Lessons from Afghanistan

first_imgA hundred years of handshakes. Kevin “Kit” Parker, a U.S. Army major and Harvard bioengineering professor who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, says that fostering long-term friendships, not creating novel weapons or unleashing mighty military force, will ultimately stabilize the Middle East.In a talk hosted by Cherry A. Murray, dean of Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Parker recently (Nov. 18) shared his “ground-truth” experiences from the front lines with a packed audience of staff, faculty, students, and uniformed ROTC trainees.“We’ve overengineered this war,” said Parker, the Thomas D. Cabot Associate Professor of Applied Science, who served in Afghanistan in 2002-03 and in 2009. The true battle, he explained, was one of information (“influencing local politics”) and infrastructure (“developing roads, schools, and mosques”).Ultimately, winning over the population there is “the substrate for victory,” Parker said, referencing his own field of tissue engineering, where cells are grown and guided on chemical scaffolds. Without a holistic, long-term strategy of “kinetic and nonkinetic solutions” implemented over several decades, he said, the prospects for even limited success are dim.Parker showed how life on the battlefield is harsh, playing footage of a controlled explosion of a “small” IED (improvised explosive device, such as a roadside bomb) that rocked the camera. In another clip, Parker and his fellow soldiers were sandwiched on a narrow mountain pass after a larger roadside bomb eviscerated a vehicle in front of their own.The audience gasped on seeing the battalion ravaged by incessant gunfire streaming from a nearby village where enemy soldiers had holed up. By using villagers as human shields, a common tactic, air support becomes “impossible,” and the fighting, said Parker, “gets gnarly.”In fact, the fighting has become so intense that even the trained military dogs that sniff out bombs have begun to develop signs of post traumatic-stress disorder. When a $10 IED can take out a $600,000 armored assault vehicle, the challenge of winning by “bang, bang, shoot ’em up” tactics becomes an economic and mathematical impossibility, Parker said.Treating the situation as a systems-level problem, he said the only way forward involves improving the understanding and influencing the dynamic socioeconomic system of Afghanistan and the surrounding countryside.“In the villages,” he said, “the most high-tech thing is the AK-47, which is then followed by the wheel.” Much of the population remains so isolated that when American soldiers first showed up in 2002, many tribes thought “they were those Russians they once heard about.”Moreover, grave poverty makes the population susceptible to exploitation by fundamentalist organizations such as the Taliban and by unknowing participants in someone else’s political agenda.Given the “medieval” conditions of the area, “using money to buy friends” becomes a highly effective weapon for the military. To gain trust, young “gunslingers” find themselves having to assume the role of diplomats, civil engineers, and project managers, influencing, from the bottom up, one local leader and one village at a time. The problem is, Parker, said, that they have not been properly trained for these tasks.Pointing to two photos, one with Parker approaching a local Afghan leader and one of him shaking his hand, Parker said that “no one has the technology” to understand how to achieve this simple yet powerful act of friendship.“With no such laws or targeting algorithms for targeting such assets, success for a soldier comes down to force of personality or luck,” he said. How a soldier engages a local leader has geopolitical implications, as one relationship may influence thousands of others.Further, the decision of where to place a road, or which mosque to refurbish, may determine the course of the war more than a broad tactical decision made by the State Department. Because “there is no emergence of a leadership class in Afghanistan,”all politics and the current war will remain local.With that in mind, Parker ended with a series of questions that he hopes students and faculty from Harvard and elsewhere might tackle. Could we build a tool, along the lines of the Web virtual world Second Life, for teaching engagement techniques in countries similar to Afghanistan? Could insights from social science, neuroscience, cognitive science, and engineering create algorithms that could help predict the potential success of placing a road or a school in a particular region? Might soldiers in the field “do a bit of sociology” and take their findings back to experts for analysis?The decision that President Obama now has to make about the future of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan and the surrounding region is paramount, Parker said. It comes down to “whether we are going to pull the ripcord or stay for a while.” And by a while, he meant for the foreseeable future.last_img read more

Will Julie Taymor Bring M. Butterfly Back to Broadway?

