Purdue has the chemistry lab of the future today, complete with all-digital lab manuals and notebooks

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Configuring socially distanced lab spaces for 2,900 general chemistry students was logistically impossible, so Purdue University’s beginning chemistry labs are taking place online this fall, the next best thing to being there.

Or maybe better.

Well before the virus pandemic, Purdue’s Department of Chemistry was working on a “next-generation digital learning environment for chemistry.” That it happened to be highly useful in a pandemic is just fortuitous. While the virus accelerated development over the summer, the motive from the start in 2018 was to better apply technology to improve the student learning experience.

A core element of that is the development of a digital lab manual and digital lab notebook, which Purdue chemistry students on campus and online are using for the first time during the fall semester, replacing the traditional paper versions.

In a digital version, the traditional lab manual becomes an interactive multimedia resource and students can use the digital lab notebook to record their observations, calculations and analyses in a similarly rich manner, while also facilitating electronic evaluation and grading by instructors. Material in the lab manual, which sometimes lacked currency in the printed version because of a lengthy production process, can now be updated in real time, said Jonathan Rienstra-Kiracofe, associate professor of chemistry practice, the project’s main architect.

The system, in pilot testing for more than a year before the virus hit, leverages Purdue’s license for the Microsoft Office suite, which any student, faculty or staff member can use and install on multiple devices or run in a web browser. The suite of Microsoft applications includes Teams, virtual collaboration software, and OneNote, an online notebook app. Each chemistry class is set up as its own team in Teams, with the relevant lab manual and the lab notebook accessible in OneNote within those teams, Rienstra-Kiracofe said.

In Purdue’s new Chaney-Hale Hall of Science, some introductory and upper-level chemistry students still taking on-campus labs this fall are able to access all that on iPads with added advantages such as capability for electronic note-taking, photo documentation, diagraming with a digital pen or even connecting directly to instruments for data collection. When Purdue’s campus is able to fully reopen, the plan is for all chemistry students to be using iPads for their labs beginning in fall 2021.

Purdue’s new cutting-edge multidisciplinary chemistry and biology lab building was a major impetus for the project, said Christine Hrycyna, 150th Anniversary Professor and head of the Purdue Chemistry Department.

“We wanted the new building to be state-of-the-art and give the students the most advanced technology for education we could,” Hrycyna said. “We needed to think about this in a whole new way.”

Among other things, that meant changing the way Purdue had done chemistry labs for half a century, said Stephen Hoffmann, assistant head of the chemistry department.

“This was a chance to really build the lab of the future,” Hoffmann said.

And the lab of the present in industry, where digital data collection, analysis and reporting already are prevalent, giving Purdue students hands-on experience with the way they will be working once they start their careers.

While other schools are doing some similar things, Rienstra-Kiracofe and Hoffmann said Purdue, with thousands of students using it, is unusual in the extent and the scale of its deployment. They said Purdue’s system is a leap forward that could become a model for other lab-heavy science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. It also has piqued interest from both Apple and Microsoft.

Before, instructors prepared the materials for a lab manual, generally as a word-processing document, and sent it off to a publisher who formatted and printed it. The printed copies were shipped to a campus bookstore, where students could purchase the manual (if it was still in stock, supplies sometimes ran short) as well as buy a paper lab notebook. Purdue got a small slice of the sales price, but most of the revenue went to the publisher and bookstore.

With the new digital system, students are paying the same or less, depending on the class, than they did for the paper version and most of the money comes back to Purdue to support ongoing development and improvement of the system and to help provision on-campus labs with iPads.

The project has been a collaborative effort with units across campus working together, including the chemistry department, Purdue’s Chemistry Undergraduate Preparations Laboratory, the Purdue College of Science information technology unit, and Purdue Online, which facilitated a system for students to pay for and receive the digital materials. 

