Sea Level Change in the UK

  • 7,000 homes predicted to be lost to the sea in the next century along the managed retreat policy for much of the UK
  • Sea levels expected to rise between 0.18 m and 0.59 m by 2100
  • Estimates made by the Environment Agency that £1 x10^9 worth of property will be destroyed in the next 100 years; less than the cost of protecting them
  • If sea protection is not maintained the prediction of lost properties rises to 74,000 homes
  • Cornwall, the worst affected county, is expected to lose 76 homes in the next 20 years.

Blackwater Estuary and Saltmarsh Degredation

raypits-aerial-web

Coastal squeeze can  be seen at Blackwater Farm where the seawall presses the marshes in, so that the marshes cannot be built up further. This can hinder the development upwards of the marshes too, and make them become the long thin strips seen in the photo above.

A loss of marshland can increase the amplitude of flood events. Marshes absorb salt water as it flows into them, and can thus slow down flooding and reduce the damage it causes.

In turn, more severe flood events can cause greater erosion of the salt marsh, which in turn makes floods more dramatic.

Large quantities of land had to be trapped during the World Wars to allow safe and secure food supplies, especially in WWII, when the German forces started bringing down civilian supply vessels. The walling needed to reclaim that land was what lead to the declining quality of the salt marsh and its declining protections.

In response, holes have been broken through the salt marsh. The remains of the walls should not matter, as water in salt marshes travels in channels like in normal rivers; as long as a route is clear, it should grow fine. The soil was not ideal at best because of the high salt content, so poor quality land is being lost. The land that might develop from the marshes eventually, if they can grow and build up normally will likely be of far higher quality.

(Image Source: http://www.essexbiodiversity.org.uk/coordinators-blog; I don’t know if that’s Blackwater Farm, but it’s definitely a similar area)

Make America Hate Again 2/209

Hello, welcome to Make America Hate Again, the documentary of the hate Trump has made again. The number on the top represents the week of Trump’s term and the number beneath shows how many weeks there are in total of his term. If you want to find a specific week, either change the URL in the top bar^ or search for “part [week number]” into the search bar

For part 0, the last part, the next part and the latest part.

If in doubt, any quotes come from here.

I would also like to clarify: I don’t think all conservatives are idiots. I disagree with many conservative views, but most conservatives’ points can at least be understood. Trump cannot.

I also have to say at this point, I have a real appreciation for all the websites doing a similar day-by-day system. I feel like many of them will only cover the first 100 days though, and I plan on covering the whole thing. The level of detail will of course fall after 100 days though.

January 28th

  • Previously, the travel ban had been said to stop all travel from the 7 black list states. Now, according to the same administration official who made the first announcement, if someone from a black list state moves into another state they can now get a waiver on the rule. I’m not complaining about this change in theory, but in practice this is going to worsen the stream of refugees into European states, where they will stay indefinitely until they can move across. European states will grow even more needlessly embittered about saving people’s lives and stop, sentencing thousands, maybe even millions, of extra people to death.
  • I know we found out about this on the 6th/Feb, but Donald Trump is too inept to find the light switch in the chamber room, so meetings have been held entirely in the dark. Apparently no one had the brains to go find a torch either.

January 29th

  • “It really is a massive success story in terms of implementation on every single level” claims an Unnamed white house official , about the travel ban. I am unsure if he’s just been censored from learning about the protests. He spoke only on the condition of anonymity, which either means he was being sarcastic and was worried about being fired, or knows he’s talking nonsense and didn’t want anyone trying to get him to justify it.
  • The state visit of Trump to the UK was announced to be going ahead, despite calls from MPs for him to not be allowed into Parliament, general disapproval of his visit, and a well-backed petition with 1.25 million signatures on Change.org (where normally 100,000 are needed) for him to not be allowed in as a form of retaliation against him not letting refugees in (and against many other things, too).
  • The US embassy of the UK insisted that they would not be allowing VISAs into the US from the seven banned states (I think I’ll refer to them as the 7BS from now on, which serves both to represent the name and what most people think of it), even to people with US citizenship or dual nationality.
  • Yemen’s minister of foreign affairs spoke out against the travel ban from the 7BS, saying it was going to feed into conflict and extremism within Yemen. Yemen has had a civil war raging for years now, so anything that could increase their conflict is hard to imagine, and really should not be encouraged.
  • Indonesia said the ban would not help against the fight against terror
  • Asian financial markets were still plummeting due to uncertainties caused by the ban.

