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Poisoning the mind

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article What are the psychological consequences following chemicalpoisoning or exposure? OH practitioners often acknowledge the problem, but findthere is no uniform judicial approach and little information available, by AlanCare There is clearly a difference between a chemical exposure causing physical(organic) chemical poisoning given a sufficient dose, and an exposure tochemicals that may only cause a short-lived acute adverse reaction withpsychological overlay. Chemical exposure inevitably causes psychological harm and injury for themajority of individuals who are exposed to toxic substances and in many cases,the psychological reaction may far outweigh the original physical chemicalreaction. For example, a chemical exposure causing only a headache may lead toa lifetime of psychological worry and anxiety. An example of a classic industrial disease of chemical poisoning causingchronic long-term damage would be a high-dose exposure to benzene, triggeringleukaemia. The condition will be physically life threatening, and obviously theindividual will also suffer a considerable amount of anxiety. However, in many cases, the individual may only be exposed to a chemical, ora combination of chemicals, that should not – according to toxicologicalunderstanding – result in an adverse chronic illness. But often we see thoseindividuals ‘fall apart’, unable to return to work or recover any normalsemblance of life prior to the exposure. Some individuals may become obsessed about their exposure and carry outextensive research into diseases and chemicals to the nth degree, which mayconsiderably add to their anxiety. With easy access to information via theinternet – where although there are some useful websites, there are many othersof dubious quality – this situation is becoming increasingly common. In the courts, the expectation as to a ‘normal’ reaction of the individualto a chemical poisoning or exposure seems to start from what would be thereaction of the reasonable man or woman. The older expression was, ‘is thatperson of average phlegm and fortitude?’ In theory, the judge always determines the individual’s reaction to a toxicevent or exposure with the help of expert opinion. But in reality, theirdecision is entirely subjective. Is this the best that can be achieved? How dothe majority of chemical poisoning victims react to their exposure to hazardousand toxic substances? The ‘right’ reaction The reaction to chemical exposure may vary – the victim may just shrug theirshoulders and move on. But from my 20 years experience in dealing with suchcases, the far more common reaction is moderate to severe anxiety. Some arefrightened witless. And for many, coming to terms with their exposure and anyacute injury or harm is more than they can cope with. So why do individuals often respond so profoundly to toxic exposure? TheATSDR1, the leading Disease Registry in Atlanta, states: “Unlike thedamage and injuries caused by a natural disaster, many toxic substances areinvisible to the senses. This invisibility results in feelings of uncertainty.People cannot be sure without instrumentation if they have been exposed to atoxin and how much they have been exposed. “Also, due to the time lag between exposure and the appearance of achronic disease [for example mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure] itis very difficult to relate past exposure to subsequent disease. “Health outcomes are therefore uncertain and leave individuals with aloss of control. Two areas where people have the most difficulty coping arewith uncertainty and loss of control”. Or is it all in their heads? In another study, a physical rather thanpsychological effect may be the sole cause, as was argued by one expert. Theyreported that a small scale study of Gulf War veterans who complained ofdizziness showed that some of them had brain damage similar to that found invictims of the 1995 Tokyo subway nerve gas attack. Or, as Dr Roland commented,”In other words, these people are not faking it and they are not stressedout”.2 Interestingly, a 1997 report following up the Sarin nerve agent attack byterrorists on the Tokyo subway on 20 March 1995 – two years earlier – statedthat post-incident, 60 per cent of 610 individuals were affected even three tosix months later by psychological sequelae and PTSD (Post Traumatic SyndromeDisorder) type problems. The disease centre in Atlanta has also stated: “A second significantpoint made was that the majority of the responses people have to exposure totoxic substances are normal, that is, normal people behaving normally in anabnormal situation.” It is this central issue, ‘normal people behaving normally in an abnormalsituation’ that has not yet been fully addressed, and at present is only subjectivelydetermined. What exactly is our understanding of acting normally in an abnormalsituation? Some will be less than sympathetic and say ‘get a grip’; ‘move on’; ‘thereis no connection between your present symptoms and the chemical exposure, it isall in your mind’. This is very much so when there is clear scientific andmedical evidence that the exposure could only result in trivial consequencesand the individual has in effect over reacted. But what is a ‘normal’ or reasonable overreaction to poisoning or exposure.Who defines susceptibility? As an example, a worker for a local council was exposed to 1 nml above theaction level for Lindane, an organo-chlorine pesticide. This was anextraordinarily small exposure. However, on his enquiry of the Health &Safety Executive (HSE) as to Lindane and its effects, he received reams ofinformation with which he frankly could not cope. Suffering sweats and hightemperatures, he took to his bed for years, only venturing out of his bed tolay on his couch, and rarely going outside. A toxicologist will say that 1 nml would only have a trivial effect. But apsychiatric condition was diagnosed and he received substantial damages in anout-of-court settlement. In the unreported case of Ashton v ICI High Court, Manchester 21 May 1992,Mr Justice Rose awarded damages of £10,000 for pain, suffering and loss ofamenity to Mr Ashton. He had suffered severe anxiety believing that he wouldcontract cancer having been exposed to Vinyl Chloride Monomer – a cause ofangiosarcoma cancer of the liver. The consultant psychiatrist Dr Cashman stated in the judgement in hisopinion: “The plaintiff has a chronic reactive anxiety depression causedby his apprehensive