Posts tagged with "United States"

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Illustration by Kaelen Felix

The Presidential Inauguration

Today, Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States which commences his four-year presidency and Kamala Harris as Vice President. 

Earlier it was revealed that former president Donald Trump would not attend the ceremony. Trump announced this on his Twitter account before the account was suspended. On January 8 he tweeted, “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”

Trump is the sixth outgoing president that did not attend the presidential inauguration. The last time this occurred was in 1921 when Woodrow Wilson did not attend the inauguration of Warren G. Harding because of poor health. 

“It’s usually a sign that American society is in the midst of major political feud,” the presidential historian Douglas Brinkley said in the New York Times. “The fact that the incoming and outgoing presidents can’t shake hands and co-participate in an inauguration means that something’s off-kilter in the democracy.”

President Biden took an upbeat approach while speaking to the public in front of the Lincoln Memorial at the “Celebrating America” concert. After  addressing many difficulties the nation has encountered recently, he asked if American’s were up for a challenge. 

“Will we meet the moment like our forebearers have?” he asked. “I believe we must and I believe we will. You, the American people are the reason why I have never been more optimistic about America than I am this very day.”

“There isn’t anything we can’t do, if we do it together,” he added. 

“So thank you for this honor, I will give my all to you,” Biden concluded. 

The “Celebrating America” concert was star-packed and many celebrities came together to celebrate the inauguration of President Biden and Vice President Harris. Performers such as Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato, John Legend and Katy Perry all had smashing performances. The celebration was hosted by Tom Hanks, who many sources noted as looking “freezing” because he didn’t have time to take a break in the heated trailers set up for performers. 

There was of course concerns because of the violence that recently occurred at the Capitol earlier in January, explained Adrienne Elrod, the director of talent for the Biden transition team. “What happened on January 6th I wouldn’t say derailed us, but it certainly caused us to take a step back,” she said.

This inauguration is monumental as the first female Vice President is sworn in inspiring girls throughout America. Many people showed heartwarming tweets of their daughters watching Harris as she was sworn in as president. It was also reported that Harris will not immediately be moving in to the Vice President’s residence at the Naval Observatory. 

In Harris’s first statement to the public in her role as Vice President, she encouraged the people of the United States to unite in this time of crisis. 

“In many ways this moment embodies our character as a nation. It demonstrates who we are, even in dark times. We, not only dream, we do. We not only see what has been, we see what can be. We shoot for the moon, and then we plant our flag on it. We are bold, fearless and ambitious. We are undaunted, in our belief that we shall overcome, that we will rise up. This is American aspiration,” Harris said.

Dr. Jill Biden tweeted a video of her and President Biden arriving at the North Portico of the White House as her first official tweet as First Lady. “Thank you for your faith in something that is bigger than all of us: that we will build a better world because we’re going to do it together,” the tweet read.

One unexpected part of the inauguration that has taken social media by storm is an image of Bernie Sanders sitting in a chair with mittens on. A huge number of memes have been created of Sanders in various locations and according to the Los Angles Times Sanders has also been laughing at the memes. 

A school teacher from Vermont was responsible for crafting the famous mittens and has since been flooded with requests from people that want to buy them. However, she has announced she is no longer selling them.

“Thanks for all the interest in Bernie’s mittens!” Jen Ellis wrote on Twitter. “I’m so flattered that Bernie wore them to the inauguration. Sadly, I have no more mittens for sale. There are a lot of great crafters on ETSY who make them.”

Sanders said he had no idea that the image of him would cause such an uproar on social media. “I was just sitting there trying to keep warm, trying to pay attention to what was going on,” he said during an interview on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” Thursday. Even celebrities like Reba and Sarah Jessica Parker joined in on the fun making memes of the image. 

Biden began his duties as early as Wednesday when he finalized over a dozen executive moves in the Oval Office. “There’s no time to start like today,” Biden told reporters as he began signing a stack of orders and memoranda. “I’m going to start by keeping the promises I made to the American people.”

Biden also made it clear during a swearing-in ceremony that his employees are expected to respect each other.”If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treating another colleague with disrespect, talking down to someone, I will fire you on the spot,” said Biden. 

The Biden administration has also put a plan in place to focus on specific issues that need attention. Starting on January 20, the Biden Administration began with Inauguration and four Crises to focus on.

They decided to pick a theme for the following ten days so they would be able to focus on specific issues each day. Some of these themes include Covid, Economic Relief, Climate, Health Care and Immigration. In February there is a plan to focus on restoring America’s place in the world. Throughout these days there will be a variety of executive orders depending on the theme.

