From a dowdy provincial city in the 1980s, Philadelphia has become a world-class urban center through gentrification – primarily through landmark architecture that now sets the city center and University City, apart.
“Over 50, and retirees, are moving back from the suburbs where they raised their children into Center City and the Italian Market where I have lived since 1980,” said Dr. Margaret J. King, the director of The Center for Cultural Studies & Analysis in Philadelphia.
“Of course, gentrification brings money into the city, while it also drives up home prices – some houses have multiplied their asking prices 15 times over 40 years,” King noted.
“Housing is being restored and renovated, making more of the city habitable and in fact desirable. Now the suburbs have flipped into a working-class magnet as well as a market for Millennials who can’t afford center-city prices yet,” King said.
Gentrification isn’t just an issue in Philadelphia – not by a long shot.
According to a March 2019 study by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), more than 135,000 Black and Hispanics around the nation were displaced between 2000 and 2012.
Gentrification and displacement of long-time residents were most intense from 2000 to 2013 in the nation’s biggest cities, and rare in most other places, according to the study.
During those years, gentrification was concentrated in larger cities with vibrant economies but also appeared in smaller cities where it often impacted areas with the most amenities near central business districts.
In Washington, D.C., 20,000 Black residents were displaced, and in Portland, Oregon, 13 percent of the Black community was displaced over the more than decade period that was studied.
Seven cities accounted for nearly half of the gentrification nationally: New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Baltimore, San Diego, and Chicago.
Washington, D.C., was the most gentrified city by percentage of eligible neighborhoods that experienced gentrification; New York City was the most gentrified by sheer volume, study authors noted.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, gentrification is defined as the process of repairing and rebuilding homes and businesses in a deteriorating area, such as an urban neighborhood, accompanied by an influx of middle-class or affluent people and that often results in the displacement of earlier, usually poorer residents.
“Gentrification is rich people deciding they want a specific neighborhood as their own, and they get municipal backing, pay some money, and get all of the poor people out of there,” said Mark Love, a New York realtor.
Neighborhoods were considered to be eligible to gentrify if, in 2000, they were in the lower 40 percent of home values and family incomes in that metropolitan area.
During the study, researchers found that most low- to moderate-income neighborhoods did not gentrify or revitalize.
Instead, they remained impoverished, untouched by investments and building booms that occurred in major cities, and vulnerable to future gentrification and displacement.
“When a neighborhood gentrifies, the cost of living increases, and it’s harder for low-income families to find housing, and that’s one of the biggest downsides,” said Melanie Musson, a writer for ExpertInsuranceReviews.com.
“In a city like Philadelphia, neighborhoods are part of your identity. If you grow up in a neighborhood, you often want to remain living there your whole life because it’s who you are,” Musson said.
“Unfortunately, sometimes, after several generations living in the same zip code, the newest generation has to find housing elsewhere because it’s too expensive to live where their home has always been,” she said.
Bruce Mirken, the media relations director for the nonprofit public, policy, and advocacy organization, The Greenlining Institute, said he lives in San Francisco and works in Oakland – two cities that are ground zero for the gentrification crisis in California.
“We see the most obvious results among the very low-income, who increasingly cannot keep a roof over their heads, leading to a growing homeless population,” Mirken said.
“And homelessness in California has a distinct racial dynamic, tracing back through a long history of redlining and discrimination: Black Californians represent about six and a half percent of our state’s population, but about 40 percent of its homeless,” he noted.
In New York, where many residents are still growing accustomed to the decades-long gentrification of Harlem, the Bronx has forever been known as the city’s most urban borough. That’s quickly changing due to gentrification.
In November 2019, officials announced a $950 million, 4.3 acre, multi-tower, and mixed-use development along the Mott Haven waterfront. More than 1,300 high-end apartments are among the upgrades that are certain to price many long-time residents out of the area.
Mychal Johnson, a co-founding member of South Bronx Unite, told The Bronx Times that gentrification isn’t good for economically oppressed communities of color.
“It seems like the community board, and Borough president isn’t looking out for the community,” Johnson said.
For the NCRC study, Shekinah Mitchell, the Neighborhood Partnerships Manager for the Virginia Local Initiatives Support Corporation, noted that, as the former capital of the Confederacy, Richmond’s history is steeped in racial oppression, inequality, and injustice.
Mitchell noted that, in 2016, Richmond had similar numbers of Black and White residents. From 2000 to 2016, the Black population decreased by seven percent, while the White population increased by 35 percent.
