Dangerous heat

first_imgNew research from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) suggests that seemingly small changes in summer temperature swings — as little as 1°C more than usual — may shorten life expectancy for elderly people with chronic medical conditions, and could result in thousands of additional deaths each year. While previous studies have focused on the short-term effects of heat waves, this is the first study to examine the longer-term effects of climate change on life expectancy.The study was published online April 9 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.“The effect of temperature patterns on long-term mortality has not been clear to this point. We found that, independent of heat waves, high day-to-day variability in summer temperatures shortens life expectancy,” said Antonella Zanobetti, senior research scientist in HSPH’s Department of Environmental Health and lead author of the study. “This variability can be harmful for susceptible people.”In recent years, scientists have predicted that climate change will not only increase overall world temperatures but will also increase summer temperature variability, particularly in mid-latitude regions such as the mid-Atlantic states of the United States and sections of countries such as France, Spain, and Italy. These more volatile temperature swings could pose a major public health problem, the authors note.Previous studies have confirmed the association between heat waves and higher death rates. But this new research goes a step further. Although heat waves can kill in the short term, the authors say, even minor temperature variations caused by climate change may also increase death rates over time among elderly people with diabetes, heart failure, chronic lung disease, or those who have survived a previous heart attack.The researchers used Medicare data from 1985 to 2006 to follow the long-term health of 3.7 million chronically ill people over age 65 living in 135 U.S. cities. They evaluated whether mortality among these people was related to variability in summer temperature, allowing for other things that might influence the comparison, such as individual risk factors, winter temperature variance, and ozone levels. They compiled results for individual cities, then pooled the results.Within each city, years when the summer temperature swings were larger had higher death rates than years with smaller swings. Each 1°C increase in summer temperature variability increased the death rate for elderly with chronic conditions between 2.8 percent and 4 percent, depending on the condition. Mortality risk increased 4 percent for those with diabetes; 3.8 percent for those who’d had a previous heart attack; 3.7 percent for those with chronic lung disease; and 2.8 percent for those with heart failure. Based on these increases in mortality risk, the researchers estimate that greater summer temperature variability in the United States could result in more than 10,000 additional deaths per year.In addition, the researchers found the mortality risk was 1 percent to 2 percent greater for those living in poverty and for African Americans. The risk was 1 percent to 2 percent lower for people living in cities with more green space.Mortality risk was higher in hotter regions, the researchers found. Noting that physiological studies suggest that the elderly and those with chronic conditions have a harder time than others adjusting to extreme heat, they say it’s likely these groups may also be less resilient than others to bigger-than-usual temperature swings.“People adapt to the usual temperature in their city. That is why we don’t expect higher mortality rates in Miami than in Minneapolis, despite the higher temperatures,” said Joel Schwartz, professor of environmental epidemiology at HSPH and senior author of the paper. “But people do not adapt as well to increased fluctuations around the usual temperature. That finding, combined with the increasing age of the population, the increasing prevalence of chronic conditions such as diabetes, and possible increases in temperature fluctuations due to climate change, means that this public health problem is likely to grow in importance in the future.”Support for the study was provided by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.last_img read more

Spread the Word to End the Word’

