Tag: 上海后花园论坛

  • Cech prepared for Courtois battle

    first_img Belgium’s highly-rated World Cup stopper Thibaut Courtois joins the Blues squad next week having completed a successful three-year loan spell at Atletico Madrid. Courtois has been described by Blues boss Jose Mourinho as the “best young goalkeeper in the world”. The 22-year-old was outstanding last season when he helped Atletico win the Spanish league title and reach the Champions League final, eliminating Chelsea at the semi-final stage in the process. Cech has accepted the challenge by telling Mourinho he is ready to prove he should still be first choice. “I always give my best. That’s all I can do,” Cech told reporters on the club’s pre-season tour of Austria. “I will do my best and I will do everything I can to be as ready as possible for when the season starts. “Jose Mourinho will make the choice how his team is going to look for the first game. “It’s up to us players to show that we are ready to play and make him pick us. I’m not different, I’m doing everything to make him pick me. “I don’t want to be on the bench and as I said I will do everything not to be. “I don’t want to talk about ifs or buts though, let’s see. I’m going day by day and we will see what is going to happen. Press Association Petr Cech is determined to fight for his place as his decade-long reign as Chelsea’s preferred goalkeeper comes under threat for the first time. “All I have in my control is my performance on the pitch and the way I prepare. Anything else is not in my hands.” Cech made his first appearance since dislocating his shoulder in April when Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw with WAC in Austria. “It was great to be back. I’m further ahead than what we thought it might have been which is another positive thing,” Cech said. “The third positive thing is that I felt like I never stopped. “When you play your first pre-season game you get used to the space again and the pace of the game but I felt fit.” last_img read more

  • Govt to investigate illegal road, Syndicato gang killings

    first_imgGuyana/Venezuela Border woesBy Samuel SukhnandanA recent discovery was made by citizens in the interior leading to the Venezuelan border which has since been partially dismantled and protected, Senior Government Minister Raphael Trotman has said.The Minister said the matter was reported to the Natural Resources and Public Infrastructure Ministries who called in the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) for assistance in trying to get the matter addressed.“We were able to take some measures to investigate and curb what could have been a new artery heading to the border, which would have been unpoliced,” Trotman said Thursday.While the exact location of that road was not disclosed, the Minister said the matter was discussed with the security forces and the matter is now being handled properly.Asked whether his Ministry has received reports from miners about being threatened or harassed by the members of the brutal Syndicato gang of neighbouring Venezuela, Trotman answered in the affirmative.He said, “It is a source of concern and as things continue to take place in Venezuela, we have seen more activity of these illegal or irregulars as they say, along the border.”Trotman revealed also that the matter is now before the joint security and border protection agencies, as well as the National Security Committee for which President David Granger has oversight.Responding to concerns that these gang members pose a major threat to Guyanese especially those living and working close to the border separating the two countries, he said it is being investigated.The Minister said it is a national security matter that has caught Government’s attention as well.Referring to an incident where a video circulating on social media showed a young Guyanese man being beheaded, Trotman said his Government condemns those brutal acts of violence.“We condemn the killing of anyone particularly if the person is Guyanese and in such a vile and abhorrent manner of a beheading… and I know the matter is being investigated,” he added.There have been previous reports of similar incidents along the Guyana-Venezuela border at other parts of the country. In July 2016, it was reported that a heavily armed gang of Spanish-speaking men terrorised Guyanese villagers in a Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) border village with Venezuela.It was indicated that the men, whom villagers say are Venezuelans, have been crossing the border committing robberies and extortion in the village of Arau. These gang members were also accused of taunting Army and law enforcement officials with high-powered weapons and grenades.Villagers in that region would have said that the gang is part of Syndicato which operates as a rogue body in Venezuelan villages, specialising in extortion. The gang carrying out the attacks has attempted to indulge in the same types of tactics on the Guyana side of the border.Villagers in Regions One (Barima-Waini) and Seven said while incursions by Venezuelan criminal elements are not new, the nature of the attacks has become worse over recent times.Venezuela is experiencing the worst economic crisis in its history, with an inflation rate of over 400 per cent and a volatile exchange rate. Heavily in debt and with inflation soaring, its people continue to take to the streets in protest. There have also been huge shortages of food supplies.Besides that, Venezuela has long claimed a huge tract of land known as the Essequibo, which comprises nearly 40 per cent of Guyana’s current territory. The decades-old controversy was brought back into the spotlight following the discovery of oil in Guyana which led to Venezuela reiterating its land claims.Relations between Guyana and Venezuela have worsened ever since United States oil giant ExxonMobil announced in 2015 that it had found oil in Guyana. Venezuela has staunchly been against oil exploration in Guyana’s Stabroek Block, where multiple oil deposits were found by ExxonMobil.A high-level meeting was fixed between Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge and a Venezuelan delegation to discuss the border controversy in October this year. This was aimed at reaching a resolution through the Good Offices Process until the end of 2017.No resolution has been met since but Guyana has indicated that it is prepared to go to the International Court of Justice as the next means of settlement to the controversy.last_img read more

