Michael Riedel’s Razzle Dazzle to Land on Small Screen

first_imgMichael Riedel Truth is stranger than fiction: think a much more scandalous Smash! Theater journalist Michael Riedel’s surprisingly scintillating tome, Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway, is being developed by RadicalMedia for the small screen; Doug McGrath is adapting the work.“I’m delighted that Doug McGrath is adapting Razzle Dazzle into a miniseries. I loved his play about Richard Nixon—Checkers—and I think his book to Beautiful: The Carol King Musical is terrific,” Riedel told Broadway.com. “My only regret is that I didn’t put myself in Razzle Dazzle. I know Hugh Jackman has been dying to play me for years.” Oh, shut up, Riedel.In Razzle Dazzle, Riedel pulls back the curtain on the Great White Way’s stars, its producers, and its mega-hits to reveal all the shocking drama, intrigue, and power plays that happened off stage. The book is a provocative, no-holds-barred narrative account of the people and the money and the power that re-invented an iconic quarter of New York City, turning its gritty back alleys and sex-shops into the glitzy, dazzling Great White Way—and bringing a crippled New York from the brink of bankruptcy to its glittering glory.Check out Broadway.com’s exclusive tour of the Main Stem with Riedel as he discusses the book below. View Commentslast_img read more

Philosophy on the Phringe

first_imgSome philosophy is just common sense.  Some is abstruse, recondite, and technically challenging.  But when employed against common sense, such as to support the belief that everything came from nothing, philosophy can get downright weird. Old moat’s gotta go:  Ernst Mayr was a key figure in 20th century evolutionary theory.  His method of evolutionary explanation was to create a philosophical distinction between proximate causation and ultimate causation.  Why does the male peacock grow an elaborate tail?  Because peahens like it.  It’s not necessary, he thought, to explain the development of the peacock tail from an embryo to understand why evolution selected the male’s tail.  Five guys writing in Science this week think his distinction is hindering progress.1 A moat can keep the bad guys out, but also hem the good guys in.  Here’s how they wrote about the situation: Fifty years ago, Ernst Mayr published a hugely influential paper on the nature of causation in biology, in which he distinguished between proximate and ultimate causes. Mayr equated proximate causation with immediate factors (for example, physiology) and ultimate causation with evolutionary explanations (for example, natural selection). He argued that proximate and ultimate causes addressed different questions and were not alternatives. Mayr’s account of causation remains widely accepted today, with both positive and negative ramifications. Several current debates in biology (for example, over evolution and development, niche construction, cooperation, and the evolution of language) are linked by a common axis of acceptance/rejection of Mayr’s model of causation. We argue that Mayr’s formulation has acted to stabilize the dominant evolutionary paradigm against change but may now hamper progress in the biological sciences. The five guys want to be able to extend evolutionary storytelling to include plots about niche construction, cultural evolution and other things.  The old gray Mayr’s principle ain’t what it used to be.  Fill in the moat and get the old goat off the drawbridge, where he’s blocking progress. “The commonalities of the above debates also raise rich issues concerning the history and philosophy of science, for instance, over how conceptual frameworks channel thinking and hinder paradigm shifts,” they said with homage to Kuhn.  “It would seem that the manner in which biologists think about causality has acted like a meta-theoretical conceptual framework to stabilize the dominant scientific paradigm.” Democracy for dummies:  Want to improve democracy?  Dumb down the public.  That’s the idea of two guys in Science who asked, “Can Ignorance Promote Democracy?” (expecting “yes” to that rhetorical question).2  This strange article compared human society to the animal herds and the arrangement of stomata on a leaf.  They had good things to say about a paper by Couzin et al. in the same issue,3 who purported to “show how the presence of uninformed agents can promote democratic outcomes in collective decision problems.”  The fact that the Princeton-led team came to this conclusion with experiments on fish, according to the write-up on PhysOrg, may reveal quite a bit about how elitist academics feel about their fellow man. Contra Thomas Jefferson, who advocated education for the masses, the Princeton eggheads put forth the counter-intuitive idea that an intransigent minority can provide protection against a manipulative minority by amplifying the majority opinion, since uninformed individuals tend to take on the views of those around them. “In this way, adding uninformed individuals to a group can facilitate fair representation during the process of information integration.”  The reader can ponder what this might entail, such as in trucking in masses of people across the border and giving them the right to vote.  (They did realize one problem: too many uninformed citizens leads to loss of function.)  Group leader Couzin appealed to evolutionary theory for his conclusion: survival of the witless.  In the PhysOrg article, he said, “These experiments indicate there is an evolutionary function to being uninformed that perhaps is as active as being informed.”  Riddle: if knowledge is power, what is ignorance?  PhysOrg gave the answer right in the headline: “Less knowledge, more power: Uninformed can be vital to democracy, study finds.”  Don’t laugh.  That’s a “finding” of science. What works for some elitist academic’s model system may have very different consequences in the real world.  The authors defined democracy as majority rule, and outcomes of their model as a “naturally occurring decision making process” that can be seen in the dynamics of a herd of buffalo, a school of fish, or a dish of bacteria.  Thomas Jefferson and other founders of the American republic were not only concerned for the rights of the majority, but the rights of minorities against a tyrannical majority – and they recognized a fundamental distinction between humans and animals.  The distinction is lost in university science departments where evolutionary ideology rules.  Man is but a fish (evolutionary soothsayers exempted). Something from nothing:  Evan Thompson liked his newest read a lot: Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter, by Terrence W. Deacon.  Writing in Nature,4 he had no problem with Deacon’s basic idea that something comes from nothing – even his own mind.  Even more strange, Thompson and Deacon agree that emergence of self-organizing systems comes as much from the absence of things as their presence: Deacon takes his guiding idea from one of my favourite chapters of a classic Chinese philosophical text from the fourth century BC, the Tao Te Ching: “Pots are fashioned from clay/But it’s the hollow that makes a pot work.” Similarly, Deacon sees the ‘constitutive absence’ as functional, a defining property of life and mind. Living things are dynamically organized around ends, such as finding nourishment; and minds are dynamically organized around meanings, such as anticipated future events. And like the hollowed interior of the pot, these ends and meanings are both functional and absent, in the sense that they affect a system’s behaviour, yet are not material parts of it. It’s good to be absent-minded, in this view.  