concern about developing the fatal disease, namely ASL dueto VSM”. Mr Justice Rose stated: “In my judgement, the plaintiff’s reaction wasof the same kind as that of other members of the workforce, although clearlyits extent was greater than that suffered by others. He was more susceptiblethan some to psychiatric diseases. But this does not mean that psychiatricdiseases were not reasonably foreseeable”. Therefore in this case, even though Mr Ashton had not suffered any physicalinjury at all, his fear of cancer was enough to result in an award of damages. Group exposure In group or multi-party chemical exposure cases, a similar situation mayoccur – they will become consumed by anxiety. Again, this is recognised by thecourts, and as long a recognisable psychiatric injury has occurred – forexample PTSD – damages may be awarded for the psychological sequelae as well asfor the physical acute injuries caused by the exposure. In many cases, the strict PTSD criteria may not be met, but the individualmay be clearly affected by the severest form of anxiety. PTSD is strictlydefined according to a classification system. It can be argued that wheresudden chemical exposure occurs, those exposed only become aware of thepossible risk factors involved after the actual exposure has taken place.Therefore although the chemical exposure will not give rise to traumaticmemories at the time, it is the post-incident anxiety caused by worrying aboutfuture consequences that has the debilitating effect. That individual may well have previously had an ‘ordinary’ lifestyle that isnow completely in tatters, so it is surely the case that other ‘post-traumatic’type psychological illnesses do come into play. Group dynamics may well play a part in increasing anxiety among the group,particularly if it is large and the chemical concerned becomes a focus of mediaattention. A poisoned individual may find it difficult to gain recognition anda chemical poisoning diagnosis (some say it is impossible) and suffers allalone, while a group may well discuss their collective problems at length, increasingtheir anxiety. Inevitably, there will be symptom comparisons. Thus normal occurrences suchas headaches and gastro-intestinal problems formerly accepted as a part oflife, suddenly develop sinister overtones as they become ‘proof’ of chemicalpoisoning. In one such unreported case, a bag containing a mercaptan – which is addedto North Sea gas to provide a warning smell for leaks – broke open in afactory. This chemical has a low toxicity profile, but has an incredibly foulsmell. At that time, local children coincidentally suffered tummy upsets, whichthe local physician described as probable summer diarrhoea. However, this ledto a multi-party action for damages by concerned parents. Again, fear of theeffects of the chemicals upon the long-term health of their children andthemselves clearly became the parents’ major concern, far outreaching anyphysical reality of harm by the chemical. But how far does one take this reaction and anxiety? To return to Mr JusticeRoses’ comments as to susceptibility, there are increasing numbers ofindividuals and a growing body of medical literature3 highlighting MultipleChemical Sensitivity (MCS). MCS sufferers claim that often a single low-dosechemical exposure event – particularly pesticides and petrochemicals – willtrigger their susceptibility ever more to even lower chemical exposures causingdisablement. This aspect has been considered by Graveling and his colleagues4 (Health& Safety Executive-funded research) who stated: “Éthe collatedevidence suggests that MCS does exist although its prevalence seems to beexaggerated”. However, this view remains highly controversial and has been severelycriticised in certain quarters. It is perhaps fair to say that the battle linesare drawn between those who support MCS, and those who don’t. Conclusion This article is not intended to understate or underplay the physical effectsupon human health of chemicals where clearly injuries, illness and even deathmay occur. However, failure to recognise that individuals will reactdifferently – sometimes exceptionally and excessively – in the face of what isproven both medically and scientifically to be a low toxicity chemical or lowdose of such a chemical, surely misses the point. Again, the Atlanta Disease Registry discussions are prescient in statingthat individuals do not necessarily understand, agree with or work within theparameters of scientists. The public have also lost considerable faith in most‘experts’ – particularly government experts post BSE – and the old adage thatthe ‘doctor knows best’ is no longer widely accepted. To the affected individual the reality is simple: they have been poisoned orexposed. They were previously healthy, and now they are not. What is thecourt’s definitive approach to a reasonable reaction in such an abnormalsituation and how does the court decide causation in the absence of evidenceother than individual (or group) subjective symptoms. How is the court to judgethose individuals who genuinely cling on to their belief of illness, despitescientific evidence to the contrary? Perhaps the judgment in Page v Smith Houseof Lords provides some answers. “Applying the principle that the defendant had to take his victim as hefound him…it was irrelevant that the defendant could not have foreseen thatthe plaintiff had an ‘eggshell personality’ since (per Lord Browne-Wilkinson)it was established by medical science that psychiatric illness could besuffered as a consequence of an accident although not demonstrably attributabledirectly to physical injury to the Plaintiff”.5 Alan Care, of Thomson Snell & Passmore solicitors, specialises inchemical poisoning personal injury claims and is co-ordinator of theAssociation of Person Injury Lawyers (APIL) Environment Special Interest Group References 1. ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry) ExecutiveSummary Report on the Psychological Responses to Hazardous substances – websitelast updated 22 9 2000 (workshop discussion and consideration of the effects onlocal community living near waste sites). 2. The National Gulf War Resources Centre Inc website as at 14 02 2002 3. A Report on chemical sensitivity (MCS) US Interagency Workshop on MCSPredecisional draft 1998/Ashford and Miller Chemical exposures – low levels andhigh stakes 1991 4. R A Graveling et al, Review of Multiple chemical sensitivity Occup.Environ. Med. 1999 5. Page V Smith House of Lords 1995 Poisoning the mindOn 2 Jan 2003 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

