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Capital Center For Travel & Tropical Medicine Routine & Travel Immunizations Helpful Hints for the Traveler Illnesses and Precautions Illnesses and Precautions Prescriptions When traveling outside the United States, you should always be prepared for the unexpected. The physicians at Capital Center for Travel and Tropical Medicine can prescribe appropriate medications to take with you to help avoid and treat disease. Malaria Malaria is a life threatening disease that is transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Travelers can avoid infection by repelling mosquitoes and using preventative medicines. You can repel mosquitoes by the following methods • Use insect repellent containing 30-50% DEET on all exposed skin except eyes, lips and open wounds. • Pre-treat clothes, netting and shoes with permethrin, which also repels mosquitoes. • Wear long pants tucked into pants when hiking and long sleeve shirts tucked into your pants. • Avoid scented products such as perfumes and deodorants. • Try to remain indoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. Your physician will prescribe anti-malarial medicines which are taken before, during and after your trip. It is extremely important to take these medications as prescribed. Before you travel, see your travel medicine provider. They will review your specific itinerary and determine the risk of malaria exposure. Traveler''s Diarrhea The most common health related issue to afflict the traveler is diarrhea. Typically caused by the ingestion of bacteria or their toxin byproducts, viruses and parasites after swallowing germs during mealtime or from contaminated hand to mouth contact. When traveling to a developing country be aware of the filtration system. Here are a few tips. • Boiling water for 3 minutes is a safe way to disinfect the water • Drink bottled water and juices. • Use bottled or boiled water to brush your teeth • Avoid milk and dairy products which may be unpasteurized • Do not use ice made from local tap water • Ask your physician about the use of iodine tablets to disinfect the water. • Eat only fruits with thick skin that you have personally peeled • Do not eat raw or undercooked meat, seafood or vegetables • Avoid salads (washed with contaminated water) • Do not eat food from street vendors • Wash hands with soap before eating Rehydration is the key if you should contract traveler''s diarrhea. If you have several watery stools with abdominal cramps you have likely contracted traveler''s diarrhea. You should drink fluids (bottled juices and water as well as broths made from boiled water). If possible try and purchase oral rehydration salts known as Pedialyte or Gatorade. If overseas and are unable to purchase these products you can make your own rehydrating solution. Mix together 1 tsp salt and 8 tsp sugar in 1 quart of clean (bottled or boiled) water. Over the counter medication, i.e. Imodium AD can be taken with caution only if you do not have a fever or bloody stools. Be careful, we do not want to trap the offending agent or chemical in your body so only use Imodium if you are having trouble keeping up with what is coming out of you. If you have no relief from Imodium AD, you should consider taking an antibiotic prescribed by your physician. Please wash your hands frequently to prevent infecting others. Ticks Ticks are one of the leading carriers of diseases to humans, whether from the tick bite itself or from the organisms in the tick''s saliva transmitted through the bite. The following are simple measures a traveler can take to help prevent a tick bite: • Avoid grassy areas and shrubs where ticks may be lying in wait. • Wear light colored clothing so ticks can be easily seen, and brush them off • Tuck your pants into boots or socks • Apply insect repellant to the clothing but not to the skin, specifically the brands designed to repel ticks. • At the end of the day do a "tick check" on yourself Unfortunately, many people think they know how to remove ticks, but the most common tick-removal methods result in increasing the chances of infection. The best way to remove a tick is to use a small pair of tweezers. Using the tweezers, carefully flip the tick onto its back. Grab the tick firmly (but not too tight as to cause it to rupture) with the tweezers as close to the skin as possible. Apply gentle pulling until the tick comes free. Twisting and turning the tick can cause the head and mouthpiece to break off increasing the chance of infection. Once the tick is removed, you may rinse it down the sink or flush it down a toilet. Consider keeping it in a tightly closed jar or taped to a piece of paper to help the doctor in managing your condition should you become ill from the tick bite. Cruise Ship Sanitation The CDC (United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) conducts sanitation inspections of all passenger cruise ships arriving at ports under control of the United States. These inspections are held to decrease the possibility of disease outbreaks caused by contaminated food or water on board cruise ship. Ships are rated on the following items to determine if they meet CDC''s sanitation standards: • Water • Refrigeration • Food Preparation • Potential contamination of food • Personal cleanliness of food handlers • General cleanliness and repair The inspection program is based on World Health Organization guidelines. A summary of cruise ship sanitation inspections and/or a copy of the last inspection report of a specified ship is available from the Office of Chief, Sanitation and Vector Control Activity, Quarantine Division, 1015 North America Way, Room 107, Miami, Florida 33132. Altitude Sickness Altitude sickness can affect 25% of adults going higher than 5000 feet. Eight percent of those symptomatic will develop more serious disease resulting in possible brain swelling and/or heart failure. Initial symptoms may mimic more common problems such as migraine headaches, dehydration, exhaustion, viral infections, or bronchitis. Travelers have options to decrease risk. Slower ascent facilitates acclimatization. Reduced activity upon arrival and appropriate high carbohydrate diet are helpful, as well as limited alcohol usage. Acetazolamide (Diamox) is the drug of choice to accelerate acclimatization and decrease susceptibility to altitude sickness. It is gentle, yet very effective when started twice or three times per day the day before ascent and continued until descent. Acetazolamide acts as a mild diuretic and also adjusts the chemistry of the body promoting adequate breathing patterns'' and fluid balance. Acetazolamide is contraindicated in persons with sulfa allergy. Dexamethasone and Nifedipine are helpful in select situations. Mild altitude sickness may be treated with analgesics, diamox, or dexamethasone. The mildly symptomatic person should rest and not go any higher until symptoms resolve. If there is no improvement in a few days, or the symptoms worsen, it becomes imperative to descend to lower elevation, and use oxygen in conjunction with further treatment to save the person''s life. Sexually Transmitted Disease Be aware of risk of infection if you should decide to be sexually active abroad. Particularly, risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Herpes simplex, syphilis, HBV, etc. may be much higher than here in the U.S. Responsible behavior and use of condoms and alcohol will decrease but not eliminate all risk. Avoid illicit drugs. Abstinence is the only preferably reliable safe behavior. There is increased antibiotic resistance in some of these infections in Asia and Africa. It is important to let your health care provider know of your travel history, should you develop illness upon return home. General 20-50% of travel-related deaths are caused by accidents, trauma and injuries. Avoid nighttime driving in rural areas. Use seat belts and infant/child car seats. Avoid use of alcohol while driving or engaging in water sports. Use flotation devices or life jackets. Use helmets when riding bikes, horses, or mopeds. Avoid politically unstable areas. Illnesses and Precautions Prescriptions When traveling outside the United States, you should always be prepared for the unexpected. The physicians at Capital Center for Travel and Tropical Medicine can prescribe appropriate medications to take with you to help avoid and treat disease. Malaria Malaria is a life threatening disease that is transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Travelers can avoid infection by repelling mosquitoes and using preventative medicines. You can repel mosquitoes by the following methods • Use insect repellent containing 30-50% DEET on all exposed skin except eyes, lips and open wounds. • Pre-treat clothes, netting and shoes with permethrin, which also repels mosquitoes. • Wear long pants tucked into pants when hiking and long sleeve shirts tucked into your pants. • Avoid scented products such as perfumes and deodorants. • Try to remain indoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. Your physician will prescribe anti-malarial medicines which are taken before, during and after your trip. It is extremely important to take these medications as prescribed. Before you travel, see your travel medicine provider. They will review your specific itinerary and determine the risk of malaria exposure. Traveler''s Diarrhea The most common health related issue to afflict the traveler is diarrhea. Typically caused by the ingestion of bacteria or their toxin byproducts, viruses and parasites after swallowing germs during mealtime or from contaminated hand to mouth contact. When traveling to a developing country be aware of the filtration system. Here are a few tips. • Boiling water for 3 minutes is a safe way to disinfect the water • Drink bottled water and juices. • Use bottled or boiled water to brush your teeth • Avoid milk and dairy products which may be unpasteurized • Do not use ice made from local tap water • Ask your physician about the use of iodine tablets to disinfect the water. • Eat only fruits with thick skin that you have personally peeled • Do not eat raw or undercooked meat, seafood or vegetables • Avoid salads (washed with contaminated water) • Do not eat food from street vendors • Wash hands with soap before eating Rehydration is the key if you should contract traveler''s diarrhea. If you have several watery stools with abdominal cramps you have likely contracted traveler''s diarrhea. You should drink fluids (bottled juices and water as well as broths made from boiled water). If possible try and purchase oral rehydration salts known as Pedialyte or Gatorade. If overseas and are unable to purchase these products you can make your own rehydrating solution. Mix together 1 tsp salt and 8 tsp sugar in 1 quart of clean (bottled or boiled) water. Over the counter medication, i.e. Imodium AD can be taken with caution only if you do not have a fever or bloody stools. Be careful, we do not want to trap the offending agent or chemical in your body so only use Imodium if you are having trouble keeping up with what is coming out of you. If you have no relief from Imodium AD, you should consider taking an antibiotic prescribed by your physician. Please wash your hands frequently to prevent infecting others. Ticks Ticks are one of the leading carriers of diseases to humans, whether from the tick bite itself or from the organisms in the tick''s saliva transmitted through the bite. The following are simple measures a traveler can take to help prevent a tick bite: • Avoid grassy areas and shrubs where ticks may be lying in wait. • Wear light colored clothing so ticks can be easily seen, and brush them off • Tuck your pants into boots or socks • Apply insect repellant to the clothing but not to the skin, specifically the brands designed to repel ticks. • At the end of the day do a "tick check" on yourself Unfortunately, many people think they know how to remove ticks, but the most common tick-removal methods result in increasing the chances of infection. The best way to remove a tick is to use a small pair of tweezers. Using the tweezers, carefully flip the tick onto its back. Grab the tick firmly (but not too tight as to cause it to rupture) with the tweezers as close to the skin as possible. Apply gentle pulling until the tick comes free. Twisting and turning the tick can cause the head and mouthpiece to break off increasing the chance of infection. Once the tick is removed, you may rinse it down the sink or flush it down a toilet. Consider keeping it in a tightly closed jar or taped to a piece of paper to help the doctor in managing your condition should you become ill from the tick bite. Cruise Ship Sanitation The CDC (United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) conducts sanitation inspections of all passenger cruise ships arriving at ports under control of the United States. These inspections are held to decrease the possibility of disease outbreaks caused by contaminated food or water on board cruise ship. Ships are rated on the following items to determine if they meet CDC''s sanitation standards: • Water • Refrigeration • Food Preparation • Potential contamination of food • Personal cleanliness of food handlers • General cleanliness and repair The inspection program is based on World Health Organization guidelines. A summary of cruise ship sanitation inspections and/or a copy of the last inspection report of a specified ship is available from the Office of Chief, Sanitation and Vector Control Activity, Quarantine Division, 1015 North America Way, Room 107, Miami, Florida 33132. Altitude Sickness Altitude sickness can affect 25% of adults going higher than 5000 feet. Eight percent of those symptomatic will develop more serious disease resulting in possible brain swelling and/or heart failure. Initial symptoms may mimic more common problems such as migraine headaches, dehydration, exhaustion, viral infections, or bronchitis. Travelers have options to decrease risk. Slower ascent facilitates acclimatization. Reduced activity upon arrival and appropriate high carbohydrate diet are helpful, as well as limited alcohol usage. Acetazolamide (Diamox) is the drug of choice to accelerate acclimatization and decrease susceptibility to altitude sickness. It is gentle, yet very effective when started twice or three times per day the day before ascent and continued until descent. Acetazolamide acts as a mild diuretic and also adjusts the chemistry of the body promoting adequate breathing patterns'' and fluid balance. Acetazolamide is contraindicated in persons with sulfa allergy. Dexamethasone and Nifedipine are helpful in select situations. Mild altitude sickness may be treated with analgesics, diamox, or dexamethasone. The mildly symptomatic person should rest and not go any higher until symptoms resolve. If there is no improvement in a few days, or the symptoms worsen, it becomes imperative to descend to lower elevation, and use oxygen in conjunction with further treatment to save the person''s life. Sexually Transmitted Disease Be aware of risk of infection if you should decide to be sexually active abroad. Particularly, risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Herpes simplex, syphilis, HBV, etc. may be much higher than here in the U.S. Responsible behavior and use of condoms and alcohol will decrease but not eliminate all risk. Avoid illicit drugs. Abstinence is the only preferably reliable safe behavior. There is increased antibiotic resistance in some of these infections in Asia and Africa. It is important to let your health care provider know of your travel history, should you develop illness upon return home. General 20-50% of travel-related deaths are caused by accidents, trauma and injuries. Avoid nighttime driving in rural areas. Use seat belts and infant/child car seats. Avoid use of alcohol while driving or engaging in water sports. Use flotation devices or life jackets. Use helmets when riding bikes, horses, or mopeds. Avoid politically unstable areas. Illnesses and Precautions Prescriptions When traveling outside the United States, you should always be prepared for the unexpected. The physicians at Capital Center for Travel and Tropical Medicine can prescribe appropriate medications to take with you to help avoid and treat disease. Malaria Malaria is a life threatening disease that is transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Travelers can avoid infection by repelling mosquitoes and using preventative medicines. You can repel mosquitoes by the following methods • Use insect repellent containing 30-50% DEET on all exposed skin except eyes, lips and open wounds. • Pre-treat clothes, netting and shoes with permethrin, which also repels mosquitoes. • Wear long pants tucked into pants when hiking and long sleeve shirts tucked into your pants. • Avoid scented products such as perfumes and deodorants. • Try to remain indoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. Your physician will prescribe anti-malarial medicines which are taken before, during and after your trip. It is extremely important to take these medications as prescribed. Before you travel, see your travel medicine provider. They will review your specific itinerary and determine the risk of malaria exposure. Traveler''s Diarrhea The most common health related issue to afflict the traveler is diarrhea. Typically caused by the ingestion of bacteria or their toxin byproducts, viruses and parasites after swallowing germs during mealtime or from contaminated hand to mouth contact. When traveling to a developing country be aware of the filtration system. Here are a few tips. • Boiling water for 3 minutes is a safe way to disinfect the water • Drink bottled water and juices. • Use bottled or boiled water to brush your teeth • Avoid milk and dairy products which may be unpasteurized • Do not use ice made from local tap water • Ask your physician about the use of iodine tablets to disinfect the water. • Eat only fruits with thick skin that you have personally peeled • Do not eat raw or undercooked meat, seafood or vegetables • Avoid salads (washed with contaminated water) • Do not eat food from street vendors • Wash hands with soap before eating Rehydration is the key if you should contract traveler''s diarrhea. If you have several watery stools with abdominal cramps you have likely contracted traveler''s diarrhea. You should drink fluids (bottled juices and water as well as broths made from boiled water). If possible try and purchase oral rehydration salts known as Pedialyte or Gatorade. If overseas and are unable to purchase these products you can make your own rehydrating solution. Mix together 1 tsp salt and 8 tsp sugar in 1 quart of clean (bottled or boiled) water. Over the counter medication, i.e. Imodium AD can be taken with caution only if you do not have a fever or bloody stools. Be careful, we do not want to trap the offending agent or chemical in your body so only use Imodium if you are having trouble keeping up with what is coming out of you. If you have no relief from Imodium AD, you should consider taking an antibiotic prescribed by your physician. Please wash your hands frequently to prevent infecting others. Ticks Ticks are one of the leading carriers of diseases to humans, whether from the tick bite itself or from the organisms in the tick''s saliva transmitted through the bite. The following are simple measures a traveler can take to help prevent a tick bite: • Avoid grassy areas and shrubs where ticks may be lying in wait. • Wear light colored clothing so ticks can be easily seen, and brush them off • Tuck your pants into boots or socks • Apply insect repellant to the clothing but not to the skin, specifically the brands designed to repel ticks. • At the end of the day do a "tick check" on yourself Unfortunately, many people think they know how to remove ticks, but the most common tick-removal methods result in increasing the chances of infection. The best way to remove a tick is to use a small pair of tweezers. Using the tweezers, carefully flip the tick onto its back. Grab the tick firmly (but not too tight as to cause it to rupture) with the tweezers as close to the skin as possible. Apply gentle pulling until the tick comes free. Twisting and turning the tick can cause the head and mouthpiece to break off increasing the chance of infection. Once the tick is removed, you may rinse it down the sink or flush it down a toilet. Consider keeping it in a tightly closed jar or taped to a piece of paper to help the doctor in managing your condition should you become ill from the tick bite. Cruise Ship Sanitation The CDC (United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) conducts sanitation inspections of all passenger cruise ships arriving at ports under control of the United States. These inspections are held to decrease the possibility of disease outbreaks caused by contaminated food or water on board cruise ship. Ships are rated on the following items to determine if they meet CDC''s sanitation standards: • Water • Refrigeration • Food Preparation • Potential contamination of food • Personal cleanliness of food handlers • General cleanliness and repair The inspection program is based on World Health Organization guidelines. A summary of cruise ship sanitation inspections and/or a copy of the last inspection report of a specified ship is available from the Office of Chief, Sanitation and Vector Control Activity, Quarantine Division, 1015 North America Way, Room 107, Miami, Florida 33132. Altitude Sickness Altitude sickness can affect 25% of adults going higher than 5000 feet. Eight percent of those symptomatic will develop more serious disease resulting in possible brain swelling and/or heart failure. Initial symptoms may mimic more common problems such as migraine headaches, dehydration, exhaustion, viral infections, or bronchitis. Travelers have options to decrease risk. Slower ascent facilitates acclimatization. Reduced activity upon arrival and appropriate high carbohydrate diet are helpful, as well as limited alcohol usage. Acetazolamide (Diamox) is the drug of choice to accelerate acclimatization and decrease susceptibility to altitude sickness. It is gentle, yet very effective when started twice or three times per day the day before ascent and continued until descent. Acetazolamide acts as a mild diuretic and also adjusts the chemistry of the body promoting adequate breathing patterns'' and fluid balance. Acetazolamide is contraindicated in persons with sulfa allergy. Dexamethasone and Nifedipine are helpful in select situations. Mild altitude sickness may be treated with analgesics, diamox, or dexamethasone. The mildly symptomatic person should rest and not go any higher until symptoms resolve. If there is no improvement in a few days, or the symptoms worsen, it becomes imperative to descend to lower elevation, and use oxygen in conjunction with further treatment to save the person''s life. Sexually Transmitted Disease Be aware of risk of infection if you should decide to be sexually active abroad. Particularly, risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Herpes simplex, syphilis, HBV, etc. may be much higher than here in the U.S. Responsible behavior and use of condoms and alcohol will decrease but not eliminate all risk. Avoid illicit drugs. Abstinence is the only preferably reliable safe behavior. There is increased antibiotic resistance in some of these infections in Asia and Africa. It is important to let your health care provider know of your travel history, should you develop illness upon return home. General 20-50% of travel-related deaths are caused by accidents, trauma and injuries. Avoid nighttime driving in rural areas. Use seat belts and infant/child car seats. Avoid use of alcohol while driving or engaging in water sports. Use flotation devices or life jackets. Use helmets when riding bikes, horses, or mopeds. Avoid politically unstable areas. Illnesses and Precautions Prescriptions When traveling outside the United States, you should always be prepared for the unexpected. The physicians at Capital Center for Travel and Tropical Medicine can prescribe appropriate medications to take with you to help avoid and treat disease. Malaria Malaria is a life threatening disease that is transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Travelers can avoid infection by repelling mosquitoes and using preventative medicines. You can repel mosquitoes by the following methods • Use insect repellent containing 30-50% DEET on all exposed skin except eyes, lips and open wounds. • Pre-treat clothes, netting and shoes with permethrin, which also repels mosquitoes. • Wear long pants tucked into pants when hiking and long sleeve shirts tucked into your pants. • Avoid scented products such as perfumes and deodorants. • Try to remain indoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. Your physician will prescribe anti-malarial medicines which are taken before, during and after your trip. It is extremely important to take these medications as prescribed. Before you travel, see your travel medicine provider. They will review your specific itinerary and determine the risk of malaria exposure. Traveler''s Diarrhea The most common health related issue to afflict the traveler is diarrhea. Typically caused by the ingestion of bacteria or their toxin byproducts, viruses and parasites after swallowing germs during mealtime or from contaminated hand to mouth contact. When traveling to a developing country be aware of the filtration system. Here are a few tips. • Boiling water for 3 minutes is a safe way to disinfect the water • Drink bottled water and juices. • Use bottled or boiled water to brush your teeth • Avoid milk and dairy products which may be unpasteurized • Do not use ice made from local tap water • Ask your physician about the use of iodine tablets to disinfect the water. • Eat only fruits with thick skin that you have personally peeled • Do not eat raw or undercooked meat, seafood or vegetables • Avoid salads (washed with contaminated water) • Do not eat food from street vendors • Wash hands with soap before eating Rehydration is the key if you should contract traveler''s diarrhea. If you have several watery stools with abdominal cramps you have likely contracted traveler''s diarrhea. You should drink fluids (bottled juices and water as well as broths made from boiled water). If possible try and purchase oral rehydration salts known as Pedialyte or Gatorade. If overseas and are unable to purchase these products you can make your own rehydrating solution. Mix together 1 tsp salt and 8 tsp sugar in 1 quart of clean (bottled or boiled) water. Over the counter medication, i.e. Imodium AD can be taken with caution only if you do not have a fever or bloody stools. Be careful, we do not want to trap the offending agent or chemical in your body so only use Imodium if you are having trouble keeping up with what is coming out of you. If you have no relief from Imodium AD, you should consider taking an antibiotic prescribed by your physician. Please wash your hands frequently to prevent infecting others. Ticks Ticks are one of the leading carriers of diseases to humans, whether from the tick bite itself or from the organisms in the tick''s saliva transmitted through the bite. The following are simple measures a traveler can take to help prevent a tick bite: • Avoid grassy areas and shrubs where ticks may be lying in wait. • Wear light colored clothing so ticks can be easily seen, and brush them off • Tuck your pants into boots or socks • Apply insect repellant to the clothing but not to the skin, specifically the brands designed to repel ticks. • At the end of the day do a "tick check" on yourself Unfortunately, many people think they know how to remove ticks, but the most common tick-removal methods result in increasing the chances of infection. The best way to remove a tick is to use a small pair of tweezers. Using the tweezers, carefully flip the tick onto its back. Grab the tick firmly (but not too tight as to cause it to rupture) with the tweezers as close to the skin as possible. Apply gentle pulling until the tick comes free. Twisting and turning the tick can cause the head and mouthpiece to break off increasing the chance of infection. Once the tick is removed, you may rinse it down the sink or flush it down a toilet. Consider keeping it in a tightly closed jar or taped to a piece of paper to help the doctor in managing your condition should you become ill from the tick bite. Cruise Ship Sanitation The CDC (United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) conducts sanitation inspections of all passenger cruise ships arriving at ports under control of the United States. These inspections are held to decrease the possibility of disease outbreaks caused by contaminated food or water on board cruise ship. Ships are rated on the following items to determine if they meet CDC''s sanitation standards: • Water • Refrigeration • Food Preparation • Potential contamination of food • Personal cleanliness of food handlers • General cleanliness and repair The inspection program is based on World Health Organization guidelines. A summary of cruise ship sanitation inspections and/or a copy of the last inspection report of a specified ship is available from the Office of Chief, Sanitation and Vector Control Activity, Quarantine Division, 1015 North America Way, Room 107, Miami, Florida 33132. Altitude Sickness Altitude sickness can affect 25% of adults going higher than 5000 feet. Eight percent of those symptomatic will develop more serious disease resulting in possible brain swelling and/or heart failure. Initial symptoms may mimic more common problems such as migraine headaches, dehydration, exhaustion, viral infections, or bronchitis. Travelers have options to decrease risk. Slower ascent facilitates acclimatization. Reduced activity upon arrival and appropriate high carbohydrate diet are helpful, as well as limited alcohol usage. Acetazolamide (Diamox) is the drug of choice to accelerate acclimatization and decrease susceptibility to altitude sickness. It is gentle, yet very effective when started twice or three times per day the day before ascent and continued until descent. Acetazolamide acts as a mild diuretic and also adjusts the chemistry of the body promoting adequate breathing patterns'' and fluid balance. Acetazolamide is contraindicated in persons with sulfa allergy. Dexamethasone and Nifedipine are helpful in select situations. Mild altitude sickness may be treated with analgesics, diamox, or dexamethasone. The mildly symptomatic person should rest and not go any higher until symptoms resolve. 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Use seat belts and infant/child car seats. Avoid use of alcohol while driving or engaging in water sports. Use flotation devices or life jackets. Use helmets when riding bikes, horses, or mopeds. Avoid politically unstable areas.
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GetFireAnt | The critical importance that social media currently plays in the lives of hundreds of thousands of smaller or larger companies all over the globe is incommensurable. Not only does the use of proper social media tools and apps help emerging businesses take advantage of online visibility, but it can also aid existing companies bounce two or three stories up faster than their managers could imagine was possible. Social media aggregators stand for the generic name given to the array of popular social network services everyone is using right now. These aggregators play the role of important information collectors. They are responsible for pulling together viable social media information into just one location. Companies using these aggregators get to keep informed on the type of products and new service offerings their potential prospects might be looking for. TWITTER IPO 2013! They get to rely their decisions on complex actions that involve RSS feeds featured on several social networks at a time, collect new friends and followers and turn them into clients, combine bookmarks and accurately consolidate messages, keep track of the times their company's name is mentioned in the online environment and do all this with the help of some special social media tools and widgets they can easily find on the Internet. The price of these tools and applications usually does not go through the roof and some of them are free of charge. So whenever a company is not fully satisfied with the services that a certain social media aggregator is providing it with, the respective company is recommended to keep exploring its options. There is an impressively wide range of choices to look into and the ever-evolving social media environment is forcing clever IT minds to add value to each upcoming social media aggregator, for competitiveness reasons. A business manager looking to considerably simplify the overall all-too-complicated social media experience of a company can read the product info all of these aggregators come accompanied by and make a clever decision. Online forums where folks are recommending or advising against these aggregators could also stand for some reliable sources of information at times, especially for the inexperienced. Successfully managing content across several networks under the same generous umbrella and hence incorporating social media into a blooming business all depends on the efficiency and accuracy of a social media aggregator. Some aggregators will personalize trending topics online, others will constantly keep an eye on Internet users' interests and needs in terms of information, some will carefully analyze comments and messages and other will even incorporate thoughtful social feed streams and useful bookmarks. All in all, the success of a business relies on the type of tools it uses to make itself and its products and services seen, heard of and talked about. No matter if your name is Frank Bobby and you are simply considering launching a new online T-shirt printing business or you are an experienced furniture company looking to get more out of your social media visibility, social media aggregators are the right impact tools you should make full use of. Pros and Cons of Social Media A lot of ink has been spilled over the matter of using social media means as promoting or boosting one's business. Social media web sites such as Facebook, Google Plus, or Twitter have also been attentively analyzed for their powerful role as information sources, as well as for their ability to cause negative impacts and lead to obsessive-compulsive behaviors online. Shortly put, there are both pros and cons that should be mentioned in relation to social media, and you can check it out following the lines below. More and more people are creating social media accounts, wishing to stay connected to everything occurring around them on a 24/7 basis. Social media is also the breaking ground of promoting one's business worldwide, and you can now find and compare several accredited nurse practitioner schools, instead of choosing to visit that place or the other and spend a great deal of time doing unnecessary travelling. You can also check out the Facebook page of your favorite cosmetics' brand and see if you can find your favorite natural hair products or coconut oil for skin you can purchase online. You can also keep in touch with your friends and long-distance siblings, chat, share photos, videos, thoughts and wishes in real-time. All of these are to be considered the strongest pros of using social media. Plus, the tweets originating from trustworthy information sources informing you of the latest local or worldwide news are now successfully replacing your regular information sources such as the news or online newspapers. Today, information reaches you via social media platforms, and you no longer need to go on a hunt for it on a daily basis. This is probably one of the biggest advantages of inserting social media into your daily routine. Information continues to be the key to success, so, so far, so good. But the amount of time millions of folks tend to spend online is the disturbing factor we should mention here. The social media bug can be caught by a lot of people, and the gap between normality and social media addiction is not that large and hard to cross. Teenagers and young adults altogether are the main targeted individuals, as they are most interested in being hyperactive and keeping in touch with all the important events worldwide. If we are to mention to case of the Boston Marathon bombing and the misleading information that has been leaked to the public, or other similar unfortunate events such as the death hoax cases that have involved celebrities worldwide and which have caused psychological damage similar to car accident negligence, we can see why social media is also faulty. While you can easily buy some serviced apartments London via Facebook contacts, you can also be bullied via social media platforms, so, without drawing the fine line between the pros and the cons, social media can prove to be a tool that is hard to control. Social media: Mass connection or mass disruption? We live in the world in which everyone is connected to everyone else. However, I once read a quote somewhere which said something like go into the forest; you won't find an internet connection there but I promise you will connect better. This small and very simple quote managed to capture my attention greatly. It is true, nowadays the only place where we may not have access to a goo internet connection may be a deserted spot in a forest or out in the middle of the ocean. Everywhere else seems to have a good wifi connection! Go to the malls, you will find access to the internet so that you can 'check in' an let your friends know that you are having a great time. Restaurants also have wifi enabled. If you happen to go somewhere without a wifi connection, you can simply turn on the mobile internet service provided by your operator! Going online is therefore no longer a problem at all. Now you wouldn't just go online because you want o surf the internet in a public place; mostly people surf the internet at home! The main reason why one wants to go online is because he or she has a massive circle of 'friends' on any one or more of the many social networking websites present. Today, I will discuss the different roles that such sites are playing these days. The social media is often filled with details of an individual's life that should not be disclosed to the hundreds of 'friends' that a person has on these platforms. You see, some information is either too personal or too trivial to be shared with everyone an individual knows. The concept of privacy seems to be nonexistent in the present world; everyone seems to know where you are, what you are doing and how you feel. Relationships have been strained because of such actions; fights have broken out among friends over petty issues generated from the social media. We live in a world where people deem it important even if they have health problems like sciatica pain. What people fail to understand is that some things are better left unpublicized. Such details about one's life are not for show; they should only be shared with close friends and family. Speaking of close friends and family, often people have others added in their social network streams when they aren't even acquaintances. You see, someone you once spoke to on a bus simply does not qualify to be added to your circle. You see, you can delude yourself by the statistics on your social media sites that you have hundreds of friends. That random man standing next to a shiny automobiles may be someone you meet at the grocer's daily, however, that does not make that person a friend! One must understand that in times of need, none of these friends turn up leaving the individual broken and confused. It is true that the social media has brought massive changes to our lifestyle and that it does have several benefits. However, the destruction caused by social media is a lot more than the benefits it gives. Fire Ants; Beneficial Pest? It is sometimes easy to forget about the little critters of the microscopic world. Crawling around in a tiny world, so intricately connected to our own, are over 900 million different species of insect. Some of the most profound, and interesting species are the ants, and there is no shortage of them! There are over 12,000 known species of ants and the total biomass of all the ants in the world is believed to be roughly equal to the biomass of humans; scientists estimate that for every human alive, there are 1.5 million of them! One particular type of ant, probably caught most of our attentions when we were very young; the fire ant (or to clarify; ants of the solenopsis genome). Many of us probably had our first encounter in the form of a sharp burning sensation when we sat in the way of one; hence the name "fire ant". Yes, the fire ant is perhaps most notorious for it's brutal sting. Other ants tend to bite and then spray venom into the wound. The fire ant bites only to grip on, and then injects a venom through a sting in the abdomen. The venom is an alkaline compound containing solenopsin. The effect is painful for humans, and often fatal for other insects. Interestingly, this particular alkaline has been used in homeopathic therapies, and has recently had scientific light shed on it to reveal it's qualities as an antibacterial, insecticidal, anti fungal, and anti-HIV properties. The fire ant might be paying us back for it's stings. That's better than the deals on nomorerack. Another claim to fame made by a certain fire ant, the Solenopsis invicta has another claim to fame; it is said to cause an estimated $5 billion in damages per year to North America, in medical treatment, damage, and control. These is an invasive fire ant species which is said to arrived by boat in the early 1900's. But there is much more to the fire ant than it's distinguishable sting, and it's ability to run up a whopping bill with the FDA. Like other ants, the societies they form are vast and complex, hierarchical and efficient, and there is much scientific interest around them. To nest, the fire ant produces large mounds, sometimes in open areas. They feed off plants, seeds, other insects like crickets, and sometimes small animals, which they are capable of attacking, and sometimes killing and eating. Colonies are founded by queen ants, who can give birth to an expansive population in a matter of months. Their primary focus is breeding, and they can lay up to 3,500 eggs in a single day. They live for around 6 or 7 years; much longer than any ant workers or males. That makes for a lot of eggs, perhaps as many as 9 million in a queen's lifetime. The workers, and soldiers, in the colony are born sterile, to the reproductive process of the queen. The workers tend to take care of the everyday tasks around the nest, including foraging for food, taking care of the larvae, and cleaning the nest. The soldiers are bigger, stronger ants, which have powerful mandibles. There are male ants in the fire ant societies, and their role is mate with the queen. Before anyone starts thinking this is the easy job, the male seems only to live for reason of this mating; he dies shortly afterwards. The males, and the queen, interestingly, have been shown to be born to a "cloning" process. Where workers are born to normal reproductive processes on the part of the queen, daughter queens are always clonally produced. This increases the queens relatedness to reproductive daughters but potentially damages the males reproductive success. As a result of this the male has developed a response by reproducing clonally too! They achieve this, it is suggested, by eliminating the maternal half of the genome in diploid eggs. Perhaps even more bizarrely, some colonies of fire ants have only one queen, known as a monogyne queen, and some societies involve multiple queens, aptly named a polygyne colony. The two colonies have also been shown to display differences in behaviour, with the monogyne acting more aggressively, and territorially, killing any queen that tries to attach itself to the colony. The polygene colonies, on the other hand, accepts strangers, including new queens to help colonize. Whether you love them, or hate them, the fire ant is a fascinating creature. With social and political structures that seem as complex as our own, stinging venoms that could become potential cures, and strange genetic behaviours that are leaving scientists baffled, the fire ant earns it's right to be king of the insects.
