Socks to soldiers

first_imgHer husband is retired from the U.S. Army, and her younger daughter enlisted in the Georgia National Guard and is currently going through the Army’s basic training. Southers’ older-daughter’s boyfriend is a U.S. Marine. Southers and her husband, Cornel Kittell, have a flock of 60 Gulf Coast sheep that they harvest wool from once a year. They usually sellmost of the wool to a fiber broker in Tennessee. In 2010 she sold some of her wool to Hustvedt for the marketing study. As part of her study, Hustvedt also had socks made from wool grown in Texas and Virginia — which left her with an abundance of socks. Extension specialist Sharon Gibson, who is helping to coordinate the effort, is hoping the socks-to-soldiers effort will help students make the connection between agriculture and fashion, and help build the public’s appreciation of farmers and members of the U.S. Armed Services. Southers feels a close connection to the soldiers whose feet she’s helping to keep warm. Socks provide connection back homeGibson Gibson made sure a few pairs of socks ended up in Annis’ textile testing lab. Annis’ students are making a series of videos of them putting the socks through their paces — testing for things like durability. They will post the videos on the UGA Socks for Soldiers Facebook page in an effort to spark conversations with the deployed soldiers who receive the socks. Locally grown socks headed overseas Hustvedt’s research — some of which she conducted in Athens — focused on local wool, product development and marketing. She wanted to find out if there was a consumer preference for goods made from locally grown fibers. The socks that Joost and her classmates sent to Afghanistan are the product of a long-time collaboration between Madison County Extension Agent Adam Speir, Gibson, senior fashion merchandising lecturer Emily Blalock, UGA textile scientist Patti Annis and Gwen Hustvedt from Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. Hustvedt’s search for locally grown wool in Athens eventually led her to Madison County sheep farmer Jan Southers. Fashion merchandising students sent a box containing about 100 pairs of the wool socks to soldiers serving in Afghanistan, where nights can dip below 0 degrees in some areas. The socks arrived in Bagram Air Force Base on Feb. 13, and “were going like hot cakes,” according to USO representative on the ground. Too many socks. center_img “We have a lot of ties to the military, so when they told us about our socks going to Afghanistan, I thought that was great,” Southers said. “The fact our wool was going to be something nice for American soldiers meant a lot.” “In the end this is not just about socks — this is about making connections — it is about having students who are interested in fashion understanding their dependence on agriculture,” Gibson said. “It is about preserving what we say that we value — demonstrating our appreciation of farmers, service members and military families. They hatched a plan to send the socks to a former UGA FCS student who worked as the duty manager for the USO at Bagram, and she will distribute the socks. The Gaines School Elementary Sewing Club in Athens, Ga. volunteered to make one-of-a-kind labels for each pair of socks. Some things seem to get more important the farther you get from home. For soldiers fighting in Afghanistan, one of those is warm, dry socks. Those seeking more information about the project can visit www.facebook.com/ifsockscouldtalk. Students, faculty and Extension specialists at the University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences are working with a Georgia sheep farmer to make sure service members have high-quality, wool socks to get them through the end of the Afghan winter. “Being a fashion merchandising major, you don’t think that there are going to be a lot of opportunities to help reach out into the community,” said Lauren Joost, a UGA senior from Washington, D.C. “The combination of working with textiles and helping the troops made this project something I really wanted to help with.” When Hustvedt met Gibson at an International Federation Home Economics meeting in July, she ultimately found a home for her supply of socks. “She asked if I thought there was something we could do with the 100 plus pairs of socks she had,” Gibson said. “I told her that I had a student that was working with the USO, that we had a great faculty member who was interested in women entrepreneurs and that I would work on it when I got back to Georgia.” “It is about recognizing the thread that connects us — both figuratively and, in this case, literally.” last_img read more

Creating a more inclusive industry: Lessons for credit unions

first_img 9SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr In its 2017 Diversity Report, Financial Solutions Lab (FinLab) provided an update on its efforts to create a more inclusive financial services industry. Managed by the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) with founding partner JPMorgan Chase & Co., FinLab seeks to identify, test and bring to scale promising innovations to improve financial health in America. The program is dedicated to supporting and encouraging diversity within the early-stage fintech space.“As an investor and supporter of early-stage startups, we believe that diverse teams simply build better products,” writes CFSI FinLab Senior Manager Maria Lajewski in the report. “By having a more comprehensive understanding of the market, diverse teams are more likely to build products that address the needs of a broad swath of consumers, including those who are historically underserved. And it’s those companies that are much more likely to grow and scale to reach millions of customers.”Below are a couple interesting findings Lajewski shares in the report: continue reading »last_img read more

