Greenland’s Retreating Glaciers Could Impact Local Ecology

first_img Get our daily Pasadena newspaper in your email box. Free.Get all the latest Pasadena news, more than 10 fresh stories daily, 7 days a week at 7 a.m. More Cool Stuff Greenland appears in this image created using data from the ITS_LIVE project, hosted at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The coloring around the coast of the arctic island shows the speed of outlet glaciers flowing into the ocean. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/USGSA new study of Greenland’s shrinking ice sheet reveals that many of the island’s glaciers are not only retreating, but are also undergoing other physical changes. Some of those changes are causing the rerouting of freshwater rivers beneath the glaciers, where it meets the bedrock. These rivers carry nutrients into the ocean, so this reconfiguring has the potential to impact the local ecology as well as the human communities that depend on it.“The coastal environment in Greenland is undergoing a major transformation,” said Alex Gardner, a research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and co-author of the study. “We are already seeing new sections of the ocean and fjords opening up as the ice sheet retreats, and now we have evidence of changes to these freshwater flows. So losing ice is not just about changing sea level, it’s also about reshaping Greenland’s coastline and altering the coastal ecology.”About 80% of Greenland is blanketed by an ice sheet, also known as a continental glacier, that reaches a thickness of up to 2.1 miles (3.4 kilometers). Multiple studies have shown that the melting ice sheet is losing mass at an accelerating rate due to rising atmosphere and ocean temperatures, and that the additional meltwater is flowing into the sea.This study, published on Oct. 27 in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth’s Surface, provides a detailed look at physical changes to 225 of Greenland’s ocean-terminating glaciers, which are narrow fingers of ice that flow from the ice sheet interior out into the ocean. The data used in the paper was compiled as part of a project based at JPL called Inter-mission Time Series of Land Ice Velocity and Elevation, or ITS_LIVE, which brings together observations of glaciers around the globe – collected by multiple satellites between 1985 and 2015 – into a single dataset open to scientists and the public. The satellites are all part of the Landsat program, which has sent a total of seven spacecraft into orbit to study Earth’s surface since 1972. Managed by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey, Landsat data reveals both natural and human-caused changes to Earth’s surface, and is used by land managers and policymakers to make decisions about Earth’s changing environment and natural resources.Glacier flow is imperceptible to the human eye, but this animation shows glaciers in Asia moving over a span of 11 years, from 1991 to 2002. The animation is composed of false-color images from Landsat 5 and 7 spacecraft. Moving ice is gray and blue; brighter blues are changing snow and ice cover. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/USGS/Earth ObservatoryAdvancing and RetreatingAs glaciers flow toward the sea – albeit too slowly to be perceptible to the eye – they are replenished by new snowfall on the interior of the ice sheet that gets compacted into ice. Some glaciers extend past the coastline and can break off as icebergs. Due to rising atmospheric and ocean temperatures, the balance between glacier melting and replenishment, as well as iceberg calving, is changing. Over time, a glacier’s front may naturally advance or retreat, but the new research shows that none of the 225 ocean-terminating glaciers surveyed has substantially advanced since 2000, while 200 have retreated.Although this is in line with other Greenland findings, the new survey captures a trend that hasn’t been apparent in previous work: As individual glaciers retreat, they are also changing in ways that are likely rerouting freshwater flows under the ice. For example, glaciers change in thickness not only as warmer air melts ice off their surfaces, but also as their flow speed changes in response to the ice front advancing or retreating.Both scenarios were observed in the new study, and both can lead to changes in the distribution of pressure beneath the ice; scientists can infer these pressure changes based on changes in thickness analyzed in the study. This, in turn, can change the path of a subglacial river, since water will always take the path of least resistance, flowing in the direction of lowest pressure.Citing previous studies on the ecology of Greenland, the authors note that freshwater rivers under the ice sheet deliver nutrients (such as nitrogen, phosphorus, iron, and silica) to bays, deltas, and fjords around Greenland. In addition, the under-ice rivers enter the ocean where the ice and bedrock meet, which is often well below the ocean’s surface. The relatively buoyant fresh water rises, carrying nutrient-rich deep ocean water to the surface, where the nutrients can be consumed by phytoplankton. Research has shown that glacial meltwater rivers directly impact the productivity of phytoplankton – meaning the amount of biomass they produce – which serves as a foundation of the marine food chain. Combined with the opening up of new fjords and sections of ocean as glaciers retreat, these changes amount to a transformation of the local environment.“The speed of ice loss in Greenland is stunning,” said Twila Moon, deputy lead scientist of the National Snow and Ice Data Center and lead author on the study. “As the ice sheet edge responds to rapid ice loss, the character and behavior of the system as a whole are changing, with the potential to influence ecosystems and people who depend on them.”The changes described in the new study seem to depend on the unique features of its environment, such as the slope of the land that the glacier flows down, the properties of the ocean water that touch the glacier, as well as the glacier’s interaction with neighboring glaciers. That suggests scientists would need detailed knowledge not only of the glacier itself, but also of the glacier’s unique environment in order to predict how it will respond to continued ice loss.“It makes modeling glacial evolution far more complex when we’re trying to anticipate how these systems will evolve both in the short term and two or three decades out,” Gardner said. “It’s going to be more challenging than we previously thought, but we now have a better understanding of the processes driving the variety of responses, which will help us make better ice sheet models.” faithfernandez More » ShareTweetShare on Google+Pin on PinterestSend with WhatsApp,Virtual Schools PasadenaHomes Solve Community/Gov/Pub SafetyCitizen Service CenterPASADENA EVENTS & ACTIVITIES CALENDARClick here for Movie Showtimes Business News STAFF REPORT First Heatwave Expected Next Week Make a comment CITY NEWS SERVICE/STAFF REPORT Pasadena Will Allow Vaccinated People to Go Without Masks in Most Settings Starting on Tuesday STAFF REPORT Pasadena’s ‘626 Day’ Aims to Celebrate City, Boost Local Economy Home of the Week: Unique Pasadena Home Located on Madeline Drive, Pasadena Science and Technology Greenland’s Retreating Glaciers Could Impact Local Ecology Details about the physical transformation of over 200 of the island’s coastal glaciers are documented in a new study, in which the authors anticipate environmental impacts. From NASA/JPL-Caltech Published on Tuesday, October 27, 2020 | 3:00 pmcenter_img Top of the News Name (required)  Mail (required) (not be published)  Website  Community News EVENTS & ENTERTAINMENT | FOOD & DRINK | THE ARTS | REAL ESTATE | HOME & GARDEN | WELLNESS | SOCIAL SCENE | GETAWAYS | PARENTS & KIDS Community News Herbeauty11 Yummy Spices For A Flat TummyHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty10 Brutally Honest Reasons Why You’re Still SingleHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyWant To Seriously Cut On Sugar? You Need To Know A Few TricksHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty15 things only girls who live life to the maximum understandHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyGet Rid Of Unwanted Body Fat By Eating The Right FoodsHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyIs It Bad To Give Your Boyfriend An Ultimatum?HerbeautyHerbeauty Subscribe 82 recommended0 commentsShareShareTweetSharePin it Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *last_img read more

