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Harvard Thinks Big

first_imgThe prospect of hearing 10 top Harvard instructors lecture for 10 minutes each on the subjects that they care most deeply about drew an overflow crowd to Sanders Theatre on Thursday (Feb. 11).Harvard Thinks Big, a student-organized discussion that paired leading lecturers with eager listeners, attracted these great minds to help explore and inspire new ways of thinking, in the first session of what organizers hope will become an annual experience.“It’s an effort to epitomize what’s best about Harvard and [remind people] why we came here in the first place: to hear incredible professors talking about the things that they know best, and to be inspired,” said senior Derek Flanzraich, who conceived of the event along with Peter Davis ’12.The format was based on the popular Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) talks, lectures given at the annual TED conference that follow the same tight format, and which have become online sensations.Before the series of 10-minute talks began, a line of students extended out to the Science Center, patiently hoping to get into the theater, undaunted by a long wait on a cold night.Gaining a lucky seat close to the front, sophomore Avinash Joshi was eager to listen to his Currier House master, Richard Wrangham, the Ruth Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology in Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, as well as the other speakers.“I think the coolest idea is that they have to explain what they are most passionate about in 10 minutes … what they really care about, deep in their hearts. It’s going to come out tonight, and that’s why I am here.”Hundreds of students put their studies aside for the two-hour-plus discussion that touched on a range of topics, including violence, evolution, fairy tales, fire, religion, and hip-hop.Presentation styles ranged from subdued podium deliveries to ones infused with drama, such as the one by Andrew Berry, lecturer on organismic and evolutionary biology, who moved around the stage in a brief “drunken” stumble to help illustrate the confused arc of an important genetic mutation in human evolution.Lecturer on computer science David Malan ripped a phone book in two at one point, and worked up a sweat as he paced in front of the crowd, discussing the magic of making “machines do your bidding.” He encouraged students to explore fields that they might never have considered, the way he did as a Harvard undergraduate when he took a computer course outside his original government track.Diana Eck’s big idea was pluralism. Eck, professor of comparative religion and Indian studies and director of Harvard’s Pluralism Project, said she was there to recruit students to study religion, particularly pluralism, the broader engagement and understanding of other people’s faiths.“The ‘we’ in ‘we the people’ has become far more complex than ever before,” she said. “It will require stretching exercises. It will require all of us to know a lot more about each other.”For Daniel Gilbert, global warming isn’t happening fast enough to prompt a strong human response. The professor of psychology told the crowd that the reason the world is so slow to act on climate change is because the danger it poses isn’t intentional, immoral, imminent, or instantaneous. He outlined his theory on how the human brain responds to threats. If, in keeping with his “immoral” theory, “eating puppies” caused global warming, Gilbert said, people would be massing in the streets.Timothy McCarthy, lecturer on history and literature, adjunct lecturer on public policy, and director of the Human Rights and Social Movements Program at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, delivered an impassioned talk about the future of protest. He challenged students to embrace the protest spirit of people like Harvard graduate and Civil War Col. Robert Gould Shaw, the commander of the all-black 54th Regiment, who died and was buried with his men.McCarthy pointed to Gould’s statue in the hall and encouraged the students to “transform their privilege into passion.”“Brothers and sisters, if we are to have a future filled with freedom and hope and equality, rather than hatred and fear and exclusion, we must act now. Let us rededicate ourselves to [Abraham Lincoln’s] ‘better angels of our nature’ and bring about a new birth of protest.”The speakers were chosen largely by student request as part of a survey distributed to all undergraduates by the College Events Board in the fall. Harvard Undergraduate Television recorded the event and will post it on the studio’s Web site. Harvard’s Undergraduate Council also helped to plan the program.Davis and the president of the Undergraduate Council, Johnny Bowman ’11, hosted the evening, and Dean of Harvard College Evelynn M. Hammonds, the Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science and of African and African American Studies, encouraged the students in the audience to explore their own big ideas.“All of us here want you to find your own passion.”One noticeable absence from the lineup was Michael Sandel, a popular speaker and the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government. He was unable to attend because of a prior engagement. He is a speaker at this year’s TED conference in Long Beach, Calif.last_img read more

Roundup

first_imgThe following incidents were reported in the USC Dept. of Public Safety incident summary between Tuesday, Feb. 14, and Wednesday, Feb. 15.View Roundup 02-17 in a larger mapCrimes against a personAt 2:11 p.m. on Feb. 15, an unidentified bicyclist collided with a staff member’s vehicle while he was driving near Exposition Boulevard and Watt Way, breaking off the passenger-side-view mirror. The bicyclist rode away without stopping to exchange information.at 10:35 p.m. on Feb. 14, DPS officers on routine patrol observed a non-USC male grab hold of a non-USC female’s arm and forcibly prevent her from walking away during an argument near Hoffman Contracts Research Building. The officers detained the subjects for questioning and determined that they were husband and wife. The female assured the officers that she was in no danger from her husband, and they were subsequently released.Miscellaneous incidentsAt 3:13 p.m. on Feb. 14, DPS officers responded to a report of a non-USC male causing a disturbance at the Healthcare Consultation Center. A doctor, who was treating the subject’s wife, requested that he leave the premises and he complied without further incident before the officers arrived.At 2:56 p.m. on Feb. 14, DPS officers responded to a student complaining of difficulty breathing and chest pains at the Pertusati University Bookstore. An LAFD R.A. unit was requested and Unit #10 responded. The R.A. unit examined the student and offered transportation for medical treatment, but she declined and was released at the scene.at 2:34 p.m. on Feb. 14, DPS officers responded to a report of three people trapped in an elevator at the Estelle Doheny Eye Foundation and requested LAFD for assistance. LAFD unit #2 responded and freed the subjects without incident.last_img read more

