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March Madness: NCAA Tournaments canceled because of coronavirus

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first_img Associated Press Written by March 12, 2020 /Coronavirus (COVID-19) related news and sports stories, Sports News – Local March Madness: NCAA Tournaments canceled because of coronavirus Tags: March Madness/NCAA FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailINDIANAPOLIS (AP)-The NCAA canceled its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments on Thursday because of the spread of coronavirus, putting an abrupt end to the season less than a month before champions were to be crowned.The unprecedented move comes a day after the NCAA announced the games that were scheduled to start next week would go on, but played in mostly empty arenas. That plan was scrapped as every major American sports league from the NBA to MLB put the brakes on its season due to concerns about the pandemic.“This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to the spread of the pandemic and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during the academic year given the ongoing decisions by other entities,” the NCAA said in statement.The NCAA canceled all of its spring championships in every sport, which include hockey, baseball and lacrosse.For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the virus.The NCAA men’s basketball tournament has been played every year since 1939 when Oregon won the championship in Evanston, Illinois. It has grown through the years, both in size and stature. The three-week tournament generates almost a billion dollars in revenue each year for the NCAA and its hundreds of member universities and colleges, most coming from a television contract with CBS and Turner that pays the NCAA almost $800 million per year.It is now one of the biggest events in American sports, a basketball marathon of buzzer-beaters, upset and thrills involving 68 teams. The field for the men’s tournament was scheduled to be announced Sunday. The 64-team women’s field was to be revealed Monday. The NCAA women’s tournament began in 1982 and it, too, has become a big event, raising the profile of the sport.“I’m disappointed but I totally understand. I really feel for the senior student-athletes; every student athlete, but particularly the seniors because this is their last chance for the fans,” said Oregon women’s coach Kelly Graves, whose team would have entered the tournament as favorites to reach the Final Four in New Orleans. “There’s something more important than the games going on. I’ve kind of come to grips to that a little more than a few hours ago.”Games would have started on the men’s side on Tuesday in Dayton, Ohio, before spreading out to eight sites from coast-to-coast from next Thursday through Sunday. The women’s tournament was scheduled to begin March 20, with first- and second-round games to be played at 16 sites on or near the campuses of the top teams.The men’s Final Four was to be played April 4 and 6 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The semifinals and final typically pack football stadiums for the games, and after the champion is crowned the best moments of the year’s tournament are wrapped up into the “One Shining Moment” montage that has become a staple of CBS’ television coverage through the years.Instead, March Madness took on a different meaning as sports have virtually shut down.last_img read more

