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Archives for September 11, 2013

Architect presents sustainability in artistic designs

“Master architect” Eddie Jones’ glass and stone home designs received a standing ovation from a crowd of about 100 students Tuesday night.

Jones, an Arizona based architect known for his innovative and sustainable home designs, shared his passion for the field in the School of Architecture and Community Design. 

He walked students through the thought-process of how he used rammed-dirt to insulate buildings and how he used wooden beams to leave shadows, imitating the feel of being in a barn.

“The interior surface temperature of my walls never changes because they’re two feet thick,” Jones said. “It takes heat one hour to conduct one inch in rammed-dirt. With a 24-inch thick wall, 24 hours in a day, 12 hours of sunshine as the heat moves in, then the sun goes down.”

Jones explained how he and his brother were inspired by a fort they came across in the woods to build a nature center for children in Arlington, Texas. 

He described it as an odd building, because it resembled a large fort. 

Inside, a wooden beam draws the eye to a ceiling that resembles a leaf.

“[I want it] to encourage small children to begin to respect and appreciate the landscape, and there’s no such thing as ownership,” Jones said. “You can only require responsibility to take care of the land.”

Jones said sustainability plays a big part in his architecture. 

At the University of Arizona, he was asked to design an addition to the original School of Architecture. The design he built included an 11,000-gallon fiberglass storage tank that harvested rainwater. The tank irrigated the landscape, which grew vines that grew up the south side of the building, mitigating heat gain and filtering sunlight.

“Now architecture students are saying ‘Wow, landscaping is really important because it’s allowing my building to exist in a responsible way.’ It’s showing how architecture and landscape are interdependent,” he said.

Students in the audience, such as Edes Ikhouria, a non-degree seeking student taking architecture classes, were able to relate to Jones’ discussion about his work as an architect, and learned that each person they hear from has a different idea for how designs should look. 

 “When you’re talked to by different lecturers and professors you find they all have different schools of thought,” Ikhouria said. “You feel like some of your ideas are limited because you have to please a professor. You don’t come out as your own person as an architect. When you get out of school, sometimes you start practicing and find yourself.”

At the end of the lecture, Jones told students he’s just as insecure about his designs as they can be, but encouraged students not to give up on their work. 

“You have to do it for the love of architecture, and then the money will come,” he said. 

Jones told the students that being an architect is easier than being a student. First-year graduate student Savannah Mason said she agreed the student life was hard. 

“One main difficulty is time management and lack of sleep,” she said. “We have our own fridge, microwave and coffeepot in our studio, and there’s even a cot under our desk.”

 “I started out how you guys did, how your professors did,” Jones said. “You can’t give up, you can’t sell out.”

While on campus, Jones said he got a chance to view students’ work and was impressed. 

“I know you’re working very hard,” Jones said. “I can see it in the studio and all the students I saw today are doing way better than when I was in school. There’s so many reasons for you to give up, but if you can just hang in there, you will have a great career and great life.”

Article source: http://www.usforacle.com/architect-presents-sustainability-in-artistic-designs-1.2834276

