Meet New Dell Technologies IoT GM Ray O’Farrell

first_imgAt Dell Technologies we have a vision for how the new world of IoT comes together – how our businesses can help drive human progress by transforming IoT into IQT or the IQ of Things.To enable this vision, we unveiled a new IoT division that will help our customers navigate across all the Dell Technologies’ brands. This new IoT division will be led by VMware CTO Ray O’Farrell, and I caught up with him just before today’s event to ask what it means for him and his teams at Dell and VMware.Congratulations on your new role. How has your work as VMware’s CTO prepared you for it?While I am currently the VMware CTO, most of my time at VMware was spent running product development teams and this has required me to partner closely with customers and leverage a broad ecosystem as we take products to market. As CTO, one of my main focus areas is on long-term technology research, innovation and market trends. I have also been responsible for ensuring VMware’s successful partnerships across the industry with a focus on the Dell Technologies family of businesses. I plan to leverage these these experiences as I take on this additional responsibility of general manager for Dell Technologies’ IoT division.Can you tell us more about your new responsibilities?Our new IoT division will leverage the strength across all of Dell Technologies family of businesses to ensure we deliver the right solution – in combination with our vast partner ecosystem. To prepare for that, I have been working with a small team across Dell Technologies and have been interviewing customers, partners and IoT experts to help build this division.We’ll continue to do research that will help us prepare for building future IoT products and solutions, while also aligning current offerings across the Dell Technologies businesses to deliver unified solutions to our customers and ecosystem.What are you most excited about as you look forward?I am excited about the fourth industrial revolution that we are embarking into. As Jeremy Burton has noted, it’s a revolution that will impact every company in every industry. I’m equally excited to be leading this new Dell Technologies division. Given our rich history in the edge computing market, we have an outstanding opportunity to meet customer needs and help them deploy integrated IoT systems with greater ease.What are the leadership traits the IoT market requires?The most important trait is listening – it is vitally important to understand the business need and impact your customer is trying achieve by leveraging IoT. The second most important trait is spending time with our partners, many IoT solutions are vertical within a given industry requiring you to partner deeply with the experts in that specific field.Get to know another side of O’Farrell by watching the latest edition of our Meet the Leaders video series:last_img read more

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Saint Mary’s students attend women’s conference

first_imgWhen The Daily Beast’s fifth annual “Women in the World” summit kicked off at the Lincoln Center in New York last Thursday, two Saint Mary’s students were in attendance.Juniors Paige DeRouin and Kaitlyn Rabach (Editor’s Note: Rabach served as the former Saint Mary’s Editor for The Observer) witnessed live journalistic storytelling from global men and women on courage, resilience and the need for positive change, Rabach said.“Tina Brown, former editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast, has really been pushing this newfound style of journalism forward,” Rabach said. “It is focused on storytelling and personal experiences. This three-day summit featured women and men from all generations and walks of life.“All the speakers really told a story. The summit gave them a medium to share their voice.”DeRouin and Rabach currently participate in American University’s Washington Semester Program, an exchange where students study and intern in the nation’s capital..Both are working as interns at iLive2Lead, a non-profit organization providing high-level leadership skills to young women from around the world, DeRouin said. Their internship brought them to New York for the conference, she said.“We could not have picked an better internship while studying in D.C.,” DeRouin said. “iLive2Lead is run by three amazing women, and the organization’s mission is to empower young women all over the world.“They have hosted training summits in nations all over the globe and have served women from over 60 countries. Our bosses understand the importance of mentoring, and have worked to mentor Kaitlyn and I throughout our time at the organization. This push for mentorship is what led us to New York. They wanted us to hear these stories from leaders all over the world.”While at the conference, Rabach said she heard discussions on topics related to human rights issues, especially abuses related to women. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and the current managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde were two of the conference’s keynote speakers.“Seeing Secretary Clinton and Madame Lagarde speak was beyond incredible,” Rabach said. “I grew up with these women as my role models. It is women like Hillary Clinton and Christine Lagarde that have shaped my views on feminism and social justice.“They are two of the most influential women in the world and I cannot wait to see what the future brings for them. Both are thinking about their next steps right now – Clinton is contemplating a presidential run in the United States, and Lagarde is doing the same for her home country of France.”While at the conference, Rabach said she had the opportunity to personally interview Lagarde and Ambassador Catherine Russell of the Office of Global Women’s Issues in the State Department. Both DeRouin and Rabach were asked to blog about the conference for The Huffington Post and The Daily Beast, DeRouin said.“Not only was I able to hear some of my role models on stage, but I was actually given the opportunity to go backstage and ask them some questions of my own,” Rabach said. “Both Madame Lagarde and Ambassador Russell have taught me so much about what it means to be a woman, especially in today’s society, and I was able to shake their hands, interview them and really see how great of women they are even behind the scenes.”Another focal point of the conference was hearing stories from Syrian refugees and aid workers, DeRouin said.“In the mainstream media, Syria is often forgotten about,” DeRouin said. “The human rights abuses in Syria were brought up throughout the entire conference, and speakers were calling the conflict the biggest humanitarian failure since Rwanda. … In cases of crisis, women and children are affected the most. I really felt a call to action after the conference.”Both women said this experience was a great addition to their four years at Saint Mary’s.“It was great to see women leaders from all over the world talk about relevant issues,” DeRouin said. “The conversations we were able to hear were directly related to what we have been talking about at Saint Mary’s and in D.C. Plus, Saint Mary’s, iLive2Lead and “Women in the World” are all about empowering women and really forming a sisterhood that spans the globe.”Rabach said the conference encouraged her to be a positive force against some of society’s current evils.“Empowering women is not only a moral and philosophical issue, but it is actually an economic issue,” Rabach said. “Madame Lagarde said, ‘empowering women is a no-brainer” and it really is. … At the end of the conference, Tina Brown encouraged us to be ‘change makers’, and I can’t wait to be a change maker for individuals, especially women and girls, all over the globe.”Tags: New York Citylast_img read more

