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Now we see the light, say virologists. We are at the last mile of darkness. The collective experience of the trauma of the epidemic has dragged us into an abyss that we could not imagine. But have we learned anything? Individually each of us has known directly or indirectly the anguish of darkness, illness and death: a diagnosis that puts life at risk, the loss of a loved one, defeat or failure are experiences that we lived before Covid. in solitude. Pain separates, isolates, splits our life away from life in common. It happens in the biblical scene of Job's desperate cry: abandoned, naked and shaved, fallen into ashes, wounded in body and soul, his life is without support, with no one left to rely on. Well, if there is a fundamental lesson of the terrible magisterium of Covid, it concerns the possibility of sharing the unhappy, of sharing the experience of pain and death.
With the epidemic, the uncharitable experience has become obligatorily common, overwhelming the entire planet. Everywhere in the world we have seen the same scenes: closed cities, frightened and masked people, intensive care, the sick taken from loved ones, masses of the dead. The large cities of the West that previously looked at collective phenomena such as "hunger in the world" or epidemics that raged on the poorest and most disadvantaged populations from a safe distance, had to experience the same horror without any protective distance. Whole peoples have found themselves united by the same desperation. Darkness has descended like an unprecedented catastrophe, if not in the biblical flood, on our world. Individual lives, as well as communities and our economies have found themselves, as never before, on the edge of a precipice. Here is the lesson: we have been forced by the Covid magisterium to consider that the pain of our fellow man is not something that does not belong to us, because it is our own pain. The same policy has had to recognize the unprecedented nature of this experience, giving life, not only in Italy, to governments that are based on the retreat of particular identities in the name of recognizing a common good that implies a sharing of responsibility.
The systemic character of the pandemic has shown the farcical trait of narcissism of small differences by imposing an abrupt transition to adulthood: the sovereign ideal of one's autonomy - not only political but also mental - has been overwhelmed by an unavoidable experience of interdependence and of interconnection. We had to correct our individualistic idea of ​​freedom by understanding that salvation is either a collective fact or it does not exist and that, consequently, either freedom implies solidarity or it is a pure rhetorical abstraction. But above all we had to learn again the fundamental importance of our institutions, correcting the populist thinking that ideologically opposes institutions to life.
In recent years this has been a harmful hegemonic thought: on the one hand the life that claims its rights and on the other the institutions that defend their privileges; on the one hand the dynamic movement of life and on the other the conservative immobility of the institutions; on the one hand the work of life and on the other the corruption of institutions. Covid instead revealed to us that life and institutions, as Roberto Esposito rightly points out in his latest book entitled Institutions, are two sides of the same figure. What would have happened in the face of the violence of the pandemic if the institutions had not existed, first of all that of the family? Where would we have ended up? Even legitimate criticisms of crisis management must not obscure the very human value of institutions, which does not consist only in protecting the most vulnerable, but in making the experience of sharing possible. For this Pasolini recalled that there is no greater miracle than the life of the institutions. And for this again, while he did not spare his criticisms of the corruption of the political system, he appealed to the "moving" and "mysterious" nature of the institutions, for which it is always worth spending our lives.
Will we have today and in the near future the strength to make a poetic really exist, and not just a politics of institutions? Will we be able to resurrect institutions from the ashes of populism?
The welcome of the armed forces involved in the vaccination campaign, the unprecedented sense of a procedural order and individual respect given together, of a collective care but always attentive to the irreducible trait of the particular, as all those who have been vaccinated can testify, it is a simple but significant example of what I mean by the poetics of institutions. In a time dominated by the barbarism of evil that turns our own ecocidal violence against us, the arrogance of an anthropocentrism that has violated the limits imposed by nature, the existence of caring behaviors that know how to respect the immensely sacred character of singularity, as demonstrated above all by our health personnel, but also by ours families, our teachers and service workers who have never stopped their business, shouldn't they educate politics, shouldn't they literate its actions as its language?
In recent years, the violence of words has fueled a culture of hatred which, not surprisingly, has among its main culprits those who have cultivated the contempt of institutions in a militant way without seeing the metastases that fatally contributed to generating in the fabric of our community.
The resurrection of life never passes through hatred and contempt, but, as the Gospel message teaches, only through the faith that the shadow of death is never the last word on life, that not everything is death, hate and contempt. It is the task, which Pasolini defined as "miraculous", that awaits us: to resurrect the collective life of the institutions, restore full dignity to it, cultivate the deeply democratic sense of representation, restore value to political conflict as a conflict of ideas and not as denigration morality of the opponent, to recognize that the poetics of institutions does not coincide with the organization of the state, but is a force that pervades the community entirely, that the very words we use institute life and make us responsible every time for the ethical value of this institution.
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The enhancement of the human body is now a technological reality. Now the challenge is to secure data and prevent cyber-attacks.

A model without hands, a dancer with a bionic leg, a psychologist with a disability with a robotic arm and a biohacker with a chip in his hand, what do they all have in common? Belonging to a new class of human beings enhanced by technologies. Thanks to a biological modification of their organism, they are having a series of experiences on the verge of magic. And they told Kaspersky Next 2021, an event dedicated to human augmentation technologies.

What is it about? When we talk about human augmentation we are talking about the enhancement of human perceptive, motor and cognitive faculties, in ways that were previously impossible or unthinkable. But we also talk about the shifting of the frontiers of science, ethics, the social perception of the different from oneself.
Augmentation may be required for health reasons - the graft of a bionic limb to replace a diseased one - or people may choose to augment themselves, to a basic level for example, by inserting radio frequency identification (RFID) chips into the own body. And there are more than you think. The chip under the skin is used today by a good number of Swedes who "stamp" us the tram ticket.

The stories of the protagonists
Following a diagnosis of meningococcal septicemia, Tilly Lockey, model and presenter, underwent a double amputation of her hands at just 15 months. After putting on some basic myoelectric prostheses, she was provided with the Open Bionics Hero Arm. Through augmentation technologies lei Lockey she is attempting to change the way implants are seen and perceived, showing beauty in differences.
Viktoria Modesta, pop artist with an artificial leg, performs at Crazy Horse in Paris and has developed her own multidisciplinary approach to performance art with a post-human touch. While Bertolt Meyer, professor of psychology with a bionic hand, investigates how bionics changes the perception of society of people with disabilities.
Their collective thesis? Human enhancement, which sounds like science fiction, is now a daily reality for some people. We are not talking about cyborgs with superhuman strength and X-ray vision, but about ordinary people, with bionic arms or legs, or who have been implanted with a chip, who live a "normal" professional and relationship life.

The Kaspersky Augmentation Report
Almost half (46.5%) of the 6,500 European adults surveyed believe people should be free to improve their bodies with human enhancement technology, according to a Kaspersky report, but many have concerns about social impact. Only 12% of Europeans would be against working with an empowered person because they feel they have an unfair advantage in the workplace. However, nearly two in five European adults (39%) fear that human enhancement could lead to future social inequalities or conflicts. Overall, nearly half (49%) of the respondents are "enthusiastic" or "optimistic" about a future society that includes both augmented and non-augmented people. A good news.
Almost half (45%) of them would have no problem dating an augmented person, and some have already done so. About three in ten Europeans (29.5%) would support a family member who has decided to raise himself, regardless of the reason, and only 16.5% of Europeans consider the choice to "grow up" as "strange", while little more than a quarter (27%) believe augmented people should have special representation at the government level, compared to 41% who oppose the idea.

The history of human augmentation
From Jaron Lanier's virtual glove to play the guitar to virtual reality (VR) devices, if you follow the literary strand of cyberpunk novels that tell of intelligent robots and neurological grafts, these neo-humans seem to embody the evolutionary theses of the Jewish historian Yuval Noah Harari, who in his essays imagines men more similar to the gods of mythology than to humans whose species we recognize ourselves, that of the Homo Sapiens.
Which is then curiously the name of the fourth witness of this new class of humans questioned by Kaspersky: the CEO of DSruptive Subdermals, Hannes Sapiens Sjöblad. Entrepreneur, innovator and consultant on the impact that exponential technologies have on the human condition, Sjöblad has a chip under his skin with which he opens and closes doors without moving a muscle. And for this reason he wonders what the boundary between the me and the us of technology is and how human rights and cybersecurity can be integrated when our body becomes upgradeable at will.

A question that brings with it many others. Whose plant is it? Of the manufacturer or the implant? Does the owner company respect the protection of data generated by the body? Can you make updates without consent? What are the limits of copyright or patents associated with the system? Questions destined to remain unanswered when, as Kaspersky's Marco Preuss points out, augmentation technologies that enhance senses and perception are not just medical devices. According to the researcher, it will take a long time to understand this and for this the technology suppliers will have to push the process of identifying rules and standards.

These questions are not new
The reflections on biological enhancement retrace at least 30 years of debate, from Stelarc's prosthetic cyberstrategies to Pierre Lévy's role of intelligence technologies and the success of Istvan Zoltan's Transhumanist Party which, imagining a future of technology-enhanced beings, preaches the human enhancement to defeat death and disease. A future that is already present.
So much present that we ask ourselves serious questions about how our already close relationship with technology will evolve. Starting with the fact that any artificial device can be hacked. Including prostheses that are networked and whose safety is paramount. As Modesta said, who feels "she needs some sort of greater security, because of the intimate relationship we all have with technology", and who "forces us", according to David Jacoby of Kaspersky, to do so before introducing new technologies on the market: “If we don't think about it today we will have to think about it tomorrow”, given that in the near future these technologies will be cheap and available to everyone.
Even today, companies connect all kinds of devices such as PCs, cars and TVs, but the risk of an unwanted hacking - of an artificial organ or limb - is clearly a risk that we cannot afford to take.
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Indoor Environmental Quality
In the modern world, people spend more than 90% of their time indoors. The spaces we design to accommodate work, learning, play, and life can play a significant role in improving people’s health, wellness, and happiness. Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) indoors is driven by all the systems that make up a building, including envelope, HVAC, lighting, and acoustics. All the variables that go into these systems are interrelated and can be considered synonymous to the systems of a body. They operate in cooperation and influence each other. Therefore, IEQ is the combined interrelation between Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), Thermal Comfort, Lighting, and Acoustics. This post takes a dive into the topics of IndoorAir Quality and Thermal Comfort.
Thermal Comfort
Thermal comfort is defined as “the condition of mind that expresses satisfaction with the thermal environment and is assessed by subjective evaluation." Thermal comfort in the body is provided through a homeostatic system that balances heat gains and losses to maintain the body’s core temperature within its optimal range, 97-100°F (36-38 °C), and is regulated by the hypothalamus.

The indoor thermal environment not only impacts our buildings’ energy use, as cooling and heating accounts for approximately half of a building’s energy consumption, but also plays a large role in the way we experience the indoor environment. Thermal comfort is linked to health, well-being and productivity and is ranked as one of the highest contributing factors influencing overall human satisfaction in buildings. Due to its influence on the integumentary, endocrine and respiratory body systems, thermal comfort can impact multiple health outcomes. For example, exposure to cold air and sudden temperature change can trigger asthma in adults. Leading research also indicates employees perform 6% poorer when the office is overheated and 4% poorer when the office is cold.

A comfortable thermal environment that satisfies all occupants is challenging to achieve due to individual preferences and possible spatial and temporal variations in the thermal environment. Therefore, there is a need for a holistic approach to thermal comfort that can satisfy the individual preferences of all (or nearly all) building users. Correctly sized HVAC equipment is essential for optimal thermal comfort. Building HVAC systems should be designed to monitor and control for variations in indoor temperature, radiant heat transfer through the building envelope, relative humidity and air movement.
ASHRAE Standard 55 - Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy – uses six factors in determining acceptable thermal environment for the representative occupants in a space at steady state. Four are environmental factors, meaning they are under control of the design team. While two are personal factors, totally unique to each individual:
  1. Metabolic rate (personal factor)
  2. Clothing insulation (personal factor)
  3. Air temperature (environmental factor)
  4. Radiant temperature (environmental factor)
  5. Air speed (environmental factor)
  6. Humidity (environmental factor)
Predicted comfort condition tools using ASHRAE 55 are available for use, the most popular being the CBE Thermal Comfort Tool.

Metabolic Rate
The level of activity of the occupant is associated with their metabolic rate, which in turn affects the thermal conditions at which they are likely to be comfortable. Of course, the standard does not regulate or in any way try to control occupant activities. Rather, the expected or observed activity is used as an input to thermal comfort determination.
Clothing Insulation
Clothing insulation values are predicted based on what a representative occupant is likely to wear while being within the space. ASHRAE Std. 55 allows several methods for determining the clothing insulation value for the representative occupant, which can also vary by season and space type within the building (e.g. occupants in a commercial kitchen would be dressed differently than students in a classroom). Insulative properties for chairs in which occupants are primarily seated – like an office setting – can also be considered.

Air Temperature
Temperature and thermostats are the most common thermal comfort and indoor air criteria building occupants are familiar with. Looking at ASHRAE Std. 55 with more specificity, recommended temperature ranges perceived as “comfortable” are 73 to 79°F in the summer and 68 to 74.5°F in the winter.
International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) Section 302.1 dictates interior design temperatures used for heating and cooling load calculations shall be a maximum of 72°F for heating and a minimum of 75°F for cooling. These design values drive proper sizing ofmechanical equipment and the HVAC system. While the code does not address over-sizing equipment, it is not enforceable without establishing these exact design parameters.
The energy code also dictatessetback (403.4.2.1) and deadband (403.4.1.2) requirements.The Setback controls shall be configured to temporarily operate the system to maintain zone temperatures down to 55°F or up to 85°F during unoccupied hours, while the Deadband requires thermostatic controls be configured to provide a temperature range of ≥ 5°F within which the supply of heating and cooling energy to the zone is shut off or reduced to a minimum.
Interior design temperatures are also required by Section 1203 of the International Building Code (IBC) and Section 602.2 of the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC), which includes similar requirements for housing and property maintenance.
The IBC states that “interior spaces intended for human occupancy shall be provided with active or passive space heating systems capable of maintaining an indoor temperature of not less than68°F (20°C) at a point 3 feet (914 mm) above the floor on the design heating day.” Exceptions are in place for spaces where the primary purpose of the space is not associated with human comfort, and for Group F (factory), H (high-hazard), S (storage), or U (utility) occupancies.

Radiant Temperature
Mean radiant temperature is one of the six core thermal comfort parameters. It is influenced by a surface material’s ability to absorb or emit radiant heat, the extent to which the surface area is exposed to the person (view factor) and the temperatures of the surrounding objects. Non-uniform thermal radiation can result from cold windows, uninsulated walls, equipment and improperly sized heating panels, all of which can cause local discomfort.
Thermal radiation effects due to surface temperatures are used in determination of mean radiant temperature and operative temperature and local discomfort caused, for example, by a cold window on one side and a hot wall on the other, an effect referred to as “radiant asymmetry.”

