Microplastics in the Southern Ocean

first_imgThe Southern Ocean has the lowest densities of floating macroplastic litter in the world. It was thought that the region was relatively free of microplastic contamination. However, recent studies and citizen science projects have reported microplastics in deep-sea and shallow sediments and surface waters. Microplastics have been shown, in both laboratory experiments and field-based studies elsewhere in the world, to negatively impact a range of marine species including pelagic and benthic organisms. After reviewing available information on microplastics (including macroplastics as a source of microplastics) in the Southern Ocean, we present estimated microplastic concentrations, and identify potential sources and routes of transmission into the region. Estimates suggest that the amounts of microplastic pollution released into the region from ships and scientific research stations are likely to be negligible at the scale of the Southern Ocean, but may be significant on a local scale. Furthermore, predictions of microplastic concentrations from local sources are several orders of magnitude lower than levels reported in published sampling surveys. Sea surface transfer from lower latitudes is a likely contributor to Southern Ocean plastic concentrations.last_img read more

A call for peace through unity in truth

first_imgPapal elections can take weeks and picking a successor to John Paul II was surely no mean feat. But despite the rapid elevation of Josef Cardinal Ratzinger to the Papacy took me, and many of my Catholic friends, by surprise. I have (rather depressingly) never seen my boyfriend so happy, and I can guess from one of my good friend’s proud ownership of a Cardinal Ratzinger fan club mug (“putting the smackdown on heresy since 1981”) that he’s pretty chuffed.My non-Catholic friends were generally less thrilled with the decision of the College of Cardinals to make the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith the next Pope, although I do not suppose any of them were planning an instant conversion should their candidate of choice have come out top. “The world’s gone mad” one of them plaintively whimpered at me. Perhaps to him it has, but then he is an Anglican because he cherishes his right to “believe strongly in not very much at all”. So I don’t think he was going to be particularly overjoyed with whatever selection the Cardinals made.For days now I have been listening to various commentators extolling the virtues of various African and South American Cardinals and I think they have somewhat missed the point. If anyone imagined that a Pope from the developing world would suddenly decide to alter centuries of church teaching (on abortion, contraception and the ordination of women) they were bound to be disappointed. The Church in Africa is more strict on Catholic doctrine than in the materialist West, and its representatives would argue that the answer to human suffering on earthis not to forsake moral truth because it seems expedient to do so and difficult not to.Besides, there is a limit to what any Pope could feasibly do. Not only are all Popes bound to the teaching of their predecessor, they are also bound to unalterable Church doctrine. That does not mean that there can be no debate or developments of any kind. Indeed, Cardinal Ratzinger was one of the key supporters of the Second Vatican Council, which shaped the Church into the institution that young Catholics have grown up with. The Church is not without problems: falling vocations to religious life in the West and worrying instances of abuse must and, doubtless will be, tackled firmly. No Supreme Pontiff fears a challenge but the job is unpredictable. He will have to address these issues but we should not attempt to anticipate the methods of Benedict XVI too hastily.On Monday before the Cardinals began their conclave Ratzinger gave a homily warning against the dangers of a “dictatorship of relativism”. If the Church failed to uphold the belief in moral absolutes then it would cease to be the one true Catholic Church in which all Catholics declare their belief. This Pope knows as well as the last one the potential dangers of secular culture and extreme political ideology. As John Paul II was struggling under communist oppression in Poland, Benedict XVI was shocked to see it sweeping in its intellectual form through German universities, having already lived through the horror of Nazi rule. As a man aware of the nature of modern society, he will fight for the purity of truth, even though it may not always be a popular move.As Benedict VXI promises in his first sermon as Pope to work to unite all Catholics, a BBC commentator is telling me that he has, in the past, referred to other religions as “deficient”. Well, I don’t have to struggle very hard to contain my surprise on that count. In calling myself a Catholic, I assert the belief that it is the one true faith, as with followers of most religions. It might sound arrogant to those of a secular persuasion but it is not unusual. That does not mean that I and other Catholics don’t like people of other faiths, or that I don’t respect their right to hold their beliefs, I just don’t share them. Despite holding such views Benedict XVI has been encouraging dialogue with other religions and will doubtless continue to do so.There is reason to believe that the new Pope is not entirely as he has been portrayed. A theologian to John Paul II’s philosopher, his job as a latter day chief inquisitor didn’t give the public much opportunity to catch a glimpse of his warm and fluffy side. Stamping out heresy within the Church isn’t always a popularity-winning exercise.However, it might be worth considering the name he has chosen for himself. To those who were expecting ‘John Paul III’ and more of the same, the choice of Benedict is an interesting shift. Perhaps Cardinal Ratzinger was considering the heroic efforts of the last Pope Benedict who struggled in vain to discourage the outbreak of war in 1914. Or perhaps he was moved by the legacy of St Benedict, founder of Western monasticism in the sixth century, a holy man dedicated to peace. We might all be in for a surprise. Those expecting a war on heresy could instead be confronted with a call for peace through unity in truth.ARCHIVE: 0th week TT 2005last_img read more

