Harvard science depth, breadth is on display

first_imgFive prominent Harvard scientists illuminated the cutting edge of Harvard science, predicting new treatments for old diseases, describing new ways to think about the universe, and hailing advances in our understanding of humanity and the human body.The symposium featured faculty studying everything from theoretical physics to the human genome, also touching on stem cell research, tissue engineering, and the battle against malaria.Called “Innovation and Impact: Science and Engineering Today and Tomorrow,” the event featured Associate Professor of Genetics and Associate Professor of Medicine David Altshuler; Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences Douglas Melton; Physics Professor Lisa Randall; Richard Pearson Strong Professor of Infectious Disease Dyann Wirth; and Gordon McKay Professor of Bioengineering David Mooney. Vicki L. Sato, professor of the practice of molecular and cellular biology and professor of management practice, was the moderator.The speakers described their research and took questions from moderator Sato and the audience. Melton, who heads the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, said his work is an effort to understand how the body’s cells become the cells they do, or “how did your cells know how to make a brain at one end and toes at the other?”Melton predicted that the first fruits of stem cell research will come from stem cells’ ability to create models of diseases from which new drugs can be discovered.Wirth said the stage is set for new drugs to treat malaria, which infects 300 million to 500 million people annually, killing 1 million children a year.“In many African countries,” Wirth said, “this is the largest cause of death for children.”Knowledge about the parasite and its effect on its human hosts has multiplied immensely since 1950, when the last malaria drug was discovered, Wirth said.When it comes to tissue engineering, the future, according to Mooney, is now. As scientists understand better how living systems work, they’re better able to mimic that activity mechanically. Skin produced through tissue engineering is already being used on patients, as are engineered proteins that spur bone growth that wouldn’t otherwise occur, he said.Harvard scientists are looking deeper than tissues and cells to understand humanity and its diseases. Altshuler described work today that looks at multiple individuals’ genomes, comparing them side-by-side to sort out how the differences in DNA translate to differences in traits and disease susceptibility.The discussions went beyond the human. Theoretical physicist Randall said physicists are trying to figure out why gravity is so much weaker than the universe’s other three fundamental forces. Electromagnetism, for example, is much stronger, evidenced by a magnet’s ability to pick up a paper clip despite the force of gravity pulling it down. The other two forces, which operate inside the atom, are also stronger than gravity.“[Gravity’s weakness] may be OK to you, but to particle physicists, it’s very disturbing,” Randall said.One possible explanation, Randall said, is that the universe contains more than three dimensions, and gravity’s force is diluted across the other dimensions.Changes in science are happening in the classroom as well. New life sciences and physical sciences curricula are being implemented to engage students.Former Vice President Al Gore’s winning the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on global warming illustrates the importance of engaging students, Melton said. Gore first became aware of global warming while a Harvard undergraduate.“I think it’s just delightful that stuck with him,” Melton said. “We don’t have students who just want to be doctors or who just want to be particle physicists, they want to be world leaders.”last_img read more

