TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: October 20

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Early intervention for young people could halt schizophrenia before it starts.

By Amy Standen at National Public Radio

2. Next generation air traffic control management can reduce delays and frustration at the airport.

By Aaron Dubrow at the National Science Foundation

3. Alabama prisons are at 190% capacity. Sentencing reforms are slowing prison population growth, but much work remains.

By Kala Kachmar in the Montgomery Advertiser

4. In the five weeks remaining under the deadline, the U.S. and Iran can reach a historic accord on nuclear arms.

By Joe Cirincione in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

5. For the peaceful coexistence of bicycles and everyone else in a city, we can learn a lot from Copenhagen.

By Mikael Colville-Andersen in the Guardian

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME ebola

Second U.S. Nurse With Ebola Was ‘in No Way Careless’ by Flying, Family Says

Texas nurse Amber Vinson (L) steps from an ambulance at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta
Texas nurse Amber Vinson, left, steps from an ambulance at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Ga., on Oct. 15, 2014. Stringer—Reuters

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had given the green light for Amber Vinson to travel, claims her family

The family of the second nurse to contract Ebola in the U.S. says she was “in no way” careless in making the decision to fly to Dallas after her exposure to the disease.

Amber Vinson, 29, apparently decided to fly back to Dallas from Cleveland as a precaution, after she heard her colleague Nina Pham had been diagnosed with Ebola.

Both Vinson and Pham had cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, who died of the disease on Oct. 8.

“To be clear, in no way was Amber careless prior to or after her exposure to Mr. Thomas Eric Duncan. She has not and would not knowingly expose herself or anyone else,” Vinson’s family wrote in the statement.

According to the statement, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had given the green light for Vinson to travel. Her family says she had even asked to stay at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital for the remainder of her 21-day monitoring period.

“Suggestions that she ignored any of the physician and government-provided protocols recommended to her are patently untrue and hurtful,” says the statement.

The family insists she followed CDC self-monitoring guidelines correctly and reported her temperature three times before boarding her flight, and each time the CDC cleared her to travel.

TIME Syria

U.S. Aircraft Resupply Kurdish Fighters Battling ISIS in Kobani

TURKEY-SYRIA-CONFLICT-KURDS
Kurdish people watch jet-fighters fly over Kobani from the Turkish border in the southeastern village of Mursitpinar on October 19, 2014. Bulent Kilic — AFP/Getty Images

Kurdish troops on the ground in northern Syria appear to be gaining the upper hand against ISIS with the help of American air strikes

U.S. aircraft delivered weapons, ammunition and medical supplies to Kurdish forces in the besieged Syrian border town of Kobani who’ve been battling the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) for more than a month.

American C-130s made multiple airdrops over the embattled city on Sunday and met no resistance from ISIS forces on the ground, according to officials.

“These airdrops were conducted in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to degrade and defeat the terrorist group [ISIS] and the threat they pose to the region and the wider international community,” read a statement released by U.S. Central Command late Sunday.

During a conference call on Sunday night, a senior administration official confirmed that the White House had given the green light for the operation in order to provide the embattled Kurdish militia forces with the badly needed supplies.

“The President determined to take this action now,” the official told reporters.

To date, coalition aircraft have launched 135 air strikes targeting ISIS forces in Kobani. The aerial onslaught is believed to have helped reverse the battlefield momentum in favor of the Kurdish fighters holed up near the Turkish border.

Hundreds of ISIS fighters have been killed as a result of the air raids, thus allowing Kurdish forces to begin pushing the Sunni extremist group outside the city. However, scattered ISIS fighters are believed to be holding out in pockets of Kobani.

“[ISIS] is going to suffer significant losses for its focus on Kobani,” said the administration official.

The reinforcement of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), as they’re known locally, by U.S. aircraft is likely to infuriate officials across the border in Turkey. Ankara has repeatedly refused to allow Kurdish reinforcements to enter Kobani because of the YPG’s ties to separatist rebels inside Turkey.

