first_imgSetlist: Umphrey’s McGee at The Fillmore Philadelphia, PA – 10/21/16Set 1: Le Blitz -> 1348, Cut The Cable (OG) -> 1348, Wellwishers, Utopian Fir -> Stinko’s Ascension, Gone For Good*, Great American* -> Dim Sun* -> Great American*Set 2: Nothing Too Fancy > Push The Pig, JaJunk, In The Kitchen%, In Bloom (Nirvana, by means of Sturgill Simpson), August > Nothing Too FancyEncore: Attachments, Join Together* Acoustic% with Marc Brownstein replacing Ryan Stasik on bass Umphrey’s McGee continued their three-night stand at The Fillmore Philadelphia last night, keeping the energy alive after a great opening night performance. The second night of the run saw Umphrey’s take more outside-the-box chances, having fun throughout a great night of a music.Watch the official stream of opening song, “Le Blitz,” below.Among the many highlights was an extended acoustic run to close out the first set, with songs “Gone For Good,” “Great American” and “Dim Sun.” Another great moment came in the second set, when The Disco Biscuits’ bassist Marc Brownstein replaced Ryan Stasik for a jamming version of “In The Kitchen.” Brownstein is a native of the Philly area, and the history between UM and tDB dates back many years.The show concluded with a great two song encore of “Attachments” and a cover of The Who’s “Join Together,” which we can watch courtesy of 215music.last_img read more

first_imgBend a piece of raw spaghetti, and in the blink of an eye it will break, most often into three pieces. The scientists who explained why earned the 2006 tongue-in-cheek Ig Nobel Prize. Hundreds of children who recreated the experiment last weekend took home something else: a new topic for dinnertime conversation.Sharing the wonder of scientific discovery with local children and their parents is a holiday tradition at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), which hosted its 12th annual holiday lecture on Dec. 7.Delivered as always by Howard Stone, a veteran of physics education and an authority on fluid dynamics, the morning and afternoon lectures dazzled families with technology, small explosions, and the simple beauty of seeing nature in a new light. Stone is a former member of the SEAS faculty and now Dixon Professor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University. In 2000, he was named a Harvard College Professor in honor of his outstanding service to undergraduate education.“The world is really amazing, and it’s full of wonderful events, if you pay attention,” Stone told the audience. Flowers, for example, are busy all day and night, tilting and turning, opening and closing. And some movements, like the whip of a salamander’s sticky tongue, seem instantaneous. “How do you make images of any event,” Stone asked, “so that all of us can look at it?”SEAS graduate student Sorell Massenburg led the children in interactive demonstrations to help them experience physics at work. In one, they played the role of photons passing through a camera shutter to build an image, pixel by pixel, of a crimson “H.”In sports, a carefully placed camera can capture a perfect vault, a brilliant kick, or answer whether a galloping horse’s four hooves ever leave the ground at once. But what about other phenomena? For example, Stone asked, can music be caught on camera? A melody from a guitar and the high-pitched squeal of air escaping from the neck of a balloon might seem very different phenomena, but as the lecture crew demonstrated on video, the vibrations causing each one are the same.“When there’s sound, there’s always movement,” Stone explained. “You just have to figure out where that movement’s coming from.”Conversely, he added, a sound can create movement. For example, an opera singer’s voice could vibrate (and even shatter) a wine glass without touching it. “But if it breaks,” Stone told the audience, “you won’t see how. You’ll only see the end result.”Lecture demonstration expert Daniel Rosenberg turned up an amplifier to just the right pitch and volume. The glass shattered, of course, but with surprising details that only a sophisticated camera could reveal. It showed the vessel stretching and wobbling, cracks rapidly spreading, and then fragments of glass still vibrating in the shape of a cup — as if unaware that they were no longer connected — for a long moment before they fell to the ground.A similar thing happened when Rosenberg punctured the skin of a water balloon. The high-speed camera revealed that the latex quickly tore and peeled away, while the water remained seemingly frozen in place — like cartoon fixture Wile E. Coyote suspended in midair — before it made a splash.“The point is that every event takes time,” Stone said.Many of the adults, including a physics teacher in the audience, admitted their surprise at the motion of a falling Slinky. Rosenberg held one end, letting the other dangle, and then let go. The camera showed that while the top end falls, the bottom remains almost stationary in midair until the two ends meet and then drop together.