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first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Brrrrrr!I consider myself a fairly cold tolerant person. I spend my early winters outside for many hours a day in the Christmas tree fields in all kinds of weather. I grow facial hair. I wear flannel, stocking caps and coveralls. I cut many cords of firewood and I really do truly enjoy winter, snow and cold weather. I handled (and even enjoyed) winter’s worst this season, but these chilly March winds and damp conditions made me yearn for warmer spring days ahead.It seems as March wears on each year, I am ready for spring to arrive just a little sooner. My daughter and I were discussing the continually unpleasant weather in early March. I passed along some sage wisdom from my youth: “They always used to say if March came in like a lion it would go out like a lamb.” But after multiple appearances of the early March lion, my daughter and I are still eagerly waiting on the late March lamb.I know we are not the only ones ready for spring. Enduring a seemingly endless March is longstanding Midwestern tradition. Here are some other March weather insights from year’s gone by from the Farmers’ Almanac to take note of as we head into spring:• A dry March and a wet May? Fill barns and bays with corn and hay.• As it rains in March, so it rains in June.• March winds and April showers? Bring forth May flowers.• So many mists in March you see, so many frosts in May will be.• Is’t on St. Joseph’s day (19th) clear,So follows a fertile year;Is’t on St. Mary’s (25th) bright and clear,Fertile is said to be the year.In a recent podcast, Joel Penhorwood shared the “The 11 seasons of Midwestern states” that he’d found online that may be more accurate for the Ohio weather we have been seeing in recent years. Here are the 11 seasons one can expect in Ohio: Winter, Fool’s Spring, Second Winter, Spring of Deception, Third Winter, Mud Season, Actual Spring, Summer, False Fall, Second Summer (1 week), and Actual Fall.In the estimation of our podcast group consisting of myself, Dale Minyo, Ty Higgins and Joel, we had Fool’s Spring back in February, which was followed by a fairly definitive Second Winter through early March. The wonderful sunshine and temperatures in the 50s for the Spring of Deception took place the last couple days of the Ohio Beef Expo and the day after (and to me this also always seems to coincide with some of the best of March Madness basketball watching). As I write this, temperatures have plummeted back into the 30s and there is a miserable mix of freezing rain and a bone-chilling breeze for a truly awful Third Winter, setting us up for yet another Mud Season.Looking forward, Jim Noel with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Weather Service Ohio River Forecast Center is predicting the coming weeks to be influenced by La Niña.“La Niña, cooling of the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean waters, remains in place and is classified as a weak La Niña. This means many other things will ultimately impact our weather and climate since it is weak, but it will contribute to our pattern. Indications are this could linger into spring and possibly summer before ending. Regardless of when it ends, it tends to impact weather patterns in the atmosphere longer, sometimes up to three to six months later. So there will be a contribution to our climate pattern into at least the planting season if not growing season,” Noel said in the OSU Extension CORN Newsletter. “December to February will go down as slightly warmer and wetter than normal. Even though we had really cold periods in there, the very warm second half of February wiped all the winter cold away. Snowfall will go down in many areas as not too far from normal, a bit above or below depending on where you live. The main snow message was the snow kept coming and going away during winter.”The cooler weather of March looks like it will spill over into April.“The outlook for April calls for cooler and wetter than normal conditions with the last freeze normal or slightly later than normal. Expect 4-inch soil temperatures to track normal or slightly behind schedule,” Noel said. “After a slightly cooler and wetter spring (delayed planting?), there is growing risk of a turn to hotter and drier, during the summer growing season. However, within that preferred pattern, there is the risk of complexes of storms to provide intense short-term heavy rainfall and floods within a drier than normal pattern.“What this all means is this year the risk will be elevated for extreme weather and climate shifts which challenge outdoor activities such as gardening and farming.”The strength and duration of the La Niña will also be worth watching as we move through the growing season.“Research NOAA/NWS/Ohio River Forecast Center has done with Ohio State University and published at the National Weather Association Annual Meeting in 2008 showed La Niña years tend to be some of the most challenging for crops in Ohio,” Noel said. “Often times corn and soybean yields end up being at or below trend line. Corn is impacted more than soybeans.”I only have a few days of firewood left at the house (I do have a couple of truckloads of cut and seasoned wood elsewhere that I was planning on saving for next year). Unless I dip into next year’s supply, it seems that if the cold weather hangs on much longer I’ll have to fire up the propane furnace. I truly love all of Ohio’s 11 seasons — yes, even Mud Season. They each have their own appeal. But, like most of you, I am eagerly awaiting warmer days, planting season and the triumphant arrival of Actual Spring.last_img read more

