25 September 2012South African defence equipment manufacturer Denel and Russian Helicopters, a leading international designer and manufacturer of helicopters, have signed an agreement to create a helicopter servicing hub for sub-Saharan Africa.The agreement was signed at the 7th Africa Aerospace and Defence Exhibition (AAD) at the Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria last week.Through the agreement, Denel Aviation, a division of Denel, is now the only company in sub-Saharan Africa accredited to perform maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services for models produced by Russian Helicopters.Speaking at the signing ceremony, Denel chief executive Riaz Saloojee said the agreement would significantly expand the company’s business in Africa and strengthen its position as the premier provider of MRO services on the continent.Sub-Saharan maintenance hubDenel Aviation CEO Mike Kgobe said Denel’s objective was to become the maintenance hub for most of the modern commercial and military aircraft operating in sub-Saharan Africa.“The agreement represents the culmination of a long-standing partnership between the two companies,” Kgobe said.Russian Helicopters CEO Dmitry Petrov said civil aviation was a high-growth market in Africa, and that Russian Helicopters was well positioned to be a market leader on the continent for years to come.“We see great potential for our helicopters in countries across Africa, and are delighted to be working with Denel Aviation to provide a complete customer care programme for our clients on the continent,” Petrov said.Skills transferFrom October, Denel Aviation technical staff will attend an intensive training programme on the latest Russian Helicopters technology and procedures in the eastern Siberian city of Novosibirsk.This will mean that teams of Denel Aviation engineers and technicians will be deployable at short notice to perform emergency repair work on helicopters across the continent.For deeper-level MRO work, the aircraft will be transported to the company’s facilities close to OR Tambo International Airport in Kempton Park, east of Johannesburg.“Our knowledge of the African geography and climatic conditions, and the track record of our products that have been extensively deployed in operational conditions, make us a logical partner of choice to the military and civilian markets on the continent,” Kgobe said.Russian Helicopters manufactures an extensive line-up of versatile and resilient helicopters for purposes ranging from cargo and passenger transport to medevac and search-and-rescue missions, fire-fighting, corporate transportation and offshore in the oil and gas sector.Russian Helicopters has been sole vendor of Russian-built civilian helicopters to foreign clients since consolidation of the country’s helicopter manufacturing sector was completed in 2010.Source: SANews.gov.za
1 August 2013Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has become the latest South African to add his footprint to the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in Maropeng, outside Krugersdorp.Addressing reporters after placing his foot in a wet concrete block on Wednesday, the Nobel Peace laureate said, with his trademark laughter: “I pray that it is also a step into a future where all people shall be united again by a sense of unity and ubuntu.“There is no race which is superior to the other,” Tutu said. “All of us, including those who are in Europe, deep in our sense, we are all Africans. We belong to one family, which is the family of ubuntu.“It is humbling to add my footprint, which is a footprint that takes us back into the past when all people were united by our common ancestor, who was made in the image of God. So as human beings, we belong together. If I want to be human, it can only be in relationship with other people because we are interdependent.”Tutu also took a tour of both the Sterkfontein Caves and Maropeng.Tutu ‘knew what science had yet to discover’Professor Lee Berger, who is recognised the world over for having discovered an entirely new species of hominids in Maropeng in 2008, said that although Tutu was not a scientists, through his campaign against apartheid he had been clear that all human beings belonged to one family that came originally from the African continent.“The Archbishop has been preaching ubuntu throughout the world from his early age, but as scientists we only discovered a while ago that all human beings originated in the African continent,” Berger said.Berger gave Tutu a framed photo of the skeleton hand he discovered in Maropeng, which includes the fossil discovered by his son, Matthew, when he was nine years old.By imprinting his foot in Maropeng, Tutu joined former president Thabo Mbeki and former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan, who became the first to donate their footprints to the site in 2002.President Jacob Zuma and Vaclav Klaus, the former president of the Czech Republic, have also left their imprints.The handprint of Nelson Mandela completes the total of former national presidents currently represented in Maropeng.Tutu’s other donationsIn February 2010, an article was published revealing that Tutu had donated some of his own cells to the human genome project to be sequenced as an example of a Bantu individual, representing Sotho-Tswana and Nguni speakers.The human genome project has demonstrated that all humans originated in Africa, and that the Khoi-San people of southern Africa are among the oldest surviving races and implicitly ancestral to all other human species.It has suggested that the common female ancestor of all living humans (called “genetic Eve”) lived around 143 000 years ago, while the common male ancestor (“genetic Adam”) lived about 59 000 years ago.This supports the so-called “Out of Africa II” hypothesis, for which there is also extensive palaeoanthropological evidence from the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site and elsewhere in Africa.The footprints project represents support for the belief that our ancestors walked out of Africa to populate the entire planet.Source: SAnews.gov.za
