Following a three-set super show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on Friday, Gov’t Mule has announced their Mule Year’s run! On December 28th, Gov’t Mule will perform at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania with special guests Oteil & Friends. Then, Gov’t Mule will return to The Beacon Theatre in New York, NY for their annual celebration on December 29th and 31st. Positioned in the heart of New York City, the band traditionally welcomes a bevy of special guests and themes during their NYE throw down. More details to come.VIP packages will be available this Friday, September 21st, at 10 a.m. (ET) with tickets going on sale next Friday, September 28th. Head here for more information.
There’s plenty to be said about a stripped-down, completely acoustic live music performance. The purity of the musicianship, the lack of distraction from the lyrics and melodies, the sweetness of the sonic experience—it all adds up to something sublime, almost supremely so.Rest assured, Big Gigantic’s “Live 3D” show at The Novo in downtown Los Angeles featured almost nothing of the sort. But that didn’t make that performance any less magnificent than those on the opposite end of the spectrum. If anything, the band’s groundbreaking combination of light and sound totally transformed the notion of what live music can be.The Boulder, Colorado-based duo debuted its multi-dimensional display during its annual “Rowdytown” shows at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre outside of Denver this past September. Fortunately for fans of Big Gigantic, the group subsequently decided to take this particular act on the road.Thanks to the sleek 3D glasses handed out at the door, the spectacular effects on screen did more than provide a psychedelic backdrop for saxophonist/producer Dominic Lalli and drummer Jeremy Salken; they intertwined with the music itself to unwind a playful narrative, all the while mimicking the feeling of the “Star Tours” ride at Disneyland for a packed house of 2,400 attendees.There were tunnels transporting the audience into alternate dimensions, spikes of water jutting out from the screen, and twirling spaceships that cleverly appeared to hover over both the band and the crowd. Where most electronic dance music acts might simply rip other artists’ songs as content to fill their sets, Big Gigantic paid homage to those they covered—with an animated head of Cardi B as Carmen Miranda for “I Like It,” with a landscape lit by bonfires for Knife Party’s “Bonfire,” with varieties of greenery for Kanye West’s “Get ‘Em High,” Aloe Blacc’s “I Need a Dollar” and Jay-Z’s “Dope Boy Fresh”; and with astronauts floating through darkness for David Bowie’s “Space Odyssey.”But the litany of covers did nothing to detract from the overall act. Those tracks, along with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Can’t Hold Us” and the Crookers remix of Kid Cudi’s “Day ‘N’ Night,” kept revelers moving between Big G’s own Rolodex of hits, from the GRiZ collaborations “C’mon” and “Good Times Roll” to “All of Me” with Logic and Rozes—which included a Ready Player One-style animation of an old sports car zooming through a landscape with billboards of Logic’s animated avatar. to “The Night is Young” featuring Cherub and “Get On Up,” backed by a brigade of dancing astronauts.Many of the visual motifs sprinkled throughout the set made repeat appearances, none more than the astronauts. They danced to “Get On Up,” destroyed streets with laser beams shot from behind their visors and, during the stretch run of the main set and in the encore, battled anthropomorphic saxophones, Tekken-style.All the while, Dom and Jeremy expertly curated their sounds to the stunning animations that came to life around them. Though they weren’t nearly the focus of the show that they’ve been in performances past, the titular heads of Big Gigantic proved to be naturals in their parts creating a transportive, multi-sensory adventure wherein it didn’t much matter which element was the star. By ceding some of their central role for the benefit of their visual effects team, Big Gigantic spawned a scene that was bigger and more gigantic than anything they—or just about anyone else—has ever put together in a live setting. The different dimensions were as harmonious as complementary pieces as they were exhibitions worthy of individual study.In truth, then, it wouldn’t be entirely fair to judge what Big Gigantic accomplished against a more traditional concert. If anything, this live 3D show belongs in its own class of audio-visual performance art—one that already includes the likes of Flying Lotus and, with any luck, will see its ranks explode in the years to come.
Pop-punk veterans Blink-182 announced their first live performances of 2019 on Wednesday, which will take place at their second annual Back to the Beach Festival at southern California’s Huntington State Beach on April 27th-28th. The event, which debuted last spring, is produced by the band’s drummer, Travis Barker, Goldfinger’s John Feldmann, and well-known local alt-rock radio station, KROQ.The two-day, Oceanside music festival will, of course, feature headlining performances from both Blink 182 and Goldfinger, with latter to be joined by special guests for their Sunday set. The event’s full listing of scheduled performers also includes sets from The Used, Reel Big Fish, Streetlight Manifesto, The Aquabats, Less Than Jake, The Wonder Years, Save Ferris, The English Beat, Teenage Wrist, and more to be announced as the event draws closer. This year’s Back To The Beach should bring out a sizeable audience considering it fills the pop-punk/emo void left by the now-retired Vans Warped Tour, as many of the artists on the festival poster would have likely appeared on the former travelling concert caravan.Related: Former Blink-182 Guitarist Tom DeLonge To Bring His Paranormal Truther Career To TV With New TBS SeriesBlink-182 had been scheduled to headline the 2018 edition of Chicago’s Riot Fest in addition a 16-show residency at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas last fall, but was forced to postpone both Travis Barker discovered he had blood clots in his arms. The band’s announcement of their return to performing this spring is a good indication that Barker is at least close to being back to full health to make up for the cancellations with live performances in 2019.Back to the Beach – 2018 Recap Movie[Video: Synergy Global Entertainment, Inc.]Tickets for this year’s Back to the Beach go on sale this Friday at 10 a.m. Fans can head over to the event website until then for more information.
English alternative rock band The Cure has announced a batch of Australian shows, in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the band’s Disintegration album. 2019 marks a monumental year for the band, as they will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and have plans to release a new album, marking their first in over a decade.The Cure will play four shows at Sydney, Australia’s Opera House Concert Hall to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their career-defining album. The band will take over the iconic Australian venue on May 24th, 25th, 27th, and 28th, where the will play the 1989 album in its entirety.The event page notes that “this is the world premiere of these 30th anniversary performances, and their only Australian engagement”, hinting at more show announcements in the future. The event also notes that The Cure will be accompanied by an evocative visual backdrop in the fittingly atmospheric surrounds of the Concert Hall. The band is also set to play a selection of rarely performed B-sides plus specially curated deep catalog cuts after each performance of Disintegration.Fans can make a ballot placement here for the opportunity to buy tickets. Winners of the lottery will be able to buy tickets on Thursday, February 28th.Head to the event page for more information here, or The Cure’s website.The Cure Disintegration 30th Anniversary Tour:May 24th – Opera House Concert Hall – Sydney, AustraliaMay 25th – Opera House Concert Hall – Sydney, AustraliaMay 27th – Opera House Concert Hall – Sydney, AustraliaMay 28th – Opera House Concert Hall – Sydney, AustraliaView All Tour Dates
Happy 4/20! What better way to celebrate the holiday than with 20 thematically-appropriate tunes, hand selected by the L4LM crew. From blues to hip hop to reggae to funk, musicians are no strangers to the “Wildwood Weed.” So sit back, roll up a joint, and enjoy some great tunes.1. Bob Dylan – “Rainy Day Women #12 and 35”This delightfully bawdy Dylan tune is an ode to “Rainy Day Women,” a not-so-subtle pseudonym for joints. It would be more subtle, were it not for the song’s chorus, “Everybody Must Get Stoned!”2. Phish – “Makisupa Policeman”This particular version of the oft-marijuana themed Phish tune is a fan favorite. On August 17, 2011 at the UIC Pavilion, the group made some eye-roll-worthy marijuana puns on artist names, including “Dank Sinatra” and “Harry Chronic Jr.” Enjoy!3. Grateful Dead – “High Time”We could have us a high time, living the good life. 4. Peter Tosh – “Legalize It”There’s no denying what Tosh wants legalized…5. Yonder Mountain String Band – “Two Hits And The Joint Turned Brown”The John Hartford classic gets a whole new twist from Yonder Mountain String Band…6. Traffic – “Light Up Or Leave Me Alone”We think the ultimatum of this classic Traffic song pretty much speaks for itself.7. Ray Charles – “Let’s Go Get Stoned”Another essential 4/20 tune that actually hit #1 on the R&B charts when it debuted in 1966. 8. Sublime – “Smoke Two Joints”She was living in a single room with three other individuals, one of them was a male, and the other two, well the other two were females. God only knows what they were up to in there, and furthermore Susan, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to learn that all four of them habitually smoked marijuana cigarettes….. reefers.9. Galactic – “Sweet Leaf”This Black Sabbath ode to the green gets the funk treatment from the NOLA royalty themselves, Galactic.10. The Beatles – “Got To Get You In My Life”Commonly assumed to be a love song, this Paul McCartney original was actually written as an ode to marijuana. The band had recently been introduced to the drug by Bob Dylan, opening up their songwriting and studio experimentation tremendously in the mid-1960s. A later quote from Macca in his 1997 biography: “‘Got to Get You into My Life’ was one I wrote when I had first been introduced to pot … So [it’s] really a song about that, it’s not to a person.”11. Peter, Paul, and Mary – “Puff the Magic Dragon”Are you a pothead, Fokker?12. Cypress Hill – “Hits From The Bong”Too many Cypress Hill songs to choose from.13. Phish with Primus’ Les Claypool and Larry LaLonde – “Harpua” > “Wildwood Weed” > “Harpua”On December 6, 1996, Phish were joined by Primus’ Les Claypool and Larry LaLonde for a particularly entertaining “Harpua” in Vegas. The band segued from “Harpua” into “Wildwood Weed,” sung by Claypool, loosely based on the original Jim Stafford country tune. There were so many songs to choose from… which 4/20 favorites of yours didn’t make the list? 14. Ben Harper – “Burn One Down”Now that Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals have reunited, we’re hoping to catch this 1995 hit at some summer festival sets.15. Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg – “The Next Episode”Smoke weed every day.16. People Under The Stairs – “Acid Raindrops”Just a great, great song about Mary Jane.17. Rick James – “Mary Jane”One of the most sampled 70’s electrofunk tracks is this ballad to marijuana from Rick James.18. Afroman – “Because I Got High”Despite the artist’s recent on-stage altercation, there’s no denying that this is one of the most iconic marijuana songs. La da da da da da…19. Willie Nelson ft. Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Snoop Dogg – “Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die”Released on 4/20 in 2012, this relatively newer song written by Willie Nelson features vocals from Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, and Snoop Dogg. 20. Bob Marley – “Easy Skanking”Excuse me while I light my spliff…
