U.S. Donates Speedboats to Nicaraguan Navy’s Counter-narcotics Fight

first_imgThe armies also confiscated 67 weapons, 11 grenades, 12 vehicles, and seven vessels used by criminals. Neither the Nicaraguan nor Honduran Army immediately reported which narcotrafficking or organized crime group owned any of the contraband. The armies also confiscated 67 weapons, 11 grenades, 12 vehicles, and seven vessels used by criminals. Neither the Nicaraguan nor Honduran Army immediately reported which narcotrafficking or organized crime group owned any of the contraband. Colombia’s National Army destroys 2 cocaine laboratories Soldiers with the Vulcano Task Force of the Colombian National Army’s Second Division destroyed two cocaine-producing laboratories belonging to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in the Department of Norte de Santander. Soldiers with the Vulcano Task Force of the Colombian National Army’s Second Division destroyed two cocaine-producing laboratories belonging to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in the Department of Norte de Santander. In support of Operation Morazán Sandino, the Nicaraguan and Honduran Armies seized 860 kilograms of drugs and destroyed two illegal airstrips along their countries’ shared border during joint operations between April 1-22. By Dialogo April 29, 2015 The U.S. has provided the Nicaraguan Army’s Naval Force three refurbished speedboats to combat narcotrafficking and organized crime, with the promise of donating a total of 21 boats. Successful joint operation along Nicaraguan-Honduran border During the operation, they seized 220 gallons of processed coca base and 160 kilograms of urea – an essential ingredient to make cocaine – among other supplies and equipment from the two wooden structures which were allegedly operated by the FARC’s May 29 Company. The Army didn’t immediate report if any suspects were captured in connection with any of the seizures. The U.S. has provided the Nicaraguan Army’s Naval Force three refurbished speedboats to combat narcotrafficking and organized crime, with the promise of donating a total of 21 boats. The FARC is the country’s largest guerrilla group and uses narcotrafficking proceeds to fund its terrorist organization. The Army continues to ask residents to use hotlines 146 and 147 to report any suspicious activity while they continue to combat violence and the trafficking of illicit goods nationwide. The boats, which had been seized from narcotraffickers by the U.S. Navy, underwent a $375,000 restoration project before they were donated — including the installation of communication and navigation equipment. They’ll be used to stop narcotraffickers in the Nicaraguan Caribbean. During the operation, they seized 220 gallons of processed coca base and 160 kilograms of urea – an essential ingredient to make cocaine – among other supplies and equipment from the two wooden structures which were allegedly operated by the FARC’s May 29 Company. The Army didn’t immediate report if any suspects were captured in connection with any of the seizures. Operation Morazán Sandino is focusing on 17 areas along the Nicaraguan-Honduran border. The armies are working together as a result of a bilateral agreement the countries signed in April 2014 that allows them to strengthen security along their shared border. The boats, which had been seized from narcotraffickers by the U.S. Navy, underwent a $375,000 restoration project before they were donated — including the installation of communication and navigation equipment. They’ll be used to stop narcotraffickers in the Nicaraguan Caribbean. In support of Operation Morazán Sandino, the Nicaraguan and Honduran Armies seized 860 kilograms of drugs and destroyed two illegal airstrips along their countries’ shared border during joint operations between April 1-22. Since 2000, Nicaragua has seized 152,965 kilograms of cocaine, heroin and other drugs. About 80 percent of the cocaine that reaches the United States is trafficked through Mexico and Central America, the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board stated in its 2014 report. Nicaragua has bolstered its counter-narcotics fight in recent years by forming partnerships with countries throughout the Americas and in Europe. Since 2000, Nicaragua has seized 152,965 kilograms of cocaine, heroin and other drugs. About 80 percent of the cocaine that reaches the United States is trafficked through Mexico and Central America, the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board stated in its 2014 report. Nicaragua has bolstered its counter-narcotics fight in recent years by forming partnerships with countries throughout the Americas and in Europe. Colombia’s National Army destroys 2 cocaine laboratories Operation Morazán Sandino is focusing on 17 areas along the Nicaraguan-Honduran border. The armies are working together as a result of a bilateral agreement the countries signed in April 2014 that allows them to strengthen security along their shared border. Successful joint operation along Nicaraguan-Honduran border The FARC is the country’s largest guerrilla group and uses narcotrafficking proceeds to fund its terrorist organization. The Army continues to ask residents to use hotlines 146 and 147 to report any suspicious activity while they continue to combat violence and the trafficking of illicit goods nationwide.last_img read more

