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Philadelphia : In the News

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New York Times takes note of new Comcast tower

The big Comcast tower news got Philadelphia some national press, including in the New York Times.

The influx of young technology employees to a building designed by a prestigious international architect is likely to encourage boosters of a city that has long harbored an inferiority complex because it lacks either the financial power of New York or the political clout of Washington.

“This new development really speaks to a more favorable outlook for the city,” said [Michael Silverman, managing director in the Philadelphia office of Integra Realty Resources].

The $1.2 billion building will create 20,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction, adding $2.75 billion to the local economy, according to Gov. Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania, who announced the project, along with Comcast officials, on Jan. 15.


Original source: The New York Times
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A 31-mile run, just like Rocky Balboa's

A 'Fat Ass' run stemming from a Philly Mag blog post -- plotting Rocky's run from the film Rocky II -- took place a couple weeks ago, and earned some national press from the Wall Street Journal.

The run through distal parts of the city seems almost impossible, even for someone as tough as Rocky.

Enter the ultra-running movement to show it is possible. Nearly four decades after the first Rocky movie, a group of runners set out Saturday to re-create Rocky's training run—all 31 miles of it, the equivalent of 50 kilometers...

Before sunrise Saturday, about 150 runners huddled in the cold near the South Philly house that Rocky moves into with his bride, Adrian, played by Talia Shire. This is where he starts his training run, hoping to beat Apollo Creed, played by Carl Weathers.

Many runners were decked out in old-school gray sweats and red headbands like the ones Rocky wore. Phil Yurkon of Scranton, Pa., wore boxing gloves and had "Lithuanian Stallion" written on the back of his sweatshirt, a play on Rocky's "Italian Stallion" nickname and a homage to Mr. Yurkon's ancestry. The 32-year-old hadn't run more than 17 miles before this run; he heard about the Rocky run the day before and decided to try it.


Original source: The Wall Street Journal
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UPenn psychologist's book: To be likable, get others to talk about themselves

Fast Company thinks University of Pennsylvania psychologist Adam Grant's organizational psychology book Give and Take is among the best of the year.
 
Small talk gets gruesome, especially when we're crutching along asking so, what do you do? The research of Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman helps us circumvent that weirdness, as people's evaluations of themselves get primed by the questions you ask.
 
Original source: Fast Company
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German-themed Christmas villages in Philly, Baltimore, spread joy

The Washington Post writes about the wonder of German-inspired Christmas villages in Philadelphia and Baltimore.
 
Both villages center on a compact collection of twee timber huts the color of gingerbread, with white lights icing the edges. In Philadelphia, the elfin structures occupied by more than 60 retailers encircle the 38-foot-tall Christmas tree in Love Park. The Baltimore venue sits on the lip of the harbor, within earshot of the trumpet blare of the ferry. A few of the 42 vendors brave the outdoors, including a purveyor of South American woolens, a mulled wine stand and a Nepalese shop of felt objects. But most are tucked inside a big-top tent illuminated by a Milky Way of lights.
 
Original source: Washington Post
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'Something of a miracle' in UPenn's nanotechnology center

Businessweek reports on the $92 million Krishna P.Singh Center for Nanotechnology,the University of Pennsylvania's latest architectural jewel.
 
The building unfolds its full radiance in the lobby, called the galleria, which extends as a gathering space around the courtyard and opens upward full height. The exterior undulations shape this narrow atrium into a sculpture of window walls and suspended ceiling planes that cross over and under each other like slightly bent legs.
 
Original source: Businessweek
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Penn co-authored study finds a key to successful startups

Two management professors from the University of Pennsylvania co-authored a study that revealed tech-focused founders lead to more successful startups, reports Phys.org.
 
The research revealed that a technically focused team can more quickly reach market milestones, from design and prototype completion – all the way to product launch. On the other hand, more diverse founding teams are better prepared to compete against mature companies, which similarly have well-established diverse skills in areas like marketing, operations, sales, engineering and other skills.
 
Original source: Phys.org
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Philadelphia-based Monell center's 'electronic nose' aims to find if ovarian cancer has a smell

The Monell Chemical Senses Center and a team including University of Pennsylvania scientists are using an electronic nose to determine whether ovarian cancer has a smell, reports The New York Times.
 
Discovering earlier and better markers for all kinds of cancer, especially in blood, is a priority, said Dr. J. Leonard Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society. Ovarian cancer already has a blood test that has turned out to be not as useful as hoped — giving out both false positives and negatives. A smell-based test would need to perform better.
 
Original source: The New York Times
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Eagles on top of NFC East, clean energy

BusinessWeek writes about the NFC East-leading Philadelphia Eagles and the team's innovative use of alternative energy and power distribution at its stadium, Lincoln Financial Field.
 
The stadium’s current power capacity pushes up to the limit for “customer-generators,” or small producers, in Pennsylvania. More solar panels would trigger different regulations, Smolenski said. In particular, the stadium could no longer participate in so-called net-metering, which allows small producers to sell power back into the grid. It would instead belong to a category of power producers that must participate in wholesale electricity markets, according to an NRG Energy spokesperson.
 