That hole in your head where your brain should be serves an important function.  Unfortunately, Thompson couldn’t sustain his glee over the book indefinitely, because it left some gaping holes of its own: Deacon stumbles at two crucial junctures — his explanations for the emergence of meaning and for the emergence of consciousness. The problem of meaning is the problem of how it is possible for certain physical phenomena, such as brain states, to have content or to be ‘about’ something beyond themselves. Deacon’s answer is not easy to decipher. Roughly, he seems to be saying that certain states of a self-generating system acquire content when they correlate reliably with features of the environment that are useful to that system. For example, a system that needs molecules from the environment in order to reproduce ‘interprets’ the presence of these molecules as meaning that the environment is conducive to reproduction. But this seems little more than metaphorical. As many philosophers have shown, meaning cannot be reduced to such processes. With consciousness, Deacon says that sentience — the capacity to feel — arises from a system being self-sustaining and goal-directed. So he sees individual cells as sentient. But, as he explains, an animal’s sentience is not the sum of the sentience of its individual cells: the nervous system creates its own sentience at the level of the whole animal. Yet Deacon doesn’t get to grips with the hard problem of explaining why and how we and other animals have conscious experience. Other than that, it’s a great book, Thompson thinks.  Deacon wouldn’t understand the criticism.  Your nerve cells got together and created their own sentience.  From that, conscious experience “emerged”.  What’s the problem? Everything from nothing:  While we’re getting something from nothing, why not extend the principle of self-emergence and self-organization to everything?  That’s what Lawrence Krauss did in his book A Universe from Nothing, given good press by PhysOrg.  According to the article, it’s OK to toss out the principle established since antiquity that “out of nothing, nothing comes.”  Many people hold fast to the philosophical expression that something cannot come from nothing. They claim that since we live in a universe that has something this confirms or at least supports the theological doctrine that a divine creator, or some external force, created the universe. However, many physicists disagree, Krauss included. Against the claim, they cite recent scientific advancements. Since it would be distasteful for these unnamed “many physicists” to pursue the theistic implications of the evidence, Krauss has found a way to imagine pulling the cosmic rabbit out of the nonexistent hat.  His secret is to redefine nothing as pregnant with virtual particles emerging from the void.  But readers may well ask if this really starts with nothing, and if not, whether the starting point exhibits the attributes of God.  PhysOrg was apparently not concerned about those difficulties.  Instead, it trotted out the usual archbishops to grant the imprimatur to this evolutionary cosmology: “As he demonstrates, it is possible, and in fact suggested by observation that our universe arose through entirely natural processes, just as Darwin demonstrated that the diversity of life on Earth could arise by natural processes,” the article ended, failing to define natural, since it would seem quite unnatural to expect something from nothing. “Indeed, Richard Dawkins, in the afterword of the new book compares Krauss’ book in significance to Darwin’s ‘Origin of the [sic] Species.’”  Well, then, that settles that. Hear ye, here yeast:  If you visit the University of British Columbia, you can bow in the presence of a genius.  “Sarah (Sally) Otto is a MacArthur ‘genius’ award winner who uses models and yeast to improve our understanding of the evolutionary process,” reported Live Science, with Sarah’s smiling face adorning the adoring article.  If you can’t travel there, you can at least watch her speak in the embedded video produced by the National Science Foundation.  It begins with her fascination with Darwin’s Origin of Species.  Her view of science is not just experimentation, but the divination of patterns behind the observations.  Listeners might be puzzled by her list of qualities that make a good scientist, wondering how they differ from the qualities needed for any other profession.  As for societal benefits to her work, she feels looking into the yeast gives her special insight to tell the world “how we came to be… how organisms evolve” (not whether they evolve), and learning about “the world, and our place in that world.”  It’s all tied in together, she indicated; wanting to know the origin of the universe, stars, planets, and life.  What better person to preach about this than a certified genius skilled at divination in yeast?  Would Live Science ever allow the likes of Dr. Stephen Meyer or Dr. Dr. William Dembski to pontificate on these subjects?  Never in 3.4 billion years. Whoops, reproducibility is an unreached ideal:  All of the above claims rely implicitly on the supremacy of science to express knowledge because of its superior methodology – including verification by reproducibility.  “The importance of replication and reproducibility for scientists is unquestioned,” an introductory article on scientific reproducibility in Science reminded us all.5 Too bad the ideal is often not attainable in the real world.  Many interdisciplinary projects are too complex to be reproduced.  And what about field observations?  How do you reproduce a unique, one-time event?  You can’t command a bat to eat a frog on cue, or a comet to disintegrate, or a God particle to appear at another facility lacking the expensive equipment to find it.  It goes without saying that historical events, whether the Permian Extinction or The Flood, are not reproducible.  Besides, most scientists are too busy with their own research to try to replicate someone else’s claim.  Worst of all, reproducibility can have undesirable effects: “it can also indicate fraud,” the article warned. Assignment: Replicate the origin of the universe from nothing. 1. Laland, Sterelny, Odling-Smee, Hoppitt, and Uller, “Cause and Effect in Biology Revisited: Is Mayr’s Proximate-Ultimate Dichotomy Still Useful?”, Science, 16 December 2011: Vol. 334 no. 6062 pp. 1512-1516, doi: 10.1126/science.1210879. 2. Jevin D. West and Carl T. Bergstrom, “Can Ignorance Promote Democracy?”, Science 16 December 2011: Vol. 334 no. 6062 pp. 1503-1504, doi: 10.1126/science.1216124. 3. Couzin et al., “Uninformed Individuals Promote Democratic Consensus in Animal Groups,” Science 16 December 2011: Vol. 334 no. 6062 pp. 1578-1580, doi: 10.1126/science.1210280 4. Evan Thompson, “Philosophy: Life Emergent,” Nature 480 (15 December 2011), p. 318,     doi:10.1038/480318a 5. Jasny, Chin, Chong and Vignieri, “Again and Again, and Again…,” Science 2 December 2011: Vol. 334 no. 6060 p. 1225, doi: 10.1126/science.334.6060.1225. We hope your understanding of modern evolution-drunk science has been refined by this philosophical tour.  Are you convinced that secular atheist scientists are worthy of priesthood in today’s culture?  Who are you going to trust, the experts or your own eyes? Scientists have become modern soothsayers.  They try to sell us a bill of sooth (truth) based on their own presumptive authority.  Some of them, unfortunately, have become sooth-slayers, operating with sleuth ruthlessly on the uncouth.  Don’t read science without a lot of couth – and teach the youth where to get it.(Visited 40 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