“If you take images very quickly, how many more details can we learn about the world?” Stone asked.Four volunteers found out: Craig Sandler, MC/MPA ’00, Haoyang James Liu, vice president and branch manager at the Harvard Square Citibank, and two children, who all had their movements captured by a high-speed camera while they shook their faces vigorously. Played back in slow motion, the videos would indeed reveal new details: wide eyes, floppy jowls, and every bounce of Aster Vyrros’ fluffy pigtails.It was “awesome,” said Vyrros, 7, who proclaimed after the lecture: “I want to be a teacher and a scientist.”“She already is a scientist, making hypotheses all the time,” said her mother, Marina Vyrros, who fields daily questions about what creatures live in dirt and why the family dog can hear so well. “She pretty much blows me away.”Visiting scholar Helan Wu brought her son Sicheng, 10, who was entranced by a video of a frogfish catching its prey.“It’s so small, and it’s so fast!” he exclaimed. “I can’t see it. I don’t know why. This camera is a super camera!”For many children, the highlight of the event was the explosion of a hydrogen-filled balloon, recorded at a very high frame rate and replayed onscreen in cinematic quality.The high-tech imaging equipment was provided for the event by Vision Research, which co-sponsored the lecture this year and supplied extra cameras for demonstrations in the hallway.Appropriately, a thread of history — particularly the development of imaging technologies — was woven throughout the lecture. Recognizing milestones such as Eadweard Muybridge’s 1878 photos of a galloping horse and Harold Edgerton’s 1936 “Milk Drop Coronet” provided context for advances in knowledge that might be taken for granted.“You don’t do science in a vacuum; you don’t invent things from scratch. You build upon what other people have done before and what your colleagues are doing,” said Kathryn Hollar, director of educational programs at SEAS, who co-curated the lecture. “It’s interesting to see not just the science but that politics have something to do with how things progress as well.”The holiday lecture has a history of its own, having grown into an annual tradition for many families in Boston, Cambridge, and the suburbs.“We try to come every year,” said Lisa Mingolla of Lexington, whose children look forward to the event. Her daughter Lindsay, 8, felt very grown up in the Science Center lecture hall — a proper college classroom. “It’s really cool,” she said.For MIT alumnus David Frohman and 7-year-old Andre, attending for the first time, it might be the start of a new tradition. “He’s very curious,” Frohman said of his son, who was still reenacting the “pop” of the exploding balloon after the lecture. “His younger brother will be very jealous.”The lecture is part of a range of educational outreach programs in science and engineering at Harvard that aim to engage K-12 students and members of the local community. This year’s event was sponsored by SEAS, the Center for Nanoscale Systems and the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center at Harvard (both supported by the National Science Foundation), Vision Research, Ametek, and the research and outreach programs at Princeton University, where the lecture will be repeated on Saturday.last_img read more

first_imgPerhaps it’s only fitting that in the dog days of summer, an awful lot of hot air is being expended over the inflation of footballs. In the case known as “Deflategate,” a federal court judge is presiding over a bizarre dispute between the American sports world’s most profitable entity, the National Football League (NFL), and one of the most successful quarterbacks in its history, Tom Brady. A four-time Super Bowl champion, Brady led the New England Patriots to the title in February.The NFL has accused Brady of knowing about and perhaps directing efforts by team employees to tamper with air pressure in footballs used by the Patriots in the first half of the American Football Conference championship game last January and of failing to cooperate fully with a league investigation co-led by attorney Ted Wells. Brady and two team staffers have denied taking air out of the balls to gain a competitive advantage against the Patriots’ opponent, the Indianapolis Colts. Citing a provision in the union’s 2011 collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the league that concerns conduct that affects game integrity, the NFL suspended Brady without pay for four games. The league expects him to serve that penalty during the upcoming season, which starts Sept. 10. Additionally, the Patriots organization was fined $1 million and lost two draft picks, although it was not accused of wrongdoing. In May, the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) appealed the ruling on Brady’s behalf to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who served as the dispute’s arbitrator. On July 28, Goodell announced that he would uphold Brady’s punishment and filed a complaint in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York seeking to have the court confirm his decision.On Wednesday, the two sides faced off in court for the second time. They are scheduled to reconvene on Aug. 31 unless they reach a settlement before then. U.S. District Judge Richard Berman said Wednesday he intends to rule on the matter before Sept. 4.Peter Carfagna is a lecturer on law and directs the Sports Law Clinic at Harvard Law School (HLS). He spoke with the Gazette about the dispute and what impact the case may have on NFL players