Peoria Riverfront Concert Series To Bring Umphrey’s McGee, Michael Franti, And moe. To Illinois

first_imgYear after year, the Peoria Riverfront Concert Series in Peoria, Illinois, just seems to get better and better. For more jam-inclined fans, this year’s series has some great lineups, which kicks off with hometown heroes and headliners The Way Down Wanderers and Steady Flow. Throughout July and August, the series will host performances from scene veterans and stalwarts Umphrey’s McGee, Michael Franti, and moe. and Railroad Earth. Take a look below at the upcoming Peoria Riverfront Concert Series schedule and the impressive players involved. It’s going to be a great summer in Peoria!July 15th — Way Down Wanderers and Steady FlowPeoria’s own five-piece folk-Americana act, The Way Down Wanderers, will bring their high-spirited stage show to the hometown crowd on July 15th. The up-and-coming group has made waves across the music world, receiving nominations and awards for both their songwriting skills and live show. The Wanderers were able to tap The Avett Brothers’ Mike Marsh to produce the group’s 2016 self-titled debut album, which speaks volumes to their abilities. Joining them for their headlining appearance at the Peoria Riverfront Concert Series will be local independent funk act Steady Flow, who is known for bringing plenty of energy to their live shows, and has already played big-time festivals such as Summer Camp, Phases of the Moon, and North Coast Festival.Tickets: $12 adv/$15 dos (purchase tickets). For additional information and show updates, join the Facebook Event page here.The Way Down Wanderers’ “Wildfire”Steady Flow at Summer Camp 2016[via Instrumental Motion]July 23rd — Umphrey’s McGeeWhat can be said about Umphrey’s McGee that hasn’t been said already? The group has an uncanny ability to tap into just about any musical genre at the drop of a dime and are known for putting out some of the best progressive improvisation you can find in the world. This, plus their steady touring schedule, have made the gentlemen of Umphrey’s one of the tightest live acts in the scene today. There is a reason this Midwest act just completed their first-ever three-night run at Red Rocks Amphitheatre this past July 4th weekend — they just bring it night in and night out. This show will be a proper local rage for all to enjoy.Tickets: $32.50 adv / $35 dos (purchase tickets). For additional information and show updates, join the Facebook Events page here.Umphrey’s McGee — “2 x 2” at Milwaukee’s Riverside Theater on 3/30/2017 August 15th — Michael Franti and Spearhead with SatsangRebel roots rocker Michael Franti is no stranger to the jam scene, making appearances at just about every major festival in the U.S. and abroad, as well as touring alongside acts such as the aforementioned Umphrey’s McGee, plus The String Cheese Incident, Yonder Mountain String Band, and Keller Williams to name a few. With music and lyrics promoting peace and social justice and addressing issues like climate change and other contemporary issues, Franti is a man on a mission to bring change to the world through his positive vibes and energy. Taking a page out of the social justice handbook is local Conscious Music Collective act, Satsang, who brings the roots-rock-reggae art of storytelling to the fold in support of the San Francisco-born Franti.Tickets: $30 adv / $35 dos (purchase tickets). For additional information and show updates, join the Facebook Events page here.Michael Franti’s “Summertime Is In Our Hands”Satsang’s “Story of You”August 18th — moe. & Railroad EarthThe icing on the cake for the Peoria Riverfront series of jam shows will be moe. and Railroad Earth’s doubleheader of improv-based music. The Buffalo, New York-based jam quintet and Americana-rock sextet out of Stillwater, New Jersey will team up for a joint tour at the end of the summer, and one stop will see the two groups deliver the goods to the Illinois faithful. moe. has been delivering their psychedelic rock stylings since 1989 and show no signs of slowing down anytime soon — especially given the fact that they revived their summer moe.down Festival this past weekend after a couple of summers off. The newgrass jams of Railroad Earth are perfect for any evening in the summer, as Todd Sheaffer, Tim Carbone, and company seemingly play at the top of their game night after night, which is an accomplishment in and of itself.Tickets: $30 adv / $35 dos (purchase tickets). For additional information and show updates, join the Facebook Events page — “Shine On You Crazy Diamond > Opium > Making Flippy Floppy” at Summer Camp 2016Railroad Earth — “Hangtown Ball” at Red Rocks 2014With these performances tempting music lovers far and wide, the downtown Peoria Riverfront (check out more info here) should solidify those on the fence about making the trip. Peoria Riverfront is a fantastic area for a good hang prior to taking in some music. The downtown area is a major hub of activity with a market full of locally grown produce, meats, cheeses, and more; plenty of restaurants to grab a bite and drink from before the show; and local artists selling their own unique artwork, jewelry, candles, and more. You can check out the full list of Peoria Riverfront concerts by visiting the event’s website calendar.[cover photo courtesy of Rios.Photos]last_img read more

