Seven Harvard Faculty awarded Sloan Research Fellowships

first_imgSeven Harvard faculty members are among the 126 scholars being awarded Sloan Research Fellowships by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The fellowships go to early career scientists and scholars whose achievements and potential identify them as the next generation of scientific leaders.This year’s Harvard recipients are Emily Balskus, assistant professor of chemistry and chemical biology; Stephen Chong, associate professor of computer science; John Friedman, assistant professor in public policy; Richard Hornbeck, Dunwalke Associate Professor of American History; Benjamin de Bivort, assistant professor of organismic and evolutionary biology; Daniel Jafferis, assistant professor of physics; and Karin Oberg, assistant professor of astronomy.“The fellowship will support my research on the historical development of the American economy, looking at economic adaptation to particular challenges or opportunities for economic growth,” said Hornbeck. “History helps us understand what is both universal and unusual about the modern economy, so history continues to provide new economic lessons even as we build on the work of those who have come before.”The fellowships are awarded in eight scientific fields: chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, evolutionary and computational molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences, and physics. Candidates must be nominated by their fellow scientists and subsequently selected by an independent panel of senior scholars. Each fellow receives $50,000 to be used for research.“This award not only means financial support for my research program at a critical stage, but also a strong vote of confidence from the scientific community that we’re heading in a promising direction,” said Balskus.last_img read more

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Irrigation In Peanuts

first_imgGeorgia peanut farmers can’t control rainfall or the recent deluge the state received over the last week. They can, however, control how much water they apply to their crops through irrigation. A University of Georgia researcher believes applying too much water to peanuts can invite diseases and reduce yields.Wes Porter, UGA Cooperative Extension precision agriculture and irrigation specialist, says that, while water is essential to peanut production in Georgia, overirrigation can be just as detrimental. Porter, who just concluded his second research trial related to water and peanut production, believes that irrigating too much is a problem, especially in Georgia. “We saw in research from last year that overirrigating our crop reduced our yields by approximately 1,500 pounds per acre. When we followed the checkbook method and applied about 15 inches in last year’s dry year, we had a yield of about 5,000 pounds. When we followed the sensor-based method, which lets us know when the soil profile is about to dry out, we probably irrigated about 9 inches and ended up with a yield of about 6,600 pounds,” Porter said.The checkbook method refers to irrigation of a crop based on a predetermined schedule set by the farmer. Producers rely on the sensor-based method for more accurate readings of the soil moisture condition and how much irrigation the crop actually needs.“If we repeat those same results this year, what it tells me is that the crop is more dependent on the timing of the irrigation rather than just having the water out there all the time,” Porter said.For farmers who don’t have soil moisture sensors for irrigation, Porter recommends using a soil probe to detect the soil profile. The probe is inserted into the soil at a certain depth, removed and an accurate reading of the soil moisture is recorded, whether it is wet or dry. Farmers use the same probe for soil samples. Ideally producers can couple the probe with a Web-based irrigation-scheduling tool, such as the University of Florida’s PeanutFARM, Porter said. If farmers do not have a sensing device or scheduling tool in place, Porter stresses the need to check soils regularly. Not checking soil moisture for three or five days could cause farmers to fall behind and their peanut crop could suffer, he said. “You’re just getting a feel for what the soil looks like in that sample. If you’re at field capacity, water is going to run out of that soil. You see that happen and you know you’re saturated. If you don’t have water coming out, you can determine just by feeling the soil. Is it on the wet side or has it hit the crumbly, dry, dusty stage?” Porter said. “Either way, using a soil moisture sensor or probe allows for better accuracy when determining whether you should irrigate.”Soil moisture can remain for several days, Porter said, and he believes farmers can become too anxious if it hasn’t rained in several days. This anxiousness can lead farmers to irrigate prematurely.“If it’s not extremely hot or dry for two, three or four days, we can keep a good moisture profile there,” Porter said.last_img read more