Getting Angry in Egypt

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first_imgNestled on the Red Sea coast against the stunning backdrop of the Sinai mountain range, Sharm El Sheikh is heralded as the jewel of the Egyptian tourist industry. Boasting the simplicity of year-round sun, sea and sand, this sprawl of luxury four and five-star hotels is one of the most developed and accessible resorts on the Sinai peninsula. Arriving in Sharm, you’ll fly over the white-washed little town and will begin to comprehend the sheer scale of a few of the resorts below, some set in thousands of square metres of lush gardens and winding swimming pools. Concerning cash, most places will happily accept any combination of Egyptian pounds, US dollars, euros and pounds sterling. A less convenient trait you will experience is that almost everything must be paid for. Having retrieved a luggage trolley from the stack, a sharp request was issued by the men guarding over them: “One English pound, my friend.” Upon leaving, at check in you will encounter a similar experience, with men standing by every desk lifting your bag a mighty forty centimetres onto the conveyor, and then demanding compensation for their Herculean effort. Accommodation ranges from small, intimate hotels with modern designs to the larger hotel complexes belonging to international chains. If it is the latter, your first day may well be spent exploring the vast grounds. Our accommodation, the four star Sonesta Beach Resort, boasted a luxuriant green environment set against two-storey whitewashed buildings, a private beach, rooftop café, mini shopping arcade and snack bars by most poolsides – though I never did discover all seven swimming pools on offer. Buffet lunch and dinner offer a good range of food to cater for all tastes, and cost as little as £6. The hotel staff are all very helpful, and security is excellent, with guards posted around the clock at every entrance. It is worth pointing out at this point that security generally is very good, with the Egyptian authorities working hard to protect their tourist bubble. The whole region surrounding Sharm is kept under strict border controls, and the fact that Coalition leaders met here at the height of the Iraq War should provide significant reassurance. Crime is thus generally low. Also, regarding dress codes, there are no strict rules in place, for Sharm is essentially a Western resort, but it is always best to be aware that you are in a Muslim country. During the day you will doubtless just want to laze by the beach, but there are some excellent activities on offer. Golf courses, a vast array of water sports, quad biking across the desert, horse and camel riding, desert safaris and scuba diving or snorkelling on the beautiful coral reefs are all available. A package I would highly recommend is a daytime trip the to Raas Mohammed national park, incorporating several stops at points of interest and snorkelling on the beautiful coral reef at two locations. It also includes an overnight ascent of Mount Sinai to watch the sunrise over the mountains, a breathtaking experience well worth the three-hour walk up. If you’re not quite up to the hike, there are camels for hire most of the way up or down, although I would certainly recommend only up for men; down can prove an extremely painful and potency-reducing experience as you’re thrown forward against the hard front of the saddle with every step. An ancient Greek monastery (still in use) lies at the foot of the Mount and is definitely worth visiting. With our particular tour group, this all came to just over £50. At night, sunset quad bike excursions and ‘Bedouin nights’ in the desert are on offer. But the latter was far from the authentic experience, hosted in a modern purpose built arena amongst the mountains, and along with the array of casinos, bars and nightclubs available in the town, it demonstrates what to me is wrong with Sharm. The vast majority of restaurants are Italian, Mexican or burger bars and don’t serve local foods; amidst the neon blare of McDonalds and KFC in the centre of town, lies that most western of institutions, the gigantic guitar of a Hard Rock Café. This sat uneasily with me throughout our time there, and was further offset by the extravagant opulence of many of the hotels when held against the knowledge that not many miles away lies a third world environment. Parts of Egypt often struggle for water, let alone power, yet here was a resort using unnecessarily excessive quantities of both. This is where the anger comes in: it’s hard to notice the dichotomy and remain calm. My best friend came to describe Sharm as ‘McEgypt’, which is a pretty fair summary. If you want to see Egypt, this is not the place to come. But if you want a relatively cheap holiday in a sanitised Western bubble with the occasional taste of the Middle East, then you’ll certainly enjoy Sharm El Sheikh. A less convenient trait you will experience is that almost everything must be paid for. Having retrieved a luggage trolley from the stack, a sharp request was issued by the men guarding over them: “One English pound, my friend.” Upon leaving, at check in you will encounter a similar experience, with men standing by every desk lifting your bag a mighty forty centimetres onto the conveyor, and then demanding compensation for their Herculean effort. Accommodation ranges from small, intimate hotels with modern designs to the larger hotel complexes belonging to international chains. If it is the latter, your first day may well be spent exploring the vast grounds. Our accommodation, the four star Sonesta Beach Resort, boasted a luxuriant green environment set against two-storey whitewashed buildings, a private beach, rooftop café, mini shopping arcade and snack bars by most poolsides – though I never did discover all seven swimming pools on offer. Buffet lunch and dinner offer a good range of food to cater for all tastes, and cost as little as £6. The hotel staff are all very helpful, and security is excellent, with guards posted around the clock at every entrance. It is worth pointing out at this point that security generally is very good, with the Egyptian authorities working hard to protect their tourist bubble. The whole region surrounding Sharm is kept under strict border controls, and the fact that Coalition leaders met here at the height of the Iraq War should provide significant reassurance. Crime is thus generally low. Also, regarding dress codes, there are no strict rules in place, for Sharm is essentially a Western resort, but it is always best to be aware that you are in a Muslim country. During the day you will doubtless just want to laze by the beach, but there are some excellent activities on offer. Golf courses, a vast array of water sports, quad biking across the desert, horse and camel riding, desert safaris and scuba diving or snorkelling on the beautiful coral reefs are all available. A package I would highly recommend is a daytime trip the to Raas Mohammed national park, incorporating several stops at points of interest and snorkelling on the beautiful coral reef at two locations. It also includes an overnight ascent of Mount Sinai to watch the sunrise over the mountains, a breathtaking experience well worth the three-hour walk up. If you’re not quite up to the hike, there are camels for hire most of the way up or down, although I would certainly recommend only up for men; down can prove an extremely painful and potency-reducing experience as you’re thrown forward against the hard front of the saddle with every step. An ancient Greek monastery (still in use) lies at the foot of the Mount and is definitely worth visiting. With our particular tour group, this all came to just over £50. At night, sunset quad bike excursions and ‘Bedouin nights’ in the desert are on offer. But the latter was far from the authentic experience, hosted in a modern purpose built arena amongst the mountains, and along with the array of casinos, bars and nightclubs available in the town, it demonstrates what to me is wrong with Sharm. The vast majority of restaurants are Italian, Mexican or burger bars and don’t serve local foods; amidst the neon blare of McDonalds and KFC in the centre of town, lies that most western of institutions, the gigantic guitar of a Hard Rock Café. This sat uneasily with me throughout our time there, and was further offset by the extravagant opulence of many of the hotels when held against the knowledge that not many miles away lies a third world environment. Parts of Egypt often struggle for water, let alone power, yet here was a resort using unnecessarily excessive quantities of both. This is where the anger comes in: it’s hard to notice the dichotomy and remain calm. My best friend came to describe Sharm as ‘McEgypt’, which is a pretty fair summary. If you want to see Egypt, this is not the place to come. But if you want a relatively cheap holiday in a sanitised Western bubble with the occasional taste of the Middle East, then you’ll certainly enjoy Sharm El Sheikh.ARCHIVE: 0th week TT 2004last_img read more

