New branch of science

first_imgBotanists at Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum know a lot about the 35-foot ginkgo tree near the sprawling park’s Walter Street gate.They know it was rooted and planted by Peter del Tredici, who in 1989, as a Boston University doctoral student, took a four-inch cutting directly from one of the few remaining wild ginkgos in eastern China. They know it is one of 55 ginkgos growing in the Arboretum today. They also know it has the potential to live 1,000 years.But even del Tredici, now a senior research scientist at the Arboretum, doesn’t know everything about the tree. That’s why del Tredici and Arboretum Director William (Ned) Friedman are collaborating with counterparts at the University of Colorado to learn more. Scientists in late June spent three days high off the ground, hoisted by the Arboretum’s bucket truck. Head arborist John Del Rosso and Colorado research associate Jon Leff collected 100 samples of the tree’s microbial life, the location of each swab painstakingly recorded with 10 different variables by Colorado graduate student Samantha Weintraub.Friedman said the project is part of the first-ever effort to define the entire community of microbes — the “microbiome” — of a tree. Microbiome research made headlines this spring when a consortium of scientists published the first human microbiome, detailing the microbial community of healthy humans. That research emphasized that the trillions of microbes from some 1,000 species aren’t just along for the ride, they play important roles in digestion, immunity, and other bodily functions.The microbiomes of plants are largely unknown, Friedman said, and the project will help scientists understand what kinds of microbes are living on the tree and whether the microbial communities vary according to location (trunk versus leaves, for example), amount of sunlight (north versus south side), or other factors. Comparisons with wild ginkgos in China and with other tree species should show whether geographic location — New England versus China — or species identification — ginkgos versus pines, for example — plays a role in determining microbial community.The Arboretum, which holds an extensive collection of East Asian trees, is an ideal location for samples to be collected, Friedman said. Much of the analysis will be done in the Boulder lab of Noah Fierer, an assistant professor of biology with whom Friedman worked before leaving the University of Colorado for Harvard in January 2011.“We’re at such an early stage of microbiome work, we really don’t know what we’ll find,” Friedman said. “I won’t be surprised if we find some new species, maybe some whole new groups.”last_img read more

HLS consults for Major League Baseball? Yes!

first_imgThis year, Harvard Law School Clinical Professor Robert Bordone ‘97, director of the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP), developed a capstone consulting project with Major League Baseball (MLB) for his course “Advanced Negotiation: Multiparty Negotiation, Group Decision Making, and Teams,” co-taught with Lecturer on Law Rory Van Loo ’07. MLB tasked the class with providing strategic advice for an upcoming negotiation aimed at the implementation of an international amateur draft. Six teams of Harvard Law School students participated in the semester-long project, competing for the opportunity to present their findings to the MLB.The winning team, which consisted of Jonathan Bennett ’12, Alexis Beveridge ’13, Tarik Elhussein ’13, Chris Davis ’14, and Jae In Kim ’13, traveled to New York City to deliver their presentation to Major League Baseball executives, including Robert Manfred ’83, executive vice president of economics and league affairs (one of five executives reporting directly to Commissioner Bud Selig).Read the essay, “Note from the Big Leagues,” on the Harvard Law School website, in which Davis reflects on the experience. Read Full Storylast_img read more

