Pup That Suffered More Than 400 Bee Stings Expected To Survive

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Tramp’s doctors at the Alta Vista Veterinary Hospital say it’s a miracle that he’s even alive.

They 18-week-old pup suffered more than 400 bee stings, and they’ve pulled out all the stingers to prove it. That’s more than enough, Dr. Cynthia Jones told Phoenix’s KPHO/KTVK, to kill more than 50 percent of dogs his size.”

She added she’d never seen a case this bad.

“He was having muscle tremors all over the place,” she said. “It looked almost like he was having seizures.”

Tramp’s bee saga began when his owner, Jeremy DeNoyer, let him and an older dog named Lady outside.

“My smallest dog, Tramp, was yelping,” DeNoyer told reporters. “I figured he just wanted to come inside. And when I saw him, I opened up the curtains and [saw] he was just swarmed by hundreds of bees.

Swollen, but surviving: Tramp is on the road to recovery after his run-in with the bees. (Photo: AZ Family)

Swollen, but surviving: Tramp is on the road to recovery after his run-in with the bees. (Photo: AZ Family)


That’s when he jumped into action.

“I got 2 or 3 feet outside and was just hit myself.”

Swarmed by bees himself, DeNoyer barricaded himself in a laundry room, unable to help his dogs.

“I was just trying to help my baby and I couldn’t even get to him,” DeNoyer said, adding that he’s still afraid to go near the house where the hive had been built. “It is just a vivid flashback of being attacked by a wall of stings,” he said.

Firefighters were able to foam down both homes. DeNoyer had more than 20 stings. Lady had 50. And Tramp suffered more than 400.

Vets believe Tramp, who is still on medication, will pull through.

“I don’t ever want to see another bee again,” DeNoyer said.

A GoFundMe account had been set up to help cover Tramp’s vet bills and at press time, we are happy to report, it was $55 over it’s $3,000 goal.

A Full Guide To Getting Started With Mining Litecoin

Missed out on making millions with Bitcoin (what’s Bitcoin, you ask)? Don’t worry – you’ve still got time to jump in on alternative cryptocurrencies, like Litecoin and Feathercoin. Thanks to a different algorithm at the core, those can still be mined by anyone with a graphics card – expensive ASIC Bitcoin miners won’t work. What are you waiting for?!

Kannon published a tutorial back in July about getting started with Litecoin, but the software tools have improved since then, so I thought it would be worth publishing an update. One point to note is that at the time of Kannon’s article, Litecoins were worth less than $3, they’ve now increased to 10 times that value and are significantly more difficult to mine. If you were paying attention, unlike me, then congratulations on your newly acquired fortune – hold onto them!

Disclaimer: There are a lot of alternative cryptocurrencies out there, some of which are attempts to get rich quick by the coin’s creator. I’m suggesting Litecoin because it’s the next largest cryptocurrency that’s still possible to mine, but obviously I can’t guarantee the whole cryptocurrency bubble won’t be a complete failure and be banned in every country in a few years. That’s exactly what stopped me mining Bitcoins two years ago now, a decision I clearly regret. Worst case scenario, you’re investing in a nice gaming machine. If you’re willing to take a gamble on other cryptocurrencies, check CoinWarz for an up-to-date profitability list and limit your search to “Scrypt”-based currencies – those can all still be mined using graphics cards.

Check Viability

First, you’re going to need a good graphics card. It is possible to mine using a CPU, but it’s so ridiculously slow it’s just not worth it, even with a top-of-the-range CPU. ASICs designed for Bitcoin mining are also ineffective due to the different algorithm used to mine Litecoins. That’s the thing about ASICs – they’re really good at one dedicated task and useless at anything else.

AMD Radeon cards (like this XFX AMD Radeon HD 7750) are overwhelmingly better than equivalently priced NVIDIA cards due to the different architecture (more, slower processors; as opposed to fewer, faster processors), as well as a particular math operation that can be done in one cycle on AMD but requires 3 cycles on NVIDIA cards. Remember, we’re not talking about gaming there, so this certainly doesn’t mean AMD cards are better than NVIDIA at gaming performance; purely in terms of the math required to mine crypto currencies.

