Harvard establishes research alliance with Tata companies

first_imgHarvard University has established a six-year, $8.4 million research alliance with a group of Tata companies including Tata Sons, Tata Communications, Tata Steel, and Jaguar Land Rover. Building on close connections between Harvard’s engineering and business Schools, the first-of-its-kind initiative adds a new leadership-development component to the University’s research partnerships.Under an agreement coordinated by Harvard’s Office of Technology Development (OTD), the collaboration will support cutting-edge research in labs across the University, while also providing professional development programs to visiting technology business leaders. The unique combination of research funding and executive education is designed to help position Harvard’s research innovations to bring the greatest benefit to the public worldwide.“This initiative will harness the power of research that crosses traditional academic boundaries, leading to more rapid discovery and the development of new products and services that address real-world problems,” said Harvard Provost Alan M. Garber.To accelerate the development of novel technologies and create a future generation of entrepreneurial leaders, the agreement establishes a Tata Fellowship Program at Harvard Business School (HBS). For each research project funded under the alliance, an experienced Tata employee will have the opportunity to spend up to a year in residency at Harvard in the HBS Executive Education Program. Nominated by the Tata senior leadership and subject to Executive Education admissions standards, Tata Fellows will benefit from the insight and guidance of an assigned HBS faculty mentor and gain the educational foundation to foster “intrapreneurship” within the Tata companies. They will also each collaborate with a Harvard research team to develop a commercialization plan for technologies that may arise from the funded projects.“Harvard has highly productive strategic alliances with several industry partners that support research on campus, in disciplines such as biomedical science, materials science, and chemistry. This initiative brings a new dimension that will include new links with Harvard Business School,” Garber said. “With its strengths in both science and business, Harvard is well positioned to succeed with this creative and integrated program.”The initial focus of the research alliance will be on robotics, wearable technologies, and the “Internet of things” (IoT), tapping into recent strides in the field of advanced materials. Over time, the scope could broaden to encompass new research areas of mutual interest. The arrangement with Tata is expected to stimulate a global exchange of ideas.“Non-U.S. executives account for close to two-thirds of the senior business leaders in our open-enrollment programs held in our classrooms in Boston, Shanghai, and Mumbai,” said Das Narayandas, senior associate dean for HBS external relations and publishing and Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration. “Harvard Business School faculty routinely develop and lead custom programs for marquee global clients around the world, introducing business leaders to the newest innovations and research in the areas of strategic thinking, change management, and leadership, among others.”Gopichand Katragadda, group chief technology officer for Tata Sons, said, “We are excited about forming this research collaboration between Tata and Harvard that will uniquely encompass engineering, management, and other disciplines to produce market outcomes. The Tata Group companies have pioneered products and services in diverse areas, including materials, automotive, telecommunications, and information technology. The Tata Fellows will bring deep market understanding in these areas for successful deployment of the advanced research at Harvard.”The funded projects, which have yet to be selected, will advance scientific research in labs across the University, including at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard Medical School, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. A joint steering committee will guide the overall direction of the research alliance and approve funding for the proposed projects.“In many ways this exciting alliance foreshadows the type of close interactions we anticipate between HBS, Harvard Paulson School, and our corporate partners as the much-anticipated Science and Engineering Complex and the enterprise research campus take shape in Allston,” said Isaac T. Kohlberg, Harvard’s senior associate provost and chief technology development officer. “We’re glad to be expanding Harvard’s range of corporate partnerships and eager to welcome the Tata Fellows into the thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem of Cambridge and Boston.”last_img read more

