A Stern lesson

first_imgMe and my kids built a QPR snowman last weekend. We decided against calling it ‘Cisse’ after figuring it would probably take longer than 33 minutes to go into meltdown.The French striker certainly didn’t live up to his surname, shaking Roger Johnson firmly by the throat after the Wolves defender had chopped him down in mid-flight.Much was made of how Cisse’s impulsive reaction was a result of suffering two broken legs in the past.“As Abramovich was pictured standing over a nervous looking Andre Villas-Boas, all that was missing was a black cloak and a large scythe.”It reminded me of my marvellously-named old maths teacher, Mr Stern.A wartime submarine operative, every time he heard the phrase ‘Hit the deck!’ he would instinctively throw himself to the floor.The old boy shared this little secret with us in an off-guard moment and quickly began to wish he hadn’t after spending the rest of our lessons that term picking himself up.In the case of Cisse, you’d have to keep your wits about you if you were behind him in the supermarket – the merest of nudges with your trolley and you’d be picking up your teeth with broken fingers.It had all been going swimmingly up until the Frenchman’s unscheduled departure, then Wolves took a leaf out of his book and grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck to take a vital three points back to the Black Country.I can’t remember the last time I felt quite so miserable leaving Loftus Road – made worse by the fact I was with my little one so had to be content with shouting obscenities in my head, while reassuring her it wasn’t the end of the world.Thankfully within half an hour of getting back, she looked out of the window and uttered those three little words guaranteed to make you forget all your troubles in an instant.. ”It’s snowing, Daddy!”Back in business.Aside from Bobby Zamora’s debut goal, the only other bright note for Rangers fans was the late cameo by Adel Taarabt, back to his mercurial best as he dictated play and peppered Wayne Hennessy’s goal with thunderbolts.With all the marquee signings and his unrewarding trip to Africa, Taarabt was in danger of becoming a forgotten man but he could yet hold the key to QPR’s survival hopes.When the Moroccan was going through a bad patch earlier this season, Joey Barton said: “I came here and was told he was a genius. I have yet to see it.”After Taarabt’s weekend masterclass, the QPR skipper remained curiously tight-lipped, preferring instead to wade into the John Terry row, picking fights with journalists and vowing to go to jail and become a martyr in the name of free speech. So, a typical week in other words.Of course everything in the football world was overshadowed by the resignation of England boss Fabio Capello and the acquittal of Harry Redknapp – the second and third biggest stories of the week after Kop Cat.Redknapp was immediately installed as favourite to land the national job – encapsulated by The Sun headline above a picture of him and the Italian – ‘Arryvederci!’Capello’s demise came after his furious public reaction to the FA’s sacking of his captain John Terry over the alleged racial abuse of Anton Ferdinand at Loftus Road in April.Chelsea fans have refused to acknowledge their skipper’s England demotion, chanting “There’s only one England captain”, during the thrilling 3-3 draw with Manchester United at the Bridge on Sunday.The match itself was arguably the game of the season, with Chelsea racing into a three-goal lead, including a corker from Juan Mata, before Howard Webb finally remembered he was a United fan (I’m joking) and helped to even things up by awarding a couple of penalties.He’s behind you…Before the game, Sir Alex Ferguson gave a pre-match interview while bizarrely dressed in a white polo neck jumper. I was half expecting him to turn to the camera and say: “Welcome to Jazz Club…Nice!”Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich reacted to the latest setback by putting in an appearance at the Blues’ training ground.As Abramovich was pictured standing over a nervous looking Andre Villas-Boas, all that was missing was a black cloak and a large scythe.As for the other Manchester-west London clash, City were too strong for Fulham, sweeping Martin Jol’s team aside 3-0.At one stage the flakes were falling so hard at the Etihad there was a danger the game might be called off – until they spotted Mohammed Al-Fayed crouched behind the advertising boards with a portable snow machine.Brentford’s game against Preston didn’t make the cut and further snow on Thursday night put paid to this weekend’s clash with Oldham, leaving frustrated fans on the Griffin Park Grapevine forum forced to make their own entertainment.After exhausting favourite crisp flavours they moved on to how things are different now to the olden days.Supermarkets and squad rotation figured highly but I quite liked ‘Christmas being spoken about before December’ and ‘kids no longer calling their parents’ friends Auntie and Uncle’.Nostalgia, eh? It’s not what it used to be.Follow Chris on Twitterlast_img read more