Mystery comet explodes into brightness

first_imgA once-faint comet has made a sudden leap from obscurity tocenter stage. Comet 17P Holmes, now visible to northern hemisphereresidents, increased its brightness by a factor of one million this week,going from magnitude 17 to 2. This makes it visible to the unaided eye aswell as binoculars and telescopes, offering a unique viewing opportunity forsky watchers.“This is a terrific outburst,” said Brian Marsden, director emeritus of theMinor Planet Center of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), which tracks known comets and asteroids. “And since itdoesn’t have a tail right now, some observers have confused it with a nova.We’ve had at least two reports of a new star.”Comet Holmes is located in the constellation Perseus and is visible for mostof the night. In fact, for observers at the latitude of Boston, the comet iscircumpolar, never setting below the horizon. In appearance, it resembles afuzzy, yellowish star.The comet could fade in a matter of days or weeks, so astronomers recommendthat viewers take a look now. Sky charts showing where to look for the cometare online at skyandtelescope.com and at space.com.Amateur astronomer Edwin Holmes, who was looking at the Andromeda galaxy atthe time, discovered Comet Holmes in 1892. The comet has presented a mysteryto astronomers ever since. It likely was undergoing a similar outburst whendiscovered, since it reached 4th magnitude and was faintly visible to theunaided eye. After fading, it brightened again by a factor of 100 in January1893 before fading again for good.The comet orbits the Sun once every 7 years at a distance of about 200million miles (compared to Earth’s 93-million-mile orbit). As a result, itwas re-observed in 1899 and 1906 before being lost for nearly six decades.Based on a prediction by Marsden, the comet was recovered in 1964.“Since then, it’s been behaving well – until now,” says Marsden.On October 23rd, the comet was a dim 17th magnitude, 25,000 times too faintto be seen with the unaided eye. One day later, it had brightened to 7thmagnitude, and the most recent observations peg it at magnitude 2 to 3: anincrease of a factor of one million. (The magnitude scale used byastronomers is logarithmic.)“When the Deep Impact probe hit Comet 9P Tempel, there was almost no changein brightness,” says Marsden. “This outburst by Comet Holmes is extreme!”Indeed, the outburst has left experts scratching their heads. How could atiny comet, whose nucleus is no more than two miles across, grow so brightso fast? Perhaps a crack opened in the comet’s surface, exposing fresh iceto the sun and causing an explosive eruption of dust and gas. No one knowsfor sure. Undoubtedly, professional astronomers will be studying it closelyin the weeks to come.Sky coordinates for Comet 17P Holmes can be found on the Minor Planet Centerwebsite.last_img read more

Adam Schlesinger, Emmy Winner, Fountains Of Wayne Co-Founder, Dies At 52

first_imgOther notable achievements from Schlesinger include his work on Stephen Colbert‘s album, A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift Of All!, which won a Grammy for “Best Comedy Album” in 2010. Furthermore, Schlesinger also worked with David Javerbaum on a variety of projects, including the 2008 musical Cry Baby and the Broadway play An Act of God.Celebrate the life of Adam Schlesinger by listening to some of his most prominent works below:That Thing You Do![Video: The Wonders – Topic]Fountains of Wayne – “Stacy’s Mom”[Video: FountainsOfWayneVEVO] Acclaimed songwriter Adam Schlesinger has died of coronavirus-related complications at 52 in Poughkeepsie, NY, his family announced on Wednesday.Shlesinger is best known for his Emmy-award-winning career as a songwriter for film, theater, and television. Schlesinger has worked on projects such as  Shallow Hal, There’s Something About Mary, and Me, Myself & Irene, as well as co-founded the pop-rock, Grammy-nominated band Fountains of Wayne.Related: Ellis Marsalis, Jazz Pianist And Musical Patriarch, Dead At 85The critically-acclaimed band Fountains of Wayne achieved widespread recognition in 2003 with the song “Stacy’s Mom”, which hit No. 21 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart. Fountains of Wayne is well-known for its novelistic approach to songwriting, with songs depicting life in the boroughs of Manhattan. It was in 1996, however, when Schlesinger cemented himself as a prominent songwriter when he wrote the theme song to the Tom Hanks film That Thing You Do!. In a statement posted to Twitter, Hanks commented on Schlesinger’s untimely death:last_img read more

