Smart phone apps

first_imgIs there an unwanted insect or plant on your farm or in your garden that you don’t recognize? The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has an app for that.Invasive species trackers at the UGA Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health have developed a suite of apps to help farmers, forestry personnel and home gardeners identify strange unwanted pests. They can now identify their problem pests in the field, rather breaking away to sit down at a computer and look it up.Apps developed by the center’s technology director Chuck Bargeron and his co-workers provide direct links to different databases specializing in informing and educating the public about invasive species, those not native to an area that has been introduced and causing damage to agriculture and forestry. Such species include the kudzu bug that munches on soybeans and the spotted wing drosophila which affects blueberry crops.“For the IOS platform, we’ve had more than 25,000 downloads of apps. The most successful one was the first one we did which was for Florida, which was focused primarily on pythons in south Florida. It’s probably been the most successful because it had the most press coverage when it first came out,” Bargeron said. The University of Florida partnered in this app becoming available.The app is one of 17 the center has developed. It provides different apps for different parts of the country because, for example, farmers in the Western United States aren’t concerned with the same species that growers in the Southeast are concerned with. Working a regional perspective allows users to focus on species in their geographic area.The latest app developed was a collaborative project between Bargeron and Michael Toews, a UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences entomologist on the Tifton campus. It’s an app that Toews’ research technicians use in the field as they study stinkbugs. The technicians can count the number of stinkbugs they see, record it in the app, save it and then export the information as an Excel spreadsheet. According to Bargeron, the days of Toews transcribing all handwritten sheets are a thing of the past.Bargeron and members of the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health have had great success with database web-based resources of information, especially after the pictures image archive were added to the website in 2001. When Keith Douce and David Moorhead, — co-directors of the center formally known as Bugwood Network, — launched the website in 2001 they added pictures from 35mm slides. Approximately 3,500 pictures were available. As more and more people began using the website and recognizing its value, they started sharing their own pictures. The database of pictures increased greatly in the 12 years since the website was started. Now, more than 200,000 pictures from more than 2,000 photographers are in the systems database.These resources have also changed the way forestry and agriculture classes are taught. An entomology professor at Texas A&M told Douce the resources caused him to completely restructure how he teaches his classes.According to Douce, the center website generated 9.3 million users last year and 260 million hits.For more information, visit the website at bugwood.org.last_img read more

Alliance Calls for Focus on Arctic Heavy Fuel Oil Ban

first_imgThe Clean Arctic Alliance has called on Member States to remain focused to the goal of developing a ban on the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil by shipping in the Arctic.The alliance released the call ahead of the IMO’s meeting on Pollution Prevention and Response taking place in London, February 18 – 22, 2019.“While IMO delegates gather to discuss ways to mitigate the impacts of heavy fuel oil (HFO) – the dirtiest of ships’ fuels – on Arctic ecosystems, IMO member states must keep their sights firmly on the need for a ban, especially in light of recent revelations from the IPCC on the urgent need to limiting the effects of climate change on the Arctic region,” said Dr Sian Prior, Lead Advisor to the Clean Arctic Alliance.“The Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on earth – and as sea ice recedes, any increased HFO-fueled shipping in the region will exacerbate the climate crisis, through the deposits of black carbon caused by the burning of HFO, onto sea ice and ice caps. By banning both the use and carriage of HFO as fuel from ships operating in Arctic waters, the risks of a catastrophic oil spill can also be avoided. The Clean Arctic Alliance calls for the work on the development of the Arctic HFO ban to be concluded swiftly, so that it can be adopted in 2021, and phased in by 2023.”At October’s IMO gathering of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 73), support for the work – to mitigate the risks of using and carrying HFO in the Arctic, including developing a ban – to commence at the PPR 6 technical meeting, was voiced by Austria, Bangladesh, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Poland, the United States and the UK.last_img read more