Interesting Ideas at the Co-Founders Meetup at Capital Factory

By SUSAN LAHEY
Reporter with Silicon Hills News

global_225150552Eight companies pitched to a crowd of more than 100 potential partners, investors and others at the Co-founders Meetup at Capital Factory Monday night.
Jason Brown, a game designer with many Microsoft games to his credit, is working on games to help autistic children interact. From moving a spaceship up and down by smiling or frowning to mirroring games with “smiley” faces that have various facial expressions. He’s gotten positive feedback from both teachers and parents on the games.
Daniel Senyard from Vivogig explained the new sponsorship platform his company is creating for its app and website that allow people to share photos of bands on social networks. The sponsorship platform would connect companies looking to sponsor specific bands or performances with discounts on the company’s goods and services. Points and discounts can be earned by followers of the band who share the band’s photos.
20130909_190449Adam Gravois has 18 years experience creating visual effects for film and commercials and is creating a company to let customers virtually try on items—such as eyeglasses—just by taking a picture of themselves on a tablet then clicking on images in a catalog. He works with developers to communicate how to transform visual effects into digital products and has created 3,000 pairs of glasses so far. Gravois is looking for someone with a business development background to help create relationships with corporate customers.
Tom Maiaroto was looking for technical help and investors for his company Virality Score, which creates an index measuring the virality of web content. He has created a score based on shares and web addresses, known as Uniform Resource Locators, or URLs, mentioning the content which can help creators optimize their content to increase sharing. He is measuring more than 15,000 URLs every hour, updating every 15 minutes. At present, he said, he has no customers but he anticipates the NFL will soon be a client. At present, it is possible to go on his website and check the virality of one URL vs. another.
Nickolay Shestapalov, founder of Ecoscape Solutions, introduced his early stage idea of a clean technology that could be used by commercial buildings to greatly reduce the amount of water they use for landscaping. At present, he said, the idea has no hardware. But Shestapalov, a computational scientist, said that existing smart irrigation systems schedule watering to reduce the amount of water used, but never measure the existing moisture in the ground.
“This would be like trying to treat a patient without taking his temperature,” he said. His system would not only measure the existing moisture in the ground but would connect with weather systems and postpone watering when there was a particularly high chance of precipitation.
Raymond Westwater, founder of Futureware, has devised a new video compression algorithm that delivers video 4-to-5 times faster than existing systems. He calls his compression technology Zpeg. Westwater was not looking for help with the technology, he said.
“I can’t take investment yet, I’m really far from that. And you’d have to be one hell of a damn good compression guy to out produce me. What I need,” he joked, “is my alter ego, the Mr. Hyde to my Dr. Jekyll, the lying, treacherous CEO.”
Adam Singh is a digital marketing consultant with Phunware and is working on an Internet marketing report system that scrapes information from Google Analytics and translates it into easily read dashboards that explain SEO metrics for customers who are not SEO literate. He’s looking for a technical cofounder who can help him iterate based on close contact with customers and their experience with the team.
Ron Lasorsa, founder of Local Magnet is trying to raise money and work on getting a larger sample to validate his service which is lead generation for businesses that rely on customers calling during emergencies—like plumbing services or roadside assistance. His click-to-call platform sells a certain number of calls to a given business and allows them to see specific metrics on return on investment. For example, the company bought a certain number of calls, it could track how many customers and what kind of income it made directly from that call.
The next meeting of Co-Founders Austin is October 7 at the Capital Factory.

Article source: http://www.siliconhillsnews.com/2013/09/10/interesting-ideas-at-the-co-founders-meetup-at-capital-factory/

Landscaping matters


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  • HAVE YOUR SAY: The closing date for feedback and submission on the new Narooma roundabout closes on Friday, September 20.

AS the closing
date nears for submissions and feedback on Eurobodalla Shire Council’s
landscaping ideas for Narooma some residents have expressed their concerns.

The Draft
landscape design plans for the $4.4 million Narooma Streetscaping Project has
been put together following community consultation back in March.

Long-time Narooma
resident Kathie Thackray believes that the recommendations resulting from the
consultation are largely being ignored and is hoping people take the time to
consider the plans.

Noticeable in the
recommendations was the desire for soft landscaping to be prominent with a
natural and vegetated approach, avoiding large expanses of hard materials.

“The proposed
landscape is not soft with all those concrete garden beds, seating and paving,”
Kathie said.

Furthermore,
Kathie is keen to draw attention to the lack of additional seating, picnic
areas and shelter.

Drawing a fair
bit of attention is the fence erected only one year that is to be replaced with
a lower white plastic picket variety which raises concerns by dog owners and
the Animal Welfare League who conduct regular dog training activities.

Check out the
plans at www.esc.nsw.gov.au/publications/on-exhibition/ and be sure to throw
your opinion into the mix.

The closing date
for feedback and submissions is Friday, September 20.

Article source: http://www.naroomanewsonline.com.au/story/1768889/landscaping-matters/?cs=1489

Springfield Township, bus depot work on settlement agreement







Springfield may have won the court case, but there’s still work to be done between the township and Cheltenham Transportation LLC, the bus company that had been operating from 1725 Walnut Ave. in Oreland.

Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge Bernard Moore ruled Aug. 29 that the bus company, owned by Eric Faust and which is contracted by Cheltenham School District to deliver students, was in violation of Springfield Township code and would have to go through the formal process of land development with the township. The township had filed a preliminary injunction against the bus company in mid-July to stop making land improvements at the site with fencing, lighting and various other construction projects.

