Lagrangian analysis is a powerful way to analyse the output of ocean circulation models and other ocean velocity data such as from altimetry. In the Lagrangian approach, large sets of virtual particles are integrated within the three-dimensional, time-evolving velocity fields. Over several decades, a variety of tools and methods for this purpose have emerged. Here, we review the state of the art in the field of Lagrangian analysis of ocean velocity data, starting from a fundamental kinematic framework and with a focus on large-scale open ocean applications. Beyond the use of explicit velocity fields, we consider the influence of unresolved physics and dynamics on particle trajectories. We comprehensively list and discuss the tools currently available for tracking virtual particles. We then showcase some of the innovative applications of trajectory data, and conclude with some open questions and an outlook. The overall goal of this review paper is to reconcile some of the different techniques and methods in Lagrangian ocean analysis, while recognising the rich diversity of codes that have and continue to emerge, and the challenges of the coming age of petascale computing.
A researcher from the University of Oxford has been awarded £50,000 in prize money for his work on a device that uses the revolutionary technology of augmented reality to help blind people ‘see.’ Dr Stephen Hicks, a research associate at the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neuroscience, has been working on the ‘smart-glasses’ and other related technologies for the past five years. The Royal Society recently bestowed on him the 2013 Brian Mercer Award for Innovation, which is designed to bridge the funding gap between scientific research and venture capital investment.When completed, the device will use two miniscule cameras, an infrared projector and advanced computer software to recognise nearby objects and project them onto the lenses. The lenses then act like a personalised movie-screen for the wearer, who can see a ‘highlight-reel’ of objects in front of them. Speaking to Cherwell, Dr Hicks said, “This is the beginning of a golden-age for computerised vision. We are seeing smart recognition technology in everything from cameras to smartphones to self-driving cars. It’s entirely possible that at some point in the future this technology could be improved to the point where severely vision impaired individuals would be able to read signs or even large-print books.” A spokesperson for the Royal Society said, “Dr Hicks’ work is truly inspirational; his invention has the potential to transform the lives of many and he is a worthy recipient of the Brian Mercer Award.”One third-year Hertford biologist said, “This truly is an exciting time to be alive.”
In part six of our series aimed at new or expanding bakery businesses, we tackle the topic of choosing and maintaining equipmentThere’s a dreamy, far-away look some people get when referring to the love of their life. That’s what happens to bakers when they talk about a favourite oven. Or a prover that has changed their lives.But love doesn’t always run smooth and, for an entrepreneur making their first equipment purchases, there are many elements to consider.“Someone new to the trade should definitely seek advice from an experienced baker,” says Lee Smith of Bexhill Farm Kitchen.Mark Sheath of Jengers Bakery says his 30 years in the baking industry – and the experience of his team – has been a big help in choosing equipment. Sheath purchased an existing, fully equipped bakery, but the equipment had not been regularly serviced as the owners were retiring.“Once in the business, we identified potential issues and had the old equipment fully serviced, which highlighted our needs going forwards,” he explains. “We worked with what we had and have slowly replaced the equipment as and when required.”This included replacing two gas provers with electric ones, and buying a second-hand dough divider from Brook Food Processing Equipment when the business grew to such a size that hand-scaling loaves was no longer practical.In its first few years the business also purchased a second-hand spiral mixer to replace an old mixer that was not up to the work required, and a second-hand retarder prover to help with production and efficiency. “We use downtime to make morning goods and doughnuts and set the timer to come on and prove ready to fry the doughnuts the next day,” says Sheath.The first site bought by Martin Hunt of Joe’s Bakery in Bristol was a small back-street Victorian bakery with very little equipment, and what equipment was there was very old – including a steam tube oven built in 1905.“I had to think about re-equipping from the start,” he says. And, not being a baker by trade, he had a lot to learn, and quickly.“I started going to the local Bristol Master Bakers meetings, went to every bakery auction in the area – whether I needed equipment or not – and befriended a few local bakers. I also started subscribing to British Baker, which was very informative.”This gave him an understanding of the availability and price of second-hand bakery equipment, and he found that most bakery owners were friendly and happy to help him.“From this newly acquired knowledge I was able to start re-equipping the bakery with small and affordable pieces, generally second-hand but new if I could afford it.”Equipment supplier Reiser will typically visit a customer to get an understanding of their business, what they want to make, and their desired throughput in terms of speed and capacity requirements.“Our preference is to work with our customers as a partnership from the beginning to the end of a project,” explains Reiser UK & Ireland bakery sales manager James Fitch. “This way expectations on requirements such as size and cost are aligned much earlier in the process. It’s important to understand the production process from start to finish to identify any bottlenecks and to be sure we are offering the current solution to the customer needs.”When it comes to financing, Reiser says it is usually more cost-effective to purchase equipment rather than hire it – a view echoed by Hunt of Joe’s Bakery.“I tend to put larger pieces of equipment on hire purchase (HP) and pay outright for smaller pieces,” he adds. “This is a fairly straightforward decision now that we are established, but appreciate that for newly established or fast-growing businesses the cash flow considerations are vital.”As for the question of buying new versus second-hand, Hunt says he prefers to buy ovens new and put these on HP. “Ovens are the core of the bakery and will last a very long time, so I think it is worth investing in new. Some of our larger equipment, such as bread plant, was bought second-hand, but refurbished by a local bakery engineer and has served us very well.”He will consider second-hand for smaller pieces of equipment – such as tables and bread moulders – and buy them outright.As for maintenance, many small bakeries will carry out basic work themselves while turning to local engineering firms for their other needs.