Things That Matter

How to Help the Victims of the Nepal Quakes

Nepal and neighboring countries have once again been rattled by a massive earthquake. Survivors of both quakes are now in dire need of food, water and shelter.

Credit: CNN / YouTube

If you’re wondering what you can do to help, we recommend donating to these five trusted charities who have established a presence in Nepal.

Waves for Water – Focusing on providing clean water via filtration to communities around the world, Waves for Water mobilized an urgent clean ­water disaster relief initiative in response to the earthquake. At least 400 clean-­water filtration systems have been donated, which can provide up to 40,000 quake victims with access to clean water, almost immediately.

Operation USA – This organization is working closely with the Children’s Hospital in Kathmandu to distribute medical aid to rural areas. 95% of donations go straight to relief efforts. You can text “AID” to 50555 to donate $10.

Seva Foundation – This U.S.-based nonprofit is at the forefront of treating blindness. With over three decades of experience working in Nepal, the organization set up an emergency relief fund to help clinics and hospitals located throughout the epicenter.

ActionAid USA – Having a strong relationship with various women’s rights organization across the U.S., this organization is currently working with a team of 70 people in Nepal to distribute food, water and health care needs. 90% of donations go to relief efforts. To make a donation click here.

GlobalGiving – This charity fundraising website that has set up a fund specifically for Nepal relief efforts. It has routed donations to 26 different aid groups in Nepal in an effort to help first responders and provide water, clothing and medical equipment. 85% of donations go to relief efforts. To make a donation of $10, text “GIVE NEPAL” to 80088.

If you wish to donate to other organizations consider visiting Charity Navigator, a leading resource for evaluating the work of nonprofits. The organization has posted a list of highly-ranked charities that have mounted relief operations in Nepal.

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Trump Won’t Shut Up About Acing A Cognitive Test, But Just How Difficult Is The Test?

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Trump Won’t Shut Up About Acing A Cognitive Test, But Just How Difficult Is The Test?

Paul DeLaney / Getty Images

Looking back at my days back in school, I remember plenty of kids who bragged about their IQ results or how they’re smarter than everyone else. They wanted everyone to know they were a genius and that they had the hard data to prove it. I don’t remember ever taking an IQ test and I was always skeptical of those kids who said they were. I mean who’s parents had the time to be dragging their kids off to tests that in reality mean very little?

So when Trump claimed in an interview this week that he “aced” a “very hard” cognitive test, I couldn’t help but look back at my high school days. But I also wondered, “How hard could this mysterious cognitive test really be?”

Well, here’s a hint: it’s ridiculously easy.

Trump says he aced a cognitive test but what exactly does that mean?

On Fox News Sunday, in an interview with Chris Wallace, President Trump bragged about acing a test that proves just how incredible and smart he is. There’s only one issue – it’s not an IQ test and it’s not meant to be difficult unless you suffer from a cognitive disability.

Also, once again Trump blatantly lied about the test and what it is. He said he “answered all 35 questions correctly” on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, which actually has just 30 questions. That means the president was giving himself credit for filling out the top five lines of the test: his name, education, sex, date of birth and the current date.

Though this shouldn’t come as a surprise from a president who has uttered more than 20,000 falsehoods or mischaracterized claims since taking office. Though with this particular case, it’s more likely that he’s misrepresenting about how hard they were, in order to look “smarter” than Joe Biden.

The claim came during an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace – which was full of other interesting tidbits.

Not even including the whole cognitive test topic, Trump’s Sunday interview with Fox News was a doozy. Chris Wallace – the only slightly less bias anchors at the network – didn’t give Trump the softball interview that he was probably expecting.

Wallace challenged Trump on everything from his poor performance in polls regarding the November election – including one from Fox News itself – to his poor handling to the Coronavirus pandemic and racial inequality.

So what is this test Trump claims to have done so well at?

The test is called the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), and was created by the neurologist Dr Ziad Nasreddine in 1996. The test was created to help diagnose cognitive difficuties in those experiencing some form of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Therefore, if you’re not suffering from either of those conditions then the test is literally meant to be easy.

Talking to MarketWatch, the test’s creator stressed that the test “is supposed to be easy for someone who has no cognitive impairment.” He also added that this is not an IQ test and has no bearing on how skilled a person is. Sorry to break it to you Donald.

However, Trump is right about the start of the test being very easy. But when it comes to the last five questions, his claim that they’re “very hard” is unsettling (although not surprising) in what it reveals about his relationship with reality.

Here are a few examples of questions on the test, how well can you do?

Lets start off right where the test starts off: with these simple activities meant to demonstrate your cognitive abilities. It’s not challenging at all, unless, of course, you’re suffering from a cognitive disability.

The first question involved drawing a line between numbers and their equivalent letters (1 to A, A to 2, 2 to B and so on). Then you have to draw a cube, and a clock at 10 past 11. I will say it took me a minute to understand exactly what I had to do here – blame it on not seeing an actual clock in probably years – but once I realized what I needed to do, it was done in a few seconds. Didn’t require no bigly geniusness to get it done.

This is supposedly the hardest part – according to Trump.

In Trump’s interview with Wallace, the president bets Wallace that he “couldn’t even answer the last five questions” of the test. But for a mentally healthy person, the last five questions should be as simple as the rest.

The fifth-to-last question on the test asks you to repeat a sentence out loud, before naming as many words as you can starting with F. In the following “abstraction” section, you have to spot the similarity between different objects such as trains and bicycles (modes of transport), or a watch and a ruler (measuring devices).

Next, you have to recall the random words that were included in the earlier memory section. This may be the part that’s easiest to trip over. And finally, for the orientation part of the test, you have to … say what the date is.

The now infamous elephant question.

If you’re lucky enough to not have any cognitive impairment, this part is also easy. There are three drawings – a lion, rhino and camel. As mentioned, there are a few versions of the test with very minor differences – for example, the test Fox News showed during the interview had an elephant on it (you can see it here), but the latest test has a rhino instead.

If you’re interested in trying out more questions of the test, you can find the full version here.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Three More Have Died In Puerto Rican Earthquake And Survivors Say It’s Worse Than Hurricane Maria

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Three More Have Died In Puerto Rican Earthquake And Survivors Say It’s Worse Than Hurricane Maria

Carlos Giusti / AP

In Puerto Rico, an island still in recovery mode after the devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Maria, people are now worried about damaging earthquakes.

Although seismic activity isn’t rare in the Caribbean – remember the trauma of Haiti’s 2010 earthquake? – the island has been seismically calm for many years. So it’s no surprise that Puerto Ricans are shaken over the recent tremors that have left people homeless as houses collapse.

The quakes have also exposed the vulnerability to infrastructure on the island still struggling to bounce back after Maria.

The major 6.4 earthquake rocked Puerto Rico just a day after two large quakes had residents panicked.

Credit: Carlos Giusti

A magnitude 6.4 earthquake shook southwestern Puerto Rico this morning, according to the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS); this is the largest yet in a series of quakes that have hit the region.

At least one person died as walls collapsed around the area, and eight more people were injured, according to NPR. Electricity went out across Puerto Rico as automated systems shut down the island’s power plants, recalling power outages that lasted 11 months after Hurricane Maria, which caused the worst blackout in US history.

The North American and Caribbean tectonic plates meet in this area, but the quake doesn’t appear to be the result of those plates grinding together, according to USGS. Instead, a release of energy and stress inside the Caribbean plate seems to have caused the shaking

This major quake comes after a pair of powerful earthquakes hit the Caribbean Island early on Monday morning.

Credit: USGS

A 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck Puerto Rico on Monday morning, followed by a 4.9 magnitude quake and several smaller ones in the following hours.

The largest quake originated south of the island at 6:32 a.m., cracking some houses’ walls and collapsing at least five homes in the coastal town of Guánica. No casualties have been reported, and there was also no threat of a tsunami even as the residual quakes continued to hit.

Several smaller quakes ranging from 4.7 to 5.1 in magnitude have hit Puerto Rico since Dec. 28, leading Guánica resident Alberto Rodríguez to tell The Associated Press “We haven’t slept … you can’t remain calm here. Guánica is no longer a safe place.” His home collapsed Monday.

Although there aren’t any reports of injuries or casualties, the quakes have caused damage across the island.

The Mayor of Guánica told AP at least 29 other homes were heavily damaged after the latest quake. A rock formation popular among tourists called Playa Ventana also was damaged in the earlier quakes, and completely collapsed Monday.

Helicopters buzzed overhead and terrified residents jumped up from their folding chairs every time the earth shook, yelling at others to stay away from power lines.

Puerto Rico doesn’t have a public earthquake warning system, except for sirens that are supposed to ring in case of a tsunami. Residents in this neighborhood criticized the government for what they believe is a lack of action.

Dr. Sindia Alvarado, who lives in the southern coastal town of Penuelas, said she was petrified.

“My entire family woke up screaming,” she told the Washington Post. “I thought the house was going to crack in half.”

The seismic activity comes as the island, and much of Latin America, celebrates Dia de Reyes Magos.

Most residents have been wary of returning home to celebrate Three Kings Day, and some children ended up opening their gifts on sidewalks outside. Some people had already been prepared since the earlier quakes with clothes, food, and water already packed in their cars.

Geologists warn of more tremors to come.

“More earthquakes than usual (called aftershocks) will continue to occur near the mainshock,” the USGS said.

“When there are more earthquakes, the chance of a large earthquake is greater which means that the chance of damage is greater.”

The agency advised anyone in or near vulnerable structures to be extra cautious and said those caught in potential quakes should drop, cover and hold on.

Puerto Rico has a history of devastating earthquakes dating back thousands of years.

Victor Huerfano, director of Puerto Rico’s Seismic Network, told the AP that shallow quakes were occurring along three faults in Puerto Rico’s southwest region: Lajas Valley, Montalva Point and the Guayanilla Canyon. He said the quakes overall come as the North American plate and the Caribbean plate squeezes Puerto Rico, and that it was unclear when they would stop or if bigger quakes would occur.

One of the largest and most damaging earthquakes to hit Puerto Rico occurred in October 1918, when a 7.3-magnitude quake struck near the island’s northwest coast, unleashing a tsunami and killing 116 people.

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