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Scientists flock to mysterious ‘blue hole’ off Florida’s Gulf Coast

first_imgborchee/iStockBy KARMA ALLEN, ABC News(NEW YORK) — Scientists are flocking to Florida’s Gulf Coast for a glimpse of a mysterious 425-feet-deep “blue hole” on the ocean floor.The glowing mystery hole, about 155 feet below the water’s surface, is similar to the sinkholes seen on solid land, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.The site, dubbed the “Green Banana,” has been a hot topic for scientists and deep-sea explorers who’ve been hoping for a glimpse of the phenomenon from afar.Surprisingly, the first reports of blue holes came from fishermen and recreational divers, not scientists or researchers. In general, the holes appear to host diverse biological communities full of marine life, including corals, sponges, mollusks, sea turtles and sharks.NOAA scientists already have collected 17 water samples from the area surrounding the hole along with four sediment samples.Remarkably, they also discovered two dead but intact smalltooth sawfish, an endangered species, at the bottom of the hole, according to NOAA. Remains of one of the animals were recovered for examination.NOAA scientists plan to embark on a new mission to a second, deeper area of the hole in August. That mission will consist of a team of scientists from Mote Marine Laboratory, Florida Atlantic University, Georgia Institute of Technology and the U.S. Geological Society, according to NOAA.Researchers are interested in studying the seawater chemistry in the holes for its unique qualities.“Little is known about blue holes due to their lack of accessibility and unknown distribution and abundance,” NOAA said in a statement. “The opening of a blue hole can be several hundred feet underwater, and for many holes, the opening is too small for an automated submersible.”Researchers don’t know much about blue holes, but scientists are hoping to learn if the holes are connected to Florida’s groundwater or if there is groundwater intrusion into the Gulf of Mexico.They’re also looking to see if a particular blue hole is secreting nutrients or harbors microenvironments or new species of microbes.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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UK’s terrible broadband service is laid bare by report

first_imgA survey of over 250,000 homes in the UK has revealed the full horror of the nation’s poor national broadband service including thousands of streets where speeds are below one megabit per second (Mbps), on average.The worst is in Bamforlong in Gloucester at 0.143 Mbps and the best street is in Birmingham where its average speed is 265.89 Mbps . The average speed in the UK is 46.3 Mbps , the research by uSwitch reveals.The worst region is north of the Mersey in cities such as Manchester, South Yorkshire and Merseyside while the South West has some of the best speeds. But a quarter of all homes in the UK struggle to attain 10 Mbps or above and one in eight crawl along at less than 5 Mbps.Purchasing decisionsThe UK’s terrible broadband has recently begun affecting buyers’ purchasing decisions, separate research shows.Data from trade website ISPreview found well over half of all house hunters would reject an ideal home if it offered broadband speeds of less than 100 Mbps , and a third would negotiate a lower price.uSwitch also casts doubt on the ‘superfast’ claims of many broadband providers, revealing that seven of the 20 slowest streets in the UK have access to so-called superfast broadband.“This research lays bare the extent of the UK’s digital divide,” says Dani Warner (left), uSwitch’s broadband expert.“Streets that are relatively close geographically can be light years apart when it comes to the download speeds they are getting. For those who can’t yet obtain faster speeds – which the industry is directly aiming to address with the roll-out of full-fibre  – improvements really can’t come soon enough.”  Dani Warner uSwitch December 12, 2018Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021 Home » News » Housing Market » UK’s terrible broadband service is laid bare by report previous nextHousing MarketUK’s terrible broadband service is laid bare by reportFigures show millions of homes have speeds of under 10 Mbps and that half of house hunters would reject a propety with less than 100 Mbps.Nigel Lewis12th December 201801,187 Viewslast_img read more

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Debating Matters championship held at Oxford Union

first_imgThe student debating section of the program ran throughout the day, involving a number of local schools in the area. The event concluded with the main schools’ debate on whether ‘populism is a threat to democracy’ in the afternoon. The public debate, taking place in the evening, held the title ‘From sexting to screen addicts: should we be afraid of online harms?’ Participants included Jess Butcher MBE, a technology entrepreneur, and Professor Victoria Nash, the deputy director of the Oxford Internet Institute. Last week the Oxford Union played host to the Oxfordshirefinals of the Debating Matters championship. Debating Matters is run by BOI (Battle of Ideas), an‘educational and citizenship charity’ founded in 2018, but it was originallyrun by the Academy of Ideas, of which the debate chair, Claire Fox, is afounder.center_img Professor Nash said: “At a moment where mainstream politics is becoming increasingly polarised and emotive, it was so encouraging to see these young debaters using evidence, logic and respect to make their case. Free speech is certainly not without its limits, but we will need more, not less, open and honest debates on big societal issues if we’re going to tackle populism and intolerance.” The competition for sixth-form students took place as partof the Oxford Festival of the Arts, a city-wide festival which ran from the 21stJune to the 7th July.last_img read more

