Two named MacArthur Fellows

first_imgMatthew Desmond, the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences, and Beth Stevens, an assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and neuroscientist at Boston Children’s Hospital, were named MacArthur Fellows today.Tackling what he called “some of the most morally urgent questions of the day” is Desmond’s goal. He said he was literally floored when he got the call that he had won the award. “I was at my desk in William James, and I sat on the floor,” he recalled, overwhelmed by feelings of both shock and gratitude.Stevens said today that she was similarly in awe. “I feel humbled by the recognition, but inspired by the work ahead,” she related. “Hopefully, the attention from the MacArthur award will build momentum in understanding the essential role of microglia in the developing brain.”Matthew Desmond, 2015 MacArthur Fellow <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wajNrp43q8M” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://img.youtube.com/vi/wajNrp43q8M/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a> Matthew Desmond is an urban sociologist revealing the impact of eviction on poor families and the role of housing policy in sustaining poverty and racial inequality in large American cities. Courtesy of the MacArthur FoundationAs MacArthur Fellows, Desmond and Stevens join two dozen others from a variety of fields who also won awards today. The fellowships are given annually in recognition of significant originality and dedication, and come with no-strings-attached grants of $625,000. Recipients are nominated anonymously and don’t know they are being considered until they are notified that they have won.Other winners with ties to the University included Heidi Williams, an economist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who studies health care markets and who earned her doctorate at Harvard in 2010, and Peidong Yang, an inorganic chemist at the University of California at Berkeley who specializes in nanowires and who earned his doctorate at Harvard in 1997.Desmond said that the so-called “genius grant” couldn’t have come at a better time. His teaching and research focus on urban sociology, poverty, race and ethnicity, organizations and work, social theory, and ethnography. He just finished his fourth book, “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City,” which will be published in March, and is beginning two projects. One will continue his work on housing, looking at eviction on a global scale, and the other will examine the child welfare system.His projects, he explained, start with questions. For the first, Desmond, who came to Harvard in 2010, will ask: “What’s it like to be priced out of the city? What is it like to be a poor person in America and give 60, 70, 80 percent of your income for housing? What’s it like in Delhi? In Lagos, a city of 17 million?”A California native who was raised in Arizona, Desmond said his second project will be more domestic in focus, looking at child welfare systems in the United States.“The big question is: How does contact with child protective services change low-income families?” he said. “On any day, there are about 400,000 children in foster care. Many will be reunited with their birth parents, so how does coming into contact with this very intense system change how parents operate, how they parent? How did [these children] get there in the first place?”He hopes to start the projects at the same time and foresees both taking “years of work” that will probably culminate in new books. “I can’t tell you the particulars of how it’s going to work out,” he said. “I can tell you I feel an amazing responsibility.”The unrestricted nature of the MacArthur award, said Desmond, brings with it the freedom and the responsibility “for doing work that might be more risky or innovative. That’s one thing the grant allows that’s unique.” Desmond’s field, he said, is up to the challenge. “Social science has a big role to play in these huge questions of poverty and social equality. My work is to push these conversations forward.”In announcing the award, the MacArthur Foundation said that Desmond “is shedding light on how entrenched poverty and racial inequality are built and sustained by housing policies in large American cities.”Beth Stevens, 2015 MacArthur Fellow Beth Stevens is a neuroscientist revealing the heretofore unknown role of microglial cells in neuron communication and prompting a fundamental shift in thinking about brain development in both healthy and unhealthy states. Courtesy of the MacArthur Foundation For Stevens, her research deals with a critical immune cell found in the brain, called a microglial cell. Until recently, that cell was thought only to protect the brain by reducing inflammation and removing foreign bodies. But Stevens showed that the microglial cells are also responsible for an important step in brain development: the removal of excess connections as young people grow and develop.Babies, Stevens said, are born with lots of extra synapses in their brains that get trimmed and pruned as they grow, learn, and experience the world. This process ensures that the brain’s wiring is as efficient as possible and, if something goes wrong in the process, may lie at the root of some adult neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or Huntington’s disease.“Another way of thinking about it is the ‘use it or lose it’ idea,” Stevens said. “A baby’s brain has all these extra synapses because it’s not clear yet how the environment is going to impact that child, that individual. Based on environment and experience, then, the connections that are meaningful get strengthened and maintained, and the rest get removed.”In addition to working to understand the normal developmental process, Stevens in recent years has turned her attention to what happens if the process goes wrong. She sees two possibilities, both of which her lab is beginning to explore.In the first, the normal developmental process goes awry, resulting in aberrant brain wiring, such as is evident in disorders such as autism and schizophrenia. In the second, researchers are exploring whether the process, normally shut off in adults, might be turned on again, resulting in the loss of synapses and brain function, as seen in diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s.“It has a lot of therapeutic potential — if it’s true — because a lot of synaptic loss happens in humans potentially years before you get memory loss or pathology,” Stevens said. “If we can figure out a way to protect the synapses, it might slow the progression of the disease.”Stevens said she became interested in neuroscience while a graduate student at the University of Maryland. She began working in the lab as the understanding of glial cells was evolving from a belief that they mainly provided structure for the brain’s neurons to where their functional roles were becoming apparent. She furthered her exploration of microglial cell function at Children’s Hospital, where she has a lab of about 15 staff, fellows, and students whose enthusiasm and talent she credited for the much of the lab’s success.“My lab is awesome,” Stevens said. “They’re an incredible group of people who make it all happen and make it all fun.”Stevens was in her office, working on a grant application, ironically, when she learned that she had won the MacArthur. Even though the call came two weeks ago, it still doesn’t seem real to her, she said, at least in part because she was sworn to secrecy and had to go about her business before it was announced today.“You can’t talk about it, so it doesn’t seem real,” Stevens said. “It is pretty amazing. It’s a huge honor that I’m still processing.”Stevens received her bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University in 1993 and her doctorate at Maryland in 2003. After spending time as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford, she came to HMS and Children’s Hospital. She is also an institute member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.“Stevens is redefining our understanding of how the wiring in the brain occurs and changes in early life, and shedding new light on how the nervous and immune systems interact in the brain, both in health and in disease,” the MacArthur Foundation wrote in its award announcement.Stevens said she is still pondering about how best to use the award money, but said it will almost certainly be used to give her flexibility, and allow her to spend more time in the lab, and with her family.Reflecting on how her high school biology teacher helped her onto the path to her rewarding career, she said she wants to mentor more young scientists.“It’s going to open up some flexibility and options: more time in the lab and less time doing what I don’t want to do,” Stevens said. <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DOYTpXkLOY” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://img.youtube.com/vi/6DOYTpXkLOY/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a>last_img read more

