Strictly Ballzoom

first_imgEvery year, the Harvard Ballroom Dance Team hosts a fall competition for beginner dancers at the Malkin Athletic Center. For team rookies, it’s the first opportunity to strut their stuff in the cha cha, rumba, swing, waltz, salsa, or bachata, and to cement the close-knit bonds for which the group is known.Facing a remote semester, Harvard Ballroom reimagined their landmark competition in an entirely digital format called Ballzoom — the only college event of its kind.“We [as an executive board] felt that the Harvard Ballroom Dance Team was more than just an extracurricular activity; it was a big family,” with 45 members, said Angelika Anette Antsmae, a rookie captain and rising sophomore on leave this year. “It would be unfair to lose communication with other team members during these complicated times, so we decided to provide an opportunity for our new dancers to participate” in a competition for the first time.Rather than try to recreate a live competition with multiple couples dancing to the same song at the same time, Antsmae and the group’s competition committee chair, Will Dey ’23, decided to use their burgeoning skills in computer science to develop a digital-first competition, and hosted Ballzoom over one weekend, Nov. 20-22.The process was layered and difficult. First, Antsmae and Dey used the coding language Python to create a platform to receive the dancers’ video submissions and automatically assign each couple or person a number, just as they’d receive in a regular competition.The team received 72 submissions from around the world, including seven current College students and recent alumni. To mimic the camaraderie of a traditional competition weekend, Dey and Antsmae set up Slack rooms with regular ice-breaker activities to help the dancers — from as far away as Canada, Romania, and Vietnam — get to know each other.Behind the scenes, they created tools that would match each video with the corresponding music and display the competitors in a synchronized Zoom grid with their competition numbers. They also put together a judging panel made up of national champions and assigned videos to each person that matched their expertise. On the Sunday of the competition weekend they broadcast almost three hours of competition live on Zoom and presided over the results, which included awards for first-year students and ballroom newcomers Maggie Chiffer, Bryce Reynolds, and Claire Guo in the rhythm, Latin, standard, and social (salsa and bachata) categories.The process was time-consuming and involved many late nights across multiple time zones, as Dey was at home in Austin, Texas, and Antsmae lives in Tallinn, Estonia. But it was worth it, they said. And in the spirit of collegiality, they published their open-source code on Github for other school teams to use for their own Ballzooms.“I’m really glad we were able to take stuff that we both learned in classes and do something that has a lasting effect and benefit to the team,” said Dey, who recently declared a joint concentration in computer science and physics. “The whole atmosphere [of live competition] can’t be recreated, but I think ours was different in a good way.”last_img read more

Governor Wolf Showcases First Term Advancements in Economic Development, Infrastructure

first_img January 10, 2019 Economy,  Infrastructure,  Press Release Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf has followed through on his promise to cut red tape, improve infrastructure, and strengthen Pennsylvania’s business climate. Today, he pledged to continue strengthening Pennsylvania’s economy through smart investments that will positively impact future generations of Pennsylvanians.“As a Pennsylvania businessman, I understand what companies need to thrive and have worked to tackle a variety of challenges faced by businesses in the commonwealth,” said Gov. Wolf. “We’ve made progress in Pennsylvania, but we still have more work to do and I will continue to work on growing our economy for all workers by making it easier for small businesses to start, pushing forward critical infrastructure projects, investing in schools, and expanding career and technical education opportunities so everyone has the skills needed to find good-paying jobs and live a comfortable, rewarding life in the state we all call home.”Gov. Wolf’s key initiatives included enlisting multiple state agencies to collaborate on projects that brought together infrastructure projects and business development programs. The projects have resulted in stronger communities, a more adept workforce, and an improved business climate:“One of the governor’s fundamental goals when he first entered office was to help create an environment in which our economy, our businesses, and our residents could thrive,” DCED Secretary Dennis Davin said. “Through the Wolf Administration’s economic and community development efforts, paired with PennDOT’s commitment to infrastructure improvement, we’re working toward that goal and making Pennsylvania a better place to live, work, and play.”Creating Jobs and Encouraging EntrepreneurshipEliminated burdensome taxes on businesses like the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax.Will create an additional 15,000 jobs with the creation of a Shell Cracker Plant in Western Pennsylvania and investment in the Port of Philadelphia.Cut through red tape by establishing the new PA Business One-Stop Shop, which has assisted more than 86,000 entrepreneurs and business owners who have visited the website to learn how to start and grow a new business.Created the Dairy Investment Program, which made $5 million in grant funding available to help Pennsylvania dairy farmers overcome challenges and capitalize on new opportunities.Recapitalized the Business in Our Sites program to make $75 million available to create an inventory of shovel-ready sites to attract new business and jobs to PennsylvaniaRetooled the state’s Solar Energy Program to include grant funding to help make Pennsylvania a leader in clean energy.Directed the Governor’s Action Team to assist 270 business expansion or relocation projects across the commonwealth that are expected to create more than 30,000 jobs and generate nearly $11 billion in investment.Fostered the creation of more than 3,200 jobs from businesses located within a Keystone Innovation Zone, which provides funding to help early-stage technology companies and encourage entrepreneurship in and around Pennsylvania’s colleges and universities.Created a new program to facilitate the construction of infrastructure necessary to bring low-cost energy to residents and manufacturers through a $24 million Pipeline Investment Program.Created the new Manufacturing PA initiative to support Pennsylvania manufacturing through career training and retraining programs, student engagement, and market adaptation assistance.Assisted nearly 3,000 companies in training more than 145,000 incumbent workers across the commonwealth to help employees develop new skills to thrive in their jobs.Created a new apprenticeship program funded in part through funds clawed back from businesses that have received state support in exchange for job creation but failed to meet the state requirements of the contract.“At every turn since Governor Wolf took office in 2015, he has worked with me to direct PennDOT to break new ground in how we do our business,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. “Our initiatives are creating heightened collaboration with local governments and planning partners to better serve transportation needs across the modes. We are improving our basic county-based functions to address backlogs of needs, especially in rural areas. All of our work translates into better economic opportunities across Pennsylvania.”Innovation and InfrastructureCreated the Broadband Investment Incentive Program and the Office of Broadband Initiatives, which will provide more than 9,000 unserved rural Pennsylvanians with access to broadband by June 2022.Put out 1,162 bridge projects and 2,583 projects for roadway and other improvement projects worth approximately $9.92 billion since January 2015.Announced the multi-year Road Maintenance and Preservation (Road MaP) initiative to increase maintenance investments and invest in capital projects and interstate projects.Launched an innovative multimodal transportation plan to enhance travel and safety along the Interstate 76.Improved the condition of state-owned bridges. The number in poor condition has decreased from more than 6,000 in 2008 to 2,855 today.Replaced 558 poor condition bridges in four years through the Private Public Partnership Rapid Bridge Replacement program.Prioritized $181 million to accelerate repaving work on interstates and attack potholes across Pennsylvania through Resurface PA.Created new websites where people can see active and planned projects, conditions of state and local bridges, and updates on how PennDOT is improving Pennsylvanians’ quality of life.Improved traveler information by making plow-location tracking and information on state roads were last plowed available at www.511PA.com, and developed 511PAConnect, a tool to provide updates to motorists in the event of long-term road closures. Governor Wolf Showcases First Term Advancements in Economic Development, Infrastructurecenter_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

EURO ELECTION 2014: PAT THE COPE HANGING IN THERE

first_imgPat the Cope Gallagher is in a battle for that final seat in Europe.Pat The Cope Gallagher is hanging on to his European Parliament seat by his finger nails after the fifth count in the Midlands North West European constituency resulted in Fine Gael’s Mairead McGuinness being elected.It means the veteran Donegal Fianna Fail politician is in a straight fight with Independent Marian Harkin for the fourth and final seat.Ms McGuinness reached the quota after getting 72% of Jim Higgins’ available transfers following his elimination. As a result, the Fine Gael candidate reached 135,698 votes to put her ahead of Sinn Fein’s Matt Carthy who is on 126,492.With Carthy expected to be elected next, it leaves The Cope in a dogfight with Harkin who he is trailing by over 27,000 votes.It will all come down to how the transfers of his party colleague Thomas Byrne, who has been eliminated,  is distributed.Standings after fifth count: Flanagan, Luke “Ming” (Ind) electedMairead McGuinness (FG) 135,698 electedMatt Carthy (SF) 126,492Marian Harkin (Ind) 95,577Pat “The Cope” Gallagher (FF) 67,606 Thomas Byrne (FF) 63,392 eliminatedEURO ELECTION 2014: PAT THE COPE HANGING IN THERE was last modified: May 27th, 2014 by johngerardShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:copeelectioneuropeangallagherpatlast_img read more