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Nadal, Federer, Djokovic remain ones to beat at US Open

first_img“Arrive to the big events with good feelings helps,” Nadal said. “Positive feeling, positive memory on my mind. That helps for the confidence.“For the moment I am feeling well. I am practicing well during the whole week. Now remain a couple of days to just push a little bit more and try to start the tournament in a good way.”Second-ranked Nadal, an 18-time Grand Slam winner who took his 12th French Open title in June, isn’t too excited over Federer and Djokovic both being in the opposite half of the draw.“I have to win my matches to have an advantage because I only can meet them in the semifinals,” Nadal said. “I have plenty of work before that to know if I have an advantage or not.”Medvedev, Thiem surgingRussia’s Daniil Medvedev has enjoyed a stellar US Open run-up with a win at Cincinnati and runner-up efforts at Washington and Montreal.“I don’t consider myself as one of the favorites just because at this moment of my career I haven’t even been in a quarter-final of a Slam,” Medvedev said. “If I get to the quarter-final, it’s going to be already a step forward and I’m going to be really happy about it.“When I play my best tennis I can beat basically everybody and that’s what I need to keep doing here.”Austrian fourth seed Dominic Thiem lost to Nadal in the Roland Garros final and will be a threat.“Every year he’s improving,” Nadal said. “Every day he’s very solid and every year is more solid.“He has everything to win important events. He already is winning important events. He’s a very, very hard worker. Just a question of time that he achieve all his goals.” Federer, 38, doesn’t see a problem with the dominance by the sport’s elder statesmen, who together own 54 of the past 65 Slam titles.“I don’t think it’s a problem, per se,” Federer said. “Now that Novak, Rafa and me are healthy again, Andy (Murray) also slowly coming back again, has made it much harder for young guys to come through.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSAllen Durham chews out Meralco: Everybody played like sh*tSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissSPORTSThirdy Ravena gets‍‍‍ offers from Asia, Australian ball clubs“They are definitely knocking on the door big-time now. I think that’s very encouraging for those who want to see somebody else win. I think also Novak’s domination, Rafa’s domination is also not normal for the game of tennis.“I think there’s going to be chances moving forward, but it’s not surprising with the type of tennis they’ve been playing in recent years.” OSG petition a ‘clear sign’ of gov’t bid to block ABS-CBN franchise renewal — solon Priyanka Chopra Jonas joining Amazon’s spy series ‘Citadel’ Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next View comments BREAKING: DOJ indicts ex-PNP chief Albayalde for graft Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:44Djokovic wins Laureus Sportsman of Year Award00:50Trending Articles01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award03:05Malakanyang bilib sa Phivolcs | Chona Yu01:26Homes destroyed after Taal Volcano eruption02:48ABS-CBN franchise has ‘natural deadline,’ no need for quo warranto — Gatchalian03:06Tahimik, Mapanganib | Jong Manlapaz00:49Sweet! Indian bakers make world’s ‘longest’ cake MOST READ FILE – Spain’s Rafael Nadal (R) hugs Switzerland’s Roger Federer (L) after winning their men’s singles semi-final match on day 13 of The Roland Garros 2019 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on June 7, 2019. (Photo by Philippe LOPEZ / AFP)While a host of young rivals hope to disrupt the dominance of the “Big Three” in men’s tennis, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer remain the US Open favorites.The year’s final Grand Slam showdown starts Monday on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts with top-ranked Djokovic, 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer and Spanish superstar Nadal having combined to win the past 11 Grand Slam titles.ADVERTISEMENT WATCH: Robredo repacks relief goods with ‘mocha’ behind hercenter_img LATEST STORIES Germany’s sixth-ranked Alexander Zverev warns not to ignore other lower seeds such as Japan’s seventh-seeded Kei Nishikori, the 2014 US Open runner-up, and Greece’s eighth-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas.“There are a few guys that have a real shot to win it,” Zverev said.“Obviously the ‘Big Three’ we don’t need to talk about. Of course, Novak is the big favorite, no question about it, but there are other guys that have been playing great tennis. I think those guys will be able to do some damage.”Federer, however, wouldn’t mind stretching his lead over Djokovic and Nadal in the men’s all-time Grand Slam title race.“I’m not putting extra pressure on myself. I know it’s going to be tough,” Federer said. “I feel like I’m part of that group who can do it.” Dutch YouTube star Nikkie de Jager says she is transgender Third-seeded Federer also throws in a chance for Swiss compatriot Stan Wawrinka, who like Britain’s injured Murray has won three Slam crowns during the “Big Three” reign, but figures a familiar face will be lifting the US Open trophy.“Yeah, it seems like the same guys are the favorites again this time around,” Federer said. “It will be a surprise if anybody else won.”Defending champion Djokovic, seeking a 17th career Grand Slam title, has won four of the past five Slams, denied only by Nadal’s French Open win in June. The 32-year-old Serbian says he has adjusted to the extra pressure of defending over the years.“It’s a paramount challenge to defend a Grand Slam title,” he said. “These are the tournaments you want to win the most. This is where you want to shine.”Nadal, 33, has made an impressive run with titles at Rome, the French Open and Montreal and a Wimbledon semi-final loss to Federer.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Robredo hits Mocha over false post: Why let gov’t pay a fake news purveyor? ‘Homeland’ star Patinkin lauds intelligence community Mandatory evacuation enforced in Lemery Streak ends: US men’s basketball falls to Australialast_img read more