Azerbaijan pension project doomed to fail without ‘mandatory element’

first_imgOne of the foreign experts in the EU’s twinning project with Azerbaijan to set up funded elements in the pension system has voiced concerns over the sustainability of the exercise.Dace Brencēna, chief executive at SEB’s Latvian pension fund, told IPE the project was “on time and on track”, with a legal framework for the new pension system already being drafted.However, she also voiced concern that the funded elements introduced might “not grow very fast to begin with because they are purely voluntary”.“It will take some time – especially in Azerbaijan, where long-term savings are not that well known, where even life insurance contracts are only tax-incentivised for three years,” she said. In 2013, Azerbaijan and the European Union signed agreements for a twinning project, funded by the EU, to establish a funded non-state second pillar.Azerbaijan aims to develop a funded element within the national pension system and promote a market for private pensions through the creation of a legal framework for non-state pension funds.Latvia and Germany have been twinned with the country to “enhance capacity of the State Social Protection Fund of Azerbaijan (SSPF) to establish the regulatory, legal and administrative framework for the introduction of a funded element in the insurance-pension system and the establishment of non-state pension”, according to a 2014 mission statement.However, Brencēna argued that the Azerbaijan government was “not ready to promise any contribution matching at the moment” but would would use tax incentives to get people to make additional payments to the state pension fund.According to Brencēna, the SSPF will manage the assets in-house, which will make it the second major institutional investor in the country after the €27bn state oil fund.As for the second pillar, providers will be able to set up pension funds as soon as the legal framework is finalised, which might happen by the end of the year.Those funds will then be open to employers and employees – but again without a mandatory element.Brencēna confirmed that all EU directives on pension funds would be included in the new Azerbaijan pension laws to make the system compatible with those in EU countries.To learn more about the pension project in Azerbaijan, click herelast_img read more