Grocery sales figures rebound after historic low

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first_imgGrocery market growth has bounced back to 2.8% in the 12 weeks to 22 June after a historic low of 1.7% last period.The figures from Kantar Worldpanel also revealed the lowest level of grocery inflation since October 2006, at 0.8%.Fraser McKevitt, consumer insight consultant at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “The low grocery price inflation this period will be welcome news for household budgets. The outlook is positive as we predict continuing sub-1% levels into the near future, providing some relief for cash-strapped consumers.Despite a fall in shares and sales, Tesco still leads the supermarket battle, with a 28.9% share of market- followed by Asda (17.1%), Sainsbury’s (16.7%) and Morrisons (10.9%).McKevitt added: “There are mixed fortunes for the big four, with Tesco and Morrisons registering falls in both share and sales. By contrast, both Asda and Sainsbury’s have increased share, beating the market average with growth rates of 3.6% and 3% respectively.”It has also been a good period for Aldi and Lidl, which are holding their all-time record shares reached last period of 4.7% and 3.6% correspondingly. McKevitt said: “Both retailers have recently announced impressive expansion plans. Aldi will aim to double its store numbers to 1,000 by 2021, while Lidl is seeking to boost its presence with an eventual total of 1,500 outlets.”last_img read more

Mike Gordon Digs Further Down At Night 2 In Cambridge

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first_imgOn Friday night, Mike Gordon returned to The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA for the second show of his four-night tour-closing run.After getting started with “Destiny Unbound”, Gordon and his band—comprised of guitarist Scott Murawski, keyboardist/organist Robert Walter, drummer John Kimock, and percussionist Craig Myers—moved into “Pendulum”, off of Gordon’s 2017 OGOGO release. The quintet moved forward with a rocking cover of Max Creek‘s “Jones”, which smoothly segued into “Ether”, a dreamy number off of Gordon’s 2014 Overstep release. With Mike laying down some colossal bass bombs, the band dove into the second OGOGO tune of the night, “Marissa”, followed by a full-throttle take on “Normal Phoebe”.  The set-closing “Normal Phoebe” ignited an all out dance party in the shoulder-to-shoulder sold-out Cambridge club.Following a brief setbreak, Mike Gordon and his bandmates returned to open their second set with a rowdy take on “Let’s Go”, as the amped up crowd sung along. Gordon and company moved forward with “Cruel World”, the second Max Creek cover of the evening, with guitar maestro Scott Murawski putting on a show through a series of explosive solos. Kimock and Myers locked into a tight groove on “Up and Down”, followed by an exploratory “555”. Debuted last week at Gordon’s Jersey City show, the quintet dove into an interesting and unique cover of “When Your Mind’s Made Up”, a tune from the 2007 film and 2011 musical, Once. The tour debut of “Check Your Pepper” came next, followed by a set-closing segue of “Steps” into “Dig Further Down”. When the band reemerged for their encore, Murawski stepped up to take the vocal lead on an electric cover of Talking Head‘s “Cities”.Mike Gordon’s solo tour continues tonight, Saturday, March 23rd, at The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA. For a full list of Mike Gordon’s upcoming tour dates, head here.Setlist: Mike Gordon | The Sinclair | Cambridge, MA | 3/22/2019Set One: Destiny Unbound, Pendulum, Jones > Ether, Marissa > Normal PhoebeSet Two: Let’s Go, Cruel World, Up And Down, 555 -> When Your Mind’s Made Up, Check Your Pepper, Steps > Dig Further DownEncore: Citieslast_img read more

