Round-up: One in and possibly one out at QPR, Phillips urged to stay, Pedro and Ream sign

first_imgIt’s been another busy day at QPR, who have finalised the signing of keeper Alex Smithies but could lose Rob Green. Smithies, 25, completed his move from Huddersfield Town to Loftus Road, where Rangers hoped he would compete with Green.However, having made an enquiry about Green’s availability, West Ham are looking to tie up a deal in time for him to be available for their game against Bournemouth this weekend.Meanwhile, former QPR player and manager Ian Holloway has urged Matt Phillips to stay at the club.Matt Phillips should stay at QPR, according to Ian HollowayCurrent boss Chris Ramsey believes his team are heading in the right direction following their fine win at Wolves – his next target is for Rangers to tighten up at the back.Co-chairman Tony Fernandes and several players posted jubilant messages on Twitter following the win at Molineux.Fulham, on the other hand, were beaten at Hull and manager Kit Symons fears Marcus Bettinelli could face a long spell on the sidelines after the keeper suffered a nasty-looking knee injury.Ream has completed his move to Craven CottageOn a brighter note for the Whites, they have formally completed the signing of United States defender Tim Ream from Bolton – he rejected a move to QPR, who also had an offer for him accepted.Andre Gray has also rejected a move – to Bristol City. The Brentford striker held talks with the Robins but appears to be holding out for a move to Hull.Pedro stalled over a move to Manchester United because he was holding out for a move to Chelsea. The Blues today completed the Spain forward’s £21m transfer from Barcelona.And in rugby union, Harlequins have named Danny Care as their new captain, replacing Joe Marler.Click here for our QPR player ratings v WolvesClick here for video highlights of Rangers’ win at MolineuxClick here for Fulham player ratings v HullClick here for details about #StanBowlesDayFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Ocean floor debris not from MH370

first_imgThe Australian Transport Safety Bureau has dismissed a story from the Dailymail.co.uk regarding debris found on the seabed as being “highly likely” from MH370 as incorrect.The article which has been picked up by major wire services claims that images of debris are Category 3 being the most likely to be plane debris. In fact it is the reverse with Category 3 being the least likely and Category 1 the most likely.In a statement for Airlineratings.com the ATSB said: “The article describes ‘Category 3’ sonar finds as being the most likely to be aircraft debris. In fact, they are the least likely to be aircraft debris. Classification 3 is assigned to sonar contacts that are of some interest as they stand out from their surroundings but have low probability of being significant to the search. The underwater search so far has identified more than 400 seabed features that have been classified as category 3.”The pictures touted by the online website as “new” were in fact taken months ago and posted to the ATSB’s website to show some of the random items being found by the search teams.In all probability the objects are shipping containers that have been swept overboard in a storm.last_img read more

