Messi opens store in Barcelona

first_imgLionel Messi opens the first adidas HomeCourt store in Spain as the guest of honour.It was only fitting for adidas to invite their marquee brand ambassador and Barcelona icon, Lionel Messi, to cut the red ribbon at the launch of their new experiential store. The adidas HomeCourt brings to life adidas’ proud and authentic sports heritage with a wide range of unique products combined with interactive activities for shoppers.  One of the main features of the Barcelona store is a dedicated Leo Messi mini-museum including replicas of his four FIFA World Player of the Year Awards, special editions of the adizero f50 Messi, and his match shirt from the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final. There are more than 20 HomeCourt stores globally since the concept was first rolled out in 2014.last_img read more

Riders saving lives in Lesotho

first_imgThe Lesotho branch of Riders for Health operates in some of the most rugged terrain in Africa. (Image: Riders for Health) MEDIA CONTACTS • Matthew HannCommunications, Riders for Health+44 1604 889 570RELATED ARTICLES • Garden of Hope for HIV/Aids• Bold new HIV/Aids plan for SA • Lennox sings for HIV/Aids • Ridding Africa of HIV in ten yearsJanine ErasmusRiders for Health, the motorbike-based charity arm of the MotoGP racing championship, is inviting its supporters to take part in an inspirational ride through Lesotho, where they will help raise funds for the organisation and experience its work first-hand.Experience Africa is touted as “an adventure for the heart and mind”. It was launched at the International Motorcycle and Scooter Show in November 2009 by Riders co-founder and multiple MotoGP champion Randy Mamola, and takes to the road in October 2010.The eight-day trip can accommodate a limited number of riders. Details are expected imminently, and interested off-road biking fanatics are encouraged to email experienceafrica@riders.org to make sure they don’t miss out on any announcements.Mamola has already ridden the route, which encompasses some of the famous Roof of Africa rally’s roads, and confessed to being overwhelmed by the experience.“I have had the most incredible 10 days riding in the wonderful country of Lesotho,” he said at the launch. “The Riders for Health Experience Africa ride is sure to be a life-changing experience.”The NGO’s country director Mahali Hlasa, the Riders’ first female trainer, will chaperone the adventuresome group.Experience Africa participants, who pay £5 000 (R58 819) upfront, are assured that £2 000 (R23 525) of that sum will go directly to the Riders initiative. Flights, accommodation, motorbikes, meals, and mechanical and medical support are covered by the remainder. A valid motorbike licence is a prerequisite.They will ride through the mountainous country to raise funds and awareness of the organisation’s ongoing work, and will also be able to get a personal glimpse into the outreach projects already underway.They can expect to interact with health workers in the country, riding with them to isolated areas and experiencing how reliable transport has transformed their jobs. They will also visit clinics and communities and see how the treatment of HIV/Aids and tuberculosis is accelerating because of increased accessibility to medicines and education.Riding to save livesRiders for Health is the official charity of the Grand Prix motorbike championship, or MotoGP. The organisation operates in Gambia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and Lesotho, with projects completed in Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. Its patron is HRH The Princess Royal.Lesotho is in particularly dire need of the Riders’ assistance. The tiny kingdom lies among the soaring peaks of the Drakensberg and Maluti mountains, and this harsh terrain is often difficult to navigate with conventional vehicles. Even those with four-wheel drives can struggle.Lesotho is the only country on earth whose entire altitude lies over 1 000m above sea level. Its lowest point is at the junction of the Orange and Makhaleng Rivers at 1 400m, and its highest is the Thabana Ntlenyana peak at 3 482m. More than 80% of the country lies higher than 1 800m.The kingdom has been hard hit by the global HIV/Aids epidemic. About 25% of the adult population is thought to be HIV-positive, according to international Aids charity Avert.This is where the Riders’ work is so crucial. People living in more remote areas have to make their own way to reach basic facilities such as shops and clinics – sometimes trudging for hours and in freezing temperatures.Using motorbikes to navigate tricky terrain, Riders for Health brings care to communities that otherwise might have no help at all. Working hand in hand with the Ministry of Health and related bodies, the organisation enables health workers to easily reach their patients, and also transports medical samples to laboratories for testing and diagnosis.Mobilising the biker communityThe organisation was born out of the concern and interest of a group of people working on the MotoGP circuit in the 1980s. Some of them, including Mamola, visited Lesotho in the late 1980s and were dismayed to see the many broken-down cars that could not be fixed because of lack of expertise.The group decided to take action by developing innovative ways of managing vehicles in difficult conditions, and at the same time began mobilising support for a new transport initiative that would minimise the toll taken by rough terrain on less hardy vehicles.The international motorbike community responded enthusiastically and continues to give prominence to the scheme at events such as the British Grand Prix and the annual Riders/MotoGP Day of Champions.The first national programme was run in Lesotho in 1991, followed three years later by another in Zimbabwe. The organisation is based in the UK but has branches in a number of European countries as well.last_img read more

Data Hacker Pageranks Members of the US Congress

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#NYT#politics#web Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting marshall kirkpatrick A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… What’s the fastest way to evaluate the true behavior of a Senator or Representative in Congress? How about through a ready-made mathematical model and some charts? That’s what Josh Tauberer has created as the latest project at congress-tracking site GovTrack.us. (Numerical methods for determining leadership and ideology in Congress)“Bulk access to legislative information makes large-scale statistical analyses possible,” Tauberer writes. He’s performed analyses he says are like Google’s Pagerank, but for politicians: he’s tracked which politicians vote together in order to discover moderates and extremists, and he’s treated sponsorship and co-sponsorship of legislation like an endorsement of leadership, similar to the way Google treats links between Web pages as an endorsement. The resulting chart, below, tracks Senate members on axis of leadership and ideology. It’s a fascinating way to see important qualitative matters quantified and to get a quick snapshot of politicians you might not follow very closely. Something like this could also be helpful in assessing claims and pushing for accountability of elected officials. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market One interesting thing that sticks out to me: Joe Lieberman may be best known for taking conservative positions that drive many of his fellow Democrats crazy – but day in and day out, he votes with them more than a number of other party-mates. As he has said, though: “I agree more often than not with Democrats on domestic policy. I agree more often than not with Republicans on foreign and defense policy.”This kind of “birds of a feather flock together” statistical analysis reminds me of the fabulous, now-two-year-old project Memeorandum Colors. That Firefox extension used similar math to help color code political blogs for rapid display of their partisan orientation. I sure hope we’ll see a lot more work like this being done in the future. The instrumentation, or making data-enabled, of a wide variety of experiences in public and private life promises to serve as a foundation for new levels of social and self awareness and the creation of innovative new services.last_img read more

Can Atmospheric Combustion Work in a Spray-Foam-Insulated Attic?

