‘Middle class – invest in the people’

first_img23 September 2005Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka has urged South Africa’s black middle class to reinvest in their communities, to create the skills needed for the country to achieve the government’s target of 6% economic growth.Addressing the 20th anniversary celebration of the Medical Education for South African Blacks (Mesab) in Johannesburg on Wednesday night, Mlambo-Ngcuka said the rise of the black middle class was exciting, but came with responsibility.“Make sure that you not only serve, but create others like you,” she said.Mesab is a collaborative US and South African effort to improve the health of SA’s people by training black health professionals in the country.The organisation was founded in 1985 by Herbert and Joy Kaiser, who had extensive careers in the US Foreign Service.Speaking at the class of 1949 Commencement Address at his alma mater Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania last year, Herbert Kaiser said that during his three-year stay in South Africa in 1971 he was treated successfully for melanoma, a virulent form of cancer.“I benefited from the superb medical care available to whites but denied to black South Africans in apartheid South Africa,” he told the gathering.He said several years later the surgeon who saved his life wrote to him to say he was leaving his private practice to train black doctors. This, Sullivan said, was the seed that grew into Mesab.When Mesab started in 1985 there were only 500 black doctors in South Africa. Today, more than 6 800 Mesab-funded graduates work in the country’s public and private healthcare sectors.At the anniversary celebration, Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said South African healthcare had benefited enormously from Mesab’s 10 600 bursaries and scholarship grants to black healthcare professionals.She said the government was busy finalising a human resources plan to curb the drain of healthcare professionals from the public service.Other interventions include the introduction of the midlevel worker – pharmacist assistants, physiotherapy, occupational health and radiography assistants – to reduce professionals’ workload, she said.The health department was also working with other departments such as National Treasury and Public Service and Administration to improve health professionals’ pay and working conditions.“This will ensure that in the long term the support we get from organisations such as Mesab benefits the public health service by retaining these professionals,” said Tshabalala-Msimang.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Green Building Myth: Technology Will Solve All Our Problems

first_imgThe last several weeks I’ve written about a number of common myths of green building. Here’s another: that the energy-conservation features and products we install are enough to ensure that our houses will be top energy performers.The starting point in greening a home should always be the sorts of features I cover weekly in this blog: high levels of insulation, good air sealing and weatherization, efficient heating and cooling equipment, energy-efficient appliances and lighting, and renewable energy systems. But these systems aren’t enough to ensure that our energy bills will be low. How we operate our houses also has a huge impact.To use an extreme example, even a superinsulated house with R-50 walls and triple-glazed windows will use a huge amount of energy if we leave the windows open all winter. Most of us would never do that — but we do leave the lights on and run water unnecessarily all the time. Below are a few strategies to help us save energy through thoughtful operation of our houses:1. Turn off the lightsLighting spaces that aren’t occupied wastes energy, pure and simple. No matter how efficient the electric lighting technology, turning those lights off saves more energy. Turn off the lights when you leave a room; if you can’t remember to do that — or if others in your family can’t — install occupancy sensors that turn off lights automatically after a room has been unoccupied for a certain length of time. (I like manual-on, auto-off occupancy sensors, so the lights don’t turn on when your cat walks into a room.) For outdoor lighting, if we can’t remember to turn lights on and off manually, motion sensors can be used to turn on lights only when needed, and photosensors will turn them off during the day.2. Use task lightingOften, we don’t need to light up a whole room. By turning on lights only where you need them — a practice known as “task lighting” — we can save lots of energy.3. Take shorter showersHeating water is one of the two or three largest energy uses in most homes — and as we improve the energy performance of our building envelopes (insulation levels, air tightness, windows, etc.), water heating becomes proportionally more important. Showers are typically the largest use of hot water in homes, and we can save a lot by not only installing low-flow showerheads (less than 2.0 gallons per minute) but also by taking shorter showers. A shower control that lets you turn the flow down while shampooing or lathering is another great way to save.4. Don’t leave the faucet runningIn the bathroom, avoid the temptation to leave the tap on while brushing your teeth or shaving. In the kitchen, don’t pre-rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, or if you must pre-rinse, turn on the water for just a few seconds to do so — and use cold water.5. Fill up the dishwasherMost dishwashers use almost as much water with a half load as a full load, so you can save a lot of water and energy by waiting to run the dishwasher until it’s full. Maybe you’ll have to buy a few more dishes, but you’ll save money in the long run if this permits you to run the dishwasher only every second or third day.6. Wash full loads of laundryThe same argument for running full loads in the dishwasher applies as well to clothes washers. Wait until you can run a full load.7. Hang clothes outdoorsIn good weather, you’ll save a lot of energy by hanging clothes outdoors. This will also save wear-and-tear on your clothes. (If you need evidence for this, think about where that lint you empty from the dryer trap is coming from!)8. During the summer, operate your house to reduce air conditioning useWith hot days and cool nights (except when it’s very humid), it makes sense to close up the house during the day and open it up at night. During the day close windows and also lower blinds if you aren’t home (to block solar heat gain). Then at night open the house up to bring in cooler night air. In some places or during some times of year, this can totally obviate the need for air conditioning.Achieving energy savings in homes is really a two-part strategy. First, we need the energy-saving technologies and systems in place. But often just as important is how we operate our houses for optimal energy performance. It isn’t rocket science, but it does take some common sense. Fancy technology isn’t the answer for everything.I invite you to share comments on this blog.—Alex Wilson is the executive editor of Environmental Building News and founder of BuildingGreen, LLC. To keep up with his latest articles and musings, you can sign up for his Twitter feeds.last_img read more

