When the stars come out, it is not always nighttime. Take, for instance, the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal ceremony on Wednesday afternoon at Sanders Theatre.The six medalists included a White House adviser (Valerie Jarrett), a playwright with a Pulitzer Prize (Tony Kushner), a U.S. representative called “the conscious of Congress” (John Lewis), an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (Sonia Sotomayor), the commissioner of the National Basketball Association (David Stern), and a Hollywood director with three Oscars (Steven Spielberg).The medals, awarded since 2000, go to writers, artists, philanthropists, and others for outstanding contributions to African-American culture.Jarrett and Lewis did not attend because of this week’s shutdown crisis in Washington, D.C. “It’s one thing for our Republican friends to shut down the government,” mused Henry Louis Gates Jr., the event’s host and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. “It’s another to disrupt this ceremony.”Even those introducing the medalists had star power. In the front were Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow and NBA Hall of Fame player Bill Russell. Nearby was Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Harvard President Drew Faust, and Tony Award winner Diane Paulus, artistic director of the American Repertory Theater.Also in the front row, ready to present one of four readings from W.E.B. Du Bois, was Wole Soyinka, the 1986 recipient of the Nobel Prize in literature and the first African laureate. He is a Hutchins Fellow at the new Hutchins Center for African and African American Research.Glenn H. Hutchins and Harvard President Drew Faust shared the stage during the star-studded event, which marked the inauguration of the new Hutchins Center for African and African American Research.The center, with Gates as its first director, was itself a star of the event, which marked its inauguration. The center brings under one roof the W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute, the Hiphop Archive & Research Institute, the Image of the Black Archive & Library, the Du Bois Review, Transition Magazine, the Neil L. and Angelica Zander Rudenstine Gallery, and the Hutchins Family Library. Four new entities will reside at the center, too: the Afro-Latin American Research Institute, the History Design Studio, the Program for the Study of Race & Gender in Science and Medicine, and the Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art.The center made Glenn H. Hutchins ’77, J.D.-M.B.A. ’83, yet another star. He endowed the Hutchins Family Foundation, which made the center possible with a gift of $15 million.Gates, who is also the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University, started the ceremony with a long historical introduction on African-Americans at the University, a look at “fair Harvard,” he said, “and not-so-fair Harvard,” where there were no black graduates of the College for its first 234 years. (The first was Richard T. Greener in 1870. The first professional degrees — in law, medicine, and dentistry — had been awarded to three black men the year before.)Gates also made much of Sanders, sketching an arc of progress from 1869 to the present. It was in “this august space,” he said, that “two seminal events” took place more than a century ago, putting Harvard on a path to racial justice: an 1890 Commencement address by Du Bois (on Jefferson Davis), and, in 1896, the first Harvard honorary degree conferred on a black man, Booker T. Washington. (The year before, Du Bois had become Harvard’s first African-American Ph.D.)Hutchins took the podium next, thanking Gates after his lengthy history lesson for “the wonderful words,” and then promising — to laughter — to say fewer of them. Apologizing to Spielberg, he showed a video about the Hutchins Center.That too was a star-heavy production, featuring Harvard’s William Julius Wilson, Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, and Lawrence D. Bobo, all of whom did readings from Du Bois during the ceremony. Also on screen were Faust, Lawrence Summers, Neil Rudenstine, Robert Rubin, Robert D. Reischauer, Dean Michael D. Smith of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Marcyliena Morgan, executive director of the Hiphop Archive.Bobo, Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences, struck at the canard that Africa was a continent that had not contributed much to world culture. “This is one of the places,” he said of the center, “correcting the deep error of that assumption.”Introducing the first medalist, Patrick apologized on behalf of Jarrett, a key White House player in President Obama’s domestic agenda. She had looked forward to being at Harvard, he read from a note she had sent, since it would take her “outside the madness of Washington, D.C.”Paulus introduced Kushner, praising him for his “fierce intellect,” his “wild imagination, and deep, deep compassion,” and noting his numerous awards, including a Pulitzer, two