Editor’s note: Survival of the retro-fittest

first_img Share via Shortlink Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Tags Investment SalesManhattan Condo MarketProptech Stuart ElliottIt’s a golden age for golden ages.We are sitting at home during the so-called golden age of TV, with enough quality streaming to last us several pandemics. And there will probably be a golden age of partying and travel after we’ve got this virus kicked.We are entering a golden age of big government, comparable to FDR’s presidency and the New Deal days. That’s going to include a golden age for climate change initiatives, which will force real estate to adapt.And, as our cover story this month points out, it’s also a golden age for tech disruption of real estate.Proptech is not new, but it seems to be only picking up steam.A decade after the Silicon Valley legend Marc Andreessen proclaimed that “software is eating the world,” software is now eating the home, as E.B. Solomont reports in a series of pieces.“It’s almost like a tipping point that’s been 10 or 15 years in the making,” said Max Simkoff, CEO of Doma, which is trying to disrupt the title insurance industry. Long dominated by four incumbents, it’s a $16 billion sector that hasn’t changed much since the 1800s.Overall, investors poured $3.9 billion into 89 proptech deals during the first quarter of 2021, more than double the value of the preceding quarter.And in the past eight months, four proptech startups focused on the residential industry have hit valuations of $1 billion or more. Three others — Airbnb, Compass and Lemonade — have gone public.In the broader world of startups, in 2013 there were just 39 companies valued at $1 billion or more, a number that has surged to more than 600 today. That’s a sign of a lot of innovation, an indicator of overheated valuations, or both.Zillow’s venture into iBuying could be one of the biggest proptech bets of them all. If CEO Rich Barton is successful in buying homes directly from sellers through Zillow Offers, some see Zillow becoming one of the next FAANG companies (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google).We also take a look at Compass’ IPO last month. The residential brokerage’s public offering raised $450 million — less than half the firm’s original target. But that it even got that far — and created a windfall for its founders, top executives and many rank-and-file agents — is a testament to its initial vision.Elsewhere in the issue, we look at climate change and the big role for real estate innovation in addressing the problem. As Hiten Samtani points out, “real estate is the quiet sinner in the climate crisis.” Some estimates say it accounts for up to 40 percent of global carbon emissions.Brendan Wallace, a co-founder of Fifth Wall, the country’s largest real estate–focused venture capital firm, is starting a fund that seeks to invest in technologies that help real estate combat climate change.Landlords, Wallace says, are going to be forced to evolve in order to reach the goal of zero carbon emissions.“Regulators are coming after you, and they are going to tax you. Tenants are not going to lease from you. Capital markets are not going to lend to you or insure you. And you might be underwater, because you can’t move your buildings,” Wallace said. “Capital markets Darwinism does work.”Finally, back to present-day brick and mortar: Read our annual ranking of top investment sales firms. Surprisingly, while the sales volume of trophy office properties was down significantly last year in New York City, pricing didn’t drop that much. And check out our story on Manhattan’s condo market, which is now showing some strong signs of life after a tough year.Enjoy the issue.last_img read more

Systematic Metastable Atmospheric Regime Identification in a AGCM

first_imgIn this study the authors apply a recently developed clustering method for the systematic identification of metastable atmospheric regimes in high-dimensional datasets generated by atmospheric models. The novelty of this approach is that it decomposes the phase space in, possibly, overlapping clusters and simultaneously estimates the most likely switching sequence among the clusters. The parameters of the clustering and switching are estimated by a finite element approach. The switching among the clusters can be described by a Markov transition matrix. Possible metastable regime behavior is assessed by inspecting the eigenspectrum of the associated transition probability matrix. The recently introduced metastable data-analysis method is applied to high-dimensional datasets produced by a barotropic model and a comprehensive atmospheric general circulation model (GCM). Significant and dynamically relevant metastable regimes are successfully identified in both models. The metastable regimes in the barotropic model correspond to blocked and zonal states. Similar regime states were already previously identified in highly reduced phase spaces of just one and two dimensions in the same model. Next, the clustering method is applied to a comprehensive atmospheric GCM in which seven significant flow regimes are identified. The spatial structures of the regimes correspond to, among others, both phases of the Northern Annular Mode and Pacific blocking. The regimes are maintained predominantly by transient eddy fluxes of low-pass-filtered anomalies. It is demonstrated how the dynamical description of the slow process switching between the regimes can be acquired from the analysis results, and an investigation of the resulting simplified dynamical model with respect to predictability is performed. A predictability study shows that a simple Markov model is able to predict the regimes up to six days ahead, comparable to the ability of high-resolution state-of-the-art numerical weather prediction models to accurately predict the onset and decay of blockings. The implications of the results for derivation of reduced models for extended-range predictability are discussed.last_img read more

