The Silver Lining: Natural Disasters and Tech

first_img Share Save Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago The Silver Lining: Natural Disasters and Tech The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Common pitfalls of cloud computing: On-premises apps do not always transfer since many older apps were not developed with cloud-based services in mind making it difficult to “forklift” them to the cloud with minimal or no changes.Lack of training and awareness: New development techniques and approaches require training and willingness to utilize new services. When cloud-based environments are required/requested, this may introduce challenges with IT staff.Lack of documentation and guidelines: Best practices require developers to follow relevant documentation and methodologies. Given the rapid adoption of evolving cloud services, this has led to a disconnect between the CSP and application developers on how to utilize, integrate, or meet vendor requirements. Complexities of integration: Integrating new applications with existing ones is a key part of transitioning to the cloud. When developers and operational resources do not have open access to supporting components and services, integrations can be complicated, and troubleshooting becomes difficult. Sign up for DS News Daily in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Print Features The USA felt the brunt of the world’s three costliest natural disasters in 2018 with damages totaling more than $46 billion. The deadly Camp Fire in California was number one, with Hurricanes Michael and Florence coming in second and third place. Those disasters may have monopolized the headlines, but there are so many more homes and businesses destroyed each year by tornadoes, flooding, and fires. With storm season right around the corner, many firms in the hurricane belt spend the first quarter of each year testing their business continuity/disaster-recovery plan (BCP/DR). All too often, however, firms assume they are in a “safe zone” and fail to adequately plan, prepare, and test.The reality is that no firm is in a “safe zone.” Natural disasters themselves are not necessarily what will put your business in a risky situation. These are the top causes of data loss or downtime during such events: Hardware failure (45%)Power loss (35%)Software failure (34%)Data corruption (24%)External security breaches (23%) Accidental user error (20%)The real costs associated with such data loss or downtime include: Reputational risk: Your clients rely on you to be operational and available. Incurring a significant outage implies a lack of planning and lack of proper infrastructure.Loss of productivity: If your payroll is $200,000 per month, every business day of downtime could cost you approximately $11,500. Legal risk: There are critical functions that must be performed within your practice. Certain tasks have an extremely high level of risk associated with them if you should miss even one (military search, hearing attendance, foreclosure sale attendance, etc.).While there are various statistics available on the subject, some studies indicate that 90% of companies without an effective disaster-recovery plan who suffer a major data disaster are out of business within one year. A Cloud ComparisonFor many years, firms have been apprehensive to use the mysterious “cloud” as a strategy in their BCP/DR plan or overall data management, largely due to perceived compliance concerns or a general lack of understanding as to how to choose the right solution. There are many drivers that may cause you to think about cloud computing as the best solution. They typically include: CostRisk reductionScalabilityAgility (mobility)Many are skeptical of cloud computing because of assumptions that it is less secure or carries greater risk. However, this theory can only be considered true if you have completed a direct and comprehensive comparison between the cloud provider’s environment and your on-premises infrastructure. Factors to be compared include:Technological componentsRisk-management processesPreventative, detective, and corrective controlsGovernance and oversight processesResilience and continuity capabilities Multi-factor authenticationUntil you have had an expert truly weigh your internal environment against the cloud, it would be premature to assume one is safer than the other. What’s Your Plan?Regardless of whether you choose the cloud as part of your strategy or not, you need an effective plan. When putting together an effective BC/DR solution, you must start with the basics:Know specifically what assets are important (data and processing).Consider the current location of assets (on-premises, co-location facility, cloud service provider).Understand the details of the network connection between the assets and the processing sites. Having a reliable cloud computing site that you cannot reach because your ISP has failed does not provide you the coverage you need Know your requirements and understand your environment: Whether you handle your own backups, use a cloud service provider (CSP), or a combination of both, your objective is to ensure you are protected against the risk of data not being available or business processes not functional, leading to a breach of your service level agreements, lost revenue, and damaged client relationships. It is important that you understand the specific requirements set forth by your clients. They include: Recovery Point Objective (RPO), which helps determine how much information must be recovered and restored. It includes asking questions such as, “Is it