More ransomware cases may come to light on Monday, perhaps on “a significant scale”, the UK’s cyber-security agency has alerted after a global cyber-attack.
The National Cyber Security Centre has advised firms how to protect computers as they start the working week.
It comes after Friday’s attack caused disruption in 150 countries. In the UK, NHS hospitals, pharmacies and GP surgeries were the worst-affected.
A handful of NHS trusts are still dealing with the problems it caused.
Is my computer at risk ?Analysis: How it started Keep your organisation’s security software patches up to date Use proper anti-virus software services Back up the data that matters to you, because you can’t be held to ransom for data you hold somewhere else Media captionHow to protect yourself online St Bartholomew’s in London – IT disruption ongoing. Planned surgery and outpatient appointments will be reduced on Monday at the trust’s five hospitals – the Royal London, Newham, Whipps Cross, Mile End and St Bartholomew’s. Patients should attend booked appointments on Monday unless their hospital contacts them to say otherwise East and North Hertfordshire Trust – Patients should assume their appointment is going ahead unless they hear otherwise. Neither Lister Hospital nor the New QE2 are doing non-urgent blood tests James Paget University Hospitals Trust, Norfolk – All clinical and surgical appointments this weekend were cancelled. Patients with appointments on Monday and Tuesday are being advised to attend unless they hear from their hospital. A& E wait times are longer than usual Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust – Problems continuing with IT systems. Patients are planned for surgery on Monday are being told not to attend unless they are contacted. All outpatient and endoscopy appointments for Monday are cancelled Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust – Outpatient appointments, diagnostic tests and routine operations are cancelled on Monday York Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust – Services are “almost back to normal” albeit a little slower so patients can assume their appointments on Monday will go ahead Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh – People are told to avoid A& E unless it is an emergency. The trust is working to restore its IT systems Media captionThe NHS has been given about 50 m to improve its computer systems, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon says. Media captionEuropol director Rob Wainwright warned that companies must patch their systems before Monday morning
A woman with an unplanned pregnancy tells she is not sure about her relationship with the parent. Mariella Frostrup topics how unexpected the conception was
The dilemma Im a 38 -year-old single mother to a wonderful six-year-old girl. I was on my own for three years before meeting a person who had Ive since been assuring for eight months. Now Ive found out that Im pregnant it was unplanned. Im scared this relationship isnt stable enough to last raising a child. To make things worse, I had been contemplating aiming it because, as kind, smart and lovely as he is, Im not sure I enjoy his company enough. I dearly want another child and a sibling for my daughter. I know my chances of conceiving are lessen and if I met someone else it would take time to get to know them. Should I take this opportunity of having a newborn and run with it ?
Mariella replies I cant dissuade you. Nor would I want to. The depth of your desire for a second child isnt for me to gauge and so my views is irrelevant. If youre ready and willing to do it again, theres little I can say to convince you otherwise.
Let me instead give context to your dilemma. Pregnancy can happen by accident, but with most ripen adults an element of option goes into that unexpected discovery. Only teenagers, virgins and strict Catholics can get away with feigning surprise that they are with child. For the rest of us enjoying even a sliver of a sexuality life, determining that you( or your partner) are pregnant cant credibly be received with astonishment. Its particularly true for you, already a single mother. Placing yourself in a position of vulnerability to a repeat of that experience only attains sense if only we throwing your dice in the air, so to speak. Your relationship with this human sounds less than satisfactory in terms of potential longevity. Then again, I have no way of knowing if youre being harsh on him.
Having expended much of my own dating life dodging nice, dependable guys, Im convinced that happiness lies in eventually coming to see those qualities, so undervalued in youth, as virtues. It certainly takes the levels of angst in life down a notch or two if youre not perpetually in anxiety of your partner ditching you and moving on.
Lets not forget, too, that deciding whether or not to have children is a option we are lucky enough to be at liberty to stimulate. You can ensure you never become a mother or push out your own football squad, based entirely on that most irrational of compulsions what you feel like. Plenty of the persons with no natural ability or recommend to parent end up conceiving or contributing to the conception of newborns that they will raise poorly, if at all.
Nevertheless, as basic human rights run, having the ability to choose is surely one of the most important. Further afield than our own emancipated society, witnessing the experience of women without our options, for whom the proposed establishment of one child merely heralds the imminent conception of another( all too often coupled with the threat of infant mortalities) is a salutary reminder of our own good fortune.
Contraception, equal rights and education have all contributed to the now widely espoused right we take for granted of whether to have sex for fun, procreation, or both. Thats why, in maturity, unplanned pregnancy has less of an authentic ring to it than it does in youth. Impetuous decisions and the rush of hormones that construct rational selection a struggle are condonable when your mind and body are out of tune, captive to hormones and somewhat innocent to the ways of the world. You on the other hand are a grown up, with one child already, and as such can be expected to display responsibility for the decisions you take.
Choice, if we dont take advantage of it, becomes a redundant tool. Mistakes do happen, but with the wealth of knowledge and contraceptive devices available, they genuinely shouldnt be as common or as easy to shrug off as they remain. In a relationship, both adults have responsibility for ensuring that a healthy sex life doesnt necessarily mean a family and your boyfriend is as culpable as you.
He now has a right to be consulted and his thoughts considered in government decisions youre about to build. His response should assist your conclusions on what should most be preoccupying you: what prospects there are for joint responsibility for your unborn infant; whether youre ready to go it alone for the second time; and whether this guy deserves longer tenure in his trial as partner material.
