Teachers Share Their Top Safety Concerns

Copyright © 2013 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I’m Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Later in the program, we’ll head into the Beauty Shop, where our panel of women commentators and journalists take on some hot topics of the week, including adult Halloween costume dilemmas. And we’ll ask if Jay-Z has another problem to add to his 99 – we promise we’ll explain all that.

But first, we want to turn to a much more serious topic and that is the recent spate of violence that we’ve seen in some schools around the country. Students at Sparks Middle School in Nevada returned to school this week. That’s after a 12-year-old fatally shot a teacher, wounded two classmates, and then turned the gun on himself. That boy has now been identified, finally, as Jose Reyes. That was traumatic in and of itself, but then another teacher was stabbed to death last week in Massachusetts. Authorities there have charged a 14-year-old student with her death. Now these tragedies are – or should be – disturbing to everybody, but they hit especially close to home for educators.

So we’ve gathered a group of educators from different parts of the country and we wanted to check in with them to ask how they respond to these recent events. If they are prepared for them professionally, personally and emotionally. So we’re joined now by Lisa Davenport, she’s an eighth grade English teacher with the Washington, D.C. public schools. Welcome. Thank you so much for joining us.

LISA DAVENPORT: Thank you for inviting me.

MARTIN: Also joining us is Barrett Taylor, he’s an assistant principal with the St. Louis public schools in Missouri. Thank you so much for joining us once again.

BARRETT TAYLOR: Thank you for having me on the show.

MARTIN: And Allison Pratt is a kindergarten teacher in the school district of Onalaska, which is in Wisconsin. Allison Pratt, thank you so much for joining us also.

ALLISON PRATT: You’re welcome. Thank you for this opportunity.

MARTIN: Now I just wanted to briefly ask each of you, when stories like that hit the news, I have to be honest, I think of my children’s teachers, so I wanted to ask if you think of yourselves. Do you think about yourself? Lisa?

DAVENPORT: I think, for me, as soon as I hear those stories I immediately think of my child who’s in the seventh grade, and I wonder about her safety at her school and I think about, you know, what kind of procedures do they have in place? If they have anything in place at all, and think about the atmosphere as far as the culture at the school – meaning, how are the kids able – how are they relating to one another? Is there a lot of bullying going on? Are they more compassionate with one another? And I think that’s one of the main reasons why I chose the school that I chose for her.

MARTIN: That’s interesting. So you think about your daughter, you don’t think about yourself? You think about your kids, not yourself first. That’s interesting. Barrett Taylor, what about you?

TAYLOR: When I hear these issues, I sort of think about school safety in general, and I think about – that schools are not, necessarily, not any safer. I really focus on the clients that we, as educators, are serving, and I think about how they are constantly changing. I think with schools – I think schools, like everything else in the country, are evolving and we as educators must be more cognizant of our surroundings while in and outside of the workplace to make sure that schools are safe.

MARTIN: OK. Allison, what about you?

PRATT: My first thought goes to the children in my classroom and what the protocols are in my school district for school safety. It is just natural for educators to not think about themselves, but, because we’re giving to others, to think about people around us.

MARTIN: I think that’s an important thing for people to hear. So, you know, that I think everybody remembers the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, which happened last year. You know, since that terrible incident, there have been over a dozen additional school shootings. And I wanted to ask each of you if you think your job has become more dangerous over the time that you’ve been doing it. So, Barret Taylor, I’ll start with you on this. Do you think it’s become more dangerous being a teacher?

TAYLOR: I don’t think it’s necessarily becoming more dangerous. I think, unfortunately, the students that we are serving are a little different than they were, you know, 20 or 30 years ago. I think somebody said something about, you know, bullying. When I think about bullying, when I was a kid, bullying happened. But the difference between bullying today and 20 years ago is that bullying does not stop when you go home. It takes place on the social media. Things like Facebook and Twitter. So with the advent of social media, it’s really changed the educational landscape.

MARTIN: Allison, what do you think? Do you think it’s become more dangerous, being a teacher?

PRATT: It has changed. I have been in this field for 30 years, and families, children, communities, society certainly is different than it was in the early ’80s when I began. The schools are required, or asked, to deal with more issues that children face in and out of school. And I think that safety may depend on the place in the country that you are located. It’s important that schools have in place crisis plans. It’s been a priority in Wisconsin, and in 2009, Wisconsin Act 309 required schools to develop a comprehensive school safety bill. So there are procedures in place and they are reviewed frequently.

MARTIN: I want to hear more about that from you – from you, Allison, in a minute. But, Lisa, what about you? I mean, do you think teaching has changed, do you feel it’s more dangerous since you got into the field?

DAVENPORT: Well, when I first started out, I started out in the inner-city, and, to be quite honest, I just think that – I think that as far as students coming in and taking their frustration and anger out on a larger – you know, on a larger population, that part has changed in my opinion. I started out in the early ’90s. I think violence has always been there, but it’s been more of a one-on-one thing, and it’s definitely changed since I was, you know, in school myself. If you were bullied or someone bothered you, usually you would go get your cousin, someone of their – of the same size, same age, in order to handle whatever the problem was and then it was over. But like the gentleman said, it definitely goes beyond. It doesn’t just end in school – in the school or in the schoolyard. It goes beyond that with the social media, and that’s becoming a big, big problem I think.

MARTIN: Could you talk a little bit more about that? You’re saying it kind of follows these kids at home. They can’t leave it at school or – it’s never over. Is that…

DAVENPORT: Because they’re basically belittling, degrading, mocking one another in the media, on Facebook, Instagram, and I forget – I’m not sure about all those other types of social medias out there. But they – it goes way beyond that. And I think that communication is going back and forth and it just keeps things going as opposed to just ending it. And I think we’re in a society, in my opinion, where our students – they’re dealing with issues on a greater level, and I feel that they need – a lot of them don’t have the coping skills…

TAYLOR: Agreed.

DAVENPORT: …To deal with the problems that they’re facing. I think that has changed, definitely, since I was, you know, in school. But I think them being able to cope with their problems is a huge problem as well.

MARTIN: I can totally see your point on that, particularly I’m thinking about mobile phones, because when I was growing up – and maybe when you were growing up – our parents controlled the phones. So they decided who we spoke to at home at night, you know. They answered the phone, and if they didn’t want you to speak to whoever was there, you weren’t – you were not talking to that person. And whereas now, kids often, particularly as they get older, tend to have their own phones, and so they control their interactions with people unless their parents take them – take them away. So I can see your point on that. So, Barrett Taylor, you were saying – you were agreeing with Lisa Davenport. You’re saying that a lot of kids don’t have the emotional resources to handle some of the things that are thrown at them. You want to talk a little bit more about that?

TAYLOR: With the shootings that happen in school and the shootings sometimes that happen in the workplace, the one – in some of the cases, the one common denominator that seems to be coming up is these individuals have mental health issues. And, from my vantage point, it seems like mental health issues, and diagnosing those issues, and getting those people services seems to be the elephant in the room, because I think we really need to be more aggressive about if someone needs help, getting them help before it gets to a situation where they come in and do something that can potentially harm innocent individuals.

