Star Files Sharon D Clarke How do you build each night towards the great 11 o’clock number, “Lot’s Wife,” which you have performed on several occasions as a standalone showstopper? That song is all about the culmination of every feeling Caroline has had from the top of the show: pent-up anger, anxiety, guilt, loss, grief. Then comes the moment where she has to come to terms with everything and release it in song. She rages and rages and rages and then asks for forgiveness.Given the show’s cast of characters includes an array of singing appliances, are you ever disappointed in your home life to have a washing machine that doesn’t sing? [Laughs.] I love that: no one’s ever asked me that before! You know, if Me’sha Bryan [who plays the part onstage] popped out of my washing machine, I think I would shit my pants. I think I would also sit back and let the soap wash over me!How do you feel to be moving on directly from this to Marianne Elliott’s much-anticipated all-black revival at the Young Vic in May of Death of a Salesman, co-starring Wendell Pierce from TV’s The Wire? What is really lovely is to be 40 years into my career and to now be at a stage where I am approached by people, as I was with Marianne who said she’d like to meet me to discuss [Salesman]. We talked about the piece and what I thought of Linda Loman and what might be my way in with her and at the end she asked me if I wanted to do it and I said yes. Don’t get me wrong: there are roles where I’ve still got to audition but to just get a phone call about a role is a great place to be.Do you think it will help playing Linda to have lived with the pain of Caroline? Yes, in that I think everything feeds into everything else you do; you take those experiences with you. But these are different women with different reasons for doing what they do. The one thing I think they have in common is the protectiveness of their love: Linda’s every waking moment is about protecting her man even though she knows what he’s doing to himself. Her man is her focal point, and so that’s her drive.Are people sometimes surprised to hear that you are in fact English, given your American-intensive stage resume? I do get that. I’ve done Q and A’s after the show where I’ve started talking and they go, “Oh my God, you’re not American! Say something in an American accent.” And I think, you’ve just watched the show for two-and-a-half hours. Why do I need to say something now in an American accent? Did you not hear me in the show?From there, you move on yet again to a 30th-anniversary revival at the Kiln Theatre in the summer of Blues in the Night, directed by your wife, Susie McKenna? That’s going to be a much lighter gig than playing someone like Caroline, or Linda. I wouldn’t say it’s a holiday but it should be more vibrant and full of life, and I’ll get the chance to do some dancing which might help keep some of the weight off [laughs].After all this American work in Britain, are you tempted to do some American work in America? The only time that ever came close was on Ghost the Musical, where they said that they might take me [to New York] but in the end were only allowed to take [male lead] Richard Fleeshman, which made a lot more sense since he and Caissie Levy were the central couple. That’s as close as I’ve come, but if someone wants to bring my ass to Broadway, I’m quite happy to go. I’ll go wherever the work is! Sharon D. Clarke in “Caroline, or Change”(Photo: Helen Maybanks) View Comments Sharon D. Clarke in Caroline, or Change (Photo: Helen Maybanks) The English performer Sharon D. Clarke has lent her formidable presence to many an American title on the London stage, from her 2014 Olivier Award-winning performance in James Baldwin’s The Amen Corner to Ghost the Musical, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and her current and tumultuous star turn as Caroline Thibodeaux in the Tony Kushner/Jeanine Tesori musical Caroline, or Change. Though keen to safeguard her voice, the ever-buoyant Clarke took time one recent afternoon to talk to Broadway.com about the challenges, and the thrill, of inhabiting this part eight times a week at the Playhouse Theatre.How are you coping with this momentous role?What’s wonderful is that [the Playhouse] is our third theater [following runs in Chichester and the Hampstead] and we’ve had pauses in between where I have had time first of all to forget the part completely and then to take stock and come at it again. It’s a big sing so to be able to then get the time off that you need for the voice to recover means you can come at it still fresh. It’s not like I’m going, “Oh my God, I’m in my 50th week and I’m dying!”What are you building into your routine so as to keep match fit for the part into April? Sleep! Sleep and water: I live with my straw. If I don’t get eight hours sleep, I’m not singing anything and if I can get nine hours sleep then I’m good. It’s not a straight sleep, though, because I drink so much that I’m up through the night going to the loo—the sleep is all broken up.Did you know the show prior to being offered it? Yes, I went along to see it [at the National in 2006, with Tonya Pinkins recreating her Broadway role] because I had friends in the cast: Clive Rowe and Anna Francolini. Like most people coming to see Caroline, or Change, I was, like, “What the hell is this? What do you mean there’s a washing machine in it?” And what I got was something so moving and deeply charged with history. I went from, “What am I seeing?” to “What have I just seen?!”Have you been chasing the part of Caroline ever since?Absolutely not. When I heard that Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was happening at the National, I did say to [NT artistic director] Rufus Norris, “I hear you’re doing Ma Rainey; that’s all I’m saying.” But this one came about when I got a call from [Chichester artistic director] Daniel Evans who asked me if I would do the show and I said, “Yes, of course” and thought to myself, “thank goodness I know the score and know the role.”Do you think Caroline listens to the music of Ma Rainey on the radio that features prominently as a character in your show? Oh yeah, she comes from that era! Ma Rainey would have been right about that time, and Caroline would have definitely listened to her growing up and to someone like Bessie Smith. She would have found knowledge in [those singers’] pain and in their recognition of what life can be like.
