More information about the passenger who tried to bring on the knife was not immediately available, but TSA revealed on its blog that during the week of August 5 – 11, they screened 17.7 million passengers, and the most common weapons they discovered were firearms. During that week, TSA found 77 firearms in carry-on bags, 66 of which were loaded and 28 had a round chambered.
A heavyweight boxing champion was charged with allowing his pet cougar to escape from his Florida home earlier this year, officials said this week.
Tyrone Spong, 33, was charged with 20 misdemeanor offenses, including keeping the cougar without a permit, allowing it to escape and not providing some kind of stimulation for the animal, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
“Mr. Spong kept an extremely dangerous class 1 cougar which ultimately escaped and was loose in a residential neighborhood during daylight hours while school was not in session during New Year’s Day 2019 resulting in threats to the public safety,” the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in a report.
Spong is the World Boxing Organization Latino Heavyweight Champion. He also held titles in Glory and It’s Showtime kickboxing.
Each of the charges carries a maximum $500 fine and 60 up days in jail.
In early January, residents of Parkland, Fla., spotted what was initially believed to be a panther in a resident’s driveway. The animal, which was found with a collar, was tranquilized.
The animal was believed to be about six months old and weighed between 50 and 60 pounds at the time, according to FOX13 News. Analysis later revealed it was a captive-bred cougar and not the traditional panther usually found in south Florida.
BHUBANESWAR, India — Namita Pradhan sat at a desk in downtown Bhubaneswar, India, about 40 miles from the Bay of Bengal, staring at a video recorded in a hospital on the other side of the world.
The video showed the inside of someone’s colon. Ms. Pradhan was looking for polyps, small growths in the large intestine that could lead to cancer. When she found one — they look a bit like a slimy, angry pimple — she marked it with her computer mouse and keyboard, drawing a digital circle around the tiny bulge.
She was not trained as a doctor, but she was helping to teach an artificial intelligence system that could eventually do the work of a doctor.
Ms. Pradhan was one of dozens of young Indian women and men lined up at desks on the fourth floor of a small office building. They were trained to annotate all kinds of digital images, pinpointing everything from stop signs and pedestrians in street scenes to factories and oil tankers in satellite photos.
A.I., most people in the tech industry would tell you, is the future of their industry, and it is improving fast thanks to something called machine learning. But tech executives rarely discuss the labor-intensive process that goes into its creation. A.I. is learning from humans. Lots and lots of humans.
Tech companies keep quiet about this work. And they face growing concerns from privacy activists over the large amounts of personal data they are storing and sharing with outside businesses.
Earlier this year, I negotiated a look behind the curtain that Silicon Valley’s wizards rarely grant. I made a meandering trip across India and stopped at a facility across the street from the Superdome in downtown New Orleans. In all, I visited five offices where people are doing the endlessly repetitive work needed to teach A.I. systems, all run by a company called iMerit.
There were intestine surveyors like Ms. Pradhan and specialists in telling a good cough from a bad cough. There were language specialists and street scene identifiers. What is a pedestrian? Is that a double yellow line or a dotted white line? One day, a robotic car will need to know the difference.
iMerit employees must learn unusual skills for their labeling, like spotting a problematic polyp on a human intestine.CreditRebecca Conway for The New York Times
What I saw didn’t look very much like the future — or at least the automated one you might imagine. The offices could have been call centers or payment processing centers. One was a timeworn former apartment building in the middle of a low-income residential neighborhood in western Kolkata that teemed with pedestrians, auto rickshaws and street vendors.
In facilities like the one I visited in Bhubaneswar and in other cities in India, China, Nepal, the Philippines, East Africa and the United States, tens of thousands of office workers are punching a clock while they teach the machines.
Tens of thousands more workers, independent contractors usually working in their homes, also annotate data through crowdsourcing services like Amazon Mechanical Turk, which lets anyone distribute digital tasks to independent workers in the United States and other countries. The workers earn a few pennies for each label.