Bigfoot statue stolen from Boynton Beach store

first_imgBigfoot is at large!Boynton Beach Police say someone made off with an 8-foot, 300-pound statue of Sasquatch.It used to stand in front of “Mattress Monsterz” on East Boynton Beach Boulevard.The store owner said he did not discover the theft immediately becauseBigfoot stood among multiple decorations on display for Halloween.There is no surveillance video of the theft, which is believed to have taken place during the week of Oct. 6-13.But the store hopes someone spots Bigfoot and calls the police.The statue is worth about $3,000.“If you have any information, call Crime Stoppers at 800-458-TIPS.” “You will remain anonymous and could receive a cash reward if your tip leads to an arrest.”last_img read more

GOP senators ask Treasury for reports on Hunter Biden

first_imgRepublican senators are asking the Treasury Department for reports on former Vice President  Joe Biden’s son.Reuters reports the Republican chairmen of two Senate committees sent a letter to the Treasury Department requesting reports of fraud or money laundering in the business dealings between Hunter Biden and a Ukraine energy firm.It is unclear at this time if any such reports exist.The request comes as Republicans look for ways to defend President Trump against a Democrat-led impeachment inquiry.This story is developing.last_img read more

NASA Researchers, Doctors Treat First Known Blood Clot in Space

first_imgWhen astronauts suddenly experience a medical situation on the International Space Station 250 miles above Earth, the terms “emergency room” or “urgent care” take on a unique meaning.Late last year, NASA researchers suspected that one of their astronauts was suffering from a blood clot during a long duration stay on the space station.The clot was detected during a vascular study of 11 astronauts that was intended to assess the effect of space on the internal jugular vein. In zero gravity, astronauts’ blood and tissue fluid shifts toward the head.The study involved nine men and two women who were an average age of 46. Their identities were not included in the study.A new assessment of the blood clot was published last Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine.Six of the participating astronauts experienced stagnant or reverse blood flow, another one had a blood clot, and yet another was considered to have a potential partial blood clot.Scientists weighed the risk of the blood clot, as well as its potential to block a vessel in the absence of gravity.Dr. Stephen Moll, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Medicine, was the only non-NASA physician who was consulted to help the affected astronaut.He says, “My first reaction when NASA reached out to me was to ask if I could visit the International Space Station to examine the patient myself. NASA told me they couldn’t get me up to space quickly enough, so I proceeded with the evaluation and treatment process from here in Chapel Hill.”Moll is a member of UNC’s Blood Research Center and is a blood clot expert.“Normally the protocol for treating a patient with deep vein thrombosis would be to start them on blood thinners for at least three months to prevent the clot from getting bigger and to lessen the harm it could cause if it moved to a different part of the body such as the lungs,” Moll adds. “There is some risk when taking blood thinners that if an injury occurs, it could cause internal bleeding that is difficult to stop. In either case, emergency medical attention could be needed. Knowing there are no emergency rooms in space, we had to weigh our options very carefully.”He spoke with the astronaut during a “phone call from space,” consulting with them as if the person were one of his other patients.The pharmacy aboard the space station contained 20 vials with 300 milligrams each of an injectable blood thinner. Moll directed the astronaut to use them on a daily basis until an anticoagulant drug could be sent to the station during a resupply mission.The astronaut took a higher dose of the injectable, called enoxaparin, for 33 days in order to control the risk of the blood clot. The dose was lowered after that time, as the astronaut awaited the arrival of the drug apixaban.The researchers watched the clot shrink over time. Blood flow was then induced after 47 days through the vein, although spontaneous blood flow was not achieved, even after undergoing treatment for 90 days.The blood clot disappeared 24 hours after landing. Six months later, the astronaut was still free of symptoms.According to Dr. Serena Auñón-Chancellor, study author, NASA astronaut and clinical associate professor of medicine at Louisiana State University’s Health New Orleans School of Medicine, “We still haven’t learned everything about Aerospace Medicine or Space Physiology.”She adds, “The biggest question that remains is how would we deal with this on an exploration class mission to Mars? How would we prepare ourselves medically? More research must be performed to further elucidate clot formation in this environment and possible countermeasures.”last_img read more

JetBlue Flight Diverts to PBIA Due to Smoke; No Injuries Reported

first_imgA JetBlue flight that was heading from the Bahamas to New York with 143 people aboard was diverted to Palm Beach International Airport Thursday afternoon.Local and federal authorities say the crew declared an emergency due to a report of smoke in the cockpit.No one was hurt as Flight 421, which originally departed from Nassau for John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, landed at PBIA, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue officials add that the smoke was limited to the cockpit and had already dissipated by the time firefighters boarded the aircraft.The FAA is investigating the cause of the incident.Officials at PBIA say the passengers were deplaned but did not have additional information about their travel plans.last_img read more