Play Your Part Ambassador Catherine Constantinides takes on the Sahara

first_imgSouth African Earth Warrior and Social Justice Activist, Catherine Constantinides to take up the challenge and use her profile and passion for the environment and human rights, this time to participate in the 2019 Sahara Marathon. The marathon will be taking place on the 26th of February in the Sahara Desert.As an internationally renowned climate activist and human rights defender, this South African Earth Warrior is no stranger to challenge and adventure. And has set her mind firmly on participating in this desert run. She serves on the Saharawi Human Rights Council and has been travelling back and forth to the refugee camps as a humanitarian for the past five years. She is participating in this particular event to raise awareness and honour the Saharawi freedom fighters and victims of landmines in the region. Last year she spent time with Aziz Haider who is the founder of the Saharawi Association of Landmine Victims (ASAVIM).According to various estimates there are still between 5 – 10 Million landmines still in the Sahara, “Western Sahara is one of the most contaminated territories in the world,” the UN Mine Action Service says on its website. Landmines and explosive remnants of war “remain widespread” and “there is very limited information available regarding the location of hazardous areas”, it warns. High winds, sandstorms and rainfall also pose a challenge as they can hide, reveal or move landmines.According to Aziz Haidar, who has lost three of his limbs in a mine blast, such explosions have caused more than 300 casualties since a ceasefire which took effect in 1991.The Sahara Marathon is an international sport event hosted in the Sahara Desert every year. The aim of the marathon was designed to demonstrate solidarity with the Saharawi people, first initiated in 2001, organised by the Secretary of State for Sport, under the auspices of the Government of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and with the help of volunteers from all over the world.Constantinides has been actively engaged in highlighting causes across the continent linked to climate change and human rights for more than a decade, her work as a former Miss Earth South Africa has seen her work passionately in the waste, water and food security space as she leads educational and community development projects linked to these spaces in furthering the movement towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Her work through her organisation Generation Earth has gained much momentum across South Africa and the world over the past eight years.This activist says it is certainly the biggest physical challenge she has ever committed to and has already begun preparing for the upcoming marathon. Her goal is to highlight the ‘ #StandInTheSand ’ solidarity movement which gives a voice and presence to the last colony in Africa, Western Sahara.Western Sahara is the last colony in Africa. A Spanish colony from 1884 to 1975 when Spain failed to finish the decolonization process which it promised to achieve. Instead, Spain, Morocco and Mauritania signed a secret agreement to divide this African territory into two parts by military control by Morocco from the North and Mauritania from the South while Spain maintained privileged economic interests especially in the illegal exploitation of the rich fisheries and phosphate of Western Sahara.The Polisario Front, the Saharawi liberation movement was already constituted in 1973 to fight against Spanish colonialism, but found itself encircled by the two armies and had to deliver a heroic fight against the two African armies and at the same time to build a genuine Saharawi Nation and ‘State in Exile’ which was declared on the 27th of February 1976 as the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, also a founding member of the African Union.Constantinides’ active humanitarian work in the Saharawi Refugee Camps over the past five years has brought international awareness to this more than 43-year-old conflict. Now she runs in the sand for a people who continue to fight for self-determination and justice.The Sahara Marathon, includes the standard-distance marathon also includes a half marathon of 21km, 10km, 5km and a special children’s race which is aimed at promoting sport activity. Funds raised through the marathon assist in financially supporting and developing humanitarian programmes. More so to use the power and strength of sport and its unifying power to raise awareness and sensitize the world about the plight and struggle of the forgotten people of Africa; the Saharawi people of Western Sahara.last_img read more

Weekly Poll: Did the Web Win?

