Play your part and fight the drought: how to save water at home

first_imgFixing a dripping tap can save up to 550 litres of water a week – that’s 2 200 litres a month, and a whopping 28 600 litres a year, from a single tap. (Image: Mary Alexander)South Africa is facing one of its driest summers in years, with drought hitting many regions of the country. In response, a number of municipalities have introduced restrictions to save water. Here are some easy ways you can play your part and cut down on the water you use at home.General• Fix all dripping taps, inside and outside your home. Fixing a single tap can save up to 550 litres of water a week.• Know where the water shut-off valve for your property is, so you can turn it off if you have a burst pipe or other water emergency.Indoors• Teach your children to turn taps off taps tightly. • Keep an eye on your water bill. If the charges go up suddenly, you could have a leak somewhere in your home.Toilet• Only flush when you need to.• Don’t use the toilet for rubbish. Throw used tissues in the dustbin instead of flushing them away.• Fill a 500ml water bottle (cold drink “buddy” size) with water, seal it tightly and put it in the toilet cistern away from all moving parts. This will save 500ml of water every time you flush.• Replace your old toilet with a water-efficient one, preferably a toilet with a 9-litre cistern.• Make sure the washer in the cistern is fitted properly to stop leaks.Don’t use the toilet as a rubbish bin, and only flush when you need to. (Image: DirtyBoxFace, Flickr)Hand basin• Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth. Better still, brush your teeth in the shower.• Don’t turn the tap on full.• Don’t leave the tap running while you rinse your hair or shave.• Wash your hands with the plug in place.Always turn the taps off when brushing your teeth, shaving or washing your hair. (Image: Gabriel Rocha, Flickr)Bath• Don’t fill the bath to a water level higher than 20 centimetres – 10 centimetres is better.• Keep bath water to fill your toilet cistern, for cleaning around your home – floors, cupboards and carpets – or for watering your garden.• If you have small children, let them bath together.Shower• If your shower fills a 5-litre bucket in under 20 seconds, replace the showerhead with a water-efficient model that only delivers six to 10 litres a minute. • Don’t shower for longer than five minutes.• Shortening your shower by a minute or two saves up to 600 litres a month. • Switch off the water between soaping and rinsing your body and your hair. • Put a bucket in your shower to collect the water, and use it in the toilet cistern, for cleaning around your home – floors, cupboards and carpets – or for watering your garden.Test your shower head by placing a 5-litres bucket under it. If the bucket fills in less than 20 seconds, replace the shower head with a water-efficient model. (Image: Steven Depolo, Flickr)Cooking• Only put as much water into your kettle as you need. • When boiling water on the stove cover the pot with a lid. • Don’t use running water to thaw food. It’s safer to defrost it in the fridge.• Wash fruit and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap. • Collect the water used to rinse fruit and vegetables and use it in the toilet cistern or the garden.Only put as much water in the kettle as you need. Too much water will be lost to steam and evaporation. (Image: Benjamin Lehman, Flickr)Dishwashing• When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water. • Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean. • Buy a water-efficient dishwasher. • Fully load the dishwasher before use. Use an economy cycle. • If you have already rinsed your dishes then run the load on a shorter cycle.Clothes washing• Only wash a full load of laundry.• If your washing isn’t very dirty then don’t use the pre-rinse cycle. • Buy a washing machine that is water efficient. • Buy a washing machine that has different cycle options. This lets you choose a cycle that is more water efficient when heavy-duty cleaning is not needed. • Front loaders are more water efficient than top loaders or twin tubs. • Choose a machine with load detection. If there isn’t enough washing to do a full load, the machine will only use the amount of water needed.Only wash a full load of laundry, and if it isn’t very dirty then skip the pre-wash cycle. (Image: Chiot’s Run, Flickr)Outdoors• We’re more likely to notice leaks indoors, but don’t forget to check outdoor taps for leaks.• Wash your car with a bucket of water instead of a running hosepipe. Or use a commercial car wash that recycles water. • Use a broom to clean your yard and driveway, instead of a hosepipe.Pool• During the drought crisis, do not refill your pool. A number of municipalities have already placed restrictions on filling pools.Grow indigenous South African plants such as fynbos in your garden, instead of thirsty exotic plants. Our plants are adapted to the country’s naturally dry conditions, and use less water. (Image: Zoe Shuttleworth, Flickr)Garden• Only water your garden after 6pm and before 6am. Watering during the heat of the day wastes water to evaporation.• Adjust sprinklers to only water your garden, not paved areas or the road outside.• Better still, water your garden by hand with a watering can or a hose pipe. Fit a nozzle to the hose so you can shut the water off when it’s not needed, and keep the water pressure low.• Replace thirsty grass lawns with water-wise shrubs and groundcovers. • Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting. Taller grass shades the ground and keeps in more moisture.• Collect rainwater from your roof to water your garden. • Don’t water your garden on windy days or most of the water will blow away or evaporate. • Grow only indigenous South African plants in your garden. They use less water.• Water only when needed. More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering. • When you give your pet fresh water, don’t throw away the old water. Use it to water your garden.Compiled by Mary Alexander. Sources: City of Johannesburg, Rand Water, City of Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Bay Metrolast_img read more

