Karen Putnam named Radcliffe’s associate dean for advancement

first_imgKaren Putnam has been appointed associate dean for advancement at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Putnam’s position became effective on Sept. 15.Putnam has had a distinguished career in fundraising, beginning with service in Harvard’s Development Office, where her primary responsibility was the Fogg Art Museum. She went on to hold fundraising positions at Bryn Mawr College, the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, and the Brooklyn Museum, where she was director of development.In 1993, Putnam became vice president for development, marketing, and public relations of the Central Park Conservancy and, in 1995, became president and CEO of the conservancy. Most recently, she worked at the Bessemer Trust in New York City, advising clients about philanthropy and wealth management. Putnam holds an undergraduate degree from Wellesley College and a doctorate in American Studies from Yale University.“I’m delighted that Karen Putnam has joined our leadership team and look forward to working with her,” said Radcliffe Institute Dean Barbara J. Grosz. “She brings a stellar background in academic fundraising and arts and civic organizations that will serve the Radcliffe Institute well.”last_img read more

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The public health case for gun control

first_img Read Full Story In the wake of the shooting of two journalists on live television in Virginia on August 25, 2015, several news stories have referenced gun violence research by David Hemenway, professor of health policy at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center.In his 2006 book “Private Guns, Public Health,” Hemenway summarizes the research on the relationship between guns and injuries and describes the public health approach to reducing firearm-related violence. Among the statistics he cites: Children in the U.S. are 14 times as likely to die from guns as children in other developed countries.“Within the United States, a wide array of empirical evidence indicates that more guns in a community leads to more homicide,” Hemenway wrote.last_img read more

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Is anybody out there?

