A climate made for sport

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A climate made for sport

first_img20 May 2004Many factors need to combine to produce peak performances from athletes. Some things can be controlled, others are beyond human control. Weather is one of those things.Having the right training equipment, having the right facilities, having the right mental approach to sport helps athletes to excel. Having ideal conditions for sport is another huge factor in determining how successful an athlete will be.South Africans have a great advantage because the country’s climate is a wonderful advertisement for the outdoor lifestyle. In recent years, top athletes from far afield have begun to discover how good it is, too.Athletics stars like Maria Mutola, Kelly Holmes, Gabriela Szabo, Michael Johnson, Tim Montgomery and Frank Fredericks have used the country as a winter training base, and it has served them well.The country’s climate encourages its people to get outside, to be active, to participate in some sort of sporting challenge.And the list of available sports goes well beyond the country’s “big three” (rugby, soccer and cricket): try archery, angling, baseball, biathlon, bowls, canoeing, climbing, cycling, duathlon, equestrianism, freediving, inflatable boating, lifesaving, orienteering, polocrosse, rowing, snow sports, softball, swimming, triathlon, volleyball, waterskiing … the list goes on.There’s enough variation in South Africa’s climate to allow for cold weather sports to be practised. The real winner, though, is definitely the country’s sunshine.Some years back, when Alex Braun was media liaison manager for the Springboks, I managed to sit down with him and have a long chat. Braun is an Australian, and at that time Australia was, it seemed, winning nearly everything worldwide in a wide variety of sports.I asked Braun why this was; his answer was that it lay in the sunny conditions Down Under. It made the people tough and hardnosed, he said, perfect attributes for top sportspeople.Recently, while researching golf tourism in the country, I telephoned people at golf clubs around the country to find out what was attracting golfers to South Africa’s shores. One answer was given without fail: the country’s weather.Golf estates have taken off in recent times, and especially in the coastal regions foreigners have been quick to snap up prime properties located alongside top class courses.Top sports stars have got in on the act too. Golfing superstars Ernie Els and Nick Price own properties on the southern Cape coast, while Mount Edgcombe in Kwazulu-Natal is well known as home to many of rugby’s Sharks players.It’s obvious: sport and the South African climate go hand-in-hand. Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

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Goldblatt: half a century in photos

first_img18 August 2005A retrospective of David Goldblatt’s works, spanning his 51 years in photography, opened this week at the Johannesburg Art Gallery.The exhibition includes more than 250 photographs taken between 1948 to 2002 that document the changes South Africa has undergone.Fifty One Years, the name of the exhibition, is a Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona production. It was originally curated by Corinne Diserens and Okwui Enwezor.So far, it has been seen in galleries and museums in New York, Barcelona, Rotterdam, Lisbon, Oxford, Brussels and Munich.Khwezi Gule, curator for contemporary collections at the Johannesburg Art Gallery, describes the exhibition as “a tribute to Goldblatt’s contribution to the world of photography, not only in South Africa but in the world.”Miners going home: Mayfair railway station, Johannesburg, December 1952Born in Randfontein in 1930, Goldblatt became interested in photography while in high school. He wanted to become a magazine photographer after he matriculated, in 1948. However, after trying in vain to join the industry, he went to work in the family business selling men’s wear.After his father died in 1962 he sold the family business and devoted his time to photography.“My professional work has been almost entirely outside the studio and has involved a broad variety of assignments for magazines, corporations and institutions in South Africa and overseas,” Goldblatt wrote in a piece for the Goodman Gallery website.Source: City of Johannesburglast_img read more

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Geocachers Care – “One Ring to Rule Them All”

