How the A’s decided on their final Opening Day roster spots

first_imgOAKLAND — They say spring training stats do not mean much. But in the case of certain A’s players, the numbers either made or broke their case to make the Opening Day roster.The A’s 25-man roster was not as difficult a puzzle to predict at the start of spring training as it has been in years past. There isn’t much to change when you are coming off a 97-win season.The few question marks that did exist were on the pitching side, both in the bullpen and starting rotation. Pitchers who were once …last_img read more

Expel the Creationists

first_imgApparently Eugenie Scott of the NCSE is feeling no remorse from her appearance in Ben Stein’s documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, where she defended the actions of those who ruined careers, denied tenure, and deprived students and teachers of their academic freedom because they dared to question Darwin.  Her latest piece in Scientific American is as adamant as ever: the creationists, ever morphing their tactics by a kind of sinister evolution, need to be eradicated.    With co-author Glenn Branch, Eugenie Scott summarized the history of creationism and the court cases that have stymied them.  Using the projection theme of a crook “donning a fake mustache” to hide his identity, Scott portrayed a shape-shifting bogeyman that can be shown no mercy but must be expelled.  The subtitle reads, “Creationists who want religious ideas taught as scientific fact in public schools continue to adapt to courtroom defeats by hiding their true aims under ever changing guises.”  After thoroughly discrediting the motives of creationists in Louisiana and Georgia who merely requested that students use critical thinking when exploring evolution, she explained why these apparently innocent requests deserved to be defeated: one doesn’t grant academic freedom to liars:In the meantime, it is clear why the Louisiana Science Education Act is pernicious: it tacitly encourages teachers and local school districts to miseducate students about evolution, whether by teaching creationism as a scientifically credible alternative or merely by misrepresenting evolution as scientifically controversial.  Vast areas of evolutionary science are for all intents and purposes scientifically settled; textbooks and curricula used in the public schools present precisely such basic, uncomplicated, uncontroversial material.  Telling students that evolution is a theory in crisis is—to be blunt—a lie.    Moreover, it is a dangerous lie, because Dobzhansky was right to say that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution: without evolution, it would be impossible to explain why the living world is the way it is rather than otherwise.  Students who are not given the chance to acquire a proper understanding of evolution will not achieve a basic level of scientific literacy.  And scientific literacy will be indispensable for workers, consumers and policymakers in a future dominated by medical, biotechnological and environmental concerns.Creationists will continue their pattern of “steady misrepresentation,” she said, by finding new ways to chip away at Darwin’s theory of evolution.  What are honest citizens to do?  “But because the passage of such antievolution bills ultimately results from politics rather than science, it will not be the progress of science that ensures their failure to endure,” she said.  “Rather it will take the efforts of citizens who are willing to take a stand and defend the uncompromised teaching of evolution.”Eugenie, Eugenie, please.  This piece is so loaded with fallacies, lies and misrepresentations you should be ashamed of yourself.  Readers, look at this.  This lady knows better than to make such allegations.  She has heard numerous scholars and scientists who are not fundamentalist Christians make the same arguments against dogmatic Darwinism, among them David Berlinski, Steve Fuller and Ben Stein.  She has met face to face with Phillip Johnson and the leading lights of the intelligent design movement and various creationist organizations.  She knows these people are not crooks with fake mustaches.  In fact, she knows that most of them are nicer people than her fellow persecutors.  She knows many of them have more degrees in science than she does.  And she knows that no philosopher of science would defend the image of “science vs superstition” she is portraying.    This piece has all the marks of a hit man knowing his job depends on showing the boss some blood.  As a full-time employee of an organization whose sole purpose is to keep creationism out of the public arena, do you think she could dare face her board of directors and contributors with anything less than enthusiastic loyalty to the cause?  Conscience be expelled; she is not going to draw her pay by feeling remorse for continuing one of the most egregious persecutions of scholars, scientists and citizens in recent history.  If that takes a few lies and misrepresentations, so be it.  (The best lies are calling your enemies liars, misrepresenting them as misrepresenters, and having an agenda to accuse them of having an agenda.)    Eugenie, please.  Don’t you realize that any special interest group could use the tactics you keep using?  It’s never the Big Science Academy that has evil motives (don’t read those emails against Guillermo Gonzalez), it’s your straw bogeyman.  It’s never the Darwin Party that lies (don’t look at those Haeckel embryos); it’s only the bogeyman.  It’s never the DODO heads (Darwin-Only 2x) that misrepresents, changes tactics, and has an agenda – it’s only the bogeyman.  