first_img SEAL-tested, NASA-approved The question of whether we’re alone in the universe has haunted humankind for thousands of years, and it’s one astronomer Jill Tarter has tried to answer for much of her life. Tarter, chair emeritus of the Center for SETI Research, worked as a project scientist for NASA’s SETI program, which aimed to detect transmissions from alien intelligence. She currently serves on the board for the Allen Telescope Array, a group of more than 350 telescopes north of San Francisco.“We are looking for signals at some frequency, some wavelength that don’t look like what Mother Nature produces,” she said in 2014.Tarter, an inspiration behind the novel and film “Contact,” visited campus last month to participate in the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study’s science symposium “The Undiscovered,” which addressed how scientists “explore realities they cannot anticipate.” We spoke with her about her work and why it matters.Q&AJill TarterGAZETTE: When did you first start thinking about other worlds?TARTER: I think it was age 10 or so, walking on the west coast keys of Florida with my father and looking up at the sky. It just always seemed to me that probably walking along the beach on some other world there was some other creature with their father, looking and seeing our sun as a star in their sky.GAZETTE: When you were a child did you have the sense that looking for intelligent life was something you wanted to do for your career, or that you might become an astronaut?TARTER: I did apply to be an astronaut, but no, as a profession I stumbled onto it because I knew how to program an obsolete computer called a PDP84, and that piece of equipment was given to Stu Boyer, an astronomy professor who had a very clever idea for how to make use of the University of California, Berkeley, radio telescopes at Hat Creek to do a SETI search in a different way. He came and recruited me because I knew how to program that computer. For me, after millennia of asking priests and philosophers what we should believe, I just thought it was very exciting that right then in the middle of the 20th century we were beginning to have some tools — telescopes and computers — that allowed scientists and engineers to try to figure out what is, and not have to take somebody’s belief system. I thought that was really important and I got hooked.,GAZETTE: You’ve spoken a lot about the importance of perspective. What would finding other intelligent life do to our perspective on life in the universe and our own lives?TARTER: Even not finding it but trying to find it is important because it helps to give people a more cosmic perspective. I usually send people home from a lecture with a homework assignment, which is to go and alter their profiles on all of their social media so that the first thing they say about themselves is that they are an Earthling, because I think that this is the kind of perspective we are going to need to figure out how to solve all these really difficult challenges we have that don’t respect national boundaries. We’ve got to do it in a systemic global way, and I think the first step to getting there is to see ourselves in that context.GAZETTE: What are the odds are that we might find something?TARTER: It seems like there’s perhaps an impression that the universe has become more biofriendly in terms of what we think we know. But it doesn’t mean that all that habitable real estate is inhabited. That is the question. We don’t know the answer to that, but I think it’s really exciting that we are developing ways to explore our own solar system and we are developing instruments that can hopefully image some of the worlds around other stars and try to find out whether there’s any biology or technology going on there.GAZETTE: Do you think that will happen in your lifetime?TARTER: Well, let’s see. Back in 2004, [genetic scientists] Craig Venter and Daniel Cohen made a very bold prediction. They said whereas the 20th century had been the century of physics, the 21st century was going to be the century of biology. I personally think that wasn’t bold enough. I think the 21st century is going to be the century of biology on Earth and beyond. I think this will be a century when we begin to understand whether or not life has originated within the solar system more than once, and perhaps around other stars.GAZETTE: You talked about giving your listeners homework. My colleague mentioned to me an app that you could download to your computer that would help search for intelligent life while the machine slept.TARTER: That’s right. It was called [email protected] and it was developed at UC Berkeley. It’s still going. It processes data that has been recorded at the Arecibo and Green Bank observatories. It runs as a background process on your computer and it really put citizen science and distributed computing on the map when it came out about 12 years ago. It didn’t invent distributed computing — people were already doing that to break codes or factor prime numbers. But it was such a sexy application that everybody grabbed it and it took off and citizen science followed in its footsteps. It’s a very large group of people who classify galaxies, who fold proteins for cancer research, who count craters on various pieces of real estate in the solar system.GAZETTE: You famously disagreed with Stephen Hawking when he said that he feared the potentially aggressive nature of any intelligent life we might one day encounter.TARTER: Stephen was a brilliant man, but neither of us has any data on this point other than our own terrestrial history. My point of view is the kind of scenario that’s being posited is that they are going to show up and do us harm. Well, if they can get here, their technology is far more advanced than ours, and I don’t know how you get to be an advanced older technology and have a long history unless you outgrow the aggression that probably helped you to get smart in the first place. So, I think an old technology, if such a thing exists, is going to be stable and it’s going to have gone through the kind of cultural evolution, the kind of social evolution that [Harvard Professor] Steven Pinker talks about. So, from my point of view, if they are coming from an older technology and can get here, they don’t have bad intentions. It doesn’t mean that the interaction will be rosy, because there are often unintended consequences.GAZETTE: Final question: “Contact” excluded, favorite alien or space movie?TARTER: Oh, I like “2001: A Space Odyssey.”Interview was edited for clarity and length. The scope of TESS NASA-backed scientists hope project advances plans to search moons for extraterrestrial life Related Launching a space mission from the deepest oceancenter_img Harvard astronomer Latham set for lead role in exoplanet mission Harvard Medical School grad to depart residency for astronaut training Theremin player sets history lesson to music, without the slightest touch Behind an eerie sound, science, espionage, and dashed dreamslast_img read more

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Graduate students present research in competition

