regulatory system

fortunafortesadiuvat  asked:

Is Donald qualified to be an accountant? Does he have CPA status? Is there a different regulatory system in the Duck universe? These are the questions that keep me up at night

Actual cut line: “After two years of internet college, I’m finally a real accountant!”

anonymous asked:

A thought I've had a few times: automation should be an exciting prospect, the possibility of freeing people from the necessity of labor (while still allowing people to labor when they feel so inclined). But instead, with how our system is set up, automation is a terrifying idea, because the machines will take our jobs and then I won't be able to feed myself or my family.

Incredibly valuable thoughts here. This is why groups such as the French Socialist Party and other left-wing parties in Europe have adopted policies of oversight over automation and its effects on the workforce. These are things where we can’t simply allow for capitalism and technological advancement to create “disruptive” innovations without intervention.

Dealing with this issue would involve things free-market capitalists don’t often like to hear; planning and management overseen by the greater populace through the state. In a social democratic society, these new innovations would be reviewed by an economic regulatory bureau to determine it’s potential for harm to workers before being applied universally and upending entire industries.  Instead, if these automation ideas were put in place, they’d be carefully managed and phased in to allow the workforce time to retrain and seek new opportunities. 

- @delendarius

I have a slightly different outlook on this, while I believe that it would work, it seems like it would slow the rate of economic growth by literally slowing the pace of innovation.

So, what do we do instead?

We create a universal basic income and a maximum pay ratio coupled with a robust safety net and high taxes on unearned income (any income not coming from labor such as profit, investments, and dividends).

The Universal Basic Income should be based on the taxes from unearned income, divided evenly amongst the population. This way, any profit generated from technological innovation would only serve to increase the incomes of the whole populous. There will be people that lose jobs due to technological innovation, but the financial benefits of technology should be shared by them as well.

The Maximum Pay Ratio will ensure that the wealthy cannot just appoint themselves board positions with high salaries in order to steal profits. You require that no one person can be paid more than 25x the lowest paid person working for their company. If you noticed, I said lowest paid person, not lowest paid employee. This would include everyone in the supply chain, outside contractors, factory workers, everyone that contributes to their company through work in any way. If an executive can justifying paying someone three dollars a day in another country to work, they will only be able to make $75 a day themselves. if an executive wants to make $1 million a year, their lowest paid person would have to make $40,000 a year.

This will also ensure that any pay increases will spread to everyone, not just the executives.

A robust safety net would include things like universal healthcare, free college, and one year 100% unemployment insurance. This would mean anyone who loses a job due to technological advancements would be able to spend a year either looking for work, starting a business, or retraining for a new field. The retraining would be free since college tuition would be. 

The high taxes on unearned income would serve two purposes, to fuel this proposed system and to motivate companies to reinvest profits into wages, research and development, and infrastructure. If they have spent the money on other purposes, it is no longer profits and is thereby, no longer taxable. This will prevent large extractions of wealth from the economy for personal enrichment. 

With a system like this in place, we would not need a government body around to slow progress. The people would be cared for while getting economic gains from technological innovation shared with them. They would also have a robust safety net to help them into a new career. 

Obviously, my answer is an ideal system while what @delendarius has proposed is a way to modify the existing system without massive changes. It is very likely that we will have to pass through this type of regulatory system before we could even dream of my idealized system. 

- @theliberaltony

Bacteriophages: Antibiotic Alternative or Just a Phase?

It is now clear that we are rapidly approaching a post-antibiotic era, and the need for an alternative is more vital than ever. The CDC estimates that approximately 2 million people are infected with antibiotic resistant bacteria each year, and of that 23 000 of them die as a result of the infection [1]. Our antibiotic pipeline is drying up and the development of new antibiotics is both slow and expensive, making antibiotics unappealing investments for pharmaceutical companies. Although alternatives to antibiotics are far from the market, the field is slowly expanding. Amongst the alternatives, bacteriophages (phages) are a potential candidate for both diagnostic and therapeutic medicine.