MARTIN: But haven’t people, Barrett Taylor, always had mental health problems if we think about it? I mean, the fact that we have language for it now and maybe a greater understanding and ability to diagnose things or to understand what they are, maybe has – what’s changed. So what’s changed in the school environment? You just think that kids are more willing to act out, or what do you think? Or people are less willing to intervene? What do you think has changed now?

TAYLOR: And this is more outside of the school, but I was thinking about, you know, I used to play video games when I was younger and I always had parents who would talk to me about what was going on in these games, and it seems like the kids today have more access to these violent video games where they’re going and, you know, they’re online and they’re shooting and killing people. And kids really do not understand what death is, and so, I just wonder sometimes, how does – what’s the correlation between violent video games and kids committing acts of mass violence, such as school shootings.

MARTIN: Well, that’s one of those topics people fight a lot about in academics, and intellectuals and people who research this question fight a lot about it. I don’t think we can resolve it here. But so – what I would like to ask each of you – and if you’re just joining us, we’re talking about school safety with a roundtable of educators. We’re joined by Barrett Taylor, that’s who was speaking just now. He’s an assistant principal in the St. Louis public school district. Allison Pratt’s also with us, she’s a kindergarten teacher with a school district of Onalaska in Wisconsin. And Lisa Davenport is with us. She’s an eighth grade English teacher with the D.C. public schools. I just want to mention, they’re all here on their own time because they all wanted to talk about this. I just feel that that’s important to note. So, Allison, I think you wanted to say something.

PRATT: Yes, I would like to address the topic of self-worth and how children feel about themselves. I think it needs to be talked about in this mental health issue and where their worth comes from. Self-worth should come from within, and all of the video games, and material goods, and everything that children have access to is making their worth come from outside of themselves. And so they don’t have the social emotional health that they need, and they don’t know how to deal with the feelings that they have. And it becomes aggressive. Many of these violent people who have gone into schools don’t care. That is their worth – that is their last hurrah. They’re going to go out in, may I say, a blaze of glory, and if we address where that worth is coming from and that social emotional health in a different way, I think this will change.

MARTIN: I wanted to ask in the time that we have left – and we have about six minutes left – I’d love to hear from each of you about this. What do you think would help you, as educators, to address these issues? I mean, you’ve all made the point that – it’s interesting to me that all of you, when I started asking about you, you all talk about your kids. You all talk about the kids first. So what would help you help them? Do you think you have what you need, Lisa?

DAVENPORT: No, I do not think that I have what I need. I think more training in dealing with mental health, how to address it, identify it – I think that definitely will help me as a regular educator. I’m not familiar with a lot of the, you know, mental health issues and how to identify it. Of course, teaching for a while, you can – after, you know, working with students, you can pretty much tell, you know, what’s wrong, as far as if they have an academic type problem or a learning disability, I should say. As far as mental health, sometimes you can even determine that, depending on the child, but I would love to have more training as far as how to deal with my students with emotional and mental problems. And being able to have those resources in the building on a regular basis. I think that would definitely help.

MARTIN: Allison, what do you think?

PRATT: I feel equipped. As I mentioned before, Wisconsin is on top of this issue. I believe it’s a priority here through passage of laws requiring us to develop comprehensive school safety bills, bullying policies, and being awarded a four-year federal grant on safe and supportive schools looking at those conditions. Having our Department of Public Instruction involved to have programs and also my union. My union is on top of this, also, providing assistance to schools and communities to help them avert crisis, providing…

MARTIN: So you feel you’ve got the training.

PRATT: I do.

MARTIN: You feel like the training is there and you’ve got access to it. That’s…

PRATT: Yes, inside and outside of my school with our crisis team and the protocols in place, thank you.

MARTIN: Barrett Taylor?

TAYLOR: I do feel equipped. My district has provided me with the tools to be successful, but the one thing that I, as a teacher and now as an assistant principal – that I feel like I constantly want is more parental involvement. I get a lot a kids who come in who do not have mentors in their lives, they do not have, you know, a mother or father in their lives. Their grandmothers might be raising them, and they need more structure in their lives. And it makes me think about when I used to be a kid. Every day I got home, my dad would ask me what did I learn, how was my school day, and when I talk to some of these kids, they don’t have those pieces in their lives. So going back to what someone else alluded to or said was, this whole thing about self-worth, you know, really developing and building these kids up so they can be strong individuals at school and they can be successful in the academic environment. It’s important to me.

MARTIN: Is this fixable? Is the kind of we’re talking about fixable? I mean, I’m mindful of the fact that these terrible and traumatic – and these incidents in the news could be isolated. I mean, it could be something that just, you know, it happens. It’s terrible, we get through it, and it’s not really indicative of any larger trend. But I hear all of you talking about the fact that you’re worried about some of the mental and emotional health of some if your kids, and some of you feel you’ve got the resources to deal with it – the society. Some of you don’t. Do you think this is fixable, Lisa? Do you think that we could get back together a year from now – two, five – and say, you know what, we’re good, we don’t have to worry about this again. We don’t have to worry about another Sandy Hook? What do you think?

DAVENPORT: I don’t think it’s something that can be done overnight. This is definitely something I’ve thought about for a while. Definitely, when we hear these incidents, like the gentleman said, I really feel like parents – we need more parental involvement, most definitely, to help build the self-worth of our students. That’s where it comes from first, in my opinion. I believe that we can make progress, as far as it being something that we will never hear of again as far as the violence in schools. I’m not sure if we could – we could minimize it, but I don’t think we could do away with it altogether.

MARTIN: And do you feel – is that a pessimistic attitude, or you just think it’s just realistic? Are you sad when you say that, or…

DAVENPORT: I’m sad when I say that. I don’t feel – I hope I’m not being pessimistic. I think I’m being more realistic about the situation, because like, you know, they say, it takes a village to raise a child. And I just feel that, you know, in the environment that I work in, we have separate groups trying to help that child, but that main piece – parents – that’s what we need.

MARTIN: Well, I just want to take the couple of seconds that we have left to thank you all very much for your very important work. If no one else says thank you today, let me be the one to thank you today. Thank you all.

PRATT: Thank you.

TAYLOR: Thank you.

MARTIN: Lisa Davenport is an eighth-grade English teacher with the D.C. public schools, here with us in our Washington, D.C. studios. Barrett Taylor is an assistant principal at a middle school in St. Louis, Missouri, joining us from St. Louis Public Radio. Allison Pratt is a kindergarten teacher with the Onalaska school district in Wisconsin, with us from Wisconsin Public Radio in La Crosse. Thank you all so much for your time today.

PRATT: Thank you.

DAVENPORT: You’re welcome.

Copyright © 2013 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR’s prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.

Source: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=241842370&ft=1&f=1013
Category: liberace   FedEx Cup standings   Sloane Stephens   pharrell   Miley Cyrus Vma 2013  

Bach Unwigged: The Man Behind The Music

This rare portrait of Bach, by Elias Gottlob Haussmann, hung in John Eliot Gardiner’s home during World War II.

courtesy of William H. Scheide, Princeton, N.J.

