Information

Is there a word for the length of time an animal stays with parents before going off on their own?


Gestation is a word describing the pregnancy for animals, and you can use 'gestation period' to describe how long a pregnancy generally takes for a species. I'd like to know if there's a corollary word for the time an animal stays with its parents before leaving.

For example, after birds are hatched, they stay in the nest for a while, but they eventually leave the nest. Is there a single word or phrase that is used to describe the time between hatching and leaving the nest? I imagine different bird species have different periods, and other animals (that don't stay within families their whole life) can also be describe in a similar matter. Perhaps 'puberty', though I'm guessing there's a more specific word.


As you talk about bird, most of the terminology I am suggesting below comes from the ornithology literature.

Fledging period

Defined on wikipedia:

Fledging is the stage in a volant animal's life between hatching or parturition and flight.

Nestling period

Defined in Kouba et al. (2015):

In altricial birds, the nestling period is an important part of the breeding phase because the juveniles may spend quite a long time in the nest, with associated high energy costs for the parents.

Rearing period

See its usage in for examples Yuan et al. (1994) and Brickell et al. (2009)

Juvenile

While the term juvenile does not refer to a period of time, you can refer to this concept as the period while children are still juvenile. From dictionary.com

a young bird in the stage when it has fledged, if altricial, or has replaced down of hatching, if precocial.


Words for Departure

Louise Bogan's poem "Words for Departure" was published in her first book of poetry, Body of This Death (1923). In 1922, Bogan had spent six months in Vienna, immersing herself in her work and studying European poetry. When she returned from this period of study, she found a publisher, Robert M. McBride & Company of New York City and within months had published her first compilation of poems. The twenty-seven poems in this first collection of work often focus on romantic relationships and on sexual betrayal. This is true of "Words for Departure," as well, which, while offering advice for a departing lover, also reveals the depth of pain suffered at a lover's betrayal.

The poems in this first book reveal Bogan's study of classical lyrical poetry, with its emphasis on traditional themes. The author uses the classical lyrical motifs of love, time, nature, and rebirth in "Words for Departure" to suggest that all four of these themes are permanently interwoven when love is lost. Bogan studied the poetry of William Butler Yeats and was influenced by modern poetry, but she also adopted the ideas of English Renaissance poets such as John Donne, including some of the metaphysical poet's traditions.

"Words for Departure" was written only a few years after Bogan's husband died but, because the marriage was not a happy one, it is difficult to identify his death as a source for this poem. While Bogan used her poetry to tell stories, the narrative is never obvious and the source of the image not easily defined. Instead the reader must work at deciphering the meaning.

Many of the poems from Body of This Death were reprinted in Bogan's later books, though this is not true for "Words for Departure," which is contained only in this first collection. Body of This Death has been out of print for many years and as of 2004 was difficult to find however, "Words for Departure" can be found online at some poetry Websites.


How the Pandemic Will End

The U.S. may end up with the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the industrialized world. This is how it’s going to play out.

Originally published in the Atlantic on March 21, 2020

The title implies a conclusion when, in reality, the story is about multiple scenarios that are models and possibilities. Can you tell me how the title, which implies strong certitude, was chosen? Obviously you can’t be sure how the future will play out. So maybe the title should be “How the pandemic could end.” But we wanted to convey a sense of strength. We are making a powerful assertion with this. Maybe this piece is going to date really badly in a year or so. But I’m okay with that, because I think we’ve been clear about what the range of possibilities are and what the what the sort of contingencies are that might go into it. I don’t think I’m going to be very embarrassed by this in a year’s time. And if I do, it’ll be because we did much better (at containing the virus) than I wrote. T hree months ago, no one knew that SARS-CoV-2 existed. Now the virus has spread to almost every country, infecting at least 446,000 people whom we know about, and many more whom we do not. It has crashed economies and broken health-care systems, filled hospitals and emptied public spaces. It has separated people from their workplaces and their friends. It has disrupted modern society on a scale that most living people have never witnessed. Soon, most everyone in the United States will know someone who has been infected. Like World War II or the 9/11 attacks, this pandemic has already imprinted itself upon the nation’s psyche.

A global pandemic of this scale was inevitable. In recent years, hundreds of health experts have written books, white papers, and op-eds warning of the possibility. Bill Gates has been telling anyone who would listen, including the 18 million viewers of his TED Talk. In 2018, I wrote a story for The Atlantic arguing that America was not ready for the pandemic that would eventually come. In October, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security war-gamed what might happen if a new coronavirus swept the globe. And then one did. Hypotheticals became reality. “What if?” became “Now what?”

So, now what? In the late hours of last Wednesday, which now feels like the distant past, I was talking about the pandemic with a pregnant friend who was days away from her due date. We realized that her child might be one of the first of a new cohort who are born into a society profoundly altered by COVID-19. We decided to call them Generation C.

As we’ll see, Gen C’s lives will be shaped by the choices made in the coming weeks, and by the losses we suffer as a result. But first, a brief reckoning. On the Global Health Security Index, a report card that grades every country on its pandemic preparedness, the United States has a score of 83.5—the world’s highest. Rich, strong, developed, America is supposed to be the readiest of nations. That illusion has been shattered. Despite months of advance warning as the virus spread in other countries, when America was finally tested by COVID-19, it failed.

“No matter what, a virus [like SARS-CoV-2] was going to test the resilience of even the most well-equipped health systems,” says Nahid Bhadelia, an infectious-diseases physician at the Boston University School of Medicine. More transmissible and fatal than seasonal influenza, the new coronavirus is also stealthier, spreading from one host to another for several days before triggering obvious symptoms. To contain such a pathogen, nations must develop a test and use it to identify infected people, isolate them, and trace those they’ve had contact with. That is what South Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong did to tremendous effect. It is what the United States did not.

As my colleagues Alexis Madrigal and Robinson Meyer have reported, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed and distributed a faulty test in February. Independent labs created alternatives, but were mired in bureaucracy from the FDA. In a crucial month when the American caseload shot into the tens of thousands, only hundreds of people were tested. That a biomedical powerhouse like the U.S. should so thoroughly fail to create a very simple diagnostic test was, quite literally, unimaginable. “I’m not aware of any simulations that I or others have run where we [considered] a failure of testing,” says Alexandra Phelan of Georgetown University, who works on legal and policy issues related to infectious diseases.

The testing fiasco was the original sin of America’s pandemic failure, the single flaw that undermined every other countermeasure. This is a really cool sentence, I like it a lot. But, it clearly reveals your opinion and places a value judgment on the mishandling of COVID-19. How do you walk the line between opinion and journalism here? I think what might not be obvious is that where I’m making a very strong assertion liking what actually happened to what might happen is based on a ton of interviews. When the sixth or seventh person tells me that testing is the central failure point for this entire response, then I feel quite confident saying that testing is the central point of this response. I wouldn’t make this assertion myself so I was triangulating across a lot of different expert opinions. If the country could have accurately tracked the spread of the virus, hospitals could have executed their pandemic plans, girding themselves by allocating treatment rooms, ordering extra supplies, tagging in personnel, or assigning specific facilities to deal with COVID-19 cases. None of that happened. Instead, a health-care system that already runs close to full capacity, and that was already challenged by a severe flu season, was suddenly faced with a virus that had been left to spread, untracked, through communities around the country. Overstretched hospitals became overwhelmed. Basic protective equipment, such as masks, gowns, and gloves, began to run out. Beds will soon follow, as will the ventilators that provide oxygen to patients whose lungs are besieged by the virus.

With little room to surge during a crisis, America’s health-care system operates on the assumption that unaffected states can help beleaguered ones in an emergency. That ethic works for localized disasters such as hurricanes or wildfires, but not for a pandemic that is now in all 50 states. Cooperation has given way to competition some worried hospitals have bought out large quantities of supplies, in the way that panicked consumers have bought out toilet paper.

Partly, that’s because the White House is a ghost town of scientific expertise. A pandemic-preparedness office that was part of the National Security Council was dissolved in 2018. On January 28, Luciana Borio, who was part of that team, urged the government to “act now to prevent an American epidemic,” and specifically to work with the private sector to develop fast, easy diagnostic tests. But with the office shuttered, those warnings were published in The Wall Street Journal, rather than spoken into the president’s ear. Instead of springing into action, America sat idle.

Rudderless, blindsided, lethargic, and uncoordinated, America has mishandled the COVID-19 crisis to a substantially worse degree than what every health expert I’ve spoken with had feared. “Much worse,” said Ron Klain, who coordinated the U.S. response to the West African Ebola outbreak in 2014. “Beyond any expectations we had,” said Lauren Sauer, who works on disaster preparedness at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “As an American, I’m horrified,” said Seth Berkley, who heads Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “The U.S. may end up with the worst outbreak in the industrialized world.

I. The Next Months

Having fallen behind, it will be difficult—but not impossible—for the United States to catch up. To an extent, the near-term future is set because COVID-19 is a slow and long illness. People who were infected several days ago will only start showing symptoms now, even if they isolated themselves in the meantime. Some of those people will enter intensive-care units in early April. As of last weekend, the nation had 17,000 confirmed cases, but the actual number was probably somewhere between 60,000 and 245,000. Numbers are now starting to rise exponentially: As of Wednesday morning, the official case count was 54,000, and the actual case count is unknown. Health-care workers are already seeing worrying signs: dwindling equipment, growing numbers of patients, and doctors and nurses who are themselves becoming infected.

Italy and Spain offer grim warnings about the future. Hospitals are out of room, supplies, and staff. Unable to treat or save everyone, doctors have been forced into the unthinkable: rationing care to patients who are most likely to survive, while letting others die. The U.S. has fewer hospital beds per capita than Italy. A study released by a team at Imperial College London concluded that if the pandemic is left unchecked, those beds will all be full by late April. By the end of June, for every available critical-care bed, there will be roughly 15 COVID-19 patients in need of one. By the end of the summer, the pandemic will have directly killed 2.2 million Americans, notwithstanding those who will indirectly die as hospitals are unable to care for the usual slew of heart attacks, strokes, and car accidents. This is the worst-case scenario. To avert it, four things need to happen—and quickly. One of the criticisms of the piece was that it focused only on this model from Imperial College and ignored others. How do you respond to that? The Imperial model is useful because of its prominence in the discourse. It is certainly not the only model out there. But including all the models in multiple paragraphs saying, “this model says this, this model says that” would frankly be tedious and not actually have that much explanatory heft. There is another point towards the end of that second section, which talks about another model that looks at ventilator capacity and stuff like that. I do think that the best models are all roughly saying the same thing. The numbers might vary, but the points are fundamentally the same. I haven’t yet found an expert who thinks this will be done by the end of spring, and that we can just kind of relax and it’ll be fine.

