Our Strength Lies in Our Humanity Sat, 30 May 2020 12:05:54 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 32 32 42413331 Development and Validity of the Fear of Water Assessment Questionnaire Sat, 30 May 2020 12:05:54 +0000 Read More]]> Fear of water is the strongest predictor for no or low swimming competencies. Some individuals will never learn to swim due to their complete avoidance of water, whereas others might have difficulty with learning due to the fact that they cannot sufficiently relax their body to facilitate floating or swimming. Therefore, it is important to identify these people and to establish effective teaching strategies that can best help this specific population. Recognizing this, there is a clear need for an assessment tool which can help swim teachers and coaches identify people with a fear of water. The study aimed to first develop and then validate a fear of water assessment questionnaire (FWAQ). 2074 male and female people participated in the creation of a 40-item questionnaire. The exploratory factor showed that a 3 factor solution including 20 items was most sensible – such a solution accounted for 31.69% of explained variance and the Cronbach’s alpha α was 0.831, which makes for a reliable enough solution. A subsequent discriminant function analysis correctly classified 98.2% of participants. We concluded that the findings from this study support that the FWAQ is a valid scale that effectively identify people with fear of water.

Source: Read More: Development and Validity of the Fear of Water Assessment Questionnaire

Reflecting on Existential Threats Elicits Self-Reported Negative Affect but No Physiological Arousal Sat, 30 May 2020 12:03:03 +0000 Read More]]> There is mixed evidence whether reflecting on an existential threat increases negative affect and thereby elicits subjective arousal and physiological activation. Additionally, it is debated whether different existential and non-existential threats elicit different arousal responses, although systematic comparisons are lacking. The current study explored affective, subjective, and physiological arousal responses while comparing several existential threats with a non-existential threat and with a control condition. One-hundred-and-seventy-one undergraduate students were randomly allocated to one of four existential threat conditions: mortality salience (MS), freedom restriction, uncontrollability, and uncertainty; or to the non-existential threat condition: social-evaluative threat (SET); or to a control condition (TV salience). Self-reported positive/negative affect was measured before and after reflection, while subjective arousal and physiological activation (electrodermal, cardiovascular, and respiratory) were measured on a high time-scale during baseline and reflection. Results showed larger increases in self-reported negative affect, as compared to the control condition, for all existential threat conditions, while there were no differences between the control condition and threat conditions regarding positive affect, subjective arousal, skin conductance, respiratory rate, and respiratory sinus arrythmia. There were subtle differences between existential and non-existential threat conditions, most notably in affective responses. Correlations showed positive associations between negative affect and subjective arousal and between trait avoidance and subjective arousal. This study is the first to systematically compare affective, subjective, and physiological changes in arousal due to reflecting on different existential threats, as well as one non-existential threat. We showed that, as compared to a control condition, reflecting on threats has a large impact on negative affect, but no significant impact on positive affect, subjective arousal, and physiological activation.

Source: Read More: Reflecting on Existential Threats Elicits Self-Reported Negative Affect but No Physiological Arousal

Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro is devastating indigenous lands, with the world distracted Sat, 30 May 2020 08:09:00 +0000 Read More]]> Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro is devastating indigenous lands, with the world distracted

The Amazon fires of 2019 drove the greatest single year loss of Brazilian forest in a decade. But with the world in the grip of a pandemic, forest loss in 2020 is already on track to dwarf the devastation of a year earlier. In April 2020 alone, 529 square kilometres of forest was destroyed – an increase of 171% on April 2019.

And worse may be on the way. In order to clear deforested land for farming, felled trees are burned. According to Ane Alencar, director of the Department of Science at the Institute of Environmental Research of the Amazon, “this was the main ingredient of the 2019 fire season, a story that could be repeated in 2020”.

The smoke that engulfed cities in Brazil during the 2019 Amazon fires caused widespread breathing problems. As cases of COVID-19 grow by the day – even in remote areas of the Amazon – Brazil risks exacerbating the public health crisis and causing lasting harm to the forest and indigenous communities.

Emboldening illegal activity

On May 22, the Federal Justice ordered the government to establish bases for environmental inspectors in hotspots of felling and burning. These are areas in the Amazon where 60% of all deforestation occurs.

This was intended to restrict the criminal market that drives illegal logging and mining, but also to help reduce the spread of the virus to indigenous people in the region.

Deforestation hotspots overlap with indigenous and protected lands.
Mauricio Torres, Author provided

But Jair Bolsonaro’s government appears set against the aims of the prosecutors. With attention turned to the health crisis, the Minister of the Environment, Ricardo Salles, sacked Olivaldi Azevedo as director of the federal environmental inspection agency, IBAMA, in April.

Azevedo’s dismissal is thought to be linked to his unwillingness to stop an anti-mining operation on indigenous lands in the interior of Pará. The successful raid resulted in the burning of equipment used by illegal miners, with images of the arrests broadcast on Brazil’s most popular news channel.

These miners form a loyal base of support for Bolsonaro, hence the government’s irritation. But the television broadcast also featured people who had occupied indigenous lands to build farms. One of those interviewed made it clear that their incursions were encouraged by the speeches of President Bolsonaro and his Environment Minister, Salles.