Derivatives account for two-thirds of annual returns at KPN scheme

first_imgThe pension fund said it increased its strategic allocation from 2.5% to 10%, while also raising its stake in inflation-linked bonds from 12% to 15%. Equity delivered 9.5%, with actively managed global and emerging market equity, and passively managed European equity, returning 11.7% and 5.1%, respectively.The pension fund replaced 5% of its global equities with an equal stake in European equities, “as they were priced more attractively”.Listed real estate, returning 26.2%, was the best performing part of the property portfolio.Actively managed property returned 5.5%.The KPN scheme attributed the 20.5% loss in commodities to falling oil prices and replaced all its passively managed investments – through future contracts – for actively managed holdings in the asset class. According to Cees Michielse, chairman of the scheme’s investment committee, the adjustment was part of a periodical reassessment of the entire investment portfolio.“The fixed monthly extension of the futures appeared to be predictable, allowing other market players, such as hedge funds, to anticipate,” he said.The pension fund also divested its remaining stake in hedge funds.“Already a couple of years ago, we expected better results from equity and bonds, and this prediction has come true,” Michielse said.In December, the KPN Pensioenfonds sold the put options it had used to hedge the equity risk in developed markets.On the back of rising equity markets, these derivatives came at the expense of 0.5 percentage points of the annual return.The scheme said it spent 0.34% of its assets on asset management and 0.03% on transactions.The KPN Pensioenfonds, which has 58,250 participants, is on course to merge with the €900m Ondernemingspensioenfonds KPN – the pension scheme for nearly 2,000 KPN staff who are not employed under a collective labour agreement.The Ondernemingspensioenfonds KPN returned 21.2% last year. As of the end of March, the schemes’ policy coverage ratios stood at 111.2% and 114.3%, respectively. The €7.5bn pension fund of telecoms giant KPN has confirmed that almost two-thirds of its annual return of 22.6% was due to its deployment of derivatives against various risks, including an interest hedge. In its annual report for 2014, the KPN Pensioenfonds said the actual return on investments was 8%.Over the course of the year, the scheme decreased its interest hedge of liabilities – through a combination of fixed income holdings, interest swaps and swaptions – from 85% to 61%.It generated a 10.1% return on its fixed income portfolio, with Dutch residential mortgages returning 9.1%.last_img read more

Trump Baby Blimp Flies Ahead of President’s Trip to London

first_imgThe President and First Lady Melania Trump are leaving for Great Britain tonight.Queen Elizabeth and other members of the Royal Family will hold a formal arrival ceremony at Buckingham Palace tomorrow morning. The Trumps will have a private lunch with the Queen before traveling to Westminster Abbey to place a wreath at the Grave of the Unknown.The Queen will host a formal state banquet tomorrow night.The President and First Lady will also visit Ireland and France this week.The President will take part in a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day at Normandy. Protesters are preparing the Trump Baby blimp ahead of the president’s visit to London on Monday.During the three-day visit, the President and the first lady will visit Queen Elizabeth, and Trump will visit Prime Minister Theresa May for an official meeting on Downing Street. The London Times says British authorities are gearing up for hundreds of thousands of anti-Trump protesters.Some ten-thousand officers will be assigned to the protests, including snipers, helicopters and bomb-sniffing dogs.London Mayor Sadiq Khan has reportedly granted permission for the infamous Trump Baby blimp to fly over London on the second day of Trump’s visit. An aside note, Trump before his was president tried to date Princess Diana after her divorce from Prince Charles. Lady Diana reportedly found his advances and huge flower arrangement deliveries, “creepy.” But, had President married Lady Diana and not the Melania, the Princess of Wales might still be alive and…First Lady of the United States.last_img read more