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The truth about social media management

first_imgSocial media is a powerful driving engine for commerce. The argument could be made that no other channel has the potential to influence as many purchases as social. But social media doesn’t get the credit it deserves because most marketers think of it in a linear fashion. Your credit union posts something, it gets a certain level of engagement, and then after six months there’s no telling what those posts did to contribute to growth.Nearly every marketer has struggled with social media management and ROI tracking at some point, and many have gotten so fed up that they’ve decided social media isn’t worth the hassle. That’s a shame, because they’re missing out on a powerful tool.How Social Media Influences Purchase DecisionsTo demonstrate this point, we conducted an informal and totally unscientific experiment. We went around and asked Third Degree employees how social media has influenced a recent purchase. From Millennials to Boomers, married-with-kids to single-and-loving-it, early tech adopters to ehhh…not so much, Third Degree employees come from a variety of demographic and psychographic profiles. And while the responses varied slightly, everyone sang a similar tune: social media influences purchase decisions.One clicked on a sponsored post for car tires and ended up making an appointment. Another used a similar path to conversion from another sponsored post, buying a lamp at Target. That’s trackable social media ROI as long as the website can capture the conversion and tie it to that referral click.Out of 17 responses, those two were the most direct and easy stories for tracking ROI. And that’s where most marketers stop when it comes to social measurement. However, the other 15 people shared stories of indirect influence. This type of influence is harder to track but incredibly powerful.From restaurant recommendations to finding a plumber, everyone told stories of how social media directly influenced their purchases in a major way. The influencing force wasn’t some brand’s post or promoted tweet, it was the stories other people were sharing about the brand.Social media has become a huge word-of-mouth referral tool for consumers. The days of calling 20 friends to see what dentist inflicts the least amount of pain are gone. Instead, people get online to share their experiences in venues like Facebook, and others rely on that information to help them make decisions. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, information from friends carries a 97% trust rate compared to a 48% trust rate for marketing messages.3 Ways You Can Get Better at Tracking Social Success1. Track those easy conversions.When someone clicks on your content, lands on your site, and then converts, it’s pretty easy to track. The key is making sure you have the right tracking tools in place. You should have the capability to see what happens all the way from referral to close. The good news is that these tracking tools can be incorporated into your current site. In many cases, you’ll even be able to track those who they leave your site and come back later.2. Find ways to stir engagement.Have you ever heard the case study about a brand giving ROI credit to social media when that brand wasn’t engaged on social media? We haven’t either. That’s because companies who actively engage on social media are the ones who are more likely to get referred. Don’t box yourself into traditional social media channels. Ask your members to review you on Yelp (it’s an increasingly influential social referral driver). Invite some local bloggers to participate in your financial fitness program. Get creative and showcase your brand in ways that will get users talking about you online.3. Listen, ask and compare.It’s hard to make direct connections between referrals and ROI, but that doesn’t mean referrals aren’t helping your business. If Sally asks about a good place to get a car loan and her friend replies with your credit union name, there’s a very real chance Sally will come to you for a loan. Your analytics won’t be able to trace that loan to the most influential part of Sally’s decision process, but you can find some measurable data to help you understand the influence social media is having.Use tools to listen: When people talk about you, what are they saying to each other? That feedback is often different than what you’ll hear directly. Listening to social media can help you identify what you’re doing well and where the issues are. Start tracking how often you are mentioned and in what context.Survey your members: Ask them if social media has ever influenced their purchase. When a new member signs on, find out what brought them to you.Website referrals from survey data and social listening results can provide a better picture of how much social media is driving business for your credit union. 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Jared Miller Jared helps Third Degree clients identify how marketing and advertising can support their business goals while carrying the brand experience to digital and social platforms. From market research to strategic … Web: www.thirddegreeadv.com Detailslast_img read more

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IRS clarifies Form 4720 is not subject to public disclosure for credit unions

