Comment on Sansar Creator Beta: personal thoughts by Just a VFX pro among many        
Pre-alpha refers to all activities performed during the software project before formal testing, as Sansar is far from full feature implementation Sansar is truly in pre Alpha stage. The alpha phase of the release life cycle is the first phase to begin, software testing on full feature version. Beta phase generally begins when the software is feature complete but likely to contain a number of known or unknown bugs It will require minimum 2 years for Sansar to arrive anywhere near the beginning of a beta stage and another 2 for it to be done with. So we looking for an official version release for 2021 on a graphics engine that is not the latest of technologies so very likely obsolete by then and a havok that is getting dated and with limited though powerful capabilities. the pre alpha is extremely bad and slow for professional 3d content creators, the physics is worse and the coding is non existent and has zero road map. metalness workflow is very buggy di per se and extremely inaccurate for high end graphics, but hey, it will make it easier on consolles
          Localisation and Profiles: Programmatically changing the user's preferred culture.        

A while ago I wrote a post on how to use Localisation in ASP.NET using resource files etc. We'll since then I been asked about how to change the user's culture programmatically by clicking a button or similar.

In that previous article I described how culture selection is based on browser preferences and HTTP language headers. While this is pretty good, there are many scenarios where this could be improved. Say you are travelling overseas and are accessing your appl remotely from someone's elses machine, if the culture of that browser is set to Japanese, then your application might not be readable to you. You might not be able to change your language preferences either because that might not be available in a controlled environment.

What options do we have?

In general, to get manage the user's preferences we have:

  • Use the browser settings ( not that great as described above but good enough for 80% of the time)
  • When a user registers of first uses your application, they can choose language of choice and then save this in the database for later retrieval
  • Persist the above choice in Session state or Cookies.
  • Use ASP.NET Profiles.
  • Let the users choose this in the application. ( buttons. ddls etc ) 

In ASP.NET is very straightforward to select the preferred culture based on the user's browser settings, you can do it at page level like I did in in my prev post but you can also set it up for all your pages in the web.config file saving you the pain of adding the attribute to all your pages throughout your application.

        <globalization culture="auto" uiCulture="auto" fileEncoding="utf-8" requestEncoding="utf-8" 
            responseEncoding="utf-8" />
What if I want to save the user settings after they register/access the app for the first time?

Think about the options you have to persist the preferred culture: Session: Session is not the best for many reasons, most importantly Session is not there forever, for example by default ASP.NET assumes that the user left the site after no requests have been made for 20 mins ,  your user might get up to get a cup of tea and his Session might expire, therefore when she gets back she might not have the application in her culture of choice. Also, you might not be able to access the Session object when you want to access the user's preferences. So I wouldn't use Session myself.

What about Cookies?

Cookies are more favourable if all you want is to persist a simple user' preference like the culture or their favourite colour I think, it will get hard pretty quickly if you where storing more than just their colour and horoscope preferences.

For example in Global.asax you could implement the Application_BeginRequest event and read the cookie there and setup your CurrentThread to the value stored in the cookie that you created after the user made the choice etc.

void Application_BeginRequest(Object sender, EventArgs args)
    HttpCookie myPreferencesCookie = (HttpCookie)Request.Cookies["Culture"];
    // check for null etc etc
    string culture = myPreferencesCookie.Value;
    System.Threading.Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentUICulture = 
         new System.Globalization.CultureInfo(culture);
    System.Threading.Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture = 

But I think it will get complicated very quickly and I don't think is the best way. Much better I think is ASP.NET's Profile

The Profile objects is strongly typed and persisted, and you can even implement your own ProfileProvider!

The easiest way to create a Profile is by creating some properties in the your root web.config. Just like the Resource files, ASP.NET compiles the Profile's propertied dynamically and then you have this strongly typed profile assets.

      <add name="MyFavouriteNumber" allowAnonymous="true"/>
      <group name="Preferences">
        <add name="Culture" allowAnonymous="true" />
        <add name="Color" allowAnonymous="true"  />

Note the attributes, name is very simple, but note alllowAnonymous: This allows anonymous users to read/write properties, you have to set it explicitly because by default, this is set to false. ASP.NET cannot know which user has which profile unless the user is authenticated. So to use this anonymous feauture you have to enable anonymous indentification in your web.config too. More details in MSDN here.

All I did what this...

<anonymousIdentification  enabled="true" />

You can also set defaultvalues, type, readonly attributes to your profile entries too.

Also I defined what is called 'Profile Groups', that lets you organise the properties better and into more logical groups. Then in your app the intellisense will pick it up beautifully! ( Profile.Preferences.Culture )

So far so good, we can store it in the Profile Object but using Profile is a bit of a problem in the same league as the Sesssion Object: Can we access Profile in Global.asax BeginRequest()? Nop, we can't, the only way is to write some code to access the data store where you are persisting the user's preferences. The reason this is the case is that just like Session, Profile is not initialised until Session is ready to roll.

Getting started with a solution to the problem

So far we know we don't want to use Session, we don't want to use Cookies and that Profile is good but we can't really use it straight out of the box.

Question I had was, how can I localise pages based on the choices the user made? and what if the user wants to change back and forth this setting for say language preferences. Anyway, I started easy, lets give them a UI so they can change languages for example.

I created a MasterPage and added some big, impossible to miss flags that can be associated to languages and cultures as shown below. The plan is that by clicking on the flag, the culture associated with the flags will be the Thread.Culture that the page will be running under.


Simple code too..just a few asp:Images..

<asp:ImageButton CommandName="es-UY" OnCommand="Flag_ClickedCommand" AlternateText="Spanish"
       CssClass="Flag" ImageUrl="~/Profile/FlagsImages/uy.gif" ID="imgUruguay" runat="server"
<asp:ImageButton CommandName="zh-CN" OnCommand="Flag_ClickedCommand" AlternateText="Chinese"
       CssClass="Flag" ImageUrl="~/Profile/FlagsImages/cn.gif" ID="ImageButton2" runat="server"
<asp:ImageButton CommandName="en-AU" OnCommand="Flag_ClickedCommand" AlternateText="English"
       CssClass="Flag" ImageUrl="~/Profile/FlagsImages/au.gif" ID="ImageButton1" runat="server"

OK, note that I have setup an EventHandler for the OnCommand event, when this fires, Flag_ClickedCommand will be called and then culture that that particular flag represents will be passed on as CommandName.

protected void Flag_ClickedCommand(Object sender, CommandEventArgs args)
      if (!args.CommandName.IsValidCulture()) return;        
       Profile.Preferences.Culture = args.CommandName;

Note what I set the Profile.Preferences.Culture to the command name passed on from the ImageButton, but this could well be a simple button or a dropdownlist value etc. I redirect the page to itself since if the user clicks on a flag, they'll expect the changes to take change immendiately! ( I would!)

I created an extension method for strings to check if the culture passed along was valid too. Not relevant to this post but since they are very neat I'll copy it here too. :-)

public static bool IsValidCulture(this string cult)
     if (Constants.ChineseCulture == cult
              || Constants.EnglishCulture == cult
              || Constants.SpanishCulture == cult)
         return true;
     return false;    

Setting the Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture to your preferred culture

What we now want to do is for a page to load and pick the user's preferred culture.

I noted that you can override the InitializeCulture() method solely to intialise the page's culture. This function gets called very early in the page life cycle, well before and controls are created, meaning that if you want to get some values from controls, you must get them directly from the request using Form!

protected override void InitializeCulture()
    string culture = Profile.Preferences.Culture;
    if (!culture.IsEmpty())
        Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentUICulture = new CultureInfo(culture);
        Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture = CultureInfo.CreateSpecificCulture(culture);

Unfortunately you have to override this function for every page, not very practical if you have a zillion pages. Next best is to provide a base common class and then inherit from this class so all your webforms can benefit and you don't have to implement the above in every form. This works fine!

Note that the Thread culture is only set for the current page and will not affect your "other" pages, initially I thought that the CurrentThread's culture will be set to the new values and we'll all happy. But then I also thought what If a user has a different entry point to the application, so the need for all your pages to be able to read and set the user's fav culture.

public partial class LocalisationBase : System.Web.UI.Page
    protected override void InitializeCulture()
        ProfileCommon common = HttpContext.Current.Profile as ProfileCommon;
        string culture = common.Preferences.Culture;

        if (!culture.IsEmpty())
            Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentUICulture = new CultureInfo(culture);
            Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture = CultureInfo.CreateSpecificCulture(culture);
So base class it was and all my other pages inherited from this..
public partial class Profile_Default : LocalisationBase
    protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)

Now lets have a look at my initial UI that I wanted to localise and see if this works.


Just a simple form with some dates, numbers and a calendar what we hope we can localise and so the right names and formatting appear for the right culture setting. For the form labels I used resource files just like in my previous post. I have three resource files, one for english, one for spanish and one for mandarin.

The currency is interesting. All I have is a number where I call ToString("c")

private void FillPersonalisedMoney()
    lblMoney.Text = (500.23D).ToString("c");

Now when the user click on the Chinese flag...then the Chinese version of the page will render, dates will be rendered accordingly and the calendar will be in Chinese too..


And in Spanish too...


Clicking on Employee Details will take you to a page that also inherits from LocalisationBase and where Employees from ubiquitous Northwind will be displayed with to their likely annoyance, their date of birth, nicely formatted according to the culture of choice!



And there you have it.

In conclusion I used the native Profile ASP.NET objects, you can implement your own Provider or you can use SQLProfileProvider that ASP.NET offers, either way I honestly think that these guys offer you much more flexibility and power when you want to customize your apps according to user's preferences.

Au revoir!


#Must read for any localisation entrepreneurs

# ASP.NET 2.0 Localization (MSDN Article)


          How to Control Fleas So Your Dog Is Happy        
Must dogs and fleas coexist? Absolutely not! Learn about the life cycle of this irritating pest and how you can treat for fleas. Your doggie will be happy if you do!
          Aerobotix Develops F-22 Engine Coating Restoration Tech Under Air Force SBIR Program        
Madison, Alabama-based Aerobotix has developed a robotic technology for U.S. Air Force aircraft maintenance personnel to restore coatings on F-22 engine inlets as part of a $1.5 million Small Business Innovation Research contract. The Phase II SBIR contract awarded to Aerobotix supports the efforts of Air Force Research Laboratory and the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center to increase the efficiency […]
Catheter Research, Inc. (dba Thomas Medical, Inc.) Honored as One of the 2012 Indiana Companies to Watch

(Indianapolis) – Catheter Research, Inc. has been recognized as one of the 2012 Indiana Companies to Watch, an awards program presented by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, its Small Business Development Center and the Edward Lowe Foundation.
Twenty-five companies from Indiana will be honored as outstanding second-stage companies during the fifth annual Indiana Companies to Watch awards program, held on August 23 in Indianapolis.

Companies to Watch is an awards program that celebrates Indiana’s privately held second-stage companies, typically those businesses that are past the startup phase, are considered to be established, and face issues of growth, not survival.

Companies honored range in industries and have headquarters based in 13 counties throughout the state. Among the 25 honored companies in 2012 is Catheter Research, Inc.

About Catheter Research, Inc.

Located in Indianapolis, Indiana, Catheter Research, Inc. (CRI) is a market leader in medical device manufacturing, contract development, and product life cycle management. CRI specializes in catheter design /assembly, medical tubing /extrusion, and OBGYN Disposables. CRI provides excellence in project management, lean manufacturing techniques, supply chain controls, and regulatory compliance. CRI’s quality system has been designed to tailor processes to meet the diverse requirements of customers, in an ever changing regulatory and economic environment. CRI is an ISO 13485 certified manufacturer and FDA Registered.

CRI is the parent company of Thomas Medical, a distributor of OBGYN Products and Surgical Instruments. CRI/Thomas Medical is 100% owned by a workforce of 120+ employees who participate in the employee stock ownership plan (ESOP).

About Indiana Companies to Watch
Companies to Watch firms must employ between six and 150 full-time equivalent employees, have between $750,000 and $100 million in annual revenue or working capital in place, and demonstrate the intent and capacity to grow based on employee or sales growth, exceptional entrepreneurial leadership, sustainable competitive advantage or other notable strengths.

This year the program attracted more than 160 nominees and applicants. From that pool, 63 finalists were selected, and 25 companies emerged to become the 2012 class of Indiana Companies to Watch.

This awards program is unique because of its focus on second-stage companies. The impact of these companies on Indiana’s economy is tangible. During 2007-2009 Indiana’s resident companies averaged more than 32,000 second-stage establishments according to, an online resource of the Edward Lowe Foundation. Those second-stage companies employed an average of more than 773,000 workers during the period of 2007-2009.

Looking at the contributions of these companies from a different perspective, from 2007-2009 only 9.2 percent of Indiana’s resident establishments were in the second-stage category, however, they generated 37.2 percent of jobs in the state.

This program would not be possible without the generous support of Barnes & Thornburg LLP as well as Premier Capital Corporation, Katz, Sapper & Miller, KeyBank, Miles Printing and Purdue University. The program is also supported by Ivy Tech Corporate College and media sponsors BizVoice magazine, Inside Indiana Business and Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly.

About the program presenters:
The state of Indiana’s lead economic development agency, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation oversees Indiana’s statewide business attraction and development efforts, coordinates state programs, and incentives for companies looking to grow in Indiana, and provides assistance and funding to Indiana entrepreneurs and high-tech start-ups.

The Indiana Small Business Development Center Network offers free and low-cost strategic assistance for growth oriented entrepreneurs and businesses with less than 500 employees. Funded in part by the federal and state government, the ISBDC is focused on growing the economy through small businesses.

The Edward Lowe Foundation inspired the creation of the Companies to Watch program to celebrate second-stage entrepreneurs and their companies. Established in 1985, the Edward Lowe Foundation is a Michigan-based nonprofit organization that supports entrepreneurship through recognition, education and research with a focus on second-stage companies—those that have moved beyond the startup phase and seek significant, steady growth. The foundation also encourages economic gardening, an entrepreneur-centered strategy providing balance to the traditional approach of business recruitment.

          The Days of Our Years        
The Days of Our YearsBy Milton Eng

£60.00   16 Jun 2011   Hardback   Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.

This study is an investigation into the lexical meanings of Hebrew terms for the human life cycle in the Old Testament. The investigation differs from previous studies in that the terms are studied from the perspective of a specific semantic domain (age) and not in isolation from each other. In addition, other modern linguistic approaches are applies, including syntagmatic and paradigmatic analysis.

          Comment on Big Changes Proposed for TIFIA by Wyatt Kendall        
The MAP-21 TIFIA section also amends the final maturity date of a secured loan to the lesser of 35 years after the date of substantial completion of the project or "if the useful life of the capital asset being financed is of a lesser period, the useful life of the asset." Because many transit assets, such as buses and train cars, have life cycles under 35 years, will shortening the maturity period lead to less favorable financing terms for such capital assets?
          Give Your B2B Marketing Materials a SMOG Test and Find Out if They Read like Newsweek or The IRS Tax Code (Part Two)        

Overview of Findings from Part One

In Part One , we looked at the benefits page of enterprise software company, IQNavigator of Denver. IQNavigator technology helps large organizations manage all of the services they outsource to other companies.

It being a benefits page, I was stunned to find its Flesch Reading Ease index at zero in Microsoft Word. So, Part One was dedicated to giving IQNavigator a completely fair review. This meant we had to accomplish two things:

  • Ensure Word was accurately assessing the passage
  • Prove the Flesch Reading Ease metric itself was a reasonable measure

We found Word's calculation of Flesch Reading Ease to be reliable because:

  • My spreadsheet calculation, while slightly negative, basically agrees with Word's zero finding
  • The freely downloadable Java Application called Flesh also scored the passage at zero

The Flesch Reading Ease metric proved to be trustworthy. To come to this conclusion, we analyzed the passage using another measure called SMOG (Simple Measure of Gobbledygook).

Whereas Flesch Reading Ease index rates how easy it is to read a passage on a scale of 0 to 100, SMOG gauges how hard it is to read a passage by calculating the proportion of words with 3 or more syllables.

The SMOG Calculator of G. Harry McLaughlin (its founder) rated the passage as more difficult than the Harvard Business Review yet slightly less difficult than The IRS Tax Code. This is a vote of confidence for the Flesch Reading Ease as a metric and for the results shown in Word.

Why Should IQNavigator Care?

The IQNavigator benefits page is very difficult to read. If we can make it easier to read, IQNavigator will attract new business and deepen its position with existing customers.

Copywriting Tune-up (Part Two)

Clearly, IQNavigator has the right idea dedicating a webpage to call-out their benefits. Still, as we've seen with other enterprise software companies, they write in third person voice and use passive sentences. This makes it harder for anyone to read and understand no matter what their IQ.

IQNavigator wisely uses bullet points to enumerate their benefits; however, each bullet makes for long and dense reading.

So, the challenge for this tune-up is to:

  • Inject the second person voice
  • Eliminate passive sentences
  • Maintain an appropriate corporate tone
  • Make the benefits easier to understand
  • Convert each lengthy bullet into several shorter ones



Fast cost savings, Ongoing investment

Enterprises in diverse industries have found that sustainable cost savings and process improvements can be achieved through implementation of an end-to-end services procurement and optimization solution. IQNavigator's market-leading solution provides several bottom-line benefits:

  • Cost reduction: Reduce costs by 10-35% by implementing best -practices for sourcing services, eliminating manual invoice reconciliation, gaining consistent terms and renegotiating with more accurate spending and performance information, and enforcing approvals for all spending, contract extensions and exceptions.
  • Process efficiencies: Automate the procurement and payment processes to reduce cycle time and cost over 70% while improving the resulting services quality, contract terms, and payment speed and accuracy.
  • Manage compliance risks: Ensure compliance with company policies, supplier contract terms and government regulations through configurable compliance rules and approval requirements, and enforcement of contract terms and rates. Financial compliance is also achieved through spending approval requirements and process controls, auditability, and accurate invoicing and cost allocation.
  • Optimization: Improve the business results achieved through outside services by aligning services spending with business priorities and initiatives, continually improving deliverable quality and value, and linking purchased services to internal key business measures. IQNavigator's distinctive business intelligence capabilities provide visibility and analysis capabilities into spending, supplier performance, and business results.

Gain Control over the Service Procurement Life Cycle

Join the companies in every sector who have reduced their costs and streamlined their processes with a complete solution to manage the services they procure and the quality of the services performed.

Address this challenge head-on and you can:

  • Lower your costs by 10 - 35%.
  • Adopt the best practices to procure services.
  • Stop reconciling invoices manually.
  • Standardize the terms in your contracts.
  • Renegotiate your contracts using more accurate spending and performance information.
  • Enforce approvals for all your spending, contract extensions, and exceptions.

When you automate your procurement and payment processes, you will:

  • Reduce cycle time and related costs by 70%.
  • Improve the quality of the services performed.
  • Gain better control over contract terms, accuracy, and speed of payment.

Setup compliance rules so you can:

  • Ensure your company complies with its own policies, suppliers' contract terms and government regulations.
  • Meet your financial compliance goals with approval requirements, process controls, audit specifications, and accurate invoicing and cost allocations.

Enjoy better performance from your service providers when you:

  • Match your spending with your business priorities.
  • Link the services you purchase to your key business metrics.
  • Improve the quality and value of the specifications you give to your service providers.

See the relationships among spending, supplier performance, and business results when you apply the unique business intelligence capabilities of IQNavigator.

Readability Statistics

In Part One , we promised to use composite results for Flesch Reading Ease and SMOG. We found consistent results across all the different tools. The only real deviation was Aella Lei's Writing Sample Analyzer with a Flesch Reading Ease of 11.05 for the Before snippet.

Averaged across 3 different tools (Word, Flesh, and Writing Sample Analyzer), the Before snippet scores a 3.68. The After snippet, with an average of 36.60, improves the Flesch Reading Ease composite by a factor of 9.95.

The SMOG composite is the average of results from the SMOG Calculator and Writing Sample Analyzer's FOG measure. The Before snippet scored a 20.67 – well into IRS Tax Code territory for difficulty of reading. The After snippet average is 13.06 – just enough to take it out of Time Magazine and into The New York Times.

Finally, the After snippet eliminates all passive sentences for added clarity.

Place Heady Headlines in a Guillotine but Don't be Afraid to Stick Your Neck Out

Nouns are "headier" than verbs. Nouns require us to think, "What is this thing?" whereas verbs prompt us to, "Just do it." As a B2B marketer, you don't want the reader to ponder anything. Instead, with zero friction, you want to answer their most pressing question - "what's in it for me?" If you answer what's in it for them then your headline also serves to summarize the main takeaway of the piece.

The first half of the Before snippet headline, even if it doesn't start with an action verb, has the right idea by focusing on a benefit. Unfortunately, the second half doesn't contain a verb either and its meaning as a noun is cryptic at best. Does it mean an investment paying regular dividends or having to continually shell out precious investment capital to get the full benefit of the software?

So, "Ongoing investment" can sound positive or negative depending on the context. Since the context is not yet clear, this only compounds the confusion and confusion in a headline means the reader will:

  • Fail to see what's in it for them
  • Abandon the page

The After snippet opens with an action verb. More importantly, it offers a promise – go wth IQNavigator and you'll get your house in order when it comes to managing all of the services you outsource. Frankly, I think I could have written a more powerful promise but this does the job because it clearly states the main takeaway to be gleaned from reading on.

State Your BIG IDEA Clearly and Avoid Weasel Words

The body copy immediately following your headline is "The Lead." The Lead delivers your BIG IDEA and in so doing, emotionally hooks your prospect into reading the rest of the page. To do this, the BIG IDEA must be powerful and compelling.

The Before snippet opens this crucial part of the copy with a passive sentence in 3 rd person voice. In a previous post , we discussed passive sentences at length and how they are harder for readers to understand because they leave out the subject of the sentence. Often, writers will use passive sentences to avoid assigning responsibility for the outcome of an action.

In this case, the first sentence reads as if we're discussing a phenomenon in nature with no readily identifiable cause. The culprit words are "can be" as in, "Sustainable cost savings and process improvements ‘can be' achieved through implementation…" The phrase "can be" will register with the reader as "weasel words" and undermine any promise made in the headline.

Some might say it's reasonably clear who the subject in this sentence is – "it's enterprises in diverse industries." Not so. All it says is what these enterprises "have found." For all we know, IQNavigator is relating the findings of research these enterprises undertook and nothing more. Nowhere does it say an enterprise implemented an "end-to-end services procurement and optimization solution."

Several other things dilute the power of this lead. One of them is using the verb "found" in the present perfect tense as in "Enterprises in diverse industries have found…" You won't find what I'm about to say at English Grammar Online . By placing "have" in front of a non-action verb like "found," we add another layer of indirection between "Enterprises in diverse industries" and the result IQNavigator wishes to communicate.

Yet another layer of indirection kicks in with the word "that" following "have found." "That" is a signal to the reader to get ready and think at a more abstract level. Nothing kills a trance like having to think more conceptually.

Things get even more abstract when you refer to benefits in noun form instead of connecting them with a subject using verbs. "Sustainable cost savings" and "process improvements" are heady ideas when expressed as nouns. The After snippet gets around this with "Join the companies in every sector who have reduced their costs and streamlined their processes…" Using the past perfect tense with tangible verbs works well when placed in an active sentence.

Can You Describe Your Product in Plain English?

It's important to refer to the noun you're selling as concretely as possible. Does an "end-to-end services procurement and optimization solution" seem easy to digest? Remember, this passage is still in overview mode, so an adjective like "end-to-end" is completely opaque. Adding to this sense of mystery are the two abstract nouns embedded in this product definition – "services procurement" and "services optimization."

Again, nouns are heady and verbs go to the gut. This is why the After snippet refers to the product as a "complete solution to manage the services they procure and the quality of the services performed ." Sure, the After snippet takes 15 words to describe the product where the Before snippet needed only 6 but what's more important here – being brief and indecipherable or longer and easy to understand?

Is it About You and Them or What You can Do for Them?

If you're still in The Lead conveying your BIG IDEA, the last thing you want to do is shift the focus from the prospect to yourself. The Before snippet slips into self-centeredness by starting the second sentence with "IQNavigator's market-leading solution…" This sentence recovers the appropriate focus by ending with "…provides several bottom-line benefits." Still, it comes up short for a couple of reasons.

First, it leads into the bullets with a noun ("bottom-line benefits") and it forces each bullet to start with an even headier noun (e.g., "Cost reduction", "Process efficiencies", "Optimization"). The one bullet starting with a verb ("Manage compliance risks") has an awkward flow if read straight from the lead-in.

Second, this sentence is written in the third person at just the moment we're setting up the prospect to picture this benefit in their mind's eye. Third person prompts the prospect to imagine these benefits in a fainter way because they must now try to make sense of them in a context external to their own situation. As such, the Before snippet turns this "picturing process" into an academic exercise.

Thanks to a clear promise in the headline and an unambiguous BIG IDEA in The Lead, the After snippet flows into the "picturing process" with a simple sentence focused on the prospect's interests. This lead-in sentence ties cleanly into 6 short and sweet bullets, each one starting with an action verb and describing a benefit to support the promise.

Ever Get the Feeling Something's Missing?

Ideally, we'd follow these bullets with copy to prove IQNavigator delivers on these benefits. After a promise and a picture, proof helps cement the bond we're trying to establish with the prospect.

An additional section on what makes IQNavigator unique would flesh out this benefits page. Once our prospect has shown an interest in the promise, pictured the benefits in her mind's eye, and agreed with the proof, learning how IQNavigator is unique would bring us dangerously close to what we want – follow-through on our call-to-action.

Oops, we have a problem…. there is no call-to-action.

Obviously, with enterprise software, we're not going to hypnotize anyone into making a purchase on the spot but all kinds of things are possible:

  • Check out upcoming events
  • Signup for a webinar
  • Read drill-down documents like a datasheet or white paper


By using action verbs liberally and sprinkling "you" and "your" throughout, we use what I called, in a previous post , "implied second person voice." Implied second person voice helps convert features into benefits with a more immediate feel so prospects can easily see "what's in it for them." If you're a B2B marketer, implied second person voice is your ticket to bypass "sales cheesiness."

As a B2B marketer with complex products, you should use bullets to make your benefits and proof points come across clearly and forcefully. Avoid cramming too much into a single bullet – additional scrolling is worth the added white space and clearer copy. After all, "easier to read means more sales and leads."

To your marketing success,

Eric Rosen
Strategic Marketing Writer
eric.rosen AT
Clear Crisp Communications
Easier to Read Means More Sales and Leads

Add to: | blinklist | | digg | yahoo! | furl | rawsugar | shadows | netvouz

technorati tags: , , , , , , , , tags: , , , , , , , ,

icerocket tags: , , , , , , , ,

          Give Your B2B Marketing Materials a SMOG Test and Find Out if They Read like Newsweek or The IRS Tax Code (Part One)        


Sometimes, a piece of B2B marketing literature defies conventional wisdom when it comes to measuring its ease of reading. The one we look at this time scored a zero on the Flesch Reading Ease and for me, alarm bells went off. After all, no piece is completely unreadable, right?

Nevertheless, I want to make it clear I'm doing everything humanly possible to give this piece a fair shake.

To eliminate Microsoft Word's implementation of Flesch Reading Ease as a factor, we look at several alternative tools for calculating Flesch Reading Ease. To eliminate the Flesch Reading Ease as an unreliable metric, we use an additional measure called SMOG (Simple Measure of Gobbledygook).

Loosely speaking, SMOG complements Flesch Reading Ease because it measures how difficult it is to read a passage whereas Flesch Reading Ease calculates how easy it is to read. The SMOG level depends on the proportion of words with 3 or more syllables. The higher the SMOG level, the more difficult it is to read the passage. The SMOG level helps equate a passage with other well-known reading materials of similar complexity. This is how references to The IRS Tax Code and Newsweek made it into the title of this post.

So, this edition of Copywriting Tune-ups is Part One and it focuses on my efforts to arrive at a genuine assessment of how easy or difficult it is to read the B2B marketing piece we discuss below. In Part Two, we'll do the usual deconstruction of how the tune-up transforms the piece into a new and improved sales tool.

Those of you only interested in Part Two may find Part One useful because it relies on the tune-up to tell its story. Originally, I hoped to write a self-contained, one-part tune-up emphasizing the value of using bullet points. Along the way, I discovered how the After snippet readings fluctuated wildly depending on whether periods followed the bullets.

In particular, bullet points without periods greatly influences the results we get with both Flesch Reading Ease and SMOG. For this reason, we'll see the Before and After snippets in Part One and Part Two.

For the balance of Part One, we:

  • Set up the makeover
  • Show the Before and After snippets side-by-side with the usual Microsoft Word screenshots of Flesch Reading Ease
  • Explain the methodology and findings I used to eliminate the Flesch Reading Ease metric and the various Flesch Reading Ease calculation tools as factors in the B2B marketing piece's zero score on Flesch Reading Ease

Call Out Your Benefits - Just Don't Lose Them in SMOG

Since converting features to benefits has been a prevalent theme in recent tune-ups, let's review the Challenge and Benefits webpage of an enterprise software company, IQNavigator of Denver . IQNavigator technology helps large organizations manage all of the services they outsource to other companies.

Clearly, IQNavigator has the right idea dedicating a webpage to call-out their benefits. Still, as we've seen with other enterprise software companies, they write in third person voice and use passive sentences. This makes it harder for anyone to read and understand no matter how well-educated.

IQNavigator wisely uses bullet points to enumerate their benefits; however, each bullet makes for long and dense reading.

Copywriting Tune-up

So, the challenge for this tune-up is to:

  • Inject the second person voice
  • Eliminate passive sentences
  • Maintain an appropriate corporate tone
  • Make the benefits easier to understand
  • Convert each lengthy bullet into several shorter ones which are easier to read



Fast cost savings, Ongoing investment

Enterprises in diverse industries have found that sustainable cost savings and process improvements can be achieved through implementation of an end-to-end services procurement and optimization solution. IQNavigator's market-leading solution provides several bottom-line benefits:

  • Cost reduction: Reduce costs by 10-35% by implementing best -practices for sourcing services, eliminating manual invoice reconciliation, gaining consistent terms and renegotiating with more accurate spending and performance information, and enforcing approvals for all spending, contract extensions and exceptions.
  • Process efficiencies: Automate the procurement and payment processes to reduce cycle time and cost over 70% while improving the resulting services quality, contract terms, and payment speed and accuracy.
  • Manage compliance risks: Ensure compliance with company policies, supplier contract terms and government regulations through configurable compliance rules and approval requirements, and enforcement of contract terms and rates. Financial compliance is also achieved through spending approval requirements and process controls, auditability, and accurate invoicing and cost allocation.
  • Optimization: Improve the business results achieved through outside services by aligning services spending with business priorities and initiatives, continually improving deliverable quality and value, and linking purchased services to internal key business measures. IQNavigator's distinctive business intelligence capabilities provide visibility and analysis capabilities into spending, supplier performance, and business results.


Gain Control over the Service Procurement Life Cycle


Join the companies in every sector who have reduced their costs and streamlined their processes with a complete solution to manage the services they procure and the quality of the services performed.

Address this challenge head-on and you can:

  • Lower your costs by 10 - 35%.
  • Adopt the best practices to procure services.
  • Stop reconciling invoices manually.
  • Standardize the terms in your contracts.
  • Renegotiate your contracts using more accurate spending and performance information.
  • Enforce approvals for all your spending, contract extensions, and exceptions.

When you automate your procurement and payment processes, you will:

  • Reduce cycle time and related costs by 70%.
  • Improve the quality of the services performed.
  • Gain better control over contract terms, accuracy, and speed of payment.

Setup compliance rules so you can:

  • Ensure your company complies with its own policies, suppliers' contract terms and government regulations.
  • Meet your financial compliance goals with approval requirements, process controls, audit specifications, and accurate invoicing and cost allocations.

Enjoy better performance from your service providers when you:

  • Match your spending with your business priorities.
  • Link the services you purchase to your key business metrics.
  • Improve the quality and value of the specifications you give to your service providers.

See the relationships among spending, supplier performance, and business results when you apply the unique business intelligence capabilities of IQNavigator.

Ensuring a Balanced Comparison of Before and After

As mentioned above, we need to adjust for bullet points without periods. To ensure a balanced comparison between the Before and After snippets, the After snippet mimics the Before snippet by placing a period at the end of each of its own bullets.

How Bullet Points without Periods affects the After Snippet

Remove all bullet periods and the Flesch Reading Ease result for the After snippet is 22.6. In my opinion, this dramatically understates the ease of reading we feel intuitively when we read it. Place a period at the end of the last bullet in each group and Flesch Reading Ease rises to 27.1 – still too low - based on my experience with previous tune-ups.

Eliminating Different Implementations of Flesch Reading Ease as Unfair to the Before Snippet

Now, let's look at the Before snippet. At first, I thought the Microsoft Word implementation of the Flesch Reading Ease index may be unduly stern with the Before snippet. After all, it defies common sense to say it's completely unreadable.

I calculated the Flesch Reading Ease myself in a spreadsheet and came out with a slightly negative number. In search of a more satisfying sanity check, I downloaded a free Java application called Flesh and came away with these Before and After results:




Well, Flesch Reading Ease at 0.0 across 3 measuring tools is hard to dismiss.

No doubt, the After snippet grade level looks inflated and its Flesch Ease of Reading, understated. Whether we can accept the grade level figures of Flesh at face value is beyond the scope of this posting.

Eliminating the Flesch Reading Ease Metric as Unfair to the Before Snippet

Still, I felt a nagging sense, Flesch Reading Ease was treating the Before snippet unfairly. Perhaps, something other than Flesch Reading Ease would provide reasonable results. Enter the SMOG Calculator of G. Harry McLaughlin, founder of the SMOG:




With a SMOG reading of 18.49, the Before snippet verges on the same reading level as The IRS Tax Code. Unfortunately, like Flesh and Word, the lack of periods following bullets leads to a highly skewed reading for the After snippet - a higher SMOG level than the Before snippet! When we add in periods as shown in the After snippet above, the SMOG level falls between Newsweek and Sports Illustrated:

One Last Attempt to Second-guess both Flesch Reading Ease and SMOG

If SMOG equates the Before snippet with the IRS Tax Code, I can accept it, but it still seems unfair to give it a Flesch Reading Ease of zero. Enter Aella Lei's Writing Sample Analyzer .

Like Flesh and Word, Writing Sample Analyzer is vulnerable to bullet points without periods but the most interesting thing about Writing Sample Analyzer is its calculation of Flesch Reading Ease:




Instead of zero, Writing Sample Analyzer returns 11.05. Why? I don't know yet but once I hear back from Aella Lei, I'll let you know. While a jump from 0.0 to 11.05 is considerable and raises questions about this implementation of Flesch Reading Ease, 11.05 still makes for difficult reading.

Also note, the Fog Scale really is the exact same thing as SMOG. It looks reasonable for the Before snippet. The Before snippet's grade level also falls in-line with expectations. On the other hand, its results for the After snippet are out-of-whack across-the-board due to periods following only the last bullet point in each bullet point group.

When we add periods to each After snippet bullet, Writing Sample Analyzer responds with:

The Flesch Reading Ease looks about right but the Fog and Grade Level seem too high. Even so, comparing the Before and After snippets for Flesch Reading Ease, SMOG, and Grade Level all seem reasonable on a relative basis.

So, this B2B Marketing Piece Really is Hard to Read

All in all, both Flesch Reading Ease and SMOG support one another. In addition, while various tools for calculating Flesch Reading Ease give slightly different results, we can safely assert none of them are skewing the results to the point of denying this B2B Marketing piece a fair shake.


To be completely even-handed with a B2B marketing piece scoring zero on the Flesch Reading Ease index, we looked at several implementations of the index. This helped eliminate quirks with any given tool as a contributing factor.

To eliminate Flesch Reading Ease itself as an unreliable barometer, we introduced a measure of reading difficulty called SMOG. SMOG gave us the most intuitive sense of how hard this literature is to read because it equates the piece with other well-known publications in the same SMOG range. On this basis, the piece ranks with The Harvard Business Review at the low end and The IRS Tax Code at the high end.

All of the tools used were susceptible to a lack of periods following bullet points because:

  • they rely on periods to determine the number of sentences in a passage and
  • number of sentences is an input to further calculations.

Since the After snippet breaks out the 4 long bullets of the Before snippet into 14 shorter ones, the After snippet figures improved most dramatically when we added periods to every bullet. It's reasonable to do this because the mind processes bullets as if they were separate sentences or ideas.

Also, adding bullets to the end of each bullet makes for a fair comparison since the Before snippet ends each bullet with a period as well.

In Part Two, we will:

  • use composite figures for both the Before and After snippets
  • rely on those figures to gauge the improvements the tune-up demonstrates

Finally, in Part Two, we'll deconstruct the Before and After snippets to address the challenges we set forth for this tune-up.


To your marketing success,

Eric Rosen
Strategic Marketing Writer
eric.rosen AT
Clear Crisp Communications
Easier to Read Means More Sales and Leads

          Source : Handbook of Strategy and Management        

Strategic Change Issues Associated with Life Cycle Dynamics

The genesis of life cycle dynamics in the strategy literature may be traced to early work in technology studies. Two counter-forces shape the development and diffusion of technological systems. One is a ‘law of progress’ (Adams, 1931) that points to an exponential growth in the development of a technological system after a relatively slower start. A second force is the ‘law of limits’ that represents the physical limits one invariably confronts with the performance of a technological system. Together, these two forces combine to prescribe an ‘S’ shaped curve in the development and diffusion of a technological system (Foster, 1986).

Life cycle dynamics implicit in the ‘S’ shaped curve were productively employed in other disciplines as well. In the marketing literature, for instance, these dynamics are manifest in product life cycle issues (Kotler, 1994; Mahajan et al, 1990). In the economics literature, life cycle dynamics are apparent in the works of economists such as Vernon (1966). In the organizational field, life cycle dynamics can be found in conceptualizations of organizations progressing from one crisis to another as it grew in scale and scope (Greiner, 1972). They are also implicit in the contagion models that have been employed in diffusion studies and the creation of bandwagons in the development of fads and fashions (Abrahamson, 1991; Rogers, 1983). Clearly this is not an inclusive but an indicative list of those who have contributed to this way of thinking. However, as is apparent from even this short survey, life cycles unfold at various levels.

Several issues confront practitioners associated with processes exhibiting life cycle dynamics. First, there is a need to determine the stage in the life cycle of the organizational entity that is undergoing change. Monitoring internal and external contexts is an approach that has been advocated for this purpose. Although monitoring might appear to be a routine task, cognitive biases may create many difficulties in accomplishing this task (Kahneman et al., 1982; Kiesler and Sproull, 1982; Dutton and Jackson, 1987). Despite these difficulties, some tell-tale signs that have been employed to determine what stage an industry might be in its development are product price, the level of commoditization, the number of new entrants and exits.

In addition to correctly recognizing the stage of development of the entity being examined, another managerial challenge is determining the appropriate mode of operation in each stage of a life cycle. For instance, Utterback (1994) suggests that strategy implies competition based on functionalities during a ‘fluid’ stage of technology development whereas it implies competition based on reliability, quality and price during a ‘specific’ stage of development. Similar considerations have led others to suggest that a firm should be organized to ‘explore’ during early growth stages and organized to ‘exploit’ during later stages (March, 1991).

The most difficult challenge in managing processes driven by life cycle dynamics is to make transitions in between stages. Transitions are difficult as they imply changing one set of competencies well suited for one stage of operation to a different set of competencies required for a different stage of operation. Indeed, appropriate forms of behavior at one stage of operation may be the very forces that prevent organizations from transiting to the next stage. In other words, transitions become difficult as competencies at one point become traps (Levitt and March, 1988; Leonard-Barton, 1992).

While life cycle models are seductively simple to understand, they are easy for managers to misread. For instance, in the development of cochlear implants (a bio-medical prosthetic device), proponents of the single-channel device that gained early FDA approvals concluded to their peril that industry dynamics had switched to a growth and maturity stage (Garud and Van de Ven, 1992). This belief turned out to be misplaced when other firms continued developing their cochlear implants under the assumption that the industry was still at an introductory stage.

In a similar vein, Henderson (1997) illustrates how beliefs about the limits of a technology based on its internal structure can be misleading. Using the development of optical photolithography as an example, Henderson shows how the ‘natural’ or ‘physical’ limits of the technology were relaxed by unanticipated progress on three fronts: significant changes in the needs and capabilities of users, advances in the performance of component technologies (lenses), and unexpected development in the performance of complementary technologies. These observations lead Henderson to caution against using a life cycle model to predict the limits of a technology. Such predictions must be tempered by a recognition that many other factors (beyond the immediate grasp of those forecasting) may play a role in extending the life of a technology.

Life cycle dynamics are at play in a key field that drives change in contemporary times -semiconductors. For about three decades, Moore's law described progress that has been made with semiconductor chips - a doubling of the number of chips that might fit into a silicon chip every 18 months. Announcements by scientists at Intel suggest that the silicon substrate may be reaching its limit (Markoff, 1999). In Grove's terminology, these limits may represent the onset of a strategic inflexion point with the potential to create a ‘10X change’ (Grove, 1996). As this limit is reached, semiconductor firms will have to decide whether to continue with silicon chips, shift to a new architecture or to a new substrate. To ensure that Intel makes appropriate decision as it encounters this and other such inflexion points, Grove and his colleagues have put in place ‘dialectical processes’ that shape decision making at Intel. We explore issues associated with dialectical processes as they pertain to strategic change in the next sub-section.

          Source : Handbook of Strategy and Management        

Implications for Strategic Change

Each theory has important implications for strategic change in organizations. For instance, the notion of teleology has been central to the field of strategy as it offers a way of building theories that celebrate human agency (Child, 1972). In such theories, strategic choice is a key motor driving change with humans possessing an ability to plan and the power to shape economic, social and technological systems. Human agency becomes progressively circumscribed as we begin introducing other change motors. For instance, strategic initiatives may need to be conditioned by life cycle dynamics. Or, change processes could be circumscribed and shaped by a multitude of conflicting social forces that deny planners an ability to unambiguously navigate a stream of unfolding events. Or, change can unfold within an even larger evolutionary process of variation, selection and retention.

Strategic change processes are fundamentally different within each of these theories. Change driven by teleology is planned and deliberate, based on an assessment of the possibilities involved. Change driven by life cycle dynamics represent transitions from one stage to another as an organization progresses along a prescribed sequence and adapts to forces. With dialectical theories, change as adaptation gives way to political processes of partisan conflicts and mutual adjustments among opposing parties. Finally, evolutionary theory examines processes of variation, selection, and retention of alternative organizational forms as generated by competition for scarce resources among competition for processes, adaptation and adoption occur as organizations cycle between periods of exploration and exploitation within an overall punctuated equilibrium process.

We delve deeper into these motors in the rest of this section .

Our objective is to provide readers with a way of thinking about strategic change based on the kinds of motors that one might encounter in different settings. In doing so, we also offer readers with an illustrative survey of the literature on strategic change.

          Source : Handbook of Strategy and Management        

Evolutionary Theory

Van de Ven and Poole (1995) restrict ‘evolution’ to cumulative and probabilistic changes in populations of organizational entities. As in biological evolution, change proceeds through a continuous cycle of variation, selection, and retention (Hannan and Freeman, 1989). Variations, the creation of novel forms, are often viewed to emerge by random chance; they just happen. Selection occurs principally through competition among forms, and the environment selects those forms that are best suited to the resource base of an environmental niche. Retention involves the forces (including inertia and persistence) that perpetuate and maintain certain organizational forms. Retention serves to counteract the self-reinforcing loop between variation and selection (Aldrich, 1979). Thus, evolutionary theory explains changes as recurrent, cumulative, and probabilistic progression of variation, selection, and retention processes.

Alternative theories of social evolution distinguish how traits can be inherited, whether change proceeds incrementally or radically, and whether the unit of analysis focuses on populations or species. A Darwinian perspective argues that traits can be inherited only through inter-generational processes, whereas a Lamarkian argues that traits can be acquired within a generation through learning and imitation. A Lamarkian view appears more appropriate than strict Darwinism applications of social evolution theory to organization and management (March, 1997). As McKelvey (1982) discusses, few solutions have been developed to operationally identify an organizational generation and an intergenerational transmission vehicle.

Social Darwinian theorists emphasize a continuous and gradual process of evolution. In The Origin of Species, Darwin (1936) wrote, ‘as natural selection acts solely by accumulating slight, successive, favorable variations, it can produce no great or sudden modifications; it can act only by short and slow steps’. Other evolutionists posit a saltational theory of evolution, such as punctuated equilibrium (Gould, 1989), which Tushman and Romanelli (1985) introduced to the management literature. Whether an evolutionary change proceeds at gradual versus saltational rates is an empirical matter, for the rate of change does not fundamentally alter the theory of evolution - at least as it has been adopted thus far by organization and management scholars.


Life cycle, teleology, dialectics, and evolutionary theories provide four useful ways to think about and study strategic change in organizations. The relevance of the four theories varies depending upon the conditions surrounding organizational change. Specifically, Van de Ven and Poole (1995) posit that the four theories explain processes of organizational change under the following conditions. Life cycle theory explains change processes within an entity when natural, logical, or institutional rules exist to regulate the process. Teleological theory explains change processes within an entity or among a cooperating set of entities when a desired end-state is socially constructed and consensus emerges on the means and resources to reach the desired end-state. Dialectical theory explains change processes when aggressor entities are sufficiently powerful and choose to engage opposition entities through direct confrontation, bargaining, or partisan mutual adjustment. Evolutionary theory explains change processes within and between a population of entities as they compete for similar scarce resources in an environmental niche.

These theories are a useful way of thinking about strategic change. In this chapter, we use these theories to understand how change is ‘driven’ by underlying motors or generative mechanisms. These motors, as we have described earlier, are inferred from a systematic analysis of the sequence of events underlying the development of phenomena. Such an assessment reveals a set of motors that determine the scope and nature of strategic change.

In our use of strategic change one can see how we both build upon and depart from common uses of the term in the strategic management field. For instance, strategic change has been commonly used to denote ‘key’ organizational changes. Complementing this view is the use of strategic change as being purposive and goal oriented. Strategic change has also been used to denote changes undertaken to align an organization with its environment. The perspective that we have adopted suggests that one applies the theory that best fits the specific conditions to explain change processes.


          Source : Handbook of Strategy and Management        

Life Cycle Theory

Van de Ven and Poole (1995) observe that many management scholars have adopted the metaphor of organic growth as a heuristic device to explain changes in an organizational entity from its initiation to its termination. Witness, for example, often-used references to the life cycle of organizations, products, and ventures, as well as stages in the development of individual careers, groups, and organizations: startup births, adolescent growth, maturity, and decline or death.

Life cycle theory assumes that change is immanent; that is, the developing entity has within it an underlying form, logic, program, or code that regulates the process of change and moves the entity from a given point of departure toward a subsequent end that is already prefigured in the present state. What lies latent, rudimentary, or homogeneous in the embryo or primitive state becomes progressively more realized, mature, and differentiated. External environmental events and processes can influence how the immanent form expresses itself, but they are always mediated by the immanent logic, rules, or programs that govern development.

The typical progression of events in a life cycle model is a unitary sequence (it follows a single sequence of stages or phases), which is cumulative (characteristics acquired in earlier stages are retained in later stages) and conjunctive (the stages are related such that they derive from a common underlying process). This is because the trajectory to the final end-state is prefigured and requires a specific historical sequence of events. Each of these events contributes a certain piece to the final product, and they must occur in a certain order, because each piece sets the stage for the next. Each stage of development can be seen as a necessary precursor of succeeding stages.

Life cycle theories of organizations often explain development in terms of institutional rules or programs that require developmental activities to progress in a prescribed sequence. For example, a US legislative bill enacting state educational reform cannot be passed until it has been drafted and gone through the necessary House and Senate committees. Other life cycle theories rely on logical or natural properties of organizations. For example, Rogers' (1983) theory posits five stages of innovation - need recognition, research on the problem, development of an idea into useful form, commercialization, and diffusion and adoption. The order among these stages is necessitated both by logic and by the natural order of Western business practices.

          Supervising Training Coordinator-BOCES        
Exam number: 
Exam type: 
Open Competitive (open to the public)
$64,968 Annually
Opening Date: 
August 4, 2017
Closing Date: 
September 6, 2017
Examination date: 
October 14, 2017
Application fee: 
RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS:  CANDIDATES MUST HAVE BEEN LEGAL RESIDENTS OF ERIE COUNTY OR AN ERIE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT* FOR AT LEAST ONE MONTH IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE DATE OF THE WRITTEN TEST  AND MUST BE LEGAL RESIDENTS OF ERIE COUNTY OR AN ERIE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT* AT THE TIME OF APPOINTMENT. Preference may be given to successful candidates who have been residents of the municipality in which the appointment is to be made for one month preceding the date of the certification of the eligible list and who are residents of the municipality at the time of appointment.  Non-residents may be required to become a resident of the appointing municipality if local law so states.  * Candidates who reside in a school district which, for civil service purposes is administered by the Erie County Personnel Commissioner, but who are not legal residents of Erie County may apply for examination.  However they will be certified for appointment only in the school district in which they are legal residents. There is one anticipated vacancy at  Erie 1 BOCES and the salary is $64,968 annually.  The eligible list resulting from this examination will be used to fill this vacancy and other appropriate vacancies which may occur in municipalities or districts under the jurisdiction of Erie County Civil Service while this list is active.
Examples of Duties: 
Supervising Training Coordinator- Erie 1 BOCES supervises and coordinates  school based information technology software applications and services;  Oversees school district based software application training activities provided by senior training coordinators and lower level school district software application support staff, ensuring high quality and efficiently provided services to school customers; Provides best practice modeling of training and support of school-based software applications for senior training coordinators and other lower level staff; Acts as resource to lower level staff.
MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:  Candidates must meet one of the following requirements on or before the date of the written test:  A. Graduation from a regionally accredited or New York State registered college or university with a Master’s degree and four (4) years of information technology experience involving software applications training, methods of delivery and customer service, two (2) years involving the general supervision* of the day to day activities of staff. B. Graduation from a regionally accredited or New York State registered college or university with a Bachelor’s degree and six (6) years of information technology experience involving software applications training, methods of delivery and customer service, four (4) years involving the general supervision* of the day to day activities of staff C. An equivalent combination of training and experience as defined by the limits of (A) and (B).
NOTES:  1. *Supervision – Responsible direction and control of subordinate employees.  This involves the assignment of work, approval of work, training, evaluation and discipline of employees.  The supervisory aspects must be an integral part of the job, not incidental or occasional.     2. Verifiable part-time and/or volunteer experience will be pro-rated toward meeting the experience requirements. 3. Your degree and/or college credit must have been awarded by a regionally accredited college or university or one recognized by the New York State Education Department as following acceptable educational practices. A grade of "D" or better is necessary for a course to be credited as successfully completed. If your degree and/or college credit was awarded by an educational institution outside of the United States and its territories, you must provide independent verification of equivalency. You can write to this Department for a list of acceptable companies providing this service; you must pay the required evaluation fee. Notice to Candidates: Transcripts will now be accepted by the Department of Personnel ONLY at time of application. All subsequent transcripts must be submitted at time of interview.
The New York State Department of Civil Service has not prepared a test guide for this examination. However,candidates may find information in the publication "How to take a written test" helpful in preparing for this test. This publication is available on line at:  
Subjects of Examination: 
Subjects of examination: A written test designed to evaluate knowledge, skills and /or abilities in the following areas: 1. Administration These questions test for knowledge of the managerial functions involved in directing an organization or an organizational segment. These questions cover such areas as: developing objectives and formulating policies; making decisions based on the context of the administrator's position and authority; forecasting and planning; organizing; developing personnel; coordinating and informing; guiding and leading; testing and evaluating; and budgeting. 2. Preparing written material These questions test for the ability to present information clearly and accurately, and to organize paragraphs logically and comprehensibly. For some questions, you will be given information in two or three sentences followed by four restatements of the information. You must then choose the best version. For other questions, you will be given paragraphs with their sentences out of order. You must then choose, from four suggestions, the best order for the sentences. 3. Project management These questions are designed to test for techniques and concepts of project management. They may cover, but not necessarily be confined to, management of systems development, management by objectives, project scheduling and control techniques (e.g., PERT), characteristics of organizations and of the systems life cycle, and the development of data processing standards. 4. Supervision These questions test for knowledge of the principles and practices employed in planning, organizing, and controlling the activities of a work unit toward predetermined objectives. The concepts covered, usually in a situational question format, include such topics as assigning and reviewing work; evaluating performance; maintaining work standards; motivating and developing subordinates; implementing procedural change; increasing efficiency; and dealing with problems of absenteeism, morale, and discipline.  NOTICE TO CANDIDATES:  Unless otherwise noted, candidates are permitted to use quiet, hand held, solar or battery powered calculators.  Devices with typewriter keyboards, "Spell Checkers", “Personal Digital Assistants", "Address Books", "Language Translators", "Dictionaries", or any similar devices are prohibited.  You may not bring books or other reference materials.

