“…insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.” Alan I. Leshner, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, reminds readers of Science1 of this proverb in order to help them face the fact that ignoring the public’s values, or protesting against them, will not allow scientists to get what they want. Leshner isn’t looking forward to the next annual meeting. The theme will be “Where Science Meets Society,” and from the way he wrote his editorial, he dreads having to come to terms with the fact that “the relationship between science and society is undergoing significant stress…. This disaffection and shift in attitudes predict a more difficult and intrusive relationship between science and society than we’ve enjoyed in the recent past.” What’s causing the stress? Two things:Cloning and Stem Cell Research: (see 02/08/2005 entry): Leshner notes that “Some members of the public are finding certain lines of scientific research and their outcomes disquieting” (emphasis added in all quotes). He elaborates:Examples of these strains in the relationship include sharp public divisions about therapeutic or research cloning and stem cell research. Although many understand the potential benefits of such research, they also are troubled about scientists working so close to what they see as the essence and origins of human life. Last year, ideology came dangerously close to publicly trumping science when the U.S. Congress failed by only two votes to defund a set of grants from the National Institutes of Health on sexual behavior, HIV/AIDS, and drug abuse that made religious conservatives uncomfortable, even though the research was critical to solving major public health problems.Speaking in the collective first person, Leshner apparently sympathizes with the attitude of many scientists: they should be able to do whatever they want….For many scientists, any such overlay of values on the conduct of science is anathema to our core principles and our historic success. Within the limits of the ethical conduct of science with human or animal subjects, many believe that no scientifically answerable question should be out of bounds. Bringing the power of scientific inquiry to bear on society’s most difficult questions is what we have done best, and that often means telling the world things that it might not initially like.What “ethical conduct” is, and what its limits are, Leshner seems to assume are common knowledge and need no definition.Intelligent Design: Since Leshner deems this subject hardly worth discussing, he dismisses it with a wave of the rhetorical hand:And, of course, the scientific community is enmeshed in a continuing battle to keep the nature of science clear in debates about whether schools should be allowed to teach non-science-based “intelligent design theory” [quotes in original] alongside evolution in science classrooms. Leshner explains what these two examples reveal:The common thread linking these examples is that science and its products are intersecting more frequently with certain human beliefs and values. As science encroaches more closely on heavily value-laden issues, members of the public are claiming a stronger role in both the regulation of science and the shaping of the research agenda.So what does he recommend?Independence and objectivity in the shaping and conduct of science have been central to our successes and our ability to serve society. Still, our recent experiences suggest that the values dimension is here to stay, certainly for a while, and that we need to learn to work within this new context. Protesting the imposition of value-related constraints on science has been the usual response, but it doesn’t work because it doesn’t resonate with the public. An alternative is to adopt a much more inclusive approach that engages other communities assertively in discussing the meaning and usefulness of our work. We should try to find common ground through open, rational discourse. We have had some success with programs such as the National Human Genome Research Institute’s Ethical, Legal and Social Implications program. Another example is the AAAS’s Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion, which brings scientists together with religious leaders and ethicists to discuss scientific advances and how they relate to other belief and value systems.He continues his advice: “Simply protesting the incursion of value considerations into the conduct and use of science confirms the old adage that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.” Instead, “Let’s try some diplomacy and discussion,” he says, “and see how that goes for a change.”1Alan I. Leshner, “Where Science Meets Society,” Science, Vol 307, Issue 5711, 815, 11 February 2005, [DOI: 10.1126/science.1110260].For fun, reread his comments, and replace each instance of science and scientists with elitism and elitists. Leshner’s attitude toward his fellow citizens, and toward his fellow members of the human race, is disgusting. He assumes what he thinks is sensible makes sense to everybody else. He assumes that whatever he believes is science, and what anyone else believes is stupidity. Irritated by having to spend an ounce of energy considering what anyone else thinks, he feels obligated to patronize them briefly enough to appease them, then get back to the business of “science” – i.e., complete freedom to do anything he wants, at taxpayer expense. He has no idea what the “limits of ethical conduct” are, other than perhaps a vague recollection that some guy named Mengele did a few things he maybe should not have, a long time ago. Instead of talking about Mengele, let’s look at what is going on in North Korea, as reported by Priya Abraham in World Magazine Feb. 5. Read and shudder at the horror of science gone berserk:For one experiment, officials told her to hand out liquid-soaked cabbage in white buckets to 50 women. “After the women ate it, blood came out from their mouths and their rectums,” she wrote. “It looked like something had exploded inside them. In just a few minutes, they were all kneeling and falling forward. The blood that came out of them went for five to six feet. There was pandemonium and screaming.” Officials did similar tests on other men and women, in all about three times a year, Ms. Lee said. Other experiments involved poisonous gas once or twice a year. Officials donned protective suits and threw what looked like paintballs on the ground, forcing 30 to 200 prisoners to walk through the gas they emitted. The prisoners fell over and cramped up. Eventually the death toll from the experiments was killing off too many prisoners and hampering camp officials’ ability to meet work quotas. When the director complained to the state security bureau, they sent a terse reply, Ms. Lee said: “‘It is a Kim Jong Il directive: The chemical and biological weapons are needed for the battlefield. It is meaningless to conduct these experiments on animals.’ The head of the camp was left speechless.”Undoubtedly, such science would cross the ethical line in Leshner’s mind. But how so? Are not humans just animals? What’s the essential difference between experimenting on fully-grown humans and on human embryos that have the full complement of human genes? Where in the continuum of life and growth do you draw the arbitrary line? To think that “science” knows but “religious conservatives” do not is the height of arrogance. What might “resonate with the public” is a little humility, for a change.(Visited 7 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
The rest of the continent is catching up withSouth Africa’s established mining sector.(Image: MediaClubSouthAfrica.com. Formore free photos, visit the image library)MEDIA CONTACTS • Phumlele MbiyoStandard Bank senior strategist+27 11 378 7236RELATED ARTICLES• SA holds score on Doing Business Index• SA to create 5-million new jobs• Powering towards a green economy• SA upbeat on economy• Looking south and east for growthShamin ChibbaAfrica’s economy is on track and could make a speedier recovery from the recession than the US. This is according to the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects report for 2011.The report, released in mid-January, projected that sub-Saharan Africa would increase its gross domestic product (GDP) from 4.7% in 2010 to 5.3% for this year. That figure would be bumped up to 5.5% in 2012.The report specifically stated that prices in metals, minerals and oil, as well as greater investment in manufacturing and telecommunications companies, have contributed to the growth.According to Phumelele Mbiyo, Standard Bank’s Senior Africa Strategist for Global Market Research, the figures indicate that economic activity, especially in terms of mining and construction, is expanding in the region.“The reason for such an increase is because prices for commodities are pretty high and they have attracted investment, especially from emerging markets such as China,” he said.Mbiyo believes the average person would benefit from these positive projections, as companies are looking to employ locals.“There is already employment of locals in the mining and construction industries. There is going to be a lot of employment in future, especially by European and American based companies who have invested heavily in mining in Africa.”High continental growthHowever, the report indicated that the best growth rates were not to come out of South Africa, the region’s traditional economic hub. Instead, the highest figures came from countries such as Nigeria, Angola, Kenya, the Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, and Tanzania.South Africa was projected at 3.5% for 2011 whereas other countries in the rest of the region were said to grow at an average of 6.4% for the same year.Mbiyo explained that this is not because South Africa’s growth is slowing, but rather because the other countries are starting new industries now and from a low base whereas South Africa had already established the same industries years ago.“Angola is set to grow by 7% on average whereas Ghana will average 13% in the next two years. It is because the latter is starting to produce oil,” said Mbiyo.He added that Africa should now focus on sustaining growth as the continent still lags behind other major developing and developed economies.South Africa to create 5-million new jobs
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Sheep producers were recently updated on nutrient concerns from research at the Buckeye Shepherd Symposium.“What I tried to emphasize today was looking at one’s forage and making sure they test forage and see how that impacts the performance potential of their flock,” said Robert Van Saun, extension veterinarian for Penn State University. “I gave case examples of some challenges from an energy protein standpoint, from a high fiber standpoint, and then also imbalances and minerals.”Micronutrients and the lack thereof across flocks were one of the concerns raised by Van Saun at the Symposium.“That’s one of the challenges — we’re not seeing the classic clinical deficiency or toxicity cases, we’re seeing much more of just poor animal performance,” he said. “People are asking the questions how come my lamb loss is higher than usual? Why aren’t my ewes ewes getting bred back as well? Why is my lambing crop down? Many of these can be attributed to marginal deficiencies in many of our trace elements focusing on copper, selenium, and zinc.”The Veterinary Feed Directive has been a major talking point this past year, especially in the swine and beef industry. Van Saun reminded shepherds that though the new regulations have less of an effect on small ruminants, there will still be changes that should be noted.“We’ve had a roller coast of emotions on what’s going on. Nobody likes more regulations, but in the larger scheme of things, ensuring we have a better product to sell to our clients is part of why this Veterinary Feed Directive is being put into place,” Van Saun said. “The challenge we have as small ruminant producers or practitioners is that all the legislation focuses on our other larger ruminant animals and doesn’t really address small ruminants. Fortunately, we’ve been given somewhat of a reprieve in that we are allowed to apply the Veterinary Feed Directive under the guide of the directive to small ruminants even though small ruminants aren’t included as a major species there.”Keep in mind that antibiotics in question through the VFD are those in feed and water treatment.“It is for only those drugs that would be used in human populations. From small ruminant perspective, this would be the tetracycline group and the sulfa group,” he said. “Those are being controlled in feed and water.”