Air Speed
Basic engineering states that the three modes of heat transfer are conduction, convection, and radiation.
Air speed is important to the rate of convective cooling of the body as well as its rate of evaporative heat transfer. This effect can be room-wide or local. It may be experienced as a beneficial cooling effect (using fans to create convective “cooling” in the summer in lieu of lowering thermostatic setpoints) or as a negative effect, as in draft. Draft is considered by the standard to be a local effect (i.e., local to a person and not to the entire space). The velocity of air delivered to a space should be considered in both heating and cooling application design and can be measured with an anemometer in the space.

Humidity can influence degradation of building materials and the ability of the human body to release heat through evaporation. If the humidity is too high, the human body has a limited capacity to cool down through sweating. Elevated humidity can lead to increased off-gassing; for example, an increase in relative humidity of 35% can increase the emissions of formaldehyde by a factor of 1.8 to 2.6. Moreover, high humidity may promote the accumulation and growth of microbial pathogens including bacteria, dust mites and mold, which can lead to odors and cause respiratory irritation and allergies in sensitive individuals. Conversely, low humidity can lead to dryness and irritation of the airways, skin, eyes, throat and mucous membranes. Low relative humidity is also associated with longer survival (slower inactivation) of viruses.

There are two ways to define the humidity, or water content, of air – absolute (measured in grains of moisture per pound of air, grains / lb) and relative (measured in percent, %). People are generally only familiar with the concept of relative humidity, even though it doesn’t tell an accurate story of the true moisture quantity in the air. Relative Humidity To have meaning, a relative humidity reading must be associated with a dry bulb air temperature. The hotter the air, the more moisture it can hold.
Relative humidity (RH) is the actual amount of water vapor in the air as a percentage of the maximum amount of water vapor which the air could hold at a given temperature.
If the amount of water vapor in the air were held constant as the temperature was increased, this would cause the relative humidity to fall, because the warm air would now be able to hold more water vapor then when it was cool.
In the winter, as cold moist outdoor air is brought indoors and heated, it becomes warm, dry air just by being heated. Air at 20°F & 70% RH, when heated to 72°F, will have a relative humidity of just 8%. This phenomenon is demonstrated in the table above. Absolute Humidity Absolute humidity is constant regardless of air temperature and measured in grains. A grain is a unit of measurement of mass, nominally based on the mass of a single virtual ideal seed. For reference, 3,500 grain = ½ pound (lb) of moisture in the air. It is an absolute measurement, which means it does not depend on the dry bulb air temperature.
Consider the example below.

The small glass on the right represents air at 30°F. It holds 1-1/2 ounces of water and is 80% full (80% RH).
The large glass on the left represents air at 70°F. It holds the same 1-1/2 ounces of water, but in this larger glass it only fills 15% of the space (15% RH).
Absolute humidity (ounces) stays the same, while relative humidity (%) changes with regard to the volume of the space (temperature of the air).

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
Concern about indoor air quality (IAQ) and the study of air quality issues is a fairly recent phenomenon. Some of the earliest documented studies occurred in Scandinavia in the mid-1960s and were focused primarily on thermal comfort issues. These early IAQ studies also primarily involved comparing indoor air to outdoor air. The levels of outdoor pollution were considered a primary concern and the goal was to ensure that indoor air was of better quality than polluted outdoor air.
As studies increased in sophistication, other measurable factors came into play. Building construction materials and techniques changed radically. A reduction in ventilation / outside air, in the interest of saving energy became a concern and, finally, people realized that pollutants could originate from within a building and result in Sick Building Syndrome, Building-Related Illness, Chemical Sensitivity, and/or Environmental Illnesses (with new medical terminology gaining more attention every day as a result).
When considering IAQ, we are looking to compare not to what is considered “normal” and not to established hazardous material limits, but to progressive limits and evolving standards since different people react differently to different levels of different substances. There is no universal reaction to a measured amount of a particular material (similarly to how people respond differently to different thermal comfort conditions). Determining ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’ levels of indoor pollutants can be challenging, so it is necessary to look to multiple references and sources.
Typical symptoms caused by poor IAQ vary greatly according to an individual’s sensitivity and may include chills, sweating, eye irritation, allergies, coughing, sneezing, nausea, fatigue, skin irritation, breathing difficulties, and others. Unfortunately, there are currently no federal regulations governing exposure limits in non-industrial indoor environments, though IAQ has gained attention in light of the current coronavirus pandemic.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 30 percent of all commercial buildings have significant IAQ problems. And data from the U.S. Department of Labor attributes the primary source of poor IAQ to inadequate ventilation at 52%, followed up closely by contamination from inside the building at 16%). For this reason, it is critical that we take a proactive approach to Indoor Air Quality.

Ambient (Outdoor) Air Quality
The Clean Air Act, which was last amended in 1990, requires EPA to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards (40 CFR part 50) for pollutants considered harmful to public health and the environment. The Clean Air Act identifies two types of national ambient air quality standards. Primary standards provide public health protection, including protecting the health of "sensitive" populations such as asthmatics, children, and the elderly. Secondary standards provide public welfare protection, including protection against decreased visibility and damage to animals, crops, vegetation, and buildings.
The EPA has set National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for six principal pollutants, which are called "criteria" air pollutants. Periodically, the standards are reviewed and may be revised. The current standards are listed for Carbon Monoxide (CO), Lead (Pb), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Ozone (O3), Particle Matter (PM), and Sulfur Dioxide (SO2).
ASHRAE Standard 62.1 Section 4 specifically addressed Outdoor Air Quality and requires an investigation to be completed prior to finalization of the HVAC ventilation system design. In the U.S. compliance status shall be either in “attainment” or “nonattainment” with NAAQS, as described above. Areas with no U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) compliance status designation shall be considered “attainment” areas. The USEPA list of nonattainment areas can be found at Air quality data collected at outdoor monitors across the U.S. can be found Local Air Quality Standard 62.1 also requires an observational survey of the building site and its immediate surroundings
conducted during hours the building is expected to be normally occupied to identify local contaminants from surrounding facilities that will be of concern if allowed to enter the building. This survey should report out the following at a minimum:
  1. Regional air quality compliance status
  2. Local survey information: a. Date of observations, b. Time of observations, c. Site description, d. Description of facilities on site and on adjoining properties, e. Observation of odors or irritants, f. Observation of visible plumes or visible air contaminants, g. Description of sources of vehicle exhaust on site and on adjoining properties, h. Identification of potential contaminant sources on the site and from adjoining properties, including any that operate only seasonally.
  3. Conclusion regarding the acceptability of outdoor air quality and the information supporting the conclusion
Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
While carbon dioxide (CO2) in and of itself is not a contaminant, it is directly attributable to human occupancy levels in a building, and a useful proxy to determine if appropriate levels of outdoor / ventilation air are entering the breathing zone for occupants. Also, elevated CO2 levels can cause cognitive and health issues at high concentrations indoors.

OSHA Technical Manual (section iii, chapter 2), 1999, states that 1,000 ppm CO2 should be used as an upper limit for indoor levels, as a guideline for occupant comfort.>1000 ppm indicates inadequate ventilation; complaints such as headaches, fatigue, and eye and throat irritation will be more widespread.

ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2013 suggests maintaining a steady-state CO2 concentration in a space no greater than about 700 ppm above outdoor air levels will result in a substantial majority of occupants being satisfied in respect to human bioeffluents (body odor). Additional ventilation may be needed to dilute building generated pollutants. This standard also defines adequate ventilation for specific use designed spaces. For example, 17 cfm (8.5 l/s) per person of dilution air is suggested for office spaces (because such spaces have additional pollutants introduced from copiers, laser printers, etc.), which translates to a CO2 concentration of roughly 600 ppm above outdoor air levels.

American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM International) studies have concluded that about 7.5 L/s of outdoor air ventilation per person will control human body odor such that roughly 80 % of unadapted persons (visitors) will find the odor at an acceptable level. These studies also showed that the same level of body odor acceptability was found to occur at a CO2 concentration that is about 650 ppm(v) above the outdoor concentration. D6245-12 Standard Guide for Using Indoor Carbon Dioxide Concentrations to Evaluate Indoor Air Quality and Ventilation, 2012

US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)
Testing for Indoor Air Quality, Baseline IAQ, and Materials, 2009, section 5 states that "Acceptance of respective portions of buildings by the Owner is subject to compliance within specified limits of IAQ contaminant levels. CO2 not to exceed 800ppm."
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The resolution of a major crisis, such as the one we are experiencing, depends first and foremost on the relevance of the decisions taken in the emergency to try to resolve it. And today, only one decision is necessary: vaccinate and treat; as well as possible; as quickly as possible. And we are very, very far from doing everything necessary to achieve this.
Such a crisis is also the moment when the talents and characters able of managing it emerge, or not. And we haven’t seen much of that emerging in the last year around the world.

Talents that are sorely lacking are not only the men and women of action needed to manage states and companies in these difficult times. It is also, and perhaps above all, the doctors, the health workers, the researchers, the innovators, the engineers, without whom no crisis of this kind can ever be resolved.

It is not enough to train these talents, they must be allowed to grow and participate in the success of the community that has allowed them to flourish. In France, this crisis reveals that we are very far from this today: our engineering schools mainly train investment bankers, and the all too rare researchers, high-level engineers or artificial intelligence specialists who graduate from them are attracted by the high salaries and formidable career prospects offered to them by American or German companies.

And I am enraged to see with what naivety, what blindness, what suicidal pretension, the leaders of our universities boast of their so-called successes, which are only appearances, because they are not part of an overall vision of the careers of their students.
There are countless examples. Just three: Yann Le Cunn, trained in Paris at Pierre et Marie Curie University, became Facebook’s Chief Scientist in Artificial Intelligence; Emmanuelle Charpentier, also trained at Pierre et Marie Curie University, who, having been unable to find the means to work in France, found them in Germany, and obtained her Nobel Prize in Chemistry there; Stephane Bancel, an engineer from the Ecole Centrale in Paris, who was unable to find sufficient resources in France to develop what became Moderna and left for Boston to develop one of the most formidable health companies of the beginning of the century.

To replace all this talent, which has gone to enrich countries richer than France, we are bringing in some of the all too rare talent from the countries of the South, leaving these countries with no other recourse than to beg for assistance from NGOs or international organisations.
Tomorrow, it will be even worse: our best engineers will also be attracted by laboratories and companies in Asia, which will also offer them salaries and working conditions superior to those they can expect in France. And these countries, after having sent their students to us for training, will in turn open “grandes écoles”, attracting our professors and our students; we will have nothing left.

It’s easy enough to understand: we see every day that money, fluid and moving, goes to money, where it can prosper. Talent is, by nature, as nomadic as money: like money, it is free, independent, capricious, selfish. Like money, if it cannot be held back, it will go where it finds its greatest interest, where it can seek, find, and obtain fame and/or fortune.

In the immense concentration of wealth underway, the concentration of talent, the ultimate wealth, will be the worst, the most dangerous in the long term. In particular, Europe, the cradle of the first universities, plundered of its talents will be one of its main victims.
It is time to react. Our future depends entirely on our industry, and on the innovations that we will be able to make it prosper. And therefore on the talent that will drive it.

To succeed, we must treat our best young engineers and researchers with all the attention they deserve, as the British, Germans, Americans, Chinese, Israelis and many others do. And to do this, we must decide to devote much more resources to public laboratories and to the companies that these young people want to launch. And we will soon be able to judge whether they deserve our support over the long term.
People will say that we don’t have enough money for this, that we have already spent too much, that our debt is abysmal, that our taxes are the highest in the world. All this is true. The fact remains that if we do not do everything to keep and develop the talent we train, if we delay putting in place a global and systematic plan to support the careers of our engineers and researchers, we will never have the means to repay these debts; and ruin will come very quickly.
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Practically every leader I have ever coached or consulted to has told me about having at least one difficult collaborator who seems to continually challenge their authority.
This is perhaps one of the most testing aspects of management. Collaborators who undermine your authority sabotage teamwork and cause problems for everyone.
Whether this person is intentionally challenging your leadership, or is unaware of the effect of their behaviour, their actions are harmful for them, for you, as well as for the rest of your staff.
Of course, it’s very unsettling when one’s position is not given proper due. All good leaders want their collaborators to have a position experience on the job.
In order to achieve this goal, you will need to tackle insubordination in a timely and effective manner.
If you find your authority being challenged by a difficult collaborator, here are some steps you can take to reclaim control:

Step 1: LISTEN
When a collaborator is being difficult, the first reaction that some leaders have is to simply form an opinion of the collaborator and stop paying attention to what’s really going on.
We feel irritated, and the situation seems hopeless. And so, we feel it’s better to turn our attention to other things; this is often a form of self-protection and avoidance.
However, great leaders know that the best way to deal with this situation is to become extra attentive. They make an effort to develop the clearest possible understanding of the situation – this includes understanding the point of view of the difficult collaborator. This is typically the first step towards improving the situation.
In fact, in several cases, you can resolve the problem in itself simply by listening and paying attention. It’s possible that the collaborator in question is facing legitimate problems that you can address. Or, you may find out about a real workplace issue that’s not the collaborator’s fault which needs to be resolved. The difficult collaborator may even start behaving differently once they feel heard and acknowledged.

When an employee undermines your authority, you often end up thinking about the employee’s negative behaviour and complaining about it to others. Some managers spend months fretting about difficult employees without ever giving them actual behavioural feedback in a straightforward manner.
Granted, giving tough and judicious feedback is one of the most uncomfortable things that you will have to do as a leader. However, it is also one of the most critical skills that you must develop as a leader. Great leaders learn to do it well, and they are ready to do it if and when a situation calls for it.
It’s worth becoming comfortable and proficient at giving corrective feedback to your employees. Remember that without your feedback, they are flying blind.
Let the collaborator in question know what they need to do differently in order to correct their negative behaviour and therefore be more likely to succeed.
The best approach to giving this type of behavioural feedback is to lower the other person’s defensiveness, and provide them with the specific information they need for improvement.
If the collaborator acknowledges their negative behaviour and begins to apply the corrective feedback, then consider the problem resolved once you’ve taken these two steps. However, if the situation does not improve, you’ll need to consider the following further steps.

It’s at this stage that the collaborator is being difficult despite your efforts to reach out, listen, and share corrective feedback. Now that you are having significant problems with this collaborator, don’t forget to write down the key points. This can’t be stressed enough.
If worse comes to worst, you may not even be able to let the collaborator in question go because you will have no record of their unacceptable behaviour. Many managers do not document incidences of misconduct in the hopes that this will be an isolated incidence.
However, great leaders understand that it’s prudent to create a record of this sort of behaviour. Even if you are able to resolve the issue before it comes to suspension or termination, you can simply put the documentation back in the drawer. But, if it doesn’t exist in the first place, you will have no grounds to base your next actions on.