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Paul Merson claims Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is to blame for Barcelona defeat

first_img Metro Sport ReporterFriday 3 May 2019 10:40 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link366Shares Jurgen Klopp previews ‘tough’ Newcastle testTo view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video Play VideoLoaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration Time 15:09FullscreenJurgen Klopp previews ‘tough’ Newcastle testhttps://metro.co.uk/video/jurgen-klopp-previews-tough-newcastle-test-1917860/This is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.‘If Salah scores at the end they would have had a priceless away goal and the tie would be far from over.‘Liverpool are out for me. But don’t blame Salah. It was Klopp’s tactics which cost them. I just hope it doesn’t affect them in the league.’Klopp’s side will hope to keep their Premier League title hopes alive on Saturday evening when they face Newcastle United at St James’ Park.Liverpool are currently one point behind defending champions Manchester City with two games remaining.More: FootballBruno Fernandes responds to Man Utd bust-up rumours with Ole Gunnar SolskjaerNew Manchester United signing Facundo Pellistri responds to Edinson Cavani praiseArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira moves Paul Merson has blamed Jurgen Klopp for the Barcelona defeat (Picture: Getty)Paul Merson has blamed Jurgen Klopp for Liverpool’s Champions League defeat to Barcelona and says the manager got his tactics wrong at the Nou Camp.The Reds have a mountain to climb at Anfield next week after losing the first leg of the semi-final tie 3-0.Liverpool battled hard following Luis Suarez’s opener but a second-half Lionel Messi brace appears to have condemned Liverpool to a Champions League exit.Mohamed Salah missed a glorious chance to score a vital away goal late on but Merson says the Egyptian star does not deserve any blame for the defeat.ADVERTISEMENTMore: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man City‘Salah should not be haunted by his miss against Barcelona,’ Merson wrote in a column for the Daily Star. ‘Liverpool’s defeat was Jurgen Klopp’s fault, not his.AdvertisementAdvertisement‘Liverpool just bumped into Messi at the peak of his powers. But I still think Klopp got it wrong. Why did he play Georgino Wijnaldum up front?!‘You play your best players in your best system when you’re facing the best in the world. You don’t mess about like that.‘Barcelona struggle with pace and playing Wijnaldum there totally took away their biggest weapon. Why did he do it? Comment Paul Merson claims Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is to blame for Barcelona defeat Advertisement Advertisementlast_img read more

MansionBet adds Bristol City to sponsorship portfolio

first_img Related Articles AFC Bournemouth terminates M88 sponsorship June 1, 2020 Share Share Spotlight Sports takes over MansionBet blog  June 18, 2020 Submit Hayley Turner OBE joins MansionBet’s horse racing team February 11, 2020 StumbleUpon MansionBet continues to expand its portfolio of football partnerships after confirming that it has become the ‘principal shirt sponsor’ of Championship football team Bristol City.Bristol City joins the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Crystal Palace and AFC Bournemouth who have all been sponsored by MansionBet previously.Dana Bocker, Head of Integrated Marketing at MansionBet, commented: “Sponsorship of a Championship team shows our continued focus and support of the UK market. Bristol City’s proud history within the English league and their growth over the last couple of years makes this an appealing partnership.“We’re looking forward to collaborating with the club to engage with fans over the coming season and increasing our awareness locally.”As part of this partnership, MansionBet and Bristol City will collaborate on regular activations and fan engagement activities which will include giveaways and competition prizes.Bristol Sport Group Head of Commercial Caroline Herbert added: “We are delighted to be in partnership with MansionBet and to welcome them to our Bristol City fan base and Bristol Sport group.“With more than a decade of industry experience and a long tradition of sport sponsorship, they bring a huge amount of expertise and creativity to this partnership.”last_img read more

