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Pigeon Poop Begone Says BART Board Candidate

first_imgMichael Petrelis, the political gadfly and a candidate running to represent part of San Francisco on BART’s Board of Directors, is tired of pigeon crap.Its cleanup has in fact become a rallying cry for Petrelis’s campaign for the BART Board of Directors, in which he is running to represent District 9, which includes the seven BART stations from Montgomery Street to Balboa Park.But, he’s hardly waiting until Election Day. Last Thursday, he convened 11 representatives from five city agencies and walked them through the 16th Street BART Station — the Mission District’s dirtiest transit terminal — pointing to roosting pigeons, trashed corners, and urine-smelling pavement. The group — which included members of the Department of Public Works, Department of Public Health, the Municipal Transit Agency, Clear Channel, and the Police Department — listened to Petrelis and his solutions. They gave their own as well. A solar reflector, for instance, could use blinding light to prevent pigeons from roosting, said a police officer.Putting the overhead wires underground would also help, though it would be expensive, said John Gray from the Municipal Transit Agency.In the meantime, a representative from Public Works pledged to redouble efforts by clean-up crews to steam-clean the plaza.For his part, Petrelis suggested the installation of a “misting system” and spikes along the overhead wires to keep birds away, as well as the reapplication of pepper gel, which had coated some of the wires but not all of them. But the technical solutions danced around the reason the pigeons like the station in the first place.“The pigeons are really a result of people who are congregating and making food available,” said Dr. Tomás Aragon, a health officer with the Department of Public Health. He called the preponderance of feces and trash a “public health nuisance.”The health department recognizes pigeon roosts as a city-wide issue that can lead to the transmission of both human and bird diseases. The pigeons themselves, said Nader Shatara, a health inspector with the Department of Public Health, suffer from standing in their own excrement too. Their feet become infected and are often reduced to little more than a stump, he said.Some solutions were obvious — the 24th Street BART Station, for instance, does not have the overhead wires that make bird perching possible, Aragon said — but where there’s a meal, the animals will find a way.“You can put up the spikes, the solar strobe, whatever, but as long as there’s food, they’ll acclimate,” said Shatara.During the walking tour, Shatara pointed to a man sitting on a bench with a handful of rice. Dozens of pigeons swarmed around him, crawling on his arms and feet to peck at the hundreds of grains he spilled. Others flew down from their wire perches to peck at burrito scrapings and other crumbs.“It’s an issue of poverty, it’s an issue of some of whom are homeless or marginally housed,” said Dr. Aragon. “We’re going to have to figure out how we’re going to work with them, to reach out to them, to figure out a way so that they’re not feeding the birds.”A regular at the 16th Street BART Plaza feeding pigeons with rice. Photo by Joe Rivano Barros.Petrelis, a victim of pigeon poop, is adamant that his clean-up campaign is not intended to remove anyone from the plaza. The 57-year-old activist and blogger has been urging city agencies to take a keener interest in cleaning up the 16th Street BART Plaza since 2014, two years after he had an unfortunate incident there.That happened in June 2012, when Petrelis was using the downward escalator into the transit station when he put his hand on the rail and plopped it into a pile of pigeon droppings. “My hand was made gross by the pigeon poop!” he said. “That’s a public health risk.”Petrelis says the feces, dirt, and trash at the station pose a particular problem for those — like him — who cannot fight off infections so easily. “I have a compromised immune system, and I’m really concerned about where I put my hands,” said the former AIDS activist, who was diagnosed with HIV in 1985.For Petrelis, the pigeon poop problem deserves a technical solution, one that won’t displace the regulars on the plaza but will selectively target the birds who feast on their leftovers. As a thrice-weekly user of the station, he wants the pigeon poop, dirty pavement, and trashed corners cleaned up. “How do we come together to make sure the [single-room occupancy hotel] residents, the homeless, the unhoused — how can we make this public space more inviting, more activated, for whoever uses it?” he said.Step one would be working with BART, a particular and longstanding problem, Petrelis said. The transit agency — along with Pacific Gas and Electric, which owns some of the wires where the pigeons perch — was not present at Petrelis’s walking tour.“So much of what we need is from BART,” he said, mentioning regular clean-ups and anti-pigeon spiking measures. Alicia Trost, a spokesperson from BART, said that there were no staff available to meet with Petrelis until mid-November. Furthermore, she said, it would be inappropriate to send staff to the walking tour since it “could be a campaign event.” Indeed, Petrelis pinned cloth reading “Vote Petrelis BART Board District 9” to his jacket and handed out business cards with the same slogan.Michael Petrelis at the walking tour of the 16th Street BART Station on October 13. Photo by Joe Rivano Barros.The perceived inaction from BART is what prompted Petrelis’s candidacy and his efforts to try his luck with other city agencies. After three months and dozens of emails, Petrelis got the walking tour and its promises of action.By the end of the hour-long tour, Darryl Dilworth from Public Works said he would look into additional funding for regular clean-up crews, funding he said Public Works was receiving from BART until a few months ago.The money, he said, allowed for daily steam-cleaning of the plaza.Petrelis, for his part, was hopeful and generally ecstatic that a citizen with a loud enough voice could assemble a half-dozen city agencies and demand they pay attention.“I’m so happy,” he said. 0%center_img Tags: 16th Street BART • BART Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more

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Initially meeting as a train on squad recruitment

first_imgInitially meeting as a train on squad, recruitment is open access regardless of ability or the sport participants have played in.The first training session will be held on Friday November 2 from 6.45pm until 7.45pm at our Cowley Training Facility.Saints Women’s Captain, Tara Jones, said: “It’s great news to be able to finally launch an under 19s team. It has been a long time in the making but we wanted to make sure the development system was right before we recruited players.“I’m really looking forward to seeing as many players as possible at our first session, regardless of ability.“Women’s Rugby League is growing in this country and after our successful season I have no doubt that Saints Women will continue to grow.”last_img read more

