Breathing uneasily

first_img Harvard Chan School researcher illuminates role of air quality in workers’ physical, cognitive health Related GAZETTE: How does the air quality in an area differ when there is a wildfire versus the air quality on a typical day?ALLEN: I think it’s helpful to put some numbers around it. Let’s talk about PM2.5 specifically. The PM stands for particulate matter, and the 2.5 refers to the size of the particle ­— particles with an aerodynamic diameter of 2.5 microns or smaller. But here’s why that matters. When you breathe particles that are bigger, let’s say bigger than PM10, they are too big to reach the deep parts of your lung. Smaller particles like PM2.5 reach the deepest parts of your lung, your alveolar region, where the gas exchange happens. The health concerns related to these particles were originally put on the map by Harvard’s Six Cities Study in the late 1980s and early 1990s, which showed that higher exposure to PM2.5 was linked to premature mortality.PM2.5 is one of the “criteria air pollutants” for which we have national limits. The national ambient air-quality standards have an annual average target of below 12 micrograms per cubic meter. Most areas of the U.S. are what we call “in attainment,” but some are occasionally out of attainment. I’ll use Los Angeles as an example. On any given year, Los Angeles can be over that limit of 12 and up to 18 micrograms per cubic meter for the long-term average. Because of these wildfires, we are seeing PM2.5 concentrations in San Francisco that exceed 200 micrograms per cubic meter. That’s over 10 times what we typically see even in areas of the U.S. that have the highest air pollution.A recent study led by the School of Public Health’s Francesca Domenici found that there are health effects associated with particle levels even below 12 micrograms per cubic meter. In fact, they report a 7 percent increase in premature mortality risk for every increase of 10 micrograms per cubic meter. If you are normally around 10 to 20 but now you are up to 200, this is a massive increase in the actual risk.GAZETTE: Is smoke from wildfires less dangerous than smog from cars and factories?ALLEN: No. Certainly the makeup is a little bit different and most of what we know about health effects comes from studies of emissions from automobile exhaust or coal-fired power plants. That said, the studies that have been done on air pollution from wildfires show that we see these same acute effects, like increased risk of premature mortality, and it’s largely tied to the size of the particles.GAZETTE: How can people can protect themselves?ALLEN: It’s a really good question and maybe it requires stepping back for a minute to look at the fact that outdoor air pollutants penetrate indoors — even everyday normal air pollutants. A lot of people think that as long as they are inside there is no exposure. While it’s true that the exposure inside is lower, the fact that we spend so much of our lives indoors means that even though outdoor pollutant concentrations are reduced when you come inside, the majority of our exposure to outdoor air pollutants can actually occur indoors. If we multiply the time you spend indoors by your breathing rate and even take a 50 percent reduction in particle concentration, it still turns out that your total dose for the day of outdoor air pollution is higher from the time you spend indoors. I think a lot of people find that shocking.But it also means that the building can be used to protect us, and certain buildings are better at limiting particle infiltration. In buildings that have mechanical ventilation systems, including office buildings or multi-tenant buildings or homes with central air-conditioning systems, one way to reduce your exposure is to increase the level of filtration on your mechanical system.It’s important to correct some misunderstandings. Sometimes people are advised in the case of wildfire smoke to turn off their mechanical ventilation systems, the logic being that you don’t want to bring in any of that contaminated outdoor air. That’s faulty for two reasons. One, if your system is on, you are controlling the access point for the majority of particles that come into your building and it gives you a chance to filter them out at the point of entry. Two, it keeps your building positively pressurized. That’s key because if your building is positively pressurized you are pushing air out through all the cracks and crevices through which outdoor particles can penetrate. It seems logical at first to want to turn off your system to prevent bringing in outside air, but it’s incorrect. What began as a brush fire on Nov. 8 north of Sacramento quickly intensified into the deadliest wildfire in California’s history. The Camp Fire has claimed 79 lives, scorched more than 150,000 acres, shrouded San Francisco, almost 200 miles away, in haze, and sent plumes of smoke across the country. Polluted air could linger for weeks, experts say.Joe Allen is an assistant professor of exposure science and the head of the Healthy Buildings Program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The Gazette asked him about the danger that travels in wildfire smoke and how people can protect themselves from polluted air.Q&AJoe AllenGAZETTE: What kind of health effects are people facing with exposure to polluted air during an intense event like this?ALLEN: I think it’s a bit of a misnomer that exposure to outdoor-air pollutants only causes health effects after chronic or long-term exposure. The reality is that short-term exposures on the order of days to weeks are linked with serious adverse health effects, like increases in premature mortality, aggravation of existing respiratory and cardiovascular disease, and increases in asthma exacerbation. And you see these manifested in things like missed school days, missed work days, and increases in hospitalizations. So there are definitely concerns with acute exposures to airborne particles, particularly when the particles reach the concentrations that we are seeing in California right now because of the wildfires.,“A lot of people think that as long as they are inside there is no exposure.” — Joe Allen, pictured above Study opens door to better sleep, work, healthcenter_img Your building might be making you sick. Joe Allen can help. Green buildings aid improved performance in workplace GAZETTE: What kinds of protective masks should people use?ALLEN: The recommendation for masks is an N95 respirator that is rated for particulates instead of just a typical dust mask. The N95s are approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and can be used to filter particles. So, if you have to leave the house and you are susceptible — you are young, old, have a heart condition, or you have to be outside, especially if you are doing something strenuous — the recommendation would be to use an N95 respirator at a minimum.GAZETTE: How long will it take before the air in California is back to normal?ALLEN: There are a lot of variables at play. One is when the fire stops, obviously. Others include how long the smoldering continues, how much ash gets re-suspended, and what the wind direction and speed are. Is it blowing toward the major urban centers? Is it blowing somewhere else? People can track the air quality to see when it gets back to acceptable levels. We are fortunate the United States has a robust monitoring network. People can look up the air quality index at to see what the AQI is for any part of the United States.Interview was edited for length and clarity.last_img read more