Quite simply, phages are viruses that infect bacteria. These are the most abundant biological entity on the planet and are thought to outnumber bacteria 10:1. Their sheer abundance has led to a vast diversity that has yet to be exploited by modern medicine. This is in part due to a number of problems with phages that haven’t made them ideal candidates for therapy. This article seeks to look at some of the problems with phages, and what steps are being taken to improve them for application in humans.

Rapid clearance from the host:

Delivery systems for phages have not been thoroughly assessed for systemic phage application. In other words we are still lacking a way of delivering a bacteriophage drug intravenously to ensure that phages have the maximal effect on the patient. Annoyingly, our immune systems are great at rapidly inactivating and removing them from our bodies [2], with animal studies showing that phage can be completely cleared within 24 hours [3]. Early work carried out in germ-free mice in the 70s showed that phages are passively collected in the mononuclear phagocyte system (MPS), where they remain viable until inactivated by immune cells [3].

There have been two solutions developed so far to amend this problem [2]. The first was developed in the late 90s by the National Institute of Health in the US, which involved the serial passage of phage through a living organism. It was hypothesised that some phage would have mutations in their coat proteins that would give them increased protection from the natural filtration systems in the body over wild type phage [3] and by selecting for these phage, you could gradually produce a population of long-circulating phage. When applied, these phage would have longer circulation times, and therefore a greater chance of colliding with their target bacteria. Animal studies have shown far better recovery of animals given long-circulating strains of virus over wild type, when presenting symptoms of otherwise fatal bacteraemia [4].

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Figure 1. Diagram showing a few of the possible receptors for Salmonella sp. phage [5]

Additionally, to prevent degradation or inactivation of phages, polymers can be added to the coatings of phages [1]. The polymer polyethylene glycol (PEG) has been shown to increase systematic circulation and decrease T-helper cell activation in response to phage. It is likely that a combination of these two methods may improve delivery strategies in the future of phage therapeutics.

Altering host range and preventing resistance:

Unlike antibiotics, phages have incredibly refined, narrow host-ranges. This property is in reality a double edged sword: in many cases, phages are only able to target a few strains of a single species, whereas antibiotics relentlessly target multiple branches of the bacterial phylogenetic tree. Antibiotic treatment can lead to disruption of the host’s own microbiota which can permit the colonisation of nastier and less cooperative microorganisms.

In contrast, phages can target their host whilst leaving the surrounding organisms in relative peace. When a patient presents symptoms of infection, the particular species or strain causing the infection would be unknown. Identifying the culprit before selecting the right phage would take time a patient may not have.

Receptors on the bacterial cell surface are what determine which phage are able to bind to the cell. A wide variety of receptors are used by phage, but many still remain a mystery. To curtail these issues and ensure that as many receptors can be targeted for a particular bacterium, phage cocktails are used [6]. These are mixtures containing a number of different phage strains. In theory, the cocktail should be designed so that the phages together should be able to target all the known clinically relevant strains of a particular species of bacteria.

Creating phage cocktails from natural sources can be laborious [7], however viral DNA provides a platform for genetically engineering phages with desired properties. Improving phage cocktails with modified phages expressing structures that could target a wide variety of receptors on a bacterial cell could ensure that a cocktail could target the maximum number of strains, whilst reducing the selection pressure on a sole receptor. Resistance to the phage cocktail would then also be avoided.

Much of this work looks at genetically engineering phage tail fibres [7, 8]. These ‘spider-leg’ like components regulate the initial binding step between a phage and a target cell. It has been shown by Mahichi et al, 2009 and Ando et al, 2015 that switching tail fibres between phages with different host ranges can confer host-range specificity from one phage to another. Hopefully, modular engineering of phages will push phage technology forwards, offering new strategies for developing phages for therapeutic purposes.

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Figure 2. Diagram showing how the modular shuffling of tail fibres between viral strains can confer host range of parental strain [7].

