Two people plunge to death from Yosemite’s Taft Point

first_imgA male and female visitor to Yosemite National Park were found dead Thursday morning after an apparent fall from Taft Point.Park officials recovered the bodies, but said they have not yet determined the identities of the couple or how they might have fallen.Taft Point has been one of Yosemite’s iconic tourist spots for more than 100 years. Located near the end of Glacier Point Road, the overlook has sweeping views of Yosemite Valley, Yosemite Falls and El Capitan.Named for President William …last_img read more

Polokwane 2010: under African skies

first_img5 October 2009 Fans attending the four games that will be played at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane during the 2010 Fifa World Cup will do so under African skies – warm sun by day, glittering stars by night. The 45 000-seater stadium, which has been built to reflect the landscape of South Africa’s Limpopo province, is more modest than some of its big city rivals, but will certainly leave World Cup vistors in no doubts as to where they are. The four corners are designed to resemble the province’s signature baobab trees, while the coloured chairs paint a picture of rolling mountains and a warm African sun. A 172-metre roof covers the eastern stand, while the rest of the spectators will be able to stare up at the big African sky. “The stadium is now largely complete – the pitch has been laid, and the last of the chairs are being put in place,” says Polokwane’s 2010 director, Ndavhe Ramakuela. “All that remains now are some final touches, and then we are ready to open.” World Cup wildlife The stadium, built on the outskirts of Polokwane, is just two kilometres from a game reserve, meaning that spotting the odd giraffe or zebra on the way to a World Cup match is not some far-fetched African fantasy. “Polokwane is a small, intimate city, and people visiting us for next year’s Fifa World Cup can be guaranteed a warm, African welcome,” says Ramakuela. “It’s the kind of place where you can breathe out and enjoy a laid-back atmosphere in a quiet, natural environment.” But that is not to say that the usually quiet Polokwane, which means “place of safety” in northern Sotho, will not be a place of festivity in 2010. “Everything will be within walking distance,” says Ramakuela. “Fans will be free to walk the kilometre or so from the city centre to the Fan Fest at the local cricket club, which is also within walking distance of the stadium. Three of our four matches are in the afternoon, so the celebrations will be an all-day, all-night affair.” Although hosting an event the size of a football World Cup is a big deal for this small city, Polokwane is no stranger to welcoming crowds. Zion City Moria, the headquarters of the Zion Christian Church, the largest African Initiated Church in southern Africa, is just 40 kilometres from Polokwane. Every year at Easter, millions of members of this church make an annual pilgrimage to Limpopo province. The thousands of football fans who will descend on the city from around the world next year are sure to enjoy the tranquility. Until kick-off time, of course! Source: 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa Organising Committeelast_img read more

South Africa’s Wits University climbs world rankings

first_img31 August 2016The University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg has climbed the world rankings of universities, to become the best in Africa.This comes from the latest Academic Ranking of World Universities, commonly referred to as the Shanghai rankings. It placed Wits among the top 1% of all universities in the world, and on the threshold of making it into the top 200.Wits University, as it is more informally known, welcomed the news, released in mid-August, and credited its outstanding staff, alumni and student body.“At Wits our research output has increased substantially in the last few years,” said Professor Zeblon Vilakazi, deputy vice-chancellor of research at the university.“Noting though that this achievement is a culmination of work done over many years by our researchers. We are truly appreciative of this recognition, and we are particularly appreciative of our researchers, scientists, students and alumni to whom these accolades really belong,” said Vilakazi.Wits University has steadily climbed the Academic Ranking of World Universities. (Image: Screengrab via Academic Ranking of World Universities)For the 14th consecutive year, Harvard University in the US took the top spot, while Stanford University and the University of California, Berkley, both also in the US, came in second and third respectively.Other South African universitiesThe universities of Cape Town, Stellenbosch and KwaZulu-Natal all featured in the top 500 academic institutions in the world. Vilakazi said it demonstrated the strength of the South African higher education system.Wits acknowledged different rankings made use of different methodologies so results should be “approached with a level of measured circumspection”.“For this reason and others,” he said, “we believe that as a university we should not be driven by ranking systems. Rather, our focus should be on building a nationally responsive and globally competitive institution. This means concentrating on research and teaching, and embedding the institution in the work that is necessary to South Africa, the continent of Africa, and the rest of the globe.”Source: Wits University and South Africa.info reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using SouthAfrica.info materiallast_img read more

