Monday August 20, 2018

A Buddhist Temple seeks permission to install a 10 foot statue

A Buddhist temple is having some trouble in obtaining permission to install a 10 foot statue of Lord Buddha

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A Buddhist Statue in a lawn (representative); Source: Pixabay
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Abington, US, Mar 14, 2017: The leaders of a local temple in Abington, Massachusetts, wish to install a 10 feet tall statue of Lord Buddha. However, the town isn’t giving the all clear to do so.

This week, the temple leaders will appeal a decision by the Abington Zoning Enforcement Officer denying their application to install some ornamental monuments along with the statue.

A Buddhist Statue in a lawn (representative); Source: Pixabay

The Chua Linh Quang Buddhist Meditation temple on Washington Street, has been open for almost an year, used by the Vietnamese-Americans and others for yoga and meditation.

According to a report in The Enterprise, Zoning Officer Marshal Adams said he couldn’t approve the application of Temple Leader Nhutam Thich to install a 10-foot, white stone statue along with several smaller statues and large painted rocks because the temple’s plans were explicit and abutters hadn’t given input.

In a residential district, the town typically only allows someone to hang out a shingle for something like an attorney’s office, he said.
“I told the temple they’d have to clarify everything they were going to do,” Adams said. “They have a lot of questions to be answered, so I felt it best that the whole thing be sorted out through the zoning board.”

The temple is used for Meditation and Yoga; Source: Pixabay

Agai, Thich requested ZBA to review his decision on Mar 9, at a public hearing. Thich remained unsure of what she will do if the ZBA doesn’t give approval.

She said, “I hope they are going to say yes.”

The Chua Linh Quang temple is part of the Pho Hien Buddhist Meditation Temple Corporation and the Vietnamese Buddhist Community of Massachusetts. The organization leads a temple in Worcester.
“It was easy to get approved in Worcester,” Thich said.
Approval for certain permits, like this one, has proved more difficult in the residential section of Abington, she said.
Thich said she hadn’t heard directly from any neighbors about the statue.
“I think they’re okay with it, but I don’t know,” she said.
Adams said if abutters have concerns, “the time to share them would be the public hearing.”
The public hearing before the ZBA was originally scheduled for Feb. 9, but was rescheduled to March 9 because of snow.

-Prepared by Nikita Saraf, Twitter: @niki_saraf

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Students Get Amazon Alexa – Electronic Voice-Controlled Assistants in University Campus Housing

It is a good idea for students to get as much experience as possible with the voice assistants to improve their development skills and prepare for future jobs.

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The Alexa Echo Dot devices include the official Saint Louis University logo and are equipped with specific skills to provide information on local events and campus life. VOA
The Alexa Echo Dot devices include the official Saint Louis University logo and are equipped with specific skills to provide information on local events and campus life. VOA

One American university is putting Amazon-electronic voice-controlled assistants in every student housing room on campus.

Saint Louis University recently announced it will equip every student living space with Amazon’s Alexa system. The school in St. Louis, Missouri, will place about 2,300 Echo Dot “smart” devices in all student dorms and other university housing.

Officials said the university will be the first in the world to put the devices in every student living space. The devices and the Alexa service are being provided at no costs to students.

The Amazon Echo is a speaker with the ability to listen and “talk” to users and can perform some operations. The Alexa assistant competes with similar systems made by Google and Apple.

Devices linked to the systems have become increasingly popular in homes in recent years. They can be used for things like looking up information, playing music, ordering food or buying things on the internet. The devices can also complete actions in the home. These include turning lights on and off, and controlling systems for heating and cooling and security.

Amazon calls these different tasks Alexa can perform “skills.”

Amazon said in a website post that Saint Louis University chose the Alexa system after carrying out a test program. The program involved the Echo Dot and a device from a competing company. It said the students had a better reaction to the Alexa system.

The Echo Dots will include a special skill developed especially for Saint Louis University. It will provide information and answer questions about local school activities and campus life.

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In this March 2, 2016, file photo, David Limp, Amazon Senior Vice President of Devices, pushes down on an Echo Dot in San Francisco. VOA

Next year, the university plans to add more personalized skills, such as providing information about classes and grades.

The university said it did not increase student tuition to pay for the project. Instead, officials said, it was financed through the school’s general fund, as well as partnerships with Amazon and n-Powered. The company, based in Los Angeles, California, helped develop the parts of the system that are related to Saint Louis University.

David Hakanson is Saint Louis University’s vice president and chief information officer. In announcing the project, he said it will fit well with students who are “highly driven to achieve success in and out of the classroom.”

He added: “Every minute we can save our students from having to search for the information they need online is another minute that they can spend focused on what matters most: their education.”

While the devices are being placed in every university housing space, students do not have to use them. For those wishing not to take part, the school suggests students just remove the devices from their rooms and put them away in a safe place.

Other universities have also experimented with voice-controlled assistants in student living areas.

A year ago, Arizona State University announced a program that provided Echo Dot devices to a special housing area for engineering students. In the program, all engineering students moving into the special housing community were given the choice of receiving an Echo Dot if they wanted one.

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Bhavik Patel, a mechanical engineering senior and peer mentor at Arizona State’s community housing center Tooker House, demonstrates use of an Amazon Echo Dot while working on formulas. VOA

As is the case at Saint Louis University, Arizona State students are able to use the system to get the latest information on university programs and events. However, the Arizona students also have the chance to sign up for classes that teach subjects related specifically to creating new uses for Alexa devices.

Octavio Heredia is a director with Arizona State’s Fulton Schools of Engineering. He said he thinks it is a good idea for students to get as much experience as possible with the voice assistants to improve their development skills and prepare for future jobs.

Also Read: Google Releases ‘Go Edition of Android 9 Pie’

“Once they are familiar with the devices, they are going to want to further develop their own skills and begin integrating that technology – the hardware and the skills – into other projects,” he said. (VOA)