In the cold and rain, a sprawling lesson on caring

first_img“We have a saying in the simulation: ‘Rain is educational,’” Stephanie Kayden said, considering the cold, wet New England forest around her on a drizzly spring day.Across the surrounding landscape, 115 students from Harvard, Tufts, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were getting a firsthand taste of life as humanitarian aid workers. Divided into 18 teams, they were spread along the roads, lakefront, and trees of Harold Parker State Forest. They interacted with 140 volunteers — some of whom were tasked with giving them a very hard time — who staffed a faux United Nations headquarters, border checkpoints, field hospital, and refugee camps.“The goal is to put just enough stress on the students so that they know how to do their work under duress,” said Kayden, director of Harvard’s Lavine Family Humanitarian Studies Initiative. “We make them feel what it’s like to really be an aid worker, when they’re cold, stressed, tired, hungry, and running out of time.”Kayden, who is also an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and chief of Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Division of International Emergency Medicine and Humanitarian Programs, is responsible for overseeing the sprawling simulated disaster that takes over a chunk of the forest in North Andover for a weekend each spring.This year’s version transported students to the volatile border in the imaginary nation of Worani, where a series of devastating storms have pushed the area’s farmers from their lands. Complicating things is an ongoing conflict in the nation next door that sometimes spills over the border. Organizers emphasize providing as real and immersive an experience as possible, and have designed the weekend to put students off balance, ratchet up stress, and spring at least a few adrenaline-inducing surprises that challenge students to maintain focus and stay on task.“This is the only way they’ll get experience in a setting like this before they’ll have to do it for real,” Kayden said.The student teams were playing the roles of well-known aid agencies, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, and Save the Children. They interacted with volunteers posing as refugees suffering an array of health and safety concerns. The students’ mission was to discover what had happened, what the people’s needs were, and how best to help. Other volunteers played local residents, officials, or members of the military or a local militia.The simulation is a training program of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. About half of the students participating are enrolled in humanitarian studies classes at the Harvard Chan School and the other half are mid-career professionals — some of whom already have field experience — taking an intensive executive education program offered by the Humanitarian Academy at Harvard, which oversees humanitarian education programs at the University.Sarah Klem, a master’s of public health student at the Harvard Chan School who was at the simulation, said she became interested in humanitarian work after working on Lesbos, a Greek island just off the Turkish coast that is a stop for refugees on their way to Europe.“There’s just a lot of need that mostly isn’t talked about,” Klem said. “There’s a lot to do.”,Ahmed Nasser, a Jordanian doctor working on a master’s of public health degree at the Harvard Chan School, said he became interested in humanitarian work when he worked with Doctors Without Borders after finishing medical school.“I fell in love with what they do,” Nasser said. “It wasn’t just the organization itself, it was mainly helping people. That’s why I went into medicine, that’s why I’m interested in humanitarian work.”Nasser and Klem were among a group that interviewed refugees at a simulated camp set up on the park’s breezy lakefront. One “refugee” was Benjamin Aiwonodagbon, a Nigerian doctor, Harvard Chan School graduate, and currently a research fellow at the Brigham. Aiwonodagbon was a student at the simulation last year and said it opened his eyes to the skills needed for humanitarian work.“It kind of resonated with me because my country right now has a lot of security issues,” Aiwonodagbon said. “It gave me an experience [and the sense that] there’s a need to learn more and a need to be a little bit more engaged as a physician.”One of the students’ stops is a field hospital set up and staffed by Massachusetts General Hospital’s Global Disaster Response Program. The program’s deputy director of field operations, Lindsey Martin, described the field hospital as “a simulation within a simulation” because the MGH program brought its own group of trainees — clinicians interested in disaster response. Their task for the weekend wasn’t to conduct rapid assessments or otherwise handle humanitarian response, but instead to learn how to set up a field hospital in a disaster zone.The field hospital was also an important stop for the teams of student humanitarian workers. On arrival, they were given a crash course in emergency triage, which barely concluded before a crowd of refugees poured in for 10 minutes of pandemonium, bleeding, shouting, demanding aid until the students got the situation in hand.Afterward, students were debriefed and critiqued, with pointers one might not initially think of — like “keep an eye out for weapons” — that are important in humanitarian settings.Martin said the weekend is important for the MG trainees, who get a taste of what awaits them in the field, as well as for the larger population of humanitarian students, who are forced to apply lifesaving skills taught in the classroom.“People should step up and be leaders, there should be a relative amount of calm,” Martin said. “But our goal is to create as much chaos as possible, for them to barely be able to think. And they have to respond.”The weekend, Martin said, also gives organizers a chance to reconnect with colleagues whom they will likely meet in the field sometime in the future.“We like to say, ‘We see you here, we’ll see you again,’” Martin said. Real as a heart attack, almost Related Scientists are blown away by hurricane experiment’s resultscenter_img Acted-out medical conditions formative for future physicians Decades after Harvard Forest researchers decided to simulate effects of a giant storm, nature is still surprising in how it has reboundedlast_img read more