Preventing the release of cellular toxins

A major health risk of phage, is that like β-lactam antibiotics, they interfere with the bacterial cell wall integrity and ultimately lead to cell lysis. Lysing cells prevents further replication, but also releases all the cell’s content. This may include but not be limited to superantigens and lipopolysaccharides (LPS) [2]. These toxins will trigger the inflammatory response, and in extreme cases cause organ failure and death.

Phages have a simple dual-lysis system consisting of a holin and endolysin. The holin is a pore-forming membrane protein that creates an exit from the cytoplasm for the endolysin. The endolysin is then able to attack the peptidoglycan of the bacterial cell wall, resulting in its rupture. To generate phage incapable of lysing a cell, the dual lysis system simply needs to be inactivated.

To restore killing power to the phage in the absense of the dual lysis system, a bacterial toxin needs to be incorporated into the phage genome. Hagens et al, 2004 has shown that by engineering the filamentous phage M13 to encode a non-native restriction enzyme, antimicrobial activity can be restored through the generation of double stranded breaks in chromosomal DNA. Upon infecting Psuedomonas aeruginosa with this phage, there was a 99% drop in viable cell counts over the time course [9]. Other research has looked into other uses for the non-lytic killing of bacteria, including proteins that interfere with regulatory systems and other bacterial toxins.


Phage therapy has shown promise in recent years as being a good candidate for either working in synergy with or replacing antibiotics. The appalling lack of human based clinical trials haven’t helped to expose their potential for human use. Although this is the case, a significant amount of work has been done on improving phage therapy in preparation for further studies with human application. The past 15 years have seen an improved outcome for this technology as obstacles with phages are gradually manoeuvred by intelligent reengineering. With hindsight we have now acquired through our experiences with antibiotics, hopefully we will not make the same mistakes with phages as we have done with antibiotics.

1. CDC (2013) Antibiotic resistance threats. US Dep Heal Hum Serv 22–50

2. Lu TK, Koeris MS (2011) The next generation of bacteriophage therapy. Curr Opin Microbiol 14:524–531

3. Carlton RM (1999) Phage therapy: past history and future prospects. Arch Immunol Ther Exp (Warsz) 47:267–274

4. Merril CR, Biswas B, Carlton R, Jensen NC, Creed GJ, Zullo S, Adhya S (1996) Long-circulating bacteriophage as antibacterial agents. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 93:3188–3192

5. Chaturongakul S, Ounjai P (2014) Phage host interplay: examples from tailed phages and Gram-negative bacterial pathogens. Front Microbiol 5:1–8

6. Moradpour Z, Ghasemian A (2011) Modified phages: Novel antimicrobial agents to combat infectious diseases. Biotechnol Adv 29:732–738

7. Ando H, Lemire S, Pires DP, Lu TK (2015) Engineering Modular Viral Scaffolds for Targeted Bacterial Population Editing. Cell Syst 1:187–196

8. Mahichi F, Synnott AJ, Yamamichi K, Osada T, Tanji Y (2009) Site-specific recombination of T2 phage using IP008 long tail fiber genes provides a targeted method for expanding host range while retaining lytic activity. FEMS Microbiol Lett 295:211–217

9. Hagens S, Habel A, Ahsen U Von, Gabain A Von (2004) Therapy of Experimental Pseudomonas Infections with a Nonreplicating Genetically Modified Phage Therapy of Experimental Pseudomonas Infections with a Nonreplicating Genetically Modified Phage. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 46:3817–3822

Few things irk me as much as the conflation of “masculinity” with maleness. The shallow liberal analysis of “masculinity is rewarded, femininity is devalued” is such a misunderstanding of patriarchal dynamics. There’s simply no understanding for how compulsory femininity is one of the main regulatory systems that maintain male dominance, or of the reprimand faced when one refuses to or is unable to perform it correctly. 

A woman who “acts like a man” (which is like… libfem language for wearing pants and having short hair or something? and also liking girls? how’s that for heterosexism?) isn’t going to be treated like a man and afforded male privilege, she’s going to be treated like a woman who isn’t performing her patriarchally prescribed role and of course she’s going to be punished for that. Honestly, this is feminism 101 stuff.