Mina Tocalini illustration for mental health article inside 360 magazine

Non-Immigrant Kids Respond Differently When Immigrant Children Are Bullied

A recent study finds that, while youth think all bullying is bad, non-immigrant adolescents object less to bullying when the victim is an immigrant. However, the study found that the more contact immigrant and non-immigrant children had with each other, the more strongly they objected to bullying.

“We know that bystanders can play a key role in stopping bullying, and wanted to better understand bystander responses to bias-based bullying,” says Seçil Gönültaş, first author of the study and a Ph.D. student at North Carolina State University. “What role does a victim’s background play? What role does the bystander’s background play? Are children more or less likely to intervene if they come from different backgrounds?”

To explore these questions, the researchers conducted a study with 179 children, all of whom were in either sixth grade or ninth grade. Seventy-nine of the study participants were of immigrant origin, meaning that at least one of their parents was born outside of the United States. Researchers categorized the remaining 100 participants as non-immigrants for the purposes of this study, meaning both of their parents had been born in the U.S.

Study participants read three different scenarios and were then asked a range of questions to assess what they thought of the interactions in each scenario and how they would have responded in each situation.

In the first scenario, a non-immigrant child socially bullies an immigrant child because of his or her immigrant status. In the second scenario, a non-immigrant child socially bullies another non-immigrant child for being shy. And in the third scenario, a non-immigrant child socially bullies an immigrant child for being shy. Social bullying involves verbal or emotional abuse, rather than physical abuse. Immigrant youth in the fictional scenarios were born outside of the U.S.

“In general, the kids thought bullying was not acceptable,” says Kelly Lynn Mulvey, co-author of the study and an associate professor of psychology at NC State. “But non-immigrant youth thought bullying immigrant peers was more acceptable than bullying of other non-immigrant peers. Immigrant origin youth thought bullying any of the kids was equally wrong.”

“On a positive note, we found that there were two things that made a difference,” Gönültaş says. “First, we found that the more contact children in one group had with children in another group, the less accepting they were of bullying and the more likely they were to intervene to stop the bullying. That was true for immigrant origin and non-immigrant youth.”

“We also found that children who scored higher on ‘Theory of Mind’ were more likely to intervene,” Mulvey says. “Theory of Mind is an important part of understanding other people’s perspectives, so we suspect this is likely tied to a child’s ability to place themselves in the victim’s shoes.

“Ultimately, we think this study is valuable because it can help us develop more effective anti-bullying interventions,” Mulvey adds. “For example, these findings suggest that finding ways to encourage and facilitate more positive interactions between groups can help kids to understand that all bullying is harmful and to encourage kids to step in when they see it.”

The paper, “The Role of Immigration Background, Intergroup Processes, and Social-Cognitive Skills in Bystanders’ Responses to Bias-Based Bullying Toward Immigrants During Adolescence,” is published in the journal Child Development. The work was done with support from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues’ Grants-In-Aid Program.

Abstract

This study examined how intergroup processes and social-cognitive factors shape bystander responses to bias-based and general bullying. Participants included 6th and 9th graders (N=179, M=13.23) who evaluated how likely they would be to intervene if they observed bullying of immigrant-origin and nonimmigrant-origin peers. Adolescents’ grade, intergroup attitudes, and social-cognitive abilities were evaluated as predictors of bystander responses. Nonimmigrant-origin adolescents reported that they expect they would be less likely to intervene when the victim is an immigrant-origin peer. Further, participants with more intergroup contact and higher Theory of Mind were more likely to expect they would intervene in response to bias-based bullying. Findings have important implications for understanding factors that inform anti-bullying interventions that aim to tackle bias-based bullying against immigrants.

Basketball illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

NBA Finals 2020 Viewership Drops 50%

The sports world is one of the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with many major sports all over the world coming to a complete halt. Even after many leagues returned it was clear that the “new normal” will have a significant effect on the entire sports world. With the pandemic throwing many sporting calendars and seasons in chaos, the makeshift calendars proved detrimental to viewership numbers. According to data presented by Safe Betting Sites, the 2020 NBA Finals recorded a 50% drop in viewership compared to the 2019 Finals.

COVID-19 Positive Tests  Suspended NBA Season “Until Further Notice”

On March 11, 2020, The Utah Jazz were scheduled to play the Oklahoma City Thunder despite the threat of COVID-19 already rising in other parts of the world. This was until The Jazz’s star centre Rudy Gobert of France tested positive for the virus. This prompted the league to cancel the game merely minutes from tip-off. The league subsequently suspended the remainder of the 2019-2020 season until further notice. In June it was then announced that the season will be restarted on July 31st with an improvised schedule taking in consideration teams current position on the standings when play was suspended. It was agreed that seeding games would be played for all teams that finished within six games of a playoff spot when play was halted.

