ORONO – The University of Maine System will not be holding in-person commencement ceremonies at any of its universities this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.The announcement was made Monday by University of Maine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy and the presidents of Maine’s public universities. In a statement, Malloy indicated that traditional commencement events would not be possible due to the pandemic and that instead, each university would develop its own celebration.UMaine System previously made the decision to transition to distance learning, beginning on March 23 when classes resumed. The University of Maine at Farmington commencement event was scheduled for May 9 this year.“All UMS universities and the Law School will be awarding degrees on schedule and recognizing the academic achievements of our graduating students,” said Malloy in a message to the UMaine community. “While traditional in-person commencement exercises are not possible during the pandemic, each university will determine an appropriate alternative celebration that balances the need to protect public health with the joyful recognition of our students’ academic aspirations and achievements.”Campus leaders will reach out to students, faculty and staff to coordinate planning of alternative commencement events. Plans are expected to be in place by the middle of April.
In the past two decades, more than 20 percent of the polar ice caps have melted, parts of Greenland are fast disappearing, and the world’s oceans are increasingly acidic, threatening the life they sustain both in their waters and on their shores.The evidence is mounting that the world is warming at alarming rates, but a pending climate conference in Copenhagen next month, aimed at curbing the planet’s carbon emissions, is in danger of failing before it begins.Closer to home the climate change implications are equally bleak.“What global warming means is that [Massachusetts] just moved to North Carolina,’’ said Peter Lehner, executive director of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It’s a pretty significant change in what it’s going to be like around here.”Lehner, executive director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, delivered that grim message during a discussion this week (Nov. 2) that was part of the Harvard University Center for the Environment’s Green Conversations series.Lehner took part in a session with Daniel Schrag, director of Harvard’s Center for the Environment and professor of earth and planetary sciences and professor of environmental science and engineering, and Joel Schwartz, professor of environmental epidemiology and associate professor of medicine at the Harvard School of Public Health.“There’s no question the world is going to survive. The question is: Will human civilization as we know it survive?” said Lehner.But the news isn’t only bad. Lehner, whose nonprofit group is a major player on the nation’s environmental-advocacy stage, outlined a plan to curb global warming that includes government involvement as well as effective climate policies that mitigate costs and support new, cleaner technology.There is no “silver bullet” to the global warming crisis, said the executive director. The solutions involve better energy efficiency, cleaner fuel, better public transportation options, and increased use of wind and solar power. Limiting the use of carbon and making those who do it pay for an emissions allowance are also essential, he said.Another critical step involves the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which was approved by the U.S. House in June. But getting the bill through the Senate is likely to require 60 votes and a delicate balance of policy and politics, said Lehner, since many senators worry that new energy-efficiency policies will hurt industries in their home states.“We need to take their concerns seriously and devise a bill that both achieves our environmental goals but also addresses these concerns,” he noted.One such compromise would involve coal, which is currently responsible for half of the nation’s electrical supply and is a major factor in producing greenhouse gases. Carbon sequestration is a process that buries carbon pollution from coal deep underground instead of releasing it into the atmosphere. The technique meshes with new climate legislation, said Lehner, since it allows coal usage in a way that “won’t necessarily fry the planet.”Getting the bill through Congress before the climate meeting in Denmark next month will be an uphill battle, admitted Lehner.“Whether or not we will do it in time for Copenhagen, who knows? But hopefully we will do it in time to make a difference for all of you.”Lehner also answered critics who complain that China, a developing nation that is now the biggest producer of carbon emissions, has a responsibility to act ahead of the United States to stop climate change. Using a graph, he showed per-capita data revealing that the United States is still far ahead in terms of its own carbon emissions.He added that carbon dioxide lasts in the atmosphere for about a century.“Much of what’s up there is ours — it’s not China’s — so the effects that are already being caused are from the Western world, and from the United States.“It’s going to be a new energy world for the entire planet,” he added, “and, if it’s not, we are going to be in trouble.”