If you have been noting a pattern of negative behaviour and insubordination for weeks now, despite having shared clear feedback, it’s time to get specific.
As a general rule, if you have identified an under-miner on your team, in your department, or in your company, give them eight weeks to change their tune.
From weeks one through eight, make sure that the collaborator has your full support and attention. Feel comfortable sharing corrective feedback during this time as and when needed.
Hopefully, before the end of week eight the collaborator themselves will proactively tell you that they acknowledge their actions and recognise you as their leader, and want to be part of your team. However, if by the end of week eight you are still noting subordination and difficult behaviour, move them off the team.
This doesn’t necessarily mean termination. If possible, you can also consider switching them to another team in the organization. Look for creative ways to ensure the collaborator can’t affect you or the team.
If things are going down a road where termination is inevitable, in the weeks following up to it, let the collaborator know that their insubordination may have a real negative impact on their position in the company.
Say some version of the following:
“I still believe you can turn this around. Here’s what turning things around would look like.”
Laying someone off is one of the most difficult tasks for every leader. If it does get to this point, do it right, without making excuses, or putting it off, or making someone else do it. And, if things do turn around, then be courageous enough to accept that someone you thought was not salvageable is now working hard to prove you wrong.
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Here's a cliche among digital marketers: search engine optimization (SEO) isn't what it used to be.
Here's a true statement you don't hear as often: your SEO strategy for 2021 shouldn't focus on keywords.
These days, most businesses understand the basic concepts of SEO and why it's important.
However, when it comes to developing and executing a sound SEO strategy for your business, just creating content for the keywords your customers are searching for is both arduous and, well, wrong.
In this post, we’ll explain what an SEO strategy is, and how you create your own to help you meet your content marketing goals.

What is an SEO strategy?
An SEO strategy is the process of organizing a website’s content by topic to improve the likelihood of appearing in search results. Essentially, it is the process you follow in order to maximize the opportunity to gain organic traffic from search engines.
Having an SEO strategy is important because it helps you stay on track when creating content. Instead of just creating what you think people are looking for, your strategy will ensure that you’re creating content that people are searching for.
For content marketing, an SEO strategy is a critical piece of the puzzle because it is how your content will come to be seen in the first place, especially in search engine result pages (SERPs). If your content is scattered and unorganized, search engine bots will have a harder time indexing your site, identifying your area of authority, and ranking your site pages.

Mobile SEO Strategy
Mobile SEO is an important factor to keep in mind when creating your overall strategy. Mobile optimization involves ensuring your site and site content is available and accessible to visitors on mobile devices, so they can have the same experience and receive the same value as desktop browsers.
Mobile optimization is incredibly important, as Google practices mobile-first indexing. This means instead of crawling a desktop site, the algorithm will use the mobile version of your site when indexing and ranking pages for SERPs. In addition, 61% of Google search queries in the U.S. occur on mobile devices. So, all things considered, your SEO strategy would be ineffective without prioritizing mobile optimization.
While it’s not an entirely separate process, there are distinct considerations for mobile SEO like monitoring page speed, responsive site design, local SEO, and creating content that is high-quality, regardless of device it’s viewed on.

What is an SEO?
Search engine optimizers (SEOs) are people who optimize websites to help them rank higher on SERPs and gain more organic traffic. In essence, an SEO is a highly specialized content strategist that helps a business discover opportunities to answer questions people have about their respective industries.
There are three types of SEO that an SEO strategist can focus on:
  • On-page SEO: This SEO focuses on the content that's actually on site pages, and how to optimize it to boost the website's ranking for specific keywords
  • Off-page SEO: This SEO focuses on links directed to the website from elsewhere on the internet. The number of backlinks a site has from reputable sources helps you build trust with search algorithms.
  • Technical SEO: This SEO focuses on a website's backend architecture, like site code. Google cares just as much about technical set-up as it does content, so this position is important for rankings.
Bear in mind that every business has different objectives, so it is an SEO’s job to examine their industry, determine what their audiences care about, and develop a strategy that gives them what they’re looking for.
Below we’ll go over some steps you can take to ensure your SEO strategy sets you up for success.

SEO Content Strategy
  1. Make a list of topics.
  2. Make a list of long-tail keywords based on these topics.
  3. Build pages for each topic.
  4. Set up a blog.
  5. Create a consistent blogging schedule.
  6. Create a link-building plan.
  7. Compress media files before uploading them to your site.
  8. Stay up-to-date on SEO news and best practices.
  9. Measure and track your content's success.
1. Make a list of topics. Keywords are at the heart of SEO, but they're no longer the first step to achieving organic growth. Instead, the first step is to make a list of topics you’d like your content to address.
To start, compile a list of about 10 words and terms associated with your product or service. Use an SEO tool ( Google's Keyword Tool, Ahrefs , SEMRush or GrowthBar just to name a few) to research these words, identify their search volume, and come up with variations that make sense for your business.
By doing this, you are associating these topics with popular short-tail keywords, but you’re not dedicating individual blog posts to these keywords. Let’s go over an example of this process using the image below.
Let’s say a swimming pool business is trying to rank for “fiberglass pools,” which receives 110,000 searches per month. This short-tail keyword can represent the overarching topic for creating their content, but the business will also need to identify a series of related keywords to include in their content. For example, they could opt to use the “fiberglass pool prices,” or “fiberglass pool cost,” to achieve additional rankings for the overall keyword of fiberglass pools.
Using search volume and competition as your measurement, you can create a list of 10-15 short-tail keywords that are relevant to your business and are being searched for by your target audiences. Then, rank this list based on monthly search volume.
Each of the keywords that you’ve identified are called pillars, and they serve as the primary support for a larger cluster of long-tail keywords, which we’ll discuss below.

2. Make a list of long-tail keywords based on these topics.
During this step you’ll begin optimizing your pages for specific keywords. For each pillar you've identified, use your keyword tool to identify five to 10 long-tail keywords that dig deeper into the original topic keyword.
For example, we regularly create content about SEO, but it's difficult to rank well on Google for such a popular topic with this acronym alone. We also risk competing with our own content by creating multiple pages that are all targeting the exact same keyword — and potentially the same SERPs. Therefore, we also create content on conducting keyword research, optimizing images for search engines, creating an SEO strategy (which you're reading right now), and other subtopics within the SEO umbrella.
This helps businesses attract people who have varying interests and concerns — and ultimately create more entry points for people interested in what you have to offer.
Use your long-tail keywords to create blog posts or web pages that explain the specific topics within the pillars you’ve selected. Together, all of your long-tail keywords create a cluster around a pillar topic. Search engine algorithms depend on the relationships between clusters to connect users with the information they're looking for.
Think of it this way: the more specific your content, the more specific the needs of your audience can be, and the more likely you'll convert this traffic into leads. This is how Google finds value in the websites it crawls — the pages that dig into the inner workings of a general topic are seen as the best answer to a person's query, and will rank higher.

3. Build pages for each topic.
When it comes to websites and ranking in search engines, trying to get one page to rank for a handful of keywords can be next to impossible. But, here's where the rubber meets the road.
Use the pillar topics you came up with to create a page or post that gives a high-level overview of the topic using the long-tail keywords you came up with for each cluster in step two. These pillar pages can essentially be a table of contents, where you’re giving a description of the main topic, and briefing readers on subtopics you’ll elaborate on in other posts.
Ultimately, the number of topics for which you create pillar pages should coincide with your business needs, like the number of products and offerings you have. This will make it much easier for your prospects and customers to find you in search engines no matter what keywords they use.

4. Set up a blog.
Blogging can be an incredible way to rank for keywords and engage your website's users. After all, every blog post is a new web page and an additional opportunity to rank in SERPs. If your business does not already have a blog, consider creating one.
As you write each blog post and expand on your clusters, you should do three things:
  1. Don't include your long-tail keyword more than three or four times throughout the page as Google doesn't consider exact keyword matches as often as it used to. In fact, too many instances of your keyword can be a red flag to search engines that you're keyword stuffing to gain rankings, and they’ll penalize you for this.
  2. Second, always link out to the pillar page you created for your topics. You can do this in the form of tags in your content management system (CMS), or as basic anchor text in the body of the article.
  3. Once you publish each blog post, link to it within the parent pillar page that supports the subtopic. By connecting both the pillar and the cluster in this way, you're telling Google that there's a relationship between the long-tail keyword and the overarching topic you're trying to rank for.
5. Create a consistent blogging schedule.
Every blog post or web page you create doesn’t necessarily need to belong to a topic cluster. There's also value in writing about tangential topics your customers care about to build authority with the Google algorithms.
With that in mind, make it a point to blog at least once a week. Remember, you are blogging primarily for your audience, not search engines, so study your target market and write about things that they are interested in.
It may be helpful to create a content strategy to remain consistent and focused on your goals.

6. Create a link-building plan.
The topic cluster model is your way forward in SEO, but it's not the only way to get your website content to rank higher once it's been created.
While our first five steps were dedicated to on-page SEO, link-building is the primary objective of off-page SEO. Link-building is the process of attracting inbound links (also called backlinks) to your website from other sources on the internet. As a general rule, sites with more authority that link back to your content have a more significant impact on your rankings.
Dedicate some time to brainstorming all the various ways you can attract inbound links. Maybe you’ll start by sharing links with local businesses in exchange for links to their own sites, or you’ll write a few blog posts and share them on different social media platforms. You can also approach other blogs for guest blogging opportunities through which you can link back to your website.

7. Compress media files before uploading them to your site.
This is a small but important step in the SEO process, especially for mobile optimization.
As your blog or website grows, you'll undoubtedly have more images, videos, and related media to support your content. These visual assets help retain your visitors' attention, but it's easy to forget that these files can be very large. Since page speed is a crucial ranking factor, it’s important to monitor the size of the media files you upload to your site.
The bigger the file size, the more difficult it is for an internet browser to render your website. It’s also harder for mobile browsers to load these images, as the bandwidth on their devices is significantly smaller. So, the smaller the file size, the faster your website will load. But, how do you compress images and still retain quality?
It’s worth considering the use of a compression tool to reduce file sizes before uploading images, videos, and gifs. Sites like TinyPNG compress images in bulk, while Google's Squoosh can shrink image files to microscopic sizes. However you choose to compress your media, keeping files in the kilobytes (KB) range is a good rule of thumb.

8. Stay up-to-date on SEO news and best practices.
Just like marketing, the search engine landscape is ever-evolving. Staying on top of current trends and best practices is an important strategy, and there are multiple online resources that can help you do so. Here are a few resources to check out: 9. Measure and track your content's success. SEO can take a lot of time and effort, and, because of this, you’ll want to know if your strategy works. It’s important to track your metrics to understand the success of your overall process, and identify possible areas for improvement.
You can monitor organic traffic using your preferred web analytics tool or create your own dashboard using Excel or Google Sheets. Also, tracking indexed pages, conversions, ROI, and your rankings on SERPs can help you recognize your success as well as identify areas of opportunity.

SEO Process
Once you’ve created your SEO strategy, you should also build a process to continue optimizing for new keywords and evolving search intent. Here are a few steps you can take.

1. Historically optimize your content.
Devote some time each month to updating old blog posts with new and up-to-date information to continue ranking in SERPs. You can also use this time to add any SEO best-practices that weren’t initially addressed, like missing image alt text.

2. Look out for changing keywords and new search intent.
After a few months, track how your blog posts are ranking, and which keywords they're ranking for. This can help you adjust subheadings and copy to leverage new search intent that your audience may be interested in.

3. Add more editorial value to your old content.
Sometimes, you'll find that a post is completely out of date. In this scenario, you should go beyond the average historical SEO update and give it a full refresh. You can do this by updating out of date information and statistics, incorporating new sections for added depth, and adding quotes or original data to give the post more referral traffic.

4. Create a monthly content plan.
To keep up with your SEO strategy, it can be helpful to create and refine a monthly content plan. You can place it into a spreadsheet, and your teams can track accordingly. The list below is an example of a content monthly content plan that takes the above steps into account.

SEO Monthly Plan
  1. Devote time to keyword research related to your industry.
  2. List blog post ideas that leverage opportunistic keywords.
  3. Identify blog posts that can be updated or refreshed.
  4. Identify other SEO opportunities, such as holidays.
  5. List content ideas in a Search Insights Report.
  6. Assign content to your team.
  7. Track progress at the end of each month.
With a monthly SEO plan like the one above, plus a tracking document like a search insights report, you can build out and execute on an efficient SEO strategy. You can also identify and leverage low-hanging-fruit topics to discuss related to your industry.

Create A Strategy That Supports Your Business Goals
Ranking in search pages can be difficult. While it may seem enticing to create content that is centered around high-traffic keywords, that strategy may not help you meet your business goals.
Instead, opt to create an SEO strategy that helps you address your individual business needs, like increasing customer acquisition, for greater marketing success.
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This week sees the opening of the first UK high-street clinic offering psychedelic-assisted therapy. Could popping psilocybin be the future of mental healthcare?

In the summer of 1981, when he was 13, Grant crashed a trail motorbike into a wall at his parents’ house in Cambridgeshire. He’d been hiding it in the shed, but “it was far too powerful for me, and on my very first time starting it in the garden, I smashed it into a wall”. His mother came outside to find the skinny teenager in a heap next to the crumpled motorbike. “I was in a lot of trouble.”
Grant hadn’t given this childhood memory much thought in the intervening years, but one hot August day in 2019, it came back to him with such clarity that, at 53, now a stocky father of two, he suddenly understood it as a clue to his dangerously unhealthy relationship with alcohol.
The day before, a team of specialists at the Royal Devon and Exeter hospital had given him an intravenous infusion of ketamine, a dissociative hallucinogen, in common use as an anaesthetic since the 1970s, and more recently one of a group of psychedelic drugs being hailed as a silver bullet in the fight to save our ailing mental health. To date, more than 100 patients with conditions as diverse as depression, PTSD and addiction have been treated in research settings across the UK, using a radical new intervention that combines psychedelic drugs with talking therapy. What was once a fringe research interest has become the foundation of a new kind of healthcare, one that, for the first time in modern psychiatric history, purports to not only treat but actually cure mental ill health. And if advocates are to be believed, that cure will be available on the NHS within the next five years.

Thanks to its world-leading academic institutions, the UK has become a home to many of the biotech companies developing these treatments. But while investment money pours in and new experimental trials launch almost weekly, ketamine remains the only psychedelic drug that’s actually licensed for use as a medicine.
Under its influence, Grant had an out-of-body experience he struggles to put into words. “It was like I was sinking deeper and deeper into myself,” he says. “Then I became white… and I left my body. I was up on the ceiling, looking at myself, but I was just this white entity. I felt very serene and humbled; I finally understood my place in the universe, just a white speck of light, I wasn’t the centre of everything and that was fine.”
The next day, in a therapy session at the hospital, the motorbike story andother memories swirled up from his subconscious: being caught smoking at school and caned, and other instances of “playing up” as a child. Most vividly, he remembers the consequences: “I got my parents’ attention.”
I realised feeling overlooked as a child drove my drinking. It hadn’t been on my radar – but with ketamine I got there
His parents were evangelists; Grant’s father was a teacher and lay preacher, and his mother ran a nursery from home. They were also fosterers who, over the span of their marriage, gave a home to more than 200 children. “Growing up, love was never in short supply,” Grant says. What was in short supply was his parents’ attention. “They had a lot of commitments, they were very busy people,” he says. “I suppose what I realised in that therapy session was that I’d felt overlooked as a child and that had caused me pain.”Over the years, that pain crystallised, and alcohol became a crutch. “I could see it was the root of the negative emotions that drove my drinking, and a lot of other bad habits and behaviours.” He says it’s a realisation he might have taken years to come to with standard talking therapy. “It wasn’t even on my radar, so it blew my mind. To understand myself and my drinking, and why I behaved the way I did… With the ketamine therapy I got there in a few weeks. I feel free.”

