from the world's big
Why the US Has Better Security than Europe from Terror Attacks
Terrorism in Europe is a generational problem, says Juliette Kayyem. While the US has effectively integrated immigrant communities into its national identity, European nations have not.
Juliette Kayyem is a national security, intelligence and terrorism analyst for CNN who has spent over 15 years managing complex policy initiatives and organizing government responses to major crises in both state and federal government. She is the founder of Kayyem Solutions, LLC, providing strategic advice to a range of companies in technology, risk management, mega-event planning, venture capital and more.
Currently, Kayyem teaches new leaders in emergency management and homeland security as a faculty member at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Kayyem serves as an on-air security analyst for CNN and is featured in a weekly radio program on Boston's NPR station WGBH, for which she also hosts a regular podcast entitled "Security Mom." In 2013, she was named the Pulitzer Prize finalist for editorial columns in the Boston Globe focused on ending the Pentagon's combat exclusion rule against women, a policy that was changed that year.
Previously, Kayyem was President Obama's Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security. There she played a pivotal role in major operations including handling of the H1N1 pandemic and the BP Oil Spill response; she also organized major policy efforts in immigration reform and community resiliency. Before that, she was Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's homeland security advisor, guiding regional planning and the state's first interoperability plan, and overseeing the National Guard. She has also served as a member of the National Commission on Terrorism, a legal advisor to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, and a trial attorney and counselor in the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department. She is the recipient of many government honors, including the Distinguished Public Service Award, the Coast Guard's highest medal awarded to a civilian.
Kayyem is a board member of MassINC, the International Centre for Sport Security, and the Red Cross of MA. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission and DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson's Homeland Security Advisory Committee. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and the mother of three children, she is married to First Circuit Court of Appeals Judge David Barron.
Juliette Kayyem: Profiling is the lazy man’s national security policy. I mean it’s the easiest low hanging fruit. It’s red meat to the masses. But I want to be clear here. Profiling isn’t only wrong from the perspective of, you know, sort of who we are as Americans. It’s actually bad security policy. We live in a time in which people are becoming radicalized. Let me just put this in perspective. There are six million Muslims in America. There is maybe a handful of arrests and essentially five successful attacks, right. And most of them were a stabbing and then we had San Bernardino. So put this in perspective. Those are great numbers. We are not Europe. Europe has a generational problem and that is because they had immigrants or people who did not fit the European profile who are growing up as Europeans traveling to Syria to arm and train themselves and returning back home. That is an epidemic. That is a systemic problem of which a society – Europe is going to have to confront that in a real way. Law enforcement is not going to cure this problem. We don’t have that problem. And the reason why we don’t have that problem isn’t because we’re surveying Muslim communities or we’re keeping them out. It is because we as a country through fits and starts and we haven’t been perfect, we as a country have been able to assimilate and acclimate and invest in and welcome the other, right.
Not always perfect. I’m willing to admit that. But whether it’s Hispanic or Muslim or Arab or Irish, over time those communities view America as their own. They don’t travel to Syria to come back and harm Americans. And we must commit to that integration, to that sense that we don’t view these populations as the other. So things like profiling or following mosques or keeping certain religions out or, you know, wiretapping, I mean EMOMs. I mean all the craziness that you’re hearing right now I promise you will make us less safe over time. And so it’s not just an argument about the left and the heartstrings and feeling progressive versus the right and pro security. It is if in the course of America’s history besides our oceans which has helped a lot the one attribute of our policies that has made us safer and more secure is our ability to absorb and welcome and integrate new communities. And we have to remain committed to that.
People know that the risk of them dying form terrorism is like .00001 percent divided by ten. I mean we know the risk is very, very small. But people also do feel like the world is kind of on fire. Those aren’t inconsistent to me, right. I mean you can still feel very nervous about the world out there and recognize that the risks to your own family are pretty minimal. And I think that President Obama sort of focuses on the first, right. And I think in some ways he needs to tell people I get it though. I get those fears and here’s what we’re doing and here’s what you can do and these other guys. To be honest these other guys and all their tough talk, that won’t work. And sort of accept our own irrationality. I don’t know if that’s fair to say but I know the numbers. I mean everyone knows that the numbers are incredibly low but if it’s, you know, if it’s your kid that’s the .00001 percent, you know, that is an existential threat, you know?
The phone calls I get in the last couple of months from Paris attacks on are real. I mean they’re the real concerns of people who care everything for their children in their lives or their spouse or their extended family. And these are real phone calls of real concern. And I worry that democrats in particular I worry President Obama tends to think of this stuff rather rationally isn’t quite getting the emotions, right. And the emotions aren’t being cultivated by cable news or Donald Trump only. I mean I think that there are real concerns for people and their families right now. And sometimes I wish, you know, President Obama would just say look, I get it. I have two daughters. I get it, you know. You’re not irrational but let me tell you what we’re doing and what you can do to address it. Because I do think that if we view those who are nervous about the world right now, you know, whether it’s Zika or terrorism or hurricane season is coming up that if we don’t channel those concerns someone like Donald Trump walks right into the vacuum. And I think that’s what’s happened a little bit.
Terrorism in Europe is a generational problem, says Juliette Kayyem. While the US has effectively integrated immigrant communities into its national identity, European nations have not. This has resulted in scores of European nationals traveling to war-torn countries like Syria, becoming trained in military tactics that target civilian populations, and returning "home" to cities like Brussels, Paris, and Madrid.
But not all is rosy in the US, especially as candidates in this presidential election cycle talk of rolling back immigration laws, patrolling Muslim neighborhoods, and encouraging law enforcement to transparently profile based on ethnicity. This kind of profiling, in Kayyem's words, "is the the lazy man's national security policy."
It's not a question, however, of right versus left. Democratic politicians are equally guilty of taking too rational an approach to terrorism, and failing to validate people's fears — stemming from foreign attacks, and the tragedy in San Bernardino. Kayyem walks this political tightrope, and offers counsel to those who feel rudderless in these troubling times, in her new book, Security Mom: An Unclassified Guide to Protecting Our Homeland and Your Home.
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>