Battling climate change on all fronts

first_imgThe next time the Arctic’s mud season rolls around, Harvard scientists will be there, testing the air to record what the ground is releasing, searching for evidence of a climate change wild card that could spring a nasty worldwide surprise.The wild card consists of methane — a powerful greenhouse gas — and carbon dioxide, perhaps the best-known climate-changer. The gases would be released, possibly in enormous quantities, by rotting organic material that for centuries was inert, frozen year-round in the subterranean permafrost.When it comes to climate change, Jim Anderson is stalking surprises. Harvard’s Weld Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry, Anderson has turned his lab’s focus toward the complex Earth-ice-atmosphere interactions of climate change that remain poorly understood despite the efforts of thousands of scientists worldwide.To find out what’s going on in the Arctic, Anderson is outfitting a recently developed, robotic, fuel-efficient plane with a new instrument created in his lab by research associates Mark Witinski and David Sayres. Next spring, they plan to fly it remotely at low altitudes over the Arctic, sniffing away and seeing what gases are in the air over these melting regions, and in what quantities. The results will inform not only our understanding of the planetary forces at work, but also will influence estimates of the changes going on around us and our responses to them.From pole to poleAnderson isn’t the only one working on climate change at Harvard. In fact, he’s not even the only one flying a gas-sniffing plane to better understand the atmosphere. Colleague Steven Wofsy, Rotch Professor of Atmospheric and Environmental Science, is flying another from pole to pole to reveal the atmosphere’s makeup in more detail. Wofsy has been working on climate change for years. One of his experimental towers has been standing among the trees in the 3,000-acre Harvard Forest in Petersham for nearly two decades, providing a mountain of data on temperature, atmospheric water vapor, and carbon dioxide flow from the atmosphere to the trees. The forest is one of the oldest and most extensively studied on the continent.Climate change is one of the most complex and pressing problems of the age, and faculty members across the University are bringing the tools of their disciplines to bear on its many facets.Atmospheric and Earth scientists are examining the global-scale processes involved, pushing back the frontiers of knowledge on how the planet functions. Biologists are examining feedback concerning life, cataloging tropical trees’ growth to assess their capacity to store excess carbon, and even tracking changes at venerable Walden Pond, where Harvard graduate Henry David Thoreau spent two years in the 1840s living simply, albeit surrounded by somewhat different plant life.Climate change, of course, is not just a scientific problem. Caused by human industry and exploitation of the natural world, its solutions are entwined in everyone’s daily activities and in the larger values that regulate how people live. As such, climate change touches governments that struggle to divine effective, politically possible solutions; it touches businesses that ponder their responsibilities beyond making a product, providing a service, and turning a profit; it affects health and medicine, as physicians and public health officials face the potential for shifting disease patterns and changes in drinking water availability; it affects those who conceive and design structures and plan cities.Harvard’s faculty members are addressing these problems and many more. Government, business, public health, design, religion, and even literature are represented.“Climate change is a global problem and one of the great challenges of our time,” said Harvard President Drew Faust. “Harvard’s great strength lies not just in the depth of its scholarship, but also in the breadth of the expertise found across our campus. Our faculty members are deeply engaged in this issue, helping us to better understand the complexities of our natural environment, the forces driving climate change, and the ways in which we can move toward a more sustainable future.”Spanning the spectrumHarvard’s climate-change efforts span the spectrum, from sober academic teaching to environment-themed cartoon contests, and the campus fairly buzzes with climate change-related activity. Research and teaching on the subject are augmented by a host of centers, programs, and student groups. Lectures abound and draw not just prominent authorities from around the world, but also capacity crowds eager to better understand the planet and others’ points of view.The Harvard University Center for the Environment (HUCE), for example, sponsors a long-running series examining a key issue driving climate change: the energy used to power diverse activities. HUCE’s “Future of Energy” lecture series has hosted oil company executives, government officials, and proponents of alternative energy, enriching the climate change discussion through diverse points of view.