Understanding what plagues us

first_imgThe topics waiting to be discussed read like the writing prompts of a dystopian novelist, yet the mood in the packed Knafel Center last week was upbeat.“Contagion: Exploring Modern Epidemics,” the cornerstone of the Radcliffe Institute’s 2017–2018 Science Symposium, featured a diverse group of researchers, journalists, and physicians discussing their work on infectious diseases and virulent social epidemics such as gun violence.The keynote speaker, Laurie Garrett, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has covered global public health for decades, sketched a history of the major infectious disease outbreaks of the 21st century. In each case, from yellow fever to Zika to HIV, Garrett showed how failures of governance contributed to the severity of the epidemic.Garrett said there is need for improved local and national disease-management entities, but also called for better global organization. She pointed out that the majority of global health infrastructure is dependent on funding from only two sources, the U.S. government and Bill Gates, either of which could choose to withdraw funding, leaving the world vulnerable.“Violence concentrates just like an epidemic within populations,” said Andrew V. Papachristos of Yale University. Kevin Grady/Radcliffe Institute“What we’re trying to deal with is supranational problems: They know no borders,” Garrett said, expressing concern that current trends toward nationalism would harm global health policy. She told the audience to anticipate many deadly epidemics thanks to exacerbating factors such as climate change and antibiotic resistance.Other panelists discussed research advances that could help control epidemics. Kevin M. Esvelt, assistant professor at MIT, talked about his lab’s effort to genetically engineer mice to become immune to Lyme disease and so reduce the number of Lyme-carrying ticks, which transmit the disease from deer or mice to people. Another panel explored uses for big data, such as analyzing rich molecular data to better understand disease or gathering population-level data to track and possibly curtail epidemics.The final panel broadened the scope of what could be thought of as an epidemic. Daphne C. Watkins, assistant professor of social work and psychiatry at University of Michigan, spoke about a “gender epidemic” in which adherence to traditional definitions of manhood is damaging the mental health of young black men.Andrew V. Papachristos, associate professor of sociology at Yale University, examined how gun violence spreads through vulnerable populations — particularly young black men, and especially those with gang affiliations — much like a pathogen.“Violence concentrates just like an epidemic within populations,” Papachristos said. A map of the social network of gun violence victims looks like a map of disease transmission. Those who associate most closely with the affected — or infected — are most at risk of becoming victims next.“Exposure matters,” Papachristos said.Brandeis University’s Andrew Kolodny recommended that the U.S. use outbreak-containment techniques to tackle the opioid crisis, starting by eliminating sources of infection — unnecessary prescriptions. Kevin Grady/Radcliffe InstituteExposure was also an important concept for Andrew Kolodny, co-director of opioid policy research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, who described perhaps the largest epidemic facing the U.S. today: opioid addiction.The dominant factor in addiction is repeat exposure, Kolodny said. Though people with opioid addictions may turn to black-market drugs like heroin, Kolodny made a strong case that overprescription of painkillers, not recreational drug use, is the source of exposure driving the U.S.’s skyrocketing rate of overdose mortalities.The social epidemic researchers drew on the lessons of infectious disease as well as the language. Kolodny recommended that the U.S. use outbreak-containment techniques to tackle the opioid crisis, starting by eliminating sources of infection — unnecessary prescriptions.The epidemics covered were diverse and daunting. Still the speakers shared an optimistic philosophy: The better we understand these problems, the closer we come to ending them.last_img read more

EMV for debit: On the payments horizon

first_imgAs a credit union decision-maker, you are well aware that EMV technology is emerging as the new security standard for card-present payments here in the U.S, and that EMV adoption is moving forward much faster for credit than for debit.While the conversion to EMV technology brings with it increased fraud protection for consumers, your credit union may be struggling with the uncertainties of these uncharted waters, especially on the debit side of the equation.“EMV for credit is moving into the U.S. marketplace now, so credit unions have some visibility into how this technology will impact their business,” said Michelle Thornton, director of product development for CO-OP Financial Services. “EMV for debit is another story. Because the technology required to meet U.S. regulations is still in the development and implementation phase, the industry is diligently working to deploy this in the market.” continue reading » 20SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Juncker playing ‘hardball’ in naming Barnier chief Brexit negotiator