first_imgNotre Dame students are pledging to “Spread the Word to End the Word” today to fight insensitivity toward those with disabilities as part of “End the R-Word Day.” “Spread the Word to End the Word [is] a campaign started by Soeren Palumbo, a 2011 graduate, and Timothy Shriver,” said Maureen Connelly, co-president of Special Olympics Notre Dame. “The ultimate focus of the campaign is to spread awareness and help people realize the hurtfulness of the derogatory use of the word ‘retarded’ and to encourage them not only to pledge to not use it, but to encourage other people to not use it as well.” This year marks the fifth “End the R-Word Day.” While Palumbo instituted the day at Notre Dame, the University is just one of hundreds of colleges and elementary, middle and high schools across the country participating in the campaign. Palumbo, a 2011 graduate of Notre Dame, founded Special Olympics Notre Dame his senior year with a group of students in an effort to increase engagement between students and disabled members of the community through athletics. Palumbo, who is pursuing a JD/MBA at the University of Pennsylvania, will be speaking at tomorrow’s “Spread the Word” rally at 7 p.m. in the Hesburgh Library’s Carey Auditorium. “I’ll be there to talk about where ‘Spread the Word’ came from, how did it start, how did it grow, what role did Notre Dame play in those two things, why is it important, where is it going [and] what is Notre Dame’s role in the future of the campaign,” Palumbo said. Students can commit to the cause by signing banners from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in both dining halls and LaFortune Student Center. Connelly said students are encouraged to not only pledge themselves to the campaign, but to solicit participation from friends. “Encourage others – truly spread the word to end the word. If you hear someone using it, it’s uncomfortable, but at the same time it’s so powerful to have someone tell you, ‘Hey, you really shouldn’t use that in that sense,’” Connelly said. “If you never really realized how offensive it was before, it kind of opens up your eyes. People are scared sometimes to speak out against it, but they don’t realize that some people truly don’t know that it’s offensive.” Palumbo said the campaign is about more than ending use of the r-word. “I think that it’s important to end the use of the r-word because language not only informs us, language transforms us,” he said. “When we use divisive words or exclusionary words or dehumanizing words, like retard or retarded, we not only build up barriers between people and isolate people and exclude people, but we ourselves become the barriers. We force others out when we define our world through exclusionary language.” Using these insensitive terms is not just hurtful to people with disabilities, Palumbo said. “At the same time, I think that it robs us without disabilities of that perspective, that dimension of the human experience that I think is very enriching and contributes to a more complete and more beautiful understanding of what it means to be human,” he said. “When we use the words retard or retarded, we embrace the attitude that it engenders and we prevent all of that.”,A few years ago, I had a conversation with my brother that changed my life. I was sharing a story about an autistic boy, Liam, with whom I had spent time as a camp counselor for people with special needs. My brother commented that Liam was a boy with autism rather than an autistic boy. Liam was a person first; autism should be used to describe, not to define. Before this, altering labels seemed like trivial semantics. That night, however, I realized that language matters.  While words inform and share, they serve another function. Whether consciously or subconsciously, our words define and limit our outlook on the world, our opinion of others and our understanding of how others should be treated. By defining Liam as an autistic boy rather than a boy with autism, I was also confirming my view that Liam was somehow different from me and somehow separate from me. Wednesday, March 6, was the fifth annual Spread the Word to End the Word Day, a campaign devoted to raising awareness about the dehumanizing effects of words such as retard and retarded. As stated by Special Olympics, these derogatory slurs promote “painful stereotypes of people with intellectual disabilities being less valued members of humanity.” I believe the elimination of hurtful words such as retard and retarded will help fade the differences that seem to set people with physical and intellectual disabilities apart and allow humanity to emerge as the defining characteristic of us all. I am not asking for donations of time or Domer Dollars. Rather, I ask my classmates to recognize that words dictate how we view and understand others in our community and consequently influence our actions. Whether you joined the myriad of people around the world by signing the pledge on March 6 to uphold the dignity of all people, I encourage you, as a member of Notre Dame community, to do even more. I urge you to practice what you preach by extending the spirit of inclusion and love that is intrinsic to the Notre Dame family to everyone, regardless of ability. Rachael Palumbo senior Pangborn Halllast_img read more