Injuries still plague Arsenal

first_img Press Association Arsenal have concerns over defenders Nacho Monreal (knee) and Kieran Gibbs (ankle) as well as midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee) ahead of Wednesday’s Barclays Premier League clash against Southampton. Henry confirmed on Monday that he will leave the New York Red Bulls after four-and-a-half years with the Major League Soccer franchise, prompting speculation that a return to Arsenal could be in the offing. The Gunners’ all-time record goal scorer has retained close links with the club since leaving for Barcelona in 2007 and trained at their Hertfordshire base before a brief loan spell during January 2012. Henry had hinted during a recent interview with French newspaper L’Equipe he could be interested in a future coaching role with the Gunners, and Wenger insisted on Tuesday that Henry’s return is a certainty when asked about a reunion with the former France striker. “He is an Arsenal man. The best moment certainly of his life and of his career has been experienced here,” Wenger said. “Certainly one day he will come back here. In what role I don’t know, that is what he has to think about: what direction he wants to give to his next life.” Influential holding midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin will miss out for Southampton with a leg injury. The 25-year-old France international must undergo scans to determine the extent of the injury suffered in Sunday’s 3-0 defeat to Manchester City. Ronald Koeman accepts Saints face a “difficult” challenge to cope without their “key player”. Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny (hip) and captain Mikel Arteta (calf) are still out along with Theo Walcott (groin), Mesut Ozil (knee), Mathieu Debuchy (ankle), goalkeeper David Ospina (thigh) and Jack Wilshere (ankle). The pre-match talk has centred around Thierry Henry after manager Arsene Wenger revealed the Frenchman will “certainly” return to the club in some capacity in the future. Schneiderlin hobbled out of Sunday’s game at half-time and t he midfield lynchpin now faces scans on his right adductor, with Koeman admitting he does not know the severity of the problem. “Morgan’s not ready for Wednesday because he needs a scan on his adductor, in his right leg,” said Koeman. “Then we have to wait about the result of the scan. “For sure he isn’t available for this Wednesday, but he’ll have scans to find out exactly what happened. “It’s too soon to know whether it’s serious. “It’s not too soon to say he can’t play on Wednesday, but how long he will be out I don’t know.” Centre-back Toby Alderweireld could step up into midfield, or fit-again Jack Cork could start alongside Victor Wanyama at the Emirates Stadium. last_img read more