January 30th

  • Steve Miller, a Trumpian advisor claimed on the morning show that the protests about the refugee bans are a good thing: “If nobody’s disagreeing with what you’re doing, um, then you’re probably not doing anything that really matters.” It honestly sounded like he was asking a question. This means one (or both) of two things. 1) They don’t seem to realise that that proverb really only counts for if you’re not the one in charge; if you persuaded people to let you be in charge, then you shouldn’t have anyone disagreeing with you on things that really matter; 2) Even Trump’s advisors can’t think up good reasons for the things he’s doing.
  • Steve Bannon, the man I said the following about: “I’ve known Steve Bannon a long time. If I thought he was a racist, or alt-right, or any of the things that we can, you know, the terms we can use, I wouldn’t even think about hiring him.” You saying you were concerned about him being racist or alt-right basically confirms he is, especially with you again admitting it by wavering around the point for three separate clauses.”  before, is now on the Security Council. This is a big deal. He essentially has the power to force any country to do what he wants, by right of the veto power of the USA. He has the right to force any country to act in racist ways, and there is nothing anyone can do about it, currently, legally. Bush didn’t even do this. The White House justified this by saying he was “in the Navy“.  This is made even worse because Bannon described Trump’s voters as the “working-class hobbits.” He can’t even respect his own citizens and he’s now technically one of the most powerful people on the planet, arguably more powerful than Trump himself. This is a Bad Thing.
  • Steve Bannon told the media to “Keep its mouth shut.” First step of a dictatorship (at least, of the brutal ones which manage to be iconically disgusting) is government officials not allowing journalists to say what they want.
  • People trying to enter the US, even US citizens, from the 7 black list states, now need to be handcuffed, and be patted down, including groping of the chest area (which if anyone can store anything dangerous in, I would be very impressed), as described by this woman.
  • Justice Secretary, Sally Yates, from the Obama Administration, ordered the department not to follow Trump’s Executive Order to ban Middle Eastern entry from the US. She was staying until there was a confirmed replacement for her role. They were initially expected to defend the policy, although lawyers tasked with defending it seemed baffled and perplexed about how- how to make it seem legal and how to justify it. The department then said they would not defend the policy as long as Yates was their attorney general. Jeff Sessions is expected to reverse this.

January 31st

  • Acting Attorney General was Sally Yates was fired, at 1:00 in the morning GMT, or 8:00 PM East Coast Time, on the 30th. Sessions was expected to be put into the role anyway today, pushing her out of the acting position. She was not allowed to even do her job as head of Justice; defining whether certain actions are legal and whether people are guilty or not.
  • Neil Gorsuch is now in the supreme court for life.
  • Trump delayed signing an order centred on improving cyber security.
  • Trump has not  repealed Obama’s act stopping discrimination against LGBT+ workers working with federal agencies or contractors. He has said that they have to be “at the direction of” Trump though, which, to me, sounds a lot like “you can still discriminate when I tell you you can.”
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director was named as Thomas Honan.

