Dr Lynn McAtamneyWith a sustained increase in both the work demands experienced by individuals and the speed of access to information available to them, the flexibility of using portable office equipment is understandably attractive.A laptop, mobile telephone and modem permit a certain amount of control over work schedules and work locations that cannot be achieved in a conventional office. This may be required by the employer or used by individuals who find it more convenient, or necessary, to work away from their office. Additionally it gives people the choice of working outside traditional office hours.When buying a portable computer there is little guidance on how to position it for best posture or whether the keyboard is a comfortable size for the user’s fingers. But there is plenty of information on the computer’s capacity, speed and screen size. The freedom offered by the portable office more often focuses on getting the work done than on ergonomic issues. As such, in practice, the responsibilities of both the employer and employee can be disregarded in the face of work demands. This is reflected in the numbers of complaints of musculoskeletal problems in people who work away from a conventional office.Vickery1 surveyed the musculoskeletal problems of a group of 508 respondents from a random sample of 626 staff who undertook office-based, manufacturing and home-based occupations. Of these 40 per cent used laptops. Eighty-three per cent of the sales force, who used laptops, reported one or more musculoskeletal disorder and 14 per cent of those who used a laptop for more than one hour a day reported significantly higher levels of elbow pain (p<0.05). Additionally, 72 per cent of employees who used the laptop for four hours or more a day reported a significant increase in back pain (p<0.05) compared to those who used it less often. There was a higher level of reported low back pain in the laptop users (59 per cent) compared to the rest of the sample (49 per cent) that included industrial staff who undertook manual handling operations.It can be argued that this was just one sample and there can be many reasons for reporting musculoskeletal problems. However, the responses reflect an “at risk” group and management may well be storing up problems, should they take the attitude of “out of sight, out of mind”.The TUC suggests that for every person who wins compensation for repetitive strain injury there are another 50 who have not taken action. Out-of-court settlements for employees have risen recently with Inland Revenue typists Kathleen Tovey and Kathleen Harris being awarded £82,000 and £79,000 respectively.The seductive convenience of an office away from the office allows individuals to bypass the principles of ergonomics, through either a lack of awareness or a lack of policy and agreement on working practices and working environment set-up.ErgonomicsThe principles of ergonomics have been used to underpin the Manual Handling Regulations, 1992 and the Display Screen Equipment Regulations, 1992. However, these are not up to date with current laptop use and currently specify that laptops are exempt unless they are used for extended periods of time. Given the fact that use is increasing rather than decreasing it is wise to include all staff issued with laptops in the requirements of the regulations to protect the employee and the company.The employer’s duty of care of course extends beyond just these regulations, but equally the employee needs to incorporate self-care into their work away from the office environment. Anyone who sits slouched, works at a laptop for more than an hour, uses a laptop at the dining table or sunk into the settee should have the basic common sense to realise that, in most cases, this is not particularly healthy for their body. Yet, it is easier to override pain in the shoulders, arms or back than to stop a job and complete it later.Case studyThe box below provides straightforward information on what employers should do but things can go wrong even in the most responsible companies.A 24-year-old woman was employed in a newly created sales promotion posting in one such company. The work required considerable travel and she was a motivated home-based employee who spent long hours working. She was provided with a laptop, a mobile phone and a phone line into her home. She travelled extensively by both car and train in the course of her work. Her work included report writing, statistics preparation and answering over 70 e-mails a day. She used her laptop on the dining table at home and also worked on the laptop on the train. After three months she noticed pain in her right palm and hand and by five months the symptoms had been diagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome.Her manager was supportive but probably lacked knowledge. He provided her with a backpack that helped when travelling. The occupational health department was pro-active and used specialist services to fast track her diagnosis and treatment.On ergonomic assessment it was apparent that her neck, shoulder, back and hand postures were contributing to loading on the musculoskeletal system. Each was simple to solve and it was unfortunate that a competent person within the company had not undertaken identification, assessment and modification before the condition had progressed.The employee’s chair was substituted with one providing the correct adjustment for her stature and the mouse was programmed for left-hand use as this was her preferred hand. Alternative mouse designs were tested for comfort and voice-activated software was introduced for reports.Staff were asked to telephone rather than e-mail her and a headset was provided to allow correct neck alignment while working on the telephone. She was given a work and rest schedule which she maintained herself.This company was probably heading for an expensive claim and the employee to a less bright future. So, what should the company have done?This organisation had excellent resources available and the solution to this, and similar situations, is a three-pronged approach.l Provide policy and associated education specific to those who work away from the officel Establish ergonomic assessments of the “workstation” and ensure that complies with DSE Regulationsl Provide appropriate equipment for the office away from the officeOf course policy needs to be disseminated to all those to whom it applies in a format that makes it interesting to read. Listed