The renovation of Harvard’s Sherman Fairchild Building may have seemed inconsequential to the casual observer because the exterior barely changed. However, as a result of a two-year demolition and reconstruction project to accommodate the Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology Department (SCRB), the interior has been transformed into one of the University’s greenest and most efficient laboratory spaces.The project, the first to utilize Harvard’s 2009 Green Building Standards to guide project development, recently received the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ (FAS) first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Commercial Interiors Platinum certification — the highest rating possible — from the U.S. Green Building Council. The certification follows the registration of Harvard’s 100th LEED green building project, which is the build-out of the laboratory for incoming Professor Daniel Nocera.“Laboratories are the most energy-intensive spaces on campus. As part of our goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2016, Harvard has focused on creating greener, healthier labs through a combination of energy-efficient renovations, resource conservation, and partnering with researchers to promote energy-saving practices in their labs,” said Jeremy Bloxham, Mallinckrodt Professor of Geophysics and dean of science in FAS.From the beginning of the design process, the project team was committed to meeting clearly defined sustainability goals. Harvard’s Life Cycle Costing Calculator was used to vet cost-effective energy systems that will reduce the building’s ongoing environmental footprint and operational costs. The team also worked extensively with researchers and building operations staff to ensure that the finished space would maximize energy efficiency and resource conservation while meeting their cutting-edge research needs.“The SCRB faculty and administrators responded enthusiastically to the challenge of designing and operating green laboratories. Together with the FAS Project Team, we created labs that really deliver on the promise of energy-saving design and technology without sacrificing the scientific research to be conducted in the buildings,” said SCRB Executive Director Kathryn Link.The new energy efficiency measures include an internal heat shift chiller to capture heat from high-load zones and redistribute it to other parts of the building, occupancy sensors on fume hoods so they close automatically when not in use, heat recovery from zebrafish tank exhaust air, and windows to provide natural ventilation in nonlab spaces. Designers also targeted electricity use by reducing overhead lighting and including LED task lighting at laboratory benches. By reducing air flow change rates during unoccupied periods with the use of occupancy sensors, the building is estimated to consume 11 percent less electricity and 51 percent less steam annually.“The new space dramatically reduces the amount of energy used per occupant, thanks to state-of-the-art energy-reduction technologies, such as the internal heat shift chiller and heat recovery system,” said Michael Lichten, associate dean of physical resources and planning at FAS. “The healthy, productive and creative laboratory workplaces also maximize use of daylight and fresh air, while optimizing an indoor environment that responds to a diverse range of research and office demands.”Extensive water conservation measures include the use of re-captured “gray” water for toilet flushing, and low-flow fixtures that are projected to reduce water use 42 percent below the maximum required by building codes. The recycled water will appear blue to identify it as nonpotable.“Now that Bauer Laboratories and the Sherman Fairchild Building are fully occupied and buzzing with research, the whole SCRB community of scientists, staff, and students has gone green by hosting the first lab-oriented environmental competition at FAS, piloting a very successful plastics-to-glass lab supplies program, and championing the use of tap over bottled or delivered drinking water. We plan to continue these efforts moving forward and cultivate a culture of sustainability,” continued Link.Researchers have also participated in the FAS Freezer Maintenance Program to improve the longevity of the -20 and -80 degree freezers, to achieve energy savings, to improve sample security, and to reduce the risk of freezer failure.“Because laboratory research is so resource-intensive, we as researchers have a special obligation to take whatever actions we can to reduce the environmental impact of our work. A major challenge for us as a community is to find ways to do this without compromising the scope and pace of our research,” said Dena Cohen, a research specialist in the Melton Lab. “We have focused on ways to reduce the huge amount of plastic that we put into the waste stream every day. By recycling as much as we can, and by substituting reusable glass products for plastic whenever possible, I think we have succeeded in dramatically reducing the amount of waste we produce, without impeding our research.”The Harvard green building and sustainability project team included the FAS Office of Physical Resources and Planning, the FAS Green Program, the Harvard Green Building Services, and the Harvard Office for Sustainability. A LEED case study of the Sherman Fairchild project is posted on the Harvard Green Building Resource website.
The TV ad market is on the mend after getting hit by a broader pandemic ad slowdown. But with Covid-19 cases on the rise, some networks are cautious about the coming quarters, even with a big boost from political ads this quarter. In recent days and weeks, media companies including ABC and ESPN parent Disney, Fox, AMC Networks, NBCUniversal parent Comcast, WarnerMedia parent AT&T, ViacomCBS, and Discovery reported earnings that showed the TV ad market warming up after hitting a pandemic-related trough in the second quarter. The record-breaking year for political advertising will give companies a boost in the fourth quarter, some companies warned that macroeconomic factors as the pandemic rages on could impact ad spend again. And it’s all happening as TV is enduring a long-term overall slowdown. – Advertisement – David ZaslavAnjali Sundaram | CNBC “In terms of commercial success, behind the firming advertising marketplace around the globe, we have posted healthy sequential improvement, again, in our advertising revenue growth, which, while still negative year-over-year, is showing demonstrable improvement around the world,” Discovery president and CEO David Zaslav said on its earnings call. “We have seen advertising partners resurface around the globe.”At Comcast, ad revenue increased 12% year-over-year because of political ad revenue, which was up 70% over what it generated during the 2016 election. But the company said core advertising, excluding political, was down 6.8% year-over-year. That’s still a “significant improvement” relative to last quarter. Fox Corp also saw advertising momentum, attributed to strong ratings at Fox News and political advertising. The company’s leadership said that in the quarter ended June 30, which is its fiscal fourth quarter, its local stations were experiencing a year-over-year decrease of about 40% in its base ad market (that is, minus political ads and other non-recurring events). CEO Lachlan Murdoch said on Fox’s call that the equivalent drop in the quarter ended Sept. 30 was only 20%. “Including the benefit of political and station acquisitions, we are now pacing ahead of the same time last year. Looking at it slightly differently, at the beginning of Covid our stations were pacing down nearly 50% compared to the prior year. Today, they are pacing ahead.”ViacomCBS said its advertising revenue also improved dramatically, declining only 6% from a year ago, versus the 27% decline it saw in the second quarter.“We’ve also seen certain COVID impacted industries like auto and retail gradually return, which reflects improvement in the economy and the significant value our portfolio brings to advertisers to drive their own business recovery,” ViacomCBS’ president and CEO Bob Bakish said on its earnings call. “Overall, we’re encouraged by what we’re seeing and big picture advertising is certainly moving in the right direction.” Disney said for its broadcasting unit, ad revenue was comparable year-over-year as lower average network viewership was offset by the benefit of an additional week in the current quarter, higher network rates, and an increase in political advertising at its owned TV stations.Uncertain times ahead after political ad boomDiscovery noted visibility is low following the U.S. election, which helped business in the third quarter, and because of rising Covid cases. The company said its U.S. advertising was flat in October year-over-year, while international advertising was down slightly. “This may not be a trend we would necessarily extrapolate, however, for the full quarter, given, number one, some tailwinds from political advertising in the U.S. in October; and number two, risks from rising Covid case numbers globally and beginning government countermeasures, especially in Europe, which pose risks at the back end of the current quarter,” Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels said on its call. “That said, we are confident to see sequential improvement in the fourth quarter versus Q3 again.” At AT&T, CEO John Stankey said the sports calendar ahead still has a lot of questions. “Clearly, we’ve seen the leagues demonstrate that they can, in fact, put games on, and they can carry them through. The timing of those and how many there are and exactly what transpires in ’21 and where it falls in the calendar is still a little bit uncertain,” he said on the company’s October call. “And until we have a little better visibility on that, it’s hard to, you know, give you exact views of what first, second, third, fourth quarter looks like next year.”ViacomCBS’ leadership said the return of a stable fall schedule at CBS, along with sports, a “successful” upfront and “hot political category” should help in the fourth quarter. AMC Networks said though the ad market is improving sequentially, results in the fourth quarter will be impacted by timing of its shows, including a delay in the airing of “The Walking Dead.” It said its year-over-year decrease in the fourth quarter ad revenue should be in-line with the third quarter.Content production is ramping upMedia companies largely said they had ramped up production again, after pandemic-related restrictions caused severe disruptions earlier this year. Discovery said its content production was nearly back to normal, with only 10% of the company’s production still paused mostly because of travel and local restrictions. Over at AT&T, Stankey said the company had 180 productions underway in February before the pandemic started. As of October, he said the company had about 130 productions up and running. Meanwhile at Viacom, the company said it estimates production levels are at about 95% of last year’s levels at Viacom Media Network, while CBS “essentially has all of the full network series currently in production” and Showtime is producing “almost all” of its series. At AMC Networks, executives said the company is resuming production activity on a number of its shows, including “The Walking Dead” at its studio in Georgia, “Fear the Walking Dead” in Texas, and a new series called “Kevin Can F*** Himself” in Boston. Fox said all of its Fox Entertainment returning shows are back in production, with scheduled return dates in early January.Disney CEO Bob Chapek said although many of its production teams needed to shut down because of Covid in the beginning of March, its animation teams were able to work remotely and continue production “uninterrupted during the pandemic.” He said on the TV side the company has more than 100 live-action scripted and unscripted projects in active production, with dozens more in other stages of pre- or post-production. Disclosure: Comcast owns NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC. – Advertisement – – Advertisement – Here are some of the big-picture trends the networks shared in their earnings: Better than when the pandemic startedTV advertising last quarter showed the market is in a better place than the earlier days of the pandemic.At Discovery, third-quarter ad revenue still declined 7.7% from the previous year, but that was an improvement from the 14% decline in the second quarter.- Advertisement –
By Shamya DasguptaPakistan’s finest batsmen, through the best part of my cricket-watching years, have not been the prettiest. They were the ones that got the job done, smashingly well at that, and none superior to that man, Javed Miandad. Then Saleem Malik and Ijaz Ahmed and later, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Saeed Anwar. They were certainly not graceless, the last two especially, but neither was a jaw-dropping stylist either. For that, we have…Majid KhanMajid’s last Test had a fun batting order: Mohsin Khan (pretty), Mudassar Nazar (not pretty), Majid Khan (pretty), Javed Miandad (not pretty), Zaheer Abbas (pretty) and Saleem Malik (not pretty). Unfortunately, Majid fell for a 13-ball duck in that game. But he had made a name as a batsman most pleasing to the eye over the course of a near-20-year-long Test career.Right-handed Majid was elegant in the way left-hand batsmen usually are, with flowing drives and pulls, his bat coming down in a graceful arc. What gave him an air of sophistication was the somewhat laidback appearance at the crease, which led to more than one critic suggesting that it didn’t matter to him enough. It certainly did. A long and quite successful career at first-class and Test level proves that.Zaheer AbbasZaheer Abbas caressed the ball as if afraid he would hurt it (Getty Images)One of Pakistan’s absolute greats, Abbas was, at his best, almost the perfect batsman, beautiful to watch and someone his team could count on to lead the charge – not always a given with batsmen so pleasing to the eye. Abbas finished with a Test average of 44.79.In Australia, it was 40.62, and in England, where he also found a happy, long-term home with Gloucestershire, it was 56.06. He wasn’t quite so successful in India, strangely, or New Zealand and the West Indies. But wherever he played, Abbas wowed onlookers like few could at the time, certainly among right-handers.In many ways, he was the anti-Viv Richards. Both Richards and he scored a lot of runs and dominated attacks, and were equally stylish in their different ways, but Richards was more hammer ’em while Abbas was knife through butter. He was especially alluring because he hit so many boundaries and looked, at times, like he was worried about hurting the ball when banishing it.Is there a prettier off-drive in the game than Babar Azam’s? Getty ImagesMohsin KhanMohsin Khan walked away from the game at the age of 31 to become an actor in India. He left with some pretty impressive performances and numbers to his name, but they don’t tell of how, in late 1983, he seemed like he could make himself taller than he was at the crease and get on top of the bounce from Dennis Lillee, Geoff Lawson, Rodney Hogg and Carl Rackemann to score 390 runs at 43.33 in a five-Test series in Australia.At the time, pace and bounce were the weaknesses of many an opening bat from the subcontinent, but Mohsin – tall and loose-limbed, with in-vogue long hair – was cut from a different cloth (and even in the regulation whites of the time, he looked more stylish than his team-mates). He could have played on, surely, and had he done so it would have only made Pakistan that much more appealing a side.Mohammad YousufFrom the mid-1980s, we jump straight to the late-1990s and 2000s, and to the man who started out as Yousuf Youhana but really came into his own after changing his name to Mohammad Yousuf. Like Abbas before him, the best part about Yousuf was how well he balanced a hunger for runs with grace and grandeur. With 7530 runs in 90 Tests, at an average of 52.29, and 9720 in 288 ODIs at 41.71, he is among Pakistan’s top five run-getters in both formats. Like the other three, Yousuf was supple, graceful, and – what’s the best word? – calm. Calm himself, of course, and so unhurried, so in control, so peaceful that he created a sense of serenity while he was out in the middle. Was it the exaggerated backlift? Was it the time he seemed to create between bowler releasing ball and batsman doing something about it? Or was it, maybe, Younis Khan and Inzamam-ul-Haq on either side of him in the batting order? Yousuf stood out. An unusual run-machine who rarely ever looked clumsy.Babar AzamSome say he should be included in the current Fab Four – lose one of Steve Smith, Kane Williamson, Virat Kohli and Joe Root. That, or just make it the Fab Five because there can’t be a list of great current-day batsmen without this young man. It’s tough to say exactly why he sets the pulse racing because Azam is not quite as obviously magnificent as the other four stylists on this list. He isn’t even built like them; not as languid nor as nimble.The thing about him is that he never looks ugly, or gauche, not for a moment. His statements on style aren’t as conspicuous as, say, Williamson’s, but you’ll find them – enough to be bowled over – if you are attentive. Think soft-shouldered suits and a dollop of the blasé. That’s Azam.When I can began writing this piece, I didn’t think it would end it with five right-hand batsmen and not even Anwar in it. Here we are, though – and when it comes to Team Pakistan… you know the cliché. (ESPN Cricinfo)