Most Read News, February 2 – 8, 2015

first_img View post tag: Most Most Read News, February 2 – 8, 2015 View post tag: £8 View post tag: 2 February 8, 2015 View post tag: 2015 GD NASSCO to Christen US Navy’s Future MLP 3US Navy’s future USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP 3 AFSB) will be christened on Saturday, February 7, at General Dynamics NASSCO Shipyard, in San Diego.Irish Navy Decommissions Its OPV LÉ AoifeThe Irish Navy’s has decommissioned one of its Offshore Patrol Vessels after 35 years of service.HMS Dragon Explores Tristan da CunhaHMS Dragon called at Tristan da Cunha – one of the most remote islands on the planet – on the latest stage of her Atlantic deployment.French CSG Gets Support from HMS KentHMS Kent, the Type 23 Frigate, has assumed a vital role protecting the French carrier strike group’s mission in the Middle East.USS New York Faces Urgent Blade RepairThe Dive Locker at Southeast Regional Maintenance Center in Mayport accomplished a first-ever waterborne repair on one of USS New York’s (LPD 21) propeller blades, enabling the ship to deploy on time with the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group Dec. 11. Share this article View post tag: February View post tag: Naval View post tag: Navy View post tag: News by topic View post tag: Read Authorities Back to overview,Home naval-today Most Read News, February 2 – 8, 2015 last_img read more

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Cells like we’ve never seen them before