Why Magazines Are Using Digital To Boost Prices, Not Bolster Innovation

first_img5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… Well, this is disappointing.As magazines make the transition from print to pixels, some publishers are using the move as an opportunity to jack up their prices – in some cases, to more than they were charging for print editions. And that’s for tablet versions that are too often crappy afterthoughts. To be fair, magazines are contending with legitimate financial concerns. Their advertising revenue has been declining and the historically discounted subscription rates they’ve charged for print delivery just aren’t enough to pay the freight. To cope, many publishers are asking readers to chip in more – on digital versions as well as print editions.There are some problems with driving up prices too much, though.For one, everyone knows it’s cheaper to distribute content digitally than to print it and mail it. Asking buyers to pay more for something that costs you less to deliver is the kind of tactic that makes many subscribers feel exploited. It’s a head-scratcher, if not a subscription-canceler. Sure, magazine makers may still be coping with meaty legacy cost structures. But that’s not our problem, is it?  Readers Have Way More ChoicesThere’s also much more competition. Long gone are the days when magazines competed only with each other. Today, the entire Internet churns out content at a volume too great for any one human to keep up with – and it’s all instantly available at any time. In addition to traditional magazines gone tablet, there are the digital-only magazines, sitting right there on the skeuomorphic newsstand shelf. For every frustrated TIME subscriber, there’s a free download of the Huffington magazine, not to mention personalized, social-fueled digital “magazines” from Flipboard, AOL Editions, Google Currents, Zite and an ever-growing list of others. If Wiredjacks up its prices, there’s always digital mags from The Next Web and Engadet, not to mention the huge selection of tech coverage available through news aggregator apps and feed readers. How Publishers Have Fared With TabletsNot everyone in the publishing industry is enamored with the idea of publishing native tablet apps for readers to flip through. MIT Technology Review editor Jason Pontin vowed to kill his magazine’s native apps, citing high costs, technical challenges and the walled-off, un-Web-like nature of apps. The Financial Times famously pulled its iOS apps in favor of the HTML5 approach and isreportedly seeing more traffic and revenue since making the switch. Indeed, research has suggested that most readers prefer Web apps to native, platform-specific publications. 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… Related Posts Tags:#digital publishing#iPad#ipad magazines#magazines#tablets john paul titlow Still, some magazines have done pretty well with their digital editions, especially when they bundle them with print. In the United States, tablet publications are the second highest-grossing category of apps on iOS, according to an independent audit. Time and Conde Nast are selling the most digital mags, with news and women’s interest magazines dominating those sales. Half of Wired‘s revenue now comes from digital, which is a rare but promising milestone for a legacy publisher. I still subscribe to Wired in print, and I appreciate the fact that the iPad edition comes at no extra charge. I also happily pay for Marco Arment’s experimental publication The Magazine, because it consistently publishes content I enjoy in relatively small doses, rather than flooding me with irrelevant features and full-page ads.“The Magazine was profitable from day one,” says Arment. “As subscribers increased past break-even, I’ve been able to reinvest the additional income into more articles, higher author payments, original illustrations, photos and a professional editor.”While Arment won’t disclose hard numbers, he says he’s satisfied with what he calls The Magazine’s “fantastic success.” By utilizing what publishing expert Craig Mod calls “compact publishing” and monetizing it fairly, Arment has managed to build a profitable, if small media business in an age when industry trend lines have the stubborn tendency to slide downward.There’s clearly a limit to how much people will pay for magazine-style content. And it’s not at all clear that number is rising instead of falling. Folks who want to remain in the publishing business need to figure out a hybrid model that works, and not just jack up their prices to make up for shrinking subscriber rolls. Digital Magazines SuckThe business model isn’t the only issue here. Just as important is the consensus that most digital magazines just aren’t very good. In far too many cases, subscribing to a magazine on your tablet means downloading a bloated, glorified PDF that hardly delivers the potentially magical experience the form factor allows. Even some of the digital-only magazines from online publishers mimic print page-for-page in disappointing pinch-to-zoom layouts.  There are some promising alternatives. Wired‘s iPad app is pretty print-centric but at least the editors go to  the trouble of adding multimedia bells and whistles.  The Magazine takes an attractive minimalistic approach – both in terms of publication design and pricing.Traditional publishers may want to look to The Magazine for inspiration, as well as to social news aggregators like Flipboard and Zite, which have managed to produce truly addictive reading environments worthy of a slot in one’s home screen dock. Rethinking magazines for tablets will require publishers to get completely out of the print mindset. That means different layouts, lighter file sizes, deeper social integrations and yes, occasionally pointing readers toward content published by others. On the whole, digital magazines have a long way to go. When they get there, those of us who are most hungry for the news, analysis and entertainment they provide will happily pay up. Hopefully, there will be enough of us to make the best digital magazines into viable businesses.last_img read more

