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  Friday 23rd of June 2017 10:36 AM

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BuzzFeed’s NYC office may or may not be infested with bedbugs – Fast Company

June 22nd, 2017 by admin

On Sunday night’s episode of Last Week Tonight, John Oliver targeted the coal industry. Now they are striking back. In the episode, he pleaded with President Trump to “stop lying to coal miners” about his ability to revive the shrinking industry. Oliver also targetedBob Murray, the notoriously litigious CEO of Murray Energy, even though he knew he was likely to be sued for doing so, as the company sent the show a cease-and-desist order before the episode even aired.

Murray runs the country’s largest privately owned coal company, Murray Energy Corporation, and has sued media companies in the past, including recently filing a libel suit againstthe New York Times.Despite that cautionary tale, on the June 18 episode of Last Week Tonight,Oliver said Murray doesn’t do enough to protect his miners’ safety. He illustrated that point witha government report that concluded thatthe collapse of one of Murray’s mines in Utah, which killed nine people, was due tounauthorized mining practices, while Murray claims the collapse actually happened because of an earthquake.

A legal complaint filed on June 21 in the circuit court of Marshall County, West Virginia, states thatOliver and his team “executed a meticulously planned attempt to assassinate the character of and reputation of Mr. Robert E. Murray and his companies,” They called the segment a “callous, vicious, and false attack” that “childishly demeaned and disparaged” Murray, “a 77-year old citizen in ill health,” which they claim caused “emotional and physical distress and damage.”The complaint also says Murray’s legal team tried to share studies with Oliver’s staff thatproved an earthquake was responsible for the mine collapse, but were ignored.

HBO, however, stands by Oliver and his team.”We have confidence in the staff of Last Week Tonight and do not believe anything in the show this week violated Mr. Murray’s or Murray Energy’s rights,” HBO said in a statement to Fast Company.

[Photo: Wikipedia] ML

Originally posted here:
BuzzFeed’s NYC office may or may not be infested with bedbugs – Fast Company

Bedbugs in New York City – TripSavvy

June 21st, 2017 by admin

Tiny bloodsucking bedbugs have become an epidemic in New York City over the last decade. The little pests have invaded even the cleanest and most expensive apartments in neighborhoods around Manhattan. Here’s everything you need to know about bedbugs in NYC:

A bedbug is a wingless, rust-colored insect about the size of an apple seed. Bedbugs are nocturnal parasites, which means they rest during the day and come out to dine on the blood of humans at night.

Bedbugs are attracted by human body heat and the carbon dioxide that we breathe out, and typically favor feasting on our shoulders and arms (ewww).

During feeding, the bedbug’s proboscis pierces the skin of its victim, injecting bedbug saliva (double ewww); they typically feed for 5 to 10 minutes at a time. As the little critter fills with blood, its coloring changes from light brown to rust-red.

If you’re on the lookout, bedbugs typically hide in cracks and crevices. They especially love to live in bedding and on mattresses, where they have easy access to food (that means you). Other living areas favored by bedbugs include:

Aside from those telltale bites (see below), other signs that bedbugs may have moved in include:

Bedbugs are rarely seen in action by their human victims. The first signs of a bedbug infestation are usually bites.

Bedbug bites are generally painless, though itchy and annoying. They tend to start as swollen weals, then fade to red marks and gradually disappear over a few days.

Experts suggest washing bedbug bites with antiseptic soap to avoid infection. The itching can be treated with calamine lotion or anesthetic creams.

Bedbugs often spread by hitching rides on people’s clothing or bags. They jump from host to host when people brush up against each other in crowds (yet another reason to keep your distance on the subway).

They also spread through mattresses. Reconditioned mattresses, which are refurbished old mattresses, often spread bedbugs into stores and homes. In addition, bedbugs can spread when old and new mattresses are transported in the same truck.

Experts say bedbugs have been all but dormant for decades. The recent comeback is said to be primarily the result of increased global travel, along with the banning of potent pesticides like DDT.

Getting rid of bedbugs can be tricky, and in most cases, it’s necessary to hire a professional. A qualified exterminator can use stronger insecticides to kill the bedbugs. Repeat visits may be necessary to ensure that all bedbugs are eliminated, considering that in proper conditions, adult bedbugs can survive without a meal for a year or longer.

However, these annoying pests can be eliminated.

