Staying power for shale gas

first_imgThe natural gas boom that transformed the energy picture in the United States in the last decade is still in its infancy, says John Shaw, chair of Harvard’s Earth and Planetary Sciences Department.Shaw, the Harry C. Dudley Professor of Structural and Economic Geology and a professor of environmental science and engineering, expects natural gas to continue to displace coal in electricity generation. It is projected to become the nation’s largest electricity-generating fuel by 2040.In addition, he said, opportunities for expanding the market lie in export to energy-hungry nations such as Japan, which has curtailed nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, and, closer to home, in the U.S. transport sector, where trucking fleets provide another opportunity, perhaps first through the installation of natural gas filling stations along highways. Further, the low cost of natural gas has set a new standard for the energy sector.It was the marriage of two existing technologies — hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” and horizontal drilling — that created the shale gas boom, Shaw said, holding a piece of shale. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer“Nothing has had a more profound impact on the U.S. and global energy economy in the past decade than the emergence of shale gas resources,” Shaw said. “It has already essentially transformed the United States from a net gas importer to one that will be exporting natural gas. It has provided a low-cost fuel that has spurred the development of industry and, in many respects, it has become the preferred way that we generate electricity. The cost of doing so defines the baseline with which all other energy options must be able, or be made able, to compete.”Shaw, whose areas of focus as a researcher include earthquake hazard assessment and petroleum exploration, spoke Tuesday at the Geological Lecture Hall in an event sponsored by the Harvard Museum of Natural History. The talk was titled “North America’s Shale Gas Resources: Energy and Environmental Perspectives.”Drillers have long known that gas is released when shale beds are penetrated, but the pores in the rocks are so small that they hold onto their gas — and oil as well — tightly, so that very little flows into the borehole. For decades that left petroleum firms to focus on resources found in other formations, whose more porous rock allowed gas to flow in commercially viable quantities.It was the marriage of two existing technologies — hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” and horizontal drilling — that created the shale gas boom, Shaw said. Companies began drilling down thousands of feet directly into the shale formations and then drilling horizontally along them. Today, workers line the boreholes with a concrete casing, perforated at particular spots where the fracturing will occur. Then they pour in the fracturing fluid, made up largely of water and sand but with a mix of other chemicals as well. That liquid is pressurized and forced through the holes in the casing into the surrounding rock, with enough force to fracture the rock. The sand particles prop open the fractures, allowing the gas to flow more freely into the borehole.Shaw said that some of the problems that have generated opposition to the process — contamination of water supplies, induced earthquakes, and methane release into the atmosphere — come not from the fracking, but from associated activities that could be improved upon.Because it occurs thousands of feet below the water table, fracking itself probably does not release fluids into the water, Shaw said. The likelier explanation, he said, is that failure of the concrete casing higher in the borehole allows fluids to escape into water supplies. The issue is familiar and strategies exist to detect weak spots, he said, citing the role of casing failure in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. A device called a sonic scanner, which can help determine the thickness of a casing, was sent home from the drilling platform without being used before the blast, which left 11 dead.Fracking is probably not a direct cause of associated earthquakes, Shaw said, noting that the pressure to fracture the rock is applied for only minutes and is followed by the gas flowing from the rock into the borehole, which actually lowers the pressure in the surrounding rock. Instead, Shaw said, it is the disposal, by injection into the earth, of the ample waste liquid the process generates that is largely responsible for generating quakes. Some firms are now looking at recycling wastewater as an alternative.The release of methane is a particular concern because it is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. These releases and possible methods for controlling them are still being studied, Shaw said. Methane release is a systemic problem, contributed to in part by aging distribution infrastructure. Shaw cited a study of Boston’s natural gas infrastructure that found even higher losses — between 2 percent and 3 percent — than the rate generated by fracking.Still another concern stems from the economic success of natural gas. While some see low gas prices as beneficial to the environment because they undercut coal, which releases about twice the carbon dioxide as natural gas, the same prices also undercut cleaner renewable sources. It is up to citizens and their representatives, Shaw said, to determine an energy mix. If renewables are desirable, action has to be taken to make them competitive, through subsidies, tax credits, or even a broader carbon tax, which would increase the price of fossil fuels.“It’s fair to say we’re not at the end of this era, we’re at the very beginning.”last_img read more