(1) Mutation is the source of all genetic variation upon which any form of evolution is dependent. Mutation is the change of genomic structure and includes nucleotide substitution, insertion/deletion, segmental gene duplication, genomic duplication, changes in gene regulatory systems, transposition of genes, horizontal gene transfer, etc.

(2) Natural selection is for saving advantageous mutations and eliminating harmful mutations. Selective advantage of a mutation is determined by the type of DNA change, and therefore natural selection is an evolutionary process initiated by mutation. It does not have any creative power in contrast to the statements made by some authors. However, selective advantage of a mutation is also dependent on the set of other genes and the environmental conditions, the latter varying from generation to generation. For this reason, it is very difficult to study the extent of natural selection in wild populations.

(3) Evolution is a process of increase or decrease of organismal complexity and enhancement of phenotypic diversity among different species. It may or may not be associated with the increase of fitness (number of offspring per individual), and therefore evolution can occur by neutral genetic processes such as gene duplication and gene co-option as well as by natural selection.

(4) A gene is not a random combination of nucleotides but a very specific arrangement of nucleotides that encodes a biochemically functional protein or RNA molecule. Because of this functional constraint, most mutations occurring in a gene are deleterious and eliminated by purifying selection.

(5) For a gene to have a new function, constraint-breaking mutations caused by new combinations of harmonious genes and gene sequences are necessary. These mutations occur with a low frequency at functionally important sites. A gene cannot have any function without having interaction with other genes. Therefore, constraint-breaking mutation may be controlled by many gene loci.

(6) A genome is an integrated and conserved set of genes that is capable of producing healthy organisms. The innovational change of phenotypic characters is generated when constraint-breaking mutations occur at the genomic level. There is a considerable degree of flexibility in genomic constraint so that diploid individuals with two different genomes can survive and reproduce without trouble within a species. This flexibility appears to generate a large amount of neutral variation in phenotypic characters. However, if two different populations are isolated for a long evolutionary time, interpopulational hybrids become inviable or sterile because of genomic incompatibility. This hybrid weakness occurs because the genomes of two different populations evolve independently and therefore the compatibility of genes between different populations gradually declines. No positive selection is necessary for the establishment of hybrid sterility.

(7) Although any organism lives under ecological constraints, such constraints are not usually very strong. Therefore, most organisms can live in a range of ecological niches, which may be called the ecological survival range. For this reason, a species may flourish easily in a new territory to which it was transferred.

(8) Evolution occurs primarily as a result of constraint-breaking mutations rather than a result of the struggle for existence. If a species moves to a new habitat (e.g. marine habitat to land), a radiational speciation may occur because of relaxation of purifying selection and some advantageous mutations for different new territories.

Masatoshi Nei, Mutation-Driven Evolution

foxaffinity  asked:

Do you think that all exotic pets should require a permit to ensure that they're cared for correctly? I feel like instituting that would help improve their welfare, and prevent irresponsible people from buying them.

Oh yikes this is a majorly contentious topic. I argue with @nothobranchius about it a lot, actually. 

Here’s the thing - if you try to force regulation of exotic pets, you run into a couple issues: it has to be decided who makes up the laws/standards, who regulates them, where the money to support that comes from, and what animals count. That’s not a small topic, and it leaves a ton of room for really bad decisions to be made considering we can barely agree on how to regulate domestic pets in reasonable ways (looking at you, BSL in Montreal). 

It’s like the current USDA discussion of banning public or staff contact with dangerous animals - which people with what expertise and political leaning get to quantify such an open term as ‘dangerous animal’? The same is is a huge problem with exotic pets. Does exotic mean ‘not domesticated’? Does exotic mean ‘not bred for less than x generations in human ownership’? If the latter, you’ll have animals of the same species - especially herps - where some are exotic and some aren’t and how is that kept track of, much less regulated? 