This rare portrait of Bach, by Elias Gottlob Haussmann, hung in John Eliot Gardiner’s home during World War II.

courtesy of William H. Scheide, Princeton, N.J.

Johann Sebastian Bach has been a central figure in the life of British conductor John Eliot Gardiner since he was a youngster. On his way to bed, he couldn’t help glancing up at the famous 18th-century portrait of Bach that hung in the first floor landing of the old mill house in Dorset, England where Gardiner was born. It was one of only two fully authenticated portraits of Bach by Elias Gottlob Haussmann, painted around 1750, and came to the Gardiner home in a knapsack, delivered on bicycle by a Silesian refugee who needed to keep it safe during World War II. Bach’s music also hung in the air of the Gardiner home. Each week the musically inclined family gathered for serious singalongs, which included Bach’s motets.

It’s a scene Gardiner sets at the beginning of his new book, BACH: Music in the Castle of Heaven, published today by Knopf. From his childhood interactions with Bach, Gardiner would grow up to become one of the composer’s greatest champions, creating his own orchestras (English Baroque Soloists and Orchestre Révolutionaire et Romantique) and choir (Monteverdi Choir) to play the music in historically informed performances.

Gardiner’s obsession with Bach culminated in 2000, when he and his musical forces (and a team of recording engineers) embarked on a massive pilgrimage. Traveling around Europe and the U.S., they performed all of Bach’s sacred cantatas (about 200 of them) on their appropriate Sundays in different churches.

Gardiner’s new book was more than 12 years in the making, and one of its goals is to get to know Bach the man a little better, since scant information has been passed down about his personal life. Bach was filled with contradictions, Gardiner discovered. He had anger management issues, and yet he had the capacity for tenderness.

“He had normal flaws and failings, which make him very approachable,” Gardiner says. “But he had this unfathomably brilliant mind and a capacity to hear music and then to deliver music that is beyond the capacity of pretty well any musician before or since.”

Despite Bach’s contradictions, Gardiner says, in my conversation with him below, the composer would have been a great guy to hang out with.

In your book, you’re saying Bach’s music is well-known, but we end up knowing very little in comparison about Bach the man. How do you try to crack that nut in your new book?

Well, with great difficulty and that was a big challenge. But I think basically there are three elements that you have to draw on. Number one is the contextual information that you can gain from the sources, from the local, parochial sources about conditions in Germany at the time of Bach’s birth, conditions pertaining to the schools that he went to, conditions pertaining to the whole difficult social life of Germany recovering from the 30 Years War and on the brink of enlightenment but still hanging on to a pre-Galileo view of the world — very medieval in a way — and not allowing yet the full flood of enlightenment thought to change their weltanschauung.

The second area which I found very useful to explore was his own annotations and comments that he introduced in his copy of Abraham Calov’s Bible commentary — Calov being a 17th-century theologian — a book in Bach’s private library which Bach annotates very carefully and very meticulously and things that draw his eye like, for example, how to deal with the concept of anger and that Calov makes it clear that you can be, you must turn the other cheek if somebody is being angry about you or if you feel angry in response to a personal slight. But if the attack is on your profession, your skill, your office, not only can you respond with anger but you should respond with anger. And that to me explains a good deal of Bach’s very competitive and antagonistic response to the authorities who were employing him at different stages in his lifetime, and made life difficult for him, or in his own words, “caused a life of envy and hindrance.” So that was a big resource.

And the third area of research that I really plunged into with a great deal of enthusiasm was of course the evidence that can be gleaned from a deep immersion into his compositions of music with a text attached to them. In other words, the passions, the motets, the Masses and above all the cantatas that he wrote in such a concentrated period in Leipzig in particular. And I was fully aware in writing the book that I was treading on treacherous ground in so far as one man’s reading can be very different from another person’s and it’s a very subjective source of evidence, if you can call it that. But I felt convinced that my deep immersion into that music did allow me the occasional glimpse of the chinks in his armor plating as it were, when his personality sort of grinned through the fabric of the music. And that gave me huge encouragement to persist and to try and get to the end of the book, because it’s not, as you I’m sure realize, a conventional life at all.

About your immersion into the music. You mention in the book that part of your aim is to show how Bach’s approach in his vocal music reveals his mind at work, his temperamental preferences as well as his philosophical outlook. So how does the music reveal the mind?

Well, music is a much more elusive and ephemeral form of communication than words alone and yet it has its own precision. I mean, it’s Mendelssohn who famously said that he found that music was much more precise than words. The problem comes in actually defining that precision and saying what exactly the music is saying. But I think the one thing you can extrapolate from studying Bach’s setting of religious texts is that there is a counterpoint going on between the meaning of the texts per se and the affect and impact of the music surrounding the text setting, and it divides into two broad categories, really. One is collusion and a direct sense of sympathy and empathy between the import and the meaning of the words and the type of music that Bach uses to surround it and explain it — the text. And then there’s at the other extreme, collision — those moments where the music and the text seem to end up pointing in opposite directions.

In his new book, conductor John Eliot Gardiner searches for the real J.S. Bach.

Matthias Baus

In his new book, conductor John Eliot Gardiner searches for the real J.S. Bach.

Matthias Baus

Can you give some examples of those two types?

Well, there are quite a number of cantatas where the text is quite genial and talking about, “God is right, all you have to do is to comply and just get on with it,” and Bach is writing music of wonderful frippery and irrelevance as if to pull the leg of the listener. It’s not that he’s saying, “God isn’t right,” but he’s saying, “You don’t have to take it in such a literal way — you can enjoy it.” The cantatas are full of instances where just by prolonging a single syllable or a single word or repeating things, he gives a different emphasis than the one the preacher would have done when announcing the scripture from the pulpit. And music has this extra — particularly Bach’s music — expressive potency which is so extraordinary and it’s something that leaps out of its initial context and appeals to us now in the 21st century in a way that perhaps he never acknowledged. I mean, he was writing this music for a very specific moment, for a very specific time of year, in a very specific liturgy in a parochial context. And yet such is the breadth of his vision that it can reach us now.

In a similar vein, you mention in the book that you were “keeping a weather eye out for the instances in performance when his personality seems to rise through the fabric of his notation.” And I’m wondering if there are specific examples you have in mind, where Bach the man, whom we seem to know so little about, rises up through the music.

There are quite a few instances in the cantatas but they’re not that well known. I can give you one instance in a piece that is very, very well known and that’s the B Minor Mass, where I think that really applies. In the credo there is this monumental chorus, “Confiteor unum baptisma” — I believe in the universal baptism and the resurrection of the dead. And Bach starts off in really good, solid Lutheran card-carrying fashion by inserting a cantus firmus, a sort of almost plainsong statement, in the basses followed in stretto with the altos and then with the tenors. And you think, “Oh, this is a really major ex cathedra statement” — and so it is until the point when the music seems to crumble and it just simply dwindles and the tempo slows down.

Bach’s B Minor Mass

Bach's B Minor Mass.