In early April of 1990, I was a contestant on Jeopardy. If you were watching back then, I was the “Supercomputer Programmer from Aloha, Oregon” who won three games and $38,000 and then lost – badly – in the fourth. So there’s quite a bit of personal history tied in with the news last week that a supercomputer from IBM, called Watson, had beaten two all-time Jeopardy! winners, Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings, in a practice round for the three-day charity competition on Feb. 14, 15 and 16.A few weeks ago, I predicted that Jennings would win, Watson would place a close second and Rutter would place third in the overall contest, and I’m sticking with that prediction in spite of Watson’s first-place finish in the practice round last week. When I put on my handicapper’s hat, the scores of the practice round – $4,400 for Watson, $3,400 for Jennings and $1,200 for Rutter – are consistent with my assessment that Jennings and Watson are evenly matched and that Rutter is unlikely to win.The battle for first place will come down to the differences between human and machine intelligence. The machine has three advantages: faster reaction time, no emotions or fatigue and a larger potential knowledge base. But the human has the advantage of being able to decode subtle linguistic clues found in the answers on the screen that a Jeopardy! contestant must question. And humans will write those answers for the tournament knowing that one of the contestants is a machine.M. Edward (Ed) Borasky is, in order of appearance, a boy genius, computer programmer, applied mathematician, folk singer, actor, professional graduate student, armchair astronaut, algorithmic composer, supercomputer programmer, performance engineer, Linux geek, and social media inactivist. He currently develops virtual appliances for social media analytics and data journalism, and is the publisher of the Borasky Research Journal. His hobby is collecting hobbies.In 1950, computing pioneer Alan Turing, while pondering the question, “Can A Machine Think?”, devised what has become known as the Turing Test. The original paper, “Computing Machinery and Intelligence,” can be found here. While there’s much philosophical debate about the exact nature of the Turing Test, in my mind, it is simply this: Can a human, communicating with a both machine and a human purely electronically, achieve in the long run a score better than average in distinguishing machine intelligence from human intelligence? If not, then we say that “the machine has passed the Turing Test.”In the years since Turing’s paper, numerous challenges, both theoretical and practical, have been set forth for machine intelligence and numerous technological responses have resulted. Machine intelligence engineers have created practical economic value and machines now perform tasks once thought to require human intelligence. The essence of the question, “Can A Machine Think?” and Turing’s proposed test is this: once you abstract away the physical implementation details of electronic circuitry and software vs. a human body, nervous system and human thought processes, can a machine perform as well or better than a human at solving symbolic problems?We saw human-competitive performance from machines in checkers in the 1960s and an unbeatable checkers program in 2007. We’ve seen musicians unfamiliar with Chopin’s entire body of work unable to distinguish between a mazurka by Chopin and a mazurka written in Chopin’s style by David Cope’s EMI software. In 1997, we saw a computer defeat the human world champion at chess. We have seen machines compete successfully with humans in patentable innovation. And last year, we saw machines successfully navigate public roads operating motor vehicles in traffic.During its training against former champions, Watson, the IBM computer system designed to play Jeopardy, was constantly updated on popular music, movies, television and pop culture references in order to be competitive in these categories. Watch Watson tackle pop culture references during these sparring matches.In short, every challenge we have thrown at the machine intelligence community to produce human-competitive intelligence has been met. A series of increasingly difficult symbolic problems has been solved by electronic circuitry and software. And on February 16, 2011, I claim we will be finally able to say the Turing Test has been passed – that if the three contestants were placed behind a screen and we could see only their responses in text form and their scores, we would not be able to tell which one was Watson.And what of the future? There’s no shortage of challenges for the supercomputers we can design and build and the software we can write for them. As IBM VP John E. Kelly III put it, “We really believe — I don’t want to be overly dramatic — but we could save lives with this.” Early diagnosis of diseases and design of effective treatments early in the cycle is one of the more obvious ones. Earthquake prediction is another one. As we approach the centenary of Turing’s birth, I say it is high time we accepted that the answer to Turing’s question, “Can A Machine Think?” is, “Yes, of course!” 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#Analysis#Real World#web guest author 1
