Why Gary The Gull is the future of VR

first_img 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replySign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now. Why Gary The Gull is the future of VRLimitless and Motional prove the potential of emotional connections in the virtual worldRachel WeberSenior EditorThursday 10th March 2016Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareI’m sitting in a meeting room, a VR headset flattening my hair, having a conversation with a gull. He’s trying to trick me as we chat, and I know that, but I’m going to allow it because I don’t want to hurt his feelings. I’m having a relationship with Gary the con-gull, but more than that, I’m beginning to understand the emotional potential of virtual reality experiences.This emotional awakening is the result of a partnership between two ex-Pixar guys, Tom Sanocki and Mark Walsh. Sanocki is now the founder of Limitless, the technology that acts as (in the simplest terms) an emotion engine for virtual reality. Walsh is the creator of Gary The Gull and the man behind VR content company Motional.”I got really interested in how to have an interactive, not passive, experience and how to create interaction using the character skills I built at Pixar. The first person I started talking to was Tom because Tom had a similar interest and he comes from a technical background,” says Walsh. “People are the user interface of real life” “What Tom was able to provide for Motional was this platform that provides voice speech recognition and head nodding and shaking recognition within the game engine.”He’s the first client for Limitless, having worked with Sanocki at Pixar, and a great advert for its potential. The two guys clearly care about bringing a unique type of interaction to virtual reality and, together, they can tackle it both creatively and technically. Sanocki is clear on his goals. “We want to make content creation easy for people. I’ve done that in my career in studios but we want to bring it to everybody. VR is that perfect medium to bring that kind of entertainment to not just folks who like games, but to folks who like anything where you’re engaged in something. To bring story and character and emotional connection.”It’s hard to know what to call this new type of virtual reality game or not-game. Experience? Someone paid a lot more than me in an advertising agency is already figuring that out, but these guys have their own descriptions. “There’s a genre here that’s not quite game, not quite film, that is storytelling that has beginning, middle and end, that you have influence on but you do not steer completely,” says Walsh.Sanocki compares it to some of the more narrative focused games that have emerged in recent years. “Telltale does a lot of this. We want to take that and increase that emotional engagement by taking those principles and going way further and extending that into VR.””I got really interested in how to have an interactive, not passive, experience and how to create interaction using the character skills I built at Pixar” And Gary The Gull, the demo they show me, is a beautiful encapsulation of that aim. He comes to join me on a beach and keeps trying to distract me, telling me to look behind me, in order to steal from my cooler. He makes jokes. He asks if I like Picasso. If I lean too close to him he will fly away, but I don’t because I like him. Finally, it’s a virtual reality character I can wave at who knows I’m there, rather than a dead eyed NPC who doesn’t even notice when I accidentally stumble through their body.”The philosophy Mark and I have is we need to take our cues from real life and think what’s real life like? Because that’s the promise of VR. So by taking real life into VR we can achieve that promise, and a lot of that is about people, because people are the user interface of real life. That’s what we care about and that’s a lot about responding and going on a story, because all our conversations are really mini-stories,” says Sanocki.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games “We want to be able to empower other people to take this into the directions they want to go. There’ll be people who do very scripted stories – you’re going to go to Mordor – and there are people that are going to take it and branch it and we can support both. People will figure out more exciting ways to do it. It’s going to be the character engagement that’s important, and that’s what’s going to bring VR to the mainstream. The group of people who watch more action movies than play video games.”Walsh and Sanocki both cite Disneyland as an influence. When you interact with someone dressed as Snow White you know there’s a script, Snow White isn’t going to talk soccer scores, but there’s still a feeling of a real connection. That’s how it feels hanging out with Gary. I want to hang out with him again, and I can’t wait to see what else people do with the Limitless technology. I’ve seen the future of VR, and it’s full of feels.You can try Gary The Gull for yourself at GDC.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The VR & AR newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesEA leans on Apex Legends and live services in fourth quarterQ4 and full year revenues close to flat and profits take a tumble, but publisher’s bookings still up double-digitsBy Brendan Sinclair 7 hours agoEA Play Live set for July 22Formerly E3-adjacent event moves to take place a month and half after the ESA’s showBy Jeffrey Rousseau 9 hours agoLatest comments (1)Jordi Rovira i Bonet Lead Engineer, Anticto5 years ago Wow, they’ll have a hard time trying to avoid people thinking Kinect’s “Milo and Kate” with this demo. Especially now that Lionhead is gone.last_img read more