Here are some do-it-yourself methods you can try in addition to calling the exterminator:

— Updated by Elissa Garay

Originally posted here:
Bedbugs in New York City – TripSavvy

This smart bedding makes itself and lets you control the climate on … – The Verge

June 21st, 2017 by admin

Youre hot. Your partner is cold. Its a classic story: one of you throws off the blankets in the middle of the night while the other is burrowed underneath them. But it defeats the point of sleeping next to your person if youre spooning through a duvet, you might as well hug a body pillow.

SmartDuvet, the company that first launched a self-making bed on Kickstarter, is now offering a second edition that lets two people adjust their preferred temperatures on their side of the bed. The SmartDuvet Breeze, like its predecessor, is basically a blow-up air-blanket you put on your duvet, inside your duvet cover. (Do you have a duvet cover? I dont. Should I have a duvet cover?) It attaches to a control box, which you might be able to hide under your bed.

Think of the control box as a mechanized air pump. SmartDuvet makes the bed by filling up like a pool toy. Because its attached to your bedding, it pulls everything with it as it fills with air. Your bed will be made when it reaches its final form.

Through an app, you can control the climate of each side of the SmartDuvet Breeze by blowing warm or cold air from control box. Its dual-layered to include the bed-making and the temperature control air tubes, which you connect to the blanket during setup.

SmartDuvet creators claim that its not just good for your comfort, but that bed oxygenation will reduce sweat and prevent bed-bugs. They also say its a green product since you wouldnt be heating or cooling your whole house to your desired temperature. Jokes on you, SmartDuvet, I live in New York City and I cant control my apartments thermostat. But its a nice idea.

Its more than 550 percent funded on Indiegogo at time of publish and we demoed the first SmartDuvet at CES 2017, so while theres no guarantee on receiving your crowdfunded product, this could actually ship in September 2017 as advertised.

For now, SmartDuvet Breeze is taking early pledges starting at $199. Once on market, the company aims to sell it for $359.

Read the rest here:
This smart bedding makes itself and lets you control the climate on … – The Verge

The Cartoonist Who Makes You Look Twice – The Atlantic

June 19th, 2017 by admin

Boundless could be Jillian Tamakis motto. Over her 14-year career, the cartoonist has consistently leaped in new directions. Whether designing book covers using embroidery, illustrating articles for The New York Times, or creating a nihilistic superhero comic, her output has been intellectually curious and artistically roving. And so its fitting that Boundless is also the title of her new story collection.

An ambitious and eclectic set of tales, it focuses on the interior lives of unexpected subjects: the writer of a pornographic sitcom, a shrinking woman, a plant-nursery employee with an internet doppelganger, even a fly. Boundless uses a constantly varying visual treatment that keeps readers on their toes and mixes and matches artistic styles with a proliferating set of genres, from speculative fiction to domestic drama to magical realism. If a reader comes to Boundless with assumptions about visual storytelling, Tamaki will confound them.

A Graphic-Novel Memoir That Tangles With the Puzzle of Existence

With the first story she throws down her gauntlet. World Class City is drawn with savage strokes, scribbled in dark blue lines against a sickly yellow green. Text often appears sideways, forcing the reader to turn either their head or the book. The relationship between words and images is vague, almost symbolic. An unnamed narrator describes wanting to live in a world-class city while lizard people dance, a skull-headed human holds a candle, and a snake-like creature curls around a branch. The reader must work to decipher the connections between the narration and the unfolding scenes. By opening Boundless with such a challenging piece, Tamaki declares that this collection will not deal in the expected.

Each story shifts emotional and visual register. If World Class City has frenetic imagery and a demanding narrative style, bedbug, a few stories later, reads as literary realism. It follows a woman whos had an affair but concealed it from her husband. Tamakis line work is crisp, but looking more closely, there are places where the art loses its polish. A chairs color isnt fully filled in. This seemingly neat but delicately frayed illustration style matches the fraying of the marriage. The story employs a contrasting palette of melancholic grey-blue and irritable pale orangea faint but omnipresent color clash that mimics the hidden tensions of the couples marriage. The art of bedbug perfectly matches the material.

