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Moderate coffee drinking may lower risk of premature death

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first_imgPeople who drink about three to five cups of coffee a day may be less likely to die prematurely from some illnesses than those who don’t drink or drink less coffee, according to a new study by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers and colleagues. Drinkers of both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee saw benefits, including a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, type 2 diabetes, and suicide.“Bioactive compounds in coffee reduce insulin resistance and systematic inflammation,” said first author Ming Ding, a doctoral student in the Department of Nutrition. “That could explain some of our findings. However, more studies are needed to investigate the biological mechanisms producing these effects.”The study appeared online in Circulation on November 16, 2015.Researchers analyzed health data gathered from participants in three large ongoing studies: 74,890 women in the Nurses’ Health Study; 93,054 women in the Nurses’ Health Study 2; and 40,557 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Coffee drinking was assessed using validated food questionnaires every four years over about 30 years. During the study period, 19,524 women and 12,432 men died from a range of causes.In the whole study population, moderate coffee consumption was associated with reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, and suicide. Coffee consumption was not associated with cancer deaths. The analyses took into consideration potential confounding factors such as smoking, body mass index, physical activity, alcohol consumption, and other dietary factors. Read Full Storylast_img read more

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Students helping students

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first_imgIt’s up to Lisa Chille ’18 to steer the boat in the right direction when she races with the Harvard Heavyweights. In her role as coxswain on the crew team, she gains the trust of her teammates, harnessing their power and coordinating their movements toward a successful finish.Chille also balances leadership and teamwork in her academics. As a Peer Research Fellow, she helps Currier House undergraduates maneuver challenging research questions.Chille arrived at Currier three years ago with a background in computer science, physics, chemistry, math, and music. Writing papers in the humanities presented a brand-new challenge. House-wide emails from Alexis Gomez, a Peer Research Fellow, invited residents to stop by and get help with assignments.“Having a friend who’s not a teacher or a teaching assistant saying ‘I can help out’ was such a huge resource for me,” Chille said. “I wanted to do this for other people as well.” Now a computer science concentrator with a secondary concentration in music, Chille teaches her peers how to navigate library resources and connect with librarians.Currier House residents gathered in D-Hall on a recent Sunday morning to “rise and research,” fueled by Union Square Donuts and coffee. Peer Research Fellows lead and organize the study sessions, where students can get one-on-one support or tackle papers and projects in the company of their friends.“It’s a nonjudgmental space for people to ask research questions that they think are basic, but are actually pretty hard,” Chille said. “If you show up and say, ‘I’m lost,’ I’ll say, ‘Great! Let’s start from there.’”Librarians Ramona Islam and Anna Assogba started the Peer Research Fellow program as a way to reach out to undergraduates in the places they live and study. The program was piloted in Adams and Currier houses in 2015 before expanding to offer support via residents in all four House neighborhoods: the Quad, River Central, River East, and River West.“We hope that students find it easier and less intimidating to ask for help from their peers,” Islam said.Freshmen are introduced to library resources through expository writing classes, but their research needs to grow more sophisticated as they choose their concentrations and prepare for careers. Students on either side of the fellows program assist each other by learning new skills and strategies that not only help them with a one-off question, but become strengths they will have throughout their lives.Mentor librarians who train the Peer Research Fellows also gain a new perspective on working with students.“I’m inspired by their intellectual curiosity,” Islam said. “The fellows are interested in providing the best support possible, whether on their own or by crowdsourcing a question.”Many interactions with undergrads consist of a brief chat at a reference desk or a one-time class visit. By working with the fellows and hosting social events for the program, librarians get the opportunity to know students better and glimpse what their Harvard experiences are like.“I’ve learned so much from them,” said mentor librarian Dorothy Barr. “About student life, new ways of looking at library resources, new technologies. I love when they share their ideas, questions, pictures of their travels, insights — they make me feel better about the world in which we live today.”last_img read more

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Art and technology explored during region-wide collaboration

