Students celebrated Chinese New Year at all-Ivy gala in Sanders

first_imgThe Harvard Chinese Students and Scholars Association (HCSSA) presented an all-Ivy League evening gala to a capacity audience at Sanders Theatre on Jan. 29 to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year – the year of the rabbit – which comes on Feb.3.The gala, under the theme “Bond,” gathered performers from all eight Ivy League schools, including Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Yale, and Harvard. It was the first time in history that the eight universities have come together to commemorate this most important Chinese holiday.“At this special moment of family gathering, we are bound together by our shared culture, similar backgrounds, and common pursuits,” said Zhang Haifei, Ph.D ’13, president of HCSSA and producer of the gala. “We come together to celebrate and share our rich history and culture with our family, friends, and more than one thousand students and scholars from eight Ivy League Universities.”Mark C. Elliott, the Mark Schwartz Professor of Chinese and Inner Asian History at Harvard, delivered the keynote “New Year’s in Old Times” – in Chinese. He told the audience that Chinese New Year was a great discovery for him when he was in college, because the holiday fell in between Christmas and Easter, an otherwise uneventful period.The gala featured 18 performances from more than 200 Chinese students, ranging from traditional peacock dance to solo erhu performance to to stand-up comedy. Wang Shi, chairman of China’s largest real estate enterprise Vanke, made a surprise guest appearance in a magic poker show put on by Harvard student Yu Jingyi, Ph.D ’14.“This was a wonderful spring festival gala. All of the performances were of high quality,” said Zhang Hongda, one of the eight MC’s of the gala and a graduate student in materials science and engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. “It was a great experience to cooperate with the other seven hosts and hostesses to anchor this gala.”“The event was a huge success,” said Sun Leizhi, Ph.D ’13, executive producer of the gala. “Considering the unprecedented scale and complexity of the event, it was a remarkable achievement for the entire organizing team.”The 1,000 tickets to the gala were sold out 10 days prior to the show. Among the audience were undergraduates and graduates from the eight Ivy League schools, as well as students and scholars from the general Boston area. Many praised the show as stunning and unforgettable.“I was immensely impressed with the event – the level of organization, the quality of the acts,” Garth O. McCavana, Ph.D ’90, dean for GSAS student affairs who gave the welcome remarks at the gala, wrote in an email. “I only wish that I could speak Chinese to understand what was going on, especially with the stand-up comedians!”last_img read more

UK mortality data flawed, says Pensions Institute

first_imgThe true mortality rates for UK people born between 1919 and 1929 are understated in official figures produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) due to the impact of uneven birth rates, academics say.A joint study from the Pensions Institute — part of Cass Business School, City University London – and Heriot-Watt University, Durham University Business School and Prudential Financial, found that anomalies in mortality rates can often be linked to uneven patterns of birth.The study showed these uneven birth patterns can lead to errors of more than 9% in the estimated size of some England and Wales birth cohorts.David Blake, director of the Pensions Institute, said:  “Mortality rates are determined by the number of people who die at a given age divided by the population who remain alive at that age.  “We have accurate data on the number who die each year, but the exposed population has to be estimated and it is usually estimated at mid-year,” he said.The researchers found that an uneven pattern of births within a given calendar year was a major cause of error in the estimated mid-year population, Blake said.An analysis of mortality data produced by the ONS showed a “puzzling” pattern of mortality improvements among people who were now aged over 90, going back to 1992, the institute said.It found this was due to a combination of effects.In 1919, births were much lower at the mid-point of the year — when they are measured — than they were on average that year, and then in 2001, a change in the method used to derive mid-year population estimates led to the number of people born in 1919 being overstated, it said.In its conclusions, the Pensions Institute called for a “fundamental review of all official mortality data and how users interpret these data.”Andrew Cairns of Heriot-Watt University said the study was a “reminder that real-world datasets are rarely as accurate as we would like them to be.”last_img read more

Van Persie ready for trophy presentation

first_img By the time Manchester United receive their prize following next Sunday’s final home game against Swansea, it will be three weeks since the victory over Aston Villa that clinched the success. That Van Persie scored a hat-trick that night is fitting given the 29-year-old’s contribution has been widely acknowledged as the key to United’s 20th championship. For a player who left Arsenal to compete for major honours rather than a battle to retain a place in the top four, it means next weekend cannot come quickly enough. “It is the feeling you dream of,” Van Persie told United Review. Press Association “Everything is about lifting the trophy. There were some great pictures taken after the Aston Villa game, but there was one thing missing from them all; the trophy. That’s the picture that will be framed in my house; me, lifting the Barclays Premier League trophy. I can’t wait for that moment.” It did seem something of a gamble for both player and club to make such a significant switch last summer. However, it did not take Van Persie, nor manager Sir Alex Ferguson, long to realise they had made exactly the right move. “I wouldn’t have moved if I’d had doubts,” he said. “Instead, from day one I was almost certain we would win trophies – not in a couple of years but this year. “I saw the players in training. I saw the way they behaved, the way they lived, their mentality, the way the staff worked, the way the manager and the staff acted. When all those elements combine you end up with a team of champions. It also helps when you have so many players who know how to win.” Van Persie missed out to Gareth Bale in the voting for the PFA and FWA awards which he collected last season. As consolation it seems certain Van Persie will end up with the Premier League Golden Boot for the second year running. Not that Van Persie regards the Golden Boot prize as a personal honour anyway. “In a way, it is not an honest award,” he said. “Even if you end up with the most goals in a season, those goals are the team’s goals and many will have been made possible by other players. They should make a Golden Boot for the whole team. “It would be nice (to win it), but the main thing for me was to win the league. Even if I’d scored half the number of goals and we’d won the league I would still have been happy.” center_img Robin van Persie cannot wait to get his hands on the Premier League trophy.last_img read more