— With reporting by Zeke Miller / Washington

TIME

Here’s Who’s Blaming Who for Ebola

A guide to the Ebola blame game

Correction appended at 8:35 p.m. ET

The Ebola crisis in Texas has resulted in the death of one patient, the infection of two health care workers, and an endless round of finger-pointing—all of which is yielding a flurry of conflicting news accounts and a very confused public.

Here’s a rundown of who has been blaming who, and when.

The player: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Who they’re blaming: Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, an infected nurse, and the CDC itself

  • CDC Director Tom Frieden on Sunday blamed a “breach in protocol” for allowing the infection of nurse Nina Pham.
  • Frieden admitted on Tuesday the CDC could have done more: “We did send some expertise in infection control but think in retrospect, with 20-20 hindsight, we could have sent a more robust hospital infection control team, and been more hands on at the hospital on day one about exactly how this [case] should be managed. We will do that from now on any time we have a confirmed case.”
  • Frieden, commenting on the infection of the second nurse, Amanda Joy Vinson, said: “She should not have flown on [a plane].”
  • But a CDC spokesman later explained to TIME that the agency had actually asked Vinson to travel: As officials widened the net of people who needed to be monitored, Vinson was in Ohio and the CDC told her to go back to Dallas. Her temperature was 99.5°F, the spokesperson said. “Most doctors would call that a slight temperature, not a fever,” he said. “At that point, she was asked by CDC to come back to Dallas so she could be monitored, and she came back.”

The player: Dallas nurse Amber Joy Vinson
Who they’re blaming: The CDC

  • Vinson said she was cleared by the CDC for travel, which a spokesman later confirmed. She traveled to Cleveland to plan her wedding.

The player: Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital
Who they’re blaming: Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and National Nurses United

  • The hospital originally released Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient diagnosed in the U.S., who later died. Later, after his diagnosis, the hospital offered a number of reasons for not treating him immediately. At first, the hospital said a computer glitch was responsible for his travel history not being communicated to staff, and then said a nurse did not provide Duncan’s travel history to a physician. Finally, the hospital admitted it made a mistake.
  • The hospital refuted claims from a nurses’ union that nurses weren’t adequately trained: “The assertions [of National Nurses United] do not reflect actual facts learned from the medical record and interactions with clinical caregivers. Our hospital followed the Centers for Disease Control guidelines and sought additional guidance and clarity.”

The player: Doctors Without Borders
Who they’re blaming: The CDC

  • A Doctors Without Borders representative questioned the CDC’s preparation in the New York Times: “I’ve seen the CDC poster. It doesn’t say anywhere that it’s for Ebola. I was surprised that it was only one set of gloves, and the rest bare hands. It seems to be for general cases of infectious disease.”

The player: Emory University Hospital
Who they’re blaming: The CDC

  • Sean G. Kaufman, who oversaw infection control at Emory University Hospital, told the New York Times that the CDC’s guidelines are “absolutely irresponsible and dead wrong,” and that he tried to warn that they were not stringent enough and “they kind of blew me off. I’m happy to see they’re changing them, but it’s late.”

The player: National Nurses United
Who they’re blaming: Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, the CDC

  • A statement from the union cites “confusion” and “frequently changing policies and protocols” at the hospital: “No one knew what the protocols were or were able to verify what kind of personal protective equipment should be worn and there was no training.”
  • RoseAnn DeMoro, the union’s head, contested the CDC’s claim that nurses didn’t follow protocol: “The protocols that should have been in place in Dallas were not in place, and that those protocols are not in place anywhere in the United States as far as we can tell.”