The first and most important is to rapidly produce masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment. If health-care workers can’t stay healthy, the rest of the response will collapse. The tone in this section sounds more like a call to action than straight journalism. Was this intentional? It’s a little intentional. I don’t want the piece to be like a PSA. It’s not. It’s still journalism —not an act of advocacy. But these are urgent times. And if everyone I’m interviewing is in unison on what needs to happen right now, then part of our duty is to make clear to readers what that is. There is a fine line between explanation and advocacy, and we try to very carefully about tone. In some places, stockpiles are already so low that doctors are reusing masks between patients, calling for donations from the public, or sewing their own homemade alternatives. These shortages are happening because medical supplies are made-to-order and depend on byzantine international supply chains that are currently straining and snapping. Hubei province in China, the epicenter of the pandemic, was also a manufacturing center of medical masks.

In the U.S., the Strategic National Stockpile—a national larder of medical equipment—is already being deployed, especially to the hardest-hit states. The stockpile is not inexhaustible, but it can buy some time. Donald Trump could use that time to invoke the Defense Production Act, launching a wartime effort in which American manufacturers switch to making medical equipment. But after invoking the act last Wednesday, Trump has failed to actually use it, reportedly due to lobbying from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and heads of major corporations.

Some manufacturers are already rising to the challenge, but their efforts are piecemeal and unevenly distributed. “One day, we’ll wake up to a story of doctors in City X who are operating with bandanas, and a closet in City Y with masks piled into it,” says Ali Khan, the dean of public health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. A “massive logistics and supply-chain operation [is] now needed across the country,” says Thomas Inglesby of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. That can’t be managed by small and inexperienced teams scattered throughout the White House. The solution, he says, is to tag in the Defense Logistics Agency—a 26,000-person group that prepares the U.S. military for overseas operations and that has assisted in past public-health crises, including the 2014 Ebola outbreak.

This agency can also coordinate the second pressing need: a massive rollout of COVID-19 tests. Those tests have been slow to arrive because of five separate shortages: of masks to protect people administering the tests of nasopharyngeal swabs for collecting viral samples of extraction kits for pulling the virus’s genetic material out of the samples of chemical reagents that are part of those kits and of trained people who can give the tests. Many of these shortages are, again, due to strained supply chains. The U.S. relies on three manufacturers for extraction reagents, providing redundancy in case any of them fails—but all of them failed in the face of unprecedented global demand. Meanwhile, Lombardy, Italy, the hardest-hit place in Europe, houses one of the largest manufacturers of nasopharyngeal swabs.

Some shortages are being addressed. The FDA is now moving quickly to approve tests developed by private labs. At least one can deliver results in less than an hour, potentially allowing doctors to know if the patient in front of them has COVID-19. The country “is adding capacity on a daily basis,” says Kelly Wroblewski of the Association of Public Health Laboratories.

On March 6, Trump said that “anyone who wants a test can get a test.” That was (and still is) untrue, and his own officials were quick to correct him. Regardless, anxious people still flooded into hospitals, seeking tests that did not exist. “People wanted to be tested even if they weren’t symptomatic, or if they sat next to someone with a cough,” says Saskia Popescu of George Mason University, who works to prepare hospitals for pandemics. Others just had colds, but doctors still had to use masks to examine them, burning through their already dwindling supplies. “It really stressed the health-care system,” Popescu says. Even now, as capacity expands, tests must be used carefully. The first priority, says Marc Lipsitch of Harvard, is to test health-care workers and hospitalized patients, allowing hospitals to quell any ongoing fires. Only later, once the immediate crisis is slowing, should tests be deployed in a more widespread way. “This isn’t just going to be: Let’s get the tests out there!” Inglesby says.

These measures will take time, during which the pandemic will either accelerate beyond the capacity of the health system or slow to containable levels. Its course—and the nation’s fate—now depends on the third need, which is social distancing. Think of it this way: There are now only two groups of Americans. Group A includes everyone involved in the medical response, whether that’s treating patients, running tests, or manufacturing supplies. Group B includes everyone else, and their job is to buy Group A more time. Group B must now “flatten the curve” by physically isolating themselves from other people to cut off chains of transmission. This is an interesting way of framing the “flatten the curve” idea that I haven’t seen before. Did you come up with this yourself or was it from a source? That was me. I just wanted a way of very simply explaining to people that this is what you need to do. A lot of the rhetoric around flattening the curve was useful but a little bit too abstract. I think the reason our framing works is that it creates a kind of collective sense of duty that you need in order to shoulder a lot of these personal inconveniences and hardships. Given the slow fuse of COVID-19, to forestall the future collapse of the health-care system, these seemingly drastic steps must be taken immediately, before they feel proportionate, and they must continue for several weeks.

Persuading a country to voluntarily stay at home is not easy, and without clear guidelines from the White House, mayors, governors, and business owners have been forced to take their own steps. Some states have banned large gatherings or closed schools and restaurants. At least 21 have now instituted some form of mandatory quarantine, compelling people to stay at home. And yet many citizens continue to crowd into public spaces.

In these moments, when the good of all hinges on the sacrifices of many, clear coordination matters—the fourth urgent need. The importance of social distancing must be impressed upon a public who must also be reassured and informed. Instead, Trump has repeatedly played down the problem, telling America that “we have it very well under control” when we do not, and that cases were “going to be down to close to zero” when they were rising. In some cases, as with his claims about ubiquitous testing, his misleading gaffes have deepened the crisis. He has even touted unproven medications.

Away from the White House press room, Trump has apparently been listening to Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fauci has advised every president since Ronald Reagan on new epidemics, and now sits on the COVID-19 task force that meets with Trump roughly every other day. “He’s got his own style, let’s leave it at that,” Fauci told me, “but any kind of recommendation that I have made thus far, the substance of it, he has listened to everything.”

But Trump already seems to be wavering. In recent days, he has signaled that he is prepared to backtrack on social-distancing policies in a bid to protect the economy. Pundits and business leaders have used similar rhetoric, arguing that high-risk people, such as the elderly, could be protected while lower-risk people are allowed to go back to work. Such thinking is seductive, but flawed. It overestimates our ability to assess a person’s risk, and to somehow wall off the “high-risk” people from the rest of society. It underestimates how badly the virus can hit “low-risk” groups, and how thoroughly hospitals will be overwhelmed if even just younger demographics are falling sick. This issue, like most in America, is somewhat divided along party lines. By getting into the political here, were you worried about losing some people who don’t agree? You can’t write an article about this without delving into politics it would be an abdication of duty and journalistic responsibility. A lot of our vulnerabilities transcend administrations, but some of them are very specific to this one. A lot of the failures in the response to coronavirus are specific to Donald Trump in particular and his administration in general. Discussing that inevitably is going to lose people, but I think that’s better than to have something that whitewashes reality.

A recent analysis from the University of Pennsylvania estimated that even if social-distancing measures can reduce infection rates by 95 percent, 960,000 Americans will still need intensive care. There are only about 180,000 ventilators in the U.S. and, more pertinently, only enough respiratory therapists and critical-care staff to safely look after 100,000 ventilated patients. Abandoning social distancing would be foolish. Abandoning it now, when tests and protective equipment are still scarce, would be catastrophic.

If Trump stays the course, if Americans adhere to social distancing, if testing can be rolled out, and if enough masks can be produced, there is a chance that the country can still avert the worst predictions about COVID-19, and at least temporarily bring the pandemic under control. No one knows how long that will take, but it won’t be quick. “It could be anywhere from four to six weeks to up to three months,” Fauci said, “but I don’t have great confidence in that range.”

II. The Endgame

Even a perfect response won’t end the pandemic. As long as the virus persists somewhere, there’s a chance that one infected traveler will reignite fresh sparks in countries that have already extinguished their fires. This is already happening in China, Singapore, and other Asian countries that briefly seemed to have the virus under control. Under these conditions, there are three possible endgames: one that’s very unlikely, one that’s very dangerous, and one that’s very long.

The first is that every nation manages to simultaneously bring the virus to heel, as with the original SARS in 2003. Given how widespread the coronavirus pandemic is, and how badly many countries are faring, the odds of worldwide synchronous control seem vanishingly small.

The second is that the virus does what past flu pandemics have done: It burns through the world and leaves behind enough immune survivors that it eventually struggles to find viable hosts. This “herd immunity” scenario would be quick, and thus tempting. But it would also come at a terrible cost: SARS-CoV-2 is more transmissible and fatal than the flu, and it would likely leave behind many millions of corpses and a trail of devastated health systems. The United Kingdom initially seemed to consider this herd-immunity strategy, before backtracking when models revealed the dire consequences. The U.S. now seems to be considering it too.

The third scenario is that the world plays a protracted game of whack-a-mole with the virus, stamping out outbreaks here and there until a vaccine can be produced. This is the best option, but also the longest and most complicated.

It depends, for a start, on making a vaccine. If this were a flu pandemic, that would be easier. The world is experienced at making flu vaccines and does so every year. But there are no existing vaccines for coronaviruses—until now, these viruses seemed to cause diseases that were mild or rare—so researchers must start from scratch. The first steps have been impressively quick. Last Monday, a possible vaccine created by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health went into early clinical testing. That marks a 63-day gap between scientists sequencing the virus’s genes for the first time and doctors injecting a vaccine candidate into a person’s arm. “It’s overwhelmingly the world record,” Fauci said.

But it’s also the fastest step among many subsequent slow ones. The initial trial will simply tell researchers if the vaccine seems safe, and if it can actually mobilize the immune system. Researchers will then need to check that it actually prevents infection from SARS-CoV-2. They’ll need to do animal tests and large-scale trials to ensure that the vaccine doesn’t cause severe side effects. They’ll need to work out what dose is required, how many shots people need, if the vaccine works in elderly people, and if it requires other chemicals to boost its effectiveness.