Clever crows

first_img A study of YouTube star Snowball the cockatoo suggests humans may not be the only ones who can groove to a beat Study suggests they both understood the phenomenon and had uses for it It’s no secret crows are smart. They’re notorious for frustrating attempts to keep them from tearing into garbage cans; more telling, however, is that they are one of the few animals known to make tools.But would you believe doing it actually makes them happy?That’s the finding of a recent paper, co-authored by Dakota McCoy, a graduate student working in the lab of David Haig, George Putnam Professor of Biology, who found that crows behaved more optimistically after using tools. The study is described in an Aug. 19 paper in Current Biology.“What this suggests is that, just the same way we enjoy something like solving a crossword, they actually enjoyed simply using a tool,” McCoy said. “I think it suggests there’s a lot more going on in that little head than we think. They get satisfaction out of doing things they’re good at, have trained for their whole lives, and that they use frequently.”While tool use in the animal kingdom is not unheard of — chimps use sticks to “fish” for termites and other animals use rocks to smash open nuts or shells — New Caledonian crows stand out for manufacturing multiple complex tools and regularly refining their designs.But how can making and using tools make an animal feel good? A clue, McCoy said, lies in looking at how complex actions make humans feel.“I think we tend to under-anthropomorphize animals, especially really intelligent animals,” she said. “It’s not that they are machines, and we are feeling beings. Clearly, animals also have emotional reactions and moods.”,And, one of those emotions is the pleasure of accomplishment.“One potential answer for why tool use evolved is because crows are used to picking up objects and caching them,” she said. “They actually love, when you’re experimenting with them, to pick up your equipment and cache it way up high where you can’t get it.”Once crows started using tools, she said, the fact that it made them feel good encouraged them to keep at it, refining and developing the behavior further.“Maybe crows are just like humans and other primates in that, when they’re doing these complicated actions, they’re reinforced not just by getting a prize out of it, but because they actually enjoy the process itself,” she said.To understand how crows felt about using tools, McCoy and colleagues devised an experiment to test how optimistic the birds were feeling.“We do have subtle ways to test mood, and the classic paradigm is a glass half filled with water,” she said. “Someone who is feeling pessimistic will interpret it as half empty, while an optimistic person will see it as half full.”For the crows, researchers conceived a similar test.In the lab, crows were trained using a small box. When placed on the left side of a table, the box always contained a large reward — three pieces of meat. On the right side, it contained just a scrap of meat, a far smaller reward.Once the crows understood the difference, researchers placed the box in the middle of the table. If the birds quickly came to investigate that ambiguous box, it suggested they were optimistic that they would find a large reward. If they waited or didn’t visit the box at all, it suggested they were more pessimistic.,To test how they felt about tool use, the crows were then put through a series of tests over a number of days — one in which they had to use a tool to extract a piece of meat from a box and another in which the meat was readily available.“But we thought that it might not be that tool use puts them in a good mood, it could be just that they had to work harder,” McCoy said. “So we [added] two more conditions. In one the meat was right on the table so there was no effort involved, and in another “effortful” condition, they had to fly around to the four corners of the room to retrieve each piece of meat.”The results, she said, showed that, following tool use, the birds were much quicker to approach the ambiguous box, and much less enthusiastic after the effortful test compared to the easy test.“They enjoyed the easy condition, that was no surprise,” McCoy said. “But the surprise was that, clearly, they don’t just like tool use because it’s difficult. We controlled for difficulty and that wasn’t what was motivating their interest — there is something specific about tool use they’re enjoying.” So you think he can dance? Brainy birds Probiotic hydrogels heal gut wounds that other treatments can’t reach The parrot knows shapes Related Mercury levels in fish are on the rise Tree in Harvard Forest outfitted with sensors, cameras, and other digital equipment sends out on-the-ground coverage The Mesoamerican attraction to magnetism The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news. A red oak live tweets climate change Could open the door to new bioactive healing strategies As water temperatures increase, so does risk of exposure to toxic methylmercury While it’s impossible to say for certain exactly what the birds were feeling, McCoy said her study is far from the first to attempt to gauge what effects animals’ moods.“Many people have done studies about what kind of mood animals are in … but the research to date has almost exclusively been on captive animals, and what kind of circumstantial changes can improve their mood,” she said. “Many people have shown that animals’ mood improves if you do something like give them a larger cage, but this study shows that animals also have a better mood if you give them complex, fun tasks to do.”McCoy, who is a student in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, said that she hopes to see the findings of the study applied to improving the lives of animals in captivity.“Our findings suggest that one way to improve the welfare of captive animals is to give them complex, species-specific enrichment where they’re using skills they have … to achieve goals instead of just receiving passive enrichment,” she said. “We’re far from a world where we don’t have animals in captivity … but they could live a much more enriching life if they’re housed socially and given fun tasks to solve.”This research was supported with funding from the Department of Defense, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship, a Theodore H. Ashford Graduate Fellowship, a Royal Society of New Zealand Rutherford Discovery Fellowship, a Prime Minister’s McDiarmid Emerging Scientist Prize, and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. Related Bird’s mastery of feat may hold insights for machine learning, study suggests Study shows parrots can pass classic test of intelligence last_img read more

