Gauging forest changes

first_imgHarvard scientists are leading a new international collaboration that is working to match up a global network of forest plots with a similar network created in China, to provide scholars with more comprehensive information about the planet’s changing forests.The effort kicked off earlier this month, when scientists from the Center for Tropical Forest Science (CTFS), a collaboration between the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum, participated with Chinese scientists in a 17-day workshop, followed by a three-day symposium.Leading the effort is Stuart Davies, director of the Arboretum’s Asia Program. According to program manager Liz Delaney Lobo, the collaboration became a reality largely because of a five-year National Science Foundation grant that will help to finance workshops, travel, and other costs. In addition to the workshops, the grant provides for 10 graduate students or early-career researchers from the United States to visit China for scientific exchanges.The project ties the efforts of center researchers managing 41 similar plots in forests around the world to a similar effort underway in China. The plots in both networks are exhaustively documented using the same methodologies so that information can be compared and used to better understand both the basic functioning of the forests and how their diversity affects their resilience in the face of global climate change.Though led by Smithsonian and Harvard botanists, the center’s effort involves hundreds of scientists around the world. Harvard Professor Peter Ashton, the Charles Bullard Professor of Forestry Emeritus, helped to create the network during the early 1990s. The plots are between 25 and 50 hectares in size and hold about 4.5 million trees, from 8,500 species. All trees with a diameter larger than a centimeter on the plots are identified, documented, and tracked in recurring censuses every five years. Though the center network’s first plots were tropical, in recent years concerns about climate change have prompted researchers to expand the network to temperate sites, such as the Harvard Forest in Petersham, Mass.In recent years, scientists affiliated with six institutes that are part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have begun their own network of forest plots. Called the Chinese Forest Biodiversity Network, it involves researchers using the same methodology as the center, allowing them to compare data between the two networks, furthering their understanding of forest dynamics.Delaney Lobo said the grant will help to support annual 20-day workshops involving both groups of scientists. The first workshop, just concluded, took place in China. Future sessions will take place at the Harvard Forest, at Michigan State University, and at two Chinese botanical institutes.“Without this grant, it would be very difficult for such a large group of scientists to collaborate this comprehensively or effectively on such an enormous scale,” Delaney Lobo said.last_img read more

Professor affirms effects of Indian mascots

first_imgStephanie Fryberg, a visiting professor of psychology at the University of Washington, presented her research Tuesday on the psychological effects of American Indian sports mascots, which affirmed these types of social representations depress the self-esteem of American Indian students.Kelly Konya | The Observer [/Keri O’Mara]Fryberg’s lecture, titled “From Stereotyping to Invisibility: The Psychological Consequences of Using American Indian Mascots,” highlighted several studies she and her colleagues have performed.In the studies, Fryberg asked questions to American Indian high school and college students based on several popular representations of Native Americans, including Disney’s Pocahontas and Chief Wahoo, the mascot of the Cleveland Indians.Fryberg said the research did not begin with an examination of mascots, but the final product did reflect this focus.“The first two studies, the question we asked was what is the impact of American Indian social representations on the self-esteem and community efficacy of American Indians,” she said. “You notice, the question was not what is the effect of American Indian mascots, though that is how this work has commonly been used and by the time we got to the third or fourth study, it is how we then framed the research paper because it became much more central to the social issue.”After a close study of media portrayals of American Indians, Fryberg said representations were rare and largely negative in connotation.“In a content analysis of national newspapers in 1997 and major films from 1999 to 2000, relatively few, 0.2 percent, of representations of American Indians were found,” she said. “The representations that were there were largely stereotypic and negative, and American Indians were seldom presented as contemporary people or in contemporary domains.”To Fryberg and her colleagues’ surprise, she said the study showed a greater likelihood of American Indians to approve of Native American mascots.“Surprisingly for us, we found that those who agree with the use of Indians as mascots actually have less community worth,” Fryberg said. “And this was particularly interesting to us because you’d like to think that if you agree with it, you must think it’s good, but actually following the psychology literature, it turns out that when you disagree with the stereotype, there are psychological resources that buffer you from the effects of that image.”Fryberg said she and her team altered the study when they brought it to Haskell Indian Nations University.“Going forward, we started to show this data and one of the issues that came up as we were showing the data is that Chief Wahoo is a caricature, and so maybe it would be different if we used a mascot that wasn’t a caricature,” she said. “And so for the last study, we were able to ask a number of questions because we went to the only four-year university that is a predominantly American Indian university, and it turns out they have an Indian mascot.”All of the studies, though, concluded that essentially any American Indian mascot representations harmed the self-esteem of American Indian students, Fryberg said.“Consistent with the past two studies, it turns out that being exposed to any one of these mascots decreased achievement-related possible selves,” she said. “So what it means is if they saw the Indian mascot, then any possible selves they had related to achievement in school were depressed.”Tags: american indian, cleveland indians, psychological consequences of american indian mascots, sports mascots, stephanie fryberglast_img read more

NAFCU launches exclusive online community for CEOs

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr This post is currently collecting data… As part of NAFCU’s ongoing commitment to helping the credit union industry grow stronger and bring professionals together amid the coronavirus pandemic, the association has launched a new member-only online community – the NAFCU CEO Network. In just seconds, participants can pave the path for even greater success by easily connecting with other CEOs across the country to work through challenges, discover powerful new ideas, and share knowledge.“Extreme member service is NAFCU’s mantra, and our newly launched CEO Network will bring credit union CEOs together to share their knowledge and ideas to help our industry grow stronger,” said NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger. “With direct input from our member CEOs, we developed this powerful network to create a collaborative, innovative space for credit union leaders to achieve greater growth and success.“NAFCU will also use this opportunity to learn more about our membership, and continue to revamp and introduce new offerings that meet credit unions’ growing needs,” Berger added.The new network joins the association’s six longstanding online networks – offered to credit unions at no additional cost – spanning a variety of credit union professions, including cybersecurity and IT, lending, and compliance.center_img This is placeholder text continue reading »last_img read more

AP3 reduces long-term target after ALM study

first_imgSwedish national pension fund AP3 has trimmed half a point off its long-term return target following an asset-liability management (ALM) analysis, in a move echoing similar decisions by other buffer funds backing the country’s state pension.A spokeswoman for the SEK374bn (€35.6bn) fund told IPE that AP3’s board had decided in December to revise the fund’s long-term real return target to 3.5% from 4%. The target has no time horizon, she said.“The background is that the 2019 ALM analysis concludes that the AP3 portfolio’s risk level is well balanced to continue to meet AP3’s mission, which is to benefit the Swedish income pension system by delivering a high return at a balanced risk,” she said.However, she said the board also took note that the long-term expected returns on both low and high-risk investments had decreased over the past decade, and had therefore lowered the fund’s return target. “The decision is not expected to lead to a change in AP3’s overall investment strategy,” she said.AP1 – another of the Nordic country’s big four pension buffer funds – announced last month that its board had decided in August to cut the fund’s real return target for rolling 10-year periods to 3% from 4%, with effect from the beginning of this year.But AP1 also said it is keeping its long-term 40-year return target at 4%, reasoning that that after an initial low-return environment, things tended to normalise.Over at AP4, a decision was taken back in 2017 to cut the 40-year real return target to 4% from 4.5 %, and have a medium-term 10-year target alongside that of an average 3% annualised real return, because return were expected to be depressed over the following 10 years.last_img read more

NCAA gets it wrong yet again

first_img“Davidson’s Direction” runs every other Wednesday. To comment on this story, email Jake at [email protected] or visit Jake on Twitter @jakedavidson23 June 10, 2010 is when it all started. That was the day the NCAA handed down some of the stiffest and most stringent penalties of all time in its sanctions against the USC football program. That was when I became skeptical about the integrity and questionable motives of the NCAA as an institution.Looking back, if this extreme punishment had signaled a new direction for the enforcement arm of the NCAA, or if they had made a conscious decision to use USC’s case as a springboard for a new era of zero tolerance, it might have been different.If that were the case, I could chalk up my resentment towards the NCAA as a manifestation of the dejection and disappointment felt by a die-hard fan as the Trojans struggled under the enormous burden of such harsh sanctions. Even though it would be like pulling teeth, I could rationalize and understand that sanctions were imposed for the greater good of amateur athletics. If that were the case, it would be easy to scoff at former Athletic Director Mike Garrett’s suggestion that the NCAA’s actions were based in jealousy and envy.The bitter pill would be much easier to swallow if only the NCAA had begun to display even a semblance of consistency or reliability in their actions following June 10. Instead, we have watched as NCAA President Mark Emmert and his band of cronies continue to run one of the most hypocritical organizations in America.When it comes to the NCAA’s many head-scratching decisions, where should I begin? The lack of investigative prowess has been well on display, glaringly apparent in the incompetent inquiry into whether or not former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton had any knowledge his dad, Cecil Newton, was auctioning off his son’s services to the highest bidder.The double standard is downright offensive to anyone with a moral or ethical inclination. The most glaring example of hypocrisy, though, would have to be the late Paul Dee serving as chairman of the committee in charge of levying sanctions towards USC. Yes, the same Paul Dee who, as athletic director of the University of Miami, failed to notice booster Nevin Shapiro and Miami athletes running wild with drugs and strippers. Talk about a lack of institutional control.The vitriol against the NCAA has come from a variety of different media. Whether it be a lawsuit headed by Ed O’Bannon or a column from ESPN‘s Jay Bilas, the NCAA is certainly being taken to task for its woefully reprehensible actions. Even with all the outrage surrounding the NCAA, my outright animosity hadn’t been cemented until the past two weeks.The complete indignation stems from two issues that have revealed themselves recently. Though it has always seemed ridiculous to me that athletes are forbidden from benefiting from their refined skill set, the true inanity did not dawn on me until this week. If I weren’t allowed to capitalize on my own abilities while in college, I would question the legality of the situation in a free market society.The fact that athletes’ talents put them in a position to prosper on an extremely elevated level exacerbates the issue even further. As a new college student, I cannot even begin to comprehend the feelings of exploitation and irritation student athletes must feel as they bring in millions in revenue to athletic departments without even getting a slice of the proverbial pie.Now, if one wants to make the antiquated argument that players should maintain their amateur status, as the NCAA does, it would seem to me that they would want to crack down on illicit benefits to players, say in the form of cash for autographs.Yet, it is abundantly evident in the case of Johnny Manziel that the NCAA either doesn’t have the resources or — more likely — shirks the responsibility of truly investigating such matters.I am not condemning or criticizing Manziel for capitalizing on his unique talents — more power to him. Under the current rules set forth by the NCAA, however, his alleged wrongdoings seem to warrant more than a university-imposed half-game suspension against a less than stellar opponent. It seems ridiculous for the NCAA to preach from their moral high ground about the need for amateur athletics and the purity it brings, while completely ignoring the illicit deals taking place right under their noses.The NCAA’s blatant hypocrisy and complete lack of a moral backbone have crystallized before my eyes as both a college student and major college sports fan. Even so, I am certainly not the first enthusiast to notice this disturbing trend and that’s where the true problem lies.Maybe O’Bannon’s lawsuit will change the dynamic, or Todd McNair’s crusade to restore his unfairly besmirched name will expose the NCAA. But the truth is that we can cry out until kingdom come about the NCAA, and yet most of us will still be planted in our seats gleefully anticipating kickoff on Saturday.As fans, our lack of meaningful protest ultimately hurts the players and, to a lesser extent, puts out a diminished product. Yet that diminished product draws us in week after week, year after year, and, when the sanctions end, it will all go back to normal for the outraged fan base.So really, when will we hold the sham of an institution the NCAA marauds itself to be accountable for its actions? And who will be the catalyst for that charge? Maybe the fact that the question has no answer is the actual problem with college athletics.last_img read more