Not to mention, the more you try to regulate pet keeping and private animal ownership, the worse the underground parts of the breeding/keeping industry has the potential to become. Without strict regulation, communities of breeders and responsible owners can self-regulate and try to make sure animals end up in good homes and help rescue the ones that don’t. When you regulate things so tightly that none of the not-so-great owners are honest about having the animals, they aren’t able to have access to community support that helps improve their husbandry and they’re more likely to end up getting animals through shady sources that have no oversight by the community or whatever regulatory agency is responsible for a permitting process.

If a regulatory system could bypass all the issues with being created, be good, and actually work, I’d probably support it - but I’m not sure that’s actually possible. 

From the NYT Comments...

The most common gynecological surgery is removal of the female organs.Women most frequently report to the HERS Foundation these effects:

* Loss of: orgasm; desire, and pleasure,.
* Bone and join pain: some women require walkers or canes
* Backache: disabling.
* Dryness: skin, eyes, genitals,
vaginal atrophy.
* Rapid, abnormal aging.
* Heart disease: angina, chest pain
* Loss of identity and emotional dislocation: depression, crying, emotional blunting; loss of maternal feeling and of emotional connection
* Debilitating fatigue not relieved by resting: loss of stamina and exhaustion.
* Insomnia; panic attacks; heart palpitations; impaired memory and concentration; weight gain.

Medical literature documents:
* The uterus is a life long sexually and hormonally active organ. The removal predisposes to impairment of orgasm and disease.
* The ovaries have systemic, regulatory functions life long.
* Hysterectomized women have an elevated risk of death and disability from osteoporosis over normal, intact women of the same age.
Surgeons altered the bodies of 21 million women in the US who were born with the “right bodies”, by removing their female organs. 73% of hysterectomized women’s ovaries, the female gonads, were removed. Removal of the female gonads is castration.
One in three women’s female organs are removed by the age of 60. Ask them what it is to be a woman.

Nora W Coffey
President, Hysterectomy Educational Resources and Services (HERS) Foundation

Mr. Lee’s Red Box

by Minister Heng Swee Keat

Mr Lee Kuan Yew had a red box. When I worked as Mr Lee’s Principal Private Secretary, or PPS, a good part of my daily life revolved around the red box. Before Mr Lee came in to work each day, the locked red box would arrive first, at about 9 am.

As far as the various officers who have worked with Mr Lee can remember, he had it for many, many years. It is a large, boxy briefcase, about fourteen centimetres wide. Red boxes came from the British government, whose Ministers used them for transporting documents between Government offices. Our early Ministers had red boxes, but Mr Lee is the only one I know who used his consistently through the years. When I started working for Mr Lee in 1997, it was the first time I saw a red box in use. It is called the red box but is more a deep wine colour, like the seats in the chamber in Parliament House.

This red box held what Mr Lee was working on at any one time. Through the years, it held his papers, speech drafts, letters, readings, and a whole range of questions, reflections, and observations. For example, in the years that Mr Lee was working on his memoirs, the red box carried the multiple early drafts back and forth between his home and the office, scribbled over with his and Mrs Lee’s notes.

For a long time, other regular items in Mr Lee’s red box were the cassette tapes that held his dictated instructions and thoughts for later transcription. Some years back, he changed to using a digital recorder.

The red box carried a wide range of items. It could be communications with foreign leaders, observations about the financial crisis, instructions for the Istana grounds staff, or even questions about some trees he had seen on the expressway. Mr Lee was well-known for keeping extremely alert to everything he saw and heard around him – when he noticed something wrong, like an ailing raintree, a note in the red box would follow.

We could never anticipate what Mr Lee would raise – it could be anything that was happening in Singapore or the world. But we could be sure of this: it would always be about how events could affect Singapore and Singaporeans, and how we had to stay a step ahead. Inside the red box was always something about how we could create a better life for all.

We would get to work right away. Mr Lee’s secretaries would transcribe his dictated notes, while I followed up on instructions that required coordination across multiple government agencies. Our aim was to do as much as we could by the time Mr Lee came into the office later.

While we did this, Mr Lee would be working from home. For example, during the time that I worked with him (1997-2000), the Asian Financial Crisis ravaged many economies in our region and unleashed political changes. It was a tense period as no one could tell how events would unfold. Often, I would get a call from him to check certain facts or arrange meetings with financial experts.

