Matherson sprints to National Youth record

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Matherson sprints to National Youth record

first_imgKingston College’s ace sprinter Jhevaughn Matherson highlighted yesterday’s opening day of the 2016 Carifta Trials with a National Youth record of 10.25 seconds to capture the Under-18 100 metres.Matherson, who had only competed in one 100m race before yesterday, crossed the finish line ahead of Calabar High’s Dejour Russell, who raced to a personal best 10.39, with Greater Portmore’s Odaine McPherson placing third in 10.64.Matherson’s winning time erased the 10.27 mark which was held jointly by Jahzeel Murphy and Raheem Chambers.St Elizabeth Technical’s Nigel Ellis captured the Under-20 100m in 10.26, defeating St Jago High’s Raheem Chambers. Chambers (10.32) led for 90 metres before Ellis rallied for the win. Calabar’s Xavier Angus was third in 10.51.DOMINANCEHelped by a 2.5 metres per second wind, St Jago’s Kimone Shaw continued her dominance at this level. She won the Under-17 100m in 11.51 ahead of Michae Harriott of Holmwood Technical, 11.93, and Mount Alvernia High’s Kemba Nelson, 11.94.Patrice Moodie of Edwin Allen High powered to an impressive 11.56 victory in the girls’ Under-20 100 metres final. St Jago’s Shanice Reid (11.79) was second and Camperdown’s Ruchelle Burton third in 11.80.There were also outstanding performances in the 400 metres hurdles, led by Edwin Allen High’s Shannon Kallawan in the Under-20 girls’ event. Kallawan romped to an impressive personal best 56.80 seconds, getting the better of Holmwood’s Nicolee Foster, who clocked a personal best 58.40.In the Under-18 hurdles, Vere Technical’s Sanique Walker won in a personal best 58.68. Hydel High’s Shian Salmon was second in 59.37.Jauvaney James of St Elizabeth Technical took the boys’ Under-20 400m hurdles in 51.67, edging out St Jago’s Timor Barrett (51.68). Kingston College’s Sherwayne Allen took third in a personal best 52.56.In the Under-18 400m hurdles, St Elizabeth athletes were first and second. Leonardo Ledgister, 53.26, won ahead of Dashinelle Dyer, 54.30.Other resultsBOYSUnder-18 shot put: 1. Rasheeda Downer (KC) 18.81m, 2. Zico Campbell 17.60m, 3. Danree Delancy (Munro) 17.71m.Under-18 high jump: 1. Jon Marc (KC) 2.03m, 2. Kobe Jordan (Cornwall) 2.03m, 3. Andrew Betton (Calabar) 1.95m.GIRLSUnder-20 triple jump: 1. Tisanne Hickling (St Jago) 12.82, 2. Danielle Spence (Wolmer’s) 12.24m, 3. Britny Kerr (Hydel) 12.15m.Under-18 triple jump: 1. Myesha Nott (Rusea’s) 11.89m, 2. Lotavia Brown (Edwin Allen) 11.75m.Under-20 javelin: 1. Sahjay Stevens (STETHS) 44.18m, 2. Tyfah Saunders (Immaculate) 41.53m, 3. Georgette Samuels (STETHS) 38.75m.Under-18 javelin: 1. Aiko Jones (Wolmer’s) 40.58m, 2. Zinedine Russell (Alpha) 31.00m.Action on today’s second and final day will begin at 10.30 a.m.last_img read more

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Questioning the Sanity of Big Science and Big Media

