JOA paying close attention to Rio troubles

first_imgJamaica Olympic Association (JOA) president Mike Fennell said they have been paying close attention to the various health and political issues affecting Brazil ahead of this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and that they were pleased with the precautions and countermeasures being taken. The Zika virus outbreak in Brazil has been a major cause for concern going into the 2016 Olympic Games. The virus, which the World Health Organization has declared an international public health emergency, has created great uncertainty and has left many doubting whether or not they should attend the games in the South American country. There is also the issue of an impeachment in congress for the country’s first female president, Dilma Rousseff, while there are also concerns with water pollution. Noting that he hopes that the political situation can be resolved before the games commence on August 5, Fennell said he was comfortable with the situation at this point. “In Rio, there are a number things we have to deal with. Everyone knows there is a public health problems with the ZIKV, but we are quite comfortable with the arrangements that have been made for the protection of the athletes, officials and other people, so we are satisfied Brazil has taken all the precautions that are necessary and we are monitoring that carefully,” Fennell said. He also believes it would be best if the country’s leaders resolve the uncertain political situation ahead of the games. “What has not directly impacted the games but will affect the nation is the government situation in Brazil. The president of the country is facing impeachment, and that always presents a challenge when you have political uncertainty. We just have to wait and see how it unfolds, but it would be best if that is sorted out before the games not, just for Jamaica, but for the whole world.” he continued. Meanwhile, the long-serving JOA boss believes that the Olympic Games today plays an even greater role in enhancing the careers and reputation of sportsmen and women right across the globe. “The demand for a place on the Olympic team is even greater than ever before because it is such an important event in the life and career of any sports person. It’s the ultimate achievement, representing your country at the Olympic Games. This has been enhanced even more for those athletes, who are following careers, as representing your country at the Olympic Games opens up doors for professional contacts later on, and if you medal it even goes much further … it’s a tremendous thing for the athlete,” added Fennell. NECESSARY PRECAUTIONSlast_img read more

Beef industry traveling to a different drummer this year

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The beef industry stands alone in 2015 in its continued reduction in supplies available to consumers. The year of 2014 was a special year for the animal production industries with record high farm level prices for cattle, hogs, broilers, turkeys, milk and eggs. For 2015, a surprisingly fast expansion of poultry, pork and milk production will cause lower prices for those commodities. Beef stands alone in the continuation toward lower production, but prices remain uncertain.In the first four months of this year, beef production was down by 5%, with slaughter numbers down 7% but market weights up 2%. The reduction is the result of a beef cow herd that had been in decline from 2006, reaching its low point in 2014. Expansion of the beef cow herd began in the last-half of 2014 and current indications are that the expansion continues.Producers can increase cow numbers both by retaining heifers and by keeping older cows for another cycle when they normally would have gone to market. Slaughter of females so far this year indicate producers are doing both. Heifer slaughter last year was down 8% and so far this year heifer slaughter remains down 7%. Beef cow slaughter in 2014 was down 18% and remains down 17% so far this year. While these producer behaviors will build the beef cow herd and eventually increase beef production, the impact for this year is to pull down beef production.Meat availability per