You know these people.  You know how nice and honest many of the persecuted outcasts are, and you know how cruel and heartless can be many of your comrades in arms.  You would rather befriend foul-mouthed P.Z. Myers than kind-hearted, wise old Phillip Johnson.  You would rather ruin a man’s career than listen to his scientific arguments for design.  You would rather sue a school than let them dare think that Darwin might have had less than the whole truth.  How can you look in the mirror in the morning?    This charge of creationists only being politically motivated is so tiring.  It is so hypocritical.  If Eugenie’s special-interest group lost a court case, you know she would be the first to change tactics and put on a fake mustache.  If she were marginalized, you know she would be the first crying out for academic freedom.  If the Darwin Party were losing, you know she would be the first to demand the right to critically examine the majority’s claims and give both sides a hearing.  If the Dover case had gone against the NCSE, you could hear the screams of protest she would make about how defining science is no business of a Republican judge.  And if Eugenie’s rights were being systematically stripped away by a powerful institution, you know she would not willingly cede territory to tyranny without a political fight, no matter how hopeless the prospects for success might appear.  She would get into political contests and school board races and cling to the eroding cliff of intellectual freedom as long as she could.    BUT – when she has the power to yank freedom from others, she is merciless:Ms. Scott, we sincerely believe, on scientific and philosophical grounds, that Darwinism is deeply flawed.  Can we have equal time to present alternatives?  NO!  (11/08/2004)OK, then; can have a few minutes per semester?  NO!OK, then; can we let students know alternatives exist?  NO!  12/20/2005)Is there any way for the D word design to be uttered in science class?  NO!OK, forget the science class.  We assume we could teach both sides of the design debate in a philosophy class, right?  NO!  (01/25/2006)How about teaching more evolution?  We could teach both the strengths and weaknesses of Darwinism, couldn’t we?  NO!  (05/13/2004)Can a teacher at least refer to secular peer-reviewed journals that mention problems with evolution?  NO!  (09/12/2004)Can a teacher put material at the back of the room for browsing, with no pressure or obligation?  NO!  (06/14/2005)Surely you would allow a teacher to encourage students to think critically?  NO!  (06/16/2005)Can a teacher mention that the textbook is presenting lies as evidence for evolution?  NO!  (07/25/2003)Can we put a teeny tiny sticker in the textbook asking students to think with an open mind?  NO!  (04/09/2004, 01/06/2007)Can we mention there are books in the school library with different views?  NO!Can we teach evolution by the textbook, but perhaps mention a little about the factual history of Darwin’s influence on politics?  NO!  (03/25/2007)If students write papers critical of Darwinism on their own initiative, can they get a decent grade?  NO!Can we promote academic freedom?  NO!Can we complain when NCSE material claims Darwinism is compatible with religion?  NO!  (04/03/2006)Can Dr. Darwin-Doubter get tenure if he doesn’t voice any of his doubts about Darwin in the classroom?  NO!  (05/22/2007)After a Darwin-doubting professor has been expelled and lost his tenure appeal, can he get a job as a truck driver (example) to feed his family? We’ll get back to you….If you want to get really shocked and angry at what the Darwin Pary has done to respectable scientists and teachers who dared to question Darwin, get the new book Slaughter of the Dissidents by Dr. Jerry Bergman – himself a victim of Darwinist discrimination.    On top of all this, Ms. Scott routinely portrays herself as a poor, lonely freedom fighter against the powerful religious right.  She heaps scorn on those evil creationists, the only ones in town with an “agenda” who are nefariously trying to corrupt science and ruin America.  Does that profile fit Dr. Richard Sternberg, a double-PhD research scientist?  No way.  But look what she said when he was hounded out of the Smithsonian for allowing a pro-design paper to be published in a scientific journal according to the rules of peer review, leading to a Congressional investigation that concluded evolutionists on staff had created a hostile work environment to pressure him out.  Eugenie Scott graciously said this in response: Sternberg got what he deserved and should be glad something worse didn’t happen to him (see Evolution News #1, #2 #3).  It was shameful – but she was shameless.    It must be an awful burden to bear on one’s conscience.  This humorless lady has to face looking back over her life some day and realizing she spent most of her years denying the majority of Americans the right to question dogma.  We can only hope she will open her beloved Daddy Darwin’s inspired scripture and read, “A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.”  That’s not only the American way.  Darwin was no American.  That’s the scientific way. Exercise:  Aim your Baloney Detector at Branch and Scott’s hit piece.  Scoring:  One point for each propaganda tactic, logical fallacy or smokescreen detected.  Two points for each lame excuse for Darwin-only “science.”  Three points for each allegation that is more justifiably aimed at the Darwin Party.  If this exercise gets you worked up, you can do something about it.(Visited 12 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Zuma to discuss fees impasse with university students and management

