US Industrialist funds new Oxford School of Government

first_imgA Soviet Union-born, US businessman has donated £75m to Oxford University to help fund the creation of a new finishing school for international statesmen.Leonard Blavatnik, 53, whose fortune is estimated at £3bn, has given the University the money for the planned £100m School of Government, which would be built in the university’s new Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, a former hospital site in the city centre.The proposals are currently under formal consideration, but if the scheme is agreed by the university, it will open in 2012, offering a one-year Master’s degree.It is hoped that the school will create over 40 academic posts and rival the Kennedy school of government at Harvard.Mr Blavatnik, who features on the Forbes Top 100 Billionaire Rich-List, is founder of Access Industries and made his money in oil and other industries. The university has described his donation as “one of the most generous philanthropic gifts in the University’s 900-year history”.There has been a correction to this article: Mr Blavatnik is not Russian but a U.S. citizen. Apologies for the mistake (Ed).last_img read more

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Whoopi Goldberg latest to postpone Union talk

first_imgHis Arsenal team-mate Héctor Bellerín became the first active Premier League footballer to appear at the Union last week.David Cross, known for his stand-up comedy as well as performances in Mr Show and Arrested Development, was scheduled to speak on 21 February.The Union also underlined that it has continued to announce new speakers throughout the term.As well as Wolff, Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto’s visit has been confirmed. He will appear on 5 March.In a previous statement, a spokesperson for the Union said: “The schedules of these high-profile individuals, are as you can imagine, incredibly subject to change.“Whilst the Union committee work hard to ensure that cancellations are minimal, it’s sometimes just beyond our control.“The Chainsmokers have both fallen ill, and needed to cancel as they really can’t take on any other commitments with an incredibly hectic tour schedule.“The other two speakers’ cancellations were also factors for scheduling reasons that were simply beyond our control.“It’s a shame that there’s been three in such short succession, but again, it really is down to random chance.”The Union also said it hoped that their appearances could be rearranged.The society said: “Hopefully we’ll be able to rearrange these visits for a later date – I understand it’s disappointing for members to hear, but they should know that we really are doing that we can to secure their visits.“It’s also worth adding that just as speakers cancel, we’ve also had several additions – busy schedules of course mean that events are sometimes cancelled, but equally means that sometimes things can’t be arranged unless at short notice, which leads to new additions!” Whoopi Goldberg has become the fourth speaker in the past two weeks to postpone a visit to the Oxford Union.The actress and television host has delayed her appearance at the debating society due to “unavoidable changes to her work schedule”.Last Saturday, Cherwell reported that DJ duo The Chainsmokers, German footballer Mesut Özil, and American comedian David Cross had cancelled their visits due to “factors beyond [the Union’s] control”.The talks were set to be four of the highlights in this term’s line-up.A statement offered by the Oxford Union said: “the event has been postponed to a date yet to be decided due to unavoidable work commitments that have come up on Whoopi’s end. We are working to reschedule.“As before, these are factors out of our control, as the schedule’s [sic] of such individuals are incredibly hectic and subject to change.”Goldberg, the second black woman in the history of the Academy Awards to win an acting Oscar, was scheduled to speak on 24 February.Her appearance has been replaced in the Union’s term card with a talk from American journalist Michael Wolff, whose recent book Fire & Fury: Inside The Trump White House attracted international media coverage and topped the New York Times best-sellers list.The Chainsmokers, listed by Forbes as the third-highest paid DJs worldwide, had been due to speak on 13 February.They were unavailable due to illness.Mesut Özil was due to visit on 20 February, just two days before his side’s Europa League last-32 game at home to Östersunds.last_img read more