first_img SharePrint RelatedAnnouncing the Geocacher of the Month: November 2014December 31, 2014In “Community”Interviews With Geocaching Filmmakers – Part 2February 18, 2015In “GIFF”Geocacher of the Month Nominees – Add Your CommentsAugust 12, 2011In “Community” AgTitan receives his alumni ring, againErik Hulse, AgTitan, gets straight to the point, “This is a story I will be telling for the rest of my life, a story I will never forget.”The story he’s talking about – and will talk about for decades to come – begins on the soft, muddy bank of a Texas river.  AgTitan and Kenny Wade, GeoGeex, hiked through a park on an early April geocaching adventure.Their first obstacle would be little more than a slithering side note. AgTitan says, “The hike was several miles and the snakes were out in force.  GeoGeex spotted the first snake of the twelve we saw that day.  We both had several close calls, almost stepping on several snakes during the day, but thankfully we averted disaster with the snakes.”But an attempt to cross a river set the stage for a good deed that AgTitan could little imagine. He fell hard into the water. He says, “According to GeoGeex, the high pitched wail and spastic water dance was a sight to behold.  We learned several things during the encounter… like… when your hand hits the muddy, clay-like material on bottom of a creek, Aggie rings easily slip off the finger!” AgTitan lost his beloved “Aggie ring.” It’s a Texas A&M University alumni ring.  He says, “It sobered the mood the rest of the day.”But AgTitan put a call out for help. He posted the coordinates of his fall into the river on a local geocaching Facebook page, jokingly calling the location, “One Ring to Rule Them All.”Ground zero (GZ) where the ring was lostJeff Cruser, Z_Malloc, saw the post and reacted, “I knew that I could not let a fellow Aggie (Texas A&M Alumni) lose his ring without at least hunting for it! So I packed up my metal detector from work and loaded up the cachepack for a water trip.”But Z_Malloc wasn’t prepared for the jumble of fallen trees when he reached the location where the ring was lost. He says “As I approached GZ (the coordinates) I saw that it was not just a simple narrow stream with a single log to search around, but it was to be a whole blockade of logs and other submerged debris with small rapids flowing by.”Z_Malloc says that time was crucial. Rains were expected later in the day which could wash the ring downriver. He says, “I made some logical guesses about where the mighty AgTitan may have fallen in and focused on the partially submerged log in the middle of the stream. I was really glad I was alone because I bet it was quite funny to see me bent over at the waist in thigh deep water running a metal detector in one hand and feeling the bottom with the other. But after about ten minutes, and on my third hit on the metal detector, my hand brushed something in the moderately packed clay on the bottom.”Z_Malloc recovers the ringZ_Malloc pulled a silt covered ring from the water and kept his sense of humor intact. “I had the ring in my hand. So as I dragged the cache (ring) to the surface. I knew I was going to be FTF…..but NOOOOO the log (inscription) read Erik J. Hulse. All that work and to not get the FTF! So feeling all depressed, I tossed the ring back in the water for the next person to find and walked away.  Just kidding.”Z_Malloc says he got a great story out of the adventure and helped a former Texas A&M alumni and geocacher.AgTitan says that he only found out the ring was recovered when GeoGeex called hours later, “Kenny (geogeex) called me when I was at work because Jeff (Z_Malloc) posted on Facebook that he found my ring.  I didn’t believe Kenny at first, and kept asking him if he was joking with me.  When I realized it was for real, I found Jeff’s number and called thanking him.”AgTitan says he didn’t just receive his ring back – he also earned a new respect for the geocaching community, “It is amazing what geocachers (and Aggies!) will do for one another, even when you hardly know someone.  TFTR (Thanks for the ring!) Jeff!!”GeoGeex, Z_Malloc and AgTitanShare with your Friends:Morelast_img read more

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Air Leaks in Homes Insulated With Spray Foam

