Let there be light

first_imgPRISCILLA EGEPETER O’BRIEN To the Editor:As church historians, for quite a while now, we have worked to get the two original (circa 1925) lanterns on the front of St. Vincent de Paul Church repaired. One lantern was fixed for a time; the problem with the second was much more difficult to solve. The second lantern was finally fixed, and the first went out again. In an attempt to solve this dilemma, we had taken down slabs of marble in the vestibule of the church and removed grout from between the bricks on the front of the church to search for the electrical problem.Finally, after many attempts, we succeeded. When I say “we’’ I mean the owner and workers of Peninsula (Wolenski) Electric. They worked with us endlessly and stayed with us, determined to get the job done. Finally, we have light in both lanterns which lets everyone know the church is open and all are welcome.Bayonnians are lucky to have such a dedicated and caring company. Older fixtures can be a problem but not for Peninsula Electric. Thanks for helping us save a bit of local history. last_img read more

Jam Cruise Expands To 6 Days, 3 Port Stops

first_imgToday, Jam Cruise made a giant announcement that the legendary music cruise will expand to six days next year, spanning January 15th to 21st. Returning to the Norwegian Jade for Jam Cruise 17, the boat will make three port stops after departing from Miami, Florida, with trips to Belize City, Belize; Cozumel, Mexico; and Progreso, Mexico. With relatively little information outside the trip’s expansion, it’s already clear that Jam Cruise 17 will be the best yet. The full lineup drops on May 3rd, so stay tuned! The event also noted that a limited amount of pre-book slots remain, so jump on your chance to get aboard the most massive Jam Cruise yet before it’s too late! More information can be found via JamCruise.com.last_img read more

The String Cheese Incident Taps Sam Bush, Robert Randolph, Dumpstaphunk Members For NYE Run Guest Spots

first_imgToday, The String Cheese Incident has announced a number of special guests for their upcoming New Year’s run at Broomfield, CO’s 1STBANK Center on December 28th, 29th, and 31st. The Colorado band’s hometown New Year’s celebration will double as a loving celebration of the band’s 25th anniversary, which will extend through 2019. As the band explains in their new announcement,We’ve enlisted a few familiar faces to join us for our upcoming NYE run! There will be no support acts each night, but we’re thrilled to have several old friends to sit in with us on Friday and Saturday… musicians who we greatly admire that have helped shape our sound over the last 25 years!On Friday, December 12th, the band will welcome progressive bluegrass pioneer Sam Bush and David Grisman Quintet founding fiddler Darol Anger as special guests. On Saturday, December 29th, pedal steel master Robert Randolph and Dumpstaphunk members Ivan Neville, Ian Neville, and Tony Hall will join the band onstage. On the final night of the run, Monday, December 31st, the band will forgo special guest additions and deliver three sets of pure Cheese. Watch an animated video announcing the guests below:The String Cheese Incident – New Year’s Run 2018 Teaser VideoAs The String Cheese Incident noted in their initial New Year’s announcement,Dearest Cheese Family, … This New Year’s run will be extra special, as it marks a significant milestone in our history as a band. It’s hard to believe it was 25 years ago that we all got together in Crested Butte to play our first gig at the Center For the Arts. As we approach a quarter century of Incidents, we are being flooded with so many amazing memories that we’ve shared with you all. Needless to say, it’s been quite a journey so far!This New Year’s will be the kick-off event of our 25th Anniversary, and we plan on celebrating with you all the way through 2019! It’s going to be a big year, let’s start it out with a bang! This marks the seventh NYE Celebration for the String Cheese Incident since going on hiatus in 2007, and their sixth New Year’s Eve at their home state’s 1STBANK Center. Last year, the band celebrated NYE with a special East Coast celebration at Port Chester, NY’s Capitol Theatre, the only time they’ve rung in the New Year outside of Colorado since their 2006’s San Francisco run.For more information on New Year’s run and more String Cheese Incident 25th-anniversary celebrations, head to the band’s website here.last_img read more