NFL’s 18-game schedule proposal — with players forced to sit twice — is a historically terrible idea

first_imgOn Sunday, Sports Media Watch released its list of the 50 most watched sporting events on U.S. television in 2019. The first 10 items, from the Super Bowl (100.7 million viewers) to the Chargers vs. Ravens AFC wild-card game (25.4 million), comprised NFL games.The audience loves the product because it’s a great product.If the league principals think it’s an addiction, they might be surprised. No one has put a name to this preposterous proposition, so all we can say for certain is that someone inside the National Football League power structure thinks the league’s customer base is addicted. Not passionate, not devoted, not zealous or even fanatical, but absolutely so dependent on the weekly autumn dispensation of pro football that any game in any condition will suffice.You came to see Patrick Mahomes? Sorry, folks, he’s on holiday, probably watching Sporting KC. Khalil Mack? Perhaps he had lunch reservations at Gibson’s. Tom Brady? He has played in 309 career games, including playoffs. You won’t miss him if he’s holding a clipboard. This is what NFL football would confront each week were the league to adopt the proposal to extend its regular-season schedule to 18 games with each player capped at playing in 16 of them. It is an affront to competitive logic that never has been attempted in any major American team sport, and neither in any of the world’s top soccer leagues.There’s a reason.MORE: Ranking each team’s potential Hall of FamersThe NFL would be presenting the possibility that the quality of every single one of its games — in an 18-game universe, that would be 288 of them — is compromised. It would be like the Rolling Stones going on tour and every single audience in every single city having to wonder if it would be Mick or Keith taking the night off.Those in football often present theirs as the ultimate team sport, and with considerable merit. Many players perform anonymously so their teammates can create the spectacular. With a cap on games played, teams would become improvisational. The choreography and cohesion that is an essential element of offensive line play, or a defensive backfield? Forget it.How often in an 18-game schedule would an audience be seeing their team at full strength, let alone see both teams with their full complement of top players?MORE: Ranking the NFL’s best rivalries in 2019Rosters surely would have to be expanded to make the 16-game cap feasible, which would mean every week in every NFL stadium there would be multiple players on the field who otherwise would be on practice squads.The NFL last week shared $8.78 billion with its franchises. That’s $274.3 million per team. That’s the national revenue, not what each team gets in regional sponsorship, ticket revenue, ancillary income. The figure is up by 33 percent in just five years, so the teams can’t even complain they don’t have a growing business.The continued push for 18 games is either greed or a negotiating ploy for a new collective bargaining agreement. It’s not something the customer base has clamored to see.Pro Football Talk conducted a Twitter poll about whether fans wanted a regular season that lasted 16, 17, 18 games or 18 games with the 16-game player cap. It drew more than 44,000 votes, and the 16-game season drew 62 percent of the vote, more than double the number for 18 games. The 18/16 proposal was favored by nine percent.UNIFORM RANKINGS: NFL’s best and worst looksIn this discussion, there is a lot of attention paid to the cost of attending preseason games and the relative merits of those games.There’s something no one seems to acknowledge about those games, however.Beyond an opportunity to work a team into some sort of playing shape — remember, baseball plays roughly 30 meaningless games over the course of a month before starting its regular season — NFL preseason games basically are an accounting trick.NFL teams charge season-ticket holders full price to see preseason games. That drives media members (who don’t pay those charges) crazy. In reality, the preseason game serves as a functional reduction in the cost of the regular-season game. If there were no preseason revenue, accrued during a period when player costs are dramatically lower, many or most NFL teams simply would raise the cost of a regular-season ticket to cover what’s lost.In other words, if the per-game cost of a single ticket in a season package is $100, the real cost of the regular-season ticket for each of eight games is $125. And the exhibitions are free.That almost sounds like a deal!Remember, season-ticket holders who pay those prices aren’t getting clipped for service fees, facility fees and whatever other fees ticket companies conjure, which often will push the price of a $100 ticket toward that $125 figure.MORE: Ranking NFL stadiums, from worst to bestThis certainly isn’t reason enough to debase the integrity of an NFL game. There will be some who don’t respect that concept and will suggest there would be intrigue in which players would sit in which games, but if gimmicky strategy is what they want, why not silliness such as designating one play per game in which the opposition can deploy only 10 players? Or being able to choose three plays a game where the quarterback must throw with his opposite hand?Yes, I know, that’s stupid.That’s the point.last_img read more