 

These great girder-like proclamations cease and the music enters into a sort of twilight zone full of dark modulations. And a searching quality enters in the music to the point where you don’t know which direction it’s going to move in. There are extreme insecurities of harmonic movement and it feels at that moment that Bach himself is saying to himself and allowing us to share his momentary doubts as to whether there is going to be a life beyond our earthly existence.

And only at the last moment is there a scalar descent in the bass line and suddenly there is this eruptive chorus with trumpets and drums, “And I look for the resurrection of the dead” — Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum. And suddenly, there’s a sprint to the line and it finishes in a flourish and that’s it. The impressiveness of that jubilant chorus, which is so affirmative, would I think be a lot less if it hadn’t been for the transitional patch of murky self-doubt that comes before it, and I think that’s something that humanizes Bach the man to us. It makes us feel that he, too, had his doubts and had his wobbles.

You have a very intriguing chapter in the book called “The Incorrigible Cantor,” where you talk about a side of Bach that I think many people, even fans of his music, really don’t know that much about.

Well, that’s all to do with anger management and attitude towards authority and I think the seeds of that are to be found in the unsavory atmosphere that pertained in the schools that he attended and in the gang warfare that took place in the towns between the rival choirs who were busking to raise money for their schools and their education.

Even though you can’t pinpoint Bach’s direct involvement with any of these incidents, that is the typical background of the schools that he was attending. And it all comes to an eruptive moment in Bach’s own life when he’s age 18 and in his first job in Arnstadt, and he has a silly disagreement with a bassoon player who can’t manage to play an obbligato little riff that Bach writes for him, which is difficult. But, patently, the guy made a bit of a mess of it and Bach swears at him and calls him something quite insulting. And the bassoonist, in order to gain his own back, awaits for him with his gang in the town square. When Bach is on his way back from the castle going home, they set up on him and with knives and cudgels and Bach is obliged to defend himself by drawing his sword and there’s a nasty incident and eventually they’re separated and Bach goes on his way. And the next day he goes to the Consistory and lodges a severe complaint and the Consistory don’t back him up, they give the moral victory to the bassoonist.

And that, I think, is a sort of paradigm, or it’s a foretaste anyway, of the problems that Bach encountered at so many different stages in his career. Like when he was in Weimar, he is really disappointed to be passed over in the hierarchy and he doesn’t get appointed Kapellmeister when the guy that’s appointed ahead of him is manifestly less talented, less competent. And Bach looks for a job elsewhere and he gains a job elsewhere and the Duke of Weimar imprisons him for cheekiness and subversive behavior and on it goes.

Cantata No. 8 – ‘Liebster Gott’

Bach's Cantata No. 8.

Cantata No. 8 – ‘Liebster Gott’ (chorus)

  • Artist: John Eliot Gardiner
  • Album: Bach Cantatas, Vol. 8: Bremen/Santiago
  • Song: Cantata No. 8 “Liebster Gott, wann werd ich sterben” (first version), BWV 8 (BC A137a) [1. Coro. Liebster Gott, wenn werd ich sterben?]

 

When he gets to Leipzig, he signs a very elaborate contract with the town council and he falls foul of their regulations in so many different ways and he finds himself in battles either with the clergy or with the town council or with the headmaster of the school, and it wears him down and he then describes, in one of the few private letters we have, how his life is full of “vexation and hindrance” and how the people here in Leipzig are little interested in music and have a curious disposition.

So there’s a sense that he’s always the outsider, that he’s up against something, that he’s incorrigible to some extent. And he carries on right until the bitter end fighting battles which really he didn’t need to, maybe. And that is one side of his personality. And maybe it was a creative side because it — in his embattled state — fired him up to write the music that he did. On the other hand, there’s a totally different side to him — the convivial family man who welcomed all visiting musicians and who took infinite pains to look after the musical education and the career steps of his children. So there is a fault line running right through his personality, I feel.

I think we tend to think of Bach as the bewigged “grand arbiter and lawgiver of music” who would be far from being jailed or drawing a sword on someone. And I think we tend to romanticize Bach’s big job in Leipzig where he landed in 1723 and where he wrote so many great pieces — the St. John and St. Matthew Passion, the Goldberg Variations, the B Minor Mass. We imagine him just quietly churning out his church music but …

It wasn’t like that at all.

Right. You reveal in your book it’s so much different than that. Tell us just briefly what a day in the life of Bach might have been like when he was in Leipzig.

Well, he was responsible not just simply for writing the music but also as a schoolmaster, for disciplining and for being a kind of house father to a lot of the boarding school choristers who were in his charge and who had their dormitories right up next to his private living quarters in the Thomas school in Leipzig. So how Bach had any time for a private life, God knows. But he would have taken prayers. He would have taken early lessons. He would go into daily rehearsals and daily classes, and then he would get to his desk and start composing the cantata for the week that was going to last up to 35 minutes depending on the occasion. And it didn’t end there.

Cantata No. 82

Bach's Cantata No. 82.

Cantata No. 82 – ‘Ich habe genug’ (aria)

  • Artist: John Eliot Gardiner
  • Album: Bach: Cantatas, BWV 82, 83, 125, 200
  • Song: Cantata No. 82, “Ich habe genug,” BWV 82 (BC A169) [“Ich habe genug, ich habe den Heiland”, Aria for bass]

 

He then had to see to its copying out. And there was this little kind of mini factory, or sweatshop, of copying that was under his supervision with students, sometimes family members, doing the copying out of the parts of the score, readying for the one and only rehearsal. There may have been a few private, tuitioned rehearsals when he could have dealt with particularly difficult solos or obbligatos but basically it was rehearsed in breakneck speed on a Saturday before the performance on a Sunday.

In addition to that, he was also assessing organs in different parts of the country, around Saxony, and he was writing recommendations, he was supervising a harpsichord hire system. Some of his works went through publication and he was publishing other people’s works. He was tireless, absolutely tireless. And he kept up that rhythm for at least the first three years — before he either burnt out a bit or else became disillusioned by the lack of support and responsiveness on the part of the town authorities from the clergy.

And not to mention that he was a father and a husband and a bandleader and a recitalist.

All that. It’s true.

Your book is not a typical chronological bio of Bach where he was born here, then he did this, he did that, and then he died.

It’s not intended to be a conventional life work.

Instead you tackle aspects of Bach in each of the chapters and I’m wondering why you chose that approach.

Well there are plenty of life-and-works of Bach and I didn’t feel qualified to write that and certainly not to speak with authority on the keyboard music and the organ music in particular, where that’s been dealt with very well by other authors. Where I did feel there was a strong case for emphasis was on the church music and particularly on the cantatas — the music that I know best. And so what I tried to do is to take the reader by the hand and take him or her through a series of different perspectives of looking on Bach.

There is a fault line running right through his personality, I feel.