Crowded Ballot Includes Balanced Budget Amendment

first_imgCrowded Ballot Includes Balanced Budget AmendmentNovember 4, 2018 By Eddie DrewsTheStatehouseFile.comINDIANAPOLIS—The race for the U.S. Senate may be dominating most election coverage, but Hoosiers will have a proposed state constitutional amendment to consider as well as candidates for other federal and state offices when they vote Tuesday.That constitutional amendment, which calls for a balanced budget, is either necessary for Indiana’s fiscal health or a waste of resources because the constitution already prohibits the state from going into debt.The proposed balanced budget amendment—which calls for the state to spend no more money than it takes in—passed the Indiana General Assembly twice, in 2015 and 2017.Gov. Eric Holcomb, through his campaign committee, is encouraging a yes vote on the measure. It would take a two-thirds vote in both chambers to suspend the balanced budget requirement under the proposed amendment.But Rep. Ed Delaney, D-Indianapolis, said the amendment is useless and will change nothing because lawmakers already pass balanced budgets. He said the amendment was created by Republicans to create an image that they are responsible and Democrats are not.“It has no practical impact,” said Delaney, adding “all it does is create confusion for the voters.”Also on the ballot this year are all nine seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, three statewide offices, all 100 seats in the Indiana House and 25 in the Senate, local two statewide judicial positions, local races for judges and prosecuting attorneys, plus numerous local offices ranging from school board to township trustee. Some local jurisdictions have ballot issues as well.At the statewide level, Hoosiers have three options for secretary of state: incumbent Republican Connie Lawson, Democratic challenger Jim Harper and Libertarian challenger Mark Rutherford.In the race for Treasurer is Republican incumbent Kelly Mitchell and Democratic challenger John Aguilera. And for Auditor, voters have three options as well with Republican incumbent Tera Klutz, Democratic challenger Joselyn Whitticker and Libertarian challenger John Schick.Judge Robert Alice of the Indiana Court of Appeals and state Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Slaughter face the voters in a yes or no judicial retention vote. Both were appointed by former Gov. Mike Pence. Hoosiers can find their polling location, whether they are registered and other information about what’s on the ballot here.FOOTNOTE: Eddie Drews is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.Print Friendly, PDF & EmailFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

Mayor’s Update: July 27

first_imgMayor Jay Gillian Dear Friends,I had the pleasure on Monday of showing New Jersey’s new Department of Environmental Protection commissioner some of the sites where Ocean City is working to protect the shoreline, enhance wetlands, dredge shallow waterways and remediate for flooding. Catherine McCabe visited with Assistant Commissioners Dave Rosenblatt and Ginger Kopkash, Chief of Staff Eric Wachter and Assistant to the Commissioner Chris Gough.Local, state and federal government share many common goals, and successful partnerships are essential to getting things done in an environment that can include multiple layers of red tape. The city team and ACT Engineers reviewed plans to restore Shooting Island, to add acres of wetlands and potential shellfish habitat, and to provide a buffer against storm surge and a possible site for re-depositing some of the sediment that erodes from the island.McCabe was excited to see a municipality taking a leadership role in developing innovative solutions and also in investing to make them happen. I want to thank the entire DEP team for their visit and for working closely with us to develop new programs that could be used to help municipalities throughout the state. I look forward to a great working relationship with McCabe and the DEP.The forecast looks great for Night in Venice tomorrow, and Ocean City continues to be extremely busy as we enter the heart of the summer. I want to take a moment to thank all the members of our police and fire departments and their families. These men and women work hard and are ready to risk their lives year-round. But with so many people in town, their jobs in the summer are long, varied and demanding. Yet response times and public safety remain exceptional. I’m proud of our team and grateful for their service.I hope you all have a fun and safe weekend.Warm regards,Jay A. GillianMayorlast_img read more

