Frank Winkler receives a grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute

Frank Winkler (Emeritus Professor, Physics) has been awarded funding from the NASA-funded Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) for his role in a collaborative research project titled What Makes Radio-detected and Optically-detected Supernova Remnants in NGC6946 Different? The project, carried out in collaboration with colleagues from STScI, Johns Hopkins University, and Hofstra University, will use new observations from the Hubble Space Telescope, in conjunction with existing data from Hubble, from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, from optical telescopes at Kitt Peak in Arizona and Mauna Kea in Hawaii, and  from the Jansky Very Large Array radio telescope in New Mexico. The study will focus on understanding the remnants of exploded stars in the “Fireworks Galaxy,” so named because it has produced more supernovae (9) in the past century than any other known galaxy. The researchers hope that their work will shed new light on the cycle through which stars are born, live, die spectacularly as supernovae, and disperse matter that will eventually become the raw material for new stars.

@MiddInfoSec Phishing Alert: don’t fall for “FW: VERIFY” scam email

Be on the alert for a suspicious email purportedly sent from an internal sender with the subject line “FW: VERIFY”. This is a confirmed phishing message, designed to trick you into divulging your username and password. Do not click on the links in the message or reply to the message. If you find a copy of the message in your inbox, please delete it. If you find a copy of this message in your spam quarantine, please ignore it and do not release it. The message will be deleted from your quarantine automatically in the next few days.

For more information about phishing attacks, please visit

For more information about the spam quarantine, please visit

CCE Mini Grant Reflection by Rebecca Duras: Letter drop at Congressman Welch’s and Senator Leahy’s offices, Burlington

On Veteran’s Day, 2016, the Middlebury chapter of Young Progressives Demanding Action (YPDA) organized a trip to the Burlington offices of Congressman Peter Welch and Senator Patrick Leahy to deliver letters calling for them to oppose the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which not only threatens the environment but desecrates Native American land protected by a treaty. The letter drop was planned before the election results, but the election of Donald Trump, who not only promised he will support the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline but stated that he will overturn President Obama’s executive order blocking the Keystone XL Pipeline, made the day of action even more pressing. Of all the things that could happen under a Trump administration, the damage done to the environment is one of the most powerful because we are at a turning point environmentally and if swift action is not taken now, our environment will become permanently damaged beyond repair.

After the letter drop was completed, the members of MiddYPDA attended the Burlington “Love Trumps Hate” rally  to show our support for those who are most vulnerable by Trump’s administration. The rally in Burlington’s City Hall Park was peaceful, with many speakers sharing their fears of what might come as well as their hopes for a future America that is vigilant in the face of injustice and many shared tips for helping the most vulnerable.

Buy Again Alley 1st Anniversary Specials

BUY AGAIN ALLEY, your local non-profit thrift and consignment shop, is celebrating its ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY! We are celebrating and thanking our customers with A WEEK OF ANNIVERSARY SPECIALS!

  • Tuesday 1/24: Bring a friend, get 20% off your purchase and enter your friends name for a mystery discount.
  • Wednesday 1/25: All day raffle- door prizes will be drawn every hour! Get a free paper crane with your purchase!
  • Thursday 1/26: Another day to bring a friend, get 20% off your purchase and enter your friends name for a mystery discount.
  • Friday 1/27: Show us your student ID and receive 20% off your purchase and enter a friends name to win a mystery discount.
  • Saturday 1/28: All day store-wide Sale-20% off! 1 pm – 4 pm: Get a free Henna Tattoo by Rebecca of Heartfire Henna with your purchase of $15. First come, first serve.


Come visit us at 1 Frog Hollow Alley in Middlebury or find us on FB under Buy Again Alley.

Hours: 11 am to 5 pm. Contact Jutta for more information @ 802-989-8934 

Weekly Web Updates – January 16, 2017

The Dining Menus website features a new responsive design, making it easier to use on mobile devices.

We removed the greenday, regulus, edu-knows, and irresistible themes from WordPress, which were not in use on any active sites.


