partners’ support has been fantastic despite the COVID-19 challenges,” Murphy tells us. “We have point of sale materials and in-store promotion happening and there are some retailers out there offering a physical gift with purchase.”As Pokémon’s fanbase widens, and their wants and needs become more complicated, Game Freak and The Pokémon Company are now able to react faster than before. Some fans were disappointed by some of the missing Pokémon in Sword and Shield, and this new DLC has been an opportunity for the developer to address some of that, and comparatively a lot faster than it was able to before.What is a bit more unknown is whether this new release has the same commercial potential as the traditional boxed upgrade.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesPokémon Snap | Critical ConsensusLong-awaited successor to N64 classic pleases new and old fans alike, but is let down by persisting repetitionBy Danielle Partis 11 days agoThe next generation of PlayStation VR | PodcastLatest episode available now, also discusses Pokémon Legends and the franchise’s 25th anniversaryBy GamesIndustry Staff 2 months agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.last_img read more

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Driver charged in Brooklyn crash that killed 2 kids found dead in apparent suicide: Police

first_imgSpencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The driver who was charged in a fatal crash in Brooklyn last March has been found dead from an apparent suicide, according to police.Dorothy Bruns, 45, had been charged with manslaughter in the crash that killed two small children in Park Slope. She was found dead with a pill bottle and an apparent suicide note inside her Staten Island home on Tuesday afternoon, the New York Police Department said.On the afternoon of March 5, Bruns allegedly crashed her car into pedestrians in a crosswalk, killing 4-year-old Abigail Blumenstein and 1-year-old Joshua Lew and injuring three others.Abigail Blumenstein was the daughter of Tony Award-winning Broadway actress Ruthie Ann Miles. Miles was also injured in the crash and lost her unborn child.Bruns suffered a seizure at the time of the collision, said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. Bruns had been “instructed not to drive after being hospitalized less than two months earlier after crashing her car into a parked vehicle,” prosecutors claimed.Bruns was charged with manslaughter in the children’s deaths and was out on bail, police said.At her last court appearance on Oct. 3, Bruns turned down an offer of five to 15 years in jail on the manslaughter charges.Bruns was due back in court on Nov. 20.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Neil Young Announces ‘Noise And Flowers’ Concert Film & Live Album

first_imgNeil Young‘s 2019 European/U.K. summer tour alongside Promise of the Real will be highlighted on a forthcoming live album and concert film to be titled Noise and Flowers, due out sometime early next year.The announcement shared this week details that the double live album and concert film will include a mix of performances from Young’s nine-show overseas run with Lukas Nelson‘s band, which started on June 29th, 2019 in Odense, Denmark, and wrapped following two co-headlining dates with Bob Dylan in London (remember that mess?) and Ireland. The announcement did not state whether the two’s duet of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” during one of the performances will be included in the tracklisting, but fans should be optimistic.Related: Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Dave Matthews, More Celebrate Farm Aid 2019News of a concert film shouldn’t come as a surprise to Young fans, as many will remember the veteran rocker ended up postponing his 2019 fall dates to allow him enough time to begin the editing process of the then-unannounced project.“[Noise and Flowers] is truly a great collection, dripping with the soul of our band as we played for our fallen leader,” Young also wrote to go with this week’s announcement.[H/T Rolling Stone]last_img read more

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Gay Couples Parent Just Like Everybody Else