  • Natural Selection: The Ideology of Conflict

    first_img(Visited 442 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 A survivor of a communist country describes the ideology of conflict he witnessed and the strife it created. But have Darwinians learned their lesson?A few months ago, Matt Chait gave his cast’s final performance of his play Disinherit the Wind. The play tells the story of a renowned neurobiologist who sues his university for the right to challenge neo-Darwinian evolution. The audience in the small Hollywood theater thoroughly enjoyed watching this role reversal of the original Inherit the Wind play and movie, which had cast Darwin skeptics in a bad light. This time, the shoe was on the other foot. Chait, who played the main character, heavily emphasized the astonishing complexity of a cell. Later, explaining the reason for his quest to be re-instated at the university, he found himself in a face-to-face confrontation with a Richard Dawkins lookalike, who had been called in by the defense to testify about the scientific case for Darwinism and to explain why criticisms of Darwinism should be forbidden in science classes. The scene is another role reversal of the famous Bryan/Darrow contest in the Scopes Trial. The entire play can be watched on Vimeo.[Darwinian natural selection] creates a philosophical justification for all the conflicts that we have. —anonymous biology professorThe Discovery Institute has been posting a series of podcasts of the recorded Q&A session after the play. In the most recent episode on ID the Future, posted yesterday, an unnamed biology professor in the audience spoke up, telling about his experience growing up under communism. His remarks were without question the most interesting of the evening.I was born in what used to be a communist country. And you may not be aware but communism was literally welded to Darwinism. You cannot be a communist and actually believe in God or anything like that—that was an impossibility. So, for me personally, the question of random chance was never that much of an issue, mostly because it was not that much of a starter to begin with. But for me, the biggest issue was the natural selection problem. Because that essentially sets up in social circles a whole mechanism where there is nothing but continuous contention and struggle. It essentially legitimizes conflict instead of participation and cooperation.Anybody who is so naïve as to wish to cooperate or engender in some sense a participatory atmosphere – that’s naïve. You have to fight your way to get to the top of whatever it is. And then when you’re at the top you have to keep fighting in order to stay there, because everybody else wants to fight you for it. You know, so this kind of thing essentially creates a philosophical justification for all the conflicts that we have.Was the professor being too harsh? Take a look at a new paper in PNAS that continues the justification for competition and conflict even today. Five evolutionists from the University of Copenhagen write, “Antagonism correlates with metabolic similarity in diverse bacteria.” They continue to look to Charles Darwin for inspiration:Diverse species from all over the bacterial tree of life produce antibiotics to limit the growth of competitors and thereby enhance their resource availability. Here we examined the pairwise inhibition between bacterial species from natural settings. We find that bacteria mainly inhibit the growth of metabolically similar and evolutionary related species, in line with Darwin’s age old competition-relatedness hypothesis.…In the Origin of Species, Charles R. Darwin [Darwin C (1859) On the Origin of Species] proposed that the struggle for existence must be most intense among closely related species by means of their functional similarity. It has been hypothesized that this similarity, which results in resource competition, is the driver of the evolution of antagonism among bacteria.Notice their admiration for the old 1859 book by Darwin. The same antagonism, by extension of Darwin’s “law” of natural selection, “drives the evolution of antagonism” in humans, too, because humans evolve by the same unguided law of natural selection. To a Darwinian, what else is there? If evolutionary related species of bacteria are antagonistic, then humans (the same species) should be similarly antagonistic. It’s their nature, according to Darwin. You have to fight to get to the top, stomping on others—whatever it takes.the struggle for existence must be most intense among closely related species by means of their functional similarity. It has been hypothesized that this similarity, which results in resource competition, is the driver of the evolution of antagonism… —PNASThe only reason the “struggle for existence” law of natural selection does not rule in free countries like America is because their leaders hold to a Constitution and Declaration of Independence that affirm rights given by a Creator. Yet in academia, there are still philosophical materialists, Darwinists and communists who would reinstate the kind of regime this professor was glad to escape from.Responding to the anonymous professor’s articulate and passionate statement after Disinherit the Wind, Discovery Institute Director John West commented,On your perceptive point about the struggle and the social applications of Darwinism, that’s also really a poignant and important point. And I think Darwin, in the Origin, had this passage that, in retrospect, is really kind of chilling, where he talks about that it’s from basically disease, starvation, death, famine that you get the production of the higher animals. So the creator becomes not some sort of cosmic mind or personal intelligence, it becomes famine, death, disease, and (he was getting this from Thomas Malthus and others); and if you think about what that does to your worldview, where the best things we can conceive of, whether it be Michelangelo, or Isaac Newton, or Einstein, are the products of not some sort of intentionality or mind, but instead, famine/disease/death. That does have implications for how we treat each other. And it’s not extraneous to Darwin’s theory.West is author of Darwin Day in America, a well-documented book on the negative effects of Darwinian ideology in all aspects of culture.Nothing like an eyewitness to set the record straight. Some Darwinians try to separate Darwin from Marx, emphasizing particular differences in their views. But it’s hard to separate one ideology that is “welded” to the other, that makes it “an impossibility” to accept one without the other. This professor rightly dismissed random chance as “never much of an issue”, being equivalent to the unscientific explanation, “stuff happens”. But what about natural selection? Is it merely a harmless, amoral, scientific appeal to natural law? No. As we have testified repeatedly, it says “stuff happens” too (because there is no direction or goal to natural selection).Creationists who insist that natural selection is real should consider what this professor said. “It essentially legitimizes conflict instead of participation and cooperation,” he said from experience, and “creates a philosophical justification for all the conflicts that we have”. Does that sound like an innocent view deserving acceptance in even microevolutionary cases? The whole concept of natural selection is rotten. Read our op-ed, “Time to Ditch Natural Selection?” for a dozen reasons to expunge this hollow and dangerous pseudo-scientific concept from intellectual thought.How opposite is this ideology of strife from Christianity! Jesus said that if His kingdom were of this world, his servants would be fighting… “But my kingdom is not from the world” (John 18:36). James explained, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?” (James 4:1). King Charlie is king of this world. That’s why they fight to get to the top of academia and keep anyone else from displacing them. Darwinism rationalizes passion as a good thing. It is the devil’s masterpiece. In its wake is antagonism, the struggle for power, enslavement, and death.Assignment: Analyze the dependence of today’s communist countries on Darwinism: Cuba, North Korea, China, Vietnam, or any others. Do they teach Darwinism exclusively in their schools? Do they use natural selection as the justification for their regimes? Are they riddled with competition and conflict as a result? To what degree are the violent protestors we see in America, like “Antifa” groups, who set fires, throw rocks at police and riot to shut down conservative speakers, acting consciously or subconsciously from a foundation of Darwinian ideology?last_img read more

  • Have you thought about a cover crop?