Mistletoe Help

first_img R. Jarret, UGA CAES MISTLETOE, though good for kissing, can harm the tree it lives in and on. Though not a true parasite, mistletoe steals water and nutrients from the tree it grows in. “Mistletoe is actually an epiphyte,” said Jerry Walker, a plant pathologist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “It’s not a true parasite, because it produces its own chlorophyl. It draws water and other nutrients from the host tree.” Walker said mistletoe’s leathery green leaves contain chlorophyll that lets it make sugar carbon dioxide and water, like all other green plants. “Its root system invades the internal tissues of the host tree, extracting water and minerals, and anchors it to the host,” Walker said. “Basically, it grows on another plant at its expense.” Sharing its water and minerals with mistletoe is no problem for healthy trees. But unhealthy trees can sometimes fall to the added stress. “Weak, older and unhealthy trees are often hosts for mistletoe,” he said. The mistletoe found in the South is American mistletoe. “In the western states, they have dwarf mistletoe, which is very harmful to the host plant, especially conifers,” Walker said. Mistletoe may have gotten its link to the holiday season in part because it’s so noticeable in the winter. “You see it in trees this time of year because most of its hosts are deciduous and have lost their leaves,” said Walker. “It’s there year-round. You just can see it so easily now.” You see mistletoe in trees around homes and cities more often than in undisturbed forests. UGA wildlife scientist Jeff Jackson has his own theory as to why. “Mistletoe provides birds, especially mockingbirds, one of the few winter berries around,” Jackson said. “Where you see mistletoe in trees, you’ll most likely see mockingbirds perched on the branches.” Jackson says mockingbirds are very territorial. They tend to make their homes in areas where humans live. “They don’t feed from your bird feeder. But they’re in your yard driving other birds away,” he said. “They also perch high in trees, and that’s where mistletoe tends to grow.” The wind and several bird species spread mistletoe from tree to tree. The birds feed on the white berries, roost in the treetops and deposit the seeds on the branches. Birds aren’t the only ones that benefit from mistletoe. “It’s the sole host plant of an interesting butterfly called the great blue hairstreak,” Jackson said. “This butterfly is in the same family as the little blue butterflies you see in the spring.” In caterpillar form, the butterfly feeds on mistletoe. “Its wingspread is a little over an inch, and the wings reflect a metallic blue when open,” said Jackson. “If you want to see it in your garden, watch under the trees that host mistletoe.” Although birds and butterflies find the berries tasty, they’re toxic to humans. When decorating with mistletoe, keep it out of reach of children and pets. The stem and leaves are toxic, too, and can irritate skin. In most cases, mistletoe doesn’t damage trees. However, in rare cases of multiple infections, it may. Infected branches, and even the whole tree, may die. R. Jarret, UGA CAES For centuries, sweethearts have stolen kisses under the green branches and white berries of holiday mistletoe. Few of them know the plant is actually a type of parasite that draws part of its lifeblood from its tree host. MISTLETOE starts out as a tiny, harmless- looking plant on a tree, but can grow into a problem. “It’s an interesting plant. But it’s not desirable, unless you grow it for harvest at Christmastime,” Walker said. “There are no chemicals labeled in Georgia for its removal. But you can control it by cutting it out of the trees.” Cut out infected limbs 1 to 2 feet below the infection point. If you remove only the mistletoe, it will probably regrow. Removing infected limbs may not be easy when the mistletoe is in the treetop. “Years ago, people would shoot it out with shotguns,” Walker said. “But I don’t recommend that.”last_img read more