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First Team Match SAINTS TV

first_imgCoote has been one of the stand-out Saints stars so far after signing from North Queensland Cowboys in the off-season and a string of impressive performances at full-back, has led to the Saints fans instantly warming to him.And with that the Red Vee fans have come up with their own personalised  ‘He is the reason’ Coote chant.We caught up with Lachlan at a joint press conference ahead of the Good Friday derby to ask him what he thinks of THAT song.“It’s unreal. It is something I have never experienced before. I said earlier I got a bit emotional Friday night walking across that West stand and I cannot thank the fans enough for the amount of support they have given me so far, it’s unreal. I had the song in my head all night and I can’t stop singing it and I know the lyrics now!”Coote looked ahead to the Derby clash on Friday where Saints have sold over 5,500 tickets and he insists the fans support has been ‘awesome’ and is hoping for more of the same on Friday.“There is no reason why you cannot get up for this game. There is probably around 25 thousand fans set to attend and most of them are Wigan fans so there is no doubt they will be firing for Friday’s match and hopefully we prepare well and get everything sorted for that.“[Our away fans have] been awesome. All the boys love their support going away and hearing their cheering all game and it is going to be no different on Friday. The amount of fans we are bringing is unheard of and what they did for us over in Catalans, we heard them all game and I am sure we are going to hear them on Friday!”A total of over 20,000 tickets have been sold by both clubs with Saints fans flocking in their numbers to support the Red Vee over the road. We have sold over 5,500 tickets for the big clash with more tickets still available in the West stand for any fans still wishing to purchase last minute tickets.last_img read more

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Investigative hearings being held in Wilmington to discuss GenX

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Environmental Review Commission will meet in Wilmington on Wednesday to investigate the discharge of GenX into the Cape Fear River.Public officials from the lower Cape Fear region are invited to attend Wednesday’s hearing, which is expected to be the first of multiple meetings the commission will hold regarding the GenX discharge.- Advertisement – Secretaries of the state Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Health and Human Services and Chemours officials will be invited to attend the hearing and answer questions about the developing matter.  Members of the public are also invited to comment.“It is important for legislators to visit the lower Cape Fear region and hear from local families, public officials and environmental experts,” Speak of the House Tim Moore & Senate Leader Phil Berger said in a joint statement. “Legislative hearings will provide a transparent process to help lawmakers and the public understand what happened, review the administration’s handling of this matter, and hopefully begin the process of identifying ways for the administration to address the immediate problem of GenX contamination in our water.”The meeting will begin at 1:30 p.m. at the New Hanover County Government Center.Related Article: EPA hits Chemours for not notifying on new compoundsMembers of the commission will also tour the Sweeney Water Treatment Plant prior to the meeting.last_img read more

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Talented young musicians to compete at UNCW this weekend

first_img The Ronald Sachs International Music Competition is in its third year and is “committed to inspiring young artists and enriching their musical experiences so that they can enjoy performing at the early stages of their careers in music”.The competition’s artistic director, Danijela Zezlj-Gualdi, believes that competitions stimulate passionate musicianship. This competition was created to provide young musicians with an opportunity to exhibit their talent and reward their hard work.All events are completely free and open to the general public.Related Article: Seahawks hope to ride momentum from Senior Night winThe schedule is as follows:Friday May 11th:10 a.m.-2 p.m. – Masterclasses (piano, violin, flute)7:30 p.m. – Guest Judges RecitalSaturday May 12th:10 a.m. – Competition Finals Round7:30 p.m. – Grand Prize Round evening concert and post-concert receptionFor more information, click here. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The campus of UNCW will soon be filled with the music of talented young artists, as they compete for the top spot in the Ronald Sachs International Music Competition.On May 11 and 12, finalists will take the stage in Beckwith Recital Hall and showcase musical excellence.- Advertisement – last_img read more

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Wilmington resident toasts to her 100th birthday

first_img Gable celebrated in grand fashion and shared some words of wisdom and her secret to longevity.“Drink good vodka. And smoke cigarettes. And pray to the Lord Jesus Christ,” said Gable.Gable still lives by that motto, with her vodka seltzer by her side at the party. Her daughter says she has always had a vibrant sense of humor. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A special celebration for a special woman Saturday afternoon. Betty Ann Gable turns 100 years old Monday.Gable was born on August 27th, 1918. She had a luau-themed party with her friends and family.- Advertisement – last_img read more

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WPD graffiti artist known as Creator arrested

first_imgRelated Article: Alleged drug dealer charged in overdose death Herren frequently used the tag “Creator” or “-C” on his work.He received a $1,500 unsecured bond. Jackson Kai Herren, 18, targeted downtown Wilmington with multiple works of Graffiti over the last few weeks. (Photo: WPD) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY NEWS) – Wilmington Police arrested Jackson Kai Herren, 18, Friday on five counts of damage to real property under the pre-text of graffiti vandalism.Herren admitted full responsibility for several incidents of graffiti vandalism.- Advertisement – center_img In the last couple weeks, Herrin left works of graffiti in several downtown Wilmington locations, including in the stairwell and upper levels, along with inset buildings, parking areas between buildings and the South Water Street area, according to Jennifer Dandron with the Wilmington Police Department.last_img read more

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Could you have to start paying for parking in Oak Island

first_imgOak Island Town Council voted to start negotiations to potentially bring paid parking to the town. (Photo: Kylie Jones/WWAY) OAK ISLAND, NC (WWAY) — If you plan on going to the beach in Oak Island this summer, you could see some changes that will cost you some change.Oak Island Town Council voted this week to negotiate paid parking. Public parking has been free, but that could change.- Advertisement – Town Council voted three to two to start negotiations with NC Parking. The Town Mayor says they have not signed any contracts yet.She says there will be a public meeting on March 5 for residents and council members to ask questions, before any negotiations move forward.last_img read more

