Oscars 2019: ‘Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse’ leads the animated pack

The 91st Academy Awards are just over a week away. In our continuing look at the race to Oscars glory, this week we delve into one of the more colorful categories: Best Animated Feature. Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse (Way Up) “Spider-Verse” came out of nowhere in December, receiving rave reviews and picking up a slew…
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How to pack when you’re staying in a hostel

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Are you ready for an adventure? Hopefully, you said yes because there are thousands of hostels all around the world that are ready and waiting to welcome you into their shared dorms. While they might not be 5* hotels, hostels offer travelers the chance to fully integrate into the nomad life. You can mingle with other travelers, you can save your money for once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and you can experience what it’s like to sleep in a room with 30 other strangers. However, packing your life into one backpack isn’t easy, which is why you need this guide on how to pack when you’re staying in a hostel.

Straps, not wheels

When you go on vacation, you normally fish your wheeled case out of your closet. After all, it’s the easiest way to pack and transport everything you need for a normal vacation. Going traveling and spending your nights in hostels isn’t a normal vacation, however. Instead of having your own space to fill with your belongings, you have one bunk bed to enjoy before you get back on the road again. Because of this, it’s always best to go with straps rather than wheels. You can carry a bag over a remote beach, but you certainly can’t pull a suitcase over the sand.

Get yourself organized

It may seem impossible to pack months worth of clothes and belongings into one suitcase, but it is possible! The best way to ensure that you have everything you need is to get yourself organized. When you’re planning your traveling trip, it can be easy to stuff your toiletries, your food, and even your clothes in plastic bags. However, this is the biggest taboo when it comes to hostels. Would you really want to be woken up at 3am by someone rustling their plastic bag to get a snack? No? Then don’t be that person. Instead, buy packing cubes that can be placed into your backpack to separate your items.

Pack the essentials

Getting ready for months on the road can often spin you into a panic. You want to fill your backpack with oodles of clothes and underwear, because you’re going to need them, right? Well, clothes can be washed on the road, so it’s always best to keep these down to a minimum. Make sure you’re actually filling your backpack with the essentials. Bug spray, sun lotion, money, and official documents should all make their way into your backpack, but you should also consider an eye mask and earplugs. Hostels can be bright and loud, and sometimes all you need is a good night’s sleep.

Traveling around the world and staying in hostels can be one of the most incredible experiences, but you need to make sure you’re doing it right. Packing the right items and packing in the right way can have a huge impact on your adventure – and that’s the last thing you want. Follow these rules, and you’ll be a seasoned traveler in no time.

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Things you absolutely need to pack for a winter vacation

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Packing for the winter holiday can be a bit overwhelming. There are many clothes and other things you need to be comfortable in the cold. How do you make sure you have everything you need at your destination? Fortunately, the tips in this article will help you to pack your suitcase for a cool winter vacation.

Clothes

During winter holidays, it is important to bring clothing that allows you to dress in layers. You should start with a base layer of a light shirt that can have either long or short sleeves. You can put a long-sleeved shirt over it, and then a sweater or fleece over that. In addition to these shirts, you can wear a waterproof or windproof shell to keep you warm and dry. If you dress in layers, you can add or remove a layer depending on weather and comfort.

Shoes

While shoes can be heavy and you may only pack so much, you should make sure you have good quality footwear. Your feet are exposed to the weather during the winter holidays, so you want something that will keep you warm and look good. Look for dark shoes so they will not stain. Also, bring shoes that are weatherproof.

Choose warm, comfortable boots

Again, you do not want to get cold feet on your trip, so bring boots to keep your toes nice and comfortable and keep frostbite in check. Today, there are a variety of winter boots on the market, and you can take your pick depending on your preferences. If you want to take a long walk, make sure you are looking for comfortable boots. If you are looking for a heel, we recommend the use of wedge boots – they are a great way to give you more height and style without sacrificing comfort.

Hats

A good hat can keep you warm. However, the hat must meet some general requirements. A good travel cap should cover your ears and part of your neck. It should be made of modern materials that are warm and provide maximum coverage. Choose your hat carefully to keep your head (and the rest of your body) warm.

Gloves

Progress has been made with materials and products to keep us warm and dry. You no longer have to rely on heavy gloves to keep your hands warm. You will find gloves that are warm and waterproof but still take up little space in your luggage or bag. If you are looking for the right gloves for your vacation, look for those that are fast drying, weatherproof, lightweight, and breathable.

