BYU Football Moves Up To No. 13 In Coaches Poll

first_imgOctober 12, 2020 /Sports News – Local BYU Football Moves Up To No. 13 In Coaches Poll Written by Tags: BYU Football Brad James FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPROVO, Utah-In news from Sunday, BYU Football moved up to No. 13 in the Amway Coaches poll and No. 14 in The Associated Press Top 25.The Cougars improved to 4-0 this past Saturday by outlasting Texas-San Antonio 27-20.The No. 13 ranking is the highest the program has achieved under head coach Kalani Sitake (2016-present).It is BYU’s best ranking since 2009 when the Cougars were ranked No. 7 in The Associated Press poll.Presently, the Cougars rank No. 4 in total defense nationally (250.5 yards per game) and No. 4 in scoring defense (11 points per game).Furthermore, BYU is No. 5 nationally in total offense (556.8 yards per game).The Cougars next face the Houston Cougars Friday evening at 7:30 pm at Houston.This game will be broadcast on KSVC 980 AM and 100.5 FMlast_img read more

Chancellor to re-launch Help to Buy mortgage scheme for first time buyers

first_imgRishi Sunak’s plans for the economy continue to be released ahead of his budget statement on Wednesday, the latest being a plan to help first time buyers with small mortgage deposits get on the property ladder.Due to start in April, the scheme will help the tens of thousands of young buyers who were excluded from the market by the disappearance of 95% LTV mortgages at the start of the pandemic as lenders looked to reduce their exposure.Sunak’s officials say the scheme, which will require first time buyers to scrape together a 5% deposit, will be similar in some ways to the previous Help to Buy  mortgage scheme and is designed to be its successor.It will run alongside the existing Help To Buy equity loan scheme which, although also similar, is only for new build homes. It is due to end in 2023.The government is to become guarantor for part of the loans which will be for properties up to £600,000.High LTVSunak hopes to use the government’s financial muscle to persuade lenders to re-enter the high LTV mortgage market by taking on some of the financial risk should house price nosedive during a post-Covid recession.“I want generation rent to become generation buy and these 95 per cent mortgage guarantees help to deliver this promise,” said Boris Johnson over the weekend.“Young people shouldn’t feel excluded from owning their own home and now it will be easier than ever to get on to the property ladder.”Some 3,000 buyers are expected to be offered the loans every month. Rightmove has calculated that the loans will cover 86% of properties for sale in the UK.It is also reported that Sunak’s stamp duty extension, which was leaked last week, is likely to last between six weeks and three months.But even with a 5% deposit, based on average house prices, Rightmove says many first time buyers will still have to save up considerable sums (see below).Mark Hayward, Chief Policy Adviser, Propertymark: “A government backed mortgage guarantee scheme will help first time buyers get on the housing ladder at a time when for many owning a home seems an impossible dream.“Alongside the potential extension of the stamp duty holiday that we have been calling for, this new scheme will go some way in giving some hope to first time buyers at a time when the size of deposits required means they fall at the first hurdle.”AVERAGE DEPOSIT BY REGIONEast Midlands£11,823East of England£18,199London£31,094North East£7,972North West£10,778South East£20,722South West£15,922West Midlands£12,039Yorkshire and The Humber£10,140National£15,929Rishi Sunak help to buy Boris Johnson February 27, 2021Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021 Home » News » Housing Market » Chancellor to re-launch Help to Buy mortgage scheme for first time buyers previous nextHousing MarketChancellor to re-launch Help to Buy mortgage scheme for first time buyersGovernment is to underwrite loans for buyers once again who can only scrape together a 5% deposit for their first home.Nigel Lewis27th February 2021051,171 Viewslast_img read more

CHANNEL 44 NEWS: Third Generation Fire Fighter Sworn in at EFD Graduation

first_imgThird Generation Fire Fighter Sworn in at EFD GraduationOCTOBER 28TH, 2016 MATT PEAK INDIANA The Evansville Fire Department welcomed 12 of its newest recruits Friday.They met for a graduation ceremony at the American Red Cross on Stockwell Road.It was standing room only as the graduates earned their badges.One of them, Mathew Mastison, has firefighting in his blood.His father and grandfather also were firefighters, and in fact Mathew’s father placed his badge on his uniform.Mastison had family from as far away as Indianapolis there for his swearing in.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img

Spafford Welcomes Perpetual Groove’s Brock Butler In L.A. [Videos]

first_imgAfter “Leave The Light On” and a cover of Tears For Fears’ “Mad World”, the band invited out yet another guest musician—this time, Perpetual Groove’s Brock Butler on the Spafford original “Salamander Song”. The sit-in had been hinted at previously, as earlier yesterday, Butler took to Facebook explaining the origins of last night’s sit-in: “I met Andrew Red when he graced the stage with us this past Saturday in Denver. Now for Bringing it full circle I’ll see the fellas tonight in the City of Angels!” Spafford then closed out set two with “Beautiful Day”, before returning with a tremendous encore of “Postman”—a particularly awesome show-closer given the extended length of the composition.“Salamander Song” with Brock Butler[Video: mb1065]The soundboards for Friday night’s show will soon be available, as well as most Spafford shows, on nugs.net here. Tonight, the band closes up shop in Flagstaff, Arizona at the Orpheum Theater.Setlist: Spafford | Teregram Ballroom | Los Angeles, CA | 11/16/17Set One: Remedy, People, Hollywood, Mind’s Unchained, All In, Legend*Set Two: Ain’t That Wrong, Aeroplane (RHCP) > Leave The Light On, Mad World, Salamander Song^, Beautiful DayEncore: Postman*with special guest Geoff Moss (Brian’s Brother)^with special guest Brock Butler (Perpetual Groove)[Photo: Steph Port via Spafford’s Facebook] On Friday night, Spafford put on an energetic performance at Teregram Ballroom in Los Angeles, California, signaling a strong finish for the group’s extensive fall tour. With tonight’s show in their hometown of Flagstaff, Arizona, the band let it all out for one final night on the West Coast. The night was jubilant, to say the least, with the band inviting two special guests—guitarist and vocalist Brian Moss’ brother Geoff Moss and Perpetual Groove frontman Brock Butler—to join in on the fun during the show.Spafford Welcomes The Disco Biscuits’ Aron Magner For Mad World Cover At Hulaween [Video]Spafford Releases Live 53-Minute Improv Studio Session And More [Pro-Shot Video]During the band’s six-song first set, the band opened with a number of well-loved and regularly rotated songs, appropriately playing “Hollywood” for the third song of the set given the location of the show. However, the stand-out highlight of set one was its final number, “Legend”, which saw the band invite out Brian Moss’ brother, Geoff Moss, to help close out the energized set proper. As for the second set, after the opening rendition of “Ain’t That Wrong”, Spafford moved into a cover of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Aeroplane”. Though the cover was debuted on New Year’s Eve last year, this fall tour has seen the band regularly rotating in the song, marking its fifth appearance this tour.“Aeroplane”last_img read more

