SAN JOSE — The Clarence Campbell Bowl will be inside Enterprise Center on Tuesday when the Sharks face the St. Louis Blues with their season on the line in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final.The last time the Sharks saw the trophy after a game, they were standing on the ice at SAP Center in 2016, posing for a photo with NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly after dispatching of the Blues in six games to advance to their first Stanley Cup Final.Considering the list of players that may not be …
December 17, 2019
Shh…don’t wake the monsterBrace yourself! Because to log this Geocache of the Week, we’re going to come face-to-face with an ancient monster of the sea.Awaken the Leviathan (GC2QK8W) is a difficulty 2.5, terrain 5 Multi-Cache located on the most southern tip of Cape Town, South Africa.This cache is only accessible given the right sea and tide conditions and is best attempted during a spring low tide. Even under the best conditions, the journey to this cache is fraught with peril and past adventurers advise taking the utmost caution.By attempting to log this cache, geocachers agree to undertake a mission of extreme importance: to determine once and for all whether or not the myth of the great Leviathan is true. The local lighthouse keeper has allegedly spotted a foul and rank-smelling beast slithering on the rocks far below the cliff top. Is this monster real?To find out, geocachers must brave the sea, traverse slippery rocks, edge their way along a cliff, and finally enter a cave that is home to the beast itself. Less than 30 geocachers have actually dared to embark on this epic journey since the creation of the cache in March of 2011. One of those brave geocachers is Chris, a.k.a. SawaSawa. Chris was so impressed with this cache that he decided to nominate it.View from inside the caveHe says, “It is a terrain 5 rating and thus potentially mentally and physically challenging due to the extreme location and the elements of danger involved – in the form of narrow cliff ledges and dangerous incoming tides. In fact, I had a sleepless night before doing the cache as my mind ran through the route we would have to follow to reach GZ. On the route back I had a few heart-stopping moments negotiating the cliff ledge.”He goes on to explain that paddawan, the cache owner, is “renowned in South Africa by those who have found his caches as one of the most ingenious and prolific hiders of caches, which garner numerous favorite points. He therefore well deserves further recognition for his wonderful efforts of which this cache is one of the finest examples.”Chris isn’t the only awe-struck geocacher. As one geocacher logging the find put it, “Exhilarating! We feel very proud of the courage caching has given us. The beast was rumbling and grumbling. But on hands and knees by the light of our lantern, we found what we were looking for, completed formalities and escaped before he could turn nasty. Thank you for an awesome experience!”Continue to explore some of the most engaging geocaches around the globe. Check out all the Geocaches of the Week on the Latitude 47 blog or view the Bookmark List on Geocaching.com.If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, send an email with your name, comments, the name of the geocache, and the GC code to email@example.com.Slippery walk along a cliffShare with your Friends:More SharePrint RelatedWhere Bats Dare — Geocache of the WeekMarch 15, 2017In “Community”New country souvenir, Monaco, with Geocache of the Week: Chemin des pecheursJuly 17, 2019In “Community”Afkule Monastery GC1RM77 GEOCACHE OF THE WEEK – March 26, 2012March 26, 2012In “Community”
December 16, 2019
I had an interesting meeting recently with a group of gentlemen who plan to distribute lambs’ wool insulation imported from New Zealand. Their company, Lambsulation, is gearing up to distribute throughout the US. They contacted me to get my impressions of their product and how they might effectively market it to the green building community. I know that wool is a good insulator. As a kid at sleep-away camp, I clearly remember having to wear wool sweaters that made my skin itch when camping, so we would stay warm in case we got wet. So why not use it for thermal insulation in a house?At the meeting was Stephen Fookes, their New Zealand representative and Chairman of the National Council of New Zealand Wool Interests. I was told that he knows more about wool than anyone. He was clearly knowledgeable and passionate about it, and gave me enough information to make my eyes glaze over. According to their information, wool has an R-value of 3.37 per inch, has virtually no embodied energy in manufacture, and the fire and insect resistant additives are all non-toxic, although I don’t have specific information on them. They claim it doesn’t settle like cellulose and fiberglass, but I will wait to see some proof on that. One interesting tidbit I learned was that this product is not made from the shearing of live sheep, in fact it is removed chemically from the hides of organic lambs that were slaughtered for meat. Not being a vegetarian, this doesn’t bother me, but it might cause others to pause before using it.The insulation is available in both batts and loose fill, which is applied with standard equipment used for fiberglass. According to their reports, the insulation fibers absorb moisture into their cores when relative humidity exceeds 65%, while keeping the exterior of each fiber dry at all times. This sounds like an interesting benefit, but I wonder about the value. Regardless, from the standpoint of performance and environmental impact, wool insulation seems like a reasonable choice.Will people buy it?Down to the business of our meeting. These guys wanted to know what I thought of their product and if they could pick up enough of the market to make it a viable alternative. Their cost structure may be as much as twice that of cellulose and fiberglass, which offer roughly the same basic performance. Wool certainly does have some benefits over the competition, but I think they will have a limited market unless they can really spur consumer demand, not unlike companies like Icynene have successfully done. Wool has some green street cred – low embodied energy, low toxicity, renewably harvested insulation sure seems appealing, but how many people will be willing to pay a premium for something that they can’t show off. Too bad they don’t make kitchen counters out of the stuff.