below are some of the issues that should be addressed:l Policy and agreement on best working practices that is issued at the start of employment or at a set date for existing staffl Health and safety in the home (to protect family members and company equipment)l A specified work schedule with rest breaks (with clear instruction to communicate if they are being violated due to work pressures)l Specification of how work is assigned with realistic return timesl Education and assessment for sticking to regulations with guidelines and diagramsl Provision of equipment with advice on how best to use itl Provision of furniture with advice on how best to set it upl Sickness reporting. Communication with line manager and other support, e.g. the occupational health departmentl Security and insurance of person and propertyRisk assessmentEstablishing an ergonomic risk assessment process that includes a DSE assessment is a more practical approach to meet all the various risks and working environments in which non-office based staff might work. As a quick guide to postural risk the RULA assessment2 can be used (this can be downloaded free on www.cope-ergo.com).The risk assessment needs to touch on all the tasks undertaken, such as when working on the laptop or desktopcomputer at home and elsewhere as required, driving posture and manual handling of items from the vehicleor in the home.The key to looking at working posture at a laptop or desktop computer is to check for the following:l The shoulders should be relaxed and comfortable. Both poor neck posture and incorrect keyboard/mouse height or position will contribute to poor posture.l The neck should not be bent down to see the screen. This can cause neck discomfort and contribute to arm pain. Portable DSE sloping raisers are useful and if the laptop is used at home a keyboard and mouse can be plugged in to allow flexibility of neck and hand positionsl The elbows should be relaxed by the side, particularly on the side using the mouse.l The back should be supported in the lumbar region around belt height and the shoulders should not be further forward than the hipsl The knees should be level with or slightly lower than the hips, and the feet should be well supportedl The keyboard and screen should be positioned in front of the user so the body is not twistedSimilar guidelines can be set up for the driving position, with the length of driving time controlled and best practice used in manual handling items from the vehicle.One of the hardest concepts to educate users about is the demand made by static loading, that is to say when postures are maintained for extended periods, especially if they are not well supported.“Change your posture frequently” is the equivalent saying “eat your greens”. It is only when individuals have pain that they appreciate the wisdom of this simple advice. Our bodies were not designed to be in front of a monitor for the major proportion of our working day. A person working away from the office environment does not have the same opportunities for socialising and discussions with colleagues that stop a user from staying focused on the screen for long periods. It is therefore important to put these pauses into their working time in a different way.Some people need to be given a structure to stick to for their working schedule while others are able to incorporate short breaks into their work patterns without any problem. It requires good communication, education and management to establish this important balance that enables people to achieve their work targets without pushing themselves beyond their limits, leading to musculoskeletal problems.For issues that are flagged up by employees as potential problems, there should be clear guidelines on where they can get information or support. As well as the manager, the occupational health department can play a leading role in providing practical support.If the assessment identifies the need for equipment such as a monitor stand or peripherals, it is easier for both the employee and manager if an agreed list of products and suppliers has already been established with the purchasing department. In this way the ergonomic features of any piece of equipment will have been checked and the process for purchasing will be simpler.In summary, the issues regarding musculoskeletal risks in the office away from the office are already known and solutions are available. A policy, a self-assessment programme for risks, practical education and proactive management of these employees with support from the occupational health team is necessary to enable them to achieve their career aims without long-term consequences to their musculoskeletal health.References1. Vickery J (2000) An epidemiological survey of musculoskeletal disorders, and their clinical management in a large company in the U.K. MSc Thesis, Robens Centre for Health Ergonomics, University of Surrey.2. McAtamney L, Corlett EN (1993) RULA. A survey method for investigation of work-related upper limb disorders. Applied Ergonomics. 24(2): 91-99. Portable problemsOn 1 Nov 2001 in Musculoskeletal disorders, Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.
Previous Article Next Article This week’s training newsPartners’ T&D strategy Northumberland County Council and Northumbria University have launched astrategic learning partnership to help strengthen local economic growth. Itwill give all management staff the opportunity to collaborate closely intraining, research and other topics. www.unn.ac.uk www.northumberland.gov.ukSharing secrets A new online service will allow staff at the Ericsson University to shareknowledge with colleagues across the world. The system, introduced by theEdvantage group, will allow 30 candidates on the Ericsson leadership scheme tojoin an online community spanning 18 countries, during and after participatingin the development modules. The community contains discussion groups, learningmodules, chatrooms, news and speaker profiles. www.ericsson.comCoaching continues Eight out of 10 businesses in the UK are still investing in training,despite the economic downturn. A CMG survey of 150 UK companies has revealedthat staff receive an average of six to 10 days’ training a year.Electronic-based systems are becoming more popular due to cost efficiency and40 per cent of respondents use e-learning. IT teams get the largest amount ofcoaching. www.cmg.co.uk TrainingOn 20 Nov 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.
