Disabled people have explained why they joined thousands of other activists on a march through the streets of Birmingham to protest about the failure of Tory austerity policies.The march took place as the Conservatives held their annual conference in the city, almost six years to the day since huge anti-austerity protests greeted the party when it held a conference just months after winning power in 2010.Among speakers at a rally at the end of the march was Bob Williams-Findlay, one of the founders of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), which was formed after that 2010 march.He welcomed protesters on Sunday to “the birthplace of DPAC” and described how the grassroots organisation had “grown in strength and in numbers” since 2010.He said: “We have taken the fight to the very heart of government… and we are still here.”Williams-Findlay described the impact on disabled people who lose their Motability vehicles after being assessed for their eligibility for the government’s new personal independence payment (PIP).He said having a Motability vehicle “gives you freedom to work, shop and have a life.“Then one day you get a letter saying you are going to be reassessed for PIP – the new god that cures us – and suddenly the whole world is turned upside down because PIP is designed to fail us.“It’s designed to reduce the number of disabled people on benefits.”He told the rally that the government was no better than the Nazi government of the 1930s in Germany and while “they have not killed thousands yet… they have killed, let’s not forget it”.Williams-Findlay said that disabled people who fail their PIP assessment can be “trapped in your home, you might lose your job, you might not be able to take the family out, you might not be able to have a social life”.He added: “Comrades, in my opinion up and down the country there are political prisoners, disabled people trapped in their homes like political prisoners. We have to unite to set them free.”The mass demonstration was organised by the TUC and the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, which was launched in 2013 to provide a national forum for anti-austerity views.Other disabled people who attended the march told Disability News Service their reasons for taking part.Rob Davy-Cripwell, from Birmingham, said it was his first protest.He said the government’s austerity cuts had left him and others feeling isolated, so the protest had allowed him to speak to other people who shared his views.Although he had been “quite lucky” himself, he knew other disabled people who had been affected by PIP assessments and cuts to tax credits.He said: “I have not been affected directly but I don’t think that matters because we are all in it together. A cut to one disabled person is a cut to all of us.”He said he hoped the protest showed the Tory conference “that the decisions they make affect a lot of people.“I really just hope there is some compassion in there somewhere and they really think about their decisions, because it affects everybody, not just the richest one per cent.”Erika Garratt, from Swindon, brought her family to the march.She claims employment and support allowance and says she feels “very vulnerable” because of the stress of waiting to be reassessed.She said: “I am really concerned about the cuts they are making.“They seem to want to demonise people on benefits. It’s not my fault I am ill and it’s not my children’s fault that I am ill, and yet they are suffering.”She said she believed the Conservative party “don’t care about people who are ill or disabled”.She added: “It’s about time that they showed that they cared about all the people in the country and not just the top few per cent, because we are going to end up in the workhouse.“I feel we are almost going down to the Victorian era, with families on the street.“This is all about raising awareness that we need people to come out in force. We have a voice and we deserve to be listened to.”Emma Atkins, a student from Birmingham, said the Tories were “killing people like me in the thousands”.She said: “The cuts are hurting us more disproportionately than anybody else. It’s time they went.”She said she was “angry” about the Conservatives holding their conference in her home town, and added: “I hope they will get the message about how many angry people there are in the country and how badly they are treating everyone.”Paula Bonarius, from Milton Keynes, said she was at the march because she supported re-elected Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.She said: “He’s got our values. We believe socialism is needed in this country.“It’s not only myself, there is a load of disabled people and elderly people who are being left out.“As soon as there are cuts it is going to be disabled people and [so-called] ‘scroungers’ [who are targeted].”Mark Lynes (pictured), from Edgbaston, another Corbyn supporter, said he was “fighting to stop the elimination of disabled people from society”.He said the protest would “show that there is an alternative vision for society”.He said: “Whatever happens to Jeremy Corbyn, there will always be alternative movements.“Also I hope disabled people are able to get back their independence, which they have lost over the last few years.”
Month: July 2019
0% Since mid-adolescence, food has been Gabriela Guerrero’s passion. She watched cooking shows on television, scribbled down the recipes and then cooked for her family and asked, “Is it good or is it very good?” Then, she would keep working at the recipe until they told her it was delicious. In November of 2015, that passion became Delicioso Creperie, a brick-and-mortar business in the lobby of Hamm’s building at 1550 Bryant that specializes in crepes with Mexican fillings.While the words “crepe” and “Mexican” are not often paired, international cuisine is second nature to Guerrero, who grew up in a small town in Mexico with parents who travelled often for pleasure and sometimes for business to countries like France, Lebanon and Germany. About 20 years ago, Guerrero, now in her 40s, spent time in Germany, Spain, Belgium, and France. The first crepe she tasted, at a restaurant called Cluny’s in her hometown, had Mexican fillings. During her travels through Europe, she had her first traditional crepe with nutella in Paris. “And I loved it,” she said.Five years later in 1999, Guerrero resolved to move in with family in the East Bay and study culinary arts. But her path to Delicioso Creperie was long and difficult.The future business owner began her career at the Pasta Shop in Berkeley, but it wasn’t until managing and waitressing at Sconehenge Cafe in Berkeley that she met a co-worker who connected her to La Cocina, a food business incubator that primarily serves low-income immigrant women of color. Tags: Business • food • immigrants • la cocina Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% The program has rigorous standards for whom they accept, but Guerrero’s entrepreneurial spirit, immigrant and low-income status, and a viable product made her an excellent candidate. As Jessica Mataka, the development and communications associate for La Cocina, noted, Guerrero came to the United States with the dream of starting her own food business and La Cocina decided Mexican crepes would be a wonderful and unique product.But still, unique was not enough. Her first application to La Cocina was rejected because her business plan was only one page long. She packed her schedule for the next year with financial classes and on her second try, La Cocina accepted her business plan. At that point, Guerrero said, her dream became “more real.” She began planning menus, marketing strategies, and finance, but three years later, Guerrero was still dividing her time between a job as a waitress and her own business.But a friend advised her to stop splitting her time, take a loan, and fully commit to her business. Guerrero decided to take her friend’s suggestion and focused on catering. Then, last June, La Cocina notified her that a space was opening up in Hamm’s Building at 1550 Bryant where La Salumeria once was. With La Cocina by her side, Guerrero said she was “never alone” during negotiations with the landlords.Finally, the week of Thanksgiving 2015, Delicioso Creperie opened. Demand for vegan and gluten-free crepes led Guerrero to contact her sister, a private chef in the Nice region of France. In that region, her sister told her, chefs use chickpea rather than buckwheat flour to make socca crepes. It is this naturally vegan and gluten-free crepe that the owner deems her signature dish, although offerings also include standard buckwheat and egg crepes, salads, and bagels. “Listen, listen, listen,” Guerrero deemed essential to her business at this stage, so due to customer feedback, the menu is expanding to include more sandwiches, bagels, Mexican tortas, burritos, and pastries.“It’s been very hard,” she said of her path from a dream to a brick-and-mortar business. And the challenge is not over. “I know it’s difficult to get here, but it’s another challenge to maintain the business… It’s like seven job titles… But at the end of the day… you realize how strong you can be.” After fifteen years of struggle, “It’s very satisfying for me,” Guerrero pronounced. “Professionally, I feel very proud of me.”
In her somber speech today, Breed remembered meeting Adachi when she was a 15-year-old checking up on a friend in trouble, and Adachi was the friend’s young public defender, seated at the friend’s great-grandma’s table and doing his life’s work. “Jeff understood making a difference in people’s lives wasn’t just about fighting for them in the courtroom,” the mayor noted. “He knew the work started in the community.”Adachi’s community work, his countless hours spent at countless great-grandmas’ tables, was, the mayor emphasized, the key to his greatness. Whenever Breed needed help or someone she knew needed help, she’d call Adachi. And he returned the calls. In short: He showed up. He did the constituent service. “Jeff was my friend and it’s always hard to lose a friend,” continued Breed. “But even more than that, Jeff was a champion for my community. Through all the years I knew him, he never lost the spirit of the man I met when I was 15, walking through the roughest neighborhoods, going where he needed to go. Because that was where the people were who needed him the most.”Adachi was a Japanese American who loved movies and directed several of his own. And, perhaps fittingly, it did today feel as if there was something of a Rashomon situation embedded into his memorial, with speakers retelling their own versions of Adachi — and, ultimately, describing their desires for how this office may continue to function in his absence. Public Defender Jeff Adachi, whose advocacy for his department during budget season was legendary, pleads his case to the Board of Supervisors.If Mayor Breed, who will name Adachi’s successor, chose to emphasize his stalwart community service, Adachi’s own hand-picked No. 2 and would-be successor, Matt Gonzalez, emphasized other aspects of Adachi’s philosophy — regarding not just how a public defender’s office should function, but society itself. “To understand Jeff, you have to understand he was a storyteller. Not just at trials. He also wanted to tell the story of what public defenders do,” said Gonzalez, who was received with several noticeable ovations from the crowd. “There is a romantic notion that we represent innocent poor people who cannot afford an attorney. And that’s part of it. But Jeff represented the hard cases: People who caused serious injury or even loss of life. … The cases where people say, ‘How could you represent those people?’ To answer this question, Jeff believed you had to understand the context. You had to think about the lack of opportunity the accused might have experienced, the adversity and trauma they had to deal with. You do that analysis and your opinion starts to shift.” Adachi, Gonzalez continued, “would ask, ‘Where was society when this young person needed help? Where were we when they didn’t have lunch money or their family was breaking up?’” As such, “You and I bear responsibility as we live our lives of comfort, and it’s about our collective failure to protect the victims and the accused.” Well, that took everyone to an interesting place. But a goodly portion of those present were already there. “The public defenders in this room,” Gonzalez went on, “know what I’m talking about.” They did. There were quite a few of them present, with many wearing Adachi funereal T-shirts over their suits or dresses. They nodded throughout Gonzalez’s speech — they did know what he was talking about. “You go to jail to meet someone accused of a crime. You physically touch them, breathe the same air, get to a point of empathy. … Jeff believed that having empathy for the accused did not betray victims, for whom we must also grieve. And Jeff walked into court as certain as his opponents were not that our system needs to change. It always bothered me that the system is premised on the entry of a not-guilty plea. I think more pleas should be available. A plea for shared blame. Or, how about, ‘Your Honor, the defense pleads systematic failure.’” And that line — that concept, that vision — went over very, very well.City Hall was already starting to fill up half an hour or so before Jeff Adachi’s memorial. Photo by Joe Eskenazi.Matt Gonzalez knew Adachi for 28 years. London Breed knew him for 29. Adachi was a complex man who packed several lifetimes of accomplishment into a truncated 59 years; his two grieving friends may have simply chosen to accentuate different elements of the same man. Or, considering the power dynamics at play here, perhaps something else was at play as well. Because, while Gonzalez has many admirers and supporters, my reporting indicates that the mayor is not exactly one of them.Gonzalez was, from 2000 to 2004, the supervisor for District 5. Breed, a lifelong D5 resident, was his constituent. The mayor today emphasized community outreach and responsiveness as Adachi’s paramount characteristic; he returned her calls and he returned everyone’s calls. And yet, as a supervisor, Gonzalez was not known as being overly responsive to constituents. He didn’t always return those calls. He has never been Breed’s personal friend nor her political ally. And yet he was Adachi’s handpicked No. 2 and has had a huge hand in running the office for years — which, when you think about it, is also part of Adachi’s legacy. Gonzalez’s speech today was not only a tribute to his friend and departed boss, it also demonstrated a deep fluency with Adachi’s worldview. The fervency with which his speech was received by the public defenders in the crowd made made it clear that Gonzalez has the backing to continue fighting for this worldview — insofar as one can put faith in an emotionally charged plebiscite, he clearly has buy-in from the office. On the backs of the shirts worn today by Adachi’s former lieutenants, a sentence is printed: “His fight lives on through us.” That’s true. It was laid bare today, once again, just how broad and all-encompassing “his fight” was. And whomever next leads this office will need to know this — and live this. And fight. Email Address Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletter The public turned up in droves today at City Hall. They overflowed the main chamber and packed the upper tiers two or three deep; thank God the sound system was top-notch, because it was very hard to see. There were suits and t-shirts and wingtips and Jordans worn by the powerful and powerless: The only element that matched was grief. They were all on hand to offer one final salutation to Jeff Adachi. Adachi, the city’s elected public defender since 2002 and a seemingly indefatigable presence in city life, died suddenly on Feb. 22 at just 59 years of age. Today’s public memorial, in addition to being a catharsis and a tribute to a man who had a transformative effect on this city’s public defender’s office and the scores of thousands of lives it touches each year, served as a political milestone. If it was described as gauche to begin delving into who will be handed the reins in Adachi’s absence prior to the memorial.Well, now that’s come and gone.Messages for Mayor London Breed’s office regarding a timeline for her to name a successor have not yet been returned.
SAINTS have announced the signing of Shannon McDonnell until the end of next season.The 27-year-old full back joins from Wests Tigers where he has been since he last played for the champions.Shannon joined Saints at the latter part of the 2014 campaign and played in three games before fracturing his jaw.“It’s clear with Jonny Lomax out for the season and Paul Wellens currently sidelined that we need cover at full back as well as in the backs,” Saints Chief Executive Mike Rush said. “Shannon can cover a number of positions and we’d like to thank Phil Moss at Wests Tigers and his agent Steve Gillis for making it happen.“He did a great job last season and we look forward to welcoming him to St Helens once again.”Shannon started his career at the Tigers and also played for Newcastle Knights in the NRL.He represented New South Wales at Under 19s and was an Australian Junior Kangaroo.In 2011, he moved to Hull KR and two years later joined their rivals at the KC Stadium.As well as making more than 100 career appearances, he played for the Exiles in 2012.He will wear squad number 34.
The 27-year-old won the NRL Dally M award in 2012, a Grand Final with Cronulla Sharks in 2016 and this year has been with French Rugby Union side Toulon.Saints Head Coach Justin Holbrook stated: “I’ve known Ben for some time and am confident that he will add a new dimension to the Saints and is a great capture for Super League. He is a multi-talented and world class rugby league player.“Everyone in the team will benefit from him joining us and are really looking forward to his arrival. The fans also have a lot to look forward to.“Given Ben’s abilities and reputation, his signing was extremely competitive and the Club have done exceptionally well to secure him.“It is not often that players of his calibre become available and the Club has pulled out all the stops to fight off competition from both rugby codes around the world.“I am also grateful for their support to me for my first signing as the new Head Coach.”Ben Barba said: “I feel very privileged to be joining such a historic rugby league club as St.Helens. I was able to meet up with some of the players and key people from the Club at the Magic Weekend and know they are a great set of people. The fans also showed me just how passionate they are.“I wanted to make an early decision so that I can get my family settled in England and kids enrolled at school. I have certainly enjoyed my time in France at Toulon, but I am a rugby league player and St.Helens, especially with Justin Holbrook as head coach, have made me very comfortable with the decision.“I look forward to pulling the Saints’ jersey on and playing besides my new teammates as soon as possible.”Barba is currently the subject of a twelve match ban in the NRL. The initial stance of the RFL is that this also applies to Super League. However, St.Helens will be seeking further and final clarification of this position.Ben played 168 games, scoring 99 tries, in the NRL.He started his career at the North Devils, Mackay, in Queensland before signing with the Canterbury Bulldogs in 2007.He made his representative debut for the Indigenous All Stars in the 2011 All Stars Match – his first of five appearances – and moved to Brisbane on 2014, scoring eight tries in 25 gamesBarba then joined Cronulla and 2016 won the Grand Final after an outstanding season.Ben Barba’s manager, Chris Orr from PSM added: “This is the perfect fit for Ben to reconnect to his rugby league roots. He has had a long affiliation with Justin Holbrook, the new St Helens coach, from their days at the Bulldogs.“The Magic Weekend gave Ben the opportunity to experience the passionate fans of Super League and he loved it and wanted to be part of it immediately.”Image courtesy of Grant Trouville/NRL.COM
