Astrophysics researcher given access to world’s fastest supercomputer

first_imgProfessor of Astronomy Daniel Eisenstein leads one of nearly two dozen groups who have been granted access to the world’s fastest supercomputer to conduct research.Known as Summit, the massive system is located at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF), and is capable of reaching speeds as high as 200 petaflops, or 200 quadrillion operations per second.To understand what that means in terms of computing power, imagine 6.3 billion people making one calculation a second, every second, for an entire year.Eisenstein and his group received 300,000 node hours to put that power to work to create large-scale simulations of the structure of the Universe, which astrophysicists can use to compare current cosmological theories to data that will come from the next generation of galaxy redshift surveys.Among those surveys is the soon-to-begin Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) collaboration, which survey over 30 million galaxies to map the distribution of galaxies over regions billions of light-years across.The maps generated by such surveys, Eisenstein said, show clustering patterns that have grown by the force of gravity from small density fluctuations in the early Universe. The computer-generated simulations can track that process, starting from the fluctuations in different cosmological theories and demonstrated how they lead to the distribution of matter in response to the large-scale gravitational forces.“The award of this computer time is very exciting for us,” Eisenstein said. “We have been developing this code base for nearly a decade, using custom-built local computers to provide the particular mixture of hardware features that we needed to optimize its performance. It turns out that this flagship computer has exactly the feature mix we need and comes at a time well-suited to the schedule of the DESI survey. It’s very gratifying to see this long-term student-based project come to fruition.”last_img read more

Southern-Style Gardens Still Taste the Best

first_imgGrowing up and living all my life in the South, I know what freshvegetables taste like. Our family ate what we grew. We also ate what was in season. In the early spring we anticipated fresh lettuce and other greens. It wasa real tragedy when wilted lettuce salads went out of style because of fears about fat.You don’t know what good eating is until you sit down to the table and pour the hotvinegar and bacon grease mixture, with fresh green onions, over your salad greens. I remember the green peas and new potatoes grubbed out from under thegrowing potato vines. Sometimes we served them in a cream sauce with plenty of freshlyground pepper. Later on came the king of the garden: fresh tomatoes.My family was big on the Creole tomato. I’ve eaten many kinds, colorsand shapes over the years, but the Creole is still my favorite. We ate it fresh off thevine while it was still warm. We ate it on BLTs, in salads, stewed, stuffed with crab meatand just about any other way possible. But it’s best still warm in the field. We canned many jars of tomatoes and used them in the winter for stewedtomatoes over biscuits for supper. That always brought back the essence of summer, even inthe dead of winter.We loved another favorite, too: peppers, both sweet and hot. We served hotcayennes with all meals.Eggplants were the first “hamburger helper,” used to extend themeat course for six hungry kids. When you cubed and added eggplant to oyster stew, youcould save on the oysters. During August, when other vegetables had played out in the dead of summer,it was time for brown crowder or Mississippi Silver peas and okra, cooked together in myfavorite black iron pot. Mama stewed it long and slow with potlikker and served it withstone-ground cornbread and sweet iced tea. Now we go out to “country restaurants,” which try to duplicatethese dishes with frozen or canned products. Once you’ve had the original, it justisn’t the same. The real key to Southern vegetables is picking them at the right time. Butyou don’t have to grow up Southern to figure out perfect timing. Just stop by your countyExtension Service office and pick up any of the gardening publications. Harvesting too early or too late can change the flavor of vegetables. Theway you handle them after harvest can also affect the flavor.If the part eaten is a leaf or root, the harvesting is not as critical asit is with fruits. Leaves and roots can grow a little larger without greatly changingflavor. The main factor in leaves is that the midrib may be more fibrous, and you canremove it.On the other hand, some fruits can go over-the-hill quickly. Others can beleft on the vine to grow a little larger.Tomatoes, everyone’s favorite, must be picked at the proper time. Theyreach maturity (full size) and then start ripening.The ripening process depends on cultivar and environment. Usually thehotter the weather, the quicker the ripening. If there is excess water during ripening, itwill dilute the sugars and acids which give the tomato its characteristic flavor. After you pick them, NEVER put tomatoes in the refrigerator. Serve them atroom temperature. If they’re very ripe, you can refrigerate them, although they will lose alittle flavor. Just be sure to take them out several hours before serving them so they canwarm up to room temperature. You can enjoy Southern vegetables as they should be. Just grow themproperly, harvest at the proper time and handle with care. You’ll have a summer feast likeMama used to make.last_img read more