Less corporate, more mindful

first_imgSeveral years ago, Harvard Law School graduate Lawrence Levy was at the top of his game. Following a successful law career in Silicon Valley, Levy was recruited by Steve Jobs to help lead the animation studio Pixar. As chief financial officer, he guided the company’s business strategy and IPO, and helped orchestrate its sale to Disney in 2006.But while he loved his career, Levy felt the tug of something he first became interested in as a student at HLS: meditation.In 2003, he co-founded the Juniper Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to bringing meditation to contemporary life; currently he’s working on opening a meditation center in San Francisco. In advance of his visit to campus this week, the Gazette spoke with Levy about his time at Pixar and his turn to meditation.GAZETTE: Can you tell me about how you got interested in meditation?LEVY: It started for me I suppose in some ways when I was in Cambridge in 1980. I was at Harvard Law School and even back then I was interested in meditation. I would be sitting in some of the bookstores looking at the various meditation books that were there at the time and wondering about it. And then … life took over. I had a career and a family and I didn’t have an opportunity to explore it very much, although the interest remained. And then I reached the point in my career around 12 years ago, I was about five years into my work at Pixar, and I decided to take a sabbatical because that path or that passion in my life was really strong and I wanted to explore it, and so that’s what I did. That’s when I really began to get into meditation, both studying and learning about it and practicing it as well.GAZETTE: How would you say it’s changed your life?LEVY: For me has been a very transformative practice. With meditation it’s not like lightning bolts go off or you suddenly see angels dancing on clouds or anything like that. I consider that it kind of works at a deeper level. Someone might put it like this — at the level of personality I remain the same person. I still enjoy the same things, I do the same things, all the same activities and endeavors, but underneath that there’s a deeper level of calm, a deeper level of awareness, a different, deeper way of being in life, and I enjoy the experience of that. That’s changed my life in really positive ways.GAZETTE: What would you say to those who might question your choice to move your life in such a different direction when you were really at the top of your field as a successful lawyer and then the CFO of Pixar?LEVY: It was a dramatic shift, but I guess I would say it like this: I loved my career, I loved my time as a lawyer, I loved my time as a business executive and I enjoyed everything that I was doing, but I sort of had this feeling inside of me that as good as it was there was a kind of one-dimensionality to it. I was around individuals who had had a lot of success in certain fields, especially being here in Silicon Valley, and I saw it was easy to get hooked on that success. It was easy for that work to define us as individuals and to not really get beyond it. And my passions aligned in this domain of meditation philosophy, Eastern philosophy, those kinds of topics, and I thought that there was something richer to be discovered in life there. And I wanted to do that sooner rather than later. That’s why I decided to do it. I am not sure I expected at the time that it would become what it did, that I would start a foundation to be more involved in that kind of work, but at the time, that was the impulse that drove me.I would say that since then, I feel I have sort of affirmed that many times over. I think that that capacity to get caught up in work life and sort of [let that] define us can still be problematic.GAZETTE: Looking back, do you think you would you have been a more effective executive with the benefit of meditation?LEVY: This is a question I am asked a lot. In some ways, looking back, I applied a lot of the dimensions that I know now almost sort of naturally and automatically. So even as an executive I was able to prioritize what I would call the human dimension of life, the care and concern for others, considering the dignity of others. Attention to the bottom line, yes, but not at the expense of really thinking, worrying, and caring deeply about what was happening to all the people around me. So if I went back now, I think I would have even more tools to bring to that.People often ask me, “Can you be a strong, hard-charging executive if you’re worried too much about other people’s feelings?” And my answer to that is always, absolutely you can. I am sure that it happens many, many times. You don’t have to be aloof, or uncaring, or uncompassionate to be a successful executive. But you can be a successful executive without