At the Springfield Township Board of Commissioners workshop meeting Sept. 9, Solicitor James Garrity provided some updates on where the township and the bus company stood.

According to Garrity, following the ruling, Faust asked the township if he could move his bus operation to a property owned by Richard Giuliani at 50 Oreland Mill Road and not appeal the ruling, putting that litigation to rest.

To Garrity’s knowledge, the Giuliani property was not available when Faust first started looking for a property to lease in Springfield Township.

“We said preliminarily that [idea] had potential,” Garrity said, noting Faust had to deliver students starting Sept. 3 for the first day of school.

Over Labor Day weekend, Garrity said he exchanged many emails and phone calls with Faust’s attorney, and a 10-point list of conditions was drafted concerning settlement.

“Basically, it allowed them to begin operating from the Giuliani property provided they agree, right off the bat, that it was land development,” Garrity said.

Garrity noted that, to his knowledge, the buses were already gone from the property on Walnut Avenue, and for the moment, the EPA has told them not to touch the fence Faust constructed there — an effort to remain cautious surrounding the cap put in by the EPA a few years ago to maintain hazardous materials.

Faust’s large fuel tank remains at the site, but the solicitor noted the reason it had not been transported was out of an abundance of caution because Faust had been told not to touch anything else at the Giuliani site, which happens to have an existing concrete pad for a fuel tank. Continued…

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Once Garrity’s office has reviewed the 10-point list of conditions, the solicitor will give it to the board for approval. The settlement will be open to the public to read once signed and approved.

Some of the residents at the workshop meeting expressed relief over the ruling but were still wary of what would happen between Faust and the township.

“Thank you very much for your efforts,” one resident, who was concerned with the longevity of Faust’s new lease on the Giuliani property, said to the board.

In other news, Flourtown Fire Company’s Tony Mascaro made the board aware of his wish to get a land development waiver from the township concerning a pavilion on the company’s property. The fire company would like to rebuild the structure and increase its size from around 1,100 square feet to 2,040 square feet. The structure, which is used for storage, floods during heavy rain, so the company would also like to elevate the pavilion a couple of inches.

Township Manager Donald Berger advised Mascaro to talk with the planning commission about storm-water management and landscaping, which would not be included in the land development waiver if it were granted. The planning commission will advise the board as to whether to waive land development for the fire company, which is located at 1526 Bethlehem Pike.

Also at the workshop meeting, Vice President Glenn Schaum brought up the idea of constructing a community garden. Schaum and Berger remarked on the pros and cons of surrounding community gardens like at the Morris Arboretum and in Conshohocken and Cheltenham. Schaum suggested keeping township involvement minimal and instead seeking out interest in an association, which would spearhead the garden just as Conshohocken has done.

The area the board was considering for the garden is near Kingston and Drayton roads in Oreland.

The commissioners also touched on progress with Sandy Run Park, the 13-acre property in Oreland and former site of a quarry.

Berger said he hoped to have a date in October for an official opening of the park, which will feature a fishing pier.

The board discussed opening the fishing to residents of all ages. They also talked about closing access to the water from Dec. 1 to March 1, considering the depth of the water and the danger of someone falling through the ice during the colder months. Continued…

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Springfield may have won the court case, but there’s still work to be done between the township and Cheltenham Transportation LLC, the bus company that had been operating from 1725 Walnut Ave. in Oreland.

Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge Bernard Moore ruled Aug. 29 that the bus company, owned by Eric Faust and which is contracted by Cheltenham School District to deliver students, was in violation of Springfield Township code and would have to go through the formal process of land development with the township. The township had filed a preliminary injunction against the bus company in mid-July to stop making land improvements at the site with fencing, lighting and various other construction projects.

At the Springfield Township Board of Commissioners workshop meeting Sept. 9, Solicitor James Garrity provided some updates on where the township and the bus company stood.

According to Garrity, following the ruling, Faust asked the township if he could move his bus operation to a property owned by Richard Giuliani at 50 Oreland Mill Road and not appeal the ruling, putting that litigation to rest.

To Garrity’s knowledge, the Giuliani property was not available when Faust first started looking for a property to lease in Springfield Township.

“We said preliminarily that [idea] had potential,” Garrity said, noting Faust had to deliver students starting Sept. 3 for the first day of school.

Over Labor Day weekend, Garrity said he exchanged many emails and phone calls with Faust’s attorney, and a 10-point list of conditions was drafted concerning settlement.

