Month: July 2019

Disabled people have been failed by the government

first_imgDisabled people have been failed by the government’s inability to manage the assessments for disability benefits that are carried out by outsourcing giants Atos Maximus and Capita, according to the chair of an influential committee of MPs.Labour MP Meg Hillier, who chairs the Commons public accounts committee, spoke out after a damning report by the public spending watchdog, which found spending on assessments was set to double in just two years while the three companies were failing to meet the required standards.The assessments help determine eligibility for employment and support allowance (ESA) and personal independence payment (PIP), and also aim to support people on sick leave back into work as part of the new Fit for Work service.But the National Audit Office (NAO) said the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had failed to achieve value for money from the health and disability assessments it had contracted out to Atos, Maximus and Capita.In 2014-15, DWP spent about £275 million on assessment contracts, but this is expected to more than double to £579 million by 2016-17.Between April 2015 and March 2018, DWP expects the three companies to carry out about seven million assessments, at an estimated cost of £1.6 billion.It also expects the contractors will increase the number of healthcare professionals they employ by more than 80 per cent, from 2,200 in May 2015 to 4,050 in November 2016.NAO said the cost of the assessments was rising and Atos, Capita and Maximus were “still struggling to meet expected performance standards”.It points in the report to DWP’s contract with Maximus, which took over the provision of ESA assessments from Atos in March 2015.Under the contract, the government expects to pay Maximus £595 million over three years for 3.4 million assessments, at a cost of about £190 per assessment, compared with £115 per assessment under the previous contract with Atos – an increase of 65 per cent.DWP has told NAO that the increase in cost is partly due to Maximus carrying out a higher proportion of face-to-face assessments than Atos, and paying higher salaries for healthcare professionals.The estimated cost of hiring and training a London-based nurse to carry out ESA assessments has increased from an average £26,000 in spring 2014 under the Atos contract to £44,000 for a London-based nurse in 2015-16 under Maximus.The report also says that despite Atos and Capita now taking an average of four weeks to process a PIP assessment, compared to 29 weeks in mid-2014, and Maximus taking 23 weeks for an ESA assessment (compared to 29 weeks previously), by last August there was still a backlog of at least 280,000 ESA assessments.NAO also warned that Maximus was “not on track to complete the expected number of assessments” for 2015-16 – DWP set a target of nearly one million ESA assessments – and “has missed assessment report quality targets since the start of the contract”.It said that both Atos and Capita have failed to meet PIP assessment report quality targets since October 2013.NAO said DWP had expanded its performance management team and managed the transition between ESA providers “smoothly”, after Atos requested an early exit from its contract.Amyas Morse, NAOs, said DWP had “addressed some of its immediate operational issues” in managing the assessments but “now needs to take action to break a perpetuating cycle of optimistic targets, contractual underperformance and costly recovery”.He added: “The department is paying more for assessments, but providers are still not meeting expected performance levels. “The department needs providers to complete the planned number of assessments so that it can achieve the significant benefit savings it expects to make over the next few years.”NAO called on DWP to “develop an overall commercial strategy for assessments, set challenging realistic targets for providers and engage with providers to learn from previous experience”.Hillier said: “The department’s approach has been unclear, its targets untested and consistently missed and future delivery is under threat.“With the annual cost of assessments now expected to rise to a staggering £579 million in 2016-17, taxpayers have been left to foot the bill.”She added: “Contracting out the delivery of public services does not absolve the department from its responsibilities to ensure that taxpayers’ money is well-spent.“The department needs to do more to ensure private providers deliver a better deal for sick and disabled people, as assessments have a huge impact on their ability to access vital cash to live with dignity.”last_img read more

WouldBe Fire at Boogaloos Leaves No Damage Updated

first_img“I think it was just some smoke, and [a fire] was certainly averted,” she said.William McLeod, a photographer who lives nearby and who had his office in the building destroyed in the 22nd and Mission streets fire in January, wrote that there were “several firetrucks, firemen on the roof,” and “a slight smell in the air.”It was “definitely a strange sight to see on 22nd street, just down the block from the Mission Market building,” that went up in flames on the evening of January 28th, he wrote.But by Monday morning the restaurant was open to customers again, and Blair Brandeis said the only real damage was to the front door when firefighters broke through. She also alluded to recent rent increases that have left the restaurant’s future uncertain. Last month it was feared Boogaloos would shutter its doors as early as September, though it plans to stay open at least through December.“We’re having our share of bad luck aren’t we?”Firemen spraying the smoldering rags. Photo by William McLeodPhoto by William McLeodPhoto by William McLeodPhoto by William McLeodPhoto by William McLeodPhoto by William McLeod.Photo by William McLeod A pseudo-fire broke out Sunday night around 10 p.m. at Boogaloos on the corner of 22nd and Valencia streets due to rags that “spontaneously combusted” but were doused before flaring up.“I wouldn’t say it was really a fire,” said Mindy Talmadge, a spokesperson for the fire department. “It was actually a bag of rags that were soaked with chemicals that spontaneously combusted.”Talmadge explained that the chemical-soaked rags “were caught at the smoldering stage” and quickly put out before a true fire could erupt, and that the structure sustained no damage due to the rags.Carolyn Blair Brandeis, a co-owner of the neighborhood diner, thought the fire was due to “some towels with grease” that produced some smoke but no fire. Tags: Fires • sf • valencia street Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%center_img 0%last_img read more