Having babies isnt a divine right; its a responsibility that should be weighed up , where possible, with a degree of clarity that I appreciate isnt assisted by the ticking of your biological clock. Im sorry I cant provide a solution to your conundrum, but I do hope Ive dedicated you fuel for further thought.
If the news, social media, and your own moral compass aren’t loud enough to construct you listen up and pay attention to the out-and-out war nature is unleashing on the world today, perhaps Queen B will. As part of a major celebrity fundraiser for hurricane supporting, Beyonce’s “Hand in Hand” video is making the rounds, encouraging listeners to pay attention, all while highlighting some serious horrifying truths about the political, social, and natural state of our country.
Originally, the “Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief” was designed to help those victims specific to Hurricane Harvey that struck earlier this month in Texas, ABC reports. Later, it was extended to include people touched by Hurricane Irma as well, which raked the southern east coast this past week. A truly staggering number of -Alist celebrities turned out to support the cause, which raised more than 44 million dollars. It was also broadcasted live across 15 networks, streamed on social media, and aired on over 150 radio stations across the country.
Along with Beyonce, folks like Cher, Oprah, Justin Timberlake, Kerry Washington, Stevie Wonder, Stephen Colbert, Leonardo Dicaprio, Tom Hanks, and many, many, more donated their time and energies to the cause.
In her video, Beyonce spoke to being personally touched by Hurricane Harvey as it beat down on her hometown of Houston, Texas, and also took the opportunity to speak to the nation as a whole about how we can support each other and better ourselves.
The video is thoughtful and straight forward. In it, Beyonce says,
It’s impossible to watch the news without ensure violence or racism in this country.
Just when you think it couldn’t maybe get worse, natural disasters take precious life, do massive injury, and forever change lives, leaving behind contaminated water, inundated hospitals, schools, and nursing home, and countless households are now homeless.
In my hometown city of Houston, people need food, apparel, cleanig renders, blankets, shoes, nappies, and formula for newborns, and of course, clean water. The elderly want wheelchairs and kids require books and toys so they can continue to dream.
Natural disasters don’t discriminate. They don’t see if you’re an immigrant, black or white, Hispanic or Asian, Jewish or Muslim, wealthy or poor. It doesn’t matter if you’re from[ Houston neighborhoods] Third Ward or River Oaks, we’re all in this together.
Seeing everyone of different racial, social, and religion backgrounds set their own lives at risk to help each other survive restored my faith in humanity.
True mending is in helping.
She finished by touching on the various natural disaster statistics around the world, and adding, “Tonight, we come together in a collective effort to raise our voices, to assistance our communities, to lift our spirits, and heal.”
Marc Serota/ Getty Images
Bey also visited the St. J0hn’s Church which she attended as small children, to speak to Hurricane survivors in Houston earlier this month. According to, she was accompanied by her mother, Tina Knowles Lawson, her daughter Blue Ivy, and friend and former band-mate Michell Williams.
In a speech, she told,
Y’all are my family. Houston is my home. I thank God that you’re safe, your children are safe. I think that what really matters is your health and your children and your family. And I only wanna say I love you. I’ve been blessed so that I can bless other people, and I ask of God to continue to do that for other people.
According to ABC News, there is an estimated damage cost of $150 billion to $290 billion dollars between Texas and Florida disruption alone. Hurricane Harvey took 70 lives, and there have been 22 reported deaths due to Hurricane Irma as of Wednesday, Sept. 13. This does not include the totally catastrophic damages suffered in the Caribbean.
Check out the entire Gen Why series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire Tv .
A U.S. missionary in Papua New Guinea is on a desperate bid to save women and girls from being tortured and murdered in their communities because they’ve been accused of witchcraft.
Iowa-born Lutheran missionary Anton Lutz, 36, has been living in PNG for the past 30 years and has become a well-recognized figure in PNG’s ongoing battle against faith in sanguma, or sorcery, a faith used to explain away mysterious illness or deaths.
Last month, Lutz helped save a 6-year-old girl who had been horribly burned after the she was accused of using magical to cause “bad things” to happen in her village in Enga Province, in the center of the country.
It was one of several recent attacks that has forced Lutz to act, with the missionary often traveling through the infrastructure-poor countryside on daylong trips — sometimes in the covering of darkness — to rescue victims.
“I think I’m in bits, ” Lutz told HuffPost when asked if his run was taking a toll on him.
“Someone has to do something. If we can convince people to allow the women to be released to hospital without police going in with guns to do it, that’s likely OK. I entail, the police need to arrest perpetrators, but it’s not up to me to tell the police whom to arrest, ” he said.
Lutz had a personal stake, too, in helping the 6-year-old victim.
He’s formed other sorrowful bonds too. Lutz sat beside a young mother named Shirley as she was dying after she was attacked on allegations of sorcery.
“I drove back over the mountain and picked her up — it was about 15 hours of driving, ” he told.
“She was horrifically burned. It was another four or five days before she died of infections, but in that short amount of period, as a first responder type, you get emotionally bonded with the main victims.
“I’m caring for this young mother — she’s 25 years old — and she has burns all over her body and I’m trying to do everything I can to ensure she survives, and she dies.”
Standing amid the woman’s community — with Shirley’s 2-year-old daughter and mom crying — Lutz asks himself why this happens.
But he knows the answer.
“Why does this little girl not have a mother? Because of some moronic men. It’s mind-boggling and heartbreaking, ” he said.