Our expert’s opinionHere are comments from Peter Yost, GBA’s technical director:It’s tough to figure just what to add to Martin’s experience of more than 30 years off the grid. But I did check in with my former colleague from Building Science Corp, Mark Sevier, a top engineer who was with Solar Design Associates until leaving his position there to finish up his own grid-tied zero energy home. Here are Mark’s key points:1. Prep your client for the off-the-grid lifestyle. Martin would be the first to agree here, I am sure. You have to know and manage your loads with great care, or pay the back-up generator “piper.” And, make sure your client has some sense what they are getting into, off-grid living is a different experience than utility grid supported living. You take over the utility company’s responsibilities when you aren’t connected.2. Worry about surface area, not volume. It’s the former that is the real driver for heat loss and air leakage, not the latter. And window square footage loses five to 10 times as much heat as wall/roof area, and costs five to 10 times more, suggesting a conservative approach to their use.3. High performance airtight homes behave fundamentally differently than conventional ones. Stratification is much less of an issue in air-tight, well-insulated structures and closing off rooms won’t benefit as much as you would think unless you insulate and air seal interior walls and floors.4. Locate the wood stove “point-source” centrally. In both the high performance homes Mark has built, a centrally-located wood stove with an open floor plan convectively connected first and second floor spaces. And while we are on wood stoves, they can be quite problematic if not airtight and with dedicated combustion air in really airtight homes.5. Floor plans for passive design. As Mark says, “…bedrooms, bathrooms, TV room, and kitchen on north; living, hallways, stairs, dining, playroom, etc. on south. Essentially the private spaces or those that can’t tolerate glare or need wall space should be north-facing, and public spaces should be south facing, to avoid drawing shades on the passive solar design.”Mark sums up this way:“If I were given a clean sheet of paper, I’d recommend a well insulated enclosure (R-25 to 35), passive solar attributes in proportion to the client’s interest, propane thermocouple controlled centralized air-based back-up heating unit, ‘sealed’ wood stove with ducted air intake, small/right-sized solar hot water array with propane back-up, ‘right-sized’ PV array at ~50-60 degree tilt (to even winter/summer output), and propane back-up generator.“It’s probably a good idea to use PEX piping everywhere (except the solar hot water loop due high temperatures), since it can tolerate freezing (any hydronic loops should have glycol). At some point, Murphy is likely to stop by, no matter how well you think you have things covered–a broken window in a cloudy stretch when they’re on vacation in winter, for example.“I like interestingly complicated integrated mechanical stuff probably more than the next guy, but I’ve come to see that it isn’t for most people, so I agree with Martin’s simple-is-better perspective. Warm air and insulating enclosure, minimal freezable water system.”Peter’s closing note: Mark’s zero energy home near Boston, MA, is a remarkable project, which I sincerely hope will become a GBA Green Homes case study sometime later this year. Making the cookstove do double dutyRobert Riversong suggests that a wood cookstove with a water coil could thermosiphon hot water to a radiant floor in the bathroom, a system that does not rely on electrically driven pumps. But stay away from a stove with a coil in the flue, which interferes with exhaust flow and also increases the formation of creosote.Mr. Greenguy also likes the idea: “One can always run hydronic heat off a wood stove with a liquid heat exchange,” he says. “There is more than enough heat from wood combustion if you can move it where you need and being off-grid, a hybrid system (wood/hydronic) with a small pump is all you need to move heat, and with the addition of a tank, could store a days worth of heat, too.”Lucas Durand, however, isn’t so sure. “Getting some heat for [domestic hot water] is one thing, but a wood stove is not the right appliance for running a hydronic space heating system — unless it’s been especially designed for that purpose.”Which brings us back to theme of simplicity: “If the wood stove is running, you’ve got heat,” Holladay says. “No need to complicate a perfectly good wood stove by trying to connect it with a hydonic heating system with circulators.” UPDATED: 1/3/11 with expert opinions from Mark Sevier and Peter YostChris Koehn will be building a 1,600-sq.-ft. home in British Columbia for owners who want to heat primarily with wood. They envision a wood-burning cookstove and a fireplace, and they’d also like to incorporate some solar capability.Because of its island location, the house will be off the electricity grid.Among their concerns is that some parts of their house, including the bathroom and an upstairs bedroom, may be too far from a heat source to be comfortable. Koehn is considering heating the tile floors in the bathroom, but he’s concerned with how much electricity it would take to run the pumps.There’s also the question of what to use as a source of backup heat to keep the house from freezing in winter, as well as help it meet local building codes. GREEN PRODUCT GUIDE Renewable Energy How to Design an Off-Grid HouseBatteries for Off-Grid HomesQ&A: Which is the right direction?Insulated concrete formsSolar hot water Can he use solar hot water for space heat?Koehn appears to be leaning toward a backup or supplemental heating system in which solar hot water is used for heat. The water would be circulated by pumps running on PV-generated electricity.The idea is appealing, but not without flaws, as Holladay points out.