okay to have quick access to your case data and documents, even if your non-case-related documents are not available for several days or are lost altogether?” What do your clients require? Recovery Time Objective (RTO) is a measure of how quickly you need each system to be up and running in the event of a disaster or critical failure.Recovery Service Level (RSL) is a percentage measurement of how much computing power is necessary based on the percentage of the production system needed during a disaster.Data Replication: Maintaining an up-to-date copy of the required data at a different location can be done on a few technical levels and with varying degrees of granularity. It is important to know your replication requirements. For example, data can be replicated at the block level, file level, or database level. Replication can be in bulk, on the byte level, via file synchronization, database mirroring, daily copies, etc. Each alternative impacts your RPO/RTO and has varying costs including bandwidth requirements. Functionality Replication: This includes the ability to re-create processing capabilities at a different location. Depending on the risk to be mitigated and the scenario that’s chosen, this could be as simple as selecting an additional deployment zone or as involved as performing an extensive rearchitecting. Examples of simple cases are environments that are already heavily virtualized. The relevant VM images can then simply be copied, where they would be ready for service restoration on demand.An ideal infrastructure cloud service provider will likely have the application architecture described and managed in an orchestration tool or other cloud infrastructure management system. With these, replicating the functionality can be a simple activity.The worst recovery-elapsed time is probably when functionality is replicated only when disaster strikes. A better solution is the active-passive form, where resources are held on standby. In active mode, the replicated resources are participating in the production. Planning, Preparing and Provisioning: This is the functionality around processes that lead up to the actual DR failover response. The most important factor in this category is adequate monitoring so that more time is available. Failover Capability: Appropriate load balancing is required to ensure that redirection of the user service requests occurs properly and in a timely manner. Smarter SolutionsIt is easy to see why many firms elect to make the cloud part of their solution. According to the 2017 Legal Technology Survey from the American Bar Association, cloud usage grew more than 40% from 2016 to 2017, from 37% to just over 52%. If you are ready to make that move, there are some things you need to consider.Assessing the risks associated with a cloud service provider (CSP) The elasticity of the CSP: Can the CSP provide all the resources if BCDR is invoked?Contractual issues: Will any new CSP address all contractual issues and SLA requirements?Available network bandwidth for timely replication of data.Available bandwidth between the impacted user base and the BCDR locations.Legal and licensing constraints that could prohibit the data or functionality to be present in the backup location. Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Related Articles Jan Duke is the COO and lead consultant at a360 Firm Solutions. She provides strategic leadership for the company and utilizes her extensive industry experience to create customized solutions to resolve operational challenges for clients. Her primary focusis consulting in the areas of management, business-process improvement and technology. She also oversees business development efforts, solutions delivery, and provides operational leadership guidance. Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days agocenter_img Make sure your CSP has service level agreements that align with your needs:Availability (for example, 99.99% of services and data)Performance (expected response times versus maximum response times)Security and privacy of the data (encrypting all stored and transmitted data)Logging and reporting (audit trails of all access and the ability to report on key requirements and indicators)DR expectations (worse-case recovery commitment, RTOs, the maximum period of tolerable disruption)Location of the data (ability to meet requirements or consistent with local legislation)Data format and structure (data retrievable from the provider in a readable and intelligent format)Portability of the data (ability to move data to a different provider, or to multiple providers)Identification and problem resolution (help desk/service desk, call center, or ticketing system)Change-management process (updates or new services)Exit strategy with expectations on the provider to ensure a smooth transition The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Previous: GSE NPL Sales: Working Toward ‘Favorable Outcomes for Borrowers’ Next: A Look at Securitized Trusts and Diversity Jurisdiction Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago June 18, 2019 1,285 Views The cloud is the future, but it must be embraced wisely. Print This Post Home / Daily Dose / The Silver Lining: Natural Disasters and Tech 2019-06-18 Seth Welborn About Author: Jan Duke Subscribelast_img read more

PREMIERE: Vinegar Mother Shares Delightfully Spacey Debut Record, ‘PHASES’