Writer: Greg Kline, 765-494-8167, gkline@purdue.edu

Sources: Christine Hrycyna, hrycyna@purdue.edu

Jonathan Rienstra-Kiracofe, jrienstr@purdue.edu

Stephen Hoffmann, srh@purdue.edu 

Trump Tax Avoidance Scandal Exposes Poor Risk Management And Double Standards At Deutsche And Professional Banks

The New York Times NYT expose of President Donald Trump’s years of tax avoidance is a painful reminder of the stark double standards applied in this country to the very powerful and everyone else. Trump’s wealth and connections enabled him to dodge the Vietnam War, while others without power and connections served and tragically yet, thousands paid with their lives. His power and wealth have enabled Trump to avoid paying taxes, while thousands get audited and fined for the smallest of infractions. He finally paid $750. Surreal. Why have the IRS, legislators and judges repeatedly looked the other way when it comes to Trump’s opaque finances? In part, the fact that the IRS’ budget has been gutted helps explain part of the problem.

Everyone should have listened a lot more closely to former presidential Hillary Clinton at the first presidential debate, “Maybe he doesn’t want the American people, all of you watching tonight, to know that he’s paid nothing in federal taxes … So if he’s paid zero, that means zero for troops, zero for vets, zero for schools or health.”

Double Standards in Credit Underwriting

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Trump’s tax avoidance scandal also showcases how banks apply credit standards differently to wealthy and powerful borrowers. According to records included in Forbes’ Dan Alexander’s recent article, Trump may finally be the greatest at something, being one of America’s most leveraged individuals. His multiple limited liability corporate entities and he have outstanding debt possibly of over $1 billion. Trump entered the presidency with outstanding debt with Amboy Bank, Bank of New York Mellon, Chevy Chase Trust Holdings, Deutsche Bank, Investors Savings Bank, Ladder Capital, Merrill Lynch, and Royal Bank of Pennsylvania. According to the New York Times’ records, he has personally guaranteed over $420 million in loans which come due by 2022-2023. 

Irrespective of a person’s perceived income or net worth, bank loan underwriters and credit officers are required to ask for the same documentation of all perspective borrowers. Bank risk managers have no excuse to lend to individuals who cannot produce tax returns or who pay so little in taxes in comparison to their level of stated income. Moreover, bankers should have done even just a little due diligence when they saw  Trump’s earnings were from countries like Azerbaijan, which ranks at 126 out of 198 countries in the Global Corruption Index.

Bank credit officers also cannot claim that they do not know what underwriting standards to apply. For decades, the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller have had a number of comprehensive compliance manuals for bank examiners to follow when examining domestic and foreign banks of every size.  Those manuals are publicly available so that all banking professionals know exactly what off-and on-site bank examiners expect of banks in terms of their due diligence processes in approving and underwriting loans of every type of borrower.  

Deutsche Bank has been Trump’s largest lender, lending him over $2 billion.  Last year in April, I wrote about all the questions that regulators and legislators should have been and should be asking Deutsche Bank about its credit due diligence standards and risk management policies and procedures around loan underwriting. If Trump lied in order to obtain a loan and more favorable credit terms, that is called bank fraud.

While still owing Deutsche Bank millions of dollars, in 2018, during Trump’s second year in office, Trump was able to borrow $11.2 million from a Florida based community bank, Professional Bank. How is it possible that after Deutsche Bank, one of the world’s largest systemically important banks finally cut off Trump from gorging himself at the debt trough, a small community bank of $730 million assets thought it was a good idea to lend scandal-ridden Trump a single cent?  The loan only represents 2% of the bank’s assets, but the numerous fraud and Russia connection investigations should have been more than a red flag about the reputational risk that Trump represented and represents to Professional Bank. Additionally, the IRS should at the very least look to see if Trump paid taxes on the $50,000-100,000 interest that he earned from the money market account of $5-25 million he has at Professional Bank.

In 2012, Trump borrowed $211 million from the U.S. banking entity of state-owned Bank of China; Bank of China USA has since sold the loan into a commercial mortgage securitization vehicle, where Wells Fargo WFC is the servicer of the loan.