“When it’s cold and cloudy, a hydronic space heating system requires electricity to operate the circulators,” he writes. “This really is a deal-killer — in the middle of winter, when you are cold, where is the electricity coming from? I have friends who built a new off-grid house with a hydronic heating system. They had to run their gasoline-powered generator all winter. The noise drove them nuts and the fuel cost nearly bankrupted them.”And, he adds, there’s a serious chance for a freeze if the house is unoccupied for a weekend. Draining the water lines is a “real pain.” Build a tight, solar-oriented houseIn addition to specific suggestions on how to provide backup heat, a number of contributors recommended a tight, well-insulated building that keeps heating loads low.“Definitely incorporate all the passive solar possible in that locale,” writes Robert Riversong, “with sufficient direct-gain thermal mass for diurnal storage, as that will reduce fuel consumption.”David Meiland, who lives not far from Koehn’s building site, adds this: “You can do quite well here if you have good southern exposure, design for passive solar, build a very well insulated shell, and generally minimize heating and electrical needs. ““Keep the ceilings low; no wide open spaces to waste energy, and doors on every space to close when the room is not needed or when the room is being used and the other side isn’t,” says R from Sooke. “Look at designs from years ago when most houses only had wood heat. There were reasons they did things they way they did. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel; just use it all to your advantage.” “I’m looking for potential solutions from folks who have faced similar challenges,” he says in a Q&A post. The replies are the subject of this week’s Q&A Spotlight. The fine points of wood heatWood heat is a little more complicated than it may seem.For example, Gord Schiller points out, stay away from beach wood. Because of the salt it contains, it will corrode both the stove and the flue, even a stainless steel flue, and it will void the manufacturer’s warranty.Among the other suggestions Schiller makes: Build a good sized wood shed next to the house where one year’s wood can be separated from the next, get a gas-powered wood splitter, make roof access to the flue as easy as possible to make cleaning easier, and make the flue as straight as possible for better efficiency and easier cleaning.Schiller advises buying a high-quality wood stove. “Burn times of the stove and efficiency of the stove will reduce the amount of wood that you burn and therefore the trickle-down effect of not having to spend too much time cutting wood,” he says. Keep it simpleSimple mechanical systems are best, suggests GBA senior editor Martin Holladay, who has lived off-grid for 35 years.“Anyone who chooses to live off-grid should be willing to be flexible about indoor air temperatures in remote rooms on the coldest days of the year,” he says. “You can minimize these temperature differences, however, by paying scrupulous attention to air sealing and by providing very high levels of insulation in your floors, walls, and ceilings.”Unlike grid-connected homes, which can always draw on utility electricity as required, an off-grid house must be completely self-sufficient. Electricity, whether it’s generated by a wind turbine, a photovoltaic array, or a fuel-fired generator, is precious.“Whatever you do,” Holladay tells him, “don’t choose any heating equipment that will require electricity to operate.”He suggests one or more propane space heaters with through-the-wall venting and air intake. Empire makes several models that will run without electricity.Robert Riversong would steer the owners away from a fireplace unless it was a Rumford design with a gasketed chimney cap. But he suggests that a wood cookstove with a water coil could thermosiphon hot water to a radiant floor in the bathroom, a system that does not rely on electrically driven pumps. RELATED ARTICLES
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The week of National Signing Day is not a good time for a recruit to be on Twitter. This is typically when the trolls will be at their most frivolous, telling 17-and-18-year-old prospects how dumb they are for deciding to attend a certain university. A Tennessee fan, @ChooChooTrain00, spent much of Friday morning tweeting at five-star running back Damien Harris, an Alabama commit. The user criticized Harris’ decision to play for the Crimson Tide, telling him he’ll be riding the bench for the duration of his career in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Harris decided to respond to the hater, letting him know what will happen when Alabama faces his beloved Volunteers. @DHx34 thats what it will feel like workin that bama bench for 4 years. U got about 6 5 star rb and 5 5 star athletes ahead of you.— Shua Johnson (@ChooChooTrain00) February 6, 2015This is Harris’ response, which he later deleted. Alabama has defeated Tennessee eight years in a row. The Crimson Tide and the Volunteers will meet this fall on Oct. 24 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.
