Blue-Gold weekend to bring crowds

first_imgTomorrow the Blue-Gold Game returns for the 81st time, bringing with it a fresh surge of Irish pride. As in years past, thousands will flock to campus to get a glimpse at how the team will operate this fall. Unlike many other years, however, a new fascination has latched itself to the weekend.“Everybody is just so excited to see [Irish coach Brian] Kelly, and this is going to be the public’s first glimpse to see him in action and what he’s done to the team,” Game Day Operations Director Mike Seamon said. “If the weather cooperates, we are expecting to see huge crowds. Even with crowds, we are expecting 20,000. It could be 20,000 to 50,000.  We are prepared for both.”Seamon said the game would be one of the season’s most popular events.“I think next to Commencement, which is just focused on graduating seniors, this is clearly the biggest weekend in the spring here at Notre Dame,” he said. Although this weekend’s game is eight decades running, the activities and events featured will be anything but monotonous.“Given the tremendous interests in Coach Kelly, I think its safe to say there will be unprecedented activities and events this weekend,” Seamon said. “It’s going to be bigger than anything we’ve done in the past.”Notre Dame students are especially eager to gauge from the scrimmage how the team has already shifted under their new coach’s direction.“Last year’s game was really exciting. Just to be in the stadium in the spring really pumped me up for the fall season,” sophomore Alexandra Unger said. “I think this Blue and Gold game will be even better because the football team is feeling really enthusiastic and Brian Kelly is causing a lot of excitement.”The University will kick off the weekend Friday from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. with a fan festival, open to the public, on the Irish Green, featuring games, food and activities.That afternoon the University will reveal the new The Shirt.“It’s going to start off with The Shirt unveiling at four at the bookstore. The new cheerleaders and the leprechaun and a number of other student groups will be there,” Seamon said. “Coach Kelly himself will unveil The Shirt itself at 5:45.”Besides football, other Irish sports teams are also hosting home games this weekend which the University has incorporated into the events of the weekend.“We are also dedicating the new Alumni Soccer Stadium,” Seamon said. “The men’s and women’s soccer teams are playing there Friday night.”The baseball, softball teams will play on campus, and the women’s Big East tennis championships will be on campus as well, Seamon said.Blue-Gold weekend ends Sunday with the South Bend Symphony playing at the Purcell Pavilion.The event will feature over 700 musicians, Seamon said.last_img read more

Student-directed one-act plays exploring alternate universes to debut at Philbin Studio Theater

first_imgThe Philbin Studio Theater at DeBartolo Performing Arts Center will run two new student-directed one-act plays, “Coats” by junior Henry Stone and “The Tea on ND” by senior Samuel Jackson II. Both plays debuted Thursday and will show until March.Each of the two plays are set in a flipped world. “Coats” is an absurdist comedy that takes place in a world where empathy is a disease, and “The Tea on ND” explores a parallel universe in which being gay is the norm and straight people are the marginalized minority. Senior Amenabar Farias, director of “The Tea on ND” and senior Patrick Starner, director of “Coats,” said these worlds were fleshed out in a workshopping class they took last semester.“The big thing that we focused on was just trying to figure out what this physical world actually looks like, how the characters interact,” Starner said. “We just messed around with that, and it taught me the world of the play — it’s a very unique piece of theater in this absolutely wonderful world that Henry has crafted.”As director, Starner said he did not come in with a strict plan. Instead, he wanted to collaborate with the actors to create something that felt real. That process, he said, taught him a lot about theater.“I had thoughts and rough guidelines,” Starner said. “But I didn’t want to dictate what all the performers were going to do. We were really able to collaboratively, as a unit, create the show and flush out all these different moments — some of them I didn’t even know were there, and now it’s a great moment in the show.”“The Tea on ND” also explores an alternate universe, and Farias said she hopes people can see the parallels between the play and Notre Dame itself.“It is aimed for the Notre Dame audience,” she said. “We want to make sure that they know that we’re talking about the community they live in. It brings light to all of these issues and raises awareness of these injustices.”Starner, Farias and Jackson have all been involved in plays at Notre Dame before, and Farias said this will be the third play she has directed at the University. She said she was especially excited to work with “The Tea on ND” because it deals with issues and injustices present in the current world.“I’m interested in telling stories that usually go untold,” Farias said. “So when this show was presented to me, I was very interested. It’s not just a show for the sake of being entertaining, because it is entertaining, but it also has a very deep message.”Jackson said he wrote the play in a different universe to shake up the typical view of the University.“It’s an exploration of the University of Notre Dame in a universe where traditions are upended, expectations are unrooted and perspectives drastically change in a hope to shake up the familiar scene and allow audiences to find a new meaning,” he said.While Jackson found inspiration in his own experience at Notre Dame, he said he also wanted it to be accessible for everyone. A large part of that was writing humor into the play alongside the issues it tackles, he said.“It’s fun. It’s a really fun show,” he said. “I have my mission and everything — that whole empathy-building thing, being able to shake up the familiar scene and, you know, analyze the social fabric of this place — that’s great. At the same time, come out and laugh. For two and a half hours, just be with your friends, be with the people on stage and live in the moment. Be challenged, be questioned, allow yourself to see, allow yourself to be seen through the emotions being explored on stage. And laugh.”Tags: Amenabar Farias, coats, Henry Stone, humor, Patrick Starner, Samuel Jackson II, The Philbin Studio Theater, The Tea on NDlast_img read more