Notre Dame community remembers Jake Scanlan

first_img“He put a smile on everyone’s face the second he walked into a room,” Caroline Trustey, Jake Scanlan’s girlfriend, said. “Whether it was the goofy outfits that he would wear, or the funny one-liners, or just the way he came in and made you feel so loved and welcome wherever you were. He just made people light up.”“It seems like every person in our grade, every person in our school, has a memory of Jake. Whether it’s from freshman tutorial, or they lived down the hall from him in the dorm, everyone has these memories,” she said.Scanlan died suddenly in his sleep Wednesday morning from what appear to be natural causes. A member of the junior class and resident of Siegfried Hall, he graduated from Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C. in 2013 and was pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering.“He was the kind of kid that it didn’t matter if you knew him for two days or two years or if he met you last week. It didn’t matter. He’d approach you like you were an old friend of his,” Jackson Fox said. “ … I made a lot of new friends this semester because I was around him. Being around him facilitates happiness and connection or friendship, almost.”Rachel O’Grady | The Observer Junior Ryan Bliss, who knew Scanlan throughout high school as well as at Notre Dame, said Scanlan was able to connect with people quickly.“It’s hard to describe,” he said. “You always felt next to him, no matter what, whether he met you 30 seconds ago, like you’d known him all his life. He’d always try to make you happy.”Junior Pat McMahon also went to high school with Scanlan, before coming to Notre Dame, and said he remembers meeting him the first day of their freshman year of high school.“I first met Jake when he was in my first period class, freshman year at Gonzaga,” he said. “I didn’t know a lot of people going into high school, and he knew some kids that he had gone to middle school with. He was so much himself, and so comfortable in his own skin, that he just wanted to include everyone else.“He would, without knowing me at all, just throw me into a conversation. He was so goofy and happy and everything, that it made me feel so much more at ease in a group of people that I didn’t really know.”Fox, a junior, echoed that sentiment.“[Scanlan] made people around him much more comfortable being themselves,” Fox said. “It’s easy to not feel self-conscious or afraid of doing something that people are going to look down upon, because he didn’t [care]. He would just do his own thing. And that really translated to everyone he was around”“Doing his own thing” worked its way into Scanlan’s sense of humor. Junior Brandon Burdine said one memory stood out in particular.“When I think of Jake, I remember him at football games. It would be 20 degrees out, and he’d be out there in his jorts, shirtless, yelling at people.” Burdine said.Many of his friends said Scanlan constantly used his humor to the benefit of those around him.“He always found the good in something,” junior Matt Habrowski said. “He had the ability to turn a not-so-good situation into something that could be funny or brighten someone else’s day.“It was always living outside of himself, trying to make other people smile or laugh. And I think that’s why other people gravitate towards him, and why he affected so many people. … His impact on others was second to none,” he said. “You don’t come across too many people like that.”Fox said that despite Scanlan’s goofy sense of humor, he was deeply committed to helping his friends.“He was a goofy guy, but at the same time he was very loyal,” Fox said. “If you were a friend of his, he’d help you out. If it was serious, he could be serious. If you just wanted to joke around and be funny, that’s who he could be. … It didn’t really matter what it was; he could be that.“ … It’s hard to have a bad day when you’re around Jake,” Fox said. “If you needed him to be something, he’d just do it. There was never any question. It didn’t matter what it was, if you needed his help, and he could help you in any way, then he would do it. It never needed to be asked, ever.”Burdine said Scanlan’s desire to make others laugh reflected his selflessness and loyalty to his friends.“He got so much joy out of life, and he always wanted to make someone else’s day a little bit better in any way he could,” Burdine said. “I think that’s a pretty rare quality to have, but he never seemed focused on himself or his own happiness.“ … He was a very genuine person, I think that’s what I admired most about him,” Burdine said. “He didn’t really care what other people thought about him, but everyone always liked him.”Tags: Jake Scanlanlast_img read more