“We are lucky as we have three such firms locally, but we tend to stick to just the one and also buy quite a bit of equipment from them so that they have an ongoing interest in giving us a good service,” says Hunt.Sheath bought a second-hand deck oven from a local supplier and engineer of bakery equipment and, 30 years later, still uses the same firm for much of his equipment.Sheath considers himself “extremely lucky” to have a local retired bakery engineer in the village. He has set up a rolling maintenance programme to identify the needs of all its equipment, and also has a maintenance contract for all refrigeration kit.“Regular servicing is a must, you simply cannot have breakdowns in the middle of the night and have to call your customers to say there won’t be any bread today. It’s not acceptable,” adds Sheath.Smith at Bexhill Farm Kitchen also uses a local engineer to maintain his equipment.Reiser also says regular servicing and preventive maintenance is essential, but finds it is often overlooked.“The importance of training on-site engineering personnel also cannot be underestimated,” adds Fitch. “We offer on-or off-site training dependent on the customer requirements and have a field service team who will service equipment in the field as required.”Hunt adds that, in the case of larger pieces of new equipment, it will use the main agent to carry out maintenance for a few years at least.“Having said that, I tend to use equipment suppliers that are not too far away from us, as I begrudge paying hundreds of pounds in ‘travel time and mileage’ for an engineer to do, for example, a 30-minute job.”He adds he will sometimes get equipment refurbished to maintain its working life. “Refurbishment can cost as much as buying second-hand, but I feel that I then know the equipment is back to ‘good as new’, whereas second-hand can look pristine but not actually be in very good condition,” he adds.Smith says the usual reason he has for replacing equipment is because of the need for something bigger – although he recently had to change a mixer because one fell off a table.Another reason for investing in new kit is rising wage costs – and concerns about recruitment – with businesses buying new equipment to boost productivity.This is why Joe’s Bakery recently bought a large walk-in freezer and two new deck ovens, and currently has a refurbished four-pocket roll plant on order. “This investment level will almost certainly continue for a few more years,” he says, adding that he tends not to go for the latest technology. “I don’t think it’s worth the risk; better to let someone else test it out first.”Of course, there is risk with any purchase, and Smith says he made two new purchases that didn’t work properly, one of which was an oven that was eventually changed for a different one by the manufacturer.In the case of a troublesome prover, the company Smith bought it from tried to solve the many problems he had with it. Ultimately, when they refused to change it, he got them to take it away and bought another prover from a different company.Like any relationship, getting the right equipment needs consideration, hard work and, possibly, advice from a third party. But no-one said true love would be easy.From the must-haves to the desirables… all the kit you needAnn Wells, group marketing director at Brook Food Processing Equipment, offers advice on the essential starting kit for a new bakery business producing a small range of goodsWe see new-start and expanding businesses week after week, looking for this advice, and it’s a pleasure to work alongside bakers at this formative stage and beyond as the businesses grow.In its most basic form, all a bakery really needs in terms of main equipment – the stuff with a plug on – is an oven and a mixer. These are the two pieces of equipment you really can’t do without.A deck oven is the norm for this kind of bakery, whether retail or wholesale, as they can effectively bake various products well.A spiral mixer is most essential for bread and, if the budget allows, then an additional planetary style mixer for pastry, fillings and cake would be recommended.With the rise in artisan bread production many more bakers at this scale opt for long fermentation methods, although most sites still have a prover of some sort for some of the product range, so a basic, manual-fill cupboard-style prover is next on the list.After that it starts to get luxurious, and labour-saving.Rolling out pastry is hard work, so if producing morning goods, sweet pastries or pies and tarts, then a pastry sheeter – also known as a brake or roller – is a lifesaver. They speed up pastry production as well as reduce aching limbs and can be used for other products if the business needs, such as sugarpaste and some biscuit doughs.After these basic pieces of kit, the rest that can be added will be additional labour-and time-savers, such as semi-automatic moulders, retarders etc, but these aren’t all essential on day one, and especially not if there is a tight budget.Other things to consider when setting up are all the sundries needed to work alongside the kit – the baskets, the trays, the tins and the tools. These can be pricey, so research what’s needed for fermentation, baking, storage etc.Always consider getting the kit into the site as early as possible. Invest time and effort in finding a site with good access with a door wide enough to get the oven in.It’s not 100% essential as some equipment can be dismantled, but the hassle and cost implications are worth bearing in mind.Likewise, ensure you have enough electrical power coming into the building for the equipment you’re considering. Most machines are fairly low in terms of kW rating, but the oven will be the biggest pull and it is expensive to upgrade supplies if they aren’t sufficient, something you wouldn’t want to do in a rented building.Powering up: making sense of energy Having the right kit for your bakery is one thing – another important consideration is paying for the juice that will make it run.A good place to start is to assess your business needs, advises the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), while considering areas such as finances, how you will mainly use the energy provided, how often you need access to sufficient power, and whether your company has an environmentally friendly focus.When finding the most suitable tariff and contract, think about energy prices, how often they fluctuate, and how flexible your contract needs to be. Also, understand what different supplier tariffs include.