Film as a force

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first_imgOn Sunday, millions of viewers will tune in to the Academy Awards for a chance to see their favorite stars in designer dresses and to learn who will take home the movie industry’s highest honor, gold-plated, 13-and-a-half-inch statuettes fondly known as Oscars.Three anxious documentarians in the audience who hope to hear their names called have deep roots in a longstanding Harvard program. Joshua Oppenheimer ’96, Jehane Noujaim ’96, and Rick Rowley all honed their early filmmaking skills while undergraduates at the University’s Department of Visual and Environmental Studies (VES), a multidisciplinary program committed, its website says, “to an integrated study of artistic practice, visual culture, and the critical study of the image.”The young directors are nominees for best documentary feature, each for work about serious international concerns: Noujaim for “The Square,” which charts the ongoing Egyptian revolution; Rick Rowley for “Dirty Wars,” which uncovers covert military action by the United States; and Oppenheimer for “The Act of Killing,” about the mass killings in Indonesia in the 1960s.(Also holding her breath in the audience on Sunday will be VES alumna Lauren MacMullan ’86, director of “Get a Horse!” which is nominated for an Academy Award in the best animated short film category.)On a recent afternoon, Robb Moss, VES chair and professor of visual and environmental studies, sat in his office, itself a work of art with an imposing concrete column cutting through its center, along with a floor-to-ceiling window. The office and the rest of VES is housed in the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, which was designed by famed Swiss–born architect Le Corbusier.Robb Moss, VES chair and professor of visual and environmental studies at Harvard, is credited with being an influential mentor to past and current students. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff PhotographerMoss, credited by many current and past students as an enormously influential mentor, talked about the three documentary filmmakers, including their time at Harvard and their current success.Rowley, noted Moss, “had a strong sense of and deep engagement with politics, and he understood more than anybody I have ever met that his political sensibility and his desire to make films were twinned and were meant to talk to each other, and talk to the world.”For Noujaim, it was photography that pulled her into filmmaking, said Moss. She started out working with still photos under the tutelage of Chris Killip, professor of visual and environmental studies. “She had this way of seeing the world and engaging it that I think really started with photography.”Moss also remembered Noujaim’s gift for collaboration, her ability to connect with people, and her “fantastic sense of what a good documentary story might be. … People trust her, and she doesn’t betray their trust, yet she makes a strong film. She has a real curiosity of what the world is like. She wants to know who you are as a person. She has this interest and sense of empathy.”As an undergraduate, Oppenheimer had a “wildly imaginative” side that shone through, Moss recalled. “It’s just this very complex view of the world, and that complex view of the world combined with his fantastically imaginative way of representing things, and a fearlessness of image making. All of those things, which are so apparent in ‘The Act of Killing,’ were apparent when he was an undergraduate.”In addition to their individual skills and talents, Moss said the trio shares a trait critical for anyone hoping to succeed in a competitive industry: a capacity to meet setbacks with tenacity, indeed with “an inability to finish a project until it’s done.”“It’s very tempting to step out of a project. You are exhausted. You are broke. You’ve exhausted your ideas. You don’t think the film is as good as you think it should be, but you don’t know where it should go,” said Moss. “Then there are people who say it’s not done and I’m not going to finish it until it is done. I think that’s true for the three of them.”As an undergraduate at Harvard, Joshua Oppenheimer was described by Moss as “wildly imaginative.” Photo by Daniel BergeronMoss pointed to Noujaim’s work with “The Square” as an example of that tireless drive to get it right. While she was en route to the 2013 Sundance Film Festival —where her film eventually won the audience award in the world cinema documentary category — a new wave of riots erupted in Cairo as protesters demanded that Egypt’s recently elected president Mohammed Morsi step down. Noujaim and her production team returned to Egypt, filmed the protests, and reedited the film with the fresh material.“She stayed with it,” said Moss, “and the story became far more complex.”Oppenheimer recalled his formative years at Harvard, saying Moss and other VES faculty “really pushed us to explore what filmmaking can be, ought to be, might be. And for me that meant exploring the boundaries between documentary and fiction.”“The Act of Killing,” which captures former leaders of Indonesian death squads- reenacting their horrific crimes, starts off as a type of documentary, but ends “in a place of, really, fever dream.”While Moss has received much media attention recently because of his connection to the three filmmakers, both he and his former students note the strength of the program itself, and point to other faculty who have served as influential mentors.In addition to crediting Moss, Oppenheimer lauded filmmaker and former VES professor Dusan Makavejev, and singled out Osgood Hooker Professor of Visual Arts Alfred Guzzetti for his patience, gentleness, and his willingness to “say the most cutting and important things that needed to be said.”Many of those cutting words were aimed at cinematic cliché.