Chemicals are routinely tested on lab mice before they’re placedon the market. A new technique used in a University of Georgialab may reduce the number of mice needed for testing.Phil Williams, an environmental health scientist with the UGACollege of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, uses microscopicworms called nematodes to determine the toxicity of chemicals.Worms Cost Less and Work Better”When new chemicals are developed, at some point, animaltesting is required,” Williams said. Using animals in testingrequires proper facilities and a lot of money.”Plus, many people don’t like mice, or any animals withfur, being used for these tests,” he saidThe nematode Williams uses, Caenorhabditis, is foundnaturally in the soil. Its nervous system functions much likethat of humans. “It can’t show everything in relation tohumans, but there’s a lot we can learn from it,” Williamssaid.Mice and rats, most commonly used for laboratory testing, aren’talways the best choices. “The closer biologically an animalis to a human, the more likely we can predict human reactions,”he said.Won’t Replace Higher Animals Williams is finding nematodes very effective in early stagesof toxicity testing. But he doesn’t expect them to replace otheranimals entirely.”At some point, higher animals are always going to haveto be used,” he said. “There are some things you justcan’t learn without using higher animals.Nematodes’ effectiveness in testing for toxicity could reducethe number of new chemicals tested.”A company could make a thousand new chemicals and couldnever afford to screen them all using higher animals,” hesaid. “Using the nematode, we can easily and quickly determinewhich new chemicals to continue testing.”For chemical testing, nematodes are still in the developmentstages. But on the environmental side, they’re much closer tobeing used outside the lab.Quicker Soil Tests In Less Soil”Sinceit’s a soil organism, I’ve use it to predict environmental affectsof chemical exposures,” Williams said. He also uses themwhen testing soil samples for toxicity.Earthworms are used for soil tests, too, but they require alarger soil sampling, and results take up to 14 days. The nematodetest uses just 3 grams of soil and gives results in 24 hours.”Earthworms require about 400 grams of soil for testing,”Williams said. “When you’re working with hazardous soil,you’d much rather work with just 3 grams.”Analytical soil tests are so advanced they can detect minuteamounts of chemicals on a site. But detection isn’t enough.”The biological effects to humans and animals aren’t answeredby these tests,” he said. “You have to use organismsto see what the biological effect will be.”In December, the American Society for Testing Materials plansto vote on adopting the use of nematodes for soil testing.Used For Food Science Testing TooNematodes may have other uses, too. Williams is working withUGA food scientists to detect food-borne pathogens. Nematodesappear to have great potential in detecting clostridium botulinum,the organism that causes botulism.”Botulism affects the nervous system, which makes thenematode a perfect testing specimen,” he said.Williams also uses nematodes to test new medical imaging agentsfor a pharmaceutical company. “These agents are taken internallyfor medical diagnostics and then traced through the body,”he said. “The company can chemically make these productsfairly easily, but screening and approval is a long process.”Nematodes can greatly streamline the screening.In the future, Williams sees nematodes greatly reducing thenumber of mice and rats used in laboratory testing.”You could release a chemical into the environment for20 to 30 years and then look back and see what the effects were,but that’s not ethical,” Williams said. “You could exposehumans to the chemicals, but we would never do that. So we haveto use animal models to try to help us predict effects.”