Why some Americans refuse to social distance and wear masks

first_img Related Soothing advice for mad America If Harvard were to reopen today, who should be allowed to return? McLean’s Rosmarin offers perspective on the pandemic’s raging effects Five simple steps would tame COVID-19 Wearing a mask and social distancing are two important barriers to COVID-19 infection, public health experts and government officials say. But adoption of the seemingly simple precautions has become a cultural battleground in a country where individual rights have long been considered part of the nation’s founding ethos. And yet, what do we owe our fellow citizens in the age of a deadly virus with no vaccine that has already taken close to 170,000 lives, and will likely take thousands, and potentially hundreds of thousands, more? In his popular course “Justice,” Michael Sandel, Harvard’s Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government, regularly asks his students to take on such thorny ethical questions. He will do so again this fall with his new class, “Justice: Ethics in an Age of Pandemic and Racial Reckoning.” The Gazette recently asked Sandel for his thoughts on the subject.Q&AMichael SandelGAZETTE: So many people have chosen not to wear masks or to keep their distance from others, despite the data that those simple measures help save lives. Why is there such resistance?SANDEL:  The wearing of masks has become a flashpoint of partisan disagreement, a new front in the culture wars. On one level, this seems puzzling. Why doesn’t everyone simply wear a mask for the sake of public health? For two reasons: First, many Americans consider mask mandates a violation of individual liberty. They don’t want the government to force them to wear a mask. Second, many Americans resent governing elites who claim to derive their authority from science. Here, the debate over masks is similar to the partisan disagreement on climate change. Many supporters of President Trump share his resentment of elites and experts. They don’t trust experts who tell them they should wear a mask to reduce the spread of the coronavirus any more than they trust experts who say they should pay a carbon tax to alleviate climate change. The resistance to wearing a mask is not about public health; it’s about politics.,GAZETTE: What are our ethical obligations in the middle of a pandemic?SANDEL: Our ethical obligations are, first of all, to minimize the possibility that our behavior will expose others to the risk of contracting the virus. This means wearing masks and social distancing. Beyond this, those of us who are fortunate enough to work from the safety of our homes have a responsibility to support those who take risks on our behalf — not only doctors, nurses, and hospital workers, but delivery workers, grocery-store clerks, maintenance workers, child-care workers, home health care workers. This support should take the form of public appreciation for such workers, but also tangible, material support, such as health care, paid sick leave, and wage support.GAZETTE: There are periods in American history — like World War II — when nearly everyone spent years voluntarily sacrificing in service to a national cause. Why isn’t that happening now? What has changed?SANDEL: The question reminds me of an internet meme early in the pandemic: “Your grandparents were called to war. You are called to sit on your couch. You can do this.” Even as the pandemic highlights our mutual dependence, it is striking how little solidarity and shared sacrifice it has called forth. Why do we seem incapable of solidarity at the time we need it most? The answer goes back to the social unraveling that preceded this crisis. The pandemic caught us unprepared — logistically and medically, but also morally unprepared. It arrived at a time of deep polarization and partisan rancor. Four decades of deepening inequality have driven us apart. Resentment of the elites whose policies produced these inequalities led to a populist backlash. The pandemic arrived at just the wrong moment — amid toxic politics, incompetent leadership, and fraying social bonds.GAZETTE: How might Americans be the same or different from people in other societies in taking these types of individual steps to help society as a whole? Are there examples from COVID that you can point to?SANDEL: Sadly, the U.S. has handled the COVID crisis worse than most affluent countries. We’ve had more than 4½ times the number of deaths per capita as Germany, 60 times the number in Japan, and more than 80 times as many as South Korea. Our poor performance is due partly to failed leadership at the federal level and the lack of an adequate public health system. But I think you are right to suggest that social habits and cultural factors come into play. Our ardent individualism is a strength in some settings but not in contending with a pandemic. In Japan, the ready acceptance of face masks seems to have reduced the spread of the virus. In Germany, the electorate supported far greater investment in wage replacement and public health spending than the U.S. government could muster. In South Korea, a single-payer health system made testing easier and more widespread. In addition, a social movement among landlords to reduce or freeze rents helped keep small businesses afloat. “This moment makes vivid the need for a broader public debate about the inequality this crisis has highlighted and a reconsideration of what we owe one another as citizens.”center_img GAZETTE: What role do leaders have in supporting this social contract?SANDEL: Trust matters in a pandemic — not only trust in the scientific information and medical advice the government provides, but trust among citizens. Perhaps the single greatest responsibility of leaders in times of crisis is to inspire such trust. Angela Merkel in Germany and Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand are examples of leaders who have led their countries through the crisis effectively, in part by fostering trust. In this country, by contrast, we’ve seen how evading responsibility and sowing discord undermines the trust and solidarity we need to contend with the pandemic.GAZETTE: What does this say, when we are all so culturally siloed, about the future of shared American values and what we owe to each other?SANDEL: From the outset of this crisis, we’ve heard the slogan, “We are all in this together.” We hear it from politicians, advertisers, and celebrities. It evokes our mutual dependence and vulnerability in the face of COVID-19. It points to an inspiring ideal. But it rings hollow, because we know it doesn’t describe the facts on the ground. Some of us work from home and hold meetings on Zoom. Others have little choice but to risk their health and lives serving the public and delivering things to our doorsteps, enabling us to avoid risk. The people we now celebrate as “essential workers” are not the best-paid or most-honored workers in our society. This is a moment to ask how to reconfigure the economy to bring the rewards of such workers into better alignment with the importance of the work they do. This moment makes vivid the need for a broader public debate about the inequality this crisis has highlighted and a reconsideration of what we owe one another as citizens.GAZETTE: What are some of the ethical questions you plan to take up in your fall semester, University-wide course “Justice: Ethics in an Age of Pandemic and Racial Reckoning”?SANDEL: The course is an updated version of the “Justice” course I’ve taught over the years. The moral urgency of the pandemic and of this moment of racial reckoning prompted me to offer the course again, updated to include the ethical questions that confront us today. For example: Who should be first in line to get a coronavirus vaccine when one becomes available? Should we use cellphone tracking data to enforce stay-at-home orders? In deciding how to balance public health with reopening the economy, should we place a monetary value on human life? We will also take up current debates about racial injustice, including the question of reparations for slavery and racism. The course invites students to think through the fundamental moral and civic questions the crises of our day make unavoidable — about the meaning of a just society and our obligations to one another.,Interview was lightly edited for clarity and length. Michael Sandel poses a series of questions at a community event on ethics and the pandemic response The trick is getting a splintered America to act as one, Fauci says The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news.last_img read more