first_imgMore than 350 years ago, the English natural philosopher Robert Hooke looked through a microscope at a thin slice of cork and discovered that it was made of small, box-like compartments, which he named “cells.”From that moment on, Hooke and countless inquisitive minds after him strove for a better view of these fundamental building blocks of life. And now, the window into the cellular world has become a lot clearer.In a new study in the April 20 issue of Science, researchers from Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s (HHMI) Janelia Research Campus, Harvard Medical School, and collaborating institutions report the development of a microscope capable of capturing, in unprecedented detail, 3-D images and videos of cells inside living organisms.Adapting a technique used by astronomers to study distant stars, the research team, led by Nobel laureate and Janelia group leader Eric Betzig, showcased the new technology by generating a series of stunning movies: cancer cells crawling through blood vessels, spinal nerve cells wiring up into circuits, immune cells cruising through a zebrafish’s inner ear, and much more.The resolution of the microscope is so powerful it can even capture subcellular details such as the dynamics of miniscule bubbles known as vesicles, which transport molecular cargo through to the cell.“This is the miracle of being able to see what we have never been able to see before. It’s simply incredible,” said study co-author Tomas Kirchhausen, HMS professor of cell biology, and the Springer Family Chair of pediatrics and a senior investigator at Boston Children’s Hospital.,“Every time we’ve done an experiment with this microscope, we’ve observed something novel — and generated new ideas and hypotheses to test,” Kirchhausen said. “It can be used to study almost any problem in a biological system or organism I can think of.”While scientists have used microscopes to look at cells for centuries, the clearest views thus far have come from cells isolated on glass slides. Visualizing living cells in real time inside live organisms has remained far more challenging.Cells of interest are surrounded by tissues and other biological structures that scramble light coming from and returning to a microscope objective, which blurs and obscures important details. Light powerful enough to penetrate biological structures and yield a crisper view of cells, on the other hand, can damage tissues.“This raises the nagging doubt that we are not seeing cells in their native state, happily ensconced in the organism in which they evolved,” said Betzig, who is corresponding author on the study. “It’s often said that seeing is believing, but when it comes to cell biology, I think the more appropriate question is, ‘When can we believe what we see?’” “It’s like ‘Star Trek.’ It’s the age of exploration again. We don’t even know what questions to ask yet because we’ve never even seen some of these biologies at this level of detail.” — Gokul Upadhyayula,Guide starTo address these challenges, Betzig and colleagues combined two technologies: lattice light-sheet microscopy, which Betzig developed in the early 2010s, and adaptive optics, a technique borrowed from astronomy.Lattice light-sheet microscopy uses rapid and repeated sweeps of an ultrathin sheet of light, which avoids the bleaching or damage associated with traditional focused beams of light. It generates high-resolution 2-D images of living cells as they carry out their functions, and by combining series of these images over time, scientists can create 3-D movies.To unscramble the light sheet as it passes through tissues and other structures, the research team turned to the stars. To see distant objects through the Earth’s atmosphere, astronomers rely on adaptive optics — deformable mirrors and light modulators.The process uses a powerful laser, aimed at the small region of the sky they want to image, which serves as a “guide star.” As the laser passes through the atmosphere, optical aberrations that distort its path are revealed and corrected by the adaptive optics. The team combined two technologies: lattice light-sheet microscopy, which Eric Betzig developed in the early 2010s, and adaptive optics, a technique borrowed from astronomy. Betzig and colleagues applied this principle to the microscopic world, using a two-photon laser to create an adaptive optics system that maintains the thin illumination of a lattice light sheet as it penetrates an organism to generate distortion-free images of their target.The team validated the new adaptive optics/lattice light-sheet microscope on a variety of biological samples, carrying out much of the work through the laboratories of Kirchhausen and Sean Megason, HMS associate professor of systems biology.To make sense of the data they generated, the team created customized software and computational and visualization workflows, spearheaded by study co-lead authors Gokul Upadhyayula, HMS instructor in pediatrics at Boston Children’s and research associate in the Kirchhausen lab, and Tsung-Li Liu, formerly a research scientist in the Betzig lab at HHMI.“For the types of data we generated, there’s no one commercial software that we can use to create interpretable movies and extract biologically meaningful information, so we built the necessary tools,” Upadhyayula said. “This allowed us to understand what we acquired and visualize the data in meaningful ways, including, in the near future, fully interactive 3-D movies.”Into focusThe results were remarkable. In one movie, a fiery orange immune cell wriggles madly through a zebrafish’s ear while scooping up blue sugar particles along the way. In another, a migrating cancer cell trails sticky appendages as it rolls through a blood vessel and attempts to squeeze through the vessel wall.The team captured movies of the behavior of organelles as they remodel themselves inside cells during cell division, and even visualized in real-time and at near-molecular detail the process of clathrin-mediated endocytosis, which cells use to capture materials from their exterior environment.“I work on understanding how cells ‘eat’ using machinery based on vesicular carriers, and all my life I’ve dreamed of seeing this in a live organism,” Kirchhausen said. “We have finally achieved this.”The complexity of the 3-D multicellular environment can be overwhelming, Betzig said, but the clarity of the imaging allows the researchers to computationally “explode” apart the individual cells in tissue to focus on the dynamics within any particular one.“It’s like ‘Star Trek.’ It’s the age of exploration again,” Upadhyayula said. “We don’t even know what questions to ask yet because we’ve never even seen some of these biologies at this level of detail.”All this detail is hard to see without adaptive optics, Betzig said. “It’s just too damn fuzzy.” In his view, adaptive optics is one of the most important areas in microscopy research today, and the lattice light-sheet microscope, which excels at 3-D live imaging, is the perfect platform to showcase its power.The next step is making the technology affordable and user-friendly. The current microscope takes up a 10-foot-long table. In collaboration with Kirchhausen and Upadhyayula, Betzig’s team is working on a next-generation version that should fit on a small desk at a cost within the reach of individual labs.The first such instrument will go to Janelia’s Advanced Imaging Center, where scientists from around the world can apply to use it. A second instrument built at the same time will be located in the Kirchhausen laboratory at the HMS Quad in Boston. Plans to build the instrument will also be made available.Contributing authors include researchers from Stony Brook University, University of California, Berkeley, California Institute of Technology, and the University of Exeter. The study was supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, National Institutes of Health (R01GM075252, R01DC015478, 5R00CA154870-05, 1R01GM121597-01, R01CA196884 and R35GM118149), National Science Foundation (IOS1452928), Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, Biogen, Ionis Pharmaceuticals, and a Human Frontier Science Program fellowship.last_img read more

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BridgeND sponsors education debate