Based in India, iMerit labels data for many of the biggest names in the technology and automobile industries. It declined to name these clients publicly, citing confidentiality agreements. But it recently revealed that its more than 2,000 workers in nine offices around the world are contributing to an online data-labeling service from Amazon called SageMaker Ground Truth. Previously, it listed Microsoft as a client.
Artwork and motivational affirmations on a display at the iMerit offices in the Metiabruz neighborhood of Kolkata, India.CreditRebecca Conway for The New York Times
One day, who knows when, artificial intelligence could hollow out the job market. But for now, it is generating relatively low-paying jobs. The market for data labeling passed $500 million in 2018 and it will reach $1.2 billion by 2023, according to the research firm Cognilytica. This kind of work, the study showed, accounted for 80 percent of the time spent building A.I. technology.
Is the work exploitative? It depends on where you live and what you’re working on. In India, it is a ticket to the middle class. In New Orleans, it’s a decent enough job. For someone working as an independent contractor, it is often a dead end.
There are skills that must be learned — like spotting signs of a disease in a video or medical scan or keeping a steady hand when drawing a digital lasso around the image of a car or a tree. In some cases, when the task involves medical videos, pornography or violent images, the work turns grisly.
“When you first see these things, it is deeply disturbing. You don’t want to go back to the work. You might not go back to the work,” said Kristy Milland, who spent years doing data-labeling work on Amazon Mechanical Turk and has become a labor activist on behalf of workers on the service.
“But for those of us who cannot afford to not go back to the work, you just do it,” Ms. Milland said.
Before traveling to India, I tried labeling images on a crowdsourcing service, drawing digital boxes around Nike logos and identifying “not safe for work” images. I was painfully inept.
Before starting this work, I had to pass a test. Even that was disheartening. The first three times, I failed. Labeling images so people could instantly search a website for retail goods — not to mention the time spent identifying crude images of naked women and sex toys as “NSFW” — wasn’t exactly inspiring.
A.I. researchers hope they can build systems that can learn from smaller amounts of data. But for the foreseeable future, human labor is essential.
“This is an expanding world, hidden beneath the technology,” said Mary Gray, an anthropologist at Microsoft and the co-author of the book “Ghost Work,” which explores the data labeling market. “It is hard to take humans out of the loop.”
The city of temples
Employees leaving iMerit offices in Bhubaneswar, India. The company, which is private, was started by Radha and Dipak Basu, who both had long careers in Silicon Valley.CreditRebecca Conway for The New York Times
Bhubaneswar is called the City of Temples. Ancient Hindu shrines rise over roadside markets at the southwestern end of the city — giant towers of stacked stone that date to the first millennium. In the city center, many streets are unpaved. Cows and feral dogs meander among the mopeds, cars and trucks.
The city — population: 830,000 — is also a rapidly growing hub for online labor. About a 15-minute drive from the temples, on a (paved) road near the city center, a white, four-story building sits behind a stone wall. Inside, there are three rooms filled with long rows of desks, each with its own wide-screen computer display. This was where Namita Pradhan spent her days labeling videos when I met her.
Ms. Pradhan, 24, grew up just outside the city and earned a degree from a local college, where she studied biology and other subjects before taking the job with iMerit. It was recommended by her brother, who was already working for the company. She lived at a hostel near her office during the week and took the bus back to her family home each weekend.
I visited the office on a temperate January day. Some of the women sitting at the long rows of desks were traditionally dressed — bright red saris, long gold earrings. Ms. Pradhan wore a green long-sleeve shirt, black pants, and white lace-up shoes as she annotated videos for a client in the United States.
Over the course of what was a typical eight-hour day, the shy 24-year-old watched about a dozen colonoscopy videos, constantly reversing the video for a closer look at individual frames.
Every so often, she would find what she was looking for. She would lasso it with a digital “bounding box.” She drew hundreds of these bounding boxes, labeling the polyps and other signs of illness, like blood clots and inflammation.