“Even if it works, they don’t have an easy way to manufacture it at a massive scale,” said Seth Berkley of Gavi. That’s because Moderna is using a new approach to vaccination. Existing vaccines work by providing the body with inactivated or fragmented viruses, allowing the immune system to prep its defenses ahead of time. By contrast, Moderna’s vaccine comprises a sliver of SARS-CoV-2’s genetic material—its RNA. The idea is that the body can use this sliver to build its own viral fragments, which would then form the basis of the immune system’s preparations. This approach works in animals, but is unproven in humans. By contrast, French scientists are trying to modify the existing measles vaccine using fragments of the new coronavirus. “The advantage of that is that if we needed hundreds of doses tomorrow, a lot of plants in the world know how to do it,” Berkley said. No matter which strategy is faster, Berkley and others estimate that it will take 12 to 18 months to develop a proven vaccine, and then longer still to make it, ship it, and inject it into people’s arms.

It’s likely, then, that the new coronavirus will be a lingering part of American life for at least a year, if not much longer. If the current round of social-distancing measures works, the pandemic may ebb enough for things to return to a semblance of normalcy. Offices could fill and bars could bustle. Schools could reopen and friends could reunite. But as the status quo returns, so too will the virus. This doesn’t mean that society must be on continuous lockdown until 2022. But “we need to be prepared to do multiple periods of social distancing,” says Stephen Kissler of Harvard.

Much about the coming years, including the frequency, duration, and timing of social upheavals, depends on two properties of the virus, both of which are currently unknown. First: seasonality. Coronaviruses tend to be winter infections that wane or disappear in the summer. That may also be true for SARS-CoV-2, but seasonal variations might not sufficiently slow the virus when it has so many immunologically naive hosts to infect. “Much of the world is waiting anxiously to see what—if anything—the summer does to transmission in the Northern Hemisphere,” says Maia Majumder of Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital.

Second: duration of immunity. When people are infected by the milder human coronaviruses that cause cold-like symptoms, they remain immune for less than a year. By contrast, the few who were infected by the original SARS virus, which was far more severe, stayed immune for much longer. Assuming that SARS-CoV-2 lies somewhere in the middle, people who recover from their encounters might be protected for a couple of years. To confirm that, scientists will need to develop accurate serological tests, which look for the antibodies that confer immunity. They’ll also need to confirm that such antibodies actually stop people from catching or spreading the virus. If so, immune citizens can return to work, care for the vulnerable, and anchor the economy during bouts of social distancing.

Scientists can use the periods between those bouts to develop antiviral drugs—although such drugs are rarely panaceas, and come with possible side effects and the risk of resistance. Hospitals can stockpile the necessary supplies. Testing kits can be widely distributed to catch the virus’s return as quickly as possible. There’s no reason that the U.S. should let SARS-CoV-2 catch it unawares again, and thus no reason that social-distancing measures need to be deployed as broadly and heavy-handedly as they now must be. As Aaron E. Carroll and Ashish Jha recently wrote, “We can keep schools and businesses open as much as possible, closing them quickly when suppression fails, then opening them back up again once the infected are identified and isolated. Instead of playing defense, we could play more offense.”

Whether through accumulating herd immunity or the long-awaited arrival of a vaccine, the virus will find spreading explosively more and more difficult. It’s unlikely to disappear entirely. The vaccine may need to be updated as the virus changes, and people may need to get revaccinated on a regular basis, as they currently do for the flu. Models suggest that the virus might simmer around the world, triggering epidemics every few years or so. “But my hope and expectation is that the severity would decline, and there would be less societal upheaval,” Kissler says. In this future, COVID-19 may become like the flu is today—a recurring scourge of winter. Perhaps it will eventually become so mundane that even though a vaccine exists, large swaths of Gen C won’t bother getting it, forgetting how dramatically their world was molded by its absence.

III. The Aftermath

The cost of reaching that point, with as few deaths as possible, will be enormous. As my colleague Annie Lowrey wrote, the economy is experiencing a shock “more sudden and severe than anyone alive has ever experienced.” About one in five people in the United States have lost working hours or jobs. Hotels are empty. Airlines are grounding flights. Restaurants and other small businesses are closing. Inequalities will widen: People with low incomes will be hardest-hit by social-distancing measures, and most likely to have the chronic health conditions that increase their risk of severe infections. Diseases have destabilized cities and societies many times over, “but it hasn’t happened in this country in a very long time, or to quite the extent that we’re seeing now,” says Elena Conis, a historian of medicine at UC Berkeley. “We’re far more urban and metropolitan. We have more people traveling great distances and living far from family and work.”

After infections begin ebbing, a secondary pandemic of mental-health problems will follow. At a moment of profound dread and uncertainty, people are being cut off from soothing human contact. Hugs, handshakes, and other social rituals are now tinged with danger. People with anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder are struggling. Elderly people, who are already excluded from much of public life, are being asked to distance themselves even further, deepening their loneliness. Asian people are suffering racist insults, fueled by a president who insists on labeling the new coronavirus the “Chinese virus.” Incidents of domestic violence and child abuse are likely to spike as people are forced to stay in unsafe homes. Children, whose bodies are mostly spared by the virus, may endure mental trauma that stays with them into adulthood.

After the pandemic, people who recover from COVID-19 might be shunned and stigmatized, as were survivors of Ebola, SARS, and HIV. Health-care workers will take time to heal: One to two years after SARS hit Toronto, people who dealt with the outbreak were still less productive and more likely to be experiencing burnout and post-traumatic stress. People who went through long bouts of quarantine will carry the scars of their experience. “My colleagues in Wuhan note that some people there now refuse to leave their homes and have developed agoraphobia,” says Steven Taylor of the University of British Columbia, who wrote The Psychology of Pandemics. All of these things are just predictions and not everyone agrees on them. That’s the basis of some of the criticism of your piece. What was your thinking here? There are several points in the piece where this idea of a lack of imagination becomes a theme. We think that people who are experts didn’t foresee that testing could fail to the extent it has. That people in the West, who are not experienced with SARS, failed to imagine what a virus like this could do to a society. Our inability to envision what the details of a catastrophe like this could be like has contributed to delays and sluggishness. And part of the goal of the piece was to help people imagine what the future might look like.

But “there is also the potential for a much better world after we get through this trauma,” says Richard Danzig of the Center for a New American Security. Already, communities are finding new ways of coming together, even as they must stay apart. Attitudes to health may also change for the better. The rise of HIV and AIDS “completely changed sexual behavior among young people who were coming into sexual maturity at the height of the epidemic,” Conis says. “The use of condoms became normalized. Testing for STDs became mainstream.”

Similarly, washing your hands for 20 seconds, a habit that has historically been hard to enshrine even in hospitals, “may be one of those behaviors that we become so accustomed to in the course of this outbreak that we don’t think about them,” Conis adds.

Pandemics can also catalyze social change. People, businesses, and institutions have been remarkably quick to adopt or call for practices that they might once have dragged their heels on, including working from home, conference-calling to accommodate people with disabilities, proper sick leave, and flexible child-care arrangements. “This is the first time in my lifetime that I’ve heard someone say, ‘Oh, if you’re sick, stay home,’” says Adia Benton, an anthropologist at Northwestern University. Perhaps the nation will learn that preparedness isn’t just about masks, vaccines, and tests, but also about fair labor policies and a stable and equal health-care system. Perhaps it will appreciate that health-care workers and public-health specialists compose America’s social immune system, and that this system has been suppressed.

Aspects of America’s identity may need rethinking after COVID-19. Many of the country’s values have seemed to work against it during the pandemic. Its individualism, exceptionalism, and tendency to equate doing whatever you want with an act of resistance meant that when it came time to save lives and stay indoors, some people flocked to bars and clubs. Having internalized years of anti-terrorism messaging following 9/11, Americans resolved to not live in fear. But SARS-CoV-2 has no interest in their terror, only their cells.

Years of isolationist rhetoric had consequences too. Citizens who saw China as a distant, different place, where bats are edible and authoritarianism is acceptable, failed to consider that they would be next or that they wouldn’t be ready. (China’s response to this crisis had its own problems, but that’s for another time.) “People believed the rhetoric that containment would work,” says Wendy Parmet, who studies law and public health at Northeastern University. “We keep them out, and we’ll be okay. When you have a body politic that buys into these ideas of isolationism and ethnonationalism, you’re especially vulnerable when a pandemic hits.”

Veterans of past epidemics have long warned that American society is trapped in a cycle of panic and neglect. After every crisis—anthrax, SARS, flu, Ebola—attention is paid and investments are made. But after short periods of peacetime, memories fade and budgets dwindle. This trend transcends red and blue administrations. When a new normal sets in, the abnormal once again becomes unimaginable. But there is reason to think that COVID-19 might be a disaster that leads to more radical and lasting change.

The other major epidemics of recent decades either barely affected the U.S. (SARS, MERS, Ebola), were milder than expected (H1N1 flu in 2009), or were mostly limited to specific groups of people (Zika, HIV). The COVID-19 pandemic, by contrast, is affecting everyone directly, changing the nature of their everyday life. That distinguishes it not only from other diseases, but also from the other systemic challenges of our time. When an administration prevaricates on climate change, the effects won’t be felt for years, and even then will be hard to parse. It’s different when a president says that everyone can get a test, and one day later, everyone cannot. Pandemics are democratizing experiences. People whose privilege and power would normally shield them from a crisis are facing quarantines, testing positive, and losing loved ones. Senators are falling sick. The consequences of defunding public-health agencies, losing expertise, and stretching hospitals are no longer manifesting as angry opinion pieces, but as faltering lungs.

After 9/11, the world focused on counterterrorism. After COVID-19, attention may shift to public health. Expect to see a spike in funding for virology and vaccinology, a surge in students applying to public-health programs, and more domestic production of medical supplies. Expect pandemics to top the agenda at the United Nations General Assembly. Anthony Fauci is now a household name. “Regular people who think easily about what a policewoman or firefighter does finally get what an epidemiologist does,” says Monica Schoch-Spana, a medical anthropologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

Such changes, in themselves, might protect the world from the next inevitable disease. “The countries that had lived through SARS had a public consciousness about this that allowed them to leap into action,” said Ron Klain, the former Ebola czar. “The most commonly uttered sentence in America at the moment is, ‘I’ve never seen something like this before.’ That wasn’t a sentence anyone in Hong Kong uttered.” For the U.S., and for the world, it’s abundantly, viscerally clear what a pandemic can do.

The lessons that America draws from this experience are hard to predict, especially at a time when online algorithms and partisan broadcasters only serve news that aligns with their audience’s preconceptions. Such dynamics will be pivotal in the coming months, says Ilan Goldenberg, a foreign-policy expert at the Center for a New American Security. “The transitions after World War II or 9/11 were not about a bunch of new ideas,” he says. “The ideas are out there, but the debates will be more acute over the next few months because of the fluidity of the moment and willingness of the American public to accept big, massive changes.”