person had fallen by about 20 pounds from 2007 to 2014, but is making a sharp comeback in 2015. Current USDA estimates are that per capita meat availability could surge by nearly nine pounds this year. Chicken and turkey lead the way with over five pounds of increase and pork adds an impressive increase of near four pounds per person. This means that the meat industry in one year has restored about 45% of the lost meat availability from 2007 to 2014. The impacts of avian influenza will likely reduce poultry meat production in 2015, but are not included here.The recent Cattle on Feed report from USDA also shows some of the adjustments the beef industry is making. The number of heifers in feedlots as of April 1 was down 10% from previous year levels, most likely confirming a high rate of heifer retention for herd expansion. Secondly, as a result of record high calf prices and weak live cattle futures prices, fewer lightweight calves are moving to feedlots as producers keep those calves on forage diets and background them for longer. The number of calves under 700 pounds entering feedlots in March was down 11%, but the number over 800 pounds was up 16%. In fact, 40% of all placements in March were older calves that were 800 pounds and higher. Improved pasture conditions in the Central and Southern Plains provides some of the explanation, but there were also reports of calves staying on winter wheat pasture further into the spring this year.What are the implications for cattle prices this year? First, a review of the unusual year of 2014 when finished steers averaged a record high $155 per hundredweight. The normal seasonal price pattern for finished cattle is to peak in late March or early April, then move lower into mid-to-late summer, with a rally into the end of the year. In 2014 finished steer prices began the year at $140 and pretty much moved higher throughout the year peaking above $170 in late-November. So far this year, finished steers have averaged $161.50 compared with $146 for the same period in 2014.Live cattle futures are suggesting a return to a more normal seasonal price pattern this year. Peak finished steer prices in 2015 to-date came in early April in the mid-$160s and have declined since. The futures tone stays weak through summer with prices falling to the middle $140s by the end of summer and then rallying to the low $150s toward the end of the year. With prices so far this year and futures estimates for the remainder of the year, finished steers would average $153, a couple of dollars lower than 2014.USDA forecasters in the April 9 WASDE report have taken a much more bullish path with $163.50 at the mid-point of their annual estimated range. Also of note is that USDA analysts increased the potential range of prices as the year progresses. One reason to increase a price forecast range is because of greater uncertainty. Ultimately, prices may be somewhere between these two. Current high $150s prices could drop to the very low $150s by late summer and recover to the mid-$150s by the end of the year, with annual prices near last year’s $155. One thing seems certain — 2014 was an extraordinary year for the animal industries. So comparing this year’s prices to last year’s prices may bring inherent dangers. But, the beef industry is the only one which will not increase production this year and therefore has a reasonable chance of seeing annual price averages near 2014 levels.The wide difference of opinions about cattle prices for the remainder of this year point out the large price risks for cattle finishers. Cattle feeders already have record amounts of money invested in the cattle in their feedlots. Even with the lowest feed prices in five years, they are vulnerable to weak live cattle prices as the futures market is currently suggesting. Feedlot managers should strive to price calves based on budgets using current futures prices and then should look to hedge those cattle with either futures or put options. If feedlot managers find themselves bidding so much for calves that they have to have a sizable rally in the live cattle futures to cover costs, they may want to re-think buying the calves in the first place.last_img read more