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NY Gov. Signs Bill Guaranteeing Paid Leave For Those Under Quarantine

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) ALBANY- New York’s Governor signed a bill Wednesday night that guarantees paid leave for those placed in mandatory or precautionary quarantine due to the novel Coronavirus outbreak.“I just signed into law legislation to provide immediate relief to working New Yorkers whose lives are being turned upside down by COVID-19,” said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a statement.“No one should have to make the impossible choice between losing their job or providing for their family and going to work, especially during this pandemic,” furthered Gov. Cuomo. “We seek to build upon this effort with guaranteed sick leave for all in this year’s budget.”“In New York we stand with our workers in sickness and in health.” last_img read more

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Pretty pest

first_imgBy Sharon DowdyUniversity of GeorgiaDespite its dainty name, the lace bug can cause major headaches for nurserymen and homeowners across the country. University of Georgia researchers recently identified a species that has never been recorded in Georgia. And, it has taken a liking to ornamental grasses.Over the past three years, UGA entomologist Kris Braman has evaluated ornamental grasses in plots on the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ Griffin, Ga., campus. This summer, she and CAES graduate student Evelyn Carr discovered lace bugs on an experimental line of ornamental grass called Pennisetum. Feed on trees and ornamentals, tooLace bugs commonly feed on azaleas, chrysanthemums, cotoneasters and sycamores, Carr said, but not on ornamental grasses.Lace bugs live on the undersides of leaves. When feeding, they stick their mouthparts into the leaf and suck out the cell contents. This causes the top side of the leaf to be discolored with white dots. They can further discolor leaves by laying their eggs on the undersides.“They stress the plant and harm it aesthetically,” Carr said. “So on our ornamental grasses, its damage would be considered very extensive.”Making a big problem biggerLeft unchecked, the tiny pest could have a definite economic impact on the state’s landscape industry. “Ornamental grasses have become a staple in the landscape,” Carr said. “You see them everywhere.” Georgia nurserymen, landscapers and homeowners spend more than $1.7 million annually to control lace bugs on ornamental plants. The pest still causes more than $300,000 in damage each year.To properly identify the new species, they sent a sample to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Systematic Entomology Laboratory in Maryland. It was identified as Leptodictya plana.“This is a species we know very little about,” Carr said. “There’s only been one scientific paper published on it.”Lots to learn about new speciesAs part of her thesis, Carr plans to determine the lace bug’s biology, origin, reproductive traits and more. “The ultimate goal is to determine the best way to control it,” she said. This species is closely related to the sugarcane lace bug which is a huge problem in Hawaii and South America, she said. “It’s normally found in Texas, Mississippi, Arizona and other dry states,” she said. “Dr. Braman hypothesizes that it has increased in Georgia because of the dry weather associated with the drought.”This lace bug species could cause problems in Georgia, but it can benefit some regions, she said.“Out West they are looking at this (lace bug) as a good thing,” Carr said. “It feeds on bufflegrass which is considered a noxious weed there.”Braman and Carr are raising this lace bug species in their laboratories to identify other plants it will feed on.last_img read more