Risk and Compliance Management: Modernizing the Cloud to Address the Realities of Security and Compliance

first_imgArtificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Big Data, Augmented Reality, IoT, 5G – some of the current buzzwords and trends in the industry.  It’s “what all the cool kids” are talking about.  Every time I meet with partners around the world, these are the topics they want to talk about.  No doubt virtually every IT organization has projects in one or all of these areas.  However, in addition to these “cool” new technologies which everyone wants to talk about, organizations are quietly ramping up other aspects of their hybrid cloud and multi-cloud implementations – specifically addressing Security and Compliance.According to Cybersecurity Insiders’ 2018 Cloud Security Report*, Enterprise top cloud security concerns are compliance, security, visibility, and maintaining consistent security policies.  While compliance has been embedded in IT for certain verticals for years including banking (PCI), HealthCare (HIPAA), Government (FISMA), and others – industry wide attention to compliance has been minimal.  That really changed on May 25, 2018 when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect in the European Union. As I said above, compliance isn’t anything new – but GDPR shifted the conversation by bringing into effect a regulation that broadly applies to every company that uses digital assets (which is, for the most part, EVERY company in the world) and by making the penalties onerous enough that everyone MUST pay attention. While GDPR itself is a topic for another blog, I like to use GDPR as an example and a leading point of discussion of why Risk and Compliance management is so important – and why Cloud Service Providers are specifically vulnerable if they don’t address compliance head on.Ok, so what exactly is Risk and Compliance Management?  Simply put, it is the methodology and tools to analyze your IT enterprise assets in order to ensure they are meeting the requirements of a specific set of policies. Then apply rules to the results to measure the risk to your organization based on your level of compliance.  So, what does THAT mean?  Take a set of rules, apply them to your IT assets.  Are you sure they are really implemented?  What about that new virtual machine (VM) someone in Finance stood up “temporarily” (there is nothing so permanent as a temporary solution)?  Did all the correct settings get applied?  Is the data contained on the VM being properly tracked and structured in order to ensure things like regional isolation or meta-data tagging to ensure the right to delete?  What is the level of risk I am accepting or willing to accept based on a cost tradeoff of compliance (to what level am I following compliance rules).  This is what Risk and Compliance Management is all about.Now, once you get your head around the need for Risk and Compliance management, the problem is exacerbated by this thing we called multi-cloud and hybrid cloud.  Simply put, enterprises are not using just one cloud today – they are using a variety of clouds in concert which together form their virtual enterprise.  From on-premise clouds for critical workloads, to public clouds for rapid prototyping, and SaaS applications like SalesForce or Office 365, to niche applications like SAS for analytics, or online HR apps and payroll apps – IT organizations have workloads and data that span across a variety of clouds.  And while they may be able to directly control or have access to the SaaS based applications – even the traditional IaaS workloads are spread across private clouds built in multiple datacenters across an organization, regional service providers, and public clouds.  Bottom line – it’s REALLY hard to manage all of your IT assets – but the regulators really don’t care.  Simply put, if you are not in compliance, you risk being fined (or losing certification, or other penalties depending on the specific compliance regulations).(Warning – Soapbox rant ahead.  Skip this paragraph to avoid).  So how DO you get control – or at least visibility – into all your virtual assets across so many clouds?  And, how do you maintain that visibility/control when virtual assets are being created and destroyed daily/hourly/by the minute?  Well, there is the challenge.  The industry still doesn’t have a true multi-cloud management standard (at the control plane level).  There are continual waves of ISVs building solutions to limited success, and enterprises dabbling in those solutions.  But what I have seen firsthand, is that these solutions (true multi-cloud cross platform management) all end up suffering from the same flaw – which is they have to work to the lowest common denominator.  Meaning if you want to “be the one manager to rule them all” so that you simplify control to a common plane – that manager is limited by what the least advanced cloud it is managing can do.  Also, the lifecycle management of that tool is immense, because each time the APIs for the underlying cloud platforms change, the management tool has to change – and those API changes are constant.  Bottom line, a true multi-cloud manager is still more of a dream than a reality – but that doesn’t negate the requirements for Risk and Compliance management!(Soapbox rant over, back to our regularly scheduled blog).  So if I can’t have a true management control plane across all my cloud assets what do I do?  Well, while the management control plane is still being resolved, the risk and compliance responsibilities for any IT organization exist today and must be addressed day in and day out.  Traditionally, the methods used to approach this challenge involved custom scripts, excel spreadsheets, various independent automation tools, and other hodge-podge methods.  While this may work for small datacenters, getting global visibility across an entire virtual enterprise spanning multiple clouds – with the challenge being financial penalties for non-compliance – the methodology breaks down very quickly.  Simply put, one-off scripts and excel spreadsheets don’t work for the modern virtual enterprise, particularly in the world of virtual machines which can be created and destroyed many times a day.To address this challenge head on, Dell EMC has partnered with Caveonix and VMWare to build a solution which enables Cloud Service Providers to offer a true Risk and Compliance Service.  This solution is multi-tenant, service provider focused, and ready today to accelerate Risk and Compliance Management for commercial and enterprise organizations globally through our Service Provider Partners.Caveonix RiskForesight™ is the industry’s first multi-tenant cyber risk and compliance management platform for the hybrid cloud, enabling service providers to offer full workload protection and compliance management services to their customers. The Platform provides proactive workload protection from risks due to cyber threats and helps organizations ensure regulatory compliance requirements such as GDPR, PCI, HIPAA, ISO, NIST, FFIEC, FISMA, and FedRAMP through continuous compliance.  RiskForesight’s Detect, Predict and Act continuum extends the NIST Risk Management Framework with active defense in addition to providing continuous automated monitoring, and quantitative risk posture analysis, of applications and their workloads.The Risk and Compliance Management as a Service Solution (RCMaaS) is built from the ground up to enable rapid GTM for service providers, with the peace of mind of a solution built on an industry leading stack including Dell PowerEdge Servers, Dell EMC Isilon Storage, VMWare through VCPP, and Caveonix RiskForesight™.Bottom line is this:Risk and Compliance is a real issue faced by corporations around the world.The challenge is intensified as the virtual enterprise expands across multiple clouds.Regardless of how it is done, compliance is a requirement across almost all workloads today.Service Providers are perfectly positioned to offer services to address this challenge.The solution needs to be addressed holistically, across a multi-cloud ecosystem.Dell EMC, VMWare, and Caveonix have a solution ready today to address this challenge.Act now!  Being compliant is more cost effective than the alternative!Contact us today at: [email protected] more:Risk and Compliance Management for Cloud Service Providers Knowledge Center*Cybersecurity Insiders, “2018 Cloud Security Report” – Reportlast_img read more