Nock Nock: Where The Foursquare Geeks At?

first_imgUnless you’re a member of the service industry, Friday can mean just one thing – close your computer, all pens and pencils should be down and it’s time to hit the town. But where should you go? Sure, there are review apps like Yelp to figure out the best Thai food place within a half mile, but what if you’re looking for people? Nock Nock helps you figure out which bars and clubs are happening in real-time by looking at Foursquare check-ins according to neighborhood in four cities worldwide.Nock Nock focuses exclusively on nightlife venues like bars and clubs in New York, San Francisco, Hong Kong and Bangkok, dividing each city into neighborhoods for easy perusal. All you have to do to see where people are is choose and city and neighborhood and from there you can drill down.The pictures of everyone checked-in in a specific neighborhood are shown and you can choose venues from there. Want to see only guys or gals? There’s an option for that, of course, lest you end up (as said in the demo video below) a “total pirate ship.”You can also go a little deeper and look at each person’s profile, seeing any information they’ve provided publicly, such as their Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare profile and how long they’ve been checked into that location. What do you think – will you be using Nock Nock to figure out where you’ll be spending the night out on the town tonight?Of course, there’s just one thing – a place that might look relatively hopping on Nock Nock might just be overrun with Foursquare geeks. But it’s worth a shot, right? Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Related Posts mike melanson What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech …center_img The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Tags:#Location#mobile#web last_img read more