first_imgThe European Commission has appointed Michel Barnier, a veteran French politician and the former commissioner in charge of internal markets, as its chief Brexit negotiator.Barnier will lead a commission taskforce in charge of negotiations with the UK under Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union, the legal basis for a member state’s exiting the EU.Announcing Barnier’s appointment, Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the Commission, said: “I wanted an experienced politician for this difficult job.“He has an extensive network of contacts in the capitals of all EU member states and in the European Parliament, which I consider a valuable asset for this function. “I am sure he will live up to this new challenge and help us to develop a new partnership with the United Kingdom after it will have left the European Union.”Barnier will take up his new role in October.On the basis of the principle of ‘no negotiation without notification’, Barnier’s task will be to lay the groundwork for negotiations with the UK that can commence once it triggers the Article 50 withdrawal process, according to the commission.Once this happens, “he will take the necessary contacts with the UK authorities and all other EU and member state interlocutors”, it said.James Walsh, EU and international policy lead at the UK’s Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), said Barnier’s appointment confirmed the Brexit negotiations would be challenging and “exposes the very different approaches being taken within the EU to the Brexit negotiations, with president Juncker playing hardball and chancellor Merkel signalling a more accommodating approach”.“The whole process will be highly political,” he added.Barnier was commissioner and then vice-president in charge of internal market and services from 2010 to 2014, when the Commission introduced single market reforms such as Solvency II and the revision of the EU Directive on Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision (IORPs).The PLSA’s Walsh said the association would expect Barnier to carry into his new role the concern he showed for transparency and accountability in financial markets when he was a commissioner.“As a result, we should expect him to insist on a high level of continuing UK compliance with legislation such as MIFID II, EMIR and AIFMD in return for meeting any demands from the UK,” said Walsh.“In practice, it has always been likely the UK would comply with most of this legislation regardless of the outcome of the EU referendum.“We don’t believe it’s in anyone’s interest to have major differences in financial regulation across what are now global markets.”The UK’s outgoing commissioner Jonathan Hill has said the UK’s exit from the European Union would not materially change the Capital Markets Union (CMU). Barnier is also a former French minister and has been a member of the Conseil d’Etat, France’s highest administrative court, since 2005.In other EU news, the Council of the EU, which represents member state governments, has adopted a revised schedule for the rotating presidency of the council as a result of the UK vote to leave the EU.The UK was due to hold the rotating presidency in the second half of next year but relinquished this.The Council has brought forward the order by six months in response, meaning Estonia will hold the presidency half a year earlier than originally intended.Slovakia holds the presidency, having taken over from The Netherlands on 1 July.last_img read more

Each child conceived within marriage substantially decreases the odds that a couple will divorce

first_imgChild and Family Blog January 2017Family First Comment: The reason? “The presence of children conceived within the marriage increases the value of the marriage, more so than the disruptive effect that children are known to have on many couple relationships. The effect of children conceived before and within marriage is different because they may be valued differently by their parents–parents who conceive children within marriage can be expected to place more value on the institution of marriage, and may therefore place more value on marital investments such as children. Thus the disruptive effect of children conceived before marriage is higher.”A mathematical analysis of data from 5,574 couples who first married between 1979 and 2010 and had children has shown that when a child was conceived within the marriage, the chance that the couple would divorce was substantially lower. Conversely, when couples conceived a child before they were married, divorce was more likely.A team of researchers, including José Alberto Molina from the University of Zaragoza in Spain, examined data from the American National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, which interviewed 12,686 young people every year between 1979 and 1994, and every two years (in even-numbered years) since then.The challenge was to distinguish the causal effect of conceiving children before and after marriage from an effect in the other way direction: namely, happier couples may be both less likely to divorce and more likely to have more children. The researchers dealt with this problem by using a statistical approach which identifies variables that might affect how many children a couple will have but not their propensity to divorce.The research team offers an economic explanation for its findings: individuals divorce if their expected gains from marriage fall short of their expected utility outside the current marriage. The presence of children conceived within the marriage increases the value of the marriage, more so than the disruptive effect that children are known to have on many couple relationships. The effect of children conceived before and within marriage is different because they may be valued differently by their parents–parents who conceive children within marriage can be expected to place more value on the institution of marriage, and may therefore place more value on marital investments such as children. Thus the disruptive effect of children conceived before marriage is higher.https://childandfamilyblog.com/child-marriage-divorce/last_img read more