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first_imgA unique collaboration among 12 art organizations — including three from Harvard — will explore the relationship between art and technology during a winter collective beginning Feb. 7.Aligned with the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston’s (ICA) sweeping exhibition “Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today,” the region-wide effort will offer the public concurrent exhibitions, performances, screenings, and programs at cultural centers throughout Greater Boston area.The Harvard organizations partnering with the ICA are the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard Art Museums, and Harvard Film Archive. Other partners include:Isabella Stewart Gardner MuseumMIT List Visual Arts CenterMuseum of Fine Arts, BostonRose Art Museum at Brandeis UniversityTufts University Art GalleriesBerklee College of MusicBoston CyberartsdeCordova Sculpture Park and MuseumThe Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts will hold talks with new media artists Lynn Hershman Leeson (Feb. 8 at 6 p.m.) and Dara Birnbaum (March 29 at 6 p.m.).The Harvard Art Museums’ new installation by JODI, the pioneering artist collective formed in 1994 by Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans, will be on view in the museums’ Lightbox Gallery, a collaborative space for digital projects, from Feb. 7 through April 23. One of the most influential art-makers working in the age of the internet, JODI will produce a new interactive project that plays with the histories of games and collections.Harvard Film Archive will present “Caught in the Net: The Early Internet in the Paranoid Imagination,” a series of films that examine the cultural origin story of the internet as lodged within the paranoid imagination will be screened March 9–18. This film program emphasizes the consistency of cultural fears around the internet, while also charting the ways in which these fears have shifted over time.Films include: “Blue Thunder” (John Badham, 1983), “From yu to me” (Aleksandra Domanović, 2013–14), “WarGames” (John Badham, 1983), “Electric Dreams” (Steve Barron, 1984), “Johnny Mnemonic” (Robert Longo, 1995), “The Ghost in the Shell” (Mamoru Oshii, 1995), “Strange Days” (Kathryn Bigelow, 1995), “Level Five” (Chris Marker, 1997), “eXistenZ:” (David Cronenberg, 1999), “Pulse” (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2001), and “Southland Tales” (Richard Kelly, 2007).The ICA’s cornerstone exhibit“Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today,” Feb. 6–May 20,  “gives us the opportunity to examine all the forms of connectivity made possible by the internet, as well as to work in partnership with colleagues and institutions in Greater Boston,” said Jill Medvedow, Ellen Matilda Poss Director of the ICA. “The rich history of tech innovation in Boston makes this an ideal place to raise questions about community, privacy, networks, identity, surveillance and speed in a dynamic citywide experience.”The ICA exhibition explores the widespread cultural impact of the internet on art and features the work of 60 artists, collaborations, and collectives.Audiences and scholars around the world can explore the exhibit via a dedicated web platform. The extensive site will bring extended content and varying perspectives to the exhibition, and will virtually connect the activities of area partners.For more information, visit the ICA, Harvard Art Museums, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, and Harvard Film Archive websites.last_img read more

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Big Data Is Not Just for Big Business