When vegetable farmers harvest crops, they often rely on postharvest washing to reduce any foodborne pathogens, but a new University of Georgia study shows promise in reducing these pathogens — as well as lowering labor costs — by applying sanitizers to produce while it is still in the fields.Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli and Listeria monocytogenes are major causes of foodborne diseases and of public health concern in the U.S. Tomato-associated Salmonella outbreaks reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have increased in frequency and magnitude in recent years, and fresh produce accounted for 21% of E. coli outbreaks reported to the CDC over a 20-year span.Initially researchers were going to study the use of a nonchlorine-based sanitizer made of two food additives approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — levulinic acid and sodium dodecyl sulfate — as a postharvest wash solution. However, at the suggestion of a producer involved in the study — Bill Brim of Lewis Taylor Farms in Tifton, Georgia — they designed the study using the solution in a preharvest spray, said Tong Zhao, associate research scientist with the Center for Food Safety on the UGA Griffin campus.While producers commonly use chlorine-based disinfectants — including chlorine gas, sodium hypochlorite, calcium hypochlorite and chlorine dioxide — to treat produce postharvest, the preharvest application of bactericides is not a common practice, Zhao said.Building on previous studies of levulinic acid and sodium dodecyl sulfate that showed the combination substantially reduces both Salmonella and E. coli on romaine lettuce without adversely affecting lettuce quality, Zhao hoped to prove the combination’s effectiveness on reducing foodborne pathogens on tomato plants contaminated with Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli and Listeria monocytogenes.In the field studies, the spray treatment significantly reduced the total bacterial population on the surface of tomatoes, determining that this preharvest treatment is a practical, labor-cost effective and environmentally friendly approach for the control and reduction of foodborne pathogens. The study was recently published in the journal Food Control.“This combination of chemicals had never been used for preharvest treatment,” said Zhao, who studied the combination 10 years ago as an alternative to chlorine treatment as a postharvest wash. “Free chlorine is easily neutralized by organic material, which is a big problem when you are using it to reduce pathogens.”In both laboratory and field tests, tomato plants were sprayed all over with a solution containing five strains of E. coli, five strains of Salmonella and five strains of Listeria specially grown for the study in the lab.To test the effectiveness of the chemicals in the lab as a preventative and as a treatment, tomato plants were separated into three equal groups then sprayed with the bacteria solution. The first group was treated with acidified chlorine as the positive control, the second with a treatment solution containing levulinic acid and sodium dodecyl sulfate as the test group, and the third treated with tap water only as the negative control.For the three plots used for farm application testing, the positive and negative control groups were treated the same way, and a commercial product — Fit-L — was diluted according to the manufacturer’s description and used as the treatment solution. Before treatment studies on the farm, two concentrations of the treatment solution were tested for safety on tomato seedlings in the greenhouse.Results from the studies showed that the application, used either as a preventative or as a treatment, significantly reduced the populations of inoculated Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, Salmonella and L. monocytogenes on tomato plants.“I have to express appreciation to the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Association for funding this and other research that is of benefit to agricultural producers in the state,” Zhao said.In addition to being effective and affordable, preharvest treatment with levulinic acid and sodium dodecyl sulfate to reduce pathogens also saves labor costs for producers who need workers to perform postharvest washing and drying of produce before packaging.“This method can easily be adopted using equipment that most farms are already using,” Zhao said. “Preharvest treatment is very effective, efficient and easy considering the amount of labor needed for postharvest washing.”For more information on the UGA Center for Food Safety, visit cfs.caes.uga.edu.
