Mac Daddy Windows

first_imgI took the opportunity to go on an all-expenses-paid trip to tour the Marvin Windows factory recently. After spending the weekend with my buddy Michael Anschel in Minneapolis (don’t miss our upcoming presentation at ACI in Austin—North vs. South, A Building Science Smackdown), I met up with my Atlanta contingent at the Marvin company plane for the short flight to the booming metropolis of Warroad, Minn.—population 1722, six miles from Canada.Reasonably green without the hard sellInstead of an explicitly green message, we got a soft-sell overview of Marvin’s product and corporate culture. They build quality products that are energy efficient, durable, resource efficient, and time tested. The factory looks, as I expected, like a huge wood shop—a combination of traditional tools and lots of new high-tech computerized equipment and systems. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to use our cameras in the factory, so you will have to suffer through my explanations.One of my two favorite things was an automatic trolley system, kind of like San Francisco’s cable cars. An under-floor track runs continuously around the entire floor at slow speed. Carts are hooked in with magnetic sensors that tell the track system which way to flip railroad-like switches to send the carts full of products to their next location. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Marvin makes their own finger-jointed stock from #2 pine using a sophisticated scanner that, in a matter of seconds, looks at each board; finds knots, warps, and other defects; decides where to make each cut to maximize the value of the material; labels each piece for its best use; and determines a dollar value for the entire piece.The central dust collection system, sealed with regular old cloth duct tape, provides a constant supply of turkey bedding that Marvin sells to local farmers. Their own scrap wood augments purchased wood chips to fuel their wood boiler for plant heating. They recycle plastic, bottles, cans, aluminum, and cut-down defective parts into smaller pieces to minimize waste. I am told that all their wood is SFI certified, and FSC is available as an option. A recent development includes etching the order number into the window glass, making it easy to order replacement parts if damage occurs after installation.The tour itself was pretty amazing. We walked around workers doing their regular jobs, machines running, wood stacked to the ceiling all around us. Workers basically ignored us, but were friendly and answered questions when asked. I suppose that they quickly get used to having tourists walking through every day. No one seemed overly enthusiastic nor unhappy. Not only was it not sanitized, it seemed on the verge of being dangerous. We were pretty close to some big machines that could cause some serious damage if someone got tangled in them. I could imagine other companies requiring visitors to sign long liability waivers beforehand, but we were pretty much allowed to wander around within view of our tour guide.I was very impressed with the overall company culture and Marvin’s devotion to the small community where the family has lived for over 100 years. Being family owned, Marvin does not have the same pressures of a publicly held company to manipulate earnings to boost their stock price. Consequently, they have not had any layoffs in the current downturn. In fact, we saw employees on scaffolding vacuuming the bar joists, something that hasn’t been done in over five years. The family is also very committed to Warroad. They have built a library, a pool, a hockey rink, and an impressive elderly living community that would be the envy of any city. Their corporate fleet of four turboprops runs daily flights to and from Minneapolis at a modest cost to anyone, with all the fees donated to community groups such as the fire department or library. College scholarships are available to local students based on their community involvement. After a 1961 fire that destroyed the Marvin factory, the company had appealing offers to relocate from Warroad, but they chose to rebuild in their hometown.It occurred to me that this must be one seriously profitable company, considering all the money they spend on the community, the money they spend on bringing thousands of people up to tour their factory each year, and their reputation for a very high-quality product. I was expecting an elitist attitude, but found quite the opposite. Looking through the local phone book, I found the president’s home number and address listedToo good to be true?Being a natural-born cynic, I always look for the dark underbelly of an organization, but I wasn’t able to find one here. What’s a curmudgeon to do? Have no fear, I have at least a few minor complaints to make. The last part of our tour was to the round-top window area, where they have sophisticated computer-controlled routers that cut and shape various arches and ellipses, all out of large chunks of lumber. Talk about some serious waste! If I ever considered round-tops before, I would now recommend against them from a resource point of view. Another pet peeve of mine is the number of choices available. I have never been a big fan of unlimited selections, and that is just what Marvin has. If you want it, they will make it. A recent article in the New York Times discussed a study that determined that people buy less when they have too many options. Apparently, it hasn’t hurt Marvin, but it sure gives me a headache.I would like to see Marvin move up to even higher-performance windows, similar to companies like Serious Energy. Because Marvin is a conservative organization, I can see where they might hesitate to jump into brand-new technologies until they are comfortable with their durability.Finally, if we consider social justice as a part of green building (a favorite subject of Mr. Anschel’s), Marvin scores pretty high. The company’s investments in their town and in fair worker treatment are good for society as well as their business, aligning their bottom line with the community as a whole.last_img read more

Upcoming Webinar – Medicare 2017 & What it Means for You

first_imgWe would like to invite you to attend our upcoming webinar discussing the changes made to Medicare for 2017.Medicare is the federal health insurance program for adults over the age of 65 and other qualified individuals. The program has remained virtually unchanged year-to-year, however the start of a new year brings a few tweaks to the program.Take advantage of the free online learning opportunity to learn the basics of the Medicare program and the changes for 2017. Throughout this session you will be provided with a broad overview of the Medicare program’s coordination of benefits with other programs such as Medicaid, Social Security Disability Insurance, TRICARE® for Life and VA Benefits, among others.Medicare 2017 & What it Means for YouFebruary 22, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. EasternContinuing Education Credit Available!The MFLN Military Caregiving concentration has applied for 1.0 continuing education credit from The University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work for credentialed participants. Certificates of Completion will also be available for training hours as well.Interested in Joining the Webinar?To join this event, simply click on Medicare 2017 & What it Means for You. The webinar is hosted by the Department of Defense APAN system, but is open to the public.If you cannot connect to the APAN site, an alternative viewing of this presentation will be running on YouTube Live. Mobile options for YouTube Live are available on all Apple and Android devices. This MFLN-Military Caregiving concentration blog post was published on February 3, 2017.last_img read more

