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BU Commencement 2023: Unlike Any in History


A BU Commencement Unlike Any in History US Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Moderna cofounder Noubar Afeyan to Class of 2023: work for a better world

US Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) brought the fire to BU’s masked and socially distanced 148th Commencement at Nickerson Field on Sunday afternoon.

Early in her stirring speech at the undergraduate ceremony, she quoted James Baldwin: “The world is before you, and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in.”

“Baldwin was right. He is right,” Pressley (Hon.’21), who had studied at BU for a year, told the Class of 2023 bachelor’s degree recipients, both those gathered for the in-person ceremony and those watching the livestream. “You need not take the world as it is, as you inherited it. In fact, you cannot. We need each and every one of you to meet this moment, to imagine a better world, and then to work for it.”

Pressley has become a powerful progressive voice in Washington since 2023, when she became the first Black woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts, and she used the Commencement podium to describe a world where racial, social, economic, environmental, and healthcare injustice is the exception, rather than the rule, “where Black and brown folks needn’t put our very lives at risk to demand our humanity be seen, affirmed, valued.”

“The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (GRS’55, Hon.’59) may be one of this institution’s most revered alums, but it was Coretta Scott King who said, ‘Freedom is never really won—you earn it and win it in every generation,’” said Pressley, who received an honorary Doctor of Laws at the ceremony. “So now it is your turn. You are today’s Freedom Riders, today’s organizers, today’s justice-seekers, today’s foot soldiers and organizers.”

“When I first ran for Congress, I said, ‘Change can’t wait.’ It still can’t, so go now, beyond these walls. Take what you have learned, take the village you carry and the village that has carried you, take your lived experience and build the world you want to see. The future belongs to all of us, and, Boston University Class of 2023, when I look out at all of you, I know that change is on the way.”

Student speaker Archelle Thelemaque (COM’21) mixed humorous glimpses of campus life with a list of social injustices that have dominated headlines during the past four years. Photo by Chris McIntosh. Video by BU Productions

She wasn’t the only one on the dais during the undergraduate ceremony to hit back at injustice. Student speaker Archelle Thelemaque (COM’21) mixed funny notes on campus life—“the hustle and bustle of a GSU lunch rush…shouting Cardi B’s ‘Bodak Yellow’ with the girls before the night out”—with the outrage and grief that have marked the last four years: “#MeToo. #StopAsianHate. #FreePalestine. #BlackLivesMatter.  #JusticeforGeorgeFloyd…”

The coronavirus reshaped BU’s 2023 Commencement

President Robert A. Brown began both ceremonies by noting how the pandemic had drastically changed campus life since early 2023.

“No one could have imagined the path you would navigate to arrive at today’s ceremony,” Brown said. “You have become masters of Zoom and accepted mask-wearing as a daily routine.”

He applauded the BU community’s efforts to keep the campus safe, adding a touch of humor about coronavirus testing: “To date, we have gone through a million swabs. We have the cleanest noses in town.”

But during the afternoon event, he also took a serious but hopeful tone. “As we conclude this academic year and look ahead, we have ample reason to celebrate and be hopeful,” Brown said. ”We succeeded in preventing major outbreaks of the disease.  Step-by-step we are restoring campus operations and in-person teaching and learning. This coming fall, we fully anticipate that we will open our campus so that once again it is the vibrant, bustling academic community that we all love.”

Vanessa Coste (Sargent’21) thanking her parents at BU’s 148th Commencement May 16 on Nickerson Field. Photo by Cydney Scott

With that, he honored the University’s Healthway team, which has administered BU’s comprehensive testing program, contact tracing, and quarantine and isolation protocols under intense pressure since last summer, before the 2023-2023 school began. He brought out Healthway leader Judy Platt, director of Student Health Services, to receive a standing ovation as a proxy for the “over 200 patient and splendidly conscientious individuals” on the Healthway team. “We are forever in their debt,” the president said.

At the afternoon ceremony two of this year’s winners of the Metcalf Cup and Prize and Metcalf Awards for Excellence in Teaching, the University’s highest teaching awards, were honored. The Metcalf Cup and Prize went to Steve Ramirez (CAS’10), a College of Arts & Sciences assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences.

“His passion for exploring and teaching the mechanisms of memory makes him, appropriately enough, unforgettable,” Brown said. “Steve Ramirez is deeply knowledgeable and deeply devoted to conveying knowledge with clarity and power.” 

