Corpus Christi College JCR passed a motion this week promoting the use of gender inclusive language. The proposals form part of the wider Oxford University Genderless Campaign. The motion states that “Corpus should explicitly ensure that trans-identified people are accommodated by the JCR” and mandates the JCR President “to review all emails forwarded to the JCR mailing list and check for non-inclusive gender language”.The motion also requires that gender-specific JCR events be open to anyone who identifies as that gender. It advises event organisers not to write phrases like “Girls wear dresses, guys wear suits” but instead to use working like “suits and dresses”.Cristopher Bautista, a recent visiting student at Corpus who identifies himself as “trans”, praised the JCR for passing the motion. He told Cherwell this week, “The fact that Corpus Christi made the extra effort to pass this motion – that’s a big deal. That’s something a lot of schools don’t bother doing. We hear a lot about making universities more gay-friendly, but not trans-friendly. Corpus passing this motion is a rare example of a college that’s making the extra effort to be trans friendly. And for a lot of trans people, that’s important. We don’t take these safe places for granted. We seek out these spaces.’Ivan Dimov, Corpus student, also had reservations about the proposals. He said, “I support the motion in spirit, but I had some issues with its initial statement – namely what ‘gender inclusive language’ constituted. The initial phrasing unwittingly came across, to me at least, as advocating some form of censorship.”Frances Watson, the Trans Rep for LGBTQsoc and organiser of the Oxford Genderless Campaign, said, ‘Basically we’re challenging the binary gender status quo – that there are only two genders, male and female, and you belong to the same one as your genitals, end story. This isn’t true: there are people who strongly identify with the opposite gender to that which they were assigned at birth, and who transition to live their lives as a member of that gender.“There are also people who do not identify as male or female. Someone might identify as one on one day, the other the next, for example; or they may identify as having aspects of both at the same time; or they may identify as having no gender at all.”Gail Bartlett, a spokesperson for the Genderless Campaign, claimed that JCRs have an important role to play in making trans-identified people feel included. She said, “There have been instances of people in JCR’s failing to understand why strictly gendered events do exclude people. Most people do not have to worry about where they will fit in at gendered events or using gendered facilities, but for the effort it takes for the JCR to simply amend wording in entz or dress code they can save a great deal of distress and fear of humiliation.’Ten other Oxford colleges have passed similar motions.
Small shop owners have been warned that the cost of running a small business is set to rise sharply next year, sparked by rising commodity prices.According to a report by More Th>n Business, Britain saw fuel costs jump by 3.42%, while raw material prices rose by 1.57% over the Q3 three-month period. Meanwhile, gas prices fell by 16.99% and labour costs dropped by 0.22%. The overall impact meant manufacturing firms’ costs rose by 0.63% over the quarter.Falls in gas costs were offset by increases in other expenditure items including labour costs and a range of services costs.The quarterly inflation index revealed the cost of running a small shop rose by 0.5 per cent in Q3 2009. But over the year as a whole costs for small business shops remain 2% lower than a year earlier due to deflation in late 2008 and early 2009. The report, developed in conjunction with Warwick Business School, measures a basket of 20 of the most important expenditure items for small businesses. Head of More Th>n, Mike Bowman, said: “The results should come as good news to independent small shop owners. The figures are a clear sign that growth is returning to the economy.”However, the predicted sharp rise in commodity prices as we go into next year is likely to raise the cost of running a small shop, perhaps more than market demand. As a result, it’s important that small shop owners manage cash flow carefully as suppliers begin to push prices up again as markets revive. Small shop owners with a heavy dependence on heating, lighting and fuel are expected to experience the sharpest rise in costs.’’ Stephen Roper, professor of enterprise at the Centre for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, Warwick Business School, added: “We expect small business costs to rise sharply at least until Easter, when we predict prices will reach the same level as they were before the recession. While costs are on the up, the disappearance of deflation means markets are strengthening and consumer spending is growing. This all suggests we are now beyond the crisis, but small shop owners must keep an eye on cash flow.’’