first_img Show Closed This production ended its run on Dec. 17, 2017 David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly may return to Broadway with a fellow Tony winner at the helm. According to the New York Post, Julie Taymor is in talks to direct a revival of the 1988 drama. This would mark the first major New York staging of the show since the original production, which won the Tony for Best Play and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist.Last week, Taymor teased that she had a Broadway show in the works for next year, saying, “Oh, I’m coming back, but it hasn’t been announced yet. But you’ll see me next spring or next winter.”Taymor won Tony Awards in 1998 for directing and costume designing The Lion King. She was also nominated the previous year for her work on Juan Darien. She has since directed the premiere of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark on Broadway, Grounded and A Midsummer Night’s Dream off-Broadway and The Magic Flute at the Metropolitan Opera. Her films include The Tempest, Across the Universe and Titus.Inspired by Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly, M. Butterfly follows the relationship between Rene Gallimard, a French diplomat living in China, and Song Liling, a soprano at the Beijing Opera who is secretly a male in disguise. Their affair lasts for over 20 years until Song’s identity as a man—and a spy—is revealed.M. Butterfly premiered in Washington, D.C. at the National Theatre in 1988 before transferring to Broadway later that year. In addition to Best Play, the production earned Tony Awards for B.D. Wong, who played Song Liling, and director John Dexter. Julie Taymor(Photo: Bruce Glikas) M. Butterflycenter_img View Comments Related Showslast_img read more

Florida Association for Women Lawyers celebrates 50th year

first_imgFlorida Association for Women Lawyers celebrates 50th year July 15, 2001 Assistant Editor Regular News It had been a long 53 years since the first woman was admitted to practice law in Florida. The National Association for Women Lawyers had been around for 52 years. Anna Brenner Meyers, the first president of FAWL, and Judge Mattie Belle Davis thought it was high time women lawyers in Florida made their voices heard.Despite their steps in the right direction, women lawyers who practiced in the early 20th century still faced many challenges that seem almost absurd today. Women could practice law for 60 years before they were allowed to vote. Women lawyers faced all male juries until 1947, and it was 1975 before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled women could finally argue their cases before mixed juries.Judge Davis experienced most of the difficult times firsthand, and she has, as FAWL’s lead historian, nearly completed a manuscript of FAWL’s rich history. A History of Florida Association for Women Lawyers, 1951-2001 will soon be published by the Miami Review. From the state’s first female Bar president and Supreme Court justice, to FAWL’s vehement backing of the Equal Rights Amendment, the organization has much to be proud of, Davis said.At FAWL’s annual meeting in Orlando, outgoing President Barbara Eagan lauded Davis and her co-editor, Henrietta Biscoe, for all their hard work and dedication to the project. Davis brought a large scrapbook with her, incorporating news articles and FAWL Journals from the first 40 years of FAWL. The yellowed pages chronicled a wealth of events intrinsic to FAWL’s growth. At 91, Davis is working as hard as she can to incorporate information for the past decade in order to complete the book this summer.Davis also brought a typewritten copy of her manuscript, lovingly edited and scribbled on as she remembers facts to add. She plans to finish the manuscript in late July, then turn the book over for typesetting. The 2,500 copies of the soft-cover book will be printed under FAWL’s name with Judge Davis and Biscoe listed as the editors and compilers.Funds bequeathed to Judge Davis by her friend Emma Roesing, one of FAWL’s founding members who died in 1989, will be used to cover the cost of publishing the book.Some of the events covered in the book include the state’s first female DCA judge Susan Black in 1979; the advent of FAWL chapters in 1980; the first FAWL liaison to the Bar’s Board of Governors in 1982; the 1982 pact for Equal Rights Amendment funding; the 1984 fight for formation of a gender bias commission, which was accomplished in 1986; in 1985, Rosemary Barkett became the first state Supreme Court justice; in 1993, Patricia Seitz became the first female president of the Bar, and in 1999, Edith Osman became the second; and in 1998 Barbara Pariente became the second female justice on the state’s high court, and in 1999, Peggy Quince followed suit.For more information about FAWL’s history, visit www.fawl.org, or e-mail their executive director, Pat Stephens, at [email protected] Henrietta Biscoe, left, and Judge Mattie Belle Davis present FAWL’s scrapbook Florida Association for Women Lawyers celebrates 50th yearAmy K. Brown Assistant Editor June 30, 1951 is an important date for women lawyers in Florida. On that balmy day in Miami Beach, 27 female lawyers met officially for the first time as the Florida Association for Women Lawyers. The women sought to encourage equal footing for themselves in their chosen profession, and looked for fellowship and camaraderie in the male-dominated justice system. last_img read more

