Venice and the built world

first_imgThe “who’s who” of architecture convened in Venice late last month for a series of exhibits, lectures, events, and discussions to help kick off the Venice Biennale, a three-month contemporary architecture festival. Several Harvard faculty members made the trip, including Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) Dean Mohsen Mostafavi, who played a prominent role at the session.“The Venice Biennale provides an important opportunity for the architecture and design community to share and debate innovative ideas from across the world,” said Mostafavi. “As leaders in practice as well as teaching, an impressive number of GSD faculty were involved in the extraordinary installations, projects, and discussions that addressed the exhibition theme of ‘Common Ground.’ ”At the three-day opening of the world’s largest international architecture exhibition, Mostafavi helped to host the official reception for the United States Pavilion at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in collaboration with the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, a leading supporter of architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society. The theme for the pavilion, which is open through Nov. 25, is “Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good.” It is based on a nascent movement by architects, designers, urban planners, and others who take the initiative to solve problematic urban concerns.During the reception, Mostafavi unveiled one of the GSD’s newest publications, “Instigations: Engaging Architecture, Landscape, and the City,” a work developed by GSD and Lars Müller Publishers. An exhibit last year at the School in honor of its 75th anniversary inspired the new book, which examines the GSD’s rich history, as well as its current and future lines of teaching and research.An exhibit last year at the School in honor of its 75th anniversary inspired the new book, which examines the GSD’s rich history, as well as its current and future lines of teaching and research.“This work will be read as something of a pedagogical manifesto and an authoritative history of the School, at least until the 100th anniversary in 25 years,” said Peter Christensen, M.Des.S. ’09, A.M. ’11, a Ph.D. candidate who worked on the exhibit and co-edited the book with Mostafavi.The chance to unveil the work at “the most important venue for the pure exploration of contemporary architectural ideas,” Christensen said, helped to reaffirm the School’s global scope and its reputation as a place devoted to the creation, testing, and execution of ideas.“It’s something, I think, the book attests to.”“This volume’s presentation of the School’s current preoccupations and future directions, as well as its storied past, resonated with the exhibition’s call for an expanded role for architecture in civil society,” said Mostafavi.As part of his official duties, Mostafavi curated an exhibition at the Venice Pavilion sponsored by Louis Vuitton and titled “Nicholas Hawksmoor: Methodical Imaginings,” for which he commissioned works by architectural photographer Hélène Binet. The show helped to document Hawksmoor’s contributions to British and European architectural culture in the early part of the 18th century. Mostafavi also participated in the panel discussion “Spontaneous Urbanisms” that explored the “state of the city and some of the motivating factors for the wave of citizen-led actions to improve the public realm.”Dan D’Oca, a lecturer in urban planning and design at GDS, was in Venice with his firm, Interboro Partners, a New York-based office of architects, urban designers, and planners that was commissioned to create an installation for the courtyard in the American Pavilion.“We wanted to make a space that was comfortable for people touring the exhibition who wanted to rest and hang out, but also a space that worked for different kinds of events,” like workshops, lectures, and panel discussions, said D’Oca.” Their finished design was a functional and recyclable “outdoor living room.”Red foam cubes were part of an installation for the courtyard in the American Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.D’Oca and his team borrowed the foundations of the temporary raised walkways that are erected during Venice’s high-water season to create the base of an elevated stage in the pavilion courtyard. They covered the stage with wooden planks and filled it with red foam cubes. Once the exhibition is over, the group will donate the planks to the city. The cubes will become part of Venice schoolyards and playgrounds.D’Oca called the biennale “a great collection of like-minded people” who “feel very passionately that architecture can play an important role in making cities more just, and more vibrant.”last_img read more

Mimicking birdsongs

first_imgResearchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have developed a simple device that mimics complex birdsongs. The device uses air blown through a stretched rubber tube to re-create birdsongs found in nature, including those of zebra and Bengalese finches. It was developed by L. Mahadevan and his lab group. Mahadevan is the Lola England de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics, of organismic and evolutionary biology, and of physics.The group found that the inherent complexity in bird songs might actually be the result of a simple, controllable instability in the structure of the specialized organ used to create song, known as a syrinx. Their research suggests that birds may have harnessed the physical properties of a soft material to produce and control their songs; thus, evolution may have found simpler ways to create complex behaviors.The research was published recently in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, and was co-authored by Aryesh Mukherjee and Shreyas Mandre, both former group members of the lab.  Mahadevan is also a core faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University.Engineering birdsongsSEAS researchers developed a simple device that mimics complex birdsongs.last_img read more