“Basically, it allowed them to begin operating from the Giuliani property provided they agree, right off the bat, that it was land development,” Garrity said.

Garrity noted that, to his knowledge, the buses were already gone from the property on Walnut Avenue, and for the moment, the EPA has told them not to touch the fence Faust constructed there — an effort to remain cautious surrounding the cap put in by the EPA a few years ago to maintain hazardous materials.

Faust’s large fuel tank remains at the site, but the solicitor noted the reason it had not been transported was out of an abundance of caution because Faust had been told not to touch anything else at the Giuliani site, which happens to have an existing concrete pad for a fuel tank.

Once Garrity’s office has reviewed the 10-point list of conditions, the solicitor will give it to the board for approval. The settlement will be open to the public to read once signed and approved.

Some of the residents at the workshop meeting expressed relief over the ruling but were still wary of what would happen between Faust and the township.

“Thank you very much for your efforts,” one resident, who was concerned with the longevity of Faust’s new lease on the Giuliani property, said to the board.

In other news, Flourtown Fire Company’s Tony Mascaro made the board aware of his wish to get a land development waiver from the township concerning a pavilion on the company’s property. The fire company would like to rebuild the structure and increase its size from around 1,100 square feet to 2,040 square feet. The structure, which is used for storage, floods during heavy rain, so the company would also like to elevate the pavilion a couple of inches.

Township Manager Donald Berger advised Mascaro to talk with the planning commission about storm-water management and landscaping, which would not be included in the land development waiver if it were granted. The planning commission will advise the board as to whether to waive land development for the fire company, which is located at 1526 Bethlehem Pike.

Also at the workshop meeting, Vice President Glenn Schaum brought up the idea of constructing a community garden. Schaum and Berger remarked on the pros and cons of surrounding community gardens like at the Morris Arboretum and in Conshohocken and Cheltenham. Schaum suggested keeping township involvement minimal and instead seeking out interest in an association, which would spearhead the garden just as Conshohocken has done.

The area the board was considering for the garden is near Kingston and Drayton roads in Oreland.

The commissioners also touched on progress with Sandy Run Park, the 13-acre property in Oreland and former site of a quarry.

Berger said he hoped to have a date in October for an official opening of the park, which will feature a fishing pier.

The board discussed opening the fishing to residents of all ages. They also talked about closing access to the water from Dec. 1 to March 1, considering the depth of the water and the danger of someone falling through the ice during the colder months.

Montgomery County supplied the funds for the Sandy Run Park through an open space grant.

The board also mentioned there are “no solicitation” vinyl stickers now available to residents to hang at their property. For the moment, there is a link to download the form to sign up for the no solicitation list on the township’s website. Residents can drop off the completed form at the township office and pick up their sticker or sign up for the list in person at the office. The board would like to see a complete online registration process in the future.

Follow Meghan Ross on Twitter @ByMeghanRoss.

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Article source: http://www.montgomerynews.com/articles/2013/09/10/springfield_sun/news/doc522fa0cd736d6887172175.txt

Sheep keep grass in check

JAMES CITY — Busch Gardens has added a fleet of 17 slower and greener lawnmowers, which add all-natural fuel to its landscaping.

The park’s herd of Scottish blackface sheep is aiding landscapers in keeping the grass cropped.

It’s a low-tech approach for the park, which has been voted “Most Beautiful Park” by the National Amusement Park Historical Association 23 times.

The sheep are usually on display at Highland Stables in Busch Gardens’ Scotland village.

They aren’t just munching grass at random. They were trained to test a program of “targeted grazing.”

Although Busch’s parent company, SeaWorld Parks Entertainment, has a large collection of animals at its 11 parks, this is the first time any have had to earn their keep.

It’s worked so well it’s being expanded to utilize other animals, including a “clean-up crew” of chickens and turkeys.

Targeted grazing involves training animals to naturally manage landscaping by eating grass and plants from certain areas.

The program has reduced the need for powered lawn equipment, conserved 100 gallons of fuel a year, saved about 288 hours of labor a year and produced manure to fertilize the turf.

The sheep are also better able than human landscapers to work on some of the steep slopes. Recently they were working under the tracks of the Verbolten rollercoaster.

In initiating the program, park management first made sure there were no plants in the targeted grazing areas that could be harmful to the sheep.