first_img“Nobody disagrees with the message that students from poor households are facing financial difficulties and possible exclusion,” said South African President Jacob Zuma. (Image: The Presidency)South African President Jacob Zuma is set to meet university management and student leaders on Friday 23 October to discuss the countrywide stalemate over fee increases.The meeting will be held with university vice-chancellors, chairpersons of councils and student leaders at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, with a view to finding a solution to the impasse.This will be Zuma’s second meeting with university management this month. His consultation with vice-chancellors and council chairs on 6 October resolved to set up a task team to explore solutions to short-term student funding challenges.Zuma said the government fully understands the pressure and difficulties confronting students from poor and working class households.“It is important that we work together to find solutions,” he said. “Nobody disagrees with the message that students from poor households are facing financial difficulties and possible exclusion.“Even in the January 8 statement of the governing party this year, we stated that the escalating cost of university education had become another source of exclusion for the poor and vulnerable South African child. All parties should allow space for this matter to be discussed in a manner that will enable us to find a solution.”In a statement released today, the South African government reiterated its commitment to funding for both basic and higher education, and to overcoming funding shortfalls.“Since 1994 government has prioritised education,” the statement reads. “This has translated into substantial funding for both basic and higher education. But given the legacy of the past there is a funding shortfall in higher education.“The current student protests over higher fees which began at Wits University and have since migrated to other campuses are of serious concern to government. The issues raised by the students are legitimate and government is sympathetic to their cause and are in line with our own priorities of ensuring quality and affordable education.“Government is committed to working with student leadership, university management and unions to find a solution to the current impasse and is working towards a long term solution to student funding in South Africa.”last_img read more

