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Locust invasion in the “breadbasket” of Afghanistan threatens the wheat harvest | locust invasions



Afghanistan’s northern breadbasket battles a potentially devastating locust outbreak that threatens to eat up to a quarter of the country’s annual wheat crop, UN warned.

After three years of disappointment crop affected by droughtAfghan farmers were expecting more this year — a much-needed boost for a country where nearly 20 million people are thought to be on the brink of survival. highest risk of hunger in 25 years.

But for those in eight key agricultural provinces, mostly in the north and northeast, a large-scale Moroccan locust outbreak is likely to be “devastating,” according to Richard Trenchard, country representative for the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

FAO estimates that a full infestation of the Moroccan locust, one of the world’s most economically destructive plant pests, could result in crop losses of between 700,000 and 1.2 million tons of wheat, the country’s staple grain.

Exacerbating the deep economic crisis that has engulfed Afghanistan since the Taliban took over in August 2021, Trenchard said, locusts threaten more disasters this year and next.

“They were expecting good harvests this year and it was like they were seeing a slight recovery for the first time and were just back to almost back to normal. And in this area, it will probably be – for many, many farmers – devastating,” he said.

“Other areas will be fine, but in this area, the breadbasket, it’s just… the thing that breaks my heart.”

There have been two Moroccan locust encounters in Afghanistan’s recent history, one in 1981 when an outbreak destroyed about a quarter of the national crop, and another in 2003 when it claimed a more modest 8% due to increased locust control. programs.

However, as the Taliban toppled Ashraf Ghani’s government, which led to the cessation of foreign aid, the Ministry of Agriculture began a locust control program. This made the country vulnerable as the Moroccan locust is always present and requires only certain conditions for an outbreak to occur.

Residents of Baghlan province in northern Afghanistan use the traditional method of digging holes to bury young locusts before they grow into adults. Photographer: Hashim Azizi/FAO

After noticing early last month that their fields were beginning to be covered in locusts, communities in affected areas such as the provinces of Badakhshan, Sari Pul and Kunduz mobilized to use traditional methods to eradicate the pests.

Thousands of people, many of whom have been supported by FAO, are currently engaged in the “exhausting” work of driving groups of young locusts, known as hopper swarms, into trenches or tarps for burial, Trenchard said.

These efforts are believed to have prevented a worst-case loss of up to 1.7 million tons of wheat. But his options were limited, Trenchard said, warning that it would be “too little and too late” for many.

“This is how you kill millions of locusts. The problem is that there are billions of locusts,” he said.

It is reported that pistachio orchards have already been destroyed in the northwestern province of Badghis. Last week, two districts reported the first adult locusts, which means that within the next six weeks the insects will begin to swarm, with each swarm lasting four to eight weeks. The harvest is also due to start in three weeks.

Farmers, local aid organizations, the FAO and the Department of Agriculture were now fighting to kill as many larvae as possible before they developed into adults, Trenchard said. But this is to mitigate the impact, not eliminate the threat.

“[The outbreak] will have a significant impact. There is no doubt about that,” Trenchard said. “How big is this impact… you won’t tell until they start swarming and [see] where are they going.”

The Moroccan Locust eats about 150 different plant species, 50 of which are food crops, all of which grow in Afghanistan. Its flocks can cover up to 150 miles (250 km) per day.

Moroccan locusts are poured into the pit.
Young locusts, or larvae, are buried in holes. It’s a race to get rid of as many as possible before they turn into adults and swarm. Photographer: Hashim Azizi/FAO

She also laid far more eggs than most locust species, Trenchard said. “You tend to get a multiplier of around 10 year after year. So 2024 is more worrisome than 2023: 2023 is bad, but 2024 – if left unchecked – we’re going to see something really terrible.”

To avoid this, he said, FAO urgently needs additional funding to provide everything needed to carry out chemical processing from September. He added that food aid provided through the World Food Programme, which was reduced this year, should be maintained.

According to the UN, its 2023 Afghanistan humanitarian response plan, which calls for $4.6bn (£3.65bn) for the country’s immediate needs, has so far received only $303m, 6.6% of the total funding required.

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‘No Mow May’ encourages homeowners to help bees by letting their lawns grow



let it grow

More than 70 cities in the US signed an agreement to ease maintenance rules for property owners in May, as part of a move to feed local bee populations for the upcoming growing season.

called “No mow may”, the initiative began in the United Kingdom and was later adopted by Appleton, Wisconsin, which became the first US city to implement it in 2020. let bee-friendly plants grow in their yards.

“Annoying weeds like clover and dandelions are like bee cheeseburgers,” said Israel Del Toro, an assistant professor of biology at Lawrence University and a city council member in Appleton.

According to Del Toro, Appleton saw the benefits of the bees. Since the start of the project, Appleton’s “No Mow May” lawns have shown a fivefold increase in bee numbers and a threefold increase in bee diversity compared to nearby parklands that were regularly mowed.

Bees are essential pollinators. Bees pollinate every year $15 billion harvest in the US and help farmers produce about third of all the food Americans eat.