Sexual assault activists to speak at SMC, ND, IUSB

first_imgAnnie Clark and Andrea Pino, co-founders of the national organization End Rape on Campus, are coming to Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Indiana University South Bend (IUSB) for a series of appearances and discussions on sexual assault and activism on college campuses. Clark and Pino filed a federal complaint with the Department of Education against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for violations of Title IX and the Clery Act while they were students there and were also featured prominently in the recent documentary “The Hunting Ground.” Abby Palko, associate director of the Notre Dame’s gender studies program, said Saint Mary’s faculty spearheaded the initiative to get the women to appear at the three universities. Lucy Du “Stacy Davis, chair of gender and women’s studies, contacted me and Mary Kearney [director of the gender studies program] here at Notre Dame, as well as April Lidinsky, director of women’s and gender studies at IUSB,” Palko said. “She asked if we would be interested in having them talk on our campuses, and of course we said yes.”Each school is hosting a different kind of event, ranging from lectures to discussions to question and answer sessions, Palko said. “At Saint Mary’s, Stacy wanted a big public lecture. We each decided what was most needed for our students,” she said. “We wanted for Notre Dame, and students in particular, to hear what it was like to ​take on the challenge of standing up for their rights and their safety, to challenge institutional procedures that did not protect them, to ​go through the process of filing a complaint with the federal government.”Palko said Clark and Pino can bring a relatable perspective to the campus discussions on sexual assault because of their experiences as students. “One of the reasons Mary and I are so excited for them to come is because they were college students just like you,” she said. “We think Annie and Andrea are great models for speaking up even when there is social, professional or interpersonal risk to standing up, and speaking up, and saying that this is not okay.”Clark and Pino will be leading a discussion and a question and answer session at Legends on Friday at noon, Palko said. They will be delivering a lecture at Saint Mary’s on Thursday at 7 p.m. in Madeleva Hall and a discussion at IUSB on Friday at 2 p.m. “The talk will be 20 to 25 minutes, and then there will be time for discussions and questions,” she said. “We want students to get ideas and practical tips for dealing with the issue of sexual assault, so they feel more empowered. … We welcome anybody anticipating a fantastic conversation.”Speaking on sexual assault activism at Notre Dame, Palko said she believes students are still learning how to be active bystanders. “I think Notre Dame students have an enormous passion for taking on social justice issues but are not sure what to do when it comes to sexual assault,” she said. Sexual assault is an issue that demands response from every member of the campus community, Palko said. “We want to make the Notre Dame language of ‘We’re a family’ even more real,” she said. “Everyone should say, ‘Not another person on this campus should be sexually assaulted.’”While faculty and staff can’t be active bystanders at parties the way students can, Palko said, they can contribute to ending sexual assault by emphasizing the seriousness of the issue in their classrooms. “Over the summer we worked with the Title IX coordinator and the directors of undergraduate studies,” she said. “One of the suggestions we’ve made is putting on syllabi a note about the part in Title IX about confidential resources and non-confidential resources. We all put on the honor code, the anti-plagiarism pledge, but we can do it too with sexual assault resources, as a signal to students that this is just as important.”Palko said although sexual assault is not a new issue at Notre Dame, there is now an increasing willingness and comfort in reporting. Ending sexual assault on college campuses is difficult, she said. “It’s so hard to talk about sexual assault on college campuses as if it’s all the same — because we’re not all the same. With Notre Dame, we have Saint Mary’s across the street and there are fraught relationships there,” she said. “The parietals, single sex dorms, off campus culture and Catholic nature of the school are all characteristics that make Notre Dame unique.” Tags: activism, IUSB, sexual assault, The Hunting Groundlast_img read more