Rodrigo Y Gabriela Announce First New Album In Five Years, Release 18+ Minute Pink Floyd Cover [Listen]

first_imgRodrigo y Gabriela have announced their new album, Mettavolution, due out April 26th via ATO Records. Three years in the making, and five years since their last album, the Mexican acoustic rock duo have shared a first taste of the album in the form of “Echoes”, a cover of the Pink Floyd Meddle track, which takes up the entire second half of the seven-song album.“Mettavolution brings together Rod and Gab’s passionate interest in Buddhism, the history of human evolution and the liberation of the potential we have as a species,” a press release explains about the new album, “all expressed through the medium of two acoustic guitars.”The new album was conceived and composed in their studio in Ixtapa on the Mexican Pacific Coast, then road-tested and tweaked throughout the last two years of touring in South America, the USA, and Australia. In addition to their Pink Floyd arrangement, which pays homage to the prog classic song off the band’s 1971 opus, Meddle, the rest of the material is made up of six original Rodrigo y Gabriela compositions.“We are big Pink Floyd fans. That track, especially the live in Pompeii version means a lot to us, we even made a huge visual reference in our video for ‘Hanuman’,” the duo explains. “Besides that, the lyrics are even more relevant now than they were 45 years ago, the search for knowledge about ourselves, it’s becoming a key element for survival these days, that’s what evolution is all about at the end of the day.”Listen to the impressive, nearly 19-minute interpretation of “Echoes” below:Rodrigo y Gabriela – “Echoes” [Pink Floyd cover]<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>Mettavolution Tracklist:1. Mettavolution2. Terracentric3. Cumbé4. Electric Soul5. Krotona Days6. Witness Tree7. EchoesView All Tour DatesRodrigo y Gabriela will be touring throughout the year. North American tour dates will be announced soon.RODRIGO Y GABRIELA UK/EU TOUR DATESApril13 – Munich – Technikum15 – Berlin – Columbia Theater17 – Bourges – Printemps de Bourges18 – Luxembourg – den Atelier19 – Brussels – Cirque Royal21 – Dublin – Olympia Theatre24 – London – Roundhouse25 – Paris – Olympia27 – Chamonix – Musilac Mont Blanc (festival appearance)View All Tour Dateslast_img read more

‘If you’re not failing, you’re probably not trying as hard as you could be’

