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Providing free officiating at weddings, Brother Larry Whitney says, honors the Biblical injunction of hospitality. Photo by Jackie Ricciardi
The 1,800-plus marriage licenses filed in Boston between last November and March spiked by one-fifth over the same period one year before. While the city doesn’t record how many of those involved non-citizens, the Boston Globe reports the number for immigrants marrying American citizens—thereby becoming eligible for a green card, which confers permanent residency status and relieves immigrants of anxiety about possible deportation or blocked return if they venture outside the US—increased after Donald Trump’s election, and particularly after his January inauguration and his efforts to impose a travel ban against several Muslim-majority countries.
None of which was news to Brother Larry Whitney (STH’09,’18), University chaplain for community life at Marsh Chapel. He has not only married four couples with American and immigrant partners at no charge since Trump won the presidency, he’s offered via Facebook to officiate at more such nuptials gratis.
“I feel that there’s a moral imperative to use my status as a legal officiate of weddings to help people who feel that they are living under a threat,” says Whitney, a member of the Ithaca, N.Y.–based Lindisfarne Community, an ecumenical religious order.
He performed one of the weddings in December, two in January, and one in February. One couple, both with ties to BU, married at Marsh Chapel, which waived its normal $500 fee for use of its space and wedding coordinator, says Whitney. For the other weddings, performed in the couples’ homes and, in one case, a park, Whitney did not charge a fee or request a donation.
Several courts have ruled against Trump’s proposed travel ban on six mainly Muslim nations, including a federal appeals court in San Francisco this week. The administration has asked the Supreme Court to uphold the ban in a pending case.
BU Today recently talked with Whitney about the issue.BU Today: Were these marriages you performed moved up because of fear of Trump?
Whitney: These were either moved up or, in at least two of the cases, they hadn’t even officially gotten engaged, but they’d been talking marriage, and all of a sudden it was: now.What nations were the immigrants from?
Two from Latin America, one from Africa, and one from the Middle East. The African one [is] from Kenya I think, and the Middle Easterner is from Lebanon. All of them are documented.They’re from nations that wouldn’t have fallen under Trump’s travel order.
I don’t feel like any of the issues that I’ve seen with the people wanting to get married were actually connected to the bans. I think it’s more the sense that he was saying we need to get these immigrants out of here. I think it was the risk of getting deported now that they’re here.How did these folks find you?
Two of them came through a friend and a colleague, respectively, who knew these couples and said hey, this has come up, they’re afraid, would you be willing to do this? I said of course. The other two [couples] are people I know.Trump says we’re trying to protect the country, to see if our vetting processes are good enough. What’s your moral objection to what he’s doing?
Our vetting procedures are [already] so thorough. “Thorough” is a massive understatement, to the point that refugees who are afraid for their lives, it’s hard to get permission to come. And it doesn’t take much to get put on the denied list. I think it’s a made up concern that stokes the fears of his base and, thankfully, the courts have seen through it.
Hospitality is the heart of the gospel. That said, in Latin, “hospice” is the root word of both “hospitality” and “hostility.” Our natural inclination is to hostility: this person’s different. They look different, they talk different, they act different, they believe different. Turning that to hospitality is real spiritual work, recognizing too that in providing hospitality, you are entering into a place of vulnerability. There’s no hospitality without risk.As a minister, are you concerned that some of these folks may be rushing into marriage, perhaps for understandable reasons, but that they aren’t ready yet?
Not so much. These have all been people who have been together quite a while and understood the ins and outs of their relationships and knew largely what they were getting into.
A couple saying, hey, we met at the bar last night and want to get married so he doesn’t get deported—I would certainly not come to the conclusion that I would agree to officiate.
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But you need to get that new hardware up and running before you’re able to bask in enhanced graphics glory. Here’s how to upgrade your existing computer with a new graphics card, from basic buying considerations to step-by-step installation instructions.
Few upgrades add as much punch to your PC as installing a new graphics card. It can transform your PC from a system that chokes on lightweight games into a monster that churns through even the most visually punishing titles with ease.
You’re going to need a decent power supply if you want to get your game on.
Next make sure your computer has the proper hardware to support your new card.
In general, you want the graphics card that offers the most bang for your buck, though you’ll also want to consider a card’s noise, heat, and power consumption. While graphics card recommendations are outside the scope of this article, PCWorld’s massive graphics card buying guide can help you make an informed decision no matter how much money you have to spend.