Season Restarted Under “Bubble Conditions”

As part of the plans for a restart, the NBA instituted a strict medical protocol leading up to the restart as well as during the entire playoffs were played. The games were played in controlled venues within Walt Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida which was popularly referred to as “the bubble.” The entire playoffs were played in the bubble with no physical fans in attendance. Many players likened the experience to their days as AAU players before their NBA careers.

The 2020 NBA Finals pitted the Eastern Conference Champions Miami Heat against the Western Conference Champions, LA Lakers. The finals are traditionally played sometime in June but the pandemic forced an almost 4-month delay with Game 1 played on September 30. This delay, as well as the unique atmosphere the bubble brought, were a clear contributor to the significant decline in viewership numbers.

Tumultuous Time In US History Leads To  Decrease In Ratings

The 2020 NBA finals saw an average viewership of 7.5 million viewers. This is a 51% drop compared to the 2019 Finals which recorded an average of 15.14 million viewers. It is also the lowest number of average viewers of any Finals in the last two decades. Expectedly, the 2020 Finals also saw the lowest TV ratings in the last two decades with a rating of 4 compared to 8.8 in 2019.

At around the time of the improvised Playoffs, the US  was going through a tumultuous time in its history in several aspects that also contributed to the decrease in viewers. The COVID-19 pandemic was still ravaging through several states which completely altered many people’s daily routine. The pandemic also meant that sports bars and other venues such as casinos were unavailable and thus the Finals reached far fewer people than in previous years.

The delay in the playoffs also meant that the Finals were staged closer to the critical November 2020 US Presidential elections which meant that people’s focus was dramatically shifted. This combined with the pandemic meant more people were tuning in to news programs rather than sporting events.

Significantly, before and during the NBA’s restart the Black Lives Matter movement was also in full swing as cities around the US protested the infamous death of George Floyd in the hands of police. Another shooting of an African-American man in the city of Milwaukee prompted the Milwaukee Bucks to boycott their playoff game against the Orlando Magic and refused to take to the court. After discussions were held NBA players agreed to play on deciding instead to use their platform to bring awareness to social justice causes. This included wearing NBA jerseys with social justice messages chosen by the player. While the move was commended by many, the polarizing nature of the issue meant that the NBA inevitably lost some viewers who had opposing views.

Travel with Virgin Limited in 2020

2020 has undoubtedly been a year like no other and sadly for many of us travel plans were squashed and much of the travel industry was put on hold. Through the global grounding of so many travelers we saw new trends emerge and as we start to look ahead to 2021, Virgin Limited Edition, the luxury collection of properties owned by Sir Richard Branson, has rounded up the trends it has spotted from around the collection. With new vaccines around the corner, we can only remain optimistic that 2021 will bring back some normality and we can finally make up for those lost holidays, making next year one to remember.

NEW OPENINGS:

Necker Island – After more than two years of construction, following the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma, Necker Island is now fully restored to its former glory and looking more beautiful than ever. With the BVI borders re-opening on 1 December, Necker is ready to welcome back guests. Those visiting in 2020 and 2021 will be amongst the first to experience the island following its incredible restoration that has included a brand new Bali Hi complex, two additional guest rooms and the installation of three giant new wind turbines, furthering the island’s commitment towards sustainability and renewable energy.

Moskito Island – Early 2021 will see the much-anticipated launch of Moskito Island in the BVI’s, situated just two miles from sister island, Necker. Home to the Branson Estate which is newly available for rental, next year will see the full launch of Moskito Island in what has already been described as “the most exclusive homeowners association in the world”. As the island sets to launch with brand new uber luxury private Estates for rental, it is most certainly one to watch for 2021….

Trend – As well as commercial travel, both Necker Island and Moskito Island are accessible by private jet, a form of travel that saw a 27% increase in bookings in 2020 following the pandemic outbreak and is likely to continue in 2021 as passengers opt to travel exclusively within their bubble.

STAY FOR LONGER AND WORK REMOTELY:

Son Bunyola – Another trend that has emerged from the pandemic is guests looking to stay away for longer and take advantage of a work life balance with new surroundings as their remote office location. In light of this the much-loved Son Bunyola estate, located in the beautiful UNESCO world heritage site of the Tramuntana mountains in Mallorca with its three individual secluded villas set across a stunning 700-acre private estate, has created a long stay offer for guests looking to stay longer.