It’s illegal for non-indigenous people to trespass on Brazil’s indigenous lands. But people eager to exploit the natural riches of these territories often claim support from the president, who recently promised to decrease the amount of land that is protected. In the interview, the trespassing farmer said “the people are with this hope, this expectation, that one day it happens … Meanwhile, we are occupying here”.

An opportunity amid crisis

During the recent surge in deforestation, the Brazilian government reduced the budget for the environmental inspection agency IBAMA by 25%. The government also replaced two of the agency’s chiefs with a military policeman from São Paulo, Walter Mendes Magalhães Junior, who was previously accused of releasing timber exports without the necessary license.

We interviewed Ricardo Abad from the Socio-environmental Institute (ISA), a leading non-governmental organisation in Brazil, who said “the dismissal of Ibama’s inspection coordinators sends a message that organised crime is liberated in the Amazon and punishes those who work to combat illegal activities.”

Read more:
Are the Amazon fires a crime against humanity?

Brazilian legislation allows inspectors to burn confiscated machinery from loggers and miners. This equipment is often expensive, and so its destruction greatly undermines criminal operations in the forest. It’s a tactic that President Bolsonaro has reportedly condemned. In 2019, the destruction of seized equipment fell by half compared to the previous year.

Many of the recent setbacks in Brazil’s environmental policy could be explained by a video that was released by court order on May 22. The video shows a meeting between Bolsonaro and his ministers from a month before, in which environment minister Salles suggests the government take advantage of press attention being focused on the pandemic to relax regulations in the Amazon.

Indigenous people attend the funeral of someone who died from COVID-19 in Manaus, Amazonas state. Their masks read ‘indigenous lives matter’.

Failure to control environmental crimes doesn’t only threaten the forest though. It also increases the vulnerability of indigenous peoples to COVID-19. A recent study found that indigenous lands that aren’t formally demarcated let in intruders much more easily, preventing these communities from isolating from the disease. Of the 1,005 cases of COVID-19 confirmed among indigenous people living in the country, there have been 44 deaths, with 41 in the Amazon, the region with the lowest number of intensive care units in Brazil.

The Brazilian Amazon may be on the eve of a catastrophe. COVID-19 could decimate indigenous communities, while the government response paves the way for profiteers to further degrade their lands and the forest. Bolsonaro’s legacy may be one of the highest national death tolls during the pandemic, and a point of no return for destruction of the Amazon.

The Conversation

Brian Garvey receives funding from the ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund and the Scottish Funding Council Global Challenges Research Fund.

Mauricio Torres does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

source: The Conversation: Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro is devastating indigenous lands, with the world distracted

Coronavirus live news: deaths surge in Brazil and Russia as Trump says US is quitting WHO Sat, 30 May 2020 06:31:00 +0000 Read More]]>

President claims body has ‘failed to reform’; UK expert says country not ready to ease lockdown; Australia to relax rules on 1 June. All the developments live

7.17am BST

Reuters reports on developments in the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan has extended measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus until 15 June, but relaxed some restrictions, allowing the resumption of domestic tourism and soccer games, the authorities said on Saturday.

The country had locked down all its provinces and closed all non-essential businesses in March.

7.01am BST

AFP reports on some worrying sentiments against Singapore’s 90 or so otters, who are evidently unhindered by the city’s lockdown conditions. They’ve featured in nature documentaries, including the Nature’s New Wild shown on the BBC.

From AFP.

Singapore’s otters, long adored by the city-state’s nature lovers, are popping up in unexpected places during the coronavirus lockdown but their antics have angered some and even sparked calls for a cull.

With the streets empty, the creatures have been spotted hanging out by a shopping centre, scampering through the lobby of a hospital and even feasting on pricey fish stolen from a pond.

Continue reading… Source: The Guardian: Coronavirus live news: deaths surge in Brazil and Russia as Trump says US is quitting WHO ———

Life after lockdown in Berlin: campsites, lidos and lakes reopen for summer Sat, 30 May 2020 06:00:00 +0000 Read More]]>

It’s not the carefree city we are accustomed to, but as more restrictions are lifted the happy, unmasked faces of my fellow campers seem as relieved as I am

As I’m swimming lazily out to a small island in the middle of a lake fringed with pine trees, the words “pandemic”, “Covid-19” and “virus” seem to be from a different world. They are not of course; we are still a long way from being coronavirus-free, but here at Naturcampingplatz Am Grubensee, 50 miles south-east of Berlin in the lake-strewn surrounding region of Brandenburg, my family and I are enjoying the peaceful escape we’ve been dreaming of since lockdown began 11 weeks ago – messing about in boats, cooking outside and regaining some sense of normality.

Campsites officially opened in Germany on 25 May, complete with all the necessary sanitary facilities. Petra, the owner here, says the government has given guidelines rather than strict rules, and campsites are interpreting them as they see fit. There are hand sanitiser posts all around the campsite, masks are required inside the shop/reception, and the usual 1.5-metre distance rule applies.