Asian Tiger mosquitos are one of the most prevelant types of mosquitos in Georgia. Mosquito control is very important in stopping the spread of disease. Photo:Leonard Mustermann As spring arrives, Georgians treasure the amazing azaleas and dogwoods but dread those menacing mosquitoes. After last year’s outbreak of West Nile Virus in Georgia, many are fearing the biting problem.”The 2001 mosquito season was one of the most eventful mosquito seasons in recent memory,” said Elmer Gray, a University of Georgia Extension entomologist. West Nile Virus Ready “The rapid and widespread occurrence of the West Nile Virus this past summer,” he said, “is one of the most interesting and unique occurrences in the entomological field in a long time.”Since its discovery in the New York City area during the summer of 1999, WNV has spread from Ontario, Canada to the Florida Keys, most places in between and some beyond. While many experts predicted the disease’s spread, it would have been hard to predict how fast it would spread last summer.Fortunately, the Georgia Department of Agriculture had already begun the Georgia West Nile Task Force before the disease arrived, Gray said.”The task force had members from most of the primary parties that could and would end up being affected by the disease,” he said. “Little did any of the participants realize that Georgia would become a focal point for WNV by midsummer 2001.”Main Mosquito-borne DiseasesBefore WNV showed up in Georgia, the state’s main mosquito-borne diseases had been Eastern equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis and LaCrosse encephalitis.”While each of these diseases can be serious, debilitating and even deadly, they’re fortunately relatively rare,” Gray said.Since 1964, Georgia has had only 41 confirmed cases of Eastern equine encephalitis (23), St. Louis encephalitis (5) and LaCrosse encephalitis (13).The latest figures show that seven people died from West Nile Virus in 2001 in the United States. One of them was in Georgia, where six cases were reported. In three years nationally, the virus has killed 16 people, or 11.5 percent of the 139 human cases reported.Horses have been severely affected, with many U.S. cases and a mortality rate of about 23 percent. A vaccine has been rushed to market that should help reduce the risks to horses.”Considering these numbers and the fact that there were six human cases of WNV in Georgia in 2001, it may pose a more serious mosquito-borne risk than we have had before,” Gray said.”Unfortunately,” he said, “the surveillance and reporting of all of these diseases has been inconsistent and poorly supported during the time frames reported. With the arrival of WNV into Georgia, it’s more important than ever that the accurate and timely reporting of all mosquito-borne diseases be conducted.”Integrated Mosquito Control ImportantThe risk of WNV and the other mosquito-borne diseases can be reduced if everyone supports comprehensive and integrated mosquito control, he said. This includes education, surveillance, source reduction and, when warranted, using insecticides to kill larvae and adult mosquitoes.”Often, mosquito production occurs around our homes and properties as a result of a lack of information or diligence,” Gray said. “Mosquitoes develop in standing water. By reducing the amount of standing water, the number of adult mosquitoes that could possibly transmit disease can be reduced.”No one knows what this year’s mosquito disease season will hold.”But considering the lengthy drought Georgia has had,” Gray said, “when normal rains return, increased mosquito populations are sure to follow. Considering the new threat presented by the WNV, suppressing our state’s mosquito populations has never been more important.”For the latest information on mosquito control, contact your county Extension Service office.