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The Dylan Hotel at SFO Home | The Dylan at SFO The Dylan at SFO boutique hotel, in #Millbrae, California, is 1 mile or 1.5 kilometers away from the San Francisco International airport. They Dylan at SFO boutique hotell has a free SFO Airport Shuttle bus. Upon guests’ arrival into #SanFrancisco and the #SFO area, The Dylan offers a free SFO Airport shuttle bus from the San Francisco International Airport. The free SFO airport shuttle bus also drops guests off at the San Francisco International Airport for their departure out of San Francisco and the SFO area. The free SFO shuttle bus picks up and drops off at The San Francisco International Airport’s Domestic and International terminals. The Dylan at SFO boutique hotel’s free SFO shuttle bus to and from the San Francisco International Airport phone number and other information is located on The Dylan at SFO boutique hotel’s website, dylansfo.com as well as the SFO area hotell board inside of the San Francisco International Airport. The San Francisco International airport employees should be able to assist you with finding The Dillon at SFO boutique hotel’s free SFO airport shuttle. The Dillon at SFO boutique hotel’s free SFO airport shuttle will make your arrival into San Francisco is very convenient so that you can be on your way to a tradeshow or convention in San Francisco’s #Moscone center, or enjoying the many sights of San Francisco or Silicon Valley. Park, sleep and fly packages are available at The Dylan Hotel at SFO As well as Park, Say and Fly packages. The Dylan Hotel has Park n Fly packages for guests flying out of San Francisco International (SFO) airport on United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Southwest airlines, Virgin, #Lufthansa. After parking their car, guests can take the SFO airport shuttle, Millbrae BART or #Uber to the San Francisco International Airport. The Dylan at SFO boutique hotel is the only Millbrae & SFO Airport area hotel located next to the Millbrae BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) Subway train and Millbrae Cal train station directly to San Francisco and the Silicon Valley. The Millbrae BART Subway train drops you off at all of the San Francisco BART Subway train stations including San Francisco’s Powell Station and San Francisco’s Embarcadero Station. Some of the San Francisco tourist spots that are accessible by riding the Millbrae BART Subway train include San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco’s Lombard street, San Francisco’s, Pier 39 and Fisherman’s wharf. @BART For business travelers traveling to San Francisco or attending a conference at the San Francisco Moscone Center take Millbrae BART to Montgomery BART station for the San Francisco Financial District or to Powell BART for the San Francisco Moscone Conference center. From The Dillon walk 3 minutes to the Millbrae CalTrain station and take the train directly to Stanford University in Palo Alto. Levi Stadium home of the #49ers is easily accessible using #Caltrain; 300 yards from The Dylan boutique hotel: Board at the Millbrae Caltrain station to the Mountain View Caltrain station; take the #VTA electric rail to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. The San Mateo Expo Center is a 10 minute Cal Train ride from The Dylan Hotel at SFO and a 10 minute walk from the Hayward Park Train Station. Walk 300 yards from The Dylan at SFO hotel to the Millbrae Cal Train station and take it to Hayward Park Cal Train station and walk to the #SanMateoExpo Center. #youtube headquarters are a 10 minute #uber ride away or take #caltrain to the San Bruno station and uber from there. #caltrain to Chase Park home of the San Francisco Giants Baseball team. #mlbgiants #sfgiants @sfgiants The Dylan at SFO boutique hotel offers a free Breakfast. The Dylan at SFO boutique hotell’s free continental breakfast offers some free breakfast options at 4am for travels who have early flights out of the San Francisco International airport and are waiting for the free SFO airport shuttle bus. The Dylan at SFO Boutique hotel offers the full free breakfast at 6 am. The Dylan at SFO boutique hotel''s free breakfast is delicious and features freshly baked goods that are baked inside of The Dylan at SFO Boutique hotel. Many guests rave about The Dylan at SFO boutique hotel''s free breakfast because the free breakfast option that are offered at The Dylan at SFO boutiqe hotel are top notch. Have some free brakfast and relax before you catch your tour of San Francisco or conference at the Moscone Event Center. Free coffee, tea and free freshly baked cookies are available in the afternoon when the free deluxe continental breakfast is no longer available for the day. The owners of The Dylan at SFO boutique hotel in Millbrae know that it’s extremely important to stay connected while you enjoy your San Francisco vacation, so they have provided guests with free high speed internet wireless internet. The Dylan at SFO boutique hotel’s free wifi is extremely fast and offers guests a reliable wifi connection. The free wifi is located in each guestroom. Free wifi can also be obtained in all other public areas of The Dylan at SFO boutique hotel. The Dylan at SFO boutique hotel’s free wireless internet is password protected. The Dylan at SFO boutique hotel is a newly remodeled boutique hotel in the San Francisco Bay Area and features artwork from famous surrealist artist Thomas Barbey. The Dylan at SFO boutique hotel is the only hotel in the world to feature Thomas Barbey’s artwork. Many of Thomas Barbey’s pieces that The Dylan at SFO boutique hotel feature incorporate scenes of San Francisco. San Francisco’s Transamerica Builing, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco’s Cable cars are some of the San Francisco relics you may spot in Thomas Barbey’s San Francisco themed art at The Dylan at SFO boutique hotel. The Dylan at SFO boutique hotel guests have accommodations close to San Francisco. A guest can visit one of the many neighborhoods including, San Francisco''s Mission district where you can visit San Francisco''s Dolores Park, a popular park in San Francisco''s mission district that offers relaxation. San Francisco''s Daboce Park is another beautiful park nestled in San Francisco''s Mission District. San Fran''s Mission district is home to many famous murals done by Diego Rivera. San Francisco''s Mission district also has art galleries that feature the artwork of San Francisco Bay Area Artists. San Francisco''s Mission Dolores is the oldest mission in Kalifornia and is great to visit for a dose of San Francisco history. San Francisco''s Mission district is home to some of San Francisco''s best restaurants featuring latin and California cuisine. Valencia Street in San Francisco is great street to find some of the man San Francisco restaurants that people from all over come to San Francisco to visit. San Francisco''s Marina District offers a more posh experience in San Francisco. Many San Francisco locals come to the Marina to enjoy Kalifornia cuisine at one of the famous San Francisco restaurants located in the Marina District in San Francisco. After enjoying a delicious Frisco brunch in San Francisco''s Marina District, you can walk to Fort Mason in San Francisco to see the sail boats on the San Francisco Bay. Take a walk over to San Francisco''s Palace of Fine Arts and then visit the beautiful Golden Gate bridge, a symbol of San Francisco. The Golden Gate Bridge is a top tourist destination in Frisco. You can walk across the Golden Gate Bridge or take photos of the Golden Gate Bridge peeking out from behind the famous San Francisco fog. San Francisco''s #GoldenGateBridge offers spectacular Photo opportunities. You can take a bus to The San Francisco Marina District and to the Golden Gate Bridge. There are San francisco tour option which can be booked through The Dylan at SFO boutique Hotell that will drive you across San Francisco''s Golden Gate Bridge. One can not miss San Francisco''s Golden Gate Bridge when they are visiting San Francisco. Arranging for accommodations at The Dilon at SFO hotell will make it easy to travel on the Millbrae BART Subway to visit The San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge. Don''t forget to buy a San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge souvenir! San Francisco''s Golden Gate Park, Located next to San francisco''s Golden Gate Bridge offers art and science lovers a place in San Francisco to frolic. Many of San Francisco''s museums are located in San Francisco''s Golden Gate Park. San Francisco''s #deYoung Museum and San Francisco''s California Academy of Science are very popular in San Francisco. San Francisco''s Golden Gate Park has a gorgeous Japanese Tea Garden. Also located in San Francisco''s Golden Gate Park is The botanical Gardens of San Francisco and the San Francisco Conservatory of flowers. Keep a look out for San Francisco''s Bison that are located in San Francisco''s Golden Gate Park as well. San Francisco offers a special Golden Gate Park bus that will shuttle San francisco Golden Gate Park visitors all around San Francisco''s Golden Gate Park. Access to San Francisco''s Golden Gate Park is quick and easy when staying at The Dylan at SFO Boutique Hotel. The Millbrae BART and a short bus ride will take you to San Francisco''s Golden Gate Park. When you make accomodations at The Dylan at SFO Boutique Hotell, you will be a short Millbray BART Subway ride away from the crooked street Lombard in Frisco. San Francisco''s crooked street lombard is the crookedest street in the world and a must see and walk when in San Francisco. San Francisco''s crooked street Lombard is a beautiful twisty street with colorful flowers. San Francisco''s crookedest street lombard is a nice crooked street to walk on a sunny San Francisco Day. For a fun San Francisco experience, take San Francisco''s Powell Hyde cable car. San Francisco''s Powell Hyde cable car will take you right to San Francisco''s crooked street Lombard. Aside from walking San Francisco''s famous crooked street lombard, you can enjoy the famous San Francisco Bay view with the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge from San francisco''s Powell Hyde cable car. You will get amazing photos of San Francisco and The San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge while riding San Francisco''s Powell Hyde cable car. Don''t forget to also watch the San Francisco cable cars turn around at the san francisco cable car turn around point On San Francisco''s Market Street, by Union Square in San Francisco. San Francisco''s cable cars are the only moving national monument and offer an authentic San Francisco experience. Making accommodations at The Dylan at SFO Boutique hotel allows you to be close to the Moscone Event Center in San Francisco. The San Francisco Moscone Event Center in a large conference center in San Francusco. San Francisco recently approved plans to expand San Francisco''s Moscone Event Center, so that San Francisco can host massive conferences at San Francisco''s Moscone Event Center. Dreamforce comes to the San Francisco Moscone Event Center every year in October. #Dreamforce is Salesforce''s huge event at the San Francisco Moscone Event Center. Dreamforce brings together the greatest minds in the tech industry and Silicon Valley in one place, the San Francisco Moscone event center. Dreamforce goes on for a few days at the San Francisco Moscone Event Center. Dreamforce features daily entertainment at the San Francisco Moscone Event Center. This year Bruno Mars is playing at the San Francisco Moscone Center for Dreamforce. Aside from Dreamforce at The San Francisco Moscone Event Center, Oracle Openworld also comes to the San Francisco Moscone Event Center every year. Like Dreamforce, Oracle Opeworld lasts for a few days in San Francisco''s Moscone Event Center. Like Dreamforce, Oracle #Openworld brings together the brightest minds in the tech industry and the Silicon Valley in the San Francisco Moscone Event Center. Like Dreamforce, Oracle Openworld features nightly entertainment at the San Francisco Moscone Event Center. Dreamforce and Oracle Openworld at the San Francisco Moscone Event Center are accessible from The Dylan at SFO Boutique Hotel via The Millbrae BART Subway train. Dreamforce and Oracle Openworld at the San Francisco Moscone Event Center are huge events, so plan ahead to make accommodations at The Dylan at SFO Boutique Hotel. San Bruno and YouTube are 3 miles away from The Dylan Hotel at SFO. San Bruno is the next city north of Millbrae and the San Francisco Airport. #salesforce #okta #youtube @youtube #uber @uber
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Prototype | Prototyping Your Future / HCI IxD Any large organisation, be it public or private, monitors the media for information to keep abreast of developments in their field of interest, and usually also to become aware of positive or negative opinions expressed towards them. At least for the written media, computer programs have become very efficient at helping the human analysts significantly in their monitoring task by gathering media reports, analysing them, detecting trends and – in some cases – even to issue early warnings. We present here trend recognition-related functionality of the Europe Media Monitor (EMM) system, which was developed by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) for public administrations in the European Union (EU) and beyond. EMM performs large-scale media analysis in up to seventy languages and recognises various types of trends, some of them combining information from news articles written in different languages. EMM also lets users explore the huge amount of multilingual media data through interactive maps and graphs, allowing them to examine the data from various view points and according to multiple criteria. A lot of EMM's functionality is accessibly freely over the internet or via apps for hand-held devices. Introduction Automated Content Analysis (ACA) is likely to be more limited than human intelligence for tasks such as evaluating the relevance of information for a certain purpose, or such as drawing high-level conclusions. Computer programs are also error-prone because human language is inherently ambiguous and text often only makes sense when the meaning of words and sentences is combined with the fundamental world knowledge only people have. However, computers have the advantage that they can easily process more data in a day than a person can read in a life time. Computer programs are particular useful in application areas with a time component, such as monitoring the live printed online media, because they can ingest the latest news articles as soon as they get published and they can detect changes and recognise and visualise trends. Due to the amount of textual information they can process, computer programs can be used to gain a wider view based on more empirical evidence. These features make ACA applications powerful tools to complement human intelligence. At least for the written media, the manual paper clipping process of the past – cutting out newspaper articles and combining them into a customised in-house news digest – has to a large extent been replaced by automatic systems. Computers can take over repetitive work such as gathering media reports automatically, categorising them according to multiple categories, grouping related documents, recognising references to persons, organisations and locations in them, etc. Using this filtered and pre-processed data, human analysts can then focus on the more demanding tasks of evaluating the data, selecting the most relevant information and drawing conclusions. The work of analysts will be more efficient if the computer programs can extract more information and the more high-level information they can recognise. Trend recognition is deemed particularly useful as it partially summarises events and it may help users detect hidden developments that can only be seen from a bird's perspective, i.e. by viewing very large amounts of data. Trend visualisations may serve as early warning tools, e.g. when certain keywords are suddenly found frequently or when any combination of other text features suddenly changes, compared to the usual average background. Trend prediction would then be the next logical step: based on regular historical observations specifically co-occurring with certain trends, it should be possible to predict certain trends when the same feature combinations occur again. Such an effort was described by O'Brien (2002) for the challenging domain of conflict and instability. A major challenge for complex subject domains such as societal conflict or war is that the data needed for making a reliable prediction may simply not exist and/or that some specific factors may decide on whether or not a conflict arises, factors that lie outside the realm of statistical analysis (e.g. the sudden sickness or death of a political leader). In any case, features for predictions should probably include data that can only be found outside the document corpus, such as statistical indicators on the economy and on the society (More REFS). The main disciplines contributing to ACA are called computational linguistics, natural language processing, language engineering or text mining. In recent years, this field has made a leap forward due to insights and methods developed in statistics and in machine learning, and of course due to the strong increase of computer power, the availability of large collections of machine-readable documents and the existence of the internet. In Section 2, we will give an overview of EMM, its functionality and its users. We will particularly point out the usefulness of aggregating information derived from the news in many different languages, which has the advantage of reducing any national bias and of benefitting from information complementarity observed in media sources written in different languages. In Section 3, we will then present a variety of trend presentations and data visualisation techniques used in EMM. These include time series graphs using numbers of articles on a certain subject, the usage of automatically extracted information on named entities mentioned in any selection of news, map representations combining geographical and subject domain information, opinion trends, graphs comparing information derived from the social media with that from the online version of printed media, and