Measurements of China’s air indicate sharply improved combustion efficiency

first_imgA collaborative, six-year study of carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in Beijing and surrounding provinces suggests that combustion efficiency, a component of overall energy efficiency, is improving in the region.The findings, published in the September 21 issue of Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, are generally consistent with official Chinese government statistics and could bolster their credibility as international negotiations proceed on commitments of China and other nations to combat climate change.A team of atmospheric scientists and environmental engineers from Harvard University and Tsinghua University in Beijing have continuously measured atmospheric CO2 and carbon monoxide (CO) levels in rural Miyun, about 100 km northeast of Beijing, since November 2004.The measurements provide the most detailed look at carbon emissions for a specific urbanized and industrialized region of China to date. Moreover, the resulting analysis of CO2 and CO levels is generally consistent with China’s official statistics, showing an upward trend in overall energy efficiency.“The Chinese government committed to improve energy efficiency in its 11th Five-Year Plan (2006–2010), and this study shows how independent quantitative evidence of its progress can be inferred from the chemistry of its air,” said co-author Chris P. Nielsen, executive director of the Harvard China Project, based at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).last_img read more

Two are Abramson winners

first_imgDavid Cox, assistant professor of molecular and cellular biology and of computer science, uses cutting-edge, high-performance computing techniques to teach undergraduates how the brain works. Lorgia García Peña, assistant professor of Romance languages and literatures and of history and literature, teaches students about ethnic, race, and national identity formations through literature. This year, the two members of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) have something in common: They’re both winners of a 2017 Roslyn Abramson Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching.“David Cox’s and Lorgia García Peña’s love of teaching exemplifies a Harvard education at its best,” said Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Michael D. Smith. “Each have engaged and challenged students in the classroom and the lab, ignited students’ passion for their respective fields, and prepared them to lead in a complex world. I offer my congratulations to David and Lorgia for an honor well-deserved.”The $10,000 award, established with a gift from Edward Abramson ’57 in honor of his mother, is given annually in recognition of “excellence and sensitivity in teaching undergraduates.” Recipients, drawn exclusively from FAS, are chosen on the basis of their ability to communicate with and inspire undergraduates, their accessibility, and their dedication to teaching.David CoxCox said he was honored when he found out that he was a recipient of this year’s Abramson Award.“I am grateful to my department and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences to have been given the flexibility and resources to explore new ideas in teaching so early in my career,” he said. “I’m also grateful to the students whom I’ve taught so far — their curiosity and enthusiasm makes my course a joy to teach.”Cox teaches one course, “Fundamentals of Neuroscience.” It’s an intensive introduction to topics in neuroscience, ranging from the inner workings of neurons to the function of small neuronal networks to the function of brain systems that give rise to perception, thought, emotion, cognition, and action. The course is tailored for highly engaged students who are interested in pursuing a neurobiology concentration or secondary.What makes this course unique, however, is that it’s taught in a “flipped classroom” format.“Students complete lessons from the HarvardX online version of the course outside of class, and then 100 percent of in-class time is devoted to discussion and student-driven synthesis of material,” explained Cox. “This course represents the fruition of a multiyear arc that I’ve been developing since I arrived at Harvard, aimed at fusing online and on-campus learning.”In addition to reaching learners globally, HarvardX has worked to identify opportunities to leverage its online learning content in Harvard’s on-campus classes — and has helped create more than 20 blended courses at the University using HarvardX materials.“I’m convinced that online courses can be a powerful tool for making the on-campus experience more personalized and interactive,” said Cox. “In my course, students get all of the nuts-and-bolts learning out of the way outside of class, using lessons that were designed to be fun, visually engaging, and easily digestible, and in-class time is all about students solidifying that knowledge and exploring topics in greater depth.”As for the award money, Cox intends to use part of it as seed capital to help one of his graduate students launch a startup based on technology developed in the coxlab @ Harvard University.Lorgia García PeñaUndergraduates find that García Peña’s “Performing Latinidad” questions Latinidad as a historical, cultural, and theoretical concept through literary and critical texts.“One of the goals of the course is to provide students with an overview of the Latinx literary canon in dialogue with the various historical and social moments and movements that produced them — the War of 1898, the Jones Act of 1917, the Civil Rights Movement(s), the Delano strikes, the Zoot Suit Riots, and Operation Bootstrap,” said García Peña.The course includes an art component in which the students, working in groups, produce an art piece that is then displayed throughout campus. Thanks to generous support of the Elson Family, García Peña has been able to invite artists to work with students in developing their pieces.García Peña believes strongly that learning done in the classroom should not be disconnected from what is happening in the world around us.“I encourage my students to read in contradiction, always looking for silences, omissions, blank spaces,” she said. “I think we all have that responsibility as scholars, and particularly as humanists, as much damage has been done by reading the same way — many histories and knowledge have been suppressed, erased from our archives to the detriment of our society.”García Peña said she was incredibly humbled and grateful to her colleagues and students in accepting the award, focusing on her love of teaching and the rewards it brings.“I learn so much from my students, everyday,” she said. “I am enriched by the discussion — particularly the challenging ones. It is a wonderful exchange.”last_img read more