Namita Pradhan, second from right, works alongside colleagues at the iMerit offices in Bhubaneswar.CreditRebecca Conway for The New York Times
Her client, a company in the United States that iMerit is not allowed to name, will eventually feed her work into an A.I. system so it can learn to identify medical conditions on its own. The colon owner is not necessarily aware the video exists. Ms. Pradhan doesn’t know where the images came from. Neither does iMerit.
Ms. Pradhan learned the task during seven days of online video calls with a nonpracticingdoctor, based in Oakland, Calif., who helps train workers at many iMerit offices. But some question whether experienced doctors and medical students should do this labeling themselves.
This work requires people “who have a medical background, and the relevant knowledge in anatomy and pathology,” said Dr. George Shih, a radiologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian and the co-founder of the start-up MD.ai., which helps organizations build artificial intelligence for health care.
When we chatted about her work, Ms. Pradhan called it “quite interesting,” but tiring. As for the graphic nature of the videos? “It was disgusting at first, but then you get used to it.”
This work can be so upsetting to workers, iMerit tries to limit how much of it they see. Pornography and violence are mixed with more innocuous images, and those labeling the grisly images are sequestered in separate rooms to shield other workers, said Liz O’Sullivan, who oversaw data annotation at an A.I. start-up called Clarifai and has worked closely with iMerit on such projects.
Other labeling companies will have workers annotate unlimited numbers of these images, Ms. O’Sullivan said.
“I would not be surprised if this causes post-traumatic stress disorder — or worse. It is hard to find a company that is not ethically deplorable that will take this on,” she said. “You have to pad the porn and violence with other work, so the workers don’t have to look at porn, porn, porn, beheading, beheading, beheading.”
iMerit said in a statement it does not compel workers to look at pornography or other offensive material and only takes on the work when it can help improve monitoring systems.
Ms. Pradhan and her fellow labelers earn between $150 and $200 a month, which pulls in between $800 and $1,000 of revenue for iMerit, according to one company executive.
By United States standards, Ms. Pradhan’s salary is indecently low. But for her and many others in these offices, it is about an average salary for a data-entry job.
Tedious work. But it pays for an apartment.
iMerit employees Prasenjit Baidya, and his wife, Barnali Paik, at Mr. Baidya’s family home in the state of West Bengal. He said he was happy with the opportunities the work had given him.CreditRebecca Conway for The New York Times
Prasenjit Baidya grew up on a farm about 30 miles from Kolkata, the largest city in West Bengal, on the east coast of India. His parents and extended family still live in his childhood home, a cluster of brick buildings built at the turn of the 19th century. They grow rice and sunflowers in the surrounding fields and dry the seeds on rugs spread across the rooftops.
He was the first in his family to get a college education, which included a computer class. But the class didn’t teach him all that much. The room offered only one computer for every 25 students. He learned his computer skills after college, when he enrolled in a training course run by a nonprofit called Anudip. It was recommended by a friend, and it cost the equivalent of $5 a month.
Anudip runs English and computer courses across India, training about 22,000 people a year. It feeds students directly into iMerit, which its founders set up as a sister operation in 2013. Through Anudip, Mr. Baidya landed a job at an iMerit office in Kolkata, and so did his wife, Barnali Paik, who grew up in a nearby village.
Over the last six years, iMerit has hired more than 1,600 students from Anudip. It now employs about 2,500 people in total. More than 80 percent come from families with incomes below $150 a month.
Founded in 2012 and still a private company, iMerit has its employees perform digital tasks like transcribing audio files or identifying objects in photos. Businesses across the globe pay the company to use its workers, and increasingly, they assist work on artificial intelligence.
“We want to bring people from low-income backgrounds into technology — and technology jobs,” said Radha Basu, who founded Anudip and iMerit with her husband, Dipak, after long careers in Silicon Valley with the tech giants Cisco Systems and HP.
The average age of these workers is 24. Like Mr. Baidya, most of them come from rural villages. The company recently opened a new office in Metiabruz, a largely Muslim neighborhood in western Kolkata. There, it hires mostly Muslim women whose families are reluctant to let them outside the bustling area. They are not asked to look at pornographic images or violent material.