ON THIS WEEKEND

first_imgSPORTSMAX 2 Saturday10 a.m: ARSENAL VS NEWCASTLE12:30 p.m: WATFORD VS MAN CITY4 p.m: WEST BROM VS STOKE6 p.m: MAN UNITED VS SWANSEASunday8:30 a.m: CRYSTAL PALACE VS CHELSEA11 a.m: EVERTON VS TOTTENHAM7 p.m: LEICESTER VS BOURNEMOUTHlast_img

In Defense of Inconvenient Truths about Vinyl Siding

first_imgA recent blog of mine, “The Counterintuitive Cladding,” discussed the “green” bona fides of vinyl siding. The blog struck a variety of nerves, including from those who mistook an obvious opinion piece for a poorly written scientific paper.That said, my blog was not based on fantasy. It was based on decades of home construction experience as well as science, which defines what we believe today as much as religion did in the past. Unfortunately, science does not always confirm what we want to believe, and is not so easily interpreted to suit our biases. Just ask climate change deniers.I’ve had to vigorously defend my projects from criticism before – not just for vinyl siding, but for other green technologies such as advanced framing and frost-protected shallow foundations. In the process, I learned a lot about these technologies and I am a much better builder for it, so I welcome the opportunity to engage in rigorous debate. I know that many of the vinyl siding critics won’t be swayed, but for those with open minds and an interest in facts, please consider the facts that follow. Getting credit for using vinyl sidingThe most popular rating systems in the residential market are LEED and the ICC 700. Both give credit for the use of EPDs (or LCA information).In addition, the ICC 700 gives credit for products that do not require on-site finishing, recycled content, termite resistance — meaning they both give credits for vinyl siding. I know this because I have taken advantage of it. Information from USGBCSeveral readers cited LEED to confirm their negative attitude toward vinyl siding. The USGBC’s “Assessment of Technical Basis for a PVC-Related Materials Credit in LEED” report was broad and made many claims. Overall, the report embraced the Life Cycle Assessment approach.According to life cycle models, such as BEES (Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability, which was developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology as a way to compare building products from a life-cycle perspective), vinyl siding proved to have a lower environmental impact than most other claddings except wood. But to have a lower impact, wood must remain unfinished. That means no stain and no paint, which is hardly realistic.On pages 58-59, the USGBC report makes the following claims about vinyl siding: “In terms of the relative performance of the different material options, the following general conclusions can be drawn. First, wood siding performs quite well; its maximum values are typically below the maxima for all other material options for most impact categories, and the midrange of its values is often the lowest of the four materials’ midrange values. Note that an important caveat is our assumption of no painting to the wood siding.“Another general conclusion is that fiber cement tends to perform the worst among the options, for most impact categories; the maximum value of its range tends to be at or among the highest within each impact category. The value ranges for fiber cement tend to be higher than those for PVC for most impact categories. For human health impacts of fiber cement, the highest values are based on the BEES data that assume the Portland cement content by 90%. Although other data sources such as MSDS do not specify Portland cement for the content, those high values have been kept since use of Portland cement for fiber cement siding can be reasonably assumed.”Note that the BEES analysis cited in my report was based on publicly available data submitted by individual companies; however, the fiber cement industry did not cooperate, hence the need for assumptions. I like fiber cement for certain applications and have used it, but it’s not a better environmental option than vinyl siding. Science says so.In the report’s Conclusions and Recommendations (page 98), the USGBC writers state: “Therefore, the current body of knowledge as analyzed in this report in Section 3 as it relates to the Task Group’s charge from TSAC does not support a credit in the LEED rating system for eliminating PVC or any particular material. Further, with respect to a PVC-related credit, the available evidence indicates that for some product categories, such a simple credit could steer designers to use materials which performed worse over their life cycles with respect to the bulk of the impact categories” — such as fiber cement. My reference to “Blue Velvet”All right, touché: The David Lynch movie “Blue Velvet” has nothing to do with vinyl siding.But “Blue Vinyl,” the Daniel B. Gold and Judith Helfand movie on the manufacture of vinyl siding and one woman’s search for an alternative, was responsible in part for today’s prejudice against the product. In any event, I’m not sure of the validity of comic documentary as a