Phish has unveiled their latest archival live release via LivePhish. For this new official release, the band takes fans back to November 11th, 1998 at Grand Rapids, MI’s Van Andel Arena. The show marks Phish’s 12th archival release from 1998 available through LivePhish.Following a beloved three-night run at Chicago, IL’s UIC Pavilion, Phish moved east for a Wednesday night one-off in The Wolverine State. The band’s first set in Grand Rapids featured standout renditions of “Punch You In The Eye”, “Gumbo”, and “Theme From The Bottom”, as well as a rare cover of “If You Need A Fool”, played only three times live by the quartet. To open up set two, the band set sail into deep, exploratory territory with a monstrous take on “Halley’s Comet”. Phish took no time to slow down, as the extended “Halley’s” jam smoothly segued into “Simple”, followed by a cover of James Gang‘s “Walk Away” and “Limb By Limb”. A noteworthy and oddly placed “Ghost” brought the heater of a second set to a close. Phish would return to offer a three-song encore of “Contact” > “Rocky Top” > “Funky Bitch”.Mixed from the multi-tracks, Phish’s performance from November 11th, 1998 will be available tomorrow, Tuesday, April 23rd for streaming via LivePhish+ and for download. Ahead of Tuesday’s release, fans can tune into SiriuxXM Jam On (channel 29) tonight (Monday, April 22nd) at 9 p.m. (EST) to preview the archival recording.Sign up for LivePhish+ to get access to Phish’s Grand Rapids release and all past archival releases.Setlist: Phish | Van Andel Arena | Grand Rapids, MI | 11/11/1998Set One: Punch You in the Eye, Gumbo, If You Need a Fool, Sleep, Tela, Birds of a Feather, Theme From the Bottom, JuliusSet Two: Halley’s Comet > Simple > Walk Away > Limb By Limb, When the Circus Comes, GhostEncore: Contact > Rocky Top > Funky Bitch
A crowd packed the Memorial Church at Harvard on Saturday (March 6) to hear Massachusetts Institute of Technology linguist and activist Noam Chomsky question U.S. foreign policy during the first year of the Obama administration, including its dogged opposition to Iran’s efforts to harness nuclear energy.Sponsored by the Harvard Extension School’s International Relations Club, the discussion also featured investigative journalist and author Amy Goodman, host of public radio’s “Democracy Now!”Qualifying Goodman’s introduction of him, Chomsky began by saying he was mentioned in a recent New York Times op-ed piece as “one of the last stale holdovers” of the 1960s. But his discussion points were decidedly topical.Comparing President Barack Obama with President George H.W. Bush, Chomsky noted that while Bush was criticized because he lacked “the vision thing,” Obama “is sort of the opposite — grand vision, real vision of what should be done, but he hasn’t succeeded much in practice.”On Iran, for example, he said that Brazil’s failure to go along with the United States in supporting harsher sanctions has been called a refusal to “go along” with the international community. But Chomsky called this “a reflection of the depth of cultural imperialism. Who is the international community?” he asked. “It’s Washington, and whoever happens to agree with them.” The “rest of the world,” he maintained, has supported Iran’s right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes, as did the majority of the American people before the “huge mass of propaganda” that has been promulgated on the topic since 2007.“Obama’s vision is to reduce or remove nuclear weapons,” Chomsky said. “That’s the vision. What’s the practice?”A U.N. Security Council resolution called on all states to join the nonproliferation treaty “without any threat of force,” Chomsky said. But, he added, two countries — the United States and Israel — said they wanted to “keep all options open. That’s a threat of force,” particularly considering that the two countries have been carrying out field operations “plainly aimed at Iran.”These threats, Chomsky said, “have the effect of inducing Iran to develop a deterrent,” though he said Iran is not interested in beginning a nuclear war, because it “would be vaporized in five minutes.”But Iran is far from the only international issue that Obama has to contend with, of course. Chomsky also discussed India and Pakistan, saying that President Ronald Reagan’s support of Pakistani dictators during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan helped to spread Saudi-funded “madrassas,” or Islamic schools, in Pakistan. “A strong jihadi tendency developed in Pakistan,” he said, “and that’s part of what the world is facing today.”The Obama administration, he said, has “informed India the resolution didn’t apply to them. The more India increases its nuclear capacity, the more Pakistan does, and the threat of nuclear war has been quite close a couple of times.” In refusing to join the nonproliferation treaty, Pakistan, India, and Israel acted with U.S. support, he said.When asked by Goodman about today’s antiwar movement, Chomsky said it is stronger than the anti-Vietnam War movement was in the early 1960s. In 1962, when President John Kennedy “sent the Air Force to start bombing” South Vietnam, causing a flood of refugees, he said, “protest was zero, literally. It was years before there was any sign of protest.”Finally, he said, “after years, 1967-68 got a substantial antiwar movement. By then, South Vietnam was gone. Compare that to Iraq. There were huge protests before the war was actually launched. We now know [that President George W.] Bush and British Prime Minister Tony] Blair were just lying [in saying that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction], but I think demonstrations had an effect … I think [the Iraq war] was retarded by the antiwar movement.”Chomsky also discussed the war in Afghanistan, the need for civilian trials for war criminals, the keeping of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, a multistate solution for Israel and Pakistan, and his belief that “international affairs are run like the Mafia … Send in your goons to beat them to a pulp so everyone else gets the idea.”His passion apparent, Chomsky concluded by discussing his own path toward activism. “You can’t become involved part time,” he said. “Go to a demonstration and go home, nothing happens. Only by dedicated, diligent work” can protesters’ voices be heard.