Prosecutors criticize ex-PIMCO chief’s plea for resentencing

first_imgThis new plea comes three months after prosecutors disclosed that scheme mastermind William “Rick” Singer took notes on his phone in October that Hodge said skewed in his favor because they demonstrated that Singer purposefully omitted labeling the payments as donations, a distinction that he said reframed his criminal intent. In the notes, Singer, who facilitated the admission of Hodge’s children along with those of others indicted in the bribery scheme, wrote that he intentionally misled parents to believe their payments were legitimate and that he was directed by prosecutors to testify that the parents knew the money would be used to bribe university officials. Hodge, who paid $850,000 to gain four of his children admission to USC and Georgetown University as fake athletic recruits and aimed to gain his fifth child admission to Loyola Marymount University, has sought to partially withdraw his plea to conspiracy to commit money laundering and receive a resentencing for his fraud charge.  Federal prosecutors have denounced former PIMCO chief Douglas Hodge’s plea for resentencing in the college admissions scandal in documents filed Friday, arguing that the new information that surfaced after his sentencing did nothing to change his degree of culpability in the scandal. In a memorandum filed May 1, Hodge claimed that the government withheld evidence that would serve in his favor and that it erroneously labeled his involvement in the scandal as bribery following the surfacing of new information pertinent to the case in February. However, prosecutors argue that Singer’s statements do not change the circumstances pertaining to Hodge’s case as he knowingly made payments to Georgetown’s tennis coach and admitted to the court that his payments were made in exchange for his children’s fraudulent university admissions. Hodge’s attorneys did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication. To date, 26 of the 36 parents indicted in the scheme have pleaded guilty, including 10 who paid for false admission to USC. Actress Lori Louglin pleaded guilty last week for her involvement and will serve two months in prison if the deal struck with prosecutors is accepted. “Hodge’s motion is without merit and his factual contentions are demonstrably untrue, belied by among other things his own sworn statements to this Court and his statements to government investigators,” prosecutors wrote in the documents filed Friday. Early this month, U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton rejected a request from 13 parents indicted in the scheme asking for the court to dismiss charges against them because prosecutors withheld evidence that would have supported their defense also following the release of Singer’s notes. Hodge, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering in October, was sentenced in February to nine months in prison — the longest of any of the parents sentenced in Operation Varsity Blues to date. The court also ordered him to pay a $750,000 fine, complete 500 hours of community service and undergo two years of supervised release. “The Hodge children did not ‘obtain favorable consideration.’ Hodge stole admission slots for them from deserving applicants using illegal payoffs,” the documents filed by the prosecutors read. “Singer did not, sua sponte, provide Hodge’s children with a ‘false athletic brand.’ Hodge conspired with Singer to fabricate their credentials and impersonate real athletes. This is not ‘branding.’ It is fraud, and Hodge stands rightly convicted of two federal felonies because of it.” Prosecutors also asserted that Hodge made it clear his payments were donations before the release of new information because he stated so in his sentencing memorandum and an editorial published in February in the Wall Street Journal shortly after his sentencing.last_img read more

Red alert as traffic light vandals put pedestrians in danger

first_imgDamage caused by vandals to traffic lights in Letterkenny is putting the lives of both old and young people at risk.Cllr Jimmy Kavanagh revealed the lights were taking up to 45 seconds to change to allow people to cross the busy Glencar Road.He had called on the local council to report the problem to the supplier and have repairs carried out as soon as possible. Councillor Kavanagh had asked the council to look at the lights and determine if the waiting time to change for pedestrians could be shortened.He said “It was taking 45 seconds for the lights to change and children in particular were not waiting and were taking chances by running across the very busy circular road.”The council revealed that following their inspection of the lights they discovered that the lights had been vandalised resulting in delays to the changing intervals.Cllr. Kavanagh welcomed the council’s commitment to getting the issue addressed but expressed disappointment that the lights had been vandalised. “It’s alarming that anyone would vandalise the lights and in the process put people, particularly children, in danger with such reckless behaviour,” he said.Red alert as traffic light vandals put pedestrians in danger was last modified: October 13th, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Cllr Jimmy Kavanaghdangerletterkennytraffic lightslast_img read more