Tonys, three Obies, and, earlier this year, the National Medal of Arts and Humanities. The Du Bois medal “is named after one of my heroes,” said Kushner, and was bestowed by another, Gates.Wole Soyinka, the 1986 recipient of the Nobel Prize in literature and a Hutchins Fellow, presented one of four readings from W.E.B. Du Bois at the event.Stern is retiring next year after 30 years running the NBA. A towering Russell, age 79 and sporting a gray goatee, rose from his front-row seat and loped slowly across the stage to introduce him. “A few years ago, I used to send checks” to Harvard, said Russell, a reference to his youngest daughter’s years at Harvard Law School. At her graduation, he said, she asked him to take a picture — so he turned his pockets inside out.As for the commissioner, “One of the highest honors I received as a man was to talk about David Stern,” said Russell, praising him for his respect for players and for his commitment to community service. “He’s made a lot of money for the NBA. But that is not the agenda. The agenda is to be good citizens.”“That’s one of the great honors, to be introduced by Bill Russell,” Stern said of the 12-time All-Star. Stern took a moment to marvel at Russell’s career, which began in a vanished age of basketball road games in segregated communities, “when Bill couldn’t eat and sleep with his teammates.”When Minow introduced Sotomayor, she said the medal was going not only to an accomplished jurist, but “to Sonia from the Bronx.” Sanders lit up with cheers.Sotomayor is “intellectually demanding,” said Minow of “my classmate, my friend, my hero,” but “she is also the justice who knows all the names of the cafeteria workers,” a down-to-earth champion of demystifying the law, including a primer on what judges do for an episode of “Sesame Street.”At the podium, Sotomayor said Minow had illustrated an important piece of advice: “Always invite a friend to give your introductions.”Sotomayor also remarked on the pioneers of racial justice who figured in Gates’ introductory historical remarks. “I never stood alone,” she said of her own rise from a working-class childhood. “I stand on the shoulders of all those men and women.”Hutchins discussed Lewis, a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement who by age 23 had been arrested 24 times and who in 1963 was the youngest speaker during the famed March on Washington. He is the only surviving speaker from the day of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.Faust introduced the last medalist, Spielberg, whose four decades of moviemaking “have shaped our lives,” she said, with visions of “hope, beauty, excitement, and nobility.”Spielberg’s remarks were the briefest, and started with a memory of 2012, when his film “Lincoln” had just been released and reviews were starting to roll in. “The only thing I cared about,” he said, was “What does Skip Gates think of my movie?”As for the Du Bois award, Spielberg summed up the collective bravery of all who came before in the fight for racial justice. “Nothing gets done,” he said, “unless we’re all going uphill.”
About the Artist: With a desire to celebrate the magic of live theater and those who create it, and with a deep reverence for such touchstones as the work of Al Hirschfeld and the wall at Sardi’s, Squigs is happy and grateful to be among those carrying on the traditions where theater and caricature meet. He was born and raised in Oregon, lived in Los Angeles for quite a long time and now calls New York City his home. Bouncing 2014 Tony Awards host Hugh Jackman brought his A-game to the annual Broadway lovefest on June 8 at Radio City Music Hall. Broadway.com Resident Artist Justin “Squigs” Robertson captured the joy of the night with this portrait of a beaming Jackman virtually embracing Tony winners Lena Hall (Best Featured Actress for Hedwig and the Angry Inch), James Monroe Iglehart (Best Featured Actor for Aladdin), Sophie Okonedo (Best Featured Actress for A Raisin in the Sun), Mark Rylance (Best Featured Actor for Twelfth Night), Bryan Cranston (Best Actor for All the Way), Audra McDonald (Best Actress for Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill), Neil Patrick Harris (Best Actor for Hedwig and the Angry Inch) and Jessie Mueller (Best Actress for Beautiful). Enjoy this salute to the 2014 Tonys, then get tickets to see these award-winning stars in their shows! View Comments