Toss may prove to be crucial in SA says Bob Simpson

first_imgWorld No. 1 India will have to prove that they are the kings of Test match cricket in the high-profile three-match series against No. 2 South Africa beginning in Centurion on Thursday, feels former Australia captain Bob Simpson.And he feels that winning tosses may prove crucial. “It’s going to be a tough series. It could well depend on the toss of the coin because of the fact that the wickets over there are different. Sometimes to win the toss and have a bowl is good,” Simpson, here to participate in a World Cricket Summit, told Mail Today.”It will be a very tough competition. India now has got the number one spot and they are going to prove that they are the number one on any wickets [they play on]. So, anyway, that’s going to be the most interesting point,” said the Australia’s batting mainstay of 1960s and 1970s.Simpson, an opening batsman of repute, feels the traditional Test match cricket will survive, even though the crowd patronage has lessened over the last few years, coinciding with the growth in popularity of Twenty20 cricket.Alarmed, the International Cricket Council (ICC) will soon add a ‘context’ to the Test matches – also to ODIs – to make this format attractive, though Simpson is not too enthusiastic about the move.”It’s very, very difficult. I will be a little bit dubious on how it’s all set up and how it is done because you really need a series of matches before you can judge [the winner],” he wondered. “Australia is still very supportive of Test cricket and indeed England is. India, unfortunately, has lost its desire for it. That may well be because it’s playing too many limited overs matches.”advertisementSimpson, 74, feels close contests between two teams would again generate interest among spectators for Test matches. “I think you’ve got to have two competitive teams. You’ve got to have close finishes. You’ve got to have home content to get people in the stadium. Test cricket has been ‘dying’ for about 140 years; it is still surviving,” he said with a smile.Sachin Tendulkar has suggested that Indian cricket administrators could invite students to watch Test matches so that when they grow up, they take to Test cricket. “I suppose. Parents will have to bring kids over. It could, but it is not bad to the point that, I think, you’ve got to market the game and you’ve got to make sure that the two teams you’ve got can play well. In the end, what will tell out is the quality of their cricket,” he reasoned.Simpson felt India would be the natural favourites in the upcoming World Cup, to be staged in south Asia. “India are playing so well, they must naturally be the favourites, and probably England second,” he felt.But he pointed out that MS Dhoni’s side would feel the home pressure. “No home team has ever won the World Cup, so it’s not an advantageous position to be in. When you go into the World Cup, it’s different; it’s pressure. Sometimes the expectations for home teams can really weigh heavily on them,” he pointed out.last_img read more

Kalalei Wins Athens Marathon Amid Kenyan Sweep of Top 5

first_imgATHENS, Greece (AP) — Samuel Kalalei has won the Athens Marathon, beating Milton Rotich by just over two minutes in a Kenyan sweep of the top five.Kalalei broke away from the pre-race favorite Rotich after the 35-kilometer mark to win the hilly course in 2 hours, 12 minutes and 17 seconds. Rotich placed second in 2:14:18 and Jonathan Kiptoo was third in 2:16:08.Two more Kenyans rounded out the top 5, continuing their dominance of the race in recent years.The women’s race was much tighter, with 18-year-old Ethiopian Bedaru Badane winning in 2:34:18, beating Kenya’s Alice Kibor Jepkemboi by four seconds. Last year’s winner, Nancy Arusei of Kenya, was third in 2:34:51.A record 18,500 runners from 100 countries started the race Sunday morning.TweetPinShare22 Shareslast_img

Mickey Arthur to Pakistan players ahead of India tie: Do something incredible, be remembered forever

first_imgSunday’s World Cup match against arch-rivals India is a gilt-edged opportunity for every Pakistani player to etch his name into cricketing folklore, coach Mickey Arthur said.The soldout clash will be Pakistan’s seventh attempt to beat India in a 50-over World Cup match and South African Arthur has reminded them the bigger rewards that await them if they can break the jinx.As bilateral cricket remains suspended because of political tensions, the neighbours meet each other only in ICC events with emotions running high in both countries.”It doesn’t get more exciting,” Arthur said of the hotly-anticipated contest at Old Trafford.”I’m telling our players in the dressing room, ‘you could be a hero tomorrow. Your careers are going to be defined by a moment in the game. You do something incredible tomorrow, you’ll be remembered forever.”Our mantra is ‘how do you want to be remembered?’ We’ve got 15 incredible cricketers in that dressing room, and we keep stressing to them ‘how do you want to be remembered? You’re the class of 2019. What are they going to say about you in history?'”And tomorrow presents an unbelievable opportunity for these guys to really make a mark.”Arthur’s approach was in contrast to that of India captain Kohli, who sought to play down the hype around the match.Inconsistency has again plagued Pakistan’s campaign with Sarfaraz Ahmed’s men shocking hosts England but going down to West Indies and Australia.The “perfect match” that Arthur demands from his team has not materialised but their victory over India in the final of the 2017 Champions Trophy at the Oval could be an inspiration for Pakistan.advertisement”That’s a long time ago. We’re concentrating at the moment on our own games because we know, if we put three disciplines together, we can beat anybody in the world,” Arthur said.”We haven’t put the perfect game together yet. Our disciplines have been good with the bat, have been okay with the ball and okay in the field. If we put the perfect game together, we can beat everybody.”Arthur took charge of a mercurial Pakistan side in 2016 following his stints with South Africa and Australia.Since then, the 51-year-old said, he has tried to bring in more consistency but was not too unhappy with the side being branded “unpredictable”.”I like to think we’ve become a lot more structured as a team. I think there’s been a lot more role clarity given to players…”I certainly think our gap between being very, very good and very bad is a lot closer, and I do think that we’re playing a game now that is a little bit more consistent.”But that unpredictability tag always sort of hangs around the Pakistan team, and that makes us very exciting.”Also Read | Virat Kohli’s message for fans ahead of India vs Pakistan: It is a cricket match, enjoy itAlso Read | India vs Pakistan: Mohammed Shami likely to replace Kuldeep Yadav in crucial World Cup matchAlso See:last_img read more

