Happy Halloween! I have an update on Kaci Hickox, the nurse quarantined after returning from Sierra Leone, who is suing the state of New Jersey. Spoiler alert: this woman’s actions might scare you. I also have less scary news about one of the most important executives in the world coming out the closet. Plus, in honor of Halloween, I have an answer an infuriatingly haunting mystery -- why the data on your smart phone slows down to a glacial pace. It’s called “throttling” and it's way less sexy than it sounds.
Does data throttling make you full-throttle mad? Let me know in the comments or tweet me @AmandaLauren (my tweets are so not scary, I promise).
A Scary Nurse?
A nurse going on a bike ride shouldn’t make news, unless that nurse is supposed to stay in her house, quarantined after being exposed to the Ebola virus. Kaci Hickox recently returned from a Doctors Without Borders mission in Sierra Leone to the Newark Liberty airport, where she was questioned and then taken to the hospital and quarantined in a tent without access to her luggage, a computer, a television or reading material. After writing a letter to the Dallas News, Hickox was transported back to her home in Maine. She thinks the whole ordeal was inhumane, unnecessary and plans to sue the state of New Jersey. Chris Christie told her to take a number.
This week, in an interview on the Today Show, Hickox said:
I don't plan on sticking to the guidelines. I remain appalled by these home quarantine policies that have been forced upon me even though I am in perfectly good health.
Hickox has not tested positive for Ebola and has not been showing symptoms of the virus. Ebola is only contagious if the carrier is symptomatic. Her attorney told the Associated Press:
[Hickox will not cooperate unless the state ends] all of most of the restrictions. She has no symptoms, and therefore she’s not contagious. And she’s not at a risk to the public or the health and welfare of people in the state of Maine.
On October 30, Hickox and her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur, decided to go for a bike ride outside their home in Fort Kent. A state police cruiser, who had been stationed outside their house, tailed them. The couple then returned home an hour later. She told reporters on the scene:
I hope that we can continue negotiations and work this out amicably. There is no legal action against me, so I’m free to go on a bike ride in my hometown.
The Governor of Maine, Paul LePage said authorities have personally tried to negotiate with Hickox to no avail. So, the State of Maine is currently perusing a court order to keep the nurse quarantined. A frustrated LePage said:
We hoped that the health care worker would voluntarily comply with these protocols, but this individual has stated publicly she will not abide by the protocols. We are very concerned about her safety and health and that of the community.
Apple CEO Tim Cook Comes Out
On October 30, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced in an essay, which appeared on Bloomberg Business Week, that he is gay.
…Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ ” I often challenge myself with that question, and I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important. That’s what has led me to today.
For years, I’ve been open with many people about my sexual orientation. Plenty of colleagues at Apple know I’m gay, and it doesn’t seem to make a difference in the way they treat me. Of course, I’ve had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences. Not everyone is so lucky.
While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.
Cook went on to say he came out to help other people. While many public figures, such as those in the entertainment industry, come out, there have not been many in the corporate world, especially Fortune 500 CEOs who have declared themselves gay publicly.
I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others. So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy.
Brittany Maynard Puts Off Assisted Suicide A Bit Longer
If you haven’t been keeping up, Brittany Maynard is a 29-year-old activist who was diagnosed with a rapidly developing terminal brain tumor, called a grade 4 glioblastoma, and given six months to live. Upon her diagnosis, she moved to Oregon from California, which is a state that allows people to legally “die with dignity.” Maynard partnered Compassion & Choices to create the Brittany Fund, which advocates for the rights of terminally ill people to end their own lives.
Penning an essay for CNN called, “My Right to Death with Dignity at 29,” she planned to die on or before November 1, 2014. On October 29 Maynard posted a new video to her website and announced she wasn’t read to end her life just yet:
I still feel good enough and I still have enough joy and I still laugh and smile with my family and friends enough that it doesn't seem like the right time right now.
She also added,
The worst thing that could happen to me is that I wait too long because I’m trying to seize each day.
Even The Government Acknowledges Your Phone Is Slow
On Tuesday, the FTC decided to sue AT&T for “data throttling.” What pray tell is that? Data throttling is when you sign up for an unlimited plan, use a certain amount of data, and then AT&T slows down your phone to about the pace of a drunken snail, leaving you frustrated, stressed and panicked. The FTC says AT&T has been throttling data sine 2011, on approximately 25 million occasions, slowing data speeds down as much as 95%.
Edith Ramirez, chairwoman of the FTC said:
AT&T promised its customers “unlimited” data, and in many instances, it has failed to deliver on that promise. The issue here is simple: “unlimited” means unlimited.
Of course AT&T is denying the whole thing, saying it’s all in the fine print.
· Boston’s longest serving mayor, Thomas M. Menino, died on October 30, at age 71 of cancer. Menino was in office from July 12, 1993 to January 6, 2014.
· A small plane crashed into a flight safety center at the Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita, Kansas on Thursday morning, killing four people. The accident occurred just after take off, as a result of the engine losing power.
· If you want use Apple Pay at CVS or RiteAid, you’re out of luck, because both those drug chains have pulled out of the system. Along with Wal-mart they are currently launching their own system, an app called CurrentC, that will allow you to pay for purchases directly out of your checking account. This allows retailers to avoid paying 2-3% credit card fees.