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Australia, one of the world’s biggest users of rooftop solar panels, likely added the most new capacity on record last year as electricity users sought to ease escalating power bills.A preliminary estimate by Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator of 1.05 gigawatts installed last year would be a record for the country, the government body said in an emailed statement Friday. While subsidies and generous feed-in tariffs helped boost growth earlier this decade, last year’s gains were driven by users seeking to sidestep a surge in the cost of electricity and a push by vendors into the commercial sector, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.“We are on track to have had the biggest year yet for installed small-scale solar capacity” in 2017, according to the regulator statement. “What we have seen is that homeowners and businesses continue to embrace solar panel systems, which is driving increased levels of capacity across Australia.”The shift to solar may have quickened as power prices spiked last year on tight supplies of coal and gas, which fuel the bulk of generation capacity on the national electricity market. BNEF estimates the cost of solar systems for residential customers has declined 44 percent since 2012.“The payback period for residential solar is now as low as it was in 2012, when super-generous feed-in tariffs and subsidies drove a massive boom in installations,” said BNEF’s Sydney-based analyst Annabel Wilton.Rooftop solar will account for as much as 24 percent of Australia’s electricity by 2040, according to BNEF’s 2017 New Energy Outlook. When combined with small-scale batteries and demand response initiatives, up to 45 percent of the country’s total power capacity will be located on owners’ properties—known as behind-the-meter-capacity—by 2040.More: Surging Power Bills Spark Rush for Household Solar in Australia Australian Solar Installations Set Record in 2017
ABA YLD cranks up hurricane relief effort September 15, 2005 Regular News As the eyes of the nation remain focused on the hurricane-ravaged southeastern United States, the ABA is ready to assist those impacted by Hurricane Katrina.ABA President Michael S. Greco is enlisting the ABA Young Lawyers Division and lawyers from several ABA sections to assist hurricane victims in the coming days and weeks. The lawyers will assist with insurance claims, home repair contracts, wills and other documents, and related issues.The ABA has provided pro bono assistance to storm victims since 1978, when the ABA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency agreed to utilize the ABA Young Lawyers Division in staffing a toll-free hotline open to disaster victims.The ABA has established a Web page at www.abanet.org/katrina to assist in relief efforts that will be continually updated as more information and resources are announced. Use this page to volunteer to provide legal assistance, find information on making donations, and receive guidance on how to most effectively help victims. ABA YLD cranks up hurricane relief effort
The aim of preparing the above documentation is to identify possible infrastructural and organizational solutions, and to select the optimal solution for the construction of a cable car in the area of the city of Šibenik. RELATED NEWS: The cable car that connects the Šibenik fortresses is no longer just a dream, but a reality. reality. Of course, the city of Šibenik still has a lot of work to do, but we are actively working on the realization of this large project, which is the first prerequisite for success, which will round off and put an end to the story of the revitalization of phenomenal Šibenik fortresses. The City of Šibenik has been preparing the ground for the implementation of the project of the public cable car system, which would connect all Šibenik fortresses. Well-known Croatian architect Nikola Bašić (author of Greetings to the Sun and the Sea Organ in Zadar) updated the idea of building a cable car and escalator called “Šibenik Vertical” a few years ago. I hope Mr. Basic to apply for the announced public tender, so let a better idea and project win. The estimated value of the procurement is HRK 180.000,00 without VAT, and the deadline for submission of bids is June 17, 2019. Find out more details about the procurement for the development of the preliminary design for the Šibenik cable car HERE The subject of the procurement is the development of three conceptual solutions, one of which will be selected by the Client for the development of the conceptual design, and all other architectural documentation required to obtain a location permit for the cable car that connects Fortress of St. Mihovil, the fortress of St. Ivana and the city district of Šubićevac. FORTRESS OF ST. NIKOLE IN ŠIBENIK OPENS ON JUNE 15
