Guardians of the sky

first_imgIt was 16 degrees on a January night, the cold made worse by the fatigue of working so many hours. Box after box, heavy with glass, had to pass through the basement window, into the snow-covered parking lot.But if the cold made for deep discomfort — and chattering teeth — it also proved a disaster-recovery ally after a water-main break flooded the Harvard College Observatory’s Plate Stacks, a unique historical treasure holding hundreds of thousands of glass plate negatives that serve as a record of skies around the world across more than a century.By the time the flooding was discovered, early on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the lowest level of the three-story stacks had been flooded to three feet, immersing 61,000 of the negatives and derailing the Digital Access to a Sky Century at Harvard (DASCH) project, a decade-long scanning effort aimed at making the plates more accessible for study.The flood also soaked the custom-built digital scanner at the heart of the project. But the plates themselves were the main concern. With those in good repair, everything else would be OK.“This collection is unparalleled, in my opinion,” said Brenda Bernier, who is the James Needham Chief Conservator and head of Harvard Library’s Weissman Preservation Center and Collections Care. “It’s the depth and breadth of the data, it’s extraordinary. The scale — hundreds of thousands of one of the most vulnerable formats.”Prof. Josh Grindlay at the Center for Astrophysics with Lindsay Smith, assistant curator of the Harvard Astronomical Plate Collection and head of the DASCH project scanning staff. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff PhotographerBernier credited the Harvard Library Collections Emergency Team and photograph conservators Erin Murphy and Elena Bulat with understanding that the chill could aid the rescue effort. With the plates stored in soaked paper sleeves, the biggest danger to the photographic emulsion was mold. Mold spots would mar a record that consists of thousands or even many tens of thousands of pinpoints of light. The best course, the team decided, was to get the plates into the sub-freezing air as quickly as possible.Since that night, the plates have been kept safely frozen and the mold at bay. They were transferred into refrigerated trailers, which are now stored with a North Andover company that specializes in document recovery. Early tests have suggested the photographic emulsion that coats one side of each plate will survive unaltered.Conservators are working with Jonathan Grindlay, the Robert Treat Paine Professor of Practical Astronomy, and others at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) to devise a process for restoring the plates. These will include extracting them from the paper sleeves, which have to be photographed because they include data critical to interpreting the images, and then cleaning them of silt and grime. The methods devised at the Weissman Preservation Center, Bernier said, will be taught to technicians at Polygon in North Andover, who will carry out the restoration work, which is expected to take a year and a half.Grindlay, who heads the DASCH project, and CfA director Charles Alcock expressed deep appreciation for both the tireless efforts of staff members and the expertise of the Harvard Library team.“People were cold and tired, but not one was dropped,” Alcock said. “I’m very encouraged so far — it’s not a good thing to go through, but the response has gotten us to a good place with respect to the flood.”Grindlay first imagined the scanning project in the 1980s, realizing that it would have to wait until computers were sophisticated enough to handle the enormous amount of data the plates contained, more than a petabyte.DASCH launched in 2004, with the first scans made in 2006. The project has covered about a third of the 525,000 plates, the first of which was shot in 1885 and the last in 1992. The data hold value for astronomers who are interested in changes in particular stellar objects, each of which was photographed between 500 and 3,000 times over the years. Findings have so far appeared in about 100 papers, Grindlay said.“There’s a tidal wave waiting to happen. There’s an enormous amount of data waiting for analysis.”Grindlay was at the CfA the night of the flood, having secured remote observation time on the Multiple Mirror Telescope on Mount Hopkins in Arizona. He and two grad students were collecting data about extreme variable stars they had identified through DASCH.Stacks of glass negatives of the sky taken around the world over a century, at the Center for Astrophysics. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff PhotographerAt around 7 in the morning, Lindsay Smith, a senior curatorial technician, arrived at the plate stacks to calibrate the scanner for the day’s work. The building felt cold. When she descended the spiral staircase to the basement, she saw a couple of feet of water. Building manager Charles Hickey, who played a key role in the recovery effort, called the city of Cambridge to close the pipe. Workers later found that an eight-inch water main in the courtyard outside had ruptured 16 feet underground, sending muddy water though the soil and along the building’s foundation until it found a way in.Emails were sent out asking for help. Grad student Jane Huang was among the 17 responders who worked through the first night of the recovery and the 50 who worked in shifts over three days.“I knew my school needed help so I thought it would be good to pitch in,” Huang said.Edward Pickering, the Harvard College Observatory director who got the sky photography project going in the 1800s, was a bit paranoid that something would happen to the plates, Grindlay pointed out. He had the building specially made to hold up their weight — 170 tons — and oversaw the installation of sliding steel doors that could close rapidly in case of a fire.A new, faster scanner will arrive in May. It’s conceivable, Grindlay said, that the project could still end on time in 2018.“I hope we’ll be able to catch up.”last_img read more