A case study

first_imgThe haunting sounds of the Last Post played out to an audience of all ages at Ypres, Belgium, is a moving tribute to those who died on the First World War battlefields. The ceremony takes place nightly at 7.30pm watched by a large crowd of locals and visitors, some of whom are invited to place wreaths.The town of Ypres was blitzed in the First World War but has been faithfully re-built in traditional style. Not so the Pidy factory, just on the outskirts of Ypres. This is a mixture of craft and automation as UK general manager Robert Whittle explained to British Baker as we toured both Pidy at Ypres, and its factory in Halluin, France, to see new products launched in the last 12 months.This NPD has helped attract new customers. Indeed, the growing list now includes Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Le Pain Quotidien. At both sites, men and machines make pastry cases exported all over the world to supermarket and foodservice sectors.Available direct from Pidy UK, based in Northampton, or just launched through Amazon, there are pastry carriers in the shape of spoons, squares, triangles, tulips (yes!), tartlets, and vol-au-vents. And now the company also supplies wraps and miniature wafer cones.One new dough contains 50% less fat but it does not suit all products.However, if you prepare and serve buffets and meals just think ’fillings’ because Pidy provides the bases.For a talking point, there are little coffee cups, made out of pastry and lined with chocolate. And no, it does not melt. Your customers can drink the coffee then eat the cup. The other way round is rather messy!Pidy makes pastry at three sites: Ypres in Belgium, Halluin in France and just outside New York, in the US.The family company, with family values, has seen massive growth in the space of just two generations. Current chief executive Thierry de Haeck’s father Andre started Pidy in his kitchen and then set up a shop. Thierry says: “A pastry chef by training, he started making mini vol-au-vents.”The mini size was unusual in 1967. Business grew rapidly, one factory followed another and the Ypres site in Belgium is now 20,000 square metres.”I joined in 1972 age 17,” says Thierry, who went on to study business and economics and became responsible for the sales and export drive. “We acquired the Halluin site in France in 1985 then in 1995 we bought our first factory in New York.”Now, new pastry types have been launched by the company alongside the choux, puff and short dough (see panel) while customers can choose between pastry made with butter or vegetable oil.Pidy also supplies waffle dough, made into cones. And if you are wondering where natural colours such as carrot, spinach, black squid, and tomato come in, that’s for colouring the cones. The fillings are up to you!Ask for the recipe booklet, with ideas from the UK and worldwide. Pidy: facts and figures l Pidy makes ready-to-fill pastry products in Belgium, France and the USl Also supplies new wraps and conesl Exports to 42 countriesl Newly launched supply through:amazon.co.uk/pidy l UK head office in Northampton; general manager is Robert Whittlel Pastry make-up machinery includes Rademaker, Fritsch, Comas, while ovens include Gouet and Van der PolAvailable through Pidy UK head office, Amazon grocery (see above) cash and carry, foodservice wholesalers such as Brakes and 3663, Sterling Group and other independents (not currently Bako or BFP bakery wholesalers) Range:l Pate a foncer, a new dough development, which contains 50% less fat than traditional doughs l Sponge dough, made fresh, square sheets, with various diameters and a limited eight-week shelf lifel Puff pastry, (to an original recipe perfected by founder Andre Dehaeck)l Short dough, mainly produced with real butter for tartletsl Choux buns, hand-made which then go through an automated line. Once baked these buns can be de-hydrated to give one year shelf lifel Croustade, can be made in varieties including chocolate, sugar-free, neutral and wholewheat for various size tartletslast_img read more

Does This Instagram Post Point To Phish, Dave Matthews Band Scheduled For The Gorge?