Lillian Marie LeBlanc

Lillian dedicated her life to service and her greatest passion was helping others.She served on the board of the United Board of Missions of Greater Southeast Texas Health System Agency for twenty three years, Port Arthur Campfire Council, The Family Service Center and Louis Manor Trust.She volunteered for The American Cancer Society South Jefferson County Unit, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, March of Dimes, Share a Toy, Back to School, Motherly Ministry Crisis Hotline, and was a driver for the Senior Citizens Meals on Wheels Program.Lillian was a member of Knights of Peter Claver Ladies Auxiliary Court #32, Blessed Mary Katherine Drexel Society, Rosary Prayer Group, National Association of Port Arthurans, NAACP- Port Arthur Chapter for 47 years, Martin Luther King Support Group of Southeast Texas, Publicity Chairwoman of Interdenominational Council of Christian Women Fellowship, Treasurer of the Anchorettes Civic and Social Club, The Westside Flower Club, Woman of the Year for Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Lady of the Year for the Golden Gate Civic and Social Club, and Business Professional Women’s Club,  American Assoc. for Retired Persons, Precinct Judge-Precinct #59-Jefferson County and City of Port Arthur, Deputy Registrar for Jefferson County, Texas Senior Citizens Assoc. and Chairperson of the Community Action Committee. Lillian Marie LeBlanc was born on October 10, 1928 to Pete and Arita Moultrie of Youngsville, Louisiana.Lillian was called to rest on November 17, 2019.She graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1948. Lillian also went on to attend Wiley College, Sanderson Business College, Southern University extension campus, and Lamar University where she earned a certificate of real estate. Lillian was preceded in death by her maternal grandparents Charles O. and Amelia M. Guidry; sister, Vivian Moultrie; parents Pete and Arita Moultrie and her beloved husband of 35 years Joseph A. LeBlanc.Her precious memory will forever be cherished by her devoted daughters; JoAnn M. Strawder (Paul Sr.), Vivian M. Jones, Deborah A. Hamilton, and Ronalda J. Washington (Matthew Sr.). Lillian will be fondly remembered by her eight grandchildren: Tonia M. Jones, Akilah F. Strawder, Paul R. Strawder, Jr., Robneika A. Hamilton, Joseph A. L. Strawder, Robert L. Hamilton, III, Matthew Washington, Jr, Maronda N. Washington, and a host of other relatives.Prior to the funeral mass there will be a gathering of family and friends for remembrances at Gabriel Funeral Home Chapel on Friday, November 29, 2019 from 6pm-9pm.A celebration of Lillian’s life and spiritual promotion to Heaven, will be held Saturday, November 30, 2019 at 10am at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 920 Washington Ave, Port Arthur TX 77640 with Father Etim Sampson.A catered reception will be provided afterwards at Sacred Heart Hall. Next UpLillian was a lifelong member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church.She was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother for whom family came before anything else.Lillian was married to her eternal love Joseph A. LeBlanc for 35 years, who preceded her in death in 1984, from that union came their four daughters. read more

NAHBS 2014: Appleman’s Rock Solid 29er Mountain Bike & More

first_imgThis frame was around $4,500, which is about average for his frames and includes your choice of carbon, ti, stainless steel or wood logos.He also had his usual assortment of road and cyclocross bikes on hand, the latter being his most popular build. This one was for a state champion rider that had been punishing it for a full season and it still looked good as new.The customer designed the graphics for his CX bike. Yet another of the many benefits of a full custom build. Appleman gave us a teaser in our Road to NAHBS preview, but his custom 29er still had a few surprises. For starters, it was sitting atop the prototype ENVE carbon rigid fork.The frame itself was made for a 250lb, 6’4″ guy, so it comes in around three pounds and is the strongest tube set builder Matt Appleman offers. He uses a custom tube maker in Minnesota, which lets him get a specific diameter, wall thicknesse, layer count and layup for each bike and it’s rider.But the tube set wasn’t the only thing making this bike tough… The road bike had stainless steel logos with the face slotted cut to resemble the grill of a classic car the customer liked.ApplemanBicycles.com Black Kevlar was added on the surface of the chainstays and bottom of downtube to protect against impacts.Certainly a much more elegant solution than wrapping an innertube around it. The non-drive side thru axle section used a full carbon dropout with the reinforcement shaped like an apple.The logos on this one were titanium.last_img read more

Broadway Revival of Once on This Island Announces Complete Casting

first_img Once On This Island Hailey Kilgore(Photo: Boneau/Bryan-Brown) View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 6, 2019center_img Related Shows We dance! Casting is complete for the eagerly anticipated revival of Once on This Island. Emerson Davis and Mia Williamson will make their Broadway debuts sharing the role of Little Girl. Michael Arden directs the production, which begins previews on November 9 at the Circle in the Square Theatre and opens on December 3.Davis’ recent stage credits include Annie Warbucks and Back O’Town. A cellist, she has performed at Carnegie Hall and the UN. Williamson is a pianist and has won first place in international piano competitions.As previously reported, Hailey Kilgore, an 18-year-old Oregon native, will make her Broadway debut in the central role of Ti Moune in the upcoming revival of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s beloved musical.Davis and Williamson also join the previously announced Phillip Boykin as Tonton Julian, Merle Dandridge as Papa Ge, Quentin Earl Darrington as Agwe, Alysha Deslorieux as Andrea, David Jennings as Armand, Kenita R. Miller as Mama Euralie, Alex Newell as Asaka, Isaac Powell as Daniel and Lea Salonga as Erzulie, along with Darlesia Cearcy, Rodrick Covington, Cassondra James, David Jennings, Grasan Kingsberry, Tyler Hardwick, Loren Lott, T. Oliver Reid and Aurelia Williams.last_img read more