SAINTS got the defence of their Super League title

first_imgSAINTS got the defence of their Super League title underway with a solid 18-7 win over Catalans at a freezing Langtree Park.A stop-start encounter saw two men sinbinned and Keiron Cunningham’s men turning round a half time deficit to come on top in a real war of attrition.Atelea Vea was huge on the edges whilst the pack stood up to everything the Dragons threw at them.Alongside the former London Bronco, Travis Burns also made his debut whilst Joe Greenwood’s strong pre-season was rewarded with a starting spot.Catalans also named a formidable side – but had Todd Carney missing with a groin problem.With each team’s flags on the field and thunderstruck on the PA, the match had that big game feel.And with the crowd roaring Catalans kicked off, Alex Walmsley took the ball in and Willie Tonga ended up out cold on the floor after attempting the tackle.He seemed to hit the big prop’s knee as he went for the hit and it was sad to see him carried off the field on a stretcher looking in really bad shape.After the stoppage the game understandably took a while to get going. Joe Greenwood almost broke through in the fourth minute but Jordan Turner just couldn’t find a gap.But a minute later, a high ball went up into the Saints’ in-goal area and Zeb Taia snaffled it up. The Dragons celebrated but the video referee pulled it back for a knock on.Saints heeded the warning and on their next attack they scored.A couple of penalties got them up the field, the ball came right at pace and Vea showed all his strength to plunge over.Makinson with the extras.Saints forced a drop out on 10 minutes and then had further chances to stretch their advantage to no avail.And on the 24th minute a wonderful break that involved a kick from Makinson, Burns offloading to Lomax and the ball being flipped out of the back door wasn’t punished too – Percival stripped as he went for the line.Saints defended three drop outs and a set right on their line to preserve the advantage and then had another to stop after a rare Lomax error.But in the same sequence the referee penalised Saints three times – the latter coming bizarrely after Lomax took the ball clean in the in-goal area – and then sin binned Greg Richards for a ball steal that looked all the world like a knock on.Pelissier burrowed over to level it up – finally taking advantage of all that pressure – and Bosc put the Dragons ahead with a one pointer as the hooter sounded.Saints began the second half a man down but in Catalonian territory after two penalties – and they made it count.Makinson was hit with a shoulder as he went for the corner and from the tap penalty, the ball swept left and Turner put them back in front.On 47 minutes, Pelissier had one chalked off for a knock on – a massive let off for Saints who were caught napping on their own line.Swift then one disallowed off that looked all the world try on the screen.But the defence eventually did crack.A superb break from Turner saw Lomax through and on his way to the line. He was tackled by Michael Oldfield but the winger refused to let him play the ball.He got ten minutes in the bin for his indiscretion and Andre Savelio showed his power to put Saints in charge.Makinson missed the kick but it was a blow that Catalan never really recovered from.Roby smashed his way through the Catalan rearguard in the final five minutes and Makinson duly finished his teammate’s fantastic work.Mose and Elima got it on in the final seconds and that underlined what a tough physical battle it was all night.Match Summary:Saints: Tries: Vea, Turner, Savelio, MakinsonGoals: Makinson (1 from 3), Percival (0 from 1)Dragons:Tries: Pelissier Goals: Bosc (1 from 1)Drop: Bosc Penalties: Saints: 8Dragons: 11HT: 6-7FT: 18-7REF: Phil BenthamATT: 12,008Teams:Saints:1. Jonny Lomax; 2. Thomas Makinson, 3. Jordan Turner, 17. Mark Percival, 5. Adam Swift; 6. Travis Burns, 12. Jon Wilkin; 10. Kyle Amor, 9. James Roby, 14. Alex Walmsley, 21. Joe Greenwood, 11. Atelea Vea, 4. Josh Jones.Subs: 8. Mose Masoe, 16. Lance Hohaia, 19. Greg Richards, 25. Andre Savelio.Dragons:1. Morgan Escaré; 2. Vincent Duport, 3. Ben Pomeroy, 4. Willie Tonga, 5. Michael Oldfield; 14. Thomas Bosc, 9. Ian Henderson; 15. Jeff Lima, 16. Eloi Pelissier, 10. Rémi Casty, 11. Zeb Taia, 17. Elliott Whitehead, 12. Louis Anderson.Subs: 8. Olivier Elima, 13. Gregory Mounis, 18. Benjamin Garcia, 21. Julian Bousquet.last_img read more

Dosher Foundation receives 100K digital imaging grant

first_img The grant was from The Cannon Foundation, a private foundation focused on health care, higher  education, and human services across North Carolina. Posing (left to right) with a check from The Cannon Foundation are Dosher Diagnostic Imaging employees Ashley Rauth and Jennifer Pittman, Dosher Foundation members Joyce John, Melody Ryan, Barbara Boland, Beth Nelson and Clay Fairley, Dosher Foundation President Lynda Stanley, Foundation members Rebecca Green and Mark Bachara, Dosher Hospital President & CEO Tom Siemers, and Dosher Foundation members Craig Chancellor, Robert Howard, Adam Powell, Jeri Robinson, and Russ Thompson. SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — The Dosher Memorial Hospital Foundation has received a $100,000 grant that will help fund digital x-ray equipment at the hospital.The new radiologic equipment is designed to capture and render a digital image in about five seconds, greatly increasing efficiency over current equipment which can take several minutes. While they say the exposure is already low, the new equipment will expose patients to even lower doses of radiation. Also, they say the new images delivered to radiologists will be higher quality than is possible at present.- Advertisement – last_img read more