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreHearing the voices recently insisting that it is best for a child to grow up with one father and one mother reminds me of a powerful documentary that aired this January on MTV called, I Have Gay Parents. Part of the ThinkMTV series entitled True Life, I Have Gay Parents follows three teens through their every day lives in a riveting look at what it means to have gay parents.REVIEW Hope is an adopted dark-skinned girl growing up on Staten Island with two white dads. She is preparing to leave for Wellesley College and her dads are shown fussing and worrying about her needs and desires (in one case, her yen for a tattoo — about which they are not happy). They obviously care deeply about her and are having a difficult time letting their chick leave the nest.Aidan’s story was more suspenseful as she was trying out for the position of drum major at her conservative high school in Richmond, VA. . .(photo- Aidan with two moms, from MTV’s True Life: I Have Gay Parents)Aidan lives with her birth mom, but, instead of the father, who ran off as soon as he heard the news of the pregnancy, her other parent is a second mom, who has raised Aiden as her own. We see the two moms encouraging their daughter to visualize becoming the drum major, helping her to practice, reminding her to smile. We also meet the band’s director who admires Aidan’s talent, and dedication to the band but openly worries of what other parents would say or do if he were to bestow leadership on the “token” gay-rights student advocate in school. It didn’t seem very likely for Aidan to win the competion in such an ultra-conservative Christian community. But, undaunted by the odds, determined and self-confident, Aidan won the coveted role as drum major. And, checking back with the school several weeks later, the film’s producers found that although the director feared parents would pull their kids out of the band in protest, none of the students had withdrawn.The third teen was Cooper, a young man who grew up in Berkeley, Calif., and is now a freshman in Iowa. “His ‘two moms’ are life partners who made a decision 19 years ago that one of them would become pregnant by a sperm donor.”Linda Stasi wrote in the New York Post:“Following these very nice, very well-balanced kids through the struggles of life is great TV. For one thing, it points out that it’s not your parents’ sexuality that matters as much as how they treat you. A child who is loved unconditionally, who is given boundaries within reason and whose parents are courageous in their beliefs — whatever those beliefs are — without drumming it into their kid’s head, turns out to be the kind of kid we all would like to call our own.”The Web site AfterEllen.com agrees that the teens in the documentary are all “thoughtful, insightful, and — dare we say — well adjusted.”These portrayals are supported by positive statistics about kids with gay families. For example, a recent Tufts University study found that children who are raised in same-sex families have no difference in gender identity, sexual orientation, or emotional issues than their peers from heterosexual households. Another study with similar results is the 2004 National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.____________________________________________________________________________________________Interestingly, the Tufts study also found that children from gay families might be better off developmentally, exhibiting higher self-esteem, better behavior, and fewer incidences of mental illness and emotional disturbances. Experts suggest that this trend is due to the open-mindedness and stoic attitudes that many gay people must adopt in order to survive in a discriminatory world. “I think that my parents being gay has given me a lot of freedom to be who I am and to explore further who I’m going to become,” says Hope. If more people could see this sort of portrayal of gay families on television, it would be more difficult for Conservatives to pass muster in today’s debate on a marriage ammendment to the Constitution. They couldn’t use the old “protect the families” argument. The gay moms and dads in this show aren’t raising dysfunctional children. “They are simply doing laundry, making dinner, and driving their kids to school like everyone else.”AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

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This Film Festival is Looking for a Person to Spend 7 Days Alone Watching Movies in a Remote Lighthouse

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreDoes locking yourself up somewhere all alone for a week and just watching movies sound like your idea of bliss? Then have we got a film festival for you.Gothenburg Film FestivalThe Gothenburg Film Festival is conducting a “pandemic cinema experiment” in the form of a contest. One candidate chosen from applicants around the globe will be treated to a week’s stay at the site of the historic Pater Noster Lighthhouse located on the craggy island of Hamneskär off the west coast of Sweden.While there, the winning cinephile will get free room and board along with unlimited access to this year’s festival roster of films. “They are totally isolated. They are not allowed to bring anyone, of course, but also no phone and not even a book,” artistic director Jonas Holmberg, told CBC’s As It Happens. “…It will be only this person and the sea, the waves, the sky and the 60 different premieres that we are screening at the festival.” “They will talk about how life is on the island and how these special conditions have affected the relationship to the films that they have seen,” Holmberg says.CHECK OUT: 91-Year-Old Lands Her Dream Job as a Designer in Silicon ValleyThe immersive solo movie experience takes place from January 30 through February 6. The winner will live in the lighthouse keeper’s home but all movies will be air in a purpose-built, one-person cinema inside the lighthouse. Interested film lovers should apply at the festival website ASAP.We’re not sure if popcorn is included.SHARE This Opportunity With Friends Who’d Love This ExperienceAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore Inspired by the pandemic, Holmberg says the experiment aims to examine how social distancing has transformed the movie-watching experience. The most obvious change is the shift from in-person to online and at-home movie viewership.While traditionally, going to the movies has been something of a communal experience shared with other members of an audience, the trend now is to view films either alone or in small groups. Where once people went to the movies for company, more and more, the films themselves are what provide communal connection.According to the festival website, “Göteborg Film Festival 2021 will be anything but conventional. No crowds, no parties, no sold-out cinemas. This year’s festival focus, Social Distances, explores the new world that has emerged in the wake of the pandemic. What does film mean to us when we are isolated from everything else? To investigate, we are opening a brand-new cinema. In the middle of the ocean.“No phone, no family, no friends. Just you, the sea and the festival’s film program with 60 film premieres. For seven days.”READ: Real-Life Willy Wonka Gives Away Candy Factory In Giant Treasure HuntRequisites for the winner, according to Holmberg, are number one: the person must be a true film fan; number two: he or she must either enjoy or tolerate solitude well; number three: since they’ll be expected to document the experience with a video diary, it’s crucial for them to be an adept communicator.last_img read more