Jay Peak Resort,Jay Peak Pump House Waterpark. Jay Peak photo.Vermont Business Magazine Jay Peak Resort today announced it has been recognized as a Gold-level participant in the 3>4>50 initiative, a statewide Department of Health program with the goal of helping people understand and address the impact of chronic disease in Vermont. 3>4>50 represents three behaviors—lack of physical activity, poor diet and tobacco use—that lead to four chronic diseases—cancer, heart disease/stroke, type 2 diabetes and lung disease. These diseases result in more than 50 percent of all deaths in Vermont each year. The initiative aims to unite businesses, schools and communities around a common goal, to make the healthy option the easy option where people live, work, learn and play. Jay Peak is the only resort to have received the Gold-level designation.“If we’re going to have a happy and vibrant team up here where everyone feels valued, it’s crucial that we address our employees most basic needs,” said Jay Peak’s general manager Steve Wright. “The 3>4>50 initiative gets right to the heart of that desire. One has to make healthy choices if one is to have a healthy life.”Jay Peak’s Gold-level designation is the result of the resort offering more than a dozen wellness measures designed to enable employees to live a healthy life. In the last year alone the resort has rolled out three new programs. Last summer Jay Peak began a partnership with Berry Creek Farm, a local organic CSA in neighboring Westfield, to offer employees easy access to healthy food along with a monthly stipend to help offset a portion of food costs. Yoga and meditation classes became available to all employees last fall. Those three benefits were in addition to a suite of offerings that include free memberships to the resort’s fitness facility, biometric screenings, health fairs, and free alpine and Nordic season passes.“As the largest employer in the Northeast Kingdom, we have a vested interest and certain duty to promote a healthy lifestyle,” continued Wright. “Our employees are the heart of Jay Peak. We need them healthy and happy.”Jay Peak’s Human Resources staff plans on working with officials from the Vermont Department of Health—the agency charged with managing the 3>4>50 initiative—on a new suite of offerings to be rolled out in the coming months.Source: March 21, 2018 (Jay, VT)- Jay Peak Resort jaypeakresort.com(link is external).
Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott and iFundWomen, a crowdfunding platform for women-led startups and small businesses, announced today the launch of iFundWomen Vermont(link is external),(link is external) a statewide initiative to drive funding to early-stage entrepreneurs. Women-owned businesses have the potential to play a much bigger role in Vermont’s economic development. According to recent data collected by Change the Story, the number of women-owned businesses in Vermont is growing, and between 2012-2017, they grew at twice the rate of male-owned businesses to more than 20,000 without employees. If just 25 percent of these women-owned businesses without employees hired one worker, it would result in more than 5,000 new jobs for Vermont.Access to capital is only one of the obstacles women face while building and growing their businesses. In 2017, female founders got just two percent of all venture capital dollars. Some find creative funding solutions from friends, family, grants and small business loans. But these business owners need more access to capital to help them successfully grow, create jobs and further strengthen Vermont’s economy.”iFundWomen Vermont will give our female entrepreneurs another source of capital and help close the funding gap, supporting these entrepreneurs, companies, and our economy,” said Governor Scott. “We need to do more to help small businesses grow and supporting women-owned businesses is an important area of focus.”Applicants chosen to participate in the cohort will have the option to start their crowdfunding campaigns immediately and will have access to one-on-one business and crowdfunding coaching, as well as video production services to help them pitch their concepts and tell their stories. Campaigns that are fully funded by March 31, 2019 will be eligible to participate in the first-ever iFundWomen Vermont Pitch Competition in April, showcasing the top companies in the cohort and giving them the opportunity to raise even more startup capital.“Vermont has tens of thousands of women-led companies who are under-banked. It’s difficult for early-stage startups to get approved for loans or to raise venture capital, so up until now, there have been limited options for women to get the funding needed to prove their business concepts out. iFundWomen Vermont changes that instantly,” said Karen Cahn, Founder and CEO of iFundWomen. “The fact that Governor Scott jumped on board immediately to launch this cohort says a ton about his commitment to the women entrepreneurs in Vermont.”“Communities thrive when people invest in each other.” said Louisa Schibli, Co-Founder of Milk Money Vermont, an equity crowdfunding platform connecting Vermont businesses to local capital, and an iFundWomen Vermont Partner. “I’m excited there’s another way for our female entrepreneurs to access that early stage ‘neighborly’ capital to grow their companies while creating more employment opportunities for all Vermonters.”All women-led businesses in Vermont can apply here(link is external) for the inaugural cohort, sponsored in part by Milk Money, Vermont Works and The Vermont Women’s Fund. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. About iFundWomeniFundWomen(link is external) is the leading fundraising ecosystem for women-led startups and small businesses. iFundWomen’s mission is to increase access to capital for female entrepreneurs, empowering women to start and grow better businesses. iFundWomen drives funding to startups and small businesses through a flexible crowdfunding platform with a pay-it-forward model, expert startup coaching, professional video production, and a private community for our entrepreneurs. iFundWomen is changing the business of how businesses launch.Source: Governor 9.7.2018
Blackwell wins ABA Pro Bono Publico Award Bruce B. Blackwell of Orlando received the ABA’s Pro Bono Publico Award for service. Blackwell of King, Blackwell, Zehnder & Wermuth regularly performs more than 500 hours of pro bono work per year, including taking on controversial cases as well as raising money for and lobbying Congress on legal services for the poor.The ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service honored Blackwell, along with four others, at the Pro Bono Publico Awards Assembly Luncheon at the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco.“Lawyers lead our nation every day in the quest for justice and equality,” said ABA President Laurel G. Bellows, who hosted the awards ceremony.“These award recipients fulfill this mission through their dedication to pro bono work. They are outstanding examples of how lawyers can have meaningful and lasting effects on their communities.”The Pro Bono Publico Awards honor individuals or organizations in the legal community that enhance the human dignity of others by improving or delivering volunteer legal services to the poor or disadvantaged.Not only is Blackwell often called upon for tough pro bono cases, many of which involve clients who are abused women or abandoned children, he goes above and beyond just providing legal assistance and transforms the lives of his clients.The best example, according to the ABA, comes from a simple landlord-tenant case that ended up changing a 17-year-old girl’s life forever. While helping relocate his clients, Blackwell met the teenager, one of his daughter’s classmates, and expressed concern about her situation, in which she was basically functioning as the head of her household by taking care of her brothers, cooking, and cleaning while her mother worked. Blackwell and his family arranged for alternate care for the girl’s siblings and invited the teen to come live with them. They helped her prepare for and raise money to attend college. She became part of the family and now considers Blackwell her father.Blackwell has used his previous leadership positions as president of the Orange County Bar Association and as a member of The Florida Bar Board of Governors to persuade other lawyers to make a commitment to serving the poor and increasing their pro bono work.Among his many awards, Blackwell received the ABA’s Grassroots Advocacy Award in 2008 for his efforts in lobbying Congress to increase federal funding for legal services for the poor. He also twice received the President’s Pro Bono Service Award for the Ninth Judicial Circuit from the president of The Florida Bar, most recently in January 2013.Blackwell received a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University in 1968 and later returned to earn his law degree, graduating with honors in 1974.Other 2013 Pro Bono Publico Award recipients are lawyers Jeffrey Trachtman of New York and Patricia Lee of Las Vegas, law firm Leonard, Street and Deinard of Minneapolis, and Exelon Corp. of Chicago. Blackwell wins ABA Pro Bono Publico Award September 1, 2013 Regular News
The New York Times: ST. HELENA, Calif. — The scientists exchanged one last look and held their breath.Everything was ready. The electrode was in place, threaded between the two hemispheres of a living cat’s brain; the instruments were tuned to pick up the chatter passing from one half to the other. The only thing left was to listen for that electronic whisper, the brain’s own internal code.The amplifier hissed — the three scientists expectantly leaning closer — and out it came, loud and clear.“We all live in a yellow submarine, yellow submarine, yellow submarine ….”“The Beatles’ song! We somehow picked up the frequency of a radio station,” recalled Michael S. Gazzaniga, chuckling at the 45-year-old memory. “The brain’s secret code. Yeah, right!”Dr. Gazzaniga, 71, now a professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is best known for a dazzling series of studies that revealed the brain’s split personality, the division of labor between its left and right hemispheres. But he is perhaps next best known for telling stories, many of them about blown experiments, dumb questions and other blunders during his nearly half-century career at the top of his field.Read the whole story: The New York Times More of our Members in the Media >