Offer – Guests booking a stay of four weeks or more, will receive two free nights each week; a total of eight free nights.

This offer is valid on new bookings for arrivals from 10th April – 11th June and 11th September – 31st October 2021 in Sa Punta de S’Aguila, Sa Terra Rotja and Son Balagueret. Rates are from EUR 7,500 for a stay in Son Balagueret on a self-catering basis. Rates are priced per week and are calculated based on receiving two free nights, per week. A minimum stay of four weeks is applicable.

SAFARI AND CONSERVATION:

Safari is always one for the bucket list and Virgin Limited Edition offers two world-class game reserves offering some of the most spectacular game viewing there is; Ulusaba Private Game Reserve, located in the Western sector of South Africa’s Sabi Sand Game Reserve and Mahali Mzuri, situated in the exclusive Olare Motorogi Conservancy of the famous Maasai Mara.

Today though safari isn’t just about the thrill of a game drive, it is very much about education and long-term conservation and nothing is more important to the Rangers and Guides at both Ulusaba and Mahali Mzuri. Guests on safari can expect to learn in abundance about endangered species and help in the work being done to protect them for our future generation. They will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in local culture, visit the local communities that both  game reserves support and witness some of the hugely important work both camps are doing to educate, develop and protect the livelihoods of those communities.

Offer – Ulusaba Private Game Reserve – Guests booking a stay of four nights or more will receive the final night for free.

Valid for new bookings for arrivals from 2nd January – 30th June and 1st September – 21st December 2021. Stays at Safari and Rock Lodge start from ZAR 12,000 and Cliff Lodge from ZAR 22,200. Rates are quoted per person, per night, based on double occupancy and all rates include accommodation, all meals and drink (including a top quality wine list and champagne), twice daily game drives.

Offer – Mahali Mzuri – All new bookings of three nights or more will be treated to the final night for free.

Valid for arrivals from: 1st August – 21st December 2020 and 2nd January – 15th June 2021, 1st November – 21st December 2021. Rates from US$ 945 per person, per night based on double occupancy and all rates include accommodation, daily game drives and game drives at night in 13,500 hectares, all meals and drinks (including alcoholic beverages), conservancy fees and unlimited access to the exclusive Olare Motorogi Conservancy, visits to the local markets, transfers from the Olare Orok airstrip and all taxes and local levies.

A TASTE OF LOCAL CULTURE:

Kasbah Tamadot – Situated in the spectacular High Atlas Mountains of Morocco, this award-winning Kasbah has gained a reputation for the incredible work it does to support the local villages that surround it. With 99% of staff locals of the surrounding villages, the hotel is renowned for combining luxury whilst immersing its guests in community culture. For a true cultural immersion, guests are invited to join the Authentically Berber Experience. This includes a 2/3 hour walking trek in the Atlas Mountains, tea in a local Berber house, one hour Berber cooking lesson, Berber bread baking and a visit to the Eve Branson Foundation set up by the hotel and Eve herself in 2005.

Offer – Guests booking a stay of four nights or more will receive the final night for free. Those looking to stay a little longer, will be offered two nights free when booking seven nights or more.

This offer is valid for arrivals from 15th October – 21st December 2020 & 1st May – 30th September 2021, subject to availability. Rates are from MAD 6,000 per room, per night based on double occupancy and include accommodation in one of the luxurious bedrooms, suites or Berber Tents, a daily breakfast of hot and cold dishes and all taxes.

PRIVATE RESIDENCES FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY:

Mont Rochelle – 2020 saw an increase in demand for villa and private residence rentals, something that is expected to continue into 2021 as families look for privacy and seclusion away from the crowds. The stunning private Manor House at Mont Rochelle Hotel & Vineyard, set in the beautiful vineyards of Franschhoek, offers the perfect oasis. Made up of four deluxe suites, and a luxurious bunk room for children, as well as two private swimming pools, it offers all the creature comforts of a home while allowing guests to indulge in all the luxuries of a hotel stay. Groups of up to eight people are welcomed to kick back and relax while a dedicated team of staff take care of the rest; from arranging private dining and spa treatments to horse-back riding and wine tasting, no detail is overlooked.

Offer – Groups of up to eight adults and six children will be welcomed to make the Manor House their own for long stays of one month or more.

Rates start from 35,000 Rand per night based on a Bed and Breakfast basis. Rates are inclusive of accommodation and access to all the luxury facilities at Mont Rochelle including the spa and two restaurants Miko & Country Kitchen, a dedicated villa manager, daily breakfast and daily housekeeping. There is also the option for guests to have their own chef or stay on a half board basis. Terms and conditions apply.

