Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Egyptian Nour el Tayeb Wins Women's World Jr Championship - From Heliopolos to Harvard Video

by Sarah Cortes - She was cut off from the rest of the world in the last days of the Egyptian revolution this winter, along with the rest of her countrymen, when the government took down the internet. Still, Nour el Tayeb, 18, and the Egyptian junior women's squash team managed to continue training and preparing for tournaments like the Women's World Junior Squash Championships currently taking place at Harvard. "The moment I won the match, I just screamed," said el Tayeb of winning the Championship title Monday night. "But now, it's weird, I don't know what it feels like to be the world champion finally. But I'm happy."

Image: Sarah Cortes

Now that the individual championships have concluded, team competition is underway, with 16 nations fielding girls teams. Competitor nations, besides the US and Egypt, include Australia, Wales, Malaysia, Ecuador, England, France, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Africa, India, the Netherlands, and Guyana.

El Tayeb and her mother and teammates, who are staying in Cambridge for three weeks during the individual and team events, enjoyed a day of shopping at the Cambridgeside Galleria Mall as a break from the relentless pace and pressure of the matches.

This was el Tayeb's third attempt at the title, having lost in close finals twice before, in 2009 and 2010. She reached the finals of those World Junior Championships at ages 16 and 17, only to lose in close matches both times. Monday night, Nour made sure to clinch the title in just four games and 42 minutes. She defeated Nour el Sherbini, also of Egypt, who beat her in the finals two years ago in Chennai, India. "This is my third time to come to the US. My first was a WISPA [professional] tournament in 2008. It didn't go so well!" laughed el Tayeb, who was already a veteran of pro tournaments at age 15. "The second was a pro tournament in New York, where I did well. So, the US is good luck for me!"

Of her many matches with el Sherbini, age 15, Nour noted the two have met countless times in their short careers "in [Egyptian] national tournaments..and I've lost them all. To beat her was actually a bit of a surprise for me. The last time we met in a tournament was in Qatar, last year. I won, but I think she was going into an injury phase," el Tayeb stated.

Americans had hoped for an Egyptian - US final, as 2010 Women's World Junior Champion Amanda Sobhy was favored going into last week's competition competition. Sobhy defeated el Tayeb in the 2010 final, again denying the Egyptian the title after her defeat by el Sherbini in 2009. However, this year, it was el Sherbini's turn to defeat Sobhy in the semifinal, setting up an all-Egyptian match Monday night at Harvard.

"I met Amanda in the last four British Opens we played," observed el Tayeb. Sobhy, whose father is Egyptian, trains regularly in Cairo at the Heliopolos Club where el Tayeb also trains.

In talking about her plans for the future, el Tayeb plans to start college at American University in Cairo in the fall. "I want to study economics," she says, ambitiously. When asked how she decided on economics, she explained, "because I've been taking an economics class this whole year [in high school]." Showing her respect for teachers and education, she said, "the teacher made it so easy, so I just like economics."

Recalling those dark days last winter during the Egyptian revolution, el Tayeb concluded: "With what's happenning in Egypt just now...I would like to study economics," to help her country rebuild and regain a steady path to growth and stability.

Originally published at

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Civil Liberties Groups Join NSTIC Cybersecurity Workshop at MIT

By Sarah Cortes - Representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union ("ACLU"), the Electronic Frontier Foundation ("EFF"), and Electronic Privacy Information Center ("EPIC") participated in framing cybersecurity issues at MIT this week. These groups raised concerns or quietly noted issues on day two, the final day of the workshop related to the White House initiative called the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace ("NSTIC") held at the MIT Media Lab this week.

Additionally, standards consortiums like w3c and the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) sent representatives who raised concerns or asked questions that shaped the direction of the evolving strategy.

Seth Schoen (pictured above), Staff Technologist at EFF, participated on a panel. He challenged the notion that a secure internet cyberidentity program like NSTIC would increase overall internet transaction security. "There may be increased pressure to provide highly verified identity credentials as it gets easier to do so," Schoen pointed out, citing a number of court rulings where consumers' privacy was protected only because the court deemed the technical challenges too difficult.

Originally published at

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Domestic Violence Service Providers Live! Tonight at 7:30pm CCTV channel 10

by Sarah Cortes - Tune in tonight at 7:30pm for a live discussion with care providers from domestic violence service organizations. Tonight on Cambridge Cares, CCTV channel 10, the topic is: resources available to victims of domestic violence. Host Mike Morell interviews service providers from six organizations:

Respond, Inc.   
Transition House
The Guidance Center
Children with Voices /pages.asp?p=228&c=18

First we'll hear from Cindy Nemet, Program Coordinator for CAB HART, the Cambridge, Arlington, Belmont High Risk Assessment and Response Team, and The Guidance Center. Also Gail M. Council, Family Advocate, Children with Voices, The Meeting Place & Community Based Programs and Charlene Luma, LICSW, Clinician, Supervisor at Children with Voices.