South Africa moves closer to finalising nuclear power program

first_imgSouth Africa is edging closer to announcing the final details of its new nuclear power program.The government is planning to offer a $100 billion contract for the construction of up to 8 nuclear power plants, aimed at addressing the nation’s chronic power shortages. CCTV’s Angelo Coppola reports.last_img

Other Sports Parupalli Kashyap Advances To Korea Open Badminton Semi-Final

first_imgIncheon: Indian shuttler Parupalli Kashyap progressed to the men’s singles semi-finals of the Korea Open World Tour Super 500 with a straight-game win over former world no 2 Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen in Incheon on Friday. In a clinical display, the 33-year-old from Hyderabad, who is the lone Indian left in fray, outsmarted Jorgensen 24-22 21-8 in 37 minutes to make it to his second semifinal of the season. He had reached the last four at the India Open Super 500 tournament. The 2014 Commonwealth Games gold-medallist will now face world no 1 and two-time world champion Kento Momota of Japan on Saturday.  A former World No 6, Kashyap, who was promoted from the qualifying round, had last played Jorgensen five years ago at the Denmark Open. The Indian entered the match with a 2-4 record against Jorgensen, a 2015 World Championship bronze medallist. In the first game, the duo engaged in short rallies initially and spilt the first 8 points. A couple of backhand error and Kashyap was lagging 5-8. Another miscued shot at the net and a wide smash gave Jorgensen an 11-8 advantage at the break.  After the interval, Kashyap garnered a few quick points to turn the tables on his rival, reaching 14-12. The Dane hit the net thrice and also went long, while Kashyap unleashed two powerful cross court smashes. A precise slice helped Jorgensen break the run of points and then level par when kashyap committed an error. The duo fought hard, moving from 14-14 to 18-18. A timely video referrel gave Kashyap another point but he sent one to the net as it was 19-19. Also Read | Parupalli Kashyap settles for silver in Canada Open Super 100 badminton tournament Jorgensen then held the game point opportunity after a precise smash at the backline. However, a jump smash from the Indian made it 20-20. Kashyap then earned a game point only to give it away. However, the Indian grabbed a second game point opportunity and converted it when his opponent hit the net. He thus sealed the first game which lasted 22 minutes. The second game started on a similar note with the duo tied 3-3 initially.Also Read | Saina Nehwal Crashes Out, Parupalli Kashyap Lone Indian In Korea Open BadmintonKashyap then took control of the net and curbed his errors to reel off five straight points. Jorgensen tried to up the pace but unforced errors pegged him back as kashyap held a 11-7 lead at the breather. It was mostly one way traffic after the break as Kashyap found the gaps easily even as his rival got buried in a heap of unforced errors. Kashyap grabbed the next nine of the 10 points to move to the match point and then sealed it with a smash.  For all the Latest Sports News News, Other Sports News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