first_imgStories of learning, teaching, and turning points, in the Experience series.In 1986, Harvard “rescued” George Church — in his telling, at least — when the Medical School hired him as an assistant professor in its young Department of Genetics.In the decades since, Church’s efforts to make DNA sequencing faster and cheaper have helped drive a genomic revolution that is transforming science and advancing at a rate that surprises even him.Church, who worked on the groundbreaking international Human Genome Project to decipher humanity’s genetic code, is known for his outspoken style and willingness to engage with the public on ethically and technically challenging subjects, and for bucking the secrecy that typically surrounds human subjects research. His belief that promising privacy is disingenuous and that people deserve to see all their medical and genetic data led him to establish the Personal Genome Project, which integrates genomes with other data and makes that information openly available worldwide.The young Church struggled in the classroom to the extent that he had to repeat ninth grade and his first year of graduate school. Those struggles were offset by his voracious appetite for science, an ability to work independently, and a passion for laboratory work that has sometimes blotted out all else.Q: I saw that you were born on an Air Force base in Florida.A: I had three fathers, as my mother remarried. The first one lasted about eight months post-birth, and he was the Air Force pilot, a pretty colorful character. I knew him off and on through the years, up until his death. He was the sort of father that a young boy would admire, because he wasn’t tied down by actual responsibilities. That was Stew McDonald. He was called Barefoot Stew. He was inducted into the Water Ski Hall of Fame. He wasn’t a terrific athlete — I mean, obviously he was a pretty good one — but his real contribution to the sport, which was relevant to me, was that he was a good communicator. He was the first ABC “Wide World of Sports” color commentator. . . . He was also just generally charismatic: He was a male model, he worked on film, television stuff as well.Q: And he was your birth dad?A: He was my birth dad, but I don’t think he really influenced me that much intellectually. My second father was a lawyer and had the least influence. Third dad was a physician who had two pretty important roles. He sent me away to school, to an awesome high school. Both my stepbrother and I went away at roughly the same time. It might have been just to get the young teenage boys out of the house, but in my case it was very good. It was a liberal East Coast school, Andover, which is where the Bushes went, and [Harvard chemistry professor] George Whitesides, and a bunch of other interesting people. And the other thing he did was just being a physician. I could look at his medical technology and I somehow was enthralled by it.Q: Was his last name Church?A: Yes, that’s where I got the Church.Two big influences shaped my life. I think I was 10 when the New York World’s Fair came along. It was like a very intentional simulation of the future. I was totally taken in by this facade, because they had things like touchscreens, where you could draw a picture of anything, and then almost as soon as you punched “Go,” a weaving device would produce a fabric with a repeating motif that you had sketched. They had jetpacks, and amazing buildings made out of plastic, and the key one for me was they had animatronic robots, like Abraham Lincoln. He would clutch his lapels and I think he would stand up and deliver a speech. I got this illusion as to what science and technology was. I really felt like that’s the way the world should be in 1965.It didn’t take too long for me to become disillusioned. Not only was it not like that in Florida, it probably wasn’t even like that in New York once they shut down the World’s Fair. And it might not ever be like that if I didn’t do something about it. So I sort of felt like, if I want that, I have to work for it.Another thing that was very influential was I lived on the water most of my life. I lived either on the canals in Tampa, on an island, or on the bay in Clearwater. That meant I could kind of wander through the mud and find echinoderms. I found things that looked like starfish, but they were just like two arms. You could squeeze them, they would squirt water. I actually figured out what they were, and I figured out how dragonfly nymphs turned into dragonflies.I was using books — even though I had a lot of trouble reading. By using the index and using photographs, I could figure out just about anything. So that kind of set me on a course of independent study. I was not particularly well adapted socially. I had dyslexia, narcolepsy, OCD, ADD — all these things were very mild, but made me feel different. I was desperate that I would not stand out, which I now think quite common. But at the time — it felt scary.Q: You went to Duke for undergrad?A: One of the downsides of going to Andover was that as a Florida boy I became pretty sick of the cold after four years. So the only colleges I applied to were Stanford and Duke. I went to Duke, where I could place out of everything — math, physics, chemistry, and biology. My freshman year, I was taking all junior, senior, and graduate courses. I just wanted to see what’s the most advanced course I could possibly find in this university, and see can I handle it?My freshman year, I was taking a second-year graduate course in virology, and the professor found out about halfway through the course that I was a freshman. He says, “I don’t know how you got me to sign that thing, but you really shouldn’t be taking this course.” And I said, “Well, if I fail, I fail.” I did fine in the course. But I remember it was a real struggle. I spent more time on that course than my other four courses put together. But I did OK, and that basically told me there was no course I couldn’t take.So I finished two degrees in two years: chemistry and biology. I took a fair amount of math. Most of the math, physics, and computer science I did, I did extracurricularly, because I didn’t want to go at their pace. Biology and chemistry I didn’t mind, because there were labs I wanted to do and so forth.Q: How did you have time in two years to take all these courses? You had your prerequisites waived?A: I worked pretty hard. But science was easy for me, and math, and I just love doing them. Sometimes I could get away with barely going to classes. Other times, like in organic chemistry, I loved it so much I did every single problem set in the back of each chapter. They didn’t even assign any of them. I did them all. It was a full-year course, and I think I had finished the book, including all the problems in it, by halfway through the fall semester. That was pretty typical. But I guess the reason that I did it in two years was I was cheap money-wise. Like a lot of teenagers, I didn’t want to keep being a burden on my parents. Steve Jobs dropped out of college because he was worried about his parents’ finances. I didn’t drop out; I just finished early. I think I also had this feeling that if I took four years to do it, I would probably flunk out, so it would be better to just finish fast. That turned out to be true, that at about the three-and-a-half-year point, I did flunk out, but out of graduate school.‘If you haven’t really filled in the blanks, connected the dots, you’re not really ahead of your time. You’re just dreaming.’Q: At Duke?A: Yeah, I just kind of continued. I started [graduate school] in microbiology, but by that time, I had already spent most of my sophomore year doing crystallography, which turned out to be the best match for me ever, because I’d been searching basically ever since the World’s Fair for a way that I could use computers, math, and biology all together, and ideally physics and chemistry while you’re at it. Crystallography did that.I was interested in crystallography, so I started the process of transferring from one department to the other, which happened, but it had negative consequences. The biochemistry department had no real commitment to me, because I had come in from another department. And I didn’t like the courses, because I’d already taken them. I didn’t keep that to myself. I said, why are you making me take “Enzyme Mechanisms” from Fridovich, because I’ve already got a B+ in that as an undergraduate? They said, well, you know, undergraduate is watered down. I said, no, it’s exactly the same course. They said, well, maybe they gave you an easy grade. I said, OK, I would listen.I took really good notes in the graduate classes [taken as an undergraduate], because I took them seriously. And I looked at my notes and he was verbatim. Same jokes, same everything. So I just stopped going to