Four unanswered tries from James McDonnell and a hat-trick from Cian Tyrer allowed the hosts to open an 18 point lead before Saints responded on the half hour mark with a Jack Welsby special.John Hutchings had diffused a high bomb deep in this own 10 metres area then won a penalty allowing the Saints to clear their lines against a stiff breeze.Drives from Josh Simm and Tom Nisbett took the Saints into enemy territory on the last. From the play the ball Welsby dummied then went blind setting Simm free down the right edge. He played the ball back to Welsby on the inside who finished a move he started 40 metres earlier.The Saints had shown their ability to stay in the contest, but Wigan grabbed a decisive try on the hooter. A full set was conjured up out of nowhere and on the last Amir Bourouh went in from close range to open up a four score gap.Playing into the teeth of a strong breeze that had changed ends with the teams at the break, Saints crucially were the first to score.A neat grubber from Lewis Dodd gave the Saints a repeat set and put their hosts under pressure. Again it was Welsby showing his class stepping back off his left foot, but was stopped close to the line. From the play the ball a fabulous miss pass from Paul Nash found captain Sam Royle to go in untouched under the posts.This galvanised the Saints and a big defensive effort on 53 minutes from Hutchings and Nico Rizzelli forced the winger into touch gaining the Saints possession.But on the hour mark the Saints conceded a scrum on our own 30 metre line and from it Aiden Roden went over from dummy half.The game went into its final 10 minutes and the Saints came to life scoring twice in a five minute period.The first came after a delightful bit of inter passing on the fourth tackle down the right from Nisbett and Simm. From the play the ball Nash ran it giving it to Ryan Horne whose overhead pass was taken by Nisbett who stepped inside the cover to score. The tricky conversion against the wind was missed, but the Saints had belief.Five minutes later the Saints were in again. A penalty, for a late tackle on Dodd again saw Nash catch the defence out by going blind down the right. He again found Horne who put Simm away and the speedy centre stepped back inside to go under the sticks.Unfortunately it wasn’t enough as the hosts sealed victory in the third minute of second half injury time through Roden again.Match Summary Wigan U19’s Team: Umyla Hanley; Ben Holcroft, Corey Hall, Jake Sculthorpe, Cian Tyrer; Harry Smith, Ryan Forshaw; Ethan Havard, Aiden Roden, Oscar Stone, James McDonnell, Harry Rushton, Joe Shorrocks (C).Interchanges: Jack Bibby, Brad O’Neill, Nathan Wilde, Amir Bourouh.Tries: James McDonnell (8), Cian Tyrer (15, 21 & 23), Amir Bourouh (40), Aiden Roden (63 & 79).Goals: Harry Smith 3 from 7.Saints U19’s Team: Jack Welsby; Tom Nisbett, Josh Simm, Nico Rizzelli, John Hutchings; Ryan Horne, Lewis Dodd; Harry Brooks, Jake Wingfield, Kye Siyani, Matty Foster, Sam Royle (C), Joe Sharratt.Interchanges: Paul Nash, Warren Smith, Jamie Pye, Lewis Baxter.Tries: Jack Welsby (29), Sam Royle (46), Tom Nisbett (69), Josh Simm (74).Goals: Lewis Dodd 2 from 4.HT: 24-4FT: 36-20
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Wilmington Police Department wants to know if your house of worship is safe? They will be holding a church security seminar next month.The seminar will be presenting the department of homeland security’s active shooter safety guidelines, developing safety protocols and more.- Advertisement – WPD spokeswoman Linda Thompson says this is a timely event due to recent incidents nationwide.She is hopeful this will help better prepare community members if something ever is to happen inside a house of worship.“This is critical because the more we become prepared, cautious and ready,” Thompson said. When and if and certainly we don’t want to say when, but if it does happen we want to at least be able to say we’ve done everything in our power to prepare ourselves.” Thompson said.Related Article: Weekend checkpoint nets 4 arrests, more than 100 citationsWPD is asking ministries to send one or two representatives from your church to train them, so they can go back and teach what they have learned to others in the church.The seminar is free you just need to register. To register call 910-341-4608 or email Linda.Rawley@wilmingtonnc.gov.It will be Saturday morning January 20th from 8:30 a.m. – 11: 30 a.m. at City Hall Council Chambers.
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The streets all around downtown Wilmington are clean right in time for the big festival this week. The Azalea Sweep takes place every year right before the Azalea Festival.Volunteers are split up into groups to clean the streets and pick up trash all over downtown.- Advertisement – The Azalea Queen will visit the areas that were tidied up during her time in the Port City.One volunteer said she was excited to be a part of the pre-festival fun.“I love Wilmington, and I love this area and I was more than happy to come and beautify and, you know, do away with some of the pollution. And make it pretty for the Azalea Festival,” volunteer Brittany Olson said.After the clean up, the volunteers celebrated their hard work with an after party and lunch.
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Immigration and Customs Enforcement is reviewing the arrest of former UNC-Wilmington basketball player Chuck Ogbodo.Wilmington Police arrested Ogbodo last month after searching his home and finding marijuana, cocaine and other items.- Advertisement – In a statement, ICE said “nonimmigrant students in the United States who fail to maintain their nonimmigrant status are subject to removal in accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act. However, an arrest alone is not sufficient to pursue removal proceedings when a nonimmigrant student has otherwise maintained their status. In cases where a student is facing criminal charges, ICE coordinates with the investigating law enforcement agency and school officials. If the school terminates the student’s enrollment, the student would then be out of status and subject to immigration enforcement. ICE is reviewing the facts of this particular case and will work with the appropriate officials to determine next steps.”ICE is reviewing the facts of the case and working to determine the next steps.UNCW says Ogbodo does not have an active student status and under federal law the university can not provide information regarding the student and exchange visitor program.Related Article: Police release identity of Wilmington mom, baby killed by fallen treeOgbodo came to the United States in 2009 from Nigeria.
