Actor and arts advocate Jane Alexander to receive Radcliffe Medal

first_imgToday, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study announces that this year’s Radcliffe Medal will be awarded to actor and arts advocate Jane Alexander.Radcliffe Day 2013 will celebrate the arts with a morning panel that unites leaders across the visual arts, writing, music, and theater. It will be immediately followed by the annual Radcliffe Day lunch, featuring an address by Alexander, who is being honored as an individual whose life and work have significantly and positively influenced society.This year, Dean Lizabeth Cohen will present the Radcliffe Medal to Jane Alexander in honor of the courage she has shown as an actor and as a champion for the arts during her tenure as the head of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) from 1993 to 1997. Alexander’s acting roles—including The Great White Hope, which confronted race and segregation in the Jim Crow era, and All the President’s Men and Kramer vs. Kramer—have earned four Oscar nominations, seven Tony nominations and one win, and nine Emmy nominations and two wins. As the first working artist to chair the NEA, Alexander fought to protect arts funding in the 1990s when it came under fire by Congress. Read Full Storylast_img read more

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The digital Dickinson

first_img <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97Yjk1tAGo0″ rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://img.youtube.com/vi/97Yjk1tAGo0/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a> Houghton’s Leslie Morris, general editor of the Emily Dickinson Archive, studies a manuscript page. Dickinson’s early writing was neat and linear as she made fine copies of her poems to stitch into “fascicles,” or little books. A ribbon and a rosebud grace this manuscript page from Dickinson, who treated some of her poems as one-off works of art. A storage box from Harvard’s Houghton Library, which along with Amherst College has the largest collection of Emily Dickinson manuscripts. Photos by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer Dickinson’s later handwriting was looser and larger, with wider spaces. In Emily’s own hand “It’s a different experience to see everything integrated,” said EDA general editor Leslie Morris, curator of modern books and manuscripts at Harvard’s Houghton Library.Two years in the making, the EDA is a collaborative project of Harvard University Press and a growing number of repositories that own examples of Dickinson’s original work. The biggest are Houghton Library, Amherst College, and the Boston Public Library.Houghton contributed 1,820 manuscript images to the EDA, Amherst put in 1,670, and the Boston Public Library 643. The next-biggest contributor, with 45 images, is Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.To put these numbers in perspective: There are 1,789 known Dickinson poems. But that number is still “fluid,” said Morris, because additional poems may be in private hands, unexamined.Making scholarship easierDickinson scholar Martha Nell Smith of the University of Maryland, a member of the EDA advisory board, said the new archive will make scholarship easier. Until now, anyone interested in seeing Dickinson’s poems had search for and request manuscript images place by place. “Instead of doing that now,” she said, “I can go online.”Smith was an early believer in the power of digital critical inquiry and in 1994 opened the Dickinson Electronic Archives, one of at least four sites that employ online tools in critical inquiry into the poet. Back then, doubt in the digital went deep among scholars, she said. “People told me I was insane.”Bringing the EDA’s collaborating institutions together sometimes required overcoming wide-ranging jealousies of ownership and presentation that themselves dated back to the 19th century — “an immensely complex task,” said EDA board member Marta Werner, a Dickinson scholar at D’Youville College in Buffalo, N.Y.The feuds were real, went deep, and lasted generations, said Smith, who has scholarly insights on the topic, adding, “I’ve made my profession reading these people’s mail.” For background, she pointed to Chapter 17 of Lyndall Gordon’s 2010 book, whose title tells all: “Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family’s Feuds.”Morris preferred to look ahead. This is just the beginning for the EDA, she said, calling the startup “phase one” of a project she hopes will become a template for open-access research resources. Morris also hopes the EDA will become the primary digital clearinghouse for Dickinson researchers. There are more digitized, autograph images out there, she said, and “our goal is to get them all.”But Morris cautioned that the site is only meant to be a neutral online space for gathering manuscripts. “We want to facilitate the scholarship,” she said, “not make the scholarship.”Some scholars politely disagree. “Archives are not neutral spaces,” said Werner, “and the presentation of documents is to some degree interpretive.” But she praised the broader mission of the EDA, its “stunning” color images, its zoom feature that allows scholars to peer at stab binding holes and other manuscript oddities, and the digitally enhanced ability to compare one edition’s text with another’s.“Morris was far-sighted enough to see this future, and to move us closer to it,” said Werner.Cristanne Miller, a Dickinson specialist at the State University of New York at Buffalo and an EDA board member, called the archive “an extraordinary gift to Dickinson scholars, teachers, students, and general readers around the world.” There is debate over how to read the manuscripts, but “these are the poems as Dickinson left them to us,” she said, complete with an “aura” of the author and clues to the puzzle of how she constructed a poem.Miller is preparing a readers’ edition of Dickinson poems for Harvard University Press (HUP), a key player in the EDA venture and the main source of the electronic archive’s scholarly commentary and transcribed text. (There is no way yet to digitally search handwriting.) In the past 50 years, HUP has also published the authoritativeIn 1955, HUP published “The Poems of Emily Dickinson,” edited by Thomas H. Johnson. Though many of the poems had appeared somewhere in print by 1945, this work was the first attempt at a comprehensive collection. “The Manuscript Books of Emily Dickinson,” edited by R.W. Franklin, followed in 1981. It revealed to the world more than 800 poems bound into 40 “fascicles,” hand-sewn books Dickinson made to bring order to her writings. Most were dated by him from 1858 to 1864.In 1998, HUP published Franklin’s three-volume variorum edition of “The Poems of Emily Dickinson,” a work that includes the poet’s alternative readings, revisions, and variants.Perhaps more to comeThe Franklin and Johnson texts are the scholarly fundament of the EDA, a textual feature of the site that Werner and others hope will be expanded. But the EDA also includes the complete text of four editions of her poetry