Whistler observations of the plasmasphere/plasmapause from stations of the British Antarctic Survey

first_imgVLF whistler observations from Eights Station, Antarctica were crucial to the discovery and exploration of the plasmapause (”Carpenter’s knee”) by Don Carpenter in the mid-1960s. The Weddell Sea sector of Antarctica is particularly well suited to such work because of the high whistler rate (conjugate to thunderstorm regions), proximity to the ground footprint of the average plasmapause, low electromagnetic noise levels (far from power lines, etc.), low ionospheric absorption (in winter), and wave amplification due to the South Atlantic Geomagnetic Anomaly. VLF recordings have been made at Halley, Antarctica, (76oS,27oW,L~4.3) since 1967; the station is located on a similar L-shell to Eights and its successor Siple, but eastward in longitude by about 2 h in magnetic local time. In this paper, we review some of the research on the structure and dynamics of the plasmasphere/plasmapause which has been based on whistler data from Halley. In particular, the use of Halley and Siple as a station pair corotating with the Earth through the Sun-Earth frame has enabled the complex dynamics of the duskside bulge region to be better understood. For example, features consistent with narrow dense sunward-pointing plasma tails, have been delineated. Whistler data from Halley have also provided much information on fine structure within the plasmasphere. The paper discusses some important results of inner plasmaspheric probing using fixed-frequency (~20kHz) whistler data from the lower latitude Faraday station (65oS,64oW,L~2.3), including annual density variations and magnetic storm effects, and concludes by indicating some directions for the future.last_img read more

Intercomparison of slant column measurements of NO2 and O4 by MAX-DOAS and zenith-sky UV and visible spectrometers

first_imgIn June 2009, 22 spectrometers from 14 institutes measured tropospheric and stratospheric NO2 from the ground for more than 11 days during the Cabauw Intercomparison Campaign of Nitrogen Dioxide measuring Instruments (CINDI), at Cabauw, NL (51.97 degrees N, 4.93 degrees E). All visible instruments used a common wavelength range and set of cross sections for the spectral analysis. Most of the instruments were of the multi-axis design with analysis by differential spectroscopy software (MAX-DOAS), whose non-zenith slant columns were compared by examining slopes of their least-squares straight line fits to mean values of a selection of instruments, after taking 30-min averages. Zenith slant columns near twilight were compared by fits to interpolated values of a reference instrument, then normalised by the mean of the slopes of the best instruments. For visible MAX-DOAS instruments, the means of the fitted slopes for NO2 and O-4 of all except one instrument were within 10% of unity at almost all non-zenith elevations, and most were within 5%. Values for UV MAX-DOAS instruments were almost as good, being 12% and 7%, respectively. For visible instruments at zenith near twilight, the means of the fitted slopes of all instruments were within 5% of unity. This level of agreement is as good as that of previous intercomparisons, despite the site not being ideal for zenith twilight measurements. It bodes well for the future of measurements of tropospheric NO2, as previous intercomparisons were only for zenith instruments focussing on stratospheric NO2, with their longer heritage.last_img read more

Functional associations and resilience in microbial communities.

first_imgMicrobial communities have inherently high levels of metabolic flexibility and functional redundancy, yet the structure of microbial communities can change rapidly with environmental perturbation. To understand whether such changes observed at the taxonomic level translate into differences at the functional level, we analyzed the structure of taxonomic and functional gene distribution across Arctic and Antarctic locations. Taxonomic diversity (in terms of alpha diversity and species richness) differed significantly with location. However, we found that functional genes distributed evenly across bacterial networks and that this functional distribution was also even across different geographic locations. For example, on average 15% of the functional genes were related to carbon cycling across all bacterial networks, slightly over 21% of the genes were stress-related and only 0.5% of the genes were linked to carbon degradation functions. In such a distribution, each bacterial network includes all of the functional groups distributed following the same proportions. However, the total number of functional genes that is included in each bacterial network differs, with some clusters including many more genes than others. We found that the proportion of times a specific gene must occur to be linked to a specific cluster is 8%, meaning the relationship between the total number of genes in the cluster and the number of genes per function follows a linear pattern: smaller clusters require a gene to appear less frequently to get fixed within the cluster, while larger clusters require higher gene frequencies. We suggest that this mechanism of functional association between equally rare or equally abundant genes could have implications for ecological resilience, as non-dominant genes also associate in fully functioning ecological networks, potentially suggesting that there are always pre-existing functional networks available to exploit new ecological niches (where they can become dominant) as they emerge; for example, in the case of rapid or sudden environmental change. Furthermore, this pattern did not correlate with taxonomic distribution, suggesting that bacteria associate based on functionality and this is independent of its taxonomic position. Our analyses based on ecological networks also showed no clear evidence of recent environmental impact on polar marine microbial communities at the functional level, unless all communities analyzed have changed exactly in the same direction and intensity, which is unlikely given we are comparing areas changing at different rates.last_img read more