Letters to the Editor for Monday, Sep. 23

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionSupport efforts to battle depressionWe are on a journey to find effective ways to treat depression.There are so many unturned stones and my hope is that research may provide answers and cures.In June, I was one of about 300 American Foundation for Suicide Prevention volunteers who “stormed” the hill in Washington to tell our stories so that our representatives will remember and act. The three-digit suicide hotline was one of the asks we had last year in D.C. and now that is going to be a reality, which will save lives.These changes combined with more open discussions about depression and suicide are making a difference.No longer can we view depression as a moral shortcoming that can be remediated by pulling one’s self up or snapping out of it. Depression is an illness, not unlike cancer or heart disease and it is just as deadly.We must remember that to shame those who suffer with depression is not unlike blaming someone who has cancer, we would not think of doing that and we should not think of blaming those who suffer from depression.Team Lasky has raised over $16,200 for the AFSP. I proudly support them, and you can, too. You can donate to Team Lasky at AFSP.org/Rita.Joann Perillo-LaskySchenectadyBe vigilant against terrorist ideology Regarding Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (NY-D) comments about Sept. 11th that “some people did something.” This was the worst attack on American soil in history with over 3,000 dead.Please read the book “Between Heaven and Ground Zero” by Leslie Haskin, who shares the shock and pain and hell of that day.“At one point there was a woman burned to the bone,” she trembled uncontrollably as her skin melted from her body. What kind of motherless soul can so easily and savagely murder thousands and proclaim it to be in the name of righteousness?Radical Muslim terrorists, that’s who. We must never forget, and we must always be hypervigilant against this ideology.We must teach this history in schools. Osama Bin Laden in his book taught there will be a thousand years for revenge.Arlene ShakoSchoharieCDTA should use, or lose, parking spotsAll along Route 50 in Ballston Spa, there are designated bus stops for CDTA. If you park in them you will get a ticket. But CDTA buses never use them. They stand in traffic (regardless of the amount of traffic they back up).They must believe that it would take too much effort to pull back into traffic. If the CDTA does not want to use them, take them out. Or is CDTA just too special?John WhiteBallston SpaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationlast_img read more

Philips pension fund underperforms benchmark but bolsters coverage ratio

first_imgThe Philips scheme has divided its assets into a return portfolio and a liability-matching portfolio of fixed income investments in order to finance its liabilities, including a long-term inflation target of 2%.Its return portfolio – consisting of equity, property, emerging market bonds and high-yield credit – is meant to bolster the pension fund’s financial buffers, finance its longevity risk and account for excess inflation.Last year, the liability-matching portfolio returned 13.6%, while the return portfolio returned 11.4%.Philips Pensioenfonds’ 106% coverage ratio is now 2 percentage points over the minimum required level, but 1 percentage point short of its required financial buffer.The pension fund said it would only consider granting indexation once its coverage exceeded 107%.The Philips scheme has 14,130 active participants, 59,275 pensioners and 32,900 deferred members. The €14.7bn Dutch pension fund of electronics giant Philips saw its coverage ratio increase to 106% over the third quarter on the back of a 0.6% return on investments and a widening discount rate.It said the 3.6% result on its 30% return portfolio more than offset the 0.7% quarterly loss reported over the same period on its 70% liability-matching portfolio.The pension fund attributed the performance of its return portfolio in particular to rising equity markets and indirect property holdings, which represent 52% and 15%, respectively, of the portfolio.However, it also noted that the 3.6% return still underperformed its benchmark by 0.3 percentage points, due mainly to poorly performing emerging market bonds, which make up 11% of the portfolio.last_img read more

Children admit addiction to smartphone porn

first_imgDaily Mail (UK) 8 May 2012Elementary school children are developing addictions to online pornography in a worrying trend that some scientists believe is on the cusp of becoming a national epidemic. Several studies have discovered links between viewing online pornography and problems including social isolation, performing badly in school and behavioral issues. Seven out of ten teenagers have viewed pornography on the Internet with boys at greater risk than girls, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation in California….The growing problem puts pressure on the U.S. Government after a UK campaign for automatic blocks on porn and introduction of web filters to make adults who want to view pornography ‘opt in’. The increasing accessibility to smart phones and laptops has led to a surge in numbers of children coping with porn addiction, according to an Australian addiction specialist Robert Mittiga. He said that in some cases children were even watching pornography at school and sharing files with classmates.Only 3 per cent of pornographic websites require proof-of-age before granting access to sexually explicit material, and two-thirds do not even include any adult-content warnings. Under-18s can also often be mistakenly exposed to adult sex sites as email spam. Mr Mittiga warned that children were ten times more likely to develop an addiction than adults and that getting hooked could potentially escalate into criminality.The New Hampshire study of 500 students revealed worrying trends. Researchers were in particular concerned about the exposure of young people to deviant sexual behavior online. In boys, repeated viewing of violent sexual imagery threatened to link between pornography and sexual aggression.British prime minister David Cameron has intervened to insist a default block on porn in the UK, deactivated only when users make an active choice to have it switched off, is put back on the table.http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2141247/Children-aged-8-addicted-Internet-pornography.htmlSchoolkids log on to sex sites as new technology puts porn in their pocketsThe Sunday Mail 6 May 2012Experts have warned of an increase in porn addiction in children as a new generation wired to smartphones and laptops have 24-hour access to hardcore material…. Mr Mittiga said some porn merchants were targeting kids by making pornography featuring cartoon and children’s book characters. Mr Mittiga said he had personally treated children as young as 14 for porn addiction and some young addicts spent up to 10 hours a day viewing explicit material.http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/sunday-mail/primary-children-viewing-sexfilms/story-e6frep2f-1226347675313last_img read more