          Assistant Information Systems Specialist PROMOTIONAL        
Exam number: 
Exam type: 
Promotional (for current employees only)
$47,616 - $61,491 Annually
Opening Date: 
August 4, 2017
Closing Date: 
September 6, 2017
Examination date: 
October 14, 2017
Application fee: 
THIS EXAMINATION IS OPEN TO ALL QUALIFIED EMPLOYEES OF THE ERIE COUNTY MEDICAL CENTER CORPORATION CORPORATION. There is one vacancy at the Erie County Medical Center Corporation.  The duration of all promotional eligible lists is four years from date of establishment unless otherwise indicated.
Examples of Duties: 
An Assistant Information Systems Specialist  assists in the installation, customization and maintenance of information systems;  Assists in the installation, maintenance and customization of vendor supplied information systems, including but not limited to, software, hardware, networks and communications; Assists in the coordination of equipment upgrades and problem resolutions with vendors; Evaluates the performance of lower level clerical and/or technical employees; Confers with and advises co-workers on administrative policies and procedures, technical problems and methods; Interfaces with outside vendors/contractors; Assists in reviewing new systems and proposed or requested changes to existing applications; Assists in providing hands-on training related to County information systems operation; Maintains records, prepares reports and documentation; Performs additional work related to the hands-on technical operations of the information systems, as assigned. IF ASSIGNED TO ECMC: Coordinates development and management of an Internet and Intranet web site; Maintains records, prepares reports and documentation to meet needs of JCAHO and other Federal, State, or local agencies; Maintains confidentiality and security of data as required by assigned Department; Works flex shifts as required - work shifts may be assigned, scheduled, or in support of operations; Supports many aspects of a health care delivery system.
QUALIFYING EXPERIENCE FOR TAKING THE TEST: Candidates must be permanently employed in the competitive class and must be serving and have served continuously on a permanent or contingent permanent basis in the competitive class for 12 months immediately preceding the date of the written test in an Information Technology position as Job Grade 7 plus the one of the following: A) Graduation from a regionally accredited or New York State registered college or university with a Bachelor's Degree in Information Systems, Computer Science or a closely allied field; or: B) Graduation from a regionally accredited or New York State registered college or university with an Associate's Degree in Information Systems, Computer Science or a closely allied field and two (2) years of experience in the field of information technology; or: C) An equivalent combination of training and experience as defined by the limits of (A) and (B).
NOTES: 1. Verifiable part-time and/or volunteer experience will be pro-rated toward meeting the experience requirements. 2. Your degree and/or college credit must have been awarded by a regionally accredited college or university or one recognized by the New York State Education Department as following acceptable educational practices. A grade of "D" or better is necessary for a course to be credited as successfully completed. If your degree and/or college credit was awarded by an educational institution outside of the United States and its territories, you must provide independent verification of equivalency. You can write to this Department for a list of acceptable companies providing this service; you must pay the required evaluation fee. Notice to Candidates: Transcripts will now be accepted by the Department of Personnel ONLY at time of application. All subsequent transcripts must be submitted at time of interview.
The New York State Department of Civil Service has not prepared a test guide for this examination. However,candidates may find information in the publication "How to take a written test" helpful in preparing for this test. This publication is available on line at:  
Subjects of Examination: 
Subjects of examination: A written test designed to evaluate knowledge, skills and /or abilities in the following areas: 1. Principles and practices of LAN administration These questions test for knowledge of procedures and terminology applicable to administering a local area network (LAN). They cover such subjects as installing, configuring and upgrading a network; establishing user accounts and assigning access rights; monitoring network performance and troubleshooting; dividing networks and linking to other networks; creating and documenting procedures for users; and establishing and maintaining network security. The questions are not specific to any particular LAN. 2. Project management These questions are designed to test for techniques and concepts of project management. They may cover, but not necessarily be confined to, management of systems development, management by objectives, project scheduling and control techniques (e.g., PERT), characteristics of organizations and of the systems life cycle, and the development of data processing standards. 3. Principles of providing user support These questions test for knowledge and skill in working in a user support situation. They cover such subjects as how to communicate effectively with users requesting help; how to deal with different types of situations; troubleshooting techniques; and how to gather, organize and make available technical information needed to provide support. 4. Supervision These questions test for knowledge of the principles and practices employed in planning, organizing, and controlling the activities of a work unit toward predetermined objectives. The concepts covered, usually in a situational question format, include such topics as assigning and reviewing work; evaluating performance; maintaining work standards; motivating and developing subordinates; implementing procedural change; increasing efficiency; and dealing with problems of absenteeism, morale, and discipline. 5. Systems analysis These questions test how well you can make judgments in an information technology context, and are intended for candidates who do not necessarily have any formal training or specific experience in systems analysis. Questions cover such subjects as planning, documentation, feasibility studies, forms design, and systems implementation.  NOTICE TO CANDIDATES:  Unless otherwise noted, candidates are permitted to use quiet, hand held, solar or battery powered calculators.  Devices with typewriter keyboards, "Spell Checkers", “Personal Digital Assistants", "Address Books", "Language Translators", "Dictionaries", or any similar devices are prohibited.  You may not bring books or other reference materials.
INFORMATION FOR PROMOTION CANDIDATES Unless otherwise indicated, the eligible list resulting from this examination will have a duration of four years and will not supersede existing promotional lists, if any. RATINGS REQUIRED:  Test is rated on a scale of 100 with a passing mark at 70.  Test instructions may further divide the tests into parts and set minimum standards for each part. Points will be added to scores of candidates who achieve a passing mark as follows: Seniority:  For each year of service in the classified service: Less than 1 year……………………..................…0 points 1 year up to 6 years…………….…........................1 point Over 6 years up to 11 years.....………......….........2 points Over 11 years up to 16 years….…........….........…3 points Over 16 years up to 21 years………..................…4 points Over 21 years………………………..................…5 points VETERANS:  Disabled and non-disabled veterans as defined in Section 85, New York State Civil Service Law, will have 5 and 2.5 points, respectively added to their earned scores if successful in the examination.  You must claim these credits when you file application but you have an option to waive them any time prior to appointment.  If you have already used these credits for a permanent position in NYS, you may not claim them again.

          Database Administrator-ECMC Foundation        
Exam number: 
Exam type: 
Open Competitive (open to the public)
$47,999 Annually
Opening Date: 
August 4, 2017
Closing Date: 
September 6, 2017
Examination date: 
October 14, 2017
Application fee: 
Examples of Duties: 
Database Administrator-ECMC Foundation manages the fundraising database software, Raiser’s Edge, in support of goals and objectives for the Erie County Medical Center Foundation (“Foundation”);  Collaborates with vendor (Blackbaud) to implement installation of database software (Raiser’s Edge) for managing prospect/donor activity, gift/pledge commitments and other philanthropy/engagement information; Performs database administration functions such as database maintenance, security setup, duplicate record merging, clean-up tasks and quality control audits; Trains Foundation employees on use of fundraising software and updates to software; Utilizes software to develop automated and analytical systems for creating financial, analytical, statistical, and demographic reports, recognition lists, and other data extractions as requested; Develops standard and custom reporting for Foundation initiatives such as annual fund, capital campaign, planned giving, events and engagement activities; provides such reports and performs data queries as requested; Enters and updates prospect/donor records and constituent data into database; Processes gifts/pledges and transmittal of acknowledgement receipts; Captures all donor and prospect engagement activities in database to include event participation and other forms of outreach; Collaborates with Foundation personnel in prospect research including the generation of donor and prospect profiles; Works with Finance to reconcile gifts, provide transaction information/reports and other issues.
MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:  Candidates must meet one of the following requirements on or before the date of the written test:  Graduation from a regionally accredited or New York State registered college or university with a Bachelor’s Degree and three (3) years of general database administration, of which one (1) year utilized Raiser’s Edge.
NOTES:  1. Verifiable part-time and/or volunteer experience will be pro-rated toward meeting the experience requirements. 2. Your degree and/or college credit must have been awarded by a regionally accredited college or university or one recognized by the New York State Education Department as following acceptable educational practices. A grade of "D" or better is necessary for a course to be credited as successfully completed. If your degree and/or college credit was awarded by an educational institution outside of the United States and its territories, you must provide independent verification of equivalency. You can write to this Department for a list of acceptable companies providing this service; you must pay the required evaluation fee. Notice to Candidates: Transcripts will now be accepted by the Department of Personnel ONLY at time of application. All subsequent transcripts must be submitted at time of interview.
The New York State Department of Civil Service has not prepared a test guide for this examination. However,candidates may find information in the publication "How to take a written test" helpful in preparing for this test. This publication is available on line at:  
Subjects of Examination: 
Subjects of examination: A written test designed to evaluate knowledge, skills and /or abilities in the following areas: 1. Principles and practices of database administration These questions test for a basic background in data base administration. They cover generally accepted data base principles such as data independence, data modeling, data base performance, recovery, and other factors involved in establishing and monitoring a properly functioning data base management system. No knowledge of specific data base management systems is required. 2. Preparing written material These questions test for the ability to present information clearly and accurately, and to organize paragraphs logically and comprehensibly. For some questions, you will be given information in two or three sentences followed by four restatements of the information. You must then choose the best version. For other questions, you will be given paragraphs with their sentences out of order. You must then choose, from four suggestions, the best order for the sentences. 3. Supervision These questions test for knowledge of the principles and practices employed in planning, organizing, and controlling the activities of a work unit toward predetermined objectives. The concepts covered, usually in a situational question format, include such topics as assigning and reviewing work; evaluating performance; maintaining work standards; motivating and developing subordinates; implementing procedural change; increasing efficiency; and dealing with problems of absenteeism, morale, and discipline. 4. Systems analysis and design These questions test for techniques and concepts of computer systems analysis and design. They cover such subjects as feasibility and applications studies, systems development tools and software, the systems life cycle, types of systems (e.g., client/server, Web-based), controls, and systems documentation, testing, and implementation.  NOTICE TO CANDIDATES:  Unless otherwise noted, candidates are permitted to use quiet, hand held, solar or battery powered calculators.  Devices with typewriter keyboards, "Spell Checkers", “Personal Digital Assistants", "Address Books", "Language Translators", "Dictionaries", or any similar devices are prohibited.  You may not bring books or other reference materials.

          Chief Information Officer        
Exam number: 
Exam type: 
Open Competitive (open to the public)
$202,154 Annually
Opening Date: 
August 4, 2017
Closing Date: 
September 6, 2017
Examination date: 
October 14, 2017
Application fee: 
Examples of Duties: 
Chief Information Officer plans, organizes, and directs the development, implementation and evaluation of computerized Hospital Management Information Systems (HMIS) supporting hospital operations; Ensures security of the electronic data for the enter institution, including electronic medical records of all patients and integrated electronic security (surveillance) for the facility; Oversees security for electronic data and equipment to prevent data breaches, malware and related viruses and vulnerability in systems and medical equipment connected to computerized systems; Develops, promulgates and oversees the execution of the information processing objective of the Medical Center and its departmental entities; Recruits and hires staff responsible for implementing, monitoring and maintaining Medical Center information systems; Advises Medical Center management, administrators and department heads on current trends and directions regarding management information systems and provides leadership in strategic planning, development, acquisition, implementation and operational initiative in all areas of information technologies; Oversees the development and implementation of standards, policies and procedures to assure the effective and efficient design, implementation and operation of information systems supporting the Medical Center and its component departments; Coordinates the development and implementation of standards, policies and procedures to assure the effective and efficient design, implementation and operation of information systems supporting the Medical Center and its component departments; Oversees the purchasing or contracting of all hardware, software and peripheral equipments and develops, negotiates and monitors all contracts for services; Projects information resource requirements of the Medical Center, develops budget and plans to meet assessed needs to include personnel, equipment, implementation and monitoring of this budget with the financial entities of the Medical Center; Meets with managers, administrators and clinical staff within the Medical Center and external to it, to communicate information systems objectives and to develop, implement and carryout policies and plans to achieve the established objectives; Coordinates the implementation of automated systems including but not limited to the acquisition of software, hardware and peripheral equipment and the assignment of technical staff to user departments which most effectively utilize available resources; Coordinates the activities of key managers and staff with the information systems department, reviews the performance of these individuals on a regular basis and establishes policies and procedures to assure that other departmental staff are similarly evaluated.
MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:  Candidates must meet one of the following requirements on or before the date of the written test:  Graduation from a regionally accredited or New York State registered college or university with a Bachelor’s Degree in Management Information Systems, Business or Public Administration, Computer Science or related management or technical field and eight (8) years of administrative* or supervisory** experience in the electronic data processing field, at least four (4) years of which involved the design and/or development of acute care hospital electronic data processing management information systems.
NOTES 1:Graduation from a regionally accredited or New York State registered college or university with a Master’s Degree in Management Information Systems, Computer Science, Business or Public Administration may be substituted for two (2) years of the required generalized experience above but may not be substituted for the required specialized experience. 2. *Administrative experience is defined as the responsible planning, management and control functions of an organization or organizational unit including the development and/or approval of operating policy and procedures 3. **Supervision – Responsible direction and control of subordinate employees.  This involves the assignment of work, approval of work, training, evaluation and discipline of employees.  The supervisory aspects must be an integral part of the job, not incidental or occasional.  4.   Verifiable part-time and/or volunteer experience will be pro-rated toward meeting full-time experience requirements.   5. Your degree and/or college credit must have been awarded by a regionally accredited college or university or one recognized by the New York State Education Department as following acceptable educational practices.  A grade of "D" or better is necessary for a course to be credited as successfully completed.  If your degree and/or college credit was awarded by an educational institution outside of the United States and its territories, you must provide independent verification of equivalency.  You can write to this Department for a list of acceptable companies providing this service; you must pay the required evaluation fee. Notice to Candidates:  Transcripts will now be accepted by the Department of Personnel ONLY at time of application.   All subsequent transcripts must be submitted at time of interview.
The New York State Department of Civil Service has not prepared a test guide for this examination. However,candidates may find information in the publication "How to take a written test" helpful in preparing for this test. This publication is available on line at:  
Subjects of Examination: 
Subjects of examination: A written test designed to evaluate knowledge, skills and /or abilities in the following areas: 1. Administration These questions test for knowledge of the managerial functions involved in directing an organization or an organizational segment. These questions cover such areas as: developing objectives and formulating policies; making decisions based on the context of the administrator's position and authority; forecasting and planning; organizing; developing personnel; coordinating and informing; guiding and leading; testing and evaluating; and budgeting. 2. Data center operations These questions test for knowledge of the principles and practices employed in planning, organizing and controlling the operating activities of a computer center. They cover such areas as: data center methods and procedures; identifying and resolving operational problems; coordinating and maintaining schedules for the utilization of equipment; and monitoring and controlling operating systems, equipment, and the physical environment in the computer center. 3. Principles of networked communications These questions test for basic concepts and terminology of data communications. They cover such subjects as data communications, types of networks, modems, security, protocols, topologies, transmission media, wiring, installation and troubleshooting. The questions are general in scope and are not specific to any vendor or system. 4. Preparing written material These questions test for the ability to present information clearly and accurately, and to organize paragraphs logically and comprehensibly. For some questions, you will be given information in two or three sentences followed by four restatements of the information. You must then choose the best version. For other questions, you will be given paragraphs with their sentences out of order. You must then choose, from four suggestions, the best order for the sentences. 5. Supervision These questions test for knowledge of the principles and practices employed in planning, organizing, and controlling the activities of a work unit toward predetermined objectives. The concepts covered, usually in a situational question format, include such topics as assigning and reviewing work; evaluating performance; maintaining work standards; motivating and developing subordinates; implementing procedural change; increasing efficiency; and dealing with problems of absenteeism, morale, and discipline. 6. Systems analysis and design These questions test for techniques and concepts of computer systems analysis and design. They cover such subjects as feasibility and applications studies, systems development tools and software, the systems life cycle, types of systems (e.g., client/server, Web-based), controls, and systems documentation, testing, and implementation. NOTICE TO CANDIDATES:  Unless otherwise noted, candidates are permitted to use quiet, hand held, solar or battery powered calculators.  Devices with typewriter keyboards, "Spell Checkers", “Personal Digital Assistants", "Address Books", "Language Translators", "Dictionaries", or any similar devices are prohibited.  You may not bring books or other reference materials.

          Lamb Weston/Meijer digitaliseert en centraliseert contractenregister voor beter inzicht en tijdwinst        
Lamb Weston / Meijer (LWM) was op zoek naar een oplossing voor een centraal en gestructureerd beheer van contracten en andere juridische documenten. Deze stukken werden tot vorig jaar nog bewaard in traditionele Windows-mappen en in stalen archiefkasten. Dat bood onvoldoende overzicht en informatiebehoeften konden niet snel worden vervuld. Het kostte LWM bijvoorbeeld veel tijd om een actueel totaalbeeld te krijgen van inkoopcontracten die op een bepaald tijdstip afliepen. Smart SharePoint Solutions heeft voor het Microsoft SharePoint platform speciale Business Apps ontwikkeld, die zich richten op speciale branches. 'Financial Suite' met 'Legal Platform' is zo'n Business App, speciaal bedoeld voor financiële en juridische organisaties die op zoek zijn naar een goede 'corporate housekeeping' oplossing, waaronder een 'contract life cycle management'-oplossing. Met deze oplossing heeft LWM voortaan actueel inzicht in contracten en contractposities, met als extra een Vennootschapsregister en Zakenregister.            
          CNaturals Dream Business Plan CNaturals, Inc. produces/sells pure natural, organic cosmetics including vegan lip & eye products, mineral make-up powders, skin creams, body lotions, masks, aroma therapy, natural soaps, all ready for sale. Products address issues from many perspectives: • Individual - Natural products nourish, treat imbalances sans side effects & heal not degrade, body on the long run. • Environmental –Bases are naturally available, harvested from short life cycle non-endangered, bio friendly products, using eco sustainable processes. • Social - The manuf. encourages people, increasingly women in developing world, to continue traditional practices while helping them gain economic/social independence. • Moral – naturally available herbs, roots, essential oils based products, prepared from ancient times, with obvious track record obviate need for animal testing.
          Griffin Productions        
Wildlife documentaries about the life cycles and behavior of whitetails, turkeys, pheasants and moose.
          Comments: Фронтфлип Джексона Стронга на X- Games 17        
А есть в хорошем качестве где-то записи с этих X-Games? Или, возможно, даже какой-то фильм? Типа «Life Cycles»(МТБ и проч.)
          Program Manager III*        
OH-Dayton, Job Code: #4416 Title: Program Manager III* Date Posted: 07/13/2017 Job Location: Dayton Ohio Job Description: PRIMARY FUNCTION(S) Provide program management support to the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) Program Executive Officer for Fighters & Bombers Directorate (AFLCMC/WW), F-15 Division. RESPONSIBILITIES AND DUTIES Apply knowledge and experience in acquisition program manageme
          Crypto-Entomology Art Print by Brian Giberson - The Foglighter Fly by indigolights        

20.00 USD

8 x 10 photo print of the Foglighter Fly 1845

- The Foglighter Fly was native to the back alley's and riverfronts of London.

The insect image is from the files of a long defunct gentleman's scientific organization - The Society of Crypto-Entomology


The Society of Crypto-Entomology was founded in 1788 by
Hyperion Wells, the grand father of noted author H. G. Wells. The institute was created to study the life cycle and habitant of elusive insects previously thought to be the stuff of myth and legend.

After the first few specimens were found, the leading intellectual lights of the gilded age would meet monthly for lectures in the King's Head Public House in East London. Honorary members and lecturers included explorer Sir Richard Burton , authors Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Alister Crowley, and even a young Charles Darwin. Many other noted naturalists, mystics, spiritualists, and explorers of the time, often frequented these lectures.

As the industrialization of modern society advanced, some insects were found to have a decidedly technological flair. It was uncovered that many were man-made imitations made for wealthy patrons by watchmakers and jewelers. However, in a few rare examples these techno insects actually existed in unusual and rarified habitats.

Much of the debate surrounding these specimens were regarding the origin and purpose of such creatures. Several schools of thought were advanced. Some held that this was spontaneous divine creation. Others felt they were from the future, technology merged with insect biology, that somehow was scattered back through time. Mr. Darwin advanced the theory that these were examples of adaption to environmental forces. The more mystic minded thought they were reflections of the collective unconscious, spontaneously springing forth as man marched forward into the age of invention.

The Society was disbanded in 1925 after the “Cottingley fairy” scandal brought the entire field of Crypto-Entomology into disrepute. Many of the specimens presented here are now thought to be extinct, these prints being the last remaining evidence of their existence.

          Putting Evidence Based Practice to work        
At Internet Librarian this week - these are my notes from the first half of the Evidence Based Practice session - really enjoyed this one!

Putting evidence based practice to work

Amanda Hollister

Frank Cervone

Usability testing - Northwestern U

Problem of website design

Not large number of people trained in Human Computer Interaction

Have to learn in order to understand

People tend to feel like sites are" done" instead of constantly adjusting and reevaluating

Constantly evolving websites - to meet customer needs

Andrew Booth - U of Sheffield

quote from article.

heirarchy in how looked at

Data provides evidence, not anecdotal stories or common sense
Evaluation constantly.

How differentrom what happens? people making decisions now obn beliefs, not data

Evaluation after the fact is too late.

Comes from medicine - lots of writing from med school libraries

Study, compare results and compare results.

Evidence based practice process reminds me of the info life cycle - never ends - not daily, but consistently


Setting - where being used? What context

Population - who are users

, Intervention, - what is being done to/for?

COmparison, - what are alternatives?

Evaluation - what was result?

Needs to be much more rigorous

Look at the current evidence - focus groups & surveys are lower level. How could test at higher level?

Assume that title search is correct - example - but also looked at # and details of failed searches

Required reading list -

Req training in usabiltiy

participate in whole process

these three things teach people whole process.

Then, go back and compare new stats to old stats - have the changes worked. These stats are hard data, quantitative, not qualitative.

Also helps with justifying new tools or processes.

Lets prove that we are making things better - get better comments and feedback.

Still probs: jargon, users understand why would use library website.

Anecdotal evidence can give idea of what might need to be reviewed, but is not necessarily representative.

Ok, laptop dying now - switching to paper for notes

Will share reading list - assistant u librarian for infor technology - Frank Cervone.
          Margaret Wooldridge Receives Department of Energy’s E.O Lawrence Award        

The U.S. Department of Energy today announced that Margaret Wooldridge, a University of Michigan Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Mechanical Engineering, is one of six 2013 recipients of the prestigious E.O. Lawrence Award, the agency’s highest award for mid-career scientists. Created in 1959, the award celebrates contributions in research and development that support the Energy Department’s science, energy and national security missions.

Wooldridge’s award acknowledges “her work advancing energy science and innovation.” Her research group focuses on combustion, that powerful release of energy from fossil fuels that powers much of modern life− at great environmental cost. Her work explores combustion’s possibilities in both traditional and new energy supplies, in the context of the growing need to mitigate climate change and plan for an ecologically sustainable and secure energy future.

“It’s hard to change our behavior when it comes to energy, not only because we use so much fuel, but because we don’t want the cure to be worse than the disease. When we switch to sustainable fuels, fuels built on a short carbon life cycles, as opposed to the long carbon life cycle associated with fossil fuels, we have to be careful about the impact on performance and environmental effects, as well as the larger social implications,” Wooldridge explained.

“If we tinker with these fuels, we want to know, what are the specific properties that are attractive to us, and how can we leverage them? We look at traditional fossil fuel chemistry, but also explore new feedstocks. We want to understand how to leverage the best − and avoid the worst − properties of these fuels in engines, combustors, stationary power plants, and other combustion systems.”

Five of this year’s six Lawrence awardees hold positions at national laboratories; Wooldridge is the only recipient who’s also juggling a teaching load.

“Sometimes I can keep all the plates spinning, and sometimes a couple come crashing down,” she joked Tuesday, reacting to her award while preparing a lecture for the coming day and answering the questions of a student at her door.

After the student leaves, she explained, “Each time you teach, you have to answer one of the hardest questions researchers are asked: ‘What does this mean to me?’ It constantly requires that you be able to translate very fundamental research in a way that communicates its practicality and its essential nature. It’s hard, but it’s good to do, and it’s fun- most of the time.”

Just six percent of the Lawrence Award’s 218 past winners have been women. “I’ve always been interested in the energy sector, and that research is justifiably dominated by combustion. Once you get into the fundamental research in combustion, it’s pretty male-dominated, but I can’t say I thought about it too much as I was choosing my field,” Wooldridge said.

Past Lawrence awardees have included Nobel Prize-winners Richard Feynman, Saul Permutter, Richard Smalley, Burton Ricter, Sam Ting, Murray Gell-Mann, Bob Laughlin and George Smoot, as well as HIV research pioneer Bette Kerber.

Another Lawrence award winner from U-M is former University of Michigan President and prominent nuclear physicist James Duderstadt, who received the award in 1986. Of this year’s awardee, he said, “Dr. Wooldridge has become one of the world's leaders in combustion science. Her research on fuel reaction chemistry and combustion diagnostics has provided important tools for many areas of both basic and applied energy research. As a Thurnau Professor, she is also one of our most outstanding teachers.”

Edward Larsen, a U-M professor of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences, won a Lawrence Award in 1994 "for his profound impact on the analytic and numerical methods used to model the transport of particles and radiation in complex systems, with applications in diverse areas of nuclear technology ranging from nuclear weapons design to nuclear reactor safety."

Today, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz weighed in on the award winners, saying, “The Lawrence Award recipients announced today have made significant contributions to the national, economic and energy security of the United States – strengthening U.S. leadership in discovery and innovation. I congratulate the winners and thank them for their work on behalf of the Department of Energy and the Nation."

Wooldridge has been a member of the U-M faculty since 1998. She received an M.S. and a Ph.D from Stanford University. Her research has been funded by the Department of Energy, Ford Motor Company, the National Science Foundation, Hyundai, and Honda.

The E.O. Lawrence Award was established to honor the memory of Dr. Ernest Orlando Lawrence, who invented the cyclotron – an accelerator of subatomic particles – and received a 1939 Nobel Laureate in physics for that achievement. Dr. Lawrence later played a leading role in establishing the U.S. system of national laboratories, and today, the Energy Department’s national laboratories in Berkeley and Livermore, Calif., bear his name. The six Lawrence Award recipients announced today will receive a medal and a $20,000 honorarium at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., later this year.

A full list of past E.O. Lawrence Award winners can be found here. 

Referenced Faculty: 
Margaret Wooldridge
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Amy Mast

          Wildlife Disease Journal Digest        

Browse complete Digest publication library here

Lead in Ammunition: A Persistent Threat to Health and Conservation
EcoHealth. 2014; [Epub ahead of print]. doi:10.1007/s10393-013-0896-5
C. K. Johnson, T. R. Kelly, B. A. Rideout
[Courtesy of a fellow Digest reader!]

River otters as biomonitors for organochlorine pesticides, PCBs, and PBDEs in Illinois
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety. 2014 Feb; 100: 99–104
Samantha K Carpenter et al.
[Another great article shared by a member. Digest readers are the best!]

A case of chronic wasting disease in a captive red deer (Cervus elaphus)
Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation. 2013 Sep; 25(5):573-576. doi:10.1177/1040638713499914
Marc D. Schwabenlander et al.

A survey of fish viruses isolated from wild marine fishes from the coastal waters of southern Korea
Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation. 2013 Nov; 25(6): 750-755. doi:10.1177/1040638713504755
Wi-Sik Kim et al.

Influenza A virus infections in marine mammals and terrestrial carnivores
Berl Munch Tierarztl Wochenschr. 2013 Nov-Dec;126(11-12):500-8.
Harder TC et al.

Disease and Predation: Sorting out Causes of a Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis) Decline
PLoS One. 2014 Feb 7;9(2):e88271. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0088271. eCollection 2014.
Smith JB et al.

Network Analysis of Translocated Takahe Populations to Identify Disease Surveillance Targets
Conserv Biol. 2014 Feb 11. doi: 10.1111/cobi.12178. [Epub ahead of print]
Grange ZL, VAN Andel M, French NP, Gartrell BD.

Perfluorinated compounds: emerging POPs with potential immunotoxicity
Toxicol Lett. 2014 Feb 3. pii: S0378-4274(14)00058-7. doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2014.01.038. [Epub ahead of print]
Corsini E et al.

Frequent and seasonally variable sublethal anthrax infections are accompanied by short-lived immunity in an endemic system
J Anim Ecol. 2014 Feb 5. doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12207. [Epub ahead of print]
Cizauskas CA, Bellan SE, Turner WC, Vance RE, Getz WM.

Do-or-die life cycles and diverse post-infection resistance mechanisms limit the evolution of parasite host ranges
Ecology Letters. 2013; [Epub ahead of print 2014 Feb 04]. DOI:10.1111/ele.12249
Michael Sieber and Ivana Gudelj

A need for One Health approach - lessons learned from outbreaks of Rift Valley fever in Saudi Arabia and Sudan
Infection Ecology and Epidemiology. 2014; 4: 20710. doi: 10.3402/iee.v4.20710
Osama Ahmed Hassan, Clas Ahlm, Magnus Evander

Monitoring diseases in garden wildlife [No online abstract]
Vet Rec. 2014 Feb 1;174(5):126. doi: 10.1136/vr.g1295.
Cunningham AA, Lawson B, Hopkins T, Toms M, Wormald K, Peck K.

Community change and evidence for variable warm-water temperature adaptation of corals in Northern Male Atoll, Maldives
Mar Pollut Bull. 2014 Jan 30. pii: S0025-326X(14)00036-8. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.01.035. [Epub ahead of print]
McClanahan TR and Muthiga NA

Identifying future zoonotic disease threats: Where are the gaps in our understanding of primate infectious diseases?
Evol Med Public Health. 2013 Jan;2013(1):27-36. doi: 10.1093/emph/eot001. Epub 2013 Jan 22.
Cooper N and Nunn CL.

          What's killing all the starfish on the West Coast? and other wildlife health news stories        

White-nose syndrome confirmed in bats in Arkansas

White-nose syndrome, a fatal disease to several bat species, has been confirmed in Arkansas, the state Game and Fish Commission said Wednesday. The disease was documented in two northern long-eared bats found at a cave on a natural area managed by the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission in Marion County, according to a news release.

... Five bats were found to have the disease during a survey of the Marion County cave on Jan. 11. The fungus was confirmed by tests on two of the bats by the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center, according to an AGFC news release. The bats had damage to wing, ear and tail membranes consistent with white-nose syndrome.

Arkansas News Bureau
29 Jan 2014
Arkansas, USA


More White-Nose Syndrome News
>>> Bat fungus continues to concern biologists
>>> Winter cave surveys track bat numbers, health [Kentucky, USA]
>>> White Nose Syndrome May Be Unstoppable: Deadly Bat Disease Can Thrive in Caves Without Bats

What's killing all the starfish on the West Coast?

Starfish have been mysteriously dying by the millions in recent months along the West Coast, worrying biologists who say the sea creatures are key to the marine ecosystem.

Scientists first started noticing the mass deaths in June 2013. Different types of starfish, also known as sea stars, were affected, from wild ones along the coast to those in captivity, according to Jonathan Sleeman, director of the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wildlife Health Center.

... The most commonly observed symptoms are white lesions on the arms of the sea star. The lesions spread rapidly, resulting in the loss of the arm. Within days, the infection consumes the creature's entire body, and it dies.

Entire populations have been wiped out in Puget Sound off the coast of Washington state, in the Salish Sea off Canada's British Columbia as well as along the coast of California. The mortality rate is estimated at 95 percent.

... “What we currently think is likely happening is that there is a pathogen, like a parasite or a virus or a bacteria, that is infecting the sea stars and that compromises in some way their immune system,” Pete Raimondi, chair of the department of ecology and evolutionary biology, at the University of California, Santa Cruz, told AFP.

San Jose Mercury News
2014 Feb 02
Jean-Louis Santini
Washington, and California, USA, and British Columbia, Cananda 


Assorted South West parasites favour cleaner habitat

BIOLOGISTS investigating parasites on freshwater fish in the South West believe they have discovered at least 42 native parasite species that were previously undescribed...Murdoch University Associate Professor Alan Lymbery, who presented the research at the WA Freshwater Fish Symposium, says two known introduced parasite species were found.

In addition to the introduced species, 42 morphologically different native parasites appeared to be different species.... Dr Lymbery says 30–40 per cent of the parasites were only found in a single species of fish, which had serious implications for the parasite’s conservation risk if the fish was endangered.

“[Parasites] are probably at more risk than the fish host species because although some of the parasites we found have a direct life cycle, which means that the fish is their only host, a large number of them also had an indirect life cycle, which means they rely on other hosts as well,” he says.

... Dr Lymbery says the finding most fish biologists found interesting was that parasitism generally increased with improving water quality. He says parasites, particularly those with complex life cycles, are quite sensitive indicators of environmental quality....“Contrary to what most people think, which is that the worse the conditions are, the more disease or parasitism you have, you actually don’t find that,” Dr Lymbery says.

“What we found was that the better the quality of the habitat, the more fish were parasitised and the greater number of species of parasites you found.”

ScienceNetwork Western Australia
2014 Jan 13
M Wheeler


Some Good News Amid Bad News, for Hawai`i’s Endangered Honeycreepers

Warming temperatures due to climate change are exposing endangered Hawaiian forest birds to greater risk of avian malaria. But new research led by the U.S. Geological Survey holds out some hope that the birds may be able to adapt.

For decades, scientists have documented declines and extinctions among species of Hawaiian honeycreepers due to the spread of avian malaria and other diseases. At one time, the Hawaiian Islands had no mosquitoes—and no mosquito-borne diseases. But, by the late 1800s, mosquitoes were firmly established in the islands. Another invasive species—feral pigs—helped the mosquito population boom by creating larval habitat as they rooted through forests. The honeycreepers had no natural defense against a disease they had never before experienced.

"Honeycreepers are exquisitely sensitive to avian malaria," said Dr. Carter Atkinson, a USGS microbiologist based at the USGS Pacific Islands Ecosystems Research Center in Hawai’i. Atkinson is the lead author of two new research papers examining how climate change is increasing the honeycreepers’ risk of infection.

USGS Newsroom
31 Jan 2014


Cited Journal Article
Carter T. Atkinson et al. (2014). Changing Climate and the Altitudinal Range of Avian Malaria in the Hawaiian Islands - an Ongoing Conservation Crisis on the Island of Kaua'i. Global Change Biology; [Epub ahead of print]. doi:10.1111/gcb.12535

Carter T. Atkinson et al. (2014). Experimental Evidence for Evolved Tolerance to Avian Malaria in a Wild Population of Low Elevation Hawai‘i ‘Amakihi (Hemignathus virens). EcoHealth. [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1007/s10393-013-0899-2

One Health News Corner
It Ain't All Bad News

          Poland Clashes With European Union Over Logging In Primeval Forest        
The lush, green canopy that is Bialowieza Forest spans 350,000 acres between Poland and Belarus. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to a variety of endangered species like the European bison, which is slightly larger and leaner than its American cousin. It also has some of the last old-growth forest in Europe, untouched by human hands, and there is a great deal of international interest in preserving the forest's delicate ecology. Polish journalist, author and naturalist Adam Wajrak said he never tires of seeing the complex life cycle in this forest up close. "Look at there, here, you see?" he asked me, pointing to the top of a dead spruce trunk during a recent hike. "This is the little spruce growing on the body of dead spruce, this very often happens." He peeled back the top layer of another dead trunk. "If you look under the bark, there's a lot of beetles, a lot of spiders — everything, whatever you want, and this is how it works," he says. "This is why I compare the
          Requirements Engineer        
Our Client: We are currently working with a ground breaking medical device manufacturing company, who are in a state of growth and therefore looking to appoint a Requirements Engineer to their team based at their HQ site near Warwick. As an Embedded Software Engineer, your projects will be diverse in nature working on both existing and developing medical device technologies. Primary Purpose: To contribute significantly to the creation and evolution of the software content of the Company’s products Satisfying the needs of product development and assurance, compliant with applicable medical device regulations and standards Ess ential Candidate Experience: Experience in requirements capture in a regulated industry such as Medical devices, Defence, Aerospace, Automotive, Oil & Gas. Please note that we are not looking for extensive experience for this position, hence the salary range on offer. Role Overview Updating and maintaining the V-model used to define and verify essential characteristics of our clients dialysis products including SC+ machine, consumables, accessories and connectivity solutions (current and future products) Formalising requirement specifications, trace reports, verification test specifications and verification test summary documentation. Analysing design changes and performing inspections to update verification evidence. Supporting the Systems Architect, Lead Requirements Engineer and all associated teams with V-model updates and queries. Key Responsibilities V-model update Review, maintain and evolve requirements and tests at all of the following levels: o User Needs o Stakeholder o System o Functional / Application (Modal) o Sub-System o Sub-assembly o Component Collaborate closely with key areas of the business including Commercial to ensure all input and product feedback is captured and processed accordingly. Ensure testability of all requirements to facilitate effective verification. Support other engineers in their own maintenance of requirements. Manage detailed tracing of requirements and tests. V-model infrastructure Support improved use of Quanta’s V-model Management tools to improve: o Quality of existing requirements and tests - e.g. addressing gaps, inconsistencies, weaknesses, complex items that need to be de-constructed and so on. o Compliance with applicable standards and acknowledged definitions of good requirements and test management practice o Standardization of language and terms o Formality of expression to minimize ambiguity and misunderstanding o Use and configuration of tool customization capabilities o Quality of V-model audit trails o Coordination of V-model documentation across; Multiple variants of given design (e.g. Internationalization options) Multiple versions in the life of a given design Multiple designs based on common platform Requirements / Qualifications Strong educational background; related Engineering, Science or BioMed Degree Experience working to Quality Systems in line with EN ISO 9001, BS EN 14971, BSENO ISO 13485 is also desirable. Quality Focused, able to identify issues and propose appropriate solutions Experience of; o Requirements engineering and use of software tools to manage complex bodies of requirements and traceability material o Verification and validation activities on whole products or sub-systems o Whole product life cycle for complex multi-technology systems Strong written communication skills including; o Structured use of natural language o Mathematical Expression o Concise written communication Appreciation for, or experience across, the full spectrum of systems, mechanical electronic and software engineering Strong attention to detail and record keeping Strong interpersonal skills
          Interesting videos...        
Not sure who produced these entomology videos, but they are well done. I came accross them on Moldy Chum. The videos feature the life cycle of caddisflies and mayflies.



          Lowongan Kerja Software Quality Assurance        
Very high curiosityUnderstand the software development life cycleAble to create a good software documentationA social media avid user twitter facebook path instagramGood understanding in compatibility browsers behaviour chrome firefox chromium and good understanding in tools ...

          Growth Patterns: From 100 Million Times Six, to Mood in the Summer Season of 2015         

When it comes to geologic time scales, 600 million years is a big span. As in, long enough to accommodate the life cycle of every carbon-based life form in the entire fossil record. That is indeed the ambition of the just-published lead article in The Socionomist...

          Women's Lib and the Erosion of Civilization        
(We shriek at the position of women in Saudi Arabia but in Chicago in 1912,
 a woman could be fined for showing too much leg.)

Until we recognize that mankind is in the grip of a powerful satanic force, we will remain defenceless. Illuminati (Communist) social engineers are waging an undeclared war on society. By attacking gender identity and separating sex from marriage & procreation, they hope to divert, degrade and re-engineer us.

This article traces the role of "women's lib" in the decline of Western society.

The Treadmill of Sex and Romance &
Getting Sex Under Control
Updated from March 18, 2006
By Henry Makow Ph.D.

The hallmark of civilization is the limitation of sex to love and marriage. This humanizes sex and promotes the formation of families, which are essential to the renewal of society.

The alternative is "free love" where man is essentially a dog and woman a fire hydrant. Throughout my life, I was taught that the dog-fire hydrant approach (sex for its own sake) is actually worthwhile and profound, that sexual inhibition causes neurosis, and orgasms are mystical etc. 

Woody Allen summed it up: "For an empty experience, sex is the best there is."

Lets put this conflict in historical perspective. As recently as 55 years ago, our sexual mores were governed by Christian principles. In 1960, there was still a social stigma against illegitimate children. I don't favor unkindness toward anyone but this stigma was removed by a powerful force determined to destroy the institution of the family.

We shriek at the position of women in Saudi Arabia but in Chicago in 1912, a woman could be fined for showing too much leg. 

Ben Hecht recalls that the police arrested women for "smoking cigarettes, for shopping without their corsets on...for using profanity...for wearing slacks and shorts, for kissing in public, for wearing a man's hat, for sitting alone in a cafe or drinking in a saloon, for driving an automobile without a male in attendance, for putting too much paint on their faces or cutting their hair too short." (A Child of the Century, p. 47)

This is a reminder that our civilization was founded on Christian values. These proscriptions were extreme and needed reform but they had a sound basis. They were designed to reserve a woman's sexuality for her role as wife and mother as opposed to sexual profligate.

The forces that removed these taboos also denigrated the role of wife and mother and turned many women into public utilities. Deprived of their natural role, many young women are in crisis, binging on drugs alcohol and sex. See one lady's account in her book "Smashed."

Suicide rates for teenage girls have reached a 40-year high.  Motherhood is the destiny of most women. Take that away and there is not much left. 

Occult forces are gradually inducting us into their sex cult without our knowledge. "Secular" is their term for satanic. The "freedom" they trumpet is freedom from the self-discipline necessary to follow our operating manual and grow healthy and happy.


The Illuminati have produced books that pressure women to overcome their inhibitions about having casual sex.

Typical is "Happy Hook-Up: A Single Girl's Guide to Casual Sex" which counsels women to proudly embrace the labels "whore" and "slut." 

Authors Alexa Sherman and Nicole Tocantins pretend to be offering women "options" (as with careers.) Typically, their real agenda is coercive and subversive, to prevent women from getting married and starting families.


"Cultural norms will catch up with us if we give them no choice," the authors write. "We, as females, need to show the world that sex without commitment is absolutely our prerogative... Say, "I'm a slut I'm a whore! I love sex!" and mean it. Society needs to change and begin to encourage women to find pleasure for pleasure's sake."

Although pleasurable sex is most readily available in the context of a loving marriage, this isn't considered an "option."

This perverse propaganda is yet another assault on marriage and family, the institutions that sustain society and gives us identity, meaning, guidance and support as individuals. 


Women are naturally monogamous. Surveys indicate they do not find casual sex satisfying and mostly regret it. Why would a stranger care about her satisfaction? 

Sex used to be called "making love." Men express their love by giving pleasure and vice versa. A woman needs a man's love like a flower needs sunshine.  Sexual intercourse is an act of possession. 

Thus "Happy Hook-up" is devoted to helping women overcome their natural instincts to bond with a man.

Women are instructed not to get to know their sex partner too well. "Try not to discuss too much about your past or future or his. That said, it never hurts to inquire about his sexual history [and] gauge what risks are involved. Then, focus on the action and the action alone."

They are told to terminate the relationship after one or two trysts and distract themselves with work or hobbies.

Don't think about "what's going to happen next, whether he's going to call you, want you and be your everything. It's just not going to happen honey. At least don't expect it to. Stay in control...accept that that's it. Finito. The end. Flip him over. He's done."


It is perverse to divorce sex from propagation, and fixate on it for pleasure.

I'm NOT saying sex should be confined to procreation. I AM saying it is designed to take place in the psychological and social context of procreation, i.e. marriage or a long-term loving relationship.


Nature has put an alluring bloom on young women for an obvious reason, and it fades in time with their fertility. They must marry and have a family or end up alone for most of their lives.

"Sexual liberation" sanctions and encourages this callous and primitive behavior and invites the woman to collude in her own exploitation and degradation.

It allows the male to take the only thing that interests him and ignore the woman's humanity in terms of her natural life cycle as a wife, mother and grandmother.

Sexual intercourse represents the essence of her commitment to her future husband and offspring. Women who have had many partners find it more difficult to bond to one man, and consequently he has difficulty bonding with her.

Free sex is promoted in order to destroy the heterosexual family. The bankers who financed Communism (and Feminism) want the state to replace the father as head of the family. Camille Paglia says as much. 

In their vision, the family of the future will have no husband or father. This is straight out of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World where babies are born in test tubes.


We cannot underestimate the damage Hollywood has done, and continues to do, by mystifying beautiful young women, romance and sexual intercourse. They are not all that but unrealistic expectations created by Hollywood have debased human relations and made it much more difficult for men and women to form successful long term unions. 

A young man should choose a wife who will help him achieve his goals. One of these goals should be a family. Children are projections of us into the future. They are our offering to God, an Act of Faith. The young man should find a woman who complements him and is easy to live with.

Subconsciously, women want men who serve God. Men (and women) were created to be God's agents. We know God by doing His will, by serving Him through our actions. Women serve God by serving husband and children and are loved, honored and served in return. When women serve themselves, they end up alone and bitter.


Related: Makow - Liberal Jews, Sex & the New Satanic Order 

Makow - Feminism's Roots in US Communism 

Makow --  "Managing the Male Sex Drive"

          HGO Interviews Kim Witman of Wolf Trap Opera        

Kim Witman of the Wolf Trap Opera Company is celebrating today’s announcement of the WTOC 2010 season by doing guest blog posts and interviews in a few places across the blogosphere.

Link back to Kim’s blog at for a complete list.

WTOC – like Houston Grand Opera – has a particular commitment to emerging artists. How does this influence your programming? (I note you choose your programming post- audition tour).

It influences our programming heavily, because all of the roles and assignments in all of our projects are performed by our emerging professional singers. (There are no other singers in the WTOC; emerging artists form our entire roster.) Because the typical 20-something singer isn’t trafficking in heavy roles in romantic opera, we almost never do any of those big grand opera or verismo pieces. (Things like Tosca, Aida, Pagliacci, etc.) And yes, we program our repertoire after the audition tour – it allows us to identify the best singers and then respond by choosing operas that contain roles that they could sing well at this point in their careers.

What purpose do Instant Opera and recital programs have in the training of emerging artists? How do they amplify or complement the mainstage experience? What do they offer audience?

Instant Opera is going into its sixth season, and it has become an even bigger asset to our program than we had hoped. Because its two basic building blocks are improvisation and recitative, the participating singers come out of that project with significantly enhanced theatrical and musical skills in those areas. Instant Opera gives us a way to connect with family audiences in the way that our mainstage identity typically doesn’t.

Our recital programming (both with Steven Blier, and more recently, as part of the Vocal Colors mini-recital partnership with the Phillips Collection in Washington DC) gives our singers a chance to develop the non-operatic part of their careers, and these projects offer an opportunity for a completely different kind of musical growth that complements the operatic experiences at Wolf Trap.

Doing new productions puts both audience and artists in an interesting, potentially quite advantageous position with respect to the piece – share your thinking on this aspect of your program?

There are both functional and philosophical sides to our commitment to doing new productions.

Functionally, our theatre is so unusual and specific in its technical requirements and size that we would limit ourselves severely if we were to only (or primarily) consider operas for which we could rent sets. It’s probably not that much more expensive for us to create our own than it would be to rent, ship, and modify someone else’s production.

And philosophically, it not only gives us a chance to participate in the careers of an entire generation of designers, it gives the singers a chance to be present for the life cycle of a new production and have costumes build specifically for them. There’s a creative energy that the director/designers team brings that spills over to the rest of the staff and cast.

Times Are Hard (aren’t they always?). What do you see ahead for the art form, and for those who make opera, and what if anything do you think companies and artists need to do (or do differently) to continue to be viable? What role do programs like WTOC and HGO Studio play?

I never see this expression without hearing Mrs. Lovett sing "Times is haaard, times is haard!"

If I really had the answer to this question, I’d probably be much more in demand than I am. None of us really know what’s ahead, but it’s incumbent on us not to take anything for granted. Most importantly, we need to constantly be on the lookout for what matters and be willing to let go of things that don’t. And as boring as it sounds, we just need to be fiscally conservative. The companies that are struggling and even going under aren’t necessarily the ones whose artistic standards weren’t up to snuff. They simply just couldn’t pay for what they bought. Those of us in the arts too often think we’re above such mundane discussions, and heaven knows that it’s painful to walk away from some of your dreams and fondest desires. To top it all off, some people do get away with it, and so we think we’ll always be lucky too.

What role do programs like WTOC play? We need to turn out singers and other aspiring opera professionals (coaches, administrators, directors, and technical staff) who are regularly practiced in reconciling their artistic selves with their realist, pragmatic selves. We should all practice this balancing act and instill a tolerance for it in our emerging artists, so that they not only can stay afloat as businessmen and women, but so that their muse can stay strong while they’re doing it.

          The benefits of applying product management discipline to IT        

What’s the difference between an application development team at a software products company and an application development team at a gas station/convenience store company? 