Of course, running a high-end graphics card on full load 24/7 requires a lot of power; so much, in fact that unless your graphics card produces more than a certain rate of kilohashes per second, you’ll be making a net loss due to power costs (unless your power is free, in which case, have at it with anything you’ve got). Therefore, it’s important you either invest in a new card, or accurately check what your current card is capable of.


The easiest way is to check the Litecoin mining hardware comparison chart and see if your card is listed – take the lowest figure there as a realistic estimate of what you can achieve easily, which will give your calculation a little room for error and allow for idling time due to network issues, etc. Plug that number into this calculation tool, along with an estimate of power consumption and power costs for your area; and out will come an idea of how much “profit” you’ll be making – but bear in mind the difficulty will increase rapidly.


For a more realistic approach to Return-On-Investment rather than daily profit, check out this Reddit thread.

At this point, it may be painfully obvious that you may even end up making a net loss with your current setup.

For this reason, I invested in a new graphics card, a top of the line AMD Sapphire Radeon R9 290. It hits a sweet spot between power consumption, and production rate, even though the purchase cost is quite high. It’s not just the graphics card, of course – the new card required more power than my 350 watt PSU could provide, so that’s another $100 for a new PSU.


Join a Pool

You could mine solo, but it’s harder, more work to set up, and the rewards aren’t as reliable. Joining a pool means you get paid for all the work do you, whether or not you actually find a block; it’s like a lottery syndicate. Check out the current list of mining pools here. Once you’ve joined a pool, you should find somewhere to “manage workers”. From that page, you’ll find a worker name and password (leave it as x, you don’t need one), and there should be a list of that pools servers somewhere too. Note these all down.

Litecoin BAMT

The mining scripts are available for Windows as Kannon described before, but I experienced so many driver problems and variations in performance that it just wasn’t worth the trouble. BAMT is a 2 GB linux distro that boots off USB – it’s dedicate to the task of mining, and it does it well. Why mess around? After two days of thinking I had a dud card — mining would work for a few minutes then any tweaks would kill it and require a complete re-install of Windows (yes, seriously) — I was up and running with a BAMT Live USB in 10 minutes. Seriously, don’t use Windows.

Forgive the bad photo - my Linux screenshot skills are basically non-existent
Forgive the bad photo – my Linux screenshot skills are basically non-existent

At the time of writing, the latest Litecoin enabled BAMT is version 1.2 and it works fine with my R9 290 graphics card, with no driver updates. If you have a newer card, you may need to perform some updates. Download Litecoin BAMT here, and use Win32 Disk Imager to burn it onto a 2 GB USB flash drive. Boot from it, and presto – you’re mining. Unfortunately, you’re mining for someone else since you haven’t set it up with your own addresses yet. Do that now.

Note: If you’re planning on only using LTC Rabbit, they have their own customised version of BAMT which you might want to look into – the rest of these instructions should still apply.

Using BAMT Headless

Log in via SSH – the IP address should be shown on the BAMT desktop – as follows:

ssh user@IP  

The default password is “live”.

Switch to superuser mode:


Initial configuration needs to be done by editing the /etc/bamt/cgminer.conf

nano /etc/bamt/cgminer.conf  

Read below for details on what to put in this file, but at the very least adjust it to use your mining pool login credentials. When you’re done, save the file and restart the mining process with:

/etc/init.d/mine restart  

To view the cgminer output and make interactive changes, run:

screen -ls  

Note the number you find next to the CGMiner process. “Attach” to that screen with the command (replacing 8213 with the number your screen output reported).

screen -r 8213.cgminer  

From there, you can enter interactive mode, or just keep an eye on your card.

Here’s a sample output:


The interactive text menu allows you to change settings without permanently adjusting the config file. For exactly, to push the GPU memory clock to 1300, you would press G -> C -> M -> 1300 -> Enter.

Configuring cgminer.conf

Before you do anything else, open the cgminer.conf file for editing. Right now it has someone else’s mining pool details in there, so you’ll need to change that as soon as possible and restart. Note that the user entry is a concatenation of your username on that mining pool, a period, and the worker name; the password is usually just x – don’t enter your actual mining pool password – this is just for the worker.