Great greens

first_imgBy Mike IsbellUniversity of GeorgiaI think I’ve finally acquired a taste for corn bread and turnipgreens.This may sound strange coming from a country boy, but it’s true.Mom cooked both of them a lot when I was a kid. And I had to eat’em. But I didn’t like either one.I’m still not really crazy about corn bread, unless it’s HildaStrickland’s. Hilda is a friend of ours in LaGrange, Ga. Everynow and then she’ll send us some corn bread fresh out of her ovenand a pot of her homemade vegetable soup. Now that’s some goodcorn bread.Until a few years ago I’d just as soon have eaten pecan leaves asturnip greens. Both of those things are bitter.Tastes changeBut I kind of like turnip greens now. And that’s good, becauseafter all, this is the South, and boys from the South aresupposed to like turnip greens.If you have a turnip, collard or mustard green patch, you mayhave trouble with fungal leaf spot diseases. These diseases causeugly spots on the leaf surface, ruining the greens’ appearance.Sometimes the diseases kill the entire plant.The two most destructive diseases in Georgia are downy mildew andwhite spot.How to spot diseasesIf you look underneath the leaves you may see a grayish mold inspots and later a slight yellowing on the upper leaf surface.Infected spots enlarge as they turn tan and papery. This is downymildew.White spot causes pale green to gray, circular to angular spotson the leaf. Each spot has a yellowish to brown halo or borderaround it.Cool weather, with night temperatures in the mid-40s to about 60degrees and daytime temperatures of no more than 75, withdrizzling rains and heavy dew make ideal weather for downy mildew.White spot overwinters on turnips, mustard, collards, cabbage andbroccoli. Each infected spot produces many spores that can beblown long distances by the wind. White spot reproduces andspreads at a temperature of 71 to 86 degrees.What to doCrop rotation is very important in controlling all of the fungalleaf spot diseases that attack greens. So rotate your crops.Plant something else in that spot for a couple of years.And don’t plant your greens so thick that there is poor airmovement, because the leaves will take a long time to dry offfrom rain or even dew.If your greens develop these leaf spot diseases, try mowing themdown. But be sure to remove the debris. With luck, the new growthwill be disease-free.And with luck, you’ll have a good crop of greens to eat with yourcorn bread.(Mike Isbell is the Heard County Extension Coordinator withthe University of Georgia College of Agricultural andEnvironmental Sciences.)last_img read more

Swiss BVK reassures members on foreign-currency trading operations

first_imgThe CHF27bn (€22.5bn) pension fund for the Swiss canton of Zurich (BVK) has assured its members it is “protected against possible price manipulations” as five major global banks are fined for alleged foreign currency market manipulation.For more than two years now, Swiss, UK and US authorities have been investigating cases of alleged manipulation of foreign exchange markets, while the BVK introduced several mechanisms to prevent such distortions in its own portfolio.In a statement, the pension fund said it was using “competition” as “penicillin to heal intransparent pricing” in foreign currency trading.Via a multi-banking platform, each transaction for the BVK is sent to 12 different banks, giving them 120 seconds to respond with a price for the requested service – hedging the US dollar against the Swiss franc, for example. The banks’ competitiveness is checked on a regular basis, and sometimes banks are replaced by others, it said.Further, the BVK said it was trading during the more liquid market hours between 10am and 12am rather than at the often used 4pm GMT, if possible.This means the fund does not have fixed hedging times at which market manipulations most often occur.It also means it has accepted slight price diversions, but these are “compensated over time”.The pension fund also stressed that it would “closely monitor further developments and current proceedings” and vowed to “enforce its own claims” should wrongdoing be detected.The BVK was one of the Swiss Pensionskassen to reclaim commissions providers might have accepted when investing for the pension fund.last_img read more

How UK local authorities have managed the pandemic

first_imgUK local authority pension funds are anticipating a cashflow crunch in the near future, according to surveys conducted by the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA).The trade body polled attendees of a Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) webinar yesterday, and found that 37% thought cash flow could become “a bit difficult” later this year. A further 4% expected a “significant problem”.The findings added to a survey of private and public sector defined benefit (DB) schemes conducted by the PLSA during March and April. The association found that 38% of LGPS funds were concerned about funding in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.While LGPS funds are public sector, many of them cater for private sector employers. During yesterday’s webinar, Lorraine Bennett, senior pensions adviser at the Local Government Association (LGA), said some employers – such as leisure centres, charities and education groups – were particularly vulnerable to financial difficulties. The PLSA’s research also found that LGPS funds wanted more guidance from the Pensions Regulator (TPR), particularly regarding flexibility around reporting deadlines and employer contributions as funds and employers had been affected by operational as well as financial difficulties.Bennett said the LGA had been lobbying the government to bring forward planned new flexibilities for employers to allow them to spread out the payment of certain pension costs. Currently, employer contributions can be deferred but have to be paid within the financial year.Tiffany Tsang, the PLSA’s policy lead for DB funds and the LGPS, said: “The main message [on cash flow] at the moment is that there is no problem. For the immediate to near term, cash flow is not an issue.“But, as we all intuit, the full impact of the virus on LGPS employers is not yet known. This is definitely an area that will be keeping a close eye on in the coming months.”Nick Gannon, TPR’s policy lead for the LGPS, emphasised that the regulator could not change the rules for schemes as these were set by government.However, he indicated that TPR would be “much more pragmatic about situations where things haven’t gone right”.“You still have to be sure that you’re maintaining contributions, and that you’re getting annual benefit statements out, things like that,” Gannon said. “But we’ll accept that it is an awful lot different, and potentially a lot more complicated than it has been in previous years.”Shorter term, local authority funds have coped well with the operational challenges posed by the pandemic.The vast majority – 93% – of webinar viewers representing funds across England, Wales and Scotland said their teams were working with at least 90% capacity. The remainder reported working with between 75% and 89% capacity.In addition, 84% said they were confident of paying pensions with no disruption, and 16% said they were “somewhat confident”.Tsang said schemes had been well prepared in terms of business continuity – largely as a result of recent work on this by TPR.The LGA’s Bennett also reassured scheme managers that the recent market volatility would not change any of the assumptions underlying the LGPS’s most recent triennial valuation.The data for this was largely based on the system’s status as of 31 March 2019, so the expected contribution schedule set to take effect this year would not change, she said.To read the digital edition of IPE’s latest magazine click here.last_img read more

UK books Qatari LNG cargo

first_imgImage courtesy of Al MayedaUK’s South Hook liquefied natural gas terminal is expected to receive a cargo of LNG next week from Qatar. Shipping data from the Milford Haven Port Authority shows that the Q-Max Al Mayeda is scheduled to dock at the import terminal in the Milford Haven waterway on July 20.The AIS data provided by Vesselsvalue shows the vessel is currently sailing in the Mediterranean.Natural gas flows from the South Hook LNG terminal to the UK’s national grid on Friday was around 5.06 mcm per day, according to the data from the National Grid. LNG World News Stafflast_img

Nadal into US Open semis after big fight from Schwartzman

first_imgRelatedPosts Djokovic clinches fifth Italian Open title Nadal stunned by Schwartzman in Italian Open quarter-finals, Djokovic survives Koepfer Live stream Premier League, La Liga, Serie A on Showmax Pro this weekend Rafa Nadal defeated Diego Schwartzman 6-4 7-5 6-2 on Wednesday to reach the last four of the US Open at Flushing Meadows. Schwartzman may have been the smallest player in 25 years to reach the US Open quarterfinals but gave Nadal a big fight and forced the Spaniard to grind out a win. With Roger Federer and 2018 champion Novak Djokovic having already made exits, Nadal’s path to a fourth US Open trophy has been cleared of familiar hurdles. But Schwartzman reminded Nadal that danger can lurk everywhere, even from an opponent he had beaten in all seven previous meetings and only lost two sets. “I had some mistakes of course but I am super happy the way I accepted the challenge,” said Nadal, who needed almost three hours to see off Schwartzman. “I just keep going point-by-point and here I am in the semi-finals and that is super important for me. It means everything.” Schwartzman, who often trains with Nadal, had the second seed’s full respect after brushing past sixth seed Alexander Zverev in the previous round. That caution was well placed as Schwartzman made the 18-time Grand Slam winner work for every point, with the Argentine fighting back from two breaks down in the opening two sets. “He is one of the best players in the world and when he is playing well he is able to win against anybody,” said Nadal. “Tonight was for me, a tough match and I am very happy for the victory.” Nadal had come out firing on all cylinders showing the 5’7″ (1.70m) tall Argentine no mercy as he raced to a 4-0 lead. But Schwartzman dug in and threw everything he had back at the three time US Open champion to send a shock through Arthur Ashe Stadium when he swept the next four games to level the set. The Spaniard, who has also never shied away from a fight, held serve and then broke his opponent for a 1-0 lead. Normal service looked to have resumed in the second set as Nadal, bathed sweat, constructed a 5-1 advantage but again the 20th seed refused to surrender and stormed through the next four games. The 33-year-old Spaniard, however, again broke Schwartzman for a 2-0 advantage. Neither player was able to gain an edge in the third set until Nadal broke to go up 4-2, then delivered the knockout punch as he held serve and closed out the match with another break. “Like a lion in the middle, in the jungle,” said Schwartzman when asked to describe facing Nadal. “He’s a fighter. “He knows how to play the important moments every single time. I played (him) eight times, and every important moment he played better than me.” Nadal now faces big-hitting Italian Matteo Berrettini, who ground out a 3-6 6-3 6-2 3-6 7-6(5) over France’s Gael Monfils, in the semi-finals. Reuters/NAN.Tags: Diego SchwartzmanRafa NadalRoger FedererUS Openlast_img read more

