first_imgINDEPENDENT TD Thomas Pringle has been involved in talks to set up a new left wing political party, made up of former Labour Party members.Deputy Pringle, a former member of Sinn Fein, has had discussions with former junior health minister Roisin Shortall.A number of other former senior Labour party members have been involved. The Killybegs man, who last week attended the opening of an office by Gaoth Dobhair local election candidate Micheal Mac Giolla Easbuig, is understood to be involved in early discussions on the issue.The former county councillor will face an uphill battle to retain his seat at the next election as Donegal is put into one constituency and the number of TDs reduced from six to five.The possible new grouping could include other TDs from the Technical Group in the Dail.  TD PRINGLE IN TALKS TO SET UP NEW POLITICAL PARTY was last modified: November 28th, 2013 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:new political partyTD PRINGLE IN TALKS TO SET UP NEW POLITICAL PARTYThomas Pringlelast_img read more

The South African Human Rights Commission

first_imgThe South African Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to entrench constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and the protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.Human rights are the basic rights that everyone has, simply because they are human. (Image: Brand South Africa)Brand South Africa reporterWhat are human rights?Human rights are the basic rights that everyone has, simply because they are human. The list of human rights protected in South Africa is contained in the Bill of Rights, Chapter 2 of the South African Constitution, the highest law in our country.What are human rights violations?If someone ignores or abuses your rights, it is called a violation of those rights. For example, if someone treats a person differently because of his or her race, gender, age or ethnic group, that person’s right to equality is being abused or violated.What does the Commission do?In accordance with the Constitution and the Human Rights Commission Act of 1994, the tasks of the Human Rights Commission are to:Develop an awareness of human rights among the people of South Africa.Make recommendations to the state to improve the carrying out of human rights.Undertake studies and report to Parliament on matters relating to human rights.Investigate complaints of violations of human rights and seek appropriate relief.The Commission works with government, civil society and individuals, both in South Africa and internationally, acting as both a watchdog and a visible route through which people can access their rights.While the handling and management of complaints about human rights violations lies at the heart of the Commission’s work, it also aims to create a national culture of human rights through its advocacy, research and legal functions. In addition, the Commission monitors and develops standards of human rights law.Website: does the Commission investigate?The Commission investigates alleged violations of or threats to a fundamental right. It can do this on its own accord, or in response to a complaint laid by the public.What won’t the Commission investigate?The Commission has no jurisdiction to deal with complaints regarding to events that happened before 27 April 1994. It also does not investigate:Complaints based solely on hearsay, rumour or media reports; or one that is viewed to be frivolous, misconceived or incomprehensible.An anonymous complaint.A complaint that is subject of a dispute before a court.Complaints that are lodged more than three years after the alleged violation occurred.Complaining to the CommissionYou must lodge the complaint in the province where the alleged violation took place. You can do so personally or on behalf of another person or group, and you may request confidentiality.Once your complaint has been accepted, an investigator will be appointed within seven days and you’ll be contacted to confirm details.The Commission’s structureThe Human Rights Commission is made up of the commission, which sets out policy, and a secretariat, which implements policy. The chairperson is overall head, and there are up to 10 other commissioners, each responsible for a particular aspect of human rights – children, disability, civil rights, etc – as well as for a South African region.Commissioners are appointed by Parliament on a seven-year term, and can be reappointed for an additional term.The Commission has set up offices in all nine provinces to ensure that its services are widely accessible. See its complaints page for full contact details of its provincial offices.Website: Twitter: @SAHRCommissionOn Facebook: South African Human Rights CommissionReviewed February 2014Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