They’ve served the University with distinction. Now, Dean Michael D. Smith of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) is recognizing their service.On Tuesday (June 8), Smith honored 50 FAS staff with the first Dean’s Distinction award, created to celebrate the FAS’s highest-achieving employees.At an afternoon ceremony in the Faculty Room of University Hall, Smith expressed gratitude for the many contributions made by all nominees, and especially by award recipients, during a particularly demanding period in the School’s history.“Over the past two years, the FAS has faced more than its fair share of challenges,” said Smith, the John H. Finley Jr. Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “Especially in those early days of 2008, the way ahead was truly an open question, and solutions to the problems in front of us were far from obvious. But fairly immediately, I started to hear encouraging stories, stories of how staff members’ innovative ideas and collaborative spirit had created unexpected wins.“Since then, it has become clear that our staff have made important contributions across every unit and at every level,” he told the gathering of awardees, their guests, and supervisors. “You have forged new partnerships, created better ways of doing things, and changed the way we think about what we do. At a time when financial resources have been in short supply, ideas and energy have not.“I created the Dean’s Distinction as a means to honor this important work, to recognize the considerable talent of FAS staff members, and to shine a light on these exceptional contributions to the FAS mission,” Smith said. “Harvard’s faculty and students could not reach the heights they aim for without your hard work.”Leslie Kirwan, dean for administration and finance, noted the importance of recognizing collaboration, hard work, and commitment from staff and managers.“As someone who has helped other complex organizations navigate trying times, I know firsthand the amazing results that individuals and work teams can accomplish through personal commitment, innovative thinking, and just plain hard work when the chips are down,” said Kirwan ’79, M.P.P. ’84, “and when they do, how important it is to take the time to recognize and thank them for those contributions.”Following Kirwan’s remarks, Smith called each honoree to the front of the room to the applause of colleagues.Recipients of the Dean’s Distinction received a personalized keepsake with an image of the wall-mounted banjo regulator clock that hangs in the dean’s office. The clock was presented to Harvard in 1829 by Simon Willard, who was the Keeper of the Clocks for half a century, overseeing the periodic maintenance of all College timepieces.“Now, every day, when I wind Mr. Willard’s clock, I am reminded not only of his lifetime of service to Harvard, but of the hard work and dedication of FAS staff members. You are critical to the pursuit of the School’s mission of excellence in teaching and research,” Smith concluded.The awardees were selected from more than 100 individuals nominated by faculty and staff in more than 20 FAS divisions and units. Nominees spanned the full spectrum of service time, from one to 43 years, and more than a third of those nominated were members of the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW).The recipients of the 2010 Dean’s Distinction award are:Fred Burchsted, Harvard College LibraryAnne Marie Calareso, Harvard College Program in General EducationLaura Chivers, PsychologyKathleen Cloutier, African and African American StudiesJerome Connors, Chemistry and Chemical BiologyWilliam Cooper, Freshman Dean’s OfficeRose Cortese, East Asian Languages and CivilizationsJames Costello, Molecular and Cellular BiologyKelli Costello, Office of Undergraduate EducationJessica Cundiff, Museum of Comparative ZoologyRobert Daley, FAS Finance OfficeElizabeth Doyle, Humanities Faculty ServicesMichelle Durocher, Harvard College LibraryGustavo Espada, East Asian Languages and CivilizationsEllen Fox, GSAS Student ServicesJeanne Gaunt, Harvard College LibraryZachary Gingo, Physical Resources and PlanningWendy Guan, Center for Geographic AnalysisPatricia Harrington, Harvard College Administration and FinanceErnst Sebastian Hierl, Harvard College LibraryRobert LaPointe, GSAS AdmissionsLisa Laskin, Harvard Summer SchoolAlan Long, Research Administration ServicesMargaret Lynch, Human and Evolutionary BiologyGerald MacDonald, FAS Instructional Media ServicesSusan Marine, Harvard College Office of Student LifeJoseph Martinez, Museum of Comparative ZoologyKaren Woodward Massey, Research Administration ServicesAnna McDonald, EnglishJosh McIntosh, Harvard College Office of Student LifeDenise Medeiros, Physical Resources and PlanningChristianna Morgan, Women, Gender and SexualityStephanie Nasson, FAS Finance OfficeOlesia Pacholok, Office of AdmissionsSandra Parada, Physical Resources and PlanningDavis Pasquariello, FAS Instructional Media ServicesBarry Reed, FAS Instructional Media ServicesAnn Richards, EconomicsDale Rinkel, StatisticsJoan Smeltzer, PsychologyHelena Sousa, Physical Resources and PlanningJulie Stephenson, Office of the RegistrarRichard C. Stokes, Rowland InstituteLindsay Strogatz, Harvard-Yenching InstituteGeoffrey Tierney, Organismic and Evolutionary BiologyMatthew Tobin, FAS Finance OfficeGwen Urdang-Brown, EnglishTanya Washburn, FAS Adaptive Technology LabVaughn Waters, FAS Information TechnologyRobert Eric Young, Office for Faculty Affairs
On Oct. 11, Harvard University received a 2010 Campus and Student Sustainability Award from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) in the “Best Campus Case Study” category. Harvard was recognized for the 2010 Phillips Brooks House Student Weatherization Project case study describing a collaborative sustainability event during which students and staff partnered to improve the energy efficiency of the Phillips Brooks House in Harvard Yard. The University shared the award with the University of Northern British Columbia.To learn more about the weatherization project, read the case study submitted to AASHE by the Office for Sustainability or check out the story and video on the sustainability website.On May 2, 2010 more than 50 Harvard students took a break from studying for finals and picked up caulk guns to implement 23 weatherization projects in the building that will cut energy costs and help contribute to the University’s climate change commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The project was a collaboration between the Office for Sustainability, the Phillips Brooks House Association, the student Environmental Action Committee, and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Green Program. It is estimated to save more than 9 tons of CO2 emissions and nearly $4,000 in utility costs annually.The project was initiated when students from the Environmental Action Committee (EAC) approached the Office for Sustainability and Faculty of Arts and Sciences Green Program asking if there was a way to involve students in a weatherization project similar to what is done by Cambridge Home Energy Efficiency Team (http://heetma.com/).
Exposure in the womb to bisphenol A (BPA) — a chemical used to make plastic containers and other consumer goods — is associated with behavior and emotional problems in young girls, according to a study led by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia.BPA is found in many consumer products, including canned food linings, polycarbonate plastics, dental sealants, and some receipts made from thermal paper. Most people living in industrialized nations are exposed to BPA. BPA has been shown to interfere with normal development in animals and has been linked with cardiovascular disease and diabetes in people. In a 2009 study, HSPH researchers showed that drinking from polycarbonate bottles increased the level of urinary BPA.In this study, published Oct. 24 in an advance online edition of Pediatrics, lead author Joe Braun, research fellow in environmental health at HSPH, and his colleagues found that gestational BPA exposure was associated with more behavioral problems at age 3, especially in girls.The researchers collected data from 244 mothers and their 3-year-old children in the Health Outcomes and Measures of the Environment Study, conducted in the Cincinnati area. Mothers provided three urine samples during pregnancy and at birth that were tested for BPA; their children were tested each year from ages 1 to 3. When the children were 3 years old, the mothers completed surveys about their children’s behavior.“None of the children had clinically abnormal behavior, but some children had more behavior problems than others. Thus, we examined the relationship between the mom’s and children’s BPA concentrations and the different behaviors,” Braun said.BPA was detected in more than 85 percent of the urine samples from the mothers and more than 96 percent of the children’s urine samples. The researchers found that maternal BPA concentrations were similar between the first sample and birth. The children’s BPA levels decreased from ages 1 to 3, but were higher and more variable than that of their mothers.After adjusting for possible contributing factors, increasing gestational BPA concentrations were associated with more hyperactive, aggressive, anxious, and depressed behavior, and poorer emotional control and inhibition in the girls. This relationship was not seen in the boys.The study confirms two prior studies showing that exposure to BPA in the womb impacts child behavior, but is the first to show that in utero exposures are more important than exposures during childhood, Braun said.“Gestational, but not childhood BPA exposures, may impact neurobehavioral function, and girls appear to be more sensitive to BPA than boys,” he said.Although more research is needed to fully understand the health effects of BPA exposure, clinicians can advise those concerned to reduce their BPA exposure by avoiding canned and packaged foods, thermal paper sales receipts, and polycarbonate bottles with the number 7 recycling symbol, the authors wrote.Bruce Lanphear of Simon Fraser University was senior author of the study.The study was funded in part by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
After years of austerity measures and financial reforms aimed at unhealthy economies and national debt levels, a top European official on Tuesday cited hopeful signs that a “slow and subdued” European recovery could begin by next year.Olli Rehn, vice president of the European Commission, the European Union’s (EU) executive body, said that the average budget deficit of European nations has fallen from 6 percent in 2009 and 2010 to 4 percent in 2011, and is expected to fall 3 percent this year and next.Beyond that, he said the economic reforms show signs of working, with fiscally troubled Ireland now able to access financial markets, surprising export growth in struggling Portugal, difficult banking reforms approaching passage in Spain, and budgetary progress in Greece, where the deficit has fallen from 16 percent of the overall budget in 2009 to 6 percent this year.“I am bringing better news from across the ocean,” Rehn said. “I’m convinced that all this hard work will start bearing fruit in the not-too-distant future, and in fact the first signs are already visible.”However, high unemployment remains a major area of concern, especially among the continent’s youth. Some critics have said that the steps taken so far have focused too heavily on reducing budget deficits at a time when public spending could stimulate job growth and lower unemployment. But Rehn said he believes that healthier governments are key to future economic strength, and that talk of getting rid of the euro so countries can pursue individual cures would mean even deeper economic dislocation and recession.Rehn made his comments to a packed auditorium and nearby overflow room at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies. The talk, titled “Rebuilding the Economic and Monetary Union,” was hosted by Kenneth Rogoff, the Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ Economics Department.“It’s quite extraordinary to have the vice president of the commission here. There’s just a little bit going on in Europe,” Rogoff quipped.Rehn said that despite the flood of negative news coming from the continent, Europe is stronger than perceived, with a market of 500 million people and a third of the globe’s economic output. As a region, the EU remains the largest trading partner of the United States, China, and many other nations.In addition, he pointed out, despite the current economic troubles, Europe remains stable and at peace, important factors given the continent’s troubled history.It is apparent now, Rehn said, that the economic good times after the adoption of the euro in 1999 were wasted. He also said that economic reform, though it may seem severe today in countries that had soaring budget deficits, isn’t something that can be undertaken and finished forever. Rather, it needs to be an ongoing part of a constantly changing economic scene. It wasn’t that long ago, he pointed out, that Germany and other nations considered strong today were experiencing their own crises.“All those countries had to go through very serious reform of their fiscal policy and structural elements,” Rehn said. “There is never anything eternal in economic success.”Rehn said he looks forward to a vigorous debate on closer political ties among European nations, which some analysts have proposed as a necessary step to avoid future crises. A more critical issue, given the current crisis, is a tighter fiscal union — provisions of which are outlined in a fiscal treaty signed earlier this year and awaiting ratification — with integrated banking laws, protections against bank failure, integrated economic policy frameworks, and budgetary guidelines aimed at preventing the kind of imbalances among nations that sparked the current crisis.Rehn said that European and national officials have been forced to work as both firefighters dealing with crisis and as architects designing reforms that will shape future relations between countries, their businesses, institutions, and citizens.Although some analysts have said that, having weathered the initial crisis, the European nations could focus on plans for the future, Rehn said there are still aspects of the downturn that are ongoing.“We do have to continue with firefighting for some time to come,” he said.
Harvard AIDS researchers gathered at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) last Thursday to mark 10 years of work under a key federal anti-AIDS program that has been instrumental in stemming the tide of a disease that once threatened to destroy entire societies.PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, began in 2003 and provided support at a critical stage of the global epidemic. At the time, a new generation of drugs was working miracles in industrialized countries but remained unavailable in poor countries, where AIDS raged unchecked.Tendani Gaolathe (left), director of the HSPH Master Trainer Corps Program in Botswana, and Richard Marlink, scientific director of the HSPH Aids Initiative, were among those who examined a decade of AIDS relief work. Photo by Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff PhotographerNations of sub-Saharan Africa were at the pandemic’s epicenter, with an AIDS diagnosis meaning almost certain death, and prevalence rates topping 30 percent in some countries. Because the disease struck sexually active adults, it targeted society’s most productive members, decimating professions such as teaching and nursing. Families likewise teetered, losing caregivers and breadwinners and creating ever-growing numbers of orphans to be raised by aging grandparents and distant family members.When PEPFAR was announced, HSPH researchers were in a unique position to respond because they’d already begun research programs and had partnerships with three African nations: Tanzania, Nigeria, and Botswana, according to David Hunter, HSPH’s dean for academic affairs, professor of epidemiology and nutrition, and Gregory Professor of Cancer PreventionThe result in the years since has been a suite of programs and research studies, strengthened infrastructure, and training programs that have not only brought Harvard researchers to those nations, but brought budding African scientists to Harvard to study. The effort has also resulted in training for hundreds of doctors, nurses, and other health workers in how best to respond to HIV and the AIDS it causes.An important factor in the success of the programs was that they were viewed from the start as partnerships between Harvard researchers and their host nations. In each case, according to Hunter, the presidents of those nations were supportive.“PEPFAR was a shining and early example of our translational mission,” Hunter said. “We’re not just here to do research and education.”The change in the pandemic’s course has been so dramatic that people can today conceive of “The End of AIDS,” as headlines have trumpeted recently, said Myron (Max) Essex, the Lasker Professor of Health Sciences and chair of the HSPH AIDS Initiative. Photo by Katherine Taylor/Harvard Staff PhotographerThe event Thursday, “PEPFAR in Africa,” was held at the HSPH’s Kresge Building and featured speakers from Harvard and the host nation for each program, including Richard Marlink, Beal Professor of the Practice of Public Health and scientific director of the HSPH Aids Initiative, and Tendani Gaolathe, director of the HSPH Master Trainer Corps Program in Botswana; Wafaie Fawzi, Saltonstall Professor of Population Sciences and professor of nutrition, epidemiology and global health, and Roseline Urio, deputy director of programs at Management and Development for Health in Tanzania; and Phyllis Kanki, professor of immunology and infectious diseases, and Prosper Okonkwo, chief executive officer of the AIDS Prevention Initiative in Nigeria.Hunter and Myron (Max) Essex, the Lasker Professor of Health Sciences and chair of the HSPH AIDS Initiative, offered welcoming remarks, and HSPH Dean Julio Frenk and Harvard Provost Alan Garber also spoke. The session was sponsored by HSPH and the initiative.Though the worst of the pandemic has passed in those three nations, it remains prevalent, with 25 percent of the population infected with HIV in Botswana, for example. Though that number is high, it is down from nearly one in three at the pandemic’s height. And, importantly, today almost all those who need antiretroviral drugs to treat the disease get them, resulting in a 61 percent drop in the death rate from AIDS-related illnesses.The change in the pandemic’s course has been so dramatic, Essex said, that people can today conceive of “The End of AIDS,” as headlines have trumpeted recently. That’s largely because of a new understanding that early treatment can equal prevention because the drugs keep levels of HIV low enough that transmission drops.There has been a resulting change in attitude, Essex said, from an acknowledgment that while treatment is important, we can’t “treat our way out of the epidemic,” to a feeling that just maybe we can.“I think many of us hope that there will be an end to AIDS,” Essex said.