{  "url" : "stratum+tcp://stratum.give-me-ltc.com:3333",  "user" : "username.workername",  "pass" : "x"  }  

If you’ve only joined one pool, delete the details for the additional one, and remove the comma that’s currently separating the two. At some point, you’ll want to join an additional pool as a failover in case the first one is down or does’t have work units available.

This file is JSON format, so each property and value must be surrounded by double quotes, and a single colon (:) separates the “property”:”value”. Between property value pairs, you need a comma.

The exact settings you should use will vary by the graphics card – you can search on Google to find something suitable. Here’s some general advice to keep in mind:

  • Intensity is a basic measure of how hard to work the graphics card, from 0-20. The faster you work it, the hotter it will get.
  • You can keep the temperature constant by setting auto-fan to true and defining a temp-target (a target temperature to maintain). When it goes past this, you’ll hear the fans whack into full blow.
  • Keep the GPU engine clock lower than normal, and keep the memory clock as high as possible (whilst still being stable) – you’ll need to experiment with your graphics card to find what works best.
  • Don’t run at 90 Celsius the whole time unless you want to significantly reduce the life of your card.

You should have no trouble finding a suitable configuration for your graphics card, so a quick search on Google will return lots of possibilities to try. Here’s a sample one for R9 series cards. Setting up multiple cards is more difficult, but not impossible.

Finally: Get a Wallet

At some point you’ll want to be paid, and for that you’ll need a wallet to “receive” the payments. Your wallet is an application which keeps updated with the network, synchronising transactions. Since your mining machine may be regularly upgrade, reformatted, or otherwise messed around with, it’s a good idea to download the wallet to a more reliable machine that you keep backed up. Head over to litecoin.org and download one suitable for your OS. Alternatively, you can store your currencies in an online currency exchange wallet such as BTCe.

The first few hours your wallet will be out of sync, meaning it’s still catching up on all the previous transactions.


You can check the Help -> Debug window menu to see the block chain information. When the “Last block time” is roughly the current date, you’ll be in sync again. While out of sync, none of your transactions will show correctly, so if you’ve transferred some in already you’ll need to wait.


Cryptocurrency theft has made malware and hacking even more viable than ever – now there’s actual money sitting on your computer, and not just personal information. In some cases, people have lost thousands of coins. For this reason, you’ll want to encrypt your wallet from Settings -> Encrypt Wallet. Absolutely don’t forget your passphrase, obviously – that would be like losing your real life wallet with cash in it.

I’m probably not going to make a huge amount of money mining Litecoins; but my ageing GeForce 7800GT was due an upgrade anyway to get ready for the VR revolution. Did you take Kannon’s advice back in July? Are you still skeptical of cryptocurrencies, or are you ready to have a go for yourself?

Die Flash Die: The Ongoing History Of Tech Companies Trying To Kill Flash

Flash is the rich media plugin that everyone loves to hate, notorious for its constant updates and fierce appetite for system resources. Now it’s splashed across the tech headlines once more, as Mozilla moves to block it by default in the Firefox web browser.

But this isn’t the first time that Flash has come under fire. The tech community has been seemingly obsessed with its destruction for years.

Here’s the who, why and how behind the downfall of Flash.

How Flash Became So Big

From the outside-in, and knowing all we know now about device compatibility, fragmentation and the importance of making website access as easy as possible, it seems absolutely bonkers that Flash is still being used. In order to understand how we got here, you’ll have to cast your mind back to the web of the mid-90s.

In 1996, a company called Macromedia purchased FutureSplash Animator and rebranded it Flash. In addition to authoring software, Flash Player was distributed as a browser plugin that allowed online users to view the animations, videos and interactive elements contained within .SWF files. These files had to be authored using Macromedia’s proprietary software and thus began the Flash monopoly.

Die Flash Die: The Ongoing History of Tech Companies Trying to Kill Flash macromedialogo

By 2000, Flash had reached version 5 and websites like Stickdeath and Homestar Runner only served to keep monthly Flash Player installations growing. At the time this was hardly surprising — web video still hadn’t taken off, with many still restricted to dial-up speeds. The technology made good use of lightweight vector imagery and compression techniques to deliver a rich media experience like no other.

By 2005 Adobe had acquired Macromedia, bringing Flash, Dreamweaver and the whole Shockwave family along with it. Significant improvements were made to ActionScript, making the technology more appealing to business users with some implementations (like Adobe Flex Builder) targeting the enterprise market specifically. That’s right, even enterprise-level corporate applications were built using Flash.

