Russia: Zelendolsk Shipyard to Hold Keel-Laying Ceremony of Transport Dock Sviyaga

first_img View post tag: News by topic Back to overview,Home naval-today Russia: Zelendolsk Shipyard to Hold Keel-Laying Ceremony of Transport Dock Sviyaga Training & Education View post tag: Dock A solemn keel-laying ceremony of Project 22570 transport dock Sviyaga developed by Almaz Design Bureau will be held…[mappress]Source: Russian Navy, November 27, 2012; Image: Flot November 27, 2012 Russia: Zelendolsk Shipyard to Hold Keel-Laying Ceremony of Transport Dock Sviyaga View post tag: hold View post tag: Ceremony View post tag: Sviyaga View post tag: Zelendolsk View post tag: shipyard View post tag: Keel-Laying View post tag: Naval View post tag: Transport View post tag: Navy Share this articlelast_img read more

Assistant Professor- Digital Animation (tenure-track)

first_imgWhat is your Philosophy for serving students?(Open Ended Question)If you have not had higher ed experience, please explain yourinterest in working in this environment.(Open Ended Question)Briefly list your area(s) of research or teachingexpertise.(Open Ended Question)Do you have a minimum of 3 years teaching experience?(Open Ended Question) What is the highest level of education attained?GEDHigh School DiplomaAssociates DegreeBachelors DegreeMasters DegreePHD Posting DetailsPosition TitleAssistant Professor- Digital Animation (tenure-track)Job DescriptionMissouri Western seeks an individual capable of teaching a widerange of courses at the undergraduate level. The successfulcandidate will be able to teach classes in animation, game artdesign, V.R., and support our foundation level courses. Thesuccessful candidate will teach an average of three studio coursesper semester, including foundation art course as required.Assistant Professors are responsible to educate students, engage inoriginal research and creative activities that are published orpresented in peer-reviewed settings.Duties include:• Teaching: teach undergraduate and graduate students in a specificfield of expertise; participation in programs that promoteinstructional development in the discipline; develop and managecurricular materials, ensuring that they meet departmental anduniversity standards; participation in campus initiatives relatedto teaching such as learning communities, honors programs, andapplied learning.• Scholarship: engage in scholarly and creative activities leadingto peer-reviewed artifacts, performances, and/or exhibitionsincluding basic research or creative expression, reviews and/orintegrates prior research, applies current knowledge andinnovations to important practices, and focuses on the nature andimprovement of teaching.• Service: document students’ attendance, participation, andacademic progress by giving and grading assignments, projects,quizzes and/or examinations that lead to a final grade; plan andcreate lectures, in-class activities, and assignments; maintaincurrency in one’s area of expertise and discipline; provideacademic advising and support related to the academic progress ofstudents; is accessible to students outside the classroom,providing ample periods of time for counseling and mentoringstudents in matters related to academic success; engage in serviceactivities in support of departmental, college, and universityneeds; service supporting community outreach; and service torelevant.Required QualificationsCandidates must have an M.F.A. in Digital Animation, Game Design,or related field, display a commitment to undergraduate educationin a liberal arts institution.Must demonstrate a record of scholarly or professional achievement,and demonstrate strong written and oral communication skills.Excellent working knowledge of Mac and P.C. computers and theability to encourage critical thinking and problem solving isessential.Must be authorized to work in the United States.Preferred QualificationsKnowledge of the following software is desired Unreal or Unity GameEngine, Adobe Creative Cloud Suite (Premiere, Photoshop,Illustrator, etc.), Autodesk Maya and Mudbox or Zbrush.Physical DemandsSedentary Work: Exerting up to 10 poundsFLSAExemptAdditional DemandsKNOWLEDGE, SKILLS and ABILITIES• Communication, interpersonal skills as applied to interactionwith coworkers, supervisor, the general public, etc. sufficient toexchange or convey information and to receive work direction• Excellent teaching skills with an ability to coordinate with thefaculties and students from diverse cultural backgrounds• Strong organizational skills• Ability to multitask• Ability to engage large groups of people with complicatedmaterial• Able to teach with appropriate real-world experience• Able to demonstrate confidence teaching and presenting in apublic forum• Technologically adept: can utilize electronic communications,online learning management systems, and other forms of technologyrelated to the position• Passionate about specific academic fields and education ingeneral• Clearly understands curriculum design, pedagogy, and learningoutcomes assessmentHours of WorkVaries depending on classes.Posting NumberS084POpen Date09/04/2020Priority Deadline04/19/2021Open Until FilledYesSupplemental QuestionsRequired fields are indicated with an asterisk (*). Documents Needed To ApplyRequired DocumentsCover LetterTranscripts (unofficial)Curriculum VitaeReferences (3-5 with contact information)Evidence of Teaching Effectiveness(Student Evaluations)Statement of Teaching Philosophy (One Page)Digital Portfolio showcasing professional work (submitURL)Optional Documents Are you available to work in the evening (6 pm to 10 pm)?YesNolast_img read more