Lutz has said that between September and October there have been 30 assaults against women in Enga Province.
PNG Tribal Foundation director Ruth Kissam tells assaults would decline if people were arrested, prosecuted and convicted.
“There is a steady rise because people know they can get away with this, ” she said on Facebook.
“It is gut-wrenchingly sickening and becoming hopeless now because all we — the[ following non-governmental organization] and churches — are doing is reactionary. We show up to repatriate if we’re lucky or bury the bodies if we’re late. We need coordinated reply but that too is proving futile when police are not doing the arrests of the perpetrators.”
Kissam believes the fear of sanguma can only be fought with collective action.
“It’s a collective endeavour and unless this issue is addressed as an emergency, it has the cataclysmic power to destroy this country, ” she told.
A senior journalist at PNG television station EMTV, Scott Waide, lately told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. that the rise in sorcery accusations could be attributed to a decades-long breakdown in the country’s education system.
“That … has contributed to this absence of critical thinking that this whole generation of Papua New Guineans now has, ” he said in October.
“There are a lot more people who will readily believe anything.”
Most of PNG’s 8 million people live in areas with poor infrastructure amid nearly impassable, rough terrain. This means there is little access to basic services, such as education, health or sanitation.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has said the attacks cannot be tolerated and the abusers must be exposed.
“Let’s be clear, sanguma notions are absolute rubbish, ” O’Neill said in a statement.
“In the modern day, sanguma is not a real cultural practise, it is false belief and involves the violent abuse and torturing of women and girls by pathetic and perverted someones. The humen behind these slayings are cowards who are looking for someone to blame because of their own failing in life.
“These violent acts are against our values as a nation and are completely unacceptable.”
The PNG government has launched a task force to investigate the situation and has reportedly schemed$ 4 million in funding in next year’s budget for education and awareness programs.
By design, the downtown San Francisco storefront offices of Forward feel more like a spa or a ritzy skin care boutique than a doctors’ office. But the latter thing is true. Despite the sun glistening through floor-to-ceiling windows onto pastel walls, blond-wood surfaces and no check-in desk in sight( attractive, casually dressed-up receptionists with iPads offer you a water ), Forward is a concierge medical service.
Insurance doesn’t get you so much as a tongue depressor down the throat at Forward. But pay $149 a month, and in return you get 24/7 access to staff via SMS and a phone app, more hour with a physician, and an office tricked out with more contraptions than a starship’s sick bay. On uptake, you stand in front of a sensor and put your hand into an orifice; a screen reads out your height, weight, temperature, and blood oxygenation. In the quiz room, you sit in a custom-designed Comfy Chair while a doctor holds a wireless sensor against your chest and your heartbeat unspools on a giant flatscreen. Digital images from your past visits flicker across a timeline made of your health records. The key words of your dialogue scroll past a cartoon of your body, picked up by discrete microphones in the ceiling( transcribed by a little natural language processing and a little bit of person-sitting-in-an-adjacent-room-listening ).
The most interesting part of Forward, though, is invisible. As part of the service, Forward fetches your medical record from all your previous caregivers. Then it digitizes them–often by hand, because of the many, many incompatible data formats that bedevilled medical record-keeping–with whatever genetic info you have, from the rough genotyping of a 23 andMe to a whole genome sequence. And it throws in data from your wearable tech like Fitbits. In short, it’s an integrated digital medical record. Forward only has two offices, in San Francisco and Los Angeles, but even if never becomes a national brand, this idea about data appears more and more like the future.
Forward isn’t the only one chasing that future, of course. This week a start-up called Seqster, for example, went online with a sort of data locker that does something similar. It hoovers in electronic medical records from your past physicians( thanks to agreements with 1,000 providers ), genome sequences, and an array of commercial wearables. It’ll even build on-the-fly visualizations of test outcomes over day, and let you share that data with family members. And it persists even after your demise. “We’ve created this engine where you can aggregate your health data and preserve it and pass it on, creating a multigenerational longitudinal record, ” tells Ardy Arianpour, the CEO. “And we accidentally solved the problem of interoperability , not just of electronic medical data but for genomic data and fitness/ wellness data.”
Seqster and Forward’s record-keeping plan join some really ambitious projects. Verily, the health-focused Google spin-off, has Project Baseline, which employs a clever watch and other tech to collect prospective biometric information on 10,000 people and mesh it with health and genome data. Apple is trying to integrate its Watch with the HealthKit app. Government projects like Emerge and the precision medicine initiative All of Us are trying to figure this out, too. Why? Science! And also fund! And kind of maybe helping the people who contribute the data.
A visit to Forward is indeed pretty cool. Before they opened their first office, Aoun and his squad constructed out a mock-office from 2-by-4s and foamcore in a warehouse. They brought in actual patients talk to doctors, and then had the doctors meet with technologists about the design of the whole thing. The result is indeed slick; the second office is in Los Angeles. “I believe the health care industry takes pride in not caring about the experience a little, ” tells Adrian Aoun, Forward’s CEO. And if fixing that entails pandering in a little theater, well, what do you expect when investors include Ashton Kutcher and Matthew McConaughey? Part of a great experience, says Aoun, is “high tech and futuristic screens that look like Star Trek.”
It’s in the service of a larger objective. “In the world of Silicon Valley, I’m used to everyone looking at all the problems , no matter how daunt, and just saying,’ No problem, I get this, ’” Aoun tells. “It seems like health care, for some reason, we haven’t made that big an attack on the problem.”