On the Blogs: D.C. Pension Fund Is Latest to Divest From Fossil Fuels

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Zahra Hirji for InsideClimate News:The District of Columbia Retirement Board (DCRB) spent the last few years quietly selling off $6.5 million in oil, natural gas and coal investments, amounting to a mere one-tenth of 1 percent of the organization’s total holdings, but made the public announcement at a press conference on Monday.While other American cities including San Francisco have pledged to clear their pension funds of fossil fuels, Washington D.C. may be the largest fund in the nation to complete this step, though the amount divested was small. The DCRB joins more than 500 cities, philanthropies, universities and other organizations worldwide with assets totaling more than $3.4 trillion that have divested from at least some fossil fuels or pledged to do so.“This is a decision that is morally and ethically the right thing” from a climate perspective, said D.C. council member Charles Allen at a recent press conference. “It is also financially the right thing,” he added.Some of the companies culled from the D.C. pension fund include Peabody Energy and Arch Coal, which both filed for bankruptcy this year, as well as ExxonMobil Inc., an oil giant being investigated by several attorneys general for possibly misleading the public and shareholders on the business risks associated with climate change.Washington D.C. Pension Fund Announces Full Fossil Fuel Divestment On the Blogs: D.C. Pension Fund Is Latest to Divest From Fossil Fuelslast_img read more

Utility executives push transition from coal to cleaner energy sources

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享E&E News:Patti Poppe used to drive around with an “I ‘heart’ COAL” bumper sticker, but now the CEO of Michigan-based CMS Energy Corp. is eager to talk about phasing out the fossil fuel. “There’s no room, in my opinion, for coal-fueled generation in a clean and lean future,” Poppe said.CEO Curt Morgan of Texas-based Vistra Energy Corp. loves coal-fired generation but sees economic and climate headwinds. He expects a rash of U.S. coal plant closures over the next two decades. “I think gas will be the companion technology along with renewables,” Morgan said.And CEO Mauricio Gutierrez of NRG Energy Inc., whose fossil fuel portfolio includes a stake in a carbon capture project, emphasizes a belief that the U.S. power industry is “going to be low carbon” even if some coal may remain on the grid as technology evolves.The three chief executives — as well as CEO Pedro Pizarro of California’s Edison International — recently spoke with E&E News while in Houston, where they attended CERAWeek by IHS Markit. In separate discussions, the executives described the economics, technology and trends driving the electricity sector in a greener direction.They illustrate how power companies aren’t waiting for Congress or the White House to deliver a new energy policy initiative or a federal Green New Deal. They’re preparing for a cleaner energy mix.“While they’re discussing it, thinking about it, arguing about it in Washington, D.C., I can speak for our team,” Poppe said. “In Michigan, we’re going to be doing what it takes.”More: As D.C. dawdles, CEOs shift power companies to green Utility executives push transition from coal to cleaner energy sourceslast_img read more