Dutch doctors’ scheme ditches commodities following review

first_imgCredit: Darko Stojanovic The Dutch doctors’ pension scheme has cut its allocations to Chinese equities and commodities“The divestment of the last and most complicated investments came with calculated losses, which we deemed acceptable relative to the profits generated by the initial allocation,” the scheme told IPE.The pension fund said it had now fully committed an €80m allocation to investments in care home properties as an impact investment, adding that the 10 assets it already owned had generated a result of 5.4%.The scheme has a hedge fund allocation of almost €5m. SPH has been divesting this position since 2016.The occupational pension fund posted an overall investment loss of 0.9%.Future plansLast year, SPH introduced a new framework for balance sheet management, focusing on its risk budget. An important part of the new setup was a funding level-based matrix for strategic asset allocation, which would direct its investment policy towards an increasingly defensive asset mix and interest rate hedge as the scheme’s funding level improved.At year-end, its interest rate hedge position stood at 69%. It said the cover had contributed 2.6 percentage points to its overall return. In contrast, it lost 1.6 percentage points as a result of its currency hedge.The board also said it had started evaluating its current arrangements in order to improve the sustainability of its pension plan. The outcome would be used as input towards a new administration system to be introduced in 2022, the board said, when its current provider provider PGGM aimed to replace its current system.Dutch pensions publication Pensioen Pro, citing SPH, reported that the reorientation could also lead to the pension fund taking its administration in-house, or co-operating with another self-administrating scheme.The occupational pension fund granted its participants additional pension rights of 3.1%, based on its coverage ratio of 138.6% at the end of 2018. However, it said the indexation bonus was still short of its target of 2.25% plus wage inflation, which amounted to 4.2% in total.Last year, SPH replaced PGGM with BlackRock as manager of its interest rate-matching mandate of government bonds and interest swaps. It said the change followed the appointment of Achmea Investment Management as “co-ordinating” manager.SPH reported administration costs of €598 per participant. It spent 28bps and 6bps on asset management and transactions, respectively.The GP scheme has 11,670 active participants, 1,288 deferred members and 7,095 pensioners. SPH, the €11bn Dutch occupational scheme for general practitioners, has divested its 4% allocation to commodities following an investment review.In its annual report for 2018, the scheme said it had concluded that commodities offered “limited value” to the scheme and that access to the risk premium was getting increasingly complicated.“As the market is getting smarter, it is necessary to keep on developing a clever strategy,” it said. “We have estimated that the risk premium of simply keeping a commodities allocation had become insufficient.”The pension fund reported a 15.2% loss on commodities for 2018, but this still represented a slight outperformance relative to its benchmark. SPH also cut its Chinese equity holidngs last year, preferring instead to focus on broader benchmarks and equity mandates.In its annual report, it said that it had lost 10.5% on emerging market equities, attributing the result in part to the performance of Chinese equity.The doctors’ scheme made a 22.4% loss on private equity in 2018, in the last phase of a gradual divestment of the asset class that began in 2011.last_img read more

Seabed Solutions Joins Subsea UK

first_imgNew marine services firm Seabed & Offshore Solutions (Seabed Solutions) has joined industry trade body Subsea UK.Launched in January 2019, Seabed Solutions is led by managing director Martin Sisley, a former board member of Subsea UK.He previously held senior positions at James Fisher Marine Services, Red7Offshore, and Ocean Installer.Seabed Solutions will work with the association to increase brand awareness, the company said.Martin Sisley said, “Joining Subsea UK is a great move for us. The network brings together operators, contractors, suppliers and key contacts from the sector, which for a new business is a huge help.”Seabed Solutions will provide total solutions for all seabed related matters during the life-cycle of offshore energy assets (offshore wind, wave, tidal, oil & gas, and associated infrastructure).Seabed Solutions has been formed through the collaboration of Martin Sisley, offshore energy consultancy Nautilus Associates and a group of specialist investors.last_img read more

Thornton is fastest at Knoxville for another IMCA Arnold Motor Supply Dirt Knights Tour win

