Oxford student wins ‘Dance you PhD’ award

first_imgAn Oxford student has won Science magazine’s annual ‘Dance your PhD’ competition.Dr Cedric Tan, from the University of Oxford’s zoology department, submitted a dance that reflected his research on animal reproduction.Tan stated, “There were two main ideas in this film. First, a male invests more sperm in the females that have mated with his brother. Second, the female ejects a higher proportion of sperm from the brother of the first male mate and favours the sperm of the non-brother, facilitating a higher fertility by the non-brother’s sperm.”The video features people dressed up as sperm chasing an inflatable “egg” in the water, and artistic interpretations of chickens reproducing.On why he was inspired to enter, Tan told Cherwell, “I love the arts, especially music and dance, and ‘Dance your PhD’ is one competition that allows me to combine my passion for the arts with my interest in Science. Further, I strongly believe in promoting research to the wider audience, in both a fun and easy-to-understand manner, and thus providing insights into the scientific concepts that people may not be aware of.”He further stated that he enjoyed making the video, commenting “Six weeks of tough work together with all my friends was stressful, challenging, but extremely delightful to have gotten such an amazingly enthusiastic crew! Once filming was over, and the tiredness took over, we, however, felt sad that it was all over.“I recalled those times at the lake when we were filming the stripping scenes, we ran to the end of the jetty, stripped our tops off and put them back again just to repeat the shot. That certainly gained a lot of popularity as a crowd of people gathered to watch, and took videos of us, an amused expression on their faces, secretly hoping that we would perhaps also removed our shorts into our skimpy tight swim wear.”Oxford University also commented that, “It’s always great to hear that our staff and students are finding new and creative ways to share their research with wider audiences.”Cedric’s submission was supported byGreen Templeton College, and The Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology, which is part of the University’s Department of Zoology, as well as the European Society for Evolutionary Biology.Tan also participated in the competition in 2011 and has since created similar videos every year. This year, Tan was supported by Stuart Noah, who wrote the original music, and Hannah Moore, who helped choreograph the dance.One Oxford student commented, “That video is one of the strangest but best things I have ever seen. Who doesn’t want to learn about chicken’s reproduce?”last_img read more

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Roberts Bakery bags FDF award

first_imgNorthwich-based Roberts Bakery was awarded the Good Employer accolade at the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) awards last week.The Good Employer award, sponsored by apetito, recognises companies that make an effort to create a positive working environment for employees.FDF’s director general Ian Wright said: “Roberts Bakery’s employee-engagement model is a great example of a business going the extra mile to ensure its employees’ work-life experience is as fulfilling as possible.“We congratulate the management team at Roberts Bakery for the creativity that they have applied and commitment that they have shown to their colleagues’ health, happiness and wellbeing.”The ceremony celebrated businesses and industry professionals from across the food and drink supply chain. Roberts Bakery bakes 3.5m products a week, employs 900 staff and distributes to supermarkets and independent retailers across Wales, as well as in the north west and central areas of the UK.Earlier this month, Roberts Bakery embarked on a second major investment programme within a year at its Ilkeston site.last_img read more

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Is It Possible to Avoid Failure with a Customer-Centric Strategy?