Employees in a training session at the iMerit offices in Metiabruz in Kolkata.CreditRebecca Conway for The New York Times
At first, iMerit focused on simple tasks — sorting product listings for online retail sites, vetting posts on social media. But it has shifted into work that feeds artificial intelligence.
The growth of iMerit and similar companies represents a shift away from crowdsourcing services like Mechanical Turk. iMerit and its clients have greater control over how workers are trained and how the work is done.
Mr. Baidya, now a manager at iMerit, oversees an effort to label street scenes used in training driverless cars for a major company in the United States. His team analyzes and labels digital photos as well as three-dimensional images captured by Lidar, devices that measure distances using pulses of light. They spend their days drawing bounding boxes around cars, pedestrians, stop signs and power lines.
He said the work could be tedious, but it had given him a life he might not have otherwise had. He and his wife recently bought an apartment in Kolkata, within walking distance of the iMerit office where she works.
“The changes in my life — in terms of my financial situation, my experiences, my skills in English — have been a dream,” he said. “I got a chance.”
Listening to people cough
Oscar Cabezas at the New Orleans office of iMerit. He joined the company when it started work on a Spanish-language digital assistant.CreditBryan Tarnowski for The New York Times
A few weeks after my trip to India, I took an Uber through downtown New Orleans. About 18 months ago, iMerit moved into one of the buildings across the street from the Superdome.
A major American tech company needed a way of labeling data for a Spanish-language version of its home digital assistant. So it sent the data to the new iMerit office in New Orleans.
After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, hundreds of construction workers and their families moved into New Orleans to help rebuild the city. Many stayed. A number of Spanish speakers came with that new work force, and the company began hiring them.
Oscar Cabezas, 23, moved with his mother to New Orleans from Colombia. His stepfather found work in construction, and after college Mr. Cabezas joined iMerit as it began working on the Spanish-language digital assistant.
He annotated everything from tweets to restaurant reviews, identifying people and places and pinpointing ambiguities. In Guatemala, for instance, “pisto” means money, but in Mexico, it means beer. “Every day was a new project,” he said.
The office has expanded into other work, serving businesses that want to keep their data within the United States. Some projects must remain stateside, for legal and security purposes.
Glenda Hernandez, 42, who was born in Guatemala, said she missed her old work on the digital assistant project. She loved to read. She reviewed books online for big publishing companies so she could get free copies, and she relished the opportunity of getting paid to read in Spanish.
Glenda Hernandez, part of the iMerit staff in New Orleans, has learned to tell the difference between a good cough and a cough that could indicate illness.CreditBryan Tarnowski for The New York Times
“That was my baby,” she said of the project.
She was less interested in image tagging or projects like the one that involved annotating recordings of people coughing; it was a way to build A.I. that identifies disease symptoms of illness over the phone.
“Listening to coughs all day is kind of disgusting,” she said.
The work is easily misunderstood, said Ms. Gray, the Microsoft anthropologist. Listening to people cough all day may be disgusting, but that is also how doctors spend their days. “We don’t think of that as drudgery,” she said.
Ms. Hernandez’s work is intended to help doctors do their jobs or maybe, one day, replace them. She takes pride in that. Moments after complaining about the project, she pointed to her colleagues across the office.
“We were the cough masters,” she said.
‘It was enough to live on then. It wouldn’t be now.’
Kristy Milland of Toronto spent 14 years working for Amazon Mechanical Turk, which crowdsources data annotation tasks. Now she tries to improve conditions for people in those jobs.CreditArden Wray for The New York Times
In 2005, Kristy Milland signed up for her first job on Amazon Mechanical Turk. She was 26, and living in Toronto with her husband, who managed a local warehouse. Mechanical Turk was a way of making a little extra money.
The first project was for Amazon itself. Three photos of a storefront would pop up on her laptop, and she would choose the one that showed the front door. Amazon was building an online service similar to Google Street View, and the company needed help picking the best photos.
She made three cents for each click, or about 18 cents a minute. In 2010, her husband lost his job, and “MTurk” became a full-time gig. For two years, she worked six or seven days a week, sometimes as much as 17 hours a day. She made about $50,000 a year.