University of the People offers online education for all

first_imgUniversity of the People president (UoPeople) and founder, Shai Reshef, is in South Africa to offer at least 100 deserving high school students scholarships to the university. President Shai Reshef in Haiti. So far, students from 138 countries have been accepted into the university, with 1 000 more expected from Africa in 2014. Classes are held online, and are small, with just 20-30 students per class.(Images: Shai Reshef)MEDIA CONTACTS• Kirsty Thompson Integrate Marketing CommunicationsWatt Communications+27 11 425 6290RELATED ARTICLES• Education in South Africa • Zuma: South Africa to meet 2015 education goal • South Africa prioritises quality education • Unisa stands proud at 140 years • South Africa’s mother tongue education challengeMelissa Jane CookUniversity of the People president (UoPeople) and founder, Shai Reshef, is in South Africa to offer at least 100 deserving high school students scholarships to the university.The University of the People is a non-profit, tuition-free, online university that provides tertiary education to qualified high school graduates.Reshef says, “University is expensive and there are a lot of factors that can deny an individual access, including financial, geographic, societal, or personal constraints.”Earlier this year, UoPeople announced a drive to expand its footprint by reaching out to African students.Commemorating International Youth Day on August 12, Microsoft announced that the university would be its first implementing partner for its 4Afrika scholarship programme, which, in addition to providing funds for students at UoPeople, will provide mentorship, leadership and technical training, certification, and employment opportunities for at least 1 000 promising African students.Microsoft employees will mentor students, who can expect internships and job opportunities within the company and its more than 10 000 partners across Africa.“We are also seeking out other corporations that may take up the challenge to sponsor more students in Africa and we anticipate that South Africa will be a major source country for our scholarship programmes,” said Reshef.So far, students from 138 countries have been accepted into the university, with 1 000 more expected from Africa in 2014. Classes are held online, and are small, with just 20-30 students per class.Reshef says, “University of the People is opening its doors to South African students and is engaging with many other corporates and funding institutions to implement similar programmes, which will level the playing field for talented young African minds who might not otherwise have the resources, enabling them to have access to education and skills for accelerated economic development in Africa.”Education to change the worldFounded in 2009, UoPeople has partnered with several corporates, and educational institutions such as Yale University for research, and New York University, to accept students. The university works with Microsoft on scholarships and has access to its certificate programmes, mentoring, internships and employment opportunities; and with Hewlett-Packard (HP) for general support, scholarships for women, and internships.Reshef admits there “are not enough women in these programmes. Only about 25% are women and in sub-Saharan Africa, only about 10%. HP and Microsoft are very supportive of women joining the online programmes”.The organisation has gained widespread support from leading academics with its President’s Council chaired by New York University President John Sexton and including Oxford Vice-Chancellor Sir Colin Lucas; rector emeritus of the Academy of Paris, Michèle Gendreau-Massaloux; and Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, among others. The university is also supported by The Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, the Hewlett Foundation and companies such as Google, Western Union and Estée Lauder. Its page on social networking site Facebook has more than a million supporters.“Increasing access to post-secondary education in Africa will create a significant impact on the African youth. By empowering them to be the future generation leaders of their communities, countries and the continent, equipped with world-class education, we believe they will be able to take Africa to its rightful place on the world stage” says Reshef.Named a top 100 Global Thinker of 2012 by Foreign Policy magazine, Reshef has 20 years’ experience in education entrepreneurship. He has been named one of business magazine Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business, joined the United Nations’s information technology development department as a high-level advisor, was selected by the Huffington Post readership as an Ultimate Game Changer in Education, and nominated as one of technology magazine Wired’s 50 People Changing the World.Reshef says: “I want to impact the world through education. If you educate one individual you can change a life; if you educate many you can change the world.”Reshef says that by 2025 more than one million people will be deprived of education as there are not enough facilities, and no place for prospective candidates, but that everything needed to make higher learning accessible is available on the internet; “There is no better invention than online studying – the ability to enable people and offer education for all.“There is no discrimination at this university, there is room for everyone. It’s a viable option that can suit many that are unable to be on a tertiary campus.”last_img read more

Grain handler pleads guilty to stealing more than $3 million from farmers

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Agriculture Director David Daniels announced today that a Huron County man has pleaded guilty to multiple charges related to the theft of more than $3 million in grain from 35 farmers in Ohio.Richard J. Schwan, 79, of Monroeville, pleaded guilty today to two felony counts of aggravated theft, and one felony count each of attempted aggravated theft, falsification in a theft offense, insolvent handler, and delayed price agreement.As part of the plea agreement, Schwan must pay $3,222,209.70 in restitution prior to his sentencing hearing in August. The money will be used to reimburse the farmers, the Ohio Department of Agriculture, and the Ohio Grain Indemnity Fund.“Ohio’s farmers work hard to produce their crops, and this defendant callously took the profits of their labor,” DeWine said. “Our priority in this case has always been to recover the money that rightfully belonged to these farmers, and a condition of this plea agreement requires the defendant to promptly repay the money he stole.”Schwan operated Schwan Grain Inc., which transported and sold grain on behalf of the 35 farmers from Erie, Huron, Lorain, Richland, and Seneca counties. He was arrested in November after an investigation by the Ohio Department of Agriculture found that between 2012 and 2014, he sold more than $3 million in grain for the farmers, but deliberately failed to pay the victims their shares of the profits.The investigation also found that Schwan filed several financial reports and other documents with the Ohio Department of Agriculture that falsely reported and concealed his liabilities and the money he owed the victims.Of the more than $3.2 million dollars that Schwan must repay, approximately $2.5 million will be used to reimburse the Ohio Grain Indemnity Fund, which previously reimbursed the farmers for the majority of their losses. The fund, which is paid for by Ohio farmers through a half-cent per bushel fee, reimburses farmers when a grain handler becomes insolvent.“All of Ohio’s grain farmers pay into the Grain Indemnity Fund and we’re pleased it will be reimbursed for their ultimate benefit,” Daniels said. “We appreciate the work of all parties to resolve this matter, making sure Ohio farmers are protected for years to come.”The remaining restitution will reimburse the balance of the funds still owed to the farmers and will pay for investigative costs incurred by the Ohio Department of Agriculture.Farm equipment worth hundreds of thousands of dollars was also seized as part of the investigation.The case was prosecuted by attorneys with Attorney General DeWine’s Special Prosecutions Section.Schwan will be sentenced before Huron County Common Pleas Court Judge James W. Conway on August 23, 2018.last_img read more