February 1st

  • Many republican members of the senate have announced that they will not be supporting Trump’s decision to make Betsy Devos head of the Department of Education.
  • Trump urges a move that a simple majority can push through a candidate for office. I don’t think this will allow Betzy Devos through anyway, most republicans have to have brain cells to get where they are (the main exceptions being the people Trump picks, and himself).
  • Committees approve Jeff Sessions, the man too racist to be a judge to become attorney general, and Rex Tillerson for secretary of state, despite his ties to Russia. But, I guess, if Trump got in, we shouldn’t expect that to be an issue.
  • Evangelical christian leader Jerry Falwell Jr  is now in charge of an education reform task force, and he intends to remove protections against sexual assault from University and College campuses. I never understood this mentality in fundamentalist Christians, the thinking that abortion is absolutely wrong, but contraception is too, and they don’t even think about protecting women from rapists. Surely if you don’t want unwanted babies to be aborted you should actively encourage contraception? The unwanted babies have to be stopped somewhere (unless people really like parents not valuing their children) and it makes a lot more sense to me to focus on before anyone can start trying to argue they’re alive yet.
  • The USA puts Iran “on notice” for testing missiles. What “on notice” means is a mystery.
  • A counter-terrorism task force was renamed to be specifically targetting radical islam. The vast majority of American terrorists are not Muslim. This is new heights of stupid. Or it would be, if this weren’t Trump.
  • Trump pays his respects to the Navy Seal who died because he couldn’t be bothered to read the mission briefing properly.
  • Trump claims that most reporters who cover him are a disgrace
  • “Iran is rapidly taking over more and more of Iraq even after the U.S. has squandered three trillion dollars there. Obvious long ago!” Trump doesn’t seem to realise this was never a thing. There was an Iraqi invasion of Iran in the 1980’s, but never an Iranian invasion of Iraq, as far as I can work out.
  • Trump annulls the deal Obama made with Australia to essentially swap refugees.
  • It’s hard to miss the irony of him being “proud to honor the start of black history month… with @VP Mike Pence,” given how racist they both are.

February 2nd

  • The white house said that Trump was “very upset” about the refugee deal with Australia, but that he would honour it, which sounds like how most parents would describe a child’s temper tantrum after it had ended, really.
  • Trump’s treasury department adjusted their sanctions against Russia’s intelligence services in light of their activities during the election period.
  • Trump says he wants to either renegotiate or replace the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement. He’s going to do a lot of replacing perfectly good things with a slightly worse copy of them in the next four years, isn’t he?

February 3rd

  • Donald Trump has both managed to completely disregard the importance of the decisions he has to make and made many of his staff completely opposed to him. If his staff had any  respect for him, they would not be leaking details, as opposed to officially releasing  them. An interviewee also explains how others also feel they need to do this to get him to pay attention to him. Far more important than this are the horrendously misinformed decisions he is making. The video linked here is a good summary by MSNBC of some of the awful decisions he has made. Around 8:30 they summarise how misinformed he is around a single one of his decisions.
  • 227,000 new jobs were generated over January. Whether this was before Trump came to power or not, I don’t know. I also don’t know how many of these were because of having to enforce stupid new rules. Can you imagine how much more work security guards and lawyers got from the travel ban?
  • Trump called for reviews of the banking regulations put in after the 2008 recession.
  • Tens of thousands of VISAs have been revoked under the travel ban
  • US immigration officials have postponed meeting refugees in Australia, suggesting that the White House is pushing against the resettlement program fairly forcefully now.
  • Republicans in Congress have called to repeal various acts to regulate emissions and environmental damage from business. This is oddly similar to how, in a documentary called Death by China by the US trade secretary, there’s one interviewee who says [paraphrasing] “China got rich by polluting all their waste in their rivers. Can you imagine how much richer we could be if we removed our regulations and dumped all our waste in the Ohio river?” He specifically mentioned the Ohio river, and it genuinely sounded like he wanted to dump waste in it. They are dangerously close to that man’s opinions.

Japan vs UK equality

Of the top 25 richest nations on Earth, Japan is the most equal. The top 5% of earners take 4.5 times the income of the lowest earners in Japan; in contract, the top 10% in the UK earn 20 times the income of the poorest 10%. There are more people earning more than £1,000,000 in the Barclays Tower in Canary Wharf than in the whole of Japan.

Japan achieved their equality after the dropping of the atomic bombs during WWII. After the War, the USofA started rebuilding the state, took all of the land, and divided it equally between the Japanese people.

The average life expectancy is 83 years in Japan.