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first_imgHealthcare is a field that can benefit enormously from the data deluge. Imagine a world where all records, test results, and research were linked. RFID tags are now the norm in healthcare. These smart tags are used from streamlining patient flow, to reducing cost and inventory and preventing theft. Consultants now share data via mobile devices to allow for remote viewing of medical images. Take this to the next level and globally, the data sets are huge. Linking all of this data is the next step in the process. Global health data should be available to research institutes for in-depth analysis, thus leading to efficiencies in the healthcare system and ultimately, to finding cures and the effective prevention of terminal disease. The data is there, but the question remains if the right people are using it. Financial ROI: Can you get the numbers to stack up financially? Or more importantly, do you have a deep enough understanding of how Big Data can work for your organisation? If the answer is no, then you need to rethink your Big Data strategy.While the organisations I meet with are not all global players, the data sets they create are vast and this is where companies of any size can start to unlock their value. In Ireland, Big Data is already at work in various industries.Insurance affects every one of us. From car, to house, to health insurance, it all costs money and effective data management could provide significant reductions in premiums if used correctly. Take car insurance for example. Devices are now being installed in the cars of drivers who are just learning to drive and premiums are being customised from the results of this data. Through the manipulation of data sets, insurers can create policies based on accurate insight and complement the work done by actuaries. The actuary now has access to new real-time data that can provide much greater insight into the business. They can drive revenues but also price policies according to real-time metrics that can reduce premiums for the end user. It will get to the point that the insurer will know – based on the data – if a driver is going to make a claim and can then tailor the policy to suit. I was asked a couple of weeks ago to present to a group on Big Data. The target audience was C-level executives in the SME (Small and Medium-sized Enterprise) arena. Now in Ireland, this is a very different scale than that of the U.S. or larger European countries. Maximum size here for SME would be 250 employees; however, Ireland is the EU headquarters for the majority of the top 10 global tech companies. It’s important for these organisations to understand that Big Data is not restricted to large enterprises only, and they should not feel intimidated by the challenge that lies ahead.I’ll admit straight away that I firmly believe everybody can gain value from Big Data in some way, shape or form, but you have to look at your organisation and see if it can meet the following criteria before you ever get started on the journey.In-house Expertise: Do you have the in-house expertise to deliver on such a plan? Big Data projects require resources with deep technical and analytical skills, but also industry knowledge across many sectors. This is often referred to in the industry as a Data Scientist. Remember, they will be looking at data sets from many different sources and trying to piece them together to gain insight into your customer base and ultimately to add to the bottom line.center_img Banking and Finance is an industry that doesn’t move very quickly with new initiatives as it is highly regulated and has major security and privacy restrictions. Because of these factors, it usually takes some time to get things moving. That time has come. If you could predict what your customer was doing, could you add value and tailor marketing and solutions to meet their needs? Of course you could. This is not a risky business, but it will drive revenues and increase customer satisfaction.Here at EMC, our internal IT department runs BAaaS – Business Analytics-as-a-Service. This introduces a new agile model for reporting and analytics. Data scientists and business analysts, by way of secure access to EMC’s global data sets, can now generate their own analytics reports on our infrastructure, and the results are back in minutes instead of hours or even days. This service allows business units to crunch their own data specific to their needs, which is where the real value is.In my opinion, every organisation should have access to such a system, but the question remains – do you build it yourself or pay for the service in the cloud? Well, that’s up to you, but the trick here is to not get left behind.last_img read more

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SMC sponsors summer camp for local students

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first_img‘The Status of Girls of Indiana,’ a report published by Saint Mary’s College in Sept. 2013 found that female students in the state of Indiana fall behind boys in SAT, ACT and AP testing in math and science classes. In order to combat this trend, Saint Mary’s chemistry students sponsored an educational summer camp for Elkhart elementary school students, senior Dara Marquez said.Each grade ran a different science experiment to make their own polymer, or slime, Marquez said.“We had them mix polyvinyl alcohol and borax, a common experiment to do at home, and they added their own food coloring to it,” Marquez said. “At the end they had a gooey product. It was really neat to instruct them on what to do and to observe them as they did it. It reminded me how different perspectives, especially for kids, can affect the way we view science.”Marquez said it was empowering to know that the students were curious and wanted to learn more about the polymers. She said she strongly believes showing younger children the physical aspect of science allows them to relate it to their current interests.“Experiences like those push us more to understand why it is important to always be willing to be mentors,” Marquez said.Marquez said she believes younger children are much more curious than adults, which helped made their experiments engaging to the elementary school students.“Their curiosity and the fact that at their age science isn’t intimidating makes me believe that if we maintain that attitude as they get older and learn more difficult concepts they’d be much more interested in pursuing it as a career,” Marquez said.Marquez said there was equal participation among boys and girls, but their attitudes were generally different.“I’ve noticed that girls are much more meticulous and careful overall when running an experiment,” Marquez said. “They usually want to do it the right way the first time and want to make sure that they ask the right questions. Usually that’s why you assume they’re the quietest, but in reality they’re just trying to best articulate their curiosity.”Saint Mary’s Affiliate of the American Chemical Society’s (SMAACS) goal is to increase participation of our students and the community in extra curricular chemistry events, SMAACS senior president Katherine Bussey said.“It is my hope and passion to ignite an interest in each child we work with, so that they will pursue further education in math and science fields,” Bussey said.In regards to the ‘Status of Girls’ report, Bussey said she believes the math and science test gap between boys and girls is an issue that needs to be addressed.“I believe that by encouraging girls to participate in math and science activities early on, we can boost their confidence so that later on in their education they do not think twice about choosing a field that is ‘traditionally male,’” Bussey said. “Women are just as capable of engineering the next International Space Station, developing the next Mandelbrot set, understanding Black-body radiation, or curing cancer.”Saint Mary’s also held a forensic camp on campus this summer with the similar goal of exposing young students to different aspects of science.The Forensic Science Camp, part of the Saint Mary’s College summer academic program, introduces young women in grades 8-12 to the college experience, assistant director of special events Lisa Peppers said. The camp used fun activities to instill a scientific mindset in the young students.“After gathering evidence at a staged crime scene, Forensic Science campers, working in Saint Mary’s College labs, use biology, chemistry, mathematics, and deductive reasoning to solve the crime and find the culprit,” Peppers said.Peppers said the goal is to encourage the mathematical and scientific interests in young women.“In addition, we hope our summer camp helps female students improve their test scores in both math and science.”Tags: camp, saint mary’s, science, status of girlslast_img read more

