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July 29, 2006, 9:00 PM CT

Cost Of Front-line Reporting

Cost Of Front-line Reporting Image courtesy of Christian Science Monitor
UWS Master of Psychology (Forensic) researcher, Ms Beverley Chidgey, says while we rely on journalists to bring us our daily news, we know very little about how journalists handle the emotional effects of covering violence and traumatic events on a prolonged basis.

"Major world events like 9/11, the 2004 tsunami and the continued conflicts in the Middle East have generated an increased interest in the coping ability of journalists and their symptoms of stress and trauma, but there is little research to date on the issue," says Ms. Chidgey. "Historically journalists have been viewed as hardened characters, not susceptible to the effects of covering traumatic events. However, evidence is pointing towards higher levels of trauma-related illness and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms among reporters who cover war and other disturbing events".

"There is some evidence to date that the level of psychological hardiness could act as a preventative mental health factor - motivating journalists to respond to stressful circumstances by turning potential disasters into positive challenges rather than negative".

Ms Chidgey says the study will examine journalists' perceived risk of crime and will consider whether levels of hardiness diminish reporters' fear of crime. It will also look at the relationship between age, gender, length of time in the job, work role and perceived risks and fears.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source

July 29, 2006, 8:25 PM CT

Insights Into Scientific Revolution

Insights Into Scientific Revolution
With the "Genesis of General Relativity", the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG) has just published the most comprehensive study to date of the structures of a scientific revolution. As per the study, a scientific revolution is not a simple radical new beginning, but the result of a new organisation of transmitted knowledge. The result of 10 years of research, this four-volume, 2000-page work on the origins of Einstein's General Relativity Theory - one of the most important physical theories of the 20th century - will appear in the Springer Press. Jürgen Renn, Director at the Max Planck Institute, will present the work, of which he is also the editor, to the scientific public at the 11th Marcel Grossmann Meetings, which will take place in Berlin on 24 - 29 July, 2006. The work, which is the result of an international team of authors, contains new insights into the premises, assumptions, and preconditions that underlie Einstein's scientific revolution, as, for instance, insights into the role of Einstein's previously largely unknown precursors and competitors for a theory which today represents the basis of modern cosmology.

"Einstein did not achieve this revolution by means of a single stroke of genius-rather, he stood on the shoulders of dwarves and giants", says Jürgen Renn. Volumes 1 and 2 contain the facsimile and transcription of, as well as a scholarly commentary on, Einstein's famous Zurich Notebook from 1912-1913. The research by Einstein recorded in this notebook forms a pivotal part of his creation of the theory of general relativity. Complementing this core material are essays re-evaluating the genesis of Einstein's theory in light of the analysis of this notebook. Volumes 3 and 4 contain additional sources by Einstein and his contemporaries, who from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century contributed to this groundbreaking development. These sources, most of which are presented here in translation for the first time, are accompanied by essays by leading historians of relativity offering new insights into the broader scientific context from which Einstein's theory emerged. The result of more than a decade of research, these four volumes provide a study of unprecedented depth of one of the most important revolutions in the history of science.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source

July 28, 2006, 10:32 PM CT

The Myth of the Security Mom

The Myth of the Security Mom
Recent studies of the 2004 election data by political scientists assess the role and impact of major sets of differences in the voting behavior of Americans--known in popular parlance as "voting gaps." Based on differences in support for George W. Bush and ranked in descending order, the studies confirm the largest voting gaps in the electorate were race and ethnicity, religion, class, region, gender, age, and education.

The research is presented in a symposium entitled "Gapology and the Presidential Vote," edited by Laura R. Olson (Clemson University) and John C. Green (University of Akron). In four articles, scholars explore a different voter gap in detail. The entire symposium appears in the recent issue of PS: Political Science & Politics, a journal of the American Political Science Association (APSA), and is available online at /section_694.cfm. "We aim to show that 21st-century Americans are divided on a wide range of political fronts that go far beyond the. 'red state, blue state' rubric that has become so popular," state the editors; "reality. is far more complex".

The religion gap was one of the most significant recent trends among voters. In their article, Olson and Green reflect on the tendency of the most religious Americans to espouse conservative political beliefs and support the GOP. Their analysis finds there was "no sustained 'religion gap' in voting behavior until 1992," after which "differences within religious communities were. apparently more politically significant than differences among religious traditions." The 2004 voting data reveal a significant gap where "one-half of all Bush's ballots were cast by weekly worship attendees, whereas some two-thirds of Kerry's votes were cast by less-than-weekly attendees." However, the authors argue for a nuanced interpretation of the data given that 41.2% of weekly worship attendees claim they have a moderate political ideology and nearly as many chose economic issues as their top policy concern (34.3%) as did moral issues (34.4%).........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source

July 28, 2006, 10:09 PM CT

From Farm Waste To Bio-oil

From Farm Waste To Bio-oil
Samy Sadaka reached into a garbage bag, picked up a mixture of cow manure and corn stalks, let it run through his fingers and invited a visitor to do the same.