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News story: British-armed F-35B Lightning jet takes to the skies

first_imgDefence Minister Stuart Andrew revealed that a British F-35 Lightning jet reached the landmark milestone whilst he was on a visit to the Defence Electronics and Components Agency (DECA) in Wales.The Welsh site is set to become a global repair hub for the cutting-edge aircraft, providing crucial maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade services for F-35 avionics, electronic and electrical components, fuel, mechanical and hydraulic systems.The jet, which was flown by a British pilot from RAF 17 Squadron, took to the skies from Edwards Air Force base in southern California for the momentous flight carrying ASRAAM air-to-air missiles.Defence Minister Stuart Andrew said: British-armed F-35B Lightning jet takes to the skies. Copyright Lockheed Martin US.The trials were the first-time UK weapons have flown on a British F-35, and represent a key part of the work-up towards Initial Operating Capability in December.The ASRAAM missiles, built by MBDA in Bolton, are just some of the essential parts the UK is supplying the F-35 programme. ASRAAM stands for ‘Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile’. The missiles will enable pilots to engage and defend themselves against other aircraft ranging in size from large multi-engine aircraft to small drones.British companies are building 15% by value of all 3,000 F-35s planned for production. It is projected that around £35 billion will be contributed to the UK economy through the programme, with around 25,000 British jobs also being supported.The F-35B Lightning multi-role fighter jet is the first to combine radar evading stealth technology with supersonic speeds and short take-off and vertical landing capability.The fighter jets will be jointly manned by the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy and can operate from land and sea, forming a vital part of Carrier Strike when operating from the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers.617 Squadron, based at RAF Marham, will carry out their own weaponry flights in the next few months. British-armed F-35B Lightning jet takes to the skies. Copyright Lockheed Martin US.center_img The F-35 Lightning fleet has moved another step closer to defending the skies and supporting our illustrious aircraft carriers with this landmark flight. Exceptional engineering from the UK is not only helping to build what is the world’s most advanced fighter jet, but is also ensuring that it is equipped with the very best firepower. This flight by a British pilot, in a British F-35 jet with British-built weapons is a symbol of the major part we are playing in what is the world’s biggest ever defence programme, delivering billions for our economy and a game-changing capability for our Armed Forces.last_img read more

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Morrisons’ sales suffer during Christmas

first_imgMorrisons said its Christmas trading performance was “disappointing” as like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, fell by 2.5%.In the six weeks to 30 December 2012, the national supermarket business said the festive period had continued to be challenging, as total sales declined by 0.9%In a statement as part of a Christmas trading update, the company said: “Notwithstanding these difficult market conditions, which we expect to continue through 2013, our sales performance in the period was disappointing.”The firm added that it would need to improve its promotional activity, as well as accelerate its presence in online and the convenience market, as a result of the drop in sales during these six weeks.Dalton Phillips, chief executive of Morrisons, said: “Our 130,000 colleagues have done an outstanding job serving our customers great value food this Christmas, and I would like to thank them for their dedication and hard work. In a difficult market our sales performance was lower than anticipated, but we have a strong business and significant opportunities to advance our strategy, as we accelerate our multi-channel offer.”Morrisons said the outlook for its full-year financial performance will be broadly in line with the board’s expectations.last_img read more

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Les Claypool Comes Out With ‘Soothing Soda’ Line To Help ‘Mellow Things Out’

