Musical on tour


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In this undated photo provided by Dear Evan Hansen, the national touring cast of “Dear Evan Hansen” performs. In addition to selling out each night on Broadway, the show is launching a 50-city national tour from Denver. The first international production is slated for Toronto next year and another will bow in London. (Matthew Murphy/Dear Evan Hansen vi AP)

In this undated photo provided by Dear Evan Hansen, the national touring cast of “Dear Evan Hansen” performs. In addition to selling out each night on Broadway, the show is launching a 50-city national tour from Denver. The first international production is slated for Toronto next year and another will bow in London. (Matthew Murphy/Dear Evan Hansen vi AP)

Award-winning ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ musical spreads its wings


Friday, September 28

NEW YORK (AP) — The stage musical “Dear Evan Hansen” is about a lonely young man desperate to be liked. Mission accomplished, we’d say.

In addition to selling out each night on Broadway, the show is launching a 50-city national tour. The first international production is slated for Toronto and another will bow in London. A new song collection and a 390-page novel based on the story are coming out this fall.

Never has a misfit been this popular.

“Dear Evan Hansen” centers on an awkward teenager raised by a single mom who inadvertently becomes a social media sensation, with disastrous consequences.

The show’s creators hope its message of acceptance, honesty and love can resonate far from its Broadway home . That’s where the various tours and the novel come in.

The Conversation

Has one of math’s greatest mysteries, the Riemann hypothesis, finally been solved?

September 27, 2018


William Ross

Professor of Mathematics, University of Richmond

Disclosure statement

William Ross does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.


University of Richmond provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.

Over the past few days, the mathematics world has been abuzz over the news that Sir Michael Atiyah, the famous Fields Medalist and Abel Prize winner, claims to have solved the Riemann hypothesis.

If his proof turns out to be correct, this would be one of the most important mathematical achievements in many years. In fact, this would be one of the biggest results in mathematics, comparable to the proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem from 1994 and the proof of the Poincare Conjecture from 2002.

Besides being one of the great unsolved problems in mathematics and therefore garnishing glory for the person who solves it, the Riemann hypothesis is one of the Clay Mathematics Institute’s “Million Dollar Problems.” A solution would certainly yield a pretty profitable haul: one million dollars.

The Riemann hypothesis has to do with the distribution of the prime numbers, those integers that can be divided only by themselves and one, like 3, 5, 7, 11 and so on. We know from the Greeks that there are infinitely many primes. What we don’t know is how they are distributed within the integers.

The problem originated in estimating the so-called “prime pi” function, an equation to find the number of primes less than a given number. But its modern reformulation, by German mathematician Bernhard Riemann in 1858, has to do with the location of the zeros of what is now known as the Riemann zeta function.

The technical statement of the Riemann hypothesis is “the zeros of the Riemann zeta function which lie in the critical strip must lie on the critical line.” Even understanding that statement involves graduate-level mathematics courses in complex analysis.

Most mathematicians believe that the Riemann hypothesis is indeed true. Calculations so far have not yielded any misbehaving zeros that do not lie in the critical line. However, there are infinitely many of these zeros to check, and so a computer calculation will not verify all that much. Only an abstract proof will do.

If, in fact, the Riemann hypothesis were not true, then mathematicians’ current thinking about the distribution of the prime numbers would be way off, and we would need to seriously rethink the primes.

The Riemann hypothesis has been examined for over a century and a half by some of the greatest names in mathematics and is not the sort of problem that an inexperienced math student can play around with in his or her spare time. Attempts at verifying it involve many very deep tools from complex analysis and are usually very serious ones done by some of the best names in mathematics.

Atiyah gave a lecture in Germany on Sept. 25 in which he presented an outline of his approach to verify the Riemann hypothesis. This outline is often the first announcement of the solution but should not be taken that the problem has been solved – far from it. For mathematicians like me, the “proof is in the pudding,” and there are many steps that need to be taken before the community will pronounce Atiyah’s solution as correct. First, he will have to circulate a manuscript detailing his solution. Then, there is the painstaking task of verifying his proof. This could take quite a lot of time, maybe months or even years.

Is Atiyah’s attempt at the Riemann hypothesis serious? Perhaps. His reputation is stellar, and he is certainly capable enough to pull it off. On the other hand, there have been several other serious attempts at this problem that did not pan out. At some point, Atiyah will need to circulate a manuscript that experts can check with a fine-tooth comb.