“You might also want to choose a supplier tariff that combines your gas and electricity payments, offering a dual package, rather than being charged for them separately,” says the FSB. “Deals like this could save you money on your bills in the long run.”Energy contract types vary from supplier to supplier and can include:Fixed term – you pay a set price until the end of a fixed term, such as 12 months. This provides protection against rising prices, but you may have to pay a fee if you leave before the contract ends.Pass through contracts – the price you pay can vary as non-commodity prices rise and fall. This contract is usually only available to larger SMEs.When entering a contract, it’s important to be wary of roll-on contracts, according to the FSB, as these automatically renew, regardless of changes in energy prices.Mark Sheath at Jengers Bakery agrees it is important to look around the marketplace for a provider. “Take independent advice, especially if you are baking at night as we do,” he says.One option is using a specialist energy broker or third-party intermediary, rather than dealing directly with energy providers, which can save costs.Martin Hunt of Bristol-based Joe’s Bakery warns that he had a bad experience when an intermediary went bankrupt.“The power supplier tried to make us pay about £30,000 that we knew we didn’t owe,” he says. “We stood our ground and won our case, but it has made me wary ever since. Having said that, we do now use an intermediary; but only because I have known the agent since our school days and trust him to do a good job.”Recent years have also brought the rise of independent energy suppliers. Lee Smith at Bexhill Farm Kitchen says using one of these for his electricity supply has saved his business a lot of money.Further information on sourcing an energy supplier is available at fsb.org.uk.Showing their mettle: tins and traysBeyond the big pieces of kit, other essential equipment for a bakery operation are racks and trays suitable for the particular goods a business will be producing.Popular options include aluminium baking sheets and perforated French stick, bloomer and Vienna trays, according to supplier Invicta Group, which adds that one of its best-sellers is its cup trays range (pictured) with a patented tray-locking system. A selection of bread tins, as single units or in straps, is also useful.Invicta also advises that a heavy-duty stainless steel preparation table is a good investment, as is a selection of quality, plastic ingredients tubs, containers, mixing bowls and sieves, plus plastic bakery trays for finished products.“It’s worth investing in quality equipment,” says Invicta Group business development manager Lee Croucher. “Not only will it perform better – thereby improving product quality and cutting down on wastage – but it will also have a longer lifespan, which ultimately saves money.”Some bakers purchase second-hand tins and trays, but Croucher suggests buyers should be wary. “The main factors that need to be considered are the general condition of the equipment on offer and what additional money needs to be spent to bring it up to standard, for instance cleaning, repair or recoating,” he says.Meanwhile, Bundy Baking Solutions says bakers should ensure they are not washing pans with harsh chemicals or using automatic dishwashers if not recommended by the manufacturer.“When a pan starts to become excessively dirty or loses its non-stick properties, operators start using parchment papers or more oil to ensure proper release of baked goods,” says Jason Bowman, Bundy vice president – Europe. “However, this can be expensive and, in the case of oil, change the overall product formula or cause even more carbon build-up.”Bundy offers a service that cleans the pans, removes carbon build-up and any remaining coating and then recoats the pan. The company can also straighten warped or damaged pans. “In essence, businesses are getting almost new pans at a fraction of the cost,” says Bowman.Never gonna give you upWe asked bakers what piece of equipment (excluding core kit such as ovens, fridges and mixers), they could never part with. Discover what they find essential below:“One of the first pieces of new equipment we purchased was a spray gun for spraying greasing emulsion onto the tins. Greasing is a horribly dirty job and, years ago, the baker would use an old grease cloth. A grease gun is a wonderful piece of equipment every bakery should have.” Mark Sheath, Jengers Bakery“I would never give up my hydraulic 16-piece divider and my 22-piece bun divider moulder.” Lee Smith, Bexhill Farm Kitchen“The Mono ‘L’ sealer I bought new 30 years ago and has been in daily use ever since. It is an extremely reliable and flexible piece of equipment and sealing soft rolls and tray-cakes keeps them so much better.” Martin Hunt, Joe’s Bakery
The UK’s food and drink industry has urged the government to pause current and planned consultations or risk trade associations not responding.The call came in a letter to environment secretary Michael Gove that was signed by more than 30 trade associations, including the Federation of Bakers, the Association of Bakery Ingredient Manufacturers and Food and Drink Federation. (See full list below.)It highlighted that business throughout the UK food chain, and their trade associations, were now “totally focused on working to mitigate the catastrophic impact of a no-deal Brexit” with large amounts of time, money, people and effort diverted as a result.“At this moment of potential crisis for our industry, it cannot be ‘business as usual’ within government,” stated the letter, which was sent to Gove last Friday (8 February).“Neither we nor our members have the physical resources nor organisational bandwidth to engage with and properly respond to non-Brexit related policy consultations or initiatives at this time.“Government has recruited many extra staff; we cannot. We very strongly urge you, therefore, to require of your Cabinet colleagues that a range of current and planned consultations that will impact food and drink, some of which are expected shortly, are firmly and clearly placed on ‘pause’ until this uncertainty is over.”The associations warned that if the government pressed ahead with the consultations it would be seen by some “as a sign of bad faith” and many organisations “may decline to respond”.Consultations named in the letter included an overhaul of the current producer responsibility programme, proposals for a tax on plastic items with less than 30% recycle content and proposals to further restrict advertising on high fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) food and drink.The government has already come under fire this year for launching a consultation on banning price promotions, with the FDF branding health chiefs “out of touch with economic realities”.The full list of signatories are:Ian Wright CBE, chief executive, Food and Drink FederationPaul Rooke, head of policy, Agricultural Industries ConfederationAndrew Pollard, president, Association of Bakery Ingredient ManufacturersPete Robertson, president, Association of Cereal Food ManufacturersDavid Camp, chief executive, Association of Labour ProvidersChris Stemman, director, British Coffee AssociationWalter Anzer, director general, British Food Importers and Distributors AssociationJohn Hyman, chief