IS IT TRUE MARCH 18, 2019

first_imgWe hope that today’s “IS IT TRUE” will provoke honest and open dialogue concerning issues that we, as responsible citizens of this community, need to address in a rational and responsible way? IS IT TRUE in December 0f 2014 the City of Evansville DMD paid Warren Investments $535,000 for an empty CVS block building located on North Main Street?  …according to the audio of the December 18, 2018 meeting of the Evansville Redevelopment Commission the DMD originally bought this building for a “public parking lot?”  …that several years later Divita Dialysis leased this vacant building from the Evansville DMD for 10 years with the lease payment starting around $1,600 per month?   …the Director of the Evansville DMD stated that Divita Dialysis invested $1.5 million to renovate this building? …during the December 18, 2018 meeting the DMD Director also said “that two (2) appraisals have been done of the 800 North main street building and that were based on the income approach?  …he never mentioned what the two (2) appraised values of this newly renovated building were?  …we also find it interesting that the official minutes of this meeting is not available on the  Evansville Redevelopment Commission web page?Video Link to December 18, 2018, Redevelopment Commission Meeting and Agendas are Posted Below.  We found it interesting that the audio went off and then back on during a couple of times during the meeting.http://evansville.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=2649IS IT TRUE it’s now been reported that the Evansville DMD now wants to sell this newly renovated (at the cost of $1.5 million dollars) building and an investor offered $178,000 for it? …we have attached a link from the Vanderburgh County Assessor office concerning the sales transactions and appraisal of this building?http://vanderburghassessor.org/Default.aspx?PID=82-06-20-026-091.008-029IS IT TRUE Joe Wallace just posted a comment that we felt worth repeating in this section?  …Mr. Wallace said; “What is the cash flow value of $1,600 per month”?. “First, annualize it and it becomes $19,200”. “You multiply by roughly 10 in Evansville to yield a value of $192,000.”  “The investor is offering roughly what the cash flow value of the property is”. “The fact that someone or the City of Evansville paid way more than that is irrelevant.”IS IT TRUE the last time the Evansville Redevelopment Commission’s officially approved meeting minutes were last posted online was on March 6, 2018?IS IT TRUE we urge you go to the official site of the Evansville Redevelopment Commission and randomly replay the videos of several of their board meetings and you will quickly discover that the sound going on and off during the official board meetings was a common occurrence?IS IT TRUE it been reported that Indiana Firebirds-Evansville hockey team season tickets at the Ford Center went on sale last week? …we urge the ticket buyers beware since the Ford Center hasn’t posted the official home game schedule of the Firebirds on their site yet?   …we urge anyone who buys advance season tickets for Evansville Firebird hockey games on National Gridiron League ticket site please make sure there is an iron clad refund statement posted on this site just in case the 2019 season is canceled?IS IT TRUE when a CEO of a for-profit business hire someone to find and develop a new product line and this person spends two years on this project the CEO expects this venture to be successful? …when the CEO realizes that this venture isn’t going to happen he will immediately terminate the employment of his subordinate?  …but when this type of thing happens in local Government all we hear are “crickets”?IS IT TRUE if your the CEO of a multi-million dollar for-profit corporation and you hire the services of a marketing and consulting firm to make one of your facilities profitable, you expect measurable results?  …if this doesn’t happen in a reasonable time the CEO will immediately terminate their contract for non-performance?  …when this type of thing happens in local Government all we hear are “crickets”?IS IT TRUE if you are a Board member of a not-for-profit organization you are considered to be a “Steward Of The Public Trust” and you have the “Fiduciary Responsibility” to ensure that all financial transactions will meet the litmus test of an audit conducted by Federal and State governmental agencies? …we wonder if the financial decisions made by the officials of the City of Evansville, Evansville DMD, and Evansville Redevelopment Commission concerning the $535,000 purchase of the vacant CVS building would meet the litmus test of an audit conducted by Federal and State governmental agencies?IS IT TRUE last week our good friend Chuck Knoll ends his outstanding career with the Evansville Police Department?  …he has earned an outstanding reputation as a caring, fair and hardworking law enforcement officer?  …if you see Chuck please congratulate him for his hard-earned retirement and thank him for a job well done?Todays“Readers Poll” question is: Do you feel that it made any business sense for the Evansville DMD to originally spend $535,000 to purchase the vacant CVS building on North Main Street for a public parking lot?Please go to our link of our media partner Channel 44 News located in the upper right-hand corner of the City-County Observer so you can get the up-to-date news, weather, and sports. We are pleased to provide obituaries from several area funeral homes at no costs.  Over the next several weeks we shall be adding additional obituaries from other local funeral homes.  Please scroll down the paper and you shall see a listing of them.If you would like to advertise on the CCO please contact us at City-County [email protected]:  Any comments posted in this column do not represent the views or opinions of the City-County Observer or our advertisers.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