classes and I flunked two classes. But my research was going well, and to some extent it didn’t fully register that I had flunked out. My crystallography adviser, Sung-Hou Kim, had to pick me up as a technician, which he didn’t complain about. He was a really terrific guy. I’m still good friends with him. He went to bat for me, tried to get them to give me a second chance, and they said no. I had two F’s, so it just was not negotiable.Q: How old were you at this point?A: I think I must have been 20. I wasn’t a teenager, technically, anymore, but I still behaved like one. And I just kept going, assuming that everything was fine. Sung-Hou would tell me from time to time, everything’s not fine. You are not destined to be a technician. You’re designing experiments, and people like me aren’t going to necessarily let you do those experiments. He said, “You really have to apply to graduate school.” So I did. But still being extraordinarily immature, I applied to one graduate school, which was Harvard. I didn’t feel arrogant, but the arrogance of someone who flunked out of Duke applying to one graduate school is crazy. But I got in.I had applied to Harvard two years before and I turned down Harvard to go to Duke, which must have flabbergasted them at the time. It was the same department that I eventually got into. And so, to them, bureaucratically, they were just readmitting somebody that they’d already admitted, who in fact, in those two years, got five papers, some of which as first author. Maybe they didn’t notice the F’s, or they didn’t care about the F’s. Whatever it was, it was one of many times that Harvard has rescued me from myself. That was a pretty dramatic rescue.So I went to Harvard, and I said, OK, this time I’m not going to screw up. I matured overnight. Part of my problem was I was just constantly in this lab mode, where I’d spend 105 hours a week in the lab. I was just like on this treadmill of excitement. So I said, I’m going to take three months off and just read and think and plan. And I’m going to pass all the courses. Fortunately, there was really only one required course, which was taught by a crystallographer, Don Wiley. . . . It was a wonderful course. It was required and most of the people hated it. It had easily 45 hours of homework a week, and most people would leave it until the end of the week, and then they would just have to pull all-nighters and stuff. I would do it the second it was handed out. They’d hand it out, I’d go straight to the library, and I would finish it off.Somewhere in the early fall — I was still worried [about flunking] — I show up for class a little bit late, sit in the back, and on the slides is one of my papers. He’s giving a slide presentation on one of my papers. Don doesn’t know me at this point. He didn’t even make the connection between this paper and me. And I say, you know, I may actually pass this class. Years later I was a teaching fellow for that course.But I knew who I was going to work with. It wasn’t Don Wiley, because I’d already done crystallography. It was Wally Gilbert.Q: So what was it like working in these very high-end labs? Had Gilbert won the Nobel Prize by then?A: He won it after I’d been there three years. And he founded Biogen during that time as well. I was very excited about Biogen. So what was it like being in high-end labs? I took it for granted, quite frankly. I had gone to an elite high school, where I had access to awesome facilities, and I did independent chemistry. I would be in the lab by myself on Saturday morning, playing with dangerous organic chemicals, and it seemed perfectly ordinary to me.By the time I got to Wally’s lab, I considered myself an independent researcher. I did not consider myself a student. Even earlier, at Duke, I got an NSF [National Science Foundation] fellowship. I was not beholden to the head of the lab, or to my parents or anybody else. It was not an entirely rational self-evaluation, but I considered myself an independent scientist who could do whatever I wanted. I considered Wally as a very valuable member of the community, but he was just a bright scientist that I could talk to.And the companies I didn’t consider that special, [though] I think they were very special at the time. Most people considered them either with contempt or they considered them like some amazing thing that you couldn’t possibly dream of doing. Only Wally and Mark Ptashne could do that. And I was just like, oh, yeah, it’s another thing to do. Because even before I learned about Biogen, I had been a consultant for Bio-Rad. I was one of the first Biogen employees, while I was between my thesis and waiting for my girlfriend, who’s now my wife, to finish her thesis. But back then we were just planning on going to the West Coast for postdoc. So I waited for six months and I worked at Biogen.Q: Tell me about your thesis project. It seems to have had a pretty big impact on the industry.A: My thesis had two parts. The first part was working with a project that [French scientist] Bernard Dujon brought with him on a sabbatical. The second half of my thesis was on genomic sequencing, which is really what I had planned on doing when I came to Wally’s lab. During that 1977 summer that I took off thinking about things, I thought of all kinds of inventions having to do with homologous recombination and multiplex sequencing and so forth, which I’m still doing. Oh, and DNA nanostructures. And then I started knocking them off over the years.So the first half: Bernard Dujon came and there were no benches for him, and there’s no acknowledgement that he was there, even though he should have been an esteemed visiting professor. But he was a young professor. So he got a cart, the kind of cart that you’d push bottles around on, and that was his bench and desk. I said, “Hey, you know, you can use my bench.” I didn’t have much space, but I was willing to split it. I got to talking to him, and I got really interested in what he was working on, which ended up being the first intron with genetic function. He had discovered this intron — not knowing it was an intron — before Phil Sharp discovered his introns, for which Phil got a Nobel Prize. But Bernard had the first intron, the first gene-drive, and the first meganuclease, meaning the first way you could get a very specific cut. The meganucleases led eventually to genome editing, now associated with [editing tool] CRISPR. These are resonating with my lab today, but this was back in ’78-ish. Everything just seemed really cool with me. Most of the people around me had no idea what he was talking about. He had a French accent, and he was referring to the papers that were in, like, the fourth annual Brazilian conference on fermentation. That’s where they would publish back then. But I went through this, and I quickly got a couple of papers.So then I had four years without any publications, from 1980 to 1984 — zip — because I was working on this really hard problem, which was genomic sequencing. It wasn’t the first sequencing method by any stretch, but this one was the first instance of “multiplexing,” where you essentially got more information just by re-probing, which is the basis of most of the modern next-generation sequencing. I can’t say that I had conceived of every nuance of next-gen sequencing in that thesis, but there were some pretty significant components.Anyway, it was also the first method by which you could sequence directly from the genome without amplification or cloning, which was very unusual. It predated PCR [polymerase chain reaction], but in a way, it outdid both cloning and PCR in that it could sequence unamplified DNA. I applied that to two pretty hot topics, which had to do with immunoglobulins — immunoglobulin introns — which were new. Turned out they had functions inside them, which were enhancers, and I found evidence for enhancer-binding proteins. So enhancers were brand new. Introns were fairly new. And here we have an assay for function inside of the intron enhancers. That was a good enough thesis that I basically got my professorship at Harvard two years later based on the thesis. I had almost nothing to show for my postdoc. I did six months at Biogen, kind of wrapping up my thesis, and then I did a year and a half in Gail Martin’s lab [at the University of California at San Francisco], which was an amazing lab, but it was pretty far from my thesis.Q: She did more developmental biology?A: Yes, developmental biology. She was one of the few embryonic stem cell researchers in the world. This is in 1984. I figured I would apply genomic sequencing or something like it to developmental biology somehow. So I learned it, but ’85 was way too early for stem cells, and we needed a bunch of new technologies.At this point, the same girlfriend that I waited for, Ting Wu, had gone to Stanford, decided she