FT-Raman spectra were obtained for two Antarctic extremophiles, the epilithic lichens Xanthoria elegans and Caloplaca sublobulata from the maritime ecological long-term research site on Leonie Island. Twelve specimens from cloches designed for the filtering out and transmission of UVB radiation over a 2 year period and two specimens from the natural habitat outside the cloches were analysed in terms of their characteristic Raman bands from the two photoprotective pigments parietin and beta-carotene. Following chemometric analysis, the specimens inside the UVB-protective cloches exhibited a lower parietin:beta-carotene ratio than specimens from the same habitat that did not have UVB protection. The relative roles of parietin, a passive UVB photoprotectant, and beta-carotene are discussed and a possible duality of biological function is suggested for these pigments.
The Harvard Corporation, the governing board formally known as the President and Fellows of Harvard College, will undertake a number of changes to its composition, structure, and practices, it was announced today (December 6).Intended to reinforce the Corporation’s strategic focus and enlarge its collective capacity, the changes grow out of an intensive governance review launched in the fall of 2009. The review concluded with a joint meeting of the Corporation and the University’s Board of Overseers this past Saturday, December 4, at which key changes were adopted by the boards.“At a time when many different parts of Harvard have been reflecting on their roles and how best to fulfill them, all of us on the Corporation have thought this an opportune moment to step back and think purposefully about our own responsibilities and structures,” wrote President Drew Faust and Robert D. Reischauer, the Corporation’s senior fellow, in a letter to the Harvard community. “We have challenged ourselves to consider how the Corporation, created in the mid-17th century, can assure the capacities needed to guide and serve our vastly larger, more ambitious, and more diverse University in the 21st.”As described in a committee report on the governance review, the changes include a doubling of the number of Corporation members other than the president, from six to 12, to expand the Corporation’s collective capacity and breadth of expertise. There will be prescribed periods of service for the Corporation’s fellows, to assure a balance of continuity and fresh perspective, as well as a more defined leadership role for the Corporation’s senior fellow. The Corporation will create three standing committees to assure in-depth focus on key areas of core fiduciary concern: finance, facilities and capital planning, and governance. In addition, the two governing boards will launch a joint committee on alumni affairs and development, as Harvard prepares for a University-wide campaign and aims to integrate the boards’ work in this domain.“The Corporation has been at the heart of Harvard’s evolution and progress ever since it was chartered in 1650, a century and a quarter before the American Revolution,” said Faust. “The governance review has given us a welcome occasion not just to reflect on the Corporation’s history but to challenge ourselves to consider a set of changes that can extend and deepen its capacity as we look ahead. It’s been gratifying to contemplate how the President and Fellows can spur the efforts of all of us around Harvard to look forward with imagination and discipline, to navigate complexity and change, and to shape strategies that help our academic enterprise thrive.”The report underscores the Corporation’s intention to concentrate increasing attention on matters of strategic direction and high-level policy, with an emphasis on the productive interplay of the University’s different parts. The report also highlights plans to inform the community more regularly about key aspects of the Corporation’s work, to create more opportunities for members of the Corporation to hear from various people within the University community, and to continue strengthening working relationships between the Corporation and the Board of Overseers.“We’ve benefited throughout the review from the candid observations of deans, former board members, faculty, alumni, and others, whose shared devotion to Harvard’s well-being couldn’t be clearer,” said Reischauer. “I’m confident that the changes we’re pursuing will give us greater scope to see the big picture and take the long view, to probe areas that most warrant the Corporation’s in-depth attention, to calibrate both opportunities and risks, and to consider Harvard’s distinctive parts in relation to the larger whole.”The review was conducted by a committee comprising the seven members of the Corporation as well as three colleagues with experience on the Board of Overseers. The Corporation’s current members are President Faust; Nannerl O. Keohane, L.L.D. (hon.) ’93, Laurance S. Rockefeller Distinguished Visiting Professor of Public Affairs at Princeton University and