“There are so many climate-related events that it’s hard to get through the week and get my work done,” said Daniel Schrag, Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology, professor of environmental science and engineering, and HUCE director.As the major University-wide center for environmental issues, HUCE provides a coordinating, collaborative clearinghouse where researchers in far-flung fields can gather and discuss climate change. Among its many activities, the center provides a home for fellows researching environmental issues, fosters a community of doctoral students interested in energy and the environment through a graduate consortium, and provides seed grants to spur early-stage research.The center also promotes less-formal discussions between faculty members working on environment-related issues, through regular breakfasts and dinner discussions. Faculty members working on climate science attend weekly ClimaTea talks with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, fostering a collegial atmosphere and an exchange of ideas. Several other Schools also have their own centers, programs, classes, and courses of study on the environment, climate change, and related issues.Grace Brown, a junior environmental science and public policy concentrator, said her classes in economics, policy, and science provide a broad background for understanding these complex issues. During her time at Harvard, Brown has designed a study on organic foods at Harvard Dining Services and works with the Harvard College Environmental Action Committee. She intends to continue working on environmental issues and plans to intern this summer with the U.S. Department of Energy. Eventually, she hopes to attend law school and work in government.“I came to Harvard as a crunchy environmentalist, wanting to save the forests,” Brown said. “I understand now how climate change impacts not just the forests, but our lives, my life. It makes climate change bigger and scarier when you understand its impact on people. It’s not just saving trees.”The University itself has made becoming a sustainable institution a high priority in recent years, taking an array of steps to lessen its impact on the environment, from switching to energy-efficient lighting to purchasing renewable energy to running shuttle buses on biodiesel. (See the related story on Harvard’s internal efforts.)Unraveling complexityIn many ways, the problems of climate change have highlighted how little we know about Earth. Climate change affects the most fundamental natural processes, some of which are well understood, and some not.Just as important as understanding the processes is discerning the ways they affect each other. Even slightly warmed ocean waters affect the tongues of Greenland’s glaciers sticking into the sea, causing earth-shaking calving that can be detected at Harvard; drinking water for millions is affected by melting Asian glaciers, being studied by Peter Huybers, assistant professor of Earth and planetary sciences, and Armin Schwartzman, assistant professor of biostatistics at the Harvard School of Public Health. Researchers such as Schrag study the dramatic swings of past climates, including such extremes as “snowball Earth,” for clues to processes and feedbacks that affect the planet’s behavior and look to the future as well, providing a foundation for climate change mitigation efforts, such as carbon capture and sequestration.Global political leaders look to the scientific community to inform their actions. But, given the pressing nature of the climate problem, leaders can’t wait to act until all the answers are known. Harvard’s authorities on governance are examining the knotty problem of how to forge a planetwide consensus on what actions are needed. At the Harvard Kennedy School, faculty members such as Jeffrey Frankel, Harpel Professor of Capital Formation and Growth, and Robert Stavins, the Pratt Professor of Business and Government who heads the Harvard Project on International Climate Change Agreements, are working to identify and advance policy options based on sound scientific and economic reasoning.In the wake of December’s failed Copenhagen climate summit, Stavins’ project is examining options for moving forward. It plans to bring together authorities to discuss alternatives with an eye toward the next chance at forging international consensus, a December meeting planned for Cancun, Mexico. The group’s activities have already resulted in two books, and Stavins expects upcoming discussions to be published and available to representatives at the Cancun meetings.The spiritual sideOutside scientific and policy circles, Harvard’s specialists in the humanities are addressing climate change in their own way. For instance, James Engell, chair of the English and American Literature and Language Department, examines the intersection of the environment and literature, and professor of history Emma Rothschild has written on the decline of the auto industry and the need for increased use of public transportation and other alternatives.Donald Swearer, director of the Center for the Study of World Religions, said it’s important for religion and the humanities to play a role because they get to the heart of what makes us human, what our values are, and how we define our relationship with the natural world. In a recent conversation, Swearer talked about “enoughness,” and how people should live thoughtfully in concert with their lifestyle’s impact on the natural world.Swearer, who edited a recent book called “Ecology and the Environment: Perspectives from the Humanities,” said climate change stems from millions of choices made by individuals over many years. Once the science is known and the policies passed, success will still depend on influencing individual behavior.Though society’s inertia on these issues may seem impossible to overcome, Swearer pointed out that we got here through many changes over the years, so change can lead us to a new future.“What we need to be able to do is create a positive vision of what those changes can be,” Swearer said.last_img read more

