Guidance Office: Answers From Harvard’s Dean: Part 3

first_imgIn today’s installment, William R. Fitzsimmons discusses how the admissions committee considers extracurricular activities (as with anything in admissions, there is no one-size-fits-all approach), as well as the importance of teacher and counselor recommendations. (Such references, the dean writes below, are sometimes projected onto a screen during committee deliberations, so that all can see them.)Read full storylast_img

Pit stall assignments for Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway

first_imgSee where your favorite driver will pit for Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).last_img

Natalie Cressman, Ian Faquini Announce Phish MSG Pre-Party At City Vineyard

first_imgNatalie Cressman and Ian Faquini will bring their critically acclaimed duo project to New York City’s City Vineyard for a Phish pre-party on December 30th ahead of the band’s concert at Madison Square Garden that evening.Cressman, widely known as a vocalist and trombonist for the Trey Anastasio Band, will take the stage alongside Faquini to play their jazz and impressionism-inspired music starting at 6:45 p.m. sharp. The duo will treat fans to a bevy of songs that interweave vocal harmonies in three different languages, while the warm instrumentation of acoustic guitar and trombone combined with boundless vocal harmonies will produce a sound resembling a much larger ensemble.Related: How The Ticketless Masses All Made It Into Phish At The Met PhillyThe range of influences between the two covers a wide musical spectrum from jazz to jam and traditional to pop, and helps to generate an intimate auditory experience that many types of fans can appreciate. Those fans can also expect to hear songs off their duo’s 2019 album, Setting Rays of Summer, which was released on Cressman’s own label earlier this year and garnered support from critics.In a statement to Live For Live Music, Cressman shares her elation. “I’m excited to get to share what I’ve been working on lately and we’re thinking of a debuting a special cover song or two to for the occasion,” she says. “I’ve been traveling all fall so it’s going to be great to actually get to do a show in the city where I live for the first time in a while.”Cressman draws inspiration from her time spent touring with TAB and performances with countless other acts to evoke admiration from her listeners. She has taken the stage with Trey Anastasio Band, The Motet, Soulive, The Nth Power, and more this year alone. Pair that with Faquini’s extensive performance history and there is no telling what surprises might occur.Purchase tickets to the Phish pre-party featuring Natalie Cressman and Ian Faquini on December 30th here.last_img read more