Then Alex will interview Michelle Fine, Director of Programs and Services, RESPOND, Inc.

Also appearing will be Risa Mednick, Board Chair, and Ronit Barkai, Director of Support Services and Community Partnerships, both from Transition House, Inc, one of the nation's oldest shelters and service providers for victims of domestic violence.

Originally published at

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

ReThinkMusic brings together Harvard, Berklee, Music Industry Giants

by Sarah Cortes - ReThinkMusic brought together music industry giants with recording artists, Harvard Law faculty from the Berkman Center for Internet & Technology, the ranking House Judiciary Committee member and thousands of attendees yesterday and today at Harvard University and the Hynes Convention Center.

ReThinkMusic's website describing Artist Damian Kulash, whose perspective and experience sum up what's happenning in the music industry today:

"Most people know Damian Kulash of OK Go from the band's videos that have accumulated hundreds of millions of online views. OK Go is more than those videos, of course. Their new album, Of the Blue Colour of the Sky, debuted in the Billboard Top 40, got to #2 on the iTunes alternative chart, and has yielded two Top 40 alternative singles. Alternative Press wrote that it "fills you with hope for the next decade's musical offerings." At the peak of its success, the band managed to weasel out of their major label contract to start their own company, Paracadute. Damian explained, "The major label world was not a very good fit for us anymore, because they judge the world solely through record sales and have a hard time dealing with more modern types of success. We see it as our job to make cool shit, and what metric people use for success is kind of irrelevant, so long as we get to keep chasing down our ideas.' "

Bertis Downs, R.E.M. Manager, spoke of changes in the music industry. Sometimes referred to as R.E.M.'s "fifth Beatle," Downs spoke about how changes in the music industry affect artists.

Harvard Law School faculty and Berkman Center co-Directors William Fisher and Charles Nesson, Warner Recorded Music head Lyor Cohen, Rep. John Conyers, Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee governing the future of copyright law, and recording artists Amanda Palmer, Ben Folds, Neil Gaiman, and Damian Kulash of Ok Go spoke to large crowds busy tweeting insights into where the music industry is going.

According to Harvard Berkman's website:

"The Rethink Music conference is bringing together all sides and viewpoints on the subjects of creativity, commerce, and policy to engage in critical dialogue examining the business and rights challenges facing the music industry in the digital era, and to formulate ideas for the creation and distribution of new music and other creative works."

Sunday, April 10, 2011

US Reps Markey, Edwards, Film and TV Producers Kilbourne and Goodman address National Media Reform Conference

by Sarah Cortes- Following Rep. Nancy Pelosi's address Friday, US Representatives Ed Markey, D-MA, and Rep. Donna Edwards, D-MD, were among last night's keynote speakers at the National Conference for Media Reform at the Seaport Hotel. Addressing an audience that included representatives of many public access TV stations including Cambridge Community TV, Markey and Edwards spoke of the importance of the Net Neutrality Bill. Net Neutrality refers to rules implemented recently by Michael Copps, Obama's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Director, preventing internet service providers from blocking certain websites. Copps also spoke tonight, pointing out that net neutrality and universal access are key to freedom of speech and the press in a democracy.

Other speakers included Amy Goodman, Host of Democracy Now! and Dr. Jean Kilbourne, producer of the Killing us Softly series on Advertising's Images of Women and the public health issues relating to violence, depression and eating disorders those unhealthy images engender.

Congresswoman Donna Edwards addresses Net Neutrality at Media Reform Conference

by Sarah Cortes - Congresswoman Donna Edwards of the US House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, with oversight of the Net Neutrality bill, addressed the National Media Reform Conference at the Seaport Hotel tonight. Edwards, who represents Maryland's 4th Congressional District, noted that last night's threatened government shutdown almost prevented her attendance at the local event.  She spoke of her opposition to the "anti"-net neutrality bill which cleared the US House of Representatives yesterday, but which has inadequate support in the Senate. The bill would allow internet service providers to block certain websites, by reversing Federal Communications Commission rules. Net neutrality rules were recently implemented by Obama's FCC Director Michael Copps, who also addressed tonight's conference at the keynote session. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who also opposes the anti-net neutrality bill, addressed the NMR conference yesterday.