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Increases Hit Hard.

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first_imgWhile many Georgians celebrate the news of low increases in food prices, some Georgians will still struggle.University of Georgia experts with the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences forecasted this week that food prices will rise only 2 to 2.5 percent this year. While that’s good news for most consumers, for farmers and low-income Georgians the news isn’t so good.The low increase is greatly due to surplus supplies of food, which lowers prices for farmers, but not for consumers.”Food prices would be more effected by farm prices if consumers wanted more fresh food,” said Bill Thomas, an agricultural economist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “But people no longer want fresh produce. They want it cut up, seasoned, freeze-dried, pre-packaged and ready to cook. That costs more money.”Farmers only make 23 cents of each dollar charged for food. “The rest,” Thomas said, “goes toward paying for advertising, packaging, transportation, labor and other preparation costs.”Georgia farmers are facing low prices for commodities ranging from corn to cotton.”We are facing poor yields and the lowest prices in 20 years for cotton,” Thomas said. “We have record supplies worldwide for corn, so we are seeing low prices.”Peanuts growers aren’t seeing any premiums for their products, and are getting only average program prices.The U.S., as well as Brazil, has record crops in soybean, keeping prices low.”The midwest enjoyed good weather and record yields, while we were hit with the drought and bad yields, sticking us with low prices,” Thomas said.While the food price increases may seem low to most Georgians, for many low-income Georgians and those who depend on shrinking federal help, they can be a strain on household budgets.”Any price fluctuation affects the poor more significantly than any other group,” said Bill Bolling, executive director of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. “For those who are having a difficult time paying rent, buying food and caring for their children, even a slight increase makes it even more difficult.”Household income also has an impact on what is spent on food.”Our latest figures show that a family whose income is between $5,000 and $9,999 per year will spend about $2,389 on food. That’s 32 percent of their income,” Thomas said. Families earning $30,000 to $39,999 spend more,$4,710, on food but that is just 14.7 percent of their income.last_img read more

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Apple Picking on Long Island 2015: Where to Pick Your Apples