Kroc Institute monitors implementation of Colombia peace deal

first_imgIn 2016, the Colombian government signed a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a Marxist rebel group. The accord ended a five-decade long civil war in the South American country in which 220,000 Colombians died. While many groups have a hand in overseeing the accord’s implementation, one such group working on enacting the deal’s provisions is Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.David Cortright, the Kroc Institute’s director of peace studies and its Peace Accords Matrix (PAM), said a senior Colombian official contacted the Kroc Institute throughout the negotiation process to access the institute’s expertise on international peace agreements, particularly the PAM, which is a database tracking the implementation of 34 different peace agreements that is the only one of its kind in the world. Once the deal was finalized, the Kroc Institute was invited to help monitor the implementation of the accord.“We were in touch with the negotiators in Colombia when they started their peace talks. They were asking us for research help as they did the negotiations,” he said. “Then, at the last minute, when they were finishing the agreement they said, ‘We’d like to include the Kroc Institute as doing an official monitoring. Take your methodology,’ they said, ‘and apply it to Colombia and give us information on how we’re doing on implementation.’ That was three and a half years ago.”The Colombian case represents the first instance in which an “independent, university-based research group” was asked to take on a formal monitoring role in the implementation of a peace deal, Cortright said. He said the Kroc Institute’s role is written directly into the text of the agreement, though many different international groups — including the United Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS), among others — have a part to play in helping to implement the agreement.“There are six chapters in the accord. Very complex: rural reform, political participation, end of the conflict, the illegal drugs problem, the victims issues and then implementation and verification,” he said. “ … There are 100 or so stipulations on verification, one of which is the Kroc Institute. It’s actually in the agreement. That’s the thing that’s unique. It’s never happened before that a university-based research group is actually in the accord and has a responsibility to monitor.”The accord consists of 578 action-items that need implementation. To monitor the implementation tasks outlined in the text of the agreement, the Kroc Institute has a 30-person team in Colombia to carry out the work, Cortright said.“We developed what we call ‘the Barometer.’ The Barometer is the actual monitoring instrument in Colombia. The concept is fairly simple. We took the Colombia agreement—it’s like a book. It’s 300 pages. It’s got 578 specific commitments by the parties. We went through, read every line and defined the specific commitments,” Cortright said. “That’s the universe of commitments — ‘stipulations,’ we’re calling them — that we started to monitor. We created a team, on the ground to do the work in Colombia. We have a very big bilingual team — there’s 30 people working for us in Colombia. Their job is to go out every day and follow up on whether the commitments signed in the accord are being implemented.”The monitoring process involves gathering about 25,000 event reports from across Colombia, Cortright said, which are used to gage how much of the agreement has been put into place.“All of the specialists who are on the team have to produce — every month — event reports, which are related to implementation of specific stipulations,” he said. “Each specialist has a certain number of stipulations they have to monitor. To get paid each month they have to produce these event reports.”These reports are then evaluated and analyzed for insights on how much progress being made for implementation of various provisions of the accord.“In our matrix we have about 25,000 event reports,” he said. “These come into our team [at Notre Dame] … our research technicians every month get all of these reports, and then they have to decide which ones are relevant to the stipulations that are still in action. Then they have to decide if the activity that’s reported is sufficient to bring about a coding change. … We have this [system]: zero is nothing, one is just minimal, two is intermediate, almost there and three is full [implementation].”The group of Notre Dame experts apply that process to specific pieces of the agreement and make changes in classification every month based on progress that has been made, Cortright said.“If it says ‘The rebels will turn in all of their weapons and it will be certified by the OAS,’ we monitor that,” he said. “First we found out that they were starting to turn in their weapons, so that was a one. It looked really good after a couple of months; we marked it as a two. There was an official certification from the OAS that it was completed, so it went to three. So that one’s done.“Our team upstairs is taking that information. They have a command of the entire agreement, they are expert in doing coding and then they’ll make a decision: ‘Okay, this was a zero but now we can move it to one. It was a two, but now it’s finished, so we go to three.’ They make those decisions— that’s the key. Every month we make decisions on changes.”Once changes are made, they are reviewed. The PAM team reports its findings to various different groups and agencies within the Colombian government.“Officially—under the terms of the accord — we are to report to the Central Verification Commission that was set up. That’s the commission that includes the government and former rebels. Officially, we report to them,” he said. “But we also report very directly to the government because they have the main responsibility. There is in the Colombian government what used to be called the high commissioner for peace, now it’s called the high counselor for stabilization and legality — same thing, different names.“This is the official … whose job it is to make sure all of this stuff gets done. We report to him on a regular basis. Then we have something called the Procuraduría, which is like the U.S. General Accounting Office, something like that, that monitors everything the government is doing. In the Colombian Congress there’s a commission that’s focused on the peace agreement; we send them material.”Furthermore, the reports are occasionally disseminated to other international organizations, including the UN and the European Union, which are also monitoring events in Colombia, Cortright said.In the years the agreement has been in force, both sides have made gradual progress in the successful implementation of the accord. Just under 40% of the provisions have been fully or almost completely implemented.“As of the latest, 421 are active. They’re at some point in the process. And if you take the 25% complete and 13% almost [complete], that would give you 38% either completed or almost there — 35% are just started,” he said.Cortright said there was some degree of question within Colombia as to why a foreign group was carrying out the monitoring, but the Kroc Institute’s previous work in Colombia aided its efforts in winning local trust.“It was partly, ‘What’s a North American group doing this? We have good research groups in Colombia.’ Which they do,” he said. “For us, it was a little easier because we had been there before. We have a reputation. The Social Pastorate of the Catholic Bishops is our implementing partner, and they have a good reputation so we can work closely with them. Once we started producing good reports, that didn’t become a big issue.”He also said the FARC has raised some issues with the Kroc’s methodology. The former rebels do not always agree with the institute’s findings.“The former rebels — the FARC people — they, I think still to this day, don’t agree with our methodology. It’s very quantitative. It’s social science. The FARC people are very political, they’re still hung up on Marxist ideology from 50 years ago. Some of them, anyway. So they always say, ‘We want you to do a different methodology.’ Well, this is what we do. We can’t change the methodology. That’s why we got selected,” he said. “And the FARC did agree — it wouldn’t have been in the agreement if they had not accepted it.”However, in spite of some disagreements with the methodology from certain groups, Cortright said the Kroc’s work has become the “commonly accepted framework” for evaluating the peace agreement.“By and large what’s most important is really — I think it’s fair to say — our reports and this methodology are the commonly accepted framework for assessing the agreement,” he said. “Everyone is using our framework, even when they don’t agree with all of it. And that’s what we had hoped to do.”In addition to the Colombia data, the Kroc Institute has gathered similar information on 34 other peace agreements, all of which was collected years after the fact. The Colombia data is unique in the fact that the institute is monitoring the implementation of the deal and, accordingly, that the data is being collected simultaneously with implementation. Cortright said the 34 other cases help demonstrate that progress is being made in Colombia, even if some believe the process is moving slowly.“It’s about the three-year point … we have the comparative data so we can help them understand. If you’re in Colombia and you say, ‘We’ve only got 38% completed. That’s pretty poor.’ We would say, ‘Well, it’s okay compared to other peace agreements,’” he said. “Peace takes a long time. You don’t just sign an agreement and war ends.”Tags: civil war, Colombia, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, peacelast_img read more