first_imgRelated Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting alex williams The keynotes yesterday from CloudConnect provided some highlights that remind us how different the universe can look when viewed from the Web.It’s a far different landscape that you see when viewing the world from the enterprise.On the Web, the apps are built on top of simple, commoditized stacks. Cloudscaling CEO Randy Bias said in his keynote that Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the one enterprise providers need to beat. Cisco’s Cloud CTO Lew Tucker said in his keynote that the Web won.AWS is winning because it picked the winning architecture. He says costs are six to eight times less than what it costs to build the infrastructures as developed by enterprise cloud services. This is due to the fundamentally different architecture that was used to build legacy apps. Enterprise providers are building cloud services for legacy apps. The effort now is to move those apps to the cloud. This increases expenses considerably when recreating an environment that was built for on-premise systems.To move legacy apps to the cloud creates an online silo. Web apps are built for the Web.What do you think? A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#cloud#cloud computing 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Using Sand to Store Solar Energy

first_imgMore research would be helpfulChlupp has been experimenting with insulated thermal mass for years, and concedes that it’s not easy to incorporate the feature into energy modeling. Nor is there much research available. Yet he finds the system works.“I walk away from my house at 40° below and come back in the spring and don’t worry about it,” he says. “Sand and slabs can be a very bad idea but if designed right they can also offer great benefit from my experience…and it is my firm believe that we need to look at insulated internal mass in cold climates carefully as it can help us to make our buildings function better. I will leave it at that.” John Klingel’s question was simple enough: what’s the best way of heating up a thick bed of sand beneath a concrete slab with PEX tubing? But the underlying issue — whether a sand bed is a good idea in the first place — quickly takes center stage in this Q&A post at GreenBuildingAdvisor.Klingel plans to include a 2-ft. thick bed of sand between his concrete slab and a layer of rigid foam insulation. The sand is a heat sink, but Klingel isn’t sure where the PEX tubing should be located for the best result. Nor is he sure what diameter the tubing should be, or what the spacing of tubing in the sand will work best.Some writers think a sand bed is a waste of time. Others report they’ve had good luck with them, even in extreme climates. That discussion, similar to an exchange on the Q&A forum last year, is the subject of this week’s Q&A Spotlight. Can Heat Be Stored in a Sand Bed Beneath the House? Q&A: Higher solar heating fractions?Energy Efficient from the Ground Up (Fine Homebuilding)Zero Energy, Infinite Appeal (Fine Homebuilding) RELATED ARTICLES Even so, the plan has holesBe that as it may, says Holladay, but there are still some problems with this approach. First, where do you put the sub-slab insulation, and, second, how do you control the flow of heat from the sand to the slab?“If you have no insulation between the slab and the sand, and you are dumping solar heat into your slab in July and August, then heat will flow from your hot sand to your slab in July and August,” he says. “That may work in Fairbanks, but it won’t work in any climate where summer overheating is a potential problem.”Also, if you’re trying to keep the interior of your house plus tons of sand warm, you’ll need that much more heat input. That’s not an issue if heat is free, but you should factor in the cost of solar collectors plus pumps, controls and electricity to operate the system: “Bringing tons of sand up to temperature, and maintaining the sand at an elevated temperature, takes heat. If I build a house without that heating load, my annual heating load will be less than yours.” Video: DIY ICF House With Hydronic Floor To get a useful amount of heat from the sand during the coldest months of the year, he says, it must be hot enough to get water in a hydronic heat distribution system to at least 100°F. And that, he adds, just isn’t going to happen.