Top-notch teachers

March 1, 2021

first_imgEdo Berger, the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Natural Sciences, and Anne Pringle, an associate professor of organismic and evolutionary biology, have been named the recipients of this year’s Fannie Cox Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching.Established through a gift from Gardner Hendrie ’54, the prize is awarded annually in recognition of exceptional teaching in introductory courses; it carries a $10,000 personal award and $40,000 in unrestricted support for teaching and research. A faculty committee with members from across the sciences at Harvard nominated Berger and Pringle; Jeremy Bloxham, dean of science and Mallinckrodt Professor of Geophysics and professor of computational science, made the selections.“Edo Berger and Anne Pringle are great examples of the excellent teaching that happens in Harvard’s classrooms on a daily basis,” said FAS Dean Michael D. Smith, also the John H. Finley Jr. Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “As comments from their students show, both have an infectious enthusiasm for their fields, and for instilling a passion for science in students. I hope their colleagues in the faculty will join me in congratulating them for this well-deserved honor.”In a letter to faculty announcing the awards, Bloxham cited the professors’ hands-on approaches to teaching, as well as the high praise offered by their students.“He clearly has fun teaching the class, which is a very motivating feeling for the students as well,” one student wrote about Berger. Another described Pringle as “irrepressibly enthusiastic and innovative.” Both also received praise for their commitment to students, whether it was offering extra help or delving into subjects in greater detail to ensure students understood specific concepts.“I was extremely pleased to find out about receiving this award,” Berger said. “In my opinion, the Fannie Cox Prize sends an important message: that teaching is not only central to the success of our students but also enhances the experience of the faculty. … It also demonstrates that Harvard is committed to and values quality teaching.”Though research is often thought of as a key part of the sciences, Berger uses his classes to bridge the gap between teaching and research by giving students hands-on experiences in obtaining and analyzing astronomical observations. The class includes a weeklong trip to the Whipple Observatory in Arizona, where students operate research telescopes to pursue their own projects.“I find that by teaching such a research-oriented course I have become more attuned to introducing students to research, and making it accessible to nonexperts,” Berger said. “I have to say that watching the students’ excitement when they operate a large research telescope for the first time brings me enormous joy, and revives in me that feeling of excitement of first doing research.”Berger said he plans to use the award to continue those efforts, and will set aside a large portion of the funding to support trips to observatories in Chile and Arizona for undergraduate students who work with his research group.“This will give them a chance to use some of the world’s biggest telescopes, and to participate firsthand in the life of an astronomer,” he said.“I have lovely memories of teaching at Harvard, including taking students through local habitats to teach about biodiversity, and collaborating with students to stage Harvard’s first-ever ‘Fungus Fair,’” said Pringle. “The prize is a super acknowledgement of the efforts [interim Harvard College Dean] Donald Pfister and I put into our class on fungi, and I’m glad to know my freshman seminar on the evolution of aging was also a success.”Pringle said she plans to use the award to take her entire laboratory to an international conference in Thailand, allowing them to strengthen contacts in Asia and showcase their work to an audience they don’t normally reach.last_img read more

Genetic mutation may play key role in risk of lethal prostate cancer in overweight patients

March 1, 2021

first_img Read Full Story Obesity is associated with a worse prostate cancer prognosis among men whose tumors contain a specific genetic mutation, suggest results from a new study led by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital researchers. Among prostate cancer patients whose tumors contain the mutation, they had a more than 50% increased risk of dying from prostate cancer if they were overweight or obese compared to healthy-weight men; among men whose tumors did not have the mutation, there was no effect of obesity on cancer survival. It is the first study to link data on obesity, tumor genetics, and cancer-specific survival in prostate cancer patients.The study was published online November 30, 2013 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.“More than 100,000 men in the U.S. are diagnosed with prostate cancer that harbors this common gene mutation. Given the high prevalence of obesity among men, this excess risk of lethal prostate cancer associated with obesity is a considerable public health issue,” said senior author Lorelei Mucci, associate professor of epidemiology at HSPH.Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men, after lung cancer.last_img read more

