Tough as a rugby player

first_imgThis is one in a series of profiles showcasing some of Harvard’s stellar graduates.Small in stature but packing a punch, Harvard College senior Shelby Lin has a fitting nickname bestowed by her teammates on the women’s varsity rugby team: “Mighty Mouse.”She’s an All-Ivy star scrum half, a quarterback-style role requiring scrappy play and bold direction of team offense and defense from midfield.“I feel like I don’t have a very demanding general personality, but when it’s for the team, on the field, I’m screaming the entire time, which is what you want a scrum half to be doing,” said Lin with a laugh. “I think something about sports for me in general is that it’s always been one of the things where I’m more challenged to be a leader than in other things I do.”Lin, 21, assumed the position only last fall, but now she is one of about 50 players nationwide invited to try out this summer for the Women’s Collegiate All-American team, a stepping-stone to future international play.“She has gone from virtually zero experience at that position and has through her own personal work ethic and her commitment to understanding the game, to become one of the best in the country at that position,” said coach Sue Parker. “It’s not just that she’s an awesome player, but Shelby is absolutely the kind of player who raises the level of everyone around her because her joyfulness in playing is so contagious.”Lin was instrumental in pushing for the team’s elevation this year from club to varsity status.Rugby has “been a huge part of what I’ve done here, and a lot of the people I’m closest to at Harvard are my teammates. It’s kind of amazing the relationships you have with people after you’ve been on the field protecting each other and laying your body down on the line,” said Lin, an Adams House resident.An applied mathematics concentrator within the field of economics, Lin wasn’t entirely certain how her College years would unfold, and says her path to graduation has been a bit surprising.“Math would come naturally, I was good at problem-solving, but what I was looking for was a field where I could use that to do something more closely related to society or what I see every day,” she said. “So applied math fits with that concept, and I think economics in particular also does because you’re studying questions that I can really care about but using methods I really trust, which are quantitative methods.”A John Harvard Scholar from 2010 to 2012, Lin took her junior year off to complete a graduate-level microeconomics course and to work as a research assistant at Harvard’s Lab for Economic Applications and Policy, a position usually filled by graduating seniors. One project, with rising star economist Raj Chetty, looked at variations of economic mobility between generations in the United States and made the front page of The New York Times.“The whole year was a good way to see how much I liked research and jumping in at a really high level from undergrad,” Lin said of the detour.This summer, she and some friends will make a 68-day bike trek from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco. In the fall, she will head to Pembroke College at the University of Cambridge in England to study public health on a Harvard-Cambridge Scholarship. She plans to return to the United States in 2015 to begin work at Massachusetts Institute of Technology on a Ph.D. in economics, with a focus on health.“She’s a person who has true integrity because she doesn’t hold herself to a standard of excellence in one facet and then mediocrity is OK in other areas of her life,” said Parker. “In academics, in athletics, in her personal interactions with people, in all facets, Shelby is truly an outstanding person.”last_img read more