How Dell EMC and VMware Bring You Closer to the Cloud with HCI

first_imgVxRack SDDC now has integration with the latest VMware Cloud Foundation 2.3 with cloud management and automation for on-premises IT-as-a-ServiceVxRack SDDC has new configurations built on VxRail hardware with Dell EMC PowerEdge 14th Generation servers for more powerful and predictable performance including support for NVIDIA GPUs to support VDI use casesVMware Validated Designs 4.2 with VxRail allows customers to build a complete software-defined data center, reduces risk, and simplifies operations and maintenance by building a validated standardized SDDC design based on VMware best practicesVxRail has continued innovation with addition of NVMe cache drives, 25 GB/s connectivity, Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors with high memory options, and NVIDIA P40 GPU processorsIn just two years, Dell EMC has had remarkable customer adoption of its HCI solutions jointly developed with VMware, helping to solidify Dell EMC as a market leader in hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), as recognized by both Gartner[2] and IDC[3].  VxRail and VxRack SDDC are the only HCI engineered systems powered by Dell EMC PowerEdge servers co-engineered and pre-tested with VMware. VxRail is the standard for rapidly and predictably transforming VMware environments powered by vSAN, and VxRack SDDC is the only rack scale HCI system architected in unison with VCF – making it the simplest way to deploy VCF.The continued market success of our world-class HCI solutions is achieved with the help of many including VMware, Intel, our partners around the globe, our Dell team, and most notably, our success is due to our customers who inspire our rapid innovation and demand our superior technology.You can read our full product announcement here.[1] The Enterprise Strategy Group, 2018, “ESG Research Insights Paper: Research Proves IT Transformation’s Persistent Link to Agility, Innovation, and Business Value”[2] Gartner Magic Quadrant for Hyperconverged Infrastructure, Analyst(s): John McArthur, George J. Weiss, Kiyomi Yamada, Hiroko Aoyama, Philip Dawson, Arun Chandrasekaran, Julia Palmer, Published: 6 February 2018[3] IDC Worldwide Quarterly Converged Systems Tracker, December 21, 2017. VxRail and VxRack SDDC clear the path to an end-to-end VMware CloudToday’s business climate is a race to disrupt or be disrupted, or more appropriately, get on the cloud or get rained on. The ESG 2018 IT Transformation Maturity Study reveals that 81 percent of customers agree that “if my IT organization does not embrace IT transformation, we will not be a competitive company.”[1] Our customers know that IT must transform in order to be seen as a strategic business enabler.As I visit a lot of our customers around the world, I have learned that HCI has become the new standard for most workloads, small and big, test dev or mission critical. No matter where you are in your transformation journey, VxRail and VxRack SDDC allow customers to reap the benefits of both a hybrid and multi-cloud environment, by simplifying and extending VMware environments with scale-out, software-defined, and cloud-enabled technologies across servers, storage, and HCI systems. Fully automated and optimized for performance, scalability, and user experience, VxRail and VxRack SDDC are designed to support multiple workloads, and serve as the on-premises platform for private cloud environments. Through infrastructure modernization, a distinct path to hybrid cloud is created. IT can then provide the business with a self-service experience and exceptional speed to delivery with automation and lifecycle management.Here are some of our latest and most exciting innovations:VxRack SDDC has the most advanced VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) engineered system with automation & serviceability extensions::Direct access to support, articles, Dell EMC Community, and eServices,Enhanced management experience with events viewable in vCenter and updates integrated into the SDDC Manager LCM and security frameworkProactive call home support and automated dispatch support for parts replacement improves SLA uptime and reducing time to resolutionlast_img read more