Protect your head. Everybody knows that. That’s why cyclists and football players wearhelmets. But a wellhead — the part of a water well you can see — needs protection, too.And many in Georgia don’t get it.”From what I’ve seen in southwest Georgia, only about half the wellheads areprotected from runoff that may contain contaminants,” said Wayne Adkins, an engineerwith the University of Georgia Extension Service. Extension engineers Tony Tyson and Kerry Harrison say probably only about half theprivate wells statewide are properly sealed from potential contaminants.About 95 percent of all rural Georgians — half a million households — rely on privatewells for their water. “It’simportant for those homeowners to realize that they need to protect their wells to protecttheir health,” Harrison said. “Many people who have a well don’t know if it’s properlysealed because they don’t know it’s supposed to be done.”A 1985 Georgia law requires well drillers to seal wells with “an imperviousmaterial” in at least the top 10 feet of the well. Adkins said a special materialcalled bentoni clay works best. But sand concrete grout does the job with less cost. Well drillers must seal each well they drill. It’s then the owner’s responsibility to build aconcrete curb around the wellhead. This curb helps keep contaminated water or chemicalsout of the well, Tyson said. It also prevents running water from eroding the seal.The curbed area must extend at least two feet in all directions from the well casingand be at least four inches thick. “The curb provides another layer of protection from potential contaminants,”Tyson said. Harrison figures it costs less than $100 to properly seal a well. That’s a small price to pay forsafe water. Poorly sealed wells create a direct route down the outside of the casing into the well.Contaminants that seep down outside the well casing are then pumped up through the casinginto the home or farm the well supplies.Wells drilled on a hillside or in a low area are at special risk. Water flowing down ahill may carry chemicals or animal waste. And standing water can allow contaminants toconcentrate. The contaminated water can flow down around a well casing, straight to thewater source.Homeowners with unsealed wells put themselves and their families, and possibly theirneighbors, at risk, Tyson said. A contaminated well can affect nearby wells. But thelevels of the contaminant will be lower in those wells. Water-testing will show whether a well’s water is safe. Tyson suggests regular testingfor nitrates and bacteria that could cause illness.Natural soil and rock formations help filter water from the surface before it reachesthe aquifer. But letting chemicals go straight down into a well undoes what naturedesigned to protect us. The aquifers under much of Georgia hold millions of gallons of water. When a fairlysmall amount of contaminant enters the water, that huge volume dilutes it to safer levels.”But some gets in there,” Adkins said. “And every little bit adds up. Weneed to keep the water clean to start with. This is the way to stop the pollution beforeit starts.”
As the seasons turn, commercial bell pepper growers in the Southeast share a common foe: the sun.Brutal summer temperatures often make growing anything impossible, and peppers can be susceptible to a host of diseases and disorders in such conditions. Even during the spring and fall, heat and direct sunlight can severely impair their overall quality and marketability.It’s enough to make a farmer dream of pepper sunscreen, which—in a way—is precisely what researcher Juan Carlos Diaz-Perez has been studying. Diaz-Perez is a horticulturist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.Shade cloth shows striking returnsWorking in the unrelenting climate of south Georgia, Diaz-Perez began to study the performance of bell peppers grown under plastic mulch and black plastic shade cloth in 2007.Initial results were resounding: Plants grown under the shade grew taller, had more leaves and had larger leaves than those in direct sunlight. Both marketable and total yields increased while number of culls decreased dramatically.From 2009 to 2011, Diaz-Perez compared the effects of five different levels of shading on peppers, from zero to 80 percent. In fields on the UGA campus in Tifton, Ga., he discovered that using plastic cloth manufactured to create 30 percent shade actually improved photosynthesis and doubled marketable yield. Only about 10 percent of the total yield was lost to disease or damage. Under normal sunlight in south Georgia, as much as 50 percent of a pepper crop can be culled or lost. Using the shade cloth also prolonged the growing season by almost a month. “When many growers in south Georgia stop harvesting in June, we can continue harvesting easily at least four more weeks,” Diaz-Perez said. “There’s definitely no comparison in the quality of the fruit between the shaded and the unshaded fruit, particularly when the fruit is harvested in the summer or late spring.”Black versus silver plasticDiaz-Perez notes that one of the keys to extending the season was to use reflective silver plastic mulch. This mulch retained less heat during the summer months than more common black plastic mulch. Although black plastic mulch warmed the soil effectively for spring planting, those same thermal properties worked against it during the hotter months. Meanwhile, silver plastic worked just as well in the spring, but later in the season, it reflected solar radiation to protect the plants’ roots from the harsh summer sun.Possibilities for more sustainable productionOverall, the shading and mulching system “has a very interesting potential to make pepper production much more sustainable,” Diaz-Perez said.The shaded pepper plants required less water and had far fewer incidences of disease and fruit disorders, such as anthracnose, blossom end rot and sunscald. They also suffered less damage from pests and were less likely to suffer infection from tomato spotted wilt virus. There’s a rather simple reason to the healthiness of shade-grown pepper plants.