first_imgIn a sonically inspiring middle group where space rock and jazz fusion meet, you’ll find Vinegar Mother, the high-octane quintet hailing from Brooklyn, NY. Coming together in 2015, the lineup is comprised of Julia Zivic (vocals/lyrics), Itamar Gov-Ari (keyboard), Jason Zivic (drums), Mike Roninson (bass), with Chris Mazuera joining as lead guitarist late last year. Today, Live For Live Music is pleased to share their debut record, PHASES, ahead of its official release tomorrow. Listen below:<a href=”http://vinegarmother.bandcamp.com/album/phases”>PHASES by Vinegar Mother</a>For PHASES, the band wanted to keep true to a collaborative spirit and they revel in their ability to meld genres seamlessly. Take the opening track, “Moon Tomb,” for example; from the get-go, Vinegar Mother pulls the listener in with a groovy, R&B atmosphere, but by the 3rd track, “NEXUS,” they’ve gone and added spacey electronic elements. “Palm Sweat,” the album’s 5th track is a breezy first-date anthem for the modern millennial, as Zivic’s sultry vocals croon “Palm sweat / I’m in debt / I’m in a dilemma I just do not get.” “Shame” is reminiscent of Hiatus Kaiyote with elements of prog-rock elevating the band’s individual style.Throughout the record, Zivic’s powerhouse vocals swirl above the virtuoso talents of the band. The themes and lyrics on PHASES are definitely clever and encapsulates the human experience in modern times.Zivic shares: “In PHASES, Vinegar Mother believes it has a perfect blend of impressive instrumentation and honest emotion. The band would like all to journey through the album in song order to hear the interesting transitions and thoughtful flow of PHASES. In that way, Vinegar Mother hopes each composition reaches out to the listener and invites them inside the world of the leading lady. The lyrics, the musicality, and the ever-changing mood will hopefully make you go through ‘phases’ of your own.”For more information on Vinegar Mother, and for a list of upcoming tour dates, head to the band’s website.last_img read more

Vital challenge, for those always ready

first_imgAs the coronavirus pandemic continues to swell, first responders and emergency room personnel are squarely in the path of COVID-19. Against a backdrop of reports of tight supplies of personal protective equipment, the Gazette turned to Paul Biddinger, director of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Disaster Medicine, vice chairman for emergency preparedness in MGH’s Emergency Medicine Department, and associate professor at Harvard Medical School, to describe the massive public health challenge facing police, fire, and emergency medical responders.Q&APaul BiddingerGAZETTE: You were an EMT (emergency medical technician) at one point, weren’t you?BIDDINGER: I was. The whole reason I went into medicine was from being an EMT in New Jersey back in the ’80s. So it remains near to my heart. I work closely with a lot of first responders, and I certainly still see myself as a first responder in many ways.GAZETTE: We’ve heard about shortages of protective equipment, but what are the major issues facing first-line responders: EMTs, police, fire, and ER [emergency room] personnel?BIDDINGER: There’s no question that first responders have some of the greatest risks of anyone in a community-wide infectious disease outbreak like this. They respond and often are required to act with limited information, whether it’s law enforcement in a threatening situation or the fire service or EMS [emergency medical services] being asked to provide lifesaving care. They sometimes have to act before they’re able to get a full history of what the patient may be experiencing or what other risk factors, like exposure to infectious disease, they may have.So it’s understandable that public safety workers are concerned. On top of that, the police and fire departments that don’t also provide EMS and ambulance services often have relatively little training in using medical personal protective equipment (PPE) for infectious diseases. Besides training, they may not have access to PPE on their response vehicles. Even in EMS, EMTs and paramedics have some general training on universal precautions, but may have limited access to supplies on their vehicles or limited specific training on how to use it, or both.GAZETTE: Are there things that a responder should do routinely now? Everybody already wears gloves, right?BIDDINGER: One thing we should be doing is strengthening our protocols at the public safety answering points — those are the people who answer the 911 calls.During the Ebola epidemic, people started asking about travel history more than before, even for calls that didn’t sound like infectious disease — like chest pain or passing out. On 911 calls, you need to be efficient, ask questions, and get answers quickly so you don’t delay care. But they should be asking about whether anyone has fever and respiratory symptoms and whether anyone has had contact with COVID. Making this a part of how they query callers is really, really important.GAZETTE: Should they routinely put on face masks?BIDDINGER: There isn’t evidence that wearing one all the time is helpful. That’s true for the public, and that’s true for first responders. We worry that it actually increases their chance of self-contamination, because if the mask becomes contaminated, the longer they keep it on, the higher the risk that they may become infected by it through accidental touching or other exposures.It would be a good idea to give law enforcement, the fire service, even EMS a clear script of two, three, four questions that they ask every time to help them identify risks. Providing them with very simple questions as they approach a scene or approach a person in need can help them identify risks very quickly. Then the script should let