A cell phone company that strictly follows the rulesThe day after my sister was discharged from the hospital, we went to a Boston-area storefront of her cell phone service provider to get her iPhone replaced. It had taken a direct hit from some shrapnel and was unusable. She was told that since she had no insurance and it was too early for an upgrade, she was going to have to pay $750 for the replacement. We figured this was just a poorly trained sales clerk, so we went to another store. Same story: nothing could be done, regardless of the unique circumstances of the damage to the phone.My sister resorted to the provider’s website and customer service phone numbers and got the same response from every source: she would be allowed no leeway whatsoever on the rules, and it didn’t matter what she had just gone through. No one was prepared to let the matter go one step up in the hierarchy to someone who might have more latitude in easing the situation.There seemed to be a deeply entrenched fear of hinting that there might be even the smallest chink in the institutional armor — the customer service representatives appeared to have been trained to think that if they were to show one customer any sort of humanity, the barbarians would be at the gate the next morning. To this company, no customer with a complaint was any higher than a “3” on a triage scale of three — if even that high.Keep in mind my sister was not asking for a lot: she just wanted a little bit of a break on the $750. Legally and technically, the provider’s representatives were in the right not to offer any sort of discount. They were following rules that my sister had bought into when she acquired the phone. Yet somehow it seemed weird and Orwellian to be so rules-bound — the whole nation was rallying behind the bombing victims, it seemed, except for this one company. Priorities and valuesA larger point to keep in mind is that triage is for emergencies, not for day-to-day operations. If it seems like you’re always performing some sort of triage — shifting staff around to respond to client annoyance levels, frequently fixing mistakes or having to explain what the scope of work is to someone or another, constantly putting out fires — then it’s time to step back and perform a sort of macro-triage on your business. Think hard about which bad habits and flawed practices need to be fixed immediately, for once and for all, and focus all your resources on one or two of those problem areas, where your efforts will have the most leverage.I have one last bit of advice for you. This, too, I learned as a result of the bombing, and although it comes just by itself and not as one of a group of three, I think of it as a form of triage, an effective way to determine if you’re allocating limited resources appropriately.At the end of each day ask yourself, “What did those closest and dearest to me learn about my priorities and my values by how I chose to spend my time today?” Answer the question as honestly as you can. As you learn over time how to get the answer you want, you’ll find that in this practice is the essence of triage: Attend to those things where your efforts will do the most long-term good, and let everything else take care of itself. Nip problems in the budHere are some lessons I think I can draw from these experiences:1. Your reality and your client’s reality are not the same. You might be in front of a French café, but they might be in front of a Lenscrafters. Make an earnest attempt to put yourself in their shoes and hear their story.2. Nip problems in the bud. Respond quickly and decisively even to what appear to be small complaints. Our clients put a huge level of trust in us and can be reluctant to criticize — many of them don’t want to come across as difficult to work with, because, in custom remodeling and construction, they’re going to be stuck with us for a long haul. A seemingly small complaint can represent the tip of a seriously big iceberg.3. But be aware that sometimes, with some clients, you can end up at the bottom of a deep hole, frantically digging to try to get yourself out of the hole. Know when you have to admit defeat and stop trying to make a terminally angry client happy, so that you can move on and apply your time and energy more productively for all around.To illustrate this last point, my sister’s cell phone provider e-mailed her a customer satisfaction questionnaire a few days after she had gotten the free phone from the Apple store. She filled out the online form, describing her customer “service” experience in frustrated detail. Very shortly afterwards she got a sheepish and embarrassed call from a high-ranking representative of the cell phone service provider — who ended up offering her a screen protector as way of apology. The call only served to make the company look even more ridiculous and insensitive. Memory is undependableA year ago I had to witness triage in its most primitive form, and only recently have I been able to start to sort out what I learned.I was standing near the finish line of the Boston Marathon when the first bomb went off about 15 feet away. My sister was between me and the bomb and was hit by clusters of shrapnel. She’s fine now, no