South African chefs at large

first_imgSouth African chefs are coming into their own, dominating teams in international cook-offs, winning places in posh restaurants – and some of them starting their own restaurants.Local chefs are coming into their own. (Image: Brand South Africa)Brand South Africa reporterIt was not so long ago that all the top-level chefs in South Africa were imported from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. But local chefs are coming into their own now, dominating the teams in international cook-offs, winning places in posh restaurants – and some of them starting their own restaurants.There are a number of South African chefs who can boast a high profile among South Africans. Among them:In Cape Town: Garth Stroebel at the Mount Nelson; Barak Hirschowitz at Tides at The Bay Hotel; Garth Shnier at the Arabella Sheraton Group’s Western Cape Hotel and Spa at Kleinmond; Graeme Shapiro at The Restaurant; and Janet Telian at the Savoy Cabbage.In Johannesburg they include Bruce Burns at Lutyens; Stefano Strafella at the Saxon; Michael Broughton at Broughtons in Sandton; Steven Benson at the Sandton Hilton; and Gaetano Sgroi at the Park Hyatt.The team of Daniel and Karine Leusch at La Madeleine in Pretoria win awards year after year. Marc Guebert at the Ile de France in Johannesburg was one of the first celebrity chefs in the country. The executive chef at Linger Longer in Johannesburg, Walter Ulz, has just celebrated his 25th anniversary at this finest of restaurants.Master chef Lucas Ndlovu still draws the gourmets to the Coach House in Agatha in the Northern Province, 12 years on. Paula Nel is guest chef presenter on Top Billing, while Citrum Khumalo of the Compass group performs the same function on Radio Metro.The country’s best-known chef is Bill Gallagher, current chairman of the South African Chefs Association, past president and honorary life president of the World Association of Cooks Societies, and food and beverage director of the Southern Sun group.The Association puts together national teams which compete at international culinary competitions. The South African team has won medals in every international competition, both individual and team events, since its debut in 1980, when the team won five individual gold medals in the IKA Culinary Olympics.At the IKA Hoga Culinary Olympics in Frankfurt, the team walked away with 15 medals and in the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg, golds in both the hot and cold competitions.A local chef, Eric van Dam, achieved second place in the Chaine des Rotisseurs Young Chef of the Year competition in 1987 in Spain, and a year later won second place in the Masterchef Junior World Challenge. For a full list of achievements by South African chefs, see below.The South African professional culinary scene goes beyond honours and celebrity. In keeping with the country’s history, and the remaining gap between rich and poor, it was Bill Gallagher, before his tenure as president of the World Association, who suggested a World Cooks Tour for Hunger – now a mainstay of World Association activities.The first tour, in August 1993, brought 118 chefs from five continents to Johannesburg at their own expense to train hotel and restaurant staff and to host fund-raising events, from demonstrations and competitions to street parties for underprivileged children. The chefs also cooked for shelters for street children. The tour and a special book commemorating it raised a good deal of money for South African non-governmental organisations Operation Hunger and the Valley Trust.The concept has continued, with subsequent tours elsewhere. In 1999, for example, the World Association staged its Tour for Hunger in Scotland to benefit Save the Children. The South African team was among international chefs who arrived to do their part.International competitionsSouth Africa has a much-decorated history of participation in international competitions, both at individual and team levels.TEAM EVENTS1980 (South Africa’s debut) – IKA Culinary Olympics – five individual gold medals and an overall fourth placing in the hot competition1983 – Torquay Gastronomic Festival – Won team trophy, two silver medals and two bronzes and were placed fourth out of eight teams1984 – Hotelympia – Two gold medals, a silver and a special merit award1984 – IKA Culinary Olympics in Frankfurt – 11 gold medals, three silvers, two bronzes and overall prize for best junior chef of the entire competition1987 – American Culinary Classic in Chicago – A silver medal behind Canada in the cold display and a gold in the hot event1988 – IKA Hoga – Three teams sent; the junior team won five bronzes, the city team won four golds and the national team won five golds and two bronzes1989 – Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg – Six gold medals in the hot kitchen and six silvers in the cold kitchen1990 – Gastroprag cooking competition in Czechoslovakia – Six silver medals and 14 gold medals1991 – American Culinary Classic – Silver medal in the hot kitchen and gold medal in the cold kitchen1992 – IKA Hoga Culinary Olympics in Frankfurt – 15 Olympic medals and world champions in the Hot Kitchen (alias Restaurant of Nations)1993 – International Culinary Competition: Taste of Canada – Bronze in the hot competition and three silvers and a bronze in the individual cold events1994 – Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg – Golds in the hot and cold competitions1995 – Malta Open Cookery Championships – Eight individual and two team events brought three golds, three silvers, a bronze and two trophies1997 – World Culinary Grand Prix (Scothot) in Glasgow – Three medals and a diploma1998 – Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg – Silver medals in the hot and cold competitionsINDIVIDUAL EVENTS1986 – Mary Taylor achieved fourth place in the Salon Culinaire in Germany1987 – Eric van Dam achieved second place in the Chaine des Rotisseurs Young Chef of the Year in San Sebastian in Spain, achieving second place, a single point behind Germany. This is the best result to date by any South African in this competition1988 – Masterchef Junior World Challenge, held in South Africa – Eric van Dam awarded second place, earning him a stint in Lyon working under Paul Bocuse1989 – Gordon Fraser placed fourth in the International Culinary Grand Prix Auguste Escoffier in Lisbon1989 – Heinz Brunner placed third, winning six trophies and a win for his dessert in the Concours Auguste Escoffier in Nice1990 – Bill Gallagher placed third in the Concours Auguste Escoffier in Nice1992 – Manfred Reinhard placed fourth in the Concours Auguste Escoffier in Nice1997 – World Junior Chef Challenge – Gregg Oosthuizen awarded second place1998 – Individual World Championship in Melbourne – won by Steven BensonBibliographyRainbow Cuisine by Lannice Snyman (S&S, 1998)Flavours of South Africa by Peter Veldsman (Tafelberg, 1998)Funa: Food from Africa by Renata Coetzee (Butterworth & Co, 1982)The South African Culinary Tradition by Renata Coetzee (Struik, 1977)Indian Delights edited by Zuleikha Mayat (Women’s Cultural Group, several editions between 1961 and 1996)Traditional Cookery of the Cape Malays by Hilda Gerber (AA Balkema, 1957)Cooking from Cape to Cairo: A Taste of Africa by Dorah Sithole (Tafelberg, 1999)Cass Abrahams Cooks Cape Malay (Metz Press, 1995)Treat the Troops (no editor credited, CUM books, Roodepoort, 1983)Simply South Africa by Elaine Hurford (Struik, 2000)Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa compiled by Eric Rosenthal (Frederick Warne & Co Ltd, London, 1970 – fifth edition)Originally published March 2002Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Nomvethe SA’s Footballer of the Year