Predictive analytics

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: Austin WentzlaffThe promise of business intelligence and Big Data/Analytics has been around for years.  Companies have been making claims that data-driven decision-making will revolutionize organizations but have failed to fully deliver.  It is true that descriptive analytics (reporting) is necessary and valuable but in order to create real value (Return on Investment) for data analytics, organizations must think about the future.  In order to achieve real value from Big Data/Analytics, organizations must execute predictive analytics.Big Data/Analytics’ Past: Business IntelligenceOrganizations have been using business intelligence to analyze historical data for years.  This was the promise many received when they were first sold business intelligence (BI) solutions.  While BI is incredibly valuable, it is just only just a fraction of value when you start to consider analytics.  Most of the past Big Data/Analytics (Business Intelligence) solutions were focused primarily on descriptive analytics. Descriptive analytics is the most simplistic form of analytics a credit union (or any organization) can utilize.Descriptive analytics takes large data sets, commonly referred to as big data, and looks at what has already happened. Rather than trying to learn from the data and make predictions about how strategy can be altered, it aims to summarize the data. For example, a credit union can look at the average yield of their loan portfolio. Descriptive analytics can be also referred to as reporting, a practice already carried out by most credit unions today. The real value of descriptive analytics is the ability to, according to management guru Peter Drucker, “measure what you manage.”  As humans we are conditioned to work towards goals and descriptive analytics does an excellent job of telling us what progress we are making against those goals and prompts us to look for ways to improve. continue reading »last_img read more

Training and brand: When your employee training misses its mark

first_imgIncreasingly, banks and credit unions recognize the importance of regular and deeper-level consumer engagement training for their employees. And rightly so – as competition in financial products and services only deepens, banks and credit unions that thrive are those which focus to a greater extent on keeping their employees highly-trained and in-tune with their brands. Brand training is critical.However, banks and credit unions sometimes miss the mark when it comes to their employee training format. All too often, they focus employee training programs on specifically how employees should do their jobs while glossing over the vitally important element why employees should do their jobs.Generally, training to the how of a job is relatively simple. You train to a task (such as teller drawer procedures, compliance paperwork, lending documentation, etc.) over and over to such an extent that it becomes second nature to the employee. This isn’t a bad thing. Obviously, to be successful, employees must know how to do their jobs. However, when it comes to differentiating from the competition and establishing strong brand propositions, banks and credit unions must also teach your employees why they are doing their jobs. Many people can balance a drawer or process loans. What can your bank or credit union do that they can’t? The why answers this question. continue reading » 6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Nursing home cases were key in Minnesota Salmonella probe

first_imgJan 23, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – A physician’s report of diarrhea cases in a nursing home, followed by the discovery of cases in several other institutions, provided the key that enabled Minnesota disease detectives to figure out before anyone else that peanut butter was the culprit in the current nationwide Salmonella outbreak.When epidemiologists compared food product invoices from institutions that had cases, they found that the one thing the places had in common was King Nut peanut butter, Minnesota officials said. That led to testing of the peanut butter and the discovery of the outbreak strain of Salmonella in it.”If we didn’t have those institutional cases, we still might not know it’s peanut butter causing this outbreak,” said Kirk Smith, DVM, PhD, director of the foodborne disease unit at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) in St. Paul.The outbreak began back in September but did not become public until early this month. So far there have been 491 cases in 43 states and one more in Canada, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in a teleconference with clinicians today. In addition, there have been seven deaths possibly related to the illnesses.The outbreak has been traced to a Peanut Corp. of America (PCA) facility in Blakely, Ga., which makes peanut butter distributed by King Nut Cos. and others to institutions and food services. PCA also sells peanut butter and peanut paste from the plant to a number of food companies, which process them into cracker snacks, cookies, ice cream, candy, and other products. The outbreak has triggered a long list of product recalls.Probe began in NovemberMinnesota cases in the outbreak began showing up in November, according to Carlota Medus, PhD, MPH, a foodborne disease epidemiologist at the MDH. By late in the month the department had found a couple of cases that featured the outbreak strain, Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium, she reported.Minnesota began interviewing case-patients about what they had eaten, using a hypothesis-generating questionnaire developed by the CDC for this outbreak, said Smith. Besides Smith and Medus, investigators included another MDH foodborne disease epidemiologist, Stephanie Meyer, and Team Diarrhea, a group of seven graduate students in public health.”After we had our first four cases, there was a lead from another state that the cause might be chicken,” he said. “So we followed up on the chicken sources on our cases and the [Minnesota] Department of Agriculture [MDA] traced it back to the plant level, and it just wasn’t very compelling.”Meanwhile, the early interviews led to some suspicion that peanut butter could be involved. “We had several cases interviewed, and I think most if not all of them had eaten peanut butter, but we were having trouble with brand names, and certain aspects of it were not clear,” said Medus.Big break in the caseBy Dec 22 Minnesota had nine cases, but no good evidence as to the cause. But then came the big break in the hunt.”On Dec 22 we received a call from a clinician who reported an outbreak of Salmonella in a nursing home and that the lab that did the testing had noticed additional cases in the community,” said Medus. “At that point we didn’t know if these were part of the national outbreak. By the next day the first Salmonella isolates had arrived at our lab, and we were able to confirm that at least one of them was part of the national outbreak.” The nursing home was in Brainerd in north-central Minnesota.Clinical labs routinely send Salmonella isolates to the MDH for typing, but it usually takes several days before they arrive. In this case the samples were sent immediately. “Because of that report, we didn’t have to wait for the Salmonella isolates to come in, which would’ve been a few days down the road,” Smith explained.The physician who reported the nursing home cases didn’t know there was a widespread Salmonella outbreak going on, but reported them because they were in a nursing home, according to Medus.Homing in on peanut butterThe discovery of outbreak cases at one nursing home was significant but not sufficient to implicate peanut butter, said Medus. Shortly afterward, however, cases started showing up at other institutions, including nursing homes, colleges, and an elementary school, according to Smith.She said that development prompted the next investigative step: collecting menus from the various institutions and, with the help of the MDA, gathering invoices for the food products used. “We went to the invoices and started comparing them, and the one thing they had in common was the King Nut [peanut butter],” she said. In checking the documents, the investigators looked at all foods, not just peanut butter, she noted.Smith said the regional pattern of the institutional cases offered another important clue: “All the institutions served King Nut peanut butter, and what was interesting was that the institutions were all in northern and northwestern Minnesota. And we found that the King Nut peanut butter they were getting was from a distributor out of Fargo,  Sysco.”What was intriguing to us was that there is a  Sysco distributor in the Twin Cities, and they did not distribute King Nut peanut butter, and we were not seeing [institutional] cases in the catchment area for that distribution. So it was all kind of coming together.”With the peanut butter as a suspected source, MDA and MDH labs began testing peanut butter collected from the institutions. Eventually an opened 5-pound tub of peanut butter from the Brainerd nursing home yielded the outbreak strain—or, more precisely, two strains.Smith explained that the outbreak involves two very closely related Salmonella strains as identified by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. “We found both strains in the open jar of peanut butter,” he said.Going public with findingsThe Minnesota agencies announced the discovery of Salmonella in the peanut butter on Jan 9, and, after further testing, reported on Jan 12 that it matched the outbreak strain. King Nut issued a recall on Jan 10.The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, did not publicly tie PCA-made products to the outbreak immediately. Because the Salmonella-tainted container had been opened, there was a possibility it had been contaminated at the nursing home, rather than at the plant where it was made. It was not until Jan 19, when Connecticut officials reported finding the outbreak pathogen in an unopened container of King Nut peanut butter, that the FDA publicly linked the outbreak to the PCA facility.With an opened container, “there’s always the concern that somebody could’ve gotten sick from some other source and then contaminated that tub,” said Smith. However, he said that looked unlikely in this case, because Salmonella was found in samples taken from a number of locations within the tub. Moreover, both outbreak strains were found, whereas if the product had been contaminated by an infected person at the nursing home, probably only one strain would have been present.Also, Smith said that as Minnesota officials were investigating the institutional cases, they were hearing from other states that they also had cases at institutions that had received King Nut peanut butter. “It wasn’t just the isolate, it was all the institutions receiving this one brand,” he said.Other products involvedBut it also became clear during the investigation that not all cases were related to King Nut peanut butter. Smith said that no institutional cases were found in the Twin Cities area, but there were other cases that couldn’t be explained by the peanut butter. “Then other health departments around the country said their cases had been eating peanut butter crackers,” he added. That led to a CDC case-control study that tied some cases to peanut butter–containing products such as crackers.Minnesota investigators have been able to connect almost all the state’s cases to particular food products, said Medus. “We have fewer than 5 cases that we can’t explain yet, out of 36 cases,” she said. And, said Smith, more than half of those have been linked to products other than King Nut peanut butter.Untraditional epidemiologySmith and Medus agree that the institutional cases were critical in finding the food culprit.”If we didn’t have the institutional cases, it would’ve been a lot harder to implicate a product. The noninstitutional cases ate a lot of different products,” said Medus. With tens of different products and hundreds of cases, “You won’t have a single product common to all, which makes it extremely difficult to figure out a product [source],” she said.Smith commented, “This was a little untraditional in that it wasn’t cracked by looking at the interview data but by noticing the institutional link and getting the menus and getting our Department of Ag to compare and contrast.”See also: CDC outbreak updatehttp://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/typhimurium/FDA outbreak updatehttp://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/salmonellatyph.html#updatelast_img read more