    first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest We get calls most summers about growing cover crops in Ohio after winter wheat. Often in the past couple of years the calls have related to producing nitrogen after wheat for the next crop — usually corn. The short answer is that we have difficulty in Ohio, with our short season after wheat harvest, in growing that perfect cover crop. When my grandfather had a four- to five-year rotation that included two years of clover, then yes you could grow some nitrogen for corn. With our short rotations of corn, soybean then maybe wheat and the income demands of cash rent farming, it is difficult to allow any cover crop to grow for more than a few months.The search is for that perfect cover that provides great cover, that is cheap and easy to establish and provides a benefit. I worked with winter peas over several years and have found it an easy crop to establish. It is relatively cheap to plant and does grow some nitrogen. The problem is that with the shortened season after wheat harvest we just don’t have enough time to create large amounts of N. I have experimented with planting dates and have learned that I can even plant the peas as late as late September (for example after early harvested soybeans) and get them to survive the winter. Winter peas planted any earlier, such as in July or August, will die out when the winter sets in due to the succulent growth of the plant. So we have a dilemma — plant early to make good summer growth or plant late to survive the winter. It turns out, from my perspective, that neither will provide significant nitrogen to the next corn crop. What we do get from the summer planted peas is a very good ground cover, making excellent protection for no till plantings, and producing enough nitrogen to overcome the rotation requirement for higher amounts of applied N after wheat versus soybeans.Other notes for consideration of winter peas:I have planted 25 to 35 pounds of seed per acre, that seems to be enough to create a good stand.You can plant the peas with a no-till grain drill at about the same depth as soybeans.The crop takes off better when you supply a pea inoculant.While the late-planted pea crop can overwinter in central Ohio, it harbors field mice and attracts insect pests into the succeeding corn crop, so you may need a soil insecticide.From my experience don’t plant too early in July, wait until perhaps late July or until mid-August to make the most growth.Use a post grass herbicide to remove volunteer wheat.Another great cover crop for Ohio is oats. The Forages and Beef Teams of OSU Extension have worked with summer planted oats after wheat to create fall and early winter forage for livestock, and in many years have demonstrated that you can even get a hay crop off the oats.To quote here from some of their remarks on oats in a Beef Team newsletter:Optimum planting date for oats from the perspective of yield is not until the first of August. Early August plantings also have resulted in the highest total amount of TDN produced per acre. Later plantings will be slightly higher in quality, but typically not enough so to offset the yield advantage of an August 1 planting. While being more conducive to a mechanical harvest in early fall, planting in early to mid July reduces both yield and quality. The earlier oat plantings also have exhibited more susceptibility to rust.Find out more from the OSU Forages and Beef Teams. Beef: http://u.osu.edu/beefteam/, and Forages: https://forages.osu.edu.last_img read more

  • All I Got for Christmas was a DNF, but then…

    first_img SharePrint RelatedFeatured Geocacher of the Month Award WinnersAugust 25, 2011In “Community”January Geocacher of the Month Nominees – Add Your CommentFebruary 7, 2014In “Community”Geocaching Employee Spotlight: Product Owner & Avid Geocacher, Ben HewittMarch 13, 2016In “Community” “Wow, look at the sunset from up here!” Liz said. And you know, she was right. It was a gorgeous sunset, and we had the best view perched up on this hill. No one was around, and we had this entire sunset to ourselves. So in the end, we decided thatwe would accept this DNF proudly. Because even though we didn’t find the cache, we had a fun adventure, and we were taken to this place that we had no idea existed. I looked over at Liz and said “this might have to be the best Geocache we never found.”Thanks to Geocaching for taking us to another great place on our world travels. Sometimes, you don’t have to find the cache to have a great memory. #DNFPrideShare with your Friends:More Recently, we took to the roads of New Zealand in an RV and wanted to do some Geocaching. So during our drive toward the west coast of the south island of New Zealand, I pulled out my GPS and found just the cache for us. Located along the coast, it had a lot of favorite points and according to our watches, we had just enough time to get there before dusk. So off we went!Upon arrival, we parked our RV near GZ and started walking along the rocky coast. Eventually we came to a grassy opening, with the ocean on our right and a steep hill on our left. The cache was located up on top of the hill, but there was no visible trail. We decided that our best option was to climb up a small wash-out ravine.After a tricky climb, we arrived at the top, which was a flat plateau. The Geocache was only 183 feet away. But we quickly realized that we had a problem. The entire area leading to the cache were full of giant briar bushes. These bushes were thigh high, with thorns 2-5 inches long…seriously! We’ve done our share of “bushwacking” before, but we had never seen anything like this before.We tried many ways to get to the geocache, even trying to use giant sticks to make bridges or push down the bushes. But nothing worked. We were getting stabbed by the thorns and tearing our clothes. Ultimately, we realized that there was no way for us to get to the geocache. Disappointed with the thought of admitting defeat, we turned back toward the ocean just as the sun was beginning to set.center_img Editor’s note: DNF’s or Did Not Finds are an important part of the geocaching experience, and maybe one of the most frustrating parts. The questions start to boil over, is it even here, why is the hint so vague, can’t anyone post a picture which offers a clue? WHY!?! But, as we learn through exploring, it’s not often the destination but the journey. Geocachers, Peanuts or Pretzels, show us that sometimes a DNF is the gift of a story, a voyage, a view and a sunset.By:Josh & LizPeanuts or Pretzelswww.peanutsorpretzels.comlast_img read more

  • And the ‘Zero Energy Challenge’ Winner Is …

    first_imgAn energy-efficiency pilot program called Zero Energy Challenge, in which five Massachusetts builders competed to construct ultra-efficient market-rate and affordable homes, this week announced the Challenge winner.Bick Corsa Construction took the $25,000 top prize for a 1,152-sq.-ft. three-bedroom home the company completed last year in Montague for about $200,000. Occupied since December by its owners, Tina Stephens and Doug Clarke, the home has so far produced more electricity than it has used. The contest was sponsored by the state’s investor-owned electric utilities – National Grid, NSTAR, Unitil, and Western Mass Electric Company. A ceremony held on Monday at the Massachusetts State House featured distribution of a total of $50,000 in prize money (the second-place prize was $15,000, the third-place award $10,000) and a talk by Secretary Ian Bowles of the state’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.Contest competitorsSecond place went to builder R. Carter Scott, of Transformations Inc., who worked with a price cap of $195,000 to construct a 1,232-sq.-ft. three-bedroom affordable home in Townsend that includes a well-insulated shell – R42 walls, R64 ceilings, and triple-pane windows – and a 5.7 kW PV system. The house earned a HERS verification rating of –2.30.Anne Perkins of Rural Development took third place for construction of a 1,392-sq.-ft. three-bedroom affordable attached home in Greenfield with a HERS rating of 18.7. The two-story building includes 3.42 kW PV system and solar thermal hot water.Fourth place went to engineer Mark Sevier for a 2,960-sq.-ft. market-rate three-bedroom in Sudbury that combines passive solar design with PV and solar hot water systems. The building’s HERS verification came in at 14.86.In fifth place was the nonprofit charity Bread & Roses Housing, whose 2,080-sq.-ft. affordable attached three-bedroom home in Lawrence is the first the organization has built to far surpass the Energy Star standard (a HERS maximum of 85) it has used for previous projects. Its contest home earned a HERS rating of 43.70.last_img read more

