Amazon is removing from its online marketplace “autism cure” books that unscientifically claim children can be cured of autism with pseudoscientific methods such as ingesting and bathing in a potentially toxic form of bleach and taking medication meant to treat arsenic and lead poisoning.
Amazon confirmed Tuesday that the books “Healing the Symptoms Known as Autism” and “Fight Autism and Win” are no longer available, but declined to answer specific questions about why it had removed them or whether they were part of a larger cleanup effort, citing a policy of not commenting on individual accounts.
The move by Amazon comes on the heels of a report in Wired published Monday that criticized the retail giant for offering medically dubious books and dangerous methods for reversing autism spectrum disorder. For years, news organizations have pointed out Amazon’s practice of hosting books that promote vaccine and other health-related misinformation, but the pressure has intensified in recent weeks.
Online platforms have been reacting to increased scrutiny from lawmakers and public health advocates over the health misinformation hosted on their websites. Last week, Facebook announced it would “downrank” vaccine misinformation shared on its platform and reject advertising that spread “vaccine hoaxes.” Pinterest has opted to block all vaccine-related search results, and YouTube disabled advertising on anti-vaccination videos last month. In February, Amazon pulled anti-vaccination documentaries from its Prime Video service.
Autism is a developmental disorder that appears in young children and for which there is no cure. Children with autism spectrum disorder display a broad range of characteristics, from difficulty interacting with peers or forming relationships to complete inability to function in school or work environments.
As of Monday, “Healing the Symptoms Known as Autism” sold for $28 and had 631 customer reviews and an average rating of 3.5 stars. The book extolled the healing power of chlorine dioxide, a form of bleach that adherents call the “Miracle Mineral Solution.” The book’s author Kerri Rivera, who lives in Mexico, claims 191 children have been cured of autism with a treatment of the chemical that the Food and Drug Administration warned can cause “severe nausea, vomiting and life-threatening low blood pressure from dehydration.”
The other removed title, “Fight Autism and Win” advises parents on chelation — an unproven treatment for autism that involves medicating a child with an antidote for mercury poisoning. The curesprings from the debunked theory that autism is caused by mercury exposure in childhood vaccines. Chelation therapy can cause serious side effects, including potentially deadly kidney damage, according to the Mayo Clinic. At the time of its removal, “Fight Autism and Win” sold for $25 and had a 4.8 star rating and 54 customer reviews.
The books’ removal was first shared Tuesday by anti-vaccine activist Larry Cook in a newsletter to followers. Cook’s Facebook advertisements — targeting pregnant women in states with measles outbreaks — were recently banned by as part of the platform’s crackdown on misinformation.
Cook attached an image that he says was sent by Amazon, explaining why the company had removed the title from his storefront.
“During our review process, we found that the subject matter of your book is in violation of our content guidelines,” the screenshot posted by Cook stated. “As a result we cannot offer this book for sale.”
Cook also profits from his Amazon storefront from which he promotes anti-vaccination content and earns commission from books bought on his recommendation.
“This title by Kerri Rivera has been on Amazon for SIX YEARS, and TODAY Amazon pulled it,” Cook continued in his newsletter. “Friends, seriously, stock up on books and DVDs right now, while you can!”
In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee submitted “Information Management: A Proposal” to CERN. Thirty years later, the web has had a revolutionary impact on the world, and Google.com is marking the occasion today with a quaint Doodle.
Visiting the Google homepage on the web, or Chrome’s New Tab page, displays the company logo in a charming and retro 8-bit style. The second ‘o’ is replaced by a beige personal computer connected by physical wire to an outlet in the red ‘o’ to the left. On initial load, when viewing from Google.com, internet packets stream into the computer to load a spinning Earth. This animation plays in a continuous loop.
Underneath the pill-shaped search field that was added last week as part of the Google Material Theme redesign is a “Happy Birthday to the World Wide Web” message. Clicking opens a Google Arts & Culture collection that reflects on the web. This editorial feature provides a brief history of its origin, how-it-works, and its rapid growth to a “5 billion person network” today.
