New Journal on Humanitarian Aid Logistics

Emerald Group Publishing is delighted to announce the launch of an exciting new journal for 2011: Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

Co-edited by Dr. Gyöngyi Kovács and Professor Karen Spens, Hanken School of Economics, Finland, the journal will publish state of the art research in the field of humanitarian and development aid logistics and supply chain management. Logistics and supply chain management related articles in the context of disaster relief and development aid are of equal interest to the journal.

The journal will publish papers based upon different methodological approaches and submissions utilizing both quantitative and qualitative approaches will therefore be welcomed. The journal will publish a range of different papers including empirical research, a call for research notes and viewpoints from practitioners.

The journal will publish research on the following topics:

– Humanitarian logistics

– Emergency logistics

– Disaster relief operations

– Supply chain management in disaster relief

– Development aid logistics and supply chain management

– Assessing and managing supply chain vulnerability

– Managing supply chain disruptions

– Measuring performance in humanitarian supply chains

– Decision-making in humanitarian supply chains

– Knowledge management and transfer in humanitarian supply chains

– Information and communication technology for humanitarian logistics

– Supply chain co-operation, integration and collaboration in the humanitarian setting

– Relationship management in humanitarian supply chains

– Public-private partnerships in humanitarian logistics

– Inter-organisational co-ordination across humanitarian supply chains

– Crisis management

– Civil-military co-operation in disaster relief

– Humanitarian health care supply chains

– Principles and theory of relief supply chain management

– The role of donors and volunteers in humanitarian logistics

– Non for profit-supply chains.

Submit a paper

Initial submissions to Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management should be sent to the co-editors:

Dr. Gyöngyi Kovács:

Professor Karen Spens:

Language ability and evacuation destinations

From my research in Chicago, the data show a very clear relationship between English language proficiency and knowledge of potentially ‘safe’ locations to go to during an emergency. Those with little to no English skills were much more likely to be unable, even in interviews conducted in their native Spanish, to be able to identify a geographic location to go outside of the City of Chicago in case of a large-scale evacuation.

For those of you who are wondering, this is a mosaic plot, made in R.

How terrorists think according to TSA

So apparently, the lesson learned from this last round of terrorist plots is to not let people stand up or use their stuff during the last hour of a flight.

I can see it now.

Fade in, first class cabin of an airplane containing the disaffected and yet highly privileged son of Muslim corporate parents listing over and over in his head the many injustices that he will right by killing people he doesn’t know. Having so enumerated his many reasons, he fails to notice that it’s an hour before landing and he must now stay seated.

Young Terrorist, talking to himself: Well, I WAS going to set off an explosive that I illegally brought on board despite the rules and cause an enormous amount of human suffering, but damn I can’t now because I’m not supposed to get up!!! If only I had set my Bulova alarm so that I could have stood up 62 minutes from the end of the flight, vengeance would have been mine!! Just you wait until next time, infidels! Where’s my headphones so I can watch the last of Friends before I disembark?

In all seriousness, I am assuming that TSA is attempting to keep planes from acting as weapons in US airspace–the last hour on most international flights are spent heading into US cities. I get it. I can understand that, but…this does not negate the enormous gap in security that led us to where a terrorist was on a plane with explosives in his pants. I can’t even bring lip gloss.

Security and profiling

John R. Richardson at Esquire discusses Sarah Palin’s comments about how she thinks political correctness prevented proper treatment of Dr. Hasan:

As usual, Sarah Palin captured the idea best. The occasion was her interview with Sean Hannity (a minute of which is shown above), who asked her if she thought that Ft. Hood killer was a terrorist.

“I certainly do,” Palin answered, “and I think that there were massive warning flags that were missed all over the place, and I think that it was quite unfortunate that, to me, it was a fear of being politically incorrect to not — I am going to use the word — profile this guy, profile in the sense of finding out what his radical beliefs were.”

Richardson correctly points out that this isn’t the real meaning of the word “profile” in this context. What she means, he argues, is investigate, which is really different than profiling. Profiling means that because of who is and his religion, we would subject him to scrutiny and surveillance the minute he showed up. His “major red flags”–which I assume were behavioral–are different. It’s the difference between the police saying “we pull over every black guy in a nice car” vs “we pull over every black guy (and every other guy) in a nice car going 80 mph.” One actually displays an evidentiary basis and probable cause, the other uses stereotype as evidence.

The key to social inclusion and justice in these instances is the focus on behavior, not identity, per se, and that focus on behavior goes both ways, as Richardson points out. It isn’t the case that, when moving to new countries, that immigrants should expect that their practices should rule public mores if they can’t be reasonably accommodated in existing cultural practice. It may be accepted that men beat their wives or children in their home country, but there are social contract reasons that invalidate that behavior in new contexts.

Let’s think of it this way: if I went on a shooting rampage tomorrow, would we then begin to argue for profiling of portly female professors? It’s doubtful. Palin routinely argues that she is part of an oppressed minority in the US: the religious right, and she shares a lot in common–superficially–with Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. The difference is that she is engaged in dialogue and deliberation, not antisocial behavior, and that distinction matters enormously in how society should treat difference.

Violence in Lahore and the Urban-ness of Terrorism

The terrorist strike in Lahore is not getting as a much news time as it needs. Along with the violence that has hit Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, and Rawalpindi, it suggests a geographic spread to the Taliban’s activities and a set of dominoes falling. I am not well-schooled enough in international relations to really understand what is going on here, but it’s worrying both for its cost in human life and what it portends for the future of Pakistan.

In my class on the Urban Context, I ask students to explain whether (or not) terrorism is a uniquely urban phenomenon. One of the things that strikes me about many terrorists (not all) is that they use city and country in particular ways. Bonnie and Clyde*, though ostensibly not political murderers, were discussed in the media as rural bandits who stole from city fatcats and took down the man’s police lackeys. The Weather Underground used the anonymity of the city to hide in plain sight. Timothy McVeigh selected an urban location to avenge what he considered to be a rural wrong. The city becomes the site of the enlarged state; it is also the platform for major social and cultural change. As such, it’s a target for those who want radical social change, either through the ostensible opposing of it (let’s go back to what we imagine Islam was in the 17th century) and those who wish to speed it up.

*Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.

Ethanol explosion

One of the topics I study is hazardous materials transport, so this accident on Sunday caught my eye. Deaths to nonemployees are extremely rare in the hazmat world–engineering has done an amazing job with hazmat containers. Nonetheless, these types of evacuations are more common than we think. I have a new study coming out (I hope soon) describing the spatial distribution of severe hazmat events, like evacuations. Stay tuned.