first_imgScientists arrogate to themselves the authority to diagnose insanity, but they and their friends in the mainstream media believe some pretty nutty things.Observers of Big Science (the institutions and journals) and Big Media (their lapdog publicists) learn two things real fast: (1) They hate Donald Trump, who is real, and (2) They love space aliens, who are not. Go figure.In Thursday’s presidential press conference (Feb 16), Trump told reporters that he knew they were going to twist everything he said. Sure enough, they did. From his point of view, it’s not surprising he went from calling CNN “fake news” to “very fake news.” From the reporters’ point of view, Trump is an enemy to be destroyed. Guess whose side Big Science is on? Some headlines today leave no doubt.Big Science: Trump, the Evil WackoEnsuring scientific integrity in the Age of Trump (Science Magazine). If you expect this post by seven members of the “Union of Concerned Scientists” will be fair and balanced, you don’t know Big Science. “Early indications that the Administration plans to distort or disregard science and evidence, coupled with the chaos and confusion occurring within federal agencies, now imperil the effectiveness of our government.” That’s just the second sentence. It goes downhill from there. Now guess who the good leader is, in their opinion. “Both the John McCain and Obama campaigns in 2008 committed in writing to restore scientific integrity to federal policy-making.” (Note to readers: McCain lost, Trump won, but McCain has been a constant critic of Trump. Another note: “scientific integrity” is Big Science code for giving Big Science everything it wants, paid for by taxpayers. Anything else is called “anti-science.”)The America I believe in (Hilal A. Lashuel in Science Magazine). This is a crybaby piece by a Yemenese-born Swiss Muslim, who is also a US citizen. He was inconvenienced by Trump’s temporary hold on immigrant travel to the United States from seven terror-prone countries, including Yemen. Actually, Lashuel made the decision not to try to travel to a conference, but he plays up the “ban” word for best effect to make Trump look anti-Muslim. Like most leftists, he fails to mention that the majority of Muslim nations were unaffected, and that the seven countries restricted by Trump’s executive order had previously been fingered by the Obama administration as failed states supporting terrorism, whose citizens should be restricted from immigrating to the US. But that point wouldn’t fit the leftist/globalist/open-borders narrative now, would it? Readers will look in vain for any scientist glad that Trump was taking action to protect US citizens.European science bodies ‘concerned’ about Trump (Phys.org). Why are 46 European science societies concerned about Trump? They think his views are not based on scientific facts. “The authors cited the new US president’s attempts to ban travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries and threats to stop government scientists from talking to the press or publishing findings without permission.” Actually, those claims were answered by Trump’s team: it wasn’t a ‘ban’ on Muslim countries (most Muslim countries were still allowed), but only on seven failed states that could not guarantee their people were not involved in terrorism. That’s a position both Obama and Clinton stated previously. Secondly, there was no order “to stop government scientists from talking to the press or publishing findings without permission.” That is certifiable fake news. The temporary order only applied to the EPA (which works for the President) after a sub-agency “retweeted a pair of posts to its 315,000 followers that seemed to be a swipe at Trump on his initial day in office” (Breitbart News). And it was temporary: “We’re just trying to get a handle on everything and make sure what goes out reflects the priorities of the new administration.” One would think scientists would know how to evaluate evidence before jumping to conclusions. This article provided no balance or fact-checking.Should Psychiatrists’ Weigh in on Trump’s Mental Health? (Catherine Caruso at Live Science). So deep runs the hatred of Trump among scientific institutions, they are not beyond calling him crazy. Despite the American Psychiatric Association’s “self-imposed ethics rule forbidding psychiatrists from offering professional opinions about public figures they have not personally evaluated,” Caruso writes, a group of 35 New York psychiatrists and social workers “believe that