first_imgStudents discussed the merits of education reform in a debate sponsored by BridgeND Tuesday night in the McNeill Room of the LaFortune Student Center. The students participating in the debate divided into two teams, one of which argued for universal public education while the other argued for school choice and increased privatization.Those in favor of increased privatization outlined a system, which sophomore and BridgeND secretary Mimi Teixeira described.Photo courtesy of BridgeND “A school takes a voucher, the voucher has a certain amount of money associated with it,” she said. With a voucher system, each student would receive a voucher with an equal monetary value, Teixera said. Freshman Liam Dalton, another participant in favor of privatization, said competition and the free market create higher quality schools. “I think there is an argument to be made for creative destruction in the area of education,” he said. “It is the same way that we built one of the world’s greatest economies. … We had to allow businesses who were not doing well, not meeting standards, to fail to a certain extent.”Teixeira said a lack of incentives has harmed the current public education system.“Do I think schools right now have any incentive to create better, more educated students?” she said. “No, they do not, especially in public schools where they have nowhere else to go. There are teachers who pass illiterate students every year.”Increased privatization would also help students with disabilities, she said. “Mentally and physically disabled kids are suspended and expelled at higher rates,” she said. “I think that part of the reason for this is that public schools do not have the resources or ability to take care of these kids.”Sophomore Geralyn Smith, a member of the team in favor of keeping and strengthening universal public education, said a more educated population would benefit the country. “It would be in the government’s best interests, if [it] wants to increase the capital of each individual,” she said. Freshman Kylie Ruscheinski, who also argued for public education, said competition is not unequivocally beneficial in an education system.“It should be a right for every child — no matter what socioeconomic class they are born into — they should have a right to an education,” she said. “Competition has a benefit, but only so far. … When schools are focused primarily on beating other schools, the students who fall through the cracks in that system are the kids with special needs and disabilities, those who are expelled.”Senior Dan Sehlhorst said there are dangers to a privatized education system. “The outcome of the privatization scheme is that the schools that produce the best economic effect will get more students and prosper, while schools that focus less on return, on investment will not prosper — which is not what an education should be,” he said. “It scares me when we think of education as another competitive sphere in the free market — in competition there are always winners and losers,” freshman Adam Wiechman said Tags: BridgeND, education reformlast_img read more

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Governor Says Phase Four Reopening Expected To Start Tomorrow

first_imgJAMESTOWN – New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo says Western New York is expected to begin phase four of reopening tomorrow.The Governor made the announcement during a COVID-19 press conference update in New York City.Under the plan, low-risk indoor and outdoor activities can reopen as well as media production.However, some services like gyms, shopping malls, and movie theatres will not open under immediately under the phase. The Western New York region, includes Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, and Niagara counties.Related | Local Officials Vow To Fight For Reopening Of Gyms, Malls Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Six Can’t-Miss Outdoor Movie Musical Screenings This Summer in NYC

first_img The Wizard of Oz August 22 at Pier 46 (Manhattan) Let’s be honest: We know you’ve been able to recite this movie by heart since you were five years old. We know you still have a pair of ruby slippers collecting dust in your closet. We know you practice “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in the shower. We’ll see you there! During the summer, nothing beats seeing a Broadway show in an air-conditioned theater—except watching an awesome movie musical in the great outdoors! (Well, if New York City counts as the great outdoors.) Pack a picnic and bring along a few of your closest friends (the ones that don’t mind you loudly singing along in their ear) to see Frozen, Little Shop of Horrors, West Side Story, Pitch Perfect and more of your favorites on the big screen, under the stars. Check out our top picks below! Singin’ in the Rain August 10 at Habana Outpost (Fort Greene, Brooklyn) Fingers crossed the weather outside stays storm-free, so we can watch Singin’ in the Rain in Brooklyn! The all-singing, all-dancing 1952 musical comedy is arguably one of the best movie musicals of all time, so why not enjoy it in the open air with a few hundred of your closest friends? Little Shop of Horrors July 22 at the Roosevelt Hotel (Manhattan) Have you ever wanted to see Ellen Greene sing “Somewhere That’s Green” when you’re somewhere that’s actually green? You’re in luck—the The Roosevelt Hotel is holding a screening of the 1986 classic in their gorgeous rooftop garden Mad46. (The view isn’t too shabby, either!) View Commentscenter_img West Side Story August 17 at Habana Outpost (Fort Greene, Brooklyn) Cats, there’s gonna be a rumble at the Habana Outpost. The Sharks and the Jets are gonna settle the score once and for all, while snapping, singing and doing those adorable little leaps. Who cares if Natalie Wood isn’t Puerto Rican and doesn’t do her own singing? West Side Story is one of the best movie musicals EVER. Pitch Perfect August 16 at the South Street Seaport (Manhattan) Acca-scuse me, is this seat taken? Why count down the days until the release of Pitch Perfect 2 alone when you can sing along to the original with a whole crew of other Treblemakers and Bellas? We can sing, but we’re also good at modern dance, olden dance and mermaid dancing, which is a little different. Frozen August 27 in Forest Park (Queens) & South Street Seaport (Manhattan) If you’ve always wanted to have a “Let It Go” belt-off with hundreds of city-savvy toddlers, now is your chance. Escape the stifling New York City heat and take a trip to Scandinavia with Elsa, Anna, Olaf and their pals—in two locations on the same night! Who knows, maybe you’ll even catch Tony winner Idina Menzel there with her son Walker (apparently he’s a fan).last_img read more