Round Lake came alive with artistryBravo to the Malta League of Arts for the fantastic art event held in Round Lake on Sept. 14 and 15.The entire historic village came alive with a variety of art workshops, photo exhibits and art opportunities for participants of all ages and all levels of talent.The young, the old and everyone in between had an equal chance to be artistic.The local residents observed and enjoyed watching the groups of artists paint, draw, photograph or design a monotype print of the area homes. Many of these homeowners were thrilled to purchase the finished original works. The entire day was colorful with imagination and creativity, and the end result was enjoyed by everyone who came.Sponsored by the Malta League of Arts and carried out by energized volunteers, generous sponsors, extremely talents art teachers including Peter Huntoon, Kevin Kuhne, Carolyn Justice and other master artists, this third annual plein air festival in Historic Round Lake was a huge success. It must not be missed next year. For more information check out Maltaleagueofarts.org.Madeline SickoClifton ParkMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes In reaction to the Sept. 23 article about two young people arrested for publicly spraying swastikas, do these young people understand the meaning of the swastika symbol?Do they understand the history of that World War II time period? I am not sure they realize the magnitude of their actions.Personally, I lived through WWII with family involved in the Army, nurses who went into the death camps at the end of the war to help survivors and have many family and friends who are Jewish.Apparently, the meaning and symbolism of the swastika has changed since then.Did I miss something?Do these young people even understand the powerful historical significance of this symbol?Maybe their time would be better spent in school studying history.Mary Jean Millman ClelandCaroga Lake Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionVandals don’t know meaning of swastika
In its fight against coronavirus, Cuba is relying on its world renown health services: According to the World Health Organization the country has 82 physicians per 10,000 people, compared with 40 for Russia, 26 for the United States and 18 for China. Topics : Student doctors in Cuba are trudging from house to house trying to identify cases of the coronavirus pandemic to stop it from spreading in the Caribbean island nation.”How many people live here? Have you been in contact with foreigners? Do you know the health rules to follow?” they ask.Some 28,000 students repeat the same questions dozens of times a day, all across the country. ‘It’s not rocket science’For Carlos Lagos, 83, watching students file past his door has become the new norm.The students ask “if I feel bad, if I have a fever, how I look after myself,” said Lagos, standing at his door bare-chested due to the heat.Elder care is crucial in Cuba where 20 percent of the population is over 60.”So far I feel fine and I hardly go out,” said Dolores Garcia, 82, from behind the gate to her apartment. She’s delighted to have a face mask.”Someone who loves me a lot brought it to me,” she said.Cubans are used to going without basic necessities — there’s often a lack of soap, for example.Instead of a hydroalcoholic hand sanitizer, Cubans have been using a chlorine solution to wash their hands.With a lack of medical face masks, many have made their own from cloth, including Marina Ibanez, a 56-year-old kindergarten employee.”When I saw that people were walking around without masks… I got to work making face masks for people,” she said.Although she had no experience, she has already made 50, which she distributed to neighbors.”It’s not rocket science,” Ibanez said. ‘Solidarity and selflessness’ “We don’t have the technology of rich countries, but we have a human personnel that is very qualified, with great solidarity and selflessness,” said Caballero Gonzalez.Door-to-door care is nothing new for Cubans used to family doctors who have “always done the rounds… to look for any type of transmittable illness.”Over the past two weeks, rounds have increased in order “to reach 100 percent of the population in as little time as possible,” she said.Medical students have joined the national effort because Cuba has an abundance of them, including thousands of foreigners attracted by the country’s 25 medical faculties and the prestigious Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM).”We’re already used to going door-to-door,” said second-year student Susana Diaz, 19.”There’s always a time around September-October when we do home visits for dengue. So when the coronavirus situation worsened, the university asked if we’d go door-to-door,” she said.Any suspicious illness — such as a cough or fever — is immediately reported to the local medical center.”Many thank us for what we’re doing,” Diaz said.Doctors are “much loved” in Cuba, said Maite Perez, 30, after a visit by one of the students.”I’m really happy they’re looking after our health,” she said.Perez is taking health precautions seriously: She keeps a mop at the front door to clean her shoes, categorically washes her clothes after returning home and wears a mask every time she leaves.There’s just one rule that’s proving painfully hard to adhere too: no hugging or kissing.”I just want to hold my mother and kiss her, to squeeze her… but we’re not allowed to,” Perez said. In the Vedado neighborhood of Havana, Liz Caballero Gonzalez, a 46-year-old doctor, accompanies two students charged with canvassing an area that is home to 300 families each day.In a country where many people wear face masks — and some shops won’t allow customers in unless they have one — the only thing that sets the students apart is their white gowns.Crippled by six decades of US sanctions, Cuba was one of the last countries in Latin America to close its borders, desperate to keep the tourism revenue it relies on.It finally caved on March 24 and now has 212 coronavirus cases and six deaths. As a precaution, close to 2,800 people are receiving hospital care.