People invited to take part in ‘The Return of Colmcille’

first_imgNews Google+ Facebook Facebook RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR WhatsApp Pinterest Twitter Google+ WhatsApp Previous articleRugby – Donegal Girls To Start Against FranceNext articleDeputy MacLochalin says local authority’s should not be sending members abroad for St Patrick’s Day News Highland Pinterestcenter_img People invited to take part in ‘The Return of Colmcille’ Frank Cottrell BoyceThe people of the Northwest are being invited to take part in The Return of Colmcille to be held in Derry in June.Taking place over the weekend of the 7th – 9th June ‘The Return of Colmcille’ will celebrate both the iconic and fascinating figure of Saint Colmcille and also the City of Derry and its people.The weekend-long celebration will be written by award winning author and screen writer Frank Cottrell Boyce,whose most recent work includes the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.In an extensive interview with Highland Radio News, Mr Boyce said they are now seeking volunteers for the event:[podcast]http://www.highlandradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/franrawWEB.mp3[/podcast] You can get more information HERE Main Evening News, Sport and Obituaries Tuesday May 25th Twitter Further drop in people receiving PUP in Donegal 365 additional cases of Covid-19 in Republic Man arrested on suspicion of drugs and criminal property offences in Derry By News Highland – March 7, 2013 75 positive cases of Covid confirmed in North Gardai continue to investigate Kilmacrennan firelast_img read more

Potent pot, vulnerable teens trigger concerns in first states to legalize marijuana

first_imgThe Washington Post 16 June 2019Family First Comment: “The first two states to legalize recreational marijuana are starting to grapple with teenagers’ growing use of highly potent pot, even as both boost the industry and reap huge tax windfalls from its sales…. “Horrible things are happening to kids,” said psychiatrist Libby Stuyt, who treats teens in southwestern Colorado and has studied the health impacts of high-potency marijuana. “I see increased problems with psychosis, with addiction, with suicide, with depression and anxiety.”…#saynopetodopeThe first two states to legalize recreational marijuana are starting to grapple with teenagers’ growing use of highly potent pot, even as both boost the industry and reap huge tax windfalls from its sales.Though the legal purchase age is 21 in Colorado and Washington, parents, educators and physicians say youths are easily getting hold of edibles infused with tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive component that causes a high, and concentrates such as “shatter,” a brittle, honey-colored substance that is heated and then inhaled through a special device.Each poses serious risks to adolescents’ physical and mental health.“Underage kids have unbelievable access to nuclear-strength weed,” said Andrew Brandt, a Boulder, Colo., software executive whose son got hooked while in high school.With some marijuana products averaging 68 percent THC — exponentially greater than the pot baby boomers once smoked — calls to poison control centers and visits to emergency rooms have risen. In the Denver area, visits to Children’s Hospital Colorado facilities for treatment of cyclic vomiting, paranoia, psychosis and other acute cannabis-related symptoms jumped to 777 in 2015, from 161 in 2005.The increase was most notable in the years following legalization of medical sales in 2009 and retail use in 2014, according to a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health published in 2018.“Horrible things are happening to kids,” said psychiatrist Libby Stuyt, who treats teens in southwestern Colorado and has studied the health impacts of high-potency marijuana. “I see increased problems with psychosis, with addiction, with suicide, with depression and anxiety.”It is unclear whether all of this means years of generally stagnant pot use among children are coming to an end. Surveys finding little change with pot since 2014 “may not reliably reflect the impact of legalization on adolescent health,” the authors of that 2018 study concluded.Washington’s latest Healthy Youth Survey showed 20 percent of eighth-graders and nearly half of seniors “perceive little risk of regular marijuana use.” Many teens consider it less risky than alcohol or cigarettes.As more than a dozen states from Hawaii to New Hampshire consider legalizing marijuana, doctors warn of an urgent need for better education — not just of teens but of parents and lawmakers — about how the products being marketed can significantly affect young people’s brain development.The limited scientific research to date shows that earlier and more frequent use of high-THC cannabis puts adolescents at greater jeopardy of substance use disorders, mental health issues and poor school performance.“The brain is abnormally vulnerable during adolescence,” said Staci Gruber, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School who studies how marijuana affects the brain. “Policy seems to have outpaced science, and in the best of all possible worlds, science would allow us to set policy.”The critics also insist that more must be done to maintain tight regulation of the industry. That’s not been the case so far, they argue, with dispensaries opening near high schools in Seattle and with retail and medical pot shops in Denver outnumbering Starbucks and McDonald’s locations combined.READ MORE: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/potent-pot-vulnerable-teens-trigger-concerns-in-first-states-to-legalize-marijuana/2019/06/15/52df638a-8c9a-11e9-8f69-a2795fca3343_story.html?utm_term=.0935499226a8last_img read more

Sunday blog: If Wellington is Disneyland, then the mayor is Mickey Mouse

first_img5. Shout out of the week…Since we have devoted this column to the election, let’s send this week’s shout out to the many volunteers who work the election. It’s a time-consuming and thankless job with little to no pay. But it is the kind of volunteerism that makes this thing we call a democracy work here in the U.S.Follow us on Twitter. Commentary by Tracy McCue — Five Cueball thoughts for April 5, 2015…1. Election Tuesday…Tuesday, Sumner County voters will be going to the polls to elect local city/town council and school board members. These are traditionally the least attended elections of all elections. But in reality, a vote never counts more because you are electing your peers. You might think your one-in-a-billion vote for President of the United States is important, but it’s your ballot on these local issues that truly make the most difference.Wellington has some really good races this year and some really good candidates especially for mayor and city council.And this mayor race, is unbelievably important for Wellington.Whoever gets elected will be:•The ambassador for the town;•The face of Wellington when industry comes knocking;•The face of Wellington when Channel 3 or 12 run down looking to interview someone official with whatever ill-begotten controversy we’ve gotten ourselves into;•A participant of endless meetings.•and a chief negotiator amongst the warring local factions.Our next mayor must help find a way to keep this dang hospital open, replenish the utility reserve fund, not raise taxes, not cut city services and hire hot shots and big wigs.The new mayor will require diplomacy, vision, intelligence and common sense. And for the life of Peter, Paul and Mary… tolerance! If you’re getting bashed on social media over a city suck-fest – well that’s your job to take it.The Mayor is Mickey Mouse. And Wellington is Disneyland. Mickey Mouse always smiles and waves and steers the ship, even if Goofy and Donald Duck might find themselves on the latest episode of TMZ smoking crack.And with that in mind, you, the Wellington voters, need to figure out who will best represent this town in that capacity.I don’t care if you vote Tuesday or not. But if you do, please make an informed decision.The following forums for Wellington city/school candidates will help you do just that:Mayor.City Council part 1.City Council part 2.Wellington school board White-Zeka race.Wellington school board Moser-Glasgow race.2. Quirk in the system…A couple of people have been worked up that Kelly Green and Mark Hatfield are running for both mayor and city council, while other candidates are running for one or the other.I don’t know if that’s something that needs to be tweaked with this new election format or not. Nevertheless, that’s the system in place at the moment. These two candidates have done nothing wrong.Here’s my take. If you are looking for employment and two job openings become available, wouldn’t it behoove you to apply for both positions in hopes you could land one?This seems like an interesting dynamic. If say Ms. Green and Mr. Hatfield get elected for both mayor and city council, then they get to choose, which position they want to take. Then the new council would appoint the other position. If this occurs, I would hope the council would pick the candidate who did not win with the largest number of votes.I personally will step into the ballot box and vote for who I think will be the most qualified regardless how many times I see them on the ballot. The key is to get the best people in there. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments (6) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. +9 Vote up Vote down anonymous · 279 weeks ago The position of mayor is not a popularity contest. It is not ribbon cutting and glad-handing or sounding cool on TV. It is about representation and commitment. Now, moreso than ever, the mayor needs to be “of the people.” Please vote with the brain. Good luck to all. Report Reply 0 replies · active 279 weeks ago -9 Vote up Vote down Janejane · 279 weeks ago Anonymous. Can you clarify what Please vote with the brain means? Report Reply 1 reply · active 279 weeks ago +10 Vote up Vote down Reality Check · 279 weeks ago It means don’t be a dumba**. Report Reply +2 Vote up Vote down JustMe · 279 weeks ago According to Urban Dictionary, “Mickey Mouse” may be a perfect name for the local government heads. “Substandard, poorly executed or organized. Amateurish.” Report Reply 0 replies · active 279 weeks ago +1 Vote up Vote down craig · 279 weeks ago JustMe…. Oh you meant the white house ! Report Reply 1 reply · active 279 weeks ago +1 Vote up Vote down JustMe · 279 weeks ago Most of government, all the time. Report Reply Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments 4. Questionnaires… I don’t know how influential the forums on this site or around town are. The beauty of living in a small town is we tend to personally know the people we elect. Local elections are always my favorite because they are candidate driven, free from suffocating partisan politics. I’m sure the Kansas State Legislature will screw that up shortly, though.Still I believe these candidate forums are an important part of the election process, regardless who is running.So I was disappointed that both Wellington school board candidates Jackie Berryman and Angie Ratcliff chose not to submit answers to questionnaires sent to them by Sumner Newscow. Both candidates were unopposed, and are guaranteed four years. Not filling out a questionnaire, is not going to make a difference in their reelection. Still, it shouldn’t matter. It is always good to communicate with the voting public, and re-evaluate your positions. 3. Somethings to remember…I had one Wellington school board candidate tell me voters seem confused on whether or not they could vote in a certain race.In Wellington voting is simple.  In the city council election, any registered voter within the city limits can vote for any candidate.In the school board election, all voters within the USD 353 school district can vote for both school board races.As far as the other Sumner County towns, it just depends on their specific rules. There will be someone there to help you for sure when you go to the polls.last_img read more