In recent years, research into psychedelic-assisted mental healthcare has shed its outsider status. As far back as 2016, Robin Carhart-Harris and his team at Imperial College London published promising findings from the world’s first modern research trial investigating the impact of psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) alongside psychological support, on 19 patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD). This is when a person doesn’t respond to two or more available therapies; it is particularly debilitating and, recent data shows, affects about a third of all people with depression. In the study, two doses of psilocybin (10mg and 25mg, seven days apart), plus therapy, resulted in “marked reductions in depressive symptoms” in the first five weeks, which “remained significant six months post-treatment”. This new treatment proved so promising that, in 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) awarded breakthrough therapy status to psilocybin (given only to drugs that “demonstrate substantial improvement over available therapy”) as a treatment for TRD. In December 2019, a ketamine-like drug – esketamine – was licensed for use in the UK as a rapid-onset treatment for major depression: it starts working in hours, compared with weeks or months with traditional antidepressants. In April 2020, after running their own psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy study, with 24 participants who had depression, experts from Johns Hopkins University in the US issued a press release stating: “The magnitude of the effect we saw was about four times larger than what clinical trials have shown for traditional antidepressants on the market.”
All this, and other early-stage evidence, is fuelling larger, more ambitious investigations. The London life sciences company Compass Pathways, whose research led to the FDA award, is coordinating one of the biggest psilocybin for TRD studies in the world, involving 216 patients across Europe and North America. The aim is to develop a new style of therapy that harnesses the psychedelic experience, as well as to change these substances’ classification, so they can be licensed as medicines. This wouldn’t change the legal status of MDMA or psilocybin (banned for recreational use in the UK), but it would mean treatments using these compounds could be prescribed.

In the meantime, practitioners of this new kind of mental healthcare can use ketamine as their psychedelic agent; and some studies, such as the one Grant participated in, are even government funded. The Ketamine for Reduction of Alcoholic Relapse (Kare) study is a novel attempt to ease the huge burden on the NHS caused by alcohol-related illnesses. (Two years ago, a major review of inpatient records found that 10% of people in hospital beds in the UK were alcohol dependent, and one in five were doing themselves harm by drinking.) As the Kare study lead, Professor Celia Morgan, tells me, “Three-quarters of people who stop drinking and go through detox will be back drinking within 12 months: that’s not a good recovery rate.”
Patients aren’t merely given a dose and left to their own devices; a new style of therapy was developed for the study which, Morgan says, uses principles from cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness and relapse prevention. “We designed it to go with the ketamine effects. We wanted something evidence based, a therapy that has been shown to help people avoid alcoholic relapse. But also something that would work with what we know about the brain in the ketamine state.” The patient is primed for new learning, she says, and more able to view the self from an outsider’s perspective. Until now, in the UK, therapy using psychedelics has remained the preserve of academic institutions – available only in research trials with highly specific criteria for inclusion. This week, though, with the opening of its clinic in Bristol, Awakn Life Sciences has become the UK’s first on-the-high-street provider of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. The clinical-biotech company is “researching, developing and delivering evidence-based psychedelic medicine to treat addiction and other mental health conditions”. This means it will be developing its own type of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy (with a focus on MDMA to treat addiction) via experimental trials. And alongside it, delivering ketamine-assisted psychotherapy.
“Our USP is the clinics,” says Dr Ben Sessa, consultant psychiatrist, psychedelic therapist and chief medical officer at Awakn. “We’re aiming to open 15 to 20 across the UK and EU in the next 24 months. Patients will be able to self-referor be referred by their GP (including NHS).” They will need a formal diagnosis and will most likely have to prove they have already tried a number of other therapies.
See a psychiatrist at 20 and chances are you still will be at 60. We’ve come to accept we can’t cure patients. Why not?
Sessa is scathing about the psychiatric profession as it currently operates: “We need innovation in this industry, desperately and now.” The problem, he argues, is that outcomes within psychiatric treatment fall far short of the gold standard set for the rest of the medical profession. “If you broke your leg and went to an orthopaedic specialist, you’d expect it to be fixed,” he says. “You wouldn’t expect to be prescribed painkillers for the rest of your life. But if you present to your psychiatrist in your early 20s with a severe mental illness, there’s a good chance you will still be seeing them when you’re 60. You’ll still be on the same daily drugs.” According to the most recent NHS figures, only half of talking therapy patients recovered from their condition. “What about the other 50%?” Sessa asks. “As an industry, we’ve come to accept that we can never cure our patients. But why not?”

Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, he says, may be “the holy grail – curative psychiatry”, arguing that these interventions offer relatively fast-acting alleviation of symptoms and don’t require the same level of maintenance (with drugs or talking therapy) as the treatments currently available.
Though alcoholism is a focus, Awakn will also offer psychedelic-assisted therapy to treat depression, anxiety, eating disorders and most addictions.
On a Monday in late February, the Bristol clinic is abuzz with builders and workmen. Formerly the site of an Indian restaurant, it sits in a 19th-century building on the corner of Regent Street and Hensmans Hill in Bristol’s chi-chi Clifton area. Its position, next to a barber shop and cocktail bar, and overlooking a small park, was picked for its ordinariness. As Awakn’s CEO Anthony Tennyson explains, “Our strategy is to normalise the industry; we want to integrate into the mainstream, so that popping in for mental health treatment is as normal as… ” he trails off. Getting your teeth whitened? “Something like that,” he laughs.
Inside, the clinic is painted a tasteful dove grey, with exposed brickwork and wooden floors. “It’s going to be sort of Scandinavian chic in design,” says Steve O’Brien, the operations manager. “That will be one of the treatment rooms.” He points up a flight of stairs to a room separated from reception by a reinforced glass partition. “We’re waiting for the beds to be delivered.” “Set and setting” (ie the mental state and physical environment) have been shown to be vital to the psychedelic experience – and a bad setting can equal a bad trip.
This is something O’Brien has experience of. “Years ago I took [the powerful hallucinogen] ayahuasca in Iquitos, Peru. It was all a bit dodgy. I ended up in this dark little hut with breeze-block walls covered in sheets and 12 Peruvian ladies in deck chairs watching Friends really loudly next door. I thought I was going to be ritually sacrificed,” he says. The clinic’s attention to the furnishings and feel of the space isn’t just elegant window dressing: “It’s about preparing a client for their drug experience, allowing them to feel safe and warm. It’s about as far from that Peruvian hut as you can get.”
Patients will be assessed by Awakn’s team, including Sessa and Dr Laurie Higbed, a clinical psychologist who specialises in complex trauma and addictions, who has been part of research trials using both psilocybin and MDMA as adjuncts to psychotherapy. “I was the clinical psychologist, alongside Ben [Sessa as consultant psychiatrist], in an addiction service,” Higbed says. “We used to chat over coffee about how our caseload was full of clients who had experienced trauma in their lives, particularly in childhood. We were treating their heroin or alcohol use, but really that was just a symptom, rather than the cause.”
Her job was to help addicts uncover and work through those underlying traumas via talking therapy. But being forced to remember a trauma we may have spent a lifetime trying to suppress can be very daunting. “Often you get a little bit worse before you get better,” Higbed says, and this requires “a lot of faith that it’s worth the effort”.
Metaphors abound for exactly how psychedelics work on a neurological level but one of the most popular involves considering the brain as a snow globe, showing a pristine scene at birth. As we age, our experiences, habits and the traumas we live through create tracks in the snow for our thoughts to run along. The older we get, the more worn the tracks become, making it harder for us to escape established thought patterns. “So with things like depression,” Higbed says, “you might have this negative worldview which can be very difficult to break free from.” Psychedelic compounds shake up the snow globe. Old ruts are destabilised and thoughts are free to move in new ways.
“This is why therapy is an important part of the treatment,” says Morgan who, as well as running the research trial Grant was a part of, will be consulting on treatments for alcoholism at Awakn. “The drugs alone might prompt big epiphanies, but the therapy helps you to learn from them and create lasting change.” She has seen this process in action. “One patient had been drinking seven bottles of wine a day, and had seen his life crumble,” she says. “His wife left, his daughter stopped speaking to him.” The patient had been abused as a child, and over his lifetime had spent increasing amounts of energy trying to avoid the emotions thrown up by that early trauma. “He had a very strong reaction to the ketamine infusion,” Morgan says.“He said he felt a kind of love and safety that he hadn’t felt for a long time. At one point he felt like he was back in his mum’s tummy.”

As part of the psychedelic experience, he also encountered his abuser, his father. “He said he felt pity for him. This was a massive step because he was able to understand his experiences from the perspective of an observer; the pity also extended to himself, which alleviated a lot of the shame and guilt he’d been feeling because of his alcoholism.” Eighteen months later, the man was still sober – having previously only ever managed a month.
A treatment course at Awakn lasts six weeks, with four drug-assisted sessions in that time. “And a follow-up session at week nine, so it’s 11 in total,” Higbed says. “It’s intensive.” Though, ultimately, they hope to work primarily with MDMA, they’re hamstrung by the current globallegislation, which says the drug can be used only in an experimental setting. In the meantime, they’ll offer ketamine injections, more fast-acting than the infusion Grant received, but likely to yield similar results. It will cost “around £6,000”, Tennyson says. “Though our ultimate aim is to make it available on the NHS, to help as many people as possible.”
It’s not a magical cure. People should definitely try talking therapy first. It does work, and is much less invasive
Tennyson comes from a corporate finance background (Merrill Lynch, Bank of Ireland and 10 years in the risk consulting arm of the insurer Aon). Like Sessa, he’s evangelical in his belief that the services offered by Awakn have never been more necessary. “Twenty per cent of the population have a mental health issue on an annual basis. The industry that is meant to be fixing this is significantly underperforming,” he says.In fact, according to figures from the mental health charity Mind, that figure is closer to 25%.
Tennyson’s job is to drive sales and generate investor interest.Financially, Awakn needs the clinics to be a success, but it’s also gearing up for a round of funding to help start its own research trials. Tennyson is coy about exactly how much this might cost (one academic confirms it runs to tens of millions) but says, “Ultimately, you can’t solve problems of this magnitude without capital.” The capital, it seems, is following the science into a psychedelics gold rush. Peter Rands is the CEO of Small Pharma, a London-based life sciences company preparing to run the world’s first formal trial evaluating the combination of DMT (a short-acting but powerful hallucinogen) and psychotherapy to treat patients with major depressive disorder. “2020 was a relatively easy year to raise money into a psychedelics company,” he says, partly because investors understand the proposition now more than ever: “I don’t think this seems like a niche industry any more.” But it’s also because the pandemic proved drugs can suddenly have global demand. “Covid showed how much value there is in responding quickly to a major unmet medical need. Pre-pandemic, the biotech industry was worth a fraction of the price it is now. When drugs were suddenly being touted as a Covid cure, there was huge investor interest.”

A lot of investment, Rands says, is coming from Canada. Small Pharma plans to list on the Toronto stock exchange, and Awakn is incorporated in Toronto. “The Canadian investor community has a higher risk appetite to emerging industries,” Tennyson says. Rands agrees, pointing out that, “until recently, Canadian companies were pretty much all mining companies. And mining has a similar risk-return profile to drug development.” In both industries, he says, huge sums are invested upfront to excavate the necessary goods: “In drug development, that’s through clinical trials.”
In September 2020, Compass Pathways floated on the Nasdaq exchange. In October, it was valued at $1.3bn.
The company was founded in 2016 by Dr Ekaterina Malievskaia and her husband, George Goldsmith, after a years-long battle to find adequate mental healthcare for their son, who had OCD and depression. Goldsmith is quick to correct the narrative about his work. “We don’t see ourselves as part of a ‘psychedelics industry’ – we are a mental healthcare company.”
He is sanguine about how quickly these interventions could become more widely available, likening the process to climbing Everest. “A medicine is a drug plus the evidence that says it’s safe and effective to use for a certain type of patient. We’re about halfway through the process of collecting that evidence. But I think if everything works out well, by 2025 psilocybin-assisted therapy could be prescribed on the NHS for treatment-resistant depression.”
Sessa, whose focus is MDMA-assisted therapies to treat addiction, has a shorter timeline in mind. “MDMA is further along than psilocybin in the regulatory process,” he says. “It is thought it will be approved as a medicine by late 2022 or early 2023.” By that point, if Awakn has realised its ambitions, it will have a clinic in every major city in the UK.
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My name is Greta Thunberg and I am inviting you to be a part of the solution.

As #ParisAgreement turns 5, our leaders present their 'hopeful' distant hypothetical targets, 'net zero' loopholes and empty promises.

But the real hope comes from the people.
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The emergence of “variants of concern” has raised questions about our long-term immunity to the coronavirus. Will the antibodies we make after being infected with or vaccinated against the dominant lineage, called D614G, protect us against future viral variants?
To answer this question, scientists have been examining how our antibody responses to the coronavirus develop over time. Several studies have recently compared the difference between antibodies produced straight after a coronavirus infection and those that can be detected six months later. The findings have been both impressive and reassuring.
Although there are fewer coronavirus-specific antibodies detectable in the blood six months after infection, the antibodies that remain have undergone significant changes. Researchers have tested their ability to bind to proteins from the new coronavirus variants and found that 83% of the “mature” antibodies were better at recognising the variants. A recent preprint (a study that is yet to undergo peer review) also found that some antibodies present six months after infection were starting to be able to recognise related, but entirely distinct viruses, such as the coronavirus that causes Sars.
How is this possible? Quite simply because the B cells that make antibodies evolve after they are first activated. While it is well known that viruses can mutate over time, our own B cells can also take advantage of mutations to make superior antibodies.

Somatic hypermutation
A key difference between the mutation of antibodies and viruses is that mutations in antibodies are not entirely random. They are, in fact, directly caused by an enzyme that is only found in B cells, known as Aid (activation-induced deaminase). This enzyme deliberately causes mutations in the DNA responsible for making the part of the antibody that can recognise the virus. This mutation mechanism was solved by pioneering researchers at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK, almost 20 years ago.
AID activity leads to a much higher rate of mutation in B cells than in any other cell in the body. This phenomenon is called “somatic hypermutation”.
Some of the mutations that are induced in the antibody binding site will improve the binding of that antibody to the target virus. But some mutations will have no effect, and others will actually decrease the antibody’s ability to latch onto the target virus. This means there needs to be a system whereby B cells making the best antibodies will be selected.
B cells congregate in small glands called lymph nodes while they are developing. Lymph nodes are found all around the body and often get bigger if you are fighting an infection.

B cells gather in lymph nodes while they are developing.