first_imgIgesund’s record as a coach is unmatched in South Africa. He has previously led Manning Rangers, Orlando Pirates, Mamelodi Sundowns and Santos to the PSL title. Coach of the YearNomvethe’s coach at Moroka Swallows, Gordon Igesund, was, not surprisingly, named Coach of the Year. His Pirates’ team-mate Oupa Manyisa won the MTN8 Last Man Standing Award. The money from those four awards amounted to a considerable boost of R600 000 in his pocket. He was named PSL Footballer of the Year, the Absa Player of the Season and the Players’ Player of the Season. He also won the Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot award after scoring 20 goals in the league, eight more than the next highest goal scorer. McCarthy’s awardsAnother veteran striker, Benni McCarthy, picked up two awards. He was named the Telkom Knockout Player of the Tournament and he also won the Absa-lutely Awesome Goal of the Season. Veteran striker Siyabonga Nomvethe was the big winner at South Africa’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) Awards, held at Gold Reef City in Johannesburg on Sunday evening. United FC striker David Radebe won the National First Division Top Goalscorer Award, which was worth R50 000. This season, Igesund’s first full one in charge of Swallows, the team finished runners-up to Orlando Pirates, just two points behind the champions. 29 May 2012 Victor Hlungwani was named the Referee of the Season, and Zakhele Siwela the Assistant Referee of the Season. Last season, when he took charge of the Birds, the club was bottom of the PSL standings, having picked up only two of a possible 27 points. They narrowly missed out on the promotion/relegation playoffs by finishing 13th in the 16-team league. Goalkeeping awardSundowns’ goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands was named the Premiership Goalkeeper of the Tournament, while the Brazilians’ Nyasha Mushekwi was named the Nedbank Cup Player of the Tournament. SuperSport United players received two awards, with Thabiso Nkoana bring named the Nedbank Cup Young Player of the Tournament and Ronwen Williams picking up the award of Red Hot Player of the Season. Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Breakthrough technology makes Soweto school among world’s greenest