It wasn't that bad.

That mix of manure and corn stalks had spent 27 days breaking down in a special drying process. The end result looked like brown yard mulch with lots of thin fibers. There wasn't much smell. And it was dry to the touch.

"That's about 20 percent moisture," said Drew Simonsen, an Iowa State University sophomore from Quimby who's working on the research project led by Sadaka, an associate scientist for Iowa State's Center for Sustainable Environmental Technologies.

Other Iowa State scientists working on the project are Robert Burns, an associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering; Mark Hanna, an Extension agricultural engineer; Robert C. Brown, director of the Center for Sustainable Environmental Technologies and Bergles Professor in Thermal Science; and Hee-Kwon Ahn, a postdoctoral researcher for the department of agricultural and biosystems engineering.

The project is being supported by $190,000 in grants from the Iowa Biotechnology Byproducts Consortium.

The scientists are working to take wastes from Iowa farms -- manure and corn stalks -- and turn them into a bio-oil that could be used for boiler fuel and perhaps transportation fuel.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source

July 26, 2006, 10:11 PM CT

Some People Sure Are Trusting

Some People Sure Are Trusting
OK, this wasn't in America. I sometimes think I'd put our knuckleheads up against anybody's, but maybe not. If they had an Olympics for flagrant hazards, we'd be out of the medals if this is the competition.

On the plus side, he is wearing a hard hat. Also, if you look carefully at the boulder's 4 o'clock, you'll see a plastic drink bottle propped on another rock, so he is also staying hydrated. And maybe that boulder is actually 20 feet long, so that's just the tip sticking out. Yeah, that's it.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink

July 26, 2006, 8:31 PM CT

Logistics Of Evacuating Lebanon

Logistics Of Evacuating Lebanon Yossi Sheffi
Photo courtesy / Yossi Sheffi
The evacuation of American citizens and foreign nationals from Lebanon this week presented a study in emergency logistics and also a diplomatic opportunity for the United States, as per an MIT engineering professor who specializes in logistics, supply chain management and resilient enterprise development.

The Beirut evacuation follows Israel's bombing of southern Lebanon in retaliation for the kidnapping and killing of Israeli soldiers and the bombing of northern Israel by Hezbollah, a Shi'ite militia group based in Lebanon.

Yossi Sheffi, professor of engineering systems and director of the Center for Transportation Logistics, described the situation as "chaotic," as thousands of people, plus trucks, cars and buses, clogged the roads en route to the port city in hopes of getting on boats to Larnaca, Cyprus, 40 miles away.

"The British brought in a warship; for them, this was a second Dunkirk," Sheffi said, referring to the 1940 rescue of British troops from mass death on the French shoreline during World War II. "Reaching that a number of people, finding out who wants to leave, managing the sick, infirm, and children, arranging supplies and getting everyone all to safety requires the coordination and communications of a military operation".

The basics of such an operation have some elements in common with the situation that faced Federal Emergency Management Agency personnel after Hurricane Katrina tore through and flooded New Orleans in August 2005. The challenge of locating people, finding out what their condition is, establishing priorities on the fly and managing the information flows are traits common to both the Beirut evacuation and the post-Katrina efforts, Sheffi noted.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source

July 26, 2006, 5:26 PM CT

Worker Ants Store Fat To Share

Worker Ants Store Fat To Share Two closely-related ant colonies stored fat differently: Darker ants stored more fat per individual, but the lighter colony involved a greater proportion of soldiers in storage.
Credit: Alex Wild
In a fascinating new study from the September/October 2006 issue of Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, Daniel A. Hahn (University of Florida) explores the ability of ants to store excess fat and pass it to colony members through lipid-rich oral secretions or unfertilized eggs. For perennial organisms, such as ant colonies, investing heavily in nutrient stores when food availability is high is a potential bet-hedging strategy for dealing with times of famine.

"Understanding the regulation of nutrient reserves, especially fat storage, at the individual and colony levels is critical to understanding both the division of labor characteristics of social insect colonies and the evolution of important colony life-history traits such as the timing of reproduction, founding mode, and over-wintering behaviour," explains Hahn.