The range of styles in Boundless may stem from the wide variety of Tamakis influences, which include X-Men comics, the Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, ukiyo-e, and screen-printing. But though she acknowledges her influences, shes far from defined by them. When she credited vintage manga with inspiring the warm purples of This One Summer (2014), a collaboration with her cousin, Tamaki was careful to say she did not consider the work a manga. Whether she works digitally (Boundless), or in watercolor (her illustration of a review of Yiyun Lis Kinder Than Solitude in the May 2014 issue of The Atlantic) or in thread (the Penguin Classics edition of Black Beauty, where she stitched the equine protagonist bucking and dancing across the cover), the cartoonist seems to take her own advice to studentsto not get too comfortable with a way of doing thingsto heart.

More than artistic style, then, its Tamakis philosophies that tie her work together. I always try to put diversity in my figures just because its more interesting, she explained in a 2015 interview with Paste. And I think visibility is powerful, as somebody who grew up mixed race in a very, very white part of Canada. She has been just as open about the fact that her art is deeply shaped by feminism, particularly given the comics industrys tendency to represent women as hypersexualized objects even when theyre supposed to be saving the world. In Tamakis words, To see [women] as whole human beings is unfortunately less common than it should be.

These priorities animate her earlier work, such as the popular webcomic SuperMutant Magic Academy, which featured plotlines that cleverly subvert school admissions disparities and in which teenager girls are as likely to fret about existentialism as about their crushes. Boundless continues her efforts to explore the full lives of women and, subtly, the societal expectations placed on them. The story Body Pods is narrated by a bisexual woman describing her relationships; rather than call attention to the gender of her past loves, she details their taste in movies. In The ClaireFree System, meanwhile, Tamaki layers a pyramid scheme script for a cleansing moisturizer over dark and confusing images of womanhood. She doesnt specifically point to how strange and gothic the language of beauty is, but the juxtaposition makes it clear.

Throughout the pages of Boundless, the reader is struck again and again by how text and images entwine and come together. In one frame of Half-Life, the story of a shrinking woman, the text simply says Ive taken up watercolour painting. Out of context, the statement seems bland. But the frame shows a thumb-sized woman, for whom even the smallest brush presents a hefty weight. Her face is tensed in pain and concentration.

Given the primacy of Tamakis images, it might surprise some readers to learn that she has had to argue the point that her visual work is an integral part of her stories. Her best-known works may be the graphic-novel collaborations with her cousin Mariko Tamaki, Skim and This One Summer, both of which received considerable critical attention and praise. But when Skim was nominated for the 2008 Governor Generals award in childrens literature, only Mariko, who wrote the text, was named. In response, the Canadian cartoonists Seth and Chester Brown published an open letter co-signed by some of the biggest names in independent comics, including Lynda Barry, Adrian Tomine, and Chris Ware. The letter argued:

In graphic novels, the words and pictures BOTH tell the story, and there are often sequences (sometimes whole graphic novels) where the images alone convey the narrative. The text of a graphic novel cannot be separated from its illustrations because the words and the pictures together ARE the text.

Indeed, a key scene of Skim, in which a teacher kisses her student, is never explicitly referred to in the text itself. Boundless reemphasizes the letters argument: that graphic storytelling is literature. This equality is baked into the way the work is described. Drawn & Quarterly bills Boundless as a collection of short stories; there are none of the usual termscomic, manga, or even graphic. Tamakis decision not to categorize her work is significant, especially in an industry for which the terminology is still in flux. Watchmen author Alan Moore, for instance, has argued that the label graphic novel has become a pretentious marketing term applied to works that arent remotely novelistic, and that while you could probably just about call Watchmen a novel, in terms of density, structure, size, scale, seriousness of theme, the term comics was good enough for him. For Boundless, Tamaki skips over the comic-graphic novel dichotomy altogether. By calling her pieces short stories, shes helping to redefine what authorship can mean for a cartoonist.

In bedbug there is a moment when the married couple has finally disinfected the house and the husband gathers his wife into a hug. He still doesnt know about her affair. He bends over her, his body relaxing against hers. The reader sees over his shoulder into the dots of his wifes eyes. Her eyebrows come together and a single wrinkle cuts across her forehead. Her shoulders hunch and her hair falls forwards across her cheek, as she lets him hold her. Its a panel that says as much about marriage as any paragraph in Raymond Carvers What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. In Boundless, Tamaki tackles subtle shifts in emotion, identity, and power. Her visual talent has long been obvious. This solo collection now proves her strength as a storyteller in her own right and that, of course, the drawing is central to that process.

