University of Pennsylvania a cappella group competing for national recognition

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — A University of Pennsylvania a cappella group hopes they will win national recognition through a competition. The group is called Penn Masala, and they are in the Upstaged competition, competing against college groups across the country.

“It’s amazing. I think like there were over 5,000 groups that were originally considered, and it’s really an amazing experience for us to be in the top 8,” said Shrivats Kannan, a member of the group.

Members said they felt it’s important to mash American songs with Hindi songs to promote their South Asian culture.

“Penn Masala’s a way to combine those really two most important parts of our lives, which is the heritage and our current lives here in the United States,” said Sachit Gali, a member of the group.

Their videos highlight their South Asian culture.

“It’s good to finally get some awareness out. Obviously, our group has been around for 25 years, so to be recognized like this on a pretty large scale is definitely a step that hasn’t been done before, and I’m really happy about it,” said Kannan.

The competition winner not only gets prize money for themselves, but for a charity of their choice. Penn Masala will donate to Black Men Heal.

“They essentially provide mental health services, especially, specifically, to people of color, Black men here in Philadelphia,” said Gali. “And besides just providing services, they break down the stigma of mental health care, especially for men,” said Kannan.

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Maxonrow partners with National Chiao Tung University

HSINCHU, Taiwan, Dec. 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Blockchain tech startup company Maxonrow and Taiwan’s leading university National Chiao Tung University jointly established the “Technology Management and Blockchain Research Center” which is dedicated towards the development of blockchain technology applications, promote cross-domain integrated application systems, and contribute to the development of blockchain-industry ecosystem alliance. The inauguration ceremony of research center was held recently on 24th November, 2020.

The “Technology Management and Blockchain Research Center” which was founded by National Chiao Tung University’s Institute of Technology Management Professor Grace Lin and Maxonrow Taiwan Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Don Hsieh. The former is positioned as director of the research center, whereas the latter is taking on technical director role.

In addition, the research center successfully collaborated with many public sector organizations, academic units and well-known corporations, including Chunghwa Telecom, General Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of China, Taiwan Blockchain Alliance, Hsinchu City Government, and Industrial Technology Research Institute — the very initial collaboration that has received firm support from political, business and academic circle.

At present, Taiwan is at a crucial moment for the approval of STO virtual securities financial regulations. Also, the domestic demand for blockchain technology on commercial applications is gradually sprouting and expanding. National Chiao Tung University is well-known for its science and engineering, which comprises of leading academicians and conducive research atmosphere, has occupied the global leading position in electronics, information communications, optoelectronics and many other relevant fields.

By collaborating with blockchain tech startup company Maxonrow, which has leading advantages of being highly familiar with blockchain and matured True Asset Issuing (TAI) technology, the research center aims to focus on:

  • Medical biotechnology industry
  • Agricultural and fishery production along with its sales record management
  • FinTech applications
  • Smart logistics and cold chain
  • Smart Factory Industry 4.0
  • Renewable energy management
  • Enterprise information security certificate software

With the evolution of blockchain technology, rapid adaptation and successful transformation has became a key factor in today’s organizations. The research center aims to assist organizations in seeking a compatible future development, and building a highly interactive ecosystem alliance between industry experts and academic achievers. The “Technology Management and Blockchain Research Centre” is looking forward to realizing the true potential of blockchain applications by introducing cutting-edge technology in near future.

For more information on Maxonrow, visit

About Maxonrow Ltd (“Maxonrow”)

Maxonrow is a leading technology company committed to building a safe and efficient digital world. The company develops an array of products and services powered by blockchain technology, focusing on increasing security and efficiency in digital processes, including DMS (document management system), tokenization services (FT & NFT) and digital identity wallet solutions. Maxonrow works proactively with global regulators and governments to build a healthy ecosystem for new technologies to flourish. With Maxonrow, companies can enjoy all the benefits blockchain offers without sacrificing regulatory oversight.