those qualities. They both work. I think it’s more a question of how we want to live our lives as individuals, and the kinds of companies, organizations, or entities that we want to build.GAZETTE: Do you miss corporate America?LEVY: That’s a great question. I did at the beginning. One of the grooves in my life was the groove of being an executive and I was very used to that, and it took me a while to find a new groove. I would say I no longer do miss it. I feel very fortunate to be able to do the work that I am doing. I feel very fortunate to have learned and studied with my own teacher, Segyu Rinpoche, and to do the work that I am doing now at Juniper. So I am just on a different path now than I was before. But it doesn’t change my feeling about that. I still look back with great joy. It was a wonderful time. I am just doing something different now.GAZETTE: Could you ever see yourself going back to it in some capacity?LEVY: I maybe entertained that in the first couple of years. I think these life transitions take a little bit of time. It did for me, too. But basically, when we founded Juniper, the work that I’m doing now, that was in 2003, the five co-founders spent a month examining what the challenge was that we would have, trying to bring meditation into contemporary life. And we mapped the whole thing out and made a blueprint for what it was going to look like to do it, very Silicon Valley startup style. And we looked at that and thought, “Wow this is a huge task, this could take 500 years.” My teacher and co-founder Rinpoche said, “Perhaps not 500 years, maybe just 100 years. We just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and do it.” And at that point I looked at it and I said, “You know what, this is an amazing opportunity to do work like this.” Perhaps I hadn’t seen myself doing it before, but this was something that I was passionate about and I said, “Let’s do it, let’s go for it.”GAZETTE: I know at Juniper you prioritize, in part, the incorporation of science and modern education. Why are those two areas in particular so important?LEVY: In the meditation tradition that we practice, which goes back to a 2,500-year-old Buddhist tradition … at the heart of it is their principle of critical thought: deconstructing dogma in order to find and penetrate deeper understanding of things. That gives us the license in a way to go back and examine old principles and critically think about whether they still apply or not. And if they do still apply, then that’s great and we can continue with them. But if they don’t, then we replace them with principles that do. So for example, today we have obviously unbelievable knowledge about the brain, about the mind; unbelievable products of science, of neuroscience that simply didn’t exist 2,000 years ago. And so it’s pretty clear to us from how we read those teachings, that those meditation masters back then wouldn’t have ignored all this, they would have loved it, because that notion of critical thought is one that, I think, they welcomed.Another way to think of it is, we don’t see this practice or this tradition as being in the truth business. It’s not an ideology or a dogma; it’s a methodology. And as a methodology, that gives us that license to embrace new knowledge and I think we will always be continuing to do that.GAZETTE: What would you say to people so busy with work and family and other commitments that they think even five or ten minutes a day for meditation is more than they have?LEVY: I would say this: If you want to do any kind of inner work, any kind of inner self-reflection, examination, translation, we have to do something. The reason for that is because our minds are always on, and our minds our very habitual: We are constantly in motion in whatever our active thought and emotion are. It’s like trying to fix a car going 100 miles an hour down the highway. If you need to fix the car, you’ve got to find a way to get the car off the highway and stop to be able to fix it. We are like that in a way, because we are in motion all the time. We need to put a pause in that motion in order to have an opening for some sort of self-reflection or inner growth. And meditation is a great tool for that because it puts the pause in our lives. And when we do that other things will come in. And that pause works best when it’s regular, when it’s a habit. So we strongly encourage individuals to put in that five or ten minutes a day rather than an hour on the weekends or a meditation retreat once a year. That regularity, that habit of that practice, can be very fruitful for our lives.Levy will speak at Harvard Business School Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.; at Harvard Law School’s Wasserstein Hall Thursday at noon; and at Harvard Divinity School’s Braun Room at 12:30 p.m. Friday.last_img read more

