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Theater’s new frontiers

first_imgJohn Tiffany has ripped a page from the Diane Paulus playbook. Much like the American Repertory Theater’s (A.R.T.) artistic director, the Englishman is expanding the boundaries of theater, even taking his productions into the streets and onto the facades of buildings.Tiffany is the associate director of the National Theatre of Scotland, a nomadic production company with no official home base. Instead, it travels the country visiting remote locations and creating theater productions wherever it can: in a museum, on a ferry, even in a forest. The company’s motto is “theatre without walls.”In 2006, Tiffany helped to direct “Home,” a production that took place in 10 locations across Scotland simultaneously. In his particular production, people with video cameras rappelled off an apartment tower in Glasgow and shot a series of scenes with his actors that were unfolding in different apartments. The footage was then displayed on a giant video screen to an audience seated on a grassy hill below.The 2009 production of “Transform” operated like a mystery where the audience took on the starring role of detective. The crowd was unleashed on a local town to gather information about a missing girl, encountering actors and clues along the way.A current fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Tiffany called the interactive play a kind of “treasure hunt where the narrative was the treasure” during the institute’s 2010–11 Julia S. Phelps Annual Lecture in Art and the Humanities.Tiffany is using his year at Harvard to examine a much more intimate, intrinsic side of theater, one he argues is just as provocative and groundbreaking as his company’s imaginative works and “just as radical and as powerful a tool in terms of the evolution of theater.”As a fellow at Radcliffe, he is exploring paralanguage, or “everything that comes out of our mouths when we communicate apart from the words.” Intonation, volume, accents, and dialects are Tiffany’s domain for the academic year, as are things such as the works of Shakespeare, aphasics, and linguistics, among others.“I am increasingly excited to explore onstage the way we actually speak,” said Tiffany. “We stutter, and we stammer, and we ‘um’ and ‘ah’ and ‘er.’ When you hear that onstage it sounds radical, it’s shocking, and surprising, and it also has the potential to make an audience active and alert and gripped.”Last semester Tiffany spent uncounted hours reading about the fields of linguistics and neuroscience and examining areas like code switching or moving between variations of languages in different contexts.Over the next few months, he is studying how people communicate through their pitch and intonation, even their pauses or the spaces between their words. He is researching the way that public figures like Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and even Adolf Hitler carefully crafted their speaking styles.Through his work, Tiffany has connected with Nancy Kanwisher of the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, audited classes with Harvard Linguistics Professor Maria Polinksy, and discussed the Bard with Marjorie Garber, Harvard’s William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of English and of Visual and Environmental Studies, and a Shakespeare expert.Though he had no plans to create a theater piece based on his year at Radcliffe, Paulus insisted.“She dangled a carrot which I couldn’t refuse,” said Tiffany of Paulus, who offered up her second-year M.F.A. students at the A.R.T. Institute for his use. Tiffany will direct the students’ final show of the season, based on his research.“I’ve got 18 lab rats,” he said, laughing.With his research, Tiffany hopes to capture a realistic energy that paralanguage offers. He also hopes to forge a greater connection with his audiences and possibly change the nature of what people consider theater.“We don’t use the full resource of our voices on stage in terms of its communication,” he said. “It’s because — writers and directors and actors — we love lines that are witty and articulate and are beautifully structured, and that is wonderful. I don’t think for a second we shouldn’t do that. But I think there is other potential as well with this research, because we don’t speak like that. I wonder if there is a lyricism and an energy to be found in something which reflects much more truthfully how we speak.”last_img read more

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Three largest Austrian Pensionskassen increase hold on market

first_imgThe three largest Austrian Pensionskassen are increasing their dominance of Austria’s Pensionskassen market, holding 73% of the €17.4bn managed by the 16 funds, according to the Austrian financial supervisor (FMA).In 2012, VBV, Valida and APK, accounted for just over 71% of the assets in the sector, but consolidation such as APK takeover the company pension fund of the Austrian Economic Chamber WKÖ increased the share.Adding roughly another €700m from the Valida Industrie Pensionskasse – the former company pension fund for Siemens – to the assets held by Valida, the market share of the three largest funds increases to almost 77%.Additionally, on average multi-employer pension funds, including the three largest Austrian funds, achieved a better return in 2013 at 5.3% than company pension funds which only managed 3.9%. It was the first time in three years that the multi-employer funds outperformed the company Pensionskassen. The performance of the smaller funds in the post-crisis year of 2009 was already significantly better, at 12.6% annual return, compared to a negative performance of -8.45% for the larger funds.However, performance figures in Austria should only ever be viewed as a very rough average, as multi-employer funds have to offer different portfolios for larger clients while company pension funds only put in place one or two portfolios.Under the most recent amendment to the law governing Austrian Pensionskassen, some pension funds used the opportunity to reduce the number of portfolios, which lead to an overall decrease from 140 to 124 year-on-year across all pension funds. However, some schemes created sub-portfolios instead.Overall, the FMA confirmed a 5.1% average return for all Austrian Pensionskassen for 2013, with returns ranging from 0.4% to 5.8% depending on the risk-return profile of a portfolio.For the Betriebliche Kollektivversicherung (BVK), an insurance-based occupational pension solution, the FMA reported a 20% increase in assets over the last year to €643.4m.last_img read more

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Fernando Alonso hits the track ahead of final shot at Indianapolis 500

first_img Fernando Alonso’s return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Tuesday was without issue as the former Formula One champion eyes finally claiming a win at the Indianapolis 500.The Spaniard failed to qualify for the race last year in a spectacularly woeful effort by McLaren but managed to get around 2020’s opening day of practice without any concerns.Alonso finished the day in fifth behind James Hinchliffe of Andretti Autosport who sat atop of the leaderboard.Alonso has returned to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a third attempt at winning the final leg of motorsports’ version of the Triple Crown. Alonso won the Monaco Grand Prix in 2006 and 2007 for the first leg of the Triple Crown. He added back-to-back wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018 and 2019, leaving the American classic as the only missing race.The Spaniard is due to return to Formula One with Renault in 2021,s meaning this year’s Indianapolis 500 could be his last attempt at completing the trifecta. Last Updated: 13th August, 2020 07:14 IST Fernando Alonso Hits The Track Ahead Of Final Shot At Indianapolis 500 Fernando Alonso’s return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Tuesday was without issue as the former Formula One champion eyes finally claiming a win at the Indianapolis 500. Written By First Published: 13th August, 2020 07:14 IST LIVE TV WATCH US LIVEcenter_img SUBSCRIBE TO US Associated Press Television News COMMENT FOLLOW USlast_img read more

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NASA spacecraft readies for New Years rendezvous with primordial object far beyond

first_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Alex Parker An artist’s depiction of MU69, also known as Ultima Thule, a solar system body about to be visited by the New Horizons spacecraft Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country NASA spacecraft readies for New Year’s rendezvous with primordial object far beyond Pluto Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) The first detection of MU69 with the highest resolution of New Horizons telescope, taken on Christmas Eve NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute Email Visiting what astronomers refer to as a “cold classical” was part of New Horizons’s $800 million mission from the start. But finding one to visit proved trickier than expected. After its Pluto encounter, New Horizons is exiting the solar system by flying straight toward the center of the Milky Way, into a kaleidoscope of stars, making the discovery of a dark small object it could visit a challenge. Finally, the Hubble Telescope was able to locate five suitable candidates, with the New Horizons team choosing MU69 because they could reach it quickest and with the least fuel consumption, leaving future exploration options within the belt open—and not, they swear, for the holiday-themed arrival time. Indeed, the timing may turn out to be less than opportune for publicity given that NASA’s vaunted media operations, including its popular video channel, will likely remain dark during the encounter because of the U.S. government shutdown.The flyby will be familiar to anyone who followed the spacecraft’s Pluto campaign. But now the spacecraft is older, its nuclear power source is waning, and it’s much farther away. The team is smaller and had less time to prepare, says Alice Bowman, the mission operation manager for New Horizons. “It’s a much quicker, much harder mission.” It now takes a signal from mission control at APL 6 hours to reach the spacecraft, requiring everything about the flyby to be even more carefully scripted than for Pluto. Earlier this month, New Horizons’s Telescope—essentially a camera with a telephoto lens—spent several weeks scouring the region around MU69, hunting for hazards, such as rings or moons. None seen, its science team opted for the closest approach, passing only 3500 kilometers away from its surface.The flyby technically began on Christmas. Unlike Pluto, whose orbit has been precisely charted for a long time, MU69 was only discovered 4 years ago and its trajectory is not perfectly known. Because of this, the team has to rely on direct observation of the body, which for now still appears as little more than a pixel in its telescope, to understand its location relative to New Horizons. Until this weekend, the team is using the probe’s telescope to get a handle on the uncertainty of MU69’s location. Although it will be too late to tweak the spacecraft’s trajectory, the team will be able to rework the script of its high-resolution camera so that it can be certain of imaging MU69. This final update will then be relayed to New Horizons on 30 December. By Paul VoosenDec. 27, 2018 , 11:10 AM Even if the partial shutdown of the federal government, which includes NASA, continues into the new year, a festive atmosphere will reign at APL, which as a NASA contractor can continue its work, covering expenses from its own reserves. New Horizons will fly past MU69 at 12:33 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, shooting past at 14 kilometers per second, and it will take some 8 hours for the spacecraft’s first data to reach back to Earth, indicating its survival, along with a clutch of initial observations—The New York Times package, as Stern calls it. The first low-resolution image likely won’t come until late on New Year’s Day, with better imagery the day after. Don’t wait up.Little is known about what New Horizons will see. “We don’t even have a betting pool going,” Stern says. Telescopes trained on MU69, from Hubble to ground-based facilities, have revealed that, like other cold classicals, it has a dark, reddish hue, along with what looks an oblong shape, possibly indicating a small binary object. That wouldn’t be unheard of—scientists believe a third of the objects in the Kuiper belt could be such binaries, a reflection of the calm conditions in which they formed. These observations have also been unable to tease out variations in the sunlight reflected off of MU69, which could normally be used to tease out its rotation. This could be thanks to an unusually fast or slow rotation; microscopic dust; MU69’s axis pointing directly toward Earth; or a small swarm of miniature moons.MU69 will not have the complexity of Pluto’s surface; it lacks the gravity to sculpt its icy exterior. Indeed, it will likely look a bit boring, a dark anonymous lump in the solar system’s attic. But precisely because of its averageness, scientists hope it can inform their broader understanding of the Kuiper belt and beyond. “It’s got a lot to live up to,” says Anne Verbiscer, an astronomer at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and assistant project scientist on the mission. “For a 35-kilometer body, that’s a lot to ask.”Something as simple as counting the number of craters on its surface could hold vital clues, says Brett Gladman, an astronomer at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. For example, Pluto and its moon had far fewer craters than expected, and there were fewer, smaller ones than expected. If MU69 shows a similar pattern, given the Kuiper belt’s primordial nature, Gladman says, “that means learning something directly about the sizes of the objects that the solar system originally formed out of.” Similarly, the craters could also inform just how much the migrations of the giant planets to their current orbits tossed the solar system around.The composition of MU69 is also a mystery. It has to contain a lot of water ice, which is the primary building block of the outer solar system. But, like its cold classical siblings, it is dark with a reddish tint, not brilliantly white like icy moons such as Europa or Enceladus. “We don’t know what this red stuff is,” says John Spencer, a planetary scientist at SwRI and deputy project scientist on New Horizons. “We don’t know if it is telling us about the deep interior or just a paint job on the surface.” By peering into craters, New Horizons might catch a glimpse of MU69’s interior. And it could be rockier than expected, as a recent astronomical campaign focused on the Kuiper belt object hinted, says Wesley Fraser, an astronomer at Queen’s University Belfast. “I expect rock with ice embedded. That’s my theory.”Scientists also have high hopes for MU69’s surface. There’s a growing theory that planetary building blocks don’t form, or accrete, like a car plowing through a cloud of bugs, Fraser says. Instead, evidence suggests turbulence clumps particles together in a cloud, which then gravitationally collapses into a binary or trinary mass. “If it did evolve from a cloud of particles, we should see those actual particles on the surface of MU69,” Fraser says. “It should be a clump of pebbles stuck together.”Although the MU69 flyby will garner the headlines, it remains an N of 1 representing a large population. So New Horizons, before and after the flyby, has turned itself into a remote observatory, using its telescope to examine two dozen similar Kuiper belt objects. These observations benefit from their angle. Telescopes on Earth, and around it, can only see the Kuiper belt with the sun beaming at it head-on. New Horizons can observe these bodies at a different angle and, much like how the bright green of a field of grass becomes mottled when its blades cast shadows on one another, that can reveal the texture and material of a surface. “It will tell us if Ultima is typical of its neighbors or if it’s some kind of oddball,” Spencer says.In a few days, many mysteries should be resolved—and even more will likely be generated, Fraser says. “Let’s be honest, no one expected Pluto to look like it did. MU69 is going to be exactly the same way.” Like the Pluto visit, too, New Horizons will take a while to beam all of its data back, some 20 months, Stern adds. But there’s time. After all, he says, “nobody else is coming this way anytime soon.” LAUREL, MARYLAND—NASA’s New Horizons probe has racked up a list of accomplishments since its launch in 2006, traveling billions of kilometers and, in 2015, unveiling the atmosphere and surface of the dwarf planet Pluto during a rapid flyby. But in a few days, as Earth moves into a new year, New Horizons will attempt its trickiest feat of all: traveling back in time.Just a tick after the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve here at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), which operates the spacecraft for NASA, New Horizons will race past MU69, a 35-kilometer-wide object some 6.6 billion kilometers away, in a far-off region of the solar system called the Kuiper belt. Unlike every other object previously visited by NASA spacecraft, MU69—or “Ultima Thule,” as it’s nicknamed, a classical term used for land beyond the known world—is expected to be unchanged since it formed billions of years ago, granting a window to the solar system’s earliest days. “No one’s ever been to this kind of object,” says Alan Stern, the mission’s principal investigator and a planetary scientist from the Southwest Research Institute’s (SwRI’s) Boulder, Colorado, office. “No one’s ever been to anything that has been so pristine and primordial.”Until the early 1990s, scientists did not have evidence that this band of rocky bodies existed; it had only been theorized by researchers, including its namesake Gerard Kuiper. Since then, astronomers have discovered thousands of Kuiper belt objects past Neptune, with many more likely still unseen. Researchers have also discovered that this menagerie has a complicated structure, reflecting the solar system’s turbulent history. “I call it the solar system’s attic,” Stern says. Some of the belt’s objects, including Pluto, likely formed closer to the sun and were flung outward by gyrations of the giant planets. But others, like the relatively tiny MU69, likely formed where they are today, in languid circular orbits some 45 times farther than Earth is from the sun.last_img read more

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