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EA, Rockstar, others shift to remote working amid pandemic

first_imgEA, Rockstar, others shift to remote working amid pandemicFIFA publisher also cancels all live events until global situation improvesJames BatchelorEditor-in-ChiefMonday 16th March 2020Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleElectronic ArtsRockstar GamesOriginal story, March 16, 2020:: Rockstar Games and Electronic Arts are the latest major games firms to send staff home to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).The Grand Theft Auto developer shared a statement via Twitter, stating work from home policies have now been implemented across all international studios and offices.Rockstar is confident work on its games will continue with minimal disruption, and both GTA Online and Red Dead Online — plus their support teams — will operate as normal.Meanwhile, Electronic Arts is strongly recommending that all employees in North America, Europe and Australia work remotely until April 1. According to the publisher’s statement, a “very limited” number of staff will continue business-critical functions at key offices, including its Redwood Shores headquarters, while everyone else works from home.Vendors and contracts that provide on-site services and are unable to work remotely will continue to be paid. EA shared more info on what it has been doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including travel restrictions implemented in late February and the closure of various offices in countries that have seen the biggest impact.The Shanghai, Singapore, Seoul and Milan offices have all been closed, with teams told to work remotely. However, as the situation stabilises in China and Singapore, staff in those areas are now returning to work “in line with guidance from regional health officials.” Seoul and Milan remain closed for the moment.In a separate announcement, the publisher confirmed it had suspended all live events around its esports titles. This will remain in effect “until the global coronavirus situation improves.”This includes Apex Legends Global Series, FIFA 20 Global Series, FIFA Online 4 Live Events and Madden 20 Championship Series. Third-party events run under licence from Electronic Arts have also been cancelled. Online events where participants and staff operate remotely, and remotely produced broadcasts, will continue as planned.Update, March 16, 2020: Other companies are following suit. A representative of Bethesda Softworks has also confirmed that the Fallout publisher’s parent company has sent its employees home.”The health, safety, and well-being of our employees is our top priority. Effective today, we have required all global employees of ZeniMax who have the capability to work from home, to do so until further notice,” the representative said.”Employees with roles that do not accommodate working from home can stay home and will be paid for regular work hours.”Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt also said it has completely switched to remote work effective today and running “for as long as it is needed.”On Friday, Blizzard also adopted work-from-home policies, but only for its Austin and Irvine campuses.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games “Those in our other offices around the world have been or will be working from home as directed by local governments and health authorities,” the company said.Update, March 18, 2020: Payday 2 developer Starbreeze Studios has begun adopting remote work produces for its Stockholm office in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.The Swedish game company has already introduced similar measures in its Barcelona studio, and “will continue to assess the situation and authorities’ recommendations on a week by week basis.”Additional reporting by Brendan Sinclair and Haydn TaylorCelebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesEA leans on Apex Legends and live services in fourth quarterQ4 and full year revenues close to flat and profits take a tumble, but publisher’s bookings still up double-digitsBy Brendan Sinclair An hour agoEA acquires Super Mega Baseball developer Metalhead SoftwareCanadian studio fills another gap in FIFA publisher’s expanding sports portfolioBy James Batchelor 6 days agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.last_img read more

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UK’s “energy destiny” hangs on nuclear price talks, warns EDF boss de Rivaz

