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Food security ‘high on BRICS agenda’

first_img20 March 2013Food security will be high on the agenda at the 5th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit in Durban next week, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said during a roadshow on the summit in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga on Monday.Food security was an important issue for the BRICS member countries, and South Africa and the continent had a lot to offer in this regard, Joemat-Pettersson said.“South Africa has become a special interest in all these countries because of our ability to produce food. We have a very excellent and thriving commercial agricultural sector.”She said that to boost the farming sector, her department was in negotiations with food giant Walmart to buy its farm products from small farmers.“This is not only for local consumption but also for exporting abroad. We want to make sure that the largest part of the value chain is captured within South Africa.“Right now when our commodities leave our country, the money which is added is not for us, but for the middle man in processing. For example, we want our bananas to leave South Africa in the form of juice, jam or anything which is needed by the world. It must be processed here,” Joemat-Pettersson said.The minister urged South Africans to learn from Brazil how to address inequality, unemployment and poverty.“Brazil had a lot of hungry people to feed, but the president introduced the zero hunger programme and it resulted in fewer and fewer people going to bed hungry. South Africa today has huge farms, people who can export products, but they have very little food security to feed each and every family.“Currently, 13-million people in South Africa do not have enough food to eat, and what we learned from Brazil is that instead of planting flowers in our backyards, we could start to plant vegetables and fruits.”She added that other countries had a lot to teach South Africa when it came to doing business.“What we learned from the BRICS countries is that we can be friends and competitors in a healthy way; we can co-exist with Mozambique and Swaziland to bring about change. Mpumalanga has a lot to offer in terms of being a partner and a competitor.”The BRICS group of influential emerging economies together represent about 43% of the world’s population and approximately one-fifth of global gross domestic product (GDP).In 2012, the BRICS countries accounted for approximately 11% of global foreign direct investment (FDI) flows ($465-billion) and about 17% of world trade.South Africa sees its membership of the grouping as crucial to leveraging economic opportunities for the development of the country and of the continent as a whole, while the country’s BRICS partners view South Africa as a springboard into Africa and a key development partner on the continent.Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

Ground-Source Heat Pumps (2009)

first_imgNo matter the configuration, the actual heat exchange in the heat pump usually happens in a unit inside the house. It is here that a refrigerant alternately evaporates and condenses and heat is transferred either into or out of the air being circulated through ducts to warm or cool the house. In a slight variation of this, “direct-exchange” ground-source heat pumps have the refrigerant flow through copper tubing that is buried, so the heat exchange is more direct; I won’t get into the specifics of how these systems differ.The big advantage of ground-source heat pumps is higher efficiency—somewhat higher than air-source heat pumps and much higher than electric-resistance heat. The disadvantage is cost. In our area, a typical ground-source heat pump may cost $35,000 or more; I have heard of local houses where systems costing as much as $70,000 were installed.This gets back to a point I made last week—and often make. In new construction, I believe that it makes a whole lot more sense to take a chunk of the money that would be spent on an expensive heating system—whether a ground-source heat pump, a radiant-floor heating system, or a high-tech European pellet boiler—and instead put that money into the house envelope.If you’re considering a $35,000 ground-source heat pump, take $30,000 of that and put it into R-40 walls, R-60 ceilings, R-30 foundations, careful air sealing, and triple-glazed windows with two low-e coatings. By doing this, you’ll get your heating loads down so low that a much simpler heating system can satisfy your needs and provide perfectly adequate comfort. That heating system might be a through-the-wall-vented gas space heater, a pellet stove, electric-resistance baseboard heat, or an air-source heat pump, such as the new-generation “mini-split” systems that I’ll cover next week.In new houses where only standard insulation levels are planned (R-20 walls, R-40 ceilings, and double-glazed low-e windows, for example) and with existing houses, the heating loads will be much higher, so spending a lot of money for a highly efficient heating system can be justified. In this situation, a ground-source heat pump may make sense. Ground-Source Heat Pumps (2010)GBA Encyclopedia: Heat Pumps: The BasicsGBA Encyclopedia: Green Heating OptionsAre Affordable Ground-Source Heat Pumps On the Horizon?Podcast: Ground Source Heat Pumps, Part 1: The BasicsPodcast: Ground-Source Heat Pumps, Part 2: Rules of ThumbPodcast: Ground-Source Heat Pumps, Part 3: Five QuestionsGround-Source Heat Pumps Don’t Save EnergyGround-Source Heat Pumps Have Low Operating CostsIs a Ground-Source Heat Pump a Renewable Energy System?Air-Source or Ground-Source Heat Pump?Heating a Tight, Well-Insulated House RELATED ARTICLES center_img Last week I introduced heat pumps and described how they can deliver more heat than is contained in the electricity they consume—while being able to provide cooling as well as heating. I mentioned two different types of heat pumps: air-source and ground-source. This week I’ll cover ground-source (also known as “geothermal” and “geo-exchange”) heat pumps.All heat pumps rely on a “heat source” during the winter months and a “heat sink” in the summer where unwanted heat can be dumped. While air-source heat pumps use the outside air as the heat source and heat sink, ground-source heat pumps use the ground, or sometimes a body of water, for these functions.The advantage of using a ground source for this heat exchange is that temperatures more than five feet underground are much warmer than the outside air during the winter and much cooler than the outside air during the summer, so the heat pump operates more efficiently. Put a different way, there’s more heat to extract from this source in winter, and there’s a greater capacity to absorb unwanted heat in the summer.Some ground-source heat pumps have “closed loops” of buried tubing through which fluid is circulated—either water or a water-antifreeze solution—to exchange heat with the ground. This tubing can either be laid in horizontal trenches or vertically in wells, depending on the land area available and the character of the soils or rock. (With a water-source heat pump—a specialized type of ground-source heat pump—a coil of tubing typically sits in the water.) Some heat pumps have “open loops” in which water from a well or lake is pumped to the house, and then returned after the heat-exchange process.last_img read more