Accessories

Sun protection is required both in winter and in summer. The sun reflects off ice or snow and can cause sunburns. The reflection of the sun can be very bright as well. That’s why you should make sure to bring polarized sunglasses. If you are vacationing in bad weather, you should bring a scarf. Scarves are usually light and small enough not to lend volume to a suitcase, but warm enough to keep you cozy in cold weather.

If you pack properly for your winter vacation, you can have a comfortable stay no matter where you are. Use the tips provided here and you will feel warm and happy while traveling.

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Up To A Third Of Knee Replacements Pack Pain And Regret

Danette Lake thought surgery would relieve the pain in her knees.

The arthritis pain began as a dull ache in her early 40s, brought on largely by the pressure of unwanted weight. Lake managed to lose 200 pounds through dieting and exercise, but the pain in her knees persisted.

A sexual assault two years ago left Lake with physical and psychological trauma. She damaged her knees while fighting off her attacker, who had broken into her home. Although she managed to escape, her knees never recovered. At times, the sharp pain drove her to the emergency room. Lake’s job, which involved loading luggage onto airplanes, often left her in misery.

When a doctor said that knee replacement would reduce her arthritis pain by 75 percent, Lake was overjoyed.

“I thought the knee replacement was going to be a cure,” said Lake, now 52 and living in rural Iowa. “I got all excited, thinking, ‘Finally, the pain is going to end and I will have some quality of life.’”

But one year after surgery on her right knee, Lake said she’s still suffering.

“I’m in constant pain, 24/7,” said Lake, who is too disabled to work. “There are times when I can’t even sleep.”

Most knee replacements are considered successful, and the procedure is known for being safe and cost-effective. Rates of the surgery doubled from 1999 to 2008, with 3.5 million procedures a year expected by 2030.

But Lake’s ordeal illustrates the surgery’s risks and limitations. Doctors are increasingly concerned that the procedure is overused and that its benefits have been oversold.

Danette Lake walks her dogs, Zoe and Chloe, in her rural Iowa neighborhood in early December. One year after having knee replacement surgery to treat arthritis, she says she’s “in constant pain.”(Rachel Mummey for KHN)

Research suggests that up to one-third of those who have knees replaced continue to experience chronic pain, while 1 in 5 are dissatisfied with the results. A study published last year in the BMJ found that knee replacement had “minimal effects on quality of life,” especially for patients with less severe arthritis.

One-third of patients who undergo knee replacement may not even be appropriate candidates for the procedure, because their arthritis symptoms aren’t severe enough to merit aggressive intervention, according to a 2014 study in Arthritis & Rheumatology.

“We do too many knee replacements,” said Dr. James Rickert, president of the Society for Patient Centered Orthopedics, which advocates for affordable health care, in an interview. “People will argue about the exact amount. But hardly anyone would argue that we don’t do too many.”

Although Americans are aging and getting heavier, those factors alone don’t explain the explosive growth in knee replacement. The increase may be fueled by a higher rate of injuries among younger patients and doctors’ greater willingness to operate on younger people, such as those in their 50s and early 60s, said Rickert, an orthopedic surgeon in Bedford, Ind. That shift has occurred because new implants can last longer — perhaps 20 years — before wearing out.

Yet even the newest models don’t last forever. Over time, implants can loosen and detach from the bone, causing pain. Plastic components of the artificial knee slowly wear out, creating debris that can cause inflammation. The wear and tear can cause the knee to break. Patients who remain obese after surgery can put extra pressure on implants, further shortening their lifespan.

The younger patients are, the more likely they are to “outlive” their knee implants and require a second surgery. Such “revision” procedures are more difficult to perform for many reasons, including the presence of scar tissue from the original surgery. Bone cement used in the first surgery also can be difficult to extract, and bones can fracture as the older artificial knee is removed, Rickert said.

Revisions are also more likely to cause complications. Among patients younger than 60, about 35 percent of men need a revision surgery, along with 20 percent of women, according to a November article in the Lancet.

Yet hospitals and surgery centers market knee replacements heavily, with ads that show patients running, bicycling, even playing basketball after the procedure, said Dr. Nicholas DiNubile, a Havertown, Pa., orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine. While many people with artificial knees can return to moderate exercise — such as doubles tennis — it’s unrealistic to imagine them playing full-court basketball again, he said.

“Hospitals are all competing with each other,” DiNubile said. Marketing can mislead younger patients into thinking, “‘I’ll get a new joint and go back to doing everything I did before,’” he said. To Rickert, “medical advertising is a big part of the problem. Its purpose is to sell patients on the procedures.”