Simply deciding which graphics card you want is a complex and nuanced discussion, as both AMD and Nvidia offer choices for virtually every budget, from sub-$200 options all the way up to the ferocious $1,500 GeForce RTX 3090 .
The most common problem that people run into is an inadequate power supply: Either it can’t supply enough wattage, or it doesn’t have enough available PCI-E power connectors. As a rule of thumb, your power supply should at least meet the power supply requirements recommended by its manufacturer. For example if you purchased the aforementioned GeForce GTX 3090—a video card that draws 350 watts—you should have a power supply that meets the 750W minimum suggested by Nvidia, along with a pair of 8-pin power connectors.
Further reading: How to pick the best PC power supply
To find out how much wattage your power supply pumps out, open your case and look for the standard identification sticker all power supplies have, which lists their basic info. While you’re there you can also identify how many 6-pin and 8-pin PCI-E connectors are available.
AMD’s Radeon RX 6900 XT.
With all of those questions resolved, it’s time to get down to business.Installing a graphics card
You install a graphics card into a PCI-E x16 slot on your computer’s motherboard (the long, black slots in this picture.)
Unless you need to remove an existing GPU, you first need to locate the long PCI-E x16 slot closest to the heat sink of your processor. This will either be the first or second expansion slot on your motherboard.
Don’t forget to lock the latch at the end of the PCI-E slot after firmly inserting your graphics card!
You can now install your new graphics card into the open and unobstructed PCI-E x16 slot. Firmly insert the card into the slot, then push down the plastic lock on the end of the PCI-E slot to hold it in place. Next, use a screw to secure the graphic card’s metal retention bracket to your PC’s case. You can reuse the same screw(s) that held the cover bracket or your former graphics card in place.
She needs more power, Captain! Your graphics card won’t run unless you’ve connected it to your PSU.
Most gaming-level graphics cards require additional power connectors. If yours does, make sure you connect those PCI-E power cables. Your graphics card will not function correctly without properly supplied power. In fact, if you don’t connect those PCI-E power cables your PC may be unable to boot.Wrapping up
With your graphics card secured and powered up, finish the job by sliding your case’s side panel back into position and plugging your display cable into your new graphics card. Turn on your computer.
The Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 6800 XT, plugged in and powered on.
If your new graphics card is the same brand as your old card, this process is simple. Just go to the manufacturer’s website and download the latest driver package for you operating system. Keep in mind that graphics drivers are quite large, generally about 500MB in size, and it make take some time for them to download depending on the speed of your Internet connection. Install the driver, restart your computer, and now you’re ready to enjoy the buttery-smooth framerates your new graphics card will no doubt deliver.
Richmond Olympic Oval
With an unexpected lack of snow making skiers’ lives miserable at this year’s Olympics, Vancouver is smartly following the trend of going greener than the Olympics before it. Carbon offsets and recycling bins are as old school as a 720 on the snowboard half pipe, so the Canucks had to get a bit more creative to ensure the 2014 games in Russia take place in a world where snow still falls over Sochi in February.
The Richmond Olympic Oval is to Vancouver as the Bird’s Nest was to Beijing (though on a scale more befitting of Vancouver than Beijing). The 8,000-seat, 512,000-square-foot building uses a novel styrofoam insulation beneath the ice to obtain the necessary ice temp, thickness, flatness and hardness for a variety of events. Heat waste from cooling the ice is used to keep the arena warm. The iconic wood wave roof was built with one million feet of timber from trees killed by the pine beetle, the largest such usage in the world. The pine beetle epidemic that’s ravaged the forests in British Columbia (more than14.5 million hectares) is itself a result of consecutively warm winters.
Just how much energy does the greening of the oval save? 43,817kWh in the past week, the equivalent of an individual running 478,000 km. A quick check on the Venue Energy Tracker website will offer such real time data on energy consumption for each Olympic venue. Power company BC Hydro, in conjunction with the Vancouver Organizing Committee, has built the site, and hopes it could serve as an example of what home monitoring could become. See a spike in usage? Try turning off the lights in the popcorn machines. The running plot shows the actual consumption alongside the predicted baseline had green innovations not been added. Greenhouse and energy savings per occupant and per area are also provided along with some nice examples to help visualize savings.
Vancouver’s Gold Medal
Via housands of unwanted Canadian TVs
Even the gold will be green in Vancouver. Metal salvaged from recycled televisions, circuit boards, and other such e-waste was purchased by the Royal Canadian Mint from metal company Teck Resources out of Vancouver for $1.24 million to make the 1,014 unique undulating medals. The gold that’s not green will actually be more than 90% silver while the so-called bronze will actually be copper. For more on their unique fabrication, there’s an impressive video about the stamping, milling and etching required to make the medals on the site of the Royal Canadian Mint.
With the summer games in London just two years away, the Brits are determined to play the eternal game of environmental one-upsmanship, hoping to take the title of “greenest games ever” from Vancouver as soon as their flame is lit (hopefully without the technical difficulties). And they’re getting creative: The Olympic stadium in East London for the 2012 games will be built, in part, from 52 tons of scrap metal from guns, knives and old keys confiscated by the Metropolitan Police Service (they’ll see your pine beetle and raise you). Even the streets will be paved in green with plans for 16,000 slabs of energy sucking sidewalks that use deformations in a rubber disc beneath the slap to store energy that will power street lights and subway systems.
Waiting for the GPU to arrive is very exciting, but that excitement often turns to anxiety once it’s time to install it, especially if you’ve never done it before. We’ve been there too.
Having said that, the actual installation process is very simple. You just connect the GPU to a PCIe slot on the motherboard.
People have more trouble selecting the right GPU to buy or fixing problems after the installation. As such, we’ll cover the entire process in this article.
You must consider compatibility when purchasing any component for your system, but it’s especially important with graphics cards. Specifically,
Make sure the GPU will physically fit in your case. Higher-end graphics cards can be over 300mm long, so it’s important to take GPU clearance into account.
GPUs typically come in three sizes; single, double, and triple-slot. These refer to how many PCIe slots the GPU will cover. So, make sure the PCIe slots required for the GPU are available.
Similarly, computer cases come in various sizes. If you’re using compact ones like Micro ATX or Mini ITX, large-sized GPUs may not physically fit in the case or may overlap with other components. Check the dimensions of the GPU online to account for this.
Also, ensure the GPU is compatible with your PSU. Modern GPUs use 6-pin (75W), 8-pin (150W), or 12-pin (600W) connectors. First, the PSU must support the GPU’s pin connectors.
Second, the PSU wattage should be high enough to handle the GPU’s requirements. Check the spec sheet on the manufacturer’s site or use tools like PCPartPicker for this.
If you’re switching from an NVIDIA card to AMD or vice-versa, it’s good practice to uninstall the current drivers before installing the new card. You can use the driver uninstaller tool provided by the manufacturer, or simply use the control panel for this. If those don’t remove the drivers properly, you can try out third-party tools like DDU.
Also, please keep the following things in mind before starting with the hardware installation:
Periodically touch an unpainted metal surface (e.g, the chassis) or use anti-static equipment to ground yourself.
Store all the components securely. Smaller ones like screws are very easy to misplace.
Taking photos after each step will help you remember which cable or component goes where restoring everything later on.
If you have an old GPU already installed, follow the steps listed directly below to remove it first. Otherwise, skip ahead to the next section to start installing the new GPU.
Turn off your computer and unplug the power cable.
Now take the case to a clean workspace. You can place it standing straight or lay it on its side as you prefer.
Some motherboards use a lock mechanism to hold GPUs in place. Check if there’s a handle, lever, or something similar on or behind the PCIe slot. If it’s present, you’ll need to pull it back or press it in some cases, to release the GPU.
Now, here are the steps to install the new graphics card:
If necessary, follow Steps 1-4 from the prior section.
If the GPU has protective covers on the connectors, remove them.
Gently push the card into the slot. If there’s a locking mechanism on the PCIe slot, press or pull it as appropriate to lock the GPU in place.
Re-connect the power cables, switch on the PSU, and power on the PC.
When you power on the PC after the hardware installation, your PC will use generic drivers for the graphics card. This is fine to start off, but it’s best to update the drivers to get the best performance out of your GPU.
We recommend a couple of ways to do this. First, you could use tools provided by the GPU manufacturer (e.g., GeForce Experience, AMD Adrenalin, etc.) to automatically update the drivers.
Or if you want to install a specific driver version, you could go to the manufacturer’s support site, search for your GPU model, and download the file from there.
Can’t Remove GPU from PCIe Slot
People often have difficulty removing the old GPU before installing the new one. If you followed the steps from this guide, you’ll know that this is due to the PCIe slot’s latch holding the GPU in place. Depending on the latch, you’ll need to pull it back or press down on it to release the locking mechanism.