past president of Duke University and Wellesley College; Patricia A. King, J.D. ’69, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law, Medicine, Ethics, and Public Policy at the Georgetown University Law Center; William F. Lee, A.B. ’72, co-managing partner of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr; Robert D. Reischauer, A.B. ’63, president of the Urban Institute and past director of the Congressional Budget Office; James F. Rothenberg, A.B. ’68, M.B.A. ’70, chairman, principal executive officer, and director of Capital Research and Management Company and treasurer of Harvard University; and Robert E. Rubin, A.B. ’60, L.L.D. (hon.) ’01, co-chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations and former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. Lee joined the committee upon beginning his Corporation service in July 2010, replacing James R. Houghton, who stepped down from the Corporation on June 30 after helping to launch the review.The governance review committee also included Frances D. Fergusson, A.M. ’66, Ph.D. ’73, president emerita of Vassar College and president of Harvard’s Board of Overseers in 2007-08; Robert N. Shapiro, A.B. ’72, J.D. ’78, a lawyer, past president of the Harvard Alumni Association, and current chair of the Overseers Committee on Institutional Policy; and Seth P. Waxman, A.B. ’73, former U.S. Solicitor General, former HAA elected director, and current president of the Board of Overseers.“Harvard has flourished over centuries in no small part because it has managed to balance a sense of enduring purpose and values with a capacity to adapt and look ahead,” said Waxman. “These changes are well-designed to enhance the University’s governance, in service of the academic enterprise that all of us on the governing boards are devoted to advance and serve.”The committee was advised by Richard Chait, one of the nation’s leading authorities on higher education governance, now a Research Professor at the Graduate School of Education.“Our Overseer colleagues and Professor Chait brought a great deal of insight and perspective to our deliberations, including both a sense of Harvard’s distinctive culture and a broad view of governance practices elsewhere,” said Reischauer. “We couldn’t have asked for more engaged, helpful, and constructively critical partners. I also want to thank Jamie Houghton, my predecessor as senior fellow, who played an essential role in getting this review started and in guiding its early phase.”According to the report, a process will soon begin to select new members of the Corporation, with the expectation of expanding the Corporation from seven to 13 members within two to three years. Confidential advice and nominations may be directed by e-mail to [email protected] or by letter to Harvard Corporation Search, Loeb House, 17 Quincy St., Cambridge, MA 02138.
As protests have continued to percolate nationally in the wake of decisions by grand juries in Missouri and New York not to indict police officers in the deaths of two unarmed black men, hundreds of members of the Harvard community have expressed their own frustration and desire for change during a range of demonstrations and discussions both on campus and off.Hundreds of protesters, including many from the Harvard community, took to the streets Friday night, briefly stopping traffic in Harvard Square and then marching down Memorial Drive to Central Square before returning. The demonstration resembled weekend protests in other cities where thousands also marched.In recent days, many from the Harvard community have attended protests, marches, vigils, and “die-ins,” in which participants lie down in a show of solidarity and dissent against violence toward black men. Many community members engaged in informal campus conversations and listening sessions organized by deans and administrators of Harvard’s graduate schools. Some students penned open letters and op-eds calling for action.“Our students are no different than many people across this country who feel, with these recent decisions or nondecisions, that injustice has overplayed its hand,” said Jonathan Walton, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church, who took part in campus protests and helped organize a student-led “die-in” on the church steps a week ago.“Black lives matter,” Harvard President Drew Faust said, echoing ongoing concern across the University. “It has taken far too long to make that fundamental truth a living, essential part of the fabric of our society, our government, and our lives. Martin Luther King Jr. made clear a half century ago why we can’t wait. What was urgent then is imperative now.”Last week, Faust recalled her early involvement in the national campaign for civil rights.