Donegal gets pedalling on Bike Week

first_imgWith 25 events planned across the county for Bike Week (9-17 June) and the fine weather set to continue, Donegal County Council is hoping that the interest in cycling for commuting and leisure purposes will continue to increase.In Dungloe on Thursday next (14 June), staff in the Dungloe Public Service Centre will get on their bikes with a lunchtime cycle around the beautiful town and will be joined by Councillors and youth councillors.“This is a great way to spend your lunch break,” says Mairead Cranley Social Inclusion Co-Ordinator with the Council. She continued: “this is about getting new people on the bikes and it is for all levels of cyclists. It is giving people the opportunity to get up from their desk and out into the fresh air. “It’s amazing the amount of exercise you can include during your 30 minute lunch break. Most importantly there is a great social and fun aspect to this initiative, creating team bonding between colleagues and other agencies within the building while getting your exercise too,” Ms Cranley said.The Council has gone one step further and installed a state-of-the-art bicycle shelter at its headquarters in Lifford, which is the latest example of its commitment to its employees. If successful, the Council plans to roll out similar shelters to all its offices, including the public service centres.With the bike shelter now in situ, the Council hopes that more staff will consider cycling as a mode of transport when travelling to the Lifford office. This option will be further enhanced with the Lifford-Strabane segregated cycleway due within three years as part of the Council’s North West Greenway Network development.Ronan Gallagher, the Communications Manager for the North West Greenway Network said: ‘BikeWeek is a fantastic opportunity to encourage people – young and old – to dust down their bikes and take to the county’s roads and cyclepaths again’. He continued: ‘the Council’s commitment to cycling infrastructure is highlighted throughout the new County Development Plan, which places great importance on greenway development for modal shift, tourism and leisure activities.’ A full schedule of bike events taking place across Donegal can be found at The programme is supported by Donegal Sports Partnership, National Bike Week and Donegal County Council.Donegal gets pedalling on Bike Week was last modified: June 8th, 2018 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