first_imgWith Phish wrapping up an historic 2017, featuring seventeen shows at Madison Square Garden, a Mexican destination event, 3-night runs in Chicago and Colorado, and one-offs in Dayton and Pittsburgh, all eyes are looking ahead for what 2018 will bring. With plenty of speculation surrounding summer tour, one famous venue might have just spilled the beans ahead of what we hope will be an official announcement from the band sometime soon. The beloved Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington made a post on Instagram today with the caption, “Summer ’18 coming in hot!’ along with a list of hashtags, including #phish and #davematthewsband.In 2017, Dave Matthews Band took a year off to focus on other side projects, with the exception of hosting a benefit concert following the tragic events in the band’s hometown of Charlottesville over the summer. DMB has one show on the schedule for 2018, at the Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis – St. Paul, Minnesota for a concert dubbed The Night Before on February 3rd (the night before the Super Bowl). With 2018 open for scheduling, perhaps the band is planning their fateful return to the scenic amphitheater this summer–which they have done on a consistent basis over the course of the last several years before their hiatus. Phish has played The Gorge 16 times dating back to 1997, and as recently as their 2016 Summer Tour.While the return of Phish and Dave Matthews Band at the Gorge would be two of the most anticipated events of the summer, this is all just pure speculation. The Instagram post may or may not carry meaning, so we can only hope it’s pointing to what the 2018 summer schedule looks like at the Gorge Amphitheatre.While the account is technically unverified, @the_gorge_amphitheatre is the only handle connected to the venue that makes promotional posts. Additionally, the venue’s website links to a Facebook page connected to the Instagram account. Only time will tell if this actually becomes a reality. Until then, we’re stilllll waiting for an official announceSee it for yourself in the post below. What do you think? Will Phish and/or Dave Matthews Band head back to The Gorge in 2018? When you discuss venues that are bucket list places to travel to and see a show, the Gorge Amphitheatre is arguably at the top of the list. The venue has hosted such high profile acts as Pearl Jam, Bob Dylan, and Dead & Company in addition Phish and Dave Matthews Band, as well as festivals like H.O.R.D.E., Rock The Bells, Sasquatch!, and so much more. With its breathtakingly majestic views overlooking the Columbia River, along with panoramic sight lines of the gorge cliffs and valleys, just the thought of seeing one of your favorite bands put on an epic performance is enough to give you the chills. Hope to see you there this summer!last_img read more

New era for the arts

first_imgHarvard’s 375th anniversary celebration on Oct. 14 will commemorate centuries of history and innovation and honor the University’s continued dedication to excellence in education and scholarship.It will also be one heck of a party in Harvard Yard, organized with the help of three people who are ushering in a new era of creativity for the institution.Since 2009, three of the University’s major arts positions have changed hands. Jill Johnson, director of Harvard’s Office for the Arts (OFA) Dance Program, Andrew Clark, Harvard’s director of choral activities, and Federico Cortese, director of the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra (HRO), replace, respectively, the trio of Elizabeth Bergmann, Jameson Marvin, and James Yannatos, whose Harvard tenures totaled almost 90 years.The three artists also hold joint teaching positions in Harvard’s Department of Music.“This is an extraordinary time in the history of the arts at Harvard,” said Lori Gross, Harvard’s associate provost for arts and culture. “It is exciting to feel the catalytic energy engendered by the influx of these innovative artists in the classrooms and throughout the University.”Honoring the past while charting a course for the future is central to Harvard’s founding ethos. In keeping with that mission, each newcomer envisions building on the foundations established by their predecessors as they carry the arts forward in challenging new ways.“They represent the next generation of leadership in arts practice at Harvard,” said Jack Megan, director of the OFA, who was involved in the hiring search for all three. “They are young and ambitious and extremely gifted artists, and they have a view of their fields that is both traditional and pays homage to the past and the great traditions, but also is looking ahead and saying, ‘What else is new, what is interesting, where else could we go?’”Johnson choreographed a special surprise number for the celebration, one that is true to the event’s intergenerational, inclusive theme.“It’s a way to create community,” said Johnson, “because I think that is part of what is really to be celebrated here: the Harvard community.”Such thinking is part of the Canadian native’s broad approach to her new role. As head of the Dance Program at OFA, Johnson is eager to explore other disciplines, incorporating a range of views and visions into the art of dance, expanding the boundaries and culture of the form. She is also eager to collaborate and learn from her peers.‘There’s a real exchange and a willingness to explore as we get to know each other,” she said. “It feels like a creative hub. And there’s a cohesiveness; there are affinities. It’s an incredible opportunity and incredibly inspiring.”The three take charge during a time of increasing opportunity and influence for the arts at Harvard. In 2007, President Drew Faust created a task force to examine the place of the arts at the University. A year later the committee released recommendations that included developing General Education courses and freshman seminars that include arts practice; the exploration of a new concentration in dramatic arts and another in architecture; a master of fine arts degree; more and longer stays by visiting artists; displays in new spaces; and creation of an advisory body to continue the work of the task force.“There is such excitement, and there is this feeling of movement in the arts … and the ability for the arts to be a bigger and more meaningful part of the Harvard community,” said Johnson.Clark wasn’t looking for a new job when Harvard came calling. An assistant conductor at Harvard under Marvin from 2001 to 2003, he was content at Tufts University, where he was the director of choral activities. But when his former boss encouraged him to apply and discussed the possibilities the Harvard job offered, Clark couldn’t resist.His wife also offered him helpful advice.“She told me, ‘A job like this isn’t going to be open for another 30 years, so I don’t want to be 70 years old and have you regret that you didn’t apply.’ ”Clark hopes to capitalize on the “amazing potential” of Harvard’s Holden Choirs, which consist of the Harvard Glee Club, the Radcliffe Choral Society, the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum, and the Harvard-Radcliffe Chorus. His plans include partnering with other University organizations and elsewhere, as well as creating new work.“There is a lot to do,” said Clark, “and we have a bold and enterprising vision for where we want to go.As part of that vision, in April the choirs collaborated with the HRO on a challenging and emotionally charged work by Harvard alumnus John Adams, “On the Transmigration of Souls.” The piece, commissioned by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra to commemorate those killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in music. A complex work, it includes pre-recorded sounds and text taken from missing-persons signs posted in New York, comments drawn mainly from interviews that appeared in the “Portraits of Grief” series in The New York Times, and a list of names of the victims.Clark learned about the 375th celebration last year during his first week on the job. In the ensuing months, he worked closely with the OFA and Cortese to create a piece based on excerpts from Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony that will accompany a slide show with images from Harvard past and present.“There is a long history of the choirs and the orchestra being involved in major college anniversary events and we are delighted to continue that tradition and
 consider it a privilege and a great opportunity to be the ensemble of choice for such a 
high-profile event,” said Clark. “Our students are really excited to have that stage.”Harvard’s “goldmine of talent” is in large part what drew Cortese to the role of director of the HRO.“Harvard has access to extremely talented students, a special atmosphere, fantastic faculty, fantastic facilities. That is what makes it an extraordinary opportunity,” said Cortese, who is the director of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras, and was assistant conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1998 to 2003.And while the professional world offers conductors the opportunity to work with sophisticated musicians at the top of their craft, he said that students bring a special desire and passion to “really work at improving something. And that, in itself, is an artistic process.”The Italian-born director also shares a commitment to excellence with his new colleagues.“We start from the same thing: How do we convey the importance of quality?” said Cortese. “There’s no art making that makes any sense if it’s not accompanied by training and standards.“The fact that the three of us are new is a good thing, because I do think that we see things in the same way. At the same time, I think we are aware that we have to take care of our little corner in different ways in order to achieve the same result.”As part of his vision for HRO, Cortese hopes to develop a solid teaching and training program for student musicians. He also aims to use HRO tours to show the world what the United States has to offer musically and to break down barriers. This past summer, the orchestra traveled to Cuba, where it performed three sold-out concerts, including a performance in Havana of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony alongside Cuban musicians. The HRO was the first U.S. university orchestra to play in the communist island nation since an embargo against it began in the early ’60s.“The trickier the destination,” said Cortese, “the more we need to send Harvard students.”He is grateful and excited that HRO will be part of the 375th celebration.“It does show an attention to what we do. … We are going to be the live band that plays background music on beautiful images, and it’s going to be fun!”last_img read more

Fire ant origin

first_imgBy Stephanie SchupskaUniversity of GeorgiaInvasive fire ants plague most of the Southeast, rooting out native species and delivering blistering bites to whatever gets in their way. Amazingly they all likely came from fewer than a dozen stowaways that landed in Mobile, Ala., in the mid-1930s, says a University of Georgia researcher.Using a bit of genetic sleuthing, Kenneth Ross, an entomologist with the UGA College of Agricultural Environmental Sciences, tracked the lineage of this notorious Southern pest. What he found surprised him.“Most didn’t make it over on the boat,” Ross said. “When we look at the area around Mobile, the most probable number of queens is seven, eight, nine and at the minimum six.”Ross worked to determine the number of queen ant colonizers with his former student DeWayne Shoemaker, who now works at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville, Fla. They also used the genetic markers to pinpoint where the invasive fire ants, known scientifically as Solenopsis invicta, originated. Formosa, in northeast Argentina, looks to be the source population.“In textbooks, they were saying Brazil,” he said, “but those ants look nothing genetically like the ones we have here.”The Argentine queens set out on their journey accidentally, he said, either in soil or by landing on boats after their spring mating flight. Fighting invasivesBy tracing the U.S. fire ant population back to Argentina, scientists can determine how fast and how far other fire ant colonies can grow. Currently, Solenopsis invicta fire ants cover most of the central part of South America.This information, Ross said, can help with the development of effective management practices based on the biology of an invasive species. It can help researchers predict other species’ invasive potential, too.Since moving out of Alabama, the Argentine fire ants have spread like wildfire. Georgia got its first colonies in the 1950s. On their own, the ants have traveled as far north as North Carolina and as far west as Texas. With a little help, such as in nursery pots and soil, they have travelled as far as California.Five years ago, they landed in China, stowing away from the U.S. “The fire ants are hopscotching along,” he said. The Solenopsis invicta is also found in Australia and the Philippines. Despite prevention efforts, Ross predicts the fire ants will spread to even more tropical and semitropical countries in the next decades. Stacks of researchOwing to the fire ant’s status as a major pest throughout much of the South, an enormous amount of research has been conducted on the basic biology of the species over the past 40 years, Ross said.Fire ants have had a large negative impact on ground-nesting birds and insects. They’ve also driven out native species of fire ants, such as Georgia’s Solenopsis xylomi. On the positive side, fire ants feed on agricultural pests in cotton, and their presence is associated with a decrease in the tick population. They also eat dead animals and any insects they can catch.Fire ants tend aphids, which produce a substance the ants feed on called honeydew. Because the ants favor aphids and protect them from natural predators, ants are known as indirect pests, specifically in pecan production.last_img read more

NCUA names new Deputy CFO

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: Nicholas BallasyPeggy Sherry has been named deputy CFO at the NCUA.Sherry, who started at the agency Monday, previously worked at the Internal Revenue Service as deputy commissioner for operations support.She also served as CFO at the Department of Homeland Security and held senior financial management positions at the United States Holocaust Museum and the Government Accountability Office. continue reading »last_img read more

Sometimes the best thing you can do for your budget is nothing

first_imgIt’s tax season, which means a lot of people are already planning to spend the refund they’re putting off filing. When that check finally comes in, here’s a great idea on what to do with it: nothing.As personal finance site Mortimer’s Money Machines explains, while there are a lot of ways to take action to improve your budget, one of the most tricks is doing nothing at all. Bored of your current car and want something new? Do nothing. See your investments drop for a couple days? Do nothing. Just get a raise (or a tax return) and you’re wondering what the best way to spend it is? Have you tried doing nothing?How many times in your life have you reached a new milestone, earned a pay raise, promotion, or bonus, and heard someone say, “So, what are you going to do to celebrate?” Usually the implication is that now at long last you can buy some great thing you’ve been yearning for all the while you toiled away for your new income… continue reading » 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more