West Brunswick sophomore charged after fight and social media threat

first_imgBRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A West Brunswick High School student faces charges after a fight at school and a post on Snapchat.Sophomore Kavon Kenith Gause is charged with simple affray and communicating threats.- Advertisement – According to arrest warrants, Gause assaulted the victim by ‘hitting the victim about the body.’Warrants also state Gause threatened to physically injure the victim by posting a message on Snapchat that said ‘(expletive) West’ with guns and coffins.“The safety of students and staff are the top priority of school leaders and law enforcement officials,” Brunswick County schools said in a news release. “While staff and school resources officers remain vigilant, the school day and events scheduled for homecoming this evening are continuing as scheduled.”Related Article: Lost man found safe in wooded area thanks to Project LifesaverGause is in jail under a $41,000 bond.last_img read more

Two face murder charges 20 years after child abuse conviction in Brunswick

first_img According to trial records, on April 12, 1997, EMS took Noffsinger’s 15-month-old child, David Cody Rhinehart to the emergency room.The EMS technician noticed bruises on the child and saw he was barely breathing.An emergency room doctor noticed the child had a head fracture, bruises, deformity on an arm and a leg, burns in the diaper region and the child was having seizures.Related Article: Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office warns of phone scamThe child was transported to Duke Medical Center for surgery to relieve pressure on the brain.A pediatrician at Duke testified during the trial that the child was in critical condition, comatose, and had been placed on life support. The pediatrician also believed the burns in the diaper region was caused by being immersed in a hot liquid.X-rays also showed spinal fractures and fractures in the legs and left arm and wrist. While draining fluid from the child’s brain saved his life, the head injury caused brain damage such  that only the brain stem remained normal. According to the pediatrician, the child would be extremely impaired.During an interview with investigators, Tripp, Noffsinger’s boyfriend at the time, admitted he gave the child a bath and that the water may have been too hot, resulting in the burns.Tripp pleaded guilty to the four counts of felony child abuse pursuant to an Alford plea.According to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety website, Noffsinger was convicted of child abuse on July, 29 1998. Noffsinger spent about two years in prison.Tripp was convicted of child abuse on July 30, 1998. Tripp was also convicted of indecent liberties with a child on December 2, 1998. Tripp spent about six and a half years in prison.The child’s name was changed to David Stuart. He died in March after his adoptive parents took care of him for years.“I want to thank the mothers of this child that adopted this child many years ago and provided probably the best life that he could have had an we just want to say thank you,” Brunswick County Chief Deputy Charlie Miller said.David Stuart (Photo: GoFundMe)The Assistant District Attorney says the medical examiner believes the injuries the victim suffered lead to his death.District Attorney Jon David said the two did not know they were going to be arrested.“I’m sure it’s an emotional time in “I’m sure it’s an emotional time in their life and I will tell you that, although they’ve been prosecuted for this case before, it’s our intention to hold them to the maximum punishment allowable by law, given the gravity of this case,” David said.The State is debating whether to seek the death penalty.Noffsinger and Tripp both appeared in court this morning. Their bonds are set at $1 million each. Their next court date is June 6. BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) –Two people are facing murder charges stemming from a child abuse case that happened more than 20 years ago.David Raeford Tripp Jr., 45, and Robyn Lynn Noffsinger, 41, are at the Brunswick County Detention Center facing $1 million bonds.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Activists float dialogue over hog farm nuisance lawsuits

first_img The NC Environmental Justice Network’s Naeema Muhammad says the company pits farmers who raise its hogs under contract against people living nearby. She says neighbors just want to escape the stench of open-air waste pits while farmers want to protect the lifestyle they’ve built.Jurors on Friday hit Smithfield Foods with a $473 million verdict over how Pender County farms operated. Juries in two earlier cases awarded more than $75 million.___Related Article: Duplin County grandmother wins $1 million in scratch-off ticketInformation from: The Herald-Sun, Pig farm (Photo: US EPA) WARSAW, N.C. (AP) — Activists in the heart of North Carolina’s pork country say contract hog farmers and their neighbors should start talking about solutions.The Herald-Sun of Durham reported that community organizers in Duplin County called for dialogue Saturday after a federal jury again decided pork giant Smithfield Foods is responsible for millions in damages linked to industrial-scale hog operations.- Advertisement – last_img read more

How many youths are going to be conferred with confirmation this June

first_img SharePrint <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> A number of youths in Malta shall be conferred with the sacrament of confirmation this June. This confirmation shall be conferred by the Archbishop of Malta, Charles Scicluna.Archbishop Charles Scicluna shall confer the sacrament of confirmation in a number of parishes around Malta. The conferment of confirmation shall take place on the following days:Friday 7th June at 6.30pm: Parish Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, San Ġwann.Saturday 8th June at 10.00am: Parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother of the Church in IbragSaturday 8th June at 6.00pm: Holy Family Parish, Iklin.Sunday 9th June at 9.15 am: Valletta Parishes and the Parish of Jesus of Nazareth, Sliema.Sunday 9th June at 5.30pm: The Sanctuary of Divine Mercy, Naxxar.WhatsApplast_img read more