more. In Section 4, we summarise the benefits of automatic media monitoring, not without pointing out limitations of ACA and the potential dangers of relying on automatically derived information based on large volumes of textual data. Europe Media Monitor (EMM) A brief Overview 2.1 Overview Europe Media Monitor (EMM) stands for a whole family of media gathering and analysis applications, including NewsBrief, NewsExplorer, the Medical Information System MedISys, BlogBrief, NewsDesk and more (Steinberger et al. 2009). EMM was entirely developed at the JRC. While the main users are the EU institutions and the national authorities of the 28 EU member states, EMM was also made accessible to international organisations (e.g. various United Nations sub-organisations, the African Union and the Organisation of American States) and to the national authorities of selected partner countries of the EU. The first version of NewsBrief came online in 2002 while NewsExplorer came in 2004, but both systems processed smaller volumes of news and they had less functionality. EMM currently gathers a daily average of about 220,000 online news articles per day in seventy languages from approximately 4,000 different web sources (status May 2015). The news sources were manually selected with the purpose to represent the major newspapers of all countries in the world and to include European-language news (especially English) from around the world. For reasons of balance, it was decided not to include all easily accessible news sources, but to monitor a comparable number of news sources per country, with a focus on Europe. EMM additionally processes news feeds from over twenty press agencies. It visits news-like websites such as governmental and non-governmental web pages and it monitors social media such as Twitter, FaceBook and selected blog sites. The public versions of EMM do not show commercially acquired documents and usually have less functionality than the EC-internal versions. Separately for each language, the news articles then undergo a series of processing steps, including language recognition, document duplicate detection, Named Entity Recognition (NER) for persons, organisations and locations, quotation extraction, sentiment/tonality analysis, categorisation into one or more of the over 1,000 different subject domain classes. EMM then clusters related articles into groups, which allows users to examine the load of articles in an organised fashion. The different EMM applications provide different functionality, described in the next section. Family of EMM news monitoring applications NewsBrief (Figure 1) is the most widely used system. It provides users with near-real-time information on their field of interest in all seventy languages. Separately for each language, news gathered within a sliding four-hour window (8 hours for some languages) are clustered, but older articles remain linked to the cluster as long as new articles arrive. For each cluster, automatically extracted meta-information such as named entities and quotations are displayed. Continuously updated graphs show the ten currently largest clusters and their development over time. By clicking on any of the clusters, users can see the list of all articles and click on each article to read the entire text on the website where it was originally found. For fourteen languages, an automatically pre-generated translation into English is available. For event types with relevance to health, safety and security, NewsBrief also displays automatically extracted event information (eight languages only), including the event type, location and time of the event, number and type of victims (dead, injured, infected), and – where this was mentioned – the perpetrator (the person or group inflicting the damage). The limitation of the event types is due to the user groups, which are mostly concerned with providing support in case of disasters, epidemics, etc. NewsBrief offers subscriptions for automatic updates per category by email, for institutional users also via SMS. BlogBrief provides the same functionality as NewsBrief, but instead of news, it processes English language blogs by bloggers who have been hand-selected due to their importance or impact (e.g. politicians and journalists). MedISys is rather similar to NewsBrief, except that all its content categories are related to issues that are relevant for Public Health monitoring. Its news categories include all major communicable diseases and other Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear (CBRN) dangers, symptoms, as well as subjects of scientific or societal value such as vaccinations and genetically modified organisms. NewsExplorer provides a more long-term view of the news (in 21 languages only) and it provides a cross-lingual functionality. Rather than displaying and grouping the current news, NewsExplorer clusters the news of a whole calendar day and displays the clusters ordered by size. For each cluster, hyperlinks lead users to the equivalent news clusters in any of the other twenty languages (where applicable) and to historically related news. NewsExplorer also includes hundreds of thousands of entity pages (persons, organisations and more), where historically gathered information on each entity is aggregated and displayed, including name variants, titles, clusters and quotes where the entity was mentioned, quotes issued by that person, other entities frequently mentioned together with this entity, and more (see Figure 2). NewsDesk is a tool for human moderation. It allows media monitoring professionals to view and select the automatically pre-processed news data and to easily create readily formatted in-house newsletters. EMM Apps for mobile devices such as iOS and Android phones and tablets first became publicly and freely available in 2013 (See Figure 3). Due to the personal nature of such devices, it became first possible to display customised starting pages for each user. For the iOS EMM App alone, about 26,000 downloads were recorded up to May 2015. This customisable version of EMM became very popular so that this functionality was implemented in a new web version of EMM, called MyNews (see below). The EMM App uses a whole new concept and way to interact with EMM Metadata, referred to as Channels. A channel is a stream of EMM articles that all share the same metadata: Channels can be (a) any News Category, (b) the Top 20 Stories in a particular language, (c) a Country/Category combination, (d) an entity recognised by EMM or (e) a search in the full-text index. Users can create such channels for themselves and they can group channels into sets, allowing them to browse freely between channels in any of these sets. When users open a channel, they get access to all the articles that are present in the channel at the time, plus the other metadata that EMM has identified and associated to that channel. Users can of course also browse the attached meta-data, turn them into new channels and pin them to the current set. Crisis management tools and products have been found to be challenging to design and produce due to the complexity of dynamic customisable data-sets defined by each individual user. The main problems in designing such tools are ambiguity, multi-platform support, data representation and other pitfalls commonly seen in mobile technology development. We adhere to a model-based methodology focusing on core functionality and logical interactions with the data-set, user-centric design and data visualisation while supporting other development activities including a requirement analysis for a wide set of devices and operating systems, verification and validation. The result of the development cycle is a layout structure in which a wide scale of EMM crisis management tools has been developed. There are many digital solutions aiming to support humanitarian and emergency response tools by means of open source information gathering and text analysis. A strong trend among those tools is the ability to detect and analyse vast amounts of data, highlighting important developments relevant to each user and use. Many solutions are already operational today, the majority of these solutions requires the user to open a webpage a few times every day to get updated. Other solutions are relying on communicating with external servers, which is expensive and demanding in maintenance. They additionally usually require user authentication, which can compromise privacy and security. Our own solution allows custom notifications based on changes in the specific data set the user has defined. When a logical threshold is activated the system displays a notification directly on the user's mobile device. By merging our notifications with the core system notification system of the mobile device, we alert the user only when it is appropriate. For example, notification will wait silently when the user is asleep and will schedule the notifications to be presented a few minutes after the user has started using the device. This is being done without any user intervention or pre-settings. This novel solution differentiates itself from most notification solutions in the fact that it does not rely on any server side technology. The application itself calculates when and how notifications are presented to the user based on an internal logic crossed with background fetching of the current total data set. MyNews is the first customisable web interface to the news items supplied by the EMM engine designed for desktop browsers. It only became available in 2015. It requires logging in and is only available in-house, i.e. it is not accessible to the wider public. MyNews is highly customisable, since it allows users to define their own specific view by selecting the topics they are most interested in. This is achieved – similarly to the EMM mobile apps – by allowing users to tune news channels focused on very specific topics. They can create as many channels as they like, and they can organise them into sets (see Figure 4). There are many different ways to create new channels, which increases greatly the flexibility of the tool, combining as a union or as an intersection of article selections based on (a) text language, (b) news categories, (c) entities, (d) news from a certain country or (e) news about a certain country, (f) top stories (i.e. the biggest clusters of news talking about the same event) or (g) freely chosen search words. When visualising the contents of any of the channels, the meta-data relating specifically to this selection of news is displayed visually (see Figure 5). The Big Screen App, available since 2014, offers a view of EMM that is visible on large screens in central locations at user organisations. It shows a revolving and continuously updated view of what is happening around the world, targeted to the respective user communities, using text, maps and graphs. Citizens and Science (CAS) is a project that aims to gauge the relative importance of reporting on Science & Technology (S&T) in traditional and social media. It does this by comparing the reporting volume from a number of European Nations and the USA of items that correspond to a number of predefined S&T categories. The sources of these items are taken from the traditional online news media, public posts from FaceBook and tweets from Twitter. CAS allows investigating the relative dominance of certain themes across different media (traditional vs. social), languages and countries and it can help find empirical evidence of biased reporting (see Figure 6; more detail in Section 3.2). Details on ingested news, sources, numbers, geographical distribution Event extraction Multilinguality in EMM Multilinguality is an extremely important feature in this news monitoring application. Covering so many languages is not only important because the European Union consists of 28 Member States with 24 official EU languages. The coverage of news in 70 different languages is also due to the insight that news reporting is complementary across different countries and languages, both regarding the contents and the opinions expressed in the media. By gathering and analysing different languages, EMM reduces any national or regional bias and it increases the coverage of events and of opinions. While major world events such as large-scale disasters, major sports events, wars and meetings of world leaders are usually also reported in English, there is ample evidence that only a minority of the smaller events is reported on in the press outside the country where the event happens. Many EMM users have specialised interests such as the monitoring of events that may have negative effects on Public Health (e.g. disease outbreaks, reports on food poisoning, lack of access to medicines) or on the stability or welfare of a country (e.g. clashes between ethnic groups, accidents, crime). An analysis has shown that the vast majority of such events is not translated or reported abroad (Piskorski et al. 2011 – PROVIDE DETAILED NUMBERS). The links between related clusters across different languages in NewsExplorer show that only some of the news items in each country or language have an equivalent in other languages while the majority of news clusters talk about subjects of national interest. Figure 7, taken from the live EMM news cluster world map, also gives evidence of the uneven distribution of language reporting for locations on the globe: News mentioning locations in Latin America are mostly reported in Spanish and Portuguese; there is little news on Russia and China that is not written in Russian or Chinese, respectively, etc. Only by combining the world news in all different languages do we get a fuller picture of what is happening . Trend observation and distribution statistics in EMM In this section, we want to give some concrete examples of trend monitoring, as well as of bird's views of large amounts of media data giving insights in the relative distribution of news contents. The selection of examples shown here is based on wanting to present different visualisation principles or types, but it is naturally also driven by the interests of EMM users. Since EMM monitors in near-real time (time stamp) large amounts of media reports from around the world and it keeps track of the information (e.g. news provenance, news source, publication language, URL, media type, time of publication, etc.) and it additionally extracts categories and features (e.g. subject domain; number of related articles; names of persons, organisations and locations; sentiment; combinations of features; average values, etc.), it is in principle possible to produce and visualise statistics on any feature or feature combination. This can be done for a specific point in time (most EMM users are interested in now), it can be done for any moment back in time, it is possible to compare current values to average values, and it is possible to perform a time series analysis, i.e. it is possible to show any change over time. Note, however, that, while all such meta-data extracted by EMM can be stored, the original full text of the news has to be deleted after the analysis, for copyright reasons. Users will thus be able to see the meta data and a snippet of the news text (title and the first few words), but if they want to see the full text, they have to follow the hyperlink provided. Whether or not the full text is still accessible then depends on the news source. In the following sub-sections, we will present some types of trend observations and visual presentations of distribution statistics. Bar graphs and pie charts The simplest and probably clearest way of presenting static data is achieved using bar graphs and pie charts. Figure 5 shows three different bar charts to visualise different aspects for the same selection of news documents (provenance of the news, countries mentioned in the articles, and subject domains/entities referred to). These charts give the reader an overview of the whole collection of documents and it thus helps them evaluate and categorise the contents before reading them in detail. Figure 7b shows the language distribution of a multilingual set of European news articles talking on the subject of Science & Technology and comparing it with the language distribution in all articles covering the same time period. It is immediately visible that English and Polish language articles (left) are over-proportionally talking about S&T, while German and French S&T articles are under-represented, compared to the average. Maps visualising geographical distributions Map views are rather popular and intuitive. Figure 5 shows an aggregated map view (number of articles per continent/country/region, depending on the zoom level) while Figure 7 shows all news clusters (or those in a selection of languages). Many types of map data are available, allowing to combine any EMM information with third-party information, as seen in Figure 8 . Any map data in EMM is hyperlinked to the underlying news articles together with the extracted meta-information so that users can verify the contents and read the underlying news sources. Trend graphs Trend graphs show a simple correlation between at least two variables, of which one is time. Typically, they take the shape of line graphs or bar graphs where one axis represents time. Figure 1 shows the size (number of news articles) of the ten largest English language news clusters and their development over the past 12 hours, with a ten-minute resolution (update frequency). The interactive graph clearly shows which stories are most discussed. By hovering with the mouse over any of the points, the most typical news article header of that moment in time is shown so that users can get informed of the development of that story. The system decides on the most typical article header statistically by selecting the medoid, i.e. the document that is closest to the centroid of the vector. By clicking on any of the curves, a new page will open showing the articles that are part of that cluster plus all meta-information available to the system. This graph thus shows ten trend lines in one graph, for the sake of comparison. Similarly, Figure 6 visualises the numbers of news articles and of Social Media postings over time on four science areas. The graph shows longer-term developments. The chosen resolution is one day. For each of the four science areas, two trend curves are displayed to facilitate the visual understanding of the relative long-term development. Such graphs can be rather revealing. For instance, Figure 9 compares Science & Technology reporting in Europe and in the US. For better comparison, the numbers have been normalised: the x-axis shows the percentage of S&T articles compared to all articles, instead of absolute numbers. This graph reveals that the intensity of reporting on S&T in Europe lags behind that observed in US-American media (0.5% of all articles in all languages in the EU vs. 2.8% in the USA report about S&T). Comparing only English language articles in predominantly English-speaking countries (UK and Ireland in Europe; graph not shown here) with the English language articles in the USA, the difference is smaller, but it still notable (1.5% of articles in the UK and in Ireland vs. 3.2% in the USA). To put these numbers into perspective: the reporting on the reference categories Conflict, Ecology, Society and Sports, considering only the English language, was respectively 2.56%, 0.14%, 0.59% and 5.46% for the USA and 1.93%, 0.09%, 0.45% and 6.63% for the EU. This means that the reporting on S&T issues does not fall far behind the reporting on Sports in the USA, but in Europe reporting on Sports is 4 times more than on S&T issues. Note that, in EMM, sports articles are additionally only taken from general news streams because EMM does not scan sports pages of news sites. Looking in detail at a specific topic such as Space, we observe that there is a very strong correlation between the peaks, but the volumes are much smaller in the UK and Ireland, compared to the USA (See Figure 9). Other than a weak correlation between product announcements in the media and on twitter, we have not observed a clear media-driven discussion on the social media, i.e. we have not been able to establish any correlation between media reports and the user-driven content. Such data is a good starting point for the work of social scientists, who can then search for an interpretation and for explanations. Economists and politicians may then think of possible remedies (if needed and wanted). Figure 10 shows the interactive long-term news story timeline produced in EMM-NewsExplorer. The graph shows the number of news articles per day in the daily news clusters about the same event or subject. By hovering over any of the bars, the news cluster title is displayed so that users can explore what happened that day. By clicking on that day, the users are taken to the page with information on that day's news cluster in order to read the articles, see the related meta-information and follow hyperlinks to related reports in other languages. The graph allows exploring developments over longer periods of time and refreshing one's memory on what happened when. Figure 11 shows the development of positive or negative tonality (or sentiment) measured in English and French news articles, using a one-week resolution. Early warning graphs Figure 8 visualises results on the most recent events of a certain type, allowing stakeholders to become aware of the latest developments, to deepen their understanding of what happened (by reading the related news articles) and to take action, if needed. Another type of early warning is achieved with statistical means, as shown at the top of Figure 10, taken from EMM's Medical Information System MedISys. The graph called daily alert statistics shows the currently biggest threats world-wide, with decreasing relevance from left to right (the red threats are the ones with the highest alert levels). MedISys counts the number of articles in the last 24 hours for any country-threat combination (e.g. tuberculosis and Poland) and compares it to the two-week average count for this same combination. This ratio is then normalised by the number of articles for different days of the week (there are less articles on the weekend). The alert statistics graph then shows the results of all calculations, ranked by the value of this ratio . Note that the ratio is entirely independent of the absolute numbers as it rather measures the unexpectedness. Each country-threat combination is shown in two columns: the left one (light blue) shows the observed number of articles while the right one (red, yellow or blue) shows the expected two-week average. An important feature of this graph and of MedISys/EMM as a whole is that this alert is language-independent. The same categories for countries and for threats exist for (almost) all EMM languages, meaning that the articles may be found in one language only (e.g. Polish or Arabic), which often is different from the languages spoken by the MedISys user. The graph is interactive: Users can click on any of the bars to jump to a new page where all relevant articles for this country-threat combination are displayed, together with a heat map and a trend line showing the development over the past 14 days. The Spain-legionellosis threat combination in Figure 10 no longer is a top threat as it had already been reported on for four days. Further graph types used in EMM Figure 11 shows a node graph visualising co-occurrence relations between people. For each person, the 100 most associated entities (persons or organisations) are displayed. The subset of common entities is highlighted in red. The graph is interactive: by clicking on any of the entity nodes, they jump to a page with the news mentioning that entity and displaying all automatically extracted meta-information (e.g. Figure 2), or to the Wikipedia page for that entity. Further entities can be added to the same graph. EMM-NewsExplorer produces the correlation data by counting which entities are mentioned together with which other entities in the same news items. In order to suppress media VIPs such as the US president from the purely frequency-based correlation lists (called 'related entities' in NewsExplorer), a weighting formula is used that brings those entities to the top that are mostly mentioned together with this person and not so much with other persons. The data, referred to in NewsExplorer as 'associated entities', is produced on the basis of mention co-occurrence in the news in 21 different languages, i.e. it is less biased by the reporting language than data produced by a monolingual media monitoring system. EMM recognises direct speech quotations in the news in about twenty different languages and keeps track of who issued the quotation and who is mentioned inside the quotation. Figure 12 shows a quotation network indicating who mentions whom (arrows). Persons most referred to are automatically placed closer to the centre of the graph. During the 2007 presidential elections in France, it was observed that Nicolas Sarkozy, who was the winner of the elections, was consistently more central than his opponent Ségolène Royal. Quotation networks are no longer used in EMM. The same applies to topic maps, which display the most prominent subject matters referred to in a document collection. The topics are grouped into islands of relatedness (using a method known as Kohonen Maps). The more prominent a group of topics is in the collection, the higher the mountains on the island, with peaks being snow-covered. Summary and conclusions, pitfalls Computers have the ability to sieve through large volumes of data in little time and the technologies required for Automated Content Analysis (ACA) have matured to a level where automatically produced results can be useful for the human analyst. We have argued that a man-machine collaboration for the analysis of large volumes of media reports will produce best results because people and computers have complementary strengths. We have presented the main functionality of the European Commission's family of Europe Media Monitor (EMM) applications, which currently gathers an average of 220,000 online news articles per day from about 5,000 online news sources in seventy languages (and also from social media postings about certain themes), categorises the news into about 2,000 different categories, groups related articles, extracts various types of information from them, links related articles over time and across languages and presents the analysis results in a variety of ways to the human end user. Moderation tools support the users in viewing the data, in selecting and amending it and in producing in-house newsletters for the information-seeking decision takers. Monitoring not only English or some widely spoken languages is important in order to avoid bias and also because the news is complementary across languages, both for contents and for the sentiment contained therein. Automatic tools that process and analyse documents turn unstructured information into a structured format that can easily be processed by machines and that also provides useful data for the human user. This results in a data collection, where for each article, we know the news source, the country of origin, the language, the timestamp of the publication, the news categories, the persons, organisations and locations mentioned therein, related articles within the same and across different languages, quotations by and about persons. Additionally, we have data about trends, i.e. whether news related to the same event or subject are increasing or decreasing in numbers over time, and there is some information on sentiment/tonality. This structured collection makes it in principle possible to produce any statistics and to establish any trends related to these types of information. For selected subjects and feature combinations, the JRC regularly publishes its analysis, allowing EMM users to have a deeper insight into the publications on subject areas of their interest. In this article, we presented a range of different types of analyses and visualisations in order to give an overview of distributions and trends observed during large-scale media analysis. Such an extraction and aggregation of data is not usually the final objective, but it normally is the starting point for an intellectual human analysis. Analysts can get inspired by the data, questions may arise, suspicions may get confirmed or contradicted. Used carefully, we believe that the analyses produced by EMM or similar systems can be very useful because they may be used as an inspiration and as empirical evidence for any argument human analysts may want to make. However, we find it extremely important that users be aware of the limitations and of possible pitfalls when using such data, be it from EMM or from other automatic systems: First of all, media monitoring is not reality monitoring. What the media say is not necessarily factually true and media attention towards certain subjects usually differs from the real-life distribution of facts or events, giving media consumers a biased view. Media reporting is heavily influenced by the political or geographical viewpoint of the news source. It is therefore useful to analyse a large, well-balanced set of media sources coming from many different countries world-wide. EMM aims to reach such a balance, but sources are also added on request of users, it is not always known what political standpoints newspapers have, and not all news sources are freely accessible. For this reason, EMM displays the list of media sources so that users can form their own opinion. Any analysis, be it automatic or man-made, is error-prone. This is even true for basic functionalities such as the recognition of person names in documents and the categorisation of texts according to subject domains. Machines might make simple mistakes easily spottable by human analysts, such as categorising an article as being about the outbreak of communicable diseases when category-defining words such as tuberculosis are found in articles discussing a new song produced by a famous music producer, which is easily spottable by a person. On the other hand, machines are better at going through very large document collections and they are very consistent in their categorisation while people suffer from inconsistency and they tend to generalise on the basis of the small document collection they have read. For these reasons, it is crucial that any summaries, trend visualisations or other analyses can be verified by the human analysts. Users should be able to verify the data by drilling down, e.g. viewing the original text data in the case of peaks or unexpected developments, and especially to get an intuitive confidence measure by viewing a number of cases that lead to conclusions. Most of EMM's graphs are interactive and allow viewing the underlying data. It would be useful if system providers additionally offered confidence values regarding the accuracy of their analyses. For EMM, most specialised applications on individual information extraction tools include such tool evaluation results and an error analysis (e.g. XXX-REF). However, the tools can behave very differently depending on the text type and the language, making the availability of drill-down functionality indispensable. End users should be careful with accuracy statistics given by system providers. Especially commercial vendors (but not only) are good at presenting their systems in a very positive light. For instance, our experience has shown that, especially in the field of sentiment analysis (opinion mining, tonality), high accuracy is difficult to achieve even when the statistical accuracy measurement Precision and Recall are high. Overall Precision (accuracy for the system's predictions) may for instance indeed be high when considering predictions for positive, negative and neutral sentiment, but this might simply be because the majority class (e.g. neutral) is very large and the system is good at spotting this. Accuracy statistics may also have been produced on an easy-to-analyse dataset while the data at hand may be harder to analyse. Sentiment, for instance, may be easier to detect on product review pages on vending sites such as Amazon than on the news because journalists tend to want to give the impression of neutrality. Machine learning approaches to text analysis are particularly promising because computers are good at optimising evidence and because machine learning tools are cheap to produce, compared to man-made rules. However, the danger is that the automatically learnt rules are applied to texts that are different from the training data as comparable data rarely exists. Manually produced rules might be easier to tune and to adapt. Again, statistics on the performance of automatic tools should be considered with care. Within EMM, machine learning is used to learn vocabulary and recognition patterns, but these are then usually manually verified and generalised (e.g. Zavarella et al. 2010; Tanev & Magnini 2008). To summarise: we firmly believe that Automated Content Analysis works when it is used with care and when its strengths and limits are known. Computers and people have different strengths which – in combination – can be very powerful as they combine large-scale evidence gathering with the intelligence of human judgement. References Atkinson M, Keim D, Schaefer M, Franz W, Leitner-Fischer F, Zintgraf F. (2010). DYNEVI - DYnamic News Entity VIsualization. In: J.Kohlhammer, D.Keim (eds). Proceedings of the International Symposium on Visual Analytics Science and Technology. Golsar (Germany): The Eurographics Association. pp. 69-74 . 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Early Alerting Reporting Project Of The Global Health Security Initiative. Evaluation of epidemic intelligence systems integrated in the early alerting and reporting project for the detection of A/H5N1 influenza events. PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e57252. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057252. Epub 2013 Mar 5. Jakub Piskorski, Hristo Tanev, Martin Atkinson, Erik van der Goot & Vanni Zavarella (2011). Online News Event Extraction for Global Crisis Surveillance. Transactions on Computational Collective Intelligence. Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science LNCS 6910/2011, pp. 182-212. Krstajic, M.; Bak, P.; Oelke, D..; Atkinson, M.; Keim, D.A. (2010). Applied Visual Exploration on Real-Time News Feeds Using Polarity and Geo-Spatial Analysis. Web Information Systems and Technologies WEBIST 2010, Valencia, 7-10 April 2010. Krstajic, M.; Mansmann, F.; Stoffel, A.; Atkinson, M.; Keim, D.A. (2010). Processing online news streams for large-scale semantic analysis. 26th International Conference on Data Engineering (ICDE) Workshops, pp.215-220, 1-6 March 2010. Linge Jens, Ralf Steinberger, Thomas Weber, Roman Yangarber, Erik van der Goot, Delilah Al Khudhairy & Nikolaos Stilianakis (2009). Internet Surveillance Systems for Early Alerting of Health Threats. EuroSurveillance Vol. 14, Issue 13. Stockholm, 2 April 2009. Linge, J.P., Mantero, J. Fuart, F., Belyaeva, J., Atkinson, M., van der Goot, E. (2011). Tracking Media Reports on the Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O104:H4 outbreak in Germany. In: Malaga. P. Kostkova, M. Szomszor, and D. Fowler (eds.), Proceedings of eHealth conference (eHealth 2011), LNICST 91, pp. 178–185, 2012. PUBSY JRC65929. Piskorski Jakub, Jenya Belyaeva & Martin Atkinson (2011). Exploring the usefulness of cross-lingual information fusion for refining real-time news event extraction. Proceedings of the 8th International Conference Recent Advances in Natural Language Processing (RANLP'2011), pp. 210-217. Hissar, Bulgaria, 12-14 September 2011 Pouliquen Bruno, Hristo Tanev & Martin Atkinson (2008). Extracting and Learning Social Networks out of Multilingual News. Proceedings of the social networks and application tools workshop (SocNet-08) pp. 13-16. Skalica, Slovakia, 19-21 September 2008. Pouliquen Bruno, Marco Kimler, Ralf Steinberger, Camelia Ignat, Tamara Oellinger, Ken Blackler, Flavio Fuart, Wajdi Zaghouani, Anna Widiger, Ann-Charlotte Forslund, Clive Best (2006). Geocoding multilingual texts: Recognition, Disambiguation and Visualisation. Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC'2006), pp. 53-58. Genoa, Italy, 24-26 May 2006. Pouliquen Bruno, Ralf Steinberger & Clive Best (2007). Automatic Detection of Quotations in Multilingual News. In: Proceedings of the International Conference Recent Advances in Natural Language Processing (RANLP'2007), pp. 487-492. Borovets, Bulgaria, 27-29.09.2007. Pouliquen Bruno, Ralf Steinberger & Olivier Deguernel (2008). Story tracking: linking similar news over time and across languages. In Proceedings of the 2nd workshop Multi-source Multilingual Information Extraction and Summarization (MMIES'2008) held at CoLing'2008. Manchester, UK, 23 August 2008. Pouliquen Bruno, Ralf Steinberger, Camelia Ignat & Tamara Oellinger (2006). Building and displaying name relations using automatic unsupervised analysis of newspaper articles. Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on the Statistical Analysis of Textual Data (JADT'2006). Besançon, 19-21 April 2006. Pouliquen Bruno, Ralf Steinberger, Jenya Belyaeva (2007). Multilingual multi-document continuously updated social networks. Proceedings of the Workshop Multi-source Multilingual Information Extraction and Summarization (MMIES'2007) held at RANLP'2007, pp. 25-32. Borovets, Bulgaria, 26 September 2007. Sean P. O'Brien (2002). Anticipating the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. An Early Warning Approach to Conflict and Instability Analysis. Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 46 No. 6, December 2002, pp. 791-811 Steinberger Ralf & Bruno Pouliquen (2009). Cross-lingual Named Entity Recognition. In: Satoshi Sekine & Elisabete Ranchhod (eds.): Named Entities - Recognition, Classification and Use, Benjamins Current Topics, Volume 19, pp. 137-164. John Benjamins Publishing Company. ISBN 978-90-272-8922 3. ( Steinberger Ralf (2012). A survey of methods to ease the development of highly multilingual Text Mining applications. Language Resources and Evaluation Journal, Springer, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp. 155-176 (DOI 10.1007/s10579-011-9165-9). Steinberger Ralf, Bruno Pouliquen & Erik van der Goot (2009). An Introduction to the Europe Media Monitor Family of Applications. In: Fredric Gey, Noriko Kando & Jussi Karlgren (eds.): Information Access in a Multilingual World - Proceedings of the SIGIR 2009 Workshop (SIGIR-CLIR'2009), pp. 1-8. Boston, USA. 23 July 2009. Steinberger Ralf, Flavio Fuart, Erik van der Goot, Clive Best, Peter von Etter & Roman Yangarber (2008). Text Mining from the Web for Medical Intelligence. In: Fogelman-Soulié Françoise, Domenico Perrotta, Jakub Piskorski & Ralf Steinberger (eds.): Mining Massive Data Sets for Security. pp. 295-310. IOS Press, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Tanev Hristo & Bernardo Magnini (2008). Weakly supervised approaches for ontology population. In: Paul Buitelaar & Philipp Cimiano (eds.): Ontology learning and population: Bridging the Gap between Text and Knowledge. IOS Press, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence and Applications, Volume 167. Tanev Hristo & Josef Steinberger (2013). Semi-automatic acquisition of lexical resources and grammars for event extraction in Bulgarian and Czech. Proceedings of the 4th Biennial International Workshop on Balto-Slavic Natural Language Processing, held at ACL'2013, pp. 110-118. Tanev Hristo (2007). Unsupervised Learning of Social Networks from a Multiple-Source News Corpus. Proceedings of the Workshop Multi-source Multilingual Information Extraction and Summarization (MMIES'2007) held at RANLP'2007, pp. 33-40. Borovets, Bulgaria, 26 September 2007. Tanev Hristo, Bruno Pouliquen, Vanni Zavarella & Ralf Steinberger (2010). Automatic Expansion of a Social Network Using Sentiment Analysis. In: Nasrullah Memon, Jennifer Jie Xu, David Hicks & Hsinchun Chen (eds). Annals of Information Systems, Volume 12. Special Issue on Data Mining for Social Network Data, pp. 9-29. Springer Science and Business Media (DOI 10.1007/978-1-4419-6287-4_2). Tanev Hristo, Jakub Piskorski & Martin Atkinson (2008). Real-time News Event Extraction for Global Crisis Monitoring. In V. Sugumaran, M. Spiliopoulou, E. Kapetanios (editors) Proceedings of 13th International Conference on Applications of Natural Language to Information Systems (NLDB 2008 ), Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Cool. 5039, 24-27 June, London, UK. Tanev Hristo, Maud Ehrmann, Jakub Piskorski & Vanni Zavarella (2012). Enhancing Event Descriptions through Twitter Mining. In: AAAI Publications, Sixth International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, pp 587-590. Dublin, June 2012. Tanev Hristo, Vanni Zavarella, Jens Linge, Mijail Kabadjov, Jakub Piskorski, Martin Atkinson & Ralf Steinberger (2009). Exploiting Machine Learning Techniques to Build an Event Extraction System for Portuguese and Spanish. In: linguaMÁTICA Journal:2, pp. 55-66. Available at: . Turchi Marco, Martin Atkinson, Alastair Wilcox, Brett Crawley, Stefano Bucci, Ralf Steinberger & Erik van der Goot (2012). ONTS: "OPTIMA" News Translation System. Proceedings of the 13th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (EACL), pp. 25–30, Avignon, France, April 23 - 27 2012. Van der Goot Erik, Hristo Tanev & Jens Linge (2013). Combining twitter and media reports on public health events in MedISys. Proceedings of the 22nd international conference on World Wide Web companion, pp. 703-718. International World Wide Web Conferences Steering Committee, 2013. Zavarella Vanni, Hristo Tanev, Jens Linge, Jakub Piskorski, Martin Atkinson & Ralf Steinberger (2010). Exploiting Multilingual Grammars and Machine Learning Techniques to Build an Event Extraction System for Portuguese. In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Computational Processing of Portuguese Language (PROPOR'2010), Porto Alegre, Brazil, 27-30 April 2010. Springer Lecture Notes for Artificial Intelligence, Vol. 6001, pp. 21-24. Springer. Observing Trends in Automated Multilingual Media Analysis Authors: Ralf, Aldo, Alexandra, Guillaume, Hristo, Martin, Michele, Yaniv, Erik European Commission – Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra (VA), Italy e-mail: [email protected] ( corresponding author )