first_imgAgile methods to act on customer data and translate it to meaningful actionOnce you’ve established effective connections and listening posts, you must effectively leverage the data to drive meaningful actions for customers.  In EMC’s personal Big Data journey, we uncovered two key takeaways:The need to build out a scalable platform for structured and unstructured dataThe need to shift the responsibility of the “value” of the data from “IT” to the businessDeveloping a true company-wide Big Data Lake will be the most effective tool to break down internal silos and encourage maximum customer impact throughout their end-to-end experience.This learning allows us to deliver a more personalized service experience. For example, visualization dashboards bring together a single comprehensive view of key customer data, including revenue, competitive perception, loyalty, customer service satisfaction and product quality. Having this type of insight at our fingertips means we can start conversations at a point of true value, knowing what is going on in an individual customer’s environment so we can take swift corrective action when issues arise.This agile data methodology, which relies on our corporate data lake, is a critical differentiator of our customer-centric approach and something that other companies should consider for the future.Commitment to continuous improvementHaving a culture committed to continuous improvement is paramount. While listening and data will help reveal areas that require transformation, it’s the people in your business who are willing to embrace change to improve the customer experience – essential to long-term success.Apple’s constant push to innovate in ways that excite customers without compromising its core values is why it has successfully pushed out competitors across numerous product areas—such as its recent domination of the mobile payment market, where its proprietary fingerprint technology has made the experience so easy that nearly two-thirds of all contactless payments are now made with Apple Pay.The aspiration to be better starts with whether or not your employees are committed to the same goal. Tim Cook, Apple CEO, describes their culture in Fast Company: “We’ve turned up the volume on collaboration because it’s so clear that in order for us to be incredibly successful we have to be the best collaborators in the world. The magic of Apple, from a product point of view, happens at this intersection of hardware, software, and services.” Additionally, he notes how the company can always do better: “We’ve made errors in the past, and we’ll never be perfect. Fortunately, we have the courage to admit it and correct it.”As a business leader, how can you apply the lessons from customer-centric companies, and those that failed to focus on the customer, to ensure you stay ahead of the competition and position yourself for long-term success?In our own personal journey, EMC has learned that it is critical to look at the total end to end customer experience, creating personal customer connections through effective listening posts, using agile methods to meaningfully act on customer data, and building a culture of continuous improvement.And today, our Federation companies bring together customers, partners and employees for a Total Customer Experience Global Celebration in honor of the industry-wide Customer Experience Day.I want to personally thank our customers for your patience and partnership. EMC plans to be around for a very long time and we know that this is possible only if we stay the course and never lose sight that the CUSTOMER ALWAYS COMES FIRST. Personalized customer connections Companies must be willing to implement new types of listening to engage with customers when and where it matters most. Phone and web surveys are important, but not enough to get real-time understanding of what’s going on with a customer and take action. In today’s digital world, companies must integrate surveys into a more holistic strategy, which includes dynamic listening platforms such as social media.JetBlue stands out for its proactive efforts to respond to customers via Twitter. I especially like the story of Ben Kepes who frequently journeys between his home in New Zealand and the US, normally through Star Alliance airlines. Yet, on his first trip with JetBlue, he decided to tweet out to the company. He notes that, “[w]ithin seconds, I had a response from the company wishing me a good journey. I responded to JetBlue’s social team…making a bit of a random comment about the fact that airlines don’t recognize, nor have any visibility, over individual passengers’ travel habits or status…so I was a little surprised to have a message from JetBlue wishing me a good flight and telling me to await a nice surprise at check-in…and was impressed to see that the JetBlue team had upgraded me to a first class seat for my short hop.” With any business, there is always risk of failure. Failure is more certain when a company does not adapt to market and customer needs – think Blockbuster Video. But what do companies that thrive, such as JetBlue and Apple, have in common that allows them to grow and separate from the competition?These successful companies all have the presence of a customer-centric strategy.A customer-centric strategy requires three fundamental elements:Personalized customer connectionsAgile methods to meaningfully act on customer dataCommitment to continuous improvementlast_img read more

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Off-campus issues addressed

first_imgCampus Life Council (CLC) discussed the creation of an off-campus administrator, a role that would provide students with a source of support and information regarding off-campus issues such as police incidents, lease issues and neighbor conflicts at its meeting Monday. Student body president Catherine Soler said recent off-campus arrests have highlighted the need for a response from student government and the administration. “This weekend, and on Thursday, there were incidents and more arrests,” she said. “We’ll be meeting with administrators to talk about a plan going forward.” Chief of staff Nick Ruof said while some resources do exist, they are too decentralized to be effective. “There’s no real support system in case you have [leasing] or police incidents … Right now, student government is sort of fulfilling that role,” he said. “Other organizations or groups fulfilling the needs of off-campus students are spread around campus.” Fr. Tom Gaughan, Stanford Hall rector, said since many students cite ‘du Lac’ as their reason for leaving campus, they may respond poorly to the creation of such a position. “There could be a section of the off-campus population that would sort of be insulted,” he said. “What they moved away from was to be away from ‘mom’.” Parliamentarian Ben Noe said despite the physical move, students are still connected to the University. “Even if students are moving off campus, they’re not separate, ‘du Lac’ still applies to students,” he said. “If we’re going to hold them accountable shouldn’t they also have support?” Sr. Carrine Etheridge, rector of Farley Hall, brought up the need for students to consider trends in police activity when making decision about socializing off campus. “I wish our students would get savvy. The police, the [Indiana State] Excise Police, they know our schedule,” she said. “They know when there’s going to be parties. Learn from that.” Student body vice president Andrew Bell elaborated on the need for proactive as well as reactive measures. “A lot of our time last semester was spent getting information out,” he said. “It’s about taking that proactive role in addition to taking those calls Monday morning asking for help.” Lt. Col. Jon Crist, Faculty Senate representative, said there is a danger the position could become a “complaint line.” “I think it would be just an umbrella of resources, less of a complaint line,” Soler said. “There’s just a lot of things that are gray and I think if one person were in charge of it all, that would be very beneficial.”last_img read more