A remarkable triumph

first_imgWhat is remarkable about Narendra Modi’s triumph is that none of the factors which were expected to undermine his position has had any effect on the popular support for him. Neither the hugely disruptive measures like demonetisation and GST, nor the continuing unemployment and agrarian distress limited his appeal. Instead, it appears to have grown and placed him in a virtually invincible position. It isn’t only the economic factors which Modi has been able to brush aside as something of little consequence, even the concern expressed by the intelligentsia about the erosion of institutional autonomy as in the Reserve Bank, the CBI and even the Election Commission does not seem to have bothered the general public. Also Read – A staunch allyMoreover, if the latter had faced any inconvenience, they convinced themselves that only Modi could solve them. The belief apparently was that he deserved another five years. A possible reason for this conviction is the government’s success in ensuring what has been called by a supporter as “delivery” on the ground in the matter of providing cooking gas cylinders or houses with latrines and electricity or the opening of bank accounts or the provision of loans to entrepreneurs. Also Read – Cuban pathosThere is little doubt that these microeconomic programmes have enabled the government to divert attention from its failures on the larger macroeconomic front such as on the creation of jobs which the opposition had tended to emphasize. The opposition’s main disadvantage, of course, was the absence of an inspiring leader. Modi fitted the bill in every aspect in this respect with his rousing oratory and commanding presence. In contrast, Rahul Gandhi and others came through as minor figures who could not be taken seriously. Some of them like Mamata Banerjee and Mayawati were seen as no more than state-level leaders who no one could conceive of leading the nation. In addition, the constant whining of the opposition parties about the reliability of the electronic voting machines showed them up as petulant losers resembling bad workmen who blamed the tools. The whining was also accompanied by their inability to get together in durable alliances. Except in Tamil Nadu, where the DMK-Congress tie-up appeared stable, the other such combines – as in Bihar and Maharashtra between the Congress on one hand and the RJD and the NCP on the other – seemed wobbly. It is also undeniable that at the ground level, BJP could deploy far more foot soldiers than any of the opposition parties not only because it had greater resources at its command, but also because it had a wide network of fraternal outfits affiliated to the RSS to come to its aid. The BJP’s tactics, too, were far superior to those of the opposition with Modi being a past master in turning a narrative in his favour. This was achieved not only by suppressing inconvenient statistics about unemployment and the economic scene, but also by a no-holds-barred attack on the credibility of his opponents, whether dead like the “bhrashtachari (corrupt) No 1” Rajiv Gandhi, or alive like the naamdar (dynast) Rahul Gandhi who was associated with a mahamilawati (adulterated) opposition alliance, which, the BJP proclaimed, would be unable to save India from enemies like Pakistan. It was such an onslaught which derailed the gains which the opposition had made by its 2018 victories in the Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh assemblies and in the earlier by-elections in U.P., Bihar and elsewhere. It was those successes which made the opposition believe that it had hit a winning streak. But if it was unable to capitalise on them, the reason was, first, a failure to understand the kind of challenge which the formidable Modi-Amit Shah duo posed with their indefatigable energy and never-say-die attitude. And, secondly, by a lethargic attitude (compounded by internal bickering) which made the victors rest on their laurels, as in Rajasthan, and not conserving and building on the gains that had been made. Nothing underlined this contrast between Congress’s relaxed attitude and the concerted effort made by the BJP president, Amit Shah, in what to most observers would have appeared to be a lost cause, viz., the storming of Mamata Banerjee’s seemingly impregnable bastion of West Bengal. Considering that BJP did not have a sizeable ground-level presence in West Bengal where the local leadership or the rank and file were concerned, most would have thought that the kind of effort which Amit Shah was putting in would be fruitless. But BJP apparently saw the chinks in Mamata Banerjee’s armour in the matter of her overtly pro-minority policies and her failure to bring about the state’s industrial revival. BJP also saw that the fading out of the Left and Congress was creating a vacuum which it could fill. It was the same in Odisha where the weakening of Congress was seen by BJP as the thin end of the wedge which it could exploit. Therefore, whether it is charismatic leadership or a keenness to explore the possibilities of political expansion, BJP does not seem to have a rival at the moment. IPA (The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