Ocean City Officials Denounce State’s Marijuana Laws

first_imgBy DONALD WITTKOWSKIOcean City elected officials Thursday night angrily denounced New Jersey’s legalization of recreational marijuana, calling some parts of the new pot laws nothing short of “insanity.”“I can’t tell you how upset I am,” Mayor Jay Gillian said during comments at a City Council Zoom meeting.Clearly livid, Gillian launched a broad attack against pot’s legalization and was joined by the seven-member governing body.“It’s just ridiculous. I just can’t fathom this,” Gillian said.At one point, Gillian bluntly added, “This disgusts me.”Gov. Phil Murphy, who made his support of recreational marijuana a major campaign issue, signed three bills on Monday to legalize pot for adults 21 and older and to decriminalize it for people under 21.The governor’s bill signing ended a three-year political saga and fierce debate in the Statehouse on how to regulate and tax the marijuana industry.From the start, Ocean City’s Council has objected to marijuana’s legalization, passing an ordinance in 2019 to ban the sale of pot in a town that bills itself as “America’s Greatest Family Resort.”“I’m 1,000 percent zero tolerance on this,” City Council President Bob Barr said Thursday of his opposition to legal pot smoking in public.All of the other Council members echoed Barr’s comments.Gillian and City Council vowed to continue to fight against provisions in the marijuana legislation, particularly those that decriminalize pot use among young people and place limits on police enforcement.“I’m not giving up on this,” Gillian declared.Gillian believes that the decriminalization of pot smoking for young people is “the last thing kids need.”“They need structure,” he said.City Council President Bob Barr expresses his “1,000 percent zero tolerance” for recreational marijuana smoking in public.Under the new pot laws, police will be barred from stopping young people if they simply smell marijuana. Police will only be able to give young people warnings if they actually see them in possession of pot.“This is a sea change in the way these offenses are handled,” City Solicitor Dorothy McCrosson said while giving the Council members an overview of the new marijuana laws.McCrosson explained that if police wrongfully detain someone for marijuana, the officers can be charged with violating a person’s civil rights and may be open to liability lawsuits.The Council members repeatedly said the marijuana laws would “handcuff” police in attempts to do their job.“This is insanity,” Councilman Jody Levchuk said.“This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of,” Councilman Michael DeVlieger added.State Assemblyman Antwan McClellan, who attended the Council meeting, joined the governing body in criticizing the restrictions placed on police officers. McClellan, an Ocean City resident and former councilman, expressed fear that young people could simply stroll down the Boardwalk, smoking marijuana, without having to worry about being confronted by police.“They’re allowing kids to do things without repercussions, and that’s not a good thing,” McClellan said.McClellan, who represents the First Legislative District, pledged that he and the First District legislative team will work with Ocean City’s elected leadership in the fight against marijuana’s legalization.State Assemblyman Antwan McClellan, left, vows to join with Ocean City in the fight against legal pot and restrictions placed on police enforcement.Councilman Tom Rotondi suggested that Ocean City should also join up with elected leaders in Cape May County for a lawsuit against legal pot and the restrictions placed on police enforcement.“I think we need to work with the entire county to stop this, because this is insane,” Rotondi said.McCrosson noted that the Cape May County Chiefs of Police Association has been discussing its options and “all possibilities are on the table.”Ocean City Police Chief Jay Prettyman has begun working on the framework for how his department will respond to and enforce the provisions of the new marijuana laws, McCrosson said.After he signed the marijuana bills into law, Murphy said the drug’s legalization in New Jersey would end the injustice of blacks being arrested for possession of pot at higher rates than whites.“As of this moment, New Jersey’s broken and indefensible marijuana laws, which permanently stained the records of many residents and short-circuited their futures, and which disproportionately hurt communities of color and failed the meaning of justice at every level, social or otherwise – are no more,” the governor said.According to media reports, the decriminalization part of the marijuana laws allows people to possess up to six ounces of pot without legal consequence. Ocean City’s Council members also strongly criticized that provision, saying it would permit young people to legally sell large amounts of pot.“You’re going to have teenage drug dealers now, with no consequence,” Levchuk said.Founded in 1879 as a Christian resort by a group of Methodist ministers, Ocean City has always been a “dry” town. The ban on alcohol sales is a centerpiece of the city’s image as a safe, family-style summer vacation retreat.Council members and the mayor have repeatedly expressed concerns that the city’s family-friendly reputation could be harmed if people simply begin smoking pot in popular tourist areas, such as the Boardwalk or on the beaches.Also at Thursday’s meeting, the Council members reiterated their opposition to a proposed wind energy farm that would be built 15 miles off the southern part of the New Jersey coast, including Ocean City.DeVlieger, the most outspoken critic of the wind farm on Council, said he sees “nothing positive” about the project. He and other Council members have warned about the wind farm’s possible negative impacts on Ocean City’s tourism trade, the environment and the commercial fishing industry.Orsted’s proposed wind farm 15 miles off the New Jersey coast is drawing objections from City Council. (Image courtesy City of Ocean City)Members of the public joined with Council at its Zoom meeting to oppose the wind farm. A handful of residents from Ocean City and Upper Township voiced their frustration with what they said is a lack of information on the project’s possible harm to tourism and the environment.Orsted, the Danish energy company that would build the wind farm, is in the midst of a rigorous permitting process that is expected to take 27 months to complete. DeVlieger said it is unlikely that the company will start construction before May 2023. Construction would take about a year to complete.Orsted plans to build nearly 100 wind-powered turbines 15 miles offshore stretching from Atlantic City to Stone Harbor, passing by Ocean City in the process. Council members are concerned because the wind turbines, which will stand about 850 feet above mean sea level, will be visible from Ocean City’s shoreline, creating a visual blight and environmental hazards. Mayor Jay Gillian, seated next to City Solicitor Dorothy McCrosson, tells City Council that he is disgusted by the state’s legalization of marijuana. (Courtesy of Martin Fiedler of Just Right TV Productions)last_img read more