Welcome to the Post-Big Data Era

first_imgSeveral years ago the industry coined the phrase “big data” and we discussed what this new term meant for Dell EMC. We framed our thought process using the three Vs: velocity, volume, and variety. Taming the three Vs meant significant business insights and dramatically improved financial results for our customers.But looking back, it hasn’t worked out quite that way. We are now living in a post-big data era where we are dealing with an increased compute capacity and massive data sets.Over the years data took the steering wheel while compute sat in the back seat. What has been missing over the last few years (as John Roese points out in his 2018 predictions blog) is the reality of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Our massive data sets are being processed by new systems that not only need to learn and reason with huge data sets, but also need to do that in a quick and reliable way at the speed of business.Extracting the expected insights and business value from all of that data is a challenge – and an opportunity – for organizations. John Roese mentions that Big Data will become Big Intelligence; we need to embrace “Data Valuation with Big Intelligence”. We’ve moved beyond simply Big Data.Why Data Valuation?“Data”: the Dell EMC journey continues to feature the handling of mission-critical data in all its forms, from mission-critical databases to unstructured data stores.“Valuation”: the process of calculating or reasoning about data’s value is a matter of computing intensity.To process this critical business information in the age of data valuation we are going to need to process data differently. This requires the combination of storage and compute innovation. It’s a good thing we’ve already been at this for a few years!In 2014, Dell EMC launched a data valuation research partnership with Dr. Jim Short of the San Diego Supercomputer Center. Our research findings, published last year in MIT’s Sloan Management Review, highlight billion-dollar data valuation examples:The most valuable asset in Caesar’s Palace bankruptcy filing is the Total Rewards Customer Loyalty database. It has been valued at one billion dollars by creditors.LinkedIn’s acquisition of Lynda.com was mainly a data valuation exercise that also exceeded one billion dollars.Tesco placed an internal valuation of over one billion dollars on their Dunnhumby data asset, which contained the shopping habits of some 770 million shoppers (Kroger purchased the data for less than one billion).The key to performing this type of data valuation will be to continually reason and value data at speed.The “brains” of the IT infrastructure will evolve to quickly and efficiently recognize, analyze and label data, know what data goes where, identify how it needs to be stored and accessed in the future, and decide where it needs to live specifically. – John RoeseData valuation will require the combination of multiple forms of data: legacy mission-critical data, recently-collected Big Data, and emerging forms of IoT data. Combining all three types of data together is crucial: they each represent evolving patterns of business activity over time. John Roese explains the transition from mission critical to Big Data (second wave) to IoT:Audio Playerhttps://www.delltechnologies.com/uploads/2018/02/Seve-Todd-1.m4a00:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.All three types of data must exist in a way that enables compute-intensive valuation. This valuation must extend from the cloud to the edge, and in future years to gateway devices.The “Age of Data Valuation” will also require additional innovations in the areas of data trust (e.g., blockchain) and data visualization (e.g., AR/VR).In future posts, I will expand on these technologies and their relation to data valuation.last_img read more