Early goals for new curator

first_imgWhen Soyoung Lee takes the reins as the Harvard Art Museums’ chief curator in September, she will be joining the institution at a vibrant time.“The Harvard Art Museums have this incredible history,” said Lee, speaking by phone from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, where she is currently curator in the Department of Asian Art. In 2014, she noted, the museums “opened this expanded, renovated, beautiful building and brought the three museums [the Fogg, Busch-Reisinger, and Arthur M. Sackler] together, which is an amazing feat. What are the next steps? Where are the Harvard Art Museums going through the 21st century? To think of that big picture, about institutional priorities, institutional direction, is really exciting.”For Lee, who has spent the last 15 years at the Metropolitan, the challenges of a teaching museum won’t be entirely foreign. At the Met, in addition to serving as the museum’s first curator of Korean art, she has been the chair of the Forum of Curators, Conservators, and Scientists,­ the Met’s academic body comprising more than 200 members, and subsequently served as its delegate to the board of trustees.In these roles, she said, she found herself “thinking about the broader museum’s mission and leading that group and advocating for scholarship and the work of that academic group.”This experience has given her museum work greater scope. “As a curator, you’re focused on your own projects,” explained Lee. One of the most attractive parts of the chief curator role, she continued, is that “it takes me into leadership.”“I’ve been nurtured by many fantastic people, and I’d like to return that,” she said. “Mentoring the next generation is important to me, and in this role I’ll have a much bigger capacity to do that.”One of Lee’s first projects will be re-examining the museum’s training programs, including its internships, said Martha Tedeschi, Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director of the Harvard Art Museums. In particular, the two-year, postdoctoral program for curators and conservators needs to be “pulled together and formalized,” Tedeschi explained.“It’s a program that we’re very proud of, but it’s a little ad hoc right now,” said Tedeschi. “We want to try to look at ourselves more holistically as a place that is honing its expertise in training and teaching.”“I’m really looking forward to essentially training the next generation,” said Lee. “We’re doing a great job with the students, and I’d like to make sure that’s at the highest level it can be.”Lee’s mandate reaches beyond the University. “Since the museum reopened in 2014, we’ve re-established ourselves as one of the premier teaching museums in the country,” said Tedeschi. “But we also have a responsibility as a public museum, and we strive to have local, national and international impact. Coming from the Met, Lee has the drive to help us realize both the campus role and our civic role.”For Lee, that means looking at “the whole next generation around the Cambridge area and the Greater Boston area, and the way we can impact and change their lives.”Lee also will be re-examining the role of contemporary art at the museums. “It’s a crucial topic,” she said. “And there are many different roles the University can play.”Referencing the nearby Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, and other arts institutions in the area, Lee noted, “It feels like a moment where everyone is looking to collaborate. In terms of my own projects, almost all of the exhibitions involved collaborations, in the broadest sense.” In her first Met role, for example, “I was very much focused on presenting Korean art in the broader Asian or East Asian context.” In addition to working with the museum’s other departments, she arranged loans and international partners.“That’s something I can bring as well,” she said. If there are “usual and perhaps unusual partners as well, I’m on it.” In her capacity as chief curator, many of those partners will likely be found in the University community. “The Harvard alumni network is vast, and simply amazing people, and many are art lovers and collectors.”Summing up her years at the Met, Lee sounded eager to move forward. “This is an amazing place, but in one’s life there are certain moments when one is ready for bigger challenges and different challenges as well,” she said.“The Harvard Art Museums in physical structure perhaps is smaller” than the Met. “But as is befitting the University it sits in, it’s a world-class collection, the new building is amazing, and the staff is world-class as well. This is an enormous challenge that presents a lot of opportunities that are very different from my current role.“Being part of the mission of teaching and training the next generation and to be part of this breathtaking entity that is Harvard,” said Lee, “it’s exciting.”last_img read more