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Oregon State University COVID-19 tracing program going national

The project started in April with the goal of finding out how prevalent the virus is in communities.

CORVALLIS, Ore. — A first-of-its-kind COVID-19 tracking program that started at Oregon State University (OSU) is going national.

Last April, OSU researchers began randomly testing communities for COVID-19. Their goal was to find out how prevalent the virus was. The researchers teamed up with health care workers and went to door to door at random offering up free COVID-19 tests. Their goal was to test even those carriers with no symptoms and to estimate how many people in the community were infected. The project was named TRACE COVID-19.

“The number of people infected is a key metric and it’s a key driver of the epidemic,” said project leader Ben Dalziel. “As an infectious disease, the number of people who are infected now plays a big role in determining how many people will become infected in the near future.”

It’s information that could play a critical role when it comes to deciding when a state should loosen restrictions or tighten them.

Over the months the program has evolved to include testing wastewater for COVID-19 as well. That’s because with every flush of the feces of an infected person, an inactive form of the virus enters the system.

“There’s a really good correlation between the presence of the virus in wastewater and the prevalence,” said Dalziel.

RELATED: Sewer sampling detects COVID-19 in every Corvallis neighborhood

Now, the OSU-based project is going national.

In November, researchers received a $2 million grant from the David and Lucile Packard foundation to create a national TRACE center, expanding OSU’s program to universities across the country.

“We see a crying need for that more real-time data elsewhere in the country as well,” said Chad English, science program officer for the Packard Foundation.

The researchers say the real-time data could also play a big role in tracking the success of the COVID-19 vaccines and lifting restrictions.

“How vaccine distribution may be impacting… in decreasing prevalence… all that requires information on what the virus is doing,” said Dalziel.

“This is the difference between knowing whether it’s safe to reopen our economies or whether it’s time for us to hunker down,” said English.

RELATED: OSU researchers explain development and distribution of vaccines

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Boston University students who came up with “(Expletive) It Won’t Cut It” slogan go national

Boston University students who came up with a provocative public health campaign amid the coronavirus pandemic soared to the national stage Wednesday — as they were front-and-center at a CDC emergency response event about the virus.

BU students who launched the “(Expletive) It Won’t Cut It” slogan on campus presented at CDC’s webinar that explored using social media at colleges to promote positive health behaviors related to COVID-19.

The campaign garnered a lot of interest when BU filed a trademark for the slogan with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office — and it even caught the attention of national leaders at the CDC.

“(Expletive) It Won’t Cut It” was one of four public health campaigns from colleges across the country chosen to present at the COVID-19 emergency response webinar, and it was the only initiative fully run by students.

“This is a dream for us. We would have never thought that we were noticed by the CDC as students,” said Hannah Schweitzer, one of the students to work on the campaign. “This is crazy.”

The webinar brought together representatives from colleges and universities — including BU, Pennsylvania State University, Georgia State University and Xavier University of Louisiana — to learn more about how social media has been leveraged to promote positive health behaviors related to COVID-19.

The BU student campaign covers the importance of wearing masks, hand washing and coronavirus testing. The campaign also explores how to talk to roommates about staying safe during the pandemic, reassessing the party lifestyle, mental health, and how to have safe sex in a COVID-19 world.

It’s key for a student-run campaign because students don’t trust institutions, Schweitzer said.

“Only 7% of Gen Z puts a lot of trust in people of power. They’re going to take everything coming from BU with a grain of salt,” she said, later adding, “The solution is a campaign by students for students… students aren’t trusting the institution right now, but they’re going to take advice from their peers.”

The slogan helps spark a reminder for students to make safe choices at different decision points each day — because saying “(expletive) it” to responsible protocols won’t keep students on campus, they said.

The BU group during the CDC webinar put up the following campaign message: “Let’s call students out on their bull(expletive) and remind them that saying ‘(expletive) it’ to small rules can lead to big consequences.”

