Score one for ticket buyers across the country, as the United States Congress has just passed a new law into legislation banning the use of ticket bots. With the State of New York having just passed a similar bill, this is a major win for the thousands of ticket buyers that fall victim to the shady practice on a yearly basis. The new bill is awaiting a signature from President Obama, which he is expected to sign.New York Governor Signs Law Making It A Crime For Scalpers To Use Ticket Bot SoftwareWith literally hundreds of thousands of tickets being scooped up by ticket brokers, to then be resold for many times double or triple the price on a third party site (StubHub, VividSeats, and more), this news is a major blow to an industry that thrives on screwing potential ticket purchasers from buying face value tickets. According to the bill, the use of the ticket bot software is deemed an “unfair and deceptive practice” under the Federal Trade and Commission Act.Republican Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas, who sponsored the bill, explained the new law would “level the playing field” for average fans attempting to buy tickets. He went on to say “The need to end this growing practice is reflected in the bill’s widespread support.” We wonder what concert tickets he got screwed on?Regardless, this ticket bot practice had to be put to an end. If the choice of paying $200 to a broker site for a $50 ticket is the only way to witness your favorite music act, sports team, or musical, isn’t a crime, then what is?[via Associated Press]
The Harvard Club of Dallas and the Harvard Club of San Antonio marked their centennials at a Texas-sized Your Harvard celebration last Friday with a gala dinner, bluegrass and piano performances, and remarks from Harvard President Drew Faust.“A few years before the Dallas and San Antonio clubs were founded, one option, some would say an unthinkable option, existed: the Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Columbia Alumni Association of Texas,” Faust told the crowd in Dallas. “But even then, in the words of one alumnus, ‘the Harvard spirit showed to excellent advantage.’ ”Speaking to an audience of more than 500 alumni in a grand ballroom lit with a 60-foot screen as a backdrop and Crimson lighting throughout, Faust recounted the ways in which many extraordinary people at Harvard embody a greatness that is typical of the University.“Harvard leaves an indelible mark,” she said. “It has educated and shaped leaders in countries around the world. It has nurtured novelists and scientific pioneers, jurists and composers, architects and actors, business leaders and spiritual leaders, physicians and public servants, scholars and teachers in fields too numerous to mention. All around us, we see examples of how Harvard helps build our society and better our world.”Harvard, she noted, is where W. E. B. Du Bois explored ideas that would change our understanding of race in America, Mark Zuckerberg honed the algorithms that spurred the rise of social media, and Henry David Thoreau took his first course in philosophy.“What we have inherited from the age that is past, we must deliver to the age that is waiting before,” she said.Alison Brown and Friends. Brown ’84 is a Grammy-winning banjoist. Group members include vocalist and fiddler Kate Lee; singer-songwriter and mandolinist Forrest O’Connor ’10; singer-songwriter and guitarist Jim Shirey ’11; and Brown’s husband, bassist Garry West.The event was the latest in the Your Harvard series, a global array of events organized by the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) that will take place throughout The Harvard Campaign. Alumni have already convened in London, Los Angeles, New York, and Mexico City to hear about the future of the University and discuss cross-disciplinary perspectives with faculty on the challenges facing society.Dan Cooper, former president of the Harvard Club of San Antonio, offered a humorous and self-deprecating toast to his group’s historic rival, the Harvard Club of Dallas, on its centennial, eliciting both applause and laughter from listeners.