If there is one day that is highly anticipated in a person’s life, it has to be the coveted birthday. It is a time for joy and celebration – or woe and despair, depending on your perspective. It typically involves coming together to commemorate another year of being alive and well. However, no birthday would be complete without the centrepiece of all centrepieces, the cherry on top, the pièce de resistance: a birthday cake. Birthday cakes come in all shapes and sizes, flavours and fillings, and price ranges. Depending on where you reside, the price can go anywhere from a few dollars for your basic local grocery store cake to pricing in the hundreds for more intricate designs at speciality bakeries. Here in Chicago you can find most bakeries charge based on the slice, which averages at around $3-$5 per slice. As you add on more detail and design aspects, the price can easily steer upwards.Chicagoans are willing to shell out the big bucks, so long as the design matches the price point. “A birthday is supposed to be special. Money shouldn’t be a factor,” says one local resident. Touché, my dear, touché.About TKTK‘s love for cake decorating came by accident when she bought a YouSwoop (local deal promotion) for a cake decorating class in Chicago. She learned how to make sugar flowers and was soon taking Wilton (cake shop and school) classes, reading every cake design book she could get her hands on, and trying every recipe she could.
So, now begins the Pizza Time Players’ “Farewell Tour,” as the Players will be gradually phased out of all Chuck E. Cheese’s locations over the next couple years. However, with such notable pretend rock stars heading into retirement in mass quantities, you can be sure that some tech-savvy nostalgic will acquire some Party Time Players of their own and craft some homemade animatronic musical magic in their garage. And now that they’re free from the creative shackles of the kids’ circuit, perhaps their best work is still ahead of them…[h/t – NPR] It’s the end of an era, kiddos: The Pizza Time Players, the animatronic animal band fronted by Mr. Chuck E. Cheese himself, are set to be retired by the nationwide kids’ entertainment/pizza restaurant chain.Music fans love recounting their earliest concert experiences, trading stories about the first show they saw, the first time a performance moved them in some way. Though they may not mention it as such (or even fully remember it at all), many fans’ earliest “concert” experiences took place at Chuck E. Cheese’s: “Where a kid can be a kid,” and where the self-worth of every kid under the age of 5 can be proudly measured in how many tickets they’d won and how big a toy they’ve been able to acquire from the prize counter.Led by the chain’s singing rodent mascot with a bad New York accent, The Pizza Time Players have been helping parents tire kids out after a long day of games, ball pits, sugar-y sodas, and all-around innocent bliss for more than 40 years. However, in today’s world–where young kids were born with smartphones and tablets and a whole spectrum of high-quality technological entertainment at their fingertips–Chuck and his robot animal backing band simply weren’t getting the same reactions they used to. As the band’s “manager”/Chuck E. Cheese’s CEO Tom Leverton tells NPR, “Back [in 1977],” he explains, ” kids’ expectations of technology were much, much lower. A child today has such high expectations for entertainment that the animatronics, even at their absolute best, can’t live up to those expectations.” And, of course, the animatronics were not always at their absolute best. In many of the older restaurants, the robots have been in comically bad shape in recent years–exuding vibes closer to “creepy cackling monster nightmare” than “innocent youthful fun.”Watch this compilation of the Top 10 Chuck E. Cheese Animatronic Malfunctions below via YouTube user TPMvids: read more
The numbers paint a telling picture. In the United States of the 1950s there were between 3 million and 4 million annual cases of measles, a highly infectious virus that causes severe flu-like symptoms and a spreading red rash. Roughly 48,000 of those infected each year were hospitalized, and 400 to 500 died.By 2000, through an effective and widely used vaccine, measles was essentially eliminated in the United States.But for the last several years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported a significant uptick. Last year, the CDC recorded more than 644 cases from 27 states, the worst since 2000. Only two months into 2015 the United States is facing more than 150 cases reported across the country, many of them tied to a December outbreak at Disneyland in California.The resurgence involves measles-stricken travelers and American parents who don’t vaccinate their children.The recent California outbreak has reignited debates about balancing the public welfare while safeguarding civil liberties. A panel of experts convened at Harvard Law School on Wednesday to discuss the return of measles and explore the legal, ethical, and public health issues surrounding childhood vaccination. The event was sponsored by the School’s Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics and moderated by Ahmed Ragab, the Richard T. Watson Assistant Professor of Science and Religion at Harvard Divinity School.“There is a little bit of a reason to worry. We could see a resurgence of disease in part because there are many unprotected individuals mixed in our society,” said Dyann Wirth, the Richard Pearson Strong Professor of Infectious Diseases and chair of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases.While most parents vaccinate their children, some choose not to, often on religious or philosophical grounds, or have to delay action for their child due to medical complications, such as chemotherapy. Some parents may lack access to the vaccines or adequate knowledge about them. Many objectors continue to cite a 20-year-old report linking vaccination to autism that has been proven fraudulent and retracted.The legal approach to regulating vaccination is a difficult one, said George Annas, chair of the Department of Health Law, Bioethics and Human Rights at Boston University’s School of Public Health. States, not the federal government, decide how to deal with disease control within their borders. But “no virus respects state boundaries,” he pointed out.State lawmakers could consider revoking the licenses of medical professionals who promote fraudulent research. But perhaps the best way forward, Annas said, would be to re-examine the process of allowing philosophical objections in certain states where parents can easily opt out of vaccinating their children. Some states, such as Florida, permit opt-outs with just a phone call from the parent with the child’s name, date of birth, and social-security number.“You should at least have to talk to your doctor about it,” said Annas.Requiring parents to write a letter explaining their personal objections and requiring that the letter be notarized is another strategy that might help improve vaccination numbers, said Nir Eyal, an associate professor of global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School. Those stricter administrative measures could help improve education around vaccines, he said, citing work by Saad B. Omer, an associate professor of global health at Emory University. Omer’s view, said Eyal, is that stricter administrative processes “should make it difficult, so as to create lag time to allow for [a] really informed decision. Not as a stick, but rather to allow you to make a more autonomous decision.”Another important layer in the debate involves drug approval. While many parents acknowledge that the science regarding the safety of vaccines is sound, said Ragab, they remain “suspicions about the Food and Drug Administration and the process through which particular drugs are being approved or not approved. This is not about the science, but whether the regulatory practices are actually trustworthy.” read more
Read Full Story Dessert shouldn’t have to be a tradeoff between unhealthy ingredients and flavor, according to Walter Willett of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Willett, chair of the School’s Department of Nutrition and Fredrick John Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, is on a mission to reimagine dessert around what he calls the Three Pleasures: fruit, nuts, and dark chocolate.Willett explained his dessert vision in a July 22, 2016 National Geographic article. “Simplicity and pleasure captures the experience in a way that is light, not decadent,” he said.Each “pleasure” provides a treat for the senses as well as a health benefit. Fruits are packed with vitamins and minerals, as well as natural sweetness, and they provide a burst of color to the plate. Nuts provide healthy fat and protein, and a satisfying crunch. Dark chocolate adds flavor without the sugar in milk chocolate, and provides flavonoids that may reduce blood pressure and insulin resistance.Willett said that when dining out he often challenges chefs to go off-menu and create a dessert for him around the Three Pleasures. He’s found that while some will send back a simple fruit bowl sprinkled with nuts and served with a few squares of dark chocolate, many send back inspired creations involving ingredients like fruit purées and chocolate sauce.Harvard Chan’s Nutrition Department is challenging readers to try this strategy dining out or to craft their own Three Pleasures combination. Tweet photos and descriptions to @HSPHnutrition with the tag #3ForDessert. read more
CHICAGO (AP) — A plan to reopen Chicago schools remained in limbo as last-minute negotiations over COVID-19 safety measures with the teachers’ union stalled Sunday, amplifying the possibility of a strike or lockout. Roughly 62,000 students and about 10,000 teachers in K-8 were expected to start school Monday as part of the district’s gradual reopening. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Sunday that she expects teachers to still show up. However, she pushed back students’ arrival until Tuesday. The Chicago Teachers Union has fought returning to classrooms in the nation’s third-largest district. Teachers have defied orders to come to class. The union has said that if the district locks teachers out of email and teaching platforms, teachers will picket.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Andrew Cuomo State of the StateEnvironmentalists are going after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo—in Iowa.Hydraulic fracking opponents published an ad in The Des Moines Register Tuesday urging the governor to take a lead role in climate issues and shoot down the controversial gas drilling technique in New York.The ad warns the governor that his decision will be scrutinized for years to come.“Governor Cuomo, America is looking to you,” it declares. “Stand up for people over pollution. Don’t allow a single fracked shale gas well in New York. This is your chance to be a national leader on climate. Your choice will be remembered forever.”The state Department of Environmental Conservation is expected to issue regulations regarding fracking at the end of the February. There is currently a moratorium on fracking in New York State. The DEC has held several hearings on the issue and has received thousands of comments on the Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS), which was issued in 2009.The ad, which was paid for by nonprofit environmental advocacy group Food & Water Watch, Greenpeace and Center for Biological Diversity, is a preemptive strike by environmentalists who expect the New York governor to run for president in 2016.Cuomo addressed the ad, saying, “I’m not going to read it because I’m not going to be in Des Moines,” according to the New York Daily News. The governor also said he doesn’t intend to visit Iowa in the near future. read more
Thinking of establishing a program at your CU? Here are some tips and strategies.by: John HarwellThe National Credit Union Administration has not made having an enterprise risk management program a requirement for natural person credit unions. However, the agency has issued guidance regarding ERM in Supervisory Letter 13-12, dated November 2013.The NCUA states “there is no off the shelf solution” and credit unions should tailor their ERM program to fit their own complexities. This supervisory letter may predict where ERM in credit unions is headed. In many past instances, the NCUA has initially released guidance that later became rules. In this case, it’s good to be prepared for a potential new ERM NCUA regulation.But to be in line with likely future regulations isn’t the only reason to establish an ERM program at your credit union. Here are three additional benefits to having one:An ERM program will show you opportunities you did not know were there. For example, if you conducted a risk assessment of your consumer lending program, and the results showed very low risk, this would provide an opportunity to take more risk and lend to more of your members. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr read more
The ruling highlights the sometimes murky nature of tech companies getting into banking. It also means that finance start-ups will have to go through the same drawn out process as everyone else. Tech start-ups trying to become banks will now have to take a slower, more traditional route.Fintech companies had welcomed a special bank charter that cleared a quicker path for them to become a bank. But that was dealt a blow this week as a federal district court in New York decided that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the regulator issuing the charters, didn’t have the authority to do so. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »
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