first_img UK’s “energy destiny” hangs on nuclear price talks, warns EDF boss de Rivaz He said the “missing pieces” were a final planning decision and, “most crucially, a balanced, stable and durable agreement on the price of the electricity generated.” New Jersey utility regulators extend zero-carbon breaks for PSEG nuclear power plants 1.22.2013 Facebook Linkedin EDF Energy boss Vincent de Rivaz has said that “real momentum now exists and almost all of the necessary pieces are in place” over the company’s bid to build a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in the UK. By Kelvin Ross, Deputy Editor, Power Engineering International NuclearReactors He also stressed that despite the cost overruns of EDF’s Flamanville nuclear site in France, “the construction cost of Hinkley Point is the cost that we are going to deliver. It is fit for purpose.” But he warned that if EDF and the government “collectively duck” the chance to put the final seal on price negotiations, “the opportunity to shape our own energy destiny will be lost – maybe forever.” Linkedin No posts to display Writing in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper yesterday, de Rivaz said that the price “needs to be fair and balanced for both our company and the government.” He was referring to the contract for difference – or strike price – that the UK government has said it will pay as a guaranteed income to all energy companies for the electricity that they generate. The price will differ across all forms of power generation, and Hinkley Point will be the first new nuclear site to go ahead – and as such agree a strike price – since the contracts for difference were unveiled as part of the government’s Energy Bill. De Rivaz added that the “majority of people in the country and in Parliament recognise that nuclear power must remain part of the energy mix.” Twitter TAGSEDF “Nuclear is the long-term, consistent guarantee that Britain has the low-carbon energy that it needs,” he stated. “I believe we can reach an agreement with the government which will transparently display the economic viability of new nuclear, and which can underpin a robust business case for investors,” he said. “EDF is now closer than ever to being able to make a decision that could change the energy landscape in this country for generations to come. Get it right and the UK has a chance to ensure that it has the right energy mix for the long term.” Twitter “Yes, we are going to ask for a reasonable profit. We are a force for good. It is time to respect investors.” Subscribe to Nuclear Power International magazine RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Last week, de Rivaz told UK MPs that he made no apology for trying to secure a “reasonable profit” from the nuclear strike price negotiations. Facebook Optimizing Plant Performance: The April POWERGEN+ series activates today However he warned: “If collectively we duck this now, the opportunity to shape our own energy destiny will be lost – maybe forever.” When asked if he thought the Energy Bill would be good for EDF’s business, he replied:  “It is there to deliver policymakers’ policies. It is fair.” And he added that the decision to go ahead with the project “could change the energy landscape” in Britain. Suitors for halted Bellefonte nuclear project ask TVA to consider climate in reviving sale By chloecox – Previous articlePilgrim nuclear power plant shuts down after minor leak foundNext articleGermany to continue to fund foreign nuclear power chloecox last_img read more

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Review: Stick it to the man! – A musical for rocking groups

first_imgWith bookings extended to next year, School of Rock is a must for young groups and rock music-lovers. Tim Farr reviews the rocking new musicalIf you’ve seen the film version of School of Rock, you’ll be forgiven for thinking the musical is just about the fabulous rock soundtrack and snappy one-liners from a Jack Black lookalike.‘These 11-13-year-olds not only act , but play their instruments live on stage’Yes, the Lloyd Webber score is a punchy, catchy replacement for the famous rock soundscape from its movie counterpart.Yes, the part of Dewey Finn was excellently and hilariously played by Gary Trainor, spewing out high notes and comedy dialog very near the knuckle for a supposed teacher.But this show is all about the kids!The ultra-talented child cast has sell-out crowds at the New London Theatre roaring, stamping and chanting night after night.Three sets of 13 young people take it in turns to play the class of private schoolchildren who get to the final of the Battle of the Bands, thanks to their “teacher” Dewey.These 11-13-year-olds not only act and sing their socks off, but play their instruments live on stage to a faultless standard.      The show will work well for young audiences and anyone with rock in their heart. Perhaps less so for a coachload of older viewers.For more information and to book, visit schoolofrockthemusical.comlast_img read more

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Tank And The Bangas Pack The Blue Nile In Homecoming Celebration