Strength in movement

first_imgMillions of Americans dance, recreationally or professionally. How many of those who ballroom dance, foxtrot, break dance, or line dance realize that they are doing something positive for their brains?“There’s no question, anecdotally at least, that music has a very stimulating effect on physical activity,” said Daniel Tarsy, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and director of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “And I think that applies to dance, as well.”Scientists gave little thought to the neurological effects of dance until relatively recently, when researchers began to investigate the complex mental coordination that dance requires. In a 2008 article in Scientific American, a Columbia University neuroscientist posited that synchronizing music and movement constitutes a “pleasure double play.” Music stimulates the brain’s reward centers, while dance activates its sensory and motor circuits.Studies using PET imaging have identified brain regions that contribute to learning and performing dances. These regions include the motor cortex, somatosensory cortex, basal ganglia, and cerebellum. The motor cortex is involved in the planning, control, and execution of voluntary movement. The somatosensory cortex, in the mid-region of the brain, is responsible for motor control and also plays a role in eye-hand coordination. The basal ganglia, a group of structures deep in the brain, works with other regions to smoothly coordinate movement, while the cerebellum integrates input from the brain and spinal cord and helps plan fine and complex motor actions.Researchers recently began to investigate the complex mental coordination that dance requires. File photo by Jon Chase/Harvard Staff PhotographerWhile some imaging studies have shown which regions of the brain are activated by dance, others have explored how the physical and expressive elements of dance alter brain function. Much of the research on the physical activity associated with dance echoes findings on exercise, showing benefits that range from memory improvement to strengthened neural connections.A 2003 study in the New England Journal of Medicine by researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine showed that dance can decidedly improve brain health. The study investigated the effect leisure activities had on the risk of dementia in the elderly. The researchers looked at the impact of 11 different types of physical activity, including cycling, golf, swimming, and tennis, but found that only one — dance — lowered participants’ risk of dementia. The combination of mental effort and social interaction made the difference, according to the researchers.In a small study undertaken in 2012, researchers at North Dakota’s Minot State University found that the Latin-style dance program known as Zumba improves mood and certain cognitive skills, such as visual recognition and decision-making. Other studies have shown that dance helps reduce stress, increases levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin, and helps develop new neural connections, especially in regions involved in executive function, long-term memory, and spatial recognition.Dance has been found to be therapeutic for patients with Parkinson’s disease. More than one million people in this country are living with Parkinson’s, with 60,000 new cases annually, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. Parkinson’s belongs to a group of conditions called motor-system disorders, which develop when the dopamine-producing cells in the brain are lost. The chemical dopamine is an essential component of the brain’s system for controlling movement and coordination. As Parkinson’s disease progresses, an increasing number of these cells die off, drastically reducing the amount of dopamine available to the brain.According to the foundation, the primary motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include bradykinesia (slowed movement), stiffness of the limbs and trunk, tremors, and impaired balance and coordination. It is these symptoms that dance may help alleviate.“A lot of this research is observational, not hard science,” said Tarsy, “but it’s consistent and there’s a lot of it.”Tarsy said that dance can be considered a form of rhythmic auditory stimulation (RAS). In RAS, a series of fixed rhythms are presented to patients, who are then asked to move to the rhythms. Studies of the effects this technique has on patients with Parkinson’s or other movement disorders have found significant improvements in gait and upper-extremity function. Although there have been no side-by-side scientific comparisons of RAS with either music or dance, Tarsy said people with Parkinson’s “speak and walk better if they have a steady rhythmic cue.”At the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Peter Wayne, an assistant professor of medicine at HMS, studies the clinical effects of mind-body and complementary/alternative medicine practices on patients with chronic health conditions. He has conducted clinical trials designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of tai chi for patients with Parkinson’s and other balance disorders. Tai chi is a Chinese martial art once used for self-defense but now performed as exercise. Wayne considers it a more ritualized, structured form of dance.The increased susceptibility to falls seen in people who are aging or dealing with disorders like Parkinson’s can be mitigated by the practice of tai chi. File photo by Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer“The focus of our work is to take advantage of traditional exercises in which it’s implicit that the mind and body are connected more efficiently,” said Wayne. “Tai chi is one such exercise that we focus on because of its benefits for both balance and mental function.”Research, he said, has shown that the increased susceptibility to falls seen in people who are aging or dealing with disorders like Parkinson’s can be mitigated by the practice of tai chi; it improves their strength and flexibility as well as their cognitive performance.One such study appeared in 2012 in the New England Journal of Medicine. In it, a team of investigators led by a scientist at the Oregon Research Institute found that tai chi helped improve balance and prevent falls among people with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease. After six months, those who practiced tai chi twice weekly were physically stronger and had better balance than those who did either weight training or stretching.Under Tarsy’s direction, Beth Israel Deaconess has initiated several wellness programs, including ones that feature tai chi, Zumba, yoga, and drumming, designed to help people manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Although it is still unclear to what extent these programs benefit patients, Tarsy said there is evidence that such activities as dance and tai chi can stabilize the effects of the disease and slow the degree to which everyday movement is affected.last_img read more

New approach to inspections needed

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionI don’t understand the way the city of Schenectady handled, or failed to handle, the building at 104 Jay St. that burned down, causing several fatalities. Saratoga Springs has a different approach. I own a commercial property in Saratoga.It was built in the 1950s. Fifty-five years after it was built, the state Department of Health mandated that I, the owner, install two fire doors off the boiler room, install a check valve in the sprinkler system to prevent backflow, and install a fire alarm system. The fire alarm system was to include a control panel, backup battery, heat sensor, sprinkler flow sensor and a pull station.   I submitted a design. I coupled the fire doors into the fire alarm system, whereby alarm activation automatically closes the fire doors. The Health Department made several design comments, which were then resolved. The system was installed and operational a few months later. It’s inspected annually. Who inspects it? Not the building inspector. Every year, I’m required to hire a private firm that does such inspections.Results are available on-site and are submitted to the local government agency. The inspecting firm can resolve any issues on the spot, since they also do installations. In fact, every year, I’m required to have five separate inspections, not one of which is done by the building inspector.What is inspected and who inspects? Rooms — fire departments; boiler, fire alarm system, sprinkler system and fire extinguishers — a private firm.If you think about it, the more trained people conducting inspections, the less likely something will be missed.Dick ValeSchenectadyMore from The Daily Gazette:Motorcyclist injured in Thursday afternoon Schenectady crashFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Schenectady’s Lucas Rodriguez forging his own path in dance, theater, musicEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesTroopers: Schenectady pair possessed heroin, crack cocaine in Orange County Thruway stoplast_img read more