Lead Virginia attack submarine has new commander

first_img View post tag: USS Virginia Authorities September 8, 2016 Share this article A new commanding officer took charge of the U.S. Navy’s Virginia-class, fast-attack submarine, USS Virginia (SSN 774) during a change of command ceremony held aboard the submarine in its homeport, Naval Submarine Base New London Sept. 2.Cmdr. Jeffrey Anderson became Virginia’s 6th commanding officer when he relieved Cmdr. Steven Antcliff of command of the first submarine in the Virginia class.Under Antcliff’s leadership, Virginia and her crew completed a first-in-class long-maintenance period as well as two scheduled deployments and one surge deployment.“The crew of this ship is a team, a family. We live and work together keeping this complex warship at sea. The challenges we face, seemingly insurmountable at times, are met with tenacity and teamwork,” said Antcliff. “The job of the captain is to mentor, train and lead this amazing team of hardworking professionals. These men and women, entrusted to him by the Navy are our nation’s greatest resource.”After orders were read, Anderson took the podium and thanked commanding officers, fellow Sailors and patriots he served with in the past as well as his immediate and extended family.Anderson closed his speech by addressing his new crew. “To the crew of the USS Virginia, I stand here honored to be your commanding officer and ready to serve you and our great nation. May God bless the Virginia and all who sail on her.”Virginia is the first in her class of the technologically-advanced attack submarines. She was commissioned Oct. 23, 2004 and is the sixth U.S. Navy vessel to bear the name of the first English colony and the 10th American state. View post tag: US Navy View post tag: Virginia-Class Lead Virginia attack submarine has new commander Back to overview,Home naval-today Lead Virginia attack submarine has new commander last_img read more

What Happens to Developmentally Disabled as Parents Age, Die?