Van Gaal: Villa draw could cost us

first_img It left van Gaal’s side third in the Barclays Premier League, seven points behind leaders Chelsea, and the boss felt draws at places like Villa Park would rule his side out of the title race. “Yes, that’s what I mean,” he said. “We dropped two points. We were the better team and that’s frustrating when you’re the better team and you don’t win these kind of games. When you want to be a part of the title race you have to win these games. “I have seen Manchester City in the first half against Crystal Palace and they could have been behind in the first five or 10 minutes. They struggled until half time but at the end it is 3-0, that’s the difference. “We weren’t so aggressive in the first half as we are usually. We kept the ball much better but didn’t create so much because we were not looking for the forwards. “It was not good enough to catch the victory here. “We were not creative enough in the second half but we had more aggression so that was the plus. “We have a draw and that’s why I’m a little frustrated because you could have won the game in my opinion. We didn’t do it but we were responsible for that.” Radamel Falcao cancelled out Christian Benteke’s opener but United’s six-game winning run ended with a 1-1 draw. Gabby Agbonlahor was harshly sent off for Villa with 25 minutes left but the visitors could not break down their organised hosts. Louis van Gaal admits Manchester United’s draw at Aston Villa could end up costing them the title. Falcao scored just his second goal for United, heading in Ashley Young’s second-half cross, and van Gaal was pleased with his impact. “It was a beautiful goal, I liked him today. I am very happy for him and I am always happy when Manchester United score,” he said. “I have to compare players every week, there’s always a question for every player, not only for Falcao.” Villa held firm despite Agbonlahor’s red card and boss Paul Lambert was left baffled why he was dismissed by referee Lee Mason after what looked like just collision with Young. “If that’s a red card you might as well pack up because it won’t be a game of football. I spoke to Brad Guzan after the game and he said Ashley Young admitted he felled Gabby, so work that one out,” said Lambert who will look at appealing. “That’s not a red card, I will stick up for him all day long. It’s a tackle where two lads have gone in for the ball. “He is not going to spring up and say ‘don’t send him off’, it would be a first in world football. Man Utd want to win the game and we want to.” But Lambert was full of praise for his side, missing the suspended Kieran Richardson and Alan Hutton with Ashley Westwood injured and United loanee Tom Cleverley ineligible, after the point left them 12th. He said: “I thought we were excellent considering everything has gone against us this week, injuries suspensions and ineligibility. Look at our bench, it was a kindergarten. The performance was absolutely terrific. “Christian scored a world class goal and gives you something to hold onto.” Press Associationlast_img read more