executive, British Frozen Food FederationJack Ward, chief executive, British Growers AssociationNick Allen, chief executive officer, British Meat Processors AssociationRichard Griffiths, chief executive, British Poultry AssociationDeclan O’Brien, director general, British Specialist Nutrition AssociationNick Bennett, chairman, Council for Responsible Nutrition UKJudith Bryans, chief executive, Dairy UKGordon Polson, director, Federation of BakersJames Bielby, chief executive, Federation of Wholesale DistributorsNigel Jenny, chief executive, Fresh Produce ConsortiumDavid Thomson, chief executive officer, Food and Drink Federation ScotlandAndy Richardson, chairman, Food and Drink Wales Industry BoardGraham Keen, executive director, Health Food Manufacturers’ AssociationLiz Murphy, chief executive officer, International Meat Trade AssociationBob Price, director and policy advisor, National Association of Cider ManufacturersTerry Jones, director general, National Farmers’ UnionMichael Bell, executive director, Northern Ireland Food and Drink AssociationDick Searle, chief executive, Packaging FederationAndrew Curtis, director general, Potato Processors’ AssociationAndrew Kuyk CBE, director general, Provision Trade FederationJames Withers, chief executive, Scotland Food and DrinkSimon Cripps, executive chairman, Seasoning and Spice AssociationJames Smith, chairman, UK Flavour AssociationKate Nicholls, chief executive officer, UK HospitalityDr. Sharon Hall, chief executive, UK Tea & Infusions Association
Dopapod dropped some surprise news this morning. With the announcement of their fifth studio album, MEGAGEM, due out October 27, which will be supported by a lengthy fall tour through New Year’s Eve, the band has also announced that they will take a year hiatus. “Following seven years of ceaseless touring, the sabbatical is a blueprint for wellness borne from love and mutual respect amongst old friends,” the press release explains. “It’s a pre-emptive move of self-preservation inspired by the TED Talk, ‘The Power of Time Off’.”“Every seven years this guy closes his design firm and everyone who works for the company works on their own projects for the year,” says keyboardist and singer/songwriter Eli Winderman. “When they come back, everyone is inspired and working with a newfound sense of excitement.”Fair enough, the band shows no immediate signs of slowing down. With today’s album announcement, Dopapod have also shared the first single “Plaese Haalp,” available as a ‘name your own price’ download on their Bandcamp page. MEGAGEM is available for pre-order at iTunes and you can watch the studio shot video for “Plaese Haalp” below.Choosing to record MEGAGEM’s instrumentals at the solar-powered Mountain Star Studios in Black Hawk, Colorado during the dead of winter, Dopapod found an optimal opportunity to unplug from all other noise. “The lack of oxygen led to some crazy ideas,” says guitarist Rob Compa. “When combined with the lack of phone service, human contact, or any other distractions, it allowed us to have the freedom to make a lot of that weird inspiration become reality.” Compa and Winderman knocked out the vocals soon after, in two days, at More Sound Recording Studios in Syracuse, NY.“A lot of these songs are also reactions to how the world is changing, about living your life in the present moment and the inner dialogues of the mind,” says Winderman. “MEGAGEM could be the brain, or it could also be a cell phone, controlling your subconscious thoughts and, thus, changing your habits. I think a lot of people are feeling this way because of the boost in technology, with everybody addicted and attached to their phones.”Being in that present moment took work, personal reflection and a new perspective on the power of silence. According to the press release, former drummer Neal “Fro” Evans reconnected with Dopapod after sharing his experience on a ten-day Vipassana silent meditation retreat that brought him great clarity. Inspired by this trip and the changes they brought him, Winderman followed suit and embarked on the sojourn himself. Evans rejoined Dopapod last year, following the band’s three-year stretch with drummer Scotty Zwang.When the band pushed on after parting ways with Neal the first time, Winderman says, they were operating out of fear. When they continued to tour past the point of good health, it was for fear that slowing down would render them irrelevant. Identifying the root emotion that drives big band decisions has been yet another fruit borne from meditation and self-improvement, and Winderman’s careful not to let fear drive any more big life decisions ever again. “The seed of the lyrics living in the present moment stemmed from this whole,” he says. “That’s what every meditation practice trains us to teach.”The fruits of this practice illuminate MEGAGEM’s joyous journey of self-understanding, as its buoyant compositions make space for lessons of personal growth and embracing the now.If there’s another benefit to the sabbatical, it’s an investment toward their faith in MEGAGEM. Being confident enough to let the songs seep into the world for a while, to let people chew on it, and not worry about being sustained by the visceral or immediate rush of seeing Dopapod live is an exercise in the confidence that comes with thoughtful decision making that ensures the creative juices will keep flowing for years to come.“MEGAGEM and the fall tour are our way of seeing everyone before we take some time to work on other parts of our lives,” says Winderman. “In doing so, we hope the progress we make in our personal lives will cross over into Dopapod. From all of the other bands who we’ve come up with, to all of the music fans that have shown us such incredible support over the years, we just want to say thank you. Dopapod would be nothing without you.”Dopapod // Tour DatesOct 26 — Philadelphia, PA — Theater of Living ArtsOct 27 — New York, NY — Irving PlazaOct 28 — New Haven, CT — College Street Music HallOct 29 — Burlington, VT — Higher Ground BallroomOct 31 — Saratoga Springs, NY — Putnam DenNov 01 — Buffalo, NY — Buffalo Iron WorksNov 02 — Ann Arbor, MI — The Blind PigNov 03 — Kalamazoo, MI — Bells Eccentric Cafe Back RoomNov 04 — Indianapolis, IN — The Vogue TheatreNov 07 — Iowa City, IA — Gabe’sNov 08 — Minneapolis, MN — Skyway TheatreNov 09 — Milwaukee, WI — Turner HallNov 10 — Chicago, IL — Park WestNov 11 — Cincinnati, OH — Bogart’sNov 12 — Morgantown, WV — 123 Pleasant StreetNov 15 — Richmond, VA — The NationalNov 16 — Raleigh, NC — Lincoln TheatreNov 17 — Asheville, NC — Salvage StationNov 18 — Atlanta, GA — Variety PlayhouseNov 19 — Charleston, SC — Charleston PourhouseNov 30 — Ft. Collins, CO — Aggie TheatreDec 01 — Denver, CO — Bluebird TheaterDec 02 — Denver, CO — Bluebird TheaterDec 05 — Fayetteville, AR — George’s Majestic LoungeDec 07 — Lexington, KY — Cosmic CharliesDec 08 — Columbus, OH — Woodlands TavernDec 09 — Columbus, OH — Woodlands TavernDec 10 — Columbus, OH — Woodlands TavernDec 