The FEED study will be conducted for the electrification of Equinor’s Troll B and C platforms from onshore power Troll A platform in the Troll gas field. (Credit: Swinsto101/Wikipedia.) Norwegian engineering company Aker Solutions has received a front-end engineering (FEED) study contract from Equinor to enable power from shore and reduce CO2 emissions from two platforms at the Troll field.Under the terms of the contract, the company holds an option for the engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) work, after the completion of the FEED study.Aker said that the FEED study will focus on the installation of electrical equipment on Troll B and C, along with replacement of gas turbines with electrical driven compressors on Troll C.In addition, the study will help Equinor in achieving its target of electrifying Troll B and C, through power cables from Kollsnes, outside Bergen, on the west coast of Norway.The company is expected to deliver the works under the contract for Troll B and C, in the second half of 2020. The transition is expected to reduce 450,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions per annum, from Troll B and C platforms.Aker Solutions chief executive officer Luis Araujo said: “We are delighted to have secured a major electrification project for an existing offshore production facility on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.“Our ambition is to generate 25 percent of our revenue from low carbon solutions such as electrification by 2030. The electrification of Troll B and C is a great example of how we are executing on our strategy and helping operators to reduce emissions significantly.”The Troll field detailsThe Troll field is located approximately 65km outside Bergen, on the west coast of Norway. Operating since 1995, the field is said to represent around 40% of total gas reserves on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.Equinor operates three platforms in the field, Troll A, B and C. Following its startup in 1996, Troll A became the first platform on the Norwegian continental shelf to utilize power from shore.
Required DocumentsRequired DocumentsResumeTranscriptsCertification/Professional LicenseList of ReferencesOptional DocumentsCover LetterLetter of RecommendationTeaching PhilosophyOtherOther2Other3Other4Other5Curriculum Vitae * Please select your availability to teach.Days onlyEvenings onlyWeekends onlyDays and Evenings onlyDays, Evenings and WeekendsEvenings and Weekends onlyOnline only Preferred Qualifications Position’s Functional TitleAY20-21 Adjunct Faculty, Communication Disorders Minimum Qualifications Supplemental QuestionsRequired fields are indicated with an asterisk (*). Position Summary Governors State University’s College of Health and Human Serviceseeks to create an available pool of Adjunct Faculty candidates toteach undergraduate and graduate courses and/or supervise studentsin external clinical practica in the Communication Disordersprogram. The major responsibilities of an adjunct faculty memberare1. to teach undergraduate and/or graduate courses in areas ofinterest (including Voice/Resonance and Fluency Disorders);and/or2. to serve as university supervisor of graduate students inexternal practica in speech-language pathology (i.e., serve asliaison between university and external practicum site).Interested individuals are invited to complete a faculty profile,attach a curriculum vitae, and transcripts for consideration.At Governors State University, adjunct faculty are hired astemporary faculty with teaching responsibilities for a specificcourse in a semester or summer session. Adjuncts are not a part ofthe faculty bargaining unit and are not included in membership ofthe Faculty Senate. * Do you posess a CCC-SLP (for supervision of graduate studentsin clinical practicum)?YesNo Posting NumberFA0346P Department Posting Date07/05/2020 Open Until FilledNo Closing Date07/31/2021 Employee ID Type of SearchExternal – Master’s Degree in speech-language pathology- CCC – SLP (for supervision of graduate students in clinicalpracticum) Classification TitleAdjunct Faculty – Communication Disorders Position TypeAdjunct Quicklink for Postinghttps://employment.govst.edu/postings/5346 * Do you have experience teaching at the college/universitylevel?yesno Position End Date (if temporary) * Do you have a Master’s Degree in speech-language pathology?YesNo -5 years of clinical experience as an SLP-Teaching experience-Experience supervising graduate students in clinical practicum inspeech-language pathology Position Start Date * How many years of experience supervising graduate students inclinical practicum in speech-language pathology?none0-3 years4-6 years7-9 years9+ years Position Details Special Instructions to Applicants
Candidates must hold an earned doctorate in InstructionalLeadership or the equivalent. A minimum of three years of preK-12experiences as an assistant principal, principal, or district leveladministrator is required and experience in public schools ispreferred. The successful candidate will teach in an online,face-to-face and/or off-site setting. The candidate will teachgraduate level instructional leadership courses, superviseleadership experiences in school and school district settings,develop and maintain university-school relationships, collaboratewith diverse populations, and assume other teaching andprofessional responsibilities. Evidence of scholarly productivityor a well-developed research agenda is preferred.An application should be completed athttp://www.jobs.aum.edu/postings/4476. Address questions related tothe process to Dr. Jana Sparks, Search Committee Chair [email protected]: Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications.Search will continue until job is filled.The University: Founded in 1967, Auburn Montgomery operates underthe authority of the Auburn University Board of Trustees