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » On December 15, 2017 Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which changed the tax treatment for certain compensation a credit union pays to its top five highest paid employees.. Specifically, credit unions are now subject to a 21% excise tax on what is termed excess remuneration—certain compensation that when totaled exceed $1 million—and excess parachute payments. The IRS has a very specific definition for remuneration, but generally it is pay that is reportable in box 1 of an employee’s W-2 for which there is not a “substantial risk of forfeiture.” This includes deferred compensation such as that from 457(f) plans depending on how those funds vest. For more background, check out these past blogs from 2018 and 2019, as well as this blog from NAFCU Services.Credit unions that may be subject to the excise tax are “applicable tax-exempt organizations” or ATEOs, although keep in mind this tax could also apply to CUSOs. There was much confusion about how the IRS would collect this excise tax, including what compensation would be included like “excess remuneration” or an “excess parachute payment.” It was also not clear how federal credit unions would report this tax to the IRS. While state chartered credit unions file Form 990, there is not a similar requirement for FCUs. Given the lack of clarity overall, NAFCU began seeking clarification from the IRS on this topic shortly after the TCJA became law. NAFCU also asked  Congress to address disparities in how compensation plans that existed before the TCJA was enacted are treated for credit unions as compared to for-profits.last_img read more

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The Chinese are taking the lead in global tourism

first_imgAt last year’s ITB, the Chinese OTA platform was presented for the first time in the “prime time” schedule of the congress ctrip.com. This year, three large Chinese corporations presented their global ambitions in the same place in the same “prime time”. Called “Meituan dianping”, the platform is rated as the fourth most valuable start-up company in the world with an estimated value of 30 billion US dollars. It has already reached 290 million monthly active users. Together they are investing in another “digital colossus”, a super platform that should become “Amazon for services”. This platform offers search and reservation of places in restaurants, food delivery, cinema ticket sales, ordering local services, travel booking, renting houses, apartments and rooms, renting and buying software for small businesses, bike sharing, car rental and the like. Trip.com is entering the area of ​​the strongest OTA platforms of the Western Hemisphere very seriously and ambitiously. So far, in the year since its inception, they have formed 600 call centers around the world and mastered 10 languages. South Korea, Japan and the whole of China are their base, which they have already mastered, and from there they are moving further into expansion. They also have one branch in the UK and their offer is listed for the emitting markets of Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Russia, etc. They develop a separate strategy for each market, the strategy changes with increasing success and market share and structure analyzes are done every 3 to 6 months. The partnership principle they have developed in China is being applied to the rest of the world. In China, they have become the owners of the largest home share platform, then the leading hotel chains at all three levels of quality and price, then the leading airlines, train ticket booking platforms, car sharing platforms, then the leading development companies. hotel business technologies, big data advertising and promotions, etc. In the same way, they connected similar companies based in the USA, GB, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, which operate globally. All three companies have a huge passenger base in China of which there were almost 2018 million in 500. When South Korea and Japan are added to these figures, but also the entire Far Eastern region, it is not surprising that there is a huge investment in “conquering the West”. CTRIP.COM A GOOD BASE MAKES GREAT PROGRESS RELATED NEWS: ALIBABA TRAVEL, FOSUN TOURISM GROUP, TRIP.COM  JOANNE CHAN, IPPWORLD: THE AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCE IS MOST IMPORTANT TO CHINESE TOURISTS. THEY WANT TO SEE HOW LOCAL PEOPLE LIVE, WORK AND HAVE FUN Ctrip.com is an OTA platform, the largest in China. Its annual revenue is about $ 3 billion. Trip.com is Ctrip’s “daughter company” in charge of organizing services in the west. FOSUN TOURISM TRIP.COMcenter_img Fosun International limited is also a Chinese multinational conglomerate. The value of Fosun is estimated at $ 80 billion. Fosun functions as a large investment fund. They are especially active in the west, especially in Europe. ALIBABA TRAVEL I am already curious what the Chinese will surprise us with in a year at the ITB in Berlin. Alibaba Group Holding is a Chinese multinational conglomerate specializing in e-commerce, internet and technology. The value of the conglomerate is estimated at 114 billion dollars, and the reported operating profit in 2018 was 11 billion dollars. With its digital solutions, Alibaba travel wants to provide its passengers with a complete travel service from creating interest through travel decisions, purchasing arrangements, resolving visas, organizing departure from home, travel, transport to hotels, organizing local excursions, visiting local restaurants, shopping, transportation people and goods until they return home. For all this, they offer a system of payment and cooperation with partners on a global level with the possibility of cooperation and co-marketing in all segments. They already own very powerful e-commerce platforms, then companies in charge of passenger lifestyle profiling, leading cloud technology, artificial intelligence research and development system, global payment system. They work with the leading Marriott hotel chain through digital marketing, data bank, loyalty program and the like. It’s the same with Singapore Airlines, FLY Zoo hotels and similar companies outside of China. From Berlin, Nedo Pinezić, www.nedopinezic.com It is difficult to know in which companies the tourism industry and logistics the Chinese still have a stake. Shares in cruising companies, hotel chains, airlines, seaports and airports are slowly being revealed… Source: atm.ventures It employs 33.000 people, has 8.000 engineers (4 times more than booking.com), has 300 million users, owns state-of-the-art digital technology, cooperates with all banks in China, and has a network of 6.500 offices throughout China. As a test of their strength, they offered the 20 most expensive package deals worth $ 200.000 in online sales. They managed to sell them in 17 seconds. These three giants have founded, as I have already stated, special companies whose task is to apply a successful Far Eastern business model in the West.. Alibaba travel, Fosun tourism i trip.com presented their global ambitions at the ITB. Fosun tourism is developing a global Foliday program aimed at family vacations in an environmentally friendly environment. They are helped in this by Thomas Cook, Club Med, Kerzner, Mattel, Circuit du soleil whose shares they bought. The service is based on a complete experience and a complete package of services in resorts oriented towards families with children.last_img read more