first_imgThe queen of slam poetry and powerhouse vocalist, Tarronia “Tank” Ball, reclaimed her throne this past Friday night (10/9) at the Blue Nile, packing the crowd in like sardines, with a line out the door so long it blocked the entrance to the adjacent Frenchmen Street clubs. The enormous turnout came as no surprise to Tank and the Bangas’ loyal following, who have long awaited the New Orleans natives’ return after over two months of touring in the UK.Crowd favorites like “Rhythm of Life”, “Bradys”, “Walmart”, and a cover of Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody” brought full participation from the audience, who were transfixed on Tank’s enthralling presence. Many who see this group live realize that Tank and the Bangas have great respect for their listeners and want their music to positively effect people’s lives. In one of Ball’s interludes before closing the set, she explained that their UK tour was a chance for them to inspire fans to follow and accomplish their own dreams.  Like so many New Orleans acts, Tank and the Bangas transcends genre classification by combining R&B, Soul, Gospel, Rock, Hip-Hop, and Spoken Word with an unquestionably New Orleans-based flair. Ball’s powerful words, vocals, and expressions are truly mesmerizing. Even when she is silent, her presence alone demands attention.A 5-year member of New Orleans-based slam poetry organization, Team SNO — a.k.a. ‘Slam New Orleans’ — Ball has a gift for lyricism and spoken word that further sets her and the Bangas apart from other musical acts. Her lyrics often incorporate thoughtfully written conceits addressing common personal and interpersonal issues; songs like “Rollercoasters,” “Boxes and Squares,” and “Walmart” combine Ball’s imaginative and familiar commentary on relationships and human nature with gorgeous musical arrangement by the Bangas that turns simple songs into complex stories. The group’s cohesiveness is evident in their live performance and cultivates a positive energy that, combined with the thoughtful and powerful messages in Ball’s lyrics, inspires the crowd and leaves one feeling as empowered as he or she is entertained. It is an experience that reminds one of the true power of music during every facet of the performance. Since the band’s formation at an open mic night at the Liberation Lounge in 2011, Tank and The Bangas have developed a close connection with their New Orleans fan base, playing shows at seemingly every venue in the city, and bringing a crowd wherever they go. Original members Tarronia “Tank” Ball (lead), Joshua Johnson (drums), Norman Spence (bass), and Merell Burkett (keyboard) have since been joined by percussionist Nita Bailey, back up vocalists Anjelika Joseph and Kayla Buggage, as well as saxophonists Etienne Stoufflet and Albert Allenback to create a 10-piece ensemble.In their early years, they earned much acclaim and received awards such as the ‘Raw Artist Musician of the Year,’ ‘Performer of the Year,’ and the ‘Golden Mic’. The band’s success in 2013 and 2014 — in which they released their debut album Think Tiank and subsequent live album Tank & The Bangas — Live at Gasa Gasa — proved that they were creating something new and exciting, a type of performance that is refreshingly mindful and honest as well as musical.In just the past year, Tank and the Bangas have performed at Essence Festival, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and Quincy Festival, as well as toured to Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois, and recently to the UK for a monumental twelve-show run including performances at the Brainchild Music Festival and the Crosstrax Music Workshops. They have appeared on local radio stations WWOZ and WTUL, as well as features on the WWL-TV Morning Show, Go Nola TV, Balcony TV, and The Goodnight Show. Tank and the Bangas have created a live performance which has already become a must-see act in New Orleans and is quickly gaining attention both nationally and internationally.If you missed their performances this weekend at the Blue Nile or Gentilly Fest, you can catch the Bangas at Mid City Masquerade Saturday (10/24) for an evening of Halloween festivities alongside Sweet Crude, Lost Bayou Ramblers, YOUNG BUFFALO, Blind Texas Marlin, and DJ Doug Funnie spinning NOLA funk and soul![Photo by CK Golding]last_img read more

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19 Chain Restaurants Join to Offer Healthier Kids Food

first_imgThe announcement on Wednesday from the National Restaurant Association comes as health officials, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics and consumer advocates, utilize law suits and legislation to pressure restaurants into reducing the calories and improving the nutritional value in kids meals.(READ the Reuters story in the MSNBC)AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreWith nearly one in three American children obese or overweight, 19 U.S. restaurant chains, including Burger King and IHOP, are backing an industry effort to serve and promote healthier meals for children.As part of the effort, Burger King this month will make sliced apples and fat-free milk or juice the default choices for its kids’ meals. French fries and soda will remain on the menu but customers will have to request them.last_img read more