Within the lymph nodes, the B cells that can make better antibodies after somatic hypermutation are given positive signals to make them replicate faster. Other B cells fall by the wayside and die. This “survival-of-the-fittest” process is called affinity maturation; the strength or “affinity” with which antibodies bind to their target matures and improves over time. After this rigorous selection, the newly emerged B cell will now mass produce its improved antibody, leading to a more effective immune response.
The course of a typical COVID infection is ten to 14 days, so the first wave of antibodies driving out the virus doesn’t have long enough to evolve because affinity maturation normally takes place over weeks. But research from the US has shown that small non-infectious bits of SARS-CoV-2 remain in the body after an infection is cleared, so B cells can keep being reminded of what the virus looks like. This allows antibody evolution to continue for months after an infection has been resolved.
Overall, antibody evolution means that if a person is infected with coronavirus for a second time, antibodies with far superior binding ability will be ready and waiting. This has important implications for vaccination. Antibody evolution will begin after the first vaccination so that much-improved antibodies will be present if the virus is encountered at a later date. Hopefully, it is comforting to know that it is not just the virus that is mutating, our own antibodies are keeping pace.
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Post summary:
  • The customer is firmly in the driving seat and with it comes a required change in how you build and nurture relationships with potential and existing customers.
  • Companies that put the customer at the heart of their organization are experiencing an increase in customer lifetime value and a reduction in churn. How? By being customer-centric.
  • Becoming a truly customer-centric organization takes time, but you can start small. We provide you with 4 best practices to becoming a customer-centric company and share 3 ways to measure success.
A customer-centric way of doing business is focused on providing a positive customer experience before and after the sale in order to drive repeat business, enhance customer loyalty and improve business growth.
However, a customer-centric company requires more than offering good customer service.
Both Amazon and Zappos are prime examples of brands that are customer-centric and have spent years creating a culture around the customer and their needs. Their commitment in delivering customer value is genuine. In fact, Zappos is happy to fire employees if they do not fit within their customer-centric culture!
But, how important is being customer-centric?
Econsultancy recently asked what the most important characteristic is in order to establish a truly "digital-native" culture.
The answer to that question and leading the responses with 58% was to be customer-centric.

Yet, according to CMO Council, only 14% of marketers believe that customer-centricity is a hallmark of their companies.
Here's the thing:
Executing a successful customer-centric strategy doesn't happen overnight.
Let’s explore ways to create a customer-centric strategy that connects your business to the unique needs of your customers.

What is customer-centric?
Customer-centric (also known as client-centric) is a business strategy that’s based on putting your customer first and at the core of your business in order to provide a positive experience and build long-term relationships.

When you put your customer at the core of your business, and combine it with Customer Relationship Management (CRM), you collect a wealth of data, which gives you a full 360 view of the customer. This data can then be used to enhance your customer’s experience.
For example:
  • You can use customer data to understand buying behavior, interests and engagement
  • You can identify opportunities to create products, services, and promotions for your best customers
  • You can use customer lifetime value to segment customers based on top spenders
Research by Deloitte and Touche found that customer-centric companies were 60% more profitable compared to companies that were not focused on the customer.
Companies that focus on their customers are able to provide a positive customer experience through their entire journey. To accomplish this, companies must undergo a massive shift in their organization’s structure and culture.

The challenges of becoming a customer-centric organization
The power shift between brand and customer happened during the economic downturn in the late nineties as customers became more selective in which brand they chose to spend their money with.
The winning brands were the ones who treated their customers with respect, offered great service, and built a relationship with them that still exists today.
During the same period, another game-changer took place - social media.
Social media marketing (and with it social selling) changed the way customers interact with brands and became a major part of the customer journey.
In a report by Global Web Index, 54% of social media users use social media to research products and 71% are more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals.
Social media is just one of many digital channels that is changing the landscape between companies and customers.
Research reveals that companies struggling to become a customer-centric organization are unable to share customer information across departments and lack an aligned culture around the customer’s needs.

Most companies do not have all of the components in place to claim they are customer-centric, but the most important part to remember is this:
Customer-centricity starts by focusing on what customers need and how they want to interact with your business - not your products, it’s features, or revenue model.
By designing your company from the customer’s perspective, your organization will be able to meet the customer’s needs and deliver a positive experience.

4 Best practices to becoming a customer-centric company
Becoming a customer-centric business allows you to anticipate customers' needs and delight them with products and services.
Consider the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, who said, “Our whole role in life is to give you something you didn't know you wanted. And then once you get it, you can't imagine your life without it.”
Apple’s entire strategy revolves around customer-centricity. Their product makes customers fall in love and their Apple Centers provide world-class customer support to help them get set up and out the doors with a smile on their face.
Thus, a customer-centric brand creates products, processes, policies and a culture that is designed to support customers with a great experience from initial discovery to point of purchase and beyond.
To achieve better customer-centricity, here are four best practices to help your business stand out:
  1. Hire for customer success. Employees are the front-facing workforce that will shape many of the experiences with customers. Regardless of role, focus on hiring talent that can be aligned with customer-centric thinking and the importance of customer experience at your business.
  2. Put relationships first. Customers are not numbers to be measured and analyzed in a revenue performance report. They are people and benefit greatly when you establish a mutually beneficial relationship together.
  3. Democratize customer data. Adopting a new customer-centric strategy requires centralized access to customer data and insights. Having a CRM database can help facilitate a better understanding of customers to provide a unified front that delivers better customer experiences.
  4. Connect company culture to customer outcomes. Employees will be motivated by a customer-centricity strategy when actions can be linked to results. For example, strategies to reduce customer wait times or making transitions easier for a customer can be captured in real-time to highlight successful strategy implementation.

3 ways to measure the success of a customer-centric company
Not every organization will have the same customer success metrics to measure customer-centricity. However, the three most important customer-centric metrics that should be carefully monitored are churn rate, Net Promoter Score and customer lifetime value (CLV).

1. Churn rate
Acquiring new customers is becoming more difficult. Therefore, more companies are investing in keeping existing customers instead of trying to find new ones. Here’s why:
  • Acquiring new customers can cost up to 5x more than keeping existing customers
  • A 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect on profits as cutting costs by 10%
  • On average, companies lose approx. 10% of its customer base each year (also known as customer churn)
Companies with a high retention rate grow faster.
The key to improving retention rates is to understand why people leave, and why people remain customers.
Call Miner’s Churn Index Report reveals that $35.3 billion is associated with unplanned switching to a different brand due to triggers that could have been avoided. For example, customers were more likely to leave a brand if:
  • Knowledgeable customer support, or super agents, can address customer needs by emphatically listening and addressing an issue then solving it promptly
  • Companies lacked automated self-service channels, such as a knowledge base, to solve issues on their own
  • Customers not feeling rewarded for their loyalty while new customers receive onboarding benefits and bonuses
Once known, you can calculate churn rate by measuring the number of customers who left in the last 12 months divided by the average number of total customers (during the same period).

2. Net Promoter Score
Are your customers happy? How do you measure customer happiness?
The answer is through NPS.
NPS, or Net Promoter Score focuses on uncovering customer loyalty by asking only one, simple question:

Each time a customer responds to this question, the answer is then segmented based on predefined criteria:
  • Promoters (9-10): These people are in love with your product or service and are likely to refer you to potential buyers. The customers who rate you a 9 or 10 are repeat customers and will have a high customer lifetime value.
  • Passives (7-8): These people who rate you a 7 or 8 are content with being a customer of your business, but are the most likely to switch to a competitor should they find a new or better product.
  • Detractors (0-6): These people are not happy with your product or service and are likely to damage your brand reputation by sharing their negative experience with their friends, family and connections.
The more Promoters you have, the healthier your business. Simple, really?
And the fact that it’s simple to implement and measure makes the NPS a favorite with company boards and executive committees.

3. Customer lifetime value (CLV)
For a customer-centric business, the most valuable "asset" is their customer base.
If you're investing in long-term relationships, you can calculate the "health" of the relationship with customer lifetime value or CLV.
CLV measures the amount of revenue a customer contributes to your business for as long as they are a paying customer. It starts with their first purchase and ends when they stop doing business with you.
To calculate CLV, add up the total revenue you have earned and multiply that with the length of the business relationship. Then, deduct the initial cost of acquiring them.
For example, if a customer spends $1,000 annually, and the average "lifetime" of a customer is 10 years, then you multiply $1,000 by 10 years ($10,000). Now, subtract the cost of acquisition (in this case, we'll estimate $1,000), and the CLV is $9,000.
Not bad, right?
Calculating CLV helps you understand why it makes sense to invest in keeping your customers.
But, rather than looking at CLV from purely from a revenue perspective, you should be looking at it from a value perspective - which is why I love Dennis Shiao's take on Customer lifetime value.

The shift towards becoming a truly customer-centric organization is both complex and long but, do not be put off by this as even the smallest changes to policy and processes can have a significant benefit for both employee and your customer.
Being a customer-centric organization is the Holy Grail towards unlocking the true potential of customer value. Always put yourself in the shoes of the customer and minimize customer effort and maximize customer value.
Do you consider yourself a customer-centric organization?
The best CRM software plays an important role in becoming customer-centric as this is where all of your customer data is stored. See how SuperOffice CRM can help your business by signing up for a free demo.
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There’s a major difference between authority and leadership. Can you articulate it?
Many people can’t, but almost everyone knows the difference when they see it.
What is authority? Telling others what to do. Why? Because that way you win.

People in authority are the top dog and get the big paycheck. They’re amazing because they’re the boss. But, just because an executive has authority over their employees doesn’t mean their employees will follow them. Here’s a great example.

I’ve seen a CIO’s direct reports indirectly fire him by deciding as a team they would not follow him. This particular CIO was left with no way to report on critical activities and no way to influence the outcome of his direct reports’ critical endeavors.
This quickly became obvious to the CIO’s boss and he was fired. Now, the CIO could have used his authority to fire his direct reports before their behavior was noticed, but the business leaders and his boss held them in high esteem. The CIO’s direct reports did their jobs well for the sake of their success, not for the success of the CIO.

The point of sharing this extreme case of mutiny is to illustrate the two distinctly different ways for an executive to influence outcomes: using authorityor leadership.

Leadership is a Choice
All executives have positional authority that can be leveraged to achieve results, but they can choose to use their leadership skills instead of authority to achieve results.
You don’t need any positional authority to be a successful leader.

Leadership is exponentially more powerful than authority because it involves choice. When your team members choose to follow you, they are doing so because they either feel positively connected to your vision or because they simply feel connected to you. With this connection, your team members will start consciously succeeding for you.

This shift from their minds to their hearts means that your team members will begin intentionally incorporating the things they believe will ensure your success with their approach to ensuring their success. This will result in closer alignment between their actions, your vision, and the direction you hope their efforts will take the company.

Leaders Build a Deeper Connection
Connection is the key to leadership, and there’s only one way leaders can connect with their team members: active listening, which is the opposite of listening to respond.

Given human nature, most of us listen to come up with a response or to give the right answer. With a ton of competing demands, we’re in a hurry to solve the problem.

As a leader, if you don’t take the time to listen and truly understand the problem or your team members’ concerns, your solutions will never be as effective as you would like.

Active listening involves listening to understand how your team members are feeling, how they are thinking, and how they are anchored to a topic.
Connection is about feeling understood and feeling cared for. As a leader, when you take the time to really listen, you will understand them. You will care for them. It’s impossible to truly know someone and not feel some connection to them.

You will develop a depth of understanding for your team members and it will be evident in how you lead them. The time you spend listening will always be perceived as caring for them, and it will give you the perspective you need to truly lead them.

Leadership Isn’t About You
In summary, authority is not leadership. And leadership isn’t about you; it’s about your team. It’s about enabling them to succeed and creating velocity for growth by capturing the team’s collective IQ, EQ, and their individual capacity to drive outcomes.
If you want to be a leader, you’re showing up for the team. Otherwise, you want to be a boss, and that’s cool! If that’s you, here’s what I want you to do: click out of this article, but before you do, send it to someone who understands business is about people.
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Cannabis, which is one of the oldest vegetable sources of food and textile fibres, has been an integral part of the culture of many ancient civilizations[1]. Also used for its therapeutic properties for thousands of years, this plant has attracted the attention of the scientific community, which has multiplied its research in recent decades to study its functionality and potential health effects. Today we want to talk about the effect of medical cannabis on sleep cycles.
Nowadays, cannabinoid-based treatments are real alternatives to traditional medical treatments to relieve various pathologies such as epilepsy, depression, pain and even sleep disorders. Since -the 2000s, research on sleep and cannabis have been conducted after discovering its therapeutic potential. However, it is still difficult to assess its effects on sleep because many factors must be taken into account, such as the type of cannabinoids (THC/CBD), the frequency of consumption (regular or occasional), the form of administration (oral or spray) and the dosage[2].
The objective of this article is to study the effects of cannabis and its components on sleep cycles.

The sleep stages
During sleep, the human body goes through different stages. This is called the sleep cycle. A cycle lasts on average 90 minutes and is repeated between 4 to 6 times per night. It is divided into two main phases, non-REM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement) and REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. As the night progresses, the duration of non-REM sleep stages decreases while that of REM sleep phases increases[3].
  • Non-REM sleep
Non-REM sleep includes 4 stages.
Stage I. “Wakefulness-sleep”. This first stage generally lasts 5 minutes corresponding to the transition phase between awakening and light sleep. This is the lightest phase of sleep where individuals are still aware of the environment and waking up can occur very easily. The body prepares to fall asleep, the muscles relax and sometimes twitch, breathing becomes more regular, eye movements and brain activity slow down.
The electroencephalogram (EEG), which measures the electrical activity of the brain, has made it possible to study the different waves released by the brain during sleep. Each type of wave reflects a physiological state. During phase I, alpha waves (light relaxation) gradually gives way to theta waves that have lower frequencies and amplitudes and characterize a state of deep relaxation.
Stage II. “Light sleep”. In the second stage, which lasts about 25 minutes, sleep is light but waking up is less frequent than in the first stage. The body continues to relax gradually with a decrease in body temperature, eye movements and brain activity. The delta waves that correspond to a state of deep sleep begin to occur.
Stage III/IV. “Deep sleep”. The third stage (stage III) and the fourth stage (stage IV) which are very similar, correspond to deep sleep. They are characterized by waves with low frequency and high amplitude (delta waves).
This is the most restorative part of sleep for the body (feeling refreshed in the morning) and it is very difficult to wake a person in this phase. When a person is awakened during this phase, he or she will have a period of “fog” where his or her mental performance will be impaired for 30 to 60 minutes. The older you get, the shorter this step lasts.
  • REM sleep
REM sleep/Stage V “Dreaming”. The fifth phase of the sleep cycle is often associated with the dream phase. Its name, Rapid Eye Movement (REM), refers to the acceleration of eye movements under the eyelid during this stage. This sleep is called “paradoxical” because during this phase, the brain acts somewhat awake. There is more intense brain activity than in previous phases, irregular breathing and, as mentioned above, very rapid eye movements. However, the muscles of the body are still in a state of paralysis that prevents an individual from “acting out” their nightmares or dreams while sleeping.
This tonic immobility (death-feigning) during REM might evolve into a primordial defence reflex against an attacking predator. Most people who wake up during this phase remember their dreams. This phase lasts on average 10 minutes for the first cycle, then they continue to lengthen throughout the night so that the last one lasts up to one hour[4][5]. REM sleep may have an important role in some types of memories such as spatial, procedural and emotional[6]. Normal Sleep Stages. NREM; Non-Rapid Eyes Movement, REM; Rapid Eyes Movement. Medical cannabis on sleep cycles

Effects of THC on sleep
Studies conducted to understand the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on sleep have shown that in low doses, THC has a slight sedative effect increasing the total sleep duration, with a reduction in REM and sleep onset latency (the time between it takes to accomplish the transition from full wakefulness to sleep; Non-REM sleep stage I).