“The sand doesn’t get that hot — or if it does, it doesn’t stay that hot from early September (when it is likely to be hottest) until mid-November (when you begin to need it),” Holladay writes. “Moreover, the pumping energy is a big energy penalty — parasitic energy that needs to be considered when analyzing possible benefits. Finally, the capital costs of all those extra solar collectors is high — an investment without a significant payback.”Indeed, keeping the sand warm enough when solar energy is not enough is also on Klingel’s mind. “My plan, if I go this way, is to heat the sand with the wood gasification boiler as well as passive solar,” he says. “However, when the wood boiler is not running and solar is not enough, my propane boiler, which will heat the slab, is going to have to work its butt off.”He adds, however, that the temperature of the sand probably won’t have to be that high because it won’t be used for an active heating system, just storing heat for the night, or at most for a couple of days. Presumably the sand would gently warm the slab without an active distribution system, and in this case he thinks a temperature of between 80°F and 85°F would be enough. An expert opinionThis week GBA invited energy expert Mark Sevier to comment. A former employee at the Building Science Corporation, Sevier designed, built, and lives in a net-zero energy home outside of Boston, Mass.Mark Sevier writes:“Martin is right. Martin’s perspective is most accurate as it relates to ‘direct thermal storage’ systems (ones without heat pumps) – long-term thermal energy storage systems should be subject to monitored skepticism, as the numbers on paper don’t work on a straight heat-loss basis. There are a lot of hours between summer collection and winter loss, and in general thermal storage of building materials inside insulation can be measured in days, not months. Huge masses of water or sand might make weeks, but a wise person starts to consider that things have gotten out of scale and a house has turned into an expensive experiment more than a cost-effective place to live.“An example to prove the point. Take for example a 5,000-gallon reservoir of water, a 6,000 HDD climate, and a house heat-loss coefficient of (UA) 100 BTU/h (which is unrealistically small for most buildings). Heating the building for the season will require 6000 HDD x 100BTU/h x 24h, or 14.4 Million BTU/yr. Water stores 1 BTU/lb-F, so 5,000 gallons store 41,650 BTU/F. Now divide 14.4 million BTU by 41,650 BTU/F, and assuming zero undesired tank losses, the water will need to be 346 F hotter at the beginning of the season than the end of it, unless there is a phase change (which there would need to be). This doesn’t work, and a 200-300 BTU/h load is more reasonable for most efficient houses, doubling or tripling the seasonal storage requirement.“More realistically, a 5,000-gallon reservoir connected to solar collectors might be running in the 180 to 80 F range (note that you’ll have 180 F when you don’t need heat, and 80 F when you do), or about 4.16 million BTUs ‘peak to valley’ storable in said tank, about 1/3 of what the really efficient building above would need. Of course the sun will shine during the winter, and your solar thermal system will run (unless it’s dark), but it will be running on daily energy by mid-winter, not seasonal energy, since the tank will be depleted by 1/3rd or 1/2 of the season (not considering tank losses closely, which will result in overheating the house in early winter, and further shortening of the ‘seasonal’ nature of the tank since overheating leads to larger hourly loss).“The only monitored-to-work seasonal storage system that I’ve ever heard of was MIT Solar 1, built in the 1930’s – it had a tripled glazed collector for a roof on a 500 sq. ft. building with an 18,000 gallon tank in Boston’s 5500 HDD climate. Otherwise, I’ve heard conceptual anecdotes with data gone missing.“For seasonal storage you need a heat pump. My observation is that for ‘seasonal storage’ to realistically work (i.e. not an expensive experiment), you need a heat pump. I followed someone’s conceptual sales job, and I have a large solar thermal system and seasonal storage experiment I’ve already committed to, but I can see that using outside air is the best / cheapest approach toward seasonal storage – an air-source heat pump (or ground source works too, if you like putting pipe in the ground and have extra cash to get rid of).