  • The Green Architects Chat With Allison Bailes

    first_imgHow do you quantify and discuss mean radiant temperature and its impact on naked people? Allison helps bring an understanding to the least understood of the four major factors of thermal comfort (temperature control, humidity, air movement, and mean radiant temperature).Talk to us about having an architect on staff to help integrate design and mechanical engineering. Allison talks about how his office moves through the design of a mechanical system along with the building. He also explains how Manual J, T, and D designs add to the project.Cost offsets: In a mixed climate, is it still a good strategy to improve the thermal envelope in order to reduce the size of the mechanical equipment and anticipated operating costs? And how is that done? After a discussion of the differences in climate, Allison explains an approach very similar to that used in a cold climate.What’s the most important piece of advice you have for someone setting out to perform a serious renovation project? It’s not a big surprise that improving the building envelope gets top priority in Allison’s response.We’ve noticed that you’ve embraced the “Pretty Good House” concept in your blogs. What has attracted you to this concept? Allison talks about seeing the blogs on GBA from Mike Maines and thinking, “What a great idea”— to move away from prescriptive programs toward a more independent method of improving our housing stock.What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen built into a project? Allison shares a nice story about his in-laws’ home.Finally, Phil shares the song of the episode, “This One’s Different,” by the Georgia band Howler. Also be sure to check out Allison’s Energy Vanguard blog. Remember, you can always e-mail us at [email protected] or visit us on Facebook to let us know what topic you’d like us to cover for a podcast.Thanks for listening, everyone. Cheers. The HighlightsMoscow Mule Cocktail. Since we recorded in the morning, on a workday, we did not consume these during the podcast, but Phil and I enjoyed them later. It’s 1½ oz. vodka and the juice from half a lime, added to ice in a highball glass or beer glass, and topped with Ginger Brew (Jamaican style). Garnish with a twist or wedge of lime. Happy Summer, everybody. For many, many more cocktail ideas, browse Fine Cooking’s cocktail recipes section.Tell us about Energy Vanguard and then tell us what’s new in Energy Star Version 3. Allison shares how his company came to be and what they do. He also gives us a little history on Energy Star and the big difference that Energy Star 3 brings. It’s going to be the HVAC contractor who’ll have to make the most adjustments. Allison Bailes was in town to talk to the Building Science Discussion Group, and Phil and I thought we’d grab him to share a conversation with our listeners. (For more on the Building Science Discussion Group, see “Steve’s Garage.”)Allison is the founder of Energy Vanguard, an Energy Star provider and training organization. He’s also a green building advisor here on GBA, where he lends some warm-climate experience to the more cold-climate-oriented crew.After briefly talking about juggling and his choice to be left-handed, we covered many topics, mostly surrounding the requirements of the new Energy Star specifications and his company’s approach to auditing and designing mechanical systems. Subscribe to Green Architects’ Lounge on iTunes— you’ll never miss a show, and it’s free!RELATED CONTENTcenter_img PODCAST: The Green Architects Chat With John StraubePODCAST: The Green Architects Chat With James Howard KunstlerPODCAST: An Interview With Martin Holladay, Part 1We Are the 99% — AND the 1% The Trouble with Homes — Asthma and Poor Indoor Air QualityIs the Pretty Good House the Next Big Thing? OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPTChris Briley: Hey, everybody, welcome to the Green Architects’ Lounge podcast. I’m your host, Chris Briley.Phil Kaplan: And I’m your host, Phil Kaplan. Nice to see you, Chris.Chris: We’ve got a special guest with us today. Dr. Allison Bailes III is the founder of the very popular blog Energy Vanguard, a contributor to GBA, a recovering physicist, the program manager at Southface Energy Institute, home performance manager of the Hoots Group, a juggler, a left-hander, and — brace yourselves — he’s a man! Allison, thank you for coming in.Allison Bailes: Well, thank you, guys. It’s good to be here.Chris: We’ve discovered that you’re left-handed now.Allison: Yes, as of 2007.Phil: Tell us the story!Chris: You were born right-handed …Allison: Yeah, I just evolved. I felt like a left-hander in a right-hander’s body. In 2006 I became a juggler. I had taught myself to juggle in 1993, but in 2006 I became obsessed. When you’re juggling, it’s important to be as uniform as possible with both hands. If you’re a right-hander, you have to practice more with your left hand, and vice-versa. So, I decided if I want to get better at juggling, I should switch everything to the left hand. In 2007 I started with three things. One was washing the dishes. Instead of holding the sponge in my right hand, I would put it in my left hand. Brushing my teeth and eating were the other things I started with.Chris: So, left-handedness is a lifestyle choice …Phil: Hey, Chris, why don’t you tell us about today’s drink before we dig into this further?Chris: This is a Russian cousin to the Dark and Stormy. It’s called the Moscow Mule. [The guys talk about the drink recipe.]Phil: In keeping with the Green Architects’ Lounge tradition, we’ve got a song to go with the drink. I pulled out an album by one of my favorite bands, Howler, and found out they’re from Georgia, where Allison is from. The name of the album is “America, Give Up,” and the name of the song is “This One’s Different.”Chris: OK, back to green architecture. Personally, I have questions about Energy Star 3. No one in our building science discussion group knows anything about it. What’s the big difference between Energy Star 2 and 3? And what are the little differences?Phil: But first, tell us about Energy Vanguard, and why you would know about this in the first place.Allison: Energy Vanguard is a HERS training provider and rating provider. We do HVAC design and architecture. We’ve been a provider for about three years now and got an award last year from Energy Star — the Leadership in Housing Award for qualifying an outstanding number of Energy Star homes, which was nearly 300.We don’t do ratings ourselves; we are a provider only for independent raters. We’ve got some companies that are really good at qualifying Energy Star homes. There’s a company in Nashville called E3-Innovate, a great home-performance and rating company. Another company in Macon, Ga., did over 100 ratings of Energy Star homes last year. In our work as a rating provider, we have to know about Energy Star.The Energy Star program started in the mid-1990s. It involved some energy modeling with rating software and one inspection at the final. The second version of Energy Star came out in 2006 and introduced the second inspection at pre-drywall, which is one of the best things to have come out of the Energy Star program: getting the rater into the house — a third-party verifier — to look at the envelope, look at the mechanicals, and find problems before they get covered up. And Energy Star still kept the final inspection, the testing, and the energy modeling.Now we’re in the transition to Energy Star 3; we can certify homes as Energy Star 2.5 or 3 at the moment. As of July 1, they will all be Energy Star 