In Maine, A Battle Royal Over Energy Policy

first_imgNet metering is a “regressive tax”Echoing arguments made by any number of electric utilities, the governor’s energy office called current net-metering rules “regressive” and said they amount to unfair subsidies for those who can afford to install photovoltaic (PV) systems.“It’s a regressive tax that’s disproportionately placed on low-income Mainers, and we have a lot of low-income Mainers,” said Lisa Smith, senior planner in the energy office. “In Maine, someone who has a solar panel who applies for net metering not only gets credited the full retail value of the electricity, they’re not paying their fair share of grid maintenance because they’re not only being credited for the supply, they’re also being credited the [transmission and distribution] portion of the bill.“They’re getting everything for free and someone who doesn’t have a solar panel is paying for that,” she continued. “They’re paying for their own and they’re paying for the folks who have solar panels.”Because there are only a couple of thousand net-metered customers in the state now, she said, the costs are not significant, adding, “It has the potential to become quite significant.”Recently, a study conducted for the Maine Public Utilities Commission concluded the actual value of electricity generated by PV customers is double what net-metering now pays. And the latest news was greeted with “disbelief” by the co-founder of a Maine renewables company.“We are rubbing our eyes in disbelief at the governor’s new energy bills,” Phil Coupe, co-founder of ReVision Energy, told The Portland Press Herald in an article published on May 13.“They will take Maine’s energy policy back to the Stone Age,” Coupe said of the new proposals. In what’s shaping up to be one more clash over state energy policy, Maine Governor Paul LePage has proposed the elimination of both net metering and Maine’s renewable portfolio standard. Both policies are regarded as essential by renewable energy advocates but too expensive by the executive branch.Legislators already are doing battle with the Republican governor over how to fix a typo in a 2013 law that now threatens to gut the Efficiency Maine program. The new proposals, yet to be scheduled for a public hearing, will add fuel to the fire.Under current rules, Maine residents with small solar or wind systems are paid the full retail rate for excess electricity they sell to the grid. That would end, as would requirements that Maine electric utilities purchase an increasing amount of their electricity from renewable sources.In both cases, the governor’s energy office says changes are intended to simplify existing law and make electricity more affordable for both residential and industrial customers.Renewable energy advocates are outraged. Lower regulatory barriers for nuclear plantsAlso on the energy front: The governor recently submitted legislation that would eliminate the requirement for voter approval for any nuclear plant with a generating capacity of less than 500 megawatts.Maine hasn’t had a nuclear power plant since Maine Yankee in Wiscasset closed in 1996. There are still some 550 tons of spent nuclear fuel from the 900 MW plant stored on site.The new proposal hasn’t had a hearing to date, and Smith said she was unaware of any specific plans for bringing a new reactor into the state.“I’m personally not aware of it,” she said. “A couple of these proposals were put in to just start a discussion and try to eliminate some outdated language. We actually had language in our statute that said nuclear was bad, or something along those lines. So there were a couple of proposals to look into this issue again. I’m not aware of anything on the horizon.”LePage is actively working to increase the availability of natural gas in the state as a way of bringing down energy costs and making the state more attractive to new industry. Lower costs, not the source of the electricity, is key, Smith said.“The governor is completely agnostic as to the source of the energy,” she said. “He just wants the best deal and he does not want the electricity price hikes we’ve seen. We have large industrial customers who won’t come to the state because of the volatile electricity prices.” But it’s a blow to advocatesMaine is the only state in New England without incentives of its own for solar power, and installers and other renewable advocates were dismayed by the latest proposals from the governor.Vaughan Woodruff of Insource Renewables told The Press Herald that the legislative proposals will discourage customers because they will create uncertainty about the future of net metering, a key component in weighing the economics of a purchase.Coupe also pointed to the contribution renewable energy already is making to the state — a $2.6 annual contribution to the state’s economy every year and the creation of 12,000 jobs, according to a study funded by the Maine Technology Institute, the newspaper said.He called LePage’s proposals “mind boggling.”In an email, Coup raised another point: Maine’s economy increasingly relies on tourism, yet the state is the “worst air polluter in the region.”“Maine already has the lowest electricity rates in all of New England, but we also have the highest per capita carbon pollution in the region due to our over-reliance on oil, propane, natural gas, and gasoline,” Coupe wrote. “As our once-vaunted pulp and paper continues to decline due to global market factors and the advent of the digital (not because of energy costs), tourism has gradually become Maine’s strongest economic driver. Our tourism industry is predicated on Maine’s pristine environmental reputation — in reality we are the worst air polluters in the region.”He said ocean acidification and carbon pollution is already taking its toll on Maine’s lobstering and clamming industries as well as the $7 billion tourism industry.“Gov. LePage’s energy proposals will devastate Maine’s renewable energy and clean-tech industries and over the long term will harm our vital marine fisheries and tourism industries,” Coupe added. “It is the height of insanity.”Given that the Legislature will be in session another month, it’s unclear how far these latest initiatives will get this year. But, Smith pointed out, they can always be put back on next year’s session without being formally reintroduced. Portfolio standard is an “artificial subsidy”Maine has a two-tier renewable portfolio standard that separates renewable energy sources into two classes, Smith explained. Class 1 includes energy projects that existed prior to 2005 or 2006, such as combined-heat-and-power plants and waste-to-energy facilities. Class 2 includes solar, wind, small hydro, and biomass.Maine utilities are now required to purchase an increasing amount of the electricity they sell from Class 2 sources, rising to 10% by 2017.“What has actually happened in Maine is that over 50% of our electricity is already generated from renewable sources,” Smith said. “We have one of the cleanest, the second cleanest, [mix] in the nation as far as electricity generation already.”The real driver of renewable investment in the state, she said, is the demand from southern New England, where the prices for renewable energy certificates (or RECs) are higher.“A wind project in Maine,” she said, “they’re selling their RECs in Massachusetts or Connecticut. They’re not even using our market. We have this artificial, so to speak, subsidy that is not achieving the goal of driving renewable energy investment in Maine.”Smith said the renewable portfolio standard costs Maine ratepayers millions of dollars a year.last_img read more