Original source: Business Week
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The joie de vivre of Will Stokes' painted world in Philadelphia

Artist Will Stokes is a fixture at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, and with good reason.
 
Others have written (notably in the catalogue for his 2007 solo show) about how Willie has retained a remarkable singularity of vision, despite decades of exposure and interaction with the numerous artist-in-residence alumni from FWM. His early work from the 1970s is of-a-piece with what he continues to do today. Throughout, Willie has starred in his own pictures, becoming a kind of self-made celebrity denizen of his painted world. Looking at photographs of Willie through the years, you can track his sartorial evolution, which carries over into the paintings. “The Kid,” his alter ego, is Willie at his most dapper and daring. The moniker elevates him to the status of the single-name musicians he depicts—Prince, Madonna, Beyoncé—while evoking a slew of popular references reaching as far back as the Charlie Chaplin film of the same name, up through songs like War’s “The Cisco Kid.” It also connotes a character with a bit of playful rakishness, which peeks from beneath Willie’s even-keeled exterior now and again.
 
Original source: Title Magazine
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How Philadelphia sustainability pioneer Judy Wicks mixes food, fun and social activism

Christian Science Monitor profiles pioneering, sustainability-focused entrepreneur and restaurauter Judy Wicks.
 
In the early days of the White Dog Cafe, located in the downstairs of Wicks’ Victorian brownstone, she couldn’t afford to build a commercial kitchen or hire a chef. She cooked the restaurant’s meals in her own kitchen while she watched her young son and daughter, and customers tromped upstairs to use the family’s bathroom. Eventually the restaurant filled three row houses, a companion retail store filled two more, and her businesses were grossing $5 million annually.
 
Original source: Christian Science Monitor
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Philly's Greensgrow model for CSA's financial success

GreenSource profiles the highly successful Philadelphia-based nonprofit CSA Greensgrow.
 
Mary Seton Corboy didn't expect much help when in 1998 she found an acre of toxic brownfield in Kensington, a dodgy neighborhood in Philadelphia, to start her business. Yet she was able to acquire a $47,000 loan, and Greensgrow Farm was launched. Before the farm even opened, Corboy secured a handful of chef friends at Philadelphia restaurants as clients to buy her hydroponically grown lettuce and tomatoes. First year, the farm grossed $5,000; the next year, $50,000. Today, Greensgrow—a nonprofit organization—brings in receipts totaling over $1 million annually. 
 
Original source: Greensource
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Philadelphia among top 10 U.S. locations to land a biotech job

Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News culled data from five employment websites to identify the top 10 U.s. regions in which to land a biotech job.
 
Greater Philadelphia enjoys proximity to the heritage pharma giants that arose in the region and Pennsylvania’s neighbors to the south (Delaware) and north (New Jersey). But the region has also jumpstarted numerous biotechs over the past generation, both through the University City Science Center and, more recently, as spinouts from its universities, research institutes, and research hospitals. Among priorities for the region is attracting and retaining top talent; executive search firm Klein Hersh International held its latest Philly BioBreak invitation-only event for life sciences executives on October 15. “Our goal is to bring together the key players in the industry, many of which are locally based, and develop partnerships and strategies that will keep these great minds in the area,” says Martin Lehr, co-host of Philly BioBreak, which says it has 1,300 members.
 
Original source: Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News
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Domestic oil production keeps Philadelphia shipbuilding afloat

Philadelphia shipbuilding is alive and well thanks in large part to domestic oil production and century-old laws keeping U.S.-built vessels carrying goods between U.S. ports, reports CNBC.
 
When it launches, the Liberty Bay will be able to deliver 33 million gallons of oil from Alaska's North Slope to refineries on the West Coast in a single trip. SeaRiver Maritime, Exxon Mobil's marine affiliate, has commissioned the two ships. At a cost of $200 million each, the tankers represent a significant investment that will help boost Philadelphia's economy.
 
According to the Department of Transportation, 15 tankers are on order or under construction at shipyards across the country, with options for many more. It's the biggest boom the industry has seen in 20 years.
 
Original source: CNBC
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Ben Franklin's new 'home' brings icon's history into 21st century

The Benjamin Franklin Museum in Philadelphia gets a major update that offers a modern learning experience, reports The New York Times.
 
Dr. Talbott and Cynthia MacLeod, the superintendent of Independence National Historical Park, of which the museum is a part, say they believe Franklin would love modern Philadelphia and its residents as well. He would no doubt be rooting for the bedraggled Phillies and Eagles and holding court at its many sidewalk cafes.
 
“He is a man worth having a museum for. He was unusual in so many ways,” said Ms. MacLeod. 
 
Original source: The New York Times
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Pennsylvania Rx: What the Founding Fathers might say about Obamacare

The Atlantic relates early American healthcare modeling, much of which happened in Pennsylvania, to the current state of Obamacare.
 
Still, it’s hard to say whether this Founding Father would have advocated for publicly-funded healthcare at a scale beyond that of a single local hospital. Rather than providing a solid indicator as to what Franklin would have thought about Obamacare, the story of the Pennsylvania Hospital’s founding actually shows why it’s so difficult to guess what any of these men would have thought about modern health policy.
 
Original source: The Atlantic
Read the full story here.
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