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Right From the Hip | Observations & Opinions | Politics, Law & Current Events In which our Vagabond Seeks a City in Motion. It is early Saturday evening, the doors are open, the coffee house beckons. I enter into a crowd – young and old, in pairs, groups and singles, are standing in line, checking their phones, reviewing the menu board, sitting astride chairs, leaning on counters, stirring their mugs, contemplating their next move, and conversing with animation and verve. After securing a mug of herbal orange blossom tea and plain pound cake (something different and contemplative), no booths are available. I occupy a seat at a long, central bench and table with the other patrons. Immediately next to me sits a young couple, face to face, wearing various shades of blue denim (she also sports a floppy, soft-brim robin egg blue hat), who have stopped talking to enjoy one of the house's calorie-generous desserts. Their desserts are laden with strawberries, fresh, fragrant, jumbo-sized, strawberries, tumbling generously, abundantly, off the dessert cakes which shyly peek out underneath. These are six-dollar desserts, suitable for serious courtship. The whipped cream had disappeared already. Their strawberries are not shy - they flaunt their bright deep red strawberry color, their inviting texture, they flirt their white edges. These strawberries profligately cast about their unmistakable ripe fragrance. Indeed, the fragrance demands attention. For an unmeasured moment, these strawberries own the bench and my perceptions – my other senses have quietly stepped down and wait for the strawberry fragrance to master the stage, to take its bows, to aromatically speak for strawberries everywhere. Each strawberry is joined with all strawberries - connected in a web of genetic code, agricultural pedigree, sense perception and idea. The smell, the fragrance and appearance of these strawberries, and for a distinct slice of time, the connected picture, the taste, the idea of many strawberries, all strawberries, as an adjective as well as a noun, occupy my thoughts. If there had been no name for strawberries ever given, I would have conjured a name for them, then and there. Strawberries are versatile. We can give Latin names to their various genus, Fragaria. We may note that each apparent achene, or seed, on the outside is actually one of the ovaries of the flower, with a seed inside it, perhaps explaining why the couple beside me ordered them for dessert. Philosophers might debate whether or not there exists a non-physical essence of strawberry, an ideal Platonic form of strawberry, or be skeptical that we could ever be sure that what we perceive as strawberry was reliable. Mischievous children have picked them to throw at each other. We can observe them on wild vines, clip, transplant and cultivate them in our gardens, study what combination of sun and water gives them the greatest growth and sweetest flavor, pick them gingerly to set at our breakfast table, eat them singly or in groups in little morning fruit bowls. We have financed agri-businesses to grow them in vast number, might someday sell strawberry futures on a commodities exchange, have hired agricultural workers to pick them in mass quantity. Graduate students in economics might measure the economic impact of establishing a minimum wage for strawberry pickers, while employers make certain their immigration papers are in order. We can contest the right of strawberry pickers to go on strike, and use courtrooms to enjoin secondary strikes by other fruit pickers. Independent truck drivers can transport them in refrigerated, insured freight carriers at free-on-board rates. District managers of supermarket chains can offer them for retail sale in little green baskets at trendy supergrocers which have memorable advertising logos and trained-to-be-friendly checkout people, and serve them in coffee houses at upscale prices. In laboratories we can measure their molecular carbon chains, forensically identify them with gas and mass chromatography, and fit them into biochemical schema of study. We can mash them into lipstick or cream for purposes of skin and beauty enhancement, advertised by slender, photogenic models. We can handwash our dirty dishes in our neglected kitchen sinks, or shampoo our thinning hair with liquid soaps flavored with them. No small series of achievements, for an aggregate accessory fruit. But we have strawberries as descriptors also, as concepts and additions to the language in which we think and speak and describe, in which we write poetry and love sonnets. They act as triggers or stimulants, to remind us of things, things we may want to remember. I bend my head over my tea and soak a piece of my cake into my orange-blossom tea. But these strawberries are not yet done their work. The fragrances of my coffee-house neighbors' strawberries trigger vivid memories. A series of pictures is summoned up, interior miniatures composing a sequenced event in my life, a road trip of an altogether different sort. Gently unfaded, affectionately insistent, parading in silence one at a time yet making a whole, a set of gliding images from the past paints over my vision. ____________________ My wife, Erma, and I were dating, and engaged. I was just 32. At the time, she was just 23 years of age, not quite 5'2" unless she stood on her tiptoes (she was generous in describing her height on various health and application forms), slender, lithe, with quick, athletic reflexes, light brown hair never allowed to grow long, a bright upturned face full of energy, green-grey eyes that were never quite the same shade from day to day, and a stand-your-ground manner suitable for the youngest child who had five older brothers. Erma had been a Christian since her experiences as a teenager in church youth group, and had been well taught by a beloved senior pastor, Reverend Pusey. She could field a ground ball or steal third base, tell every player on the Philadelphia Flyers in 1977 (she still had a Bobby Clark doll) or quote scripture by memory, intelligently and to the point under discussion. She was a secretary at DuPont, a job she had held since the day after she graduated from high school. There was emotional trauma in her childhood, including a miserable relationship with her father (the misery shared by her brothers and sister), and a tragic gun accident which took the life of one of her brothers, after her father irresponsibly brought home a rifle and gave it to his children without supervision or safety instruction. The collapse of the family unit brought economic difficulties. Erma bubbled over with hope and energy – she was ready to wrestle wildcats, hid her fears, counted her pennies, and laughed loudly and easily. Erma pooled shock, grief, loss and anger in reservoirs of her soul. She introduced herself to a pair of young men attending a Christian singles conference in Sandy Cove, Maryland, one of whom was me, because she recognized the church my friend Dave had announced at the beginning of the conference, and that was enough of a conversational opening for her. We took a trip to North Carolina, to visit her brother Noel, the only one of her family to graduate from college. Noel was a marketing manager for a large agricultural chemicals company, and he was moved about the country every few years. For several years he had lived near Research Triangle Park outside Raleigh. Our trip was a happy one; we packed up Erma's silver Honda Civic, years old but running like a Swiss watch, and toodled down the highway one Monday in the early summer. Life was opening up. My disorderly life, spread across two coasts, was moving in a good direction. Erma, deeply emotionally cautious, was hoping that the world held good things as well. After staying the first night with friends in Virginia, we arrived after a day of easy driving at Noel's, still single. As always, he was a gracious host, owner of a sensible but well-maintained home. His practice of buying and selling homes as he was transferred around the company proved to be economically rewarding. I don't know whether he liked his job in its own right, but years later when he was offered a retirement package at the age of 50, he took it, and to my knowledge, has never worked 9-5 job since. Noel was working 9-5 when we arrived though, so during the day we were left to our own devices around Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Durham and the surrounding areas. Open to guidebook suggestions, we went to the North Carolina Botanical Gardens in Chapel HiIl. We walked the displays of native plants, violet-purple iris, milkweed, wood anemone, maidenhair ferns, wild indigo, water-plaintains, bluestars. The Gardens have a display of carnivorous plants, pitcher plants, Venus fly traps, along with their orchids and lilies. I found a very tiny spider among the carnivorous plant displays, picked him up with a leaf, and deposited him into a Venus fly-trap, which promptly, as advertised, closed its tender petals. The wispy trigger hairs of the plant quite quickly formed a bars-of-a-jail cell effect as the plant's leaves closed reflexively – I could see the tiny spider, looking out, as forlorn and puzzled as any prisoner would be. At the time, I had nothing to say to him, and regretted somewhat causing his fate. With the advantages of hindsight and advancing years, today, I might encourage him with words of sympathy – "you and me both, brother," a final salute, issued nunc pro tunc. Erma and I went to see a movie in the evening. Mr. Hulot's Holiday. Monsier Hulot, the French actor Jacques Tati, "decides to vacation at a beautiful seaside, resort. Rest and relaxation don't last long, given the gangly gent's penchant for ridiculous antics." Released in 1954, you have to be in the right mood to see this slapstick farce. Erma and I were nearly alone in the theater, it was a Tuesday evening. We were in the mood – I laughed hard. Erma laughed uproariously, full volume. I never heard anyone laugh so hard – her cackles filled the theater – no nook or cranny escaped the piercing volume of her laughter. Many times. How can you not fall in love with a girl like that? If anyone else was in the theater at all (maybe one other couple), they certainly knew they weren't alone. The next day, we visited Duke University in Durham. The lawns and grounds were green, immaculate, carefully maintained; the buildings, the Chapel, all were elite-college campus beautiful. I daresay visiting parents longed to expend vast sums of money to send their children there. After walking around for several hours, near the end of the day, we found a small restaurant/coffee-shop. Because of the day and hour we were again nearly alone. The shop featured a strawberry desert, loaded with whipped cream. They were the freshest, sweetest, most flagrantly-and-fragrantly-delicious strawberries imaginable. It was a lifetime trophy desert. The taste, the aroma of the strawberries filled our noses, our palates, our tongues – our sweet, ripe taste buds went off like bells. Erma was just swooning with joy. It seemed as if we just sat and ate for hours (which could not possibly be true), as if the strawberry dessert stopped local time to go on forever. These strawberries had royal, domestic, South American and continental antecedents. According to Wikipedia, the garden strawberry was first grown or bred in Brittany, France in the 1750s by crossing Fragaria Virginia from eastern North America with Fragaria Chiloenses, brought from Chile. The French began harvesting wild strawberries in the 14th century. Strawberries were added to cream in the Court of King Henry VIII. What can I add to that? World production of strawberries is in excess of nine million tons, and not a strawberry too many. After we had spent a few days at Noel's, we drove east to go to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The Outer Banks are a resort area, but wilder, less cultivated than the homogenized resort areas one sometimes visits. We rented two separate hotel rooms to stay in the area around Kitty Hawk. I had sexual relationships prior to becoming a Christian. Erma had many dating relationships, but had learned her sexual ethics as a teenager at a conservative, evangelical church and drew a line she believed in. We did not sleep together on that trip. It helped to make our dating relationship simple, clean, pure, uncomplicated. (Our physical relationship began on our honeymoon - when Erma exited the bathroom and entered our bedroom the evening of our 11 a.m. wedding in Bear, Delaware. We had driven to a bed and breakfast in Milford, New Jersey, Linda and Rob Castagna's Chestnut Hill on the Delaware River. Looking at the teddy-bear decorated bed and room in the honeymoon suite and at me, Erma asked, "do you think we should pray?" I answered, "I already have.") But that wedding ceremony day was still in our distance, like a beckoning city on a hill. The next day on our excursion to North Carolina, we traipsed about on the Kitty Hawk beach. It was not yet warm enough for swimming; the beaches were nearly empty. I discovered that small fish, mullets or small kingfish, filled some of the deeper surf pools and beach ponds left by retreating waves. There is a picture of me taken by Erma, bending over at the waist, looking down, with my pants rolled up as I stood in the middle of one of these surf pools, wearing a plaid shirt with the sleeves rolled up, trying to catch little silver fish with my bared, cupped hands. Trying to catch small fish by hand was a predictably unsuccessful effort, but loads of fun to try. I looked perfectly ridiculous, and we were perfectly happy. On our trip back in the silver Honda Civic from North Carolina, driving north to Wilmington and Phoenixville, we sang hymns on the road. Neither Erma or I have any musical talent at all - neither of us can carry a melody. But there was no music critic in the car, no one to be distressed. We sang "Fairest Lord Jesus," in toneless acapella - it fit our mood and excursion well. _______________________ I was interrupted in my coffee-house reveries by a young man, of Asian background, whose face I recognized, but whose name I didn't know. He had been listening to me a previous week, when I was proclaiming out loud verses from the Book of Revelation, the lake of fire verses, the judgment verses, on a previous morning when the coffee house was much emptier than it was that Saturday evening. His interruption lead into quite an extended discussion, carried out over three locations in the coffee house. "Hello," he said. I responded with my own 'hello.' "I saw you here the other week. You were reading out loud. I was standing over there" – he indicated where he had been standing when I had my brief confrontation with the coffee house manager, Jen, over reading Bible verses out loud. I nodded 'yes' and offered my hand and introduced myself. "My name is Qi," he introduced himself with a small but perceptible bob of the head. His English was good, with a slight British accent. Qi looked to be in his early twenties, fifty years younger than I. His hair was black parted on one side, his chin and cheeks clean-shaven, his eyes brown, his lashes somewhat long, his build slim, probably 5' 10" in height and weighing 140 or 150 pounds, wearing blue jeans and a neat maroon pullover jersey. His facial expression was respectful, intelligent and friendly. "I wanted to ask you. Why were you reading out loud? And why did you choose those verses?" I had to think to recreate my thoughts and mood the previous week. "I can't answer that easily. God moves inside me without giving me explanations. Why those verses? I felt like I wanted to get somewhere - we ought to get somewhere. I saw those verses on the path." "I heard what you said to the manager. The owner doesn't mind?" His expression suggested that people reading out loud in a coffee house crossed a line in the culture he came from. "No," I told him, "the owner doesn't mind." We paused our conversation for a moment, so Qi could find a way around the bench and people to squeeze in opposite me. He was sitting right next to the strawberry-eating couple, also seated across each other on the bench, as I was. "Do you work, or are you a student?" I asked. Qi explained his background to me, responding to my questions. He was 23 years old, a graduate student seeking a Master's degree in statistics from the graduate department of a nearby university. He was an exchange student, a resident of China, whose family came from near Beijing. Much of his life was not spent in China however. His father was an investment banker, and they spent a number of years in different countries and cities, including London, where he learned as a teenager to speak English well, and learned his slight but discernible British accent. He was one of three children, and had two sisters, one older, who was married and living near Shanghai, and one considerably younger sister, who was living at home near Beijing, where his parents had returned. I asked him about China's one-child policy and he explained that his father had sufficient resources to obtain relief from the rule. Since the first child in the family was a daughter, apparently this exception was not difficult to obtain with respect to Qi. Having official sanction for having a third child was more difficult, but by then his father had political and economic connections. By this time the strawberry dessert-eating couple had left. Their seats were taken by others so it wasn't always easy to conduct our conversation. The coffee house was noisy, there was music in the background and people were sliding behind us at times to reach seats further down the long benches on which Qi and I were seated. When I paused my deposition-like questions, I asked if he attended any local church. He did, he explained, and had been for about a year. "What did you think when I read those verses out loud?" I asked. "How did you react?" "I like hearing the Book of Revelation read aloud. It doesn't often get read out loud. When you hear a sermon, somebody tells you what to think about it. There's always a doctrine or a system. Everything has to be explained." He thought for a few moments. "There's more in the words, than there is in the explanations." He said, and I quietly nodded in agreement. "Well, if you just listen to the words, read by somebody else, you wouldn't have a system," I offered. "You might have a language, though. A set of mutual symbols. Even if we didn't agree on what they meant." He listened to what I said and we talked about language, and symbols. His criticisms of symbolic language were well-thought out; a person whose native tongue is Chinese understands well the strengths and weaknesses of symbols to communicate. I suggested that symbols and graphic pictures cut through many language systems. The phrase "a woman clothed with the sun," eludes precise rational understanding, but it's an accessible image everywhere. We had the mutual and considerable pleasure of two people speaking thoughtfully to each other. "You don't agree with any systems about it?" I asked, meaning the Book of Revelation. "I don't know. My church teaches a system." "Which one is that? Dispensationalism? Premillennialism?" "Yes." "The Rapture, any minute. The Jews left to face the anti-Christ." "Yes. Yes." "You're not defending it very hard," I suggested. His facial expression indicated that I had discerned his feelings accurately. "Is that what you believe?" Qi asked me. "No. I'm a Postmillennialist. I believe in the Great Commission. Christ gave us an order. Go into the far reaches of the world. Convert the nations. So we will succeed. It's the prayer he taught us. 'Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done.'" "How does reading about the burning lake of fire out loud, help that?" Qi queried. "I'm not sure. Does the Spirit have to explain everything to me? I respond as I'm called. But I think everybody wants good news. Ask them, and they'll tell you the world is a mess. But then they want good news - warm and reassuring. God's judgment in a burning lake of fire is a very unpopular topic. But it wakes people up. It made you ask me questions." "Do you think bad news is more likely to win converts?" Qi was looking at me with a certain amount of respectful skepticism. "I think telling people the truth helps people see the truth." "But you, too. You didn't recite the burning lake of fire verses with a big smile on your face." "Perhaps so. Me