The United Kingdom is more divided by economics than countries like Israel are by ethnic conflict. London is the most expensive city in the world to live in. There are no significant equality changes under political party changes. Apart from in NYC, no other city pays financiers like in London; and the UK pays bankers, proportionally to the Gross National Product, earn far more. On current projections, the UK is set to become the most unequal society in the world.

In the UK, the average clothing item is worn 5 times before being thrown away; it’s worth noting that this is probably highly skewed by the richest in society who can afford to wear something just once. 2% of the GDP is made up of advertising, while 1% of the rest of Europe’s GDP was.

 

 

UK Government Funding in Nepal

The UK government has given £65 million to the Nepalese government to use in its health services. This has allowed the government to cut health care fees and allow even the very poorest to access health care. Since 1996, the maternal mortality rate has fallen by 50%, with a 1/3 reduction in infant mortality within 5 years.

The UK provided £20 million in aid over five years for the Safe Motherhood Program, which trains doctors and nurses, improves healthcare facilities, provides equipment, and encourages hospital births, which are generally safer. 90% still give birth at home, but in 2009 alone, 60,000 extra women gave birth in hospitals or other specialised healthcare centres.

Why Trump is ISIS’ President

I’m not armed with stats, or anything like that for this, beyond what google can quickly equip me with and having read through many, many articles on how people become terrorists for an MUN conference where I was representing Russia in the Security Council last year.  I am going to do my best to afford rambling or ranting- that doesn’t help the case, and it doesn’t help my attempts to store mostly pure fact, even here.

It’s been on my mind quite intensely the last week or so, thanks to the result of a certain election.

Deporting people for being Muslim is EXACTLY what terrorists want.

If I could remember where I found it, I would use the actual quotes of the psychologist who said the fuller version of this, but essentially people don’t become angry at their society unless their society gives them something to be angry at.

The general plan of ISIS, from what I read then, is to be so intimidating to everyone that non-Muslims make the assumption that all Muslims are like that. They would then start to act in slight prejudiced manners, which would eventually lead to conscious prejudice. After that, it would become institutionalised, so that the public role itself was attacking Muslims. ISIS then assumed that the marginalised Muslims would turn by default to them due to hopes of being more included.

We skipped right past slight prejudice: One of the girls in my form at school described how just the day after the Paris attacks, a young Muslim woman had been at a tube station and been pushed into the path of an oncoming train very deliberately by a fellow passenger, which my classmate’s mother had witnessed. She’d survived, due to hitting the train at a very fortunate angle, and rebounded onto the platform, but she was definitely hurt. This was not reported in any major newspapers, which is somewhat understandable due to wanting to focus on the attacks in the short term, but I really doubt that it was the only incident, and I feel any incident that may have been an attempted hate-related killing should be known, even if it were a few weeks later.

The Leave campaign is a good demonstration of institutionalising prejudice too. The actual campaign wasn’t anywhere near as racist as I was anticipating, but at least in the area I live, the only reasons for people voting out seemed to be that they hadn’t fact checked data, that they hadn’t thought critically about data or, seemingly overwhelmingly, that they just didn’t want Muslim people diluting the culture, or even worse statements about Islam (The amount of people over 20 who respond like that is terrifying). The EU parliament is actually more representative than the UK parliament (The UK has 19% women, the EU has 37% women, just for starters), with a closer representation of what people would vote as well, and no good politician would sign up to a deal where £350 million was being spent daily on something not in direct national interest. So I don’t think the campaign was racist- just really poorly fact checked- but a lot (not all) of the votes were racist.

And a lot of the most popular ideas from Brexit campaigners went along the lines of forcibly removing migrants from our country. Many people got called racist terms used against them over the first few weeks after the vote- including London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who got called the “p” word numerous times. Clearly a lot of people saw the Brexit vote as an excuse to increase our openness to racist attitudes. I’m not saying don’t express your views- I’m saying consider your views and if they’re justified, which racism is not.