first_imgLes Claypool has upped the weird with his newest business venture in the soft drink industry. Dubbed “SeaPop,” the Primus bassist describes the beverage “like a ginger-snap dipped in vanilla ice cream.” Going against the saturation of energy drinks, SeaPop is said to be the world’s first “Soothing Soda” and is “here to help mellow things out.”A man of the sea at heart, Claypool designed the drink to sooth both stomach-aches and satisfy the cravings of any sugar-fiending teen. Flavored with ginger, chamomile, and naturally relaxing herbs, SeaPop was designed by Claypool and his teenage son and is currently available at several locations in California. In detail, he explains the inspiration to this new drink as follows:Years ago I accidentally ruptured my inner ear scuba diving off the California coast and since that day I’ve found myself a bit more susceptible to the adverse effects of motion. Not liking how most of the over-the-counter medications made me feel, I sought out alternatives. In 1945, my grandfather, petty officer third class Glen Claypool, was a landing craft pilot in the South Pacific. Just after his 98th birthday I asked him what he and the soldiers he ferried to the beaches did about sea sickness. He promptly quipped, “Well, you just hung yer’ head over the side and let her go!”Well, I don’t like to “let her go” so it became my notion to create a tasty, natural, soothing beverage to help tame the rough seas within. With the guidance of an herbalist friend and utilizing the picky palate of my soda-slurping teenage son, we blended ginger with other traditional, stomach- soothing herbs as well as a pinch of cane sugar. We then added some bubbles for sparkle and (after more test batches than I care to admit)…Voilá! SeaPop was born. Like a ginger-snap dipped in vanilla ice cream, SeaPop’s unique flavor profile and subtle sweetness is a taste to behold. In a world saturated with energy drinks, SeaPop is here to help mellow things out.Ahoy and enjoy,Les ClaypoolHere are some interesting reviews (or “tales) from some musically familiar characters!Dean Ween: Mal de mer has gotten the best of many a young seafaring lad and fair maiden. This doesn’t make you any less of a sailor but alas, there is a tasty solution that serves many purposes—to refresh the headstrong angler while quenching their thirst, while also relieving their motion sickness, thus enabling you to focus on your goal: to vanquish the beasts that lay in wait, looking for a meal. You need not be concerned with the stony lonesome anymore–for Sea Pop has arrived. It also goes great with booze; whiskey to be exact. Your wandering eyes will search no more, throw away that Dramamine and Bonine and crack an ice cold SeaPop. Did I say it really goes great with whiskey as well?Sean Ono Lennon: Living on a tour bus is not unlike living at sea: musicians are shipmates, America is our ocean, and when the riding gets rough we crack the cooler and suck down a few bottles of Sea Pop. There’s nothing better than that gingery brew to quiet a queasy sea dog. When there’s mutiny in your midsection, or an uprising in your abdomen, this Admiral knows to rely on Sea Pop to put down the rebellion.Check for locations where SeaPop is sold here![H/T JamBase / Photo via SeaPop Facebook]last_img read more

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Grouplove Releases New Single ‘Do You Love Someone’ From New Album ‘Big Mess’

first_imgCalifornia alt-rockers Grouplove have shared a new song from their highly anticipated new album Big Mess. The song, called “Do You Love Someone”, is a Pixies-esque rocker, showcasing lead singer Christian Zucconi‘s impressive vocals with a driving beat and the band’s typical psychedelic guitar sound. The song follows “Welcome To Your Life” as the second single released from the new album, which is due out September 9th.Click here to pre-order the album on iTunes, and check out “Do You Love Somone” and previous single “Welcome To Your Life” below.“Do You Love Someone”“Welcome To Your Life”last_img

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Turkuaz Releases Hilarious Video Ahead Of Upcoming Brooklyn Steel Throwdown

first_imgFunk powerhouse Turkuaz are currently on a massive tour this fall, nearing 50 stops spanning coast-to-coast that will last through the end of December. The band will make a noteworthy stop at the newly opened Brooklyn Steel for a hometown throwdown on Saturday night with The Suffers, and we cannot wait. In celebration of the upcoming performance, bassist Taylor Shell took a stroll through Brooklyn to explore the finest steel, discovering some of the city’s hidden gems ahead of their headlining performance at the esteemed Brooklyn Steel.Watch the hilarious video below:Tickets to Turkuaz’s Brooklyn Steel show are currently available here.Don’t Do Me Like That: An All-Star Tribute To Tom Petty with members of Turkuaz, Twiddle, & Kung Fu @ American Beauty NYCTurkuaz Debuts New Disco-Infused Tune, “On The Run”, With An Insane Music VideoWith the band’s recent nonstop trajectory, it would be a huge mistake to miss Turkuaz on tour. Visually, they’re a sight to behold, from synchronized dance moves down to a coordinated color scheme, but musically, they’re one of the tightest funk acts in the game right now. Live for Live Music is thrilled to be teaming up with the dynamic nine-piece to provide behind-the-scenes coverage, real-time recaps, and more updates from the road throughout the cross-country tour. Meet us at the Saturday night show!last_img read more