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The Cartoonist Who Makes You Look Twice – The Atlantic

Family of 4 Loses Everything to Bed Bugs, But Learns What Life Is Really All About – Babble (blog)

June 16th, 2017 by admin

It was Friday, May 26 when Ariel Esposito-Bernard was vacuuming her sons bedroom carpet and spotted the first bug.

Horrified, I scooped it into a baggie and stared at it, praying fervently that God turn it into a grasshopper, a spider, a centipede really anything except what it was; a bed bug, the Queens, New York momlater shared on Facebook.

What would follow in the next few days wasas frustrating as it was heartbreaking. Esposito-Bernard says she spent hours at the laundry mat, costing herhundreds of dollars. Night after night, the family was forced to throw awayevery single thing that could not be boiled or washed and dried on high heat. (Their curtains even melted in the process.)

But all their work was useless, and through somber words she shared, its all gone.

Just days after finding the first bug, Esposito-Bernard, her husband Chris, and their sons, 4-year-old Hunter and 19-month-old Sawyer, had lost everything.

I would like to say I was unaffected as I tossed my records, books, kids toys, furniture, shoes, cards, the kids library, rugs, beds, cribs, bookshelves etc in the trash, because in the end, it is just stuff, Esposito-Bernard admits, but I was. I sobbed over my sons trains as I tried to boil them and melted the entire pot. Chuggingtons mixed with Thomas all melted together, salted with my tears. I sobbed as I tossed the books I spent hours reading the boys.

In an interview with Babble, Esposito-Bernard explains that she called an exterminator right away, but that suddenly the week turned into a whirlwind of hell.

The most disturbing part, she says, isthat bed bugs arent just hardto find; theyre nearly impossible to get rid of.

You dont know where the bugs and eggs are, she continues. They are smaller than a grain of rice. They were in between the pages of books, and everything else that we began to inspect. They hide in all the cracks and crevices of the house, and since they dont just come out to chill, they are nearly impossible to clean, or kill.

Between the bed bugs themselves and the pesticides that destroyed everything else during the extermination process, the Esposito-Bernard family had said goodbye tonearly everything they owned.

Eventually we realized we could save nothing We were tossing memories.

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Eventually we realized we could save nothing, she says quietly. We spent hours trying to save my sons books, because they were important to us. The memories of reading the books to him; my husband reading to my son before he was born.

We were tossing memories, she relents.

The photo books, my husband made a huge one for our anniversary, all of the furniture, the kids toys, everything, Esposito-Bernard continues.One of the only things I saved was a handwritten book from my brother, which I sealed into a plastic bag with a note that says dont open until 2019, she says chuckling. I want to make sure that all the eggs are dead.

Its clear that themom-of-two has kept her humor through it all. While she may have lost nearly all of her possessions, she didjokingly point outthat there are still some things that remain a humongous stock pile of melted trains, for example.

In some ways its cathartic, to hear someone in the middle of what many people would consider to be devastating, finding something to smile about.

It was hard, she confesses, My brain kept saying that this is all our stuff; this is everything that we have accumulated. Living in New York, there isnt room for extra [things], so everything that we have, is very important to us. But, it has also been a cleansing time, she says, reflecting on what she has learned through the process.

I have oscillated between losing it and reminding myself its just stuff, Esposito-Bernardshared on Facebook. My family is healthy and intact. It is a season. It. Is. A. Season. It wasnt the books or those specific toys we played with that made [them] feel loved. It wasnt the exact crib we laid the boys in that made them feel safe. It was us. It was our time, our attention and our love that made our home. We will start over. We will build a new home.

And as she quipsto Babble, at least we wont have to hire movers when we move into it!

But jokes aside, the experience has been life-changing for the Esposito-Bernard family, in more ways than one.

I wrote, what I wrote, she says of her Facebook post, because I was trying to make the point that sometimes you have a lot, sometimes you have a little, but none of that is wrapped up in material goods.Right now, we have nothing, but our family is safe and healthy, and everyone that we have ever touched has come around, all at the same time, to stand together with us. And its reminding me that we have a lot. It has been breathtaking and incredible, and is a good example of what I want to teach my boys, that life is really about.

I know a little something about what thats like myself. After my husband left me and our kids five years ago, I lost nearly everything too, and was even thrust into poverty for a period of time.But inthe process, I learned more about myself and of life than I ever could have imagined.