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Jenkins comments on DACA legislative deadlock

first_imgUniversity President Fr. John Jenkins commented in a press release Thursday on the failure of the United States Senate to advance immigration legislation that would have resolved the legal limbo surrounding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protections for undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children. This group, known as “Dreamers” faces uncertainty as an early March deadline for resolving their status fast approaches with no solution in sight.“I am deeply disappointed that the Senate failed to pass a bipartisan immigration bill that would have, at long last, protected Dreamers,” Jenkins said in the press release. “These young women and men have done nothing wrong and have known life only in the United States.”Jenkins expressed particular concern for the Dreamers at the University.“The Dreamers who are enrolled at Notre Dame are also poised to make lasting contributions to the United States,” he said in the statement.In the statement, Jenkins expressed hope for a legislative solution and emphasized that Notre Dame will continue to support its Dreamer population.“We pray that our leaders will end the cruel uncertainty for these talented and dedicated young people who have so much to offer our nation,” he said. “Regardless, Notre Dame will continue to support them financially, maintain their enrollment, provide expert legal assistance should that become necessary and do everything it can to support them.”Tags: DACA, DREAMERS, U.S. Senate, University President Father John Jenkinslast_img read more

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New strategic planning book

first_imgMerryn Rutledge, President of ReVisions, has published Strategic Planning Guide for Leaders of Small Organizations, a complete planning guide for organizations in all sectors. Since 1995 Merryn has been assisting leaders in envisioning excellence and recreating their organizations through planning, leadership development, organizational assessment, and coaching. Strategic Planning Guide is available from www.revisions.org(link is external).The Guide enables organizations to use specific planning tools to match their needs and resources, and to adjust plans in order to remain agile. Contents include sections on involving the right people in planning, scanning the environment in and around the organization, analyzing strengths and gaps, and creating vision, goals and an annual plan.last_img read more

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City of Seven Hills

first_imgRichmond, Virginia has been tapped by the Union Cycliste International (UCI), the international governing body of professional cycling, as the host city for the 2015 Road Cycling World Championships. This is the premiere road cycling event on the international scene, with 12 championship races spread over nine days of competition. Athletes compete for their country, just like in the Olympics, in three different disciplines: traditional Road Race, Individual Time Trial, and the relatively new Team Time Trial. World Champions are crowned in each discipline.The UCI stipulates the World Championships be held outside of Europe every five years, in an attempt to globalize cycling’s popularity. When members of the UCI asked U.S. Cycling to bid on the 2015 slot, Richmond was immediately the frontrunner U.S. city.“Richmond has a long history of pro cycling, and the popularity of cycling in general has exploded in the city over the last few years,” says Tim Miller, the executive director of Richmond 2015, the organization that spearheaded the bid to host the championships. “I’m excited to introduce the world to Richmond’s history. I’m hoping the course will highlight a lot of landmarks like the Civil War sites and Monument Avenue. I’m also excited about showcasing the hills we have in the city.”Richmond has earned the nickname “The City of Seven Hills,” because it was built on a significant slope that rises from the James River.“Most of the streets either go up or down,” Miller says. “It should make for an interesting course.”Richmond’s Pro Cycling HistoryRoad Cycling World Championships By the Numbers1983 – Tour of America, the first professional stage race in the U.S., had a stop in Richmond.1989-1990 – Tour de Trump came through Richmond. The tour was sponsored by Donald Trump, started in New York City and finished in Atlantic City as a way to showcase Trump’s hotels and casinos.1991-1996 – Tour DuPont: The Tour de Trump evolved into the Tour DuPont, one of the premier races in the world. Cyclists called it the “Fourth Grand Tour,” and the race hosted legends like Greg LeMond and a young Lance Armstrong. A legal battle killed the race.2003-2006 – Captech Classic: A nationally televised crit race through the heart of downtown Richmond.2007 – US Open of Cycling finished in Richmond, and included a cobblestone climb in Libby Hill Park.Richmond ClassicsMiller and US Cycling are hard at work on developing the course for the race, which they’ll keep under wraps for now. But here are Richmond mainstays that Miller says all roadies should tackle before the pros descend on the city:Main StreetA lot of rides are on the east side of town, and there’s no way to really avoid this hill coming back into town. It can be brutal.Taylor’s HillThis 300-meter cobblestone climb was part of the Tour DuPont.Monument AvenueThis 3.5-mile straight away is one of the few flat roads in Richmond, but it has some cobblestone portions that featured prominently in the Tour DuPont.last_img read more