Vermont Farm Viability Program awards $40,000 to meat processors

first_imgThe Vermont Farm Viability Program announced today $40,000 in grant awards to meat processing facilities in Troy, Randolph, Barre and Enosburg. The grants are the first round of a new funding opportunity for agriculture-related businesses, established to develop and invest in agricultural infrastructure and to improve the viability of agriculture-related businesses. Two subsequent rounds of grant funding will be announced later this year and in 2010. Eleven processors with combined requests of $183,600 applied for $40,000 of available funding. The grant funds are supplied by a private foundation.Four operators ranging from small custom processors to larger commercial processors will use grant funding to expand facilities and increase efficiency, resulting in greater availability of meat processing services for farmers and others raising livestock. The grant recipients are: Brault s Market in Troy, The Royal Butcher in Randolph, Vermont Smoke and Cure in South Barre, and the Enosburg Meat Market. Three of the four offer retail sales on site. The importance of these funds to meat processing facilities in the state cannot be underestimated. We have seen a tremendous increase in demand in people looking to buy local. I call it a renaissance of the past knowing where and how your food is grown is again becoming an important aspect to consumers when buying food, said Secretary of Agriculture Roger Allbee. These grants will give meat processors in Vermont the ability to expand and improve their facilities to help meet the increased demand for Vermont products. With improved processing facilities, farmers have the potential to increase what they produce and it opens new market options to them.Brault s Market, providing custom and commercial meat processing and a retail market in Troy, will construct an addition, increasing their processing area and retail space. The Royal Butcher, a meat processor, butcher shop, retail store and bottle redemption center in Randolph, will expand and improve their processing area. Vermont Smoke and Cure, a smokehouse and processing facility in South Barre distributing ham, bacon and sausage throughout New England and beyond, will purchase processing equipment to increase their production capacity. The Enosburg Meat Market, a retail meat market and custom cutting shop, will construct an addition, adding processing and cooler space while creating separate processing areas for game and farm animals.The Vermont Farm Viability Program was established in 2003 by the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board in partnership with the Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets. The program uses business advisers from the University of Vermont Extension, the Intervale Center, NOFA-VT and independent consultants to provide business planning services to participating farmers. The business advisors work with farmers to focus on specific business goals such as improving production or financial records, performing financial benchmark analysis, evaluating new farm enterprises and value-added processing ventures, developing estate and farm transfer plans, and increasing profitability. On-farm consultations result in the preparation of a written business plan.Upcoming Implementation Grant rounds are announced to farmers that have completed business plans with the Viability Program and to agriculture-related businesses. Farmers and ag-related businesses can find out more and apply by visiting www.vhcb.org/viability.html(link is external) or by calling Program Director Ela Chapin at 828-2117.Source: Vermont Agency of Agruculturelast_img read more

How you can increase website conversions with repetition

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » According to consumer behavior studies, the average consumer needs to see an ad at least three times to remember the product or brand. When a consumer first reads your message, they might just skim over it. The second time they might pay a bit more attention. It’s only by the third time that it actually starts to stick.So the idea that you should have only one call to action (CTA) per page on your credit union website is a costly myth. Your CTA should be used liberally to maximize its impact. After all, the more CTAs present, the more chances a user has to convert.A test on GoodUI found an 84% increase in conversions simply by adding more calls to action to the page.The control page only had CTAs at the top of the page and converted at just 7%. The variation page added repeated CTAs to the bottom of the page and converted at 12.8%.last_img read more