Catch and release

first_imgA research team at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) has developed a novel device that may one day have broad therapeutic and diagnostic uses in the detection and capture of rare cell types, such as cancer cells, fetal cells, viruses, and bacteria. The device is inspired by the long, elegant appendages of sea creatures such as jellyfish and sea cucumbers.The study will be published online on Nov. 12 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.The device, a microchip, is inspired by a jellyfish’s long, sticky tentacles that are used to capture minuscule food flowing in the water. The researchers designed a chip that uses a 3-D DNA network made up of long DNA strands with repetitive sequences that — like the jellyfish tentacles — can detect, bind, and capture certain molecules.The researchers, led by senior study author Harvard Medical School Associate Professor of Medicine Jeffrey Karp, of the Division of Biomedical Engineering in the Department of Medicine at BWH, and co-author Rohit Karnik, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, created the chip using a microfluidic surface and methods that lets them not only to rapidly replicate long DNA strands with multiple targeting sites that can bind to cancer cells but also to customize critical characteristics, such as DNA length and sequence, which allowed them to target various cell types.In this study, Karp and his team tested the chip using a DNA sequence that had a specific affinity to a cell-surface protein found abundantly in human cancer cells.The researchers engineered the device to efficiently capture a higher quantity of cancer cells from whole blood patient samples at much higher flow rates compared with other methods that use shorter DNA strands or antibodies.“The chip we have developed is highly sensitive. From just a tiny amount of blood, the chip can detect and capture the small population of cancer cells responsible for cancer relapse,” said first study author Weian Zhao, a postdoctoral fellow from the Karp lab who is now on the faculty at the University of California, Irvine.In addition to being used for blood-based cancers, the device may find application to isolate cells that break away from solid tumors and travel through the bloodstream.“What most people don’t realize is that it is the metastasis that kills, not the primary tumor,” said Karp. “Our device has the potential to catch these cells in the act with its ‘tentacles’ before they may seed a new tumor in a distant organ.”Moreover, unlike other methods, the device was able to maintain a high purity of the captured cells that could easily be released and cultured in the laboratory.“One of the greatest challenges in the treatment of cancer patients is to know which drug to prescribe,” said Karp. “By isolating circulating tumor cells before and after the first round of chemotherapy is given, we can determine the biology behind why certain cells are resistant to chemotherapy. We can also use the isolated cells to screen drugs for personalized treatments that could boost effectiveness and hopefully prevent cancer relapse.”The primary support for this research was from the International Human Frontier Science Program Organization postdoctoral fellowship and the National Institutes of Health.last_img read more