andguidance of the Auburn University President. Located in the statecapital of Montgomery, AUM serves a diverse student population ofapproximately 5,400 students and employs faculty/staff of 575 infive academic colleges: Business, Education, Arts and Sciences,Nursing and Health Sciences, and Public Policy and Justice.Montgomery supports cultural attractions including the AlabamaShakespeare Festival, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, and the RosaParks Library and Museum, among others. Contract Type:Nine (9) Months Vacancy Number:F-00248 The AUM College of Education is accredited by NCATE / CAEP, and itsprograms are approved by the Alabama State Department of Education.The AUM College of Education recognizes that the development of acompetent, committed, and reflective educator means the developmentof a Professional Educator.AUM is an equal-opportunity employer committed to achievingexcellence through diversity; therefore, we encourage applicationsfrom historically under-represented groups, veterans, andindividuals with disabilities. Position Title:Assistant/Associate Professor of Instructional Leadership Posting Details About the University/College Position Profile Link Special Instructions to Applicant: Job Close Date: Salary Band:N/A Minimum Qualifications: School:College of Education Classification Title:Faculty Terminal degree appropriate for the discipline or have theequivalent in training and experience.“Terminal degree” refers to the highest degreeawarded in a discipline. The doctorate is the terminal degree formost disciplines represented at Auburn University atMontgomery. Quick Linkhttps://www.jobs.aum.edu/postings/4476 Department:Counselor, Leadership, and Special Education Tenure Track:Yes Job Open Date:11/16/2020 Employment Type:Full-Time Applicant DocumentsRequired DocumentsLetter of Interest/IntentCurriculum VitaeProfessional Reference SheetTranscript(s)Optional DocumentsAdditional Transcript(s)Posting Specific QuestionsRequired fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).
This is a variation of a classic dessert, which makes a perfect light summer treat. It is made using a stiff meringue mix, which can be easily piped into shape. We sell our Pavlova for £17. Ingredients for the meringue1/3 egg white2/3 caster sugar 1 Mark out 10-inch circles on silicon paper. Starting at the centre, use a piping bag and pipe out a tight spiral of meringue until it covers the whole of the circle.2 Pipe out a layer of blobs just touching each other around the top of the edge of the piped base. Try to ensure that they are evenly sized.3 Pipe out a second layer of blobs on top of the first layer so they interlock.4 Bake in a low oven (130ºC) until completely dry and crisp.5 Brush the inside of the cooked base with melted chocolate. This keeps the meringue crisp.6 Carefully fill the base with fruits of the forest mix. Unifine fruits of the forest fond is a superb product to use for this. You just mix the powder with hot water and add it to whipped cream.7 Spread out carefully with a palette knife so that it is slightly domed.8 Place a thin layer (8mm) of sponge over the cream and soak the sponge evenly with syrup (we flavour ours with Grand Marnier).9 Spread a thin layer of fruits of the forest fruit filling over the sponge (this is optional).10 Decorate with chunks of fruit and glaze with an apricot gel. VariationsTry different seasonal fruit toppings and different flavoured creams. Whipped cream filling topped with strawberries is very popular.The bases can be made in different sizes and can be made as individual desserts or even a stunning wedding cake. n
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Henok FenteIn 2008, CNN broadcast a photo of President-elect Barack Obama with his arm outstretched to the public, and asked viewers to write its caption. I remember the winning submission almost verbatim because it spoke to my heart.“Even after winning the presidency, President-elect Barack Obama could not get a cab in Washington, D.C.,” it read. The truth is, even now in the beginning of his second term, the president will still struggle to hail a cab in the nation’s capital past 10 p.m.If you are a black male, or Latino, you know what I am talking about. Some D.C. cabbies immediately profile you as robbers and criminals. So they either deny you service or boss you around once you are in their cab.On February 27, the day President Obama inaugurated the statue of Rosa Parks, I was out with my friends at a bar called 18th Street Lounge, ESL for short. Not to be mistaken for English as a Second Language—though in many ways true, since the majority of the clients are foreign nationals, the expats of D.C., if you will.Wednesday is reggae night. Meet my friends: Cher the tall Senegalese; Kata from Serbia; Sean the American, who always looks high but does not smoke. Who else? Jakewon from Sri Lanka, who we tease is from Bangladesh and joke that his real name is Wikum with a W; his new girlfriend, half-Finnish half-African American…you get the picture. And I am Ethiopian.We are bound by love and mutual respect. We always learn from each other, help one another and accept each other’s differences while recognizing our unity and celebrating life together. We laugh, giggle, drink a bit, chase after the opposite sex or the same sex, whatever makes us happy. That is our little family of serious and passionate individuals having a goofy time together. This bar, we the “regulars” tell new guests, with no facts checked of course, used to be the home of FDR. Now it has become our home.I finished two bottles of Belgian beer that I shared with friends, left ESL around 12:40 a.m., hailed a cab, told the cabbie to take me to “4th & G, SW.” The cabbie started his meter, made a U-turn on Connecticut, and stopped at a traffic light a block away.The middle-aged driver of Pakistani or Indian