Boxers prepare for 85th Bengal Bouts

first_imgWei Lin | The Observer Andy Faustone (right) fights Jeffrey Wang in a round during last year’s Bengal Bouts. The Boutsbenefit Holy Cross missions in Bangladesh.Sunday marks the start of preliminary rounds for the 85th Bengal Bouts tournament, held annually in the Joyce Center Field House.For all participants, the long-running boxing tournament is an opportunity to raise money for Holy Cross missions in Bangladesh. For others, the fight goes farther.Bengal Bouts captain Pete McGinley said the tournament, which is broadcast on ESPN3 for the final round, “combines elements of sport and service to create a really unique experience.”“Like Dominic ‘Nappy’ Napolitano [who organized the first tournament] once said, the beautiful part of Bengal Bouts is that while there are some students who join simply for the boxing, most of the boxers are there because they know that they are doing something good for someone else,” McGinley said.McGinley said he has seen marked improvement in how connected the boxers feel with the people they are aiding.“This year we started having ‘Mission Mondays’, which would typically feature one of our boxers who has gone to Bangladesh either telling stories from his experience or just emphasizing the importance of the missions,” McGinley said.McGlinley said a crucial part of Bengal Bouts’ relationship with the Holy Cross missions is the International Summer Service Learning Program (ISSLP), which sends boxers to Bangladesh every year. Freshman Chris Dethlefs, who will live in Bangladesh this summer, said he hopes his experiences abroad will make him even more committed to the club’s mission.“Participating in the ISSLP will give me the chance to dedicate myself more fully to the real purpose of Bengal Bouts, which is a fight for the poor and marginalized in Bangladesh,” he said.Dethlefs said he appreciates both the service aspect and the physical challenge of the tournament.“After a grueling workout and seeing how hard each individual was working, I could see that I was going to love the challenges the club presented,” Dethlefs said.For junior Chris Bertini, the fight is personal. He said he was unable to compete his sophomore year because he was recovering from cancer, but he worked to regain strength for the 2015 tournament.“I was in terrible shape from my chemotherapy treatment four months prior, so I worked out on my own to get my fitness back,” he said.Bertini said the tournament is a way to show he has improved.“Bengal Bouts is my chance to prove to myself that I am capable of anything,” Bertini said.In addition to its service component, McGlinley said the tournament is a chance to connect with fellow students across grades – boxers commonly hear about the club from older friends, and some even knew of the tournament while still in high school.“That’s one of my favorite parts of Bengal Bouts, the way that it allows older guys to connect with underclassmen, especially freshmen, and get them involved with a great team early on in the fall semester,” McGinley said.Bertini said he hopes everyone attempts a challenge on par with boxing at least once in his or her life.“You don’t know how strong you really are until you challenge yourself,” Bertini said. “Whether it be Bengal Bouts, running a marathon, a grueling academic schedule or beating cancer.”Tickets for Bengal Bouts can be purchased through the tournament’s website. Student tickets cost $5, and a four-round season pass costs $20.Tags: Bengal Bouts, Chris Bertini, Chris Dethlefs, Pete McGinleylast_img read more

07 Gardener identification

first_imgBy Wayne McLaurinUniversity of Georgia You know you’re a gardener if … You have an extra refrigerator for storing seed. You feed more than seven families with one zucchini plant. Your seed-packet collection dates back to 1976 or earlier. You get up in the middle of the night to see if your seeds have germinated. Every scratch pad in your house is filled with landscape ideas. You’ve moved a plant more than 11 times. Neighbors close their door when they see you coming with a paper sack full of vegetables. You get more than 35 seed catalogs per year. You’re building an extra outbuilding to house your gardening tools. You have more than one notebook filled with garden plans. Your children refuse to stop at just one more garden on the “vacation garden tour.” You’ve gotten a load of manure for a Christmas present. You’ve broken a truck axle hauling sand or stones for a walkway. Your garden pond is more advanced than your indoor plumbing. You’ve been brave enough to plant bamboo. You’ve given your wife a rototiller for your anniversary. You’ve financed a plant for more than six months. You have more than three compost piles in your backyard. You’ve been banned from more than two botanical trial gardens. You have a secret credit card account for fertilizer and plant charges. You’re taking Spanish classes to better understand your gardener. You’ve chained yourself to a three-year-old tomato plant you’re trying to save. You think that bamboo has potential as a container plant. You’ve used a sweet potato as a centerpiece at a dinner party. Collards are a necessary part of your landscape, or collards growing inside of a cut-and-painted tire are. You’ve put one of those stupid artificial rocks with the writing on it in your garden. Your encourage your spouse to go fishing to have the fish heads for fertilizer under your plants. You use your chipped pots for toad houses. You let the garden snakes stay because they eat bugs even though they scare the daylights out of you every time. The eating of the first tomato is ritualized with a candlelight dinner and is the only time you use an ironed, cloth tablecloth all year. They’ve reserved your parking space at the garden center. Your raised beds are better constructed than your back steps. You’ve replaced the soil in your beds with the soil cleaned from the back-entrance hallway. Volume XXVIII Number 1 Page 7last_img read more