first_imgNotre Dame graduate students from the Colleges of Arts and Letters, Engineering and Science will present their research in the final round of Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) on Wednesday night in the Jordan Auditorium in a competition to win $1,000. Evan Bryson, communications specialist for the graduate school and publicity coordinator for 3MT Notre Dame, said the competition provided graduate students with a unique opportunity. “It’s this opportunity for graduate students, in a competitive space, to describe the fantastic research they’re doing here,” Bryson said. “I feel like this is a quality contest because I don’t think graduate students really have a public forum at Notre Dame to describe the work that they do, especially with each other and with undergrads and with people from the community. We’re framing it as a celebration of their research.”3MT originated at the University of Queensland in Australia as an academic competition for Ph.D. students. It has since spread to more than 35 research universities in the United States, including many of Notre Dame’s peers, according to Bryson. Competitors in the finals have been preparing since mid-January. “It was pretty strict this year, with what was regulating entries,” Bryson said. “You had to have passed your candidacy exams, you had to be well in your way in a Ph.D.; you couldn’t be a master’s student. You had to be dissertating or, at least, working towards a dissertation. Really, this was just a gate for people who were deep in their research and had something to share.” Nine Ph.D. students — three from each of the colleges — will be presenting in the finals, selected from over 30 presenters in the preliminary rounds.“I sat in on all of them and it was really fun,” Bryson said. “Part of this experience is getting graduate students to be able to talk about their research in a way that isn’t specific to other researchers, that isn’t just a conversation they’re having with their lab, but is something you or I could understand, that anyone coming into the competition would want to hear about because it’s set up in such a way that’s jargon-free and that’s general enough for a non-specialized audience and is also captivating.”South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, South Bend Brew Werks co-founder and owner Drew Elegante, Trustee of the South Bend Community School Corporation Maritza Robles and Dean of the Graduate School Laura Carlson are the judges who will choose the first- and second-place winners; attendees will vote for the third-place winner. Lou Nanni, Notre Dame vice president of university relations, will be the master of ceremonies.The first-place winner will represent the University at a conference in April.“This really is just promoting really fascinating research that’s happening on campus that I think anyone would be interested in hearing about,” Bryson said. “The people who are presenting are fascinating individuals with diverse backgrounds. They’re intense scholars and it’s mesmerizing to listen to people who are experts.” Tags: academic research, graduate school, three-minute thesislast_img read more

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Vidalia Onions Early

first_imgIf your mouth is already watering for that first Vidalia onion of the season, you’re inluck. The early spring weather has this year’s harvest weeks ahead of the normalschedule. “Growers will probably start digging onions by the end of March,” said GeorgeBoyhan, a horticulturist with the University of Georgia Extension Service. If that’s true, he said, Vidalia onions should show up in stores in the first week ofApril. In more normal years, growers don’t start harvesting until mid- to late April. Early onions aren’t the whole story, either. Heading into the harvest, virtuallyeverything about Vidalia onions was sweet. “The quality is really going to be there, and the yields are going to be there,” Boyhansaid. “The next hurdle for the growers is the price.” If prices are a little lower this year, though, not many shoppers will complain. When growers dig their onions, workers cut off the stems and bag them in the fields.On most farms, the onions then go into drying hoppers for two to three days. Thenthey’re packaged and shipped out. An onion dug today may be on a grocery shelf nextweek. There’s only one little problem with buying the first Vidalia onions of the season. “In general, sweet onions don’t store very well,” Boyhan said. “And the earliest onionson the market aren’t going to store as well as the rest.” All that means, though, is that you shouldn’t buy all your Vidalia onions early. Justbuy a supply for a week or so at a time. Growers plant different varieties of Vidalia onions, he said. Some of those grow fasterand develop bulbs sooner than others. One, “Sugar Queen,” is particularly early.Growers have about 500 acres of Sugar Queen onions. “Those are the ones they’ll be picking when they first start digging,” he said. The early varieties often have a little flatter bulb than later onions. Because they growfaster, they have a little more moisture in them, too. So they’re slightly softer. “We recommend harvesting onions when 20 percent of the tops fall over,” Boyhansaid. “With these early varieties, to get the best quality, growers need to wait a littlelonger and let the onions mature a little more.” But growers plant those varieties so they can catch the all-important early-seasonmarket, when prices are high. So instead of letting them mature longer, they normallydon’t wait as long to start digging as they do for later onions. As a result, the first Vidalia onions on the market won’t keep very long. But there’snothing wrong with the taste. In fact, Boyhan said the early onions are among thesweetest of the season. “As a rule, the early and midseason onions are the sweetest,” he said. “The onionsharvested at the very end of the season may be a little hotter.” Whenever you buy them, pay attention to how you store Vidalia onions, Boyhan said.They keep their quality best when kept separate at room temperature, with good aircirculation around them. Refrigerating them may keep them longer but will also make them hotter over time. By law, Vidalia onions are grown only in a 20-county area surrounding their namesakecity. About 200 growers will harvest a crop officially estimated at 14,575 acres. Boyhan said a number of environmental factors affect onions’ pungency. A key one isthe amount of sulfur in the soil. Growers have to apply fertilizer that contains sulfur soon after transplanting theironions. But as the onions develop, rainfall and irrigation tend to leach the sulfur fromthe naturally low-sulfur, sandy soils in the Vidalia growing area. “That’s one of the reasons they’re as sweet as they are,” Boyhan said.last_img read more