Upcoming, The Social Events Database, Is Planning Its Rise From The Dead

first_imgUpcoming will use APIs provided by Twitter and Foursquare for authentication, network graph, and place name database. In order to follow and share events with friends, people will have to use Twitter to login to Upcoming.“I’m probably going to focus on Twitter to start. The relationships on Twitter are more conducive to the community that works on Upcoming, rather than Facebook,” Baio said in an interview. “When you follow people [on Twitter] it’s more about shared interests than it is about that you knew them once in your life.”When Upcoming first launched, there was no way to pull in a place database—people had to add their own locations, including states, cities and venues. Now with Foursquare’s massive collection of places, users won’t have to add a new place each time an event is created.Facebook is currently the most popular way for people to create events and invite friends, but its system is flawed. Not everyone has a Facebook account, and as social networking becomes more fragmented, friends don’t just live in one place—for instance, there are a handful of Twitter friends I’d want to invite for drinks, but they’re not my friends on Facebook. Facebook events are limited to your Facebook friends, and it’s not a great way to find and meet new people.Eventbrite, another massive events website, also has shortcomings. While it’s great for organizing large, official meet-ups, it doesn’t create much of a community. It’s also less-than-ideal for small, personal events. Putting People Over DataUpcoming, if successful, could offer a serious alternative to Facebook events. But it won’t be like Facebook. Baio said he won’t collect data like photos, events and personal information and sell it to advertisers.“I’m extraordinarily sensitive to ads and traditional ads—it’s just not something I’ve ever had any interest in and I feel like you should own your own data,” he said. “You’re putting stuff in, it’s not just data at that point. In the case of Upcoming, people were putting in their memories.”Baio said while he might consider using email as a login option for those who would prefer to remain anonymous, the social graph that Twitter provides would give users a better way to find and follow events from people with whom they share similar interests.Now that the new Upcoming is fully funded, Baio will get to work. There’s no precise launch date yet, but he hopes to have a public beta available by March 2015.  Images courtesy Upcoming Kickstarter Way before Facebook events became a standard for managing social gatherings, there was Upcoming.org. Launched in 2003, Upcoming was a way for you to track events you planned to attend, invite your friends, and see the events they were going to. Upcoming was one of the first sites that used the concept of social networking to go beyond pages and profiles, and it focused primarily on art and technology events around the world. The founders sold it to Yahoo in 2005, and like many companies so acquired, Upcoming got shut down last year, following years in which its service had merely slumped along.Yahoo, however, recently offered to sell Upcoming.org back to its original founder, and now it’s ready to make a comeback—this time, promising not to make the mistake of selling a company users love.And it’s using new social technologies that weren’t available the first time around.A New Social Event ExperienceAndy Baio, founder of Upcoming, launched a Kickstarter campaign on Wednesday to bring back the social events manager. The campaign achieved its goal of $30,000 in just 90 minutes. Baio is the former CTO of Kickstarter, so it makes sense for him to launch his new venture on the crowdfunding platform.His campaign is half nostalgia, half promises of a new and better Upcoming—one that leverages our social networks to find events that our friends and contacts are excited about. Anyone who remembers Upcoming as a place to find and connect with friends can appreciate the homage to its historical mission; new users may just be interested in a social events manager that doesn’t rely on Facebook. Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Tags:#Foursquare#Kickstarter#twitter#Upcoming#Upcoming.org#Yahoo Related Posts selena larson A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Auditlast_img read more