Is This SIP Roof In Trouble?

first_imgA site visit is a good first stepGBA senior editor Martin Holladay makes five observations: installers used an interior tape with adhesion problems; there is evidence of air leakage at the seams between SIPs; it appears that melting snow on the roof caused by air leaks led to ice dams; the roof pitch is very shallow; and the peel-and-stick membrane was installed in a way that isn’t waterproof.“It’s not a good sign that your roof has ice dams — especially if the house is only three years old,” Holladay writes. “It’s worrisome that you have seen water on the underside of your roof assembly. I’m not going to give advice on the moral or ethical issue of what you should tell the new owners of the building. I’ll leave that issue to your conscience or your lawyer.“Lots of problems,” Holladay continues. “It would take a site visit to determine whether there is any way to seal the air leakage at the SIP seams from the interior. That would be Step One.”Melton says his goal is to address the problems and pass along a well-functioning home to its new owners.“I’m definitely not looking for legal advice on GBA,” he says. “I’m simply trying to get an idea of the severity, timeline and (possible) solution to the problem. I AM assuming liability based on the fact that I built the house (as a homeowner, not GC) and that I want it to be fixed because its the right thing to do.” Why choose SIPs in the first placeMelton’s post prompts Malcolm Taylor to wonder why homeowners are building with SIPs at all.“It must be apparent to regular readers here that SIP assemblies represent more than their fair share of the problems needing remediation — and that they are generally serious problems,” he writes. “In the face of that I still see posters proposing to use them on their new builds. There seems to be a real disconnect. What are the features that draw people to use SIPs over equally efficient but much more resilient methods of building? I’m genuinely stumped.”Well, Melton replies, speed of construction and thermal performance are two reasons for using a SIP roof assembly.“As for my decision to use SIPs, I like the idea of a R-55 roof installed very quickly,” Melton says. “We set five 63-foot beams and a 32×64 roof in two days. Which may or may not be fast, but it seemed pretty good. Sure, in hindsight, SIPs may not have been the best choice, but it seemed good at the time and I didn’t see/do enough research to convince me otherwise.”Taylor likens the risk of using SIPs to sport.“There are a number of extreme sports, like rock climbing, that are very safe when performed by experienced, well-trained participants,” Taylor says. “That doesn’t negate the reality that they are inherently more risky that other activities. To me, SIPs are like that. Installed by experienced, diligent, conscientious workers they perform as expected (your house is a perfect example). But the chances of success are so much lower than assemblies that are inherently more robust.“The frequency of questions posted on GBA are no statistical indication of how often these problems occur in the wider building world, but it is clear that there are assemblies like, say, cathedral roofs that cause more concern than others,” he continues. “I can’t imagine a case being made that SIPs weren’t a risky way to build compared to most others.” An air channel is important in a cold climateHolladay admits that his advice to incorporate a ventilation channel in this type of insulated roof assembly is a conservative approach. He writes that he would sleep better at night knowing that the ventilation channel was there.He advises including an air space beneath any type of roofing over a SIPs structure in a cold climate (Climate Zones 5 through 8).Peter L says that he’s discussed the well-publicized failure of SIP roofs in Juneau, Alaska, with one manufacturer, who said the reports were overblown. Juneau, he said, represented a “worst case scenario type of climate,” and that there are thousands of SIP roofs without ventilation channels that have not had a problem.Further, the website for the Structural Insulated Panel Association suggests there’s nothing wrong with applying standing-seam or asphalt roofing directly on a SIP with no air channel.“The SIP manufacturers are correct about the climate in Juneau,” Holladay replies. “It’s damp, and there are few sunny days that allow for much drying. They are also correct that there are thousands of SIP roofs without any vent channels or rot. (Those are the SIP roofs that are perfectly airtight.)”And while SIPA may see nothing wrong with skipping an air channel beneath roofing, that doesn’t necessarily make it the right thing to do.“SIPA is an association with the mission of promoting SIPs,” Holladay says. “Historically, SIPA has downplayed the disadvantages of SIPs and highlighted the advantages of SIPs. SIPA is not the best source of information on potential SIP failures.”Andrew Bater adds than an afternoon of web browsing took him to a series of articles about problems with SIP roofs. (Those articles are available here and here.) Our expert’s opinionHere’s how GBA technical director Peter Yost sees it:It’s unfortunate if this problem is characterized as a SIP failure; the roof represents a failure in design and detailing. Sure, SIP roofs demand rigor, but so do many high-performance systems.Detailing for air leakage: Any high-performance assembly and building needs performance testing, particularly the first time around. The only way to know that you have superior airtightness — in this case, something that SIPs demand — is to test.All SIP panel joints should be backed up, topside and bottom-side, by high performance PSA tapes; in my opinion that would be an acrylic tape such as SIGA, Pro Clima, 3M, or Zip. (For more on tapes, see Two Wingnuts Describe Their Backyard Tape Tests, or my BuildingGreen blog series: Sticky Business.) This means that the airtightness of the panel joints is assured by (a) the original (and often custom) panel joint detail as well as (b) flexible membranes that can withstand panel contraction and expansion at all the panel joints.Roof pitch: I must admit that when I first read that a standing-seam metal roof system was used on a roof of this slight a pitch, I thought it was flat-out wrong. But I checked with local roofing expert, Brian Knowles of Jancewicz & Son, and here is what he had to say:“Most roofers will say that this can’t be done (standing-seam metal roof on 1/2-inch-in-12 roof), but we are one of a few companies that have the technique and craftsmanship to tackle this. The keys are:“1. Don’t attempt this on any roof with a ridge.