origin, judging from his accent, turned his head and asked me to move to the opposite side of the backseat. I was sitting behind the driver. He was not polite in his request. I told him calmly that I was comfortable where I was.The cabbie insisted, saying he would like to talk to me and watch me through his rearview mirror while I am in his cab. I told him I have no intention of having a conversation with him and all I ask is to be taken home, assuring him that as long as I am in the cab and I have the money to pay for his services, I have every right to sit where I feel comfortable.At this point the cab driver stopped his vehicle and asked me to get out. I refused and asked him to take me home.The easiest thing to do under these circumstances would have been to agree to switch seats, accept his racial and age bias and go home, or leave the cab. I did not choose the above two options because, firstly, they are against the principles of humanity that all people deserve equal treatment, and secondly, the law requires him to do so as a commercial vehicle operator. Again, I asked the cab driver to please drive me home.Let me be clear here: The problem I have with racial profiling is a fallacy of hasty generalization, so I will not conclude or in anyway generalize that D.C. cab drivers are racist. I have family and friends who drive cabs for a living; they are hard-working, honest people. Shout out to my cabbie Moody, who is always 15 minutes away from my rescue, Berhe, the Accountant Cabbie, who does my taxes in his free time. This piece is for those who discriminate against their clients; those who look down on their own race and profile complete strangers as criminals, Hispanic and black alike.I spotted a police car nearby and told the cab driver to call the police and ask them to take my address and check my ID if it makes him feel more comfortable.Officer W. Belton inquired about the situation from his police car. I told him what I described above. The cab driver told him his version, that he wants me to sit on the other side. I repeated my refusal, reiterating that I have every right to sit anywhere in the cab. The officer initially concurred that the driver cannot tell me where to sit.Officer W. Belton of the 2nd Metropolitan Police Department couldn’t decide what to do. The officer, a middle-aged white male with a mustache, kept repeating the same questions to the two of us. I repeatedly told him, I will compensate the cab driver for his services, I can show the police my driver’s license to make the cabbie feel comfortable, but I will sit where I like and be taken home, as is required by the law.Officer W. Belton did not seem to like the fact I knew my rights. No big deal, it is just text printed on a single piece of paper, right? It seemed, and later became evident, that Officer W. Belton thought it was a big deal and very smart to know a few D.C. Taxicab Commission passenger rights.As I was looking for the number to call the D.C. Taxicab Commission to report the cabbie, Officer W. Belton asked me to pay the fare, step out of the cab and take another vehicle. I told him he can not ask me to do that. I have the right to be taken home by this cab driver.At 1:05 a.m. I called 202-645-6018, the D.C. Taxicab Commission. As I was trying to get the cab driver’s ID number while listening to the machine operator, Officer W. Belton loudly blasted, “It is over!” Suddenly he was grabbing me by the neck and dragging me out of the cab, head-first, legs following as I staggered to find my balance and avoid falling face-first on the asphalt.I was rushed to the back of the cab, keeping my phone in hand, which I dropped on top of its trunk where there was a cup of coffee in a golden cup.“Bend over!” demanded an officer whose face I could not see. “Spread them! Step away from the cab!” shouted the officer after I was cuffed.These were short and humiliating orders given to me for refusing to move over to another seat in the back of a cab. Several other police cars converged on the scene. Their flashing lights were blinding.After I was cuffed, Officer W. Belton got in my face.“You think you are smart?” he asked. “You are ignorant.”I was ordered to further step away from the back of the cab by another officer, whose face I also did not see, while they searched me.“And your ignorance got you arrested,” said Officer W. Belton.He humiliated me, knowing I could not respond to him. I didn’t want to give him the excuse of charging me for resisting arrest, so I kept quiet.I am a journalist and I speak my mind. I refrained from telling Officer W. Belton that, yes, I actually think I am smart, and that his job is not arresting “ignorant people” if he can identify one by looking at their face or color.At the time, his power seemed so boundless and abusive, I chose to keep silent. Instead of telling me my rights, he insulted and humiliated me.The police did not cause me physical harm. But I have suffered psychologically. I could not sleep, eat or drink. Flashbacks of the trauma of my arrest still go through my head just like the flash of the police lights.I was taken to the 2nd MPD, where my arresting officers could not even convince their colleagues why they arrested me. I spent two hours and 10 minutes in a cell.At the time of my booking, I told the officers my only crime was choosing to sit where I wished and fitting into a profile. It is ironic and extremely disheartening that this happened to me after doing a story earlier in the day on the historic inauguration of Rosa Park’s statue.I was later released without being charged. Officer W. Belton’s bogus “Theft of Services/ Unlawful Entry” arrest charges did not convince his supervisors, who came and spoke to me later in the jail cell.I asked them: “Have you ever heard of illegal entry into a public transportation?”The lieutenant, a female veteran, responded: “It is like walking