Expect Air India sale to be completed in 45 months DIPAM Secy

first_imgNew Delhi: The government expects to complete the sale process of national carrier Air India within the next four to five months, a top finance ministry official said. In an interview to PTI, Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) Secretary Atanu Chakraborty also said the Rs 1.05 lakh crore disinvestment target set for the current fiscal does not include sale proceeds from Air India. The government is likely to offer 100 per cent stake in Air India to potential buyers and a final call on this would be taken by the Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM). Also Read – Maruti cuts production for 8th straight month in Sep “It (Air India) will be sold when the buyer ultimately gives the cheque and there are certain prerequisites before any sale, those also have to be met. I do expect that to be finished in 4-5 months but nevertheless to provide for that exigency, we have not accounted for Air India sale proceeds (in budgeted disinvestment proceeds). “We will try to finish it off by Diwali, if not before,” Chakraborty said. The government in Budget 2019-20 has set a record disinvestment target of Rs 1.05 lakh crore. Also Read – Ensure strict implementation on ban of import of e-cigarettes: revenue to Customs In her Budget speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, “In view of current macro-economic parameters, Government would not only reinitiate the process of strategic disinvestment of Air India, but would offer more CPSEs for strategic participation by the private sector”. Chakraborty said the disinvestment target does not include Air India proceeds because people say the sale is probabilistic. “So in my calculation I’ve kept that out. However, if it comes in, don’t expect me to keep that money out, I’ll bring it in and we want to do it. “But people say it is probabilistic because you may not get a buyer. I have entire control on my sale process, but I have very little control on the buyer side,” he said. Asked if the government’s 100 per cent stake would be put on the block, Chakraborty said, “It will be unfair of me to prejudge the decision by Air India Specific Alternate Mechanism. However, the government once having decided to sell and also made it clear they will certainly sell it, indications should be that.” The AISAM, which is basically a Group of Ministers (GoM) on the Air India disinvestment, will have to be reconstituted as Arun Jaitley and Suresh Prabhu are no longer ministers in the new government. They will be replaced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri. Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari is likely to continue in the panel when it is reconstituted. The DIPAM has prepared a fresh proposal for the sale of Air India, incorporating issues like crude oil prices and exchange rate volatility, flagged by EY last year as among the possible reasons for the government failing to attract bidders for the national carrier. The government had last year invited bids to sell 76 per cent stake in Air India, along with transfer of management control. However, it did not attract any bidder. Following that, transaction advisor EY prepared a report citing probable reasons for the failure of the sale process. The reasons cited included the residual 24 per cent government stake and corresponding rights, high debt, volatile crude oil prices, fluctuations in exchange rate, changes in macro environment, profitability track record of bidders and restriction on bidding by individuals. In 2018, AISAM had decided to sell 76 per cent stake in Air India and the buyer was required to take over Rs 24,000 crore debt of the carrier along with over Rs 8,000 crore of liabilities. However, the stake sale failed to attract any bidder when the auction process drew to a close on May 31, 2018. At that time, Air India’s total debt burden stood at Rs 55,000 crore. As a precursor to the strategic disinvestment of Air India, the Cabinet in February approved setting up of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) — Air India Assets Holding Company — to transfer Rs 29,464 crore worth loans of the national carrier and its four subsidiaries.last_img read more

Body of missing Cache Creek BC fire chief Clayton Cassidy found

first_imgCACHE CREEK, B.C. – The body of a fire chief believed to have been swept away by high flood waters in British Columbia’s Interior has been found.RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said the Ashcroft fire department found Clayton Cassidy’s body in the water at about 10:30 p.m. Saturday, during its daily patrol of Cache Creek.Cassidy had been missing since May 5, following heavy rainfall and intense flooding. He was last known to be checking water levels in Cache Creek, and his vehicle was later found at the site.He was thought to have been swept away by the flood water, and was presumed dead after several days.Moskaluk said the discovery appears to confirm that theory.“It’s thought that Mr. Cassidy had fallen in the creek several weeks ago when we had torrential downpours in the area,” he said.Moskaluk says recovery efforts are still ongoing. “We’re confident that we should be able to complete a safe recovery today,” he said.Cache Creek mayor John Ranta said Cassidy was “highly respected” in the community.After floods hit the area in May of 2015, Cassidy worked hard to help residents whose homes were damaged. He was given a Medal of Good Citizenship by the provincial government for his service.“He worked day after day after day after day, 14-hour days, helping people that had debris in their yards or sand and gravel or whatnot,” Ranta said. “He just worked tirelessly until the whole community was cleaned up.”Ranta said Cassidy’s death will be deeply felt in Cache Creek.“While flood damage can be repaired and we can take measures to prevent further flooding, the thing that can’t be replaced is the life of Clayton Cassidy. That will be a tragedy that lives with us for years to come,” he said.last_img read more

SC seeks EC reply on plea challenging appointment of poll observers in

first_imgNew Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday sought responses from the Election Commission, the West Bengal government and others on a plea challenging the appointment of two retired bureaucrats as special observer and central police observer in the state for the ongoing Lok Sabha polls.The plea, filed by an Independent candidate of the Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency in West Bengal, came up for hearing before a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghThe bench issued notice on the petition and posted it for hearing before a vacation bench on May 21. “Issue notice, returnable on May 21. List before the vacation bench of this court,” the bench said. Barrackpore was one of the seven constituencies in West Bengal where polling was held Monday in the fifth phase of the general elections. The petition, filed by Independent candidate Ramu Mandi, alleged that the two observers — Vivek Dubey and Ajay V Nayak — have been appointed in contravention of the law so as to ensure “certain favours” are granted at the time of election. It stated that Dubey has been appointed as central police observer for West Bengal and Jharkhand while Nayak has been appointed as special observer for West Bengal only.last_img read more

ICE Futures Canada Friday morning Canola prices higher barley unchanged

WINNIPEG — Prices were higher in mid-morning trading at ICE Futures Canada on Friday:Canola: Nov. ’17 $3.10 higher $498.80; Jan. ’18 $2.90 higher $505.40; March ’18 $2.80 higher $510.20; May ’18 $3.30 higher $513.10; July ’18 $3.50 higher $514.30; Nov. ’18 $4.90 higher $489.90; Jan. ’19 unchanged $486.70; March ’19 unchanged $489.40; May ’19 unchanged $489.40; July ’19 unchanged $489.40; Nov. ’19 unchanged $489.40.Barley (Western): Oct. ’17 unchanged $145.00; Dec. ’17 unchanged $148.00; March ’18 unchanged $151.00; May ’18 unchanged $151.00; July ’18 unchanged $151.00; Oct. ’18 unchanged $151.00; Dec. ’18 unchanged $151.00; March ’19 unchanged $151.00; May ’19 unchanged $151.00; July ’19 unchanged $151.00; Oct. ’19 unchanged $151.00.