Fixes and Tweaks

  • We’ve deployed an update to the BLSE homepage from our colleagues in Communications & Marketing.
  • Corrected an issue with the MailPoet newsletter WordPress plugin that prevented the preview and send buttons from working.
  • The media button in the WYSIWYG editor for the MIIS Drupal site appears again.
  • Fixed an issue with the WordPress Authors plugin that made it appear as though each author wrote zero posts.

Ongoing Work

  • Creating a new website for the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.
  • A small redesign of the Middlebury News Room to bring it more inline with the newsletter.
  • Building out the configuration of our Omeka, and CAS servers in Chef, which is a configuration management system. We have already completed this work for our Drupal, WordPress, MediaWiki, GO, and the Course Catalog services.
  • Upgrading the Drupal sites for the Davis programs, Dining Menus, and Museum of Art to Drupal 8.
  • Providing Course Hub access for Schools Abroad courses.

The exploration begins: first steps alone in Freetown

English below 🙂

Продължавам с още мъничко детайли за Неделята си, която само бегло описах в предишния пост. Сиералеонците, вече съм установила, въобще не признават времето, когато ти кажат, че ще се срещнете “след малко”, това може да бъде от 5 минути до няколко часа. Така половин ден чаках Арнолд уж да дойде да ме вземе за плаж и когато стана около 3 и нещо следобяд, реших, че нямам време за губене- тръгнах сама да обикалям. И понеже мама все ме съветва да не прекалявам със смелостта, реших да се разходя само из квартала. Добре, де, но стигам главния път, вървя мъничко по него и какво да видя: умряло куче по средата на тротоара, ама такова едно от най-страшно изглеждащите: с бяла пяна около устата. Ужасих се, започнах да се оглеждам, но няма връщане назад (пак ще стана за смях), но пък и ме е страх да мина покрай него, да не би само да се прави на умряло. Видя ме едно момче и мина пред мен, и много ми се чуди какво толкова ме е страх.


Вървя си аз, а хората непрекъснато ми се усмихват, поздравяват ме, честитят ми новата година (аз даже вече забравих, че сме празнували :P). Трябва да призная, че първоначално ме беше малко страх, защото малките улички са толкова бедни и в такъв вид, че да ти настръхне косъма как може да има хора, които да живеят при такива условия. При все това се чувствах много по-комфортно отколкото през по-голяма част от престоя си в Амман, да речем. Няма сексуален тормоз, никой не ходи след теб и не ти досажда.
Бях се запътила към плажа в очакване да разбера колко далеч е сиералеонското “много далече”, когато ми се обади Арнолд, за да ми съобщи, че най-накрая тръгва от тях и че няма да ходим на плаж, а на приятелски футболен мач. Футболът тук е огромна страст и хората не само активно следят всички мачове, но и много често играят. Няколко големи сиералеонски футболни звезди са водещата причина за тази мания; дори и Арнолд, който работи за агенция на ООН ми споделя, че би предпочел да бъде футболист.

img_20170108_1700491Отиваме на националното игрище, което въобще няма вид на такова, но е предоставено на играчите- които поголовно се оказват големи клечки- тъй като техен приятел е министър на спорта. Самият мач на мен не ми беше толкова интересен, колкото това, което последва: първо докараха от някъде тави с пиле и ядохме (Не прави като мен: нямаше вилици и всички мръсни, потни ядоха с ръце. А пък аз се замих с малко минерална вода и реших и аз като тях да ям, но после цяла но
щ ми раздираха котки стомаха). След това се изпи доста Бекс, а когато се стъмни започнаха да се състезават по танцуване: тук всички, ВСИЧКИ танцуват уникално, днес минавах покрай едни бедни къщи, а едно голо дете с радио така се радваше и поклащаше…


Тоалетната в барчето вместо врата имаше перденце, но при все това никой не те притеснява, докато си вътре

Най-накрая се преместихме в един бар, който представлява една малка стаичка с голи стени, няколко масички и диджей пулт. Обаче и аз се разтанцувах най-накрая, докато не ме държаха краката повече.