On Wednesday, thousands of teachers will be in Raleigh to lobby lawmakers for better pay and working conditions. As a result, kids won’t be in school in New Hanover and Brunswick Counties. And many parents say they support the teachers efforts.“Teachers teach their students that they should fight for their rights and speak what they believe in, so they should have that right as well. They should be able to go, speak for their rights in Raleigh if they want to and fight for what’s right,” parent Melinda Finch said.Some parents believe it’s good teachers are doing what they can to fight for things like more money for the schools, but are just upset it got to this point.Related Article: North Carolina pecan season to be short, but sweet“I hate that they even have to go through this and we have to explain to our kids why they’re not going to school on Wednesday, because the teachers- what they have to do and I totally have their backs 100%. I full back them up. I feel like this is something they should do,” Messick said.As for what to do about childcare, many said parents will have to find a way to accommodate them.“That means parents are probably going to have to take off from work so then they’re going to miss out on a day of pay and the situation of the world today, we just need to come together, talk more, listen. a lot of these things that are going on now can be prevented,” grandparent Jacqueline Delts said.Many of the parents and grandparents said if students are able to exercise their rights, then teachers should be able to do the same thing. BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Thousands of teachers from around the state, including hundreds from the Cape Fear, will rally in Raleigh. Parents in the area are expressing their thoughts on the decisions.“These teachers are the people that are educating our youth, our kids and they’re building our community up and it’s really a bummer that they have to go rally for themselves,” parent Courtney Messick said.- Advertisement –
House fire in Hampstead on June 11, 2018. (Photo: Andrew James/WWAY) HAMPSTEAD, NC (WWAY) — A Pender County home caught on fire Monday evening after officials say lightning struck the house.The fire happened near Hampstead in the The Manor at Mill Creek subdivision around 6:30 p.m.- Advertisement – “It’d be like a cannon going off,” said Steve McIntosh who saw lightning hit the home. “The sound the explosion it shook our house.” 1 of 3 House fire in Hampstead on June 11, 2018. (Photo: Andrew James/WWAY) House fire in Hampstead on June 11, 2018. (Photo: Andrew James/WWAY) “From right here in my front yard you could feel the heat off the house it was intense,” said McIntosh.Neighbors like McIntosh were worried the couple who lives there were still inside.Fortunately, they were on the way to vacation with their dog. Neighbors tell us unfortunately they had just left and plan to return home to handle the damages.Related Article: Columbus County deputies save elderly woman from burning home“It’s sad that they have to go through this and everything,” said neighbor Chuck Riker. “Obviously as a neighborhood we care for each other. So anything that they need us to do we will be here for them.”New Hanover County Fire Department responded. Pender County fire marshal Tommy Batson says the home is a total loss.
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Advertisement K Computer sped to the front of the class by achieving more than 8 quadrillion calculations per second (petaflop/s), which pushed it ahead of last November’s winner, the Tianhe-1A at the National Supercomputing Center in Tianjin, China, which in the latest round achieved 2.6 petaflop/s.K Computer was built by Fujitsu, and contains more than 80,000 CPUs with eight cores each. The last time Japan sat at the top of the supercomputing world was with NEC’s Earth Simulator, which was dethroned in November 2004, after two years as fastest supercomputer.In the top five, following Tianhe-1A, in ranked order, is the Department of Energy’s Jaguar, housed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, with 1.75 petaflop/s; China’s Nebulae at the National Supercomputing Center in Shenzen, with 1.27 petaflop/s; and Tsubame 2.0 at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, with 1.19 petaflop/s. – Advertisement – The benchmark used to rank supercomputers is called the Linpack. It tests the performance of a system for solving a dense system of linear equations and is measured in calculations or floating point operations per second, hence flop/s. Not everyone in this field agrees it’s the best possible way to compare machines, but it is one way.This is a list that reorders itself fairly quickly, evidenced by Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Roadrunner, the first system to break the petaflop barrier in June 2008, having fallen down to No. 10 on the list. The new Top500 list has 10 systems that have surpassed the petaflop barrier.The most common application area of the 500 supercomputers on the list is research, with which 75, or 15 percent, of the systems are tasked. That’s followed by 36 of the systems working on finance, 33 on service, 23 on the World Wide Web, and 20 on defense.IBM has the most systems on the list, with 42 percent of them, followed by Hewlett-Packard with 31 percent, and Cray with 6 percent. The U.S. leads as the country that’s home to the most supercomputers on the list with 256, China is next with 62, Germany has 30, the U.K. 27, Japan 26, and France 25.news.cnet.com
Advertisement Good news ladies, Microsoft is bringing artificial intelligence to lingerie. Researchers at Microsoft have developed a prototype of a “smart bra” embedded with physiological sensors that seek to monitor a woman’s heart activity to track her emotional moods and combat overeating.The sensors can signal the wearer’s smartphone, which then flash a warning message to help her step away from the fridge and make better diet decisions. – Advertisement – However, the company says it has no plans to make the bra into a commercial product, however.“First, we needed a form factor that would be comfortable when worn for long durations,” said scientists in a research paper published online. “The bra form factor was ideal because it allowed us to collect (electrocardiogram data) near the heart.”Research has shown that many people reach for calorie-rich foods like doughnuts when they’re feeling stressed, bored, discouraged or on edge. There’s a reason it’s called comfort food.The researchers conducted a study in which four women wore the sensors in their bras for four days to monitor their vital signs. An electrocardiogram (EKG) sensor under the arm measured their heart rate, while an electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor tracked their perspiration.The researchers determined the bra was mostly effective in detecting its wearer’s emotional changes. But the sensors needed to be recharged every three to four hours, which limited how long the bra could be worn. And more research would be needed before a smart brassiere became a viable product.Source: CNN
Advertisement MTN Uganda today launched a new mobile app for all smartphone users. MyMTN has been designed to work on most smartphones in the market, including Android, Blackberry, iPhone and Windows phone. The MyMTN mobile app has been designed to offer a better user experience to high value customers who already enjoy a seamless user experience across various service applicationsSmartphone users can download the MyMTN App free of charge from all major App stores, including Google Play, Blackberry, Windows Phone Store and iOS App Store. The good news is that users do not need to have an active data bundle to use the app.The MyMTN app is yet another step in MTN’s journey to enable world class digital innovations to its customers to offer a seamless customer experience. – Advertisement – The MyMTN app supports two major service categories; MTN Mobile Money and MySelfService which gives users absolute control to manage all their MTN services. Through the app, MTN customers can buy airtime, data bundles, check their balances and access various promotional offers currently accessed via USSD. With an improved experienced offered through the MyMTN app, customers no longer need to remember a wide range of USSD codes to use MTN services.“The upsurge in data consumption and Internet usage across all customer segments has necessitated a substantial investment in our network infrastructure to guarantee that our subscribers enjoy a consistent network experience across the country”.“We understand that the customers’ needs are varied and wide ranging, and that is one of the key reasons we are always coming up with innovations that meet the customers’ needs.” said Chief Marketing Officer, Mapula Bodibe.We are confident and pleased that our subscribers will reap the full benefits. We encourage both new and existing MTN customers to download the MyMTN app and we’re confident that our customers will enjoy the benefits of managing their services. We have no doubt that our world class infrastructure will ensure an improved experience for our customers; what better way to enjoy access to the internet than on MTN’s a World-Class Network”.Access to either Mobile Money or MySelfService requires the user to input a password, guaranteeing security for both service subscriptions, airtime purchases and mobile money transactions.Read PC Tech’s review here!