Arsenal and Southampton reportedly monitoring Caulker situation

first_imgArsenal and Southampton are monitoring the situation as Cardiff defender Steven Caulker considers offers from QPR and Crystal Palace, according to the Daily Telegraph. West London Sport recently revealed Rangers had tabled a bid for the England international and subsequently that they were in talks with him after meeting an £8m release clause in his contract, and that they remain hopeful of signing him despite reports he had chosen a move to Palace.Rangers boss Harry Redknapp believes the prospect of playing alongside Loftus Road-bound former Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand will help persuade Caulker to choose a move to west London.However, it is claimed that Arsenal and Southampton are showing some interest in the 22-year-old, who has also been linked with Liverpool.QPR are keen to sign Caulker in an £8m deal.Meanwhile, QPR have again been linked with Norwich City’s Leroy Fer, whose agent has denied reports in the Dutch media that a deal was as good as done.The Telegraph say Norwich are expected to demand a significant fee for Fer, having signed him for £5m from FC Twente only a year ago.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Helping children stay safe online

first_img4 June 2012 The government has partnered with Google South Africa and the UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) in launching the South African version of the Google Online Family Safety Centre. The website,, is available via computer or mobile in English, isiZulu and Afrikaans, and aims to assist parents and caregivers in helping their children navigate the internet safely. It carries advice on keeping families safe online, cyber bullying, safety tips from other parents, as well as a platform for reporting inappropriate online content. The site forms the first part of the Online Child Safety Campaign, launched by Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana in Johannesburg last week. The second phase of the campaign will see workshops taking place in schools and communities to train parents, teachers and children on how to stay safe online.Empowering parents and children Speaking at the launch, Xingwana said social networks were central to the day-to-day lives of many young people, and it was important for parents to have regular, open discussions with their children about their experiences on the internet. “Even though extensive efforts have been put into protecting children online in other countries, not much work has been done in South Africa and the southern African region,” Xingwana said, adding that the campaign was the first of its kind in the country involving government, the private sector and civil society. She said parents’ approach should not be to scare children away from technology but rather to empower them with ways in which they can use technology responsibly and protect themselves from possible harm.Mitigating online risks Google South Africa policy manager Fortune Mgwili Sibanda said that while the internet played a positive role in education and information, it also enabled some of the worst abuse of children. “The internet is growing at a [fast] pace and has become a playground for our children,” Sibanda said. “We are trying to mitigate the risks online by educating children on how to stay safe online. “We can’t block them from accessing the internet, as this may lead to them losing out on education and entertainment.” BuaNews and SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

The Xenia Effect in corn

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Product Manager, Seed Consultants, Inc. The Xenia Effect refers to the effect of foreign pollen on kernel characteristics. Cross-pollination occurs in corn because it is a monecious, which means that it has both male (the tassel) and female (the ear) flowers on a single plant. The Xenia effect occurs when pollen from the tassel of one corn variety moves from one field to another, landing on the silks of another variety which fertilizes and produces. The picture above is an example of the Xenia effect, found by SC agronomists. Flint corn was planted a short distance from a field of hybrid dent corn. Both the flint corn and dent corn were flowering at the same time, allowing the flint corn to pollinate some kernels on the dent ears. The cross-pollination exhibited by the Xenia Effect can influence testing procedures and production of specialty corn crops.last_img read more