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Collective labour agreements must lead pension change, says German minister

first_img“This opens up the possibility – as it is not agreed in detail, unlike the case with the minimum wage – for us to take on board ideas, and I invite you, the aba, to do just that,” she said.She said she viewed the first pillar as the most important part of retirement provision in Germany, and pointed to the losses incurred by savers during the financial crisis when wholly reliant on funded pension provision.“What we have in Germany is a healthy mixture – of the state-funded, occupational and private, the Riester pension,” she said.“We will not reform the system, in the sense that the basic set-up of the system will not change. If reforms are introduced, then it will be in the shape of changes to the system.”The minister said the government’s stance would allow for security of retirement planning.“The important and right pension reforms have already been introduced,” she said.“To be completely clear – [the system can] withstand demographic change and is future proof.”She added that she would be open to revisiting the four-decade-old occupational pensions law, but said she would not yet offer any concrete details.“For me, the legal framework is, at the end of the day, only an addition to what is already being negotiated within the collective labour agreements.”Her comments will have been welcomed by the aba itself, with the head of the organisation, Heribert Karch, stressing that a strong pension system needs a dual focus on state and occupational funding.“An agreed and thoroughly evaluated political mix of fiscal, social, collective labour measures can address the challenges before us and strengthen the dual core,” he said.Nahles also addressed the issue of the European Commission and its involvement in pensions policy.“Since I have been involved in politics, I have been aware of the European Commission’s Portability Directive – and have been getting annoyed by it,” she said.She added that she remained worried by the revised IORP Directive, published by the Commission earlier this year, and stressed that she would not allow a “weakening” of the bAV.“The White Paper on Pensions speaks of strengthening the occupational pensions sector – but then it also has to be implemented in such a way to allow for it,” she said.“At the moment, as I said, I still have my doubts that it’ll be strengthened.” Germany is unlikely to introduce radical changes to its pension system, according to its minister for Labour and Social Affairs, who argued that the government should only provide the legal underpinning for agreements struck independently by the country’s social partners.Addressing the aba annual conference in Berlin, Andrea Nahles said she viewed her next big “construction project” instead as increasing occupational pension (bAV) coverage among the country’s numerous small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).The minister, a member of the social democratic party (SPD), also said that while the brief mention within the coalition agreement to strengthen the bAV might sound “banal”, the wording was more a result of attempts to reach an agreement despite time pressure during negotiations.Nahles added that the industry should see the lack of detail on bAV reform as an opportunity.last_img read more