Deer Control

first_imgHome gardeners love adding plants to their landscapes. Deer love eating them. “When it comes to wildlife damage in landscapes and agricultural plantings, the most common problem is deer feeding and browsing damage — especially in the winter and early spring,” said Paul Pugliese, a University of Georgia Extension agent in Bartow County. A hungry deer in the winter will eat just about any vegetation and can easily consume four pounds or more of plant material each day, he said.Plant prickly plantsTo help keep Bambi and his buddies from destroying landscape plants, UGA Extension home vegetable horticulturist Bob Westerfield suggests planting varieties that are harder to swallow, literally.“Tougher plants like hollies and junipers are usually less desirable to deer,” he said. “I’m not saying they won’t eat them, but the prickly leaves make it more difficult.” Westerfield says plants like hostas, pansies and fleshy succulents are “like ice cream” to deer.(A publication with a complete list of deer tolerant ornamental plants can be found on the UGA Extension publication website at odor repellents frequentlyOdor repellents can also be used to keep deer at bay, but Pugliese and Westerfield both view them as temporary fixes.“Odor repellents are not very effective because they wear off when it rains,” Pugliese said. “If used, they should be applied at least once a month, or after every rainfall, from early fall until late winter. If you miss a timely application, the end result will be deer damage.”If food is extremely scarce, he has seen deer ignore the repellents despite the taste or odor. “Deer don’t develop resistance to repellents, but they do get use to them,” he said.Preventatives like garlic sticks and sprays will work longer if rotated, Westerfield added. On his farm in Pike County, he hung garlic sticks in his pear tree to keep deer from eating all the fruit. “What I discovered is the deer must like garlic-flavored pears,” he said.Mesh or electric fencesPersonally, Westerfield recommends building a fence to block deer from vegetable gardens. Home garden centers sell what Westerfield calls “a thin version” of deer fencing. He orders 7 ft. tall heavy gauge deer fencing online.Deer recently chewed a hole through this. “The next level for our farm will be an electric fence. Electricity will be the first welcome to our garden from now on,” said a clearly frustrated Westerfield. Todd Hurt, training coordinator for the UGA Center for Urban Agriculture, was so frustrated by deer destroying his landscape that he bought a Scarecrow Sprinkler. The device’s manufacturer claims a blast of water from the motion activated sprinkler will “scare animals away, teaching them to avoid the area in the future.” “It seemed to work. It got me every time I would forget about it,” Hurt said. “It needs a constant supply of water pressure so I had to connect it to PVC pipe instead of a water hose because the hose will swell or burst. And, it was pretty strong and would move on the stake so the stake needs extra support.”For more information on deer control in home landscapes, contact your local UGA Extension office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1.last_img read more

