The best stories of 2015

first_imgAs 2015 draws to a close, the Gazette looks back on some of its top stories. It was a year when breakthrough research identified harmful chemicals in e-cigarettes and learned how toxic co-workers can be, but also how coffee and even a little sarcasm can be good for us.And it was a year in which esteemed scholars such as poetry critic Helen Vendler and physicist Gerald Holton spoke deeply about their intellectual journeys, while pianist Vijay Iler touched on the value of practice. And faculty shared the books that shaped them.As always, inspiring students sparkled, such as the five members of the Class of 2016 selected as Rhodes Scholars, a onetime Somali refugee determined to lead her homeland in a new direction, the young writers stepping up to be journalism’s hopeful future, and a cadre of Buddhist monks from Asia studying at Harvard Divinity School.In arts and sciences, an Academy Award-winning actress confessed to feelings of self-doubt while at Harvard College, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences added a new theater, dance, and media concentration for undergraduates, and a historic $400 million gift secured the bright future of Harvard’s School of Engineering and Sciences (SEAS).Students, faculty, and administrators grappled with disturbing results of a national survey on sexual assault on college campuses. President Drew Faust spoke candidly about many developments, including the  House renewal project, the Harvard Campaign, and the expanded Harvard Art Museums, as well as some of her top priorities for the academic year, while Provost Alan Garber made a persuasive case for protecting academic disciplines.The Gazette took readers to Mexico for a series exploring Harvard’s many efforts to confront housing, pollution, and traffic challenges, and brought home the remarkable journey taken by middle school students from a hardscrabble Brooklyn neighborhood to Harvard’s campus last spring to learn that college is not an abstraction, but a possibility. A three-part series examined the epidemic of opioid abuse and what can be done to counter it.Stories glimpsed life in earliest Colonial America, with a look at the Old Burying Ground that opened in 1636, the year of Harvard’s founding, and an ambitious archival project to digitize the University’s collection of priceless diaries, journals, notebooks, and other documents from 17th and 18th centuries.Here are some of the year’s most popular and significant Gazette stories, along with the top videos shared on YouTube.Harvard’s Colonial North American Project website includes 150,000 images of diaries, journals, notebooks, and other rare documents from the 17th and 18th centuries. A sampling of them are on display at the Pusey Library. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerA digital portrait of Colonial lifeWealth of detail in wide-ranging archival projectPart of the University’s endeavor to digitize all its collections and make them available free of charge, the Colonial North American Project contains material scattered through 12 repositories — from Houghton Library to the Harvard University Archives to Loeb Music Library.Go ahead, be sarcasticResearch uncovers creative benefits — yes, benefits — in using sarcasm when people trust each otherDespite sarcasm’s nasty reputation, new research finds that it can boost creativity and problem-solving in the workplace.Beware those toxic co-workersStudy says they undercut groups in destructive, expensive waysThe new study examined both the human and fiscal costs of toxic workers.Class Day speaker Natalie Portman urged students to take advantage of the brimming self-confidence of youth and take chances even at the risk of not coming out on top. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerPortman: I, too, battled self-doubtClass Day speaker says that even as a Harvard student and successful actress, she questioned her worth, but learned to set her own goalsNatalie Portman, the Academy Award-winning actress, returned to Harvard for Class Day to share her own experience with insecurity.Harvard receives its largest giftJohn A. Paulson gives $400 million to endow School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, securing vision for Allston-based innovationAs the School prepares for an expansion into Allston, it receives funding to secure its impact on the world.The books that shaped themSix professors reflect on their most memorable titlesFaculty members talk about the formative books that shaped their lives and even their scholarship.Harvard President Drew Faust is pictured in her Massachusetts Hall office. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerQ&A with Harvard President Drew FaustFaust discusses University’s priorities and challengesAt the beginning of her ninth year as president of Harvard, Drew Faust outlined her plans for the University, and the challenges it faces.A onetime refugee aims highWhen she graduates from the Kennedy School, Fadumo Dayib plans to run for president of SomaliaA 2015 graduate from Harvard Kennedy School explains her journey from Somalia to Cambridge, and what she hopes to accomplish upon her return home.Chemical flavorings found in e-cigarettes linked to lung diseaseFocus on nicotine overshadowed other hazards attached to smoking deviceDiacetyl, a flavoring chemical linked to cases of severe respiratory disease, was found in more than 75 percent of flavored electronic cigarettes and refill liquids tested by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.Student scholars, with dreams aplentyFive Rhodes recipients from Harvard share goals before heading to OxfordThe Harvard students chosen as Rhodes Scholars explained how they’ll spend their time.Jermont Haines (from left), Tukoya Boone, and Aaron Abdulmalik get a science lesson from Graduate School of Arts and Sciences student Tessa Montague. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff PhotographerA college vision, made real200 middle school visitors from Brooklyn sample what a university can offerAfter “Humans of New York” photographer Brendan Stanton organized a campaign, the middle school students from Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brooklyn, N.Y., visited Harvard to sample what a university can provide them.Heroin’s descentStages of losing control, on the street and in the bodyThe Gazette sought insights into the heroin epidemic across several disciplines, including law, health, and the science of addiction, for a three-part report on the crisis and new ideas for responding to it.How coffee loves us backHealth benefits are a recurring theme in Harvard researchCoffee is everywhere, through history and across the world. And increasingly, science is demonstrating that its popularity is a good thing.Jill Johnson applauds a student dance during rehearsal. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerTheater, Dance & MediaFAS approves a new concentration in the artsMembers of the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) backed a concentration for College undergraduates in Theater, Dance & Media that blends historical and theoretical study with arts practice.Troubling findings on sexual assaultHarvard’s portion of national study paints disturbing pictureFollowing the release of national survey results, President Faust and the University’s Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Assault responded to sexual misconduct on campus.The makeover of Mexico CityAided by Harvard experts, officials are tackling housing, pollution, and traffic problems — and solving themWith Harvard experts helping, clever and dynamic Mexico City is dealing with global megacity challenges like traffic and housing, and could be a template for a flexible, functioning urbanism of the future.Harvard’s top three YouTube videos for 2015Natalie Portman’s Class Day Speech | Harvard Commencement 2015 <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDaZu_KEMCY” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://img.youtube.com/vi/jDaZu_KEMCY/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a> Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman ’03 addresses graduating seniors at Harvard’s Class Day ceremony on May 27 at Tercentenary Theatre.A public address by Shinzo Abe, prime minister of JapanJapanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addressed the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum on a range of policy issues affecting his country and the Asian community.Jumping on water: Robotic water striderWatch how novel robotic insects developed by a team of Harvard and Seoul National University scientists can jump directly off water’s surface.Digital communications coordinator Rebecca Wickel contributed to this report.last_img read more