“Nearly 50 years ago, I watched on a grainy black-and-white television as the heads and bodies of John Lewis and dozens more protesters were bloodied as they peacefully marched to secure the right to vote. I, and thousands of other Americans, could not remain silent,” she recalled. “I skipped my freshman college midterms and drove from Pennsylvania to Selma, Alabama, to bear witness, to affirm with my presence something essential about who I was and about what I wanted our nation to be. It seemed to me an inescapable necessity. John Lewis might have called it making ‘necessary trouble.’“Now, a half century later, individuals from across Harvard and across the nation have embraced a similar imperative to refuse silence, to reject injustice, to demand something better from ourselves and our nation,” she said. “I mourn that this is still necessary, that injustice still thrives so many years after we hoped we could at last overcome the troubled legacy of race in America. But I also celebrate how in recent days our community has demonstrated its commitment in both words and deeds to eradicating every pernicious form of racism and discrimination. ‘What will you do?’ Rev. Jonathan Walton asked in Memorial Church last Sunday. We will speak out against injustice; we will join together to insist that things must change.”The public reactions to the grand jury rulings in Missouri and New York have had a ripple effect at Harvard. On Dec. 1, students joined a protest with others from Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, briefly stopping traffic in Harvard Square. Two days later, a student-organized protest unfolded in front of the John Harvard Statue. Approximately 200 people took part in the demonstration, which included comments from Harvard faculty and a “die-in.”“A big point of the protest was to get people to interact with this issue who maybe have the privilege to ignore it because it doesn’t directly affect their lives,” said a rally organizer, Fadhal Moore ’15, who is a member of the Black Community Leaders, an umbrella group for undergraduate black organizations.The oldest of five who said he often thinks about his siblings, worrying that they could be killed by police someday, Moore called the campus reaction hopeful. “At the end of the day,” he said, “it has been very, very encouraging to see all these people come together.”Demonstrations and forums have touched most of the University in recent days. Harvard Law School (HLS) Dean Martha Minow, who wrote a column for the Boston Globe last Tuesday calling for reforms to the nation’s criminal justice system, invited members of the HLS community to a conversation with her and faculty members the following day to discuss the issues and “to think together about how we might move forward and contribute to the effort,” she said in an email announcing the session.At Harvard Business School, about 500 people gathered in Burden Hall to remember Michael Brown and Eric Garner and raise awareness about racial profiling.Last Wednesday, close to 100 people, including Harvard students, faculty, administrators, and staff, gathered for a candid discussion at Phillips Brooks House led by Harvard College Dean Rakesh Khurana and Emelyn dela Peña, the College’s assistant dean of student life for equity, diversity, and inclusion.“Many in our College community are in pain and struggling right now, and no matter our understanding of the issue, we must come together to comfort and support each other,” wrote Khurana in an email titled “Standing Together” that announced the event.The hourlong discussion touched on many of the challenges surrounding frank conversations about race. Several attendees wondered how to be better allies to the African-American community. Others responded that being an effective ally means being willing to take risks and getting comfortable with uncomfortable conversations. Some called for greater support from the administration. Administrators in the room answered with pledges to renew commitments to connecting with minorities and allies across campus.“I appreciate what you said, that we have to do better,” said Khurana, “and we have to be willing to take risks, and that also means, I guess, a little more forgiveness on the other end.”Following the talk, Sarah Cole, a senior and president of the Harvard Black Students Association, said she felt encouraged.“I think it’s important for this campus as a whole to acknowledge what has happened, to acknowledge how it has affected people, both internally and externally. And so it’s really powerful to see our administrators and our students and our faculty coming together in this space to actually do that.”Sophomore and Mather House resident Olivia Castor said she was also heartened to see members of the faculty and the administration taking part. “I know at several other schools throughout the country, students don’t have the support of their faculty and administrators, and to see that here we do, it’s just really amazing and it’s really reaffirming.”Similar listening sessions, conversations, and discussions have taken place elsewhere. The Harvard Graduate School of Design, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Harvard Kennedy School all convened talks with