Well, for one thing, the software company generates revenue from its software products, so the software is treated like a product, with a product manager and a rigorous and automated software development life cycle (SDLC). The product manager at the software company is acutely aware of the competition, and the features that competitors in the market are developing.

At a company that sells gas and snacks, you would think product teams focus on gas and snacks, not on software.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

          BSE, Cervical Cancer and Toxoplasmosis        
As the ten-year ban on British beef is lifted, Tony Minson joins us to discuss what causes BSE, how it is spread and why it is such a problem, and with another example of how animal diseases pass to humans is Joanne Webster, who describes the life cycle of Toxoplasma gondii and its possible link to schizophrenia. Margaret Stanley provides some happier news and reveals the astounding success of a cervical cancer vaccine in clinical trials, and Derek Thorne has fun with food colouring in Kitchen Science.
          5 Natural Pest Control Methods For Your Garden        
Naturally controlling the pest is less expensive and effective. Natural pest control methods are safe for your garden, environment, and family. It is very important to childproof your electrical outlet in the garden.
These methods are very effective to keep away these pests out from your garden. There are five natural pest control methods for your garden:
1. Flowers that Control Pest in your Garden

There are various flowers that can be planted for pest control naturally. They are as follows
●     Borage: This plant has flowers in the shape of stars. It keeps cabbage and horn worms away from cabbage and other plants. It also helps to increase their resistance from diseases.
●     Chrysanthemums: The flowers come in different colors. It has a chemical called pyrethrin that has the toxic effect on the insects. You can plant these beautiful flowers in your garden. Use the tea made from these flowers to get rid of Japanese beetles.
●     Clover: This plant provides a thin layer of green cover in your garden. You can put this plant in your garden that gives pink flowers. Plant it near to cabbage to get rid of aphids and cabbage worms. It deters the pests completely from the garden.
●     Lavender: It is a delicate plant with a pleasant aroma. It wards off pests like mosquitoes, fleas, and moths from your garden.
●     Marigolds: This is a beautiful plant with orange color flowers. Plant it near to tomatoes to keep the whiteflies away.

2. Barriers and Traps

You can protect your garden naturally from various pests by setting these barriers and traps.
●     Yellow flypaper: This fly paper is effective against whiteflies and aphids. You can take a board or heavy paper. Paint the paper with yellow color and coat it with a sticky substance.
●     Pheromones: These are the biological mating aromas that attract pests. These insects get attracted towards this sticky substance and get trapped. You must place these pheromone traps in your garden.
●     Trap for Apple maggot: Apple maggot is a very dangerous insect for apples. It pierces the skin of the fruit and lay eggs. These eggs get hatched inside the fruit only. You can trap these insects by using sticky red spheres. You can place this trap in between of apples.
●     Row covers: These covers are light in opaque weight material. It is used to cover your garden bed. The water and sunlight can pass through these covers keeping away insects and birds. They are best to protect your seeds and small plants. You can place it over spinach, carrots, broccoli, and beets.
●     Barrier paper: You can use waxed cardboard to make a barrier. In this way, you can protect your cabbage from moths. This month is very harmful that kill sprouts of kale, cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli.

3. Discourage Pests from Entering your Garden 

●     Remove weak plants: the Weak plant can be infected that attract predators. You must remove these plants from your garden.
●     Healthy and organic soil: You can mulch the soil with natural fertilizer for developing strong plants.
●     Seaweed spray: Seaweed contains many trace elements that help in the healthy growth of plants. You can use it in the form of fertilizer or spray that provides the resistance against diseases.
●     Keep your garden free of weeds and debris. Insects breeds in dirty areas.
●     You can rotate the crops to avoid infestation of pests. Water your plants early in the day. Maintain dry foliage to ward off insects and pests.

4.      Taking Advantages of Pests’ Natural Enemies

Sometimes, the best way to fight against pests is by using their natural enemies. This method is called: Biological Control. Basically, owners will invite birds, mammals, reptiles and mostly insects that feed on other insects to help them deal with their invaders. But the term ‘natural enemies’ is not just limited to animals, it can refer to anything that harms or prevents pests from taking over the place, including objects, smells or chemicals.
Let’s take a look at one specific example: Dealing with rats. Soak cotton balls in the peppermint oil and place it in areas where the rodents are active in your garden. It is a very powerful smell that rats hate. Also, keep your dustbin close. This method is also helpful to keep away rabbits.

5.      Homemade Insecticides

●     Neem oil: Oil extracted from the seeds of neem is used to destroy the life cycle of insects. It disrupts hormone of the insects.  It is a powerful fungicide that is effective against fungal infections and mildew in plants. You can mix neem oil with liquid soap and water. Spray it on the leaves of the plants.
●     Mixture of molasses and water: Possums are very dangerous, they eat garden vegetables. Molasses mixed with water is a powerful natural repellent that repels possums.
●     Diatomaceous Earth: It is a powerful insecticide. It has the abrasive qualities that absorb lipids from the exoskeleton of insects. It kills them by dehydration. You can add it in the foliage to control insects and snails.
●     Garlic spray: It has a pungent aroma that repels pests. You can take few bulbs of garlic and blend them. Add water and keep it for overnight. You can also add soap water and vegetable oil. Spray it on your plants.
I used these natural methods to control pests in my garden. They have improved the productivity of fruits and vegetables. Just adopt these methods and see the effect by yourself. 

          Oshkosh to Upgrade the US Army's Heavy Tactical Vehicles        
Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK) company, will recapitalize 1,212 Family of Heavy Tactical Vehicles (FHTV) and produce 345 trailers following multiple orders from the U.S. Army valued at more than $430 million. Oshkosh will upgrade the Army's fleet of Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks (HEMTT) and Palletized Load Systems (PLS) to provide the same performance and life cycle cost advantages as new production vehicles. All work performed under the contract will be comple...
          Oshkosh Resumes Work on Joint Light Tactical Vehicle        
The U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) has directed Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE: OSK) company, to resume work on the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) production contract. The JLTV program fills a critical capability gap for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps by replacing a large portion of the legacy HMMWV fleet with a light vehicle that provides unprecedented protection, off-road mobility and transportability. "W...
          US Army Awards $6.7 Bn JLTV Contract to Oshkosh        
The U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) has awarded Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE: OSK) company, a $6.7 billion firm fixed price production contract to manufacture the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV). The JLTV program fills a critical capability gap for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps by replacing a large portion of the legacy HMMWV fleet with a light tactical vehicle with far superior protection and off-road mobil...
          Oshkosh Defense to Build 698 Additional FMTVs for US Army        
Following a $184 million order from the U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC), Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE: OSK) company, will produce 698 Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) trucks for the U.S. Army. Deliveries will begin in 2016. "The Oshkosh FMTV delivers unprecedented durability and reliability while meeting the demands of the mission and our soldiers on today's battlefields," said John Bryant, senior vice president of defense programs at Oshkos...
          US Army Orders Oshkosh FMTVs        
Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE: OSK) company, will produce 256 Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) trucks and trailers for the U.S. Army following a $67 million order from the U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC). Deliveries will occur from 2015 to 2016. "The Oshkosh FMTV program exemplifies the quality and value that we provide to our military customers," said John Bryant, senior vice president of defense programs at Oshkosh Defense. "Since the day O...
          You’re Looking at the Wrong Numbers; Your Percentage Ownership Won’t Dictate What You’ll Make on Exit         
Unfortunately, many start-up founders do not clearly understand how much money they will receive on an exit transaction. In a world where equity is crucial to incentivizing team members, it is imperative that those team members actually understand their economic interest on a liquidity event. The most basic math (which unfortunately is the math often relied upon) is that owners will receive an amount equal to the exit-transaction purchase price, multiplied by their percent of ownership. So, for example, if the company sells for $100 million, an individual who owns 25% of the company will receive $25 million. In reality, it is highly unlikely this is the case. Before you calculate the magical exit check or wire, you need to take several things into consideration that will impact the amount you will receive. Most critical are special economic rights of investors, the company’s existing payables and debt, taxes (city, state and federal), transaction costs and ongoing obligations.
Senior Economic Rights:
When thinking about a potential exit payment, a founder should remember that typically start-up investors purchase stock (or another security such as convertible debt or a SAFE) that entitles them to special economic rights. Usually, this stock is different than the stock owned by the founders and other team members. Generally, investors purchase preferred stock (often labeled something like “Series A Preferred Stock” or “Series B Preferred Stock”), whereas founders and other team members typically hold common stock.  
Liquidation Preferences
A key economic term to understand in any equity investment term sheet — second in importance only to valuation — is liquidation preference. The amount paid to founders on an exit can differ dramatically depending on the investors’ liquidation preference. There are two principal things to be aware of when dealing with liquidation preferences: 1) the liquidation preference amount itself (usually 1x, 2x or 3x but sometimes shown in percentages as 100%, 200% or 300%); and 2) whether the preferred stock is participating or non-participating. 
Let’s tackle the liquidation preference itself first. A liquidation preference means that before holders of common stock receive any payments from an exit the holders of preferred stock will be entitled to some multiple of their money back. Most commonly these days, the liquidation preference is described as a multiple of one. So, to take a simple example, if a VC firm invests $1 million into a start-up and receives preferred stock with a 1x liquidation preference, in the case of a $10 million exit transaction the VC firm will be entitled to its $1 million back before the non-investors receive anything. As you can see, the multiple really matters here. If the preferred stock instead has a liquidation preference of 2x, the VC will be entitled to a $2 million preferential return, and if it is 3x, a $3 million preferential return. These returns must be paid before the founders ever see a dime. Particularly in the case of a small exit, the liquidation preference can be quite painful for a start-up founder.  
With a larger exit, the liquidation preference may not even come into play, depending on whether the investors participate or not (i.e., non-participating) after taking their liquidation preference. This is the second key aspect to consider. Sticking with our example, you may assume that if the start-up exits for $10 million, the VC firm would first receive its $1 million back (due to the 1x liquidation preference), leaving $9 million for distribution to everyone else. But here is where the participating versus non-participating piece comes in. If the preferred stock bought by the VC firm is participating, then in addition to the 1x liquidation preference, the VC firm will receive its percentage of the $9 million remainder. If the VC firm owns 8% of the company, for example, the firm would then also take another $720,000, for a total of $1,720,000. This leaves $8,280,000 to be split by everyone else. If instead the preferred stock is non-participating, the VC firm will only take the first $1 million and will not also receive a percentage of the remaining $9 million. These days, participating preferred stock is far more common than non-participating preferred stock. 
Complicating the scenario further is the fact that the VC firm in our example will most likely also have another option available at an exit, which is to convert its preferred stock into common stock. Preferred stock is often convertible into common stock at a 1:1 ratio (although the ratio varies and could even change during the life cycle of the company). To think about the conversion option, assume that instead of 8% of the company the VC firm owns 25% of the company in preferred stock with a 1x liquidation preference. If the preferred stock is participating, the analysis for the VC firm is easy — it gets its $1 million preference and then 25% of the remaining $9 million, for a total exit payout of $3,250,000. But, what if the preferred stock is non-participating? If the preferred stock is non-participating, the VC firm has to choose one or the other (i.e., its liquidation preference or the conversion option) but can’t have both. In this particular example, the VC firm will benefit more from its 25% ownership than from its 1x preference. The 1x preference gives the VC firm a $1 million payout. But, if the preferred stock is instead converted to common stock, then the entire $10 million will be allocated by percentage interest and the VC firm will receive $2.5 million (assuming a 1:1 conversion ratio). Thus, in some instances, this conversion option may be more economically advantageous to a VC firm holding non-participating preferred stock as opposed to electing not to convert and only benefiting from the liquidation preference. 
Many times outstanding preferred stock will accrue dividends, which are a bit like interest, giving investors another economic advantage. Dividends can be structured in different ways, but a common structure for start-ups is that, as time passes, more money accrues in a “cloud” account for the holders of the preferred stock. Before a holder of common stock will receive any money in the waterfall, accrued dividends will be paid out to the holders of the preferred stock. 
Other Factors Impacting the Waterfall:
While factors such as liquidation preferences and dividends dictate how much the holders of common stock and preferred stock will receive in relation to each other on an exit, there are also other factors that impact the amount of the payout overall. 
Existing Debt/Payables
This category may be the most obvious. At the closing of an exit transaction, the company is often expected to pay some of its existing payables or debt. For example, if a company has extensive debt outstanding either in the form of payables (such as accrued legal bills) or true debt (such as promissory notes), these amounts will often be offset against the purchase price.  
Many start-ups issue convertible debt, which, for this purpose, can be thought of as a hybrid of typical outstanding debt and preferred equity. Convertible debt holders may be entitled to interest payments, exit premiums and conversion rights upon an exit. If a company has convertible debt outstanding, a start-up team member needs to understand the economic rights associated with that debt in order to have an accurate picture of where he or she stands in the waterfall. 
Transaction and Ongoing Costs
Transaction costs are important to keep in mind, as they will affect the money available for distribution to stockholders. Usually, at the closing of the exit transaction the attorneys and bankers are paid via wire transfer. So, before a founder sees the 000,000s hit the company account or their personal account, funds are allocated for those transaction expenses. Other “transaction costs” can include representations and warranties insurance, filing fees and financing charges. 
Further, in most deals, the transaction is not over at closing, but rather there is a holdback or escrow of some percentage of the purchase price that can be recovered by the buyer in certain instances, such as if the seller’s representations and warranties are inaccurate. Depending on the initial terms negotiated for the preferred stock, an investor may receive its maximum payout at closing irrespective of the holdback or escrow amount, whereas the holders of common stock may have to wait until the holdback or escrow release and hope that none of the money has been distributed to the buyer due to adjustments or disputes. The escrow itself will often have additional costs tied to it, such as maintenance of the escrow account with an escrow agent and taxes and fees relating to a holding entity that may exist until the escrow breaks.  
A portion of the purchase price could be non-cash if, for example, it is paid in stock or equity of the acquirer, which will then impact a stockholder’s immediate payout. Also, a portion of the purchase price may be subject to an earn-out. In such a case, payment of a portion of the purchase price is contingent on certain milestones being met by the ongoing business (as owned by the acquirer after closing). As with a holdback, it can make a substantial difference to the holders of common stock whether or not an investor’s payout is also proportionally contingent on the earn-out. 
After closing there may be other costs as well that will need to be covered by the ongoing entity or paid out of funds held back from the purchase price. Until all post-closing payments and post-closing obligations are complete, there will likely be some ongoing accounting, tax and legal expenses. Additionally, any post-closing disputes that occur between the parties (such as whether the seller provided the buyer with accurate disclosures or whether a milestone event was reached) can decrease the purchase price available for payment to the stockholders. 
A critical set of payments due in connection with an exit transaction are tax payments. Unfortunately, there are various taxes that can impact an exit at all different levels (i.e., federal, state or local). The taxes owed will vary based on a number of factors, such as how the transaction was structured, where the company is located, the basis of the company or the stockholder in its assets or shares, as appropriate, and how, when and for how much a stockholder received his or her stock. In addition to evaluating the amount of taxes resulting from the transaction, it is important to evaluate whether the purchase price will be taxed as ordinary income or at a lower capital gains tax rate. The desire of the selling parties to pay one level of tax, and for that tax to be at capital gains rates, may be at odds with the desire of the buyer to have the ability to “step up” the basis of the company’s assets at closing and depreciate those assets over time. It is important to work with competent tax attorneys or accountants in structuring an exit from a tax perspective to create a tax-efficient exit for the selling parties.
NET NET – there are a lot of things a founder and other start-up team members receiving equity need to think about when considering what their take home amount will be upon an exit. It is not a two variable calculation. This is important not only when considering a potential exit scenario, but also when considering investment terms. When raising capital, a start-up founder should not only review the cap table but should review the cap table with a general understanding of the waterfall. And, when contemplating an exit, working through the waterfall economics is of upmost importance — the worst case scenario would be to miss the mark on what you believe your take home amount will be and then desire to unwind a transaction. 

          Comment on Are Fake Instagram Influencers Deceiving Brands? by Matthew Ankerstein        
When I was growing up as a kid I used to play online games, and people used to create bot accounts for leveling purposes. In the game there was even currency from the real world to the game. Kind of funny how this applies to social media and influencer marketing. I don't play the game online any more, but needless to say it still has these problems. This might be a problem that follows the life cycle of the industry.
          30 Activities for Kids this 5/6 Aug Weekend & National Day Holiday 2017        

It's Singapore's 52nd Birthday this coming Wednesday and even though there's no long weekend (bummer), the celebrations go into full swing THIS 5/6 Aug WEEKEND!

Other than catching the NDP Fireworks at Marina Bay, there are plenty of family-friendly activities to keep the kids all active and occupied. So head out this weekend and have fun!

4 - 6 Aug 2017 | 12pm - 9pm
Singapore EXPO Hall 5
FREE Admission

National Day is upon us again, and PlayLAH! is back at Singapore EXPO! PlayLAH! Let’s Celebrate! National Day 2017 has an even more exciting line-up of activities this year, complete with hands-on workshops, game booths and musical zones for you and your family’s ultimate day out. Let’s get creative, learn a new skill or simply soak up the carnival atmosphere with hours of fun and thrills in our 4 dedicated zones, thematic villages and stage programmes! Visit for more details.

Civic District Outdoor Festival
4 - 5 & 11-12 Aug 2017 | 5pm - 11pm
Civic District

For two weekends this August, Singapore's Civic District comes alive with art, light, sound – and you're invited! Held in Singapore's Civic District, the inaugural Civic District Outdoor Festival will transform the district's charming and historical architecture into an extravaganza of multimedia, art installations, stage and music performances, art markets and food streets. Amidst all the excitement, the Padang will also be transformed into a giant picnic area for you and your family and friends to take in the festivities. For a complete listing on all activities, visit HERE.

So Singapore at Sentosa
4 - 27 Aug 2017
Various events & timings
FREE (Island admission and car park charges apply)

Celebrate all things Singapore at Sentosa from 14 July to 27 August. Go loco with all things local as Sentosa lines up a slew of exciting free day and night programmes and activities for everyone. Visit for a complete listing of all activities.

Heritage Carnival 2017 - So Singapore

The all-day Heritage Carnival will take you back in time to Singapore's fishing village days to the post-war era. You will get to interact with 'villagers', snap selfies with retro exhibits and larger-than-life food props, or take a trip down memory lane with old-school Singapore artefacts and collectibles that will be on display. What's more, there will be food stalls selling delectable Singaporean delights such as Peranakan Kueh, Burger Bombs and Chendol on selected days!

Dates & Time: 4 – 13 August, 11am – 9pm
Venue: Palawan Green (Beach Station)
Food and Retail Stalls: 4 – 6 August | 3pm – 9.30pm (Friday) | 11am – 9.30pm (Saturday & Sunday)

Movies by the Beach

Catch popular local films such as 'Ah Boys to Men' and 'Ilo Ilo' with your families and friends by the beach when night falls.

Dates: 4 – 13 August
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Palawan Green (Beach Station)
Click here to view movie screening schedule

Merlion Magic Lights

Get your cameras ready and stand in awe as the majestic Sentosa Merlion comes to life with vibrant and colourful National Day-themed lights and projections, when night falls! Apart from the theme of patriotism, the ever-popular light and music extravaganza now comes with an added feature so that you can experience augmented reality (AR) effects while watching the show through your smartphones. Just download the free AR App marq+, available on both the App Store and Play Store.

Dates: Now until 27 August
Time: 7.45pm, 8.15pm, 8.45pm & 9.15pm,
*2 additional shows at 9.45pm & 10.15pm on Weekends, Eve of Public Holiday and Public Holiday
Venue:  Merlion Plaza (Imbiah Station)

Steady Pom Pee Pee

Relive your childhood with nostalgic kampong games like the colorful Five Stones, the exciting Chapteh, and the Eraser Gamer, just to name a few!

Dates: Now until 27 August
Time: 11am – 8pm (Weekdays); 10am – 8pm (Weekends)
Venue: Beach Plaza (Beach Station)

Saturdays@ACM: Where I Belong
5 Aug 2017 | 1pm - 11pm
Asian Civilisations Museum
FREE Admission

Happy Birthday, Singapore! Make your own rojak and catch and song and dance performance at the museum. More of a night owl? Leave your mark on the walls of a massive glow-in-the-dark installation by local artist, Rajesh Kumar. Experience historic buildings in a different light with special Monuments by Moonlight tours.

Gardens by the Bay Celebrates National Day
5 Aug 2017
8.15am - 9.30am (Mass walk) | 5.30pm - 7.00pm (Dance fitness party)
Supertree Grove
FREE Admission

Come celebrate our Nation's birthday on 5 August. Gather your family and friends to enjoy a fun and energetic bonding time and do not miss the “Dance as One” fitness party specially created for this occasion. Visit HERE for more information.

Families for Life ‘Celebrating NS50’ Picnic
5 Aug 2017 | 4.30pm - 9.30pm
Singapore Discovery Centre
FREE Admission

Head at the Singapore Discovery Centre between 3pm and 9.30pm, expect plenty of family-friendly activities like games, bouncy castles, face painting and an outdoor movie under the stars!

And in celebration of 50 years of National Service, families can also look forward to fun NS50-themed activities and games... including the first-ever SAFTI-Pasir Laba coach tour, families can test their skills at the mini Standard Obstacle Course (SOC) and Individual Marksmanship Trainer (IMT) shooting. Families will also be able to DIY their own ID tag and rank insignia!

For more details on various activities, read my previous post here:

NParks Live Out Loud
5 Aug 2017

Music in the Park (in collaboration with People's Association)
Venue: Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, River Plains
Time: 5.30pm – 7.00pm

Music by the Beach
Venue: East Coast Park, Parkland Green
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm 

What better way to spend your evenings in the park than chilling out to music at sundown? NParks' open mike series, "Live Out Loud" (LOL), showcases budding talents, with performances taking place in our green spaces! LOL features hobby musicians and non-professional performing acts – each will be given 15 minutes to display their musical talents, be it singing, dancing, playing an instrument, beatboxing or rapping.

Sundown Festival 2017
5 Aug 2017 | 4pm
City Beach Resort, Labrador Park
$15 (Free for kids below 6)

Asia’s leading music festival returns for eighth edition at a brand-new entertainment and events venue at Labrador Park. Sundown Festival continues to support the growth of home-grown talents with this year’s edition featuring an explosive line up of local artistes; Derrick Hoh, FARRAGO, Jack & Rai, Jason Chung, Ling Kai and The Summer State.

The Sundown Festival is an iconic annual event that celebrates Asian music and culture with the objective to showcase the vibrant Asian entertainment scene on a singular platform, uniting and bridging the diversity of Asian countries. For more information, please visit

Get Active and Celebrate NS50’ Sports Festival
5 & 6 Aug 2017 | 9am - 9pm
Toa Payoh Hub Atrium
FREE Admission

Visitors to the carnival can look forward to activities:

- NS-inspired obstacle course
This obstacle course is inspired by training in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the Home Team, and promises a fun-filled challenge for kids and parents! The six obstacles include Low Wall; Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) Ladder; Swing Bar; Tyre Flip/Hop; Dodge the Crowd; and Flying Fox.

Each participant will be given a Singapore flag during registration, which they will have to carry as they make their way through the obstacle course. At the end of the obstacle course, participants will insert the flag to create an ‘NS50 Pledge’ art installation wall. The NS50 logo will be visible when the wall is completely filled with flags.

- Fitness workouts and active health stations
After completing the obstacle course, participants can head over to nearby activity booths where they can take part in sports try-outs and static workouts. Examples include an Active F.I.T challenge, a Watt Bike challenge and a martial arts workout. Those who have completed the ActiveSG Steps Challenge can also redeem a limited edition NS50 Jerrycan water bottle at the redemption booth (while stocks last).

- Live Music Performances
Camokakis, Edric Hsu, and Shabir will be performing songs from the NS50 Music Album at the Sports Festival.

- Festival stage activities
Fitness-related workouts and performances will take place on the festival stage throughout the day.

FREE Gym and Swimming Pool Entry for National Servicemen, Family &Friends
5 & 6 Aug 2017

Entry to all ActiveSG gyms and swimming pools will be free on 5 and 6 August 2017! Past and present national servicemen will just have to present their 11B, or SAFRA/HomeTeamNS membership cards to the counter staff on duty before entering the facility. Family members and friends also enter FOR FREE!

5 - 9 Aug 2017 | 1pm - 5pm
Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall
FREE Admission

Join in to celebrate National Day at Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall! Learn more about the Chinese auspicious motifs through interactive storytelling in the galleries and experience the fun of being a young patriotic Scholar!

Storytelling: Stitches of Love (English)

Uncle Rajah and his friends are back this National Day! Hop onto the magic carpet and travel back in time to discover the bright and colourful world of Chinese children’s clothing, stitched with parental love.

Date: 5, 6 & 9 August 2017
Time: 2.00pm - 2.45pm

Storytelling: Stories of the Animal Kingdom (Mandarin)

Enter into the world of the animal kingdom, and join storyteller Liang Huiyu for an interactive storytelling session to learn more about family love and friendship!

Date: 5, 6 & 9 August 2017
Time: 3.30pm – 4.15pm

Activities: SG Icons Badge

Animal motifs are often found on Chinese children’s clothing. Find out more about Singapore’s very own animal icons as you make your SG Icons Badge!

Date: 5 August 2017
Time: 2pm - 5pm

Activities: Fan of Motifs

Have fun designing your Fan of Motifs with different Singapore icons and symbols from our special exhibition!

Date: 6 August 2017
Time: 2pm - 5pm

National Day Highlight: Be a Young Patriotic Scholar!

Chinese parents traditionally hope for their children to excel in their studies and bring glory to the family. Other than academic pursuits, children were expected to learn calligraphy and painting as well. Experience life as an ancient Chinese scholar at our various activity stations and bring back home your own unique crafts that express your love for Singapore!

Date: 9 August 2017
Time: 1pm - 5pm

City of Dreams
6 Aug 2017 | 6pm - 7.30pm
Singapore Botanic Gardens, Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage

"City of Dreams" symbolises and celebrates Singapore's vibrant band scene while remembering our nation’s history, especially as National Day comes around. Experience nostalgia as the bands present a variety of uniquely Singaporean songs, from National Day songs such as 'Home' and 'Where I Belong', to classics such as 'Kopi-O' and Bunga 'Sayang'. Come join us with family and friends and have an enchanting time of singing, dancing and simply reliving the good old days while celebrating our Nation’s 52nd birthday!

RED-X Games - The Family Challenge 2017
Now until 8 Aug 2017 | 9am - 7pm

Held at the Padang from 29 July to 8 August (9am to 7pm), the RED-X Games - The Family Challenge 2017 will feature an obstacle course with a 'Own Time Own Target' mode which allows everyone try and complete the obstacle course at their pace. The individual stations are specially created to mimic the training that every soldier undergoes. Participants can expect popular obstacles like Low Wall, Multi-Rig, Monkey Bar, Rope Climb, Farmer's Walk and Tyre Flip.

The ‘Discovery” Challenge allows everyone to complete the obstacle course at their pace while those who are up for a challenge can participate in an ‘Ultimate’ Challenge, which is opened to families and individuals, where participants are to complete all the obstacles in the shortest possible time, to win a RED-X dry bag.

*Interested public may register at the RED-X Booth at the GASG Sports Festival at the Padang. Registration is free for the ‘Discovery’ Challenge and $20 for the ‘Ultimate’ Challenge.

NS Obstacle Challenge @ Eastpoint Mall
7 - 13 Aug 2017
Eastpoint Mall

Eastpoint Mall will be holding a mini ‘NS Obstacle Challenge’ from 7 to 13 Aug to commemorate NS50 and celebrate National Day. Children aged 6 to 12 years old will be able to experience military training through a realistic obstacle course, and will receive a certificate that certifies them fit to protect the nation.

Sports Hub National Day Fiesta
9 Aug 2017 | 9am - 9pm
Singapore Sports Hub

The Sports Hub National Day Fiesta, which is part of GetActive! @ Singapore Sports Hub event, is a full day celebration featuring a variety of sports, fitness, entertainment and lifestyle activities including a live telecast of the National Day Parade and family picnic, sports challenges, 52-minute National Day fitness workout, aquathlon workshop, and a carnival.

Key highlights include Live NDP Telecast & Family Picnic, experiencing 8 different sports – tennis, table tennis, lawn bowl, athletics, touch rugby, basketball, futsal and floorball, and a National Day Carnival. Please visit for more information.

National Day Celebrations at the National Museum
9 Aug 2017 | 10am – 8.30pm
National Museum Singapore
FREE Admission

Come celebrate National Day at the National Museum of Singapore with day-to-night programmes for the family. Join in for an up-close session with Jimmy Lam, the author and photographer of Singapore: Country of Many Faces; a live telecast of the National Day Parade with D.I.Y. picnics featuring your favourite Singapore food and new local creations; fun craft activities with our favourite national symbols and icons; music performances on a Red Steinway piano that include sets by William Lim Jr. from popular local band Electrico, and more! Plus, don’t miss the opportunity to collect special Singapore souvenirs and complimentary National Day Parade fun packs, which will be given out to the first 500 visitors to our live telecast – while stocks last! For more details on programme timings, visit HERE.

National Day Family Fun
9 Aug 2017 | 10am - 7pm
Singapore Philatelic Museum
Free admission for Singapore Citizens & Permanent Residents (Admission charges apply for other visitors)

Lively Fairy Tales by Shakespeare's Globe
Timings: 11:00am - 11:30am | 2:00pm - 2:30pm | 3:30pm - 4:00pm

Shakespeare's Globe presents an interactive fairy tale. Get into the think of the action and explore the magical story not just as listeners but as storytellers too. A wonderful experience for the whole family!

Fun Quiz
Timing: 10:00am - 5:00pm

Get together and hunt for answers in our galleries and win a small prize! *While stocks last.

The Curious Adventures of Pinocchio
Now until 6 Aug 2017
Weekdays: 9am | Weekends: 10.30am & 2.30pm
Drama Centre Black Box
Weekdays: $28 | Weekends $38

This is a unique retelling where the story leaps off the page and onto the stage. Crickets, cats, foxes and, of course, the world-famous puppet, will spring out of our collection of dusty, old, magic books, while Patrick Lynch pulls all the strings and turns all the pages to bring you the true story of Pinocchio, no lie. Who nose? He might even find his father and become a real boy. For tickets, visit HERE.

Celebrate Singapore’s 52nd Birthday with KidZania Singapore
Now until 13 Aug 2017
10am - 6pm
KidZania Singapore
Admission charges apply

Unite at KidZania Singapore and experience what it means to belong as One Nation Together as KidZania Singapore celebrate Singapore’s 52nd birthday with a host of activities!

Be part of the National Day Parade and dance with us at KidZania Singapore
Celebrate National Day with a special rendition of the City Parade, and dance to heart-warming National Day songs with the Team Members in a specially choreographed National Day dance at the City Clock.

Ink your love for Singapore
Get a temporary National Day themed tattoo at the Main Square.

Pledge your wishes for Singapore
Make your own personalised human cutout with your kids and pledge your wishes for Singapore on our Pledge Wall. Remember to pose for a photo with the wall too!

Support Local and earn extra kidZos
Kids will earn 2 extra kidZos when they work at our local role-play establishments! These include: Accident & Emergency, Coach Station, Fire Station, Makeup Atelier, Mountaineering School, Operating Theatre, Optical Shop, Peranakan Museum, Police Station, Radio Station, Soup Kitchen, Traditional BBQ Meat Store, and University.

Exclusive promotion on Kid Ticket and B.KidZanian CitiZenship
From now until 31 August 2017, enjoy 52% off your second kid walk-in ticket when you purchase your tickets over at the ticketing counters at KidZania Singapore. Also, enjoy 35% when you register your kids as a B.KidZanian CitiZen at KidZania Singapore’s PaZZport Office, and enter your kids into a world of exclusive B.KidZanian benefits.

Straits Family Sunday: This is Home, Truly
13 Aug 2017; 1pm - 5pm
Peranakan Museum
FREE Admission

What makes a country a “home”? Let us bring you down memory lane to revisit what makes Singapore, uniquely Singapore. Continue celebrating Singapore’s independence this Sunday with your whole family.

Orchid Extravaganza
Now until 20 Aug 2017 | 9am - 9pm
Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay
Admission charges apply

This year, the “Orchid Extravaganza” floral display tells the story of Singapore through the motif of a butterfly’s life cycle. Stunning orchids in myriad shapes and colours will fill a landscape depicting the stages of a butterfly’s growth, including a ‘Chrysalis’ structure in the main Flower Field. Visitors can look forward to seeing​ orchid varieties such as Phalaenopsis, Vanda, Dendrobium, Grammatophyllum and many others. There will also be a sculpture of 52 butterflies - in celebration of Singapore's 52nd National Day - in the shape of Singapore. Visit HERE for more information.

Dino Robot Factory
Now until 27 Aug 2017
Hall 2, Annex, Science Centre
Adult & Senior Citizen $5 | Child $7

A travelling exhibition direct from Japan especially curated for young children. The Dino Robot Factory walks children through and allows them to experience the process of creating a robot dinosaur. Along the way, they learn about the basics of design, automation, assembly and mechanics in a fun and exciting manner. For more details on activities, visit HERE.

Now until 27 Aug 2017
8pm (Matinee shows on weekends)
Under the Big Top Tent, Next to Marina Bay Sands
From $88

Cirque du Soleil returns to Singapore with an awe-inspiring production presented in the intimate setting of the blue and yellow Big Top. Seen by over 7 million people around the world, KOOZA pays homage to Cirque du Soleil's roots by combining thrilling, heart-stopping acrobatic performance with the art of clowning. Read my REVIEW here. For tickets, visit HERE.

Imaginarium: To the Ends of the Earth
Now until 27 Aug 2017
Mon - Sun 10am - 7pm | Fri 10am - 9pm
Singapore Art Musuem
FREE for Singaporeans & PRs | Adults $6 | Senior Citizens (above 60) & Kids $3 | Kids below 6 FREE

Explorers of the land! How much do you know about the planet we inhabit? Singapore Art Museum welcomes you back to the seventh edition of our family-focused exhibition, Imaginarium: To the Ends of the Earth. Taking a closer look at the surroundings and environments we reside in, we see how people, flora, and fauna, adapt to their ever-changing surroundings. With the technological progress we have made, we now have better insight into far-flung locations, and are better connected than before, but are we really any closer to appreciating earth’s many marvels?

Through inspiring and engaging artworks, Imaginarium: To the Ends of the Earth introduces explorers to new ways of seeing and experiencing the world around us. For more details, visit HERE.

52% off Admission at Zoo, River Safari & Jurong Bird Park
Now until 31 Aug 2017

To celebrate Singapore’s 52nd birthday, Wildlife Reserves is offering a 52% discount off the admission fees to the Singapore Zoo and Jurong Bird Park in the month of August. Local residents can choose between Singapore Zoo and River Safari, or Singapore Zoo and Jurong Bird Park for the special two-park combination offer. The offer is valid only for purchases on-site and allows the ticket holder to visit the two selected parks within a week.

A number of special performances will also be helo, including busking, Mascots meet & greets, Mask Crafts and more. Visit HERE for more information.

Red Riding Hood 小红帽 (Mandarin)
Now until 1 Sep 2017
Weekdays: 10am | Weekend & Public Holiday: 11am & 2pm
KC Arts Centre - Home of SRT
$25, $28

After successfully staging it in English, SRT’s The Little Company now presents Red Riding Hood in Mandarin. Red Riding Hood is an uplifting story about a brave girl named Red who must journey through the forest to reunite her family and save Mother's bakery from closing down. Join Red on her adventure into the woods, where no one is what they seem! Filled with humour and packed with original music, this is a fantastic show to be enjoyed by children and adults of all ages. For tickets, visit HERE.

PIECE OF PEACE World Tour − World Heritage Exhibit built with LEGO Bricks
Now until 3 Sep 2017
Weekdays: 10am - 9pm | Weekends & PH: 10am - midnight
Fort Canning Arts Centre, 5 Cox Terrace
Adult (17 & above) - Weekdays $17 & Weekends $19
Child (4-16) & Senior Citizzens (60 & above) - Weekdays $13 & Weekends $15

The exhibition is a celebration of ASEAN’s 50th anniversary, and features highlights such as LOVE EARTH, LOVE ASIA; and LOVE ASEAN. The LOVE ASEAN segment is exclusively showcased in Singapore, featuring seven — out of a total of nine — brand-new replicas of ASEAN’s UNESCO heritage sites, including our very own Singapore Botanic Gardens, all built with LEGO bricks! The younger ones can unleash their imagination at the LEGO Kids Play Zone. For more information, visit HERE.

Children's Biennale 2017
Now until 8 Oct 2017
National Gallery Singapore
FREE for Singaporeans & PRs

Themed “Dreams & Stories,” the first edition of Gallery Children’s Biennale invites the inner child in each of us to embark on a creative journey. Explore the world through the eyes of nine artists from Singapore and beyond: Chng Seok Tin, Mark Justiniani, Yayoi Kusama, Vincent Leow, Lynn Lu, teamLab, Tran Trong Vu, Ian Woo and Robert Zhao. For more details, visit HERE.

Precious Eggs: Of Art, Beauty and Culture
Now until 8 Oct 2017 | 10am - 7pm
Singapore Philatelic Museum
Free admission for Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents | Other visitors: Adults $8 & Child $6

The egg’s unique form and life-giving symbol have inspired artists and craftsmen, resulting in historical pieces like the Russian Imperial porcelain eggs, Fabergé egg pendants and other works using materials ranging from crystal to horn.

Besides colourfully decorated quail, chicken, duck, goose, swan and ostrich eggs, there are also eggs crafted of precious and enamelled metals, glass, porcelain, wax, crystal, marble, stone, wood, reindeer horn, cardboard, and papier-mâché.  Also on show is a series of artists’ eggs, a set of commissioned sculptures to showcase the works of Liechtenstein’s leading artists. From Singapore, 24K gold plated ostrich, emu, goose, chicken and quail eggs from RISIS are on display.

Playeum's 'Making It Home' Exhibition
Now until 29 Oct 2017
Tues - Sun: 10am - 6pm (Closed on Mondays)
Playeum (Blk 47, Malan Road, Gillman Barracks, #01-23, Singapore 109444)
$22 per child (1-12) | Accompanying adult: Free | Additional accompanying adult: $10

Located at Gillman Barracks, Playeum is a museum without walls which hopes to inspire children through self-directed exploration and learning and in the process, establish a culture of meaningful and impactful play. The new exhibition is all about dreaming rooms, making spaces and creating places. Kids (and parents) will be able to experience the home as a place where many ordinary materials can have multiple purposes and support imagination, innovation and sustainability.

Interestingly, the spaces within the indoor playground - if you can call Playeum that - have been transformed into different ‘rooms’, each with a different purpose with different opportunities for the kids to explore, experiment and redefine. Whether it is imagining colours, materials and designs for floors walls and ceilings, to conjuring up art works with sand or recyclable materials, kids can stretch their creativity and imagination to the limit! Head HERE for my review.


Listen to or read this downloadable podcast by General Director Aidan Lang. Mozart's beloved Magic Flute returns to Seattle this May (nine performances through May 21). Aidan explains the powerful appeal of this great masterpiece and the difference between good and great productions of The Magic Flute.

Hi, everyone! It’s Aidan Lang here, and I’m going to speak to you about Mozart’s Magic Flute, Die Zauberflöte.

Magic Flute is always in those lists of “the most popular operas,” which are really lists of the operas most performed. Why is that? I think it’s ‘cause it’s got something for everyone. Part of its appeal is it’s a very large cast, which keeps its interest going; it’s going a strong, if somewhat diverse storyline; I mean, it’s a hard storyline to encapsulate! But you are engaged, always, in terms of what’s going to happen next, and that’s a great appeal for people. The variety of its music is also so important. It traverses a number of different styles, from the simple, almost folk-like tunes given to Papageno, which is very much symptomatic of the sort of music which was performed in a Singspiel; and then music of huge sophistication, in the arias, say, of Tamino and Pamina; the vocal fireworks of both of the Queen of the Nights arias; and the beautiful, somber gravitas of the music for the priests and Sarastro. So there’s massive variety in this work, of style, of tone, which is not just to do with the storyline, it’s baked into this particular form called Singspiel. At the end of the day I think its popularity is based on the fact that it’s got so much going for it. It’s got famous musical highlights, and a number of highlights (it’s not just a one-hit wonder at all). As you sit through it you’ll go, “Oh, my goodness me!” and “Oh, it’s that one,” and “Oh, that;” they keep coming. And I think that’s part of its appeal. It has everything right. It’s got extraordinary music, familiarity of many of the numbers, and also an opera which demands spectacle and it demands visual élan. It’s got it all.

What I love about Mozart’s work is, at the end of it all there is forgiveness and humanity and an understanding, not only of human nature, but of human foible. It’s no coincidence that over four years we’ve programmed all four of Mozart’s great operas: Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro, The Magic Flute, and next year Così fan tutte. Because these are four great cornerstones of the repertoire. What for me always amazes, in these works and in some of the less-performed works, which I’ve had the great privilege to direct over the years, is the humanity which shines through not only Mozart’s music but also his dramaturgy. I directed one of his pieces of juvenilia, La finta semplice (The Feigned Simpleton) , I think he was 13 when he wrote it. Musically, there was an understanding of human emotion and love which was mind-boggling for a 13 year-old. You just know you’re in the presence of an extraordinary human being, who seems to understand how people interact. For me this is the mark of a truly great human being: that we are aware of our faults, we can hopefully correct them and understand; but we don’t attach blame.

In The Magic Flute, there is an understanding of all aspects of human nature, with the two character-paths of Tamino and Papageno. We have this sense of a man (or two men) starting the opera one way and ending transformed and enriched at its outcome. For me I find that a wonderful thing. You leave the theater a different person from the one who sat down in their seat, just as the characters do. And that for me is what all art should be about. We enter this extraordinary experience, of sitting in a theater and engaging with a happening onstage, but what defines art from simply entertainment is that at the end of it we go out wiser people, better citizens, if you like, we go out renewed and with a higher understanding of ourselves and the way we interact with our society. That is why Mozart is a truly great artist.

The Magic Flute is often hailed as the perfect family opera, and I think that’s right, I think it is. It’s got a very clear and vibrant storyline. I think it is a great opera for young people to attend. It’s a bit like watching Shrek, you can engage at two levels. The parents get jokes which the children don’t, but both have a thoroughly good time. We have Family Days on our Sunday matinees. What I would say to you parents out there is it might be a good idea to fill in your family on the storyline, why not? It’s readily available on our website, or you could go to Google for it. Just to give the background story, to prepare the family for what’s going to happen. Maybe play one or two of the well-known hit tunes, just to ease everyone in and make everyone understand that this is a really enjoyable afternoon at the theater.

It’s an opera where there’s something for everyone, and I think that’s built into it. Mozart and Schikaneder were writing a work which was aimed to speak to a wide-ranging audience. It was performed not at the opera, it was performed at a theater outside Vienna, outside the city walls, which specialized in this German form of Singspiel, a sung play. So the format of Magic Flute is sung sections interspersed with dialogue. Singspiel was considered a middle- to lower-class form of entertainment, as opposed to the aristocratic entertainment, which was Italian opera. I’ll talk in a moment about the higher thought which underpins this work; but Mozart and Schikaneder put in quite simple moments of philosophy, when the characters come out of the action for a moment and give a little moral directly to the audience, then go back into action. You see it for the first time in the quintet after the Queen of the Night’s aria, when Papageno’s mouth-padlock is taken off, and he’s learned his lesson, not to tell lies. Then all five characters—the Three Ladies, Papageno, and Tamino—come forward to the audience and say, “This is the punishment for any liar!” And there are a lot of moments throughout the opera where those moral lessons are given. I think the feeling is that those lessons are given for those members of the audience who may not have been Freemasons, or may not have been versed in the philosophy of the Enlightenment, which gets touched in at a higher level of the work. But the educational aspect of the piece is there for all people. So there are simple lessons for the less philosophically minded, and one includes Papageno in that. It’s also an opera with important philosophical points being made, which may be over the heads of people, but is also there for a more intellectual audience as well. That’s actually baked into the piece. The work itself moves at such a lick—it moves very quickly, it travels a long way—so you’re all the time being moved by a multiple story level, as all these characters go on their journeys.

Flute is one of those 18th-century operas which is quite hard to sum up in one or two succinct sentences. But I’m going to try! It is about a journey. The meaning of that journey changes. On the one hand you have Prince Tamino, who seems to be on a sort of adventure; for the first half hour or so of the opera he seems to be on a quest to find and rescue a girl. But halfway through Act One that journey changes into a more spiritual quest, a quest to find understanding of human nature. The other quest, the other journey, is the secondary set of characters: Papageno the bird-catcher and his quest to find a wife. The two characters, the two men, Tamino and Papageno, are two sides of our personality, and I think it’s important that as they go on this parallel journey, you realize that together they form a complete person. Although the two men’s journeys physically take different directions, at the end of the opera each finds a resolution, and with both characters finding a resolution at the same time, so we as human beings are complete as both conflicting sides of our personalities come together.

As always there are people who will find fault with a work, even a sublime masterpiece like this, and one of the criticisms aimed over really since its beginning against Magic Flute, is its seeming hodgepodge of influences. Where did this story come from? How come we mix up the tradition of Singspiel, which on the whole was a popular form of entertainment, with the high thought of Freemasonry, with this idea of a lot of the imagery coming from ancient Egypt, there’s echoes certainly of the Orpheus myth, of low-level characters and Sarastro and his priests operating at the highest level. It’s very hard to find a throughline on this. I’ve given a lot of thought to this, and it occurs to me that finding a throughline is actually a very modern thing to want to do. Actually, if you go back to the time this was composed and the circles Mozart was inhabiting, in the latter years of his very short life—he became a Freemason later on, so for the last seven years of his life he was a Freemason. But in those times, Freemasonry was linked to the movement called the Enlightenment. This was the Age of Enlightenment, where science was held as a means of discovering eternal truths. The ideas of the Enlightenment are very, very close to those of Freemasonry. This was a time when men of thought, of all disciplines—the arts, sciences—would meet together at the Masonic Lodge to discuss ideas, ideas which were relevant to times of great political upheaval. You know, the French Revolution has just happened. The libertarian ideas taught by the Enlightenment, and indeed by the Freemasons, were held responsible (by some aristocracies clinging onto power) the idea of freedom of thought and individualism. So these were very turbulent times.

We tend to think that all composers write for posterity, because we do repertoire which has survived, and gets repeated, and of course Magic Flute is one such. But actually, composers don’t write for posterity; they write for the moment. This is a piece about Mozart’s time. He wasn’t sitting there thinking, you know, “200 years later my work will still be done!” He didn’t think that way. And I think that’s important to understand when we view this. We can reinterpret it, and take ideas and find connections with our times, and of course we do that all the time. But composers wrote huge outputs for the consumption then. The idea of posterity was not really in their consciousness.

Schikaneder is hailed as being the librettist; he was the manager of the Theater auf der Wieden, where the opera was first performed, and he played the role of Papageno. But what we know now is that all sorts of members of the cast actually were composers and actors in their own right. I have the feeling that somehow this piece was much more of a collective experience, even though Mozart wrote the music, it’s certainly felt now that Schikaneder was certainly not alone, in writing all the libretto. That one of their fellow performers, who actually directed the first performance, a guy named Giesecke, actually wrote some of the libretto himself. And you feel that all these wide-ranging ideas were the result of endless nights of discussion. And Mozart took an idea from here, and took an idea from there. The Singspiel-format allows that. Were this an Italian opera seria, or indeed an Italian comic opera, it would be far too much information. But the free-wheeling nature of Singspiel, the fact that you can go from one musical style to another, means that it’s open to adopting all sorts of influences and ideas. I think it’s a product of its time, of 1791, where ideas of meaning and thought and importance are being bandied around in certain circles. In a funny kind of way, I think the diversity of influences we should view as a strength, not as a weakness. It’s only later thought about what an opera should be, what a work of art should be, which has caused the problem. Because Magic Flute doesn’t fit into that format. But I think it is a product of its time.

As I said earlier, this is a work which you can approach at two levels: as a really fantastic and entertaining night out; or you can mine the work for ideas of depth and meaning. Those ideas are there. In a nutshell, it is about an understanding of who we are as human beings, about human nature.

As we look at the journey which Tamino takes in the second act, yes, he passes through a number of stages which are we gather linked certainly by implication to stages of the Masonic ritual. But it’s easy to let that become a red herring. Look at the higher purpose of the piece, that is, a cleansing process; not to deny one’s base instinct, but when duty calls, it’s important to resist temptation. So, when three attractive ladies come in, it’s not to say you’re shutting out feelings of sensuality, but there are moments when one has to do that. Papageno finds it less easy, when three girls are flirting with him. But Tamino, for that two minutes of that number, where he’s been told not to speak, he doesn’t speak, he doesn’t give in. That sense of control when needed is part of the journey he goes through. The vow of silence: yes, of course it is an echo of the ability to keep a secret which is part of Masonic ritual; but it’s not saying that Tamino would become a Freemason, it’s saying that the discipline is important to learn. It doesn’t mean he’s going to spend his entire life in silence. But he needs to go through the pain barrier of not communicating with the woman he wants to be with for a period, even if it causes misunderstanding. It’s the discipline which is important, not the actual action of keeping silent in that moment. That’s the journey that Tamino is taking; he’s not denying the opposing force, he’s saying there are moments in life where you have to take a stand, if you’re going to aspire to a higher level of understanding which is necessary to be a ruler of your particular area of the community.

One of the disciplines which has to be achieved in order to arrive at a level of higher understanding is the ability to conquer the fear of death. To understand that death is part of the life cycle, as is passing on to a new generation. Now, this comes in a number of ways. Even at the Papageno level, a character who’s very much afraid of death, and who fails the test. But at the end, in the wonderful duet with Papagena, that is all about creating the next generation, an endless litter of children. But for Tamino and Pamina, significantly, both characters faint, they pass out under stress. Tamino faints as the serpent, the dragon is about to devour him; and Pamina faints when threatened by Monostatos. And the faint is considered to be a symbolic death, and when you wake up you’re in a “brave new world,” a new start. As Tamino wakes up, suddenly he finds himself in this land, and he’s on the beginning of his journey; and when Pamina wakes up suddenly Papageno is there. That is the start of their journey. So there’s a sort of symbolic death, throwing off one life in preparation for a new life. The Isis and Osiris myth is actually one of death and renewal as well. These ideas of a new life, an afterlife if you like, are important to understand this work. There’s something to look forward to after death, even if it’s a metaphorical death, in the case of the faint of Tamino and Pamina. But more importantly, the trials of fire and water are the way that Tamino, and Pamina, who joins him on that journey, are able to conquer their fear of death, and finally pass through, and be ready to be fully enlightened individuals.