Designing Greener City Streets

first_imgCity streets and sidewalks in the United States have been engineered for decades to keep vehicle occupants and pedestrians safe. If streets include trees at all, they might be planted in small sidewalk pits, where, if constrained and with little water, they live only three to 10 years on average. Until recently, U.S. streets have also lacked cycle tracks – paths exclusively for bicycles between the road and the sidewalk, protected from cars by some type of barrier. Today there is growing support for bicycling in many U.S. cities for both commuting and recreation. Research is also showing that urban trees provide many benefits, from absorbing air pollutants to cooling neighborhoods. As an academic who has focused on the bicycle for 37 years, I am interested in helping planners integrate cycle tracks and trees into busy streets. Street design in the United States has been guided for decades by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, whose guidelines for developing bicycle facilities long excluded cycle tracks. Now, the National Association of City Transportation Officials, the Federal Highway Administration and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials have produced guidelines that support cycle tracks. But even these updated references do not specify how and where to plant trees in relation to cycle tracks and sidewalks.RELATED ARTICLESBeyond Sprawl: The Solar Suburbs of the FutureBill Proposes New Incentives for Electric VehiclesRust Belt Cities Go Green to Aid Urban RevivalWhy Is the U.S. Unwilling to Pay for Good Public Transportation?We Calculated How Much Trees Save for Your City In a study newly published in the journal Cities and spotlighted in a podcast from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, I worked with colleagues from the University of Sao Paulo to learn whether pedestrians and bicyclists on five cycle tracks in the Boston area liked having trees, where they preferred the trees to be placed, and whether they thought the trees provided any benefits. We found that they liked having trees, preferably between the cycle track and the street. Such additions could greatly improve street environments for all users. Separating pedestrians and cyclists from cars To assess views about cycle tracks and trees, we showed 836 pedestrians and bicyclists on five existing cycle tracks photo montages of the area they were using and asked them to rank whether they liked the images or not. The images included configurations such as a row of trees separating the cycle track from the street or trees in planters extending into the street between parked cars. We also asked how effectively they thought the trees a) blocked perceptions of traffic; b) lessened perceptions of pollution exposure; and c) made pedestrians and bicyclists feel cooler. Respondents strongly preferred photo montages that included trees. The most popular options were to have trees and bushes, or just trees, between the cycle track and the street. This is different from current U.S. cycle tracks, which typically are separated from moving cars by white plastic delineator posts, low concrete islands or a row of parallel parked cars. Though perception is not reality, respondents also stated that having trees and bushes between the cycle track and the street was the option that best blocked their view of traffic, lessened their feeling of being exposed to pollution and made them feel cooler. Factoring in climate change Many city leaders are looking for ways to combat climate change, such as reducing the number of cars on the road. These goals should be factored into cycle track design. For example, highway engineers should ensure that cycle tracks are wide enough for bicyclists to travel with enough width to pass, including wide cargo bikes, bikes carrying children or newer three-wheeled electric bikes used by seniors. Climate change is increasing stress on street trees, but better street design can help trees flourish. Planting trees in continuous earth strips, instead of isolated wells in the sidewalk, would enable their roots to trade nutrients, improving the trees’ chances of reaching maturity and ability to cool the street. Drought weakens trees and makes them more likely to lose limbs or be uprooted. Street drainage systems could be redesigned to direct water to trees’ root systems. Hollow sidewalk benches could store water routed down from rooftops. If these benches had removable caps, public works departments could add antibacterial or anti-mosquito agents to the water. Gray water could also be piped to underground holding tanks to replenish water supplies for trees. Thinking more broadly about street design The central argument against adding cycle tracks with trees to urban streets asserts that cities need this space for parallel-parked cars. But cars do not have to be stored on the side of the road. They also can be stored vertically – for example, in garages, or stacked in mechanical racks on urban lots. Parking garages could increase occupancy by selling deeded parking spaces to residents who live nearby. Those spaces could provide car owners with a benefit the street lacks: outlets for charging electric vehicles, which rarely are available to people who rent apartments. Bus rapid transit proponents might suggest that the best use of street width is dedicated bus lanes, not cycle tracks or street trees. But all of these options can coexist. For example, a design could feature a sidewalk, then a cycle track, then street trees planted between the cycle track and the bus lane and in island bus stops. The trees would reduce heat island effects from the expansive hardscape of the bus lane, and bus riders would have a better view. More urban trees could lead to more tree limbs knocking down power lines during storms. The ultimate solution to this problem could be burying power lines to protect them from high winds and ice storms. This costs money, but earlier solutions included only the conduit for the buried power lines. When digging trenches to bury power lines, a parallel trench could be dug to bury pipes that would supply water and nutrients to the trees. The trees would then grow to maturity, cooling the city and reducing the need for air conditioning. Urban trees provide benefits that help offset their maintenance costs. City of Norcross, Georgia Climate street guidelines for U.S. cities To steer U.S. cities toward this kind of greener streetscape, urban scholars and planning experts need to develop what I call climate street guidelines. Such standards would offer design guidance that focuses on providing physiological and psychological benefits to all street users. Developers in the United States have been coaxed into green thinking through tax credits, expedited review and permitting, design/height bonuses, fee reductions and waivers, revolving loan funds and the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system. It is time to put equal effort into designing green streets for bicyclists, pedestrians, bus riders and residents who live on transit routes, as well as for drivers. Anne Lusk is is a research scientist at Harvard University. This post originally appeared at The Conversation.last_img read more