Scott Robertson keen to assist Lions in South Africa

first_img Written By First Published: 21st August, 2020 07:49 IST LIVE TV Associated Press Television News FOLLOW US WATCH US LIVEcenter_img Last Updated: 21st August, 2020 07:49 IST Scott Robertson Keen To Assist Lions In South Africa Super Rugby-winning Crusaders coach Scott Robertson says he has offered to assist Warren Gatland in coaching the British and Irish Lions on their tour to South Africa next year COMMENT Super Rugby-winning Crusaders coach Scott Robertson says he has offered to assist Warren Gatland in coaching the British and Irish Lions on their tour to South Africa next year.Robertson, who coached the Crusaders to the Super Rugby Aotearoa title this season after winning the full Super Rugby tournament in each of the previous three years, said in a radio interview Friday his offer is being considered by Lions management.“I’m waiting. We’ll see what happens,” Robertson said. “Obviously there’s a lot to work out with COVID and the British and Irish Lions tour. But we had a couple good conversations since and (Gatland) has got to go through his line of management to make a decision.”Robertson, 45, said he approached Gatland after missing out on the All Blacks head coaching role last season. New Zealand Rugby appointed Ian Foster, the former assistant to All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, in part citing Robertson’s lack of international coaching experience.Once I missed the All Blacks job I actually reached out to Gats and asked him if I could go on that tour,” he said. “I thought, look if I can’t be involved with the All Blacks, what’s the biggest thing – or actually bigger in its own self the Lions tour — to get involved.”I said ‘look, I would love to help you if I can’.”Something that really drives me and motivates me is probably to learn and understand. Obviously Gats has been hugely successful at the international level as a coach so he’s a person to learn off and also allows me to not have to go offshore to actually coach and get that international experience.”Image credits: AP SUBSCRIBE TO USlast_img read more

Steve O’Meara ‘excited’ as he prepares for his title clash

first_imgWest London’s Steve O’Meara speaks after the weigh-in ahead of his fight with Liam Smith for the vacant Commonwealth light-middleweight title at the ExCel London. (Video courtesy of iFilm London) See also:O’Meara ready to seize title chanceDeGale backs O’Meara to win titleDuo weigh in ahead of title showdownsWatch O’Meara and Smith weigh in ahead of their title 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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Athletics win nail-biter, take series win in Houston

first_imgHOUSTON — The A’s beat the Astros, 3-2, on Thursday night to take a 3-1 series win at Minute Maid Park. The A’s are 6-2 in their last eight games against the Astros. Liam Hendriks got his 21st save, stranding the tying run on third in the ninth.Justin Verlander is a problem for everyone — a probable Cy Young candidate, after all — and the A’s are no exception. Only Khris Davis and Mark Canha have found overall, relative success against the Astros’ powerful right-hander.Roles switched up on …last_img

Gallery: The top tourist attractions in tiny Gauteng

first_imgThe diversity in South Africa’s Gauteng province belies its small size. Known for its work-hard mentality, it also offers a wealth of things to do and see for fun. Local and international travellers will be more than spoilt for choice. The Nelson Mandela Bridge in Braamfontein has become an iconic landmark of Johannesburg’s skyline. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY-2.0, via Flickr)Compiled by Mary Alexander and Priya PitamberIt’s September. It’s spring in South Africa – and Tourism Month, celebrated this year with the theme “Tourism for All”. To inspire your next road trip we bring you nine galleries, one for each province, showcasing our country’s remarkable beauty and diversity.A thriving tourism industry means South Africa is closer to achieving its National Development Plan goals of skills development and creating decent employment through inclusive economic growth.Travel is also about exploring your own back yard. Through its Sho’t Left initiative, South African Tourism encourages local holiday travel. It helps to make planning a holiday easier with choosing, budgeting for, booking and paying for a trip, and more.Gauteng confirms that dynamite comes in small packages. The tiniest province of the country, taking up only 1.4% of land area, it is home to the country’s eclectic economic hub, Johannesburg, and the capital city, Pretoria. But it also offers a range of unforgettable leisure experiences for any traveller.Between Johannesburg and Pretoria in Midrand, the Nizamiye Turkish Masjid is a majestic structure. It is the first Ottoman-styled mosque in the southern hemisphere. Its large dome rises 32 metres and it is flanked on each corner by 55-metre minarets. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY-2.0, via Flickr) The Cradle of Humankind near Johannesburg is one of the richest hominid fossil sites in the world. Maropeng, meaning “returning to the place of origin” in Setswana, is the fun visitor centre in the Cradle of Humankind. It’ll change the way you see the world. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY-2.0, via Flickr) Vilakazi Street in Soweto is one of the most famous streets in South Africa. It housed two Nobel Peace Prize winners: Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY-2.0, via Flickr) Huge, colourfully painted cooling towers dominate Orlando in Soweto. Once part of a power station, they now add another tourist attraction to the township: adventure. Thrill-seekers are able to bungee jump off the two 100-metre-high towers. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY-2.0, via Flickr) “It was the opposite of grand, but it was my first true home of my own and I was mightily proud. A man is not a man until he has a house of his own.” This was how Nelson Mandela described his first home, on Vilakazi Street, in his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom. Today the humble Soweto abode, Mandela House, has become a must-see for travellers. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY-2.0, via Flickr) Maropeng, the visitor centre in the Cradle of Humankind, is housed in the Tumulus Building. It is shaped to be “evocative of a giant burial mound”. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY-2.0, via Flickr) The Food Market Shed, popularly referred to as The Sheds at the Fox Precinct in downtown Johannesburg, has become a popular place to sample arts, crafts and artisan foods. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY-2.0, via Flickr) Located in the heart of Braamfontein on Juta Street, the Neighbourgoods Market offers a range of lovingly hand-crafted food and beverages. People can enjoy their meals outdoors, watching the hustle and bustle of city life. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY-2.0, via Flickr) South Africa’s Union Buildings is the official seat of the government. The classic building was designed by Sir Herbert Baker in 1908 and completed in 1913. The gardens around it hold monuments of historical figures, including a 9-metre-tall bronze statue of Nelson Mandela. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY-2.0, via Flickr)The city of Johannesburg is constantly changing to the pulse of its people. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY-2.0, via Flickr)last_img read more

Kolkata franchise of Indian Super League launched, christened Atletico de Kolkata

first_imgSourav Ganguly is one of the co-owners of the Atletico de KolkataThe Kolkata franchise of the much awaited Indian Super League was finally inaugurated as Atletico De Kolkata in the state of West Bengal. Emphasizing on the importance of providing the right football education to youngsters in India, Atletico De Madrid expressed its anticipation and dreams towards the Indian team.Taking the prompt from Spanish co-owners and UEFA Champions League finalist Atletico De Madrid, owner and CEO of the latter Miguel Angel Gil Marin along with city based co-owners former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly, industrialists Harsh Neotia, Sanjiv Goenka and Utsav Parekh unveiled the team but said that they were yet to finalize their jersey as they were awaiting approval from the ISL.Miguel Angel Gil Marin, owner of the Atletico De Madrid said, “Thanks for placing your trust in Atletico De Madrid. It is great proud for us to come to your country and to Kolkata. Thank you for your warm hospitality in the city.””There are two reasons why Atletico decided to come to India and in particular to Kolkata. Atletico loves football. To expand our brand to Asian market, our franchise has decided to become a part of Indian Super League. India has one of the huge markets in the world. We began interacting with people from Kolkata,” added Miguel Angel Gil MarinGanguly, whose love for football is well known, will be the star attraction of the team that intends to bring in top international stars to encourage young talent in the city.advertisement”It is the beginning of my association with some special people. Last year when I was trying to find out ways of how to become a part of this, I contacted Harsh to know whether or not he is interested. Slowly I began contacting the remaining. It has been a long journey not just for us but also for the game of football. Even I have grown up kicking the football. I am sure this is the same with many in the city of Kolkata,” said Sourav Ganguly, co-owner of the Kolkata De Atletico.Unveiling the names of the consortium as the Kolkata Games and Sports Private Limited, the five partners pledged to take Indian football to the next level.Staying true to the aims and objectives of the League, the Kolkata Franchise wishes to hold a grasp over the 100-year experience of Madrid’s sporting model of academics that will further enable them to recognize and empower talent from the very grassroots.The Spanish club officials, who arrived in the city on Tuesday had inspected the Salt Lake stadium and the Barasat stadium.last_img read more

10 months agoBarnes: Current Liverpool best in 35 years

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Barnes: Current Liverpool best in 35 yearsby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool legend John Barnes is excited by the team being put together by Jurgen Klopp.The Reds are six points clear at the top of the table after 19 rounds of fixtures and have yet to taste defeat in a League match this season.Barnes told “The team is more balanced than the point where we had Suarez, Coutinho, Sturridge and Sterling. They were very good attack-wise, but in terms of the balance between attack and defence, they probably didn’t work as hard or didn’t defend as comprehensively.”This is the best-balanced team that is capable of winning the Premier League.'”Even when we nearly won the Premier League in the season where Gerrard slipped, I think this is a better-balanced team and this team is more capable of winning because they also grind results out when they’re not playing well.”This is probably the most balanced Liverpool team I’ve seen in the last 20 to 35 years.” last_img read more