into a grocery store.”Then she signed my release papers as she promised.After I was freed, the person listed as my arresting officer, R. Tran, a young Asian officer who was being trained, said to me: “I am sorry this happened to you. I could not do anything because I am a rookie and he (referring to W. Belton) is my senior.”Officer Belton never apologized. Not that it mattered, after what he did to me.I had no criminal record. I knew my rights. I did not break the law. So I am walking free. But what about those who made mistakes at some point in their lives and are trying to do the right thing? Those who would not have walked out of the 2nd District Police Station free?That is why I am speaking out and taking action.I am suing D.C. police for police misconduct and racial profiling and collaborating with a cab driver who broke the law. Wish me luck. I’ll need it, because for some of the D.C. lawyers, this case is a lot of work for too little money. They ask me if I sustained any physical injury, when I say no, they do not want to touch it. I am sure I will find a lawyer in this town who believes there is a bigger bonus in taking up civil rights for all, someone who believes black, white, green, yellow—whatever color, age, gender—we all matter and that we are all equal.President Obama, please speak up. Take action about this. Or you may have trouble hailing a cab in D.C. after 2016.Henok Fente is an international affairs reporter. A 2007 graduate of Columbia University School of Journalism, he has won numerous accolades including the New York Press Association’s scholarship award. Fente hosts a news magazine show and reports on politics, business, human rights and social life in Africa for a radio show with 6 million weekly listeners. He currently resides in Washington, D.C.
Prior studies have pointed to the role of the bacterial protein LcrV as a critical element of plague virulence. LcrV acts a molecular “needle” to inject toxins into host cells, and it also suppresses the immune response through two mechanisms. First, it stimulates the host to release interleukin-10 (IL-10), which dampens the innate immune response. Second, it prevents the release of two pro-inflammatory cytokines, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma). This immunosuppressive activity makes native LcrV a poor vaccine candidate, despite its immunogenicity. Senior author Olaf Schneewind led the two research teams at the University of Chicago, whose results were published online Jul 28 in Science and in the August issue of Infection and Immunity. Aug 19, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Two research reports on plague were recently released, one describing the mechanism that the plague bacterium uses to evade the body’s immune system and the other describing a potential vaccine that was tested successfully in mice. Today, about 1,000 to 3,000 cases of plague (primarily bubonic) occur worldwide each year, including approximately a dozen in the western and southwestern United States. Although plague killed hundreds of millions of people in past pandemics, no human plague vaccine is currently licensed in the United States. Marketon MM, Depaolo RW, Debord KL, et al. Plague bacteria target immune cells during infection. Science 2005 (published online Jul 28) [Abstract] The bacterium Yersinia pestis causes different forms of plague, depending on the route of exposure. Bubonic plague, infamous as the “Black Death” of the Middle Ages, is transmitted by flea bites. The disease persists in its natural reservoir of wild animals, primarily rodents, passing to humans via fleas that first bite an infected animal. Inhalation of the bacteria causes pneumonic plague, a disease that is seen less often in nature but could develop if aerosolized plague bacteria were released in an act of bioterrorism. Mice were first infected with the modified plague strains and then sacrificed and their spleen tissues separated into specific cell populations. Staining with CCF2-A dye allowed visualization of cells injected with Yop-Bla, because only cells containing this engineered protein glowed blue. Despite the predominance of CD4 and CD8 cells in the spleen, the majority of cells targeted by the modified Y pestis were macrophages, neutrophils, and dendritic cells. This strategy, the authors wrote, allows the bacterium to “destroy cells with innate immune function that represent the first line of defense, thereby preventing adaptive responses and precipitating the fatal outcome of plague.” Finally, the authors tested the rV10 protein in a mouse immunization experiment. The protein elicited high titers of immunoglobulin G (mean, 112,500 by ELISA), which were comparable to those induced by native LcrV. Additionally, two intramuscular doses of rV10 (100 mcg each, with alhydrogel adjuvant) protected 100% of mice challenged with heavy doses of Y pestis. In the Infection and Immunity article, the researchers describe how they investigated modified LcrV proteins for three criteria of a successful vaccine: lack of IL-10 stimulation, preservation of pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion, and robust antigenicity. The authors deleted sequential 30-amino-acid portions of LcrV to create 12 candidate deletion proteins. Two of these, rV7 and vV10, failed to induce IL-10 secretion in mouse macrophages. Further testing showed that the rV10 peptide was not capable of significantly suppressing TNF-alpha secretion. Overheim KA, Depaolo RW, Debord KL, et al. LcrV plague vaccine with altered immunomodulatory properties. Infect Immun 2005 Aug;73(8):5152-9 [Abstract] The authors of the Science paper wanted to know exactly which immune cells are targeted by plague. The authors engineered a protein to identify the cell types injected with toxin by the plague bacterium. They created a piece of DNA containing genes for both Yersinia outer