and on the league. GAZETTE: What is the legal framework at issue in this case?CARFAGNA: It’s been agreed by the union and the league for many, many years that the commissioner would have final, binding arbitration authority — or his designee — unlike the other major leagues, where you go to a neutral arbitrator in these kinds of cases. Battle lines have been drawn. And yet, for each and every subsequent negotiation since the commissioner’s authority was first established, it’s been carried forward … to the point where we are now. … Under Article 46 of the CBA, the commissioner has final and binding authority both at the first level of discipline and also on appeal. That’s the infrastructure, if you will, within which these “conduct detrimental” proceedings get decided.GAZETTE: Many critics find the NFL’s suspension of Brady unusually harsh, given that he’s accused of rule-breaking that had historically been treated as a minor, fineable infraction. How is this dispute different from prior NFL litigation over player conduct?CARFAGNA: There are a number of apples-to-apples [comparisons] in football. The most relevant, recent example would be the “Bountygate” proceedings. In that case, Commissioner Goodell on appeal delegated his authority to hear the final, binding arbitration to his predecessor, Commissioner [Paul] Tagliabue, who essentially upheld the commissioner’s authority, but based on the record before him … he reversed Commissioner Goodell as to the player discipline. So that’s the “most like” case here precedentially. “Bountygate” was the classic case of paying players to knock quarterbacks out, to knock other players out. [New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan] Vilma filed an individual suit against the commissioner, which was dismissed.More recently is the four-game suspension for the general manager of the Cleveland Browns, Ray Farmer, which was cited in Commissioner Goodell’s final arbitration order. Ray Farmer was suspended four games, and heavy fines were imposed against the team for illegal texting to sideline coaches during a game. Four games is the normal suspension for performance-enhancing drug use. The commissioner cites that in his final arbitration order. They say that’s similar: Using a performance-enhancing drug is very similar because it gives you an unfair competitive advantage, and if you’re caught, you get four games. So that’s why we’ve got apples-to-apples here, because Brady allegedly had an unfair competitive advantage by using the deflated balls.GAZETTE: The NFL argues that Goodell has very wide latitude in issuing punishments to players and that, as the arbitrator in this matter, the court should — and historically does — afford him great deference. The NFLPA says the commissioner’s decision to uphold Brady’s suspension resulted from a fundamentally unfair process that relied on inferences by investigators, not direct evidence. Further, union attorneys maintain that he is being punished for an act the NFL has never punished any player for — allegedly knowing about a rules violation committed by others — and one that players were never informed could be punishable. Further, the union argues that in prior instances where players were found to have not cooperated with a league investigation, those players were fined, as per the CBA, not suspended. How do you assess the quality of these two arguments? Who has the better case and why?CARFAGNA: By signing the uniform player contract, which all NFL players do, including Mr. Brady, you agree to be bound by the CBA and its grievance arbitration procedures. That incorporates, by reference, an agreement to abide by Article 46, which is the “integrity of the game” and “conduct detrimental” [clause]. So I think from a contractual standpoint, in the final award, Commissioner Goodell makes a very strong case that there’s no surprise here, that every player knows that when he signs the individual contract that he’s bound by these provisions.GAZETTE: So you don’t buy the NFLPA’s argument that while Brady agreed to Goodell’s wide-ranging final authority and to serve as the arbitrator, he didn’t sign away his right to expect a reasonably fair process?CARFAGNA: Every player, not just Mr. Brady, every player agrees to this process. If the union had wanted a different process, they could have negotiated for same at the last CBA, and they didn’t. So it’s kind of after the fact … to say “we don’t like this process.” Maybe at the next CBA then, you say … “we want a neutral arbitrator.” The other leagues have that, but this CBA with the NFL does not provide for that. The union should renegotiate that Article 46 procedure if it really wants to do away with it next time. … And sure, [Brady attorney] Jeff Kessler makes every argument that any good outside lawyer would make, but they’re after-the-fact arguments.We have to distinguish between on-field and off-field [behavior]. The personal conduct policy, that’s for off-field. That’s Adrian Peterson, that’s Ray Rice. [Peterson was indicted on child-abuse charges, Rice was indicted on charges of assault. Both players were disciplined.]GAZETTE: And that’s not part of the CBA.CARFAGNA: Totally different. They were disciplined under the personal-conduct policy. Now this “law of the shop” business that