3. Instead of the one checklist we had before, Version 3 has four checklists: No. 1 for the builder, on water management; No. 2 for the rater, a thermal enclosure rating checklist; No. 3, the HVAC rater checklist; and No. 4, a checklist for the HVAC contractor.The HVAC contractor has the biggest adjustment — because the HVAC industry is good at certain things, but not good at getting the whole thing right. I’m generalizing here. There are some very good HVAC contractors who are good at the whole process — the system, the sizing, the design, and the distribution, which is often neglected, especially in our part of the world where we mostly have forced-air systems.Version 3 requirements are pretty stiff. There are a lot of requirements for airflow, and the design requirements are heavy. But, someone besides the contractor, like Energy Vanguard, can do the design and complete that part of the HVAC contractor’s checklist. And the contractor does the part for installation, while the rater does the rating checklist.HVAC is the biggest change in Version 3. Version 2 basically required that the contractor had to do a Manual J and size the system accordingly, and match the indoor and outdoor coils for air-conditioning, and have low duct leakage. Those requirements were relatively simple — although one of the biggest battles I had over and over was with the rating provider. Our raters would send us their files for quality assurance, so we’d have to look at the energy model and go through the documents, look at the Manual J, and look at the system that was installed. If the system was too big — if the Manual J said this house needed 2 tons of air-conditioning and the contractor put in 3½ tons of air-conditioning, that does not meet the Energy Star requirements of no more than 15 percent oversizing. So, it was always a battle.Usually, if a contractor wanted to put in 3½ tons of air-conditioning, instead of coming up with a 2-ton Manual J, they could maybe fudge the numbers a little bit and come up with a 3½-ton Manual J, so the Manual J and the system were in agreement.But, I would look through the Manual Js and find all sorts of mistakes. They would change the design temperatures. You’re supposed to use the correct indoor and outdoor design temperatures for the location of the house. You’re supposed to put in the correct number of people because people add heating and cooling load to the house. For cooling, the number of people has an effect because each person gives off 230 Btu per hour of sensible heat, and that goes into the calculation.The rule is that the number of people should equal the number of bedrooms in the house, plus one. So, a three-bedroom house would have four people. I’ve seen a Manual J with a three-bedroom house that had 11 people living in it. Another provider had one with 25 people. This is one of the ways you can cheat on a Manual J.Energy Star requires the Manual J to be in agreement with the size of the system installed. If you change the parameters of the load calculation, and the provider and the rater don’t look deeply into it, you can get the oversize system anyway in an Energy Star house. And there are some out there like that.Chris: You’re warm climate focused. We and GBA have been accused of being cool climate focused.Allison: Well, Energy Star has a requirement for limiting the size of air conditioners, but there’s no similar requirement for limiting the size of heating systems. You want the system size as close to the actual loads as possible because an air conditioner does two jobs. To do the dehumidification properly, it needs a longer run time. The more oversized a system is, the shorter the run time is.Chris: You ever run a dehumidification system through ductwork that is not air-conditioning?Allison: There are some houses that have them, and those are great. Air conditioners are only going to be dehumidifiers when they’re running. The worst days for humidity in houses are what some people call 80/80 days. It’s 80 degrees outside, so it’s not hot; the air conditioner is not going to be running much because there is not much of a sensible cooling load. If it’s 80 degrees and cloudy and the humidity level is 80 percent, the air conditioner won’t be running enough to dehumidify the house. That’s when a dehumidification system will help keep the house comfortable.Chris: I want to get to mean radiant temperature. “Naked People Need Building Science” was the title of one of your blogs. Let’s say a room has a large glass wall facing north. It can suck the heat from you or radiate heat toward you.Allison: The issue of mean radiant temperature is not one that most people have to deal with. Different factors affect your comfort, chief among them air temperature. If they’re uncomfortable in a house, the first thing most people check is the thermostat. Humidity is the second most important factor, but most people check the temperature first. Another one is air movement. In summertime we want the ceiling fans on; in winter, we don’t want drafts blowing on us.The fourth one is mean radiant temperature, and that’s important, especially in certain rooms. In the South we have bonus rooms, also called frogs — finished room over garage. These rooms often have comfort problems, and a lot of them have to do with mean radiant temperature. I’ve been in many attics behind the kneewalls in those bonus rooms, and what you see is fiberglass batts stuffed in 2×4 bays, and they’re falling out and not making good contact with the drywall. The cold air in the attic in winter, or the hot air in summer, gets right up against the sheetrock, so the walls are cold in winter or hot in summer. Someone in that room might feel uncomfortable, even if the air temperature is good, because of the net radiant heat transfer between them and the walls.You alluded to windows earlier. In new houses we’re putting in double- or triple-paned windows, and they’re not as much of a problem as the single-paned windows in older houses — although they’re worse than walls. In an older house, if you stand next to a single-paned plate glass window on a cold night, your body is losing heat to that window and it’s not sending much back to you.Chris: You have an architect on staff, which is unusual in your field of energy auditing.Phil: Yes, energy affects the shape and form of a house. Talk to us about that.Allison: I hired an architect two years ago and immediately put him through the HERS class, so he learned about building science and energy modeling. His background is in commercial architecture, most recently high-end restaurants, and now he’s a certified energy rater with us. He doesn’t go out and do ratings, but when he designs a house or designs HVAC for a house, he does the rating file, and we can pass that along to the client if he or she wants to get the home Energy Star rated.So, in addition to teaching him home energy rating stuff, our architect also learned HVAC design. We use the software Right-Suite Universal from Wrightsoft.HVAC design is four steps. The first is calculating the heating and cooling loads; that’s Manual J. Manual J is a code designed by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America. The second step is Manual S, or equipment selection. Once you know the loads, room by room — how many Btu per room for heating and cooling — that tells you how many cubic feet per minute of air flow you need for a forced-air system. Once you have that, you select equipment and figure out how to zone the house.Once you have equipment selected, the next step is air distribution, or Manual T, which decides where you’ll put