“One hundred years ago, the Guns of August had just fired, starting World War I,” he said. “And Harvard … had just received its first Nobel Prize, and Teddy Roosevelt was just retiring as the president of the Harvard Alumni Association.”Noting that San Antonio was at that time Texas’ largest metropolis, Cooper — somewhat begrudgingly, but with good grace — celebrated the fact that Dallas had since surpassed his hometown in size and influence. “Dallas went on to become, of course, the amazing, exciting world-renowned city that it is today.”Thanking Faust for her address, Cooper noted the fact that she was the first Harvard president who hailed from the American South since before the Civil War.Betsy Urschel, a director emeritus of the Dallas Club, reciprocated the thanks to her fellow alumni from San Antonio and welcomed all to Big D.Harvard’s engagement with, and in, Texas dates back more than a century, when students had to travel for days to get to the Cambridge campus. In the 1930s students scoured the northwest part of the state in search of fossils; an eight-foot Dimetrodon unearthed during one of these digs is now at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology.But as Faust noted, digital learning is shrinking the distance between Texas and Cambridge. Since the launch of HarvardX two years ago, more than 20,000 Texans have participated in the dozens of online courses created by faculty from across the University.Harvard’s commitment to the arts was also on display, with musical entertainment provided by Steinway pianist Evelyn Chen ’90, a Houston native. Later in the evening, Alison Brown and Friends performed, featuring Grammy Award–winning banjoist Brown ’84; vocalist and fiddler Kate Lee; singer-songwriter and mandolinist Forrest O’Connor ’10; singer-songwriter and guitarist Jim Shirey ’11; and Brown’s husband, bassist Garry West.Guitarist Shirey was celebrating three events: the two club’s centennials, his 27th birthday, and his performance one year ago at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences campaign launch. He and O’Connor recounted composing one of the songs they played during the evening in Kirkland and Quincy Houses. Other songs included bluegrass renditions of “Fair Harvard” and “10,000 Men of Harvard.”Highlighting the importance of Harvard in her successful pursuit of her passion for bluegrass, Brown recounted her career transition from investment banking to professional banjo player.“I kind of feel like living proof that you can do anything with a Harvard degree,” she remarked. “After I left Harvard, I went and earned an M.B.A. and got a job as an investment banker. I spent several years refunding tax-exempt bond issues. I found myself coming into the office sneaking in my copy of Bluegrass Unlimited magazine in my briefcase. And I’d hide it inside the Bond Buyer so it looked like I was reading about interest rates.”But she was really reading about bluegrass music and dreaming of playing it in the South, a dream that came true when she “got up the courage” to move to Nashville to play banjo.A Harvard connection also was key to the foundation 20 years ago of her record label.“One of the things I have used my College degree for, and my M.B.A. for, was the creation of Compass Records, which is an independent music label specializing in folk music and bluegrass music and Celtic music,” Brown said. “And I started that company … on the heels of a very fortuitous meeting at the Harvard Club of Nashville, where I sat next to somebody who had been a graduate of HBS [Harvard Business School] who said, ‘If you ever want to start a music–related business venture, give me a call.’ ”The Texas celebration continued Saturday, with a series of interactive faculty sessions on subjects including energy, the arts, urban planning, and online learning, featuring faculty members such as Daniel G. Nocera, Patterson Rockwood Professor of Energy, and Diane Paulus, the Tony Award–winning artistic director of the American Repertory Theater and professor of the practice of theatre.