first_imgLYT Architects vision of a new type of school envisions the outside being as much part of the classroom as the building. (Image: LYT Architects)• S. MakhaniPrincipalSt. Martin de Porres+27 11 936 [email protected] PhilipCurious kids come and go, watching from the top of an embankment as the first of the four structures of their new campus rises on what was once the school’s sports field. The field is now a dust bowl, the grass churned over by trucks and boots. The backhoe pulling down the embankment sends clouds of dirt and grass into the air each time it slams into the dry earth.St Martin de Porres High in Orlando West, Soweto, is not an average township school. Once its new campus is complete it will be one of the most environment-friendly and sustainable schools in the world. Twenty new classrooms will replace temporary structures of brick and zinc built 50 years ago. The campus is being constructed using modular building technology developed in South Africa and using a Green School design concept developed by South African architecture firm LYT Architects.Constructed from prefabricated panels manufactured offsite, the four structures use integrated solar technology and natural light to reduce power consumption from the grid. Instead of traditional peaked roofs, the buildings’ flat roofs will be able to harvest rainwater for watering the gardens and sanitation.Sliding panels allow natural airflow to warm and cool the rooms, and wash each classroom with sunlight. Sustainability will even extend to schoolwork. The 720 pupils will be given tablets for their studies to make the school as paperless as possible, and horticulture and recycling will be included as new subject choices.A different kind of teachingPatrick Nayler, a director at LYT Architects, says the firm’s belief that buildings influence life is central to their concept. “The sliding doors and open walkways are integral to the design. It allows a different kind of teaching to take place, one that elevates the indoors as much as the outdoors. We should be encouraging education outside the classroom as well; we have the climate that makes it possible.“We envision the school becoming a communal node, expanding beyond its function as a school. Organic hydroponic gardens will be established to educate the learners and community members about intensive, highly productive methods of farming, and to produce healthy food for the school learners, as well as a modest income for the local community.”Offsetting carbon emissionsDesigning intelligent buildings is one thing; even better is having the technology to make them a reality. The South African developed, world-leading green technology allowing the first structure to be erected in days, and the entire school in a month, is the result of a partnership between Sasol and Novo Domus, a construction systems design company.Two of the three largest industrial polluters on Earth are South African. Power utility Eskom and petrochemicals giant Sasol are both dependent on coal, and their resultant emissions put the country at risk of being fined billions for not meeting its commitments to the Kyoto Protocol.The technology used by Novo Domus – the name means “new house” in Latin – comes out of billions of rands of research funded by Sasol to offset their carbon emissions. The prefab walls and insulation foam use the byproducts of its coal to liquid fuel process.“What does Sasol gain by shutting down production?” asks Keith Warmback, the project manager and owner of Novo Domus “Nothing, plus the number of jobs lost directly and indirectly would be staggering. Funding this research, incubating companies to take advantage of the research, creates jobs as well as helps Sasol to generate carbon credits to offset its carbon footprint.”In the relative quiet of the site office, Warmback sits in front of a desk covered in architectural plans. “It’s not just the buildings. The entire process is green. The trucks bringing panels from factory to site as well as all the construction equipment run on biofuel. There is no waste because the entire building is made to order.”Easing the healthcare and housing backlogWarmback believes the technology is a cost-effective solution to the backlog of school construction in the country. Steel panels are slotted into place for walls with PVC resin used as insulation. Double-glazed window frames and ceiling panels keep the temperature a constant 18 degrees Celsius no matter the weather outside.The construction site is not as loud or chaotic as a traditional site. For one thing, the crew is smaller – there are no bricklayers. Other than skilled artisans and heavy machinery operators, the crew consists of local community members trained by Novo Domus in the new construction technique. Warmback says the simplicity of the modular structures makes their construction an easy skill to learn. “We built a school in the rural Eastern Cape. There is nothing there, no roads, a mud school and houses built out of mud and thatch. We built a school with people we trained in the local community. Those skills are now being used to build houses and clinics.”The construction of an entire school is a lot faster and a lot cheaper than a traditional bricks and mortar structure – R30 000 instead of R1.5-million. There is a lot less waste than in traditional wet work construction, which requires bricklaying, plastering and pouring concrete. “As much as 25 % of material is wasted in traditional construction,” Warmback says. “The modular design with prefabricated panels means there is no waste. Another advantage is that any material available in abundance in any location can be substituted in the process.”Novo Domus will be redoing the roads and parking lots at St Martin de Porres as well. Instead of traditional tar they will be using a new polymer adapted from an Israeli technology. Guaranteed not to crack or develop potholes for 10 years, it has been tested at a mine in Australia for the past four years. “The surface flexes and grows harder and stronger the more traffic using it. It’s new technology and, once it proves successful here, we hope to use it across the country.”Combating anxiety over new technologyNovo Domus has found it slow going convincing government departments and contractors to accept its modular building technique, despite it being the standard internationally. Since it built its first structure, a simple single room displayed at COP 17 in Durban, most of its orders have come from international clients. In Liberia they have built 5 000 low-cost houses; in South Africa just a dozen schools.Nayler, of LYT Architects, identifies the problem simply. Everyone wants a brick structure because that is what they know, he says. “What mitigates against adoption of this concept and technology is the concerns of the holders of the purse strings. The more buildings we put up the faster the anxiety over a new technology dissipates.”The first building at St Martin de Porres has been completed in time for the international C40 Mayors Summit, which begins in Johannesburg today. Joburg mayor Parks Tau will host a delegation of mayors from the 63 cities attending the summit at the school. For the mayor, a parishioner of the congregation of St Martin de Porres, it is a showpiece of the city’s programmes to combat climate change.“We have a responsibility to provide leadership and to share our experiences, best practice and capacity for innovation with the rest of the globe,” Tau said ahead of the opening of the summit. “Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time, in the end, we are measured not by how much we undertake, but by what we finally accomplish.”last_img read more

Watershed project keeping Indian Lake clean with fundraising help from local star

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Joel Penhorwood, Ohio Ag NetGovernor John Kasich earlier this year put out a list of watersheds he hoped to see listed as impaired. The status of those areas remains up in the air for the time being, though one watershed in farm country is noticeably absent from the list. Indian Lake in northwest Ohio is the third largest inland lake in the state, coming in with a surface area of 5,104 acres. It is a popular destination, even more so in recent years as Indian Lake has not had a major algal bloom event.Not far away from Indian Lake’s shores is Grand Lake St. Marys, which has seen notable challenges as the result of harmful algal blooms hurting lake activity, local businesses and more.With an average depth of 10 feet and a watershed that sees heavy concentration of livestock and crop farms, the question remains of why hasn’t the pride of Logan County seen a big algae bloom? Ask the locals and they will say the reason is in big part due to the Indian Lake Watershed Project, which has been actively trying to keep the watershed clean for over 28 years.The project has actively pursued nonpoint source pollutants through work with area farmers and landowners in number of unique programs.That effort towards a cleaner watershed has been noticed by Indian Lake High School graduate Even Stevens. Though his name might not be familiar, his work surely is. Stevens is the songwriter behind such hits as Eddie Rabbit’s “I love a rainy night,” and “Drivin’ my life away” and Kenny Rogers’ “Love will turn you around,” just to name a few.Though his music career has taken him away from the lake to Nashville and beyond, he still visits home and has, in recent years, made an effort to bring a helping hand to fundraising for the Indian Lake Watershed Project. This has been done through the annual Nasvhille Hitmakers concert, performed each summer at the local high school. Stevens, a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, brings in a rowdy group of country songwriters to perform their hits to the packed auditorium, with proceeds going to the Indian Lake Watershed Project.This year’s lineup of singer/songwriters included Dean Dillon (Tennessee whiskey, Marina del Rey), James Slater (In my daughter’s eyes), Alison Prestwood (Austin), Jason White (Red ragtop), and more.Stevens said water quality is an important motivator behind the fundraiser. He specifically thanked Frank Phelps, former president of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association and Logan County farmer, for helping to start the program years ago.“I live on a lake in Tennessee. I’ve always lived on lakes and rivers because I love water,” he said. “To keep the lake beautiful is just so important because it’s a natural resource that you just can’t replace. And when they go bad, it’s bad. We know that from other places around that they had trouble and can’t correct it. A lot of things happen — you can’t swim, you can’t enjoy it, people who live on it lose value to their homes — all kinds of things happen. It was a genius thought they had to get everybody on board to try to keep it great. I love them for doing that, I really do.”Abbi Hastings is watershed coordinator for the Indian Lake Watershed Project and has taken an active role in overseeing the unique fundraiser and the various projects around Indian Lake.“It really gets our name out there and brings a lot of attention to what we’re doing and what we’re trying to accomplish,” she said. “We do need funding and this is a great way to bring everyone together, get our name out there and to get a little support.”Hastings, a Kenton native, has taken on a couple new projects this year to keep the good work going in the watershed.“Indian Lake is actually one of the healthiest lakes in Ohio. This project has been in place for 28 years and because of that, Indian Lake has been recognized nationally for the health of the lake,” Hastings said. “Right now, there are no huge problems at the lake — nothing that we can go to state or nationally and say ‘we’ve got a problem and we need money.’ That’s why projects and events like this are good to get our name out there and what we’re actually trying to do.”Glenn Ammons, owner and operator of Ammons Family Farms, LLC, is a member of the project’s board of directors. He takes pride in the watershed’s success.“Probably the thing that amazed me the most, and I’ve been in it from the beginning, was all the government agencies that worked together,” he said. “You had Soil and Water, FSA, Ohio EPA — state park and DNR people. You get talking to farmers and bring up EPA and right away everybody gets scared. Then you try to put three counties together with their organizations and everybody comes together and works. That doesn’t happen today. All these agencies came together between Hardin, Logan, and Auglaize Counties and made the project work.”Those involved with the project have done more than just discuss the problem, they have actively created projects to help farmers finance more conservation-minded practices.“I thought they came up with some pretty good inventive programs. We had an equipment buy-down project. No-till equipment was built a little heavier and cost more than regular equipment and drills and planters. They came up with a program where they would pay $4,000 towards the purchase of a new piece of equipment. Chaff spreaders and chisel points were also included,” Ammons said. “Another program paid towards the repair of broken tile. That stopped chemical and fertilizers from going right in the hole and toward the lake. We had an intensive grazing program that went on for several years where they sectioned off and would rotate livestock. We had a streambank stabilization program. There have been a lot of good programs.”Certain conservation methods are more prevalent in the watershed than other areas. Larger buffer strips help to naturally filter water at field edges.“It’s just something you need to do. Rock chutes and different things that we’ve done make it work. Buffer strips make a nice place to park equipment sometimes. It also makes a good place for rabbits, pheasants, and so forth,” Ammons said.Also included in the list are watershed development projects, a low interest loan program, pesticide/nutrient containment facilities, conservation easements, and more. In addition, the program worked well with the area Amish and helped to get them on board with the same conservation programs.“It makes you feel good that all this came together and worked the way it has worked,” Ammons said.With the current state of water quality discussions in Ohio, Ammons said it’s good to be in a place of cooperation.“We’ve attended a lot of other meetings where they tried to get other things started and you could see there was just tension between the counties and the different agencies,” he said. “They would ask ‘How did you make your project work so well?’ It’s because all the agencies came together and worked together to work with the farmers. I was involved because I farmed in the watershed and I was a lake user with my boat. You go over to Indian Lake in the summer and you know how well the project has worked.”last_img read more

