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Oriel students form gleeful club

first_imgStudents at Oriel are setting up their own glee club inspired by the popular TV show Glee.The proposal was presented as a motion to a JCR meeting originally as a bit of a joke. However, Ben Bluemel, one of the proposers said, “The response to the idea has been incredible.”Bluemel hopes the club will help bring members of the college together, and pointed out there were all sorts of students involved, including sportspeople and non-sportspeople, in the same spirit as the show.An ex-member of the very successful Oxford a capella group Out of the Blue will be helping them put together and practice their first number. They will be performing a mash-up of With or Without You and Don’t Stop Believing at their next JCR meeting.“There’s a lot of pressure,” commented Bluemel. They hope the popularity of the club will inspire other colleges to set up groups for them to rival or, at least, to crew date.last_img read more

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Grasping a rung on the ladder

first_imgIt was the Rev. Jonathan Walton’s first trip to the Mamelodi township, an area ravaged by AIDS, poverty, and crime just outside Pretoria, South Africa. But it won’t be his last.“This was just the beginning of what plans to be an annual trip for me,” said Walton, Harvard’s Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church. “Every time I go, I am committed to bringing somebody else with me because the positive effects of this program are so very tangible.”Walton spent close to two weeks last month taking part in the Mamelodi Initiative, an education and community-enrichment program co-founded several years ago by Harvard graduate Richard Kelley ’10 and Harvard chaplain Pat McLeod. The program, a partnership with several organizations, including the University of Pretoria, the U.S. Embassy, local schools, churches, and the interdenominational evangelical Christian organization Campus Crusade for Christ, helps prepare students for college through courses, tutoring sessions, and mentorships.During the January break, Walton joined seven Harvard undergraduates, along with students from several other New England colleges and the University of Pretoria, who led classes in math, English, science, study skills, community engagement, leadership, and entrepreneurship for primary and secondary school students. The team also helped the students prepare for the South African matriculation exam, the equivalent of the SAT.Harvard sophomore Jasmin Salazar heard about the initiative through the group Harvard Christian Impact and Athletes in Action, a campus organization that has connected many Harvard students with the South Africa program through the years. Working with the students at the University of Pretoria and with young grade school students from the area last month, Salazar said she was struck by their common desire to give back. They see entrance to a university, Salazar said, “as something that is going to allow them to do something great for their community.”The initiative grew out of McLeod’s work with a group of former Harvard students to help residents of the impoverished township who suffered from HIV/AIDS. Beginning in 2007, McLeod and a group of students traveled regularly to Mamelodi, working in AIDS clinics and orphanages. Then, an idea struck.“We realized we had 25 students we could bring here between school semesters in January and June … [and] that there is one thing they can do better than almost anyone else in the world, and it just so happens to be what the kids in Mamelodi need most to escape the cycle of poverty and crime,” said McLeod. “[Our students] know how to pass an exam that gets them into some of the best colleges in the world.”But long days in the classroom are only part of the program. There are also electives such as Bible study and sports and arts and workshops and activities. Walton, an avid basketball player who sat out much of 2013 with a torn Achilles tendon, was back in action for the American side last month, helping U.S. students compete with a formidable South African squad each day after school. The U.S. team held its own until the South African players called in a key reinforcement, a player for the national basketball team. “Things got kind of sticky when he showed up,” laughed Walton. But even the struggle to keep pace on the court with a ringer “was so much fun,” he said, and offered another chance to engage and connect.“You spend pretty much every hour of the day together, and it just goes from education to recreation to cultural exchange.”Salazar said the chance to share aspects of her faith and connect with South African students as well as with other students from Harvard was key. She said the work also reminded her that the education she receives at Harvard is preparing her “to go on and do something in the real world.”Walton said the trip reminded him of the comment he made in a 2013 video about the breadth and depth of student religious life on Harvard’s campus. “I said that in many ways it was time for Harvard to catch up with spiritual vibrancy and commitment of the student body … that we as an institution were not aware of all the wonderful activities students were engaged in.”Now that Walton is involved in the program, he said his mission is to make others aware of it and keep Harvard’s and the Memorial Church’s involvement in helping the students strong.“There is an ancient proverb that says, ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’ … This is an example of us being able to help the University of Pretoria students not just learn how to fish, but expanding the pool and the pond of opportunity. That’s what a liberal arts education, in so many ways, is also about.”Walton’s trip with Harvard undergraduates to South Africa to work with the Mamelodi Initiative was funded by the Jenzabar Foundation.last_img read more

