Best of the New contributors: Jenn Abelson, Ami Albernaz, Cheryl Alkon, Kara Baskin, Karen Campbell, Matt Casey, Devra First, Tim Flynn, Ethan Gilsdorf, Alice Gregory, Lucia Huntington, Katherine Hysmith, Carolyn Y. Johnson, Susan Johnston, Sheryl Julian, Joseph P. Kahn, Marni Elyse Katz, Scott Kirsner, Ann Trieger Kurland, Dan Morrell, John Powers, Sebastian Smee, Shira Springer, Tina Sutton, Rachel Travers, and Glenn Yoder
CAREER HELP FOR THE GEEK GENERATION
Perhaps it’s not surprising that Greater Boston, a center of educational innovation since at least 1636, has spawned a new niche in continuing ed. Intelligent.ly and the Boston Startup School are geared to people who already work for start-ups or professionals who hope to land a job at one. Based in the South End, Intelligent.ly offers after-hours classes taught by seasoned pros. Boston Startup School takes new college grads and, over eight weeks, tries to make them more appealing hires. (After the summer session, 84 companies showed up to recruit 50 graduates.) Some programs are free to students, sponsored by companies looking for employees. The centers are creating “a new gravitational pull for Boston’s start-up scene,” says Bill Warner, a Cambridge entrepreneur and investor.
Shopping by periodic share is no longer just for organic vegetables and heirloom meat. Buy into EH Chocolatier’s CSC and you can use your sweet tooth to support local confectioners. Join on a monthly or biweekly basis; there are pickup locations in the city and suburbs.
DATA AND DRIVE IN BOSTON
The City of Boston is letting some light into its notoriously smoke-filled rooms. First, something for stats geeks. Boston About Results offers a performance review of sorts via municipal minutiae — everything from a tally of party-noise complaints to the number of sidewalk ramps brought into compliance by public works. And it’s not just gloss: The school dropout rate is ticking up and SAT scores are falling, and that’s online, too. Then the city outfitted an old bomb-squad van with laptops and wireless Internet to create City Hall to Go, a place where residents can do everything from pick up school registration forms to get a marriage certificate to pay property taxes. The pilot program is the first of its kind in the country.
THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF DNA ELEMENTS
When scientists drafted the DNA blueprint of a human being more than a decade ago, they were surprised at how few genes they found. The vast remainder — popularly called junk DNA — was clearly important, but the role it played was “enigmatic,” says Job Dekker, a biologist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. That drove Dekker and other scientists to complete the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements project, which elucidates the function of much of the rest, providing a powerful tool to probe human biology and disease.
Barbara Erickson helped raise a record $200 million in her last job, as a development executive at Save the Children in New York. Now she’s working to protect the Bay State’s beauty as president of the Trustees of Reservations. One goal in her new role: to double the 2 million annual visitors at Trustees properties over the next decade.
After their worst season in 47 years, marked by a misdelivered Valentine and a COD shipment to Los Angeles, the Red Sox were looking for stability and familiarity in their new field manager. So they rewound to their glory days of champagne and bejeweled rings and brought back the man who’d directed their championship pitching staff, plucking him out of Toronto and plunking him down on what he called “the epicenter of the game.’’ John Farrell has a direct gaze, a strong handclasp, and firmly planted feet. Even better, he won’t have to ask directions to the home clubhouse.
Korean pop sensation PSY’s Gangnam Style video inspired fans around the globe to create parody videos, and MIT senior and novice director Eddie Ha’s is one of the funniest. Linguist Noam Chomsky makes an appearance, and so do the school’s giant beaver mascot, the South Asian Students’ Association (in a Bollywood homage), and Eric Lander, one of the leaders of the Human Genome Project, who jumps onto a desk and begins dancing. It’s a nice debut for Ha.
HOMESTART FOR VETERANS
Finding homes for chronically homeless veterans is a vexing problem, but HomeStart, a Boston nonprofit, is on the case. The agency is working with the City of Boston, the New England Center for Homeless Veterans, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs. It’s the first time the VA has worked with an agency that has an expertise in housing searches, and it’s paying off. Since the collaboration launched in November, 25 veterans have found homes and another 12 are in the final stages of getting an apartment.Continued...