Man in threewheeler stabbed to death in Wattala

The motive for the murder is still not known. The Wattala police are conducting investigations.Meanwhile the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) said that Adhiyas was a supporter of UPFA candidate Mohammed Nawzan.  According to the CMEV monitor, the attackers had arrived in a green colour three-wheeler and had carried out the murder using a sharp object. Nawzan, in a statement to CMEV, has stated that the victim was one his closest supporters. (Colombo Gazette) Unidentified men in the three-wheeler had got off and stabbed the man in the other three-wheeler and fled. The police said that the son was not injured in the incident. The victim was identified as 46 year old Mohammad Adhiyas. A man was stabbed to death by men who had followed him in a three wheeler this morning in Mabola, Wattala, the police media unit said.The police said that the man had been travelling in a three-wheeler with his son when men in another three-wheeler had blocked his vehicle. read more

Sri Lanka appeals to expatriates in the UAE for urgent help

The Consulate General will accept cash, cheques or money orders drawn in favour of the “Consulate General of Sri Lanka”, for this purpose. Sri Lankan expatriates and well-wishers in the UAE can contribute to the National Flood and Landslide Victims Relief Operations through the Consulate-General in Dubai, which will be acknowledged by an official receipt issued by the Consulate-General and will be transmitted to the Ministry of Disaster Management – the sole authority in the Government of Sri Lanka in handling the relief and rescue operation with regard to the flood victims and the rehabilitation efforts. The financial donations will be accepted by the Consulate General between 8.30am and 5pm from Monday to Friday and 9.00 am to 5.00 pm on Saturday and Sunday. (Colombo Gazette) Sri Lanka’s Consulate-General in Dubai has released an urgent appeal to expatriates and other UAE residents to donate to help with relief efforts following the devastating floods that have so far left at least 425,601 people from 103,776 families badly affected.The Government of Sri Lanka is encouraging monetary assistance – rather than collected material – for the victims, especially from overseas Sri Lankans, to enable faster relief assistance, as it is more economical to purchase relief supplies locally. read more

UN environmental chief tells African cities to access funds for sustainable growth

“An increasing number of cities in the developing countries of Asia and Latin America are starting to introduce modern 21st century rapid bus transit systems, alongside measures to boost safer cycling and walking,” UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner told the Africities 4 Summit in Nairobi, Kenya.The investments, which are so far benefiting five cities in Latin America, including Mexico City and Panama City, and others underway or in the pipeline in Jakarta and Hanoi in Asia, are being catalyzed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), an independent financial organization established in the early 1990s to assist developing countries to achieve sustainable development. Only some weeks ago it was replenished to the tune of just over $3 billion. In Africa, in terms of sustainable transport projects, only Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania is taking advantage of GEF funding with a rapid bus transit system earmarked there. South Africa is also hoping to use GEF funding to help its cities boost sustainable public transportation for the 2010 World Cup.“The streets and infrastructure of far too many of Africa’s cities are being overwhelmed by traffic, leading to rising levels of hazardous air pollution and impacts on the economy,” Mr. Steiner said.“Africa should consider the mistakes made on continents like Europe which indicate that trying to build your way out of the problem by constructing more and more roads can be expensive and deliver only short-term benefits,” he added. Meanwhile the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change offers a chance to better handle urban wastes, he noted. Gases emitted by big rubbish tips can be used to generate electricity and thus can attract new streams of funding under these carbon credit schemes.UN-HABITAT Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka, who is also attending the summit, told journalists that although Africa is faced with the daunting challenge of mushrooming slums, possibly housing “a staggering 72 per cent” of its urban population, there is hope for the continent to move forward and provide adequate shelter for its urban populations. Ms. Tibaijuka, whose agency is mandated to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities, noted that even the big cities of Europe and America once suffered from the scourge of having many of the inhabitants living in slums. read more

Online poker thriller Runner Runner featuring Timberlake Affleck quickly politicized

Online poker thriller ‘Runner Runner,’ featuring Timberlake, Affleck, quickly politicized by Hannah Dreier, The Associated Press Posted Oct 3, 2013 12:45 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The thriller “Runner Runner” starring Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck hasn’t even opened yet, but it’s already in the centre of the fight over online gambling regulation.The American Gambling Association has bought ads on major websites including Twitter, Facebook and the IMDb movie database framing the film as a “cautionary tale” that points to the need for Congress to legalize online poker. The ads also pop up when people Google the movie’s title.The screenwriters have said their story of a young gambler pulled into the criminal dealings of an offshore poker site was never intended as a political parable. The movie is scheduled to open later Thursday.The Stop Predatory Gambling Foundation, a national non-profit, sent a letter to the casino lobby Thursday pointing to the writers’ comments, and calling the ads dishonest. The group is demanding that the ads — one of which warns, “sometimes movie villains are real” — be taken down.National director Les Bernal wrote that there was no reason to think shady offshore operations would disappear if online gambling was legalized in The U.S. and accused the casino lobby of wanting a cut of the illegal operators’ business.“Casino operators now hope to expand another key demographic to their base: young people, especially those of college age, which is why the AGA greedily seized upon ‘Runner, Runner,’” Bernal wrote.Internet poker, never fully legal, has been strictly outlawed since 2011, when the Department of Justice seized the domain names of the largest offshore sites catering to U.S. customers and blacked them out.This crackdown, dubbed “black Friday,” left poker fanatics with two options: Get dressed and visit a card room, or break the law and log into an offshore site.Offshore gambling sites took in roughly $2.6 billion from U.S. players last year, according to Geoff Freeman, president of the association.More recently, the federal government softened its stance on Internet betting, and three states — New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada — legalized some form of online wagering within their borders.The gambling lobby, which counts MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment among its members, supports a federal approach. It warns that a patchwork of state laws will be unworkable for corporations and could leave gamblers exposed to dishonest dealings.The lobby is seizing any opportunity to try to jumpstart stalled federal legislation.“Washington is changing, and how you share your message in Washington is changing,” Freeman said. “You’ve got to break through the clutter.”Freeman dismissed the predatory gambling group’s complaint. He said online gambling empires like the one depicted in the movie often fail to verify gamblers’ ages and locations, and they offer no guarantee they’re playing fair.“Runner Runner,” released by Twentieth Century Fox, tells the story of a Princeton University graduate student, played by Timberlake, who believes he’s been cheated after gambling away his tuition money. He travels to Costa Rica to stick it to an online poker tycoon, played by Affleck, who then offers him a job.Writers David Levien and Brian Koppelman, who also created the 1998 gambling classic “Rounders,” told Reuters that they were surprised by the casino lobby’s campaign and found it amusing.Early reviews have been mostly negative.___Hannah Dreier can be reached at . read more