they’re citing in Brady comes out of Judge [David] Doty’s opinion, in the appeal to him in federal court in Minnesota in the Adrian Peterson case. … So they’re cropping language from an inapposite case, if you will, cropping language from Judge Doty in a personal-conduct policy appeal and overlaying it … by putting it into an on-field misconduct case.GAZETTE: The NFLPA claims the fact-finding in this case was prejudicial against Brady. Even if the judge feels the case lacks merit, can he act on those grounds, or must he rule only on whether the process the NFL followed was conducted properly?CARFAGNA: Each circuit has standards, and the Supreme Court has standards for vacating an arbitration award. “Evident partiality” is one of the bases. It’s very rare. There’s a lot of Supreme Court precedents: the Steelworkers Trilogy, Steve Garvey …. Despite the process in his arbitration being outrageous, the court wouldn’t touch the arbitration award. The NFL cites this in its papers. The courts generally say, “We’ll defer because the union has agreed to final arbitration. We are not going to retry the case unless there’s egregious abuse of discretion.” [The NFLPA] may well prevail. They’re doing all the right things. But the NFL, if it goes to final order and they don’t get upheld, they will further appeal it. No doubt about it.GAZETTE: Why is that?CARFAGNA: If it’s vacated, they almost have to. Because in Peterson, you’re left with no choice because of the sanctity of final, binding arbitration. I can’t speak for them, but I would assume they would really have to because … that’s really a sacrosanct area that would be invaded by a vacatur [a vacating order].GAZETTE: Besides upholding or vacating Goodell’s decision, are there other options available to the judge, and what do you suspect he might do?CARFAGNA: He’s got his magistrate heavily involved in settlement. Typical shuttle diplomacy, certainly in a case like this, [is], ‘Look, you guys don’t want to go because you’re not going to like the final order.’ He’ll be saying that to both sides. It’s wonderful, adept work by a very experienced, settling judge. But so far, neither side appears to be budging.GAZETTE: Are you surprised this matter has gone this far without resolution?CARFAGNA: No, not at all. I would not be surprised if they found room in the middle to settle. I am a bit surprised they haven’t been able to do that until now. Some form of suspension — one or two games — some form of admission of culpability. That’s a common middle ground that the NFL, I think, would be well advised to [take]. … Then you put that against one of the greatest players in the history of the game admitting to a violation of conduct detrimental, admitting to a violation of the integrity of the game. That would tarnish his reputation in ways unimaginable. If you’re on his side, you’ve got to be saying, “I will not agree to the findings in the Wells Report; I will not agree that I intentionally violated Article 46.” I think that’s why we’re many months into this, because it’s almost an intractable push me/pull you situation. … If I were advising him, I would say “Don’t lie, but if you didn’t do it, don’t settle.”GAZETTE: How would a ruling that upholds Brady’s suspension affect other NFL players? And if the judge vacates the arbitration decision, what does that do to the commissioner’s authority over player conduct going forward?CARFAGNA: Every player now is clearly on notice. Every player now knows, if they didn’t before, that signing that uniform player contract has meaning. That certainly has been brought home in this case loud and clear: That by signing that contract, you’re agreeing to the terms of the CBA, which includes Article 46, which includes final, binding arbitration by the commissioner.On the league side, because it’s so important, it’s a bedrock principle for labor law generally, that final binding arbitration, once it’s agreed to by the union, doesn’t get overturned by federal court. I think they have to protect that sacred ground.GAZETTE: Does this case have any potential ramifications for other sports leagues or groups that use collective bargaining agreements like labor unions?CARFAGNA: No, not particularly. You see an erosion of the commissioner’s authority in the NFL through this constant litigation, constant challenging. But you don’t see that in the other leagues … because everybody agrees the independent arbitrator has the final say in the other leagues. In baseball, that’s how they got to free agency.GAZETTE: Is there anything instructive you think your students should take away from this dispute?CARFAGNA: Oh, yeah. I already have the hypo[thetical] in mind: “Write the order that you believe Judge Berman should write if there’s not a settlement and support it with the most persuasive precedent on each side.” We’ll do a little moot court thing a few weeks from now, and we’ll decide. We’ll have half the class do the NFLPA side and half the class do the NFL side, and we’ll vote, and then we’ll take it up on appeal. That’s how I teach all my classes, so I’m looking forward to seeing how the students come out.This interview was edited for clarity and length.last_img read more