U.S. Towns Race for Conservation Supremacy

first_imgDifferent towns, different approachesThere’s no single path to a $5 million jackpot, as a story recently posted by Minnesota Public Radio goes to show.The report contrasts two communities: Fargo, North Dakota, a city of about 116,000 (host of this month’s “North of Normal Frostival”), and Duluth, Minnesota, with a population of about 86,000 roughly 250 miles to the east. Both are in one of the coldest regions of the country, with the average number of heating degree days topping 8,500 annually.In Duluth, specialists like Mike Braun are going house-to-house and fixing seemingly minor problems, such as drafty windows and inefficient lighting, on the theory it will all add up to significant savings.Braun told Minnesota Public Radio that one day’s worth of air-sealing can cut leakage by as much as 20%. Swapping incandescent light bulbs with LEDs can reduce electricity consumption by two-thirds.“Little things in aggregate will make a huge difference,” said Bret Pence, director of Community Programs for Ecolibrium3, a nonprofit doing weatherization work in town. “If everyone replaced one incandescent light with an LED light, we would be on our way to winning that competition.”One challenge is sinking energy prices, which make people think conservation isn’t important. Another is how to improve energy efficiency in the homes of people who don’t have much money to spare. Some poor families that don’t qualify for energy assistance from the state may spend as much as 40% of their income on utilities, Pence said. When it’s tough to put food on the table, replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs isn’t going to happen.Ecolibrium3 hopes to work on 50 homes this year. Fifty small and midsized towns across the country are going head-to-head in a competition with a big payday: $5 million for the town coming up with the best energy-saving strategy.The 50 communities are semi-finalists for the Georgetown University Energy Prize, first announced in 2014 and now midway through a crucial two-year period in which energy consumption is being watched. The winner will be announced sometime in 2017.The contest was open to any of the 8,892 communities in the country whose population ranges from 5,000 to 250,000, a pool which prize organizers say includes about 65% of the U.S. population.In order to get to semi-finalist status, according to rules posted at the Energy Prize site, each community had to develop a long-term efficiency plan. They’re now in the process of showing how effective the plans are in reducing electricity and gas consumption by residential and municipal users (consumption by industrial and commercial users aren’t included, nor are other forms of energy, like gasoline or diesel).A year from now, judges will begin poring over the results and then select a group of finalists. The winner will be selected from that list on the basis of how much energy the community saved and other factors, including a final report that each town must submit.Towns and cities still in the running are spread widely across the country. California has the highest number — eight, including Berkeley and Palo Alto — while a number of states have no semifinalists. That list includes New Mexico, Arizona, Montana, Oklahoma, Texas, New York, Idaho, Maine, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and a few others.No one will be taking any long vacations on the prize money. The winner will have to spend the money on energy-efficiency programs that reward the community as a whole. Energy savings through gamesFargo, the radio report says, is hoping to win with a combination of social engagement and education, plus a game to get people excited about saving energy.“Behavior, buildings, and policies are the three tracks along which everything is working,” says Malina Srivastava, a North Dakota State University assistant professor of architecture who helped design an online game in which schools and neighborhoods can compete.Srivastava and other developers created an evil character called Waste-a-Watt, based on drawings by school children. The object at each level of the game, which is to be launched at the end of the month, is to capture Waste-a-Watt and plant a tree.“We’re asking people to learn, become aware,” Srivastava said. “We’re asking people to act on their own homes to save cost and then we’re asking people to invite their friends and family to join the effort.”As part of the effort, Srivastava’s students at North Dakota State are to design and build a Passivhaus home on a Habitat for Humanity budget.Mike Williams, a Fargo city commissioner and energy conservation advocate, said Fargo cut energy use by more than $3 million in the first six months of the competition.last_img read more