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Dillon Hall senator to resign prior to impeachment proceedings

first_imgSenior Michael Dugan, who serves as Dillon Hall’s senator, has resigned from his student government position effective 6 p.m. Thursday, at the start of the senate meeting scheduled to take place at the same time.(Editor’s Note: Dugan is a former News Writer and Systems Administrator at The Observer.)The decision to step down comes amid controversy sparked by a Letter to the Editor sent by Dillon officials — including Dugan — in which they criticized the delay to hear a piece of legislation that would prevent Student Union organizations from utilizing funds in companies that profit from prison labor.According to the Student Union Ethics Commission’s recommendation letter sent to Dugan, the Commission unanimously found him to be in violation of three expectations of ethical conduct, including showing “disregard for the authority of the Student Union,” injuring “the good name of the Student Union” and undertaking actions that are “deemed unbecoming by the Senate.”The closed door ethics allegation hearing took place Tuesday at 9:45 p.m. over Zoom.After reviewing such violations, the Ethics Commission moved to “unanimously recommend that a Bill of Impeachment be brought before the student senate,” according to a letter acquired by The Observer.The Ethics Commission is chaired by Judicial Council President, junior Matthew Bisner, and comprised of “randomly selected members” of Student Union organizations, according to the Judicial Council’s website. This academic year’s members include Thomas Davis, Student Union parliamentarian; Curt Gouldin, Hall President’s Council co-chair; Mariah Horvath, Junior Class Council; Koryn Isa, First-Year Class Council; Sara Kirsch, Breen-Phillips Hall senator; Kyle McAvoy, Sophomore Class Council; Kate McLauglin, Student Union Board; Ryan Mullin, Senior Class Council; and Nick Poole, Club Coordination Council.As stated in the Student Constitution, whenever the Ethics Commission finds a senator’s misconduct merits removal, a Bill of Impeachment is brought before the senate’s next meeting. A majority vote in this student government branch accounts for impeachment. If this is achieved, a hearing is subsequently conducted.Facing this situation, Dugan sent an email to the Judicial Council expressing his intention to resign at the start of Thursday’s meeting.“I believe that my fighting the [Bill of Impeachment] would be disrespectful to the time of the other members of the senate,” Dugan wrote in the email acquired by The Observer. “I believe, since these allegations have been brought against me in that capacity, that this would make the issue moot, and it would allow the senate to continue pursuing its agenda unimpeded by impeachment proceedings.” According to the email, Dugan “firmly disagrees” with the Ethics Commission’s recommendations and said that removal from office was unwarranted given the situation.Moreover, the senator expressed concerns about the consequences the decision could invoke within student government, particularly surrounding the lack of free speech protections in the Student Constitution.“The decision is sure to have a chilling effect on free speech, and other senators who wish to speak out and contest the actions of the Chair of Senate may find themselves backed into a corner,” Dugan wrote. “I strongly recommend that [a free speech] clause be added to the Constitution in the future, so as to limit sorts of liability for speaking truthfully in a manner that does not breach confidentiality requirements.”So, what happened in the Senate?During the Sept. 17 meeting, members of the senate discussed three different pieces of legislation: an order to make $10,000 available from the Student Union COVID-19 Response Financial Account, another order to suspend late-comer elections and an order proposing an amendment to the Constitution replacing the Executive Programming Board with the Executive Committee.According to emails obtained by The Observer, Dugan submitted a resolution entitled Order Amending the Constitution to Prohibit Student Union Investments in and Consumption of Forced and Prison Labor on Monday at 2:40 p.m. to be included in the senate agenda. Senior Sarah Galbenski, student body vice president and chairwoman of the senate, informed Dugan that his resolution would not be included in this week’s senate agenda because it was submitted after the Sunday evening deadline, and the meeting was already at capacity with three other orders to discuss and an additional presentation.Dugan pushed back in an email response urging Galbenski to reconsider.“I have a large concern about delaying this, as delaying this would continue to leave the Student Union without a concrete policy on profiting from forced labor and prison labor,” Dugan wrote in an email provided to the Observer. “I believe that this is a significant and weighty moral issue and that we have a moral obligation to swiftly take action to correct this.”He cited Article III, Section 4(g) of the Student Union Constitution which reads, “Any member of the Senate, non-voting or voting, shall possess the right of agenda.” Galbenski agreed with the significance of the issue in an email, but cited her right as chairwoman to “set the agenda in alignment with what constitutes efficient and effective operation of the Senate.”When asked for comment, Galbenski said she could only confirm Dugan’s resignation.Dugan, along with Dillon Hall representatives, then wrote a Letter to the Editor describing Dugan’s intent to include the Order Amending the Constitution to Prohibit Student Union Investments in and Consumption of Forced and Prison Labor in the agenda to no avail. The order was spearheaded by Dugan and Club Coordination Council President, senior Ricardo Pozas Garza.“Alas, this Thursday, the senate will not see this order for debate. Why? Because student body vice president Sarah Galbenski, who serves as the ex officio chair of the student senate, is refusing to allow the senate to hear this piece of legislation then,” Dugan wrote in the Letter to The Observer, titled, “Student government must not punt on addressing prison labor.”However, other student government officials — including senators, sophomores Grace Franco, Margaret Allen, Michael J. Murakami, Patrick O. Lee, Henry Jackson and Sara Kirsch, and class presidents, sophomore Renee Pierson and senior Sam Cannova — saw this as a direct affront to Galbenski, and sent a Letter to the Editor as well.“This letter, written by members of the Dillon Hall Council, was both misleading and inflammatory,” the officials wrote. “The senate attacks issues, not people.”“Today we, members of the student senate, want to set the record straight,” the letter said.The letter asserted Galbenski was not attempting to pick and choose bills to debate, rather, “the meeting was simply full,” something the student body vice president conveyed to Dugan in an email.Nevertheless, Dugan expressed that Galbenski’s justification of having the right “to set the agenda in alignment with what constitutes efficient and effective operation of the senate in [her] judgement,” as the senator wrote in the letter, was problematic.“This holding would allow for the student body vice president to simply deny debate time to any bill that she does not support, which fundamentally undermines the ability of the senate to be a free and open forum through which students can advance the position of the undergraduate student body on issues relevant to campus life,” the Dillon Hall Council members wrote.In response, the student government officials commended Dugan’s “passion for fostering a better community,” but wrote that the “personal attacks” on Galbenski were unwarranted. Moreover, they criticized the senator for singling out the vice president in a social media post uploaded to Instagram — an action which the Ethics Committee perceived as a violation.In the midst of such controversy, the officials called on the student body to listen to both sides of the debate before formulating personal opinions.“With this in mind, we as the student senate would like to encourage the student body to view the recording or peruse the minutes from last week’s senate meeting and form their own opinions about the situation with full context,” they wrote.After Dugan’s resignation is effective at 5:59:59 p.m. today, the office of Dillon Hall senator will be considered vacant.The Judicial Council will move to begin vacancy election procedures under Article XIV protocols, Bisner said in an email.Article XIV, Section 3(a) of the Student Union Constitution reads,  “In the event of a vacancy in an elected office due to resignation or recall, a new election shall be held within two academic weeks.”Editor’s Note: Notre Dame news editor Serena Zacharias and News Writer Maria Luisa Paul contributed to this report.Tags: impeachment, Judicial Council, Senate, Student governmentlast_img read more

