New College course promotes civil discourse across political spectrum

first_imgThis year, Saint Mary’s is offering a class on civil discourse in hopes of promoting dialogue on campus.The one-credit course, which will begin after fall break, will focus on different controversial issues and promote civil discourse between students from across the political spectrum, philosophy professor Megan Zwart — who started the course — said.“You have this cross-selection of viewpoints, and we’ll find ways to discuss those ideas,” Zwart said. “The intention is not to become expert on these areas. It’s to acknowledge that global citizens and participants in a democracy have to be able to identify good views to hold, evaluate their own views [and] engage with views they disagree with, so we’re trying to build the skills to do that. It’s not about convincing people of certain particular positions or of using arguments to bludgeon other people who have different views, but trying to listen to other people’s views, see how their experience gives rise to those views.”Zwart said the class will be predominately discussion-based. She said the first few classes will hone in on one issue — such as free speech or abortion — and the final class will be a public event for the Saint Mary’s community, held Dec. 5 and led entirely by the students in the class.Zwart came up with this course when her students approached her about wanting a place to discuss heavy issues in a classroom setting, she said. She then applied for and received a Campus Compact Fund for Positive Engagement Grant, which was given to 40 campuses across the nation to promote positive engagement.“During the election season, when I felt like the conversation around these issues was so disordered, I would see people posting on social media … and I would love to talk to that person,” Zwart said. “I’m immensely curious about what makes people tick and why they hold the views they do. It wasn’t that I felt angry or that I felt so strongly that frustration was the response, it was really more a curiosity.”In order for the class to run, Zwart made sure to screen students who were interested to make sure a wide array of viewpoints would be represented. She said the class would not have run if only people who identify as liberal or as conservative would have signed up.“I hope they get to engage with a lot of other experiences and viewpoints that aren’t their own in a spirit of curiosity rather than defensiveness,” Zwart said. “When we’re confronted with something different than what we’re used to or what we think, our immediate response, naturally, is a sort of defensiveness. … I’m hoping that this class can give people an opportunity to approach different views with a curiosity.”Zwart said she also hopes students will evaluate and understand their own standpoints. She said she wants students to reflect on their views and their personal values and make sure they line up, which would help students better understand their views, thus aiding them when they discuss with people who hold different views.“I think that people are way more able to hear other people’s views when they see those views as flowing from authentic core values,” she said. “You may not understand those values, but if you understand the person’s view as an outgrowth of that, then you are less likely to have a breakdown in communication — you’re more likely to understand that as an authentic belief, even if you disagree with it.”Tags: civil discourse, communication, new class, Politicslast_img read more

Development dollars for underserved businesses to be distributed in Northeast Kingdom

first_imgVermont Business Magazine Evolving small businesses and start-ups in the Northeast Kingdom may now access new sources of business loan funds. The loans will be made from self-replenishing pools of money from the Town of Jay, where new loans are capitalized by the interest and principal payments from existing loans. Backing will be directed to small entrepreneurs who otherwise may not qualify for traditional financing due to lack of credit or collateral.The Town of Jay has assigned the loan funds to Community Capital of Vermont (CCVT) and the Northeastern Vermont Development Association (NVDA), in consultation with the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development. The funds will be distributed by CCVT and NVDA, and a partnership with Top of Vermont, the Jay Peak Region’s chamber of commerce, will help with marketing the funds.Financers CCVT and NVDA have a longstanding track record in lending to underserved entrepreneurs and communities. Through a proven financing system of consultation and technical support, CCVT makes loans from $1,000 – $100,000 to entrepreneurs statewide.“Using loan funds effectively is key to long-term business success,” noted Carol Lighthall, CCVT Executive Director. “Throughout the process, CCVT provides optional training and counseling, free of charge, to raise the post-loan visibility of our borrowers’ businesses and improve their quality, efficiency, and delivery of services.”NVDA is a designated Nonprofit Community Development Organization serving the Northeast Kingdom region of Vermont. It administers a Revolving Loan Fund for economic and community development projects in Caledonia, Essex and Orleans Counties.  Executive Director Dave Snedeker noted, “With new loan funds recently coming to NVDA from the Town of Jay, we now hope to begin making loans to businesses in Jay as well as strengthen our support in surrounding Northeast Kingdom communities. “  NVDA tends to make larger business loans in the range of $10,000 – $100,000 in partnership with other lenders.Loan funds are immediately available. Carol Lighthall and Dave Snedeker, as well as business ambassadors from the region who have worked with CCVT and NVDA, will be on hand to talk with new entrepreneurs in an informational session at the Top of Vermont Annual Meeting on May 22. For more information about the Top of Vermont event, contact Karen O’Donnell (802.988.4120, sends e-mail)). For more information about business funding, contact Carol Lighthall at CCVT (802.479.0167 ext.2, sends e-mail)) or Dave Snedeker at NVDA (802.748-8303 sends e-mail)).Source: Community Capital of Vermont 4.13.2017last_img read more