In order to better understand how individual fat storage tactics translated into colony-level resources, Hahn captured queens of different species and reared colonies under controlled laboratory conditions in nests for two years, feeding the ants a combination of frozen cockroach and moth eggs, mixed with honey, vitamins, and salt. He then sampled five colonies each of the two different species, and observed that, despite similar environments, darker workers and soldiers stored more fat per unit of lean mass than lighter ants did, but the lighter colony involved a greater proportion of soldiers in storage.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source

July 26, 2006, 5:02 PM CT

Global Coral Reef Assessment

Global Coral Reef Assessment
A first-of-its-kind survey of how well the world's coral reefs are being protected was made possible by a unique collection of NASA views from space.

A team of international scientists using NASA satellite images compiled an updated inventory of all "marine protected areas" containing coral reefs and compared it with the most detailed and comprehensive satellite inventory of coral reefs. The global satellite mapping effort is called the Millennium Coral Reef Mapping Project and was funded by NASA. The study was reported on recently in the journal Science.

The assessment observed that less than two percent of coral reefs are within areas designated to limit human activities that can harm the reefs and the sea life living in and around them. Countries around the world have created these protected ocean and coastal zones where human activities such as shipping, fishing, recreation and scientific research are restricted to varying degrees.

"The contribution of NASA images to this project was crucial," says study lead author Camilo Mora, a marine biologist at Dalhousie University, Canada. "The satellite images allowed us to pinpoint where coral reefs are actually located within coastal marine ecosystems."

The Millennium Project collection of global satellite images of coral reefs was first released in 2003; maps derived from these images were released in 2004. The images are now publicly available from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. Landsat 7 was designed by NASA and launched in 1999. The Landsat Program is a series of Earth-observing satellite missions jointly managed by NASA and the Department of the Interior's U.S. Geological Survey.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source

July 25, 2006, 8:39 PM CT

Change in Rain Around Desert Cities

Change in Rain Around Desert Cities
A study using NASA satellite data and weather records show the urban heat island effect, pollution, irrigation and population changes alter rainfall in desert cities.

Urban areas with high concentrations of buildings, roads and other artificial surface soak up heat, lead to warmer surrounding temperatures, and create "urban heat-islands." This increased heat may promote rising air and alter the weather around cities. Human activities such as land use, additional aerosols and irrigation in these arid urban environments also affect the entire water cycle as well.

Eventhough the urban heat-island effect has been known to affect large cities such as Atlanta and Houston, effects on arid cities such as Phoenix, Ariz. and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia were relatively unknown. These cities both experienced explosive population growth.

A study by J. Marshall Shepherd, a climatologist at the University of Georgia, Atlanta, used a unique 108-year-old data record and data from NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite, to examine arid cities' rainfall patterns.

Shepherd found a 12-14 percent increase in rainfall in the northeast suburbs of Phoenix from the pre-urban (1895-1949) to post-urban (1950-2003) periods. This increase in rainfall is likely correlation to changes in the city and the lands within the city, such as more roadways and buildings in place of open natural area. The increase may also be correlation to changes in irrigation. However, the role of irrigation in changing the weather of cities in arid areas requires more study, Shepherd said.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source

July 25, 2006, 6:33 PM CT

Policing Baghdad

Policing Baghdad
A new paper by MIT political sociologist Diane Davis draws surprising parallels between the challenges to establishing order and security in Baghdad in 2006, and those faced almost a century ago in Mexico City, right after the ouster of longtime dictator General Porfirio Diaz in 1910.

Davis' paper, "Policing, Regime Change and Democracy: Reflections From the Case of Mexico," also offers a cautionary tale to policymakers: Establishing security at the expense of civil rights can "set a country on a downwardly spiraling slippery slope of armed conflict and deteriorating rule of law," she writes.

Q: How are the cities of Baghdad today and Mexico City in 1910 similar?

A: Both have been capital cities caught in the crossfire of national struggles for regime change. Both cities also struggled with the general goal of establishing democracy in the face of conflicts over the new political order.

New political leaders in both cities and countries have had to replace the military with police forces. Both faced political turmoil and chaos following the departure of their former regime leaders, and citizens in both Mexico City and in Baghdad clamored for protection from violence and for a viable police force to restore domestic security.

As in Iraq today, in the face of a partially armed citizenry and a still unconsolidated regime change, Mexico's post-revolutionary political leaders had little recourse but to. patch together a rough and tumble police force comprised of personnel they thought they could trust. Many of the police were rural folk, with little understanding of policing, of city life, of the law or how to guarantee it.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source

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