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Ex-Lehigh University student admits to poisoning roommate | National News

EASTON, Pa. (AP) — A former Lehigh University student on Monday admitted poisoning his roommate’s food and drink with a heavy metal substance.

Yukai Yang, 24, pleaded guilty to attempted murder. Under the terms of a plea agreement, the Northampton County District Attorney’s Office will withdraw other charges in two separate cases against Yang.

Yang, a chemistry major, acknowledged he purchased thallium in March 2018 and began giving it to his roommate, Juwan Royal. Royal testified in an earlier court hearing that he suffered weight loss, headaches and nausea.

Royal was diagnosed with heavy metal poisoning in April 2018. Thallium is odorless and tasteless, and can be fatal in humans. The soft metal is used internationally in electronics manufacturing and for other purposes. It once was used in rat poison in the U.S, but has been banned for that use since the 1970s.

The motive is not known. Months before the attempted murder charge, Yang was charged with ethnic intimidation for allegedly damaging his roommate’s TV and writing a racial epithet on his belongings. Royal is Black.

Yang faces between six to 20 years in state prison when he’s sentenced on Jan. 21. He is not a U.S. citizen, and his student visa was revoked after his arrest. The judge told Yang he will likely face deportation to China.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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Australian National University Pitches Creative Accounts

The Australian National University (ANU) is approaching the market for agency partners offering services in the following categories: creative services, public relations, marketing and brand for the next 3-7 years.

ANU is a highly esteemed national institution known for its excellence in research and teaching and has been ranked as Australia’s number one university since 2004 (QS World University Rankings).

The University has recently embarked on an exciting chapter in its brand evolution and is seeking a range of external partners to help bring our brand changes to life, help us connect with our most important audiences and to clearly communicate our special mission as Australia’s national university.

As a creative partner of ANU you would be assisting our large community of marketing and communication staff meet the diverse needs of the organisation. We are looking for small, large and freelance operators to implement a broad range of activities including whole-of-organisation brand campaigns, domestic and international student recruitment campaigns, content development, graphic design, speech writing and strategy development to name a few.

Successful agency partners will enter into a Standing Offer Agreement for an initial term of three years with the possibility of four one year extensions to the maximum of seven years.

This is the first time ANU has approached the market and is doing so to ensure our staff have access to a panel of high-quality, brand trained and respected agencies and to ensure brand consistency. This is an exciting opportunity to be part of the next chapter of a world-class institution.

ANU was founded more than 70 years ago with the special mission to give our nation world-class research capacity and teaching in areas vital for our future. Today, we work to not only ensure our national prosperity, but to help Australia tackle new, complex challenges facing humanity, by reckoning with modern crises like climate change and global pandemics.

The tender opens on Monday 30 November 2020 and closes at 2pm AEDT on Friday 29th January, 2021. To access the tender and submit a response please visit eProcure. Agency partners wishing to find out more about the opportunity to work with ANU can email [email protected]


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Trump says he’ll leave if Electoral College seats Biden | National politics

As for the Electoral College, Trump made clear that he will likely never formally concede, even if he said he would leave the White House.

“It’s gonna be a very hard thing to concede. Because we know there was massive fraud,” he said, noting that, “time isn’t on our side.”

“If they do,” vote against him, Trump added, “they’ve made a mistake.”

Asked whether he would attend Biden’s inauguration, Trump said he knew the answer but didn’t want to share it yet.

But there were some signs that Trump was coming to terms with his loss.

At one point he urged reporters not to allow Biden the credit for pending coronavirus vaccines. “Don’t let him take credit for the vaccines because the vaccines were me and I pushed people harder than they’ve ever been pushed before,” he said.

As for whether or not he plans to formally declare his candidacy to run again in 2024 — as he has discussed with aides — Trump said he didn’t “want to talk about 2024 yet.”

All states must certify their results before the Electoral College meets on Dec. 14, and any challenge to the results must be resolved by Dec. 8. States have already begun that process, including Michigan, where Trump and his allies tried and failed to delay the process, and Georgia and Pennsylvania.