first_imgRicky Thornton Jr. made it three straight Arnold Motor Supply Dirt Knights Tour wins Thursday night, collecting the $2,000 checkers at Knoxville Raceway. (Photo by Jim Zimmerline)KNOXVILLE, Iowa (July 19) – Ricky Thornton Jr. added another career highlight-type IMCA Modified feature win to a resume that’s already full of them Thursday night.Thornton led start to finish of the Arnold Motor Supply Dirt Knights Tour main event at Knoxville Raceway, earning $2,000 for his series record third straight victory.“This win is huge,” the Arizona transplant said. “Growing up, we all watched the Knoxville Nationals and to win in only my third race here is just great.”Thornton had gotten caught in a wreck while running near the front in last year’s tour event at Knoxville. Traffic wasn’t an issue in Thursday’s Dynamic Drivelines Dirt Duel as Thornton took charge from outside the front row. Cayden Carter was close behind but a caution with six circuits left in the 25-lapper cleared the track ahead of the leader.Carter, Richie Gustin, Jacob Murray and 2017 race winner Chris Abelson rounded out the top five.“The biggest thing was that I was able to set my own pace,” said Thornton, qualified multiple times for the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot. “I wanted to be able to save my tires and I was able to do that.”Cory Van Zante led all 20 laps from the pole in the Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMod feature, taking the checkers ahead of Cody Olsen, defending race winner Curtis Van Der Wal, Cory Rose and Dusty Masolini.“This place has a lot of fame and history behind it. I remember going to the Knoxville Nationals when I was a kid,” said Van Zante. “To win here is a dream come true.”The race ran caution-free and Van Zante had put one lapped car behind him before collecting his career second feature win. His first had come earlier this season, his fifth in the class, at Marshalltown.“The track was fastest around the bottom. You definitely had to hit your marks or somebody would take advantage,” Van Zante said. “There were a lot of good cars here tonight.”Forty-nine Modifieds and 33 Northern SportMods vied at Knoxville.Feature ResultsModifieds – 1. Ricky Thornton Jr., Clive; 2. Cayden Carter, Oskaloosa; 3. Richie Gustin, Gilman; 4. Jacob Murray; 5. Chris Abelson, Sioux City; 6. Hunter Marriott, Brookfield, Mo.; 7. Corey Dripps, Reinbeck; 8. Kyle Brown, Madrid; 9. Troy Cordes, Dunkerton; 10. Todd Van Eaton, Orient; 11. John Parmely, Phoenix, Arz.; 12. Matt Ryan, Davenport; 13. Al Hejna, Clear Lake; 14. Kurt Kile, Nichols; 15. Justin Kay, Wheatland; 16. Kelly Shryock, Fertile; 17. Carter VanDenBerg, Oskaloosa; 18. Shane DeMey, Denison; 19. Jason Wolla, Ray, N.D.; 20. Derrick Stewart, Ainsworth; 21. Ethan Dotson, Bakersfield, Calif.; 22. Jeremy Thornton, Casa Grande, Ariz.; 23. Brennen Chipp, Waterloo; 24. Joel Rust, Grundy Center; 25. Jeff Aikey, Cedar Falls; 26. David Brown, Kellogg.Northern SportMods – 1. Cory Van Zante, Sully; 2. Cody Olsen, Omaha, Neb.; 3. Curtis Van Der Wal, Oskaloosa; 4. Cory Rose, Boone; 5. Dusty Masolini, Des Moines; 6. Thomas Van Dyke, Halbur; 7. Johnathon Logue, Boone; 8. Ethan Braaksma, Newton; 9. Brayton Carter, Oskaloosa; 10. Thomas Egenberger, Des Moines; 11. Colton Livezey, New Sharon; 12. Jack Housley, Des Moines; 13. Adam Shelman, Ames; 14. Frank Packer, Queensland, Ariz.; 15. Tony Olson, Cedar Rapids; 16. Hunter Longnecker, Woodward; 17. Sam Wieben, Dysart; 18. Daniel Brau, Brooklyn; 19. Tim Plummer, Norway; 20. Shane Paris, Muscatine; 21. Billy Dyer, Johnston; 22. Charlie Weber, Sigourney; 23. Scott Brau, Brooklyn; 24. Michael Carter, Marion.last_img read more

Baby Face, Bobby Girl shine at first GOtv Boxing Night Mini

first_imgRelatedPosts Flykite announces postponement of GOtv Boxing Night 21 Real One, Baby Face, Esepo to headline GOtv Boxing Night 21 GOtv Boxing Night 20: Organisers promise to provide adequate security, ease traffic control West African Boxing Union welterweight champion, Rilwan “Baby Face” Babatunde, and rising female super featherweight boxer, Cynthia “Bobby Girl” were the standout performers at the maiden edition of GOtv Boxing Night Mini, which held on Saturday at the Rowe Park Sports Complex in Lagos.        Baby Face was all menace and speed, knocking out Saheed Lawal in the third of their eight-round national challenge duel.  Lawal, who was a replacement for Dennis “The Range” Mbat, who pulled out on account of an accident, gave a good account of himself in terms of defiance. But the WABU champion’s volume punching at velocity was too much for him, as he was quickly in a daze, forcing the referee to stop the fight.                                                Ogunsemilore, who won her fight by knockout at GOtv Boxing Night 19, confirmed her status as a boxer to watch out for. She defeated Roliat “Mummy’s Pet” Akinsanya by unanimous decision in a thrilling super featherweight bout. The Range boxer exhibited composure and guile beyond her age to outwit her similarly impressive opponent.  In the lightweight category, WABU champion, Rilwan “Real One” Oladosu, stopped Ola Adebakin in the first of the scheduled eight rounds. Waheed “Showmax” Shogbanmu got the better of Semiu “Jagaban” Olapade. The cruiserweight duel at the show saw fan favourite, Kabiru “KB Godson” Towolawi defeat Olajide Olatunji via unanimous decision.    Among dignitaries at the show were Sola Aiyepeku, Chairman, Lagos State Sports Commission; Dr. Rafiu Ladipo, President Nigeria Boxing Board of Control; Remi Aboderin, WABU President and NBB of C scribe; and Jennifer Ukoh, Public Relations Manager, GOtv.   Tags: GOtv Boxing NightSaheed Lawallast_img read more