TD Bank says Albertas recovery not heroic but economy is improving

first_imgCALGARY – TD Bank says Alberta’s battered economy is headed in the right direction, but warns there are still a number of hurdles that could hinder recovery.A report released Thursday by deputy chief economist Derek Burleton is predicting economic growth between two and 2 1/2 per cent for Alberta in the next year which follows an increase of nearly 4.9 per cent in 2017.“It was a nice bounce back last year, but growth is settling down this year and we’re of the mind that you’re gonna get a continued moderate growth run over the next couple of years as the economy kinds of settles down,” Burleton said in an interview.“I don’t think many were anticipating a heroic recovery despite the fact that the recession was quite deep. Oil production should grow despite some of the challenges in terms of pipelines. That’ll get us two per cent which is not heroic.”Burleton said Alberta’s economy is within a year of returning “home” — a term used to characterize full recovery from a recession. However, it could be another two years before the job market fully recovers.“Employment is back to where it was pre-recession, but a lot of the jobs are self-employment, more of a freelance type,” he said.“Employers are kind of slow to bring back hiring and part of that does reflect the lacklustre investment outlook over the next couple of years.”The report also notes that government hiring, primarily in the health and education sectors, rose by nearly 10 per cent. Private sector jobs fell by five per cent during the recession.Burleton said the lack of investment in Alberta, particularly in the oil and gas sector, remains a concern.“I think that’s the Achilles heel for recovery so far. It is basically the missing element,” he said.“Investment is not going to be catching fire soon. We’re not anticipating a lot of growth over the next few years and clearly there are some hurdles there.”Burleton said Alberta could reassert itself as a leader in growth, but only if it deals with inadequate pipeline capacity, regulatory hurdles, and eliminating the government’s budget deficit.“We still are of the mind that the economy will reassert itself,” he said. “It may be a bit at odds given the timing of this report just after the Trans Mountain decision and some of the concerns around the oil and gas sector.”Late last month the Federal Court of Appeal quashed cabinet approval of the Trans Mountain expansion project.The forecast says there is reason for optimism, including the resiliency of global oil demand and limited supply outside of Alberta, and decreasing production costs.Follow @BillGraveland on Twitterlast_img read more

Disneyland raising prices ahead of summer expansion opening

first_imgLOS ANGELES — Prices for daily tickets, parking and annual passes have been raised up to 25 per cent at Disneyland Resort ahead of the scheduled opening of a Star Wars-themed expansion.Less than a year ago, the resort increased prices by up to 18 per cent. Now, the cheapest daily ticket will cost more than $100.The Los Angeles Times reports price increases in recent years have not thinned the throngs at Disneyland and nearby California Adventure Park.More visitors are expected for this summer’s opening of the expansion called “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.”Spokeswoman Liz Jaeger says the resort offers a variety of tickets while helping manage demand and spread visitation.Disney representatives said more days would be blocked out for most annual passes compared to last year but didn’t provide more specifics.The Associated Presslast_img read more

Tyrann Mathieu Headed To NFL Draft

In the end, the embattled Tyrann Mathieu, who said he was entering the NFL Draft next year, had no other recourse that would have made sense. He could have sat out another season and transferred somewhere else or played next year at a smaller college.But those would have been opportunities that would not have advanced his career. He had been kicked off the LSU team before the season for failed drug tests. Sports Illustrated brought his eligibility into question because of his likeness being used on an advertisement for a party. And then he was arrested and charged with simple possession of marijuana in October.So it was of little surprise when Mathieu announced, “it is time for me to move forward.“I am sorry that I was not able to complete my journey at LSU, but I will always support LSU in any way I can. To my teammates, you are my brothers. You have kept me going. I will do my best to make you all proud of me,” he said.Mathieu, known as the “Honey Badger,” was a Heisman Trophy finalist known for his knack for making plays last year. But the 20-year-old Mathieu was suspended for this season due to a substance abuse issue he has continued to work on.Mathieu was arrested last month on a possession of marijuana charge. He also was dismissed from the football team in August for failing a drug test and entered a treatment program run by former NBA player John Lucas.Instead of transferring to another lower-division school to play this season, Mathieu re-enrolled at LSU but is not playing football.“I am committed to tackling my personal issues and will work to better myself every day as a man first and only then as a football player. I will always consider myself an LSU Tiger,” he said. read more

Ohio State softball loses weekend series against Purdue despite seasonhigh attendance