However, when THC doses are high, in addition to hallucinations, there is a decrease in REM sleep and an increase in sleep onset latency. A decrease in REM sleep could have an impact on memory consolidation.[7]
Effects of CBD on sleep
The research on Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-toxic and non-addictive cannabinoid, has shown a more sustained response to anxiety rather than for sleep per se.[8]Effects of co-administration of CBD and THC on sleep The results of another study suggest that the effects of the combination of the two cannabinoids on sleep would depend largely on the dosage and the CBD: THC ratio.
Indeed, co-administration (oromucosal spray) of both cannabinoids (5mg THC and 5mg CBD to 15 mg THC and 15 mg CBD) reduce stage 3 of the sleep cycle, and with a higher combination, wakefulness was increased. When THC and CBD were administered separately, 15 mg THC acts as a sedative, while 15 mg CBD appears to have alerting properties as awake activity during sleep was increased and the sedative properties of THC was lost.[9]
Today, research that have studied the impact of medical cannabis on sleep cycles has shown that THC as a good alternative for improving sleep stages, however, many factors such as dosage, mode of administration and more, should be taken into account to achieve a more positive and accurate result. Further research will be needed in the coming years to finally unveil the molecular mechanisms of sleep cycles.

[1] Kriese, U., et alt. (2004). Oil content, tocopherol composition and fatty acid patterns of the seeds of 51 Cannabis sativa L. genotypes. Euphytica, 137(3), 339–351. doi:10.1023/b:euph.0000040473.23941.76
[2] Schierenbeck, T., et alt. (2008). Effect of illicit recreational drugs upon sleep: Cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 12(5), 381–389. doi:10.1016/j.smrv.2007.12.004
[3] Memar, P., & Faradji, F. (2018). A Novel Multi-Class EEG-Based Sleep Stage Classification System. IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, 26(1), 84–95. doi:10.1109/tnsre.2017.2776149
[4] Malik, J., Lo, Y.-L., & Wu, H. (2018). Sleep-wake classification via quantifying heart rate variability by convolutional neural network. Physiological Measurement, 39(8), 085004. doi:10.1088/1361-6579/aad5a9
[5] Varga, B., et alt. (2018). Heart Rate and Heart Rate Variability during Sleep in Family Dogs (Canis familiaris). Moderate Effect of Pre-Sleep Emotions. Animals, 8(7), 107. doi:10.3390/ani8070107
[6] Rasch, B., & Born, J. (2013). About Sleep’s Role in Memory. Physiological Reviews, 93(2), 686. doi:10.1152/physrev.00032.2012p.
[7] Garcia, A. N., & Salloum, I. M. (2015). Polysomnographic sleep disturbances in nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, cocaine, opioid, and cannabis use: A focused review. The American Journal on Addictions, 24(7), 590–598. doi:10.1111/ajad.12291
[8] Shannon, S. (2019). Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. The Permanente Journal. doi:10.7812/tpp/18-041
[9] Nicholson, A. et alt. (2004). Effect of  D-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol on Nocturnal Sleep and Early-Morning Behavior in Young Adults. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, 24(3), 305–313. doi:10.1097/
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Here's a look at their love story, from the first blind date to today.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle welcomed their first child, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, less than a year after their royal wedding—and now, the royal couple have revealed that they're expecting their second. In honor of their expanding family, we're take a look the top-secret relationship that lead to one of the highest-profile weddings of the decade—and a new chapter in the history of the House of Windsor.

How They Met
Harry and Markle first made each other's acquaintance on a blind date in early July, 2016. "We were introduced actually by a mutual friend," Harry revealed during the couple's first sit-down interview with the BBC following their engagement announcement. (E! News claims Harry's friend Violet von Westenholz is the one who introduced them, but others have speculated it was fashion designer Mischa Nonoo.)
Despite Prince Harry's global fame, Markle says she didn't have a lot of preconceived notions about who he was before they met. "Because I’m from the States, you don’t grow up with the same understanding of the royal family," she explained during the BBC interview. "I didn’t know much about him, so the only thing that I had asked [our mutual friend] when she said that she wanted to set us up, was, 'Well is he nice?' Cause if he wasn't kind, it just didn’t seem like it would make sense."
The two hit it off immediately. "We met for a drink," said Markle, "and then I think very quickly into that we said, 'Well what are we doing tomorrow? We should meet again.'"
At the photo call in the Kensington Palace gardens following their engagement announcement, Harry was asked when he knew Markle was the one. He quickly replied, "the very first time we met."
Things moved quickly from there. The couple went on a second date and Prince Harry then invited Markle to accompany him on a trip to Africa just three or four weeks later. "I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana and we camped out with each other under the stars," he said, describing the whirlwind romance. "Then we were really by ourselves, which was crucial to me to make sure that we had a chance to get to know each other."

The News Gets Out
After four months of quiet dating, the news finally leaked on October 31, 2016 that Prince Harry was dating an American actress. A source told theSunday Expressthat Harry is “happier than he’s been for many years” and is "besotted" with the Markle. On the same day, Markle posted a sweet photo on her Instagram of two bananas spooning, possibly hinting at the new love in her life.
Of this period, Markle later said: "We had a good five, six months almost with just privacy, which was amazing."

Meghan Meets the Family
In November 2016, the Vancouver Sunpublished an interview with Markle promoting her collection for retailer Reitmans. In the interview, she discussed her collaboration with Reitmans, her charity work with World Vision, and her plans for the holidays. Though she avoided any mention of Harry, she happily said, “So, my cup runneth over and I’m the luckiest girl in the world!”
Around the same time, Peoplereported that Harry had already introduced the actress to his father, Prince Charles.

Harry Makes a Public Statement in Defense of His Girlfriend
Harry confirmed his relationship with Markle in a formal statement November 8, 2016. In the statement, Harry also pleads the press and trolls on social media to stop the “wave of abuse and harassment" that had been directed at his girlfriend.
According to Harry, he has been involved with “nightly legal battles” to stop the media from publishing defamatory stories about Markle and their relationship.
Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her. It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm. He knows commentators will say this is ‘the price she has to pay’ and that ‘this is all part of the game’. He strongly disagrees. This is not a game - it is her life and his.
During the BBC interview, Harry revealed that both he and Markle were taken aback by the media scrutiny. "I think both of us were totally surprised by the reaction."
Many assumed that Markle would be prepared for the onslaught of attention because she had been in the public eye as an actress, but little could have prepared her for what was to come. "There was a misconception that because I have worked in the entertainment industry that this would be something I would be familiar with," she said. "But I've never been part of tabloid culture. I've never been in pop culture to that degree and and lived a relatively quiet life."
Her answer, she told the BBC, was to tune out the noise. "I think we were just hit so hard at the beginning with a lot of mistruths that I made the choice to not read anything, positive or negative. It just didn't make sense and instead we focused all of our energies just on nurturing our relationship."
On November 18, she shared a Mahatma Gandhi quote on her Instagram, which many people interpreted as a response to Harry's statement on their relationship.

Even Prince William Is Forced to Weigh In
On November 27, 2016, Prince William released a statement to clear up rumors that he was unhappy with his brother's decision to open up about his relationship. A portion of the statement reads, “The Duke of Cambridge absolutely understands the situation concerning privacy and supports the need for Prince Harry to support those closest to him."

Harry and Meghan Continue to Grow Closer
In early December 2016, Markle is photographed in Toronto wearing a gold necklace featuring the letters “M” and “H.” Later that month, she and Harry are spotted together picking out a 6-foot Christmas tree, and in London's West End holding hands on their way to see the Tony award-winning show The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. According to The Sun, the couple walk through the Soho area while admiring the Christmas lights throughout Piccadilly Circus.

The Queen Approves
According toUs Weekly, the Queen is “fully supportive” and another source revealed that the Queen is “delighted to see Harry in a loving relationship.”Markle spoke of meeting the Queen during their BBC interview. "It's incredible to be able to meet her through his lens, not just with his honor and respect for her as the monarch, but the love that he has for her as his grandmother. She's an incredible woman."
After spending Christmas with their own families, the couple spends New Year's together in London.

Meghan's Family Is Heard From
Meghan’s half-brother Thomas Markle Jr. discloses to the Daily Mail that their father has been aware of Meghan's relationship since it began. In the interview, Thomas says his father is, “pretty happy about Harry and he’s extremely proud of her."
Meghan is very close to both her mother and father and attended her mom's graduation from the University of Southern California, after she received her Masters in Social Work in 2016.
At their engagement announcement, Markle revealed that her father has spoken with Harry several times, but he "hasn't been able to meet him just yet."

A Romantic Trip to Norway
After spending New Year's in London, the couple embarks on a romantic trip to Norway. This is the first time that the often incognito couple vacation together and according to Us Weekly, Harry planned the romantic getaway so that the two could to catch the Northern Lights. The couple stay with Harry's close friend, Inge Solheim, at his luxury property in Tromsø, Norway. A source tells the sun The Sunthat Harry "put a lot of thought into it and wanted to make it as romantic and special as possible.”

Meghan Meets Kate and Charlotte
According to Us Weekly, in early 2017 Harry introduced his girlfriend to his sister-in-law Kate Middleton and Princess Charlotte at apartment 1A at Kensington Palace. According to the magazine, Kate and Markle, "got on fabulously."
"She's been wonderful," Markle said of Duchess Kate. "Amazing," continued Harry. "As has William as well, you know, fantastic support."

Maintaining a Long Distance Relationship
Though Markle filmed her USA Network series Suits in Toronto, Canada, she and Harry are spotted in early February holding hands while leaving West London's Soho House. According to The Sun, on-lookers at the member's only club say that the couple tried to remain low key by sitting in a cozy corner of the restaurant. A friend close to the couple also reportedly tells The Sun that a spring engagement is imminent: “I know that sounds a bit crazily soon, but he’s head over heels and they can’t bear to be apart.”

After a two-month break from social media, Markle shared an Instagram post on February 12 that said, "#NoBadEnergy."
In March, the couple traveled together to Montego Bay, Jamaica to attend the wedding of Harry's childhood friend Tom “Skippy” Inskip. Markle is Harry's plus one to the wedding as the prince serves as one of the ceremony's 14 ushers. A source later revealed to People, that the two were incredibly "joyful" during the wedding festivities, and seemed very much in love.
In April, Harry flew from England to spend Easter weekend with Markle in Toronto. Photos are released by E! Online and reveal the young prince wearing a baseball cap and toting a large duffle bag while entering Markle’s building.

Meghan's Life Begins to Change
In April, Markle announced that she would shut down her lifestyle website, The Tig, which she had founded three years earlier. In a statement shared on both the Tig website and her Instagram, Markle said:

What began as a passion project (my little engine that could) evolved into an amazing community of inspiration, support, fun and frivolity. You’ve made my days brighter and filled this experience with so much joy. Keep finding those Tig moments of discovery, keep laughing and taking risks, and keep being the change you wish to see in the world."

Though it is rumored that Markle shut down her passion project as a sacrifice to her royal relationship, a source toldPeople that the real reason was her busy schedule, balancing charity work with shooting Suits.

The Couple Steps Out
Markle and Harry made their first public appearance as a couple (and shared a kiss) at the annual Audi Polo Challenge in Ascot, England. As Harry participated in the games, Markle, wearing a chic navy dress and white blazer, cheered on her prince from the sidelines. The couple was later snapped engaging in some PDA off-site in the polo parking lot.
Markle was back in London in May for Pippa Middleton's wedding, arriving days ahead of the festivities. According to E! Online, the actress landed at London's Heathrow Airport and was immediately escorted to Kensington Palace. While Markle did not attend the ceremony, she did reportedly go to the reception.

A Big Birthday Trip
The couple traveled to Africa in August 2017—a year after their first trip to the continent—for a romantic getaway in celebration of Markle's 36th birthday. Over the course of their three-week vacation, they visited Botswana and finished their travels at the stunning Victoria Falls.

Meghan Opens Up
Markle spoke openly about her relationship for the first time in the October 2017 issue of Vanity Fair. "We’re a couple. We’re in love. I’m sure there will be a time when we will have to come forward and present ourselves and have stories to tell, but I hope what people will understand is that this is our time," she says in the cover story. "This is for us. It’s part of what makes it so special, that’s just ours. But we’re happy. Personally, I love a great love story."
That month, Markle also accompanied Prince Harry to an official royal appearance for the first time at the Invictus Games opening ceremony. Over the course of the games, cameras catch the pair holding hands at the the Wheelchair Tennis semi-final and spending time with Markle's mother, Doria Ragland. The couple even share a sweet smooch at the closing ceremony.
At this point, Harry has met Markle's mother several times. "Her mum's amazing," Harry said during the BBC interview.

After months of speculation, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle finally announced their engagement on November 27, 2017. The couple is "thrilled and happy" to be engaged, and marked the news with a celebratory photoshoot and a formal interview. Read all about the news here.

Their engagement
In the months leading up to the wedding, Meghan has been introduced not only to the British public, but also to life as a working royal, as she attends official events alongside her fiancé Harry, all the while planning the wedding of the year.

The wedding
Tens of millions of people from around the world tuned in to see the couple wed at Windsor Castle on May 19. They had high-profile guests like Oprah, David and Victoria Beckham, and of course the royal family, but all eyes were on the bride, who wore a stunning Givenchy gown for the ceremony and a chic halter Stella McCartney dress for the reception at the Frogmore House.
Royal processions don't rank high on most three-year-olds' lists and Princess Charlotte is clearly no exception. As the cars carrying the bridesmaids to the reception rolled along, the young lady took the opportunity to playfully stick her tongue out at some photographers. Though she probably didn't know it, she was carrying on the cheeky family tradition started by none other than her Uncle Harry.
In their official portraits, released May 21, two days after the wedding, the couple looked more in love than ever.