too," I admitted. "Maybe there's enough bad news already," Qi suggested. "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. That's true too. You're right. But why are all those burning lake of fire verses there? Fierce warnings, aren't they?" I asked rhetorically. "Maybe it's the bad news that already exists. Maybe the world loves judging. Maybe the world needs judging. There's a lot of judging inside of us already." As he said this, I thought I detected some personal history in Qi – perhaps his father was a judgmental person. "I think it's a warning - a guide and a look to the future. But I'll be careful about trying to interpret it, with you around. I'll let the words be the words. Burning lake of fire and all." I raised my hands slightly to indicate surrender – the acknowledgment of my limitations. "Don't some people believe the whole book was just meant for the 1st century Christians? They think it all relates to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Roman armies. That's it – nothing else." Qi's knowledge suggested some study; his tone suggested questions, perhaps questions deeper than interpreting the Book of Revelation. "Are you a preterist?" I asked him. I wasn't sure whether his question was a narrow, specialized question over eschatology, or rather a deeper question that any young person might have, about whether the whole structure of religion is connected to anything real at all. "I'm not sure what that means," he admitted. "About what you said. Preterists believe most of the Book of Revelation has already been fulfilled. It was a warning for the 1st century, for the early church. A tract for the times. Now it's done – it has no future significance," I explained. "If that's what you're asking." "No, I haven't thought about it much, but don't think I think that. How about you?" Qi asked. There were questions in this young man, but I didn't know quite what they were. "I think it's prophecy. The Word of God to us. It's no more fulfilled and done than the Sermon on the Mount is fulfilled and done. Does that answer your question?" I returned. "I guess we'll never know, this side of Final Judgment," he offered. "Maybe we just wait for the Rapture?" "It makes a difference now. It changes how we act, because of what we expect. If all you're doing is sitting around here, waiting for the Rapture, that's one kind of answer. But I'll buy you a cup of coffee, and we can wait together." As I was about to get up to buy coffee, a young woman, talking to her friend following behind her, was trying to make her way behind the bench to a seat. She was holding a sandwich on a plate and a glass. Someone moved on the crowded bench, not knowing anyone was behind him, and bumped directly into her. Her sandwich spilled and tumbled across the back of an unshaven but pleasant-looking blonde young man and onto the floor. There, visible for the world, near Qi's feet, were the ingredients for her sandwich, two slices of multi-grain bread, two chunks of avocado, two generous slices of tomato, and a large stack of bean sprouts, scattered across the floor along with a slice of dill pickle. She moved back apologetically, waving the now-empty sandwich plate in her hand, obviously embarrassed. The young man stood up, rather mildly and saw who had spilled sandwich fixings on him. He didn't seem angry - he was apologetic and rather embarrassed himself. No one quite knew what to do. For a few moments the two of them milled about each other in rather disorganized fashion. The coffee house manager was nearby. She saw what had happened and signaled for a staff person to assist. Qi and I both stood up to move out of the way and sidestepped our way to leave the benches and table. As we were moving, I made brief eye contact with the manager and we mutually and quickly nodded. I didn't want her to think I had been a problem again, but she saw I was an innocent bystander, not an repeat instigator of disturbances. While the clean-up was being accomplished, Qi, seeing our mutual nod, asked if I knew the coffee house manager. "Yes, her name is Jen Geddes. She's a Christian. She's nice – a calm person." We watched the cleanup. I thought I would share a bit more, thinking still about what Qi's questions might be. "Years ago, she was in the newspaper, picture and all. She had a bit of a temper. I think she came from a very fundamental background. She was in a church, and for whatever reason, something was going with a visiting pastor she definitely didn't agree with. She expressed her theological disagreement by shouting out loud, picking up a stool, and heaving it at this visiting pastor. She actually hit him with it and there were disturbances in the church. The police had to be called. As a sentence I think she got what is called ARD, a non-trial diversion. It usually means she had to do some community service and get some counseling. I was practicing as a lawyer at the time, so I paid attention. Some years later, she got the job here. I recognized her when she started. Very calm - very welcoming to everybody these days. I never talked with her about it. I always wanted to ask her what it was about. Part of it was reported in the newspaper – apparently, whatever it was the visiting pastor was saying, her response was along the lines of "are you really going to say that, in my ear?" The cleanup was over, but Qi and I found a different place to sit and resumed our conversation. He wanted to know more about the type of law I had practiced, which was a general community practice. We started talking about the law and about the U.S. Constitution and some well-known constitutional principles, which were not, as Qi described, the rule or norm in China. He described a culture and circumstance in China which might be characterized as intense and ubiquitous favoritism. "We have those problems here - in a big way," I acknowledged. "You have laws about it, though. In China, there is no law to appeal to, to correct such things. The party is the law, and the party officials who operate without needing any approval." "We do have laws," I acknowledged. I narrated for Qi a United States Supreme Court case, which is a staple of the Constitutional Law curriculum in law school. "In San Francisco, around 1880, most of the laundry workers were Chinese. Laundries used heat in wooden buildings. There was a statute that said you couldn't operate a laundry without a permit. The statute itself wasn't crazy - there was a genuine fire risk with boiling water used in the laundries – not a joke in San Francisco. But Yick Wo had been operating his laundry for years, when he was told he couldn't operate his laundry anymore without a permit. Unfortunately, if you were Chinese, you didn't get a permit. If you weren't Chinese, then you got one. Yick Wo was fined for operating without the permit, and he couldn't or wouldn't pay the fine, so he was put in jail. The Supreme Court ruled that the administration of that permit law was unconstitutional – even if the laundry owners weren't citizens. Even if the law itself made sense considered in isolation. The Chinese laundry owners still had a right under equal protection, under the equal protection laws of the 14th Amendment." "You would not find such laws in China," Qi lamented. "Well, it took us years to take the legal principle serious," I told him. "Taking your principles seriously takes time." Our conversation continued. We talked about Chinese coolies and how they worked. We talked about Christianity in China. We talked about the beginning of the movie Crazy Rich Asians where they're having a Bible study. We talked about missionaries and Hudson Taylor and the Chinese Inland Mission, and when Qi's family had become Christians. We talked about wars in Asia – in the Pacific against Japan. Qi had a very distinct opinion about the treatment of the Chinese by the Japanese in WWII, which flowed over to his opinion over disputed islands in the South China sea. We talked about the wars in Korea and Vietnam. We talked about Mao, and Communism and the treatment of Christians in China during the cultural revolution. Qi's family had suffered and practiced their faith in secret, but had emerged. We talked about the Three-Self Church in China. "Sanzi Jiaohui" Qi explained, trying to help me to pronounce it correctly. "But my family has spent so much time overseas, it was not critical to us. We didn't argue about religion, we argued about how many hours my father worked." He looked not as happy making this last statement. I decided to change gears altogether. "You'll be married someday. You'll have a wife and probably children. Do you have a girlfriend?" I asked. "Yes. But she is in graduate school in Michigan now. So I only get to see her on vacations. Sometimes we meet in Chicago. We are making some plans, but they have to wait. We text. She likes it, but she thinks it's cold there." We talked about the weather in China, and in the U.S. We moved our location one more time, when a booth opened up. Time passed, but the Rapture still lay in the future. In the meandering talk and silence of our time together, we made friends. The Holy Spirit, as known to coffee houses as He is to great cathedrals, entered somewhere. Eventually Qi said it was time for him to get back home, and we parted company with the idea that he would be back in the coffee house, and we would have a chance to talk again. Perhaps further, on the Book of Revelation, he suggested. ___________________ And in the Spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. Revelation 21:10. Those trained in theology and ministry should present the bulk of the inspired message of Rom. Ch. 12-15. But there is an element of those passages I want to address. I have a law degree, was valedictorian at law school, have practiced law for many years, and have held elected office. I serve as a volunteer on various boards with legal and executive authority over substantial matters. The business of law and government is something with which I am familiar. Although words like "law and government" don't sound San Francisco hippy-ish, don't seem to blend into a coffee-house or a road trip to the last chapters of Revelation, that is my direction now. Rom. 13:1-10 is my topic. Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. Rom13:1a. The passage is central. It does not stand for, nor should it be understood, to be a command to political authoritarianism. It is an invitation to law, to legitimacy, to ascertaining the will of the people in a democracy, enacting that will within the confines of a constitutional system, and then respecting the laws that flow therefrom. Within the world at large, we may be subject to, or may become the governing authorities – but we are always Christians. The Apostle Paul had multiple purposes in so writing – he had a concern with the relationship of Christians to the outside world and to the political authority of the Roman empire. Paul was also concerned about how Christians relate among ourselves. Christian religious/political conflict among ourselves has been a challenge for Christian theology. Theological disagreement may be the reason or the excuse for the ecclesiastical, political or social separation of Christians. Once reasons develop, theological disagreement, leading to differing communions and groupings, becomes the vehicle for separation. As the Reformation commenced and continued through the 16th and 17th centuries, it appeared the immovable object had met the irresistible force. When Christian conscience met Christian government in vehement disagreement, the results were tragically unacceptable in individual cases. Theologically, the issues have never been resolved. One person wishes to pray to the saints, another does not, one expects an early Rapture with no warning, another does not, one thinks the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, another does not. There are innumerable such differences. The continuing disagreements demonstrate that we have no recognized method of either resolving the dispute, or even a recognized method of staying in communication with each other. The argument continues unresolved. The fallback position for various Christian disputants is spiritual distance and intentional distancing, and attrition over time. Politically, we have addressed the most negative consequences of those 16th and 17th century conflicts by privatizing religious conscience. The results of privatizing Christian conscience are only partially satisfactory, as the 21st century is demonstrating. Organizing a better society is problematic, if each Christian has no greater loyalty than to his or her conscience. Conscience slides into self-will. Beyond denominational or theological boundaries, no one is able to present, to debate, to respond, to adjudicate, to give, or to obey an order issued by a recognized body of Christians, on any issue – not just very large important issues. All issues are 'off the table,' as it were, beyond joint resolution. No one could today post 95 theses on the door of a church and have an audience. We are stalled on Christian conscience-autonomy. No one says 'my conscience is God' but that is the net result. Each spider sits on her own web. The Old Testament analogue is the Book of Judges. The civil and political theory and authority that God has established pertinent to us, and to all, has been two thousand years in the making. The development of this theory is an argument for and an example of common grace, extended by God to all, who makes his sun to shine on the good and on the evil, and sends his rain on the just and on the unjust. "All peaceful beginnings of government have been laid in the consent of the people," John Locke, the British philosopher wrote in his Second Treatise on Government, Sect. 112. His work was instrumental in the framing of American constitutional ideas. Within the United States, we are both the governed, and the governing authorities. Perhaps odd, perhaps obvious to say, but if we as Christians want to reach the heavenly city of God, we have to be capable of governing and being governed by each other. This does not suggest extinguishing the ordinary and necessary debate and contentions that accompany civil and religious life. But at some point, a methodology of decision-making has to be established. Decisions are to be made, and they have to be respected. These 'decisions' are Christian decisions, critical to the communications and communal life of all Christians. That is not intended as a challenge to fundamental theological positions. When our government formed, Maryland did not become Pennsylvania – each state assigned certain powers to a federal government, and retained the rest. Lawful is not lawless, even where there is hard questioning and debate over what is really or ought to be 'lawful.' There are many different ways to connect with each other in the exercise of our Christian faith. Our movement toward the Jerusalem from above is obstructed, if we are situated like a collection of hermit crabs, each communion barricaded in its own shell of theological position, ecclesiastical organization and personal conscience. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Rom. 13:1 b. God created and enables all things, in providing the motive power for all events, outside of whose permissive will nothing ever can happen or could happen. Such establishment includes "the authorities that exist." As Jesus said to Pilate, "You would have no power over me if it were not given you from above." God is the source of lawful authority. The present state of world and national affairs, including our legal and political structures, is not accidental. It may be temporary, or cause us to pray "How long, O Lord, will the wicked by jubilant?" But if we cannot obey our own lawful authority, exercising decisions derived from faith, there is no possibility of building a genuinely lawful structure. If we cannot debate our Christian statements, decrees, findings or laws, enable and enact our Christian decrees, respect or obey our Christian laws, because they come from the authority already announced and ordained by our God and Savior, we're not going to move. We are stranded in the valley of stasis. I am postmillennial, a believer in the Kingdom of God that comes into this world. The extension of Rom. 13:1 b is necessary. This verse sends us forward, makes us look to the future. The current set of authorities have been established by God. The next set of authorities will be established by God - and the next set, after that. We want this set of authorities, each set of authorities, to be better, more Christ-like. When we say more 'Christ-like,' it is not reasonable to expect that denominational and theological differences are going to evaporate. We want to be Christ-like as we assume, or obey, or exchange, this developing authority which expresses itself in constitutional forms among us - not because it results in theocracy or theonomy (or any other system of being ruled by the laws of the Old Testament). Rather, we remember that the "authorities that exist" may be us, or may not be; and if we're not holding office at the moment, we may retain our theological positions or political differences. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, has special significance when we are talking about different groups of Christians contending over beliefs, ideas, or courses of conduct which may be supported and advanced by force of decree, statement or law. If we are going to move toward a more complete Christian community, theological convictions count, inspiration counts, but also, impartiality counts. We want the debate (and the penalties for losing the debate on whatever topic is at hand) to be just and impartial. The rules, the conduct, the doctrine, whatsoever it is under discussion, and the statement or law that issues from them, or us, are to be impartial. The means and procedure of discussing, debating, challenging or appealing the decision regarding the resolution of Christian issues, have to be impartial. Due Process is a legal term but it paves a spiritual road. It means notice of the issue at hand, before the time and place of decision, and the opportunity to be heard on the point by the decision-makers. We hope valued impartiality flows into our political and national lives. But whether it does or does not flow nationally, we have to communicate these exchanges and accord this due process among ourselves in an impartial manner – and then voluntarily respect the outcome. The amorality of the present state of our national political life is not ultimately acceptable, but neither it is acceptable to go back to the political situation, rife with religious persecutions, that characterized Great Britain (and here in New England) in the 17th century. We do not criminalize people with whom we disagree. We will not move toward a golden, millennial age until we capture solutions to both sets of problems – spiritual unity which enables voluntary association and cooperation, and spiritual dissent. Our risen Lord Jesus has set us a mid-term examination. God has graciously provided us guidance. As explained by Locke in his Second Treatise, sect. 131: And so whoever has the legislative or supreme power of any commonwealth, is bound to govern by established standing laws, promulgated and known to the people, and not by extemporary decrees; by indifferent [impartial] and upright judges, who are to decide controversies by those law; and to employ the force of the community at home, only in the execution of such laws; or abroad to prevent or redress foreign injuries, and secure the community from inroads and invasion. And all this to be directed to no other end but the peace, safety, and public good of the people. The peace that Jesus confers - "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you" (John 14:27), connects to this Lockean peace, safety and the public good. The kingdom of God ("Thy kingdom come," Jesus taught us to pray, Mat. 6:10, "on earth as it is in heaven.") and "the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations," Rev. 22:2, converge on this peace. They are intended for this-world Christian implementation, and this implementation and obedience to God's will is not beyond us. John Locke described the "peace, safety and public good of the people" in terms that were attainable. He presented his solution at the time of intense religious persecution that frequently was the excuse, rather than the reason, for political persecution. The experience of the Amish community in self-regulation provides some useful guidance. The Nashville Statement, signed initially by more than 150 evangelical leaders, affirming what is set forth or implied in Scripture about sexuality, particularly Romans ch. 1, is a productive step toward our self-regulation and our movement toward a Holy City. The Nashville Statement engendered disagreement and resentment. Nor do I endorse all views, on all issues, of those Christians who developed the Nashville Statement. The point is to