December 16, 2019
Air handlingIn any tightly built house, one needs to provide for ventilation. In older and draftier homes, a lot of air leaks into and out of a house through little cracks around joints, windows, and doors, but with high- efficiency construction there is a strong risk of the air getting stale. Our home ended up very tight (see our past post on that topic here), so we needed mechanical ventilation.This is accomplished with a heat-recovery ventilator (HRV) which serves two purposes. First, the HRV exhausts stale air from the house while bringing fresh air in. All sorts of gases can build up inside homes, from cooking, off-gassing from materials, even simple human habitation, and these are vented to the outside when bringing in fresh air.Second, an HRV exchanges heat between the exhaust air and the incoming fresh air, using a heat-exchange core. This allows the home to hold onto more heat in the winter, and keep out some of the heat in the summer. We settled on the LifeBreath 155 Max, which is sized nicely to our air circulation needs, while consuming only 40 watts of power on the low setting. Green Basics: AppliancesMartin’s 10 Rules of LightingAre LEDs Worth Their Extra Cost?Choosing an Energy-Efficient RefrigeratorAll About Washing MachinesAre HRVs Cost-Effective?All About DishwashersAll About Water Heaters Kitchen rangeWe have a propane range, one of the basic models that was available at the local Sears (the Kenmore 5.0 cu. ft. Freestanding Gas Range with variable self-clean, model #74132). This unit has five burners on top, and propane burners at both the bottom and top of the oven.This unit does require some electricity for full functionality. The range has electronic sparkers to light the burners, though these can be lit with a match or lighter if there is no power. The oven, however, requires a larger and more constant supply of power, as a heating element stays on at all times when the oven is heating. I have not been able to find the exact power draw for the stove heating element, but I think that it is around 200 or 300 watts. It would have saved a bit of electricity if there were a pilot light inside the oven, but these models are getting harder to find and are apparently not always as safe as the electrically controlled ovens. LightingJust in the last three to four years, there has been a sea change in lighting, as LED technologies have become cost-competitive with compact fluorescents and incandescents. While still somewhat more expensive than these other choices, LEDs last much longer (with a service life often estimated at around 20 years), and consume only a fraction of the energy.We put in all LED lighting to minimize electricity use. Some of it is in specialized fixtures, but most of it is screw-in or pin-type bulbs, and this was only a bit more expensive than other options available. When lighting up the house at night, the total lighting loads seldom exceed 100 watts. This is one of a series of posts by Craig Anderson describing the off-the-grid house he built with his wife France-Pascale Ménard near Low, Québec. Craig writes about the “Seven Hills Project” in a blog called Sunshine Saved. For a list of Craig’s previous posts, see the list of “Blogs by Craig Anderson” in the sidebar below. Phone and internet systemWhile it was appealing to have no phone or internet at our home in the woods, it wasn’t practical. Both my wife’s and my work depend on being internet-connected, and it’s often important to be able to make phone calls. However, since we are so far off the beaten path, we have no phone lines, and only a very weak cellular signal at our home. To remedy this situation, it took a few steps. The good news was the phone and internet systems combined require less than 10 watts to keep a constant and high quality connection.To improve the cell phone reception, I set up a cellular signal booster, which consists of several parts. First, there is an antenna mounted to the outside of the house which is pointed at the nearest cell tower about five miles away. From this antenna, a coaxial cable is run into the home into a cell signal amplifier, which is a box about the size of a typical modem. This is then connected to an interior antenna. When one uses a cell phone, the signal is received by the interior antenna, passing through the amplifier and exterior antenna to communicate with the cell tower. This system actually works very well, bringing the signal from one that is so weak that calls often cannot be connected, up to a very strong signal (5 out of 5 bars of reception listed on the phone).To have a ready internet connection, we connected a cellular modem. This works just like any other modem, but instead of connecting through telephone or cable wires, it communicates