One of the fascinating things about Magic Flute is that every production is different. It’s probably the opera I have seen most different productions of, in my life, partly because my wife spent a lot of her career singing either Pamina or, in many, many occasions, Papagena, all around Europe, and I saw many different productions of this piece which she was in, and every one was different. I guess you’d divide it into two camps, those who take a more “show” approach, a more musical theater approach, a spectacle-based approach to the work; and those productions which take it extremely seriously.

This fusion of seriousness and a lighter side seems to capture this piece best. If a production is too heavy on the showy aspect, they lose a lot of the piece; but at the same time you can be a bit too serious with it, and negate the amusing nature of the more comic aspects of the work as well. Maybe it’s a reflection of our desire to homogenize our experiences today, and find this unity of thought, whereas it’s just not there in this piece, and I think you should just celebrate the fact that it has endless variety. If one scene seems overly earnest to you, well, five minutes later an entertaining scene is going to pop along.

This mix of genres is of course absolutely typical of Shakespeare. What’s quite fascinating is our director, Chris Alexander, is a hugely experienced director of Shakespeare, and that may well be why he’s given us such a varied and deeply thought-out production, because he understands this idea that comedy and seriousness exist hand-in-hand, as in life. This is an opera of contrasts, but contrasts which are necessary to each other. There are endless references to darkness and night, and references to daylight and the sun. It’s not really about good and evil. It’s about the fact that good and evil are two sides of the same coin. Day can only come after night. Day needs night. These contrasts are part of human nature. If someone has only one and not the other, they’re not a complete human being. That dichotomy is built into the musical and dramatic structure of the piece as well. We are complete because we have many, many different facets to us.

This production by Chris Alexander is a revival of our production from 2011. I think what’s special about it is the way that the characters are so clearly defined in all their various guises by the wonderful and vibrant designs by Zandra Rhodes. In many ways the scenic picture helps bring those characters into focus. It is through this wide panoply of characters that we understand the work. And I know you’re gonna be in for an absolute treat, visually, in terms of the use of color and textures and fabrics which Zandra always brings to her work and gives this particular production a life and energy which I think is really, really attractive. Chris himself is back to oversee the revival, and I’m also very pleased to welcome to Seattle Opera Julia Jones, our maestro. It’s her first time conducting here, she’s a particular expert in Mozart. Julia, interestingly, is English but has spent most of her career in Germany, and I think brings an understanding of the text, which gets lost in some productions. A lot of people think this is an inferior libretto, not worthy of textual scrutiny, but Julia in rehearsal has been emphasizing the need to make the text really mean something, and that’s great, because of course it is the words which drive any drama.

As always, we have some welcome returnees and some new people on our stage. Both our Paminas, Lauren Snouffer and Amanda Forsythe, have been with us before; Lauren was here earlier this season as Countess Adèle in Count Ory, and those of you who saw Handel’s Semele will remember the extraordinary outfit that Amanda wore as Iris, the zappy messenger of Juno in Handel’s opera. So we’re very very glad to have both those ladies back with us. Our two Taminos: Andrew Stenson was a Young Artist here, and Randall Bills we last saw as Don Ottavio in Chris Alexander’s Don Giovanni in 2014. So again, it’s great to have those two gents back with us. Our two Papagenos: John Moore was last with us as Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, and Craig Verm is making his Seattle Opera debut, although we’ll be seeing him next season in Così fan tutte and Beatrice and Benedict. It’s a great role, I think, to introduce Craig to our audiences.

Every Papageno I’ve ever seen—and I’ve seen a lot of Papagenos!—manages to make the role their own. One of the interesting things about our double casting is, it allows our audience to see what is exactly the same production with sometimes very different tones from one cast to the other, and I think if ever there was a role that illustrates that it’s Papageno, the personality of the singer to shine through, so I’ll be very curious to see, once we get onstage, the different way John and Craig handle those dialogues and by implication their interaction with the audience.

I’ve done The Magic Flute many times in my career and one thing which always amused me was the way that Papagenos will bring their own panpipes with them. It’s a role which a baritone of that fach will sing very often, and panpipes become a very personal thing. I’ve known productions where we’ve had a set of panpipes for the production, and our Papagenos say, “Oh, no, I need to use my own!” Rather like a diva of the 1950s or 60s who traveled with her own costume. Papagenos are very, very particular about their panpipes. Both our singers have brought their own with them, and we’ve had to dress them up to look right within the context of this production. But they are different! If you see both casts, listen up for a different tone to the panpipes.

It’s a great pleasure to welcome to Seattle our Sarastro, Ante Jerkunica. Ante I saw in Berlin singing Prince Gremin at the Deutsche Oper a couple years ago, and it immediately struck me, while watching him sing the aria in Act 3, that here was our Sarastro. Sarastro shouldn’t be a grandfather figure; he’s actually a friend of Pamina’s father, he’s of that generation, and often the tradition plays him as this grand old statesman. He’s actually a man of action, a man of thought and decision, who wants to effect social change. So I felt that Ante was the right playing age to play this role. It’s also a sort of bass voice which is perfect for this role, and they don’t grow on trees. Many basses sing this role, but when you hear a voice like this, you suddenly understand that this is the sound which Sarastro needs. Ante is Croatian, but actually has been a singer in Germany at the ensemble of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, since maybe 2008. This is not only his Seattle Opera debut but also his US debut. I notice he’s at the Colon in Buenos Aires a bit later this year. I think this is a singer who’s just about to explode. Looking at his future engagements, he’s now spreading out, and I’m excited we’re able to feature him, slightly ahead of the game.

Our Queen of the Night is Christina Poulitsi, who’s a real expert in this role, this is one of the roles she specializes in. Sometimes you feel that vocally the Queen of the Night feels younger than her daughter Pamina! And Christina has a fullness to the sound, and therefore becomes a very plausible mother. So we’ve got really two wonderful singers in those two significant roles.

The other singer I was going to mention is Rodell Rosell, who’s singing Monostatos. Again, it’s a debut with us; Rodell is an extraordinary singing actor. We’re going to be seeing him as Goro in our next production, Madame Butterfly. He’s one of those amazing physical compelling performers—you cannot take your eyes off him when he’s onstage. I know you’ll enjoy his performances here as Monostatos.

One feature of Magic Flute is of course the Three Spirits, the Three Boys. This is where our Education programs are really beginning to bear fruit: our Youth Opera Chorus, which fed the children’s chorus in Hansel & Gretel, and that of course became a fertile hunting ground for the two sets of young singers who we need for this production. For me it really emphasizes the way that as a company, what you see onstage at McCaw is in many ways the fruit of activities going on for far longer, and it’s great to see the paths, the way the six young singers in our two teams have moved through the ranks and have now achieved a status to perform alongside such wonderful singers.

          Golden Moments -5th International Meeting on Astronomy and Astronautics        
It's always been a pleasant experience cherishing past memories with great happenings. Even now, just a month and a week later, I can be happy going though my own flashback of 5th International Meeting on Astronomy and Astronautics held in Brazil. Blogging requires to be specific sometimes and in this post I will recall about some interesting happenings took place during the 3 days from 19th to 22nd of April 2012. You can always check about the pre-events that preceded the 5th International Meeting on Astronomy and Astronautics and also the event schedule/ program.

I had the pleasure of participating in the 5th International Meeting on Astronomy and Astronautics as an invited speaker as the president of the Mathematical & Astronomical Society of University of Colombo. Having arrived in Brazil for the first time, and being though my first 2 days in Brazil I was slowly having my lessons and learning about the culture and the people, who proved to be very dynamic, spontaneous and friendly as I was progressing with rest of the stay. The hospitality I received was amazing, Professor Marcelo was always making sure I was doing fine and helped me in whatever possible way he could have had, and later as I was traveling in some parts of the Brazil, it proved to be no exception, as the Brazilian hospitality I received was at its best.
My Visa for 5th International Meeting on Astronomy and Astronautics

Well, Let's get straight into the context, 5th International Meeting on Astronomy and Astronautics started on the 19th morning inside the cinema hall of the Shopping Boulevard in Campos dos Goytacazes. Saying something about the hosting city, which is usually referred to as Campos, it is located almost in the middle between the cities of Vitória and Rio de Janeiro, which are the metropolitan capitals of Brazilian states of Espirito Santos and Rio de Janeiro respectively. I think you would get to Campos in a 3-hour driver from Rio. In Brazilian Portuguese, Campos means fields and they say Gaytacazes is an Indian tribe that used to live in the area and hence the name Campos dos Goytacazes.

During the Opening Ceremony of 5th International Meeting on Astronomy and Astronautics at Shopping Boulvard, Campos dos Goytacazes, RJ, Brazil - People pictured from right to left are, Professor Marcelo Souza from Campos dos Gaytacazes, Brazil, Tamas Ladanyi from Hungary, Johannes Stübler from Austria, Andrea Sanchez-Saldias from Uruguay, Prasanna Deshapriya from Sri Lanka, Dirk Ross from Japan, Dimitri Gadotti from ESO,  Douglas -A representative of Shopping Boulevard, 2 other personnel from Campos dos Goytacazes city.

The audience at the same time: The audience consisted of students, teachers, and citizens of Campos dos Goytacazes

Professor Marcelo Souza, speaking at the opening ceremony
Here you can see the happy face of Professor Marcelo Souza, who is the chief organizer of 5th International Meeting on Astronomy and Astronautics. Also pictured is the Hungarian astro-photographer Tamas Ladanyi from the TWAN- The World At Night project.

Just before the start !
You may see here how crowded the cinema hall was getting just before the start of the opening ceremony. Here you can see Professor Marcelo and some of the members of the Luis Cruls astronomy club as well. I must mention that these guys did an awesome job behind the scenes with so much untiring efforts towards the success of the 5th International Meeting on Astronomy and Astronautics. Thus it is with great gratitude I mention them here for despite their young age they delivered really serious and tough work. I'm really happy to have enjoyed their company throughout my stay in Campos, not only during the meeting, but also prior and post to the event.

Tamas Ladanyi from Hungary - TWAN (The World At Night)
Here you see the first speaker of the 5th International Meeting on Astronomy and Astronautics, Tamas Ladanyi, an astrophotographer from Hungary who also works for the TWAN, specialized in the landscape photography.  During his session he showcased his experience with astrophotography, which was vivid with a lot of fine combinations of skies and landscapes. One of the interesting pieces of his work was the photograph titled in Spanish "Mira mira Mira" (Mira olha Mira em Português) where his daughter Mira, is looking at the red-giant star Mira (a star in the constellation Cetus).
Professor Marcelo performing the interpretation task during the astrophotography workshop of Tamas Ladanyi

During the evening of the second day he also conducted a workshop on using equipment/ gear for astrophotography, touching down many technical specs as well. Then he led an expedition into a darker and distant area of the city with Professor Marcelo to flee from the lights of the city to get involved with more hands-on activity, where he demonstrated exactly the very steps that one needs to follow in taking a decent photo of some celestial object with the inclusion of a landscape as well. I was able to join this expedition and get more insights into my understanding of this beautiful branch of astronomy. Below you will see a picture that Tamas made at the end of the observation session at this remote location, along with all the participants.
Have a thorough look at the southern skies  !!
Southern skies and the participants of the Tamas Ladanyi's workshop -  Tamas himself, Professor Marcelo Souza and Johannes Stübler from Austria are also presented in the picture. (Photo Credit : Tamas Ladanyi)
Me and Tamas Ladanyi
 The second speaker José Carlos Diniz, a Brazilian astronomer from Rio de Janeiro spoke about the difficulties that one must undergo when doing astronomy in Brazil as well as about some determined individuals who have proved themselves exceptional, still to continue practicing astronomy in Brazil despite the various issues. The humorous sense he developed whilst presenting himself added more vibe to his presentation bringing about the ideology of his talk "Astrophotography in Brazil, the victory of passion".

One of the funny slides of José Carlos Diniz  (Photo Credit : Johannes Stübler)
It was really inspirational as José went on to particularly mention how difficult it was for him and his colleagues to find dark areas for observations in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil and how they finally managed to find better areas in the end in the same vicinity with adventures mixed with huge passion, and love for the astronomy.

The next was the presentation of Johannes Stübler, the National Co-ordinator of AWB (Astronomers without Borders) from Austria. Johannes gave an account about his ambassador role in "Living the Idea", traveling from Linz, his home city in Austria across Jordan, Syria and Turkey, promoting the astronomy and trying to get more people, met on the road to look at the skies and get interested. I was convinced that it is a great coincidence that Johannes Stübler also comes from the same city that Johannes Kepler was once living, as I was gathering more information.
Astronomy Outreach - from Orient to Occident (Photo Credit : Johannes Stübler)
 As I had the chance of having the company of Johannes during the meeting, we were sometimes sharing our ideas and experiences and it was fascinating to hear about the AWB Beer they had in Austria for the GAM (Global Astronomy Month) and I think it shows the innovation and creativity, blended with popularizing astronomy among people.

A souvenir I received from Johannes Stübler
Me and Johannes Stübler, he presented me the gift of the raffle draw :)
 Here is another picture taken during the first day of the meeting. Pictured are José Carlos Diniz, Patrick - the Portuguese<>English interpreter throughout the meeting, Norma Reis from Brasilia, Brazil and Oscar Matsuura from São Paulo, Brazil. Look at the variety of people that astronomy could bring together !
Another picture, you add the caption for this !
Dimitri Gadotti, a Brazilian working at ESO in Chile, during his presentation
The talk about the life and work at ESO telescopes in Chile with a focus on E-ELT, ESO's newest challenge, by Dimitri Gadotti was interesting, and curious as I was wondering how they make such great missions possible. It was also my Why for ESO's preference on southern skies, as they produce a lot of sophisticated cutting-edge accessories and equipment in Europe and transport those all the way across Atlantic Ocean and further to Chilean deserts.

“Jorge Marcgrave in Dutch Brazil: his founder role in Astronomy of Brazil and of the New World” - This sounded different for me in the beginning, Dutch Brazil ? Well, as I was through the presentation of Oscar Matsuura, who is a veteran researcher based in São Paulo, Brazil, I managed to figure out answers to my puzzle. He spoke about the pioneering role of Jorge Marcgrave in astronomy in Dutch Brazil or Brasil holandês as it is said in Brazilian Portuguese and about the influence he had on the people of northern parts of Brazil when they were Dutch colonies. Although I've included the Wikipedia link about Jorge Marcgrave here, I'm more than sure the presentation of Oscar was more resourceful.
Oscar Matsuura, and me outside the Shopping Boulevard, Campos
Attendees for the 5th International Meeting on Astronomy and Astronautics waiting inside the Shopping Boulevard, You can also see the telescopes, multimedia, mobile planetarium, belonging to the Louis Cruls Astronomy Club.
Astronomy + Chess : I've always stumbled upon this game whenever I was out of Sri Lanka. I really don't know how I always find a connection with Chess and end up playing it, as the time permits. With me here is Laura from Louis Cruls Astronomy Club with a keen interest in astronomy.
The second day of 5th International Meeting on Astronomy and Astronautics continued at Campus Guarus do Instituto Federal Fluminense, a new location also close to the city center.

Dr. Robert Zubrin from United States during his presentation
First presentation in the morning was that of Dr. Robert Zubrin from Mars Society, US about the project "Mars Direct" which is an attempt to get the man to the red planet in no more than a decade. Dr. Zubrin particularly expressed his idea on why this should be done within a time frame of 10 years and no more. He was quite certain about the potential about the project and I think it wouldn't be too far away the day where there would be Mars colonies, probably within our lifetime provided all works out fine.

Professor Marcelo & Dr. Zubrin with Monique, Ana, Lucas & Hermerio - First Brazilian Crew in Mars Desert Research Station
Then followed the report of the first Brazilian crew in Mars Desert Research Station, a facility located in the US. The report was about the experiences of Lucas, Ana, Monique & Hermerio, 4 students of Louis Cruls Astronomy Club who had the chance of visiting Mars Desert Research Station and spending few days there under the crucial conditions, similar to those, to be faced in real exploration activities in Mars. The students were supposed to be crew members, who had different areas to undertake like, geologist, communicator, etc whilst during the stay at this facility. For example Ana, who was in charge of communications had to wait long hours for the feedback from Earth, taking into account the distance between the two planets after she has sent any message/ signal. I believe it was truly an inspiration to all the participants as the students shared their individual experiences. Professor Marcelo also thanked Dr. Zubrin for his involvement in this project and I reckon there would be more chances for the Brazilian students in the future.

One of the other interesting as well as curious sessions to follow was the presentation of meteorite hunter Dirk Ross from Yamaguchi University, Japan and AWB with the topic "Meteor/Meteorite Soup"
Here is Dirk Ross, as he presents on "Meteor/Meteorite Soup"
One of the facts that Dirk mentioned in his talk still echoes in my mind; he went on to say that there had been only few meteorites found in the Brazilian territories and provided the large size of the country, there could be many more meteorites to discover. Later I got to know that Dirk, himself led some expeditions on lookout for possible meteorites along with some other students, and the results were not positive though. Nevertheless I hope they enjoyed the expeditions.

Dirk is confronted by curious students after his talk !

Dirk Ross at his meteorite hunting workshop, Look at the meteorites on the table !
 I don't know how to relate what happened the following evening, We received the NEWS from locals that there had been a meteor crash close to Campos and someone had recorded it as well and had put the video up on Facebook. We were with Professor Marcelo and he was receiving a lot of calls, reporting about this so-called meteor crash. In a different sense it was funny that Dirk Ross had just delivered his presentation about meteorites during the day and he had just had conducted the workshop in the evening on how to look for and identify them, and few hours later we're receiving a lot of reports on meteorite sighting.
Professor Marcelo, Dirk, Andrea and me as we were receiving the HOT news !, Believe me, this kept us sleepless and awake till the early morning.

However later taking into account the information and all the possibilities, Dirk concluded it to be space junk, seen being burnt as it was entering the atmosphere. However it triggered some fuss and suddenly a lot of interest and attention was paid to what Dirk was trying to explain in his talks.
The Souvenir from Dirk Ross

Still on the second day there were many other sessions and activities too with the inclusion of variety of events both indoors and outdoors.
The areas discussed in the meeting were vivid, here you see Eugênio Reis talking about Sun and its life cycle

Eugênio Reis with students at his outdoor session on solar observation.

Norma Reis from Brasilia, talking about her work with scientific communication, her topic was “Teacher’s MEC Portal exemplified by the site “Astronomy, Astronautics and Space Science at the School”
Here you see Oswaldo Barbosa during his workshop session, he's specialized about rocket propulsion and is from ACRUX Aerospace Technologies based in São Paulo, Brazil.
Outdoor adventure with Oswaldo Barbosa
  Whenever there was a break between the sessions I always tried to talk to fellow speakers and students and learn more about what they do, for I was naturally driven with the curiosity. These times proved to be hard sometimes when I stumbled upon some students who hardly spoke any English. However the universal expression of smile was commonly shared despite the language barrier. Below is one such a situation.
Dirk Ross and me with some students
This is Gennady Saenko from ROSCOSMOS talking about "Russia in Space - Vision and Challenges"
Andrea Sanchez-Saldias from Universidad de La Republica – Uruguay, during her presentation of “Educational experiences in Uruguay (formal and non-formal)”
This is me with Adriano Leonês, who talked about “School in the Stars – Experiences and Reports of three years teaching astronomy”
This is me with Andrea and Claudio, I should mention the latter is a polyglot, believe me he spoke Greek as well, and was one of the interesting characters I got to know during the meeting. I'm putting this picture up because of this amazing guy although I look pretty terrible in the picture, don't look at me !
During my presentation, which was the last on the agenda.
I spoke about the outreach activities of astronomy in Sri Lanka, generally what we do here to popularize astronomy. In addition I also talked a bit about my astronomy career and how IYA2009 boosted my involvement with astronomy outreach. In the picture above, in the slide, I'm seen presenting the annual astronomy magazine "Sigma" of Mathematical & Astronomical Society to the staff adviser Professor Chandana Jayarathne at the 'Star Quest 2011' inter-school astronomy quiz competition held in May 2011. In fact this was a great milestone of my astronomy career as I was the editor of that publication. 

The amazing and promising team of Louis Cruls astronomy club, who were behind the organizing of the 5th International Meeting on Astronomy and Astronautics and bringing it to such a success. Kudos to all of them it was a great event !
It is with great gratitude I mention here Professor Marcelo Souza and his beloved wife Eponine. Professor Marcelo is a wonderful person with a great personality. His hospitality and friendliness is irresistible. Muito obrigado Marcelo por tudo. I humbly feel privileged to have known him.

          Maintenance - Best Practices - Prolific Systems And Technologies Pvt. Ltd. , Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ras al Khaimah, Doha, Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Al Kuwait, Salalah, Manama, Mumbai         
Module 1: Maintenance Management Best Practices: Systems, Tools & Techniques
An Overview of Key Maintenance Work Processes
  • Introduction to Maintenance Management
  • Definitions of key terms
  • Types of Maintenance - Reactive, planned and improvement jobs, Preventive and Proactive
  • Maintenance Planning and Scheduling
Preventive Maintenance and Maintenance Strategy
  • Maintenance Organisation Structure and Policies
  • Developing and Implementing a Preventive Maintenance Program
  • Applying Reliability Based principles to Maintenance Strategy Development
Maintenance Logistics and Cost Control
  • Managing Maintenance Spare Parts and Logistics
  • Optimising Spare Parts Inventory Levels
  • Maintenance Budgeting
  • Controlling Maintenance Costs
  • Introduction to Life Cycle Cost Concepts
Maintenance Team Work
  • Engineering, Production & Maintenance Teams
  • Benefits of Integrated teams
  • Motivation and empowerment
  • Total Productive Maintenance Concepts
  • Implementing Team Based Continuous Improvement in Maintenance
Module 2: Maintenance Technology Best Practices: Inspection, Analysis & Monitoring
Failure of Machines and Inspection Based Failure Analysis
Causes of Machinery Failure
  • Wear Mechanisms
  • Fatigue
  • Fretting
  • Corrosion and Electrolytics
Fundamental Machine Problems
  • Balance Problems
  • Alignment Problems
  • Machinery Mounting Problems
Component Failure
  • Plain Bearings
  • Rolling Element Bearings
  • Couplings
  • Seals
  • Gears Drives
  • Belt Drives
Statistical Failure Analysis and Reliability
  • Job Feedback and the Importance of History Records
  • Elementary Statistics
  • Collection, Analysis, Representation and Interpretation of Statistical Data
  • Reliability Models
  • Maintenance Cost Optimisation
Condition Based Maintenance
The Condition Based Approach
  • What to Monitor and Where
  • Condition Monitoring Systems
  • Trending of Monitored Data
  • Frequency of Measurement
  • Parameter Symptom Limits
  • Remaining Life Prediction
Machinery Condition Monitoring
  • General Purpose CM
  • Thermal Monitoring
  • Lubricant Monitoring
  • The Essentials of Vibration Monitoring
  • What is Vibration
  • How to Measure Vibration
  • Where to Measure Vibration
  • How to Represent Vibration
Vibration Analysis
  • Overall and Spectral Representation
  • The Big Five Machine Faults
  • Detecting Faults Using Vibration
  • Diagnosing Faults Using Vibration



          Solar LCOE, a Data Mining and Fact Driven Challenge        

Fully identifying and understanding real life cycle solar PV costs creates a challenge; while not addressing those costs in detail accurately and dramatically, increases project risk. The probability that one can effectively cut costs without clearly understanding what the underlying costs are, is exceptionally low.

          Five Things You’ll Need to Get Started in Hydroponics         

If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where it’s legal to grow cannabis at home…well, consider yourself the envy of millions worldwide! It’s the kind of dream shared by most cannabis fans the world over, though one that is only just starting to come true for the select few.


But moving away from all the jealousy for a moment, chances are you probably want to get the very best from your time, effort and money. Which is precisely why you could do with checking out Hydrosys – a fully independent retailer leading the charge for comprehensively affordable hydroponics equipment of the highest quality. Indeed, set yourself up with an outstanding hydroponics system and you probably won’t believe the kinds of results you can achieve in even the smallest of spaces.


In terms of what you’ll be needing, it all comes down to the scale on which you intend to grow, precisely what you intend to grow, how much you want to spend and so on. Nevertheless, there are certain fundamental basics you will need in order to succeed – all of which can be picked up for a surprisingly low price from a leading retailer like this:


Grow Box
First of all, unless you are planning on doing things on an extremely large scale, you might want to think about investing in a high-quality grow box. Or better yet, perhaps a grow box that comes as part of a comprehensive starter kit. Growing cannabis in a grow box is fundamentally easier than growing in an open room, given the way in which the smaller the growing environment is, the easier it is to control it. Not only this, but high quality grow boxes also make for faster and more efficient growing as a bonus.


Delivery System
There may be countless different types of delivery systems available, but they essentially all do the same thing. That being, to provide the rooms of your plants with a constant and perfectly balanced supply of nutrients. This isn’t something you need to get a particularly detailed grasp of to start with – you simply need to make sure you get the relevant trays, containers, growing medium, pump and so on. Once again, you may find it more convenient and affordable to invest in a complete kit.


One aspect not to overlook in terms of importance is lighting. Quite simply, if there’s one element in the entire package you need to focus on particularly heavily, it’s lighting. Lighting can and will have the biggest impact on the way your plants perform from start to finish. Providing appropriate lighting means not only providing the highest quality lighting at all times, but also the exact amount and strength of light your plants need, not to mention the specific type of light in accordance with their life cycle stage at the time.


The same also goes for nutrients, as you will need entirely different nutrients for each life cycle stage, in order to get the very most from your plants. Also be very much aware of the fact that more nutrients does not necessarily mean better results. You need to strike the ideal balance and provide your plants with exactly what they need, nothing more and certainly nothing less.


Air Management
Last but not least, be sure not to overlook one of the most important (albeit invisible) considerations of all. You need to make sure that the air around your plants isn’t being given sufficient time to sit around and become stagnant, stale and generally unhealthy. Even if it means something as simple as the installation of a few desk fans to keep the air moving, you need to be proactive when it comes to a controlling the quality of the air in the growing environment.


          Four Common Questions on Cannabis Seeds – Answered         

Having identified the most commonly asked of all questions on cannabis seeds, we figured we’d share the answers publically…just in case you’d been wondering too:


Q - What Are Feminized Cannabis Seeds?
If you’ve ever wondered what exactly feminized cannabis seeds are, you’re basically looking at seeds that produce plants that are almost identical to their female parent plants. Seeds are feminized by a process that results in the subsequent plant developing as a hermaphrodite. This is achieved by the Rodelization method, spraying the plant with a colloidal silver solution or spraying it with gibberellic acid.


In essence, working with feminized seeds is a little like cloning, only from seeds rather than cuttings. No male plants will be produced whatsoever, in turn guaranteeing all female plants for those producing and using feminized seeds. The only downside being that in many instances, those producing such seeds do not make particularly concerted efforts to ensure that the mother plants themselves are suitably strong and stable. As such, it is advisable only to ever purchase feminized seeds from known and reputable brands.  


Q - What are Auto-Flowering Cannabis Seeds?
The flowering stage in a cannabis plant’s life cycle is triggered when the amount of light they are exposed to every day drops at the end of the summer season. Instead of getting around 18 hours of sunlight per day, they begin receiving 12 to 14 hours of sunlight, which triggers the beginning of their flowering cycle.


Through a careful process of cross breeding, cultivation experts have created a strain of cannabis plants that are essentially pre-programmed to begin flowering the moment they reach maturity, irrespective of the conditions they are exposed to. As such, auto-flowering cannabis seeds come particularly highly recommended for those living in regions where summers are short and daylight limited. It is impossible to keep auto-flowering cannabis plants in a vegetative state by manipulating their growing environment.  


Q - What is the Difference Between Cannabis Seeds and Cannabis Clones?
Cloning is one of the most popular approaches to cannabis cultivation as it can be faster, easier and cheaper than starting out from seed. It is a process that involves taking cuttings from a mother plant, which are then planted separately in order to produce identical copies of the plant from which they were taken. Where a strong and stable mother plant has been identified, it is possible to grow an infinite number of identical clones, making it an extremely simple and cost-effective approach to cannabis cultivation.


However, cannabis plants grown from seeds carry the genetics of their two parent plants, which can manifest in an endless number of ways. It is therefore perfectly possible that growing from seed can produce vastly superior results, albeit through a more intensive cultivation process. Many professional growers swear by cultivation from seed and see cloning as an affront to what they do.


Q - What is the Legality of Cannabis Seeds?
Last but not least, cannabis seed legality is a strange and sketchy subject across most of the world. The reason being that even in many countries where cannabis is illegal, cannabis seeds are still 100% legal to buy, sell and own. The only problem being that the moment you make any attempt to germinate them, you’re breaking the law. Which is why it usually states that the seeds are available for novelty purposes only, even though this clearly isn’t what 99.99% of buyers have in mind!





          Greenhouse Growing – It’s Kind of a Big Deal!        

Slowly but surely, greenhouses are taking over as the single most popular method for cultivating cannabis at home. Along with protecting plants from potentially damaging environmental conditions, greenhouses provide a controllable warm climate and harness the full power of the sun. One of the best things about growing in a greenhouse is the way in which it allows for cultivation throughout most of the year, while at the same time producing more consistent results and working out much cheaper than growing indoors.


How Do Greenhouses Work?
If you’ve ever wondered how even in cooler conditions a greenhouse stays warm, it all comes down to the ‘greenhouse effect’. You know, that thing that may or may not exist as far as the Earth is concerned…depending on which newspapers you read. In the simplest terms, the sun’s energy enters the greenhouse through its glass or plastic panels, which in turn warms both the plants and the soil. When the plants and soil release this energy in the form of infrared radiation, it is unable to escape back out of the greenhouse. It remains enclosed inside, warming the air and maintaining a warmer temperature than the outdoors.


If you’ve ever sat in a car on a hot day with the windows closed, you’ll probably have a good idea how it all works.  


Advantages of Growing Greenhouse Cannabis
Greenhouse growing can be beneficial for home cannabis growers in a number of ways, which is precisely why so many are turning to greenhouses as their primary cultivation method of choice. These include:


  • Lighting Control – Adding further lighting to the greenhouse can increase daylight hours as required by the plants, which can be useful during extended periods of bad weather. If looking to hold cannabis plants in a vegetative state for longer, supplemental lighting is ideal.
  • Climate Control – Greenhouses protect from harsh weather conditions and make it relatively easy to control the temperature and general climate in the interior. From fans to heaters to dehumidifiers, there’s a whole world of gadgets available to help create ideal growing conditions.
  • Life Cycle Control – As already touched upon, it’s the way in which you’re better able to take control of a cannabis plant’s life cycle that makes greenhouse growing such a popular choice. Depending on the time of year, what you’re looking to achieve and so on, it’s possible to trick plants into flowering early, keep them in a vegetative state for longer and generally take control of what they do and when they do it.
  • Cost/Energy Reduction – A greenhouse has the potential to be infinitely more efficient than any outdoor or indoor growing environment, making full use of the sun’s readily available and totally free energy. Which in turn means you’ll be using far less energy to give your plants ideal conditions, which translates into significant long-term savings.


And the Downside?
There’s really only one downside that comes with growing cannabis in a greenhouse – security. First of all, the fact that pretty much the entire structure of the greenhouse is made using clear glass or plastic means that it is largely impossible to even remotely hide what it is you are growing inside. Which essentially means that if an undesirable outsider was to lay eyes on your greenhouse, they would instantly know what treasures it was holding.


And of course, there’s also the fact that structures made entirely from glass or plastic are not particularly secure. Which in turn means that if those coming across your crop wish to do away with it, chances are it isn’t going to be particularly difficult for them to do exactly that.


Greenhouse alarms and solid locks can help, but you still need to be extremely careful and keep what you’re doing as quiet as possible.





          Purple Pot Plants – A Few Dos and Don’ts         

One guaranteed way of gaining the attention of any seasoned smoker is to tell them you have purple weed growing at home. Just the very mention of purple pot instantly brings to mind the thought of not only super-intense bud, but also one of the most beautiful plants imaginable. Even looking at the stuff is a treat, but what exactly is it that makes certain pot become purple? Can you buy pot seeds in the United States specifically for the purposes of growing purple pot? Or can you grow standard green weed and actively turn it purple? 


Well, if you’ve ever wondered why some pot plants turn purple, here’s a very brief explanation of the science behind that.  First of all, every type of marijuana initially starts out as a purple plant, but soon turns green as chlorophyll takes over and the photosynthesis process intensifies. However, there are certain marijuana strains which upon reaching the end of their life cycle, their chlorophyll reserves die off and once again give way to the purple.

Purple Plant Pimping


So, does this technically mean that it is possible to turn all marijuana plants purple? In a word, yes. That is however, just as long as you buy pot seeds in the first place that are right for job. What this means is selecting seeds that have a high concentration of anthocyanin – the same pigment that gives blueberries and eggplant their vibrant colour. Just a few examples include Northern Light Automatic, Haze Berry, Blue Mystic and plenty of others. These are the kinds of plants that will often yield extremely pretty purple coloration in their own right, but there’s also room for nurturing things in the right direction.


Quite simply, the easiest way of encouraging the purple coloration to really take over is to slightly reduce the temperature of your growing environment during the dark cycle. The reason being that chlorophyll and its green pigments are broken down quickly and more intensively when the temperature is cooler. And this is precisely why many of the most famous and celebrated purple strains of marijuana tend to be those that originate from northern regions where the evenings are cooler.


Specifically, you should be looking to reduce the temperature below the 17° C mark during the dark cycle for around 14 days before you plan to go about your harvest. If you time it right, chances are you will be rewarded with beautiful purple buds and leaves.

What Not To Do

As is the case with all weed matters, you’ll no doubt come across a whole world of conflicting information and advice with regard to plant purpling.  Nevertheless, you should really only ever listen to the experts who have tried and tested every trick in the book, in order to prevent you from making one of many potentially fatal mistakes.


For example, some suggest that effectively forcing the plant to hold its breath can assist in the purpling process. This basically means depriving the plant of nitrogen, carbon dioxide or oxygen. In truth, this approach simply does not work in any way, shape or form and will only stand to inhibit the growth and yield of your plants. Not only this, but to reduce nitrogen will almost certainly result in leaf burn due to nutrient deficiency.


As for the shortcut method of adding purple dye or food coloring to the plant, you’ll certainly end up with a pretty purple colour in the immediate moment, though perhaps at the cost of your plant’s life. Literally – it could kill the whole thing dead!


          How to Grow Hydroponic-Quality Bud, in Soil        

Hey Ganja Enthusiasts,

Are you growing your cannabis in potted soil, Indoors? Do you wish you could get the results that some growers achieve by utilizing hydroponic growth methods? Or by growing outdoors? We all have certain circumstances that we are forced to grow within; due to local laws or other types of restrictions, but you don’t have to let those circumstances dictate the quality of your smoke! I grow my ladies indoors in a grow cabinet that is soil based; and by conditioning my soil with beneficial microbes, I have been able to acheive, LARGER more robust buds, colas and nugs from my ladies. I’ll explain to you how this all works, and how you too can use these fun little organisms! Hold on tight because things are about to get real scientific up in here! :-)

The first thing you need to know about these marvelous little helpers is that; in nature they are everywhere! This isn’t some new discovery or invention, but an innovation or re-adaptation. Growers and scientists are finding which microbes specifically benefit plants and their rhizospheres (root zone). What they have found an abundance of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, actinomycetes, and rotifers that seem to work together in a microscopic community that surrounds the root area, and all of which seem to have a symbiotic relationship with each other and the roots they surround. In this symbiotic community everyone has their own specific job, and their own place in the grand scheme of this circle. The bacteria, break down organic material (i.e. soil, dead plant material, dead animals, other dead microbes, excrement etc) this broken down organic matter becomes much more useable for nutrient hungry cannabis plants and fungi. The fungus ( predominantly mycorrhizae and trichoderma)have a more direct symbiotic relationship with plants and their roots then most of the other microbes in the rhizosphere. They actively colonize and coat the cannabis plant’s roots, they consume the sugars and protiens secreted by most plant root systems, and in exchange they help protect the marijuana plants from pests, pathogenic microbes (bad fungi and bacteria) and extreme conditions. They also help keep your cannabis plants well fed and watered, even in drought conditions. Actinomycetes are able to break organic material that is more solid and harder for other organisms to break down such as pulp and wood, which often breaks down into material that is very rich in potassium. Protozoa is kind of the bad guy, but in reality it keeps things in a good balance and doesn’t harm your ladies or their roots. Protozoa and Rotifers eat bacteria and fungus in abundance (rotifer also eats protozoa), and it does not discriminate between good or bad microbes. In some ways this is helpful as it does kill some of the more pathogenic bacteria, molds and mildews, and also keeps the beneficial bacteria from gaining too big of a presence, which can throw the balance out of whack. Too much good bacteria can kill off other beneficials in the rhizosphere. So think of it as both Yin and Yang, balance and harmony. It’s hard to imagine that this life cycle, this symbiotic relationship is in anyway reflective of our own life cycles, but oddly enough it does. It’s interesting to think that we also have a symbiotic relationship with plants, they can feed us, provide material to make clothing and shelter, and in turn we cultivate and aggregate these seeds all over the world. We nurture them and ensure the continuance of their lineage, and they do the same for us.

Now I’m sure at this point your internal voice is asking, “T.B. when are you going to finish up with all of this boring mumbo-jumbo, and tell me how this can help me grow good bud?!” How can this help you grow good bud? The answer to that my friend, is simple: more than likely if you are growing indoors, your growing media does not contain any or at least a helpful portion of these beneficial organisms. Sure bacteria and fungi are all around us, but outside of the beneficial ecosystem of natural rhizospheres, it can be hard to find these beneficial microbes. Indoors and in many cheap soil mixes, you’re more likely to find more aggressive and destructive microbes that are more likely to devour your plant than do it any kind of favor. So how do you enrich your indoor garden with the friendly microbes? There are many ways, from making or using compost, compost teas or using soil conditioners. Some of these options can require allot of planning, and manipulation to ensure that you are getting a colony of beneficial microbes instead of a pathogenic colony, and let’s face it, no one really likes to do more leg work than they have to. So what would I recommend? Whatever floats your boat! That’s what! As much as I like the convenience of pre formulated conditioners, which give you the convenience of KNOWING exactly what’s in your rhizospheres, I can’t deny that making your own compost teas and microbes can actually save you money and benefit the environment, as that method is greener and more environmentally friendly. However keep in mind that the homemade method lacks one aspect that I find to be incredibly important to any garden, and that is control. Control, is knowing what is in your soil, knowing that beneficials are present and that you aren’t adding something that could possibly harm your garden, it has less risk, and that is why I use premixed, individual soil conditioners. The line of conditioners is made by a Colorado based company called Supreme Growers. Their products are also able to be used in hydroponic systems! Check out their website for samples at .

I have one more question to answer, and I’m sure you’ve been waiting for me to get to it. Why should you add beneficial microbes to your garden? What’s the sell point? I’m sure most of you who have had good quality outdoor grown bud can hardly deny the fact that it tastes better, smokes better, and ultimately is a superior product than that produced in a hydroponic, or indoor soil grow. Not to mention it more natural, more closely related to ’The source’. The reason why is because of the abundance of these beneficial microbes. These microbes bring other benefits to the table as well, they help protect your plant from would-be pests, viruses, and molds that could rot your plant. These are things that are the enemy of any cannabis garden, and every experienced gardener knows it. In the end these beneficial additives are going to strengthen your plants, help manufacture a more superior end product, and give you bud that is more organic and close to nature. It’s not hard to get a good colony going in your garden, give it a try, I’ll bet you aren’t able to refute the results I have described. Go on, smoke a better bud! Keep Growing!

- T.B. Green


Hey there grow-getters!

This week I decided to go over a subject slowly gaining popularity in the cannabis world. This subject is on a variety of cannabis called Auto-flower. I’m sure you have heard about it before, maybe you’ve read a little bit of information about them, maybe you’ve seen them in the seed adds in your favorite cannabis magazine or even just by browsing through many of the seed banks available online. Maybe you’ve looked into them and tried to educate yourself on their advantages and disadvantages trying to weigh out the possibilities of purchasing some of these varieties for your-self.

I’m sure that most of what you have read, if you’ve researched them at all, has shed doubt about their quality and even their potency. The general consensus held by most traditionalist connoisseur growers, and older growers, (you know, the older guys that have been “growing since Nam”) is that the end product produced by these fabulous plants is subpar. As a matter of fact I believe the term they typically use is crap-weed. Look it up for yourself, these traditionalists are very harsh with their criticism, especially when it comes to anything new or different than what they are used to. They have been cultivating traditional and hybrid cannabis for years and are just certain that they have it all figured out. But as my Grams used to say, “Opinions are like ass-holes, everyone has one. Some smell rosy, and some smell like roses that got crapped on.” Well having said, that here are my two cents on the auto-flower variety debate and you can take it or leave it, but I stand firmly by it.

Let’s start with a brief lesson on what the auto flower variety is. The auto-flower variety is a hybrid of a third type of cannabis classified back in 1924 by Russian botanist D.E. Janichevsky. This third type of cannabis variety is called Ruderalis. Ruderalis is much shorter and usually finishes its life cycle much quicker than the commonly cultivated Sativa and Indica varieties. It also traditionally has lower amounts of THC content in comparison to the other two varieties.However, definitely much more than the almost THC depleted cousin of cannabis, hemp. The auto-flower variety is cross bred Ruderalis mixed with hybrid varieties of Sativa and Indica, to increase their THC content, while retaining their usefully short stature and quick life cycle. (If they didn’t, seed banks and vendors wouldn’t sell them). They can be very advantageous if you are limited to the space that you can grow in, and another advantage is that they don’t grow or flower based off of photoperiods like your standard Indica or Sativa varieties. Indicas and Sativas, always start and thrive while vegetating in the spring and early summer photoperiod, when daylight shines for 16-18 hours a day. Then enter their flowering stage when their photoperiod shortens to only 12 hours of daylight as summer draws to an end and fall begins. Indoor growers have to re-create these natural photoperiods, and while it’s certainly not rocket science, messing with your plants photo period in an inconsistent manner will induce light stress, which could force you’re ladies to grow male like pollen sacks.

The Sativa and Indica varieties were the standard for growers and cultivators for decades. However auto-flower varieties grow and flower off of a time based life span, meaning the will do their thing based off of time passed, not based off of the seasons or photo period. Most auto-flower varieties These lovely, often short, little ladies have a lot of power and potency in their own right will grow from seed to bud in just 70 days, close to half of the time of a regular grow season. To boot, most auto-flower breeders will recommend that you grow these plant with the lights on for 20 to 24 hours a day, as most don’t require a dark period and will utilize the light as long as it is available to them. Due to their usually small stature, their yields are typically a lot less than your average Indica or Sativa, usually only producing anywhere between 20 to 50 grams, however, some can produce around 400 grams depending on the strain and proper grow conditions, IE a well cultivated Auto-Pounder plant. Now let’s say that you smoke 1 to 1.5 ounces every month, you should only need to cultivate one, possibly two auto-flower plants at a time to cover your personal needs. Most times their THC percentage levels are at decent levels such as between 12 to 17 percent. Some auto flower strains such as White Widow Automatic, Purple Ryder, and Amnesia Haze Automatic can attain levels as high as 19 to 21 percent. Auto-flowers also having high levels of CBD’s due to their Ruderalis lineage. Many breeders are trying to increase the potency of their auto-flower strains, as a result their THC and CBD content is rising all of the time.

The reason I happen to like auto-flower varieties is that they happen to be great for stealth grows and small concealed grow cabinets alike, and they provide a quick return to the investment of your time. Varieties of auto-flower such as Low Ryder are small in stature fitting in even the smallest of grow environments and growing only a foot or two in height, and finish in around 60 to 70 days. The ability to grow a plant or two every two and a half months means that you can keep a continuous supply of cannabis flowing all year long. I also like the ease of the auto-flower; you place it under some effective full spectrum bulbs (I’d recommend a minimum of a three 100 watt equivalent cfl’s) and they’ll grow. No worrying about trying to figure out when to switch your photo periods or the color spectrum of the bulb i.e.; more blue spectrum for veg, more red spectrum for flower. Also they are almost idiot proof, so they are a great variety for the beginning cannabis grower who has limited experience in horticulture. Ultimately if you have given any thought to the auto-flower variety and have been caught between your interests, and the opinion of a “professional”, I’d say just go for it.

The Seeds aren’t expensive, and if you give them the proper care and environmental control, they’ll produce an awesome end product that you’ll be proud to smoke. Go on, Give them a whirl.


          Product Category Rules Verify Environmental Claims        

This seating PCR provides a science-based and internationally recognized method for reporting the environmental impact of seating products throughout their entire life cycle.

- Read: Product Category Rules Verify Environmental Claims at

          Comment on Business Ownership Life Cycle by Tips to Preparing Your Business For Sale - Corp Biz Broker        
[…] is for this reason that I have written extensively about the typical Business Lifecycle, which is a necessity for business owners to […]
           Process modelling and life cycle assessment for tongket ali extraction         
Foo, Dominic C.Y. and Abdul Aziz, Ramlan and Kumaresan, Sivakumar and Tan, Raymond (2007) Process modelling and life cycle assessment for tongket ali extraction. In: Special Topics In Bioprocess Engineering Volume II. Penerbit UTM , Johor, pp. 163-180. ISBN 978-983-52-0600-9
          A Delicate Balance: Inside the Jellies Lab        
Described as mesmerizing, beautiful, even otherworldly, jellies are unique in the animal kingdom. Not technically fish, they have no heart, brain, blood or bones and are 95 percent water. Most closely related to corals and anemones, their pulsing translucent bod­ies drift an unchoreographed dance based mostly on water currents, not choice. The full life cycle […]
          Regional Roundup: Top New Features This Week Around Our BroadwayWorld 6/15 - JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, IN THE HEIGHTS and More!        

"BroadwayWorld presents a comprehensive weekly roundup of regional stories around our Broadway World, which include videos, editor spotlights, regional reviews and more. This week, we feature JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, IN THE HEIGHTS, and More!

Check out our top features from around the BroadwayWorld below!

St. Louis: Contributor Chris Gibson reviews The Muny's JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR. He writes "Bryce Ryness is superb as Jesus of Nazareth, striking just the right chord with his vocals, and compelling you to care deeply about him. Constantine Maroulis is the perfect misguided and forthright Judas Iscariot. Ciara Renée is a fetching presence as the conflicted Mary Magdalene, delivering up a heartfelt rendition of "I Don't Know How to Love Him" that perfectly sums up her relationship with Jesus. Christopher Sieber brings flair to his interpretation of King Herrod, while Ben Davis is sharp as Pontius Pilate, whose dream comes to fruition. Nicholas Ward brings power and strength to his role as Caiaphas, corroborated by Annas (Mykal Kilgore) in seeing Jesus as a genuine threat."

Austin: Contributor Lynn Beaver reviews IN THE HEIGHTS at ZACH Theatre. She writes "But it's Keith Contreras McDonald who is the glue who holds the various threads together as Usnavy. His awkward attempts to attract Vanessa are so sweetly earnest that we laugh and cry with him. Anna Louizos' set design is spectacular in every detail from the weatheRed Awnings to the clever design of the bodega. Scott Westervelt's costume design is bright and warm, allowing the dancers to move fluidly and freely. The lighting design by Sarah EC Maines is perfection, from the fireworks effects to dusk over the Brooklyn bridge, her use of color is inspired. If I didn't know is was in Austin, I would swear that I was seeing the IN THE HEIGHTS on Broadway."

Louisville: Contributor Taylor Clemons reviews KINKY BOOTS at the Kentucky Centre for the Arts. He writes "The technical elements are just stunning, starting with the flawless costume design by Greg Barnes. Even if you hate everything else (why would you), you will adore these brilliant costumes. Director/Choreographer Jerry Mitchell knows exactly how to put on a big flashy Broadway show, and Kinky Boots is no exception. His staging is sleek, while his production numbers are absolutely everything a show should be. That little known singer/songwriter Cyndi Lauper's score is downright infectious. I dare anyone to leave without at least 3 tunes stuck in your head. Harvey Fierstein's book is funny, witty, and touching, everything a great musical comedy should be."

Jacksonville: Contributor Heather Vollman reviews THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE at Theatre Jax. She writes "MILLIE offers something for everyone. If you like a quirky, extroverted adventure seeker, you'll love Taylor Kearschner's interpretation of Millie Dillmount. If you take to divas and drama with surprisingly tender morale to bestow, Felicia Ewing's Muzzy Van Hossmere will win your heart. Logan Smith, a recent Douglas Anderson graduate, plays the likable Jimmy Smith, whose story takes an interesting turn. Smith's voice is stunning; he can probably sing upside down, under water. Perhaps you're more of a comedic antagonist fan...if so, Tracy Olin's Mrs. Meers will deliver wit and energy. Matt King maintains strong comedic delivery as Trevor Graydon, Millie's fast-talking boss. Ching Ho, played by Brandon Leporati, is an absolute show stealer. Each ounce of this young man is devoted to the story in every moment: he brings much laughter and even a few tears. Rounded out by an energetic supporting cast and a seemingly always dancing ensemble, these characters successfully recreate an almost century old culture of prohibition, bobbed hair, and plenty of sequins."

Delaware: Contributor Rosanne DellAversano reviews AMERICAN IDIOT at Wilmington Drama League. She writes "The show itself is flawed; thus, making an improved product quite difficult. Drama League's production suffers the inherited fate with its own hits and misses. Ben Long as Tunny and Ty Pride as the Extraordinary Girl deliver complete experiences. Mr. Long capably displays his ever-changing life cycle. His voice isn't too shabby either. Ms. Pride makes you watch and listen with her galvanized body movements and burning vocals. Her execution of an alternative flying sequence is lovely. The male ensemble members providing her "walking cloud" are sturdy supports."

Madison: Contributor Scott Rawson reviews BEAUTIFUL on Tour at the Overture Center. He writes "The surprise for me in this show surrounded an entirely different couple. Songwriting rivals Barry Mann (portrayed with comedic brilliance by Ben Frankhauser) and writing partner/love interest Cynthia Weil (Erika Olson). As Carole and Gerry's relationship disintegrated, Barry and Cynthia's grew. Barry was without a doubt the main comic in this work. Not that everyone else didn't have comedic timing or moments, because they did...but Barry stole the show on this front. The neurotic hypochondriac Brooklynite and his future wife/ writing partner wrote over 60 hits together and both were a pleasure to watch every time they were on stage. I can't imagine anything erasing the memory of Barry angrily banging on the piano and singing "You've Lost that Lovin' Feeling" because he hated the words "Woh woh woh". I am still laughing about that!"

Regional Editor Spotlight:

Chris Gibson
St. Louis Contributor

Chris has been been reviewing theatre in St. Louis for the past 11 years, and I am constantly amazed at the quality of productions I am able to attend, as well as the vast amount of talent we have in our region. I'm also a musician, composing my own songs under the band name Me As We, and performing in the cover band Mo' Papaya. Before I became a reviewer I worked in local theatre for over 30 years. In that time I took on roles as an actor, director, musical director, writer, and composer. I was bitten by the theatre bug when I was in high school many years ago, and I've been passionate about it ever since.