India Women Win FIH Women’s Series Finals

first_imgHiroshima: An impressive Indian women’s hockey team on Sunday won the FIH Women’s Series Finals Hiroshima 2019 after defeating hosts Japan 3-1 in the Final held here at the Hiroshima Hockey Stadium. The Indian team was helped by an early goal from Captain Rani in the 3rd minute, but conceded an equalizer in the 11th minute as Japan’s Kanon Mori scored. A brace from Gurjit Kaur scored in the 45th and 60th minutes, however, saw India register an emphatic victory. The World No. 9 Indian team had already qualified for the FIH Olympic Qualifiers 2019 on Saturday after securing a place in the final of the competition. IANSAlso Read: International Hockey Federation (FIH) announces partnership with Dream11last_img read more


first_imgView Gallery (2 Photos)GLENDALE, Ariz. ? Oh, well, nobody’s perfect. Except maybe Eli Manning.A masterful magician when the stakes were highest, Manning engineered one of the best drives in Super Bowl history Sunday to help the New York Giants squash the New England Patriots’ run at history-making perfection with a 17-14 victory.In a game, and a finish, that showed precisely why the Super Bowl has become America’s favorite spectacle, Manning led the Giants 83 yards in little more than two minutes. He capped it with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds left, to win what easily could go down as the best Super Bowl ever.“An unbelievable game and an unbelievable feeling,” Manning said.“The greatest victory in the history of this franchise, without a question,” said owner John Mara.It was a scintillating closing chapter to a crazy week that seemed to have everything: the perfect team; the upstart underdogs; the cover-boy quarterback in Tom Brady; the kid brother in Manning.America loves an underdog, and the Giants, with their stirring victory, etched themselves as one of the best this game ? or any sport ? has ever seen.The star was Manning, the scruffy younger brother of Peyton, who won his own Super Bowl last year, and sat in the corner of a skybox for this one, squirming and agonizing over every play.Now both Mannings have a championship and a Super Bowl MVP to their names and Brady ? well, he’s still got the looks, the supermodel girlfriend, Gisele Bundchen and three Super Bowl titles of his own.With the loss, New England finishes 18-1, and the 1972 Miami Dolphins remain the only team to go undefeated from the start of the season through the Super Bowl.Their coach, Don Shula, was on hand, ready to congratulate the Patriots. Instead, he figured to be sipping champagne, continuing a tradition the Dolphins have enjoyed every year when the last undefeated team finally gets its first loss.“What a great football game this was,” Shula said. “What I learned today was how tough it is to go undefeated.”His Dolphins remain alone thanks to Manning, whose 13-yard game-winner came four plays after he escaped a cadre of Patriots engulfing him, threw the ball up for grabs ? how, exactly, did he do that? ? and watched receiver David Tyree jump and somehow pin it between his hands and his helmet for the 32-yard reception.That kept the drive going, and it will be Manning’s mastery that everyone remembers ? not Brady’s coolly efficient 80-yard touchdown drive moments earlier.This game was such a back-and-forth stomach-turner that it seems a great bet to break the record for Super Bowl viewership (94.08 million) and give the advertisers their money’s worth on the $2.7 million they spent for each 30-second spot.It might even force the conversation Monday to be about football, not just commercials or halftime shows.For the record, Tom Petty did a four-song halftime set, closing, appropriately, with “Runnin’ Down A Dream.”Some highlights on the commercial side included Shaquille O’Neal as a winning jockey in a big horse race, Richard Simmons barely avoiding being squished on the highway and Will Ferrell playing a ? well ? not-so-fit pro basketball player who also likes beer.Funny as those were, the best show was on the field.It was a tight, taut defensive battle for three-plus quarters ? but anything but boring.Then it was taken over by two quarterbacks ? one already a star, the other yearning to escape the shadow his father Archie and big brother Peyton have cast over the family, and the sport, for many years now.Earlier in the week, Eli said it was flattering being compared to Peyton because “he’s at the top of his game, and I’m still trying to get my game up to his level.”“I never thought about them even playing college ball, much less pro football, much less winning Super Bowls or MVPs,” Archie Manning said. “It wasn’t in the plan. We tried to raise kids. We raised kids just like other parents raised their kids.”Eli Manning’s dazzling final drive capped a four-week stretch of nearly flawless playoff football during which the Giants were underdogs in every game they played, but won them all.They were 12-point underdogs for this one, not as big as the New York Jets when they stunned Baltimore in 1969 to make good on Joe Namath’s guarantee ? or the Patriots when they won their first title in 2002 against the Rams.But how to argue with the magnitude of this upset?All year, the Patriots were unbeatable, even when these same Giants gave them their toughest test of all in the last game of the regular season, a 38-35 final that gave New York the confidence it needed.last_img read more