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Aberdeen University puts marine monitoring PhD on offer

first_imgAberdeen University has opened a call for applications for the PhD studentship that will explore the influence of marine renewable energy developments on the behavior of animals at high tidal flow sites.The project brings together a team of ecologists, engineers, industry and government advisors as supervisors, providing an opportunity for a student keen to explore environmental impact research topics while participating in real-world issues faced by the marine renewables industry.The research topic covered in this project will focus on understanding how important mobile species such as fish, seabirds and marine mammals use highly energetic site.On offer to the student is a wide range of unique data layers, both physical and ecological, that allow the exploration of how the physical environment modifies the tidal flow to generate tidal features, noise and sediment dynamics and how this potentially influences fish, seabirds and marine mammals, according to the University of Aberdeen.The detailed understanding from this PhD will be used to inform techniques for monitoring at three scales of marine renewable developments, including device, array, and region.The research is expected to provide advice towards the ecologically sustainable development of marine renewable energy and, potentially, to inform regulations internationally at renewable development sites situated worldwide.The PhD student would be based in Scotland, and during the course of studies, would have the opportunity to study at the University of Aberdeen, University of the Highlands and Islands (SAMS-UHI) and have a placement at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney.The deadline for applications to the PhD studentship is set for June 16, 2017. Cardinal buoy at Billia Croo (Photo: EMEC)last_img read more

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Children spend six hours or more a day on screens

first_imgBBC News 27 March 2015 |Children aged five to 16 spend an average of six and a half hours a day in front of a screen compared with around three hours in 1995, according to market research firm Childwise.Teenaged boys spend the longest, with an average of eight hours.Eight-year-old girls spend the least – three-and-a-half hours, according to the study.Screen time is made up of time spent watching TV, playing games consoles, using a mobile, computer or tablet.Changing timesThe Connected Kids report, compiled by market researcher Childwise, has collated data from 1995 to the present day to create a comprehensive picture of children’s media habits.Each year, its report, which is not available online, surveys around 2,000 children, aged five to 16.It finds that teenaged girls now spend an average of seven-and-a-half- hours watching screens, compared with 3.5 hours of TV viewing in 1995.Younger children fare slightly better – in 1995, five to 10-year-olds averaged around two-and-a-half-hours of TV.Fast-forward to 2014 and screen time has risen to four-and-a-half hours.Children are also now multi-screening – using more than one device at the same time, for example, watching TV while surfing the internet on a tablet or mobile so some of the screen time will be concurrent.“The main difference from the 1990s is that then TV and magazines were the main ways for connecting kids to the media and now they have different devices from tablets, mobiles, games consoles and they have a much higher screen time,” said research executive Matthew Nevard.Children’s TV viewing habits have changed dramatically, with the majority now watching television via catch-up services and YouTube rather than the traditional TV set, according to the report.YouTube is the most popular on-demand service with more than half of respondents accessing TV and video via the site since 2013.http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-32067158last_img read more