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On the Blogs: Puerto Rico Electricity Crisis Heightens Debate Over Privatization vs. Public Control

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Slate.com:A 2016 report on PREPA commissioned by the Puerto Rican government is scathing. In the latter months of that year, for example, Puerto Ricans experienced four to five times the number of service outages as U.S. customers on average, though they pay the second-highest rates in the U.S. after Hawaii. Instead of investing in preventive maintenance, PREPA operates in a permanent state of triage. Its budget is “opaque and discretionary.” Record keeping is “subpar.” A third of the capital budget is spend on discretionary administrative expenses, hinting at a slush fund. Thirty percent of PREPA’s employees have retired or migrated to the mainland since 2012, the Washington Post reports—especially its skilled workers. Money is short, the report concludes, but so is human and intellectual capital.The agency has $9 billion in debt and said it needs $4 billion to upgrade its infrastructure, including plants whose reliance on oil is passed onto Puerto Ricans in the form of high rates and dirty air. It filed for bankruptcy in July.And that was before a Category 5 hurricane pounded the island this week.The island has spent more than a decade in recession. Unemployment is more than 10 percent, and the population declined by more than 10 percent between 2004 and 2016. In 2015 alone, the net outward migration was more than 64,000, according to Pew. Six in 10 children live in poverty.In May, Puerto Rico filed for bankruptcy under the provisions set forth in PROMESA (Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act), a law signed by President Obama in the summer of 2016. The act established a financial control board for the island, similar to the emergency managers that have governed Detroit and other American cities in the wake of bankruptcies.So far, that board has made some unpopular decisions, cutting spending on public health by 30 percent, closing schools, and lowering the minimum wage for young people to a little over $4 an hour. In the near term, austerity will worsen conditions on the island, where analysts expect the recession to continue until 2020. Many Puerto Ricans see the board as a tool of colonial oversight; at the time PROMESA passed, Bernie Sanders said it was a “junta” that would rule the island like “a colonial master.”But this summer, the financial control board did something surprisingly wise, much to the disappointment of the congressional Republicans who created it: It voted 4–3 to reject a restructuring agreement for the power authority’s $9 billion in debt, infuriating the hedge funds that had negotiated a repayment deal to recoup 85 percent of what they were owed.Luis Santini Gaudier, a consumer representative on the PREPA board, had criticized the deal as “lucrative business” for creditors who had bought PREPA debt on the cheap. The deal was a rip-off, wrote Tom Sanzillo, the director of finance for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, in the Hill: “Puerto Rico’s economic growth for an entire generation will go largely to off-island financiers rather than into the Puerto Rican economy.” (And that was before accounting for the rest of Puerto Rico’s $60 billion in debt.)The board’s idea is to privatize PREPA. “Lowering the price of electricity and spurring economic growth depended on reforming Prepa’s operations, not merely restructuring its credit,” the four members who had rejected the debt deal wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. Privatization would allow PREPA to “modernize its power supply, depoliticize its management, reform pensions, and renegotiate labor and other contracts to operate more efficiently.” Most importantly, they wrote, no new investment will come into PREPA’s plants, transformers, and lines if Puerto Rico ratepayers are spending the next three decades paying off debt to vulture funds in New York.This plan has made unlikely allies of New York bankers and Puerto Rican labor unions. Union officials are convinced PREPA chiefs are deliberately letting the system fall apart to strengthen the case for privatization, which the island’s governor declared was inevitable before the hurricanes hit. Unions believe their contracts and pensions are safer with elected politicians than with independent business leaders.The banks, which sued the fiscal control board and lost, should be worried that PREPA’s assets could be sold off for a song in order to get a private operator invested in the island’s power system. They’ll wind up getting paid less, and later, than will newer investors eager to rebuild the island’s infrastructure. Their goal—getting paid for years to come by Puerto Ricans on their electricity bills—is at odds with the fiscal control board’s goal of making the island’s electricity cheaper.More: Puerto Rico’s Best Hope for Keeping the Lights On On the Blogs: Puerto Rico Electricity Crisis Heightens Debate Over Privatization vs. Public Controllast_img read more