The other gameday playbook: Inside DPS’ command center

first_imgAntonio Soria spotted the scalper standing in the middle of Trousdale Parkway as he surveyed footage. At first glance, nothing in the frame seemed suspicious, but Soria knows how to find the needle in the haystack. “Have you ever seen, for example, a group of ants? All of them are traveling one way,” said Soria, who works for the Department of Public Safety. “Put an object around it. They’ll go crazy, because they’re trying to avoid it.” To Soria, the ants are fans on their way to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Oct. 13, and the “object” is the scalper, a person who illegally re-sells tickets for that evening’s game. And he’s right — it’s obvious that the fans heading to the game are avoiding him.Soria works in the Unified Command Center, a building just east of campus where multiple law enforcement offices assemble for every event at the Coliseum. Each department is here for a specific, different reason: The California Highway Patrol has jurisdiction over state property like Exposition Park, the Los Angeles Fire Department handles medical emergencies and the FBI handles general large-scale emergencies. DPS and the Los Angeles Police Department deal with minor threats and criminal infractions at each game.Antonio Soria, the DPS surveillance operations manager, scrolls through live CCTV footage of campus and the Coliseum. (Sasha Urban | Daily Trojan)Of the 33 biggest football schools in the country, Sports Illustrated ranked USC 22nd for gameday safety, with an average of 20 incidents per gameday last year. But unlike most universities, USC shares its stadium with a professional team, and USC is located in the second-largest city in the United States, making the campus and surrounding area more susceptible to crime. As far as DPS Chief John Thomas knows, USC’s surveillance collective is the only one of its kind among Pac-12 schools. “In the event that something happens, all of the entities that will be first responders to an incident are right here,” Thomas said.Bob Green, formerly the LAPD Operations-South Bureau commanding officer, brought the command center model to USC five years ago. He modeled the system after the National Response Plan, which the federal government describes as “a guide to how the Nation responds to all types of disasters and emergencies.”“The whole rationale is to build relationships between all the first responders and have a plan before an incident happens so we can help [prevent] and predict potential problems,” Green said. Around 30 law enforcement officers are involved in the operation that takes up a single, slightly crowded room. Two projection screens showing CCTV footage line the front wall behind a desk with two monitors. Various maps of the Coliseum and campus decorate the walls and tables, along with a television playing TMZ on the screen in the corner.Considering the influx of people on campus, the tone of the room is noticeably calm. Elizabeth Carreño, the DPS community relations manager, even studies in her spare time. But the room’s collective ability to act procedurally is not by chance. Many of the people in the room have been working in the UCC since its inception in 2013.“We know each other very well and we’re constantly communicating,” said CHP Lieutenant Adam Smith. “And that’s helped with the activity of the command center.”Antonio Soria’s monitor showing 25 CCTV transmissions on campus and in the Coliseum. (Sasha Urban | Daily Trojan)The eye of the stormThe heart of the operation lies in the hands of Soria, the DPS surveillance operations manager. He stands at the front of the room, scrolling through around 40 of the nearly 3,000 cameras positioned on and around campus, looking for inconsistencies and common problems.  Almost every officer in the room cited intoxication as the primary concern — 40 percent of incidents on game days last season were alcohol-related, according to the Sports Illustrated report. And the UCC is accustomed to seeing fans stumble around campus on the CCTV screens. At one point after kickoff, the room observed a fan who appeared intoxicated as he made his way to a bench near Jefferson Boulevard and Hoover Street, accompanied by two women.