U2U makes data more accessible to farmers

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Researchers at nine universities and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are celebrating the completion of a six-year, $5 million program that reinvented the way climate scientists connect with farmers.The Useful to Usable (U2U) project aimed to mold existing climate data into relevant products for the agricultural community. Project participants first learned about the type of climate data that farmers employ when making growing decisions on their farms and how they employ that data. The team used those insights to develop products that would help farmers determine what, when and where to plant, as well as how to manage crops to maximize yields with eyes on limiting negative effects on the environment.Purdue University’s Linda Prokopy, a professor of natural resource social science and U2U lead project director, and Melissa Widhalm, U2U project manager, led a team of nearly four dozen faculty, staff and students from partnering universities. Many of the team’s findings were published early online in a special issue of the journal Climate Risk Management slated for March release.Researchers started by building relationships with farmers and those they work with to understand how they go about making strategic business decisions. The team found that the best way to reach those farmers was through people who already have their ear — and their respect — such as crop advisors.“It’s really important to listen,” Prokopy said. “We started at the other end and asked what people want and how to deliver that with scientific credibility. We were able to develop tools that were actually useful to them and usable by them.”Those tools cover a wide range of climate issues with which farmers deal. Examples include AgClimate ViewDST, which offers users access to historical climate and crop yield data for the Corn Belt, including monthly temperature and precipitation, and plots corn and soybean yield trends; Corn GDDDST, which gives growers current and historical measurements of heat accumulation that help predict plant development rates and maturity dates; the Corn Split NDST tool, which helps farmers and advisors manage application of in-field nitrogen to maximize crop yields with the least environmental damage; the Irrigation InvestmentDST, which uses historical weather and crop model data along with farm-specific economic data to explore the profitability of installing irrigation equipment across the Corn Belt; and Climate Patterns ViewerDST, which helps growers make more informed farm management decisions during different phases of the El Niño Southern Oscillation and Arctic Oscillation.The team was able to take the tools on the road, showcasing them at more than 150 Extension and other events across the Corn Belt, to present them to potential users and listen to feedback to improve those and future tools.“We wanted to make sure we weren’t creating tools that were just ignored,” Widhalm said. “Just because the information is out there doesn’t mean people are using it.”Many papers were published in a wide range of scientific journals over the course of the project in fields from biophysical and climate sciences to social sciences and economics, but the special issue of Climate Risk Management will give the team an opportunity pull together some of the key elements of U2U.“This was our chance to really put a lot of the findings from all of the different disciplines in one space so we could show the breadth of the accomplishments of the U2U project,” Prokopy said.The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture funded the U2U project. Team members came from: Purdue University, Iowa State University, Michigan State University, South Dakota State University, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, University of Missouri, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Wisconsin, the High Plains Regional Climate Center, the Midwestern Regional Climate Center and the National Drought Mitigation Center.This project was supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Competitive Grant no. 2011-68002-30220 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.last_img read more