basis for choosing building materials. Consider the facts noted above from the EPA about dioxin reduction in the U.S., and that while the overall use of products made from of vinyl has gone up dramatically, dioxin release has also gone down dramatically. Let’s give credit when it’s due.While I hope I’ve soothed some of the nerves jangled by my previous post by presenting additional facts and citations, I know that misperceptions run deep and minds are frustratingly hard to change. I imagine that’s why Mark Twain said, “Never let facts get in the way of a good story.” RELATED ARTICLES What about smoke?Vinyl siding opponents often claim that the siding will smoke when burning and that the vapors are highly toxic. Even if you have a fire lapping at the siding at the nearly 700°F you would need for vinyl to burn, the toxic potency of vinyl would not be considered to be any different from that of wood when burning, since all burning materials release highly toxic smoke.The most important toxic product in any fire is carbon monoxide (CO), which is produced by all organic compounds as they burn. Vinyl releases less CO than most wood products, and as such its contribution to overall toxicity in a house fire is negligible (according to NIST Radiant Toxicity Test Results).Of course, all of this only matters if you install vinyl siding on interior walls. On exterior walls the net toxicity of vinyl siding in a fire is virtually zero. To get into the science, I refer you to a commonly referenced authoritative document on the subject, Casarett & Doull’s “Toxicology – The Basic Science of Poisons.” The Counterintuitive CladdingVinyl Windows and Vinyl SidingVinyl is LethalVinyl Is GreenRecycling Vinyl SidingJob-Site Recycling: PVCGBA Encyclopedia: Vinyl SidingLife-Cycle Assessment is a Tool, Not a Silver Bullet Is vinyl siding green? Fire dangerHere again, intuition is a poor substitute for knowledge. It would seem that vinyl siding would be highly flammable, but in fact it’s not.Composed mainly of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), vinyl siding’s chlorine base makes it harder to ignite and easier to extinguish. PVC won’t ignite, even from another flame, until it reaches about 730°F (387°C), and won’t self-ignite until about 850°F (454°C). Those ignition temperatures are significantly higher than common framing lumber, which ignites from a flame at 500°F (260°C) and self-ignites at 770°F (410°C). This, in part, explains why most vinyl siding can meet the stringent flame requirements for fire safety required by the International Building Code (which is adopted by every state). In addition, some vinyl siding is allowed to be used on ASTM E119 fire rated assemblies, because it does not contribute to the growth of the fire. Living Building ChallengeOn the other hand, the Living Building Challenge created a red list against PVC (which the USGBC recommended not doing in their report).Overall, the concepts of the Living Building Challenge are beautiful, and I have written very positively about the program, but it is not among the most influential rating systems, was not developed under any type of consensus or ANSI process, and, as far as I know, it is the only one with a proscription against the use of vinyl siding. The vinyl siding manufacturing processA few readers referred to manufacturing impacts, specifically referring to dioxin. I wonder if any of you have been to a vinyl plant. I have, and also to paper mills, brick factories and lumber mills. The vinyl plants are much cleaner, and have no perceptible impact on the surrounding environment or residential community. By comparison to brick factories, lumber mills and I am told fiber cement plants, vinyl is a clean technology.But I cite the Environmental Protection Administration’s words in support of my experience:“Dioxin levels in the environment have declined significantly since the 1970s, following EPA regulatory controls and industry actions. EPA’s best estimates of emissions from sources that can be reasonably quantified indicate that dioxin emissions in the United States decreased by about 80 percent between 1987 and 1995, primarily due to reductions in air emissions from municipal and medical waste incinerators, and substantial further declines continue to be documented.” (“Dioxin: Summary of the Dioxin Reassessment Science,” Information Sheet 1, U.S. EPA, June 12, 2000.)“As a result of EPA’s efforts, along with efforts by state government and private industry, known industrial emissions in the United States will be reduced by more than 90 percent from 1980 levels within the next year or so.” (“Questions and Answers about Dioxin,” Interagency Working Group on Dioxin, July 2000).The warnings on phthalates were rebutted by other readers, but it pays to reiterate that vinyl siding is rigid PVC, which does not contain phthalates. Fernando Pagés Ruiz is a builder and author. He has developed, built, and remodeled homes in California, Nebraska, and Wyoming, and has won a number of awards, including recognition from the National Association of Home Builders.last_img read more