One could easily conceive of a world in which most of the nation believes that America defeated COVID-19. Despite his many lapses, Trump’s approval rating has surged. Imagine that he succeeds in diverting blame for the crisis to China, casting it as the villain and America as the resilient hero. During the second term of his presidency, the U.S. turns further inward and pulls out of NATO and other international alliances, builds actual and figurative walls, and disinvests in other nations. As Gen C grows up, foreign plagues replace communists and terrorists as the new generational threat.

One could also envisage a future in which America learns a different lesson. A communal spirit, ironically born through social distancing, causes people to turn outward, to neighbors both foreign and domestic. The election of November 2020 becomes a repudiation of “America first” politics. The nation pivots, as it did after World War II, from isolationism to international cooperation. Buoyed by steady investments and an influx of the brightest minds, the health-care workforce surges. Gen C kids write school essays about growing up to be epidemiologists. Public health becomes the centerpiece of foreign policy. The U.S. leads a new global partnership focused on solving challenges like pandemics and climate change.

In 2030, SARS-CoV-3 emerges from nowhere, and is brought to heel within a month. How did you come up with this last line? The first draft had basically the same ending except without that last line. My editor, Ross Anderson, just sent a note back saying, I think that needs to be in your voice and it needs to be one beautiful line that ties it all up. I spent a couple of hours trying to work out what that was. The horrible thing about this is that the same thing has happened in two of the last pieces I’ve written, where my editors have said, I think he just needs one last line. Now all the other editors I work with know that this is a really great way of getting a really good last line from me. That’s my life.


Make a Name for Yourself in Niche Markets

By Jane Bidder*

Let’s not pretend. It’s a tough market out there for freelancers. You need to have fantastic ideas, prove you can be reliable and build up contacts with the right people.

But there’s also something else you can do to make yourself invaluable to a features editor – and that’s to be a specialist. Someone who can write about a subject which many others cannot.

Your initial reaction to this suggestion might be horror. You’re not a specialist in anything, you might think. In order to qualify, surely you need to know everything there is about old coins or birds or the history of steam trains? Not at all…

Find Your Niche

As a brief exercise now, I want you to write down a list of all the things you do and like in your life. Include everything. Are you a single guy who’s not bothered about commitment? Have you just had an extension put on your house? Are you still living with your parents? Are you trying to get pregnant? Have you been to an acupuncturist for the first time to see if it will help your migraines? Are you determined that your divorce is going to be civilised?

When you’ve completed your list, look at it critically to see what jumps out at you. Let’s take the examples above, starting with the single guy.

OK, there have been plenty of features about commitment-phobes but what might make your situation different? You could offer your advice to women who wanted to know what to do about their own men who didn’t want to commit. I can see the headline now: ‘How to get your man to propose, by a self-confessed commitment-phobe’. It’s the kind of angle which might just catch the eye of a magazine features editor or the features editor of a newspaper which runs relationship pieces like The Daily Express.

Even better, you could link it with a recent news story of a celebrity who split up with his fiancée shortly before the wedding. A newsworthy angle such as that will make your piece even more relevant.

However, that on its own won’t be enough. You then need to build on that article by suggesting similar topics to other publications, attaching your first cutting or a link to it.

Contact your local radio and suggest a piece. Offer to do an agony uncle slot for your local newspaper or student magazine which might be more likely to take a newcomer than a national publication. Get in touch with dating agencies and suggest writing something for their web pages. The more you do, using this angle, you more you will become Mr Commitment-Phobe Expert and before long, your number will find its way into commissioning editors’ contacts.

What about a house extension? Lots of people do that, don’t they? Yes but they don’t always write about it and you can because you now know all the pitfalls. Most national newspapers – especially the weekend editions – run property sections, so pitch your idea to them. Also contact home magazines like House

Beautiful. If they don’t want a piece, write a reader’s letter – anything to get into print and start building on that house extension expert angle.

Are you still living with your parents? If so, you’re very topical since more and more adults in their 20s and even 30s are returning home because they can’t afford to live away any more. Write about what it’s like to have to share a kitchen with your mum again and how you feel like a gooseberry when your divorced dad brings home his new girlfriend. Then write about it again and again so you’re known as the adult/kid who just can’t leave home.

I won’t bother with other examples because I’m sure you can see where I’m going. However, I will tell you one cautionary true story that happened to me and which still niggles.

Many years ago, when I was features editor of Parents magazine, I heard on the grapevine that a new monthly glossy magazine was being set up in London. I rang the woman who’d been appointed features editor and expressed interest. ‘I don’t know,’ she mused. ‘We’re really looking for someone who can specialise in a particular area.’ Partly because I was nervous and partly because I’d been so amazed at actually having got through to this important woman, my mind went blank.

It was only after I’d put down the phone, agreeing I didn’t have a particular specialisation, that I realised. I was features editor of Parents magazine, for heaven’s sake! And although, at the time, I didn’t have children of my own,

I could have said that I specialised in family features. I immediately rang her back but she was in a meeting. Further attempts at getting through proved unsuccessful (this was the days before email). Sure enough, two months later, when the magazine launched, there was a parents’ section and someone else was editor of it…

However, it taught me a lesson. After that, I suggested a series for The Daily Star newspaper on what it was like to give birth in Britain today. It ran every day for a week and there were actually newspaper ads on the side of taxis. Then, when I was trying to get pregnant, I built up a niche market on how it wasn’t always easy to do so. And when I had

my first baby (not to mention my second and third), I was already on the way to building a niche market in ‘mother’ pieces.

Still Niche-less?

If you still can’t think of a niche, or if you can’t find anyone interested in commissioning you for your particular specialisation, create one.

I’m not suggesting you make it up because you’d be instantly rumbled by another expert. But you could find a subject you’re interested in even though you don’t know much about it and then build up your expertise.

The more obtuse your area of expertise is the better, because you’ll have fewer rivals out there.

For example, an increasing number of magazines and newspapers are interested in alternative health. They know about acupuncture but what do they know about kinesiology, a type of holistic healthcare to cure various ailments. Make yourself an expert on the subject by reading up on it and interviewing kinesiologists and you could be what they need.

Check the Market for Gaps

Spend a few hours in a newsagent, looking through as many specialist magazines as you can, without being told to leave unless you buy them! You’ll find plenty on homes, pets, photography, crafts, health and parenting but do any of them have gaps? Does the parenting magazine cover teenagers?

If not, suggest a piece. Does the pet magazine have a section on alternative health for dogs?

I once sold a piece on how homeopathy can help dogs with arthritic hips. I know a bit about homeopathy and I’ve had a Labrador for 11 years so I know a little about both, even though I wouldn’t consider myself to be an expert.

But that’s the point. You don’t need a Masters in your subject. You just need to have an enquiring mind, know how to do your research, and, above all, get your facts right. But then, that’s what journalism is all about, isn’t it?

Google ‘specialist magazines’ and see what comes up. For example, Unique Magazines (www.uniquemagazines. co.uk) gives details of various niche magazines such as Flypast, an aviation magazine.

Investigate societies and clubs that are relevant to your specialisation. If you’re passionate about old coins, there are several organisations that might want you to write something for their newsletter or magazine. Remember: they might know about their subject but unlike you, they might not have the skills to write about it.

More Than One Niche

Well, why stop at one? Having compiled your specialist list, you might find you’ve got a reasonable smattering of knowledge about more than one subject.

For example, when I was on Parents magazine, each member of staff was invited to write a travel piece. Because it was a commissioned piece, the cost was normally paid by a holiday company which would be featured in it. Yes I know that doesn’t sound very ethical but we weren’t arguing.

That helped me build up my travel writing portfolio so when my children were born, I continued pitching for both parenting pieces and travel ones too. That’s why my kids are so well-travelled!

The message is that it doesn’t hurt to have two or even three specialisations. In fact, it’s useful because it doesn’t limit you so much (see further down). However, if you have too many, you’re in danger of being Jack-of-all-trades but master of none.

Use Your Job to Branch Out and Specialise

I’ve got a friend – I’ll call her Diana – who wanted to be a journalist but couldn’t get a job. So she got a position answering readers’ letters and dealing with general enquiries. The job wasn’t prestigious but the magazine was.

Three years later, she heard the agony aunt was leaving and applied for her post. She got it. Her previous experience of getting to know the readers through their letters was considered to be a useful background. Now she’s moved on to an even better magazine and has built up a formidable reputation as an agony aunt even though she doesn’t have any formal qualifications as a psychologist.

You could do the same. For example, if you’re already on a trade magazine aimed at bakers or builders, use that to make yourself an expert on dough or new homes.

Similarly, when looking for a staff job, don’t dismiss trade magazines or even in-house magazine jobs. They might lead to other things. My first magazine was called Drapers Record which was a weekly publication aimed at fashion retailers. I was desperate to get onto a consumer magazine but my time there taught me about fashion and also how business works.

Taking it One Step Further

When you’ve built up a good portfolio of cuttings about your specialist subject, how about a book?

Draw up a synopsis and outline why this book needs to be written why there’s a gap in the market and why you’re the person to write it. Use the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook to find a publisher that specialises in that field.

Many publishers actually decide they want a book on a subject and then look around for someone to write it. So it’s also worth sending your CV and specialist experience details to publishers who deal in your area.

I know someone who was asked to write a book on cat behavioural problems as a result of doing this. I’ve also written several parenting books, including What Every Parent Needs to Know before their Child Goes to Uni because publishers had seen my family articles and then approached me to do a book.

What if Your Niche Market Goes Out of Fashion?

Trends come and go. Readers change. Magazines close. That’s why it’s important to have more than one string to your bow.

Similarly, Features Editors come and go – which means the new one might have his or her own ideas about your contribution. So don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Write for more than one publication and have other features up your sleeve apart from your specialist subject.

Put Yourself About!

Make sure people know you specialise in garden machinery or budgies. It pays to splash out on a listing for writers’ directories such as www.the-efa.org or www.writewords.org.uk.

Limitations

Of course, there’s one big problem with niche writing. And that’s the danger of not being asked to do anything else.

To be honest, you can’t have it all. Balance it out. Are you more likely to get work if you carry on as a specialist or are you better off joining the rest of that work-hungry general freelance world?