the police officer or firefighter know what they should do if they get a certain answer.GAZETTE: What’s the level of concern among the people who staff the ER and the first responders out there? They deal with so much; do they get blasé after a while, or is this different?BIDDINGER: It’s fair to say that there’s a lot of anxiety out there in all communities, and that includes the first response and the medical community. I think anytime you’re first to interact with the public there is absolutely some risk associated. And that, understandably, makes people anxious.I think the emergency department setting is different. The emergency department has access to much better supplies, personal protective equipment, and better training. But the risk is higher because that’s where you’re asking people with symptoms to go. That’s why we provide the equipment, the training, all the resources that we do. “There’s no question that first responders have some of the greatest risks of anyone in a community-wide infectious disease outbreak like this.” Q&A on Harvard’s move to online learning A big coronavirus mystery: What about the children? Related ‘Worry about 4 weeks from now,’ epidemiologist warns Chan School’s Lipsitch says that and other key questions remain over China’s status, how bad the outbreak eventually will be in the U.S. and elsewhere, and most effective countermeasures center_img GAZETTE: How serious is the shortage of personal protective equipment?BIDDINGER: It’s quite serious. No one is able to get as much personal protective equipment on the market as they might like. We’ve only started to see increases in patients now, so it’s challenging to imagine how much this situation may change, with even more use of personal protective equipment, with more patients in front of us. So hopefully manufacturing will increase and keep pace with the demand. Hopefully, both at the governmental level as well as at the organizational level, policies will prevent hoarding and prevent maldistribution of personal protective equipment. But I think it remains a significant concern.GAZETTE: You’ve already handled some of the Biogen (COVID) patients, how are things changing at MGH to address this?BIDDINGER: We’ve been designated as a regional special pathogens treatment center by the federal government and have had procedures, policies, and training in place for these kinds of outbreaks for at least five years. But still there’s a lot that we’ve had to do.We are having challenges purchasing as much PPE as we would like, so we meet every day with our supply-chain leaders and discuss what we’ve been able to purchase and what our usage rates are. We have had to pull back some of the inventory, meaning large quantities of things that were stocked on floors are now stocked centrally. We absolutely can supply every clinical worker with the PPE that he or she needs to do their job, but the way they get it has become a little more cumbersome, just to make sure we don’t waste. We’ve had a lot of education about the right personal protective equipment to use for the right situation.In the midst of all this, the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] is changing the guidelines for what PPE should be used for respiratory viral syndromes. They’re asking us to add eye protection. So we’re educating staff on the new protocol very quickly and combining that message with conservation strategies, appropriate-use strategies. Harvard’s Lipsitch urges public to ramp up social distancing, increase coronavirus tests Officials detail University’s battle plan to combat coronavirus while education continues GAZETTE: Are we more prepared now than we would have been before SARS or H1N1?BIDDINGER: Absolutely. We learned lessons about signs, that we should be taking travel history, and early in H1N1 there was an extremely important lesson because there was panic buying of personal protective equipment and hoarding. We very quickly had a N95 respirator shortage. From that experience, manufacturers and distributors developed a process of being “on allocation.” When supplies start to become short, they will only deliver amounts consistent with the historical usage of each of their customers. So customer A can’t order four times as much and then customers B, C, and D don’t get any. We’ve put some safety brakes into the system, which is quite helpful, but there has still been increased use, and supply has not kept up with demand.GAZETTE: What advice do you have for chiefs and others on the front lines? Are there still things that they can do?BIDDINGER: There’s a great national resource called the National Ebola Training and Education Center, NETEC. This was created in 2014‒15 for Ebola response and is focused completely on health care response to emerging infections. They have an EMS group with lots of practitioners and leaders in this area, and they’ve been producing webinars, training materials, other resources specifically for EMS.At the leadership level, chiefs and medical directors should go there to learn what they’re recommending, see what some of their educational materials are, and they may want to adopt them for use for their staff. There’s not really much time to make major changes at departments — equipment and staff — but there is definitely time for education and awareness, and that can go a long way.Just like with the public, we really emphasize hand-washing and awareness of touching surfaces and touching one’s face. And, for EMS, knowing how to take off your gloves correctly, knowing when to protect your eyes, those things are incredibly important. I appreciate that masks or respirators are somewhat challenging to acquire right now, but there are lots of other ways that they can limit their exposure, provide care, and keep themselves safe.last_img read more