OPEC cuts 2020 demand forecast again on rising Covid cases

first_imgA coronavirus-led demand shock has seen oil prices collapse in 2020, with strict public health measures coinciding with curtailed travel and economic activity.An easing of lockdown measures in the third quarter helped global oil demand to improve, but OPEC now fears a surge in the number of reported Covid-19 cases could derail an expected recovery.“As new COVID-19 infection cases continued to rise during October in the US and Europe, forcing governments to re-introduce a number of restrictive measures, various fuels including transportation fuel are thought to bear the brunt going forward,” OPEC said. LONDON — OPEC on Wednesday trimmed its global oil demand forecasts for the remainder of this year and 2021, citing a weaker-than-expected economic outlook and a surge in coronavirus cases.In a closely watched report, the group of oil-producing nations said it now expects world oil demand to contract by around 9.8 million barrels per day year over year in 2020. That reflects a downward revision of 0.3 million barrels from last month’s assessment.For next year, OPEC said oil demand growth will rise by 6.2 million on an annual basis, representing a downward revision of another 0.3 million barrels from its October report. The group has steadily lowered its oil demand outlook for 2021 from an initial expectation of 7 million in July.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – International benchmark Brent crude futures traded at $44.84 a barrel on Wednesday afternoon, up around 2.8%, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures stood at $42.52, also 2.8% higher.Both oil contracts were on pace to record their third consecutive positive trading session after hopes of an effective coronavirus vaccine continued to bolster market sentiment.Pfizer and BioNTech said Monday that early results showed their vaccine candidate was more than 90% effective in preventing Covid infections. It is hoped a safe and effective vaccine could help bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed over 1.27 million lives.Huge challenges remain before a Covid-19 vaccine can be rolled out, but energy markets have cheered the news.Looking further ahead, OPEC warned “risks remain” with regard to oil demand.“Ongoing developments in the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to dominate a recovery amid the latest news relating to a potential imminent vaccine,” the group said.“The structural impact of the pandemic on various sectors, especially the transportation sector, will linger well into 2021.” – Advertisement –center_img Paul Putnam, 53, a rancher and independent contract pumper walks past a pump jack in Loving County, Texas, November 25, 2019.Angus Mordant | Reuters “These downward revisions mainly take into account downward adjustments to the economic outlook in OECD economies due to COVID-19 containment measures, with the accompanying adverse impacts on transportation and industrial fuel demand through mid-2021,” OPEC said in the report.The report comes ahead of the group’s Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 meeting with non-OPEC allies to discuss the next phase of oil production policy.The energy alliance, a grouping known collectively as OPEC+, had agreed to a record supply cut of 9.7 million bpd starting on May 1. The cut was subsequently scaled back to 7.7 million in August and OPEC+ has said it plans further tapering next year.‘Risks remain’- Advertisement – Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries – OPEC logo is seen on the organisations’ headquarters in Vienna, Austria.Jakub Porzycki | NurPhoto | Getty Imageslast_img read more

Angela Ivana Believes in Staying Open & Writing Things Down

first_imgThis is Angela Ivana. She is a freelance beauty and tech entrepreneur who grew up in Boston and now lives in Long Island City, New York. You can check out her work here and here. Tell us about your work.As a beauty freelancer, I provide beauty services for productions in film, television, entertainment and media. I also have a beauty tech company called CosmoSafe, where we help freelance beauty professionals master business skills.What are the biggest struggles you’ve faced as a freelancer? How did you overcome them?I think that when I first started, the struggle was the consistency of work. I was really nervous about where my next check would come from, if this was going to work out. I’d wonder, “Am I going to be able to pay my rent this month?”The tipping point was my self-development, with learning how to relax and understand that I have to be open. When I calm down and realize that everything’s going to work out if I take all the appropriate steps — make sure I do my marketing, that I do my invoices — the work always comes.I think I’ve had to be comfortable with being open to not always having a plan. I’m a big planner, and with freelancing you have to roll with the punches sometimes. I entered the industry saying that I wanted to do commercials and some print beauty work, and I’ve ended up doing theater, opera, film, television and e-commerce. There are a lot of areas of professional beauty work, so I just had to be open.How has the Freelancers Union community been valuable to you?Most recently, I’ve been helping to share my story through Freelancers Union and Freelancers Hub. I had a really bad agent and he was discriminating against me. At one point I said, “Enough is enough.” I’m good at taking chances, and I was having a $6,000 week. I had the option to continue going to work and deal with the discrimination, or saying forget about it. And I said, “Bye, I can’t do this anymore.” And I left. I’ve been able to share my story to empower other freelancers and to empower change with policy so that we can help more people. Do you have any tips or tricks you can share that might be useful to other freelancers?I still believe in using a pen and paper. There’s something about having a written plan that solidifies it in my mind and the universe. It’s also helpful for me when I have down periods and I’m not working every day — I can look at what I’ve written and say, “Oh, I was actually productive today. I did do something.”More than one-third of New York City’s workforce is freelancing, reflecting the wide-ranging diversity of the city. The purpose of Faces of Freelance is to shine a light on each unique, individual story in freelancing, and offer a platform on which it can further the conversation. Join the Freelancers Hub today and offer your own story into the conversation.last_img read more