I start off explaining in the preface why I think the book could be written that has a different approach. Then in the first chapter I describe my own approach, my own curious and upbringing and experience of Bach, which at the time it didn’t strike me as being odd or exceptional, but it was only when I got to school that I realized that it was a bit odd and how I came to interpret Bach and to have a lifelong fascination with him and found that the models that were held up before me of how to perform him were to some extent unsatisfactory and how, if I was ever going come to terms with his music, I would have to do it in my own way, which meant forming my own choir and a period instrument orchestra and how that led to the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage in 2000 and so on.

Tell me a little bit about the wording in the title of the book. It’s called BACH: Music in the Castle of Heaven and that title seems to me to put Bach up on a pedestal a little bit. And that’s the kind of veneration, or ‘hagiolatry’ as you put it, that you seem to try to work against in the book.

Yeah, I guess you can accuse me of that because I do revere Bach. The castle of heaven is a translation of the Himmelsburg in German. It was a chapel in the Red Castle of the Dukes of Weimar from which Bach performed, and the music floated downwards, out of sight of the Duke and the congregation. And what I was trying to suggest by calling the book Music in the Castle of Heaven, is that Bach was producing the most heavenly music that perhaps has ever been heard on Earth and yet his sights were set on the castle of heaven of performing music as a good Lutheran to a much higher degree of perfection in the afterlife. And I’m trying to suggest that we’re the beneficiaries of a kind of celestial vision.

Well, I think we are. After studying and performing Bach’s music for so much of your life — and now you’ve written this book — you must feel somehow like you know him. So what is the answer? What was Bach like?

Convivial, cantankerous, remote, present, full of humor but deeply serious.

All dichotomies.

All dichotomies. But a great guy to go out and have a beer with.

Do you feel like you’re closer to knowing who he is after writing this book?

Yeah but I might be just deluding myself, but yes I do.

Do you think he was basically just a normal, not too interesting, guy who happened to be a genius at writing music?

He had normal attributes. He had normal faults and failings which make him very approachable, but he had this unfathomably brilliant mind and a capacity to hear music and then to deliver music — in terms of improvisation and then in notated music — that is beyond the capacity of pretty well any musician before or since, yes.

You know it’s quite obvious that for this book — at over 600 pages including a glossary, a chronology, 20 pages of notes — that you’ve done countless hours of research. And I’m wondering what was the single most surprising thing you discovered about Bach that you hadn’t known before?

Cantata No. 106: ‘Actus Tragicus’

Bach's Cantata No. 106.

 

I think that would have to be his compassion towards those who’ve lost a dear one. Where you’d expect it to be gloomy and lachrymose, Bach writes music of ineffable tenderness and consolation and music that doesn’t require you to be a Christian, or let alone a Lutheran, to be able to have access to that wonderful compassionate solace that his music can bring you. You can hear it in some of the motets and you can hear it in some of the cantatas, famous ones like Ich habe genug, but also in the cantatas for the 16th Sunday after Trinity which are particularly concerned with infant mortality. You sense that he’s really befriended death in a way that no other composer I know of has done to that degree, and with that degree of persuasiveness. That’s something I cherish, and that brings me personal comfort. And also I can extend it by suggesting people listen to or approach or perform that music if they’re in a state of bereavement or loss.

If you had to pick one piece of Bach’s music that you have recorded to recommend to someone who’s not really all that familiar with Bach, what would you pick?

“Actus Tragicus,” Cantata 106.

And why that one?

Because it’s a precocious, early example of what I’ve just been talking about: somebody who is dealing with eschatology, dealing with the ends of things, dealing with the eternal mysteries of life and of death and of finding a path through all that pain and grief to find a serene ending.

Source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecadence/2013/10/25/240780499/bach-unwigged-the-man-behind-the-music?ft=1&f=1032
Related Topics: world series game 4   Mike Wayans   powerball   Chobani Recall   Lucas Cruikshank  

Why Samsung’s Curved Smartphone Display Isn’t Just Hype

Why Samsung's Curved Smartphone Display Isn't Just Hype

A new generation of curved displays for Smartphones and TVs has just been launched. While there have been curved screens around before, they were actually just flat displays with a curved cover glass on top. This time the displays themselves are actually curved and that makes a significant difference.

Read more…

    



Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/full/~3/CjH_Y6qQcpc/why-samsungs-curved-smartphone-display-isnt-just-hype-1453993230
Category: apple   Nexus 5   fox sports   Shana Tova   Nick Jonas  

Rackspace joins forces with Hortonworks on hosted Hadoop

Enterprises can now run Hortonworks’ Hadoop-based Data Platform in Rackspace’s managed hosting environment and its public cloud.

Big data applications are difficult to deploy and harder to maintain, so many companies need help analyzing and extracting value from this vast amount of information, according to Rackspace. Like other cloud vendors, Rackspace pitches this new offering as a way to reduce the amount of time required to deploy and maintain a Hadoop-based environment.

Rackspace also offers customized configurations to address specific requirements such as high compute or high storage workloads. To minimize the work needed to move to the cloud, existing tools can still be used, it said. But convincing enterprises to move their Hadoop applications to the cloud may not be that easy.

“We used to run on [Amazon Web Services’ Elastic MapReduce], but about two years ago we moved to an in-house cluster because of the costs of EMR. We’ve expanded that cluster to almost 700 nodes. Next to that, most of our infrastructure is in-house and with the amount of data that we produce, transferring everything to a public cloud would be very costly,” said Wouter de Bie, team lead for data infrastructure at music service Spotify, via email.

Last month, Hortonworks announced that Spotify had selected HDP (Hortonworks Data Platform) as its standardized Hadoop distribution.

Rackspace wouldn’t provide the pricing for the HDP offering, but said that there is a per-node charge on top of the other hardware, software and support charges for Hadoop.

Rackspace isn’t the only company HortonWorks has been working with on HD. The company recently announced that SAP will resell the platform and provide enterprise support. It also announced the integration of Ambari—a framework for provisioning, managing and monitoring Hadoop clusters—and Microsoft’s System Center Operations Manager.

Last week, Hortonworks announced HDP 2.0, which uses Apache Hadoop YARN as the underlying OS. That allows users to move beyond batch processing to a multi-use platform that enables batch, interactive, online and stream processing, the company said.

Hortonworks was founded in 2011 by 24 engineers from the original Yahoo Hadoop development and operations team, and has been growing since. This year the company increased its presence in Europe with teams in France, Germany and the U.K.

Subscribe to the Business Brief Newsletter

Thank you for sharing this page.

Sorry! There was an error emailing this page

Source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2058440/rackspace-joins-forces-with-hortonworks-on-hosted-hadoop.html#tk.rss_all
Category: jonbenet ramsey   julio jones   lsu football   ny times   leah remini  

Why We Need a Healthcare.gov Witch Hunt

Kathleen Sebelius
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is under fire for possible mishandling of the healthcare.gov website.

