We smell a rat…

first_imgMove over girly flowery cupcakes, your time is up. As unlikely a proposition as it might seem, vermin-themed cupcakes have arrived. Yes, and just when you were thinking there was nowhere left to take the category after zombie cupcakes (see 7 May BB), ’What’s New, Cupcake?’ by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson arrives with recipes for cockroach and rat cupcakes: bit.ly/d2abTVA sign of a maturing cupcake category too, when the envelope gets pushed to a place where it should perhaps be returned to sender. As is the case with Yummy Cupcakes in the US, which takes the cup out of cupcakes and replaces it with a jar. That’s one cupcake per jar. Hmm. The jury’s out on this one: bit.ly/aCirG8last_img

Press release: Regulator of Social Housing publishes 2018 Global accounts

first_img The operating surplus from social housing lettings decreased by 2% to £5.0bn – the period covers the second year of 1% rent reductions on general needs units and, for the first time in 2017-18, providers also had to reduce rents on most supported housing properties There was a small increase in the underlying surplus generated, which was used to support additional borrowings to fund capital investment This year’s publication also includes an annex on the Value for Money (VfM) metrics, which were introduced alongside the April 2018 VfM Standard.Providers are required to report against seven metrics specified by the regulator; the annex contains the results of these metrics and accompanying narrative. The initial findings show a wide range in performance across the sector, with distinctive characteristics for particular groups of providers such as early years Large Scale Voluntary Transfers and supported housing providers.Fiona MacGregor, Chief Executive of RSH, said: The headline social housing unit cost data, based on 2018 submissions, is included in the Global accounts data file, alongside the 2018 VfM metrics data.Further information The annual releases are available on the Global accounts collections page. Expenditure on repairs and maintenance of existing social stock at £5.0bn increased by 3% compared to 2017 See our Media enquiries page for press office contact details. For general queries, please email [email protected] or call 0300 124 5225. The sector raised more than £10bn (2017: £7.6bn) in new debt facilities from banks and capital markets with borrowings (drawn debt) increased by £3.0bn to £72.5bn. The social housing sector increased its investment in new and existing properties, according to the 2018 Global accounts of private registered providers, published today (14 December 2018) by the Regulator of Social Housing.The annual Global accounts report is based on an aggregation of the financial statements of private registered providers of social housing who own or manage at least 1,000 homes (together representing more than 95% of the sector’s stock).The main findings for 2018 are: The Regulator of Social Housing promotes a viable, efficient and well-governed social housing sector able to deliver homes that meet a range of needs. It does this by undertaking robust economic regulation focusing on governance, financial viability and value for money that maintains lender confidence and protects the taxpayer. It also sets consumer standards and may take action if these standards are breached and there is a significant risk of serious detriment to tenants or potential tenants. For more information visit the RSH website. The value of the properties held for sale at the year-end was £5.6bn, mainly consisting of land and work in progress rather than completed properties. This was an increase of 17% on 2017 2018 saw the sector deliver a strong financial result whilst increasing its investment in both new supply and existing properties. Record levels of debt finance were arranged, leaving the sector well-funded for the future. > The increase in capital spending commitments is also to be welcomed as the sector seeks to provide good quality homes to meet a range of needs. However, increased activity, particularly where this is tied to uncertain market conditions, brings increased risk. Provider boards must continue to monitor, manage and mitigate the potential effects of the risks to which they are exposed. Under International Financial Reporting Standards most mergers in the sector are accounted for using the purchase accounting method. This requires the receiving organisation to report the fair value of the net assets acquired – effectively the balance sheet – as a gain (or profit) in the year of acquisition. The gain will usually be considerably more than the annual trading surplus generated by the merging organisation, and so will inflate reported surpluses in the year of acquisition. Subsequent years will not be affected. Capital investment increased this year with £1.7bn in existing stock and £10.8bn in new housing supply, which includes social housing and properties for sale and market rent The sector’s future capital commitments totalled £28.6bn (of which £12.4bn has been contracted) is an increase of 17% compared to the figure reported in 2017.last_img read more