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In Brief

first_imgMarks & Spencer is boosting its Simply Food top up and takeaway chain, with the £38 million purchase of 28 Iceland stores. The acquisition, is due to complete in March, with stores rebranded by August, giving M&S 171 Simply Food shops.last_img

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Watch: GarageCam from Richmond, 11:30 a.m. eT

first_imgREAD MORE: READ: Paint scheme preview: Richmond and Iowa READ: Weekend schedule for Richmond and Iowa Watch Sprint Cup Series GarageCam, live from Richmond, Friday, Sept. 6, 11:30 a.m. ET WATCH: Fantasy Showdown: Richmond FULL SERIES COVERAGE• View all articles • View all videos • View all photos WATCH: Preview Show: Richmondlast_img

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Listen To Jim James, Charles Bradley & More Cover The Grateful Dead For Tribute Album

first_imgWe’re less than one month away from the release of Day Of The Dead, the massive, 59-track tribute album to the Grateful Dead curated by alternative rockers The National. The album is due out on May 20th via 4AD, and so far six of the 59 tracks have been shared. Among them, covers by Phosphorescent & Jenny Lewis, Courtney Barnett, Bruce Hornsby, The War On Drugs and The National have us thoroughly optimistic for the new release.Five Amazing Singles From The 59-Track Grateful Dead Tribute Album Have Been ReleasedDay Of The Dead Tribute Shares Spellbinding Rendition Of ‘Terrapin Station’ [Listen]Today, five new singles have been released, including versions of songs by Jim James, Charles Bradley, Perfume Genius, and more! Check out all five, streaming below:Jim James & Friends – CandymanCharles Bradley & Menahan Street Band – Cumberland BluesUnknown Mortal Orchestra – Shakedown Street Perfume Genius, Sharon Van Etten & Friends – To Lay Me Down Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & Friends – Rubin & CheriseTo pre-order the release, head here.last_img read more

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Lettuce Welcomes Oteil Burbridge During Triumphant Weekend At Suwannee Rising [Videos]

first_imgFunk superheroes Lettuce made a triumphant return to their second home, Florida’s Spirit Of The Suwannee Music Park, for a pair of action-packed sets last weekend. The band served as the spiritual anchor for the newly minted Suwannee Rising Music Festival and certainly seemed to take the responsibility to heart, laying down delicious slabs of piping hot funk and even welcoming legendary bassist Oteil Burbridge of Dead & Company and the Allman Brothers Band, and more for a deep, funky sit-in.Related: Oteil Burbridge & Friends Bless Suwannee Rising With Beatles, Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers Covers [Videos]When the promoters of the Suwannee Rising set out to establish a tone for the new festival, they looked first to the past. Elements of the recently-defunct but dearly-beloved Allman Brothers festival Wannee and the much missed Bear Creek Music Festival were merged along with some of the best up-and-coming Florida area talent for the inaugural lineup. At the heart of it all was Lettuce, a band that is over twenty appearances deep at the renowned music festival venue.Lettuce closed out the Amphitheater Stage both nights of the festival with powerful sets of super-charged funk, with the always dynamic rhythm section of beat master Adam Deitch on drums and low-end wizard of Jesus Coomes on bass. With that granite foundation under their musical feet, the rest of the band was safe to take chances and lay it all on the line. Guitarist Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff kept a slippery guitar line going at all times, providing a slick path for keyboardist Nigel Hall to lay down soaring chords and punchy fills throughout the weekend. As always, The Shady Horns, a.k.a. trumpeter Eric “Benny” Bloom and sax guru Ryan Zoidis, peppered the set with brash brass interjections and trippy effects.Not content to merely deliver hours of breathtaking funk jams, Lettuce also brought out secret weapon Oteil Burbridge on Friday night for a scat singing, bass thumping scorcher of a sit-in. Check out video of Oteil’s sit-in and a few other choice selections from Lettuce’s weekend at the Suwannee in the clips below, brought to you by Rex-A-Vision. Enjoy!Lettuce – “4th Dimension-Royal Highness”Lettuce – “Khru”Lettuce w/ Oteil Burbridge – “Relax”For a list of Lettuce’s upcoming tour dates, head to their website here.last_img read more