“What really works is a grid-tied photovoltaic system. Using solar thermal systems for space heating is not a good investment, since that expensive hardware sits idle through the summertime, and then likely can’t meet the load in the winter. Solar thermal panels can collect more solar energy per square foot than PV panels (as much as 2 to 4 times), but they need a load to work against, which they don’t always have – if the tank is already hot, they collect nothing. Grid-tied PV panels, on the other hand, can always send energy back through the electric meter, storing that energy with no losses in their power bill until it is needed in the off-season. PV panels + a heat pump operating with a COP of 2-4 end up equaling the solar collection efficiency of solar thermal panels, and no losses from lack of summer load or huge storage tanks to buy and install.“So, my suggestion to anyone with limited financial resources wanting to have a solar-powered back-up heating system is to install a properly sized grid-tied PV system and air-source or ground-source heat pump. For the off-grid folks, go with firewood and solar panels for DHW and electricity needs. No expensive hardware sitting idle = well invested money. Solar panels sitting idle = lousy investment.“It’s not that passive solar doesn’t work. I like passive solar things more than the next person, but I realize passive solar isn’t for everyone nor every site – privacy, glare, overheating, management of window insulation, condensation on windows, etc. are all issues that come with it. More often than not, the passive solar buildings I ride by have been largely defeated due to some issue unrealistically considered by an enthusiast. The enthusiast will live with their choices, and ‘sail their ship,’ but there aren’t so many people in this group. Most people seem to be in the ‘set it and forget it’ camp, since they have lives beyond meeting home heating needs.“My experience has been that the most important factor in the anecdotal success of uncommon systems is how much the advocate has invested in them, both financially and reputation-wise. I built a system that I subsequently figured out didn’t make the most sense – why can’t others discuss the shortcomings of their experiments? People must like story-telling more than science.”Mark Sevier, PE Podcast: How Heat Moves Through HousesPodcast: Solar Thermal: Types, Cost, and Investment Advice Forget the idea — it won’t workCount GBA senior editor Martin Holladay among those who think that an insulated sand bed doesn’t add much to solar design. “Here’s my opinion — subject to revision when someone gives me good monitoring data to contradict my statement: you can put the PEX wherever you want, because these systems don’t really work,” Holladay tells Klingel. RELATED MULTIMEDIA You’re missing the point, an advocate saysTo Thorsten Chlupp, whose description of his SunRise Home is the subject of a separate Q&A post, Holladay’s reply is an “apples vs. oranges” conversation.“If you want to be able to capture and utilize passive solar gain there is in my experience no better way of doing this then with adding INSULATED mass to the foundation,” he says. “A layer of sand between the slab insulation and the actual concrete slab is the cheapest and most economical way to do so. I added 180 tons of mass for $380 in material costs at the SunRise home.”The sand bed does three things, according to Chlupp: provides an insulated heat sink for passive solar gain; keeps all of the under-slab plumbing in a conditioned space while minimizing thermal bridging; and, as an option, can provide active heat storage if secondary solar heat lines are installed.“Anyways, I argued these points before and probably will do so many more times as it seems an alien concept for many,” he says. “I have independent data collection on my system and that might bring a bit more weight to this argument in the near future. To me at least the fact that I have not actively heated my home since 02/16 besides passive solar gain in temperatures well below freezing kind of proves that this concept works fairly well if it is implemented right.“I never even had to load my sand bed actively this spring as it stores the sun’s energy so well that my slab is over 70°F – my kids run around barefoot all day on it, nice and comfy… Passive solar energy is the only free energy there is and should be the very first source we should always tap into in a heating climate.”He promises Holladay to send data as it becomes available, but points out also that the sand beds are “strictly passive heat sinks.” Once heat is dumped into the sand, it moves toward cooler a surface all on its own. “There is no control, nothing to extract,” he says.“Heat in – heat out by temperature differentials is all there is to it and it takes some figuring out on finding your comfort zone as it functions and reacts very slowly. If you’re trying to use it as an active storage – like a rock heat bank – I agree with you, it makes no sense and is not feasible. “last_img read more

Europe Drives Up Demand for U.S. Wood Pellets

first_imgAdding up the carbon impactConverting a plant from coal to wood is fairly simple — “a quick and comparatively cheap way to shift towards renewables,” Styles writes — but the equation gets a lot more complicated when details of “carbon accounting” are considered.Ironically, trucking wood pellets to a port and then shipping them across the Atlantic isn’t what tips the scales against wood, in part because ships can carry huge amounts of cargo efficiently. Even the processing of pellets, including grinding and drying the fiber, isn’t a fatal flaw.Instead, it’s the source of the wood that’s turned into pellets that counts.Coal releases carbon that has been stored for millions of years, while wood releases carbon that has only recently been captured through photosynthesis, and newly planted trees begin capturing carbon again in a relatively short amount of time. This balance of storing and releasing carbon, however, isn’t uniform.Styles writes, “The government study notes that wood from intensively managed plantations could mean more carbon taken up by growing trees than emitted by the transport and processing of the pellets, leading to a net reduction in emissions even before avoided coal emissions are accounted for. Conversely … the study found that if wood pellets are sourced from regenerated natural forests, carbon emissions could be five times higher than from burning coal.”Drax doesn’t agree. “Provided the rate at which carbon is absorbed by the forest as a whole equals or exceeds the rate at which it is being removed there is no net release of carbon,” the utility says. “Healthy demand for wood stimulates supply and ensures forests remain as forests. That is why forest cover in the U.S. is growing year on year and has been growing for each of the last 50 years.”Drax insists that its sustainability policy requires that the sourcing of pellets not lead to a net increase in carbon levels, which is the case “at a landscape level, at state level, across the southeast U.S. and across the U.S. as a whole.” NRDC: Burning Trees to Make Electricity is an ‘Environmental Disaster’ Biomass Electricity Production: How Green Is It?Do Wood-Burning Power Plants Make Sense?Germany’s Bioenergy VillagesVäxjö, Sweden, is a Model of SustainabilityTwo Biomass Plants in Maine to CloseHeating With Wood PelletsShould Green Homes Burn Wood? RELATED ARTICLES “A U.K. government study found that electricity generated from regenerated forests could have a carbon intensity five times higher than coal,” Styles says. “Burning wood also releases nitrogen oxides and carcinogenic compounds.”center_img Six millions tons of wood pellets manufactured from trees harvested in the U.S. were shipped to Europe last year to help utilities there meet renewable energy goals, but a growing number of environmentalists say that the program does more harm than good. In an article posted at Science 2.0, David Styles, a lecturer at Bangor University in Wales, said that shipments in 2015 were nearly double the amount of pellets shipped in 2013. Half of them went to a single plant: Britain’s Drax power station, which is switching from coal to biomass in order to reduce carbon emissions and grab what are called “renewable obligation certificates.”The pellets were manufactured from wood harvested in five U.S. states: Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Virginia.Converting power plants from coal to wood may look good on paper, but a number of environmental groups are arguing just the opposite. In a paper published last fall, the groups argued that burning pellets to produce “bioenergy” has a number of ugly side effects, including soil and water pollution, the growth of industrial scale logging, and a loss of biodiversity. The groups argue that biomass should be excluded from the European Union’s next Renewable Energy Directive. Environmental concerns are not newA wide scale use of wood pellets to generate electricity also has been criticized by the Natural Resources Defense Council, which said three years ago that the practice could double logging rates and significantly increase carbon emissions.The environmental impact of the U.S. wood pellet trade may be disputed, but there’s not much doubt that it’s been a boon for the forest industry in some states. Forbes reported last year that the number of wood pellet plants has jumped significantly — two new mills planned In North Carolina alone will mean investments of $214 million and 160 permanent jobs by next year.last_img read more

You Are Upset Because You Care

first_imgYour client is not getting the outcome that you promised them when they made the decision to buy from you. Your team is struggling to produce those outcomes, and you are upset that things aren’t going well. You are right to be upset, and you are right to care about the outcomes you promised. You are, in fact, accountable for the results you sell, and this is how you build lifelong relationships. You are almost wrong to start trying to make change from that negative state.Breath. Compose yourself. Put yourself in the positive, optimistic, empowered and empowering state, and go work with your team to help them acquire the resources they need or make the changes necessary to succeed. You will not get greater outcomes from having this conversation from a negative emotional state.One of the main reasons that your client isn’t producing the outcomes you promised is because they are not doing what they need to do on their side. Your team is now picking up their end of the stick, and now you need your client to pick up their end of the stick. The upset feeling you have is based on your telling yourself that this is their fault, and that you are being unfairly accused of failing. You care about your client, their outcomes, and your reputation.Sit for a minute (or ten, but no more than that). Decide not to be defensive and not to do or say anything to cause your client to feel the need to defend themselves. Take responsibility for not preparing them better, and ask them how you can help them do what they need to do. If you want help with the language you need to have this conversation, look to Chapter 13 in The Lost Art of Closing.You don’t produce better results by being upset. You produce better results by transforming that negative emotional state into a more resourceful state, and then taking positive actions with a positive attitude to change things. Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