Stitching together the stars

first_img Star analysts of Harvard College Observatory struck Dava Sobel as book-worthy history The works on view evoke the process of careful, precise repetition and pattern recognition required in Leavitt’s observations of space. They also ask viewers to consider questions, said Von Mertens, such as “What meaning is held in a single life?” and “What meaning is held in a single action, and what meaning is built with the repetition of that action?”“This exhibition is built on many units of measurement: the length of a single stitch, the density of lead in a 2H or 3H pencil, the distance a beam of light travels in a year, the brightness of a single star, the span of a life lived,” notes Von Mertens in the show’s catalog. “Each unit alone holds something: the echo of its making, the marking of time, the beauty of its specificity. Each unit accumulated gains something; with repetition, form takes shape, and shape takes meaning.”Other works in the show include her earlier “Shape/View” series, a number of similar cosmic panels inspired by our galaxy’s supercluster, as well as a pencil drawing of two glass plates featuring the Orion Nebula, a cloud of gas and dust in the Milky Way where Leavitt once searched for pulsating stars.For some, quilting may seem an unusual avenue for artistic expression, but Von Mertens was hooked the minute she fashioned her first patchwork quilt out of old Salvation Army dresses. “I think a lot of people make one quilt in their lives and think ‘that was enough of that,’” said the artist. “I was completely taken with the process. There was this richness to the context, but also the materials themselves that I responded to so immediately that I just knew from that point forward that I wanted quilts to be how I worked.”The idea to focus on the night sky came to her several years ago as she considered what it meant to hang her quilts for viewers, she said, and as she realized the wall “wasn’t [only] paintings’ terrain, it was about the act of looking.”“And what is the most quintessential form of looking? … To me it was stargazing.” Light years ahead Henrietta Swan Leavitt’s research at Harvard College Observatory led to two of the most important discoveries in astrophysics Guardians of the sky When flooding threatened 100-plus years of astronomical data, fast action was the only option Related Her countless hours at Harvard mapping the stars are central to understanding the universe. Though she didn’t live to see the far-reaching implications of her work, a new Radcliffe exhibit shows how her efforts helped unlock mysteries of the cosmos.Radcliffe graduate Henrietta Leavitt was one of the more than 80 women who worked at the Harvard Observatory from the late 1800s to the mid-1900s carefully analyzing a record of the heavens on glass-plate negatives, a collection that includes more than 500,000 celestial moments and is considered the oldest and most comprehensive archive of the night sky.But Leavitt died in 1921, before others used her observations of Cepheid variable stars (those whose brightness pulses at regular intervals), ­and her key discovery of the relationship between a Cepheid star’s luminosity and how frequently it pulses, to make a range of key discoveries about our galaxy. Her work enabled other astronomers to measure the distance to the stars and determine the shape of the Milky Way. American astronomer Edwin Powell Hubble built on her findings, proving the existence of galaxies beyond our own and showing that the universe was expanding.Leavitt’s research became the first rung “on the distance ladder to the stars,” said artist Anna Von Mertens, whose needle and thread honors the “Harvard Computer’s” life and work in the show “Measure,” on view at Byerly Hall through Jan. 19.In a diptych on the walls of the Johnson-Kulukundis Family Gallery, Von Mertens’ series of meticulous white and gray hand-sewn stitches on a black background­ — mapped out with help from star calculation software — depict the stars fading from the skies above Lancaster, Pa., on the morning Leavitt was born, July 4, 1868, and the stars returning to view over Cambridge, Mass., on the day she died, Dec. 12, 1921.,Story is key to the artist’s flow, and Leavitt’s life and career fueled the creative process. “If there isn’t some story and if there isn’t some idea that is with me along that path, I don’t get as engaged in the materials,” said Von Mertens. “But if I have that story, it feels like I am almost embedding that story into the material and then allowing that object to carry the story forward.”Upon being asked to create the exhibition, Von Mertens, whose work relies on careful research, turned to Harvard’s galleries and archives for inspiration. The Schlesinger Library’s collections moved her to consider the voices of “these women that were not heard.” At the Harvard Observatory, Leavitt’s story stood out. “She was obviously so gifted and sharp, and she obviously saw things so uniquely, but there was really no vehicle for her voice,” said Von Mertens. 150 years later, her star is still risinglast_img read more