Celebrating the Month of the Military Child

first_imgThis blog post was written by Kathy Reschke,  Child Care Leader at Military Families Learning Network. April is fast approaching and it’s a very special month! It’s the Month of the Military Child and April 14-20 is the Week of the Young Child. So it’s the perfect time to make plans to shine the spotlight on all of the young children who have parents serving in the military.In most ways young children from military families are no different than any other young children. They laugh and play, cry and whine, get silly, angry and scared. Like every other child, they learn through experience and they seek out the comfort and joy of the company of others.On the other hand, the experiences of the military child can be very different. Having a parent in the military might mean that:A baby is several months old before she is held in father’s arms“Flat Daddy” must be included in every holiday or special event.All of a child’s extended family live far away.A toddler is frightened when he sees his mother in uniform with full gear, including a rifleBedtime stories are told by way of videoA child’s vocabulary includes PCS, Afghanistan, deployedGrandma and Grandpa are the primary caregivers while mom is deployed, and when mom comes home, they go back to their house.Dad is different when he comes home.A child gets lots of practice in making a new place “home”The highlight of a child’s day is talking with mom via SkypePretending includes shooting, rescuing, combat gear and helicoptersMom cries a lot and Dad’s not coming home.“Hero” applies to someone a child knows and loves.One of the simplest but most profound ways we can show young military children that we value them is by listening….Listening to their stories and their worries, the things that they’re excited about and the things that they’re angry about…Listening without correcting or diverting or minimizing or making light of…Listening with our full attention as often as we can.I know it doesn’t seem like much, but don’t underestimate the power of being listened to. A quote I saw recently says it well:Listen earnestly to anything that children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.  Catherine M. WallaceDuring this special month when we recognize and celebrate young children from military families, it seems appropriate to invite them to share their stories, experiences, thoughts and feelings with us and with the other children in their child care community. By listening we learn, we show respect, and we place value on their experiences. And that is a profoundly meaningful way to honor military-connected children.On the lighter side, there are many other fun things we can do to recognize and celebrate the military-connected children in our programs:Encourage everyone to wear purple on “Purple Up! For Military Kids Day.” Some states will be celebrating on Friday, April 12, and others will be celebrating on Monday, April 15. Check your state’s Operation Military Kids webpage (see link below) for the date in your state, as well as info on any events that are scheduled.Invite a service member or veteran to come visit your program (a parent would be the best choice). Ask them to wear their uniform and bring some of the gear that they use in their job, photos of themselves at work, etc.Incorporate military-themed children’s books into your read-aloud times and into your book collection that children can access throughout the day (see the resource links below for a list of books).However you choose to celebrate and honor young military children this month, I hope you’ll also recognize and value the important role that you play in serving these families who sacrifice so much on our behalf.Let us know in the comments how you are planning to celebrate the Month of the Military Child – we’d love to hear!Resources: Info and ideas about the Week of the Young ChildInfo on each state’s Month of the Military Child activitiesList of children’s books with military themesFor info and resources to support you as you work with military families, “like” the Child Care and Military Families Facebook pagelast_img read more

Pacquiao commends McGregor, Mayweather

first_imgCatriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses Mayweather scored a technical knockout victory over McGregor to take hold of a perfect 50-0 record, boxing’s greatest win-loss record ever.Heavyweight icon Rocky Marciano was once the owner of the sport’s best record at 49-0, a feat Mayweather replicated in 2015 when he defeated an overmatched Andre Berto in lopsided fashion.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutAs for McGregor, this was his first fight in a boxing ring after emerging as the UFC’s poster boy when he held the lightweight and featherweight belts consecutively.RELATED VIDEO Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC LATEST STORIES McGregor awed by clinical Mayweather1.8K viewsSportsVentuno Web Player 4.51 Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf PLAY LIST 01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Read Next LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Gamescenter_img WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding View comments UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension Jack pummels Cleverly to take light-heavy crown SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, embraces Conor McGregor after a super welterweight boxing match Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao gave praise to both Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor after the two matched up against each other Sunday (Manila time) at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.“Respect to McGregor for taking a chance but congrats to Floyd on #50!” Pacquiao posted on Twitter.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games: PH’s Alisson Perticheto tops ice skating short program LIST: Class, gov’t work suspensions during 30th SEA Gameslast_img read more