“We normally begin the season on 1 April, so I’ve been going grey worrying about the amount of money we’re losing,” says Petra. “Now I’m just happy to be open.”

Continue reading… Source: The Guardian: Life after lockdown in Berlin: campsites, lidos and lakes reopen for summer ———

Sandy Shores of Moreton Bay Sat, 30 May 2020 04:00:00 +0000 Read More]]>

Sandy Shores of Moreton Bay
Once an important port during World War II, the bay is comprised of a complex delta system that makes it a very scenic and popular tourist destination in Australia.

Read More…

Source: Read More: Sandy Shores of Moreton Bay

NASA and SpaceX eye weather for historic Demo-2 astronaut launch Saturday Sat, 30 May 2020 01:09:00 +0000 Read More]]> Weather was top of mind at a prelaunch briefing for NASA’s first crewed launch on a SpaceX capsule, dubbed Demo-2 and currently scheduled for tomorrow (May 30). Source: NASA and SpaceX eye weather for historic Demo-2 astronaut launch Saturday

Examining Mental Health Knowledge, Stigma, and Service Use Intentions Among Public Safety Personnel Sat, 30 May 2020 00:05:13 +0000 Read More]]> Introduction

Public safety personnel (PSP; e.g., communications officials [e.g., 911 call center operators/dispatchers], correctional service employees, firefighters, paramedics, police officers) experience an elevated risk for mental disorders due to inherent work-related stress. Several programs have been designed to increase mental health knowledge, intending to reduce stigma, and increase mental health service help-seeking (e.g., resilience training); however, extant programs have not demonstrated sustained improvements for PSP mental health. The current study assessed levels of mental health knowledge, stigma, and service use intentions in a sample of Canadian PSP and compared trends to published estimates of mental health symptoms across PSP categories to inform future programming.


PSP completed questionnaires assessing mental health knowledge, stigma against coworkers with mental illness, and professional service use intentions. Correlations among variables and one-way analyses of variance were conducted to assess differences among categories. PSP were categorized into six categories for comparison: communication officials, correctional workers, firefighters, municipal/provincial police, paramedics, and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).


There were significant differences between categories for each variable. Correctional workers reported the most mental health knowledge, least stigma, and highest intentions to use mental health services, and the highest positive screens for mental disorders. Conversely, firefighters reported the lowest mental health knowledge, highest stigma, and lowest willingness to seek professional help, and the lowest prevalence of positive screens for mental disorders.


The results contrast previously hypothesized associations among mental health variables where education, stigma reduction, and help-seeking have been expected to improve mental health. The discrepant results offer potentially critical information for organizational policies to better support PSP. Individuals reporting mental health symptoms may be a more appropriate target audience for intervention strategies, given the possible, crucial role personal experience plays in increasing mental health knowledge, and ultimately, encouraging help-seeking.

Source: Read More: Examining Mental Health Knowledge, Stigma, and Service Use Intentions Among Public Safety Personnel

Measuring Teachers’ Social-Emotional Competence: Development and Validation of a Situational Judgment Test Sat, 30 May 2020 00:03:02 +0000 Read More]]> Teachers’ social-emotional competence is considered important in order to master the social and emotional challenges inherent in their profession and to build positive teacher-student relationships. In turn, this is key to both teachers’ occupational well-being and positive student development. Nonetheless, an instrument assessing the profession-specific knowledge and skills that teachers need to master the social and emotional demands in the classroom is still lacking. Therefore, we developed the Test of Regulation in and Understanding of Social Situations in Teaching (TRUST), which is a theory-based situational judgment test measuring teachers’ knowledge about strategies for emotion regulation and relationship management in emotionally and socially challenging situations with students. Results from three studies (N = 166 in-service teachers, N = 73 in-service teachers, N = 107 pre-service teachers) showed satisfactory internal consistency for both the emotion regulation and relationship management subtests. Furthermore, confirmatory factor analyses supported the differentiation between the two facets of social-emotional competence. Regarding convergent validity, results from Study 3 revealed a positive association between the profession-specific TRUST and pre-service teachers’ general emotional intelligence. Furthermore, small to moderate correlations with the Big Five personality traits provided evidence for the discriminant validity of TRUST. In Studies 1 and 2, we found evidence for a correlation with external criteria, that is, teachers with higher test scores reported providing more emotional support for students and having better teacher-student relationships. For teachers’ occupational well-being, we found a link with symptoms of depersonalization and job satisfaction, but none for emotional exhaustion. We will discuss the use of TRUST in research, for the evaluation of interventions, in teacher education, and professional development and will illustrate ideas for enhancing the tool.

Source: Read More: Measuring Teachers’ Social-Emotional Competence: Development and Validation of a Situational Judgment Test

Next NASA Advisory Council Meeting Postponed Fri, 29 May 2020 22:25:00 +0000 The NASA Advisory Council (NAC) virtual public meeting originally scheduled for Tuesday, June 2, has been postponed until further notice. Source: NASA Breaking news Next NASA Advisory Council Meeting Postponed