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Giants plan to add former A’s fan favorite at catcher

first_imgSCOTTSDALE–When pitchers and catchers report to the Giants’ complex in Scottsdale on Tuesday, popular clubhouse presence Nick Hundley won’t be joining them.Hundley is moving across the bay to Oakland, but a former A’s catcher will have a chance to replace him in San Francisco. Two-time All-Star Stephen Vogt is expected to finalize a minor league deal with the Giants once he completes a physical on Tuesday.The Associated Press first reported Vogt reached an agreement with the Giants.Vogt had …last_img read more

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Lotus Glass Repels Water, Dirt, Bacteria

first_imgImagine never having to wash your windows again.  That would be a huge boon not only for window washers on skyscrapers, but for astronauts on the space shuttle or space station.  It may become a reality, thanks to the lotus plant.    Science Daily reported on work by a company in Atlanta that has developed a transparent coating for glass that renders it impervious to dirt and water.  The secret: imitating the surface of a lotus leaf, which “contains innumerable tiny spikes that greatly reduce the area on which water and dirt can attach.”  NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is taking a keen interest in this technology, because it can “prevent dirt from accumulating on the surfaces of spacesuits, scientific instruments, robotic rovers, solar array panels and other hardware used to gather scientific data or carry out exploratory activities on other objects in the solar system.”  The latest work seeks to manufacture the material such that it can withstand the harsh space environment.    For us earthlings, the applications of lotus-leaf surface coatings to everyday objects – eyeglasses, windshields, camera lenses and windows – promises a low-maintenance, clear view through the looking glass.  And there’s an extra benefit.  The material also repels bacteria.  Think of how hospitals could stay more hygienic with lotus-like surfaces on walls, windows and equipment.    For previous stories on the properties of the lotus leaf, see 10/17/2006, 01/18/2005 and 10/27/2004.This all began when someone looked at lotus leaves in the rain and noticed how the water beads up and runs off, leaving a clean surface.  Look around at nature and notice what other technologies have already been designed and could be applied to human needs. (You may want to get an early start if you manufacture windshield wipers.)  There’s a bright future in biomimetics, no thanks to Darwin. (Visited 16 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Richards Bay IDZ opens for business

first_img9 September 2011 Creating opportunities, developing skills The 216-hectare industrial estate was promulgated in 2002 as a public entity, with 60% of its shares held by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism and 40% by the City of uMhlatuze, the municipality that incorporates Richards Bay and Empangeni. “We are strategically placed – about 500km from the financial capital of the country, located adjacent to a natural deep sea water port, and operating in a region full of global players,” Richards Bay IDZ chief executive Ike Nxedlana said at a sod-turning ceremony this week. When considering incentives that involve customs control areas, Mabuyakhulu said it was important to consider the costs of administration as well as the need to discourage rent-seeking or mobility of investors when a better short-term incentive was available elsewhere. According to Mabuyakhulu, the development of a national policy on special economic development zones will allow for additional incentives to further entice investors to these zones, with most countries with similar zones offering a range of tax exemptions and reduced or waived customs duties. “This is particularly the case for SMMEs that are involved in the construction industry as well as those that will benefit through up-streaming, down-streaming and beneficiation initiatives,” he said. “It is also important that some creative incentives are packaged around the creation of jobs in relation to the objectives of the New Growth Path,” he said. “Incentives should be packaged in such a way that industries that have a high labour absorption rate are attracted to the zone.” To date, the only investor operating within the zone is Tata Steel, which has an investment of R960-million, and employs 184 permanent staff and 85 full-time contract employees. According to KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development and Tourism Mike Mabuyakhulu, the main purpose of attracting foreign investment to IDZs are to encourage value-addition activities and the export of beneficiated products from South Africa, and in the process also to transfer skills and technology to local companies. The Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) on South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal coast has finally commenced its Phase 1A development in preparation for forthcoming investors. He suggested that the IDZ policy could refer to sector specific incentives based sectors promoted through Industrial policy. The Richards Bay IDZ will also undertake a study and prepare analytical reports to identify niche foreign markets and suggest methods to intensify local participation in the IDZ programme.center_img Nxedlana added that many other potential investors had shown an interest in the zone, naming pulp and paper producer Pulp United as one of them. Developing a national policy The availability of feedstock such as aluminium, heavy metals, various chemicals, wood, pulp, paper, agricultural products, gas, coal and electricity also offer numerous downstream manufacturing possibilities for investors. According to Nxedlana, the rapid development of phase 1A is likely to enhance the role played by small and medium-sized enterprises. He added that by October this year, they would announce the identity of a company that would invest about R1-billion to establish a fertiliser exporting company within the Richards Bay IDZ, creating about 1 000 indirect jobs during the construction phase and 150 permanent jobs thereafter. He added that tax incentives are easier to provide than changes to the national tax regime, and can be a means for governments to signal their commitment to investment. Nxedlana said that they were also on the verge of establishing the first customs controlled area within an industrial development zone in South Africa, at Tata Steel’s facilities. It will also be the first area to test the customs control area policy recently approved by the South African Revenue Service. “When investigating Intel’s decision to invest in Costa Rica, the expression of the Costa Rican government’s support and commitment through the provision of a tax incentive was of huge importance to their decision to invest … even though Costa Rica did not offer the highest incentives compared to other nations competing for investments,” he explained. “The key reason for developing zones is for developing industrial capability through utilising and learning from new technologies from the foreign firms rather than just solely generating foreign direct investment,” he said. Investors already showing interest SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

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Work ongoing to address unintended results of tax change that favors cooperatives

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest While many have suggested the recently passed tax law has numerous benefits for agriculture, there are some potential negative implications for private grain companies and other privately held purchasers of agricultural goods.A provision affecting the qualified cooperative dividend was added to the tax bill late in the process last year in an effort to avoid a tax increase for farmers previously relying on the Section 199 Domestic Production Activities Deduction. The problem that has since surfaced, however, is that the provision may inadvertently favor cooperatives over private grain buyers due to potential tax deductions for farmers. In short, the change cuts farmer taxes on proceeds from agricultural products sold to cooperatives.According to a statement from the Ohio AgriBusiness Association: “A provision in the new tax law gives growers a better deal at tax time if they sell their agricultural products to co-ops rather than other types of companies. The provision will allow farmers to deduct up to 20% of their total gross sales to cooperatives, letting some farmers reduce their taxable income to zero. Farmers would get a smaller deduction — about 20% of income — if they sell grain or other farm products to privately held or investor-owned companies. Tax lawyers and accountants say the new law will give cooperatives a significant edge over competitors.”This debate builds upon a battle last year in the development of the new tax legislation to preserve the Section 199 deduction for domestic production“That deduction went away in the tax rewrite, but lawmakers including Sen. John Hoeven (R., N.D.) won the inclusion of the new deduction. Meant to compensate for the loss of Section 199, the new provision did not intend to put private firms at a disadvantage,” according to OABA.The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach agreed and is supportive of addressing the issue.“The aim of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was to spur economic growth across the entire American economy, including in the agricultural sector. While the goal was to preserve benefits in Section 199A for cooperatives and their patrons, the unintended consequences of the current language disadvantage the independent operators in the same industry,” Ibach said. “The federal tax code should not pick winners and losers in the marketplace. We applaud Congress for acknowledging and moving to correct the disparity, and our expectation is that a solution is forthcoming. USDA stands ready to assist in any way necessary.”Numerous Senate offices, the Ohio AgriBusiness Association, the National Grain and Feed Association, and other agricultural groups are currently working on addressing the situation. In a joint statement from Chuck Conner, president and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, and Randy Gordon, president and CEO of the National Grain and Feed Association, they said the following: “We are working intensively with stakeholders, including cooperatives, non-cooperative-owned agribusinesses and Senate offices, including Senators Hoeven, Thune and Roberts. The goal of these discussions is to arrive at an equitable solution that preserves the benefits that cooperatives and their farmer patrons previously enjoyed under Section 199 of the tax code, while addressing any unforeseen impacts on producers’ marketing decisions. NCFC, NGFA and our stakeholders are committed to reaching a solution in a thoughtful and expeditious manner, and to working with Congress to address this issue promptly.”It should be noted that any scenarios currently being considered are being done without any IRS rules in place. As the IRS develops the rules for the new tax laws the details (and complexities) of the tax language could change significantly.“Without IRS guidance on this issue, it is impossible to know how these provisions will be interpreted,” said Kristine A. Tidgren at the Iowa State University Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation. “A plain reading of the text of the new law would suggest that it provides a significantly larger 199A deduction to some member farmers marketing their products through a cooperative than to farmers selling to a non-cooperative. But it is too early to tell if this interpretation will be implemented. Seemingly plain readings of the code are sometimes transformed by IRS regulation. It is also possible that Congress could ‘fix’ this provision. Section 199A(f)(4) instructs the Secretary of the Treasury to prescribe regulations necessary to ‘carry out the purposes’ of the law, including those ‘requiring or restricting the allocation of items’ under the law. Significantly disparate treatment of similar activities may warrant administrative consideration of the ‘purposes’ of the law.”Technical corrections would require a politically challenging 60 votes in the Senate to make a change in the actual law.last_img read more

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Night Surveys: The Lights Are On, But Nobody is Home

first_imgReprogramming the controlsNot more than a couple of weeks after our Hendrie Hall Night Survey, Julie sent me a graph (see Image #6), saying, “After the survey, we met again with Tara Deming and our electrical supervisor Ed Grund [Hendrie Hall Facilities staff] to review lighting schedules in the public corridors and front foyer. We reprogrammed the Lutron system to better reflect building use – and have saved approximately 100 kWh/day (the equivalent of three Connecticut homes.) We are following up on a number of additional items.”When I asked Julie just what sort of return on investment there has been for her Night Survey, she said that Night surveys are a key component to building energy project portfolios that offer simple payback periods less than 5 years and significant cumulative long term savings. Opportunities found at night are among the lowest cost, highest value carbon abatement strategies.Julie concluded: “The Night Surveys work.”Sometimes it’s the simple stuff that works best, especially if someone is taking responsibility for building performance over time. Someone like Julie, just walking her Yale buildings at night. Infrared thermometer checksAs we walk Hendrie Hall, starting about 10 p.m., my students are snapping photos of spaces. One student is reinforcing Julie’s DIT shots with infrared camera shots.It becomes pretty clear that quite a bit of energy is being wasted. From the official Yale Energy Management Hendrie Hall report:General hallway and lobby lighting is higher than needed, especially in the evening hours. Operationally, lower level lights would be helpful to signify that the building is closing.Lutron system can be reprogrammed to set back public lighting.Replace row of PAR 38 Halogens in student lounge with LED type (see Images #2 and #3,below).Individual offices had sporadic computer screens left on and printers left on.AV systems left on in all larger spaces. Need to work with Yale AV staff to put into sleep / hibernate mode (see Images #4 and #5).Air handling units were operating during walk-through past scheduled operating hours. Investigate programming and space condition trending. Initial assumption is that air handling units are operating because of humidity setpoints.Band and glee rooms are used sporadically during the day and primarily in the evenings for rehearsal. Investigate appropriate schedule changes. This past October, as usual, my Yale Forestry and Environmental Studies graduate students joined Julie’s team to survey Hendrie Hall. Hendrie Hall, shared by the School of Music and just about all of the Yale performing ensembles, recently went through a two-year extensive renovation and addition, completed around the start of 2017. So this night survey was checking up on how the building is measuring up over the last nine months or so compared to energy performance predictions.“Tonight we’ll be focused on how we use this building,” Paquette says. “There are always ways to learn more about energy use and how we might adapt that use.” Julie places the night survey in context with a simple graphic (see Image 1 at the top of the page). Why Don’t Green Buildings Live Up to Hype on Energy Efficiency?Energy Modeling Isn’t Very AccurateHome Dashboards Help to Reduce Energy UseU.S. Towns Race for Conservation SupremacyStupid Energy-Saving Tipscenter_img Julie Paquette has been Director of Energy Management at Yale University for about 6 years. That means the buck stops at Julie’s desk for the energy consumption of over 400 buildings on campus. Yale has a pretty sophisticated approach to energy, including the Yale Facilities Energy Explorer, an energy dashboard system that shows energy consumption and details for every one of those 400 Yale buildings.But as a practicing engineer, Julie recognizes the benefits of less sophisticated approaches to understanding building energy consumption, including “night surveys.” Armed with just a digital infrared thermometer (DIT) and maybe a dozen pages of recent reports (energy consumption, building’s controls schedule, and even the custodial schedule), Julie walks her buildings with the members of the facility staff working in that particular building. They do this after the building is technically “closed” for the day. In the last four years, Julie has “night-surveyed” more than 35 Yale buildings, from labs to museums to classroom buildings. RELATED ARTICLES In addition to acting as GBA’s technical director, Peter Yost is the Vice President for Technical Services at BuildingGreen in Brattleboro, Vermont. He has been building, researching, teaching, writing, and consulting on high-performance homes for more than twenty years. An experienced trainer and consultant, he’s been recognized as NAHB Educator of the Year. Do you have a building science puzzle? Contact Pete here. You can also sign up for BuildingGreen’s email newsletter to get a free report on insulation, as well as regular posts from Peter.last_img read more

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Baptism of fire for Maroons

first_imgPH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles MOST READ DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue Hontiveros presses for security audit of national power grid LATEST STORIES Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Far Eastern forges decider against Ateneo Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Philippine Arena Interchange inaugurated University of the Philippines’ retooled roster gets an acid test right in its first game in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup when the Maroons battle San Beda in the main game in the inaugurals Sunday.Tip off is at 4 p.m. at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan with the Maroons to unveil prized acquisitions Ricci Rivero and the exciting Kobe Paras against the Red Lions, the reigning three-time NCAA champions.ADVERTISEMENT “We’re still working on our chemistry,” UP assistant coach Ricky Dandan said. “San Beda will be a big test for us.”The Maroons finished a fighting second to Ateneo in the UAAP last season, defying all pretournament predictions by ousting Adamson in the Final Four.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsRivero and Paras will join a solid core that already has Bright Akhuetie and Juan Gomez de Liaño and their coming to UP will be more than enough to plug the hole created by the departure of Paul Desiderio, who is now in the PBA. View commentslast_img read more