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Stoke the Fire Within

first_imgTHE LOWDOWN ON FOOD FOR OUTDOOR ATHLETESWhat’s the one thing we all have in common when it comes to our outdoor pursuits? We all have to fuel our bodies. So let’s dive in to some of the best current options for food and energy for active outdoors folks now available.Boone Barr (not pictured)A regional favorite utilizing locally sourced ingredients, Happy Mountain Foods out of Boone, N.C., is famous for its Barrs—ideal for outdoors folks as a meal replacement or energy bar—also han d-makes wonderful trail mix, bites, and candied nuts. Happy Mountain Foods are without preservatives or artificial ingredients and features as few ingredients as possible to maximize taste and nutrition. They are all about sustainability in business practices and in the foods they use to make their products. Flavors span the classics from Walnut Dark Chocolate Cranberry and Coconut Almond to Dark Chocolate Banana and Mocha White Chocolate Cherry. $1.99/bar; happymountainfoods.com; Taste: 4; Texture: 4 1. Patagonia Provisions Even the most seasoned “bar” makers will tell you that real food will always rule over bars. That’s where Patagonia comes in, with their affiliate brand, Patagonia Provisions, producing transportable foods that are good for the body, the taste buds, the environment, and the active lifestyle. “The tradition and culture of food have always been important to us at Patagonia,” said founder Yvon Chouinard. “What we eat does more than just fill our stomachs and nourish our bodies; good food lifts our spirits and helps us understand the world a little better.” Patagonia Provisions currently sells two food products: smoked salmon and Tsampa soup. The salmon is wild Sockeye, fully cooked and ready to eat in 6 oz. portions. Tsampa is roasted whole grains, organic vegetables and spices that cook up into a hearty soup, something Yvon initially found as a “high-altitude power food” while climbing in Nepal 35 years ago. And yes, the two go great together. $12 and $6.50 for single packs, respectively; patagoniaprovisions.com; Taste: 5; Texture: 52. Pistachio Chewy BitesAnother interesting option for adrenaline junkies, Pistachio Bites are basically composed of pistachios and cranberries, resulting in a low-sodium, high-protein, gluten-free, on-the-go snack. They’ve got healthy fat with no cholesterol, and are free of GMOs and animal products. $1.99/two pack; pistachiochewybites.com; Taste: 5; Texture: 4 (a little on the sticky side)3. Skratch Labs Cookie MixFrom the mind of Boulder’s Dr. Allen Lim, inventor of the game-changing, TDF-winning, Skratch Labs Hydration mix, comes a simpler yet equally game-changing product: cookies. Lim has always been an advocate of eating real foods while training and competing, and his cookie concept follows that train of thought. I’ve personally cooked with Lim and made some of the edibles from his cookbooks, and this is truly an innovative and exciting product for endurance athletes of all kinds. $1.99; skratchlabs.com; Taste: 5 (if you make them right) Texture: again, depends on your skills in the kitchen, but the recipe is solid.4. Gu Energy Labs Electrolyte BrewGu brand drink mixes, gels and chews have always (since 1993) been a top choice for endurance athletes. And now Gu is dialing it back a tiny bit to offer something for everyone else—its new Electrolyte Brew mix featuring less sodium, a balance of complex and simple carbs, and a lighter taste profile than its previous energy drinks. The new Brew is available in 19-gram stick-packs and canisters (24 servings). Each serving contains 10 grams of sugars, no proteins or fat, and no artificial food dyes. $1.50 per stick and $20 per canister; guenergy.com; Taste: 4 Texture: 4 (just have to get over the newness of this technology)5. ProBar Bites ProBar ProBar Bites ProBar, from Salt Lake City, Utah, is another “energy food” family that truly believes in the power of whole foods. ProBar has become my top choice for protein, energy and meal-replacement in recent years. Made from mostly raw ingredients, ProBars are USDA Organic Certified, gluten free, dairy free, soy free, Kosher and Non-GMO Project Verified. I bet you can’t say that about everything in your pantry. The new ProBar Bites each contain 190 calories, 6 grams of protein and 10-11 grams of sugar. $1.99; theprobar.com; Taste: 5 Texture: 4 (I actually think this is a 5 but it’s still a “bar”)6. Honey StingerThe favorite of many a cyclist, Honey Stinger is introducing a new waffle to their line of honey-based energy bars, gels, chews and food products—the new Caramel Waffle. Inspired by the Belgian pastries that fueled riders at the turn of the century in Europe, the new Honey Stinger waffle flavor has a layer of caramel-infused honey sandwiched between two thin waffles. $15/box of 16; honeystinger.com; Taste: 5 Texture: 3 (some people find them a little crumbly) •last_img read more

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MBL rule changes an ‘opportunity’

first_imgWhile Dana Sumner admits to having “butterflies” in his stomach over NCUA’s final member business lending (MBL) rule, he says credit unions should view the changes as an opportunity.“A lot still needs to be decided before we’re comfortable with these rules,” says Sumner, president/CEO of the consulting firm DFTC. “These are the biggest changes we’ve seen in the member business lending arena for some time.”He says NCUA’s overhaul of its MBL regulations will allow credit union business lenders to expand their efforts and, with changes to loan participation rules, mitigate geographic risk.“This is an exciting time,” Sumner says. “Be as open-minded as possible, but don’t take this lightly. NCUA will hold our feet to the fire regarding the business loans we do, and we’ll have to understand the rules very well.” continue reading » 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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Truce called in Birmingham

first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img

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