Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Harvard Hotheads

They are energized!

"Group continues protest over Harvard fossil-fuel portfolio" by Laura Krantz Globe Staff  April 13, 2015

CAMBRIDGE — Harvard students and climate-change activists blocked the entrance to the main campus administration building for a second day Monday, as part of what they say will be a weeklong protest calling for the school to divest funds from corporations tied to fossil fuels.

The action at Massachusetts Hall forced top college leaders — including president Drew Faust — to work elsewhere.

“The time for dialogue is over,” sophomore Maryssa Barron, wearing an orange Divest Harvard T-shirt, said outside.

That sounds threatening.

Orange and black banners that read, “Whose side are you on? #divestharvard,” hung from the windows on the third floor of the building.

On Monday afternoon, about 60 Harvard graduates, including prominent climate-change activist Bill McKibben, occupied the office of the Harvard Alumni Association on Mt. Auburn Street, saying they will not donate to the school until it divests.

When the office closed at 5 p.m., nine people — including McKibben — hunkered down as campus police stood by. Protesters were allowed to spend the night in the office, while police kept guard. They sent a letter to the alumni association executive director asking for a meeting Tuesday morning.

The group Divest Harvard kicked off the rally Sunday evening, and many spent the night in Harvard Yard. By Monday afternoon, their ranks had dwindled to several dozen, from an estimated 150 the night before.

Scattered sleeping bags, pizza boxes, and laptops signaled, however, that many of them would be staying put. Morning rallies and evening vigils are scheduled every day this week.

Divest Harvard is the same student-led group that staged a sit-in inside Massachusetts Hall in February, demanding to speak with Faust about divesting from fossil fuel companies.

Yeah, this is all real funny.

At $36.4 billion, Harvard has the largest endowment of any college in the world. Faust announced in October 2013 that Harvard had no plans to divest, saying the endowment is intended “to advance academic aims, not to serve other purposes, however worthy.”

Besides, some of their $cienti$ts dispute the dogma.

McKibben, founder of, a grass-roots organization that spreads awareness about the effects of climate change, said Harvard was refusing to fully acknowledge the problem, a stance he deemed ironic given the scientific advancements that have taken place at the university, including in climate science. 

That means controlled opposition front group.

“It’s always the case that Harvard, I suppose one could say, needs to be dragged to do the right thing,” he said.

Same with the U.S government.

Faculty members are also participating in the protest. More than 250 faculty members, out of 2,000, have signed a petition in favor of divestment.

More than two-thirds of undergraduates have also voted in favor of divestment on a referendum vote, students said.

“It is extraordinary that there has been no public dialogue about divestment that involves the administration,” said professor Nancy Rosenblum, who teaches government.

But Harvard spokesman Jeff Neal said in a statement that Faust and the university have provided many opportunities for divestment supporters to raise their concerns, including opportunities advocates have declined to accept.

Yeah, because it's about making an agenda--pushing stage and scripted show, not solutions.

The university agrees that climate change is a serious problem, Neal said, and has committed to tackling it through “research, education, engagement with key actors in the energy and policy domains, and efforts to reduce its own carbon footprint.’’


Orange is the New Green?

And they are expanding!

"Two paths in urging colleges to divest" by Laura Krantz Globe Staff  April 16, 2015

CAMBRIDGE — A messy scene erupted this week outside Harvard president Drew Faust’s office as students and activists protested the university’s refusal to shed its investments in the fossil fuel industry.

Pizza boxes and sleeping bags littered Harvard Yard. Students chanted and waved banners, blocking administration buildings and forcing Faust and top deans to work elsewhere.

A mile away at MIT, where students are pressing the same cause against fossil fuel investments, the discourse is decidedly quieter. Last week, MIT president Rafael Reif’s administration sponsored a debate on whether MIT should divest, part of a yearlong discussion of how the college should deal with climate change.

Related: Retracting This M.I.T. Post 

How are you supposed to trust their $cience now?

The contrasting moods on the two elite campuses are a snapshot of the different ways colleges nationwide are confronting the push to divest, a campaign that activists have likened to the rallying cry against South African apartheid in the 1980s.

Or another, current campaign against another regime of apartheid. You know what I mean?