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REI Celebrates Women: All About Outessafest

first_imgREI hosts two new festivals on the East Coast celebrating women and the outdoors through live music, speakers, recreation, and more.Taking place in Washington D.C. and Shakori Hills, North Carolina, these special one-day events consist of star-studded musical lineups, activities, and classes focused on connecting women with the outdoors. While the events are focused on the awesomeness of women, all are invited to partake in the festivities. Today REI announced the official lineups for the two events.Washington D.C.The D.C. event will be held on Saturday, September 29, in Patuxent River Park at Jug Bay. Best Coast is headlining along with performances by Brazilian Girls, Seratones, Lucy Dacus, Oshun, Bat Fangs, Palehound, and Bibi McGill. Unique to this event, go paddling on the Jug Bay with REI’s DC Outdoor School. There is no camping available at this event.Shakori HillsLocated at the Shakori Hills Community Arts Center in North Carolina, the event takes place on Saturday, Oct. 20. Headlining the show are Mavis Staples and Best Coast, with additional performances by Seratones, Bat Fangs, Mary Lambert, Bibi McGill, H.C. McEntire, and S.E. Ward. There will be limited camping available for attendees as well.Both festivals open at 10 a.m. with each event hosting local vendors, food trucks, and alcohol sold at select tents.Outdoor Activities and ClassesAttendees can participate in yoga sessions, rock climbing, paddling, a 5K run, and Firestarter Sessions. These sessions include classes on camp cooking, urban outdoor essentials, wilderness survival, iPhone Photography, and more. Paddling and rock climbing activities will be lead by female instructors from the REI Outdoor School in addition to classes led by brand partners.Partners include Black Diamond, Garmin, Hydro Flask, Leatherman, Lorissa’s Kitchen, Maui Jim, Merrell, OluKai, Osprey, RXBAR, Salomon, Sea to Summit, Smartwool, and Subaru of America.Along with their set schedule of activities and classes, there will be surprise events to discover throughout the day. After finishing your 5k or rock climbing session, they will have a hammock zone for relaxing.Attendees will have to fill out a waiver before participating in any outdoor activities.About REI’s Force of NatureAnnounced in 2017, Force of Nature is a program focused on creating more access to the outdoors for women. Through hosting 1,000s of classes and experiences nationwide, they are looking to make the outdoors a level playing field.According to a study by REI, “More than 85% of all women surveyed believe the outdoors positively affects mental health, physical health, happiness and overall well-being, and 70% reported that being outdoors is liberating.”For tickets and more information, check out the Outessafest website. Children 12 and under will be admitted free of charge.last_img read more

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Panama’s Darien Teems With FARC Drug Runners