Clippers’ brand of basketball creates fans throughout the NBA

first_imgAfter surviving a tougher-than-most-expected series against the Clippers, Warriors Coach Steve Kerr began his postgame news conference by paying tribute to a valiant opponent.“Before I take any questions,” Kerr said, “I want to say congrats to the Clippers on an amazing season. I love their team. I just love how they compete, how they fight and play for each other. That’s a beautiful basketball team. They made us work for everything. So they’ve got a bright future. And Doc (Rivers) did a great job with them all year, and their young guys are impressive. That was tough. That was a tough, tough series.” What the Clippers are saying the day after Luka Doncic’s game-winner tied series, 2-2 Kristaps Porzingis ruled out as Clippers, Mavericks set for Game 5; Follow for game updates Clippers vs. Mavericks Game 5 playoff updates from NBA beat reporters PLAYA VISTA — The Clippers have become full-fledged members of the mutual admiration society.During exit interviews with beat reporters Saturday at the team’s practice facility, Clippers guard Patrick Beverley spoke about how much he appreciated the team’s fans, who stayed put Friday at Staples Center until the end to express their gratitude for a season well played.“It was incredible, man,” Beverley said. “No one left early because we were losing, (they) stayed the whole time. It shows you that people bought in, and we appreciate that.”But it wasn’t just the fans who were fans of the Clippers this season. Asked about Kerr’s comments on Saturday, Rivers relayed a message from another coach, whom he declined to name except to say that his team is alive in the postseason.“He said, ‘Last night was my saddest night of the season,’” Rivers said. “And I’m like, ‘What the heck?’ He (said), ‘Because I watch you guys play every game, and it gave me such basketball enjoyment, not only how hard you played but the way you played that everyone knew their role.”“It was just really neat to read, because first of all, he’s busy, and second of all, I don’t know him that well. And third, just the things he said made me feel great when I woke up this morning and read it.”ROOKIE LESSONSImmediately after Friday’s 129-110 loss to the two-time defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors, Clippers rookie Landry Shamet was critical of himself, lamenting the feeling that he “got boxed into a scouting report” without making adjustments to counteract what Golden State expected him to do.Related Articlescenter_img For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory Clippers hope they can play to their capabilities, quell Mavericks’ momentum After a night to process the game and what was, for the rookie, a wild season that began in Philadelphia and ended with L.A., he went a little easier on himself.“If you would’ve told me that I would’ve been starting on a playoff team and we would’ve taken Golden State to six games and my job was gonna be to guard Steph Curry a year ago? I would’ve been like ‘Dude, come on,’” said Shamet, who shot 45% from deep and averaged 10.9 points per game in 25 regular-season games with the Clippers.“It’s just crazy. I’m glad I’m here. It’s an incredible opportunity for me not only this year but I think in the future in the next coming years.”He’ll be better, he said, after having been assigned to guard Curry and Klay Thompson in the playoffs.“Those guys are the best of the best and I’m chasing them around for six games in a row,” Shamet, 22, said. “You’re gonna find things here and there that works … They taught me a lot. So thank you guys.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Easter and Pets – Information from Joint Animal Services

first_imgFacebook0Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Joint Animal ServicesCute bunnies and fuzzy chicks find their way into the Easter baskets each spring. Unfortunately, as they grow, many of these Easter pets become unwanted or owners are unable to care for them.Some neighborhoods do not allow these types of pets. Rather than a living addition to the Easter basket, give an adoption gift certificate from Animal Services. This way the recipient can select the pet that fits their lifestyle and speaks to their heart. As Easter is right around the corner, here are some tips to help keep your pets safe.  1) Keep all that extra candy safely tucked away from your pets.  Chocolate, macadamia nuts and xylitol (an artificial sweetener) are toxic to many pets.2) Easter Lilies can be fatal if ingested by our furry friends.3) Many pets will try to nibble the plastic grass from Easter baskets, which can cause blocked digestive tracks and other medical issues.For more information, visit www.jointanimalservices.org or call Animal Services at (360) 352-2510.last_img read more