Christian Borle Pens Stage Play Featuring Characters from Marvel Comics

first_img View Comments Christian Borle(Photo: Emilio Madrid-Kuser for Broadway.com) Two-time Tony-winning actor Christian Borle is among a talented group of authors participating in the launch of Marvel Spotlight, a collection of stage plays featuring characters from Marvel comic books. The first round of one-act plays, penned by Borle, Masi Asare and Karen Zacarías, are now available for retail purchase and licensing within the educational theater market.Designed for the high school demographic and starring the iconic superheroes Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl and Thor, the plays explore universal challenges facing 21st-century young adults, including self-image, understanding vulnerability, adjusting to change, the importance of responsibility and being true to oneself.Borle’s play, Hammered: A Thor & Loki Play, finds a teenage Thor and Loki competing for the favor of their parents through Asgardian rites of passage. The other plays launching the series include Asare’s Mirror of Most Value: A Ms. Marvel Play and Zacarías’ Squirrel Girl Goes to College: A Squirrel Girl Play.Marvel Spotlight was created in a partnership between Samuel French and Marvel Entertainment.Get a first look at the cover of Borle’s play below.last_img read more

The Alchemist taps solar for its brewing operations

first_imgThe Alchemist Brewery,Vermont Business Magazine The Alchemist, the Vermont maker of Heady Topper, is getting a boost from the local sun to green its brewing operations. AllEarth Renewables, a Vermont-based solar tracker manufacturer and developer of solar projects, and the Alchemist have announced a partnership that will provide the brewery solar energy from a portion of a 150kW Vermont solar orchard. The new solar project will provide nearly 100 percent of the energy the Waterbury brewery needs annually with emissions free, net metered solar and provide the company long-term annual savings on its electric bill.The Alchemist, of Waterbury, recently joined the Ceres Brewery Climate Challenge(link is external), committing to reduce its green house gas emissions and join the call for substantive climate action. The initiative emphasizes “using less energy, choosing clean energy, and investing in new technologies,” and that environmental stewardship and successful business goes hand-in-hand.”We saw first-hand the effects of climate instability when we got flooded out of our own brewery during Tropical Storm Irene. We are committed to our customers not only to brew the best quality beers we can, but to take leadership in addressing our climate challenges. Through this partnership, we can do this and save money in our business operations,” Alchemist co-owner Jen Kimmich.In addition to the new solar commitment, The Alchemist’s Waterbury cannery has increased its composting and side streaming program to reduce its waste.At a new energy efficient facility and visitors center the brewery is constructing in Stowe, Vt., The Alchemist is installing cutting edge technology to reclaim and re-use all of the CO2 the brewery will produce and they are installing an innovative water treatment facility to minimize the strength of their wastewater.The 150kW system in Bethel, Vt. is hosted on Michael and Amy Manning’s land who plan to plant clover around the solar array for forage for honey bees.  Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) will remain with the project.”We have always wanted our land to help support itself and these projects are good for the community,” said Michael Manning. “We’re proud to have this in our backyard.””We are thrilled to be partnering with the Alchemist to provide locally-produced solar power for their top-ranked beer. Their decision’s to go solar sends a strong message about their values as a company and commitment to both the Vermont economy and taking leadership to address our energy challenges,” added David Blittersdorf, president and CEO of AllEarth Renewables.Innovative Vermont-made solar trackers are now providing emissions free solar energy for the Alchemist’s brewery, maker of world renowned Heady Topper, in Waterbury, Vt.About the AlchemistThe Alchemist is a small family run brewery specializing in fresh, unfiltered IPA.  Jen and John Kimmich co-founded The Alchemist, originally as a brew pub, in the village of Waterbury, Vt. in 2003.  Today, the couple employs a staff of 24 and they produce and distribute 9,000 barrels of  their flagship beer, Heady Topper, per year.  Their second brewery and visitors center will open in Stowe, Vt. in late spring of 2016.About AllEarth Renewables / AllEarth Solar TrackersAllEarth Renewables, headquartered in Williston, Vt., manufactures the AllEarth Solar Tracker, a dual-axis solar tracker(link is external) that uses innovative GPS and wireless technology to follow the sun throughout the day, producing up to 45 percent more energy than rooftop solar.  The company has manufactured and installed over 3,500 solar tracker systems to date.  Among its product awards, the dual axis tracker was named a “Top-10 Green Product” by BuildingGreen magazine and “Top Product of the Year” by Solar Power World. The company’s ground-mounted, pre-engineered solar trackers are designed for residential and commercial-scale installations.For more visit, www.allearthrenewables.com(link is external)Waterbury, Vt. – November 4, 2015 – AllEarth Renewableslast_img read more