The player: Republicans
Who they’re blaming: Frieden, an open border, Democrats, President Barack Obama

  • Mitt Romney, the 2012 presidential candidate: “Look this administration couldn’t run the IRS right, and it apparently isn’t running the CDC right. And you ask yourself what is it going to take to have a president who really focuses on the interests of the American people.”
  • Republican Rep. Thom Tillis, a Senate candidate in North Carolina: “Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve got an Ebola outbreak, we have bad actors that can come across the border. We need to seal the border and secure it.”
  • New Hampshire Senate candidate Scott Brown addressing his opponent’s record: “I think it’s naive to think that people aren’t going to be walking through here who have those types of diseases and/or other types of intent, criminal or terrorist. And yet we do nothing to secure our border. It’s dangerous. And that’s the difference. I voted to secure it. Senator Shaheen has not.”

The player: Democrats
Who they’re blaming: Republicans

  • The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, in an ad targeting GOP congressional candidates: “Republicans voted to cut CDC’s budget to fight Ebola.”

The player: Dallas Nurse Briana Aguirre
Who they’re blaming: Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital

  • Aguirre told NBC that she “can no longer defend [her] hospital at all.” She said infection control was far too lax, waste was not properly taken care of, and the hospital didn’t provide any mandatory education or information about Ebola outside of an optional seminar before Thomas Eric Duncan arrived at the hospital.

The player: National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins
Who they’re blaming: Budget cuts, Congress

  • “NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It’s not like we suddenly woke up and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here,'” Collins told The Huffington Post. “Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready.”

Read next: U.S. Scrambles to Contain Ebola

The original version of this story misstated the first name of Amber Joy Vinson.

TIME ebola

#TheBrief: Watch How the CDC Is Changing Its Ebola Protocol

As two nurses who contracted Ebola begin to receive specialized care

As the Ebola virus continues to ravage parts of West Africa and two American health care workers begin to receive specialized care, we have to wonder: Are hospitals in the U.S. well-equipped to contain any further spread at home?

Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, assured Americans in September that the country’s hospitals could control and curb any threat. But after two nurses contracted the virus while helping to treat the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., who died in Dallas last week, criticism is piling on and answers to this question and more are in high demand.

TIME U.S.

What Your Zip Code Says About You

Keith J. R. Binns—Getty Images

In an age of information, it's harder than ever to hide who you really are

U.S. zip codes were designed in 1963 to tell USPS how to sort your mail — but now they might tell others how you live your life.

Software company Esri’s Tapestry Segmentation project has combined U.S. Census demographic data with marketing data to offer a picture how we live — whether you’re spending Saturdays in line for the opera or for government assistance, or if you’re getting takeout from Chick-fil-A or Whole Foods.

All you have to do is enter your zip code to receive your postal code horoscope. You can also look up zip codes of places you’d like to visit, relocate or expand your business. In an age of big data, there’s seemingly no end to what the boundless flows of information can tell us — everything from who we want to sleep with to when we’ll discover alien life.

Here’s what Esri has to say about a few places in America:

In 89412, the zip code of a rural Nevada town that’s so isolated it’s the farthest point in the continental U.S. from a McDonald’s:

Most of us live in heavily-forested areas of Appalachia, Texas, Arkansas, and other parts of the country. Forestry provides jobs for many of us. We are very conservative politically; religious faith, traditional gender roles, and family history are profound influences. We’re relatively self-sufficient; we grow our own produce and maintain our vehicles…

In 33109, America’s richest zip code of Fisher Island, Fla., where the median income is over $1 million:

We’re affluent retirees who live in exclusive communities in warm climates. We worked hard, invested wisely, and now we’re experiencing the payoff. We drive luxury cars or SUVs and donate generously to charities. We contract for home maintenance services so chores don’t interfere with our active social life, trips, golf games and boating….

In 48503, the zip code of Flint, Mich., the U.S. city with the highest murder rate:

We shop for groceries at Walmart supercenters and buy clothes, household items, and sundries at Kmart. We have credit card balances; some have student loans… We play games online and check out dating sites. We trust TV for news and information and we enjoy fast food regularly.

In 99723, the zip code of Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost city in the U.S. that’s farther north than the Arctic Circle:

The relative peace of our affluent, family-oriented neighborhoods in the outer suburbs provides welcome relief from our hectic jobs, long commutes, and busy lives with growing children. Any minute we can save is critical, so we’re fans of conveniences such as banking and shopping online and housekeeping services…

Click here to learn more about where you live.