Right now, the Esposito-Bernard family has almost nothing left from the life they used to lead; nothing, that is, except for everything that is truly important.

My son misses his books, Esposito-Bernard says, but what he is learning, is that he still has us.

If you wish to help the Esposito Bernard family build their new future, you can support them through a GoFundMe accountthat was started by their friends.

Little Girl’s Airport Tantrum Turns into an Epic ‘Moana’ Sing-Along

Article Posted 1 day Ago

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Family of 4 Loses Everything to Bed Bugs, But Learns What Life Is Really All About – Babble (blog)

Most consumers can’t identify bed bugs, survey finds – ConsumerAffairs

June 14th, 2017 by admin

Whether youre traveling for work or just taking a vacation, one of the last things you want to see when you drop your bags in your hotel room is an infestation of bed bugs. But are those tiny insects really bed bugs at all?

In a recent survey, researchers from the University of Kentucky found that up to 60% of respondents would switch hotels if they found bed bugs in their room. But, ironically, the same survey found that only 35% of business travelers and 28% of leisure travelers could identify a bed bug in the first place.

“Considering all the media attention paid to bed bugs in recent years, the fact that most travelers still have a poor understanding of them is troubling,” said co-author Dr. Michael Potter.

Potter and lead author Dr. Jerrod M. Penn of the UKs Department of Agricultural Economics say that this lack of understanding can be especially harmful to the hotel and hospitality industry.

In an age where online reviews can save or sink a business, they found that most travelers will go out of their way to avoid a hotel with a reputation for bed bugs.

“From a hotel industry perspective, it’s worrisome that a single online report of bed bugs would cause the majority of travelers to book different accommodations, irrespective of whether the report is accurate, said Penn. Furthermore, the incident could have involved only one or a few rooms, which the hotel previously eradicated.

The survey does offer some hope to hotels, though. Approximately half of the respondents said that they would stay at a hotel if it proactively provided information on the steps it takes to prevent bed buginfestations. Making this information readily available and responding to online reviews to improve hotel conditions could go a long way towards gaining consumer trust.

“Hotels and others in the hospitality sector should develop a reputation management plan to prudently respond to online reports of bed bugs in their facility, said senior author Dr. Wuyang Hu.

Hotels should also train their housekeeping and engineering staffs to recognize and report bed bugs in the earliest possible stages, when infestations are more manageable. Similarly important is training front desk and customer service employees to respond promptly and empathetically when incidents arise within the hotel.

The teams full study has been published in the journal American Entomologist.

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Most consumers can’t identify bed bugs, survey finds – ConsumerAffairs

How Scabby the Inflatable Rat Became the Ultimate Union Symbol – Commercial Observer

June 14th, 2017 by admin

Youve seen it while walking the streets of New York: the 15-foot-tall inflatable rat with a bubbling, diseased-looking pink belly and big buck teeth. His name is Scabby the Rat, and hes a staple of union construction protests across the country.

Whenever the building trades are dissatisfied with a developertypically for using nonunion labor on a projecttheyll set up a picket line outside the site, blow up their rat (or sometimes a feline if their focus is a despised fat cat) and announce their displeasure over megaphones. But these days, unions have been known to employ the rat against anyone they consider an enemy of their cause.

The union rat, the idea of the rat as the scab, or as a union-buster, is a fairly old term within unions, said Erik Loomis, a labor historian at the University of Rhode Island. Its sort of fitting of the kind of mentality that striking workers believe about people who are taking their jobs or an employer who isnt treating them correctly.

Sometimes unions even use them in turf battles with each other. In February, The New York Post reported that Local 1 of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers erected their rat across from Grand Central Terminal to protest MDB Development Corp., which had awarded a contract for faade work at office building One Grand Central Place to a rival union. In response, the owner of One Grand Central, Empire State Realty Trust, deployed a cat that towered over Local 1s Scabby. The union quickly turned tail, deflating their rat and scurrying away, the Post wrote. A few days later, Local 1 returned with a 20-foot-tall rat that stood even taller than ESRTs cat.

The bricklayers threatened to get a permit from the city and bring in an even larger, parade-style rat balloon. Ultimately, they decided against it because it would block traffic and inconvenience New Yorkers, said Mike Barbera, a vice president and field representative at Local 1. Barbera explained that they originally put up the rat to draw attention to the fact that MDB wasnt paying its workers prevailing wages.