Dance Marathon drive kicks off

first_imgThe Saint Mary’s Dance Marathon may not take place until March, but fundraising efforts will kick off Thursday with the help of local favorite Let’s Spoon Frozen Yogurt. The Dance Marathon raises funds and awareness for the young patients of Riley Hospital for Children throughout the school year. The marathon engages the College and surrounding community in support of Riley’s mission, said Amy Tiberi, Dance Marathon president. Tiberi said she is excited to host Give Back Night at the local yogurt shop, which will contribute 20 percent of sales from customers presenting a voucher. “Let’s Spoon has been a great local business to work with and we greatly appreciate their support,” she said. “Just printing off our flier at smcdancemarathon.com and bringing it to the store will benefit our cause of helping the Riley Hospital for Children.” Senior Taylor Romens, a returning participant of the Dance Marathon, felt the choice of venue was ideal for the hot summer months. “I think that Let’s Spoon’s involvement with Dance Marathon is a great way to give back to the community while also promoting their product,” Romens said. “It is still pretty hot outside, so cooling off with a nice cup of frozen yogurt while giving back is a great way to end the summer nights.” Tiberi said she hopes to build off the marathon’s past successes. “Entering our eighth year is a really great accomplishment in itself,” she said. “We have now raised over $460,000 to date.” Tiberi said she hoped the charitable cause would draw interest from Notre Dame as well as the College’s campus. “One of our goals for this year is to have more involvement from Notre Dame and to continue to spread awareness across the campuses,” Tiberi said. “I personally hope that everyone on campus can identify with our cause to support Riley Hospital for Children and recognize that nights like Give Back Night and Marathon Night are for more than just dancing on campus.” Tiberi said the marathon offers the Indiana community more than financial support. “We are doing this for kids all over the state of Indiana,” she said. “That is why Dance Marathon is such a special organization, because it reaches the lives of many and fills many more with hope.”last_img read more

What your credit union can learn from Mint’s digital cross-selling process

first_imgby: Jonathan LayApril 15th.A day most Americans dread, and few celebrate.Predictably, many hardworking citizens scramble at the last moment to complete their various forms and paperwork, sending countless CPAs and accounting firms into a frenzy as their customers 11th-hour requests.And it’s strange phenomenon when you think about it.Taxpayers are keenly aware of the approaching deadline, like a hurricane slowly approaching the coastline. Apparently, some people enjoy the endorphins stimulated from anxiety and choose to work under this pressure.I commend them, but I prefer to keep my blood pressure at manageable levels.Alas, I was one of those procrastinators this year. Usually a diligent tax filer, I was bit delayed in my filings this year.Not to worry, though, as I planned to kick the proverbial can down the road by filing my first ever tax extension. At the conclusion of this form, I was asked to provide my 2014 anticipated tax liability. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Credit union branch transformation begins with culture

