With election season heating up, non-profit organization HeadCount is stepping up their efforts to help register concertgoers to vote. In a new video, a plethora of our favorite artists have stepped up to support the cause, encouraging viewers to “Be A HeadCount Volunteer” in the interest of democracy.It’s something of a who’s who of artists in the video, including Bob Weir, Marc Brownstein (Disco Biscuits), Jon Fishman (Phish), Grace Potter, Bela Fleck, Abigail Washburn, Al Jardine (Beach Boys), and Tom Hamilton (American Babies/Joe Russo’s Almost Dead). All of them have the same message: Be A HeadCount Volunteer.Watch the clip below:But seriously, why wouldn’t you volunteer for HeadCount. Aside from doing some really important work, HeadCount volunteers get to attend concerts and festivals, while also interacting with some of the great people who sign up for such a noble cause. With the craziness of the 2016 election, don’t miss out on an opportunity to truly make a difference.Register to be a volunteer for HeadCount by following this link.
Before a rapt audience in Science Center D on Tuesday night (Feb. 22), two experts in the science of well blowouts told an inside story about the worst oil spill disaster in United States history — starting with the catastrophic fire that engulfed an offshore rig owned by Transocean, who was leased by BP, the energy company formerly known as British Petroleum, to provide drilling services.Eleven men died, and the uncapped wellhead poured 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the equivalent of five Exxon Valdez tankers. The spill cast a web of brown petroleum onto hundreds of square miles of ocean, smothering the spawning grounds for one-half of U.S. fisheries and fouling beaches and wetlands in five states.There’s still a dispute about exactly how much oil spilled, said Cherry A. Murray, dean of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, who was the lead speaker. “It will be in litigation for 30 years,” and in the meantime as much as $30 billion will be required to restore the Gulf.Arguments about exactly what happened will go on for a long time too, but the root cause is clear, she said: “management failure.”Murray, an experimental physicist and Harvard’s John A. and Elizabeth S. Armstrong Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences, was one of seven members of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. The commission, sworn in last June, released its final report in January.The other speaker was geophysicist Richard Sears, a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the commission’s senior science and engineering adviser. He is also the former vice president for Deepwater Services at Shell Oil Co.The disaster had an immediate mechanical cause, said Sears — the failure of the foamed cement pumped into the exploratory underground well.But he agreed with Murray on the fundamental cause of the well blowout and consequent spill — a management style that addressed one problem at a time, but failed to see the big picture. Sears called this flaw “hyper-linear thinking.”The consequences, as outlined in a novel-like first chapter of the commission report, were dramatic. Murray used a PowerPoint presentation to illustrate.Just before 10 p.m. on April 20, 2010, the offshore oil rig “Deepwater Horizon” — 400 feet high, with a main deck that spanned 12 acres — hovered mightily over calm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, nearly 50 miles from the Louisiana coast.Steadied by eight GPS-guided thrusters on massive pontoons, the rig was poised over the Macondo lease site. A single pipeline — tapering from 21 inches to just 7.5 inches in diameter — penetrated 5,000 feet to the ocean floor, and then to the wellhead beneath a 50-foot blowout preventer stacked with massive valves. From there, the ever more slender pipeline penetrated another 13,000 feet into a seabed layered with “yellow zones” — deposits of oil and natural gas.Sears showed an animated film of the “Deepwater Horizon” rig, with pictures that swept beneath its massive superstructure and followed the slender pipeline that connected it to the oil and gas reserves 3.5 miles beneath.In oil rig parlance, he explained, “deep water” ocean drilling is any that takes place at 1,000 feet down or more — and some Gulf wells go as deep as 10,000 feet before striking the ocean floor.The BP rig was nothing special, added Sears. There are about 4,000 offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico — and the technology remains a “huge part” of the oil business, used by more than a dozen countries worldwide.Blowouts on these water-sited oil rigs, most of them minor, are “a standard event,” he said — but this one was not.That night, a sudden column of gas and oil raced to the surface, shooting undetected through the blowout preventer, and gathering pressure and heat as it surged upward. Deepwater Horizon was punched from beneath with a pressurized jet of volatile oil and gas that witnesses said sounded like a freight train.In minutes, the $350 million rig, the pride of the Transocean fleet, transformed into a cauldron of yellow fire and black smoke. The 11 men who died were trapped on the drilling floor, a deck midway up the structure.Murray, who visited a sister rig in the Gulf of Mexico in July, marveled at the force of the blaze required to consume the massive steel structure. “There’s nothing burnable on those rigs,” she said — “maybe paint.”The isolation of the rigs struck her too. “They are in the middle of nowhere,” said Murray. “You look in all directions and you can’t see a thing.”Pumping cement into a tapering pipeline deep into the sea and the ocean floor is challenging, and so is monitoring flow and pressure from trapped hydrocarbons, said Sears. “But it’s a challenge oil companies meet all the time.”The blowout preventer hooked to the Deepwater Horizon is being forensically investigated at a secure NASA facility in New Orleans, he said — but the results “almost don’t matter.” It was the cement that failed, mechanically, but more fundamentally it was the BP and Halliburton and Transocean managers that failed. “They completely forgot they had before them a very complex system,” said Sears.There’s still a dispute about exactly how much oil spilled, said Cherry A. Murray, dean of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, who was the lead speaker. “It will be in litigation for 30 years,” and in the meantime as much as $30 billion will be required to restore the Gulf.Compounding the failure, said Murray, was the lack of a “change management” procedure — a system of making rapid changes as the reality of a situation changes. (In this case, there were trial failures of the foam cement slurry meant to secure undersea pipe casing — yet nothing changed.)Beyond management of drilling from the Deepwater Horizon, the commission’s report revealed systemic regulatory and safety flaws, said Murray. The longtime Minerals Management Service (now reorganized) had for decades been charged with competing missions: oil rig safety and environmental protection, but also selling drilling leases that are so lucrative that they are the federal government’s second-largest source of cash after the Internal Revenue Service. “They were paying more attention to bringing in the money,” she said.At the same time, the incident response plans “for the entire industry,” said Murray, “were laughable. No one ever looked at them.”Science needs to catch up too, she said — with a better understanding of deep-water drilling and better technologies to contain wells. Advances are critical. America’s future oil reserves won’t be found on land, the report pointed out, but underwater.Murray and others on the seven-member commission took heat early on for having little science expertise (except for Murray) and for having no oil exploration expertise (including Murray).So she praised the 60 experts — many of them from federal agencies — who did the technical work.And the commission’s 380-page report is vivid and readable, said Murray. One secret weapon there: Harvard Magazine’s John S. Rosenberg was the chief editor.