PREMIUMIndonesia should focus on renewable energy, not nuclear, activists say

first_imgNuclear energy renewable-energy renewable-energy-bill Activists are warning the government to steer clear of building nuclear power plants, citing safety concerns and urging Indonesia to focus on renewable energy instead.A Greenpeace Indonesia official, Satrio Swandiko, said Indonesia should heed the lessons of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster in Japan, which was caused by an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.Greenpeace’s Japan chapter surveyed Fukushima city, as well as the nearby towns of Naraha and Okuma in Fukushima prefecture in October and November 2019. In Fukushima’s city center, Greenpeace found at least 45 radioactive hot spots — 11 of which had radiation levels equal to and even above the Japanese government’s decontamination target of 0.23 microSieverts per hour. It showed that the impact of the nuclear meltdown continued years after the incident.“Indonesia has a high risk of… Log in with your social account Linkedin Google LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here Topics : Forgot Password ? Facebooklast_img read more

South Korea church hit by COVID-19 says members to give plasma for research

first_imgAround 4,000 recovered COVID-19 patients from a religious group at the center of South Korea’s largest outbreak will donate plasma for research, an official said on Tuesday, a day after local officials filed a lawsuit against the church.In February and March, a massive outbreak among members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus made South Korea the scene of the first large outbreak outside of China.At least 5,213 of the country’s total 12,484 cases have been linked to the church outbreak, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). Shincheonji says it fully complied with government efforts.The National Institute of Health said 185 people have so far come forward to donate plasma as of Monday and said they were in talks with Shincheonji for donations.South Korea health officials have said that in the absence of other treatments or vaccines, plasma therapy may be a way to lower the death rate, especially in critical patients.At least 17 South Koreans have received the experimental therapy, which involves using plasma from recovered patients with antibodies to the virus, enabling the body to defend against the disease.South Korea has reported 281 deaths from COVID-19.Health authorities said they were testing 176 people who came into contact with crew members on a Russian fishing vessel docked at Busan after 16 aboard the vessel were tested positive.  Church founder Lee Man-hee had internally advised recovered members to donate their plasma, which is badly needed for coronavirus research, Shincheonji media coordinator Kim Young-eun told Reuters on Tuesday.Many of recovered church members wanted to donate to express thanks to the government and medical staff, she said.The city of Daegu – where most of the church infections were centered – filed a civil lawsuit against the church on Monday, seeking 100 billion won ($82.75 million) in damages.Daegu authorities had previously filed a complaint against the church accusing it of not submitting a full list of members and facilities, and not cooperating with city health efforts.center_img Topics :last_img read more