Email Pinterest Share Share on Twitter LinkedIn The study of 67 incarcerated men a used a coin-flip prediction task and functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine the relationship between psychopathy, dishonesty, and brain activity.The researchers found that psychopathy was characterized by reduced activity in a particular brain region during dishonest decision-making.“The most important finding here is that higher psychopathy scores predicted decreased activity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) during dishonest decision-making. And this ACC activity was a significant mediator of the relationship between psychopathic traits and reduced reaction time for dishonest behavior,” Abe told PsyPost.The researchers also found that psychopathic individuals tended to make dishonest decisions quicker.“The ACC is reliably recruited in tasks producing high levels of cognitive conflict such as the Stroop task and responding to moral dilemmas. We therefore interpret that psychopathic individuals behave dishonestly with relatively low levels of response conflict,” Abe said.The study adds to previous research that has found psychopathy is related to deficits in decision-making. But like all research, it includes some limitations.“One of the major limitations relates to the cognitive task used in the present study. The participants were asked to engage in the incentivized coin-flip prediction task wherein they were given real and repeated opportunities for dishonest gain,” Abe explained.“We believe that the present experimental paradigm did involve morally questionable behavior in response to real opportunities for financial gain, our paradigm nevertheless employs a highly reduced interpersonal context.”“It would be informative to examine how psychopathic individuals behave (dis)honestly in an interpersonal context using another task.”The study, “Reduced engagement of the anterior cingulate cortex in the dishonest decision-making of incarcerated psychopaths“, was authored by Nobuhito Abe, Joshua D. Greene, and Kent A. Kiehl. A new study sheds light on the neural basis of dishonest behavior in psychopathic individuals. The new research has been published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.“For many years, I have studied the neural basis of deception using a cognitive neuroscience approach,” said study author Nobuhito Abe of the Kokoro Research Center at Kyoto University.“More recently, I’ve focused on the neural mechanisms of decision-making on how people behave honestly or dishonestly. It is well known that psychopathic individuals lie chronically, so as a researcher of dishonesty, I was really excited to examine what brain mechanisms are associated with dishonest decision-making of psychopaths.” Share on Facebook
A new analysis of global antibiotic use in young children has found that consumption patterns vary widely among countries, with no clear differences between high-income and low-income nations.But the study, which is the first attempt to estimate the amount and type of antibiotics being consumed by children under the age of 5 at the country level, also found some concerning trends.The positive news is that narrow-spectrum antibiotics, which should be used as the first or second options for common childhood bacterial infections, accounted for more than three quarters of antibiotics consumed by young children in 70 countries.But in 17 countries, most notably China and India, broader-spectrum drugs with a higher potential for driving antibiotic resistance accounted for more than 20% of the antibiotics consumed by children. And overall use of a key first-line antibiotic was lower than it should be.The findings appeared yesterday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.Access and Watch antibioticsThe analysis by researchers from St. George’s University of London, the University of Hong Kong, and the World Health Organization (WHO), was based on wholesale antibiotic sales data in 70 high- and middle-income countries in 2015, obtained from a global pharmacy retail sales database.Antibiotic consumption by young children was estimated on the basis of sales volume of childhood appropriate formulations (CAFs), which were defined as antibiotics that were either appropriate for children or specifically designed for easy use in children. The focus was on oral antibiotics used in the community, where 90% of antibiotic use occurs.To determine the patterns of antibiotic use in each country, the researchers used three metrics based on the WHO’s AWaRE (Access, Watch, and Reserve) antibiotics categories. These categories were established in the 2017 update of the WHO’s Essential Medicines for Children list to guide responsible antibiotic prescribing and use and to ensure that antibiotics are available when needed.Access antibiotics are first- and second-line antibiotics for common infections that should be available in all countries, while Watch antibiotics are drugs that should be used with caution because of their potential to promote resistance. Reserve antibiotics are last-resort drugs that should be used only for severe, multidrug-resistant infections.For their analysis, the researchers focused on the percentage of Access antibiotics sold in each country, the percentage of amoxicillin sold in each country (the amoxicillin index), and the