lost limbs — she was the second luckiest person in our immediate circle of spectators. I was the luckiest.I don’t remember very well what happened right after the explosion. When the FBI questioned me in the hospital afterwards, I was very careful to distinguish for them between those things that I thought happened and those things that I knew happened. I later found out that almost everything that I “knew” happened was wrong. For instance, I was convinced we were right in front of a French café when the blast hit us. I had had time to study the storefront sign while trying to tend to my sister, call my wife and brother-in-law to let them know we were basically OK, and avoid looking at some of the more seriously wounded getting cared for around us. It turned out we had not been in front of a French café; we had in fact been in front of a Lenscrafters franchise.I do recall that after a bit of time a series of trained professionals started to come by to evaluate my sister, who was on the ground and in shock. They were performing triage, trying to figure out whether to get her right to an ambulance, get her to a wheelchair to take her to the medical tent, or let her lie there for a bit longer while they tended to more urgent cases. Eventually (3 minutes? 30 minutes?) a wheelchair and a first responder arrived and she was taken to the medical tent. Exceptional careThat tent was a horrific scene, as you can imagine. But it was also a model of self-organization by exactingly trained and dedicated professionals. Although in this blog I am making an analogy between the work of those first responders and the work of a small business owner, I want to be very clear how well I understand that those first responders, in any five minute period that afternoon, did (and do) more good than I can ever hope to accomplish over the span of my entire career. I understand that as clearly as anyone.The personnel in the tent were tagging victims with color-coded cards that had a 1, 2, or a 3 on them. There was some question whether my sister was a 2 or a 3, and they eventually settled on a 3. I was mostly relieved, partly disappointed — relieved because her injuries were manageable compared with those of the people around us, disappointed because I wanted her to be a 2 so that I could get her (and me) the hell away from the awful scenes in that tent as quickly as possible.The staff at Boston Medical Center were every bit as wonderful at caring for the blast victims as you may have heard they were, in every capacity — from the doctors who met our ambulance at the emergency room doors to the aides who brought the meals to the people who kept the rooms clean and tidy. At one point my sister, groggy from painkillers, mildly complained to a nurse about a delay in getting a test done that might mean she would have to spend an extra night in the hospital. Within minutes, there appeared in her room a team consisting of a nurse supervisor, two senior physicians, a social worker, and a comfort dog. My sister apologized to them for having complained. In this blog I will periodically discuss particular numbers and other metrics that I think can be of value in helping you run your business.In this installment, I discuss the concept of “triage,” which ultimately derives from the Latin word for “three.” Literally and historically, “triage” refers to a simple way of allocating emergency medical care among a group of injured people who outnumber available medical resources.In its original form — dating from the Napoleonic Wars — these were the three categories to consider when doing triage:1. Those who will likely survive regardless of the level of immediate attention they receive;2. Those who are much more likely to survive if they do receive immediate attention;3. Those who will likely not survive regardless of the level of immediate attention they receive.Metaphorically, “triage” can refer to any system of determining how best to allocate resources when more resources are needed than are immediately available. It’s important for a small business to have a (metaphorical) triage system in place, but it’s even more important to keep in mind that if you find yourself actually needing to do triage, something has gone wrong, and once the crisis has passed you need to be sure to do a root cause analysis.The long-term strategy to develop from that analysis is the creation of systems that enable you to avoid triage situations to begin with — what I like to refer to as making the transition in your business from fire fighting to fire prevention. RELATED ARTICLES Strength in NumbersThe Business of Building a ‘Building Business’Book Review: Small Giants Every Green Builder Needs to Have This Book on the Shelf Better customer service from AppleMy sister gave up and returned home, without a phone. The morning after her arrival she walked into an Apple store. I’ll let her finish the story:“We checked in at the Genius Bar. An employee, Reece, asked if there was anything she could do to start my process. I took a deep breath, pulled out my phone, and said, ‘A week ago today, I was in Boston watching my niece finish the marathon…’ She stopped me and said, ‘Wait here, I am going to get my manager and we are going to get you a new phone.’