over the cellular network just like a smartphone. Our local phone provider has a ‘family plan’ for data sharing, which we now share between smart phones for myself and my wife, as well as with the wi-fi network created by the cellular modem. Data is more expensive this way than through a wired connection, but as long as we don’t use the network for high bandwidth activities such as video streaming, it works very well. RELATED ARTICLES Water heatingWe use propane to do our domestic water heating, with an indirect water heater powered by our propane boiler (see the post about our heating system here).A heating loop from our boiler goes to the water tank. A heat exchanger consisting of a set of copper coils containing the heated glycol pass heat to the domestic water in the tank. Because this setup uses a relatively powerful boiler when heating the water, it is actually able to provide continuous hot water for such things as bathing. The water heater is set up to take precedence over space heating, so there is always a good supply of hot water. DishwasherWe wouldn’t have needed a dishwasher necessarily, but it is a nice convenience. We picked up an Energy Star rated Kenmore model 630, which Energuide lists at 269 kWh/year in expected power use. We generally only run it when it gets full, and it requires approximately 1 kWh per load of dishes when run on “Eco” mode. In years past, the mechanical systems and appliances in off-grid homes looked quite different than those designed for typical grid-tied houses. Generating electricity was extremely difficult and expensive at the home scale, so there was much less electrification. Instead, off-gridders used other technologies like wood stoves, kerosene lamps, and propane-powered appliances.One can still find most of these home systems, including such things as propane lighting and propane-powered refrigerators. However, these systems are made at such a small scale and are in such small demand that they are quite expensive and do not perform incredibly well. Thankfully, an off-grid house today can maintain essentially all the comforts of on-grid living, as long as one is careful about making choices. BLOGS BY CRAIG ANDERSON Solar Was the Only Real ChoiceWhat We Did for HeatThe Building EnvelopeBuilding an Off-Grid Home in Canada RefrigeratorA refrigerator is one of those modern conveniences that would be very difficult to live without. And with refrigerated and frozen foods, it isn’t possible to turn off the power when you are away unless you empty out the whole thing. As I mentioned above, one can run a refrigerator on propane, but these units leave something to be desired when compared to a typical fridge.Thankfully, we produce enough electricity to keep a fridge powered. We have a Kenmore 596.6938, a 20-cubic-foot model rated to consume 459 kWh per year. There are a few fridges that have power consumption as low as 350 kWh/year (less than 1 kWh/day), but they were a bit small for a family that does some entertaining. Two trends have allowed this to happen. First, solar power generation and storage is falling quickly in price, and it is now possible to have a regular supply of electricity at a home for a manageable cost. Second are the large increases in efficiency of all the electronics used in our homes. The normal, high-efficiency, often Energy Star approved, appliances and other electronics of today use just a fraction of the power of their predecessors.Put all of these trends together, and it is now possible to use all off-the-shelf products from standard stores, as long as the most efficient of available options are chosen. The one thing that is difficult to do with electricity in an off-grid home is heating. Whether it be home heating, water heating, the kitchen range, or a clothes dryer, all of these are energy hogs and not affordable in today’s off-grid home.In our case, we use propane to do most of this heavy lifting (though I hope to eliminate the propane at some point in the future). Below is a run-down of all of the systems that we have put into our home. Clothes washerWe chose a high-efficiency front-loading washer, again by Kenmore. This is one of the more efficient models available. Front-loading washers tend to outperform top-loading models, and provide one additional benefit — an extra powerful spin cycle. By spinning at several thousand RPMs, the vast majority of water is pulled out of the clothes before one even takes them out of the washer. This allows very quick air-drying, hung either outside on a line or in the house on racks.We decided that it would not be worthwhile to try to add a dryer. Electric units consume too much electricity, gas dryers are more expensive, and we already were getting most of the drying done by the high-speed spin cycle.