first_img Swivel & The Webcam Social ShopperWith the 2010 release of the Microsoft Kinect, the world is quickly getting used to the idea using your entire body as a controller. The device sold like hotcakes and now people are playing video games and controlling their Netflix accounts with the swing of an arm and shake of a hip. What if, instead, you could use this same interface to see if that shirt really goes with that pair of pants? Or how about that purse with that dress? That’s the vision of Swivel from FaceCake Marketing Technologies and The Webcam Social Shopper from Zugara. Simply stand in front of an Internet-connected camera and try on your clothing before you buy it online.Now, is it perfect? Far from it. The video was choppy and we have to wonder exactly how a system like this could tell you how something will really look on your without a full-body, 3D scan, but maybe that isn’t the whole point. Maybe it’s better to go from nothing to something, and right now when you’re shopping online you have nothing. Will this tell you if those pants are going to be a little tight? Or that shirt a little to slim in the shoulders? No. But it will tell you how they look together. Both companies go beyond virtually trying on clothes, however, and tackle the more broad realm of augmented reality. In reality, the virtual dressing room is just one example of a wide variety of implementations and, if the Kinect is any indication, we’re going to see a lot more from where these come from. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… mike melanson While the majority of companies launching at DEMO are entirely Web-based, there are some exceptions. This morning, we saw a handful companies hit the stage with gadgets in-hand (or in tow) that offer interesting perspectives on the future. What does the future look like? If DEMO is any indication, it’s filled with mind-reading headbands, and augmented reality dressing rooms, and kiosks that eat your old devices and spit out cash in return. EcoATMEvery year, more than 500 million devices reach consumers hands. The average smartphone lasts barely more than a year, with the average consumer swapping out at the 13 month mark. Where do these devices end up? In the landfill. What’s the solution? An automated recycling station at your local grocery store that takes your old devices and give you cash or store credit in return, automatically. It’s call the ecoATM and it’s currently  All you need to do is put your old device, be it a smartphone, MP3 player, game DVD, GPS unit or other device into the unit and it scans it and determines what it is. It then determines the object’s condition and figures out a price. Then, right there on the spot, the machine offers you store credit or cold, hard cash. That’s how we like our eco-activism – meted out in crisp 10s and 20s. MindWave from NeuroSkyIn a world of multitasking and distraction, it can be hard to concentrate. NeuroSky makes a game of it. Their device, which you wear on your forehead, monitors electrical EEG brainwave impulses and feeds the data through an algorithm to determine your state of mind. It then uses this measurement to advance the game. For example, on app requires a certain level of concentration to push an apple across the screen. Another poses quick mathematical questions and then graphs your ability to quickly and accurately respond. Children’s games, however, seem to be just that. The company has a much larger play on its hands, with biosensors providing early diagnoses, “seizures avoided, machines operated, movies edited, games controlled, REM prolonged, bullseyes scored, and lessons learned using only the power of biosensors.” Tags:#conferences#DEMO 2011#web A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostinglast_img read more

first_imgThe consequences of living bigAs middle-class houses have grown ever larger, two things have happened.First, large houses do take time to maintain. An army of cleaners and other service workers, many of them working for minimal wages, are required to keep the upscale houses in order. In some ways, we have returned to the era of even middle-class households employing low-wage servants, except that today’s servants no longer live with their employers, but are deployed by firms that provide little in the way of wages or benefits.Second, once-public spaces such as municipal pools or recreational centers, where people from diverse backgrounds used to randomly come together, have increasingly become privatized, allowing access only to carefully circumscribed groups. Even spaces that seem public are often exclusively for the use of limited populations. For example, gated communities sometimes use taxpayer funds — money that by definition should fund projects open to the public — to build amenities such as roads, parks or playgrounds that may only be used by residents of the gated community or their guests.Limiting access to amenities has had other consequences as well. An increase in private facilities for the well-off has gone hand-in-hand with a reduction of public facilities available to all, with a reduced quality of life for many.Take swimming pools. Whereas in 1950, only 2,500 U.S. families owned in-ground pools, by 1999 this number had risen to 4 million. At the same time, public municipal pools were often no longer maintained and many were shuttered, leaving low-income people nowhere to swim.Mobility opportunities have been affected, too. For example, 65% of communities built in the 1960s or earlier had public transportation; by 2005, with an increase in multi-car families, this was only 32.5%. A reduction in public transit decreases opportunities for those who do not drive, such