Anna Gunn & Billy Magnussen Set for Sex With Strangers at Second Stage

first_img Sex With Strangers Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 31, 2014 Sex With Strangers follows sex blogger Ethan (Magnussen) as he tracks down his idol, a gifted but obscure novelist named Olivia (Gunn). Their attraction turns to sex as they inch closer to getting what they want. The play challenges the dark side of ambition and the near impossibility of reinventing oneself when the past is only a click away. Related Shows Sex with Strangers officially opens off-Broadway on July 30. Star Filescenter_img How far will they go? Breaking Bad Emmy winner Anna Gunn and Tony nominee Billy Magnussen will star in Laura Eason’s drama Sex With Strangers this summer at Second Stage. As previously reported, David Schwimmer will direct. Performances will begin July 8. View Comments Gunn won an Emmy for her performance as Skyler White in the AMC series Breaking Bad. She appeared in the Broadway revival of The Rehearsal. Magnussen received a Tony nomination for his performance as Spike in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. He also appeared on Broadway in The Ritz and will also appear in the upcoming film adaptation of Into the Woods as Rapunzel’s Prince. Billy Magnussenlast_img read more

Hong Kong Smashes Human Smuggling Ring

first_img In 2009, Hong Kong Police destroyed a vice syndicate suspected of trafficking women from the Philippines and luring them into prostitution in the southern Chinese capital. Illegal migrants paid the syndicate US$32,250 to leave China through Hong Kong or the southern city of Shenzhen, before they travelled to intermediary countries in the Middle East or Southeast Asia. By Dialogo April 08, 2013 Hong Kong officials said on April 5, they had smashed a syndicate that used fake documents to smuggle people from Mainland China into Argentina, Brazil, Spain and Australia. At least half of those arrested were residents of Hong Kong, according to Fung. They then used fake documents to get to their final destination in search of jobs. The immigration department said 28 arrests were made in a joint operation with Mainland Chinese authorities that ended on April 5, adding that the ring had smuggled some 50 people since 2011. “During this eight-day operation, we have succeeded in neutralizing an international human smuggling syndicate,” the immigration department’s assistant director, William Fung, told a press conference. last_img read more

PREMIUM Habitat loss pushes Sumatran tiger out of forests, into conflicts with humans

Habitat loss and conflicts with humans continue to pose a threat to the Sumatran tiger, especially in South Sumatra, where four remaining natural habitats are shrinking because of deforestation, according to the Zoological Society of London’s (ZSL) Indonesia program.ZSL’s tiger conservation project manager Yoan Dinata said South Sumatra had suffered deforestation since the 1970s as the forests were mostly located in lowlands with easy access for people to use them for agriculture and human settlements.Primary forests that are natural habitats for tigers in South Sumatra, according to ZSL, now remain in four areas: the Sembilang National Park, some parts of Harapan Forest, Bukit Jambul Patah Nanti Forest and Bukit Dingin Mountain – the latter two are part of the larger Rejang area that extends into neighboring Bengkulu province. The four natural habitats are am… Forgot Password ? Google Facebook Log in with your social account LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here Topics : Linkedin #animal animal wildlife #wildlife Sumatran-tiger #SumatranTiger read more

Pope prays for lockdown victims of domestic abuse

first_imgBut worries persist that many abuses go unreported and that the true scale of the violence is unknown.Italy’s interior ministry is using a phone app to help geo-locate reports of domestic of violence.The government has also allocated $30 million euros ($32.8 million) to help shelter women victims of domestic abuse. Topics : Pope Francis prayed Monday for the growing number of women subjected to domestic abuse while living under coronavirus lockdown.The Argentine pontiff livestreamed an Easter Monday prayer from his private library as the Vatican and Italy entered a second month of restrictions on most outdoor activities.Worries about domestic abuse have spread across the world as nations force billions to stay at home to stop the spread of a disease that has officially killed nearly 115,000 people.center_img The pope offered a prayer to the “many mothers and sisters who find themselves locked in the house with the whole family, with children, with the elderly and the disabled.”Sometimes they are at risk of being subjected to violence, for a coexistence in which they carry too great a burden,” Francis said.”We pray for them, that God may give them strength and that our communities can support them together with their families.”Countries from Australia to France have seen surges in the number of domestic violence cases reported to the police.last_img read more

Southport home sells under the hammer for $18,500 over reserve

first_imgSold for $18,500 over the reserve.ASIAN buyers continued a strong run at auctions this weekend with a Southport house selling $18,500 over reserve. The three-bedroom, two-bathroom home at 4 Centennial Place sold under the hammer to an Asian buyer for $493,500.More from news02:37Purchasers snap up every residence in the $40 million Siarn Palm Beach North11 hours ago02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa1 day agoRay White Benowa marketing agent Carita Lanham said there were nine registered bidders.“There was quite a mix of people who came along,” Ms Lanham said. “A few mature couples and young, first-time buyers. About 40 people attended the auction of 4 Centennial Place, Southport.“We had the auction inside with about 40 people stuffed into the kitchen and living room.”Ms Lanham said the deceased estate had only one owner during the past 23 years.Located in a cul de sac near schools and shops, the house was recently upgraded with new carpet and a fresh coat of paint.last_img read more