Law clinic pushes against regulation rollback

first_imgJason Bell ’21 spent Earth Day helping fight the Trump administration’s efforts to replace the Clean Power Plan — an Obama-era scheme that sets limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants — with the new Affordable Clean Energy rule, which relaxes those restrictions. A student in Harvard Law School’s Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic, Bell is drafting a brief on behalf of a group of economists, climate scientists, and the Union of Concerned Scientists to bolster arguments in a related case, American Lung Association v. EPA.“Our purpose is to educate the court about some of the issues that might not be covered in the main briefs,” Bell said. In particular, he said, the current Environmental Protection Agency is reversing its own positions on the urgency of climate change.“In 2009, they released a document saying that greenhouse gases are a harmful pollutant that must be restricted under the Clean Air Act, and that climate change is a threat to human health and welfare. So, once you’ve said that 10 years ago, how do you say that it isn’t a threat now?” said Bell. “What our brief is saying is that there’s no way to escape that trap. If the EPA’s plan is to do nothing, they at least have to explain why doing nothing is a rational policy choice, given the impacts that are likely to occur.”Bell’s work is one of the many examples of how students, faculty and staff in the clinic are busy pushing back against the current administration’s attempts to undo environmental regulations approved under former President Barack Obama ’91.“Our work is crucial and overwhelmingly resource-draining. Every day we awake to a new attack on public health and the environment,” said Clinical Professor Wendy Jacobs J.D. ’81, who directs the clinic. Deputy Director and Lecturer on Law Shaun Goho J.D. ’01 added: “Since the earliest days of the Trump administration, the EPA started rolling back environmental rules that were put in place during the Obama era. That’s been a large part of our work ever since.”The clinic has devoted significant effort to advocating on behalf of scientists and public health experts whose work has been undermined and stifled by the Trump administration’s EPA, Goho says. Whenever a new regulation is proposed, there is an opportunity for public comment. Read Full Storylast_img read more

Hurricane Maria: ‘Attracting Capital to Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority Is More Critical Than Ever’

first_imgHurricane Maria: ‘Attracting Capital to Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority Is More Critical Than Ever’ FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Washington Post:Hurricane Maria has dealt a new blow to Puerto Rico’s bankrupt electric company — knocking out power for the entire island and imposing costly repair burdens on a utility that was already struggling with more than $9 billion in debt, poor service and sky-high rates.And that means more hardship for local residents and businesses, whose electric rates are already more than twice the national average.Even before it was hit by Irma and now Maria, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority said it needed more than $4 billion to overhaul its outdated power plants and reduce its heavy reliance on imported oil. The company filed, in effect, for bankruptcy July 2.Now, with Maria toppling transmission lines and 100 percent of Puerto Ricans without electricity, PREPA faces millions of dollars more for hurricane repairs.The utility’s struggles are a key part of the commonwealth’s struggles to restructure about $74 billion in debts, overhaul its economy and stem the outflow of Puerto Rican citizens to the U.S. mainland.“PREPA and electricity here have always been critical to economic recovery,” said Natalie Jaresko, a veteran banker, former finance minister in Ukraine and adviser to the Puerto Rican government. “What the hurricane is proving is that that infrastructure is fragile. It makes attracting capital to PREPA more critical than ever.”More: Hurricane Maria has dealt a heavy blow to Puerto Rico’s bankrupt utility and fragile electric gridlast_img read more