4 Accused of $925K Catholic School Mortgage Scam

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Two Long Island couples were arrested for allegedly scamming nearly $540,000 from Bank of America by illegally selling a foreclosed property to Sacred Heart Academy, a Catholic all-girls high school in Hempstead.Sofia Atias, 44, and her 50-year-old husband Joseph Atias, of Great Neck, pleaded not guilty to charges of bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud Tuesday at Central Islip federal court along with alleged co-conspirators Nicholas Pellegrini, 51, and his 34-year-old wife, Paula Berckhoff, of Garden City.“Sofia Atias falsely reported that she had no ability to repay the outstanding debt on her mortgage and line of credit, when in truth and in fact, as the defendant well knew and believed, Sacred Heart Academy had offered to pay $925,000,” prosecutors alleged in court papers.Sofia Atias had defaulted on about $750,000 in a mortgage and line of credit on a piece of property on Cathedral Avenue in Hempstead in 2011. She and her husband, along with Pellegrini, a real estate attorney, allegedly made an agreement with Bank of America for what’s known as a short sale of the property, as an alternative to foreclosure. In a short sale, the bank agrees to sell the property for less than the owner’s outstanding debt if the owner cannot afford to repay the mortgage.Under the bank’s agreement, the property was sold for $480,000 to Jefferson Real Property Corporation, whose secretary and treasurer was Pellegrini’s wife, Paula Berckhoff.In their short sale contract, Sofia Atias and Paula Berckhoff “falsely represented that neither would receive any proceeds from the transaction,” the court papers said. Jefferson Real Property Corporation finalized the sale of the property in March 2012 to the academy, which had planned on using the property for a new athletic field for its students.All four defendants were released on $600,000 bail, according to a spokesman for the federal prosecutors. If convicted, each faces up to 30 years in prison, plus restitution.An attorney for Pellegrini and Berckhoff, Stephen Scaring of Garden City, declined to comment. The attorney for the Atiases, Robert LaRusso of Mineola, could not be reached for comment.last_img read more

Brand traps to avoid

first_imgThere are traps everywhere when it comes to growing your financial institution. External traps (think about your competition). Internal traps (think about your employees). Regulatory traps (think about the NCUA and FDIC—well, don’t think about them unless you want nightmares!).You get the idea: whether it is changing trends, changing consumers or changing technology the speed at which the financial services industry is moving is like lightening. There are potential pitfalls everywhere you turn.But perhaps the greatest traps to watch when it comes to your bank or credit union are your brand traps. There are many places—traps—your financial institution must avoid when building or reinforcing your brand. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

‘Human element’ sets vendors apart

first_imgThere’s a quiet revolution happening.Once upon a time, software was the province of the information technology department, which would conduct due diligence and implement new solutions.But in the age of the app store, the epoch of the cloud, when every day a new disruption is announced, the friction of adopting a new solution has all but vanished. You can simply download, click, and begin.In a rush to be agile, something has been lost. The cornerstone that ensures success: The human element.The human element is the service and support from which technology derives its full worth. It’s people who view your success as their mission, who will be there when you need them to guide you through the most critical phases of a project. continue reading » 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Merrick Woman Charged With Fatal Hit-and-run

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A Merrick woman was arrested for allegedly killing a pedestrian in a hit-and-run crash in Freeport over the Independence Day weekend, Nassau County police said.Stephanie Beeker was charged with leaving the scene of an accident with death.Police said the 66-year-old woman was driving a Nissan Altima eastbound on Sunrise Highway when she hit an unidentified male who was crossing Route 27 west of Buffalo Avenue at 11 p.m. July 4. She reportedly kept on driving.The victim was taken to Nassau University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead a half hour later.Police apprehended the suspect in Baldwin about 90 minutes later.Bail for Beeker was set at $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond. She is due back in court Wednesday.last_img read more