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We did not decide that the petition was not valid – Zammit

first_imgThe Head of the Partit Nazzjonalista (PN) Electoral Commission, Francis Zammit Dimech said that it is not true that the party’s administration had decided that the petition on the vote of confidence regarding Adrian Delia is not valid. Zammit Dimech was talking to Newsbook.com.mt after an online report from Times of Malta had quoted him stating that the petition in question was not valid. Zammit Dimech also told Newsbook.com.mt that he had never said what the Times of Malta quoted. He elaborated that only the Executive Committee can decide on the validity of the petition, and that the petition is on The Executive agenda for the meeting that will be held later today.The General Council will be taking a vote of confidence during the extraordinary meeting of the 27th of July. Adrian Delia said repeatedly that the members of the party had decided to appoint him the party’s leader, and therefore it is up to them to oust him out of or reconfirm him. Last week, a PN press release stated that the Executive Committee will be meeting today to discuss the petition. It also said that following verifications the petition asking for a vote of confidence had 84 invalid or not updated signatures out of the total of 200. <a href=’http://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/ck.php?n=ab2c8853&amp;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’https://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=97&amp;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> SharePrintcenter_img WhatsApplast_img read more

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How Nigerias Afrinolly app got almost half a million downloads in 10

first_imgAdvertisement Fresh from of its nomination as a finalist in the 2011 Google Android Developer Challenge, it was a great way to bring the app to market. Later that year, it emerged as one of three winners of the Google Android Developer Challenge in Sub Saharan Africa winning the contest cash prize of about $25,000.It is one thing to win a challenge/contest but quite another to effectively leverage the exposure and publicity it brings as a foundation for building a successful business.After winning the challenge, the Afrinolly team did not rest on their laurels but proceeded to sign deals and forge partnerships with content aggregators, network providers and device manufacturers. – Advertisement – For instance, they worked with Nokia to develop a version of their app for its S40 series and forged partnership deals that got the Afrinolly app pre-installed in the Nokia Asha 201 and Asha 303. They also partnered with Samsung to get the app preinstalled on the Samsung Galaxy SII, Samsung Galaxy Note and Samsung Galaxy Pocket amongst others.Its biggest win however came when it successfully partnered with leading African telecommunications provider, MTN. According to the Afrinolly team, they collaborated with MTN to help drive app consciousness among Nigerians and promote Nigeria’s entertainment industry on mobile devices. Through a co-branding deal, the MTN Afrinolly partnership was launched delivering the Afrinolly experience to MTN’s base of subscribers spread across Nigeria.Source: The next Weblast_img read more

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Meet the elusive Telegram founder Pavel Durov

first_imgPavel Durov founder and CEO of Telegram. Image Credit: Bloomberg Advertisement Pavel Durov is the elusive founder behind Telegram, an app that’s found itself at the center of the contentious encryption debate.Telegram is the Berlin-based competitor to Facebook’s WhatsApp. Using two layers of encryption, the app claims to be “faster and more secure” than other messaging services.Users can message and send files to friends, create group chats with up to 200 members, or opt for “special secret chats” where messages self-destruct. – Advertisement – ISIS terrorists are turning to encrypted underground apps like Telegram to communicate. Laith Alkhouri, director of Research at Flashpoint Global Partners, called it “the new hot thing among jihadists.”But who exactly is Pavel Durov, the app’s 31-year-old founder? Here’s what we know.1. He is often referred to as the “Mark Zuckerberg of Russia.” Prior to Telegram, he founded Vkontakte (called VK) in 2006, a popular Russian social network in Russia that serves as an alternative to Facebook.2. He’s now a Russian exile. In 2014, he opted to flee his home country, refusing to comply with requests from the Russian government to turn over data on Ukrainian Vkontakte users. At that point, the government in Russia had taken control of the Internet.3. He once offered Edward Snowden a job. When Russia granted Snowden temporary asylum in 2013, Durov proposed he work as a security software developer at Vkontakte. At the time, Durov was filled with pride over his country: “In such moments one feels pride with our country and regret over the course taken by United States a country betraying the principles it was once built on,” he said. (He’s also called Snowden his personal hero.)4. He thinks other messaging apps “suck.” That’s why he and his brother, Nikolai, started Telegram in 2013. “To put it simply, it doesn’t matter how many other messaging apps are out there if all of them suck,” he said in an interview at TechCrunch Disrupt in September.5. He’s more concerned about privacy threats than terrorist threats. “If you look at the situation statistically and get rid of emotion for a second … the probability that you or me will die as a result of terrorism is almost zero,” Durov told CNN International’s Erin Mclaughlin in September. “The probability that we will get into a car accident is a million times higher than the probability we will suffer as a result of terrorist act.”6. He thinks the benefit of providing private communications outweighs the costs. Following reports that ISIS terrorists were using Telegram to communicate, Telegram said that it blocked 78 ISIS-related channels across 12 languages. Private communications among ISIS members would not be impacted.But that doesn’t mean that encryption is bad.“We think that providing this kind of secure private means of communication for the masses for 99.999 percent of people that have nothing to do with terrorism means more than the threat that we see from the other side,” Durov told Mclaughlin, adding that it’s impossible to limit encryption from spreading.“Terrorists will always find a means of secure communication,” he said.7. He thinks the “French government is as responsible as ISIS” for the Paris attacks. Durov wrote that France’s “policies and carelessness … led to the tragedy.”He said the government takes away money from its people with “outrageously high taxes” to spend that money on “waging useless wars.”[related-posts]8. He isn’t in it for the money. Pavel Durov is footing Telegram with a “generous donation” of his own money.“If Telegram runs out, we’ll invite our users to donate and add non-essential paid options to break even. But making profits will never be a goal for Telegram,” reads Telegram’s FAQ.9. He’s a world traveler – and a talented photographer. His Instagram account is filled with gorgeous pictures of landscapes and occasionally photos of himself. Recent photo locations include Finland, Barcelona, San Francisco, New York, and Rome. (Though Durov was raised in St. Petersburg, he spent part of his childhood in Italy.)10. But he doesn’t call any place home.“I prefer not to point a needle on the map. I think we should be less dependent on the outdated concept we call countries,” Durov told Mclaughlin.He doesn’t regret leaving Russia (“I’m really happy that I [left] because the new company is much more successful than the previous one,” he said) but he may go back one day. “I’m not sure I have an intent to go back there on a permanent basis.”[CNN]last_img read more