first_img Study suggests the Red Planet was icy rather than watery billions of years ago Related When NASA on Monday confirmed the presence of liquid water on Mars, some scientists said the findings increased the likelihood of finding life on the Red Planet and of learning much more about its past. The discovery also boosted the prospect of an eventual human mission to explore the planet.Robin Wordsworth, an assistant professor of environmental science and engineering, has studied Mars’ water cycle to shed light on the planet’s watery — or more probably icy — history. In work released in June, Wordsworth and colleagues found that ice is the likelier scenario to explain the physical features seen on the planet.The Gazette spoke with Wordsworth about NASA’s latest findings and their implications for understanding the nature of other planets. “Mars is a more diverse and richer place than we thought a decade ago,” said Robin Wordsworth, assistant professor of environmental science and engineering. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff PhotographerGAZETTE: What did you think when you heard the news out of NASA about liquid water on Mars?WORDSWORTH: Well, I think it’s exciting. There’s a growing body of evidence that Mars has liquid water, not just in its distant past but potentially in the present day as well. These “recurring slope lineae” [where scientists detected water] are geomorphological features — which we’ve seen from orbiters — that are changing over time. So there’s been a suspicion for a long time that they are associated with the flow of liquid water, the transient flow of water. They’ve done a spectral analysis, looking for a spectral fingerprint, to show that perchlorates — a type of salt — occur in the location of these slope lineae.That’s a lot of terminology, but basically they’re these weird features that we see on the surface of Mars, and for the first time they’ve now measured that there’s evidence of salts beside them. And salts are strong indication that they’re forming through transient pulses of water. Unveiling the ancient climate of Mars GAZETTE: Was this surprising to you at all, or is this something you may have suspected?WORDSWORTH: I don’t think it will be a complete surprise to people who work in the [Mars] community. What’s exciting is it’s another piece in the puzzle to help us understand how these features appear. Physically, there seems no reason why you can’t get transient pulses of water forming, but having this linking the chemistry to the photographic evidence is another piece of evidence in support of this idea. It’s working toward this generalized understanding that you can get water flowing on Mars, even today.GAZETTE: I think most people’s concept of Mars is sort of cold and very dry. How can there be liquid water?WORDSWORTH: It’s absolutely correct that Mars in general is very, very dry and very cold. The other distinguishing feature of Mars is that it has a thin atmosphere compared to Earth. Earth’s atmosphere acts kind of like a nice blanket, which keeps temperatures on the surface in the same range, in general, whereas on Mars there’s less of this equalizing effect.So although it is a colder planet in general, you can get specific times of the year with specific angles of the sun where temperatures can get much higher. So this is the key thing that can allow — even when you have a planet that’s farther from the sun, so colder on average — transients points where temperatures can just peak above zero.It’s similar in some ways to what we see in places like Antarctica on Earth. Most of the time it’s extremely cold, but then you just get little bursts at different times of the year when temperatures peak above zero, and you get melting as a result. In those regions of Antarctica, even when there are very, very hostile conditions — by our own standards — you can get biospheres that flourish.GAZETTE: What, to your mind, is the biggest implication of this finding?WORDSWORTH: These findings are another step in our understanding that the diversity of potentially habitable environments in the solar system is much greater than previously thought. Mars is a more diverse and richer place than we thought a decade ago.GAZETTE: And talking about habitability, we’re talking about microbial life …WORDSWORTH: Yes. There’s no strong reason to think you can get anything more than that. But I should emphasize that microbial life would be phenomenally exciting. The distinction for scientists between it being microbial life and something more complex is less important. Our reason for being interested in life on other planets is that we want to find out how likely it is that life could emerge in different locations spontaneously, and it being complex [life] isn’t such an important aspect.GAZETTE: Now, your own work looked at Mars’ water past. How does this fit in with your modeling of Mars? Does it affect that at all?WORDSWORTH: In our work, published this summer, we were modeling Mars in the late Noachian Period, so billions of years in the past compared to now. There’s a lot of evidence for flowing liquid water in Mars’ past, more extensively than we have today. In that sense, it’s clear that there were different things going on in the past from the present day. The main result of our work was to show that this early flowing water could have come from episodic bursts of