Wild CeramicSpeed DRIVEN mountain bike drivetrain unveiled, plus shiftable prototypes & more!

first_imgLast year, CeramicSpeed blew a few minds with their shaft-driven drivetrain concept on a road bike. Then they made it shift. Now, they’re addressing many of the comments about the design by showing how it can work on a full suspension mountain bike, too.The premise is the same, use a carbon fiber shaft to connect the front drive ring and the rear “platter” of circumferential sawtooth rings.Both ends use a series of small bearings that roll between the teeth……with the front turning the shaft, and the shaft turning the rear. This particular prototype is only showing proof of concept for how it would all move along with a full suspension bike’s rear end. The inner shaft slides to expand and contract, much like a derailleur pulley cage would move to allow for chain growth and contraction.Behind the “chainring” in the front is something akin to a ball joint that allows the shift to pivot along with the rear triangle.The design is built around 13 speeds, but this model was limited to 12 (they had to machine off the smallest series of teeth) to fit the modified Canyon frame. Part of the issue is that it’s still being built around a traditional freehub’s internals, but they say it requires something else because the torque is no longer being applied along the path of a chain. Instead, much of the forces are perpendicular to the driveshaft. Here’s a video explaining the system and showing how it will eventually all work together:How does the CeramicSpeed drivetrain shift?That’s the million dollar question, and the area that they’ve been working the hardest on. Thus far, they’ve had a rideable singlespeed version, and this prototype shifting version…but not one that actually combines both ride-ability and shift-ability. Part of it’s resources, they’re not a complete drivetrain company after all. But part of it is the complexity of getting it all to work seamlessly with a lot of moving parts, electronics, and speed.Originally, we thought the rear bearing ring would simply slide back and forth. But that wouldn’t work because it could fall out of alignment with the teeth as it passed from one row to the next. So, they had to split the drive ring into two, effectively using two bearings as a sort of clutch to release tension from the row it’s departing.So, to shift, the shaft has magnets inside to determine its position and rotation. As the “leader” half of the drive ring rolls to the outside, it slides back or forward (depending on which way you want to shift) and starts to engage the next row of teeth.As its doing this, the leading edge of the other half is able to slide into a small gap and move at the speed of the departure row, which would be different than the new row. This effectively disengages it from that departure row, and then that half slides into the same position as the first half to realign itself and continue to drive the bike forward.All of the electronics and a worm-drive gear are inside the shaft. All you need to shift it is a wireless set of buttons, which could end up going anywhere on the front of the bike. A small magnetic charging port sits on the outside of the shaft and also allows for software updates.As for worries about contamination gunking up the shifting, they’ve developed a cover that protects the system from mud, etc., And makes it even more aerodynamic than the already impressive results they achieved in the wind tunnel.Sweet, when can I buy it?Unknown. They’re still in development, and it could be up to six more months before they have a rideable prototype that also shifts. But the most important hurdle is getting a bicycle brand to develop a compatible frame…you can’t just swap this onto any bike. How long that takes remains to be seen, but there’s no shortage of interest in the design!CeramicSpeed.comlast_img read more