Companies Wanting Immediate Sales Should Pass On Super Bowl Ads

first_imgNPR:Researchers asked this question: Is a company better off spending big money for a Super Bowl ad or buying several spots for that same amount of money at a less expensive time of the year?Well, there are a couple of different reasons. One, Geisenberg thinks that being in sort of the hyper-excited state that people are as they’re watching these big sporting events might not actually make you very conducive to processing the content of the ads. But there’s also something else. Sascha Topolinski in Germany recently conducted a study. He wasn’t studying the Super Bowl, but his research is spot on when it comes to describing how most Americans watch the Super Bowl. He finds that eating while you watch advertisements reduces the effects that advertising messages have on you.Read the whole story: NPR More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

Can You Blend in Anywhere? Or Are You Always the Same You?

first_imgNew York Magazine:There are those people — you know who you are — who always know just what to say, and how to behave, and what to wear, no matter where they are or whom they’re with. You could invite them to a black-tie wedding or trivia night at a dive bar, and either way, they’ll figure out how to fit right in.And then there are those — you know who you are, too — who are always, utterly themselves, no matter the context. After all, they reason, why would anyone want to go around faking their personality?Mark Snyder, a psychology researcher at the University of Minnesota, has been dividing the world in two this way for as long as he can remember. Eventually, this instinct led to the Self-Monitoring Scale, which has been used for more than four decades to research these two ways of being. “Self-monitoring gets at a fundamental difference between people, on whether your view of how to handle social situations is to fit yourself to the context and to play a role versus, whether you view it as finding a way to do what you want, express who you are, show other people your true inner self,” Snyder told Science of Us.Read the whole story: New York Magazine More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

Flu Scan for Jun 15, 2017

first_imgStudy identifies H7N9 mutations that could ease spread among humansResearchers looking for mutations that might make H7N9 avian influenza more easily transmissible among people identified three amino acid changes that would make the virus more likely to bind to human airway receptors. A team of researchers from the United States, including those from The Scripps Research Institute, and the Netherlands reported its findings today in PLoS Pathogens.The scientists focused on mutations that could occur in the H7 hemagglutinin (HA) protein, which allows the virus to latch onto host cells. They didn’t test the mutations in H7N9 viruses, because of gain-of-function rules and concerns. Rather, they used molecular modeling and knowledge of the HA structure to flag mutations that have the capacity to make the virus more specific to human, rather than avian, airway receptors. Then they produced an HA with different combinations of the mutations in an experimental cell line (not H7N9) and tested how strongly they bound to human and avian receptors.The team found that mutations in three amino acids bound more strongly to human receptors, signaling a specificity switch from bird to human types. In another experiment, they found that the H7 mutants also attached to cells from human tracheal tissue.The researchers concluded that understanding the mutations that might allow the virus to spread more easily in humans is a useful tool for surveillance in poultry and humans, as their identification may serve as an early warning.Jun 15 PLoS Pathog study Spanish study finds no reduced flu vaccine effect in consecutive seasonsAs opposed to results of recent studies from Canada, findings of a study from Spain published yesterday indicated that getting immunized against influenza does not lower the protective effect of flu vaccine in the subsequent season.Writing in PLoS One, investigators noted that their test-negative case-control study included data on patients 9 years old and older from the 2010-11 flu season through the 2015-16 season. It included 1,206 cases of 2009 H1N1 flu, 1,358 H3N2 cases, and 1,079 influenza B cases.They found a flu vaccine effectiveness (VE) across the seasons of 53% for H1N1 for persons vaccinated in the current season only, compared with a 50% VE for those vaccinated in both the current and previous seasons. For H3N2, VE rates were 17% and 3%, respectively, and for flu B 57% and 56%, respectively.The authors conclude, “Our results suggested no interference between the previous and current influenza vaccines against A(H1N1)pdm09 and B viruses, but a possible negative interference against A(H3N2) virus.”Jun 14 PLoS One study Feb 10 CIDRAP News story “Studies shed light on effects of serial flu shots, current vaccine’s benefits” Apr 5, 2016, CIDRAP News story “Prior-year vaccination cut flu vaccine effects in 2014-15” DRC, Belgium, Nigeria report more avian flu outbreaksThe Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) yesterday reported 11 more highly pathogenic H5N8 avian flu outbreaks, all in village ducks and chickens in Ituri province, according to a report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).The location of the latest outbreaks is the same area in the DRC’s northeastern corner where H5N8 was initially reported in late May, which signaled the DRC’s first outbreaks involving the subtype. Over the past few months H5N8 has turned up in a handful of African nations.The new events had start dates ranging from May 17 to Jun 3. The virus killed 6,927 of 17,272 susceptible birds, and the survivors were slated for culling.In other H5N8 developments, Belgium reported three more outbreaks in wild birds, officials said today in an OIE notification. The events began from Jun 13 to Jun 15, affecting locations in Luxembourg, Hainaut, and West Flanders provinces. The virus killed 45 of 101 susceptible birds, and the rest were destroyed as part of the response measures.The outbreaks follow a Jun 2 report of an outbreak involving a family of birds that includes pheasants and quail.Elsewhere, Nigeria reported one new H5N1 outbreak in backyard poultry, according to a report today from the OIE. The event began on May 15 in Adamawa state in the east, killing 50 of 200 layers. Jun 14 OIE report on H5N8 in the DRC Jun 15 OIE report on H5N8 in Belgium Jun 15 OIE report on H5N1 in Nigeria read more