Bank Compliance Manuals

The OCC has bank examination standards for community banks as well as for large banks under its supervisory mandate. The Federal Reserve, which is responsible for foreign bank organization in the United States such as Bank of China and Deutsche has a very detailed Examination Manual for U.S. Branches and Agencies of Foreign Banking Organizations; this manual has detailed guidance that Bank of China and Deutsche Bank should have been and should be following when it comes to their risk management practices in credit risk, loan sampling, and underwriting standards. The manual also includes guidance for red flags surrounding internal controls and fraud.  Private banking, which is the area through which Trump acquired most of his loans, has an entire section, 3430.1, dedicated to it. The Federal Reserve is Deutsche Bank’s federal regulator and risk managers, compliance officers and auditors at Deutsch Bank should be very familiar with this examination manual.

This scandal also calls into question why bank regulators have not required tighter credit due diligence standards at U.S. banks of every size when it comes to how they lend to wealthy individuals with missing or questionable tax returns and who derive significant income from multiple countries. No doubt, as more information comes out in the coming days, we may well finally get the tally as to what exactly Trump owes to different banks and in what countries.

Web Manuals Grows Customer Base 25% in 2020

Web Manuals, a provider of digital manual systems and regulatory documentation for the aviation industry, has increased its customer base 25 percent since the start of the year. The increase to more than 300 customers comes mostly from U.S.-based companies.

Business aviation—specifically Part 135 operators, as well as drone and air freight companies—is largely behind the growth, noted Web Manuals director of operations America Krister Genmark. Also contributing to the growth was Web Manuals’ offer of limited-time, free services to aviation providers because of Covid-19.

“Our industry needs to support each other to strengthen and grow post-Covid,” Genmark said. “We are encouraged that many of our freemium customers are now enjoying the long-term benefits of digitization, and we are keen to aid new businesses starting out in aviation. With border restrictions and regional regulations constantly changing, we expect the role of digitization to remain important as aviation businesses strive to stay compliant at all times whilst rebuilding.”

Discovered: The User Manual for the Oldest Surviving Computer in the World

Image by Clemens Pfeiffer via Wikimedia Commons

The first computer I ever sat before, the 1983 Apple IIe, had a manual the size of a textbook, which included a primer on programming languages and a chapter entitled “Getting Down to Business and Pleasure.” By “pleasure,” Apple mostly meant “electronic worksheets,” “word processors,” and “database management.” (They hadn’t fully established themselves as the fun one yet.) Getting these programs running took real effort and patience, especially compared to the MacBook Air on which I’m typing now.

All those old tedious processes are automated, and no more do we need manuals—we’ve got the internet, which also happens to be the only way I could operate an Apple IIe, whether that means tracking down a manual on eBay or finding a scanned copy somewhere online. Luckily, for vintage Apple enthusiasts, this isn’t difficult, and someone with rudimentary knowledge of Apple DOS could muddle through without one.

When we go further back into computer history, we find machines that became incomprehensible over time without their operating instructions. Such was the case with the Zuse Z4, “considered the oldest preserved digital computer in the world,” notes Vice. “The Z4 is one of those machines that takes up a whole room, runs on magnetic tapes, and needs multiple people to operate. Today it sits in the Deutsches Museum in Munich, unused. Until now, historians and curators only had a limited knowledge of its secrets because the manual was lost long ago.”

The computer’s inventor, Konrad Zuse, first began building it for the Nazis in 1942, then refused its use in the VI and V2 rocket program. Instead, he fled to a small town in Bavaria and stowed the computer in a barn until the end of the war. It wouldn’t see operation until 1950. The Z4 proved to be “a very reliable and impressive computer for its time,” Sarah Felice writes. “With its large instruction set it was able to calculate complicated scientific programs and was able to work during the night without supervision, which was unheard of for this time.”