Gilbert Square Apartments sells for $10.7M

first_imgBerkadia announced the recent loan origination and sale of Gilbert Square Apartments, a multifamily property located at 1821 E. Covina Street in Mesa, Arizona. Assistant Vice President Chad Williams of the Phoenix office originated the fixed-rate loan through Berkadia’s Fannie Mae Program. Senior Partner Mark Forrester, Partner Ric Holway and Vice President Dan Cheyne, also of the Phoenix office, negotiated the sale of the property, which sold for $10.7 million on April 15, 2015. The sale price reflects a per-unit price of $64,939. The seller was Exchange Services, LLC of Long Beach, California, and the buyer was Gilbert Square Equity LLC of Portland, Oregon.Berkadia arranged the acquisition loan for the property. Loan terms included a 75 percent loan-to-value ratio and 10-year term.Built in 1979, the 164-unit property features one- and two-bedroom floor plans. Unit amenities include fully equipped kitchens, and select units have walk-in closets. Community amenities include a swimming pool, laundry facility, barbecues, and over 250 open parking spaces. The property was 93 percent occupied at the time of sale.“Berkadia provided excellent service to both buyer and seller through a collaborative effort from the investment sales and mortgage banking teams,” Williams said. “Our teams’ extensive experience and local market knowledge helped us to provide several competitive financing options which allowed the borrower to select the option that best fit them and secure long-term financing for their acquisition.”The Gilbert Square Apartments, located near Arizona State Routes 202 and 60, is fewer than four miles from Sloan Park, the spring training facility of the Chicago Cubs, and Mesa Riverview shopping mall. The area’s top employers are Mesa Community College, Mesa City Police Department, Marc Productions and Southwest Ambulance.Phoenix metro area vacancy tightened 20 basis points in the last three months to 5.7 percent. Market-wide asking rents reached $861 per month in the first quarter, up 0.5 percent from the end of 2014.last_img read more