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Embracing the magic of science

first_imgThis is one in a series of profiles showcasing some of Harvard’s stellar graduates.All her life, Jennifer Cloutier ’13 wanted to understand how things work.“When you’re a kid, basic mechanisms like household appliances can seem magical,” she said, explaining her fascination with science. “I wanted to understand and explain that magic.”Cloutier’s curiosity has long since evolved from kitchen items to stem cells. As an undergraduate researcher in Professor Konrad Hochedlinger’s lab with the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, she takes adult skin cells from mice, infects them with viruses to express certain proteins, and then examines how those proteins prompt the cells to reprogram or dedifferentiate into stem cells. “I study why that happens, how we can improve the process, and how we can make it safer for any future therapeutics,” she said.Another person in Cloutier’s position might have taken a different approach to the question of why things happen. When she was 6 years old, a two-car collision changed the family forever. The accident left Cloutier and her brother, who was 4, paralyzed.Missing more than half a year of school and sharing a room with her brother as they both recovered, the Canadian Cloutier said, prompted her lifelong obsession.“I was exposed to learning without the pressure of school, or the mentality of going to school as work,” she said. “I think that was helpful in developing a real love of learning. I think that you learn to value what you do have.”Athletic accomplishments were another key to Cloutier’s recovery. Initially uninterested in physical activity, she nonetheless tried new sports such as seated hockey, downhill skiing, and water skiing, for which she won a gold medal in her first year of competition with Canada’s National Water Ski Development Team in 2008. Her confidence hit new heights.“For a young person with a disability, feeling confident in a physical activity is a huge proponent of being confident with other things in life,” she said. “You know, if you can do a backflip on the water, then you’re probably going to be OK.”Even with that confidence, Cloutier said, the idea of going to Harvard seemed like a far-off dream. “My dad’s the first person in his family to go to college,” she said. “I didn’t have any idea how far getting good grades would take me. But my dad always said, ‘Just do your best, and let’s see where it gets you.’”Now accepted into Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology, an M.D. initiative that bridges scientific research and medical practice, Cloutier said she hopes one day to be a principal investigator with her own lab, seeing a small group of patients relevant to her research.“Harvard’s changed me a lot,” she said. “I signed up wanting to be challenged. I just wanted to see what I could do, and I feel fortunate and astounded to have the opportunity to find out.”last_img read more

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SEIA: U.S. corporate demand for solar power now tops 8,350MW, and more growth is coming

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renewables Now:The US topped 8,350 MW of commercial solar capacity after over 1,280 MW was added by corporate players in 2019, with Apple, Amazon and Walmart being the biggest consumers of solar electricity.The figures were published in a new report by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) that highlights the major role of corporations in terms of investments as they work to achieve their clean energy commitments. According to the statistics, the newly-added capacity in the commercial sector last year made 2019 the second largest year on record. Of the total capacity that was hooked to the grid by corporates last year, some 845 MW came from onsite systems.SEIA’s annual report contains data for both on-site and off-site installations.“Businesses are choosing solar energy because it can significantly curb their energy costs and add predictability during these uncertain times,” said SEIA’s president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper. She went on to say that the corporate sector is expected to make even greater investments in solar as businesses look to address the climate crisis and reach clean energy goals.All corporate players are making strides towards their clean energy targets, some of them undertaking aggressive plans for the next decade. Among them are Google, which plans to run its data centres and corporate facilities on 100% carbon-free power by 2030 and Facebook, with its commitment to reaching net zero emissions across its value chain in 2030. The social media giant was one of the largest buyers of off-site solar in 2019 that helped it jump to the 9th spot in SEIA’s list from 27th before.SEIA anticipates that around 5 GW of off-site commercial solar capacity will be brought live over the next few years as corporations continue to be “walking the walk when it comes to their clean energy commitments.”[Veselina Petrova]More: US corporate solar market swells to 8.3 GW, Apple remains on top SEIA: U.S. corporate demand for solar power now tops 8,350MW, and more growth is cominglast_img read more

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Climate Change: Present Tense