Get Sharper Footage with These 7 Focus Tricks

first_imgKeep your subjects in focus and improve your project with these tips and tricks.Top image via Shutterstock.Keeping shots in focus is one of the most crucial elements of capturing an image. A subject in focus tells the viewer what to look at. With techniques like racking or pulling focus, the shift in clarity alerts us how to direct our attention as the action unfolds onscreen.One of the many hurdles of working in video production is insufficient crew, equipment, money, and time. While all of these can be significant challenges, they also create opportunities to broaden your understanding of the craft and your equipment. Cinecom demonstrates a few ways you can accomplish your filmmaking goals, whether that means racking focus or following a subject. Let’s take a look at a few solutions for the solitary shooter.Testing Your Depth of FieldOne of the simplest ways to consistently capture in-focus shots is to know your lens. For the average shreditor, knowing your gear inside and out is essential for securing consistent work. You can practice with your lens by walking toward a stationary object, while trying to keep it in focus, and memorizing how much you’ll have to turn the lens. While simple, this technique is a timesaver you can try out at home.Working with Your EnvironmentAs you follow a subject throughout a scene, maintaining a consistent distance and awareness of the camera’s position is key. This might sound difficult, especially if you’re the shooter, director, and focus puller, but there are ways to ensure a consistent approach like tying a string to your subject, excessive rehearsal, or blocking out the scene for focus pulls (arrange the mise en scène to indicate focus points).Start with the Closer SubjectOne of the rules of depth of field is that the further your subject is, the greater the depth of field you have to work with. With that in mind, if you’re struggling to pull focus accurately, start the shot on the subject closest to the camera. This allows you to establish focus, and then you can pull further away to focus on the more distant subject.Marking Your PointsA seemingly amateur yet effective approach is to mark your lens (or follow focus) with some type of sticker, marker, or tape, signifying where your points of focus will be when racking or pulling. This is much easier when you have a designated focus puller, but if you’re like me, shooting solo, you can still rack and pull effectively.Buy a Focus RingA cost-effective way to focus quickly is to use a focus ring. Ryan Connelly over at Film Riot covered this, demonstrating how to use a jar opener as a follow focus. Since lenses have such small focus rings, purchasing one of these cheap tools makes it less likely that you’ll miss the mark. You can even indicate your points of focus on the tool itself.Set the AutoFocus Before RecordingOne of the many benefits of working with Sony A-series cameras is that you can adjust the auto focus and set up the shot before recording. As you can see in this video, the process is as easy as opening the menu, changing the AF Drive Speed from Normal to Slow, and setting your focus point accordingly. No more missing your subject by a few millimeters while trying to rack. This adjustment will let you toggle at the exact length you need. Jason Vong has also uploaded a tutorial on improving focus with the Magnify Focus option.For more on auto-focusing with a DSLR, check out PremiumBeat’s 3-step breakdown for nailing the shot.Also, if you missed your mark and accidentally left your subject out of focus, here’s a post-production quick tip for correcting an out-of-focus shot.Know of any other focus pulling tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments.last_img read more

Refinery given week’s time to demolish wall on jumbo corridor

first_imgThe administration of eastern Assam’s Golaghat district had set a week’s deadline to Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) to demolish a boundary wall erected on a major elephant corridor.The Supreme Court had on January 18 ordered NRL to remove the 2.2 km wall around its proposed township that included a golf course. The refinery was given a month’s time to comply.In a notice to NRL’s Chief General Manager (Human Resources) on February 14, the district’s Deputy Commissioner said the refinery should demolish the entire wall within seven days and ensure that the land so acquired was kept free of any barrier for facilitating the movement of elephants.The order, the notice pointed out, was in reference to the apex court’s order as well as that of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in 2016.Environmentalists had objected to the wall the refinery had erected in 2011 in – as the NGT had observed later – a part of the 133.45-hectare Deopahar Reserve Forest which the Assam Forest Department notified a day after the Supreme Court’s order.The refinery received flak from wildlife activists when a seven-year-old male elephant died of haemorrhage in May 2015 after trying to force its way through the wall. Videos also captured herds trying to cross the high boundary wall with barbed wire in vain. In August 2016, the NGT ordered NRL to demolish the wall within a month, but only a 289-metre stretch was demolished.The refinery challenged the NGT order to demolish the entire wall, but the Supreme Court said “there cannot be any township as elephants have the first right on forest”.last_img read more