First-half contraction in palm oil output, exports due to ‘domino effect’: GAPKI

first_img“The main [cause of] the decline in production isn’t really COVID-19, but rather the domino effect of the palm oil price crash, which pushed down palm oil cultivation and fertilizer sales,” he said.Along with the decline in palm oil production the first half of 2020, exports fell 11.4 percent yoy to 15.5 million tons from 17.5 million tons, according to GAPKI data.“Global demand for palm oil products has declined significantly, which has affected our export performance. [This is] because countries are in lockdown, and we don’t know how long [the situation] will last,” Joko said.According to Statistics Indonesia (BPS), half-year palm oil exports fell 5.49 percent yoy to US$76.41 billion. The World Trade Organization (WTO) has forecast that global trade in 2020 will contract by 13 percent at best and 32 percent at worst amid the worldwide disruption caused by the pandemic.According to GAPKI data, palm oil exports to all major destinations had declined except for exports to India, the United States and Pakistan, which grew  23 percent, 7 percent and 1 percent, respectively.Meanwhile, domestic consumption of the commodity in the first half of 2020 posted a slight yoy increase of 2.8 percent to 8.6 million tons, mainly due to increased production of oleochemicals during the pandemic.Oleochemicals are chemicals derived from oils and fats of both vegetable and animal origins, and are processed into soaps, shampoos and detergents, as well as other consumer and industrial products, including sanitation and pharmaceutical products.Joko added that the market share of domestic consumption grew 37 percent compared to exports, due to high domestic demand“In June, the domestic market share for palm oil products reached an unseen level of 37 percent, as last year’s figure was around 30 percent. Hopefully, we can maintain our strong domestic market and attain equilibrium,” he said.Chairman Togar Sitanggang of the Indonesian Oleochemical Manufacturers Association (Apolin) said that oleochemical exports had spiked 24 percent yoy in the first half to reach 1.8 million tons for a total value of $1.3 billion.As demand for oleochemicals continued to rise, Apolin projected that full-year exports could reach 3.7 million tons with an estimated value of $2.6 billion, higher than last year’s figure of 3.2 million tons valued at around $2 billion.“Everyone has a sanitation product in their pocket [now], which has increased demand for oleochemical products and overall production. We also haven’t experienced any disruption thanks to the government, and no overseas orders have been cancelled,” Togar said.Topics : Indonesia, the biggest palm oil producer in the world, saw production and exports of the commodity contract in the first half of the year due to economic impacts of the pandemic as well as rolling impacts of drought and a price crash in previous years, the industry association has stated.The Indonesian Oil Palm Association (GAPKI) reported that half-year production of crude palm oil (CPO) and palm kernel oil (PKO) had declined 9.2 percent year-on-year (yoy) to 23.5 million tons.While the COVID-19 health crisis played a role in the decline in palm oil production, said GAPKI chairman Joko Supriyono, the palm oil price crash in 2018 and last year’s prolonged drought due to El Niño had a major effect on overall output.last_img read more

VIDEO: Creating New Land in Nigeria

first_img<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>Jan De Nul Group today released this video about the company’s major land reclamation project in Nigeria.In 2015, JDN started this land reclamation project for the Dangote Group. The African company wanted to build its own oil refinery and fertilizer plant in Lekki, 60 kilometers east of Lagos.For the project, JDN brought in two of its largest, world leading hopper dredgers. Working continuously from November 2015 to January 2017, JDN reclaimed around 2,400 hectares of new land.Just off the coast, at a depth of twenty to fifty meters, JDN dredged 55 million cubic meters of sand for this reclamation project.last_img read more

Battered Italy sees rays of hope in grim death data

first_imgBut Angelo Borrelli also noted that thereal number of infections was probably 10 times higher than the official count. The number of new officially registered infections fell from 6,557 on Saturday to 4,789 on Monday. AFP ROME – Italy’s top coronavirus responseofficial Tuesday attributed two successive declines in the daily death rate toa painful national lockdown that appeared to be finally bearing fruit.center_img The civil protection chief also said thenation of 60 million was on course to overtake China’s total number ofconfirmed COVID-19 cases in a week./PNlast_img read more