You could, of course, try to do both which is what I do. I think I can write about almost anything but over the years, I have also specialised in parenting pieces, travel and also interviewing celebrities. A freelance writer needs to be flexible as well as all the other things we’ve mentioned, such as being reliable. The most important thing of all is…

Accuracy

You might be an expert but so are lots of others out there.

And you can bet your bottom dollar that if you make a mistake, there will be plenty of readers who will write in and tell the editor which will do no end of damage to your reputation.

The golden rule is to check facts again and again. Having said that we all make mistakes. Some years ago, I wrote a piece about how my children’s maths homework was improving my own gap in that area and I was stupid enough to give an example of an equation. What happened? I got it wrong – and even though it was my fault, the subs failed to pick up on it too. So we both got our knuckles rapped. It’s a warning for us all.

Useful Contacts

Bourne Publishing Group. www.bournepublishinggroup.com Publish range of specialist magazines.

Magazine subscription store, good for browsing!

The Editorial Freelancers Association.

Write Words: Writers Community.

The Society of Women Writers and Journalists

JournoBiz www.journobiz.com/forums Freelance group of journalists.

Magazine with general writing advice plus details of overseas markets.

  • Jane Bidder written regularly for numerous national newspapers and magazines, including The Daily Telegraph Weekend section, The Mail on Sunday and Woman where she wrote a weekly page for ten years before coming a successful novelist.

The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark

This was a cute read. My little cousin enjoyed me reading it to her very much. It is about just what the title says it is about, an owl who is afraid of the dark.

"You are only afraid of the dark because you don&apost know about it," said the mother Barn Owl to her son.

This is a good book as a read aloud to young children, I certainly remember it! "You are only afraid of the dark because you don't know about it," said the mother Barn Owl to her son.

This is a good book as a read aloud to young children, I certainly remember it! . more

I was surprised by how invested I was in this book, even though it&aposs a children&aposs story. I had bought it as a gift for a kid because of another review, and thought I could give it a read to see if it makes a good present.

This book follows Plop the baby owl, an unusual night bird - he&aposs afraid of the dark - and the little adventures he goes on in order to overcome his fear of darkness. Plop is pushed by his mom to go talk to people about the darkness - such as the old lady, the girl, or the boy I was surprised by how invested I was in this book, even though it's a children's story. I had bought it as a gift for a kid because of another review, and thought I could give it a read to see if it makes a good present.

This book follows Plop the baby owl, an unusual night bird - he's afraid of the dark - and the little adventures he goes on in order to overcome his fear of darkness. Plop is pushed by his mom to go talk to people about the darkness - such as the old lady, the girl, or the boy scout. These characters teach him small lessons and show him reasons not to fear the darkness: the fireworks, the fun, the stars.

As a character, Plop the little owl is adorable, and so are the illustrations of him. In fact, all of the illustrations in the book are cute and Paul Howard did a great job on them.

I recommend this book and I definitely think that every kid could benefit from reading or being read this story. . more

Lots of illustrations to keep children engaged. Provides a large scope for comprehension tasks i.e. creating their own chapter spinning off or adding to the story, exploring empathy towards the characters. Opening up opportunities for the children to really engage with the thoughts and feelings associated with this story.

A really lovely story about a baby barn owl called Plop who does not follow the stereotypical owl instinct of being nocturnal due to the fact that he does not like night time, Lots of illustrations to keep children engaged. Provides a large scope for comprehension tasks i.e. creating their own chapter spinning off or adding to the story, exploring empathy towards the characters. Opening up opportunities for the children to really engage with the thoughts and feelings associated with this story.

A really lovely story about a baby barn owl called Plop who does not follow the stereotypical owl instinct of being nocturnal due to the fact that he does not like night time, and dread being out in the dark. The story is set as Plop being the main protagonist, in which he describes the world at night is ‘nasty’ and repeats the phrase “I don’t like it AT ALL", adding extra emphasis to the fact he doesn't like the dark. As the story goes on, Plop meets many different characters, and experiences many new things, helping him to move beyond the negative mage he has previously built up about the dark.

Each chapter titles proves to be very interesting, portraying the many good qualities about the dark: dark is exciting kind fun necessary fascinating wonderful and beautiful. Plop explores these qualities from different characters and experiences during the day time, when he enjoys being outside, gradually changing his perception of the dark throughout the story.

As a barn owl that is always crashing into things, I found Plop to be a suitable but clever name for this character. The use of this onomatopoeic vocabulary entices the reader into the world of the character, imagining sounds and feelings associated with the story. Thus, this makes the story perfect for young age groups, in particular, key stage 1. Particular interest of the use of adjectives can introduce and create a bank of ‘wow’ words in children’s minds and increase their vocabulary, which is important particularly for foundation stage and year 1 children as they begin to develop their writing to become more interesting. . more

I remembered this vaguely from childhood, and bought a copy for my son for us to read together.

It could be a lovely warm and helpful read for children scared of the dark, but for any child, animal books are a hit, and to read about an owl being afraid of his natural environment is a novel idea and intriguing.

My son didn&apost sound keen when we started, but very soon warmed to the main character. It certainly helped that he had the name &aposPlop&apos!

Plop&aposs parents are rather nonplussed that their (barn ow I remembered this vaguely from childhood, and bought a copy for my son for us to read together.

It could be a lovely warm and helpful read for children scared of the dark, but for any child, animal books are a hit, and to read about an owl being afraid of his natural environment is a novel idea and intriguing.

My son didn't sound keen when we started, but very soon warmed to the main character. It certainly helped that he had the name 'Plop'!

Plop's parents are rather nonplussed that their (barn owl) son is afraid of the dark, won't come out at night, won't go hunting with them. They send him out to talk to other creatures about the nighttime. Plop meets humans and animals who all talk to him about their experience of life after dark. Can they change his mind?

This is a lovely read for a parent, I really empathised with Mr and Mrs Barn Owl. I enjoyed the repetition of the hunting expeditions and their never-endings quest to fill their son's stomach.

My son loved Plop's method of getting out of his tree, his 'eeks' and his new friends all confusing him for other falling objects (a Catherine Wheel, a role-poly pudding, a woolly ball).

The black and white illustrations complement the story beautifully, and kept my son doused on the story. We read it in four or five nights, and chapters are a good length for listeners as well as readers.

Such a sweet story, wonderfully written with patterns and rhythm throughout, a real classic children's book, and I expect we will re-read and order some more of Jill Tomlinson's animal stories. . more

Baby barn owl Plop doesn&apost want to be a night bird, &aposDark is nasty,&apos he tells his mummy. She tells him that he doesn&apost know that for sure, so he ought to go and find out.

Mrs Barn Owl, therefore, sends him down from his nest to ask a little boy about the dark. The boy is waiting for the fireworks to begin and he tells Plop that dark is exciting. When Plop gets back to his nest he tells his mummy what he has learned but he still says, &aposI still do not like it AT ALL! But I will watch the fireworks Baby barn owl Plop doesn't want to be a night bird, 'Dark is nasty,' he tells his mummy. She tells him that he doesn't know that for sure, so he ought to go and find out.

Mrs Barn Owl, therefore, sends him down from his nest to ask a little boy about the dark. The boy is waiting for the fireworks to begin and he tells Plop that dark is exciting. When Plop gets back to his nest he tells his mummy what he has learned but he still says, 'I still do not like it AT ALL! But I will watch the fireworks if you will sit by me.' So they watch the fireworks together.

The next morning, after his mummy has been hunting, she sends him down to an old lady sitting in a deck chair to ask about the dark. The old lady tells Plop that dark is kind as she can forget how old she is and can sit and remember all the good times. Plop returns and tells his mummy what the old lady had said but he still insists that he doesn't like it AT ALL.

That evening Plop is brave and flies down to a boy scout who is guarding the camp-fire and he tells Plop that dark is fun as he and the other scouts sing around the fire Plop stays with them until the fire has sunk to a red glow and then he flies home. The same conversation as before ensues with his mummy although the scout says dark is fun, Plop still doesn't like it AT ALL.

Next Plop flies down to a little girl who tells him about Father Christmas and gives him a sock to hang up on Christmas Eve and she tells him that dark is necessary because of Father Christmas coming. Plop goes home tells Mrs Barn Owl the news but still doesn't like the dark AT ALL but he does decide to hang his sock up when Christmas Eve arrives.

When his parents are out hunting the following day, Plop flies down to see a man with a telescope who tells him that dark is wonderful as when it is dark he can see lots of stars in the sky and he points out such as the bright Pole Star and Orion the Great Hunter along with many others. He returns to tell his parents how the man thinks dark is wonderful but does not repeat his dislike of it.

Finally he flies down to join a beautiful big black cat who takes him exploring up on the roofs and who tells Plop that dark is beautiful. When the exciting exploration is over Plop flies back to his nest.

He tells his parents of all his experiences and tells them that he has realised that through these encounters dark is SUPER after all . and then he flies off, in the dark, to go hunting with his parents! Plop has arrived as a true barn owl - he is no longer afraid of the dark!

Paul Howard adds delightful illustrations to Jill Tomlinson's lovely text, which, taken together, are a lovely antidote for calming night-time fears. . more


Community Reviews

I was still a teenager when I first read TWILIGHT, and now I am. well, not a teenager, obviously. (Beware, kiddos who follow me, one day, you too will be one of the "olds.") Since that first initial read, I&aposve reread TWILIGHT a handful of times, and each time, I&aposve felt a little differently about it as my thoughts about feminism, young adult fiction, and romances slowly changed and evolved with my own self-identification over time. I e
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I was still a teenager when I first read TWILIGHT, and now I am. well, not a teenager, obviously. (Beware, kiddos who follow me, one day, you too will be one of the "olds.") Since that first initial read, I've reread TWILIGHT a handful of times, and each time, I've felt a little differently about it as my thoughts about feminism, young adult fiction, and romances slowly changed and evolved with my own self-identification over time. I eventually settled on a sort of affectionate resignation. No, TWILIGHT won't be winning any female empowerment awards, and it's all too easy to make fun of (whether it's vampire baseball, sparkling in the sunlight, or the infamous misuse of the word "nattering"). But it was a book written by a woman for young girls that somehow became overwhelmingly popular and a cultural phenomenon, and women really didn't get to have a lot of things like that. Most things in pop-culture are created by dudes, from the perspective of the male gaze, so it was refreshing to see a romance novel become so inescapably popular that it gained a firm toehold in the fantasy/paranormal literary canon forever.

Even if the heroine was a klutz with zero self-preservation.