didn’t like her project, and she went back to the East Coast. So I tried my best to get back to the East Coast. My friend from graduate school, Gary Ruvkun, was just starting as a professor in the [Harvard] Genetics Department, which was a new department. They had an actual tenure track, which meant that everybody had a chance at tenure, at least. So I applied.A Harvard talk that I gave was mostly based on my thesis, [but] I did mention at the very end that I wanted to sequence the E. coli genome. This was a new concept, the idea of sequencing a whole genome. This was 1986. The first genome was still eight years away, so this was fairly visionary. I had a new technology as well, so it wasn’t just, oh, I’m going to do something ridiculous. I showed them one slide of actual data from my new technology. The room was packed, not because of the sequencing, but because the title was “Functions of Introns in Immune Genes” — or something like that. Immunoglobulin introns and enhancers were very popular. I’d only been away for a year and a half, and so I had a lot of friends in town. It was kind of artificially packed.And I think they may have just looked at the audience size, or the promise of the [Human] Genome Project, or whatever. The Genome Project was just hitting — we had just had two or three meetings. I was the one person that went to all of the first three meetings. So I was an insider on this project, which may or not go anywhere. So I think that’s how I got in. It was the second of three big things that Harvard did for me where I really didn’t feel deserving. I shouldn’t have gotten into graduate school. I shouldn’t have gotten a professor position. But I did. [The third big thing: tenure.]Q: You didn’t look back, right?A: I did not, and I got an HHMI [Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant] straight out of the box, which was very rare at that point for assistant professor. I got a DOE [U.S. Department of Energy] grant about the same time. That was my first grant, and it was the first Genome Project grant.Q: So this was ’87 by now?A: About ’87, yeah. I was having a great time, because between the HHMI and the DOE funding, I didn’t have to write any more grants for a while. Plus, I had my startup money from Harvard. But there was some baggage and some problems that came along with the Genome Project. Wally Gilbert and Sydney Brenner were leaders in the field, and they basically said, what we need are warehouses full of technicians. Wally called them “mindless technicians with Walkmen,” and Sydney called them “a penal colony” to work off any infractions you had made in scientific misconduct. I’m trying to recruit graduate students to do this in a creative way while these two leaders of the field are making it sound like a terrible job. And then the entire Microbiology Department here at Harvard Medical School — it’s very rare you get a department to agree on anything, but they could agree that the Genome Project was a bad idea — and they wrote in to Science or Nature. And I’m thinking, what a terrible way to start as an assistant professor.Q: The project aimed to sequence the human genome for the first time. What did they think was bad about it?A: The project was poorly framed, but I didn’t have much say in it. My framing was this should be technology development where we bring down the cost and we apply it to microorganisms first. But the framing of the old guard was we should use existing technology, scale it up in an industrial way — like Toyota or something — and spend $3 billion for three billion bases, a number they kind of pulled out of the air. The costs at the time were probably higher than that, but it was a reasonable goal. It was an inconceivable amount of money at the time. Typical grants were $100,000. And skeptics were thinking of this as $3 billion going into one professor or a small team. That was critique one.Critique number two was that it was junk DNA, it was 99 percent junk, and why should we spend 99 percent of $3 billion on something we didn’t care about? Why couldn’t we be more selective? And even the 1 percent was going to be uninterpretable. The interpretation was going to come from the $100,000 grants, not from the $3 billion grant.The third critique was that once you started something of that size, you could never stop it. It was like a juggernaut.All of these were fair critiques, and I actually kind of sympathized with them, even though I was gung-ho on the technology side. I was disappointed that there was so little technology and that it was far too expensive. Three billion dollars was an unsustainable number. We might get to the end of the first one [genome], but we would never do a second one, and that, to me, was very disappointing. I also felt that there was too much emphasis on the human genome, rather than comparative genomics, which was an uncoined term at the time. I felt like the interpretation problem could be largely handled if you compare sick vs. well, E. coli vs. salmonella, worm vs. fly. There were a bunch of comparisons you could do that would immediately add value. Eventually the field caught up to some of those concepts and quickly brought some leaders into the fold that had been critics.Q: Clearly, there have been many developments over the years since. What would you say are the biggest successes? And are there particular failures, stumbles along the way, that you may have learned something from?A: My experience with crystallography [at Duke] was successful. We still use the coordinates of transfer RNA in many people’s research. The concepts from my thesis of multiplexing and barcoding were good. Some of the ideas I had about DNA nanostructures I didn’t publish, and so I think they were a failure in a communication sense, but my lab and other labs are back to making that a success.Some of the failures were just timing things. Nanopores and DNA nanostructures were things that I came up with — in ’88 for the nanopore sequencing, and the nanostructures was ’77 — and they’re just now coming into real-world uses in 2016. So I consider that a kind of failure. Some people say, oh, wow, you’re ahead of your time. But I think that if you haven’t really filled in the blanks, connected the dots, you’re not really ahead of your time. You’re just dreaming.Q: How many companies have you started?A: The narrowest definition of “start” means you’re formally listed as a founder. So I’ve founded about one company per year since 2005. This year, if all goes well, I will be involved in founding nine companies simultaneously. It’s not only unusual in the number, but it’s unusual in the type. The ones from 2005 to the present were mostly some other professor or some venture capitalist working with me on a new idea, and then we hire businesspeople and scientists to do it. It’s really pretty low-maintenance. But when nine of your postdocs each want to start a company, and you have to mentor them — of course, I was mentoring them anyway as postdocs, so it’s not that much harder than what I would normally do, just a slightly different set of conversations. But it is unusual, and it’s an experiment. I don’t know how it will turn out. I don’t plan on doing that again.Q: Why do you feel it’s important?A: Here’s an argument about why such startup companies are important. If you’re going to make a discovery, you can publish it in a journal, and hopefully it gets discussed in review articles, and that’s it, you’re done. But if you’re making a technology, you can write primary articles and review articles until you’re blue in the face, and nobody’s going to do it. It’s not sufficient to just write out a patent and lob it over the fence. You have to accompany it. It doesn’t take that much time to do that, but it’s not zero. Probably 10 percent of my time is spent making sure that the technologies that I work on get a fair shake in the marketplace.Q: Another important part of your public persona is as an advocate for genomics, genetic engineering, synthetic biology.A: I’d like to think of it more as a communicator than an advocate. It’s an important distinction, because I think there’s a caricature of scientists as advocates and cheerleaders where they might even be blind to where it’s going. I think my lab and I have authored a lot of papers of a cautionary and bioethical nature, but not just of the hopeless, hand-wringing variety. It’s more like, here’s a problem, potential solution, potential problem created by the solution, potential solution to the problem created by the solution. It’s important to talk about things before they exist, because sometimes these things sneak up on you ridiculously quickly. For example, next-gen sequencing was supposed to take six decades by Moore’s law, which is a pretty aggressively optimistic law. Sequencing didn’t take six decades; it was more like