These qualities made the Zuse Z4 particularly useful to the Institute of Applied Mathematics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), where the computer performed advanced calculations for Swiss engineers in the early 50s. “Around 100 jobs were carried out with the Z4 between 1950 and 1955,” writes Herbert Bruderer, retired ETH lecturer. “These included calculations on the trajectory of rockets… on aircraft wings…” and “on flutter vibrations,” an operation requiring “800 hours machine time.”

René Boesch, one of the airplane researchers working on the Z4 in the 50s kept a copy of the manual among his papers, and it was there that his daughter, Evelyn Boesch, also an ETH researcher, discovered it. (View it online here.) Bruderer tells the full story of the computer’s development, operation, and the rediscovery of its only known copy of operating instructions here.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Anna University to conduct UG PG Final Semester online-re-exams within one week

Anna University Online Exams

Anna University will be conducting the inline re-examinations for the students who were unable to appear for the final semester exams due to technical difficulties. According to reports, the online-re-exams will be conducted after one week. 

The university in its revised user manual for the students stated that if the students continue to experience technical problems the university will facilitate a pen and paper mode exams later. The university has also advised the candidates to complete the examination in the first attempt itself, while further stating that there will be no changes in the test timings for the foreign students. 

Candidates who are to appear for the exams can visit the official website of Anna University – annauniv.edu to check the revised user manual released. Candidates can also check the user manual through the direct link provided below.

Anna University Students User Manual

The final exams of Anna University are being conducted from September 24 to 29, 2020. According to reports, more than 90 percent of the students from colleges affiliated to the university and close to 98 percent of students from university departments will be taking the exams. The exams will be conducted for a duration of one hour in two sections. Part A will contain 25 questions while Part B will contain 15 questions. 

Result calculation

According to the details given in the revised user manual, for calculating the results 30 per cent weightage will be given for the online exams and 50 per cent weightage will be given for CGPA obtained up to the pre-final semester and 20 per cent weightage will be given for marks obtained in the internal examinations conducted in the final semester of the UG and PG programmes. 

It has also been suggested that the Examinations can be taken on devices such as Laptop/ Smart-Phone/ Tablet/ Desktop.

Also Read: JEECUP Result 2020 Likely to be Declared Today, Check UPJEE 2020 Results online at jeecup.nic.in

Once hidden from the Nazis, the world’s oldest surviving computer may now get back to work

The manual would give researchers a better understanding of how the early computer functioned.

The operating manual of the world’s oldest digital computer has been unearthed in a pile of documents in Zurich, according to a blog post from the Association of Computing Machinery written by retired ETH Zurich lecturer Herbert Bruderer.

The manual would give researchers a better understanding of how the early computer functioned.

According to Bruderer, Zuse Z4 is considered the oldest preserved computer in the world. Built in 1945, the room-sized machine runs on magnetic tapes and needs several people to operate it.

Currently, it is housed at the Deutsches Museum in Munich, but hasn’t been used in quite some time. Researchers and historians have had little knowledge of the device since the manual was lost long ago.

Evelyn Boesch, an archivist at ETH Zurich University discovered the manual among her father’s documents in March, Bruderer said.

Evelyn’s father, René Boesch was a researcher who worked under Manfred Rauscher at the Institute for Aircraft Statics and Aircraft Construction at ETH Zurich.

Boesch’s first employment was with the Swiss Aeronautical Engineering Association, which was based at the university’s Institute for Aircraft Statics and Aircraft Construction. The Z4 was kept there in the early 1950s.

Among Boesch’s documents were notes on the math problems the Z4 solved that were linked to the development of the P-16 jet fighter.

“The research revealed that the documents included a user manual for the Z4 and notes on flutter calculations,” Bruderer said.

“According to the Historical Lexicon of Switzerland, Rauscher, who was professor of Aircraft Statics and Construction at ETH Zurich from 1950 to 1974, was a consultant on the P-16 fighter aircraft.”

According to Boesch’s notes, around 100 jobs were carried out with the Z4 between 1950 and 1955. These included calculations on trajectory of rockets, aircraft wings, flutter vibrations and nosedive.

At that time, Z4 was touted as a powerful machine that can run addition and subtraction in half a second, multiplication in 3 seconds, and division and square roots in six seconds. The computer averaged around 1000 mathematical operations in an hour.

The computer has a backstory to itself.

Z4 was the last computer that the Nazis invented. German civil engineer Konrad Zuse, inventor of the Z4 and the likely author of the manual, completed work on Z4 in Göttingen. Nazis then wanted Zuse to move his Z4 to Mittelbau Dora, where V1 and V2 rockets were being built.

Zuse refused to accept the order and fled to a small German town, Bad Hindelang where he hid the computer in a barn. He waited out the war by selling woodcuts to local farmers and American troops. After the World War 2, Z4 became his flagship machine and Zuse was regarded as the father of modern commercial computers.

The Z4 was later taken to the Institute of Applied Mathematics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich where it did calculations for Swiss aviation engineers. It was there, that researchers fumbled upon the Z4’s manual among the historical documents related to the planes.

WATCH NOW: Parenting classes help Sioux City woman rebuild family relationships


Crittenton Center parenting classes

Erin Earth, of Sioux City, plays with her son, Kylan Earth, 2, during an interview at the Crittenton Center’s offices in Sioux City. Earth credits the agency’s parenting classes for helping bring her family together.

SIOUX CITY — When Erin Earth got out of treatment, the Sioux City woman said there were times when she didn’t think she was going to be able to handle parenting her three children.

Things were “rocky” between Earth and her 11-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter. And her 2-year-old son Kylan would “freak out” whenever she would leave. But now, more than a year after receiving parent education classes from the Crittenton Center in her home, the fear and doubt that once held Earth back are gone and her children are thriving. 

“Being a single mother and also dealing with addiction and other things, the Crittenton Center really brought my family back together. It rebuilt relationships that I thought were lost,” Earth said, as tears welled up in her eyes. Kylan, who was seated next to her, smiled and giggled as he rolled a white Wiffle ball across the table in a conference room at the Crittenton Center’s downtown Sioux City offices. “It just really helped my family to heal.”

Angie Conway, a family support worker who met with Earth and Kylan on a weekly basis, said the classes, which typically consist of up to 12 hour-long sessions, cover topics such as boundary setting, age appropriate behavior and discipline.

While most classes were held in Woodbury and Ida County families’ homes before the COVID-19 pandemic, Conway said they are currently being offered in the Crittenton Center’s offices or via televisit. The classes, which used to only be available to parents of children 5 and under, were also extended on July 1 to serve families with children as old as 17.

“We knew there was a need out in the community that wasn’t able to be addressed at the time,” Conway said. “We wanted to make sure that we could offer services to families that have older kids that might be going through struggles.”

Earth said Kylan got up early on the days they had parenting classes and always looked forward to Conway’s visits, knowing that it was “time for fun.”

Earth and Conway would talk about a particular topic and then Earth would put what she learned into practice while interacting with Kylan, who became more trusting of Earth. Over time, Earth also noticed a difference in her other children. 

Before she would leave her home, Earth would now tell her children where she was going, who she was going with and when she was coming back, a big change from when she was in the throes of addiction. 

“They were just so used to me just taking off and not saying anything. When mom left, they didn’t know when mom was coming back. It could be a couple hours to a couple days,” she said. “For me to give that reassurance, you could tell the difference in each kid. You could see it in their face, just that they know that their mom’s going to be right back.” 

Earth said the classes also helped her establish routines with her children and set boundaries for them. She said she used to let her children do things their way, out of guilt. 

“It’s not supposed to be that way. I’m the parent. They’re the child. I had to learn the boundaries between that,” said Earth, who established regular bed times and meal times for her children and adopted the practice of reading to them on a nightly basis. 

Since kids don’t come with instruction manuals, Conway said it’s beneficial for parents to be able to talk with a family support worker about ways that they can connect with their children. She said they don’t have to fear that their parenting is being judged.  

“I just want to be a support,” she said. “I don’t want to be somebody coming in and telling them that they can’t parent their own kid best, because they can.”

Earth said the parenting strategies that Conway taught her gave her and her children a foundation that they can build off of. 

“Coming through here gave me a lot more confidence that, ‘I can do this.’ No one can parent a child more than their own mother,” she said.

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Woke ‘cancel culture’ is a form of bullying and ‘no platforming’ an attack on free speech, pupils will be taught

Pupils will be taught that ‘cancel culture’ is a form of bullying and ‘no platforming’ an attack on our freedoms.

As part of the Government’s drive to protect freedom of speech, secondary school students will learn that people with controversial opinions should be respected.

In Department for Education training manuals, teachers are instructed to tell pupils that the ‘cancel culture’ which has taken root at many universities – where individuals call for a boycott of a person or company whose views they don’t agree with, in the hope they lose their job or clients – is not part of a ‘tolerant and free society’.

Pupils will be taught that 'cancel culture' is a form of bullying and 'no platforming' an attack on our freedoms [File photo]

Pupils will be taught that ‘cancel culture’ is a form of bullying and ‘no platforming’ an attack on our freedoms [File photo]

The move appears to be a direct response to incidents where mainstream speakers, including former home secretary Amber Rudd, have been blocked from speaking at universities by political opponents.

The comments are part of a slide presentation in a module on ‘respectful relationships’, as part of the new relationships and sex education curriculum beginning this year.

One slide says: ‘Reinforce that everyone needs to show the same respect to others regardless of how different they are to them. Explain the harm caused by ‘cancel culture’ and the importance of freedom of speech and freedom of association to a tolerant and free society.

‘Teach that censorship and ‘no platforming’ are harmful and damaging. Explain that seeking to get people ‘cancelled’ (e.g. having them removed from their position of authority or job) simply because you disagree with them, is a form of bullying and is not acceptable.’

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has repeatedly threatened legislation unless universities do more to protect freedom of speech on campus.

In another section, the department says teachers must not suggest that ‘children might be a different gender based on their personality and interests’.

It also warns schools not to work with organisations that promote the idea that ‘non-conformity to gender stereotypes should be seen as synonymous with having a different gender identity’.

The move appears to be a direct response to incidents where mainstream speakers, including former home secretary Amber Rudd, have been blocked from speaking at universities by political opponents

The move appears to be a direct response to incidents where mainstream speakers, including former home secretary Amber Rudd, have been blocked from speaking at universities by political opponents

The rules appear to be a response to increasing criticism of activist groups seen as pushing children and young people into transitioning gender, with many children saying later they regret their decision.

‘We are aware that topics involving gender and biological sex can be complex and sensitive,’ the guidance says. 

‘You should not reinforce harmful stereotypes, for instance by suggesting that children might be a different gender based on their personality and interests.

‘Resources used in teaching about this topic must always be age-appropriate and evidence-based.

‘Materials which suggest that non-conformity to gender stereotypes should be seen as synonymous with having a different gender identity should not be used and you should not work with external organisations that produce such material.

‘While teachers should not suggest to a child their non-compliance with gender stereotypes means either their personality or their body is wrong and in need of changing, teachers should always seek to treat students with sympathy and support.’

Web Manuals’ Customers Grow By 25% In 2020

Web Manuals’ Customers Grow By 25% In 2020 | Aviation Week Network


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With rising demand for document digitization, Web Manuals, a company specializing in developing digital document management for the aviation industry, has increased its customer base by 25% in 2020…

Web Manuals’ Customers Grow By 25% In 2020 is published in The Weekly of Business Aviation, an Aviation Week Intelligence Network (AWIN) Market Briefing and is included with your AWIN membership.

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To find out about obtaining additional data – including the most comprehensive details on organizations, fleets, personnel and programs – click here or call +1.561.279.4661.


As a subscriber to one of Aviation Week Network’s market briefings, your searches only provide you with access to articles from within that product.

To find out about obtaining additional data – including the most comprehensive details on organizations, fleets, personnel and programs – click here or call +1.561.279.4661.