New Jersey study sees huge potential in offshore wind

December 31, 2020

first_imgNew Jersey study sees huge potential in offshore wind FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Press of Atlantic City:Winds blowing off the Atlantic coast could provide four times more electricity each year than the region currently uses, according to a new report. “Wind Power to Spare: The Enormous Energy Potential of Atlantic Offshore Wind,” released Thursday by Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center, said 12 of the 14 coastal states — including New Jersey — have offshore wind potential that exceeds their current electricity consumption.The Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center report also found that current wind leases off the New Jersey coast through Orsted and U.S. Wind for New Jersey have a combined capacity of 4,173 MW and will be able to power more than 1.5 million homes.“We’re facing rising seas, intensifying storms, and unprecedented health threats because we’ve relied so long on dirty energy sources,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center. “But sitting right here next to us is the Atlantic Ocean, and its winds provide a massive source of clean, renewable energy.”Europe has 4,100 offshore wind turbines supplying electricity to 20 million homes a day, the report said, but in the U.S. so far only one is operating. That is the Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island, developed by Deepwater Wind.The report said advances in technology are bringing costs down. The overall cost of new offshore wind has declined by 25 percent in the past five years, the study quotes the asset management firm Lazard as reporting. “Atlantic coastal states use more than a quarter of the nation’s energy,” said Gideon Weissman of Frontier Group, report co-author. “Offshore wind is the ideal resource for states like New Jersey – it’s clean, it’s renewable, and it’s conveniently located near our biggest cities.”More: Wind energy potential dwarfs today’s electricity use, report sayslast_img read more

Daily Dirt: March 18, 2013

December 30, 2020

first_imgNational Parks in TroubleThere is lots of talk about the Sequestration and its predicted affect on the already slashed and burned National Parks budget. From closed campgrounds and visitors centers to discontinued ranger programs, the news gets more and more depressing every day. Hoping to raise awareness while possibly keeping panic at bay, the National Parks Conservation Association released The Top Five Myths about the Sequester and National Parks, which explains a little of what is happening on a national level. If you would like to help, check out the second annual Plates for the Parkway event June 10-13 to benefit the Blue Ridge Parkway. Like the parkway itself the event aims to link restaurants up and down the BRP in places like Asheville, Roanoke, and Hickory, in an effort to raise funds. Participating restaurants will donate a minimum of 10 percent of proceeds to benefit the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation.In other National Parks news, the town of Culpeper, Va. has joined Madison County in its fight to bring a public entrance to Shenandoah National Park to its county. Apparently, President Hoover promised them an entrance when he built Rapidan Camp, but never made good on it – typical Hoover. The Blue Ridge Parkway could see devastating budget cuts. Your outdoor news for March 18, 2013:Smoky Mountain BlazeA large fire swept through resort rental cabins outside Pigeon Forge, Tenn., just north of Gatlinburg and the northern entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. What started as a house fire on Sunday evening quickly spread to neighboring homes and engulfed 5o or so large cabins in the Black Bear Resort and Trappers Ridge, forcing the evacuation of several hundred people. At its peak, the fire covered 140 acres and fire departments on the ground say the blaze is contained, but not controlled, though they have called in the National Guard to bring in some water-dropping Black Hawks. Luckily, no one was injured, but the amount of property destroyed is significant. There is an interesting debate going on on our Facebook page about the blaze and whether it is a result of too much development and not enough space. Either way, firefighters are working hard to keep it from spreading into the surrounding woods and possibly even the national park, so we thank them for that.In It to Win ItFrom the “I didn’t know you could compete in that…” file comes this profile from the Smoky Mountain News on North Carolina’s competitive fly fishing team. The article takes a look at the rise of WNC fly fishermen on the national competitive fly fishing scene, which has come a long way in the past few years. Usually comprised of anglers from traditional western states, the U.S. team now how two members from N.C. and the state team is the top team in the country. This is an interesting sub-culture of fly fishing, and one few probably know that much about. While most utilize fly fishing as a way to get out in nature and relax – essentially the opposite of competing – this is America and if you can quantify it, you can win, and if you can win, I’ll beat you.last_img read more