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first_imgBetween hayrides, farm stands, corn mazes, wagon rides, and games for the kids, theses family friendly farms offer loved ones the chance to make the most of any trip on LI’s iconic East End. The fresh produce that the farmers markets provide as well as their delicious candy apples will have you and your loved ones eating all day. Going apple picking is a fun and scenic way to spend the day, and it will be a memory that you will treasure long after the fruits of your labors are devoured. The list below contains multiple locations that you will want to check out this fall.Do not miss your chance to pick the big apple out on Long Island. And remember: It’s always best to call ahead to ensure that these popular orchards haven’t already been picked clean!DAVIS PEACH FARMFor more than 100 years Davis Peach Farm has been growing and selling the plumpest, juiciest peaches around. This unbeatable go-to spot for fresh produce also yields the crispest, juiciest apples ripe for pickin’! Pick your own apples until the end of September, or pick peaches and nectarines through the second week of October. They won’t reveal the secret blend of juices in their famous sangria mix, but luckily you can purchase it at their farmers market and experience this all-healing nectar at home! Hulse Landing Road, Wading River. 631-929-1115. Davispeachfarm.com 9 a.m.-5 p.m (Call first to confirm trees available for picking.)FORT SALONGA FARMThe raspberries at this farm are sweet, plump, and pick-your-own on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Unfortunately, the apple orchard is only open to class trips this year due to deer-related crop damage. 30 Meadow Glen Rd., Northport. 631-269-9666. Fortsalongafarm.comHARBES FAMILY FARM AND ORCHARDOffering a corn maze, a spooky maze, pumpkin hay rides, and more than 24 different types of apples, Harbes Family Farm and Orchard has the best to offer for all ages, with a family friendly environment guaranteed to amaze and entertain! Be sure to visit their vineyard and tasting room after your fun-filled day on the farm. 5698 Sound Ave., Riverhead. 631-298-0800 or 631-298-0700. Harbesfamilyfarm.com/apple-picking Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. $8 per person.LEWIN FARMS Sprawling across more than 1,100 acres, Lewin Farms boasts a corn maze, a farm stand, and several pick-your-own fruits and vegetables including tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, apples and pumpkins. The amount of crops this farm has to offer is unmatched. Call for prices and to confirm apple availability. Sound Avenue, Baiting Hollow. 631-929-4327. Lewinfarm.com 9 a.m-4:30 p.m. Weekends and holidays only.MILK PAIL FARM AND ORCHARDThis orchard is a must for picking your own apples, pumpkins, gourds and squash. The kids will love picking their own apples from the dwarf apple trees! Pick up some nut butters, plants, berries and pies at their fresh market before you head home! 1346 Montauk Hwy., Water Mill. 631-537-2565. Milk-pail.com 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday. $43 per 20-pound bag.SEVEN PONDS ORCHARDPick from four apple varieties this year: Gingergold, Gala, Honeycrisp and Macintosh. Not into apples? Then pick your own raspberries, string beans and tomatoes before hitting up the incredible farmers market, hopping on the hayride, getting lost in the corn maze, or just joshing around at the playground. Wow! Seven Ponds Road, Water Mill. 631-726-8015. Facebook.com/pages/seven-ponds-orchard 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Sunday.THE APPLE ORCHARD @ HANK’S PUMPKINTOWNPumpkintown has it all—apple picking, pumpkin picking, face painting, a playground, and even gem mining! Will you find gemstones, fossils, arrowheads or seashells? Of course you will! This orchard offers the best kid-friendly environment around and will be a good time for everyone. There are a dozen apple varieties to pick— Gala, McIntosh, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Cortland, Macoun, Empire, Snow Sweet, Jonagold, Suncrisp and Mutsu—with varying ripening times. 240 Montauk Hwy, Water Mill. 631-726-4667. Hankspumpkintown.com 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday-Sunday. $20 per 10-pound bag, limited to four people per bag.WICKHAM’S FRUIT FARMMost of this farm dates back to 1661, and its grounds offers apple picking, peaches, tomatoes, and raspberries. Set against beautiful Peconic Bay, you can tour this historic farm, cider press, and working beehive on a wagon ride! In addition to apple picking, they also offer homemade pies, jams, preserves and teabreads. Don’t leave without enjoying their gourmet selection of specialty cheeses! Who would have thought apples and cheese pair so scrumptiously well together? Dee-lishhh! 28700 Main Rd., Cutchogue. 631-734-6441. Wickhamsfruitfarm.com 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Saturday. Closed Sunday.WINDY ACRES FARMPick your own apples at this family-owned farm run by fourth-generation farmers. Their farm stand offers roasted corn and cider doughnuts, as well as eggplant, tomatoes, okra, peppers and string beans—all bound to soothe the belly and soul. Pick up some fresh produce, and enjoy it in the picnic area while the little ones have a ball at the playground! 3810 Middle Country Rd., Calverton. 631-727-4554. Facebook.com/pages/windy-acres-farm 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Sunday.WOODSIDE ORCHARDS  For more than three decades this family-run orchard has been offering the very best, most delectable apple pies, fresh cider, and more than 30 varieties of apples to pick from. They have truly taken apple cider to the next level! Try out their cider slushies and five different kinds of hard cider! They even brew their own apple wine! The special semi-dwarfed trees grown at both of their locations make it easy for people of all sizes and almost all ages to pick the apples since the trees only reach a height of about 10 feet! So, hungry pickers won’t have to go too far out on a limb to snatch something delicious. 631-722-5770. Woodsideorchards.com Manor Lane, Jamesport: Saturday-Sunday 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Route 25, Aquebogue: Monday-Sunday 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.—With Desiree D’iorio Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York With fall in the air, the apples are getting ripe for picking at farms out east, which are basking in the autumn glow as families pour in for refreshing apple cider, mouth-watering apple pies and an assortment of delectable apple-inspired goodies.last_img read more

