from the world's big
How Haiti Can Rebuild
Laurent Dubois is Professor of French Studies and History at Duke University and a leading expert on Haitian history and culture. His books include Soccer Empire: The World Cup and the Future of France (University of California Press, forthcoming spring 2010), Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789-1804: A Brief History With Documents (with John Garrigus; 2006), and Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution (2004).
Question: What are the major obstacles Haiti faces in trying to rebuild after the earthquake?\r\n
Laurent Dubois: The problem is in part there is just a major problem about the Haitian state. What is the Haitian state going to look like? Obviously, I mean, that’s been an issue that people have been dealing with for some time and even before the earthquake there was a substantial UN presence and NGO’s and so forth, so all of those kinds of issues that were there before the earthquake are only exacerbated by the major blow that the Haitian state has structurally received really to the core since many of its buildings have been destroyed and so forth. So there is going to be a real question about what the interlocutors are, how the Haitian state is going to interact with others. I mean the state, the institution, the people are still there, but how the infrastructure is going to work is a big question. I would say more broadly one really has to think about Haiti in a complicated way in the sense there are all kinds of forms of organization beyond the state. The state is actually very, in some ways, very limited in its reach within Haiti in terms of certainly in terms of schools, services and many other things. Haiti is an extremely privatized society and most things are done through private trade, so the question of whether the communities of action, you know, how does aid get to particular neighborhoods, it’s very clear already that there is a really different set of experiences between different neighborhoods in Haiti based on where they are and how they’re seen from the outside, so very, very important questions about who the interlocutors are for assistance and what that existence is particularly geared towards. You know, what is going to be done? What is the purpose of that assistance? All those are very big and open questions and in a sense the earthquake just raises the stakes and really perhaps opens up the possibility for a real rethinking of some of those things as well.\r\n
Question: What changes must Haiti make to its government and social institutions in order to rebuild?\r\n
Laurent Dubois: Well, in a way, I mean, although there has been ongoing problems in the last couple of years, I would say that before the earthquake there was in some ways some positive developments. Many people felt like things were going on a better track. It’s been a very, very difficult couple of decades in Haiti obviously. So in some ways maybe some of that can get recovered. I mean I think a lot of people… You know it’s such a massive tragedy and the loss of life is so tremendous as well as just the loss… you know the transformation of the city. It’s hard to think… In some ways it’s really hard to see forward right now, but obviously there may be an opportunity for people to think differently about the delivery of services, about how neighborhoods are constructed and also about how those neighborhoods are organized. I mean I think as always the best-case scenario will be if there is a real kind of collaboration with grassroots, with people in communities themselves who can kind of express and find their aspirations and voice their aspirations in the project of rebuilding so that the communities that they have are the kinds of communities they want to live in. Obviously there has been a problem with basic services in a lot of neighborhoods in ****. If that could be addressed in reconstruction that would obviously be an incredibly helpful thing, issues about water and sewage and you know basic kind of infrastructural issues would be excellent, but there is a larger question about, you know, what role is the government going to play and how is the government going to intersect with many outside agencies that are now involved. We’ve already seen there is a great deal of confusion at times about who is doing what and those are serious questions that could really… And you know if there is debate or struggle in that way it could really undermine how much of this aide really helps you know profoundly helps the Haitian people.\r\n
Question: One commentator has argued that France should provide billions in disaster relief to Haiti as historical "reparations." Do you agree?\r\n
Laurent Dubois: I mean this is a question… Aristide actually demanded the same thing before his overthrow and there was a whole commission setup in France to study the question. You know perhaps a cynic will be maybe not surprised that they decided that they shouldn’t provide direct reparations, but they of course had a responsibility to provide aid. Although not as much as the United States, France does provide, you know, a lot of aid to Haiti and has for some time. They are very invested in particular, notably in cultural realms in Haiti. There is no doubt that might be one claim to make. At the same time, you know, Haiti is a country that has had kind of the misfortune of being colonized twice in a certain way. This is a, you know, they won independence from France and then 120 years later were then conquered by… you know, occupied by the United States. People even refer to the 1934 moment as the second independence of Haiti. You know they had to get their independence twice, but those kinds of experiences mean that while of course many people welcome and of course many elites have often worked with outsiders, there is a real sense of a question about you know what are the intentions of outsiders, what, ultimately, are they trying to do. I think there is a sense that obviously people want to have help and collaboration, but the terms upon which those relationships are worked out is very important and I do think there is a kind of **** in some ways, is that I think people to really kind of understand Haitian society and history and culture quite well as they go in and address these needs otherwise it’s very easy for there to be misunderstandings and conflicts.
Recorded on January 20, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen
The Haiti historian explains why real recovery from the disaster must begin at the grassroots level and addresses the controversial question of whether France should provide "reparations."
Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.