“4Rs for a Growing Ohio” event to announce expansion of Certification Program

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program is is set to announce the expansion of its voluntary program to agricultural retailers and nutrient service providers statewide in Ohio, effective Jan. 1, in efforts to improve the quality of Ohio’s waterways at the “4Rs for a Growing Ohio” launch event Dec. 9 in Radnor, Ohio. Friday, Dec. 9, 1-3:30 p.m.Special guests will include David Daniels, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture; Jim Zehringer, director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources; Craig Butler, director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency; representatives from the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program; 4R certified retailers; farmers; and agriculture industry leaders and stakeholders.  The event will be at the Homestead at Radnor Event Venue, 2866 St. Rte 203, Radnor, Ohio 43066last_img read more

Something is not adding up with carryout and prices

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest This week last year versus this year:Corn futures:2017 — $3.702016 — $3.65Carryout2017 — 2.3 billion bushels2016 — 1.7 billion bushelsSomething doesn’t add up.Basis has continued to slide lower and lower. Values are about 20 cents less than last year at this time, possibly adjusting to the irrational futures prices.Another survey showed U.S. farmers plan to plant significantly more beans than corn in 2017. Acre estimates show corn and beans may be around 90.5 million each. If this happens, it would be a 4 million corn-acre reduction and a 6 million bean-acre increase.Many “experts” say farmers “love” to plant corn and these estimates just won’t happen. I don’t think these “experts” have run the numbers, because farmers can pretty much guarantee a profit growing beans, while corn is shaky. Corn on corn farmers may be in the red at current price levels.Personally, I think farmers will run the numbers and bean acres will increase next year. What does that mean for the markets going forward?That is the billion dollar question. Weather through the summer and then yield at harvest will have the biggest impact.While weather its unpredictable, widespread severe weather is unlikely. For instance, widespread severe droughts have only happened seven out of the last 30 years (22%).Similar to weather, widespread severely low yields are unlikely:66% — Corn yield is at or above trend line12% — Corn yield is slightly under trend line22% — Corn yield is significantly below trend line.If carryout and demand remain steady, the market may have some good upside potential if:Trend line yields with reduced corn acres would put carryout under 1.6 billion (lowest since 2013). This could mean $4.50 futures.Trend line yield with “expert” estimated acres would put carryout near 1.9 billion. This would make $4.50 more difficult without a major weather issue. What about beans?While South American production is still unknown, it looks favorable. The U.S. needs to plant over 87 million acres to maintain current stocks. A 90 million acre crop with trend line yields (i.e. 46 bushels per acre) would likely mean a small carryout increase and make a rally difficult.While bean prices will continue to be volatile, the corn/bean ratio will likely keep bean prices from falling too far. For example, if corn trades at $4.25 this fall, even with the lowest ratio in the last five years, beans would still trade above $8.Experts can try to predict the market, but no one knows for sure. Don’t get too caught up in all the talk. The experts don’t know what’s going to happen in the future any more than you do. All farmers can really do is have a marketing plan in place and price goals ready. I already have orders placed for 70% of my 2017 production. I always want the market to rally and when it does, I’ll take advantage. Bottom line, I want to be profitable every single year. Jon grew up raising corn and soybeans on a farm near Beatrice, NE. Upon graduation from The University of Nebraska in Lincoln, he became a grain merchandiser and has been trading corn, soybeans and other grains for the last 18 years, building relationships with end-users in the process. After successfully marketing his father’s grain and getting his MBA, 10 years ago he started helping farmer clients market their grain based upon his principals of farmer education, reducing risk, understanding storage potential and using basis strategy to maximize individual farm operation profits. A big believer in farmer education of futures trading, Jon writes a weekly commentary to farmers interested in learning more and growing their farm operations.Trading of futures, options, swaps and other derivatives is risky and is not suitable for all persons. All of these investment products are leveraged, and you can lose more than your initial deposit. Each investment product is offered only to and from jurisdictions where solicitation and sale are lawful, and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations in such jurisdiction. The information provided here should not be relied upon as a substitute for independent research before making your investment decisions. Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC is merely providing this information for your general information and the information does not take into account any particular individual’s investment objectives, financial situation, or needs. All investors should obtain advice based on their unique situation before making any investment decision. The contents of this communication and any attachments are for informational purposes only and under no circumstances should they be construed as an offer to buy or sell, or a solicitation to buy or sell any future, option, swap or other derivative. The sources for the information and any opinions in this communication are believed to be reliable, but Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy of such information or opinions. Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC and its principals and employees may take positions different from any positions described in this communication. Past results are not necessarily indicative of future results. He can be contacted at [email protected]last_img read more