I was aware that the workers were not getting paid the areas standard wages, he said. I wanted them to have the same wages and benefits that the workers at BAC Local 1 have.

He added, No one from any other union contacted us on that project claiming that they represented any of those workers. If they claim to be another trade union, so be itbut it makes one wonder what the union was and what its motivations were.

When Commercial Observer asked ESRT about the dueling cat and rats, a spokeswoman for the real estate trust simply responded, Meow.

The rodent, which has a Twitter account, @ScabbyTheRat, run by a Chicago-based activist, was even enshrined in the revamped version of the 421a development tax break signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last month. Under the legislation, developers of projects with 300 units or more have to pay their construction workers specified minimum wages, or else they face a fine from the city. However, builders wont get slapped with the financial penalty if workers engage in a protest activity that interrupts construction, ranging from strikes to protests with the use of the rat or other inflatable balloons or similar displays.

Historically, scabs or rats were workers who crossed a picket line to replace union workers during a labor strike. While Scabby often seems like a tool for intimidating and shaming business owners, Loomis argued that the rat boosts the confidence of workers who might be afraid of organizing against their bosses.

Being on strike or organizing can be a scary experience, he said. Workers can get fired for organizing. So the physicality of a giant inflatable rat brings humor to these situations and provides a visual symbol of bravery and power and of standing up to an employer you might not otherwise be able to stand up to.

In New York City, unions have been using the rat as a protest tool for more than 40 years. The first reference in print to an inflatable rat used in a union demonstration CO was able to find was in a 1976 New York Times op-ed lamenting a sanitation worker strike.

But the blow-up vermin weve come to know and love didnt exist until 1990. The Chicago branch of the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers approached Big Sky Balloons and Searchlights and asked it to design a symbol that would send a strong message during protests.

Peggy OConnor, who co-owns Big Sky in Plainfield, Ill., near Chicago with her husband Mike, said the bricklayers wanted the balloon to look snarly and mean with festering nails and teeth. So [Mike] designed the rat and the gentleman said, No, make it meaner. Once Mike added the diseased-looking, pink belly and a menacing pair of red eyes, Scabby was born.

Soon, every trade union in the country wanted the rat. Today, the OConnors produce seven sizes of Scabby, ranging from six-footers priced at $2,585 to a 25-footer at $9,295, as well as various colors (the price includes a blower, stakes and an extension cord). Big Sky offers several more protest-oriented balloons, including two varieties of corporate fat cat (clad in suits and clutching a construction worker in one hand and bag of money in the other), greedy pig, bulldog, cockroach and border patrol agent. It even designed a bed buga modification of the cockroach balloonfor a group protesting a New York City hotel with a bed bug problem. The company sells 40 to 50 union balloons a year, OConnor estimated.

Scabby also stands on strong legal footing. In 2011, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that the inflatable rodent was a form of symbolic speech protected by the First Amendment. Then in 2014, a Brooklyn federal judge upheld the right of a local laborers union to deploy the rat in a protest and argued, once again, that it was a form of free speech.

In an age when organized laborparticularly in constructiondoesnt wield the power it once had, Scabby continues to help galvanize workers. People still have strong reactions to the rat, Loomis said, because its the only really tangible symbol of union actions in this country.

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How Scabby the Inflatable Rat Became the Ultimate Union Symbol – Commercial Observer

Is Hong Kong on the verge of a major bed bug epidemic? We talk to the experts and get some tips – South China Morning Post

June 14th, 2017 by admin

Waking up several times during the night with itchy skin, Mr and Mrs E (whose names have been withheld) have not had a good nights sleep in almost a year. They have tried everything from tossing out their belongings including bedding replacing the wooden bed with a metal-framed one, and flea bombing their subdivided apartment numerous times. But they still cant get rid of their unwanted intruders, bed bugs.

Watch Hong Kong is Disneyland for bed bugs video

Theyre getting desperate, because Mrs E is pregnant and due to give birth any day. On a visit to their cramped apartment in Cheung Sha Wan with Francisco Pazos, head technician of pest control company nobedbugs-hk.com, Pazos lifts the blanket and immediately sees the small dark insects crawling on the bed. Many more appear as he moves the mattress.

Judging by the amount of droppings, Pazos estimates there are more than a million bed bugs in the apartment, and classifies the case as an extreme infestation. The neighbouring apartments are likely to be crawling in them, he says.

Bed bugs (Cimex hemipterus) feed on blood, are arguably the most irritating household pests, and are indiscriminate lodgers. They can be found in all types of homes, clean or dirty, big or small.

Pazos next takes us to a luxurious, 3,700 sq ft Mid-Levels flat. One of two domestic helpers suspects the critters hitchhiked to Hong Kong with her employer when he returned from a trip to the mainland. The parasites have since spread to all of the bedrooms.

Bed bug infestations are on the rise – and the pests are hard to kill

Hong Kong is on the verge of a major bed bug epidemic, Pazos warns. There are only two types of households in Hong Kong: those who have bed bugs and those who will have bed bugs.

The Spanish expert, who has dealt with the pests for more than 10 years, says the city is a Disneyland for bed bugs because the high population density and small, cluttered homes are perfect breeding conditions. Seams of mattresses, crevices in furniture and cracks between floorboards are all ideal hiding places for bed bugs.

Pazo says his team receives more than 500 phone enquiries a month. They visit some districts more frequently, such as Tung Chung and Ho Man Tin, but Pazos says this is not a reflection of how severe the problem is in these areas. Rather, middle-class families in these neighbourhoods are more likely to have the financial means to pay for treatment. The cost ranges from HK$1,500 to HK$18,000, depending on the type of treatment, size of the home and the level of infestation.

The resurgence of bed bugs is a worldwide problem. They were almost wiped out in the 1960s through use of the pesticide DDT. The pesticide was later found to have wide-ranging harmful effects, and was banned worldwide in 2001 under the Stockholm Convention. Since then, the critters have made a comeback.

We experienced a sudden reappearance around 2000, followed by rapid population growth, mirrored across most of Europe, the US, Canada and Australia, says Dr Richard Naylor, an entomologist from University of Sheffield, in northern England, who studies the bloodsuckers behaviour.

One theory about the spread of bed bugs in Hong Kong is that they are imported from the mainland, where migrant workers dormitories and trains have spread the pest rapidly across the country. Shenzhen has a large immigrant population and many factory dorms, where bed bug infestations are often reported. Considering its vicinity to Hong Kong, the risk of bed bugs spreading from Shenzhen to Hong Kong is high, says Dr Changlu Wang, an entomologist from Rutgers University in New Jersey.

New York, with a population density comparable to Hong Kongs, suffered a mass infestation in 2010, when bedbugs were reported in hotels, shops and cinemas. City authorities had received more than 8,000 complaints in 2008 alone.

Sleeping in McDonalds better than in a bug-infested bed at home, says Hong Kong McSleeper

Statistics on the number of homes affected are difficult to obtain because many sufferers are too embarrassed to report the problem. There is a stigma surrounding bed bugs. People believe that they are associated with dirty places, which isnt true. But because of this, people tend not to talk about the problem, Naylor says.

Some people may be aware of the problem because not everyone reacts to their bite.

Cheung (who didnt want her full name revealed) took her eight-year-old son to two doctors when he developed rashes on his skin. One doctor laughed off the suggestion the rash could have been caused by insect bites.

Our youngest son was being eaten alive and was misdiagnosed by two different doctors, who put him on antihistamines for several weeks, Cheung says. The drugs made him drowsy but his rashes just got worse. The cause was only discovered after another of Cheungs sons got rashes from bites, and they did some online research.

The easiest way to tell if you have a bed bug problem is by looking for droppings pin head sized black dots normally found on bedsheets, Pazos says. Another way is to blow hot air from a hairdryer into the corners of a wooden bed, which will flush them out. They are typically brown and flat, and up to 4.5mm long.

Bed bugs possess many qualities that make them hard to get rid of. Containing an infestation is notoriously difficult due to how quickly they grow and reproduce. An adult female bed bug can lay about 25 eggs a week. The life cycle from egg to adult takes about six weeks, which means if a single female bug finds its way into your bed, it can keep on laying fertile eggs, and by the time its ready to mate again, its own offspring will be reaching maturity, Naylor says.

This ability to inbreed means they can mutate, and produce stronger detoxifying enzymes that can break down insecticides. They can grow a thicker protective exterior that prevents insecticides from harming them.

Modern populations of bed bugs now have widespread resistance to every major class of insecticide, Naylor says. So its not surprising that people are struggling to control the insects using conventional insecticides.

