New research suggests large families have made socially conservative views more prevalent

first_imgLinkedIn Pinterest Large families in the United States are more likely to hold culturally conservative attitudes and this differential fertility can help sustain large pockets of opposition to change, according to new research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.“For the past several years, I have been studying how fertility variation within one generation reshapes the next. I started by looking at outcomes that are common terrain for economists, like education. But sooner or later, I took interest in cultural traits as outcomes, especially those connected with ideas about how the family should look,” said study author Tom Vogl, an associate professor at the University of California San Diego.The researchers analyzed data provided by 12,017 participants between 2004 and 2018 during the General Social Survey, a nationally representative survey of U.S. adults. The survey collected data about family size and also asked participants about their views regarding abortion and same-sex marriage. The researchers found a link between family size and conservative values. People with a greater number of siblings tended to be more opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage, which was mostly explained by greater religiosity and lower educational attainment.“Natural selection is a silent warrior in America’s culture wars,” the researchers wrote in their study.The association between the number of siblings and attitudes was responsible for increasing opposition to abortion from 53% to 57%. Similarly, the association between the number of siblings and attitudes was responsible for increasing opposition to same-sex marriage from 38% to 41%.The results indicate “that slow-moving demographic processes can influence culture,” Vogl told PsyPost.“People with conservative attitudes about how the family should look tend to have larger families (more children, more siblings), which makes these attitudes — like opposition to abortion and gay marriage — more prevalent across generations. New ideas can spread rapidly within a generation, as they have for gay marriage over the past two decades, but demographic forces push back against them.”“Our research does not establish why traditional-family conservatism is related to family size. Our preferred theory is that many facets of traditional-family conservatism — opposition to abortion, homosexuality, and women’s work, for example — are inherently pronatalist, so the concentration of these attitudes in larger families makes sense,” Vogl explained.“But beyond showing that the family size associations are specific to traditional-family conservatism and do not extend to other forms of conservatism, we do not shed light on the mechanism. That would be a useful direction for future research.”“Despite the importance of so-called ‘family values’ issues in U.S. politics, the demographic phenomenon we document does not have immediate partisan implications. Family size does not have a robust relationship with partisan affiliation,” Vogl added.The study, “Differential fertility makes society more conservative on family values“, was authored by Tom S. Vogl and Jeremy Freese. Sharecenter_img Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Emaillast_img read more