BYU suffers frustrating 5-2 loss at Pepperdine

first_img Written by Robert Lovell April 1, 2018 /Sports News – Local BYU suffers frustrating 5-2 loss at Pepperdine Tags: Baseball/BYU Cougars/WCC FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailMALIBU, Calif. (March 31, 2018)—Opportunity knocked 16 times Saturday for BYU baseball, but it could only cash in twice in a 5-2 loss at Pepperdine Saturday.It was a frustrating day for the Cougars, whose record is now 14-12 and 3-6 in the West Coast Conference. Pepperdine improved to 12-14 overall and 4-5 in the WCC.Back-to-back singles by Nate Favero and Mitch McIntyre set up BYU’s first run to tie the game in the second inning.  With two outs, Brennon Anderson also singled to center to plate Favero. Favero ended up going 3-for-4 and scoring a pair of runs to lead all Cougars.BYU couldn’t generate the clutch hit when needed. A couple things went right for the Cougars who retired the Waves in order in the second and seventh innings.  Daniel Schneemann threw out the lead runner at the hot corner in the third for out number two which ended up costing the Waves a run. Also, the Waves lined out to Favero at third in the sixth with the bases loaded.Pepperdine regained the lead, 3-1, with a two-run homer down the right field line in the fourth.In the sixth inning BYU loaded the bases with one out and a Pepperdine pitching change, but only scored another run from Favero when Jarrett Perns was hit by a pitch to close the gap to 4-2.Again in the seventh frame, bases were loaded for the Cougars, but all of the runners were stranded. The Cougars landed on first and second bases in the first four innings leading to no further runs.BYU now readies for a rematch against Utah on Tuesday in a contest to be played at Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City at 6 p.m. MDT.last_img read more