Plaintiffs drop lawsuit over Facebook militia posts

first_imgKENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — A federal lawsuit demanding that Facebook prevent militias and hate groups from using the site after a militia used the platform to draw armed people to anti-police brutality protests in Wisconsin is over. The lawsuit named Facebook, the Kenosha Guard militia and Kyle Rittenhouse as defendants. Rittenhouse is charged with killing two men during the August demonstrations in Kenosha. The lawsuit alleged Facebook was negligent in allowing the Kenosha Guard to put out a call for militia members to go to the city. The Kenosha News reports the plaintiffs’ attorney filed a notice of dismissal on Tuesday.last_img

SMC event raises social consciousness

first_imgSaint Mary’s community members congregated for a peaceful protest Wednesday to honor Michael Brown, the 18-year-old shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri on Aug. 9. The demonstration, themed #DontShoot, aimed to raise awareness on the racial injustice that many believe are responsible for Brown’s death.Junior Elizabeth Renner said Brown, a black man, was walking in the middle of the street when Wilson, a white officer, ordered him to move to the sidewalk. Renner said the exchange escalated and ended with Wilson firing multiple — ultimately fatal — shots at Brown, who was unarmed.“It was said that he physically assaulted the officer, but witnesses say that he had his hands in the air, which is the universal symbol for ‘don’t shoot,’” junior Taylr Davis said.A Saint Mary’s-hosted forum on the racial tensions surrounding Brown’s death inspired Renner and Davis to team up with Assistant Director of Student Involvement and Multicultural Services Bianca Tirado and fellow students to take a stand.“After attending a forum here at Saint Mary’s last month on the topic, I wanted to enable the students, faculty and staff of our community to be a part of raising awareness of the injustices that occurred in Ferguson, Missouri,” Renner said.Protestors wore black t-shirts with “#DONTSHOOT” printed across the front in bold white letters, Renner said. The peaceful and silent demonstration ended with a group photo.“We are standing together as a community to take a picture with our hands up to show our desire for peace,” Renner said. “This picture will be taken not only in remembrance of Brown, but also the many other victims that have died at the sake of injustice.”Participants who did not purchase the shirt were asked to wear a black t-shirt “to not only allow our #DONTSHOOT message to stand out during the picture, but to also symbolize mourning for the victims that we are representing in our picture,” Renner said.“We picked the color black because it signifies mourning,” Davis said. “We are mourning the loss of Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and all the other individuals that have lost their lives because of this horrible epidemic.”Renner said she hoped the demonstration would draw more media attention to Brown’s death and social injustice.“We want our message to stand out in the photo,” Renner said. “If we all are expressing the message, it will show our unity as a community.”When Renner proposed the idea of a protest, she received a remarkable amount of immediate support from not only students but also faculty and staff, Renner said.“Saint Mary’s College is strongly rooted in unity among its community members,” Renner said. “I wanted to be able to bring attention to a very important matter to a very important place to many students ­— this is our home. We are proud to host the event on Saint Mary’s campus because we are members of a community that speaks out against injustice and stands up for the rights of others.”Davis said hosting the demonstration on Saint Mary’s campus was significant because such reactions to current and controversial topics are rare on campus.“Things such as this do not happen at Saint Mary’s,” Davis said. “We have talks, and we may debate in class, but we wanted to show the entire community our concern. We wanted to make everyone know that this is a serious matter.”Davis said she hopes this event will inspire aspiring student activists in the area.“What I personally hope comes of this demonstration is understanding … but also I hope this is the catalyst to other events such as this one,” Davis said. “I hope we spark a flame which allows other girls to speak up against what they feel is wrong.”Tags: Darren Wilson, Don’t Shoot, dontshoot, Ferguson, Michael Brown, racelast_img read more