the vents in a forced-air system, the supply vents and the return vents, what kinds of grilles and registers you’ll use, and how much throw you’ll get so that there is proper air mixing in the house. That’s not as important, by the way, in a high-performance home.Chris: There’s not as much heat loss through the envelope.Allison: The standard way of installing a duct system is to place supply vents under windows and near doors. Typically, older homes have a lot of load there. But high-performance homes have better windows, so we can place supply vents toward the center of the house and shorten the duct system, which helps with installation, cost, and efficiency. So that’s Manual T, deciding how to get the air distributed. And then there’s Manual D, for duct design — connecting the equipment to the vents, etc.Phil: That’s cool! Makes me want to take a HERS class. Can you do a northern version?Allison: We’ve had northerners in our class before. Recently a guy from Massachusetts came down and took our class.Phil: Let’s talk about cost offsets to justify improving the envelope. If we improve the envelope to some extent, then we can start extracting mechanical systems, including distribution. Is that still possible in mixed hot/humid climates? Can we not supply every room? Is that part of the strategy? Can we eliminate a large part of the heating system? How do you make that work?Allison: Absolutely. That’s what Passivhaus is all about — reducing the loads to such a small number. There was an article a few years ago about a house in Illinois so well sealed and air tight that you could heat it with a blow dryer. In a heating climate, it’s a bit easier to do that than in a cooling and humid climate like the Southeast. We’re not just worried about temperature but also about humidity, and getting dehumidification from the cooling system is important.Chris: We get people who move here [to Maine] and want to install air-conditioning. They haven’t lived here and made the adjustment yet. But then we put thermal mass in their house, and they say, “You’re right, Mr. Architect.” We hear that once in a while.Phil: We also can avoid that conversation by installing air-source heat pumps, which have a cooling component built in.Allison: When you make the house better and better, you can save some money by reducing the size of the equipment you install or, at the next level, change the type of equipment you install. You can use ductless minisplit heat pumps; your distribution system is the air handlers themselves, placed throughout the house. Can you just supply the heating and cooling in certain rooms? Yes. In a small bathroom, in the interior of the house, there’s not really a need to install a vent in that room.Chris: For the lion’s share of houses out there, the HVAC designer is the HVAC contractor. What’s the process for a client who comes to me, the architect, and asks me to design the HVAC?Allison: If you have a really good envelope and you put the HVAC distribution system inside the envelope, there’s more leeway for letting the HVAC contractor do things. However, you can still have comfort problems because of poor distribution. A smart contractor can make sure distribution is handled properly.Chris: What is your first piece of advice about renovation?Allison: Pay attention to the envelope first. Don’t add insulation to an older home if it doesn’t have the proper flashing and drainage plane on the outside. If you do a complete gut rehab from the inside and add insulation to the walls, you might have moisture problems. The envelope comes first, always.I saw a house under renovation in Atlanta, in which they were creating conditioned space from what had been an unconditioned attic. They raised the roof a little bit, insulated the roof line, and used blown cellulose. Not long after, the contractor had to return and change most of the decking on the roof. This was in wintertime. The warm, moist air in the conditioned space had gotten through the cellulose, and the cellulose had sagged, and the warm, moist air pockets in the attic, against the roof deck, caused condensation, and the roof deck started to buckle.Moisture is one of the biggest things people need to understand. People worry about vapor retarders and vapor barriers, but a lot of the moisture comes from infiltration, not from the diffusion process — especially in the Southeast.Phil: We’ve talked a lot in our building science discussion group about the Pretty Good House. What drew you to it?Allison: I saw it on GBA — I saw Mike Maines’s article about it — and thought, wow, what a great idea. There’s a lot of frustration out there about some of the programs — Passivhaus takes it too far, LEED for Homes is going through requirement changes, Energy Star 3 is too hard. There’s some merit to those arguments, but the programs still do have a role. The Pretty Good House movement is a good idea because it gives those of us in the field, who aren’t creating the program guidelines, the chance to figure out how we would do it if we had our own program.Maybe we don’t want to go as far as the other programs, but we want to build something that’s pretty good. There is still a need for third-party verification and the requirement to get the air handler and distribution inside the envelope. Let’s stop putting ducts in unconditioned space.Phil: LEED houses and Passivhaus are not climate-specific, and Pretty Good House will allow us some flexibility to do that. It’s not as prescriptive. It will get to things that are more right.Chris: There’s a book in the works.Yeah, there will be leeway for builders to be creative. You’re not submitting anything to anybody for certification. You’re just paying attention to each feature of what a Pretty Good House needs or wants.[The guys joke about “reinvented physicists.”]Allison: On my blog I write about how the physical world works — for example, how a radiant barrier works, or the second law of thermodynamics. That law is really important; in any HERS rater or building science class you take, you come to the second law of thermodynamics.Building science boils down to very few things: controlling the flow of air, heat and moisture. Heat naturally wants to move from areas of high temperature to lower temperature; moisture moves from where it’s wet to where it’s dry; and air moves from high pressure to low pressure areas. That’s the second law of thermodynamics.Phil: We need to know a lot more about the universal rules.Chris: What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen a homeowner or builder or architect do?Allison: The strangest was probably at my in-laws’ house. I did some work there and was crawling around in the attic. The insulation had turned black — a telltale sign that a lot of air was moving through the insulation. I peeled it back and saw a 2-ft.-wide by 6-in.-deep hole in the sheetrock. I looked through it and saw the back of the refrigerator.The house was built in 1962, but 10 years ago they had the kitchen redone. The contractor decided that since the fridge was sitting in a niche behind cabinetry, it needed to be vented to the attic, and he cut a big hole in the Sheetrock. And that thing drew a lot of air. The heat coming off the fridge helped the stack effect even more. A hole of that size increased the blower-door test by 700 cfm. Just by sealing that hole, it made a pretty big dent in the blower-door test. The refrigerator effect…[Allison reveals he’s a new, full advisor on GreenBuildingAdvisor.com, and surprises Chris and Phil with the news that they too will be welcomed onto the advisory board.]last_img read more