Meanwhile we started increasing paranoia thoroughly throughout society. France had good reason to- I’d be concerned if France wasn’t paranoid right now- but everyone increasing their fear is exactly what terrorists want. It’s in the name. A terrorist is someone who aims to achieve their goals through means such as mass murder to induce a state of terror among the population. The very worst thing you can do after a terrorist act is to be overly terrified, and to act on the terror to be prejudiced. Terrorists thrive under oppression.

President-elect Donald Trump stated in many of his speeches that he plans to stop Muslims coming into the country full stop. Far beyond the sheer logistical issues of a complete ban (and the question of what happens if one of the few Muslim senators (I can find two) had a holiday abroad during their term and the rule meant they couldn’t return, then senate couldn’t enter session?), the pressure this will put on Muslim people will be tremendous. Quite apart from shutting them really going to have no impact on migration rates, the hatred this will cause among Muslim populations could be enormous. Tightening up immigration controls tends to increase migration as people rush through to reach family they won’t see otherwise. I know that a minute proportion of people are ever radicals, but if anything is going to raise hatred, and therefore radicalism, making people feel imprisoned and hated by the general population is going to do it.

The US has been responsible for, by conservative estimates, 10 million Muslims’ deaths in the Middle East just since 1990, whilst the total deaths to terrorism in this time has been, judging from graphs, possibly around 390,000 worldwide, and Europe has a figure at scale of 10 around 20,600 deaths in this time. I’m not saying any of those deaths are justifiable- just that they are nothing compared to 10 million deaths.

graph source: http://www.datagraver.com/case/worldwide-terrorism-1970-2015

Even just Trump’s current pleas of removal of 2 million undocumented migrants are unrealistic- the official estimate is 168,000 undocumented migrants in total in the USA, which is absolutely minute and really not enough people, in a population of 324,600,000 for it to be worth worrying over if they’re contributing to the economy- which they are. Trump claims that immigration control does not know who Middle Eastern refugees are when they come in, despite current legislation meaning that about 2 years are spent checking out every single potential migrant, which should be plenty to work out if they’re a likely terrorist.

Prejudice breeds contempt, and contempt spawns radicals.

The best figures I can find for how many British ISIS members there are is about 1,600. There are 2,660,116 Muslim people in the United Kingdom. That means that 0.0006015% of Muslims are ISIS sympathisers, let alone actual ISIS agents. Given the amount of hatred aimed at Muslim people, that’s pretty low. The chances of being murdered in the UK are 0.0062%, including by terrorist attack. You are 100x less likely to even meet an ISIS agent as to be murdered. The UK has a 2.9 per 100,000 death rate from car crashes, amounting to a 0.0029% chance. You have a 10% chance of being sexually assaulted in the UK in your life time, which is 16,625x more likely than meeting a terrorist. Basically, if you’re willing enough to take risks of walking out into the street, you should be willing to admit that terrorism can’t be that likely to affect you-as the statistics prove.

So basically, please, please, stop trying to fight terrorism by hating on Muslim people. All the Muslims I know are perfectly reasonable human beings, with perfectly reasonable sets of opinions and views. US attacks on the Middle East for, let’s face it, oil, have killed far more people than terrorist attacks- at least 20x as many. People only start practicing terrorism if their society has driven them to it, and I can see why just the US war record would do it.

Hatred never solved anything. If Russia (where, from what I could find, the 10% Muslim population seems to be treated reasonably fairly) is being more inclusive than your supposedly highly liberal society towards a religious group, you might want to check out why that is and consider it critically.

1918 Flu

The death toll from the Spanish flu was somewhere between 20 million and 100 million worldwide, after the end of WWI. It was partly so high because  so many of the countries infected had been decimated by war, but it is hard to determine how many people really died due to a lack of documentation. If such  a disease emerged again today, it would kill more people in a year than heart disease, cancer, stroke, lung disease, AIDs and Alzheimer’s disease combined.

Spanish flu has largely been forgetting due to occurring so soon after the upheaval of the deaths of 9 million soldiers and a further 9 million civilians during WWI.