Even as divestment advocates hail MIT’s approach, they worry that in the end the outcome won’t be different than Havard’s.

“Our worst fear is that Harvard’s stonewalling and MIT’s savvyness may be two sides of the same coin,” said Geoffrey Supran, an MIT graduate student and member of Fossil Free MIT.

Students and faculty at each school say they are keenly watching the unfolding events on the neighboring campuses.

Typically, only a small amount of university endowments are invested in fossil fuels, and divestment serves more to stigmatize the industry than to make a financial dent. Many schools, including Harvard, say it is more effective to fight climate change with research and public policy and by reducing their own greenhouse gas emissions.

Some colleges, such as Syracuse University and Hampshire College, have pledged to divest the entire portfolio of fossil fuel investment in their endowments. Stanford University is the largest and most prominent college to take the step, although it is only purging investments in the coal industry for now.

The issue has roiled many campuses. This month, police at Yale University arrested 19 students after a daylong sit-in on their campus to protest fossil fuel investment.

Harvard administrators say they are caught between a desire to fight climate change and a duty to make endowments profitable. Universities should foster freedom of thought rather than using an endowment to further one viewpoint, they say.

“Our role is to do great research and innovation,” said Bill Lee, senior fellow at the Harvard Corporation, the university’s governing board.

Harvard says the divestment campaigns at MIT and Harvard look different simply because the Harvard debate is nearly three years old. MIT’s discussion started months after Harvard’s, although MIT administrators have yet to take a public position on divestment.

Harvard has the largest endowment of any university in the world, at $36.4 billion, and proponents of divestment say the school should set an example. But in 2013 Faust said the endowment is intended “to advance academic aims, not to serve other purposes, however worthy.”

Harvard divestment advocates say they feel compelled to practice civil disobedience after what they call inadequate responses from Faust and the corporation.

At Harvard, 72 percent of voting undergraduates in 2012 cast ballots in favor of divestment, and 250 of about 2,000 professors signed a letter endorsing the step.

“Since we started, Harvard has not wanted to acknowledge students’ voices,” said senior Chloe Maxmin, the founder of Divest Harvard, a student group leading the protests.

A Harvard spokesman said, however, that Faust has met with students at least eight times to discuss their views, and at other times students have declined her offers. Other administrators and members of the corporation have also met with divestment advocates, said the spokesman, Jeff Neal.

Faust organized a panel Monday about Harvard’s efforts to confront climate change.

Some student activists and faculty dismissed the forum because, in contrast to MIT’s debate, divestment was not the main focus. Panelists briefly discussed the issue, but most did not agree it is a good option.

“It seems like they’re trying to distract from the issue,” said Ted Hamilton, a second-year law school student who stood outside the forum, which required a ticket to enter.

Harvard professor Naomi Oreskes participated in both the MIT divestment debate and the Harvard forum, where she repeatedly turned the conversation from high-level policy to concrete recommendations.

“In some ways the conversation at MIT was better because it focused specifically on action,” said Oreskes, whose book about the political agenda behind the funding of climate-change denial research was made into a recent film.

At MIT, which has an endowment of $12.4 billion, students and professors praise Reif’s measured response to calls for divestment, though they remain wary of becoming victims of diplomatic heel-dragging.

“This is the right way to go about it,” said an MIT business professor, John Sterman.

More than 3,000 MIT faculty, staff, studentsand alumni have signed Fossil Free MIT’s petition for divestment, including almost one in three of all undergraduates and more than 80 MIT faculty, according to the group.

Students at both campuses worry that the personal agendas of university trustees and donors influence schools’ decisions about divestment.

Billionaire David Koch, a lifetime trustee of MIT and a major donor, has made a fortune from fossil fuels and other investments.

“I don’t see a conflict,” said Robert B. Millard, president of the MIT Corporation, the institute’s governing body.

Millard said that he has no personal opinion about divestment, and that the school’s ultimate decision will have nothing to do with an upcoming multibillion dollar fund-raising campaign.

“Everybody’s trying to do the right thing,” Millard said.

Like funding daycare for kids.


Gee, I didn't see any mention of a BDS regarding Israel for its conduct in Palestine! 