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Mining firm BHP says its Australian, Chilean power tenders could be a ‘game changer’

first_imgMining firm BHP says its Australian, Chilean power tenders could be a ‘game changer’ FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:Mining giant BHP has put its electricity contracts for its operations on Australia’s main grid and in Chile out to tender, and expects that offers including renewable energy could present the cheapest and most efficient options.BHP consumes about 6 terawatt-hours in Chile, around seven per cent of that country’s annual electricity demand, and it has a 300MW requirement for the operations on Australia’s National Electricity Market, including for the power-hungry operations at Olympic Dam in South Australia.“We are in market in both Chile and Australia for significant amounts of energy,” the head of low emissions technology at BHP, Kirsten Rose, said at the Energy and Mines conference in Perth this week.“The ability to use BHP’s purchasing power in this way is significant…these are technology agnostic tenders by the way, but we encourage innovation and to bring value to the table. We are really interested to see what happens, but we fully expect there will be a significant renewable component to that…and that for us could be game changing.”Recent tenders held by corporates and utilities have underlined the cheaper cost of wind and solar, including the cost of “firming” to ensure consistent supply.Rose says the BHP tender would evaluate cost, reliability and emissions, but she notes that for the first time BHP is putting a strong emphasis on the carbon content of its electricity supply contracts. “We are certainly turning the evaluation on its head from what we have done in the past.”More: BHP energy tender could deliver “game changing” shift to renewableslast_img read more

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Outdoor Updates: New Hampshire hiker sets speed record on White Mountains

first_imgOnly about 100 hikers have completed the challenge and only one other has done so in a single calendar year. Sue Johnston, of Vermont, summited her 576th peak 11 months and 16 days after beginning the challenge.  Philip Carcia, 35, set a new fastest known time speed record on “the grid” of the White Mountains. Backpacker Magazine describes the grid as “an obscure peakbagging challenge” in which hikers climb to the top of all 48 New Hampshire 4,000-foot peaks every month of the year—that’s 576 summits total. The climbs do not have to take place in consecutive months of the calendar year but that’s just what Carcia did anyway, clocking 40 to 80 miles and 20,000 to 30,000 feet in elevation gain every week to finish the challenge in 319 days. EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler has decided to allow chlorpyifos to continue to be used on non-organic food crops like peaches, apples, oranges, corn and cherries. The pesticide has been shown to damage children’s brains, even at low levels. The chemical was scheduled to be banned in 2017 but the Trump administration overturned the ban and Wheeler has decided to let that decision stand. EPA allows continued use of pesticide that damages children’s brain development New Hampshire hiker sets speed record on White Mountains The Environmental Working Group reports that “the evidence is overwhelming that even small doses of chlorpyrifos can damage the parts of the brain that control language, memory, behavior and emotion.” Independent studies have shown that exposure to chlorpyrifos lowers children’s IQs. The EPA calculates that babies, children and pregnant women all consume much more of the pesticide than is safe. Babies and pregnant women are exposed to five times more of the pesticide than is deemed safe. Toddlers and older children are exposed to 11 to 15 times the “safe” limit of the chemical. center_img NCDOT says that, while native plants have not been a requirement in the past, they’ve already transitioned to primarily using native plants in their landscape designs. It may take years to notice significant changes because non-native plants won’t be removed from highway right of way but will be slowly replaced over time, when the need arises. Still, North Carolinians can rest assured that, as the years go by, the number of native plants adorning the highways will grow.  A law recently passed in North Carolina will require the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to place strong preference on native plants when landscaping highway right of way. Native plants require less water and fertilizer and provide critical habitat for insects, birds and other wildlife that depend on the plants for survival. New NC law favors native plants on highways Photo of White Mountains, New Hampshire by Daniel Huizinga – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/last_img read more