first_imgOver the past few years, trade publications have been awash with articles and advice on branch transformation. This is an extremely important topic given the transaction trends we read about. With members coming into the branch less frequently, credit unions need to be poised to make the most out of each member interaction.As the story continues, we learn that the nature of the retail branch is changing. Its past role as a transaction venue is being supplanted (rightfully so) by a role as a solution and sales center.Think of it this way: If a member bypasses the credit union’s ATMs, web site, mobile app, and phone center and has the AUDACITY to walk into a branch, that member must need something that he or she perceives can be accomplished best in a branch. Common sense and research data reveal that those activities include resolving problems and “big ticket” sales.While online and mobile account opening are capabilities at the forefront of electronic service delivery, nearly two-thirds of consumers expect to open new accounts in the branch.Further, consumers have a pronounced preference for personal interactions when resolving a problem or receiving member support.There are lively discussions about branch layout, universal bankers, teller pods, and ITMs. Experts wax poetic about customer engagement and the motivations that customers have for coming into a branch. All of that is fine information and many institutions have done a great job transforming their branches, but the big issue is one of culture. Specifically, the big question is: Are your branch employees trained and prepared to address problems and discuss products as a financial authority?Without a well-trained, engaging culture, branch transformation – simply focusing on remodeling facilities – may fall flat. Said differently, the branch environment must support a culture in which well-trained, engaging employees work directly with their members to resolve issues, address concerns, and connect their customers with appropriate products and services. Four key activities are needed before embarking on a complete branch transformation journey:Cultural Assessment – Within the institution’s current environment, is the culture one of proactive member support? This is a question that requires candid self-analysis. It’s OK if the answer is “no.” That helps determine where the branch transformation process begins.Cultural Goal – What is the desired customer experience within the branch? This is a “blue sky” question. It’s important to think broadly and conceptually about this topic. There is a tendency to limit thinking to what happens in the current branch rather that what should happen if there were no preexisting conditions (see the next question).Branch Assessment – Is the current environment focused on transactions or member engagement? Frequently, traditional branches may put barriers (sometimes literally) between employees and customers. The institution must come to a good understanding of what does and does not support their cultural goals. This sets the stage for planning facilities that are aligned with cultural and member services objectives.Action Plan – The institution can plan and implement branch transformation most effectively once it understands its cultural condition, cultural goal, and the conduciveness of its branches in supporting the goal. Responses to these conditions may result in changes to hiring and training, branch staffing, technology and core processor decisions, and branch design-build (remodels or new facilities).Tremendous results are possible when these factors are properly balanced. Banks and credit unions that embrace a complete solution experience dramatic results.A bank in Middle Tennessee transformed its customer service culture and then transformed a very busy branch to support the culture. As a result, employee overhead was reduced, customer engagement and satisfaction were improved, and the payback on the investment was achieved in less than two years.According to FDIC reports, a community bank in the Southwest organically grew its assets from $1.0 billion to $3.5 billion in five years by transforming its customer service culture and supporting that transformation with appropriate branch designs.NCUA loan and asset data prove a credit union in Tennessee grew its loan portfolio by 50% in four years, and another in the Carolinas grew its book of business by over $100 million in a similar period, both by combining cultural and physical transformations. 298SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,John Hyche At LEVEL5, “Think Strategically, Build Creatively” is not just a tagline, it’s the culture. John Hyche guides the “think strategically” portion of LEVEL5’s services. In this role, John … Web: www.level5.com Detailslast_img read more

The art of credit union disaster recovery tabletop exercises

first_imgLong Before the Show: Rehearsal continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr I won’t pretend to know much about theater. It’s just not my specialty. And yet, here I am, trying to explain credit union disaster recovery tabletop exercises by making a theater analogy.Here goes. In theater, your goal is to be ready for something: opening night. But you can’t just walk onto the stage in front of a packed house and magically deliver your lines. You don’t know where to stand or when to come in. No, there’s a lot of groundwork to put in first.For this analogy, let’s just say most of the right ingredients are in place:last_img

Tune to WMHT for balanced coverage

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion In the present climate of extreme political polarization, people need access to well documented and accurate news. We are fortunate in the Capital District to have access to WMHT — a public television channel. The nightly news is presented in a clear, balanced manner. When topics are controversial, guests present both the left and the right positions in a respectful manner. WHMT also has programs that focus on politics in New York state. An added bonus: There are no commercials during the program. You actually get uninterrupted, in-depth coverage in a respectful format. Eleanor AronsteinNiskayunaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationPuccioni’s two goals help Niskayuna boys’ soccer top Shaker, remain perfectNiskayuna girls’ cross country wins over BethlehemEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img read more