Also see

Shake Harvard free of oil stock
Harvard professor’s stance on emissions riles Democrats

Tribe has been exposed as a traitor or is he just in synch with reality?

Isn't there something more important Harvard kids could be protesting?

"Postal Workers’ ad assails Faust for ties to Staples" by Taryn Luna Globe Correspondent  April 01, 2015

How do you get the attention of the president of Harvard University? A full-page attack ad in a student newspaper will probably do it.

Zionist Jewish groups do it all the time in the Globe. It's no big deal then, certainly not an attack ad.

The American Postal Workers Union is taking out an advertisement in the Harvard Crimson later this week telling readers that president Drew Faust is “smearing Harvard’s good name” by sitting on the board of directors at Staples Inc.

Faust, who earned $250,000 as a director in 2013, has been caught up in the union’s campaign against the Framingham-based office supply retailer. The Crimson ran a similar ad from the union last fall. 

The rich get richer!

Also see:

"Total compensation for Staples Inc.’s chief executive, Ronald L. Sargent, increased 15 percent to $12.4 million in 2014, according to the Framingham-based company’s latest proxy statement. The gain was mostly attributed to cash incentive awards, up from $667,415 in 2013 to $2.6 million last year. The company’s revenue fell 2.7 percent to $22.5 billion; its North American stores and online business declined 6 percent to $10.5 billion. Last year, Staples closed 169 underperforming stores and emphasized online shopping in its existing retail storefronts to better adapt to the digital age. The retailer agreed in February to buy a rival, Office Depot Inc., for $6.3 billion. The merger, which is awaiting Federal Trade Commission approval, would combine the two largest brick-and-mortar office supply stores in the country."

Yeah, why isn't wealth inequality an issue at Harvard? (The an$wer is $elf-explanatory).

Staples drew the ire of the union when it started offering United States Postal Service products and shipping capabilities in some of its stores two years ago. The union complains that low-wage Staples employees staff the postal counters and take away jobs from its members. It alleges that the deal is an attempt to privatize the post office.... 

I decided to mail in the rest, sorry.


Look what was returned to sender, address unknown.

"Harvard club apologizes for suggestive party invitation" by Steve Annear, Globe Staff  March 09, 2015

An all-male Harvard final club is facing criticism over a sexually suggestive party invitation that university administrators say raises concerns about “sexism and bigotry” at the institution.

But not eliti$m?

Members of the Spee Club canceled a pajama-themed party Saturday at their house on Mount Auburn Street amid backlash over an e-mail and video depicting scantily clad women, according to The Harvard Crimson student newspaper.

The invitation encouraged partiers to “stay the night.”

Members of the club apologized in the college paper, but the material had already made its way to Harvard College dean Rakesh Khurana, who condemned its contents.

“I am troubled by the lack of judgment shown in organizing and promoting this event, which runs counter to the values we hold as a community,” Khurana said in an e-mail sent to students.

“And I am concerned as a member of the Harvard community, because sexism and bigotry are antithetical to our fundamental values as an institution.”

The invitation flap comes just days after administrators at Boston University suspended a fraternity for its alleged role in using sexually suggestive images in a promotional video for a “blackout party” last December.

That party was also canceled.

Oh, boo-hoo.

After reviewing the e-mail from the Spee Club, which reportedly showed a woman being hugged by a bear, and provided a link to a YouTube video featuring women in revealing clothing, Khurana called for a public conversation about the invitation.

Close your eyes, kids.

Khurana invited students and faculty members to use the hashtag #crimsonrespect on Twitter.

Members of the Spee Club had no immediate comment for this story, but said in a statement published by the Crimson that they hoped the episode would be a platform for a dialogue with female final clubs and other women. 

I'm done talking.


Made 'em look like streetwalkers:

"Building a haven for young, homeless in Harvard Square; Two recent graduates spearhead effort to open student-run shelter" by Lisa Wangsness Globe Staff  April 13, 2015

Every day in Harvard Square, the nation’s best students, glowing with the aura of forward momentum, swirl past homeless kids huddled in doorways or slouched in the square’s central “pit.”

Sam Greenberg and Sarah Rosenkrantz, who graduated from Harvard last year, have been working to change that situation. They are leading an effort to create what is believed to be the nation’s first student-run nighttime shelter for homeless youth in the basement of First Parish in Cambridge, the wooden Unitarian Universalist church abutting the Old Burial Ground.