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2017 Watershed Grant recipients announced

first_imgVermont Business Magazine Trout habitat will be improved, water will be cleaner and invasive plants will be better controlled, thanks to funding from Vermont’s 2017 Watershed Grant Program. The program, established by the legislature in 1998 and financed by a portion of the sales of the Vermont Conservation License Plates, is co-administered by Vermont Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Environmental Conservation. Grants to nonprofits and towns support both hands-on projects and education programs that improve aquatic habitat, water quality and flood resiliency.Grants totaling $100,000 were awarded this year. Funded projects include:* Culvert replacement and erosion control on a tributary of the Hoosic River in Pownal (Bennington County Regional Commission).* Replacement of a culvert with a new bridge that will allow improved movement of fish and wildlife between Hall’s Creek and Lake Memphremagog (Town of Derby).* Invasive knotweed control in Bennington County (Bennington County Conservation District).* An interpretive exhibit on Allen Brook in Williston (Town of Williston).* Removal of a dam on Mill Brook in West Windsor (Southern Windsor County Planning Commission).* Riparian restoration and erosion control along the Winooski and its Tributaries (City of Montpelier, Friends of the Mad River, Vermont River Conservancy).* Drainage control seminars for town road crews in Orange County (Two Rivers – Ottauquechee Regional Commission).* Stormwater runoff control in Charlotte (Town of Charlotte).* Wetland Restoration in Canaan (Essex County Natural Resources Conservation District).* Watershed education and awareness (Vermont PBS, Vital Communities).”These are small grants with big impact,” said Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter. “When Vermonters purchase a Conservation License Plate, they are investing in clean water and wildlife habitat for future generations.”Emily Boedecker, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, agreed. “These grants support local communities and their partners to protect and restore clean water,” said Boedecker. “While projects are typically small in scope, they can make a real difference at the local level, and together we are making progress towards our statewide clean water goals.”Program information can be found on the Department of Environmental Conservation website. The easiest way to find it is to search for “Vermont watershed grant.”The conservation license plate application is available at: http://www.vtfishandwildlife.com/get_involved/donate/conservation_licens…(link is external)Proceeds from the sale of conservation license plates also go to the Nongame Wildlife Fund to support the Wildlife Diversity Program.Source: Department of Fish and Wildlife 4.27.2017last_img read more