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Facebook Has Deleted Over 30000 Accounts in Fight Against Fake News

first_imgA 3D plastic representation of the Facebook logo is seen in this illustration in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, May 13, 2015. Facebook announced deals with nine publishers — including NBC News, the New York Times and BuzzFeed — to deliver select articles “instantly” on mobile apps. A next logical step for the social giant would be to extend the program to Internet-video providers. Under the Instant Articles program, Facebook caches content on its servers so that it loads up to 10 times faster than regular article posts, which take an average of eight seconds to access. The other launch partners in the program are National Geographic, The Atlantic, the U.K.’s Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel and Bild. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic – RTX1CSWP Advertisement Facebook has deleted “tens of thousands” of accounts and made changes to its newsfeed algorithm in an attempt to battle fake news, responding to criticism over the distribution of false information on its massive network.“We have developed new ways to identify and remove fake accounts that might be spreading false news so that we get to the root of the problem,” said Simon Milner, Facebook’s director of policy for the UK.The social media giant has come under intense pressure to tackle the spread of false stories, which came to prominence during the US presidential election last year when many inaccurate posts were widely shared on it and other social media services. – Advertisement – Aljazeera reports that Facebook suspended 30,000 accounts in France before the first round of its presidential election last month and uses outside fact-checkers in the country.Facebook urged its users in the UK to be sceptical of headlines that look unbelievable and to check other sources before sharing news that may not be credible.“With these changes, we expect we will also reduce the spread of material generated through inauthentic activity, including spam, misinformation, or other deceptive content that is often shared by creators of fake accounts,” Facebook said.[related-posts]Credit: Aljazeera, Reuterslast_img read more

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Facebook Now Has 2 Billion Users Mark Zuckerberg Reveals

first_imgAdvertisement Facebook Inc. said on Tuesday that 2 billion people are regularly using its flagship service, marching past another milestone in its growth from a college curiosity in the United States to the world’s largest social media network.Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg disclosed the number to his followers in a Facebook post. “It’s an honor to be on this journey with you,” he wrote.The user base is bigger than the population of any single country, and of six of the seven continents. It represents more than a quarter of the world’s 7.5 billion people. – Advertisement – Facebook defines a monthly active user as a registered Facebook user who logged in and visited Facebook through its website or a mobile device, or used its Messenger app, in the past 30 days. It does not include people who use the Instagram or WhatsApp networks but not Facebook.The company said in May that duplicate accounts, according to an estimate from last year, may have represented some 6 percent of its worldwide user base.The social network’s user population dwarfs that of similar companies. Twitter reported in April monthly active users of 328 million, while Snap Inc’s Snapchat had 166 million daily users at the end of the first quarter.WeChat, a unit of Tencent Holdings Ltd and a widely used service in China, said in May that it had 938 million monthly active users in the first quarter.Facebook had 1.94 billion people using its service monthly as of March 31, an increase of 17 percent from a year earlier. It reached 1 billion in October 2012.The company, which Zuckerberg started in 2004 in his college dorm room, uses its huge size advantage to lure advertisers, offering them highly targeted marketing capabilities based on its data about users.The number of advertisers topped 5 million in April, the company said.Facebook’s growth has increasingly come from outside the United States, Canada and Europe. Three years ago, those regions accounted for some 38 percent of users, compared with about 30 percent in the first quarter of this year.To increase penetration rates in developing nations, Facebook has rolled out pared-down versions of its apps that use less data, and it has been developing solar-powered drones to extend internet connectivity around the planet.Credit: Reuterslast_img read more

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STARTERS ORDERS Tuesday

first_imgHORSE RACING2.10 CheltenhamRoyal Caviar 14/1 > 10/12.50 CheltenhamA Good Skin 25/1 > 16/13.30 CheltenhamYanworth 11/4 > 9/46.45 WolverhamptonSurround Sound 11/1 > 5/1FOOTBALLUEFA Champions League Round of 16 2nd Leg19:45 BT Sport 3 / BT Sport 3 HD3/4 Juventus 4/1 FC Porto 13/5 DRAWUEFA Champions League Round of 16 2nd Leg19:45 BT Sport 2 / BT Sport 2 HD / BT Sport 4K UHD11/5 Leicester City 5/4 Sevilla 5/2 DRAWBET WITH STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321 [dropcap]W[/dropcap]elcome to Starters Orders. Our daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Tuesday 14 Marchlast_img read more