A Rocky Mountain Remodel Story

first_imgThe Rocky Mountain homeowners embraced the opportunity to “green” their remodeling project, primarily targeting the kitchen and the master bathroom. The design team—interior designer, architect, and homeowners—worked together as an integrated team to meet the project goals. We designed for multifunctional rooms with improved spatial relationships, family connectivity, increased storage and work areas, updated aesthetics, energy and water efficiency, and healthy indoor air quality balanced by timeless, durable, and easy-to-maintain design.An initial design charette meeting at the existing house set the scope for the remodel. We determined the overall layout of the home, the green strategies and goals, and the aesthetic vision. From there the design team, homeowners, and contractor met on a regular basis to keep the project on track, ensuring the goals were managed and met throughout the design, documentation and construction process. Detailed drawings and specifications were provided for the contractor incorporating the green strategies, and frequent job site meetings with the entire team proactively supported the project’s success.Greening the kitchenThe existing kitchen sat in a self-contained space not at all conducive to supporting the family’s active lifestyle. An open floor plan was developed relocating the kitchen adjacent to the existing family room and new, centrally located staircase.An oversize picture window invites the outdoors in and celebrates the magnificent views bringing joy to the heart of the home! Balancing aesthetics with sustainability were the top priorities. Local concrete countertops with integral concrete sinks complement the locally crafted, certified beechwood cabinetry. Recycled-content products were used for the glass bar front and backsplash, stainless-steel hood, and bar details. Low-VOC adhesives, finishes, and substrates plus nontoxic grouts and sealers sustain a quality indoor environment. European appliances are ISO (International Standards Organization) certified, exceeding Energy Star ratings for energy and water efficiency. Sustainability was paramount right down to the furnishings, which are made of certified wood with low-VOC finishes, recycled-content stainless steel, and washable upholstered seats for the bar stools.Refined eco-master bathThe existing master bath didn’t work. The spaces were disjointed with minimal storage, a small pedestal sink on an exterior wall with a minute mirror, and inadequate lighting, not to mention an outdated design.The homeowners yearned for a cohesive space with increased bath and closet storage, natural light, and updated aesthetics. Reconfiguring the existing space provided them with his/her closets separated by a full bath, with all rooms off a hallway that floods the spaces with natural light and provides easy access to the master bedroom.Green strategies were incorporated throughout the bathroom. Integral-colored earthen-based plaster walls and ceiling allow the surface to breathe, which helps to mitigate potential growth of mold and mildew and supports healthy indoor air quality. A local-glass countertop with integral glass sinks sits on top of certified sycamore custom-wood cabinetry, locally crafted. Low-VOC adhesives, finishes, and substrates plus nontoxic grouts and sealers sustain a quality indoor environment. High-efficiency, low-flow plumbing fixtures and fittings reduce water usage, and an on-demand water heater delivers hot water straight away. A tonal, natural hemp area rug complements the neutral color palette. To preserve the green and healthy interiors, the homeowners use natural cleaning and body products along with organic towels and linens.Deconstructing the homeFor the entire remodel project, we worked with ReSource for architectural salvage and deconstruction support services. Existing building materials that were not reused were responsibly reintroduced to the reclaimed marketplace or donated to local charities. From cabinetry and countertops, to lighting and plumbing fixtures, to doors and hardware, to interior finishes, most everything was repurposed and recycled to local resources. We paid a nominal fee for the deconstruction services, which was offset by not having to pay dumping fees.Environmentally preferable productsRather than asking “How much more will the green renovation cost?” the homeowners understood that the integrated systems designed for optimal performance contribute to saving energy, water, and resources, aligning with the green objectives developed at the onset of the project.They enthusiastically supported the use of ecofriendly products and services in an effort to positively affect the marketplace. Many team discussions determined the environmentally preferable products that would meet our goals, including but not limited to the following criteria:What makes a product green?– Energy and/or water efficient– Healthy, nontoxic materials– Recycled or renewable sources– More efficient or more durable– Recyclable or biodegradableNext time you research products, refer to the Green Product Checklist on the REGREEN website to help in qualifying environmentally preferable products.REGREEN successWe’ve reached a critical mass of practicing sustainability! Today we are renovating homes using sustainable strategies and environmentally preferable products, and working with contractors and trade professionals with extensive green remodeling expertise. Every sustainability step we take is a success, and working alongside clients and project teams that are fully integrated truly is an amazing process. We delve deeper into increasing systems performance, water and energy efficiency, improved indoor environmental quality, and material and resource efficiency, and into respecting the land and the community we live in, creating projects that we can all learn from.A great resource for green remodeling is REGREEN, created through a partnership between the American Society of Interior Designers and the U.S. Green Building Council . These tangible, in-depth best-practice guidelines and targeted educational resources for sustainable residential improvement projects are available through the newly launched REGREEN website.last_img read more