13 — Pittsburgh, PA — Rex TheaterDec 14 — Washington, D.C. — Gypsy Sally’sDec 15 — Stroudsburg, PA — Sherman TheaterDec 16 — Syracuse, NY — The Wescott TheaterDec 30 — Providence, RI — Fete BallroomDec 31 — Boston, MA — ParadiseMEGAGEM Track Listing:1 – Plaese Haalp2 – Piazole3 – Zonk4 – Mucho5 – Confabulation6 – Turn by Turn7 – Buster Brown8 – StarfishFans of Rob Compa, Eli Winderman, and Chuck Jones can still catch them performing at Brooklyn Comes Alive in various supergroup formations later this month. Inspired by the vibrant musical communities of Brooklyn and New Orleans, Brooklyn Comes Alive is set to take place across three venues in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (Brooklyn Bowl, Schimanski, Music Hall of Williamsburg) on September 23rd and 24th. The unique homegrown event puts the focus on the musicians, curating dream team collaborations, tributes, and artist passion projects for two full days of incredible music both new and old.The 2017 lineup is set to include hand-selected band lineups featuring all-star musicians like John Scofield, George Porter Jr. (The Meters), Vinnie Amico and Al Schnier (moe.), Bernard Purdie, Kofi Burbridge (Tedeschi Trucks Band), Joel Cummins, Ryan Stasik, and Kris Myers (Umphrey’s McGee), Aron Magner and Marc Brownstein (The Disco Biscuits), Mike Greenfield and Jesse Miller (Lotus), Jason Hann (String Cheese Incident), Alan Evans (Soulive), Cyril Neville (Neville Brothers), Henry Butler, Jon Cleary, Reed Mathis (Electric Beethoven), Michael League, Nate Werth, Chris Bullock, Robert “Sput” Searight, and Bob Lanzetti (Snarky Puppy), Jennifer Hartswick and Natalie Cressman (Trey Anastasio Band), and scores of others! ***Tickets Are On Sale Now!***Brooklyn Comes Alive is now offering single day tickets, as well as a ticket payment plan for as low as $30/month. When checking out, just select “Monthly payments with Affirm” as your payment method. To find out more about ticketing, VIP options, and lodging, head to the festival website.
Report says corporate America wields too much power over the economy and politics at the expense of workers Why U.S. labor laws need to be revamped New interactive website helps chart paths for economic growth Has Trump remade the presidency? Those feeling bullish about the U.S. economy have lots to justify their optimism. The stock market and job creation are high, and unemployment and interest rates are low. The nation has logged more than a decade of aggregate growth since the 2008 Great Recession, with January marking 127 straight months of expansion, a historic milestone.But new research from Harvard Business School sees trouble ahead. Unlike in past periods of sustained growth, America has “squandered” the opportunity presented by the recovery to address structural shortcomings in the economy and inequities in the culture ahead of the inevitable cyclical downturn, said Jan W. Rivkin, C. Roland Christensen Professor of Business Administration at HBS.A survey of HBS alumni found many “quite worried” about the country’s future and its continued ability to compete in the global marketplace. Nearly half (48 percent) expected the trajectory for American firms and workers to decline over the next three years, according to the latest findings from the U.S. Competitiveness Project. Fewer than a third (31 percent) believe things will improve for either firms or workers. “Most disturbing” is that much like the political divisions within society overall, the partisanship and “deep dysfunction” of our political system are distorting how the world appears to people. — U.S. Competitiveness Project Several factors contribute to this pessimism. In past expansions, leaders worked to reduce debt and increase financial stability. They placed a premium on enhancing the business environment through investing in public-good projects — education, infrastructure, and health care — and creating policies to enhance productivity. And they took steps to make the nation more compassionate and just. Today’s leaders, by comparison, “have done nothing” about these issues, according to the report.Since 2011, the U.S. Competitiveness Project has surveyed HBS alumni every few years to better understand how business leaders see the trendlines of American competitiveness in the global marketplace in an effort to shore up its perceived strengths and weaknesses.The real underlying problem, the latest report found, is a political one, which will not be resolved simply by electing new leaders. Partisan gridlock has indeed worsened in recent years, but it has been with us over several administrations, hampering the nation’s ability to craft solutions to complex economic and cultural problems at home and abroad.“Most disturbing” is that much like the political divisions within society overall, the partisanship and “deep dysfunction” of our political system are distorting how the world appears to people. HBS alumni don’t just disagree about where the country is headed anymore, they lack “a shared reality,” the report found.Perceptions of the nation’s economic strengths and weaknesses closely align not with the sector they work in or where they live or even their age, but with which political party they support, a major shift since the project’s last survey in 2016. Republicans (51 percent) were far more optimistic about the nation’s competitive outlook in the next three years than were Democrats (24 percent).,“Our Republican alums feel that the weaknesses have gotten better, and our Democratic alums feel the weaknesses have gotten worse,” said Rivkin, the project’s co-founder. “And they feel that even in areas where the objective data suggests there’s been no real change” since 2016, when alumni were last surveyed.That disconnect doesn’t bode well for developing consensus around setting priorities or finding solutions for the nation’s problems, he warned.“We now believe … that our political system is the biggest barrier to competitiveness,” said Michael E. Porter, Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at HBS and the project’s co-founder. “We have a lot of strengths, but we’re neutralizing all of those by this political system that’s not designed right now to move the country forward and serve the public interest — and the business community is playing into that.”Business spends an estimated $6 billion per year on lobbying, with countless more shelled out on elections and ballot initiatives, contributions to PACs, pass-through trade groups or “dark money” operations, or the “revolving door” hiring of ex-government insiders to help firms maneuver across Capitol Hill.In a survey of HBS alumni, Jan W. Rivkin (pictured) found many “quite worried” about the country’s future and its continued ability to compete in the global marketplace. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard file photoCorporate America has been bankrolling “the party game the way it’s played today” but seeing little for its investment except stalled legislation, more extreme politicians, and fattened fund-raising coffers.