November 28, 2019
Connect with the Editor World champion wrestler Sushil Kumar entered the Indira Gandhi stadium to the sort of deafening applause India reserves usually only for Sachin Tendulkar. When Saina Nehwal smashed her way out of a match point, the celebrations at Siri Fort and in millions of homes across India was no less than when India beat Australia in the nerve wracking, nail biting test match at Mohali. A young mother came up to Organizing Committee Vice Chairman Randhir Singh at the Karni Singh shooting ranges, requesting for her son to be introduced to Abhinav Bindra. She wanted to click a picture of Abhinav Bindra with her son, so that each morning when the young boy woke up, he would have Bindra’s picture above his bed and would be inspired to emulate the heroics of the Olympic Gold Medalist. I cite these instances for all those who argue that the Commonwealth Games were a colossal waste. Never before in the history of this country have so many, followed the fortunes of sports stars outside cricket so closely. While the games are unlikely to transform India into a sporting power overnight, they are very likely to herald a new beginning for Indian sports. The ball that began to roll when Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore shot his way to a silver medal at Athens, the same ball that gathered momentum when Abhinav Bindra plucked gold at Beijing and Vijender and Sushil chipped in with a bronze each, is now likely to acquire an even greater momentum of its own. Because inspired by the heroics of Abhinav Bindra, Sushil Kumar, Vijender Singh and our other CWG stars, dozens of young boys and girls are taking to sports like never before. 10 years ago, few parents would have encouraged their children to take up professional sports. But just ask Pullela Gopichand about the impact that Saina Nehwal’s accomplishments have had on the number of young kids wanting to join his badminton academy in Hyderabad and you will know about the silent revolution that has begun to take shape. Before Saina, Sania’s exploits too had the same impact on tennis. Haryana is a shining example of the magic that can unfold when youthful energy finds a platform and patronage. Inspired by Vijender, Akhil and Sushil and actively backed by the state government, hundreds of young kids are taking to taking to wrestling and boxing. The fact that athletes from Haryana won a whopping 14 golds and that Haryana would have stood 5th in the games had it contested as an independent country, is an example of what India’s youngsters can do when opportunity marries hard work. While some might find the ways of Haryana Chief Minister Bhoopinder Singh Hooda to be very rustic, the fact remains that his patronage has transformed the lives of sportspersons in Haryana and given others the confidence that if they bring sporting glory they too can be assured of a good government job and enough money to sustain themselves and their families. The job of Deputy Superintendent of Police might not mean much to someone brought up in a middle class urban household but it means the world to a poor villager whose family has been denied growth opportunities for decades. Where was Haryana in the last Commonwealth Games. In 2006 in Melbourne athletes from the state won 1 gold, 3 silvers and 1 bronze. In a period of four years, athletes have managed to win 15 of India’s 38 gold medals in the CWG. This is no less than a minor miracle. His cahoots might break CWG protocol by getting medalists to come and touch his feet after winning bouts, international delegates might be appalled by the sycophancy, foreign athletes might snigger but India owes a big thank you to the Haryana chief minister and his government for the champions the state has produced. Each champion will inspire a hundred dreams to take wing.While sports may not be a priority for Mayawati’s government in Uttar Pradesh, Karunanidhi’s government in Tamil Nadu, or for Yeddurappa’s bumbling government in Karnataka, but what is to stop some of the country’s more effective administrators like Narendra Modi, Nitish Kumar, Ashok Gehlot or Shiv Raj Singh Chauhan to give sports the same impetus and push as the Haryana CM. Just imagine the collective energies that would get unleashed if Chief Ministers got competitive about whose state wins more medals in international sporting events. India’s tally could double from 38 in time for Glasgow 2014. This is not an idle dream but one that India can achieve. We have one-sixth of the world’s population, if the state finds the will, the population will throw up the champions. But will this ever happen in our country. I’m afraid the chances are bleak. The international athletes have barely