Saint Mary’s faculty and students reflected on last summer’s Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI) on Women’s Leadership for international undergraduate women during an informational panel Wednesday evening in the Warner Conference Room of the Student Center. Elaine Meyer-Lee, director of the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership, recalled the SUSI application process and the joy of hearing the College had been accepted. “We thought it was a very perfect fit with some Saint Mary’s strengths so we decided, let’s give it a try,” Meyer-Lee said. “We pulled it all together and we were selected to host the [program] we had applied for, which was to bring four women each from Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Myanmar and Mongolia.” Meyer-Lee noted that most of these countries had been in a great transition during the time the program was beginning. “They were clearly identifying countries that were at sort of transformative points,” Meyer-Lee said. “There is a lot of literature out there about how important women’s leadership is and social change and they wanted to create this opportunity.” Once selected for the Institute, the College built in a role for Saint Mary’s students within the program. “We included the students originally as participants, then changed it to a mentor and participant role,” Meyer-Lee said. “We brought on 10 students to do this and they participated side-by-side with the [international] students; they lived in the dorm with them, and they went through all of the classes and communal activities for a very intense five weeks.” Meyer-Lee said students spent the first four weeks on the Saint Mary’s campus, where they were able to travel to local areas. The final week was spent traveling to the East Coast where the students were able to visit Niagara Falls, upstate New York, Boston, New York City and Washington. Meyer-Lee then introduced senior Ambreen Ahmad, a student who participated in the program last summer. Ahmad lived in a quad in Regina Hall with three participants, all from different countries including Mongolia, Myanmar and Tunisia. “This summer was a really great experience. This is definitely a great experience for anyone who is interested in political science, business, communication and social justice because it really allows you to learn and communicate with people from all around the world,” Ahmad said. “I actually learned a lot from the perspective of these girls, who are really accomplished and are only our age.” Ahmad noted how inspiring and interesting the program was for her because it allowed her to see the perspective of the young women from different countries aside from everything our society learns from the media. “It really helps in establishing and enhancing intercultural relationships because, no matter what you end up doing in your life, everything is so much more of global context and it really helps for you to learn to communicate with people who have different backgrounds,” she said. “Being able to build bridges between [the differences] is a great thing.” Ahmad added that she, along with the other students and participants from the program keep in contact through Facebook. “Almost every day someone is posting something on it,” she said. “Learning from these women what is happening in their respective countries really gives us a firsthand account from them. I think just having a connection with people from [different countries] makes you learn more about it that you may have never done on your own.” For Ahmad, living with the participants and getting to know them on a more personal level was the best outcome she received from the experience, she said. “Living in a quad gave me the most roommates I ever had,” she said. “To me, living with them was the greatest part of it. That gave me the opportunity to hear their perspective on Americans and in some ways debunk them. Being that firsthand person to explain Americans to them was really good.”
Moto2 and Moto3 were able to start their season in Qatar in March because they were already there for testing but MotoGP was unable to race due to quarantine restrictions.The updated schedule:July 19: Spanish Grand PrixJuly 26: Grand Prix of AndalusiaAug. 9: Czech Grand PrixAug. 16: Austrian Grand PrixAug. 23: Styria Grand PrixSept. 13: San Marino Grand PrixSept. 20: Emilia Romagna Grand PrixSept. 27: Catalan Grand PrixOct. 11: French Grand PrixOct. 18: Aragon Grand PrixOct. 25: Teruel Grand PrixNov. 8: European Grand PrixNov. 15: Valencia Grand PrixTopics : The third round will take place in the Czech Republic on Aug. 9 before two races in Austria on Aug. 16 and 23. Misano will then host two rounds in September.MotoGP said a minimum of 12 rounds would be held in the championship. The total number of races could increase to 17 with four outside Europe between Nov. 22 and Dec. 13.The only long-haul races yet to be cancelled due to the pandemic are those in Thailand, Malaysia, the United States (Texas) and Argentina.Those events and their dates will be confirmed before July 31, MotoGP added. The MotoGP season stalled by the novel coronavirus pandemic will begin with back-to-back races at the Jerez circuit in Spain on July 19 and 26, the sport’s governing body said on Thursday.Five circuits will host double-headers and there will be a total of seven races in Spain as part of the revised 13-round European calendar for the 2020 season.Eight races have been cancelled so far this season including the Qatar, Dutch, German, Finnish, British, Australian, Japanese and Italian rounds.