Creating power by the Yard

first_imgSustainability often happens behind the scenes. But Harvard’s newest renewable energy project is also among its most conspicuous: more than 3,200 square feet of solar panels installed over the summer atop the three buildings that make up Canaday Hall, a freshman dormitory on the northern periphery of Harvard Yard.The panels are part of a solar thermal and steam tunnel heat-recovery project that’s expected to supply at least 60 percent of domestic hot water for all buildings in the Yard.  By using thermal energy to heat water instead of using fossil fuels, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) will take another step toward meeting the University’s goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent below a 2006 baseline by 2016, including new growth.The solar panels were installed without needing to modify Canaday’s roofs, which were already angled toward the south at about 35 degrees. The existing roof proved to be an optimal environment for capturing solar energy, said Jay Phillips, senior director of operations for FAS.“This was an ideal project for many reasons,” Phillips said. “The prominent location made it especially attractive because we could take advantage of the opportunity to educate the Harvard community about the benefits of clean, renewable energy for our campus.”For more than 15 years, five large natural gas-fired boilers beneath Canaday have provided hot water to the buildings in the Yard, feeding a loop that runs beneath the historic grounds.  A network of glycol-filled pipes now connects the rooftop solar panels to the new hybrid heating system, using the sun’s power to heat water for showers, hand washing, and dishwasher.“It’s nice to know that when I use hot water, it isn’t at the expense of the environment,” said Canaday resident Jody Heck. “I love knowing that my hot water comes from solar panels on my dorm. It is a great idea.”Glycol was used, in part, because it will not freeze during a harsh New England winter. A solar thermal system like the one installed on Canaday’s roofs is 55.4 percent efficient, compared with just 20 to 30 percent for a conventional fossil fuel system.The hybrid system also collects exhaust heat from a steam tunnel under Canaday.  A new fan in the tunnel draws hot air up to a vent on the Yard.  The fan includes a set of eight coils that capture the heat at temperatures of up to 105 degrees, running it through additional glycol loops that feed into a common buffer tank in the basement of Canaday, where the heat is combined with that from the solar array.This 1,000-gallon buffer tank, which replaces the need for gas-fired boilers, pre-heats city of Cambridge water to 130 degrees before it is pumped to buildings around the Yard.  During early September’s heat wave, Phillips says, 100 percent of the Yard’s hot water needs were met through the new hybrid system during daytime.On average, about 40 percent of the thermal energy provided by the new system will come from the solar panels, with the remaining 60 percent supplied by the steam tunnel heat recovery.  The older, gas-fired boilers will remain as a back-up heating source, especially during cloudy days when the solar panels are not able to collect sufficient thermal energy.The project will prevent an estimated 166 metric tons of CO2, a key greenhouse gas, from being released into the atmosphere annually.  It is expected to pay for itself within 10 years.A monitoring system will allow Canaday residents and the Harvard community to assess the system’s productivity, displaying readings on public kiosks and web-based graphs that can also be easily exported for analysis.Across the University, facility managers are integrating renewable energy and green building standards into construction projects as part of the sustainability commitment.  Energy audits and cost-effective energy efficiency projects are also helping existing buildings to cut energy and achieve savings.  Additional solar thermal projects on campus include the University Operations Services headquarters at 46 Blackstone St., the FAS co-ed dorm at 3 Sacramento St., and two Harvard Real Estate Services (HRES) properties on Broadway and Prescott Street.last_img read more

Biden signs immigration orders as Congress awaits more

first_imgWASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has signed a second spate of orders to undo his predecessor’s immigration policies, demonstrating the powers of the White House and its limitations without support from Congress. His orders on family separation, border security and legal immigration bring to nine the number of executive actions on immigration during his first two weeks in office. With proposed legislation to give legal status and a path to citizenship to all of the estimated 11 million people in the country who don’t have it, Biden has quickly taken aim at many of former President Donald Trump’s sweeping changes to deter immigration, both legal and illegal.last_img