GPU Doesn’t Work After Installation
Reseating the GPU and ensuring you’ve plugged in the power connectors properly fixes this problem most of the time. You should also ensure your PSU can handle the GPU’s power requirements as mentioned earlier.
If these steps didn’t help, we recommend the following troubleshooting procedure:
Test the GPU on a different system to ensure it actually works. Manufacturing defects and damage during shipping are more common than most people think.
If it works, the problem is with your motherboard’s PCIe slot or the power connector. Although not as common, the monitor or display cable could be faulty too.
Sometimes, only specific components might not work. For instance, some graphics cards are designed to not spin the fans at idle temperature. We’ve seen people misinterpret this as a GPU not working before.
Other times, the component might actually not be working. For instance, the GPU fan could be physically obstructed by something. Or the HDMI port could be damaged.
We’ve even seen niche cases where a dirty HDMI port or a CPU that wasn’t properly locked down caused display problems. If you’re installing an old or second-hand GPU, these could be worth looking into.
As stated earlier, you should remove the current drivers when switching from an NVIDIA card to AMD or vice-versa to prevent driver conflict. In rare cases, this can be necessary even if you’re installing the same manufacturer’s card.
Using External GPU w/ Integrated
This one is more of a common query than a problem. Users often ask if it’s possible to use an External GPU if your system already has an integrated GPU.
Yes, you can do this. The system will generally use the dedicated GPU for most tasks, and only utilize the integrated one if necessary. You can also manage such preferences yourself using tools like the NVIDIA Control Panel.
Google Wallet, a mobile payment system from the search giant, has gained little traction over the past 18 months since its inception, mostly due to limited merchant and carrier support in the U.S. To solve this, Google is rumored to be on the verge of launching a physical card that will work in conjunction with the Wallet service to replace all plastic in your pocket.
The move should help the Wallet service pick up steam and might even establish the search monster as one of the biggest players in the mobile payment industry. Indeed, one card to rule them all with the elite Google Wallet physical card…
The Google Wallet card is not to be confused with the Google Wallet Virtual card, basically a Wallet app feature that only works with contactless payments.
TechCrunch points us to a support document on the official Google Wallet web site which lists eligible devices. Turns out that all devices running Android 2.3.3 or higher will be able to run the Google Wallet app and use it with the physical Google Wallet card.
This is important on many levels.
Firstly, this means near-universal compatibility because at press time more than 80 percent of devices had Android 2.3.3 or higher installed, according to Google’s data.
Secondly, the physical Google Wallet won’t require specific NFC-enabled phones and NFC-enabled point-of-sale terminals – it should be accepted on any regular terminal that accepts popular credit and debit cards, solving availability concerns in one fell swoop.
And thirdly, the Google Wallet card completely bypasses carriers who attempted to block the Wallet service on their network. What’s more, there’s nothing they can do about it. Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile USA have established their own payment system called ISIS, with an accompanying Android app currently supporting phones like the Galaxy Nexus, LG Viper 4G LTE, LG Optimus Elite and various Galaxy S III flavors.
It also doesn’t hurt that you’d only be canceling one card in case your wallet is stolen rather than a whole bunch of plastic cards.
Google promotes Wallet as an open mobile payment service which encompasses payment providers, carriers and banks. Based on Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology increasingly found on high-end phones, the system lets folks store their many cards (debit, credit, loyalty and gift cards) on their cellphone and use the Wallet app to make secure payments by tapping their device on any PayPass-enabled terminal at checkout.
So, where does this leave Apple?
Passbook, as you know, simply collects your digital coupons, loyalty cards, airline and concert tickets and more in one place. Still, with Google, carriers, credit card issuers and banks all eyeing this hugely lucrative market, it’s hard to escape a notion that Apple must be working on its own mobile payment solution in secrecy.
Another thing to consider: Google could easily offer its service to Apple users via a Wallet iOS app, but Apple has a final say over letting such a piece of software exist on its platform.
At any rate, should Google submit a Wallet iOS app and Apple reject it, this will be a tell-tale sign that the iPhone maker is after all working on a similar service for iPhone users.
What do you think?
Should Apple roll out a fully-featured iWallet shopping solution, with credit cards and everything?
Falling in Love with Science, Again BU’s RET program trains middle and high school teachers
High school teachers Fjodor Dukaj (left) and Jay Defuria superimposed on an image of the Earth taken by cameras carried by the helium balloon they launched. Photo courtesy of Jay DeFuria
Last week, high school science teachers Fjodor Dukaj and Jay DeFuria found themselves zipping along a 30-mile stretch of state highway in hot pursuit of a giant helium balloon they had just launched. Attached to its kite-like tail bobbed four boxes containing a GPS device and other equipment they and BU scientists they were working with hoped would capture images of the Earth’s curvature and measure air temperature as the balloon rose more than 18 miles into near space.
The teachers, from Somerville and Northfield Mass., felt an adrenaline rush as they approached the landing site in West Dover, Vt. “It was like chasing a tornado, just a little safer,” Dukaj recalls. Their group parked at the edge of the Green Mountain National Forest and trekked through dense foliage with a handheld antenna, called a Yagi, that blipped a tune when they headed in the right direction. The Yagi eventually sang at the base of a birch tree, where their treasure hung suspended in the branches high above. (More about that in a minute.)
Dukaj and DeFuria are among 10 middle and high school science teachers who have spent the past six weeks studying biophotonics through BU RET (Research Experiences for Teachers), a three-year, $474,000 grant-funded program sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The BU program is one of 43 RET sites across the country, many of which focus on engineering. BU’s Photonics Center provides faculty mentors, facilities, and substantial indirect funding for BU RET. The program’s principal investigators are Cynthia Brossman, director of BU’s Learning Resource Network (LERNet), which also supports the program, Michael Ruane, a College of Engineering professor emeritus of electrical and computer engineering, and Helen Fawcett (GRS’97), operations and technical programs manager at the Photonics Center.
Under the BU program, veteran teachers are paired with preservice or novice teachers and assigned to photonics labs working on a variety of projects, from using imaging sensors to detect antibodies, as in the labs of M. Selim Ünlü, an ENG professor of electrical and computer engineering, to using optics as a diagnostic test for diseases like malaria, as in the labs of Jerome Mertz, an ENG associate professor of biomedical engineering.
Beyond lab experience, teachers have weekly brown bag lunches with BU researchers, who discuss their latest work, and pedagogy sessions to explore how to integrate their new technology and research experience into the classroom. Each teacher receives a stipend of up to $7,000 and funds to buy materials for their classrooms. They return to BU three times throughout the school year to swap success stories.
Brossman says the program connects the University with the larger community and is mutually beneficial. Local teachers “are the conduit,” she says. “They’re the people through which we can share what is going on at our University with young students and hopefully inspire them to become interested in these fields.”
Sharon, Mass., middle school teacher Valerie Ordway, another RET participant, says her school days are typically spent dealing with administrative duties and catering to her students’ diverse needs, not plunging into the latest scientific discoveries. Her experience at BU, she says, is “an injection of intellectual stimulation” and an opportunity to experience what life as a scientist truly entails.
James Louis, a teacher at public high school TechBoston Academy, already knows how to incorporate his work in Mertz’s lab with his AP biotechnology lessons on sickle cell anemia, a disease not uncommon in a school where 70 percent of students are African American. When his students ask, “When will I actually apply this?” he can give them a precise response: in finding a cure.
Dukaj and DeFuria have been working with faculty and staff affiliated with Boston University’s BUSAT (Student Satellite for Applications and Training) program to produce data that will help BU researchers in designing a low Earth-orbiting satellite. Neither they nor their RET collaborator Nathan Darling (ENG’12), BUSAT project manager, had anticipated last week’s treetop rescue of their helium balloon. Darling came up with a somewhat unscientific solution: “We’re just gonna try to yank it.”
Back at the base of the birch tree the next morning, DeFuria attached fishing line to the end of an arrow, fit it into his bow, and shot it in an arc over the dangling boxes. The fifth arrow coursed the right path, and with a powerful tug to the line, the boxes fell in tandem to the ground.
“It took some time and patience,” DeFuria says, “but with a bit of maneuvering, we were able to recover everything intact.”
Darling is pleased with the experiment. The process honed his skills as an engineer interested in supporting the sciences.
And Dukaj and DeFuria couldn’t be happier: they now have a series of six affordable lab projects, all based on Massachusetts and national curriculum standards, that they can use in their classrooms. “I think this is a very feasible lab to do with the students,” Dukaj says.
Judging by the two teachers’ broad grins, it may be hard to tell who’ll be more excited about the next balloon launch—them, or their students.
RET participants will present lectures about their research today, Wednesday, August 8, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Photonics Center, 8 St. Mary’s St., Room 339. Tomorrow they will host a poster session from 3 to 5 p.m. in the center’s seventh floor atrium. The presentations are free and open to the public.
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