CSI-like skills

first_imgLearning beside an expert Gardner and Fortunato aren’t crime scene investigators.They’re college students who spent their summer working alongsideUniversity of Georgia geneticist and entomologist Tracie Jenkins.In her laboratory on the UGA campus in Griffin, Ga., Jenkins usesthe same technology seen on CSI-type crime shows to solve insectmysteries. Jenkins uses DNA markers to determine an insect’s origin. Sofar, she’s connected Formosan termites found in Atlanta to thosefound in Macon and south Georgia. They’re related through theirmothers. These same Formosan subterranean termites came to Georgiafrom New Orleans. “It appears as if they hitched a ride from the port city intrucks and rolled into Georgia via the interstate highways,”Jenkins said. She also used DNA to trace termites discovered in theMidwest. “I was able to use this technology to track Asiansubterranean termites found in a box of latex gloves in Columbus,Ohio, to a warehouse in Singapore,” she said. “And, it looks likeat least some of the Asian subterranean termites in Florida camefrom Malaysia.” From a biology student to a biologist “Having one-on-one interaction with a faculty member intheir laboratory is practically unheard of,” he said. “When youstep out of the classroom and into a lab, it’s almost liketurning a key. You’re a biology student and then you become abiologist. Having more student opportunities like this woulddrive interest in the sciences through the roof.” “I’ve listened to lectures for two hours and been bored,”Gardner said. “Seeing the lecture come alive is incredible. I’m apart of the history of the research and I’ve even been published.And I’m just a sophomore in college.” Jenkins enjoys having the students work in her laboratory asmuch as they value the experience. “Over time they become my colleagues and I depend on themand I have faith in them,” she said. “These students are reallydedicated to their work. They come in early, stay late and workhard at time-consuming tasks. But it’s because they are studentswho truly want the experience. “When I see the light come on in these students, I know I’mdoing the right thing by opening up my laboratory to them,” shesaid. “Knowledge moves in both directions and often they teachme as I teach them. I’ve seen the change take place insideMichael this summer. He thinks like a geneticist now.” Gardner just has one regret – being born too soon. “Kids now are so lucky,” she said. “They can buy forensicDNA kits in the toy stores. And to think I played with Barbies.” By Sharon OmahenUniversity of Georgia Mary Melissa Gardner watches the popular television dramaCSI. But she doesn’t watch for the reason most viewers do. Sheand fellow student Michael Fortunato view the show more as sci-fi than reality. “I watch an episode of CSI and think to myself ‘that’s nothow you do that,’ ” she said. Fortunato agrees. “I find myself having CSI DNA band envy,”he said. “You just don’t get perfect bands like that.”center_img Where they’re from, where they’re headed Knowing an insect’s origin is key to insect control. “If we know how they get here,” Jenkins said, “we can tellinspectors what to watch for to keep other termites from cominginto the country or state.” Jenkins, whose work is applied insect genetics, allows hersummer student assistants to apply the science, too. “I’m a college student,” Gardner said. “And I’ve beenworking with DNA sequencing at UGA this summer. At my school itwould be hard for me to even get a (student assistant) slotworking in a lab. Those jobs go to the graduate students first.” Gardner says even if she had garnered a job working in aresearcher’s laboratory at her college, her summer experiencewould have been very different. “I would have spent all summer stuffing pipette tips orporing gels for other people to use for conducting research,” shesaid. “My friends who are upperclassmen would give anything towork in a lab alongside a researcher like I have this summer.” Fortunato, who just completed a post-baccalaureate degree atNew York University, agrees.last_img read more