Saltwater turf

first_imgBy Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaImagine being able to water your home lawn with salt water. Yes,salt water.Thanks to the new seashore paspalum grasses, this isn’t a dreamfor those who live along the coast. Seashore paspalum cantolerate a wide quality range of water, including seawater,brackish water and recycled water.”The grass requires only minimal pesticides and judiciousapplications of fertilizers,” said Clint Waltz, a turf specialistwith the University of Georgia College of Agricultural andEnvironmental Sciences.The grass uses key fertilizer nutrients efficiently, Waltz said.It can easily be managed to comply with many environmental waterregulations.Coastal golf coursesRetired UGA professor Ronny Duncan bred a number of seashorepaspalum grasses. They’re being used on golf courses along theGeorgia coast and in Hawaii and Guam.”Aside from its uses as an athletic turf, seashore paspalum maybe used to clean up polluted or contaminated waters or soils,”Waltz said.”It may be effectively used to transition into wetland sites orother environmentally sensitive areas,” he said. This can helpreduce pollution from industrial or other problem areas.Update in SavannahWaltz and others from UGA, the University of Florida and theGeorgia Department of Natural Resources will present an update,”Seashore Paspalum: The Environmental Steward,” Oct. 15 at theCoastal Georgia Center in Savannah.Duncan will be on hand to provide a history of seashore paspalum.UGA agronomist Bob Carrow will discuss its characteristics andwater conservation qualities. And he’ll tell how to manage thegrass.Other sessions will look at seashore paspalum as a recreational,amenity or forage grass or for land reclamation, stabilization,bioremediation and other uses.DetailsThe update was planned by the Georgia Center for UrbanAgriculture and the Coastal Resources Division of DNR. It beginswith registration at 8 a.m. The program starts at 8:30 and endsat 5 p.m.The cost is $50 before Oct. 4 or $60 after that. To preregisteror learn more about the update, call the UGA Griffin campusOffice of Continuing Education at (770) 229-3477.To learn more about the UGA seashore paspalum breeding program,see www.georgiaturf.comon-line.(Sharon Omahen is a news editor with the University of GeorgiaCollege of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more

Study predicts 1 TW of solar capacity by 2023

first_imgStudy predicts 1 TW of solar capacity by 2023 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:It’s time for our regular check-in on where solar PV installations are headed. Here’s the quick answer: Prices are still going down and capacity is going up around the world. Pretty much the same path we’ve been on.But that path for solar has widened.In fact, within the next five years, the world will likely have over 1 terawatt of solar capacity installed, according to the latest global data from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables. That’s a trillion watts. That’s enough to serve more than one-third of America’s electricity consumption.Our last major capacity projection was one year ago, when the GTM Research team forecasted 871 gigawatts by 2022. The latest projections show higher-than-expected growth for every year after 2018. For example, WoodMac projections for 2020 are 26 gigawatts higher than last year’s forecast.Basically, it’s Asia and everyone else. China, Japan and India will make up 20 percent of the total global market through 2023. Over the next two years, China and Japan will make up half of annual installations—even with both markets in decline this year.The reason for the upward adjustment in capacity is pretty simple. Prices are ultra-competitive—and falling. More countries are putting in place auction systems — increasingly “subsidy-free”— and large-scale solar PV is winning a lot of bids. Cost drops haven’t kept pace with recent price drops, but WoodMac expects costs to catch up. WoodMac analysts simulated 625 auction-tariff scenarios and found a median price of 2 cents per kilowatt-hour by 2022.More: By 2023, the world will have 1 trillion watts of installed solar PV capacity–last_img read more