Ventilating a Home in Cold Weather

first_imgSupply-only ventilation. Like exhaust-only but the fans blow outdoor air into the house, creating a positive pressure. It can be done with regular bath fans or specially designed fans or by hooking up a controller to the central air handler.Balanced ventilation. Most people automatically think of the energy recovery ventilator (ERV) and heat recovery ventilator (HRV) here, but balanced ventilation simply means supplying and exhausting equal quantities of air. I’ve written previously about different ways to do balanced ventilation.When it’s really cold, bringing in outdoor air needs to be done with some forethought. There’s a reason we don’t just open the windows year-round. So let’s take a look at what can go wrong and what we can do to make things better.Cold draftsThe problem. With any of the three strategies, you could end up with comfort problems if the occupants feel cold drafts. This can happen in a variety of ways. With exhaust-only, you could cause a draft through a leaky window or door near an occupied zone. With supply-only, you could be blowing untempered cold air right on occupants with a bad design. You could also use the central heating system to blow tempered air through all the vents in the home, but that air will feel cold to occupants, even if it’s close to room temperature. Same goes for ERVs and HRVs.The solutions. This is mostly a design issue. Good HVAC contractors will tell you: Never blow air directly at the occupants. When ventilating with cold outdoor air, this is even more true. You want that air to be well-mixed by the time it reaches them. With exhaust-only ventilation, this is hard to do… and is yet another reason to avoid that strategy. Another aspect of this is the ventilation rate. If you’re ventilating more than necessary, this problem is more likely.Dry airThe problem. Cold air is dry air. Air at 100% relative humidity sounds like really humid air, but when it’s at a temperature of 32°F, it’s actually pretty dry in terms of actual moisture concentration. If you warm up that same air to 70°F, the relative humidity drops to 20%. The colder it is outdoors, the lower the moisture in the air and the dryer your home becomes when that air comes inside, either through intentional whole-house ventilation or through infiltration. When you reach for that lotion, remember that the source of the problem is cold, dry outdoor air.The solutions. Exhaust-only and supply-only ventilation with cold air will dry out the indoor air. That’s why indoor humidity runs lower in winter. In homes with a lot of air leakage, the indoor air can be bone dry. The same is true in homes with too much ventilation. Make sure you’re not ventilating more than you need to.The question of how much ventilation you need is a big one, and one that I’ve addressed here previously. The standard answer is to ventilate at a rate specified by the ASHRAE residential ventilation standard, 62.2. The building code is diverging a bit from 62.2, and the rate in the 2018 International Residential Code (IRC) is:(0.01 cfm/square foot of conditioned floor area) + (7.5 cfm/person)For code purposes, the number of people in a home is defined as the number of bedrooms plus one.But of course, what rate you choose depends on where you are in the process. If you’re building a new house, you have to go by your local code. If you’re living in a house with mechanical ventilation system, you can run it how you wish. You can use the formula above to get an idea of  whether or not you might be overventilating. If the result of your calculation is that you need 50 cubic feet per minute (cfm) of ventilation air and you’re running your 200 cfm HRV continuously, I think it’s fair to say you’re ventilating more than you need to.You also may be able to reduce the amount of ventilation air further when it’s really cold. Why? Because the stack effect increases with temperature difference. The colder it gets outdoors, the more infiltration you’ll have because of warm air rising inside the home. Some ventilation devices have controls that automatically cut down the amount of ventilation air when it’s cold.Another way to reduce the drying effect of ventilating in cold weather is to use an energy-recovery ventilator. They exchange heat and moisture, thereby allowing you to keep the humidity levels higher. Instead of exhausting the humidity you already have and replacing it with dry air, some of the water vapor transfers across the membrane and comes back into the house.And that brings up the next problem of cold weather ventilation…Frozen ERV coresThe problem. I don’t live in a cold climate and don’t have direct experience with this, but if you talk to people in the really cold places, like IECC climate zones 6 and higher, some of them will say that you have to use a heat-recovery ventilator rather than an energy-recovery ventilator. The reason behind their claim is that when that water vapor transfers through the energy-recovery ventilator membrane, it encounters that incoming cold air and freezes. As the mass of ice in the ventilator grows, you lose not only the moisture recovery and heat recovery but also the ventilation air. Ice, as it turns out, is a pretty good air barrier.The solution. I’m sure some people will tell me in the comments to this article about actual freeze-up cases. What I know is that frozen ERV cores don’t have to happen in cold climates. How do I know? Because the Cold Climate Housing Research Center (CCHRC) has done some research on it. They studied 14 houses with 8 models of energy-recovery ventilators in Fairbanks, Alaska, in the winter of 2013-14. None froze, even though temperatures got as low as -40. (I love that temperature! Or at least the interesting factoid