In her mind’s eye, Pamela Thompson summits California’s 14,000-foot Mount Shasta on a beautiful day.“It’s absolutely clear. Blue sky. You can see forever,” Thompson said. “I really want to make it.”This month Thompson will climb Shasta — the second-highest peak in the Cascade Range — to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer prevention.Thompson, manager of adult education at the Arnold Arboretum, has raised nearly $8,000 for the nonprofit Breast Cancer Fund, whose prevention focus is on reducing toxins in our everyday environment. She’ll be taking part in the fund’s Climb Against the Odds from June 16 to June 21.Thompson, 51, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. The call confirming her lump was cancerous came while she was at her dying father’s bedside.“I took the call in the bathroom at the nursing home,” Thompson recalls. “I fell out of the bathroom … and fell into the arms of my family.”Thompson credits her 18-year-old daughter, Ailsa Jeffries, an incoming Harvard freshman, for taking a practical approach that helped her during those first difficult days.“As a family, we approached it as a problem that can be solved,” Thompson said. “It does turn your world upside down.”She underwent a year of treatment, including a single mastectomy for ductile carcinoma in situ — cancer in a milk duct that hasn’t spread — followed by reconstructive surgery.Thompson became interested in the climb when she came across one of the Breast Cancer Fund’s newsletters, and then applied.Never an avid exerciser or distance hiker, Thompson had just last fall started riding her bike to the Arboretum from her home in Milton. On hearing, in January, that she’d been accepted on the climb, she threw herself into training. She began walking and then running short distances, gradually lengthening to four or five miles. She also began hiking in the Blue Hills, first without a pack and then hauling up to 30 pounds. She has lost 10 pounds and today is running farther than she ever thought she would.In April, her preparations took a serious hit when she sprained her ankle during her first hike on Great Blue Hill. That forced her to take two weeks off of training. When she restarted, she built intensity slowly.Even early this month, the ankle still felt a bit dodgy, Thompson admitted — but better when she’s hiking. She has no intention of letting it interfere with the Shasta climb.“I’ve gotten this far, I’m not turning back,” Thompson said.Susanne Pfeiffer, Thompson’s sometime hiking partner and a horticultural technician at the Arboretum, said she has no doubt her friend will make it. After a long day of work, sometimes followed by a public event, Thompson and Pfeiffer will grab their gear and head to the Blue Hills for a hike.“Pam … has this burst of energy, a fire inside her. She just keeps going and going,” said Pfeiffer, who credited Thompson with inspiring her to get out hiking more often. “She’s up for the challenge. Pam’s a fighter. She’ll make it to the top and make friends along the way, because that’s how she is.”As Thompson’s departure approaches, mountaineering gear sent east by the San Francisco-based Breast Cancer Fund has been piling up in her living room: water bottles, a pack, specialized underlayers, trekking poles, and a warm down coat and shell. Thompson figures she’s pretty well equipped, except for food and a sleeping pad.Mount Shasta, a dormant volcano, is the fifth-highest peak in California. With warm weather below, part of the climb will be done in snow, by roped teams equipped with crampons and ice axes.The Breast Cancer Fund is working to prevent breast cancer by reducing toxins in household items such as food cans, cosmetics, cleaning products, and toys. Thompson said that with breast cancer rates for women 50 and older tripling in just a generation and just 5 percent to 10 percent of breast cancer patients having previous cancer in their family or known breast cancer genes, it seems that environment is an issue.“We’re not getting it from our mothers and grandmothers,” she said. “I’m the first one in my family. … I really would like answers. I’d like my daughter to know more.”Thompson flies out of Boston for California on June 14. She’ll spend the next day in “snow school,” learning crampon technique, how to hike roped in with other climbers, and how to use an ice ax, including the finer points of self-arrest should she start sliding.The next day, Thompson will meet with the group’s guides and the rest of the team. On Monday she’ll be briefed and go though gear checks.The climb starts Tuesday at a trailhead at 6,900 feet and proceeds up to a base camp at 9,600 feet. The plan calls for an early bedtime after dinner. On Wednesday, the group will rise at 1 a.m. for the 12- to 16-hour round trip to the summit, hiking up roped together in teams of five. They’ll spend that night back at the base camp before hiking out the next day.Thompson has imagined the hike, seeing footprints in the snow ahead as she and her roped-in partners trek relentlessly uphill.“I’ve seen myself taking steps through the snow. I want to go to the top,” Thompson said. “It’s mind over matter, but my body will tell me what to do.”Readers can follow the climb’s progress at the Breast Cancer Fund’s blog.
For more than a century, scientists have suggested that the best way to settle the debate about how phenotypic plasticity — the way an organism changes in response to environment — may be connected to evolution would be to identify a single mechanism that controls both. Harvard researchers say they have discovered just such a mechanism in insulin signaling in fruit flies.Cassandra Extavour, an associate professor of organismic and evolutionary biology, and grad student Delbert André Green II were able to show that a single molecular pathway plays a role in both heritable changes in the flies’ number of ovarioles — egg-producing compartments in the ovaries — and in how they react to their environments by shutting down some ovarioles. The study is described in a paper published this month in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.“This is the first example, to my knowledge, that shows this link — between heritability and plasticity — being controlled by the same mechanism,” Extavour said. “What we’ve done with this paper is show that an important trait that controls how many offspring a fruit fly will have exhibits both heritable variation and phenotypic plasticity, and that both are controlled by insulin signaling.”While the study offers the first evidence of a link, it also addresses larger questions that have long lingered in evolutionary biology.“More broadly, the question this work is looking at is: What is the contribution of phenotypic plasticity to evolution?” Extavour said. “There is a great deal of variation that is caused by phenotypic plasticity — like butterfly eyespots or the size of frog tadpoles or whether an organism will reproduce asexually or sexually. All those things seem like they could have a large impact on fitness, but if none of those changes are heritable, they may not be relevant to evolution. These are questions that have occupied the scientific community for decades.”Scientists have long understood that different insects, including different species of fruit flies, have different numbers of ovarioles. More recently, a number of studies have shown that that those differences, at least in fruit flies, were tied to variation in insulin signaling.For Extavour and Green, the first hint that a heritable trait — differences in ovariole number — might be linked with phenotypic plasticity came when they put flies on a starvation diet.Extavour explained that ovariole number is among the traits that flies can alter through phenotypic plasticity. When food is abundant, the flies ramp up their reproduction to take advantage of the situation. When they are starved, however, the flies make fewer ovarioles in an effort to conserve resources. The surprise for researchers, Extavour said, was that some flies seemed to notice the change in their food supply virtually overnight, while others responded far more slowly.The mechanism behind those phenotypic changes is insulin signaling.“We found a difference in the operation of this molecular pathway between species,” Extavour said. “The reason that’s exciting is because it explains two things about their reproduction — the first is why they have different ovariole numbers overall, and the second is why they respond differently to being starved. Or in other words, why they have different levels of phenotypic plasticity in ovariole number.”Importantly, Extavour said, the trait researchers used to explore the connection between plasticity and heritability has a clear link to evolutionary fitness.“This is a trait … where the potential impact on fitness is pretty clear,” she said. “Flies that have few ovarioles aren’t going to lay as many eggs, and they’ll have fewer offspring than flies with more ovarioles.”In addition to uncovering the first molecular links between heritability and plasticity, Extavour and Green were able to demonstrate that the differences in insulin signaling — with some species showing high levels and others showing lower levels — could be tied to local ecological conditions.To get at that question, they compared fruit fly species found only in the Seychelles, in the Indian Ocean, with species found around the world.What they found, Extavour said, was striking: Flies from the Seychelles, which typically lived in restricted habitats and specialized in a single diet, had significantly lower levels of insulin signaling, and significantly fewer ovarioles, than flies that ate a more general diet.“We’re hypothesizing that the type of niche the flies occupy might have an influence on whether they have high or low levels of insulin signaling, and that in turn is going to have an effect on whether they have high or low numbers of ovarioles,” Extavour said. “One way to summarize that is to say that flies with very limited and restricted diets don’t need to have a particularly finely tuned response to changes in nutrition, because they largely don’t experience any changes in their diet. For the flies that live catch-as-catch-can, however, if food supplies are good at the moment, they need to be able to sense that quickly and ramp up reproduction quickly, or if food is bad, they need a mechanism to know that so they can turn it down and not waste their resources.”The research is an important step, Extavour added, but “doesn’t end the debate about heritability and phenotypic plasticity. What it does it give us a concrete example of something that had been theorized — it’s saying, ‘Yes, this is possible.’ ”
The Class of 2018 moves into the dorms in and around the Yard on Monday, and returning students, faculty, and administrators have advice for them as they begin College life. For the most part, members of the Harvard community agree that freshmen should use this opportunity to take advantage of the many resources available to them over the next four years and explore new, undiscovered areas of interest.Below are some of the suggestions offered to the Class of ’18. (Other members of the Harvard community can offer their own advice and words of welcome by tagging social media posts using #WelcometoHarvard and #Harvard2018.)Drisana Mosaphir ’17“Don’t hesitate to slow down and take in your surroundings. The rush of the first few weeks can occasionally get overwhelming, but you aren’t likely to get behind on your first assignments or forays into extracurriculars by having a leisurely dinner with someone, or spending time getting to really know your roommates. Taking the time now to make this place feel like home will always help in the long run, and you’ll be surprised how little time it takes for you to feel like you’ve been friends with the people around you forever.”Rakesh KhuranaDean of Harvard College “The best suggestion I could give to the Class of 2018 is to deeply experience the College. There is a lot to do at Harvard. You just don’t have to do it all at once. I hope our next four years together will be a time where we continue to build a community that encourages taking intellectual risks, always having the time to connect deeply with each other, and caring for our own personal well-being and that of others in our community. Each member of our community makes Harvard better just by being who they are.”Alison JohnsonProfessor of History“Go to office hours. If you’re worried about what to say, just say, ‘Alison Johnson told me to go speak to you during your office hours.’ Your professors work at a university because they love to teach, and they are eager to meet you.”Sietse Goffard ’15Undergraduate Council Vice President“Ask questions — lots of them! Whether you’re in a lecture, an Institute of Politics forum, office hours with your professor, or just in Annenberg dining hall with your peer advising fellow, don’t be afraid to ask whatever question is on your mind. In front of a large audience, it can seem intimidating. But professors often say in class that ‘there are no dumb questions,’ and it’s entirely true. I feel like I’ve learned more by approaching life at Harvard with an open and curious mind.“Try new activities. College is the best time to break out of your comfort zone and explore. That’s even truer because we’re spoiled for choice at Harvard; there are over 400 student groups on campus that cover basically every type of activity imaginable. So try out things that you never did in high school and might never get the chance to do again after college, whether that’s intramural crew, break dancing, a cappella, Harvard’s i-lab entrepreneurship challenges, robotics, or a special type of community-service group.”Ned HallProfessor of Philosophy“Harvard is such a unique and uniquely intense place, and presents so many challenges to you, who are about to join with it for the next four years, that it’s tempting to want to provide you with loads and loads of advice — a sort of ‘Complete Guide to Thriving at Harvard and Beyond.’ Which would, alas, simply add to the intensity, and present you with the additional challenge of reconciling my advice with the loads and loads of conflicting advice you are bound to receive.“So forget it. I’ll go meta instead, and offer one simple thought that’s worth internalizing now: For the first time in your life, you will find yourself in a situation where you can pursue only a tiny fraction of the amazing opportunities that are available for you to pursue. (And yes, these are both inside and outside the classroom.) You just have to deal with that fact, even though nothing in your experience has trained you to do so. That means that you’ll need to learn to say ‘no,’ without being ashamed. And you’ll need to ask yourself how you are going to choose what to say ‘yes’ to. Based on what inspires you? On what you are afraid of missing out on? On what you’re convinced is necessary to secure your future success? On what ‘received wisdom’ here tells you to do? On what sparks your curiosity?“In the final analysis, the answer is entirely up to you. But it’s worth remembering that what you choose to pursue is in some deep ways less important than how you decide to make these choices.”Emily Zoffer ’16“Many of my closest friends are people I met second semester freshman year through extracurriculars, and I could have met them months sooner if I’d gotten more involved.“Professors are nice, friendly people! They want to meet and talk to you, about class or anything else. Take advantage of this chance to connect with some of the most interesting people you’ll ever have the opportunity to meet.“Learn to navigate the T, and then use it to check out other parts of Cambridge and Boston. Some of the country’s best food, museums, entertainment, and more are right in our backyard. Make sure to take advantage of everything this area has to offer!”Tom DingmanDean of Freshmen“Lots of thoughts come to mind as I think about possible advice to offer freshmen. One thought is to be open to trying new things ― taking courses in areas heretofore unexplored, making friends where differences are more pronounced than similarities, or learning a new avocational skill.“At the same time, I’d encourage getting into a routine. When I meet with my advisees, I pass along the following: Keep those things that you liked about your high school routine, like eating breakfast every morning or hitting the gym a few days a week. Try to find a regular sleep schedule, even if you go to bed at an hour that would horrify your parents. Make a schedule for yourself so that you can ensure balance and keep track of classes, extracurricular activities, and meetings. And be sure to leave free time for the little things that make you happy and that may provide perspective.”Paul BarreiraDirector of Harvard University Health Services“If we look at survey data over the last 10 years, every class consistently says three things interfere with academic performance: stress, lack of sleep, routine illnesses such as colds due to run-down immune systems. All three of those things are interrelated. I think it’s important to not give up things you know worked to relieve stress in the past, like playing an instrument or going to the gym. Don’t give them up now if you know they worked in the past.“Don’t be a couch potato. Students who exercise more regularly report less stress and anxiety. Those who get no exercise report highest rates of not feeling healthy.“And I always encourage students to stay connected, whether it’s with friends from home, family, or new friends made here at Harvard. Share how you’re feeling.”
3With each new spread, a fresh scene opens in “Welcome to the NeighborWood.” 11Tiny tips of green asparagus are lined up like nature’s birthday candles in “A Pop-Up Culinary Herbal.” 5Laser cutters have produced more intricate designs in recent decades. The possibilities of pop-ups far exceed peekaboo with paper.The art and science of paper folding grew from ritual beginnings in Buddhist Japan to a globally used art form. The shift from two to three dimension provides unique advantages — not just added life in surreal scenes, but realistic sculptural effects, as in children’s books, and representations of changes in time and space.Take a look through the gallery to see where examples pop up across Harvard’s libraries. 16Pages in this hand-tinted 1792 volume look deceptively static, but flaps move to reveal a transformation. 1It may look like child’s play, but the mechanics of pop-ups are often quite sophisticated, as seen in the complex design of an animal within its natural habitat. 19This 1932 book, “Rodchenko on Moscou,” documents the extensive reconstruction of the city at the height of Stalin’s power. 13“Renovating History” gives different 3-D treatments to the same 2-D drawing. 17The book is actually a project bid for landscape architect Humphry Repton, who hand-illustrated the pages. The flap reveals the proposed changes for the grounds of an English estate. 9The more intricate the pop-up, the more planning and engineering it requires. “Dancescape” by Paul Johnson is pictured. 14A bookcase rising in relief requires substantial mechanical planning. 20Accordion foldouts reveal the lives led behind a building’s façade. 2Pop-ups help make a molehill mountainous. 7Pop-up interpretations of a quote breathes life into a prisoner’s words, and the artist’s interpretation of them. 12A hand seemingly strokes the spread in a limited edition at Houghton. 8A face accordions out in this retelling of a Mexican folk tale by artist Joe D’ambrosia. 10Jaunty chard stalks rise from the leaves of a culinary herbal book. 4Change in dimension can bring an element of theater when pages become a stage for pop-up characters, as seen in Kara Elizabeth Walker’s 1989 tome, “Freedom: A Fable.” 18An inset under the flap reveals illustrations of the underground infrastructure of the building in the photo. 15Movable books — featuring simpler construction, like flaps and revolving discs — predate pop-ups. This example is one of the earliest from Harvard’s collections; the diagram and flap teach mathematicians and artists to understand perspective. 6A handmade book, “Sentences — Words Spoken in Prison to an Artist,” doesn’t follow a narrative but instead is a series of paper sculptures unified in theme.