Port Increases Safety of Stormwater Treatment Plant

first_imgFacebook0Tweet0Pin0 Submitted by Port of OlympiaPort of Olympia has been working to identify and correct causes of the hydrogen peroxide spill that occurred at the Marine Terminal’s stormwater treatment plant on Jan. 28, 2015. The spill did not result in any chemicals entering Budd Inlet.Immediately following the release of the hydrogen peroxide, the Port had an independent engineering firm assess the cause of the spill and evaluate potential improvements to make the system even safer. The firm found that a non-vented ball valve was the cause of the spill and identified areas where the system can be improved for efficiency and safety.Port staff shared the engineering firm’s report with the Washington Dept of Ecology, which regulates industrial stormwater. Ecology asked the Port to proceed with design of the recommended improvements and the Port issued a contract with the same firm for the design services.The Port’s goal is to have the full treatment system and any recommended improvements on-line in early 2016. In the interim, the Port is maximizing treatment from other portions of the treatment system and used the hydrogen peroxide recovered from the release in the treatment process.State-of-the-Art FacilityPort of Olympia works closely with Ecology to ensure that the Port’s industrial stormwater treatment achieves regulatory requirements for water discharged into Puget Sound. The Port worked closely with its contractors to develop an innovative process to treat pollutants associated with log yard operations.The Port improved and modernized the stormwater treatment facility on the Marine Terminal in 2014. The project included building conveyance piping, treatment ponds, the facility building and systems.Governor Jay Inslee cut the ribbon and addressed Port staff and guests at the grand opening of the modern stormwater treatment facility on December 3, 2014.The construction contract for modernizing the Marine Terminal stormwater treatment system total was $9.9 million. Total construction costs including the contract, administration, engineering and permitting were $11.1 million. Port tenants are contributing to the costs of facility construction and operations.Port’s Commitment to Water QualityThe stormwater management program is a major element of Port of Olympia’s commitment to preventing, reducing and eliminating the discharge of pollutants into Puget Sound. Port staff work closely with tenants and Ecology to minimize the potential for pollutants to enter Budd Inlet from stormwater runoff flowing off impervious surfaces on Port properties.last_img read more

FAVORED BENCH WARRANT SMOKES LATE TO TAKE $75,000 BAFFLE STAKES; BAZE, SADLER TEAM FOR NECK VICTORY DOWN HILLSIDE TURF

first_img–30– ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 15, 2015)–With scintillating fractions to run at, favored Bench Warrant flew from far off the pace to take Sunday’s $75,000 Baffle Stakes by a neck under Tyler Baze, as he bested seven 3-year-old rivals in getting 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course in 1:12.43.Trained by John Sadler, Bench Warrant was last as the field crossed over the main track at the top of the stretch, and with pacesetter Serbian Syclone setting suicidal splits of 20.91, 42.20 and 1:06.15, the complexion of the race changed completely with a sixteenth of a mile to run.“When they were 15 or 20 lengths in front of me, I knew how fast they were going up front,” said Baze. “I just had to have confidence. Even though they were spread out turning for home and it got tight for a second, he went right through there and made the hole we were running for. He’s only going to get better with more distance.”Bench Warrant, who was a close fourth in the Grade II, seven furlong San Vicente Stakes Feb. 1, was off at 9-5 and paid $5.80, $3.80 and $2.60. A 3-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by Street Boss, Bench Warrant got his third win from six starts and with the winner’s share of $48,300, he increased his earnings to $177,060.“When I saw that first quarter in 20 and four, I felt pretty good because this horse has a lot of heart,” said Sadler assistant, Larry Benavidez. “We’d like to keep him running down the hill, but I don’t think there’s anything for him for a while…I’d say he’s still getting better at racing. He’s a neat horse.”Ridden by Flavien Prat, Pain and Misery was mid-pack early and made the lead a sixteenth out when Serbian Syclone faltered but could not hold off the winner and finished second, one length in front of Diamond Majesty. Off at 10-1, Pain and Misery paid $8.60 and $4.60.Diamond Majesty, with Rafael Bejarano up, rallied from far back to be third, finishing 1 ½ lengths in front of Jazzy Josh, who had been forwardly placed early. Off at 9-2, Diamond Majesty paid $3.60 to show.There was just one winning ticket in Sunday’s Pick Six and it was worth $118,674. The ticket was purchased in Nevada, according to Santa Anita Director of Pari-Mutuels Randy Hartzell.First post time on Presidents’ Day, Monday, is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m. Santa Anita will offer one dollar beers, hot dogs and sodas throughout the day.last_img read more