111 OffRoad Racing team finishes 9th at King of France 2019

first_imgLast weekend, the 111 Off-Road Racing Team composed of Rudy Farrugia as driver and Malcolm Paul Gauci as navigator helped by Maurice Farrugia, Mark Zahra, David Farrugia, Daniel Grupetta, Stefan Borg Grech, Lana Debono and Shaun Caruana competed against 21 competitors from all over the world at the King of France 2019 Ultra 4 Europe Event.During the qualifying round on Friday, following damage to driveline, exhaust, rear suspension, and many repairs, they did not finish the race. They had to abandon the race only a few metres away from the finish line and ended in the 21st place.On Saturday the team had to start from the last place, following the traffic on a tight course. Notwithstanding damaged suspension, the 111 off-road racing team was still fast and coped well with the competition. Following another accident, the buggy ended up upside down in a bunch of trees in a ditch but sustained no damage. With damage from Friday and the accident on Saturday, they still finished in 10th place from the 21.Sunday was an event-free day; the team raced fast and clean, gained another position finishing the event in 9th place overall.The 111 Off-Road Racing Team is set to compete in the Ultra 4 Europe Championship hence their next appointment is the King of Britain at the 20th of July.WhatsApp SharePrint <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=a7617b59&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more

Nigerias lowcost tablet computer

first_imgAdvertisement He is also hoping to sell his tablet – which runs on the Google Android operating system – to the Nigerian government and plans to have at least one computer in each local government area.“The Inye is a mobile internet device. It gives you access to the internet; it allows you to play media files and watch movies. What we have is an 8-inch device, a device that is half-way between a laptop and a mobile phone,” he told the BBC’s series African Dream.“You have the standard software applications that come pre-installed and then you have the ones that we are working with various local developers to bundle on,” he added. – Advertisement – Among those local apps there is one designed to raise awareness about HIV and others related to water and sanitation.“We work with local developers that have expertise in particular areas so that we don’t end up doing so much work and we just have a collaborative way of doing things together,” he said.The first 100 units of the Inye, which means One in Nigeria’s Igala language, were built in China and, after receiving feedback from its users, a second version was launched in May 2011.Encipher Group, the company he cofounded with web developer Anibe Agamah, also offers customised IT services and products, including cloud computing, which are mostly based on open technology to keep costs down.Raising capitalAccording to Mr Adepoju, the company and the apps it develops are focused on preserving local culture through technology and making products which are specific to the local market.Another product that the firm has been working on is Encipher TV, a box where people can watch African television, plays and films.However, he says that it has not been easy to raise capital in order to develop the business faster. “Here venture capital (VC) is still in its infancy and most VC firms wound want to invest in tried and trusted companies that have gained some form of traction,” he said.“We face the challenge of getting people to listen to the various propositions. We’ve been to a number of private investors and also to the government,” he explained.Not surprisingly, his immediate plan is to “try and raise capital from whatever sources we can get – locally, internationally or privately – and to try and still to push the brand forward as much as we can”.Will his tablet computer succeed in such a competitive environment? Only time will tell but Mr Adepoju and his colleagues are adamant that it will, not only in Nigeria but also in other African markets.Source: BBClast_img read more

Christmas Despatches

first_imgAs I addressed the nation, at the Star Christmas Party, I mentioned andthanked those, who had travelled a long way to be with us. I ignorantlyfailed to mention Tom Channel 4, who had come a very long way indeed, from aplace called Manchester. I am now taking the opportunity to formally thankMr Channel 4.It is now traditional, that Charlotte Loans is harrassed by a member of StarRacing Ltd, when attending any type of work function. It was the turn, atthis party, of Mr J Croxford, to step up to the mantle. As I informed allin my speech, Charlotte informed me, privately, at a recent function, thatshe doesn’t fancy ANYONE at work. I was also quite persistent when puttingher under this questioning. Mr J Croxford was unable to break this deadlockplaced, by Charlotte, on those employed by any, and all, of the Starcompanies.Will Stock-Broker came along, to allow us the benefit of his delicate andconsidered, but very entertaining humour. He was tactically placed on mytable by Pam Statements, as he had previously stated he doesn’t eatdesserts. Pam arranged for me to be able to help him in this hour of needand I was thus furnished with, not only a delicious apple and raspberrycrumble, but also a christmas pudding and custard. Thank you, Pam. Bothsuperb.Lukey Tarr made a very humorous post dinner speech regaling the mosthumourous moments of the year at Star. One of his chosen incidents wasrecounting my fury during the Black Caviar race at Royal Ascot. As you knowBlog, I have little or no interest in horse-racing unless the favourite isabout to lose, and this race proved no exception. At Royal Ascot, I time myvisits to the betting ring, so I won’t miss any of the food being laid outin the box. On arrival, back upstairs, as they started the big race, thedesserts had been brought out. I examined them, only to find that theafternoon’s offering was a coconut cheese-cake. ‘A coconutcheese-cake??!!’, I hear you WRETCH!!! YES, Blog!!! Well, I was,obviously, straight out onto the balcony, to confront Luke, regarding thisterrible error of menu choice he had imposed on myself and our guests. Ipulled him inside and gave him a good dressing down! He then threw ahissy-fit and told me I was disturbing the best race of the year. What aprimadonna!! I said I didn’t care if I was disturbing Red Rum’s comebackrace – coconut is disgusting!! He then informed me that this moment in timewas even bigger than that hypothetical event, in racing terms. Anyway, asfar as I’m concerned, if anything coconut is ordered in the box again, I’llbe disturbing peoples wedding nights and wives giving birth!!!On safe arrival back at the Grand Hotel, it has been brought to myattention, that several members of the staff organised for some extra temptype staff of their own, to come and put a couple of hours of work in.Afterwards, they resumed the party, back downstairs in the bar, and theirtemporary lady friends, too, I am told, joined in with the festivecelebrations. Apparently, the Star Army were doing an impromptu‘hokey-kokey’ dance, and one of the afore-mentioned ladies was next in line,and joined up to, Pam Statements’ mum! Unbelievable scenes Jeff!!!Back with the Elderly and Infirm; a couple of days after the ChristmasParty, the Male Dept. thought he’d chuck in some of his antics. In themiddle of the night, it came to him, that it would make things easier duringthe holiday period, and for the E & I’s impending cruise of the Canaries, ifhe chose to fall over and broke his pelvis. So he did so.Everyone then had the, not mild, aggravation of trapesing backwards andforwards to the Sussex County and then the Princess Royal, to continuallyvisit the Male Dept. Armed to the teeth, with copies of The Times, and anendless supply of reading material, to keep him entertained.My mum deserves a round of applause though. On Christmas Eve, it was clearto all that the old man was not going to be emerging for the big day. So,without any prompting, my mum left a stocking stuffed with presents, withFather Christmas, to be left at the end of my dad’s bed on ChristmasMorning. Mum, well played there, a lovely touch.I have escaped to Tenerife to enjoy some sun, and no doubt, as usual whenhaving a holiday, I expect I will also catch a sore-throat, in due course.Blog, I shall keep you posted on my hol and any other sore-throat-typedevelopments. I can feel one coming.Over and out, Ben xlast_img read more