Bowyer ‘very proud’ of his battling Blackburn despite FA Cup exit

first_imgBlackburn Rovers manager Gary Bowyer has nothing but pride for his players after they exited the FA Cup with a noble display against Premier League side Liverpool.The second tier outfit produced a battling performance at Ewood Park but eventually fell to a 1-0 defeat thanks to Philippe Coutinho’s brilliant 70th minute winner.Rovers secured a home replay in their sixth round tie after holding the Reds to a goalless draw at Anfield, and they had a host of chances to cause a cup upset in front of their own fans.Simon Mignolet produced two saves in quick succession to deny Tom Cairney’s brilliant long range effort and then Ben Marshall’s stooping header early in the second half.And, after Coutinho opened the scoring with a low drive, Rovers goalkeeper Simon Eastwood came agonisingly close to a remarkable equaliser in stoppage-time, with his thumping shot saved by Liverpool number one Simon Mignolet.The hosts were given a standing ovation from fans following the final whistle, and Bowyer lavished praise on his side after the game.“I’m hugely proud of the team and the whole football club,” said the Rovers boss.“The supporters were tremendous tonight as well. There’s a hint of disappointment because we’ve not got through.“We’ve certainly pushed them over the two games and had a right good go. Mignolet’s pulled out several good stops over the two games. We just haven’t quite had enough.”Bowyer admitted he would like to see the side who dumped his men out now go on and lift the trophy for their outgoing captain Steven Gerrard, whose 35th birthday falls on the day of the final.“I wish Liverpool all the very best,” he added.“It would be fitting if they could win it for Steven Gerrard, it would be a great way for him to finish his Liverpool career.“He’s been one of the best midfielders for a long, long time in this country. Whilst I wasn’t wanting it to happen, now we’re out of the cup I certainly hope it does.” 1 Blackburn Rovers manager Gary Bowyer last_img read more

Zoo Celebrates Bio-Inspiration

first_img(Visited 20 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 The San Diego Zoo has a new Centre for Bioinspiration, promoting invention based on life’s solutions to practical problems.Radio station KPBS announced, “San Diego Zoo Will Mimic Nature To Create New Products.”  The zoo will use its practical knowledge of plants and animals to excite corporations to apply the knowledge to invention.  By connecting collaborators with sponsors, they hope to bring useful products to the marketplace.  Examples of animals with biomimetic potential listed in the article include the morpho butterfly, whose wing scales led Qualcomm to improve cell phone displays, and sharks, whose skin led to improved ways for shipbuilders to avoid barnacles.Reporter Tom Fudge ended with this promising citation: “A study by Point Loma Nazarene University found biomimicry could help the local economy. The study said developing such products had the potential to add 2,100 jobs and $325 million in annual revenues to the San Deigo [sic] region.”  Across the world, the BBC News took notice of this development, headlining, “San Diego Zoo looks to nature to create new gadgets,” noting the design influence of birds, whales and butterflies.  Live Science also reported the news.  “The San Diego Zoo has touted its biomimicry expertise for a few years now,” the article noticed.Visitors to San Diego Zoo’s Bioinspiration Website can find news and lists of resources for further information.  The Centre’s summer newsletter announced a Bioinspiration Conference for October 2013 in partnership with the Zurich Zoo.  “Imagine medical transportation simplified by looking to the flight of dragonflies, protective body armor inspired by the armadillo shell, or drug delivery improvements inspired by the mosquito,” the announcement reads.  “The natural world represents a tremendous resource for novel and transformative innovation.”In addition, the Centre is attracting high school students to consider careers in biomimetics by offering a course this fall, “Introduction to Biomimcry,” in collaboration with UC San Diego.  