“2. Be sure that panel layout places any roof penetrations in the middle of a panel and not at a standing seam.“3. Use a double-fold standing seam [as shown in Image #2, below] with a continuous bead of Geocel 2300 sealant in the top of the first fold.”So what do I recommend? Definitely take the roof apart and identify the leaks, investigating both air leaks and bulk water leaks, given the patterns of wetting and the apparent lack of adequate sealing for both air and bulk water.Here’s my take on the possible benefits of venting a roof with this low of a pitch: to get real air flow and the drying it brings, you need two holes and a driving force. It’s tough to get much driving force — in terms of force and frequency — at that low a pitch. Matt Melton lives in central Washington state in a 3-year-old house with a roof made of structural insulated panels (SIPs) that are 12 1/4 inches thick. The pitch of the roof is very low, only 1/2 inch-in-12, and the metal roofing has been applied directly over the SIPs with no air channel beneath the roofing for ventilation.When the house was built, Melton sealed the seams between roof panels with tape, applied on the bottom of the panels. The top of the roof was completely covered in a peel-and-stick membrane. In both cases, Melton now says, the seams of the tape and the roofing membrane didn’t seem to stick very well.This year, there’s trouble. For the first time, Melton has noticed an ice dam on the roof. Worse, he reports water leaking through a seam between SIPs, although the leak appeared on a roof overhang and not in the interior of the house.“Now, I’m wondering should I pull all the roofing off once it warms up and let the thing dry out and also to see if there is any mold,” he writes in a Q&A post at Green Building Advisor. “Then maybe replace with a better underlayment and a TPO roof?”There’s one more complication: Melton has sold the house and is now renting it back from its new owners. They apparently plan to take possession in May. Structural Insulated Panels Q&A: I’m Currently Struggling to Explain Why I Want SIPs for My RoofA SIP Roof Repair in WisconsinFrom Fine Homebuilding: Air-Sealing SIP SeamsHow to Protect Structural Insulated Panels from DecayMartin’s Ten Rules of Roof DesignBeing a Carpenter Isn’t Simple Anymorecenter_img Doing SIPs the right wayPeter L makes these suggestions for a trouble-free SIP roof:(1) Tape all exterior panel seams with a good-quality, vapor-permeable product that allows trapped moisture to escape (he recommends SIGA Wigluv tape).(2) Install a vapor-permeable roof membrance (he suggests SIGA Majcoat, which has a vapor permeance of 34 perms) to allow drying if the roof becomes wet.(3) Create an air space between the roof membrane and the finished roofing. As little as 1 inch of space will allow for drying.(4) Seal and tape all interior panel joints with spray foam and a good-quality tape.“If the above is done, a SIP roof can be as long-lasting as a truss roof design with an attic,” Peter says. “SIPS have their place, but just need the extra TLC and steps to keep them properly sealed and dry. If SIP roofs are done incorrectly, then yes, they can be a problem. Like anything in building science, there is usually a solution; just apply it properly.”John Stephany writes that the Madison College Construction Program has been using SIPs for years.“There are some key things: being hyper-vigilant when installing to make sure the gaskets are in the right place and in full contact,” Stephany says. “We threw out the hardware store gasket material the supplier sent out and went with a much more robust seam tape that expanded two times its original size over time.”On the interior, Stephany applies 3M tape with a J-roller. RELATED ARTICLES How should Melton deal with this developing problem? That’s the question for this Q&A Spotlight. The roof pitch is a concernMelton recognizes the roof pitch is low, a detail that several posts suggests is contributing to the problem.Holladay, for example, says that a roof with a slope of 1/2 inch in 12 inches “is always going to be at great risk of leaks than a roof with a steeper roof.”Installing metal roofing on slopes of less than 2-in-12 is inherently much riskier than using it on steeper roofs, Taylor says.“Apart from small penetrations for vents and roof stacks, all the other trim and detailing for conventional metal roofs rely on lapping material and more importantly gravity,” he says. “Chimneys, ridge caps, valleys, gable, sidewall and eve flashing all need slopes to work. Further, unlike other common materials like asphalt, metal wicks water through capillary action, so on metal roofs water often travels uphill.”Although there are ways to mitigate the risk, he continues, “these things are to mitigate risk that doesn’t exist in other, more robust assemblies.”Stephany adds that most standing-seam metal roofs should not be installed on roofs with a pitch of less than 2-in-12.“There are a few that are allowed on as low as 1/2-inch pitch, and they have robust gasket material inside the standing seam to stop leakage and are clear in their literature about the usage,” he writes. “At this point, you do need to remove the roof, and I would recommend a second layer of sheathing spaced off the first with 1x4s to create a vent space, on top of Grace Ice and Water shield, lapped 6 inches or more. And air-seal everything on the interior as best you can.”last_img read more