ウェブに投影されている Google Arts & Culture コレクションをクリックして開きましょう。
There are several pictures and videos, including the original NeXTcube used by its designer — now Sir Tim Berners-Lee.
The Web would soon revolutionize life as we know it, ushering in the information age. Today, there are nearly 2 billion websites online. Whether you use it for email, homework, gaming, or checking out videos of cute puppies, chances are you can’t imagine life without the Web.
Not to be confused with the internet, which had been evolving since the 1960s, the World Wide Web is an online application built upon innovations like HTML language, URL “addresses,” and hypertext transfer protocol, or HTTP. The Web has also become a decentralized community, founded on principles of universality, consensus, and bottom-up design.
このワールドワイドウェブは、HTML（Hyper-Text Markup Language）や、URL（Unified Resource Locator）「アドレス」、さらに HTTP（Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol）のようなイノベーションの上に成り立っているオンラインアプリケーションなのです。
decentralized - 分権化
The Google Doodle team also has a brief recap (above), with the graphic and animation available throughout most of North and South America, Europe, parts of Africa, Asia, and the South Pacific.
Elon Musk’s high-speed tunnel project is the big loser in Chicago’s race for mayor
Candidates are indifferent toward Musk’s tunnel project
indifferent - 無関心、冷ややか
If elected mayor of Chicago next month, former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot may pull the plug on Elon Musk’s proposal to build a high-tech rapid transit system in America’s third-largest city. In an email to The Verge, Lightfoot said her opposition to the so-called “Tesla in a tunnel” project is simple: “We don’t need O’Hare Express.” Her opponent, Cook County board president Toni Preckwinkle, says if she were elected, she would put Musk’s tunnel plan “on pause.”
prosecutor - 検察官
pull the plug - プラグを引き抜く。電源供給を断つという意味でよく出てきますけど、単に却下としました。停止させるでもよいかも。
Lightfoot and Preckwinkle finished first and second, respectively, in the February 26th contest to succeed current Mayor Rahm Emanuel. No one received enough votes to win outright, so the pair will face off in a final April 2nd runoff election.
That’s bad news for Musk. Both candidates are indifferent toward the tech mogul’s futuristic plan, which involves digging a pair of tunnels underneath Chicago and whisking people back and forth from the downtown Loop area to O’Hare International Airport using autonomous pod-like vehicles, or electric skates, in 12 minutes. Last June, Emanuel announced the selection of Musk’s Boring Company as the winner of the O’Hare Express sweepstakes after Musk promised he could build the massive project with just a $1 billion of his own money and no public subsidies.
Lightfoot, who finished first with 17 percent of the vote and leads Preckwinkle in early polls, has been antagonistic toward the project. There’s no mention of Musk or the O’Hare Express on her nine-page transportation plan. Last summer, she also demanded that Emanuel return $55,300 in campaign contributions he received from Musk from 2013 to 2015 because the city’s selection of the Boring Company as a contractor looked like a “pay-for-play” scheme in retrospect. “The optics are bad,” Lightfoot said, according to Crain’s. “He ought to return the money.” (Emanuel refused.)
In her email to The Verge, Lightfoot further explained her opposition to the project:
My concern only grows as the city fails to be transparent around the bid and contracting process. Taxpayers have a right to know the real costs here, but this is an administration that has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting transparency in the past. We’ve got to build a transparent, accountable Chicago, and this project is a good place to start.
“TAXPAYERS HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW THE REAL COSTS HERE.”
Preckwinkle isn’t enthused about The Boring Company, either. “With millions of Chicagoans relying on the CTA and Metra for reliable transportation, our innovation, and financial efforts should be focused on funding improvements for these systems and improving existing transportation,” Preckwinkle told The Verge through a spokesperson.