Sportradar to deliver in-game edge through official MLB deal

first_imgShare Submit Share Sportradar will deliver a significant competitive edge to sportsbooks ‘in-game’ after securing the exclusive rights to distribute official real time game statistics from Major League Baseball (MLB) to media companies and regulated sports betting operators.Starting with the 2019 season, the new multi-year partnership encompasses media and gaming rights at both international and domestic levels.Across international markets outside of the US, Sportradar will hold exclusive distribution rights for the statistics, as collected at every ballpark via the league’s proprietary technology and stat operators, to both media companies and regulated sports betting operators. Meanwhile, it will also have exclusive rights to distribute live industry standard audio-visual game feeds to gaming operators outside the US in territories where sports betting is legal.In the US, Sportradar will have the same exclusive rights for official real time statistics distribution to media entities in their coverage of Major League Baseball.  Sportradar will also serve as the official supplier of MLB’s real time betting data feed in the US, where distribution to regulated sports betting operators will be on a non-exclusive basis through Sportradar and additional authorised distributors.Alongside the commercial partnership, MLB will incorporate Integrity Services from Sportradar, who will be monitoring and analysing every MLB game via its fraud detection system, as well as access to its intelligence and investigations services.Kenny Gersh, MLB Executive VP of Gaming & New Business Ventures, said: “A high-quality, reliable, and fast official data feed is the building block to creating engaging gaming products for MLB fans.“Sportradar, a proven industry leader in data distribution, is perfectly positioned to help MLB deliver an exceptional Official MLB betting feed. We are excited about the opportunities that this partnership will unlock as the sports betting landscape continues to unfold in the U.S.”“We are truly excited to be working with Major League Baseball as its official global data partner,” added Carsten Koerl, Chief Executive Officer of Sportradar. “This is not only a tremendous opportunity for Sportradar, but ultimately it opens up new doors for MLB fans who have historically shown a proclivity for sophisticated data. “We look forward to utilizing our vast global experience as the global leader in the data, AV, and integrity spaces to give fans and partners an unmatched experience.” Related Articles StumbleUpon Björn Nilsson: How Triggy is delivering digestible data through pre-set triggers August 28, 2020 David Lampitt, Sportradar: F1 presents betting’s most sizeable opportunity August 14, 2020 Sportradar combats social media abuse with player protection solution August 17, 2020last_img read more

Committee approves Glenn bill banning sex between prostitutes police

first_img Categories: Glenn News,News 13Jun Committee approves Glenn bill banning sex between prostitutes, police The House Law and Justice Committee approved bipartisan legislation from state Rep. Gary Glenn making it illegal for law enforcement officials to engage in sexual acts with prostitutes or victims of human trafficking during the course of an investigation.“There is no evidence that law enforcement officers are taking advantage of this unintended legal loophole, but Michigan is going to protect victims of human trafficking from abuse,” said Glenn, of Larkin Township. “People who impersonate police officers use this unintended exemption from prosecution to intimidate women into having sex. That casts an unwarranted cloud over our law enforcement officers.”House Bill 4355 specifically states a police officer is no longer exempt from prosecution if the officer has sex with a prostitute, eliminating the unintended exemption in current law. The legislation also seeks to protect victims of human trafficking who have been forced into prostitution.“Michigan is the last state in the country where police officers having sex with prostitutes are shielded from prosecution,” Glenn said. “This legislation will protect our police and victims of human trafficking.”HB 4355 advances to the House for its consideration.State Rep. Gary Glenn testifies before the House Law and Justice Committee in support of legislation to ban sex between law enforcement officers and prostitutes or victims of human trafficking.last_img read more

German TV manufacturer Loewe has filed for insolve

first_imgGerman TV manufacturer Loewe has filed for insolvency, as attempts to restructure the business and refocus itself as an “entertainment platform system provider.”In a statement, Loewe said that the Coburg insolvency court yesterday approved the self-administration proceedings from Loewe’s management, but said that business “will remain fully operational beyond October 1, 2013.”It said that a restructuring process, initiated by the executive board, will also continue and that the company’s banks and the Bavarian state government continue to support the firm’s restructuring.“At the core of the change process at Loewe is the move from a TV manufacturer to an entertainment platform system provider. Besides specialised hardware knowledge, it is becoming increasingly important for Loewe to have greater software expertise to facilitate the management of its multimedia smart home-entertainment systems,” said Loewe.“Moreover, the company will join forces with partners to start offering special premium content exclusively for Loewe customers, thereby underlining the strong benefits of Loewe systems.”The firm has already partnered with Chinese company Hisense and recently launched joint sales and marketing activities with them in Austria, which Loewe said would be a test market for other European countries.last_img read more