Die Flash Die: The Ongoing History of Tech Companies Trying to Kill Flash airflash

In 2008 Flash reached version 10 complete with a non-GPU-accelerated 3D engine. Shortly after, Adobe Integrated Runtime (later rebranded Adobe AIR) appeared, replacing Flash Player with a new framework that even found its way onto iOS despite Apple’s shunning of Flash as a web technology.

It’s been just short of 20 years since Flash 1.0 was released in 1996, and only now are serious moves being made to truly “kill off” the technology.

The Problem With Flash

One of the biggest problems with Flash was echoed in some of its earliest criticism. Long before zero-day vulnerabilities and an insatiable thirst for system resources became de-rigeur, Adobe was criticized for their “vendor lock-in” approach.

As Flash is a proprietary technology, Adobe is ultimately in control of the platform. There’s no open source to view, and thus no public specifications defined for re-implementation of past work outside of Adobe’s ultimate control. Everyone from Mozilla Europe’s founder Tristan Nitot, to free software movement evangelist Richard Stallman and inventor of CSS Håkon Wium Lie have criticized Flash for its gatekeeper approach.

Both Adobe and Microsoft have been willing to give [Flash and Silverlight away] for free. But maybe they have an agenda. They’re not here for the glory; they’re here for the money … you’re producing content for your users and there’s someone in the middle deciding whether users should see your content. If Adobe or Microsoft decides to compete with you and you’re using their technology, you cannot compete.

Tristan Nitot, Mozilla Europe founder, speaking to ZDNet in April 2008.

Despite attempts made in by Adobe in 2009 to lift restrictions on the .SWF/.FLV file specifications, the technology has never received the warm open-source approach that critics have strived for. A number of open source Flash player alternatives sprang up, like Gnash, Swfdec and Lightspark — all of which fell by the wayside, with limited compatibility unlike that which Adobe could implement.

Flash is also frequently found to be insecure, a fact many users are aware of thanks to seemingly endless Flash Player updates. Most recently a group called Hacking Team were themselves hacked, and a number of their tools leaked onto the web — including three (and counting) particularly nasty exploits for Flash, which prompted Mozilla to take drastic action.

“The Adobe flash plug-in is non-free software, and people should not install it, or suggest installing it, or even tell people it exists. That Firefox offers to install it is a very bad thing. I’ve been trying for a couple of years to get going a modified version of Firefox that won’t offer to install any non-free plug-ins, but we don’t have enough people to make this work very well.”

Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software movement, posting on the OpenBSD mailing list in December 2007.

At the time of publishing, CVEDetails — a website that tracks common vulnerabilities and exploits — attributes 510 total issues to Flash Player since 2005, just short of 40% of all recorded Adobe vulnerabilities since 1999 (1276). The figures for 2015 are even more depressing, with Flash making up 75% of all Adobe vulnerabilities.

It’s also hard to ignore that in the 20 years since its introduction, browser technology has come a long way, as have connection speeds. Flash is old by today’s standards, and having to install a plugin in order to access content feels old fashioned and backwards.

Die Flash Die: The Ongoing History of Tech Companies Trying to Kill Flash uninstall flash

Many of the services you’d want to access that once relied on Flash no longer do — YouTube, Vimeo, Hulu; they’re just that popular — but advertisers still make heavy use of it. Food for thought.

The Start of the End

Despite the mounting criticism from developers and end users alike, Flash went relatively unchallenged as a baseline standard until 2010. Web plugins continued to come and ago, notably the Unity game engine saw its first release in 2005, with a web-player plugin capable of providing immersive 3D-experiences within a web browser. Many of Unity’s implementations were standalone, and the technology was never meant for the web in the same way that Flash was used in applications, media and advertising.

It wasn’t until Steve Jobs published his open letter — Thoughts on Flash — in 2010 that the technology came under serious scrutiny from a tech industry heavyweight. Jobs outlined six clear reasons as to why Apple would not be allowing or implementing Flash on iOS, citing the technology’s lack of openness, a plugin-based approach, security and performance concerns, battery drain, touch-friendliness and vendor lock-in as determining factors for the decision.

Die Flash Die: The Ongoing History of Tech Companies Trying to Kill Flash jobsgates

This was arguably the biggest blow the technology had received so far, and news that Apple wouldn’t be supporting Flash forced users to seek alternative, browser-compliant technologies. HTML5, WebM and the H.264 codec are just some of the alternatives that flourished in the wake of the announcement. Websites like Vimeo quickly reacted by making Flash an optional extra, but still a default option for most.

Meanwhile Google and Adobe pressed on with plans to implement Flash into Android 2.2 Froyo in May of the same year. The “Flash on Android” era was a short-lived one, and two years later Adobe announced that Android 4.3 “Jelly Bean” would be removing support for the technology. The company backed up its decision with the admission that:

“Browser vendors are increasingly innovating and providing functionality that makes it possible to deploy rich motion graphics directly via browser technologies, a role once served primarily by Flash Player. Increasingly, rich motion graphics are being deployed directly via the browser using HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript and other modern web technologies. Adobe expects that this trend will continue and accelerate, and Adobe will continue to play an active role in this space.”

Adobe Developer white paper about Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean” in February 2012.

2012 also saw Microsoft officially cease development on their competing rich media technology, Silverlight. While Silverlight likely posed little threat to Adobe’s crown, this move was seen as the canary in the mine by many, signalling that now was the time to embrace evolving web technologies like HTML5 and ditch the plugin-based approach.

Die Flash Die: The Ongoing History of Tech Companies Trying to Kill Flash html5logo

By 2014 the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announced that the HTML5 specification process was complete, and that the technology was ready for widespread adoption. Many browsers already supported HTML5 by this point, and so its use moved the “novel” to the ordinary. The <video> tag further removed the dependency on .FLV video, and many HTML5 web games that sprang up using the <canvas> tag ran natively on mobile devices.

In early 2015 another nail was hammered into the Adobe Flash coffin, as YouTube dropped Flash as its default video player, replacing it instead with HTML5 video. As part of the announcement YouTube’s Richard Leider noted how new web technologies were changing the face of online video:

“These advancements have benefitted not just YouTube’s community, but the entire industry. Other content providers like Netflix and Vimeo, as well as companies like Microsoft and Apple have embraced HTML5 and been key contributors to its success. By providing an open standard platform, HTML5 has also enabled new classes of devices like Chromebooks and Chromecast.”

Richard Leider, Engineering Manager at YouTube in a blog post in January 2015.

Fast-forward to July 2015 and Italian “security company” Hacking Team — who by their own definition “provide effective, easy-to-use offensive technology to the worldwide law enforcement and intelligence communities” — are hacked, releasing a number of weaponized exploits into the wild. This included an exploit which Hacking Team described as “the most beautiful Flash bug for the last four years.”

Since then two further Flash exploits have been found, and the fallout hasn’t been pretty to say the least. The news lead Facebook’s Chief Security Officer (CSO) Alex Stamos to publicly call for Adobe to set a kill date for Flash, shortly after the head of Firefox support Mark Schmidt announced that all versions of Flash are blocked by default in the current release.

Two days later and Flash support is back for Firefox users — but for how long this time?

What Now for Flash?

Flash isn’t dead yet, and still enjoys widespread use particularly in the gaming and entertainment spheres. Many mobile games (like Angry Birds and Machinarium) were developed with Flash and packaged up for use on mobile platforms with the help of Adobe AIR, and this is still happening for mobile games produced today.

Similarly, Flash is a go-to animation tool for many professional productions ranging from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic to scenes in the 2009 Academy Award winning Irish feature film, The Secret of Kells.

You can still buy a license for Flash Pro CC today, and you can spend much more on courses learning how to make the most of the toolset. But if your specialty is web technologies, streaming video and rich Internet applications, Flash is not the future. A poor security record, cumbersome update process and the rise of better, more accessible technologies are all evidence of this.

So don’t expect Adobe to kill off what many still consider to be a vital tool in their creative arsenal, but do expect to hear a lot less about it in the coming years — particularly if you yourself choose not to install it — it’s perfectly possible to enjoy today’s Internet without it..

Do you still have Flash installed? What’s stopping you from letting go? 