Heading to York with £££s

first_imgJuddmonte International StakesYork 3.40C4/RUKLATE GOAL IN OUR FAVOUR FOR ONCEWe landed another winner in the column yesterday thanks to Wigan who somehow managed to come back and get a draw having fallen 2-0 behind against Doncaster.Leon Barnett’s 90th-minute equaliser salvaged a point for Wigan and saved Owen Coyle’s blushes in his first home match in charge. Nice when those last minute goals go in your favour for once.So, after a 24 point profit haul on Monday we added another 12 points last night and have something in the kitty to head to the Knavesmire this week for the superb York Ebor meeting.It was this day last year that Frankel won the International Stakes and by then we’d given up at Star Sports trying to get him beaten. Frankel of course handled the step-up in trip with aplomb and one of the key questions today is whether Toronado can equally cope with the extra distance. It was a late decision to re-route Toronado here and opinion amongst his connections is mixed as to whether it’s going to be the right move. Jockey Richard Hughes is confident he will have the stamina and stated he always believed he was more of a ‘Derby horse’ than a ‘Guineas horse’ but trainer Richard Hannon Jnr is more uncertain, taking the view “We won’t know until we try”.The five-year-old Al Kazeem will be a tough nut to crack. He has been an absolute star this season and all his wins have come at around this trip.With little to choose in the betting between them the play for me must be the horse with the proven ability over the distance.A 10 point bet which would put the column 50 points up on the week if successful !STAR FORECAST(stake between 0.5 and 10 points)10 points win AL KAZEEM (3.40 York)(+12 points Tuesday)last_img read more

Rice Seismograph Recorded Mexico City Earthquake

first_imgAddThis ShareCONTACT: Philip MontgomeryPHONE: (713) 831-4792 RICE SEISMOGRAPH RECORDED MEXICO CITY EARTHQUAKE The seismograph in the Keith-Wiess Geological Laboratories at Rice University recorded a major earthquake in Mexico City. Dale Sawyer, associate professor of geology and geophysics, is monitoring the earthquake and is available for interviews.To reach the geology lab take Entrance 13 off of Rice Boulevard, go through one stop sign and turn left into the parking lot that runs alongside the lab. Geology department staff will be standing byto direct crews to the seismographic equipment. For phone interviews, contact Sawyer at 713-527-4880. If that number is busy,contact the News Office at 713-831-4795.###last_img read more

Impact on Students Earns Zammito Top Teaching Honor

first_imgAddThis Share CONTACT: Mike Cinelli PHONE: (713)831-4794E-MAIL: IMPACT ON STUDENTS EARNS ZAMMITO TOP TEACHINGHONORAssociate Professor of History JohnZammito has won the 1999 George R. Brown Prize for Excellence in Teaching,Rice’s most prestigious teaching award.Alumni who graduated two and five years ago vote on the $6,000prize.A Zammito course can have an impact: “It was like opening myeyes to the world,” says Hanszen junior Hadi Tabbaa. For Hanszen College juniorDavid Zetoony, it was both gripping and intellectually demanding: “I’d have tomull over everything we talked about in class for hours and hours,” hesays.Says Professor of English Alan Grob, a past winner of theaward, marvels at Zammito’s grasp of art, philosophy and literature.“He teaches courses on subjects you’d wonder if he could get 10students for and he gets 50. These students follow him like the Pied Piper,” Grob said.Students have been known to applaud after a Zammito lecture,but his effectiveness as a teacher goes beyond his ability to make thingsinteresting: It’s also the love and admiration that flows between teacher andstudent.In his 10 years at Rice, Zammito has been a faculty associateat Hanszen College, and on any given day at the lunch hour, you’ll find him inthe dining hall surrounded by students. They generally revere him but feel freeto tease and be teased. They talk Nietzsche, movies and basketball.Teaching, like basketball, involves going “one-on-one,” Zammitosays. “It doesn’t come from a pedestal. You’ve got to be a person.” What’simportant, he says, “is just spending time with them and taking them seriouslyas people.”A year out of college, he was working as an economist for astock brokerage firm in Memphis. At the office, he’d think to himself that he’drather be reading philosophy. He went back to school, studying intellectualhistory at Berkeley.After graduating, he became an assistant professor of historyat the University of Texas where he won the Jean Holloway Award, one of theschool’s most prestigious teaching prizes. Later, at St. John’s School inHouston he won the Texas Excellence in Teaching Award for being one of the top10 secondary school teachers in the state.While at St. John’s, he wrote “The Genesis of Kant’s Critiqueof Judgment,” named one of the best academic books of 1992 by Choice, thejournal which reviews academic works.His research area is European intellectual history, primarilyGerman idealism and romanticism, and he refers to his course “EuropeanIntellectual History: From Bacon to Hegel,” as “my baby.” Another of hisfavorites is Huma 101 and 102 (“Introduction to Humanities”), which he hastaught since he’s been at Rice.Noting that he feels complete support from the administration,colleagues and students, Zammito says ,”I love Rice and am completelydevoted.”###last_img read more