It won’t just be a series of lectures, either: “Students will work in pairs on a Design Challenge, where an adaptation from an animal or plant is used as inspiration for solving an engineering challenge.” In other biomimetics news:Cucumbers:  Did you ever wonder about those coils on cucumber vines that find poles to climb?  Did you ever stretch them?  Scientists at Harvard did.  They wanted to know how the spring-like tendrils coil tighter when stretched, unlike most springs that unwind.  In “How the Cucumber Tendril Coils and Overwinds” in Science Magazine today (31 August 2012: Vol. 337 no. 6098 pp. 1087-1091, DOI: 10.1126/science.1223304), Gerbode et al. explained the counterintuitive behavior of these natural springs “using physical models of prestrained rubber strips, geometric arguments, and mathematical models of elastic filaments.”  The outcome of their work “suggests designs for biomimetic twistless springs with tunable mechanical responses.”  Their paper threw a cucumber slice to Darwin who had called the tendrils “soft springs” – but that had nothing to do with evolution.Their only mention of evolution itself was not helpful to Darwin: “Collectively, our observations raise questions at an evolutionary level about the ubiquity of this mechanism in other tendril-bearing species and at a mechanical level about the functional principles of these soft twistless springs,” they said in the conclusion.  A Harvard press release summarized the research in lay language.  Trying to remain evolutionary about this design, the article claimed, “Nature has solved all kinds of energetic and mechanical problems, doing it very slowly and really getting it right.”  Noting the efficiency of the design, the article ended with a rhetorical question, “The real question remains this: How difficult is it to evolve such tendril-like solutions?”Rats:  Engineers at CORDIS are saying “Eureka!” instead of “Rats!” as they work on rat-inspired whiskered robots, reported PhysOrg.  The summary provides glimpses of hope for homemakers, doctors and firefighters: “Inspired by the twitching whiskers of common rats and Etruscan shrews, European researchers have developed rodent-like robots and an innovative tactile sensor system that could be used to help find people in burning buildings, make vacuum cleaners more efficient and eventually improve keyhole surgery.”  Remember–these are the critters you want to trap or poison.Bugs:  A short video on Live Science praises “The Master Designer, Nature Herself.”  Shrilk, a cheap new material inspired by bug parts and discarded shrimp shells, is leading to biodegradable sutures, plastics, and containers.Lastly, Science Daily announced “Evidence That New Biomimetic Controlled-Release Capsules May Help in Gum Disease.”Isn’t this great?  This is more evidence that biomimetics is rolling over Darwin.  As expected, the Darwinists are trying to capitalize on this hot new trend with empty speculations, like “Biology has had a much longer time – 3.8 billion years – to address problems, and a lot of the problems are similar to those we face” (BBC News), but in so doing, they are only exhibiting their ignorance of natural selection (an aimless process with no goal or purpose in mind), and the uselessness of their theory.  Most biomimetics articles don’t even mention evolution, and are better off with the omission.  Who needs a distracting story, when the rush is on to imitate the designs everyone calls masterful?  Darwinism may well be simply drowned out and forgotten in the bioinspiration stampede.Even worse is calling “Mother Nature” the Master Designer.  The apostle Paul rightly instructed us to give honor to whom honor is due (Romans 13:7), and the only Master Designer around able to create master designs is the all-wise Logos who created all things (John 1:1-3) – including ourselves, we who are “fearfully and wonderfully made” and “skillfully wrought” in the womb (Psalm 139:13-16).  Give honor to whom honor is due: be humble, be thankful, and be obedient.last_img read more

