CD Review: The Duke Spirit- Neptune

first_imgYou Are Here records3/5 The Duke Spirit have been toiling away tirelessly in the three years since the release of their moody garage-rock debut Cuts Across The Land, touring unceasingly, raising their profile in indie rock circles to the point at which the follow up is hotly anticipated, even if it is unlikely to be setting the album charts alight. Neptune shares in parts the same rough, propulsive post-punk sound of Cuts Across The Land but it’s actually these tracks that hamper the album and the thoughtful, poppier songs that present a much more appealing sonic pallet in today’s post post-punk times. ‘Dog Roses’, with its skeletal piano riff and tumbling guitars, focuses on the futility of living in the past: ‘But memories/Well they’re not real/There’s nothing there’. The sweet, boy-girl heartbreak of ‘My Sunken Treasure’, replete with backing ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ and echoing percussion, sounds remarkably like the girl groups of Phil Spector, but with enough individual flair not to sound like a weak impersonation. Unfortunately these tracks are outnumbered by more generic squally guitars and formulaic rhythms – mostly pretty forgettable. The almost title track, ‘Neptune’s Call’, is particularly uninspiring. On the positive side, there are a couple of other exceptions, most notably the bold, broody and defiant ‘This Ship Was Built To Last’ which is a highlight of the album. Starting with a ‘Dazed and Confused’ style trudge, it gradually morphs into anthemic territory, accompanied by lyrics reflecting the watery imagery of the whole album (ironic considering the album was recorded in the middle of the Californian desert.) The song ends with the full-bodied climax of wailing saxophone and dissonance. On the whole, however, Neptune remains more of a transitional record, a testing of the waters, and one that hopefully indicates less turbulent sailing in the future.last_img read more

T&W under attack from gangs

first_imgWholesale Polish bakery T&W Bakeries says it is considering moving after being targeted by local yobs.The company, which employs 20 staff in Sevenoaks, Kent has had windows smashed and staff have complained of racist abuse directed at them.CEO Monika Wodke told British Baker the company moved to the premises last May and has been targeted by gangs of 15- to 16-year-olds. Her 24-hour operation was an attractive target to them as the other buildings on the industrial estate were closed overnight, she suggested.She said: “Over the winter it was quiet, then they came back about a month ago and, since then, they’ve been coming back every single weekend.”The thugs smashed seven windows and four windscreens at the site in just one night last month. Police are investigating the attacks. (See T&W recipe, pg 26)last_img read more

Cooplands to save thousands in business rate renegotiation

first_imgCooplands Quality Bakers has successfully worked to renegotiate its business rates, which could see the firm save in excess of £153,000.The bakery enlisted the help of CVS – a large business rates specialist – which challenged the rates assessment levied across the company’s Hull-based site.A rent review and full inspection of its site in Hull were carried out, with CVS noting that the mixed age nature of the site and the poor internal layout had not been adequately reflected in the Valuation Officer’s assessment.Paul Stockill, director, Cooplands Quality Bakers, said: “We were extremely pleased with the substantial reduction CVS achieved for us on our business rates. The extra money can be put back into the business.”According to CVS, business rates are often one of the top three costs for businesses, and it argued that many other retail businesses could benefit if they investigated their business rate liabilities.It explained that while the government continued “to avoid solutions to improve the business rates system”, such as a move to using the Consumer Price Index as a base for inflation of rates, instead of the Retail Price Index, and grounds to allow for appeal based on economic circumstance, businesses will remain in a fight for survival.“Currently, an appeal is the only way to potentially reduce rates liability,” it said.last_img read more

Star Tech Beyond — Where No Technology Has Gone Before

first_imgThese days, organizations can find it tough to keep driving user productivity and collaboration. That’s why Dell R&D and product development teams keep driving innovation, especially in our workstations, PCs and displays. In fact, a good place to have seen what’s “new and improved” in the Dell portfolio would have been January’s big #ces2017 show in Las Vegas.For anyone who didn’t make it, below are CES highlights, with some world-firsts winning CES Innovation Awards. We also enjoyed visits by Tom Holland (above), star of the upcoming new Spider-Man: Homecoming movie, who discussed the processing power of Dell laptops and Dell STEM initiatives.Erik Strauss, executive director of software development at Sony Pictures Imageworks, told exhibit visitors:“For a movie like Spider-Man there’s only so much you can capture on set. That’s why Dell Precision workstations are our primary workstation for a team of almost a thousand artists.ShareDell Canvas 27 — a CES 2017 Innovation Award honoree — was a big CES hit at the show, with a 27-inch QHD horizontal working surface that encourages content interaction through touch, a highly precise pen and totems. As part of the Dell Precision workstation family, it will revolutionize the work and creativity of graphic artists and engineers, who choose the Precision platform for its graphics power. PC Magazine called Canvas a “cool, natural evolution of the artist’s workspace” and awarded it “Best Display” at CES 2017.Other Dell innovations shown at CES included:New Dell Precision mobile and All-in-One (AIO) workstationsThe Dell Precision 7220 mobile workstation is the world’s first mobile workstation designed specifically to handle complex content-creation workloads for virtual reality (VR) applications. In fact, it’s the most powerful Dell mobile workstation to date, with the latest 7th Gen Intel® Core™ and Intel Xeon® processors, plus NVIDIA Pascal™ Quadro professional graphics. (Available February 28, 2017, starting at $1,699. More info coming.)The Dell Precision 5720 AIO workstation features a touchscreen and some of the best sound capabilities on the market. For example, it has 10 discrete speakers powered and controlled by digital dynamic amplifiers producing 50W per channel. Compared with the iMac, it’s three times louder, 50 percent clearer and with better bass. (Available April 6, 2017, starting at $1,599. More info coming.)New Dell Latitude 5285 and 7285 2-in-1 laptopsWeighing less than two pounds, the sleek Dell Latitude 5285 2-in-1 laptop — a CES 2017 Innovation Award honoree — is super lightweight yet highly secure. Available security features including encryption, advanced threat protection and multi-factor authentication can help protect user data and guard against malware and ransomware. It has an auto-deploy kickstand that extends up to 150 degrees for multiple viewing angles, including laptop, tablet or desktop modes. It offers multiple ports, such as a USB 3.0 port, two USB Type-C ports, plus support for 4G/LTE and wireless WiGig docking. (Available February 28, 2017, starting at $899. More info.)The 12-inch Dell Latitude 7285 2-in-1 laptop, due out later this year, will also be able to charge wirelessly, when combined with a WiTricity charging mat and WiGig wireless dock. Users can take the laptop with them without disengaging any wires or a physical dock. Returning to their desks, they can set the laptop on the charging mat to begin charging, while the laptop automatically reconnects to the WiGig dock and content appears on the external display. (Available in June 2017, with pricing to be announced. More info coming.)New Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 laptop As the world’s smallest, 13-inch laptop, the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 laptop — a CES 2017 Innovation Award honoree — features an InfinityEdge, virtually borderless display, with an UltraSharp QHD+ option. Its integrated security, including Hello Windows, password-free sign-in plus multifactor authentication. At less than three pounds, the laptop is super lightweight. Its premium 360-degree hinge for four, flexible positions – tablet, tent, laptop and stand modes — to suit users’ preferences. (Available now, starting at $999. More info.)Reinventing Desktop Computing’s User ExperienceThe Dell XPS 27 AIO desktop computer — a CES 2017 Innovation Award honoree — has reinvented the desktop user experience with a vivid 4K Ultra HD display. It has 6 million more pixels than full HD and features Adobe RBG color, driving more than 1 billion colors in all. An optional touch display can provide even more user versatility. Like its Precision sibling, it offers sound that’s comparable to a home entertainment sound bar. The XPS 27 is the world’s first PC with two independent, down-firing full-range speakers, tuned to work with front-firing speakers for fully immersive sound. (Available now, starting at $1,499. More info.) For even more — much more — display resolution, the Dell UltraSharp 32 Ultra HD 8K Monitor delivers the world’s first 32-inch 8K resolution display: More than 33.2 million pixels (280 pixels per inch), 16 times more than full HD with a billion-plus colors via Adobe RGB. Monitors with such extreme resolution are critical to industries requiring in-depth image zooming. For example, fields such as photo and video editing, medicine and diagnostic research, and oil and gas exploration are expected to be among early adopters. (Available March 23, 2017, starting at $4,999. More info.)*          *          *These Dell products are just a small peek at what’s coming out of Dell’s $4.5 billion in annual R&D investments. Whether it’s flashy CES 2017 Innovation Award honorees or more obscure innovations in compute, server, storage, networking or tools, we’re focused on helping enterprises of all sizes get more productivity, efficiency, speed and responsiveness out of each and every day.See several more Dell products that were CES 2017 Innovation Award honorees!last_img read more

Universitea’ connects women across campuses

first_imgOn Saturday, the Movimiento Estundiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA) club at Notre Dame  invited women from Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross to join Notre Dame women at “Universitea,” a tea party discussion about the differences and stereotypes within the tri-campus community. The event provided a social forum for these women to come together and review their similarities and differences while talking about the barriers that exist between the three institutions, sophomore event coordinator Peggy Tull said. Participants at the tea party were each handed a pink carnation upon arrival and directed to one of nine tables. If women arrived in a group, the group was divided so that no woman sat exclusively with friends. A moderator from MEChA sat at each table, and led discussion on a specific topic. “The people who had volunteered to be moderators … pick[ed] which topic interested them the most,” Tull said. Topics included expectations prior to and after arriving on campus, the impact of social media, parties and social lif,; society’s effect on the campuses and the influence of men on the interactions of women from the three campuses. Tull said the idea was to get women talking to see what problems everyone recognized and what they felt could be done about it. “We wanted to figure out some solutions to the issues on [Notre Dame’s] campus and between campuses and even convey some of them to the administration if we can,” Tull said. Overall, she said she believed the event was a success. “Although it generated a lot of good discussion about what people at [Notre Dame] can do, this one event can’t do everything that we want it to,” she said. “There were a lot of things we could’ve talked more about … but if it left people with more to say, that’s always a good thing.” MEChA hopes to involve more students, including male students, in future events revolving around the same subject. Although the women at the tea party were encouraged not to identify themselves directly with their school, MEChA club member and Universitea moderator Rose Walsh said her group had been mostly from Saint Mary’s. “We were initially hoping to focus on [female] students,” Tull said. “We felt removing the male presence from an event might make women more comfortable, [although] male students are just as responsible for issues between campuses.” Tull said the idea for the event arose out of last year’s MEChA event, “Gender Roles at Notre Dame.” The name of the event had been changed, after an initial title referencing “MRS degrees” and “SMC Chicks” provoked a lot of con troversy. Walsh said she thought the event had Saint Mary’s students in particular very riled up. Walsh said the moderators  diffused the tension pretty quickly and made some friends,” but the conflict showed MEChA club members there were underlying issues between the campuse  and especially between the women of the community. Tull said the club’s pillars are family, education and service, with a broad focus on social justice. Universitea was designed to address the breakdowns in the family of the Holy Cross community. “This event was focused on the family aspect between our schools,” she said. “Right now, that [tri-campus] family is not nearly as strong as it should be. “Considering how close we are geographically and how involved we are in each other’s experiences, it should be a much warmer, friendlier environment – one that builds and supports each other.” Strong, healthy relationships with one another is important to creating a unified effort to promote positive change in the community, Tull said “One thing about MEChA is … we want to help improve the world not just our own campus,” she sai,. .[But] you can’t help anyone else when your own house is fractured.” Tull said students who are interested should look for MEChA’s five-day event, Semana de la Mujer, this spring. She also encourages students to follow MEChA on Facebook and Twitter, or email [email protected] for more information. Angelica Martinez, MEChA co-president, said she hopes other clubs will follow MEChA’s lead in confronting inter-campus issues. “I hope that we aren’t the only club that’s making an effort to make these campuses a whole community,” Martinez said. Contact Tabitha Ricketts at [email protected]last_img read more

Study: 1,005 Vermont jobs at risk as China pushes paper

first_imgHeavily subsidized by the Chinese government in violation of global trading rules, the Chinese paper industry has tripled production over the past decade, killing jobs throughout the United States and driving up the massive U.S. trade deficit with China, according to a report released today by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). In Vermont, according to the study, some 1,005 jobs are at stake.The EPI report, No Paper Tiger: Subsidies to China’s Paper Industry from 2002–2009, says that China’s rapid rise in the global paper industry has been fueled by more than $33 billion in government subsidies from 2002 to 2009. The full report can be found at www.americanmanufacturing.org(link is external)The U.S. paper industry is large and highly competitive, employing 474,000 workers in nearly 5,000 plants in the 2005–2007 period. However, thousands of U.S. paper producers, and the more than 470,000 remaining jobs, are at risk due to the rapid growth of highly subsidized paper exports from China. Almost every state has workers in the paper sector, with California, Georgia, Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin having the highest number of paper industry workers.“China’s massive subsidies to its paper sector are doing severe damage to the U.S. paper industry, its workers and their families,” said Scott Paul, executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM). “The only way to stop the bleeding is for U.S. policymakers to take action against China’s blatant violations of trade laws, including sweeping subsidies to paper and many other industries.”China’s export-driven paper industry has added 26 percent of new production capacity on average every year since 2004, increasing the U.S. trade deficit with China. Imports from China’s paper industry to the United States are rising faster than those from any other country. In February 2010, the report estimates, the annualized growth rate of Chinese paper and paper-product imports into the United States was 22 percent.China has no natural competitive advantage in papermaking and lacks the natural resources to fuel the industry. China’s forest base is among the smallest in the world per capita. Consequently, the country is the world’s largest importer of pulp and recycled paper.Despite the explosion in new China paper mills, the country’s paper industry uses outdated, obsolete and polluting machinery and technology, contributing to China’s growing status as one of the world’s leading polluters, according to the report, which was written by Usha C.V. Haley, Chaired Professor of International Business at Massey University in Auckland, New Zealand, and an EPI research associate.The EPI report estimates that subsidies to China’s paper industry have included:$25 billion for pulp;$3 billion for coal;$1.7 billion for recycled paper;$778 million for electricity;$442 million in subsidy income reported by companies; andLoan-interest subsidies of $2 billion.China’s strategy of dominating the global paper market through illegal subsidies is especially evident because it has no inherent cost advantages in the capital-intensive paper industry. Labor makes up only about 4 percent of the costs in the industry; in contrast, imported recycled paper and pulp comprise more than 45 percent.“Raw materials, which make up three-fourths of the costs of producing Chinese paper, as well as electricity, coal and transportation, have nearly doubled in price over the last decade,” Professor Haley said in the report. “Yet, Chinese paper sells at a substantial discount compared to U.S. or European paper.”Source: EPI. 6.30.2010. The Alliance for American Manufacturing is a nonpartisan, nonprofit partnership of several leading U.S. manufacturers and the United Steelworkers.last_img read more

Vermont Agency of Natural Resources enters new phase in flood recovery

first_imgThe Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) announced today that staff will begin the shift from an exclusive focus on emergency response to working with municipalities, businesses and homeowners to maximize the long- term effectiveness of the state’s flood recovery work. ‘The first phase of the disaster response primarily involved emergency river work that would enable Vermonters to get back to their homes and businesses,’ said Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Deb Markowitz.  ‘The work of opening up travel routes remains critical to public health and safety and our economy,’ stressed Markowitz, ‘so we are still involved in emergency efforts to allow these repairs, but now is the time to prepare for the floods that will come with melting snow and spring rains.’The expedited process used by the state to authorize river work helped get important road and bridge repair under way as soon as possible during the first weeks of the disaster resulting from Tropical Storm Irene, and ANR will continue to use this process where true emergency work is ongoing. ‘ANR is here to help communities recover, and will be wherever we are needed to offer technical assistance during this extreme situation,’ Secretary Markowitz said, ‘but it is important to remember that the environmental protections that protect our streams are not suspended during flood recovery. With permission from our River Management Engineers, emergency and recovery in-stream work will proceed, and we will continue to do everything in our power to expedite the process.’  As permanent fixes are being developed, deliberation and documentation are more critical.  Secretary Markowitz added, ‘We still need to stay on a fast track, so we will assist towns, state, and federal agencies and authorize upcoming river work in tandem with the documentation required for federal grants and reimbursements.’Recognizing that recovery in the aftermath of a statewide flood disaster requires extensive in-stream work, the Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Rivers Program will assist landowners, municipalities, and other agencies as they conduct emergency and long-term recovery work. DEC staff will ensure that rebuilding occurs in the best possible way in order to minimize loss in the next flood.State Rivers Program Manager Mike Kline, who works with and supervises the State’s river engineers, said, ‘The ability to give technical assistance through verbal authorizations has made it just possible to keep up with the demands for forty or fifty site visits and dozens of calls for assistance in a single day.  Resolving or managing conflicts between human investments and the dynamics of rivers, for longer term stability, however, will require us to move past the emergency phase.  We need to document the authorized work when a temporary fix needs to evolve into a more permanent solution.’At the discretion of the DEC River Management Engineer, three levels of authorization to conduct stream alterations will be used:1. Expedited assistance and approvals. DEC Rivers Program staff will use its emergency authorities, general permit process and expedited written and verbal approvals to address emergency situations that still exist as a result of the flood (i.e., necessary to avoid imminent danger to private and public property).2. Documented guidance and approvals.  DEC Rivers Program will use its emergency authorities and general permit processes to expedite written approvals or signoffs of stream alterations, related to the flood, but not deemed to be an emergency.  The Rivers Program will not authorize this category of work using purely verbal approvals.  These signoffs will also serve the purpose of documenting the compliance with state laws necessary to secure state and federal grants and reimbursement for flood recovery work.3. Stream Alteration Permits. DEC Rivers Program will use its stream alteration general permit and individual permit authority to issue written permits for activities unrelated to the current flood disaster recovery effort, not including those activities that may already proceed as non-reporting activities under the State Stream Alteration General Permit (http://www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/waterq/rivers.htm(link is external)).  Emergency authorities will not be applied in these circumstances and verbal approvals will not be provided.Practices that will require state and local approvals during the flood recovery period: The following practices can contribute to damage caused by flood erosion and inundation. Consequently, permits will be required from the DEC Rivers Program or municipality prior to the use of these techniques:1. Berming ‘ using gravel and other aggregate to fill and create a linear barrier between the river and its floodplain.  Placement of fill in a mapped floodway or special flood hazard area must meet the requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program in those communities enrolled in the NFIP.  Fill is not permitted in the floodway unless the applicant can demonstrate, using standard engineering practices, that the proposed development with fill will not result in an increase in base flood elevations (44 CFR §60.3).  Municipal approval under the community’s flood hazard bylaw and state review by the Floodplain Management Program are required for floodway and floodplain fills. 2. Excavating and rechanneling streams in unstable dimensions and/or elevations ‘excavating the channel substantially deeper, wider, and/or steeper than the dimensions and longitudinal slope of the channel required for the annual flood discharge; or extending dredging operations beyond that necessary for the removal of existing threats is curtailed.   These activities may be authorized, however, in severely aggraded areas, where ongoing aggradation (i.e., sediment accumulation) is anticipated by the Rivers Program, and where use of materials in flood recovery may reduce other emergencies situations. However, commercial gravel mining in streams is prohibited by law, and statutory limits for riparian landowner use of 50 cubic yards without a permit still apply in flood recovery periods.3. Creating new straightened river channels ‘excavating new channels that did not exist prior to the flood event will be not be allowed, except in very limited circumstances, where threats to life and critical infrastructure would exist otherwise.4. Reconstruction of streambanks and/or roadway embankments – encroaching into and excessively narrowing the stream channel and/or using undersized or otherwise unsuitable materials for streambank and/or roadway embankment stabilization.If you have a complaint, concern or a questions about work going on in a river near you please call 211 and the operator will help you.  Contact information and coverage maps for River Management Engineers is located at: http://www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/waterq/rivers.htm(link is external)last_img read more