Advertisement Google will be acquiring Vestas’ 12.5% stake in Africa’s largest wind farm upon completion of the project in 2017.The wind farm will supply around 15% of Kenya’s electricity needs based on current generation capacity.The Lake Turkana wind park is owned by Lake Turkana Wind Power and is key to Kenya’s development goals. It is expected to be one of the most efficient wind parks in the world, and have an annual power production of more than 1,400 GWh. – Advertisement – “We are making a commitment to invest in Lake Turkana because it makes financial sense, but also because it has the potential to have a massive impact on Kenya’s grid, helping to spur the deployment of renewable energy in one of the world’s fastest-growing countries,” said John Woolard, Vice President, Energy at Google.“We look forward to joining Vestas and others to help accelerate progress toward a future of clean energy in Kenya.”The investment in the Lake Turkana wind project will be Google’s 22nd renewable energy project investment overall and second in Africa. Vestas will retain its equity stake in the project until its completion in 2017, upon which Google will formally join the Lake Turkana Wind Power investor group.Via: www.windpowerengineering.com
This year’s hot gifts are tech gadgets. Image Credit: Harpers Bazaar Advertisement Once again, this year’s hot gifts are tech gadgets. These include robotic toys that tie into a blockbuster movie, a smart doll, virtual reality, tablets and a powerful, portable speaker to listen to music, books and make hands-free phone calls. Let’s take a look at what makes them so desirable and how to get a deal.1. GoPro’s HERO4 For the outdoor-enthusiast, a GoPro makes the perfect gift. But not just any GoPro. The new GoPro HERO4 is the first-ever to have a built-in touch screen. That makes it really easy to capture footage and play it back to friends and family. Just tap, then swipe. It’s that simple!Of course, adding the new touch screen feature doesn’t mean other features were sacrificed. The HERO4 still comes with 1080p60 and 720p120 video, and 12MP photos at 30 frames per second. It’s also waterproof, and has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functions, which easily connect to the GoPro App, Smart Remote. It’s available on Amazon for $399.99. – Advertisement – 2. Hello Barbie If you have a young lady on your list, she’s surely wishing for Barbie. But this isn’t just an ordinary Barbie; Hello Barbie is high tech.She uses Wi-Fi, speech recognition, and progressive learning technology to speak. This Barbie says up to 8,000 different phrases. She tells stories, plays games and tells jokes. Each conversation is different.Hello Barbie doesn’t just rattle off comments. She has a conversation. That starts with you setting up a companion app on devices using Apple‘s iOS 8 or above, or Android 4.0.3 and above. Then you set up Hello Barbie’s features on the ToyTalk website.When Hello Barbie listens, she adapts her conversation by learning the girl’s interests. Once Hello Barbie is ready to go, all the girl does is touch Barbie’s belt. Barbie will start talking.Hello Barbie, starting at $69.99, comes with a charging station. The doll is available at most retailers, online at the Shop Mattel site, and on Amazon from third-party retailers.3. Star Wars’ BB-8 The hottest movie this holiday season, hands down, is going to be “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” The Disney movie from director J. J. Abrams comes out Dec. 18. The online ticket site Fandango reports that “The Force Awakens” crushed its previous record for first-day pre-sales by selling 8 times more tickets than “The Hunger Games.”“Star Wars” invented the movie-toy market back in the 1970s, and has sold billions of dollars worth of merchandise since then. This year, it’s all about the “Star Wars” rolling droid, BB-8.BB-8 toys are selling like crazy, notably Sphero’s app-controlled BB-8.The fun of BB-8 is that it’s a cute roly-poly droid that you control with your voice (it uses Bluetooth). It listens to you, and learns to adapt its behavior to your commands. It can move around on its own, or you can guide it with an Android or iPhone app.[related-posts]All of which just boils down to one thing. The app-controlled BB-8 is really fun for kids, and adults. Do you want to see BB-8 in action? Check out this “Star Wars” video of the movie version of BB-8.For “Star Wars” fans on your shopping list, the Sphero BB-8 App-Enabled Droid, and other BB-8 toys are available on Amazon, starting at $149.95. (If it’s sold out, order it anyway. Amazon will deliver when it’s back in stock.) You can also find BB-8 in many stores and other online shopping sites.4. RIF6 Cube pocket size home cinema For movie lovers on the go, give the RIF6 Cube. It’s a tiny projector with a big attitude. Connect it to your tablet or smartphone and prop it up to turn almost any setting into your very own theater.Use it to project movies, TV shows, video games, photo albums and more. The cube takes any image from your smartphone or tablet’s screen and projects it to a 120″ display on the wall or ceiling. Plus, it uses long-lasting LED lighting to ensure the image is crystal clear. It’s available on Amazon starting at $278.5. LittleBits Gizmos & Gadgets Kit Surprise younger kids with the Gizmos & Gadgets Kit from LittleBits. The kit includes 15 electronic building blocks that can be combined to build 12 different projects. All of the motors, wheels, lights, switches and buzzers snap together easily. This means your kids won’t need to program, wire or solder any of the parts together to create things like an automatic bubble blowing machine or remote control race car.Gizmos & Gadgets is designed to inspire the next generation of innovators, builders and engineers, and is perfect for both boys and girls. The kit also helps kids develop skills in science, math, technology and art, which will help prepare them for future careers. Buy it on Amazon for $198.02.One final tip: Analysts are warning shoppers to avoid the mad rush at discount stores, saying they’ll lure you in with a couple of low-priced items, but jack up prices on everything else. Instead, they’re suggesting you head out early and be sure compare prices online.On the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show, Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com. Kim also posts breaking tech news 24/7 at News.Komando.com.[Fox News]