Cavs star Love reveals battle with panic attacks

first_imgKevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts to a foul from Ersan Ilyasova #7 of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena during their game last November 30, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia. AFP FILELOS ANGELES, United States — Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love revealed on Tuesday he has regularly suffered from panic attacks, breaking his silence on the issue in a bid to encourage more players to talk openly about mental health.In an essay on The Players’ Tribune website, Love said he had suffered his first panic attack on November 5, when he was forced to exit early during a defeat to the Atlanta Hawks.ADVERTISEMENT Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university PLAY LIST 01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding “You’re even more powerful now than ever before @kevinlove!!! Salute and respect brother,” James wrote on Twitter. /cbb Families in US enclave in north Mexico hold sad Thanksgiving Read Next LATEST STORIES Pussycat Dolls set for reunion tour after 10-year hiatus Google honors food scientist, banana ketchup inventor and war hero Maria Orosa Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. That episode left him needing treatment in the Cleveland Clinic. Love also reportedly told team-mates a panic attack forced him to leave a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in January after only three minutes.“For 29 years, I thought about mental health as someone else’s problem,” Love wrote in his essay, titled “Everyone is Going Through Something.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“Sure, I knew on some level that some people benefited from asking for help or opening up. I just never thought it was for me.“To me, it was form of weakness that could derail my success in sports or make me seem weird or different. Typhoon ‘Tisoy’ threatens Games Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH First base Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC “Then came the panic attack,” the 29-year-old five-time All-Star wrote.Love has not played since January 30 as he nurses his way back to health after suffering a broken bone in his left hand.He decided to speak out in order to “create a better environment for talking about mental health.” “That’s where we need to get to,” Love said.“I want to make it clear that I don’t have things figured out about all of this,” he added. “I’m just starting to do the hard work of getting to know myself. For 29 years, I avoided that. Now, I’m trying to be truthful with myself. I’m trying to be good to the people in my life.”Love’s disclosure won approval from team-mate LeBron James.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ LOOK: Iya Villania meets ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ cast in Mexico View commentslast_img read more

CBSE extends deadline for private schools to update key information on website

first_imgFollowing the direction issued by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) a couple of months ago making every affiliated schools to update key information relating to developmental, infrastructure, facilities, policy among other details, on its official website, 25 per cent of schools are yet to update the mandated details.The CBSE has extended its deadline, which actually was November 30, to December 15, 2016 for private affiliated schools.According to official report, there are over 18,000 CBSE affiliated schools across the country and out of which, over 13,500 schools have disclosed and updated their information in due time.There are over 4,500 schools which are yet to disclose their details on their designated websites.What prompted the move?The move was enthused by the CBSE to bring transparency in the functioning and also to provide necessary information so that stakeholders and parents could choose ideal schools for their children. “All the affiliated schools are requested to furnish the information at the earliest so that advanced, efficient and timely planning regarding activities mentioned above may be done by the Board. It will also ensure transparency for parents to choose the school while taking admission for their wards,” the CBSE said, as reported in The Indian Express.The CBSE also reiterated that all the schools are advised to host all the relevant information useful for children, parents and general public on their websites.Other basic information to be updated:Schools are directed to provided all basic information on schools buildings and infrastructure facilities such as transport, classrooms, location, besides videos and photograph of the schools, management details, recognition and affiliation status, pass percentage of last three years, academic calendar etc.advertisementRead: SC to monitor setting up of International University in Odisha Read: No subsidy for foreign students in IIT Click here for more education related news.For more details, follow India Today Education or you can write to us at [email protected]last_img read more