“I have an allergy to cliché that I think I learned from Alfred,” said Oppenheimer. “Anyone who sees ‘The Act of Killing,’ and even my next film that deals with survivors of the Indonesian genocide but hasn’t come out yet, [will see] there is a way in which my work, if it resists anything, it resists sentimentality.”“Josh was unforgettable,” recalled Guzzetti. “He loved provocation of every kind.”When screening his film last fall at the Harvard Film Archive, Oppenheimer, who lives in Copenhagen, Denmark, sat in on one of Moss’s classes and was reminded of another critical lesson he learned at VES.Moss told the students, recalled Oppenheimer, that “the best editing strategy is one which allows your strongest material to be used in the best possible way … editing is not about telling the story you think your material is going to tell, it’s about excavating the material and finding where it really sings and letting it sing its song.”That type of approach, said Oppenheimer, “is fundamental to what I think filmmaking is.”Founded in the 1960s, VES has had a strong tradition in documentary filmmaking that has been made even stronger by its ongoing connection with the Film Study Center. Created in 1957 by the groundbreaking ethnographic filmmaker Robert Gardner ’47, the center is the visual arm of Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Today, students interested in documentary film can choose from a wide range of VES offerings, many presented in tandem with the center, including seminars that explore both the history and theory of non-fiction film, as well as hands-on courses that teach how to build a documentary film or video from the ground up.Guzzetti underlined other strengths of the documentary program, pointing out that the faculty not only includes well-known filmmakers, but also taps into Boston’s powerful documentary filmmaking community. “All of those pieces of the puzzle support us in our efforts,” said Guzzetti.Photographer and filmmaker Lauren Greenfield is another VES alumna whose work has received critical acclaim. She won the 2012 Sundance Film Festival’s directing award for her documentary “The Queen of Versailles,” which charts a couple’s plans to build a 90,000-square-foot palace in Florida based on the Versailles palace in France.For help with the film, Greenfield turned to Moss, reconnecting with her former teacher during one of the Sundance Institute’s film labs, a series of intensive workshops for emerging filmmakers. She called him regularly during the final stages of production seeking feedback and advice. “He was always so generous and insightful with his comments,” said Greenfield. “It’s just really special to have that ongoing relationship with a teacher.”In comparing the VES program to more traditional film schools, Greenfield said Harvard offers students something beyond the art and craft of filmmaking.“They never taught you a style; they never gave you an assignment that was not open ended. … At Harvard, it’s more about taking the medium and figuring out your voice with it. If you look at ‘The Act of Killing’ and ‘The Square’ and ‘Dirty Wars,’ they are all completely different.”Moss brings his own passion as a filmmaker to the job. He fell in love with movies while in college. Seeing someone else’s reflection of the world on the big screen, he said, helped him to understand how critical historic developments like the Vietnam War unfolded in real time. After college, work in West Africa and later in the United States as a river rafting guide helped to inspire him toward a career in film.“All those experiences were very intense, very on the ground, very unmediated … just very experiential and in your face. In a way, that’s a description of documentary filmmaking.”“Documentary filmmaking seemed a way to go forward and recoup experience at the same time,” he added. “It seemed to me possible that the act of making a documentary film was like going into the world and having it run roughshod over you, and I wanted that.” Moss’s acclaimed films include the documentary “Secrecy” co-directed by Harvard’s Joseph Pellegrino University Professor Peter Galison.Moss attended an MIT program for filmmaking and started teaching at Harvard in the mid-80s. The job was only supposed to last for a year. But Moss, who found he “had a kind of feeling for teaching,” never left. He teaches nonfiction film classes and cherishes the act of teaching film in an intimate classroom setting.“When the door shuts in the classroom, I am really happy. It’s this incredible opportunity to think deeply with the students about filmmaking, this thing that I really love.”Like the three Harvard alumni, Moss will anxiously be watching the awards, albeit from home, and likely less formally attired.“It’s going to make me nervous. I am going to be nervous for them. Then I will look to the cuts in the audience, and I will see them for the first time dressed up in a way I’ve never seen them before.”“It’s wonderful to see them getting acknowledged in this way,” added Moss, “but my connection to them and to the work is not through this kind of recognition. Although that’s great, it’s that the work itself is strong and deserving of recognition. To me, it doesn’t matter whether they win or lose. Or, to put in another way, I hope they all win.”last_img read more

Potential diabetes treatment advances

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first_imgResearchers at MIT’s David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, in collaboration with scientists at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) and several other institutions, have developed an implantable device that in mice shielded insulin-producing beta cells from immune system attack for six months — a substantial proportion of life span.This bioengineering work by professors Daniel G. Anderson and Robert S. Langer brings the promise of a possible cure for type 1 diabetes within striking distance of phase 1 clinical trials, providing a way to implant in diabetics insulin-producing beta cells developed from stem cells in the laboratory of HSCI co-director Doug Melton.“This report is an important step forward, in an animal model, because it shows that there may be a way to overcome one of the major hurdles that have stood in the way of a cure for type 1 diabetes,” said Melton, Harvard’s Xander University Professor and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. “Now, thanks to the outstanding work of Dan Anderson and Bob Langer at MIT, Gordon Weir at the Joslin Diabetes Center and HSCI, and Dale Greiner at the University of Massachusetts, and our other essential collaborators, we have stem cell-derived beta cells that can provide insulin in a device that appears capable of protecting them from immune attack.”The work was published online Monday in papers in two journals, Nature Medicine and Nature Biotechnology. Anderson said that he and his colleagues report in the latter paper that when implanted without cells in primates, the new device proved to be “biocompatible for six or eight months, without provoking an inflammatory response” or any other ill effect.“We are excited by this new technology and are working hard to advance it to the clinic,” said Anderson, the Samuel A. Goldblith Professor of Applied Biology at MIT. “These papers represent seven or eight years of work” at MIT, he said, adding that “we started working with Doug a few years ago when he began producing beta cells from human embryonic stem cells (hESC).”“We are excited by this new technology and are working hard to advance it to the clinic,” said Daniel Anderson, the Samuel A. Goldblith Professor of Applied Biology at MIT.The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which along with The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust supported the MIT research, estimates that up to 3 million Americans suffer from type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease in which the immune system kills off the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Daily injections of insulin are the primary treatment, but are only partially successful in regulating patients’ metabolism.When beta cells are functioning normally, they are part of an exquisitely fine-tuned system, providing precisely the amount of insulin the body needs. Injections cannot come close to mimicking the body’s own insulin-production system, however, and as a result patients can develop complications ranging from blindness to heart disease to loss of limbs. Type 1 diabetes causes or contributes to hundreds of thousands of deaths annually.It is believed that if implanted beta cells could be shielded from immune attack, and would respond to the body’s own signals for insulin, they would be likely to eliminate most, or even all, the complications of the disease, and would, in effect, serve as a cure.Some patients with type 2 diabetes, which has reached epidemic proportions in the United States and around the globe, also become insulin dependent, and might benefit from the implantation of stem cell-derived beta cells.last_img read more

Dry, Cool Weekend Ahead; Back To Spring Next Week With Highs In The 40s

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first_imgJAMESTOWN – High pressure has built back into the region once again leading to a good supply of sunshine this weekend. We stay cool however before warming back up again next week with some precipitation chances.Through the day today, clouds will be slow to part but once they do, the area will see a nice dose of sunshine this afternoon. However with a northerly wind aloft, that will keep us much cooler. Highs today will range 28 on the highest hills to 35 along the lower elevations.With a clearing sky tonight and a light wind, most people will likely dip quite a bit in the temperature department by tomorrow morning. Lows 14 valleys, 21 lakeshore.We will start to take on a more southernly wind flow on Sunday and with the aid of plentiful sunshine, we should be back into the mid 40’s once again. A developing coastal storm early next week will bring the chance for rain and wet snow showers Sunday night through the day on Monday with highs in the lower to mid 40’s.Earlier we had hinted at the potential for maybe some sleet or freezing rain with this feature on Monday but the new computer model guidance is keeping that line to our south. We should transition to plain rain showers for a period later in the day on Monday before coming to an end late Monday night.An area of weak high pressure temporally moves in for Tuesday before the high is scooted on out by waves of short troughs though much of the week.Much of the precipitation for Tuesday and Wednesday will be dependent on the track of a developing storm system. There currently remains some disagreements with the prime global models on this storm so we’ll have more details once we get the better quality data.WNYNewsNow is a proud Ambassador for the NOAA Weather-Ready Nation program.Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Paradise Found: Scenic Swimming Holes of the Blue Ridge