Bookstore Basketball referee dismissed due to racially-charged comment

first_imgThe annual Bookstore Basketball tournament is intended to encourage friendly competition for a common, positive cause. This environment came into question Thursday evening, as a referee was dismissed mid-game following what Holy Cross junior Kasey Schaffer called a “racial comment” directed at a player.During a quarterfinal Bookstore Basketball game, Holy Cross junior Ja’Mare Washington, a member of the “Big Bodies” team, argued a foul called against him by the referee officiating his game. Soon after, Schaffer, a fan in attendance, witnessed an “inappropriate” interaction between Washington and the referee in question, as the referee made a comment that seemed to call Washington’s intelligence into question.“The [referee] called a foul on [Washington], and he was frustrated by it and made a comment about how she should read the rule book or something, and then she responded to him — literally in the exact words, she said: ‘Do you even know what a book is,’” Schaffer said.After hearing the comment from the sidelines, Schaffer said she and other fans in attendance were taken aback by the racially-charged statement toward Washington, who is black.“ … All of our jaws just dropped, and the player was like, ‘Did you really just say that?’” she said. “The game just kept going.”The Bookstore Basketball Commission said the statement made by the referee was inexcusable and that the referee was dismissed mid-game.“The Bookstore Basketball and Student Activities staff take appropriateness during the tournament very seriously,” the Commission said in a statement via email. “When made aware of the incident, Bookstore volunteers immediately told Student Activities staff on duty. SAO staff spoke with the lead referee, and the referee involved was asked to leave in the middle of the game — as we would ask any player, spectator or individual present should they act or speak inappropriately.”Holy Cross senior and “Big Bodies” captain Thomas Rowe said he made the Bookstore Basketball staff members who were present aware of the incident, although he was unable to hear the comment first-hand.“I was the one who talked to the people that were running bookstore, just letting them know what was going on,” Rowe said. “ … Obviously [I was] defending my teammate … I went into the bookstore to get a drink, and when I came back a couple of my buddies said, ‘Yeah, [the referee is] gone now.’”The Commission said it plans to pursue further action to reiterate its stance on appropriate conduct with its referees. “Additionally, we plan to speak again with the lead referee regarding our expectations in an effort to ensure inappropriate behavior does not occur in the future,” it said.Tags: Bookstore Basketball 2017, Referees, Student Activities Officelast_img read more