Experts: Multiple Zika vaccine platforms likely needed

first_imgAbout a year ago—on Nov 11, 2015—Brazil declared a national emergency after 141 babies were born with microcephaly, or abnormally small heads and brains. The mothers of these babies had been infected with Zika virus, a mosquito-borne flavivirus that usually causes mild to not symptoms, in pregnancy, and officials strongly suspected a link.Now, as Zika continues to march across large swaths of the globe and thousands more babies have been born with congenital disorders, the race for a Zika vaccine is at full throttle. And experts in the field say that it’s likely there will one day be at least two vaccines used to beat back the virus.”We have at least five vaccines with our fingerprint on them,” said Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). “Some further along than others.”According to Fauci, this is one of the most hotly pursued vaccines in medical history, with dozens of companies, government agencies, and nations throwing billions of dollars into research and development (a BMJ editorial last week said there were about 30 Zika vaccine projects in the works).Because of the unique properties of the disease, including the strong possibility it will become endemic in parts of South America, a vaccine is necessary to prevent microcephaly and other birth defects.”Zika could be something like rubella, where the only way to prevent birth defects is to vaccinate everyone in childhood and protect future pregnancies,” said Fauci.But unlike rubella, Zika will likely be combatted by two, and not one, vaccines: First a DNA-based vaccine that will confer immunity for a shorter period and could help stamp out the current outbreak, and later a live-attenuated-virus–based vaccine that could offer lifelong immunity to recipients.DNA-based for outbreaks, travelersWhile Fauci said it’s impossible to tell which vaccine will most likely be the first to succeed and begin protect people from the mosquito-borne illness, he said a few are more “temporally likely” than others.”A straightforward DNA-based vaccine could be used in the middle of an outbreak, or before travel to an area experiencing an outbreak,” said Fauci. In that way, the Zika vaccine would act like dengue or yellow fever immunization. In fact, because Zika is a flavivirus, and so many flaviviruses have successful vaccines, researchers and pharmaceutical companies have been quick to assume Zika will be similar.In August, NIAID’s Vaccine Research Center began human trials of its investigational Zika vaccine (VRC 319), which  includes a small, circular piece of DNA—called a plasmid—that contains genes that code for proteins of the Zika virus. When injected into muscle, the plasmid helps the body make virus-like particles.”The speed with this vaccine [development] is unprecedented,” said Fauci. Currently VRC 319 is being tested in humans in phase 1 trials at three clinical sites.That speed is due to a number of factors, said Sri Edupuganti, MD, MPH. Edupuganti is heading the clinical trial of VRC 319 at Emory University. She and her colleagues have tested the safety of and immune response to the injection in 11 adults, with plans to increase the study size to 30 in the coming weeks.”Because of the last 20 years of vaccine development, mainly because of HIV vaccine work, we’ve benefited from technology and strategies to quickly work on a Zika vaccine,” said Edupuganti. She explained that VRC 319 is also based on the now-abandoned West Nile virus vaccine (no major pharmaceutical companies invested in that vaccine).”Using West Nile as a backbone allowed us to be very nimble,” said Edupuganti.Live-attenuated vaccine for endemic regionsWhile some DNA vaccines are already in clinical trials, a research group at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston was one of the first approached by the Brazilian Ministry of Health in February to begin work on a live-attenuated-virus vaccine.”When you look at the most successful vaccines, polio, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, these are all live-attenuated vaccines,” said Pei-Yong Shi, PhD, a molecular biologist at UTMB. Shi’s group is using a unique reverse-genetic system to craft its vaccine. It’s the first time such technology will be used in vaccine development, and Shi said it allows his group to make a live-attenuated vaccine that’s safe for recipients.”We can manipulate the virus anywhere in its genome like a Lego block. We take out the disease-causing elements, weaken the virus, and produce an effective and safe vaccine,” said Shi.He said a live-attenuated virus-based vaccine is the best long-term solution for a disease with far-reaching consequences for countries like Brazil. Because DNA-based vaccines may need boosters or may confer immunity for only a short period, developing a safe vaccine that can be given in childhood and offer lifelong immunity before recipients bear children is the best way to protect fetuses from Zika.”Even in an endemic situation you would still have outbreaks, so there needs to be a safe and long-lasting vaccine,” said Shi, who said his team is currently working with the Instituto Evandro Chagas and National Reference Laboratory for Arbovirus in Brazil. “So there’s probably a role for more than two types of vaccine.” Shi would not say when the live-attenuated vaccine would be ready for trials. Unlike the DNA-based vaccine, a live-attenuated vaccine will have a higher safety hurdle to jump because it contains parts of the Zika virus.More interest, more moneyBefore Zika exploded, the last disease to trigger a substantial wave of vaccine activity was Ebola. But unlike the Ebola virus outbreak of 2014-2016, which prompted the NIAID to fund only three vaccine candidates, the Zika virus has been drawing more interest from major pharmaceutical companies and governments.”I don’t know exactly why there’s been so much interest in Zika,” said Fauci. “It’s probably that Ebola is always an outbreak, while Zika has the possibility of becoming endemic in South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia.”The possibility of Zika becoming endemic in several highly populated countries could mean a profit for companies that produce a Zika vaccine.See also:Nov 10 BMJ editorialAug 3 Emory University press release on phase 1 trialsFeb 16 UTMB press release on collaboration with BrazilNIAID Zika vaccine pagelast_img read more

Pendulum swings against offices in West End

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Triton Knoll Extends Landowner Liaison Contract with LDS

first_imgLincolnshire design consultancy Land Drainage Services Ltd (LDS) has been awarded a contract extension by Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm to provide a long-term liaison service between the project and its local landowners.The contract is seen as essential to balancing the needs and interests of both Triton Knoll and its land owners, as it prepares for the future installation of the wind farm’s underground export cable and infrastructure.Triton Knoll has consent to install almost 60 kilometres of onshore underground export cable, an intermediate electrical compound at Orby, and a new substation at Bicker Fen.During the preparation for construction and into the work itself, the project will need to continually liaise with well over 120 separate landowners and occupiers.LDS’s Neil Whitehead has been working with Triton Knoll since 2015, and he will remain a key contact for landowners throughout the project’s delivery.Triton Knoll project director James Cotter said: “Land Drainage Services has demonstrated a real understanding of the project and the importance of putting land owners first, and has forged a positive and trusted reputation with local landowners. This is an important role representing the project on the ground, and we feel confident LDS will continue to deliver this to the best of their abilities.”The 900MW Triton Knoll will be located approximately 32km off the Lincolnshire coast and 50km off the coast of North Norfolk. The wind farm is being developed as a joint venture between Innogy Renewables UK Ltd (innogy) (50%) and Statkraft (50%), with innogy managing the project on behalf of the partnership.last_img read more