If that feels like it perhaps minimise the task of the, like, everyone, Aoun admits he doesn’t have outcome measures that depict greater success than a traditional practice–yet. The place has only been open for a few months, after all, and he tells the team will be looking at how their metrics for care match up with the government’s official Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set. “We need hour, ” Aoun says. “Our engagement metrics are through the roof.”
No question, Forward( and other concierge-style practices like One Medical or MD2) want to benefit their patients. So, ah, about that: “You get longer visits, greater acceptability of your clinician, and more patient-centered care, quote-unquote, ” says Caleb Alexander, co-director of the Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and lead author, over a decade ago, of a paper on concierge medicine characteristics. “But no one can tell you the outcomes. Take whatever you hear about the outcomes with a grain of salt, because there have not been rigorous analyzes, let alone randomized analyses of patients seen in this setting versus other settings.”
In other terms, sure, fell thousands of dollars to dodge lines, have better access to caregivers, and a more pleasant visit to the doctor. Just don’t expect to live longer or healthier as a result.
But surely the addition of all that data from wearable tech must make it easier for doctors to tell you if you’re healthy, or how to get you there, right? Yeah, about that: “By creating a biometric pattern, the hypothesi is that some things will be picked up that is normally would not, ” says Sandro Galea, dean of the Boston University School of Public Health. “What you’re genuinely doing is screening, and in order to screen you have to ask if you’re ready to intervene.” Which is to say, false positives and false negatives become more of a number of problems with any kind of preemptive, asymptomatic testing.
What people do know about wearable fitness trackers is that they’re not as accurate as one might hope, and that people tend to stop using them. One review article said that Fitbits and Jawbones tended to undercount energy expenditure and overcount sleep, for example. It’s also worth thinking about whether steps-per-day is the right proxy for overall health. A review from earlier this year found that using wearable activity trackers had no statistically significant impact on body mass indicator, weight, waist circumference, body fat percentage, or blood pressure.
Maybe the accuracy of the devices will get better, and perhaps they’ll begin to be a key to individualized, “precision” medicine, as some people hope. Today, right now, sensors and a sophisticated record tying all your data together may not stimulate you, specifically, healthier. But look to your left and look to your right: It might help those people. Which is to say, integrating your entire personal and medical history–your phenotype–with your activity levels and genotype may have value to society, by allowing for a new kind of population-scale science. “Individual prediction is a totally different kettle of fish than the issue of population predictions, ” Galea says. “At the population level, I suppose these data are very interesting.”
So for example, a pharmaceutical company given the opportunity to discern which gene variants were associated with specific health outcomes in late life, or certain demographic groups. Maybe some activity patterns correlate to maladies or health decades later. Who knows?
The trick is to get a lot of that data–from many different kinds of people, in an ethical, procure, private style. Forward doesn’t share data, but you can take it all with you. Seqster has a bunch of layers of permission, and expects that pharmaceutical companies and researchers will eventually come asking to look at people’s( anonymized) data. “We want to generate value for users, and then we will connect users to our partners, ” Arianpour says. “We never sell your data without you being involved.” If you agree to be contacted, if someone wants your you-stuff as part of a research pool or to train a machine-learning network, they ask and you can decide if you consent. There might even be a little something in it for you. “There is likely to be multiple ways of incentivizing the consumers, ” Arianpour tells. “Obviously, financially will be one.”
Of course, optimizing your healthcare for “the worlds largest” good is technically not your problem. If you’re interested in splurging on holistic, Apple-scale healthcare, concierge services like Forward will help you quantify yourself in a soothing environment. You require national-scale systems and standards to figure out the tradeoff between organized, siloed information and messy, aggregated data that has great value, but only if you share it.
As companies like Verily launch massive health care research studies like Project: Baseline, be mindful of what that data will be used for, and who it will benefit.
There are security and privacy issues around every corner, which is why some companies are already promising answers with buzzwordy technologies like the blockchain.
Unlike John and others, I grew up one year’s worth of acoustic guitar lessons away from being the most stereotypical middle-class white kid ever. I didn’t take yearly vacations to private islands to hunt humen for sport, but I also never wanted for clothes and video games. And while us suburban kids were taught that it’s good to help the poor, we were also accidentally taught to treat them with dislike. Here’s how.
We’re Constantly Told That “Money Can’t Buy Happiness”
If you’re friends with the right various kinds of insufferable people on social media, you’ve probably find images like this 😛 TAGEND
Or these 😛 TAGEND
Quotesgram How profound, guy with countless fans and a net worth of 150 million .
Or, God help us, this 😛 TAGEND
It’s all differences on the same topic: Money can’t buy happiness, true wealth comes from relationship and experiences, you don’t need the solid gold butt plug when the polymer one feels identical inside of you, etc. Movies teach it, music teaches it, our parents teach it — money is useless if you aren’t living . It’s not an inherently bad message, but try telling people at the homeless shelter to count the bless that fund can’t buy, and see how long it takes before you’ll feel blessed that you can afford health insurance.
Outside of images that the Care Bears would find insipid, “Money can’t buy happiness” is what middle-class people tell each other when someone is trying to decide between two different jobs. “I induce 70 k right now and the new gig merely plays 60 k, so I wouldn’t be able to travel as much. But I’d have more free time to play Ultimate, the benefits are better, and there’s no way my new director could be any worse than my current one.” That’s an important decision to the person inducing it, but they’re debating between two different kinds of consolation. It’s safely assumed that the money they will need to exist will always be there. It would be nice to have more — to be able to go to more eateries or to justify buying a second Roomba because deep down you know that the first one is lonely — but there’s always enough to keep the suns on and the kitchen stocked.