Team Returns Pseudogene to Junkpile to Counter ID Claim

first_imgAn earlier claim that a pseudogene has a function (see 05/01/2003 story) has been debunked by a team of scientists reporting in PNAS.1  Their reanalysis of the claim made in 2003 “invalidates the data upon which the pseudogene trans-regulation model is based and therefore strongly supports the view that mammalian pseudogenes are evolutionary relics.”  The end of their paper triumphantly announces that “our work reestablishes the evolutionary paradigm supported by overwhelming evidence that mammalian pseudogenes are indeed inactive gene relics.”    A press release by some of the researchers from Children’s Hospital at Pittsburgh took glee at this apparent slap in the face to intelligent design. This finding, discovered in a mouse model, was hailed by proponents of “Intelligent Design” (ID).  According to the Intelligent Design Network, the premise of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection.  ID is thus a disagreement with the core scientific basis of evolutionary theory.    However, researchers at Children’s and the Wadsworth Center in New York, including first author Todd A. Gray, PhD, have found scientific evidence that contradicts this finding.  The pseudogene in question … is an inactive copy of a gene, an evolutionary relic as previously believed.Some leaders in the ID movement found this press release ironic.  Evolutionists have claimed that ID is not scientific because it is not testable or falsifiable.  Why, then, are evolutionists claiming that this study refutes intelligent design?1Todd A. Gray et al., “The putatively functional Mkrn1-p1 pseudogene is neither expressed nor imprinted, nor does it regulate its source gene in trans,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 10.1073/pnas.0602216103, published online before print August 1, 2006.Finding one flaw in one claim (which did not originate with ID anyway) does not falsify ID, and there are many other cases where researchers have found treasure in the junk.  Use the search box above with keywords “junk DNA” to find many more examples, such as 05/04/2006 (bullet six), 03/24/2006 and 04/13/2004.  Finding something broken does not mean it never had a function, and finding something thought to be useless that really does have a function means we have much to learn.  Darwinists should not bring science to a halt by assuming, “evolution did it.”(Visited 16 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

FNB launches SA’s first banking ‘app’

first_img22 July 2011In a first for a South African bank, First National Bank has launched the FNB Banking Application, an “app” that gives users of smartphones and tablet computer devices easy access to their accounts online.South Africa currently has an estimated 16% smartphone penetration, which according to information technology research company Gartner will ramp up to 80% by 2014. Global sales of tablet computers and smartphones are predicted to exceed PC, notebooks and netbooks in 2011.The app market is also predicted to grow by 60%.The FNB Banking App is available for Android, Apple and Blackberry devices, with an app for devices running the Symbian platform expected before the end of August.“At FNB we are constantly looking at ways to improve on our innovations, staying one step ahead of our competitors and consistently adding value and choice for our customers,” FNB chief executive Michael Jordaan said in a statement this week.“In an increasingly digital world in which smartphones, tablet devices and apps are changing the way we communicate and live, the introduction of the FNB Banking App will enable us to widen our offering allowing us to provide our customers with convenient banking solutions and great user experience.”Immediate secure accessThe app gives users immediate and secure access to their bank accounts, allowing them to view account lists and detailed transactional histories, perform transactional services like transfers between accounts, as well as pay beneficiaries.“The solution will give our customers a convenient, anytime, anywhere digital banking solution, rich in user experience,” said Jordaan. “We are glad to say that this App is a home grown creation and has been developed in house by FNB Connect, the bank’s internal internet service provider.”Value added servicesIn addition to banking services, a few of the value added services include allowing customers to find FNB branches and ATMs using location based services, as well as access to an immediate FNB branch list directory, making free calls to any FNB contact centres and cheap outbound calls to other numbers.The Banking App also has functionality for users to view foreign exchange rates.“We understand the demand for instant and ‘on the go’ banking from our customers and our App provides easy access to banking through a single sign on process. One step is all it takes to safely access your bank account,” said FNB Connect’s Farren Roper.“The App was designed for quick deployment into new and existing markets as it works off any network and off a 3G or WiFi access medium. Smartphone and tablet device users and require mobility and multi-functionality and we designed our App with this user profile in mind.“The App gives the multi-tasker a quick, one stop and convenient banking experience.”To use the service, customers who have Apple devices can download the App from the Apple App store, Android customers from the Android Market, while Blackberry customers can get the App from the Blackberry App World.SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Acting on Uganda’s anti-Aids progress