Then the sheep had to get used to their new work station. Animal care specialist Stephanie Peters was one of the trainers who helped.

“We took them out for an hour or two in the morning before the park opened when Verbolten was not running. After several positive tests, we brought the sheep out while the coaster was operating. When one of the coasters came around, we would give the sheep food and other forms of positive reinforcement as the coaster train passed over them,” she said. “If the sheep ignored the ride or moved close to a trainer instead of running away, we positively reinforced this behavior.”

The sheep took only two days to become totally acclimated to the coasters.

The sheep graze about five hours a day as part of the program, depending on weather.

The clean-up crew of two turkeys and four chickens is being trained to follow the sheep to eat ticks and other parasites and to spread the manure produced by the sheep.

Article source: http://www.vagazette.com/news/va-vg-sheep-0831-20130910,0,2371557.story

Dallas Arboretum puts finishing touches on new children’s garden

With less than two weeks until opening day, the Dallas Arboretum staff is getting its 8-acre, $62 million children’s garden ready for its debut.

Over the last few weeks, they’ve added mulch to the landscape, installed touch screens for educational games and placed shovels and buckets in the sandbox. Groups

Article source: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/metro/20130910-dallas-arboretum-puts-finishing-touches-on-new-childrens-garden.ece

Make the most of a bumper harvest

After our glorious summer, gardeners can now expect equally glorious crops. Hannah Stephenson looks at the best way to store the fruits of your labour

The warm summer months might be over, but the abundant wild berries, plentiful apples, and juicy tomatoes they helped create can make it feel like the sun is still shining.

It’s unlikely keen gardeners can manage to eat all this bumper produce immediately though, which is where the art of storage comes in.

Maincrop potatoes and onions will keep well in a cool shed or garage, while garlic should be placed in a cool room in the house. All three should be free of soil and perfectly dry before storing. Onions and garlic can be strung and hung up, while potatoes will be quite happy in paper or a hessian sack, kept in the dark to stop them from sprouting.

If you have blackcurrants, redcurrants and gooseberries, these are perfect for jams, partly because they contain plenty of pectin, the ingredient that makes jam set. With jams or jellies, it is important to sterilise the jars and lids for 10 minutes in boiling water before using them. Most fruits and vegetables will last up to 12 months using this method.

Blackberries and other wild berries have been abundant this year, thanks to last year’s wet summer and this year’s dry one, and are easy to freeze (although avoid freezing strawberries as they become mushy). Just select the best fruit, spreading the berries in a single layer on a clean tray and put it in the fast-freeze section of the freezer. Once it’s frozen, transfer it to bags and return it to the freezer.

If you have too many ripe tomatoes, try drying them in the oven, placing them on a tray at the lowest setting for several hours with the oven door just ajar. Alternatively, skin them by placing them in a bowl of just boiled water, leaving them there for a few minutes, then removing the skin and blitzing them into a puree which can be a base for any Italian passata, which can be frozen. Unripe tomatoes can also be transformed into delicious green tomato chutney, there are umpteen recipes to be found on the internet.

Cucumbers spring to mind when we think of pickling, but many vegetables and fruits can be preserved in this manner including peppers, cauliflower, apples and pears. Peas and green beans should be blanched (dunked in boiling water for several minutes, then plunged into cold water and dried off) before freezing, while courgettes freeze satisfactorily in prepared dishes such as ratatouille, and pumpkins can be made into preserves using lemons, sugar and mixed spices.

Root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, beetroot and celeriac can generally be left in the ground until required, although try to dig a few up to store in a cool place before winter sets in and the ground becomes too hard to harvest them easily.

To store gluts of apples and pears, you’ll need to handle them carefully, placing them in a room with a low, even temperature, good ventilation and a moist atmosphere such as a cellar. If you are putting apples in your garden shed, wrap them in newspaper (this slows the shrivelling process and isolates rots), put them in boxes, stack them in a cool spot under insulation (such as straw or polystyrene sheets) and cover with polythene. Check them regularly for signs of disease and remove any which have rotted. Pears prefer slightly drier and warmer conditions and are best not wrapped or stacked.

Article source: http://www.hertfordshiremercury.co.uk/Homes-and-Gardens/Gardening/Make-the-most-of-a-bumper-harvest-20130910145434.htm