first_imgLet’s say you bring the attic inside the building enclosure by putting spray foam insulation at the roofline (the case with the two furnaces in my previous article on this topic). Now, let’s put some numbers to it. (Yes, we’re going to do math, but it’s just simple arithmetic. I know some of you were hoping for partial differential equations, but you’ll just have to console yourself today by memorizing some more digits of Pi, I guess.)If the attic has a floor area of 800 square feet and an average height of 4 feet, for example, the volume would be 3,200 cubic feet. Divide that number by 50 to find the maximum capacity appliance you could put in the attic, and you get 64,000 BTU/hr.That would be a medium-sized furnace. But you could put only one in this attic. Put two of them up there, and the codes say you don’t have enough air for them. And an 80,000 BTU/hr or 100,000 BTU/hr furnace, neither of which is uncommon in homes, would be right out.One way to get more volume of indoor air for your atmospheric combustion appliances would be to connect the space they’re in to other spaces in the home. You could put a couple of grilles in the wall separating a mechanical room from the conditioned space, for example. The codes specify how you should do that and how big the openings have to be.Another way to get more air is to count infiltration. Again, check the codes if you’re planning to do that. Another method specified in the code is to use a single opening. The image at left shows a basement mechanical room attempting to satisfy the code requirement this way.With both the high-low vents and single opening methods, the building codes specify the amount of vent area required. As with calculating volume when you use indoor air, the vent area required is based on the total capacity of the combustion appliances.Here are the rules for the two-permanent-openings method:1 square inch per 4,000 BTU/hr  –  vertical ducts1 square inch per 2,000 BTU/hr  –  horizontal ductsWhen using the one-permanent-opening method, you need:1 square inch per 3,000 BTU/hr  –  vertical or horizontal ductHow many code violations do you see?Now go back and look at the two photos I opened the article with (at the top of the page). Both use the one-permanent-opening method and would require 1 square inch for each 3,000 BTU/hr of capacity. The first one is a 4-inch-diameter duct, so the area would be about 12.6 square inches. Code would allow it for a maximum capacity of about 37,700 BTU/hr. In other words, it’s probably too small because there aren’t many furnaces that small.There’s still the issue of the tape covering the louvers, of course. And there’s another code violation as well. Combustion air vents are supposed to have a minimum clearance of 6 inches from the front of the combustion appliance.The furnace in the second photo comes closer to meeting code. If it’s a 6-inch duct, it would have an area of 28 square inches and meet the requirement for an 84,800 BTU/hr furnace. If it’s an 8-inch duct, it could meet the requirement for about 150,000 BTU/hr in total capacity. It still doesn’t meet the 6-inch clearance requirement, though.But will it work?Whether any of the methods above will work is debatable and depends on what criteria you use to gauge acceptability. Here are a few pitfalls:Using indoor air still means using outdoor air. Each cubic foot (or cubic meter) of indoor air that gets pulled into a combustion appliance will leave the house with the exhaust gases. When that happens, another cubic foot gets pulled in from leaks through the building enclosure.Air doesn’t always follow the arrows we draw on diagrams. You can put all the vents you want into a mechanical room, but whether air moves in the direction we’d like it to depends on the which way the pressure difference pushes it. Wind, stack effect, and other mechanical systems could cause air to flow the “wrong way.”Bringing combustion air in from outdoors can waste energy and lead to comfort problems. We know the old saw about how “a house needs to breathe” is a myth. Houses need to be able to dry out and they need good indoor air quality. They don’t need extra leaks. It’s the people who need to breathe.Occupants sometimes seal them up because they don’t understand why there’s a hole in their house. It happens, just like they sometimes caulk the weep holes in a brick wall.As I’ve said before, it’s time to put atmospheric combustion appliances on the pile of obsolete technologies. Let them take their rightful place as relics of a bygone era, along with steam engines, typewriters, and slide rules. Allison Bailes of Decatur, Georgia, is a speaker, writer, energy consultant, RESNET-certified trainer, and the author of the Energy Vanguard Blog. Check out his in-depth course, Mastering Building Science at Heatspring Learning Institute, and follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard. Some older homes, though, have a type of furnace that isn’t made anymore: the natural draft furnace. The photo at left shows what they look like. Notice that there are two places where this furnace pulls in air, and these guys pull in a lot of air. They’re also easier to backdraft, but that’s not our focus here.Where does the air come from?So if you’ve got any type of atmospheric combustion appliance, you need to make sure it gets air for combustion. The two options are:Indoor airOutdoor airLet’s take a look at them separately.Using indoor air for combustionIf you’re going to use indoor air, there’s got to be enough of it inside the house. Two building codes that address this issue are the National Fire Protection Association Standard 54 (NFPA-54) and the International Residential Code (IRC).Both say the same thing about using indoor air for combustion. The space that the atmospheric combustion air can draw from has to have at least 50 cubic feet of volume for each 1,000 BTU/hour of appliance capacity. Using outdoor air for combustionThe other way to provide air for your combustion appliances is to bring it in from outdoors. The standard way to do this is with “high-low vents.” The image at left shows an example. Two ducts are open to this mechanical room in a basement. One of them terminates near the ceiling, the other near the floor.[Image credit: International Code Council]The image at left and the image below are from the 2012 IRC and show two ways to do the high-low vents with vertical ducts. It’s OK for the ducts to pull combustion air from the crawl space or attic as long as those spaces communicate directly with the outdoors. In the first diagram, the low vent is connected to the vented crawl space, and the high vent is connected to the attic.[Image credit: International Code Council]In the diagram at left, both vents are shown connected to the attic. That’s why the furnace in the image at left has louvers in the cover. It allows air from the surrounding space to be pulled in for combustion. This is what we call the standard efficiency furnace. If you buy a new furnace these days and want to get the cheapest one you can, this is probably what it’ll look like. A while back I wrote about the incompatibility of putting an atmospheric combustion furnace in a sealed attic. Most often the attic is sealed by installing spray foam insulation at the roofline, thus bringing the attic inside the building enclosure and turning it into conditioned space (directly or indirectly). The good news is that some installers understand this problem and seek to address it. The bad news is what a few of them do.Combustion air retrofitsThe photo at right is a case in point. The furnace was up in the attic before the spray foam was installed. The homeowner hired a spray foam contractor to improve the building enclosure but the budget didn’t include enough money to change out the furnace at the same time.I don’t know if the combustion air retrofit you see above was done by the spray foam installer or the HVAC contractor, but in either case, this one’s almost certainly not going to work. Here are the main problems:Inadequate duct size. They used a 4-inch flex duct that you usually see on bath fans (which have their own problems), and it ran at least 20 feet to the place where it exited the attic. This would not meet the code requirement for combustion air inlets, as you’ll see below.Poor duct installation. The duct wasn’t pulled tight, further reducing the air flow through the duct.Tape over furnace louvers. The louver area is designed to allow the proper amount of combustion air to enter the furnace. By covering some of them with tape, the installer of this retrofit may be guaranteeing the opposite of what they were aiming for: less combustion air, not more.[Photo credit: Nikki Krueger]The image at left shows a better installation. The duct looks like it’s 6 inches or 8 inches in diameter, and it’s made of rigid metal. Both of those things will allow more air to move through.And that air might even move toward the furnace instead of away from it. Of course, there’s no guarantee of that. As my friend David Richardson likes to say, combustion air doesn’t care which way we show the arrows pointing on our diagram. Air flows from areas of higher pressure to areas of lower pressure. Under some circumstances, air might flow out through that inlet rather than in.The need for airNow let’s go a little further. Let’s look at what building codes say is the right way to do it. The image at left shows the burners in a particular type of furnace. When you pull the cover off of this furnace, you could stick your fingers right there in the flames. (I said you could do it. I certainly don’t recommend it, though.)What that means is that the flames are open to the air inside the furnace cabinet. Since we know combustion is the chemical reaction of a fuel (natural gas in this case) with oxygen, there’s got to be a supply of air to keep it going. The air in the furnace cabinet itself would be exhausted quickly, so more air has got to come in somewhere, right?last_img read more