FA fines Hammers

first_img “We would also like to remind all fans attending the match at White Hart Lane that they will be acting as ambassadors for West Ham United and their behaviour should reflect the values and standards of our club. “Working with the Metropolitan Police, the Club will continue to adopt a zero tolerance policy towards any form of discriminatory behaviour and any fan found to be acting inappropriately – including racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic behaviour – will be punished to the full extent of the law and banned from attending matches. “We are rightly proud of our world-famous support home and away and we look forward to the famous “claret and blue army” once again getting behind the team with all their heart and showing the world that following the Hammers means supporting with pride, passion and respect.” Press Association The incident in question occurred after referee Craig Pawson sent off Hammers goalkeeper Adrian just after the hour mark for handling the ball outside of his penalty area. Although the Spaniard’s red card was later overturned on appeal, the FA has announced the club have been punished for the players’ reaction. West Ham have been fined £30,000 by the Football Association for failing to control their players in the recent draw at Southampton. “Following an independent regulatory commission hearing, West Ham United have been fined £30,000 after the club admitted an FA charge of failing to ensure its players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion,” a statement on the FA’s official website read. “The charge was in relation to an incident which occurred in or around the 61st minute of the game against Southampton on 11 February 2015.” Adrian’s dismissal saw West Ham play with 10 men for the remaining half an hour at St Mary’s – with Sam Allardyce’s side able to hold on for a 0-0 stalemate. Allardyce confirmed immediately after the game that they would appeal the red card and, whilst that proved to be successful, the club have now been hit with a fine for the separate charge. It is the second time this season the Hammers have been punished for failure to control their players following an incident in a 2-1 defeat at Everton which saw both clubs handed the same charge. With a derby against local rivals Tottenham on Sunday, West Ham co-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold have issued a letter to fans asking for their behaviour to remain exemplary at White Hart Lane. Previous matches between the two sides have been tarnished by anti-Semitic chants from a minority of West Ham supporters, with Gold and Sullivan calling for travelling fans to be at their best this weekend. “Sam and the team have been working hard on the training pitch this week to put last week’s wrongs right and Sunday’s game offers an exciting opportunity for us to bounce back (from defeat at West Brom),” they said in a statement on West Ham’s website. last_img read more

Trojans look to keep streak alive at home

first_imgJust like the Southeastern Conference in football and the Big East Conference in men’s basketball, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation stands alone in men’s volleyball as the premiere division across the country. No other conference has as many national championships, ranked teams or the caliber of competition as the MPSF annually showcases.Rising star · Junior opposite hitter and team co-captain Murphy Troy, pictured here from last season, helped the Trojans sweep Long Beach State Wednesday night, contributing 20 kills. The Trojans host UC San Diege Friday night. – Daily Trojan file photo. So in a year in which the USC men’s volleyball team has held its status as the top team in the land despite a brutal schedule away from home and three tough early conference matchups, the road ahead will continue to challenge the strength and resolve of the Trojans (5-1, 3-0).That challenge continues tonight as the Trojans welcome No. 12 UC San Diego to the Galen Center, in an inter-conference showdown that marks the seventh straight match USC will face a top 25 opponent.The Trojans are coming off what was arguably their most impressive and efficient match of the year, after they defeated the No. 8 Long Beach State 49ers with relative ease in three sets (30-28, 31-29, 30-23). Led by junior opposite hitter Murphy Troy’s 20 kills, senior middle blocker Hunter Current’s five blocks and sophomore middle blocker Andrew Pizula’s match-high 12 digs, USC looked the part of a No. 1 team in its home opener.No. 12 UCSD (2-4, 1-2) is also coming off its most impressive win of the early season, as the team defeated No. 7 Pepperdine in four sets on Wednesday night for its first win against the Waves in school history.While the Tritons enter this season as one of the youngest teams in the conference, they are led by savvy veterans Frank Fritsch and Calvin Ross. Fritsch, the team’s outside hitter and senior leader, led the team with 366 kills in 2009 while Ross, the team’s top middle blocker, led the Tritons in blocks last season.So though on paper the advantage of experience tends to lean toward the Trojans in this match, the players know that in every match in the MPSF conference they will be facing the opposing team’s best shot. And tonight’s match against the Tritons is likely to be no different.“USC always has a target on its back. By having the reputation as a top contending program, every team wants to claim a win against the Trojans,” Current said.First serve will be at 7 p.m. and will mark just the second time this season the road-weary Trojans will have an opportunity to play in front of their home crowd. The match also marks the last time the team will be in town for the rest of January and the beginning of February, as their upcoming matches are at Pepperdine, Cal State Northridge and Santa Barbara.last_img read more