Image credits:  Plug and knife in hands Via Shutterstock, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates (Joi Ito),

British Pathe: Check Out Some Of The World’s Oldest Video Footage


British Pathe is one of the world’s oldest media companies. Their website has an amazing archive of some of the world’s oldest footage and programmes.

world's oldest video footage

The employees of the company (British Pathe) itself in the early 1900’s developed all of the videos found on British Pathe. The videos have been used extensively in the world of television programmes, home videos, advertisements and in web publishing. However, all the professional footage require users to pay specific license fees.

To view the videos on the website, just browse through the categories, programmes or archives and find the videos that interest you. Once you find the video, you can click on it to play the video where you are also given the option to “buy” the video or view stills of the video.


  • Buy a license to some of the world’s most oldest footage to use in magazines, advertisement, corporate work, web publishing, etc.
  • Over 90,000 historic clips available.
  • Similar sites: TheTravelFilmArchive and CriticalPast..

Check out BritishPathe @ www.britishpathe.com

Block Inappropriate Websites With OpenDNS’s FamilyShield Service

block inappropriate websites freeI think it’s safe to say that for as long as the Internet has been around, there have always been inappropriate websites – and I’m not just talking about adult entertainment! Think of all the nasty websites out there that are just waiting to make your life miserable – phishing sites, malware and spyware, prank sites, screamer Flash videos, etc.

OpenDNS first launched back in 2005 as a free way to filter web content. Unlike browser add-on filters, OpenDNS works at the foundational level. You redirect your Internet data through the OpenDNS servers and they will block all of the bad stuff for you.

The original OpenDNS, which is free for personal use, allows you to customize a number of settings so that you can personalize your filtering needs. The FamilyShield service, then, is all about setting-it-and-forgetting-it. They have preconfigured settings to block non-family-friendly content easily.

OpenDNS FamilyShield Features

block inappropriate websites free

Easy Configuration

The OpenDNS FamilyShield settings are optimized by the OpenDNS team to maximize coverage of all the nasty things that you might come across on the Internet. They keep these settings up-to-date and the filters are ever-changing, so you don’t have to worry about maintaining anything.

Flexible Configuration

You get to decide which devices in your house are controlled by OpenDNS FamilyShield. Anything that connects to the Internet can be blocked and shielded – gaming consoles, personal computers, tablets, netbooks, and more.

Wide Coverage

Often Internet filters are geared towards blocking X-rated sites, but FamilyShield does more than that. Scam sites, malware-installing sites, and shock sites are all blocked here. Since the filters are kept up-to-date, your chances of stumbling across an identity-stealing fraudulent website are quite slim.

block inappropriate content

Reliable Internet Speeds

The FamilyShield website claims to improve website loading times. As OpenDNS is fundamentally a Domain Name Server service, it makes sense that routing through their servers would lend a hand towards optimizing your Internet traffic. Don’t expect massive decreases in latency, but you can expect improved reliability.

Free Of Charge

Now who can argue with that?

How To Set Up OpenDNS FamilyShield

Choose Where To Install OpenDNS FamilyShield

You have a choice between setting it up on your Internet router or onto a specific device. If you have a router shared between multiple users and you want to shield everyone, install it there. If you only want to protect yourself (and the other users don’t want it), then you can set it up on your device alone.

Luckily, OpenDNS has a great knowledge base for beginner and advanced users alike.

block inappropriate websites free

For Routers

OpenDNS has individualized installation instructions for 21 different router brands. They cover everything from the well-known brands (like Linksys and Netgear) down to router brands that I’ve never heard of (like ZyXEL). If you don’t have any of those, though, OpenDNS also has a set of generalized router directions.

For Computers

OpenDNS FamilyShield works with Windows (98, 2000 / NT, ME, XP, Vista, 7), Mac (9, Tiger, Leopard), Linux (Ubuntu, SUSE),  and some others. The instructions differ slightly depending on the operating system, but setup is easy and shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes.


I’ve been using OpenDNS FamilyShield for nearly a year now and it’s been great. It’s not a full-on replacement for antivirus software, but it does filter out a good number of junk sites. I’ll be using it for years to come.

For homes that want to protect their children, I would say that FamilyShield is a necessity. It rivals many of the features of paid filters, but it’s free and very easy to setup. Give it a try then let us know in the comments what you think of it.