Photo by Jim Bourg/Reuters

Washington think tanks, your moment has arrived! Healthcare.gov is a mess and someone must chronicle exactly what went wrong. The press is trying, of course, but we also must cover the aftermath—the parade of predictable behavior that obscures more than it illuminates. Did you see the hearing in the House Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday? Despite the best efforts of Chairman Fred Upton, between the grandstanding, confused questions, and the witness fog machine, it’s a wonder anyone got out alive. Meanwhile, Republicans are pointing fingers, placing blame, and otherwise showing disgust that a program that they have tried to kill is being run so badly. (Perhaps they’re jealous that the administration is better at undermining Obamacare than they are.) Administration officials, on the other hand, are caught between covering their backsides, spouting plumes of happy talk, and hiring more people to collect the springs and sprockets from the launch pad where the whole thing went kaput. On Friday, officials in charge of the #techsurge said that healthcare.gov would be running smoothly by late November, two months after the launch.

Here’s why a controlled witch hunt is needed: This episode is about much more than a website. That’s true with respect to health care, as Ezra Klein points out, and it’s also true because there are big national issues at stake that have nothing to do with the specific issues of sickness and health. Can government do big things? Sen. Lamar Alexander famously said during the health care debates, “We don’t do comprehensive well”—meaning that any law that is big and complicated will fail. Is that right?

Alternatively, have partisanship and gridlock created a situation where small flaws in a law can’t be fixed through tweaking legislation because such legislation can never pass? Is there something about complex technology that confuses the bureaucracy? Is the procurement system nuts? Does the political nature of all administration activity mean that no one is capable of reporting that the launch of a key element of the president’s signature legislation is going to throw a rod? Some of the states seem to be doing just fine. Is that because they are smaller enterprises or because the people working on state health exchanges have more flexibility?

What’s needed is expertise, patience, and methodical reasoning. These have long since been banned from congressional hearings.

These are sloppy questions; experts can come up with better ones. But whatever questions are asked should be broad and sloppy, because right now everyone is scheduled to leave this drama with the answer they want. The experience will confirm their pre-existing views. That’s no good as a matter of logic, but it’s also a waste of rich material. This crack-up is a genuine disaster—it is expensive, it is worrying people who need and want insurance, and it is a huge waste of time. But it also provides rich material for a case study about the effectiveness of government.

Precision in this hunt is the key. Usually in investigations you need subpoena power. That doesn’t seem to be an issue. (Though I’d still put a hand on the shredders at Health and Human Services and the White House just to see if they’re warm.) In this case, what’s needed is some expertise, patience, and methodical reasoning. These attributes have long since been banned from congressional hearings. There are nevertheless people in Washington think tanks who will be excited to think through these matters.

A precise example of the kind of thinking that’s required is in David Auerbach’s wonderful deconstruction of yesterday’s hearing. Talking about the watery responses from the witnesses, Auerbach writes, “They don’t seem to understand the difference between acceptable and unacceptable bugs, and worse, they don’t seem to know that there is a difference.” The point is that there’s a distinction between garden-variety problems and catastrophic problems that you could either have seen coming or for which you should have been on guard because they’re so damaging. So, using that same fine screen: What problems here are the normal ones you’d have in any big enterprise, what are the problems that are the result of unique one-time-only stupidity, and what are the problems that result from this being a government rather than private enterprise? 

This project should be one everyone loves. Only the most devout libertarian doesn’t want the government to do anything. Those who want a smaller government should still want it to operate efficiently. Liberals, and people like the president, who believe in smart government, should be pushing hard for answers. If they’re not interested in a thorough deconstruction of what went wrong for policy reasons, they should care for political ones. Healthcare.gov is now a very good excuse for anyone who wants to oppose an activist federal government. All a lawmaker has to say is that they don’t want the same government that ran healthcare.gov in charge of X, where X is anything you want to see stopped in its tracks. 

Right now, no one in this drama is trying to learn from the mistake. That’s understandable, but it also guarantees that the mistake will be repeated.

Source: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2013/10/healthcare_gov_witch_hunt_why_we_need_to_know_who_is_responsible_for_the.html
Category: Wojciech Braszczok   zac efron   djokovic   aaron hernandez   college football  

LinkedIn Intro embeds professional profiles into Mail for iOS

The No. 1 activity people do with their smartphones is email — LinkedIn says that up to 28 percent of a typical professional’s day can be gobbled up by reading and responding to email on a mobile device.

And in LinkedIn’s continued quest for world domination (the stated goal is to have no fewer than 3 billion professional profiles, one for every single member of the global workforce), the company wants to put its network where your eyeballs are: in the email app you’re already using.

[ Also on InfoWorld: The 7 best new features in iOS 7. | Discover what’s new in business applications with InfoWorld’s Technology: Applications newsletter. ]

LinkedIn’s solution is Intro, which places a strip of LinkedIn profile information on every email you receive in the default Mail app for iOS. So if you get an email from someone you don’t know, you can see at a glance their headshot, company, and title, with a handy button to let you add them to your LinkedIn network with one tap. Pull down on the strip to expand pretty much their whole LinkedIn profile, including the connections you share, their personal summary, work experience, education, you name it.

You can link Intro to your Gmail, Google Apps, Yahoo Mail, AOL Mail, and iCloud — no Exchange support at the moment. It adds a new account to your Mail settings, and instructs you to go turn off your older, non-Intro’ed account. You don’t have to delete that account, only disable its Mail service, so it’s easy to go back at any time. But if you leave both accounts on you’ll see all those email messages twice in Mail’s unified inbox).

LinkedIn Intro is built with technology from Rapportive, an email startup acquired by LinkedIn last year. Rapportive works as a browser plug-in that adds info about your messages’ senders to the sidebar of Gmail, but this is the first time we’ve seen it in a mobile app — let alone Mail, which is made by Apple, which is notorious for keeping tight control over every aspect of the user experience.

In our tests, Intro’s usefulness is clear, although pretty contextual. If you get a business-related email from someone who’s writing you from an email account associated with their LinkedIn profile, sure enough, there’s a little strip of profile. So it’s easy to see a little more about them than you’d get in a typical email signature, and you can take advantage of that info if and when you email them back.

And it’s perfect if you want to add the contacts you correspond with to your LinkedIn network, since all it takes is a tap — you’re not redirected to the mobile LinkedIn app, or a website, or even the standalone LinkedIn Contacts app.

But if you don’t care about making new LinkedIn connections, or you mostly correspond with people you already know, Intro doesn’t add much. And since the profile only appears on received messages, when you go to reply, it vanishes from your view, so you have to either go back a screen or rely on your memory if you want to pepper your response with tidbits from their profile (say, if you went to the same school or have a mutual connection).

Intro also adds “a snippet of your LinkedIn profile” as a signature to your outgoing messages, although you can turn off that setting in the Intro settings app that’s automatically installed when you add the service.

Source: http://akamai.infoworld.com/d/applications/linkedin-intro-embeds-professional-profiles-mail-ios-229460?source=rss_applications
Tags: Tomas Hertl   elizabeth smart   Navy Yard shooting   blue moon   Nick Jonas  

World Series scene shifts, Cards right at home

Grounds crew workers prepare the field before a baseball practice, Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, in St. Louis. The St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox are set to play Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Grounds crew workers prepare the field before a baseball practice, Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, in St. Louis. The St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox are set to play Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Joe Kelly walks out of the dugout before a baseball practice, Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, in St. Louis. The St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox are set to play Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Joe Kelly warms up during baseball practice on Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, in St. Louis. The Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox are set to play Game 3 of the World Series, Saturday in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

(AP) — From the Green Monster to the Gateway Arch. From the Charles River to the mighty Mississippi. From clam chowder to toasted ravioli.

The World Series scene is shifting, and St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright couldn’t be happier.

“We love Cardinal country,” he said Friday.

For good reason, too. After Boston split the first two games at Fenway Park, now Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury and the rest of the Red Sox will get to see what makes this place so special.

Especially in October.

“Well, we love playing here at Busch Stadium. Like I said, it’s a sea of red,” pitcher Joe Kelly said.

The free-spirited Kelly was set to start Game 3 on Saturday night against Jake Peavy.

“This is what I’ve lived for my whole life — my whole baseball career, I should say,” Peavy said. “I’m as prepared as I’ll ever be — physically, mentally.”

Also warmed up: A team of eight Clydesdales, ready to pull a red beer wagon around the warning track before the first pitch. It’s also a tradition for fans to gather early at the Musial statue — there are two honoring Stan the Man, actually.

Red Sox closer Koji Uehara took a moment to soak it all in. As he walked onto the field for a workout, the first-time visitor looked at the gleaming Arch hovering high beyond the center-field fence.

The Cardinals rely on a lot more than pomp when they play in their own park.

They led the NL in scoring while going 54-27 at Busch, and then let pitching take over in the postseason. St. Louis is 5-1 at home in the playoffs — in those five wins, opponents scored a total of five runs.

Boston has hit just .188 so far in the Series, with David Ortiz providing the biggest bop. He’s homered in both games and is 4 for 6 overall with five RBIs.

With no designated hitter in the National League park, Ortiz will switch to first base. Manager John Farrell wouldn’t say whether Ortiz would start there for every game in St. Louis, but it’s a good guess regular first baseman Mike Napoli will be on the bench for a while.

Farrell also said lefty-swinging Daniel Nava would start in left field instead of Jonny Gomes, who is 0 for 7 so far.

“Obviously David’s bat, at all costs, needs to be in the lineup,” Peavy said. “David is a game-changer. He’s as clutch as anybody I can remember playing with or against.”

“It just seems like he has a flair for the dramatic. When the situation is the biggest, he’s at his best,” he said.

Ortiz hit a two-run homer off rookie sensation Michael Wacha in Game 2 that put Boston ahead 2-1 in the sixth inning, but St. Louis rallied in the seventh for a 4-2 win.

The Red Sox will spend this weekend at the stadium a few blocks from the Mississippi River.

“I believe our ballpark is very fair. I don’t think there’s one thing that would make our team any more effective in this park than any other,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “It’s not like there’s the oddities, like a Green Monster or deep corners and gaps.”

“But you can’t help but buy into the atmosphere, especially when you’re at home and every single thing you do gets such a positive response,” he said.

Kelly is glad to be home, all the way around.

“You get to sleep in your own bed. You get to do what you normally do on a regular basis,” he said. “If you get coffee in the morning, you go to your coffee shop. It’s just a comfort level to know that it’s your home away from your offseason home.”

For the Red Sox, this is their first visit to St. Louis since Ortiz hit a home run on June 8, 2005, in a win at the previous Busch Stadium. The new park opened the next year.

Kelly also had some friendly advice for Boston’s first-time visitors. It involved a local favorite, a food that many are certain started in this city.

“Find some toasted raviolis, eat some. Those are good, especially in St. Louis,” he said.

Associated PressSource: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/347875155d53465d95cec892aeb06419/Article_2013-10-25-BBO-World-Series/id-5658d217da4646dc9f636b65c7930d49
Related Topics: Krokodil   Paula Patton   Don Jon   Charlie Manuel   vanessa hudgens  

Climate change and coevolution: We’ve done the math

Climate change and coevolution: We’ve done the math

[ Back to EurekAlert! ]

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:

24-Oct-2013

[

| E-mail

]


Share Share

Contact: Linden Woodward
linden.woodward@jcu.edu.au
61-742-321-007
James Cook University

A rule of thumb to help calculate the likely effect of climate change where species interact

When scientists attempt to understand how climate change might reshape our environment, they must grapple with the seemingly endless complexity of interacting systems.

For those considering the likely fate of particular species, there is now a relatively simple rule of thumb to help calculate the likely effect of climate change where species interact.

“A lot of the discussion about climate change focuses on the fate of individual, iconic species, but to evaluate the effects of future environmental changes we need to account for interactions between species,” James Cook University evolutionary ecologist Tobin Northfield said.

“We need to consider how species co-evolve how they are adapting in response to each other, as well as in response to climate change. In addition, as difficult as it may seem, we need to account for changing interactions, as the species evolve.”

Research published this week in PLOS Biology argues that where species have conflicting interests (for example where one species becomes very aggressive towards the species it competes with for food) their coevolving relationship is likely to reduce the effects of climate change on both species.

Where species interact in a non-conflicting way (for example where one species simply avoids the other species it competes with for food, rather than becoming aggressive) the effects of climate change are likely to be greater.

Dr Northfield, now at James Cook University in Cairns, worked at the University of Wisconsin with Dr Anthony Ives to develop a rule of thumb to help scientists calculate how co-evolving species might change over time.

“When evaluating the effects of climate change, there is already so much to consider, we were hoping to find some simple answers,” Dr Northfield said.

Drs Northfield and Ives have developed modeling tools and guidelines to help scientists extrapolate from the short to longer term.

“Many earlier studies have looked at how climate change might affect the evolution of particular species, and more recently there has been some investigation of how interacting species might change in the short term.”

“We used simple models of competition, predation and mutualism to consider how these interactions might change over longer time periods, and how that, in turn will affect each species,” Dr Northfield said.

“The nature of climate change means that we don’t have years and centuries to observe changes in nature. Mathematical modeling gives us a way to calculate what the future might look like,” he said.

The study began, with funding from the United States Department of Agriculture, as an investigation of how pest insect population densities might change in cropping regions.

“One of our findings is that when predators attack crop pests and benefit agriculture, such as lady beetles eating aphids, the predator and prey will both evolve in response to climate change and will reduce the effect of climate change on crop damage,” Dr Northfield said.

The researchers have suggested ways to evaluate their rule of thumb.

“Insect populations are a good testing ground for our theory, because it is relatively easy to include many insects in an experiment, and they reproduce quickly, allowing faster evolution,” Dr Northfield said.

“For example, by looking at insect/plant interactions at different latitudes, it is possible to observe how coevolving species, and their interactions, vary in different climatic conditions.

“If you know what type of coevolution drives the interaction, you can make predictions of how it will affect the species densities across the different latitudes.”

The paper also suggests ways for researchers to determine which type of coevolution (conflicting or non-conflicting) drives a particular species interaction.

“This is not as clear and straightforward as you might think,” Dr Northfield said. “In some plantinsect relationships, for example, some insects that pollinate flowers can also evolve to steal from the flower without providing the flower with the benefits. Of course, this conflicts with what is best for the plant. So we’ve also developed some guidelines for classifying species interactions.”