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BENS BLOG Attention Seeking on RPGTV

first_img[dropcap]I[/dropcap] was delighted to be able to continue my interminable attention-seeking, courtesy of RPGTV, last week. I arrived at their studios, for a programme starting at 7pm, and their viewers were treated to four full hours of my greyhound racing and form-studying expertise. Unfortunately, I only managed to tip up three winners (all short-priced favourites), in the 24 races shown, but it was still great fun. Thank you to Jonathan Hobbs and Phil Donaldson for hosting me. AND ROLL ON THE STAR SPORTS GREYHOUND DERBY..!!In other news:The Brackenbury, 129-131 Brackenbury Rd, W6 0BQ. WEB SITE A few shrewd judges have been mentioning this place and I did the right thing in trying it. A pub converted, to a classy French restaurant, with a warm atmosphere. Excellent service. Every mouthful superb. Not a wide menu though. 9Over and out, B xlast_img read more

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Six Professors Recognized With George R Brown Award for Superior Teaching

first_imgTerrence Doody Doody, an English professor who teaches Modernism, the novel and contemporary literature, said he devotes a large part of his class to teaching students how to write. Learning how to write well is important because “an unarticulated idea is not an idea,” he said. “If you can’t express it, you don’t know it.” Doody said his teaching method requires that his students write six or seven papers a semester. His grading style hasn’t varied since he started teaching at Rice in 1970, and he has maintained his “hard, but fair” policy. “The way you learn how to write is by writing all the time,” he said. Doody previously has received the Superior Teaching Award five times.Michael Gustin Like Cox, first-time Superior Teaching Award winner Gustin teaches a large introductory course. Gustin, associate professor of biochemistry and cell biology, has been teaching introductory biology at Rice for almost 11 years. “I’ve tried in different ways to create a small class atmosphere,” said Gustin. One way he breaks down communication barriers is to meet the students in the class in smaller groups. For instance, he eats lunch with his students at each residential college early in the semester. Gustin said he’s rarely nervous in front of a crowd but hadn’t done much teaching when he arrived at Rice in 1988, and it showed. His early students were critical of his disorganization in their evaluations, and Gustin took the criticism to heart. He said he’s worked hard over the years to create “a very organized course, with clear expectations up front.” And while the course is very demanding, he’s also worked hard to make it fun. Breaking up lectures with impromptu discussions about current research is one way he keeps material fresh, and Gustin said he’s tried a number of other techniques through the years — not all of which worked. One successful experiment that’s turned into a course tradition is the live enactment of the digestive system. Gustin divides the class by residential college into teams, assigning each college a specific part of the digestive system. Each team has to produce a five-minute skit that portrays a part of the system. “It has to be informative in some way, but I encourage overacting,” Gustin said with a grin.Mikki Hebl “This is my favorite class to teach,” Hebl tells students enrolled in her social psychology course. She also says that to students in her psychology of gender class. And to students in her research methods class. Hebl can’t help it — she genuinely loves teaching. The Radoslav Tsanoff Assistant Professor of Psychology always has viewed teachers as role models and friends. In fact, she still keeps in touch with her former mentors and visits her kindergarten, first- and second-grade teachers when she goes home to Pardeeville, Wis. Her goal as a teacher is to engage the students in the subject matter, often through research and demonstrations in the classroom. “I want to get them involved in the material rather than have them just be passive recipients of my lectures,” she said. In her psychology of gender class, for example, an exercise in which students retell a story to one another makes them aware of gender stereotypes as they witness how the story drastically changes as a function of whether the main character is described as male or female. This demonstration was so insightful that Hebl was able to get it published for the student who came up with the idea in the journal Teaching of Psychology. Hebl said it’s critical for teachers to continually update their knowledge of the subject matter. “Teachers are never finished being students in the classroom,” she said. “They need to continue evolving with new discoveries in the field and with each batch of new students.”John Zammito The John Antony Weir Professor of History and professor of German and Slavic studies and past recipient of this award, Zammito said he always is flabbergasted that students found his class to be rewarding. “I’m very grateful to all the alumni,” he said. “It’s obviously very gratifying to be remembered.” Zammito said he enjoys teaching students and developing complex narratives that are woven together for them during the semester about European intellectual history. Working with students individually is one of the best aspects of teaching, he said. “You get to understand what their interests and concerns are and help them think through and articulate what they want to know more about,” Zammito said. He has taught history for 25 years, including 10 years at Rice and also at The University of Texas at Austin and at Houston’s St. John’s School. He previously has received the George R. Brown Prize for Excellence in Teaching and the Nicholas Salgo Distinguished Teaching Award. “I really enjoy being around students,” he said. “It gets me excited to see them excited or interested in what’s going on.” ShareSix Professors Recognized With George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching ………………………………………………………………… AddThiscenter_img BY B.J. ALMOND, JADE BOYD and ELLEN CHANG Rice News StaffEach year alumni who graduated two and five years earlier have the opportunity to recognize faculty with the George R. Brown Awards for Superior Teaching. This year, the classes of 2000 and 1997 awarded the $2,000 prizes to Steven Cox, Chandler Davidson, Terrence Doody, Michael Gustin, Mikki Hebl and John Zammito.Steven Cox This is the third Superior Teaching Award for Cox, professor of computational and applied mathematics. He said recognition from former students is pleasing, but an important part of the feedback he gets from teaching comes in the classroom, when he sees that students are interested in the material — something that isn’t always easy in mathematics. “Many of my students are taking this as a required course,” said Cox. “It’s my job to pass on some of the beauty that mathematicians see in this material.” He credits the quality of Rice’s students with a measure of his success. They are smart and motivated to learn, which makes it easier to draw them out in class. “Without discussion, the material is too dry, and the best discussions are led by students,” said Cox. Another key is giving interesting, real-world assignments that engage students’ interest. A favorite elasticity problem, for example, is modeling the deformation of the ligament in a horse’s neck, which can stretch up to 100 percent when the animal is grazing. Cox said the ligament problem is more engaging for students than comparable examples using inanimate rubber bands or chords, and it opens the door for elasticity problems involving more complex living structures like skin and cytoskeletons.Chandler Davidson Davidson, four-time recipient of this award, said he got into the academic game because he likes to write. “I wanted to get a job where you got paid to write, an activity to which I felt addicted,” said Davidson, the Radoslav Tsanoff Professor in Public Affairs and professor of sociology and political science. “True, you had to teach to support your habit, but as soon as I began, I found I like teaching too.” Chandler said he got a “baptism by fire” when he joined the Rice faculty in 1966. “Back in the heady days of the ’60s, students thought sociology held the key to the universe, so the introductory course on sociology had two sections with a couple of hundred students each, which concentrated my mind wonderfully.” Nowadays Chandler teaches courses on social inequality, political sociology and poverty — “subjects that are dear to my heart,” he said. A past recipient of the George R. Brown Prize for Excellence in Teaching, Davidson said the most challenging aspect of teaching is finding time to put a good course together while also doing research to meet the demands of scholarship, and he has sensed that other teachers have felt the same frustration. “My colleagues I admire the most almost all say that they feel they never get it quite right, that the perfect course is just beyond their reach,” Davidson said.last_img read more

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K12 outreach enlivens campus during summer quiet

first_imgJEFF FITLOW  MICHAEL SIROIS  Local high school students attended the Rice Summer Business Institute to gain first-hand exposure to the fundamentals of money, financial markets and business. Musical expressions More than 100 children ages 2-9 explored music through hands-on activities during day camps at the Shepherd School of Music. The children learned rhythm games, built percussion instruments and created musical stories that encouraged creativity and taught them about the science of sound,“Since children learn by doing, we structure the camps in such a way that kids can develop natural musical instincts through joyful participation,” said Rachel Buchman, lecturer in music. “When children experience music physically, they understand the basic language and fundamental concepts of music. Those building blocks encourage confidence and inspire expression in many aspects of their lives.”The weeklong camps culminated in performances for family and friends featuring the campers’ newly acquired music skills.For more developed musicians, the Shepherd School offered piano and vocal camps through the Michael P. Hammond Preparatory Program. The program’s mission is to prepare K-12 music scholars for a lifetime of study and enjoyment.In the Summer Institute for Piano, 17 students spent a week in June developing their talents in one-on-one sessions with master teachers, group lessons and performances. That same week, 20 students enrolled in the Summer Vocal Camp enhanced their singing and performance skills through private lessons, theatrical events and scene rehearsals. Although the students varied in age and came from many different backgrounds, their love of music quickly emerged as a unifying factor. COURTESY PHOTO  JEFF FITLOW  Long Description Long Description Middle school students apply computer science principles to their robotics lab. More than 40 female students attended the five-day camp. Long Descriptioncenter_img A child in the Summer Creative Writing Workshop gets into character for a reading performance. Long Description “It was so heartwarming to see the students all find their places here,” said Virginia Nance, lecturer in music. “Whether they were 6 or 16 and from California or Poland, they fit in and became a family who eats together, works together and plays together. As much as we at the Shepherd School reached out to them, they reached out to each other.”Attracting girls to computer scienceThis summer, Rice branched out to female middle school students to generate enthusiasm for science and technology through a computer science camp. The program, directed by University Professor Richard Tapia and funded through Rice’s VGrADS grant, was designed to give the students the knowledge and skills to succeed in male-dominated computer science classrooms. Based on a similar program for female high school students, the camp was offered to middle-schoolers for the first time. “With the success of our high school camp, we saw that many of the young women already had set their sites on their careers,” said Michael Sirois, program manager in computer and applied mathematics. “So with this camp, we wanted to reach the students at a younger age.”Sirois said data shows that girls who are attracted to science and technology in elementary school begin to lose interest when they reach middle school. “Our purpose is to give them a fascinating, unique look at the world of technology to rekindle their interest in high-tech careers,” Sirois said. Karen Capo reads with children during the Summer Creative Writing Workshop. The program served more than 500 Houston students. “Ensuring the highest quality of education for our children is everybody’s responsibility,” Provost Eugene Levy said. “We at Rice are glad that so many in our community are committed to improving education by regularly working with teachers from across the Houston region, and around the nation and the world. When our researchers and staff reach out to engage K-12 teachers in this way, they are helping the university fulfill a critically important part of its mission and responsibility to society.” Teachers came from all over the world to attend Rice’s many outreach programs like the country’s largest Advanced Placement Summer Institute, the School Mathematics Project and the Elementary Science Lab Program, which was recently renewed by Houston Independent School District. Many other departments on campus trained teachers in the sciences and facilitated their research in Rice labs. Rice outreach didn’t end with the teachers; rather it extended to the K-12 students themselves. From music camps for 2-year-olds to a computer science class for middle schoolers to a business program for high school upperclassmen, the programs were designed with students in mind. ShareK-12 outreach enlivens campus during summer quietMusic, computer science, business and writing programs aim to make learning funBY JESSICA STARKRice News StaffThough many Rice students headed home for the summer, the campus has been vibrant with activities for the next generations of college students and their teachers. It’s all part of Rice’s outreach programs for kindergarteners to high schoolers (K-12). More than 40 female middle school students were selected to attend the camp based on  recommendations from their teachers and counselors. The five-day camp taught robotics, digital photography, Web design and programming. The students also attended presentations by Rice professors and female graduate students in the computer science field. Tomorrow’s business leadersForty-seven local high school students came to campus this summer for the Rice Summer Business Institute (RSBI), “Money and Business 101” course. Each student left with 70 hours of intensive, experiential learning covering a variety of business topics, and five students received competitive internships at Merrill Lynch, the RSBI underwriter. The interns spent three days a week at the company working with business professionals in the commodities and global private clients divisions.  RSBI strives to prepare its students to be future business leaders by giving them first-hand exposure to the fundamentals of money, financial markets and business. All students come from economically disadvantaged communities in Houston. The program, administered by the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management, covers a broad range of business topics aimed at interesting the students in the world of business and broadening their expectations of possible careers. The students took fieldtrips to Merrill Lynch and corporate sponsors AIM, ConocoPhillips and the Houston Texans. “One of the most important aspects of our program is its focus on hands-on learning,” said Jill Foote ’87, a Jones School lecturer of management who directs the RSBI. “The students simulated trading in our finance center and researched a stock, culminating in a team presentation. Frequently we divided the students into smaller groups, particularly for business communications exercises, resulting in more interaction with one another and faculty members.” This year’s high schoolers benefited from significant interaction with Rice students. Kenitra Brown’07, Black Student Association President, served as the institute’s teaching assistant. Black and Hispanic MBA student association members also volunteered to work with the high school students on a number of activities.Though the institute’s classroom work ended in June, RSBI continues to guide the students through mentorship programs and ongoing invitations to events such as the Hispanic MBA association’s ”Education for Success” program in September and an annual networking event in January.Empowering the penFor more than 15 years, Rice’s School Literacy and Culture Project has teamed with Writers in the Schools (WITS), a local nonprofit that engages children in the pleasure and power of reading and writing, to present the Summer Creative Writing Workshop. The goal of the workshop is to create a supportive environment where children write stories, poetry, essays and plays. Teachers and WITS-affiliated writers in each classroom integrate visual and written arts and encourage students to write.At the end of the three-week, half-day camp, each class publishes an anthology of their students’ work. All classes host a reading during the last week of camp.“It is important that we offer something that is fun and child-centered, but academic in nature,” said Connie Floyd, project director at the Center for Education. “As a native Houstonian, I know that many families look to Rice in the summer for something for their children and we are pleased to have a well-respected program to offer.”The workshop began as a professional development opportunity for teachers to learn new writing tools and techniques and for writers to learn classroom management and child development skills. As the collaboration matured, more people took part in the program.“People start calling us in December to get involved in the summer program,” Floyd said.The Summer Creative Writing Workshop reached children from many parts of the city, with nearly 500 K-12 students attending the workshop at Annunciation Orthodox School and 35 K-5 children attending at the Aldine Academy. AddThislast_img read more