Children’s Health Month

first_imgBecoming a parent can mean being hyper aware of the dangers household items—like the stairs, electrical outlets and sharp table corners—can pose to a child. However, some the biggest threats to a child’s safety aren’t visible to the naked eye. This fall, University of Georgia Extension agents started working with local hospitals to help teach new moms and dads about the dangers of radon. They also are teaming up with parents for Children’s Health Month this October, working to keep Georgians aware of the environmental dangers that could be in their homes—from radon, lead paint and poisonous household chemicals. “We want to make sure that parents have the tools and information needed to keep their homes healthy and safe for their families,” said Pamela Turner, a UGA Extension housing specialist in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. “We want children to be safe in the environment where they live, where they play, where they sleep — to have that comfort of being at home.” Radon awareness. UGA Extension has offered radon education and testing services to Georgians for the past 10 years. “Many parents are more concerned about the health of the children than themselves. When parents learn of the dangers of radon gas, they will test their home for radon if the child’s health is at risk,” said Becky Chenhall, a UGA Extension radon educator in the college. Radon, a radioactive gas naturally present in north Georgia’s granite bed rock, is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and the second-leading cause of lung cancer overall. The gas leaches out of granite and seeps into homes, where it can collect and reach carcinogenic concentrations over time. In Georgia, more people die from radon-induced lung cancer each year than from drunk driving. While everyone is susceptible to the dangers posed by radon, children face the greatest risks because their lungs are still developing; and, depending on age, they breathe about twice as rapidly as adults. Also, children spend more time near the ground where radon — which is heavier than the ambient air — is in higher concentrations. Chenhall and UGA Extension radon educator Morgan Barnett have been working directly with pediatricians and prenatal instructors at hospitals to teach new parents the dangers of radon — including information about low-cost, homeowner-conducted tests. “Your neighbor’s house could have a low level of radon while yours could have a high amount, or vice versa,” Barnett said. “Testing your home is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk. Radon is a health concern particularly in north Georgia, but the good news is that all homes with a radon problem can be fixed.” High residential levels of radon can be addressed through a licensed abatement company, which usually achieves abatement by adding extra ventilation to the home’s crawl space or basement. Lead poisoning. In addition to radon awareness, UGA Extension agents conduct a number of safe housing workshops throughout the year on reducing children’s exposure to lead. Lead is a toxic metal that was used for many years in products found in and around homes. The primary cause of poisoning is chipping and peeling lead-based paint used in homes built before 1978. Lead also can be found in drinking water supplied by lead pipes and in the soil around buildings and on antique toys painted with lead paint. Children six years old and under are at the greatest risk. If lead poisoning is not detected early, children with high levels can suffer from behavior and learning problems, brain damage, slowed growth and headaches. Adults can suffer from high blood pressure, reproductive and memory problems and nerve disorders. Because there are no obvious symptoms, lead poisoning frequently goes unrecognized. Some lead problems should be addressed by professional companies, but parents can take several steps to keep from exposing a child to lead. The simplest may be to institute a “no shoes” policy inside the house and to use a doormat, Turner said. This keeps visitors and family members from tracking in lead dust or other materials that may be harmful to children. “We track in all sorts of mud and dust into our homes on the bottom of our shoes,” she said. “You walk on the carpet, the dust becomes lodged in the carpet, and your children play on the carpet. Leaving your shoes by the door is one of the easiest, cheapest things you can do to make your home healthier — whether you’re concerned about lead, pollen or other contaminants.” Household poisons. UGA Extension also provides information about keeping children safe from household chemical poisoning and provides step-by-step instructions on poison-proofing a home. In recent years, child health educators have seen an increase in accidental poisonings due to “poison look-alikes,” said Turner, who along with UGA Extension specialists Sharon Gibson and Diane Bales co-authored an in-depth bulletin about the problems. Poison look-alikes are potentially harmful substances that can easily be mistaken for safe ones, usually because they look the same or have very similar packaging. Often, they are used for cleaning, self-care or first aid; but, if used incorrectly or mistaken for something else, they can be harmful. “When parents get in a hurry or are distracted, accidents can happen,” Gibson said. “It is easy to put your cat’s ear-mite drops into your eyes by mistake or to grab the tube of muscle soothing cream instead of the toothpaste. Mistakes like these can cause problems ranging from temporary discomfort, severe illness, permanent injury or even death.” For more information about keeping potentially harmful products — including lead and household poisons — out of the hands of children, see or call 800-ASK-UGA1. For more information about UGA Extension housing programs, see or For more information about UGA Extension’s radon awareness program, see or email Chenhall at [email protected] or Barnett at [email protected]last_img read more

New Data Reveals Stark Gaps in Graduation Rates Between Poor and Wealthy Students