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Lower milk and corn prices equals tough math for dairy farmers

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The declining price of milk is causing some serious economic consequences for America’s dairy farmers.Recent numbers show the price for Class III milk, which is used to make cheese, is down 19% from this time last year, and down 41% since September of 2014. Class I, or fluid milk, has seen a sharp decline in prices since the beginning of the year. These lower figures are primarily driven by large decreases in the commodity values of non-fat dry milk, cheese and dry whey.“It’s really hard to put this current decline into perspective with other declines,” said Dr. John Newton, Senior Director of Economic Research for the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). “In 2009, milk prices fell to below $10 a hundredweight and that was a catastrophic environment for dairy farmers.”In 2012, it wasn’t a milk price decline so much as it was record high feed prices that really put the squeeze on dairymen. Now, today’s decline encompasses a completely different scenario.“Today, we have milk price declines but feed prices have also declined considerably,” Newton said. “With that said, the dynamic has changed somewhat because not all dairy farmers purchase feed and those that grow feed also are having difficulty penciling out the cost of planting and growing their commodity and have to take that into consideration when evaluating the profitability of their dairy operation.”NMPF is continually working with Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to make the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) the risk management tool that dairy farmers need. Several important improvements in the new safety net program for dairy farmers were announced recently by USDA, following recommendations made by NMPF to enhance the value of MPP.One change announced by USDA will ensure that all farms enrolled in the MPP will receive catastrophic coverage at the basic $4 per hundredweight margin level on 90% of their production history, with the ability to purchase buy-up coverage at less than 90% of their history. Although lower milk prices are putting farmers in a tough spot, consumers are enjoying the lower prices at the supermarket as the national average for a gallon of milk is down almost 40 cents from year ago levels.“Retail prices closely follow the farm price so consumers are getting some relief from the record high milk prices of 2014,” Newton said. “Hopefully what that does is increase the purchasing power per dollar of dairy units that consumers are able to spend and that should certainly help consumption.”The current market situation is troublesome for U.S. milk producers, but the impact of lower prices is being seen outside of America’s borders too.“It’s not only a dairy worldwide situation, it’s a commodity worldwide situation,” Newton said. “We have a glut of corn, soybean and milk supplies. A lot of the commodities have experienced significant price declines, including oil, compared to what they were just a few years ago.”On the dairy side, Newton sites the European Union’s move to do away with their milk quota program in 2015 as a reason for the increasing world supplies of milk. That decision resulted in an additional 10 billion pounds of milk on the global market.last_img read more

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Will Microsoft’s New Xbox Event In May Reveal Always-Online Requirements?