Take 5: Products That Will Help Get You on The Right Track

December 18, 2020

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York GreenblenderA fresh smoothie subscription service that provides yummy plant-powered recipes and organic ingredients delivered right to your home or office for $49 per week. The menu is always changing with recipes such as Cinnamon Carrot Cake, Sweet Potato Pie, and Banana Kumquat. Each delivery yields 10 servings per box. greenblender.comSimply Better BottlesThis water bottle not only hydrates you, but also keeps you motivated. It was created by the company 50 Strong. The name is a reference to the 50 states with the mission of creating products in the USA and keeping manufacturing jobs at home. Each bottle features three different inspirational quotes: “Be Happy,” “Think Positive,” and “Never Stop,” and a double wall that keeps drinks cold and double-wall insulation to prevent condensation. All are BPA-free and dishwasher safe. Ten percent of every sale goes to their nonprofit to empower and educate their manufacturing workers. be50strong.com/shopDirty Bird Energy BarLather up with the Dirty Bird Energy Bar, a body soap that is infused with natural ingredients to give you a natural boost that we can always use to start our day. The bar comes in four varieties that each serve a different purpose: Energy, Relax, Replenish, and Recover. Packaged in a reusable portable container all soaps are made in the USA and are available in singles, a two and six-pack variety, and even a customized monthly membership that is delivered right to your door. dirtybirdenergy.comCare/ofThis subscription-based service can help you figure out the right vitamins for your active (or non-active) lifestyle. The direct-to-consumer wellness brand specializes in personalized vitamins and supplements based on your diet and health goals. The service starts at $5. To get started just log on and take the quiz at takecareof.com.The Gym BagHelping you stay organized is The Gym Bag by Practically Packed. The lightweight tote features a fun list of everything you need to make your gym experience seamless, from having the right toiletries for the shower to “your” headphones (not your children’s). With each purchase a donation is made to Feeding America, which provides 10 meals to those in need. Since the bag line was launched earlier this year, more than 650 meals have been provided. etsy.com/shop/PracticallyPackedlast_img read more

CCPA goes into effect on Wednesday with a few exceptions

December 17, 2020

first_img continue reading » On Wednesday, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) goes into effect. Cal. Civ. Code §1798.198. Even though the law will go into effect and its legal requirements will be in place, the actual regulatory requirements detailing how to comply with the law are not yet finalized. We blogged about the proposed regulations earlier this year, and NAFCU filed its comments with the California DOJ. Final implementing regulations are expected to be released by the California DOJ no earlier than April.The CCPA specifies that the California Attorney General shall not bring any enforcement actions under the CCPA until the earlier of six months after the publication of final implementing regulations or July 1, 2020. Cal. Civ. Code §1798.185(c). Given that the final regulations are not expected until April, it is likely the July 1, 2020 date will be the applicable timeline that enforcement could begin.The CCPA applies to the personal information of a consumer who is a California resident. The CCPA does not care about the context during which the information is collected. An individual’s personal information could be collected in connection with the opening of a consumer account or loan, but it could also be collected in connection with the individual serving as a beneficial owner of a member business, an authorized signor for a corporate account, or as an employee of the credit union. Because the personal information of an individual California resident would be collected in these situations, the rights and requirements of the CCPA would apply under the current law. Amendments to the CCPA did delay its applicability to these situations. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Berger to NCUA: Grant CUs urgent capital flexibility, bank parity

December 17, 2020

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger Wednesday urged the NCUA to grant credit unions “additional capital flexibility to address the economic crisis” and provide parity with banks in light of the coronavirus outbreak.Berger specifically asked the agency to provide capital relief that is equivalent to what is being offered to banks by the federal banking agencies and Congress, citing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which reduces the community bank leverage ratio (CBLR) from 9 to 8 percent.“Community banks that use the CBLR framework and maintain this new leverage ratio would be considered to have satisfied the risk-based and leverage capital requirements in the banking agencies’ generally applicable capital rule,” noted Berger.Berger also suggested the NCUA “seek to maintain parity with regulatory efforts to ease leverage and liquidity requirements for banks,” highlighting that the current crisis may lead to a temporary deterioration in net worth ratios at some credit unions.last_img read more

Property owners to challenge Doncaster CPO with human rights law

October 20, 2020

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China’s Xi honors COVID-19 ‘heroes’, as focus shifts to economic recovery