Blog, it’s been a while. I do apologise.When Gaul Wood, not the horse, but my right-hand-man, comes to my flat and Iopen the door, if I am playing, via Youtube, exerts of my preferred musiccollection, he delights in crying out ‘Is somebody having a gay disco?!’.Why he would quite say that when my tastes include: The Pussycat Dolls,Madonna (The Immaculate Collection era), the Mamma Mia soundtrack, and theBee Gees, I just don’t know?A sad day has come upon us, Blog. A new side of Pam Statements has beenrevealled.One of Pam’s most pressing and important roles of support in my life, andthat of Star Racing Ltd, is downloading my latest song choices onto my Ipod.My megalomania, ‘diva-ishness’, and techincal ineptitude preclude me fromcarrying out such straight-forward tasks myself.Until now, when I have forwarded, by text, at all hours of the day, names ofsongs to be downloaded, Pam has openly laughed in my face. She has takenthe persona of trying to be a hard ‘Grunge’, like Gaul Wood or her beauLuke, and denounced me as a cultural luddite and of being of a closed mind.However, Blog, it is my duty to let you know that, in a moment of weakness,Pam too, has come clean, faced the truth, and admitted to being a secret butHUGE fan of heavyweight ballads such as ‘Call Me Maybe’ by Carly Rae Jepsenand ‘Teenage Dream’ by Katy Perry.This, Blog, begs the question as to whether Pam adopted her grunge status inorder just to snare cool boys, like Luke Tarr. Has ‘Lukey’ considered this?Is he aware of this underhand tactic? I will have to speak to him privatelyabout this serious life matter.Pam has not made a single error during her two years at Star. She starteddoing the statements and has risen at a speed of knotts. Senior members ofthe team used to think it was a funny joke when I would warn them to watchout…they don’t seem to be laughing now. I, in fact, recently joked toGaul Wood that he too may be under threat from the great Pam Statements. Heretorted, immediately, that nevermind him, what about me?! I have beenwaiting like a slip fielder for an edge though, and at last, I must informyou in all seriousness, Pam has at last fallen to my bodyline bowling stylePA requests.This weekend I met the Statements family. Pam’s mother, Maria, and hersister (Pam’s, not Maria’s, of course) Patty, were in England and weenjoyed, with members of the Tarr family, dinner at Cecconnis and then thewonderful Billy Elliott.Due to my ever spiralling disorganisation, I own three Ipods. This isbecause I leave them all over the country, they can then be posted on oncefound, and I am always able to have one on the go, that Pam keeps safe frommy pool of three. Childishly though, I always try to catch Pam out andaccuse her of not keeping them all up-to-date. She has got out of it a fewtimes by saying that particular songs weren’t missing, they were just savedin other folders etc. Hmmm…AT LAST THOUGH I HAVE FOUND HER OUT.En route to Cecconnis, I was shuffling through my Ipod artists list, and Icame across the sophisticated artiste that is Katy Perry…and a glaringerror emerged. At last, Blog. At last, I had found a moment of weaknessin, until now, Pam’s unbreakable armoury of professional skills.Over dinner, I heard all about Patty’s life and children in Minnesotta andasked Pam’s mum if she would like to come and live with my teddy-bearsbecause she looks like a dolly (she said ‘yes’). I obviously then chantedto them that I consider myself to be two-thirds American (and a thirdGerman), I love Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Mike Tyson, and the fisherman in‘Jaws’, I vehemently believe that Gordon Gekko is a real and great person,and all of my other over-the-top pro American rantings. They clearlythought I was an absolute weirdo and what on earth is their beloved daughterdoing working for a deranged wannabe dictator, like me, but smiled sweetlyas to protect Pam.BUT, Blog, a break in conversation came upon us, and on presenting my Ipodto the dinner table, I asked Pam if she had anything to say.She didn’t, Blog. She didn’t. She offered no comment.She simply grinned. Obviously in defiance, I would have thought. Sheclearly reckoned she could foil me, or at least bluff her way through till alater date when she could contaminate my evidence and cover her tracksbehind my back.I passed her the Ipod.She looked at it.I directed her to Katy Perry.On arrival, I asked her if she had anything to say.A look of horror came over the face of the once unquestioned Pam Statements.PAM HAD FORGOTTEN TO DOWNLOAD ‘WIDE AWAKE’ ONTO IPOD NUMBER THREE.She quickly, like a man in his last minutes on death row, shuffled aroundand tried to clutch at straws such as computer excuses and the like.No, Pam. NO. YOU are guilty. YOU failed to carry out this devestatinglyimportant role in my life. YOU let me down. What if I NEEDED to listen tothat song in a moment of great pressure? Yes, Pam. Yes. THIS is BAD.Silence came over the table as the truth sunk in to all that Pam had droppedher watertight American guard and made an error; one that I would expecthourly only from the billions of weak English staffs.I then, very reasonably I thought, Blog, put this grave matter aside and wewent on to enjoy the rest of our dinner. Billy Elliott proved to be superb,as usual, and I was able to hold court in the interval, like a pretentiousthesbian holding on to the bottom tip of a wine glass, debating the meritsof the different actors, in