In 2000, Blacks were 57 percent of the population, and whites were 38 percent. In 2016, Blacks represented 47 percent and Whites were 46 percent of the population.
“This shift has come to the East End like a racialized wave crashing onto the shores of the neighborhood in currents of physical, cultural, and economic displacement. The Black community is drowning as we watch our land and culture swallowed up, block by block with no reprieve in sight,” Mitchell wrote in the report.
“Gentrification in the East End of Richmond is manifesting as a process of re-segregation,” she said. “In Richmond, gentrification is colonization.”
In Portland, Oregon, an essay that accompanied the NCRC study noted that city as the “Whitest city of its size in the United States.”
The city’s White population currently stands at 77.4 percent while Blacks make up just 5.7 percent.
“Take a group of people who have been systematically denied wealth-building opportunities for generations, add low, stagnating incomes, throw in a subprime mortgage disaster, spiraling housing costs and wholesale community displacement, and you have a recipe for a severe economic backslide,” Cheryl Chandler-Roberts, executive director of Portland’s African American Alliance for Homeownership, said in the report.
“There is no African American community in Portland at this point,” Chandler-Roberts said.
“It’s a scattered community.”
The sense of inevitability that the 32 N.F.L. owners tried to project last week when they rushed to New York to approve a proposed 10-year labor agreement has turned into a battle, with faction lines drawn not just between owners and players, but also within the players’ union itself.
The main stumbling block is a core feature of the proposal — the addition of a 17th regular-season game, which has been met with vocal opposition from many players who say the season is already too long and dangerous. J.J. Watt, the star defensive end for the Houston Texans, was among those digging in their heels against the idea last week. “Hard no on that proposed CBA,” Watt wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
Hard no on that proposed CBA.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) February 21, 2020
Several dozen players will get a chance to ask the owners about the deal in Indianapolis on Tuesday, when owners, the union’s executive committee and player representatives will meet.
The meeting was scheduled after the union’s 11-person executive committee, which is in charge of negotiations for the players, last week voted 6 to 5 not to recommend the proposed deal to the 32 player representatives. Those voting no included Richard Sherman and Russell Okung, two influential voices on the committee.
After the meeting with the owners, a vote by the player representatives is scheduled. If the proposed agreement gets approval from union representatives, it will then be put to the full membership body of players.
The union’s executive director, DeMaurice Smith, has argued that players ought to approve the proposal partly because continuing to negotiate may not yield more concessions from the owners, and may even prompt them to pull concessions off the table.
The player representatives spoke by phone last Friday after the executive committee vote, and some were unconvinced. Aaron Rodgers, the star quarterback and union representative for the Green Bay Packers, called Smith’s view fearmongering, according to a person briefed on the call who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss it publicly.
George Atallah, a union spokesman, did not return calls requesting comment.
After the player representatives’ call, their vote was delayed pending this week’s talks, which could either be a final hurdle before a vote or lead to months of additional negotiations.
Some players expect more concessions from the owners in return for a 17th game. But they have questions about how the extra regular-season game would be valued. In particular, they are unhappy that the owners want to cap pay from that game at $250,000, which would amount to a significant haircut for highly paid players like Rodgers as long as their current contracts last.
The owners have agreed to sweeteners, including expanded rosters, more players on practice squads, higher minimum salaries and reductions in the number of full-contact practices and preseason games. The players would also receive 48.5 percent of shared revenue (compared with 47 percent now), enhanced medical and pension benefits, and more lenient testing for marijuana.
Many of these elements may mean little to players with eight- and nine-figure contracts. But they are likely to appeal to younger players on the fringes of the game, who make up the bulk of union membership.
“The deal is better from the perspective of an incoming player or someone who is one to three years in the league,” said Jodi Balsam, who worked as a lawyer at the N.F.L. and now teaches at Brooklyn Law School. “The league is trying to sweeten the pot by cutting back on training camp and getting rid of a preseason game, but when it comes down to the dollars, it probably doesn’t make sense for a veteran player to vote yes.”
The players are discovering other potential trap doors, including an item listed at the end of a fact sheet the union distributed to players last week that claimed that under the proposal, filing workers’ compensation claims would be made easier. Brad Sohn, a lawyer who has represented players in cases against the N.F.L., said that he believed the change would force players to file disputes with an arbitrator, not the courts, which would eliminate potential damages a player could receive and close off a remedy if players believe a team has been negligent in handling their injury.