CfA shows schoolchildren the stars A group of area high school students spent the past year learning how to be scientists. After presenting their final projects, their mentors and teachers agreed that they had indeed made the cut.It was through the Harvard-MIT Science Research Mentoring Program (SRMP) that the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (CRLS) and Bedford High School students worked on original astrophysics research. For four hours each week, the students went to the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA), MIT’s TESS Science Center, or its Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences Department.With the emptying of campuses, their research went virtual, working with Harvard and MIT astrophysicists mentors who taught them how to think like a scientist, perform scientific research, make predictions, interpret findings, present conclusions, work with data from a variety of telescopes, and even use Galileoscopes owned by the Harvard-MIT SRMP program.The students recently presented their yearlong research projects to each other, their mentors, teachers, and even Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui.“The cutting-edge research and the hard work — all that you’ve dedicated yourselves [to] in the last year — I can’t imagine having accomplished such things as a high school student. I’m really, really impressed by all I’ve seen,” said Siddiqui, who went on to thank Harvard and MIT for their partnership and the mentors who dedicated time to the students their projects.The high school students studied everything from exoplanets, to black matter halos, to black holes, to how to determine if stars are young or old. CRLS student Greggy Bazile, the program’s first-ever artist, studied exploration and discovery through the lens of art. He created an infographic to spur additional interest in the TESS catalog of planetary discoveries. Bazile is also credited with the program’s new logo.In pre-pandemic days, the students met for four hours each week. Afterward, they continued their work virtually and recently presented their final projects.Faith Rounds and Kikyo Hattori, both from CRLS, drew on their love of coding to create an app to help further explain the project and engage others in their growing interest of astrophysics.Together with their mentor Tansu Daylan of MIT, Kartik Pingle and Jasmine Wright wrote a paper — currently in review at The Astrophysical Journal — about their discovery of two sub-Neptunes and a super-Earth orbiting sun-like star.Many of the students were asked if they had plans to continue their research – whether with the current teams, or perhaps even continuing this line of study when in college. Participants seemed eager to continue to continue in some capacity in the future.“I’m really happy that I found this passion for something beyond our world,” said CRLS student Anaka Landrigan, who worked on a project about young stars with fellow CRLS student Lamisha Khan.“As an astrophysicist myself, I do often feel like the overwhelming amount of research that is needed to study every galaxy, and every star, and every planet, is a much greater task then the current cohort of scientists could possibly ever handle,” said SMRP Director Clara Sousa-Silva. “I hope that we at SRMP have proven to you that there are thousands of budding young scientists in the Boston area — and probably all over the world who could be contributing to discoveries.” CfA program shows teens the sky isn’t the limit Space to learn A large percentage of students attending the SMRP program come from the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, with Sousa-Silva giving credit to physics teacher Tal SebellShavit.SebellShavit inturn thanked the city of Cambridge, the [Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math] STEAM Initiative, and Office of Workforce Development their support.“And a huge congrats to these students,” said SebellShavit. “I hope you can see that you have now met some of the world’s experts in these topics who not only understand it, but also know how to explain it.“I am blown away by these presentations and the students’ ability to persevere through COVID and continue to their work, and remotely figure out how to do these presentations,” he added. ITEAMS program matches CfA with Cambridge, Lynn, Fall River Related
Hay that is stored outside is subject to wetting and drying cycles that lead to the degradation and leaching of nutrients from the bales. Over time, this causes the fiber (indigestible) component of the forage to represent a larger proportion of the bales dry weight. The loss of nutrients (Total Digestible Nutrients, or TDN) can often be as much as 15 to 20 percent in weathered bales. In between our recent rainstorms, most farmers have been able to get their hay cut, dried, baled and stored. For those who produce hay for on-farm use, hay production can be considered a necessary evil. The result is a fibrous, weathered layer that is very low in quality and unpalatable to livestock. Livestock can often be seen eating the middle out of these round bales leaving a “doughnut”-shaped bale. It is most certainly one of the most costly expenses on beef cattle operations, but in seasons where forages may be scarce, such as winter and summer, hay can be a precious commodity. There are many important factors in hay production that impact the cost, such as fertilizer, weed management, equipment, and time. Hay storage is another cost that must be considered.Regardless of how you store your hay, there will be a cost associated with it. You may not think so if you don’t have hay under an expensive storage barn, but even if your hay is sitting outside on the ground, that hay is costing you more and more every day due to loss of both nutritional value and dry matter. When bales are stored outside and uncovered, weathering may affect depths up to 12 inches. The depth will vary based on factors such as bales tightness (i.e. density), storage on unprotected ground, storage under trees and more. It is a general expectation, however, for a weathered layer of 4 to 6 inches for bales stored outside on the ground. This is important because the outer portions of bales make up for a disproportionate amount of the bale’s volume. Losses of only a few inches represent a substantial loss in terms of total bale volume. And, what you can feed your animal. In Georgia’s humid conditions, storage of hay for several months results in typical losses of 20 to 60 percent with twine and net-wrapped hay outside on shaded ground (compared to only 2 to 10 percent under a barn). Once you determine your hay’s value, you can see how much this is really costing you (and your animals) in the long run.To help mitigate losses on hay stored outdoors, run rows of hay bales on an upland site away from shade from trees. This speeds up the drying process. Place the bales with a north-south orientation and southern exposure. Set bales in rows so that the flat sides are touching — not the round sides. This keeps rain from ponding on top of bales. Also, keep rows at least three feet apart to allow for sunlight and good air circulation. Keeping bales off the ground, either by using pallets, crossties, or rocks, is critical in preventing substantial losses. For example, a weathered depth of only four inches on a 5-foot bale (seven percent in terms of cylinder volume) actually equals a 25 percent loss in terms of forage volume. Other studies have shown that losses of 14 inches on bales equates to losses of 74 percent, nearly three-fourths of a bale could be lost simply because it isn’t stored properly.Hay quality is a key component of animal performance, and proper hay storage is a key component of hay quality. Hay loss can be expected, even under a barn, so mitigation and risk management is the key to maintaining as much of your investment as possible. Building a hay barn can be expensive, but if you’re storing your hay on the ground in the elements, you are most assuredly paying for the cost of a barn and then some whether you want to or not.