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Services today and death notices for Dec. 26

first_img Keith Eric Davis, 51, of Beaumont died Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015. Broussard’s, Major Drive, Beaumont. Dena Philpott, 85, of Port Arthur died Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015. Levingston Funeral Home, Port Neches.Lonnie Weir, 82, of Beaumont died Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015. Broussard’s, Major Drive, Beaumont. Services todayNone.center_img Death noticesBobby Dean Grafton, 83, of Port Neches died Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015. Levingston Funeral Home, Groves.last_img read more

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What Good Came from the End of Dawson’s Creek & More Lessons from Children of a Lesser God’s Joshua Jackson on Show People

first_imgThough he may be well-known for making hearts flutter during his time on Dawson’s Creek, Joshua Jackson has grown so much since the days of Pacey Witter puppy love. The actor is making his Broadway debut in the emotionally wrenching love story of Children of a Lesser God alongside fellow Great White Way newcomer Lauren Ridloff. He calls the theater his “happy place,” one that has reminded him why he loves to perform time and time again. In addition, he’s got Showtime’s steamy fourth season of The Affair premiering in June and a big year ahead as he turns 40. Here’s what we learned from the stage and screen star as he chatted about his close connection with Ridloff, learning American Sign Language (ASL), his stage start alongside Patrick Stewart, the review he can still recite and more on this week’s Show People with Paul Wontorek. 3. HE’S LOOKING FORWARD TO THE BIG 4-0“I didn’t put a timeline on coming to Broadway, but it is an excellent birthday present for 40. Every year that clicks by is another year where I think, ‘I can’t believe I still get to tell stories for a living. This is amazing!” Other must-read highlights:ON MAKING HIS BROADWAY DEBUT“The experience of doing a play is such a joyful thing. It’s not the place where I spend the bulk of my work life, so when I do get the opportunity to come and do it, it’s because something really specific that I want to be a part of, a story that I want to tell. To walk up to work every day and and walk onto a Broadway stage is a pretty magical feeling for an actor.”ON SHARING THE STAGE WITH LAUREN RIDLOFF“She never ever leaves my eyes. There’s like this rope tied between the two of us when we’re on stage together. That bond is a joy to experience every night.”ON THE DISCOVERY OF CO-STAR LAUREN RIDLOFF“Kenny Leon was putting together a read-through and had assembled a bunch of people. He called me up. He said, ‘I’ve found everybody else, but I haven’t found my leading lady. I do have this woman, who has been teaching me ASL, who for purposes of the read-through, I think would be amazing.’ She comes in on day one of rehearsal, and we get to the climactic scene in the play where Sarah uses her voice. Lauren says, through her interpreter, ‘I haven’t spoken out loud since I was 13.’ Flash forward the next day, we’re going through the play with people watching. We finally get to that scene. There’s this electricity building, and when she let it go it was a nearly indescribable experience. It was just this raw, emotional outpouring. It was one of those moments that can only happen in a live space. Kenny and I went out to get a drink afterwards, and I was like, ‘Man, that’s the whole thing right there.’”ON CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD’S INTENSITY“When we get it right, it will really just tear your heart out of your chest. It’s the perverse reason why we go to the theater.”ON LEARNING ASL“Particularly for a leading man and leading lady, it’s important to get to know each other, to sort of understand who each other are, especially if you’re going to places that are uncomfortable. I had done quite a bit of work before I got to rehearsal, but had a lot more work yet to do just to get the language of the play down. So we would spend a day in rehearsal, and then she, I and Alexandria Wailes, our ASL director for the show, would then just break out another four hours and slowly but surely build me into a place where I was at like a post-toddler level in that language.”ON THE END OF DAWSON’S CREEK“It was such a long and ultimately complete experience because we knew we were going to end it when we were going to end it. So it was just this tremendous sense of relief. To be perfectly honest, I was quite burnt out at the end of Dawson’s Creek. There were many satisfying moments throughout that experience, but there were also many unsatisfying moments. If I could have ended it a couple of years earlier than we did, I would have.”ON FINDING HIS HAPPY PLACE IN THE THEATER“After Dawson’s Creek ended, I knew within a couple of months that I was going to go and do David Mamet’s A Life in the Theatre with Patrick Stewart. The plays that I’ve worked on in my life have all been very specific to a time in my life where there was a challenge or a question that I needed to have answered for myself. To put myself in Mamet’s language in the West End, a two-hander with just Patrick Stewart, is about the deepest of the deep end that you can possibly go into. He is such a skilled theater actor. If he had wanted to slaughter me onstage just to showcase his talents, he absolutely could have done that. That was within his power. But he’s not that man. He was incredibly gracious in allowing my learning curve—which was very steep for that show. Seeing his joy in it and discovering my own joy in it, I thought, ‘Oh right! I’m an actor. This is really truly what I want to do. I love this.’”ON HIS ADVICE TO YOUNG PERFORMERS“Care less about being pretty. There’s a whole industry built around frivolous, external things, which is actually worse now than when I was doing Dawson’s Creek because social media didn’t exist yet. Be honest with yourself: what is it that you love about this job? If you love the part where you’re in a scene with another human being and something magical can happen and a wise voice can give you a little direction and an idea that hadn’t occurred to you can come out, then take the time. The gray hairs and the wrinkles are the good stuff. If you take real joy out of this, and you continue to feed it, you put everything that you have into it and it feeds you back. The truth of the matter is, it’s the chasing the bright shiny thing that kills a lot of the joy.”Watch the full episode of Show People with Paul Wontorek below! 1. BREATH MINTS WERE USED IN THE MAKING OF THIS SEXY POSTER“We shot the photo for the Children of a Lesser God poster about halfway through the out-of-town run last summer, so we were quite used to being in each other’s faces at that point. Lots of breath mints were involved.” Show Closed This production ended its run on May 27, 2018 Star Files Related Showscenter_img View Comments Interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.Did you know Show People is available as a podcast? Listen to your favorite stars talk Broadway and beyond on your way to work, the gym, the theater and more on iTunes and Spotify. 2. THERE’S ONE REVIEW HE CAN STILL QUOTE“I did have one scathingly bad review during A Life in the Theatre, which is of course, the only review that I remember. But it was brilliantly bad. The critic said I looked like, ‘an American cockroach that had been flipped on its back trying to right itself onstage.’ That’s pretty bad. It’s only been 17 years. I’m sure I’ll forget about it eventually. The Evening Standard. Oh yes, I remember.” Children of a Lesser God Joshua Jacksonlast_img read more