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In support of international students

first_imgAs President Trump last week issued a new executive order preventing citizens from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days, Harvard continued to ramp up efforts to support international students and scholars in understanding and coping with the policy shift.In remarks to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, President Drew Faust said last week that she remains “deeply troubled” about the order’s implications for Harvard and for higher education.“We are dedicated to attracting the most talented students and scholars to work together in the shared pursuit of advancing knowledge,” Faust said. “The new executive order continues to put geographic boundaries on the freedom of students and scholars to come to the United States and, with it, on the free flow of knowledge.”Echoing some of the sentiments she outlined in a Jan. 29 letter to the community, Faust expressed concern about repercussions from the travel order on the University’s mission.“We face a very real risk that students and scholars from all corners of the globe may no longer see Harvard and other U.S. universities as attractive places to pursue their studies,” she said. “This would have grave consequences not only for higher education but for the country as a whole. … The thousands of individuals who come to our campus from around the globe each year are essential to who we are and what we do, and we must continue to advocate for the significance of travel and shared ideas around the globe.”Advocating for the Harvard communityFaust has spoken with congressional leaders and others in Washington, D.C., and in Massachusetts about the new immigration policies and their effects on the academic community. She also has co-signed several letters to Trump regarding the order, one joining 47 other college and university presidents and another with Harvard joining 181 other institutions in a letter organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.In addition, the University has filed amicus briefs along with other colleges and universities — one brief in Massachusetts litigation involving an earlier version of the order and another in related litigation in New York — saying the order undermines the values and contributions of open academic exchange and collaboration. The Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic (HIRC) at Harvard Law School has also filed several amicus briefs related to the order.The ban is a revised version of a Jan. 27 order that temporarily barred citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Somalia, and Yemen from entering the United States. That order was blocked by federal judges. The new travel ban, set to go into effect on March 16, removed Iraq from the list and exempts green card holders, dual nationals, people currently in the United States or holding visas valid as of Jan. 27 or March 16, and those already granted asylum or refugee status.To prepare for the new policy, Harvard officials are redoubling their efforts to spread the word about resources available to those affected. Those efforts include information sessions across the University, written legal guidance offered through the Immigration and Refugee Clinic, immigration advice offered through the Harvard International Office (HIO), and counseling services offered through Harvard University Health Services.The efforts reflect Harvard’s concern for its international students and scholars, said Todd Washburn, senior assistant provost for international affairs.“Our commitment to global engagement, to bringing talented faculty, students and scholars here from all around the world is fundamental to our mission,” said Washburn. “It’s essential to everything we do. Our commitment remains steadfast to do everything within our power to allow all the members of our community to pursue their academic and professional interests freely and to the best of their ability.”Of the nearly 10,000 international students and scholars who have come to Harvard this year, 135 were born in or are citizens of the countries listed in the second executive order, said Martha Gladue, HIO director. A couple of Iranian researchers were barred from entering the country in the wake of the first travel ban, but were allowed to enter the country after the federal courts blocked it. As of now, “Everybody who is supposed to be here is here,” Gladue said. “We had no one ultimately denied entry due to the executive order.”The order has generated uncertainty and angst among international students, including some from countries not listed in the ban, said Maureen Martin, HIO director of immigration services. Students worry that the government could extend the 90-day order or add countries to the list.“The fear and anxiety among the general international population has grown dramatically since this happened,” said Martin. “People across the board have anxiety about traveling and what their experience will be in reentering the United States. They worry that everything could change overnight.”Registry for those traveling overseasHarvard officials recommend that students and scholars from other nations who are planning to travel overseas first speak with an immigration expert at the International Office to make sure they have the proper visa requirements to re-enter the country. The officials also urge students and scholars to register with the Harvard Travel Registry through Global Support Services, and in case of trouble on re-entering to call 617-998-0000 or email [email protected] International Office has 12 full-time advisers who work with the Harvard community. The office has added another adviser to help meet the demands of the travel bans, said Gladue. HIO also provides international students and scholars with regular updates and guidance, and offers a range of information on its website, including a list of frequently asked questions developed by HIRC.The University also has identified six law firms and legal aid organizations that are prepared to offer assistance to members of the Harvard community if they are denied reentry or are otherwise held up at the border. This resource can be accessed through the International Office and Global Support Services.In addition, Harvard officials have held 18 information sessions around campus, with more than 1,000 people attending.The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) notes that it will work with any students affected by the order to adjust their G-clocks, the number of years that students typically have to earn doctorates. “GSAS stands ready to work with academic departments to provide G-year adjustments to any students who suffer disruptions to their academic progress due to circumstances beyond their control,” said Garth McCavana, GSAS dean for student affairs.Concern for undocumented studentsHarvard also is continuing to work on a related issue, its concern over its undocumented students. In a letter Faust wrote in November, she highlighted Harvard’s “clear and unequivocal support” for such students, who are “part of the fabric of University life.”Harvard supports the continuation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status as well as legislation such as the BRIDGE Act, which would recognize DACA statutorily, and the DREAM Act, which would provide permanent legal status.The University also has hired Katie Derzon as a fellow to provide additional support to undocumented students. “Our undocumented students are an invaluable part of our Harvard community, and it is vital that we assist them in whatever ways are available to us,” said Derzon. “My role is primarily to ensure that the voices of undocumented students are heard and addressed. I aim to support undocumented students and help them find the resources they need, be they legal, social, or psychological.”Resources include a website that provides a centralized source of information for undocumented members of the Harvard community, weekly support groups where students can talk with a counselor, and legal assistance through the Immigration and Refugee Clinic, which recently hired attorney Jason Corral to represent undocumented students and those with legal status obtained through the DACA initiative.“We’ve been advising people since the first set of executive orders came out in January pretty consistently until now,” said Sabrineh Ardalan, the clinic’s assistant director.In addition, Harvard has co-signed a letter, coordinated by the American Council of Education, that calls on the Trump administration to work with the higher education community to support these students and allow them to stay, study, and work.last_img read more