A time for sleep<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="Mt29uUqI" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="931343dee3c02121445e51e94ba22446"> <div id="botr_Mt29uUqI_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/Mt29uUqI-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/Mt29uUqI-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/Mt29uUqI-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> <p>Previous studies had already suggested a link between persistent nightmares in childhood and psychosis and borderline personality disorder (BPD) by adolescence, but researchers at the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology wanted to see if a similar connection existed between these mental disorders and other childhood behavioral sleep problems.</p><p>To do this, they scoured data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, a longitudinal cohort study that followed approximately 14,000 children born in Avon, England, in the early 1990s. The study followed the children for more than 13 years. During that time, mothers filled out questionnaires asking about the children's lives. Factors looked at included housing, parenting, nutrition, physical health, mental wellbeing, environmental exposures, and so on. </p><p>The cohort study inquired about sleep routines, sleep duration, and awakening frequency when the children were 6, 18, and 30 months old, and then again at 3.5, 4.8, and 5.8 years. It also assessed mental health in adolescence using semi-structured interviews, such as the Psychosis-Like Symptom Interview.</p><p>"We know that adolescence is a key developmental period to study the onset of many mental disorders, including psychosis or BPD. This is because of particular brain and hormonal changes which occur at this stage," <a href="https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/staff/profiles/psychology/marwaha-steven.aspx" target="_blank">Steven Marwaha</a>, professor of psychiatry at Birmingham and senior author on the study, <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200701125431.htm" target="_blank">said in a release</a>. "Sleep may be one of the most important underlying factors—and it's one that we can influence with effective, early interventions, so it's important that we understand these links."</p><p>After compiling the data, the researchers discovered an association between children with irregular sleeping patterns and teenagers with <a href="https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/psychosis/about-psychosis/" target="_blank">psychotic experiences</a>—that is, episodes when the person perceives reality differently than those around them. Even when depression at 10 years old was considered as a mediating factor, their findings still suggested "a specific pathway between these childhood sleep problems and adolescent psychotic experiences." </p><p>Toddlers with shorter nighttime sleep duration and late bedtimes were likewise associated with a <a href="https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/borderline-personality-disorder/index.shtml" target="_blank">borderline personality disorder</a>—a disorder marked by a pattern of varying moods, self-images, and behaviors—in their teenage years. Depression at age 10 did not mediate this particular association, suggesting a separate and more specific pathway. </p>
A more restful tomorrow<p>While the sample size was large and mental health was assessed with a validated interview, there nevertheless remain limitations to this data. For starters, sleep habits were based on mothers' reports. Because they came from memory, versus a more direct observation method such as actigraphy, these data may be prone to imperfect recollection and reporting error. There are also many confounders that could be secretly nudging the results, such as family conditions, prenatal medicines, and a host of environmental factors. Finally, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6024884/#:~:text=Sleep%20difficulties%20in%20youth%20with,fear%20of%20dark%20%5B13%5D." target="_blank">the relationship between sleep problems and mental disorders</a> is both complex and two-way.</p><p>As such, the study shows an association between poor childhood sleep later mental disorders but does not prove a causal link. Parents need not worry that a string of nightmares or the eternal struggle settle into bed will be the first ingredients in a witches' brew of debilitating mental disorders. The goal of the study, the researchers point out, is not to create undue worry but improve our ability to recognize the signs of at-risk children and deliver necessary interventions earlier.</p><p>"The results of this study could have important implications for helping practitioners identify children who might be at higher risk for psychotic experiences or BPD symptoms in adolescence, and potentially lead to the design of more effectively targeted sleep or psychological interventions to prevent the onset or attenuate these mental disorders," Isabel Morales-Muñoz, the study's lead researcher, <a href="https://www.healio.com/news/psychiatry/20200702/childhood-sleep-problems-linked-to-adolescent-psychosis-borderline-personality-disorder#:~:text=Sleep%20problems%20during%20early%20childhood,study%20published%20in%20JAMA%20Psychiatry." target="_blank">told Healio Psychiatry</a><u>.</u></p><p>If a parent reading this is worried that their child's sleep patterns are deleterious, the take away should not be despair over an unyielding fate. It should be to seek professional help as soon as possible to begin improving sleep duration and quality. Even if you aren't worried, it's worth remembering that childhood experiences lay the foundation for a lifetime of salubrious sleeping habits. It's so much more than beauty rest.</p>
Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?
- From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
- "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
- Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.
- The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
- The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
- Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
Brain images of a patient with acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis.
COVID-19 and the brain<p>A growing body of research reveals alarming neurological complications among COVID-19 patients. On Wednesday, for example, researchers from University College London published a <a href="https://academic.oup.com/brain/article/doi/10.1093/brain/awaa240/5868408" target="_blank">study</a> in the journal Brain that describes how some patients have suffered temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage, and other neurological problems concurrent with COVID-19.</p><p>Some patients suffered brain inflammation as a result of a rare disease called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which can cause numbness, seizures, and confusion. One patient in the study even hallucinated monkeys and lions in her home.</p>
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images<p>A separate study published in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7198407/" target="_blank">Journal of Clinical Neuroscience</a> notes that some COVID-19 patients have also suffered neurological complications like impaired consciousness and acute cerebrovascular disease. The study notes that past viruses like MERS and SARS also seemed to cause neurological problems.</p><p>A troubling finding among this growing body of research is that some patients seem to suffer neurological damage even when respiratory symptoms aren't obvious. Additionally, scientists aren't sure whether damage from the disease will be permanent.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Given that the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause," Dr. Ross Paterson, joint first author of the University College London study, said in a <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-07/ucl-iid070620.php" target="_blank">press release</a>. "Doctors needs to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes."</p><p>If you've been diagnosed with COVID-19 and want to enroll in the study, visit <a href="https://www.cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study" target="_blank">cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study</a>.</p>