“The whole rationale is to build relationships between all the first responders and have a plan before an incident happens.” — Bob Green, former LAPD Operations-South Bureau commanding officer“He’s got the wobbles!” one officer called out. When the man approached the end of the sidewalk, another officer yelled, “Get him out of the street!” DPS eventually deployed two CSC workers to help the man, at which point Soria moved on to a different CCTV transmission.But on this day, heat and alcohol-induced emergencies were not as prevalent as they typically are, Thomas said. Instead, Soria and other officers noticed scalpers and vendors on campus. Some were selling hot dogs, but others broke trademark laws by hawking unauthorized USC gear.  “Our response next time will be to increase enforcement of that and possibly even having individuals from another entity, ABC or trademark licensing, doing some undercover stuff to be more effective,” Thomas said.Along with the UCC, two other command stations can zoom and swivel the CCTV cameras: one next to the DPS headquarters on McClintock Avenue, the other inside the Coliseum. But Soria has primary authority, giving him the ability to override the other two centers if he needs to control the image. With this ability he has seen some things on the cameras that sound like they belong in an episode of “Punk’d.” He once caught a man peeing in the stands of a soccer game at the Coliseum, completely unaware of the camera behind him. “And then he finally turns and looks at the camera and they all started laughing, kind of like, ‘No one’s looking, right,’” Soria said. “And then of course we put that information down because he had done that. [Officers] went out there, and they escorted him off the Coliseum.”The ins and outsLinda Sandefur is an LAPD dispatcher for the Coliseum, but on game days she is also a liaison between the Coliseum and UCC. She said that because not everyone is on the same radio network, her job is to relay information for incidents that affect multiple departments. Sandefur recalled an incident last year when law enforcement stopped a man who ran into the Coliseum with a knife.“We had to work with everybody,” Sandefur said. “The outside people knew that he was coming, they had a description, but they had to try to get ahold of him.” She said everyone inspected the camera footage while she followed radio transmissions until FBI agents caught the suspect by chance.But save for a few exceptions, UCC typically manages traffic in and out of the Coliseum, including getting over 300 members of the Trojan Marching Band into the stadium about an hour before kickoff. The L.A. Department of Transit blocks cars from turning onto Exposition Boulevard, and the county’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority cuts off light rail service as the band members cross the street. Tyler Dixon, an LAFD captain, said that this UCC has become a model for other command centers in the L.A. area. “About two or three years ago, we had the first Los Angeles fleet week,” Dixon said. “The model for the unified command post for that event used this command post as the best practice.”He said the center was also an example for the Special Olympics a few years ago, and that the 2028 Olympics will use the same model. Former Incident Commander Bob Green said that UCC is also beneficial for building relationships during pre-planned events so that first responders have common terminology for unplanned ones. “It’s a very structured way to do business and it’s proven its worth,” Green said. California Highway Patrol Lieutenant Adam Smith (in beige uniform) and his colleagues jokingly pretend to observe something on a monitor in the Unified Command Center, located east of campus during USC football games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Sasha Urban | Daily Trojan)last_img read more