The Lodge – Perched high in the Swiss Alps of Verbier, The Lodge will be re-opening this December as Switzerland relaxes its quarantine conditions across most countries.  Groups looking to make the most of the winter season can do so in complete privacy from their own stunning luxury alpine lodge.

Offer – Guests can book the nine impressive bedrooms and suites exclusively from CHF 150,000 for a seven night stay and for the first time The Lodge is also introducing new rates for smaller groups whereby guests can book up to six rooms from only CHF 110,000, or, up to four rooms at CHF 90,000 for a seven night stay. Stays of less than 7 nights are also welcomed in selected weeks of the season, as another first for The Lodge in 2021.

Rates are inclusive of luxury accommodation, all meals including a light lunch for those guests not eating on the mountain, all drinks including a top-quality wine list and house champagne, a dedicated team, inclusive of a 24-hour driver service within Verbier, plus all local taxes. Not to mention full use of the indoor pool, indoor and outdoor hot tubs and a friendly team of experienced staff including Michelin-star trained chefs.

INTIMATE WEDDINGS:

Restrictions around the world saw wedding plans change drastically in 2020. Larger weddings were reduced to much smaller numbers, a change that has been embraced by many as they adapt their plans and look for a more intimate celebration. The Virgin Limited Edition collection of retreats lend themselves to privacy and seclusion; the ideal combination for couples celebrating their honeymoon or those looking for an intimate setting to say, ‘I Do’. From elopements and small ceremonies, to a private ceremony in the African bush, intimate nuptials in amongst the vines, or even a romantic soiree on a secluded beach of a private island, couples are sure to have a wedding that dreams are made of.

Jon Brown, Managing Director of Virgin Limited Edition, commented: “We are delighted to have been able to re-open so many of our properties this year and begin to welcome back our much-missed guests. As we look ahead, we are very excited to be re-opening Necker Island and The Lodge as well as launching Moskito Island. While travel has been limited for so many of us in 2020, it is fantastic to see so many new trends and travel habits emerging. We hope that 2021 will see us welcoming the world back to our properties and our local communities; offering the opportunity to reconnect, celebrate milestones that have passed or simply just to get away from it all in a place that feels a million miles away from reality.”

No one wants to think that travel may not be an option next year, but if that is the case Virgin Limited Edition is offering guests the opportunity to postpone bookings for no fee, and refundable deposits so they can keep on planning and dreaming of their next escape with confidence.

All Good Just A Week Ago

If you’re feeling a little bit lonely as a single person during quarantine, there might be a perfect book for you.

For both men and women, “All Good Just A Week Ago: Funny Dating Stories to Help You Keep Your Head in the Game” is chock-full of funny, relatable dating stories put together from interviews.

With teachable moments and unimaginable scenarios, “All Good Just A Week Ago” helps single people keep their heads in the game.

Erika McCall and Niesha Forbes, two best friends, wanted to put their quarantine time to good use, so they set up 50 interviews to gather data and stories for the book.

These stories prove that relationships can make you laugh and roll your eyes instead of cry, all while showing us that we’re not alone.

In 1950, only 22% of Americans were without a romantic partner. In 2019, 124 million Americans were without a partner.

Though the percentage of people in relationships has gone down, the desire to find love and companionship has not.

McCall said, “It’s the year of 20/20 vision, and it’s time for a dating and love revolution.”

Both authors agreed that the revolution begins with this book. With a goal to understand romantic communication and expectations, “All Good Just A Week Ago” uses stories to heal relationships and foster close, loving, committed relationships in a generation obsesses with “hook up culture.”

McCall and Forbes even get into a few of their own stories. McCall herself is single and wants to clear the way for her future husband to enter her life while Forbes is on her way to her third wedding anniversary and hopes that sharing her experience can help bring about mutual respect, kindness and traditional courtship in relationships.

McCall said her story is every woman’s story while Forbes said, “It is critical to know that once you get to a certain age, things you did in your early twenties, all those toxic behavior patterns where you’re not putting your worth above your desire to be with someone, if you don’t do the work on yourself, you will find yourself in your thirties, forties and even fifties, having not learned the important lessons or found true love.”

Following the laughs in the beginning of the book, readers will reach a call to action that encourages men and women to think critically about how to move forward with healthier relationship dynamics.

For more information about the book or to order it, you can click right here.

Allison Christensen Illustrates a Music Business Article for 360 MAGAZINE

VEVA Sound X Quansic

VEVA Sound announced Tuesday that users of its platform are now able to register for an ISNI number for free.

An ISNI is an International Standard Name Identifier, a number uniquely identifying an individual in the music industry.

VEVA Sound verifies archived projects for clients. By partnering with Quansic, a leader in ISNI services, to facilitate registrations, it is now easier for creators to get credit and payment for their work.

FX Nuttall, the founder of Quansic, said the partnership made perfect sense for the company, as both Quansic and VEVA Sound share a vision that creators should be able to be identified easily and early in the creative process.

“As this partnership continues into the future, we are enthusiastic about introducing VEVA Collect’s users to our products — starting with ISNI registration before addressing the allocation of ISRC for Recordings and BOWI for Works,” Nuttall said. “We at Quansic are focused on enabling 100% identifier coverage for all, and our friends at VEVA provide an unprecedented opportunity for the independent creative community to do just that.”

President of VEVA Sound Deborah Fairchild said she is excited about the partnership and for the new opportunities for artists and creators who use VEVA Collect for payment for their work.

“FX Nuttall is widely respected in our industry, and we are proud to avail his expertise to our users through Quansic,” Fairchild says. “We believe it is imperative that we empower creatives with every resource available to receive authenticated credit for their work.

VEVA Sound was founded in 2002 and works to spearhead the movement to define, create and implement the standards for how sound is preserved and monetized. They now have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Nashville and London where they work with clients to verify and archive audio and metadata.

To learn more about VEVA Sound, you can click right here. You can also follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

You can learn more about Quansic by clicking right here.

Kaelen Felix Illustrates a COVID-19 Article for 360 MAGAZINE

Antidepressant x COVID-19

Based on a trial from the University of Virginia School of Medicine, the antidepressant fluvoxamine appears to prevent COVID-19 infections from worsening, even keeping patients out of the hospital.

The clinical trial was conducted by the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Fluvoxamine was compared with a placebo in 152 adult patients who were infected with the coronavirus.

80 participants received the fluvoxamine, and not one of the 80 became seriously ill after 15 days. Six patients receiving the placebo became seriously ill with four being hospitalized for between four and 21 days. One of the four in the hospital was on a ventilator for 10 days.

Though the sample size was relatively small, the data is believed to be statistically significant. The plan is to launch a larger trial in coming weeks.

Eric J. Lenze, MD, of the Washington University School of Medicine, said patients who took fluvoxamine did not require hospitalization because of issues in lung function.

“Most investigational treatments for COVID-19 have been aimed at the very sickest patients, but it’s also important to find therapies that prevent patients from getting sick enough to require supplemental oxygen or to have to go to the hospital,” Lenze said. “Our study suggests fluvoxamine may help fill that niche.”

UVA’s Alban Gaultier, PhD, and former graduate student Dorian A. Rosen, PhD, found in 2019 that fluvoxamine may stop sepsis, a deadly inflammation causing the immune system to spiral out of control. The findings of Gaultier and Rosen inspired the tests at the Washington University School of Medicine.

Gaultier and Rosen determined that fluvoxamine reduces the production of cytokines, which have been linked to deadly cytokine storms, which are thought to occur in severe cases of COVID-19

“Because elevated cytokines levels have been associated with COVID-19 severity, testing fluvoxamine in a clinical trial made a lot of sense to us,” said Gaultier. “We are still unclear about the mode of action of fluvoxamine against SARS-CoV-2, but research is under way to find the answer.”

Washington University’s Angela M. Reiersen, MD, said the drug works by interacting with the sigma-1 receptor to reduce the production of inflammatory molecules.

“Past research has demonstrated that fluvoxamine can reduce inflammation in animal models of sepsis, and it may be doing something similar in our patients,” Reiersen said.

The limitations of the research were emphasized. The small sample size was noted along with the fact that 20% of participants stopped answering surveys during the trial. Though the researchers could rule out hospital visits for those who stopped answering, they did believe it possible that the participants sought treatment elsewhere.

Because of the limitations, the findings should be considered encouraging and worthy of further research rather than iron clad truth.

Gaultier said, “If a larger clinical trial (phase III) confirms the results, fluvoxamine would be a perfect treatment for COVID patients newly diagnosed. Fluvoxamine is not an experimental drug, it is cheap and safe and could be available as a first line of defense to unburden the hospitals that are overwhelmed by the COVID health crisis.”

For more medical research news from UVA, you can click right here.

Immersive Van Gogh

Lighthouse ArtSpace Chicago, a brand new venue in Chicago’s Germania Club will open Feb. of 2021.

The recently renovated building will open to the U.S. premiere of Immersive Van Gogh. The building’s Victorian Era, 35-foot-tall walls will show off art exhibitions that completely encapsulate an audience, blurring the lines between entertainment and culture, art and blockbuster creation.