six years.CRISPR came out of nowhere. It’s hard to believe that it’s only three years old, considering all that it’s done. My experience is that things happen much faster than you would expect. It’s not about cost overruns and multiyear delays. It’s more about, oh my gosh, it’s 60 years early.Q: When did you first think that you really should start thinking about bioethics?A: There’s a big feeling you shouldn’t talk about things that you’re not expert on, and you define your expertise very narrowly. One of my colleagues about my age said that over the years, his specialty got narrower and narrower until he was the world’s expert on something he no longer cared about.One of the first things to go out the window is anything having to do with humanities and philosophy and ethics, because that just seems too flaky and fluffy. But I never felt dismissive. The first time I really felt responsible — when would that be? In the beginning of the Genome Project, we had this thing called ELSI: ethical, legal, social implications. Genome Project started around 1990, and it must have been around then.Around 1999 I felt that there was some possibility we’d be sequencing human genomes with next-gen sequencing — plural, not just singular. And I said, we’re going to be doing this. I need to get IRB [Institutional Review Board] approval to do human subjects research. I had no clue as to what that was, but I just knew I needed to do it. So I applied for it, and as I’m doing it, I’m realizing, this is really wacky. They’re promising anonymity and sharing at the same time. How do they know that the data’s not going to escape and get re-identified? It seemed like both were provably going to happen. And what if you discover something that could save a patient’s life? [Because of anonymity] you can’t tell them. So I said, these are three things that are really messed up.The fourth thing was that the consent forms were written by lawyers for lawyers to protect the institution, not to protect the person, which is what everybody said that they were for. So these four things were messed up, so we came up with Personal Genome Project.Q: The Personal Genome Project’s data is open access, with subjects having no promises of anonymity. You said that’s a more honest way to approach this kind of research. But is that also important from a scientific standpoint?A: We wanted something somewhat inspired by open software and Wikipedia. We wanted something where you could share human biological information, where if you wanted to make software that would handle a real human being — in a way that a physician might appreciate, which might include everything about them, their anatomy, their physiology, what they eat, and so forth — you could do that. You would need a big dataset about a person that’s all interconnected, rather than shredding it into pieces [to make it anonymous] and losing information.Some of the proposals were to actually inject bits of false information so that people would be uncertain as to how to identify somebody. But you would also be uncertain about the science. And they said, well, the statistics can overcome the uncertainty on a population. And I just said, you know, we have enough trouble even when we have good data.Fast-forward to today. I would say that many of my lab’s projects, like the Personal Genome Project and like our open-source DNA sequencer and now the $1,000 genome — the goal is not necessarily to dominate the universe. It’s to set an example. I told my lab, “You can really change the world in a very positive way if you don’t care who gets the credit and the money.”Same thing with Personal Genome Project. I think it now is the norm to return information to individuals. It’s the norm to be able to share things in a way where you don’t have to strike up a special deal. Some of them are more open than others, but the point is it’s now the norm to share, and it’s the exception where you coerce investigators to include you as a coauthor just because you’re using their data.Q: You mentioned that you’re working to bring down the cost of genome editing and gene therapy. Is gene therapy, to your mind — with direct applications to human health — the most important thing going forward?A: I’m not sure gene therapy is, but the applications to human health, definitely. And I’m certainly not convinced that CRISPR is the only way to achieve gene therapies. In fact, 2,000 gene therapies are in clinical trials, and a tiny minority are any kind of gene editing, and none of them are CRISPR. That’s obviously going to change. One of the companies I helped start, Editas, will be doing this within a year. I think that things that affect human health are the gene drives which can affect malaria, which has been recalcitrant to vaccines and drugs, and things like Lyme disease — the same story.Q: And with gene drives we’re addressing the vector, not humans directly.A: We’re addressing the vector. We can spread a bit of selfish DNA through the sexual reproductive cycle in rapidly reproducing organisms like the white-footed mouse — vector for Lyme disease —and the Anopheles gambiae mosquito — vector for African malaria — and maybe mosquitoes for Zika virus if that doesn’t have other solutions. Those are big public health issues, and dengue virus and a lot of nematode diseases and so forth. Time and again, you’re seeing resistance to pesticides, herbicides, and antibiotics.Gene drives provide an alternative to that. The mosquitoes do all the work for you, and you just have to drop it from airplanes. Again, you have to do safety testing and get multigovernment approval, but it’s much easier to do that than to have medical foot soldiers who go to remote villages trying to find every last person to vaccinate them.Q: Are you concerned about unintended consequences? Species have been introduced with the best of intentions and turned out to be invasive.A: Many of the things that my lab does, we accompany with a warning of some sort and research on how to make it safer. There’s safety engineering in almost every field of engineering and we’ve tried to champion that in molecular and biological engineering. Sometimes, when we talk about it in advance people say, oh, this is science fiction. But in 2014, we said [of gene drives], look, this time it’s going to really work. Here are some things to consider — ways to make it safe so it can’t escape from the lab, ways that once you do deploy it, if you want to alter it, you can do a reversal drive or an alteration drive. And by 2016 it does work already in four species. You need to talk about it in advance so people can see the problems with the fixes, the problems with the fixes to the fixes, and so forth. We proposed that we and others would develop reversal drives and test those in a physically-contained laboratory environment to see if they worked, and they did. And we also came up with safety mechanisms that would keep it in the lab.We were trying to focus on defense, because we felt it was going to be too easy. For $50, [someone] could do a CRISPR gene drive and eliminate whatever organism they don’t like. Since there are probably 7 million species and 7 billion people, probably everybody has several organisms they don’t like, and you could end up with nothing, which would be a tragedy. So there should be some way of having the discussion, and if somebody goes rogue and does it, a way of handling that.Q: What advice would you have, reflecting on your own career, to a student who looks at what you do and thinks: that would be really cool.A: The problem with getting advice from people who have managed to dodge all the bullets is they don’t necessarily know how they did it.All the failures I’ve overcome? That’s much more important than any successes. I had to repeat ninth grade. I had to repeat the beginning of graduate school. I lost my major source of funding just before I came up for tenure. One of the major things — news flash — that they judge you on for tenure is whether you can support yourself. In each case, it helps if you can think out of the box and think of a new way of doing things. The other thing is: Follow your dreams, even if it does mean taking a risk. If you’re not failing, you’re probably not trying as hard as you could be. And being petrified of failure means you’re going to be probably a very extreme underachiever.One of the things we recruit people for in my lab is being nice. That’s the ethos we try to encourage. “Nice guys finish last” — isn’t that a terrible message to be sending to the next generation?I think what goes around comes around. You have to really want all the teams to succeed, all the boats to float. You want your competitors to not fail. It’s hard enough to get progress in the world if everybody’s succeeding.Interview was edited for clarity and length.last_img read more