Rose announces retirement from BYU

first_img“I’ve got a couple things that I want to say. One is, how did this happen and how did it comes to this? I’ve had 10 years of what some doctors have said, ‘You’re playing on house money.’ And the house money’s been pretty good to me. I kind of have three coaching pillars for me. One is my mind, a coaching mind, my body, my physical body, a coaching body, and then what I consider a coaching soul, which is my heart. My mind I fought for years. You get tired, you get frustrated, you get mad, you can’t figure things out, and I’ve always been able to talk my mind back into it’s time to accept the next challenge; let’s get the next team, let’s go. My body would be tired at times but I could always get myself up and get going. And make my body do it. But it’s my coaching soul that has put me here today. I always tell everybody: you can’t trick how you feel. You can pretend, you can ignore it, but you know inside how you feel. And my coaching soul said it was time, time to be done.” FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPROVO, Utah – BYU men’s basketball Dave Rose today announced he is retiring from coaching at BYU after 22 years, including 14 seasons as head coach. Rose served as an assistant coach on Steve Cleveland’s staff from 1997-2005, before taking over the program prior to the 2005-06 season. A national search for the program’s next head coach will begin immediately. Quincy Lewis, who has been an assistant coach at BYU since 2015, will serve as interim head coach. March 26, 2019 /Sports News – Local Rose announces retirement from BYU Robert Lovell “Thirty-six years, thirty-six years I’ve been doing this,” Rose said at a press conference today on the Marriott Center floor where he announced his retirement. “Twenty-two at BYU, 14 as the head coach. And today’s the day I’m going to retire. I’ve had a chance to talk with the players and encourage them to move forward and tackle the challenge that’s at hand. But most of all, I’ve had a chance to reflect with my family how lucky I’ve been. I’m 61-years old, I still haven’t worked a day in my life. I’ve gotten to play, play with so many great players, coached so many great players, so many great teams. That’s probably what I’ll miss the most. I’ll miss the most when we get to the end of June and it’s time to start summer semester and the team moves on and I’ll be on another team. I’ll be on a team with my wife, with Cheryl, with our grandkids, and we’ll make that just as good as we made this.” In 2010-11, Rose and the Cougars won a program-record 32 games, a fourth conference title in five seasons and were ranked in the top 10 for nine-straight weeks, including a No. 3 ranking in both the AP and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls. BYU received a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament and reached the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1981. “I’ve always felt like these are all numbers, just numbers on a page. People tell me that they’re at times pretty impressive numbers. But what I’ll always remember are the players, the relationships that I’ve had with the guys, the coaches, that’s one of the things I’ll really miss – these coaches are my best friends and they have been. I’ve talked to every one of the coaches that have worked for me this morning over the years. I can’t thank those guys enough.” As an assistant coach under Steve Cleveland from 1997 to 2005, Rose helped rebuild the Cougar program after a 1-25 season in 1995-96. During his eight years on Cleveland’s staff, Rose helped BYU win two conference titles and earn five postseason invites – three NCAA tournament bids and two to the NIT. Under Rose’s guidance, BYU continued to rack up 20-win seasons and postseason invites as the Cougars advanced to the semifinals of the NIT in 2013 and returned to the NCAA tournament in 2014 and 2015. From 2016 to 2018, Rose’s teams won 20-plus game and received bids to the NIT.  “Dave has been an outstanding coach at BYU and is recognized in the profession by his peers as one of the best during his tenure,” BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said. “His teams have enjoyed a great deal of success at both the conference and national level and his legacy will long be remembered. Excellent players and teams under his leadership established many program records. We wish Dave and his wife Cheryl the very best as they begin the next chapter in their life. They will always be a part of the Cougar Family.” More from Rose In addition to his on-court success, Rose has made an impact in the community during his time in Provo. Since his first year as an assistant, Rose, his wife Cheryl and the team have been involved with the Mac’s Gift Foundation. The team participates in the annual party for families of children with cancer and Dave and Cheryl have served in leadership positions with the foundation for several years. In 2018, Rose won the ESPN INFINITI Coaches’ Charity Challenge to raise more than $100,000 for the BYU Simmons Center for Cancer Research. In September 2018, the Simmons Center used those funds to create the David and Cheryl Rose Family Student Cancer Research Endowment, a fellowship for BYU students conducting cancer research. In addition to the team success Rose and the Cougars achieved, his players collected numerous accolades. Jimmer Fredette was the nation’s scoring leader and the 2011 Consensus National Player of the Year and he and five other players received All-America recognition under Rose. Five players were named conference player of the year under Rose and 13 players collected 22 first-team all-conference honors. Written by Tags: BYU Cougars Basketball/Dave Rose Over the past 14 years, Rose guided the Cougars to a record of 348-135, including eight trips to the NCAA Tournament and five bids to the National Invitational Tournament (NIT). Rose also won four conference titles, was named conference coach of the year three times and led BYU to 13 20-win seasons and eight 25-win seasons. He retires as BYU’s all-time leader in winning percentage at 72.0 and is second all-time in victories at 348. Rose led BYU back to the NCAA tournament in 2012 where the Cougars overcame a 25-point deficit to defeat Iona in the first round. The comeback set the record for the biggest comeback in NCAA tournament history. It also marked a program record as the Cougars won in the NCAA tournament for a third-straight season. The fight against cancer became more personal for Rose when he was diagnosed with pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor cancer in June 2009. Since that time, Rose has served on the National Coaches vs. Cancer Council and has lobbied before Congress for more funding for cancer research. In his first season as head coach, Rose and his staff produced the nation’s second-most improved team by turning a 9-21 squad into a 20-9 NIT qualifier and 12-4 second-place Mountain West Conference finisher in 2005-06. Under his tutelage from 2007 to 2009, the Cougars won three-straight MWC championships and at-large bids to the NCAA tournament each season. In 2010, BYU set a then-program record with 30 victories and defeated Florida in the first round of the NCAA tournament, the program’s first tournament victory since 1993.last_img read more