Gallery: The untamed Northern Cape

first_imgIt’s the largest and hottest province in South Africa, taking up a full third of the country’s land area. But the Northern Cape is also wild and empty, mostly desert and semi-desert. Under 2% of South Africa’s people live there.The 60-metre Augrabies Falls on the Orange River. The original Khoikhoi inhabitants named the falls “Ankoerebis”, or “place of big noises”. Later Afrikaner settlers then derived the name “Augrabies”. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)Mary AlexanderIt’s September. It’s spring in South Africa – and Tourism Month, celebrated this year with the theme “Tourism for All”.To inspire your next road trip we bring you nine galleries, one for each province, showcasing our country’s remarkable beauty and diversity.A thriving tourism industry means South Africa is closer to achieving its National Development Plan goals of skills development and creating decent employment through inclusive economic growth.The vast wilderness of the Nortern Cape holds weird lunar landscapes, exotic plants and animals, the Richtersveld World Heritage site and the Big Hole diamond mine, possibly the largest hand-dug excavation in the world.In early spring the barren Namaqualand sees a sudden, brief and brilliant bloom of flowers carpeting the landscape. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)Sister Januar outside the Catholic Cathedral in the Northern Cape town of Pella. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)Arri Raats, a member of the Khomani San Bushmen, at Boesmansrus camp in the Kalahari. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)Canoeing on the Orange River at sunset in Vioolsdrift, in the Richtersveld region of the Northern Cape. The Orange is the longest river in South Africa, rising in the Drakensberg mountains in Lesotho and flowing westwards to empty in the Atlantic Ocean. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)Brilliantly coloured Augrabies flat lizards are endemic to the Northern Cape, and common on the granite walls of Augrabies Falls National Park. In summer they delight tourists with their acrobatic leaps to catch black flies swarming near the falls. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)A seal colony on the rocky shores of the Namaqua National Park. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)Crafts for sale at a tourist market in Pofadder, Northern Cape. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)Donkey cart drivers in Andriesvale in the Kalahari. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)Arnie Braam in Klein Pella, Northern Cape. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)Desert dunes in Witsand – “white sands” – Nature Reserve near Postmasburg in the Northern Cape. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)A farm in Vioolsdrift. Irrigation from the great Orange River and from groundwater allows farmers to produce crops in the desert. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)Quiver trees – kokerboom in Afrikaans – in the Kalahari. San Bushman hunter-gatherers used the trees to make quivers for their arrows. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)The Sutherland Observatory on a starry night. There is little light pollution in the remote Northern Cape, making the province ideal for major international astronomy initiatives such as the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) and the Square Kilometre Array, or SKA. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)Meerkats in the desert of the Kalahari Red Dune Route in the Northern Cape. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)An old shipwreck rusts into the shore of the Namaqua National Park on the West Coast. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)Inside the McGregor Museum, an important cultural and natural history research institute, in Kimberley, the capital of the Northern Cape. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)Palm trees against the late afternoon sun in Klein Pella, on the banks of the Orange River. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)The mountainous desert landscape of the Richtersveld. The region is the only arid biodiversity hotspot on earth, with an amazing variety of plant, bird and animal life. The Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape is a Unesco World Heritage site. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)The Big Hole in Kimberley, the capital of the Northern Cape, is thought to be the largest hand-dug excavation in the world. Once an open-pit diamond mine, some three metric tons of diamonds were extracted from the hole – displacing 22-million tons of earth – between 1872 and 1914. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)A massive communal sociable weaver bird’s nest envelops an acacia tree in the Kgalakgadi Transfrontier Park in the north of the Northern Cape. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)Steenbok amid indigenous desert vegetation in the Namaqua National Park. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)The local maritime museum in the West Coast town of Port Nolloth. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)A dog sits with its driver as they make their way through Vioolsdrift in the Richtersveld. (Image: South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)last_img read more

Real-Time Search Startups on Google/Bing/Twitter News: Who Will Prevail, Who Will Profit?