Students advocate for eating disorders awareness, healthy eating on campus

first_img(Editor’s Note: This is the second article in an investigative series on the accessibility and effectiveness of mental health resources available within the tri-campus community.)In spite of heightened discourse surrounding anxiety and depression on college campuses, many students who are afflicted with eating disorders still suffer in silence. Several Saint Mary’s students are looking to spread awareness about eating disorders and healthy eating in the hopes the College will provide more resources on campus.Senior Anne Nowalk said she considers herself an eating disorders activist and has called for expanded campus resources for students with eating disorders. Nowalk said her perception of eating disorders, and her perspective on how others view them, changed when her friend developed an eating disorder. Eating disorders are common among young women ages 18 to 24, Nowalk said, and this can become exacerbated at a place like Saint Mary’s — an all women’s college. “Something I started to realize was that there are a lack of resources and a lack of understanding about eating disorders on campus,” Nowalk said. “Based on studies done by the National Eating Disorder Association and others, we know that eating disorders are most likely present on campus. The fact that we don’t hear students talking about them shows the extreme stigmatization that is attached to having an eating disorder.”And this stigma can prove deadly, Nowalk said. “[Eating disorders have] one of the highest mortality rates for mental disorders, but that’s not really recognized by most people because there’s a stigma that an eating disorder has to do with a person being selfish or just wanting to lose weight,” she said.Saint Mary’s used to employ a registered dietician on campus, Anna Uhran Wasierski, but she left the College in 2018 and is now employed at Notre Dame. No replacement has been hired so far, yet Uhran Wasierski is still listed on the website as an active campus dietician.Saint Mary’s hosts “Love Your Body Week” annually, a week of events focused on student body positivity, but Nowalk said she feels like the week doesn’t place sufficient emphasis on eating disorder awareness. “We have ‘Love Your Body Week’ on campus in February, which is actually National Eating Disorder Awareness month, and it’s nice to have that, but over the years it’s become less and less about the knowledge of eating disorders and more about doing activities that surround a person’s overall health,” she said. “While I personally believe that we need to focus on overall health, we definitely need to be having more events on campus where students can speak up and talk about what it means to have an eating disorder.” Nowalk said she believes that it is important to maintain resources and sustain discourse about eating disorders on campus. “We are in an environment that has a competitive mindset and often showing any sort of struggle is seen as a weakness,” she said. “If we only address these topics one week during the school year, we are saying that … an eating disorder is not as important as other topics, when in reality, it intersects with almost every issue that students advocate for and talk about on our campuses.”Beyond advocacy for eating disorders, Nowalk said she feels the College can do better when it comes to supporting healthy eating. Although the College circulates guides to healthy eating in the cafes and dining hall, Nowalk said she feels these resources promote body shaming, or weight shaming, instead of healthy eating.“I noticed a pamphlet in the 1884 Cafe which discusses healthy eating … it’s a little triggering, one of the sections says ‘eat a salad every day,’ and that’s not targeting every student,” she said. “It’s vague, and there are ways in which salads can be very unhealthy or not provide you with the nutrients you need. We all need carbs, protein, vegetables and fruits, but students may feel they need to skip those in order to have a salad and that can contribute to disordered eating patterns.” Despite this, Nowalk said the pamphlet does make some good points about the importance of eating breakfast every morning. “I think it’s very good to promote the idea of not skipping breakfast because many students still skip meals in order to lose weight or avoid the ‘Freshman 15,’ but it is so vital that students eat breakfast,” she said. “I never used to go to breakfast very often, but now I go every day and I’ve definitely seen an increase in students attending, and that might be because of the menu changes, but also because of the College’s recognition that eating breakfast is an important part of students’ everyday diet.”However, many students feel that the College needs to fix the food, and not the resources, present in the dining hall. Senior Katelyn Valley said that after seeing a nutritionist on campus two years ago, they decided that she could no longer eat the food on campus.“I saw a nutritionist and she said it was very likely that the oil [Sodexo] uses is what caused me to get IBS, which is a digestive disorder,” Valley said. “And then this year I had to go on a low FODMAP diet to try to re-balance the flora in my gut to try to correct the issue.” FODMAPs are certain types of carbohydrates that have been known to cause digestive problems. A low FODMAP diet can help to reduce the amount of digestive trouble associated with these carbs, but this is another example of the obstacles in place for students with particular dietary needs on campus. All in all, Nowalk said she wants students to realize that every body is different, and that overcoming an eating disorder is both a battle and a journey. “The size of your body does not determine your worth,” Nowalk said. “Regardless of race, class, weight, height, gender identity, sexual orientation and age, eating disorders are a real issue. As a school, Saint Mary’s can do more to offer resources, and so can Notre Dame and Holy Cross.”For those who may be coping with an eating disorder, the National Eating Disorder Association’s website offers a free screening tool and helpline. Tags: dieting, eating disorder, eating disorder awareness, healthy eating, Mental health, National Association for Eating Disorder Awarenesslast_img read more