in the public domain, books that show, beginning in 1890, how Dickinson was first presented to the public.A phase two of the project should help in that regard, and Morris thinks it is possible, as long as the site’s users find the EDA useful and more funding can be captured. (To date, EDA’s financial support comes from Harvard Library’s Sidney Verba Fund, Houghton’s Emily Dickinson Fund, and HUP.)The heart of phase two would include digitized Dickinson letters; 1,049 are known, with 99 correspondents. (Smith speculated that as much as 90 percent of Dickinson’s correspondence is lost, and with that poems that will never see the light of day.) A phase two would also link to other modern Dickinson collections, expand metadata, and add online image-navigation tools.If there is a phase three for the EDA, it might focus on Dickinson artifacts, Morris said. Houghton owns the poet’s teacups, along with her tiny cherrywood writing desk and much of her library.Meanwhile, visitors to edickinson.org can use the zoom function on poems, call up scholarly annotations, compare transcriptions, download images for free (as long as credit is given to the right repository), and sign on to take their own digital notes.For now, such annotations would remain private. Elsewhere at Harvard, curators are experimenting with the idea of shared annotations that might create communities of online scholars, both professional and amateur. One example is the Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. digital suite at the Harvard Law Library.“I think it’s great,” said Smith of the prospect for shared annotations and amateur scholarship. “I have been arguing for this for years. ‘Untrained eyes’ can see things that sometimes my overtrained eyes can’t see.” In the context of Dickinson, crowdsourced research might be valuable “if it’s curated and handled well.”But that would be the future. Viewers of the EDA also can search the texts of poems, either by first lines or by typing in one of the more than 9,275 words Dickinson employed. Contemporary meanings of each word are available by incorporating the work of another partner, the Emily Dickinson Lexicon at Brigham Young University.Through the green slatsManuscripts are the place to start for understanding how Dickinson made her poems. Fewer than a dozen were set in type in her lifetime, and only one with her permission. “Success is counted sweetest” appeared in “A Masque of Poets,” an 1878 collection of anonymous verse. Dickinson had unconventional approaches to “publishing,” a term she distinguished from “printing.” She viewed setting a work in type as an act that took a poem’s life away. Wrote University of Wyoming scholar Jeanne Holland: “She resisted the inflexibility of print.”“I had told you I did not print,” Dickinson bristled in an 1866 letter to a friend. A few years earlier, in 1862, the same resentment echoed in these lines:They shut me up in Prose —As when a little GirlThey put me in the Closet —Because they liked me “still” — Instead of the stillness of print, Dickinson favored the action of sending a penciled poem out to a friend, along with a gift. People often ask: Why didn’t Dickinson publish her poems? “She did,” said Smith in answer. “She sent her poems out in her letters.”But following her death in 1886, conventional publishing was the means at hand. A first volume of her poetry appeared in 1890, touching off a rush to print more, in 1891, 1896, 1914, and onward. It’s that enduring drive to know Dickinson better that the EDA is trying to capture.Because the archive is not tied just to what can be set in type, it might help to understand Dickinson’s methods for self-publishing. After 1864, she wrote on whatever was handy in her busy household. She found time at night, early in the morning, or while baking bread or skimming milk to scribble on notepaper, discarded bills, paper bags, and old programs. (Werner co-authored “The Gorgeous Nothings,” a book about poems that Dickinson wrote on the backs of envelopes.)In an essay, Holland called these scraps the poet’s “own domestic technologies of publication.” They were often multimedia artifacts too, wittily combining paper and handwriting with stamps, clippings, pressed flowers, and other items. (Houghton owns one poem pinned with a rose.) “Playfulness organizes much of Dickinson’s late writing,” Holland wrote, “an aspect easy to miss when we do not see the manuscripts.”If the “technologies” of the poet’s later manuscripts were domestic, so were her sensibilities. Dickinson willingly shut herself into a house, but it wasn’t the closet metaphor of her childhood. It was a place that made possible quiet engagement with the natural world around her.“I know that Emily Dickinson wrote most emphatic things in the pantry, so cool and quiet,” remembered a friend in 1904. “The blinds were closed, but through the green slats she saw all those fascinating ups and downs going on outside.”With Dickinson gone, and only her manuscripts left to represent her, scholars and all can only peer through green slats again — not quite seeing, but doing so with joy.They also can pore over manuscripts, metadata, comparison texts, and annotations. “She’d be very amused by us,” said Smith. Or perhaps Dickinson would simply remind us that searches for meaning in art can only go so far. She wrote in 1879:To see the Summer SkyIs Poetry, though never in a Book it lie —True Poems flee — Emily Dickinson Archive A biographer once praised reticent and retiring Emily Dickinson for “the modest littleness of her person.”So what might this 19th-century poet make of the decidedly immodest archive of her poems being released today, bringing to light in one digital place most of her surviving manuscripts?What if those manuscripts were the very ones Dickinson hesitated to publish in her own lifetime, or — in bursts of cheerful immodesty — delivered to friends with fresh gingerbread or a bouquet of flowers? What if that archive revealed, in every variant, all of her known poems? And what if it showed the world how her handwriting began to slope and sprawl as she got older, and that she sometimes wrote poems on old bills, paper bags, or the backs of envelopes?Dickinson can’t answer such questions. But her poems keep speaking, and her readers keep listening and interpreting her timeless celebrations of wit, observation, and the fragile ecstasies of the natural world.Interpretation will be easier with the new Emily Dickinson Archive (EDA), which goes online today at edickinson.org.The EDA is an open-access digital archive, available free to anyone. It collects many surviving manuscripts of the slight, shy poet who once called herself — with considerable irony — “the Belle of Amherst.” Scholars and readers will be able to compare one manuscript with another; previously, they were separated by institutional divides. An earlier Dickinson manuscript, unbound from a fascicle Dickinson created. The dashes in this manuscript are a feature of Dickinson’s composition style much studied by scholars. They can slant up or down or be long or short.last_img read more