“There would be an arbitration mechanism, but the courtroom doors would be locked,” Sohn said. “You are removing the ability to hold anyone accountable.”
As the clock ticks closer to the start of the league year on March 18, more players are recognizing that the owners’ push to get a deal signed could give them more leverage.
With billions of dollars in new revenue expected to flow in from broadcast agreements that expire soon — currently the league makes around $8 billion a year for its various media rights — the owners argue that adopting the deal before the start of the new league year will allow both sides to split that windfall as soon as possible.
If a new deal isn’t reached by the end of the league year, the players will have to elect a new union president, which could change the tenor of the negotiations. The current president, the former Bengals offensive tackle Eric Winston, is ineligible to run because he is no longer an active player. The union will elect his replacement in early March.
The only player to announce his candidacy is Okung, who opposes adding a 17th game to the schedule. He is widely expected to run against Sherman, who has also come out against a 17th game.
That further raises the stakes for the meetings and any potential votes this week.
Jeanne Evert Dubin, a former world-ranked professional tennis player and a younger sister of the 18-time Grand Slam champion Chris Evert, died on Thursday. She was 62.
The cause was ovarian cancer, according to an obituary posted online by Lorne & Sons Funeral Home in Delray Beach, Fla., which is handling her funeral arrangements.
One of five tennis-playing children raised by the teaching pro Jimmy Evert and his wife, Colette Evert, Jeanne had a standout junior career in which she became the nation’s top-ranked player in her age group. She turned pro in 1973 at age 15, after beating the established stars Rosie Casals and the top-ranked Margaret Court.
She was the youngest player that year to represent her country in the Wightman Cup, an annual competition between British and American players that was discontinued in 1989. And she didn’t lose a match in helping a United States team reach the Fed Cup final in 1974.
Early in Evert Dubin’s career, tennis fans speculated that her talent could eclipse that of her sister Chris, but it was not to be. Sportswriters began referring to her as the “other Evert.”
“I guess people expect me to be something I’m not,” Evert Dubin was quoted as saying in The New York Times in 1976. “They feel I let them down. They said I was going to be a great tennis player. At least No. 2.”
Evert Dubin reached a career-high 28th in the world in 1978, the year she retired from competition after meeting her husband-to-be, Brahm Dubin, at a tournament in Montreal. Her greatest success on the court came when she teamed with her sister in doubles for two years; they were ranked as high as No. 4 in the United States.
Chris Evert was one of the most dominant tennis players in the history of the sport, ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in the world among female players from 1975 to 1986 in a Hall of Fame career.
“Jeanne was selfless, caring and kind,” Chris Evert was quoted as saying in the funeral home’s obituary. “As a sister, I admired her stellar character and her unwavering devotion to her loved ones.”
Jeanne Evert Dubin was born on Oct. 5, 1957, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School there before leaving to become a professional tennis player.
Evert married Dubin in 1979; he died in 2006. They lived in Delray Beach, where she coached for many years at the Delray Beach Tennis Center.
If Evert Dubin paled in comparison professionally to Chris Evert, she did not hold it against her sister.
“Sure, there’s pressure being Chris’s sister,” she told The Times. “But the good overshadows it. I’d hate to blame my failure on Chris. Whatever I am, I did it to myself.”
In addition to her sister Chris, she is survived by another sister, Clare Evert-Shane; two brothers, Drew and John; her mother; her partner, Tower Krauss; a son, Eric; a daughter, Catie Dubin; and four grandchildren.
We now have the strongest indicator yet that there are two separate species of red panda: the Chinese red panda (Ailurus styani) and the Himalayan red panda (Ailurus fulgens). Previously, these were classified as subspecies based on the pandas’ physical characteristics and location, but this has been contested due to a lack of genetic evidence.
To address this gap, Yibo Hu at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, and his colleagues sequenced the whole genomes of 65 red pandas by extracting DNA from blood, muscle and skin samples taken from museum specimens and red pandas in captivity.
These red pandas came from wild populations living in the Himalayas in Nepal and India, or the Qionglai mountains in China’s Sichuan province.
Using data from 49 red pandas, the team compared their haplotypes, variations in DNA inherited from a single parent – for example, their mitochondrial DNA, which is inherited from the mother, and Y chromosomes, which are inherited from the father.
Compared to Chinese red pandas, the Himalayan red pandas had 50 per cent fewer mutations in the single letters, or bases, that make up DNA across their whole genomes . Hu’s team also found that the haplotypes clustered together in different regions of the genomes of Himalayan and Chinese red pandas, and there were no shared Y chromosome variants between red pandas from the eastern Himalayas and those from Sichuan.