cooperate as actively and as far as we can, but no further. Theological statements and decisions are presented to address conflicting positions. The resentment within large elements of our national society, of the Christian position on the sexual issues addressed in the Nashville Statement, is intense – but that is acceptable. Disregard of God's Word engenders its own consequences. We want to be frog-marched off the Titanic of modern secular culture and nominal Christianity - thrown unceremoniously into a little lifeboat named Jesus and the Bible. We expect to be marginalized with the world's imprecations following, as the Titanic leaves us behind. We may bob in the ocean of broad societal disapproval for a short season. It's not hard to see the iceberg coming. After the iceberg has done its work, we, the Christian community, build a better world. We may communicate our own internal understandings and direction without surrendering those theological positions which are essentially non-negotiable. John Locke calls out the following elements in the above-recited passage: legislative power, established law, impartial judges, a judicious use of 'force' to execute such laws, directed to peace, safety and public good – and we would add, for the community of our faith. The challenge is to connect that political peace, of which we are clearly capable, with Jesus' spiritual peace. The alternative, the Valley of Christian Stasis, is incapable of being characterized as good faith. That is not how the Book of Revelation ends. To disconnect the two kinds of peace, to say that the peace that Jesus provides is always and forever not of this world, is to take a position on eschatology. That is to take the position that the Kingdom of God is not coming (despite praying "thy Kingdom come") in this world except by the visible return of Christ but in no other way. It is to take the position that the Great Commission does not fully succeed (apparently, then, a command to partial failure?). It is to take the position that the ending of Romans ch. 16 ("so that all nations might believe and obey him") doesn't count. If the Kingdom of God is coming in this world, then those good ends that John Locke asserted - peace, safety, the public good - have to be realized in the context of a multitude of Christian expressions (the 'Seven Churches' of Revelation), giving rise to our City in Motion. The political events of the last two thousand years include what has politically taken place in this country in the last 250 years. We may begin with the Deist-influenced proclamation of the Declaration of Independence (which, despite its Deist influences, repeatedly and insistently invokes God, the Creator, the Supreme Judge, and Divine Providence), which is also directly of God. The Declaration of Independence, like all other expressions of common grace, is directed by and under the authority of our risen Lord, Jesus. Pilate's authority derived from Roman military and civil power gets the benefit of God's imprimatur, as spoken by Jesus. Then surely also so does the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Federalist Papers. We have political tools. We need to use them. We don't want to supplant the state, we want to create a miniature of a Constitutional and legislative system, for ourselves, entered into by three gates: by Christian faith, by subscription to the doctrine of Scriptural inerrancy, and by a commitment to a forward-looking eschatology. Beyond that, once through those gates 'of the outer courtyard,' we acknowledge a diversity of views, a gathering of seven churches, a lively exchange of ideas. We will make and find our city and move toward peace, joy, and the enjoyment of the presence of God, characterized by our love for God, and our love for each other. There, we will be in a position to lead useful and interesting lives and have enjoyable and interesting discourse. We do not resurrect the past, look to the past, long for the days of ancient Israel, look for theocratical forms of government, or long for the days when our particular theology will be adopted by everyone. Christianity is just beginning. "By calling this covenant new, he has made the first one obsolete. And what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear." Heb. 8:13. The orchestra is just tuning up - we're barely getting started. I have no use at all for nostalgia. To quote a modern theologian, Greg Bahnsen: Postmillennialists believe, therefore, that the kingdom of God will gradually grow on earth, visibly, publicly, and externally. . . It will grow through the gradual conversion of the nations – through the preaching of the Word of God. . . . This salvation of many people must have visible expression and influence and be seen in an outward culture in society. (Victory in Jesus, Bahnsen, CMP 1999, p. 27). (See also, Postmillennialism, an Eschatology of Hope, Keith A. Mattison, P&R Publishing, 1999; The Victory of Christ's Kingdom, John Jefferson Davis, Canon Press, 1996; Prophecy and the Church, Oswald Allis, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1978 (critique of dispensationalism); He Shall Have Dominion, Kenneth Gentry, Apologetics Group Media, 2009 (thorough defense of postmillennialism); and An Eschatology of Victory, J. Marcellus Kik, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1971) ("the Holy City is situated in time and history . . . " p. 245). (Noting also with all these authors, that their theology is learned, their eschatology is inspiring, their legal and political theory needs better direction.) Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves." Rom:13:2. Paul instructed Christians in the Roman Empire, where we began as a tiny minority. Stay out of trouble, direct your energy away from rebellion, stay away from political revolt or disobedience. Move in our spiritual life and the witness to the growing faith. Paul was concerned about building the church locally and across geographical distances and cultural groups. It was the Holy Spirit saying, "it's okay to obey the Roman authorities – in fact, you should, this is part of your obedience to me, unless (as is clear from the Book of Revelation), you are being asked to deny Christ or otherwise blaspheme." Christ warned his disciples to stay clear of the military and political disaster coming because of the Jewish rebellion brewing against Roman authority in his pointed discourse at the Mount of Olives. In whatever direction we decide to move, it must meet the fundamental standards enunciated by Paul. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment, but also because of conscience. That is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe him; if you owe taxes, pay taxes, if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Rom. 13:3-7. Christian, don't do the crime, if you can't do the time. The bearing of the sword is intended for punishment. The state has a monopoly on the use of force, for a good reason. Generally, Christian conscience acts in conjunction with the state (but not always, see, e.g., Martin Luther King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail). In his Letter to the Romans, Paul meant a number of different things by 'the Law,' understood by context: the Ten Commandments, the Law of Moses implying a special revelation of God's will to the Jews, natural law available to and applicable to all people, spiritual law to be followed by Christians out of obedience to the gospel, the law of love, Roman civil or criminal law to be obeyed at the risk of punishment, the law of conscience, including accusations or defenses of conscience, the law of interior struggle with sin, sin and death itself, and the new life of the Spirit - all are referenced in Paul's letter, all characterized in his writing as or associated with the Law. The Law shows us our sins by holding up a mirror to our conduct in the light of God's Law, sending us to call on Christ's atoning mercy. The Law protects the weak from wrongdoing at the hands of those stronger and is essential to a civil society. The Law in all its forms and expressions is surely the great chain, wielded by an angel, which binds Satan in Rev. 20:1 and 2. As the Holy City comes down out of heaven as described in the 21st Chapter of Revelation, it is not described as the City of Law. By implication, the City may be protected by Law. Law may reinforce its walls and its gate. Spiritual law may flow from and through the Church to separate those who may enter the City of God from those who may not. But the Holy City's light, foundations, jewels, gates, streets, river, fountains, or its Tree of Life are not described in terms of Law. In the Sacred City of divine and human joy, where Christ reigns by acclamation, by love and by power, the purposes of the Law have been fulfilled. Lawlessness has no place in the City as it can never enter in. The Abyss may be escaped, only to give rise to further battle and fire, but the Holy City is prepared as a bride. The description of the Millennial City calls us to something higher, further and more perfect than Law as a goal and end of human society. The Law has a purpose and an end, and it reaches fulfillment in Christ's work on the Cross. In a more perfect society, where equity is done everywhere, there is no need to petition a court of equity for relief. Where love and trust are more perfect among people, no judge is needed to assert jurisdiction, hear argument or rule for one party or the other. In a meeting with our beloved, we who love fold our papers, close our law books and put our contracts aside. Their purpose has been served. Love keeps no record of wrong, so we may leave the courtroom. We go to meet for a wedding ceremony and a feast. The beauty of the meeting calls us to travel the road. Questions arise about doing right, what obedience means, in a Constitutional democracy where we are asked to play a part. The part we play nationally, whatever it is, to which we are also called and from which we refuse to be disenfranchised, is not the same as the spiritual movement we pursue among ourselves. We are called to something higher than the surrounding political confrontation and factionalism (not an easy problem to solve; see Federalist No. 10 – Madison thought the danger of factionalism would be solved by the new Constitution, and clearly that has not been the case). John Locke thought the solution was self-evident. "[F]or nobody has an absolute arbitrary power over himself, or over any other, to destroy his own life, or take away the life or property of another. . . Thus the law of nature stands as an eternal rule to all men, legislators as well as others. The rules that they make . . . must be conformable to the law of nature, i.e., to the will of God . . ." 2nd Treatise, sect. 135. To say something must be conformable to the will of God, or the law of nature or an eternal rule, has proved to be guidance not so obvious, beyond the first application, of not destroying life. Many Christians are united on this point at least. Given the number of abortions being performed annually in the United States and western world generally, even Locke's standard of 'not taking away life' appears to have given way to a notion of personal rights that is practically unlimited in its scope or application. In the case of abortion on demand, the notion is tragic on a massive scale, leads to infanticide (and the purposeful abortion of Downs' syndrome babies), is contrary to God's will, is destructive of our national political fabric, and presents an irresistible temptation to federal courts to exceed their Constitutional jurisdiction and intended scope of authority. Next to the Dred Scott decision, Roe v. Wade is the worst decision ever made by the U.S. Supreme Court, and its consequences have been destructive. The decision raises political problems regardless of religious faith – there is no serious legal question of any type that cannot be formulated into a query about individual rights and then answered in such a way as to make individual rights (defined to assure the preferred outcome) preempt and supersede any other type of right. In the case of abortion, all that is necessary is to deny the definition of human life to children in the womb. The definitions decide the outcome. When we now use the term 'civil rights' the meaning is – rights of the individual. In current judicial reasoning, advancing individual rights is always expansive of the good, as long as the individuals are out of the womb. In current judicial reasoning, the rights of the group are nearly always oppressive, subtracting from the net benefit of civil society. My civil rights cannot be added to the civil rights of my fellow citizens, in such a way as to develop a society promoting religiously-based ethical views. One hundred thousand people may not be lead in prayer at a government-sponsored or funded event, if one objects. If it is necessary to justify protecting children in the womb from destruction by making a religious argument, because the definition of the beginning of life implies theological and ethical reasoning, then the destructive consequences of advancing individual rights above other rights are wrongly justified as compelled by the implied language of the Constitution. An intellectual shell game has been played by our federal judiciary, of which Roe v. Wade is the most notorious example – get the definitions right, set up the conflict as the individual vs. the group (included in 'the group' is any assembly of state legislators) – and the desired judicial result will pop out like candy from a dispenser. From this Christian's viewpoint, and I am also a citizen of this nation, this is unacceptable. As an individual, my name is not "Congress," as in the 1st Amendment ("Congress shall make no law"). The idea that ethical decisions, which result in law, may not have religious foundations, is to be rejected. The idea that I may not join with others to vote for or to pass laws which at some point in their chain of reasoning, rely on religious belief or revelation, is to be rejected. A method of judicial reasoning which relies on carefully-crafted initial definitions and nomenclature to avoid the obvious, observable acts of medically terminating life, with the resulting infant body parts available for marketing, is to be rejected. Political acts which have ethical foundations, which themselves have religious foundations, are ordinary acts of Constitutional self-rule, not the establishment of a theocracy. We will do better, because God will compel a better result. The City of God is a promise to seven churches, standing for a society of communities engaged in the voluntary worship of God and obedience to Christ. Discovering the will of God, in our own relations with other Christians, raises harder questions than challenging bad national law or opposing abortion on demand. Discovering God's will mean moving forward to our own better self-governing society, even if we construct a model first on a 'table-top,' as it were. I quote a passage from Locke which will have a familiar sound to any reader familiar with the Declaration of Independence: Great mistakes in the ruling part, many wrong and inconvenient laws, and all the slips of human frailty, will be born by the people without mutiny or murmur. But if a long train of abuses, prevarications, and artifices, all tending the same way, make the design visible to the people, and they cannot but feel what they lie under, and see whither they are going; it is not to be wondered, that they should then rouse themselves, and endeavor to put the rule into such hands which may secure to them the ends for which government was at first erected . . . 2nd Treatise, sect. 225. Locke observed that the people may "rouse themselves." Indeed, 'rousing ourselves' is essential. But in what way did the Apostle Paul view 'rousing ourselves?' The difficulty with Paul's passage in Romans ch. 13:3-7, is its static nature. Those admonitions made sense then, for a small religious minority in a vast pagan empire. The Roman authorities were there, and the Roman Christians submitted to them, and were grateful to God for the opportunity to worship him in peace. There was no political development implied; it was intentional separation from Roman interference, by giving no cause for offence, for purposes of Christian religious practice. A difficulty with the passage of Locke cited above is that it takes the matter one, but only one, drastic step forward. If the authorities are inflicting a "long train of abuses . . . all tending the same way" then the people ought to put "the rule into such hands as may secure to them the ends for which government was at first erected." Locke's concepts are binary, but they also will become static – either the people accept the "great mistakes and wrong laws without mutiny or murmer" – or, as the American people did in 177 6, they "rouse themselves" to "put the rule into such hands, etc.," in other words, to put governmental rule into American hands in the legislatures of the American states. Continuing, aspirational movement was not contemplated by John Locke either. The wasn't the problem he was facing 320 years ago, but it is a problem we are facing now. There is much the Book of Revelation does not do. There is one thing it does do, beyond its powerful encouragement in the face of persecution – it says, 'look, there's a goal here, a destination, and we want to get to it.' The Book has an end, and the end is a City. The Great Commission is equally dynamic – Jesus telling us "Go, make disciples." There's a goal here, a command, something we are supposed to be doing – and disciples, discipling and discipline has to extend to more than personal conscience, to the exclusion of Christian community. The argument against amillennialism is parallel to the argument against premillennialism (whether in its dispensational presentation or classical presentation) – those doctrines don't go anywhere. When it comes to Revelation ch. 21 and 22, these doctrines 'sit on their hands.' Rather, our doctrine of eschatology is postmillennial (Christ comes after ("post") the millennium) by our voluntary choice, by Revelation's destination, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit to reach a millennium in this world. Jesus is awaited at the end of the golden, millennial period, however long and wonderful that period may be, a thousand years or a ten times a thousand years – and we have acted in obedience to him in making or moving to such a society and such a world. (For the Kingdom of God will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property - one to receive five talents, one to receive two, another, to receive one). Our goal is forward. Neither John Lock or the Apostle Paul, or Jesus, say: "let's go back to an Old Testament theocracy as soon as we have a chance." Hence, my profound disagreement with all forms of political theocracy, theonomy, etc. We move to the future here, in terms of our political understanding – our Lord Jesus has not been asleep for the last 2000 years. For that matter, if you need open-heart CABG surgery as I did, you will not seek out a doctor who applies the methods of healthcare available in the days of Moses – there are no instructions in the Old Testament for a triple-bypass procedure. Common grace has done something with respect to medical care, as it has done something with respect to political theory which the churches may apply. After the passage quoted above about obeying the authorities, the Apostle Paul moved directly, with no further transition, to a society characterized by love that has already internalized the Law. The movement is sudden between Rom. 13:7, extolling obedience to external Roman authority, sharing neither political power or a faith with us, to Rom. 13:8. Here is our endpoint: Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law. The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. If we wish to go On the Road now (and we find ourselves On the Road whether we wish it or not) – static conceptions will not do. We construct with the law in the manner of a homebuilder, using our tools to lay on progressively wiser and more effective structural elements, until we reach the fulfillment of home-building, a home where we may love. That is the postmillennial vision – a millennial world, a golden age of faith, love and peace, before Christ returns. The thousand years of the millennium in Ch. 20 is both a reality and a symbol for that vision. The reality of God's ordaining will is a driving movement. Growth through the Holy Spirit is neither limited to or circumscribed by the symbol of a thousand year time period. We travel to an end and a society good beyond words. Our driving force and our destination comes from God. Golden ages are hard to come by, but not only can we get there, we will. Christ has called us to this, and his sobriety and his power in doing so is beyond question. ____________________________________
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