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Can You Learn While You’re Asleep?

first_imgNPR: If you’re a student, you may have harbored the fantasy of learning lessons while you sleep. Who wouldn’t want to stick on a pair of headphones, grab some shut-eye with a lesson about, say, Chinese history playing in his ears — and wake up with newly acquired knowledge of the Ming Dynasty?Sadly, it doesn’t work. The history lesson either keeps you from going to sleep, or it doesn’t — in which case you don’t learn it.But researchers may have taken the first baby step to making the fantasy come true: In an unusual experiment published in Nature Neuroscience, researchers Anat Arzi, Ilana Hairston and others showed that people are capable of learning simple lessons while fast asleep.Read the whole story: NPR More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

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News Scan for Apr 08, 2014

first_imgCSPI data show twice as many food outbreaks linked to eating outFood from restaurants was associated with almost twice the number of disease outbreaks and more than double the illnesses as food prepared at home, according to data compiled by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a food safety watchdog.The CSPI report examined 3,933 foodborne disease outbreaks from its database that occurred from 2002 through 2011 and sickened 98,399 people. Of those outbreaks, 1,610 involved restaurants and sickened 28,570 people. That compares with 893 outbreaks linked to private homes, which sickened 12,980 people.The locales with the next-highest totals were the workplace, with 313 outbreaks and 7,643 illness, and banquet halls or catered events, with 224 outbreaks and 10,035 illnesses.”Unfortunately, fewer and fewer outbreaks were solved by public health officials over the 10-year period, leaving a lot of important information undiscovered in the data,” CSPI said in a news release.The group also found that of 104 outbreaks linked to milk, 70% were caused by raw milk, even though less than 1% of consumers drink raw milk. “Consumers should avoid raw milk, and lawmakers should not expand its availability,” said CSPI senior food safety attorney Sarah Klein.CSPI also noted that the number of outbreaks reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) dropped 42% from 2002 to 2011, which was due at least in part to public health budget cuts, the center contends. “Underreporting of outbreaks has reached epidemic proportions,” said CSPI food safety director Caroline Smith DeWaal.Apr 7 CSPI news release Apr 7 CSPI full report CDC issues alerts for polio in Equatorial Guinea, IraqThe CDC yesterday issued travel alerts for new polio cases in Equatorial Guinea and Iraq. The alerts for both countries were classified as level 2 of 3: “Practice enhanced precautions.”The CDC, citing new information from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), said a polio case in Equatorial Guinea was in the country’s Centro Sur Province, close to its border with Cameroon, a country that is battling its own polio outbreak. The case is the first in Equatorial Guinea since 1999, the CDC said in the alert.”Because of the risk of cross-border transmission, CDC recommends a one-time booster dose of polio vaccine for fully vaccinated adults who are traveling to Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon to work in health care facilities, refugee camps, or other humanitarian aid settings,” the agency said. The Iraqi case was first reported by the media on Apr 6 and has been genetically linked to wild poliovirus causing an outbreak in adjoining Syria, according to a New York Times article yesterday. As with the situation in Equatorial Guinea, the CDC recommends full polio vaccination for all travelers to Iraq, as well as a one-time booster.The CDC said the Iraqi polio case was in a suburb of Baghdad and is the country’s first since 2000. The GPEI said the Equatorial Guinea case was confirmed on Jan 28 and the Iraq case on Feb 10.Apr 7 CDC alert on Equatorial Guinea Apr 7 CDC alert on Iraq Apr 7 New York Times story Most recent GPEI informationlast_img read more

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