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Long Island Sound Sicker and Healthier Than We Think, Study Reveals

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first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York This summer an important environmental study of Long Island Sound came out that could—and should—play a vital role in its preservation and provide a model for protecting other estuaries around the world. The findings surprised even the scientists working on the research, myself included. They underscore the remarkable opportunities and challenges affecting the Sound.I’ve studied estuaries throughout the nation and around the world, and Long Island Sound’s uniqueness not only makes it special but protects it in ways that should be more widely understood. In every other estuary—those places where freshwater meets saltwater—the head of the estuary is where the flow of freshwater is concentrated. With the Sound, the largest flow of freshwater is not at the head, New York City, but on the side near the eastern end, where the Connecticut River—the longest river in New England—discharges its waters between Old Saybrook and Old Lyme.What makes the Sound even more remarkable is that on its western end is one of the world’s most important megacities, and on its eastern end is “The Race,” where the tide races into Long Island Sound from Block Island Sound. Also notable are the contrasts between the shores of Long Island and Connecticut. Long Island is essentially a glacially deposited sandbar, while Connecticut is composed of rocky headlands divided by a series of rivers.Those differences, plus the shared dependence on the Sound, made it crucial to have organizations and individuals from both sides of the Sound engaged in the research—through funders, agencies collecting data and citizen scientists.The Long Island Sound Report Card was funded by the Long Island Sound Funders Collaborative and created by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, where I oversaw the scientific synthesis. It is the result of collaboration—not only among funders but among scientific organizations on both shores of the Sound and among academic researchers and citizen scientists. That process and the report’s findings offer great hope for the Sound, which is unlike any other estuary in the world and yet can provide a reporting model for others.The Long Island Sound Funders Collaborative consists of a dozen foundations based on Long Island, in Connecticut and New York City, and beyond, convened initially by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The LI-based foundations are the Long Island Community Foundation, New York Community Bank Foundation and the Rauch Foundation.Data was collected by agencies of both states as well as by the Interstate Environmental Commission and the federal government. The citizen scientists collected data on two geographic areas of particular focus: Inner Hempstead Harbor and Norwalk Harbor.We worked to build a consensus, so the report would reflect broad agreement on key findings and, therefore, convey an especially powerful and objective conclusion. What the report found was that “there is a variation from west to east of unhealthy (F) to healthy water quality (A). The Western Narrows is affected by the highly populated, suburban-urban communities surrounding New York City and scored the worst. Moving east from western Connecticut and western Long Island, the water quality improves. In the eastern Sound, the pollution is diluted by exchange with the Atlantic Ocean.”What surprised us is how quickly the water quality improves as you move from west to east. Before you even lose sight of the Manhattan skyline, the pollution has started to dissipate. That’s because of the input of freshwater along the Connecticut coast and the power of The Race. Together they flush the Sound intensively, leaving its eastern end in amazingly good shape.There’s still a lot of work ahead to improve and protect the Sound, but these findings provide reason for hope and optimism. The Sound still faces many significant challenges, but they have changed in recent decades.The Clean Water Act of 1972 and the Clean Air Act, passed in 1970 and subsequently amended, have reduced the pollution coming out of pipes: car exhausts, smokestacks, and sewers. Now we need to make progress on more diffuse sources, especially runoff from streets and other hard surfaces, residential landscapes and agriculture.Long Island soil is very sandy, and water flows readily through it, carrying toxics from septic systems and agriculture. Septic systems clean up household waste but do not remove nutrients, like excessive nitrogen, which cause pollution.New York City needs to focus more on the runoff associated with both storm water and rainwater. The hardening of urban surfaces makes it very easy for runoff to reach the Sound.Connecticut faces challenges reflecting its coastal mix of cities and towns. Its shore also has a huge industrial legacy from past manufacturing that is disturbed when storms disrupt underwater sediment.The Long Island Sound Report Card offers a collaborative model and a set of findings that enable the tracking of combined efforts at conservation. In doing so, it adds significant value to other crucial environmental work being conducted around the Sound. It also provides a basis for collective improvement of one of the best-known estuaries in the world and could become a model for enhancing estuaries affected by the growth of 21st-century megacities.William Dennison is Vice President for Science Applications and Professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.last_img read more