as youth, the elderly, or people who cannot afford a car. The better housing crazeThe average single-family home built in the United States in the 1960s or before was less than 1,500 square feet in size. By 2016, the median size of a new, single-family home sold in the United States was 2,422 square feet, almost twice as large. Single-family homes built in the 1980s had a median of six rooms. By 2000, the median number of rooms was seven. What’s more, homes built in the 2000s were more likely than earlier models to have more of all types of spaces: bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms, family rooms, dining rooms, dens, recreation rooms, utility rooms and, as the number of cars per family increased, garages.Today, homebuilding companies promote these expanding spaces — large yards, spaces for entertainment, private swimming pools, or even home theaters — as needed for recreation and social events. Ten Ways to Improve a New HomeA Better Way to Encourage Efficient New HomesWhat’s the Definition of ‘Green Building’?Houses Are Getting Bigger and Pricier Each home a castle?Living better is not only defined as having more space, but also as having more and newer products. Since at least the 1920s, when the “servant crisis” forced the mistress of the house to take on tasks servants had once performed, marketing efforts have suggested that increasing the range of products and amenities in our home will make housework easier and family life more pleasant. The scale of such products has only increased over time.In the 1920s, advertising suggested that middle-class women who had once had servants to do their more odious housework could now, with the right cleaners, be able to easily do the job themselves.By the 1950s, advertisements touted coordinated kitchens as allowing women to save time on their housework, so they could spend more time with their families. More recently, advertisers have presented the house itself as a product that will improve the family’s social standing while providing ample space for family activities and togetherness for the parent couple, all the while remaining easy to maintain. The implication has been that even if our houses get larger, we won’t need to spend more effort running them.In my research, I note that the housework shown — cooking, doing laundry, helping children with their homework — is presented as an opportunity for social engagement or family bonding.Advertisements never mentioned that more bathrooms also mean more toilets to scrub, or that having a large yard with a pool for the kids and their friends means hours of upkeep. RELATED ARTICLES The United States is facing a housing crisis: Affordable housing is inadequate, while luxury homes abound. Homelessness remains a persistent problem in many areas of the country.Despite this, popular culture has often focused on housing as an opportunity for upward mobility: the American Dream wrapped within four walls and a roof. The housing industry has contributed to this belief as it has promoted ideals of “living better.” Happiness is marketed as living with both more space and more amenities.As an architect and scholar who examines how we shape buildings and how they shape us, I’ve examined the trend toward “more is better” in housing. Opulent housing is promoted as a reward for hard work and diligence, turning housing from a basic necessity into an aspirational product.Yet what are the ethical consequences of such aspirational dreams? Is there a point where “more is better” creates an ethical dilemma? Redefining the paradigm“Living better” through purchasing bigger housing with more lavish amenities thus poses several ethical questions.In living in the United States, how willing should we be to accept a system in which relatively opulent lifestyles are achievable to the middle class only through low-wage labor by others? And how willing should we be to accept a system in which an increase in amenities purchased by the affluent foreshadows a reduction in those amenities for the financially less endowed?Ethically, I believe that the American Dream should not be allowed to devolve into a zero-sum game, in which one person’s gain comes at others’ loss. A solution could lie in redefining the ideal of “living better.” Instead of limiting access to space through its privatization, we could think of publicly accessible spaces and amenities as providing new freedoms though opportunities for engaging with people who are different from us and who might thus stretch our thinking about the world.Redefining the American Dream in this way would open us to new and serendipitous experiences, as we break through the walls that surround us. Alexandra Staub is an associate professor of architecture, affiliate faculty, Rock Ethics Institute, Pennsylvania State University. This post originally appeared at The Conversation.last_img read more