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Loan moratorium for WV transport groups sought

first_imgWith the rising threat of thecoronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Department of Transportation (DOTr)has imposed a passenger capacity limit and a one-seat-apart capacity to lessenthe risk of the virus spread. Passengers in a public utility jeepney plying the Iloilo province and Iloilo City route still defy the social distancing measures against the coronavirus disease. The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board 6 said it will recommend to its central office to offer a one-month moratorium for transport operators as they expect income losses when social distancing will strictly be implemented. PNA ILOILO City – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board(LTFRB) in Western Visayas will recommend to its central office to offer a loanmoratorium to transport operators affected by the implementation of socialdistancing measures. While social distancing measures are notcompletely implemented, Alcarde assured that drivers and operators weredirected to sanitize their units after every loop. During the meeting, transport groups andcooperatives aired that they expect income losses with the distancing policy. The LTFRB, along with the LandTransportation Office (LTO) and the provincial government of Iloilo, recentlyconvened with various transport groups in the region. Meanwhile, the Western Visayas TransportCooperative (WVTC) has committed to abide the protocols imposed by thegovernment regarding COVID-19. “This is what we are studying thatif possible, we can give them a little bit of time to come up because theirincome is very reduced,” Abellar said in an interview. “Sanitizers had been distributed to themlast week and after every loop, they clean the seats and the corners of theirunit, especially those that come in contact with the passengers,” he said. (With PNA/PN)center_img An average jeepney driver plying Iloiloprovince to Iloilo route earns P1,500 gross income. This amount will be reducedto P750 when social distancing will be strictly implemented. Defiance on the distancing policy willbe considered a breach of franchise, which penalizes the violator with PHP5,000on first offense, she said. “We are supportive on the drive of thegovernment on the safety of the locals within the city and the province, andPanay wide,” said Halley Alcarde, business manager of the WVTC in aninterview. To help counter the losses of thetransport groups, Ma. Joscet Abellar, legal officer of the LTFRB-6 regionalfranchising and regulatory office, said that they will request a loanmoratorium particularly with the taxis and UV express. As of Monday, she said social distancingis not yet strictly implemented in this city and the province of Iloilo. “They are expected to immediatelycomply because of the urgency of the situation,” Abellar said. The LTFRB-6 will release within Mondayan illustration of the DOTr on the social distancing measures as part ofinformation dissemination.last_img read more

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Health Officials Release More Information On MERS Case

first_imgThe first identified U.S. case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) was diagnosed at Community Hospital in Munster, Indiana.The patient, whose name is being kept confidential, remains hospitalized in good condition and is improving each day. As of today, no other cases of MERS have been identified.“We are very pleased the patient is improving and no other cases have been identified at this time,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess II, M.D. “The individual has received excellent care while at Community Hospital in Munster. The swift diagnosis and precautionary measures taken have undoubtedly greatly helped reduce the risk of this potentially serious virus spreading.”The Indiana State Department of Health is working with the hospital, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and others to monitor the situation and prevent the spread of the virus. Representatives from the CDC arrived in Indianapolis yesterday to assist and arrived at the hospital this morning.Since symptoms of MERS may take up to 14 days to occur, staff members at the hospital who had direct contact with the patient prior to the patient being placed in full isolation have been taken off duty and placed in temporary home isolation. Those individuals are being closely monitored for any signs or symptoms of the virus and will be allowed to return to work once the incubation period is over and they have confirmed negative laboratory results. There have been no reported cases of people without symptoms transmitting this virus.“The patient is in full isolation and presents no risk to patients, staff or the general community,” said Don Fesko, CEO of Community Hospital in Munster. “We are thoroughly prepared to handle respiratory infections. We continue to work closely with the CDC and State Health Department and are following every recommendation. Safety is our top priority.”For questions about MERS, please call the Indiana State Department of Health hotline at 1-877-826-0011, which is being answered daily, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A voicemail system is available for callers to leave a message during off hours. All calls will be returned first thing the following morning.To keep you and your family healthy by reducing your risk of disease, follow CDC’s tips below:Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze then throw the tissue in the trash.Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.Avoid close contact, such as kissing, sharing cups, or sharing eating utensils, with sick people.Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs.First Report:First U.S. Case Of Mers-CoV Confirmed In Indianalast_img read more

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