You may have ensure the study that claimed $70,000 a year is the ideal salary — after that, more money generally doesn’t stimulate you happier. Well, that’s great news for people hovering around that benchmark, but if you’re poor, more money will abso-fucking-lutely stimulate you happier. More fund means healthier food, or a chance to get out of the house and have some fun. It can mean knowing the rent is paid for next month, or being able to afford medication.
The middle class isn’t immune to money problems, especially if there are children in the mixture. Getting laid off at the wrong hour sucks , no matter what your income is. But the middle-class people with fund problems I’ve known can often suffering from self-inflicted wounds. They had no savings since they are wanted the new vehicle or the luxury vacation. They wanted one of those experiences they were constantly told was more important than money, because the money for day-to-day necessities was always there, right up until it wasn’t.
That’s part of the reason, I think, so many middle-class people laugh at campaigns to create the minimum wages. “You want 15 bucks an hour to flip burgers? How about you merely hold off on the new Tv until you get a real job? ” The middle class generally fluctuates between being able to afford a nice vacation one year and having to settle for a few journeys to the movies the next. The poor can fluctuate between paying bills and being out on the street. But the idea that such essentials could just go unpaid is unfathomable, right up until you experience it.
We’re Taught To Associate Low-Paying Jobs With Failure
When I was growing up, there was never a question of whether or not I was going to college. That’s partly because the idea of my spindly moronic ass learning a technical trade or doing manual labor is the first step in creating an “Epic Fail !!! ” YouTube video, but mostly because my mothers had a money put in for me.( It helped that I live in a country where a post-secondary education doesn’t cost approximately eight quadrillion dollars a semester .)
So undertakings that didn’t require a degree were presented to us as warning signs. “You better survey hard, or else you’re going to end up just like that bull masturbator for the rest of their own lives! And I didn’t aim that pun, so don’t laughter! ” Becoming a janitor or a gas station attendant or an internet slapstick writer would have been considered a disappointment, an inability to take advantage of the gifts that were offered to us. Poverty was considered a moral failing.
No one ever just came out and said that, but the implication was always there. We tend to assume that other people are basically like us until they prove otherwise, which is why I’m constantly shocked to discover that most people don’t like my favorite homoerotic golf academy anime, Wood Strokes . So we were never taught that working as a dishwasher or a grocery store clerk or a sperm bank fluffer could be an important stepping stone for someone with a different background than us. We were also never taught that, you know, it’s still a goddamn chore when individuals shows up and sets work in and gets paid for their period. They were always just associated with expended potential.
And man, when you hear that message constantly, it’s hard to shake. It’s easy to glance at a middle-aged dude working the checkout counter and automatically suppose “Well, I bet he’s not the brightest guy around” or “Oh shit, is that what happened to Matthew Lawrence? ” It’s not malicious — not initially. Being told to take advantage of your opportunities is not a bad message. But when that message is driven into you for decades, it creates a stigma around certain jobs. And from some people, it produces plenty of snide remarks about how the people running those jobs should get better ones, as if the person who’s been a server for seven years has never considered simply popping down to the job store and picking up a career in architecture.
Janitors and baristas keep society operating as much as anyone else. If all of America’s coffee shop shut down for a day, the country would experience a nationwide narcolepsy epidemic intersected with The Purge . But when you grow up in the middle class, the only thing you’re taught about such chores is that you should get one as a adolescent to build character, and then thank God that you’ll never have to work one again as long as you don’t fuck up in life. And as long as we consider that a sign of our superior run ethic instead of birth luck, we’re going to keep dismissing as pathetic the jobs we’d all get angry about if they faded tomorrow.
There Are Always Certain Things We Take For Granted
An education isn’t the only thing that most middle-class kids can presume they’ll get. A auto to borrow, a phone, 20 bucks for when you really want to take a girl to what you assumed was a bad movie so you could make out in the back row but then it turns out that she’s actually super into the plot of Gigli and wants to focus on it even though you were all set to reach second base and so you end up getting a confused erection to Al Pacino and it unknowingly shapes your formative years … you know, all the interesting thing that are part of grown up in Middle America.
That’s the end result of assuming that a good job awaits you, and that money is for hurling at both problems and buying pizza instead of something to stress out about. Water heater transgressed? No worries, we’ll only have to eat in the rest of the month to make up for it. Shoes all worn out? Well, you can’t go to school like that, so run get some new ones. Go on a lose streak at the Pokemon Card League and the groupies have started drifting off to the other players? Better pick up a few booster packs to get back in video games. You know you can’t get greedy and start buying Armani, but as long as your needs are modest, the money will always be there.
So the idea of 20 bucks making or breaking someone is impossible to appreciate. It’s merely not a notion that clicks in our heads. It constructs sense on a logical level, sure — you need money, and you don’t have it, and that sucks. But when you’re raised in comfort, you can’t put yourself in that head space emotionally. You can’t understand the stress, or the fear that you might not be able to feed your children. The closest we can get is watching Gwyneth Paltrow try and hilariously fail to live on a tiny food budget before going back to her $4,000 kale cleanses. That’s kind of like empathy, right?