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Bolivia and Peru to Use Satellites against Drug Trafficking on Lake Titicaca

first_img Fighting aerial drug trafficking Thanks to a recent agreement between Peru and Bolivia to work jointly against narco-trafficking and other criminal activities along their common border, naval vessels from both countries will use a sophisticated satellite system to detect drug shipments in Lake Titicaca, which straddles both nations. “Specific measures will be taken in these areas so that the police forces of both countries can intervene jointly and avoid the escape of drug traffickers from one side of the border into the other,” said Otárola. Under the agreement, the two countries have committed to “double our efforts for the establishment and implementation of much more effective mechanisms in the exchange of information and intelligence using aerial sensors to detect unsupervised aerial spaces,” said Cáceres. Beginning in 2015, drug interdiction operations on Lake Titicaca will be coordinated by the naval and police forces of the two nations. The satellite system allows police and military officials to monitor activity on the lake 24 hours a day. Beginning in 2015, the military and police forces of the two countries will focus their eradication efforts in Bolivian border communities such as Apolo and San Fermín, and the Apurímac, Ene and Mantaro Rivers Valley (VRAEM) region on the Peruvian side. Agreement also calls for eradication efforts Officials from the two countries, including Otárola and Felipe Cáceres, the Bolivian vice minister of social defense and controlled substances, signed the agreement during the fourth meeting of the Peruvian-Bolivian Combined Commission on November 11 in Lima, Peru. Drug traffickers use aerial routes to transport cocaine from Peru, the world’s largest producer of the drug, to Brazil, the world’s second-largest consumer market. Law enforcement authorities estimate that as much as 90 percent of the 200 tons of cocaine which are trafficked out of the VRAEM region each year are transported by narco-flights, according to insightcrime.org . By Dialogo December 11, 2014 Beginning in 2015, drug interdiction operations on Lake Titicaca will be coordinated by the naval and police forces of the two nations. The satellite system allows police and military officials to monitor activity on the lake 24 hours a day. Since 2010, Bolivia has reduced the number of hectares used to cultivate illegal coca from 34,500 hectares to 23,200 hectares, according to a press release from the Vice Ministry of Social Defense on November 18. “Specific measures will be taken in these areas so that the police forces of both countries can intervene jointly and avoid the escape of drug traffickers from one side of the border into the other,” said Otárola. The Peruvian government has already exceeded its goal of eradicating 30,000 hectares of illegally cultivated coca in 2014. At the end of November, Peruvian police and military forces had destroyed more than 30,300 hectares of illegally cultivated coca. “This type of cooperation between countries is positive. Peru and Bolivia are making a big effort in trying to close the cocaine air route,” said César Ortiz Anderson, President of Peru’s Pro-Citizen Security Association (APROSEC). The Peruvian government has already exceeded its goal of eradicating 30,000 hectares of illegally cultivated coca in 2014. At the end of November, Peruvian police and military forces had destroyed more than 30,300 hectares of illegally cultivated coca. Providing alternatives to the farmers who have been cultivating illegal coca is important. To address that issue, the bilateral meeting on November 11 also established working groups for cooperation in the area of comprehensive and sustainable alternative development, prevention of consumption, rehabilitation, and control of illegal drug trafficking and associated crimes. Drug traffickers use aerial routes to transport cocaine from Peru, the world’s largest producer of the drug, to Brazil, the world’s second-largest consumer market. Law enforcement authorities estimate that as much as 90 percent of the 200 tons of cocaine which are trafficked out of the VRAEM region each year are transported by narco-flights, according to insightcrime.org . Agreement also calls for eradication efforts Liaison officers from both countries will cooperate in each drug interdiction mission, while anti-drug police from Bolivia and Peru will team up to process the coordinates of suspicious vessels on the lake. Thanks to a recent agreement between Peru and Bolivia to work jointly against narco-trafficking and other criminal activities along their common border, naval vessels from both countries will use a sophisticated satellite system to detect drug shipments in Lake Titicaca, which straddles both nations. Drug traffickers have established an air corridor between the two nations to evade the