Rickert said that some patients are offered surgery they don’t need and that money can be a factor.

Knee replacements, which cost $ 31,000 on average, are “really crucial to the financial health of hospitals and doctors’ practices,” he said. “The doctor earns a lot more if they do the surgery.”

Ignoring Alternatives

Yet surgery isn’t the only way to treat arthritis.

Patients with early disease often benefit from over-the-counter pain relievers, dietary advice, physical therapy and education about their condition, said Daniel Riddle, a physical therapy researcher and professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

Studies show that these approaches can even help people with more severe arthritis.

In a study published in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage in April, researchers compared surgical and non-surgical treatments in 100 older patients eligible for knee replacement.

Over two years, all of the patients improved, whether they were offered surgery or a combination of non-surgical therapies. Patients randomly assigned to undergo immediate knee replacement did better, improving twice as much as those given combination therapy, as measured on standard medical tests of pain and functioning.

But surgery also carried risks. Surgical patients developed four times as many complications, including infections, blood clots or knee stiffness severe enough to require another medical procedure under anesthesia. In general, 1 in every 100 to 200 patients who undergo a knee replacement die within 90 days of surgery.

Significantly, most of those treated with non-surgical therapies were satisfied with their progress. Although all were eligible to have knee replacement later, two-thirds chose not to do it.

Tia Floyd Williams suffered from painful arthritis for 15 years before having a knee replaced in September 2017. Although the procedure seemed to go smoothly, her pain returned after about four months, spreading to her hips and lower back.

She was told she needed a second, more extensive surgery to put a rod in her lower leg, said Williams, 52, of Nashville.

“At this point, I thought I would be getting a second knee done, not redoing the first one,” Williams said.

Other patients, such as Ellen Stutts, are happy with their results. Stutts, in Durham, N.C., had one knee replaced in 2016 and the other replaced this year. “It’s definitely better than before the surgery,” Stutts said.

Making Informed Decisions

Doctors and economists are increasingly concerned about inappropriate joint surgery of all types, not just knees.

Inappropriate treatment doesn’t harm only patients; it harms the health care system by raising costs for everyone, said Dr. John Mafi, an assistant professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

The 723,000 knee replacements performed in 2014 cost patients, insurers and taxpayers more than $ 40 billion. Those costs are projected to surge as the nation ages and grapples with the effects of the obesity epidemic, and an aging population.

To avoid inappropriate joint replacements, some health systems are developing “decision aids,” easy-to-understand written materials and videos about the risks, benefits and limits of surgery to help patients make more informed choices.

In 2009, Group Health introduced decision aids for patients considering joint replacement for hips and knees.

Blue Shield of California implemented a similar “shared decision-making” initiative.

Executives at the health plan have been especially concerned about the big increase in younger patients undergoing knee replacement surgery, said Henry Garlich, director of health care value solutions and enhanced clinical programs.

The percentage of knee replacements performed on people 45 to 64 increased from 30 percent in 2000 to 40 percent in 2015, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Because the devices can wear out in as little as a few years, a younger person could outlive their knees and require a replacement, Garlich said. But “revision” surgeries are much more complicated procedures, with a higher risk of complications and failure.

“Patients think after they have a knee replacement, they will be competing in the Olympics,” Garlich said.

Danette Lake once planned to undergo knee replacement surgery on her other knee. Today, she’s not sure what to do. She is afraid of being disappointed by a second surgery.

Sometimes, she said, “I think, ‘I might as well just stay in pain.’”

Kaiser Health News

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Disappointed By Big-Screen DC? Their Animated Movies Pack the Biggest Punch

Oh, what a frustrating time it is to be a DC Extended Universe fan. Or Worlds of DC to use the newly coined title. Just when it seems like all the pieces are finally in place for our heroes to push forward into a brave new era of screen adventures following the conclusion of 2017’s Justice League, we’re hit with the news that the solo Flash outing is indefinitely delayed. Not to mention the fact that discussions for Henry Cavill’s next appearance as Superman have broken down. If there’s one thing the DC movies have been lacking, it’s consistency — something the MCU has championed for so long. And it doesn’t look to be arriving any time soon.

While the live-action universe’s overall trajectory remains uncertain, there is an avenue where DC fans can get a reliable, respectful fix of the comic-book giant’s most beloved characters. And that’s the DC Animated Universe. A continuing series of direct-to-video film projects originally intended for mature audiences, these animated features are well-directed, often standalone, and are generally more aligned with the comic book stories readers will be familiar with – all while pushing them in new directions.

Some of the most notable comic arcs translated so far include: Flashpoint ParadoxGotham by Gaslight, and even The Dark Knight Returns in a fully fledged two-part epic. These stories, and some new ones, are treated with the love and care they deserve, free of the need to waste time setting up undercooked plot threads that will likely never happen. Forget the universe formerly known as the DCEU, here’s why DC’s animated movies pack the biggest punch.

Intelligent Stories For Well-Travelled Comic Book Fans


Gods and Monsters shook up the origins of DC’s holy trinity.

Quite understandably, blockbuster interpretations like Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad aren’t likely to take any real creative risks. Especially in the latter’s case; even in a film fronted by a ragtag team of supervillains we’re expected to believe that they’re merely misunderstood – rather than seriously disturbed – individuals sure to see the value of good before eventually fighting off ‘true evil’. They’re written and filmed to appeal to a broad audience of cinema-goers, after all, thus making any big-screen representation of DC’s strong character slate pretty cut and dried. Or worse, watered down.

The DC Animated Universe stories are the opposite of this, by comparison, going so far as to explore characters like Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and The Flash in much more depth than their straight-laced, silver-screen versions. Take Justice League: Gods and Monsters, for example. It’s an entirely original and unique storyline that riffs off the origin stories of Superman and the gang, presenting a universe where Batman is a pseudo-vampire, Wonder Woman is a god willing to kill, and Son of Zod, rather than Kal-El, was the baby exiled to Earth following the destruction of Krypton.

Even when universe lore is kept classic, very rarely do these animated features waste time explaining characters’ backstory or origins, unless it’s crucial to the central story about to unfold. Remaining confident that viewers will have a basic understanding of these heroes that have been ingrained in pop culture for 70+ years now, DC animated movies like Batman: Assault on Arkham – in which the Dark Knight largely takes a backseat – can be the perfect jumping in point for newcomers as well as die-hard DC fans not wanting to be pandered to.

Exploration of DC Characters We Wouldn’t Typically See


Only DC’s mystical cast of outsiders can fight a magical threat.

Whereas the Marvel Cinematic Universe has shown bravery in letting its lesser-known characters come to the fore in eponymous movies such as Ant-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, the Worlds of DC probably hasn’t established itself well enough yet to get quite as wacky. The DC animated films, however, have done a great job at highlighting the stranger side of superheroes. Released with little fanfare on store shelves last year, Justice League Dark is the perfect example of this.

In it, we follow Batman as he recruits the DC universe’s supernatural slate of characters, with John Constantine, Swamp Thing, Deadman, and more coming to the fore in order to stop a mystical force threatening the world. These characters make sense in a story that is noticeably darker than what the light and bright members of the Justice League world normally face – in a world where mythology and mystery are woven together. Hollywood director Doug Liman was allegedly developing a live-action version of Justice League Dark, but as with most Worlds of DC projects announced these days, it wouldn’t see the light of day.

Unexpected Twists on Familiar DC Arcs


It’s nice to see certain beloved comic book arcs given the animation treatment.

So far, we’ve explained how the DC Animated Universe does right by comic-book fans looking for something slightly off-kilter and new. However, every so often, the folks spearheading this animation arm of DC Entertainment see fit to adapt an established comic book arc – with a welcome twist. The animated interpretation of Gotham by Gaslight, for example, dreams up an entirely different identity for the Jack the Ripper that Batman has been chasing. Batman vs Robin, on the other hand, takes elements from Scott Snyder’s celebrated Court of Owls storyline before choosing to delve deeper into the relationship between Bruce and his estranged son Damian Wayne.

In lifting these much-beloved DC one-shots off the page though, the risk is that they aren’t always done justice. Take 2015’s animated adaptation of The Killing Joke. The original Alan Moore graphic novel works out at a perfectly paced 50-or-so pages. This wasn’t enough material for a 100-minute home video feature, meaning that creative liberty was taken by way of a new prologue. Many took against this change – proving that, despite best intentions, in animated form, it’s still possible to get things wrong.

Occasional hiccups like this don’t take away from the runaway success of so many of the entries in the DC Animated Universe, which for the most part explore far more interesting territory than DC’s big-screen offerings likely ever will. While seeing our favourite characters and stories done right on the big screen can be a thrilling experience, it’s in the DC Animated Universe where the truly great stuff is happening.

8 DC Villains We’d Love To See Show Up In Arrowverse’s ‘Batwoman’

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