Pacific Jewel to Leave PO Cruises Fleet

first_imgzoomIllustration; Image Courtesy: Pxhere under CC0 Creative Commons license Cruise company P&O Cruises Australia will be bidding farewell to one of its older vessels, Pacific Jewel, as part of its commitment to refresh the fleet.As informed, Pacific Jewel’s final cruise will be on February 24, 2019, before being transferred to a new operator following its sale.The 1990-built vessel will leave the P&O Cruises fleet in March 2019, by which time it will have served the brand for almost ten years.The company said that it will welcome a second Grand Class ship to its fleet. Carrying more than 3,100 passengers, Star Princess will join its sister ship, Golden Princess, in the P&O Cruises Australia fleet from the end of 2021.Star Princess will replace the considerably smaller Pacific Jewel which can carry around 2,000 passengers and crew.Sture Myrmell, President of P&O Cruises and Carnival Australia, said welcoming two Grand Class ships — Star Princess and Golden Princess — was part of the evolution of the P&O Cruises fleet. In September last year, P&O Cruises announced its plan to renew its fleet over time.Myrmell said P&O Cruises would continue to base ships year-round in its key homeports of Sydney and Brisbane as well as offering seasonal sailings from other Australian states and New Zealand.A transformed Golden Princess will join the P&O Cruises fleet in October 2020 while its sister ship, Star Princess, will join P&O Cruises at the end of 2021.last_img read more

Revenue Department stationed in northern TCI

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Mother charged with murder of her young son Child dead and man arrested on Taylor murder Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 27 Oct 2015 – North and Middle Caicos are getting some tailor made service from the Revenue Department which will fly in so that paying government bills or making enquiries will be easier. The officers are there since Monday and will be in the two islands until this Friday. District Commissioner, Cynclair Musgrove said: “The District Commissioner’s Office and the Communities of North & Middle Caicos welcome the Revenue Department as we are striving to continue improving service delivery and further assist the Officers with improving customer education and voluntary compliance in North & Middle Caicos.” The team will be stationed at the DCs office in Bottle Creek, North Caicos. Among the tasks: inspections and audits, service delivery improvements and registering businesses. Musgrove says the scheduled visits will be an ongoing service. Related Items:bottle creek, cynclair musgrove, north and middle caicos, revenue department Recommended for you PNP Administration leaders serve Elderly in New Year’s Partylast_img read more

Want to see how nature speaks

first_imgThe series of mesmerizing pieces is going to be exhibited from 24 March till 30 March at the Atrium lobby, Taj Palace Hotel.Being a doctor by profession, Singhal’s love for nature inspired her to delve deep into the mysteries of the element and appreciate their finer nuances. She has taken great pleasure in painstakingly converting these connection into expressive colourful strokes and varying textures on the canvas, resulting in ‘magical’ series. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Singhal says, ‘There is a special way that Nature speaks to us. The wind hums, and the ocean dances for us. Even the different hues of green of the foliage, or the fiery reds of fire seem to communicate in a language of their own. It is just that most of the time we are not sensitive enough to lend a patient ear to their story or understand their emotion. Also the elements in a way are representative of the different stages of a human life.’ She added, ‘Childhood may be considered a period of growth(earth and water), youth, a period full of energy and creativity(fire), and old age with its characteristic withering(space and air). The endeavour has also been to characterize the colors into these moulds of human existence.’It would be right to say that all five elements i.e. earth, water, fire, air and space deeply inspire her. And that is how her present collection has come about. Now many colourful experimentations later, she feels buoyant with optimism, and impassioned enough to color the whole world.When: 24 – 30 MarchWhere: Atrium lobby, Taj Palace Hotellast_img read more