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Schubart: The death throes of the ‘Trickle-Down’ mantra?

first_imgby Bill Schubart We may be finally witnessing the death throes of the conservative “trickle-down” mantra that advocates for lower taxes on “job creators” and “hands-off” government regulation. This philosophy enthralled Reagan’s “moral majority,” who also challenged the rights of women and many non-whites by opposing abortion, birth control, gay marriage, voting rights, and immigration.More recently, ultraconservative factions have championed the unfettered right to carry guns anywhere, isolationism in an international world, limiting voting rights to themselves, and opposition to an inclusive health care plan. No wonder we’re seeing suicide by lifestyle and declining life expectancy among disadvantaged white men and women seduced by this hollow belief system. The question is… what will replace it?If, as Calvin Coolidge says, “the business of America is business,” we’re pretty much there. Under the guise of “free market capitalism,” business now owns a major share of the legislative branch of our democracy. Corporations have been accorded the same rights as citizens and many are concerned that with a narcissistic bully in the White House, the policies of his administration may soon dominate the executive and judicial branches as well.Reducing taxes on the richest Americans has created the greatest wealth-gap since the Depression. Historically, such inequality has been a precursor to revolution –either armed or peaceful. It’s also accelerated the deficit and dashed hopes for needed infrastructure investments.Corrupt lobbying against regulation has led to virtual monopolies in telecommunications, Pharma, airlines, energy, retail and other industries – leaving them free to focus solely on share value and profits, ignoring consumer satisfaction and public safety.Deregulation has wrought havoc in for-profit college education, burdening students with inadequate education and crushing debt. In the energy sector, it’s destroyed whole environments and killed workers. It’s allowed our food supply to industrialize around sugar, nicotine, and chemicals, and in healthcare, it’s casually watched Pharma addict and kill thousands, profit by patent manipulation, and deny government agencies any right to negotiate pricing. America is 5% of the world population and consumes 80% of its opiates.I’m an optimist. I believe we may finally be ready to let go of lowering taxes and reducing regulation in favor of investing in resilient, healthy communities by adopting new government priorities, like access to healthcare, education, jobs, housing, childcare, and infrastructure investment. In so doing, we’ll be heeding other words from Silent Cal, reminding us that “We’re all in the same boat.”This commentary by Bill Schubart was first broadcast on Vermont Public Radio.last_img read more