  • The Notifications Are Too Damn Many

    first_imgTags:#Pause Related Posts jon mitchell What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfacescenter_img Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement How many notifications do you receive from apps in a day? How many of those are really important? More important than whatever you’re doing at the time? OK, maybe you’re an E.R. doctor on call. But if you aren’t, consider turning off Facebook notifications off this Thanksgiving. The food pictures will still be there after dinner.Apps are needy. They need your eyeballs on them as much as possible. Notifications are how they get you. It’s really the only trick in the smartphone era. Push notifications are twisting beloved apps into nagging annoyances, and it’s on us to manage them.A Cautionary TaleRecently, a friend who works for a tech startup was crashing at my house for a couple days while his converted San Francisco warehouse room was blasted for bedbugs. He brought an iPad, a Nexus 7 and a Windows laptop, in addition to his phone.He was out and about in the evenings, which I usually use for solo creative writing while my roommates are out. So he had the phone with him. The PC was sleeping. But the two tablets were wide awake and vigilant, just waiting for something to happen somewhere in my friend’s digital world. I swear to you, he was getting more than a notification a minute on the iPad, the Nexus 7 or both. It ranged from iMessages to email to Facebook to calendar events to some kind of life-tracking, goal-setting app. They were all pinging and bonging and dinging across the room pretty much constantly, each with their own attention-destroying sound. It was profoundly awful. Add one more buzzing device, and that’s my friend [REDACTED]’s life. Don’t end up like [REDACTED].Of course, it’s easy to find other people’s notifications annoying. For instance, the guy in my office whose phone plays the Simpsons theme song every 12 minutes is going to need another phone next time it happens. But when it’s your own notifications, it’s more complicated.Protect Your BrainMessages are like little rewards for your brain, so you’re tempted to check them immediately to get little rush of self-validation. But the interruption just isn’t worth it. Multitasking makes us worse at all the things we’re doing, and these messages imposing the needs of others stress us out. We need some coping strategies.After my four-day Digital Detox, I made a few sensible changes to my signal-to-noise ratio that really helped. I never had push notifications for email (how do people survive that?), but I still had way too many bells and whistles in my life, and I scaled them back successfully.I turned off Twitter notifications for mentions, and I turned off sound and vibration for the rest of them. Then I went a step further and moved Twitter off the front screen of my phone. I stopped letting Twitter pull me in. Instead, I decide when to go there deliberately, do what I need to do, and leave.But the most important thing you can do for yourself is go through each service and carefully decide which notifications, if any, you need. If your apps are sending notifications in the first place, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. If you have them make sound, you’re constantly interrupted and distracted. If you have them come in silently, you’ll keep coming back to your phone to check, or wait a while and see 11 new messages and get stressed out.If you want out of this cycle, you’ve got to comb through your settings and disable the notifications at the root of the problem — except for those you honestly need. Many of us in the United States have some official downtime this week. It’s a great chance to turn down the noise in our lives. The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