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Colombian Air Force Begins Training to Participate in UN Peace Keeping Missions

first_imgBy Marian Romero/Diálogo August 30, 2016 The Colombian Air Force offers its broad experience in combat operations as a valuable asset for its potential involvement in peacekeeping operations. Last June, Colombian Air Force (for its Spanish acronym, FAC) officers began their training with the seminar “Using Air Power in Peacekeeping and Crisis-Management Missions” with the aim of furthering Colombia’s bid to join the United Nation’s Peacekeeping Forces. Experts from the Canadian, U.S., Uruguayan and Argentine Air Forces attended this event to share their logistical perspectives and experience as part of United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions. Seventy people, including doctrine management officers and commanders of specific units of the FAC, took part in this annual academic event designed to improve the technical capacities of the different units and commands. The theme of the tactical doctrine seminars changes each year, according to the FAC’s direction and needs. General Fernando Losada, chief of the FAC’s Air Education Command, stated that “at this time, the FAC is moving toward a focus on peacekeeping in the international arena. We have developed a broad spectrum of abilities and skills that could be very useful for peacekeeping missions. This is the first time that the FAC has concentrated on peacekeeping scenarios in its doctrine and has channeled its efforts towards possible international management”. Colombia takes steps toward the international arena The initiative began with an accord signed in New York on January 26th, 2015, by the UN and the Colombian Government regarding contributions to the UN agreements on reserve forces for peacekeeping operations (PKO). In order for the accord to come into force, Colombian authorities added Art. 122 on cooperation agreements for international missions and peacekeeping operations to 2015’s Bill 164 within Colombia’s National Development Plan for 2014-2018. Since then, many members of the FAC have participated in courses and training in Canada and at the UN with the aim of becoming Staff Officers of the UN Peacekeeping Forces. “The first steps to joining this select group of Peacekeeping Forces are to begin an effective training that enhances our current capabilities and gives us a chance to gain relevant knowledge. We also need political backing via the enactment of Bill 164,” Gen. Losada explained. “We are heading in the right direction. Rather than rushing forward, we want to be ready to fully achieve our goal. This seminar ratifies the best practices we want to institute at the FAC to facilitate its integration with the UN Peacekeeping Forces. The FAC will continue to carry out its constitutional mission to maintain the integrity of its national territory, defend the nation, and provide support for internal crises. At the same time, it will share with the world the experience it has gained over several decades of conflict in Colombia.” Colombia’s vision The tactical doctrine seminars draw on the relevant experience of other countries, such as this year’s guests from the United States, Canada, Uruguay, and Argentina. The seminar also featured a presentation by an expert from Colombia’s Ministry of Defense about the connection between this strategy and the National Development Plan, the budget, as well as competency planning. Additionally, the FAC’s experts took a forward-looking approach. Gen. Losada spoke of the potential security challenges they may face in the future. Participating countries’ experience Uruguay has more experience in peacekeeping operations than any other Latin American country, which makes its perspective on systematization, associated risks, and management relevant to Colombia. By mid 2015, Uruguay had more than 1,500 Troops deployed in peace keeping missions in Congo, Haiti, Liberia, Kashmir, the Ivory Coast, and the Multinational Force of Observers in the Sinai Peninsula. According to a 2015 statement from Dr. Gabriela González, general director general of Defense Policy for the Uruguayan Ministry of Defense, “Uruguay ranks 21 among 122 world countries contributing Troops and police forces to UN peacekeeping operations.” For its part, Argentina has become an academic leader in Latin America for combined peacekeeping operations. The Joint Forces Staff College of the Argentine Armed Forces led the course on staff officers and joint planning. The course focused on operational strategy and joint military planning and was designed for chief officers of the Air Forces of Argentina and other countries. Canada also has a long history of involvement in peacekeeping operations, crisis management, and humanitarian support. According to Commander Lori McAllister, from Canada’s Joint Operations Command, Canada’s greatest strength has been perfecting logistics for joint and combined operations, making its operations in other countries more efficient. The U.S. Air Force’s contribution to the seminar centered on the origin and operation of the Joint Air Operations Command and Control Center. According to U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Atilio Usseglio’s presentation, the center was created in response to the perceived need to coordinate all commands in a unified manner, following a single chain of command when forces are deployed. This ensures that operations are carried out in an orderly way and eliminates the possibility of overlapping objectives between units. “This working approach, used by the United States since the ’80s, is very valuable for coordinating combined operations and preventing duplicated efforts. At the FAC, we apply all of these lessons learned through experiences such as the seminar,” Gen. Losada said. Potential FAC contributions to UN peacekeeping missions The FAC has developed other capabilities not directly related to combat, including firefighting experience and Integral Action operations, which involve the coordinated efforts of multiple government and private agencies working to achieve a humanitarian goal. These actions focus on reconstruction, law enforcement, and governance, key elements for maintaining peace in any given territory. “The FAC is a successful organization, battle-tested for a conflict like the one we had in Colombia. We have the experience needed to participate in combined operations, provided we receive training on international standards,” concluded Gen. Losada.last_img read more

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Colombian Forces Destroy Massive Cocaine Laboratory

first_imgBy Myriam Ortega/Diálogo June 11, 2020 In late April, the Military Forces of Colombia, with support from the Office of the Attorney General’s Technical Investigation Corps and the United States, found a large complex for the production of cocaine in a rural area of ​Nariño department, in the Pacific coast of Colombia. The complex, consisting of eight structures scattered over a ​​1 square-kilometer area in the San Sebastián district, Tumaco municipality, had the capacity to produce 6 tons of drugs monthly.During the operations, troops from the Pacific Naval Force’s 4th Marine Corps Brigade and the Army’s Counternarcotics Brigade dismantled a solid and liquid materials warehouse, laboratories to process coca base paste, and a crystallization plant for cocaine hydrochloride, said the Navy in a press release.The troops found 3,575 gallons of liquid materials, as well as 390 gallons of coca base paste in process and more than 1 ton of cocaine hydrochloride in the complex. (Photo: Colombian Navy 4th Marine Corps Brigade)“Service members found more than 4.3 tons of solid materials and 3,575 gallons of liquid materials in the complex, as well as 390 gallons of coca base paste in process and more than 1 ton of cocaine hydrochloride,” Colombian Minister of Defense Carlos Holmes Trujillo said on Twitter.According to the Navy, the organized armed group United Guerrillas of the Pacific, a dissident group of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, operated the complex — the largest found so far in 2020.The Military Forces have dismantled 29 narcotrafficking facilities and seized more than 50 tons of cocaine in the Colombian Pacific from January to mid-May 2020, said the Pacific Naval Force. According to the U.S. Department of State’s 2020 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, the Colombian Armed Forces destroyed more than 4,200 cocaine labs and seized about 378 tons of cocaine nationwide in 2019.The operation“The operation began after we received naval intelligence indicating that there was a cocaine hydrochloride production center in the general area of the San Sebastián district,” Colombian Navy Rear Admiral Hernando Enrique Mattos Dager, commander of the Tumaco-based 72nd Poseidón Task Force against Narcotrafficking, told Diálogo. “During the planning process, conducted with the Counternarcotics Brigade, we had the support of the DEA [U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration], which provided us information about the area through satellite photos, which helped us do the planning.”With the information gathered, the military troops left Tumaco to carry out reconnaissance of the area. In four days, the units deactivated 19 grenades and two cylinders loaded with 35 kilograms of explosives before locating the structures, the Navy reported.During reconnaissance activities, service members captured five armed individuals who were guarding the area and rescued two minors who also helped to alert the narcotraffickers, Colombian Navy Colonel Nelson Ahumada Ojeda, commander of the 4th Marine Corps Brigade, told Diálogo.“One of the key outcomes of discovering this mega crystallization plant is that we prevented 6 tons of cocaine hydrochloride from being commercialized in U.S. and Central American markets,” Rear Adm. Mattos said. “This represents a loss of about $198 million for the illegal organization.”“What is complex about this operation is seeing how narcotrafficking is able to build this kind of structure in such a remote place, and secondly, seeing the forest and environmental damage that narcotrafficking activities cause,” Col. Ahumada concluded. “We also found that many of the people who work in those areas do not get paid; at this point, they are essentially working to be able to consume psychoactive substances.”last_img read more