And because it’s tough to relate to, it’s tough to talk about. If person tells me that they never get Christmas presents growing up, all I can respond with is “Uh, yeah, that sounds like it sucked. Well … one time my grandmother accidentally got me Super Murpio 67 , so … I hear you.” Starting a conversation with a bunch of middle-class people about poverty is like bringing up Trayvon Martin at a country club. Everyone trips over everyone else’s terms to talk about how tragic it is, but then they distance themselves from their own problems and the “buts” start coming out. And to further compound the issue …
We Don’t Witness Poverty, So We Don’t Understand It
When I was growing up, my exposure to poverty was largely limited to sitcom households who would talking here how poor they were, but were still able to go on a wacky adventure each week. The Simpsons kept running into money troubles in their early years, but their house looked the same as mine. Even the family from Roseanne , the classic working-class sitcom, owned a house that’s a palace compared to what a lot of people live in. The problem with portraying poverty in sitcoms is that it’s hard to get laughs out of eviction and early deaths caused by crippling medical indebtednes, so the lesson always objective up being “Poor people struggle with money sometimes, but in the end they always get by, and they have lots of chuckles while doing it! ” Sitcoms construct being poor look fun .
Beyond that, once or twice a year, I’d go to some kid’s birthday party and notice that his house was a lot smallest and more run down than mine. One of the kids who always got talked about in a somewhat different tone of voice by the adults. I never dedicated it much believed because we went to the same school and both liked Nintendo — how different could our lives perhaps be? Perhaps I’d find a tale on the news that would set a positive spin on the issue.( “Look at how many volunteers with beautiful households demonstrated up to the soup kitchen to help feed these filthy hobos! “) Beyond that, the middle class simply doesn’t think about poverty.
We’re always seeming up, always wanting to go to the Christmas party at the rich friend’s home so we can get a taste of what we’re aspiring to. There’s rarely a reason to go to the poor part of township. Tell jokes about it, sure, but run ? We never have to leave the bubble, so we never learn what real poverty looks like. Poor people become invisible, this mysterious Other, a group that serves you food, and in return, you hurl a couple of non-perishables and toys into gift bins for them over the holidays.
Oh yeah, the middle class loves to donate food and toy and clothes and gently employed ball gags and all sorts of other crap that we weren’t use anyway. Food banks actually require fund far more than they need your creamed corn that’s going to expire in 2 week, because money just goes further. But people who will gladly part with 12 boxes of Kraft Mac and Cheese and some Funyuns they found under the sofa get leery when it comes to handing over money, even though we’re supposedly under the impression that we don’t need it ourselves to be happy.
That’s partly merely because it’s more satisfying to give stuff instead of fund — you can imagine some happy child playing with your old Lego, and you get to clean out your closet. But recollect, we’re taught that the poor are stupid and lazy. We sit around telling each other tales about how our friend’s cousin’s boyfriend knows a guy who expended his welfare check on beer and weed. These are campfire horror narratives for the most tedious suburbanites, and they’re told in the hot tubs that they probably shouldn’t have bought until the next mortgage payment cleared. We can’t trust those people with fund, because if they were smart enough to manage it properly, they’d be smart enough to have a better job. Also, they probably all have hooks for hands and slaying teenagers while they’re making out in their automobiles. Hey, we learn so little about poor people that it’s just as believable.
We’re Taught To Assure Ourselves As The Victims
I’ve known people with movie theaters in their homes and four cars in their garage who are convinced that society is against them, that life is a gloomy parade of suffering because their property taxes ran up a little bit. That’s stereotypical rich person behaviour, but it’s there in the middle class too, in subtler ways. I live in a city where the economy revolves around a boom and bust industry, so people tend to make good fund while complaints about taxes for a few years, then get laid off and go on government benefits for a while, and then get a new job and go back to complaining about the government. And if you watch the cycle, you watch the same “us against the world” mentality, only with fewer BMWs in the mix.
When middle-class people get laid off and go on welfare, they blame the economy, or their former employer, or the government. They never blame themselves. And they shouldn’t! Much like a whale’s erecting, economies are big, confusing things that can’t be controlled by the average person. It’s not like they left photocopies of their asshole on the boss’ desk. They paid into the welfare system with their taxes when times were good, and now they’re using the organizations of the system for exactly what it’s aimed: helping you out when you’re unlucky. It’s bridging the gap until you, a hard-working person who merely caught a tough break, gets another job.
Except when poor people use the system, it’s none of those things. Suddenly they’re not getting help; they’re just dumb, lazy leeches. Plenty of middle-class people are more empathetic and generous than I’ll ever be, but the worst instinct of the middle class is to blame the organizations of the system when the system fails us, then lecture poor person when the organizations of the system fails them. I’ve heard the deign explains about how the world truly works( which usually come out after a few brews when no actual poor people are around because the speaker would never be brave enough to say it to their faces) more times than I can count.
The middle class has a weird relationship with the rich — we alternate between complaining about them and wishing we were them. Money can’t buy happiness, but a yacht surely wouldn’t hurt matters. Even if we don’t like the rich, there’s always the pipe dream that we could be them. But no one dreamings about being poor, unless you’re into an unbelievably specific various kinds of role-playing.
Being poor is a problem( practically , not morally ), and a problem is either the flaw of the person or the flaw of circumstances beyond their control. The latter means we in the middle class might have to do anything about it — or, God forbid, reflect upon our lifestyles, which is just the worst . It’s much, much easier to assume that we’re fine, that ultra-rich political leaders and celebrities and investment bankers are the ones being condescending and nasty to the poor, but also that poor people could probably stand to work a little harder. So, uh … really sorry about all of that. I’ll donate some food at Christmas, though!