melting, rather than a long-term warm and wet climate.These studies of modern slope lineae show very strongly that even where the planet appears completely hostile, you can still get niche situations where you potentially get bursts of liquid water. So the diversity of environments on Mars is large, and you have to not just look at average conditions over the whole planet but think carefully about what happens due to a combination of [local] effects.GAZETTE: Is this another data point for your modeling, or is the scientific background beneath this finding already in your models?WORDSWORTH: That’s a tricky question to answer. Directly, there aren’t aspects of our modeling that will change straightaway because of this. But this more general understanding of how water behaves on planets really unlike Earth is part of constructing the big picture of how Mars’ climate evolved over time, whether it was ever habitable, whether there were conditions under which life could have formed or, finally, in the future, whether there are conditions that could aid human habitation.GAZETTE: Is there a benefit to this water discovery in that it sparks public interest in Mars research?WORDSWORTH: I think it’s clear that public interest in Mars is still extremely strong and that people care about planetary science. People care about knowing whether planets other than Earth could potentially have had Earth-like conditions, and maybe life. It’s a subject that always captures public attention. I think for this reason there’ll be continued interest in planetary science for a long time to come. It’s just trying to get at some of the fundamental questions that we ask ourselves.GAZETTE: How did you get interested in planetary science, and when did you first get interested in Mars research?WORDSWORTH: I’ve been interested in planetary science since I was a child. Originally, it was just the sense of wonder from thinking about planets and the solar system and thinking about an environment like Mars.What would it be like to stand there? What would it be like to experience that? And how has that environment changed over time? It’s just something that captured my interest and my imagination very early and has continued to do so ever since.last_img read more

first_imgJapanese utilities are turning away from new coal-fired power projects in the country amid tighter environmental regulations and increasing demand for greener energy from their key customers. More: Japanese utilities turn away from coal plans amid green energy boom These moves come as renewable energy is on the rise in Japan and elsewhere, and as the government brings in stricter regulations on new coal-fired power plants. They also come as some investors around the world have been pressuring companies to divest coal-related assets and pushing banks to stop financing such projects. Osaka Gas last week pulled out of plans to build a 1.2 gigawatt coal-fired project, which followed the cancellation in January of a 2 GW coal power station by Kyushu Electric Power, Tokyo Gas and Idemitsu Kosan. In December, Chugoku Electric Power and JFE Steel scrapped plans to build a 1.07 GW station. “Utilities are increasingly feeling that it may not make economic sense to build a new large coal power station when electricity demand is falling and operation costs may rise due to carbon taxes or other costs related to tighter regulations,” said Shin Furuno, head of the 350.org Japan environmental group.center_img Of Japan’s plans in 2012 to build 50 new coal-fired power units with total capacity of 23.23 GW, 13 units, or 7.03 GW, have been scrapped since 2017, according to data from environment group Kiko Network. Japanese turn away from coal gathers steam FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:last_img read more

first_img continue reading » NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger and other senior staff today will meet with Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Acting Director Jamal El-Hindi for an update on the agency’s priorities and to discuss credit union concerns with suspicious activity report (SAR) filings, among other topics.Along with Berger, NAFCU Executive Vice President of Government Affairs and General Counsel Carrie Hunt, Vice President of Regulatory Compliance Brandy Bruyere, Director of Regulatory Affairs Alexander Monterrubio and Senior Regulatory Affairs Counsel Michael Emancipator will attend the meeting.NAFCU has previously raised concerns about the regulatory burden presented by FinCEN’s rules on collecting SARs. Under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), financial institutions are required to submit SARs for suspicious transactions involving $5,000 or more. NAFCU has urged that this threshold be adjusted (it hasn’t been changed since 1996) and for FinCEN to provide a more realistic estimate of the time it takes smaller institutions to collect SAR information. 8SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Long Island’s water quality crisis was on display in a very public way throughout the month of June, when tens of thousands of fish began washing ashore from Port Washington on the North Shore of Nassau County to the Peconic Bay on the East End of Suffolk.