students, faculty, staff, and administrators last week. At Harvard Medical School, which also hosted an open forum, more than 100 HMS students, joined by faculty and staff, took part in a nationwide medical student “die-in” last Wednesday, lying on the floor of Harvard’s Tosteson Medical Education Center on Longwood Avenue in Boston for 15½ minutes.The Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) held an earlier open dialogue for students, organized by the school’s student council and office of student affairs. The session was attended by Dean James E. Ryan and came the day after the grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson, the white police officer who fatally shot Brown in August. The HGSE’s dean’s office also created a fellowship fund for students interested in doing social justice work in Missouri or in Greater Boston in January. Last Tuesday, students also led a “die-in” in the Gutman Library.In addition to supporting and helping to organize recent protests and marches, Harvard Divinity School (HDS) students, with help from Walton, traveled to Ferguson, Mo., in August to support local organizations and protesters. Students from HLS have also gone to Ferguson in recent months to offer support and act as legal observers.HLS students have also organized protests and events. McKenzie Morris, president of the Harvard Black Law Students Association, said her organization has been “active on this point since the Mike Brown death in August.” In October, the group organized a conference with members of the Boston and Cambridge communities, including representatives of each city’s police departments, to discuss issues such as the accountability of law enforcement. The group co-hosted a campus talk about race with the School’s American Constitution Society and recently sent an open letter to President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder with more than 1,000 signatures that included a call for legislation requiring police to wear body cameras.Across campus, many students said they have taken comfort in the ability to simply share their grief and frustration with others from the community.After the Ferguson decision, HDS students held a gathering in one of the School’s small chapels. People sat in silence, sang, cried out, spoke, testified, prayed, “whatever their hearts led them to do,” recalled HDS student Melissa Bartholomew. “Because I have spaces like that — and a community to connect with, and a community that is diverse and crosses all faiths lines, and gender lines, and economic lines, and racial lines — to be in the midst of spaces like that is so healing and encouraging and affirming for me as an African-American woman going through these experiences. I’ve been really grateful for each opportunity that we’ve had to gather as a community.”During his Sunday sermon a week ago, Walton told listeners: “For those who think that this is overblown, until one feels the dehumanizing blow of being of the wrong race in the wrong space, and thus always and already guilty upon arrival, one should refrain from all the sanctimonious bromides about guilt, innocence, or simply following the law.”Just before the service ended, Walton made his way outside to the church steps, where he urged protesters, many of them students, to start “thinking about your careers in such a way that you can help dislodge, you can help dislodge our criminal system from the bitter hands of corruption.” The group then took part in a “die-in,” causing members of the congregation to step over them as they exited the church.“Martin Luther King Jr. once said that desegregation is about physical proximity, but integration is about spiritual affinity, and so really it’s about the human connection. And so one of the things that I wanted to do was to bring students together with the worshiping community on Sunday,” said Walton later in the week.Castor, who also helped organize the Memorial Church session, said the goal was to get those who don’t think the issue affects them to see things differently.“It interrupted daily life because it forced you to take another path. It forced you to go somewhere where you wouldn’t have gone before … that’s why I thought it was very, very powerful, and very important.”Faust said she hoped that meaningful, lasting change comes out of the current protests and discussions.“I hope that in the half century to come, our remarkable students will also commit to use their lives and their education — in law, in medicine, in education, in public health, in politics, in the arts, and in so many other fields — in service of the freedom, dignity, and equality they have called for this week. At this University, we have a special responsibility to speak and live the truth. This challenges us to use our voices and our actions to help build a world in which we work to make our values real, a world in which differences are not sources of oppression and divisiveness, but of strength and community, a world of justice for all.”