A famous Ebola patient who remained anonymous for 20 years

first_imgFor Ebola patients who end up in Western hospitals, it’s hard to remain anonymous. As a story in this week’s special issue on privacy shows, public health fears often trample privacy concerns during disease outbreaks, and the media’s curiosity is relentless.But one Ebola patient who had a brush with fame has held on to her anonymity. The only Ebola case ever recorded in West Africa before the current outbreak, she is simply described in four scientific papers as a 34-year-old woman who contracted the disease in 1994 while working as a chimpanzee researcher in the Taï National Park in Ivory Coast. She was evacuated to Switzerland for treatment.The researcher has never before spoken to the press, but she agreed to discuss her thoughts with ScienceInsider about the importance of privacy and why, to this day, she does not want her name publicly known in relation to Ebola. “I don’t want it to be my claim to fame,” she says. “It seems wrong.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The woman’s case did receive substantial media attention. Not only were the circumstances of her infection dramatic and somewhat bizarre, but her case also provided the first strong evidence that the Ebola virus naturally infected chimpanzees and suggested that the virus might be devastating both chimp and gorilla populations. Some stories also questioned the risks her Swiss medical team took by caring for her.The researcher, an ethologist, worked in the forest studying a community of chimpanzees that her adviser, Christophe Boesch of the University of Basel in Switzerland, had followed since 1976. Although the chimps had been “habituated” to humans, the researchers made a point of staying at least 3 meters away. They knew the histories and habits of individuals, and when a 4-year-old female lost her mother and became lethargic, the team took notice. “That was the only time I broke into tears when I was in the forest,” says the ethologist, who thought the chimp was depressed. “It wasn’t clear to me that she was ill.”Two days later, the researchers found the chimp’s dead body and carted it back to their field station to conduct a necropsy.The woman was one of three people who dissected the chimp on 16 November 1994. She wore “household” gloves while the other two had gloves made of latex. No one donned masks or gowns, and it never crossed their minds that the animal might have died from Ebola. “We were more worried that we had introduced an illness into the chimpanzee community,” she says.Eight days later, she developed a fever and began losing her appetite; a colleague finished her dinner. She suspected she had malaria, but antimalaria drugs did nothing. After 3 days had passed, she was driven to a hospital 600 kilometers away in Abidjan, where a friend stayed in her room to keep her company. Her condition continued to deteriorate with classic Ebola symptoms kicking in: diarrhea, vomiting, rash, and confusion. But she was not hemorrhaging, which then was the telltale sign of the disease.No one at the hospital suggested testing for Ebola. “Nobody suspected it,” she says. “They immediately thought I had malaria. At one point my temperature went down and they said, ‘See, we told you.’ ”Her boyfriend phoned from Europe and asked if he should fly over. “I said, ‘It would be nice to see each other one more time,’ ” she recalls.Instead, a Swiss Air Ambulance jet transported her to Basel, where she received treatment in a negative pressure isolation room at the University Hospital Basel. Her caregivers wore gowns, gloves, and masks, but not the type of personal protective gear now used in Ebola treatment units. Fifteen days after she fell ill, the hospital discharged her, and a month later, she returned to Ivory Coast to continue her research. “I felt like I had abandoned my colleagues and I went back as quickly as I could,” she says.She did not learn what had caused her illness until February 1995—and it was detected somewhat by happenstance. During the fall that she became ill, eight of the 43 chimpanzees her team had been following died, and four others disappeared. Boesch enlisted the help of virologists in France to study blood taken from three living chimpanzees (they tranquilized them with darts), as well as tissue from the animal she necropsied and one other that had died. The lab also analyzed the blood from the researchers who conducted the necropsies, which led to the isolation of Ebola virus from her sample. “I had no idea about Ebola,” she says. “I became aware by reading a few articles that we could have really been the origin of something big.”In the wake of her belated diagnosis, 74 people she had come in contact with during her illness received Ebola antibody tests. None, including the two workers she did the necropsy with, had a positive result. “Imagine if I had been contagious,” she says. “No, don’t imagine.”Even though she was in a remote locale with no telephone, journalists soon started contacting her. “A lab person leaked my name,” she says. “I got the strangest of letters in the Taï Forest.” Media requests intensified that May when a large outbreak of Ebola surfaced in Kikwit, in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and European journalists who covered it wanted to make a stop in Ivory Coast to meet with her. “I thought it was ridiculous that people wanted to come and interview me on the way home from the Congo,” she says. A German TV station even offered to fly her in for the taping of a show. “I was kind of disgusted by the whole thing.”Although a few journalists knew her name, she is grateful that none ever made it public—now more so than ever given the mini–celebrity status heaped upon Kent Brantly, Nina Pham, Craig Spencer, Thomas Duncan, Nancy Writebol, William Pooley, and others during the recent West African epidemic. “I find it shocking the way the press put people out there right away and you’re practically in bed with them,” she says. “I’m not sure what that does for you, but I suspect it’s not very good. They’re victims in a sense.”Aside from the personal toll it may have taken had her name become public, stories like hers, she says, distort reality. “People are getting all this media attention because they caught a virus,” she says. “I was ill for 2 weeks—and I was really ill—but there are so many people who suffer so much more and one would not think to write about them.”For more on privacy and to take a quiz on your own privacy IQ, see “The end of privacy” special section in this week’s issue of  Science.*The Ebola Files: Given the current Ebola outbreak, unprecedented in terms of number of people killed and rapid geographic spread, Science and Science Translational Medicinehave made a collection of research and news articles on the viral disease freely available to researchers and the general public.last_img read more