The Conversation

What evolution and motorcycles have in common: let’s take a ride across Australia

September 27, 2018


John Long

John Long is a Friend of The Conversation.

Strategic Professor in Palaeontology, Flinders University

Disclosure statement

John Long receives funding from The Australian Research Council


Flinders University provides funding as a member of The Conversation AU.

How can the development of motorcycles have anything to do with the story of the evolution of life on Earth? You need a palaeontologist to help answer that question, and one with a love of motorcycles.

The article is part of our occasional long read series Zoom Out, where authors explore key ideas in science and technology in the broader context of society and humanity.

Thousands of people around the world will don some of their finest clothes and ride motorcycles this weekend in the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride. The goal is to raise funds and promote awareness of men’s health issues.

I’m taking part, having been a motorcycle enthusiast since I got my first bike in 1975. Motorcycles are great fun, but there’s also a lot you can learn from riding one.

The late author Robert M Pirsig’s 1974 classic book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance exemplified this perspective. Pirsig contrasts the rational and romantic sides of human nature as he describes his motorcycle journey of self-discovery.

I’ve recently been contemplating similarities between the evolution of life and the early development of motorcycles, and what a motorcycle ride can teach us about the history of life.

A ride across Australia shows the deep time of evolution

The oldest life on Earth is shown in fossils of stromatolites, mounds of layered mats of blue green algae found in the Pilbara district of Western Australia, dated at around 3,500 million years ago.

Today similar life forms can be seen thriving in Shark Bay and in some of the estuarine lakes around WA.

By sheer coincidence, the distance from Perth to Melbourne is about 3,500km, a route I travelled on my motorcycle back in 1996. Thus, every kilometre I did on that transcontinental ride represents a million years of Earth’s history since life first evolved. Thus, every metre represents a millennium, and every millimetre a year.

Let’s use this metaphor of time and distance to highlight the big milestones of the evolution of life on such a ride. Travelling along at 100kmh we’d pass through 100 million years of Earth history each hour of riding.

If we are at the origin of life in Perth (at 3.5 billion years ago), the next milestone we encounter is the development of cells with a nucleus, or eucaryotes. These appeared about 2 billion years ago, which on our ride would be around Ceduna in South Australia.

The dawn of complex multicellular animal life (called metazoans), is seen by our famous Ediacaran fossils of the Flinders Ranges. Recent research has just proven these are the oldest true animals. This event – dated at around 560 million years ago – is the equivalent of arriving at the town of Keith, South Australia, on our ride.

If we deviate south and travel into the Coonawarra, famous today for its fine wines, we reach the time of the great Cambrian explosion of life, starting about 540 million years ago. This is when nearly all the major groups of marine animals appeared on Earth.

The origin of backboned animals (vertebrates) is another milestone represented by appearance of the first fishes. This happens as we drive across the border into Victoria on the road to Casterton.

Fishes left the sea and invaded land as early four-limbed tetrapods by the time we reach Hamilton, and we enter the age of dinosaurs and the first mammals as we cruise the backroads into Skipton, about 230 million years ago.

If our journey is to end precisely at the Melbourne Post Office (GPO) on Elizabeth Street, then the appearance of our immediate human ancestors, the australopithecines, will occur at a spot on the road about 3.5km from the GPO, on State Route 30.

We park the bike near the GPO and walk towards it. Modern humans (Homo sapiens) appeared on Earth about 315,000 years ago, or just 315 metres from our destination. To mark the point in time when the first peoples arrived in Australia, around 60,000 years ago, we reach a point just 60 metres from our final destination.

Finally, we take five large steps, each a metre, to reach the front door of the GPO and in this final act we’ve gone through most of recorded human civilisation, taken from the first step pyramid of Djoser about 5,000 years ago in Egypt, to today.

The rate of evolution of life compared with early motorcycles

As a palaeontologist who studies life of the past, I see evolution in action all around me. Not just in species of animals and plants that have adapted as their environments, but also through fossil species that couldn’t adapt and went extinct.

I’m now going to explore the metaphor of how the history of motorcycle development shows a similar tempo for diversification as that of early life, even if it is on a totally different scale of time.

Motorcycles, like life, had a long, slow history of development – followed by sudden explosions of innovative engineering diversification. Let’s arbitrarily start the clock from the invention of the first atmospheric combustion engine, the Newcomen steam engine, in 1712.