“It’s not helping us in business; it’s not helping our neighbors; it’s not making our communities better; it’s not making our quality of life better; it’s just a game that the parties taught us to play,” said Porter.Good government groups, think tanks, and other nongovernmental organizations have long sought to change our two-party-dominated political system, but without much success. Since the spigot of cash from business sustains the swampy system, the report’s authors believe business needs to step into the breach.“The discussion on politics in America has not made business a central actor in either the problem or the solution,” said Porter. “We believe it’s a pretty important actor. [It] makes the problem worse, but it could be a big actor in the solution.”The slow dance between business and politics is not new, but many surveyed “seem not to be fully aware” of the extent to which the companies they worked for were involved in politics, the report found.Only 25 percent of respondents thought their firms engaged in lobbying. Few believed their companies tried to influence elections and just 12 percent believed their firm contributed to political action committees.While most said they thought mixing politics and business as a whole did not help the country over the long haul, few believed that whatever their firm was up to politically undermined democracy or harmed society’s trust in business.Porter said he was “not shocked” most respondents weren’t well-informed about their own company’s political activities. Few firms volunteer the information even to their directors and shareholders, much less employees. And what “toothless” legislation does exist to compel such admissions is “highly imperfect.”“There’s massive, complex gaming going on, so that’s an area where I think the tide is turning,” Porter said. Companies are just starting to realize that “doing what the parties want them to do, lobbying for them, electing the crazy people … that’s not actually good for us. And we’re not making progress, our business environment is not improving, we’re not getting the kind of support from our government to drive the economy we really need.”Despite political differences, one area of common ground is the view that American politics has become corrosive and our political system is broken, which has led to widespread frustration and deep distrust in politics, government, and for some, in capitalism itself.Two-thirds (67 percent) of HBS alumni said the primary cause of the dysfunction was a failure to elect “the right people,” while nearly three-quarters (74 percent) pointed to factors like the rules for elections, campaign finance, and governing as the main culprits.Though it’s tempting to think that a “throw the bums out” approach would unclog our gridlocked political system, partisanship will remain central as long as the electoral system is controlled by the two major parties, according to the report.“We now believe … that our political system is the biggest barrier to competitiveness,” said Professor Michael E. Porter, the project’s co-founder. Rose Lincoln/Harvard file photo“The system is what elects the people,” said Porter. “We have to change the structure of our elections in order for the people to be different. Right now, the people are just an outcome of the way the system is designed.”While the vast majority favor changing the political system, the most popular ideas among alumni, campaign finance (76 percent) and gerrymandering reforms (84 percent), would do little to dismantle the party-controlled system, the report said.Rather, two less-familiar reforms, nonpartisan primaries and ranked-choice voting, would be the most effective solutions, reducing the current advantage partisan candidates have over moderates.In nonpartisan primaries, candidates run in a single race with the top five vote-getters —regardless of party — advancing to the general election. Then, instead of selecting a single candidate, voters rank their choices in order of preference. If a candidate gets more than 50 percent of the No. 1 rankings, he or she wins. If not, the last-place candidate is cut, and his or her supporters get their second choice counted instead. That continues until someone emerges with a majority. Because it’s possible to win without being everyone’s first choice, the format encourages candidates to appeal to a broad coalition.“That would change everything,” said Porter. The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news. Related Kennedy School’s Growth Lab tool to aid planners in identifying economic growth strategies Authors Wittes and Hennessey say he’s bucked norms and expanded power, but whether others will follow his lead is unclear Ranked-choice voting, used by the state of Maine, is already under consideration in a number of states, including Massachusetts, which will put the question before voters in November. Getting state legislators across the country to give up rules they know and have benefitted from, however, will be “complicated,” Porter admitted.“The parties have bitterly fought any of these reforms. They want to keep those rules [because they’re] designed to preserve the parties” and “not allow any competition,” he said.But with their enormous clout, especially at the state level, business leaders may be the most effective catalysts for change.“Every CEO of any major company who wants to talk to the governor of their state, they get an appointment right away,” said Porter. So if they use their voices in a concerted way, “business can be a true game-changer in the whole effort to reform the system.”Since late December, the authors have been sharing their findings with corporate leaders and talking about why business needs to step in and lead the way forward. With a movement in the business community to embrace greater social responsibility well underway and an “overwhelmingly” positive reception from alumni and others so far, Porter said business may finally be receptive to their message.“People in business are starting to understand that we just can’t punt and leave it to government because government isn’t doing it and NGOs don’t have the resources to deal with it … we need to take this on,” said Porter. “That’s a very, very strong shift in business thinking from even five years ago, eight years ago.”Though reforming the political system won’t be easy and the country has not made hay while the sun shone, the authors say the U.S. remains a global leader in higher education, entrepreneurship and innovation, research and development, capital markets, and firm management. There’s still time to get things right.“I would hate for [people] to take the title ‘The Recovery Squandered’ as an indication all is lost,” said Rivkin. “I think it means that we’ve missed an opportunity. America’s got great strengths; it’s by no means our last opportunity. I think we should use [this information] as a reminder that it’s time to get moving.”