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first_imgNot all swimming holes are created equal. You can beat the heat in just about any stream in the Southern Appalachians, but there are a handful of pools in our backyard that offer a refreshing dip in style. Deep, clear water, big falls, lush backdrop…finding the right swimming hole can feel a bit like finding paradise. So we scoured the mountains looking for the most awe-inspiring natural pools, the kinds of swimming holes that make you want to live-tweet pictures while you cannonball into the crystal clear blue water. Behold, seven of the most beautiful swimming holes in the Southern Appalachians.1. Paradise FallsWolf Creek, N.C.Tucked into a tight gorge in Nantahala National Forest, this swimming hole is more than just a pretty waterfall. It’s a mini slot canyon adventure. The waterfall itself is usually just a trickle thanks to the dam upstream, but don’t fret. What makes Paradise Falls so dreamy is the tight slot canyon that surrounds the waterfall. Swim across the clear pool to the entrance of the canyon, then climb a rope up the slick rock to the second level of rock, where the river drops between sheer, gray rock walls. The whole scene is like nothing else in North Carolina.Logistics: There’s a parking lot at Wolf Creek Lake off NC 281, a quarter-mile from the roadside trailhead. The user-created trail is steep, dropping into and climbing out of a separate gorge before delivering you to the bottom of Paradise Falls. Use extra caution when swimming below or around the falls and don’t go after a heavy rain. The dam at Wolf Creek Lake, above the falls, is often released to keep water levels balanced.Adventure Nearby: Standup paddle on the tiny, but gorgeous Wolf Creek Lake. Or rock hop downstream looking for more plunge pools and mini canyons on Wolf Creek.2. Brush Creek FallsBrush Creek, W.Va.Brush Creek Falls proves size doesn’t always matter. This waterfall is only 25 feet high, but it spans the entire length of the river, tumbling over a broad sandstone ledge. At normal water levels, the river cruises over the cliff in a series of smaller, lazy cascades giving the effect of multiple waterfalls at one site—think of a tropical grotto, but surrounded by a dense hardwood forest. You’ll find nooks at the base of the falls where you can scramble behind the water. Locals will occasionally jump from the top of the falls. As always, use caution; there have been serious injuries at Brush Creek in recent years.Logistics: The falls sits inside a tangle of public and privately preserved land that includes the massive Pipestem Resort State Park. The easiest access is through the Nature Conservancy-owned Brush Creek Nature Preserve, which protects a small pocket of land where Brush Creek and the Bluestone River meet. Hit the preserve and head upstream to the falls.Adventure Nearby: Hike the Bluestone River Gorge to rocky outcroppings with a view on the Canyon Rim Trail at Pipestem Resort State Park.  3. Cascade FallsLittle Stony Creek, Va.You’re going to share this 69-foot waterfall near tiny Pembroke, Va. (and not so tiny Blacksburg), but the scene is so stunning, you might not notice the crowd. Little Stony Creek takes a vertical drop over an upper cliff, then shatters into different streams as it cascades over steps of layered rock on its way to a deep, cold pool. The entire scene is flanked by 200-foot rock faces on either side. The Cascades National Scenic Trail follows the river upstream before forking into the Upper and Lower Trails. Both end up at the same spot below the waterfall. The whole lollipop loop is four miles. If you’re looking for a bit more solitude, continue to hike upstream for half a mile to Upper Cascade Falls. It’s not as dramatic, but not as crowded either.Logistics: Pick up the trail inside the Cascade Falls Recreation Area on Cascade Drive in Pembroke, Va.Nearby Adventure: The New River offers some of the finest smallmouth bass fishing in the South. Check out the Cliffs of Eggleston section of the New near Pembroke.4. Yellowstone FallsYellowstone Prong, North CarolinaYellowstone Prong has it all: scenery, wild trout, gin-clear water, and the crowds to prove it. Three waterfalls on Yellowstone are accessible from the popular Graveyard Fields recreation area off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Second Falls gets most of the attention, and rightfully so: it’s gorgeous and makes a great weekday dip when crowds are scarce. But head farther downstream to the much tougher to reach Yellowstone Falls, which isn’t even listed on the map at the Graveyard Fields parking lot. Sketchy, steep “paths” lead to the top of the falls and base of the falls. Both trails require scrambling, sliding, and a bit of praying. Before you reach the top of the falls, you’ll find deep and wide potholes that offer primo swimming opportunities. Yellowstone Prong cuts through a broad mountain valley that’s nearly a mile high in elevation and loses elevation in three dramatic drops. You’re surrounded by a skinny stone gorge thick with colorful “striped” granite. Even though Graveyard Fields is popular, the rock hopping and bushwhacking necessary to get to Yellowstone Falls keep the crowds down.Logistics: Park at Graveyard Fields at mile marker 418.8 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Follow the trail to Second Falls, then ditch the crowds and head downstream.Nearby Adventure: Run the Art Loeb Trail across Black Balsam, a 6,000-foot-high bald, not far from Yellowstone Prong, to the edge of Shining Rock Wilderness.5. Laurel Fork FallsLake Jocassee, S.C.You’re gonna need a bigger boat. Well, you’re just gonna need a boat. Laurel Creek drops 80 feet, twisting and turning over massive cliffs into a corner of Lake Jocassee, carving a narrow gorge out of the bedrock on its way down. The waterfall is gorgeous, but it’s the setting and the remote nature of the swimming hole that provide the wow factor here. You’ve got a deep hole for swimming and rocks to climb. The lower half of the falls is surrounded by a rocky grotto peppered with lush green foliage and vibrant moss. Discovering it from the belly of a kayak after a half-day paddle is indescribable. Whether you reach the falls by boat or by boot, there’s an excellent campsite at the top of the waterfall next to Laurel Fork Creek, making this a killer overnight option.Logistics: Pick up the Foothills Trail at US 178 and hike 8.5 miles before reaching the top of the falls. Then it’s a sketchy scramble down the side of the gorge to the lake and bottom of the falls. The other option is to launch a kayak from Devils Fork State Park and paddle northeast across the lake into the Toxaway arm of Jocassee.Nearby Adventure: The Foothills Trail cruises along the northwestern edge of Lake Jocassee running along the base of the Blue Ridge Escarpment for 77 miles, offering some of the finest backcountry hiking in the South.6. Cane Creek FallsFall Creek Falls State Park, Tenn.Fall Creek Falls may have top billing at this state park north of Chattanooga, but Cane Creek Falls has its own sense of grandeur. On the eastern edge of the park, Cane Creek drops 85 feet in a single plunge into a broad, rocky pool the size of a football field that’s surrounded by a massive rock amphitheater. Not cool enough? How about the second waterfall, Rockhouse Falls, which drops into the same pool to the left of Cane Creek. Two creeks, two waterfalls, one awesome swimming hole. The swimming at the base of the falls is surreal, and there’s plenty of opportunity for exploring the real estate behind each waterfall.Logistics: Find the park off Hwy 111 north of Chattanooga. Hike the easy Paw Paw Trail to the ridiculously steep and dangerous Cable Trail (you’re gonna want to use the cable), which drops you to the base of Cane Creek Falls.Nearby Adventure: The state park has six major waterfalls and 20,000 acres of hiking. You can knock them all out in about 10 miles of hiking.7. South River FallsShenandoah National Park, Va.At 83 feet, South River isn’t the tallest waterfall in the park (technically, it’s the third tallest), but it’s certainly one of the most stunning. The river enters a gorge laden with juggy, gray cliffs via a single narrow chute. Halfway down its vertical plunge, the falls hits a rock ledge and splits into two waterfalls as it makes its way into the pool below. Don’t expect an Olympic-sized swimming pool at the bottom of the falls. This is more like a soaking tub. Try to hit it after a good rain for the biggest impact.Logistics: In the central district of the park, follow Skyline Drive to milepost 62.8 and pick up the South River Trail at the South River Picnic Area. Make a 3.3-mile loop by combining the SRT and the South River Fire Road and A.T.Adventure Nearby: You’re in Shenandoah National Park, so there’s plenty of hiking. For something a little different, tackle the Bearfence Rock Scramble, a 1.2-mile hike/climb that leads to a 360-degree view.last_img read more