Romance in the Backcountry: Tips and Tricks

first_imgBen and I have lived in a van for seven months now. Purposeful romance is usually last on the list of things we make time for, right after vacuuming our carpet and cleaning the bugs off the front bumper. Living in a van can really put a damper on the romance. Ben doesn’t fit lengthwise in the van, so he sleeps diagonally and I sleep in a corner. We go days, sometimes weeks, without a real shower. We have so many cuts and bruises and bug bites that shaving would be laughable. But somehow we still wake up each morning and say “I love you.”This did not come easily. We’ve had super low moments, where Ben has hiked in one direction, and I in the other. But for the most part, we’ve become a well-oiled machine, able to predict movements before they happen. I plug his phone in before he reaches for the cord, he sets my slippers below the bed before I lift my head from the pillow. We share romance in a different way when living in such close quarters, and in the backcountry. Here are a few suggestions for van living and backcountry hiking to help you and your sig-other adjust more quickly than we did!Bagged wine, boxed wine, doesn’t matter, just bring it.Whether you’re hiking 15 miles to your camp spot, or you are parked on the side of the road after a long drive, DO NOT forgo wine. It is essential and COMPLETELY worth packing in on long backpacks or taking up space in your tiny van. If you don’t have a half-drunken bag of wine laying around right before you set off on your trip, consider buying these. They pack down once you drink them, and are the perfect serving size at the end of a long hike day. While you’re at it, don’t forget dessert.ProTip: Bears LOVE wine. Almost more than I do. Don’t forget to pack your empty wine carriers in a smell proof bags or bear bin.Zip your sleeping bags together, just don’t forget to wear long pajamas.This applies to sleeping in the van, and also in the backcountry. A lot of brands make compatible gender specific bags, meaning the men’s zips along the left and the woman’s on the right.  You can completely unzip them individually and then zip them back together so you have one huge sleeping bag to cuddle in. This is great for me because I am the perma-big spoon. With the bags zipped together, we can cuddle all night! Make sure to strap your sleeping mats together so there’s no cold hard spot between the two sleeping bags.  You MUST wear long pajamas, nothing kills romance faster than sticking to the person you’re sleeping next to. Whether you’re in a van and five days out from your last shower, or a zipped together sleeping bag after a sweaty uphill slog, cover your gross, unshowered skin, and cuddle away.Pro Tip: On extra cold nights in the backcountry, make sure the area of the sleeping bag between your heads is closed so no heat can escape through space between.Skinny dip to get the hot spots.If you have the ability to get in a large body of water, DO IT! It saves you from being a sticky mess and having to wear long pajamas at night (see above). When you’re backpacking, it might be the most refreshing thing you can do. All you really need to clean is the ‘hot spots.’ Everything else is icing on the cake, and completely unnecessary. When you’re van’ing, try a solar shower if a large body of water is inaccessible or too crowded. If water isn’t available, wilderness wipes are the next best thing. And remember- hot spots!Pro Tip: There is no good way to travel with a full solar shower. Put it inside and it will absolutely spill. Leave it on a trailer or secured to the top of your van and SOMETHING will puncture it. Take it from the five solar shower fatalities we’ve had, a full solar shower is a dangerous thing.But seriously, kind words.This is the cheapest, and most effective way, to keep the romance alive when living in a van or hiking with your honey in the backcountry. There is no trick here, simply expressing your love and reminding each other you appreciate the small things they’re doing (carrying the wine so I don’t have to, and then letting me drink more than my fair share- you’re the best Ben)!  You can try yelling encouragement to each other when you’re halfway up a mountain pass. Kind words can go a REALLY long way, especially when your pack feels like it’s getting heavier even though you’ve already consumed the chocolate you stashed in there just in case. Those are the times when it is most important. Especially because the chocolate is gone.Pro Tip: Kind words obviously help for us, but people communicate love in totally different ways, check out the five love languages if you haven’t already. Maybe your sweetheart would feel the romance most if you secretly stashed some chocolate for them and pulled it out at the right exact moment on that uphill climb. Okay– that works for me too.There are a few items that make romance in the backcountry a little easier. Check out this list from Elevation Outdoors for some more ideas!Ben and I finish our tour in one month and we can’t believe it’s coming to an end. We will have no idea what to do with a shower every day, food in a fridge, and sleeping in the same spot every night. If anyone has tips on how to do romance in a stationary house, we would love to hear them, because we have certainly forgotten how.If you like the gear we’re reppin’, or what we’re wearing, check out some of the sponsors that make this tour possible: La Sportiva, Crazy Creek, National Geographic, RovR Products, Sea to Summit, Mountain House, LifeStraw, and Lowe Alpine.last_img read more