Read next: Here Are The Best Cities For Trick-or-Treating

TIME U.S.

Watch the Marines and the Korea Army Face Off in an Epic Drum Battle

Drum roll, please

In a friendly battle of the bands, the III Marine Expeditionary Force Band and the Republic of Korea Army Band drummed up a friendly competition in a parking lot at the 2014 Gyeryong Military Culture Festival. In a clip uploaded to YouTube by user bhijar07, the Korean band members dance and cheer like they are in the mosh pit at a concert while the Americans are slightly more stoic. This festival is one of the many performances that the Okinawa, Japan-based III Marine Expeditionary Force Band travels to worldwide.

MORE: How the Star-Spangled Banner Became the National Anthem

TIME Iraq

Report: U.S. Kept Mum After Finding Old Chemical Weapons in Iraq

US Army soldiers wearing their full chemical protection suits walk inside the courtyard of an industrial complex they secured which they thought was a possible site for weapons of mass destruction in the central Iraqi town of Baquba in May 2003.
US Army soldiers wearing their full chemical protection suits walk inside the courtyard of an industrial complex they secured which they thought was a possible site for weapons of mass destruction in the central Iraqi town of Baquba in May 2003. Roberto Schmidt—AFP/Getty Images

Based on 17 U.S. service members and seven Iraqi police officers who claimed they were exposed to mustard or nerve agents after 2003

American and Iraqi troops came across and, in some cases, were wounded by aged or abandoned chemical weapons between 2004 and 2011, according to a New York Times investigation published late Tuesday.

The report, which is based on redacted intelligence records and dozens of interviews with American and Iraqi officials — and, notably, 17 U.S. service members and seven Iraqi police officers who claimed they were exposed to mustard or nerve agents — analyzes how the U.S. apparently suppressed information about the discoveries and barred the injured from receiving proper recognition and medical care.

The investigation also notes that militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, which has seized large swaths of Iraq and Syria over the past year, controls a former production site that Iraq told the United Nations over the summer still held about 2,500 corroded munitions.

[New York Times]

TIME Iran

Iran’s President Says a Nuclear Deal With the West Is ‘Certain’

Hassan Rouhani
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani participates in an interview in Tehran on Oct. 13, 2014 Mohammad Berno—AP

President Hassan Rouhani makes the pledge during a televised national broadcast

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took to the nation’s airwaves on Monday night to proclaim that a nuclear deal with the West will be signed ahead of a deadline in late November.

“We will find a solution to the nuclear subject and we believe that the two sides will certainly reach a win-win agreement,” said Rouhani, according to Iranian broadcaster Press TV.

Representatives from the U.S., E.U. and Iran are set to meet up in Vienna later this week to attempt to hammer out the details of the agreement. Diplomats issued the new Nov. 24 deadline after failing to meet an earlier target in July.

On Monday night, Rouhani struck a confident tone as he discussed the agreement, saying only the finer details of the deal need to be ironed out.

“Of course details are important too, but what’s important is that the nuclear issue is irreversible. I think a final settlement can be achieved in these remaining 40 days,” said Rouhani, according to a translation by Reuters.

The potential deal aims to guarantee that Iran’s nuclear program remains strictly for peaceful purposes. Iran has been hit with myriad sanctions by Western nations for moving ahead with a nuclear program that Tehran claims is engineered to meet the country’s scientific and energy needs. However, the U.S. and Israel have long argued that the Islamic Republic’s leadership has been attempting to develop a clandestine nuclear arsenal.

President Rouhani was swept into power 14 months ago after campaigning on a more moderate platform and signaling that he aimed to ease the animosity that’s been brewing between Washington and Tehran for decades. The potential nuclear deal is also seen as pivotal to staving off an all-out future war between Israel and Iran.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser