A ‘Passport’ to other lives, places, times

first_imgA book pierced by a bullet during the Hamidian massacres in Armenia. Leon Trotsky’s exile papers. Visas from countries that no longer exist. In “Passports: Lives in Transit,” now on display at Houghton Library, these objects — along with photographs and other travel documents — provide glimpses into the lives of the people who carried them.“Passports speak to both the dream of finding a home outside home and the fear of never coming back,” said Lucas Mertehikian, a doctoral student in Harvard’s Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. “Both Harvard as an institution and the United States as a country have a long-standing tradition of receiving and nourishing people who desperately sought shelter throughout the past two centuries. Today, when this humanitarian mission is indeed at stake, Harvard Library serves as a reservoir in which to trace the stories of those who made it back home, and to remind us of those for whom the whole world seems equally hostile.”“Passports: Lives in Transit” was co-curated by Rodrigo del Rio (from left), Lucas Mertehikian, and Anthony Derveniadis-Hernández, all doctoral students in Harvard University’s Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. “Passports speak to both the dream of finding a home outside home and the fear of never coming back,” said Mertehikian. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerMertehikian co-curated the exhibit with classmate Rodrigo del Rio, beginning the project in late 2016. The refugee crisis, Brexit, the Trump administration’s travel bans and attempts to change DACA — as well as Professor Mariano Siskind’s seminar on migration and displacement and a workshop at Harvard’s metaLAB — prompted them to think about how to respond to these urgent global events. After surveying Harvard Library’s holdings, they proposed an exhibition. Anne-Marie Eze, Houghton Library’s director of scholarly and public programs, and Haydee Casellas, a Puerto Rican architectural designer based in Boston, helped them bring it to life.,The organizers themselves come from other countries. Mertehikian is from Argentina, where his grandparents arrived after fleeing the Armenian genocide. Del Rio is Chilean, and has traveled widely throughout Latin America. Eze is British, of Nigerian and Jamaican parentage. But the full meaning of the project sank in for del Rio as he studied the passport of George Train, the flamboyant 19th-century American entrepreneur who claimed to be the inspiration for Phileas Fogg in “Around the World in 80 Days.”“He basically could travel anywhere he wanted,” del Rio said.In stark contrast: Russian revolutionary Trotsky, who was constantly on the run from his political enemies. Or activists W.E.B. and Shirley Graham DuBois, who renounced their American citizenship because of government pressure.,“The cosmopolitan desire of making the whole world your home was a dream only some people could have,” del Rio saidThe hands-on exhibition features materials from global travelers, immigrants, and refugees spanning the 19th and 20th centuries and drawing on collections in the Houghton, Widener, Schlesinger, Baker, and Harvard-Yenching libraries, as well as the Harvard University Archives. It is anchored by a site-specific art installation completely made of used passports Mertehikian and del Rio bought on e-commerce sites. These small bound books belonged to anonymous yet well-documented people living in the 20th century in a number of countries, including Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, and the German Democratic Republic. The stamps they bear hint at personal narratives against a background of national symbols and custom officers’ signatures.,“The passports exhibition accomplishes something fundamental to the mission of Houghton Library by showcasing how archival materials can inform and help us understand the contemporary human condition,” said Thomas Hyry, Houghton’s Florence Fearrington Librarian.The expired documents hold no legal meaning, and are displayed as pieces of art and memory. But they are only one part of the exhibit. “Passports” also features contributions from Mertehikian and del Rio’s classmate Anthony Derveniadis-Hernández. Born in the Bronx and of Costa Rican and Greek-Chilean descent, he curated a case in honor of his mother. She died in 2017.“My mother was an immigrant from Costa Rica, but she was also so much more,” said Derveniadis-Hernández. “She was more than her status as a ‘Permanent Resident’ and she was more than the illness that took her from me. Before her passport and before her identity as Costa Rican, she was and always will be my mother.”“Passports: Lives in Transit” is on view in the Edison and Newman Room at Houghton Library through Aug. 18 and is free and open to the public.last_img read more

Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) Platform Diversity Leads to Strength in Numbers

first_imgWhen all you have in your toolkit is a single type of hammer, it’s little wonder that every workload starts to look like the same proverbial nail. That’s the case with vendors that give IT organizations the choice of only one hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) platform. They may have integrated compute and data storage onto a single platform, but, as is often the case with any platform, the devil is in the details.At Dell EMC, we offer two distinct types of HCI platforms based on appliances and rack-based systems that uniquely address different customer requirements. Within the context of an IT environment where organizations have standardized on VMware, those two platforms manifest in the form of VxRack SDDC that unify compute, storage and networking and VxRail Appliances that unify compute and storage. Both of these platforms are co-engineered with VMware to provide higher levels of performance than any rival platform.Explore the results of the Principled Technologies tests comparing Dell EMC VxRail to HPE HC 380. These materials include an infographic, video  and gated full report with the metrics and proof points from testing.For example, VxRail outperforms rival HCI platforms when it comes to processing VMware workloads. In fact, a set of benchmarks conducted by a Principled Technologies show that, as the number of virtual machines deployed scales higher, the VxRail Appliances configured with VMware vSAN software can regularly process up to 50 percent more database transactions than a comparable HCI platform from HPE. Those same tests show that VxRail Appliances can deliver 22 percent more IOPs as well*.These numbers are achieved not just because of the performance of the physical hardware. Working closely with VMware makes it possible for our customers to take advantage of capabilities, such as inline data duplication and compression, while at the same time attaching storage policies to each virtual disk to maximize IOP performance. Achieving similar levels of performance on any other HCI platform requires creating additional logical unit numbers (LUNs). In the case of the HPE offerings, an IT organization would have to create and manage as many as 86 LUNs to achieve what a VxRail Appliance can accomplish using one data store.That capability translates itself into additional savings spanning everything from the number of appliances required to lower heating and cooling costs. In effect, VxRail requires half the physical space in a data center to store the same amount of data as an HCI appliance from HPE. The comparable savings on the number of VxRail Appliances that need to be acquired when compared to rival platform are nothing less than considerable because VxRail appliances scale out linearly from three to 64 nodes spanning thousands of virtual machines. Best of all, data replication, backup and cloud tiering are all included.Of course, VMware represents only one private cloud stack, but it is the dominant platform in the enterprise today. IT organizations have spent years of time and effort mastering it. But some organizations may opt to embrace additional HCI platforms over time. The best part about working with Dell EMC is that we have expertise across industry leading stacks. Dell EMC also developed XC Series powered by Nutanix on Dell EMC PowerEdge servers. Beyond qualification of the solution, we have invested considerable time and effort in augmenting it with features for deployment, orchestration and ongoing management. XC Series appliances are best suited for customers requiring hypervisor choice, which may include Microsoft Hyper-V, and support a variety of specific use cases, ranging from typical enterprise business applications to VDI environments.Whether it involves deploying systems running software from Nutanix, the open source OpenStack cloud management framework or the recently released Microsoft Azure Stack, platforms from Dell EMC that provide to common management framework serve to reduce both the total cost of acquiring multiple platforms as well as managing them across a hybrid cloud computing environment.Dell EMC, unlike most of our rivals, is not simply bundling instances of software on top of a bare-metal server. We have made extensive firmware investments in improving the management experience across the lifecycle inclusive of services, support and deployment and tailoring the configurations to match HCI workloads. These are delivered within the HCI model of seamless operation for the customer providing an integrated trusted experience.  This is available across our offerings including VxRail Appliances, VxRack Systems and XC Series to cover a broad range of customer’s hypervisor requirements including VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V among others.  Regardless of the path chosen, Dell EMC is uniquely capable of not only supporting multiple stacks of software across a common base of  infrastructure, we work closely with our partners to make sure that software stack can seamlessly integrate with public clouds. Whether it’s an instance of VMware Cloud Foundation or Microsoft Azure, our investments in a common management plane for diverse hybrid cloud environments is unparalleled.On top of that, our customers can leverage the financial muscle of Dell Technologies to consume that infrastructure either as a capital or operational expense. The days when organizations were forced to commit hundreds of thousands of dollars upfront to acquire modern infrastructure are over. They can now either buy equipment, or employ multiple OPEX models to acquire various types of platforms with no upfront payments required.SummaryHCI platforms are the fastest growing segment of the data center market for good reason. They lower both the total cost of acquiring and flexibly deploying IT infrastructure in ways that were never possible before. But all HCI platforms are far from created equal. Depending on the nature of the workloads a VxRail Appliance can be twice as efficient as any rival HCI offering. As the number of VxRail Appliances scale out, the financial benefits afforded by that platform only start to compound.Of course, HCI platforms don’t supersede every other class of platforms in the data center. There are plenty of instances when being able to scale compute, storage and networking resources independently of one another in a rack-based hyper-converged system such as VxRack Flex or VxRack SDDC makes more sense. But there’s also no denying that HCI platforms running everywhere from the branch office to deep inside the data center are now critical infrastructure. Viewed in that context, determining the robustness of the HCI platform is clearly one of the most strategic infrastructure decisions any IT organization is ever likely to make any time soon.Visit DellEMC.com/CI for more information.* Based on Principled Technologies report commissioned by Dell EMC, “Empower your databases with strong, efficient, scalable performance,” June 2017, comparing a similarly configured Dell EMC VxRail P470F vs. HPE Hyper Converged 380, using 50ms think time and 36 VMs. Actual performance will vary based on configuration, usage, and manufacturing variability.last_img read more

ND professors weigh in on NASA’s Mars announcement

first_imgDespite the news of liquid water on Mars last week, professor of civil and environmental engineering and earth sciences Clive Neal said this is not a new discovery. “They found water on Mars — well, we knew there was water. There had been water on Mars from the Mariner and Viking orbital images,“ Neal said Tuesday. “Quite frankly, what they found [last Monday was] reported in a paper in 2000.”According to Neal, the first paper to reveal the presence of water on the planet identifies what are known as “RSLs”, or recurring slope lineae. RSLs are visible on Mars’ surface as dark streaks running down steep craters and mountains, and they appear when temperatures are high and disappear when it gets cold. Neal said RSLs could actually be liquid water.After observing the RSLs for several years, scientists started constructing a hypothetical Martian water cycle, Neal said.“Water will come out of the subsurface, then it will flow for a little bit, then it will sublimate and go to the vapor phase or it will be absorbed into the subsurface,” he said. “It works kind of like a mountain stream — ice melts as temperatures rise, and small streams run down the slopes. With Mars, those streams, the RSLs, are likely sourced in underground ice, and when it gets cold, they either seep back beneath surface or evaporate into Mars’ thin atmosphere.”According to a paper published last week in Nature Geoscience, until recently, the only evidence of this liquid water cycle was photographs of RSLs. That all changed last week, when a high-resolution camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter identified the presence of perchlorates on the Martian surface. Perchlorates are small hydrated salts that act as sponges to absorb liquid water, and scientists hypothesize that if perchlorates are found,  liquid water nearby will almost always be found nearby.Director of NASA’s planetary science division James L. Green said during last week’s news conference that Mars is not the dry, arid planet NASA thought in the past.Rethinking Mars’ climate may mean rethinking Mars space missions, and that could mean sending astronauts. While that possibility is certainly being discussed, Neal said he is skeptical.“You have a conundrum with humans going to Mars, because of planetary protection,” he said. “If we send them to Mars, can we ever bring them back?”Neal said the issue is twofold — on one hand, humans cannot contaminate Mars with microbes from Earth, and on the other, they cannot have astronauts accidentally bringing back Martian bugs as potentially deadly souvenirs.That raises a whole new question about life on Mars, Neal said. Liquid water is required to support life, and the fact that Mars has it makes it all the more likely that Mars is supporting something other than dust. “It’s neat, we get liquid water on Mars now. That does increase the possibility for habitable environments for life — bug life, anyway,” Neal said. “There might be certain environments or niches where life, bacterial life, could still be abundant.”According to Neal, the next step is bringing samples back from Mars.“That was the goal of the Mars program in the next decade, according to NASA’s planetary science division, was Mars sample return,” Neal said. What has changed now is the kind of samples to bring back – with liquid water and the potential for life, the focus has shifted to bringing back samples of ice, of sediment around the RSLs and ideally of the perchlorates themselves, Neal said.Tags: Mars, NASA, waterlast_img read more

Dirty Clothes? Dirty Mouth? This Soap Making Workshop May Be For You

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Pixabay Stock Image.JAMESTOWN – Have you ever thought of making your own soap? Well, you are in luck with help from the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Jamestown.The group is holding an old-fashioned soap making demonstration on Saturday, March 28 at SUNY JCC’s Sheldon Center.In the class, participants will also learn the history and science behind soapmaking.They will additionally learn about the needed equipment, supplies, and how various fats and oils affect the finished product. Part of the $10 registration fee covers material costs. For more, and to register, visit chautauqua.cce.cornell.edu/leaf2020.The demonstration is scheduled to start at 10 a.m.last_img read more

Darren Criss Will Take the Stage in White Rabbit Red Rabbit

first_img Star Files Darren Criss(Photo: Bruce Glikas) Related Shows View Comments White Rabbit Red Rabbitcenter_img Show Closed This production ended its run on Dec. 19, 2016 First rule of White Rabbit Red Rabbit: don’t talk about White Rabbit Red Rabbit! Although, theater fans will definitely be buzzing about the latest players set to open the envelope at the Westside Theatre. Stage and screen favorites Darren Criss and Michael Urie are next to perform the play stuffed inside; Criss will have his turn on August 29, and Urie is scheduled to take the stage on August 22.Criss and Urie join the ranks of stage faves like Nathan Lane, Bobby Cannavale, Alan Cumming, Cynthia Nixon, David Hyde Pierce and more who have already had their shot at performing whatever’s inside that telltale envelope. As previously announced, How I Met Your Mother star Josh Radnor will hit the off-Broadway stage on July 25, and Ramin Karimloo is set to take his turn on August 1. The New York premiere of Nassim Soleimanpour’s solo show, which involves a different actor every performance seeing the script for the first time just before they go on stage, is playing Monday nights off-Broadway.Forbidden to leave his country, young Iranian playwright Soleimanpour found a way for his voice to get out when he physically could not—distilling the experience of his isolation in a non-traditional new play. The show had its world premiere in 2011 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and has since been translated into fifteen different languages and performed over 200 times worldwide. A portion of the play’s profits will go to PEN International, the world’s leading association of writers working to promote literature and defend freedom of expression around the world. Darren Crisslast_img read more

Industry veteran calls for merger of UK banking pension funds

first_imgThe UK’s banks could pool the assets of their pension funds to create a scheme with the ability to compete with large Canadian and Asian investors, the head of Santander’s £10bn (€13.7bn) UK fund has suggested.Antony Barker, chief pensions officer at the UK bank, said he could imagine a time would come when the industry would pursue a sector-wide arrangement, as there was no competitive advantage to be gained from the operational management of pension funds.He argued in favour of pooling, as it would allow for the sector’s pension assets to pursue a different investment strategy.“From a pension fund perspective, we [the Santander UK pension fund] are probably more transactional than most,” he told attendees at the recent joint IPE/IP Real Estate Real Assets & Infrastructure conference in London. Barker added that the pensions sector was often unable to trade, due largely to a lack of sufficient in-house staff.“I can envisage a time where it makes sense to have a national Bank Pension scheme,” he added, citing the Dutch market’s industry-wide funds as inspiration.“The operation of a pension scheme is not a competitive element,” he added, “and [a single scheme] would actually pool together a £100bn portfolio that could compete directly with the Canadian and Asian investors to get involved in these major projects.”Across the UK’s main retail banks – HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, Santander and Royal Bank of Scotland Group, which also owns NatWest – assets within their defined benefit funds approached £130bn at the end of 2014.Germany has long had a pension fund for the financial services sector.BVV, founded more than 100 years ago, is the largest Pensionskasse, with €25.1bn in assets, second only to the Bayerische Versorgungskammer, with €62bn in assets.Barker went on to outline the benefits of a more proactive approach to investment, arguing that the Santander UK Group Pension Scheme – itself a merger of six funds consolidated into a master trust structure in 2012 – had begun approaching investments more akin to the strategies pursued by endowments, lowering its equity exposure to around one-fifth of assets.He said the approach allowed for the acquisition of “material” stakes when investing.“We typically like to take 20-25% holdings, which gives us access to the board,” he said.“Therefore, we are able to direct management as a very interfering limited partner rather than simply trying to apply some rules of either tilting the portfolio or voting engagement.”last_img read more

Euro and equity rallies boost Belgian pension funds to 6% in 2017

first_imgBelgian pension funds generated an average investment return of 6% for 2017, up from 5.1% in 2016, according to the Belgian industry association PensioPlus.Investment returns averaged 6.8% a year since 1985, the association added.PensioPlus said: “Last year was characterised by strong economic growth, while central banks maintained their policy of quantitative easing [QE]. These two factors led to stock market climbs and consistently low interest rates. Equally notable in 2017 was the strong performance by the euro.”The return was calculated on a weighted average basis from a sample of 58 schemes with combined assets of €17.6bn, out of a total €29.8bn assets under management in the second pillar. At end-2017, Belgian pension funds had allocated 43% of their assets to fixed income, 38% to shares, with 11% in alternatives and 6% in real estate.While equity allocations remained roughly the same as the previous year, allocations to fixed income showed a slight fall. However, the percentage held in alternatives – such as insurance, infrastructure, private equity and convertible bonds – rose from 7% in 2016.PensioPlus said that, in 2018, it expected the European Central Bank’s QE policy to be phased out, leading to a risk of asset prices overheating and higher inflation in the long term. Meanwhile, stock market volatility could increase.The organisation warned: “Since pension funds have as much as 43% invested in debt, if their investment strategy remains unchanged, any increase in interest rates could have a negative effect on future returns.”However, it pointed out that stress tests carried out by the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) showed that Belgium’s pension funds continued to be adequately funded.PensioPlus said: “EIOPA’s study shows that Belgian pension funds are resistant to stress, both in periods of crisis when stock markets are falling sharply, and when the long-term interest rate is falling.”Meanwhile, with 19 pan-European pension funds already based in Belgium, the country is forging ahead with its ambition to triple second pillar pension assets under management to €100bn by 2025, 30% of which would be linked to pension assets of multinational companies.last_img read more

Unique Group Adds Regional VP for Europe & UK

first_imgUnique Group has appointed Matthew Gordon as the new regional vice president for the Europe & UK region to oversee the company’s strategic expansion plans.Under Matthew’s leadership, the company aims to see further growth and expansion across Europe. He will be based in Aberdeen, UK.Matthew has over 22 years of experience in the subsea oil and gas industry, with previous senior management roles held in Fugro Survey, Subsea 7 and Viking Seatech.His last role before joining Unique Group was as managing director – UK at Atlantic Offshore, an emergency response and rescue vessel provider.Harry Gandhi, CEO of Unique Group, said, “We are pleased to welcome Matthew to our team. His operational and commercial experience in the subsea and offshore industry, along with his successful track record, will prove to be of great advantage to Unique Group’s strategic goals.”Matthew Gordon added, “Unique Group has a well-deserved reputation in the industry as a reliable solutions provider with its broad range of offerings worldwide. I am excited to join the company as it is moving on this growth curve, and I look forward to playing an active role in Unique Group’s future successes.”Matthew is heading the region with immediate effect.last_img read more

New York to raise cigarette sale age

first_imgHealthInternationalLifestylePrint New York to raise cigarette sale age by: – October 31, 2013 Sharing is caring! Share Tweet Sharecenter_img 44 Views   no discussions Share The bill’s supporters say a higher age limit stops young people developing smoking habitsNew York City Council has voted to raise the minimum age for buying cigarettes from 18 to 21.New York will now become by far the most populous place in the US to impose such a high age limit, the Associated Press reports.The new age limit includes electronic vapour cigarettes.Across the US there is a minimum age for smoking of 18. Some states have raised the limit to 19 and at least two other towns have raised it to 21.The bill’s sponsor, City Councilman James Gennaro, said it would “literally save many, many lives”.Mr Gennaro, whose mother and father died from tobacco-related illnesses, said: “I’ve lived with it, I’ve seen it… but I feel good today.”Critics of the measure have argued that young people may turn to the black market for cigarettes.New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who supported the bill, has 30 days to sign it into law. The measure would then come into effect after 180 days.“We know that tobacco dependence can begin very soon after a young person first tries smoking so it’s critical that we stop young people from smoking before they ever start,” Mr Bloomberg said in a statement.A plan by Mr Bloomberg to make shops keep cigarettes out of public view was shelved earlier this year.BBC Newslast_img read more