Astronomy Night showcases telescope

first_imgAs darkness fell over campus Monday night, sophomore Patrick Whalen stared at a perfect image of the face of the moon. Whalen joined nearly 100 other students for Astronomy Night on the roof of Nieuwland Hall as they gazed through the recently refurbished Napoleon Telescope. “I could see a clear image of the moon,” Whalen said. “It was cool because I could see all the craters in sharp detail.” Physics Professor Peter Garnavich said the Napoleon Telescope was a gift to the University from Napoleon in 1866. The telescope was originally located in the Main Building, but is now housed in the Nieuwland Observatory Garnavich said the original six-inch objective lens remains on the telescope, but the exterior has been refurbished in recent years. “It used to be in a roll-off roof observatory, but it was falling apart,” Garnavich said. “We decided we needed a new dome to protect the Napoleon Telescope.” A new power dome covers the outside of telescope in Nieuwland, Garnavich said. “Because of water damage, the physics shop cleaned up the rust and made sure all the parts were working,” he said. Students at Astronomy Night could gaze at the moon through the telescope in the Nieuwland Observatory, but others stared at its face from several smaller telescopes on North Quad near Stonehenge. Seniors Maureen Choman and Elizabeth Flood said they were excited to catch a more detailed glimpse of the night sky. “We ran from Lewis,” Flood said. Choman said the girls had planned to see the telescope before they graduate. “They have it every year, and it’s on our bucket list,” Choman said. Law student Colin Littlefield showed students an image of a supernova, or a recently exploded star, on his computer. “This supernova is about 25 million light years away,” he said. “It exploded about five weeks ago.” Littlefield said he studied astronomy before attending law school, and he is now a teaching assistant for Introduction to Astronomy. The supernova is located in the M101 galaxy, a spiral galaxy not unlike the Milky Way. “This particular supernova was part of a star not much bigger than Earth,” he said. “It kept pulling matter off a smaller star until it got so heavy it finally exploded. The supernova is expanding at about 30 million miles an hour.” Junior Bailey Moser, a physics lab assistant, said students could access telescopes at other times of the year as well. “They are always set up in the observatory,” he said. “Anyone can come up after sundown on a clear night.”last_img read more

New York Sheriffs’ Association Details Desired Proposals To NY Lawmakers

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window),the only ones I agree with are the benefit for seriously injure/die on the job, and the holiday (provided we make voting day a holiday too), the rest are insane and 100% Authoritarian“failure to retreat” a felony???recording an officer a felony????? wtf!!this is scary shit. how do we block this? What bills are coming up that will have these provisions snuck in them? Logo via – Members of the New York State Sheriffs’ Association have a new set of legislative proposals they would like to see lawmakers review.This comes after several police reforms have recently passed through the state legislature.“That’s what this is about is to say, fine, let’s do a lot of things for the defendants out there, but let’s also look after the law enforcement officers who are out there every day,” said Peter Kehoe, NYS Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director.Some of the proposals include increasing the charges for resisting arrest, failure to retreat, and assault on a police officer. Last year, the state legislature passed criminal justice measures like bail and discovery reform. And in June, several police reform bills passed through the legislature, including a ban on chokeholds, and the repeal of 50-A, which shielded police disciplinary records. “We’ve seen these bills come across in favor of the criminal defendants, in favor of no bail, things like that. And we think it’s time that the legislature consider bills like these that would support law enforcement,” said Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy.The Sheriffs’ Association would also like to see police officers included as a protected group against hate crimes. Other proposals include making May 15 a state holiday for Police Memorial Day.They’re also advocating for a $500,000 benefit for police officers who “are seriously disabled or die from injuries incurred in the line of duty.”last_img read more

Tickets Now Available for Off-Broadway’s The Diorama

first_img View Comments In addition to O’Connor and Canning, the cast of The Diorama will include Alberto Bonilla, Bob Greenberg and Victoria Mack. It’s finally starting to warm up, but is that an igloo in Manhattan?! Tickets are now on sale for The Diorama, a new play by Jennifer Brown Stone and David S. Stone. The play stars Broadway alumni Susan Louise O’Connor and Hunter Canning and is directed by David S. Stone. The romantic comedy will begin performances on May 28 and run through June 14 at The Lion Theatre at Theatre Row. Opening night is set for May 30. Related Shows The Diorama tells the story of Janey, a Wall Street lawyer who gets more than she bargained for when her artist sister Cecily invades her NYC apartment and begins constructing a life size igloo. While the two sisters seek a sense of belonging—either in a relationship or a safe place to call home—they are haunted by the tragedies of the past. Along the way they teach each other about life, love and happiness. The Diorama Show Closed This production ended its run on June 14, 2014last_img read more

New Manufacturing Facility ON-LINE

first_imgIn July ’05, VEMAS Corp purchased the former Williams Machine complex and started a comprehensive over-haul/upgrade of the facility to bring it standards required of a manufacturing facility.In June ’07 the company shut down Middlebury operations and relocated to its’ new home in Poultney, VT.In July ’07, Gov Douglass and many townspeople enjoyed an Open House gala with many tours and plenty of great food.VEMAS(Vermont Electro-Mechanical Assembly Services) provides SMT and TH assembly, prototyping, testing service along with systems level assembly, cable assembly & conformal coating processes.last_img read more