Jack Dorsey Talks About Square at LeWeb: Wants Dongle to be Available for Free

first_imgAt the annual LeWeb conference in Paris today, Loic Le Meur interviewed Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey about Square, the mobile payment system he launched in limited beta in November. While the demo didn’t quite work as expected – the Square dongle wasn’t able to read Loic’s credit card at first – we did learn a few more details about Square. Among other thing, Dorsey plans to launch an API in the future that will allow Square to connect to other financial systems and bookkeeping software. In addition, Dorsey announced that he plans to make the payment dongle available for free.According to Dorsey, finance is one of two industries that is ready for a disruption. The other industry is healthcare, though Dorsey doesn’t expect that we will see any major technological disruptions in this business within the next two years. According to Dorsey, one of the original ideas for Square was to use the iPhone camera to take a picture of a credit card and then use OCR software to read the data. As Square wants to be able to offer its service on multiple platforms, however, the team decided to use a dongle that plugs into an audio jack.The team is currently working on the private beta and also working on building up its security team.As we noted last week, there are still some questions about the viability of this business, though Dorsey is obviously quite upbeat about the future of its new venture. Tags:#news#web Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img frederic lardinois Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Ground Gutters

first_imgThe rubble stone foundation walls wept every time it rained, creating a dank, humid basement. The destructive power of ice dams, and a huge, overhanging elm tree created maintenance issues, leaving our clients unwilling to replace the gutters original to the old two-story house. The lot sloping to the rear left the downhill neighbors’ yards saturated much of the year. How were we going to solve these problems? By installing a ground gutter system.A ground gutter is similar to the French drains familiar to most builders, with a few additional components. On this project, we started by digging a trench along the foundation wall, 12 in. deep at the front and pitching 1/4 in. per foot toward the back of the house. The trench is 24 in. wide, enough to catch rain falling from the eaves. We lined the trench with 0.060-in.-thick EPDM, a rubber roofing product (thinner 0.040-in. EPDM can be purchased from landscaping suppliers). We didn’t attempt to attach the membrane to the stone foundation but took care in keeping it close to the wall as the trench was filled. At the bottom of the trench we laid 4-in. perforated PVC pipe directly under the roof’s drip line. Where the pipes join and change direction we installed distribution boxes with removable covers, providing access in the event of a clog. At the distribution boxes we also tied in 6-in. solid PVC drains. We connected this to downspouts from the one section of gutter we did install on the addition roof, which is easily accessed and ice-dam resistant. We filled the trench with 3/4-in. washed crushed stone, placing a layer of permeable landscape fabric about 2 in. below the surface to keep silt and debris out of the trench.The drains tie together into a single 6-in. perforated PVC line that leads to a dry well 8-ft. x 12-ft. x 5-ft. deep. The dry well is lined with landscape fabric and filled with 11/2 in. crushed stone. We covered the crushed stone with more fabric, a loam/compost mixture for a planting bed, and a layer of partially decomposed bark mulch. The dry well should be able to handle up to an inch of rain before filling up. The few times a year that the dry well reaches capacity, the excess rainwater will exit via a 6-in. outflow pipe just below grade.The outflow pipe leads to a back corner of the property, where it exits onto riprap (6 in. crushed stone) to prevent erosion, behind a swale. Not only will this keep the neighbor’s yard dry, the rainwater will have several hundred feet of forest to be absorbed into before reaching a river. That’s a big improvement over the original gutters, which fed into the municipal storm drain—and directly into the river in big storms.What our clients are happiest about, though, is their dry basement. MORE INFORMATIONAn Underground RoofFixing Those Drainage Problems, 30 Years LaterFHB: Inground gutters keep basements dryGBA Encyclopedia: Inground GuttersGBA Encyclopedia: Stormwater ManagementGBA Encyclopedia: Roof GuttersGBA Detail: Underground Water Barrier Retrofitlast_img read more

Office Loan Defaults Bring CMBS Default Rate Up in Q3

first_imgOffice Loan Defaults Bring CMBS Default Rate Up in Q3 October 30, 2012 518 Views The cumulative default rate for commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) in the U.S. rose over the third quarter, largely due to an increase in defaults among office loans, according to the latest data from “”Fitch Ratings””:https://sp2.img.hsyaolu.com.cn/wp-shlf1314/2031/IMG9850.jpg” alt=”last_img” />