proteins (Yop) effectors and beta-lactamase (Bla). Yops are the toxins normally injected by plague into host cells; Bla is an enzyme that cuts a dye called CCF2-AM, making it fluoresce blue instead of green. The team inserted this piece of DNA into Y pestis strains. Both studies received support from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Thus rV10, the authors explained, “satisfied our experimental criteria and displayed significant defects in immune suppression without reducing the protective properties of plague vaccines.” They conclude, “It appears that LcrV variants with reduced immune modulatory properties could be used as a human vaccine to generate protective immunity against plague.” Without prompt antibiotic treatment, the case-fatality rate of plague approaches 100%. A major reason for this high mortality is that the invading bacteria suppress the body’s immune response. The plague bacterium uses a system that injects toxins directly into host cells. Previous studies have indicated that Y pestis evades the immune system by resisting phagocytosis and suppressing the inflammatory response. See also: CIDRAP plague overview
May be time to end the Israel experimentSadly, Bruce Tractenberg, in his May 23 letter, and others of his ilk overlook the terrorist actions of Israel: shooting unarmed civilians, forced detentions, appropriation of property, assassination of politicians, destruction of infrastructure, the list of Israeli crimes goes on.But he does bring up a good point: Israel’s right to exist.Israel was created out of a collective European/American guilt over the Holocaust. It was the last gasp of colonial powers in an already largely post-colonial world.A nascent Israel then terrorized, rounded up, or otherwise routed the resisters and totally disenfranchised them of their property rights.The original terrorists in the Middle East? Jews. Doubt that? Look up the King David Hotel bombing or the Irgun policy. The reason Bruce Trachtenberg and other Zionists can get away with all of their wild claims about the inherent goodness of Israel and label any criticism as “anti-Semitic” is because of Americans’ lack of world knowledge.If someone came to the community where my family had lived for a thousand years, decided they liked it and stole it, forced us to live in tin shacks in a ghetto with limited access, limited building supplies, even limited calories (Israel has at times calculated and limited per capita caloric intake), I guess I’d probably be angry too.The so-called terrorism in the Middle East was entirely predictable, and it has been largely aided and abetted by the United States. But one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. It may be time to end the experiment called Israel, and return the land to those who had owned it for centuries.James Van DijkSaratoga SpringsCuomo should make declawing cats illegalI urge Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign into law the bill to make declawing of cats illegal in New York. New York stands for reason and compassion and should be the first in the nation to ban this cruel practice.It’s barbaric and inhumane to declaw a cat. People rationalize that it’s best for the cat. But anyone who genuinely loves and respects their feline friends would never declaw.As far as permitting this abusive practice to continue “as a last resort,” I say no. It’s too easy to bend the truth to suit an expedient owner. Animals should not be treated as disposable commodities.Stand up to the New York State Veterinary Medical Society and pass a law with teeth, claws and integrity. How a society treats its animal companions is telling.Rosemary Christoff DolanSchoharieNo U.S. interference in Venezuela’s affairsIn my May 2 letter, I stated incorrectly that the current president of Venezuela won “the 2018 election widely recognized worldwide as fairly conducted.” A leading candidate was blocked from participation and the election was highly flawed. I regret the error.Nevertheless I still believe the United States has no right to interfere in the internal affairs of Venezuela, topple the Venezuelan government or strangle the Venezuelan economy with devastating sanctions now in place.In late April, the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Economic and Policy Research published a report on the negative impacts of U.S. sanctions, which stated there “is no doubt that all of these sanctions since August 2017 have had severe impacts on human life and health.”The sanctions may have caused over 40,000 deaths in 2017-2018, and more than 300,000 people are at risk due to lack of access to medicines or treatment, including thousands who depend on antiretroviral treatments, dialysis treatments or who have cancer. The report said the sanctions “are a death sentence for tens of thousands of people who cannot leave the country to find medicines elsewhere.” Food imports declined from $11 billion in 2013 to $2.5 billion last year, intensifying hunger and malnutrition. The report said the sanctions imposed by the Trump Administration are illegal under the charter of the Organization of American States, international human rights law, and treaties signed by the United States.I favor a Venezuelan national referendum and fair elections without U.S. threats and sanctions. Tom EllisAlbany I always look forward to reading Sara Foss’ informative columns. But the one on June 4 was one that really hit home with me because of my experience one year ago with the palliative care system as stated in the Medicare Law.The New York Conference of Retired Americans in April passed a resolution addressing my issue about the present Medicare law on palliative care.I was the caregiver for my husband, who had Alzheimer’s and a blood disorder.Not wanting to discontinue his treatments, we opted for palliative care instead of hospice.When we wanted to go to our home