I actually read the original version of MIDNIGHT SUN back when it was still available to read for free on Stephenie Meyer's website. I remember when she first announced the project, she got so much backlash for it, and everyone said she was greedy/milking the cash cow/etc. (and yet radio silence when every other romance author decided to copy her and write POVs from their own abusive heroes' perspectives). I remember there was a lot of drama because someone had leaked the chapters, and they were circulating the internet, and Meyer was mad and said something like, "I'm not going to write this anymore because if I did, I'd let James win and kill off all the Cullens!" And in a final "so there!" she had posted a PDF version of the leaked chapters on her own website. Which. yikes. Not yikes to Meyer but just yikes because I honestly felt so bad for her at the time, getting all that hate and then someone screwing her over like that. I'd probably want to red wedding my own characters, too, at that point. So I read the 12 chapters on Meyers' website and went on with my life.

Until our year of 2020 when Meyer announced to the world that she would FINALLY be publishing MIDNIGHT SUN, the rewrite that nobody asked for. Or. um, wait, actually I think LIFE AND DEATH was probably the rewrite that nobody asked for. Anyway, people took in this news and basically lumped in with the general craziness of 2020 but they also had Thoughts. I had Thoughts. Namely:

1. Ummm, okay, that's great and all but WHAT ABOUT THE HOST SEQUELS.

2. And why does that cover make me so uncomfortable? It looks soooo sexual.

3. There is no way that this is going to be good but I am a trash can-- we all know that I'm a trash can-- and TWILIGHT was my shit back in the day, so we all know I'm totes mcgoats reading this.

5. Does this mean that vampires are FINALLY becoming popular again?

6. Just kidding. That was a trick question because we all know vampires never left.

Anyway, I finally got my hands on this book and managed to read it in a day with some skimming and all I can say is HOLY HELL WHY AREN'T MORE PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT WHAT A CREEPS MCDEEPS EDWARD IS. Like, yikes. If you thought he was problematic and patriarchal in the firsts four books, grab a blowtorch and some mace, because he takes stalking and problematic behavior to serial killer heights. Where it's methodically breaking down how he would go about meticulously snapping the necks and killing everyone in his biology lab in order to get to Bella while her blood is still warm, or stealing what I believe was her house key (some kind of key) while sniffing her hair and then OILING HER WINDOW TO MAKE IT EASIER TO SNEAK INTO TO WATCH HER SLEEP, Edward is the King of Creepy. And what makes it worse is that he knows what he is doing is creepy and he literally does not care.

Another thing that I found really funny in this book is how Stephenie Meyer really tries to give us a reason as to (1) why every single heterosexual man with a functional penis pants after Bella in the books and (2) belatedly and retroactively tries to infuse her with a "personality." What results is that we are treated, through Edward's psychic powers, of the inner monologues of EVERY MAN in this book who finds Bella attractive and told over and over again how dazzling, how stunning she is that she leaves boys literally unable to think while speaking with her-- and she doesn't even know it! Bella dramatically understates her own worth and Edward finds this so charming, compelling, and appealing that he has taken it upon himself to act as appraiser. Which is. gross. But gross is a recurring theme in this book, just as another recurring theme in this book is every attractive woman who actually knows she's attractive being repeatedly looked down upon, rejected, and shamed.

Through Edward's eyes, we're told how selfless and good Bella is. They have a conversation that definitely wasn't in the first book and felt about twenty pages long (I think it was actually ten) in which Edward asks Bella all of her favorite things, and she answers, so we learn her favorite flower (dahlia), candy (black licorice and sour patch-- is she an old lady??), and ALL OF HER FAVORITE BOOKS which we already kind of knew about from the previous four books, but now in addition to the Jane Eyres and Jane Austens, we're informed that she loves Robin McKinley and the Dragonriders of Pern series, and oh yes, Agatha Christie! She's BRANCHED OUT!

I must say, this book felt about a thousand times longer than it actually was. In addition to the long odes to Bella courtesy of Edward's being psychic, we're also treated to long and waxing odes of how rich, attractive, and amazing Edward is, courtesy of his being psychic. One creepy thing in this book which I'm really not seeing mentioned more in the reviews of this book is how Edward allegedly looks seventeen and yet a number of older women-- adult women-- in this book are panting after him and fantasizing over him, EVEN THOUGH HE IS A TEENAGER. I'm sorry, that's gross. That's just as gross as a one-hundred-and-four-year-old man panting after a teenager.

Which is another thing that makes this book creepy. Being inside Edward's head, we find out just how unequal their relationship is. Edward holds two medical degrees and is over a century old, and yet he doesn't like women of his own age and doesn't like women who have sexual agency (they seem to make him feel some weird mix of scorn and shame). Instead, he goes to a high school, where he sneers at the biology teacher for not knowing as much as he does with his

two medical degrees, and tunes in to his fellow "high school students" like he's watching a soap opera on the radio. Like. why?? If I was an immortal psychic vampire, high school is the literally last place I would go. I'd be on a remote island somewhere with my own personal library, or travel the world. I certainly would not be looking at lab slides and writing out prophase, anaphase, interphase.

TWILIGHT works because it's written (allegedly) from the perspective of a teenage girl who doesn't feel like she fits in, who feels like she's more mature for her peers, who feels like she sacrifices endlessly and nobody knows it and she doesn't want people to know it, but also she does. She whines about attention while craving it, and even though she's annoying, she is also a perfect stand-in for the walking, irrational paradox that many teenage girls (and boys, and people) are. It works. And how many of us, told that "things will get better in college" haven't innocently fantasized about a dashing older man (or woman) who would sweep us away from high school and tell us we're special and also a secret princess or heiress or faerie queen or whatever? Everyone wants to be special, especially people who are not. So, even though TWILIGHT doesn't really make sense, and Edward is ridiculous and toxic AF, the fantasy is appealing because it taps into Bella's desire to be seen and, yes, special.

MIDNIGHT SUN, however, doesn't work-- because it rips the sparkly tablecloth off that fantasy, revealing the horrors underneath. Edward is dangerous. He's a stalker, he's a bit of a psychopath, he has anger issues, he's jealous, he's possessive, and he's one-hundred-and-four years old and in love with a teenager, and because of that discrepancy, he feels like he knows what he wants better than she does-- because he's an adult, and she's the irrational, and naive teenager. In this book, it's no longer romantic it's creepy. As we see Edward not through Bella's rosy lenses but through Edward's own, we realize just how creepy he is. So if this was an attempt to rationalize and humanize Edward's behaviors, it failed, because it only served to make him 10x creepier. But if this was Meyer's attempt to be like, "ha ha! you want dark?? I'll give you DARK," then she succeeded, because man, Edward is super scary and I want no part of him. Team Jacob all the way, thanks. At least he's her own age.

The only thing this book really succeeded at was filling in some of the bizarre plot holes from TWILIGHT, such as why the tracker didn't recognize what Bella was right away at the baseball game, and why, between Alice's mind-reading and Edward's psychic powers, Bella ended up having so much bad shit happen to her in this first book anyway. I didn't ask for MIDNIGHT SUN and I'm not really sure it adds anything of real value to the series, apart from doubling down on the Edward is Creepy vibes from the previous book while trying to ret-con Bella's vapid, schoolmarmish character based on criticism from the first four books. Only one of those things was successful, though, and I don't think it was the one that the author was going for, sadly.

I have never in my 23 years of life been more excited to read a book and I am not ashamed! I loved reading this, but I didn&apost necessarily love this book. Bear with me, I will explain!

This book isn&apost perfect, and I didn&apost expect it to be. It has many of the major criticized flaws of Twilight, in terms of instalove and questionable romance. It is a Twilight novel after all, and if you&aposre one of those people that absolutely hate sparkly vampires and all that comes with them, this is NOT the book f I have never in my 23 years of life been more excited to read a book and I am not ashamed! I loved reading this, but I didn't necessarily love this book. Bear with me, I will explain!

This book isn't perfect, and I didn't expect it to be. It has many of the major criticized flaws of Twilight, in terms of instalove and questionable romance. It is a Twilight novel after all, and if you're one of those people that absolutely hate sparkly vampires and all that comes with them, this is NOT the book for you. This book was written for the Twihards. It was written for everyone that had been eagerly awaiting this installment for over a decade. For those of us who recognize Twilight's flaws, but love it nonetheless. So, if you know that you're going to hate it, don't read it for the lolz, and don't ruin it for those of us who care about it. Please. That's all I ask.

That said, Midnight Sun is 'technically' better than Twilight. Meyer's prose has grown and greatly improved in the past 15 years since Twilight first came out. Many of us have laughed at infamous Twilight lines such as: “Aro laughed. "Ha ha ha," he giggled.”

(Which is a misquote, by the way. It's actually: “Aro started to laugh. “Ha ha ha,” he chuckled.” In New Moon, chapter 21. Look it up!)

Thankfully, we've grown past that mess in Midnight Sun. The writing was, surprisingly, actually one of my favorite parts of this book.

When it comes to plot, this is literally the same as Twilight. Don't go expecting a new story because you won't get one. What you will get is a new version of it with far more detail and development than we see in the original novel. Meyer took the opportunity in this book to expand and develop a lot of things that were left vague before, and I really appreciate that. The vampire world seems bigger here, the characters seem like they could possibly, with some effort, be real people!

Character-wise, I really liked this book and consider it a good contribution to the Twilight Saga. I am extremely biased as I have always been #TeamEdward, but I genuinely enjoyed the look into Edward's thoughts. He is still a vampire stalker, but he is also shockingly self-aware and not nearly as perfect as Bella thinks. Seeing him through Bella's POV made Edward seem distant and otherworldly and entirely without flaw. Seeing his own mind shows he's a flawed, complex mess of a person. It makes him a bit more human than before.

Shockingly, the biggest surprise for me in this book was Bella herself, as she too appears more human in this book than in Twilight. Don't get me wrong, Bella is still the most special of all special snowflakes, but through Edward's eyes, you see she actually has a personality. There are conversations between the two characters that are only alluded to and skipped over in Twilight, which were fully fleshed out in this book. Perhaps it's because, in Twilight, Bella was too infatuated with Edward to pay attention to small, trivial conversations. In Midnight Sun, Edward is so infatuated with Bella that he considers all those trivial conversations vital to her character. Either way, Bella's personality, her likes, and dislikes, get explored here in a way that wasn't in the original novel. It makes her less bland.