Former Obama adviser and renowned physicist Sylvester James Gates Jr. speaks about science, race in America during webinar

first_imgThe Multicultural Student Programs and Services hosted a conversation last night with renowned physicist and former adviser to President Barack Obama, Sylvester James “Jim” Gates Jr. The program highlighted the role of scientists of color in the field as well as the role of science in America.The event was a collaboration between Notre Dame STEM departments, the Multicultural Student Programs and Services’ Building Bridges Lecture Series, the Multicultural Pre-Health Society, National Society of Black Engineers and Wabruda.Vice president for student affairs Erin Hoffmann-Harding began the evening remotely by commending students Jeff Musema, president of Wabruda and Multicultural Pre-Health Society, and Aubourg, vice president of the Multicultural Pre-Health Society and a board member of Frontline ND, for initiating and organizing the program. “The expansion and growth of underrepresented students in the STEM field is one way of the many ways we are trying to make Notre Dame a better place,” Hoffmann-Harding said. Aubourg moderated the event from the Jordan Hall of Science, and Gates joined remotely. The conversation was also live streamed, and began with a discussion on Gates’s accompaniments in his nearly 50-year long career.“I learned from my parents, ‘If you can help someone why wouldn’t you?’” He said, regarding his role first as an educator. “I want my students to walk through me as a doorway to their future. In 2009, Gates was asked to join the PCAST to advise President Obama. “What American could say no to that?” he said, although he was nervous at first. “I’d never advised a President before.”During his time, he was the lead on four reports regarding the intersection of science and education in America. “Those reports were my babies,” Gates said. The first report directly contributed to the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act, an effort to provide equal opportunities for America’s students. Gates said the role of science in government is to fix problems before they begin. He then described in detail the work the PCAST and other government agencies did to fight against the Ebola outbreak in 2013. “President Obama was looking for all the possible advice everywhere in the government for how to protect our country from having the Ebola virus break out here in our nation.” he said. During the meeting, “It was the only time in the seven years that I saw a look of grave concern on the President of the United States,” he said. Because of his experience with Ebola, Gates started paying attention to the coronavirus even in November. By February, he knew it was going to be devastating. He joked, though with a serious tone, even physicists know biology. In regards to another topical subject, Aubourg said, “There’s a lack of Black perspective in the scientific and specifically physics field.” He then inquired into Gates’ own efforts to amend this problem.Speaking to the death of George Floyd, Gates said it invoked a moral Awakening in America, and described a personal time in his young life when he had a confrontation with a police officer. “I almost became one of those statistics,“ he said.Currently, Gates is spearheading an effort with the American Physics Society (APS) to bring attention to and provide resources to diversify the field of science through a webinar series. After this summer, Gates reasoned he could focus his experience and energies on the topic of diverse and Black representation within the field of physics, leading to the creation of the series, which is a coalition of organizations called “Delta Phi,” meaning “Change Physics.”Gates said the series is about providing concrete information and resources for scientists to address racism in America and in the sciences. Gates will be the president of the APS next year.Aubourg noted the strategies can be applied outside of the field of physics, to which Gates agreed. In addition to his scientific research, Gates has written extensively on diversity and the role of scientists of color, some of which has been quoted by the Supreme Court. Aubourg, a environmental sciences and sustainability student, asked, “Just as you are a part of my journey and a part of my upbringing, how did your upbringing shape the way you got into the sciences?” Gates said his father, who served in WWII was his first mentor. Gates saw “Spaceways,” his first science fiction movie when he was four years old. “It’s the reason I was a scientist, or one of them,” he said. Gates said he struggled with reading when he was young, but loved mathematics. In 1969, he was admitted into MIT. “I learned how to cry over my homework at MIT.” He was mentored by a few pioneering Black physicists among others. “There were not people who looked like me out there… but there were people who would help me,” he said. Gates was the first African-American theoretical physicist to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences. “It’s because something changed in this country,” he said. “Call me naive but I actually have faith in the people in this country.”After decades of accomplishments, Gates stressed over and over again a key to success is hard work and enjoying the work. “You’ve got to have fun in life,” he said. “And I’m having great fun.” Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Gates as the first African-American to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences. The Observer regrets this error. Tags: Physics, President Obama, Sylvester James Gates Jr.last_img read more