about it.)The solution is simple: a defrost cycle. Different models have different methods for preventing ice, so there’s not just one way to do it. Controls could close and shut off the intake side every once in a while, thus turning your ERV into an exhaust-only system temporarily. Similarly, the intake side could have a damper that switches from outdoor air to room air periodically. Another option is that the incoming air can be tempered with room air to keep the core above the freezing point. Frozen ERV cores aren’t a given in cold climates.Condensation in wallsThe problem. Water vapor likes cold surfaces. It will condense or adsorb on them with glee. (Or is it with gusto? I can never remember.) A supply-only ventilation system in a cold climate can result in positive pressures indoors, which can push humid, indoor air into wall cavities. When that humid air finds cold sheathing on the other side of the insulation, it starts accumulating. If enough accumulates over a long enough period of time, you can start a biology experiment in the wall. That’s bad for durability and for indoor air quality. I don’t recommend it.The solutions. In warmer climates (generally zones 4 and lower), cold weather rarely lasts long enough for this to be a problem. In cold climates, this issue has garnered a lot attention because it’s real. It’s one reason some people recommend using exhaust-only ventilation rather than supply-only. That’s far from a guarantee against moisture accumulating in your sheathing, though. Those exhaust fans could be pulling air in down low while the stack effect is pushing it out up high. Joe Lstiburek has a great photo of a building showing moisture damage at the top of the building with no damage lower down.The real solution here is fix the building enclosure. You can do that by installing exterior insulation that keeps the sheathing warmer or by keeping humid indoor air from leaking into the wall cavity.Don’t forget the V in HVACHomes are getting a lot more airtight these days. New homes have to get blower door tests showing they hit certain thresholds. Older homes are getting air-sealed by home performance companies. That means we have a lot more whole-house ventilation systems in use. And no matter how it’s done, there’s technology involved. There’s design. There’s variation in conditions, both interior and exterior.Buildings are put to the test when it’s really cold outdoors, as it has been recently with the ridiculously named Bomb Cyclone. (It sounds like a dessert at a chain restaurant.) Building enclosures fail. Heating systems fail. And ventilation systems fail. Things happen at really low temperatures that don’t happen when it’s a more normal cold.If you’re experiencing any of the cold-weather ventilation problems I described above, the first step is figuring out where things went wrong. Was it the technology? The design? The installation? Knowing some building science can help a lot as you figure it out.My hope is that eventually whole-house ventilation will be accorded the status it deserves. The initials HVAC seem to accord it equal weight to heating and air conditioning, yet that’s not currently the reality. But for now, I’m anxious to hear your cold weather ventilation stories and problems. What problems did I miss? What solutions have you found?Footnote† Now really, I don’t have to give units for that temperature. Not because you already know it but because in the two temperature scales in common use, -40°F is equal to -40°C. Even the science nuts who insist on Kelvin know it’s impossible ever to reach -40°K because of the third law of thermodynamics. And the same is true of the Rankine scale, which is to Fahrenheit what Kelvin is to Celsius and for which you should not bother creating any neural connections. Therefore, it is never necessary to give units for the temperature -40°. Allison Bailes of Decatur, Georgia, is a speaker, writer, building science consultant, and the author of the Energy Vanguard Blog. You can follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard. RELATED ARTICLESDesigning a Good Ventilation SystemRevisiting Ventilation GBA Encyclopedia: Ventilation ChoicesHRV or ERV?Misconceptions About HRVs and ERVsDoes a Home with an HRV Also Need Bath Fans?Ventilation Rates and Human HealthHow Much Fresh Air Does Your Home Need?Simple Methods for Measuring Air FlowIs Your Ventilation System Working?Five Ways to Do Balanced VentilationShould Balanced Ventilation Be Required?Spray Foam Insulated Homes Need VentilationVentilation Requirements for Weatherized Homes When I woke up Saturday morning, the temperature outdoors was -40 degrees†. The wind chill was -100 degrees! It was just unbelievably, impossibly, inhumanly cold outside. Fortunately, that was on a mountaintop in New Hampshire and not where I was. I happened to have woken up on a mountaintop in North Carolina, where the temperature was a much warmer -3°F.And when it’s cold outside, most people prefer to be in warm, cozy home with no drafts. Of course, we all know that no drafts means we have good airtightness, and good airtightness means we need mechanical ventilation. But how do you ventilate a home when it’s really, really cold outdoors without causing problems? And what are those problems with cold weather ventilation?Three whole-house ventilation strategiesExhaust-only ventilation. This one’s the cheapest to install and the most common. It relies on fans that are already in the home: bathroom exhaust fans and kitchen range hood. These fans are set to run continuously or intermittently with a controller. As they exhaust air from the home, the resulting negative pressure inside causes air from outside to come in through leakage sites in the building enclosure.last_img read more