Industry Interview: “Leaving Neverland” Composer Chad Hobson

first_imgWe chatted with composer Chad Hobson for some insight into his process and influences — and what aspiring composers need to know.PremiumBeat: Chad, with subject matter as explosive as we see in Leaving Neverland, how did you and director Dan Reed arrive at the tone?Chad Hobson: Dan Reed wanted something magical, and Disney-like. Therefore, at our first music meeting, we came up with the concept of a “Walk through a magical forest.” You start walking, and everything is beautiful, but as you walk further and deeper into the forest, it starts to become darker and more disturbing. The limbs of the trees start to twist and the sparking sunlight fades to darkness.Jimmy Safechuck in Leaving Neverland (via HBO).PB: How do you generally see the role of the composer? Are you adding another layer to the narrative already on screen? Or do you see your part as simply being of service to the story and should stay unobtrusive?CH: There are no rules. And it depends on the film. The composer should be the air you breathe. Yes, you should be supporting the narrative, but there are endless ways to do it. I feel it’s your job to expand the story and turn the corners. Not necessarily playing what’s on screen.Chad Hobson (Photo by Adam Tiernan Thomas).PB: Writers often describe having to “kill their darlings,” meaning sometimes you really love something you write, but it doesn’t serve the whole of the story. How often do you fall in love with an aspect of a score and then re-evaluate it either from the original instrumental treatment or from the whole?CH: I try not to fall in love with any of it until it’s dubbed! The score can be a moving goal. You cannot become attached to it during the writing process. As a composer, you never really know what someone may like or dislike. You probably have a gut instinct about a cue or a melody, but there’s only one way to find out and that’s to play it to the powers that be. That can be a lonely place.Image via Gascoigne (KVH Media Group).PB: You’ve worked on so many documentary projects — how does scoring a real-life subject differ from a feature film? Do you feel any responsibility to not allow the music to manipulate emotions, as you might want to do in a narrative feature?CH: I think scoring real events is generally harder. It can be difficult to frame the events and unite the story. Whereas, generally in fiction, there’s usually already a uniting factor in the writing.Formula 1: Drive to Survive (photo by Daniel Vojtech).PB: What scores, other than your own, do you think have worked extremely well to support the storytelling?  What, in your opinion, made it so memorable or successful?CH: Oh, that’s a hard question! There are many. But in recent factual programs, I really liked the work of Walter Mair on the Netflix series about F1: Drive to Survive. Somehow, he and the program captured the intense competition between the teams and agony of failure and the elation of victory, or just surviving to the next race. Really great!PB: Any general advice for young composers on best practices to get their film careers going?CH: The only advice I could give is to keep going. Find your voice and throw yourself into everything you do. Do as much writing as possible. Be brave, push yourself into the uncomfortable places creatively, and never forget to enjoy the process.Cover image via Leaving Neverland (HBO).Looking for more industry interviews? Check these out.Industry Interview: Emmy-Nominated Composer Dominik ScherrerIndustry Interview: Documentary Editor Aaron WickendenIndustry Interview: DJ Stipsen, DP of “What We Do in the Shadows”The Sun is Also a Star Film Composer Herdís StefánsdóttirIndustry Interview: Miles Hankins — The Composer Behind “Long Shot”last_img read more