SLG teams up with schools and charity to highlight pro bono

first_imgThe Solicitors in Local Government (SLG) group has teamed up with three schools and a legal advice charity to raise the profile of local authority lawyers in the ‘neglected’ area of pro bono work. The SLG has agreed a partnership arrangement with the Citizenship Foundation to participate in its Lawyers In Schools scheme. The scheme places legal professionals in the classroom to help develop young people’s awareness and understanding of the law. The SLG has also linked up with LawWorks, a charity providing free legal help to individuals and community groups. SLG chairman Guy Goodman said: ‘Pro bono has been neglected by local authority lawyers, but that is set to change. The funding is in place for us to begin working with three schools, two in Yorkshire and one in the East Midlands. More than 20 law firms are already active in the scheme across the country, but this is the first time SLG has become involved. Our lawyers also have the skills and experience to help LawWorks continue providing a free advice service.’last_img read more

WikiLeaks take us into a legal – and moral – maze

first_imgCablegate has some way to run. It is far too soon to know the final consequences for all those involved, though few may find that the affair ends well for them. We may, however, be able to glimpse the wider implications of this episode. We could, after all, be in at the birth of the internet’s Gutenberg bible – the moment of dramatic change in the form of political communication, even if the final distribution of forces remains, as yet, unclear. One of the best accounts of Julian Assange comes from Raffi Khatchadourian in the New Yorker (7 June). He went to Reykjavik to interview Assange in ‘the Bunker’, a secluded house. Assange and WikiLeaks volunteers were preparing to release the video from the US Apache helicopter of the killing of 18 people. Assange had a rootless childhood. His mother was constantly on the move; he allegedly attended 37 schools. He became fascinated by computers; got a conviction for hacking and a compulsion for information. Some of Assange’s writings are pretty impenetrable but his recent op-ed piece in The Australian (8 December) is coherent enough. He argues that there is no proof that anyone has yet been hurt by the disclosures and that WikiLeaks has uncovered a number of ‘startling facts’, ranging from the State Department’s attempt to get its diplomats to spy on senior UN officials, to the fixing of our Iraq inquiry to protect ‘US interests’. In his article, Assange refers to the US Supreme Court’s comment in the Pentagon Papers case that ‘only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government’. A video on the web shows Assange comparing notes with a remarkably well-preserved Daniel Ellsberg, the leaker of the Pentagon Papers 30 years ago. The difference is size and focus. Ellsberg was hand-copying his papers through a Xerox machine; he was pushed to process 7,000 pages and would not have had a chance with WikiLeaks’ 250,000 documents. Ellsberg was also leaking a document specifically put together for a purpose with which he disagreed; Assange is leaking information bundled up simply because technology allowed it to be put together. There are themes in the content but they are more indiscriminate. The prime responsibility for Cablegate lies with the US State Department. Create a database of fascinating information that is accessible to over three million people and the only issue is how long you wait for the first leak. This was the pragmatic argument against identity cards which Justice pressed time and time again. The identity database, now cancelled, would potentially have contained a major source on every significant transaction you made. Yet there would have been wide access – an enquiring journalist’s dream. The cables reveal little with which to reproach its working diplomats – save for the odd incentive to spy on the UN. They seem to be making a pretty good fist of reporting what is going on. It is the idiots who couldn’t set up a system to keep it quiet that should take the heat. The key issue is what duties does WikiLeaks have? Legal responsibilities seem, to the US administration at least, distressingly few. The US has been scouring its espionage legislation, but this requires obtaining information ‘with intent to be used to the injury of the United States’. Assange’s line is that: ‘Democratic societies need a strong media and WikiLeaks is part of that media.’ He would argue that US democracy benefits from his work. But should he accept any measure of moral restraint? In September, Article 19, which styles itself the ‘global campaign for free expression’, published a statement on WikiLeaks. It is generally supportive but it does argue that ‘WikiLeaks and similar sites should follow good ethical practices to ensure that the information made available is accurate, fairly presented and does not substantially harm other persons’. This gets close to the heart of the moral darkness that is the web. In the absence of legal control, the web is self-regulating in two senses. Content is controlled by the individual moral decisions of those posting it, like Assange. In another sense, the whole thing regulates itself in the crudest way possible – the balance at any one moment of the conflicting interests of governments, commercial and assorted hackers, leakers and freedom insurrectionists. In such circumstances, the comparison between publication on the internet and in print screams for further attention. Newspaper editors, notably Paul Dacre of the Mail, rage against the privacy restrictions that face the tabloid press in performing their sacred public duty of exposing celebrities’ sexual peccadilloes. Cablegate just underlines the triviality of most of the cases in which this has been fought out in our courts. But how long can we justify tight rules for printed media when these manifestly do not apply, and cannot be enforced, against publication on the internet? At the very least, are we not going to have to construe the public interest a little more in favour of print publication? Bear in mind that one of WikiLeaks’ earlier successes was the Trafigura case, where it broke the story of facts which were clearly in the public interest but which were then being suppressed. The genie is out of the bottle. There will be plenty of disaffected citizens attracted by WikiLeaks’ offer of ‘a high security anonymous drop box fortified by cutting-edge cryptographic information technologies’. More hitherto confidential information is undoubtedly coming our way. We, as readers, will have to use our own judgement more to appraise its value rather than have it processed for us. On balance, I’m for it, but you could easily take a different view. It doesn’t really matter – it is going to happen anyway. Roger Smith is director of the law reform and human rights organisation Justicelast_img read more