“Because they are less stressed,” Diaz-Perez said. “It’s just like you. If you were outside or if you were inside the shading, where would you feel more comfortable? Why would we think that the plants are different than that?”Because the shade-grown peppers are hardier and less stressed, the plants require fewer applications of pesticide, which translates into less chemical exposure for field workers.Implementing the technology in GeorgiaCurrently, Diaz-Perez is not aware of growers using the shading system in Georgia—where peppers are a $28 million dollar crop. There has been “a very significant adoption of the technology in Florida,” he said.Since weather and agricultural conditions between south Georgia and north Florida are similar, Diaz-Perez’s conclusion is an obvious one: “If it works there, it can work here.”What’s more, shade cloth can be adapted to any structure, whether that’s a makeshift pup tent or a commercial growing frame large enough for a tractor. Diaz-Perez recommends a minimum height of 15 feet to optimize circulation and reduce heat stress.“We are very confident that the system works, the shading works,” said Diaz-Perez.
“We want to be able to show (growers) the data — if it’s good or bad,” Holland said. “The farmers in this area truly have a thirst for knowledge.”According to Holland, the UGA Extension field days and the help that growers have received from the specialists have sparked a change in behavior from area blueberry farmers.“I have more people call me with questions and asking how they can be more effective and get better sprayer coverage,” Holland said. “We want them to be good stewards of the environment and effectively use spray or other practices. We want to help reduce certain pests, increase yield, help them and help the economy. The best way to do that is to show them the best management practices.”According to the most recent data from the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, the 2013 farm gate value for Georgia blueberries was $312.7 million. Of the value of fruits and nuts grown in Georgia in 2013, blueberries account for 42.9 percent. Georgia leads the nation in blueberry production, and Bacon County is the No. 1 producer of blueberries in Georgia, producing nearly $90 million in farm gate value in 2013. “Farmers were not sure about how much coverage they were getting on their blueberries,” Holland said. “I wanted to learn more about the different sprayers, so that I could help them.”Rains is studying different types of sprayers and collecting information on how well those sprayers penetrate the different locations of blueberry plants. Working with UGA blueberry entomologist Ash Sial, Rains takes samples to see how much chemical residue reaches the leaves of the bushes. Sial then takes the samples and puts them in cups with pests to determine if the chemical is effective. A University of Georgia blueberry specialist and agricultural engineer are equipping southeast Georgia blueberry growers with knowledge about improved spraying techniques to help manage the crop and keep Georgia at No. 1 in blueberry production. Rains is also working with Holland, other county Extension agents and a Camden County, Georgia, farmer to determine whether spraying the chemicals directly into the farm’s irrigation system is an effective practice. Renee Holland, University of Georgia Extension blueberry agent, and Glen Rains, professor and engineer at the UGA Tifton campus, are teaming up with Georgia farmers to find the best spray coverage for blueberries. Spraying blueberries with insecticides is a common practice, but some growers have expressed concern about how to get the best results. “We looked at, and are continuing to look at, different types of sprayers and their efficiency,” Rains said. “It is necessary that farmers use a sprayer that controls the diseases that they are targeting.” (Jordan Hill is an intern with the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.) Holland hosted the Sprayer Coverage Field Day in 2013 in Alma, Georgia. She, along with Rains, demonstrated spraying equipment and presented information to assist and teach the growers the best way to receive full coverage on their blueberries.The event drew more than 200 growers from across the region who saw the sprayers in action and looked at spray cards Rains brought to show the amount of coverage each card received when sprayed in the field.At a separate workshop in 2014, Rains demonstrated how to calibrate and change sprayers as well as where and how to look for wear and tear on the sprayers, and how to adjust them.