Estate planning for farmers: Providing for liquidity concerns

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Brian E. RavencraftTo this day the old adage “….nothing in this world can said to be certain, except death and taxes” is quite true. However, many decades after Benjamin Franklin made the quote, estate planning was formed to proactively solve and minimize the “tax certainty” part of the quotation.Farmers are basically businessman who own and operate a specialized type of business. They face basically the same estate planning problems that confront all businesses that operate as either sole proprietorships, a partnership or a corporation. The farmer and the estate planner must implement some unique strategies and techniques that will solve the estate planning problems, which particularly affect a farm business.For example, farming frequently involves a substantial investment in farm assets (land, buildings, equipment, etc.), large borrowings carrying heavy interest charges, fluctuating income (or loss) from year to year because of diverse weather and market conditions, and rising land values. These factors require use of estate planning strategies that will minimize death taxes and estate administration costs, preserve liquidity of the estate and provide for a systematic and economic disposition (or continuance) of the farm business on the death of the farm owner. In addition, the estate plan should take full advantage of the special tax provisions designed to alleviate the special tax burdens of farmers. In this article we explore the estate planning liquidity problems farmers’ encounter and techniques used in minimizing the estate burden.The estate of a farmer is frequently plagued by liquidity problems, which, because of the nature of the predominant estate assets (buildings, land, farm equipment and personal property), make it difficult for the estate executor to find readily available cash, or assets readily convertible to cash, with which to pay monetary legacies, administration costs, debts, taxes and other estate obligations. Planning to improve the liquidity of the estate before death can prevent losses which might otherwise be incurred through a quick or forced sale of estate assets to meet post-death obligations, can avoid the necessity of borrowing funds at possibly high interest rates, can avoid after-death disputes (and possible litigation) among beneficiaries over the sale of assets, and can reduce income taxes which might result from such sales.Where an objective of the estate plan is to preserve as much of the farm business by the farmer’s heirs, proper planning for liquidity can minimize or eliminate sales of the farm assets.Various steps may be taken under the estate plan during the estate owner’s lifetime to improve the liquidity of the estate. These include:Build-up of liquid assetsWhere a farm is profitable or income from other sources is available to provide a surplus after taxes for investment, liquidity of the estate can be improved by investing surplus funds in liquid assets such as bank deposits and marketable stocks and bonds. In areas in which farm real estate is or will become a liquid asset because of developer demand, surplus funds may be invested in additional farm real estate without impairing liquidity.The farmer should develop an overall plan for adequate estate liquidity through a build-up of liquid assets. The farmer and his financial team should make a current estimate of the monetary obligations, which will face the estate after the farmer’s death, and this estimate should serve as a rough guide to the amount of funds needed in the estate. Review the plan periodically to take into account changes in values of estate assets, since such changes may increase or decrease the estate’s need for liquid funds.Purchasing life insuranceLife insurance under a policy on the life of the estate owner can provide an appropriate amount of cash for the farmer’s estate, which can be used to meet estate obligations at his death. The purchase of life insurance for this purpose can substantially improve the liquidity of the estate. But also be aware that certain care must be exercised to minimize or eliminate estate tax on the life insurance proceeds.Use of buy-sell agreementsWhere the farm is operated in partnership or corporate form, a buy-sell agreement among partners or stockholders can be used to provide that there will be a buyer for the farmer’s interest at his death, thereby furnishing his estate with funds from the sale. Such an agreement has other advantages and can be funded with life insurance to assure the buyer will have the requisite funds with which to purchase the decedent’s interest.Reduction of estate taxesSteps taken during the lifetime of the farmer to reduce his estate taxes will improve the liquidity of the estate, since, apart from availability of funds, the amount needed to meet estate obligations is reduced. Such steps include a program of lifetime gift and qualification of the estate for special (farm) use valuation.The steps to build liquidity mentioned in this article are certainly not all inclusive but meant to be a starting point for planning and minimizing estate taxes, especially those farmers with gross estate limits in excess of $5,450,000 (effectively $10.90 million per married couple). Overall estate planning should be an important consideration in the farming community. The farmer should consult with his advisors, determine the specific circumstances of his estate plan, and formulate a plan to establish liquidity and minimize taxes. Brian E. Ravencraft, CPA, CGMA is a Principal with Holbrook & Manter, CPAs. Brian has been with Holbrook & Manter since 1995, primarily focusing on the areas of Tax Consulting and Management Advisory Services within several firm service areas, focusing on agri-business and closely held businesses and their owners. Holbrook & Manter is a professional services firm founded in 1919 and we are unique in that we offer the resources of a large firm without compromising the focused and responsive personal attention that each client deserves. You can reach Brian through www.HolbrookManter.com.last_img read more