first_imgTags:#gaming#Microsoft#PlayStation 4#Xbox nick statt 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout Microsoft’s follow-up to the Xbox 360, currently code named ‘Durango,’ will likely be unveiled on May 21 at a “small venue” with a focus on initial details and a 2013 company roadmap, sources tell The Verge.  Because this May event is only one month from this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in June, its likely Microsoft won’t actually show the physical console and will instead focus on hardware specs, social and online gaming features and a timeline for release. Perhaps most important, there’s no word on whether Microsoft will require always-on Internet connectivity to use the the new platform.Putting aside the decision to keep the event small, this move appears to parrot the steps taken by Sony in February when it unveiled the PlayStation 4 at an extravagant showing in New York City. Company executives spent a lot of time talking PlayStation philosophy but never displayed a physical console. With E3 right around the corner, Microsoft has no reason to jump the gun either. In another move seemingly cribbed from Sony, Microsoft is reportedly outfitting the new Xbox with an AMD x86 chip, giving it a PC architecture that will not play old games. Other notable specs rumored for the new console include a 1.6GHz 8-core CPU, 8GB of memory, and a 500GB hard drive. Always-Online Rumors Take Center StageMore pressing than any hardware spec, confirmed launch title or release date is the rumor that Microsoft will bake in so called “always-online functionality” to its new Xbox. Always-online functionality would require players to maintain an active Internet connection at all times just to use the new console.The benefits of this are unclear – at least for players – while the negatives have been argued time and again and even displayed in real-time with debacles like Electronic Arts’ SimCity launch disaster, which has contributed to the game publisher reaching the finals of The Consumerist’s Worst Company In America Poll for the second year in a row. It’s hard to imagine Microsoft thinks it can get away with enforcing such a monumental shift on Xbox players. By restricting console use to the quality and reliability of the players’ Internet connections, Microsoft would make players  beholden to company servers and whatever digital content management restrictions publishers decide to impose. Such a move would be a disaster waiting to happen, though it illustrates the contentious future of an industry stuck in a constant in a tug-of-war between big gaming companies and committed, tech-savvy gamers. If Microsoft is smart, it will keep quiet in May on the always-online rumors, but even that won’t soothe the angry mob. Image of current Xbox suite courtesy of Microsoft. center_img 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App Related Posts 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People…last_img read more

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The Best Tutorials for Learning Your Mirrorless or DSLR Camera

first_imgToday’s top mirrorless and DSLR cameras may seem daunting at first, but with a little help from the pros, you’ll quickly learn the ins and outs of these fantastic cameras.Top image via DigitalRevOne of the challenges we face as filmmakers and videographers is learning how to use a new camera. With the hundreds of features associated with mirrorless and DSLR cameras, the staggering amount of new information and capabilities can be overwhelming.Fortunately, YouTube is loaded with tutorials that put these cameras in the hands of the best in the business. Let’s take a look a few informative tutorials and demos for some of the most popular mirrorless and DSLR cameras on the market.Sony a7S IIKai Wong may no longer be with DigitalRev TV, but the staggering amount of quality content already found on the channel isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.Detailing what conditions and circumstances the camera works best in, Kai takes you through the paces of using the a7S II in many different shooting situations, both interior and exterior. The Camera Store offers another excellent walkthrough that puts the camera to use in the bustling environment of New York City.Sony a7R IIGary Fong covers just about everything you’ll ever need to know about the Sony a7R II — different lens uses, focus settings, shooting in slow motion, and more. You can watch the trailer for his a7R II tutorial series above, and then explore his extensive a7R II playlist.The video series unfolds as a perfect step-by-step a7R II guide, from unboxing to working with the camera in the field. These clips are exactly what newcomers to Sony’s mirrorless lineup need; they’re easy to follow, thoughtfully planned, and in-depth.Panasonic Lumix GH4Griffin Hammond’s short, simple walkthrough guides the viewer through the GH4’s interface and what to expect come unboxing time. Though the video lacks any shooting examples or field tests, it will help viewers find features on the camera and demonstrate the ease of changing settings and recording presets.Covering concerns like metering modes and Cinema 4k functionality, this fifteen-minute tutorial is worth a watch for anybody considering making the jump to the GH4. The camera’s capabilities are seemingly endless for the everyday videographer.Canon 5D MK IIIThe Canon 5D MK III — a timeless, dependable classic. This all-encompassing review and tutorial (via FATİH ACAR) focuses on the intricacies of this all-in-one camera. If you’re just now getting started with the 5D, this straightforward instructional video will put you at ease with the camera in no time.Canon 7D Mark IIIf you decide to go the DSLR route, the Canon 7D Mark II might be the best bang for your buck. This tutorial from The Camera Store does an excellent job demonstrating the potential and quality of the camera.The tutorial is filmed with the 7D Mark II and follows Chris Niccolls as he walks us through a full day of using the DSLR. Toward the end of the clip, he explore topics like shooting 1080/60p, low light, and log profile (or lack thereof).Fujifilm X-T2One of the more recent releases in the mirrorless camera field, the Fujifilm X-T2, is put on display in a stellar Tony and Chelsea Northup tutorial. This explanatory walkthrough of the X-T2’s specs is perfect any video producer trying to figure out if the camera is worth the purchase, while serving as an excellent intro to the camera for anyone who recently picked one up.When you get done viewing the clip, check out PremiumBeat’s free X-T2 Buying Guide. And, while you’re at it, take a look at our guide to choosing the right mirrorless camera for you!Which mirrorless or DSLR camera do you favor? Share your reasons in the comments below!last_img read more