“It was enough to live on then. It wouldn’t be now,” Ms. Milland said.
The work at that time didn’t really involve A.I. For another project, she would pull information out of mortgage documents or retype names and addresses from photos of business cards, sometimes for as little as a dollar an hour.
Around 2010, she started labeling for A.I. projects. Ms. Milland tagged all sorts of data, like gory images that showed up on Twitter (which helps build A.I. that can help remove gory images from the social network) or aerial footage likely taken somewhere in the Middle East (presumably for A.I. that the military and its partners are building to identify drone targets).
Projects from American tech giants, Ms. Milland said, typically paid more than the average job — about $15 an hour. But the job didn’t come with health care or paid vacation, and the work could be mind-numbing — or downright disturbing. She called it “horrifically exploitative.” Amazon declined to comment.
Since 2012, Ms. Milland, now 40, has been part of an organization called TurkerNation, which aims to improve conditions for thousands of people who do this work. In April, after 14 years on the service, she quit.
She is in law school, and her husband makes $600 less than they pay in rent each month, which does not include utilities. So, she said, they are preparing to go into debt. But she will not go back to labeling data.
“This is a dystopian future,” she said. “And I am done.”
RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady in July at 2.9 percent, which equals the rate from a year ago. In July, the labor force expanded for the thirteenth consecutive month by 12,345, or 0.1 percent to set a new record high of 4,389,783, as the number of unemployed decreased by 1,767. Household employment increased by 14,112 to set a new high of 4,263,623. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was unchanged at 3.7 percent.
Did you know that Disney World has only closed four times or that the iconic theme park is actually not located in the City of Orlando? Take a look at some fun facts that you may not have known about the renowned Disney resort.
Walt Disney World is giving visitors the chance at discounted tickets — if they’re willing to show up a little later in the day.
On Thursday, Disney World introduced its new “Mid-Day Magic” tickets for guests who don’t mind waiting until after 12 p.m. to visit any of the resort’s four main theme parks.
“Mid-Day Magic tickets are valid for admission after 12 p.m. and were designed with your flexibility in mind, with timing that helps meet your needs,” reads the announcement, posted on the Disney Parks Blog.
However, according to Walt Disney World, the deal won’t be around forever: Mid-Day Magic tickets will be available for use only “on or before” Dec. 15, 2019, the blog post stipulates.
Walt Disney World is giving visitors the chance at discounted tickets — if they’re willing to show up a little later in the day. (Walt Disney World Resorts)
Single-day passes aren’t available either, as Mid-Day Magic tickets currently only come in two-day, three-day or four-day packages starting at $176 ($88 per day), $252 ($84 per day) or $316 ($79 per day), respectively.
As Disney World points out, the two-day Mid-Day Magic rate is up to $28 cheaper per day than the standard park admission rate, while the three- and four-day rates are $28 and $29 cheaper per day.
Guests won’t have to use their Mid-Day Magic passes on consecutive days, either, but within a specific time frame. Specifically, two-day Mid-Day Magic tickets need to be used within a span of four days; the three-day needs to be used within five days; and the four-day allows for a whole week.
Tickets admit one guest, over 10 years of age, to one park per day. Park-hopper add-ons are available for an additional charge.
The announcement of Disney World’s new ticketing rates comes just weeks before the resort is scheduled to open its Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area on Aug. 29. Earlier this month on an earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Iger admitted to a 3-percent drop in attendance at Disneyland in the third quarter of 2019, which he partially blamed on Disneyland’s opening of Galaxy’s Edge.
“Some people stayed away just because they expected that it would not be a great guest experience,” he reportedly said. Another factor, he theorized, was the increase in cost associated with visiting Disneyland.
A representative for Disney World was not immediately available to confirm if the new Mid-Day Magic tickets are being offered in an effort to prevent a similar drop in attendance.