Most of Pazos clients have already tried terminating bedbugs with flea bombs or by employing pest control companies, to no avail. [Flea bombing] is the worst thing you can do, Pazos says. They feel uncomfortable and will stop feeding for a night or two, but they will come back when they are hungry. It only makes them more difficult to kill because they hide deeper inside the walls.

Pazos has found another way of combating bed bugs that he says has been particularly effective. He uses an amorphous silicon gel powder, which he dusts on every surfaces of an infected apartment, and kills the insects by dehydrating them. It is completely harmless, he says. To prove his point, a colleague dips his finger in the powder and slips it in his mouth. (Not all types of silicon gel are non-toxic, Pazos stresses.)

Another, more expensive, method, is to raise the temperature of an apartment up to 60 degrees, which Pazos can do using special equipment. It is almost like a sauna, he says. Bedbugs die when the temperature reaches about 48 degrees, but Pazos maintains the heat for three hours so it penetrates walls, furniture and mattresses.

Pasoz shows how the heat treatment works, on a visit the cluttered flat of an elderly couple in Shau Kei Wan. It was one of the worst cases he had seen. When he first visited, the bed bugs, which are normally inactive in daylight, were crawling on the floor. The elderly man, who suffered the most, had thrown out the mattress and was sleeping on plastic sheets to prevent bites.

I wanted to cry seeing how my old man suffered, his wife says.

Its been five weeks since Pazos and his team first visited the flat. They have since done one heat treatment and applied the silicon dust three times. Like a detective on the hunt for evidence, Pazos lifts up the wooden bed panel and, bingo, he finds fresh bedbug droppings.

Despite rounds of chemical warfare and turning up the heat, Pazos job is not yet done.

Tips to deal with bed bugs

Read more:
Is Hong Kong on the verge of a major bed bug epidemic? We talk to the experts and get some tips – South China Morning Post

This Brooklyn mural is the most depressing public art in NYC – Metro US

June 9th, 2017 by admin

Single and broke? Youre probably not spending a lot of time in Williamsburg anyway, and this new mural is here to remind you why.

The Dating Destination Walls are a collaboration between the airline and Tinder, just so you know where were starting from. According to singles research sounds legit 1 in 3 singles ranked travel as a top priority in 2017, and singles who show a love for travel are more likely to be swiped right.

Unfortunately for those singles (and the rest of us, lets be real), the cost of living in NYC probably makes travel that item at the top of your to-do list that rarely gets done.

So instead of actually going places, you can now pretend youve climbed the stairs to the Eiffel Tower and ridden a train through the Swiss Alps by posing in painted portraits of famous sites on the wall. Just hope any potential Tinder matches dont actually ask you about them!

Then again, what about NYC isnt about faking it till you make it? Pretending to be a world traveler doesnt even rank on the list of things people lie about to get laid. It may even be a bit original Modern Love hasnt covered this one yet, right?

Youve got all summer to take aspirational selfies, or swing by on June 17 when a professional photographer will take photos that may even land you a real globetrotter wholl take you far away from the subway saunas and bedbugs of Brooklyn.

Wait, maybe we shouldnt wait for a Tinder sugar daddy and just get on the first Delta flight out of LaGuardia.

Follow this link:
This Brooklyn mural is the most depressing public art in NYC – Metro US

Disgruntled man releases bedbugs in Maine city office – KBTV Fox 4 Beaumont

June 8th, 2017 by admin

The city manager in Augusta, Maine, says the municipal office building had to be sprayed for bedbugs after a man threw a cup of the pests onto an office counter and about 100 of them scattered off. (Courtesy William Bridgeo)

The city manager in Augusta, Maine, says the municipal office building had to be sprayed for bedbugs after a man threw a cup of the pests onto an office counter and about 100 of them scattered off.

City Manager William Bridgeo tells the Kennebec Journal the man apparently complained Friday to the code enforcement office about bedbugs at his former apartment then left, but returned after he showed the cup of bugs to a manager at his new apartment and was told he couldn’t live there.

Bridgeo says the man let the bugs loose in the General Assistance Office where he asked for a form to request assistance and apparently was told he didn’t qualify.

Police didn’t immediately release the man’s name or say if any charges would be filed.

Read the original here:
Disgruntled man releases bedbugs in Maine city office – KBTV Fox 4 Beaumont


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