US Senate confirms Christina Nolan as Vermont’s next US Attorney

first_imgVermont Business Magazine The US Senate Thursday night unanimously confirmed Christina Nolan to be Vermont’s next US Attorney, following the recommendation of US Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) and Vermont Governor Phil Scott (R).  Nolan was nominated less than two months ago by President Trump, and she is one of only two US Attorney nominees to be confirmed in states with Democratic Senators and is also one of only two women to be confirmed as US attorneys in this Congress.  Leahy is a leading member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which handled the nomination.     Nolan will be the 38th US Attorney and the first woman to be Senate-confirmed in Vermont’s history.  She will lead an office of some 45 employees, including 20 attorneys who represent the United States in criminal and civil litigation in Vermont.  Nolan has served as an Assistant US Attorney in Vermont since 2010, and in recent years has focused on criminal cases involving trafficking in heroin and other opioids.In a joint statement, Leahy and Scott said:“Christina Nolan is a native Vermonter and a well-respected Assistant U.S. Attorney with a passion for the State of Vermont and for the mission of a prosecutor — to seek justice and improve our communities.  She also understands the public safety challenges facing our state, especially how opioid addiction has affected so many Vermont families and how this needs to be an important focus of the office.  We were proud to join together to recommend Christina to the President for this position, the top federal law enforcement official in our state.  We know she will make Vermont proud. “We also extend our appreciation to Eugenia A.P. Cowles, who has served Vermonters well as the Acting U.S. Attorney since February.”Source: (THURSDAY, Nov. 9, 2017) – Leahylast_img read more

WTOP: Bill that could let more DC prisoners out early clears committee

first_imgA D.C. Council committee approved a bill Monday that would give more prisoners the opportunity for early release, despite opposition from law enforcement.The Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety passed the legislation, which would allow some prisoners convicted of violent crimes — including murder and sexual assault — to be freed before they complete their full sentences.It would apply to prisoners who have served at least 15 years behind bars and were convicted of a violent crime before they turned 25. Under current law, prisoners are given that same opportunity if they were convicted before they turned 18.Councilmember Charles Allen, who chairs the committee, promised that “the victim’s voice is given the greatest weight,” referring to what a judge takes into consideration when determining whether a prisoner should be released early.Allen was responding to concerns that the legislation does not sufficiently prioritize statements from a victim or a victim’s family — concerns cited by Councilmember Mary Cheh in voting against the bill.“The essential flaw that I find is that, for me, it doesn’t strike the right moral balance,” said Cheh.“I don’t think it gives sufficient weight to the victim’s statement. We have to give due attention to the victim and the victim’s family.”The Metropolitan Police Department has publicly voiced opposition to the bill, claiming in a statement posted to Twitter that the measure would “provide for the early release of hundreds of violent gun offenders.”Cheh criticized the D.C. police for speaking out in that way.“My remarks are in no way influenced by certain tweets by members of the law enforcement community that I found particularly inappropriate,” she said.Despite Cheh’s opposition, the legislation passed and will be considered by the full D.C. Council next month.Criminal justice reform advocates have come out in favor of such bills, saying that young offenders should be given a chance to rehabilitate themselves and reenter society.last_img read more