October 19, 2020

first_imgHe said China is the first major economy to return to growth during the pandemic – a fact he said demonstrates the country’s resilience and vitality.Xi awarded Zhong Nanshan, the senior medical adviser and coronavirus expert who helped shape China’s COVID-19 response, with a Medal of the Republic, the country’s highest honour.There was no mention of Li Wenliang, the doctor who was punished for spreading information about a new infectious disease in Wuhan, and whose death from COVID-19 in February sparked nationwide outrage.Beijing faced criticism at home and overseas in the early days of the outbreak, with some describing COVID-19 as “China’s Chernobyl” – referring to the 1986 nuclear accident that destroyed confidence in the Soviet Union’s ability to govern. President Xi Jinping honored the “heroes” of China’s “people’s war” against COVID-19 at a ceremony on Tuesday, lauding the country’s resilience as well as the decisive role played in containment efforts by the ruling Communist Party.Defying charges from the United States and elsewhere that early failures enabled the coronavirus pandemic to spread more quickly, Xi said that China acted in an open and transparent manner throughout, and took decisive actions that saved lives.”China has helped save the lives of tens of millions of people around the world with its practical actions, showing China’s sincere desire to build a common future and community for humanity,” Xi said at a ceremony in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Local authorities in Wuhan, the city where the coronavirus was first identified, were accused of a cover-up that delayed the country’s emergency response by at least two weeks.But as infections spread throughout the world while slowing domestically, Beijing grew more assertive, resisting global investigations into the origins of the outbreak and saying its swift actions helped buy time for other countries to prepare.State media has stressed Xi’s role in China’s containment of the virus.The official Xinhua news agency said in a long special report on Tuesday that Xi has worked tirelessly since January and even suffered sleepless nights as he “shouldered the extremely difficult mission of fighting the epidemic”.Beijing has sought to focus on China’s success at overcoming the virus, rather than its origins.During a government-arranged tour of Wuhan last week, reporters were shown schools and tourist sites reopening, but were not allowed to report from the Huanan seafood market where the outbreak was first believed to have originated.”The shifting narrative is aided by the government’s success in containing the spread and it has been quite successful at home, though internationally it isn’t as successful as it would hope,” said Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations, a US think tank. center_img Topics :last_img read more

Investment performance of UK charities hit by Greek debt crisis

September 29, 2020

first_imgThe unravelling Greek debt crisis played havoc with UK charities’ investment performance over the second quarter, according to preliminary figures from Asset Risk Consultants (ARC).Losses in June lowered UK charity investment performance to less than 2.5% for the year to date.Of the four different risk profiles used to classify portfolios, the riskiest – the ARC Equity Risk Charity Index – produced the worst second-quarter performance, with a return of -2.3%, including a -4.5% return for June alone.Even the best performers – the low-risk ARC Cautious Charity Index and the medium-to-higher-risk ARC Steady Growth Charity Index – were little better, both returning -2.1% over the period. The ARC indices are based on the actual performance, net of fees, of around 1,500 segregated UK charity portfolios run by 28 asset managers, although for the preliminary figures for June’s performance were estimated.There are no asset class restrictions: portfolios are classified according to their volatility in relation to UK equity markets, with the ARC Cautious Charity Index carrying the least risk relative to UK equity markets, the ARC Equity Risk Charity Index the most.Over the past month, which saw intense negotiations between Greece and its creditors culminate in a deal now rejected by Greek voters, all four risk profiles produced negative returns, with performance worsening the riskier the profile.In June, the Cautious Index returned -2%, the Balanced Asset Index -2.9% and the Steady Growth Charity Index -3.6%.Daniel Hurdley, head of research at ARC, said: “After hitting record highs earlier in the quarter, both bond and equity markets were down as the news flow from Athens changed on a daily basis from good to bad, and all points in between. This created uncertainty, resulting in mixed signals from central banks.”He added: “As a result, UK equities were down around 6.4% over the month, the FTSE 100 ending the quarter around 500 points below the highs of April.“Bond yield volatility increased due to changing sentiment on interest rate movements, so longer-dated Gilts were down around 3-3.5%, and even shorter-dated Gilts were in negative territory, at -0.4%.”However, overseas markets were also in choppy waters, according to Hurdley.“Global equities also suffered due to Greek uncertainty, and, in the Far East, the Chinese bubble burst, causing significant losses across Asian markets,” he said.”Commodities were also down, leaving just some hedge funds and cash giving low but positive returns.”As a rough guide, equity exposure in the four indices is around 30% in Cautious, 50% in Balanced, 70% in Steady Growth and 85% in Equity Risk.Meanwhile, for the year to date, returns ranged from 0.1% for the Cautious Index to 2.4% for the Steady Growth and the Equity Risk Indices, while the Balanced Asset Index returned 1.8%.Over the 12 months to the end of June, the best performers were the two intermediate indices, with Steady Growth returning 4.9% and Balanced Asset 4.8%.Equity Risk made 4.2% and Cautious 3%.last_img read more