Study US oil field source of global uptick in air pollution

Study: US oil field source of global uptick in air pollution by Michael Biesecker And Matthew Brown, The Associated Press Posted Apr 30, 2016 1:56 am MDT Last Updated Apr 30, 2016 at 2:40 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email WASHINGTON – An oil and natural gas field in the western United States is largely responsible for a global uptick of the air pollutant ethane, according to a new study.The team led by researchers at the University of Michigan found that fossil fuel production at the Bakken Formation in North Dakota and Montana is emitting roughly 2 per cent of the ethane detected in the Earth’s atmosphere.Along with its chemical cousin methane, ethane is a hydrocarbon that is a significant component of natural gas. Once in the atmosphere, ethane reacts with sunlight to form ozone, which can trigger asthma attacks and other respiratory problems, especially in children and the elderly. Ethane pollution can also harm agricultural crops. Ozone also ranks as the third-largest contributor to human-caused global warming after carbon dioxide and methane.“We didn’t expect one region to have such a global influence,” said Eric Kort, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of climatic science at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.The study was launched after a mountaintop sensor in the European Alps began registering surprising spikes in ethane concentrations in the atmosphere starting in 2010, following decades of declines. The increase, which has continued over the last five years, was noted at the same time new horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques were fueling a boom of oil and gas production from previously inaccessible shale rock formations in the United States.Searching for the source of the ethane, an aircraft from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2014 sampled air from directly overhead and downwind of drilling rigs in the Bakken region. Those measurements showed ethane emissions far higher than what was being reported to the government by oil and gas companies.The findings solve an atmospheric mystery — where that extra ethane was coming from, said Colm Sweeney, a study co-author from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado in Boulder.The researchers said other U.S. oil and gas fields, especially the Eagle Ford in Texas, are also likely contributing to the global rise in ethane concentrations. Ethane gets into the air through leaks from drilling rigs, gas storage facilities and pipelines, as well as from intentional venting and gas burnoffs from extraction operations.“We need to take these regions into account because it could really be impacting air quality in a way that might matter across North America,” Kort said.Helping drive the high emission levels from the Bakken has been the oil field’s meteoric growth. Efforts to install and maintain equipment to capture ethane and other volatile gases before they can escape have lagged behind drilling, said North Dakota Environmental Health Chief Dave Glatt.Glatt’s agency has stepped up enforcement efforts in response. Last year, the state purchased a specialized camera that can detect so-called fugitive gas emissions as they escape from uncontained oil storage tanks, leaky pipelines, processing facilities and other sources.“You’re able to see what the naked eye can’t and it reveals emissions sources you didn’t know where there,” Glatt said. “It’s a game changer. A lot of the companies thought they were in good shape, and they looked through the camera and saw they weren’t.”Regulators at the Environmental Protection Agency were reviewing the study’s results. Spokeswoman Laura Allen said Friday that new clean air rules recently announced by the Obama administration to curb climate-warming methane leaks from oil and gas drilling operations should also help address the harmful ethane emissions.There are other ways ethane gets into the atmosphere — including wildfires and natural seepage from underground gas reserves. But fossil fuel extraction is the dominant source, accounting for roughly 60 to 70 per cent of global emissions, according to a 2013 study from researchers at the University of California.___Brown reported from Billings, Mont.___Follow Michael Biesecker Twitter at and find his work at Matthew Brown : read more

Conveyor Belt Monitoring launching new technologies at AIMEX

first_imgConveyor Belt Monitoring (CBM) will showcase two new non-invasive conveyor belt monitoring products during AIMEX – Asia-Pacific’s International Mining Exhibition 2011, to be held at Sydney’s Olympic Park, Homebush, from September 6-9. Both are designed to extend the safe working life of conveyor belting and maximise the return on assets for mining operations. Headlining the display will be CBM’s Longitudinal Rip Detection System which is non-contact, has nothing embedded in the belt and works with belt types such as steel cord, fabric and solid woven. The CBM stand at AIMEX will be H1034.Supporting the system will be CBM’s new Vision/Profile Monitor. “This state-of-the-art system allows for visual inspection and cover thickness to be determined without stopping the belt and therefore it does not impact negatively on production,” CBM spokesman, Jonathan Krane, said. “It certainly is a new age and CBM is proud to be at the forefront of developing new and advanced technologies aimed at minimising downtime and saving dollars,” he said. CBM describes its company goal as extending the safe working life of all conveyor belting, “achieved through careful monitoring of the belt’s condition, and orderly repair or removal of events which could lead to premature belt failure.” CBM’s services are also used as a supplementary Quality Assurance tool during belt and splice construction processes, and on a continual basis for OH&S audits.last_img read more