2008 Best of the Outdoors : Hiking

first_imgBEST LONG DISTANCE HIKING TRAIL Appalachian TrailThe 2,175-mile National Scenic Trail extends from Springer Mountain, Ga., to Mount Katahdin, Maine.“My first thru-hike was in 1973, and I’ve done 14 thru hikes in total. I keep doing it for the same reason people keep going to church. I enjoy it. It’s a passion and it’s my guidestone. The A.T. helps me move through the real world. It gives me something that is stable and fair and enables me to progress more confidently in a world that isn’t as consistent. You have to flow with the trail. You can’t fight it. As far as physical beauty is concerned, nothing can beat the diversity in the 70-mile section between Roan Mountain and Watauga Lake: Canadian spruce forest, high elevation bald, mountain plateau, deep gorge with waterfalls, and a man-made lake with an earthen dam. Plus, on that section, you’re walking in the footsteps of John Muir.”—Warren Doyle, most accomplished A.T. thru-hiker with a record 15 thru-hikes.NEXT BEST2. Mountains to Sea Trail, N.C.3. Tuscarora Trail, Va./W.Va./Md./Pa.4. Bartram Trail, Ga./N.C.5. Cumberland Trail, Tenn./Ky.6. Massanutten Mountain Trail, Va.7. Foothills Trail, S.C./N.C./Ga.8. Benton Mackaye Trail, Ga.9. Allegheny Trail, Pa./Md./D.C.10. Pinhoti Trail, Ala./Ga.BEST MOUNTAIN SUMMITBlack Balsam, N.C.The 6,216-foot bald mountain is covered with rock and knee-high grass, offering 360-degree views of the surrounding wildlands.NEXT BEST2. Old Rag, Va.3. Roan Mountain, N.C.4. Max Patch, N.C.5. Whitetop Mountain, Va.6. Big Bald, N.C.7. Thunderhead Mountain, N.C.8. McAfee Knob, Roanoke, Va.9. Wayah Bald, N.C.10. Rabun Bald, Ga.BEST DAY HIKERamsay Cascade TrailAn eight-mile out and back trail through Great Smoky Mountains National Park.“There’s a lot of old growth forest left in the park, and this hike takes you through big pockets of old growth. One spot is almost magical: you pass through this gate of old growth trees and then you come to the largest tulip poplar on the trail. It’s massive. It takes four people holding hands to wrap around this thing. You hike along two different streams and the trail terminates at my favorite waterfall in the park. It’s not the highest or the most powerful waterfall, but there’s something about the way the water comes down over the ledges and drops that’s just gorgeous. If you were gonna have one day hike in the park, this would be it.”—Eric Plakanis, owner of A Walk in the Woods hiking guide service in the SmokiesNEXT BEST 2. North Fork Mountain Trail, W. Va.3. Roaring Run, Jefferson NF, Va.4. Naked Ground Trail, Kilmer-Slickrock, N.C.5. Piney River Falls, Sehnandoah NP, Va.6. Gregory Ridge Trail, Great Smokies, Tenn.7. Cooper Creek Trail, Chattahoochee NF, Ga.8. Deep Gap Trail, Pisgah NF, N.C.9. Mount LeConte, Great Smoky Mountains, N.C.10. Wild Oak Trail, George Washington NF, Va.WILDEST WILDERNESSCranberry WildernessA 36,000-acre chunk of the Monongahela National Forest where raw nature functions freely and unmanipulated, allowing rare ecosystems and wildlife to flourish.“The Cranberry represents the last of the best red spruce ecosystem. One of the trails, the Middle Fork Trail, has been called the most beautiful hike in the Monongahela National Forest by guidebook writers. Personally, I like the ridgetop hikes the best, through the red spruce, but there are some great hikes along the valley floor, particularly next to the North Fork of the Cranberry, which is a great trout stream with campsites along the entire stretch. There are no big vistas. The entire area is forested. It’s deep, dark woods. But the woods are so magical. It’s enchanting to be engulfed by them. The new Wild Monongahela Act will add 12,000 acres to the Cranberry, making it the third largest Wilderness area in the Eastern U.S.”—Dave Saville, executive director of the West Virginia Wilderness CoalitionNEXT BEST 2. Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness, N.C.3. Tray Mountain Wilderness, Ga.4. Ramseys Draft Wilderness, Va.5. Citico Creek Wilderness, N.C.6. Linville Gorge Wilderness, N.C.7. Otter Creek Wilderness, W.Va.8. Dolly Sods Wilderness, W.Va.9. Beartown Wilderness, Va.10. Shining Rock Wilderness, N.C.FAVORITE WATERFALLWhitewater FallsGorges State Park, N.C.The tallest waterfall east of the Rockies, Whitewater Falls drops 411 feet near the border of North Carolina and South Carolina.“It’s beautiful in all seasons. Catch it in the winter after it snows and it’s magical; during the fall it’s colored by surrounding yellows and oranges; during spring or summer, it cascades through verdant greens. You can hike to both Whitewater Falls and Lower Whitewater Falls for an incredible day trip.”—Allen Easler, waterfall photographerNEXT BEST 2. Crabtree Falls, George Washington NF, Va.3. Triple Falls, DuPont State Forest, N.C.4. White Oak Canyon Falls, Va.5. Great Falls of the Potomac, D.C.6. Ramsay Cascade Falls, Tenn.7. Amicalola Falls, Amicalola SP, Ga.8. Linville Falls, Pisgah NF, N.C.9. Laurel Fork Falls, Foothills Trail, S.C.10. Blackwater Falls, W.Va.BEST URBAN HIKECarvins CoveRoanoke, Va.Carvins Cove consists of 14,000 acres of forest on the edge of the city of Roanoke, complete with 47 miles of trails (including 14 miles of the A.T.). It is the second largest city-owned park in the country.“You can throw a rock from Interstate 81 and hit the cove, it’s so close to civilization. But once you’re in it, it’s amazingly pristine and extensive. It’s all woods, and there are so many trails, people get lost all the time. Not a tree has been cut commercially in over 50 years. My favorite trails are Enchanted Forest—an endless pine forest where hikers walk beneath a dense pine canopy—and Heidi-Ho, which is a tough climb up to the ridge top.”—Roger Holnback, president of the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club NEXT BEST 2. Great Falls Park, Washington, D.C.3. James River Park, Richmond, Va.4. Kennesaw Mountain, Ga.5. Rivanna Trail, Charlottesville, Va.6. Blackwater Urban Trail, Lynchburg, Va.7. Crowders Mountain, Charlotte, N.C.8. Kanawha State Forest, Charleston, W.Va.9. Bent Creek Forest, Asheville, N.C.10. C&O  Towpath, Washington, D.C.FAVORITE CAMPGROUNDLakeside CampgroundDouthat State Park, Va.Forty miles of trails sit crisscross this state park, all of which are easily accessible from the campground. But what makes this campsite so attractive is the 50-acre Douthat Lake. NEXT BEST 2. Laurel Fork, Elkins, W.Va.3. Carolina Hemlock, Black Mountain, N.C.4. Cranberry River, Richwood, W.Va.5. Pocahontas, Marlinton, W.Va.6. Mortimer, Lenoir, N.C.7. Davidson River, Brevard, N.C.8. Sherando Lake, Lyndhurst, Va.9. Standing Indian, Franklin, N.C.10. Elizabeth Furnace, Front Royal, Va.FAVORITE HIKING CLUBAppalachian Trail ConservancyThe Appalachian Trail Conservancy is a non-profit that maintains the integrity of everyone’s favorite long distance trail with the help of 30 regional trail clubs from Georgia to Maine.“The entire Appalachian Trail is maintained by volunteers. We make sure those volunteers are on the same page and have the equipment they need to take care of the trail that they love so much. We facilitate, making it as easy as possible for people to give back to the trail they love—whether it’s organizing trail work days, pioneering innovative projects like the Roan Mountain goat project, or helping to protect the Rocky Fork Tract, which is the largest tract of land left unprotected along the A.T. The A.T. is close to a lot of people’s hearts. People want to take care of it, and we make it easier for them to do so.”—Andrew Downs, regional associate representative for the ATC NEXT BEST2. Sierra Club3. American Hiking Society4. Potomac Appalachian Trail Club5. Carolina Mountain ClubHIKING MOMENTS OF THE YEARThe Mountains to Sea trail in North Carolina reaches the 500-mile mark…The Wild Monongahela Act—the first Wilderness bill in West Virginia in 20 years—is introduced to Congress…The 60-year-long North Shore Road conflict is resolved when the National Park Service determined building 34-mile highway through the park would be environmentally devastating, and the $6 million settlement to Swain County passed Congress.last_img read more

Batten down the hatches, Hurricane Laura may be headed our way

first_imgHeavy rain, gusty winds, and isolated tornadoes may be possible as the storm makes its way on land. Winds of 50 mph could bring down trees and 3-7 inches of rain could fall in isolated areas, causing flooding, according to the National Hurricane Center says. Emergency managers recommend having batteries and candles available as well as dry goods or an alternative way to cook (like a grill.) It’s also a wise idea to have drinking water available for the people and animals in your home and additional water for keeping clean. Additionally, it’s important to remember that it is never safe to drive through running water, as even water that appears shallow or slow moving has the potential to overcome a vehicle. “Through Saturday, Laura is expected to produce 1 to 3 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 5 inches across the mid-Mississippi Valley and portions of the Tennessee and Lower Ohio Valley, the central Appalachians and the Mid-Atlantic States,” the National Hurricane Center said.center_img Hurricane Laura came ashore as a Category 4 hurricane in Cameron, Louisiana at 2 a.m. Thursday with wind gusts up to 130 mph and a storm surge over nine feet. It was the strongest hurricane to hit southwestern Louisiana in recorded history. Meteorologists are warning states throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic that Hurricane Laura (now Tropical Storm Laura) will take a probable path through parts of Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia on Friday and into Saturday and Saturday night. last_img read more

Brazilian Navy Modernizes Super Lynx Aircraft

first_imgBy Taciana Moury/Diálogo June 12, 2018 A group of pilots from the 1st Reconnaissance and Attack Helicopter Squadron (EsqdHA-1) of the Brazilian Navy (MB, in Portuguese) tested the upgraded capabilities of the Super Lynx AH-11B aircraft. EsqdHA-1 is set to receive eight upgraded aircraft by the end of 2020. For two weeks, four pilots logged a total of 20 flight hours in Super Lynx aircraft N-4001, to train Brazilian officers on the new version of the aircraft. On that occasion, pilots tested the efficacy of emergency procedures, along with navigation equipment, tactical processor, and radar, among other features. MB Commander Bruno Tadeu Villela, deputy commander of EsqdHA-1, carried out the first flight after the modernization process. “It was an indescribable experience. The additional power of the engines, the upgraded cockpit, navigation equipment, and sensors all make the aircraft even more interesting to fly,” Cmdr. Villela said. The flights constituted the practical part of the differentiated Tactical Commander (TACCO) training course, held at the headquarters of Leonard Helicopters, in Yeovil, United Kingdom. Cmdr. Villela said the initial phase of the TACCO course, three weeks, consisted of ground school to cover the upgrades of the aircraft’s systems. In all, 58 service members from EsqdHA-1, including 18 officers and 40 enlisted personnel, took part in the first training program. The modernization agreement includes a set of eight courses for MB service members. “The information we need to start the process of transitioning over to the AH-11B was provided during both phases of the course,” said Cmdr. Villela. Brazilian service members took the course without difficulties as they are already familiar with the AH-11A and are fluent in English. “We were aware of the challenges that we would encounter throughout the course. Accordingly, service members’ preparation before the start of classes was essential for its success,” said Cmdr. Villela, who is part of the group of pilots that will oversee the squadron’s transition to the AH-11B. “We have a lot of work ahead of us to qualify pilots and mechanics, and the outcome will be the future of our squadron,” he said. Since January 2018, EsqdHA-1 works on improving its internal protocol to transition to the AH-11B. Service members who take the courses in the United Kingdom will develop the curricula and the specific projects for the squadron’s courses. They will work as instructors to pass on the knowledge to the rest of the squadron. Expanding MB’s operational capacity MB Commander Alexandre da Silva Doring, commander of EsqdHA-1, highlighted that the main changes to the AH-11B involved the installation of more powerful and reliable engines, fully digital avionics compatible with night-vision goggles, and a modern electronic warfare system. The LHTEC CTS-800-4N engines are equipped with full authority digital engine control with several modifications to the aircraft power system. The aircraft received the following changes and installations: modification of the hydraulic system configuration; installation of a glass cockpit, a digital display system comprising three multifunction digital displays integrated with a tactical processor that will consolidate and distribute information from the aircraft’s sensors and tactical equipment; installation of a GPS navigation system with the capability to plan area navigation flight routes and instrument landing system procedures associated with the traffic collision avoidance and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast systems; and a new winch system. “With these improvements, the aircraft will operate with enhanced safety and improved data compilation through the tactical processor, essential in hostile operating environments, where efficient exchange of information is fundamental,” said Cmdr. Doring. “The Maritime Task Force of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon [UNIFIL], in which the squadron participates since 2001 with one aircraft on station, will benefit from the modernization of the AH-11B,” Cmdr. Villela said. During UNIFIL, the helicopter is used for reconnaissance of the area the MB ship patrols, and to identify vessels of interest. As such, the aircraft uses its own radar to increase the area the ship’s radar covers, since it is faster and has vertical takeoff and landing capabilities. “You can verify areas of responsibility and determine targets of interest in less time. These targets may then be identified using the aircraft’s FLIR [forward-looking infrared cameras], which can detect infrared radiation, and enable the ship to make a decision on what to do about the target,” Cmdr. Villela said. Cmdr. Doring emphasized that the Lynx AH-11B will lend greater efficiency to the mission and expand the possibilities of existing sensors, as well as the reaction capability of the ship on which it is stationed. This will benefit the protection efforts of any maritime area entrusted to MB. Expanding vessel potential EsqdHA-1’s mission is to provide an aerial component to the fleet’s surface ship weapon system. The squadron has a standing force of 322 service members, including 26 officers and 296 enlisted personnel. The aerial unit has 12 Super Lynx AH-11A aircraft. Eight of those are part of the modernization program to get to the AH-11B standard. Five of these are already in the United Kingdom for modernization and, according to the schedule, three are set for delivery by the end of 2018. Cmdr. Villela believes that, with its various systems and sensors, the AH-11B will place EsqdHA-1 on the cutting edge in terms of naval attack aircraft. “The installation of a full glass cockpit, chaff launchers, and state-of-the-art flare will enable the squadron to evolve operationally in a manner comparable to when the AH-11A was first introduced in 1998. With the new aircraft, the squadron will be able to fulfill its missions with greater efficiency and safety,” he concluded.last_img read more