Epileptic Thru-Hiker

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first_imgIn the spring of 2014, 28-year-old Alex Newlon headed for Springer Mountain determined to complete a northbound thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. A lifelong hiker, Newlon appeared the portrait of health—tall, muscular, young, always laughing and smiling. However, compared to his thru-hiking comrades, he was starting at a deficit: Newlon had epilepsy.“I suffer from grand mal seizures, where you lose consciousness and fall to the floor while all of your muscles contract, causing you to shake and jerk uncontrollably,” says Newlon.Despite taking preventative medication and going almost two years without suffering an incident, in attempting to thru-hike the AT, he was risking his life. Dehydration, sleep deprivation, heat exhaustion, and strenuous activity were prominent triggers for seizures.Newlon had been dreaming about an A.T. thru-hike since his days as a teenage Boy Scout. Sick of being identified by a condition he’d inherited through the hereditary dice-roll, Newlon set out to claim his life as his own.“Sure, I could have a seizure anytime, anywhere, my life is always on the line, no matter what. But I couldn’t let something totally random keep me from pursuing my dreams. I wasn’t going to let epilepsy control and limit my life.”From Georgia to the border of New York, Newlon did just that. Then, with over two-thirds of the trail finished, he was struck by a seizure.“Luckily, I was on my way down to a road crossing where the trail flattens out and is less rocky. While I suffered a few scratches and bruises, it could have been much worse. Still, it left me feeling incredibly weak and disoriented. It took all of my strength to hike that last half-mile down to the road.”Newlon had to end his thru-hike in late 2014.That’s where the story could have ended. But not for Newlon. The next year, after working long hours, saving every penny he could, and launching a successful crowd-sourcing campaign, he set out again from Springer Mountain, confident that, this time, he’d reach Katahdin.“A lot of people didn’t get why I’d want to start from the beginning,” says Newlon. “But I knew if I didn’t do it that way, the itch to thru-hike the trail in its entirety would never leave me alone. I had to do the whole thing in one shot. Otherwise, it wouldn’t feel quite real.”Newlon summited Katahdin this past September. Reflecting on his journeys, he says they were well worth it.“I think epileptics are told much more often about what we can’t do instead of what we can,” he says. “I wanted to inspire others with epilepsy and show them that we are strong. I wanted to prove that we’re capable of doing anything in this life, no matter how difficult or strenuous our dreams may be.”last_img read more

Man Sentenced for Franklin Square Murder

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first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A Queens man was sentenced Monday to 22 years to life in prison for killing a fellow taxi cab driver in Franklin Square following an argument over a disputed fare two years ago.Christopher Heron had been convicted in October at Nassau County court of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon.Prosecutors said the 37-year-old Springfield Gardens man stabbed the victim, William Mena, 33, of Queens, three times in the chest and abdomen just after midnight on Aug. 12, 2011.Heron and the victim were both cab drivers for Ollie’s Taxi. Heron had accused the victim of stealing a fare that had been assigned to him.Mena was pronounced dead at the scene. Heron turned himself after initially fleeing the scene.The slaying was captured on a nearby residential surveillance camera.last_img read more

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