first_imgLet’s stop talking about climate change in the future tense. Climate change is happening here and now, right in our Blue Ridge backyard. “You can’t get away, and yet you can’t solve it by yourself either,” said Jennifer Marlon, a research scientist at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies whose work includes studying climate change. “We’re seeing more flooding. We’re seeing more intense precipitation. When we do get rainfall, we’re getting more of it and in a shorter time period. But that’s really only happening in eastern U.S. and the Midwest and the north. The opposite is happening in Texas and the Southwest; it’s becoming hotter and drier there.” Rural communities also face steep challenges from climate change, especially in the agricultural and forest products industries. Those economic blows could compound the demographic and poverty challenges that already plague much of the rural South.  Freshman U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and progressive Democrats are rallying for the Green New Deal, a policy package that aims to shift all electricity generation to renewable sources, provide job training, and support those transitioning from coal and other fossil fuels. The idea already has proven popular enough to spawn a state-level spinoff in Virginia. I’d call it the new normal, but there’s no normal anymore. And while we already see the growing effects of climate change happening now, the Fourth National Climate Assessment reports that it’s only going to get worse: “While some climate change impacts, such as sea level rise and extreme downpours, are being acutely felt now, others, like increasing exposure to dangerously high temperatures—often accompanied by high humidity—and new local diseases, are expected to become more significant in the coming decades.” Auto- and industrial-generated air pollution combines with high humidity and temperatures to create major air quality problems. In addition to more extreme weather events, the South has become increasingly urbanized. Cities create a heat island effect, which compounds the effects of warming temperatures and more frequent heat waves.  But there is no escape—not from climate change nor from the geopolitical chaos that it brings. Its effects can be seen throughout the region—flooding in the mountains, hurricane damage and red algal tides on the coast, and wildfire everywhere.  Scientists tell us that extreme weather events like this will only become more common as the climate continues to change. Climate change is no longer a future consideration. It’s happening now, and its effects are being felt everywhere. Floyd County, where I live, was a destination for the back-to-the-land movement of the ’60s and ’70s. People moved there to seek personal freedom and lay the groundwork for the alternative culture for which Floyd is known today. Some deliberately moved to Floyd—and to other communities in the Blue Ridge and Appalachia—to retreat from an expected environmental and societal collapse. As global temperatures have warmed and Earth’s polar regions have become warmer, the changing temperature gradient between the poles and equator have affected the jet stream, which has resulted in more erratic weather around the world.  Hurricanes are striking the South in greater numbers and intensity. Algal blooms created a toxic “red tide” that plagued Florida through the fall. Virginia’s Tangier Island, which gave the world soft shell crab, is disappearing beneath the rising Chesapeake Bay. And communities at the urban-wildland interface also are at risk from wildfires, which have become more severe as a result of drought and decades of fire suppression. Add in the growing number of high-density residential structures, and we can expect more events like the 2016 Great Smoky Mountains wildfires, which killed 14 people, injured 134, destroyed more than 2,000 buildings in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, and burned more than 16,000 acres. Massive storms and flooding are creating refugee crises that directly affect international geopolitics. Military officials have identified climate change as a threat to national security, not just from the direct impacts of weather but also from the chaos and political instability it creates. The Fourth National Climate Assessment, a report compiled from 13 federal agencies and released earlier this year, said that the South and the Midwest are the regions likely to suffer the largest losses from climate change, which threatens both urban and rural areas.  The floods caught everyone by surprise, including me. In the days just before the winter solstice, western Virginia again saw heavy rain, compounded by a foot-and-a-half of melting snow. The event was not nearly as chaotic as Hurricane Michael, but roads again flooded in places I’d seen closed a couple of months before. This is going to be a regular thing, I reckon. Construction of interstate gas pipelines along steep mountain slopes has resulted in widespread erosion and runoff during heavy rainstorms.  As weather grows more chaotic, elected officials are slowly coming around. Republicans representing southern states see the effects on their constituents, and Democrats are increasingly elevating climate change as a priority.  The costs of wind and solar projects have dramatically fallen in recent years and are economically competitive with fossil fuels. When building new facilities, large tech companies like Amazon and Google are requiring that most or all of their electricity come from renewable sources. These developments in the private sector are making it possible for some progressive state governments to pursue a larger shift to clean energy.  I left Blacksburg early after my wife called to warn about rising waters. The river hadn’t flooded onto the road yet, but it was getting close. A passing driver flashed his lights—never a good sign. As I topped the next hill, I saw a small river running across the road. When people think about the effects of climate change, they often envision melting icebergs or rising sea levels along the coast line. I live in the mountains, where we’re not downstream from anyone. And yet Hurricane Michael flooded dozens of roads in Floyd County, destroyed driveways, carved up dirt roads and brought transportation to a dead halt.  All of this is reason for hope, but it’s still just a small step toward the global action that’s needed. Marlon said that we can take individual action, too: by shifting our eating habits, more closely considering what we’re buying, engaging with community and elected leaders on the issue.last_img read more

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