The name itself is deceptive- it did not origin in Spain, nor was it most devastating to Spain. However, Spain immediately started reporting about the disease. It is unknown where the virus originated from, but it may well be from the Far East, and it was spread by the active troops across Europe.

In 2005, scientists from the USofA processed the genetic code of the 1918 flu virus; the sample was taken by extraction from a female patient buried in Alaskan permafrost. The pandemic was found to have been caused by gradual genetic changes from a flu virus that had originated in birds.

Flu most frequently effects humans, birds and pigs. Interspecies infections can quite easily lead to deaths, even in otherwise mild strains.

Symptoms

Typical Spanish flu symptoms included:

  • Spots over cheek bones within hours of admission to wards
  • Cyanosis (skin turning blue) extending across he face from the ears
  • Starting to struggle for breath within hours
  • Sudden collapse
  • Infection of the lungs by other diseases in addition

The collapses were especially common. In South America, a mine operator collapsed at control of a lift and sent at least 20 miners plummeting back down the mine shaft to their deaths.

Spanish Flu death-causing symptoms included:

  • Bleeding from the nose and ears
  • Swollen hearts
  • Solidified lungs weighing up to 6x their normal weight
  • Accumulation of fluid in delicate tissues such as the lungs

Clogged up lungs from the disease would have offered little ability for gas exchange across the lung surface by the volume of water. Thus the patient would have drowned; it was called  “Drowning death”.

It was common for those who survived the initial infection to then be infected by another disease, such as pneumonia, which would then kill them.

Causes of symptoms: 

The influenza virus weakens respiratory epithelia and cilia (a type of cell that wafts dirt out of the lungs), and immune cell dysfunction, leaving them weakened to other infections.

Distinguishing features

Most influenza break outs focus upon the young and old, and have the greatest death toll upon these age groups, due to having a weaker immune system. The Spanish flu also specifically targeted young healthy adults.

One theory for this was “cytokine storming”. Cytokines are small chemicals used to signal between various white blood cell types to co-ordinate fighting infections. Cytokines work a lot like hormones, and travel through the blood. They encourage inflammation, swelling, increasing vasopermeability (ability for chemicals to move through blood vessels) and attract other white blood cells. This fights infection, but sometimes damages organ tissue. It can lead, eventually, to internal scarring and organ failure.

Cytokine storms are thus when the cytokines overreact to a pathogen and this can lead to deaths.

Infection

All strains of flu are viruses, and belong to the family orthomyxovirus. Influenza A is the worst sort of the virus group. Its genome includes genes for the coding of only 10 proteins. 2 of these- haemoggluttin and neuraminidase are the most important, and flu strains tend to be named after these. The Spanish flu and 2009’s swine flu were both H1N1. H2N3, H5N1 (Bird flu) and H7N7 are all common strains.

Haemoggluttin binds receptors on the outside of the virus with the membrane of the target cell. Neuraminidase lets new viruses formed within the cell leave and move out to attack further cells.

Viruses have to integrate their genetic material into a host cell. They themselves have RNA, rather than DNA, so have to have specialised enzymes to convert their RNA into DNA. The host cell then incorporates this DNA into its own nucleus- much the same way that a computer will absorb the coding to produce certain types of virus itself. When the host produces its own proteins, it also produces copies of the virus proteins, which eventually combine to form more viruses- this continues until the host cell has used up all its contents in the worst case scenario. Typically, viruses will be released gradually from the host cell over time.

Treatment

The viruses of Haemoggluttin and Neurominidase can be extracted. Each year this is done to produce a new flu vaccination. The body can then produce antibodies specific to those proteins, and learn how to tackle the virus more effectively if it should enter the body. However, the viruses always mutate over the year, so new jabs have to be developed frequently.

They are also individually targeted by other jabs. TamiFlu is an example of this. The UK government spent £500 million on TamiFlu during the swine flu outbreak of 2009- but in practice, for many, this does little more than just paracetamol to relieve symptoms.

