A splash with the spleen

first_imgThe Harvard takeoff uses the same music to ask “What Does the Spleen Do?” and speculates, through similar dance numbers and equally absurd lyrics, about the possibilities: secret male uterus, backup tongue, vestigial fin.“The Spleen” was created by a team that involved dozens of members of the second-year class in front of and behind the camera, Rome said. The spleen was selected because it’s a major organ whose functions — filtering the blood, among others — are a mystery to a lot of people.The video was created for 107th annual second-year show, which ran for three nights in December. After the show, Rome said, the creators posted the video online. Though participants mentioned the video to family and friends over Facebook, there was no effort to garner publicity. Despite that, within five days, the video had a million hits.Though dozens of students were involved, the video’s core team was Rome, Will Lewis, Lydia Flier, Eddie Grom, Ariana Metchik-Gaddis, Richard Ngo, Lenka Ilcisin, and Emily Simons, contributing writing, editing, filming, choreography, and costume design.Rome joined “The Spleen” project after helping out on a previous video, called “The Gunner Song,” a takeoff of 2012’s “Thrift Shop,” poking fun at overachieving students at HMS and the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. The videos, Rome said, are a lot of work, but they’re also a lot of fun and allow members of the class to interact in a different way.“It’s such a fun project,” Rome said. “The best part is to work with so many members of the class. It was a blast.” <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEi_4Cyx4Uw” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://img.youtube.com/vi/aEi_4Cyx4Uw/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a> Who knew the spleen was so funny? And popular?A parody video by a group of Harvard Medical School students went viral in December, garnering a million YouTube hits in just five days and surpassing 1.7 million since.The video’s creators were astounded at its popularity, according to Ben Rome, a second-year student who filmed and edited the video. Rather than just basking in their 15 minutes of fame, however, the students are trying leverage the video’s popularity for a good cause: science education. They launched the HMS/HSDM Organ Challenge, a contest for primary and secondary school students to create a music video highlighting one of the body’s organs.The challenge, launched this month, runs through March 15. Entries will be posted online and judged by members of the second-year class, Rome said. Entrants will be judged according to accuracy and originality, not production values, so students, teachers, and families don’t need to spend a lot of money to win.“Technology today is so easy and accessible, you can make a video on your smartphone,” Rome said.The HMS student video “What Does the Spleen Do?” is a takeoff of last year’s “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?),” which itself was a music parody by a pair of Norwegian comedians, part of the comedy group Ylvis. The slickly produced original discusses animal sounds and the mystery of fox sounds, setting a catchy beat against simple and absurd lyrics. The video went viral, getting hundreds of millions of hits on YouTube.last_img read more

Faculty Council meeting held Nov. 18

first_imgOn Nov. 18 the members of the Faculty Council approved the Harvard Summer School course list for 2016. They also heard a report on the legislated review of the Ph.D. program in Film and Visual Studies and a report on student diversity. Finally, they discussed proposed reforms to the General Education program.The council next meets on Dec. 9. The next meeting of the faculty is on Dec. 1. The preliminary deadline for the Feb. 2 meeting of the faculty is Jan. 19 at noon.last_img

USSOUTHCOM Honors Partner Nation Liaison Officers

first_imgBy Dialogo February 13, 2012 February 10 marked the culmination to their assignments as Military Liaison Officers to the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) for Brazilian Navy Commander Paulo Petró, Peruvian Army Colonel Juan Carlos Liendo and Chilean Navy Captain Luis Felipe Bravo. SOUTHCOM honored the country representatives in a ceremony to thank them for their service and bid them farewell. U.S. Air Force General Douglas Fraser, USSOUTHCOM Commander also recognized their distinguished service by awarding Cmdr. Petró and Capt. Bravo with a Joint Service Commendation Medal on behalf of the Secretary of Defense. In his opening remarks, Gen. Fraser said, “This program is very important to the United States…the benefit we gain mutually will pay us dividends in the future,” and was quick to add that the relationships established with the liaison officers and the work achieved together have already paid both sides important dividends. “We have learned a great deal from each other as we worked with the Armed Forces of their countries.” The same medal was presented to Col. Liendo in a previous ceremony on February 3, by U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Steven Shepro, Director of SOUTHCOM’s Strategy, Policy and Plans directorate, according to a press release published by the command’s Public Affairs Office. The Partner Nation Liaison Officer (PNLO) Program began in 1998 with a focus on fostering a better understanding among partner nations and facilitating the ability to integrate and synchronize operations among them by assisting in the transfer of vital information, enhancing mutual trust and developing an increased level of teamwork among the countries. Since then, according to the press release, seven South American countries, in addition to Canada have assigned military liaison officers to the command. Cmdr. Petró, a Marine officer and naval aviator (helicopter) who celebrated 28 years in the Brazilian Military on the same day, was assigned to SOUTHCOM on February 7, 2011, and will head back to his home country as Commander of the Amphibious Assault Vehicular Battalion in Rio de Janeiro. “As an aviator I have flown across open seas, over the Amazon jungle and over the snowy southern Andes, but if I have to mention one highlight in my career, it would have to be my time in Miami as part of the SOUTHCOM family,” said the Brazilian helicopter pilot, while stressing his admiration for “the U.S. for the bravery of the American people.” Chilean Submariner, Capt. Bravo, served as PNLO to SOUTHCOM since February 13, 2010, providing invaluable service as the primary link to the Chilean Command Authorities during the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that struck his country only 10 days after his arrival to Miami. Capt. Bravo thanked his family and the command staff, expressing, “All of you [the U.S.] bring hope to many nations; you really, truly foster regional stability with your efforts in the region.” “You make this world a better place in which to live and I feel honored to walk alongside you,” he concluded. Capt. Bravo’s next assignment will be as member of the Staff to the Chilean Commander of Naval Operations in Valparaiso, Chile. Col. Liendo, a fully qualified Military Intelligence Officer and Professor at the Peruvian Army’s Command and General Staff College, Military Academy and Intelligence and Analysis School in Military Intelligence, History and Strategy, served SOUTHCOM since February 8, 2010 and retired from his military career on December 31, 2011. In addition to serving as advisor to various directorates within the command, Col. Liendo also contributed greatly to a CHDS Seminar on Security and Defense during his assignment to SOUTHCOM.last_img read more

Fears for Uighur culture as scholars vanish in China crackdown

first_imgIt has been almost two years since Bugra Arkin’s father Aierken was abruptly snatched from his home in China’s troubled Xinjiang region by national security agents.Aierken Yibulayin’s publishing firm — one of the biggest in the region — translated thousands of books into Uighur before he was detained in October 2018. Arkin has not heard from him since.”My father had a strong impact on the Uighur publishing industry, and that made him a target of the Chinese government,” said Arkin, who lives in California. “This is very unacceptable and our lives were literally destroyed.”He is not the only one.At least 435 Uighur intellectuals have been imprisoned or forcibly disappeared since April 2017, according to the Uyghur Human Rights Project.The rounding up of Uighur linguists, scholars and publishers is seen by overseas advocacy groups as part of a campaign by the Chinese Communist Party to erase the ethnic group’s identity and culture and assimilate it into the dominant, Mandarin-speaking Han population. ‘Don’t know where he is’ Alim last heard from an acquaintance that his father’s trial, which began in January, had been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but fears he will soon be sentenced and jailed.His mother, who lives in Xinjiang, “wouldn’t dare talk” about Hasani’s arrest.”I certainly felt very bad and didn’t know how to express it. For a long time I couldn’t concentrate on my work either,” Alim said.All 11 linguists in his father’s work unit have also been detained, including 64-year-old Hemdulla Abdurahman, who was snatched in January 2019, according to his son Yashar Hemdulla.”In March 2019, I was told my father had been taken to a ‘hospital’ … but the family acquaintance on the call mimed handcuffs on her wrists,” said Hemdulla, who lives in Norway. “I do not know where he is now.”Hemdulla knows several intellectuals whose relatives say they were first detained in camps, then given long-term jail sentences, and he is concerned his father might suffer the same fate.”At the time, I found it extremely hard. I am an only son, my mother is all alone and my father is not young — how much more can he take?” said Hemdulla.While authorities said in December that all people from vocational centers have “graduated”, researchers say they have been gradually moved to other forms of detention.Many have been prosecuted and given prison sentences of up to 20 years, said Gene Bunin, a researcher on Uighur issues and creator of the Xinjiang Victims Database.”This has partially been a trend in the last one or two years, with the camps being emptied,” Bunin said, estimating that at least 300,000 people remain incarcerated.Fears have also been raised over jailed Uighur intellectual Ilham Tohti, who was awarded a top human rights prize by the European Parliament — but has not been seen in years. Renowned Uighur linguist Alim Hasani was taken by authorities in August 2018 during a Beijing work trip, according to his son Ershat Alim.Alim believes that his father, a retired division head of the Xinjiang Ethnic Language Work Committee, was detained for his research, which aimed to standardize Uighur-Han translations.Hasani, who compiled several dictionaries, was a Communist Party member whose projects had previously been approved by the state and won awards.”When I first heard that my father was arrested, I never once thought that this could happen to him. He must have been very surprised as well,” said Alim, who lives in France.More than one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim Turkic-speaking minorities have been held in re-education camps in Xinjiang following a spate of ethnic violence, according to rights groups.Chinese authorities describe the facilities as vocational education centers where Uighurs learn Mandarin and job skills to steer them away from extremism.In a statement, China’s foreign ministry said: “The so-called notion of ‘imprisoning Uighur intellectuals to extinguish Uighur culture’ is complete rumor-mongering and slander.”center_img ‘Sad and angry’ Uighur literary critic and writer Yalqun Rozi was among the first wave of intellectuals to be detained in October 2016 after hardline Xinjiang Communist Party chief Chen Quanguo took office.His relatives later discovered that Rozi had been sentenced to 15 years in prison in January 2018 for “inciting subversion of state power” — a vague charge commonly used for political prisoners. Authorities suggested that Rozi’s detention was related to his role in compiling Uighur literature textbooks that had been in use for more than a decade, said his son Kamalturk Yalqun. All his father’s textbook collaborators were also detained around this time.Since 2012, bilingual Mandarin-Uighur education has gradually been applied in schools in Xinjiang, with the aim of reaching 2.6 million students. Prior to that, classes were mostly taught in Uighur and other minority languages.”By abolishing these textbooks and eliminating Uighur language education altogether, the next generation of Uighur youth will have no way to find their link with Uighur culture,” said Yalqun.”It is a way for China to eliminate the entire Uighur identity and assimilate them to become… people that speak Chinese, think Chinese and don’t know their own history or culture. That makes me sad and angry at the same time.” Topics :last_img read more