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02 Important resistance

first_img Volume XXVII Number 1 Page 2 By William Terry Kelley Georgia Extension Service There was a time a gardener could simply plant the same tomato or squash variety year after year with no problem. It usually tasted great, was easy to grow or was an heirloom variety handed down over the generations. Those days are increasingly gone. More and more pesticides are removed from the market every year, and home gardeners have fewer options to control diseases and insects. It seems that more plant diseases become problematic each year. The need for varieties to be resistant gets more important all the time. Unfortunately, those old heirloom varieties and many of the best tasting ones have little or no resistance to plant diseases. But with more disease pressure and fewer pesticide options, using varieties resistant to plant diseases is often the only option the gardener has to turn to.Chief disesase Chief among these diseases is tomato spotted wilt virus. Not a problem in Georgia until just a few years ago, TSWV has become the arch nemesis of the home gardener. This virus is a serious problem for commercial tomato growers. But it’s an even greater curse in the garden. TSWV is transmitted by thrips to the tomato plant. The virus is harbored by so many plant species it doesn’t have trouble being available to attack tomatoes almost anywhere in the state. The commercial grower has some pesticide options to manage thrips, although they are of questionable effectiveness. Famrers can use tools such as reflective plastic mulches, too, to deter thrips invasions. Over large fields, these mulches can confuse thrips and cause them to avoid the tomato fields. However, the home grower almost never has such options. Fortunately, researchers have begun developing some tomato varieties that are resistant to TSWV.Resistant options About the only two gardeners can get now are similar varieties called “BHN 444” and “BHN 555.” Both were developed by BHN Genetics. The 555 variety is primarily for use in a fall or late-summer crop, since it’s a heat-set variety. BHN 444 is more of a shipping-type tomato than a garden variety. It generally won’t have a usual tomato shape until it’s almost mature, and it takes its time getting ripe. It may not have the flavor or texture of your usual “Better Boy” or “Rutgers,” but it may indeed be the only way you can successfully grow fresh tomatoes in the garden. A couple of newer varieties may have better flavor and shape, but don’t look for them this season. Hopefully, continued research will yield more of these resistant varieties.Squash susceptible, too Much the same is true for squash. Four main viruses affect squash. On yellow squash, it’s easily distinguishable by the green coloration in the fruit. Some varieties now have resistance to two, three or even four of these viruses. Some varieties are not resistant, but contain the “precocious gene” which masks the green coloration in yellow squash. They still get the virus, but they don’t show the symptoms. Many of these resistant varieties are on the market today. Gardeners can tell which are resistant or tolerant to virus by reading the variety descriptions in the seed catalogs. Not all seed companies market these varieties, so you may have to shop around. There are other diseases to which varieties may be resistant.Price of resistance Often, the price of having varietal resistance is the loss of some quality or flavor characteristics. However, plant breeders are constantly working to improve quality and include resistance. Varietal resistance will become an ever-increasing part of vegetable gardeners’ weapons against those dreaded disease pests.last_img read more

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Optimizing irrigation use

first_imgSoil moisture sensors are an efficient tool farmers use to optimize their irrigation water use.George Vellidis, a professor on the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Tifton campus, noted in a 2012 research study that water is often what limits a crop’s production. He added that as competition intensifies for this natural resource, there’s an increasing likelihood that water availability for agricultural use in the future will decrease.In hopes of providing farmers a better way to irrigate, Vellidis is researching soil moisture sensors and their impact on variable rate irrigation systems. The goal is to help farmers maximize the efficiency of their irrigation systems; thereby increasing the potential yields for various crops.“Increasing competition for water resources will likely result in less water available for agricultural production,” said Vellidis. “Precision irrigation promises to optimize the use of this precious resource.”While soil moisture sensors are not uncommon, what is unique to Vellidis’ research is the use of web-based user systems that are at farmers’ fingertips. With Vellidis’ work, sensors measure soil moisture, transmit that data back to an Internet site where the farmer analyzes the information and takes appropriate actions after determining what’s transpiring in his field. The farmer can do this from his home computer or smart phone. “Our next step is to take that information, produce specific recommendations for the producers and tell them their soil condition is such; if you irrigate, add half an inch to this part of the field, add an inch to this part of the field, add three-fourths of an inch to this part of the field so you bring all the soils up to field capacity without adding extra water so it drains out,” Vellidis said.Two different kinds of sensors are typically used for measuring soil moisture. The most commonly used type is called capacitance, which indicates how much water is available to use. However, since the volume of available water in the soil is related to the soil’s texture, every time a sensor is installed, it must be calibrated which can be a time-consuming process. Vellidis prefers a tensiometric soil moisture sensor. This type of sensor determines the soil moisture that’s available and measures how much energy a plant must exert to extract moisture from the soil. It can be installed in any soil type without calibration. For the sensors to be effective agricultural tools, they have to be strategically placed throughout a field to provide accurate readings of the soil in each farmer’s field. Before installing the sensors, Vellidis divides a field into zones. For example, a 100-acre field would be divided into 3 to 5 zones with two sensors employed for each zone. He prefers to use more than one sensor in case one goes down due to a lightning strike or is otherwise damaged. The sensors in the different zones provide accurate information about the soil moisture in those zones. This allows farmers to apply water more accurately and efficiently. “If you have the soil moisture sensors in the soil, you know exactly what your condition is. If you know something about the life cycle of your plant, you know when it’s critical for the plant to have water and when the plant can sustain some stress,” Vellidis said. For example, the critical soil moisture period for cotton is when the plant is flowering and the bolls are filling, he said. Before then, Vellidis added, farmers can wait until the soil profile is fairly dry before they irrigate, if water is limited or if they want to save energy costs.Vellidis has two goals with this project, one short term and the other long term.“I think the proper strategy for irrigation scheduling will be for consultants to get this information, be able to interpret the results and provide irrigation recommendations to the farmers in the short term,” he said.“In the long term, when we have the process better refined and the data can go straight into the pivot controller and the pivot controller can start irrigating, we can really eliminate a lot of this — I need to look at the data, scratch my head and figure out what’s going on. We’ll be able to automate that process.”last_img read more

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Largest Dutch schemes improve funding but remain wary of cuts

first_imgThe five largest Dutch pension funds saw their funding improve by two to three percentage points during the first quarter, due in part to a slight rise in interest rates.Most schemes, however, warned against “too much optimism” and indicated that new headwinds may still force them to cut pension rights. With a quarterly return of 2%, the €389bn civil service scheme ABP reported the best performance. Its funding rose 2.3 percentage points to 94%.Corien Wortmann-Kool, ABP’s chair, emphasised that the scheme’s coverage ratio was still way below 110%, the level at which pension funds are allowed to start granting some indexation. “Inflation compensation will barely be on the cards in the next five years,” she said.According to Wortmann, the possibility of a rights discount will remain if the funding level drops again.ABP also warned that a cancellation of the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing programme and low interest rate policy could negatively affect both equity and fixed income markets, in particular if the process were to go faster than expected.The €187bn healthcare scheme PFZW made a 0.5% profit during the past three months, after a 0.7% loss on its interest and currency hedge. Its funding rose to 92.3%. PFZW attributed its investment result in part to emerging markets debt, which produced 5.4%.Peter Borgdorff, the scheme’s director, also said that further recovery was necessary.PMT, the €68bn pension fund for the metalworking and mechanical engineering sector, reported a quarterly result of 0.9%, citing “more than average” returns on high yield (2.7%) and equity (5.4%).It said it had divested from emerging markets equity after strong performance, as its equity allocation would otherwise have exceeded its strategic bandwidth of 35%. The proceeds were invested in its liabilit-matching portfolio.PMT closed the first quarter with a coverage ratio of 94.8%.The investments of PME, the €45bn scheme for the metal and electro-technical engineering sector, returned 1.3%. The scheme saw its funding rise to 93.9%.Eric Uijen, executive trustee, noted that coverage had to improve to 104.3% at 2019-end in order to prevent rights cuts.With a funding of 107.8%, BpfBouw, the €54bn pension fund for the building industry, is still in the best financial position of the five largest schemes.It returned 1.2%, largely thanks to profits on equity (6.3%) and property (2.7%), with Dutch residential and retail portfolios performing best.last_img read more

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Update on the latest sports

first_imgOakland also announced Monday that it finalized a deal with fifth-round selection pitcher Stevie Emanuels. He got a $400,000 bonus as the 157th pick, which had a slot value of $333,300.Soderstrom has been added to the club’s 60-player pool with workouts scheduled to begin later this week. The 18-year-old star from Turlock High, who batted .450 as a junior in 2019 with his senior season cut short this year by the coronavirus pandemic, is set to report to the A’s alternate site, likely to be Stockton. Emanuels went 3-1 with a 0.79 ERA and 38 strikeouts in four starts over 22 2/3 innings this year for the University of Washington.The A’s also added three non-drafted free agents: right-hander Garrett Acton out of Illinois, catcher Cooper Uhl from Loyola Marymount and outfielder D.J. Lee of the University of Richmond.ZANARDI INJURED June 29, 2020 Ontario Premier Doug Ford says city, provincial and federal authorities “kind of gave their approval,” but the Toronto Blue Jays are waiting for a letter of support from the federal government. He also says Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer, requires a few tweaks to the plan. MLB requires an exemption, as anyone entering Canada for nonessential reasons must self-isolate for 14 days, and the U.S.-Canada border remains closed to nonessential travel until at least July 21.MLB-MARLINS MOVESPitchers Meyer, Vincent agree to terms with Miami MarlinsMIAMI (AP) — No. 3 overall draft pick Max Meyer, a right-hander from the University of Minnesota, has agreed to terms with the Marlins and is expected to be added to the 60-man roster this week. Meyer has chance to pitch in the majors this year. Right-handed reliever Nick Vincent, an eight-year veteran who pitched for the Giants and Phillies last year, also agreed to terms with the Marlins and will join the 60-man roster.In other MLB moves:Left-handed hitting catcher Tyler Soderstrom has agreed to a minor league contract with the Oakland Athletics that includes a $3.3 million signing bonus. Sodorstrom was selected 26th, which had a slot value of $2,653,400. Oakland also finalized a deal with fifth-round selection pitcher Stevie Emanuels. Soderstrom has been added to the club’s 60-player pool for workouts ahead of the season. The 18-year-old from Turlock High batted .450 as a junior in 2019. NBA-NETS-DINWIDDIENets’ Dinwiddie tests positive for coronavirus NEW YORK (AP) — Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie says he has tested positive for the coronavirus. Dinwiddie told The Athletic he is experiencing symptoms and it is unclear if he can play when the NBA season resumes.His absence would be a significant blow to the Nets. He has played well this season with Kyrie Irving out of the lineup because of injuries. Dinwiddie says he tested negative for the virus multiple times after returning to New York and took part in a couple practices. But he has since tested positive and says he has a fever and chest soreness. He is at least the fifth Nets player to test positive. The previous four were in March, with Kevin Durant saying he was among them.Dinwiddie is averaging 20.6 points for the Nets, who have a half-game lead over Orlando for seventh place in the Eastern Conference. They are set to face the Magic on July 31 in their first game back.In other NBA news:— A person familiar with the deals says the Cleveland Cavaliers have agreed to terms with free agent forward Jordan Bell on a two-year contract and signed forward Dean Wade to a multiyear deal. The 6-foot-8 Bell was a second-round pick in 2017. He spent his first two seasons with Golden State. Wade played in 12 games for Cleveland last season. Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen did not elaborate on Leake’s decision during a Zoom call, but the pitcher’s agent issued a statement saying he made a personal decision not to play during the pandemic. Hazen also said two players on Arizona’s 60-man roster tested positive for COVID-19, as did another player not in Arizona.VIRUS OUTBREAK-MLB-CANADAOntario premier says approval near for Toronto gamesTORONTO (AP) — The premier of Ontario says Major League Baseball is close to winning approval to play in Toronto amid the coronavirus pandemic. — John Wall will not join the Washington Wizards for the resumption of the NBA season this summer, ending the chances of the five-time All-Star guard playing his first game since 2018.General manager Tommy Sheppard effectively ruled out Wall returning this season when he said Monday the 29-year-old wouldn’t be part of the Wizards’ traveling party to Central Florida. Among the factors in the decision was a cap of 35 people per team in the quarantined bubble at Walt Disney World. The COVID-19 pandemic also hindered Wall’s progress in his rehab from multiple surgeries.PGA-WATNEY RECOVERSWatney bored in isolation, nervous about how he got virusMonday marked the 10th day of self-isolation for Nick Watney, the minimum required for PGA Tour players who test positive for the new coronavirus.He said he is feeling good except for some minor fatigue, perhaps brought on by a major case of boredom, and except for the distinction of becoming the first of what now is five players and two caddies who have tested positive since the PGA Tour returned amid the COVID-19 pandemic. General manager Mike Rizzo says the team supports Zimmerman and Ross deciding not to play the 60-game season that’s set to start in late July. Zimmerman says his family situation factored into his decision. His mother is at high risk for the coronavirus because of multiple sclerosis, and he has three young children including a newborn. The 35-year-old says the decision doesn’t mean he’s retiring.VIRUS OUTBREAK-MLB-LEAKEDiamondbacks pitcher Leake opts outPHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Mike Leake is opting out of the 2020 season due to concerns about the coronavirus. center_img Second surgery for ZanardiSIENA, Italy (AP) — Italian auto racing champion turned Paralympic gold medalist Alex Zanardi has undergone a second brain surgery. It comes 10 days after an emergency operation following a crash on his handbike. The latest surgery lasted 2½ hours. Zanardi was then returned to the intensive care unit in a medically induced coma at the Santa Maria alle Scotte Hospital in Siena. The hospital says in a medical bulletin, “His condition remains stable from a cardio-respiratory and metabolic viewpoint, grave from a neurological viewpoint.” The 53-year-old Zanardi lost both of his legs in an auto racing crash nearly 20 years ago.KAEPERNICK-NETFLIX Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditVIRUS OUTBREAK-MLB-NATIONALSZimmerman and Ross won’t playWASHINGTON (AP) — The reigning World Series champion Washington Nationals will be without at least two holdovers from last year’s team. Longtime infielder Ryan Zimmerman and pitcher Joe Ross are opting out of playing as Major League Baseball tries to get back amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He lost his sense of smell, a sensation he described as “gnarly,” but said that is coming back. And perhaps the strangest sensation is being at a golf resort without playing golf. He remains in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, as the PGA Tour has moved on to Connecticut, and now Detroit this week, and then two weeks in Ohio. The show goes on.Three more players tested positive during the Travelers Championship — Cameron Champ before the tournament started, Denny McCarthy after his first round and Dylan Frittelli after he missed the cut. Two caddies tested positive, which caused a chain-reaction of withdrawals. Harris English tested positive Monday at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.MLB-ATHLETIC SIGNINGSA’s top draft pick Tyler Soderstrom gets $3.3M signing bonusOAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Left-handed hitting catcher Tyler Soderstrom, selected 26th by the Oakland Athletics in the amateur draft, has agreed to a minor league contract with a $3.3 million signing bonus. Sodorstrom’s deal was above the slot value of $2,653,400. Update on the latest sports Associated Press Netflix to dramatize Kaepernick’s path to activismLOS ANGELES (AP) — Colin Kaepernick is joining with Emmy-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay on a Netflix miniseries about the teenage roots of the former NFL player’s activism. Neftlix says the limited series, titled “Colin in Black & White,” will examine Kaepernick’s high school years. In 2016, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback began kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality. His actions drew both support and criticism, with President Donald Trump among his detractors. Kaepernick became a free agent in 2017 but went unsigned. Writing on the six-episode series was completed in May, Casting details and a release date were not immediately announced for “Colin in Black & White.”last_img read more