News Scan for Feb 27, 2019

first_imgCDC ends probe into multistate Salmonella outbreak tied to tahini productsThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today it has wrapped up its investigation into a Salmonella Concord outbreak tied to tahini imported from Israel after eight cases were confirmed in four states.The case count is up from five cases in three states in late November 2018, when the CDC first announced the outbreak. Illness-onset dates range from Apr 21, 2018, to Jan 3, 2019. No hospitalizations or deaths were reported.Massachusetts reported its first case, and Hawaii and Michigan also had one. New York’s case load grew from three to five.On Nov 27, 2018, Achdut Ltd, of Ari’el, Israel, recalled tahini products because of the outbreak. Recalled products were sold under the following brands: Achva, Achdut, Baron’s, Pepperwood, Soom, and S&F. “Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicated that tahini products from Achdut Ltd. were the likely source of this outbreak,” the CDC said.Officials detected no signs of antibiotic resistance in the outbreak strains they analyzed.Feb 27 CDC update Nov 28, 2018, CIDRAP News scan CEPI awards funding for portable RNA printer for vaccine productionToday the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) announced a $34 million contract and new partnership with CureVac AG, a biopharmaceutical company developing mRNA-based vaccines, to create a transportable RNA printer that could be used to develop vaccines in outbreak scenarios.”This innovative platform will provide a rapid supply of lipid-nanoparticle (LNP)-formulated mRNA vaccine candidates that can target known pathogens (including Lassa Fever, Yellow Fever, and Rabies) and prepare for rapid response to new and previously unknown pathogens (referred to by [the World Health Organization] as “Disease X”),” CEPI said in a press release.The device would be able to produce several grams of LNP-formulated mRNA—enough for more than 100,000 doses—within weeks of an outbreak, CEPI said. The technology could be encoded for multiple proteins and antigens, targeting different viruses.The project is set to begin next month. CEPI is a partnership among public and private organizations that was launched in Davos, Switzerland, in 2017 to develop vaccines to stop future epidemics. It has committed to investing more than $350 million in 12 vaccine candidates and three vaccine platforms. Feb 27 CEPI press release Legislators reintroduce law to boost investment in universal flu vaccineUS lawmakers yesterday reintroduced legislation to support the development of a universal flu vaccine, calling for a total investment of $1 billion through fiscal year 2024.Called the Flu Vaccine Act, the bill was reintroduced by Sen Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Rep Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., according to a statement from Markey’s office. The proposed law calls for $200 million for fiscal years 2020 through 2024 for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Legislators have already secured a dedicated $100 million for fiscal year 2018 and $140 million for fiscal year 2019 for universal flu vaccine research at the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).At a Congressional briefing yesterday, the Foundation for Vaccine Research updated lawmakers on the current flu season and progress on a universal flu vaccine.In the statement, Markey said American scientists are heavy hitters in health and disease research, and it is up to the United States to take the lead in improving and enhancing the response to flu. “With increased research funding, hard-working health care providers, and brilliant scientific investigators, we are the [closest] we have ever been to ensuring a flu-free future. The bases are loaded, and the Flu Vaccine Act will help us knock this public health menace out of the park,” he said.Senate cosponsors are Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Angus King, I-Maine, Tina Smith, D-Minn., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. These are virtually the same senators who introduced a similar bill about a year ago.In 2012, the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), which publishes CIDRAP News, led a group that published an in-depth analysis of problems with current flu vaccines and steps needed to develop a next-generation version with the capacity to minimize the impact of seasonal flu as well as a future pandemic. One of the report/s recommendations was to declare flu vaccines a national priority and dedicate substantial investment and leadership on the scale of the Manhattan Project, a massive effort that brought about the first nuclear weapons during World War II.Feb 26 Sen Markey statement Feb 19, 2018, CIDRAP News story “Senate bill would jump-start universal flu vaccine efforts” Oct 15, 2012, CIDRAP News story on flu vaccine report High-path H5 outbreaks hit birds in Nigeria, Pakistan, and TaiwanIn the latest highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak developments, Nigeria and Pakistan reported H5N8 detections and Taiwan reported more H5N2 events in poultry, according to the latest notifications from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).Nigeria’s H5N8 outbreak began on Jan 28 in backyard birds, which were 16-week-old pullets, in Bauchi state in the central part of the country. The virus killed 105 of 460 susceptible birds, and the rest were destroyed. The source of the virus hasn’t been determined, but health officials suspect the purchase of adults birds from an unknown source. Nigeria has reported sporadic H5N8 outbreaks since the first of the year.In Pakistan, the agriculture ministry reported two H5N8 outbreaks involving wild birds, both in Islamabad. One outbreak began on Jan 2 and the other started on Feb 7. Affected birds include mallards, Guinea fowl, wild swans, and house crows. Between two events, the virus killed 64 birds, and officials euthanized 5 additional infected birds. The detections are Pakistan’s first since February 2018.Elsewhere, Taiwan reported four more H5N2 outbreaks at poultry farms, three in Yunlin County and one in Changhua County. Native chickens and turkeys were affected. Taiwan has been battling H5N2 outbreaks since early 2015, and these latest ones began from Jan 26 to Feb 19. Of 65,496 susceptible birds across the four farms, the virus killed 4,260, and the remaining ones were destroyed to curb the spread of the virus.Feb 27 OIE report on H5N8 in Nigeria Feb 26 OIE report on H5N8 in Pakistan Feb 27 OIE report on H5N2 in Taiwanlast_img read more

City Centre South scheme offers ailing Coventry a retail revival

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ABB unveils high performance controller

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Bronkhorst releases new technology

first_imgSubscribe Get instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270.last_img