The watchdog has finally barked

first_imgTo continue enjoying, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe now for unlimited access 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

Geest Line returns to Portsmouth

first_imgThe company moved these operations to Dover two years ago due to scheduling difficulties at Portsmouth, which the port said have now been resolved.Geest Line specialises in shipments to the Caribbean, handling a range of cargoes including machinery, containers, breakbulk and project cargo. Its return sailings from the Caribbean mainly cater for the shipment of fruit – predominantly bananas – for the UK and other European markets.Geest Line managing director, Peter Dixon, explained: “We left Portsmouth because of scheduling difficulties when we replaced our fleet with five larger and newer ships, increasing our capacity by 40 percent.“The port at Dover was able to accommodate us and enabled our business to continue and grow. But changes at Portsmouth mean it can now handle our larger and modified service and it makes sense to return.” read more

Man, 75, dies while collecting pension

first_imgSOUTH AFRICA – Cape Town – 19 July 2019 – Stock – Vangate Mall – Lovely and vibrant little mall in Athlone. Entire Food court is halaal. Main shops are spar, pick n pay, Edgars, Woolworths. Free parking and conveniently close to Cape Town CBD and Cape Town International Airport. Front facade. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA) A pensioner collapsed and died while walking to Vangate Mall to collect his pension last Monday. Police are now urging seniors not to exert themselves during the coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown. The 75-year-old man was going to the mall to collect his pension and do some shopping when he collapsed and died, according to Athone police spokeswoman Sergeant Zita Norman. An inquest docket was opened. “We urge pensioners to take care during this time; it is very stressful so if they have someone who can collect their grants for them or drive them to where they need to be it would help. Pensioners must try to not exhaust themselves during this time,” she said. Meanwhile, pensioners queued outside the mall in the cold from as early as 5am last Monday after the Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said pensions would be available from March 30 to 31 to alleviate overcrowding. All other social grants were to be paid, as per schedule, on April 1.Mia May accompanied her 63-year-old aunt, Avril May, to Vangate Mall Pick * Pay to collect her pension. She said the queue had snaked into the parking lot as pensioners had seized the chance to collect their grants earlier and do some shopping. Mia said her efforts to help her aunt had been in vain as a manager had stopped her going inside with aunt as she wasn’t a senior.“I told him that I am accompanying my aunt like I usually do every month as she cannot carry her groceries, and he said no I have to wait outside. Pensioners were getting so annoyed as they were standing in the cold for hours.”Then, after two hours, staff had brought trolleys for the seniors to lean against as their legs were getting tired and sore from standing, she said.“They knew pensioners were coming so why were they not prepared for this? I hope that as this lockdown continues that they come up with a better plan.”Vangate Mall did not respond to questions by the time this edition went to print.last_img read more

Tilting to St Petersburg

first_imgTRIALS with a Finnish Pendolino trainset between Helsinki and St Petersburg are planned in the near future.In a Letter of Intent signed on March 14, Executive Director of VR Group Tapio Simosom and Vice-President of Russian Railways Mikhail Akulov agreed to establish a joint venture to buy and operate high speed trains between the two cities. The JV is to be registered by the end of June, after which a tender will be called for six trainsets at an estimated cost of €11m each. Five are needed for the planned service, which could halve the current 6h journey time, with the sixth spare or undergoing maintenance. A decision in principle to upgrade the present service of three loco-hauled trains a day each way had been taken at a meeting in Moscow on February 2 between RZD President Vladimir Yakunin and VR Group President & Chief Executive Officer Henri Kuitunen. Pendolino builder Alstom has been chosen as a ’possible partner’. nlast_img read more