ratio of Access-to-Watch antibiotics sold in each country (the Access-to-Watch index).Overall, the median volume of CAF standard units sold per country was 74.5 million. The median use of Access antibiotics across the 70 countries was 76.3% (interquartile range [IQR], 62.2 to 84.2), an indication that in both high- and middle-income countries, narrow-spectrum antibiotics are widely used to treat infections in young children.”Our analysis confirms the key role of Access antibiotics for young children worldwide,” the authors of the study write. “Furthermore, we were able to verify that Access antibiotics are widely used not only in middle-income countries but also in high-income countries.”But the study also found that the median use of Watch antibiotics was 12% (IQR, 8.8 to 19.8) and that Watch antibiotics accounted for more than 20% of antibiotics consumed in 17 countries. The highest percentages of Watch antibiotics consumed were in China (54%) and India (47.3%). The median Access-to-Watch index across the 70 countries was 6.0 (IQR, 3.1 to 9.8), meaning six standard units of Access antibiotics consumed for each unit of Watch antibiotics. But six countries—China, India, Bangladesh, Japan, Kuwait, and Vietnam—had an Access-to-Watch index of less than 1.In addition, use of amoxicillin varied widely. The median amoxicillin index was 30.7% (IQR, 14.3 to 47.3), with amoxicillin accounting for more than 50% of CAFs in 15 countries and less than 10% in 11 countries. This is significant, because amoxicillin is one of the most effective and safe Access antibiotics for children, especially for respiratory tract infections, which account for at least two thirds of antibiotic prescriptions in young children.”For children, countries should strongly promote the use of amoxicillin for most common antibiotic treatment indications encountered in community practice,” the authors write.Another noteworthy finding was the range of CAFs that were unclassified—from 0.8% in Russia to 33.6% in Germany. This category of drugs includes most fixed combinations of drugs and could reflect either narrower-spectrum or broader-spectrum antibiotic use, the authors note, and reclassification of these drugs into the Access or Watch categories could shift the Access-to-Watch balance in several countries.Metrics could aid stewardshipThe researchers say beyond providing a rough idea of consumption patterns, the use of these metrics to assess antibiotic use in young children will help countries start to identify inappropriate use and develop antibiotic stewardship targets, which was the WHO’s ultimate goal in creating the categories.”Joint interpretation of these three metrics will help to identify broad areas for national antibiotic stewardship and guideline development, even when information about indication is not available,” they write. “Reviewing national access percentages and aiming to promote Access antibiotic use could be the first step for states wanting to engage in national antibiotic stewardship.”Antibiotic stewardship experts Marc Mendelson, PhD, and Adrian Brink, MBChB, of the division of infectious diseases and HIV medicine at the University of Cape Town, agree. In an accompanying commentary, they say that while the metrics are not a definitive measure of inappropriate antibiotic use in young children, they provide, for the first time, a “comprehensible picture” of global community childhood antibiotic use—an important first step in helping countries identify areas for improvement.”Outpatient antimicrobial stewardship is a novel area for improvement, and optimal metrics of antimicrobial use in this setting are unknown,” they write. “The first laudable attempt to develop simple metrics of global child community antibiotic use, based on the WHO AWaRe classification, is a necessity that was until now a challenge in lower-income and middle-income countries.”See also:Dec 3 Lancet Infect Dis abstractDec 3 Lancet Infect Dis comment
Often called the “Keeper of the Nuclear Conscience”, Rotblat was much criticized for “deserting” the atomic bomb project, yet he did so for fundamental reasons of personal conscience and fears that development of the “Gadget” would lead to a post-war nuclear arms race. In anticipation of next year’s 75th anniversary of the Trinity test and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, every effort should be made, including by the Los Alamos Historical Society and our national labs, to investigate and publicize new verification and confidence-building measures, including the use of Artificial Intelligence as written about recently by LANL Director Thom Mason, that can aid in the effort to greatly reduce and eliminate the reliance on nuclear weapons as instruments of policy and war. By JEFFREY BOUTWELL, Ph.D.Los Alamos I had the privilege to give a talk on Nov. 12 to the Los Alamos Historical Society focusing on the Polish physicist Josef Rotblat and his decision to leave Los Alamos and end his participation in the Manhattan Project in December of 1944 when it became clear that Nazi Germany was nowhere close to acquiring atomic weapons. Seventy five years on, we remain dangerously mired in a world with 14,000 nuclear weapons and a growing number of nuclear weapons states.
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