In the years that I worked for him, Mr Lee’s daily breakfast was a bowl of dou hua (soft bean curd), with no syrup. It was picked up and brought home in a tiffin carrier every morning, from a food centre near Mr Lee’s home. He washed it down with room-temperature water. Mr Lee did not take coffee or tea at breakfast.

When Mr Lee came into the office, the work that had come earlier in the red box would be ready for his review, and he would have a further set of instructions for our action.

From that point on, the work day would run its normal course. Mr Lee read the documents and papers, cleared his emails, and received official calls by visitors. I was privileged to sit in for every meeting he conducted. He would later ask me what I thought of the meetings – it made me very attentive to every word that was said, and I learnt much from Mr Lee.

Evening was Mr Lee’s exercise time. Mr Lee has described his extensive and disciplined exercise regime elsewhere. It included the treadmill, rowing, swimming and walking – with his ears peeled to the evening news or his Mandarin practice tapes. He would sometimes take phone calls while exercising.

He was in his 70s then. In more recent years, being less stable on his feet, Mr Lee had a simpler exercise regime. But he continued to exercise. Since retiring from the Minister Mentor position in 2011, Mr Lee was more relaxed during his exercises. Instead of listening intently to the news or taking phone calls, he shared his personal stories and joked with his staff.

While Mr Lee exercised, those of us in the office would use that time to focus once again on the red box, to get ready all the day’s work for Mr Lee to take home with him in the evening. Based on the day’s events and instructions, I tried to get ready the materials that Mr Lee might need. It sometimes took longer than I expected, and occasionally, I had to ask the security officer to come back for the red box later.

While Mrs Lee was still alive, she used to drop by the Istana at the end of the day, in order to catch a few minutes together with Mr Lee, just to sit and look at the Istana trees that they both loved. They chatted about what many other old couples would talk about. They discussed what they should have for dinner, or how their grandchildren were doing.

Then back home went Mr Lee, Mrs Lee and the red box. After dinner, Mr and Mrs Lee liked to take a long stroll. In his days as Prime Minister, while Mrs Lee strolled, Mr Lee liked to ride a bicycle. It was, in the words of those who saw it, “one of those old man bicycles”. None of us who have worked at the Istana can remember him ever changing his bicycle. He did not use it in his later years, as he became frail, but I believe the “old man bicycle” is still around somewhere.

After his dinner and evening stroll, Mr Lee would get back to his work. That was when he opened the red box and worked his way through what we had put into it in the office.

Mr Lee’s study is converted out of his son’s old bedroom. His work table is a simple, old wooden table with a piece of clear glass placed over it. Slipped under the glass are family memorabilia, including a picture of our current PM from his National Service days. When Mrs Lee was around, she stayed up reading while Mr Lee worked. They liked to put on classical music while they stayed up.

In his days as PM, Mr Lee’s average bedtime was three-thirty in the morning. As Senior Minister and Minister Mentor, he went to sleep after two in the morning. If he had to travel for an official visit the next day, he might go to bed at one or two in the morning.

Deep into the night, while the rest of Singapore slept, it was common for Mr Lee to be in full work mode.

Before he went to bed, Mr Lee would put everything he had completed back in the red box, with clear pointers on what he wished for us to do in the office. The last thing he did each day was to place the red box outside his study room. The next morning, the duty security team picked up the red box, brought it to us waiting in the office, and a new day would begin.

Let me share two other stories involving the red box.

In 1996, Mr Lee underwent balloon angioplasty to insert a stent. It was his second heart operation in two months, after an earlier operation to widen a coronary artery did not work. After the operation, he was put in the Intensive Care Unit for observation. When he regained consciousness and could sit up in bed, he asked for his security team. The security officer hurried into the room to find out what was needed. Mr Lee asked, “Can you pass me the red box?”

Even at that point, Mr Lee’s first thought was to continue working. The security officer rushed the red box in, and Mr Lee asked to be left to his work. The nurses told the security team that other patients of his age, in Mr Lee’s condition, would just rest. Mr Lee was 72 at the time.