Scientists have long known that the brain’s visual system shows considerable organization. Tests have repeatedly found that different parts of the brain are activated when people see different objects. Animals, body parts, tools, and large things such as houses, for example, are represented in different parts of the brain.What they haven’t known is how that specificity developed. Does the brain just know, innately, how to represent various domains of objects, or does experience play a critical role?The answer, Harvard scientists say, is that it’s largely innate. In recent years, research has shown that in people born blind, the visual system’s specificities are like those found in sighted individuals. This demonstrates that visual experience is not needed for the emergence of this organization. Because blind people do have experience in touching and using objects and tools, it raises the question of whether other sensory or motor experiences could be responsible for the specialization of the visual cortex in processing manipulable objects (e.g., a toothbrush, a comb, or a teapot) and actions.This possibility rests in an area of visual cortex that specializes in processing tools and hands, although their visual appearances are distinct. This region is well connected to a brain network engaged in the motor aspects of tool use, suggesting that its origins lie in the usefulness of processing both tools and hands because together they produce actions. But is this organization dependent on experience using hand tools, or is the brain specialization the product of experience over evolutionary time?In a recently published study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Ella Striem-Amit, Gilles Vannuscorps, and Alfonso Caramazza show that the brains of people born without hands (upper limb dysplasia) represent tools and hands much as do the brains of people born with hands. Thus the finding suggests that the connection between hands and tools is deeply ingrained in brain organization. Related Auditory cortex nearly identical in hearing and deaf people To explore brain organization in people born without hands, the researchers — who had previously studied people born without hands and found that their perception of hand actions was as fast and accurate as the perceptions of people born with hands — turned to functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI. The team recruited volunteers and tracked their brain activity as they were shown images of hands and feet, as well as images of tools and large, non-manipulable objects like tables and refrigerators.“What we were looking for were areas of conjoined selectivity,” Striem-Amit said. “Earlier studies had suggested that an area in the visual cortex shows selectivity both for viewing hands and tools. If that same overlap were present in those born without hands, it would support the idea that it is a foundational part of the brain’s organization.”“Of the five participants born without hands, four showed the signature hand-tool overlap, suggesting that the hand-tool overlap in the brain may be innate,” Vannuscorps said.Ultimately, the study suggests that for some foundational types of brain organization, experience is simply unnecessary. “The study of brain organization in individuals deprived of particular sensory or motor experience, such as the congenitally blind or individuals with upper-limb dysplasia, provides a crucial testing ground for the role of such experience in the functional organization of the human brain,” Caramazza said, “and it seems that its role is rather minor by comparison to the evolutionarily determined organization.”This research was supported with funding from Società Scienze Mente Cervello–Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Trento e Rovereto, the Provincia Autonoma di Trento, by a Harvard Provostial postdoctoral fund, the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, and the Israel National Postdoctoral Award Program for Advancing Women in Science. Study shows architecture of audition likely based on innate factors
continue reading » In a novel twist on the ATM, $1.1 billion Hiway Federal Credit Union’s “Automated Prize Machine” dispenses tickets redeemable for autographed jerseys, hockey pucks and credit union logo swag at Minnesota Wild home games.Hockey fans ages 16 and up are invited to stop by the Hiway FCU booth/prize table in the Wild concourse to register with their name and email address. They receive a promotional card printed on heavy-stock cardboard that they can swipe at the colorful prize machine, which resembles an oversized ATM.The APM’s random generator doles out receipts for 300 prizes at each game, including the top prize jersey and five autographed hockey pucks, discount coupons at Hockey Lodge, cobranded Hiway/Wild hats, can koozies and openers, and cloth bags. The St. Paul credit union also distributes hockey pencils and foam pucks to younger fans. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
I’m an optimist—even in the midst of challenging times I do my best to stay positive. However, there is a looming negative cloud on the horizon we in financial services must address: the potential of a coming recession.Talk to any economist or read any economic forecast and you’ll see just about every expert is predicting a potential recession the end of 2019 or sometime in 2020. It’s just a matter of how deep and wide it might be.I recently had the opportunity to appear on CUBroadcast and one question host Mike Lawson asked was “From a marketing perspective, what do credit unions need to be doing to prepare for a potential recession?” I gave three action steps you can take (click this link to see the full interview).Here’s an elaboration on those three steps plus two bonus tips for preparing your credit union for a recession. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »
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Israel has no diplomatic relations with Arab countries in the Gulf, but common concerns about Iran’s regional influence have led to a limited thaw in relations.”This scientific and medical partnership overcomes historical and political challenges in the region,” an Arabic statement from WAM said, adding that the priority was humanitarian action and constructive cooperation to safeguard people’s health.Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said earlier on Thursday that a formal announcement about the partnership was imminent.Last week, the UAE’s minister for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, said it could work with Israel on some areas, including the battle against the coronavirus and on technology, despite political differences. Israel and the United Arab Emirates will cooperate in the fight against the coronavirus, the two countries said on Thursday, a possible boost to Israeli efforts to normalize relations with Gulf Arab countries.Two private companies from the United Arab Emirates and two Israeli companies will work together on medical projects, including those to combat the new coronavirus, the UAE’s state-run news agency WAM said.The cooperation comes at a time of strong Arab opposition to Israel’s plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank – territory Palestinians seek for a state – under a US peace plan. Topics : Netanyahu said at a military ceremony that Israel and the UAE would collaborate in research and development and technology “to improve the well-being of the entire region”.He said the agreement stemmed from intensive contacts with the UAE over recent months.In May, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad made the first known flight by a UAE carrier to Israel, carrying coronavirus-related aid for Palestinians.Speaking to a conference of the American Jewish Committee advocacy group on June 16, Gargash said Israel cannot expect to normalize relations with the Arab world if it annexes West Bank land. He also said cooperation with Israel on the pandemic would not affect the UAE’s opposition to annexation.Israel is due on July 1 to begin a cabinet debate on extending Israeli sovereignty to Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
However, as the Council will base its negotiating position around the most recent compromise draft of the Directive, both elements will remain prominent.PensionsEurope said it welcomed the Council’s stance and looked forward to engaging with the Parliament.“PensionsEurope will continue working closely on this topic with the aim to support institutions for occupational pensions provisions in providing adequate, safe and sustainable pensions for the people of Europe.”James Walsh, the EU policy lead at the UK’s National Association of Pension Funds, said any re-assessment of cross-border regulatory requirements would be welcome by his organisation.“Unfortunately, the relaxation is not achieved in the current compromise text. It would have been achieved in one of the earlier compromise drafts, but unfortunately things were changed in the later versions.”He noted that ahead of the revised Directive’s publication last March, speculation was rife that the European Commission would relax cross-border funding requirements.Instead the initial draft retained wording requiring that cross-border schemes be funded at all times.Walsh cautioned against placing too much emphasis on negotiating mandates, but said it was nonetheless a “pleasant surprise” to see the wording on cross-border schemes amended.“I think it’s moderately encouraging that they’ve removed references to the Pension Benefit Statement and risk-evaluation from the negotiating mandate, but we’ve still got to have regard for the actual text of the Directive.”The negotiating mandate will see the Council engage with Parliament as it begins its revision of the Directive, based around the text initially proposed by Barnier.Final wording will then be agreed during negotiations between all three EU institutions.Despite the most recent developments, agreement over the negotiating mandate does not preclude the Commission withdrawing the IORP Directive, as it agrees its 2015 Work Programme.MEPs have raised concerns over the potential for the Directive to be scrapped. Member states are placing renewed emphasis on the relaxation of cross-border pension provision as part of their IORP II negotiations with the European Parliament.A finalised negotiating mandate released on Wednesday by the Council of the EU, which outlines the 28 states’ agreed position on the IORP Directive, said that removing the “remaining prudential barriers” to cross-border provision should be one of the four objectives.In contrast to a draft negotiating mandate drawn up by the Council in November, member states were less explicit in their support for the proposals on risk-evaluation for pensions (REP) and the Pension Benefit Statement (BPS).Instead, the mandate only specified that the Directive should focus on good governance and risk management, and should aim to provide “clear and relevant” information to members and beneficiaries.
Share Share Food & DiningLifestyleNewsRegional Regional body moves to protect spiny lobster by: – February 18, 2014 Sharing is caring! Tweet Share 192 Views no discussions BELIZE CITY — The executive committee of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) says it is working on “legal instruments” to strengthen regional cooperation for the conservation, management and sustainable use of the spiny lobster and the protection of its habitat.The 22ndmeeting of the (CRFM) executive, which concluded Friday in Kingstown, St Vincent and the Grenadines, saw a two-day deliberation on matters such as coral reef management, the lobster fishery, and cooperation between CARICOM States and the French Islands in fisheries.“The Committee addressed a number of important regional initiatives designed to ensure sustainable use of our fisheries resources and protect the marine ecosystems,” said Milton Haughton, CRFM Executive Director.The CRFM executive committee consists of representatives of six member states of the regional inter-governmental fisheries organisation. The membership of the committee is drawn from the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, a group of government officials, fishers and representatives of private companies from CARICOM states tasked with providing technical support to the CRFM.Jamaica Observer