The Liberal Gun Club is the largest organization in the U.S. of people who are left of center and support the Second Amendment. We believe that every single person should have every single civil right and believe in root cause mitigation rather than political talking points. We are decidedly not the NRA. You can find more at www.theliberalgunclub.com. I’m the National Spokesperson and do lots of public speaking on why liberals should support Second Amendment rights. I’m a 40-something minivan driving mom, lawyer, and my favorite type of shooting is sporting clays.
Georgia Tech quarterback Lucas Johnson will be able to play three more seasons of college football after the NCAA granted him a sixth year of eligibility on Thursday.
The 21-year-old was redshirted by the Yellow Jackets during the 2016 season before serving as a back-up two season ago. Johnson appeared in one game during the 2017 season and had one rushing attempts for one yard. He missed all of last season with a foot injury.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound quarterback was granted the additional year after seeing action in just one of his first three seasons.
BLACKSBURG, VA – NOVEMBER 12: Running back Quaide Weimerskirch #21 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets receives the ball from quarterback Lucas Johnson #18 prior to the game against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Lane Stadium on November 12, 2016 in Blacksburg, Virginia. Georgia Tech defeated Virginia Tech 30-20. (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)
“I’m so happy to have been granted another year of eligibility,” Johnson said in a news release. “My full focus is on the 2019 season, but knowing in the back of my mind that I will have one more season in 2021 is a huge blessing. A big thanks to my coaches, our athletic trainers and our compliance staff for what they’ve done to make this possible.”
With an added year of eligibility, Johnson now has three full seasons left.
WASHINGTON — Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts on Friday laid out a collection of policy proposals intended to help Native Americans, pledging to protect tribal lands and to bolster funding for programs that serve Native people.
In releasing the proposals, Ms. Warren is drawing attention to Native American issues after months of largely refraining from doing so in the wake of a controversy over her own heritage. Ms. Warren put out the plans ahead of a scheduled appearance on Monday at a presidential forum in Sioux City, Iowa, that is dedicated to Native American issues.
Among the proposals, Ms. Warren said she would revoke the permits for the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline, two projects that have been opposed by many Native Americans. No energy project affecting tribal lands should go ahead, she said, “without the free, prior and informed consent of the Tribal Nation concerned.”
She also called for expanding the ability of tribes to prosecute non-Indians for crimes committed on tribal land, and she proposed creating a nationwide alert system for missing indigenous women.
“As a nation, we are failing in our legal, political, and moral obligations toward tribal governments and indigenous peoples,” Ms. Warren wrote in a Medium post. “That this failure is simply the latest chapter in generations of prior failures is no excuse.”
Ms. Warren has been dogged by questions over her claims of Native American ancestry since she first ran for the Senate in 2012. President Trump has relentlessly mocked her by calling her “Pocahontas,” and the controversy over her ancestry marred the beginning of her presidential campaign.
Last October, before she entered the presidential race, she released the results of a DNA test providing evidence that she had a Native American ancestor. But the move drew criticism from some Native Americans; the secretary of state of the Cherokee Nation said Ms. Warren was “undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.” Ms. Warren has since apologized for her claims of Native American ancestry.
In recent months, Ms. Warren has mostly avoided bringing up Native American issues, despite having pledged to be a vocal ally. “I still, I am working on being a good partner,” Ms. Warren said in an interview with The New York Times last week. “And the best way to be a good partner is to walk the walk.”
Ms. Warren’s collection of policy proposals draws on plans she has previously released during her campaign on issues like housing, public lands and child care.
It also draws on a wide-ranging legislative proposal that she released on Friday with Representative Deb Haaland, Democrat of New Mexico and one of the first Native American women to serve in Congress.
The proposal with Ms. Haaland, who endorsed Ms. Warren’s presidential bid last month, is in response to a report released in December by the United States Commission on Civil Rights. The report found that “federal programs designed to support the social and economic well-being of Native Americans remain chronically underfunded.”
The proposal from Ms. Warren and Ms. Haaland addresses areas like criminal justice, health care and education.
As a presidential candidate, Ms. Warren has become known for her detailed policy plans on a wide variety of subjects. Her collection of proposals on Native American issues is among the most significant policy platforms released by a 2020 candidate with indigenous communities in mind.