Finding one set treatment is hard, as mutations in the virus genome mean an antibody that works one year may well not by the start of the next. The body has to constantly adapt to every new strain.

Salmonella

Salmonella is part of a large family of bacteria (Enterobacteriaceae) which live inside the human gut, as well as the guts of various other species. More than 2,500 types of salmonella have  been identified. All could cause disease in humans, although in practice only a small proportion are responsible for most outbreaks of the disease.

Salmonella is generally divided into two groups- those which specifically target humans, and tend to have the most severe symptoms, and those which target species less specifically, are associated with food poisoning and tend to be milder.

Salmonella typhi alone is responsible for 27 million cases of typhoid a year, and 217,000 annual deaths.

Symptoms

Typhoidal Salmonella will enter the blood stream and into circulation, where it can reach the lymph nodes, gall bladder, liver, spleen and many other parts of the body, where it can enter into human cells. Symptoms start within a few weeks of ingestion, and get progressively worse throughout infection as the greater numbers of bacteria over stimulate the victim’s immune system. The actions of the immune system can result in tissue damage and even death.

Non typhoidal Salmonella will enter into the gut’s epithelial cells (The gut lining) and the immune system is quickly alerted, leading to gut inflammation. This typically results in:

  • Shedding of gut cells
  • Substantial fluid loss
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pains/ cramps

Symptoms of non-typhoidal varients typically start 6-24 hours after infection and last for 4-7 days, before quickly clearing.

Transmission

Salmonella is typically contracted by ingesting something contaminated by faeces from another infected individual, or carrier. The most common source is polluted water, so Salmonella is most common in areas with poor, or no, water sanitation.

Contact with cattle and chickens are also typical methods of contraction. Bacteria often can be found in raw meat or other products from these animals, as well as their faeces. Pets can also pass the infection, especially amphibians and reptiles.

Some people remain carriers long after their own infection is over.

Infection

Occasionally, non typhoidal Salmonella will enter the victim’s blood stream and can cause bacteraemia (when bacteria multiply in the bloodstream), which can be fatal, and in those with weaker immune systems form typhoid-like symptoms. It is estimated that there are 1.3 x10^9 cases and 3 million deaths of non-typhoidal Salmonella each year.

Salmonella move to the gut shortly after being ingested; they are then able to out-compete the bacteria which naturally occur in the gut for nutrients and will start to attack the gut cells.

Salmonella produces tiny syringe-like structures called Type 3 Secretion Systems (T3SSs), which inject proteins from the bacteria into victim’s cells. In the intestines, these T3SS1 proteins will cause the cell membrane to form lumps and eventually absorb the bacterium responsible, and it becomes trapped in a membrane within the cell. T3SS2 is used by bacteria already inside human cells, and produces virulence factors- a type of chemical which allows infection to be ignored- to avoid being killed by the human immune system. Essentially, our cells absorb the bacteria in the hopes of being able to kill them before infection occurs, but the bacteria stop this from occuring once inside; instead of killing them, the pathogens enter into a protected environment.

Treatment

Proper cooking of any meats and eggs should kill off bacteria housed within our food. Similarly, boiling water before drinking it should prevent any bacteria surviving to be ingested.

The best method to avoid Salmonella food poisoning is just to regularly wach your hands, especially when handling food.

If a mild form of the disease is encountered, generally not much interference is needed. The human immune system is generally pretty effective, and naturally will come up with methods to fight it over time.

In more severe forms, antibiotics are typically used to halt the increase in bacterial presence, and reduce the severity of symptoms. Patients may need rehydration therapy and antibiotics if there are signs that the disease has entered the blood.

Salmonella typhi supposedly has a sugar coating around itself, which stops it being recognised by the immune system, leading to food poisoning. By not getting an immune response, S. typhi can spread through our bodies fairly freely.

There are no vaccines to protect against non-typhoidal Salmonella. Two vaccines are available in the UK against typhoid, and use of them is rrecommended before travelling to anywhere with high typhoid levels. These vaccines only offer limited protection, however. Improved vaccines will be needed in the future.