La Liga: Chukwueze’s Villarreal beat Levante to continue UCL push

first_imgSamuel Chukwueze’s Villarreal moved to within two points of the Champions League places with a 2-1 win over Levante at the Estadio de la Ceramica on Saturday evening.Advertisement The hosts took the lead when Gerard Moreno found the bottom corner 10 minutes into the first half. Promoted ContentTop 7 Best Car Manufacturers Of All Time6 Interesting Ways To Make Money With A DroneWho Is The Most Powerful Woman On Earth?8 Scenes That Prove TV Has Gone Too FarThe Very Last Bitcoin Will Be Mined Around 2140. Read MoreA Hurricane Can Be As Powerful As 10 Atomic BombsWhy Do So Many Digital Assistants Have Feminine Names & Voices?The Best Cars Of All TimeCouples Who Celebrated Their Union In A Unique, Unforgettable WayWho’s The Best Car Manufacturer Of All Time?10 Risky Jobs Some Women DoTop 10 Most Costly Liquids In The World Levante were level not long after the break when Carlos Clerc’s low cross was met by Borja Mayoral at the back post.center_img Loading… Read Also: Ighalo reveals who he will dedicate every goal scored at Man UnitedFive minutes later, Javi Calleja’s side regained the lead as Moi Gomez squeezed his shot past Aitor Fernandez from the edge of the area.The victory sees Villarreal close the gap between them and Atletico Madrid in fourth place to just two points, while Levante stay in mid-table.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 last_img read more

AquaTrojans Win At Connersville Invitational

first_imgThe East Central AquaTrojans remain perfect on the season after competing in the 2017 Connersville Invitational on Saturday.Girls Scores:  East Central 360; Connersville 278; Centerville 242; Hagerstown 174; Lawrenceburg 96; New Castle 9Boys Scores:  East Central 390; Connersville 253; Hagerstown 166; Centerville 165; Lawrenceburg 143; New Castle 103A special congratulations to Kyra Hall for setting the 100 Backstroke school record.  Her time was 1:03.65.  The record was previously held by Alexis deLong.Invitational Winners include:  Boys 200 Medley Relay (Jacob Weber, Klay Shipman, Jackson Ketcham, Alex Ketcham); Grace Crane-200 Freestyle, 100 Butterfly; Ethen Witte-200 Freestyle; Alexis deLong-200 IM, 100 Freestyle; Jackson Ketcham-200 IM, 500 Freestyle; Jacob Weber-100 Butterfly, 100 Backstroke; Alex Ketcham-100 Freestyle, 100 Breaststroke; Mackenzie Schantz-500 Freestyle; Girls 200 Free Relay (Grace Crane, Kyra Hall, Olivia Nixon, Alexis deLong); Boys 200 Free Relay (Jacob Weber, Chandler Witte, Jackson Ketcham, Alex Ketcham); Kyra Hall-100 Backstroke **NEW SCHOOL RECORD**; Girls 400 Free Relay (Grace Crane, Kyra Hall, Olivia Nixon, Alexis deLong); Boys 400 Free Relay (Mason Key, Ethen Witte, Matthew Badinghaus, Chandler Witte).The AquaTrojans look to remain conference champions as they compete next in the EIAC Swimming and Diving Championships.GO AQUATROJANS!!!Courtesy of AquaTrojans Coach Brandon Loveless.last_img read more