Role of grievance process reviewers to be clearly defined

first_img November 15, 2005 Senior Editor Regular News ‘There may be some tweaking, but I think it’s absolutely necessary this be done’ Gary Blankenship Senior Editor The Bar Board of Governors is considering adding to the Standing Board Policies a guide to a little-known but critical part of the Bar’s grievance process — board members who act as designated reviewers of grievance committee actions.The Disciplinary Procedure Committee presented the policies on first reading at the board’s October 21 meeting in Palm Coast. DPC Chair Murray Silverstein said they will come back to the board for final approval at its December meeting, and that some further alterations may be made.Silverstein said the committee had considered amending Bar rules, but decided it was better to provide the guidance in Standing Board Policies. He added that one of the recommendations of the Special Commission on Lawyer Regulation will be to provide more guidance for designated reviewers.“Existing Bar rules and policies don’t give a lot of specificity on the roles of designated reviewers,” Silverstein said. That, he added, can cause uncertainties for new board members who become reviewers and for complainants, lawyers, and their counsel who are in the grievance process.Questions include: Should reviewers meet with grievance respondents and their counsel before a grievance committee acts, and if so, should they inform and invite Bar counsel for the case? Another issue is whether a reviewer getting a report of a grievance committee action should rely on a summary or request all the records.The policies give multiple options to reviewers for handling cases, plus standards for each option, Silverstein said. The policies reinforce that the designated reviewer is not an adjudicator but part of the disciplinary process with some oversight responsibilities.“We also did not want to create challenges to the review process by enacting mandatory procedures and other requirements,” said Bar Counsel Tony Boggs, who oversees the Bar’s grievance program. “This is simply a guideline for engaging in a review.”“It looks good,” said board member David Rothman, who also serves on the Special Commission on Lawyer Regulation. “There may be some tweaking, but I think it’s absolutely necessary this be done.”Board member Chobee Ebbets agreed, saying better guidelines for designated reviewers will enable them to be more helpful to local Bar counsel.“It actually helps expedite some of the resolutions,” he said. “I really think this is an important change and one that will help.”Board member Ian Comisky, like Ebbets, is a member of the DPC, and said there was some question whether any guidelines were needed.“This [policy] language is much better than when it started out,” he said. “It gives some discretion and some guidance without [reining] in the reviewer too tightly.”The board took no vote on the recommendation. The vote will come on second reading at the December meeting.The new proposed Standing Board Policy 15.76 begins: “The member of the board of governors designated to review the actions in a grievance case has the authority to review pursuant to rule 3-7.5, Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. The designated reviewer has the responsibility under standing board policy 15.75 to conduct a review when requested to do so within the time frame allowed by the rule.”Options in the policy given to the reviewer are to recommend that the matter be referred to the grievance mediation program; that the matter be referred to the Bar’s fee arbitration program; that the attorney be diverted to the Bar’s Practice and Professionalism Enhancement Program with the file closed; that no probable cause be found; that a letter of advice be issued with a finding of no probable cause; that a finding of minor misconduct be made; or that a finding of probable cause justifying further disciplinary proceedings be made.The policies (in accord with court rules) give the reviewer 30 days from the grievance committee action to conduct a review, and require that the respondent or complainant must request the review within that time. The reviewer will have the summary of the grievance committee action and can request the file of the Bar counsel in the case, which will include the record before the grievance committee.In making a recommendation, the policies require that the reviewer presume the grievance committee was correct in its action, although Silverstein said the DPC is planning to change that to require that the grievance committee’s action be given great weight or due deference.Other guidelines include that the reviewer is not an adjudicator but rather an evaluator with broad discretion; that the reviewer should consider the size of the grievance committee and the closeness of its vote; that the reviewer should contact Bar counsel before making outside inquiries; and that in certain circumstances the reviewer may discuss the case with the investigating member of the grievance committee.If the reviewer believes further investigation or consideration is necessary, the policies provide the case should be returned to the grievance committee rather than forwarded to the board’s Disciplinary Review Committee. “Remand is preferred as it allows the grievance committee to reconsider an issue in light of the position of the designated reviewer and provides the designated reviewer with an opportunity to re-evaluate the grievance committee’s decision after it has considered the issues on remand,” the proposed policies said. Role of grievance process reviewers to be clearly definedcenter_img Role of grievance process reviewers to be clearly definedlast_img read more