Solar Decathlon 2011: A Refined Design from Ohio State

first_imgLive at the International Builder’s ShowSteve Winter, the team’s architecture advisor, told Fine Homebuilding that while the house will produce its own electricity and heat its water via solar technology, the building’s energy efficiency derives mainly from its superinsulation, airtightness, and other passive features such as solar orientation, shading, and cross-ventilation. A strategy for portability Shading is provided by enCORE’s final, outer layer: a system of adjustable, diaphanous screens that shield the exterior walls (and make the building appear bigger) while they enhance the building’s overall performance and appearance. “The exterior of the house itself is supposed to feel really light, transparent in places, so you can get these notions of how the house is formed beneath the exterior façade,” Winter said. Grouping the mechanical systems in the center of the house, he added, allowed the team to not only house the hardware and pipes compactly but also assemble and dissemble the house more easily. “The logistical complexity of this project, and the fact that we have to take them apart and ship them” made a compelling argument for locating the mechanical room where it is, he said. “When you build these houses on a permanent site, it’s nice to have a central core as well, but it really helps us in transporting the project.” The thermal resistance of enCORE’s floor is designed to be R-55; the exterior walls, R-41; and the roof, R-65. Matthew O’Kelly, an enCORE project engineer, told GBA that the team is aiming for close to Passivhaus performance with off-the-shelf insulation products and American-made windows, and that construction costs are expected to be slightly less than or equal to $300,000. As it prepares for its second Solar Decathlon, the team representing Ohio State University is building a house whose design emphasizes passive features — a superinsulated, airtight shell and triple-glazed windows — and then brings the building’s operation to net-zero energy with a photovoltaic array and a solar hot water system. The name of the project — enCORE — is a reflection of the design approach, as well as the fact that Ohio State competed a previous Solar Decathlon competition in 2009. The central core of the house is where its mechanical and plumbing systems reside, and that core anchors the rest of the flexible layout layered around it. Storage space, the bathroom, and the kitchen are clustered close to the mechanical room, with a den and open living room configured at one end of the layout and two bedrooms at the other. The enCORE team condensed the mechanical and storage areas as much as was practical to make the 1,000-sq.-ft. home, which is designed to accommodate a family of three, feel spacious and comfortable. Building breadth of knowledge O’Kelly pointed out that, in keeping with Solar Decathlon rules, all contest entries, including enCORE, are ADA-compliant. He also noted that, like many other Decathlon entries, enCORE features a flat roof (and a separate structure for photovoltaic panels) that plays into the building’s contemporary design aesthetic and makes shipping the house easier, especially given the 12-to-13-ft. bridge clearances encountered on many routes to Washington. The range of contest requirements and team-member responsibilities, O’Kelly added, makes Decathlon participation an exceptionally rich learning experience. “HVAC and building science are not necessarily subjects that are widely taught anymore,” he wrote in a recent email. “If not for this project I don’t know that I would have been exposed to either of these disciplines. Experience is valuable, and eventually we will need a new generation of engineers to take on these challenges. Solar Decathlon (realistic in nature or not) prepares engineers and architects to solve these problems in a multidisciplinary, hands-on environment. That alone makes this project worthwhile.” The current post-Decathlon plan for enCORE is to ship it to Columbus, Ohio, where land formerly used for industrial purposes is being repurposed for residential communities and common spaces. If a suitable site can be found, the house will fulfill its intended end-user role as a home for a couple or family of three. For an overview of the Solar Decathlon teams, see GBA’s 2011 Solar Decathlon Resource Guide Follow Ohio State Get the Team enCore : Blogs | solardecathlon.osu.edu widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info) last_img read more

The Future of Microsoft’s Xbox? Interactive “TV”