Louisville just finished its regular season with a 59-57 victory over No. 2 Virginia at the KFC Yum! Center. What made the Cards’ victory so remarkable was just how they got it done.After Virginia’s Malcolm Brogdon put the Cavs up 57-56 on a three-pointer with 16 seconds to play, Louisville had a chance to win it. The Cavaliers doubled UL point guard Terry Rozier off of a pick-and-roll, leaving big man Mangok Mathiang wide-open. Since January 31st, Mathiang had made just one of 16 field goal attempts. He had not attempted a shot in 14 minutes today. Naturally, he swished the foul line jumper off Rozier’s feed like it was second nature.Virginia’s foul-court inbounds pass landed out of bounds, and Rozier finished things off with a free throw. Louisville’s win clinched the No. 4 seed in the upcoming ACC Tournament, and a coveted double-bye into the quarterfinals.All thanks to the 6-foot-10 sophomore from Australia who found his way into the scoring column at the most opportune time.
Twitter/@OSUCoachMeyerOhio State fans wouldn’t be totally out of line called Evan Spencer’s double reverse touchdown pass to Michael Thomas in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama a “piece of art.” Apparently Urban Meyer (and/or whoever runs his Twitter account) agrees. Meyer tweeted out a video of the play, with a Vincent Van Gogh quote dubbed over it:“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.”Embrace The Grind pic.twitter.com/8Y9zsJzKl8— Urban Meyer (@OSUCoachMeyer) June 8, 2015We have to say, that quote sums up the game of football very well. [Eleven Warriors]
The popular narrative for the NBA Finals that just concluded is pretty straightforward: The San Antonio Spurs “play basketball the way it’s supposed to be played,” and they beat the star-studded Miami Heat in what Zach Lowe called “the triumph of the NBA’s beautiful game.” The Spurs’ offense whipped the ball around, and Miami couldn’t handle such a multifaceted attack. The Heat, on the other hand, were forced to rely on what is increasingly becoming their Big One. LeBron James was epic throughout the playoffs and had an MVP-quality performance in the finals, but the top-heavy Heat collapsed under their own weight.A variety of statistics back up this description of the difference between the two teams, if not the normative judgment. For example, the Spurs had nine different players take four or more field goal attempts per game throughout the playoffs, compared to just six for Miami. More advanced statistics show something similar.One stat we can use to see how much offensive responsibilities are being spread around is “usage rate,” which estimates the percentage of a team’s possessions that were “used” by a particular player. Possessions are “used” by making field goal attempts, getting fouled or turning the ball over. Players such as James, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony typically “use” a lot of possessions because they handle the ball a lot, take a lot of shots and play a lot of minutes. And because there are only so many possessions to go around, one player’s high usage rate means fewer scoring opportunities for his teammates. Teams like the Spurs, however, spread the ball around more, and more players get significant minutes, so they have a more flat distribution of possessions used.Here’s a look at how top-heavy NBA teams were in 2014, with the Spurs and Heat singled out:The x-axis on this graph is a player’s rank in a team’s usage rate, and the y-axis is the difference between the number of possessions that player used per game and the number used by the player with the highest rate. The lower the line, the more evenly a team distributes its chances across its players.Depending on how deep down the roster you look, the Heat are between the second- and fourth-most top-heavy team, while the Spurs are one of the most balanced. So that backs up the narrative.On the other hand, spreading the ball around isn’t easy, and it’s not the normal path to victory in the NBA. The most top-heavy team (and the top line on the chart) is the Oklahoma City Thunder, who had the second-best record in basketball and did better against this Spurs team than Miami did. The most evenly distributed team overall was the Brooklyn Nets, who did make the playoffs but lost in five games to the Heat.The Spurs won a lot more than we would expect for a team as balanced as they are. The 15 teams with the largest gaps between their top player and their eighth player (by possessions used per game) won 57.5 percent of their games, while the 15 with the smallest gaps won 42.5 percent (the Spurs were second-lowest).Of course, not all sharing is created equal: Sometimes a team has a more equitable distribution of possessions because it has a lot of talent and it needs to incorporate it all. Sometimes it does it because it has very little talent and doesn’t have anyone it can consistently rely on. Likewise, being top-heavy can be a result of having an overly ambitious shooter on a team, or it can just be that a team has a great player doing his job.