Al-Baghdadi Profile

first_imgBy Ken Bredemeier / Voice of America October 31, 2019 For Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the high point of his life may have come in 2014, when he stood in a flowing black robe before worshippers in a mosque in Mosul, the northern Iraqi city the Islamic State had captured, and declared that he was the caliph, the political and religious leader of the global Muslim community.Other Muslim leaders rejected his claims, but his caliphate eventually covered as much as 40 percent of Iraq and a wide swath of northern Syria. It drew in thousands of foreign fighters to the Islamic State cause against Western and Middle Eastern allies in the region.In its self-declared capital of Raqqa, Syria, the Islamic State for a time administered its caliphate like a state, with a brutal, uncompromising system of Islamic justice, while it collected taxes and doled out public services.But Baghdadi, with a $25 million bounty on his head since 2016, was nowhere to be seen in public, save for an 18-minute video that was released last April.There were numerous reports over the last several years that he had been killed or seriously wounded in an array of U.S. and allied attacks throughout Iraq and northern Syria as the caliphate gradually collapsed. In June 2017, the Iraqi government declared it had recaptured Mosul from the Islamic State, and six months later declared complete victory in Iraq. By last March, the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces announced the liberation of Baghuz, the last Islamic State-held territory in Syria.Baghdadi resurfaced in audio tapes, often referencing recent events to prove he was alive. Otherwise, he hid, employing an array of techniques to avoid surveillance of his whereabouts. He did not use mobile phones, often moved from one safe house to another and shunned travel in convoys that might draw attention from allied forces in the region.But the U.S. hunt for him went on, culminating in the October 26 U.S. Special Forces raid in Syria in which Baghdadi detonated his suicide vest, killing himself and three children as the American commandos cornered him in a tunnel with no outlet.U.S. President Donald Trump announced the raid and Baghdadi’s death in a White House address and news conference, telling the world that Baghdadi’s demise came as he was “whimpering, crying and screaming all the way.” Within 15 minutes, in a field test, the U.S. said his DNA was confirmed.Baghdadi was born Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Al-Badri in 1971 in the Iraqi city of Samarra. He was the son of a Quranic teacher.He studied Quranic recitation at Saddam University for Islamic Studies in Baghdad and joined the Muslim Brotherhood, a pan-Arab movement based on establishing states buttressed by Islamic law that some governments have banned.News accounts and books have traced his radicalization back to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq to topple Iraqi strong man Saddam Hussein. Baghdadi joined Sunni militias to fight the U.S. occupation. He was jailed at Camp Bucca in 2004.“Many of the 24,000 inmates at Bucca were Sunni Arabs who had served in Saddam’s military and intelligence services,” said a 2015 report by the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington D.C. “When Saddam fell, so did they, a consequence of the American purge of the Baathists and the new ascendency of Iraq’s long-oppressed Shiite majority. If they weren’t jihadists when they arrived, many of them were by the time they left.”“Baghdadi would turn out to be the most explosive of those flames,” it said, “a man responsible for much of the conflagration that would engulf the region less than a decade later.”When Baghdadi was released, he had a means for reconnecting with his fellow prisoners: they had written each others’ phone numbers in the elastic of their underwear.He established ties with al-Qaida in Iraq but many of the Bucca inmates would go on to become leading figures in an offshoot, the Islamic State in Iraq, and Baghdadi became its head in 2010 when leaders of the group were killed in an air strike.A year later, he expanded the group into Syria as it seized more and more territory, including Raqqa and eventually Mosul in 2014, where he gave his only televised speech in the city’s Grand Mosque. He spoke to Islamic State supporters in 2015, 2016 and 2017 in audio messages.His final audio admonition to Islamic State adherents was in September 2019.last_img read more