Charles Elliott: Dedicated to credit union survival

first_imgMississippi CU Association CEO’s passion for CUs remains strong.Charles Elliott joined the Mississippi Credit Union Association right after college and became its youngest president/CEO at age 31. Thirty-five years later, his passion for credit unions and people remains strong.“He embodies the credit union philosophy, putting others’ needs above his own,” says Sarah Dale Harmon, assistant vice president of marketing for $87 million asset Members Exchange Credit Union in Ridgeland, Miss.His caring and compassion were in full gear after Hurricane Katrina, recalls Cheryl Oggs, vice president of the Mississippi Credit Union Association. After Oggs’ family lost its home, Elliott called regularly.“I didn’t even work for him at the time, but he cared enough to check on our well-being,” she says. “He did that for everyone he knew who was displaced by the hurricane.” continue reading » 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Jay Clayton says he will step down early as head of the SEC at the end of 2020

first_imgJay Clayton, who has led the Securities and Exchange Commission for the past 3½ years that included a number of major changes in financial markets, said Monday he will step down at the end of the year.“Working alongside the incredibly talented and driven women and men of the SEC has been the highlight of my career,” Clayton said in a statement. His term would have expired in June 2021.- Advertisement – SEC chairs traditionally step down when an administration ends, and Clayton’s resignation comes two months before Joe Biden will take over as president. Potential successors at the agency include former Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.Clayton has said he wants to return to New York. Senior Democratic SEC Commissioner Allison Lee likely will be named to serve as acting chair, Reuters reported.President Donald Trump named Clayton to head the SEC and has since said he intended to nominate him to serve as U.S. attorney in Manhattan. Political fallout after Clayton was blamed for helping oust Geoffrey Berman from the job scuttled the move.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – Though some critics said Clayton was too easy on corporate America, his tenure featured a high level of enforcement actions. Perhaps his biggest target was Tesla founder Elon Musk, who was forced to step down as chairman and pay a $20 million fine as a result of tweets he sent regarding the company. His tenure as chairman ends following a period in which the SEC extracted some $14 billion in various fines and agreements with violators of regulatory standards. That included $4.68 billion in fiscal 2020, a record.With markets getting increasingly complex and automated, the SEC has been looked to stand as a referee and prevent some of the glitches that became commonplace earlier in the decade.“The U.S. capital markets ecosystem is the strongest and most nimble in the world, and thanks to the hard work of the diverse and inclusive SEC team, we have improved investor protections, promoted capital formation for small and larger businesses, and enabled our markets to function more transparently and efficiently,” Clayton said.- Advertisement –last_img read more