Locally Made: Sewn on Solar

first_imgEmployees at Organic Climbing’s facility in Philipsburg, Pa., sew bouldering pads, backpacks, bike bags, and chalk bags. Photo by Jarrod Bunk Helke started sewing crashpads in Wyoming in 2004 after working in the climbing industry as a designer and growing increasingly disappointed with the quality of finished products. He has built his business on producing gear that lasts, softgoods constructed of dense Cordura and ballistic nylons, 95 percent of which he attests are sourced within the U.S. Organic designs their bouldering pads, backpacks, bike bags, and chalk bags not only to be tough, streamlined, and repairable, but also in meticulously unique patterns, so that nearly zero of the diverse palette of fabric cut in their factory goes to waste. Looking for a sustainable path has always been in Helke’s business plan. So when Organic Climbing was awarded a two-percent loan from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Association in 2017 to build a new home for the company, he knew the next move was running Organic on renewable energy. “It feels good to show people it can be done,” says Helke. “You put in the labor for a solar panel once and it goes for 30 years. We’d like to keep adding solar as we can. We should be able to get another 2,000 square feet over the production area.” Organic Climbing makes sustainable gear in Pennsylvania Rural Pennsylvania may not be the first place that comes to mind when conjuring the headquarters of an internationally distributed gear maker pursuing cleaner solutions to the manufacturing process. The state is steeped in a heritage of extraction, and nowhere is this heritage more relevant than Organic Climbing’s facility, which sits atop reclaimed mining land, overlooking the Moshannon Creek Valley. Nevertheless, Helke and his company have been up to just that in their 15-year history, and since bringing the business to Philipsburg in 2009. Photo by Jarrod Bunkcenter_img “This whole roof is 5,000 square feet of them,” says Josh Helke, owner of Organic Climbing, as he looks up at the ceiling of the showroom, toward the solar panels basking in the sun above. “We average around 350-405 kilowatt hours a day. 8,000 a month.” The panels are responsible for one hundred percent of the power at the newly constructed, 17,000-square-foot workshop in Philipsburg, Pa. In November of 2018, Helke and the 22 employees of Organic Climbing and their second brand, Nittany Mountain Works, moved into the shop, and under the array adopted a new slogan, “Solar Sewn.” Organic’s existing panels already exceed the 3,700-5,000 kilowatt hours needed to operate every month. The goal is to contribute more power to the state grid, for others to use in place of burning fuels that release additional carbon dioxide into the atmosphere already containing an average of more than 410 parts per million. Helke believes owning his company independently has allowed him to steer it in the direction of his ethics, rather than focusing heavily on profit margin. He acknowledges, though, there are still difficult issues to contest with, the toughest being the footprint of distribution. But Helke also believes transparency regarding the complete production process is important for consumers to see.  “The full picture is it takes a lot of work, and a lot of money to do the right thing,” says Helke. “We’d probably make more if we weren’t devoted to that. But we are gluttons for punishment, and have our morals, and we will do what it takes to get there.”last_img read more

Travel Diary: “The 2015 Chevrolet Colorado / Hunter Mountain Hop”

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Sponsored Content Brought To You By NY Auto GiantFor those of us whose entire year revolves around the wet, chilly, wintery mixes that call forth ski boots and snowboard gear like a siren song across the warmer months, this time of year is cause to celebrate, for the winter holidays beckon. That feeling you recognize in the depths of your belly—it’s a tingle, it’s a calling—is ski season.It’s up to you to answer.Long Island living is rife with advantages. In the summers, we have beaches. In the fall, harvest festivals abound from the lush wineries that dot our North Shore. For the rest of the year, New York City sits like the sparkling jewel she is, ready for the excitement of a night out, the opulence of the restaurant scene, or the spectacle of Broadway.However, in the winter months, upstate New York shines brightest; the ski-slope encrusted faces of the mountains bring tourists and adventurers from all over the world. Lucky for us, the Hunter Mountain slopes are just a drive away.Click here to learn more about NY Auto GiantYou’re going to need some rugged mountain wheels to take you up there. The 2015 all-new Chevrolet Colorado is the perfect vehicle to take you up, up, up into those fabled mountains. Sleek, but gritty, this rugged mid-size truck is efficient, safe, and versatile. With a formidable V6 engine that provides best-in-class towing and payload, you’d be surprised at how quiet the interior is. With advanced technology options and upgraded safety features, like Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning—this is the truck to carry you through the winter months.After your upstate trek to Hunter, you can hole-up, slope-side at the Kaatskill Mountain Club, which offers ski-in, ski-out privileges, full kitchens, and fireplaces, amongst other amenities. You can choose from spacious studios, to one-, tw0-, or three-bedroom suites or upgrade to executive or penthouse suites for some upscale fun.If bed and breakfast accommodations are more your thing, check out the cozy B&B called “Beds on Clouds.” Couldn’t imagine anything more welcoming after a kick-ass day skiing, could you? Besides the heavenly sleeping arrangements, you will wake up in this restored 1854 Victorian home, complete with private bathrooms, Wi-Fi, and filtered water throughout, to organic fluffy homemade omelets to order. And coffee, of course. You’ll need some coffee. We all do.Hungry? Last Chance Antiques and Cheese Café is one place you cannot miss while you’re up there. This cheese stop and restaurant is quintessential mountain town cuisine with the ambiance you drove up here for. From sumptuous concoctions like their Portobello Mushroom and Garlic Goat Cheese Sandwich to their French Onion Soup and Fondue, this place will fill your belly and warm your soul. Order an egg cream while you’re there. You’re on vacation.“Polar vortex,” you say? “Wintery mix?” Is the weatherman calling for 3-to-6 inches of snow in New York?Bring. It. On.To get in a new 2015 Chevy Colorado of your own, call Ronnie DeTommaso of Atlantic Cadillac and Chevrolet of Huntington or Bay Shore.(PS – Is the title of this piece a poorly veiled Led Zeppelin reference? Why yes! Yes, of course!)last_img read more