NM House Starts With A Sputter At Special Session

first_imgThe House of Representatives began with a sputter at today’s Special Session in Santa Fe. File photoBy MICHAEL GERSTEINSFNMIf the world ends with a whimper rather than a bang, the House began Thursday with a sputter.For hours, Republicans in the state House debated new rules on whether lawmakers should be allowed to vote remotely — a debate that was delayed because of trouble with the webcast, in turn delaying committee hearings scheduled for that afternoon until after representatives’ 6 p.m. dinner.Complying with state rules on open meetings, lawmakers paused the debate for close to 30 minutes as the tech team scrambled to get the internet video feed back online before resuming.The resolution passed the House 43-24 along party lines. But not before prolonged debate about the rules within the resolution and other, tangentially-related topics.Republicans continued debating whether to allow representatives to vote remotely for another two hours after the video feed was restored, arguing that it ran afoul of the constitutional requirement for lawmakers to be present in the Roundhouse during a session. They worried aloud that House Resolution 1 would set a new precedent in which votes could be cast in the infinite ether of the internet.The resolution lays out a series of rules for House lawmakers during the session meant to maintain social distancing. Allowing lawmakers to vote remotely is especially timely after news that Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez is self-isolating in a hotel following possible exposure to the novel coronavirus.Still, Republicans argued against allowing remote voting.“What we’re proposing today has ramifications beyond what we are doing today to vote,” said Rep. Rod Montoya, R-Farmington, the House minority whip. “If we now define presence [as being able to vote remotely] … are we now setting a precedent where the governor could leave the state, leave the country, as long as there is a cellphone in her purse? I know that’s not what this addresses, but that is the precedent that we’re setting here.”House Republicans also used the three-hour debate limit as an opportunity to relitigate arguments already made by an attorney on behalf of many of them in a New Mexico Supreme Court case this week. On Tuesday, justices denied a petition from two dozen mostly GOP lawmakers that sought to open up the Roundhouse to the general public for the special session.Democrats defended the decision to keep the Roundhouse closed to the public and extend digital access to legislative proceedings.For the first time, people from across the state can witness the democratic process and even offer public comments during committee hearings from the comfort of their homes, said state Rep. Daymon Ely, D-Corrales.“We’re trying to respond to the pandemic,” Ely said, while still allowing everyone to “participate in an equal and fair fashion” including the public, which will be allowed to make comments during committees remotely via a Zoom meeting.“This does not keep people out,” said state Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas, D-Albuquerque. “This brings people in.”But the technological difficulties and the drawn-out debate that delayed discussion on other key legislation lawmakers have on their agenda also highlighted the pitfalls and tension underlying a special session during a pandemic.Montoya and Rep. Greg Nibert, R-Roswell, both argued they believe the new rules will set a precedent for the next session, although Ely assured them that it would not during the extended debate on HR1.Republicans also talked at length about the disparity in internet access between some of New Mexico’s poor, rural communities and the more affluent, urban Santa Fe. That fact had nothing to do with HR1, however, and the closed-session was upheld by the New Mexico Supreme Court and was not up for debate on the House floor Tuesday.last_img read more