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) on Monday signed off on Nevada’s Gemini Solar Project, which could be the largest U.S. solar plant once constructed.In addition to topping the list as the largest solar project in the U.S., Gemini includes 380 megawatts of battery storage, part of a trend of mega-solar projects coming with significant storage attached. The project is being developed by Arevia Power, a California-based company run by SunEdison alums, and investment manager Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners.The project will serve NV Energy, part of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate, as the utility works to meet Nevada’s state requirement for 50 percent renewables by 2030 and 100 percent clean energy by 2050. The power would feed Las Vegas and potentially additional areas in Southern California.The federal government framed its approval as a way to strengthen the U.S. economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. “This action is about getting Americans back to work, strengthening communities and promoting investment in American energy,” said Casey Hammond, principal deputy assistant secretary at the DOI, in a statement.The project would become the eighth-largest solar plant in the world, according to the DOI’s statement.[Emma Foehringer Merchant]More: Trump administration approves $1B Gemini solar project in Nevada desert Federal regulators approve 690MW, $1 billion Gemini Solar Project, largest in U.S.
By Voice of America June 12, 2019 In Delta Amacuro, a Venezuelan state on the Caribbean Sea, a large Chinese construction company made an agreement with the country’s former President Hugo Chávez. The state-run company would build new bridges and roads, a food laboratory, and the largest rice-processing plant in Latin America. According to the 2010 agreement, China CAMC Engineering Co, Ltd. would develop rice fields two times the size of Manhattan in New York City. The project would create jobs for the area’s 110,000 residents. “Rice Power! Agricultural power!” Chávez wrote on Twitter at the time. Nine years later, locals are hungry. There are few jobs and the plant is only half built. It runs at less than 1 percent of the predicted output. People who know about the development say it has not produced a single grain of locally grown rice. Yet, CAMC and a few Venezuelan partners have made money. Court case in Andorra reveals corruption Project contracts and court documents from an investigation in Europe show that Venezuela paid CAMC at least $100 million for the development. Reporters with Reuters news agency examined thousands of pages of court papers on the CAMC case. The papers were filed in Andorra, a small country in the mountains between France and Spain. Lawyers there claim Venezuelans involved in the project tried to launder kickbacks received from CAMC for helping secure the contract. Andorra is known for its large financial industry, but because of widespread corruption, the Andorran government decided to clean up its banking practices. In 2015, it took over the private bank, Banca Privada D’Andorra. The bank handled money from Venezuelan officials, their families, and friends. The Reuters report exposes Venezuela’s deal with China to the public for the first time. In September 2018, an Andorran high court judge alleged that CAMC paid more than $100 million in bribes to several Venezuelan officials to secure contracts for five agricultural projects for the Chinese company. The result, according to prosecutors, was a far-reaching culture of bribery. The money was paid through foreign bank accounts to well-connected Venezuelans. Such payments illegally took money away from projects that were supposed to develop poor, forgotten parts of Venezuela. The Andorran court charged 12 Venezuelans with crimes including money laundering. Neither CAMC nor any of its leaders were charged in the indictment. Abandoned projects Since 2007, China invested more than $50 billion in Venezuela, mostly in the form of oil-for-loan agreements, government documents show. In a 2017 speech, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said Chinese companies had agreed to 790 projects in areas ranging from oil to housing and telecommunications. Of those, he said, 495 were complete. Some developments have been slowed because of corruption, people familiar with the projects said. Others got delayed because of poor management and a lack of supervision. In Delta Amacuro, even government officials say a mixture of graft and poor management ruined the rice project. “The government abandoned it,” said Victor Meza. He is with Venezuela’s