Early steam-driven motorcycles, such as Sylvester Roper’s steam velocipede, were hazardous, as the metal boiler building up pressure was positioned between the rider’s legs – not something our safety advisers would like today.

The Roper steam velocipede, an early steam-powered motorcycle (c 1886). Wikimedia

The machine could run at speeds of 64kmh for up to an hour, becoming the first non-railed machine that could power a human at far greater speeds than just running.

The next major milestone is the creation of the fuel-air compressed combustion engine by Beau de Rochas in 1862. Our modern four-stroke engine was developed by Nicklaus Otto around 1864 with help from Eugen Langden.

The first motorcycle

The first ridden two-wheeled machine with handlebars and a combustion engine powered by this engine was Wilhelm Maybach and Gottleib Daimler’s Reitwagen or “riding car” – considered to be the world’s first motorcycle.

The first trial ride was particularly exciting, as Daimler’s son Paul, aged 17, drove it for 12km on November 18, 1885. It was an unexpectedly eventful journey as the rider’s seat caught fire due to the hot tube ignition system wedged immediately below it.

It took another decade before Hildebrand and Wolfmuller of Germany would commercially produce a powered motorcycle that was freely available on the open market in 1894.

Just like the sudden Cambrian explosion of life, the next few years saw a sudden great explosion of motorcycle diversity as expressed by varied engine types – a time when efficient four-stroke combustion engines of many kinds and varieties were fitted into strengthened bicycle-type frames.

Motorcycles of nearly all modern configurations then suddenly appeared between 1900 and 1912 from manufacturers in England, Europe and the United States.

Varied engine positions were trialled, from up high on the handlebars, or attached to either the front or rear wheels, but eventually the engine position stabilised (evolved) in a slung frame at the centre of the bike.

We find examples of single-cylinder engines of many types (vertical, sloping, horizontal), twin engines (upright, in line V-twin, transverse and inline; flat horizontal twins), radial engines, even three and four cylinder engines.

The first working two stroke engine bikes were commercially available in 1908. The British motorcycle manufacturer Humber had an electric-powered bicycle on the scene around 1897. Even the first rotary engine motorcycle, invented by Felix Millet in 1889, went into production in 1900.

Rates of evolution: motorcycles vs early life

I’m now going to measure the rate of motorcycle evolution from the first atmospheric combustion steam engine in 1712 through to an arbitrary milestone in the 20th century that represents the emergence of the first highly complex modern motorcycle.

I’m choosing the appearance of Guilio Carcano’s V8 double overhead cam 499cc Moto Guzzi racer of 1955 to represent the dawn of the modern superbike.

Using this analogy, the time and tempo for motorcycle development (scaled between 1712-1955) follows a very similar pattern of diversification as the evolution of life over 3.5 billion years.

Since the invention of the first steam engine in 1712, it took about 160 years for the first steam-driven motorcycle to appear (about 62% of the time), and 182 years until the first commercial combustion-engine motorcycles were sold in 1894 (about 75% of the time).

The peak of early motorcycle diversification at around 1908 took place at exactly 80% of the time elapsed, almost exactly at the same time ratio as the Cambrian explosion of life took place since life first appeared on Earth.

Uncanny similarity perhaps?

I can probably find other comparison tales in the development of aircraft, ships, trains, cars or in any form of technology. But it’s a good example of how transdisciplinary knowledge can inform two disparate topics, seemingly not related, but with learning benefits on each side.

Something to think about next time you see or ride a motorcycle.

On Sunday September 30, 2018, more than 120,000 gentlefolk in 650 cities worldwide will take part in the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride to raise funds and awareness for men’s health.


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The data is in: Americans who don’t finish high school are less healthy than the rest of the US

September 27, 2018 6.36am EDT

Staying in school improves your chances of a healthy future. sheff/shutterstock


Shanta R. Dube

Associate Professor, School of Public Health, Georgia State University

Disclosure statement

Shanta R. Dube is founder and owner of Vision of Wellness, LLC and mWELL, LLC. She serves as an Associate Editor for the international journal, Child Abuse & Neglect. Shanta R. Dube receives funding from Georgia Department of Education. She is affiliated with the Georgia Chapter-Childhood Domestic Violence Association (CDVA).


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Georgia State University provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.

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On Sept. 20, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the latest numbers on health in the U.S.

This report provides a snapshot of Americans’ health up to 2016, revealing several key trends – including that Americans who don’t finish high school continue to lag behind. Again and again, the trends across educational levels indicate that adults with no high school diploma or GED are consistently at the greatest risk for the leading causes of disease and death.