Nicaraguan Army troops destroyed over 15,000 illegal marihuana plants in the heart of the Bosawas biosphere reserve, the main one in Central America, according to the institution on April 24. The crops were found by the Army’s Ecological Battalion in the thick forests of the San José Wasmalú community in the center of the reserve, located in the North Atlantic Autonomous Region, Army spokesman Lt. Col. Orlando Palacios told AFP. The officer said the crops, which had plants over five meters tall, were “burned up” after an operation was conducted in the area with the support of the Police on April 21. Two people were arrested, and it is presumed that they have been planting marijuana in the area for three years. According to authorities, the drug would be commercialized in cities on the Nicaraguan Pacific, where there is higher demand. The Ecological Battalion was created two years ago with 700 Soldiers dedicated to taking care of protected areas in the nation, mainly the Bosawas jungle, which in 1997 was declared Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). So far this year, authorities have destroyed over 63,000 marijuana plants only in Bosawas, located on a surface area 19,926 km2 wide to the northeast of Nicaragua. In recent years the vast jungle, inhabited by Caribbean indigenous communities and considered as one of the “lungs” of the planet, has been a target of timber traffickers who chop down trees, as well as people planting marijuana crops. Very interesting! But my question now is: could this “forest” fire also be used to destroy coca crops?? By Dialogo April 26, 2013
By Dialogo January 26, 2016 Terrorism is not the only threat facing the Dominican Republic. Because of its geographic location, international drug-trafficking groups use the country as a transshipment point for illegal narcotics from South America intended for North America and Europe, Pou stated. Because of these threats, “it is essential to train the Armed Forces so they can be successful in the fight against terrorism and organized crime,” Brig. Gen. Guerrero stated. Two hundred fifty-two service members from the Armed Forces participated in the training exercise, during which two Super Tucano AD29 planes, 15 ground transportation vehicles, a UH1H helicopter, a Navy patrol boat, two Coast Guard cutters, and three interceptors were deployed. While these and other training exercises allow Army, Air Force, and Navy service members to maintain their Military capabilities and operational skills, the joint mission gave service members the opportunity to improve communications among the Military branches. Military authorities are adapting to evolving threats and challenges. The 2015 joint training exercises focused on combating unconventional threats, such as terrorists. In previous years, similar operations were designed to prepare service members to engage in combat with a conventional Military force. The Military conducted amphibious and security incursions at port facilities, employing commandos from the Dominican Navy, and air support in the form of a helicopter from the Dominican Air Force’s (FAD) Special Forces Command. Inter-Agency Task Force units, Marines, and Navy surface forces conducted the interdictions with FAD support. Members of the Counterterrorism Special Commando Unit neutralized terrorist cells during an exercise that included the Marines’ 1st Battalion and FAD Special Forces. In response to the November 13th terrorist attacks in Paris, in which Islamist extremists killed 129 people and wounded hundreds, the Special Airport and Aviation Security Corps in the Dominican Republic reinforced its security systems at air terminals. In addition to taking such precautions, it is important that security forces also train to confront terrorist threats, Pou explained. “The Armed Forces need to be on general alert and trained to react efficiently when faced with any threat of a crime.” “The Armed Forces are changing the Military’s training curriculum and operations so we can confront what are known today as emerging threats: terrorism, drug trafficking … human trafficking, environmental damage, and natural and man-made disasters,” Brig. Gen. Guerrero said. “We are filling different roles than