A living witness to nuclear dystopia

first_img In recognition of 100th anniversary, Memorial Church plans performances Thurlow recalled the aftermath in harrowing detail. After regaining consciousness, “I found myself pinned under the collapsed building in total silence, total darkness,” she said. “I tried to move my body, but I couldn’t, so I knew I was faced with death … Then I started hearing faint voices of my classmates: ‘Mother, help me.’ ‘God, help me.’ ” She knew she was not alone. “Then all of a sudden someone started shaking my left shoulder from behind — a strong male voice: ‘Don’t give up! Don’t give up! Keep moving! Keep kicking! Keep pushing!’” He told her to crawl toward the light.Once out, she found a hellscape. Smoke and dust filled the air. Buildings crushed into piles of debris. Fires everywhere, including in the rubble she’d escaped. A procession of severely burned and disfigured people slowly emerged, “shuffling from the center of the city to the outskirts.” She and three girls who’d also escaped the collapsed headquarters walked with them. “We learned how to step over the dead bodies,” she said.They came to an army training ground the size of two football fields “packed with dead bodies and dying people.” She stayed there the rest of the day, bringing people water from a nearby stream. “When the darkness fell we sat on the hill and all night we watched the entire city burn, feeling numbed from massive death and human suffering we had witnessed all day,” she recalled.Her mother and father were spared, but Thurlow lost eight members of her family as result of the bombing, including her 4-year-old nephew who died four days after the explosion.”,That was only the beginning. Days, weeks, and years followed with a steady stream of deaths from injuries and illnesses from the radiation; thousands coping with homelessness; American occupation; rebuilding and memorialization efforts; and the discrimination that survivors often from fears of the long-term effects of radiation exposure.Thurlow said these experiences formed the basis of her anti-nuclear advocacy, which began in 1954 when she spoke out during an interview about her thoughts on the news of tests of an even more powerful bomb by the U.S. in the Marshall Islands. Since then, she has testified widely, including before world leaders such as Pope Francis and hundreds of diplomats during ICAN’s campaign for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.Thurlow said she was thrilled that the U.N. adopted the treaty, but admitted that it will be an uphill battle to totally eliminate nuclear weapons. And she called on listeners, especially students, to take up the cause.“You are getting the best education,” Thurlow said. “You have a lot to return to your society, to humanity — not just to the United States, to the entire world. I am really asking you to take this issue seriously. It’s really a matter of life and death.”The message struck a chord with many listeners, including law student Ragad Alfaraidy, who was among many who lingered after the lecture to meet Thurlow and see the Nobel medal, which she had on hand. Events like this, Alfaraidy said, inspire fresh thoughts for students wrestling with decisions about how to do something meaningful with their educations.“We’re always torn between going to the private sector or going to the public sector,” she said, “and I believe talks like this draw important emphasis on things that we tend to forget sometimes.” Japanese-Americans sent to camps in poorer areas often failed to thrive economically after their release, study says Former Radcliffe fellow’s new novel focuses on Harvard grad who saved Jewish artists during World War II Great War left an enduring legacy across Harvard First interned, then left behind Related The ‘American Schindler’ First came a flash. Thirteen-year-old Setsuko Nakamura felt as if she were drifting skyward. And then darkness.Seventy-four years later Setsuko still remembers the moment of detonation after the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, the first of two exploded over the island nation, a deployment that proved so horrendous the weapons have never been used since.“That very morning I was at the military headquarters, not at the school,” she told a rapt audience at Harvard Law School on Tuesday as part of the University’s Worldwide Week. Instead of being in class on Aug. 6, 1945, Setsuko was reporting for her first day of work, as one of the thousands of students the government mobilized to provide cheap labor during the wartime shortage.Setsuko, who now uses her married last name Thurlow, and about 30 other girls were assigned to help the army decode top-secret messages. They were about a mile from ground zero and on the building’s second floor.“Sharp at 8 o’clock the assembly started,” she said. “Maj. Yanai was giving a pep talk: ‘This is the day you prove your patriotism to the emperor. Do your best,’ and so on. We said, ‘Yes, sir! We’ll do our best.’ Then at that second I saw the blinding blueish-white flash in the window, and I had a sensation of floating up in the air.” Then she lost consciousness.As a living witness to the devastation and human suffering the use of nuclear weapons brings, Thurlow has been telling this story for decades now. Often she brings her listeners to tears, as she did this day.“I speak because I feel it is my responsibility as someone who has intimate knowledge of what these horrific things can do to human beings,” Thurlow said. “I consider it my moral responsibility.”,The 87-year-old is best known for her advocacy work with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, a global coalition working to make the arms illegal. As a leading figure and spokeswoman for ICAN, Thurlow was on hand to accept the Nobel Peace Prize with the group in 2017 when it was recognized for its role in the United Nations’ adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which would completely ban all nuclear arms if implemented.To date, 32 countries have ratified the accord; 50 are needed for it to become law. None of the nine nuclear-armed nations, including the U.S., have signed on, and in fact, they actively oppose it, viewing the weapons as a way to maintain peace and assure security under the threat of mutually assured destruction.“A Survivor’s Story: From the Atomic Bomb to the Nobel Peace Prize” was organized by the Armed Conflict and Civilian Protection Initiative and co-sponsored by the Human Rights Program, HLS Advocates for Human Rights, and Hibakusha Stories/Youth Arts New York. The event came at a time of heightened tensions among nuclear powers and followed years in which Iran and North Korea have aggressively pushed to develop their own weapons.“The eyewitness accounts of Setsuko and other survivors provide a vivid reminder of the human consequences of nuclear weapons,” said Bonnie Docherty, associate director of Armed Conflict and Civilian Protection and lecturer on law at the Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic. During negotiations for the U.N. treaty, the clinic provided legal advice and advocacy support to ICAN.The bombs dropped on Hiroshima and three days later on Nagasaki killed more than 200,000 people and practically destroyed both cities. In Hiroshima, the devastation was near-total, wiping out about 90 percent of the city while instantly killing more than 80,000 people. “I speak because I feel it is my responsibility as someone who has intimate knowledge of what these horrific things can do to human beings. I consider it my moral responsibility.” — Setsuko Thurlowlast_img read more