For example, heart disease has declined in the U.S. since 1997, down to 10.7 percent across the population. Heart disease declined among people with less than high school education across years, yet this population consistently had the highest reported percent for heart disease compared to adults with a high school diploma or higher.

Smoking also declined overall during the same period, while participation in physical activities that meet federal guidelines increased. These are both very positive trends. But clear differences are consistently seen across education levels. In fact, in 2016, close to two-thirds of adults with no high school diploma did not engage in physical activity, compared to 55 percent of high school graduates and 38 percent of adults with some college or more.

Similar trends can be observed in access to health care, frequency of cancer screenings and other clinical preventive services.

Why is education so closely linked with health? According to a report released by the Administration for Healthcare Research and Quality, adults with low levels of education experience extra stress, partly due to problems with finances and getting employment. Adults who report low levels of education also tend to have experienced a greater number of childhood adversities. Without positive coping mechanisms, stress harms the body in many different ways, leading to poor health.

Education is not just about receiving a diploma; it’s the process of acquiring knowledge and skills that can help people adapt, cope and utilize critical thinking. Research has shown that not completing high school education is linked to poor health literacy skills, which are necessary to navigate the health care system. For example, health literacy skills can help someone take medications properly; interpret medication labels or food labels; and find the appropriate preventive care.

The movement toward formal education, which started in the early 1800s, was motivated by the belief that education would help children lead productive adult lives. Indeed, over the past 150 years, the U.S. has witnessed major progress in terms of [educational enrollment and completion]. But people who don’t finish high school – who make up 10 percent of the population – may lack the skills to know how to care for themselves. That leaves them at higher risk for multiple health outcomes compared to adults with high school diploma or greater.

Math, science, reading and writing are very important skills for children, but, in my view as a public health researcher, social and emotional learning are just as critical. The state of New York is implementing a curriculum where children in elementary to high school can learn about mental and emotional health. The impact of this bill has yet to be understood, but it may be one of many solutions to successfully bridge the gap between education and health.



Thursday, November 8, 6 pm

Palace Theatre (34 W. Broad St.)

Disney Junior Dance Party on Tour! is an all-new, interactive, live concert experience where you can sing along to Disney Junior’s greatest hits with your favorite characters—Mickey and the Roadster Racers, Sofia The First, Puppy Dog Pals, Elena of Avalor, Doc McStuffins, Vampirina, The Lion Guard, Muppet Babies, and more. Kids of all ages and their families are invited to get up and dance, play games, and join the biggest dance party around! Tickets are $30-$60 at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), all Ticketmaster outlets, and To purchase tickets by phone, please call (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000.

Tips to Make Mammograms More Comfortable

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center

Each October, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, women are reminded to schedule something they may be avoiding: a mammogram. One of the top reasons women put off the screenings is because of pain or discomfort they’ve experienced in the past.

While recent technological improvements should help, there are some simple things women can do to make themselves more comfortable during a mammogram. Judy Capadagli, a registered technologist in radiology and mammography at the Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center at OSUCCC- James, offers these five tips:

Your Trunk and Feet Should Face Forward – Turn only your head while the rest of your body faces forward. Turning your hips and feet can lead to pain in your breasts and lower back.

Make Your Appointment for When Your Breasts are Least Tender – Avoid scheduling your mammogram just before or during your period when your breasts may be tender.

Relax – Take slow, deep breaths to reduce tension in your body which should lessen any pain you may experience.

Speak Up – Let your tech know if something hurts or doesn’t feel right. Chances are they’ll be accommodating in order to get the best results for everyone.

Be Patient if You Have Breast Implants – Women who have implants need double the number of images. This takes time, but newer machines make the process more comfortable.

In this undated photo provided by Dear Evan Hansen, the national touring cast of “Dear Evan Hansen” performs. In addition to selling out each night on Broadway, the show is launching a 50-city national tour from Denver. The first international production is slated for Toronto next year and another will bow in London. (Matthew Murphy/Dear Evan Hansen vi AP) this undated photo provided by Dear Evan Hansen, the national touring cast of “Dear Evan Hansen” performs. In addition to selling out each night on Broadway, the show is launching a 50-city national tour from Denver. The first international production is slated for Toronto next year and another will bow in London. (Matthew Murphy/Dear Evan Hansen vi AP)

Staff & Wire Reports