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Two policemen killed in Sukma encounter

first_imgTwo policemen were killed and five Special Task Force personnel were injured in Sukma district of South Chhattisgarh on Saturday during an anti-Maoist operation by security forces.D.M. Awasthi, special Director General of Police, Anti-Naxal Operations Unit of Chhattisgarh Police, said 15 to 20 Maoists were killed in Operation Prahar. He said, “We launched two anti-Maoist operations on Friday. One in Bijapur and the other one in Sukma, where we deputed 1,500 personnel from the Central Reserve Police Force, Special Task Force, District Reserve Guard and Commando Battalion for Resolute Action.“An encounter took place on Saturday morning near Tondamarka village, considered the headquarters of the Maoists’ military battalion number 1.”He said, “About 15 to 20 Maoists were killed in the encounter. We have recovered the body of one Maoist and a self loading rifle, suggesting he was a big Maoist commander. Two District Reserve Guards were killed in fresh firing at 4 p.m. Five STF men were injured in the morning. The firing is still on in the area.” The DGP also said, “Some of our jawans were injured while trying to recover the bodies of the Maoists.”The injured STF men were moved to Raipur in an Indian Air Force chopper. IAF spokesperson B.K. Pande said, “The Task Force Commander of the IAF sent a helicopter as news came in about the jawans sustaining bullet injuries. The area was a high threat zone close to the operations area. As the nearest helipad for Mi-17 operations was at a distance away, it was decided to sent helicopters to evacuate the casualties from site of the encounter. Two helicopters with a medical team on board left for the site at 12.50 p.m. The five jawans were safely airlifted to Raipur for treatment, the helicopters flying more than two hours in the process.” An injured STF jawan told reporters at a hospital in Raipur that more than 300 Maoists were involved in the attack at Tondamarka.In the operation in Bijapur district, security forces gunned down one Maoist and recovered his body. In a separate incident, security forces arrested seven alleged Maoists from Dantewada district.last_img read more

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European rail manufacturers announce deal leaving Bombardier out in cold

first_imgMONTREAL – European railway manufacturers Siemens Mobility and Alstom announced a merger Tuesday that leaves Montreal-based Bombardier Transportation facing a new “European champion” and a substantially larger rival.The memorandum of understanding announced Tuesday is described as a merger of equals with each owning half the shares of the new company to be headquartered in Paris. The Mobility Solutions business will be run out of Berlin.The combined company to be called Siemens Alstom will have US$18 billion in revenues — about double that of Bombardier Transportation — and US$1.4 billion in adjusted EBIT. Annual cost savings of US$554.2 million are expected four years after closing.The new European company with 62,300 employees in more than 60 countries will have an order backlog of US$72 billion and an adjusted margin of eight per cent.“We put the European idea to work and together with our friends at Alstom, we are creating a new European champion in the rail industry for the long-term,” Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser said in a news release.He added that the global market has changed with the creation of a dominant competitor in China and digitalization.Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) didn’t immediately respond to the merger of its rivals. It is also believed to have talked to Siemens.Mergers in China and Europe leave Bombardier “still looking for a dance partner,” said David Tyerman of Cormark Securities.“They lost out this time but there’s presumably going to be more consolidation,” he said, noting competitors of varying sizes remain around the world.Bombardier’s shares closed up more than six per cent to C$2.27 in Tuesday trading even though the transportation giant was expected to face bad news affecting both its commercial aircraft and railway businesses.The shares surged more than 13 per cent after a report out of China said Bombardier is close to signing orders for commercial aircraft.Walter Spracklin of RBC Capital Markets said he expects Bombardier will remain a key player in a growing transit market.“An overall modernization of infrastructure in developed countries, and a rapid urbanization coupled with environmental concerns in developing countries will prop up rail demand for decades to come in our view,” he wrote in a report.Analyst Cameron Doerksen of National Bank Financial said Bombardier Transportation can still succeed as a standalone company.Bombardier Transportation would be the world’s third-largest railway company with a strong presence in France, Germany and Britain. It has a four-year backlog of orders and is moving towards an eight per cent EBIT margin.Under a proposed merger with Siemens, Bombardier would have reportedly ceded control of signalling and maintained only marginal control over a separate rolling stock joint venture.“Given the cyclicality of Bombardier’s Aerospace operations, in our view, it was important that Bombardier maintained control of Bombardier Transportation,” he wrote in a note before the Siemens-Alstom merger was announced.The industry is undergoing consolidation to compete with the state-backed rival Chinese railway manufacturer CRRC that is growing its global reach.Doerksen added that the near-to-medium-term threat from the state-owned CRRC Chinese railway is exaggerated since only about 8.5 per cent of its revenues last year were outside of China and it has little presence in Western Europe.China’s cost advantage may also be limited since most buyers require significant local content, forcing CRRC to build new manufacturing facilities in major markets.last_img read more