Ohio State shortstop Caitlin Conrad (11) slides into 3rd base as Purdue’s Tori Chiodo (22) covers the bag during the seventh inning of an April 13 game at Buckeye Field. Purdue defeated OSU, 5-4. Credit: Jason Morrow / Lantern photographerA season-high 1,598 fans packed themselves inside Buckeye Field to watch the Ohio State softball team try and win its third Big Ten series of the season.After splitting game one and two of its weekend series against Purdue on Friday and Saturday, the crowd was roaring and the bleachers were shaking throughout all of Sunday’s exciting rubber match.But despite a late rally by OSU (20-20, 6-6) against the Boilermakers (21-21-1, 9-3), the Buckeyes came up just short, losing the game, 5-4. OSU lost both games to Purdue by one-run margins.With junior pitcher Olivia O’Reilly in the circle for the Buckeyes in the rubber match, Purdue stormed ahead to a 5-0 lead through four and a half innings.In the bottom of the fifth, OSU redshirt-sophomore pinch-hitter Erika Leonard got the Buckeyes on the scoreboard with an RBI double. The Buckeyes continued their comeback in the next inning, as a groundout by senior second baseman Melaina Saafeld scored a run for OSU. With one runner left on base, senior pinch-hitter Leesa Gresham hit a two-run home run to cut the deficit to one heading into the final inning.“I was just thinking it was my time to come through, I’ve had chances the last few games I haven’t come through for the team when there was runners in scoring position so I knew it was my time,” Gresham said after the loss.With one out in the seventh, junior outfielder Caitlin Conrad raced around the bases for a triple after her hit smacked off the top of the wall, nearly clearing the fence. However, the Buckeyes’ next two hitters were unable to send Conrad home and OSU’s rally would come up short.It was a busy week for O’Reilly, pitching in both games of a doubleheader Wednesday against Ohio and starting all three games against the Boilermakers. In that span O’Reilly pitched 25.2 innings with three complete games, two shutouts and just six earned runs.Despite the recent heavy workload, OSU coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly said O’Reilly’s 103.1 innings pitched so far this season is on the low side for a number one pitcher at this point in the season.“I think Olivia is just putting her heart out on the field for us and I couldn’t ask for anything more,” Schoenly said. “She just wants to help anyway she can, she knows she’s not going to strike people out every time but she gives us a chance by just not letting them hit it that hard.”Saturday was a different story, as 11 hits for OSU coupled with four errors by the Boilermakers set the tone. The Buckeyes went on to win, 8-0, in five innings.Junior outfielder Taylor Watkins and sophomore outfielder Cammi Prantl led the team at the plate, going a combined 6-for-7 with three RBI and four runs scored in the win.“We attacked their pitchers early and often to keep that a short game, so I was definitely proud of that,” Schoenly said on the win after Sunday’s game.Dominant pitching from both teams was on display in game one of the series Friday. O’Reilly threw a complete game, giving up one run, four hits and four strikeouts. However, that one run would prove to be too much for OSU’s offense to overcome, as Purdue went on to win the game 1-0.OSU threatened early in the first inning with bases loaded and only one out, but a pair of swinging strikeouts sent the Buckeyes back into its dugout with nothing to show for it. Boilermaker starting pitcher Lilly Fecho had nine strikeouts and no walks in her complete-game shutout. Fecho was also the winning pitcher on Sunday, however, OSU was able to adjust and produce four runs in the loss.“I was disappointed with Friday because we didn’t make our adjustments to hit (Fecho) better,” Schoenly said after Sunday’s game. “But to show that they could come back and do what they did today against that pitcher, I thought they did a nice job of letting Friday go and coming back and attacking her again.”The Buckeyes are scheduled to hit the road Tuesday for a game against Wright State in Dayton. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. read more

Hughes backs Stuart Armstrong

first_imgThe Southampton manager says the Scottish midfielder is doing great after he struggled at the start of the seasonScottish midfielder Stuart Armstrong scored his first goals for Southampton in the weekend.And for manager Mark Hughes, this is just the start of something great for the player.“I felt Stuart Armstrong was excellent on Saturday and it was a shame he had to come off late on because of cramp again, which we need to get to the bottom of,” Hughes told The Evening Times.ScotlandScotland needs a hero: Billy Dodds Manuel R. Medina – September 10, 2019 According to former striker, Billy Dodds his country needs a hero to inspire future generations as the team’s hope to qualify to the EURO 2020 is small.“He came back into the team lately for ourselves and has shown good intent in his work and I think that has been followed up with his performances at international level.”“He did plateau a little bit at the beginning when he was trying to get a foothold into the team and into the Premier League, but now he looks assured and confident which is a key thing for Stuart,” he added.“He needs to be confident about his form but I think he’s showing good signs in that regard which we will benefit from as Scotland did last week.”last_img read more