Top Paddling Gear Picks for Summer

first_imgPaddlesports are seeing a worldwide revival, due to increasingly lightweight material innovations, new boat designs, better water-friendly fabrics, and more access to waterways. An improving economy is also driving innovation as manufacturers are able to invest more back into R & D. Nowhere is this revival more apparent than in the Southeast. With the Freestyle World Championships taking place on the Nantahala last year, things are really on a roll – pun intended. Here’s a look at few Blue Ridge Outdoors picks for your summer paddling adventures.Gerber River ShortyImproving on a classic is tough to do, but Gerber took the chance with the re-introduction of their traditional stub-nose waterman’s blade, the River Shorty, built specifically for paddlers, sailors and divers. This blunt-tip river knife features a serrated 3-inch, polished 420HC stainless steel blade wrapped in a durable, slip-resistant nylon handle. The hard plastic sheath attaches easily to belt, boot or PFD and will accept the blade edge right or left. Made in Gerber’s Portland, Oregon, factory, the River Shorty carries the brand’s lifetime warranty and is now available in high visibility green (shown) as well as classic black. (MSRP $33) gerbergear.comNemo Helio Pressure ShowerRinsing off out of the back of your Subaru after a day on the river is one of the small pleasures in life, and Nemo has provided an extremely convenient and effective way to get this backcountry cleanse. The Helio Pressure Shower comes in a tidy nested kit and provides up to seven minutes of steady water pressure. Unlike gravity-fed, hanging shower systems, the Helio sits on the ground and uses an 11-liter welded-fabric water container, pressurized by a foot durable pump. Let the water tank warm in the sun while you are out paddling. It can also be used to rinse off doggie paws, bike tires, or to wash dishes. (MSRP $99.95) nemoequipment.comAstral Ronny Fisher Kayak Fishing PFD Southeastern favorite Astral has a number of new offerings for Spring, not the least among them the Ronny Fisher – Astral’s first kayak-fishing specific PFD, created with feedback from the North Carolina Kayak Fishing Association. The technical vest features Astral’s Thin-Vent proprietary foam-vent technology, a 500d Cordura wrap, and is decked out with a plethora of storage solutions all the way down to a beverage holder and cell phone pocket. Reflective hits and a stowable hood complete the picture in this departure piece for Astral. (MSRP $159.95) astraldesigns.comBluesmiths KanahaUsing some of the most advanced technical fabrics in the world from Switzerland –NanoSphere – the Bluesmiths Kanaha LS Ocean Shirt is a hydrophobic must-have for stand-up paddlers and other watersports enthusiasts. As you might expect, it’s got 40 UPF sun protection as well, and it’s quickly gaining notoriety for breathability, quick-dry and lightweight comfort. Bluesmiths manufactures in Canada with an eye for style, an environmental sensibility and real life paddlers and seamen developing product. (MSRP $90) bluesmiths.comNikwax Sandal Wash and Footwear Cleaning GelYour favorite Chacos, Tevas and Cudas can quickly become stinkified after many days on the river and around the campfire over the course of a season. But you love those sandals. Consider the environment and your pocketbook and treat them with Nikwax Sandal Wash or Footwear Cleaning Gel to give them new life. Sandal Wash works to clean synthetics, leather and fabrics and removes bacteria (typically responsible for rot and stink); while Footwear Cleaning Gel not only cleans but also revives water repellency and can revitalize breathability. Nikwax products are typically gentle on your goods and on the environment (VOC/FC-free, water based and biodegradable). The company’s apparel cleaning products work great too. Consider it a small investment in your gear. ($7.25 sandal wash / $8.50 cleaning gel) nikwax.comJulbo WaveMountaineers among you will quickly recognize this iconic French sunglass brand for their fit, protection and quality. Now paddlers have access to the company’s photochromic, polarized (eliminates glare), and hydrophobic (won’t streak when wet) lenses as well – and they float too. A removable frame skirt helps keep spray out of the eyes while air flows around to prevent fogging. A supple rubber adheres to the nose. Available in Black/Yellow, White/Black, Black/Sky Blue, and Blue/Black; the photochromic Octopus gets darker and lighter with light intensity and is the pricier of two lens options. (MSRP $120 Polarized 3+/$190 Octopus) julbousa.comKokatat Whitewater and off-shore hardcores will be interested to know that Kokatat’s new Icon Gore-Tex (in both 3-layer Pro Shell and Cordura) rear-entry dry suit (previously only available in the Jackson Collection) is now out in two new colors for men and women. It features full latex gaskets, integrated Gore-Tex socks, dual-adjustable overskirt, and, for men, front relief zipper. Ahhhhh. And when you’re not shredding waves, check out the new Kokatat Destination line, featuring caps, paddling pants and shirts, and other pieces that crossover well for lifestyle and travel. (MSRP $1090) kokatat.comGoal Zero Lighthouse250 Lantern and Power HubThe GZ Lighthouse 250 is a great tool to keep in your shuttle vehicle – it provides light for when you take-out after dusk and it can recharge your other devices. You can adjust brightness levels and direction to save on power for a 48-hour max run time. It’s rechargeable from Goal Zero solar panels, from any USB port, and it features a hand-crank for emergency charges. It can recharge a smartphone twice or give a 40-percent boost to a tablet. (MSRP $79.99) goalzero.comThule SUP ShuttleTo make use of your current Thule rack system with the new stand-up paddleboard you got for Christmas, consider spending the rest of your extra bread on some sweet rack attachments. The SUP Shuttle (MSRP $149.95) features telescoping-width (fits boards up to 34″ wide) with built-in board protection and universal FlipFit Bracket rack compatibility. Dual loading design and weather resistant base padding allows for safe transport of two boards. Adjustable wrap-around padding on straps protects boards from strap abrasion. Of course, if single-blade is your thing, there’s always the new Portage Canoe Carrier (MSRP $119.95), now Thule’s easiest loading canoe carrier with universal roof rack compatibility. Durable gunwales with ramped sides and cushioned base pads protect the canoe during transit to the put-in. thule.comlast_img read more