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Contract inked with Chinese firm for water treatment plants

first_imgGuyana has on Thursday signed agreements with the Chinese firm Sinohydro to procure three new water treatment plants to service the communities of Uitvlugt (West Coast Demerara), Diamond (East Bank Demerara) and Sheet Anchor (East Canje, Berbice).Initiated under the previous administration at a cost in excess of US million, Sinohydro will be undertaking the project with funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the European Union (EU). Included in the contractManaging Director of GWI, Dr. Richard Van West Charlesare provisions for the replacement and installation of transmission mains in the project areas.Managing Director of the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI), Dr Richard Van West Charles, noted that with addition of the new plant at Sheet Anchor, the number of treatment plants in Region Six would increase to five.“This is one of the central strategic objectives of GWI. And this fits right into the mission of this organisation,” Van West Charles said. These new treatment plants would be additional to the existing 24 treatment plants.“But it is important for us to understand, that in our quest for water quality, the treatment plants represent one of the modalities that we are using with respect to the attainment of water quality across the board,” he explained.Procurement of these treatment plants, he noted, would complement works being done to upgrade infrastructure around the country. According to Van West Charles, some 70,000 people would benefit from the new treatment plants.“With respect to the specific regions, this now moves us to four of these large treatment plants in Region Three. And within another few weeks, you shall hear and witness the turning of the sod for three new wells (to be installed) at Vergenoegen, Pouderoyen and Westminster in Region Three,” Dr Van WestOut going minister within the Communities Ministry, Dawn HastingsCharles detailed.“In Region Four, this now moves these treatment plants to five on the East Bank of Demerara, with two additional wells which will be in Diamond. And in Region Six, it now moves the plants to five, with additional wells in Manchester and Port Mourant, in addition to other upgrading of the infrastructure,” Dr Van West Charles detailed.Van West Charles claimed his entity had learned from the fiasco in regard to the 2015 Amelia’s Ward project in Linden, which saw Government shelling out millions to fix defective water treatment plants.Performing what will likely be her final duties under the Communities Ministry, outgoing minister Dawn Hastings was also present. She went into details regarding the number of persons the project, in the pipelines since the previous administration, would target.“This project is going to benefit a lot of persons, and I would like to identify exactly where and how many households.This programme will benefit approximately 6,764 households in Region Three; 9,292 households on the East Bank (in) Region Four, and 4,629 households in Region Six; with a per capita investment in excess of $30,000 per person. We’re (also) going to replace and install 70 kilometres of transmission and distribution mains in the project areas,” she explained.She said the overall aim of the programme would be to increase the range of treated water service.It has been reported that GWI had sought the help of its Surinamese counterparts to assist in designing the water treatment plants.That decision was taken following a visit by a team of specialists from the Surinamese Water Supply Company (SWM), which discovered in the Linden Water Treatment Plant design flaws that has since been causing headaches for the residents of the community and GWI.last_img read more

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Beating us made Spain great, says Italy defender

first_imgSuccessive groups of talented players had failed to deliver on the international stage as footballing disappointment became a national dish in the Iberian country.But that all changed when Spain finally delivered on their promise and landed the European Championship crown in a 1-0 win over Germany.Since then they have been undoubtedly the best side on the planet, claiming the World Cup in South Africa two years later and rising to number one in the world.They are the favourites again here but ahead of their opening match against the Italians, Chiellini says it was that quarter-final victory in Vienna, on penalties, against the then world champions Italy that shaped Spain’s destiny.This time around, four years on, Italy will be the clear underdogs when the two sides meet in their Group C opener in Gdansk on Sunday.“We know we’re playing a team that has made history in the last four years,” said the Juventus defender.“It was against us four years ago in Austria that they started to really believe they could be great.“We must be aware that we can play our game and that it will also be difficult for them against us.”Spain are not just the best team but in the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and David Silva they have some of the best players in Europe.But Chiellini is covinced that the Azzurri can prevail through teamwork.“One player is not enough to stop a player like Iniesta, Silva or Xavi,” he said.“With all these great Spain players you need to play together, to play for each other and to help each other in every moment in every part of the pitch.“That’s the only way to stop the great individuality of Spain.”Given how Italy played, and most of all defended, last Friday in a 3-0 humbling by Russia in Zurich, it would seem they have little hope of keeping out the Spaniards.Chiellini missed that game through injury but he says the criticism Italy received afterwards was justified, although he warned against writing them off completely due to one bad performance.After all, Italy qualified for the finals with two games to spare in their group and had the best defensive record in qualifying.“Last week there were many attacks which were more or less just and right,” he said humbly.“We’ve tried to restablish calm. We’re used to that because we’re used to putting up with this type of press.“We have found and will continue to find ways to isolate ourselves and work hard because this has nothing to do with what goes on on the pitch.“There has been a drop in results since we reached our objective (of qualifying for the Euros) but it’s too much to say that we’ve disappeared.”Since then, however, they have played three friendly matches and lost all three — to Uruguay, USA and now Russia — without so much as scoring a goal.A vast improvement both up front and in defence is needed if they are to stand any chance of repeating the 2-1 friendly success they had against Spain in Bari last August.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000KRAKOW, Poland, June 7- Centre-back Giorgio Chiellini believes Spain’s route to greatness began with victory against Italy at the European Championship four years ago.Until then, the word Spain could barely be written in a footballing context without the prefix: perennial underachievers.last_img read more

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Disney Maladies (and How To Treat Them)

first_img11-12 days — this is just before you have to start competing with people that didn’t realize that you needed to make FP+ and ADR’s prior to getting there, making it the last-best-chance to make changes.Finally, you can rest easy in knowing that one of the reasons that our Personalized Touring Plans can be optimized in real time is to give you the flexibility to reset if you need to for whatever reason. You can do your thing and follow your plan, but if lunch takes longer than expected or you get stuck on the top of Astro Orbiters, the remainder of your day will be at worst reshuffled, so you’ll still be touring as efficiently as possible for the things that you’d like to do. Knowing in advance that you can always hit “Optimize” and refresh your plan to give you the best itinerary as of that moment should give you the comfort to know that a single deviation from your schedule isn’t going to torch your day.  Gigantusmusophobia No, this will not take you to Animal Kingdom… Photo © DisneyBuses? Monorails? Boats? Walking? Walt Disney World’s dizzying array of transportation options are enough to leave you, well, dizzy. Moreover, I know many first-timers in particular underestimate transit time, and assume that the monorail, for example, goes everywhere.   One strategy for avoiding this disorientation is to understand going in what your options are. Buses, by far, are the most common way to get around for most people using Disney transportation, but there are some generalizations that can be made about the other transportation options at the various resorts and parks.    Park-to-park: You can travel between Magic Kingdom and Epcot via monorail, and you can travel between Epcot and Hollywood Studios via boat (or by walking). All other park-to-park transportation will require you to use a bus. If you are staying at a Value Resort or Moderate Resort, your only Disney transportation option to get to any park will be a bus.Murphitis 62-63 days — it’s right before my FastPass+ window opens (onsite — go with 32-33 if you’re off-site), making it an ideal time to make sure that your ADRs, intended FastPass+ reservations and the Crowd Calendar still line up the way you’d like them.   Parents holding the child while meeting the characterAnd finally, when all else fails…Parents holding the child several feet in front of the character while the photographer lines it up to make it look like they are standing next to each other.I know, I know, not ideal, but foisting your kids into a terrifying situation isn’t ideal for them, either. Respecting their Gigantusmusophobia now will result in them getting over it more quickly, and you’ll get that photo opp you want sooner rather than later. Frankly, I wish that had been done with me and clowns as a kid.  Alas, I digress…Epcrotch 100-120 days — there’s still decent restaurant availability at all but the most sought-after places, so if I want to make some moves, it’s a decent time to do it — and enough time has passed from when I originally booked that there might be a need for a change. Disney Springs: Disney Springs can be accessed via boat from Old Key West, Saratoga Springs (which is also walkable), and both Port Orleans resorts. All other resorts require you to take a bus.   Parents meeting the character along with the child throughout the experience.center_img Gigantusmusophobia, which in the interest of full disclosure is a term that I completely invented, is the very real fear of enormous, anthropomorphic mice. Your toddler may love Mickey and Minnie, but it’s a whole other wedge of cheese when those beloved characters turn out to be several times larger than anticipated and they are motioning your now-terrified child over to clasp them in death’s cold embrace.  Being proactive is the right approach here. The first step you can take to ward off this affliction is to see if you can provide some non-threatening exposure to these larger than life characters prior to foisting your child upon them for a photo opp. It can be as simple as walking near a meet and greet where your child can clearly see the character, but it will give you an opportunity to gauge his or her reaction and guide your next steps accordingly. Another helpful strategy is to start with a “face character” (Disney-speak for a character who does not wear a mask that obstructs their face) who may be less visually intimidating than a “fur character” (those who do wear large head coverings) like Mickey.What do you do if your child freaks out when you DO meet a character? I do not purport to be a child psychologist, but I have watched this unfold enough times to know that wholesale ignoring your child’s terrified screams and depositing him or her with a character and hoping for the best is unlikely to be good for anyone. If you still want to get that all-important photo, though, strategies that I’ve seen work include:Parents meeting the character along with the child and then backing away once the child has become comfortable; © Body Glide LLCI’m not sure who first coined this term (I cannot take credit for it myself, but it is apt), but it is a condition that is unfortunately not confined to Epcot. Without going into great detail, suffice it to say that Epcrotch is the legitimately painful chafing that is the byproduct of countless hours of slogging through the hot and humid Florida weather, usually experienced in a region that should be obvious from the name. Add humidity to the natural friction that comes from miles of walking, and you have a recipe for agony.  The best defense is a good offense, and one great place to look for guidance is another group that deals with sweat and friction on the regular — distance runners. There is a whole battery of anti-chafing products designed for runners, from products designed to keep those areas dry, to those that are designed to reduce friction. At the first sign of trouble (or if you know you’re prone to this unfortunate condition), get yourself some anti-chafing product and apply it wherever it needs to be applied. Body Glide in particular has some great products made specifically to deal with this sort of chafing.    Transit-induced Vertigo Walking: Only one resort, the Contemporary, allows you to walk to the Magic Kingdom. Both Epcot and Hollywood Studios can be accessed on foot from the Yacht & Beach Club, the Boardwalk Inn, and the Swan and Dolphin Resorts. Animal Kingdom is not walkable from any resort — even guests staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge and Kidani Village need to take a bus to get to that park.   This level of detail might be overkill…I often tell people that there are few places on planet Earth that reward a little bit of advance planning like Walt Disney World. It can, however, most definitely be overdone. What’s worse, you can find yourself so wracked with indecision that you can’t do anything and you’ve sucked all of the fun out of the trip before it’s even begun. The prescription for this ailment, simply stated, is to relax. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: the overwhelming majority of people that go to Walt Disney World do so with little or no planning and they still have a great time, so the fact that you’re aware of the benefit of planning ahead puts you in a better position that all of those people. Embrace this truism now: there is no single planning decision that you make that will make having fun impossible, nor can a single decision guarantee you The Best Trip Ever. Armed with that knowledge, there is no need to needlessly fret over whether you’ve reserved the right restaurant for lunch, or whether you’ve picked the right attraction for your FastPass+ reservations. You’ve probably done just fine.  If you are a hyper-planner (as I know many of you are), however, learn to trust your research and your decisions. Sure, people often change their plans as the trip approaches, but there is not generally a need to hop on MyDisneyExperience every day to agonize over every ADR and FastPass+ reservation you’ve made. What I do to keep myself from driving myself bananas revisiting my plans is to set up several designated times to check them and make sure I’m still cool with my choices, but I otherwise try to resist the temptation to constantly tweak our plans. Here are some ideas for timing, and why I’ve picked them:182-3 days — just prior to the ADR window opening, to make sure I still like my restaurant choices before I have to book Share This!Walt Disney World has a deserved reputation as one of the most fun places you can visit, but what is lesser known is the litany of ailments such a trip can cause. Did you know, for example, that more children come down with a case of Gigantusmusophobia at Walt Disney World than any other location? Disney maladies are an under-recognized threat to your vacation experience.  You need not, however, waste your entire vacation in the infirmary. Read on to learn how to quickly identify and treat common Disney ailments!  Overplanning Paralysis Splitsville can be a great change of pace location to mix it up on a tripDerived from Murphy’s Law, this condition afflicts those whose trips have been plagued by one challenge after another. You’ve spent months planning the trip of a lifetime, but when the time actually comes, nothing goes right. Your flight is delayed, your room isn’t ready, the ride you were most looking forward to is down during your FastPass+ window, etc. Taken individually, not a big deal, but eventually, the cumulative effect threatens to crater your carefully planned trip. Whatever can you do?If your plan isn’t working anyway, why not scrap your plan? I’m not saying you have to jettison the whole thing for the remainder of the trip, but sometimes taking a breather from the schedule and just letting the trip come to you for a day can be just what you need to reset. There is PLENTY to do at Walt Disney World that does not require significant advance planning — maybe hang out at the pool, explore Disney Springs, or make a day out of checking several shows off of your to-do list (like Mickey’s Philharmagic, or Festival of the Lion King), which you can usually reliably experience without a wait even on the busiest days.  So, have you dealt with any of this common Disney ailments? Any other Disney-specific conditions I may have missed? Let me know in the comments!last_img read more

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Disney Cruise Line News — Week of September 14, 2019

first_imgShare This!Sponsored by Storybook DestinationsAhoy, mateys! I’m Heather, and I’ll be bringing you the up and coming on all things Disney Cruise Line. Welcome back again this week. Let’s see what’s new in the DCL world!Ports of CallDisney Cruise Line: In The NewsYesterday, Castaway Cay welcomed back the first guests to the island since Hurricane Dorian. While most of the experiences on the island were up and running, there were some things that were unavailable; this included the Stingray Adventure, snorkeling area, and the play structure adjacent to the family beach. Once these areas receive the TLC they need, they will be back in action.Post-Dorian, if you are interested in making a monetary or physical goods donation to the Bahamas, this list from the Bahamian government has verified and trusted avenues to do such. If you already have a trip to the Bahamas booked, get out there and support local businesses to help these beautiful islands get back on their feet.Legit sweepstakes alert!!! Enter here for your chance to win a Very MerryTime Cruise on the Disney Dream! You can enter once a day from now through September 25.Here’s this week’s special offers. Most every week of the year, Disney Cruise Line releases special offers for Florida Residents and U.S. Military Personnel.  There are also frequently IGT/OGT/VGT rates available for all guests to book.  These offers are extremely limited in availability, and all come with certain restrictions, but the prices are amazing! You can book these online, on the phone, or with your travel agent. These are the current offers available this week: Upcoming EntertainmentThe following films are being shown aboard the Disney Cruise Line ships this month:Captain MarvelDumbo Disneynature: PenguinsAvengers: EndgameAladdin Toy Story 4 Lion KingThe Nightmare Before ChristmasFor future reference, films debut on Disney Cruise Line the same day of their initial release in the United States. Films do vary by ship. Show times are available in your Personal Navigator or the official Disney Cruise Line app.Captain’s Log: Important Tips and InformationHalloween on the High Seas season officially kicked off last Saturday on the Disney Fantasy! The Dream has also joined the spooky fun, while the Magic and Wonder both have a few more weeks to wait. Just like the party at the Magic Kingdom, this celebration is very much not so scary, just a great time for all ages! If you’ve never sailed a HOTHS (yes that’s the “official” internet moniker) cruise, or have one booked this season, here’s what you can expect:As soon as you enter the atrium, you’ll be welcomed by the Pumpkin Tree. Each ship has a different tree with a unique name. In true Disney fashion, there’s also an elaborate backstory to the tree; you can read the legend behind the tree here. My personal favorite decoration is definitely the jack-o-lantern faces added to the portholes on deck 3. Impossible not to smile seeing those smiles!What’s Halloween without costume parties and trick-or-treating? Don’t forget to add your costume to your packing list; you can certainly dress subtle, but don’t be afraid to go all out! I’ve seen some amazing group costumes on board, and it definitely adds to the atmosphere. However, do be sure to keep within the costume guidelines set by DCL. Mickey’s Mouse-querade party is the place to show off your costumes, while doing the Monster Mash with favorite characters, and topping it off with trick-or-treating around the ship. Grown ups get their own bit of fun with an adults-only costume contest after dark!Activities for families and in the kids clubs will take a not-so-spooky twist, with Halloween themed crafts, pumpkin carving, and more. Haunted storytimes, and the ever popular Nightmare Before Christmas Sing and Scream movie time is not to be missed!And what’s a celebration without themed food and merchandise? Grown ups, take this limited time opportunity to sip on a Spooky Juice cocktail! The shops will be filled with all sorts of HOTHS that you both wanted and never knew you needed. Don’t forget that if something is a must-have, go on the first night when the shops open before it sells out!Sound off in the comments if you are taking a Halloween cruise this year – I’ll go first, I’ll be on the Dream next month!Special thanks to Scott Sanders of the Disney Cruise Line Blog for assistance on this article.Thanks for joining me again this week. “Sea” you next time!The Disney Cruise Line Preview is brought to you by Storybook Destinations. Storybook Destinations specializes in Disney travel, is consistently highly rated by our readers, and is owned by our own blogger extraordinaire, Tammy Whiting. Storybook also offers free subscriptions to TouringPlans to clients with qualified bookings.last_img read more

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Sci-Bono CEO gets French knighthood

first_imgDavid Kramer, centre, with the executivedirector of the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement, Beverley Damonse (left) and Minister ofScience and Technology Naledi Pandor.(Image: NSTF) The bustling Sci-Bono Discovery Centrein Newtown, Johannesburg, has helped children to find their passion for science.(Image: Sci-Bono) MEDIA CONTACTS • David Kramer  CEO, Sci-Bono Discovery Centre  +27 11 639 8436 or +27 82 558 3971 RELATED ARTICLES • SA students tops at science awards • SA women lead the way in science • SA scientists win AU awards • Space science thriving in SA • New centre to foster science careersShamin ChibbaA bit of enthusiasm, mixed with passion and a dash of perseverance – these are the attributes that have earned David Kramer, the CEO of Johannesburg’s Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, his knighthood from the French government.Kramer became a Knight of the French National Order of Merit at a ceremony held at the French Embassy in Pretoria on 21 July, because of his contribution to maths and science education in South Africa as well as France. The award is given to French nationals and foreigners for distinguished military and civil service.Kramer, who is not to be confused with the popular local musician of the same name, has been instrumental in establishing and increasing communication between French and South African science centres, a feat for which he was awarded the blue, six-armed Maltese Cross.However, his contribution extends further than the mere opening of portals between two countries. As the CEO of Sci-Bono, he has stirred pupils’ enthusiasm for science, which is an accomplishment on its own.Sci-Bono, the largest facility of its kind in Africa, breaks away from the conventional museum model whereby visitors are merely onlookers. The emphasis is on interactivity, and tentre provides many tangible exhibits.Passion for science and technologyIt is evident by the way Kramer speaks, with clear-cut confidence and buoyancy, that he has a great zest for science and technology.The former economist’s foray into education began when he taught at a Sowetan night school.After a stint overseas, he returned to South Africa in 1984 and took up a post at Protec (Programme for Technological Careers), an NGO that encourages black youngsters to take up careers in science and technology, and helps them assimilate their education into the working world.It was here that Kramer became intrigued by the disciplines of maths and science, and it was with this newfound fascination that he ran Protec for 20 years.Now at the helm of Sci-Bono (“bono” is Tshivenda, meaning “vision”), Kramer’s task is to awaken that nthusiasm for science and technology in pupils, and take their knowledge from the centre to the classroom.He stresses the importance of maths and science for schoolchildren, saying that no matter what you may study in the future, the two subjects are crucial.“The scary thing is if you study art or religion, you will still compete with students who would have taken maths and science at school.”He speaks of how, 60 years ago, learning to read and write were essential for surviving in the working world, but added that today, those skills are not enough.“If you are unable to use screen-based technology you are considered illiterate. It is critical for kids to learn to think in a technological environment.”Kramer believes the way the two subjects are taught in schools make it difficult for pupils to grasp them. He added that many teachers are not comfortable with maths and science and have not been trained sufficiently to teach them.“In the 1980s, students would first come across calculus in university. Now, pupils in grade 12 are starting to learn it, but their teachers are not equipped to teach them.”He also notes that the perception of maths and science as difficult subjects may be a deterrent for some pupils.While he admitts the subjects may be challenging, they are no more demanding than maths and science in other countries. The problem, Kramer says, is not with the aptitude of South African learners but with the way the education curriculum is structured.“We in South Africa are not getting the basics right. We have not yet got grades one, two and three right.”Changing attitudes towards science and mathsIn a 2008 interview, Kramer said that his and the centre’s purpose was to change pupils’ and teachers’ attitudes towards maths and science.“We still have a long way because everyone has their own attitude,” he said at the time.Another one of his aims was to educate children about the opportunities maths and science can offer them in the future.According to Kramer, Sci-Bono has been making headway, and creating a good impression on the children who enter the centre.“We get 180 000 kids coming through Sci-Bono and they leave excited. But then they return to the schools that teach them in the old boring way. Maintaining that excitement is hard.”To boost pupils’ enthusiasm, Sci-Bono runs a number of hands-on courses that prompts the children to design, build and experiment in teams.Two of the more intense courses include rocket and robot construction. With the former, children are taught by professional rocket scientists to design and build a rocket in five days.“It is not a trivial exercise. These are real rockets,” says Kramer. “The course culminates in them watching their own rockets shooting up into the sky.”The robot course allows children to build robots that serve particular functions.“This goes on for two months and there’s a lot of sweat that goes into it. It is harder than anything kids do at school, yet they get stuck in and enjoy themselves. It becomes a life changing activity,” says Kramer.However, he laments the fact that Sci-Bono is serving the needs of hundreds of children instead of hundreds of thousands. “We need to have a nationwide impact,” he says.Career education needs more attentionKramer does maintain that learning is not always about excitement. He says that youngsters should learn from an early age that the higher they go, the harder learning becomes. More important, he says, is that children need to have a vision and know what they want out of learning.He feels the education system has seriously failed pupils in this regard, citing the fact that career education is not taken seriously.However, Kramer has not completely given up on career education. Mining conglomerate BHP Billiton partnered with Sci-Bono in 2004 to kick start a career centre worth R13.5-million within the science centre.It is a public service that offers career advice, counselling and career education activities to both teachers and pupils.Kramer is currently busy on a number of projects with the Gauteng provincial government that involves improving the state of schools and teaching.However, he is unable to disclose the details of the projects.“I would like to see an increase in the number of teachers who have a passion for maths and science. I also want to see children take advantage of the opportunities that are afforded to them,” he says.last_img read more

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Backboard: Getting Feedback Made Easy

first_imgRelated Posts Backboard, a sophisticated online solution for gathering feedback about various types of documents, came out of public beta this morning. Backboard allows users to upload and comment on standard Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents, but it also supports most standard graphics formats, including PhotoShop, and gives users the ability to mark up and comment on web pages. Backboard is geared towards a wide range of users, including freelancers as well as enterprise customers, and it is one of the easiest to use feedback and approval systems we have seen in a long time. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Backboard argues that the typical feedback and approval loop is broken – and indeed, for most of us, it probably is. Different versions of documents get passed around by email or on paper, and it is hard to collate all the different ideas and changes into a final document. Backboard sets out to change this, and, for the most part, it does this very well.After a document has been uploaded, users can easily set different security settings, and decide if a document will be available for printing or download. Backboard allows its users to decide if they want a document to be available only to invited reviewers, or if the documents Backboard page should be secured with a password. The document can also just be hidden behind a ‘secret’ URL. Where Backboard stands out, though, is in how easy the application makes it to leave feedback. Reviewers can simply use a virtual pen to mark a document up in Backboard’s excellent document viewer, or, in a text document, they can highlight parts of the text, and a form for leaving comments will automatically pop up (this feature feels a bit similar to Word 2007). Thanks to this stripped-down but powerful user interface, even an inexperienced user should be able to open a document and start reviewing it within minutes. Comments appear in real-time in a sidebar on the right. To enable these real-time comments, Backboard has partnered with Orbited.Another feature that makes Backboard stand out is its close integration with Microsoft Office 2007 and Apple’s iWork productivity apps. After installing the respective plugins, Backboard users can easily upload documents to the service from within their productivity apps. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#Groupware#Product Reviews#web center_img frederic lardinois Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Pricing PlansBackboard features an interesting pricing model. Unlike some of its competitors, all pricing tiers feature unlimited document storage, but the tiers are differentiated by the maximum file size of these documents, number of users on the account, and security features. The free version, for example, is limited to documents smaller than 5 MB (which should still be enough for all but the most complex documents) and doesn’t feature a secure SSL connection. Users who use the free account also won’t be able to restrict access to a document to specific users. Paid plans start at $6 a month for one user and $25 for teams of up to five members.Backboard also features a special ‘proofing’ plan for freelancers who do client-facing work, which allows users to add their own branding and a custom URL. This plan starts at $10 for one user.Feedback Made EasyWe have seen a lot of interesting collaborative feedback products that are quite similar to Backboard, but a lot of them are geared more towards freelancers. Backboard is definitely a great tool for this group of users as well, but at the same time, it is also geared towards groups in the enterprise. In many ways, it is this degree of flexibility that makes this tool so powerful. While the company isn’t necessarily marketing its tool this way, Backboard could also be a great tool for giving feedback in a school or college setting, where students often write multiple drafts and teachers spend a lot of their time marking up papers.Thanks to its focus on security, Backboard will surely be attractive to security-conscious businesses as well, and the company will also happily work with its enterprise customers to implement solutions that comply with HIPPA and other industry-specific regulations.Overall, Backboard turned out to be one of the most flexible and easy to use tools of its kind, and if you are looking for a better solution for gathering feedback and getting approval for documents, it is most definitely worth a try. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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Dalai Lama To Host Google Plus Hangout Tomorrow

first_imgGuide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… jon mitchell Tags:#Google#news#NYT#social networks#web Related Posts center_img The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader in exile, has joined Google Plus, and he’s hosting a live Hangout tomorrow with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The conversation is part of the inaugural Desmond Tutu Peace Lecture in Cape Town, South Africa. It’s an On Air Hangout, so there’s no limit to the number of viewers.The Hangout will be held tomorrow (Saturday, October 8) at 10:30 a.m. South African time (GMT +2:00). Unfortunately for U.S. readers, that’s 4:30 a.m. Eastern, 1:30 a.m. Pacific. Google SVP Vic Gundotra says the video will be available shortly thereafter. You can follow the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Google Plus.Greetings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the occasion of Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s 80th birthday on October 7, 2011.The Dalai Lama is unable to attend the lecture in person, because the South African government has not responded to his application for a visa multiple times. Official acknowledgement of the Dalai Lama’s legitimacy is politically sensitive, since it can be perceived as an affront to China. In refusing to grant the Dalai Lama entry, the South African government may be capitulating to that pressure. The Hangout will provide the opportunity for these two global spiritual leaders to converse remotely.As an exiled leader, as well as a worldwide figure, the Web is an important part of the Dalai Lama’s outreach. He has maintained a Twitter presence (@DalaiLama) since 2010, and he has a Facebook page with over 2 million fans. He spoke to ecademy that year about his views on social media:“Alongside our natural ability to empathize with others, we also have a need for others’kindness, which runs like a thread throughout our whole life. It is most apparent when we are young and when we are old, but we have only to fall ill to be reminded how important it is to be loved and cared about, even in our prime …years.”The 14th Dalai Lama has been in exile in India since 1959 after Tibet was annexed by China. Desmond Tutu is a South African activist and retired Anglican bishop who has been a longtime champion of human rights causes.Follow the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Google Plus for more updates. The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Auditlast_img read more

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LinkedIn and Google Help U.S. Veterans Find Work and Each Other

first_imgThe Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Tags:#Google#social networks#Social Web#web Related Posts Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro…center_img A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit As of October 2011, 850,000 U.S. veterans were unemployed. The jobless rate for post-9/11 vets hit 12.1 percent. With an estimated one million service members scheduled to leave the military between 2011 and 2016, it was high time for President Obama to find new ways to help vets find civilian jobs. In addition to launching a government resource on WhiteHouse.gov, Obama teamed up with LinkedIn and Google to offer additional resources for veterans. LinkedIn now tags job postings that might be best for veterans, and Google offers additional tools for the building the military veteran community online.Yesterday, LinkedIn launched a veterans microsite that includes tips, tools and information to help vets find job opportunities. LinkedIn also offers suggestions on ways for veterans to connect with one another using LinkedIn groups U.S. Veteran and U.S. Military Veterans Network. Today, Google launched Google for Veterans and Families, which was created by veterans who work at Google, and their families. Here, vets will find VetConnect, a tool to help vets find each other on Google+, the Google Veterans YouTube Channel, a video-focused space for connecting vets and Resume Builder powered by Google Docs. Soon, Google will launch Tour Builder powered by Google Earth, which offers a map-based way for vets to share stories about their service. While the new Google services are more focused on community than jobs, there are definite benefits to connecting with others who have shared a similar experience.Google already joined forces with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to create a customized job search engine for veterans. It identifies veteran-focused job openings on the web using JobPosting markup from Schema.org.Image via US Army Africa. alicia elerlast_img read more