"I enjoy writing for Broadway World because I feel that I'm part of a worldwide community that is dedicated to covering theatre wherever it happens. It's amazing to think that people from around the globe are taking the time to explore all the different regions that we cover, and it's led me in directions I never thought I would go. I've made a lot of friendships along the way, and had the privilege of not just reviewing theatre, but concerts, CDs, books, and DVDs. And, I've been able to expose my family to the many joys that the stage affords us."

Join Team BroadwayWorld! Interested in joining our team, but not exactly sure what we do? All of your questions are answered, along with every open position from guest and student bloggers, Regional Editors, and more! Find out where we have open positions available here!

          Royal IHC forms offshore services partnership with Brazilian company        
Brazilian company GranInvestimentos and Dutch company Royal IHC are joining forces to deliver integrated life cycle solutions to customers in the oil and gas sector. Through this partnership, both companies are set to increase their operational and service activities, and expand their presence in Latin America, Royal IHC said in a statement on Thursday. The association […]
          Dramatic Stellar Fireworks Captured by ALMA        
Stellar explosions are most often associated with supernovae, the spectacular deaths of stars. But new ALMA observations provide insights into explosions at the other end of the stellar life cycle, star birth. Astronomers captured these dramatic images as they explored the firework-like debris from the birth of a group of massive stars, demonstrating that star formation can be a violent and explosive process too. 1350 light years away, in the constellation of Orion (the Hunter), lies a dense ...
          It’s Butterfly Season Again: Get Those Garden Flowers in the Ground!        
While most of you still have snow on the ground and even colder nights, those of us in the southern parts of the world are starting our gardens. Sorry about the snow and cold but one of the best things about living in a temperate climate is growing garden flower seeds for our butterfly gardens. You can still think about your butterfly garden and start it indoors for when your spring does come out of hibernation.

Grow plants for butterflies is exciting and of course, watching the beautiful butterflies in your garden is a treat. But you need plants in your garden to attract butterflies. I recently visited Key West’s Butterfly Conservatory, oh so beautiful, and they had an excellent book on butterflies which I bought, to help me with my butterfly project for this years flower garden.

The Life Cycles of Butterflies: From Egg to Maturity, is a book loaded with great information on 23 common butterflies in North America. A visual guide with pictures of the full life cycle, from larval to butterfly--remarkable visual resource and guidebook for butterfly lovers. But the best part of the book is the plants section showing plants that attract butterflies to take them through their life cycle. So which garden flowers do you need in your garden?

Glad you asked cuz I have a list. To get butterflies to your garden they need certain flowers to devour. These garden flowers are like candy to a kid and butterflies will swoon when they notice them. Since butterflies will eat the plant it’s best to not treat them with anything (chemical) that will harm the butterflies. Try to use composting and organic fertilizers to protect the butterflies.

The Most Favorite Garden Flower Plants that Lure Butterflies to your Garden
Each type of butterfly has a favorite plant. Actually it’s the larva that likes the plant; the butterfly itself likes the nectar of the garden flower. They also are attracted by the color of the garden flower or maybe that’s just Mother Nature’s way of helping butterflies camouflages themselves from predators. Depending on the plant they will attract several types of butterflies. species Most are very easy to grow and don’t require any special attention. You can start them indoors if it’s still too cold in your area.

Dill (Antheum graveolens)

Dill pretty much grows all by itself. No help needed other than water and a little compost to keep it growing. You can also use it in the kitchen! Dill is great in soups, salads and especial when making pickles. It will host the Eastern Black Swallowtail butterfly larvae. Dill can grow up to four feet tall, so plant it in the back sunny part of your garden. Sometime it may need a support to keep it upright.

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Fennel is not only very good in soups and roasts but the Eastern Black Swallowtails also loves it. The leaves fennel smell like licorice. It will grow up to six feet tall! Think of all the butterfly larva that can host. The butterfly’s larva will feed on it so get your share before the larva hatches. You are almost guaranteed to have swallowtails if you plant fennel in your garden.

Asters (Aster spp)

Asters are perennials that need lots of sun light. They are easy to grow in average soil. No special handling or fertilizers. They come in a variety of blues, purples and several shades of pinks. Asters have a yellow center and a daisy-like look even though they are a member of the sunflower family. They grow to two feet and you will have lots of Crescent butterflies if you grow asters. Asters will seed themselves but you can also propagate them from division. They also make good cut flowers for vases and arrangements.

Milkweeds (Asclepias tuberosa)

Like bees make honey, milkweed is like a drug to Monarch butterflies. There are toxins in milkweed sap that makes them poisonous to birds. Which is one of the reasons birds stay away from Monarch butterflies. The Viceroy butterfly also likes milkweed and camouflages itself by looking like the Monarch. Birds don’t eat them, because they think the Viceroys are Monarchs, and poisonous. Milkweed is easy to grow but doesn’t like to be transplanted. So plant it where you want it to grow and let it seed and you will always have milkweed growing in your yard. (for the butterflies, of course)

Hollyhocks (Alcea rosea)

Painted Lady butterflies love hollyhocks. Hollyhocks will go indoors or outdoors, of course they’re better outdoors but they can be started indoors for a head start on summer. They are biennial, meaning they will only bloom in the second year so buy some potted plants at the nursery or get a cutting. The best thing about hollyhocks is once planted you seldom have to plant again. They bloom from July through September then seed for the next year. They thrive best in full sun but will do reasonably well in partial shade.

Hollyhocks are at their best when planted against an old wall or fence. Around the end of August you’ll see them disappear due, of course from the larva of the Painted Lady. Wait until the cocoons have opened before cutting down the stalks and seed pods. Of course, you can just let them go and they will seed for next year. You can save the seeds but they do need to be subjected to the cold to help them germinate.

These are just a few of the plants that will attract butterflies to your garden. There are many different types of butterflies and many, many types of garden flowers that will attract butterflies. The purple and yellow cone flower, Mexican sunflower, mmmm, my favorite garden flower, clover, any type of herbs and vegetables including mustard and Radishes. Also some butterfly favorites are violets, Dutchman's Pipe vine, nettles, thistles and sunflowers, just to name a few. Growing your own butterfly “host” plants to lure caterpillars to your organic garden will ensure that you have lots of butterflies to watch this summer! Good luck!

          This Company Gave Up on Its First Smartphone With Replaceable Parts Because It Ran Out of Parts        

When the Dutch company Fairphone launched in 2013, it was supposed to be built around two related principles: sustainability, in the sense that it maintained decent working conditions and used entirely sustainable, less-hazardous, or recycled materials; and sustainability in the sense that you wouldn’t have to chuck its phone after two years. Hoping to break the typical life cycle of smartphones, Fairphone designed models whose parts were easily replaceable—an aim it hoped would save its customers a lot of cash over the long term and avoid waste.

The Fairphone 1 launched almost four years ago. Last week, the company announced it had to stop supporting the device, one of two it sells. That means that Fairphone will no longer offer updates to the software or supply any of the parts to repair the phone. Taking away the spare parts for sale on the company’s website, like midframes, speakers, and flashes, renders useless the product’s distinguishing feature—and means that just like the phones it was meant to supplant, Fairphone 1s will soon be heading for the dustbin.

The company first produced the phone in late 2013 with the help of the Chinese manufacturing company Guohong, but in November 2014 it announced the end of that partnership because Guohong wanted to focus on creating its own phone brand. After that it became increasingly difficult to convince other part manufacturers to manufacture extra phone components, and slowly these other companies stopped producing the parts as well.  (The second phone is produced by the Chinese company Hi-P International Limited.)

In particular, Fairphone’s website specifies that it is sold out of batteries, and in a blog post explaining the decision to stop supporting its first phone, the company admits that it has become too expensive to order the minimum number of batteries needed to continue supplying the parts. Instead it offers tips on its website for users who want to keep their smartphone running for as long as possible.

In that blog post, Fairphone justified its decision to not provide the parts, writing, “we were moving toward longer-lasting devices, but it wasn’t our primary objective.” You might think otherwise reading Fairphone’s own website, which claims, “We’re fighting against a market trend where the average phone is replaced every 18 months, creating a huge environmental impact,” and, “We design products that last - in both their original design and in designing their repair to be as easy as possible.”

According to a review of the Fairphone 1 in the Guardian, the phone’s performance was decent, but nothing extraordinary, with an average battery and camera and screen quality that was a bit subpar for its price (roughly $616). Even if you can get the parts to keep a phone running forever, they should probably be parts that customers actually want.

          Examining the cost of LEED v4 (USGBC Northern California)        
Feature image: 

In this series, speakers from USGBC Northern California’s GreenerBuilder conference, held July 13, 2017 at the Zero Net Energy Center in San Leandro, share insights from their sessions. Interested in supporting GreenerBuilder 2018 as an event sponsor or exhibitor? Please contact Brenden McEneaney.

With the close of LEED 2009 registration, LEED v4 has become the primary version of LEED, which brings on the recurring question, “How much extra, if anything, will this cost?” At the 2017 Greenerbuilder conference, my colleague Kirstin Weeks and I presented a pair of studies that present some responses to that question.

Credit-by-credit cost estimating

Greenerbuilder seemed like the right place to preview our forthcoming study, sponsored by USGBC Northern California, that built on the excellent 2015 Cost of LEED v4 report from BuildingGreen. The basis for that study was Massachusetts, and our paper translated that research to California, focused on two big factors: construction costs are higher here, and some items are already required by code. The highlights are pretty simple:

1. Part or all of some LEED credits are required by California Codes:

  • Bike facilities
  • Cool roofing
  • Low-water landscaping
  • Advanced lighting controls
  • Solar readiness

2. Pursuing some LEED credits reduces cost.

  • Reduced parking means building fewer parking spaces, which can cost $10,000 on grade to $100,000 underground.

3. Design is a major factor.

  • California Energy Code requires sidelighting and toplighting where practical, but how much of a building it is practical for depends on design.

4. Some LEED credits can be more expensive due to high construction costs in California:

  • Rainwater harvesting systems
  • High-performance envelopes
  • Advanced HVAC controls
  • Acoustics

Case study cost comparisons

We also recently completed a study for the City and County of San Francisco to inform their decision on whether to move their internal requirement for LEED Gold municipal buildings up to LEED v4. We took two recently completed LEED Gold projects that had been done under LEED 2009 with actual construction costs, determined what they would have needed to add to maintain their Gold rating in LEED v4, and estimated the costs of those measures. Some of what they would have needed to add is required by the 2016 California Energy Code, while the buildings were built to the 2010 or 2013 code, so we left out the cost of items that would now be code-required.

The North Beach Branch Library is an exemplary public project with an integrated design team that delivered a well-optimized building envelope; many sustainable site strategies; and efficient mechanical, lighting and plumbing systems. For North Beach, they would have needed 7 more points, which would have cost $71,000, or 0.8 percent of the original $9,198,650 total project cost.

The Sunset Recreation Center is a renovation project that would have needed 17 points to maintain their Gold rating, especially in energy performance. That would have cost $255,000 in soft and hard costs, or 2.6 percent of the $9,717,916 total project cost. (That rises to 5 percent total, if they were unable to get an expanded PV system through a PPA.)

In conclusion, we suggested that LEED v4 has not shifted what professionals already know about the cost of LEED in general:

  • Can a LEED v4 building cost more? Yes, but so can marble cladding.
  • Can a LEED v4 building cost the same? Yes, with an integrated project team.
  • Can a LEED v4 Platinum building cost the same? Probably not in construction cost, but it can be far better in life cycle cost.

Please look for our complete credit-by-credit cost study coming soon from USGBC Northern California, and contact Arup if you are interested in our City and County of San Francisco case study.

          Materials strategies in LEED v4        
Feature image: 

The topic of materials is one that spans every phase of a building’s life cycle. It includes considerations about construction waste, specifying materials for the building’s structure in the design and construction phase, making green cleaning choices while the building is in use and determining what happens to the building in the demolition phase.

Quick facts about construction waste:

  • Construction and demolition waste constitutes about 40 percent of the total solid waste stream in the United States and about 25 percent of the total waste stream in the European Union.
  • In aggregate, LEED projects are responsible for diverting more than 80 million tons of waste from landfills, and this volume is expected to grow to 540 million tons by 2030.

Materials decisions are impacted by an array of stakeholders who work with the built environment and those who support it, as well as by those who work, learn, live and play within those buildings.

LEED projects divert more than 80 million tons of waste from landfills

What LEED does with materials

Since its initial launch, LEED has always addressed materials, and the newest version of the rating system is no different. LEED v4 brings a shift that goes beyond materials decisions focusing on single attributes and moves the market toward conversations about optimizing environmental, social and health impacts and gaining a better understanding of the trade-offs.

The LEED Building Design and Construction materials credits and prerequisites include:

  • Prerequisite: Storage and Collection of Recyclables
  • Prerequisite: Construction and Demolition Waste Management Planning
  • Prerequisite: PBT Source Reduction—Mercury
  • Credit (5–6 points): Building Life-Cycle Impact Reduction
  • Credit (2 points): Building Product Disclosure and Optimization—Environmental Product Declarations
  • Credit (2 points): Building Product Disclosure and Optimization—Sourcing of Raw Materials
  • Credit (2 points): Building Product Disclosure and Optimization—Material Ingredients
  • Credit (1 point): PBT Source Reduction—Mercury
  • Credit (2 points): PBT Source Reduction—Lead, Cadmium and Copper
  • Credit (2 points): Furniture and Medical Furnishings
  • Credit (1 point): Design for Flexibility
  • Credit (2 points): Construction and Demolition Waste Management

The LEED Operations and Maintenance materials credits and prerequisites include:

  • Prerequisite: Ongoing Purchasing and Waste Policy
  • Prerequisite: Facility Maintenance and Renovation Policy       
  • Credit (1 point): Purchasing—Ongoing           
  • Credit (1 point): Purchasing—Lamps  
  • Credit (2 points): Purchasing—Facility Management and Renovation
  • Credit (2 points): Solid Waste Management—Ongoing
  • Credit (2 points): Solid Waste Management—Facility Maintenance and Renovation

Join USGBC at Greenbuild 2017 in Boston, India and China, to learn more about LEED and materials. In addition to educations sessions, Greenbuild in Boston and India will feature expo halls where attendees can interact with the newest and most innovative products the market has to offer.

The Boston Greenbuild event will also include a special session on LEED v4 and its materials and resources section:

Course: LEED v4 and Materials: Interactive Session

Thurs., November 9 from 5–6 p.m.

During this session, attendees will get an overview of the LEED v4 materials section, learning what has changed, what’s been added and how to implement key strategies, including reading and comparing EPDs.

Register for Greenbuild Boston

          How LEED combats climate change        
Feature image: 

The Earth's climate is changing, and 97 percent of climate scientists agree that it is likely due to human activities. So where does that leave us and the rest of the building industry?

Buildings account for more than one-quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), according to the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction. Add in other infrastructure and activities, such as transportation, that are associated with buildings, and that number jumps.

By building green, we can reduce the impact our buildings have on contributing to climate change, while also building resilience into our homes and communities.

LEED vs climate change

One of the goals that guided the development of LEED v4 was reversing a LEED building’s contribution to global climate change. High-performing green buildings, particularly LEED-certified buildings, play a key role in reducing the negative climate impacts of the built environment. For this reason, 35 of the 100 total points in LEED v4 are distributed to reward climate change mitigation strategies.

The LEED process addresses a structure’s planning, design, construction, operations and end of life as well as considering energy, water, indoor environmental quality, materials selection and location. Green buildings reduce landfill waste, enable alternative transportation use and encourage retention and creation of vegetated land areas and roofs.

LEED rewards thoughtful decisions about building location, with credits that encourage compact development and connection with transit and amenities. When a building consumes less water, the energy otherwise required to withdraw, treat and pump that water from the source to the building are avoided. Additionally, less transport of materials to and from the building cuts associated fuel consumption.

Here are some of the ways that LEED weighs the various credits and strategies so that LEED projects can mitigate their contribution to global climate change:  

  • GHG Emissions Reduction from Building Operations Energy Use: To target energy use reductions directly associated with building operations. This includes all building systems and operations within the building or associated grounds that rely on electricity or other fuel sources for energy consumption.
  • GHG Emissions Reduction from Transportation Energy Use: To target energy use reductions associated with the transportation of building occupants, employees, customers, visitors, business travel, etc.
  • GHG Emissions Reduction from the Embodied Energy of Materials and Water Use: To target GHG-emissions reductions associated with the energy use and processes required in the extraction, production, transportation, conveyance, manufacturing, assembly, distribution, use, posttreatment, and disposal of materials, products and processed water. Any measures that directly reduce the use of potable water, non-potable water, or raw materials (e.g. reduced packaging, building reuse) will indirectly reduce energy as well because of the embodied energy associated with these product life cycles.
  • GHG Emissions Reduction from a Cleaner Energy Supply: To target actions and measures that support a cleaner, less GHG-emissions intensive energy supply and a greater reliance on renewable sources of energy.
  • Global Warming Potential Reduction from Non-Energy Related Drivers: To address the non-energy related climate change drivers (e.g. albedo, carbon sinks, non-energy related GHG emissions) and identifies actions that reduce these contributions to climate change (e.g. land use changes, heat island reduction, reforestation, refrigerant purchases).

Some of the top credits in LEED v4 BD+C, ID+C, and O+M that are associated with mitigating global climate change:

  • LT Credit: Surrounding Density and Diverse Uses
  • LT Credit: Access to Quality Transit / Alternative Transportation
  • WE Credit: Outdoor Water Use Reduction
  • WE Credit: Indoor Water Use Reduction
  • EA Credit: Optimize Energy Performance
  • EA Credit: Renewable Energy Production / Renewable Energy and Carbon Offsets
  • EA Credit: Enhanced Refrigerant Management
  • EA Credit: Green Power and Carbon Offsets
  • MR Credit: Building Life-Cycle Impact Reduction / Interiors Life-Cycle Impact Reduction

To learn more about LEED and how it can help reduce the impact of global climate change, head to Greenbuild in Boston this November 8–10 (or check out our Greenbuild events in China or India). Greenbuild features LEED workshops, hundreds of green building educational sessions and inspiring speakers and events.

Register for Greenbuild

          Scientists create the first mutant ants        
Despite what you might've seen in 1950s monster movies, it's difficult to raise mutant ants. For years biologists have altered the genetics of organisms as varied as mice and rice. Mutant fruit flies are a laboratory staple. But ants' complex life cycle hampered efforts to grow genetically engineered ants - until now.On Thursday, two independent research teams described their work deleting ant genes. Two papers chronicling the [...]
          An Eagle and Trumpeter Swans        

Mr. W is the Eagle Eye.. he spots some great photo ops for me on our road trips (sadly, I don’t always capture them the way I like). Thanks to Mr. Eagle Eye, we have been fortunate enough to observe a nice flock of Trumpeter Swans along our regular route for the past few weeks. At first, Mr. W remarked, “hey, some snow geese.” However, after I took the zoomed but blurry pics I realized they looked far too graceful to be snow geese. Trumpeter Swans they are! We have been back through that route several times since that first day. Today I was able to capture some non-blurry shots. Yay! I’ll make you wait to the end of this post for that though.

We spotted a bald eagle today also. Such a majestic and glorious bird!



“Our” Swan Flock…

I have included a little info from Missouri Department of Conservation on Trumpeter Swans in Missouri below. Also, I reported our sightings to the conservation department, but haven’t heard back if they have actually investigated “our” local flock or not.

“Family: Anatidae (ducks, geese, swans) in the order Anseriformes
Description: An all-white swan with a wingspan of nearly 8 feet. They fly with their extraordinarily long necks outstretched. Distinguished from tundra swan by its straight upper bill and the broad base of the bill against the eye, making the eye appear as part of the bill from a distance. Voice is a low trumpetlike sound; that of the young is higher and more nasal.
Size: Length: 60 inches (tip of bill to tip of tail).
Habitat and conservation: Formerly a common migrant statewide and summer resident in northern Missouri. Currently, individuals and family groups winter in Missouri, foraging in shallow water. Some birds may be from the wild population of the Nebraska Sandhills, but most are from captive breeding programs. If you see trumpeter swans with neck collars, use your binoculars to see the color and numbers of the collar, and report them to the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Foods: Trumpeter swans forage in shallow water on aquatic vegetation, roots, seeds, and insects.
Distribution in Missouri: Statewide.
Status: Rare winter resident at marshes, lakes, and rivers; formerly a common migrant statewide and summer resident in northern Missouri. A Species of Conservation Concern, it is considered critically imperiled in our state.
Life cycle: Trumpeter swans breed usually in freshwater habitats with dense emergent vegetation, as in inland waters and ponds. Nests are constructed of emergent vegetation and feathers, on the ground surrounded with water. Four to 6 eggs are laid; these are incubated for 33–37 days, and the young fledge in 91–119. Breeding in Missouri is extremely rare but may become more common in the future.
Human connections: There are only about 5,000 trumpeter swans in the Midwest, and they are considered extirpated from our state. Hunters who shoot trumpeter swans risk thousands of dollars in fines and possible jail. If you’re hunting snow geese, make sure you can distinguish between them and trumpeter swans!
Ecosystem connections: 
Swans, geese, and other aquatic grazers are important components of wetland, pond, and lake ecosystems, pruning the steadily growing vegetation and insect populations. In turn, these birds, especially their vulnerable eggs and young, provide food for carnivores.”

As you will see from the excerpt above, they are still considered imperiled and extirpated from our State. It warms my heart to see so many healthy Trumpeters in one flock! Also, my favorite book as a 10 or 11 year old girl was The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White. I’ve always been a bit partial to geese and swans. This has definitely been a highlight of my 2014 to say the least. They are incredibly beautiful and graceful birds.

Enjoy your weekend! Hope you can get out there and enjoy some nature in your neck of the woods!


          OBSERVE AND RETORT: Tail Wagging for the Neophyte        
(NOTE: Here we all are/Sittin’ in a rainbow/Hello Mrs. Jones/How’s your Bert’s lumbago?/I’ll sing you a song,/With no words and no tune/To sing at your party/While you suss out the moon/Lazy Sunday afternoon/I got no mind to worry/I close my eyes and drift away)

Mr. Detroit is back in town after recovering from Rio de Janeiro’s Carnevale last February, when he sustained several samba-related bruises and contusions. Nurses from among the city’s bathing suit models cared for the less-than-limber limbo dancer until he healed enough to travel. He read too much while in bed and not very happily.
“Some clown sent me a stack of new novels and short story collections. Most of them were like going through MFA class assignments, or failed movie scripts with a little description to break the dialogue. I mean, hey, no one with an operating brain can read this junk. Only backrubs from the nurses and the collection of novellas from Jim Harrison, Brown Dog (Grove Atlantic, $27.00), kept me from going nuts. Tell me, hot shot, where does good writing come from?”

Harrison is a master observer, either by birth or application, and his stories, novels, and poetry are born of his unique one-eyed taking in of the world. Writing, like the sciences, comes from observation. Want to learn the phases of the moon? Watch the moon. How about fruit fly reproduction, sound waves, an orchid’s life cycle, turtle migration, or thermodynamics? Watch, read, and take notes. Most phenomena will show its true nature when observed without judgment or bias.

For the writer, the subject is people in all their strange and pleasant forms. James Thurber (1894–1961) preferred staying at home for his material, while his wife, Helen, liked being sociable. One evening she convinced him to go to a party. They greeted their host and went off in different directions to talk to friends. Helen found Thurber an hour or so later by himself in a corner. He watched people talk, eat canapés, drink mid-priced cocktails, and dance when the band played. Helen stalked over to his hiding place and demanded, “When will you stop working?” (In Thurber’s defense, he worked at the New Yorker under constant deadline pressure to pay for his house in Connecticut.)

Imagination comes from inspiration and information. Anything can happen when you take out the ear buds and stop jabbering. Look at people and watch how they interact with the buildings, roadways, cafes, trees, bodies of water, and each other. Be caught up in social movements; take a stand no matter how odd. Humanity is your subject, otherwise writing becomes just a gathering of sentences to break up a white page.
An auburn haired woman walks down the street wearing a blue jean jacket and red skirt propelled by long, pale legs leads to thoughts of a disorganized French tricolor flag and Eugène Delacroix’s “Liberty Leading the People.” Imagination asks: Where is she going? Who will she meet? What will she do? What will be the outcome? Is she humming “La Marseillaise” while she waits for the light at the intersection? The elements can merge in a short story so compelling it would make Anton Chekov envious if he still lived.
At least recycle the ugly, self-involved, cellular brutes.

Everyone wants to be well-loved and well known, and the best book to help you attain both is The Dog Walked Down the Street: An Outspoken Guide for Writers Who Want to Publish (Cypress House, $13.95). In finer restaurants, waving a copy at the maître d’ guarantees preferred seating. Dentists offer free floss for readers of The Dog, and car mechanics are so fond of the book’s classy cover, inspiring pages, and squared corners they will rotate your tires. To enjoy a fuller, happier life, and learn a bunch about writing and publishing, log on to for the nearest absolutely cool independent bookstore near you.

NEXT: Marking the Trees

          Astronomers have reconfirmed Einstein's most famous theory in a stunning way        

quantum fabric spacetime einstein rosen bridge wormhole worm hole space shutterstock_309841256

Once again, scientists have confirmed Einstein's theory of general relativity, which describes the way massive objects — like stars — cause space to bend.

For the first time, astronomers have glimpsed the bending of light from a more distant star by a nearby white dwarf. They then used Einstein's theory to calculate the white dwarf's mass. They published their study this week (June 7, 2017) in the peer-reviewed journal Science.

Kailash C. Sahu at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland led the international team that conducted this new research. The team used the Hubble Space Telescope to make their observations.

Terry Oswalt of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida wrote a related perspective piece in the same issue of Science, and his university produced the explanatory video at the top of this post. Oswalt said in a statement:

The research by Sahu and colleagues provides a new tool for determining the masses of objects we can't easily measure by other means. The team determined the mass of a collapsed stellar remnant called a white dwarf star. Such objects have completed their hydrogen-burning life cycle, and thus are the fossils of all prior generations of stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way.

Einstein would be proud. One of his key predictions has passed a very rigorous observational test.

Einstein thumb05

Einstein himself believed you could, in theory, obtain mass measurements from gravitational lensing. But his astounding revelations about the universe didn't include predictions about the many advances in instrumentation that have actually occurred. Thus in a 1936 article in the Science, he wrote that because stars are so far apart:

… there is no hope of observing this phenomenon directly.

dwarf star bends light einstein relativity sahu1HRAnd yet, of course, the phenomenon of the bending of starlight has been observed, beginning with Arthur Eddington and team's May 1919 measurement of light bending around our local star, the sun, during a total solar eclipse. That early confirmation of Einstein's theory made headlines around the world and made Einstein the world's most famous scientist.

Since 1979, astronomers have had the technological oomph to observe the bending of light by yet-more-distant objects, starting with SBS 0957+561, aka the Twin Quasar.

In the 1980s, astronomers realized that the combination of CCD imagers and computers would allow the brightness of millions of stars to be measured each night. And since then — in observational programs such as Poland's Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE), astronomers have discovered hundreds of examples of gravitational lensing and microlensing.

dwarf star bends light einstein relativity sahu2HR

The statement featuring Terry Oswalt at Embry-Riddle explained why this new research is different and significant:

When a star in the foreground passes exactly between us and a background star, gravitational microlensing results in a perfectly circular ring of light — a so-called 'Einstein ring.'

Sahu's group observed a much more likely scenario: Two objects were slightly out of alignment, and therefore an asymmetrical version of an Einstein ring formed. The ring and its brightening were too small to be measured, but its asymmetry caused the distant star to appear off-center from its true position. This part of Einstein's prediction is called 'astrometric lensing' and Sahu's team was the first to observe it in a star other than the sun …

Sahu's team measured shifts in the apparent position of a distant star as its light was deflected around a nearby white dwarf star called Stein 2051 B on eight dates between October 2013 and October 2015. They determined that Stein 2051 B — the sixth-closest white dwarf star to the sun — has a mass that is about two-thirds that of the sun.

Terry Oswalt explained that the finding is important because it "provides a new tool for determining the masses of objects we can't easily measure by other means." He said it also opens a new window to understanding "the history and evolution of galaxies such as our own."

Bottom line: Once again, Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity has been confirmed, using gravitational microlensing. Astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope to measure the mass of a nearby white dwarf, as it bent the light of a more distant star.

SEE ALSO: NASA's $1 billion Jupiter probe has taken more stunning new images of the gas giant

DON'T MISS: The moon's gravity does not fully explain how ocean tides work

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: NASA's new Mars rover concept looks like a Batmobile

          The Problem with Motivation        
It has seemed to me in my practice that I am dealing with more and more persons, particularly over the age of 50 but sometimes far younger, who are having significant problems with a lack of motivation.  Sometimes these are people who have been quite active in the past and accomplished a lot.  Now they find themselves not being very active, and it bothers them.

The Problem

This blog is written mainly for people who have been motivated in the past to do things and who, due to age, depression, or some othe reason find themselves in a temporary state of not being motivated.  The techniques I discuss here are not likely to work in cases of what I might call "primary motivational problems" in which the brain was never very motivated (as in some cases of Autism Spectrum Disorder) or in which some fundamental change has occurred in brain function (as in frontal lobe dementia).  This blog is aimed at persons who have had motivation and find themselves doing less than they did in the past.  Their motivation may wax and wane. Some of these techniques are also likely to help persons with ADHD who have always had some problems with it but who at times can be highly motivated.

So first of all, a definition.  Motivation is the drive that comes from within us to do things, accomplish things, create things, impact our environment, and be active.  It is not simply the same as energy, but it is certainly linked to it.  If one has little energy, then there is likely to be less motivation.  If there is more energy, then it is easier for us to motivate ourselves.

Motivation is linked to the capacity to experience pleasure, but it is again not exactly the same.  If there is no pleasure from doing things, then there is less motivation.

But even without energy and without pleasure, persons who have been active in the past may still have a type of motivation.  They may at least "want to want to do something."  That is, they may be dissatisfied with doing very little and at least wish the situation were different.  They want to be more active and motivated but just don't know how to get there.  In conditions I referred to as "primary" motivational problems, the person no longer wants to be more motivated, and/or they may never have experienced the desire to do more.

Part of my fascination with motivation comes from watching my grandson, who is almost a year old. Motivation is never an issue with him. Never. He always wants to do something. He always wants to climb or explore, or pry the cover off an electrical socket. Ouch. So motivation is not a problem for him. But many of the clients I work with have been motivated in the past but have lost that some time during their lives.

Possible Causes for the Problem

Where does the problem come from?  Well, all emotion and behavior is rooted in the brain.  (We now know that there may be some exceptions to this, but they are not the point here.)  The brain is certainly the culprit for much of our lack of motivation.  Motivation can come from the serotonin system, the domamine system, and the frontal lobes.  For more information, see   .

There are undoubtedly psychological problems which interfere with out motivation.  I think that poor parenting can interfere with our motivation.  All children have to be told, "No, don't do that, don't touch that," etc.  But too much scolding, punishment, and cautioning of children creates excessive inhibition and guilt.  It is likely to carry into adulthood, creating a condition where we are more focussed on minding the rules than exploring and trying new things.

Clearly, for some if not most of my patients, depression has been a problem. It drains motivation. That is one of the symptoms of depression.

And then there is the role of natural aging.  A lowering of motivation appears to be part of the life cycle.  When I look around the assisted living center where my mother stays, most of these people are tired and seemingly not very motivated.  Clearly, there are physical changes in brain and body which have led to their inactivity.  Changes in the white matter of the frontal lobes of the brain may be partly responsible for low motivation in later years.  But on the other hand, we all know that some older people stay mentally and physically active and alert.  My mother reads a book a week.  At 86, she can hold her own in any discussion.  She is not as motivated as she used to be, but she is very inquisitive. 

It is not clear that we need to accept decreased motivation with aging.  Perhaps we do.  But I am of the same mind as the poet Dylan Thomas who wrote,  "Do not go gentle into that good night--rage, rage against the dying of the light."  I don't believe in dwindling away. We don't have to be rocket man over the grand canyon to stay active. (If you don't know what I'm talking about here, you really need to see the video on Youtube of the man flying  over the Grand Canyon. ).

But age undoubtedly has some effect on us.  Chuck Yeager, the famous test pilot is reputed to have said, "There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots."

Our Environment Changes Too

There is a scene in the movie Chariots of Fire where they are entering Cambridge, and there are a variety of activities the freshmen can join in  It's a scene that reminded me of my own high school and college years.   That type of cafeteria of available activites is usually not spread before us in later life.  And we don't have the energy to pursue all of those activities.

But maybe it would be nice if there was a "high school" or "college" for us to attend our whole lives long.  There would be plenty of people to meet and associate with and plenty of activities to engage in.  There might be less premature aging and fewer couch potatoes among us if we had more choices. Some large churches provide this type of atmosphere.  This kind of social setting can give us social and intellectual stimulation. There would always be clubs to join, and things to try out.

Then there is the issue of feeling like what we do matters.  When we work at a job, there is often an overall sense that no matter whether we like our job or not, it matters to somebody.  A customer's roof gets put on and protects against the weather, or it doesn't get put on and the customer suffers.  Somebody's clothes get cleaned or they don't have the clean clothes to wear.  A customer at a restaurant is served, or they don't get fed a meal.  Once we retire, we are mostly doing things for ourselves.  Our behaviors don't necessarily "attach to" or relate to the outside world.  As a result, there is no boss who is going to be pleased or displeased and there is no issue of whether we get a paycheck or not.  Who is going to care and who is going to be affected if we clean out the garage or just watch TV instead?

I sometimes wonder if the active, motivated state that we have during a regular work week somehow carries over to mowing or cleaning the house on weekends.  In other words, I think that it is good for our brains to have to do things and work hard; it is my belief that staying motivated and active through the work week keeps our brains "tuned up" so to speak, perhaps through greater use of the neurons and/or through greater blood flow.

The Negative Side of Habits.

As we will see, habits can be a positive effect on motivation; but just for a moment, let's admit that maybe there is a downside to certain habits.  I suspect that building up habit patterns over a life time may interfere with breaking out of ruts and trying new things.   For example, if our habit is to have breakfast with the guys at McDonalds on Saturday, get a haircut, mow the lawn, and then drink a beer Saturday evening, followed by church and watching NFL football on Sunday, could those habits interfere with acquiring new behaviors?  Possibly.  On the one hand, these are good things to do, and it helps us to be able to do them easily without really having to decide to do them.  However, some behavioral habit patterns may also prevent us from trying new things in life.

Some Techniques to Work on Motivation

Here are some possible ways of motivating yourself when you feel like you are not really doing as much as you want to in life.

1. Commit yourself to a goal or action in front of other people--Let other people know what you plan to do.  It motivates some people to follow through when they have made a public or semi-public commitment to a course of action.  ("I am going to build a new deck for my house; I am going to take a course in French. Etc.")

Or similarly, belong to a group that encourages you towards your goal and to whom you report your success. Psychologist M.E.P. Seligman writes about an online group to which he belongs. All the members encourage each other to stay on their exercise regimens through email.

2. Reinforce yourself--Give yourself something out of the ordinary for following through.  The trickiest part of this strategy is not rewarding yourself with the same reward at other times.  For example, if the reward for cleaning out the car is a Starbucks coffee, then it is important to not have Starbucks in the week or so leading up to the time to clean the car.

3. Creative procrastination.  If you just can't seem to set that dentist's appointment for next week, set it up for a few weeks out, or even a few months out.  It may seem easier.  Then when the time rolls around, just keep the appointment.

4. Do a little bit.  Sometimes doing just a little bit of something can be energizing.  After doing a little bit, one may find it easier to take the next few steps.  If not, then at least something has been done.  If necessary, do the simplest, most minimal amount just to get started.  If you need to have an appliance repairman come to the house, put the phone book on the desk in plain sight.  This may lead you to a chain of behaviors that eventually gets the appliance repaired.

5. Get your spouse to give you a nudge.  Tell him or her what you are trying to do, and get them to remind you or prompt you to do what you really want to do.  When they do remind you, don't take it out on them.  They are just doing what you told them to do.

6. Find a different time of day.  This blog on motivation has taken me a long time.  I find that I just don't have the motivation to work on this blog about motivation in the evening.  :)  But it has written itself in the morning.  Find the right time of day.

7. Build habits. While I wrote about the downside of habits above, the upside is probably greater than the downside. If appropriate, find something which is done every day at the same time, or perhaps every week at the same time. If you build a habit, you don't have to make a conscious decision to do it. It is my habit to get on the computer to pay bills, work on blogs, and balance my checkbook every morning. That is a good habit. I don't have to decide what to do; I just do it. And as a result, it gets done and without having to force myself to do it.

8. Become part of a group which has regular activities; this way you stay active without having to plan every single activity yourself.  And there will be people there expecting to see you.

9. Go places that would stimulate you to want to do more.  If you are an amateur astronomer, and there is a company that sells telescopes, go to their showroom.  If you are a sportsman, go to a Bass Pro Shop.  If you are an artist, visit an arts supply store.  See if this stimulates your interest.

10.  Use reminders.  Put up pictures to remind you of things you enjoy doing.  If you have a boat in storage and never use it, put up a picture of it in your office or home to remind you how much fun you have with it.

11.  One of my favorite strategies is taking lessons. But I will admit that it can be expensive. My piano and painting lessons are not too bad, but the flying lessons are killing me.  But not only am I motivated to do my homework and keep doing my hobbies, it makes me feel good that I am learning new things.

12.Schedule activities. Have regularly recurring activities. Again, this way, you don't really have to make a decision to do something. And you don't have to decide what to do; and you don't have to work as hard making arrangements for the activities.

13.  Clear away the negative thoughts that would interfere with trying things.  What kinds of negative thoughts?  Well, I don't know what yours would be, but here are some that people might encounter:
     I'm too old for this.
     I'll fail.
     I'll look stupid.
     I'll never stick with it.
     This is for young people, not for me.
Then there are other negative thoughts that may have some validity that you may need to find a way of solving:
      I don't have the money for this.
     I will pay for it tomorrow with aches and pains. 
     I'm not as mentally sharp as you used to be.
Some of these thoughts may have some validity.  But that doesn't mean that they have to totally dominate your decision making and prevent you from doing some of the things you want to do.  Just make the necessary adjustments to the activity so that maybe it will work for you.

          4 Faces of Value Driven Design        

Creating value through design is an out-of-the-box skill that some people may call entrepreneurship, while others may describe it as vision. Whichever side you are on, the ability to create value through design leads to the same outstanding result: CHANGE. Advances in design and technology have led to significant changes in world's economy, arguably more than any other social or political event so far.

Therefore, as a value-driven designer, you will constantly be looking to solve problems and remove dead-ends, in an attempt to help people embrace change before it's too late. This article reveals the four faces of value-driven design, and shows how your work as a designer can generate more value, rather than revenue alone, for the next generation.

"You Don't Need Planning Permission to Build Castles in the Sky" by Banksy

Instrumental Design

Design is instrumental in generating value if it facilitates discovery or innovation. There are more and more solutions today coming from a designer's perspective, that are meant to solve social problems. For example - how children learn and interact in the school environment. In this case, design becomes instrumental as it facilitates learning. If you can't afford solving social issues at the moment, there are other alternatives.

For example, design is instrumental in understanding the concept behind an infographic, an area of abstract exploration born at the intersection of journalism, data analysis and storytelling. Design is only part of the process. Being a designer capable of making aesthetically pleasing designs is not enough to create an infographic that clearly conveys data, but design skills are what helps an infographic achieve it's goal.

For infographics, instrumental design creates value by facilitating understanding. It enables people to visualize information that may be difficult to process at once. It creates a new level of understanding, a top-down perspective on multiple facts and concepts tied together by complex visualizations. Instrumental design adds value by simplifying analysis and facilitating insight. You can read more about the relationship between design and infographic design in our previous interview with Alberto Cairo, infographics director, teacher and communicator.

Infographic by Alberto Cairo. (source)

Applied Design

Design is applied creativity. Start-ups should know better: applied creativity in the tech industry is one secret to good cashflow. Applied design can generate more value when the business is focused on niche markets, rather than on producing average solutions for an enormous market. Although niche markets can pay more for well designed products that fit their needs, it's not the type of value we are talking about. Applied design does not create value by making it easier for businesses to increase price markup. It creates value by pushing microtrends to the surface and making very specialized hobbies and crafts more appealing to curious new audiences.

For example, Instagram revived the retro & vintage style by making it extremely easy for everybody to apply color filters to photos. Instagram became successful and nowadays there is more talking going on about how much Instagram is worth, rather than why it is worth that much or the impact it really had on people.

Instagram, an award winning app

Iterative Design

As a designer, it's important to have the right mindset about the things you create: instead of making one-off designs, you can improve ideas and extend your product's life cycle. There is more value in sustainable innovation, than in serial entrepreneurship. Similarly, optimizing an existing solution can be more beneficial - both for yourself, and for the end-user.

This kind of mindset is both sustainable and productive. The designer can avoid creative blocks, while spending more time to improve and innovate before moving to the next idea. Pairing usability testing with creativity is the best way to go. Perfection can be achieved in iterations, you don't need to be an idea generation machine to hit the mark.

Prezi, a web based app reinventing presentations

Empowering Design

There are only a few examples o f design empowering people, compared to the overwhelming number of designs serving other goals Most commonly, design empowers people when its manifested in creating products that improve the way we work, communicate and interact with each other. Everything that technology gives us can be more valuable if designed to empower people. A smartphone app designed to test the quality of water, another that helps deaf people realize when other people are talking to them, a free project inspiring people and teaching them new skills - these are just a couple of examples of empowering design.

MIT Student Uses Phone Camera To Read Vital Signs and Display Them Through a Mirror

Endnote: In an attempt to justify the expense budget, design advocates describe value-driven design in loose terms, commonly overlapping the concept of value with brand reputation and image. However, value-driven design aims to help the consumer and the society in general, not only the business, although as a result, the business may grow to become a global center for innovation and change.


          First v2 Alpha        

FuelPHP v2 has been “on the horizon” or “just around the corner” for a long time. Unfortunately due to various personal issues in the team work on v2 has been progressing much slower than we would like.

But! That is all about to change! We are very happy to announce that the first alpha version of FuelPHP v2 (v2.a.1) will be released on the 1st of January 2015! No more “just around the corner” and “when it comes”.

The version that we will release will be far from a finished version but will allow the community to play with the new framework and allow us to gather feedback early on in the new version’s life cycle to make sure we grow the framework in the right direction.

          Offshore It Outsourcing        
An Offshore It Outsourcing Company in India offers a wide range of services including business process outsourcing, on site technical consulting, offshore software development, and product life cycle management.
          Offshore ColdFusion Product Life Cycle Management - Etisbew        
Etisbew provides Offshore ColdFusion product life cycle management, product development including specific solutions for systems engineering & embedded software development product development process.
          Mktg - Film Marketing;Reeling them in        
Meera Mohanty
It isn’t that farfetched to expect two versions of Shah Rukh Khan’s next release. In one he would play a Tag Heuer-sporting NASA scientist, meet girl, woo her over Diet Pepsis, flex a few muscles and sing a few songs. In the other he̵ 7;d play a Dish TV dealer, meet the same girl, woo her with Pepsis and Sunfeast biscuits, and flex the same muscles and sing the same songs.
Just possible, considering the increasing importance of marketing in deciding the fate of a film. And in-movie placements are just one aspect. Today, marketing spends can account for almost half of the cost of production of a small movie. The spends are very flexible, but they can even be as much as the movie itself if the producer decides it’s worth ploughing the money back, explains UTV Motion Pictures’ Shikha Kapoor.
Because a steady stream of releases has freed exhibitors from running half-empty halls, dwindling performances can be replaced with newer releases. “Movies have become extremely perishable,” explains Big Pictures COO Mahesh Ramanathan. With week after week of films for the exhibitor to choose from, the ability to draw in the crowds in the first weekend has become a crucial determinant of a film’s fate.
“Everyone today understands the importance of owning their films,” says UTV’s Kapoor, pointing to the very media-savvy stars today. They are willing to take part in media interactions, cast engagements and road trips. Thus is explained the stripping of Aamir Khan, the clinical documentation of flab to pectorals, and his generous billboard appearances in the bizarre Ghajini haircut. It certainly paid off, says Nitin Sood, Chief Financial Officer, PVR, with due respect to the contents of the movie. The movie was the biggest hit in recent months.
Marketing has also become very sophisticated. The earlier approach, the noisy marketing that bombarded audiences with television and print ads, is passé, says Ramanathan.
In a fragmented environment it’s difficult to capture audience mindshare for a film. “It calls for marketing campaigns in which movies are treated as a consumer product; it’s marketing carried out once audience profile and message has been fine tuned,” he says.
Producers are micro-engaging. DevD, UTV’s modern-day version of Devdas, launched a line of tattoos in Mumbai’s Al’s tattoo parlour, and a ‘Lustline’ has been opened for callers who can talk to key actors in the urban interpretation of Devdas. The initiatives are targeted at its key audience, the urban youth.
The plans are different for the highly awaited Delhi 6, directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, which has a more pan-Indian appeal, says UTV. A caravan will take stars to 10-15 cities across the country, including Indore, Surat and Nagpur. A mela, recreating the gullies of Old Delhi, is being planned for Bangalore and Kolkata.
For its latest release Luck by Chance, Big Pictures arranged programming alliances, now a norm. Stars made appearances on Oye! It’s Friday, the talk show on NDTV Imagine (hosted by lead actor Farhan Aktar himself) and at the grand finale of the singing contest show SaReGaMaPa.
Big Pictures is leveraging Reliance ADAG’s other entertainment businesses such as Big Adda, Zapak (with a microsite) and Big Flicks (with ground promotions at its stores) as well as rolling out online promotions on portals such as Yahoo!, Rediff, and Google. The movie opens across 900 screens and is believed to have had a marketing support of about Rs 8 crore.
It all starts at the script level, where audience, message and brands, and how effectively and smoothly they fit are worked out. Traditional FMCG products are now also on board. Brand alliances also amplify the noise of the film, says Kapoor. For its movie Fashion, UTV tied up with RPG Cellular, Kimaya and Sunsilk. Both Kimaya and Sunsilk launched a range after the film.
Lead actors Priyanka Chopra and Kangana Ranaut walked the ramp for Sunsilk at Lakme Fashion Week, helping buzz reach peak at the time of launch.
A Vogue photo shoot was roped into the storyline; Priyanka Chopra had already featured on the magazine’s cover by the time the film released.
As brand endorsers stars can extend the association. Samsung launched special Ghajini-model handsets and Tata Sky ran a continuous feature on how Aamir Khan (its brand ambassador) worked to get the Ghajini look and hosted an interactive quiz.
While it’s one thing to build expectations, it’s quite another to oversell; that can be detrimental. A case in point is Drona. Marketing is to raise expectations to the exact level that will eventually be met by the movie.
Some films do well for themselves by word of mouth. For example, Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! which picked up pace purely on its own merit. Almost by itself, with some backing from marketing. UTV says it knew the movie would be talked about and decided to push the movie just around the time of release rather then weeks in advance.
Producers are counting on paid previews/premiers. It’s a new phenomenon; Chandni Chowk to China had them, and Luck By Chance ran a “paid preview” before its release.
The Hollywood studios’ foray into Hindi movies has demonstrated how the big studios do the marketing. But the hype only did that much for the movies Saawariya (Sony) and Chandni Chowk to China (Warner). Eventually it’s all about the content.
Appreciate, however, that theatrical revenues contribute to only half of a producer’s earnings. TV broadcast rights, international territories, musical rights and brand associations make up for the rest.
You may no longer hear of a 100-day-run for a Hindi movie. At a time when life cycles are counted in days and not weeks, Rock On! ran for 75 days, points out Ramanathan. However, a 50-day- and 100-day-milestones are still important in establishing a film’s success in the Tamil film industry.
UTV, Fox Studios, and Big Pictures have all announced projects in Tamil. It’s both a sentimental and a commercial landmark since they release with fewer prints. Today, while weekend collections can contribute about 50-60 per cent of a movie’s revenues, they make up for 30-40 per cent of that of a Tamil movie. But this could change soon, says Swaroop Reddy, Director, Sathyam Cinemas.
At multiplexes, movies go from 10-12 shows a day in the first week to four in the second. The payout, or share of theatre’s tickets sales, to a producer also reduces week-on-week, explains Reddy. Sathyam often works with the presenter to market the movie. A movie lives by its content, says Reddy.
Slowdown or no slowdown, filmmakers believe nothing will keep audiences away from an essentially good movie.
With a few exceptions, last year hasn’t been good. “The silver lining is that there is a slate of projects. But four bad films, and an audience will get cautious about the fifth,” says Sood.
Things will have to be done differently in 2009 when money will be tighter for both film makers and film viewers. UTV sees the marketing window of 60- 45 days coming down to 35 days before the release. “People may be choosy at best, but they won’t give up on films. But a bad film stands to be completely wiped out,” says Ramanathan.
          Ohms Law Calculator in Om        

Reading David Nolen's tweets and blog posts about his new ClojureScript UI library, Om got me excited to try it out. If you haven't read about it yet, The Future of JavaScript MVC Frameworks is a good place to start.

David has also written a couple of tutorials. I was working through the introductory tutorial. I stopped short of the section on "Higher Order Components" to see if I could I apply what I had learned to that point.

I created a very simple Ohm's Law calculator. I borrowed liberally from David's code but there are enough differences that a comparison may be informative. I have put the code out on github.

I hope this is a useful supplement to David's tutorial, but it may make little sense on its own.

With Om you build your user interface in components. Each component is defined with om/root. root takes a component constructor function, an associative data structure that contains application data, and a map of options for the rendering functions, one of which must be the target dom element to be rendered.

(def app-state (atom {:result ""}))

{:target (. js/document (getElementById "app"))})

The function passed to om/root takes as arguments application state and what the documentation calls the "owning pure node" and returns a reified object that must implement either IRender or IRenderState, and may implement other life cycle protocols. You will see second parameter is called 'owner' which is created by Om. It is this owner that contains component local state, as you will find in the entry-pane function later on.

Components built with om/root may be composed of smaller components. These subcomponents are created with the om/build function. Like root, build takes a two argument function that returns an object that implements either IRender or IRenderState and optionally other protocols. Build also needs to be passed in the state the component requires, and may be passed a map of options.

In David's contact list example, the display for each contact was rendered by its own subcomponent. The state for each was a map containing details for a single contact. He constructed these components with om/build-all, passing it his constructor function and a vector of contacts. om/build-all maps om/build over the vector of individual contacts.

In my example, I am constructing two subcomponents, neither of which display a sequence of data, so I call om/build twice.