the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president.” So by their own guidelines, they admit they have no evidence. Fortunately, Caruso mentions some others who don’t agree with this tactic. But is this response better? “Psychiatric name-calling is a misguided way of countering Mr. Trump’s attack on democracy.” Attack on democracy? [See ‘Begging the Question’ in the Baloney Detector.]Update 2/19/17: Dr. Allen Frances comes to Trump’s aid in New Scientist, saying that trying to impeach the president on medical grounds is a “terrible idea.” He strongly opposes the 24,000 psych’s who have signed a letter calling him mentally ill and unfit for office, because “armchair diagnosis cheapens its currency.” Already, “psychiatric diagnosis is already done far too casually and inaccurately in medical and mental health practice,” he says, so opponents need to use political tools, “not misapplied psychological ones.” It’s not clear if Trump, his cabinet or his supporters will fully appreciate his defense, though. Dr. Frances calls Trump “flawed” and a “world class narcissist” who represents a “present threat to peace, the global climate, rational thought and science” – and not just Trump. “Those next in line,” referring to Mike Pence, “support the same dangerous, science-denying irrationality.” One wonders who is living in the glass house here.Big Science: Space Aliens, Our Invisible FriendsAn old preacher, to illustrate the point that the problem might be one’s own fault, told a funny story about a practical joker who smeared Limburger cheese in the beard of a sleeping bum. When the bum got up and started walking around, he saw a pretty lady and said to himself, “She smells bad.” He sniffed a rose and thought it smelled terrible. After a few minutes, he exclaimed, “What’s going on? The whole world smells awful!” We have just seen institutional scientists calling Donald Trump crazy. Let’s consider the sanity of the accusers, who seem to have an insatiable fascination with invisible beings for which there is absolutely no evidence at all.For starters, we consider a report by planetary scientists who reported finding a smattering of organic compounds on the dwarf planet Ceres. What does it mean? The authors on Science Magazine say, “The combined presence on Ceres of ammonia-bearing hydrated minerals, water ice, carbonates, salts, and organic material indicates a very complex chemical environment, suggesting favorable environments to prebiotic chemistry.” No life was found, in other words; just some unidentified carbon compounds like methane, ethylene, epsom salt and other poisons – not particularly surprising, since these are often found in meteorites, too. Here’s how the suggestion of “prebiotic” chemistry echoed in Big Science Media:Life’s Building Blocks Found on Dwarf Planet Ceres (Mike Wall on Space.com). “The dwarf planet Ceres keeps looking better and better as a possible home for alien life.”Dawn spacecraft data suggest organic materials are native to the dwarf planet (Southwest Research Institute). “This discovery of a locally high concentration of organics is intriguing, with broad implications for the astrobiology community,” says one SwRI researcher. “….With this new finding Dawn has shown that Ceres contains key ingredients for life.”Dwarf planet Ceres hosts home-grown organic material (Chelsea Whyte on New Scientist). Whyte is mildly cautious, but ends with this quote by a hopeful astrobiologist from the European Space Agency: “A couple of decades ago, when talking about life in the solar system, we were focused on Mars. And now, we are more and more looking at other locations, like Saturn’s moon Titan and the subsurfaces of places like [Jupiter’s moon] Europa,” Küppers says. “And now also Ceres in the asteroid belt.” Note: over the decades, there has been no evidence of life on Mars, Titan, or Europa.Dwarf planet Ceres and the ingredients of life (Michael Küppers in Science Magazine). That same ESA astrobiologist was given an open mike in America’s leading science journal to state that salt, carbon and ammonia on this little world “opens the possibility that primitive life could have developed on Ceres itself.”Organic molecules found on giant asteroid Ceres – why that’s a such a huge deal (Monica Grady at The Conversation). Are you getting the picture that Big Science and Big Media have a nutty fascination with alien life? Grady, a professor of planetary sciences at The Open University, is no exception. With such a paucity of evidence— nowhere near the requirements for life (e.g., outside the Habitable Zone, no liquid water, insufficient heat, no genetic information, etc.)—she speculates recklessly like the other reporters above. But then, she goes beyond the others into spiritual revelry. Overcome with euphoria, she enters a trance with an extinct goddess:The combination of hot water and organic material is extremely exciting. Once you have an environment conducive to the production of organic materials – especially one that also contains the nitrogen-bearing clay minerals which are known to catalyse other reactions – it may not be a step too far to posit that Ceres had (and maybe still has) all the ingredients essential for formation of the chemicals that, on Earth, eventually led to the origin of life.Ernutet is the Egyptian goddess of fertility or nourishment. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if finding organic molecules in a crater named after her was the first indication of a non-terrestrial cradle of life?This is certifiably unscientific, if not downright insane. There is no evidence for any life beyond Earth, after searching for over half a century. But even if no life is ever found on Ceres, that wouldn’t stop Big Science’s obsessive-compulsive, manic-depressive, paranoid delusion that life must be everywhere. In their dreams, our invisible friends beckon us to join them in a galactic utopia.Prebiotic evolution: Hairpins help each other out (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich). “Life is thought to have emerged from a process of chemical evolution in which nucleic acid sequences could be selectively replicated.” Is thought? By whom? Dear reader, did you think that? Are these scientists suffering from psychological projection, attributing their own psychosis onto ordinary people? We know better. We watched Illustra’s film Origin.This Is Why Sending Messages to Aliens Might Be a Good Idea (Nancy Atkinson at Space.com). Nancy gives SETI advocate a soapbox for his idea of METI – messaging extra-terrestrial intelligence. Vakoch figures that since the space aliens already know we’re here from our inadvertent TV and radio leakage, we might as well try to be friendly. Maybe our invisible friends will be nice to us. This isn’t crazy; it’s scientific, he reasons, because we can sanctify the decision to communicate through that tried-and-true process, peer review (see 2/13/17).Does Dark Matter Harbor Life? (Nautilus). As an illustration of the extremes to which true believers in space aliens will go, look at Lisa Randall arguing that “dark life could in principle be present—even right under our noses.” Note to readers: dark matter has never been detected (e.g., Nature), and no astronomer even knows what it is.Universes that spawn ‘cosmic brains’ should go on the scrapheap (Anil Ananthaswamy at New Scientist). A logical outcome of multiverse theory (increasingly popular among secular cosmologists as a way out of the fine-tuning in our universe that suggests intelligent design) is that we are not people at all. We are actually naked brains floating in space. That’s because it’s easier for chance to spawn brains complete with false perceptions and memories (called Boltzmann brains) than real people that have to arrive through a long process of evolution. If that sounds nutty, it is – so nutty, in fact, that secular cosmologists who are aware of the problem, like Sean Carroll of Caltech, are trying to squirm out of it with highly speculative concepts like ‘cognitive instability.’ His critics think that such fancy notions are unnecessary.While tossing out unnecessary things, let’s put these on the list: dark matter, multiverses, space aliens and media bias.Does anyone think these guys are not totally wacko? What is mental illness if not being out of touch with reality? These echo-chamber troglodytes really need to get out more. Maybe take up coal mining in West Virginia, or work as a cowboy on a ranch, like Teddy Roosevelt did to clear his head after a series of personal crises. Watching people with this level of credulity call conservatives mentally ill or evil should encourage those of us with our common sense intact. The credibility of an accusation is not higher than its source. If people this nutty label you ‘anti-science,’ you have nothing to fear.Recommended resource: Spike Psarris’s 3rd DVD on “What You Are Not Being Told About Astronomy: Our Created Universe” has a clear explanation and cogent refutation of multiverse theory and Boltzmann brains. (Visited 71 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Monument to warrior Makana