Image Credit: Web Filter Image Via Shutterstock, Router Config Image Via Shutterstock

Florida Passes Law Allowing People To Break Into Cars To Rescue Dogs And People

6.28.16 - hot car law

Florida Governor Rick Scott recently signed House Bill 131 into law, making it legal to break into someone’s vehicle, as long as you are rescuing either a dog or person trapped inside.  So if you live in Florida and see a dog suffering in a car on a hot sunny day, you won’t face charges for the rescue attempt.

The aim of the law is only to save lives “in imminent danger of suffering harm.”  It’s in direct response to recent events where both dogs and people (mostly babies) have suffered horribly in extremely hot cars and have died.

The law does not make breaking and entering a “free-for-all” type thing.  There are strict guidelines on exactly how all of this will work.  According to the language of the bill:

  • First, you must be 100% sure that all of the doors on the vehicle are in fact locked.
  • Next, you have to dial 911 or call local law enforcement either directly before or directly after you have broken in and rescued the subject in question.
  • You must remain at the scene until law enforcement shows up, and the dog or person you rescued must be with you as well.
  • Finally, you are still breaking the law if it is deemed that you used “excessive force” to break in.

This bill was pushed through thanks to help and support from House Majority Leader Dana Young, R-Tampa, Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Coral Springs, and Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers. There was overwhelming, unanimous support in the Florida Legislature this session, and the law couldn’t have come at a better time of year.

Lung Transplants Controversial For Cystic Fibrosis Patients

Ten-year-old Sarah Murnaghan, who has cystic fibrosis, is awaiting a lung transplant that could save her life, but the procedure is not a cure for her condition, and comes with significant risks, research shows.

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition in which the body produces abnormally thick mucus, which builds up in the lungs, pancreas and digestive tract. As a result, the condition causes breathing and digestive problems, and puts patients at risk for infections. The average life expectancy for cystic fibrosis patients is in the mid-30s, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF).

Patients with cystic fibrosis need lung transplants when the damage to the lungs is so severe that doctors can do nothing more to treat them, said Dr. Maria Franco, a pediatric pulmonologist and director of the cystic fibrosis center at Miami Children's Hospital.

However, lung transplants in cystic fibrosis patients are controversial because some studies suggest the procedure does not prolong life or help patients live better on a day-to-day basis, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Because the donor lungs transplanted into the patient do not have the cystic fibrosis gene, the cells that line the lungs do not produce thick mucus. However, the patient still has cystic fibrosis, because the defective cystic fibrosis gene is in all of the rest of the cells in his or her body. That means cells in the sinuses, pancreas, intestines, sweat glands and reproductive tract will still produce thick mucus, according to the CFF.

What's more, cystic fibrosis patients who undergo a lung transplant need to take immunosuppressive drugs that put them at even greater risk of infections, the CFF says. (Bacteria already in the body from previous infections may infect the new lungs.) Patients are also at risk of organ rejection.

In a 2007 study, researchers at the University of Utah examined the risks and benefits of lung transplants for cystic fibrosis patients. They looked at 514 children with cystic fibrosis on the waiting list for a transplant, including 248 who did receive a transplant. Less than 1 percent of the transplant patients benefited from the procedure, the researchers concluded.

About half of the patients in each group died; there was no evidence that those who received transplants lived longer, the researchers said. The average survival time was 3.4 years after the transplant, and about 40 percent lived for at least five years after the transplant.

The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

About 150 to 200 people with cystic fibrosis have received a lung transplant each year since 2007. About 80 percent of the cystic fibrosis patients who receive a transplant are alive one year after the transplantation, and more than 50 percent are alive after five years, the CFF says.

Some patients do much better after a lung transplant because the lung damage is the driving factor behind the illness,Franco said. "Once you fix that part, everything else is much easier to take care of," she said.

Franco said that of the three patients she has treated who have undergone lung transplants, two are doing very well. Both were teenagers when they underwent the transplant, and one has since finished college. But the third patient caught an infection and died, she said.

The first year after a transplant is the most critical, and doctors are on the lookout for complications they know can arise, Franco said.

Because it is not common for cystic fibrosis patients to have severe lung damage as young children, those who undergo the procedure are typically teenagers, Franco said.


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