All the other characters are also shown in greater depth in this book, mostly, the Cullen clan. This is because Edward can read their minds and therefore see their true selves and hidden motives, while Bella's POV was blinded by their beauty and perceived perfection. Emmett was my favorite because he was the only one aware of the fact that Edward was clearly crazy.

I will say this though, it sucks that all the human characters lowkey suck. I mean, they sucked in Twilight too, we just didn't realize how much. All of Bella's "friends" are lying, jealous, horrible people and it sucks that Meyer chose to portray them like that for the sake of making Bella appear even more special. Even Rosalie, who has a genuinely horrifying, tragic backstory of being used and abused and left for dead, is reduced to a horrible, jealous mean girl, and I didn't like that. Rosalie deserves her own story being told because none so far have done her justice.

In the end, this book was good and I highly recommend it to any Twilight fan. Keep in mind that this is literally the plot of the original Twilight. Don't expect anything new or innovative, just a fresh perspective. That said, I promise you, this perspective will not disappoint.

Still, I must admit, there were points in which the book felt overly long. I kept waiting for certain things to happen and would get annoyed when I realized how early on in the story I still was, despite having read so many pages (this is a 658 page, 240k word novel). It’s about twice the word length of the original novel! But, I attribute the annoyance to knowing all the major plot points from Twilight. I was waiting for things to occur, waiting for my favorite scenes to come up and waiting, finally, for the action to happen.

It is one of the reasons why my rating cannot be higher than what I gave it. This book could never measure up to Twilight for me. My love for that book is based on an emotional attachment to the story rather than the quality or general readability of the novel. Unfortunately, I have no such attachment to this book. While I liked this book, I know that had this not been a Twilight novel, a part of the saga that I have loved for so long, I would not have found it nearly as enjoyable.

And yet, having read this, I somehow feel complete. I have been waiting for this book for a decade, and I am so happy that I could finally get my hands on it. I can die happy in knowing that my last impression of Twilight wasn't that awful Life and Death, gender-bent nonsense. Seriously, Life and Death was a trash novel. Midnight Sun, on the other hand, was everything I expected it to be.


Introduction

Picture naming is a widely used paradigm in psycholinguistic research [1], and recently it has also become an important method in brain imaging studies [2], [3]. Normed picture naming data provide standardized tools that allow for the comparison of different studies addressing different theoretical questions. In this study, we report a first comprehensive normed dataset in Mandarin Chinese from the naming of 435 object line drawings. The dataset includes eleven variables: naming latency, name agreement (both in percentage and in H-statistics), adult rated age of acquisition (AoA), AoA based on children's speech, subjective word frequency, concept agreement, concept familiarity, image agreement, image variability, visual complexity, and word length.

The variables that influence picture naming have been extensively investigated in many languages since the 1980s (see [4], for a review). Some variables such as AoA and name agreement are found to determine picture-naming speed universally across languages [4], [5], [6]. Other variables are found to be more language specific and influence naming latencies differently in different languages. For example, Bates et al. [6] found that word length was a significant predictor of naming latencies in English, Bulgarian and Hungarian, but not in German, Spanish, and Italian. Thus, it is important to carry out norming studies to identify which variables influence which languages. Weekes, Shu, Hao, Liu and Tan [7] investigated the possible variables affecting picture naming in Mandarin Chinese used in Beijing and found that name agreement, concept familiarity, and adult rated AoA had significant contributions to naming latency. However, their findings were based on 144 pictures. In addition, the indices for majority of the variables might be outdated, since they were taken from Shu, Cheng and Zhang [8] collected twenty years ago. Bates et al. [6] reported the significance of name agreement and word frequency on the naming of 520 object names in Mandarin Chinese used in Taiwan, but they did not consider the full range of variables, especially adult rated AoA. The current study aims at providing a more comprehensive index of variables for picture naming by adding more potential variables (e.g., objective AoA based on child speech), and further examining the impacts of these variables on picture naming with 435 pictures.

AoA has been shown to be consistently significant in every published study on picture naming (see review in [4]). It is worth noting that the AoA measure used in most studies has been based on adult estimates of when different words are learned, since adult ratings are much easier to collect than objective AoA data based on children's picture naming performance as originally used by Morrison, Chappell and Ellis [9]. The validity of rated AoA has been confirmed in several studies. For example, Carroll and White [10] reported a correlation of 0.85 between rated AoA and a normative study of when children are able to read words Gilhooly and Gilhooly [11] found a correlation of 0.93 between rated AoA and the rank order of words in the norms from the Mill Hill standardized vocabulary scale [12]. Furthermore, Morrison et al. [9] found a correlation of around 0.8 between children's naming performance and adult AoA ratings for 297 object pictures. Despite the consistency shown in these studies between adult rated AoA and objective AoA based on child data, recent studies, however, have also found that the objective AoA is a more powerful determinant of naming latency than rated AoA [13], probably because the former is less contaminated by other variables [14], [15]. One goal of the present study is to collect both types of AoA and analyze their relationships with other variables so that we can identify their predictive power for adult picture naming latency.

The question of whether word frequency contributes significantly to picture naming latency over and above AoA has also been very controversial in recent years (see [4]). In contrast to AoA, nearly 50% of the studies in the literature did not observe a significant effect of word frequency. For example, Weekes et al. [7] showed no frequency effect in the naming of 144 pictures. The lack of a significant frequency effect has often been attributed to the lack of statistical power due to the small number of picture items used in studies (see [16], [17], [18]). Other possible reasons have also been identified, such as the existence of different kinds of frequency measures that could affect experimental results. Barry, Morrison and Ellis [19] found that spoken and written frequency had similar significant effects on the naming of 195 pictures from the Snodgrass and Vanderwart [20] norms. Instead of objective word frequency (written or spoken), Lachman, Shaffer and Hennrikus [21] used subjective word frequency and observed both AoA and frequency effects in picture naming task. Subjective word frequency based on participants' own ratings has also been used as a proxy for word frequency [9], [22], [23]. This method usually requires participants to judge how frequently they encounter a word (in reading or in spoken language) on a Likert-like scale. The correlation between subjective word frequency and objective word frequency (written or spoken) has been high, though not perfect [22], [23]. The current study will use subjective rather than actual word frequencies to study picture naming, because many picture names cannot be easily found in existing Chinese word frequency dictionaries (which could be due to text sampling problems associated with frequency dictionaries see [24]).

As in previous studies of picture naming, other potentially important variables such as concept familiarity, image agreement, image variability, and visual complexity were also included in our study. Concept familiarity refers to the familiarity of the concept depicted by the picture. Image agreement refers to the degree of similarity between the mental image generated by a participant to a given picture's name and the actual picture displayed. Image variability refers to the number of different images evoked by the name of a particular object. Visual complexity refers to the number of lines and details in the drawing. In what follows we first report the procedure with which we collected the indices of all the variables for 435 line-drawing pictures, and then analyze their relationships and their contributions to picture naming latencies with multiple regression analyses.


Male cult or temple prostitution in bible times | Religion Spirituality | Forum


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"You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female it is an abomination." Leviticus 18:22.

"If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act they shall surely be put to death. " Leviticus 20:13

The two references in Leviticus are the only direct references to homosexuality in the Old Testament.

And in reality it only applies to male Jews, since only males are addressed, and since Christians consider themselves in a state of grace, not under the law

Just as in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah, one must look at the cultural setting in which Letivicus was written, the words used, and the context to truly understand what the Scripture is talking about.

Here a swell as in many other places in both parts of the Scriptures, the cultural and contextual condemnation is of idolatry.
These passages are denouncing other forms of cultic worship.

When homosexual activity is mentioned in the Old Testament, the authors of the text scriptures had male worshipers having sex with male prostitutes provided by temple authorities.

Male cult or temple prostitution was enormously popular during all the period of Scripture and seemed to have been awfully attractive to many of the Hebrews, leading to the demand in Deuteronomy 23:17-18:

None of the daughters of Israel shall be a cult prostitute, nor shall any of the sons of Israel be a cult prostitute. You shall not bring the hire of harlot or the wages of a dog into the house of the Lord your God. for both of these are an abomination to the Lord your God.

Male priests of the Great Goddess were called dogs by the Hebrews.
Archeologists have found a fourth century B.C. Phoenician inscription found on Cyprus refering to a category of temple personnel who played a role in the sacred service of Astarte, identifies the kelev (dog) as a religious functionary.
The Sumerogram a picture-word for assinu, was a male-homosexual cult prostitute.
Hittite, Babylonian and Assyrian texts refer to these male prostitutes they describe picture text assinu and kurgarru as religious functionaries particularly associated with the goddess Ishtar, who danced, played musical instruments, wore masks, and were considered effeminate.These functionaries were believed to have magical powers. 'if a man touches the head of an assinu, he will conquer his enemy'. 'if a man has intercourse with an assinu, trouble will leave him.'"

Sumerian priests, held titles which, translated literally, meant "'womb', 'penis-anus,' and 'anus-womb.'. Sumerian preistesses were called assinutum. Babylonian and Assyrian cuneiform texts assert that 'the high priestess will permit intercourse per anum in order to avoid pregnancy.

During Roman And Christian rule, the Great Goddess and her eunuch priests attracted many worshippers. Lucian, in The Syrian Goddess, described how the Galli, the eunuch priests of the Goddess, would "'. sing and celebrate their orgies. On the other hand, your average male worshipper would simply have sex with the male priests to offer his semen to the goddess.

The Bishop of Caesarea, Eusebius 260-340 A.D wrote in The Life of Constantine that the goddess worshipers still held homosexual cult worship on Mount Lebanon. (

The reality is that culturally, the Hebrews were surrounded by religious worship which involved the use of male homosexual practices in In contextreligious practices.

Leviticus 18:21 reads: Neither shall you give any of your offspring to offer them to Molech.
The verses which follow 18:22 read: Also you shall not have intercourse with any animal to be defiled with it, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. Do not defile yourselves by any of these things for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled.

Other scriptures which specifically forbid male cultic prostitution, Deuteronomy 1 Kings 14:24, 15:12:, 22:46, 2 Kings 23:7), use the same word as is used in Leviticus 18 and 20.

A very important factor and key to understanding the context is the word abomination.

In Hebrew, the word "to 'evah," (abomination) is almost invariably linked to idolatry.

In the passages from which both verses are taken, Yahweh God tells Moses to tell the people not to follow the idolatrous practices of the people around them, people who sacrificed their children to Molech, or who masturbated into the fire to offer their semen to Molech, for example.
Chapter 20 starts off with the same warning.