Before losing his combat against cancer, 10 -year-old Andreas Yannopoulos expressed in his periodical the wish to create an organization that would bring a smile to the faces of all children who need it.
Andreas’ father, Konstantinos, set out to stimulate his little boy’s vision a reality. In 1995, he founded The Smile Of The Child nonprofit volunteer organization that defends the rights of children and opposes day in day out to secure better conditions for them.
The Smile Of The Childnetwork now widens across Greece and aims to improve the health and well-being of Greek children 24/7, regardless of their nationality and religion.
The organization operates 14 homes in Greece that home 348 children. It also supports children and families that cannot sustain themselves. During 2014 and the first semester of 2015, the group tells it supported 21,174 children and their adult family members, 80 percent of whom were unemployed or ran jobs without benefits.
The group also helps raise awareness among students, parents and teachers through a Mobile Laboratory of Information, Education and Technology called “Ulysses” through which the organization’s employees conduct seminars and instruct professionals on how to provide first aid. The group supports children with health problems and their families for free and offers creative activities to children in hospitals. It also provides children and newborns with ambulances, which in 2014 and during the first half of 2015 helped 24,661 infants throughout Greece.
The group also created a platform for children to express themselves. “Everyone talks about children without the children, ” Konstantinos Yannopoulos, chairperson of The Smile Of The Child told HuffPost Greece. “We had seen that in other initiatives for children it was always grown-ups who led such discussions. We wanted the pure intents of children who want to offer to society. So we created the volunteer platform “YouSmile, ” handed it over to children volunteers and told them to do whatever they wanted with it. We don’t care whether people know about “YouSmile, ” we care whether children know about it.”
Yannopoulos says that many children who have grown up in the organization’s homes and moved on with their lives recollect the houses where they grew up with fondness and keep in touch. Some of them have even formed a volunteer group offering infants psychological supporting and guidance. Yannopoulos has many tales about “their children, ” including one about two girls who grew up in one of the houses and called him to say that they got into university and wanted to let him know that if it hadn’t been for The Smile Of The Child they wouldn’t have had the chance. He says this attained him really proud.
Yannopoulos says that violence against children has intensified in recent years as a result of the economic crisis, and it’s not just adults perpetrating violent acts against children, but also infants victimizing their peers. “Children get angry, teenagers get angry since they are don’t ensure a future and this anger brings all sorts of other things to the surface, ” he tells. “What people don’t seem to understand, and we try to communicate to them, is that these children do not only required food. It’s exactly like in a war. As a girl told me in the U.S ., in Greece ‘you live a silent crisis.’ And indeed we do. You don’t see the crisis to its real degree when you just go out.”
Today, The Smile Of The Child applies 408 professionals and 2,500 active volunteers. The search and rescue team “Thanassis Makris” is made up of specialized volunteers, and uses dogs trained for search operations. The day center “House of the Child” is “a community unit providing customized clinical mental health services for therapeutic therapy and psychosocial rehabilitation of children and adolescents; victims of abuse, forget or domestic violence; as well as children or adolescents involved in cases of bullying.” It is staffed by a squad of professionals, including a psychiatrist, children’s psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, a social worker, a speech therapist, an ergo-therapist and an educationist.
Yannopoulos emphasizes, however, that The Smile Of The Child doesn’t want to substitute government institutions. “We complement the institutions, we believe in their function and we support them, more than the governmental forces does. Greece may not have organization, we may go across a really bad period, but there are also remarkable people without whom we wouldn’t be allowed to make it. If we didn’t have good police officer or physicians, people who care, we would be of no use.”
Despite being a private institution The Smile Of The Child partners with public entities and social groups — and that is how it mobilizes them. The police, the fire department, Red Cross, the Greek rescue team, and other organizations, often help by informing Smile Of The Child of possible incidents.
“The police went the other day and brought us food which they gathered and brought to us at the support centers. The police do not cover every social or other issue, that is not what they do. They need someone to be able to respond to children’s emergencies and be there at all times. The Smile Of The Child is there to cover instances like that, the same is asking for missing children. When there is need we are all on the front line.”
Yannopoulos underscores the difference between one-off charities and infrastructure. “You have to be truly conscious , not only aware. I used to look for families to help, 20 years ago, help them expend the same various kinds of Christmas as me. Offered them dinner and a couple of clothes, then what? They continued living in sadnes. The “charity by the ounce” as I call it, is easy. It’s the infrastructure you need. Pay people, pay vehicles, pay for a service which is there 24/7, ” he says.
“We are not a bunch of philanthropists in The Smile Of The Child, ” he adds. “We don’t care to appear like philanthropists as a depict, we want to be, as much as possible, able to safeguard the dignity of these people and their families. If we lose our dignity “were losing” what is most valuable. We don’t do them a favor, it’s our obligation, it’s society’s obligation to safeguard their most basic rights.”
This narrative originally appeared on HuffPost Greece. It was translated into English and edited for clarity.
A live pollution meter installed by the Delhi government to monitor the pollution on first day of the odd-even traffic regulations in the city on January 1, 2016.
Image: Ramesh Pathania/ Mint/ Getty Images
India has some of the most unhealthy air in the world, but the wake up bellow came in 2014, when its capital New Delhi was ranked by the World Health Organisation as the most polluted city in the world.