The Caribbean Relies on Hybrid Organization for Mutual Support

first_imgBy Geraldine Cook/Diálogo April 27, 2017 Seven Eastern Caribbean nations seek the same common goal: to achieve peace and stability in their islands. To succeed in this effort, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines agreed to mutually support each other since the 1980s, when the Regional Security System (RSS) was born with the vision of becoming a regional organization for defense and security. “It is a treaty-based organization,” said retired Barbados Defence Force Navy Captain Errington Shurland, executive director of the RSS. “It is a collective security agreement that basically states that in the event of a security challenge or natural disaster in one of the seven member states, all states will rally around to support the member state in need.” The RSS focuses on the prevention and interdiction of drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, immigration control, maritime policing duties, among other functions, according to Capt. Shurland. “We do a lot of work when it comes to counter drugs and transnational organized crime with the deployment of our air wing” added Capt. Shurland. He noted that they have two C-26-type aircraft that are fully equipped with surveillance capabilities for counter-drug operations and search-and-rescue missions. The RSS also focuses on natural disaster assistance. For example, Capt. Shurland mentioned the assistance to Dominica after the flooding from Tropical Storm Erica in 2015. In that instance, an RSS contingent supported the island nation with security, search-and-rescue, and relief distribution efforts to the most heavily affected areas. The birth of the RSS The RSS Treaty was signed on March 5th, 1996. It replaced the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by four members of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States –Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines– with Barbados, in 1982. The Eastern Caribbean nations needed a collective regional response to the security threats of the late 70s and 80s, and the MOU was their tool to confront regional instability. Saint Kitts and Nevis and Grenada signed the MOU in 1984 and 1985, respectively, setting the stage to create the RSS. Since its creation, the RSS has adjusted to the new international security environment. Today, the organization is divided into three directorates: Training, Operations and Plans, and Assets Recovery to better focus its scope. Additionally, in an effort to work jointly with the member states, the RSS created operational units integrated with the coast guards and special service units of the police forces. “Our collective security effort is based on military and police forces that trained together in humanitarian assistance or security threats,” added Capt. Shurland. The Council of Ministers, comprising the defense and security ministers of the member states, is the RSS’s supreme policy making body. Likewise, the Joint Coordinating and Planning Committee, comprising the commanders of the defense and police forces of each member state, assist in the organization’s coordination efforts. “We work in conjunction with the coast guard and police forces of the member states,” said Capt. Shurland. The RSS also established a regional and international partnership with the Caribbean Community Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (CARICOM IMPACS), the Caribbean Public Health Agency, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), and the U.S. Southern Command, among other organizations. “We have to work collectively and internationally in order to defeat the various threats that we are facing,” said Capt. Shurland. He added the RSS has been supported mainly by partner nations like the United States, Canada, European Union, and the United Kingdom. RSS Training Institute Training is a major component of the RSS. “Our mission is to build capacity and standardize capabilities of all member states,” said retired Barbados Defence Force Coast Guard Captain Brian Roberts, the organization’s director of training. To achieve this, the RSS Training Institute was created in 2011 to better coordinate courses ranging from senior leadership to specialized areas like counter-drugs, anti-terrorism, cyber security, and disaster response. “We based the training on priorities and needs of the member states,” affirmed Capt. Roberts. The institute plans and executes both land and maritime training to assist security forces with their security concerns. It also provides a mobile training team that travels to the various member states to train military and police forces. However, not all state members have the same requirements. “Some member states do not have military forces, but their police forces are trained to tactical-level skills in military operations,” added Capt. Shurland. “Barbados, Antigua & Barbuda, and St. Kitts and Nevis have military forces, while Dominica, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada have police forces,” he added. In addition to having trained a total of 597 students in 2016, the institute is currently registered with the Barbados Accreditation Council, but it is working toward the accreditation of all their programs in all seven member states. Working collectively “The RSS is a hybrid organization made up of military and police personnel,” said Royal Grenada Police Force Assistant Superintendent Randy Connaught, RSS staff officer for Operations and Plans. “It coordinates military and police working toward the defense and security of the region.” “There is lots [sic] of leverage with our association within the RSS,” added Connaught. “Not just in the area of security, there may be instances where the forces of my country will be unable to respond adequately to major security threats, and it will need the assistance of collaborative units of the RSS.” For example, he mentioned that the RSS supported the population of Grenada after the devastation of Hurricane Ivan in 2004. “It’s because of our association with the RSS, [that] we had assistance coming together and responding before a request was made. Countries on their own, I believe, cannot in their own respond to a mass level of emergencies and major security threats.” The networks and international partnerships created by the RSS have made it an important asset in regional cooperation. “Our challenges and our cultures are almost the same, making it real easy for us to integrate and coordinate our efforts. [With the RSS], all our resources are combined to make our responses more effective,” he concluded.last_img read more