comparison to the others I had seen, during myprevious three visit to the show.The Staments family LOVED it and I look forward to entertaining them onceagain when they visit the capital. Let’s just hope that next time, thereisn’t such a dark cloud over proceedings.In other news:Went to ‘Coco Maya’, in Connaught Street, this morning, with AndrewNeedleman, my undercover legal eagle. We, not for the first time, discussedfamous Holocaust deniers and if whether the policeman standing, around thecorner, outside Tony Blair’s house, would actually shoot you if you ran athim; subjects always close to Andrew’s heart. I must say though, Blog, thatthe food was superb. I consider myself to be an international expert indrinking coffee (decaf latte, please) and eating rich cakes (runny cream,please). The said treats at Coco Maya were unquestionably the best I’veeaten in London.Belindabelle, my dog Josh’s life assistant and secret girlfriend, returnstomorrow from three weeks in Spain. Josh is very excited and has asked fora special shampoo and conditioner in advance of this event.Pam Statements, in an effort to make me less high-maintenance (good luck,Pam), has been trying to persuade me to try out an Ipad. On this suggestionbeing put to me I always dig my heels in and cross my arms like a stubborntoddler and say that I can’t being doing with the way you have to wave yourhand across the screen when moving from page to page. The Blackberry’sbuttons are much more condusive to texting when driving, I always find. Pamretorted instantly that Blackberry are now bringing out an Ipad type device.I was silenced, folded my arms a bit tighter, and then answered throughgritted teeth that I would only consider such an option if I could use thedevice to still watch my five allotted free videos a day on Youporn.com.Pam said she would look into the matter further. Thank you, Pam.Over and out, Ben xx
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ShareMEDIA ADVISORYDavid Ruthdruth@rice.edu713-348-6327Jeff Falkjfalk@rice.edu713-348-6775 Baker Institute Student Forum competition to feature undergraduate public policy proposals for health care servicesHOUSTON – (Sept. 13, 2013) – Fifteen undergraduate finalist teams representing 12 universities and colleges from around the country will present their policy proposals on how best to address the costs, coverage and quality of health care in the U.S. at the Baker Institute Student Forum (BISF)’s inaugural public policy conference Sept. 21 at Rice University. BISF is the student arm of Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.Who: Fifteen undergraduate finalist teams representing 12 universities and colleges in eight states and the District of Columbia will compete. Judges will be Houston-based health care and public policy experts. Keynote speaker will be Dr. Clarence James “C.J.” Peters, the John Sealy Distinguished University Chair in Tropical and Emerging Virology at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Peters is also a professor in the departments of Microbiology and Immunology and Pathology and director for biodefense at UTMB’s Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases.What: “Undergraduate Public Policy Competition on Domestic Health Care Policy.”When: Saturday, Sept. 21. The policy proposals will be presented from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Peters will present his keynote address at 7 p.m.; then the competition winners will be announced, followed by a poster session and dessert reception. The evening events run until 8:30 p.m. and are open to the public (the policy proposal presentations are open to the media only).Where: Rice University, Baker Hall, Doré Commons, 6100 Main St.At the competition, the finalist teams will present their policy papers to a judges’ panel consisting of Peters and Houston-based health care and public policy experts Elena Marks, the Baker Institute’s scholar in health policy and former director of health and environmental policy for the city of Houston, and Dr. Peter Hotez, the Baker Institute’s fellow in disease and poverty and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.The top three winners will receive cash prizes and publication of their papers in The Rice Cultivator, BISF’s undergraduate public policy journal. All 15 teams will discuss their work with Baker Institute fellows, tour the Texas Medical Center and meet with representatives from government, business, medical institutions and not-for-profit organizations.The universities and colleges represented are Arizona State University, City University of New York’s Queens College, Georgetown University, Howard University, Rice University, St. Olaf College, Stanford University, Texas A&M University, University of California at Berkeley, University of Florida, Vanderbilt and Yale.This event is supported by Harris County Hospital System, Texas Children’s Hospital, UTMB, Rice’s BioScience Research Collaborative, TPG, Charles Landgraf, James Turley, Robert Meister, Kevin Pasha, Max and Desiree Blankfeld, Albert and Anne Chao, Ruchir Shah, James Joseph Barnes, Rice’s School of Social Sciences and the Baker Institute Health Policy Forum.To view the competition description, visit www.bakerinstitute.org/students/baker-institute-student-forum-undergraduate-public-policy-conference. Members of the news media who want to attend should RSVP to Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-348-6775.-30-Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.Founded in 1993, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston ranks among the top 20 university-affiliated think tanks globally and top 30 think tanks in the United States. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows and Rice University scholars. Learn more about the institute at www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute’s blog, http://blogs.chron.com/bakerblog. FacebookTwitterPrintEmailAddThis