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Rice experts available to discuss Haiti quake

first_imgAddThis ShareCONTACT: David RuthPHONE: 713-348-6327E-MAIL: druth@rice.edu Rice experts available to discuss Haiti quakeRice University has the following experts available to discuss Tuesday’s devastating earthquake in Haiti. Ed Cox, associate professor of history, is an expert on Caribbean disasters. Cox is currently teaching the class Natural Disasters in the History of the Caribbean, where he explores with his students disasters of the region going back to the early 1600s. Cox notes that Jamaica’s earthquake of 1692 totally destroyed Port Royal and eventually led to the capital being moved to Kingston, where earthquake survivors and refugees had settled.Mark Jones, professor and chair of political science, can explain Haiti’s politics, people and history. Jones is a national political expert on the region.Maria Oden, professor in the practice of engineering education and director of Rice’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen, was on the ground last summer in Haiti working with Rice’s Lab-in-a-Backpack, a Rice initiative to bring modern health care to underserved areas of the world. Oden is available to comment on the access to and quality of health care that was available to Haitians prior to yesterday’s destructive earthquake. She can also discuss the challenges Haiti is facing in the aftermath of the disaster.Rice senior Jocelyn Brown, a bioengineering major, spent two months in Haiti last summer teaching and field-testing Lab-in-a-Backpack. She blogged about her experiences at http://haiti.blogs.rice.edu/. Brown is available to talk about her experiences working with Haitian health care providers. Gordon Wittenberg, professor of architecture, is an expert on architecture and structural design. Wittenberg can discuss the impact of large earthquakes on structures. He can also comment on the types of structures built in Haiti and speculate whether better building practices could have avoided the widespread destruction that is being reported.last_img read more

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Artist reception for Allison Hunters BRC popup gallery installation Feb 13

first_imgFacebookTwitterPrintEmailAddThis ShareMEDIA ADVISORYDavid Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduJeff Falk713-348-6775jfalk@rice.edu Artist reception for Allison Hunter’s BRC pop-up gallery installation Feb. 13HOUSTON – (Feb. 12, 2013) – Rice Public Art is featuring a pop-up gallery installation by Rice University’s Humanities Artist-in-Residence Allison Hunter. A reception for the artist will be held Wednesday, Feb. 13, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the university’s BioScience Research Collaborative (BRC) at 6500 Main St. The pop-up gallery is located in the BRC’s first-floor lobby and will run through mid-April.Rice University Art Director Molly Hubbard said Hunter’s photographs, “Untitled (elephants 1 & 2),” give prominence to wild animals often cluttered by the manufactured habitats of captivity. “As a scientist might isolate a gene or a protein, Hunter digitally removed and masked layers of visual noise that surrounded the elephants in their zoo environment,” Hubbard said. “The result reimagines these majestic creatures and renders them in a more dreamlike and mysterious space.”A member of the university’s Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts, Hunter has worked in photography, video, drawing, sculpture and installation for more than two decades. She has participated in video and sculpture art residencies at such institutions as the Banff Centre for the Arts in Calgary, Canada, and the Hermit Center for Metamedia in Plasy, Czech Republic. Hunter’s photographs are collected by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the University Art Museum at SUNY, the Albany Institute of History and Art and the Center for Photography at Woodstock. Her work has been included in numerous exhibitions in the United States and Europe, including at the Kohler Center, Wisconsin; Project 304, Bangkok; Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, Frankfurt; and in solo exhibitions at Women and Their Work, Austin; Artspace, North Carolina; and DiverseWorks, Houston.The BRC pop-up gallery is an opportunity for Rice Public Art to further its interdisciplinary mission and partnerships, both throughout the university and the Houston community. For more information about Rice Public Art, visit http://publicart.rice.edu. Parking is available in the BRC garage located on Dryden Road between Main Street and Travis Street.-30-Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,708 undergraduates and 2,374 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 2 for “best value” among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to http://tinyurl.com/AboutRiceU.last_img read more