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York By Annie Waldman, ProPublicaA new report released Thursday provides a detailed look at the graduation rates of low-income college students. At many colleges, low-income students graduate at much lower rates than their high-income peers.At the University of Missouri-Kansas City, only 35 percent of Pell Grant recipients graduate college, a rate that is more than 20 percentage points lower than that of their wealthier peers. And at St. Andrews, a liberal arts college in Laurinburg, North Carolina, only 13 percent of Pell Grant recipients graduate, more than 50 percentage points less than students who don’t receive the grants.The study found 51 percent of Pell students graduate nationwide, compared to 65 percent of non-Pell students. The average gap between wealthy and poor students at the same schools is much smaller: an average of 5.7 percentage points. That’s because many Pell students attend schools with low graduation rates. (You can now look up whether poor students are graduating at the same rate as their classmates in our newly updated interactive database, Debt by Degrees.)Ben Miller, the senior director for postsecondary education at the Center for American Progress, said that schools with large graduation gaps deserve greater scrutiny.“Colleges have responsibility to ensure that the students they enroll are well served,” said Miller. “If you’re going to enroll someone, you should do the absolute best you can to graduate them, or else don’t take their money.”The new report comes on the heels of recently released federal education data that has brought new focus on how low-income students fare at college, including how much federal debt they take on and how much they earn after graduation. The graduation rates of low-income students were not included in that data.The group behind the new report, the Education Trust, collected the graduation rates of Pell Grant recipients 2014 typically students whose families make less than $30,000 a year 2014 for a selection of more than 1,000 colleges across the country.A spokesman for University of Missouri-Kansas City said many of their students are low-income and that the school is working to do better. “We are not satisfied with that gap,” said John Martellaro. “We are investing more resources in our student success programs in an effort to narrow that gap.” (Read their full statement.)St. Andrews did not immediately respond to requests for comment.At more than a third of the colleges studied, schools were able to serve their Pell students almost as well as non-Pell students, with a gap of less than 3 percentage points.Other schools have managed to graduate Pell students at an even higher rate than their non-Pell peers. According to the new data, nearly 90 percent of Pell recipients are able to graduate Smith College, compared with an 85 percent graduation rate of non-Pell students. And at Western Oregon University, Pell recipients have a graduation rate of 50 percent 2014 nearly 10 percentage points better than their peers.Both schools worked hard to ensure high graduation rates, including improving admissions policies and bolstering financial aid, as well as increasing advising and support services for students at school, says the new report.The Pell Grant program is the nation’s largest need-based student grant program, giving out billions of dollars annually. Yet for years, the data on Pell recipient graduation rates was mostly hidden from the public eye.Although colleges are required to give the government graduation-rate data that’s broken down by gender and race, the data is not required to be reported by income or Pell Grant status. Since 2008, schools are required to disclose Pell graduation rate data if it’s requested by prospective students.“It’s kind of astounding when you think about how much money is spent on the Pell Grant program,” said Andrew Kelly, the director of the Center on Higher Education Reform at the American Enterprise Institute. “We don’t have any idea about how much of that money goes to producing degrees. We don’t know what happens to Pell recipients after they enroll.”In order to collect Pell graduation rates, the Education Trust filed requests for data through state higher education systems as well as with the schools themselves. Some of the data was purchased from U.S. News and World Report. However, only around 1,150 schools were included in the report, out of the more than 7,000 institutions in the country. The survey also did not include data from for-profit colleges, where many Pell-recipients attend school.Sisi Wei contributed to this report.ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.last_img read more

YouTube Channels Making Money From Advertisements, Memberships Amplify Trump Voting Fraud Claims

first_imgGoogle, Facebook and Twitter and others have struggled to guard against the misinformation as millions of posts arrive each day.Researchers who track misinformation say it is fueled by content creators who see an opportunity to profit from it. Over the last few years, they have pressured YouTube and its advertisers to tighten scrutiny.Some YouTube advertisers now avoid sponsoring political content. But the memberships offering, under which fans pay a few dollars monthly for exclusive content and promotional merchandise, has helped offset lost advertisement sales.- Advertisement – YouTube, owned by Alphabet’s Google, has rules that forbid channels using its revenue-generation tools from making “claims that are demonstrably false and could significantly undermine participation or trust in an electoral or democratic process.”Google did not immediately respond when asked if it would suspend ads and membership sales on the channels, a penalty commonly known as “demonetisation.”With ballot tallying ongoing in a few states whose results will decide the hotly contested race between Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden, Trump has made unsubstantiated accusations about the Democratic party’s stealing the election. Trump’s supporters have rallied behind the misinformation on social media and in protests outside vote-counting sites.- Advertisement – At least nine popular YouTube channels were promoting on Thursday debunked accusations about voting fraud in the US presidential race, conspiratorial content that could jeopardise advertising and memberships revenue they get from the video service.Reuters found the channels, ranging from ones with 1,000 followers to more than 6,29,000, endorsing claims that fact-checking units of the Associated Press, Reuters and other organisations have deemed false or inaccurate.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – One of the channels seen by Reuters, JohnTalks, shared two videos on Thursday about alleged voter fraud in Michigan, a key battleground state in the election that Biden has won, generating more than 90,000 views in eight hours.Among the claims cited was that wagons, suitcases and coolers were used to smuggle ballots into a counting center. At least three news outlets investigated the claim and determined the items carried food for election workers and camera equipment for a local TV station.JohnTalks did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.The liberal online watchdog group Media Matters for America said in a report on Thursday that it found videos making dubious claims post-election have garnered more than 1 million views collectively.YouTube’s policy on “demonstrably false” election information drew attention on Wednesday when CNBC reported that One American News Network was generating ad revenue from its YouTube video prematurely declaring Trump the winner. YouTube said it would not remove the video, but stopped running ads on it.Trump’s talk of fraud has created opportunity for his critics, too. Some popular YouTube channels, which run ads and sell memberships, have generated hundreds of thousands of views on videos rebutting Trump supporters’ claims of voter fraud.© Thomson Reuters 2020Are iPhone 12 mini, HomePod mini the Perfect Apple Devices for India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.last_img read more