Generation Z regrets the missed opportunities the most

first_imgA survey by Booking.com reveals that a staggering 84% of Croatian travelers regret missed opportunities. Global leader in connecting travelers with the widest selection of amazing accommodation facilities, in cooperation with the company province, the fastest offline translation device, conducted a survey on a sample of 20.500 global travelers, including travelers from Croatia, to find that the most frequently missed opportunities for travelers from Croatia include the following: not traveling often enough (74%), not traveling anymore in youth (48%), did not go on more long trips (41%), did not travel to more distant and remote destinations (38%), did not explore more in visited countries (32%) and did not have more adventures on trips (32%).Generation Z regrets the most, with more than a third of Croatian passengers in this group believing that it was not adventurous enough to travel (39%) and three out of 10 (39%) regretting not traveling to more distant destinations. Also, it’s no surprise that 41% of passengers Selfie generations from Croatia (18 to 24 years old) upset because they don’t take enough photos on the trip. This percentage is 34% for all respondents from Croatia in total.Despite the feeling of regret that stems mainly from seemingly insurmountable obstacles to language, costs, directions and safety in the unknown, five out of eight (62%) travelers from Croatia overcame their fears of traveling to a new destination and still decided to travel. Millennials from Croatia are best prepared to face obstacles that prevent them from traveling with two thirds (66%) of passengers who have overcome what worries them. This has a positive effect because it encouraged 48% of travelers from Croatia to travel more in the future, 61% gained more self-confidence in life, and 43% a sense of personal fulfillment. The trip strengthens existing and creates new friendly relations – almost a third (33%) of passengers from Croatia became close to their families, and two out of five (41%) passengers from Croatia made long-term friendships while they were on vacation.When it comes to travel, almost three-quarters (71%) of global travelers lament missed opportunities, rising to 82% among Generation Z (18-24)Six out of seven passengers from Croatia complain about missed travel opportunities (84%)Travel can change the lives of all generations because 15% of travelers from Croatia say that they found their purpose or passion on the trip, 17% overcame great fear and 13% learned a new languageMore than two thirds of travelers from Croatia (69%) went on holiday to make significant life changes, and this percentage rises to 76% among people between 18 and 24 years of age. 15% of travelers from Croatia say they have found their purpose or passion in life, 17% have overcome great fear, and 15% have learned a new language. Travel can be beneficial for both physical and mental health – 69% of travelers from Croatia stated that the trip had a positive effect on their mental health, and 35% of them decided to improve their physical health.last_img read more

Talk of the towns

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

First Lady Frances Wolf Announces 2017 Governor’s Awards for the Arts to be Held in Lancaster

first_img First Lady Frances Wolf,  Press Release LANCASTER, PA – First Lady Frances Wolf today joined Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray and members of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts to announce that the 2017 Governor’s Awards for the Arts will be held October 26 at the Lancaster County Convention Center in downtown Lancaster. This will be the first time the state arts event has been held in the City of Lancaster. In keeping with event tradition, the host community will be named the “Cultural Capital of the Commonwealth” for the day of the event.“With deep roots interwoven with our nation’s history and a distinguished reputation today as a city that embraces the arts, Lancaster is an ideal host community for the Governor’s Awards for the Arts,” said First Lady Wolf. “We look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of our commonwealth’s arts community and showcasing the rich arts and culture of Lancaster itself.”The awards recognize artistic accomplishments in four categories: Distinguished Arts Award, Patron Award, Artist of the Year Award (the Hazlett Memorial Award) and the Arts Leadership & Service Award. A call for nominations is currently open and available at arts.pa.gov through May 11, 2017.The Governor’s Awards for the Arts originated in Harrisburg in 1980 and were held there until 1996. The ceremony was then taken on the road and is now held in a different city across the commonwealth each year. The event has allowed multiple regions of the state to share in this celebration of the arts and showcase their unique cultural assets.Past recipients of the Distinguished Arts Award include Marian Anderson, Andrew Wyeth, James Michener, Jennifer Higdon, Fred Rogers, M. Night Shyamalan, Marilyn Horne, Lang Lang, August Wilson, Rob Marshall, Jeff Koons and Michael Keaton. There have been more than 180 honorees to date.The 2017 award recipients will be announced this summer and posted on the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts’ website (arts.pa.gov).Private contributions support the ceremony, reception, award objects and related expenses.The Governor’s Awards for the Arts are administered by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency under the Office of the Governor. The Council’s mission is to foster the excellence, diversity and vitality of the arts in Pennsylvania, and to broaden the availability and appreciation of those arts throughout the state. April 27, 2017 First Lady Frances Wolf Announces 2017 Governor’s Awards for the Arts to be Held in Lancastercenter_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more