Moyes stands firm over Rooney

first_img Press Association Manchester United manager David Moyes brushed off Jose Mourinho’s declared admiration of Wayne Rooney by again insisting the striker was going nowhere. What Mourinho said, a few miles away from Chelsea’s team hotel in Bangkok hours after their arrival, was typical of the man, retreating from a question initially before saying just enough to trigger a headline. “I cannot speak about players from other teams,” he said. “But you know me…I always say what I think and he is a player I like very much. I cannot say more than that. Being fast and direct, I like him very much. But he is a Manchester United player.” Rooney could clearly deal with the confusion himself by stating his own thoughts on his future. It is something within his power given the speed with which he underlined how disappointed he was to be leaving Thailand. But it has not happened. And until it does, the speculation will continue no matter what Moyes says. “I have really covered all the things on Wayne,” the United boss said. “You mustn’t forget Manchester United is about a team, not any one individual. In lots of ways I am only interested in the team and some of the questions are reverting back to stuff I covered last week.” At least Moyes was able to deliver some positive news on Rooney’s injury. Though the problem is evidently much worse than when it first surfaced at Carrington prior to departure on Wednesday, the United boss feels Rooney could be fit by the time his team-mates return home at the end of the month. It seems skipper Nemanja Vidic is another who will play no part in the tour, even though United’s initial response to his absence from their flight out of Manchester was to say the Serbia defender would eventually join up. Vidic is presently undergoing a series of injections to ease a problem with the sciatic nerve in his back. And, at this stage, Moyes cannot be certain whether Portugal winger Nani will make it either. Moyes said: “Nani had an operation on his nose to clear a bit of breathing. At the moment we are not sure if flying is allowed. That is the one downside to it.” center_img The comment is not strictly true given Rooney has gone home, returning to Manchester with a hamstring injury after spending a matter of hours in Thailand ahead of United’s tour opener. However, it is clear Moyes will not be moved from the mantra he has repeated on an almost daily basis. And not even Mourinho can change it. “I don’t think so,” the Scot said, when asked if the Chelsea manager was being mischievous. “People are entitled to talk about good players. I am being asked plenty about Wayne so I am sure Jose will be getting asked about lots of players as well. It is hard to keep repeating myself – but I will do. Wayne is a Manchester United player and will remain that.” last_img read more

Essequibo, Georgetown in winners’ row

first_imgWest Demerara1520NA1NA217 Upper Corentyne911NA1NANA9 Essequibo1520NA1NA419 Georgetown911NA1NA211 West Berbice812NANANA8 Lower Corentyne1830NANA624center_img TeamsMatchesPointsWinsLosesTieNo resultSuper Bonus(Batting)Super Bonus(Bowling)Total ESSEQUIBO and Georgetown were victorious on Sunday when the Guyana Cricket Board/Cricket Guyana Inc. Jaguars 50-over Franchise League continued with two round-four games.At the Imam Bacchus ground, Affiance, Essequibo Coast, the hosts whipped East Coast Demerara by nine wickets. Batting first, the visitors reached 169-9 off 40 overs.Kamesh Yadram top-scored with a 50-ball 54, with five fours. Rajendra Chandrika made 29, Chanderpaul Hemraj 19 and Bhaskar Yadram 18. Ricardo Adams claimed 3-42,while Anthony Adams had 2-20 and Akieni Adams 2-25.Veteran batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul then slammed four fours and two sixes in scoring 72 off 102 balls. Kemol Savory scored a 48 off 58 balls including three fours and a six as Essequibo ended on 172-1 in 33.4 overs.Over at Bush Lot ground in West Berbice, the game was reduced to 20 overs.The home team crumbled for 96 in 19.2 overs. Leon Johnson claimed 5-26 and got support from medium pacer Paul Wintz (2-6). Only Arthley Bailey (24) and Gudakesh Motie (18) reached double figures.Robin Bacchus (22), Andrew Lyght Jr (17), added 39 for the first wicket, but thereafter the visiting side suffered a batting meltdown. Shemroy Barrington (5), skipper Chris Barnwell (3), Johnson (0), West Indies U-19 selectee Raymond Perez (1), keeper Darwin Christian (15), Steven Sankar (0) and Wintz (1) all fell cheaply.However, with ten runs needed off the last over Ramaal Lewis ended the game with a six and a four.Points Table: After Round Three East Coast Demerara0Nil3NANANA0 Upper Demerara/East Bank0Nil3NANANA0last_img read more