FD Early Intervention Webinar: Strategies to Support Families Experiencing Difficult Circumstances

first_imgDate:  December 8, 2016Time:  11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ESTLocation: Strategies to Support Families Experiencing Difficult Circumstances“Welcome Home , Mommy!” by The US Army CC BY 2.0 (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Brad Mincey/Released)Carol Trivette, Ph.D. earned her degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in Child Development and Family Relations.  Her research interests focus on identifying evidence-based practices for working with children and families in the areas of responsive parental interactions with their children with disabilities, family-centered practices and family support, and the development of tools and scales to support the implementation of evidence-based practices with fidelity. She is currently an Associate Professor at East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN.In this session, Dr. Carol Trivette will cap her yearlong webinar series sharing resources and discussing evidence-based practices that providers can implement when they are working with military families in particular, who are facing difficult situations. Participants are encouraged to engage and share challenges, resources, and successes they have experienced working with families of young children with disabilities.  Join us Dec. 8 at 11:00 a.m. EST!The MFLN FD Early Intervention team offers continuing education credits through the Early Intervention Training Program (EITP) at the University of Illinois for each of our webinars, click here to learn more. For more information on future presentations in the 2016 Family Development webinar series, please visit our professional development website or connect with us via social media for announcements: see our Facebook & Twitter.last_img read more

The Bigger the Deal

first_imgThe bigger the opportunity, the more difficult it will be to win. The nature of big deals is that there are more competitors competing to create value and differentiate themselves. There are also more relationships to manage. These factors (and many others) make them more difficult to win.Larger deals generally take longer than smaller deals, unless there is a super compelling reason to change. Large opportunities are more rare because the companies with partners in place pay a price to change. It costs them time, energy, and political capital. But if there is a serious issue, they can change faster because they have more at stake.It is more difficult to competitively displace an incumbent supplier than you might believe, even when they aren’t doing nearly as well as they should be. In addition to the difficulty changing suppliers, it’s difficult to fire your friends. When you’ve worked with people for a long time, you want to give the benefit of the doubt. If your relationships are great, you want to keep them. This fact is underestimated.Your sales process is more important on larger deals. You can get away with some mistakes on smaller deals. You might even be able to skip whole stages of your sales process without paying the price. But the larger the opportunity, the more closely it is going to need to follow your sales process. Skipping stages will cause you to lose the opportunity, even if you make it to a presentation.Large deals that move for price are usually driven to demand price concessions by factors other than the value being created by the supplier. There are some companies that expect their partners to give them a price concession every year, even though that supplier’s costs go up every year. It’s not an easily sustained model. But many companies switch to a supplier with a lower price because it is easier than fixing what is really wrong with their business.Big opportunities almost always require more people’s approval, increasing the need to build consensus. Bigger deals almost always touch more people. No one wants to step over people and impose a decision on them that will result in their rebelling against that decision, digging in their heels, and blowing up the deal. It’s easier to get everybody on board before the decision is made. This is one reason so many opportunities lose to the most dangerous competitor you will ever have, the status quo.Larger deals almost always come with greater risk. They generally require more assurances that the incoming partner can and will be able to execute. Big spending likely means the purchase is more strategic, even when it is a commodity. Because there is more risk, the client is likely to want more assurances, and they will likely have more and greater concerns.Some of the biggest opportunities will require that you put more skin in the game, that you invest, or that you put something at risk. You may have to invest money to build the right program. You might need to invest in people or building capabilities. Or you might have to provide guarantees.The bigger the deals, the more difficult they are to win.last_img read more

Shanghai Masters: Rafael Nadal overcomes Grigor Dimitrov to reach semi-finals

first_imgWorld number one Rafa Nadal battled past Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-3 and into the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters on Friday.The 16-time Grand Slam winner, who beat Dimitrov in three sets in the China Open semi-finals last week, fired 32 winners and won two crucial breaks to prevail in two and a half hours.Nadal, who extended his winning streak to 15 matches, pegged Dimitrov back with relentless baseline hitting to take the first set with ease.But the Bulgarian, who sent down 13 aces in the match, took the fight to the Spaniard in the second set, coming from 3-0 down in a tie-break to level.Trailing 3-2 in the decider, Dimitrov’s forehand crashed into the net to hand Nadal the break he needed. The top seed consolidated to make it 5-2 before serving out the match.Next up for the 30-year-old is Croatian Marin Cilic, who beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-3, 6-4 in another quarter-final.Roger Federer, the only man who can deny Nadal the year-end world number one ranking, is in action against Frenchman Richard Gasquet later on Friday.last_img read more