first_img8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… jolie odell A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Is today’s news of major search engines’ integration of Twitter posts in search results the herald of a mass extinction or a mass acquisition?According to tonight’s conversations with key players in the space, the day’s events and announcements could spell either or both. Every real-time search engine we spoke to has expressed every intention of weathering the storm on their current strategies, all of which center on providing an excellent UX though excellent product development. And all see the day’s events as a validation of years of concentrated effort. But who will prevail, and who will profit?We spoke tonight with Tobias Peggs of OneRiot, Gerry Campbell of Collecta, and Bill York of Wowd. We’ve had in-depth conversations with each of these real-time search engines in the past, and we’re indebted to them for their insight.Gut ReactionsUniversally, these startups said that hearing today’s Google/Microsoft/Twitter news was a welcome validation of their years of perseverance in real-time search.“It’s super exciting,” siad Peggs. “There’s been one way to search the web for 10 years, and we’re looking at a total revolution in the way that people find information. It’s a huge change in the industry. To see that feeling validated is awesome.”According to York, “I don’t think we could ask for anything better than an endorsement from the major players. This is nothing but good for us. Back when I started, the marketplace was not very receptive to a new strategy.” York continued to say that he supported mainstream exploration of the real-time space, with the telltale caveat, “even if it means licensing someone else’s information and community.”Campbell said this new information is something Collecta has built into their corporate strategy. “This is something we heard rumors on and had anticipated. It was fully expected. Having been involved with one of the giants [AltaVista] at one time, it’s quite obvious. It’s something we’ve anticipated and part of how we structured our company.”Thoughts on Product DevelopmentAll the startups in real-time search have taken various approaches to the monumental task of indexing the real-time web. Collecta has employed the XMPP technology that powers IM clients in order to push streams of information. OneRiot has a fascinating algorithm that indexes tweet content, links in tweets, and the content of the linked-to pages to serve relevant results. And Wowd has developed a SETI@Home-like distributed computing model to effectively harness and parse the dataset created by users of real-time technologies.Each company is proud of its hard-won advances and speculated on how Google and Microsoft will handle the data.Campbell told us, “I can’t say Google will bring to real-time search. But it makes sense that any dataset will be part of their approach. This is the largest corpus of real-time data that has not been accessible. As a search practitioner, I think they’re going to keep on with their ranking approach.”York added that nothing unforeseen has yet been announced. “The Twitter thing, that’s the kind of thing people have been expecting.”But he also talked about the challenges of parsing real-time user-generated content. “I think the data stream is broader and shorter. There’s more and more real time, and you need different architecture to keep up with it. It’s important to have real filtering applied to a noisy, low-value data stream. We believe people are the key to finding the good stuff.”“Knowing what goes into the product is quite eye-opening,” said Peggs. “There’s a tremendous lot of work to do once you’ve got tweets containing links, to process that information in real time and index the content on the page and render results based on content rather than just tweets. It’s relatively easy for someone to spam Twitter with irrelevant links; but you’ve got to follow the links and index the pages and search against the content of the pages, not just the 140-character tweets. You also have to link to results based on relevancy, not just based on retweets.”Follow the MoneyThe opportunities for monetizing a new and powerful stream of Google- and Bing-driven traffic are both exciting and confounding for these startups, some of which have not yet put into play their own ideas for generating revenue.As York noted, Google’s and Microsoft’s entry into real-time search represents a shift in the marketplace from these startups and their technology being a geek’s plaything to being a new way to direct user attention and serve powerfully relevant advertising.“Google is in the enviable position of having a high profit margin in the search business itself,” he said. “It does fit their strategy to have as many eyeballs as possible, to get more people doing more stuff. We’re interested more in matching personal interest profiles.”Also, as Peggs noted, “OneRiot has an API that allows anyone to incorporate our results. We also have a real-time ad model.”Collecta also has rolled out two APIs, one for general search results from the real-time web and one for XMPP-powered streaming data. Campbell has also hinted that their monetization plans are innovative, but his team has not yet released specifics.“Having been involved in this growth of paid search several times over,” said Campbell, “the creation of new technology creates new business opportunity. The monetization of search was a redefinition of online business models: You can advertise to users without being slimy. There’s now an opportunity to make users even happier without distracting them from the page.”Strategy: Beyond “Get Acquired Or Die”The startups in the real-time search space also universally expressed a commitment to current business strategies. Some seemed to have clearer exit goals than others, but all believe that their unique focuses on tech and product will allow them to survive the intrusion of Microsoft and Google into their arena.Campbell, like many of his cohorts at other startups, noted that Twitter is a small segment of the available content sources for real-time web information. He also said, “Engines that are based solely on Twitter are probably more dead-on in terms of competition [with Google]. The less-funded companies are in a position where they have to do something more clever and unique.”Collecta, he said, is still figuring out their role in the story. “We are a push search engine,” he told us. ‘That is increasingly our defining characteristic. The perception of speed is critical, but it’s not our most unique characteristic. Because we’re based on XMPP, the chat protocol, we’re pushing results as soon as possible.”Said Peggs, “Our strategy doesn’t change. We’re focused on producing the most relevant web results based on not just Twitter, but also Digg and other services – a much wider pulse of the real-time web on the back end. And we continue to distribute those through our API.”What’s to Come for Real-Time Search StartupsEvery single startup we spoke to tonight expressed some trepidation about things to come.“What happens to the bubble of startups in this space?” asked Campbell. “I hope they’ve had the foresight to see this through.”“It doesn’t really change our strategy,” said a confident Peggs. “Two years ago, when you explained how this would change search, they looked at you like you were crazy.”York’s assessment of Wowd’s place as an open-sourced approach to a problem now being tackled by major corporations was also optimistic. “When you’re a startup company competing with established players, there are always reasons to be cautious. We believe the approach we’re taking is a great way to go. It’s different, even than what you’ve heard today. We think this approach isn’t a gimmick; it is a fundamentally different approach.”The bottom line, as in all verticals, is that once the major leagues take interest, some startups will sink and some will swim. Some will be acquired, and some will fail. Some may survive long enough to pose a legitimate challenge to the dominant players, but this circumstance is less likely.Let us know your prognoses in the comments, and stay tuned for developing coverage of this space and these startups from ReadWriteWeb.center_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#Real-Time Web#web Related Posts last_img read more

