Harvard, MIT Part of $800 Million Deal to Push Access to Online Education - The Wall Street Journal

Harvard, MIT Part of $800 Million Deal to Push Access to Online Education - The Wall Street Journal Harvard, MIT Part of $800 Million Deal to Push Access to Online Education - The Wall Street Journal Posted: 29 Jun 2021 04:00 AM PDT Education-technology company 2U Inc., which runs graduate programs for dozens of top universities, is buying web-based course provider edX, a nonprofit founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for $800 million. The deal combines two major players in online instruction as universities around the world push more aggressively into digital offerings. Many schools scrambled to shift courses online when the pandemic shut campuses last year, and they are now expected to build on—and polish—the programs. The sale proceeds will go to a nonprofit, to be run by Harvard and MIT, that the schools say will focus on reducing inequalities in access to education. It will maintain the open-acc

Dallas-Fort Worth’s air pollution dropped to record lows last year, but it still gets an ‘F’ in national - The Dallas Morning News

Dallas-Fort Worth recorded its least polluted period on record for ozone pollution, but there’s still room to improve, according to the American Lung Association’s 2020 State of the Air report.

The report covers air pollution data from 2016 through 2018. During that period, Dallas-Fort worth recorded fewer days with unhealthy levels of ozone pollution compared with last year’s report, making it the best ozone report on record for the area.

But despite the improvement, Dallas-Fort Worth ranked 21st out of 228 metropolitan areas on a list of U.S. cities with the most ozone pollution. The American Lung Association gave the area an “F” on its report card for ozone pollution.

At 14th on the list, Houston was the highest-ranking Texas city for ozone pollution, and El Paso was 17th on the list.

“Ozone pollution can harm even healthy people, but is particularly dangerous for children, older adults and people with lung diseases like COPD or asthma,” Charlie Gagen, advocacy director of the American Lung Association in Texas, said in a written statement. “Breathing ozone-polluted air can trigger asthma attacks in both adults and children with asthma, which can land them in the doctor’s office or the emergency room. Ozone can even shorten people’s lives.”

Ozone is an odorless gas, usually present in the upper levels of the atmosphere, where it protects the Earth from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. When ozone reaches ground level, it becomes the main ingredient in smog and can be harmful and create respiratory issues for some.

Jessica Rangel, vice provost for academic innovation at the University of North Texas’ Health Science Center, said poor air quality can have similar effects on the lungs as smoking does, especially for people with respiratory issues, children and the elderly.

“Lung tissue is very sensitive tissue,” Rangel said. “When you consider air quality, it impacts all of us. This is a tremendous concern.”

As North Texas continues to grow, more people, more cars on roads and more construction will have negative effects on air quality, Rangel said.

Carpooling can make a difference in improving air quality, Rangel said. Another thing people can do to protect themselves is stay home on days when air quality is poor, she said.

So far this month for Dallas-Fort Worth, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has not issued ozone action days, when air quality levels could be unhealthy for sensitive groups.

North Texas typically sees an increase in ozone action days in the summer, when temperatures rise. On those days, the TCEQ recommends limiting time outdoors, carpooling and shortening driving times when possible.

At 7:26 am on March 24 — the first morning after Dallas County's "shelter in place" order took effect -- Woodall Rodgers Freeway was nearly empty during what would normally have been early morning rush hour in Dallas.

The report gave Dallas-Fort Worth a “C” on its report card for levels of 24-hour particle pollution. Levels were similar to those on last year’s report. Dallas-Fort Worth ranked 40th out of 217 metropolitan areas on a list of the most polluted U.S. cities for 24-hour particle pollution.

Particle-pollution — soot or tiny particles in the air — can come from several sources, including coal-fired power plants, diesel emissions, wildfires and wood-burning devices.

Particle pollution, which can lodge in the lungs and enter the bloodstream, can cause asthma attacks, heart attacks, strokes and even lung cancer, according to Gagen.

“At the same time, this year’s report shows that we must stand up for clean air — especially to safeguard our most vulnerable community members,” Gagen said. “Our leaders, both here in Texas and at the federal level, must take immediate, significant action to ward off climate change and other threats to the quality of the air we all breathe.”

The report does not show data for 2020, but recent NASA satellite images have shown lower levels of nitrogen dioxide over Texas in recent weeks. Nitrogen dioxide is a pollutant that contributes to smog, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.


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