There was a lot of talk around the lack of representation of women directors, producers and writers at Sundance this year. Following the Women’s Rally with Jane Fonda, Gloria Allred and Common, we held a panel discussion in the Dell Den with female filmmakers to talk about where we are today, where we are going and how we’ll get there.Maybe the Academy Awards heard our roar given they nominated three women for Best Original Screenplay. If one of them wins, it will be the first time in 10 years.But diversity and inclusion isn’t just a Hollywood and film industry conversation. It’s a big conversation in the tech industry, too. So I want to share a few calls to action from the panel and audience discussion with you that I think we can all act on starting today – #FemaleFilmmakerFriday.Our panelists included filmmakers and media powerhouses Ondi Timoner (Director, Dig! and We Live in Public; two-time Sundance Grand Jury Winner), Robyn Moreno (Co-President, Latina Media Ventures) and Robin Houser (Director and Producer, Bias and CODE). We discussed how they’re using film to impact society and what their experiences are like in today’s world; as well as the underrepresentation for women and people of color on camera and in film.Take a few minutes to watch it now, or skip past the video to see key takeaways about how we can drive change.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVjpIODz0PwTakeaways for women in film, tech and everywhere:Make unconscious bias conscious – this is the only way to change it.Apply for those jobs and go for it. Robin Hauser shared a study on how women will not apply for jobs if they do not feel 90 or 100 percent confident they qualify.If you have a child, go speak at their school. Young women need role models.If you’re in a position to do so, hire more women and people of color. You can accomplish this by broadening your selection pool.Be bold. We have more power than we think and we need to use it.Acting agents need to help female actresses land the next film.Include programs in schools to get young women and minorities interested in film.Support Latin films and filmmakers by going to watch their films. Vote with your wallet.Be loud and own your voice. We can’t stay quiet.One thing we are doing at Dell is investing in women and film. Dell is a sponsor of Robin Hauser’s Bias documentary, which she made on our technology. Super proud of that and of her amazing work and accomplishments.Panelist and director, Ondi Timoner concluded the panel by challenging us to collaborate and not to compete with one another. She also encouraged us to challenge others and spread the conversation. I want to do that here. What calls to action would you add? What do you want to see change for women in film or the industry you are in?
They are soldiers, and they are prepared to defend themselves. But a special team of the Georgia National Guard’s 265th Unit out of Metter, Ga., will soon deploy to Afghanistan to help the war-torn country’s farmers. The team recently got the training it will need to complete that mission from University of Georgia agriculture experts in Tifton, Ga.“Their primary mission is help stabilize that country, and they want to do that by helping the Afghan government be better prepared to help farmers,” said Steve Brown, UGA Cooperative Extension assistant dean who helped organize the guard team’s agriculture training.Eighty percent of Afghans work in agriculture, the primary economic driver in the country. But farming practices there are a century behind farming practices in developed countries.Georgia National Guard has sent soldiers to Afghanistan for a decade. Georgia is one of several states now preparing Agribusiness Development Teams to deploy to the country. The first ADT from Georgia deployed earlier this year. Augusta’s 201st Regional Support Group received agricultural training from UGA this past spring. Brad Haire, news director with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, speaks with Brown about these special agriculture teams and the training they received in Tifton.Watch UGA readies Ga. National Guard ag team for Afghanistan.