Hu says this shows that they genetically diverged from each other, with minimal transfer of genetic variation between the populations, resulting in the two species. This divergence happened about 200,000 years ago, he says.
Physical differences between the two populations supported the classification – the Chinese red panda has redder fur on its face and more prominent tail rings, for example.
Though there is clearly genetic differentiation between the sampled populations, no red pandas were sampled in Bhutan and northern India where the animals are also found, says Jon Slate at the University of Sheffield in the UK. “Without having sampled pandas there, it’s harder to really confidently say there are two distinct species here,” he says.
The genome analyses also showed that the Himalayan red panda underwent a drastic reduction in population three times, with the most recent decline taking place 90,000 years ago. This has resulted in a low genetic diversity and small population size in today’s Himalayan species.
In comparison, the Chinese red panda experienced a population drop twice – most likely due to glacial periods – but managed to recover after each event.
However, both species’ numbers are dwindling due to habitat loss and climate change, though it isn’t clear how many individuals are left in the wild. “To conserve the genetic uniqueness of the two species, we should avoid their interbreeding in captivity,” says Hu.
Journal reference: Science Advances, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax5751
As U.S. Census Bureau operatives gear up for the tens of thousands of home visits, public forums and online and telephone submissions that will take place at the height of the 2020 season, agency officials continue to collaborate with faith leaders of various religions and denominations to debunk misconceptions about the process among communities of faith.
However, as Bishop Reginald Jackson of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church revealed during a recent gathering of faith leaders in the District, the difficulty for some of the clergy lies in convincing some of their colleagues about both the significance and benefits of this once-in-a-decade undertaking.
“In Georgia, the Census is on the agenda of every meeting we have,” Jackson, who presides over more than 500 AME churches in the state, said on Tuesday as he revealed his plans to designate the third Sunday in March for pastors to preach about the 2020 U.S. Census.
Jackson, one of six faith leaders who spoke during the 2020 Census Interfaith Partner Summit at the Washington National Cathedral in Northwest, said attempts to rally religious leaders in Delaware and New Jersey inspired his latest idea, centered on the need for collective action.
“We need to make sure our community counts — that all of us are counted,” Jackson said. “It’s important to emphasize to the individual [even if that’s] a library, a hospital, or a school. If you [aren’t] counted, that means all of us are being negatively impacted because of your dereliction.”
On April 1, also known as Census Day, households across the U.S. will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census via online, by phone, or mail. A month later, the U.S. Census Bureau will dispatch representatives to enclaves throughout the country to count those who have been overlooked or didn’t respond to initial outreach efforts.
Though the 2020 U.S. Census plays a significant role in determining the allocation of federal funding and the shape of congressional representation, among other facets of the American experience, marginalized groups harbor concerns about how the government uses the data collected and whether their personal information will remain secure.
A recent survey conducted by National Latino Elected and Appointed Officials and Educational Fund and Latino Decisions found that three-out-of-four Latinos feared that the Trump administration, which unsuccessfully attempted to secure the addition of a citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. Census, would abuse the information collected. Meanwhile, activists in Asian American communities said they want data that reflects the diversity of one of the country’s fastest-growing populations.
Among African Americans, the Urban League and other civil rights-era advocacy organizations have mulled over how to venture out into hard-to-count areas and speak to those who believe that participating in the U.S. Census will bear minimal benefits.
In anticipation of the count, U.S. Census Bureau officials have launched a nationwide media blitz which includes print media, billboards, television and the Internet to stress the importance of the Census and to assure skeptics that safeguards had been put in place to facilitate the ethical use of data.
They have also conferred with the other religious leaders, including the following who served on the February 18 panel: The Rev. Gabriel Salguero, National Latino Evangelical Coalition; Sister Judith Ann Karam of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine and Catholic Health Association; Vikshu Kumar Gurung of the Buddhist Society of Nebraska; Hurunnessa Fariad of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center; and Rabbi Menachem Creditor of the United Jewish Appeal-Federation.
On the stage of the Charles A. Perry Auditorium at the Washington Cathedral, panelists represented congregations populated by African Americans, refugees, undocumented immigrants and adherents to old-world spiritual systems that discourage modern technology.
For Gurung, a refugee who fled Bhutan as a child, people in precarious situations like his need someone they can trust to convey crucial information about the U.S. Census.
“When our families first came here, [they were] advised not to share their personal information. So when I went [door to door], they didn’t want to share and I had to assure them that the information provided to the [U.S. Census Bureau] is safe, secure and very confidential,” he said.
“I had to tell them this is for the welfare of our families, faith communities and neighbors and that this will address hunger, poverty and homelessness. It wasn’t easy to interpret in 2010; [this time} I hope it will be a lot easier.”
When a person sustains a severe brain injury that leaves them unable to communicate, their families and doctors often have to make life-or-death decisions about their care for them. Now brain scanners are being tested in intensive care to see if mind-reading can enable some patients to have their say, New Scientist can reveal.
At the moment, doctors ask the families of people who have a poor prognosis and cannot communicate if they think their relative would want to continue life-sustaining treatments such as being on a ventilator. “Life would be so much easier if you could just ask the person,” says Adrian Owen at the University of Western Ontario in Canada.
Owen’s team previously developed a brain-scanning approach for a much smaller group of people – those in states between consciousness and being in a coma, for example those in a vegetative state. Such people show few signs of awareness and have to be fed through a tube.
Owen found that some of these people can direct their thoughts in response to instructions, which can be picked up on brain scans. If someone is asked to imagine playing tennis, for instance, the part of their brain involved in movement lights up in the scan.
This has let his and other teams ask those who are able to respond in this way yes/no questions, which can give people a say over their living conditions. About a fifth of people the technique is tried on can respond.
Owen is now using the same technique on people who are in intensive care in the first few days after sustaining a severe brain injury. In such circumstances, just over a quarter of people end up having their treatment withdrawn due to a poor prognosis.
For example, in some cases doctors may predict that if the person survives, they would be paralysed and unable to speak. “A decision will typically be made in the first 10 days about whether to go on or pull the plug,” says Owen.
His team has so far used brain scanning on about 20 such people in intensive care to try to communicate with them. Owen won’t yet reveal how many responded to questions, nor whether he asked them if they wanted to live or die.
But he says he has also made progress in developing a new brain imaging technique. The original method uses fMRI machines. To use them the person has to be taken to a separate room and put inside a scanner, and their tubes and equipment have to be changed to allow this to happen. “It’s really challenging and dangerous,” says Owen.
The new approach uses functional near-infrared spectroscopy, which can be done at the bedside and requires only a headset. Although the method visualises only a small part of the brain, this is enough to let someone answer a yes/no question by imagining playing tennis to give the answer “yes”.
In a paper published last week, Owen’s team showed this allowed volunteers without brain injury to accurately answer questions three-quarters of the time (Frontiers in Neuroscience, doi.org/dncs). The team has also used it successfully to speak to people with a condition that causes complete paralysis (see “Temporarily locked in”, below).
As well as conveying information about a person’s wishes, bedside mind-reading may also be useful for shedding light on their prognosis. Among people in a vegetative state, those who can respond to instructions in a brain scanner are more likely to recover, says Owen.
He believes the technique is more likely to lead to ventilator treatment being continued than stopped. “Negative findings are hard to interpret,” he says. “Positive findings are easier.”
“This is potentially exciting but I wouldn’t want people to get their hopes up because this might only be applicable to a very small group of people,” says Paul Dean of the UK’s Intensive Care Society.
If doctors are able to communicate with people in this way, they would have to be confident the patient had the legal mental capacity to make life or death decisions, says Jenny Kitzinger at Cardiff University, UK. “Have they understood the question, have they understood the diagnosis?”
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Sabrina Ionescu’s strength inspired her Oregon coaches and teammates all day, from the way she courageously spoke at the memorial service for Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles earlier in the day, then flew back to the Bay Area and took the court shortly after vomiting in the locker room, all before leading the Ducks with yet another brilliant performance on both ends.
And doing something never done before in college basketball, by a man or a woman.
Ionescu became the first player in N.C.A.A. history to reach 2,000 points, 1,000 assists and 1,000 rebounds and notched her record 26th career triple-double, too, leading No. 3 Oregon past fourth-ranked Stanford, 74-66, on Monday night.
Ionescu wasn’t made available to the news media for a second straight game, speaking to ESPN on Monday.
“That one was for him. To do it on 2-24-20 was huge,” she told the network. “We talked about it in the preseason. I can’t put it into words. He’s looking down and proud of me and happy for this moment with my team.”
Ionescu hit the milestone on a defensive rebound with 1:47 remaining in the third quarter and finished with 21 points, 12 assists and 12 rebounds in her first triple-double against a top-10 opponent and eighth overall this season to help Oregon (26-2, 15-1 Pac-12) clinch at least a share of its third straight Pac-12 regular-season title.
“Incredible. I thought she was so poised and so heartfelt today,” said Coach Kelly Graves, whose wife, Mary, accompanied Ionescu. “At her age and relative limited experience and things like that, I just thought she nailed it. It was amazing, and she wrote that, and that was from her. She’s pretty special in more ways that just what you’re seeing on the court.”
Ionescu also had a triple-double Friday night at California while playing near her East Bay hometown of Walnut Creek, then delivered her eighth career road triple-double for the Ducks on an emotional day just hours after attending the service for Bryant and daughter, Gianna, in Southern California.
“I don’t know many people that could have done what she did today,” Graves said. “I knew this was the way it was going to end tonight for her. I’m glad that it ended in a victory but I knew that she was going to get that. It’s so fitting that she did it tonight.”
Stanford Coach Tara VanDerveer wasn’t surprised by Ionescu’s toughness despite her difficult day.
“She’s a player. I didn’t expect anything different than what we saw,” VanDerveer said.
She now has 2,467, 1,041 assists and 1,003 rebounds, helping Oregon secure Monday at least 15 conference wins for a third consecutive season. Ionescu shot 9 for 19, missing her three 3-point attempts. She had plenty of help from Satou Sabally, who scored 27 points on 10-for-17 shooting with four 3-pointers.
“When she came back, we were there for her. It wasn’t the easiest day but she always has our backs so it was our turn to have her back,” Sabally said. “We just lifted her up.”
Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry sat on the baseline supporting Ionescu and women’s basketball for the second straight game she played in Northern California after he was in Berkeley with his two daughters Friday night. He watched Oregon run its winning streak to 14 in a row and nine straight on the road.
“You kind of try and hide some of those emotions. To speak was such an honor for me,” Ionescu said. “I tried to do everything I could to hold it together tonight and my team helped me do that.”
The Ducks used a big second half to beat the Cardinal, 87-55, on Jan. 16 in Eugene, then held off a late flurry by Stanford (24-4, 13-3) this time on a night Lexie Hull scored 27 points with six 3-pointers.
The Cardinal had their four-game winning streak snapped with just a second defeat at Maples Pavilion this season.
Oregon jumped out to a 25-10 lead then led 32-22 at halftime after four turnovers late in the second quarter allowed Stanford to stay close.
“I think they’re the No. 1 team in the country. They have all the weapons,” VanDerveer said. “They’ve got great experience. Kelly does a fantastic job with them in terms of they know what they’re doing out there. They’re a very well coached team, they’re a very skilled team. I was disappointed that we honestly didn’t give them a better game.”
Ionescu’s left sneaker had “Mamba Mentality” written on it along with “Forever 24” as well as a “24” on the back.
Curry also attended the service for Bryant and his daughter Gianna.
“I can’t imagine how emotional it was for everyone in that arena. To be at her age with all that she’s got going on and her connection to Kobe and Gigi and to give a speech in front of 19,000 people all mourning was unbelievable,” Curry told ESPN. “She spoke so well. Now she’s out here representing them playing her heart out.
“That’s sustained greatness. She came back her senior year for a reason to get the national championship. She’s blazing a trail no one has stepped foot in.”
As political observers continue to track America’s highly valued Black vote to see which Democratic presidential candidate may win the lion’s share this election year, the National Policy Alliance will host the National Black Political Convention at the Washington Plaza Hotel in Washington, D.C., from April 16-18 to create a universal Black agenda.
“Voices sharing what we need to be focused on, planning and getting an agenda that is actually pertinent to our future.” This is how convention planner Linda Haithcox Taylor describes the convention, expected to draw members of Congress, speakers and political activists from around the country.
Presidential candidates including former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Vice President Joe Biden have all confirmed their attendance. Confirmed speakers include Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Kamala Harris, Rep. Anthony Brown, Rep. Maxine Waters, Doug Williams and more than 30 others. Former President Barack Obama has also been invited to speak about what Black people should be doing during this election period and throughout the next eight years.
The convention will serve as a political caucus for both Black voters, government officials and community organizers as Black leaders reconcile some of the most compelling issues and concerns that are heavily impacting the Black community. The status of health care, economic and environmental justice, affordable housing, education, criminal justice, Black veteran’s affairs, energy, media relations and the role of the Black entertainment industry are among those crucial issues.
On April 16, two weeks before the Maryland primary, The National Black Political Convention will kickoff its weekend of events with a presidential forum at Bowie State University in Bowie, Maryland. Bowie is significant because not only is it the oldest historically Black university in Maryland, but in 2017 the university also welcomed its first female president, Dr. Anita Breaux.
The goal is to spend the weekend creating a united Black agenda to be sent to both the Democratic National Committee and the Rupublican National Committee. Issues will be discussed through a series of speaker-led sessions. Sessions can also expect to be diverse in generation, offering representation for both older and younger voters.
Conveners for the convention include National Blacks in Government, National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, National Black Agenda, and the Futures Forum among others.
Attendants can register for the National Black Political Convention by going to the website of the National Policy Alliance: https://npalinks.org/nbpc/
The first National Black Political Convention in 1972 served as the first major gathering of Black voters and political thinkers in Gary, Indiana united to discuss the pressing social and economic issues of the time. These issues included minimum wage discrepancies, home rule for Washington, D.C, the elimination of capital punishment and more.
Thousands of African-American intellectuals, community organizers and voters were present alongside representatives from 46 states. Notable attendees were then-presidential candidate Shirley Chisolm, volunteer sergeant at arms Muhammad Ali, Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale, Coretta Scott King, the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., Minister Louis Farrakhan, civil rights icon Dick Gregory and others.
From this convention came several united principles pursued by Black civil rights organizations, religious leaders, local, state and national officials. Convention participants convened to discuss the creation of a Black agenda to be given to political parties.
Echoing the legacy of the 1972 convention, 44 years later, in 2016 another convention was hosted, this time by the National Policy Alliance. Missioned as an organization that “brings together public officials, community leaders, aspiring public servants, and the citizens they serve,” the National Policy Alliance organized what would be the second National Black Political Conference marking the end of Obama’s term as president. The agenda of issues included but was not limited to education, gun control, healthcare, voting rights and economic opportunities for African-Americans.
Since the first convention in 1972, the number of Black members of Congress has more than tripled, significantly increasing Black representation in government. However, many challenges remain and can expect to be redressed and brainstormed for applicable solutions.
Taylor said the National Policy Alliance wants the room full of people dedicated to the Black agenda, ready to propose solutions and share experiences contributable to the cause of the convention.
“This is not and has never been a meeting about complaining, it’s a meeting about solutions,” she said.
In the weeks since Kobe Bryant’s death, the sprawl of Los Angeles has been covered in murals of the longtime Laker. It would be hard to find a local basketball court without a player wearing a Kobe jersey. Flowers, candles and other tributes have piled up outside Staples Center.
As the city prepared for a memorial service on Monday to celebrate the lives of Bryant and his daughter Gianna, who were among nine people killed last month when their helicopter crashed into a hillside near Calabasas, Calif., many were finding the most meaningful tributes to be the ones on the court.
That is especially true for a team that was close to him: the Anteaters from the University of California, Irvine.
The university’s Bren Events Center, a 10-minute drive from Bryant’s home, became an unexpected training ground for the player in 2007, thanks to the coordination of Ryan Badrtalei, who was then the director of basketball operations.
During the Lakers’ off-season, Bryant would train with Badrtalei, who became a member of his inner circle. “If you worked with him, he would wear you out,” Badrtalei said. “I took pride in that, bouncing back every day and being back every day. There’s a lot of people that came and went.”
A number of venues in Orange County, where Bryant lived and was frequently spotted at restaurants, stores and movie theaters, have organized gatherings so Bryant’s community members can watch the memorial service together. The city of Santa Ana is hosting one at city hall. The city of Irvine plans to show the service at a soccer stadium that seats 2,500.
It wasn’t unusual to see Bryant, an icon for players in college basketball, training alongside players from the N.C.A.A. Division I team.
The team took it in stride. “Kobe is a hero to everybody for the way he’s elevated the Lakers, and everybody here respects that,” the team’s coach, Russell Turner, said. “We showed that respect in large part by letting him do his own thing. He was comfortable here around us, and I feel good that we provided that environment for him.”
From 2007 to 2013, the Bren Center was Bryant’s off-season home. He was relentless, Badrtalei said, to the point that off-season almost sounded like an oxymoron. “I can honestly say there wasn’t a day where he gave a half effort,” Badrtalei said. “That was his approach every single day of every off-season: ‘What can I do to get better? How can I do more to continue to evolve?’”
Badrtalei, too, was relentless. He became the assistant coach of the Anteaters in 2009 as his relationship with Bryant deepened. “Being around him, not wanting to let him down, kept that drive going,” he said.
One of the last texts Badrtalei sent to Bryant was about that persistent mentality. While listening to an interview with Bryant, Badrtalei realized he could predict every answer. “I said: ‘Man, I can’t believe how much you have impacted my thought process. Every question they asked, I kind of knew the answer.’ I know how he thinks and how it’s shaped the way I think in terms of my approach to training and competition.”
“And that’s unfortunate for everybody I’ll be coaching — they’ll feel that,” he added, laughing.
It was evident on the court Saturday night when Turner and Badrtalei led the Anteaters against California State University, Northridge. The Anteaters are in their championship push with hopes of an N.C.A.A. berth, and it shows.
At one point in the game, the Anteaters were leading by 32 points. But they were playing with an intensity as if the score were reversed, their coaches shouting as if the N.C.A.A. championship were on the line.
Most of this year’s squad did not interact with Bryant as much as some previous teams. In 2013, after Bryant ruptured his Achilles’ tendon, his off-season became dedicated to rehabilitation. His time at the Bren Center became sporadic, and he retired three years later.
But his relationship with U.C. Irvine remained strong, and the Anteaters intend to honor him the best way they know how: on the court. The Anteaters won their game on Saturday, 87-64, to improve to 19-10. They are 11-2 in the Big West Conference.
“I don’t think there’s anything better we can do to honor the legacy of Kobe than trying to compete at our highest level,” Turner said. “Our players see that as the responsibility that comes with feeling connected with Kobe, with the Mamba mentality.”
Cloud seeding works – sort of. New experiments offer the strongest evidence to date that spraying clouds with powder can cause more snow to fall.
However, the problem is making it work in practice. Not every cloud can be seeded and we don’t know why. It also isn’t clear when it would be cost effective.
Cloud seeding has existed as a technology since the 1940s, says Sarah Tessendorf of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. In theory, it should make more rain or snow.
The idea is to spray a powder, normally silver iodide, into clouds. Each particle acts as a seed for an ice crystal, which grows around it and then falls as precipitation.
However, despite decades of research it has been difficult to show that cloud seeding works. Experimenters have compared what happens to clouds that are seeded with those that aren’t, but it hasn’t been possible to get a large enough sample size to control for natural changes. “The weather’s very variable, it changes all the time, and it’s very complicated,” says Tessendorf.
That has now changed, thanks to a project called SNOWIE (Seeded Natural and Orographic Wintertime clouds – the Idaho Experiment).
In 20 days in January 2017, Tessendorf and her colleagues seeded orographic clouds, which form when air is forced up over mountains. They sprayed silver iodide from an aeroplane, which flew in a zigzag to create a distinctive pattern in the sky.
The team used radar to look for this pattern in the clouds, placing mobile radars on mountain ridges to scan for snowfall in places where normal weather radar couldn’t reach.
On three days, the team found clear evidence of snowfall from clouds that had been seeded. On the ground, this amounted to a light dusting, between 0.05 and 0.3 millimetres deep.
Crucially, the team has estimated the total volume of water produced from this. The most successful experiment, on 31 January, released snow equivalent to 340,000 cubic metres of water from the clouds after 24 minutes of cloud seeding. The least successful day was 19 January, when snow equivalent to 123,000 m3 of water was produced by 20 minutes of cloud seeding.
In total, the three successful days produced about 282 Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of water, the team say.
“We have now scientific evidence that seeding of orographic clouds can increase precipitation,” says Andrea Flossmann at the University of Clermont Auvergne in Clermont-Ferrand, France. “The increase is, however, below 10 per cent.”
Tessendorf agrees there are still significant challenges. “We collected data in over 20 cases,” she says. But they could only demonstrate the effect on three days when there was no natural precipitation. “In cases where there’s background precipitation forming, it’s much more complicated.” She says new computer models of cloud seeding may allow them to see the effect.
Worse still, clouds vary. “The same cloud over the same watershed might have some areas of it that are seed-able and others that might not be,” says Tessendorf. In particular, seeding only works when water is “supercooled”, meaning it is still liquid at temperatures below 0°C.
All this suggests that cloud seeding may not be cost-effective. “Water managers would be much better off looking at alternatives,” says Paul Sayers of water management consultants Sayers and Partners in the UK. For example, farmers can shift to less wasteful forms of irrigation, he says.
Journal reference: PNAS, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1917204117