Crowdflower and Gambit: Is this Child Labor for Virtual Goods?

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Just this week a MediaPost article discussed how the Iconix Brand Group agreed to pay $250,000 after advertising to children without parental consent. While you wouldn’t normally associate brands like Candies shoes or Bongo denim with kids, Iconix collected birth date and user information from under 13-year-olds associated with these companies. Targeting newsletters and advertising to these users was enough to raise questions with the Federal Trade Commission. It will be interesting to see how Gambit and Crowdflower will balance the issue of parental consent amongst this younger labor force. Can we classify this as child labor if only virtual goods are involved?Some of the tasks listed for casual gamers include tagging images and video clips, classifying text and finding business contact information. While others might argue that the web-task barter system is akin to earning one’s allowance, the fact that children could be scraping the web to help businesses advertise to us seems somewhat exploitative. While it’s too early to say how this program will pan out, there’s no doubt that Crowdflower and Gambit will have to walk a fine line to keep this program ethical. Photo Credit: Jim Sneedon Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… dana oshiro Tags:#start#startups 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts While Crowdflower has forged some amazing partnerships in the past, including a deal with Samasource to launch a training program for Kenyan refugees, the company’s latest partnership has a somewhat questionable benefit statement. Crowdflower and Gambit are offering sponsored promotions for gamers to earn virtual currency via cloud-based labor. While the program sounds like a great idea, the pitch we received specified that promotions would help “monetize younger users”. It will be interesting to see how parents react to these promotions. In order to protect their kids, many parents seek out age-appropriate web content like ReadWriteWeb’s list of kid-friendly resources. Others opt for tools like CYBERsitter that offer parental controls over web filtering software. While most of these tools protect against worst-case-scenarios, few protect against invasive advertising or remote labor offers. last_img read more