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Government Performance Lab Awards Technical Assistance to Three States

first_imgThe Government Performance Lab (GPL) at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) announced Feb. 23 that it has selected California, Connecticut, and Illinois to receive technical assistance developing performance improvement projects that apply Pay for Success (PFS) principles to core agency services. The GPL, a grantee of the Corporation for National and Community Service’s (CNCS) Social Innovation Fund (SIF), received applications from more than a dozen state and local governments, demonstrating the growing interest in new approaches to the way governments address stubborn social challenges.Over the past three years, the GPL has provided pro bono government-side technical assistance to 32 jurisdictions in 22 states and has helped state and local governments develop nine of the 15 launched Pay for Success projects in the country. By connecting payment to the achievement of rigorously measured outcomes, these PFS projects allow innovative leaders to invest in preventative services, generate evidence about what works, and collaborate with service providers to catalyze systems change.“Our experience with Pay for Success over the past five years has shown that it can be a powerful tool for transforming government’s ability to provide services effectively and improve outcomes in areas of pressing social need,” said Jeffrey Liebman, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy at HKS and GPL director. “We are excited to collaborate with innovative government leaders in California, Connecticut, and Illinois on projects aiming to alleviate poverty, increase family stability, combat recidivism, and improve higher education.”last_img read more

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ESG funds outperforming broader market in current volatile investment environment

first_imgESG funds outperforming broader market in current volatile investment environment FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Investment funds set up with environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria remain relative safe havens in the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, supporting claims by ESG investors that their focus on nontraditional risk leads to more resilient portfolios.S&P Global Market Intelligence analyzed 17 exchange-traded and mutual funds with more than $250 million in assets under management that select stocks for investment based in part on ESG criteria. Of those funds, 14 have lost less value this year than the S&P 500, up from 12 in April. The top performer in the latest analysis, the Nuveen Winslow Large-Cap Growth ESG Fund, gained 3.4% in the year through May 15 compared to an 11.4% decline in the S&P 500.“Looking forward, we expect investors to continue demonstrating an appetite to implement these kinds of long-term sustainable investing strategies,” said C.D. Baer Pettit, president and COO of research and data firm MSCI Inc., on an April 28 earnings call. “And our research indicates this has been a successful approach during the crisis so far,” he added, saying that the company’s ESG indexes “have shown resilience even more notably in the first quarter of this year.”Sustainable investment funds in the U.S. saw a record $10.5 billion of net inflows during the first quarter, according to Morningstar Inc.So far, renewable energy assets such as wind and solar plants have proven to be financially resilient since in many cases they sell electricity under fixed-price, long-term contracts that help to shelter their revenues from economic disruptions.“[The] underlying theme of investing in climate change solutions is proving a durable asset class and one that we believe will come out of this crisis even stronger,” said Jeffrey Eckel, chairman, president and CEO of renewable energy investor Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital Inc., on a May 7 earnings call.[Michael Copley, Esther Whieldon, Robert Clark]More ($): ESG funds remain relative safe havens in coronavirus downturnlast_img read more