The South African government is on Ello

first_imgDeputy minister of communication, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams and Aslam Levy conducting a Twitter chat.• Social media means more than just business in Africa • Durban developer’s mobile app scores in Nokia competition • #BringBackOurGirls shows the power of social media in Africa • World-class tech hub planned for Joburg • South African women on Forbes Africa tech list Sulaiman PhilipEllo is the coolest party on the internet. Hailed by fans as the anti-Facebook, the creators describe it as a “simple, beautiful, and ad-free social network created by a small group of artists and designers”.If Facebook is the all-access, rowdy, boisterous cheap seats, Ello is the velvet-roped VIP section where the cool kids make themselves heard over the rattle of pearls of artistic wisdom. It is a safe, commercial free space, designed by hipsters for hipsters. It is invite only: you have to be asked to join, or you can send in a request and stand in line (at one point they were getting 50 000 requests an hour). The South African government has an Ello pageAslam Levy, the director of online platforms for the Department of Communications, contends it is hardly unusual, and should not be surprising. “We track usage trends on social media. There has been a surge in the 45 – 55 demographic on Facebook; that’s a group we want to reach. The flipside of course, is teens drop off Facebook. Youth and youth unemployment are issues we are trying to deal with so we need to know where they go. So we have a presence on Ello, on Twitter, on Instagram, and on MXit.”Social media platforms are always organising data about their users; and access to this data makes it easier for governments to do what they need to do. The South African government has embraced digital media because it wants to change the way it talks to its citizens and residents. Once upon a time there was the message, and the government’s need to get that message out. It chose a medium and spread the word. It was a straight line without an opportunity to ask questions or seek clarity.That this approach is changing grew out of a constant complaint from the country’s electorate – elected officials and ministers appear just before the elections, only to disappear again straight afterwards. Levy gives an explanation for this that is simple enough: “Ministers can’t visit every town in the country, but social media allows them to have a conversation with any citizen who wants to take part.”Recently the deputy minister of communication, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, conducted a Twitter chat. There were 93 active users but the minister’s responses were seen by half a million people on Twitter. The problemsA driver of this change has been the use of social media by younger members of the cabinet. They regard social media as a link to the public and their profile helps the message filter through the ranks. They understand social media as a platform to bypass traditional media, but its newness does throw up its own problems. Minister Fikile Mbalula is one of the most active Twitter users in the cabinet. He is also well known among Twiteratti for expressing his opinion.“Sports Minister Mbalula is a good example of that. There are conversations that should be private, but even so, it does remind people that ministers are human, with strong opinions. His interactions, actually, reinforce the fact that an interaction on social media is with a real person, and not just another attempt to pass on a message.”Another factor that has eased the acceptance of social media in government circles was the successful adoption of social media by political parties in the run up to the last general election. In the months prior to the elections, the ANC grew its Twitter audience threefold to 103 000 and its Facebook attracted 12 000 new followers and stood at 52 000 on the eve of voting. Larger opposition parties fared just as well on the most popular social media platforms – by January, the DA’s numbers were on Facebook: 51 411 and Twitter: 54 825; and the EFF’s were on Facebook: 63 226 and Twitter: 33 302. The Presidency has 98 000 fans on Facebook, President Zuma almost 5 000, but his page is not as active. The benefitsA huge benefit for the government is the cost-effectiveness of using social media to get out its message in the grand scheme of things. But there are non-financial considerations and benefits as well. These include building relationships with citizens and allowing for real time response to concerns. Being on social media platforms also allows the government to track and deal with frustrations.“What social media does is make for flatter government and removing the hierarchical structure that citizens have been forced to deal with. Social media removes the layers between a citizen and a minister, creating real engagement,” Levy says.Yet there is a downside to using social platforms of which the government is wary, he counsels. “When you are dependent on free social media platforms you don’t own your presence. You don’t own the content you create.”And the government creates a mountain of content. Some it appears in the government issued Vuk’unzenzele newspaper. Printed in all 11 official languages and distributed to 1.7 milllion mostly rural readers, it is a repository of original material. To retain ownership of material like this in the digital media, the government is creating a Vuk’unzenzele app that will launch in the next few weeks.This heralds a new era in the government’s engagement with its citizens. From this comfort with social media has grown its desire to develop apps and other mobile sites to help get its message out. “The biggest concern we have is creating a uniform presence on platforms. How do we allow differentiation without diluting the message? People looking for government information want to know the information we are putting out is credible and authoritative. This is an issue we struggle with every day.”What makes the job easier for Levy and the government is that social media is already integrated into the fabric of South Africa’s noisy democracy. “We may be loud, and angry and proud, but at the end of the day we embrace the joy of living in this democracy,” he points out.last_img read more