first_imgTags:#365 Days#film#gaming#Microsoft#web#YouTube Related Posts The future of Microsoft’s Xbox appears to be moving briskly toward interactive TV, based on a high-profile hire of CBS Entertainment’s former television chief and the launch of two interactive TV “programs” that tap into Microsoft’s Kinect peripheral. This week, Microsoft hired Nancy Tellem, the former CBS exec, to run a dedicated Xbox content studio. As Microsoft’s new Entertainment & Digital Media president. Tellem will work under Don A. Mattrick, the president of the company’s Interactive Entertainment Business. That’s the unit that developed the Xbox, the Kinect and the Mediaroom software that quietly powers a number of the world’s set-top boxes.This means the woman who greenlit hits like “CSI,” “Survivor,” “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “The King of Queens” – and helped create “Friends” and “ER” – is now developing content for Microsoft. Wow.Tellem’s new studio will design “interactive and linear content for Xbox and other devices,” according to Microsoft. “In addition to running the production studio, she will help spearhead the company’s efforts to turn Xbox into a destination where consumers can enjoy all their entertainment in one place.”Microsoft Wants To Lure New ContentAccording to analyst Richard Doherty, who tracks the intersection of technology and content for the Envisioneering Group, Tellem will be responsible for luring new content to the Microsoft Xbox platform, competing with Google’s YouTube and Netflix in what he characterized as a bidding war. She also will be tasked with working with content providers to help develop content like the two new Kinect programs, “Kinect Sesame Street TV” and “Kinect Nat Geo TV”, that launched Tuesday.The Xbox remains the most socially connected entertainment platform, Doherty said, despite the Sony PlayStation’s best efforts. And that is going to appeal to Hollywood’s content mavens.“J.J. Abrams was constrained by what ABC could do with ‘Lost,‘” Doherty said. “There wasn’t Twitter when it started – the show would still flash ‘Go to lost.abc.com’ when the show aired. When I talked to Abrams years ago at a Digital Hollywood [conference] with his production team that was with him, they were planning for social media that wasn’t there yet.”“[Tellem] probably is the most important influx of new DNA, entertainment DNA, into a tech company, since Terry Semel at Yahoo,” Doherty said, referring to the former co-chief executive of Warner Bros. who was ousted in 2007 after netting more than $500 million in stock and other compensation.Coincidentally or not, Microsoft on Tuesday also announced the release of two interactive pieces of content that bring a new dimension to the concept of “program”: Kinect Sesame Street TV and Kinect Nat Geo TV. Both pieces of interactive software ask the children watching them to participate, such as clapping their hands or jumping up and down. Xbox: Stumbling Toward Interactive TVThe Xbox, of course, began life as a game console, adding downloadable movies to the Xbox 360 way back in 2006 with the Xbox Live Marketplace. Netflix added streaming movies to the platform in the summer of 2008. Microsoft’s Kinect ushered in a new level of interactivity in 2010, but only to games specifically designed for the motion-sensing peripheral. Kinect’s voice commands could also be used to seek out TV shows and movies as a voice-operated remote control. In December 2011, Microsoft added the ability to retrieve programming from Verizon FiOS and Comcast’s Xfinity services via the Xbox interface.Microsoft first tried its hand at TV-inspired interactivity in 2009 with “1 vs. 100 Live” and “1 vs. 100 Extended Play,” two related shows that let Xbox players compete – live – in a virtual version of the TV game show 1 vs. 100. Over two seasons, U.S. and U.K. players could participate in hosted live events that ran between 30 minutes and two hours. The show was entirely free, with revenue generated from advertisements, just like “real” TV.“Gaming is usually a premeditated experience where you know what you want to play ahead of time,“ said Manuel Bronstein, director of 1 vs 100, told The Los Angeles Times in 2009. “We wanted to create an impulsive experience that players might discover in the same way they flip on the TV and browse the channels.”According to reports, however, the show suffered from lack of revenues because Microsoft shuffled it around too much internally, not devoting enough resources to sales and marketing. markhachman Kinect Sesame Street: A Glimpse Of The Future?Leticia Barr, the founder of the Tech Savvy Mama blog, and one of the testers for “Kinect Sesame Street TV” and “Kinect Nat Geo TV”, said that her kids couldn’t really tell whether the games were a TV show or not.“They were talking about that was kind of a show, but there were times when we could go in and play, with the favorite characters, and they were talking about how this was a hybrid of a show and a game at the same time,” Barr said. “It wasn’t one or the other. It was this very fluid combination of both.”(Both “Kinect Sesame Street TV” and “Kinect Nat Geo TV” are available in disc form and as a download through via Xbox Live, according to the Associated Press. For $30, users can purchase a package that includes eight 30-minute episodes on two discs. Users can also purchase single episodes for $5.)Making Cents Of It AllIn Dec. 2011, Microsoft refreshed its Xbox Live software, adding new movie and television content the more than 65 entertainment apps already available – including Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO GO, MLB.TV, ESPN, YouTube and VEVO. Global video consumption on Xbox Live has increased 140% during the past year, Microsoft said, with more consumers watching video than using the Xbox to play games.“Whether you are voting for your favorite contestant on a TV show or playing a game, entertainment is becoming more personalized and social, driven by the Internet and new tools to interact with content,” said Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios, and Tellem’s boss, in a statement. “We are embarking on a new chapter with the creation of a studio dedicated to making original interactive and linear content…”Tellem’s role appears to be designed to make sense of this combination of original programming, interactive television and interactivity. Don’t be surprised to see Tellem orchestrate deals that include Xbox SmartGlass the second-screen, tablet-based control app that Microsoft revealed in June. And having spent time as Les Moonves’ right-hand woman, Tellem has the clout in Hollywood to equal Robert Kyncl, the global head of content at Google/YouTube.According to Doherty, Microsoft’s combination of pre-recorded content, interactivity and an online Internet connection offers a combination no rival can match.“There are producers that the networks are not appreciating enough, and have tremendous ideas for social media – when everybody gets excited – oh my gosh, ‘30 Rock’ is going to be filmed live!’” he said. “We’re talking episode-and-a-half sort of scenarios, multiple-ending sort of things. The talent in L.A. and London and Mumbai, they’ve got the ideas that Microsoft is better positioned to deliver on than anyone else, with Apple as a last resort.”Lead image courtesy of Shutterstock. 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