Jive Just Became a Platform Vendor. What Does That Mean For the Enterprise?

first_img3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now klint finley Last night, Jive Software released its Jive Apps SDK to developers. For Jive, this isn’t just an SDK release: it’s the beginning of a new direction. Jive assigned twice as many developers to building its application platform and Jive Apps Market as it did to developing the previous release of Jive. And that’s an indication not just of where Jive is going as a company, but where the enterprise software market seems to be headed. Salesforce.com made it clear last week that it is now a platform company vendor first and a SaaS company second. Companies such as Jive, Salesforce.com and Google are not just trying to copy the success of app stores in the consumer market, but create a whole new paradigm for enterprise software.Here’s the picture Sameer Patel, of the Sovos Group, paints in a Dreamforce wrap-up post:Here’s what I sense: Those very CIOs that choose to buy all apps from one vendor (Oracle, SAP, etc.) do so for many reasons, but one of them is architectural convenience. They realized then that every application procured from said vendor is not going to be best in class. But when it comes to some applications, ‘living with good enough’ was a welcome tradeoff to integration headaches of a best of breed approach.What Salesforce.com seems to be doing now is setting the foundation for a standardized cloud based operating systems and development environment, yet offering the convenience of picking from a plethora of application choices for each conceivable system-of-record category via force.com to fits each customers business needs. That might just be the ticket some CIOs need to get unsatisfied business users off their back: Standardize the platform element to prevent a hodge podge architecture but shift the risk functional selection out of IT and back to business owners who can now make the decision on which application to select.This is exactly what Jive is trying to accomplish. During the Jive Social Business Developer Summit last night, Chief Strategy Advisor Christopher Lochhead claimed that Jive can offer the enterprise the best of both worlds: a monolithic architecture and best-of-breed solutions.It makes a lot of sense for Jive to go this direction. Most of the basic functionality of social software suites is commoditized, and there are a lot of vendors to choose from. An app stores open up new avenues for innovation and Jive can take a piece of each sale. We expect to see more vendors moving in this direction.But is it what enterprises want? Jive CEO Tony Zingale says it is. Zingale told us that Jive has been talking to customers about the concept for months. End-users want the selection and ease of use of an app store. CIOs need to monitor and control how data is being moved in and out of the enterprise.Lochhead recounted a story he’d heard about an employee who sent his department’s annual budget to the company’s CFO using the Web-based file sharing service YouSendIt. The CFO, understandably, was livid. We’ve covered how users are taking IT issues into their own hands via freemium solutions in the past. Jive hopes to prevent these sorts of situations by giving employees another avenue for finding apps that solve their problems, without causing headaches for IT and compliance.When asked if Jive could ever become a pure platform company and give up developing its own social software products, Zingale says he still thinks certain features (such as forums) are core to what Jive does as a company. But he says the company is completely open to having competing products in its app store. “If someone comes along with a better microblogging solution they are absolutely welcome,” he said. “I bet there are better analytics solutions that could come in, for instance.”Will developers develop for the platform? Jive has already signed up more than 100 partners, including Box, Gliffy, Manymoon and UserVoice. Everyone talks a good game about “openness” these days, and Jive does appear to be walking the walk. Applications can be built using any programming language and integrated into the Jive Apps framework through open standards such as oAuth and OpenSocial. This makes it easy for developers to get involved.Manav Monga, co-founder of Manymoon, says the company was able to get up and running on the Jive Apps framework in a matter of minutes. Manymoon is already in the Google Apps Marketplace and LinkedIn’s Application Directory, both of which use oAuth, so Monga says it will be easy to port the application to Jive Apps. “Every platform has its own implemantion of oAuth,” he notes. So it will take some work to produce a finished product for Jive Apps, but it was very quick to get started.The other big advantage Jive is giving application developers is marketing and billing. Monga says that promoting Manymoon through app stores helps them save valuable marketing dollars and avoid having to convince companies to move to the cloud. And for a company as small as Manymoon, billing can be a burden. Monga hopes that Jive will give Manymoon the chance to grow in larger organizations.Although Salesforce.com’s Force.com App Exchange has a head start on Jive, Zingale isn’t particularly worried. “In my view, Force.com has been a failure,” he says. “Heroku is awesome, but why pay $212 million for a company without any revenue?”Although Force.com has been around for years in its original form, its new form is just getting started. And it’s clear that the competition between enterprise app stores is only just beginning. Microsoft already has a Windows Azure DataMarket and an AppMarket. Don’t expect other big enterprise vendors to get left behind by this. That might be bad news for Jive and Salesforce.com, but more platforms and more competition will probably be good news for CIOs, end-users and developers.Disclosure: Jive Software paid for Klint Finley’s plane ticket and accommodations for him to attend its Social Business Developer Summit IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo…center_img Tags:#enterprise#Trends Related Posts Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…last_img read more