VEDA approves $3.2 Million in direct lending

first_imgVEDA BOARD APPROVES $3.2 MILLIONIN PROJECT FINANCING ASSISTANCE Montpelier, VT – Manufacturing, development, agricultural and travel and tourism projects totaling $6 million will receive $3.2 million in financing assistance from the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA). “We are very pleased to be able to offer financial assistance to these business acquisition and expansion projects,” said Jo Bradley, VEDA’s Chief Executive Officer. Approved for financing by the VEDA Board of Directors are:C Black Diamond Sportswear, Inc., Montpelier – A 75% insurance commitment ($1,312,500) was given on a $1.75 million working capital line of credit extended to Black Diamond by the Mascoma Savings Bank. Black Diamond designs, produces and sells fleece outerwear for the winter sport market, selling under its own brand to sporting goods retail stores across the country. It is estimated that within three years, job growth at Black Diamond will increase from its current 12 to 16 positions.C Railroad Row, LLC, Hartford B Phase II of a real estate development project that is part of the Town of Hartford=s downtown revitalization plan will begin with $415,000 in financing assistance approved by VEDA. The total $2.1 million construction project will see the former Twin State Fruit Building and adjacent former Tire Building converted into a 14,000 square foot, three-story commercial building. Space will be leased to house the national headquarters of the Global Health Council, Inc. (GHC). GHC=s total payroll of 4 is expected to grow to 11 positions within three years. The Mascoma Savings Bank is also participating in the project. In the Vermont SBA 504 Corporation portion of the VEDA Board’s meeting, a financing commitment was made to support the purchase of an operating inn:C Brass Lantern Inn, Stowe B Joseph and Nancy Beres will purchase the Brass Lantern Inn, consisting of 9 rooms on 1.5 acres with $198,000 in SBA 504 financing assistance. The HSBC Bank is also participating in the $933,000 project. Agricultural loans totaling $1.23 million were also approved by the Board through VEDA’s farm financing assistance program, the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation (VACC). VEDA’s mission is to promote economic prosperity in Vermont by providing financial assistance to eligible businesses, including manufacturing, agricultural and travel and tourism enterprises. In its 31-year history, VEDA has made financing commitments totaling over $1 billion. -30-last_img read more

Living for the City

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

PKA acknowledges seriousness of ‘problematic’ private equity investment

first_imgDanish pensions administrator PKA has said financial problems at private equity holding Genan are being “taken seriously” but will not have an impact on promised pension payments.PKA, which manages around DKK200bn (€26.8bn) on behalf of five labour-market pension funds, described the situation at tyre recycling firm Genan as “problematic”.PKA holds around 45% of Genan, having invested around DKK1bn in it.The financial problems at the company resulted in the delay in publishing its 2013 accounts.  Peter Damgaard Jensen, chief executive of PKA, said: “We take this situation very seriously.”However, he said PKA was very well consolidated, that the problems at Genan would have no impact on the pension payments it promised its members. He said the company had just navigated years of a tough financial crisis, which had been much more serious for its solvency. “In that situation, we did not change anything in our pensions – neither will it happen this time,” said Damgaard Jensen.PKA pushed through a number of changes at Genan, it said, including the appointment of a new chairman of Genan Group and Genan Business & Development.A new chief executive and CFO had been appointed, as well as new auditors, it said. Founder and chairman Bent Nielsen stepped down as chairman and retired from management.Over the summer, Genan’s lenders were working to find a solution to the company’s problems, Damgaard Jensen said.“We agree with the banks on the framework for a solution,” he said, adding that there were still some things that needed to fall into place before the parties could reach a final agreement. “We will, of course, do everything possible to protect our investment, but we at PKA also believe in Genan’s business idea, so we are fighting for its survival,” he said. Genan has said it will publish 2013 financial statements later this week.Damgaard Jensen said this “had to happen”, adding that PKA’s patience had run out.“We now want to have clarification so we can move forward,” he said.last_img read more