Uniondale Man Charged With Attempted Murder

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A Uniondale man has been arrested for shooting at a 16-year-old girl and three men that he fought with in Hempstead on Wednesday evening, Nassau County police said.Timothy Alston was charged with second-degree attempted murder, criminal use of a firearm, attempted assault, criminal possession of a weapon, reckless endangerment and harassment.Police said the 30-year-old man got into an altercation with the four victims who were walking together near the corner of Jerusalem Avenue and Searing Street when the suspect went inside, came back out armed with a handgun and fired shots at the group shortly before 6 p.m.One bullet hit the ground next to the victim’s and another struck an unoccupied parked vehicle. There were no reported injuries.Alston was apprehended in Brentwood, police said. He will be arraigned Friday at First District Court in Hempstead.last_img read more

Congress to vote on funding, NDAA

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Lawmakers in the House today are expected to pass a bipartisan spending package to avert a government shutdown and provide funding through the rest of fiscal year 2020. Additionally, following months of conversation, the Senate is set to vote on the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report this week, which was passed by the House last week.Government FundingCongress last month passed a continuing resolution extending funding to this Friday, Dec. 20. Authorization for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is also tied to this deadline. A similar situation happened last year and resulted in a historic 35 day partial government shutdown. Numerous credit unions stepped up and offered relief and assistance last year to federal employees and personnel impacted by the shutdown, actions which NAFCU continues to highlight to members of Congress. The deal reached by Congress would provide funding through Sept. 30, 2020; an extension for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is also included for the same timeframe. NAFCU has urged lawmakers to fully fund credit union priorities, including the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, Community Development Revolving Loan Fund, and Small Business Administration programs. continue reading »last_img read more

Pivot your credit union’s strategy

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » “You need to pivot!” If you have your coronavirus bingo card, you could check that word off a dozen times, along with “the new normal,” “social distancing” and dozens of other buzzwords that have become popular in strategic planning for credit unions over the last few months. But let’s focus on just this one: pivot.What does it mean to pivot? Quora gives the business definition of pivot as this: A pivot usually occurs when a company makes a fundamental change to its business after determining (usually through market research) that its product isn’t meeting the needs of its intended market.That’s a good start, but Simon Sinek took it a step further in an online video last month. Not only should your credit union strategy pivot to meet the needs of your members in this new normal, but your pivot should be based on your “why” and not your “what.”Based on Sinek’s example, if you only pivot your business plan on your what (the loans and products you offer) you’re greatly limiting your potential for growth. An example of pivoting on your what is shifting your service focus from in branch to online. It’s necessary, but it’s not going far enough to remain relevant and position yourself for growth coming out of this crisis.last_img read more

Two New Chick-fil-A Locations to Open on Long Island

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Chick-fil-A, the famed Atlanta-based fast food restaurant that specializes in all things chicken, will celebrate the grand opening of two new long-awaited locations on Long Island next week, the company announced.The new locations in Hicksville and Commack will open their doors Thursday at 6:30 a.m. Fast food revelers will also have the opportunity to participate in Chick-fil-A’s “First 100” campaign, which culminates in a grand prize of one free Chick-fil-A meal every week for the entire year. (That’s 52 meals, folks.)Chick-fil-A, which already enjoys support from a rabid fan base, will have three Long Island locations in total, including its Port Jefferson restaurant, which opened last year.About 100 people camped outside of the Port Jefferson Chick-fil-A on its opening day last October, erecting tents and sharing stories with other fans about their obsession with the fast food giant.Those seeking to grab a chicken sandwich at one of the two new locations next Thursday should expect similar crowds.Chick-fil-A met resistance from LGBT groups when it first announced plans to spread its chicken empire to Long Island. The restaurant has been criticized for controversial donations its CEO has made to anti-gay groups and for the executive’s opposition to same-sex marriage. Despite the criticism, the Town of Brookhaven went ahead and approved the build and towns to their west have done the same.Campers waited for 24 hours to be the first on line at the first Long Island Chick-fil-A (Photo by Katie Chuber)The Hicksville Chick-fil-A has a prime spot outside of the Broadway Mall. The Commack spot is located along Commack Road, just north of the Long Island Expressway.Those brave souls interested in winning free meals for the year must have a valid state-issued ID and must be 18 years or older. For more official rules, check out Chick-fil-A’s contest page.Chick-fil-A is open from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. As is customary, the restaurants are closed on Sunday.last_img read more

Driven out

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