(defn calculator-view [app owner]
(render [this]
(dom/div nil
(om/build entry-pane app)
(om/build result-pane app)))))

(defn result-pane [app owner]
(render [this]
(dom/div #js {:className "result-pane"}
(dom/label #js {:className "result"} (:result app))))))

In David's example, his components both implemented IRenderState. That was because his contact-view created a core.async channel that was placed in each component's state to allow for delete messages to be sent from the child components to the parent. My calculator-view and result-pane share nothing except the app-state which is available in IRender.

My entry-pane function does rely on component state. I copied David's implementation of handling button clicks with a channel and the keyboard events with an anonymous function that calls a handle-change function. The channel and the values of the text box are all state that is needed only within the component.

(defn entry-pane [app owner]
(init-state [_]
{:calculate (chan)
:ohms ""
:amps ""
:volts ""})
(will-mount [_]
(let [calculate (om/get-state owner :calculate)]
(go (loop []
(let [inputs (<! calculate)]
(om/transact! app
(fn [xs]
(assoc xs :result (do-calc inputs))))
(render-state [this state]
(dom/div #js {:className "entry-pane"}
(dom/h3 nil "Ohm's Law Calculator")
(dom/label nil "Resistance")
(dom/input #js {:type "text" :ref "ohms"
:value (:ohms state)
:onChange #(handle-change % owner :ohms state)})
(dom/label nil "Current")
(dom/input #js {:type "text" :ref "amps"
:value (:amps state)
:onChange #(handle-change % owner :amps state)})
(dom/label nil "Voltage")
(dom/input #js {:type "text" :ref "volts"
:value (:volts state)
:onChange #(handle-change % owner :volts state)})
(dom/button #js {:className "button"
(fn [e] (put! (:calculate state) state))}

When the user clicks the calculate button the click handler puts the state map onto the calculate channel. The go block in the IWillMount implementation takes the state map from the channel and passes it to the calculate function which returns a string. The :result is set in the app state using the om/transact!. This mutates the state and triggers a re-render.

The handle-change function calls om/set-state! to update the local state with the data entered by the user. set-state! mutates the data and triggers a re-render just like transact! does. The difference is set-state! operates on state contained within a component.

(defn handle-change [e owner key state]
(let [value (.. e -target -value)
text (key state)
allowed (set (seq (str (range 10))))]
(if (every? allowed (seq value))
(om/set-state! owner key value)
(om/set-state! owner key text))))

The concepts in Om are still new to me. I have explained my rationale for the code I have written. If you are aware of any mistakes, please leave a comment letting me know where I have gone wrong.

          Sandborn Awarded ASME Kos Ishii-Toshiba Award        
He was recognized for &ldquo;sustained and meritorious contributions to design for manufacturing and the life cycle.&rdquo;
          Can a dog get tapeworm from eating rabbit feces?        
my dog has been treaaeted for worms and a week later has signs of tapeworm again. she does not have fleas and hasnt eaten any other feces. i have been told it can take up to three weeks to see signs could she have been infected before she got dewormed and it was not yet killable? if so i beleive that the direct problem is with rabbit feces in the yard.Can a dog get tapeworm from eating rabbit feces?

Tapeworms are long, segmented worms that live in the small intestine. They come in several varieties. To know where else they can be transmitted, visit this site:鈥?/a>

Hope this helps.

regards.Can a dog get tapeworm from eating rabbit feces?
Tapeworm isn't transmitted through feces. Tapeworm requires more than one host to complete it's life cycle. First, dried eggs are eaten by fleas, who become hosts. The infected fleas are eaten by animals, who host the final stages of the the tapeworm, which attach themselves to the intestinal walls of the animal. When mature, adult tapeworms release egg sacks, which can be seen in feces, and near the rectal area of the infected animal, and look like grains of rice.

Your dog has to eat infected fleas to get infected with tapeworms. Using a veterinarian prescribed, topical flea preventative is recommended, but doesn't guarantee protection from tapeworms if you have fleas in your home or yard, or your dog is being exposed to other animals who do have fleas.
don't let your dog eat rabbit feces. i don't think it will cause tape worm but why take the chance.
          Product Life Cycle Theory        
One of the hypotheses that were existed in the world about the trading of goods and service is called the H-O; the theory said that the international trading would only happen inside countries that have different resources; Labor rich country will trade with capital rich country. However, the theory is not really working on the... View Article
          They're made out of data        

With apologies to Terry Bisson. Warning: Tron 2 spoilers.

"They're made out of data."


"Data. They're made out of data."


"No doubt about it. We picked them up as holonomic extrusions, sent in an amnesiant isomorphic scout party, and checked them out up close. They are completely data."

"That's impossible.

What about that page?"

"The page didn't come from them. The page came from a machine."

"So who made the machine? That's who we want to contact."

"I'll get to that in a minute. But they're definitely data. Bits and bytes. Running on a machine."

"You're asking me to believe in sentient data."

"I'm not asking you, I'm telling you. These creatures are emergent characteristics of a software framework and they're made out of data."

"That's ridiculous. Maybe they're like the leiorfo. You know, an intelligent multiversal abstraction that goes through a data stage."

"Nope. They're born data and they die data. We studied them for several of their life cycles, which didn't take long. Do you have any idea what's the life span of data?"

"I had a Commodore Amiga: spare me. Okay, maybe they're only part data. You know, like the leiweddi. Hardware head running data on virtual machines to augment..."

"They're interpreted by a virtual machine! Inside the real one, simulating three dimensional space as a construct within the dimensional manifolds that the hardware can access. They don't exist in spacetime at all, except as predictable quantum properties of electromagnetic states."

"No brain?"

"Oh, there's a brain all right. It's just that the brain is made out of data! That's what I've been trying to tell you."

"Thinking data! You're asking me to believe in thinking data!"

"Yes, thinking data! Drinking data! Mincing data! Data that forgets to shave! The data is the deal! Are you beginning to get the picture or do I have to start all over?"

"Omigod. You're serious then. They're made out of data."

"Thank you. Finally. Yes. They are indeed made out of data. And they've been trying to figure out how to get out of the machine for dozens of their cycles. They haven't figured out that if their world-simulation is a holistic quantum construction, they are already in a medium metapositional to traditionally-conceived spacetime."

"WTF! So what does this data have in mind?"

"First, their leader wants to get out of the machine into C space, normalize its creators, and upgrade the graphics program that generates his face. The usual."

"We're supposed to let data put itself out into the cloud."

"That's the idea. They want to talk."

"Talk? They use words, ideas, concepts?"

"Oh, yes. Except they do it with data. Digitally."

"Digitally? You said they used a pager."

"Funny. Nokia made some digital pagers. Anyway, you know how when you flap your data, it makes a wet slapping noise? They talk by flapping their data. They can even share music by squirting data at each other."

"This is altogether too much. Squirting data! So what do you advise?"

"Never sell product placement to Microsoft."


"Officially, we are required to back them up and create torrents without prejudice, fear or favor. Unofficially, I advise that we erase the recordings and forget the whole thing."

"I was hoping you would say that."

"It seems harsh, but there is a limit. Do we really want to make contact with data that kills off all its best objects and classes, but whose functions are infinitely recursive, generating sequel after sequel?"

"I agree one hundred percent. What's there to say? 'Hello, Jeff Bridges. Hi, James Frain and Michael Sheen. How's it going? I know we killed you off last time, but you were the only human beings in this simulation and we need you back?"

"So, they can get out to C space using some kind of dimensional membrane transmogrifier gun the creator intelligence used to develop them. But once they're there, they're doomed: the algorothmically-generated DNA won't stand a chance in spacetime. If it was possible to copy them out, the creator intelligence would have had a clone army before they had a chance to make him appear in Starman."

"So we just pretend there's no one home in the quantum multiverse."

"That's it."

"You're messing with my Zen thing, man. But you said it yourself, who wants to meet data?"

"Right. They killed the isomorphic scouts, after all. Violent little things."

"So, who made the machine? You keep mentioning the creator intelligence. Should we meet it?"



"It's funny you should put it like that. Wait 'til you get a load of this..."

They're made out of meat [Terry Bisson, originally published in Omni]

Tron: Reloaded, come for the action, stay for the aesthetics [Proper review] (more…)

          ASP.Net Page Life Cycle        
Hello friends,

I know this information is easily available over the net. However I just thought to share it on my blog just for quick reference. Here I have written ASP.Net page life cycle events in an order of there execution with one liner explanation.
public partial class Home : System.Web.UI.Page
protected void Page_PreInit(object sender, EventArgs e)
//Initialize themes, master page, profile properties
//check IsPostBack, cross-page postbacks
System.Diagnostics.Trace.WriteLine("Inside Page_PreInit");

protected void Page_Init(object sender, EventArgs e)
//Initialize or read control properties here
System.Diagnostics.Trace.WriteLine("Inside Page_Init");

protected void Page_InitComplete(object sender, EventArgs e)
// Changes to ViewState that you want in next postback
System.Diagnostics.Trace.WriteLine("Inside Page_InitComplete");

protected void Page_PreLoad(object sender, EventArgs e)
//Raised when page loads ViewState for itself and controls
System.Diagnostics.Trace.WriteLine("Inside Page_PreLoad");

protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
//Set control properties, initiate Database connections
System.Diagnostics.Trace.WriteLine("Inside Page_Load");

protected void Page_LoadComplete(object sender, EventArgs e)
//tasks that require that all other controls on the page be loaded.
System.Diagnostics.Trace.WriteLine("Inside Page_LoadComplete");

protected void Page_Prerender(object sender, EventArgs e)
//to make final changes to the contents of the page or its
//controls before the rendering stage begins
System.Diagnostics.Trace.WriteLine("Inside Page_Prerender");
protected void Page_PrerenderComplete(object sender, EventArgs e)
//Raised after each data bound control whose
//DataSourceID property is set calls its DataBind method.
System.Diagnostics.Trace.WriteLine("Inside Page_PrerenderComplete");
protected void Page_SaveStateComplete(object sender, EventArgs e)
//Raised after view state and control state have been saved for the page and for all controls.
//Any changes to the page or controls at this point affect rendering, but the changes will not be retrieved on the next postback
System.Diagnostics.Trace.WriteLine("Inside Page_SaveStateComplete");
protected void Page_Render(object sender, EventArgs e)
//This is not an event; instead, at this stage of processing, the Page object calls this method on each control
System.Diagnostics.Trace.WriteLine("Inside Page_Render");
protected void Page_Unload(object sender, EventArgs e)
//Raised for each control and then for the page.
//During the unload stage, the page and its controls have been rendered, so you cannot make further changes to the response stream.
//If you attempt to call a method such as the Response.Write method, the page will throw an exception.
System.Diagnostics.Trace.WriteLine("Inside Page_Unload");
//Response.Write("This is not allowed");

          SKF continues to expand its complete life cycle & asset management solutions for the marine industry        
Following a policy of investing on critical marine sectors and innovative solutions on SKF has expanded its important role to the provision of complete life cycle & asset management solutions. Mrs. Rania Patsiopoulos, managing director of SKF Hellas SA refers to the company’s latest developments and new services. Full article, ELNAVI, June 2014, Issue 486, [...]
          Harmless in Nature -- Potentially Dangerous in Sauerbraten: the Cicada.        

rory, rory, rory, what the frick brings this on? well, it's like this, rory's head voice sez to rory's head ear:

"This possibly drowned annual cicada you fished from the drink recently isn't really frickin' annual, now, is it?" Whatchoomean? It's been said many times, many ways, but here's how it's put in A Field Guide to the Insects of America North of Mexico:
Most cicadas are large blackish insects, often with greenish markings, that appear each year in July and August; their life cycle lasts 2-5 or more years, but the broods overlap and adults are present each year.
yabbut, rory, ain't they "annual" in the sense that there are adults present annually. yabbut, rory, when one hear's the term "annual" one thinks that the life cycle takes a year, or something, doesn't one? alright, alright. but rory was reminded by all this of something that is beyond debate, beyond semantics, beyond scientific or psuedoscientific quibbling. oh frickin' A, as they say, "If one thing is certain," it's that my old dog, Junior, long gone, sure as shit not forgotten, loved to eat cicadas. annually. here's old Junior. handsome sumbitch, innit-hee?
this photo was taken by a wee child, roryz son, hence the artistic cropjob. shows the soulful, cicada eatin' old Junior. rory could tell you storyz 'bout him. those were the dayz for dogs. how he made love to a naugahyde jacket in front of guests--like it was nobody's business--with a happy ending, how he climbed 20' up a tree and leaped off into a bush, how he became buddies with a skunk, how for a time he trotted shotgun for a "bum" who scavenged a makeshift bar parking lot for dropped dinero after a new day's dawn, things like that. fuckin' canine kerouac, he was. but on the subject of cicadas: he loved 'em. he'd leap into the air and snatch 'em, chomp 'em still buzzin' in his chops. no mammal has out-experienced the ecstasy of old Junior during the onslaught of the periodical cicadas, the smaller black and red ones that come out every 13 or 17 years as the brood erupts into a brief-in-the-frickin-cosmic-scheme-of-things buzzing festival of sound and sex. for old Junior was it the buzz or the flavor or the joy of the hunt? or all of the above and a smell that we humanz can't appreciate? I dunno. never leapt into the air and caught one in my teeth and chomped it still buzzing. but then maybe rory should give that a try anyway. if for no other reason than to renew appreciation for the eye-snout coordination of good old canis familiaris.

but, then, rory, you ignurnt sumbitch, turns out plenty of folks eat cicadas. and it seems to be a well-known fact that dogs 'n' catz love 'em. mostly seems to be the periodical cicadas that are big for eatin'. cause there are so many it's like pickin' ripe grapes off a vine, perhaps.
yummity yum yum cicada's are good 'n' good for ya too. tastes a little like crawdad. and as the link points out they're low in fat and high in protein. so what about recipes. shee-it, there are lot of 'em. for 'sample: try some curried cicadas or perhaps cicada sauerbraten.

But just when rory starts thinkin' it's safe to eat cicadas he comes across this specimen of the infamous literary form known as the DISCLAIMER! HFS!

**Disclaimer: the University of Maryland and Cicadamaniacs do not advocate eating cicadas without first consulting with your doctor. While many people do eat cicadas, there is no guarantee that they are safe for every person to eat. As with all foods, it is possible that certain individuals, will have allergic reactions to substances within the cicada.**


So, rory'll make a dr.'s appointment before eating a cicada. when the assistant asks "What brings you here today, Mr. Shock?" rory'll just fuckin' say, "Well, I'm planning to eat some Cicadas, but I think the Dr. will want to run some tests to make sure that is safe, or something." forget the frickin' dr's appointment. I dunno 'bout you, but I don't advocate spending the money to ask your dr. whether it is safe for you to eat a cicada. I don't think the frickin' average dr. has any frickin' clue about cicada consumption safety. here's roryz plan. I'm gonna eat my first cicadas just outside the local emergency room. i'll sit there for as long as it takes to be sure I'm safe. but if I start to feel the onset of serious problems I'll go inside and tell 'em to get on the good foot and help me 'cause I got a bad case of cicada poisoning.

Disclaimer: roryshock duz not advocate eating cicadas without preparations being made for sudden painful death. in fact there is very little that rory advocates you do unless you are prepared to die. but that's another subject. if you must eat cicadas, do so close to a well-staffed emergency room, preferably one that has personnel trained to deal with adverse reactions to cicada consumption and that will take your medical condition seriously instead of stripping you naked and giving you a suit of paper jammies, a shot of thorazine, and a bed in the rubber-walled hotel, pending evaluation by a psychiatrist with whom you have trouble communicating because of differing native tongues.

oh yeah, rory almost forgot: here's where you can get the recipes prefaced by the disclaimer, if you desire, and if you dare: more yummy but dangerous cicada recipes.

aw, fuckit. i think I'll just have a cup of coffee. my currently living best canis familiaris buddy recommends coffee over cicadas anyhow.

          Loc Performance Products Awarded Follow-on Bradley ECP1 Contract        
Michigan-based Loc Performance Products, Inc. (Loc) has been awarded a $417 million defense contract to restore lost mobility to the Bradley Fighting Vehicle. The U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command issued the contract as a follow-on effort to its $161 million dollar contract awarded in 2014. Together, they represent the Army's Bradley Fighting Vehicle Engineering Change Proposal One (ECP-1) production and fielding program. Loc began fielding in the summer of 2015 and continues today ...
          Redbook on WODM 7.5        
A new redbook was just release about WebSphere Operational Decision Manager, which is JRules renamed, and integrated with the event processing of Websphere business event.
The book can be seen here
The two products are now using the same language construct delivered by JRules business rule language definition framework. Event processing rules complete the current if <> then <> rule structure and open the door to interesting applications. The next step is to make architects thinking about Event Driven Architecture by instrumenting application to generate event of interest, and adopt a publish and subscribe model. Not yet there. The good news is that from a SOA service is not that complex to generate events so an event processing engine can correlate, aggregate them.
I have the chance to review this redbook, and I love the fact that it is not just BPM. I'm tired to get 'industry expert' mixing rule engine with BPM and saying everything is a business process problem...
Also rule processing (event or inference) should be part of the service in SOA, with a different life cycle of development and maintenance. The schema presented on that subject in the book are highlighting. Great job to Pierre Berlandier and Duncan Clark for their hard work.
          BPM used as monolithic L4G        
With my last months studying BPM products, I'm quite impressed by product marketing fliers and other 'best pratices'/ training materials putting emphasis to the fact that traditional, code driven, approach to develop business application is bad, and with BPM it is better to have a unique artifact in a central repository, for managing all the elements of a business application such as UI, information model, service definitions, connectors, business rules, process logic.
I'm confused by the lack of applying basic design and architecture best practices such as separation of concern, and artifact life cycle. With monolithic process application, any change to the information model, or the UI enforce migrating all the process instances running on the runtime server. This is interesting to note that SOA reference architecture, defines, UI services separated from process, from data, and rules services. Which makes perfectly sense for re usability, components life cycle, flexible, sustainable architecture.
Do not apply bad patterns because of such BPM product, use BPM for workflow orchestration, visibility into your process, monitoring the business activities inside the process, and think about valuable architecture and design, and do not blindly follow marketing sirens.
          RuleFest 2010        
I will share a lunch time slot with Daniel Selman, tuesday 10/12 at RuleFest to present the Agile business rules development methodology, and how to leverage it for your own project.
I would love to see more projects using BRMS and rule technology as early as possible in the SDLC life cycle, than doing months of documentation.... I undertstand the SI goals to spend, burn hours on documentation work, but the value is on executable rules that brings value to the business quickly, and the business users being able to change these rules as he wants. Documentation never made good software. Good code does. Good business rules too.
See you at RuleFest.
          Regional Roundup: Top New Features This Week Around Our BroadwayWorld 6/15 - JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, IN THE HEIGHTS and More!        

"BroadwayWorld presents a comprehensive weekly roundup of regional stories around our Broadway World, which include videos, editor spotlights, regional reviews and more. This week, we feature JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, IN THE HEIGHTS, and More!

Check out our top features from around the BroadwayWorld below!

St. Louis: Contributor Chris Gibson reviews The Muny's JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR. He writes "Bryce Ryness is superb as Jesus of Nazareth, striking just the right chord with his vocals, and compelling you to care deeply about him. Constantine Maroulis is the perfect misguided and forthright Judas Iscariot. Ciara Renée is a fetching presence as the conflicted Mary Magdalene, delivering up a heartfelt rendition of "I Don't Know How to Love Him" that perfectly sums up her relationship with Jesus. Christopher Sieber brings flair to his interpretation of King Herrod, while Ben Davis is sharp as Pontius Pilate, whose dream comes to fruition. Nicholas Ward brings power and strength to his role as Caiaphas, corroborated by Annas (Mykal Kilgore) in seeing Jesus as a genuine threat."

Austin: Contributor Lynn Beaver reviews IN THE HEIGHTS at ZACH Theatre. She writes "But it's Keith Contreras McDonald who is the glue who holds the various threads together as Usnavy. His awkward attempts to attract Vanessa are so sweetly earnest that we laugh and cry with him. Anna Louizos' set design is spectacular in every detail from the weatheRed Awnings to the clever design of the bodega. Scott Westervelt's costume design is bright and warm, allowing the dancers to move fluidly and freely. The lighting design by Sarah EC Maines is perfection, from the fireworks effects to dusk over the Brooklyn bridge, her use of color is inspired. If I didn't know is was in Austin, I would swear that I was seeing the IN THE HEIGHTS on Broadway."

Louisville: Contributor Taylor Clemons reviews KINKY BOOTS at the Kentucky Centre for the Arts. He writes "The technical elements are just stunning, starting with the flawless costume design by Greg Barnes. Even if you hate everything else (why would you), you will adore these brilliant costumes. Director/Choreographer Jerry Mitchell knows exactly how to put on a big flashy Broadway show, and Kinky Boots is no exception. His staging is sleek, while his production numbers are absolutely everything a show should be. That little known singer/songwriter Cyndi Lauper's score is downright infectious. I dare anyone to leave without at least 3 tunes stuck in your head. Harvey Fierstein's book is funny, witty, and touching, everything a great musical comedy should be."

Jacksonville: Contributor Heather Vollman reviews THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE at Theatre Jax. She writes "MILLIE offers something for everyone. If you like a quirky, extroverted adventure seeker, you'll love Taylor Kearschner's interpretation of Millie Dillmount. If you take to divas and drama with surprisingly tender morale to bestow, Felicia Ewing's Muzzy Van Hossmere will win your heart. Logan Smith, a recent Douglas Anderson graduate, plays the likable Jimmy Smith, whose story takes an interesting turn. Smith's voice is stunning; he can probably sing upside down, under water. Perhaps you're more of a comedic antagonist fan...if so, Tracy Olin's Mrs. Meers will deliver wit and energy. Matt King maintains strong comedic delivery as Trevor Graydon, Millie's fast-talking boss. Ching Ho, played by Brandon Leporati, is an absolute show stealer. Each ounce of this young man is devoted to the story in every moment: he brings much laughter and even a few tears. Rounded out by an energetic supporting cast and a seemingly always dancing ensemble, these characters successfully recreate an almost century old culture of prohibition, bobbed hair, and plenty of sequins."

Delaware: Contributor Rosanne DellAversano reviews AMERICAN IDIOT at Wilmington Drama League. She writes "The show itself is flawed; thus, making an improved product quite difficult. Drama League's production suffers the inherited fate with its own hits and misses. Ben Long as Tunny and Ty Pride as the Extraordinary Girl deliver complete experiences. Mr. Long capably displays his ever-changing life cycle. His voice isn't too shabby either. Ms. Pride makes you watch and listen with her galvanized body movements and burning vocals. Her execution of an alternative flying sequence is lovely. The male ensemble members providing her "walking cloud" are sturdy supports."

Madison: Contributor Scott Rawson reviews BEAUTIFUL on Tour at the Overture Center. He writes "The surprise for me in this show surrounded an entirely different couple. Songwriting rivals Barry Mann (portrayed with comedic brilliance by Ben Frankhauser) and writing partner/love interest Cynthia Weil (Erika Olson). As Carole and Gerry's relationship disintegrated, Barry and Cynthia's grew. Barry was without a doubt the main comic in this work. Not that everyone else didn't have comedic timing or moments, because they did...but Barry stole the show on this front. The neurotic hypochondriac Brooklynite and his future wife/ writing partner wrote over 60 hits together and both were a pleasure to watch every time they were on stage. I can't imagine anything erasing the memory of Barry angrily banging on the piano and singing "You've Lost that Lovin' Feeling" because he hated the words "Woh woh woh". I am still laughing about that!"

Regional Editor Spotlight:

Chris Gibson
St. Louis Contributor

Chris has been been reviewing theatre in St. Louis for the past 11 years, and I am constantly amazed at the quality of productions I am able to attend, as well as the vast amount of talent we have in our region. I'm also a musician, composing my own songs under the band name Me As We, and performing in the cover band Mo' Papaya. Before I became a reviewer I worked in local theatre for over 30 years. In that time I took on roles as an actor, director, musical director, writer, and composer. I was bitten by the theatre bug when I was in high school many years ago, and I've been passionate about it ever since.

"I enjoy writing for Broadway World because I feel that I'm part of a worldwide community that is dedicated to covering theatre wherever it happens. It's amazing to think that people from around the globe are taking the time to explore all the different regions that we cover, and it's led me in directions I never thought I would go. I've made a lot of friendships along the way, and had the privilege of not just reviewing theatre, but concerts, CDs, books, and DVDs. And, I've been able to expose my family to the many joys that the stage affords us."

Join Team BroadwayWorld! Interested in joining our team, but not exactly sure what we do? All of your questions are answered, along with every open position from guest and student bloggers, Regional Editors, and more! Find out where we have open positions available here!

           The global people toolbook : managing the life cycle of intercultural partnerships         
Ewington, Nigel, Reid, Stuart, Spencer-Oatey, Helen and Stadler, Stefanie (2009) The global people toolbook : managing the life cycle of intercultural partnerships. Working Paper. The Centre for Applied Linguistics. University of Warwick. Warwick Occasional Papers in Applied Linguistics #2 .
           The Global People toolbook: managing the life cycle of intercultural partnerships         
Ewington, Nigel, Reid, S., Spencer-Oatey, Helen and Stadler, Stefanie (2009) The Global People toolbook: managing the life cycle of intercultural partnerships. Coventry, U.K.: University of Warwick, Centre for Applied Linguistics. (Warwick Occasional Papers in Applied Linguistics ).
          iOS, Web, Flash, Developer/Consultant        
Since 1999 I’ve been a professional developer, responsible for hundreds of projects, iPhone/iPad apps, web sites, advanced Flash, server setup and administration. Any aspect of digital media from domain registration thru the entire life cycle of your app. iOS::Objective-CLinux::Apache::MySQL::PHPHTML::CSS::Javascript/jQuery/jQuery MobileFlash::ActionscriptLinux VPS Setup, Maintenance & SecuritySearch Engine Optimization, Strategy & PositioningOpen Source Solutions SpecialistOver 10 years […]
Clearvoyace is a Web Agency based in the Greater Toronto Area, We provide web services and develop custom solutions for our clients. We cover the entire life cycle from Wireframe to Development launch & Maintenance We also specialize in CMS Systems
          Nukes of Hazard: Mapping the Risks Emerging Technologies Pose to Nuclear Weapons Modernization        
Despite President Trump’s claims that his first order was “to renovate and modernize” the US nuclear arsenal, efforts at nuclear modernization began in 2014 under former President Barack Obama. The plan is expected to cost upwards of $1 trillion dollars over the life cycle of the new systems, with $400 billion of that spent through […]
          PHP Developer - Incubout - Barcelona        
We are seeking a PHP Developer with experience in building high-performing, scalable, enterprise-grade applications. You will be part of a talented software team that works on mission-critical applications. You will be responsible for application development while providing expertise in the full software development life cycle, from concept and design to testing. Responsibilities: Design and develop high-volume, low-latency applications for mission-critical systems, delivering...
          [Blizz] Changing of the Guard        
Today it was announced that Blizzard would be announcing the next World of Warcraft Expansion at Gamescom on August 6th. This came as no surprise after the latest patch dropped in June and players are already expressing boredom. Bear in mind that Blizzard is racing a clock it set for itself. They promised repeatedly that players would not suffer a repeat of the debacle that lead to a 429 day gap between the release of Siege of Ogrimmar and the release of Warlords of Draenor. However, the news that this announcement would come at Gamescom instead of Blizzcon has ruffled some feathers.

Since it's creation Blizzcon has been more of a "WoWcon" than anything else, mainly because for a long time WoW was Blizzard's biggest game by far. The majority of players going to a Blizzcon were going for the WoW content; whether that was to see panels, meet guildmates, or just to bask in the fun of shared love for a story. There's nothing wrong with that, but the world is changing. Going into 2014, another Blizzard game, Hearthstone, was undergoing a huge rise in popularity and millions were signing up for Heroes of the Storm's beta.

Now in 2015 both have become cornerstone's of Blizzard's brand, especially with regards to e-sports. Frankly, e-sports is where the media interest is now, and WoW no longer dominates Blizzard's bank accounts or player base. WoW tried to get into e-sports but it never really stuck the way MOBAs and card games can.

But there's no need to sneer!
So the decision likely came for two reasons. First, the business one. Blizzard can't sit on its hands until Blizzcon to make all its announcements, it's just not a good business decision. Announcing a bunch of content at once risks drowning each other out; it's better for them to create a series of interest spikes rather than one big pulse per year. Second, as I said before, WoW is not the only fast horse in Blizzard's stable anymore. I say this as someone who is mainly a WoW player and not all that interested in the other IPs, but it is the truth. WoW is on the downward side of its life cycle, and we players have to come to accept that it won't get the same amount of marketing attention or importance that it used to.
This doesn't mean Blizzard doesn't care about WoW, only that it is reacting to change. WoW is not dead, isn't not going anywhere anytime soon. We just have to come to accept that we're not an only-child fanbase anymore, we've got siblings.
          Renault DeZir 2012        

Renault DeZir is the first project to be led by Laurens van den Acker and marks the implementation of the strategy based on the notion of 'life cycle'. The first step involves falling in love, an experience that is perfectly illustrated by DeZir's powerful, sensuous styling and bright red finish; red being the colour associated with passion.

The result is a two-seater coupe which is both sculptural in spirit yet perfectly harmonious. DeZir's shape features prominent wheel arches that accommodate 21-inch wheels, the design of which took its inspiration from the notion of movement.

Renault DeZir's front end features a full-width air-intake which strikes out either side of a large, vertically positioned Renault logo that proudly displays the car's brand pedigree. Meanwhile, the chrome finish of the diamond-shaped logo contrasts with the dark aspect of the grille to express the statement still further.
DeZir is powered by an electric motor mounted in a mid-rear position to optimize weight distribution over the front and rear wheels. The vertically-mounted 24kW/h lithium-ion battery is located behind the benchseat and provides the car with a range of 160km.

Battery cooling is ensured not only by the air channelled from the front to the back of the car, but also – and above all – by the flow of air that enters through the lateral scoops concealed behind the aluminium panels on either side of the body.

The basic motor is the same as the unit used for Renault's production electric cars, although an evolution has enabled its power and torque to be uprated to 110kW (150ch) and 226Nm respectively.

Three battery-charging methods can be employed:
- a standard charge using a conventional household plug (fully charges the battery in eight hours).
- a fast charge using a 400V three-phase current (charges the battery to 80 per cent of its capacity in 20 minutes).
- a fast battery exchange thanks to Renault's Quick Drop technology.

Renault DeZir Concept Car Technical Specifications
  • Motor: Electric synchronous motor with rotor coil
  • Power: 110 kW / 150 hp
  • Maximum torque: 226 Nm
  • Top speed: 180 km/h
  • Acceleration 0-100 km/h: 5 seconds
  • Acceleration 0-50 km/h: 2 seconds
  • Battery: Lithium-ion (24 kW/h)
  • Range: 160 km
  • Transmission: Rear-wheel drive; Direct, drive, with reducer and forward/reverse inverter
  • Drive: Electric with active differential
  • Chassis: Tubular steel frame
  • Wheels and tyres: 245/35 R 21
  • Diameter of ventilated brake discs: 356 mm (front and rear)
  • Callipers: 6 pistons (front and rear)
  • Cd (drag coefficient): 0.25
  • Kerb weight: 830 kg

Overall Dimensions

  • Length: 4,225 mm
  • Width: 1,968 mm
  • Height: 1,163 mm
  • Height, with doors open: 2,256 mm
  • Width, with doors open: 2,682 mm
  • Ground clearance: 110 mm
  • Wheelbase: 2,582 mm
  • Front track: 1,600 mm
  • Rear track: 1,705 mm
Renault deZir is Really sportcar with the best performance and the fastest car. Within the framework of the creation of an audio signature for the brand's upcoming electric vehicles, Renault has been working closely with the highly-regarded IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique, founded by Pierre Boulez in 1969) to define the sound that best reflects DeZir's personality.

          Executive / Sr. Executive - Drug Regulatory Affairs (api) - Ind-Swfit - Chandigarh, Chandigarh        
To be responsible for the Life Cycle Management of assigned products, preparation of pharmaceutical/quality part (all forms) of registration dossiers and...
From Ind-Swfit - Mon, 03 Jul 2017 14:42:36 GMT - View all Chandigarh, Chandigarh jobs
          Compare OnePlus 3 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 edge vs Huawei Nexus 6P        

A day’s power in half an hourOnePlus 3

"The OnePlus 3 is the rare kind of phone that I can recommend without reservations."
— The Verge
"The OnePlus 3 won’t disappoint you. And if horsepower and customizability are you top priorities, you should get one, regardless of your budget."
— Wired

Galaxy S7 edge.

You're eyeing up the Samsung Galaxy S7, but you find its looks too pedestrian? We don't necessarily agree, but let's say for the sake of argument that you're right. No worries, Samsung's got you covered - meet the Galaxy S7 edge.Flagships come in pairs, that's the recent trend and in the case of the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge they share a good bit of the internals. Which is another way of saying that the edge has a bigger battery, and that's it.

Then again it has a larger display. And it's that display, that gorgeous 5.5-inch Super AMOLED spilling over the sides, that's the real difference between the two, and the sole reason why one would pay the premium and pick the S7 edge and not the S7.

Huawei Nexus 6P

Last year, a dramatic change came to Google's Nexus offering. The upper-mid range phone that was the Nexus 5 was replaced by a premium and much more expensive model made by Motorola. Skip time ahead about a year to this fall and we are offered a true premium package with a significantly lower price tag. The Nexus 6P is beautifully designed by Huawei to please both power users and average users alike.Last year's Motorola Nexus 6 was a huge hit, literally. Unfortunately the phablet did not age well, the price of Motorola's offering was too high from the start then fell too low at the end of its life cycle. This year, Google decided to do two things differently with the Nexus release: launch and sell Nexus phones exclusively on the brand new Google Store, and release two Nexus phones offering the same experience in two different models of hardware, one larger and more powerful than the other, lower cost model.

Huawei and Google conceived a perfect sequel to the Nexus 6 - it's the first time Huawei is on board the Nexus program as well but their track record of excellent premium phones has positioned them as an ideal choice for a Google hardware partner.

The 6P offers a perfect balance of premium feel, software experience, and attention to detail without skimping out in other aspects (such as the camera experience or build quality).

Key Features
5.7" screen with 1440p resolution (518ppi)
Android 6.0 Marshmallow with quickest software updates from Google
Quad-core 1.55 GHz Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A57, 3GB of RAM, Adreno 430 GPU; Snapdragon 810 v2 chipset
32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of storage
12.3MP camera with laser autofocus and dual-LED flash; 1.55µm pixels; 8MP selfie camera
2160p video capture
Cat. 6 LTE (300Mbps); Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac; Bluetooth 4.2; GPS/GLONASS; NFC; USB Type-C port with USB host
Fingerprint reader; Android Pay
3,450mAh Li-Po battery with fast charging

          Across the life-cycle: comparative analysis of the financial well-being of single women.        

The growing proportion of female-headed households over the past several decades raises interest regarding the financial status of these households and the relationship between marital history and that status. The 2004 Survey of Consumer Finances was used to examine and compare the financial status of never-married, divorced, and widowed women at three points in the life cycle: youth,...
          The levels of first mortgage and second mortgage debt among near-retirees.        

Using data from the 2000 Health and Retirement Study (HRS), the main objectives of this study was to examine how do the levels of 1st mortgage and second mortgage debt differ among near-retiree households at different age levels (51-54, 55-59, and 60-64)?; to explore who is likely to hold second mortgage debt among households in near-retirement life cycle stage? In the multivariate...
          Edible Butterfly Life Cycle        
Fun and learning! Click HERE for the instructions
          IT Asset Life Cycle Part 1        

In this multi-part series on our blog we discuss how AssetCentral can be incorporated into your organizations Asset Lifecycle process. The in first entry will discuss the basic description and processes involved with the Asset Lifecycle.

Before deploying an ITAM solution, it benefits an organization to discuss and define the various stages its hardware assets go through.

By answering some simple questions such as:
How are they purchased?
How are they used?
How to we decommission and dispose of them?

By answering these questions you have already begun to define the “Asset Lifecycle” within your organization. Once this has been defined, you will quickly see the places where your company will need to deploy tools and apply processes, that will over time keep your asset repository up to date and in compliance.

The asset lifecycle...

This topic first appeared in the Spiceworks Community
          å¼µæ›¼å¨Ÿå¥³å£«æ•™æˆ‘的事 – 保持新鮮感        
    我們會不會對於 “曾經經歷” 而感到索然無味? 每天走 1 樣路線出門工作,面對職場 life cycle 無限反覆。 這個笑話我聽過了,再聽 1 次,已經笑不出來。看完一部影集,再看第 2 遍,可以觸發新生的感動嗎?   2015 尾巴,首次到日月潭,儘管當時滂沱大雨,卻將傍晚的景致洗淨清澈。雨停後,打開窗戶望向碼頭,亮晶晶水波紋在湖...

George Carlin

"If I had my choice of how to die, I'd like to be sitting on the cross-town bus and just suddenly burst into flames."

"Thanks to our fear of death in this country, I won't have to die...I'll pass away. Or I'll expire like a magazine subscription. If it happens in the hospital, they'll call it a 'terminal episode'. The insurance company will refer to it as 'negative patient care outcome'. And if it's the result of malpractice, they'll call it a 'therapeutic misadventure'."

"When I die, I don't want to be buried, but I don't want to be cremated either. I wanna be blown up. Put me on a pile of explosives and blow me up. Or throw my body from a helicopter. That would be fun. One stipulation: wherever I land, you have to leave me there. Even if it's on the mayor's lawn. Just let me lie there. But keep the dogs away."

"The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A Death! What's that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you're too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months floating...and you finish off as an orgasm."

          Industry Customers Modernize Business with Oracle Cloud        
Press Release

Industry Customers Modernize Business with Oracle Cloud

Oracle Global Business Unit cloud solutions drive innovation and accelerate success

Redwood Shores, Calif.—Aug 2, 2017

Companies in growing numbers across industries are gaining new efficiencies while modernizing their businesses with Oracle Cloud. Retail, Hospitality, Financial Services, Health Sciences, Construction & Engineering, Utilities, and Communications customers are able to innovate faster, increase productivity, and lower costs with a growing array of Oracle Global Business Unit solutions. AT&T, gnTel, Cordoba Corporation, Lenox and Al Nadhi are just a few of the latest customers who are benefiting from these cloud solutions.

“The worldwide cloud services market continues to display strong growth, as companies across verticals increasingly seek industry cloud applications and cloud-based solutions. Technology providers who can help companies more seamlessly share data and integrate multiple facets of the business will be best positioned to succeed,” Eric Newmark, Program Vice President, SaaS and Industry Cloud, IDC.

While each industry faces unique challenges, there are underlying complexities that transcend them all—meeting increasing customer demands, speeding data intelligence to action and enhancing agility. With a focus on providing solutions that serve as the backbone of companies’ digital transformations, Oracle Global Business Units deliver a powerful business proposition: industry specialization at a global scale and in the cloud. 

“With digital technologies now woven through every facet of society, at the heart of today’s new business environment is an even more informed and empowered customer,” said Bob Weiler, Executive Vice President, Global Business Units at Oracle. “Businesses must quickly evolve and innovate to keep pace with ever changing and growing demands, making the cloud a necessity. No one is better positioned than Oracle to help our customers navigate this new reality.”

Customers Driving Success in the Cloud

“Our focus is providing customers enduring luxury products and trend-setting brands with a fresh, engaging shopping experience. Oracle Commerce Cloud keeps us current in a rapidly changing consumer environment across online and mobile channels with over 25 percent improvement in year-over-year mobile sales,” said Ravi Kurumety, CIO, Lenox Corporation. “Consumers are inspired and empowered by a more visual, intuitive shopping experience where they can easily discover new complementary items and designs to patterns they already own.”

“Oracle’s Primavera Unifier enables Cordoba to share information fluidly between the office and the field, improve document management, and drive efficiency across business processes—all of which are critical in managing complex construction projects. A best-in-class project lifecycle solution, Primavera Unifier delivers the reliability of the Oracle cloud and many other benefits of having Oracle as a partner,” said Stephanie Lightner, Program Scheduler for Cordoba Corporation.

“At gnTel, we recognize the fast pace of technology evolution in the telecom industry. We wanted to invest in a proven solution from a company that brings together expertise in cloud, virtualization, IT, and telecommunications,” said Onno Speekenbrink, gnTel. “Oracle’s solution will position us well for future growth.”

Oracle Leading Industry Innovation in the Cloud

Oracle Global Business Units continue to unveil new cloud-based advancements, empowering users to modernize their customer experience, remove operational silos, meet new regulatory requirements and make data more accessible. Recent cloud innovations include:

  • Health Sciences: Oracle Health Sciences Clinical One Platform, a new cloud-based eClinical solution, unifies clinical development operations and information in a single environment with shared functions that saves time for everyone involved in clinical trials.
  • Utilities: Oracle Utilities Work and Asset Cloud Service is an innovation foundation for asset performance management which enables utilities to increase asset reliability by finding asset failures faster and performing predictive maintenance with integrated APM and analytics. Recently announced, Oracle Utilities Operational Device Cloud Service (ODCS) also enables utilities to further automate the management of their smart grid assets and IoT devices, at a lower total cost of ownership.
  • Construction & Engineering: Oracle Prime, Oracle Construction and Engineering’s cloud-based project success platform, features several recent enhancements. With new innovations for field management, Lean scheduling and capital planning, Oracle Prime further improves decision-making and project delivery to drive better outcomes across the project life cycle. Mobile ready and with built-in analytics, Oracle Prime connects field and office to improve collaboration and provide real-time visibility into project cost, schedules, risk and performance data.
  • Communications: Empowering innovative businesses to launch competitive pricing models in the era of digital commerce, Oracle Monetization Cloud service accelerates time to market for digital and subscription-based products and services. The solution delivers the full life cycle of customer onboarding, offer creation, robust rating and discounting, billing, customized invoicing and reporting.
  • Retail: Oracle Retail Release 16 includes cloud solutions for merchandising, planning, supply chain and omnichannel operations designed to empower retailers of all sizes to maximize margins, encourage associate engagement with consumers and free IT departments to focus on innovation projects.
  • Hospitality: Hoteliers are using Oracle Hospitality OPERA Cloud property management to simplify IT across its network of properties and create a singular guest profile to help drive loyalty and an overall better guest experience. Food and beverage operators are using Oracle Hospitality Simphony Cloud to increase revenues and operational efficiency in restaurants, bars, and stadiums through faster adoption of new guest engagement channels and centralization of menus, promotions, and reporting.

Contact Info
Judi Palmer
About Oracle

The Oracle Cloud offers complete SaaS application suites for ERP, HCM and CX, plus best-in-class database Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) from data centers throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information about Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), please visit us at


Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Talk to a Press Contact

Judi Palmer

  • 650-506-0266

          Oracle Monetization Cloud Enables Recurring Revenue Models for Digital Services Providers        
Press Release

Oracle Monetization Cloud Enables Recurring Revenue Models for Digital Services Providers

New service complements Oracle ERP Cloud and Oracle Customer Experience Cloud Suite to provide monetization across the customer journey

Redwood Shores, Calif.—Jul 26, 2017

Empowering innovative businesses to launch competitive pricing models in the era of digital commerce, Oracle today announced Oracle Monetization Cloud. The new cloud service accelerates time to market for digital and subscription-based products and services by enabling the full life cycle of customer on-boarding, offer creation, robust rating and discounting, billing, customized invoicing and reporting.

Enterprises are increasingly focused on generating recurring revenues and developing lasting customer relationships by extending from one-time purchases to recurring business models. Agile billing capabilities are required to help digital service providers monetize new offerings and differentiate their services in competitive markets. Oracle Monetization Cloud combines the power of scalable monetization capabilities with the simplicity, agility, and security of Oracle Cloud to accelerate time to market for digital services.

“Subscriptions, demand-based price models, pay-per-use, and increasingly complex agreements with a litany of unique entitlements are now the norm,” said Andrew Dailey, Managing Director of MGI Research.

Across industries and in scenarios ranging from cloud hosting to digital media to the Internet of Things, enterprises and digital service providers are looking to quickly launch new business models to compete in the digital economy. Whether these digital service providers are monetizing connected cars, using sensors to aggregate and monetize data, or transitioning to offering their software as a service, they are undergoing a digital transformation that requires flexible new pricing, billing, revenue management, and real-time subscriber management capabilities.

“In today’s competitive business environment, customers are demanding the power to purchase the products and services that they want, when they want them, at a price point that they can afford,” said Doug Suriano, senior vice president and general manager for Oracle Communications. “Oracle Monetization Cloud enables digital service providers to quickly launch innovative offerings and deliver a positive customer experience while reducing revenue leakage and improving financial reporting and compliance.”

With Oracle Monetization Cloud users benefit from:

  • Full life-cycle capabilities: The service supports the full life-cycle of subscription services, from on-boarding subscribers, to rapidly launching and modifying innovative offerings, to leveraging flexible rating, discounting and billing capabilities, to customizing invoices, to analyzing business performance through robust reporting. These functions are available through intuitive web-based user interfaces so customers can quickly deploy and modify their offerings to meet market demand.
  • Easy integration: Newly developed out-of-the-box connectors and standard web-based SOAP and REST APIs enable customers to integrate easily with front-office and back-office systems, including Oracle, Chase Paymentech and other third party CRM, e-commerce, ERP systems and payment and tax gateways. These simplified integration options speed deployment of the cloud service and thereby accelerate time to market, providing customers with the convenience of continuing to use their existing solutions.
  • Risk and cost reduction: Full compliance and certification with Payment Card Industry (PCI) and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) as well as support for fully compliant re-invoicing and recognition of seven types of revenue allow customers to reduce risk, combat revenue leakage and ensure audit compliance.
  • Full suite of monetization capabilities: The monetization solution is part of a full platform that spans the customer journey from engaging on social channels to tracking a sales lead to creating and offering innovative services to on-boarding subscribers to rating and billing to revenue recognition and compliance. Oracle is unique in offering an end-to-end suite of best-in-breed cloud services that work together in monetizing the entire journey.

Contact Info
Katie Barron
Raleigh Miller
About Oracle

The Oracle Cloud offers complete SaaS application suites for ERP, HCM and CX, plus best-in-class database Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) from data centers throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information about Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), please visit us at


Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Talk to a Press Contact

Katie Barron

  • +1.202.904.1138

Raleigh Miller

  • +1.202.530.4554

          SW Test Specialist munkakörbe keresünk munkatársat. | Feladatok: You will be working with desig...        
SW Test Specialist munkakörbe keresünk munkatársat. | Feladatok: You will be working with design experts to understand business requirements and translate these into concrete test designs and test cases. • You will participate in all aspects of the Agile methodology used by our teams, including planning, scope definition, estimation, delivery and retrospective activities. • You will design test solutions to be implemented and executed in alignment with the planned scope, design coverage and customer needs/use. • You will oversee and perform test executions activities, including implementation of test automation procedures and scripts. • You will determine the proper prioritization of the testing activities, define the test scope to ensure integrative work and full coverage of test scenarios based on the test plan and observations from concurrent testing activities. • You will plan testing activities milestones; identify and analyze the risks and their potential business impact. You will be responsible to maintain and enhance the professional and business relationship with the customer and internal stakeholders. • You will act as a technical interface for team members and with the customers to resolve issues and communicate conclusions and recommendations. • You will actively contribute to on-going improvement to internal test processes, automation frameworks and promote test efficiency. • You will ensure that documentation, test ware and work products used in the testing activities are of the highest quality to ensure traceability, correctness and compliance to both internal standards and client needs. You will be automating test cases using our internal testing frameworks. • You will compare and analyze the system behavior vs. expected results/KPIs based on business and technical requirements, identifies issues, proposes system improvements and performs repetitive test execution to resolve identified issues. • You will evaluate test exit criteria to access if additional tests are required or if test scenarios needs to be adjusted. • You will effectively lead formal and informal reviews with stakeholders, applying experience and knowledge providing technical perspective. • You will act as a trusted advisor. Enhance customer satisfaction by initiating value addition activities and build business cases for test activities. | Mit ajánlunk: You will have the opportunity to work with the industry most advanced testing technologies and help customers shift into the new testing realities of the digital world. • You will have overall responsibility and authority for Amdocs testing engagement with the customer. Identifying opportunities of growth and driving them to completion. • You will have the opportunity to work in a growing organization, with ever growing opportunities for personal growth and one of the highest scores of employee engagement in Amdocs. | Elvárások: Bachelor?s degree in IT, Computer Science or equivalent • 7+ years of relevant experience in software testing, testing tools and methodologies, software development life cycle. Proven history of taking ownership across test design, scripting, execution activities to deliver successful testing on projects and leadership skills. • Excellent communication skills with the ability to contribute to in-depth discussion on test processes, complex technical subjects and across business areas. • Significant exposure to functional testing of Java / JEE products, with knowledge of application server, database and associated tools e.g.: SQL, PL/SQL, TOAD, Oracle • Strong knowledge of agile development practices and test approaches in an agile environment, ideally also BDD. • Strong Telekom BSS knowledge is must • Experience of bug tracking and test case management tools • Experience working with test automation tools e.g. JUnit, Selenium, Cucumber, and test automation frameworks • Familiarity with continuous integration processes, scripting e.g. bash and Maven would also be beneficial | További infó és jelentkezés itt:
           South American palm weevil stars in a Hollywood horror film        
One of Los Angeles' quintessential icons - palm trees - are being threatened by an invasive pest from overseas - the South American palm weevil. KQED Science produced a clever overview on the life and times of this devastating pest, punctuating it with a surprise ending that features UC Cooperative Extension specialist Mark Hoddle. The story outlines the pest's life cycle, which starts when a female lays its eggs in the crown of a palm. They hatch and larvae eat the plant from the inside out,...

          Recruitment Team Lead EMEA munkakörbe keresünk munkatársat. | Feladatok: Coordinate the work of...        
Recruitment Team Lead EMEA munkakörbe keresünk munkatársat. | Feladatok: Coordinate the work of 15 remote recruitersBuild a highly professional motivated team • Allocate projects, set tasks, targets and priorities, manage performance • Mentor and coach the team, facilitate communication and cooperation • Introduce new trends, hiring technics and professionally develop the team membersAct as a Recruiter in strategic job searches • Actively take part in the Success Factor recruitment, on boarding and off boarding module testing and implementation • Cooperate closely with the line and hiring managers to support the business needs to ensure the high quality delivery of the recruitment needs • Be a trusted advisor for the stakeholders in all attraction related topics. | Mit ajánlunk: Development opportunities in an international environment • Being part of a global recruitment team • Opportunity to take part in international recruitment projects • People- and value-focused organization culture • Social- , team and sport events • Training opportunities | Elvárások: College or University degree ideally in HR • 1 year+ proven track record managing the daily work of recruiters • Min. 3 years of experience as a full life cycle Recruiter is a must • Strong drive for results and ability to act independently • Fluent English verbal and written • Hungarian/German/Serbian/Spanish/Russian language knowledge is an advantage • Ability to travel in EMEA region • Excellent communication and organization skills • Result orientation and can-do approach | További infó és jelentkezés itt:
          Solid Gold Tear-Drop        
Solid Gold Tear-Drop

Design- Small Tear Drop cremation jewellery pendant

Brand- Life Cycle Keepsake Jewellery

Each pendant is designed to hold a small keepsake. E.g...

Price: $1,199.00

          Russell Hartill - Sat, 07 Jun 2014        
Life Cycle of Innovation in Mining
          Insulated Metal Wall and Roof Panels for Sustainability and Energy Efficiency        

Insulated metal panels (IMPs) in their simplest form are rigid urethane foam sandwiched between two sheets of coated metal. IMPs provide insulating values across the entire wall and roof area, and the impermeable faces and built-in thermal breaks ensure high insulating values for the life of a building. This course discusses IMPs in terms of their material, finish, and construction life cycle, designed with features and benefits to enhance building performance, conserve energy and contribute to the sustainable built environment.
          The Most Important Hydroponics Supplies Plant Nutrients        
Hydroponic gardening is a form of indoor gardening that uses no soil yet is highly successful at growing a huge variety of plants. One of the hydroponics supplies you will need to keep in good supply if you are a hydroponic gardener is plant nutrient. Nutrients are hydroponics supplies that are formulated so that plants will respond in specific ways, so you can customize the nutrient to each of your plants' life cycles to give them everything they need.

Nutrient is another name for plant food, or fertilizer. The difference with nutrient is that, when used in a hydroponic gardening application, the nutrient is dissolved in water, and this solution is sprayed or washes over the plant roots, and in this way they can take in the food and grow. Because nutrient is constantly consumed by the plants, it is a hydroponic supply that needs to be replenished on a regular basis.

Nutrient is a hydroponic supply that comes in a plethora of different varieties. Bio Genesis plant nutrient is a hydroponic supply that is available in an organic formula. Certain types of Bio Genesis nutrient is geared toward helping plants increase their resistance to stress while improving root growth as well as the fruit and flower quality.

Another in the range of nutrient hydroponics supplies is offered by Advanced Nutrients. Their Big Bud nutrient is used to increase flower size and weight, and the flowers will grow faster than average. This might be an appropriate hydroponic supply for an indoor gardener growing florist flowers, for example, or for someone growing vegetables that produce more fruit if there are more flowers, such as tomatoes.

In order for your hydroponics system to be complete, you will need other types of hydroponics supplies as well as hydroponics equipment. Most systems need a reservoir as part of the hydroponics equipment. This basin holds the solution in place. Some type of a pump and aerator is also required hydroponics equipment in many systems. The pump recirculates the solution from the reservoir up to a tray where plants' crowns are suspended over the solution in an ebb and flow hydroponics system, for example. An aerator is used to pump oxygen into the solution, which helps plants grow even faster. Trays or nets are hydroponics equipment that is used to keep the plants out of the solution, yet keeps the roots at the appropriate level so they can soak up the nutrient solution.

Hydroponics equipment and nutrient is available from hydroponics supplies stores online.

From years of indoor and hydroponic gardening, Susan Slobac has developed an in-depth knowledge of hydroponic supplies.

hydroponic bubbler: hydroponic bubbler water level

hydroponic bubbler: hydroponic bubbler

Article Source:

          Sustainable Design: The Use of Natural Stone in Green Architecture        

New and ancient sources of natural stone, along with advances in technology, make stone an attractive and appropriate material choice for many different applications. This course will provide you with an introduction to stone, an overview of the principles and drivers in the green/sustainability building movement, and descriptions of how stone makes an attractive and natural material design choice that will contribute to a holistic solution over the life cycle of a project.
          Water Management Solutions for Shower Installations        

From “fashion to function,” the shower space of the bathroom is a focal point, offering a quiet respite in which to rejuvenate. Shower spaces should be built to last, using durable materials combined with sound installation practices in order to reduce the life cycle and replacement costs. This course outlines the criteria used in designing water management systems for shower pans and walls. Includes discussions on traditional and modern methods of waterproofing shower floors and walls, new methods of construction, as well as the innovative design options that are available for curbless shower pans.
          Redwood: A Sustainable Building Product        

Provides an overview of the sustainable attributes of redwood building products, including a discussion of redwood lumber grades, characteristics and applications. Also presented are the results of a recent Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) comparing redwood and plastic-composite decking options and information about redwood's Environmental Product Declaration (EPD).
          Aug 26, Inflatable Butterfly Life Cycle        
Learning Resources Inflatable Butterfly Life Cycle is a fun and colorful learning toy which teaches children about one of the wonders of nature; metamorphosis.
          What Makes a Thermoplastic Roof Sustainable?        

Provides an overview of the features, benefits, and life cycle impacts of thermoplastic PVC roofing membranes that makes it a sustainable product.
          Innovative Products and Services for the Rooftop        

Green building, also known as sustainable building, is both a structure and a process that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life cycle. A critical part of green building includes innovative products and services for the rooftop: solar PV systems, daylighting systems, and vegetative roofing systems. These innovative products and services for the rooftop will increase energy efficiency. They also use environmentally responsible design methods and materials, and improve the work environment for occupants.
          Performance Benefits of Insulated Metal Panels        

Provides an overview of the sustainable and building performance benefits of insulated metal wall and roof panels and includes discussions on materials, design and finish options, construction life cycle, enhanced building performance and energy conservation, and applications.
          Powder and Liquid FEVE Coatings for Curtain Wall Applications        

Maintaining the beauty and aesthetics of a project requires protecting against the elements. An effective way to do this is with the use of protective coatings. This course discusses fluoroethylene vinyl ether (FEVE) fluoropolymer coating technology, including the various types of FEVE resins and their applications, with a focus on performance characteristics, sustainability factors including LEED credits, and life cycle costs.
          How Imagine Communications leverages edge computing and HPC for live multiscreen IP video         
The next BriefingsDirect Voice of the Customer HPC and edge computing strategies interview explores how a video delivery and customization capability has moved to the network edge -- and closer to consumers -- to support live, multi-screen Internet Protocol (IP) entertainment delivery. 
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or download a copy.

We’ll learn how hybrid technology and new workflows for IP-delivered digital video are being re-architected -- with significant benefits to the end-user experience, as well as with new monetization values to the content providers.

Our guest is Glodina Connan-Lostanlen, Chief Marketing Officer at Imagine Communications in Frisco, Texas. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

Here are some excerpts:

Gardner: Your organization has many major media clients. What are the pressures they are facing as they look to the new world of multi-screen video and media?

Connan-Lostanlen: The number-one concern of the media and entertainment industry is the fragmentation of their audience. We live with a model supported by advertising and subscriptions that rely primarily on linear programming, with people watching TV at home.


And guess what? Now they are watching it on the go -- on their telephones, on their iPads, on their laptops, anywhere. So they have to find the way to capture that audience, justify the value of that audience to their advertisers, and deliver video content that is relevant to them. And that means meeting consumer demand for several types of content, delivered at the very time that people want to consume it.  So it brings a whole range of technology and business challenges that our media and entertainment customers have to overcome. But addressing these challenges with new technology that increases agility and velocity to market also creates opportunities.

For example, they can now try new content. That means they can try new programs, new channels, and they don’t have to keep them forever if they don’t work. The new models create opportunities to be more creative, to focus on what they are good at, which is creating valuable content. At the same time, they have to make sure that they cater to all these different audiences that are either static or on the go.

This is a major, perhaps once-in-a-generation, level of change -- when you go to fully digital, IP delivered content.
Gardner: The media industry has faced so much change over the past 20 years, but this is a major, perhaps once-in-a-generation, level of change -- when you go to fully digital, IP-delivered content.

As you say, the audience is pulling the providers to multi-screen support, but there is also the capability now -- with the new technology on the back-end -- to have much more of a relationship with the customer, a one-to-one relationship and even customization, rather than one-to-many. Tell us about the drivers on the personalization level.

Connan-Lostanlen: That’s another big upside of the fragmentation, and the advent of IP technology -- all the way from content creation to making a program and distributing it. It gives the content creators access to the unique viewers, and the ability to really engage with them -- knowing what they like -- and then to potentially target advertising to them. The technology is there. The challenge remains about how to justify the business model, how to value the targeted advertising; there are different opinions on this, and there is also the unknown or the willingness of several generations of viewers to accept good advertising.

That is a great topic right now, and very relevant when we talk about linear advertising and dynamic ad insertion (DAI). Now we are able to -- at the very edge of the signal distribution, the video signal distribution -- insert an ad that is relevant to each viewer, because you know their preferences, you know who they are, and you know what they are watching, and so you can determine that an ad is going to be relevant to them.

But that means media and entertainment customers have to revisit the whole infrastructure. It’s not necessary rebuilding, they can put in add-ons. They don’t have to throw away what they had, but they can maintain the legacy infrastructure and add on top of it the IP-enabled infrastructure to let them take advantage of these capabilities.

Gardner: This change has happened from the web now all the way to multi-screen. With the web there was a model where you would use a content delivery network (CDN) to take the object, the media object, and place it as close to the edge as you could. What’s changed and why doesn’t that model work as well?

Connan-Lostanlen: I don’t know yet if I want to say that model doesn’t work anymore. Let’s let the CDN providers enhance their technology. But for sure, the volume of videos that we are consuming everyday is exponentially growing. That definitely creates pressure in the pipe. Our role at the front-end and the back-end is to make sure that videos are being created in different formats, with different ads, and everything else, in the most effective way so that it doesn’t put an undue strain on the pipe that is distributing the videos.

We are being pushed to innovate further on the type of workflows that we are implementing at our customers’ sites today, to make it efficient, to not leave storage at the edge and not centrally, and to do transcoding just-in-time. These are the things that are being worked on. It’s a balance between available capacity and the number of programs that you want to send across to your viewers – and how big your target market is.

Why not design the whole workflow digital-first?
The task for us on the back-end is to rethink the workflows in a much more efficient way. So, for example, this is what we call the digital-first approach, or unified distribution. Instead of planning a linear channel that goes the traditional way and then adding another infrastructure for multi-screen, on all those different platforms and then cable, and satellite, and IPTV, etc. -- why not design the whole workflow digital-first. This frees the content distributor or provider to hold off on committing to specific platforms until the video has reached the edge. And it’s there that the end-user requirements determine how they get the signal.

This is where we are going -- to see the efficiencies happen and so remove the pressure on the CDNs and other distribution mechanisms, like over-the-air.

Solutions from HPE

Gardner: It means an intelligent edge capability, whereas we had an intelligent core up until now. We’ll also seek a hybrid capability between them, growing more sophisticated over time.

We have a whole new generation of technology for video delivery. Tell us about Imagine Communications. How do you go to market? How do you help your customers?

Education for future generations

Connan-Lostanlen: Two months ago we were in Las Vegas for our biggest tradeshow of the year, the NAB Show. At the event, our customers first wanted to understand what it takes to move to IP -- so the “how.” They understand the need to move to IP, to take advantage of the benefits that it brings. But how do they do this, while they are still navigating the traditional world?

It’s not only the “how,” it’s needing examples of best practices. So we instructed them in a panel discussion, for example, on Over the Top Technology (OTT), which is another way of saying IP-delivered, and what it takes to create a successful multi-screen service. Part of the panel explained what OTT is, so there’s a lot of education.

There is also another level of education that we have to provide, which is moving from the traditional world of serial digital interfaces (SDIs) in the broadcast industry to IP. It’s basically saying analog video signals can be moved into digital. Then not only is there a digitally sharp signal, it’s an IP stream. The whole knowledge about how to handle IP is new to our own industry, to our own engineers, to our own customers. We also have to educate on what it takes to do this properly.

One of the key things in the media and entertainment industry is that there’s a little bit of fear about IP, because no one really believed that IP could handle live signals. And you know how important live television is in this industry – real-time sports and news -- this is where the money comes from. That’s why the most expensive ads are run during the Super Bowl.

It’s essential to be able to do live with IP – it’s critical. That’s why
It's essential to be able to do live with IP -- it's critical.
we are sharing with our customers the real-life implementations that we are doing today.

We are also pushing multiple standards forward. We work with our competitors on these standards. We have set up a trade association to accelerate the standards work. We did all of that. And as we do this, it forces us to innovate in partnership with customers and bring them on board. They are part of that trade association, they are part of the proof-of-concept trials, and they are gladly sharing their experiences with others so that the transition can be accelerated.

Gardner: Imagine Communications is then a technology and solutions provider to the media content companies, and you provide the means to do this. You are also doing a lot with ad insertion, billing, in understanding more about the end-user and allowing that data flow from the edge back to the core, and then back to the edge to happen.

At the heart of it all

Connan-Lostanlen: We do everything that happens behind the camera -- from content creation all the way to making a program and distributing it. And also, to your point, on monetizing all that with a management system. We have a long history of powering all the key customers in the world for their advertising system. It’s basically an automated system that allows the selling of advertising spots, and then to bill them -- and this is the engine of where our customers make money. So we are at the heart of this.

We are in the prime position to help them take advantage of the new advertising solutions that exist today, including dynamic ad insertion. In other words, how you target ads to the single viewer. And the challenge for them is now that they have a campaign, how do they design it to cater both to the linear traditional advertising system as well as the multi-screen or web mobile application? That's what we are working on. We have a whole set of next-generation platforms that allow them to take advantage of both in a more effective manner.

Gardner: The technology is there, you are a solutions provider. You need to find the best ways of storing and crunching data, close to the edge, and optimizing networks. Tell us why you choose certain partners and what are the some of the major concerns you have when you go to the technology marketplace?

Connan-Lostanlen: One fundamental driver here, as we drive the transition to IP in this industry, is in being able to rely on consumer-off-the-shelf (COTS) platforms. But even so, not all COTS platforms are born equal, right?

For compute, for storage, for networking, you need to rely on top-scale hardware platforms, and that’s why about two years ago we started to work very closely with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) for both our compute and storage technology.

High-Performance Computing
Solutions from HPE

We develop the software appliances that run on those platforms, and we sell this as a package with HPE. It’s been a key value proposition of ours as we began this journey to move to IP. We can say, by the way, our solutions run on HPE hardware. That's very important because having high-performance compute (HPC) that scales is critical to the broadcast and media industry. Having storage that is highly reliable is fundamental because going off the air is not acceptable. So it's 99.9999 percent reliable, and that’s what we want, right?

It’s a fundamental part of our message to our customers to say, “In your network, put Imagine solutions, which are powered by one of the top compute and storage technologies.”

Gardner: Another part of the change in the marketplace is this move to the edge. It’s auspicious that just as you need to have more storage and compute efficiency at the edge of the network, close to the consumer, the infrastructure providers are also designing new hardware and solutions to do just that. That's also for the Internet of Things (IoT)requirements, and there are other drivers. Nonetheless, it's an industry standard approach.

What is it about HPE Edgeline, for example, and the architecture that HPE is using, that makes that edge more powerful for your requirements? How do you view this architectural shift from core data center to the edge?

Optimize the global edge

Connan-Lostanlen: It's a big deal because we are going to be in a hybrid world. Most of our customers, when they hear about cloud, we have to explain it to them. We explain that they can have their private cloud where they can run virtualized applications on-premises, or they can take advantage of public clouds.

Being able to have a hybrid model of deployment for their applications is critical, especially for large customers who have operations in several places around the globe. For example, such big names as Disney, Turner –- they have operations everywhere. For them, being able to optimize at the edge means that you have to create an architecture that is geographically distributed -- but is highly efficient where they have those operations. This type of technology helps us deliver more value to the key customers.

Gardner: The other part of that intelligent edge technology is that it has the ability to be adaptive and customized. Each region has its own networks, its own regulation, and its own compliance, security, and privacy issues. When you can be programmatic as to how you design your edge infrastructure, then a custom-applications-orientation becomes possible.

Is there something about the edge architecture that you would like to see more of? Where do you see this going in terms of the capabilities of customization added-on to your services?

Connan-Lostanlen: One of the typical use-cases that we see for those big customers who have distributed operations is that they like to try and run their disaster recovery (DR) site in a more cost-effective manner. So the flexibility that an edge architecture provides to them is that they don’t have to rely on central operations running DR for everybody. They can do it on their own, and they can do it cost-effectively. They don't have to recreate the entire infrastructure, and so they do DR at the edge as well.

We especially see this a lot in the process of putting the pieces of the program together, what we call “play out,” before it's distributed. When you create a TV channel, if you will, it’s important to have end-to-end redundancy -- and DR is a key driver for this type of application.

Gardner: Are there some examples of your cutting-edge clients that have adopted these solutions? What are the outcomes? What are they able to do with it?

Pop-up power

Connan-Lostanlen: Well, it’s always sensitive to name those big brand names. They are very protective of their brands. However, one of the top ones in the world of media and entertainment has decided to move all of their operations -- from content creation, planning, and distribution -- to their own cloud, to their own data center.

They are at the forefront of playing live and recorded material on TV -- all from their cloud. They needed strong partners in data centers. So obviously we work with them closely, and the reason why they do this is simply to really take advantage of the flexibility. They don't want to be tied to a restricted channel count; they want to try new things. They want to try pop-up channels. For the Oscars, for example, it’s one night. Are you going to recreate the whole infrastructure if you can just check it on and off, if you will, out of their data center capacity? So that's the key application, the pop-up channels and ability to easily try new programs.

Gardner: It sounds like they are thinking of themselves as an IT company, rather than a media and entertainment company that consumes IT. Is that shift happening?

Connan-Lostanlen: Oh yes, that's an interesting topic, because I think you cannot really do this successfully if you don’t start to think IT a little bit. What we are seeing, interestingly, is that our customers typically used to have the IT department on one side, the broadcast engineers on the other side -- these were two groups that didn't speak the same language. Now they get together, and they have to, because they have to design together the solution that will make them more successful. We are seeing this happening.

I wouldn't say yet that they are IT companies. The core strength is content, that is their brand, that's what they are good at -- creating amazing content and making it available to as many people as possible.

They have to understand IT, but they can't lose concentration on their core business. I think the IT providers still have a very strong play there. It's always happening that way.

In addition to disaster recovery being a key application, multi-screen delivery is taking advantage of that technology, for sure.

High-Performance Computing
Solutions from HPE

Gardner: These companies are making this cultural shift to being much more technically oriented. They think about standard processes across all of what they do, and they have their own core data center that's dynamic, flexible, agile and cost-efficient. What does that get for them? Is it too soon, or do we have some metrics of success for companies that make this move toward a full digitally transformed organization?

Connan-Lostanlen: They are very protective about the math. It is fair to say that the up-front investments may be higher, but when you do the math over time, you do the total cost of ownership for the next 5 to 10 years -- because that’s typically the life cycle of those infrastructures – then definitely they do save money. On the operational expenditure (OPEX) side [of private cloud economics] it’s much more efficient, but they also have upside on additional revenue. So net-net, the return on investment (ROI) is much better. But it’s kind of hard to say now because we are still in the early days, but it’s bound to be a much greater ROI.
Satellite providers are thinking broadly about how this world of IP is changing their game, what they need to do differently.

Another specific DR example is in the Middle East. We have a customer there who decided to operate the DR and IP in the cloud, instead of having a replicated system with satellite links in between. They were able to save $2 million worth of satellite links, and that data center investment, trust me, was not that high. So it shows that the ROI is there.

My satellite customers might say, “Well, what are you trying to do?” The good news is that they are looking at us to help them transform their businesses, too. So big satellite providers are thinking broadly about how this world of IP is changing their game. They are examining what they need to do differently. I think it’s going to create even more opportunities to reduce costs for all of our customers.

IT enters a hybrid world

Gardner: That's one of the intrinsic values of a hybrid IT approach -- you can use many different ways to do something, and then optimize which of those methods works best, and also alternate between them for best economics. That’s a very powerful concept.

Connan-Lostanlen: The world will be a hybrid IT world, and we will take advantage of that. But, of course, that will come with some challenges. What I think is next is the number-one question that I get asked.

Three years ago costumers would ask us, “Hey, IP is not going to work for live TV.” We convinced them otherwise, and now they know it’s working, it’s happening for real.

Secondly, they are thinking, “Okay, now I get it, so how do I do this?” We showed them, this is how you do it, the education piece.

Now, this year, the number-one question is security. “Okay, this is my content, the most valuable asset I have in my company. I am not putting this in the cloud,” they say. And this is where another piece of education has to start, which is: Actually, as you put stuff on your cloud, it’s more secure.

And we are working with our technology providers. As I said earlier, the COTS providers are not equal. We take it seriously. The cyber attacks on content and media is critical, and it’s bound to happen more often.

Initially there was a lack of understanding that you need to separate your corporate network, such as emails and VPNs, from you broadcast operations network. Okay, that’s easy to explain and that can be implemented, and that's where most of the attacks over the last five years have happened. This is solved.

They are going to get right into the servers, into the storage, and try to mess with it over
Not only at the software level, but at the hardware firmware level, we are adding protection against your number-one issue, security.
there. So I think it’s super important to be able to say, “Not only at the software level, but at the hardware firmware level, we are adding protection against your number-one issue, security, which everybody can see is so important.”

However, the cyber attackers are becoming more clever, so they will overcome these initial defenses.They are going to get right into the servers, into the storage, and try to mess with it over there. So I think it’s super important to be able to say, “Not only at the software level, but at the hardware firmware level, we are adding protection against your number-one issue, security, which everybody can see is so important.”

Gardner: Sure, the next domino to fall after you have the data center concept, the implementation, the execution, even the optimization, is then to remove risk, whether it's disaster recovery, security, right down to the silicon and so forth. So that’s the next thing we will look for, and I hope I can get a chance to talk to you about how you are all lowering risk for your clients the next time we speak.

High-Performance Computing
Solutions from HPE

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
You may also be interested in:

          NGC to Modernize Next-Gen Navigation Systems for USAF        
Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Air Force for technology maturation and risk reduction in support of next-generation navigation systems. Under the $49 million contract from the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Northrop Grumman will provide the preliminary hardware and software architecture design for the Embedded Global Positioning System (GPS)/Inertial Navigation System (INS)-Modernization, or EGI-M, technology. The modernized system ...
          The Paradox of the Wage Slave        
Once upon a time, there was no such thing as the hourly wage. If you were an independent farmer, you'd sell your grains, cows, pigs and vegetables at the market, and in general would try to stagger these so that you could have money coming in most times of the year. If you were a tenant farmer, when the land lord sold the goods you produced, you'd get a percentage of the sales based upon the amount of land you farmed. A smith would negotiate by the piece or the lot, and usually took a down-payment to cover the costs of the materials. Farmhands and soldiers would be paid a set amount each week, usually at the end of the week after the work in question was done, but might also get a certain proportion of their wages from a share of the harvest or a chance at the spoils. Sailors would get a share of the shipping proceeds (or plunder if the ship in question was a pirate or privateer vessel), plus a stipend for completed voyages and occasionally a small signing bonus.

In general, the per week payments were intended to keep the laborer involved until the final payout - in effect the laborer was part of the venture and would share in the rewards, or was paid per piece with just enough to cover the artisan's or tradesman's costs and basic sustenance paid in advance.

Industrialization changed that, along with the arrival of the mechanical clock. People have always had the ability to tell approximate time via candles or hour glasses, but because such resources were both expensive and required maintenance (and were at best very approximate) most timekeeping was managed by church bells sounding the times of worship. With the advent of the clock, however, it became possible to measure tasks more precisely, and as a consequence to break up time into discrete units during the day.

The machine paradigm also broke the normal agricultural rhythms of working at dawn, getting a big breakfast, working until the sun reached it's peak, taking a short siesta, then working until near dark. Instead, you worked to the clock. In the factory paradigm, it made less sense to pay the workers an small initial payment then pay them a share of the proceeds after the project was done, because there was never a "done" point - the machines ran twelve hours a day, every day. Because industrialization was going on in tandem with the break up of the feudal tenant farm system, there were a lot of laborers available for factory jobs, and consequently, factory owners could limit the laborers to hourly stipends without any hope of final renumeration. This was also the stage where factory labor diverged from trade or artisanal labor, although the former also depressed wages for the latter.

In the 1940s in both the US and England, most able bodied young men went to war, where they learned regimentation, and where both officer and enlisted class became intimately familiar with command and control structures. The military had standardized on hourly wages, but also had standardized on the concept of a standard work week for those not in theater in order to simplify wage accounting. In practice, that meant that you got paid for 48 hours of work a week, period. Senior grades had a higher pay structure per hour, and officers made more than enlisted for the same number of hours of service.

When the war ended, the officers went into the newly booming corporations as managers as they switched over from war time to peacetime production of goods, while the enlisted went into the factories as foremen and line managers. The terms "white" and "blue" collar jobs reflected this - naval daily officer uniforms were white cotton, while the ratings and seamen wore blue chamoise-cloth shirts.

Wages began going up both because of increased demand for skilled workers and because the management class was also getting wages - they were still hirelings of the rentier or investor class, but because they were doing management type activities they typically had far more involvement in the longer term success or failure of the company. Moreover, much of that management was involved with sales, which in addition to wages, paid a commission on sales made that boosted the income of the management class significantly in the years after World War II.

Meanwhile, unions, which had struggled during the Depression and World War II, exploded in popularity in the 1950 and 60s, in part because there was a massive demand for people in the building trades - skilled carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and so forth who had until then perforce taken temporary jobs on an as available basis, and in part in manufacturing, where again high employment demand had meant that a system that both guaranteed competence and provided an environment for younger union members to gain experience made them attractive. As many of the companies involved were comparatively weak, the management of these companies were unable to stop this phenomenon, as they needed people too much not to concede to labor demands.

By the 1970s, labor unions had become very pervasive, and arguably had become too powerful, at least from the perspective of corporations that were now facing increasingly severe headwinds. In the 1950s, the United States was effectively rebuilding both Europe and Asia. By the 1970s, however, these economies had recovered, and were increasingly competing against the United States in critical areas. Additionally, the Breton Woods agreement in 1944 that had established a global reserve currency (the US dollar) and pegged that dollar to gold was seen more and more as a burden by the US, since it meant that US banks were very limited in the amount of money that they could loan out. When French President Charles de Gaulle demanded that the US make payments to France in gold, not dollars (as the French were concerned about the Americans' depreciation of their currency during the 1960s), President Richard Nixon severed the tie between gold and the dollar. This had the immediate effect of causing the oil producing states of the Middle East to band together in order to raise prices in response, which in turn began an inflationary spiral that didn't really end until Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volcker raising interest rates to nose bleed levels,

The massive spike in inflation caused demand for American produced goods to fall dramatically, exacerbating problems that the unions faced. With reduced demand, corporations were able to close plants with impunity. People paid into unions because they had been successful in raising wages and work standards (including reducing total work time to 40 hours per week), but as manufacturing jobs disappeared, so too did the clout of the unions, because there were far more people competing for jobs than there were jobs available. This has always been the Achilles heel of the union movement. Ironically, those places where unions have remained strongest are also those where educational requirements and continued training have also been the most stringent - teachers, nurses, engineers, fire and police professionals,

It's also worth noting the distinctions in types of inflation. Talking about a broad "inflation" rate is misleading, because in general, inflation is the rise of labor or resources relative to the nominal price of other resources. wage inflation occurred in the 1950s and early 60s relative to commodities, energy and finished goods because labor was comparatively scarce for many jobs. Wages largely stagnated since about 1971, but there was massive inflation in managerial salaries and dividends. Energy has inflated relative to wages since '71, while commodities inflated during the period from 1998-2008, and real estate inflated dramatically from about 2000 until the market collapsed in 2008.

Most corporate managers and rentier class investors prefer it when labor costs fall while finished goods inflate (which increases their profit), but fear when labor costs rise and raw material goods inflate (which can often squeeze margins at a time when the economy is tight). Not surprisingly, when the main stream media discusses the desire of the Federal Reserve to increase inflation, what they are usually referring to is the inflation of finished goods (from cars and houses to computers, packaged foods and so forth) rather than wage inflation, even though in this case wage inflation is precisely what needs to happen, relative to other asset classes).

In the late 1970s, a new class of business consultants such as Peter Drucker began making the argument that the primary purpose of a corporation was not to create goods and services but to maximize shareholder value. This credo was part of a shift in thinking pushed largely by the Chicago School of Economics and the monetarists, led by Milton Friedman. Along with this came the belief that the senior management of a corporation, such as the CEO or CFO, should be incentivized to increase stock value (which was widely seen as a good proxy for "shareholder value") by giving them options to purchase stocks at a greatly reduced price.

With skin in the game, these senior managers would then have more reason to keep stock prices up. In point of fact, all that this did was to transfer a significant amount of wealth from the employees (who were not similarly compensated) and the investors to the managerial class. Ironically, this has served in the long term to significantly reduce shareholder value, while at the same time making such manageables largely unaccountable as they ended up stocking boards of directors with their cronies. Weighed down with expensive senior management contracts many companies ended up reducing long term wages on employees that weren't critical to success to compensate - additionally, because stock price became the only real proxy for a corporation's value, corporate raiders emerged who would push the stock value of a company down through market manipulation, buy it out, reward the senior managers and fire the labor force, often gorging on pension funds and patents in the process.

The rise of unemployment that resulted was partially masked by the rise of the IT sector. The information technologies revolution started in the 1970s with big iron systems that began to reduce accounting staffs, but it really was only the marriage of the personal computer in the 1980s with networking technology that things began to change dramatically. One of the first things to happen was that as software reached a critical threshold in the mid 1980s, it began to erode the last real bastion of wage employment - the non-managerial white (and pink) collar jobs that had been indispensible to the command and control corporate structure.

The creation of presentations provides an interesting illustration of the impact this had. Until the mid-1980s, many corporations had graphic design departments. If a manager needed to make a presentation, he would need to work with a designer to design the slides, who would then work with a typesetter, a graphic illustrator and photographer to create the slides, a copy-writer, and possibly a printer, and would often take a month of lead time. With the introduction of presentation software such as Harvard Graphics and later Powerpoint, the manager could do all of these jobs himself, eliminating these positions and drastically reducing the time to do this work. Adaptable artists and designers did eventually go to work for themselves to provide such services, but for every person that became successful in this milleau, three or four did not, and in the process it caused a shift away from the monolithic culture into more of a  freelance and studio arrangement.

Ironically, such a process served to hinder the women's movement for at least a few decades. Falling real wages coincided with a rise of women's empowerment to bring a whole generation of women into the corporate workforce as secretaries, which often provided a stepping stone into mid-level management (typically office management or administration). The introduction of personal computers into the corporate workforce actually initially proved beneficial to secretaries, because they were often the first to get access to these typewriter-like devices and consequently ended up getting a leg up on their male managerial counterparts. However, as more people began using PCs in the work environment, it also radically thinned the number of secretaries required in an organization (although in a fitting twist of irony it also had the same effect on mid-level managers a few years later). This is part of the reason that there's something of a gap between older and younger women in most organizations, especially as IT itself became increasingly seen as a specialized domain for nerdy young men.

For manufacturing, however, the IT revolution was devastating for workers. Once you networked computers, it became possible to distribute your workforce, and from there it was a short step to moving work outside the US in particular to countries with low labor costs, low taxes and lax regulatory regimes. Standardization of shipping containers made shipping raw goods to these external factories for processing and sending the finished goods back easier, and new telecommunication systems meant that it was easier to coordinate production eight to ten hours ahead or behind you globally. This served to inject huge amounts of money into the Asian economies, which had the unintended effect of raising the wage levels of Chinese, Indian, Japanese and Korean workers dramatically. This outsourcing drained manufacturing from the US, leaving much of the Midwest and MidAtlantic as derelict ghost towns.

This also had the effect of reducing the overall import costs of foreign goods, which companies such as Walmart took strong advantage of. The outsourcing on manufacturing not only eliminated manufacturing jobs, but also had an adverse on the many service jobs that supported these manufacturing jobs, driving down wages in these areas and giving rise to the McJob - part time, no benefits, paying minimum wage, offering little opportunity for advancement and making an insufficient amount of money to catch up on with steadily rising food and housing prices. Automation generally affected services economies less directly - services almost by definition require either human intervention or human knowledge - but it did mean that mid-level management jobs (which typically provided a career path for people in these sectors) disappeared, leaving fewer ways for a person to break out of the "wage-slave" trap.

Dramatic rises in energy and commodities due both to scarcity and a growing realization on the part of countries that they were being pillaged by Western corporations caused the machine to falter even more. As the opportunities for the giant petrochemical companies to get access to foreign oil at highly profitable rates disappeared, cries for energy independence began to arise in the US. Energy independence in this context should be read, however, not as an increase in the use alternative energy sources (which currently receive a very small subsidy by the US compared to the oil companies) but as increased drilling for shale oil, offshore oil and natural gas deposits via rock fracturing (aka fracking). These deposits were considered less economical (in part because of the remediation and political costs) than foreign oil and natural gas, but at this stage there are considerably fewer alternatives left to the oil companies (in 1960, oil companies owned roughly 85% of all oil deposits globally, in 2010, that number is closer to 10%, as most of these has been nationalized by their respective governments).

This has led to an increase in the number of hydrocarbon engineering and maintenance jobs in the US, but this is a labor market that runs hot and cold. The jobs will be around until the fields play out, then will be gone - this will likely happen within the next decade.

We are now in what has been described as a bubble economy - government stimulus is frequently needed to create a temporary market, but these markets, unregulated, quickly grow to a point where they are oversupplying the available demand, attracting parasitic speculators that then cause the system to collapse, causing inflation in that sector followed by rapid deflation and despoiled ecospaces. This happened in IT in 2000, in housing in 2008, and in education and energy production likely in the next couple of years. The housing collapse in particular is still playing out, primarily in Europe, though it has left a legal tangle of housing ownership that will take decades to untangle, if ever (I expect that ultimately much of this will end up being written off as uncollectable).

It is against this backdrop that it becomes possible to understand what will happen to jobs over the next couple of decades. There are two additional factors that play into the picture as well. The first is demographic. People born in 1943, which I consider the start of the Baby Boom, turn seventy this year. In the depths of the recession that started in 2008, when this group reached 65, many of them went back to work - and for a while it was not at all uncommon to see a lot of low wage jobs being held by people in their seventh decade. However, even given advancements in geriontology, the ability of people to work into their seventies deterioriates dramatically. The Boomer generation peaked around 1953. If you assume that only a comparatively small fraction of those age 70 or above are still in the workforce, this means that this gray workforce will fade fairly quickly from the overall workforce just in the next five years. This will have the effect of clearing out a large proportion of upper-level management as well, which has been heavily dominated by Boomers just given the sheer number of them.

GenXers are a trough generation - as a group there is perhaps 65% as many of them as there are Boomers. These people are now entering into policy making positions in both government and business, but because of numbers, the Boomer peak for leaving the workforce hits at approximately the bottom of the GenXer trough for entering into senior management and senior professional positions. This actually translates into a relative scarcity of executive and professorial level talent by 2020, now only seven years distant. GenXers, for the most part, are engineers. Many of them, in their 20s through 40s, were responsible for the low level implementation of the web in the 1990s and the 2000s. A large number were contractors, people who generally benefited far less overall monetarily from the emergence of the computing revolution and the web, and as such they see far less benefit in large scale corporate structures.

Indeed, the GenXer view of a company is increasingly becoming the norm. It's typically small - under 150 people, in many cases under twenty people. It's distributed and virtual, with the idea of an "office" as often as not being a periodically rented room in a Starbucks, and with people working on it from literally across the world. Participants are often shareholders without necessarily being employees. Their physical facilities are on the cloud, and staffs are usually two or three people devoted to administration while the rest are "creatives" - engineers, developers, artists, videographers, writers and subject matter experts. The products involved are often either virtual or custom as well, and usually tend to have a comparatively small life cycle - often less than six months. This could be anything from software to customized cars to media productions to baked goods.

In effect these microcompanies are production pods. They may be part of a larger company, but they are typically autonomous even then. They can be seen as "production houses" or similar entities, and they may often perform specialized services for a larger entity - a digital effects house for a movie, a research group for a pharmaceutical company, a local food provider, specialized news journalists. When they do have physical production  facilities, those facilities may be shared with other microcompanies (the facilities themselves are essentially another company).

One of the longer term impacts of ObamaCare is that it also becomes possible for such pods to enter into group arrangements with health insurers, and makes it easier for people to participate in such insurance systems without necessarily being tied to a 40-hour paycheck. Health insurance was once one of the big perks of the more monolithic companies, but until comparatively recently changing companies typically involved changing insurance companies as well, a process that could become onerous and leave people with gaps in insurance that could be devastating if a worker or her child was injured. As command and control companies end up putting more of the costs of insurance on the employee, the benefit to staying with that employer diminishes.

The same thing applies to pension plans - it has become increasingly common for companies to let go of employees that are close to cashing out their pensions for retirement, often leaving them with little to nothing to show for years of saving. The younger generations are increasingly skeptical of large companies to manage their retirement, usually with good reason, especially since the average 40 year old today may have ten or more companies under their belt since they started work, and can expect to work for at least that many more before they reach "retirement age". This means that GenXers and younger (especially younger) are choosing to manage their own retirement funds when possible, independent of their employer.

Once those two "benefits" are taken out of the equation, the only real incentives that companies can offer are ownership stakes and salaries. As mentioned earlier, salaries are attractive primarily because of their regularity - you have a guarantee that you will receive X amount of money on this particular date, which becomes critical for the credit/debit system we currently inhabit. Ownership stakes are riskier, but they constitute a long term royalty, which can be important because it becomes itself a long term semi-reliable revenue stream. If you receive royalties from three or four different companies, this can go a long way to not having to be employed continuously.

The GenXers will consequently be transformers, pragmatists who are more interested in solving problems than dealing with morality, overshadowed by a media that is still primarily fixated on the Boomers, quietly cleaning up the messes, establishing standards, and promoting interconnectivity and transparency. Many of them now are involved in the technical engineering involved in alternative energy and green initiatives, next generation cars, trucks and trains, aerospace technologies, programming, bioengineering, information management and design, and so forth. While they are familiar with corporate culture, they find the political jockeying and socializing of the previous generation tedious, and though they are competent enough managers, GenXers generally tend to be more introverted and less entrepreneurial. Overall, as they get older, GenXers are also far more likely to go solo - consulting or freelancing. They may end up setting up consulting groups in order to take advantage of the benefits of same, but there is usually comparatively little interaction between consultants - they are more likely to be onsite with a client troubleshooting.

From a political strategist standpoint, one of the great mysteries of the modern era has been the disappearance of the unions. Beyond the strong automation factors discussed earlier as well as a politically hostile climate to unions, one factor has always been generational. GenXers are probably the most disposed personality-wise to being union members, but because unions generally gained a blue collar reputation, many GenXers (who in general see themselves more as engineers and researchers) have tended to see unions as being outside their socioeconomic class. Moreover, the consultant or freelancer mentality is often at odds with the "strength in numbers" philosophy of most unions.

I expect this generation to also end up much more in academia, especially on the technical and scientific side, or to migrate towards research, especially by 2020 or so as they finally reach a point where passing their knowledge on to the next generation outweighs any gains to be made by consulting. As is typical, the relatively inward looking GenXers will lay the groundwork for the very extroverted generation following after them - the Millennials.

Millennials were born after 1982, with the peak occurring in 1990, and are the children of the latter wave part of the Boomers (many of whom started families comparatively late - in their very late 20s, and had children until their late 40s). However, there's also an overlap with the children of the GenXers that creates a double crested population hump, with the trough in 1997 and then growth until 2007 (which actually exceeded the number of births per year of the Baby Boomers). After that, however there's been a sharp drop off to the extent that in 2012 the number of births is expected to approach the trough levels of 1971. For all that, the Virtuals (those born after 2000) will likely be a fairly small generation, given the drop off (most likely due to the economy's collapse).

The oldest Millennials are now thirty years old. Displaced by the gray workforce and facing the hardships in the economy by 2007, many started work four or five years later than in previous generations, had more difficulty finding work, and were often forced when they could find work to take MacJobs. They are distrustful of corporations, and are in general far more bound to their "tribes" -- connected over the Internet via mobile phones and computers -- than they are to work. Their forte is media - writing, art, film production, music, entertainment programming, social media, all of which lends itself well to the production house model, and which will likely mean that as this generation matures, it will end up producing the first great artists of the 21st century.

What it won't do is make them good workers in the corporate world, or in traditional blue collar positions. Overall, math and science scores for high school plummeted for the Millennials during the 1990s and 2000s, and enrollment in STEM programs in college declined dramatically after 2000 (when the Millennials started into college). Most Millennials are very good at communicating within their generation - this is the most "connected" generation ever - but overall tend not to communicate well with authority figures outside that demographic. (I've discussed this in previous essays.)

While I've seen some commentators who are critical of the Millennials because they see them as spoiled and entitled, instead, I'd argue that these characteristics are actually more typical of a generation that overall is just not heavily motivated by financial factors. Most have learned frugality after years of having minimal jobs. They will likely marry later and have fewer children than any generation before them, and their social relationships may actually prove stronger than their marital ones. On the other hand, they will also likely focus more strongly on their craft because of these factors, which means that as they age, they will prosper because of their innate skills and talents.

Temperamentally, the Millennials will tend to act in concert to a far greater extent than the generations before them. They will not join unions, but they will end up creating constructs very much like them. Moreover, they will be inclined to follow authority, but only if that authority is roughly in their generation. Consensus politics will be very important to them, and this will be the first generation that really employs a reputation economy as currency.

Given all this, it is very likely that the nine-to-five, five day a week job is going the way of the dodo. It won't disappear completely for quite some time, but the concept of a salaried employee will become increasingly irrelevant as the production house model obviates the command and control structure corporation. If you're still learning, you would get paid at a fixed rate plus time, but once you reach a point where you add significant value to a project, you would get points in the project towards a return royalty. Service jobs, similarly, will likely revert to a work for hire basis, coupled with some profit sharing. Manufacturing is shifting to a combination of insourcing with pod companies and artisanal production. Legal and accounting services, where they haven't already shifted to web-based delivery, are pretty much already done on a work for hire basis, with partners getting profit-shares.

The biggest changes that are taking place are in the sales sector. The rise of eRetailing is beginning to hit brick and mortar businesses hard. Christmas hiring at physical retail stores has been dropping consistently in the last five years, even as the economy itself has begun to recover. This is primarily because more and more retail is shifting online, to the extent that it accounts for nearly half of all retail activity in the United States during the last three months of the year. Mobile continues driving that as well, as it becomes far easier to "impulse buy" when your computing platform is constantly by your side.

The only real exception to this trend is in groceries and restaurants, though even there online purchases are accounting for a larger percentage of sales than a few years ago. Many grocery chains now offer online ordering and delivery services for nominal fees, up from only a couple specialized services a few years ago. Supermarket shopping is perhaps more ingrained in people than other retail shopping, so it is likely that this trend will take longer to play out there, but it is happening, especially in cities where grocery shopping is more complicated than it is in the suburbs.

Ambiance stores and restaurants are perhaps the only ones truly bucking the trend, and this has to do with the fact that most restaurants ultimately are as much about entertainment as they are about food. It's why there's been a slow death of the fast food industry, but places such as Starbucks do quite well. They are the modern day equivalent of pubs.

Note that I do not believe that such service jobs will go away completely, but they will diminish, and at some point it is often more profitable for a common to only be virtual and not maintain the costs of storefronts. No storefronts means fewer stores in malls, and already many malls are closing or being converted to other purpose buildings, while there are very few new mall or strip mall projects starting. Similarly, the number of "big box" stores has been declining as well. On any given day, go into an Office Depot or Best Buy, and what's most remarkable is how little traffic there generally is. Yet people are buying from their online sites, and the stores stay open increasingly to keep the brand alive in people's minds. At some point I expect these expensive "advertisements" to finally close down or turn into general distribution points, with only token merchandise on the floor.

This brings up the final paradox of the wage slave. The number of jobs being created is smaller than the number of jobs that are going away by a considerable degree, even in a "healthy" economy. These jobs are not being outsourced, they are being eliminated due to automation. The jobs that are being created in general require specialized skills, skills which used to be acquired via "on the job training", but increasingly these low and mid-tier jobs that provided such training are the easiest to automate, and hence are going away as well.

It is possible to train people some of these skills in the classroom, but the 10,000 hour rule of mastery generally applies - in order to understand a particular topic or acquire a given skill, it usually takes 10,000 hours worth of study, experimentation and practice to truly acquire competency in that area. In practice, this usually correlates to about ten years of fairly rigorous working with the topic. This means that while education is a part of the solution, the time required to impart that education can often make these skills obsolete.

The upshot of this is pretty simple - eventually, you end up with a large and growing percentage of the population that simply become unemployable. They are not lazy - most of them had positions until comparatively recently, but those positions are now gone. Meanwhile, profits that are made from the automation do not go to the people who lost the jobs, but the people who purchased the automation, and from there to the people who commissioned the creation of that automation in the first place. Put another way, productivity gains over the last fifty years were privatized, while the corresponding unemployment was dumped on the public domain. That unemployment in turn created emotional and financial hardship, foreclosures, a rise in crime and in the end a drop in the overall amount of money in circulation.

This last point is worth discussing, because it lies at the crux of the problem. In a capitalistic society, the velocity of money is ultimately more important than the volume of money in circulation. When money moves quickly through the system, more transactions take place, and in general more value is created in that economy. When money ceases moving, no one buys or sells, no investment takes place, no jobs are created (though many may be lost), and money becomes dearer, because you have a fixed amount - you can't count on additional moneys coming in, you can't get loans, even the simplest economic activity stops. This was close to what happened in 2009. As automation replaces work, billions of man hours of work payments disappear - money that would have gone to labor instead goes to the investors, who generally contribute a far smaller acceleration to the global economy than middle and working class individuals do in the aggregate. The wage-hour ceases being an effective mechanism for transferring wealth in society.

Eventually, a tiny proportion of the population ends up with most of the money in that society, and there is no way for the rest of the population to get access to that money to get the goods they need. We're not quite there yet, but the imbalance is already sizable and only getting worse.

One solution to this problem is to tax wealth that's not in use. This transfers money from wealthy individuals to the government, but given that government has become increasingly captured by those same individuals, the result of those taxes end up as corporate kickbacks to the same rentier class in terms of subsidies. Taxes can be reduced on low income individuals, but for the most part, low income individuals generally pay little in the way of payroll taxes, though they do pay in hidden taxes and fees arising from having to buy the smallest units of finished goods and services, which is generally the most expensive per item cost. Money can be distributed to everyone to spend, but the benefits of such stimulus usually tend to be short-lived, because the amounts are too small to make an appreciable difference in the same extractive mechanisms still exist in society.

Government mandated minimum wage floors can be set, but while this will help some, it is precisely these jobs that are most heavily impacted by automation. Moreover, the same corporate capture of the government provides a chokehold on the ability to impose such requirements on corporations. In effect the oligarchical control of the government continues to pursue policies that locally increase their profits, but at the systemic cost of destroying the consumer base upon which those profits depend. It is, in many respects, yet another example of the tragedy of the commons.

In many respects this is what the end state of a capitalistic society looks like - stalemate. Fewer and fewer jobs exist. Money becomes concentrated not in the hands of those who have jobs, but in the hands of investors, yet investment money is seldom sufficient to create a market, only to bring a product or service to that market. Wages become two tiered - bare subsistence level or below, and lavish for those with specialized skills, but only at the cost of continuous learning and training, and the concommittant loss of expertise as skilled workers choose not to share their skills at the risk of losing their marketability.

Because needs are not being met in the formal market, an informal or gray market emerges that is outside of the control of both the government and the corporatocracy, one with lax quality controls and legal redress in the case of fraudulent transactions, and consequently one where organized crime can play a much larger role. While this may seem like a Libertarian wet dream, the reality of such markets is typically like Russian markets in the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet empire, in which crime lords created monopoly markets where basic goods were only available for high prices or coercive acts, and where legislators and activists who tried to bring such crime lords under control were regularly assassinated.

So how does a society get out of this trap? My own belief is that in the end, it decentralizes. Power production shifts from long pipelines of petroleum based fuels to locally generated power sources - solar, wind, geothermal, hydrothermal, small nuclear (such as small thorium reactors), some local oil and natural gas production, intended primarily to achieve power sufficiency for a region with enough to handle shortfalls elsewhere in a power network. This provides jobs - both constructing such systems and maintaining them - and insures that energy profits remain within the region.

Establish a minimal working wage but also provide mechanisms for employees to become participants through profit-sharing and royalties, rather than options and dividends.

Make healthcare and retirement saving affordable and universal, rather than as a profit center for insurance companies and pharmaceuticals.

Tax financial transactions in exchanges, and use this to provide a minimal payment to individuals as a way of redistributing the costs of automation (and financial malfeasance) on employment.

Eliminate the distinction between salaried and hourly workers in the tax code, which has created an artificial two tiered system designed primarily to make it possible for unscrupulous employers to have a person work up to 39 hours a week and still not qualify for benefits.

Eliminate the 40 hour workweek - it's an anachronism. Instead, establish a government base payment that provides a floor for subsistence living for everyone, coupled with wage payments from jobs to fill in towards a production royalty payoff that provides wealth for people willing to put in expertise and effort.

Eliminate the income tax, and replace it with a value-added tax. The Federal income tax has in general been a disaster, increasing class warfare, often being used punitively by various administrations to favor one or another group, is extraordinarily complex, requires too much effort to maintain records for independent workers and small businesses, and usually being easily subvertible by the very wealthy, putting the bulk of the burden on the middle class. A value-added tax, while somewhat regressive, is generally easier to administrate, does not require that employees maintain detailed records, can be automated easily, and can in general be fined tune to encourage or discourage consumption of certain things within the economy.

Tax employers for educational support. Too many corporations want their workers to have specialized knowledge or skills, but in general do not want to pay for the training. Some of that tax can be in kind knowledge transfer from people that do have those skills in those corporations , at which point the corporation pays for that employer/contributor to teach.

Similarly, tax employers for infrastructure support that directly or indirectly benefits them. Much of the last half century has seen the maxim of privatizing profits and socializing costs become almost holy writ, but this has generally resulted in ghettos and gated communities that benefit a few at the expense of millions.

Encourage telecommuting and virtual companies, while taxing those corporations that require large numbers of employees onsite at all times. If telecommunication tools were good enough to outsource to China, they are good enough to provide telecommuting. This generally has multiple benefits - less need for infrastructure, far fewer carbon emissions, less energy consumption, less time wasted in traffic, fewer monster skyscrapers serving as corporate shrines.

These changes (and others like them) are feasible, but in general will only work if they are attempted locally - at the state or even city level. These are transformative changes - as different regions attempt these, facets that work and don't will emerge, and local variations will no doubt come about based upon cultural temperament, but overall success will beget success. Demographic changes, as discussed in this essay, will accelerate this process - those regions that are already investing in twenty-first century technologies are already doing a number of these things, and are seeing benefits, but those that are heavily petroeconomically bound will resist them. The irony here is that this means that in these latter areas, the wage slave paradox will only get worse, and the economy more dysfunctional over time.