AK Nerdiness and fandom abound at Anchorages 13th Annual Senshi Con

first_imgCosplayers at Senshi Con, Alaska’s largest fandom convention, spent the day as their favorite comic book and anime characters last weekend at the Dena’ina Center. (PhotoLast weekend, thousands of people poured into Anchorage’s Dena’ina Center for the 13th annual Senshi Con… and at Senshi Con, fandom runs deep. It’s Alaska’s largest celebration of nerdiness and geek culture — everything from japanese animation and gaming to science fiction and comic books.Listen nowIt’s the last day of the convention and Justine Felland just got her first tattoo.“I was like ‘Ahhh! I don’t know if I can do this!’ but I did it, my friends were supporting me and it’s my first anime I really really connected with, so I was just like, ‘I’m going to do this one,’” Felland said.Her tattoo, still fresh and covered in plastic wrap, is a symbol from the anime “Fairy Tails.”“There’s a lot of people who don’t feel like they’re part of anything in that show and like they finally find people who care about them. And that’s how I feel about Senshi Con, because I’m a volunteer,” Felland said. “With the people here, I feel like I’m very connected with them. They’re very open and accepting of who you are.”Senshi Con is similar to other conventions — vendor booths, workshops, special guests — but these attendees are rabid fans of video games, science fiction and comics books; most are dressed like superheroes or anime characters. Something referred to as “cosplay.”The vendors sell offerings like steampunk jewelry and crochet Pokémon. Even musical instruments. Laura Sexauer is selling movie and video game themed ocarinas.“The instrument itself is thousands of years old, but it’s popular in the modern age because of ‘The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time,” Sexauer said.Nearby, there’s a video game tournament being projected on a wall while attendees sit at rows of tables playing computer games or tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons.One floor up, Bernadette Tix is teaching a class on sword fighting techniques. She’s in full medieval garb, roaming between pairs of students facing off against each other with wooden training swords. She’s here promoting Schola Saint George.“So we are set up like a school of martial arts or a dojo,” Tix said. We have a specific curriculum that’s been developed based off of medieval fighting treatises, specifically off of the master Fiore dei Liberi. Fiore dei Liberi was an Italian master of defense from the early 1400s.”The genres and interests at Senshi Con might be eclectic, but Tix says it makes sense.“I think a lot of people get into medieval reenactment, medieval fighting, originally through a love of fantasy, right? A love of fantasy can inspire a love of real history as well and a love of fantasy can also lead to a love of other forms of fiction,” Tix said. “You know, animes, and video games, and those sorts of things. I’m a huge Tolkien nerd, so fantasy, sci-fi — I’m an anime fan myself. I think people who often have those interests, our hope is, some of them are going to have an overlap with this.”Down the hall, there’s a room where attendees can give their costumes a tune-up. Cosplay is basically putting together a costume and spending the day as your favorite fictional character. It’s a big part of the Senshi Con experience.“This one in particular is my first time with this, um, costume people,” Veronica Pearson laughed.Pearson is roaming the convention with a medical kit. She is not in costume, but part of emergency medical services. She’s worked other events at the Dena’ina Center, but not like this.“The costumes are phenomenal, the people are amazing. A lot of them really get into their role-playing and it’s kind of exciting to see,” Pearson said. “I don’t think I could do it, but I like looking.”She might not have a clue about what’s going on, but Pearson appreciates the lighthearted enthusiasm of the convention.“There seems to be an atmosphere that is just fun,” Pearson said. “Can we just have some fun? I appreciate that in a stressful world.”Fun is why one attendee — who goes by Kane — spent his weekend at Senshi Con. He was one of the first through the doors on Friday. He’s cosplaying as Link from the Legend of Zelda video games.“I’ve been here since day one and all I have to say is that it was amazing,” Kane said.Kane spent the weekend wandering the convention, meeting people, and checking out the attractions. He even bought himself a new ocarina to go with his costume.“I gave my old ocarina to another Link who didn’t have one,” Kane said. “No Link is complete without an ocarina.”It’s that kind of instant connection to each other that attendees find so appealing about Senshi Con. It’s a judgment-free zone and a chance to wear your interests on your sleeve, literally. For Kane though, it’s even simpler.“Bunch of nerds. I fit in,” Kane said. “I fit in very well.last_img read more