law and transport the drug to the markets of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, according to La Razón newspaper. Fighting aerial drug trafficking The accord is not limited to cooperation on land and on the waters of Lake Titicaca. It also calls for the security forces of the two nations to share intelligence to shut down aerial routes used by drug traffickers who cross the border shared by Peru and Bolivia. Under the agreement, the two countries have committed to “double our efforts for the establishment and implementation of much more effective mechanisms in the exchange of information and intelligence using aerial sensors to detect unsupervised aerial spaces,” said Cáceres. It calls for the security forces of the two countries to cooperate in eradicating illegal crops which some farmers grow in the border region. The illegal coca is the primary ingredient in the production of cocaine. In the long run, this close cooperation will help both countries. In the long run, this close cooperation will help both countries. “Experience has shown us that when two countries combine their intelligence systems, operational forces, and political decisions, the results improve,” according to Alberto Otárola Peñaranda, Executive Director of the Peru-based National Commission for Development and Life Without Drugs (DEVIDA), as reported by EjuTv website. “This type of cooperation between countries is positive. Peru and Bolivia are making a big effort in trying to close the cocaine air route,” said César Ortiz Anderson, President of Peru’s Pro-Citizen Security Association (APROSEC). “Experience has shown us that when two countries combine their intelligence systems, operational forces, and political decisions, the results improve,” according to Alberto Otárola Peñaranda, Executive Director of the Peru-based National Commission for Development and Life Without Drugs (DEVIDA), as reported by EjuTv website. Officials from the two countries, including Otárola and Felipe Cáceres, the Bolivian vice minister of social defense and controlled substances, signed the agreement during the fourth meeting of the Peruvian-Bolivian Combined Commission on November 11 in Lima, Peru. Both countries have made progress in eradicating illegal coca crops in recent years. Beginning in 2015, the military and police forces of the two countries will focus their eradication efforts in Bolivian border communities such as Apolo and San Fermín, and the Apurímac, Ene and Mantaro Rivers Valley (VRAEM) region on the Peruvian side. Both countries have made progress in eradicating illegal coca crops in recent years. Liaison officers from both countries will cooperate in each drug interdiction mission, while anti-drug police from Bolivia and Peru will team up to process the coordinates of suspicious vessels on the lake. The accord is not limited to cooperation on land and on the waters of Lake Titicaca. It also calls for the security forces of the two nations to share intelligence to shut down aerial routes used by drug traffickers who cross the border shared by Peru and Bolivia. Interdictions will be conducted by vessels from the Peruvian and the Bolivian navies, with support from the air forces of the two countries. A fleet of Bolivian Super Puma Since 2010, Bolivia has reduced the number of hectares used to cultivate illegal coca from 34,500 hectares to 23,200 hectares, according to a press release from the Vice Ministry of Social Defense on November 18. The accord “is a milestone on real binational cooperation aimed at strengthening security,” Cáceres said during the signing ceremony. “The operations against drug trafficking carried out by military and police forces will have positive results.” The accord “is a milestone on real binational cooperation aimed at strengthening security,” Cáceres said during the signing ceremony. “The operations against drug trafficking carried out by military and police forces will have positive results.” Providing alternatives to the farmers who have been cultivating illegal coca is important. To address that issue, the bilateral meeting on November 11 also established working groups for cooperation in the area of comprehensive and sustainable alternative development, prevention of consumption, rehabilitation, and control of illegal drug trafficking and associated crimes. It calls for the security forces of the two countries to cooperate in eradicating illegal crops which some farmers grow in the border region. The illegal coca is the primary ingredient in the production of cocaine. Drug traffickers have established an air corridor between the two nations to evade the law and transport the drug to the markets of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, according to La Razón newspaper. Interdictions will be conducted by vessels from the Peruvian and the Bolivian navies, with support from the air forces of the two countries. A fleet of Bolivian Super Puma last_img read more