Harry and Meghan start a family!
On October 15, Kensington Palace announced that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were expecting their first child. The announcement came as the couple landed in Australia for their first joint royal tour.
On May 6, 2019, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor arrived! The baby boy is now seventh in line for the throne and he is the Queen and Prince Philip's eighth great grandchild. Harry's father, Prince Charles and his stepmother, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall said that they are "delighted" with the royal baby's arrival, as did the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The Sussexes Step Back from Their Royal Roles
In January 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex first made it clear that they intended to step back from their roles as working royals. After some negotiation, the Windsors agreed to let them pursue their own private business arrangements, provided that the Sussexes cease using the word "royal" in any professional branding.
Harry and Meghan officially transitioned to their new lives at the end of March 2020, after returning briefly to the UK to undertake a final round of engagements. Subsequently, the duo settled down with Archie in Santa Barbara, California. They've launched a number of projects in the interim, including inking deals with Netflix and Spotify, and launching their new non-profit, Archewell.

A Second Baby Sussex Is on the Way!
On Valentine's Day of 2021, Harry and Meghan revealed that they were expecting their second child. “We can confirm that Archie is going to be a big brother. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are overjoyed to be expecting their second child,” a spokesperson for the couple said. The duo also released a sweet portrait to celebrate the news.

The Queen Confirms the Sussexes Won't Return to the Fold
Nearly a year after officially transitioning out of the working royal roles, the Sussexes confirmed—along with Queen Elizabeth—that the move was permanent. Buckingham Palace and the royal couple released simultaneous statements on February 19, 2021, announcing the news.
The palace's statement announced that Harry and Meghan would not be able to hold royal patronages, and that Harry's military appointments would also have to be returned. It concluded, "While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family."
For their part, Harry and Meghan noted in their statement that they “remain committed to their duty and service" and "have offered their continued support to the organizations they have represented regardless of official role.” It added, “We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.”

The Duke and Duchess sit down for a landmark interview with Oprah.
According to Nielsen, 17.3 million people watched the highly anticipated conversation live. In the two-hour interview, Meghan and Harry discussed everything from their royal wedding to the sex of their second child (they're expecting a baby girl!) to their reasoning for stepping back as senior members of the royal family.
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As a systematic way to increase efficiency and better please customers, lean principles run counter to traditional mass-production practices. Yet, they allow small and medium businesses to consistently increase quality while decreasing costs.

In post WWII Japan, Toyota developed a revolutionary production process now known as lean manufacturing. This highly successful method for reducing waste, improving flow, and increasing production began as a method to compete with Western automakers and soon became a revolutionary production mentality the world over.
As a systematic way to increase efficiency and better please customers, lean principles run counter to traditional mass-production practices. Yet, they allow small and medium businesses to consistently increase quality while decreasing costs. They emphasize key objectives like simplicity, flow, and balance. Companies large and small can leap over their competition by understanding and implementing this highly efficient system.

What Is Lean Manufacturing?
In short, lean manufacturing is a continuous improvement philosophy promoting system-wide efficiency. Indeed, this system values balanced productivity that harmonizes across the entire value chain. If a particular line is more productive than the other parts in the value chain, it does not benefit the efficiency of production. Therefore, lean manufacturing principles adjust for overall efficiency rather than settling for individual productivity.
Lean management in manufacturing provides a sustainable competitive advantage by streamlining the production process from raw material to customer. And reduction of waste and non-value-added activity increases total system efficiency. Whereas the mass production method developed by Henry Ford might increase total output to increase profits, Toyota-inspired lean focuses on smaller batches to smooth production flow in the plant. So the result is a reduction of non-value-added activity and a subsequent increase in value-added activity. Without increasing the number of employees or adding new equipment, meaningful output is increased as a ratio to busy work.
Built on the Japanese model of efficiency, lean manufacturing seeks to continuously reduce muda or waste. And the power of lean manufacturing lies within its ability to find processes and actions to reduce or eliminate. In turn, this creates a balanced process that reduces cycle time and waste, increases quality, and enhances customer satisfaction.

The Importance of Reducing Cycle Time
There are numerous reasons to reduce cycle time and waste, some of which are less obvious than others. Cycle time refers to the length of time it takes to convert raw materials into finished goods. And the length of this cycle determines the company’s ability to convert assets into profits. A company able to reduce cycle times more than their competitors will be able to respond more quickly to market demands and thus gain a larger market share. Some of the many benefits of reducing cycle times include:
  • Innovation opportunities
  • Better distribution positioning
  • Increased productivity
  • Higher customer satisfaction
  • Advantaged profitability potential

Eight Lean Wastes
Lean production does not focus exclusively on waste reduction, but waste is minimized or eliminated more as an inevitable byproduct of better production flow. It may seem obvious that waste hurts productivity and profitability. But the importance of reducing waste is often underappreciated. There are numerous areas of waste that go overlooked. Lean manufacturing typically focuses on seven key wastes. But others expand the list to eight, represented by the acronym, DOWNTIME:
  • Defects: A defective part caused by poor quality inputs, user error, or other problems is costly and easily avoided.
  • Overproduction: Overproducing irrespective of demand or capacity is wasteful and not considerate of the customer.
  • Waiting: Bottlenecks occur due to oversupply or undersupply and should be handled by better supply chain management and personnel management.
  • Not Utilizing Talent: Waste occurs when the skills of the workforce are underutilized or misappropriated. Human talent is a highly valuable and often overlooked commodity.
  • Transportation:Movement to and from docks and warehouses is an area for potential waste reduced by better layout and better aligned process flow.
  • Inventory Excess: Numerous factors can lead to excessive inventory, which, in a mass production paradigm, might appear as productivity, yet does not benefit the overall process.
  • Motion waste: Even the repetitive motions of employees on the assembly line can diminish productivity and contribute to waste.
  • Excess Processing: Avoid redundancy and unnecessary steps.
"Waste is anything other than the minimum amount of equipment, materials, parts, and working time which is absolutely essential to add value to the product or service." -Ohno Taiicho

The Powerful Benefits of Going Lean
While many assume lean manufacturing only benefits large, repetitive, mass-production operations, the fact is small-medium sized manufacturers can also benefit. Lean manufacturing principles can impact the average producer in a powerful way that extends beyond just financial gains. Here are some of the many powerful benefits of adopting lean manufacturing:
  • Lean identifies value as defined by customer demand, thus leading to more satisfied customers.
  • Lean removes wastes like inventory, transportation, and others.
  • Lean shortens cycle time and increases production.
  • Lean brings about greater employee morale and buy-in.
  • Lean produces more per man hour.
  • Lean reduces the amount of space needed for production.
  • Lean increases cash on hand.
  • Lean focuses on pull – or demand-based flow manufacturing – rather than push.
  • Lean reduces operational costs, maximizing profits.
Lean Manufacturing Principles
Lean manufacturing is more than just a way to make products. Essentially, it is a school of thought. And while there are many lean manufacturing principles that make up this school of thought, much of the power for this system is contained in just five primary concepts. These five leading principles or values were most famously articulated in the 1990 book, “The Machine That Changed the World,” by James Womack, Daniel T. Jones, and Daniel Roos. And understanding these five lean manufacturing principles will enable you to transform your business into a lean production machine:
  1. Specify value as perceived by the customer:Value must be perceived through the customer’s eyes – not merely based on the product you can provide, but the end solution they actually want.
  2. Identify the value stream: Rather than thinking in terms of departments, companies using lean principles will visualize the value stream as an interconnected flow of processes that provide value; this does not include any processes or steps that do not directly contribute to the value.
  3. Make the value flow through the value stream: The focus must be on value-adding steps; if non-value-adding steps are necessary, perform them simultaneous to the value-adding steps, but never put them before.
  4. Pull the value from the value stream:Avoid inventory management waste by shifting to a single-piece flow that produces products on demand as needed.
  5. Strive for perfection: The goal is not to improve beyond your competitors but continuous improvement and perfection in every way – from order processing to logistics to customer service.

Lean Manufacturing Tools
Lean production is all about getting the most out of every resource and finding better and better ways to do things. In this pursuit, numerous lean manufacturing tools have been developed and refined. And here are some of the most powerful tools to use in your lean manufacturing operations.

5S is a system emphasizing cleanliness and organization in the workplace by following five essential standards:
1. Sort: keep workplace free of all unnecessary items.
2. Set: all things should be in order for each unique workplace to ensure maximum ease and efficiency.
3. Shine: everyone should be a janitor; everyone is responsible for keeping their workspace clean and tidy.
4. Standardize: all roles and tasks should be standardized in lists and schedules to promote good habits.
5. Sustain: ensure everyone is committed to the long-term goal.

Just-In-Time (JIT)
Just-In-Time or Just-In-Sequence (JIS) is a form of lean manufacturing and a logistics method for inventory control. JIT is a system of manufacturing what the customer wants, in the quanity the customer wants, when the customer wants it. This allows the reduction or elimination of buffers or inventory, and means the use of delivered components within minutes of their delivery.

Gemba means “the real place” in Japanese, and refers to the factory floor in manufacturing – or any place where the value happens. In lean manufacturing philosophy, this technique involves a “Gemba walk” management must regularly go on at the site. This allows management to get a real feel for the process and any issues to address.

Value Stream Mapping
This tool involves creation of a flow diagram depicting each and every step in the value process. Such a map allows for evaluation of all steps to identify waste and inefficiency and to reduce manufacturing time.

This strategy for continuous improvement is one of the most powerful and important tools for lean manufacturing operations. From the Japanese words, kai, meaning “change,” and zen, meaning “good,” this tool emphasizes the need for good change on an ongoing basis. This means documenting and managing procedures and taking input and feedback from all members of the company. Over time, this lean manufacturing tool will incrementally produce powerful changes for the better.

The goal in view is to identify the weakest link or proverbial bottleneck holding back the speed of the overall process. Lean manufacturing often utilizes bottleneck analyses to determine the slowest processes and steps in the manufacturing stream. Speeding up just one or two small functions can often dramatically speed up the entire manufacturing process.

This Japanese word for “signs” refers to a system of using cards or signs to indicate three phases each product moves through: do, doing, and done. Using this visual “pull” system, it becomes easier to manage only those parts needed for a specific production run. This eliminates the need for excess inventory or backlogged products.

Continuous Flow
Closely associated with Kanban and JIT, this tool integrates all production elements through ongoing examination, evaluation, and improvement. In order to provide stability and continuity, continuous flow usually means leaving the factory running 24 hours a day with no interruption and very little waste if any. This is the opposite of batch production.

Lean Byproducts: Agility, Competitiveness, and Quality
Through following these principles of lean manufacturing, adopting these tools, and reducing these key wastes, manufacturers who specialize in lean concepts create highly desirable byproducts. Lean production results in a certain agility in meeting the competitive demands of a swiftly evolving marketplace. The focus on total expense and value rather than on single component costs not only eliminates waste and inefficiency, it also promotes quality and customer-driven solutions.
The faster products can flow through an organization from start to finish, the faster that company can respond to market demands and satisfy the consumer. And the more efficient that process is, the more quality the company can afford for each dollar. Lean manufacturing powerfully enables producers to navigate the changing market with precision and agility. This comes from traveling light and from a manufacturing process utilizing surgical precision. In the end, as streamlined, stripped down, and simplified as they are, lean producers are the giants of modern manufacturing.
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It is a sad fact that culture is one of the main collateral victims of the current pandemic.

Indeed, nothing is sadder than empty concert halls, unoccupied theatres, closed cinemas and deserted museums. Nothing is more distressing than dismantled symphony orchestras, bankrupt theatre companies, museums forced to sell some of their works, artists who are unemployed or forced to change professions altogether, even though they are known and admired as violinists, pianists or actors.

And yet, if you think about it, a large part of culture is not affected by this crisis: we can still read the books that are piled up in our library; in fact, without even buying anything new, we all have at home many books that we have not yet read and that we could usefully read or read again if we were really forced to make do with what we have. Similarly, we can always listen to the records we own. In addition, there are now those found on platforms: millions of books, films, plays, dance performances, concerts. We can also watch shows on television, listen to cultural radio stations, and consume unlimited podcasts.

What we are deprived of is not all culture, but only a part of it, the so-called live performance, I mean the performance that we attend with others, strangers, in a hall or in a museum.

And it is the specificity of this moment that must be designated. It can be found in other activities that are just as impractical in times of pandemic: attending a sporting event, playing football, judo, having lunch or dinner in a restaurant, walking around a museum. What do all these practices have in common? Not an artistic dimension at all, only, and perhaps more importantly, opportunities to experience real events with strangers.
For me, this is the essential thing, because it refers to something quite fundamental; and I would argue that it is by sharing the experience of an emotion with strangers that we can prove to ourselves that we are alive.

In this sense, live performance is not important because it is a performance, but because it gives us proof that by attending an exceptional event (an artistic or sporting performance or a meal in a restaurant) we also find the opportunity to talk about what we have experienced with strangers; and even if we don’t talk to them, we know that we have experienced it together; and the others, by their looks, by their simple presence, give you proof that you are alive.

There is nothing more important in life than to receive proof that you are not dead. And for me, it is the main function of live performance to give us this. The best proof is that we don’t dare to read the books we have in our library, to ward off the fear of death by thinking that we won’t be able to die before having read them.

This is why the ban on live performances (while you can take a train or a plane and eat next to your neighbour) is particularly absurd: a journey is not a performance or a moment of emotion, and, apart from an accident, you have nothing to share with your neighbours. Unlike a show, or a restaurant or a sporting activity, where one is embarked on the same adventure, and one has an opportunity to exchange, even silently, a reciprocal recognition of the other’s life.

This is also why this prohibition is so dangerous for any power: any individual who does not receive permanent proof that he is alive sinks into depression; any society that cannot prove to its members that they are alive is threatened with violent death. This is how almost all previous civilisations have disappeared.