Indonesia suspects ominous H5N1 mutations

first_imgJun 6, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Officials from Indonesia’s avian flu commission said today that the H5N1 avian influenza virus may have mutated in a way that makes it more transmissible from birds to humans, but a World Health Organization (WHO) official said the WHO had seen no evidence of such a change, according to news services.Bayu Krisnamurthi, chief executive for Indonesia’s National Committee for Avian Influenza Control and Pandemic Influenza Preparedness, told reporters that in the past, human infections required high-intensity and high-density exposure to the H5N1 virus, according to a Reuters report today. “There are now suspicions that this [infection] has become easier,” he said, adding that a mutation has not been confirmed yet.Wayan Teguh Wibawan, a microbiologist from Indonesia’s avian flu commission, told Reuters that the suspicions are based on preliminary results of genetic tests at laboratories in Indonesia. The amino acid structure of poultry H5N1 samples is becoming increasingly similar to that seen in human H5N1 samples, he said.The similarity in amino acid structure makes it easier for the virus to attach to receptors on cells that line the throat and lungs, Wibawan told Reuters. The virus would have to attach readily to human cell receptors in order to easily pass from birds to humans, he said.Wibawan told Reuters he had noted “gradual changes” in the virus samples he receives each month, but he gave no other details.However, Gregory Hartl, a WHO spokesman, told Reuters that the WHO has not seen any evidence that the virus has become more transmissible to humans.The WHO has received very few H5N1 isolates from Indonesia recently. Hartl told CIDRAP News today that the agency has received just three Indonesian H5N1 samples, gathered from two patients, this year. “Without virus characterization, we cannot say whether the virus has changed or not,” he said.Indonesia withheld H5N1 samples from the WHO for about 5 months, starting last December, as a protest against the country’s lack of access to pandemic vaccines and other pandemic medications. In mid-May, during the WHO’s annual meeting in Geneva, the country’s health minister announced that Indonesia had resumed sending samples to the agency. News reports at the time said the country had submitted three H5N1 samples to a WHO-affiliated laboratory.Lo Wing-Iok, an infectious disease expert in Hong Kong, said the suspected changes in the virus show how important it is for Indonesia to share its samples with the global community, according to the Reuters report today.”These must be confirmed and the world must be forewarned if there has been such an important change,” he told Reuters. “If there is such a change, it would not only mean that the virus can jump more easily from bird to man, but from human to human, too.”Indonesia has had 99 human H5N1 cases with 79 deaths, more than any other country. WHO data show that from January through May of this year, the country had 26 cases with 21 deaths, versus 31 cases and 24 deaths for the same period in 2006. Indonesia is one of three countries, along with Egypt and Vietnam, where the H5N1 virus is endemic in poultry.See also:May 23 CIDRAP News article “WHO adopts resolution on virus sharing”May 15 CIDRAP News article “Indonesia: H5N1 samples going to WHO again”last_img read more

A global pandemic could cost $1 Trillion

first_imgFor now, central bankers and governments continue to bet that the coronavirus will not damage the world economy by much, and perhaps allow it to enjoy a rapid rebound once the illness fades. But that confidence is being tested.While the International Monetary Fund currently reckons the virus will only force it to knock 0.1 percentage point off its 3.3 percent global growth forecast for 2020, IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath said in a Yahoo Finance interview that a pandemic declaration would risk “really downside, dire scenarios.”The head of the World Health Organization called the new cases “deeply concerning,” but said the outbreak isn’t yet a pandemic.Still, the protracted shutdown of Chinese factories that were supposed to be back online and the spread of the virus to South Korea, Iran and Italy’s northern industrial heartland raise the specter of much greater death and disruption. The virus risks tipping Italy into a recession that could hurt the rest of Europe too. The ghastly prospect that the coronavirus outbreak could become the first truly disruptive pandemic of the globalization era is renewing doubts over the stability of the world economy.With the death toll approaching 3,000, over 80,000 cases officially recorded and an outbreak in Italy now shutting down the richest chunk of its economy, some economists are beginning to war game what an untethered outbreak could mean for global growth.Those at Oxford Economics reckon an international health crisis could be enough to wipe more than $1 trillion from global gross domestic product. That would be the economic price tag for a spike in workplace absenteeism, lower productivity, sliding travel, disrupted supply chains and reduced trade and investment.Investors are already nervous, with US stock benchmarks slumping more than 3 percent on Monday and the S&P 500 Index dropping the most since February 2018. South Korea’s economy is being buffered, with consumer confidence plunging the most in five years.UBS Group AG Chairman Axel Weber is already far more pessimistic than the IMF and warned global growth will experience a massive drop from 3.5 percent to 0.5 percent and China will shrink in the first quarter.“The much larger downside risk is that this continues to be a problem,” the former Bundesbank president told Bloomberg Television in Riyadh, where Group of 20 finance chiefs hinted at collective worries at the dangers of the virus.How to assess the risk is complicated by doubt over how far the coronavirus will travel.In an analysis that predates the current outbreak, the World Bank reckons a destructive pandemic could result in millions of deaths, and points to how even conservative estimates suggest such an experience might destroy as much as 1 percent of global GDP. A disastrous health crisis akin to the 1918 Spanish flu, which may have killed as many as 50 million people, could cost 5 percent of global GDP, the Washington-based lender said in a 2015 report.A March 2016 paper co-authored by former US Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers likened the annual financial impact of a pandemic flu to the long-term yearly cost of global warming. It calculated that if pandemic deaths were to exceed 700,000 per year, the combined cost to the world economy of premature lives lost and illness, along with lost income, would total 0.7 percent of global income.Oxford Economics’s tally of the impact from a global pandemic stemming from the current outbreak suggests a cost of $1.1 trillion to global GDP, with both the US and euro zone economies suffering recessions in the first half of 2020. It describes such a scenario as a “short but very sharp shock on the world economy.”Aside from containment of the disease, one mitigating factor — and a major unknown for economists modeling the outcome — will be the actions of central banks and governments to cushion the effects. Yet for Drew Matus, chief market strategist at MetLife Investment Management, monetary policy alone would probably be insufficient.“My guess would be you actually can’t solve it with interest rates,” he told Bloomberg Television. “People are worried about their families, worried about their health — 25 basis points doesn’t do it, in terms of encouraging people to go out there and spend.”Topics :last_img read more