Flowrox launches new industrial valve for processing abrasive and corrosive substances

first_imgFlowrox says its PVG valve offers exceptional fluid control performance for industrial pipelines for mining, minerals and metallurgy and waste water treatment. It has engineered its PVG valve at full bore with no flow restrictions, allowing processes with abrasive or corrosive fluids—such as lime slurry or mineral slurries. This new pinch valve product is designed to enhance current pipeline equipment and processes using the latest technology in fluid control. The main benefit to a full bore design is that the PVG valve itself becomes an integral part of the pipe and is able to process the same fluids in the harshest of conditions.In addition to its strength and resistance to aggressive slurries, Flowrox’s new PVG valve is designed as a full port fluid control device that allows a more efficient process, requiring less pumping energy.The reduction of head pressure is another benefit offered by the PVG valve, which helps reduce pump costs and eliminates unnecessary turbulence in pipelines handling abrasive slurries.“Our PVG valve offers great in-field flexibility as it can be easily replaced on-site without major delays in operation,” said Anthony Clark, Vice President of Sales at Flowrox. “Add to that its guaranteed long operational lifetime and we have a product our clients can depend on when they need it most.”At the core of Flowrox’s PVG valve is its innovative elastic sleeve, which is the only part in contact with the medium as a way to reduce any potential corrosion or deterioration due to wear-and-tear, even when processing the most corrosive chemicals.Flowrox says that “older valves with years of operation are often based on fluid control technologies that do not incorporate the latest design efficiencies, leading to jamming or clogging—and thus resulting in costly repairs or decommissioning of a pipeline due to valve damage.“In its PVG valves, Flowrox offers the benefit of low maintenance and trouble-free operation without the challenge of jams or clogs, giving peace of mind thanks to its long service intervals and reduced cost of ownership.”last_img read more

Ireland U21 star Grealish deserves Martin ONeills attention

first_imgMARTIN O’NEILL AND Roy Keane have been to the four corners of England tracking players over the past two months as they plan for the Serbia friendly in March ahead of the opening Euro 2016 qualifiers later this year.And while Ireland’s management team have so far restricted themselves to Premier League and Championship grounds, they could do worse than to pay a visit to Notts County’s Meadow Lane this afternoon as the League One side welcome Walsall.The Magpies were last week boosted by news that talented teenager Jack Grealish was extending his loan period from Aston Villa to the end of the season after he proved a revelation during his initial three-month spell.A technically-gifted winger with good feet and an eye for goal, the 18-year-old has scored four times in 21 appearances (the majority of which were on the left flank) with manager Shaun Derry delighted to retain his services as they attempt to climb above from current position of 16th in the third tier.And speaking to this week, the player himself explained that he is also glad to sticking around.“I arrived near enough to the start of the season and was enjoying it so we decided that I would stay,” he says. “There were other offers from Championship and League One clubs but both myself and Aston Villa thought this would be best for me.”Shaun Derry and (assistant) Greg Abbott have both been great with me. They’ve helped me learn the game and adapt as a player both defensively and in attack.“The Notts County fans have also been great with me and the team particularly when the results weren’t going so well. They’ve all been supportive on Twitter and when we’ve played at home at Meadow Lane or away and we owe it to them get the results and push up the table.”In action for Notts County against Brentford. Credit: Rowan Staszkiewicz/EMPICS SportGrealish, who puts his success so far down to the incredible support of his family, enjoyed a particularly special moment in December when he scored his first senior goal and got to celebrate it with his biggest fan — his dad.Notts held a slender 2-1 lead over Gillingham going into the closing minutes when the youngster glided by four defenders before finding the roof of the net.Here’s the goal and celebration: YouTube credit: Adam Bird“It was a great moment,” he says. “To celebrate with my dad was great for both of us. At the start of the season I was playing okay but I wasn’t getting on the scoresheet as much. Over the past few months I’ve started to score so hopefully I can keep that going.My whole family, but especially my dad, have had a massive influence on my career. They’ve always kept me on the right track, encouraged me to play football and do the best I can.“I’ve played 20 games for Notts County and my dad has only missed one. He follows me all around the country to watch me and even comes when I play for Ireland U21s in places like the Faroe Islands.”Born in Birmingham and a lifelong Villa fan, Grealish is eligible to play for Ireland through three grandparents and has come through the underage system from the age of 15 to U21 level, where he made three appearances last year.He may have been the youngest member of Noel King’s squad but impressed in games against the Faroe Islands (which he scored in) and Montenegro alongside Villa clubmate Samir Carruthers.“I hadn’t even played U19s so it was a big step up to go from U18s to U21s but Noel said to me that I have the talent to do it. I’ve started the last two games and done well in them – scoring a goal.“Hopefully I’ll do well when we’ve our next games in March.“Me and Samir get on really well and I’m always speaking to him about how he’s getting on at MK Dons. He’s doing well there at the moment and I am at Notts County too so it’s good to see.”Grealish celebrates scoring against the Faroe Islands. Credit: INPHO/James CrombieWhile Grealish insists he is happy lining out for the Boys in Green, the English FA did make contact last year in the hope of persuading him to switch allegiance to his country of birth.“They came in for me last summer and said that they want me to play for them and that I would be in the U19s squad but you want to play at the highest level you can don’t you. To play for Ireland at U21s level is better so that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”Grealish speaks glowing of the work done by the FAI and its staff over the years and explains that choosing to play for Ireland “wasn’t a hard decision”. That said, until he is capped in a competitive senior international, he remains free to represent either nation and admits his future isn’t 100% certain.“From when I first played when I was 15 they (the FAI) treated me really well. They told me how much they thought of me, what will happen in the future and they didn’t tell any lies — everything they said was the truth.It’s hard to say (if things could change) and it depends on what happens in the future. But what I know is I do want to play for Ireland at the moment.”With that in mind, it might be a good idea for O’Neill to take a look with the view to integrating him into the senior set-up sooner rather than later.“I can remember him at the club,” he recalls of the current Ireland boss. “I was about 14 but I would’ve been too young for him to know me. He did well at Villa so hopefully him and Roy Keane can carry on with Ireland and push them on.”At club level, Grealish’s ultimate goal is to carve out a career at the club he became a ticket holder with at four before signing for them as an eight-year-old. In the short term, however, he is totally focused on Notts County’s cause — starting with today’s game.“We’re 16th now so hopefully we can keep pushing up the table. Our aim is to finish as high as we can. I’m positive that we will beat the drop and we won’t go down.”Falcao facing World Cup heartbreak as Columbia striker suffers serious injuryDepartures Lounge: Chelsea want Barkley to replace Matalast_img read more