In 2010, Mr Lee was hospitalised again, this time for a chest infection. While he was in the hospital, Mrs Lee passed away. Mr Lee has spoken about his grief at Mrs Lee’s passing. As soon as he could, he left the hospital to attend the wake at Sri Temasek.

At the end of the night, he was under doctor’s orders to return to the hospital. But he asked his security team if they could take him to the Singapore River instead. It was late in the night, and Mr Lee was in mourning. His security team hastened to give a bereaved husband a quiet moment to himself.

As Mr Lee walked slowly along the bank of the Singapore River, the way he and Mrs Lee sometimes did when she was still alive, he paused. He beckoned a security officer over. Then he pointed out some trash floating on the river, and asked, “Can you take a photo of that? I’ll tell my PPS what to do about it tomorrow.” Photo taken, he returned to the hospital.

I was no longer Mr Lee’s PPS at the time. I had moved on to the Monetary Authority of Singapore, to continue with the work to strengthen our financial regulatory system that Mr Lee had started in the late 1990s. But I can guess that Mr Lee probably had some feedback on keeping the Singapore River clean. I can also guess that the picture and the instructions were ferried in Mr Lee’s red box the next morning to the office. Even as Mr Lee lay in the hospital. Even as Mrs Lee lay in state.

The security officers with Mr Lee were deeply touched. When I heard about these moments, I was also moved.

I have taken some time to describe Mr Lee’s red box. The reason is that, for me, it symbolises Mr Lee’s unwavering dedication to Singapore so well. The diverse contents it held tell us much about the breadth of Mr Lee’s concerns – from the very big to the very small; the daily routine of the red box tells us how Mr Lee’s life revolved around making Singapore better, in ways big and small.

By the time I served Mr Lee, he was the Senior Minister. Yet he continued to devote all his time to thinking about the future of Singapore. I could only imagine what he was like as Prime Minister. In policy and strategy terms, he was always driving himself, me, and all our colleagues to think about what each trend and development meant for Singapore, and how we should respond to it in order to secure Singapore’s wellbeing and success.

As his PPS, I saw the punishing pace of work that Mr Lee set himself. I had a boss whose every thought and every action was for Singapore.

But it takes private moments like these to bring home just how entirely Mr Lee devoted his life to Singapore.

In fact, I think the best description comes from the security officer who was with Mr Lee both of those times. He was on Mr Lee’s team for almost 30 years. He said of Mr Lee: “Mr Lee is always country, country, country. And country.”

This year, Singapore turns 50. Mr Lee would have turned 92 this September. Mr Lee entered the hospital on 5 February 2015. He continued to use his red box every day until 4 February 2015

Rythian is a plague doctor/alchemist, and as you can see by his gas mask, goggles, and scars, he works with a lot of different and deadly chemicals and poisons. He’s had several accidents with some of his potions, which is why his eyes have a slight blue glow and why his hair has that blond streak. He usually works alone, and he has a bad habit of holding a grudge. That’s why his favorite pass-time is recreationally poisoning Lalna. Not to kill him, just to piss him off.

He isn’t a fan of science in general, so the only science he uses on a daily basis is the regulatory system in his gas mask, because he wears it so often that he has trouble breathing without it. He’s the only one everyone else goes to for medicine or potions, and despite his acidic attitude, everyone trusts him because he once saved the town from a plague. That’s how he got the title of Plague Doctor. Some people still prefer to brew their own potions, but none of them are as good as Rythian.

Rythian’s fighting style is also really unique. He prefers to sneakily put people out of commission. Most of the time he’ll just poison their food, but if he doesn’t have time for that, he’ll use his wrist-mounted blow dart, which also doubles as a Geiger counter to measure radiation. He also laces his weapons with a special poison of his own making, which he fondly calls Enderbane. He’s also the only one that knows how to cure it.

So… all in all, Rythian is a badass as usual. And when he’s got his goggles on as well as his mask, he looks absolutely terrifying.