Fantastic location nets $700k but don’t expect the kitchen sink

first_img17 Hillside Crescent, Townsville City which sold for $700,000.A BUYER has paid $700,000 for an uninhabitable Townsville home. A local medical professional snapped up the property at 17 Hillside Crescent, having been won over by the location and panoramic views.The house was gutted by the previous owner who had renovation plans that never eventuated. Janice Gallagher, from Janice Gallagher Real Estate, sold the property and said it would be one of her highest sales for a home that has no kitchen or bathroom. “All the services have been taken out, so it’s ready for renovation,” she said. “I haven’t sold anything else like this. The views are just spectacular and it has one of the best positions in Townsville.“You try and find a good block of land with a spectacular view like that. It’s really very rare.”The home has an elevated hillside location in one of Townsville’s most prestigious pockets close to The Strand. More from news01:21Buyer demand explodes in Townsville’s 2019 flood-affected suburbs12 Sep 202001:21‘Giant surge’ in new home sales lifts Townsville property market10 Sep 202017 Hillside Crescent, Townsville City which sold for $700,000.It was owned by an elderly man who sold it to a builder who had planned to renovate it but decided to sell it instead. The home has 220sq m of under-roof space.Ms Gallagher said high-end buyers were returning to the Townsville market and most wanted properties with stunning views.“The upper end has picked up and there are more doctors in town,” she said.“I think 2018 will be a good year and the market has definitely picked up so now there isn’t a lot of stock around but there are more buyers around.“We had a lot of stock sitting there for a long time but all that stock has gone now.”last_img read more

MiFID II has shrunk fixed income research market, research indicates

first_imgJust over 40% of investors have noticed a decrease in the availability and breadth of fixed income, currencies and commodities (FICC) research for small and medium-sized companies in the wake of MiFID II, according to a survey by the International Capital Market Association (ICMA).This trend was likely to continue as the reforms bedded down, said ICMA’s Asset Management and Investors Council (AMIC), which carried out the survey for the second consecutive year.More than two thirds (68%) of respondents said they used less research in general compared to last year. Banks and brokers took the biggest hit, with 71% of those surveyed saying they used less research from these providers. In addition, 82% said they used fewer research providers.However, the survey suggested that investor fears about a decline in the quality of FICC research were so far largely unfounded. The vast majority of respondents to the 2018 survey said they had not noticed any change in the quality of the research they received, compared with 32% who last year indicated they anticipated research to get worse.All of the respondents found no change in the quality of research from independent providers. Views on the quality of FICC research from banks and brokers were more mixed, although a clear majority (86%) said the quality had stayed the same; 11% said it got worse while 4% noticed an improvement.Presenting the survey results in London last week, Patrik Karlsson, director of market practice and regulatory policy at AMIC, said the views about the quality of research were a positive surprise.Karlsson also highlighted respondents’ approach to dealing with conflicting rules on FICC research globally. This year AMIC found that buy-side firms were split between unbundling research globally and only using paid-for research (35%), and segregating EU and non-EU businesses (35%). Last year 64% of respondents were planning to unbundle globally and only 7% were planning to segregate businesses.“The significant change in firm attitude to the business segregation model may reflect that the costs and complexities of segregating their businesses geographically outweigh the costs and complexities that come from unbundling globally,” said AMIC.AMIC surveyed 28 companies, primarily asset managers and investment funds, from EU countries.last_img read more