“Vast numbers of dead and dying fish were bobbing in the water and stretching to the opposite bank, like a silvery floating bridge,” as The New York Times described the carnage. “Carcasses were piled at the river’s edge and clumped in the marsh grass.”An estimated 300,000 to 400,000 bunker fish have died since the fish kills started, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The grim scene was compounded by the hot summer weather, with observers saying that the fish were “throwing themselves up on the boat ramp of the Riverhead Yacht Club in a desperate bid to get oxygen.”It was a gruesome display. But will it be enough to get policymakers to take serious action to protect LI’s waters?Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s recent pitch for federal assistance was a good start. Although the county’s planning priorities have been imperfect, the current administration is shrewd, proving very capable at getting funding for their initiatives. If those efforts can be put to work for additional wastewater infrastructure in the Peconic watershed area and its environs, the region would be better off as a whole. The economic impact of the Island’s tourism and fishing industries is too significant to let it go fallow, while recreational usage of the coast affects the residents’ quality of life.To support Bellone’s pleas for funding, we need more effort from Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano as well as from state and local policymakers to collectively support improvements that will curb nitrogen contamination in the waters off LI and prevent future fish kills. While the proposed Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant outfall pipe is much needed in Nassau, Mangano should go further. According to the Long Island Press: “The outfall pipe, which would redirect treated waste many miles into the Atlantic Ocean instead of being dumped in the vulnerable Western Bays, is needed in order for the new plant to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water regulatory standards. According to the governor’s office, the Bay Park plant currently treats about 50 million gallons of sewage a day, discharging the treated water into the back bay north of Long Beach.”The lack of a Bay Park outfall pipe and Suffolk’s nitrogen woes are one in the same. LI needs fiscal help addressing its water quality crisis, and it’s time both Nassau and Suffolk pushed hard together for action.In largely unsewered Suffolk, the front line of the war on nitrogen, policymakers must realize that pristine water quality cannot be won with sewers alone. Bellone would be wise to continue Suffolk’s widely praised historical efforts to preserve open space. In particular, the Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission, the entity tasked with ensuring the integrity of the 100,000-acre preserve, should seek to find a renewed life under Suffolk County’s stewardship. The Pine Barrens Commission has faced many challenges regarding development pressures in the area, and strong leadership and representation from the county is needed in order to maintain protected nature of the “compatible growth” areas.Governmental actions such as the preservation of the Pine Barrens maximize the effectiveness of hard infrastructure solutions like sewers, and policymakers would be wise to put whatever funding is available towards both efforts. As the Pine Barrens act, which was passed in 1993 in order to protect the Island’s aquifer by preventing development in the pristine, geologically sensitive woodlands, ages, the institutional memory of its importance fades. The entire fragile preservation act hinges on the integrity of its zoning boundaries, and localities are not up to the task of continued preservation, despite their zoning powers. Suffolk must curb the towns’ addiction to variances and hold the line on the strict zoning that preserves the integrity of the region.What it comes down to is dollars and sense: what is the true environmental benefit of sewering versus preserving pricey tracts of open space? Compared to a mile of sewer pipe, it might be more cost effective to purchase additional large open space parcels for aquifer recharge. And, just as important, whose answer should guide policymakers’ hands and what is more beneficial to the environment in the long run?An important concern must also be addressed: Are the sewers purely for protecting the environment, or for promoting more growth? Philosophically, the sewer efforts should be focused on targeted areas where the environmental impact will be the greatest, not where additional development is desired but improper infrastructure in place is an obstacle. We must address our water quality issues, not create more of them.The fish kills were a tangible example of what will continue to happen if Long Island as a whole fails to protect the sole source aquifer system, and the surface waters that surround our region.Whether you live in Glen Cove or Mattituck, we all drink the same water. It’s time to start acting like it.Rich Murdocco writes about Long Island’s land use and real estate development issues. He received his Master’s in Public Policy at Stony Brook University, where he studied regional planning under Dr. Lee Koppelman, Long Island’s veteran master planner. Murdocco is a regular contributor to the Long Island Press. More of his views can be found on www.TheFoggiestIdea.org or follow him on Twitter @TheFoggiestIdea.last_img read more