in St. Lawrence County, where my husband could enjoy sitting on the deck overlooking the lake. Otherwise he was a prisoner in his own house. We were told we needed to be home-bound in Schenectady county to receive palliative care. Medicare states three reasons to leave your home: go to doctor appointments, go to church or to hair appointments.These restrictive and punitive Medicare rules need to be loosened or eliminated to be in accordance with the best practices for palliative care and provide the best care for each patient.It’s important to know the three reasons that are allowed for a patient to leave home while getting palliative care and to make changes for the quality of life of all.Mary PritchardSchenectady Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionNew Yorkers pay too much for educationIn the June 9 story about Johnston school budget issues, it’s implied the school board was somewhat irresponsible for keeping tax increases at reasonable levels.As noted, the levy increased by a total of 55 percent from 2003. Looking at additional statistics from the same time period, the Social Security Administration says the average salary has gone up close to 50 percent, while $100 then would be worth $138.88 today, less than a 34 percent increase. So salaries and the cost of living all fall in line with the Johnston increases (and the costs of the people actually paying the tax bills). So this seems very reasonable to me.The article pointed out Broadalbin’s 160 percent increase, which unless coupled with increased student enrollment is a prime example of extreme irresponsibility.And we hear so much talk about out-of-control college costs and increases. But when it comes to K-12, there is never enough money. Consider this, Burnt Hills spent $21,990 per K-12 student last year, according to the latest data. Compare to SUNY Geneseo, where full- time students pay $22,260 total, of which $13,214 covers room and board, items not covered at BHBL.People complain about the cost of college but in New York, it’s actually significantly cheaper than your local high school. Thank goodness for the tax cap.William FarmerBurnt HillsPalliative care rules need to be reformed Farm labor demands will hurt small farmsI see that farm workers are demanding overtime and the right to organize.I find this disingenuous, since the farmers that employ them are themselves working excessive hours and still operating at a loss, i.e. they aren’t paid anything.In chess, several moves are required for checkmate. On one hand, the federal government sets milk prices below the cost of production for most of the small and humane farms. They force agribusiness to go large and run crowded factory farms in order to make money and at the same time destroy any competition from local or family farms. Most farmers are independent to their own detriment and are mainly interested in farming, not politics. The checkmate move now comes from the labor required to run the farm.We are used to getting benefits at the expense of others. Some make the analogy that milk costs more than gasoline. However, l don’t need to buy 40 gallons of milk a week to survive. Most of us can afford to pay a fair price for milk and in so doing preserve family farms.Farm-family children are leaving the business. When their parents are driven out or quit, we are dead.As one said, “Unless you can raise your own meat and produce, don’t complain about farmers with your mouth full.”Bruce MartindaleCharltonNo, Trump is not a backer of Neo-NazisRegarding Michael Boehm’s June 6 letter, (Is this how you make America great again?), when has President Trump ever said there are good Neo-Nazis? The only instance that is mistakenly referred to are his comments having to do with the Charlottesville’s protest march of taking down Robert E. Lee’s statue. Yes, there were Neo-Nazis there, but there were also good, common folk protesting. So when President Trump said, “You also had people that were very fine people, on both sides,” he’s referring to the good, common folk. Trump specifically disavows the Neo-Nazis throughout the interview; the transcript can easily be found online. Mr. Boehm subtlety associates Trump as a Neo-Nazi, a point that can be further refuted. First, Trump was in Europe commemorating the D-Day invasion, which led to the defeat of the Nazis, something that a Nazi sympathizer would find difficult to participate in.Second, Trump is arguably the most pro-Jewish president we have ever had, having moved the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move that no other president could muster the courage to do. MAGA.Mark BrockbankRotterdamNo driver’s licenses for illegal immigrantsHmmm, driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants to “make it easier for them to get to work” huh?Well, that’s a fantastic solution on how to aid and abet illegal immigrantion. Just tell me why? They can get into our country, get hired and pay no taxes, but when they can’t get to work, we just give them licenses? Have we gone mad? This is the biggest bunch of lunacy I have seen in a long time. I know, some of you feel righteously sympathetic to those who raise the rates of everything in our country for yourselves and others, and you feel the need to help these folks.Instead of licenses, let’s give them paperwork. Good ol’ immigration paperwork that they fill out, wait however long the legal process works, and let them become legal citizens. Anything short of that, you might as well give the country away.Does anyone else see the door opening for them to get other documents once they secure a New York state driver’s license? It’s just mind blowing that our governor is even considering this. Oh wait, it’s votes for him. Now I get it. Brian BaldwinBurnt HillsMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the census
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