Department of Energy Proposes Changes in Efficiency Rulemaking

first_imgFederal rules for setting energy efficiency standards will be revised under a plan announced by the Department of Energy, prompting complaints that the changes would make it harder to update standards in the future and ultimately cost consumers more money. The proposed rules, which were published in the Federal Register last week, are intended to make the process consistent with the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, according to a post at Utility Dive. But advocates for efficiency standards for products such as appliances and light bulbs said the changes were unnecessary and unhelpful.RELATED ARTICLESEfficiency Is Still the Best Energy DealEnergy EfficiencyNo Reason to Delay Efficiency StandardsThe Fine Print on Energy EfficiencyU.S. Lags in Energy Efficiency Changing the definition of “significant energy savings” Lauren Urbanek, a senior energy policy advocate with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a post at the NRDC website that the department wants to change how a “significant” energy savings is defined. The new test, which updated standards would have to meet before they could be implemented, would require savings equal 0.5 quads or a 10% improvement in efficiency over 30 years (0.5 quads amounts to 2.5% of total annual household energy use in the U.S.). The new threshold, Urbanek wrote, will make it harder to update existing efficiency standards and mean fewer savings for consumers. Other changes would make the process of setting new efficiency standards slower and more complicated, she added. Efficiency standards now cover 60 categories of appliances and equipment that have collectively saved consumers $2 trillion, Urbanek said. Improvements to standards that are due to be reviewed in the next few years could increase savings by another $43 billion by 2035. “But these savings are in peril, both from DOE inaction and from changes to the Process Rule that will make it significantly more difficult to set and update meaningful, impactful standards,” she said. Andrew deLaski, the executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, told Utility Dive that the new rules would make it difficult for rule writers to use anything other than industry test procedures, giving manufacturers “carte blanche to write the rules for how efficiency is measured.” At least one industry group is behind the changes. The North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers, a trade group representing more than 550 companies, said the proposed changes represented “substantial improvements” to the rule making process. The department has scheduled a public meeting March 21 and will accept comments until April 15.last_img read more

HTC Launches New Flagship Smartphone, HTC One

first_imgdan rowinski Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Related Posts Tags:#Android#HTC HTC has officially announced its newest flagship smartphone, the HTC One, at events in New York City and London. The new 4.7-inch smartphone sports a 1.7 GHz quad-core processor and introduces a concept called “ultrapixels” to improve the the camera. The HTC One has two front-facing stereo speakers and an all-aluminum chassis that should give it a comfortable fit in the palm of your hand.HTC has also redesigned Sense, its skin that it lays on top of the Android operating system. Integrated into this is a series of live tiles HTC calls “Blink Feed” that will pull in stories and content form social media, brands and new sources straight to the smartphone’s home screen. The HTC One will launch in 80 countries on 185 mobile operators. This will be HTC’s biggest and most wide spread device launch ever.It will begin shipping in late March.Stay tuned for more coverage of HTC’s newest smartphone. Lead image: HTC president Jason Mackenzie on stage at HTC launch event in New York by Dan Rowinskicenter_img The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagementlast_img read more