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Stresslines: Meeting the challenge of balancing work and life

first_imgHow can you maintain balance in your work-life equation in a world that demands more and more of your time?How can you meet your clients’ needs without experiencing unacceptably long hours and debilitating stress?Is it even possible to find reasonable balance in a work world as heated up and competitive as ours is today?The answer is: Yes, it is possible. But it is a qualified yes. To gain that elusive sense of balance, a lawyer needs to take affirmative action and definite steps in furtherance of the change that he or she craves.For 17 years, I have counseled attorneys on their career quandaries, and for 17 years, lawyers have told me about the problems they encounter functioning as attorneys and assuming other roles they undertake outside of work.Being fathers, mothers, caretakers for aging parents, contributors to society — not to mention finding time for themselves — can create real problems.Over time, I have also seen the poisonous effect of stress on lawyers: compromised health, broken marriages, alcoholism, depression, and burnout. And I have helped many lawyers to craft a work-life that creates better balance.Some lawyers need to leave the law to find the balance they seek. But most lawyers do not need to abandon their careers in law to find a personally gratifying mix of work-life and personal life.To achieve balance, begin by identifying your personal mix of life “nutrients” and “toxins.” Then learn coping mechanisms that help you add more nutrition and avoid more toxins in your life. Finally, do rudder repair on the way you approach your work-life. I’ll explain.First, try this exercise. Make a list of the activities you need in your life to feel happy, fulfilled, and stimulated. These are your nutrients.Do you need more time for your family? Do you crave the opportunity to travel? Do you want to spend more time doing work that benefits the world in a meaningful way?Next, make a list of the activities you need to avoid if at all possible. These are your toxins. For example, do you want to avoid dealing with your overbearing boss? Do you loathe litigation? Would you be happy if you could avoid fighting all the time with opposing counsel?Once you have your list of nutrients and toxins, grade each item on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest in terms of how strongly you feel about needing to include or to avoid the activity in your life.Then go back over the list and grade your current work-life in terms of how close or far you are from achieving the items on your list.For example, many of my clients list “more time with family” as a 10, and grade their current work-life mix as a 2 or 3 when it comes to that element. Clearly their work-life flunks when it comes to ability to actualize that wish for more family time.You can learn a great deal about yourself from this simple exercise. It provides clear and convincing evidence for many of my clients that work-life is failing particular needs in specific areas.I like this exercise because it is a useful tool to illuminate the causes of dissatisfaction and highlight personal priorities. It forces people to identify what they want, rather than what the world of significant others wants from them.It changes the glasses through which we see the world. From your perspective are you getting what you need? If not, how, specifically, is your work-life failing to meet your needs?Having identified your priorities, the next step in furtherance of change is to vow to keep your needs in mind as you go through life.This is not so easy. You will have to work hard to maximize opportunities that satisfy your needs. Like the prince in the standard fairy tale, you will be beset by challenges and diversions that will conspire to keep you from achieving your goals.Every knock on the door, every phone call, every option presented to you should be scrutinized and critically assessed against your personal list of nutrients and toxins. Will engaging in this activity further your personal goals or take you further away from realizing them?Good appellate argument presentation provides a point of reference. In an appellate argument, you want to stay mindful of the main points you must make to the panel of judges before your time is up. As you make your points, the judges fire questions at you that distract you from your purpose.A good appellate lawyer gets back to his or her agenda and continues to assert the key points of his or her case. Your career advocacy should follow the same standard. Although you may be interrupted, always look for the chance to advance your overriding goals.To advance your goals you will need to be able to say no. Conquering overwork means drawing the line in the sand, setting limits for yourself and others, but doing so judiciously and diplomatically.An aspiring associate must be careful about refusing work from his or her partner on a routine basis. However, if your partner is disorganized and routinely throws you curve balls that spoil your weekend plans, you might need to change practice areas, work your way toward an alliance with a different partner, or move to a different workplace altogether.Whenever you must say no, remember to say it nicely. Show some authentic concern for the person you are disappointing. Try to make up for your transgression by doing something to help that same person at a future time.I have heard lawyers lament that good guys finish last. That is not what I have seen over the years as I watch countless careers unfold and evolve. What I see is that people who are considerate of others are recognized by their peers in their legal neighborhood.Everyone knows who is nice and who is not. The nice guys who are also capable attorneys have more career options over time and generally fare better in the lottery of life.So say no to overwork for the sake of self-preservation, your family, and your law firm, but try to be considerate of others