GitHub For Beginners: Don’t Get Scared, Get Started

first_imgIt’s 2013, and there’s no way around it: you need to learn how to use GitHub.Why? Because it’s a social network that has completely changed the way we work. Having started as a developer’s collaborative platform, GitHub is now the largest online storage space of collaborative works that exists in the world. Whether you’re interested in participating in this global mind meld or in researching this massive file dump of human knowledge, you need to be here.See also: GitHub For Beginners: Commit, Push And GoSimply by being a member, you can brush elbows with the likes of Google, Facebook and Calendar. Before GitHub existed, major companies created their knowledge mainly in private. But when you access their GitHub accounts, you’re free to download, study, and build upon anything they add to the network. So what are you waiting for?Looking For GitHub AnswersAs embarrassing as it is to admit, this tutorial came into being because all of the “GitHub for Beginners” articles I read were way over my head. That’s probably because I don’t have a strong programming background, like most GitHub users. I couldn’t identify with the way most tutorials suggest using GitHub, as a showcase for my programming work.See also: Github’s Tom Preston-Werner: How We Went MainstreamWhat you might not know is that there are plenty of reasons to use GitHub if you’re not a programmer. According to GitHub’s educational videos, any knowledge worker can benefit, with “knowledge worker” defined as most any profession that makes use of a computer.If you’ve given up on understanding how to use GitHub, this article is for you.One of the main misconceptions about GitHub is that it’s a development tool, as much a part of coding as computer languages and compilers. However, GitHub itself isn’t much more than a social network like Facebook or Flickr. You build a profile, upload projects to share and connect with other users by “following” their accounts. And while many users store programs and code projects, there’s nothing preventing you from keeping text documents or other file types in your project folders to show off. The author’s Terminal screen on a Mac.GitHub makes Git easier to use in two ways. First, if you download the GitHub software to your computer, it provides a visual interface to help you manage your version-controlled projects locally. Second, creating an account on GitHub.com brings your version-controlled projects to the Web, and ties in social network features for good measure.You can browse other GitHub users’ projects, and even download copies for yourself to alter and learn from. Other users can do the same with your public projects, and even spot errors and suggest fixes. Either way, no data is lost because Git saves a “snapshot” of every change.While it’s possible to use GitHub without learning Git, there’s a big difference between using and understanding. Before I figured out Git I could use GitHub, but I didn’t really understand why. In this tutorial, we’re going to learn to use Git on the command line.Words People Use When They Talk About GitIn this tutorial, there are a few words I’m going to use repeatedly, none of which I’d heard before I started learning. Here’s the big ones:Command Line: The computer program we use to input Git commands. On a Mac, it’s called Terminal. On a PC, it’s a non-native program that you download when you download Git for the first time (we’ll do that in the next section). In both cases, you type text-based commands, known as prompts, into the screen, instead of using a mouse.Repository: A directory or storage space where your projects can live. Sometimes GitHub users shorten this to “repo.” It can be local to a folder on your computer, or it can be a storage space on GitHub or another online host. You can keep code files, text files, image files, you name it, inside a repository.Version Control: Basically, the purpose Git was designed to serve. When you have a Microsoft Word file, you either overwrite every saved file with a new save, or you save multiple versions. With Git, you don’t have to. It keeps “snapshots” of every point in time in the project’s history, so you can never lose or overwrite it.Commit: This is the command that gives Git its power. When you commit, you are taking a “snapshot” of your repository at that point in time, giving you a checkpoint to which you can reevaluate or restore your project to any previous state.Branch: How do multiple people work on a project at the same time without Git getting them confused? Usually, they “branch off” of the main project with their own versions full of changes they themselves have made. After they’re done, it’s time to “merge” that branch back with the “master,” the main directory of the project.Git-Specific CommandsSince Git was designed with a big project like Linux in mind, there are a lot of Git commands. However, to use the basics of Git, you’ll only need to know a few terms. They all begin the same way, with the word “git.”git init: Initializes a new Git repository. Until you run this command inside a repository or directory, it’s just a regular folder. Only after you input this does it accept further Git commands.git config: Short for “configure,” this is most useful when you’re setting up Git for the first time.git help: Forgot a command? Type this into the command line to bring up the 21 most common git commands. You can also be more specific and type “git help init” or another term to figure out how to use and configure a specific git command.git status: Check the status of your repository. See which files are inside it, which changes still need to be committed, and which branch of the repository you’re currently working on.git add: This does not add new files to your repository. Instead, it brings new files to Git’s attention. After you add files, they’re included in Git’s “snapshots” of the repository.git commit: Git’s most important command. After you make any sort of change, you input this in order to take a “snapshot” of the repository. Usually it goes git commit -m “Message here.” The -m indicates that the following section of the command should be read as a message.git branch: Working with multiple collaborators and want to make changes on your own? This command will let you build a new branch, or timeline of commits, of changes and file additions that are completely your own. Your title goes after the command. If you wanted a new branch called “cats,” you’d type git branch cats.git checkout: Literally allows you to “check out” a repository that you are not currently inside. This is a navigational command that lets you move to the repository you want to check. You can use this command as git checkout master to look at the master branch, or git checkout cats to look at another branch.git merge: When you’re done working on a branch, you can merge your changes back to the master branch, which is visible to all collaborators. git merge cats would take all the changes you made to the “cats” branch and add them to the master.git push: If you’re working on your local computer, and want your commits to be visible online on GitHub as well, you “push” the changes up to GitHub with this command.git pull: If you’re working on your local computer and want the most up-to-date version of your repository to work with, you “pull” the changes down from GitHub with this command.Setting Up GitHub And Git For The First Time These Mistakes Can Derail a Legacy Software Con… Creating a local Git repository in three steps.However, your computer now realizes this directory is Git-ready, and you can start inputting Git commands. Now you’ve got both an online and a local repo for your project to live inside. In Part 2 of this series, you will learn how to make your first commit to local and GitHub repositories, and learn about more great GitHub resources.(See also: GitHub For Beginners: Commit, Push And Go) Related Posts Tags:#GitHub#How To#version control Baby’s first Git commands.Creating Your Online RepositoryNow that you’re all set up, it’s time to create a place for your project to live. Both Git and GitHub refer to this as a repository, or “repo” for short, a digital directory or storage space where you can access your project, its files, and all the versions of its files that Git saves.Go back to GitHub.com and click the tiny book icon next to your username. Or, go to the new repository page if all the icons look the same. Give your repository a short, memorable name. Go ahead and make it public just for kicks; why hide your attempt to learn GitHub? GitHub’s signup page.First, you’ll need to sign up for an account on GitHub.com. It’s as simple as signing up for any other social network. Keep the email you picked handy; we’ll be referencing it again soon.You could stop there and GitHub would work fine. But if you want to work on your project on your local computer, you need to have Git installed. In fact, GitHub won’t work on your local computer if you don’t install Git. Install Git for Windows, Mac or Linux as needed. lauren orsini The author’s GitHub page.You may already have a dozen other social media accounts, but here’s why you should be on GitHub anyway: it’s got the best Terms of Service agreement out of the bunch. If you check out Section F of the terms, you’ll see that GitHub does everything in its power to ensure that you retain total ownership of any projects you upload to the site:“We claim no intellectual property rights over the material you provide to the Service. Your profile and materials uploaded remain yours.”What’s more, you can actually use GitHub without knowing ANY code at all. You don’t really need a tutorial to sign up and click around. But I do think that there’s merit to learning things the hard way first, by which I mean, with plain old coding in Git. After all, GitHub just happens to be one of the most effortless graphical interfaces for the Git programming language.What Is Git?Thank famed software developer Linus Torvalds for Git, the software that runs at the heart of GitHub. (And while you’re at it, go ahead thank him for the Linux operating system, too.) Git is version control software, which means it manages changes to a project without overwriting any part of that project. And it’s not going away anytime soon, particularly since Torvalds and his fellow kernel developers employ Git to help develop the core kernel for Linux.Why use something like Git? Say you and a coworker are both updating pages on the same website. You make your changes, save them, and upload them back to the website. So far, so good. The problem comes when your coworker is working on the same page as you at the same time. One of you is about to have your work overwritten and erased.A version control application like Git keeps that from happening. You and your coworker can each upload your revisions to the same page, and Git will save two copies. Later, you can merge your changes together without losing any work along the way. You can even revert to an earlier version at any time, because Git keeps a “snapshot” of every change ever made.The problem with Git is that it’s so ancient that we have to use the command line—or Terminal if you’re a Mac user—in order to access it, typing in snippets of code like ‘90s hackers. This can be a difficult proposition for modern computer users. That’s where GitHub comes in. Creating a new repository on GitHub.Don’t worry about clicking the checkbox next to “Initialize this repository with a README.” A Readme file is usually a text file that explains a bit about the project. But we can make our own Readme file locally for practice.Click the green “Create Repository” button and you’re set. You now have an online space for your project to live in.Creating Your Local RepositorySo we just made a space for your project to live online, but that’s not where you’ll be working on it. The bulk of your work is going to be done on your computer. So we need to actually mirror that repository we just made as a local directory.This—where we do some heavy command line typing—is the part of every Git tutorial that really trips me up, so I’m going to go tediously, intelligence-insultingly slow.First type:mkdir ~/MyProjectmkdir is short for make directory. It’s not actually a Git command, but a general navigational command from the time before visual computer interfaces. The ~/ ensures that we’re building the repository at the top level of your computer’s file structure, instead of stuck inside some other directory that would be hard to find later. Actually, if you type ~/ into your browser window, it’ll bring up your local computer’s top level directory. For me, using Chrome on a Mac, it displays my Users folder.Also, notice that I called it MyProject, the very same name I called my GitHub repository that we made earlier. Keep your name consistent, too.Next, type:cd ~/MyProjectcd stands for change directory, and it’s also a navigational command. We just made a directory, and now we want to switch over to that directory and go inside it. Once we type this command, we are transported inside MyProject.Now we’re finally using a Git command. For your next line, type:git initYou know you’re using a Git command because it always begins with git. init stands for “initialize.” Remember how the previous two commands we typed were general command-line terms? When we type this code in, it tells the computer to recognize this directory as a local Git repository. If you open up the folder, it won’t look any different, because this new Git directory is a hidden file inside the dedicated repository. Leveraging Big Data that Data Websites Should T… Why Your Company’s Tech Transformation Starts W… http://git-scm.com/, where you download Git.Now it’s time to go over to the command line. On Windows, that means starting the Git Bash app you just installed, and on OS X, it’s regular old Terminal. It’s time to introduce yourself to Git. Type in the following code:git config –global user.name “Your Name Here”Of course, you’ll need to replace “Your Name Here” with your own name in quotations. It can be your legal name, your online handle, anything. Git doesn’t care, it just needs to know to whom to credit commits and future projects.Next, tell it your email and make sure it’s the same email you used when you signed up for a GitHub.com account just a moment ago. Do it like this:git config –global user.email “[email protected]”That’s all you need to do to get started using Git on your computer. However, since you did set up a GitHub.com account, it’s likely you don’t just want to manage your project locally, but also online. If you want you can also set up Git so it doesn’t ask you to log in to your GitHub.com account every time you want to talk to it. For the purposes of this tutorial, it isn’t a big deal since we’ll only be talking to it once. The full tutorial to do this, however, is located on GitHub. How AI is Learning to Play with Wordslast_img read more

9 months agoAgent reveals Juventus serious about buying Ramsey this month

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Agent reveals Juventus serious about buying Ramsey this monthby Carlos Volcano9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveItalian agent Andrea Boscolo has revealed Juventus are attempting to sign Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey this month.Juve and Ramsey have settled on Bosman terms, with the Welshman happy to move to Turin in June when his Gunners deal expires.However, Boscolo has confirmed reports of Juve wanting to buy Ramsey immediately to take part in the remainder of their Champions League campaign.He told TMW: “I know that Juventus are trying to get him now because he could be important for the Champions League, he is an experienced player who will not have difficulty entering the Italian league and (coach Max) Allegri’s tactical board. “The ideal position is a midfielder that is good for the two phases, like (Claudio) Marchisio: he can assist and score, he can give something more to the Juventus midfield.” last_img read more

Interview How Smart Are Your Ships

first_imgBecoming “smart” in the shipping industry has been a hot topic over the recent period as the rise of technology promises to unlock numerous benefits, ranging from cost cutting to improved productivity and effectiveness.Smart containers, smart ships, smart ports are the buzzwords being repeated on a daily basis. But the question is: how to make a smart decision when choosing the right technological solution for one’s fleet or business operation?To help answer that question, the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) has issued Guidance Notes on Smart Function Implementation to help owners use technology to achieve their operational targets.Smart technology is aimed at helping collect, process, and perform advanced data analytics, in order to allow the people using that technology to make more informed decisions.Image Courtesy: ABSCommenting on the launching of the guidance, Derek Novak, Senior Vice President, Engineering and Technology, ABS, told World Maritime News that the key goal was to recognize “that the industry is embarking on a journey towards smart functionality, with more smart equipment and systems being installed on vessels every day.”The drivers from the industry that prompted drafting of the notes are twofold, according to Novak.“Owners and operators want guidance to enable them to truly take advantage of the technology on their vessels to improve operational performance, asset maintenance, or to have a less intrusive class experience. The driver from the equipment manufacturers, who are putting their products on board the vessels, is that they want recognition from class that allows for owners and operators to easily realize the benefits of the technology that they have placed on their assets,” he said.“If you are building ships or buying modern second-hand tonnage, then ABS can look at what you have on board and help you take advantage of that equipment. A big part of that is being able to adopt technology and have confidence in what it can do for you. It’s not expensive, certainly not to get started and this kind of technology is increasingly going to be found on ships coming out of yard as standard equipment.”Hence, smart functionality is not intended only for the big players. According to Novak, it’s more about the mindset of taking the technology you may already have and work out how to make that technology fit your goals.Main Concerns of Owners and OperatorsFor some owners, the use of new technology can be overwhelming and they don’t know where to get started, Novak continues.“We have seen a spectrum within the industry and there are many owners who are interested in using technology to their advantage and are trying to figure out how to get smart functions on board.“The process to implement these technologies needs to be flexible to allow for further advances, but to get the process started we suggest that the owners have a specific goal in mind, for example to improve operational efficiency, to make surveys less intrusive, or to improve performance of the asset overall.“We work with owners through a process one step at a time to leverage the technology; that’s our unique approach. What we provide is a well-designed framework that will let them set and achieve their goals.The idea of the guidance is to take owners to a place where they can leverage technology today to meet the defined goals of their businessIn addition to setting the goal you want to achieve and choosing the right equipment to do so, there are potential downsides to improper implementation of the technology. Basically, there is a risk that an owner will not get the benefit out of the technology they have bought.“It can happen, especially where systems are very complex. The main reason why we see this issue is companies not understanding what they want the technology to do for them; they do not have a goal in place. As we’ve said, just paying for technology is not going to help, when what they really need is a plan.“Nobody puts digital technology on a ship just because it’s interesting; we’re not in an environment where owners have that luxury. If one buys equipment with state-of-the-art technology they should expect to have it work in their favor. For us it’s a process of helping owners to set a goal, to use the technology to achieve that specific goal.”Is the Industry Ready to Embrace Smart Shipping?Novak believes that a considerable portion of the industry is ready to embrace smart shipping and for some straightforward reasons.“We are living in an era of increasingly demanding regulation and that is driving the collection and reporting of data that has a ‘smart’ element. Secondly, the industry increasingly understands how to use technology to find value and benefit to their operations, so they are moving in the right direction,” he pointed out.Over time, as the benefits of the technology become embedded, Novak believes flag states and regulators may recognize that having this information available could provide some equivalency to the way that requirements are being fulfilled now.“There will be early adopters who get in there first and pick up the opportunity more rapidly but in the long-term, smart functionality is a philosophy the industry will squarely get behind,” he added.As explained, smart functionality is part of the industry’s journey to autonomy.“Years ago most vessels were pretty basic in terms of data technology and humans made a majority of the decisions,” he said.“Now we’re at the stage of collecting and analyzing data so that humans can make better decisions: that’s ‘smart’. If you look at the world we are heading towards, the next step is semi-autonomous where the machines can take decisions with humans providing oversight and intervention.”The last step is full autonomy, and for that, “we are going to need a lot more information about operations and maintenance,” according to Novak.“To get down that path, you really need to take that step fully into smart before you can truly go towards autonomy.”Can BigData Live Up to the Hype Seen Over the Recent Period?“For us, avoiding the hype and gaining the benefit of big data is all about focusing on what you need to know. You can collect data from many different locations but it’s the value it provides and the information it delivers that contributes to better decisions,” Novak said.“If you don’t understand why you’re looking into operational data then yes, it could be a lot of hype. If you want certain questions answered and you want data to help you with those goals, that’s when big data can be a huge asset.“Let’s not forget we are in the era of IMO 2020 and looking ahead to the IMO’s requirements for carbon emissions reductions after 2030 and 2050. We are going to need to collect and analyse a lot of data – much more than we have now – on vessel operations if we are going to be able to meet a challenge on that scale.”Interview by Jasmina Ovcina Mandralast_img read more

Rep Howrylak participates in billsigning honoring fallen Troy police officer

first_img Categories: Howrylak News,News PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Martin Howrylak, of Troy, this week joined Gov. Rick Snyder for the ceremonial signing of his bill to rename a portion of Interstate 75 in the city of Troy as Officer Martin ‘Marty’ Chivas Memorial Highway. Chivas was killed in 1974 while investigating a burglary at a gas station on Rochester Road and I-75. Chivas was only 24 years old. House Bill 4191 is Public Act 53 of 2018. Standing, from left to right, are Retired Troy Police Officer Mike Kerr; Ray Watts, assistant to Rep. Howrylak; Rep. Howrylak; Troy Police Officer Brenna Yunkari; Troy Police Officer Ben Hancock; Troy Police Officer John Julian; and Troy Police Captain Tom Gordon.### 07Sep Rep. Howrylak participates in bill-signing honoring fallen Troy police officerlast_img read more