Returns at Lithuanian pension funds surge in 2014

first_imgLithuania’s second and third-pillar pension funds posted strong returns in 2014, according to Bank of Lithuania, the central bank and pensions regulatory authority.The annual nominal return for the 26 voluntary second-pillar funds averaged 7.78%, compared with an annual inflation rate of 0.1%, and well above the average 4.28% generated in 2013.High-risk funds, which can invest up to 100% in equities, generated the best average return, of 9.73%, followed by low-risk funds (with up to 30% in shares) at 8.20%.The medium-equity funds, the most popular vehicle, returned 7.95%. Conservative funds, with no equity share, generated 4.02%, compared with 0.58% the previous year.According to Audrius Šilgalis, senior specialist at Bank of Lithuania’s financial services and market analysis division, the low-equity funds benefited from a strong performance in the bond markets, and the high-risk funds from their investments in US equities.Membership grew over the year by 3.5% to 1.16m, close to 80% of the workforce, while assets grew by 18.3% to €1.9bn. Asset growth was partly boosted by the high percentage of members who had earlier chosen to add an extra 1% of their wages to their second-pillar savings, matched by a further 1% of average annual earnings from the state.The base contribution fell from 2.5% in 2013 to 2%.In 2016-19, the additional worker contributions and state subsidy increased to 2%.In the much smaller third pillar, the 10 funds returned 7.34% on average, compared with 6.42% in 2013.Returns ranged from 9.32% for medium-risk funds to 8.24% for high-equity funds and 2.19% for conservative structures.Membership increased by 16.6% to 39,993, and assets by 25.8% to €47.5m.last_img read more

McDermott back to black as revenues increase

first_imgHouston-based engineering, procurement, construction and installation company McDermott International wrapped up 2017 with a fourth-quarter profit of $25.5 million.According to McDermott’s financial report announced on Wednesday, the company returned to the black with earnings of $25.5 million in the last quarter of 2017, compared to a net loss of $0.5 million for the same period of 2016.As for the company’s fourth-quarter 2017 revenues, McDermott saw an increase of $76.3 million when compared to 4Q 2016. Namely, the company’s revenues increased from $641.8 million to $718.1 million.The key projects driving revenue for the fourth quarter of 2017 were the Saudi Aramco’s LTA II Lump Sum, Marjan power system replacement, and Safaniya Phase 5 as well as Inpex’s Ichthys project, the company explained.McDermott also said that the increase from the prior-year fourth quarter was primarily due to an increase in Middle East activity, partially offset by a decrease in activity on the Ichthys project which is now substantially complete.The company’s order intake in the fourth quarter of 2017 totaled $2.2 billion, resulting in backlog of $3.9 billion.David Dickson, President and CEO of McDermott, said: “Our strong order intake in the fourth quarter gave McDermott a solid backlog heading into a new year, and we have continued the momentum with our recent announcement of the 13 jackets award from Saudi Aramco in the first quarter of 2018.”McDermott’s full year 2018 revenue guidance is estimated between $3.1 billion and $3.3 billion.It is worth reminding that the closing of McDermott’s combination with CB&I, announced in December 2017, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018. The proposed deal, with an estimated worth of $6 billion, in January received an early termination of the Hart-Scott-Rodino waiting period.Offshore Energy Today Stafflast_img read more

Dredging Part of Tullahan River Cleanup Project

first_imgSan Miguel Corporation (SMC) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Monday formalized a joint commitment to undertake an extensive cleanup of the Tullahan River system, informs the Philippine News Agency.Ramon S. Ang, SMC president and chief operating officer, and DENR secretary Roy Cimatu signed the landmark memorandum of agreement (MoA) that will implement a comprehensive dredging and cleanup of the 59.24-km tributary that starts from the La Mesa Reservoir and traverses the cities of Valenzuela and Malabon, before reaching the mouth of Manila Bay through Navotas City.“The cleanup of the Tullahan River, like other river systems going out to Manila Bay, is crucial to bringing back the glory of the Manila Bay,” said SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang.Under the five-year agreement, San Miguel Corporation’s tasks include:Implementation of a dredging and clean-up plan provided by the DENR to reduce solid wastes and floating debris.To lend equipment, manpower, and funding for equipment operations such as fuel and logistics costs.To assist in the community mobilization activities of the DENR.To install a trash trap, transfer dredged materials, and install signage in relation to the rehabilitation program.last_img read more

Decatur County man sentenced to 11 years for multiple charges

first_imgGreensburg, In. — Andrew T. Kress was convicted and sentenced in three cases in Decatur County Superior Court recently. Kress was sentenced to total of 11-years in prison for being a habitual offender, escape and testing positive for methamphetamine and marijuana while on probation.Decatur County Prosecuting Attorney Nate Harter wants to formally recognize officer Dustin Barkdull for the hard work in this case.last_img