Off track at the track

first_imgCaymanas Track Limited (CTL) is losing money on a daily basis. The Government of Jamaica, the only shareholder, insists that the company will be divested. Timeline after timeline for divestment passes by with a regularity that defies logic. A “divestment committee” is formed and the chairman insists that he is “working on it” (reminds me of a Burger King advertisement of recent vintage) when questioned by worried stakeholders. One could not be faulted for thinking that the Government-appointed board of the company would develop a more hands-on policy as frantic attempts are made, first to minimise losses, and second, to improve the handle (the amount of money bet on its programmes), both locally and overseas. Instead, punters, the life blood of the sport, are treated as if ‘dem-mus-come’. Races never start on time. The official reason is always “technical difficulties”. The air-conditioned North Lounge at the track is subject to the whims and fancies of the employees. For example, no ticket sellers are in place half-hour before the start of the first race, and air-conditioned units are either not working or not turned on at least one hour before the start of the first race to welcome the early punter. Also, food is running out during well-established ‘big’ racedays, and recently, word has surfaced that fans/supporters of racing who buy four reserved seats for six months to enable these supporters of racing to bring guests to the track from time to time are told by the promoters that they will be issued with only two tickets, and if they are bringing guests who do not come to the track with the person who paid for the seat, “just ask for one of us at the gate” and it will be okay! Woe on to the guest if the named official is not available at the time of arrival of the guest. There is a story making the rounds at the track that last week Thursday (September 3), CTL was simulcasting races from Gulf Stream Park in the USA. The second race was won by horse #5, Behzads Pride. However, when the results were posted by the company, another horse (my source insists that it was horse #4, Unspoken Quality) was posted as the winner and dividends declared. It is further alleged that punters who backed the posted winner promptly cashed their tickets. Minutes later, after a telephone call to “control”, the error was corrected, and punters who correctly selected #5, Bezhads Pride, as the winner, were duly paid. My source insists that losses to CTL were in the region of J$190,000. Another loss. The standard answer of “Oops!” will be accepted and the company moves right along to another day. Another loss! Finally, the action of the raceday stewards in suspending jockey Aaron Chatrie after his mount, Woman is Boss, was disqualified for interfering with Asia’s Dream in the seventh race on Saturday August 29 was understandable after a slow-motion review of the race. However, to suspend the jockey from taking further part in the race meet (he had two more rides for the day) because he was guilty of “ungentlemanly behaviour” when told of his disqualification, begs the question: Are the raceday stewards competent enough to make a decision that a jockey is in “no condition to ride?” I maintain that that decision is a medical matter. Even if it is psychological, evidence from a doctor/psychologist MUST be obtained. No decision that affects a livelihood should be made arbitrarily. It must be evidence-based. As the operation steward stated when questioned by The Gleaner reporter, Ainsley Walters, they do have a discretion (according to the rules) that is unassailable. BUT ONLY IF THERE IS EVIDENCE! Each individual deals with anger and disappointment differently. One jockey may remain quiet and take it out on the horse or his competing jockey. Aaron Chatrie may have “blown his top” to get it all off his chest and thereafter ride in a most professional manner. Only a steward with a crystal ball would know which is about to happen and anticipatory breach of rules just isn’t allowed. This wrong MUST be corrected. J$190,000 in losseslast_img read more

Elon Musk reveals battery to power homes

first_img4 May 2015South African born and raised tech entrepreneur Elon Musk at a presentation in the US on Thursday night announced the development of a new battery system that can store solar energy for later use.The battery, known as the Powerwall, addresses a key obstacle to wider use of renewable energy sources: “The obvious problem with solar power is that the sun does not shine at night,” he said at the Los Angeles-area design studio of his electric car company, Tesla Motors. The Tesla Powerwall is a home battery designed to store solar energy. (Image: Tesla Motors)  That means energy grids using solar power still need backup sources of electricity. In South Africa and the US, this is largely generated by power plants burning coal or natural gas.But the batteries to be produced by the new company, Tesla Energy, are “the missing piece” to wider reliance on solar power, he said, storing energy generated when the sun shines for use when it doesn’t.Ability to ‘power a small city’“The goal is complete transformation of the entire energy infrastructure of the world, to completely sustainable zero carbon,” Musk told reporters.Tesla Energy will produce batteries for residential use, and scalable battery systems with capacity up to 1 GWh that “can power a small city” like Boulder, Colorado, Musk said.The Tesla Powerwall, stackable batteries for residential use, each with a capacity of 10 kWh, will sell for $3 500 each (about R41 500) and would be available in three to four months.The device, which is about 15cm thick, 1.2m tall and 90cm wide, will be a boon for under-developed regions, where power is often unreliable despite abundant solar energy. “This is going to be really great for the poorest communities in the world. This allows you to be completely off-grid.”In 2012, the average US household used about 11 380 kWh of electricity per year. German households averaged 3 413 kWh per year.In a 2013 report, the US Department of Energy said storage “can ‘smooth’ the delivery of power generated from wind and solar technologies, in effect, increasing the value of renewable power”.Electricity storage is “the thing that’s needed to have a proper transition to a sustainable energy world”, Musk said.Musk runs the US’s second-largest manufacturer of solar cells, Solar City, as well as the electric car pioneer Tesla Motors and space transport producer SpaceX.Source: DPA/News24last_img read more

Farmers helping farmers: Ohio to Kansas

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest More than 40 loads of hay, feed, volunteers, and supplies left Ohio this morning to make the more than 1,000 mile trip to help those in need in Ashland, Kansas.last_img

Flexibility the name of the game for Geringhoff Truflex Razor

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest On display at this year’s Farm Science Review, the Geringhoff Truflex Razor combine header brings the unique care of draper technology with the immense flexibility needed in today’s modern farming. In addition to a foot of flex travel on each wing, the reel has three sections, giving higher visibility from the operator’s perspective when compared with most reels — split down the middle — obstructing the view of the driver. Those are some of the offerings that Geringhoff’s Scott Brown says sets the Truflex Razor apart from other’s on the market, detailed in this video ahead of next week’s Farm Science Review where equipment of all kinds is on display.last_img read more