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Coal burning, road dust most toxic air particles

first_imgA new Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) air pollution study of millions of deaths from heart disease, lung disorders, and other causes in 75 American cities found that the effect of particles on mortality rates was about 75% higher in cities with a high proportion of sulfates from coal burning power plants than in cities with little sulfate pollution. It was about 50% higher in cities with a higher proportion of particles from road dust.The air pollution effects were highest when the temperatures were mild, and windows are most likely to be open, said lead author Lingzhen Dai, doctoral student in the Department of Environmental Health at HSPH. For each 10 micrograms per cubic meter of air particles, city death rates increased by over 1%. What’s more, the concentration of fine particulate matter in the air fluctuated with changing seasons and weather.The paper was published online in Environmental Health Perspectives on May 6, 2014.“These findings confirm the large number of studies showing airborne particles kill, and provide insight into which types are most toxic,” said Joel Schwartz, professor of environmental epidemiology at HSPH, senior author. Read Full Storylast_img read more

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Remembering, and returning to, Selma

first_imgHarvard President Drew Faust delivered Morning Prayers on Friday, offering the intimate crowd in Appleton Chapel some deeply personal and pointed reflections on her experience with the Civil Rights Movement 50 years ago.“History says, don’t hope on this side of the grave,” said Faust, reading from the poem “The Cure at Troy” by Nobel laureate and Harvard Professor Seamus Heaney. “But then, once in a lifetime the longed-for tidal wave of justice can rise up, and hope and history rhyme.”In 1965, Faust was a freshman at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania when grainy, black-and-white images flashed across the TV screen of peaceful protesters being beaten by police on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. The marchers were demonstrating for their constitutional right to vote.In the wake of the Supreme Court’s 1954 school desegregation ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, Faust saw in the growing Civil Rights Movement “the compelling nature of what was right,” and its goals “appeared both unquestionable and unavoidable.”When civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. declared: “No American is without responsibility,” and called for another march, Faust said she knew she “had to go” and take part. “It was a moral imperative. I could do more than hope; I could act. I did not have to await a tidal wave; I could be part of it.”So Faust skipped her midterm exams and headed to Selma. The experience offered her a moment of “absolute and powerful moral clarity,” though over time, she added, she has come to realize that “justice requires perennial struggle.”“No victory is absolute; we have to keep our eyes on the prize to hold on — even to the Voting Rights Act itself, which is being threatened and eroded at the same time we are celebrating its passage.”“It was a moral imperative. I could do more than hope; I could act. I did not have to await a tidal wave; I could be part of it,” said Faust, pictured here in Birmingham, Ala., in 1964.In his own brief remarks, Jonathan Walton, Harvard’s Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church, echoed Faust’s sentiments. “May we both commemorate the past and be catalyzed to act in the present,” he said, “realizing that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, and may we do our small part to enable hope and history to collide.”In a show of remembrance and solidarity with those hard-fought civil rights victories, Faust, along with President Barack Obama and thousands of others, traveled to Selma on Saturday for the 50th anniversary of the first march to Montgomery on March 7, 1965.“I will never forget that I was given a moment where I could help make hope and history rhyme,” said Faust, looking ahead to the trip. “And I go to Alabama to remember as well those for whom it was far more than just a moment, or a series of abandoned midterms. I go in honor of Martin Luther King, of Hosea Williams, of James Bevel, of Diane Nash, of Andrew Young, of Jimmie Lee Jackson, of John Lewis, and of so many others who have devoted their lives to the cause of justice and freedom.”“May we both commemorate the past and be catalyzed to act in the present,” said Jonathan Walton, who also offered brief remarks. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer“I go to Selma to honor these lives — and all lives and times of such meaning and purpose.”During the brief service, the Choral Fellows of the Harvard University Choir offered a moving musical tribute to King, singing “Precious Lord, Take My Hand,” his favorite hymn, as the opening anthem.“Precious Lord, take my hand, bring thy child home at last, where the strife and the pain all are past,” one verse read. “I have dreamed a great dream that thy love shall rule our land: Precious Lord, precious Lord, take my hand.”“Powerful remarks,” said Julian K. Braxton, Ed.M. ’99, a history teacher at the Winsor School in Boston, following the service.Braxton, whose father grew up in Alabama, said he attended Morning Prayers as a way to remember his father and “all the foot soldiers in the Civil Rights Movement.” He praised Faust, saying, “I thought her remarks were quite powerful because it’s about action. The movement was about action, and she, in her own way, created some.”Harvard President Drew Faust — Friday, March 6 | Morning PrayersHarvard President Drew Faust led Morning Prayers on the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery march to offer reflections on her trip there as an undergraduate. She decided to answer the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s call to join protesters from across the country, and now understands her participation as a decisive moment in her life.For the text version of her speech, visit President Faust’s website.last_img read more

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In his own works

first_imgBound in handsome red leather with gold-trimmed pages, the 1623 First Folio of Shakespeare rests in its own display case at Houghton Library’s Edison and Newman Room, a precious gem in a new exhibit marking the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death.It couldn’t be any other way.A copy of the First Folio of “Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies” sold at a Christie’s auction for about $6 million in 2011, but the value of the works inside cannot be measured in money.The First Folio contained 36 plays, including 18 that had never been printed before — “Macbeth,” “The Tempest,” “Julius Caesar,” and “Twelfth Night,” among them. Edited seven years after his death by his friends and fellow actors John Heminges and Henry Condell, the volume secured Shakespeare’s colossal place in Western literature.“Were it not for the First Folio, 18 plays would not have come to us,” said Peter Accardo, programs coordinator at Houghton. “Half of the Shakespearean canon would be lost.”Along with the First Folio — one of 230 existing copies — “Shakespeare: His Collected Works” includes 80 rare objects drawn from Houghton and other libraries. The exhibit runs though April 23.Early Shakespeare publications are also on display. Among them is playwright and poet Nicholas Rowe’s “The Works of Mr. William Shakespeare” (1709), which modernized punctuation and spelling and divided plays into acts and scenes. This was the first publication of Shakespeare available to Harvard students, listed in the library catalog in 1723.Visitors to the exhibit will find a volume from 1609 open to the famous sonnet with the even more famous first line, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” A 1598 edition of one of the early comedies, “Love’s Labour’s Lost” sits next to a 1608 edition of “King Lear.” Also featured is the Third Folio, published in 1664, which includes the play “Pericles,” the authorship of which is considered apocryphal.,With his insight into the tragedies and absurdities of the human condition, Shakespeare influenced generations of writers. The exhibit highlights his impact through work by e.e. cummings, Emily Dickinson, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, who called Shakespeare “master of the revels to mankind.”Because Shakespeare cannot be fully understood without performance, the exhibit showcases stagecraft and theatrical memorabilia linked to famous Shakespearean actors, such as a handkerchief used by Uta Hagen in the role of Desdemona in a 1943 Broadway production of “Othello,” and a rapier used by Edwin Booth as Hamlet in a mid-19th-century performance.Also shown is a promptbook that belonged to British actor Sir Ian McKellen, who performed the one-man show “Acting Shakespeare” in Boston in 1987. He wrote his impressions with a quick sentence: “The returns were excellent” but “the theater was dirty.”Harvard’s latest celebration of Shakespeare’s legacy includes a role for Stephen Greenblatt, the John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities and author of “Will in the World.” Greenblatt will deliver a lecture titled “Editing Shakespeare for the Digital Age” at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Thompson Room, Barker Center.last_img read more