Anthropology Professor Wins Fellowship to Study Tango

first_imgShareCONTACT: MargotDimondPHONE: (713) 348-6775EMAIL: mdimond@rice.eduANTHROPOLOGY PROFESSOR WINSFELLOWSHIP TO STUDY TANGO IN ARGENTINA Many years ago during her first year at Harvard, a professor talkedJulie Taylor into switching her major from dance to anthropology on the groundsthat she would have a longer career. Now a professor ofanthropology at Rice University in Houston, Taylor has managed to combine herlove of dancing with her work in anthropology. She has just won a prestigiousGuggenheim Foundation Fellowship, which she will use to move to Argentina for ayear to research the tango.Taylor will study howtango, the national dance of Argentina, relates to violence in that country.When she returns, she plans to write about her experiences. Taylor is no stranger toArgentina–or the tango. She has spent more than half her adult life inArgentina, working on political terror and violence. While there, she learnedthe tango in academies and dance halls. “I had been trained as a dancer, so itwas the natural thing to do in Argentina.” Eventually, she took uptango as a research subject. Before she could do the research, however, she hadto become a very good tango dancer, or the other dancers “wouldn’t talk tome–wouldn’t give me the time of day.” As it is, the dancerstell her their sad stories–almost all relating to the near collapse of theArgentine economy and the country’s high unemployment. Paying the $5.00 entryfee into the dance hall is a big sacrifice for them. The traditional theme ofthe tango is lost love, she says, but with the problems Argentina hasexperienced, “the lost love theme has shifted to a general disorientation inlife, a mourning for lost opportunities.” She emphasizes that thetango is a dance of power. “In a violent society, people use other forms ofdominance to channel their anger,” and the tango is empowering to both men andwomen, she says.Taylor, who holds aPh.D. in social anthropology from the University of Oxford, has written severalbooks–most recently Paper Tangos (1998), which she describes as “a memoir oflearning tango in Argentina.” She leaves for BuenosAires on May 31. About admin FacebookTwitterPrintEmailAddThis last_img read more

Rice Expert Alert Brace available to comment on Arizona and Michigan primaries

first_imgShareDavid Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduAmy Hodges713-348-6777amy.hodges@rice.eduHOUSTON — (Feb. 28, 2012) — As the GOP presidential contenders head into the Arizona and Michigan primaries, Rice University political scientist Paul Brace is available to discuss the candidates’ current standing in the Republican race for the White House.Brace said after Mitt Romney’s three surprise losses to Rick Santorum and national polls indicating a virtual tie between them, losing both Arizona and Michigan would raise serious doubts about Romney’s “inevitability” going into Super Tuesday.“In recent weeks, he has seen Rick Santorum surge in his former home state of Michigan and eat away at his lead in Arizona,” Brace said. “At a minimum, Santorum’s surge could prolong this GOP horse race for many more weeks. More drastically, it could permanently jeopardize Romney’s claim of electability in a way that his formidable organizational and financial advantages may not restore itself in time for a neck-to-neck matchup with President Obama.”Brace is the Clarence L. Carter Professor of Political Science at Rice. He is co-author of “Follow the Leader: Opinion Polls and the Modern Presidents,” author of “State Government and Economic Performance” and co-editor of “The Presidency in American Politics” and “American State and Local Politics.” He has published research in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Political Research Quarterly, Polity, Social Science Quarterly, American Politics Quarterly, Legislative Studies Quarterly and other journals.Rice University has a VideoLink ReadyCam TV interview studio capable of transmitting broadcast-quality standard-definition and high-definition video directly to all news media organizations around the world 24/7. To schedule an interview with Brace, contact Amy Hodges, senior media relations representative at Rice, at, 713-348-6327.-30-Related materials:Paul Brace bio: on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is known for its “unconventional wisdom.” With 3,708 undergraduates and 2,374 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 4 for “best value” among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to AddThislast_img read more