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Study questions value of respirator-fit testing

first_imgNov 17, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – A Canadian study raises questions about the value of formal “fit testing” for the respirators worn by healthcare workers to protect them from airborne pathogens, suggesting that it does little good for workers who don’t routinely wear the devices.In the study, 44% of a sample of healthcare workers (HCWs) who lacked experience with respirator-fit testing managed to don the respirators properly, so that they formed a tight seal around the face, before they received any specific instructions.After all the HCWs were trained in how to wear the equipment, testing showed that 74% of them had a good fit. But when the workers were asked to strap on respirators again 3 months later, only about 47% of them achieved a good fit—not significantly more than did so before they were trained.”The utility of fit testing among infrequent users of N95 respirators is questionable,” says the report, written by a team from the University of Alberta and the University of Saskatchewan, with M.C. Lee, MD, as first author. It was published online recently by Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology and is scheduled for the December print edition.In October 2006 the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued interim guidance saying that the use of N-95 respirators—designed to stop 95% of small airborne particles—is “prudent” for medical workers providing any direct care for patients ill with confirmed or suspected pandemic influenza and is recommended in caring for those with pneumonia. HHS also said respirator use is prudent for support workers in direct contact with patients. Respirator manufacturers recommend fit testing for the devices.However, Lee and colleagues write that respirator-fit testing is time-consuming and costly, and its long-term effectiveness in a healthcare setting has never been examined. They sought to determine whether an acceptable respirator seal could be achieved without training or fit testing, whether training and fit testing could ensure a good seal during later use, and whether HCWs who use respirators regularly can achieve a good seal more consistently.Success without trainingThe researchers recruited 58 HCWs who had no experience with fit testing. They were first asked to put on a 3M 8210 N-95 respirator without any instruction, after which they underwent a fit test. Of the 43 HCWs who completed the study, 19 (44.2%) passed the fit test. Counting those who later dropped out of the study, 28 of 58 (48%) passed the test.Next, all the volunteers received formal training in donning and adjusting the 8210 respirators, and then underwent another fit test. At that point another 13 workers passed the test, for a total of 32 of 43 (74.4%). Those who couldn’t get an effective seal with the 8210 model were successfully fitted with other 3M respirators—ten with the 8110 model and one with the 9210. After achieving a proper fit, the volunteers were advised to remember which model they used and to choose the same one in the future.The researchers invited the participants back 3 and 14 months after the initial testing and training and repeated the donning and testing steps. At 3 months, 20 of the 43 HCWs (46.5%) passed the test; this increased to 28 of 43 (65.1%) at 14 months. Neither rate was significantly better than the first pretraining rate. Further, neither passing the test the first time nor occasionally using a respirator afterward correlated with passing at 3 or 14 months.If a volunteer chose the wrong respirator at 3 or 14 months, this was recorded as a failed attempt, and he or she was reminded which model had worked for him or her previously. Many of the volunteers could not recall which respirator to use, and many did not seem to recognize that fit is specific to respirator type, the report says.Only a minority of the workers remembered and performed all five prescribed steps in donning a respirator, and fewer than 5% passed all the fit-test challenges, the article says. When the investigators assessed execution of the five steps individually in relation to the overall pass rate, they found evidence that two steps—”correct strapping” and “adjusting bridge of the nose correctly”—were important for achieving a good seal.To assess whether frequent respirator use led to a more consistent fit, the researchers recruited 11 nurses working in a tuberculosis unit, all of whom had been tested before and used respirators daily. The nurses were tested three times at 2-week intervals, with no instruction the first two times. The third time, they were reminded of the standard fit-checking steps.Four of the 11 nurses failed the first two tests; it was determined that all four were using the wrong model