School officials have issued warnings to parents a

first_imgSchool officials have issued warnings to parents ahead of the second season of the Netflix drama “13 Reasons Why,” which premieres this week. The first season, which centered on the suicide of a high school student, triggered cautions from the National Association of School Psychologists. Netflix has responded to concerns by adding PSA-style messages filmed by the cast and putting up a web site with links to resources.The national attention comes at a time when, new research suggests, one in five teens may have considered suicide. And school leaders are starting to recognize that they have a lifesaving role to play.Suicide is the second leading cause of death for teenagers. And experts argue it’s more than just an individual mental health issue. It’s a public health issue, affected by the web of relationships that exists in the place where most teenagers spend more waking hours than anywhere else.Take a new study published in the journal Pediatrics. Rami Benbenishty, Ron Avi Astor and Ilan Roziner analyzed hundreds of thousands of high school students’ responses to the California Healthy Kids Survey, which students take in grades 5, 7, 9 and 11 across the state. It asks a range of questions about topics like bullying and feelings of belonging.On average, one in five students answered “yes” to the question, “During the past 12 months, did you ever seriously consider suicide?”This is known as “suicidal ideation” and is an important indicator of someone who might be seriously depressed, anxious, stressed or who may actually attempt suicide.This study was the first using this survey to look at rates of suicidal ideation within schools. The study was repeated across two waves of the survey, for extra reliability.Suicidal ideation rates ranged widely across schools in the study, from a low of 4 percent to a high of 67 percent. At the high end, that’s 2 out of 3 students considering ending their lives.Schools with higher reported levels of victimization, such as bullying and fighting, had higher rates of suicidal ideation as well. So did schools with higher rates of victimization linked to discrimination — where students were targeted for their race, gender or sexual orientation. So did schools with more girls — girls tend to report a higher level of suicidal ideation generally.And here’s what the study authors found most important: These school characteristics accounted for an individual’s risk of thinking about suicide twice as much as the observable characteristics of the individual.”What this means is that we can understand the phenomenon of suicidal ideation far more when we include all the school factors,” Ron Avi Astor, a professor at the University of Southern California, told NPR.And that implies, the authors wrote in the paper, that “it is possible that certain school characteristics either enhance or buffer the influence of individual characteristics.”These findings are new. And they have a few different implications for policy, Astor told NPR. First, the wide range in rates of suicidal ideation, from 4 to 67 percent, suggests resources ought to be targeted to those schools at the high end of that range.Second, he said, suicide prevention should go hand in hand with other school-climate efforts targeting bullying and discrimination. “We need a new type of setting-oriented intervention around climate, welcoming, warmth, community,” he says.Prevention and postventionCalifornia is one state that’s focusing more attention on this issue. After a series of high-profile clusters of student suicides in northern and central California, the state passed a law mandating schools to establish suicide prevention, intervention and “postvention” programs. Postvention refers to the steps a school takes after a loss.Doreen Marshall is a psychologist with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Her group just released a new edition of a toolkit for schools: “After a Suicide.” It focuses on postvention and preventing contagion.”Adolescents really look to their peers for signals on how to be in the world,” Marshall says. “When they lose a peer by suicide, kids may identify with the person who died.”The core insights here echo Astor’s study: Suicide needs to be thought of as an environmental risk, not just an individual mental health issue. And, schools can help. The toolkit’s recommendations include:Put an appropriate time limit on spontaneous memorials, including online message boards or shrines at school, to avoid glamorizing or romanticizing the student who died.Be sensitive to cultural differences in attitudes toward death and the morality of suicide.Communications to the media should include warning signs, information about community resources and messages of hope and recovery.Share accurate information on social media, to stop rumors.Use social media to share resources, promote prevention and to respond to rumors and to students who may be at risk.”Schools need to have suicide on their radar,” Marshall sums up. “At any given moment there are students in their school who are having suicidal thoughts, who are engaging in suicidal behaviors. We want schools, as the gatekeepers beyond families, to be mindful.”Responding to students in EscondidoKimberly Israel is a coordinator of community outreach for the Escondido Union School District, a K-8 district in northern San Diego County. The district is part of a consortium working with Astor’s research team at USC to apply research to school climate and safety.Her middle school students report a suicidal ideation rate slightly higher than the average — between 19 and 25 percent over the last several years.”When you start to calculate that out, it’s a lot,” she says. “You start thinking of actual students, it’s just this kind of sad reality.”They haven’t yet been successful in changing the percentage of students who report thinking about suicide in Escondido. But, Israel says, there are other indicators of the positive impact they’re having.In response, over the last decade, Escondido has increased its investment in social and emotional services and providers. “We decided about six years ago that our goal was to get our kids to understand the resources available to them,” Israel says, “not only for their time in school, but as they continue on in college and beyond.”To that end, every sixth-grader gets classroom-based lessons on depression awareness and suicide prevention. Parents are offered a free class at the same time, and teachers are regularly re-trained on spotting risk factors.The district strengthened its relationships with community mental health providers, including those who serve low-income families.And just about every day, says Israel, a staff member at one of the district’s 23 schools is doing a formal risk assessment or an informal screening on a student who’s been identified by herself, a peer, a family member or a staff or faculty member as being potentially at risk for suicide.In a formal risk assessment, parents are notified and a referral is made to services inside or outside the school. Or, if the need is severe enough, a student may be recommended for hospitalization or even committed involuntarily.As a result, more students are receiving mental health services. Students report feeling safer and more connected to school. Student behavior is better.They do all this with 27 social workers, 10 school counselors and a handful of school psychologists, plus their community agency partners — for 16,000 students.”It’s not big on paper,” Israel says, but the ratio of students to providers compares favorably with other districts in the county (and across the country, for that matter).Across the schools that Astor’s team studies, moving the needle on suicidal ideation has been tough, he says. “Our whole way of thinking as a society is focused on the individual level rather than the setting level.”Districts like Escondido have “great resources” to respond to threats once they’re made known, but “it makes lots of sense that even gold standard districts have a hard time lowering this earlier warning flag.”He said that his new study suggests creating schools were fewer students are bullied, and paying attention to student composition, could start to improve prevention efforts. But, more research is needed. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

The Hot Zone a sixpart National Geographic minis

first_imgThe Hot Zone, a six-part National Geographic miniseries that premieres Monday night, is based on a true story about Ebola. In 1989, a shipment of monkeys from the Philippines arrived at a private commercial lab in Reston, Va. The intention was to use the macaques for testing. Only many of them died.The lab wrapped infected monkey cells in aluminum foil and shipped them in a box to the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), in Frederick, Md.The eventual finding: The monkeys had Ebola – a strain that came to be known as Ebola-Reston and that is, as it turns out, the only known strain of the potentially fatal virus that is not thought to be lethal in humans.Thomas Geisbert, then an intern at USAMRIID, was a member of the team investigating the virus. As a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Texas, he continues working with viruses like Ebola.National Geographic is hedging about accuracy — it says the series was “inspired” by the 1989 events. And they are airing a documentary on Wednesday at 11 p.m. about the virus: “Going Viral.”Nonetheless, at a time when Ebola is still in the headlines, with an ongoing outbreak in Democratic Republic of the Congo, we wanted to assess how the miniseries tackles the virus. What does it get right? What does it get wrong? So we asked Geisbert to critique and fact-check.Geisbert says he’s sure the series “may be entertaining for the general public, but it is quite flawed in terms of any historical accuracy and there are numerous scientific flaws.” A few of the flaws:No blisters. In the opening scenes, a man in an African town becomes ill and breaks out in multiple large blisters all over his face. A doctor ultimately diagnoses him with Marburg, a viral cousin to Ebola. But while Marburg and Ebola can cause a rash, they wouldn’t cause marble-size blisters as the show portrays, says Geisbert.Dr. Jaax didn’t ID the virus. Nancy Jaax, a U.S. army veterinary pathologist (played by Emmy winner Julianna Margulies) is depicted as identifying the virus. In fact, Geisbert says humbly, he was the one who identified the strain along with Peter Jahrling, then a medical officer at USAMRIID and now chief of the Emerging Viral Pathogens Section of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (He’s played by Topher Grace of That ’70s Show fame.) While Geisbert is named in the book on which the TV show is based, he’s not a character in the miniseries.Culturing clash. “Medically speaking Nancy is a veterinary pathologist not a virologist or microbiologist,” says Geisbert. “The whole sequence of events where she is trying to culture the virus is a joke. Pathologists don’t do — that virologists do.” Ebola-Reston can’t make humans sick. In the miniseries, a worker at the monkey lab gets sick and is taken to the hospital, seemingly because of his exposure to infected monkeys. In fact, one lab worker did get sick but the issue was his diabetes, says Geisbert, who adds that workers exposed to the strain did develop antibodies to Ebola as a result.Glove goof. Nancy Jaax is wearing protective gear as she works to identify the virus in the TV show. She comes in contact with Ebola-infected monkey blood despite wearing gloves – and the blood touches an open wound. She did in fact have a glove issue in another case but not when investigating Ebola-Reston, says Geisbert. What’s more, in the TV series she is quickly given the all-clear but at that time, says Geisbert, she would have had to be quarantined for at least days and possibly weeks while awaiting test results if there had in fact been exposure to the virus.Despite the inaccuracies he saw in the series, Geisbert says, “I do think raising public awareness [of Ebola] is not a bad thing.”And he was gratified by the positive depiction of USAMRIID. “The miniseries does showcase people who devoted their lives to science,” he says. “You may not get much accurate science, but you may say, ‘Wow, that’s a cool thing to do when I grow up. And that’s a good thing.”Fran Kritz is a health policy reporter based in Washington, D.C. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post and Kaiser Health News. Find her on Twitter @FranKritz Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