Heineken Shares Football Drama with Champions League Â

first_imgPremium lager brand, Heineken, will continue to share the drama of the UEFA Champions League to football fans in Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt for the rest of the 2017/2018 Champions League season.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Premium Lager beer, Heineken, has continued to share the drama of football with fans across the country via its exclusive UEFA Champions League viewing experiences. Last Wednesday, Heineken transformed the Tak Klub House, Abuja and Ember Creek, Victoria Island, Lagos, into enviable premium viewing centres for Nigerian fans to enjoy the the Liverpool versus Manchester City and Barcelona against Roma matches. These matches were broadcast live to venues filled with excited football fans.The stunning night began with fun games, great conversations and laughter as guests flooded the centres to watch their favorite teams vie for a chance at the coveted UEFA Champions League trophy. Football fans were treated to exhilarating quizzes to loosen them up in anticipation of the adrenaline packed matches. Chilled glasses of Heineken were circulated among the excited crowd as they waited for the first half to begin.The fans who were amped up from the first half, relaxed with fun games and quizzes at half time. As some fun-seeking fans went forward to participate in the thrilling quizzes, delicious small chops and cold glasses of Heineken were served to the guests who watched on. Branded prizes were handed to the excited winners of the quizzes and games.last_img read more

Annenberg breaks ground on new facility

first_imgJoey Kaufman contributed to this report. USC hosted the groundbreaking ceremony Thursday of the Wallis Annenberg Hall, marking the launch of a $150 million fundraising initiative.Breaking ground · USC administrators and supporters of the new Annenberg building mark the start of construction Thursday of the 88,000-square-foot, five-story Wallis Annenberg Hall. – Priyanka Patel | Daily TrojanThe hall will be located next to the Pertusati Bookstore at the corner of Childs and Watt ways, and is scheduled to open in the fall semester in 2014.A $50 million lead gift for the 88,000-square-foot, five-story building was donated by Wallis Annenberg, chairman of the board of the Annenberg Foundation and the longest serving trustee on USC’s Board of Trustees. The hall will provide innovative technology and facilities to prepare students for an industry that is becoming more reliant on digital media.“All the spaces have been carefully designed to be connectors and not containers, to be inviting and transparent, to encourage those passing by the building to enter the building to experiment to collaborate, to innovate and to learn,” said Dean Ernest Wilson III of the Annenberg  School for Communication and Journalism. “It’s designed to tear down the old media silos of print and broadcasting and web so it presents a converged newsroom that the students will understand. So when they get real jobs in the real world, they will have that unique experience.”The money raised will go toward supporting new projects for the new Annenberg building, including new technology enhancements, scholarships and fellowships. The new building will include a 20,000-square-foot newsroom that will publish student work across multiple platforms, a multistory digital media tower showcasing live student programming and a 360-degree assignment desk that will help facilitate the work of all Annenberg organizations while bringing the work of print, online, web and radio together.USC hopes the new building will continue Wallis Annenberg’s love for journalism and further her feeling of the field’s importance in society.“To share the compelling story of our daily lives, modern journalists must be equipped with all of the technology skills and the ethical principles to do their jobs and to do this well,” President C. L. Max Nikias said during the ceremony. “Wallis Annenberg has long recognized that it is not merely enough to train journalism students how to talk about a particular subject. She understands that they must also be given a deep knowledge of the very latest digital technologies, and that’s why it’s so important for us to have this new building to house our journalism programs and to provide the state of the art laboratories and equipment that will allow them to experiment, learn and succeed.”In a move announced in May, Annenberg laid off nine employees as part of a restructuring effort. The action led to some speculation that the cutbacks were made to save money for the new building. But, the cutbacks were not related to the building project, Geneva Overholser, director of the School of Journalism, told the Daily Trojan. The cuts, instead, were made as part of an attempt for the Annenberg School to “achieve savings in the wake of fiscal headwinds,” she said.The funds for the building project came directly from donations, Overholser said.Students who attended the ground breaking supported the new building, excited it would provide a beneficial experience for everyone, no matter the major.“It will be a great, completely high-tech space for people to come together and create ideas, discuss ideas and facilitate them and watch them come to reality,” said Eric Lavis, a graduate student studying communication management.Jenna Kovalsky, a senior majoring in public relations and international relations, said she felt proud to see the beginning of a building that would focus on bringing students together.“I think this is an exciting time for Annenberg,” Kovalsky said. “We’ve always prided ourselves on being innovative so having this new space will be another opportunity for us to bring students together and collaborate and improve the field of journalism and communication.”Faculty members are also looking forward to the improvements the building will have for the classrooms and the Annenberg organizations. They hope features like the converged newsroom will have a positive impact on changing the way student organizations will report and distribute news.“The infrastructure of the school is catching up with the reality on the ground,” said Marc Cooper, associate professor of Annenberg and director of Annenberg Digital News (Neon Tommy). “That new infrastructure is going to be very useful for us and it’s also going to move all of the Annenberg media ahead because it’s going to force us to work more closely with each other, which we have already started to do but this will finalize it.”last_img read more