Overview of HMAS Sydney’s 2014 Ops

first_imgBack to overview,Home naval-today Overview of HMAS Sydney’s 2014 Ops View post tag: Overview View post tag: 2014 View post tag: Navy The year commenced as the one in which HMAS Sydney was set to decommission, but rather than slowly decline with age, Sydney completed one of the busiest years in its 32 year history.HMAS Sydney completed a maintenance period from the beginning of January through March which proved challenging as it required a very large amount of work to be completed in a shortened period of time.While in maintenance, the Sydney’s crew managed to provide support to the Aegis School Ship Activity, complete Command Team Training for warfare sailors and successfully conduct training with the United States 3rd Fleet.The Aegis School Ship activity provided personnel an opportunity to get a taste of what is to come with the arrival of the Aegis Weapon System in the Hobart class destroyers. This training program was specifically designed to test several key aspects of operations room manning that will be critical to Navy’s understanding in how best to employ its personnel to meet the challenges presented by Aegis.After completing the maintenance period, Sydney sailed at the beginning of April to support Operation RESOLUTE in what would end up a five and a half month deployment. During this deployment, Sydney participated in a number of exercises which included BERSAMA SHIELD and KAKADU.Exercise KAKADU was a highlight for the ship’s crew during which Sydney was in charge of the Blue Task Force which included Japanese Destroyer Hatakaze and Philippine Navy Ship Ramon Alcarez.During KAKADU, Sydney also hosted a successful reception for the Fleet Commander Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer which included a traditional welcome to nation and the Bungaree Dance Group.Whilst working with Hatakaze some members of Sydney’s crew conducted a cultural exchange. Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator Shannen Rowe particularly enjoyed the opportunity to visit Hatakaze.Returning to Fleet Base East for a three week period in late September, Sydney participated in Exercise TRITON SIM. During the exercise Sydney became the first Australian Navy ship to successfully conduct a war game via data link with shore entities and other ship’s operations teams that were based at HMAS Watson and HMAS Stirling. This simulated training will be key to ensure the Navy continues to improve its high end war fighting capability into the future.As soon as Exercise TRITON SIM completed, Sydney sailed once again, this time to support HMAS Success in the conduct of her Mission Readiness Work Up prior to the deployment for Operation MANITOU.Sydney then sailed for New Zealand in support of the Surface Combatant Navigation Course. After only one week of training and port visits to Auckland and Nelson, Sydney was reassigned in support of the G20 Leaders Summit off the Queensland coast.The following week Sydney set sail for the waters of New Zealand and the conduct of the Surface Combatant Navigation Course. Sydney conducted port visits to Auckland and picturesque Nelson and completed the first week of training for the embarked students. Sydney could not complete the navigation training as the ship was then force assigned to Operation SAVILLE off the Queensland coast for the G20 Leaders Summit.Sydney’s final week at sea for 2014 was spent operating in company with HMA Ships Stuart, Parramatta and Rankin, supported by 816 and 723 Squadrons during the Principal Warfare Officer Warfare Assessment Week.In 2015 Sydney is now scheduled to decommission; however, before completing that, the ship is taking on the role of harbour training ship. Sydney will continue to develop Navy capability through the training of junior engineering personnel.Press release, Image: Australian Navy View post tag: Australia View post tag: Asia-Pacific Authorities Overview of HMAS Sydney’s 2014 Ops Share this article View post tag: HMAS Sydney View post tag: News by topic January 5, 2015 View post tag: Ops View post tag: Navallast_img read more

Bakery School on the web

first_imgAt the British Society of Baking Conference a new ’Bakery School’ on the web will be revealed.The school will initially demonstrate 56 different bakery modules so on-line students can learn practical applications with ingredients such as fondants.last_img

Price of croissants nearly doubled, finds survey

first_imgThe retail price of packaged croissants has almost doubled in the last six months, according to the latest price data from Verdict Research.The survey found that, of all retail products, the price of four-packs of croissants rose the most steeply – by 47.4% from January to August this year – topping Verdict’s top 10 list of product price increases. Second on the list was original and bolognese pasta sauce, with packeted ham coming in third. Over the same period, the overall bakery and cereal product category has seen a price rise of 6%.”It’s purely down to the raw ingredients,” explained Huw Edwards, Asda’s bakery director. “Croissants have been hit not only by flour costs, but by high increases in fat as well.” Despite this, Edwards said Asda’s sales of croissants are still very good.The overall increase in consumers’ shopping baskets from January to August was 8.3%, said Verdict. “The good news is that food prices won’t keep on going up by as much as this; the bad news is that they are likely to remain stable rather than come down,” commented Neil Saunders, consulting director, Verdict Research.”Consumers have become used to food prices falling year after year. That era has gone and shoppers are having to adjust to higher prices.”last_img read more