Last October Ayanda erected a prefabricated shack

first_imgLast October, Ayanda erected a prefabricated shack made of corrugated zinc sheets nailed to a wooden frame on a hillside in South African wine country outside the town of Stellenbosch. The “bungalow,” as he calls it, cost him about $335. The 29-year-old father of a 3-year-old son, he had been living with his extended family in the crowded Kayamandi township down the hill. But he wanted his own space.So he put up his shack just outside the township.On land that he did not own.(Ayanda asked that his last name not be used because of concern that his living situation could harm his job prospects.)Ayanda’s shack is one of some 1,400 illegally built homes on the Watergang property, a wine farm. It belongs to a trust held by members of the Smit family, which has owned farmland in the area for generations. The squatters are part of a growing attempt to force land reform in South Africa, where black citizens were barred from owning land in nearly 90 percent of the country during apartheid. Since Nelson Mandela took office in 1994, each leader of South Africa has promised — and failed — to make land ownership more equitable. Now, activists like Midas Wanana, a leader of the squat, say it’s time to take more radical steps.”The white people grabbed the land, so the land belongs to the black people, not the white people,” says Wanana.It’s not just a grassroots movement. Newly re-elected president Cyril Ramaphosa has pledged to amend the constitution to enable the government to seize land from private, predominantly white, owners and give it to black South Africans. “It is going to be done within our constitution,” he said, aiming to reassure landowners. “It’s not going to be land grabs.”Nonetheless there is rising tension over the issue of land reform. In early June, Stefan Smit, one of the owners of the Watergang farm, was murdered in his house. Police have not yet solved the case.A Squatter’s Life Ayanda’s life reflects the unfulfilled promise of a new South Africa. Born in the rural Eastern Cape, he moved to Kayamandi when he was 12.The township began as a segregated community for black South Africans who worked in Stellenbosch factories and the nearby vineyards. As more people moved in, they built crude shacks. The government has upgraded some residents to brick homes, but in recent years the population exploded as migrants flowed in from across the nation and neighboring countries like Zimbabwe.Living in a shack behind his grandfather’s government-built house, Ayanda hoped to upgrade his living conditions. He wanted his own home for his girlfriend and their son. His resources were slim, and housing was expensive.But there was vacant land just next door to Kayamandi — the Watergang property. “We were told that it’s a vineyard land,” Ayanda says. “But that land has been unutilized for more than 15 years.”The first squatters arrived in May of 2018. A few months later, Ayanda joined them. He said he hoped that by staying on the land for months, he and the others might push the Stellenbosch municipality to formalize the squat and build infrastructure for water and electricity.”That means the municipality can give us an official go-ahead” to live on the land, he says. It would mean he could stay there for good, he says. “I hope that can happen very soon.”In the meantime, Ayanda’s prospects of buying his own house have shrunk after his job as a contract security guard ended in March.’I fear for my life’A short drive from Ayanda’s shack, within view of majestic Simonsberg Mountain, is the Louiesenhof Wine Estate. Here, Stefan Smit produced sauvignon blanc, the local red pinotage and brandy. On the vineyard website, he wrote that his great grandfather bought the land in 1896. On a May afternoon, birds chirped on the wooden deck of a tasting room when NPR visited the property. Smit declined an interview.His lawyer, Ernest Van Staden, confirmed that the land was not being cultivated when the first illegal residents arrived in May 2018.Smit got a restraining order that barred more squatters from moving onto his land. The police broke down the squatters’ shacks with the help of the Red Ants, a private company specializing in evictions. Smit noted in his court papers that all was quiet until late July, when a worker alerted him that the land invasion had resumed.”Within a matter of minutes a great number of shacks had been erected,” Smit stated in his court documents.This time, local authorities refused to evict the squatters. The trespassers had dragged mattresses and furniture into their shacks, giving them the status of residents entitled to protection under a law designed to prevent unlawful eviction.In August, Smit filed an eviction application to the High Court of South Africa. “Any attempts made to access the property to speak or negotiate with the occupants is impossible as I fear for my life,” Smith noted in his documents. Further, he wrote, “the occupants are in no way bona fide and are … driven by political beliefs.”The court sided with Smit and ordered the squatters off his property by December 2018 under penalty of forcible eviction.”January came. They didn’t vacate,” Van Staden says. He forwarded NPR a text message he said Smit received, which read, “yu steel our land we [burn] u alife before court day.”Van Staden says eventually Smit gave up the battle. He sold the occupied farmland to the Stellenbosch municipality and negotiated roughly $3 million for about 150 acres.Smit quietly concluded the deal in late April, Van Staden says.An unsolved killingThen, on the first Sunday in June, just before 7 p.m., four armed men walked through an unlocked door into Smit’s home, South African police say. They shot and killed Smit. His wife and a friend were present during the attack.Wanana, the activist, condemned the shooting.”We’re feeling shame for Mr. Smit,” Wanana says. “He has a family to look after.”Wanana dismissed claims the killing had anything to do with the land invasion – or he insisted that it was not a reason to stop future land invasions.Ivan Meyer, the minister of agriculture for the Western Cape province that includes Stellenbosch, told reporters he saw a tie between a recent spate of farm attacks – Smit was the second wine farmer killed this spring — and the debate over President Ramaphosa’s proposed amendment for land reform.”Irresponsible statements by certain political parties have absolutely contributed to this increase in farm attacks,” Meyer said, “specifically as it relates to expropriation without compensation.”He called for ramping up rural security in Cape Town.Professor Ruth Hall at the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies at the University of the Western Cape, believes that the land reform debate has triggered more land invasions.”A lot of people have said this debate has given them courage to start to occupy land, to take matters into their own hands,” Hall says.’Never Be Able … To Address the Backlog’Stellenbosch municipal manager Geraldine Mettler handled negotiations to purchase Smit’s land, and she acknowledges “that took longer than anticipated.”Now, she says the municipality will build housing for the poor on land it purchased from Smit. But Mettler says under the best of circumstances, she could only provide homes for 1,000 families on the land purchased, and they would be selected according to their position on a waitlist of 22,000 people. To house the rest of the waiting list will take a tortuous process of buying land, securing planning permission and building homes.”We will never be able, if we are going to give housing in the current form … to address the backlog,” she says.Mettler says many of the squatters on Smit’s land were not on the waiting list or were far down in line. Meanwhile, some people have been waiting for ten years or longer.”We cannot have a situation where people jump the queue,” she says. “It’s unfair to the people who are legitimately on the housing backlog list for years.”A Precarious SituationThe people living illegally on what was Stefan Smit’s land have renamed it Azania – a name black nationalists have suggested to replace the name South Africa.Women in the squatting community carry buckets of water on their heads uphill because their homes have no running water. The sound of hammering echoes across the hillside. Bright-colored laundry hangs over fences. One shack has been converted into a grocery shop.Wanana, the activist, says he sees a possible blueprint in the Azania land invasion.”If Stellenbosch is not going to get more serious about the land,” he says — if the municipality continues to act in a way that he believes is ignoring the housing needs of the poor and favoring private owners, there will be more squatting. “We are going to start now to take the land. We are going to take more.”President Ramaphosa continues to emphasize land reform. In his State of the Nation Address on June 20, he noted that he commissioned a report on the issue as a step in drafting the constitutional amendment enabling land expropriation. And he says his administration will speed up efforts to release public land for housing and farming and has allocated about $270 million to help black commercial farmers get training and target their goods for export.Ramaphosa said these changes might chip away at the effects of the 1913 law that restricted black land ownership.”Our people suffered gravely and endured untold hardships as a result of the implementation of the Natives Land Act,” he said. The effects of that law, he added, “are still present with us.”As for Ayanda, he remains nervous about his precarious living situation. He sleeps on a twin mattress that he has pushed to the corner so it won’t get too wet when rain drips in through his roof. He keeps his clothes in the large cardboard box of a washing machine. When the weather is not too windy or rainy, his girlfriend and son sleep in the shack with him.”We are still skeptical of renovating and putting proper things,” he says. “We don’t know when they can come and demolish the shacks.” Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more