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Keeping up with the weather

first_imgChanging minds is more important than changing systems. To facilitate growth, it may not be the technology that needs to evolve, but rather the entire corporate culture. That was the message Bryson Koehler delivered in his keynote presentation at the sixth annual Harvard IT Summit.Koehler, a vice president at IBM and chief information and technology officer of the Weather Company, addressed the daylong gathering of IT professionals in Sanders Theatre on Thursday, giving a detailed example of just how such growth can be achieved.In 2012, when Koehler first came to the Weather Company – then the Weather Channel — the forecasting business was decidedly old-school. Data came in from 13 weather centers and was used for forecasts that were updated every six hours.But although many of us may think of weather forecasting as trivial — a question of when to don a jacket or carry an umbrella — what happens in the atmosphere is vital.“The intersection of weather and your own life is tremendous,” said Koehler. As he illustrated, weather touches every aspect of our lives, from safety and travel to construction, farming, and myriad other activities, which he estimated affect about one-third of GDP. All of which meant that the model he inherited was simply not good enough.Koehler also saw that just adding dedicated weather centers or processing the data more efficiently would not solve the company’s biggest problems, which included both a lack of accuracy and a lack of flexibility. His solution began with changing the way the organization saw itself. The Weather Company had to be reconceived not as a weather forecaster, he said, but as a processor of big data.“We had to realize we were not building a weather platform,” he said. “We’re building a data platform.”Harvard’s vice president and University CIO Anne Margulies talks with keynote speaker Harvard Medical School Professor Isaac Kohane. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff PhotographerThat is where the cultural shift came in. To improve accuracy, the company needed to gather all the data available, which meant shifting from its own weather centers to an open-source cloud model. By making the company “vendor agnostic” — not linked to any specific software — it could access information from many more sources, a move that would position the company to expand in line with new technologies.In the four years since Koehler took the helm, the number of data sources has exploded. Instead of crunching just the numbers from its own data-gathering centers, for example, the company now incorporates barometric pressure readings from smart phones that have the Weather Company’s app installed. It takes in turbulence reports from pilots in the air, and live input from users and weather centers around the world — including more than 500 million personal weather stations.To make this shift possible, Koehler and his staff had to re-examine the way everything at the company was done, including how responsibility was assigned. Ultimately, he said, the company had to learn the value of taking calculated risks, with everybody focused less on their personal turf than on the ultimate result.“It wasn’t necessarily about the technology,” he explained. “It was the cultural shift. For a long time, we were trained to do the wrong thing.”The results speak for themselves. The company now aggregates more than 170 weather models to create forecasts on demand for 2.2 billion precise locations that are updated every 15 minutes“All of this helps us have a better understanding of the Earth’s atmosphere,” he said. Advising the IT professionals who had gathered to hear him speak, Koehler suggested they think like a band, in which the members learn to improvise and play off each other on stage. He urged his audience “to act and work and think together, to take risks and have courage.”last_img read more

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Poetry with personages

first_imgElisa New is used to being asked about celebrity.Even before the Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature launched the television part of her multimedia initiative “Poetry in America” in April, New had hip-hop artist Nas reading Walt Whitman and Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry reading Carl Sandburg in her online Extension School course, “Poetry in America for Teachers: The City from Whitman to Hip Hop” (created in part with a faculty fellowship from the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning).For the television series, presented by WGBH Boston and distributed by American Public Television, she reaches further, sitting down with the likes of Bono, Bill Clinton, and Shaquille O’Neal for in-depth discussions of one poem in each 24-minute episode.“Celebrities?” Sitting in a conference room down the hall from her Vanserg studio, New muses on the word. “I think of them as readers, as poetry readers. Whether that person is Bono or a first-year design student at the New School, a deliveryman, or Herbie Hancock, two humans beings sitting across the table from each other with a powerful text between them are bound to a kind of intellectual adventure.” That adventure, says the author of “New England Beyond Criticism: In Defense of America’s First Literature,” is the heart of “the experience of the liberal arts classroom.”Fame doesn’t matter, she says, because it gets stripped away in the face of poetry. Reading these works, “they show themselves,” said New. “They show who they really are, and this is really moving to me.”She cited the example of former Vice President Joe Biden, who teared up while reading Robert Hayden’s “Those Winter Sundays” about fatherhood. Or O’Neal, who at first appeared to consider his appearance, reading Edward Hirsch’s “Fast Break,” to be “a kick,” as New put it. “Then in the middle of it he discovers, ‘Oh, it’s more complicated.’ And he has to reckon with the experience.”Such, said New, is the “democratizing, human power” of poetry. “We know it’s Bill Clinton who is sitting there, and the person who comes next is an 11-year-old, but they kind of say the same thing,” she said.The series, which was five years in the making and begins broadcasting in New York this Sunday, relies as much on New’s scholarship and Harvard’s resources as on its star power. “The deeper the knowledge the better,” she said. For an episode in which actress and politician Cynthia Nixon read Emily Dickinson’s “I cannot dance upon my Toes,” for example, the show explored the Harvard theater and dance collection. As Nixon, who played the poet in the film “A Quiet Passion,” read, her voice was paired with video of dancer and choreographer Jill Johnson and prints of ballerinas who were Dickinson’s contemporaries. “We went to the archives of the 1840s and 1850s,” said New. “Who knows what the last time was that anyone went into this box?”Such visuals add context and depth, and taught the teacher a few new tricks. “I’ve learned that you don’t have to say everything,” said New. “There’s some things you can show. There’s some things you can do with music. Some things you can do with a pause. Learning how to use this whole wonderful toolkit has been really great.”For New, what has been enlightening about this experience is not so much the universal power of poetry — that’s a given — but how a new medium can extend her range.“What I’m trying to do with TV is to bring 35 years of what I’ve learned of what’s powerful in the classroom,” she said. Her experience with the television show, as well as her online course, also fed back into the classroom as she relaunched her Gen Ed course “Poetry in America” this past year, using a blended format that includes video and innovative multimedia.“There is a world out there that cares very deeply about the humanities, and we really need to serve that world,” she said. With her newly enlarged multimedia, multifaceted toolkit, “I think of myself as training the humanists of the future.”To learn more about the Poetry in America series, and to stream additional episodes, please visit:  http://www.poetryinamerica.org/tv-series/.last_img read more

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Memorial service set for Richard E. Kronauer

first_imgRichard E. Kronauer, 94, the Gordon McKay Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Emeritus, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, passed away in Tucson, Ariz., on Oct. 18, 2019.A memorial service is planned for 1 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Harvard Unitarian Universalist Church in Harvard, Mass., where Kronauer was a member since 1954.  A reception will follow at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Kronauer in Harvard.  All faculty, students, and friends are welcomed.Kronauer, M.S. ’48, Ph.D., ’51, had completed another paper with Harvard Medical School, which was published several weeks before his death.Though experienced with research in both fluid mechanics and applied mathematics, he was primarily known for his pioneering work in mathematical biology, especially research on human circadian rhythms. Kronauer’s 1982 paper “Mathematical model of the human circadian system with two interacting oscillators” outlined a new method for understanding the biological circuits that underlie daily body cycles in variables such as blood pressure or body temperature. Kronauer’s research also had direct implications for the causes and possible cures for many types of sleep disorders, and for this he received the Farrell Prize in Sleep Medicine in June 2008.He is survived by his three children, Karen Edwards Kronauer, Charles Richard Kronauer, and Anne Kronauer Saetren; and six grandchildren.last_img read more

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Combining EMC and Dell to Unlock More Innovation

first_imgIn an onstage interview at Structure 2015, Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla said that “EMC and Dell merging is a really good financial move for Michael, but it will set back innovation and distract from innovation.”Vinod is a smart venture capitalist and I don’t doubt his ability to recognize innovation in startups, but his view on our ability to innovate at scale is not entirely accurate.EMC, and going forward Dell+EMC, will continue to leverage a dual track innovation model where we internally invest in incremental and disruptive technologies AND aggressively seed, cultivate, acquire and scale disruptive startups. This model has worked extremely well given that we are generally viewed as one of the more innovative technology companies even though we compete with companies many times our size.Dell+EMC will actually remove one of the disadvantages EMC has had versus startups, the artificial quarterly cadence with short term expectations that dominate public company culture. Under a privately-controlled structure, the combined company would have more time to execute on innovation and more scale in R&D.   It would also allow for the reassignment of $3.5B on average which currently goes to share buybacks and dividends each year.What matters most in this debate will be the results and we are quite proud of the outcomes of our innovation so far. We are the leader in storage, virtualization and data protection. We are the market segment leader in all flash arrays. We are the creator and leader of the converged infrastructure segment.We are generally viewed as one of the most successful M&A engines of all time and we grow our acquisitions well. Most of our inorganic transactions became leaders in technology and innovation after we acquired them.We also spend billions of dollars each year on R&D internally to keep the acquired technologies in the lead and to invent new products and technology where we see gaps (ex./ CloudPools, Atmos, ViPR, Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS), Vblocks, most of Cloud Foundry, RackHD, and CoprHD).While our innovation engine is more complex and multifaceted than a single startup, it results in an industry leading flow of innovation that we think will create enormous strength within the combined Dell+EMC.I am glad that leading VCs are watching EMC as we benefit tremendously from many channels of innovation. As a roughly $80B entity, Dell+EMC will need more than just one source and method of innovation. Our model provides exactly that.There will never be an end to the opportunities for organic growth and strategic external investment as long as innovation remains core to being successful in business and IT.Disclosure Regarding Forward Looking StatementsThis communication contains forward-looking information about EMC Corporation and the proposed transaction that is intended to be covered by the safe harbor for “forward-looking statements” provided by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of certain risk factors, including but not limited to: (i) the failure to obtain the approval of EMC shareholders in connection with the proposed transaction; (ii) the failure to consummate or delay in consummating the proposed transaction for other reasons; (iii) the risk that a condition to closing of the proposed transaction may not be satisfied or that required financing for the proposed transaction may not be available or may be delayed; (iv) the risk that a regulatory approval that may be required for the proposed transaction is delayed, is not obtained, or is obtained subject to conditions that are not anticipated; (v) risk as to the trading price of Class V Common Stock to be issued by Denali Holding Inc. in the proposed transaction relative to the trading price of shares of VMware, Inc.’s common stock; (vi) the effect of the proposed transaction on VMware’s business and operating results and impact on the trading price of shares of Class V Common Stock of Denali Holding Inc. and shares of VMware common stock; (vii) the diversion of management time on transaction-related issues; (viii) adverse changes in general economic or market conditions; (ix) delays or reductions in information technology spending; (x) the relative and varying rates of product price and component cost declines and the volume and mixture of product and services revenues; (xi) competitive factors, including but not limited to pricing pressures and new product introductions; (xii) component and product quality and availability; (xiii) fluctuations in VMware’s operating results and risks associated with trading of VMware common stock; (xiv) the transition to new products, the uncertainty of customer acceptance of new product offerings and rapid technological and market change; (xv) the ability to attract and retain highly qualified employees; (xvi) insufficient, excess or obsolete inventory; (xvii) fluctuating currency exchange rates; (xiii) threats and other disruptions to our secure data centers or networks; (xix) our ability to protect our proprietary technology; (xx) war or acts of terrorism; and (xxi) other one-time events and other important factors disclosed previously and from time to time in EMC’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). Except to the extent otherwise required by federal securities laws, EMC disclaims any obligation to update any such forward-looking statements after the date of this communication.Additional Information and Where to Find ItThis communication does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any securities or a solicitation of any vote or approval, nor shall there be any sale of securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. No offering of securities shall be made except by means of a prospectus meeting the requirements of Section 10 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and otherwise in accordance with applicable law.  This communication is being made in respect of the proposed business combination transaction between EMC Corporation and Denali Holding Inc.  The proposed transaction will be submitted to the shareholders of EMC for their consideration. In connection with the issuance of Class V Common Stock of Denali Holding Inc. in the proposed transaction, Denali Holding Inc. will file with the SEC a Registration Statement on Form S-4 that will include a preliminary proxy statement/prospectus regarding the proposed transaction and each of Denali Holding Inc. and EMC Corporation plans to file with the SEC other documents regarding the proposed transaction.  After the registration statement has been declared effective by the SEC, a definitive proxy statement/prospectus will be mailed to each EMC shareholder entitled to vote at the special meeting in connection with the proposed transaction. INVESTORS ARE URGED TO READ THE PROXY STATEMENT/PROSPECTUS AND ANY OTHER DOCUMENTS RELATING TO THE TRANSACTION FILED WITH THE SEC CAREFULLY AND IN THEIR ENTIRETY IF AND WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROPOSED TRANSACTION.  Investors may obtain copies of the proxy statement/prospectus (when available) and all other documents filed with the SEC regarding the proposed transaction, free of charge, at the SEC’s website (http://www.sec.gov). Investors may also obtain these documents, free of charge, from EMC’s website (www.EMC.com) under the link “Investor Relations” and then under the tab “Financials” then “SEC Filings” or by directing a request to: EMC Corporation, 176 South Street, Hopkinton, Massachusetts, Attn: Investor Relations, 866-362-6973. Participants in the SolicitationEMC Corporation and its directors, executive officers and other members of management and employees may be deemed to be “participants” in the solicitation of proxies from EMC shareholders in connection with the proposed transaction. Information regarding the persons who may, under the rules of the SEC, be deemed participants in the solicitation of EMC shareholders in connection with the proposed transaction and a description of their direct and indirect interest, by security holdings or otherwise, will be set forth in the proxy statement/prospectus filed with the SEC in connection with the proposed transaction. You can find information about EMC’s executive officers and directors in its definitive proxy statement filed with the SEC on March 2, 2015 and in its Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC on February 27, 2015. You can also obtain free copies of these documents from EMC using the contact information above.last_img read more

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The Dojo Way

first_imgCo-authored by Luke Woydziak and Megan Murawski of Dell EMC’s Cloud Dojo in Cambridge, MA.  Why do some projects result in products customers love while others either fail or are never used? Why do some engineering teams have great quality while others struggle? Why can some teams deliver updates on a daily basis while others take 6-months to a year? These are some of the questions we set out to answer when we first formed the Dojo a few short years ago. The real answer we found comes down to discipline. We searched out the best techniques and practiced them rigorously to do one-thing…deliver better products rapidly. I want to take you on a journey from the inception of one of those products. I’ll give an overview of those techniques and how we apply them.Typically, products we observe start with an idea for a solution. This seems like the right way and we see examples all around us of great luminaries who execute on great ideas and achieve phenomenal success. It’s easy to think of that as the way to develop great products, but we have found that approach to lead more often to disaster than success. Greater than 70% of the time is what venture metrics suggest[1]. So how do we flip the odds? We flip the approach. It all starts with a problem and lots of testing.SynthesisHow do we find valuable problems? We use a process called synthesis. Synthesis entails having structured conversations with people who are all too happy to tell you about their problems…potential customers. These structured conversations lead to valuable insights when aggregated together. We use some simple technology to support this: sticky notes and a blackboard:From this zoomed out view you can see the scattered notes in the middle left. This is the section for the findings. Notice how some of them clump together. On the middle right we have separated some of the general findings. On the far left, we have observations about the person we talked to. And on the far right we have next steps.DiscoveryAs we zoom in on one of the findings, we can see the details.The different colors represent different users. Interestingly, the amount of representative customers necessary to generalize to 85% of the market is surprisingly small – 5[2].Note in this case the prevalence of “IP security”. This was the problem the customers were trying to solve: “How do I connect Cloud Native applications to my Legacy data stored on NFSv3 servers?”FramingNow that we have a problem, who is actually having it is the next important question. We return to the synthesis board and fill out a persona worksheet.The persona allows us to aggregate the common characteristics of our customer. Our product team can then develop a great deal of empathy for this person and step into their shoes. This fills out the picture and allows for the best solution to be imagined.We test both the problem and persona against several other representative customers to dial them in, but for the most part we have found that the original 5 are pretty spot on. At this point we begin to brainstorm solutions. The solutions allow for us to perform a process called scoping, which as its name suggests scopes the effort needed to bring one (or more) of those solutions to life.Inception Often as we found, those solutions require engineering effort. We kick off this effort with a process called inception. The format for the inception is a one-day meeting, where we go through an agenda of:GoalsAnti-goalsRisksMitigationsWork Item (story) creation/prioritizationWe enter these stories into a work tracker in the order we want them completed.DevelopmentThis begins the engineering work. Here too we use rigorous best practices. You may have heard terms like DevOps, Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment (CD). The underpinning for all of this is various forms of automation. We strive to automate as much as possible from developer testing to deployment and operation of changes. We practice Test Driven Development (TDD), meaning that for any development task, we start with a test.TDDThe first test is written at the highest level possible (typically an end-to-end test). It is then automated using a CI server to automatically rerun that test whenever a code change is detected. We then decompose the system elements necessary to solve the test and write a second round of test to drive development of those elements. Finally, we implement the element only so far as to solve the test we have just written.After the test is passing, we will correct any bad design decisions and factor the code in a maintainable way. Finally, we commit the code (and tests) to our source repository and allow our CI server to process it. This involves repeating the elemental (or unit tests) and the entire system/integration level tests we may have written. If all tests are passing, our CI system will package the change and deploy it to our customers.This process is strictly adhered to such that we end up with a full testing suite that can definitively verify and validate any change. Of course human error can still occur, so we use another best practice called pair programming.Pair ProgrammingDuring all development, engineers will work in pairs on a given story. This accomplishes a threefold mission: First, it establishes enforcement of the discipline Second, it ramps up new team members and Third, it surfaces a diverse look at every problem. Finally, we use a product owner to ensure that indeed the requirements of the story have been satisfied and the correct automation is in place to prove it works and prevent future changes from regressing the system.Now we return to the beginning for synthesis and repeat the whole process. Of course some of the work will already be done. In that case, we use and extend upon our knowledge until we need more development work to be done. The approach is iterative and additive over time. Before the second iteration we also verify with a sample customer the implemented solution and reapply the learning. Thus the cycle then begins anew.Feedback and RetrospectivesAs important as feedback and iterative process is to our product development, we also use this as a tool for continuous improvement of the team. When something isn’t working, we take the time on a regular cadence to address the issue and brainstorm a better solution. When something is working, we take the time to acknowledge the success and encourage the team. Actionable change allows us to keep moving forward.A Better Way…the WayAs you can see, there is no real magic here. We practice a rigorous and disciplined process that is wholly repeatable. We have collected the best techniques and continue to search for better ones. We will incorporate better ideas as we are continuously striving to improve. This has lead to a project that in a little under a year has seen adoption of 50+ Enterprise companies. Customers are speaking on our behalf at conferences praising the usability and quality of our solutions. We can deliver updates to those customers daily and maintain a very high level of quality. In addition to product success, we’ve also worked throughout the organization to spread the Dojo Way. By committing to the process and using feedback, we can continually grow and evolve our way of working, translating this into quality products and functional and efficient teams.____________________________________________________________[1] Gage, D. (2012, September 20). The Venture Capital Secret: 3 Out of 4 Start-Ups Fail. Retrieved August 24, 2017, from https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10000872396390443720204578004980476429190[2] Hubbard, D. W. (2014). How to measure anything: finding the value of intangibles in business. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.last_img read more

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