first_imgThe European Central Bank (ECB) has suggested the low interest rate environment embedded within Europe and plaguing pension scheme funding has not been caused by its monetary policy.The Frankfurt-based bank’s vice president, Vítor Constâncio, said the criticisms laid at the feet at the bank over the financial stability risks its policy were unfair.Speaking at an economic congress at the University of Mannheim in Germany, Constâncio said that while stability risks from the search for yield were real, they needed to be addressed by macro-prudential policies from regulations, not the central bank.He said those criticising the bank for causing the low-interest rate were incorrect, and that the opposite was true. The ECB lowered its marginal lending facility interest rate in four stages, reducing it from 2% in November 2009 to 0.3% in September last year.It has also embarked on policies aimed at adding liquidity into the euro-area including a €1.1trn quantiative easing programme of euro-zone sovereign bond purchase in order to stave off deflation.Constâncio said the ECB and partner central banks operating similar low-rate policies were attempting to fix problems they did not create.Low interest rate policies in the euro-zone, UK and US have hampered pension scheme funding by driving down discount rates for liabilities, with quantitative easing leading to lower yields on assets due to crowding.Constâncio said: “Medium and long-term market interest rates are mostly influenced by investors and market players.“For a few decades we have been witnessing a sort of secular trend towards lower real interest rates.“This trend is related to secular stagnation in advanced economies, resulting from a continuous deceleration of total productivity growth and an increase in planned savings accompanied by less buoyant investment prospects.“Monetary policy short-term rates are low because of those developments, not the other way around.”He said the ECB’s monetary policy had been implemented to bring inflation closer towards its 2% target and normalise growth rates – which would allow higher interest rates.Constâncio also said he did not think quantitative easing, and increasing pressure on investors’ search for yield was leading to asset bubbles.In May, ECB president Mario Draghi denied the quantitative easing programme would damage pensions in the long run.At the time of the announcement, fears around the industry began over the asset purchase programme increasing liabilities via lower yields, while making returning assets more expensive and difficult to find.But Draghi said quantitative easing would lead to higher contribution and saving rates, thus not damaging pensions.last_img read more

first_imgSIMEC Atlantis Energy has announced plans to retrieve two of the four installed MeyGen tidal turbines following diagnosis of a generator fault by the onboard monitoring systems.The project operators plan to retrieve two of the Andritz Hammerfest Hydro (AHH) turbines during this month for inspection and maintenance by the turbine supplier, SIMEC Atlantis informed.The turbines, both of which are covered under warranty, will be inspected onshore and, subject to confirmation of the fault diagnosis, the repairs are expected to be completed within approximately two months.The remaining AHH turbine and Atlantis’ own AR1500 turbine continue to generate electricity, the company noted.At 6MW rated capacity, MeyGen is the world’s largest tidal stream array and has 392MW of further development capacity under its seabed lease.The project formally completed its construction and commissioning phase in March 2018 and is currently in the warranty period.MeyGen has generated over 8GWh of energy to the grid to date, according to SIMEC Atlantis.The array also exported a world record 1.4GWh of electricity to the grid in a single month this year, which would have satisfied the electrical requirements of 5420 average UK homes during that month.last_img read more

first_imgProfessor Noel Ferriols, head of the Genome Center Visayas, said that Iloilo has Polymerase Chain Reaction machines currently situated in UPV, University of San Agustin (USA) and Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC). They are capable of running COVID-19 test kits that were newly developed by a team of UP experts, who are headed by Dr. Raul Destura. While the laboratories of UPV, USA, and WVMC have the necessary equipment, expertise and biosafety requirements to run the test, an accreditation by the Department of Health is necessary before they can start the testing. Two to three weeks of preparation are also needed to set up the laboratories, which is the same time that the UP Test Kits will be finally available for use.(With a report from PIA/PN) Alumni group “IAMUPHi” gathered scientists, clinicians, doctors, laboratorians, hospital administrators and government officials for a meeting with the city government. ILOILO City – A group of alumni from theUniversity of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) is pushing for an accreditedtesting center for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Iloilo.last_img read more