  • Screw The Mall: How To Super-Charge Your Lame Gift-Giving With Digital Tools

    first_imgRelated Posts Spend some time with their Facebook or Instagram photos, dragging the best ones to your desktop as you spot them.  There’s no shortage of photo printing services. CanvasPopprints photos directly onto canvas. Fracture specializes in printing photos on glass. StickyGram turns Instagram images into magnets. Artflakes makes Instagram stickers. PostalPix lets your order high-quality paper or aluminum prints directly from your phone. Printsagram does Instagram prints, memory boxes, calendars, stickers, posters and mini-books. Or there are tried-and-true general photo-printing services like Shutterflyand SnapFish. Note: If you’re still not finished your holiday shopping for 2012, the shipping deadline for most of these photo sites has passed. So you might be looking at a visit to Kinko’s or Walgreen’s.5. Buy Things Let’s face it. Buying things online tends to be more efficient and often cheaper. You also don’t have to deal with the madness of holiday crowds. That said, some items might be sold out online, past the shipping window for Christmas, or otherwise require a visit to an actual bricks and mortar store. Personally, I’m staying away from malls and big box shops for those local, in-person purchases. That’s just me. If you are ordering online, today and tomorrow are pretty much the last days you can place those orders and still expect them to arrive before December 25 without paying a big overnight shipping premium. You’re already cutting it awfully close, though. As you make purchases – whether online or in person – be sure to add an X to the “Bought?” column of your gift-tracking spreadsheet, which is hopefully accessible from your smartphone. Even if you do most of your shopping in person, using digital tools and doing online research can dramatically simplify the whole experience, leading to fewer bouts of last-minute mall fatigue and better gift ideas. Those of us who suck at giving holiday gifts are officially out of excuses. Lead photo by asenat29.  john paul titlow Tags:#gifts#google drive#holidays#social media 3. Gather Social IntelligenceIt never hurts to ask a mutual acquaintance or another family member, but if you want to appear more thoughtful than you actually are, there’s another option: social media stalking. If the person happens to be active on Pinterest, congratulations. You’ll almost certainly find a great gift idea there, sometimes with a direct link to the purchase page. If not, browsing their pins can give you general clues about what they might like. Are they posting a lot of cupcake recipes? Maybe some cool baking gadget would work. Are their pinboards peppered with pictures of The Beatles? The band’s entire remastered catalog was just reissued on vinyl. Pinterest has general gift suggestions of its own, although there’s no personalized, social intelligence behind them. Of course, most people aren’t glued to Pinterest all day long. They’re on Facebook. Scroll through their list of “Likes” to get a better idea of what sort of things they, well, like. You can then plug some of those things into Etsy for unique, handmade gifts you couldn’t find in any mall on the planet. Or try a broader search on Google Shopping or Amazon.  Speaking of Amazon, the company realizes how powerful all that Facebook data is, so it recently launched a new feature to make all of this a bit easier. The Friends and Family Gifting portal lets you connect your Facebook account to Amazon, which then allows the ecommerce behemoth to mine your friends’ interests and give you gift recommendations for them. The suggestions are little obvious: My friend Kyle told Facebook he likes the book Catch 22, so Amazon thinks I should buy him a copy. He probably already has one. But it’s still worth scrolling through Amazon’s recommendations for ideas. Even better, if the person has a wish list on Amazon, you can browse it from here. Facebook has its own Gifts feature, which lets you send people physical gifts, but they’re pretty generic and not personalized. 4. Still Stumped? Try PhotosIf all else fails, everybody loves photos. We’re taking more pictures than ever before, but most of them are languishing on a smartphone or Facebook album somewhere. Fortunately, there are a bajillion services for turning Instagram images and other digital photos into everything from refrigerator magnets to gigantic canvas-based prints. You can get photos printed on wood, glass or aluminum. Oh, and paper. A whole book of it, even.  I am, historically speaking, not the best gift-giver. I like to think that I don’t drop the ball entirely, but I’m not one of these people who naturally and instinctively knows exactly what someone would love and where to get it. The trickiest part? Coming up with unique gift ideas, especially for people I don’t see on a regular basis. This year, things are different. Instead of stressing over the holiday gift exchange, I’m actually very much looking forward to doling out the things I’ve bought. And not once have I stepped anywhere near a shopping mall. It’s not that I’m any more thoughtful or creative of a person than I was a few years ago. It’s that the Internet is making gift-giving a hell of a lot easier. Last weekend, I carved out a few hours to dedicate exclusively to shopping for Christmas gifts.I didn’t leave the house.Instead, I fired up my Web browser, opened a Google spreadsheet and started surfing. With a mix of curated gift guides and social media-fueled intelligence, I came up with a pretty solid list of gifts within a reasonable budget. The clock is ticking, but if you’re looking for last-minute inspiration, my formula might work for you too. 1. Build A SpreadsheetUsing Excel, Google Docs or your choice of spreadsheet program, create a spreadsheet. This will serve as a central repository for gift ideas, budgeting and tracking. I prefer to use something Web-based so I can access it from my phone or any other device. Your gift idea spreadsheet should have the following columns: Person, Gift, Price, Where, Bought? and Misc. Notes. These columns will list, respectively, who it’s for, what it is, how much it costs, where to find it, whether or not you bought it yet (designated by a bold, capital X) and any miscellaneous notes worth keeping. If there a multiple gift ideas for a single person, they should each get their own line item to keep things organized and cleanly-budgeted.At the bottom of the Price column, add a SUM function so you can add everything up and keep track of your overall budget. 2.  Preliminary BrainstormThere are some people you know so well that it couldn’t be more obvious what to get them for the holidays. Others either drop unmissable hints or simply hand you a list. For everybody else, you need to brainstorm. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of websites and apps that you can go to for inspiration. This year, I spent some serious time with a handful. Fab, The Fancy, Uncrate, Etsy and the Cool Hunting gift guide iPad app are all loaded with random ideas, which can typically be broken down by price, category and gender. And those sites are just the beginning. Scrolling through endless grids of handmade housewares, gadgets, foodie paraphernalia and winter fashions can put you in a trance. But it’s a goldmine of inspiration, if you can stay focused long enough (remember, this list is for them, not you).There are also countless publisher-curated gift guides for specific types of people. Virtually every site and magazine in tarnation publishes these things. Do you have a nerdy brother? Technophobic mother? Fashionable pets? There’s a gift guide for every odd combination of adjectives and people (or animals, apparently) in your life. Just Google around, adding the words “gift guide” to each search. You might want to include “2012” as well so you don’t get outdated results. As you come across ideas, keep track of them in your spreadsheet, dropping a link in for each one. That way if you come across something better later on, you’re free to choose.center_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…last_img read more

  • Making her mark

    first_imgLike all touch football players, Victorian Taylor Mason wants to play at the highest level.But in a sport where their national team is made up of mostly players from New South Wales and Queensland, it’s difficult for players from other states and territories to be selected.Well, times are changing.At the Trans-Tasman Touch Series in Mudgee in April, Leah Percy became the first player from Victoria to play for an Open’s at the national level.Mason was part of the contingent of 20 people who made the trip from the southern state to the wine capital of NSW’s Central West to cheer Percy on.And it was an experience Mason won’t forget.“Seeing Australia play New Zealand was amazing and to play a few games up there was cool,” she said.Those games Mason was referring to were the three trial matches against Mudgee’s mixed opens team – the Mudcrabs – who were preparing for the Country Championships.Watching Percy wear the green and gold has inspired this 16-year-old to dream big.“I want to try and make the Australian team but right now I want to make the Alliance for Elite 8s next year,” Mason said.Although one of the youngest in the Victorian girls team contesting this week’s X-Blades National Youth Championships (NYC) at Port Macquarie, Mason is one of the most experience.“I got ask to try out for state about four years ago and it just went on from there.“I played opens for Victoria; we went away in March to the NTLs [National Touch League] and had a really good tournament.”Victoria finished third in the women’s opens – their best ever result at the national championships.Mason said her Victorian teammates are hoping to cause a few headaches for the stronger teams from NSW and Queensland at this week’s NYC.“We will go all right. Hopefully get a few wins under our belt.“It’s more about developing and the experience in this tournament,” Mason said.For more information on the NYC, check out these websites:NYC – www.nyc.mytouchfooty.comTouch Football Australia – www.austouch.com.auRelated LinksMaking her marklast_img read more