На другия ден пак до късно ни вест, ни кост от никого, облякох се и пак излязох сама.  Две пресечки по-късно срещам за втори път едно момче, което отново сърдечно ме поздравява, и този път като вече “познат” го попитах как да стигна до центъра на града. “Къде по-точно?” “Ами,  не знам, в центъра”. Той ми обсяни, че освен с мотоциклет (опасно) или с такси (“скъпо”), мога да се придвижа с автобус или маршрутка, но че те били много наблъскани. “Няма проблем”- казвам аз, винаги готова за приключение и скоро се отзовавам наблъскана в автобус с още 70-80 души при трийсет градусово слънце в два и половина на обяд. На всичкото отгоре- няма такъв трафик! Бога ми, не съм се потила толкова много през целия си живот взет заедно.

IMG_20170109_161759[1].jpgСлед около час в нажежената консерва питам Франсис, който в крайна сметка също се качи на рейса колко още остава, а той засмяно ми обяснява, че никога не си засича времето, така че не може да ми каже. Най-накрая пристигаме, а аз нищо не съм яла и съм мъртво гладна. Оказва се, че Франсис няма намерение да си продължи по пътя, а иска да ме придружи и аз неохотно се съгласявам (всъщност в последствие се оказа, че беше страхотно да се сприятеля с местен и да обикаляме заедно, а Франсис се оказа изключително мил и приятен). Влязохме в едно миниатюрно ресторантче, в което ни предложиха някакво африканско ястие, което не можаха да ми опишат, както и риба. Културният шок бе преди всичко в хигиената или по-скоро тоталната липса на такава- поисках да си измия ръцете, но се оказа, че няма баня и ми донесоха едно миниатюрно легенче, в което да си изплакна ръцете; придружителят ми въобще нямаше такива мераци, при все че ястието, което ни донесоха се яде с ръце. Въпросната риба беше най-тъжната риба, която съм виждала, но какво да правиш- хапнах. За разлика от Арнолд, който ми беше казал, че хората тук не са всъщност бедни и че всички получават по 100-200 долара от роднини в чужбина, Франсис ми каза, че дори и това ресторантче, където платих около 2 долара за яденето ни, би било прекалено скъпо за мнозинството от хора.img_20170109_1617511

С Франсис дълго се разхождахме по улиците и той ми разказва истории и факти за Сиера Леон, както и за себе си. Той бил син на племенен вожд от Севера и въпреки че учи журналистика, голямата му мечта е да влезе в политиката и да създаде нова партия, която да обединява всички сиералеонци, а не да дискриминира определени племена или групи. Понастоящем подобно на САЩ в Сиера Леоне има две управляващи партии, а достъп до най-висшестоящите позиции имат само членове на определени етнически/племенни групи.

Следвайте постовете ми за още истории и впечатления от престоя ми в Сиера Леоне. Възможността да пътувам до едни от най-невероятните кътчета на света и да общувам с хора от целия свят до голяма степен се дължи на това, че знам и свободно говоря на няколко езици. Ако искате да подобрите уменията си по Английски по най-ефективния и бърз начин в интернационална среда с нейтив спийкърс, непременно разгледайте сайтът на новия ми проект: Immersion Language & Leadership Academy


img_20170109_1653221 img_20170109_1727041 img_20170109_1724391 img_20170109_1651561

I’m continuing with yet some more about my first Sunday in Sierra Leone (2nd day), which I only briefly described in my previous post. Siera Leoneans- I quickly found out- are not very punctual, so when they tell you they will meet you “in a bit” that could take anywhere from 5 minutes to several hours. I waited for Arnold for half a day before at around 3.30pm I decided I have no time to waste and left the house to walk around by myself. My mom always warns me to not go too far with my bravery, so I decided to only explore the neighborhood since transportation seemed too complicated anyway. Okey, but as soon as I reach the main road and walk on it for a bit I am thrown off by the scariest sight: a dead dog lying in the middle of the path with white around its mouth. I was terrified, but there was no going back- people will laugh at me!- and yet I don’t dare to keep walking (what if it’s not really dead, but only wants me to think so?!) At the end a boy walked in front of me and couldn’t understand why I’m so scared…

I’m walking down the street and people are smiling at me, greeting me, saying “Happy New Year!” (I already forgot we recently celebrated :P). At first I was a bit afraid because some of the little streets are so poor, I can’t but wonder how people can live in such conditions. And yet I felt more comfortable than during most of my stay in, say, Amman: no sexual harassment, no one walks behind you or bothers you.