Quantum bugs meet your new swatter

first_img illustration shows rubidium atom qubits isolated by scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and proposed for use in quantum computers. A team led by Rice University computer scientist Anastasios Kyrillidis has proposed a scalable algorithm to significantly accelerate the task of validating the accuracy of quantum computers. (Credit: NIST)Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,970 undergraduates and 2,934 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just under 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for lots of race/class interaction and No. 2 for quality of life by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to Anastasios Kyrillidis Share1NEWS RELEASEEditor’s note: Links to high-resolution images for download appear at the end of this release.David Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduMike Williams713-348-6728mikewilliams@rice.eduQuantum bugs, meet your new swatterRice University scientist leads development of efficient method to characterize quantum computersHOUSTON – (Aug. 20, 2018) – A Rice University computer scientist and his colleagues have proposed a method to accelerate and simplify the imposing task of diagnosing quantum computers.Anastasios Kyrillidis, an assistant professor of computer science who joined Rice this year, led the development of a nonconventional method as a diagnostic tool for powerful, next-generation computers that depend on the spooky actions of quantum bits — aka qubits — which are switches that operate under rules that differ from the 1s and 0s in classical computers. An illustration shows rubidium atom qubits isolated by scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and proposed for use in quantum computers. A team led by Rice University computer scientist Anastasios Kyrillidis has proposed a scalable algorithm to significantly accelerate the task of validating the accuracy of quantum computers. (Credit: NIST) Rice University computer scientist Anastasios Kyrillidis and his colleagues have proposed a scalable algorithm for quantum state tomography to significantly accelerate the imposing task of validating the accuracy of quantum computers. (Credit: Tommy LaVergne/Rice University) University computer scientist Anastasios Kyrillidis and his colleagues have proposed a scalable algorithm for quantum state tomography to significantly accelerate the imposing task of validating the accuracy of quantum computers. (Credit: Tommy LaVergne/Rice University) Return to article. Long Descriptioncenter_img Return to article. Long DescriptionAn illustration shows rubidium atom qubits isolated by scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and proposed for use in quantum computers. A team led by Rice University computer scientist Anastasios Kyrillidis has proposed a scalable algorithm to significantly accelerate the task of validating the accuracy of quantum computers. Courtesy of NISTQuantum computers exploit the principles of quantum mechanics to quickly solve tough problems that would take far longer on conventional supercomputers. They promise future breakthroughs in drug design, advanced materials, cryptography and artificial intelligence.An open-access paper by Kyrillidis and his team appears in the Nature journal Quantum Information.Like any new hardware, Kyrillidis said, quantum computer systems are prone to bugs that need to be squashed. That takes continuous testing to validate their capabilities. The sheer complexity of quantum computers that do exponentially more with every bit requires an immense amount of validation, he said.Kyrillidis’ method focuses on quantum state tomography, a process inspired by medical tomography in which images of a body are captured in slices that are later reassembled into a three-dimensional map. Quantum state tomography differs, he said, as it takes “images” of the state of a quantum computer’s qubits.“When a quantum computer executes an algorithm, it starts at a specific state; think of it as the input to the algorithm,” Kyrillidis said. “As the computer progresses through steps of the algorithm, it’s going through many states. The state at the very end is the answer to your algorithm’s question.”By reassembling the full state from these measurements, Kyrillidis said one can later pinpoint hardware or software errors that may have caused the computer to deliver unexpected results.That takes a lot of measurements, and the computational cost of reconstruction can be high, even for classical computers, he said. Tomography-based analysis of quantum computers with even as few as five or six qubits would be prohibitive without somehow simplifying the task – and state-of-the-art machines have 50 qubits or more. Return to article. Long DescriptionAnastasios KyrillidisQubits are the basic units of information in a quantum computer. Like a bit in a classical computer, each qubit can represent either 1 or 0. Unlike a bit, a qubit can also represent 1 and 0 simultaneously, a state called superposition that exponentially raises the number of calculations an array of qubits can perform at once. To make it more interesting, the state of the qubit as determined by magnetic polarization or electron spin only exists when it’s measured.Kyrillidis said even a modest increase in the number of qubits in a computer dramatically increases its power.“In a system with five qubits, the state can be represented by a 2-to-the-5 times 2-to-the-5 matrix, so it’s a 32-by-32 matrix,” he said. “That’s not big. But in a 20-qubit system like the one at IBM, the state can be characterized by a million-by-million matrix. If we were taking full measurements with regular tomography techniques, we would need to poll the system roughly a million-squared times in order to get enough information to recover its state.”Kyrillidis and his team solved the validation problem with an algorithm they call Projected Factored Gradient Decent (ProjFGD). It takes advantage of compressed sensing, a method that minimizes the amount of incoming data while still ensuring accurate results. He said the method would cut the number of measurements for a 20-qubit system to a mere million or so. “That’s still a big number, but much smaller than a million squared,” he said.Kyrillidis noted that IBM, where he spent a year as a research scientist before coming to Rice, has put a quantum computer in the cloud where anyone can access it and run programs. He said the company reasons that the more people learn about programming for quantum computers now, the more mature their skills will be when the platform comes of age. But there’s a side benefit for him, as it gives him a ready platform to test ProjFGD.“The quantum state tomography tool is generic, and has more to do with the nature of the qubit rather than the specific architecture,” Kyrillidis said. “As quantum computers get more powerful, it can definitely be scaled up to certify systems.”Co-authors are Amir Kalev of the University of Maryland, Dohyung Park of Facebook, Srinadh Bhojanapalli of the Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago, and Constantine Caramanis and Sujay Sanghavi of the University of Texas at Austin.An IBM Goldstine Fellowship and the Department of Defense supported the research.-30-Read the paper at Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.Related materials:Anastasios Kyrillidis: Department of Computer Science: https://csweb.rice.eduGeorge R. Brown School of Engineering: https://engineering.rice.eduImages for download: AddThis Return to article. Long Description An illustration shows rubidium atom qubits isolated by scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and proposed for use in quantum computers. A team led by Rice University computer scientist Anastasios Kyrillidis has proposed a scalable algorithm to significantly accelerate the task of validating the accuracy of quantum computers. (Credit: NIST)last_img read more