Labour tables amendments to legal aid and costs reforms

first_imgOpponents to government strategy for civil litigation and legal aid reform have launched a multi-pronged ‘victim-centric’ attack on the proposals. Labour MPs have tabled a series of amendments to the coalition government’s planned changes under the umbrella of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill. Opposition campaigners are focusing on elements that could win public favour and potentially embarrass Liberal Democrat MPs into voting against reforms. In particular, the Labour amendments call for the rules underpinning conditional fee arrangements to remain unchanged in cases involving multi-national corporations, serious professional or clinical negligence, judicial review, insolvency, or privacy cases such as the recent phone-hacking claims. ‘We want to ask the Lib Dems to re-examine their consciences and ask if they really can deny these people’s access to justice,’ said a Labour spokesman. In relation to legal aid, Labour MPs have tabled an amendment to return into the scope of legal aid the large areas of law that the government has sought to exclude, including welfare benefits, clinical negligence, disability, education and housing law. They are also seeking to ensure that all cases brought on behalf of children are eligible for legal aid, suggesting that this move would only cost £10m. Labour opponents accuse the government of using the ‘exceptional cases’ provision in the bill, which would allow for funding of cases otherwise excluded from legal aid, to attempt to silence opposition to its proposals to reduce the scope of publicly funded cases. In reality, Labour sources said very few cases will be covered by the provision and, in any event, without representation people will be unable to demonstrate that they fall within the exceptional funding provisions. Labour has also tabled an amendment seeking a ‘gold standard’ definition of domestic violence, in line with that used by the Association of Chief Police Officers, and not limited to physical violence. Labour opponents are also seeking a reduction in the evidential requirements needed to establish domestic violence and trigger legal aid. In relation to Clause 12,which introduces a means test for suspects detained at the police station before they are able to obtain legal advice, the opposition is seeking its removal. Labour sources have said its inclusion in the bill is ‘extremely worrying’, despite the government’s assurances that it does not intend to use the provision at this stage. On the wider issues concerning funding decisions and the powers and duties of the Secretary of State for Justice, Labour wants to see the introduction of an independent tribunal to review the decisions made on behalf of the secretary of state to refuse legal aid. Its amendments will also seek to put a duty on the secretary of state to consider the viability of the advice sector generally, imposing a mandatory duty under law to promote an adequate supply of advice when considering policy and practice. A Labour source said: ‘The strategy is to test the conscience of the Liberal Democrats to see if they will support the vulnerable or back the government’s attack on them. ‘At their spring conference, the Lib Dems voted that legal aid should stay in place. If the leadership of the party haven’t already listened to that, they should do so.’ He added: ‘If the reforms go ahead unchanged, their effect will be felt almost immediately, with the closures of law centres and advice deserts across the country. ‘It will have a devastating impact on one plank of the welfare state.’ Parliament is set to hear a third reading of the bill this autumn, with the Public Bill Committee – which includes two Liberal Democrat MPs – meeting this week to discuss the details. Shadow justice minister Andy Slaughter said: ‘Victims of wrongdoing by multinational companies, like Trafigura, phone-hacking, pensions mis-selling or asbestiosis sufferers, will find it impossible to get justice. ‘It will create a culture of impunity for wrongdoers and those with no regard for the wellbeing of others.’ Further amendments tabled include the preservation of recoverable costs for claimants who have suffered death or serious personal injury, and for small businesses filing a claim against a business which has at least five times its own turnover. The Public Bill Committee is expected to report to the House of Commons by 13 October before a third reading in the lower house, with the bill then to be debated in the House of Lords.last_img read more

A leaky roof

first_imgSubscribe now for unlimited access To continue enjoying, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletterslast_img read more

Charleston’s Veterans Terminal is ours, says ports authority

first_imgAccording to the port authority, Veterans Terminal is a 110 acre dedicated bulk, break-bulk, ro-ro and project cargo facility located on the Cooper River. The newspaper article quotes North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey as saying “I’m interested in Veterans Terminal, but not at the cost of everything else we’ve done.”Byron D. Miller, director, Public Relations – SCSPA, stated to HLPFI: “The SCSPA has absolutely no plans to vacate Veterans Terminal. The SCSPA has a very favorable long-term lease on the Veterans Terminal property with the opportunity to purchase. We are focused on bringing more business to the facility – we’ve been successful in this regard recently and look forward to new cargo accounts.”Whether or how the Legislature could transfer ownership of the land from one public body to another is not exactly clear.last_img read more

End of the line for Hartmann Asia RTW Line

first_imgReaders may recall that H.S.A Chartering announced the addition of a fourth vessel into the Hartmann Asia RTWservice in December 2011 and said at the time that the integration of HAL Ambassador would improve the frequency to monthly and bring additional benefits with its heavy lift capacity and additional space.Now, a company spokesperson has advised that: “the RTW is/was a joint venture with an external partner. But due to different strategic positions, it was decided to end the partnership and therewith end the RTW”.A creditors meeting of Hartmann Asia RTW Line Pte Ltd has been called for April 12, 2012 in Singapore.HLPFI understands that the Hartmann Project Line, the regular scheduled service launched in mid March offering a breakbulk and project cargo liner operation connecting Australasia with the North American continent, is not affected by this development, nor are the other services operated by Hartmann Shipping Asia.www.hsa-chartering.comwww.hartmann-shipping.comlast_img read more