University of Vermont,For his work to understand how to build better robots, Joshua Bongard, a researcher at the University of Vermont, has received the highest award given by the US government to young scientists.UVM roboticist Josh Bongard will go to Washington D.C. to meet President Obama and receive the government’s highest award for young scientists. (Photo: Sally McCay)On September 26, President Barack Obama announced Bongard as one of 94 winners of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers; he will be honored at a White House ceremony in October.Bongard is only the second researcher in UVM history to receive the PECASE award, which provides $500,000 in research funds over several years.Inspired by evolutionBongard’s far-reaching work looks to nature for ideas. ‘The goal is to borrow ideas from neuroscience and evolution to help us build better and more intelligent robots,’ he says. So far, scientists have had little success in building resilient machines that can continually perform behaviors that are fairly simple but require ongoing adaptation to changing conditions ‘ like paving a road or cleaning up a toxic dump.But Bongard is on a mission to make them.‘The prevailing approach to create such machines is to copy physiological and neurological systems observed in animals, and build them into robots,’ Bongard notes. ‘This raises the issue however of what, from among the infinitude of existing biological structures, should be copied.’Instead of guessing, Bongard has innovated systems in which computer programs copy the dynamics of biological evolution and replay them in a virtual space with numerous generations of synthetic creatures ‘ something like a highly sophisticated video game.The resulting algorithm yields ideas for robots that have optimized their neurological structures ‘ and their behaviors and body plans ‘ over many generations of being tested by virtual evolution, instead of human guesswork.With these ideas in hand, Bongard and his students can then build actual robots in their workshop that are adaptable and capable of responding to novel challenges.‘My long-term goal is to give back to neuroscience and evolutionary biology, to give us a different tool to investigate: why does intelligence evolve?’ Bongard says. ‘Under what conditions will intelligence evolve? Could we ever consider a machine to be intelligent, or is intelligence something limited to biological organisms?’Presidential visionRecognizing this kind of innovative work, the PECASE awards ‘embody the high priority the Obama Administration places on producing outstanding scientists and engineers to advance the Nation’s goals, tackle grand challenges, and contribute to the American economy,’ the White House wrote in a press release.In 1996, the National Science and Technology Council was commissioned by President Clinton to create a program that would support and honor outstanding scientists and engineers early in their research careers ‘ from this council came the PECASE award.Each year, more than a dozen federal departments and agencies nominate scientists and engineers whose early accomplishments ‘show the greatest promise for assuring America’s preeminence in science and engineering and contributing to the awarding agencies’ missions,’ the White House press office wrote.‘It is inspiring to see the innovative work being done by these scientists and engineers as they ramp up their careers ‘ careers that I know will be not only personally rewarding but also invaluable to the Nation,’ President Obama said in the White House release. ‘That so many of them are also devoting time to mentoring and other forms of community service speaks volumes about their potential for leadership, not only as scientists but as model citizens.’An innovatorBongard, an assistant professor of computer science in UVM’s College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, was one of 21 nominees presented by the National Science Foundation for the most recent round of awards.Bongard’s research has received national and international attention, and has been featured in Wired magazine, the Boston Globe, The Voice of America, Popular Science, and many other outlets. He also received a fellowship from Microsoft Research in 2007 for research related to self-healing robots ‘ one of five given nationwide. He was named by MIT as one of the world’s top innovators under 35.Bongard will travel to Washington, D,C., Oct. 13-14, to receive the award and will attend three ceremonies cumulating with a recognition ceremony at the White House with President Obama.‘This award allows me to continue with my basic scientific research, but it also allows me to create tools that draw many people into my research beyond my graduate students,’ Josh Bongard says. ‘Through this award, we’re developing a web interface that will allow people to perform evolutionary robotics experiments without having a background in evolution or robotics.” UVM. 9.27.2011
13SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr In today’s environment of uncertainty, it is more important than ever to have relationships that you can count on to help bring about some sort of structure. As with any successful relationship, communication, flexibility, and mutual benefit are key. The Armed Forces Financial Network and Defense Credit Union Council have such a relationship that benefits not only each other but also the Member Participants that participate in both organizations. DCUC and the Armed Forces Financial Network (AFFN) teamed up this summer to celebrate AFFN’s 35th Anniversary by offering DCUC members the opportunity to co-brand a special “Why We Do What We Do” video. The video captures what it means to be a defense credit union and serve the military community. It highlights the unique aspects of military life while showing that despite these differences, military members are still pursuing the same dreams as everyone else: a better life, a better country, and better tomorrow.In offering this free marketing tool, DCUC and AFFN recognized the important work defense credit unions do and celebrated their dedication to their communities. This video was a small way for DCUC and AFFN to say thank you to their members. To date, 64-member credit unions have taken advantage of the opportunity to co-brand. Click here to watch “Why We Do What We Do.” These defense credit unions have utilized the video in a variety of strategic and creative ways to promote what it means to serve their military community. The co-branded video has been shared on “About Us” pages, across social media, and in-branch lobbies. One credit union is even testing it for use as an external commercial in their local market area. The video continues to be a great way to reaffirm commitment to the defense community, promote defense credit unions, and attract new members.The defense credit union community makes a big difference to service members, veterans, civil service and their families every day. If your credit union serves the military community and is interested in learning more about the DCUC/AFFN difference, and learn more about becoming part of this long-term partnership, contact DCUC at [email protected] or AFFN at [email protected] to see how we can help you better Serve Those Who Serve Our Country. This post is currently collecting data… This is placeholder text