first_imgAfter winning the gold medal in 25m air pistol event, Indian woman shooter Anisa Sayyed today thanked her husband for helping her when the chips were down.Anisa was going through a financial crisis, struggling to buy a pistol after her old gun was damaged due to a malfunction. But when all seemed lost, her husband’s company (Tulip) came to her rescue and bought her a new pistol, which is still in the possession of Customs.”My husband’s company has helped me a lot. He was there when nobody was willing to help me. But I didn’t shoot with that today,” Anisa said.Even as the women’s team of Anisa and Rahi Sarnobat basked in glory after winning gold in 25m air pistol for women, shotgun coach Marceillo Dradi seemed disappointed despite a second-place finish by Ronjan Sodhi and Asher Noria in pairs double trap event for men.Sodhi and Noria clinched the silver after they totalled 188, one point behind gold medalists Steven Walton and Steven Scott of England.”As a professional coach, I came to India with the aim to win gold, I cannot be happy with silver. I am happy for the team for winning medals but I am not happy for myself. My aim was to win gold. We have events tomorrow, so will figure our next play today evening,” Dradi said.”This was the best team we could have fielded but unfortunately we missed the gold by one point,” the coach said.Sodhi and Noria, however, were more than pleased with their efforts. “There was great competition but there was no pressure on us. I just missed the target and that happens. But full credit to England for winning the gold,” Sodhi said.advertisementNoria, the world junior champion, said “we really shot well as a team.””I am still a junior but it feels to be with the seniors, compete in such a big event and win medal,” Noria said.”Performing in front of the home crowd was a bit of a pressure but I always enjoyed shooting with Ronjan because he is my mentor,” said Noria who won the junior world championship title in August.Renu Bala Chanu cleared 197 kg to clinch the gold in the 58 kg weightlifting event for women, five kgs better than Lee Seen of Australia. Zoe Smith of England won the bronze with 188 kg.Indian boxers also continued their winning ways with Asian silver medallist Jai Bhagwan (60kg) becoming the third to enter the pre-quarterfinals with a comprehensive win over Nauru’s Colan Caleb in his opening bout.Egged on by a capacity crowd at the Talkatora Stadium, Jai dominated the proceedings to notch up an easy 11-1 triumph after getting a bye in the first round.The 25-year-old Indian, who won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Championships in March this year, now meets Tanzania’s Nasser Mafuru, who defeated Papua New Guinea’s Andrew Opugu 6-1 in his preliminary bout.Jai joins Amandeep Singh (49kg) and Manoj Kumar (64kg) in the pre-quarterfinal stage of the competitionIn tennis, Somdev Devvarman and Sania Mirza breezed into quarter-finals with easy wins but Rohan Bopanna crashed out of the men’s singles event, losing to second seed and world number 133 Australian Peter Luczak 2-6 6-7(5) in one hour and 37 minutes in the second round.Men’s top seed Somdev crushed Sri Lanka’s Amresh Jayawickreme 6-0 6-1 while Sania overpowered Cook Island’s Brittany Teei 6-0 6-2 in a women’s singles second round match.India’s chances of progressing to the semifinals of the women’s hockey event Games received a setback after the home team went down fighting 1-2 to defending champions Australia in their second Pool A match.Shelly Liddelow (11th minute) and Ashleigh Nelson (59th) scored for Australia while promising Rani Rampal (69th) pulled one back for India.Last edition runners-up India had earlier drawn 1-1 with lowly Scotland while Australia had thrashed Trinidad and Tobago 11-0.India will next face Trinidad and Tobago on Friday while Australia will be up against South Africa.In swimming, the Indian men’s 4x200m relay quartet of Rehan Poncha, Rohit Havaldar, Madar Divase and Aaron D’Souza made it to the final clocking 7 minutes 49.20 seconds to grab the eighth position in the preliminaries.Virdhawal Khade of India qualified for the semifinals of the men’s 100m freestyle after finishing 13th, while Pooja Alva also entered the semifinals of the women’s 100m butterfly by bagging the 15th spot, as the top 16 make it to the last four stage.A para-sport swimmer also brought some smiles as Sachin Verma progressed to the final of the 50m S9 freestyle men category by finishing eighth.advertisementBut the other Indians failed to advance. In women’s 800m freestyle, Richa Mishra missed the bus and also they could not make a mark in either men’s 200m backstroke or women’s 200m breaststroke.Woman shuttler Aditi Mutatkar made a successful debut, while Chetan Anand also shone as a dominant India sailed into the quarterfinals of the mixed team event with a third clean sweep over Wales.World number 17 Chetan beat Lewis Martyn 21-12 21-16 in 21 minutes to set the ball rolling, Pune girl Aditi, who made it to the squad at the eleventh hour, made it 2-0 by disposing off Turner Carissa 21-13 21-8 in 18 minutes.Top men’s doubles pair of Sanave Thomas and Rupesh Kumar then subdued a fighting Phillips James and Morgan Joe Wales pair 21-17 21-14 to give the hosts a commanding 3-0 lead.Ashwini Ponnappa and Aparna Balan then thrashed Turner Carissa and Harvey Caroline 21-11 21-13 in the women’s doubles, while mixed doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and V Diju spanked Lewis Martyn and Thomas Sarah 21-8 21-5 to wrap up a 5-0 win.Off the field, the empty seats for most disciplines over the first two days grabbed attention with the Games Federation chief Michael Fennell bluntly telling organising committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi to solve the “serious issue”.”We have discussed the issue (of poor attendance) with the OC, we have raised the question on how to get people packed at the stadium. Only the OC and Mr Kalmadi can answer all these questions … we have put this on the agenda for further discussion,” Fennell told a press conference.However, Kalmadi maintained that it was early days in the Games and with India picking up medals in many disciplines the interest of people will rise.”We sold more than 50,000 tickets yesterday. The boxing and wrestling stadiums were packed yesterday. Now public interest is high with India picking five gold. There are queues in the stadiums. It will improve everyday. That only I can say,” he said.last_img read more