2016: The Year of the HR Director

first_imgThe monkey is the totemic symbol for the upcoming Chinese New Year. The personification of this year’s white collar employee is the frazzled HR director.A combination of politics and policy is resulting in a perfect storm in which the federal government and localities, unable to bring about the type of robust economic growth from which everyone could benefit, are instead dreaming up an endless array of  proposals to micromanage the American workplace.  The result is that, at least in the short term, you will have less flexibility than you have traditionally had to manage employees.Everyone agrees that the average employee is having a tough time finding a well-paying job, getting raises and putting aside enough money to allow the kids to go to college without mortgaging their future.  There is, however, a huge divergence in opinion as to how this problem should be addressed. With an election year upon us, these bread and butter issues are perfectly designed to ignite party bases. November will be, in part, a referendum on these policies.The leading example comes courtesy of the Department of Labor which is expected to unveil  a final regulation more than doubling, to approximately $47,800, the salary employees must receive to be classified as a exempt, even if they meet the other requirements.  Keeping in mind that nonexempt employees must get overtime, and how dependent  many small and medium sized credit unions are on exempt  supervisors, this single regulation will have a more direct impact on much of the industry’s bottom-line than any other mandate under consideration this year.  Regardless of whether you are for or against this proposal, it is hard to think that the fact that it is being finalized during an election year is a coincidence.  After all, the next president will have the power to either amend or support these final regulations.A second area where the government is wading into the workplace without giving adequate consideration to the consequences of its actions has to do with legalized marijuana.  On January 5th New York became the 23rd State to legalize possession. New York’s law is among the most restrictive limiting the use of the drug strictly to treat medical conditions.  In these states, it is legal for your employees to use a drug that remains illegal as a matter  of federal law.  This Alice In Wonderland posture is the type of unchartered territory that plaintiff lawyers love to wade into… and employers dread. The Colorado Supreme Court, for example, has already had to decide how that state’s legal marijuana laws can be reconciled with zero tolerance drug policies.But wait, there is more.  There is the drive to increase the minimum wage and the push  to ”ban the box” so that employers can’t consider an applicant’s criminal history as part of the employment process.Mix this all together and what you have is an increasingly rigid workplace in which finely honed policies and well executed procedures are more important than ever before.The longer I work in the industry the more I realize that credit unions are more than just not-for-profit cooperatives – they are small businesses, often based in areas where steady employment is hard to come by.  For every well -meaning mandate, there is increased paperwork and greater liability, I’m not sure an approach that makes it more expensive to hire employees makes much sense, but I do know that, at least until the next election, this is the system we have. 14SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Henry Meier As General Counsel for the New York Credit Union Association, Henry is actively involved in all legislative, regulatory and legal issues impacting New York credit unions. Whether he’s joining … Web: www.nycua.org Detailslast_img read more