Thank God we all have benevolent Jews to take care of us all, and a pre$$ to tell us all about it.

“Y2Y Harvard Square,” which is scheduled to open in November following a $1.1 million renovation of the church’s subterranean auditorium, will offer temporary shelter for young adults age 18 to 24 during the coldest six months of the year. The aim is to provide a sanctuary where young peoplecan find their way to a stable housing situation and, eventually, a more promising future.

“A guest will feel safe in our space and have an opportunity to take a deep breath,” Greenberg said....

Good idea. Don't wait for me to exhale.


Maybe you will apeshit over this:

"US probes Harvard primate facility; Answers sought in 2014 zoo deaths" by Carolyn Y. Johnson Globe Staff  April 10, 2015

Harvard’s New England Primate Research Center, the long-running research institution set to shut down at the end of May, is being investigated by the US Department of Agriculture after a half dozen of the center’s cotton-top tamarins died two days after arriving at the Oregon Zoo last May.

The agency disclosed the investigation this week after the Globe reported a separate set of primate deaths. A dozen dehydrated monkeys were found dead or euthanized for poor health between 1999 and 2011.

“We cannot provide any specific information about Harvard’s New England Primate Research Center because there is an open investigation into the Center,” USDA spokeswoman Tanika Whittington wrote in an e-mail.

A Harvard Medical School spokeswoman said the investigation was triggered by the shipment of nine tamarin monkeys from the primate center to the Oregon Zoo last May. Oregon news outlets reported that six of the monkeys died shortly after arriving May 22.

“We were deeply saddened to learn about the unfortunate event at the Oregon Zoo related to the cotton top tamarins,” the medical school said in a statement at the time.

Harvard released a log showing that the tamarins had been observed every four hours during their three-day trip and arrived “all alert and active” in Portland, Ore. “While we typically do not comment on transports, we feel it is important to share these documents that show the animals arrived at the Oregon Zoo safely and in good condition,” the statement said.

“The standard and safest method of transporting nonhuman primates in North America is through experienced ground carriers. The carrier is registered with the USDA, and it provided environmentally controlled, door-to-door transportation that met all USDA guidelines,” it added.

The Oregon Zoo, which planned to exhibit the animals, could not determine how they died. The federal investigation may clarify whether there were lapses that caused the deaths by either institution.

“Pathologic exam of tissues showed systemic shock in all of the tamarins, which can be caused by a wide range of causes, and no specific cause was identified,” Tim Storms, an Oregon Zoo veterinarian, wrote in a memo last summer. “Five of the six had some degree of stress-related changes in muscle or adrenal gland tissues.”

The primate center, which once housed more than 2,000 monkeys, has only 116 animals remaining as it winds down operation due to both shifts in its research strategy and financial reasons. The medical school said Friday that none of its shipments of animals have had problems. According to federal documents obtained by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, most of the monkeys were to be shipped to other primate centers between September 2014 and January 2015, including facilities in Oregon, Wisconsin, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas.

The news of the investigation comes as the Globe separately reported this week about a string of monkey deaths at the Southborough center that involved dehydration. Between 2010 and 2012, there were four monkey deaths due to animal care problems at the center that drew intense regulatory scrutiny and revealed deep and longstanding problems with leadership and procedures. 

Finally, they saw the light.

The previously unknown deaths, involving squirrel monkeys, were described in a spreadsheet provided by a former director of Harvard’s New England Primate Research Center. The Agriculture Department said it could not comment on whether it would investigate those deaths because of the open investigation.

The case descriptions included “tooth caught in jacket; unable to drink,” “no water spout in new cage; dehydration;” “water deprivation,” and “malfunctioning water line.” The descriptions suggested to the former director, Dr. Frederick Wang, and to outside specialists that deficiencies in animal care contributed to some of the deaths. Harvard said in a statement that the cases involving the squirrel monkeys had not been reported to an internal committee that receives reports of adverse events.

Dr. Paul Johnson, another former director of the Harvard primate center who now heads the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University, said in an e-mail that the requirement for institutions to report and review adverse events through their internal animal care and use committees is clear.