left India’s shores and we are already getting word that the All India Congress Committee session to be organized on November 2, will be held at the Talkatora Boxing stadium. This is a royal shame. Thousands of crores of tax payer money was spent on building world class sports infrastructure. It will be the biggest travesty if politicians now come and hijack these facilities. Talkatora was created for boxers and must be used by them. Netas should find other venues to hold their political bouts. In fact, if these games are being considered a success it is because of the stellar performances of our athletes, in no way attributable to the mess that India’s politicians landed the country in just before the games began. Every Indian had to bow his head in shame as story after story broke of gross mismanagement and unimaginable plunder. From the Prime Minister downwards, they are all to be held accountable for having allowed the mess to perpetuate. What was the PM doing when Suresh Kalmadi and company dragged their feet, intentionally allowed the delays to happen and then tried to push all expenses through at the last minute, knowing that the government had no option but to clear the spending because the game were nearing. Ex-CAG Chief VK Shunglu has been appointed by the Prime Minister with the carte blanche to investigate all CWG related fraud, but it will serve no good, if the committee only looks for easy scapegoats. Kalmadi and Bhanot have gone underground, the noose is tightening around them. But they are not the only ones, responsible for having defrauded India. The rot runs deep. Even people close to the PM are culpable. Suresh Kalmadi and Sheila Dixit have been given a cold shoulder by both the PM and Sonia, who did not invite them for the athletes’ felicitation functions. But a mere cold shoulder is not enough. The villains of CWG need to be punished and sent to jail for having shamed India. Chief Minister Sheila Dixit is already talking about giving the Olympics a shot somewhere during the 2020’s. There can be no worse idea. Unless accountability is fixed, unless the corrupt are jailed, unless professionals are brought in, unless the right lessons are learnt, the hosting of no mega sporting event will have the backing of the people of India, who will view them as another opportunity for corrupt netas to line their pockets. Four CWG gold medal winner Gagan Narang said as he left our studios last night that he fears that taint and corruption are all that people of India will remember and that the achievements of our sportspersons will be forgotten after a week. The citizens of India cannot afford to do that. Athletes must be hailed and encouraged to strive for greater glory and the men and women who let India down must brought to book. One without the other would be a great disservice to this nation.
November 25, 2019
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation extended the deadline for admissions till Tuesday, July 19 (evening). This was done because less than 200 students accepted admission under the Right to Education in the second round that ended on Saturday, July 16.Seats for students:Under the RTE Act 2009, there is 25 per cent reservation of seats for students from economically and socially weaker sectionsThis reservation is for unaided and non-minority schoolsFree education is provided to students till class 8 by the state government2,192 seats were available in 318 schools, for which, the first lottery received a good response with 2,050 candidates securing admissionSchools rejected students and not vice-versa:Schools rejected student applications with fake income certificatesSchools refused to admit students who produced original documents later onEducators and social reformers reported the above informationOn admissions not granted by school:”The parents were misled by private agents who gave them fake certificates. The case is being investigated by the police. In the meanwhile, education officials told schools to admit students who submit their original documents later on but schools continue to reject them,” said Sudhir Paranjape, a member of the Anudanit Shiksha Bachao Samiti, a non-government organisation that helps parents with admissions (HT report).Some schools did not even allow parents to enter the premises to secure admission, added Paranjape. “Two to three schools in Mumbai that were allotted students turned their parents away at the gate claiming that they did not have seats,” said Paranjape.Read:NEET must be conducted in regional languages as well: Gujarat governmentRead: Over 55 per cent MP teachers miss school but take regular salaries advertisementClick here for more updates from India Today Education.