Desiderio walks the talk in UP’s last-second win over UST

first_imgUniversity of the Philippines’ Paul Desiderio celebrates after hitting the game-winning 3-pointer to beat University of Santo Tomas. Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netWith the game on the line, Paul Desiderio wanted the ball in his hands and he delivered. on Sunday.Desiderio was struggling all game long but with University of the Philippines trailing University of Santo Tomas, 73-71, with 1.1 seconds left, the veteran guard knew exactly how the game was going to end.ADVERTISEMENT Despite the bad shooting, Desiderio still finished with a team-high 17 points on 5-of-19 clip“I always imagine myself hitting a game-winning three-point shot,” said Desiderio. “And I was confident I was going to make it because I’ve been practicing that shot constantly. And when Coach Bo called timeout I said in the huddle ‘when I’m open give it to me and I’ll make it.’”  Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight E.T. returns to earth, reunites with grown-up Elliott in new ad  Read Next LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  LATEST STORIES For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Nadal travels long road to win 16th Slam title at US Open MOST READ Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Chief Justice Peralta on upcoming UAAP game: UP has no match against UST PLAY LIST 01:00Chief Justice Peralta on upcoming UAAP game: UP has no match against UST00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games “This game is ours, I will make the shot,” he told his teammates in Filipino during the timeout with 5.3 ticks remaining.True enough, Desiderio backed up his bold declaration as he knocked down the last-second 3-pointer.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“I’ve shot so many threes today and would I shy away from throwing the last one? No, I won’t. And coach Bo [Perasol] told us that if we’re open, we’ll shoot it so I shot it and it went in,” said Desiderio.Desiderio was 1-of-10 from deep prior to his game-winner but his confidence did not falter. View commentslast_img read more

20 days agoMan Utd boss Solskjaer determined to stick with youth

first_imgMan Utd boss Solskjaer determined to stick with youthby Paul Vegas20 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will continue to put his faith in youth – despite their struggles.United’s 0-0 draw against AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League stretched their winless run away from home to 10 games in all competitions under Solskjaer, going back to March.“We’re not in the 90s now,” said Solskjaer. “It’s a different era, a different group that we’re building.“We know there are going to be ups and downs. I’m ready to see these boys blossom. There’s not many clubs with our stature that play the young players that we do.“They’ve got a chance to come through and we’re sure some of these will be part of a successful team. I don’t know what the opponents think of us. I just know sometimes when you walk off games, we’re not doing bad here.“Sometimes there’s a gap. I’ve felt that a couple of times, but not very often. I can’t think about what anyone else is thinking about us.“We will need to improve and that is what we have to do.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more