first_img9 October 2003The Eastern Cape government has welcomed plans by the Makana Municipality to erect a R20-million monument in honour of Nxele Makana, a Xhosa warrior renowned for leading resistance against British invaders during the territorial wars in the Cape in the 19th century.The Makana Municipality includes Grahamstown, famous for hosting the annual National Arts Festival, where the proposed statue will be erected.Makana, one of Robben Island’s first political prisoners, is closely associated with Grahamstown due to his role in the Fifth Frontier War between the British garrisons and amaXhosa warriors in 1819.Eastern Cape Local Government and Traditional Affairs MEC Gugile Nkwinti has urged the municipality and other stakeholders to fast-track the process. “We need to have the Makana Monument in Grahamstown just opposite the Settlers Monument,” he said.“We need to recognise warriors such as Makana who died for their people,” Nkwinti said, adding that historical sites should become museums and sources of information on amaXhosa history.It is also expected that the monument will consist of isiXhosa literature and related artefacts.Makana Municipality’s mayor, Vumile Lweni, said his council needs R10-million to get the project off the ground. “The total estimated amount to erect the monument is in excess of R20-million,” Lweni said.He said consultations with stakeholders concerning the monument were ongoing and that traditional leaders supported the proposals.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

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SA set for record 2009 election

first_imgA recreation of people queuing to vote during South Africa’s historic 1994 elections in a still from the Brand South Africa promotional video We’ve Done It Before.Mary AlexanderSouth Africa is set for unprecedented voter turnout in 2009, with more than 21-million people – nearly a quarter of them youngsters – registered to vote in the country’s fourth democratic election, likely to be held in April.The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) announced on Wednesday that a record 1.6-million people had taken part in its voter registration drive over the weekend of 8 to 9 November – the vast majority of them aged 18 to 29. South Africans are eligible to vote from the age of 18.“The drive has far surpassed our expectations,” IEC chairperson Brigalia Bam said in a statement.“The IEC is delighted to see the success of the weekend drive to register new voters, especially the youth, who represent a majority of the weekend registration activity at 77.9%. We are proud to say that this was our most successful registration drive since 2000.”Out of a total population estimated at 48.7-million people, some 27-million are eligible to vote. During the previous election held in 2004, 20-million voters were registered, but only 15-million actually cast their ballots.The new interest in participating in the election is largely seen as a result of political developments in the country. These have included the replacement of Thabo Mbeki with Kgamela Motlanthe as president, and the formation of a new political party, the Congress of the People, by a breakaway faction of the ruling African National Congress.The Obama factorBarack Obama’s successful election campaign in the US may also have something to do with it – particularly in kindling interest in voting among previously apathetic young people. The election of America’s first black – and relatively young – president may have inspired the youth to believe democracy can actually work.“We have seen how the Obama strategy enticed younger voters to enrol to vote, and our politicians have clearly not employed this, but current political developments seem to have encouraged the youth to vote,” political analyst Steven Friedman told The Times.Of the 1.6-million newly registered voters, 1.2-million are in the 18 to 29 age bracket.Despite heavy rain a total of 3.7-million people visited the 19 000 registration centres across the country during the course of the weekend, to register for the first time, re-register, change their voting districts or inspect their details on the voters’ roll.KwaZulu-Natal had the highest number of new registrations with 451 030, followed by Gauteng with 369 623 and the Eastern Cape with 193 444.More women than men took part in the registration, with 882 536 women (54%) applying as opposed to 765 653 men (46%).Before the registration drive there were 20-million eligible voters, and after 21.7-million. The percentage of voters in the 18 to 29 age category rose from 20.4% of registered voters to 24.3% – approaching a quarter.Bam said while the IEC is pleased with the results of the registration weekend, it also recognised that there may be people who missed the opportunity. These people can register at the IEC offices in their municipalities during normal office hours.The South African voters’ roll closes on the day the president proclaims the election date. The IEC announced yesterday that it will hold a second registration drive early in 2009, before the proclamation. This is likely to push voter numbers to an even higher record.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Mary Alexander at marya@mediaclubsouthafrica.com.Related artclesObamamania sweeps AfricaClosing South Africa’s democratic deficitBetter government across Africa South Africa’s growing political maturity Motlanthe to be acting president Mbeki resigns as SA president Useful linksIndependent Electoral Commissionlast_img read more

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Brand South Africa hosts Top 50 Brands in South Africa event

first_imgThe Top 50 South African brands have been announced by Brand South Africa and Brand Africa Finance. These brands are said to contribute not only to the country’s economy, but to the image they portray when doing business internationally.Pratiksha Jekison-Singh of MTN (in middle) receives the award for Top Most Valuable Brand in South Africa on 15 September 2015. She is pictured with Thebe Ikalafeng of Brand Africa Finance and Kingsley Makhubela of Brand South Africa. (Image: Melissa Javan)Melissa JavanA brand’s performance, its relationship with its customers, and the money the brand spends on equity, were the key pillars of success, Thebe Ikalafeng, the chief executive officer of Brand Africa said yesterday at the announcement of the country’s Top 50 Brands of 2015.Brand South Africa and Brand Africa hosted the breakfast announcement, which took place in Houghton, Johannesburg.It was the third annual study undertaken by Brand Africa, said the organisers. The study found that the top 50 corporate brands in South Africa were valued at approximately R1.5-trillion, with many of these companies also contributing to national priorities such as uplifting identified and targeted communities.Retail group Woolworths and First National Bank are the strongest brands in South Africa for 2014/2015. The cellphone network MTN is the Top Valuable Brand in the country.Brands are assetsIkalafeng said brands had become more than just a logo or slogan. “They are now seen as corporate assets which are amongst the most valuable that an organisation can have. By extension, national corporate brands also contribute to a nation’s assets in terms of the value they add to the country – both in terms of (gross domestic product) as well as reputational impact,” he said.“The brand managers and executives who oversee and manage these brands therefore play their part to contribute to corporate profitability and visibility and we at Brand South Africa and Brand Africa Finance salute you.”Sydney Mbhele, divisional executive: group marketing at Nedbank, and Peter Mancer, chief executive officer of the company Diversity Management, were among the guests at the event. Nedbank is ranked seventh on the Top 50 SA Brands list. (Image: Melissa Javan)Faye Mfikwe (on right), chief marketing officer of First National Bank also received the Top Strongest Brand award for her company. Here she is with Ashraf Garda of SA FM Radio, another guest at the breakfast. (Image: Melissa Javan)Zukiswa Modisakeng, Vuyelwa Nyakaza, and Busi Dziba are entrepreneurs who attended the event to support their favourite South African brands. (Image: Melissa Javan)Brand South Africa’s chief executive officer, Kingsley Makhubela, stressed that while developing, strengthening and maintaining a nation’s brand was a multifaceted task, there were a range of factors that could help to position the nation positively.“These factors, if based on a solid foundation, can help the nation brand weather the storms posed by the global political and economic environment. One of these factors (is) national corporate entities,” said Makhubela.“Your excellence in the corporate field contributes immensely to the strength and positive reputation of the South African nation brand. Your brands are sometimes the first point of contact between consumers and the South African nation, especially where corporate brands have an international footprint.”The Top 50 Brands’ product quality, customer service and ethical framework, he said, contributed to perceptions about South Africa’s spirit of ubuntu, its innovation, and “the values that the country drives”. “South Africa’s corporate sector is therefore critical to enabling Brand South Africa to position the country as an attractive inward destination of choice.”Customers, the focusKate Fordyce of Woolworths says the retailer’s Top Strongest Brand award is the result of the passion and hard work of staff. She is pictured with Thebe Ikalafeng of Brand Africa Finance and Kingsley Makhubela of Brand South Africa at the Top 50 Brands announcement on 15 September 2015. (Image: Melissa Javan)Pratiksha Jekison-Singh, the senior manager of brand communications and media at MTN, welcomed the win, especially following the recent strikes and structural changes within the company.“Our customers are the core focus, the centre of our business,” she said. “We’re driving to what’s best for them, looking at their behaviour and educate them on what is best suitable for their needs.”The Top 50 Brands were a prestigious event. “The brands are competing in the same industry, markets and fields. Yet with competing, we have the same respect for each other, and our goal is to achieve what is best for the country as a whole,” she added.Kate Fordyce, the head of agency at Woolworths, said the retailer was very proud and honoured to receive this award from Brand South Africa. “This award is testament to the passion and hard work of our people and the loyalty of our customers.“The Woolworths difference is brought to life by our values such as quality, integrity, energy and sustainability. These same values inform everything we do – from our customer service to our interactions with suppliers and our contribution to the communities in which we operate.”Click on the image below for a larger view.Sources: Brand Africa Finance and Brand South Africa Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_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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AI flight skids off runway in Pune

first_imgPune: Passengers on Delhi-Pune Air India flight AI 849 had a close shave after it overshot the 2,535-metre runway at the Lohegaon Airport in Pune, forcing an emergency evacuation of those aboard. No one was injured. Authorities said all 152 passengers were safely evacuated, while the runway was shut down for over an hour as the aircraft had to be towed awayA number of flights between 6.27 p.m. and 7.30 p.m. were delayed as a result.“The plane overshot the runway after touching down at 6:27 p.m. It halted safely and was towed away. All passengers were evacuated using chutes and no one was injured,” said Air India officials.While many flights were delayed, details were awaited at the time of going to press. Directorate General of Civil Aviation officials said the incident was serious in nature and would be investigated. “This is a case of runway excursion, which seems to be due to excessive tail winds. But there is no damage to the aircraft. A DGCA team from Mumbai will visit Pune on Saturday,” officials said. The Pune Airport forms part of the Indian Air Force’s Lohegaon Air Base and currently handles 126 civil aircraft movements. Air India officials said that a ferry flight was being arranged to fly from Delhi to Pune for the passengers waiting to fly to the capital.last_img read more

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