Students showcase robots

first_imgThe Compton Family Ice Arena was abuzz Sunday afternoon as more than 100 students and professors showcased their robots for the fourth annual National Robotics Week event.“This event is really great because it allows the community to come in and see the work and research being done at Notre Dame, so even though it looks like just a lot of robots, there are actually a number of areas that we focus on,” graduate student Cory Hayes said.Hayes worked on a robot which can interact with people using gestures, utilizing Microsoft’s Kinect program.“We’re really focused on the communications aspect of robots, and making communications between robots and humans a little more natural,” Hayes said.According to Hayes’s research, making communication smoother can lead to safer practices in healthcare, specifically when robotics are used in surgery.“There are a bunch of different subsets for robots, and we really like letting the community see the research we’ve been doing,” Hayes said.In another booth at Compton was a programmable ‘puppy,’ which was able to bark, come, sit and dance.“Our robot is named RoboPup, and it can do a variety of commands. Depending on where the kids are standing in relation to the robot, that’s how it knows what to do,” senior Nicole Mariani said.During Mariani’s demonstration RoboPup spun around the ‘pen’ until it detects a person. Upon detection, RoboPup mimics the action according to the programmed commands when facing the direction of the person in a the designated part of the pen.For example, if you wanted the dog to dance, you would stand in the ‘dance’ section of the pen and do any sort of dance, and the dog would dance with you, according to the information provided by the researchers.“This particular project actually took us about a couple of weeks, maybe a month to do,” Mariani said.Focused on making robots that were more humanlike to aid autistic children, juniors Carina Suarez and Xinhuan Ying showcased a robot they programmed from Aldebaran Robotics, a company that manufactures and markets humanoid and programmable robots.“Aldebaran gives us the robots, and then we program them. We basically had the semester to figure out how to do this … it’s a big task, but it’s really fun,”  Suarez said.Suarez said the robot’s ability to interact with people is a unique feature, and it’s particularly useful in programming the robots to work with autistic kids.“They look vaguely humanoid, obviously,” Suarez said. “They can hear, they can speak, they have touch sensors, so it’s really helpful for kids with autism so they can interact, which is really neat.”Tags: Compton Family Ice Arena, national robotics week, RoboPup, Roboticslast_img read more

Radon Poster Contest

first_imgGov. Brian Kemp recognized three students from northeast Georgia for their efforts to spread the word about the dangers of radon as part of the 2020 University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Radon Education Program Poster Contest.The contest, conducted by UGA Extension Radon Education Program, invites students from across the state to create posters highlighting the dangers of radon, an odorless, colorless, flavorless, radioactive gas present in some Georgia soils.All three of this year’s finalists met with Kemp on Jan. 17 to present their posters and thank him for his proclamation recognizing January as National Radon Action Month.Students submitted more than 200 posters to the state-level competition, with one selected to enter the National Radon Poster Contest, sponsored by the Conference of Radiation Control Program and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.“We had amazing entries from every corner of the state this year,” said Derek Manning, UGA Extension radon educator and contest coordinator. “These brilliant students made it hard for us to narrow it down to three winners”Gia Hoang, a fifth-grade student at Puckett’s Mill Elementary in Gwinnett County, placed first with her poster imploring Georgians to be bold and test their homes for radon.Caitlin Smith, a fifth-grade student in Athens-Clarke County 4-H, won second place with her poster of radon fighting superheroes.Emi Hoang, also a fifth-grade student at Puckett’s Mill in Gwinnett County won third place with her poster featuring a home in danger of being infiltrated by radon rising from the ground.Radon is a naturally occurring gas that can seep through home foundations and into homes, making the air unsafe for residents. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. In Georgia, homes in the northern counties are more likely to have high levels of radon, but all homes are susceptible.Radon can be extracted from homes, but only if families know that they need remediation services. Radon testing is not a part of basic home inspections that home buyers order when purchasing a home, but simple home radon tests are available from UGA Extension. To get a test kit, contact your local UGA Extension office or visit UGA Extension Radon Education Program celebrates student artwork while educating Georgians about the program through each January’s contest in honor of National Radon Action Month. Nine- to 14-year-olds across the state design posters to help alert the general public about the dangers of radon and how they can keep their families safe.The deadline for entries is usually in November. Teachers and parents can learn more about the contest at read more

AT&T expands mobile broadband coverage in Killington

first_imgAs part of its continuing network investment to support growing demand for advanced mobile devices and applications, AT&T today announced the activation of a new mobile broadband cell site at Pico Peak that will enhance coverage for area residents and visitors to the mountain. With mobile broadband speeds, AT&T customers can surf the Web, download files faster, and enjoy the very latest interactive mobile applications.The new cell site is one part of AT&T’s ongoing efforts to drive investment and innovation to deliver the nation’s best, most advanced mobile broadband experience for customers. With the nation’s fastestmobile broadband network, AT&T provides accelerated mobile data speeds and simultaneous voice and data capabilities.”We want you to have an extraordinary experience when you make a call, check e-mail or surf the Internet on your device ‘ even from the mountain top. Investing in Vermont’s local wireless network is just one way to accomplish this,” said Steve Krom, vice president and general manager, AT&T in New England. “In addition, our recently announced agreement to acquire T-Mobile USA will strengthen and expand our network in Vermont. If approved, this deal means that we’ll be able to expand the next generation of mobile broadband ‘ 4G LTE ‘ from our current plan of 80 percent of the U.S. population to 95 percent.”AT&T’s mobile broadband network is based on the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) family of technologies that includes GSM and UMTS, the most widely used wireless network platforms in the world. AT&T has the best international coverage of any U.S. wireless provider, providing access to voice service in more than 220 countries and data service in more than 200 countries. AT&T also offers voice and data roaming coverage on more than 135 major cruise ships, as well as mobile broadband services in more than 130 countries.AT&T also operates the nation’s largest Wi-Fi network with more than 24,000 hotspots in the U.S. and provides access to more than 135,000 hotspots globally through roaming agreements. Most AT&T smartphone customers get access to our entire national Wi-Fi network at no additional cost, and Wi-Fi usage doesn’t count against customers’ monthly data plans.SOURCE AT&T Inc., April 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/last_img read more

“Transnational and Transregional Threat Networks are the Biggest Threat to the Western Hemisphere”

first_imgBy Marcos Ommati/Diálogo April 19, 2017 U.S. Army South (ARSOUTH) is headquartered at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and is U.S. Southern Command’s (SOUTHCOM) Army service component. Its mission is to conduct and support multinational operations and provide security cooperation in 31 countries and 15 areas of special sovereignty in Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Major General Clarence K.K. Chinn assumed command of ARSOUTH on June 4, 2015. He is a 1981 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and received a Master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the Army War College. Diálogo visited Maj. Gen. Chinn to talk about the challenges he faces when countering transnational threats and strengthening regional security in defense of the homeland.Diálogo: Having been in the position of commander of ARSOUTH for almost two years now (since 2015), how has your perspective of the AOR changed since you first assumed command?Major General Clarence Chinn, U.S. Army South commander: I am really impressed with our partner nations, because we would not be where we are today without their great support. People don’t realize where we once were. I had lunch with a young officer (25 years old) the other day, and he said: ‘Sir, I don’t get it. I don’t see us making any progress. Don’t know if we’re having an effect.’ And one of the guys who had been in the military 40 years, said: ‘You don’t get it because you don’t know what it was like in the 80s, and the 90s. We had boots on the ground; we had soldiers in many countries. They were doing the fighting.’ We are not doing any of that today. Our partner nations are protecting their own sovereignty, and not only that, they have the vision. They are looking at transnational trends and transnational networks, and they are figuring out how they are going to disrupt them or defeat them. I think it is a very strong, stable region. The military leaders want the same thing we want: stability, security, and economic opportunity. They understand also that they cannot do it by themselves. They have to work with other nations, and they have to share information so that they can be fast and transparent to defeat the criminal networks that are operating in their countries.Diálogo: Do you think the values of democracy are stronger in Central and South America now, in comparison to what we have seen in recent years?Maj. Gen. Chinn: I do. I think, the military wants to have strong stability and security internal to their country, but that only happens because we have folks that went before us, and had the vision. In our country, this is what we want, and I think that is the key — that they value democratic institutions. So, take a look at what has happened there [in Central and South America] in a short period of time. A president was impeached [in Brazil]; another president resigned [in Guatemala]. In previous years, that would prompt a military coup. But, it didn’t happen after those two incidents, and it’s because they have strong institutions that have been built over time. Not only internal to the country, but also through the relationships, through the education, and through everyone’s understanding of what the democratic process should be. The role of the military is to provide security to let the democratic process continue.Diálogo: What do you see as your biggest challenge as the commander of Army South?Maj. Gen. Chinn: The big part for us is protecting our southern boundaries, as well as protecting the nation from transregional and transnational threats networks. Those networks are always going to be the challenge. We should always be focused on the different networks that are out there, because that is really the threat to the United States. And it’s fortunate that we have great partner nations that really believe in the same things we do, which is, they do not want these transregional, transnational threat networks operating in their countries either, because it affects their sovereignty and their security. If you cannot have security, then you are not going to get investment. Therefore, I think, across the board, what we are interested in is assisting our partners so they can continue to strengthen their ability to support their own sovereignty. Then, when necessary, they can disrupt or destroy networks that are operating within their countries.Diálogo: What kind of networks are you referring to?Maj. Gen. Chinn: We see networks that transit illicit goods, people, weapons, money, and drugs throughout the Western Hemisphere, for example, MS-13 [Mara Salvatrucha], which is a network that operates in El Salvador and other Central American countries. We have to understand the networks if we want to be successful, and it takes a strong network to defeat another network. So, with that understanding, and the support of our partner nations, we can create our own network in order to share information, and in turn, be more overt, more transparent, and faster. We can infiltrate the networks’ decision cycle, and individuals in charge – no matter who it is, or where the network is.Diálogo: What role does the Conference of the American Armies play in the fight against these networks, and other security and defense issues in the region?Maj. Gen. Chinn: A very important role, I would say. There are 20 partner army commanders that are part of it. They meet every two years, and as of right now, the United States Army is the host of that conference. The last time we hosted was 1991. That tells you a little bit about how we operate, as far as armies, about everyone having an opportunity to lead and host. So, we are hosting it this year, in addition to one of the conferences where we discuss the emerging threats of the 21st Century. There will be dialogue between the army commanders over what we believe the threats are, and then, each one of us goes back to our respective countries offering help, for example, to the police, because in some countries the police, as you know, are part of the military. In other countries they are not part of the military, they are separate. What happens when they have to work together and create that synergy, so they can share that information, while also being transparent and understanding? It is not a competition. It is about protecting our countries.Diálogo: But it’s key for people to understand that the army, in these instances, is not doing police work, correct?Maj. Gen. Chinn: Exactly. Many folks think the army is out there with the police, therefore, they are policing. No, they are not policing. They are not trained to conduct policing, but in contingency situations, they can support the police. They are not arresting people; they do not have that authority. Nor does their Constitution allow it. So, the real key is that there is no partner nation or country I have seen, or that I have worked with, who, first, doesn’t comply with their Constitution when it says that the army can support the police; and, second, their Constitution says if the president directs the army to support the police, they will support the police. That is subservient to civilian authority. If it is not illegal, immoral or unethical, if the president says to do it, then you have to do it. But, there is not a single commander I’ve spoken with that hasn’t turned around and said – when I asked them where they would like to be in two or three years – that they don’t want to be supporting the police.Diálogo: It’s not their mission…Maj. Gen. Chinn: Right, and they are worried about it, too. As a good army commander, they should be worried about it, because they know they aren’t necessarily trained to do it – supporting the police. But, that is what they tell me. That is their challenge.Diálogo: And they are probably concerned about human rights violations as well, right?Maj. Gen. Chinn: Right. They do not want to get caught up in any type of potential human rights violations, because they don’t want to lose the trust and confidence of the people. In every country, just like here in the United States, you see that the most trusted and respected institution is the military. In some countries, the police are right up there on the same level, while in others, the police are not as highly regarded as the military. But it doesn’t really matter either way. What is important to understand is that the military is one of the most trusted and respected. That’s because of the leadership, right? You don’t become the most trusted and respected in a society unless you are doing the right things. Meaning, you are not facilitating human rights violations. It is very impressive that they are so well respected. But part of that also goes back to why they are so well respected. When the president asks them to do something, they are usually very successful.Diálogo: Members of the military participating in disaster relief activities also give them a lot of respect and credibility with different populations, right?Maj. Gen. Chinn: Yes, because that is where they have the most interaction with the people. When there is a disaster, or something happens, and the civilian government does not have the capacity or capability to confront those sometimes overwhelming challenges alone, they need military assistance. Different from the United States, where we have a National Guard, they [most countries in Central and South America, and the Caribbean] don’t have a National Guard, and no reserves. So, the president doesn’t have the options that we have here. They have to call on the military. So again, you run into this problem of the military not being trained to do humanitarian assistance or disaster relief, but they end up doing it, and they do it pretty well. These are very tough missions that we ask of our military leaders in the partner nations, and they do it. I am really impressed with their capabilities.Diálogo: Lastly, what do you have to say about the history of the military in this region taking part in peacekeeping missions all around the world?Maj. Gen. Chinn: That is another interesting piece. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that there are 14 different peacekeeping missions that our partner nations are involved in right now. That is a lot. I was surprised, but in many cases, they have been doing it for a long time. Colombia has been doing the Sinai mission since its inception. A lot of folks don’t realize that Colombia has been involved in that, because they are quiet professionals. They just go there and do it without a lot of fanfare. The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti [MINUSTAH] is led by Brazil, and has Chile as the deputy. The United Nations’ peacekeeping missions are important because they put the partner nations on a global stage. They are not just regional, but global, and they are getting recognition for being a professional force. Additionally, folks don’t realize that El Salvador provides helicopters in Mali, Africa. Or that Peru is in the Central African Republic right now, on their second rotation, with an engineer company. But there are a lot of those types of things going on where folks just don’t really realize that we’ve got great partner nations down there, doing great things. El Salvador fought with us both in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Nicaragua all had forces in Iraq. Colombia has been with us in Korea, where they have suffered casualties, and once a year they perform a remembrance ceremony. Then, you look at the Brazilians who fought with us in WWII. In sum, we have a very strong relationship with a lot of our partner nations.last_img read more