first_imgUsing spray foam for a deep-energy retrofitThis story-and-a-half house had uninsulated solid masonry walls (3-inch concrete block on the inside and 3-inch decorative brick on the exterior). On the second floor, the masonry walls extended up about 4 feet from the subfloor, as in a typical Cape. The home had wood-framed kneewall partitions that created a narrow 2-foot-wide space between the kneewalls and the exterior masonry walls. The gable walls on the second floor had the same masonry construction as the first-floor walls. This construction is typical for homes of its age in Toronto. The homeowner wanted to upgrade the house for a new century from the inside, so a computer energy simulation was performed to guide the decision-making process, based on the potential energy savings from a variety of possible upgrades.Unfortunately, as in almost all renovations, the orientation of the home conspired against any improvements in solar heat gain. Obstacles to producing a continuous air barrier included structural penetrations through the planned spray foam.The scope of work included the following measures:The attic floor was vacuumed clean and spray foam was applied to the back of the plasterboard ceiling.The sloped roof assemblies between the tops of the second-floor kneewalls and the attic above the second floor were unchanged, as they were already insulated with dense-packed with cellulose.The space behind the wood-framed second-floor kneewalls (formerly outside the conditioned envelope of the house) was brought within the conditioned envelope by spraying the underside of the roof sheathing and the interior of the exterior walls with spray foam.On both the main floor and the second floor, the ¾-inch diagonal tongue-and-groove pine subfloor (which originally extended to the exterior concrete block wall) was cut back 3 inches at the perimeter of the building to create a gap for the spray foam.New studs were installed on the main floor and in the basement; these were made of engineered lumber and were spaced about 2 inches off the concrete-block wall to provide room for a continuous monolithic layer of spray foam, reducing air leakage and thermal bridging at the studs. The engineered studs required less bracing to combat the tendency of expanding spray foam to cause studs to bow inward or to bow into themselves at inside corners.The gravel on the basement floor was covered with spray foam, and a new concrete slab was poured on top of the cured foam. The foam was brought up the wall to break the slab from the wall.The foundation walls were insulated on the exterior with 2 inches of XPS (R-10), from the footing to the mudsill. (Exterior foundation insulation was preferable to interior insulation because masonry partitions in the basement created hard-to-detail T junctions.) Greg Labbé is co-owner of BlueGreen Consulting Group, a high-performance home consulting firm that works with architects, builders, and homeowners to optimize the energy performance of new and existing homes through detailed energy modeling and site testing. RELATED ARTICLES Spray Foam Insulation Is Not a Cure-AllSpray Foam Insulation Is Not a Magic BulletSpray Foam in Cold ClimatesGetting Spray Foam RightInsulating Old Brick Buildings So what happened at the house?After the spray foam was installed, we performed a pre-drywall blower-door test. The test showed an air leakage rate of 10.8 air changes per hour at 50 Pascals (10.8 ach50), with an equivalent leakage area (ELA) of 340 square inches.This massive rate of air leakage would make the house uncomfortable and more expensive to condition; it could also lead to condensation problems. For purposes of reference, an Energy Star home should test at or below 2 ach50. At the Toronto house, the heat loss attributable to air leakage would have exceeded the conductive heat loss through the entire ceiling and above-grade wall area.With the blower door running we were able to locate the air leaks in the foam, and the spray foam contractor came back to touch up the leaks. The smaller leak locations were caulked or touched up with canned foam.After this work was performed, a second test showed that the air leakage rate had been cut in half to 5.4 ach50 with an ELA of 177 square inches (see Image #10, below). This was a significant drop in heat loss and condensation liabilities, and should result in improved occupant comfort.As the project moves forward and the final two windows and doors are installed, we expect the air leakage rate to be halved again. What is the ideal substrate?Spray foam sticks really well to clean wood or masonry, as long as it’s dry and not frozen. It doesn’t stick well to dirt, oil, or water. The person spraying foam needs to understand these facts, and also needs to know where to apply the spray foam, and how the best location to apply the foam continuously changes as a spray-foam installer moves from the basement to the rim joist to the roof.The ideal substrate for spray foam is scrupulously clean, openly accessible, and free of wires, cross bracing, 6-mil poly, plumbing, cables, or ducts — you get the picture. Ideally, there would be nothing in the stud cavities and the foam could be uniformly applied, producing a good air seal. Unfortunately, the reality is that stud cavities are busy places and spraying in them for a perfect air seal is really hard to do.Spray foam is shot from a distance of 3 feet, and all the stuff in the stud cavity can create unfoamed “shadows” on the back substrate (just like the shadows created by a flashlight beam). Those shadows create voids or open blisters that can leak air. With each pass of foam, the substrate’s surface transfers its increasingly distorted shape to the next layer of foam.The situation can be improved by training electricians to run wires on the back of the wall. Don’t move the plumbing pipes to the back of the wall, though, even if it would make things easier for the foam installers. Plumbing pipes need to be on the warm side of the insulation to keep them from freezing. The trouble with spray foamThe trouble with spray foam is that it has to be sprayed onto a surface, and often we can’t choose the surface, as the situation forces our hand.For the sake of discussion, let’s imagine that on this retrofit project, we wanted to use drywall as our air barrier, following the Airtight Drywall Approach. To apply spray foam to the air barrier, we’d have to spray the drywall from the back side — an approach that would be ideal but impossible. So we apply spray foam from inside the house, adhering the foam to the concrete block and hoping for an airtight result. Avoiding voids in our building assembliesThe advantage of bonding foam to the air barrier is that it eliminates air movement between the two. If there is a gap between the back of the drywall and the interior face of the spray foam, the gap becomes a highway that connects all the small leaks from the foam’s imperfections and unfoamed penetrations. When a difference in pressure exists, voilà! For leakage to happen, you need only a difference in pressure and a hole. We can’t stop physics from producing pressure differences, but we can seal holes.To be effective, spray foam should be sprayed onto an exterior air barrier like wood sheathing. If you are renovating an old house, the usual method is to coat the inside surfaces of the exterior walls with spray foam insulation or a liquid-applied membrane like StoGuard Gold Coat. (The latter approach was described in a recent Fine Homebuilding article).By the way, if a liquid-applied membrane is used as an air barrier, it still needs to be tested for airtightness before spray foam is applied. The purported advantages of liquid-applied membranes lie in their flexibility and strong adhesion which provide long-term performance.For any deep-energy retrofit, the air barrier needs to be tested, whether the air barrier includes spray foam, polyethylene, a liquid-applied membrane, plywood, foam sheathing, Tyvek, Typar, or drywall.It’s common on other job sites to see drywall hung as soon as the spray foam is installed. However, we suspect that for retrofits where foam is applied directly onto solid masonry, finding and sealing leaks with the help of a blower door will ensure significantly better performance.On this project, the homeowner understood the value of performing a blower-door test to check the spray foam for leaks before the drywall went up. The spray foam was intended as an all-in-one solution that provided high R-value insulation and an air barrier. Had the drywall been installed over the air leaks, the gap between the cured skin and the back of the drywall would have short-circuited the insulation. If you’re retrofitting a vintage brick building without an air barrier, don’t count on the spray foam to create a perfect air seal. If you plan to use the spray foam as your air barrier, it’s important to test your work before you cover it with drywall so you can seal any air leaks.I recently had the pleasure of working with a forward-thinking design/build firm in Toronto, Argyris & Clinkard Fine Homes. The company’s objective was to complete a deep-energy retrofit of a 50-year-old solid masonry home in Toronto. As with all high-performance homes, a fully ducted HRV was installed.The goal was to make the house as airtight as possible. Medium-density (2 pounds per cubic foot) closed-cell spray foam was sprayed on the interior of of the concrete block walls. Studs were spaced off the wall to reduce thermal bridging and to ensure that there was a monolithic uninterrupted coat of foam against the concrete blocks.Builders Paul Clinkard and Liam Argyris called us in to perform a blower-door test before the drywall went up. The results were an eye-opener, showing why we can’t rely on foam alone for a good air seal in solid masonry home retrofits, unless we include blower-door-directed air sealing after the foam is installed.last_img read more

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How Ingress Could Be Google’s Template For The Future Of Android Apps

first_imgRelated Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology dan rowinski Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … The Template For The Future Of AndroidIngress is a bit of a curiosity. Only a handful of people have had access to the game to this point as Google has used its classic invitation-only method for rolling out the game. Ingress also has its own kind of underground, conspiracy theory marketing plan where the people from Niantic Labs come up with crazy storylines about fictional characters and their nefarious dealings. The plot line of Ingress is shrouded in mystery and heavily invested in the real world, but it is definitely an “alternate” version of reality.By rolling out Ingress to developers at I/O, Google hopes to show how mobile, location, multi-player and augmented reality functions can be integrated into developer application offerings. In that way, Ingress becomes a kind of “how-to” template to developers looking to create vibrant new offerings for Android games and apps, something that could benefit Google in a variety of ways.Google’s two most high profile projects could directly benefit from the features and functions found in Ingress. Google Now is Google’s future of search feature and provides semantic information to users by aggregating their data from search queries, Android location data and interests. Users are sent “cards” as notifications on their smartphones such as the scores of their favorite sports teams, weather or how long it will take them to get home from their current location. Google could easily add Ingress updates to Now while also using the location and activity data to better target ads to people. Ingress also seems like a game tailor-made for Google Glass, the company’s new augmented reality goggles. An application layer could be added to Glass that shows players where portals and other players are, allowing them to interact with the Ingress world from their field of vision. It behooves Google to show off the capabilities of Ingress to developers. Ingress is much more than a game, it is a map for developers and points to the future of Android. The way in which Ingress players interact with the real world could be a boon a variety of Google services and app developers. With Ingress, Google is showing people the way.  There is a secret digital war happening all around us. The Enlightened and the Resistance battle for control of hidden portals scattered throughout our cities and neighborhoods. At times, the fighting can be fierce with rhetoric from both sides heated as hackers vie for control.This is not a battle between secret nationalist hacker armies and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. This is Ingress, the augmented/alternate reality game from Google’s clandestine Niantic Labs. And, if you are going to Google I/O later this month, you will soon be able to play, too.Ingress has been in closed beta since it rolled out to its first wave of users in late 2012. Google is now extending invites to the game to all registered attendees of its developers’ conference later this month in San Francisco and encouraging participants to sign in and test the game out before the conference. What Is Ingress?If you are not familiar with Ingress, the rules are pretty simple. When you sign up you are asked to pick the Enlightenment or Resistance. From a practical purpose, it does not really matter what side you pick except for the color of your side in the game (green for Enlightenment, blue for Resistance). Which side you choose depends on your stance on the dangers or potential of the game’s primary currency – Exotic Matter (XM). XM can be collected by moving around the physical world with your smartphone and spent to “hack” portals for your side.For instance, if I am in my neighborhood in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I can find a portal (which are usually landmarks, public buildings or other significant areas) and hack it with my smartphone using XM (and other various tools found in the game) and take control of it for my side. In my neighborhood, the closest portal is a post office. The game is kind of like an alternate reality massive-multiplayer online game played through your smartphone using the real world as your map. When ReadWrite reviewed Ingress in November 2012, we thought that the game (from a conceptual level) had a chance to reinvent what mobile gaming could look like in the coming years. Google probably thinks so too as it rolls out invites to all the developers attending I/O.Battle San FranciscoGoogle will be hosting two Ingress games during I/O. On Tuesday, May 14th the first floor of the Moscone West will be the stage for an Ingress battle from 4 to 6 p.m (all times PDT). The next day an Ingress battle is scheduled to break out at the I/O After Hours Party at Moscone West on the third floor between 7 and 10 p.m.A “major Ingress-wide game event” will take place in San Francisco on Thursday, May 16th from 7 to 9 p.m. This event will be open to non-Google I/O conference attendees. Google will also have a developer session during the conference at 3:30 p.m. on May 15th.  Tags:#Android#Google#Google IO13 last_img read more

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A mouthful of tricolour dishes

first_imgThis Independence Day, restaurants in the national capital are offering a taste of patriotism with ‘tricolour’ dishe. Cheesecakes to chocolate brownies and hara kababs to achaari paneer tikka, mouth-watering delicacies will be served in colours of the national flag– saffron, white and green.Like at Zing in The Metropolitan Hotel where one can enjoy a sumptuous three-course tricolour meal.Relish kulfi, a thali and mocktail – all sporting green, white and saffron colours and priced at Rs.1,200 plus taxes.”We love our country and want our guests — be it Indians or foreigners — to remember and celebrate the day through the food,” said Rajesh Khanna, the hotel’s head of food and beverage. “Last year too, we had a colourful menu to salute the Indian flag,” Khanna told IANS.At Royal China, an unlimited and colourful dimsum brunch is on offer. One can relish steamed prawn dumplings with coriander, vegetarian dumplings, mushroom buns and seafood dumplings in the three colours and wash them down with Chinese tea.The restaurant is also offering a special chocolate brownie with chocolate sauce in tricolour. The menu is priced at Rs.1,350 per person plus taxes.”We were looking for a special theme on Independence Day and the tricolour theme was the best. Last year we introduced ‘tricolour’ dishes and mocktails while this year, chocolate brownies in the three colours are the highlight,” says Eric Khoo Thium, the chef.”Giving such offers on important days helps us fetch footfalls. It also allows us to participate in the patriotic fervour,” he says.Khaaja Chowk restaurant too is celebrating Aug 15 with special vegetarian and non-vegetarian kebab boxes– each carrying 20 pieces. Vegetarians can enjoy hara kababs and achaari paneer tikka priced at Rs.549 plus taxes.Those who love non-vegetarian dishes can try galauti kababs, murg malai tikka and chicken tikka and many more for Rs.649 plus taxes.Blues bar and restaurant is not only offering a tricolour menu but also a ‘tricolour’ ambience. It serves ‘tricolour’ lasagne, chilli chicken with steam rice, non-vegetarian pasta with arrabiata, bolognaise sauce, garlic bread and biryani. The decor of the place has been changed to match the day’s mood. It is offering 60 percent discount on the menu.”We have done up the place with kites and balloons in tricolour to give the visitor a patriotic feel,” says Sammir Chawla, the bar and restaurant’s owner. Those who have a sweet tooth, Mocha has tricolour cheesecakes, priced at Rs.150 plus taxes.advertisementlast_img read more

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