GSA boys win seventh straight regional tennis title

first_img Latest posts by Taylor Vortherms (see all) Bio ORONO — Like the approaching rain clouds, the George Stevens Academy boys’ tennis team’s recent loss to the Orono Red Riots loomed during Tuesday morning’s Class C Northern Maine championship at the University of Maine.After falling to second-ranked Orono 3-1 in their last match of the regular season, the No. 1 GSA Eagles beat the Red Riots — as well as the forecasted storm — 4-1 for their seventh straight regional title.GSA’s first-year coach Mark Ensworth said his team’s strategy going into the championship was to play with consistency.“They’re a real tough team,” Ensworth said of Orono. “We knew it was going to be a fight from start to finish.”This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textUnlike in the teams’ May 25 matchup — which was cut short because of inclement weather — the Eagles (13-2) didn’t give their new coach much to sweat. Ben Politte and Beowulf Urban both rectified their losses to Orono (11-4) to give GSA an early 2-0 lead.Politte, GSA’s No. 3 singles player, faced Orono’s Ben Blood twice throughout the regular season and lost both times. But on Tuesday, Politte had no trouble beating Blood 6-0, 6-2 in straight sets to put the Eagles on the board.“I think what went differently is that I was more confident in my game,” said Politte, a junior. “Having lost to him was definitely a drive.”Urban — GSA’s No. 2 singles’ player — cushioned the Eagles’ lead, defeating Sam Sheppard 6-1, 6-0.Christian Jones and Kent Fang clinched the title for GSA at second doubles after pulling away in the third set to beat Thor Van Walsum and Joe Sheppard 6-0, 5-7, 6-2.GSA already led 3-0 when Aidan Byrne and Leif Lyon-Miller edged Alex Fergusson and Brandon Hines 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 at first doubles for the Eagles’ fourth straight victory.At first singles, Orono senior Takumi Hoshima handed GSA its only loss, defeating Matt Stephens 6-2, 6-1. The rain held off until the end of their match.GSA has won 13 of the last 15 regional championships. Ensworth attributes the program’s strength to good coaching and year-round practice, which many of the players access through using the indoor courts in Sedgwick.“You kind of develop a culture for it,” Ensworth said. “The kids come in with a positive outlook. It has just grown in the area.”When asked how it felt to win a regional championship his first year coaching, Ensworth didn’t hesitate.“Relieved,” the 29-year-old said. “Following up Larry Gray — it’s big shoes to fill.”Ensworth, a GSA grad, played tennis for Gray in high school. Gray helped start GSA’s tennis program in 1996. He coached the team to 12 regional titles and one state championship before relinquishing the throne after last season to fill his new role as GSA’s athletics director.Though the Eagles remained on top of their class throughout the season, they didn’t get to the Northern Maine championship untested. Fifth-ranked Fort Kent (10-5) — an unfamiliar opponent — threatened to end GSA’s season on Saturday in the semifinals. The Eagles managed to pull out a 3-2 win.“It was stressful to the finish,” Ensworth said. “At least with Orono, we knew how we matched up. With Fort Kent, we didn’t know what they looked like until they stepped off the bus.”The Eagles initially appeared in good shape, with Jones and Fang opening the day with a win over Fort Kent’s Charles Parham and Johnny Labbe 6-4, 6-2.Politte also cruised to a 6-0 victory in his first set over Fort Kent’s David Roy before nearly dropping the second one. Politte put the match away 6-0, 7-6 (7-5), scoring the winning point after a long rally on a crosscourt shot. “That’s too good,” one of the Fort Kent coaches murmured while watching Roy dive for the ball, which Politte placed just beyond his reach.“That was a little scary,” Politte said of the match. “It’s all about finding out what shots work for you and using that to improve your game.”Fort Kent’s Micah Charette and Niko Nevanja defeated Byrne and Lyon-Miller 6-1, 6-2 to cut GSA’s lead to 2-1 before Ryan Chasse beat Stephens 6-0, 6-1 to tie the score.“I was stressed,” Ensworth said, smiling. “Tennis is such a stressful sport.”It got a little more stressful for Ensworth when Urban and Fort Kent’s Rowan Stamp entered a third set for a spot in the regional championship. Urban won 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 to keep the Eagles’ season alive.“I think coming off a positive experience like that helped us prepare for today,” Ensworth said Tuesday. “We came ready to play.”GSA will play the winner of Thursday’s Southern Maine championship between Hall-Dale and Waynflete for the Class C state title on Saturday at Lewiston High School. The Eagles haven’t won a state title since 2004.GSA has lost to Waynflete in the state championship for the past six years, and Waynflete has won 10 of the last 11 state titles.But for the first time all season, the pressure won’t be on the Eagles.“We just can’t beat ourselves,” Ensworth said. “We’ll make them have to win the points.”The George Stevens Academy boys’ tennis team poses with its Class C regional championship plaque after defeating Orono for the title on Tuesday at the University of Maine-Orono. PHOTO BY TAYLOR VORTHERMS Part 2: When the injury is inside your head, some “don’t get it” – July 26, 2016 Latest Postscenter_img Taylor VorthermsSports Editor at The Ellsworth AmericanTaylor Vortherms covers sports in Hancock County. The St. Louis, Missouri native recently graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism and joined The Ellsworth American in 2013. Part 1: Invisible, incapacitating concussions are sidelining high school athletes – July 19, 2016 EHS names new boys’ soccer coach – July 13, 2016last_img read more

High Court to hear Ryanair bid to prevent Thursday’s 48-hour pilots’ strike

first_imgThe High Court will hear an application by Ryanair on Monday aimed at securing an order preventing industrial action by some of its Irish based pilots later this week.Around 180 pilots who are members of the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association are due to stop work for 48 hours just after midnight on Thursday in a dispute over pay and conditions.Last Friday, Ryanair secured permission to bring an application for an injunction against IALPA’s parent union Fórsa stopping the industrial action from proceeding. The trade union Forsa is contesting the Irish airlines High Court bid for an injunction preventing the airline’s Irish based pilots from going on strike later this week.Counsel for Ryanair told the High Court that the trade union had not allowed a mediation process to be completed before serving the notice of strike action.He also said the planned work stoppage was in breach of an agreement reached between the parties last year and was designed to cause “maximum disruption” for customers.Two weeks ago members of IALPA voted in a ballot to proceed with industrial action after they claimed the airline was stalling the talks process. A meeting between the sides and mediator Kieran Mulvey last week failed to break the deadlock.Ryanair is facing industrial unrest on a number of fronts at present, with British based pilots who are members of the British Airline Pilots’ Association also due to strike on the same two days this week and for three days next month.Members of Ryanair’s Portuguese cabin crew trade union are also set to go on strike for five days from 21 August in a dispute over leave.Unions representing Ryanair cabin crew in Spain have also announced plans to hold 10 days of strikes in September unless the airline changes its plans to close several bases in the country.The hearing is expected to last for most of the day. High Court to hear Ryanair bid to prevent Thursday’s 48-hour pilots’ strike was last modified: August 19th, 2019 by Staff WriterShare 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)last_img read more

Respect for Alfred Russel Wallace: Too Little, Too Late

first_imgOn the 100th anniversary of his death, Alfred Russel Wallace is getting a smattering of attention, but not nearly what Darwin gets every day. Perhaps it’s because the co-discoverer of natural selection believed in intelligent design.In Live Science, Jesse Lewis headlined an article, “100 Years After Death, Evolution’s Other Discoverer Gains Attention.” Actually, neither Wallace or Darwin “discovered evolution,” if by that one assumes universal common ancestry by unguided processes. What they “discovered” (better, speculated about) was natural selection as a mechanism for speciation, extrapolating that mechanism into speculation about universal common ancestry. Lewis gave Wallace a moment in the limelight, mentioning his fascination with new species (Wallace explored the world far more than Darwin ever did), his letter to Darwin speculating about natural selection (though Wallace did not call it that), and a new website, The Wallace Correspondence Project, planning to post 28,000 searchable documents and 24,000 images from Wallace’s prolific writings. Lewis did not, however, mention anything about Wallace’s belief in the creation of the human soul. Neither did Science Magazine, in an August 29 article that mentioned the anniversary but focused only on Wallace’s contribution to biogeography.Nature gave no tribute to Wallace this week. The journal did, however, publish a letter from two Russians and a German who wanted to honor Wallace a little on the centenary of his death. They pointed out that the pre-revolution Russians eagerly read Wallace’s works and actually preferred them over Darwin’s. “Many warmed to Wallace’s contention that human spiritual faculties cannot be explained by natural selection,” they said, mentioning Alexander Gusev, a theologian who used Wallace’s arguments for creation of the soul to defend Orthodox Christianity. Daring to doubt Darwin as the be-all and end-all of evolutionary knowledge, they ended:Russia’s fascination with Wallace’s work helped to shape the debate among early evolutionists on alternative versions of Darwinism (see D. Todes Nature 462, 36–37; 2009) and opened up discussion on the uniqueness of the human soul.Even that falls short of describing Wallace’s argument for design. Earlier this year, PhysOrg mentioned a new biography, stating, “A major new book by historian Dr John van Wyhe from the National University of Singapore has radically rewritten the story of how evolution was discovered by Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace.” Its thrust appears to be an attempt to advance the evolutionary views of Darwin’s running mate (3/03/08). Darwin biographer Janet Browne summed it up, saying, “Without downplaying the impact of Darwin, van Wyhe’s book reveals Wallace as a great evolutionary thinker in his own right, who truly deserves to be considered in context.” Once again, though, nothing was stated about Wallace’s provocative anti-Darwinian views (i.e., that natural selection is incapable of explaining all of life), and his inference to a great designing intelligence from the capabilities of the human mind and spirit.To get that information, one can read historian Michael Flannery’s book Alfred Russel Wallace: A Rediscovered Life, valuable for its extensive quotes from Wallace’s writings where he inferred intelligent design of the human soul. Flannery’s book is highlighted on AlfredWallace.org. In celebration of the centenary, David Klinghoffer announced on Evolution News & Views a new 15-minute survey of his life produced by the Discovery Institute, “A Rediscovered Life,” narrated by Dr. Flannery, posted on YouTube. The article also mentions that Flannery is presenting at the second annual Alfred Russel Wallace Conference in Singapore. A brief video is also embedded in an earlier entry on Evolution News & Views about “Alfred Russel Wallace, the Forgotten Man.” Earlier this year, Flannery appeared also in a short video clip in Evolution News & Views to explain why Darwin is remembered more than Wallace. See also ENV’s bibliography of Wallace articles.Meanwhile, what about natural selection – the idea for which Darwin and Wallace are celebrated? How is it faring? In September, Science Daily reported that there are still major controversies about speciation:Darwin referred to the origin of species as “that mystery of mysteries,” and even today, more than 150 years later, evolutionary biologists cannot fully explain how new animals and plants arise.The article explains how two scientists from the University of Michigan are casting doubt on the contribution of “reproductive isolation” to drive species apart, as Darwin had speculated (see “Darwin Fumbles,” 9/04/13). Studies of fruit flies and birds showed no correlation between reproductive isolation and number of species. “We found no evidence that these things are related,” Daniel Rabosky said. “The rate at which genetic reproductive barriers arise does not predict the rate at which new species form in nature.” Paradoxically, Rabosky and colleague Daniel Matute pointed to extinction as more important – yet that, too, does not explain the origin of species. “While speciation is often defined as the evolution of reproductive isolation, the new findings suggest that a broader definition may be needed, Rabosky and Matute conclude.”So for what, exactly, are Darwin and Wallace being celebrated?Update 11/08/13: Stephanie Pain wrote a lengthy tribute to Wallace on New Scientist, providing insights into his travels, adventures and writings, but mentioning nothing about the limits of his belief in evolution, and his confidence in design of the human mind.Wallace and Darwin were both wrong, but Wallace was less wrong than Darwin. Actually, Wallace’s theory of speciation differed from Darwin’s in significant ways (12/19/08). It must be hugely embarrassing for the Darwin industry to deal with a co-“discoverer” of natural selection who turned to intelligent design later in life. Wallace was also a more gracious and humble man than Darwin, that scheming recluse as Janet Browne portrays (see 3/03/08 commentary). Darwin worked through his X-Club (see video) to market his ideas to ensure priority, while Wallace always spoke from his heart without pretense, treating Darwin with respect, humbly deferring to him as the one worthy of recognition. When Darwin got word of Wallace’s position on creation of the soul, he sneezed his respect for Wallace out his nose (video, at 11:38 – 12:30). Jerry Bergman’s book, The Dark Side of Darwin, documents many “dark” aspects of Darwin’s character that are dishonorable, disgusting, and disturbing. With Wallace, virtue was its own punishment. He spent most of his scientific life working alone in Malaysia and South America while Darwin basked in the social circles of London. When he returned to England, Wallace, lower on the social ladder than Charlie, didn’t get invited to the same parties. He allowed the X-Club to undermine his reputation. Subsequent biographers have tried to dismiss Wallace as a nut, pointing out his interest in spiritualism, for instance. (In this, they ignore the clarity and wisdom of Wallace’s mature writings to their disgrace.) Primarily, Wallace continues to be snubbed because he refused to be a 100% secular materialist.While we do not endorse Wallace’s views on evolution, much less on theology, everyone can agree that he had an interesting life, and that he contributed a great deal to taxonomy. His collection of specimens is legendary, his adventures extraordinary (he was the “Indiana Jones” of specimen collectors, suffering shipwreck, disease and encounters with hostile tribes). He was a keen observer. He loved the beauty of nature. He is the father of biogeography. He respected native peoples. He spoke from his heart. He published influential works, outlasting Darwin by 30 years, living to age 90. He reasoned correctly about intelligent design for parts of nature. He advanced cogent arguments for design. But for promoting the erroneous view that microevolution can be extrapolated into universal common descent, and for becoming complacent with a nebulous designer with no revelation or claims on human life, we view Wallace as another misguided Victorian purveyor of half truths (his chant is Darwin-Some-Design-Some, not DODO). He deserves a movie about his life, perhaps, but not a following. Perhaps his best legacy today is a prominent place in a long list of Darwin doubters. (Visited 57 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Who Isn’t Accused Of Bribery In China?

first_imgMassive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Related Posts Tags:#bribery#China#IBM#Microsoft#Wall Street Journal 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…center_img Matt Asay IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Microsoft has been accused of bribing officials in China, Italy and Romania to receive favorable treatment. That’s not really news. Given the long list of companies accused of bribery in these countries, particularly China, it’s actually more newsworthy to report on who isn’t allegedly doling out bribes.After all, some pretty amazing brands are under fire for alleged bribery in China. Rolls-Royce, The Wall Street Journal, IBM, Siemens, Wal-Mart, Hollywood and many tech firms have all been accused of bribery. Some may even be guilty.Or not. As Microsoft Vice President & Deputy General Counsel John Frank notes, “It is also important to remember that it is not unusual for such reviews to find that an allegation was without merit.”Just Doing Business?My hunch, however, is that none of these corporations would risk their reputations over a few yuan. Or even a billion yuan. More likely is that isolated individuals within these corporations may have felt the pressure of doing business in a culture that accepts bribery as a default, where even a front-row seat in one’s elementary school class is up for sale, according to a report by The New York Times.Or maybe they simply didn’t know better?I don’t mean that in any naive way. While attorney Dan Harris makes it clear that bribery is not a requirement for succeeding in China, for a newbie this might not be readily apparent.As an example, several years ago my wife and I were driving to church in Costa Rica, where we were vacationing. I was speeding (it happens), and got pulled over. I don’t speak Spanish, so was struggling to understand the officer as he explained how much I owed, and where to pay it. Finally it became clear that I’d owe something like $100, and would have to pay it at a bank (or post office or something – I couldn’t understand him very well) before leaving the country. I had no idea where I could find a bank, or how to pay the ticket, but he very helpfully explained to me in broken English: “You pay $100 at bank. Or you pay me $50. You choose.” I’m not very bright, so it took me repeating him a few times (“So, if I go to the bank, I need to pay $100, but I can pay you $50 right now and be done with it?”) to finally grasp his meaning, pull out the $50, and drive on.Was I dishonest? I suppose so. But I wasn’t really trying to avoid a $100 fine. I simply had no idea how to find a bank (we were in a remote coastal area), and didn’t think I’d be able to do so before catching our flight a day later. I wasn’t trying to evade the law: I was trying to pay the ticket in the only way I thought feasible.It’s ComplicatedI’m in no way trying to defend bribery or dishonesty in any form. I just wonder if so many good companies could be caught up in intentional, illegal activity.Yes, even Microsoft, which has a history of competing hard and running afoul of antitrust measures, and more recently has been accused of buying favor with the European Parliament by giving away free software licenses:I know a few of the Microsoft executives who would be involved in acquiescing to bribery in China or elsewhere, and I simply don’t believe them capable of it. These are good people. These are not criminals.Yes, good people sometimes do bad things. But I struggle to believe that the companies accused of bribery in China – some of the best brands in the U.S. and Europe – would bless bribery in China or elsewhere. It’s possible that a few bad actors within these companies succumbed to the temptation of buying favor, and it’s also possible that these or others simply thought there was no other way to do business in China. Again, Dan Harris points to a better way:“I am convinced that there are companies that almost want to pay bribes so they can act like they ‘really know the system.’ I am also convinced that there are companies that make clear from day one that they will never ever ever under any circumstances pay a bribe so don’t even bother asking. Which of those two types of companies becomes most susceptible to being hit up for a bribe? I am not saying that all companies can function in China without paying a bribe at some point, but I am saying that most foreign companies can and do function in China just fine without ever paying a bribe.”“Most foreign companies can and do…”, but even an expert China watcher like Harris acknowledges some may not be able to escape demands for bribes in China.Which, of course, means they shouldn’t be doing business there. That’s the solution, but the temptation to make it work, to live within the system, may be too great for some companies. That’s a pity, albeit an understandable one.Image courtesy of Shutterstock.last_img read more

TC Invest concept revived somewhat Minister never agreed with closure

first_img TCI European Union money could be lost due to UK referendum on membership Related Items:john rutherford, tc invest, washington misick Recommended for you Cabinet Ministers get to spend more, CFO stays on the job Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Preview of Budget reveals salary hikes, millions is saving with retired of UK bail out loan Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 20 Jan 2016 – The Minister of Finance is thrilled to see some semblance of an investment and business building arm return to governance in the Turks and Caicos, as during the launch on Monday for Invest Turks and Caicos, Hon Washington Misick struggled to say why TC Invest was shut down in the first place. It was the interim administration under former Governor, Damian Ric Todd that dismantled TC Invest and established a controversial collection agency to retrieve outstanding funds.Now, under Minister Misick, there is a new agency which will also share promotional responsibility with the TCI Tourist Board. Invest Turks and Caicos is headed by Chief Executive, John Rutherford and is located in Butterfield Square, down town Providenciales.last_img read more