Annual US Fall Ritual of Turning Back Clocks by 1 Hour

first_img US Share Share this article Annual US Fall Ritual of Turning Back Clocks by 1 Hour By The Associated Press November 4, 2016 Updated: November 4, 2016 Graphic to be used as a reminder to turn back the clocks an hour on. (Via AP) center_img  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   WASHINGTON—Get ready for the annual fall ritual of turning back your clocks by one hour, and relish that extra hour of sleep this weekend.Daylight saving time is ending and it’s back to standard time for most people in the United States.The change comes at 2 a.m. local time Sunday, and the shift moves one hour of daylight to the morning from the evening.Residents of Hawaii, most of Arizona and some U.S. territories don’t need to fiddle with their clocks because those places don’t observe daylight saving time. Europe made the change last weekend.Daylight saving time returns at 2 a.m. local time on Sunday, March 12. Show Discussionlast_img read more

DHS Increases Annual H2B Visas by 15000 to Help Struggling American Businesses

first_img American businesses will be able to hire 15,000 more foreign workers under the H-2B program, the Department of Homeland Security announced July 17.The H-2B Temporary Nonagricultural Worker program is specifically designed to help U.S. businesses unable to find qualified U.S. workers to perform temporary nonagricultural work.To qualify for the additional visas, businesses must show they are “likely to suffer irreparable harm” caused by a lack of workers for this fiscal year.  Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta concluded that there were not enough quality and willing U.S. workers available to perform temporary nonagricultural labor for businesses this year.Kelly said the decision will be a “one-time increase,” for the annual cap.“As a demonstration of the administration’s commitment to supporting American businesses, DHS is providing this one-time increase to the congressionally set annual cap,” Kelly said. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), one of the advocates of the H-2B program was holding up the process for one of President Donald Trump’s nominees in the Department of Homeland Security. This was mainly so the Republican senator could pressure Kelly to make a favorable decision on the visa program, McClatchy reports.Tillis said on July 17 that he would remove his hold on Trump’s nominee, Lee Francis Cissna for the director of U.S. citizenship and immigration services after Kelly made the favorable decision.“I’m encouraged that Secretary Kelly intends to provide relief to seasonal small businesses across the nation currently suffering from a lack of temporary workers. I look forward to reviewing the details of the rule,” said Tillis in a statement. My statement on @DHSgov‘s intention to provide up to 15,000 additional H-2B visas, helping American small businesses— Senator Thom Tillis (@SenThomTillis) July 17, 2017The additional 15,000 visas will be available from April 1 to September 30.Trump said on last years campaign trail that he was a firm supporter of the program in the past because he used it to find workers for his golf courses and hotels, McClatchy reports.H-2B visas are available for use by any seasonal business that proves they are not enough American workers that can work on temporary, nonagricultural jobs.From NTD Television Share Politics  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   DHS Increases Annual H-2B Visas by 15,000 to Help Struggling American Businesses By NTD Television July 19, 2017 Updated: July 19, 2017center_img Share this article Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly speaks during a news conference April 26, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images) Show Discussionlast_img read more

Police Find Missing 3YearOld in Underground Water Tank

first_img Investigators found the boy’s body in an underground tank used to store water for the park. The hatch was small enough for Harley to fall into, according to Action New Jax.At 1 p.m. on Monday police called on the public for help in determining how Harley died. Police Find Missing 3-Year-Old in Underground Water Tank By Ivan Pentchoukov October 23, 2017 Updated: October 23, 2017  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   Hearts are broken. Gut-wrenching news of 3-year-old Amari Harley’s death. @JSOPIO @ActionNewsJax— Kaitlyn Chana (@KaitlynANjax) October 23, 2017 On Monday, the boy’s family visited the park where his body was found. They said they have no idea how he got into the storage tank.Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said his office will assist with the investigation and work to determine how Harley got into the water tank.“We are incredibly saddened by this tragedy,” the mayor’s office wrote in a statement. “The city will also be inspecting how this tragedy occurred, to ensure that all city parks are safe and secure.”On Monday, city workers placed new covers on the two hatches, which lead to the water tank.Harley was at a birthday party before he went missing at around 3:30 p.m. The family searched for the boy but could not find him.Police said they received a report that the boy was missing at 4:45 p.m. Authorities announced that the boy’s body was found at 8:45 p.m.A person tipped off the investigators to check the water storage tank. Harley’s body was found when the tank was drained.From Follow Ivan on Twitter: @ivanpentchoukov Show Discussion Share “During the short investigation, we have attempted to make contact with everyone that was at the park during the time Amari went missing,” The sheriff’s office wrote in a statement. “We have spoken to numerous witnesses that were present, however, due to the size of the park and the multiple events going on at the time, we believe there are others that may have pertinent information that could assist detectives in this case.”A local news channel recorded the moment the boy’s family and friends were informed of the death. Heart-wrenching screams followed as the shock of the news spread through the crowd. US News Police recovered the body of missing 3-year-old Amari Edward Harley from an underground water storage tank after an hourslong search by more than 50 officers.Harley vanished on Sunday, Oct. 22, from a family gathering in Bruce Park in Jacksonville, Florida, Fox News reported.“We are heartbroken to release that the deceased body of Amari Harley has been located,” The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office wrote on Twitter. Share this article Workers have removed covering. They appear to be trying to pull something out of the tank.— Beth Rousseau (@BethANJax) October 23, 2017 #FINDAMARI – We are heartbroken to release that the deceased body of Amari Harley has been located. Further info will be forthcoming.— Jax Sheriff’s Office (@JSOPIO) October 23, 2017last_img read more