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Landing gear collapse as plane lands in Bolivia none hurt

first_imgLA PAZ, Bolivia — A Peruvian Airlines Boeing 737 suffered a collapsed landing gear when it arrived at an airport in Bolivia, forcing closure of the runway for 10 several hours. Officials say none of the 122 passengers or five crewmembers was hurt.Officials say that they were unable to move the plane, prompting a 10-hour closure that delayed several other flights into and out of the El Alto airport near the Bolivian capital on ThursdayThe plane was arriving on a flight from Cuzco, Peru.The airline said in a statement that the cause of the incident is under investigation.The Associated Presslast_img

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School District 60 provides update on construction of new school

first_imgBoyd also says that all of the Contract reviews are now complete and the District will now be making final negotiations with contractors.As for what to call the new school, a name for the school has yet to be released.Some of the names suggested include Anne Roberts Young, Beatton Heights, and Ross H. MacLean.The Board has been reviewing the names and will announce the selected name once a decision is made.The new Elementary School is being constructed from across the Fort St. John Hospital at a cost of $31.3 million. Construction started in 2018 and is expected to be complete by the Fall of 2020. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – At a recent School District 60 meeting, Staff provided an update on the construction progress of the new school.Assistant Superintendent of Special Projects, Doug Boyd, says the construction crews have been working on schedule even through the frigid temperatures.“We’ve had some beautiful weather and some extremely cold weather. The crews are very diligent at trying to maintain the schedule.”last_img read more

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Case against Gambhir for rallying without permission

first_imgNew Delhi: Following the directives of the Election Commission (EC), the Delhi Police on Saturday registered a case against cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir for holding an election rally without taking permission, a police officer said on Saturday. East Delhi Electoral Officer K. Mahesh on Saturday asked the police to take action against Gambhir for rallying in Jungpura on Friday without permission and violating the model code of conduct. “We have registered Delhi Police (DP) Act against Gautam Gambhir and are taking action against him under Non Cognizable Report,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Chinmoy Biswal said. Gambhir is the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate from the East Delhi Constituency.last_img

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Saradha case SC rejects Rajeev Kumars plea

first_imgNew Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday turned down former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar’s plea seeking setting up of a special bench to hear extension of his interim protection from arrest in the Saradha scam. The Supreme Court registry informed Kumar’s counsel that the matter cannot be listed this week. Kumar was recently removed by the Election Commission (EC) from the post of Additional Director General – Criminal Investigation Department (CID) West Bengal and attached to the Home Ministry. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroad The former Bengal officer moved the top court on Monday, after it last week withdrew protection granted to him from arrest earlier on February 5 in the Saradha case, but gave him a week to approach other courts for relief. His protection from arrest ends on Friday. Kumar’s counsel told a vacation bench, comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and Sanjiv Khanna, that the matter required urgent listing as a week of protection from arrest was not enough and he needed more time to approach a court in Kolkata, where the lawyers were on strike. Also Read – Firms staying closed 10 days a month due to recession, govt doing nothing: Priyanka Gandhi The court, however, told Kumar’s counsel that since the earlier order was passed by a three-judge bench, it would be appropriate to approach the Registrar General of the apex court for setting up of a bench. The court told the counsel that CJI was the master of the roster. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has accused Kumar of tampering with evidence in the Saradha case chit fund scam case to shield powerful politicians. Vacating its February 5 order, the top court on Saturday expressed concern over the manner in which the case had panned out.last_img read more

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