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What I Learned About Dogs and Love While Crossing the Country With My Lab

first_imgAlthough I adore dogs, I’m surprised when I hear people equate their love for their pets with their love for their kids. Did Cary actu­ally mean to say there’s no differencebetween the depth of love she feels for her daughters and the affection she has for her dog? If so, was that a sign of some advanced and egalitarian perspective on the value of dif­ferent species? Or was it a sign of insanity? Whatever the case, did Cary really want her daughters to see that in print?Read the whole story: Slate More of our Members in the Media > “Poor dog,” Cary said. “If someone stabbed my dog, that would be like someone stabbing my child. To me, my pets are like my children. I love them the same.” Slate:Casey and I stopped in Sarasota, Florida, to meet Cary, a woman who’d read about my journey and suggested that I come meet her black Lab, Pepe. I told her and her husband, Mike, about Piper, a dog I was going to meet that afternoon in Tampa. Piper had bitten a home intruder two years prior, only to have the robber stab her with a crowbar.last_img read more

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News Scan for Oct 29, 2020

first_imgTwo E coli outbreaks with unknown causes total 44 cases, 1 deathYesterday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported two separate Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreaks in the United States. Neither has an identified source, and one has already proved deadly.The first outbreak has had 21 cases reported from Jun 6 to Oct 5 across eight states, the most being in California (7) and Ohio (7). So far, there have been eight hospitalizations, including 1 case of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure, and 1 death.The patients range from 2 to 75 years of age, with a median of 24 years. While no common source has been identified, officials discovered an illness cluster spreading from a restaurant.The other E coli outbreak has 23 cases thus far reported from Aug 17 through Oct across 12 states, with Kansas and North Dakota both having 4 cases, followed by California, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin with 2 cases each. Ages range from 5 to 81 years, with a median of 21.Of the 15 people with further information available, 10 needed hospitalization and 2 have or had HUS. All 13 people interviewed to date reported eating leafy greens, including iceberg lettuce (9), spinach (9), romaine lettuce (8), and mixed bag lettuce (6).Both outbreaks’ strains have been linked to separate romaine lettuce outbreaks in the past, the first having the same strain as a 2018 outbreak and the second having the same as one in 2019, but no conclusions can be made from this, the CDC says. The agency advises people to practice extra hygiene and caution when preparing and cooking food, to avoid unpasteurized products, and to wash hands after using the restroom, changing diapers, and interacting with animals.Currently, the agency is conducting interviews with the ill, and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating food sources, samples, and trace-backs. Oct 28 CDC outbreak investigation notice A Oct 28 CDC outbreak investigation notice B Promising phase 3 data for oral carbapenem presented at IDWeekData from a phase 3 trial presented last week at IDWeek 2020 by researchers from Spero Therapeutics show that oral tebipenem was comparable in safety and efficacy to intravenous (IV) ertapenem for treating complicated urinary tract infections (cUTIs) and acute pyelonephritis (AP).In the double-blind phase 3 study, which was conducted at more than 100 hospitals in 15 countries, 1,372 hospitalized patients who had cUTIs or AP were randomized to receive either oral tebipenem pivoxil hydrobromide (TBP-PI-HBr) or IV ertapenem for 7 to 10 days. The primary end point was overall response (composite clinical cure and microbiologic eradication) at the test-of-cure visit on Day 19. The non-inferiority margin was -12.5%.The results showed that oral TBP-PI-HBr met the primary objective of non-inferiority compared with IV ertapenem, with an overall response rate of 58.8% (264 of 449 patients) versus 61.6% (258/419) for IV ertapenem (treatment difference, -3.3%; 95% confidence interval [CI], -9.7% to 3.2%). Clinical cure rates were greater than 93% in both treatment groups, and microbiologic response rates for target uropathogens were comparable.Treatment-emergent adverse events were observed in 25.7% of TBP-PI-HBr patients and 25.6% of IV ertapenem patients, and most were mild. Serious adverse events were infrequent in both groups (1.3% for TBP-PI-HBr patients vs 1.7% for IV ertapenem patients).Spero Therapeutics said earlier this month that it plans to submit a new drug application for TBP-PI-HBr to the FDA in the second quarter of 2021. If approved, it would be the first oral carbapenem to receive approval in the United States.Oct 24 IDWeek 2020 abstract Oct 16 Spero Therapeutics press release H5 avian flu detected at Netherlands broiler farmThe Dutch government today reported a highly pathogenic H5 avian flu outbreak at a broiler farm near the village of Altforst in Gelderland province in the east central part of the country.No other poultry facilities are within a 1 km radius of the facility, and culling is underway among 35,700 birds at the farm. Sampling is being conducted in other poultry flocks in the greater area.Last week, Dutch veterinary officials reported H5N8 in two mute swans found dead in Utrecht province. Over the past few months, Russia and Kazakhstan have reported a small but steady stream of H5N8 outbreaks, and the UK government has warned of the threat of the virus spreading from migratory birds to poultry.Oct 29 Dutch government statementlast_img read more

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