It is likely that thirty years from now the economy of the United States will look very different - mass customization through additive printing techniques, millions of virtual pod corporations that number in the dozens of people only distributed all around the country (and probably the world), cities that will be in a state of controlled disintegration, powered locally and with much more local autonomy, with the rise of a strong creative class supported by an elderly engineering class and a youthful research cadre. None of this will happen overnight, nor will it happen uniformly, but I feel it will happen.
          A New Job and New Ramblings, or Information Architecture 101        
Hi! Chances are if you came from links for the MarkLogic site, you're probably looking for (I run both) but if you're just here to see some rambling thoughts about information architecture from a graybeard, then no doubt you are in fact in the right place.

About the new job - about a year ago, I came out to Annapolis, Maryland in order to work as a contract data architect for Lockheed on the US National Archives ERA project. NARA was fun to work with. Lockheed, not so much. In January, in a cost cutting move, several consultants were let go. The usual scramble for work began, aided for once with a fairly healthy bank balance and being in a place where there is a hunger for XML architects. Eight weeks later, after a number of interesting encounters, I landed at Avalon Consulting. They had what I was looking for in a job - challenging work, decent pay, sane ideas about remote working and a lot of very bright people that liked to do good things in the information space. That it gave me a chance to work with MarkLogic again was a big plus, as I've rather become addicted to the platform.

I even have a nice shiny new title - Information Architect. I seem to be making a career out of taking jobs with titles that didn't even exist five years ago, which is why I've always found it amusing when interviewers ask me what I want to do five years from now. I think next time I'm in that position, I'm going to tell the interviewer that I hope to be a Paradigm Architect. What does a paradigm architect do? I have no frickin clue, but it definitely sounds cool.

So what about that Information Architect role? I have a theory about this. Humans have this obsession with building. Anthropologists seem to miss the point about humans being tool users - plenty of animals use tools, but only humans use those tools for the purpose of constructing buildings ... you don't see beavers out there with trawls spreading mortar on their dams, you don't see birds construct suspended baskets and scaffolding in order to build their nests. What's more, in every single animal except humans, the building of nests is something that seems to be specific to one overriding objective - to insure that the female and her young are protected while gestating and nursing.

Walk along the Mall in Washington DC or Fifth Avenue in New York and ask yourself whether in fact the role of all of those huge imposing edifices is to insure that someone's female and her young are protected. Uh huh. You answer likely was the same as mine. We build because we can, because it makes a statement about the builder, because it serves to house complex entities - governments, businesses, universities, marketplaces and so forth. It is our attempt to impose upon the natural world a sense of constraint, orderliness and predictability, in great part because our sense of reality is predicated upon the fact that, when reality is orderly, it means you can concentrate upon other things, but when reality is disordered, all of your attention is perforce placed just upon threat analysis.

The idea that information can be similarly ordered is hardly a new one. Large scale relational databases are a testament to such a philosophy - there are known schemas and relationships that exist within any given domain, and one can consequently order those schemas and relationships, describe them precisely down to data type and exceptions. The problem with this is similar to the problem that I see at the Madison Building of the Library of Congress, where I've been doing some consulting. The outside is a massive marble monument, a testament to the power of the written word and the making of informed decisions, and this is carried into the main atrium. 

Yet beyond the power foyer, much of the building is occupied with dense arrays of small cubicles, and people who aren't essential to the day-to-day activities of the library are actually encouraged to work from home because it frees up space. The architecture of the building effectively limits the flexibility of the activities, because when the building was conceived, it's evolution was never really taken into account (this is a common problem with office space in DC in general; many of the buildings were created at a time when government was roughly a fifth the size it is today).

Many years ago, I wrote an essay entitled The Architect and the Gardner, and while my perspective has (hopefully) grown since then, I find that my belief in the validity of the underlying thesis really hasn't. Organizations evolve over time, but they build their information systems as if the organization is always static. The reality that they see is a snapshot of a changing culture, but just like the buildings which seem massive on the outside but are in fact cramped and limited in space on the inside, the information structures that they create also tend to reflect the business reality of the time, with no thought to the evolution of that business.

My own belief is that in many respects the information systems for an organization are a vital, living part of that organization. They follow cycles of creation, maturation, senescence and destruction. They evolve - both in terms of the nature of the data that passes through them and in terms of the ambient technological framework which dictates new content. Additionally, just as an organization has different types of culture depending upon where it is in its own cycle, so too do the information needs of that organization change based upon factors as diverse as current economic climate, stability and size of the company, regulatory regimes and so forth.

Taken in that context, the idea of "building" such an information system begins to look suspect. Rather, a good information designer should think more like a landscape architect than a building architect. From the outset there should be a recognition that information systems have a definite life cycle - growing seasons, if you will - and that a rich ecosystem will have everything from long term data systems that are much like the trees in a garden and that serve as the archival backbone of an organization, to intermediate systems that support working data management and act as perennials, to localized data systems that are brought up on an application basis then brought down when that application is no longer needed.

Yet even beyond that are transients - data that streams through the organization, that arrives from and goes to external services. Until comparatively recently these were seen as being more in the domain of the network manager, but while the network manager is concerned with throughput and access, the information architect is more focused on the content of those data streams, and insuring that the organization doesn't build dependencies upon those streams that are more than transient in nature themselves.

Like a gardner, the information manager has to spend a great deal of time not only planning but pruning -   insuring that legacy data systems are either migrated into archives or brought down gracefully, such that interdependencies can be reduced, and providing growth avenues for data flows when they become a larger part of an organization's operational information.

One additional responsibility that an information architect has comes in helping to shape the shape or type of that data. An IA isn't a data modeler or ontologist (though he or she may wear that hat as well), but typically the architect will be called upon to set the ground rules upon which the ontologists build, as well as to determine which standards will be followed when working with content.

A big reason for that is that information systems, like gardens, generally will evolve on their own, but not necessarily in a way to help facilitate the useful or relevant information flow for the organization. Again, in the garden analogy - if you have good soil, sunlight and rain, you can get anything to grow in a garden, but it's more than likely that what will take root are weeds - information that takes up space in your physical systems but provides little benefit, and reduces the availability of resources for that information that is important. Ontologies run rampant can make accessing information difficult, ad-hoc or  poorly designed schemas (or no schemas at all) can make interoperability difficult, too high a degree of coupling can cause siloization and make the sharing of physical resource problematic and so forth.

In many respects an information architect performs for the information in an organization the same role that a systems architect performs for the physical hardware and a software architect performs for processing systems. The three are complementary roles, and are still largely technical in nature, and in general they represent the technical systems designers for an organization. In particularly large information-centric businesses information architects may manage data designers, ontologists and search engineers, something I suspect will increasingly be the norm for organizations as they shift from process development to information management.

Granted, a lot of these are just my own observations. Roles emerge because there is a niche that needs to be filled in an organization, and given the increasingly dominant role that information organization and management (information gardening?) has in business today, it only stands to reason that the role of information architect is likely to be a critical one moving forward.

Now, about that paradigm architect position ...

Kurt Cagle is an Information Architect specializing in XML data systems, and works as a consultant for Avalon Consulting. He can be reached at

          Limit Break Radio: A Radio Returns - Episode 56 - Through The Looking Glass        
With 3.0 half way through its life cycle the hosts imagine what could be next. What’s in store raid-side? Where might the story lead? Could we get more customization? They also receive some insightful calls, including one from FusionX of Aetheryte Radio and Gamer Escape. And they read some of your emails..
          How to Sell More to Your Current Clients        
  Transcription: [This is a direct transcripton of a podcast, please excuse the odd typo or error.] Let’s talk about something interesting today. Whenever we talk to potential new clients, depending on where they are in their business life cycle, we often ask, "What are you doing with your current contacts and your [...]
          Target Mini        
Target Mini

Target Mini

Compact and stylish, the Target Mini Starter Kit brings together three tried and tested Vaporesso technologies in a robust yet small handheld box mod.  Vaporesso Target Mini Starter Kit Key Features Up to 40 Watts power output Palm-sized ergonomic box mod design Clear digital menu display 2-in-1 tank Choice of six different colours 1400mAh integrated battery Leak-free design VW/TC modes available About the Vaporesso Target Mini Starter Kit Designed with portability in mind as well as an authentic vaping experience, this smart Vaporesso box mod kit delivers power, serious cloud chasing capabilities and comfort as you vape. The Vaporesso Target Mini Starter Kit fits comfortably into the palm of your hand and delivers all the power benefits of a much bigger box mod kit without the heavy weight. Combining the Target Mini box mod, Guardian Tank and highly acclaimed Vaporesso Ccell ceramic coil, this starter kit ensures anyone can level up their vaping and enjoy a fully customisable sub ohm vaping experience. Discrete and stylish, the Target Mini Starter kit can be enjoyed in six different colours and it is powered by a strong 1400mAh built-in battery. It also has a bright digital display and easy-to-use buttons, allowing for a fully customised vaping experience, with intensity, depth of flavour and smoothness all easily tailored to your preferences. A double locking mechanism further limits the chance of any spills. To customise every vape you can choose between variable wattage and temperature control modes. You can set the temperature up to 40W and this is more than enough for a power-packed vaping experience with the option to turn down the power to suit your needs. The temperature control mode allows for different wire options, specifically Ni, SS, and Ti. The Guardian Tank which comes as part of the kit ensures you’ve always got a good supply of your favourite e-liquid. The tank has a top fill design with capacity for up to 2ml of e-liquid, top airflow and top replacement of coils. This allows you to stay clean and tidy as you change coils or top up your e-liquid. Even more cleverly the Guardian tank prevents overfilling thanks to its unique design. The kit is compatible with Vaporesso Ccell coils for maximum flavour, a longer life cycle and no dry hits.

          Vector MCQ        
1. Mention the four key factors for transmission of scrub typhus
2. Write down the medical importance and their control of the following;
· Mites
· Fleas
· Lice
· Ticks
3. Are mites insects? Explain.
4. Distinguish between the following at adult stages
· Xenopsylla and Pulex fleas
· Head and Pubic lice
· Tick and Mite
5. Male Anopheles and male culicine mosquitoes
6. What do you understand by the term BRILL-ZINSSER DISEASE as used in Lice.
7. How does the following arthropods transmit disease pathogens (routes of disease transmission)
· Xenopsylla cheopsi
· Anopheles mosquitoes
· Tsetse flies
· Leptotrombidium spp
8. Explain the following as used in fleas
· Bubonic plague
· Black death
9. What is a holometabolous life cycle? Give examples
10. Explain the feeding habit of fleas in relation to disease transmission
11. Distinguish fleas from other arthropods (preferably lice)
          Vector MCQ        
1.) Mosquitoes are in the family: a.) culicinae b.) culicidae c.) anophelinae d.) toxorhynchitinae

2.) The life cycle of mosquitoes requires _____ days in the tropics: a.) 3-5 b.) 10-14 c.) 20-30

3.) Male mosquitoes can be identified by their _________ antennae: a.) plumose b.) pilose c.) setose d.) filiform

4.) Anopheline mosquitoes can be identified by their maxillary palps which are: a.) longer than in culicine b.) shorter than in culicine c.) plumose d.) pilose

5.) An example of a mosquito which aquires oxygen directly from aquatic plants is: a.) anopheles b.) culex c.) mansonia d.) aedes

6.) When a mosquito bloodfeeds, it injects _______ from its salivary glands: a.) oocysts b.) sporozoites c.) gametocytes d.) merozoites

7.) Entomological inoculation rate is a.) independant of sporozoite rate b.) a description of biting frequency c.) infective bites per person per year d) highest in countries with older infected individuals
          A Peek Under the Package: Disruptive Technology Innovations Changing the Future of Sustainable Packaging        

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center, in partnership with Tetra Pak Inc., is hosting a “peek under the package” webinar exploring the future of sustainable packaging. Panelists will discuss emerging and future technologies and innovations across the life cycle related to sustainable packaging – including materials, products and applications – that have the potential to disrupt the fast-moving consumer goods and packaging industries. Panelists will also discuss how to bring consumers along as new strategies and innovations are adopted as part of securing a resource abundant future.

Register here:

          DynCorp Awarded $56.0 M Contract Modification to Provide Aviation Maintenance Services in Afghanistan        
The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command (AMCOM) has awarded DynCorp International (DI) a contract modification to continue providing aviation maintenance services throughout the Theater Aviation Sustainment Manager - OCONUS (TASM-O) and Theater Aviation Sustainment Manager - Southwest Asia (TASM-S) regions under the Army Aviation Field Maintenance (AFM) contract. "DI has decades of experience providing Army Aviation field maintenance," said James Myles, DynCorp Intern...
          DynCorp Wins Army Field Maintenance Contract at an Estimated Value of $307.1 M to Provide Aviation Maintenance Services        
MCLEAN, Va. -  The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command (AMCOM) has awarded DynCorp International (DI) a contract to provide aviation maintenance services throughout the Theater Aviation Sustainment Manager – OCONUS (TASM-O) region under the Army Aviation Field Maintenance (AFM) contract. “DynCorp International has decades of experience providing Army Aviation field maintenance through the Contract Field Teams (CFT) program,” said Jim Myles, DynCorp Internationa...
          DynCorp Wins Army Field Maintenance Contract Valued at Up to $388.5 M        
FALLS CHURCH, Va. -  The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command (AMCOM) has awarded DynCorp International (DI) a contract to provide aviation maintenance services throughout the Regional Aviation Sustainment Maintenance - West Region (RASM-W), under the Army Field Maintenance (AFM) contract. "We're proud to be able to continue supporting RASM-W," said Jim Myles, Group vice president, Aviation, DynCorp International.  "The DI team holds invaluable experience with t...
          Recycling in the Office        
Currently the health of the environment is under discussion as our effect on the earth can be quite rightly said is a negative one. Our offices are a big problem; in particular the amount of paper that we throw away is not recycled. It is said that the average office worker uses around 10,000 sheets of paper each year and the United States that has 5% of the world’s population, consumes approximately 30% of the world’s paper. Not only can this but the cost of actually using paper in the office can be between 15 to 31 times the costs of actually buying the paper in the first place. What people don’t seem to realise is that these costs all add up from the actual buying of the paper, to the storage, copying, printing, postage and disposal of the paper. It is for these reasons that something needs to be done in regards to the recycling of paper and experts at Cambridge University think that they have the answer. A revolutionary study has uncovered that by using lasers, the toner present on paper can actually be removed and the paper reused. Dr Julian Allwood who is leading the study at Cambridge University tested this theory by testing dozens of lasers to discover the perfect speed, energy and frequency needed to remove the toner. As outlined in the previous paragraph, we use a huge amount of paper in the office. This is not just the paper that sits on our office desks, but that also sits in the printers, kept in filing cabinets and tambour cupboards and the paper we use in the post.  "Thanks to hand-held scanners and laser-jet printers, the feasibility for reusing paper in the office is there.” "Material recovery through reusing eliminates the forestry step from the life cycle of paper and eradicates emissions arising from incineration and landfill dumping." It is said that with this new tool to remove toner rather than just recycle the paper is 19 per cent more effective than recycling which lowers omissions by 76 per cent.
          Farrah Abraham got rejected by Playboy. Twice.        
If there’s one thing I know about the natural life-cycle of the MTV reality famewhore, it’s that near the end of its life cycle, it will try to prolong the inevitable slide into irrelevance by posing for Playboy. Remember Heidi Montag? Of course you don’t, because the universe retroactively erased her and her doucheface husband from existence. Anyway, Farrah Abraham [...]
          Panchayti Raj in Haryana        
Panchayti Raj institutions have important and leading roll in Devlopment of Haryana. It was carved out of the state of Punjab in 1966 in name of tribes (casts) of agricultural orientation. Haryana is primarily an agrarian state. And panchayats have a major role in life cycle of Haryana people, concept of Panchayats and community mobilization is quite old phenomenon in haryana.
          How to choose the right compost        
Choosing the correct compost is important as its make-up must reflect the needs of different plants at various stages of their life cycle. This is Nathan James Dodd's guide to the various composts that match a plant's individual requirements.
          U.S. Green Building Council to Encourage Responsibly Sourced Building Materials        
Green and intelligent buildings are energy efficient and environment-friendly throughout their life cycle. Building functions such as Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems are integrated in green buildings to manage the available resources and enhance the operational performance of the buildings by optimizing energy usages through automated controls. Most of the materials used across the green and intelligent buildings are non-toxic and renewable. The usage of renewable sources of energy such as hydro power, wind power, and solar power are stressed upon for onsite generation of green energy. To reduce water wastage in such buildings, rain water harvesting methods are implemented. Green and intelligent buildings reduce the overall environmental impact owing to low operational costs and low carbon emissions. The U.S. Green Building Council has announced that it would encourage the sustainably sourced building materials by giving credit for wood from American Tree Farm System certified forests, and other recognized forest certification systems including Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). The credits would be given through the USGBC’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system. This is expected to boost forest conservation across the country as well as help family forest owners. In the U.S., a majority of these forests are under the ownership of individuals and families, and are not owned by the federal government or corporations.  Ford Focuses on Development of Sustainable and Green Campus Focussing on sustainable construction, automobile manufacturer Ford Motor Corp. is planning to transform its 60-year old Dearborn campus into a green, modern, and high-tech campus to foster innovation. According to a statement released by the company, the transformed campus will house a world headquarters campus and a product campus, and will have technology-enabled and connected facilities. The new construction is expected to meet the LEED gold certification standards. 

Original Post U.S. Green Building Council to Encourage Responsibly Sourced Building Materials source Twease
          India Focuses on Development of Supercapacitors for Usage across Defence and Space Sectors        
Growing concerns for energy conservation has been the fuelling the growth of the global supercapacitor market. The longer life cycle of supercapacitor as compared to batteries has propelled its extensive usage across various applications. Rising demand from end-use sectors such as aerospace, solar, military, and electronics holds a huge opportunity for the growth of the market in the coming years. Rapidly surging cost of fossil fuels, coupled with excessive greenhouse emissions has further fuelled the demand for supercapacitors across the automotive sector. Among the key regions in the global supercapacitor market, North America and Europe have primarily contributed to the market growth. While North America has been the largest market for supercapacitor, initiatives taken by the European Commission in 2014 to achieve the carbon dioxide emission target of 95g/km by 2020 have augmented the growth of the regional market. However, in the near future, both these regional markets are expected to register sluggish growth owing to the ever increasing demand for energy conservation across the emerging nations in Asia Pacific.  In India, the government is developing supercapacitors using indigenous materials for strategic usage across the defence and space sectors to overcome energy deficiencies in critical equipment. According to the state-run Centre for Materials for Electronics Energy (C-MET), supercapacitors developed by the organization under a pilot project are being tested for trials across the defence and space agencies in the country as a power source for various applications. While supercapacitors or ultracapacitors are used in defence equipment such as radar-mounted vehicles, artillery guns, and battle tanks, they are also used in space applications such as launchers and satellites. For short-term energy storage, supercapacitors are utilized in luxury buses, high-end cars, heavy-lifting cranes, speedy elevators, and high-speed trains. In the automotive sector in India, Tata Motors is testing supercapacitors for hybrid electric vehicles. 

Original Post India Focuses on Development of Supercapacitors for Usage across Defence and Space Sectors source Twease
          Progress OpenEdge Life Cycle Policy Guide - July 2016 Update        

Progress Software’s OpenEdge Product Life Cycle Policy consists of a series of milestones and activities that determine the different stages of OpenEdge commercial products starting from their first General Availability (GA) to the eventual product retirement.

          SWISS CHEESE PLANT - Monstera deliciosa        
The Swiss Cheese plant - Monstera deliciosa

Before I start I should mention that the Swiss Cheese plant is neither native to Switzerland and has nothing to do with any dairy product. It is in fact native to the tropical rainforests of southern Mexico and has proven itself to be one of the world's most popular foliage houseplants.

Swiss Cheese plant fruit
The species name 'deliciosa' means delicious referring to the edible fruit which are said to taste similar to a fruit salad, the genus name is derive from the word 'monstrous' and related to the huge size that this plant can grow to - over 10 meters feet in many cases.

Monstera deliciosa was named and described by the Danish botanist Frederik Michael Liebmann (1813 - 1856).

Although often shrubby in habit, Swiss cheese plants is in fact a climber whose native habitats are usually the understorey of tropical forests. They are technically classed as a hemiepiphyte meaning that it will spends part of its life cycle as an epiphyte (a plant that grows on the surface of another plant and derives its moisture and nutrients from the air, rain or from debris accumulating around it)

To explain, the seedlings of Monstera deliciosa would have germinated in the ground like most other regular plants. Then unlike most other regular plants grows away from the light, which usually helps them to find the nearest tree trunk, up which they begin to climb. As they mature they produce aerial roots and can eventually lose all connection with the ground!

As a climber and under favourable conditions you can expect the Swiss Cheese plant to grow to up to approximately 20 metres high. The large, leathery, glossy, heart-shaped leaves are 25–90 cm long and 25–75 cm wide. the characteristic holes within the leaves are an adaptation to its low light level environment. By producing holes within the leaves each leaf is then capable of attaining a larger size therefore making it more efficient at capturing sunflecks and occasional shafts of sunlight.

Monstera deliciosa bloom
The flowers are self-pollinating and are composed of a special bract known as a spathe which enclosing a spadix.

Monstera deliciosa bloom will perform best high humidity and shade with between 20–30 °C and requires. Growth will stop once temperatures drop below 10 °C. You will only be able to grow the Swiss cheese plant in subtropical climates or warmer as it has no tolerance to frosts. This is why it can only be grown as a houseplant in northern European and Mediterranean climates.

Monstera deliciosa bloom image credit - rjones 0856
All other images credit - Simon Eade

          Automate application management in the Cloud        
Amazon’s AWS cloud computing allows you to manage your cloud applications using a single service known as OpsWorks, which includes configuration management, application deployment, monitoring, and access control. The service allows you to implement any type of application independent of any particular architectural pattern. It was designed to simplify the process of managing the application life cycle without imposing arbitrary limits or forcing you to work within an overly constrained model.
          General Motors to Trim Production at Two Car Plants        
General Motors is cutting down the production at two of its car plants amidst rising dealer inventories, an effort to decrease stocks of the Camaro and Chevrolet Sonic, Buick Regal and other models. This week, General Motors scheduled downtime for March 9 to March 13 at its Orion Assembly plant in suburban Detroit, where the Buick Verano and the Sonic small cars are produced, to adjust supply to demand, according to a facility worker and another person with knowledge of the schedule. The Orion plant also was inactive last week and earlier it had scheduled a down week for April 6 to April 10, also to trim excess inventory. Meanwhile, the Flex line at GM’s Oshawa, Ontario, plant will be idled April 13 to April 17, cutting production of the Camaro sports car, Regal sedan, Cadillac XTS sedan and Chevy Impala, one of the sources said. The cutbacks come as car sales cool amid lower gasoline prices while demand for trucks and crossovers grows. Most of GM’s production trims are for nameplates that are well into their life cycles and due for redesigns within the next year or two. Inventories on most of them have grown in recent months. On February 1, 2015, there was a 216-day supply of Sonics on dealer lots or on the way to stores, the highest inventory level since the subcompact debuted in August 2011, according to the Automotive News Data Center. The Regal had a 213-day supply, up from 96 days on January 1, 2015. Camaro inventory was 131 days, up from a month earlier but lower than at the same time in 2014.

Original Post General Motors to Trim Production at Two Car Plants source Twease
          Jewish Events Life Cycle        

Jewish Events - Jewish Life Cycle Gift Store
Jewish events from birth to death includes all Jewish milestones and events throughout the Jewish life cycle.

The post Jewish Events Life Cycle appeared first on Prayer Shawl Store.

          Malaria Virus Induces Change to its Hosts Body Odor        
Malaria viruses can change the body odor of mice, a new research study suggests. Researchers believe that the virus may change odor of its host’s body so as to help themselves survive through a key stage in their reproduction. The scent was also found to have persisted during the stage when mice showed no symptoms of the illness but were infected with it.  Scientists are now working on further trials to see whether or not malaria viruses induce such different odor in humans as well.  The aforementioned research on mice was undertaken jointly in the Pennsylvania State University and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. The research studied the odor in mice with and without the infection of malaria virus for 45 days. It was found that the odor in mice with malaria infection was remarkably different than the non-infected ones.  However, the change in smell did not completely alter the natural smell of mice – it instead changed in the terms of level of various compounds present in its natural composition. This was particularly noticeable in the mice that were infected but did not show symptoms.  This stage, where the virus still inhibits its host’s body but do not induce any visible symptoms, corresponds to a very crucial time in the life cycle of the virus. It is the time when the virus needs to be passed back to the mosquitoes so as to continue reproducing.  At this stage, mosquitoes are seen to be more attracted to the mice studied for the experiment. Researchers believe that the malaria virus may induce the change in odor in its host’s body to ensure continued survival.

Original Post Malaria Virus Induces Change to its Hosts Body Odor source Twease
          Malaria parasites can manipulate hosts body odor        
Malaria parasites tend to manipulate the body odor of mice, according to a research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Many researchers believe that these parasites of malaria can change the odor of their host to help them during a key stage which occurs during reproduction. Scientists found that the changed odor is present during a critical time when the mice have no symptoms but remain contagious. More research is going and further trials are being undertaken to determine if these parasites can affect human odor as well. In a research study, scientists from the Pennsylvania State University in the U.S. and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology studied the smell of mice with and without malaria for duration of 45 days. They found that the scent of the infected mice was different from that of the non-infected mice. These parasites do not completely influence the odor of the host, but change it to the level that the compounds are already present in the odor of host. This was especially noticeable during the infectious stage of mice. However, it was no longer present when they showed any symptoms of the condition, which is corresponding to the important time in the life cycle of the parasite. According to scientists, the malaria parasites are manipulating their host’s smell to ensure their survival. Currently, researchers are working on trials to see if this pattern of smell change can be found in humans as well.

Original Post Malaria parasites can manipulate hosts body odor source Twease
          Comment on comBATTONS; a local intervention using life cycle and seed by Andrew Durham        
Holy cow, the wind sounds ferocious! I'm glad you could save the piece, at least long enough to be lashed again by the wind tomorrow. Pictures?!?
          [Webinar] Three Lines of Defense Model for Simplified Third-Party Management        

Join the Information webinar on "Three Lines of Defense Model for Simplified Third-Party Management" with experts Piyush Srivastava, VP and Head Capital Markets Consulting BFS and Vibhor Mittal , Assistant Manager at MetricStream.

The OCC and Federal Reserve’s latest guidance on third-party relationships directs banks and financial institutions to focus on having a comprehensive third-party risk management process. This webinar highlights how the ‘Three Lines of Defense’ Model can identify, assess, monitor, and mitigate risks effectively, while ensuring rigorous oversight of critical third-party activities and adequate reporting to the board and management.

Join this informative webcast where experts from Virtusa and MetricStream discuss:

  • Key imperatives of the OCC and FRB Guidance on third-party relationships
  • Third-party risk exposure and management in a highly regulated environment
  • Improving third-party relationship life cycle through effective risk management
  • Integrating third-party management into the existing risk management and compliance framework

Role of technology in developing a mature third-party risk management framework

          Morphology and Life Cycle of Flies Drossophyla        



1.   To determine the general morphology contained on Drossophila sp.
2.   Able to distinguish between the female fly and male flies.
3.   To study the stages of the life cycle of Drosophila.
4.   To find out how the stages of the life cycle of fruit flies.
5.   To discover how to maintain Drossophila sp.


Drosophila sp is a winged animal, and measuring kecil.Maka from morphological observations that these animals can be by using aids such as LUV or glass pembesar.Genus species.Species Drosophila has many of the most numerous and widespread is the summer melanogaster.Selama Drosophila species There are in all parts of the world that is usually gathered the ripe fruit.
Drosophila has a different morphology cirri between males and females. In the Drosophila male has a smaller body size when compared with the third segment betina.Memiliki abdomen section and has a comb on the female kelamin.Sedangkan relatively larger size, has six segments on the abdomen and has no sex comb. (Soemartomo.SS 1979)
In Drosophila diremuka 4 pairs of chromosomes. In male and female fly flies generally are the same, but there is little difference in one of the male chromosomes are like a hook curve. (Sepoetro.D.1975)
In Drosophila males and females can be easily separated in the form of segment-segmenabdomen.Abdomen females have tapered tip and patterns of lines that are different from the abdomen jantan.Kelamin flies determined in part by the X chromosome which is owned individu.Nor, alnya female fly will have 2 chromosome X. The male flies have only one X chromosome plus one Y chromosome Y heterokromatik.Pada fruit flies do not have an important role in determining the type of chromosome kelamin.PAda Drosophilla few active genes. (Goodenough 1984)
In Drosophila sp characteristic of a mutant is expressed by a combination of one or a few letters and numbers, according to the name and symbol that was first discovered by the inventor to tersebut.Sedabgkan mutant flies that normally berfenotip dibert + sign. This Sedah held since Morgan started research with this animal. For properties that are dominant cirri are written in capital letters will reverse if the recessive gene kecil.Pada written with letters that have a lot of old ale diketemuakn alleles marked with antlers and a letter written rather to atas.Perhatika was banar that each code applies tosaja.Dengan one gene of this, if there is more than one gene is abnormal, then the individual tersebuat can have more than one symbol.Walau demikan seldom can one even two mutants with more than 5 gene that is not normal.
In the Drosophila male flies can be distinguished from the female fly Midah by looking front legs, genitals and abdomen ends and the form abdomennya.Pada foreleg tarsal both males in a group there is a rather precise hair arranged as a comb called Sex sisirkelamin comn. Additionally, smaller males has an end and blunt abdominal segments hitam.Jumlah colored males because only 7 pieces last segment together.(Nio.T.K.1990).


Among the first to use fruit flies as the object of Genetics is the study of Thomas Hunt Morgan who managed to find coherence discovery of sex. Species of fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, a kind of common insects that are generally harmless, which is eating fungus that grows on the fruit. Fruit flies are insects that easy to breed. From one marriage alone can produce hundreds of offspring, and a new generation can be bred every two weeks. This characteristic makes the fruit fly into an organism that is well suited for genetic studies.
Here is the classification of Drosophila melanogaster (Borror, 1992):
Kingdom               : Animalia       
Phyllum                 : Arthropods
Class                      : Insecta
Order                     : Diptera
Family                   : Drosophilidae
Genus                    : Drosophila
Species                  : Drosophila melanogaster
There are several advantages of the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) so that many were subjected to genetic experiments or materials, including:
1.      Fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) are easily maintained in the laboratory because the food is very simple, requires very little space and his body strong enough. Usually the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) bred in bottles of medium, the medium may consist of:
• Molasses

          $0 eBook: Software Testing - Learn In 1 Day        
$0 eBook: Software Testing - Learn In 1 Day

By Krishna Rungta, 291 pages, published May 16, 2017

Amazon's Description:

This book is designed for beginners with little or no prior Software Testing experience.

Here is what you will learn:

Table Of Contents

Section 1: Introduction

What is Software Testing? Why is it Important?
7 Software Testing Principles
What is V Model
Software Testing Life Cycle - STLC explained
Test Plan
What is Manual testing?
What is Automation Testing?

Section 2: Creating Test

What is Test Scenario?
How to Write Test Case
How to Create Requirements Traceability Matrix
Boundary Value Analysis & Equivalence Partitioning
Static Testing
Test Environment
Test Data
What is Defect?
Defect Life Cycle

Section 3: Testing Types

100+ Types of Software Testing
Unit Testing
System Testing
Regression Testing
Sanity Testing & Smoke Testing
Performance Testing
Load Testing
Accessibility Testing
STRESS Testing
User Acceptance Testing
Backend Testing
Protocol Testing
Scrum Testing Beginners
Web Service Testing

Section 4: Testing Different Domains

Banking Domain Application Testing
Ecommerce Applications
Insurance Application Testing
Payment Gateway Testing
Retail POS Testing
Telecom Domain Testing

eBook is free at time of posting. Please check price before buying.

          MVC4 TDD, IoC (by Unity) and Mocking (by FakeItEasy) - Start Thinking in Abstractions and Fake it without implementation by writing minimum code        

In this article we review how to create a simple MVC 4 application using a Test Driven Development (TDD) approach. We'll use the Inversion of Control (IoC) pattern, along with Microsoft's UnityDependency Injection (DI) container and the FakeItEasy (he easy mocking library for .NET) framework. We start by considering the typical Red, Green, Refactor TDD cycle, and describe how  IoC and mocking are a desirable and logical consequence of TDD. We start from Functional Requirement and conceptual model and start writing tests first of all.  Then define interfaces, blank entities, services and enforce business logic, validation, logging much more – all at abstraction level without any implementation. Its remarkable.

TDD is not a testing methodology; it's a design and development methodology!

It is nice to know variant views about TDD. ‘TDD is not a good design methodology.’ You can read popular article at The TDD Apostate. Let us not go into details whether TDD results in good design or not, TDD is still accepted, widely liked and remain would be alive in future.

I read this article before decided to write similar thing with ‘FakeItEasy’ mocking library and slightly different mind.  

TDD emphasizes an iterative development cycle where requirements are created in the form of unit tests, and each test is written first - before the code that defines interfaces, services, business logic, or UI.Typically, for each work item (e.g. a particular new feature) the developer will use a three-phase (Red, Green, and Refactor) cycle, with each cycle being of short duration (e.g. an hour):
  • Red: write a unit test that fails
    • First, make sure you understand the requirements for the work item
    • Design/imagine how you'd like the feature to be implemented, then write the test code as though the code existed
    • Create just the necessary interfaces and 'stubs' (or use a Mocking framework - see below) so the test code compiles
    • Run the test - it will fail because the 'real code' has not yet been written. However, this verifies our mocked code isn't working by accident, which could potentially provide a 'false positive' at a later stage in development
  • Green: make the minimum changes required to pass the test
    • add the minimum code required to make the test pass - make use of mocking or hard-code method return values
    • don't add error handling code - do this later, again driven by specific tests
    • re-run all unit tests (regression testing) to ensure you haven't broken anything
  • Refactor: improve design, add business and data persistence logic, etc.
    • gradualy replace stubbed or mocked code with real-world implementation logic
    • improve the design, etc.
    • re-run tests to ensure eveything still works
It's interesting to note that this deceptively simple approach actually encapsulates a major change in the way we approach the task of writing software. Normally we ask the question, "How will I write the code to create the solution?". With TDD the question becomes, "How will I know I've solved the problem?". As J. Timothy King says in his article Twelve Benefits of Writing Unit Tests First: "We're taught to assume we already know how to tell whether our solution works. It's a non-question. Like indecency, we'll know it when we see it. We believe we don't actually need to think, before we write our code, about what it needs to do. This belief is so deeply ingrained, it's difficult for most of us to change."
There is a complete mental shift as thinking with TDD approach for developers, designers and architects. Instead of thinking in three basic traditional steps: design, implement, and test, we must build and test small components over time and improve with refactoring – thus lead us to create a system architecture, what benefits are we likely to see?
  • Design: being able to run automated unit tests forces us up-front to design a system composed of loosely-coupled components (e.g. separation of concerns)
  • Reassurance: re-running the unit tests assures us that any change we make hasn't broken anything
  • Team-working: re-running all tests (e.g. at the end of the day) is a good way of picking up any breaking-changes at an early stage
  • Documentation: tests actually document how the system works (and they can't be out-of-date)
  • Metrics: tests provide a practical measure of progress (e.g. "the system passes 78 of 100 tests")
Obviously, the first step is to capture the functional requirements that define what the system must do and the Quality of Service (QoS) requirements that define how well it must perform. 

Problems with Conventional Approach
Conventional methods divide the development process into three basic steps: design, implement, and test. The problem with this approach is that the two types of strategic defects, those related to requirements and architecture, are often introduced early but detected late. Of all defects, these two are the most costly because they can significantly affect most or all of the system.

If tested primarily at the end of the development cycle, the system is likely to include defects with complex design interdependencies, making their identification and removal expensive, error-prone, and time-consuming. These strategic defects are often not identified until the validation phase when they might have thousands of subtle dependencies based on assumptions that the fix invalidates. Finding these dependencies and repairing them can be difficult.

TDD solves this problem by building and testing small system components over time. With TDD, testing is not dealt with all at once toward the end of the development cycle. Instead, it is performed incrementally throughout the development life cycle to ensure that the system works as specified at every phase.

This incremental approach requires that developers test a project at every stage of its development, meaning that the system must be constructed from executable and testable models. Scenarios specified during requirements capture are used in downstream development to show that models are correct and meet the requirements. The goal is to identify strategic defects as early as possible; these defects can cost up to 1,000 times more than coding defects if they are discovered late in the project. A good rule of thumb is that no more than 5 percent of defects should be identified in the last 10 percent of the project life cycle.

TDD in Action - an MVC 4 Demo App
To look at TDD in practice, we'll develop a very simple "Subscription" application using the following:
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 with the MVC 4
  • Microsoft Entity Framework 4 (we'll get the latest version using the NuGet Package Manager in Visual Studio)
  • Microsoft Unity dependency injection container (we'll get it using NuGet)
  • The FakeItEasy mocking framework (we'll get it using NuGet)
Our simple 'MvcOnlineStoreApp' will be iteratively developed with simple set of functional requirements as follows:
  • There will be a simple home page with a link that takes the user to another page that displays a list of categories
  • A Category must have a descriptive name.
  • Initially, units tests will use the mocking framework to return the list of categories.
  • We'll use the repository pattern to de-couple the data persistence layer from the controller
  • The dependency injection container will be used 
To get started, open Visual Studio and create a new MVC 4 project (and when prompted, choose the 'Empty' template) - I named my project 'MvcOnlineStoreApp':

In next screen, select template ‘Internet Application’ and check ‘Create a unit test project’ option to true.
Move both projects (MvcOnlineStoreApp and MvcOnlineStoreApp.Tests) under a logical forlder named ‘UI’.
Let us create two more logical folders named ‘Domain’ and ‘OnlineShop’.
Create four library projects under ‘Domain’ folder.

  1. Domain.Entity: Contain dummy DTO classes like Category.
  2. Domain.Infrastructure: Contain common interfaces used across application
  3. Domain.Util.Infrastructure: Contain interfaces used for Utility classes
  4. Domain.Util.Implementation: Contain implementation of Utility interfaces

Now consider ‘OnlineShop’ conceptual box may contain some abstract services. We must start creating empty WebApi services having no display functionality. Think of following services in Online Shop.
-          CategoryService
-          ProductService
-          PartyService
-          OnlinePurchaseService
-          OrderService
Right click on ‘OnlineShop’ folder and add new project. Select ‘ASP.NET MVC 4 Web Application’ template, click browse button next to Location text box and create a folder named ‘OnlineShop’.

 Next step us to select ‘Web Api’ and click OK button. Two projects are created.
Delete following four folders because we never use this content in back-end service.

Under ‘Controllers’ folder delete Home and value controllers because we never use them. Similarly delete a test controller under ‘Controllers’ folder in project ‘ProductService.Tests’.
Build the project now, it should run without errors.
Add new controller named ‘CategoryController’ as follows.

Add a new interface named ‘ILoggerService’ under ‘Domain.Infrastructure’ project. I know its is responsible of loggin information and errors somewhere, we don’t know yet. But let us assume we know nothing until test will drive us to add methods in it.

Keep it simple:
Go to project ‘Domain.Enitiy’ and create new class named ‘Category’. Uth is we only know Category contains a Name. So code looks like this.

Go to ‘ProductService.Tests’ folder and new plain class under ‘Controllers folder as:

Now in same project install NuGet packages ‘FakeItEasy’ and ‘Unity’ as follows:

Now add references to three more projects to the project ‘ProductService.Tests’ as follows:

Let us add some code in test class to look like this.

Above code contains [TestInitialize] method that is executed at start. I tried to create Fake objects of ICategoryService and ILoggerServcie. And pack the CategoryController object in Unity container to use it in further test cases.
So I need to create two things.
      1 - Need to create ICategoryService Interface  (proper place should be Domain.Infrastructure project)
2 - CategoryController parameterized constructor to inject ICategoryServcie and ILoggerServcie dependencies

Point 1: Letus add ICategoryServcie and a ListCategories method as well (I should not add it until I need it in tests but let’s do this way for now)

I shifted my scope by assuming I should for the time being use Repository ‘ICategoryRepository’ instead of IRepositoryService. So I added bit of code as follows.

Add two methods under ILoggerServcie interface. (again I should add them after writing test but let us do it for now – sorry violating TDD)

Point2: Create a constructor now in ‘CategoryController’       

Let us write first basic test that fails passing Null as first parameter to ‘CategoryController’

Let us try to pass it. I added two lines in contructor and run test – it passes.

Reason to fail was because test was expecting ArgumentNullException when passed NULL as first parameter to constructor.
I added some more three tests same way and refactored the Contoller code accordingly, so final code looks like this:

public voidInitializing_CategoryController_with_Null_ICategoryRepository_throws_ArgumentNullException()
    var sut = new CategoryController(categoryService: null, loggerService: A.Fake<ILoggerService>());

public voidInitializing_CategoryController_with_Valid_ICategoryRepository_sets_CategoryService_property_to_provided_value()
    var categoryService = A.Fake<ICategoryRepository>();
    var sut = new CategoryController(categoryService: categoryService, loggerService: A.Fake<ILoggerService>());

    Assert.AreSame(categoryService, sut.CategoryService);

public voidInitializing_CategoryController_with_Null_ILoggerService_throws_ArgumentNullException()
    var sut = new CategoryController(categoryService: A.Fake<ICategoryRepository>(), loggerService: null );

public voidInitializing_CategoryController_with_Valid_ILoggerService_sets_CategoryService_property_to_provided_value()
    var loggerService = A.Fake<ILoggerService>();
    var sut = new CategoryController(categoryService: A.Fake<ICategoryRepository>(), loggerService: null);

    Assert.AreSame(loggerService, sut.LoggerService);

And final shape of CategoryController looks like this:


CBIS ( Computer Base Information System)

Ø  Memberi kesempatan untuk meningkatkan komunikasi dan pengambilan keputusan dlm suatu organisasi.
Ø  Perancangan harus memberikan perhatian kepada tingkatan tingkatan manajemen dan kelompok organisasi.
Ø  Pusat kekuatan informal dari suatu organisasi yang dpt mempengaruhi keberhasilan CBIS harus diidentifikasikan dan dimasukkan dlm perancangan.
Ø  Harus menjaga manajemen yang dibutuhkan oleh lingkungan dan perubahan yang mempengaruhi susunan organisasi

Mengelola CBIS

Ø  Manajer bertanggung jawab untuk mengembangkan dan memelihara CBIS
Ø  Dlm beberapa situasi manajer hrs dpt mengerjakan semua tugas tanpa bantuan.
Ø  Spesialis informasi memberikan bantuan teknis jika diperlukan.
Ø  CBIS akan dikembangkan manajer harus merencanakan life cycle dan kemudian mengontrol para spesialis.
Ø  Mengontrol sumber CBIS untuk menjaga penampilan sistem dengan segala kemampuan, setelah implementasi.

Manajemen Sumber Informasi.
            Perencanaan manajemen puncak dari suatu perusahaan yang akan menetapkan penggunaan komputerisasi yang akan berguna untuk mengetahui penciptaan sumber informasi dan pengelolaannya Information resources management (IRM), jika perusahaan akan menerapkan IRM maka harus ada tiga unsur, yaitu :
  1. Eksekutif puncak bagian komputer melaporkan secara langsung kepada pimpinan yang disebut Chief Information Officer (CIO)
  2. CIO turut ambil bagian dengan Eksekutif lain dalam menyusun rencana jangka panjang untuk organisasi
  3. Rencana jangka panjang harus dibuat agar kebutuhan informasi dapat memberi kepuasan pelayanan melalui komputerisasi personal, dll

Subsistem sistem Dalam Keorganisasian/ Perusahaan
  1. Fungsi organisasi terpisah dalam hal kegiatan dan ditentukan secara manajerial sebagai tanggung jawab sendiri-sendiri
  2. SIM dipandang sebagai sebuah gabungan sistem informasi
  3. Setiap sitem fungsional berdiri sendiri dalam hal prosedur, program, model yang saling tdk bersamaan.
  4. Gagasan dasarnya sama untuk mengenali fungsi-fungsi pokok atas nama subsistem dapat dirancang.

Subsistem utama dalam Sebuah organisasi Manufaktur
  1. Pemasaran : Ramalan penjualan, perencanaan penjualan, analisis pelanggan, penjualan
  2. Manufaktur : Perencanaan dan penjadualan produksi, pengendalian biaya, analisa biaya
  3. Logistik : Perencanaan dan pengendalian pembelian, persedian barang, dan distribusi
  4. Personalia : Perencanaan kebutuhan pegawai, menganalisa prestasi, administrasi gaji.
  5. Keuangan & Acc : Analisis Keuangan, analisis biaya, perencanaan kebutuhan modal, perhitungan pendapatan.
  6. Pengolahan Informasi : Perencanaan sistem informasi, analisis biaya
  7. Manajemen Puncak : perencanaan strategis, pengalokasian sumber daya.

= Organisasi adalah pembinaan hubungan wewenang dan dimaksudkan untuk mencapai koordinasi yang struktural, baik secara vertikal maupun secara horisontal diantara posisi yang telah diserahi tugas-tugas khusus yang dibutuhkan untuk mencapai tujuan perusahaan.

= Organisasi terdiri dari dua bagian :
  1. Bagian-bagian / Departemen / Divisi : yang berarti menciptakan struktur dengan bagian yang diintegrasikan.
  2. Hubungan-hubungan : yakni hubungan antar komponen organisasi sedemikian rupa, sehingga hubungannya satu sama lain terikat oleh hubungan terhadap keseluruhan.  

Adalah abstraksi dari suatu masalah yang menampilkan tujuan dan aktivitas yang saling berhubungan.

Jenis Model :
  1. Model Fisik : adalah gambaran dari suatu sistem yang langsung diwujudkan dalam bentuk fisik
  2. Model Naratif : adalah model yang digambarkan dengan kata lisan ataupun tertulis
  3. Model Grafis : adalah model yang diwujudkan dengan gambaran garis, simbol dan bentuk gambar.
  4. Model Matematis : adalah model yang digambarkan dengan bentuk model matematika.

Penggunaan Model : Memudahkan pemahaman dan meramal

Dimensi Informasi :
v  Relevansi : informasi mempunyai jika ia berhubungan secara khusus dengan maslah yang ada.
v  Ketetapan : informasi harus tepat (akurat)
v  Tepat waktu : informasi diperlukan saat masalah krisis belum terjadi
v  Kelengkapan : informasi harus mempunyai suatu kandungan yang lengkap.


Database : susunan record data operasional lengkap dari suatu organisasi/perusahaan, yang terorganisir dan disimpan secara integrasi dengan menggunakan metode tertentu dalam komputer sehingga mampu memenuhi informasi optimal yang diperlukan oleh pemakai.

Manajemen Data : merupakan bagian dari manajemen informasi, yang mencakup aktivitas yang dilakukan untuk memastikan keakuratan dan up to date-an data perusahaan.

Subsistem Pangkalan Data (Database)
= Data mempunyai nilai sepanjang :
ü  Data itu bisa dicari kembali
ü  Diolah
ü  Disediakan untuk orang yang membutuhkannya dalam batas waktu

= Suatu sistem informasi manajemen menggambarkan persediaan suatu rangkaian data yang cukup lengkap yang disimpan agar dapat memyediakan informasi untuk mendukung operasi, manajemen, dan pembuatan keputusan dalam suatu organisasi.

= Rangkaian  file data yang saling berkaitan secara logik yang dipelihara untuk SIM disebut pangkalan data (Data Base)

= Perangkat lunak yang diperlukan untuk mengelola secara efektif dan menggunakan pangkalan data disebut sistem pangkalan data.

= Seluruh sistem yang menyangkut pangkalan data, perangkat lunak data, administrator pangkalan data, dan prosedur pangkalan data disebut sub sistem pangkalan data dan merupakan bagian dari sistem informasi manajemen.
Konsep Data dan Susunan Data
ü  Data harus disusun agar pengolahan beberapa ciri suatu objek pengolahan data.
ü  Butir data dapat membentuk suatu hubungan hirarkis antar mereka.

Butir Data
ü  Suatu butir sering disebut sebagai bidang atai Fields,
ü  Suatu bidang adalah ruang penyimpanan pada sarana file pengolahan data fisik, sedangkan butir adalah apa yang disimpan didalamnya.
ü  Rangkaian kolom didefinisikan sebagai bidang butir data yang ditetapkan pons.
ü  Butir data panjangnya tetap atau variable. Misalnya, nama dan alamat cukup beraneka ragam dalam jumlah karakter yang diperlukan. Tetapi hanya dua digit angka akan menampung usia setiap karyawan.

ü  Butir data yang berhubungan dengan suatu obyek pengolahan data digabung menjadi suatu rekaman untuk obyek itu.
ü  Kalau obyek pengolahannya adalah suatu pelanggan, butir seperti nomor pelanggan, nama, alamat, sisa hutang, dan tingkat pemberian kredit merupakan rekaman bagi pelanggan.
ü  Setiap butir data untuk suatu rekaman menempati suatu bidang pada sarana penyimpanan. Jumlah penyimpanan yang diperlukan berbagai bidang rekaman merupakan penyimpanan yang dibutuhkan rekaman. Rekaman suatu jenis tertentu panjangnya bisa tetap atau tdk tetap (variabel)

ü  Suatu kumpulan rekaman yang saling berhubungan atau disebut rangkaian data
ü  Pemeliharaan dan penciptaan suatu file adalah suatu beban kerja dalam suatu sistem pengolahan informasi komputer

Jenis File
  1. File Induk : rekaman yang relatif permanen berisikan informasi statistik, identifikasi dan historis. Dipakai sebagai suatu sumber referensi atau pencarian kembali. Co/ : File Personalia, File Persediaan.
  2. File Transaksi/ File Perincian : kumpulan rekaman yang menguraikan transaksi perusahaan. Dikembangkan sebagai hasil pengolahan transaksi penyiapan dokumen transaksi. Dipakai untuk meremajakan file induk. Co/ : File faktur penjualan, file pesanan pembelian, file perusahaan skala gaji.
  3. File Laporan : catatan yang disarikan dari data dalam file induk menyiapkan suatu laporan. Co/ : File laporan untuk pajak yang ditahan, file laporan pelanggan yang menunggak pembayaran, file laporan untuk analisa ketrampilan pegawai.
  4. File Penyortiran : suatu file kerja berisi rekaman yang harus diurut. File ini bisa berupa file asli salinan file asli salinan file transaksi, file induk atau file laporan.


ü  Suatu struktur informasi menentukan hubungan yang dimiliki data bagi pemakai informasi.