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New migration maps serve as tools to help big game in West | National News

“The big highways, a lot of the herd is using. Once you identify those, that becomes an important target for conservation,” said Matthew Kauffman, USGS lead scientist for the mapping project.

Human development — homes, roads, fences, oil and gas fields and mining operations — increasingly interferes with Western migrations, sometimes with little awareness of what’s at stake for animals cherished by wildlife watchers and hunters alike.

Mule deer, for example, plummeted in number when home development surged in the Wyoming ski enclave of Jackson Hole decades ago, said Mike Eastman, a writer and wildlife photographer who grew up in the area and used to guide hunters there.

“Mule deer are real susceptible to a lot of people in an area, and it just kind of pinches them off,” Eastman said. “They’re kind of like steelhead or salmon and can’t get up there because a dam is in the way.”

Fences that impede mule deer — big-eared cousins of whitetail deer — or pronghorn antelope can be deadly. Roads, such as Interstate 80 from Wyoming to California, also hold up and kill migrating big game animals.

While some animals, such as migratory birds, can genetically inherit knowledge about when and where to migrate, others learn from their elders. Reintroduced populations of Western big game animals need decades to rediscover migration routes, research suggests.

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National Solar Observatory predicts a large sunspot for Thanksgiving

NSF's National Solar observatory predicts a large sunspot for Thanksgiving
NSF-funded GONG network uses sound waves to measure changes inside the Sun, indicative of sunspots on the side pointing away from Earth. Artists impression of the Sun’s internal acoustic waves with no sunspots (top panel) and with sunspots (bottom panel). The sunspot’s magnetic field perturbs the acoustic waves, changing their signature. Measuring this change allows scientists to predict sunspots on the far side of the sun. Credit: NSO/AURA/NSF/C.Raftery

On November 18 scientists from the US National Science Foundation’s National Solar Observatory predicted the arrival of a large sunspot just in time for Thanksgiving. Using a special technique called helioseismology, the team has been ‘listening’ to changing sound waves from the Sun’s interior which beckon the arrival of a large sunspot. Recent changes in these sound waves pointed to the imminent appearance of new sunspots which we can now see from Earth near the eastern solar limb.

“We measured a change in acoustic signals on the far-side of the Sun”, explains Dr. Alexei Pevtsov, Associate Director for NSO’s Integrated Synoptic Program, the program responsible for the prediction. “We can use this technique to identify what is happening on the side of the Sun that faces away from Earth days before we can catch a glimpse from here. Having up to five days lead time on the presence of active sun spots is extremely valuable to our technology-heavy society.”

Solar storms often originate in sunspot regions, especially if the sunspot is large and complicated. The more tangled the magnetic field, the more likely it will result in large solar flares and coronal mass ejections which in turn can result in space weather effects at Earth. These include impacts on communications, GPS and possibly electrical grid systems. NSO provides 24/7 ‘eyes on the Sun’ through the NSF-funded GONG network. The network consists of six monitoring stations positioned across the globe, observing the Sun’s magnetic field and other features all day every day.

10-minute average magnetogram (zero-point corrected). Credit: NSO/AURA/NSF

“The ability of GONG to identify and track active regions emergent on the far side of the Sun has important implications for future space weather predictive capabilities” said Dr. Carrie Black, Program Director at NSF. “GONG continues to be a valuable tool for both fundamental science research and operations.”

Dr. Kiran Jain, the scientist who is leading the far side prediction at NSO, describes the evolution of the sunspot as “the strongest far-side signal we have had this solar cycle. We first noticed the signal in our far-side images on November 14, 2020,” she continues. “It was inconspicuous at first but grew quickly, breaking detection thresholds just one day later. Since we are in the very early phase of the new solar cycle, the signal from this large spot stands out clearly.”

The far-side maps use ‘helioseismology,’ a technique developed by NSO scientists in the 1990s, to detect how sound waves interact with the Sun’s interior structure, especially magnetic fields.

NSF's National Solar observatory predicts a large sunspot for Thanksgiving
A large sunspot, predicted by NSO scientists, is rotating onto the face of the
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College football national television schedule for the 2020-21 season

The schedule for this year’s college football season will look different in the COVID-19 era. Instead of the normal Labor Day Weekend start, three Power Five conferences didn’t kick off until later in September. The Big Ten and Pac-12 started even later.

What to expect from college football this season



The regular season almost reaches the holidays with the end of year holidays with the conference championship games planned for the second and third week of December.  The College Football Playoff remains on schedule with the semifinals on Jan. 1. The final game of the season will take place at the championship game on Jan. 11, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Florida.

a group of baseball players standing on top of a field: Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler attempts a pass during the 2019 Peach Bowl against LSU.

© Jason Getz, USA TODAY Sports
Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler attempts a pass during the 2019 Peach Bowl against LSU.

Below are games scheduled for national networks, with listed times p.m. Eastern unless otherwise noted. Dates and times are subject to change.

From NFL plays to college sports scores, all the top sports news you need to know every day.

Wednesday, Nov. 4

Ball State at Miami (Ohio), CBSSN, 7 p.m.

Buffalo at Northern Illinois, ESPN2, 7 p.m.

Ohio at Central Michigan, ESPN, 7 p.m.

Bowling Green at Toledo, ESPNU, 8 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 5 

Utah State at Nevada, FS1, 7 p.m.

Wyoming at Colorado State, CBSSN, 9 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 6

Miami (Fla.) at North Carolina State, ESPN, 7:30 p.m.

San Jose State at San Diego State, CBSSN, 9 p.m.

Brigham Young at Boise State, FS1, 9:45 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 7

Air Force at Army, CBS, 11:30 a.m.

Arizona State at Southern California, Fox, noon

Arkansas State at Louisiana-Lafayette, ESPNU, noon

Liberty at Virginia Tech, ACC, noon

Michigan at Indiana, FS1, noon

Michigan State at iowa, ESPN, noon

Nebraska at Northwestern, BTN, noon

North Carolina at Duke, ESPN2, noon

Tulsa at Navy, CBSSN, noon

West Virginia at Texas, ABC, noon

Florida at Georgia, CBS, 3:30 p.m.

Fresno State at UNLV, CBSSN, 3:30 p.m.

Houston at Cincinnati, ESPN, 3:30 p.m.

Kansas at Oklahoma, ESPN2, 3:30 p.m.

Maryland at Penn State, BTN

Purdue at Wisconsin, ABC, 3:30 p.m.

Texas Tech at TCU, FS1, 3:30 p.m.

Arizona at Utah, ESPNU, 4 p.m.

Oklahoma State at Kansas State, Fox, 4 p.m.

Pittsburgh at Florida State, ACC, 4 p.m.

Vanderbilt at Mississippi State, SEC, 4 p.m.

Baylor at iowa State, FS1, 7 p.m.

Louisiana Tech at North Texas, CBSSN, 7 p.m.

Texas A&M at South Carolina, ESPN, 7 p.m.

UCLA at Colorado, ESPN2, 7 p.m.

Clemson at Notre Dame, NBC, 7:30 p.m.

Rutgers at Ohio State, BTN, 7:30 p.m.

Stanford at Oregon, ABC, 7:30 p.m.

Tennessee at Arkansas, SEC, 7:30 p.m.

South Alabama at Coastal Carolina, ESPNU, 8 p.m.

Louisville at Virginia, ACC, 8 p.m.

Washington at California, ESPN, 10:30 p.m.

Washington State at Oregon State, FS1, 10:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 10

Akron at Ohio, CBSSN, 7 p.m.

Kent State at Bowling Green, ESPNU, 7 p.m.

Miami (Ohio) at Buffalo, ESPN, 8 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 11

Eastern Michigan

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