Students Overcome Cabin Fever to Design Creative Cottages

first_img Aston Martin Will Build You Your Very Own Supervillain Lair3D Laser Scans Could Be Key to Notre Dame Cathedral Restoration Stay on target Cabin fever is more than a claustrophobic reaction to isolation and a series of horror films. It is also the inspiration for the ninth annual Hello Wood International Summer School & Festival.Every year, independent educational platform and design studio Hello Wood invites students to a 10-day workshop, where they are put to work gaining practical experience.The 2018 Cabin Fever event—a reflection of the organization’s own restlessness—brought together some 150 participants from 65 universities to construct seven wooden cabins in rural Hungary.What started as an art camp in 2010 has grown into a “unique” experience for novice architects and designers.“It is a possibility for learning by doing and a great opportunity to break down the barriers between different generations, to connect in ways that are beyond the walls of universities,” the Hello Wood website said. “Our goal is to promote the construction process as a platform for discussion, innovation, and exchanging knowledge.”In the past eight years, more than 500 people from 70-plus universities in more than 30 countries have built 84 summer school projects.This season’s creations, as reported by New Atlas, are about as far from the Lincoln Log cabins of my youth as you can get:Cabin modules, by iR arquitecturaDesigned by IR arquitectura, led by Fermin Indavere and Tommaso Polli (via Tamas Bujnovszky)Made primarily of wood and polycarbonate, this modernist hut features several modules, each designed for a different purpose—kitchen, bedroom, living room, bathroom. Different combinations can be mixed-and-matched to fit individual needs.Grand Cabin Club, by Hello WoodDesigned by Hello Wood, led by Dávid Ráday, András Huszár, Nóra Fekete, and Ádám Bajtai (via Tamas Bujnovszky)Supervisor Hello Wood’s teepee-esque A-frame house was constructed using prefab wooden panels. It can sleep eight people, but host up to 20 for parties (presumably taking advantage of that wee porch out front).Hello Wool, by AU Workshop & Marton LowDesigned by AU Workshop, led by Lukács Szederkényi, Dénes Emil Ghyczy, and Marton Low (via Tamas Bujnovszky)This one-person retreat, insulated with wool, was envisioned as a place of quiet reflection. There’s enough room to sit up or lie down, and the tin roof boasts a chimney-like vent for warm air to escape, keeping the interior cool.I am a monument, by Josep Garriga & OfficeShophouseDesigned by Josep Garriga and OfficeShophouse, led by Josep Garriga, Patxi Martin, and Natalia Vera Vigaray (via Tamas Bujnovszky)By repurposing a previously abandoned Hello Wood project, the team behind this raised cabin created a three-story outdoor space, with a shaded base, private room, and rooftop terrace.Project Treehouse, by frundgallinaDesigned by frundgallina, led by Pascal Deschenaux, Aziz Temel, and Francesco Borghini (via Tamas Bujnovszky)The 41-foot-tall Project Treehouse looks more like an Egyptian pyramid than anything you’d find attached to a wooden trunk in someone’s backyard. Occupants may place a light on the roof to welcome visitors, who can access three hammock-style sleeping spaces via a ladder.Project vertical cabin, by H3T architektiDesigned by H3T architekti, led by Karel Harazim, Tomáš Madro, and Marek Barjak (via Tamas Bujnovszky)See a storm brewing in the distance? Just tilt this cabin onto its side and wheel it toward blue skies. (You may have to leave the heavy roof behind, though, if you forgot your crane.) The tall chalet—its furniture bolted to the walls—was made from recycled and scrap wood and other materials left behind by previous teams.Ziggurat Delivery, by ZarColaDesigned by ZarCola, led by Edoardo Giancola and Federico Zarattini (via Tamas Bujnovszky)Another modular shanty, this one is made of two stacked portable container-sized units built out of wood and thermal insulation panels. The ground floor serves as a kitchen and living area, while upstairs bedrooms can be reached by ladder.If you believe the three little pigs, brick is the best material for building a house. But new high-tech options like 3D printing are paving the way for more creative constructions. See what’s new in architecture here.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more

Report Real Madrid consider a move for Aaron Ramsey

first_imgReal Madrid are reportedly contemplating a move for Arsenal’s unsettled midfielder Aaron RamseyThe Wales international’s decade-long stay at the Emirates Stadium appears to be nearing its end with Ramsey out of contract in the summer.Arsenal are understood to be resigned to losing Ramsey after withdrawing a contract offer and they will be open to offers for him in the January transfer window.The 27-year-old has no shortage of admirers with Liverpool the latest team to express an interest in him along with the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea.Roberto Firmino, LiverpoolVirgil van Dijk praises Roberto Firmino after Liverpool’s win Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Virgil van Dijk hailed team-mate Roberto Firmino after coming off the bench to inspire Liverpool to a 3-1 comeback win against Newcastle United.But TEAMtalk claims that an unlikely suitor in Real has emerged as they seek a potential long-term replacement for either Toni Kroos or Luka Modric, who continues to be linked with Inter Milan.Apparently, Los Blancos have even consulted Ramsey’s friend and Wales teammate Gareth Bale about the player.Ramsey will be able to sign a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club at the start of 2019.last_img read more