“There is no question regarding the basic responsibilities of institutions that care for animals in research facilities: unanticipated adverse events should be reported,’’ Johnson wrote. “We have a clear and unwavering commitment to maintain the welfare of animals that we care for in research facilities and a responsibility to do all we can to reduce the chance of unexpected events.”

A federal agency that oversees animal care at the National Institutes of Health said that Harvard was in good standing and that the agency will not look past farther than the last three years when examining issues of noncompliance with animal care regulations.

But in response to questions about whether such issues should have been reviewed and reported, the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare said, “Repeated problems with watering systems that affect animal health are reportable. An institution’s animal care and use committee should be informed if such problems occur, and the institution would be expected to ensure correction of this type of problem.”

Jeff Caswell, editor of the journal Veterinary Pathology, which published a 2014 paper that sparked the data on dehydrated monkeys to be released, said he has sent a letter to the authors asking for their response to the allegations. He has also requested a supporting letter from Harvard’s institutional ethics committee.


What a shame. It used to be a monkey's oyster.

"Environmentalists reestablishing Barnegat Bay oyster colony" Associated Press  April 20, 2015

BERKELEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. — A century ago, oysters were so plentiful in New Jersey’s Barnegat Bay that visitors would clamber off trains, wade into the water and pluck handfuls to roast for dinner.

But decades of pollution, accelerated by rampant development along the bay’s shores, have reduced the oyster population to a small fraction of what it once was.

And global warming, right?

Now, the American Littoral Society is reestablishing an oyster colony about a quarter-mile off Berkeley Township.

The goal is to help improve water quality in the struggling bay; shellfish naturally filter out pollutants and impurities.

That can't be good for eating.

But there’s another benefit as well: hardening the shoreline against devastating storms. The hard shells and irregular, raised profile of oyster beds help blunt the impact of waves and storms on the shoreline. ‘‘Oysters act as speed bumps for storm waves,’’ said Tim Dillingham, director. ‘‘They form natural barriers that help protect the coastline.’’


Oysters are the almonds of the sea:

"California almonds are becoming one of the world’s favorite snacks. But the crop extracts a staggering price from the land, consuming more water than all the showering, dish-washing, and other indoor household water use of California’s 39 million people. As California enters its fourth year of drought, the $6.5 billion almond crop is helping to drive a sharp debate about water use, agricultural interests, and the state’s economy

What, Californians all pissed off at Brown now?

Almonds are now ‘‘the poster child of all things bad in water,’’ almond grower Bob Weimer said. 

I'd say fracking, but what do I know?

Last year, almonds became the top export crop in the nation’s top agriculture state. China’s booming middle class is driving much of the demand. 

While Americans hunger.

Almond trees now cover nearly 1 million acres in California. Since each nut requires a gallon of water, almonds are consuming 1.07 trillion gallons annually in the state, one-fifth more than California families use indoors. So when Governor Jerry Brown ordered municipalities to cut water consumption by 25 percent but exempted farms, almonds got toasted in the debate that followed.

Don't you mean roasted?

‘Drought villains?’’ the Los Angeles Times asked. National Public Radio called almond farmers ‘‘a rogue’s gallery’’ of water users. Now farmers and investors are on the defensive. ‘‘The tomato growers use a lot more water than we do. You should go after those guys,’’ said Ryon Paton, a principal of Trinitas Partners. California growers provide 80 percent of the global supply of almonds. As big a global money-maker as California’s agriculture is, though, it is little more than a blip in the state’s economy. And that’s driving the debate on water use. In all, agriculture uses 80 percent of the water Californians draw from ground water and surface supplies but produces just 1.5 percent of the state’s gross domestic product, said Christopher Thornberg, an economist. Strong prices have some growers rushing to plant still more trees. The governor and his cabinet defend almonds as a high-value crop. ‘‘We’re going to try to maximize all beneficial uses, not pick one we like better than the others,’’ said Felicia Marcus, head of the Water Resources Control Board." 

I didn't want you to miss that before it dried up.

Not going to need that water anyway:

"Cooperative weather and the efforts of hundreds of firefighters helped beat back flames Sunday that had threatened hundreds of homes near a Southern California dam." 

It is getting hot in here.