Toronto police chief talks about crime in the Caribbean

first_imgNewsRegional Toronto police chief talks about crime in the Caribbean by: – March 19, 2012 29 Views one comment Share Share Tweetcenter_img Sharing is caring! Share (L-R) Conference Media Director Melanius Alphonse, Conference Director Rebecca Theodore and Peter Sloly, Deputy Chief of Toronto’s Divisional Policing CommandTORONTO, Canada — At a presentation at the Jamaican Canadian Centre (JCA) in Toronto, Canada, on Saturday, hosted by the organisers of the Peaceful Caribbean Conference, due to be held in Barbados next month, Peter Sloly, Deputy Chief of Toronto’s Divisional Policing Command, spoke about his wide experience in law enforcement and the issues of increasing crime and violence in the Caribbean.“You have to weed out the bad cops; we have the same issues in the city of Toronto. The people who you deal with are sophisticated, move money around the world through safe ports, if your local station lacks the same level of equipment, you will not be able to keep up. So investment in the infrastructure is critically important as investing in the people who keep up the systems – the officers,” Sloly said.He pointed out that the war on drugs has been going on for years and there is no need to reinvent the wheel.“Don’t start from scratch, the solutions already exist; customizing them will be your challenge,” he said.The Peaceful Conference is an effort to highlight the increasing problem of crime, as one of the top four constraints to doing business in the Caribbean and to focus on enabling the region to regain its rightful place in the world as a peaceful and stable place.Whilst each country and territory in the region has its own unique set of complex problems, the organisers believe that much more can be achieved by sharing what works and what doesn’t in this respect, rather than trying to achieve results in isolation.Rev. Dr Audley James, pastor of Revivaltime Tabernacle Worldwide Ministries in Toronto, opened the presentation with a word of prayer, with introductions being made by master of ceremonies, Spider Jones.The opening speaker, Audrey Campbell, president of the JCA, applauded the conference organisers under the direction of Rebecca Theodore for taking the lead in addressing the problem of crime in the Caribbean.“We recognize that the level of violence and brutality has increased. This conference is a focus on solutions and to look at root causes of the violence,” she said.In her presentation to the audience, conference director Rebecca Theodore pointed out that crime and economic development are serious rivals. “It cannot be denied these issues are related. Crime drives away economic investment. Crime is the curse of the tourist industry,” she said.“We realise that we must understand the root causes — poverty, unemployment, social marginalization, the illegal drug trade, trafficking of firearms and the activity of foreign powers — if we are to see any results,” Theodore added.Caribbean countries need to build greater capacity to handle the issues and the region is now challenged with the task at arriving at a possible solution, she continued.“Crime is destroying all we have achieved and frustrates our efforts to achieve more.What are you and I doing about it?” she asked.Deputy Chief Sloly then spoke and commended the conference organisers for taking on these complex issues.“It is a global village; what happens in Jamaica affects Canada, Barbados, affects Brampton. I spent one year working with the UN in a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. That gave me an understanding about international issues in relation to crime and drugs,” he said.Sloly explained that, before you can change how the police interact with the community, you have to change not only the service delivery, but the make-up of the service itself. If you want to change how they are able to deliver service anywhere, you have to change the inside of the service first. This would be similar to any other institution, i.e. an education system — if you want to change that, your teachers need to know how to operate the systems, like computers, otherwise, they cannot teach the kids.The same thing applies to policing, he said. The local police have to understand they need to change themselves from the inside before they can effect change on the outside.Sloly agreed with Theodore that the entire justice system needs to be brought in — if the court system is fraudulent or corrupt, it will fall apart and there will be no rehabilitation.“In Kosovo, we were asked to set up a drug strategy, and when Osama bin Laden was operating out of al Qaeda, he was moving drugs (mostly opium) through the Balkan states, which were unstable, and the police corrupt. Drugs were moving into the region and on to North America. Equally, money was flowing back, firearms were flowing back. We focused on Kosovo because it was causing crime all over the world. The Caribbean is similar,” Sloly recounted.“A national drug strategy couldn’t just be local; it needed to be international — all stakeholders needed to be at the table to identify the people bringing the drugs in,” he said.According to Sloly it will take five years of consistent investment, and 15 years before seeing a long term improvement.To achieve this, he said, we have access underused resources, especially the Diaspora. Israel and Ireland both use their Diasporas to a great effect.“We have a great Diaspora here; I would encourage you to reach out to them,” he said.In relation to national strategy, Sloly suggested that the region should work together to share resources — law enforcement resources and infrastructure.“I encourage you to look at that. That strikes me as a different way of approaching the issue. We are too small individually to resist the major cartels coming out of South and Central Americas,” he said.“No man is an island; we can move to an offensive mode in the war on violence instead of defensive,” he concluded.Other speakers, including Sharon Joseph of Breakaway Relief Care, Pastor Gary Hibbert of Life Center Word of Faith Ministry, Garnett Manning from Youth and Leadership Foundation, echoed many of the sentiments expressed. Rev. Dr Audly James emphasised that crime is a spiritual problem and a deterrent to progress and prosperity and we cannot exclude God out of the process of finding a solution to the ravaging effects of crime in the Caribbean. Dr Margaret Beare, professor of law and sociology at York University in Toronto, also appealed for greater funding to the police services to help them in their aim to serve and protect. Video of the presentation will be uploaded to the Peaceful Caribbean website as soon as it becomes available. In the meantime, a selection of photos from this and earlier events may be seen here.By Caribbean News Now contributorlast_img read more