first_imgBy Dialogo May 28, 2010 Drug-running Colombian rebels are using the dense, lawless jungle joining North and South America to smuggle cocaine past sea patrols, creating a new troublespot in the continent’s drug war. Squeezed in the Caribbean and the Pacific by Panamanian and U.S. patrols that regularly seize loads of the drug, traffickers now zigzag through Panama’s Darien province, which joins the isthmus nation with Colombia, Panama’s government says. Forcing local indigenous people to act as guides and mules, they haul packs of the white powder along Darien’s rivers and hike through swampy, mountainous rainforest to the Panamanian end of the Pan-American highway, whose path through the Americas is broken only by the 50-mile (80-km) Darien gap. “Our young men are forced by these drug traffickers to act as guides along the trails,” said tribal leader Betanio Chiquidama, who represents Embera and Wounaan peoples living in Darien. “They say: ‘You die, or you take us’,” he said, adding that FARC smugglers recruit some youths with cash. Without a standing army since a U.S. invasion overthrew dictator Manuel Noriega in 1989, Panama has little control over its porous border with Colombia. U.S. anti-drug officials say the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which has been smuggling cocaine to the United States for two decades, has turned to coastal overland routes as increased sea and air interdiction cuts off traditional routes northward. Traffickers sometimes shuttle cocaine inland from drop-off points on the coast and store it for weeks at a time before moving it on, normally by boat from the same shoreline. “It’s a perfect place if you are going to smuggle narcotics such as the FARC is doing,” said Alex Posey, an analyst at U.S. security consultancy Stratfor. “It’s swampy, it’s nasty, nobody really lives out there.” Just a few thousand police patrol Panama’s humid, inhospitable border with Colombia. The Central American nation has long tolerated incursions by FARC rebels who cross over to stock up on supplies and escape Colombian security forces. But, backed by the United States and increasingly worried about drug trafficking, Panamanian police are showing themselves more willing to take on the FARC in the Darien in a fight that could worsen an already precarious security situation. Panamanian border police shot and killed three suspected FARC rebels in January. A month later, coast guardsmen fought gun battles with suspected traffickers near port towns close to the Colombian border. *OUTGUNNED* As part of the new strategy, police now routinely choke FARC supply lines by limiting food shipments to the small communities that line the rivers leading to Colombia. Panama’s Congress has designated $10 million to better arm border police. “The funds requested and granted are directed to responding with armed forces at borders,” said Marco Gonzalez, a lawmaker with Martinelli’s Democratic Change party. But there is little indication yet that Panama can push the FARC back into Colombia or curb the movement of cocaine, and the threat of violence that comes with it. “We don’t have the firepower to maintain a confrontation,” said Severino Mejia, a security expert at the University of Panama. “The situation is going to deteriorate if the police mission is going to be dedicated to combat patrols.” Besides limiting food shipments, police have restricted travel, taking over river towns and forcing locals to stay in their villages during spates of violence. “They are not letting us out to fish, hunt or get bananas, nothing,” said Darien resident Wilbert Bailarin, 20. He said police-provided food rations did not make up for a clampdown on free movement and river trade. Villagers say they live in constant fear that gunmen will emerge from the forest to raid food crops and other supplies and assault women. Mothers worry their sons will be lured away from traditional livelihoods to work for drug traffickers.last_img read more

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Shirley Woman Charged With Armed Home Invasion

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A woman was arrested for committing an armed home invasion in East Patchogue last week, Suffolk County police said.Kayla Miller, of Shirley, was indicted on charges of first-degree burglary. Judge Richard Ambro ordered she be held without bail Wednesday.Police said the 26-year-old suspect broke into a home on Falcon Avenue, displayed a gun and stole items from victims inside at 9:06 p.m. Wednesday, March 22. There were no reported injuries.Fifth Squad detectives are continuing the investigation. Miller is due back in court Tuesday.last_img read more

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You’re saving $550 on gas. Save or spend it?

first_img 7SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: Heather LongRick Marxsen knows exactly how much gas cost the last time he filled up the tank of his Toyota Tacoma.He paid $2.29 a gallon in Denver, Colorado. Gas is even cheaper in his eastern Nebraska hometown, but he had to go with what was available when he was traveling for work as a member of a Union Pacific (UNP) railroad construction gang.The U.S. government estimates Americans will save $550 on gas in 2015, and many have already saved hundreds this year. For people like Marxsen who are on the road constantly, it’s an even bigger benefit.Marxsen and his colleagues often travel up to 700 miles to do repairs on the railroad lines. They trade tips on how to survive lonely stretches of Wyoming highway and, since they receive per diem travel rates, they trade tips on where to find the cheapest gas. continue reading »last_img read more

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