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It’s time for everyone to step up their game (and here’s an easy way to get started)

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first_img 14SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Michael Hudson Dr. Michael Hudson started his first business when he was just 7 years old…riding his bicycle from house to house selling greeting cards and holiday gifts. Since then he … Web: michaelhudson.com Details “People are very open-minded about new things—as long as they’re exactly like the old ones.”   -Charles KetteringOne of my favorite books is Change is Good…You Go First by Mac Anderson and Tom Feltenstein. The title says it all and speaks volumes about the way we tend to look at the idea of doing things differently.It’s a natural, human response. On the one hand we prefer continuing to do what we know, what feels comfortable, and what we perceive as safe. On the other hand we fear venturing into the unknown, facing an increased risk of failure, and coming to grips with the possibility that we were wrong.However there is only one constant in life, and that constant is change.If you are going to lead in any capacity today, then you need to raise your game—to understand change, accept change, and cause change (frequently).Nowhere is this more important for credit unions than in the area of governance. More specifically in pushing to have (current and future) board members step up their game so they are better equipped to fulfill their responsibilities.OK, I know that I am treading into difficult territory here. And I fully understand the urge to push back against an argument for changing things that have created past success.But the fact is that the world of boards is changing in both the for-profit and not-for-profit worlds. A recent post on the Harvard Business Review website shares a number of valuable insights that credit union board leaders would be well served to consider (it is a must read for all CU leaders).The post reveals that it’s not just about who is willing to serve, but rather about their capacity to contribute, the quality and relevance of their experience, their areas of expertise, and their understanding of strategy.From where I sit as someone who has had the privilege of facilitating planning sessions for credit unions for the past 15 years, the article reminded me of the importance of board members (and frankly all CU leaders) committing to develop their capacity to lead—the most important way they can step up their game and increase their impact.I know, you already have enough to do and there’s just not time for one more thing.But consider this…If you schedule just 10 minutes per day five days each week to expand your knowledge and understanding of the strategic challenges and opportunities facing your credit union you will end up investing more than 40 hours in building your capacity this year.Can you imagine what you might learn in over 40 hours and how that might enable you to be more effective in leading your credit union?Here are some possible ways to invest your 10 minutes each day:Read one or more of the credit union industry daily e-mails—skim, scan, and scroll the posts and pick one or two that capture your interestRead a business focused blog like the one from the Harvard Business Review mentioned in this articleSkim a magazine that you wouldn’t normally read to broaden your perspective on today’s marketplaceWatch a business or financial news program on TVSearch YouTube.com for videos related to business, financial services, marketing, technology, or other concepts of interest and watch a coupleCheck out a visit Ted.com and watch a TedTalk on a subject of interestHave coffee with someone who isn’t familiar with your credit union and gain their insightsYou get the idea—find ways to explore and build your knowledge about the world of business and what it takes to succeed today, as well as what it will take to succeed tomorrow, and you’ll become a more valuable leader for your credit union.So how will you invest your 10 minutes tomorrow?last_img read more

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C(U)-3PO: Credit unions awaken their force with ‘Star Wars’ release

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first_imgTATOOINE — There are two words on just about everyone’s minds right now: “Star Wars.” So what better way to raise awareness than by combining #creditunion and #starwars in the same tweet?Credit unions across the country have taken advantage of the release of the latest installment of the classic science-fiction series to promote their brands and have a little fun along the way.Several credit unions held ticket giveaways to first screenings of the flick, others held “Star Wars”-themed contests on social media, while others still merely used the opportunity to poke fun at the big bank “Empire.”Some of the best examples can be seen below, and don’t miss the creative Twitter posts compiled in the Storify: continue reading » 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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