It may be possible to prevent infection by Salmonella by developing drugs which target the virulence factors that stop the immune system detecting them.

Volcanic Management in Montserrat

Montserrat belongs to the Lesser Antilles island chain; a series of volcanic islands formed by subduction of the North American plate beneath the Caribbean plate.

The island of Montserrat was formed by the Soufriere Hills volcano. The eruption stated in July 1995, and before 2005 had spewed out nearly 0.5km^3 of magma.

The potential hazard on Montserrat was fairly low- although the impacts on the population were huge, it was a small population, and they are still well equipped for evacuations if the situation becomes worse. However, the vulnerability was high due to the small area of the island available for people to move out to before any international evacuations could be planned.

Impacts

The main causes of hazards have been pyroclastic flows, tephra falls, debris avalanches and occasional lava flows.

In 1997, 19 people were killed when they returned to their homes in Plymouth, which they had been evacuated from previously.

The entire southern side of the island had a thick layer of ash on top of it, such that many of the plants were entirely covered.

Many people emigrated from the island after the initial evacuation. Many of these people permanently moved to the UK, the USA or other nearby islands. The initial population was 10,728 in 1990, which had decreased down to just 6,409  people in 2000.

Outmigration had a huge impact on the country. The loss of people meant there was a lack of workers, and thus many businesses suffered huge losses. The lack of customers had a similar effect. The sense of community was lost and many were disheartened at the loss of old friends or acquaintances. A disproportionate number of those who left were the more educated citizens, leaving a less skilled population behind.

The eruption itself crippled the economy. The ash destroyed much of the farmland. The destroyed land also reduced tourism hugely – and tourism was a huge factor in the economy, to which 40,000 visitors were drawn annually.

2/3 of the island is uninhabitable.

The roughly 6500 people living in the south lost everything but what they could pack in their rucksacks quickly.

Many who evacuated north had only low quality accommodation available. Often people would be packed into small rooms with bunk beds and people they had not met before, with 6 bedrooms in a house. There was frequently little or no sanitation, and no electricity or gas available.

Management

The people living in the southern half of the island were evacuated northwards. This plan backfired somewhat as half the population emigrated overseas that had been displaced.

The infrastructure is being rebuilt. A new airport has been completed.

The UK and EU have spent about £200 million on regeneration projects.

Since 1995, scientists have started carefully monitoring the volcano, and updating the public on any changes, and, where possible, warning people as to what impacts there were likely to be. Thanks to measurements of seismic activity, volcanic gases and ground deformation, they have warned people early of pyroclastic flows and allowed preparations so people could evacuate.

Kibera, Nairobi- Part II

Solutions for improving the slums

Low cost flats:

  • 770  families rehoused
  • Inhabitants were involved in the planning
  • Running water, toilets and electricity were integrated into the plans
  • Lower crime rates than the slums
  • Gives pride in people and the community
  • Funded by the government, charities and private loans
  • Making homes permanent, as the shanty settlers have no right to the land they live on

A charity (Practical Action from the UK) has been developed to make low-cost roofing tiles for local people to use for roofing. Two main water pipes have been provided by the Kenyan government and the World Bank. Medical facilities are provided by charities, training locals. The UN Settlement Program provides affordable electricity at 300 Kenyan shillings per shack. Toilets and wash blocks were built and cess pits are regularly emptied. A Bio Gas Station has been built to manage human waste.

The UK government has funded sanitation projects and a UK charity has sponsored a community clinic called “soap box”. The NCC (Nairobi City Council) have introduced a market stall project to create employment, but people require primary credit to start their stalls. A primary school has been built for the slum for children that have been introduced by CFK (Carolina for Kibera, a charity run by the University of Carolina). Comic Relief supports the work in Kibera, particularly with AIDs.

KENSUP

KENSUP has a goal of improving the livelihood of 5.3 million slum dwellers in Kenya by 2020. The program started in 2001, and by 2003 a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Kenyan government and UN-HABITAT for a strategy for implementing this.