Johannah Coichy (COM’21) (left) and Nolan Spencer (COM’21) celebrate at the 148th BU Commencement Sunday afternoon. Photo by Cydney Scott

Metcalf Award winner David Sullivan, a CAS master lecturer in computer science, was honored at the later ceremony, and Fadie Coleman (CAS’97, MED’16), a School of Medicine assistant professor of medical sciences and education, at the morning Commencement.

The afternoon closed with an unusual recessional, a three-song performance on video by the Boston band Dropkick Murphys.

Advanced Degree Ceremony: Moderna Cofounder Tells Students Coronavirus Is Just Your First Challenge

Last January, just 2 days after Moderna learned the genetic sequence of the coronavirus, “we had the design of our mRNA vaccine, and just 42 days later we delivered the first doses to the National Institutes of Health for testing,” Afeyan said to grateful applause.

He spoke of a revolution in healthcare to focus on protection and early detection instead of reaction and treatment. “And I shouldn’t have to say it, but I will: I believe in science and its capacity to help deliver that revolution, just as today it is leading the way to defeat COVID-19.” 

Afeyan told the story of Shields Warren (CAS 1918), the grandson of Boston University’s first president, whose family name is emblazoned on Warren Towers. Shields Warren graduated from BU in 1918 and was set to pursue a PhD in zoology, but he enlisted to fight in World War I and was sent to Kentucky for training, where he fell ill from the deadly flu pandemic that was then circling the globe. Lying in the infirmary, Warren decided to rewrite his future. He abandoned zoology and became a doctor, going on to be one of the world’s leading medical experts on radiation and founder of the Cancer Research Institute at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; he also served as a BU trustee for 30 years.

“Looking back on his life, he said that seeing so many people suffer and die in a pandemic helped him learn to disregard fear,” Afeyan said. “His fearlessness aided his pursuit of groundbreaking science. His are the footsteps that we should all follow.”

As Brown closed the morning ceremony, he too noted the potential for the Class of 2023 to fight the next pandemic and other problems facing the world.

“On your shoulders rests the enormous responsibility of guiding America and the world and for addressing the substantial challenges we face,” he said. “You are the future for this University, for this country, and for humanity. Your Boston University education has prepared you. Go into the world and make it a better place. Congratulations again and good luck to all!”

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How To Find Update History In Windows 10

In Windows 10 you have very little control over the updates. In fact, the updates are automatically installed. If you want to, you can defer the updates (if you are using the Pro version) and set the active hours and custom restart time to make the update installation easier. Every time an update is installed, you will get a simple notification in the Action Center letting you know the updates were installed.

Since Windows is silently downloading and installing updates, you might be curious to know what updates have been installed on your Windows system or what updates are causing the problems. In those situations it is better to check the Windows update history. This helps you to better understand what updates have been successfully installed or failed to install. This article will show you how to see Windows update history in Windows 10.

See Update History in Windows 10

After opening the Settings app, navigate to “Update and Security.”

In the case of failed update installations, Windows will try to reinstall them without downloading the update again. However, if the downloaded update got corrupted, then it may redownload the entire update.

This action will show you the general info which is not particularly useful most of the time.

Do keep in mind that even if you uninstall an update in Windows 10, it will eventually download and install the update. So, to temporarily stop the update from being installed, either use the Show or Hide Updates Troubleshooter or just defer the updates (pro version only).

Vamsi Krishna

Vamsi is a tech and WordPress geek who enjoys writing how-to guides and messing with his computer and software in general. When not writing for MTE, he writes for he shares tips, tricks, and lifehacks on his own blog Stugon.

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Three Bu Alums Named To Bostinno’s 2023 25 Under 25 List

Three BU Alums Named to BostInno’s 2023 25 under 25 List

TechTogether founder Fiona Whittington (COM’19) organized SheHacks, the world’s second-largest all-female hackathon, before pivoting to start her hackathon nonprofit TechTogether. Photo courtesy of Whittington

Strategy & Innovation

Three BU Alums Named to BostInno’s 2023 “25 Under 25” List Among their work: bridging the gender gap at hackathons and providing educational opportunities for refugee children

When Fiona Whittington started TechTogether in 2023, she was “maybe a little overconfident,” she says. Why? The Boston University junior was fresh off organizing the world’s second largest all-female hackathon—at the time called SheHacks Boston, with around 800 attendees—which had garnered the attention of outlets like the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the New York Times. 

Plus, Whittington (COM’19) had just won a citywide innovation contest—beating out a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, no less—and was deservedly feeling herself.

Her winning idea?