Governor Wolf Announces $2.5 Million Available for School and Business Partnerships to Expand Job Training in Pennsylvania

first_imgGovernor Wolf Announces $2.5 Million Available for School and Business Partnerships to Expand Job Training in Pennsylvania Economy,  Education,  PAsmart,  Press Release,  Workforce Development Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today encouraged local workforce development boards (LWDBs) to apply for $2.5 million in Business-Education Partnership (BEP) grants that will connect businesses and school districts and lead to new career opportunities across Pennsylvania.“A key workforce development objective for my administration is to provide students with the necessary technical training to help them get in-demand, 21st century jobs. It is our goal that 60 percent of Pennsylvanians will have some form of postsecondary education and training by 2025,” Governor Wolf said. “These types of partnerships between employers and schools help students gain the technical skills they need to be competitive in today’s job market, while also helping Pennsylvania businesses find the talented people they need to succeed.”The grant funding is available through the Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) to LWDBs; regional entities whose main role is to direct federal, state, and local funding to workforce development programs in their areas and oversee the PA CareerLink® locations. Members of the LWDBs are appointed by a local elected official.A total of $2.5 million in funding is available to LWDBs to implement Business-Education Partnership programs. These programs increase awareness of in-demand technical careers for students, parents, guardians, teachers, and school faculty. Each of the 22 statewide LWDBs are urged to apply.“Last year, nearly 9,000 young people throughout the commonwealth participated in Business-Education Partnership activities,” Governor Wolf added. “These opportunities support employer needs by educating our future workforce through exposure to technical careers and opportunities that exist in Pennsylvania, and places students on a path to future success.”These partnerships connect schools, employers, parents, and students to provide career-related experiences and opportunities through soft-skills development, internships, workplace shadowing, and career mentoring, all with the goal of engaging more students in the need for technical skills required by employers.“Governor Wolf understands that Pennsylvania’s businesses are growing and need skilled workers, and that workers want and need the education and training to get today’s in-demand jobs,” said L&I Secretary Jerry Oleksiak. “The governor’s innovative PAsmart initiative is improving coordination between state agencies, cutting red tape, and expanding access to STEM and computer science learning and job training.”Recently, Governor Wolf signed an executive order that will help state agencies more effectively deliver workforce development services to Pennsylvanians. This collaboration will help to ensure the investments meet employers’ need for skilled workers, and that workers are gaining the skills for good, middle-class jobs that will grow Pennsylvania’s economy.The Business-Education Partnership grants are funded through federal money made available from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act.Additional details and the grant application can be found on L&I’s website. The application deadline is October 31, 2018.For more information about pursuing an education and career in Pennsylvania at any stage of life, visit PAsmart. SHARE Email Facebook Twittercenter_img September 10, 2018last_img read more