Over the next two years, reports on its air quality remained grim. The country’s air pollution levels reached their highest levels in 2015, after being on rise for the last decade. For the first time, India’s air was also found to be more polluted than China’s. This year, WHO revealed that the country was home to half of the world’s most polluted cities. Other surveys indicated clear health risks, with 1. 6 million premature deaths in India linked to air pollution.
In a first step towards being more transparent about its pollution crisis, India launched its first air quality indicator to monitor pollution in 10 cities in 2015. Despite this, awareness and knowledge of air pollution remained low and inadequate.
To remedy this, a number of Indian startups are constructing low-cost pollution sensors and IoT devices to measure air pollution on a hyper-local level and at a wider scale in order to gain a wider knowledge of their own problems and how it can be tackled. They argue that more comprehensive pollution data can help increase public awareness about the extent of the problem and help the government find solutions.
“The government devices solve a different purpose, at best help in regulatory decisions.” says Mrutyunjay Mishra, who runs an analytics company Juxt-SmartMandate. “The data is notpubliclyvisible, and even if they are for some locations like Delhi, itdoesn’t drive ‘community action’. The data is far from being open and is not inviting the complex network to come and work with the data to drive action.The want is to get a lot of people come and use their collective intelligence to develop a solution.”
Government operated pollution monitors are often expensive and therefore few in number.
Moreover, government-operated pollution monitors are often expensive and therefore few in number. “The number of government pollution monitors, besides New Delhi, is in single digits, ” Ronak Sutaria of IndiaSpend explains. “That is, in most polluted cities, the govt. has installed a single pollution monitor for a million people. That seems woefully inadequate.”
There is also the question of how effective the operations of the government’s monitors are. Sutaria cites the instance of a recent study that revealed that while Delhi has 21 air pollution monitors, there were significant long gaps in their monitoring when they may have stopped working.
IndiaSpend’s Breathe initiative is one of the organisations running a network of independent air quality monitoring devices across India. In a step towards stimulating live air pollution air data more democratic, IndiaSpend partnered with Twitter India to let users get real-time data on air pollution in their neighborhood with just a tweet.
“It helps stimulate the air quality data more actionable for people as they just have to send their location and within seconds they are provided information about the air quality levels in their area, ” Sutaria says.
IndiaSpend’s network utilizes low quality sensors fitted with GPRS transmitter, which have deployed in around 40 devices in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Patna and Lucknow. It is also working on deploying devices in cities such as Dehradun, Ahmedabad, Varanasi, Allahabad, Kanpur and Bhopal.
The devices are built in India, utilizing a digital Particulate Matter( PM) sensor from China and then doing the controller board and data transmission integrating locally. The PM sensor is a laser sensor which is connected to a controller committee which receives data from the sensor. A GPRS module transmits the data to IndiaSpend’s servers utilizing a 2G connection.
“The goal of the low-cost devices and analysis provided by IndiaSpend is to involve citizens in considering the effects of policies as well as their own actions on the air quality levels in the area surrounding their own homes, ” Sutaria tells. “When devices are owned or installed by people themselves, they tend to be more involved in the understanding of their own problems and in demanding that action be taken on conditions which are harmful to them.”
Delhi-based analytics company Juxt-SmartMandate( JSM) takes this a step further with its non-profit platform, India Open Data Association( IODA ). Its open surrounding data project was started with the aim of creating a “simple, scalable and easy to deploy solution” to bring in “real time status of the environment from thousands of locations in India”. The data is also open source, with the device design and data APIs being accessible to everyone.
“If the data remains open, it will attract all stakeholders , not only general public, but also the ones who influence public policy, ” IODA founding member Mrutyunjay Mishra says.
Piloted during the course of its massive Hindu festival Nashik Kumbh Mela, JSM currently has 30 environmental monitoring kits installed in Delhi. These have multiple sensors, and connects to either analog, digital or UART ports of a base shield, which is in turn connected to a IoT board with data being transferred through SIM cards. In June, IODA in association with Oizom also launched AirOwls, which measure dust particulate matter. Mishra says that while the readings sometimes differ from government monitors, the devices are calibrated to determine the differences.
IndiaSpend and JSM aren’t alone. The Chennai-based Sensors Without Borders provides hyperlocal and open source environmental data on air and water quality have come from low-cost devices to help with governmental policy making and subsistence community organisations.
In April, data intelligence company SocialCops conducted an experiment with five low-cost GPS-enabled IoT devices that were installed on five auto rickshaws for a month. The idea was to measure PM 10 levels every 30 seconds as the autos travelled all over Delhi.
“There is little data to understand pollution at a deeper level how it varies within a city, which parts of the city have higher pollution levels, what could be the causes for that. The government pollution monitoring stations are few and stationary and may not dedicate us insights at a granular level, ” Surendran Balachandran of SocialCops tells. “Autos, on the other hand, can travel to various corners of the city through out the day, which gives us the ability to collect data from multiple locations and at much lower costs.
In the long-term, these startups hope that greater knowledge about the air quality levels in their neighbourhood will lead to community participation in dealing with air pollution at a local and city-wide level.
“Our goal is merely to involved as many community organizations as is practicable and to build appropriate tools& data which will allow them to demand for what they feel is appropriate& suitable for their own neighbourhood.” Sutaria tells. “Improving air quality is not a one sizing fits all answer. It will require many small actions which will eventually lead to a larger change”
( CNN) Do you have pounds to lose but don’t have a weight loss scheme? If you are seriously considering how to go about shedding pounds, there are three demonstrate high levels of intervention, depending on your individual needs.