###

Coevolution and the Effects of Climate Change on Interacting Species is online at:
http://www.plosbiology.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pbio.1001685



[ Back to EurekAlert! ]

[

| E-mail


Share Share

]

 

AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.

Climate change and coevolution: We’ve done the math

[ Back to EurekAlert! ]

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:

24-Oct-2013

[

| E-mail

]


Share Share

Contact: Linden Woodward
linden.woodward@jcu.edu.au
61-742-321-007
James Cook University

A rule of thumb to help calculate the likely effect of climate change where species interact

When scientists attempt to understand how climate change might reshape our environment, they must grapple with the seemingly endless complexity of interacting systems.

For those considering the likely fate of particular species, there is now a relatively simple rule of thumb to help calculate the likely effect of climate change where species interact.

“A lot of the discussion about climate change focuses on the fate of individual, iconic species, but to evaluate the effects of future environmental changes we need to account for interactions between species,” James Cook University evolutionary ecologist Tobin Northfield said.

“We need to consider how species co-evolve how they are adapting in response to each other, as well as in response to climate change. In addition, as difficult as it may seem, we need to account for changing interactions, as the species evolve.”

Research published this week in PLOS Biology argues that where species have conflicting interests (for example where one species becomes very aggressive towards the species it competes with for food) their coevolving relationship is likely to reduce the effects of climate change on both species.

Where species interact in a non-conflicting way (for example where one species simply avoids the other species it competes with for food, rather than becoming aggressive) the effects of climate change are likely to be greater.

Dr Northfield, now at James Cook University in Cairns, worked at the University of Wisconsin with Dr Anthony Ives to develop a rule of thumb to help scientists calculate how co-evolving species might change over time.

“When evaluating the effects of climate change, there is already so much to consider, we were hoping to find some simple answers,” Dr Northfield said.

Drs Northfield and Ives have developed modeling tools and guidelines to help scientists extrapolate from the short to longer term.

“Many earlier studies have looked at how climate change might affect the evolution of particular species, and more recently there has been some investigation of how interacting species might change in the short term.”

“We used simple models of competition, predation and mutualism to consider how these interactions might change over longer time periods, and how that, in turn will affect each species,” Dr Northfield said.

“The nature of climate change means that we don’t have years and centuries to observe changes in nature. Mathematical modeling gives us a way to calculate what the future might look like,” he said.

The study began, with funding from the United States Department of Agriculture, as an investigation of how pest insect population densities might change in cropping regions.

“One of our findings is that when predators attack crop pests and benefit agriculture, such as lady beetles eating aphids, the predator and prey will both evolve in response to climate change and will reduce the effect of climate change on crop damage,” Dr Northfield said.

The researchers have suggested ways to evaluate their rule of thumb.

“Insect populations are a good testing ground for our theory, because it is relatively easy to include many insects in an experiment, and they reproduce quickly, allowing faster evolution,” Dr Northfield said.

“For example, by looking at insect/plant interactions at different latitudes, it is possible to observe how coevolving species, and their interactions, vary in different climatic conditions.

“If you know what type of coevolution drives the interaction, you can make predictions of how it will affect the species densities across the different latitudes.”

The paper also suggests ways for researchers to determine which type of coevolution (conflicting or non-conflicting) drives a particular species interaction.

“This is not as clear and straightforward as you might think,” Dr Northfield said. “In some plantinsect relationships, for example, some insects that pollinate flowers can also evolve to steal from the flower without providing the flower with the benefits. Of course, this conflicts with what is best for the plant. So we’ve also developed some guidelines for classifying species interactions.”

###

Coevolution and the Effects of Climate Change on Interacting Species is online at:
http://www.plosbiology.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pbio.1001685



[ Back to EurekAlert! ]

[

| E-mail


Share Share

]

 

AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.

Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-10/jcu-cca102413.php
Tags: Revolt TV   patriots   scarlett johansson   kenya   Spring High School  

Obama appeals to allies to stick with health law

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is appealing to its allies in Congress, on Wall Street and across the country to stick with President Barack Obama’s health care law even as embarrassing problems with the flagship website continue to mount.

The website’s troubled debut was overshadowed by the partial government shutdown that started the same day the website went live. Last week, Obama and Democrats walked away from a no-holds-barred fight with Republicans over debt and spending with a remarkable degree of unity, made all the more prominent by the deep GOP divisions the standoff revealed.

The debt-and-spending crisis averted for now, the spotlight has shifted to Obama’s health care law and the web-based exchanges, beset by malfunctions, where Americans are supposed to be able to shop for insurance. The intensified focus has increased the pressure on Democrats to distance themselves from Obama’s handling of the website’s rollout as both parties demand to know what went wrong and why.

As the administration races to fix the website, it’s deploying the president and top officials to urge his supporters not to give up.

“By now you have probably heard that the website has not worked as smoothly as it was supposed to,” Obama said Tuesday in a video message recorded for Organizing for America, a nonprofit group whose mission is to support Obama’s agenda. “But we’ve got people working overtime in a tech surge to boost capacity and address the problems. And we are going to get it fixed.”

Whether through the website or other, lower-tech means, the administration needs millions of Americans to sign up through the exchanges for the law to succeed. While the website has become an easily maligned symbol of a law that Republicans despise, Obama said it’s important Americans realize that “Obamacare,” with its various patient protections, is much more.

“That’s why I need your help,” Obama told OFA’s supporters.

The group has been organizing a multitude of events and social media campaigns around the health care law’s implementation. OFA said those efforts will continue, but the group isn’t adjusting its strategy in response to the website’s issues.

Obama has turned to longtime adviser Jeffrey Zients to provide management advice to help fix the system. Zients, a former acting director of the Office of Management and Budget and a veteran management consultant, will be on a short-term assignment at the Health and Human Services Department before he’s due to take over as director of Obama’s National Economic Council next year.

Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden and top White House officials held a call with business leaders Tuesday about the health law and other issues. Business Forward, a trade group friendly to the White House, said the administration asked the group to invite leaders to hear directly from Biden.

In Congress, even staunch supporters of the law like House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Steny Hoyer, the Democratic whip, have said the website’s rollout was unacceptable. In a potentially worrying sign for Obama, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., is calling for the White House to extend the open-enrollment period past March 31 in light of the glitches.

On Wednesday, the administration is sending Mike Hash, who runs the health reform office at HHS, to Capitol Hill to brief lawmakers on the law’s implementation.

An invitation to the breakfast meeting obtained by The Associated Press says it’s restricted to members of Congress. But only Democrats were invited to that session, prompting protest from House Speaker John Boehner, whose spokesman called it a “snub” and said the administration should brief House Republicans, too, in the name of transparency and accountability. Joanne Peters, a spokeswoman for HHS, said officials would be happy to honor additional briefing requests.

___

Reach Josh Lederman at http://twitter.com/joshledermanAP

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/obama-appeals-allies-stick-health-law-070453800.html
Tags: mavericks   john lennon   Namaste   Tom Harmon   Farmers Almanac