rural development agency, which worked with CAMC. “Everything was lost. Everything was stolen.” During a recent visit to Delta Amacuro, Reuters found the CAMC rice plant still unfinished. Only one storage area, half full, held grain. Some machinery was running, but it was processing rice imported from Brazil. The nearby paddies hold no rice plants. The laboratory is incomplete. And the roads and bridges have yet to be built. We don’t produce anything Delta Amacuro’s capital city, Tucupita, is a town of 86,000 people. In the past, Tucupita was a stop for vessels shipping goods from inland factories to buyers in the Caribbean and other places. In 1965, the government dammed the nearby river. The land was damaged by sea water. By the time Chávez became president in 1999, little farming remained. “When I was a kid, there was rice everywhere,” said Rogelio Rodriguez, a local agronomist. “Now we don’t produce anything.” In 2009, Chávez and Xi Jinping, China’s vice president at the time, expanded a joint fund that the two countries had created with the 2007 development agreement. Chávez promised to supply Beijing with oil “for the next 500 years.” He then announced the plan to redevelop the area around Tucupita.
Despite an improving job market, far too many Americans feel insecure about their finances, according to a new study. Some 75% of the more than 1,200 American workers surveyed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch said they feel financially insecure. Some 60% of respondents said their finances were causing stress, up from 50% in 2013.“People now are just beginning to realize, even if they’re working, that their income levels are just beginning to go up,” said Kevin Crain, head of workplace financial solutions at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, adding that over the past few years, incomes haven’t moved that much. “There’s still a level of job insecurity.”The unemployment rate stood at 7.6% in March 2013, compared to 5% in March 2016. The S&P 500 was trading in the high 1,500s around this time three years ago, and is now close to 2,100. continue reading » 6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Before I get to today’s credit union business, you may have seen that Arnold Palmer passed away over the weekend. If you love sports then you owe it to yourself to know about Palmer. If you hate sports because you think that athletes get paid way too much, then you should also know about him. He is one of the most pivotal sports figures of the twentieth century. Not only did he bring golf to the masses, but by teaming up with his business partner, Mark McCormick, he created IMG, which became the first major sports agency/marketing business. Athletes from Michael Jordan to Derek Jeter to Peyton Manning owe a debt of gratitude to Arnie.I think it is appropriate that the 87 year old Palmer passed away on the same weekend that 89 year old Vin Scully broadcast his last Dodgers home game. These two personify why their’s truly was the greatest generation. They not only worked at perfecting their craft but they conducted themselves with dignity and humility, two traits that are in short supply in almost all aspects of our public life these days. Just watch tonight’s debate and you will see what I mean. continue reading »
Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion The Feb 18 letter, “Man-made climate change. Do the Math” from Rodger Anderson, appears to contain a serious math error. Mr. Anderson states that, as of 2007, National Geographic stated that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were increasing at the rate of 2 parts per million (ppm) annually, and that “calculates at over 400 billion metric tons/year.” He then goes on to say that “National Geographic can only account for eight billion metric tons/year added to the atmosphere by humans.” Based on a math error, he then comes to the incorrect conclusion that “human activity must not be the cause for the rise in this greenhouse gas.”I redid the math. The National Center for Atmospheric Research gives the mean mass of the atmosphere as 5.148 x 10^18 kg, which is 5.148 x 10^15 metric tons. Two ppm of this number is 1.03 x 10^10 metric tons, or just over 10 billion metric tons.So, using the 2007 data from National Geographic, namely that humans contribute eight billion metric tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere each year, humans are indeed responsible for the great majority of the annual increase of 10 billion metric tons of this greenhouse gas, and hence global warming.Victor RobertsBurnt HillsMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes