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Election Day is fast approaching, this year falling on November 7th (AKA the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, as dictated by Congress in 1845).

It’s not a Presidential election year, but there is plenty going on in Massachusetts. Unsure of what’s going down in your town? Check the website of the Secretary of the Commonwealth to see if elections are going on where you live, and to get more information on local races.

Remember, if you need to vote with an absentee ballot, November 6th at noon is the deadline to request one, and the completed ballot must be returned by the close of polls on Election Day.

We could do worse than to follow the example of our 32nd First Lady, first chair of the UNHCR, and the inaugural chair of the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women (pictured above, voting).

Remember, if you need to see if you are registered to vote, register online, or find your polling place, the Secretary of the Commonwealth has you covered.

So get out there and be like Eleanor! VOTE!

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As we wrap up our celebration of Open Access Week, this is a great time to think about what Open Access can mean to researchers, to scholars, and to our local, national, and international communities. Librarians promote publication in Open Access journals to enable collaboration with like-minded researchers and to raise research visibility, but there are many reasons to wade into the Open Access waters. One of the most compelling is to increase knowledge of science, research, and medicine outside the Ivory Tower.

Think about how easy it is access the latest research in highly regarded journals from the comfort of the Library, or from home (if you go through the proxy server) as a student, faculty, or staff member of Tufts University. But how many times have you tried to access a scientific study from off-campus and run into a paywall? How many times has a newspaper or blog made a claim about a health benefit or some groundbreaking research, only to link out to a journal you can’t access? Think about everyone NOT studying at or employed by a college or university…where do they get their scientific information?

Turns out, the Pew Research Center recently published a study about how Americans consume science news, and they report that 66% of Americans “actively seek out and directly consume” news about science, and the overwhelmingly popular source of that information is outlets like newspapers and television news programming. However, many of these consumers feel that news media does a poor job covering scientific topics (41%) and that some of those reasons include: hasty reporting of findings that may not hold up, oversimplification, overreporting of conflicting viewpoints, and coverage of findings that are not important.

If you work in or study health sciences, you watch this play out on the evening news every day, usually regarding whether or not red wine will make you live forever, if chocolate replaces working out, if coffee will kill you, or if you actually need to floss your teeth (Note: please keep flossing). But who do Americans blame for this? Most participants in the Pew Study blamed the news media, but nearly a quarter (24%) blamed poor scientific reporting on the “way science researchers publish.”

Well well well. We might not be able to change every newscast and every newspaper, but a major way to improve scientific communication is to publish research that EVERYONE can read. For free. Open Access! Think of all the questions that can be answered when patients and health care providers outside of colleges and universities can access quality research free of charge. Think of the advances when researchers can find, use, and reinterpret data without copyright restrictions or paywalls.

Check out the Scholarly Publishing and Access Resources Coalition’s reasons to support open access to aid scientific communication here: https://sparcopen.org/open-access/.

Pumpkin flavored everything is here, the leaves have changed color, the air is cooler – it’s hard not to love October in New England. With Halloween fast approaching, we thought you might want to take a look at some things you can do to get yourself in the mood.

New events are still being added, check out the Boston Calendar or the Boston Discovery Guide for more city happenings. If you’re willing to drive a little and want to go pumpkin picking, check out this of Massachusetts pumpkin patches. Happy October!

https://pixabay.com/en/halloween-halloweenkuerbis-carved-1798080/

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August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and initiative sponsored by the National Public Health Information Coalition.

And this week, August 14-20, is all about Adult Immunization! It’s easy to think that vaccinations are just for kids, but adults need vaccinations and boosters as well. There are some vaccinations that were not available to everyone (or required) as a child, such as those that protect against HPV, Hepatitis A and B, and Chickenpox. There are immunizations that become increasingly important for adults to receive as they age, such as those for shingles and pneumococcal pneumonia. There are “boosters” that everyone should receive every decade or so for continued immunity, like Td/TDAP and Tetanus, and of course, don’t forget your annual Flu shot.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has all the information you need to keep everyone in your family immune from preventable disease, whether Adult, Teenager, or Infant or Child.

 

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We thought it was great that the 4th was a Monday last year, since it gave us a 3-day weekend, but we’re thrilled that the Tuesday holiday this year gives us a 4-day weekend! The weather forecast looks good, so why not take advantage of all the 4th of July activities in the Boston area?

The quintessential Boston 4th of July celebration is the Boston Pops performance and fireworks show on the Esplanade. Visit the official event website for a rundown of the schedule and more event details. CBS Boston has also put together a handy guide with viewing location suggestions and other useful tips. Want to hear the music but don’t want to deal with the crowds on the 4th? The Pops will be doing a rehearsal (minus fireworks) on Monday July 3rd.

For fun throughout the weekend, head down to Boston Harborfest . Dedicated to celebrating Boston’s harbor and history, it’s the largest 4th of July festival in the country and features tons of activities, some free and some paid. Here’s the full schedule.

Don’t want to fight the crowds for Boston fireworks on the 2nd or the 4th? Here’s a list of all the fireworks displays planned for this summer in MA. Of particularly local note, Somerville will be having a display tonight (6/29) at 9:15pm and Newton and Waltham will also have fireworks displays on Tuesday 7/4.

Want to keep learning while the library’s closed Sun-Tues? Why not take in a historical tour with National Park Service or visit the Colonialfest at the Old North Church?

 

Whatever you choose to do this weekend, we hope you have a happy, healthy, and safe Independence Day. And don’t forget to wear sunscreen!

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June 17, 2017 is the 242nd anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill, an event we mark in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as Bunker Hill Day. It falls on a Saturday this year, so why not take the opportunity to visit some historic sites and learn more?

  • Visit the Bunker Hill Monument for the “Decisive Day” guided tour offered by the Boston National Historic Park, which departs daily every half hour.
  • There are also special Bunker Hill Day tours at the Adams National Historical Park in Quincy.

If you don’t have time to get out this weekend, here are the Top Ten Things You Should Know About Charlestown and the Battle of Bunker Hill according to our Head of Research & Instruction and Charlestown denizen, Becky Morin

1) The Battle of Bunker Hill was mostly fought on Breed’s Hill. That’s where the Monument is. Bunker Hill is actually taller and steeper, and is home to the lovely Saint Francis de Sales, a beautiful Roman Catholic church dedicated in 1862. If you don’t know which hill is which, we know you’re a tourist.

Bunker Hill Monument and Col. William Prescott statue

By Siddharth Mallya. CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

2) Charlestown was actually not part of the City of Boston when the Battle took place. Charlestown is OLDER than Boston (as any proud Townie will gladly inform you), and did not become part of the City until 1874.

3) Charlestown is where Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride really kicked off. He was ferried in a rowboat from Boston, landing near the Charlestown Battery, and picking up a horse from his friend Deacon John Larkin, a lifelong Charlestown resident.

4) There is debate as to why the Colonial forces fortified Breed’s Hill instead of Bunker Hill, although many think it is because Breed’s Hill is closer to Boston. The British had planned the siege to capture Bunker Hill, as they wanted to dig in fortifications on the area’s highest points.

5) It took the British three attempts to capture Breed’s Hill, even though their numbers were far greater than the Colonial forces.

6) Charlestown burns during the Battle, the first of two major fires to strike the community.

7) Proud Charlestown residents still fly the Bunker Hill Battle Flag.

Bunker Hill Flag

By DevinCook at English Wikipedia, via Wikimedia Commons

8) While the British defeat the Colonists at the Battle of Bunker Hill, they suffer severe casualties and the Siege of Boston comes to a stalemate.

9) The Bunker Hill Monument (which you now know is on Breed’s Hill) is 221 feet tall and was completed in 1842.

10) Beloved French hero of the American Revolution, the Marquis de Lafayette, is said to be buried beneath a sprinkling of soil from Bunker Hill, procured by his son.

Want More?

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-true-story-of-the-battle-of-bunker-hill-36721984/
http://charlestownhistoricalsociety.org/history/historic-timeline/
https://www.masshist.org/revolution/bunkerhill.php
https://memory.loc.gov/ammem/today/jun17.html

Boston Chinese New Year 2016

2016 Chinese New Year Parade in Boston (Matthew Dailey)/ CC BY-NC 2.0

Tomorrow, January 28th, is the first day of the Chinese Calendar and the beginning of the Year of the Rooster. Starting this evening, the next two weeks will be filled with celebrations. Fireworks, feasts, family reunions and parades are some of the well-known festivities associated with the Lunar New Year. There are also a great many traditions associated with the Lunar New Year that are centuries old, such as the hanging of traditional ‘new years’ poems, cleaning the home, the receiving new clothes and getting one’s haircut.

And because our campus is located very conveniently in Chinatown, be sure to check out the Chinese New Year Parade! It’s the largest annual celebration in Boston’s Chinatown with lion dancers, music, and firecrackers—and if you haven’t tried the plethora of food options in our neighborhood, what a better time to venture out and celebrate? This year’s parade will be held on Sunday, February 12th. Here’s some more information about the festivities in Boston. .

If you are celebrating Lunar New Year, we wish safe travels and  much joy and prosperity this year! 恭贺新禧  Happy New Year!

Further reading:

About the Lunar New Year

Chinese New Year Traditions

Five Things You Didn’t Know About the Year of the Rooster

Stories about Chinese New Year

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vote

While you probably don’t need to be reminded that there is a presidential election happening on November 8th ,  a re-fresher on this year’s Massachusetts ballot questions might be in order.

First, if you know that you are registered to vote in Massachusetts, but can’t remember where  it is that actually cast your ballot, check out:
Where do I vote in Massachusetts?
http://wheredoivotema.com/bal/MyElectionInfo.aspx

Okay, now that you know where you are going to vote, you can decide how you are going to vote.  There are four statewide ballot questions this year. According to Ballotpedia, the four ballot questions are asking for a “yes” or “no” vote on the following:

  • Question 1: would allow the Gaming Commission to issue an additional slots license.
  • Question 2: would authorize the approval of up to 12 new charter schools or enrollment expansions in existing charter schools by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education per year.
  • Question 3: would prohibit certain methods of farm animal containment.
  • Question 4: would legalize recreational marijuana for individuals at least 21 years old.

Ballot questions can be tricky! Since a “yes” or “no” vote on a ballot questions may have ramifications that go way beyond simply affirming the idea proposed, you need to understand  the legal and social implications of your decision. This in mind, please check out the following resources. Not only  do they provide great information about the ballot questions themselves, but they also provide  you with the “big picture” on the potential implications of your vote:

What You Need To Know About The 4 Mass. Ballot Questions
http://www.wbur.org/politicker/2016/10/21/mass-ballot-questions-guide

“Yea or Nay? A Guide to Massachusetts’ Ballot Questions”
http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/article/2016/10/09/massachusetts-ballot-questions-2016-guide/

Okay folks, now get out there and vote!!

 

September 19 – 23 is National Postdoc Appreciation Week (or NPAW, which is a great acronym).

Last year, Tufts had ~190 postdocs working in a variety of disciplines in Boston, Grafton and Medford.  Almost half of those postdocs were here on the Health Sciences Campus, so chances are you know a postdoc!  Take this opportunity to thank them for their tireless hard work and dedication to research.

 

Post contributed by Laura Pavlech

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MEDLINE computer with Medical Subject Headings book, circa 1974 Image source:  U.S. National Library of Medicine Digital Collections

MEDLINE computer with Medical Subject Headings book, circa 1974
Image source: U.S. National Library of Medicine Digital Collections

Now an indispensable resource, it is hard to believe that PubMed is only 20 years old. First released in January 1996, PubMed was initially an experimental database. One year later, the word ‘experimental’ was dropped and, at a Capitol Hill press conference on June 26, 1997, free web access to MEDLINE through PubMed was officially announced. The press conference featured a demonstration of PubMed by then Vice President Al Gore (anyone remember him?) and a variety of stories from peoples whose lives had been affected by access to MEDLINE (Press Release – Free MEDLINE).

Prior to the launch of PubMed, users had to register and pay to search MEDLINE. Approximately 2 million PubMed searches were executed during the month of June 1997. In April 2015, 3.5 million searches per day were performed in PubMed. PubMed has come a long way over the past 20 years, and will continue to change in the upcoming years (PubMed Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary).

 

Post contributed by Laura Pavlech

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