Particularly in times of pandemic, when the fear of death looms larger than ever, we all need to reassure ourselves: are we alive? So to be deprived of the gaze of the other, of the connivance of the stranger sharing an emotion with us, is particularly intolerable. It is therefore particularly urgent to give us back this proof that we are alive, please.
3 1 Votes
Remote working is reframing the perennial question of how consulting firms are organised.
For decades, consulting firms have been under pressure to ensure their people worked in clients’ offices, alongside the client’s own staff. There were generally two reasons clients fought for this: Put positively, it created opportunities for the client team to learn from the consultants, equipping them to carry out consulting-type work themselves in the future; put negatively, it was a sign that clients didn’t quite trust firms to do what they said, that they feared nefarious partners would return to their offices and delegate all the work to cheaper, more junior staff. Two years ago, when we published a short report on the environmental impact of consultants being constantly on the road—or more precisely, in the air—we found that most clients were very supportive of the idea that consultants in general should travel less but baulked at the idea of their consultants travelling less. Physical presence was still a thing.
It’s clearly much less of a thing now. Consulting firms and their clients have had almost a year of working remotely, and both sides are positive about the experience. Many consultants welcome the increased flexibility and chance to focus that working from home has brought; clients are enjoying the ease of being able to access experts anywhere in the world.
And the fact that so much has changed so quickly challenges the way firms think about their operating models. In recent years, the need to put world-class experts on clients’ sites drove firms to be as global as possible. Flying in a specialist from the other side of the world wasn’t just about getting the work done, it also signalled to clients that they really were getting the A-team. But the costs were high, both metaphorically (stress for the consultants) and literally (travel costs for the client). Over time, it became accepted that some services—technology implementation being the most obvious example—could be delivered just as effectively on a remote basis, providing all those involved could interact effectively during the client’s normal working hours. Other services could have moved in this direction, but consulting firms worried—not without reason—that clients would expect to pay less: Physical presence has always been equated with worth in the professional services industry.
That link between presence and worth has now been broken by the pandemic, as all (or near enough) consulting work is being done remotely. Clients no longer assume that, because someone is not in the room, they’re less expert, important, or expensive. This creates an opportunity for consulting firms to change the rules, to argue that there are people who are only available on Teams, Zoom, etc., because they have unique expertise. Clients will go along with this because they retain better access, because they’ll actually have a better sense of how much time senior people are actually putting into projects, and because they’ll guess—probably correctly—that those senior experts will spend more, and more productive time on their projects than they might have done in the pre-crisis world.
Although this will mean that a significant proportion of project work will take place remotely going forwards, even when lockdowns end, it doesn’t spell the end of on-site consulting. Having even a short amount of time for the client and consulting teams to work together at the start of a project is hugely important to being able to work together effectively. There are also certain types of consulting—those that involve getting people to change the way they work, for example—which always have to be done in person. Meanwhile, delivering the final presentation (for projects where that is the end point) is useful for consultants—it allows them to gauge clients’ reactions to what they have to say—but less so for clients who may find it easier to view those recommendations in a more objective way if they’re not in the room. It is likely that the next few months will involve myriad discussions between clients and consultants, hashing out the details of when physical presence will be required, and when it will not.
Translate this into an operating model for consulting firms, and you might decide that you need teams of change management specialists based locally to clients, supported by subject matter experts from around the world, reporting to an engagement partner who is physically present at the outset and then very available remotely during the course of the project. Scale that model up, and it pulls the rug out from under assumptions about how firms are organised. You could, for example, end up with a model that is both global (experts reporting into global communities to share ideas, for example) and hyper-local (teams on the ground that support clients within a specific region).
Instead of having to see “local” and “global” as opposite models, and potentially conflicting ones at that, the firm of the future has the opportunity to be both.
0 0 Votes
How it works, what laws determine it and how you can use this wonderful means available to everyone.

Each vibration tends to reach other similar vibrations that are found in space and beyond with the aim of merging with them. They must be similar so that they can merge and unite to enter into relationship therefore, every living creature that has identical vibrations and wavelengths will merge into the outer space.
All living things respond to these laws. Our thoughts and feelings emit vibrations, each according to its own nature, and go to awaken currents and entities of the same nature in space that return to us and influence our existence.
Those who know this law therefore understand that nothing happens by chance.
If we encounter great difficulties in our life it means that in the recent or distant past we have attracted, through ignorance, unhealthy elements.
Let us strive to nurture thoughts and feelings that connect us to purer and brighter entities and vibrations in order to receive everything we need to rebuild ourselves.

The law of affinity is one of the great keys to spiritual realization!
Conscious in their own life and how short its duration is, a being in search of spirituality and its inner growth will not be in constant search for material goods and futile and short-lived wealth. A conscious human being is in search of eternal and indestructible riches that persist, will make them bear fruit by accumulating precious elements in their subtle bodies.

When we leave this planet and this body, a vector of experiences, we will go directly to those regions where we have drawn certain elements and by virtue of the Law of Affinity, we will be introduced by those same components of the cosmos where we will discover the splendors of the Universe. I will give you an example. While walking on the street it may happen that we pass in places where dishonest actions have been committed. If at that moment our thoughts or feelings are negative, by the law of affinity we will enter into relationship with those vibrations produced and we will feel the influence. This can lead us to act badly without knowing that the cause lies in those energetic emanations that we received passing right along that road.

The only effective means of protecting ourselves from harmful influences is to monitor the quality of our inner states.
Through thought we have the possibility of capturing in the cosmic space all the elements necessary in order to grow and reach any living being we desire because it is the thought, through this precious Law, that has the task of reaching them.
Even if the Being we think of is in a remote or unknown area, our thinking has the grandiose and phenomenal ability to capture it and reach it. This concept obviously applies to anything.
Whether we want to attract certain elements of the Universe or achieve certain goals, we don’t have to worry about knowing where they are, how far or how to reach them. When the thought is intense and focused it will surely go straight to the goal.
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"Culture is the only good of humanity which, divided among all, instead of decreasing it becomes greater".HG Gadamer
To inform and promote art exhibitions and cultural events, with the social purpose of supporting and enhancing local museums, artists, creativity and art institutes, we provide our quarterly magazine AreaArte and our discount cards called AAcard. .
This is our commitment since 2009 :.
  • Weemploy art and culture as a primary and important resource to generate value, interest, development, growth and social cohesion.
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  • We financemuseums, art restorations, cultural associations, art institutes and philanthropic projects to support medical research.
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  • We show that culture and art offer new business ideas and job opportunities to make our great artistic heritage grow and enhance.
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  • We promote cultural activities for employees in companies, developing ethics, welfare and cultural wellbeing actions with Corporate Social Responsibility.
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  • We develop collaborative synergies with trade associations and commercial activities to promote and encourage cultural tourism in the area.
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  • We protect the cultural and artistic wealth that we have inherited and increase its immense value to leave it as a legacy enhanced in the future.
  • .
The services and products that we offer in support of our mission are the following:
  • AreAArte , a magazine published in Italian and English with a quarterly periodicity associated with “The four seasons of art”.
    . Thanks to a simple and usable language AreAArte is a unique cult magazine of its kind, for a wide and curious audience to discover and learn about museums, artists and cultural events. The price of 4 publications of the magazine is 40 €.
  • .
  • AAcard , a discount card that allows you to visit museums, foundations and cultural associations, art studios, and sites of the Fondo Ambiente Italiano, at privileged conditions and at reduced prices. The AAcard is available at a price of € 8 for subscribers to the magazine, for cultural associations and companies that intend to provide their collaborators with this advantage in support of the frequentation of art venues.
  • .
. Corporate Social Responsibility actions are a great opportunity for cultural institutions. Conversely, artistic and cultural resources are an important opportunity for companies.
.That's how:.
  • Culture as Corporate Social Responsibility. We are all aware that culture is a deposit to draw from. Transforming this heritage into growth opportunities for companies cannot ignore supporting culture. Companies do not always devote sufficient ethical attention and professionalism to this aspect. A company that invests in culture with AreAArte does not represent simple patronage or sponsorship, because we offer useful services for a strategic and image competitive advantage, with actions of value and social responsibility for the benefit of the territory and our cultural heritage.
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  • Wellbeing Services & Cultural Welfare. The most important capital today for a company are people, investing in employees and putting the irreplaceable value of people at the center is fundamental to achieving company objectives. Motivating employees by implementing welfare with cultural services and wellbeing is not only a valid strategy for the growth of people but improves their work environment and sense of belonging.
  • .
. The following are 4 compelling reasons why a company invests in culture:.
  1. To promote the image and history of the company together with AreaArte, associating it with virtuosity to the cultural and artistic values of a country that is unique in the world.
  2. .
  3. Offer employees and collaborators the opportunity for one year to receive useful and important services in the cultural field.
  4. .
  5. Putting ethics and value at the center of the company, with CSR, Welfare & Cultural Wellbeing actions for the development of the territory and people.
  6. .
  7. Supporting museums, restorations, exhibitions, artists, art institutes and cultural associations together and with care and responsibility.
  8. .
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The 8th March marks International Women’s Day, which is always an important opportunity to take stock of the progress being made across the world with regards to women’s rights and to celebrate the brilliant individuals, organisations and movements that are leading the way.

This year the theme is ‘Choose to Challenge’, a bold call to action encouraging us all to stand up, speak out, push back against the status quo and demonstrate active allyship. It’s a powerful and empowering theme, but it also might leave some wondering ‘challenge what?’ or ‘is it my place to challenge?’

The women’s rights movement is fighting an ongoing battle for equality. However, as these conversations unfold, it is clear that many people feel that the fight has already been won, are unaware of the barriers many women still face, or feel that it is not their place to speak up or challenge. Whilst the movement is working to improve women’s rights, it’s vital that men are also part of the solution, working as allies to remove the barriers women may face, and to create workplaces, communities and a society that is inclusive and safe for everyone.

So, this International Women’s Day I invite everyone to #ChooseToChallenge gender stereotypes. Let’s recognise and challenge the harmful messages that seep through right from birth in clothes, toys, music, film, and interactions with family and friends. From boys’ babygrows with the slogan ‘Future Hero’ next to the girl’s babygrow that says ‘Future Superhero’s Girlfriend’, toys marketed in pink or blue boxes to make double the profit, lyrics that reduce girls to their bodies and films that encourage boys to hide their emotions, gender stereotypes are pervasive and shape the hearts, minds and aspirations of young people. Fawcett Society’s recent commission on gender stereotypes evidenced the harm of gender stereotypes and explored recommendations for parents, educators and the commercial sector to challenge them. The commission’s co-chair, Professor Becky Francis said:

“What every parent hopes for their child, and what educators hope for children in their class, is that they will be free to achieve their potential – yet what the evidence shows is that we still limit our children based on harmful, tired gender stereotypes.
That adds up to real harm. From boys’ underachievement in reading, to the gender pay gap, the evidence is clear that the stereotypes we impart in early childhood cause significant damage to our children.”

I also invite you to #ChooseToChallenge misogyny, in all its forms. How many more generations of girls will become accustomed to catcalls and honking horns on their walk to school, will learn which routes to avoid at night, which train seats are safest to avoid being trapped in by a leering man, to hold their keys between their fingers and be prepared to justify what they were wearing when being grabbed, yelled at or assaulted? How long before social media platforms address the daily, hourly, misogynistic abuse hurled at women, and especially women of colour. As writer and activist Laura Bates told Amnesty International:

“We are seeing young women and teenage girls experiencing online harassment as a normal part of their existence online. Girls who dare to express opinions about politics or current events often experience a very swift, misogynistic backlash. This might be rape threats or comments telling them to get back in the kitchen. It’s an invisible issue right now, but it might be having a major impact on the future political participation of those girls and young women. We won’t necessarily see the outcome of that before it’s too late.”

Let’s #ChooseToChallenge sexual harassment and violence against women and girls. In the UK, 1 in 4 women will experience domestic abuse and 1 in 5 sexual assault during her lifetime. The Crime Survey of England and Wales estimates 20% of women have experienced some type of sexual assault since the age of 16. UKFeminista’s report into sexism and sexual harassment in schools found that ‘it’s just everywhere,’ with 37% of female students having personally experienced some form of sexual harassment at school.
Kevin Courtney and Mary Bousted of the National Education Union stated:

“We need to understand what creates sexism and expose the attitudes which repeat the patterns of harmful experiences that women and girls face. We need to break the mould – the expectations about men and women, and girls and boys, that perpetuate harassment and gender injustice.”

Finally, let’s #ChooseToChallenge the policing of women’s bodies. From laws deciding women’s choices on abortion, to policing the clothes that women choose to wear (too revealing, too modest, we can’t win!), to gatekeeping womanhood itself, it can be an overwhelming and often contradictory attack on women’s autonomy. The current ‘debate’ on trans rights, for example, positions these rights as being in opposition to women’s rights, ignoring the fact that many trans people are women, and reducing women to biology. It’s a tactic that many women, particularly women of colour, recognise, where the definition of ‘woman’ becomes a narrow and homogenised picture – often white, cisgender and able bodied – and, as Rachel Mann put it, ‘those people who don’t fit very particular narratives of what a woman is tend to get thrown out.’

There is so much to challenge- and I haven’t even mentioned the so-called ‘motherhood penalty,’ or the lack of representation of women in various industries such as the film industry. Each of the issues raised in this blog will affect different women in different ways, often combining with racism, ableism, ageism or other forms of prejudice to create multiple burdens of discrimination.

So surely, we have no choice really but to challenge? To stand up, speak out and try to make change. Unfortunately, for some people, challenging these behaviours can cost them dearly – their jobs, their income, their safety. So, those that can, must. In the words of Laverne Cox, “we have to be able to ask ourselves, ‘Am I feeling uncomfortable or am I feeling unsafe?”’
It’s not always going to be comfortable. But I have learned that when I am uncomfortable that’s when I have the potential for the most growth.”

It can, of course, be uncomfortable, awkward and difficult to challenge prejudicial attitudes and behaviours, whether in the workplace or amongst family and friends. So, as I implore you to challenge sexism and misogyny and, while we’re at it, all forms of prejudice, I’ll leave you with some tools and tips for effectively doing so:

Use reasoning and enquiry questions
  • What do you think that word means?
  • What makes you think that?
  • How would you feel if someone spoke about you in that way?
  • Do you realise that what you said is sexist/ableist/racist/ageist/homo/bi/transphobic?
  • That word is an insulting term. Do you know why?
  • Can you think of why some people might feel uncomfortable and disrespected when they hear these comments/witness these behaviours?

Challenge them directly
  • Language like that is not acceptable.
  • You might not think that remark is offensive, but many would.
  • What you are saying presents a very stereotypical view of what men and women are like. When you do that it means that people who don’t fit into your way of seeing things can feel left out or ashamed.
Use an institutional response
  • Our workplace policy says that we are all responsible for making this a safe place for everyone. That kind of language is sexist/racist/homophobic and makes people feel unsafe. Therefore, it is unacceptable.
  • Some people would find that word insulting so it’s not ok to use it in our workplace.
  • It’s really important that in this workplace people feel able to express their gender however they feel comfortable, so we try to avoid gender stereotypes.
  • Do you remember the training we had on sexism/racism/unconscious bias?
Explain your own perspective
  • I’m not happy with what you said.
  • Sexist/ableist/homo/bi/transphobic/ageist language offends me. I don’t want to hear it again.
  • What you’ve said really disappoints/disturbs/upsets/angers me. I hoped you would recognise that it is important to treat everyone with respect and that it is therefore wrong to use such sexist/ableist/transphobic/racist language.
0 0 Votes
Technology is redefining art in strange, new ways. Works are created by people moving through laser beams or from data gathered on air pollution.

Where would the Impressionists have been without the invention of portable paint tubes that enabled them to paint outdoors? Who would have heard of Andy Warhol without silkscreen printing? The truth is that technology has been providing artists with new ways to express themselves for a very long time.

Still, over the past few decades, art and tech have become more intertwined than ever before, whether it’s through providing new ways to mix different types of media, allowing more human interaction or simply making the process of creating it easier.
Case in point is a show titled “Digital Revolution” that opened earlier this summer in London’s Barbican Centre. The exhibit, which runs through mid-September, includes a “Digital Archaeology” section which pays homage to gadgets and games that not that long ago dazzled us with their innovation. (Yes, an original version of Pong is there, presented as lovable antiquity.) But the show also features a wide variety of digital artists who are using technology to push art in different directions, often to allow gallery visitors to engage with it in a multi-dimensional way.

In the cover image Russian artist Dmitry Morozov has devised a way to make pollution beautiful.

In the comments below let us collect examples, some from “Digital Revolution," of how technology is reshaping what art is and how it’s produced.
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