Rental growth hits buffers as retail sector finally slows

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Clerical Medical gets half of 4orty from Mountcity for over £60m

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Gold sparkles in COVID-19 shadow

first_imgWith most orders placed online, Gold Avenue has “all the tools” to help meet the rapid growth in demand, according to its chairman Omar Liess.Some companies are encountering some issues meeting the sheer volume of demand.But the main problem is logistical — because so many flights are cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak.Customers still however have the option of keeping their gold coins and bars in safes — because trading companies usually offer such storage solutions.And if they do want to take physical delivery of the glamorous precious metal, then customers face the prospect of a long wait.US-based online precious metal retailer JM Bullion has warned its customers to expect delays of more than 15 days as a result of “extreme order volumes”.  ‘Phone has not stopped’ “The phone has not stopped ringing” because “demand has exploded”, said Alessandro Soldati, boss of Gold Avenue, the online retail arm of Swiss refiner and ingots producer MKS PAMP Group.Over the last three weeks, as the new coronavirus strain spread across the globe, Gold Avenue experienced more sales than during the entire final quarter of last year. Gold, prized by investors in times of crisis as a safe haven, is experiencing surging demand in the face of the coronavirus outbreak — from both commodity traders and retail buyers.The precious metal had forged a seven-year peak on commodity markets this month as traders sought shelter from the COVID-19 pandemic and its destructive economic impact.The commodity has also rocketed as investors seek to guard against rising inflation — with many central banks injecting immense amounts of liquidity into the financial system to counter virus fallout. Topics :center_img Refineries hit by lockdownGold had already soared in value in the London Bullion Market to reach a December 2012 peak of $1,703.39 per ounce on March 9.It has since fallen on modest profit-taking but remains at an elevated level of about $1,600.That has given a shot in the arm to retail prices — and demand shows no sign of abating after the global death toll from the new coronavirus strain topped 20,000 this week.”Demand [for gold] has risen significantly in the past three to four weeks,” said Liam Sheasby, marketing chief at British online bullion firm BullionByPost.Experts argue there is no shortage of gold at the moment, apart from for newly-minted coins — but the situation is becoming more complex.In Switzerland, gold refining titans PAMP, Valcambi and Argor-Heraeus — which together represent one third of global production — have temporarily halted operations at the request of the government.At the same time, South Africa on Monday imposed a three-week lockdown, as the African continent’s top gold producer grapples with COVID-19.”The industry as a whole is affected” by lockdowns at key facilities, Omar Liess told AFP. ‘Unprecedented crisis’ The Britain-based World Gold Council industry body issued a gloomy warning about the ongoing long-term impact of coronavirus.”We are in the midst of an unprecedented crisis,”  WGC chief executive David Tait noted on Wednesday.”I have worked at the heart of financial markets for over 30 years and thought I had seen it all: Black Monday, Asian currency crisis, the dotcom bubble bursting, and the global financial crisis. But this is different.”We are reeling the wake of a health and economic shock which monetary and fiscal policy is ill-equipped to deal with. Like most asset classes, gold has been affected by widespread, rapid-fire asset sales and a dash for cash.”Notwithstanding recent price volatility, I believe gold is as relevant as ever and will play an increasingly important role in investors’ portfolios in the years to come.”last_img read more