first_imgPupils in the ITLP programme perform in a play for members of their community in Uganda. In another production, complete with props, in Uganda, pupils show what they have learned. Playwright Judy Tate (in glasses) discusses the day’s work with participants of an ITLP workshop in Khayelitsha, Cape Town in June. (Images: ITLP)MEDIA CONTACTS• Uganda Aids Commission +25 64 14 288 065Valencia TalaneUganda has been hailed over the past two decades as one of the champions of the fight against HIV/Aids in Africa, thanks to the country’s proactive approach to dealing with the disease in the early 1990s.A massive government-led awareness campaign in 1989 led to a significant drop in new infections over the next few years. In 1992, 18% of the population had been infected, but the number dropped to less than half over the next decade and in 2001 was recorded at 6.4%.The good news was that the people of Uganda were avoiding infection in large numbers and so the focus could shift towards providing proper treatment for those who were already infected. The bad news, however, was that efforts to hold awareness drives waned, and the multi-sectorial approach of the government lost some of its hold. Soon enough, more and more Ugandans were becoming infected again. Figures released in 2011 show an infection rate of 7.2%.U-turn in infection ratesIt was in 2009, at a press conference held ahead of World Aids Day, that the secretary-general of the Uganda Aids Commission (UAC), Dr Kihumuro Apuuli, admitted that a shift in the government’s campaign focus had brought the country to the point where new infection numbers were once again rising, citing 2002 as the year that this became notable.Although the growth in new infections was slower than that of the 1990s, Apuuli’s organisation asserted that the general attitudes of people towards the disease needed to change. Their latest figures at the time showed that 65% of the cases were among married couples.The most affected population group is the 15-49 age demographic, and there are more women in the statistic than men, which intensifies the danger of mother-to-child infection in pregnant women.Authorities concede that the government alone will not be able to tackle the problem and achieve the results of 11 years ago, but with as much participation as possible at community level, the most vulnerable groups can get something out of the awareness campaigns.Messages through theatreEnter the International Theatre and Literacy Project (ITLP), a US-based NGO that brings theatre artists from all over America to developing countries to conduct workshops on writing plays and performing with school pupils and teachers. Started in 2005 by Marianna Houston, former director of the New York-based Theatre Development Fund, the ITLP has worked in countries like Tanzania, Malawi and Rwanda since its establishment.The programme’s focus is on community development and awareness of HIV/Aids, and by involving young people in the performing arts, it is able to convey messages to the broader community by way of writing plays which the pupils then perform for members of their communities, in the familiar environment of their villages.“Everyone gathers around and there’s a platform and someone has a little bit of a costume and you’re going to learn a lesson,” explained Houston in a recent interview with Media Global News, a news site with a focus on the developing world.“You’re going to learn how to put a condom on a banana, and you’re going to learn how to get tested for Aids, you’re going to learn about corruption…you’re going to learn something.”Throughout the performances, there are discussion intervals where audience members tackle the conflicts highlighted in the scene in order to find a solution.Houston feels that this form of awareness is more effective because the audience gets to learn from trusted members of their community, and this strengthens the likelihood of them changing their behaviour, and in turn helps reduce the impact of the disease.The benefits of theatreITLP’s workshops take place over a course of two weeks and are facilitated by the organisation on the one hand and the teachers at participating schools on the other. The pupils take part from Monday to Friday during a break in the school term, and at the end of the two weeks, they perform a play that they have written themselves.Although the plays are in English, summaries are made available that are translated into the language commonly spoken by members of the community.The work by the cast does not end there, however, as the pupils also get to perform the play again for the rest of the school when the term commences.“The programme contributes to new perceptions of themselves as young citizens capable of fostering a new kind of leadership in their communities and country,” said Houston.An added incentive for pupils who wish to participate in the programme is the chance to receive a scholarship, given by the ITLP to cover the cost of textbooks and tuition.In Tanzania, two of ITLP’s participants from St Margaret’s Academy got an opportunity to attend the Camp Treetops, a residential camp in New York as part of the ITLP-Nowicki scholarship, funded by film producer Stefan Nowicki.“Theatre is a very good method for communicating information [in] an oral history society,” said Houston. “The act of coming together at a performance reconnects communities with cultural roots.”last_img read more

SA voted top African retail market

first_img Only 21% of the surveyed retailers currently generate sales on the continent. “Of those which do, more than half (53%) say South Africa is their top market,” the company said. “When asked where in Africa they would consider expanding in future, South Africa remained the number one choice with 18%.” Ghana and Kenya were next on the list, with 6% and 4% respectively. This was due to the emergence of a growing middle class, as well as growth in the use of mobile technology. “Many of the trends which have driven the economic development of emerging economies in Asia and South America are beginning to take hold in Africa,” said head of retail and wholesale at Barclays, Richard Lowe. “Its rapidly expanding middle class increasingly need goods and services which cannot be catered for domestically, providing a golden opportunity for internationally-minded retailers. “This is a truly ‘ground floor’ moment in many African economies,” Lowe said. SAinfo reporter While the United States remains the top destination, Africa is emerging as an attractive market to invest in, the survey found. “Africa remains one of the final frontiers for retail, but the recent acquisition of South Africa’s Massmart shows how seriously global retailers are now taking the continent,” Barclays said in a statement. Almost a quarter of companies surveyed said Africa would be the “new retail growth story” in the next decade. 3 April 2013 South Africa is the top ranked market for retail expansion in Africa in the latest survey by UK financial services provider Barclays. The survey, released on Tuesday, asked British retailers about their attitudes towards international expansion.last_img read more