I was heading towards the beach curious to find out how far is the Sierraleonean “really far”, when Arnold cold me to let me know he’s finally leaving his home and that instead of going to the beach we’ll go to a football match his friends organized. Football is a huge passion here and people not only follow actively all games, but also play frequently (no wonder everyone is so fit and good-looking). Several big Sierraleonean football starts are the reason for this craze; even Arnold who wors for a UN agency tells me he would rather be a football player.

img_20170108_1700491Arnold’s friends- all big fish in Sierra Leone- are given access to the National Stadium (which hardly looks like one) because a friend of theirs holds an important position with the Sport Ministry. I wasn’t that interested with the game, but loved what followed: first, after the match people brought from somewhere several giant plates with chicken (Don’t do what I did: there were no forks and everyone, dirty and sweaty after the game, ate with bare hands; I tried to wash my hands with some mineral water, but nevertheless followed my travelling mantra “When in Rome, do as Romans do”, but then cats were scratching my stomach all night long!) People drank a lot of Becks afterwards, and when darkness had fallen the dance competitions began: EVERYONE here is amazing at dancing (I was passing by some poor houses today and I saw a naked child holding a radio and dancing so, so happily, it was pure joy to watch him).


The bathroom in the bar had no door and yet no one would bother you, while you’re inside

At last, we moved on to a bar which was nothing more than a small room with bare walls, a few tables and a DJ. The atmosphere was so enthralling, I got up to dance and didn’t stop until my legs couldn’t stand…



I didn’t hear from anyone until late the next day again, so I once more dressed up and went out by myself. Just around the corner I meet the same guy I had met the previous day, we chat a bit and this time (now that he is no loner a stranger) I ask him how to get to the city center. “Where exactly?” “I don’t know- in the city center”. He explains to me that there are several modes of transportation: I can go by motorcycle (“dangerous”), taxi (“expensive”) or by a public bus or shuttle, but these are “so very congested”. “No problem”, I say (“When in Rome…”, remember?) and I soon find myself on a bus with 70-80 more people at 2.30 pm in the worst of heat (it was 30+ degrees Celsius). On top of everything: tons of traffic and we’re hardly moving. I haven’t sweated so much in my whole life altogether.

img_20170109_1617591An hour later, jammed in the hot tin, I ask Francis who has also got on the bus to tell me how much more is left and he laughingly replies that he never times the trip, so he can’t tell. At last, we arrive to Regents Road in the midst of some of the largest crowds I’ve seen. It turns out Francis isn’t planning on departing and I reluctantly agree that he accompanies me (turned out he was incredibly kind and respectful and I was really happy to have made another local friend). I was really hungry, so we entered a tiny restaurant where we were offered an African dish no one could describe to me, as well as fish. The cultural shock came from the hygiene- or rather lack of such- I asked tow ash my hands, but it turned out there was no bathroom, so I was brought a tiny water basin to wash my hands in; my companion made no such request, yet the dish we were to eat is consumed by hand. The fish we got was the saddest fish I have seen, but hunger had its word, so I ate some. In contrast to Arnold who had told me that most people aren’t actually poor and receive 100-200$ by relatives abroad every month, Francis told me that most people can’t even afford our shared 2$ meal.


We then walked for long and he told me many stories and fact about Sierra Leone, as well as about himself. He said he was the son of a Tribal Chief from the North and that although he studied Journalism, he really wanted to go into politics and create a new party which will bring together all groups and tribes in the country, and not discriminate against some. Currently, Sierra Leone has two ruling parties with access to the highest political offices granted to only members of few tribes/ethnic groups.

Follow my posts for more stories and observations from Sierra Leone🙂