first_imgWhat Happens to Developmentally Disabled as Parents Age, Die?by JEN FIFIELD for STATELINE/PEW TRUSTROCKVILLE, Md. — Ever since she was 4, when a caregiver force-fed her with a spoon, Caroline Munro has not let anyone feed her but her mother.The 22-year-old has cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability. She doesn’t speak and functions at a preschool level. Her mother, Beth Munro, feeds her with a fork or her hand.As Beth ages — she’ll be 68 in October — she wonders who will care for Caroline when she’s no longer around. But she may never know. Caroline is on a Maryland waiting list for additional Medicaid services for the disabled. The list is thousands of names long, and as in many states, names often stay on it until a caregiver falls ill or dies.About 860,000 people over 60 nationwide are in Beth’s place, caring for someone with intellectual or developmental disabilities in their home. And many are waiting, sometimes for years, for state-provided Medicaid help for their disabled child, sister or brother, such as placement in a group home, day services, or transportation or employment programs. If they can’t afford to pay for these services on their own, under the federal-state Medicaid system, their relative could end up in an institution.As the number of older caregivers grows, and their need for help becomes more dire, a few states have passed laws to give older caregivers a chance to help decide where, and how, the person they care for will live. Tennessee passed a law in 2015 to ensure that anyone with an intellectual disability and a caregiver over 80 got the services they needed, and this year the state expanded the law to those with caretakers over 75. And in 2014, Connecticut passed a similar law that is helping about 120 people with a caregiver over 70.But the waiting lists for needed services in these states and many others are still thousands of names long. In recent years, states such as Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania have put money into their budgets to try to chip away at the lists, and they get federal matching dollars to help pay for it. Some states are prioritizing people with urgent needs, while others are prioritizing students as they age out of school.Yet advocates for people with disabilities, such as Nicole Jorwic, director of rights policy at The Arc, a national nonprofit, say there needs to be a federal fix.“Something that pumps money into the system,” Jorwic said. “And that’s just not going to happen in the current climate in Congress.”In Maryland, Beth Munro realizes that unless she becomes seriously ill or dies, her daughter might not be placed in a group home.“I’ve worked really hard at the issue over the years,” Beth said, “and you get nowhere.”First GenerationThis generation of caregivers over 60 watched over decades as the U.S. grew more understanding and inclusive of people with disabilities. A movement swept the country in the 1970s and ’80s to deinstitutionalize people with disabilities. And for decades now, most people with disabilities who receive Medicaid help have been cared for at home by family members.In 2013, spending for community- and home-based services surpassed spending for large institutions, such as mental hospitals and nursing homes, for the first time. By that time, 14 states no longer had any large state-run institutions for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, and many others had only a few, according to University of Colorado research.The move to deinstitutionalize care has provided care that is more personalized while also saving states money. Average costs for care in a state-run institution, in 2013, ranged from about $129,000 a year in Arizona to about $603,000 in New York, while the average state costs of community-based services nationally is $43,000, according to the University of Colorado.What this has left, though, is fewer residential options, and lengthening waiting lists. About 198,000 people were waiting for home- or community-based services in the 34 states that reported data in 2013, according to University of Minnesota research. The longest waiting lists were in Ohio (41,500), Illinois (23,000) and Florida (22,400).Some states don’t keep waiting lists. In California, people with intellectual or developmental disabilities qualify for the services they need under a state-run health system. This means they should be getting the services they need.But April Lopez, chairwoman of California’s State Council on Developmental Disabilities, said that’s not always the case there. Some services aren’t available when you need them, she said. The state’s reimbursement rate is so low, she said, it discourages doctors and health centers from providing services.If states aren’t able to provide services for everyone, they should focus on providing more support for family caregivers, such as high-quality case management and respite services, said Susan Parish, director of the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at Brandeis University in Massachusetts.With medical, technological and public health advances, people with disabilities are living longer than before, Parish said. And with family size shrinking over the years, fewer siblings are around to assume care of their brother or sister as their parents age.Caregivers need help transitioning out of their role — finding the person with disabilities a place to live, money, benefits and a new guardian, Parish said.“I’ve worked with several parents who said they’ve hoped their son or daughter would die before they did because they don’t feel there are supports out there,” she said.Some Steps in Some StatesBeth Munro said she has felt that way, at times. She said she has been caring for Caroline on her own since she was 9 months old. Caroline has a brother and sister, but they live out of state and Beth doesn’t want them to have to take over her role. Caroline’s cerebral palsy affects both of her arms and legs. She is dependent for all of her care and can’t be left alone.But her laugh is full of life, and she laughs often. Her mother says she is generally a happy person. She is in a day program with other adults with disabilities, and they often go out into the community, like to a nature center or to the movies.Under Maryland law, people with intellectual or developmental disabilities who are transitioning out of the school system at age 21 receive some services. Yet 7,600 people on the waiting list in Maryland either have no services or need more.Last year, Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, added $3 million to the budget, which served about 120 people who were deemed to be in crisis, and added $3.5 million this year for the same purpose.This has been a bright spot in a decadeslong fight by the Maryland affiliate of The Arc to educate people and get more funding, said Cristine Marchand, its executive director.In the past, the organization would suggest a new tax in the state to cover the expenses — a tax on snacks or telecommunications — and each time the governor at the time would take the money and use it for something else, Marchand said.Whether a state makes progress addressing the issue has less to do with the political party in power and more to do with how much officials know about the issue, or how much influence advocates have, said Bernard Simons, Maryland’s deputy secretary for developmental disabilities.Simons has worked in similar jobs in five other states and he said it’s the same wherever he goes — parents dying or getting sick, and children left with no plan in place.States, including Maryland, need to be planning more, he said, instead of just reacting to emergencies.In Pennsylvania, which has one of the largest waiting lists — about 13,800 people — Republican state Rep. Thomas Murt said he has several bills pending in the Legislature that would collect money specifically to provide services for the people on the list using different taxes, including on natural gas, tobacco, and vaping.Like Maryland, Pennsylvania provides services for students transitioning out of school — about 700 a year. But sometimes it takes an older caregiver falling ill to get help, Murt said. “If another state is doing a better job, I think we should take a look at what they’re doing.”Courts have ordered some states to provide more community-based services.Virginia is making big changes to how it serves people with disabilities because of a 2011 settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, which found that the state was needlessly keeping people in institutions and failing to provide enough community-based alternatives.The state agreed to close down four of its five large institutions and serve 4,170 new people with community-based supports by 2021.Helping Elderly Caregivers FirstIn Tennessee, The Arc Tennessee, an affiliate of the national group, pushed the Legislature to help older caregivers.And, because these people have gone without the state’s help for so long, the Legislature wanted to help, said state Rep. Bob Ramsey, a Republican who advocated for the state’s new law.“I felt it really appropriate for us to do something to give them some relief and some assurance that they weren’t going to have children, loved ones or friends that were assigned to institutions,” Ramsey said.About 6,000 people are on the state’s waiting list, but that’s only people with intellectual disabilities. Before this year, a person with a developmental disability but not an intellectual disability did not qualify for services. But the state is making changes. As of July 1, people with intellectual or developmental disabilities qualify for services under the state-run health system, as they do in California.The state plans to provide new home- or community-based services to 1,700 people — compared to the 100 or 200 people it has been helping in recent years — on the waiting list this budget year, according to a spokeswoman, Sarah Tanksley.Hope for an ‘Active Life’In Maryland, Beth Munro has struggled for years to care for her daughter on her own. She said it’s tough to find the strength to lift her daughter in and out of the bathtub every night.But later this month, she’ll be getting extra help. The state just approved 35 hours of in-home services for her, including for bath time.Still, she hopes her daughter can move into a group home soon, so she can start to learn to live without her mother and do the kinds of things she likes, such as sewing, taking photos and dancing in her wheelchair — with help from others.“That’s the main thing,” Beth said. “Not only that she’s well taken care of, but that she has an active life, doing things that she likes to do.”FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

In Short

first_imgCosta loyalty cardThe UK’s biggest coffee chain Costa has launched a supermarket-style reward card scheme that will see customers accumulating points with each purchase of any food, drink or merchandising product sold in its Costa stores nationwide. The scheme has been on a year-long trial in Scotland.Donegal firm to growCo Donegal bakery company, Galard Teo, has received a E0.8m investment from government agency Údáras na Gaeltachta for new product development. The cash injection will fund 36 new jobs over the next three years, bringing the job total in the bakery to 207.Tesco pulls productsTesco withdrew four varieties of its sandwiches with use-by dates of 5 March 2010 and 6 March 2010, because the lettuce used in the filling might have been contaminated with slug pellets. Big & Tasty Meatball & Cheese Sandwich, Chicken Salad Sandwich, Finest Club Sandwich and Fresh in the Capital Club Sandwich were affected.Welsh birthdayWelsh cake firm Siwgr a Sbeis, started by two schoolfriends Rhian Williams and Rhian Owen in Llanrwst, is celebrating its 21st birthday with the launch of a range of branded cakes and desserts, starting with cupcakes made with cinnamon spice and topped with nib sugar.Sandwich wasteNew research by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is set to uncover how much waste is generated by pre-packed sandwiches. It is the first big study into the amount of waste in the UK retail supply chain created by pre-prepared food and aims to identify how this can be reduced, so that businesses can make cost and environmental savings.last_img read more

Two indicted on drug charges in 2019 case

first_imgFARMINGTON – The Franklin County grand jury indicted two men on trafficking charges last week, relating to a 2019 law enforcement search of an apartment on Church Street in Jay.Bret Dalot, 31 of Jay, and Joseph Truluck, 40 of Brooklyn, NY, were both indicted on two counts of unlawful trafficking of scheduled drugs each. Criminal forfeiture proceedings have also been initiated against both men, targeting cash located during the search, and Dalot also faces a misdemeanor charge of violating the conditions of release. A third individual, a woman, previously pleaded guilty to felony unlawful furnishing in relation to the case as part of a deferred disposition.According to an affidavit filed by Special Agent Nicholas Gulliver with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, police received information about Dalot reportedly selling heroin and cocaine base for an out-of-state drug trafficker out a Church Street address. Dalot and the third individual, Erika Meaney, 33 of Jay, were out on bail conditions relating to a separate Maine State Police drug case, according to the affidavit, and police proceeded to search the apartment on Dec. 9, 2019.During the search, police allege they located needles, sandwich bags and a scale in a room in the apartment, as well as “a brown powdery substance that appeared to be heroin.” They also found another male subject in a bedroom, with that man later identified as Truluck. He reportedly told law enforcement that he lived in a separate apartment in the building. Both Dalot and Meaney admitted to recently using heroin; Dalot also said that he received drugs for allowing Truluck to stay in the residence.The Jay residents were arrested and Gulliver went to apply for a search warrant. During that process, Truluck reportedly informed law enforcement that he had a “significant” amount of heroin and crack cocaine in a black backpack in the bedroom. Per the affidavit, Gulliver returned to the Church Street address with the search warrant and located and seized a corner baggie containing a small amount of heroin, as well as scales, needles, sandwich baggies with missing corners and a drug ledger. Inside a black backpack, Gulliver wrote that law enforcement found $5,300 and 20.3 grams of a substance that preliminarily tested positive for crack cocaine. Another 1.4 grams of cocaine base was found in three corner baggies located in a cigarette box. Also in the bedroom, police allege that 24 grams of a substance suspected to be heroin was found under a chair seat. Finally, $240 in cash was found in Truluck’s pants pocket.All three individuals were charged initially with felony trafficking. Both Dalot and Truluck were indicted last week by the Franklin County grand jury on two counts of trafficking each, with the two charges relating to the intentional or knowingly trafficking of crack cocaine and heroin, respectively. Criminal forfeiture proceedings, targeting the money seized during the investigation, have also been filed against both men.In October 2020, trafficking charges against Meaney were dismissed, with the Jay resident pleading guilty to unlawful furnishing of a scheduled drugs as well as admitting to the criminal forfeiture of $5,540 in cash seized by police. As part of the arranged plea’s deferred disposition arrangement, Meaney would be allowed to later withdraw her guilty plea and plead instead to misdemeanor possession and pay a $400 fine. If unsuccessful, due either to new criminal conduct, use of illegal drugs or otherwise not meeting the agreement’s requirements, Meaney would serve an open sentence on the unlawful furnishing charge.An indictment means that after considering the evidence the district attorney has presented, the grand jury believes there is probable cause, or a “reasonable belief” that the crime occurred.last_img read more

Watch Trey Anastasio Playing With Street Musicians In San Francisco

first_imgWith one day off between runs at The Gorge Amphitheatre in George, WA and the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, CA, Phish made their way to the Bay Area and got themselves re-acquainted with the Golden Gate City. It seems that guitarist Trey Anastasio had an opportunity to visit with some local musicians, performing on the street with some buskers in what is presumably the city’s famed Chinatown district. The presumption comes not only from the Chinese characters on the sign, but also the banjo-like instrument that Anastasio is playing.Watch the short clip of Anastasio and the street musicians below, courtesy of Phish From The Road.last_img read more

Jim James Performs A Stripped-Down “Over And Over” On ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’ [Watch]

first_imgOn Wednesday night, Jim James made his way to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to perform a track off his upcoming stripped-down album, UNIFORM CLARITY, a companion piece to his prior 2018 release, UNIFORM DISTORTION. For his Tonight Show spot, James performed a sparse, heartfelt acoustic rendition of “Over And Over”, as it appears on UNIFORM CLARITY, complete with a crew of colorfully illuminated backup vocals by The Resistance Revival Chorus. You can check out Jim James’ late-night TV performance below:Jim James – “Over and Over” (Acoustic)[Video: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon]As Jim James explained of the new acoustic release upon its announcement,The idea for UNIFORM CLARITY came from UNIFORM DISTORTION, an album of intentional chaos/dirt: literal and figurative distortion of lyrics and sound meant to echo and hopefully shed some light on the twisted times and distortion of the truth in which we now live. UNIFORM CLARITY is meant to illuminate the other side – raw and real, but very clear, much like in the early days of recording where all you could hear was the truth because there were no ways to manipulate recordings in the studio. Working with Shawn Everett, we created a document style recording of these songs- just vocals, guitar and the space itself- no special FX. A crystal clear illustration of the flawed beauty of what a song starts off as or sometimes remains- a thought. a seed. a light from the womb of the universe brought to life down here on earth.Jim James is preparing to head out on a very special tour. Dubbed The Future Is Voting Tour, it will include six nonpartisan multi-artist shows in college towns in electoral “swing districts” in an effort to promote voter participation in the important electoral areas. Each of the tour’s six stops will be part concert, part town-hall meeting. The meeting segment of the shows will include a non-partisan forum where candidates and their representatives will be invited to speak directly to students and take their toughest questions.As James noted in a press release announcing the tour,The importance of getting involved at this moment in time cannot be overstated. This isn’t only a Get Out The Vote concert. This is a learning moment aimed at college students to motivate them to vote, regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum. Each stop on the tour purposefully takes place in a contested electoral district or state for this important midterm election, where students and young voters have the ability to dramatically affect the outcome of this tremendous moment in history. Please join special surprise guests and myself at these events with the goal of truly inspiring thought, discourse, and participation.Jim James’ UNIFORM CLARITY comes out this Friday, October 5th. For more information about the new companion piece to UNIFORM DISTORTION, head over to James’ website.[H/T Rolling Stone]last_img read more