Weekly Wrap-up: How Twitter Uses NoSQL, Wikipedia Raises $16 Million, YouTube-Only For MetroPCS Plans, and More…

first_imgHow Twitter Uses NoSQLHow to Save Money by Migrating to Cloud ComputingYahoo Uses Windows Azure To Build Flickr App for Windows Phone 7 and TabletsReadWriteBizReadWriteBiz is a resource and guide for small to medium businesses. Foursquare Launches Jersey Shore Badge: Ummm…Factual Aims, Credibly, to Become Wikipedia 2.0 CES 2011 Preview: 3 Mobile Trends to ExpectPOLL: Will You Buy an Android Tablet or an iPad?Amazon Thinks Non-iPads Will Sell, Announces Kindle App for TabletsEnjoy your weekend everyone!Subscribe to the Weekly Wrap-upYou can subscribe to the Weekly Wrap-up by RSS or by email below.RWW Weekly Wrap-up Email Subscription form: 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market It’s Official: Apple is Back in the Enterprise GameTrendspotting: A Top 100 List of Things to Watch in 2011Business Analytics Predictions from Gartner and ForresterReadWriteStartReadWriteStart, sponsored by Microsoft BizSpark, is a resource for startups and entrepreneurs. This week’s top stories were a grab bag: Twitter and NoSQL, open educational resources, mobile video and a blogging forefather reinventing blogging. Sounds like a typical week here at ReadWriteWeb. Foursquare’s launch of a Jersey Shore badge (yeah, it freaked us out, too) was the top location story. In Internet of Things news there’s a Rutgers University project that’s using Scratch to make household appliances easily programmable. And credible rumors of a Verizon iPhone announcement rounded out the week’s mobile news. Read on for more top stories.Top Stories of the Week Video: CouchDB, MongoDB, RavenDB and SimpleDB ComparedWhat Did JavaScript Get Wrong?Read and Manage Your Gmail in Vim with VmailReadWriteMobileReadWriteMobile is dedicated to helping its community understand the strategic business and technical implications of developing mobile applications. Hands-On with Google Docs for iPad and iPhoneNew Tumblr Blog Pokes Fun at Restaurant WebsitesGoogle Says Priority Inbox Users Spend 6% Less Time on Email (So Are You Using It?)ReadWriteHackReadWriteHack is a resource and guide for developers. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… ReadWrite Sponsors How Twitter Uses NoSQL Wikipedia Raises $16 Million to Remain Ad-FreeUh Oh, Internet: Basic Mobile Video Will be YouTube-Only With MetroPCS PlansYear-End Stats from MIT Point to Increasing Popularity of Open Educational ResourcesBlogging Forefather Seeks to Re-Invent Blogging, AgainMore coverage and analysis from ReadWriteWebDownload Our Latest Free Report: Engaging Online Communities The countless individual interactions people make online have introduced a new level of complexity in marketing. These “gestures” come in the form of likes in Facebook, replies in Twitter or subscriptions to blogs. Other gestures may be a link to a site or a check-in on a location-based network. Engaging Online Communities takes a look at how the modern enterprise must set up the right systems so it can keep track of the gestures that people make and perform analytics on the data. You can download and view Engaging Online Communitieshere.Location Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts Funding Lessons from a Successful Kickstarter CampaignStrategy Roundtable For Entrepreneurs: Top 10 Vertical and Social Web Trends For The DecadeExit Activity Up 25% in 2010, as Signs Point to 2011 as “The Year of the IPO”ReadWriteCloudReadWriteCloud, sponsored by VMware and Intel, is dedicated to Virtualization and Cloud Computing. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#web#Weekly Wrap-ups More Location coverageInternet of ThingsRutgers University Project Uses Scratch to Make Household Appliances Easily ProgrammableKinect-Type Technology Promised for All PCs This SpringMore Internet of Things coverageMobileIt’s Verizon iPhone Time! (Or So We Hope)Report: Google Considering a Mobile Payments ServiceMore Mobile coverageCheck Out The ReadWriteWeb iPhone App As well as enabling you to read ReadWriteWeb while on the go or lying on the couch, we’ve made it easy to share ReadWriteWeb posts directly from your iPhone, on Twitter and Facebook using the official ReadWriteWeb iPhone app. You can also follow the RWW team on Twitter, directly from the app. We invite you to download it now from iTunes.ReadWriteEnterpriseReadWriteEnterprise is devoted to enterprise 2.0 and using social software inside organizations. last_img read more