in the process.What about saying no to clients? Many lawyers have trouble putting limits on overly demanding clients. Some clients are a lot like kids. They need you now. They need reassurance. They want you to work magic.Lawyers are often afraid to disappoint their clients because we live in the age of the better deal. If lawyers disappoint their clients, they may go elsewhere.But imagine what the world would be like if your demanding three-year-old child determined whether you would get a pay check. “Gimme the candy now or you won’t be paid!” In no time flat we would all be raising a bunch of spoiled brats.In effect, some lawyers have let overly demanding clients behave like spoiled brats. Many good attorneys seem to be unable to object to unreasonable demands made by clients.Instead of helping the client to be more realistic, attorneys succumb to client pressure to pursue fruitless legal avenues or nonproductive, ill-advised motions or other legal maneuvers. This course of action leads to more work than is necessary and adds to the imbalance of work and personal life.Good parents know that when a child’s perceptions are off base, he or she may respond to reassurance. If a child mistakenly believes that there is a monster under the bed, the good parent does not say, “I bet you’re right; let’s go get the judge to issue an emergency TRO to keep it from hurting you.”Ridiculous as that scenario sounds, many lawyers engage in acts of equal or greater folly to avoid disappointing powerful, overbearing, or fearful clients.Lawyers need to be able to set reasonable limits for clients. They need to set these limits with a thorough understanding of the ramifications of such advice for their clients’ cases. That ability to call the shots and manage the case is part of being a professional.For an attorney to have the courage to set reasonable limits for clients, he or she must have faith in his or her ability to attract new clients. A lawyer cannot be too fearful about whether the client will take his marbles and go play elsewhere. Business organizational and development skills are key.If you are able to attract many clients, you will able to assert your plan for case management with the difficult client without worrying that you and your family will starve. Portable practice can be an effective pass code to a more balanced life.Even if you establish a loyal base of clients, you still need to manage your practice with an eye to efficiency. Delegate to others by teaching them to do their jobs correctly. If their work-product is unsatisfactory do not infantilize them by redoing their tasks yourself. Reeducate them.Learn to be very organized. Put everything away at the end of the day. Force yourself to write down anything that might slip your mind, and put small scraps of paper into envelopes that are clearly marked. Then get those envelopes into the correct files. Keep a large appointment calendar to keep track of meetings and important due dates. Organization is a matter of habits.Procrastination is inefficient. If you are prone to procrastination, conquer it by figuring out what you are trying to avoid. Then create a strategy to eradicate it.Are you too much of a perfectionist? Do you avoid calling the confrontational lawyer on the other side because you do not want to deal with the emotions she or he creates in you? Do you despise your mental diet? Would you be a more successful lawyer if you were in a practice area that was more interesting to you?Lawyers are often assigned to practice areas that are not well-suited to their personalities or interests. Attorneys receive no counseling on this issue, and law firms routinely plug lawyers into areas where the firm needs the most help.For some attorneys, a mismatch of practice area and interest may eventually create or contribute to career problems. As a young lawyer, if you do not enjoy your practice area do not wait longer than two to three years to move to one that is more stimulating for you.Many lawyers have trouble fine-tuning their practice area because they hate to have to ask to be treated differently.Lawyers are troopers. They have learned that a boot-camp mentality is a likely predictor of success in the field.But that attitude can be self-defeating if it blocks you from hearing the little voice inside that Oprah would call your spirit, or a sense of well-being and personal satisfaction. That voice is an early warning system that may be trying to tell you trouble is brewing.Most reasonably insightful people would know a lot more about themselves if they would just listen to the little “inner voice” instead of turning down the volume.Finding balance in life is tricky and elusive but can be achieved if you identify your needs, advocate for yourself and like what you do. The bedrock of a balanced life is built upon work you enjoy.Small changes make a big difference over time. Even the QEII will turn around once the rudder is in the right position. So do the necessary rudder repair to achieve a more balanced life. Chicago attorney and career counselor Sheila Nielsen writes on personal fulfillment and redirection of careers within the law. She can be contacted at Nielsen Consulting Service, 155 N. Michigan Are., Chicago 60601, telephone (312) 616-4416. All names and situations depicted have been changed. This column is published under the sponsorship of the Quality of Life and Career Committee. The committee’s Web site is at www.fla-lap.org/qlsm . The Quality of Life and Career Committee, in cooperation with the Florida State University College of Law, also has an interactive listserv titled “The Healthy Lawyer.” Details and subscription information regarding the listserv can be accessed through the committee’s Web site or by going directly to www.fla-lap.org/qlsm May 15, 2002 Sheila Nielsen Regular News Stresslines: Meeting the challenge of balancing work and lifecenter_img Stresslines: Meeting the challenge of balancing work and lifelast_img read more

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