Dope scandal: Sports ministry orders probe, foreign coach sacked

first_imgUnion Sports Minister Ajay Maken on Tuesday ordered an inquiry into the doping scandal involving at least eight athletes, including the members of the country’s gold-winning relay race team. The sports ministry also directed the Sports Authority of India (SAI) to relieve all foreign coaches attached to these athletes. “I have asked for his removal. He has already been removed,” Maken said referring to Ukrainian athletics coach Yuri Ogrodnik, who is being blamed primarily for the use of banned drugs by the athletes. Maken said the government would take appropriate steps once the inquiry panel, to be headed by a retired high court judge, gives its report. He said the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) would set up increased surveillance on sports persons. He also ordered to set up stricter monitoring facilities at all national training centres. The number of doctors at these centres would also be increased. Maken promised strict action against officials involved in the dope scam. “It is seen that the officials and coaches are left scot-free. So the ministry has decided to take action against officials and coaches alongside the athletes so that such things do not occur in future. I have sought a report from SAI within three days after which we may take action against the erring officials of NIS Patiala also,” Maken said. Golden girls Ashwini Akkunji and Priyanka Panwar had tested positive for anabolic steroid in tests by NADA on Monday. Both of them have been suspended provisionally. Earlier, their relay race team-mate Tiana Mary Thomas had failed a dope test during the national inter-state championships in Bangalore. CWG and Asian Games gold medallist Sini Jose had also flunked dope tests earlier along with top quartermilers Mandeep Kaur and Jauna Murmu, long jumper Hari Krishnan and shot putter Sonia. Ashwini was held back on Monday while she was on her way to Asian Athletics Championship going to begin in Kobe, Japan on July 7. With Ashwini and Priyanka testing positive, India’s chance at winning a medal at 4×400 metre relay event in London Olympics next year seems to have dashed. Seven of the eight athletes have tested positive for methandienone or methandrostenolone, which is an orally-effective anabolic steroid used for muscle growth by bodybuilders. The substance is readily available in various countries without prescription but it is included in the list of prohibited substance of the World Anti- Doping Agency (WADA).advertisementlast_img read more

Ian Somerhalder and Energy Upgrade California Have Some Good Clean Fun Promoting

first_imgOn Earth Day, April 22, Energy Upgrade California (EUC), a statewide initiative committed to helping Californians take action to save energy, teamed up with environmentalist and actor Ian Somerhalder to host a Cold Wash Party at a Los Angeles-area laundromat.Energy Upgrade California #BetterOff Cold Wash PartyThe Earth Day event is a part of EUC’s “Do Your Thing” campaign and was designed to raise awareness about small behaviors Californians can take to save energy and reduce demand on the energy grid. According to EUC, the demand for energy reaches its peak between the hours of 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. Shifting the time in which energy is used will help save electricity and also reduce the demand on the grid.The Cold Wash Parties were held in three locations in California – Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Francisco, where attendees were invited to wash their clothes in cold water between the hours of 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. By shifting the time of day when they washed clothes and changing the washing machine’s setting to “cold,” attendees demonstrated one example of a smart energy management choice Californians can make in their everyday lives. Attendees received a night of music, cold drinks, swag and a free cold wash.“Saving energy can’t just be something we do on Earth Day. Our state (and world) would be better off if we focused on energy efficiency every day,” said Ian Somerhalder. “Washing clothes in cold water, effectively using 90 percent less energy, is just one way we can commit to a more sustainable future in California.”“Energy Upgrade California hosted these cold wash parties, not only to help bring an awareness to this direct call to action, but to help bring awareness to the overall issue of energy usage,” stated Commissioner Carla J. Peterman of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). “By encouraging people to take this small step (washing clothes in cold water not during peak energy use), we are hopefully encouraging other energy saving behaviors that will not only benefit residents themselves, but help other businesses and the state overall.”“I am excited I was able to participate in this Cold Wash Party, as well as represent this movement. However, there are other steps residents can take to be efficient in their energy use other than just washing clothes in cold water – such as turning off appliances when not in use or limiting all energy usage throughout the day,” stated Somerhalder.Energy Upgrade California supports California in its mission to double energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030. With the second lowest per capita electricity consumption rates in the country, California is known for “doing its thing” when it comes to energy efficiency. Sustainable energy practices benefit all California residents and businesses in a variety of ways, from reducing pollution, to slowing climate change, and creating a more prosperous state overall.Somerhalder participated in the Los Angeles Cold Wash Party, as part of the Energy Upgrade California “Do Your Thing” movement. This “Do Your Thing,” statewide movement taps into the pride, diversity and innovative spirit that makes California so special. It empowers every Californian with the tools and information to benefit themselves and the state through energy efficiency.For more information about Energy Upgrade California, the “Do Your Thing” movement, its mission and partners, please visit: www.EnergyUpgradeCA.org.last_img read more