‘The Kid Who Would Be Pope’

first_imgJack Megan was making his way across Harvard’s campus on a bitter January afternoon in 2013 when his brother Tom called, desperate to read him a letter. Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim had written to say that their musical had just won the Richard Rodgers Award for emerging theatrical talent.Megan, the director of Harvard’s Office for the Arts (OFA), didn’t believe a word. “I thought he was joking,” he said, “so I made him fax me a copy of the letter when I got back to the office.”It still seemed surreal several months later as the composing and writing team waited on a New York City stage surrounded by arts luminaries to receive their award from actress Meryl Streep for their touching and humorous coming-of-age musical, “The Kid Who Would Be Pope.” (The show follows the life of Billy, a Catholic schoolboy who falls for his enchanting new drama teacher, Sister Katherine, and decides to become pope so he can change the Vatican’s rules and marry his new love.)Over the past year, that sense of living in a dream morphed into fast-paced reality as the pair fine-tuned their production for a three-day run that kicks off Tuesday in New York’s Ars Nova off-Broadway theater. With support from the Rodgers Award, which helped them secure the performance space and hire seasoned actors, the Megans will stage a stripped-down version of their show for a room filled with industry executives.The work is presented to producers, said Jack, “with the hope that someone options it.”But getting the musical before an influential audience was never the original goal. The show was conceived in the 1990s, when the director of a nearby arts camp needed a summer theater piece in a hurry and turned to the brothers for help. The Megans, both artists and musicians, crammed to craft a story, compose songs, and write lyrics in three hectic months. Their work paid off, and the show was a smash. It was gaining commercial success and traction with local theaters in 2000 when accusations of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church shook the world.“Even though our story was really a universal one about growing up and realizing essential truths about your place in the world, because it was in a Catholic setting, the interest suddenly stopped cold,” said Jack. “Nobody wanted to touch the play.”The work sat on the shelf for almost a decade. Then, at the suggestion of a friend, Tom took a chance and submitted it to the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Of the 450 scripts submitted, 12 were accepted for production through the festival’s Next Link program in 2011. “Pope” was one of them.“We suddenly had this new forum in New York with the show,” said Tom. The show again proved popular with audiences. Based on its sold-out run, the brothers applied for the Rodgers Award.On the phone from New York after a long day of rehearsals, the two were at ease as only siblings comfortable with close collaboration, inside jokes, family history, and a shared passion can be. Growing up in a household with six musical kids, the Megan boys spent their early days fighting for the right to play the house piano, and composing songs and shows for family and friends. Though Tom chose a life as a professional composer, lyricist, and librettist, and Jack headed into arts management, they’ve continued to work closely on musical projects.Decades later, musical theater is still child’s play for the brothers. The genesis of their current production was autobiographical, a combination of their love for Julie Andrews, the Beatles, and Stevie Wonder, and their experiences growing up Catholic. “It was also based on this notion of what it was like to be a child and to be enamored of an adult who saw the true you — the you you wanted to be and who made life exciting,” said Tom.When composing, the Megans often take turns getting down the lyrics, the music, or the plot alone, then reunite to compare notes, rework, and revise. Their ensuing conversations can be blunt, and at times brutally honest, but never personal. “I’ve always felt with Jack that we’re always trying to find the best solution moment to moment, and there’s never a moment when it’s about the other person’s ego,” said Tom. “It’s really always been about what’s best.”It’s also about having fun. The Megans are quick to joke, tease, or laugh. They agree they share a comic as well as an emotional sensibility that informs their work, born of their close attachment as brothers, friends, and collaborators. “When there’s an emotional moment in the show,” said Tom, “we feel like it’s an earned moment because we both really do feel that way about it.”“Laughter has helped a lot in this process,” added Jack, “because there have been hard times along the way.”Perhaps the hardest time for Jack has been stepping into the spotlight. Anyone who knows the dedicated OFA director knows how he has shunned attention for the past 13 years, eagerly shining the light not on himself, but on Harvard’s wealth of talented students and his committed colleagues. His brother, said Tom Megan, “diminishes his own artistic gifts.” But Jack, a skilled jazz pianist and composer, recently admitted that there comes a time when you have to take a chance.“I love supporting other people’s art at Harvard. I love that. But there’s safety in not putting your own stuff out there. And at some point, you just say, ‘What the hell.’ ”last_img read more