Immersive Van Gogh received rave reviews from critics and a wide array of audiences in Toronto, as it allowed them to step inside the iconic, emotional, imaginative artist Vincent Van Gogh.

The Toronto Sun called Immersive Van Gogh “intense and emotional, cathartic and liberating” while Debra Yeo of the Toronto Star said,  “I wondered: could projections of paintings on walls and floors be thrilling? The answer is yes.”

More than 180,000 guests were able to see the exhibition in July 2020, and it passed worldwide ticket sales for any of Ticketmaster’s live cultural events.

Tickets will be available beginning Nov. 23 at 11 a.m. CST. You can find them by clicking right here, or you can call (844) 307-4644. Admission begins at $39.99, or $24.99 for children 16 years old or younger.

The tickets will be for viewings from Feb. 11 to May 2, and parking is available at the James House parking garage, conveniently located nearby.

Given the world’s current state of affairs, the experience also makes health and safety a priority, as admissions will align with Chicago’s capacity guidelines.

Tickets will also be taken contact-free, temperatures will be taken upon arrival and hand sanitizer stations will be open. Markers throughout the exhibit will also remind guests to socially distant as they get sucked into the world of Van Gogh. Face masks will be required.

The same Italian creative team that pioneered Atelier des Lumières will create a design custom to the exhibition’s home in Chicago.

The exhibition was designed by Massimiliano Siccardi, an Italian film producer, with help from composer Luca Longobardi, who delivers a score that combines electronic music with piano, blending modern and classic tones to evoke the perfect tone for the experience. Vittorio Guidotti is the art director.

Siccardi and Longobardi created the Van Gogh, Starry Night exhibition together, setting them up for Immersive Van Gogh, which features more than 50 projectors that cover more than 14,000 square-feet.

Siccardi said Van Gogh has created a lasting emotional impact despite going relatively unknown while he was alive.

“Both myself and Luca Longobardi are very excited to visit Chicago and once again bring Van Gogh’s legacy to life in a way that is unique to the beautiful architecture of the Germania Club Building,” Siccardi said.

Some of the most notable pieces featured include Self Portrait with Felt Hat, The Bedroom in Arles, Irises and The Starry Night.

Corey Ross, the co-producer of Immersive Art Space, said Immersive Van Gogh is a new way to consume art from all directions.

“Both connoisseurs and new admirers of Van Gogh’s work are guaranteed a breathtaking perspective on the influential artist’s oeuvre,” Ross said. “Merging state-of-the-art technology, theatrical storytelling, animation and some of the finest works of art ever created, Immersive Van Gogh is a uniquely mesmerizing experience that seemingly transports the viewer into the artist’s mind to see these timeless works as never before.

For more information, you can click right here.

Timmy Trumpet & Gabry Ponte – Mad World

Today, multi-platinum DJ, producer and live instrumentalist, Timmy Trumpet unleashes his new single, “Mad World,” in collaboration with Grammy nominated Italian DJ/producer Gabry Ponte.

Almost two decades since Michael Andrews and Gary Jules crafted “Mad World” into a UK #1 smash-hit, Timmy & Gabry deliver a reimagining of a masterpiece, custom made for a time in history where the title has never been more fitting.

“I was in the middle of a 30-date U.S tour with Steve Aoki when global pandemic alarm bells rang out” says Timmy. “One night we were playing to 10,000, the next day I’m on a flight home to Australia. Since then I’ve focused on making music that speaks to our experiences of now. Mad World is timeless and timely. Its’ magic deserves to be shared with another generation and it was an honor to work with Gabry on bringing a new sound to an iconic composition.”

The music video was filmed in the heart and at the height of 2020’s narrative – the streets of Philadelphia. It was shot the day after the US election amidst protests, unrest and with the power of the free world hanging in the balance. This stunning story of an emotional rollercoaster captures the journey of a young woman with hopes of a new year that could have been.

The music video directed by Shaun David Barker & Matt Henry was the second time the film makers have worked with Timmy Trumpet this year. The trio teamed up on “Diamonds” Timmy’s first track released after lockdown, which was the first music video to be entirely shot and directed in isolation.

“We wanted to tell a story that embodies the constant frustration, the push and pull, the ups and downs of everyday life as we’ve come to know it. The logistics of shooting a music video during a pandemic were unbelievably challenging. Add full street closures and health, safety and security concerns with political turmoil, it was just the right mix of madness and resilience” says director, Shaun David Barker.