Dear EarthTalk: I’m looking for the best places to search for green jobs but am having trouble locating them on traditional job search sites. Where should I look? — H. Jenkins, Biloxi, MS With the environment now high atop the public agenda, green jobs are more popular than ever. Defined by eco.org (a leading green jobs website) as any job in any company where the primary focus is on reducing the impacts of our activities or products on the environment, green jobs serve to maximize efficient use of resources while minimizing degradation of the planet from pollution and waste. “Eco-jobs can range from engineering a photovoltaic solar cell to designing a building for more energy efficiency to landscaping a yard to minimize erosion to finding more sustainable forestry techniques,” reports eco.org.While you may be hard pressed to find environmental job opportunities on general employment search websites, sites like eco.org that specialize in green job listings can make your search easy. Also, many general environmental sites have employment sub-sections. Green job seekers and employers alike use these websites to find each other and get their work done, whether in the non-profit or for-profit worlds.Eco.org prides itself on hosting a wide range of listings from colleges, environmental and other nonprofit groups, media outlets and government agencies. With Google and Bing listing the site first for the search term “eco,” the website generates hundreds of thousands of page visits per month from thousands of green job seekers and employers, and also keeps its audience engaged through social networking.Another leader in the field is the nonprofit Green Jobs Network, which provides online services including a green job board and a 20,000 member group on the professional networking site LinkedIn. The group also uses its GreenJobs.net website as a platform for webinars, and is the home of the frequently updated Green Collar Blog, which provides career resources and information on the green jobs sector.Environmental Career Opportunities (ecojobs.com) is another tried and true source for green job listings. Some 50,000 targeted job seekers subscribe to the company’s bi-weekly newsletter that contains unique green job opportunities. Still other places to look for green jobs include EcoEmploy.com and the Environmental Career Center.Another site, Greenjobs.com, focuses on job opportunities specifically in the renewable energy sector. Jobseekers can use the website to apply for jobs, post their resume, obtain guidance on finding and applying for jobs, gain background information on the renewable energy sector, and access a directory of relevant companies and organizations. Employers can take advantage of the firm’s recruitment services. 1 2
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York One hundred and sixty-five years ago today, on Oct. 7, 1849, Edgar Allan Poe died in Baltimore under mysterious circumstances.The author, essayist, editor, poet and literary critic—perhaps best known for such works as “The Raven,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Masque of the Red Death,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “Annabel Lee” and “The Cask of Amontillado,” among others—was 40 years old.As legend goes, Poe was discovered four days before his passing, deliriously roaming the streets of Baltimore in someone else’s clothes, repeatedly crying out the name “Reynolds” from his deathbed. His medical records and even his death certificate are said to have disappeared. Just as mysterious is the legend of the “Poe Toaster,” who saluted Poe’s grave with cognac on the writer’s birthday each January 19 for more than 60 years, beginning in 1949, until his bicentennial in 2009. The unknown visitor would always leave behind three roses.Poe’s mysterious demise haunts his writings, best known for their macabre, dark themes often concerning death, physical decomposition, premature burial and mourning. He is thus an influential pioneer in the detective, mystery and science fiction genres. Edgar Allan Poe’s wife Virginia Clemm is though to have been his inspiration and muse for the dark, haunting poem “Annabel Lee.”Love was also a theme, though typically drenched in shadows—both in words and life.The last complete poem by Poe was “Annabel Lee,” a beautiful woman and object of the narrator’s undying affection whose love for each other is so strong that it causes heaven’s angels to claim her out of envy. Poe’s muse for the poem is thought to have been his beloved wife Virginia Clemm, who died of tuberculosis two years before his own death. Yet as Poe writes, their love transcends even death.But our love it was stronger by far than the love Of those who were older than we— Of many far wiser than we—And neither the angels in Heaven above Nor the demons down under the seaCan ever dissever my soul from the soul Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride, In her sepulchre there by the sea— In her tomb by the sounding sea.And so does Poe’s legacy.Edgar Allan Poe and his literary works comprise the underbelly of the horrifyingly fantastic TV drama series The Following.A few recent & upcoming Edgar Allan Poe events & pop culture nods:A brass, life-size statue of Poe—running, with a briefcase overflowing with a giant raven and human heart—was unveiled in Boston October 4. Visit the Edgar Allan Poe Foundation of Boston for more information and details at bostonpoe.org.Poe and his writings are also a central theme of the hit Fox TV drama series The Following—a serial killer often staging mass slayings based upon his works. Check out The Squawkler or fox.com/the-following to watch a few episodes and fall in love with Max Hardy, Ryan Hardy’s (Kevin Bacon’s) niece, played by Jessica Stroup.Riverhead is hosting an Edgar Allan Poe Festival on Halloween and continuing through November 2, replete with readings of selected works, costumed actors and trick-or-treaters, a “Poe” parade, zombie attack, ghost story readings, puppet shows, vintage cars, flash mobs, games, music, ballet, dancing, theatrical performances and more. Check it out at facebook.com/riverheadpoefest and riverheadbid.com/docs/EdgarAllanPoe_Schedule_Book.pdf.The Suffolk County Historical Society is also hosting an “Edgar Allan Poe Exhibit” on display from October 10 through November 8. The collection is on loan from the official Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia. Learn more at the Suffolk County Historical Society at suffolkcountyhistoricalsociety.org.Guided tours are also available throughout the year at The Edgar Allan Poe Cottage in the Bronx, where Poe spent the final years of his life and his beloved Virginia died. Check out The Bronx County Historical Society at bronxhistoricalsociety.org and bronxhistoricalsociety.org/poecottage.html for more information.The 2012 mystery thriller The Raven is a fictionalized account of Poe’s mysterious final days and stars John Cusack (as Poe) and Alice Eve (as his love Emily Hamilton). It’s pretty damn bad-ass.Check out more fall festivals and celebrations taking place across Long Island HERE Alice Eve and John Cusack star in 2012’s The Raven, a fictionalized account of the poet’s mysterious final days.For more Edgar Allan Poe-related events, poems and factoids, check out:Poe MuseumPoeStories.comThe Edgar Allan Poe Society of BaltimorePoe’s Poetry Lovers pagePoe’s Poetry Foundation pagePoe’s Academy of American Poets pagePoe’s PoemHunter.com pagePoe’s Internal.org page