But global bee populations are at risk — factors such as habitat loss, overuse of chemical pesticides and herbicides, disease and climate change could negatively impact bees, Del Toro said. globally, 35% invertebrate pollinatorsmainly bees and butterflies, are on the verge of extinction.

“If we can help the bees even a little, and not mow the lawns or give them extra food, that could make a big difference,” Del Toro said.

Without regular lawn mowing, homeowners also reduce the risk of soil damage from ground-nesting bees such as miner bees or leaf cutter bees, according to Relena Ribbons, an assistant professor of geosciences at Lawrence University.

An additional benefit of less mowing is the reduction of local air pollution. Because most lawnmowers run on gasoline, they can emit significant levels of air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, particulate matter and carbon dioxide.

Angela Vanden Elzen, a librarian and lifelong resident of Appleton, said she rarely saw the bees in the city when they were growing.

“No Mow May gives us the opportunity to help our ecosystem effortlessly,” said Vanden Elzen. “I love sharing the project with my kids. It all started with honey bees, and now they have become more tolerant of all creatures, even spiders.”

Vanden Elsen’s seven-year-old daughter, Elora, said she enjoys participating in May Without Braids with her community.

“I’m excited about No Mow May because we feed the bees,” Elora said. “And I love seeing all the bright colors in my front yard and seeing the bees buzzing on the flowers.”

In other cities, residents have expressed concern that their lawns are not mowed. Jo Ann Lytvyn Clinton, Mayor of Orchard Park, New York raised a question attraction of ticks and rodents by neglected lawns. Orchard Park residents are currently debating whether mowing 2-foot by 2-foot areas is enough to stimulate bee populations.

At the University of Minnesota, a bee research group called the Bee Squad recommends practicing “Slow Mow Summer,” a method in which homeowners mow their lawns infrequently in the summer, keeping the grass at a moderately high height. Elaine Evans, a professor at the University of Minnesota and a researcher with the Bee Squad, said this strategy could help provide bees with food throughout the season, not just in May.

Matthew Normansel, an Appleton resident who runs Eden Wild Food, a wild food foraging and education business, said “No Mow May” is an important part of the solution.

“This is the first step towards realizing that our land and property are connected to the environment,” he said. “I don’t think it’s an answer, but it’s the start of an important conversation.”

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Pancreatic cancer vaccine shows promise in small initial trial



Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer for which there are very few effective treatments. But messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, known for their ability to prevent COVID, are beginning to show some promise in the fight against deadly cancer. In a recent study, it helped early stage patients with pancreatic cancer who received personalized mRNA cancer vaccine after the operation there was no recurrence of the tumor in a year and a half. The trial, which was described in a study published Wednesday at Naturewhich was small—only 16 patients—and will need to be replicated in larger studies.

“I fully support the results,” says Drew Weissman, director of vaccine research and director of the RNA Innovation Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, a mRNA vaccine pioneer but not involved in the new paper. He adds that “this is not a definitive usability study. Larger studies are needed to determine effectiveness.”

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, the most common type of pancreatic cancer, has a mortality rate of 88 percent. It is the third leading cause of cancer death in the US and is becoming more common. Surgery is the main form of treatment, but cancer has a 90 percent recurrence rate within seven to nine months. Chemotherapy is only partially effective in delaying relapse. Other treatments, such as immunotherapy, are largely ineffective.

Pancreatic cancer often goes unnoticed until advanced stages, when it is more difficult to treat. One reason for its secretiveness is that it generates relatively few surface proteins called neoantigens that mark it as foreign and elicit an immune response. The scientists noticed that people who survived pancreatic cancer had a stronger response to these T cell neoantigens, a type of immune cell.

In a new study, Vinod Balachandran, an assistant surgeon at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, and colleagues targeted the self-tumor neoantigens of pancreatic cancer patients using mRNA technology, the same technology that was used to create the hugely successful vaccines against COVID. The experimental vaccines used by Balachandran and his colleagues were produced by BioNTech, which developed one of the COVID vaccines with Pfizer. The researchers vaccinated a total of 16 patients. After surgical removal of tumors, they treated patients with mRNA vaccines tailored to each person’s specific cancer, as well as an adjuvant, a substance that enhances the effects of vaccines. Fifteen participants also completed chemotherapy.

Eight of 16 patients developed a strong T-cell response to the vaccines. With a mean follow-up of 18 months after treatment, these people had longer cancer-free survival.

The study was small and included only white patients. And therapy, which is expensive, doesn’t work for all pancreatic cancer patients. Still, experts say it’s a promising development for a disease with such limited treatment options.

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5 best psychological theories of Sigmund Freud



This article was originally published on May 6, 2022.

When we tell our friends about a crazy dream we had with them, or when we use terms like ego and free association, we are referring to Sigmund Freud.

More than 80 years after his death, Freud’s theories about the human unconscious and how it affects our behavior continue to permeate Western culture. Freud’s pioneering psychological theories, presented to the world at the turn of the 20th century, changed our understanding of the human mind. His theories have influenced not only psychological theory, but also the way we behave in everyday life, in the family and at work. life.