Timmy has shot to global stardom in the electronic music scene over the past few years headlining festivals like EDC, Creamfields and Tomorrowland, and was just voted the #10 DJ in the world in the DJ Mag Top 100. He first began touring in the US in 2014 when his breakout hit ‘Freaks’ went Gold, and globally reigned in more than half a billion streams. It was only fitting that Timmy chose to continue the Mad World story in the epicenter of turbulent times, a place he holds dear to his heart.

Gabry Ponte is one of the influential producers in electronic music with a career spanning three decades. His debut production as part of the group Eiffel 65 was “Blue (Da ba dee)” – the global smash that would sell over 8 million copies. Last summer Gabry teamed up with LUM!X to release “Monster” which has surpassed more than 150 Million streams and has been certified platinum in Germany, France, Switzerland and Austria.

“Mad World” is also the lead single from Timmy’s upcoming debut artist album of the same name due to hit streaming platforms December 4.

“Mad World” is available now via Smash The House on digital streaming platforms HERE.

Watch the official music video for “Mad World” HERE.

Criteria to Ensure Preparedness of Federal Programs

The Strategic Stockpile Failed; Experts Propose New Approach to Emergency Preparedness

A new analysis of the United States government’s response to COVID-19 highlights myriad problems with an approach that relied, in large part, on international supply chains and the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). A panel of academic and military experts is instead calling for a more dynamic, flexible approach to emergency preparedness at the national level.

“When COVID-19 hit, the U.S. was unable to provide adequate testing supplies and equipment, unable to provide adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), and didn’t have a functioning plan,” says Rob Handfield, first author of the study and Bank of America University Distinguished Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management at North Carolina State University.

“The SNS hadn’t replenished some of its supplies since the H1N1 pandemic in 2009-10. Many of its supplies were expired. And there was no clear leadership. Federal authorities punted problems to the states, leaving states to fight each other for limited resources. And the result was chaos.

“We need to be talking about this now, because the nation needs to be better prepared next time. And there is always a next time.”

To that end, Handfield and collaborators from NC State, Arizona State University, the Naval Postgraduate School and the Air Force’s Contracting Career Field Management Team came together to outline the components that are necessary to ensure that there is an adequate federal response to future health crises. They determined that an effective federal program needs to address five criteria:

1). More Flexibility: In order to respond to unanticipated threats, any government system needs to have sufficient market intelligence to insure that it has lots of options, relationships and suppliers across the private sector for securing basic needs. 

“You can’t stockpile supplies for every possible contingency,” Handfield says.

2). Inventory Visibility: The government would need to know what supplies it has, where those supplies are, and when those supplies expire. Ideally, it would also know which supplies are available in what amounts in the private sector, as well as how quickly it could purchase those supplies.

“The same is true on the demand side,” Handfield says. “What do people need? Where? When?”

3). Responsiveness: The governmental institution overseeing emergency preparation needs to have leadership that can review information as it becomes available and work with experts to secure and distribute supplies efficiently. This would be an ongoing process, rather than a system that is put in place only in the event of crises.

4). Global Independence: The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the fact that the U.S. has outsourced manufacturing of critical biomedical materiel, because it was cheaper. Authorities need to consider investing in domestic manufacturing of PPE, testing supplies and equipment, pharmaceutical chemicals, syringes, and other biomedical supplies.

“The past year has really driven home the consequences of being dependent on other nations to meet basic needs during a pandemic,” Handfield says. “Relying largely on the least expensive suppliers for a given product has consequences.”

5). Equitable: The government needs to ensure that supplies get to where they are most needed in order to reduce the infighting and hoarding that we’ve seen in the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A first step here is to settle on a way of determining how to prioritize needs and how we would define an equitable allocation and distribution of supplies,” Handfield says.

The last ingredient is bureaucratic: Coordinating all five of these components should be done by a permanent team that is focused solely on national preparation and ensuring that the relevant federal agencies are all on the same page.

“This is a fundamental shift away from the static approach of the SNS,” Handfield says. “We need to begin exploring each of these components in more detail – and defining what a governing structure would look like. We don’t know how long we’ll have until we face another crisis.”

The paper, “A Commons for a Supply Chain in the Post-COVID-19 Era: The Case for a Reformed Strategic National Stockpile,” is published open access in The Milbank Quarterly. The paper was co-authored by Blanton Godfrey, the Joseph D. Moore Distinguished Professor in NC State’s Wilson College of Textiles; Major Daniel Finkenstadt of the Naval Postgraduate School; Eugene Schneller of Arizona State; and Peter Guinto of the Air Force’s Contracting Career Field Management Team.