GAO looks abroad for food-safety oversight lessons

first_imgJul 17, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report examining the results several developed nations and the European Union achieved when they consolidated oversight of food safety in a single agency, a step often advocated in the United State for solving some of the problems linked to contaminated imported and domestic food.The report was requested by members of congressional food safety committees that are considering—amid widespread complaints that regulatory fragmentation hobbles the country’s food safety system—whether sweeping changes are needed to reduce the number and speed the investigation of foodborne illness outbreaks. The 101-page report was released Jul 14 but is dated Jun 2008.Coming amid the nation’s largest produce-related outbreak, in which tomatoes and jalapeno peppers are the top suspects, the report’s release is designed to assist lawmakers who face renewed pressure to consolidate food safety oversight under one agency. Several high-profile food contamination incidents have unfolded over the past 2 years, such as Escherichia coli O157:H7 in fresh spinach and ground beef and toxic chemicals from imported ingredients used in pet foods.In January 2007 the GAO added federal oversight of food safety to its high-risk series list, which marks it as a high priority for broad transformation to make the process more efficient, effective, and accountable.Within the last year the two federal agencies that handle most of the nation’s food safety efforts have issued their own safety plans. In October the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a list of proposals to reverse the upswing in ground-beef recalls and E coli illnesses. The following month the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released an Import Safety Plan and a Food Protection Plan that proposed features such as enhanced inspection of high-risk imports and authority for mandatory recalls.The GAO said its report isn’t meant to compare the food safety systems of other countries with the United States, but rather to explore the processes other countries use and the challenges they face. The report looks at import safety and outbreak response methods in Canada, the European Union, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. The GAO did not evaluate countries’ management of their food safety systems.Common themes emergeGAO inspectors pointed out that the United States shares some of the same food safety challenges as other nations, including the ones surveyed in the report. For example, imported food accounts for a growing portion of the food supply, consumers are eating more raw foods, and aging populations mean more people will be more susceptible to foodborne illnesses.”All [of the selected countries] are high-income counties where consumers have high expectations for food safety,” GAO officials wrote.The authors said the report follows up on a 2005 GAO report that described the approaches and challenges that seven countries (Canada, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom) faced as they reorganized and consolidated their food safety systems into a single agency.Some members of Congress and consumer groups have called for a similar consolidation of the US food safety system, which is now divided among more than a dozen federal agencies.The GAO found several common themes in the national food safety systems:Farm-to-table oversight that focuses on avoiding problems throughout the food chainProducer responsibility for food safety, for both domestic and imported goodsSeparate risk-assessment and risk-management agencies, with some cases countries separating risk management from industry-promotion functionsCooperation between government veterinarians and public health officialsMandatory recall authorityIn examining how countries handle imports, the GAO found a high degree of coordination among the European Union, its member countries, and some nonmember countries. When food safety problems are found at one of the 300 EU inspection posts, a rapid alert is sent electronically, detailing the risk to human health or animal feed.The auditors also found that Japan sets yearly goals for import inspections of targeted food groups and places the burden of additional inspections on the importers.Most of the countries told the GAO that their procedures for tracing foodborne illness outbreaks are generally similar to those used in the United States. However, the EU has a traceability requirement for all foods that is designed to help speed outbreak investigations; producers at each manufacturing stage must document where a particular food came from and where it is going next—”one step forward and one step back.” Also, Canada, Japan, and the EU have mandatory identification programs for certain animals that document where the animals came from and where they were sent for slaughter. The countries use a variety of tools, such as ear tags, “passports,” or bar codes.Some of the nations said coordination between government veterinarians and public health officials is crucial, particularly when investigating zoonotic diseases such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy or avian influenza. For example, the GAO said a 2004 outbreak of antibiotic-resistant Salmonella in cattle in the United Kingdom never struck humans, thanks to rapid communication between the country’s Health Protection Agency and the Veterinary Laboratory Agency.All the countries have mandatory recall authority, but said they rarely need to use it. For example, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said the authority is effective “because it is there,” contributing to better industry cooperation. The CFIA said it has ordered only seven recalls.Are system reorganizations effective?The countries the GAO looked at said they have not done comprehensive evaluations of their reorganized food safety systems. “One food safety expert noted that it is difficult to determine the effectiveness of a food safety system because it involves proving that something did not happen, i.e., that exporters did not try to ship unsafe food to a country,” the report says.However, several countries did track indicators such as number of inspections performed, number of enforcement actions taken, number of foodborne illnesses, and consumer satisfaction. For example, in the United Kingdom, the public’s confidence in the government’s ability to protect against foodborne illnesses was 60%, as compared with about 44% in 2001.In Japan, however, a consumer survey of the government’s risk communications found that the public did not understand the concept of assessing risk, which has prompted the government to try to better communicate its food safety role to the public and clarify its risk messages.Meanwhile, German officials sought feedback from stakeholders, who have suggested improvements in the country’s food safety system. Some of the stakeholders told GAO auditors that one benefit of food safety system reorganization is having a single contact point.Nations voice future concernsThe GAO queried experts in the countries about the challenges they expect to face over the next decade. The answers included:Climate change effects such the emergence of new pathogens and new patterns of disease spreadDemographic changes, such as an aging population and greater immigrationNew food trends and technology, such as new convenience items and the rise of processing systems that involve nanotechnology, genetic modification, and decontaminationIndustry changes that include consolidation in the food industry and an increase in global food trade.See also:GAO report on food import safety and foodborne illness outbreak response in selected countrieslast_img read more