"To 'evah" also means "something which is ritually unclean," not something evil in itself, like rape or theft. Eating pork or having sex during menstruation are ritually unclean.

The Levitical laws, then, had to do with keeping the Jewish people separate from common -- and apparently attractive -- practices used in worshipping idols so that they would worship the true God.

The greatest Jewish philosopher Even Maimonides,, and who lived from 1134-1204, did not believe the Levitical passages had anything to do with normal male homosexuality.
In his Guide to the Perplexed that Leviticus 18:22 simply was prohibiting pederasty and that the reason for all of these laws was to hold all sex in contempt and to avoid pleasure so that one's mind stays strictly on the Law and God.

Do these laws then apply to people who worship idols, using sexual activity in their worshipping services, and who sacrifice infants to demon gods. Yes. To the people naturally gay or lesbian seeking committed, stable, healthy relationships, I do not believe these laws apply.


Tuesday 24 April 2018 at 19:30pm, MadLab, Manchester, M4 1HN

In this talk Bill will explain the way that a new technique called whole genome sequencing is being used in a nationwide study in the NHS called the 100,000 Genomes Project. Whole genome sequencing is rapidly able to generate the DNA sequence (all 3 billion letters or nucleotides) in an individual. Over 99.9% of our DNA sequence we share in common with all other humans but the small differences can sometimes result in severe health problems that can affect many family members if passed from generation to generation. Gene sequence variants can also occur spontaneously through life. Some of these can be important in how individuals develop cancer. The results emerging from this work is already transforming the care of patients with rare diseases and cancer and will become routine in the future delivery of healthcare.

Professor Bill Newman is a clinician scientist. He studied Medicine at Manchester University and completed professional training in adult medicine in the North West of England. He started training in Clinical Genetics in 1995 and undertook a PhD as a Wellcome Trust Clinical Training Fellow on the Genetics of Osteoarthritis in the Wellcome Trust Cell Matrix Centre. He moved to Toronto to undertake a two year Arthritis Society Fellowship with Professor Kathy Siminovitch where he worked on the genetic basis of rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

He took up my post as Clinical Senior Lecturer in Genetics at the University of Manchester and Honorary Consultant at St Mary's Hospital in 2004 and was awarded my Chair in 2013. His research has focussed on pharmacogenetics - defining the genetic factors that influence how patients respond to their medications. He has an interest in the use of different technologies to define disease causing genes and have used SNP arrays and next generation sequencing approaches to identify a number of novel genes responsible for a range of conditions. He has established a Genome Clinic to use next generation sequencing to diagnose conditions that it was previously challenging to correctly define. This is now leading to studies to discover specific treatments for inherited disorders.

&zwnj


50 Mission Statements from Top Nonprofits

TED: Spread Ideas. (2 words)
*Too short for readability grading, but clearly easy to understand.

Smithsonian: The increase and diffusion of knowledge. (6 words)
Readability grade A. 100% Reach. 8th-grade reading level.

Monterey Bay Aquarium: To inspire conservation of the oceans. (6)
Grade B. 97% Reach. 8th-grade reading level.

Human Rights Watch defends the rights of people worldwide (6)
Grade A. 100% Reach. 6th-grade reading level.

Wounded Warrior Project: To honor and empower wounded warriors. (6)
Grade C. 84% Reach. 10th-grade reading level.

USO lifts the spirits of America’s troops and their families. (9)
Grade A. 100% Reach. 8th-grade reading level.

Kiva: To expand financial access to help underserved communities thrive (9)
Grade C. 84% reach. 11th-grade reading level.

Human Rights Campaign Working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. (9)
Grade E. 44% reach. 14th-grade (college sophomore) reading level.

AARP: To enhance quality of life for all as we age. (10)
Grade A. 100% reach. 5th-grade reading level.

MoMA: To share great modern and contemporary art with the public (10)
Grage A. 100% reach. 7th-grade reading level.

Oxfam: To create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and social injustice. (10)
Grade C. 80% reach. 11th-grade reading level.

charity: water: Bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries. (10)
Grade B. 88% reach. 10th-grade reading level.

The Alzheimer’s Association leads the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia (10)
Grade A. 100% reach. 6th-grade reading level.

Environmental Defense Fund: To preserve the natural systems on which all life depends. (10)
Grade A. 100% reach. 7th-grade reading level.

Candid (Guidestar + Foundation Center) Candid gets you the information you need to do good. (10)
Grade A: 100% reach. 5th-grade reading level.

New York Public Library: To inspire lifelong learning, advance knowledge, and strengthen our communities. (10)
Grade C. 71% reach. 13th-grade (college freshman) reading level.

Doctors without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) to provide lifesaving medical care to those most in need. (10)
Grade A. 100% reach. 8th-grade reading level.

March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. (11)
Grade A. 100% reach. 3rd-grade reading level.

The Humane Society: We fight the big fights to end suffering for all animals. (11)
Grade A. 100% Reach. 6th-grade reading level.

The Nature Conservancy: To conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. (11)
Grade A. 100% reach. 5th-grade reading level.

San Diego Zoo is a conservation organization committed to saving species around the world. (11)
Grade D. 60% reach. 12th-grade reading level.

CARE: To serve individuals and families in the poorest communities in the world. (12)
Grade C. 80% reach. 10th-grade reading level.

American Heart Association: To be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.(12)
Grade A. 100% reach. 7th-grade reading level.

Best Friends Animal Society: to bring about a time when there are no more homeless pets. (12)
Grade A. 100% Reach. 3rd-grade reading level.

National Wildlife Federation: Uniting all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly changing world (12)
Grade C. 80% reach. 8th-grade reading level.

National Parks Conservation Association: To protect and enhance America’s National Park System for present and future generations. (13)
Grade D. 62% reach. 11th-grade reading level.

JDRF: To find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research. (14)
Grade A. 100% reach. 9th-grade reading level.

Heifer International: To work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth. (14)
Grade A. 100% reach. 7th-grade reading level.

Invisible Children: to end the violence and exploitation facing our world’s most isolated and vulnerable communities (14)
Grade E. 53% Reach. 13th-grade (college freshman) reading level.

ASPCA: To provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. (15)
Grade C. 80% reach. 11th-grade reading level.

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. (15)
Grade D. 68% reach. 11th-grade reading level

Amnesty International: To undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of these rights. (15)
Grade C. 80% reach. 11th-grade reading level.

St. Jude Research Hospital: To advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment (15)
Grade D. 68% reach. 13th-grade (college junior)

Girls Scouts: Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. (16)
Grade B. 100% reach. 9th-grade reading level.

American Diabetes Association: To prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. (16)
Grade B. 92% reach. 10th-grade reading level.

World Wildlife Fund: to conserve nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth (16)
Grade B. 100% reach. 8th-grade reading level.

Habitat for Humanity International: Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope. (16)
Grade D. 68% reach. 11th-grade reading level.

In Touch Ministries: To lead people worldwide into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and to strengthen the local church. (17)
Grade B. 87% reach. 9th-grade reading level.

Creative Commons helps overcome legal obstacles to the sharing of knowledge and creativity to address the world’s pressing challenges. (17)
Grade D. 66% reach. 12th-grade reading level.

Cleveland Clinic: To provide better care of the sick, investigation into their problems, and further education of those who serve. (18)
Grade C. 77% reach. 10th-grade reading level.

The U.S. Fund for UNICEF fights for the survival and development of the world’s most vulnerable children and protects their basic human rights. (18)
Grade C. 77% reach. 11th-grade reading level.

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. (18)
Grade D. 57% reach. 13th-grade (college freshman) reading level.

NRDC: to safeguard the earth—its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends. (19)
Grade B. 91% reach. 10th-grade reading level

Teach for America: Growing the movement of leaders who work to ensure that kids growing up in poverty get an excellent education. (20)
Grade C. 77% reach. 11th-grade reading level.

Save the Children: To inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives. (20)
Grade B. 95% reach. 9th-grade reading level.

Ducks Unlimited conserves, restores, and manages wetlands and associated habitats for North America’s waterfowl. These habitats also benefit other wildlife and people. (20)
Grade E. 53% reach. 13th-grade (college freshman) reading level.

American Museum of Natural History: To discover, interpret, and disseminate—through scientific research and education—knowledge about human cultures, the natural world, and the universe. (20)
Grade E. 37% reach. 13th-grade (college junior) reading level.

Make-A-Wish: We grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. (21)
Grade C. 72% reach. 12th-grade reading level.

American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. (21)
Grade E. 34% reach. 14th-grade (college sophomore) reading level.

Feeding America: To feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger. (22)
Grade C. 80% reach. 10th-grade reading level.

Susan G Komen for the Cure save lives by meeting the most critical needs in our communities and investing in breakthrough research to prevent and cure breast cancer. (22)
Grade C. 76% reach. 11th-grade reading level.

Audubon: To conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity. (24)
Grade E. 26% reach. 15th-grade (college junior) reading level.

Mayo Clinic: Inspiring hope and promoting health through integrated clinical practice, education and research. (12)
Grade E. 50% reach. 15th-grade (college sophomore) reading level.

Metropolitan Museum of Art collects, studies, conserves, and presents significant works of art across all times and cultures in order to connect people to creativity, knowledge, and ideas. (24)

The Rotary Foundation: To enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty. (24)
Grade E. 37% reach. 15th-grade (college junior) reading level.

Boy Scouts of America: To prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law. (25)
Grade C. 73% reach. 11th-grade reading level.

NPR: To work in partnership with member stations to create a more informed public – one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures. (28)
Grade E. 40% reach. 14th-grade (college sophmore) reading level.

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What does this mean for you?

Is your mission statement longer than 20 words? Can you get it below 15? Below 10? Design it to clearly communicate what you do in such a way that people can remember it and communicate this to others. If you can’t get a mission statement below 15 words, consider also creating a mission tagline (2-6 words) which people can more easily remember.

Definitions

Readability grade is Readable.com’s bespoke rating system grade text from A to E for readability. According to their recommendations, text aimed at the general public should be grade B or better.

Reach also comes from readable.com and measures the proportion of the literate general public, so a reach of 100% means your content is readable by about 85% of the public (that being the percentage that are literate)

Reading grade level is equivalent to the number of years of education a person has had. A score of around 10-12 is roughly the reading level on completion of high school. Text to be read by the general public should aim for a grade level of around 8 (source Readable).


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