Rift in Rajasthan Congress over elevating BSP ‘defectors’

first_imgAmid speculation about a Cabinet reshuffle in Rajasthan after the merger of six BSP MLAs with the Congress, signs of rift have emerged in the ruling party. The infighting may create difficulties for the Congress which is preparing for municipal elections in November and planning to launch a membership drive in the State.The merger of the BSP MLAs with the Congress, just when reports surfaced that the Bharatiya Janata Party was trying to lure them in a bid to repeat a Karnataka-type upheaval in Rajasthan, has been perceived in the political circles here as a “masterstroke” of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. Senior BJP leaders in the State were left bewildered by the move.The merger has taken the Congress’ tally from 100 to 106 in the 200-member Assembly, resulting in a setback to the BJP rather than the BSP. While affirming that the BSP was not in a position to form the government, Mr. Gehlot said here over the week-end that he was told that the BJP was offering up to ₹25 crore each to the Assembly members for switching sides.Though the Congress members are happy that Mr. Gehlot has nipped the alleged BJP plot in the bud, some of them feel that elevating the newly inducted BSP MLAs as ministers would affect the morale of party workers. The voices of dissent emerged at a meeting of Pradesh Congress Committee here on Friday.Former Minister and PCC vice-president Laxman Singh Rawat said rewarding the BSP MLAs with ministerial posts and other plum assignments would demotivate Congress MLAs and workers. He affirmed that appointing the first-time winners as Ministers would send across a wrong message in the party’s rank and file.Though Mr. Gehlot has insisted that the six BSP MLAs had joined the Congress on their own for ensuring the government’s stability, the merger was a replay of the 2009 events when six BSP MLAs had defected to the Congress which was five short of a clear majority in the House. Half of them were made Ministers and others were appointed Paliamentary Secretaries.Though Deputy CM Sachin Pilot, who is also the PCC president, has defended the latest political developments, his recent utterances calling for “more attention” to the law and order situation have been seen as criticism of the Home Ministry, which is headed by Mr. Gehlot.However, Mr. Gehlot has displayed his political skills and strengthened his position within the party with the BSP MLAs’ merger. He has also silenced his critics who have been claiming that two power centres were functioning in the Congress since the formation of the government in December 2018.last_img read more

Korea Open gold confidence-booster for Lopez ahead of SEA Games

first_imgGold medalist Pauline Lopez of the Philippines during the 28th SEA Games womens under 57kg finalheld at the Singapore Expo Hall 2 after defeating Thi Thu Hien Pham of Vietnam.INQUIRER PHOTO/RAFFY LERMAPauline Lopez has just started her young UAAP career with a the Rookie of the Year award for Season 79, but the 20-year-old jin’s accomplishments goes beyond the collegiate league.Fresh from winning gold in the Korea Open back in July, the Atenean is also set to compete in the Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games in the taekwondo kyorugi ender 62kg division.ADVERTISEMENT PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games PLAY LIST 03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:50Trending Articles01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH03:04Filipino athletes share their expectations for 2019 SEA Games00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd View comments Read Next MOST READ Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief “We’re simulating what we’re going to expect in the ring in training so when the pressure’s there we know what to do,” said Lopez. “We definitely prepared not only physically but also mentally. I think we have a good chance of performing and giving our best.” LATEST STORIES Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnessescenter_img Lopez said her triumph in the International Taekwondo Championships served as gauge on how she has improved and it also helped her confidence going into the regional games.“The Korea Open was a very hard tournament… and what I did was just give my best and I was able to gauge myself where I am right now,” said Lopez during the athlete send off Friday at Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“It definitely gave me the self confidence and just the confidence to know that I can do this.”Lopez, though, fought in the lighter weight class of featherweight in the Korea Open but constant training since January, she said, will help her prepare for Kuala Lumpur. K-pop star Jung Joon-young convicted of gang rape, spycam crimes Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games Thailand, Korea top respective groups at end of AVC pool stages Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspensionlast_img read more

Why won’t TV rights company pouring millions into English football reveal its owners?