“They let me stand in a quiet corner while I cried, again, but with relief that I was finally being treated like I warranted even just a little bit of attention after a horrible week of pain, fear, and frustration.“I wish I could remember the name of the Genius Bar employee who helped me set up my replacement phone to 100% of what my old phone looked like. It was amazing to me that I didn’t have to re-download my apps and music, or even set up my folders. It looked just like my old phone. I said I was happy to pay the $229 replacement cost, and he looked at me like that was the craziest thing he had heard. He explained how he couldn’t sell me AppleCare, which I wanted to be sure I had after what I had gone through. He put a note on my phone how I could call and order it, but made sure I understood it might not be available as that product is going away.“He asked me if there was anything else he could do for me. The only thing I asked was if I could give him a hug, and I am not one of those people under normal circumstances.”In effect, the staff at the Apple store understood that, in the context of all customers who would come into that store that day — perhaps even that year — my sister was a “1” on their triage scale, and they responded accordingly. Paul Eldrenkamp is founder and owner of Byggmeister, Inc (www.byggmeister.com); a principal of the DEAP Energy Group (www.deapgroup.com), and an instigator of Building Energy Bottom Lines (www.nesea.org/be-bottom-lines). If you have any interest in donating to a good cause that that was created in response to the Boston Marathon bombings, Paul urges you to consider the Martin W. Richard Charitable Foundation, established to honor the generosity, kindness, and memory of 8-year-old Martin Richard.
Persons living in low-lying areas prone to flooding can be forcibly removed under law, once this threat has been identified, says Director General, Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Major Clive Davis. Story Highlights “The law permits me under certain conditions to move anybody or anything… once a threat is identified (or) a threat is imminent. There are certain conditions that have to be met, and once the Prime Minister signs (off) on that, then it gives me, as the Director General, certain powers to then act in a certain manner, and we will do it to save lives. We have not done it since 2015 when that Act came into being,” he notes. Major Davis was speaking to journalists following a presentation on the country’s readiness for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, at a Rotary Club of Kingston luncheon held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on June 7. Persons living in low-lying areas prone to flooding can be forcibly removed under law, once this threat has been identified, says Director General, Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Major Clive Davis.“The law permits me under certain conditions to move anybody or anything… once a threat is identified (or) a threat is imminent. There are certain conditions that have to be met, and once the Prime Minister signs (off) on that, then it gives me, as the Director General, certain powers to then act in a certain manner, and we will do it to save lives. We have not done it since 2015 when that Act came into being,” he notes.Major Davis was speaking to journalists following a presentation on the country’s readiness for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, at a Rotary Club of Kingston luncheon held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on June 7.The Disaster Risk Management Act seeks to strengthen the country’s overall national disaster preparedness, emergency management and response processes and mechanisms through a range of measures.These measures include giving recognition to existing organisational structures such as the National Disaster Committee, Parish Disaster Committees and Zonal Committees with their roles and functions clearly established; provisions to legally evacuate persons identified as being at risk, based on their location; identifying and earmarking high-risk areas as especially vulnerable areas; and financing the National Disaster Fund (NDF).“We prefer to do moral suasion. We want to go in and we want to have the discussions; we want people to know their vulnerability, and we want people to get up and move because you could die, but if they are not moving, we will have to do it,” he emphasised.He said engagement with residents, as well as proper coordination of the evacuation efforts starting with warning and public education systems, have already commenced in several communities.Major Davis said sensitisation sessions have been conducted in communities on the south coast, primarily in the parish of Clarendon (Rocky Point); sections of the Rio Grande Valley in Portland; and in communities in St. James. He added that the sessions will continue.The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season is projected to be near or above normal with 10 to 16 named storms, five to nine hurricanes and one to four major hurricanes (category three and above).The hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30.