of respirator, despite previous fit testing. Two of them had lost significant weight since their earlier fit test. All four subsequently achieved a good fit with other respirator models.The investigators also found that HCWs’ confidence in their ability to pass a fit test did not correlate with actual test results. “HCWs cannot tell with any accuracy whether they have achieved an adequate facial seal after donning their respirator,” they write.Finding the right modelNoting that 48% of the untrained volunteers achieved a good fit with the 8210 respirator the first time, and that this increased to 74% after training, the authors write, “Our data suggest that fit testing may be most useful for the initial screening of people whose facial features preclude the use of the most common types of respirators (which, in our region, was the model 3M 8210 respirator).”They also say their findings “challenge the current strategy for fit testing, which, in our region, is mandated every two years for all HCWs with direct patient care responsibility. Our findings question the need for fit testing of HCWs who utilize respirators on a frequent (ie, daily) basis, because their success rates were very high.”But for workers who seldom use respirators, different strategies may be needed, such as different teaching techniques or reminder sessions two or three times a year, because pass rates of 50% to 75% are “suboptimal,” the article says.The authors say the limitations of their study include its small sample size and the use of qualitative rather than quantitative fit testing. Qualitative fit testing depends on the ability of the wearer to taste or smell a noxious agent and therefore is not foolproof, they note.An infection control expert’s viewEddie Hedrick, MT, emerging infections coordinator for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said the study seems to support doubts the infection control community has long had about the worth of fit testing.”I think the study was designed pretty well,” Hedrick said. “The biggest problem, as they say, is the small sample size. It’s hard to translate that and say it’s a definitive study. It creates more questions about the science behind the effectiveness of fit testing.”In the United States, hospitals are generally required to conduct annual respirator-fit testing for all employees who have exposure to airborne pathogens, which usually means anyone who has contact with patients, he said. Although a fit test itself takes only a few minutes, it probably takes a worker an hour or more to go get the test done and return to his or her work area, he added.Hedrick chaired a panel of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) back in 1990 when the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) began moving toward requiring more sophisticated respiratory protection for HCWs. Until that time, workers had relied mostly on simple surgical masks, he said.The effectiveness of fit testing has been questioned for years, Hedrick said. “If I fit-test someone and they go to the floor and don’t use this [respirator] for a long time, and they suddenly get a TB patient and they put it on, if they don’t put it on properly or check it, or if their face is contorted because they’re laughing or smiling, then air goes around it. So the effectiveness has been questioned from day 1. One would think it might be worse sometimes than a surgical mask.”He said fit testing can mislead health workers about their safety. “A lot people when they put them on, they say, ‘Well, I fit-tested it last year, so I’m OK.’ So it’s a false sense of security, and I think this study showed that.”That’s why APIC emphasizes “fit checking,” Hedrick explained. “We’ve always said, make sure when you put it on that it’s molded to your face properly. That’s better than waiting till January and then testing it.”He said it’s important to make a good scientific case for fit testing, just as it is for other healthcare practices.”We like to justify the efficacy of whatever we’re asking people to do,” he said. “If you do that, it’s an easy sell. Just saying, ‘If you don’t do it, OSHA is going to get you,’ isn’t going to help.”Lee MC, Takaya S, Long R, et al. Respirator-fit testing: Does it ensure the protection of healthcare workers against respirable particles carrying pathogens? Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2008 Dec;29(12) (early online publication) [Abstract]See also: Nov 16, 2006, CIDRAP News story “Clinicians raise questions about respirator use in pandemic”Oct 18, 2006, CIDRAP News story “HHS backs respirator use in caring for pandemic flu patients”HHS’s “Interim Guidance on Planning for the Use of Surgical Masks and Respirators in Health Care Settings during an Influenza Pandemic”http://www.pandemicflu.gov/professional/hospital/maskguidancehc.htmllast_img read more

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Richardson eyes up Leeds

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

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Virus misinformation fuels hatred against India’s Muslims

first_img“My forefathers lived here and I was born here,” Hassan, 55, told AFP by phone from Keorak, their village where a dozen Muslim families live among about 150 Hindu households.”We lived like a family and religion was never an issue here,” the welder said. But now there is “an atmosphere of fear and hate everywhere”.The attack on the Hassan family was just the latest ugly incident in the wake of a torrent of coronavirus misinformation that is stoking hostility towards India’s Muslims.Hindu nationalists are using the coronavirus to foment hatred against Muslims, using online platforms and some mainstream media to accuse them of spreading the disease. Real-world repercussions As the misinformation has exploded, so too has real-world violence and anger against Muslims.Around the country, Muslim truck drivers and nomads have been assaulted, and Muslim vendors pushed, shoved and threatened.In one case confirmed by police, a Facebook video showed a young Muslim man bleeding and pleading as he was beaten with sticks. One attacker is heard demanding: “Who sent you to spread the coronavirus?”The animosity has also taken subtler forms, with “No Muslims” posters appearing in some villages.One hospital said Muslims would not be admitted without a certificate showing they were COVID-negative.India’s 200 million Muslims have long complained of growing hostility under Modi, who came to power almost six years ago.Modi was in charge of the western state of Gujarat when religious riots killed around 1,000 mostly Muslims in 2002.His first term as prime minister saw a rise in “cow vigilantism” — Hindu extremists lynching Muslims accused of eating beef or killing cows, which are sacred to many Hindus, according to activists.His second term last year began with revoking the autonomy of India’s only Muslim-majority state, and new citizenship legislation criticized as discriminatory.In February, Delhi’s worst religious riots in decades left more than 50 dead, two-thirds of them Muslims. A local BJP lawmaker was accused of being a main instigator. Critics partly blame Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who they accuse of seeking to remake India as a Hindu nation, undermining the secular and pluralist roots of the world’s biggest democracy. #CoronaJihad Over the past two months AFP’s fact check team has debunked hundreds of social media posts that falsely targeted Muslims in regards to the coronavirus pandemic in India.Fake and dubious videos have proliferated showing Muslims licking fruit for sale and violating lockdown rules. In one post debunked by AFP, a photo was shared on Facebook and Twitter with a false claim that it showed Indian Muslims flouting social distancing rules by praying on a rooftop. In fact, the photo showed people praying in Dubai.Hundreds of thousands of online posts have also used the hashtag #CoronaJihad, some of which have been shared by members of Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).The trolls were given extra ammunition when it emerged that a Muslim group, Tabligi Jamaat, ignored coronavirus guidelines with a religious gathering in March in New Delhi.At one point the group was linked to almost one third of India’s coronavirus cases, with around 40,000 people linked to the event or its attendees in quarantine.Newspapers and television channels — as well as the government — have also been accused of stirring tensions, with alarmist anchors calling Tabligi Jamaat members “human bombs”. Gayur Hassan’s Hindu neighbors came at night, throwing stones at his family’s home in a northern Indian village and setting his workshop on fire. All because his son “liked” a social media post.The Facebook post that Hassan’s 19-year-old son endorsed had denounced the targeting of India’s Muslim minority since the nation of 1.3 billion went into a coronavirus lockdown in late March.According to the police who arrested two men, his family was threatened with further retribution unless they shaved off their beards and stopped wearing skull caps. ‘Unity, brotherhood’ Activists say that in recent weeks, with media attention focused on the pandemic, police have stepped up arrests over the unrest, most of them Muslims and some under anti-terror laws.”They are making sure there is no one to raise a voice for the community after the pandemic is over,” K. Rahman Khan, a former minority affairs minister, told AFP.Modi has publicly sought to soothe tensions, calling for “unity and brotherhood”.He tweeted that “COVID-19 does not see race, religion, color, caste, creed, language or borders before striking.”.But Shahid Siddiqui, from the Indian Muslims for Progress and Reforms, a civil society group formed to battle Islamophobia, said the state was involved in stoking the hatred.Muslims were already “maligned and painted as dangerous under systematic propaganda,” Siddiqui told AFP.Coronavirus had added a new dimension, turning Muslims into the new “untouchables”, Siddiqui said, a word usually used to refer to India’s lowest castes.”It [has been] a deliberate attempt by media and the government to divert the attention of the country from the crises and allow hate politics to rule.” Topics :last_img read more

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This modern Queenslander is perfect for entertaining

first_img14 Greycliffe Street, Mount Gravatt EastMrs Fysentzou struggled to settle on her favourite features of the four-bedroom house, explaining she loved “everything”.“We’re sad to let it go. We’ve been there 10 years, so we have lots of good memories in the house. It’s been a great entertaining house,” Mrs Fysentzou said. 14 Greycliffe Street, Mount Gravatt EastWanting to live in a central location, they picked the suburb first, then found the house.Mr Fysentzou is a builder, while Mrs Fysentzou is an interior and colour consultant, so they had everything they needed to transform it into the perfect home.More from newsCrowd expected as mega estate goes under the hammer7 Aug 2020Hard work, resourcefulness and $17k bring old Ipswich home back to life20 Apr 202014 Greycliffe Street, Mount Gravatt East“We’re a good little husband-and-wife team,” Mrs Fysentzou said.Their renovations started in 2011 with an extension.They added the now master bedroom with an ensuite and outdoor deck, and also updated the rest of the home to give it a more contemporary style. 14 Greycliffe Street, Mount Gravatt EastTHIS picture-perfect home at Mount Gravatt East was once a renovator’s dream.That was exactly why Christal and Chris Fysentzou snapped up the old Queenslander at 14 Greycliffe St. The couple, who founded Brisbane-based building and renovating company Zou Build, wanted a project for their first home together. 14 Greycliffe Street, Mount Gravatt EastShe said one of the quirkiest features of the house though was the secret storage room or wine cellar, which is hidden by a bookshelf.“We created a bookshelf in the study that leads into the storage room,” she said.“Chris always wanted to have a secret bookshelf door in his house. 14 Greycliffe Street, Mount Gravatt East“He’s very crafty – he likes thinking outside the box (and) he likes putting a little twist on renovations.”The couple have decided to move with their two daughters in search of a new project.last_img read more

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