first_imgTelevision industry Football Premier League has 14 of the 30 highest-earning clubs in the world Share on Facebook David Conn Twitter Sports rights Share on WhatsApp Reuse this content Sky and BT are paying less but the Premier League bubble has not burst Facebook Share on Pinterest Read more Topics Contacted by the Guardian, De Kervasdoué said he had a lawyer’s duty of client confidentiality and declined to say which English sports rights company had been acquired, or why he was an original director of Homer Newco, which took over Pitch in 2009.beIN Sports also declined to answer questions about the relationship with Pitch or the anonymity of its ownership.Pitch’s chairman, East, declined to answer questions about the Dutch company which was the agency’s controlling party, the 2009 takeover, why De Kervasdoué, QSI’s lawyer, was an original director of Pitch’s new owner, and why anonymity and confidentiality are drawn over it all. He said that Pitch’s majority owners now are the two main directors, McGrath and Jon Owen, who from 2015 have been noted on Companies House documents as owning 75% of Homer Newco, with Homere Holding reduced to owning 25 shares. East said the statement in Pitch’s 2015‑16 accounts, that Homere Holding remains the ultimate controlling party, is “incorrect” and will be corrected in this year’s accounts.The spokesman for Pitch said of its ownership arrangements: “Due to confidentiality Pitch is unable to comment on ownership or contract valuation questions beyond the information previously provided.”The EFL has strong regulations on transparency for its own clubs, requiring them to state and publish who owns them and that the individuals are “fit and proper” people to be owners but the league does not have similar requirements for its commercial partners and did not register any concerns about Pitch’s anonymous ownership:“As our chosen sales partner, Pitch International negotiate the sale of the broadcasting rights of all five EFL competitions, internationally, with local broadcasters to secure maximum value for the EFL on behalf of our 72 Clubs,” the league said in a statement.“The EFL has a growing global appeal and is currently broadcast in over 190 territories worldwide. Each individual proposal brought forward by Pitch is separately considered and where appropriate, approved by the EFL.”The FA, asked about the anonymity of ownership at one of the companies paying hundreds of millions of pounds in the “transformational” deal for English football, and the amount of money coming into the game from Qatar, with whose association the English FA signed a cooperation agreement last week, declined to comment. features Share on Messenger The immediate owner which took over the 75% stake in Pitch was a London-based company formed that year, Homer Newco Limited. In turn its owner, the controlling shareholder of Pitch until December 2015, was a company registered in Amsterdam, Homere Holding BV. Dutch companies are not required to have the same level of transparency as in England where shareholders are identified; in Holland only a 100% owner must be disclosed. The ownership of Homere Holding is declared in Dutch company filings to be 97.34% held by a party recorded only as “Shareholder 1”.The Pitch accounts, which show rising income every year, most recently £28m from the Middle East and Africa, £33m from America and £60m from the UK and Europe, have stated since 2010: “The members consider Homer Newco Limited to be the controlling party. The ultimate controlling party is considered to be Homere Holding BV, a company incorporated in the Netherlands.”The founding documents of Homer Newco, which state the Dutch entity as the sole owner, record that an original director was Hervé de Kervasdoué, who had an address in the Paris suburb of Bougival. De Kervasdoué is a French lawyer, who acted for Qatar Sports Investments on the acquisition of PSG in 2011.That deal was listed on the website of his firm, RedLink, as one of its notable achievements. Also listed was: “Acquisition of a prominent English company in the sports rights industry.” Pinterest The former FA chairman Greg Dyke said he saw no contradiction between his suspicions over Qatar’s World Cup bid and cashing in on millions from a Qatari broadcaster. Photograph: Alexander Hassenstein/Fifa via Getty Images The FA Share on LinkedIn A spokesman for Pitch told the Guardian it has an “arm’s length” commercial relationship and not an exclusive arrangement with beIN or any other broadcaster. “Many rights holders and agencies across numerous sports deal with beIN, which is a major broadcaster in the Middle East and elsewhere,” he said.Famously beIN’s most prominent move in Europe has been the huge money paid to broadcast Ligue 1 in France jointly with Canal+, a deal first done after the state fund, Qatar Sports Investments, bought Paris Saint‑Germain in 2011.Less well-known has been the huge money the Qatari broadcaster is paying into English football, both directly and by buying the rights to FA and EFL matches from Pitch. In the current 2016-19 round of Premier League deals, beIN is paying a reported £429m to broadcast matches in the Middle East and North Africa, following £315m paid over the previous three years. beIN also bought the Premier League TV rights for Thailand, paying £187m for three years, according to industry reports, and holds the rights for Indonesia and New Zealand.This huge money has been pouring into English football from Qatar throughout the period in which the integrity of the country’s bid to host the 2022 World Cup has been repeatedly attacked, particularly by the former FA chairman Greg Dyke. He told the Guardian he did not see any contradiction between his publicly stated suspicions over Qatar’s bid and cashing in the millions from beIN: “The TV rights just tend to get sold to the highest bidder,” he said.In a climate of increasing demands for transparency in financial flows and in football club ownership Pitch has never, through its rapid rise, said who its ultimate owner is, although East is a well-known, gregarious character, and Paul McGrath, one of the company’s founders, has been involved in media rights for years. Public documents filed in the UK at Companies House state that in December 2009, 75% of Pitch was bought for £52m. Yet nobody involved has ever explained who bought this stake. East repeatedly declined to answer the Guardian’s questions about Pitch’s ownership or the 2009 takeover, citing confidentiality. Read more Share via Email Share on Twitter The Football Association unveiled its plans last month for a menu of multimillion-pound investment into grassroots facilities and projects, and wiping out the debt on Wembley, largely from the sale of greatly increased TV deals for FA Cup and England matches. Announcing the international sales last year, the FA’s chief executive, Martin Glenn, said the money would have “a transformational impact” on football across the country.One of the major buyers in those international deals, reported to have paid £210m from next season to 2023-24 for the exclusive rights to broadcast in the Middle East, North Africa and western Europe, is an agency based in London, Pitch International. Pitch has also bought the English Football League’s international media rights, reported to be £120m over five seasons until 2021-22.Formed in 2004 with two principal directors and a chairman, Trevor East, who is a former BSkyB executive – then taken over in 2009 by an investor who has never been publicly identified – Pitch has rapidly risen to become a significant agency in English football TV rights.Pitch sells the rights around the world. For the Middle East and North Africa region, where the Gulf is the richest territory, it has consistently sold its English football rights to beIN Sports, the Qatari broadcaster. Formerly the sports arm of Al Jazeera, beIN has become the dominant broadcaster in the region having had huge, sustained investment from Qatar state funds. In the new “transformational” deal for FA rights, Pitch is understood to have again sold on the rights for the Middle East and North Africa to beIN.last_img read more