「信頼できる輸送手段や、我々のイノベーション、そして金融に関する取組にむけてCTAとMetraに期待している数百万のシカゴ市民は、これらのシステムに対する資金獲得の改善や既存の輸送手段に焦点を合わせるべきです。」プレックウィンクル氏は広報官を通じて The Verge に語りました。
enthused - 熱心
reliable - 信頼できる
relying - 頼っている、期待している。
If Musk’s project is ultimately rejected, it’s possible that a few thousand votes made the difference. Bill Daley was seen as Musk’s best hope for getting his tunnel built. Of the 14 candidates vying for mayor, the former Obama chief of staff was the only one who openly supported it. But he finished third, about 15,000 votes shy of Lightfoot’s 93,000 and barely 7,000 votes short of what he needed to pass Preckwinkle’s 86,000 votes and make the cut for the runoff election.
That means Musk’s best chance still lies with Emanuel. But time is running out: Emanuel leaves office in May, and there’s still no contract between the Boring Company and the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT), the mayor’s nonprofit that’s in charge of organizing private-public partnerships. Shannon Breymaier, the mayor’s director of communications, would only say that negotiations with the Boring Company are still ongoing. Sam Teller, director of the office of the CEO at the Boring Company, said in an email that he had no update on the negotiation and did not respond to follow-up questions.
Even if CIT does manage to finalize a deal with Musk before the monthly City Council meeting in April — the final meeting under Emanuel — there’s no guarantee that such a significant project will get rubber stamped. The council has been rocked recently by political scandal and some alderman say they’re in no hurry to do the bidding of a lame duck mayor.
The next council may be even more hostile toward Musk. Several incumbents, including some reliable Emanuel allies, were ousted in the February 26th election. Others face runoffs against left-leaning activists or outsiders who campaigned against the city’s business-first neoliberal agenda.
“This project seems mostly for tourists and Musk’s reputation, and I’m not sure it would be a good investment for the city,” said Daniel La Spata, a community organizer and public policy professional who upset scandal-plagued Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno. “It’s a distraction from the real transportation needs of the city.”
La Spata is one of two members of the Democratic Socialists of America elected to the council last month. Three more led their races in total votes and could win their runoff in April, meaning that Chicago could have five DSA aldermen in May. There’s is already talk among them about building a democratic socialist caucus on the council that could better fight against projects like Musk’s.
“On a national level, here we’re talking about Green New Deal and taking care of this planet that will die on us if we don’t take care of it. Locally we need to move away from individualistic policies and systems that benefit a few,” said Rossana Rodríguez-Sánchez, a socialist and DSA member attempting to defeat incumbent Alderman DebMell in April’s runoff election.
Not everyone, however, is eager to see an O’Hare Express plan die. There are those like Rick Harnish, director of the Midwest High Speed Rail Association, who want to see the city pivot to a more conventional project that’s more compatible with existing train infrastructure such as the Chicago Transit Authority’s Blue Line service or the Metra, the Northeastern Illinois regional commuter service.
“It was hard for [Emanuel] to say no to Musk because he said it would be of no cost to the city. How do you pass that up?” says Harnish. “Regardless, we still need an express train from Loop to O’Hare—it’s what we need to do to keep our city competitive and attractive to business.”
OF 28 PUBLIC COMMENTS, 25 OPPOSED MUSK’S PLAN
If there’s any good news for Musk, it’s that one piece of the approval process could be in place next week. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) is meeting on March 13th to vote on including O’Hare Express to its long-term regional transportation plan “On To 2050.” Doing so would meet a requirement of a federal environmental review process. But even that’s not a sure thing. Some CMAP members say they’re concerned that the Boring Company’s plan is too vague to warrant amending their plan, and of 28 public comments collected by the agency, 25 opposed O’Hare Express, two supported it, and one expressed conditional support. That’s not exactly a groundswell of enthusiasm.
Many of those comments echo Preckwinkle’s belief that Chicago should focus on improving the city’s existing transportation systems. Why bother with a fanciful new tunnel system that will get you from downtown to the airport in 12 minutes for $25 when you can upgrade the Blue Line, an underground transit system that can get you there in 40 minutes for $2.50?
On a list of things that Chicago needs in terms of transportation, Rodríguez-Sánchez puts Musk’s plan last.
“We need to expand and improve the public transit system and make it greener first,” she said. “They call this [O’Hare Express] a pipe dream, but it’s not even that—it’s absolutely ridiculous. Elon Musk over-promises and under-delivers.”