5 Reasons Why You Should NOT Buy a DSLR for Filmmaking

first_imgThinking about buying a new DSLR camera for video projects? Think again. Here are five reasons why videographers may want to avoid DSLRs.Top image via ShutterstockOver the last few years, DSLRs have slowly become overshadowed by their mirrorless camera counterparts. While professional photographers may disagree, mirrorless cameras have many advantages over DSLRs that make them great choices for indie filmmakers and video professionals. Don’t believe me? Here are a few reasons why you should not buy a DSLR next time you purchase a camera for video production.1. DSLRs Are OverpricedImage via Android AuthorityDSLR cameras are incredibly overpriced. Dollar for dollar, you’re going to spend almost double on a DSLR camera compared to a mirrorless camera. This is usually because DSLR cameras come from tried-and-true photography camera manufacturers like Canon and Nikon, whereas mirrorless cameras tend to come from companies that are not quite as accepted in the pro photography community, like Panasonic and Sony.As an example, you can purchase a brand new Panasonic GH4 for about $1,200 online. A GH4 will have 4k recording capabilities and give you the ability to shoot multiple recording formats. However, the comparable Canon 5D Mark III goes for about $2,200 and can’t record video in 4K. While the 5D Mark III is good for photography, it has to be hacked with Magic Lantern in order to access its full video functionalities. This inevitably leads to annoyances on set and in the editing bay.2. DSLRs Are BulkyImage via Photography ConcentrateWhen it comes to filmmaking, camera size doesn’t typically matter. At the end of the day, it comes down to the quality of footage you’re getting. However, there’s something to be said about shooting on a highly portable camera, especially at weddings and other live events. If you’re going to be shooting all day on a shoulder rig, Glidecam, or Steadicam, you probably don’t want to be using a gigantic camera like the URSA mini or even a larger DSLR.This is where mirrorless cameras come into play. Because mirrorless cameras don’t have a mirror-box mechanism, they’re smaller and lighter than their DSLR counterparts.  This will make it much easier on your arms if you’re shooting for long periods of time.3. Mirrorless Cameras Are More RevolutionaryImage via B&HThere was a time when DSLR cameras were at the cutting edge of camera technology — but that’s no longer the case. Mirrorless camera manufacturers are capable of updating their cameras much quicker than DSLR camera manufacturers.Just look at the Sony a7S series of cameras. In a little over a year, Sony was able to create the a7S, a truly revolutionary low-light camera, and create a second version that added 4k recording and increased frame rates. Canon and Nikon, on the other hand, have been very slow to update their cameras. For example, the Canon 5D Mark III hasn’t been updated in over four years.4. Mirrorless Cameras Are FasterImage via ShutterstockThe interface on mirrorless cameras tends to be much faster to use than the interface found on DSLRs. In general, whenever you want to shoot on a mirrorless camera, you can be up and running in just a matter of seconds. However, to go from powering up to recording video on a DSLR, it’s typically going to take you longer. While this isn’t that big of a deal when shooting a narrative film, it could be the difference between getting that perfect shot or missing it completely when shooting a documentary.5. DSLRs FORCE You to Watch Video on an LCD ScreenImage via ShutterstockBy their very nature, DSLR cameras will not allow you to look through the viewfinder when recording video. This is because the mirror-box mechanism of a DSLR has to lift up and block the viewfinder from seeing what’s coming through the lens. This probably doesn’t make much of a difference if you’re shooting indoors — but on a sunny day, you might have a difficult time seeing what’s on your screen. This is where mirrorless cameras begin to shine.On a mirrorless camera, you can simply look through the viewfinder or the LCD screen. DSLRs, on the other hand, only show you what’s coming through your lens when looking through the viewfinder, and not what’s hitting the camera sensor. This is usually a bigger deal when shooting photography, but if you read this blog, chances are you probably shoot a little photography as well.Do you still prefer to shoot on DSLRs or have mirrorless cameras become your tool of choice? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!last_img read more

Muralitharan looks to play till 2013-14

first_imgLegendary Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan today made it clear he will continue to play cricket for another three years as he felt fit enough to feature in Indian Premier League and English county circuit.”I think my body is good enough to play cricket for another three years. I would like to play IPL and some county cricket in England. I have received some offers (from the counties) but can’t disclose them at this moment,” he said.Muralitharan was speaking at a felicitation function by his IPL team Chennai Super Super Kings here for taking 800 Test wickets.In a media interaction later, Muralitharan said that he had agreed to former Indian captain Anil Kumble’s offer to join him in starting an academy but refused to disclose the details of the venture.Asked whether he would play in next year’s World Cup in the sub continent, Muralitharan said, “It is still too early.I want to see how I play in the Champions League Twenty20 and then decide on the World Cup,” the 38-year-old Muralitharan said.Sanjay Manjrekar, who anchored the function, requested scribes before opening the floor for a question answer session not to pose questions on the match fixing allegations in Pakistan’s ongoing England tour.However, Muralitharan did answer a question on the issue, saying it is for the Pakistan Cricket Board and its English counterpart to deal with the situation and decide.”These are only allegations and I wouldn’t like to comment on these matters,” he said.advertisementMuralitharan said Harbhajan Singh has the best chance of reaching the 800 figure mark but he could not predict whether the Indian off-spinner would achieve the feat or not.”Harbhajan is only 29 and statistically it is possible for him to reach 800. But it is up to the bowler and I can’t predict anything. You should have the hunger to achieve anything,” he said.Manjrekar and former India captain S Venkataraghavan hosted a group discussion as part of the function.Tamil Nadu cricketers of Chennai Super Kings — Subramaniam Badrinath, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Ravichandran Ashwin, Anirudha Srikkanth and Shadab Jakati — and operations director V B Chandrasekar recalled their experiences with their famous colleague in IPL events.Venkatraghavan, part of the famous Indian spin quartet of yesteryears, showered praise on Muralitharan and discussed the finer points of spin bowling.Venkatraghavan presented Muralitharan a Super Kings team shirt with the number 800 printed on the back and Sri Lankan star immediately wore it on the stage.last_img read more