those we had in the past.” In February, the Dominican Military will host joint training operation Dunas 2016 During the training mission, service members engaged in simulated exercises in which they battled a terrorist cell, protected a port, and dismantled a drug-trafficking operation. During the operation, the three branches of the Armed Forces deployed ground and air reconnaissance patrols at Isla Beata, Puerto en Medio, Cabo Pequeño, and Juancho. They also performed ground, sea, and air incursions to extract non-combatants in Barahona. The Dominican Republic’s Army, Navy, and Air Force recently conducted End of Year Joint Exercises that included simulated operations on the ground, air, and sea, including port security exercises against terrorist cells and drug-trafficking organizations. Maintaining optimal communications between all of the Armed Forces is crucial, according to Daniel Pou, associate analyst and researcher at the Latin American School of Social Sciences in the Dominican Republic. “Currently, 50 percent of all Military operations are dependent on the quality and efficacy of our communications.” International terrorists could have the Dominican Republic in their sights as a target for attacks like the ones that occurred in the French capital, Rubén Moreta, a professor of sociology at the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo, told the Al Momento website on November 20th. “Fundamentalist Islamic groups do not exempt anyplace on the planet when making their demands using violent methods,” he said. “The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean paradise, an international tourist mecca that welcomes 5.5 million visitors a year, mostly from economically robust nations that al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other fundamentalist organizations believe are infidels and declared to be their enemy.” Preparing for terrorism, organized crime During some of the exercises, “we noticed some failures in communications between one branch of the Military and another,” Brig. Gen. Guerrero explained. “However, the Dominican Republic’s Military commanders were able to make budgetary arrangements and adjustments to correct these anomalies.” To prepare to counter drug trafficking and other threats, the Dominican Republic’s Military branches have not only conducted joint training exercises with each other but also with other countries. For example, in December, they took part in a joint training exercise with the United States Southern Command simulating the interdiction of a drug-trafficking vessel. The Ministry of Defense has been conducting similar exercises for 10 years, but the recent operation marked the first time the Army, Navy, and Air Force all engaged in joint training together. The National Directorate for Drug Control, which is the lead agency in the fight against drug trafficking and related offenses, was included in the training exercises that were held from November 16th-30th, Brig. Gen. Guerrero added. with French Military service members. Like all joint training exercises, it will provide Dominican Military authorities the opportunity to evaluate the Military’s progress, Brig. Gen. Guerrero said. No plan to counter terrorists or drugs could be successful without a true intelligence structure whose importance falls under tactical planning operations. To have this, social action plans first have to be implemented to align citizens with operative forces. The only way to access information that could be useful to plan effective and deterrent operations against organized crime Itâ€™s good that we prepare ourselves so we wonâ€™t be caught by surprise. Great for the Armed Forces. We have to help the people I want to go to that school very good I congratulate you Terrorism and drug trafficking “The Armed Forces must be prepared to conduct joint operations; one institution alone cannot fulfill this role,” Dominican Army Brigadier General Santo Domingo Guerrero Clase, the Ministry of Defense’s Director of Planning and Operations, J-3, told Diálogo. “The goal is to increase our response capacity so that we can confront events that could endanger the continuance of our institutions and the maintenance of governance and democracy.”
19SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr One mistake Brian Vannoy has seen financial institutions make time after time during his more than 23 years as a lender: Stretching the credit boundaries when venturing into new territory.“Whether it’s a new product, a new geographic market, or a new borrow type, it’s important to be disciplined around the credit standards we set, particularly early on,” says Vannoy, who in July was named chief credit risk officer for $1.1 billion asset Allegacy Federal Credit Union in Winston-Salem, N.C.“Even though it’s hard to be patient when you’ve launched an exciting new venture, the long-term rewards of sticking to your credit standards will be worth the wait,” he says.Vannoy recently shared his approach to credit risk management with Credit Union Magazine.CU Mag: What are the biggest credit risk areas facing your CU?Vannoy: The single biggest credit risk area for our credit union is the area of concentration management. continue reading »
NAFCU Board Chair Ed Templeton called it a mortifying shock when he learned the executive committee of CUNA’s board canceled a meeting with the executive committee of NAFCU’s board at the 2016 Governmental Affairs Conference – a longstanding gathering for the nation’s two national credit union trade organizations.For years, the executive boards of both trade groups would meet twice a year, once at the NAFCU caucus during September in Washington and then at the GAC to discuss industry-wide issues and for both executive committee members and staff to build professional relationships. continue reading » 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
continue reading » Self-care is often thought about like getting a mani-pedi or a massage or a shopping spree. But during times like these, self-care is more inner, less material and much more important. External stressors like the uncertainty we see in our society now can harm us. Our bodies view these uncertainties as threats and prepare us to react like they were designed to so many years ago: They get us ready to run away or fight.Stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline get pumped into our systems so we are ready to go! Great for a real threat like something that might eat us, but not so for something like COVID19. What are you gonna punch? What are you gonna run from? See? What’s worse, cortisol might even dampen our immune response. Oy!But there is a way to help ourselves: Self-care.A few simple practices consistently undertaken can help us counter these stress effects. Here are a few tips for things you call do (all within our control; all you can do sitting where you are). ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.Reuters The two most powerful people in Congress — at least for the next two months — renewed their calls for coronavirus stimulus on Friday.A relief deal could prove just as difficult to reach as it did before Election Day.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., again called for a targeted aid package. In Kentucky, he argued a better than expected October jobs report that saw the U.S. unemployment rate fall to 6.9% reduces the need for a sweeping stimulus bill.- Advertisement – Areas of disagreement between the parties included state and local government aid, enhanced unemployment insurance and liability protections for businesses.Democrats will keep control of the House next Congress, though they will likely lose seats, according to NBC News. Pelosi is expected to serve as speaker for at least one more term.McConnell said earlier this week that he hopes to pass more relief money before the end of the year. How the results of the presidential election will shape President Donald Trump‘s desire to approve a bill during the lame duck session remains to be seen.Though key unresolved states are too close to call in the presidential election, Democrat Joe Biden narrowly leads Trump in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada, according to NBC News. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., appeared with Pelosi on Friday and suggested a Biden presidency would give Democrats more leverage in aid talks.Economists and policymakers, including Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, have warned the economic recovery could lose steam if Congress does not pass more fiscal stimulus. Policies buoying those still unemployed, including supplemental jobless benefits and a federal moratorium on evictions, expired earlier this year.Suspension of federal student loan interest will expire at the end of the year. “I think it reinforces the argument that I’ve been making for the last few months, that something smaller – rather than throwing another $3 trillion at this issue – is more appropriate,” he told reporters, according to Reuters. McConnell noted that he will not necessarily lead the Senate in January: NBC News projects both Republicans and Democrats will hold at least 48 seats, with four races unsettled.Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for Republicans to restart aid talks that fell apart before the 2020 election. She told reporters that the “imperative to act could not be greater” after the U.S. posted a record of more than 120,000 new Covid-19 infections on Thursday.Still, she said a narrow bill “doesn’t appeal to me at all.” The chambers of Congress failed to find common ground on relief before the election, as Senate Republicans tried to pass a $500 billion aid bill and House Democrats approved a $2.2 trillion package.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – – Advertisement –