Taking SheHacks and turning it into TechTogether, a nonprofit aiming to bridge the gap in gender representation at hackathons by setting communities up with the resources to host their own gender-focused hackathons. (Hackathons, if you live off-planet, are multiday events where computer programmers team up and compete to solve programming challenges. Workshops and networking sessions are usually on the menu, too.) Resources include funding, training, and access to TechTogether’s massive network of sponsors and tech professionals. 

Scenes from TechTogether Boston 2023-2023, one of the last in-person hackathons TechTogether helped organize before the coronavirus pandemic. Photos courtesy of Whittington

But don’t think this is just another “women in tech” initiative. 

“It’s important that we recognize that it’s not just women who are a gender minority in the technology industry,” Whittington says. “I don’t like the terminology ‘women in tech’ for that reason. TechTogether as a whole serves marginalized genders, which includes people who are trans, nonbinary, and gender-fluid. Other identities need just as much attention as ‘women in tech,’ which we see everywhere these days.”

Since 2023’s win, TechTogether has become an official 501(c)(3) organization. Whittington and her team have started chapters in six cities (Boston, Atlanta, Seattle, Miami, Chicago, and New York), helped organize 11 hackathons, and served more than 4,700 hackers from marginalized gender groups, many of them first-time hackathon attendees. 

And now, TechTogether’s work has landed Whittington on BostInno’s annual “25 Under 25” list for 2023, one of three Terriers making this year’s cohort.

Describing the 2023 choices, BostInno writes: “Some are still in high school. None were alive when the United States hosted the World Cup in 1994, and most weren’t during the Atlanta Summer Olympics two years later.”  

RefEd Initiative cofounder and executive director Yasmin Morais (CAS’19). Photo courtesy of RefEd Initiative

Joining the 24-year-old Whittington on the list are fellow Terriers Yasmin Morais (CAS’19), 23, and Hailey Hart-Thompson (CAS’21, COM’21), 22. Morais made the list for cofounding RefEd Initiative, an app that partners with NGOs to provide math and language education to refugee children. Hart-Thompson was cited for her work as cofounder of the Stateless Collective, a nonprofit that aims to reduce neocolonialism in volunteer work by training American students to study and volunteer abroad.

The Stateless Collective was part of Innovate@BU’s 2023 summer accelerator program. Both RefEd Initiative and TechTogether benefited from working with Spark! BU’s tech and innovation incubator. 

Stateless Collective cofounder Hailey Hart-Thompson (CAS’21, COM’21). Photo courtesy of the Stateless Collective

Whittington says she’s deeply grateful for Spark!’s help. “Everything I learned about starting a company—all the leadership skills, all the branding skills, and even just believing in the possibility that I could start something—came from [Spark! founding director] Ziba Cranmer,” Whittington says. “I feel like this is an Oscars or Grammys speech, but I do want to thank all the BU folks who made our success possible.”

TechTogether’s most recent hackathons have all been forced to go virtual by the ongoing pandemic. Whittington says she’s looking forward to being able to once again plan in-person hackathons—events she describes as “life-changing” for many attendees.

“I don’t think people who aren’t part of the computer science community understand how important hackathons are,” she says, or that in addition to creating networking opportunities, hackathons allow attendees to gain practical, résumé-building experience that’s difficult to come by outside of internship or classroom settings. 

“We’ve had many, many success stories of people changing their major because they attended a TechTogether hackathon,” Whittington says. “Or they landed a job because they were able to talk about a project they built in an interview, or they were able to add several skills to their résumé to make it more competitive. Or, it just gave them the confidence to say, ‘Oh, maybe coding is for me. Let me continue to pursue this because now I have a ton of other people behind me supporting me.’”

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How To Get Instagram Lite In Any Country.

If you are using an older model Android device that’s not running Instagram as well as it used to, this article will show you how to get Instagram Lite. Instagram Lite is a brand new version of Instagram that has been stripped down to run better on low end and older devices, it also uses way less space than the standard app, yet still maintains most of the usability of the original app.

How to Add Windows Group Policy Support to Firefox.

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms on the Internet allowing users to view and share a variety of different content to their followers and the world. Unfortunately as the service continues to grow and gain features so too does its system resource requirements, mainly storage space.

Although it has taken a considerable amount of time to be developed and released, Instagram Lite follows the same basic concept as all the other Lite apps on the market. Apps like Facebook Lite, Messenger Lite, YouTube Go, and of course Twitter Lite. All these Lite versions contain most of the same basic functions as their parent apps, with a fraction of the storage and resource requirements. For example, the standard version of Instagram uses 432mb of space, whereas the Lite version of Instagram only uses 22.81mb.

Unfortunately, just like all other Lite app launches, Instagram Lite isn’t yet available in every country from the Google Play Store and has a limited release area for the foreseeable future. Thankfully, there is another way to get Instagram Lite on your Android device regardless of where you live.

How Do You Get Instagram Lite? (Instagram Lite Isn’t on the Play Store in My Country)

If you have read any of our other articles showing you how to acquire Lite apps before they are released internationally, you’ll know our next port of call. To begin you’ll need to visit APK Mirror, search Instagram Lite, then download the latest APK file. Alternatively, you can use the direct link below to save some time.

Download Instagram Lite From APK Mirror.

You can download the file directly from the browser on your phone or on your computer, then copy it to your Android device, either way works fine. Once you have the Instagram Lite APK on your device, installing it is easy, simply open the location you downloaded it too, then tap the APK file and follow the prompts. If you get stuck at any stage, you can check out our comprehensive Android APK installation guide here.

The APK installation should take less than a minute and will install Instagram Lite the same as every other app on your phone. Once the app is installed, sign in and start using it as you would the standard Instagram app. It will probably take a little getting used to as it is a little different, however, most things are still in the same location, it’s just the interface items have been fine-tuned and minimalized. Below are a few screenshots comparisons between Instagram and Instagram Lite. (left to right)

Download Facebook Messenger Lite From Google Play.

How to Get Twitter Lite on Android in Any Country.

How to Get YouTube Go on Android in Any Country.



Recent Massachusetts Explosions Can Happen In Any Gas System

Recent Massachusetts Explosions Can Happen in Any Gas System BU expert Nathan Phillips says Merrimack Valley crisis is far from over

Firefighters battle one of many blazes that ignited in Lawrence, Mass., September 13, caused by a series of gas line explosions. More than 8,500 homes in the Merrimack Valley remain without gas. Photo by Associated Press

One person dead, 25 injured, dozens of homes and businesses scorched or destroyed, a utility on the hook for medical, property replacement, and other bills: that’s the tally after gas lines exploded September 13 in three communities in the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts, north of Boston, leaving rubble in their wake.

Columbia Gas, the utility serving the communities, says it will replace 48 miles of aging pipelines by November 19. Gas service to 8,600 customers was shut off after the disaster, which happened as Columbia workers were replacing pipes in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover.

With regulation of the underground web of gas pipelines entrusted largely to the utilities themselves, what are the chances that a similar disaster will play out elsewhere? Jittery communities across the country are asking just that question. We spoke to Nathan Phillips, a College of Arts & Sciences professor of earth and environment and an expert on the subject. Phillips hunts leaks in the country’s natural gas lines, including thousands in Boston alone, and has done extensive research on it.

BU Today: I understand you’ve been at the site. What were you doing there?

Phillips: I first visited the Lawrence Senior Center the Sunday following the explosions to drop off the first of 120 portable induction cooktops. Since electricity was restored a couple days after the explosions, but gas is still shut down and may be for months in thousands of households, the immediate need and the opportunity to provide induction cooktops presented itself. I had familiarity with induction as an alternative to gas. Getting these low-cost and efficient cooktops into homes needing them has been my singular focus over the last week.

I started a Gofundme campaign called “Clean Cooking Now.” As part of initiatives like our BU URBAN (Urban Biogeoscience & Environmental Health) program,  we strive to make our research socially relevant. Moreover, colleagues like Wendy Heiger-Bernays, a School of Public Health clinical professor of environmental health, and her students are mobilizing to take the lead in making sure that the pots and pans that affected residents use with their new induction cooktops are chemically safe.

Do we know the cause of the explosions, beyond the fact that they involved gas lines?

It’s clear that a system-level over-pressurization of the distributed pipeline network occurred, which instantly drove pressure as high as 75 pounds per square inch (PSI)—about the pressure in a commuter bike tire—into the pipelines feeding homes and appliances that should have been operating at 0.5 PSI. Piecing together information from a press briefing, it appears that a routine removal of a pipe from the aging, leaking pipeline system was done without first removing a pressure sensor on that old pipe that had regulated how much gas to feed. When that old pipe was capped and the gas pressure went to zero, the control system was told to feed more pressure into it, without end. 

What are the chances of such explosions happening in aging gas lines elsewhere in the state and country?

Has the Columbia Gas response to this month’s disaster been sufficient overall?

Financial assistance to the affected is instantly needed for items like meals and consumables, but that is effective only if residents can obtain them rapidly, without standing in long lines and sometimes being asked to return with more documentation. Moreover, in a climate of fear over immigration status, we know that many families are shut out of relief efforts. In terms of financial assistance for getting home appliances, while the commitment to pay for alternative appliances is necessary and was the right thing to do, it is insufficient to address the urgency of the problem. The delivery of hot plates that started six days after our fledgling effort is both an indication of this recognition and evidence that the emergency response could have moved faster.

What should government and utility officials do about this issue that they aren’t doing?

The rollout of hot plates and space heaters in the last couple of days is finally providing relief at a scale that is necessary. There are 8,517 households without gas, a majority of which can’t provide hot meals and showers, likely for months in some cases. This is a dire situation, and hot plates and space heaters help, but are not going to cut it in the winter.

Columbia Gas has just announced that it will compensate household customers to make a permanent switch off gas to heat their homes. This is a remarkable offer by a gas utility, essentially offering people to quit being customers and paying them to do it. This appears to be an admission that Columbia is not going to be able to fix the situation for many in time for the approaching winter, and it’s a green light to a wider commencement of an immediate energy transition. As remarkable is a lack of consideration that the most rapid and cost-effective response that must commence this week is insulation triage. Teams should be fanning out across the region, taping transparent heat films over windows and taping heat-leaking cracks. These measures will work in synergy with modern and available electric heat pumps to save energy and ameliorate expected electricity cost increases.

I already see in communities like my own, Newton, that people are thinking that when the explosions and fires ended, so did the crisis. We must understand that with winter coming and 8,517 homes without gas and a dubious time frame for restoration of energy for heating, a mounting crisis is unfolding before our eyes.

Mutual aid has been amazing, from first responders to locked-out gas workers showing up to help without even being paid. But the mutual aid is going to need to increase to include, for example, regional places of worship to consider creating disaster sanctuary spaces to temporarily house families who may need to abandon their homes if the gas is not back on when cold weather arrives.

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How To View And Clear Clipboard History In Windows 10

The Windows clipboard is a handy feature that’s been around for years. It allows you to copy up to 25 items including text, data or graphics, and paste them into a document or pin items you use regularly.

If you trigger the right keyboard shortcut, you can see and access your clipboard history and sync it through the cloud for easier access on any Windows 10 device. Here’s how to view and clear clipboard history in Windows 10.

Table of Contents

How to Access the Windows 10 Clipboard 

If you copy content from, say a document, but forget to paste it, you can find the Windows 10 clipboard history content. The clipboard history supports text, images less than 4MB, and HTML, and stores entries from newest to oldest. If you don’t pin an item to the clipboard, it will disappear because the history list resets each time you restart your device to make room for new items.

If you’ve never used the Windows 10 clipboard, you can turn it on by selecting Windows logo key + V and then select Turn on.

How to View Windows 10 Clipboard History 

Now that you’ve enabled clipboard history, you can open the clipboard and view the list of items you copied recently while using any app.

Press the Windows logo key + V.

To remove all entries on the clipboard history list, select Clear All in the ellipses menu.

The Windows 10 clipboard can only hold up to 25 items, so you can use a third-party clipboard manager if you want. A clipboard manager can hold more items and allow you to change the formatting or text case, create permanent clips, search clips, join clips together, and sync clipboards, among other functions.

How to Clear the Clipboard in Windows 10

If you share your device with other users, you can protect any private information you may have copied to the clipboard by clearing the clipboard history.

Next, select Clear clipboard data and then choose Clear.

Alternatively, you can press the Windows logo key + V and then select Clear all to clear your device’s clipboard history. 

Note: If you just want to clear one item from the clipboard history, press Windows logo key + V to open the clipboard and select Delete next to the item you wish to remove.

How to Disable Windows 10 Clipboard History

If you don’t want the items you’ve copied to be saved in the clipboard, you can turn off clipboard history through Windows 10 Settings. 

Find the Clipboard history section and toggle the switch to Off.

You can confirm whether the clipboard history is disabled by pressing the Windows logo key + V. A small window will appear alerting you that the clipboard history cannot be displayed because the feature is turned off.

Manage Windows 10 Clipboard History

Viewing and clearing your clipboard history in Windows 10 is fairly easy. Also, check out what to do if copy and paste isn’t working on Windows 10 and how to copy and paste across Apple devices using Universal Clipboard.

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