At Microsoft’s TechFest, The Future Is Big. Big Screens, That Is

first_img8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Buying and installing a wall-sized display might seem ludicrous at the moment, but let’s bear with Microsoft for a moment — this is the future, after all. What Pahud’s video shows us, though, is how close this future is to reality.Some of what Pahud describes may seem familiar. Placing a finger on the screen opens a “palette” of available options next to it, similar to the radial menu that Microsoft included in its OneNote application. If the user spreads his fingers, the palette expands to include new options. Part of this could be enabled with a touch display; alternatively, a Kinect sensor could also be used to “see” how a user is actually interacting with the display.When a user approaches with a Windows smartphone, the phone syncs with the display. When the user is close to the display, the phone shows the palette options. Farther away, the phone shifts into a “remote control” mode, presenting a keyboard and allowing the user to search and control via his voice.“So in conclusion we have been looking at the strengths of the large display, the strengths of the phone, and combine them together as a society of appliances,” Pahud said.A second video, authored by Microsoft researcher Bongshin Lee, takes the concept of “palette” in a different direction. By drawing an “L” on the display, the SketchInsight technology concept draws a graph; writing the labels for the X and Y axes not only assigns values to both, but also begins filling in the data (from a predetermined source, I assume). In a nifty trick, drawing a battery icon populates the graph with the appropriate data, also using the elongated icon as a the element of a bar graph.Lee’s video isn’t nearly as impressive as Pahud’s demonstration, if only because the source of the data is never really made clear, nor is how the data should be bounded. Creating a pie chart merely by drawing a circle is a nice touch, however, and shows how data can be herded into the appropriate format using the appropriate tool.Microsoft also presented research papers on:Adaptive machine learning. As a front-end tool, this is a bit difficult to conceptualize. Microsoft showed off several examples of machine learning, ranging from the relatively trivial — using machine learning to decide the category of a business expense — to the more profound, such as using a manufacturing profile to determine whether a semiconductor wafer was defective or not.Analyzing viral content. Much as you would expect, Microsoft’s research showed that “viral” content doesn’t originate from a single source, but is spontaneously shared by a number of influencers, whose content ripples across the online sphere. But Microsoft researcher Jake Hofman also developed a tool that would help analyze the “clout” of individuals on the Web, and track the virality of content they share. The Kinect handgrip. While this may seem relatively trivial, Microsoft views the ability to close one’s hand into a fist — the “handgrip” — as the gestural equivalent of a mouse click, and the company said that it would be supported in future versions of the Kinect SDK.Microsoft’s TechFest doesn’t necessarily mean that these products will come to market and be built into next-generation Microsoft-branded products. But it’s a good indication that this is the direction the company is headed.Here are some more images from TechFest:Freeform Sketching: Using Microsoft’s SketchInsight tool, the user sketches an exampleicon, and SketchInsight automatically completes the chart by synthesizing data fromexample sketches. SketchInsight also enables the presenter to interact with the data charts.3D Scene capture: Using several live color and depth images, this technology builds a high-resolution composition of the visible surfaces in a scene using voxels, a sort of three-dimensional pixel. Unlike previous methods, Microsoft’s project captures people moving and talking, using the graphics chips found within a PC.3D Haptic Touch: A way to move through 3D models. The X and Y interactions come via X and Y touch interaction on the screen, visually scrolling in two dimensions. Pushing “into” the display physically moves the screen down, and the video renders the appropriate depth.Lead image courtesy of Microsoft Tags:#Microsoft#research#smartphone Maybe you’ve wanted to control your big-screen TV with your smartphone for years, even though the idea has been a nonstarter for most of that time. Now Microsoft, which insists that it sees large-screen computing devices playing a dominant role in the home and workplace, says it will make that a reality.On Tuesday, Microsoft kicked off TechFest, a research fair of sorts where the company’s engineers emerge from their darkened labs and reveal their notion of the tech future. And perhaps more important, how we’re going to get there.Over twenty projects will be on display, including older exhibits such as one that lets you animate household objects using your body. One of the most significant presentations came from senior researcher Michel Pahud, who showed off how users could interact with large-screen displays, either directly or using their phone.Why is this important? Consider the following concept video, which shows how Microsoft imagines users interacting with massive interactive displays projected onto walls and ceilings. It’s a showcase for what Microsoft calls “natural user interfaces,” or ways of interacting with computers via touch, voice and gestures instead of a keyboard. (Microsoft has authored similar videos before, such as the “smart glass” concept from 2009 and a similar video in 2011 that showcased holograms.)The problem with controlling displays such as TVs via smartphone is that the phone is usually sitting right next to a remote control — a purpose-built, and often superior, device. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… markhachmanlast_img read more

Strengthening the Family CORE

first_imgStrengthening the Family COREDate: September 1st, 8th, 15th and 22ndTime: 11:00 am-12:30 pm EasternLocation: Family Development Virtual Learning Event 2016Family Development is excited to announce the 2016 Virtual Learning Event (VLE) focusing on Strengthening the Family CORE.These sessions have been designed to equip military service providers with tools to join with families to continue their path of resilience. It is our hope that these sessions will enhance your knowledge, strengthen your skills as a service provider, and guide your work with these amazing families.Join us on September 1st at 11:00 am Eastern!We offer 1.5 National Association of Social Worker CE credits and CE credits for licensed Marriage and Family Therapists in the state of Georgia for each webinar, click here to learn more.MFLN FD Early Intervention will be providing Early Intervention Training Program (EITP) CE credits, click here to learn more.last_img read more