Freud’s psychoanalytic theory

Terms like sleep analysis, free association, Oedipus complexthe Freudian slip and the ubiquitous ego, and id and superegowoven into much of what we do, think and say.

1. Sleep analysis

In modern society, we often talk about our dreams. If you google “dream quotes” there seems to be an endless supply of them. From bestselling author Erma Bombeck’s joke, “It takes a lot of guts to show your dreams to someone else,” to the American rapper and actor, Tupac Shakur lyrics, “Reality is wrong. Dreams are real.” But it is Freud who reveals what a dream is – an alternative reality that we experience when we sleep.

“The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind,” writes Freud.

Freud’s theory of dreams and his book The Interpretation of Dreams., were revolutionary. Before its publication in 1899, scientists considered dreams to be “meaningless”. Freud believed that dreams were “the disguised fulfillment of repressed childhood desires”.

While popular culture has taken Freud’s theories and applied their meaning – for example, dreams about flying mean that you are subconsciously thinking about ambition – Freud never wrote a dream dictionary. In fact, he shied away from such specifics. He insisted that although dreams are symbolic, they are specific to the individual and cannot be defined in general for the entire society.

2. Free association

Freud’s dream theories directly influenced his free association theory. Based on the theory that dreams and their meanings are individual, Freud allowed his patients to interpret their dreams for themselves, instead of giving them their own opinion. He called his process free association. With each new feature of a dream during a psychoanalytic session, Freud suggested that his patients relax and—to use a modern term—spit out what they thought it meant. Patients threw out ideas as they came, no matter how trivial they might be.

3. Reports on Freud

One of the most popular phrases from Freud’s theories: Freudian slip. He believed that a “slip of the tongue” – when we say something that we are not going to say – shows what we are thinking, subconsciously. Freud presented his theory of the Freudian slip in his 1901 book. Psychopathology of everyday life, and suggested that these verbal (and sometimes written) errors were rooted in “unconscious urges” and “unexpressed desires”. In addition, Freud believed that the inability to remember something – for example, someone’s address or name – is due to our need or desire to suppress it. Modern science has yet to explain why Freudian slips happen.

4. Oedipus complex, penis envy and womb envy

Experts believe Oedipus complex, psychosexual theory, as Freud’s most controversial theory. According to Freud, this is an unconscious desire that begins at the phallic stage of development, between the ages of three and six. The child is sexually attracted to its parent of the opposite sex and is jealous of its parent of the same sex.

Popular culture uses the Oedipus complex as a general term for the phase for both boys and girls. But Freud postulated that boys experience an Oedipus complex and girls an Electra complex. This is when a girl unconsciously becomes sexually attached to her father and is hostile to her mother.

Freud believed that the Oedipus complex was “the central phenomenon of the sexual period of early childhood”, but there is no scientific evidence to support his theory.

“Penis envy” grew out of Freud’s theory of the Oedipus complex, and Freud published it in 1908. Freud believed that a woman’s realization that she does not have a penis leads to intense envy, which underlies female behavior.

“Freud claimed that the only way to overcome this penis envy was to have a child of his own, and even went so far as to suggest that he wanted a male child in his efforts to gain a penis,” the researcher writes. British Psychological Society. Psychoanalyst Karen Horney, a contemporary of Freud whose theories led to the feminist psychology movement, saw penis envy as purely symbolic.

Horney postulated that envy, not of the phallus itself, but of the envy of the penis, had more to do with a woman’s position in society and “the desire for social prestige and position that men experience.” Thus, women felt inferior because of the freedom and social status they lacked because of their gender, and not because of their literal lack of a phallus,” the author writes. British Psychological Society.

In addition, Horney introduces the term “womb envy” and explains that men are negatively affected by their inability to have children and envy the “biological functions of the female sex”, including breastfeeding and pregnancy.

5. Ego, Id and Superego

Somebody think human psyche as the most enduring psychoanalytic theory in Freud’s career. Freud published his personality theory in 1923, which hypothesizes that the human psyche is divided into three parts – the ego, the id, and the superego. And they all develop at different stages of our lives. It is important to note that Freud believed that these are not physical objects in our brains, but rather “systems”.

While the word “ego” is used much more frequently in popular culture than “id” and “superego”, the three are related. According to Freud, the id is the most primitive part of the human psyche. This is the basis of our sexual and aggressive urges. The superego is our moral compass, and the ego is the judge, if you will, between the pulls of the id and the superego.

Freud’s psychological theories remain in our subconscious and consciousness

The next time you wake up from a strange dream that you can tell your best friend in detail, he will respond: “Oh, snakes? This dream is all about penis envy.” Or your boss yells at you and you mutter under your breath, “Too ego.” Or you are killing time on a long car ride and throwing away words and free associations – you have to thank Freud. And, if you’re looking for a reason to pay tribute to Freud and all of his contributions to our folk, pop culture and therapy, consider raising a toast to the father of psychoanalysis. He was born on May 6, 1856.

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