Discussions Begin On Repair or Replacement of Sea Bright-Rumson Bridge

first_imgAfter 50 years of service, officials say the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge is in need of repair or replacement.By John BurtonRUMSON — State, county and local officials gathered at Borough Hall on Wednesday for the first of what is expected to be a series of meetings on the repair or replacement of the Rumson-Sea Bright bridge.County bridge S-32 extends from Rumson Road on this side of the Shrewsbury River to state Highway 36/Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright. The current structure is about 50 years old, said Martine Culbertson, a community involvement facilitator and consultant, who presided over the meeting.There had been discussions about five or six years about rehabilitating the bridge, but “That project had to be terminated,” said Jon Moran, Monmouth County bridge engineer, but he did not elaborate on the reason why.“It either needs to be rehabilitated or replaced,” Moran said on Wednesday.“The purpose of this meeting is to get input from the stakeholders,” he continued. “What you’d like to see.”“With a 50-year-old bridge we’re starting to see deterioration,” Moran said, noting it would need roughly $10 million worth of work to allow the existing bridge to continue operating.The fact-finding portion of the project, which is federally funded, is expected to take about 18 months, which Culbertson said was an ‘ambitious timeframe’ in which to evaluate public input and make recommendations as to how the project should proceed.But, added Bruce Riegel, the project manager for Hardesty and Hanover, LLC, “This bridge is in serious condition.”To completely build a new bridge could take as much as three years, Riegel said. Another option would be to conduct a maintenance overhaul, which would take approximately 18 months.The Oceanic Bridge, county bridge S-31, connecting Rumson and Middletown, is currently undergoing extensive repairs designed to extend its life for another ten years, at which point the Oceanic bridge would be replaced.County officials would like to wait until that project has been accomplished before moving forward with this, Moran said.Those present at the meeting included local elected officials, administrators and law enforcement personnel.Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl and Sea Bright Borough Councilman C. Read Murphy agreed that one issue to be addressed as the project moves forward is traffic flow.Vehicles traveling in to Sea Bright are currenty prohibited from making a right on red at Highway 36 South.The officials believe that slows traffic down unnecessarily and should be changed, if not during the heavily traveled summer months, then at least during the off-season.Another point, raised by Murphy concerned to bridge’s opening for boat traffic. He said the bridge opens on the half-hour on summer weekends and on request during the week; that can snarl traffic for miles, he said.“One thing,” Culbertson countered. “Boats don’t have breaks,” and the U.S. Coast Guard dictates the current schedule.Other topics concerned the impact on pedestrian safety and on mass transit in the area.Stephen Cutler, a Rumson resident and owner of Channel Club beach club, Monmouth Beach, wanted to know “How can anyone come to the conclusion that closing this bridge for 18 months makes any economic sense?”“There is no easy answer here or we wouldn’t be sitting here,” Culbertson said. “But there is a reality.”The current bridge is the fourth one to connect Sea Bright and Rumson across the Shrewsbury River. “It can be done and it has been done,” Culbertson said of the bridge replacement.The first public input session on the Sea Bright-Rumson bridge will take place Monday Feb. 27, from 1-4 p.m. in Sea Bright, and 6-9 p.m. in Rumson.Another stakeholder gathering will be held in April.last_img read more

Police report vehicle vandal and ask for help in case of severely

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 06 Jul 2015 – Lots of likes and kudos from the general public for the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police as it moves to be more forthcoming with crime information… among the reports issued, is a disturbing series of attacks in Grand Turk from Thursday. At least two off duty police officers and two civilians reported their cars vandalized by who investigators believe may be the same culprit or culprits. Around 3am Thursday was when the vandal struck; using bricks and rocks the four separate incidents roused vehicle owners from their sleep with a loud noise and upon inspection outside they found their windshields busted. No one was injured and all of the incidents took place in Breezy Brae and information is needed to solve this one. More seriously, a young man – 27 was beaten near fatally and had to be airlifted out of the country on the weekend. The man was found on Aviation Drive around 12:30am Friday, when emergency services were called. There were head, chest and leg injuries according to the police report. Police say they have already begun investigations even as they ask the public for help in determining who is responsible for this violent assault. Kevino Smith protests to continue Thursday at Parliament Recommended for you Vehicle Break Ins escalating; fiends hot wire cars Related Items:breezy brae, cars, vandalized Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Car break ins still happening, residents not taking heedlast_img read more