Julián Castro, the former housing secretary and San Antonio mayor, unveiled a plan last month that focuses on indigenous communities, with sections on issues like tribal sovereignty, treaty commitments and voting rights. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont also has a list of priorities to support Native people.
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Elizabeth Warren Has Lots of Plans. Together, They Would Remake the Economy.
Jun 10, 2019
Why Many Native Americans Are Angry With Elizabeth Warren
A 17-year-old with a history of abdominal pain and a growing lump landed in a medical journal after doctors discovered that the mass was actually her malformed twin, marking what they believe is the first case of its kind to occur in a female her age.
The patient, pictured before surgery, said the lump had been causing pain and growing in size. (BMJ Case Reports 2019)
In a published BMJ Case Reports, the unidentified woman, who was treated by doctors in India, presented with a firm, irregularly shaped lump that took up her entire abdomen. A scan revealed the mass had fat density areas, soft tissue, and “multiple calcified density components of various sizes and shapes resembling the shape of vertebrae, ribs and long bones.”
Surgeons removed the mass, which they found had hair, bones and other body parts, and determined it to be a case of fetus in fetu (FIF), which occurs in only about 1 in 500,000 live births, and has been reported less than 200 times. The condition is diagnosed when a malformed fetus is found in the body of a living twin. The report’s authors noted that the condition more typically is found in younger males, making her case exceedingly unusual.
Scans revealed the mass had fat density areas, soft tissue and calcified density components. (CMJ Case Reports 2019)
Two years after the removal, the patient is reported to be doing well.
“I was much worried about my abdominal lump, after [the] operation I am feeling very well and my abdomen is now flat and my parents are also very happy,” the unidentified patient said in the case report. “Thanks to all operating doctors.”
Ed Smart, the father of kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart, came out as gay in a letter for family and friends posted to Facebook and said he and his wife are separating, local media in Utah reported.
Smart confirmed to the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune that he wrote the letter but declined to comment further. The Tribune reported that the post published Thursday has since been deleted.
Elizabeth Smart told the newspapers that she was “deeply saddened” by her parents’ separation, but didn’t comment on her father’s sexuality.
In his letter, Ed Smart, 64, acknowledged it was “one of the hardest letters I have ever written.”
“I have recently acknowledged to myself and my family that I am gay,” the letter states, per the Deseret News.
“The decision to be honest and truthful about my orientation comes with its own set of challenges, but at the same time it is a huge relief,” he continued. “Living with the pain and guilt I have for so many years, not willing to accept the truth about my orientation has at times brought me to the point where I questioned whether life was still worth living.”
Smart also called his wife, Lois, “loyal” and said she is an “extraordinary mother.”
“I deeply regret the excruciating pain this has caused her. Hurting her was never my intent. While our marriage will end, my love for Lois and everyone in my family is eternal,” the newspaper reported he wrote.
According to the Deseret News and the Tribune, court records show Lois Smart filed for divorce July 5.
In her statement to the newspaper, Elizabeth Smart said she still loves and admires her parents.
“Their decisions are very personal. As such, I will not pass judgment and rather am focusing on loving and supporting them and the other members of my family,” she said.
Ed Smart said his announcement came along with a change in beliefs. While he doesn’t “find solace any longer” within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Smart said his faith is still strong.
The reversal came in April 2019, four years after the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said those in same-sex relationships were “apostates’’ who must be banished from the religion.
The church’s change in doctrine, however, did not reverse its opposition to gay marriage and still regards same-sex relationships as a “serious transgression.”
Smart wrote in his letter that “it is not my responsibility to tell the church, its members or its leadership what to believe about the rightness or wrongness of being LGBTQ,” according to the Deseret News.
He added: “In the end, people are free to say what they will, and believe what they want, but there is one voice more important than any other, that of my Savior, who wants each of us to love one another, to be honest and joyful and find a meaningful life.”
Contributing: John Bacon and Jorge Ortiz. Follow USA TODAY’s Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller