Boston University men’s ice hockey pauses all activities after positive COVID-19 case

Boston University is pausing all men’s ice hockey activities after a positive COVID-19 test within the program, the school said Thursday.

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The school said a member of the team’s “Tier 1 personnel” tested positive. The group, which includes student-athletes, coaches, managers and support staff, is tested three times a week in accordance with NCAA, Hockey East and school protocols.

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BU’s game against UConn that was scheduled for Saturday has been canceled. The game would have been the team’s season opener.

As of Tuesday, there have been 26 positive cases of COVID-19 at BU — 16 were among students and 10 among staff.


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Cincinnati’s case for College Football Playoff backed by these surprising stats

Cincinnati stayed at No. 7 in the second installment of the College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday.

The Bearcats (8-0) didn’t play last week, and won’t play this week — but their path to the four-team Playoff remains the same: They need help.

Cincinnati needs No. 2 Notre Dame (9-0, 8-0 ACC) to give No. 3 Clemson (8-1, 7-1 ACC) a second loss. The Bearcats need No. 1 Alabama (8-0 SEC) to beat No. 6 Florida (7-1 SEC) in the SEC championship game. And it wouldn’t hurt if No. 5 Texas A&M (6-1 SEC) lost another game, either.

None of those involves No. 4 Ohio State (4-0 Big Ten), though ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit did float an underhanded way for Michigan to potentially hurt its rival’s chances. We’ll leave the in-state Buckeyes out of it.

MORE: Second CFP rankings released

Even if all that happens, the CFP committee might find excuses to leave Cincinnati out. Any excuse to exclude the Group of 5, however, runs contrary to some statistical evidence in the Bearcats’ favor. Cincinnati belongs in the conversation with the other Playoff contenders, and there is one statistic in particular that backs that case up.

Of those top seven teams, Cincinnati’s opponents have the best winning percentage this season. In fact, the Bearcats are the only team whose opponents have a winning percentage better than .500:

Rank Team W L Pct.
1 Cincinnati 38 31 .551
2 Clemson 45 46 .495
3 Alabama 38 39 .494
4 Texas A&M 36 42 .462
5 Florida 33 45 .423
6 Notre Dame 37 55 .402
7 Ohio State 13 21 .382

That’s a byproduct of conference-only scheduling (Cincinnati’s lone nonconference opponent to this point is Austin Peay). But you can’t say the Bearcats haven’t beat anybody when you look at the rest of those contender’s schedules.

Cincinnati also has two wins this season against opponents that were ranked at the time they played: the same as Notre Dame and Ohio State have (Alabama is the only one of those top seven teams to have three wins against opponents). The Bearcats secured wins against No. 22 Army and No. 16 SMU, and also have a ranked opponent left on the schedule in No. 24 Tulsa — a team they likely will have to beat in the regular season and again in the American Athletic Conference championship game.

Yet the perception is that Cincinnati’s strength of victory took a hit when SMU lost to 52-38 to East Carolina on Nov. 28. So, the argument against the Bearcats is the conference schedule.

Of course, Cincinnati will also get pitted against Ohio State, in more ways than one. The Buckeyes beat the Bearcats 42-0 last year and, even if the Playoff committee insists that result doesn’t matter in 2020, the perception of that result is still out there.

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Forensic linguists can make or break a court case. So who are they and what do they do?

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If you’re an avid viewer of crime shows, you’ve probably come across cases in which an expert, often a psychologist, is called in to help solve a crime using their language analysis skills.

However, in real life it’s the job of forensic linguists like myself to provide such evidence in courts, here in Australia and around the world.

Forensic linguists can provide expert opinion on a variety of language-related dilemmas, including unattributed voice recordings, false confessions, trademark disputes and, of course, a fair share of threatening letters.

But what do we look for when doing this?

Reading between the lines (and everything else)

Linguistics is the scientific study of language. Thus, linguists are uniquely placed to provide expert opinions on how language is used. Linguists study:

  • grammatical structures, wherein changes in punctuation patterns between texts can signal different authors
  • semantics, which explores how speakers and listeners form meaning, such as when making sense of a written text
  • phonetics and phonology, which refer to the sounds of language. We can recognise subtle differences in the sound of a vowel when produced by different speakers, or by speakers of different dialects and languages.
  • sociolinguistics, which looks at how language use varies across different social groups. For example, we can identify when someone from a non-English language background might misunderstand a question. This is because the variety of English they’re familiar with would differ, in small but notable ways, from native English speakers.

Since the first known forensic linguistic case in 1953, all of the above abilities have proven invaluable in courts time and time again. Yet the work done by forensic linguists seems to largely elude members of the public.

A widely misunderstood field

Ironically, a big problem for forensic linguists (and linguistics in general) relates to language. It comes down to how we use the word “linguist”.

Some people think this refers to a person who speaks many different languages, or is particularly fluent in their speech or writing. These non-technical interpretations are easy to conflate with the academic discipline of linguistics.

But apart from causing linguists a headache at dinner parties, does it really matter if people misunderstand what linguists do?

It seems so. Widespread ignorance on the vitality of forensic linguistics has led to some of the most egregious miscarriages of justice in Australian history.

In 2018, the Western Australia Court of Appeal overturned the conviction of manslaughter for Gene Gibson, an Aboriginal man with a cognitive impairment for whom English was a third language.

Police interviewed Gibson without an interpreter, assuming one wasn’t needed to assess his English fluency. This neglect resulted in Gibson spending nearly five years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

People who speak English as an additional language sometimes don’t know their legal rights in situations such as police interviews.

In the past, these defendants or witnesses have been treated as though they understood complex legal English simply because they could chat about the weather, or their family.

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Astronomers Crack the Case of the Blue Ring Nebula | Smart News

About 6,200 lightyears from Earth, a mysterious star appears surrounded by a doughnut of foggy blue light. It’s an old-looking star sitting in a young star’s dust cloud, and scientists have been trying to figure out how it formed since they first spotted it in 2004. Now, a team of astronomers says they’ve cracked the case, Monica Young reports for Sky & Telescope.

In a paper published on November 18 in the journal Nature, the research team explains how a collision of two stars several thousand years ago would create the structure observed today. It’s currently the only known example of a two-star collision that’s in the middle of transitioning from its debris-strewn initial stage to the late stage when the debris would become invisible.

“It’s kind of unique—one of a kind right now,” said Carnegie Institution for Science astrophysicist Mark Seibert of the Carnegie Institution for Science at a teleconference, Daniel Clery reports for Science magazine. The new understanding of the blue ring nebula may help astronomers understand other merged stars, he says, adding, “it’s the Rosetta Stone of that process.”

The strange star is not surrounded by a blue ring after all. Instead, it’s flanked by a pair of cones that face outward, like megaphones pointing in opposite directions. Each cone is too faint to be observed on its own, but because one cone is lined up behind the other from Earth’s point of view, telescopes like NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) could make out the shape of a blue ring.

Astronomers initially thought that the structure may have formed when a planet many times the size of Jupiter fell into a star and got torn apart. But in 2012, researchers discovered a disk of dust orbiting around the central star. The disk blasted the tips off of the cones and launched them outward; one is hurtling toward Earth at about 250 miles per second. By the disk’s size, astronomers knew it came from something much larger than a planet, reports Inverse’s Passant Rabie.

California Institute of Technology astrophysicist Chris Martin described the problem as “a Sherlock Holmes mystery,” at the teleconference, per Science magazine. In 2017, the researchers contacted Columbia University theorist and astronomer Brian Metzger for help.

Metzger suggested that the blue ring nebula, with its strange cones and dust disk, could represent the events just a few thousand years after the collision of two stars.

As described in the Nature paper, the evidence suggests that one of the stars was about the size of Earth’s Sun, and it began to expand as it reached the end of its lifecycle. As it grew, it got closer to a star about one-tenth its size. The large star’s gravity pulled in the smaller neighbor, and the two collided, throwing up a cloud of debris and a blast that cut the dust cloud in half, per Sky & Telescope.

“It wasn’t just that [Metzger] could explain the data we were seeing; he was essentially predicting what we

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Columbia University Bans 70 Students From Campus for COVID Violations as NYC Deals With Case Surge

Columbia University temporarily banned 70 students from campus after they violated the college’s coronavirus travel policies. The move comes as New York City faces a surge in COVID-19 cases.

a group of people sitting at a park: Re-opening Continues Across Densely Populated New York And New Jersey Areas NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 28: People sit on the grass at Columbia University as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on September 28, 2020 in New York City. As of November 22, the university banned 70 students from campus after they violated the college’s coronavirus travel policies.

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Re-opening Continues Across Densely Populated New York And New Jersey Areas NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 28: People sit on the grass at Columbia University as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on September 28, 2020 in New York City. As of November 22, the university banned 70 students from campus after they violated the college’s coronavirus travel policies.

The ban followed an unauthorized trip to Turks and Caicos by students from Columbia’s Business School.


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The trip was in direct violation of Columbia’s COVID-19 public health protocols and the Columbia Community Health Compact—which all students, faculty and staff were required to sign at the start of the 2020-2021 academic year.

The compact and protocols both restricted most domestic and international travel and banned group gatherings.

“An important part of Columbia’s public health protocols is that there are consequences for community members who violate the university’s Health Compact,” a university spokesperson told The Columbia Daily Spectator.

The students in violation of the university’s travel policies will be banned from campus through December 1. However, if the students violate the policy again, they could face harsher charges said the spokesperson.

The Business School offered a hybrid model of instructions for the fall semester. This means that students had the option of “HyFlex” or complete online classes, according to The Columbia Daily Spectator.

In the HyFlex model, students had access to a combination of in-person and remote classes that alternate each day. Business students also had access to facilities in the university, including Warren Hall and Uris Hall, even if they choose to learn remotely.

The students in violation will now only be able to learn remotely without access to the university’s facilities.

Columbia’s COVID-19 positivity rate of students and faculty live both on and off-campus was 0.12 percent for the majority of the semester, according to the university’s website as of Sunday. However, during the week of November 9, the positivity rate rose to 0.22 percent with 24 students in isolation and 39 in quarantine.

New York City, like many other areas around the country, have reinstated COVID-19 restrictions ahead of the holiday season in response to a surge in cases.

New York was once an epicenter for the virus during the early stages of the pandemic, but the area since curbed its cases in the summer. However, since students returned to classrooms during the final weeks of September, New York City has seen a steady uptick in cases once again.

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On Saturday, New York reported over 5,970 new cases and 41 new deaths, according to data from The New York Times. Over the past

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Lori Loughlin reports to California prison for 2-month sentence in college admissions case

Lori Loughlin, husband Mossimo Giannulli sentenced to prison in college admissions scandal



Lori Loughlin reported to a California prison Friday to begin serving her two-month sentence for her conviction in the college admissions scandal, authorities said.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston said Loughlin was being processed at the federal lockup in Dublin, California.

A spokesperson for the Federal Correctional Institution Dublin confirmed to USA TODAY that Loughlin is in custody at the minimum security prison for women east of San Francisco. Under the terms of her sentencing in August, she was expected to report on or by Nov. 19. 

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“The parties recently agreed that the defendant can report to prison on October 30, 2020, instead of on November 19, 2020. The defendant has further agreed that, during her two month sentence, she will not seek an early release from prison on COVID-related grounds,” the statement from the U.S. attorney’s office said. 

Lori Loughlin et al. standing next to a man wearing a suit and tie: Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli have agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy charges.

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Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli have agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy charges.

Under the Bureau of Prisons’ coronavirus protocols, Loughlin will be screened and tested for COVID-19 and will be placed in quarantine for 14 days.

Prosecutors said Loughlin’s husband, Massimo Giannulli, didn’t report to prison with Loughlin on Friday. The Bureau of Prisons website showed he is not in custody at a men’s prison in California. 

USA TODAY reached out to Loughlin’s lawyer, B.J. Trach, for comment.

In August, Loughlin was sentenced to two months and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, got five months for paying half a million dollars in bribes to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California as rowing recruits.

Loughlin, 56, was sentenced at an online hearing in federal court in Boston conducted via Zoom by U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton. Giannulli, 57, was sentenced by Gorton in a separate hearing on the same day. 

Both sought to be serve their sentences in minimum security prisons in California but the final decision is up to the Bureau of Prisons. Giannulli’s lawyer said at his sentencing he sought to serve his sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution Lompoc in Santa Barbara County.

In addition to the prison term, Loughlin will pay a fine of $150,000, followed by two years of supervised release and 100 hours of community service. Giannulli will pay a fine of $250,000 followed by two years of supervised release and 250 hours of community service. 

Both sentences were agreed to under the terms of the couple’s plea bargains negotiated with federal prosecutors earlier this year.

“I accept the … plea agreement negotiated by the government and Ms. Loughlin and I conclude that the agreed sentence … is sufficient but not greater than needed for punishment,” Gorton said. “There is no mystery about the outcome.”

Loughlin apologized, choking up a bit as she spoke via video link.

The celebrity

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Case Western Reserve University selects Eric W. Kaler as new president

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Former University of Minnesota President Eric W. Kaler has been named the new Case Western Reserve University.


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“Our university’s growing momentum attracted an exceptional pool of candidates,” Board Chair Fred DiSanto said in a news release. “But Eric’s unique combination of intellect, accomplishments, and authenticity ultimately made him our unanimous choice to become Case Western Reserve’s next president.”

Kaler will replace Barbara Snyder, CWRU’s first woman president, who in her 12-year tenure eliminated a $19-million deficit, added campus buildings and helped raise $1.82 billion in donations to its “Thinking Forward” capital plan. Snyder will lead the American Association of Universities.

An accomplished chemical engineer, Kaler led the the University of Minnesota with unprecedented growth in research, fundraising and graduation rates. He was also part of the research progress that led to a state partnership known as MnDRIVE (Minnesota Discovery, Research, and InnoVation Economy). Kaler holds 10 patents and has been published more than 200 peer-reviewed papers. He is also a member and fellow of several academies including the National Academy of Engineering.

The $18 million program helped to fund research areas that aligned with industry needs and statewide challenges. Topics included robotics and advanced manufacturing, the environment, treatments for brain conditions, and, later, a statewide clinical trials network for cancer (which added $4 million per year to the allocation).

Initially, Kaler didn’t want to leave the area after stepping down as president in 2019. But after learning more about CWU, he became intrigued.

“There is a tremendous fit,” Kaler said. “Once I looked, I got more excited… [and thought] I’m really made for this job.”

David McMillan, a current regent and former chair of its board, attributes Kaler’s success in launching MnDRIVE and other initiatives were two primary factors.

“He had that kind of big-picture vision,” McMillan said in a news release.

Kaler is married to his wife, Karen, and has two adult sons —Charlie and Sam— and a nearly 4-year-old granddaughter, Ophelia.


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Former U president Kaler to lead Case Western Reserve U. in Ohio

Former University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler has been selected as the next president of Case Western Reserve University, a private research institution in Cleveland.

Kaler, who led the U for eight years until he stepped down in summer 2019, will take the helm of the 12,000-student university on July 1, the school announced Thursday. An accomplished chemical engineer, Kaler said his “strong belief in the power of research” drew him to the job.

“It is a comprehensive university. They have strong undergraduate, graduate and professional programs,” Kaler said in an interview. “I draw a lot of energy from interacting with students and enabling them to improve.”

Case Western’s board of trustees sought a leader with strong academic and research credentials and prolific fundraising ability.

In Kaler, they get a leader who broke records for graduation rates, research grants and fundraising hauls while at the U. But Kaler’s U legacy was much debated, with critics feeling he should have done more to flatten tuition, cut costs and address a culture within the athletics department that led to back-to-back scandals.

After finishing at the U, Kaler said he never ruled out leading another institution “if the right fit came along.” He will start his new role two years after stepping down as U president and amid a pandemic that has upended campus life and squeezed college budgets.

“I guess I like a challenge,” Kaler said. “It’s a really great opportunity. It plays to my strengths, I think.”

Twitter: @ryanfaircloth

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