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Battery components can take the heat

first_imghttp://news.rice.edu/files/2016/03/0221_BATTERY-1-web-1xyamwr.jpgPostdoctoral research Hemtej Gullapalli, standing, and graduate student Marco-Túlio Rodrigues are part of a team developing new battery technologies at Rice University. Their latest project used hexagonal boron nitride as a key element in an electrolyte and separator that allows lithium-ion batteries to withstand long stretches in temperatures up to 150 degrees Celsius. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University) http://news.rice.edu/files/2016/03/0221_BATTERY-2-web-1vlks7b.jpgA toothpaste-like composite with hexagonal boron nitride developed at Rice University is an effective electrolyte and separator in lithium-ion batteries intended for high-temperature applications. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University) Share2Editor’s note: Links to images for download appear at the end of this release.David Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduMike Williams713-348-6728mikewilliams@rice.eduBattery components can take the heatRice University team creates robust ‘white graphene’ electrolyte and separator for lithium-ion batteries HOUSTON – (April 11, 2016) – Rice University materials scientists have introduced a combined electrolyte and separator for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that supplies energy at usable voltages and in high temperatures.An essential part of the nonflammable, toothpaste-like composite is hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN), the atom-thin compound often called “white graphene.”The Rice team led by materials scientist Pulickel Ajayan said batteries made with the composite functioned perfectly in temperatures of 150 degrees Celsius (302 degrees Fahrenheit) for more than a month with negligible loss of efficiency. Test batteries consistently operated from room temperature to 150 C, setting one of the widest temperature ranges ever reported for such devices, the researchers said.“We tested our composite against benchmark electrodes and found that the batteries were stable for more than 600 cycles of charge and discharge at high temperatures,” said lead author Marco-Túlio Rodrigues, a Rice graduate student.The results were reported in Advanced Energy Materials.Last year members of a Rice and Wayne State University team introduced an electrolyte made primarily of common bentonite clay that operated at 120 C. This year the team validated its hunch that h-BN would serve the purpose even better.Rodrigues said batteries with the new electrolyte are geared more toward industrial and aerospace applications than cellphones. In particular, oil and gas companies require robust batteries to power sensors on wellheads. “They put a lot of sensors around drill bits, which experience extreme temperatures,” he said. “It’s a real challenge to power these devices when they are thousands of feet downhole.”“At present, nonrechargeable batteries are heavily used for the majority of these applications, which pose practical limitations on changing batteries on each discharge and also for disposing their raw materials,” said Rice alumnus and co-author Leela Mohana Reddy Arava, now an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Wayne State.Hexagonal boron nitride is not a conductor and is not known to be an ionic conductor, Rodrigues said. “So we didn’t expect it to be any obvious help to battery performance. But we thought a material that is chemically and mechanically resistant, even at very high temperatures, might give some stability to the electrolyte layer.”He said boron nitride is a common component in ceramics for high-temperature applications. “It’s fairly inert, so it shouldn’t react with any chemicals, it won’t expand or contract a lot and the temperature isn’t a problem. That made it perfect.”The material eliminates the need for conventional plastic or polymer separators, membranes that keep a battery’s electrodes apart to prevent short circuits. “They tend to shrink or melt at high temperatures,” said Rice postdoctoral researcher and co-author Hemtej Gullapalli.Tests went better than the researchers anticipated. Though inert, the mix of h-BN, piperidinium-based ionic liquid and a lithium salt seemed to catalyze a better reaction from all the chemicals around it.“It took almost two years to confirm that even though the boron nitride, which is a very simple formulation, is not expected to have any chemical reaction, it’s giving a positive contribution to the way the battery works,” Gullapalli said. “It actually makes the electrolyte more stable in situations when you have high temperature and high voltages combined.”He noted all the electrolyte’s components are nonflammable. “It’s completely safe. If there’s a failure, it’s not going to catch fire,” he said.“Our group has been interested in designing energy storage devices with expandable form factors and working conditions,” Ajayan said. “We had previously designed paper and paintable battery concepts that change the fundamental way power delivery can be imagined. Similarly, pushing the boundaries of working temperature ranges is very interesting. There is no commercial battery product that works above about 80 C. Our interest is to break this barrier and create stable batteries at twice this temperature limit or more.”Co-authors are Rice graduate student Kaushik Kalaga and Wayne State postdoctoral fellow Ganguli Babu. Ajayan is chair of Rice’s Department of Materials Science and NanoEngineering, the Benjamin M. and Mary Greenwood Anderson Professor in Engineering and a professor of chemistry.The University of Texas at Austin through the Advanced Energy Consortium supported the project.-30-Read the paper at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aenm.201600218/fullFollow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNewsRelated Materials:Ajayan Research Group: http://ajayan.rice.eduRice University Materials Science and NanoEngineering: https://msne.rice.eduImages for download: AddThis http://news.rice.edu/files/2016/03/0221_BATTERY-3-web-1qwojkh.jpgRice materials scientists produce an electrolyte/separator for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that withstands very high temperatures over many charge cycles. The key component is hexagonal boron nitride. (Credit: Illustration by Hemtej Gullapalli/Rice University)Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,910 undergraduates and 2,809 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for best quality of life and for lots of race/class interaction by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to http://tinyurl.com/AboutRiceUniversity.last_img read more

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