Edwards became a bit of a Cinderella story when she defeated longtime incumbent Al Wynn in 2008 with 85% of the vote. The first female African-American elected to Congress in Maryland, she previously co-founded and served as executive director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Coding for Charity- New England GiveCamp

by Sarah Cortes. One Cambridge nonprofit got a new free website. Another got an overhaul of its database. Last year, over thirty local nonprofits got technical projects implemented for free, completed, delivered and tied up with a bow in 48 hours, thanks to New England GiveCamp at Microsoft. Over a hundred technical professionals from all over the East Coast will gather by the Charles River again April 29-30 for Microsoft Cambridge's New England GiveCamp 2011. They will sleep on floors, camp out in conference rooms and halls and mainly, donate their skills and time to local nonprofits and deliver new websites, databases and other technical projects in a 48-hour whirlwind.

Four nonprofits who benefitted from free projects last year and/or who hope to will participate this year talked about what the experience was like for them and their organizations. David Adams and Katherine Vetne from Emerge, a Cambridge nonprofit, Jessica Brayden from Respond, Jay Sun from The Goodness, and Sean Hewens from Smallbean liked the fact that while participation is concentrated in 48 round-the-clock hours, at that point a project is entirely finished and delivered. A more conventional approach might spread the work over smaller pieces of weeks or months.

Jim O'Neil from Microsoft is one of the Robin Hoods organizing this concentrated transfer of technology wealth from the skill-rich to non-profits who have few resources to pay for an increasingly essential service element for nonprofits, their technology. What he sees is the intense friendships that develop over the weekends confined in close quarters with sometimes frenzied focus on technology delivery. Many technical professionals continued to donate their time and skills to "their" nonprofits for weeks and months after GiveCamp closed, supporting their creations and their new friends and causes.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

How to be a good father-parenting classes teach respect

by Sarah Cortes - David Adams, EdD., co-director of Emerge, Inc. in Cambridge, provided behavioural and psychological insight on the high-profile Essa cyanide poisoning murder. Adams provided his commentary January 21 on the TV show In Session on Tru TV. In Session, formerly called Court TV, "brings trials to life by taking you outside the courtroom to show you the story behind the testimony," according to CNN's website. Adams was invited to comment on the Ohio case, in which Dr. Yazeed Essa, a former emergency room physician, was convicted in 2010 in Ohio of aggravated murder. Essa poisoned his wife so he could be with his mistress.

Image: Sarah Cortes
Adams works with abusers at Emerge, a nonprofit organization in North Cambridge which helps end domestic violence by educating abusers and holding them accountable for their behaviour. Founded in 1977, Emerge was the first abuser education program in the United States. Since its creation, Emerge has been a national leader in working to end violence in intimate relationships.

In working toward this goal, Emerge seeks to educate individual abusers, prevent young people from learning to accept violence in their relationships, improve institutional responses to domestic violence, and increase public awareness about the causes and solutions to partner violence. With the development of parenting education groups for fathers, Emerge has expanded its mission to include a goal of helping men to become more responsible parents.

Cambridge-based Adams is an internationally recognized expert on dangerousness assessment of intimate partner abusers and on intimate partner homicide. He authored the book "Why Do They Kill? Men Who Murder Their Intimate Partners."

According to reporters Ann O'Neill and Emanuella Grinberg of CNN Justice, Essa's trial "included testimony from more than 60 witnesses who told the story of a philandering doctor, his many mistresses and an international manhunt that crossed three continents and ended with his arrest in Cyprus in October 2006, 18 months after his wife's death."

Adams, who has worked directly with dozens of men convicted of murdering their intimate partners, explained what motivated men like Essa. In Adams' experience, abusive men like the doctor are very concerned about their image, and feel a need to project the image of a successfully married professional man. Men who are chronically unfaithful are generally not motivated by jealousy towards their wives since they are not actually in love with them, as Essa admitted. Rather than jealousy, the loss of assets concerns them. For this reason, they murder their intimate partners rather than suffer the loss of assets that a divorce would entail, Adams explained.

Originally published at:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

David Adams, co-Director of Emerge, comments on Dr. Essa cyanide poisoning murder

by Sarah Cortes - David Adams, EdD., co-director of Emerge, Inc. in Cambridge, provided behavioural and psychological insight on the high-profile Essa cyanide poisoning murder. Adams provided his commentary January 21 on the TV show In Session on Tru TV. In Session, formerly called Court TV, "brings trials to life by taking you outside the courtroom to show you the story behind the testimony," according to CNN's website. Adams was invited to comment on the Ohio case, in which Dr. Yazeed Essa, a former emergency room physician, was convicted in 2010 in Ohio of aggravated murder. Essa poisoned his wife so he could be with his mistress.

Originally published at: