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Guide to the history and importance of Robben Island

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first_imgAs a symbol of the brutality of South Africa’s apartheid past and of the immense courage of those who fought for the country’s freedom, Robben Island, about 12km offshore from Cape Town, is a pivotal beacon in the history of South Africa.(Image: The Robben Island Museum)Brand South Africa reporterThe island was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) in 1999.In its description of the site, Unesco writes: “The buildings of Robben Island bear eloquent testimony to its sombre history, and at the same time symbolise the triumph of the human spirit, of freedom, and of democracy over oppression.”‘Unwanted’ peopleAlthough people lived on Robben Island thousands of years before the sea separated it from the Cape mainland, it was used as a place to house “unwanted” people – mostly prisoners – from the mid-1600s, when the Dutch colonised the Cape, to the late 20th century. It was also used as a military base during the Second World War.Those who fought against Dutch colonisation in southern and eastern Africa, religious Muslim leaders, opponents of British empire building in Africa, prisoners of war, criminals, leprosy sufferers, mentally ill patients, and more recently opponents of the apartheid government, were all packed off to Robben Island.As author Lawrence Green wrote: Robben Island was “an island of exiles”.The windswept island, with its astounding legacy of confinement and brutality for those exiled there – and its paradoxical existence as a sanctuary for bird and animal life – is a place of mystery and amazement to the many who visit it.Memories of brutalityFor the many freedom fighters imprisoned there, including Nelson Mandela, who was incarcerated for 27 years, and Pan Africanist Congress leader Robert Sobukwe, who was housed there in solitary confinement, Robben Island holds less mystery and more torrid memories of brutality, isolation and victimisation.But the island is remembered just as much as the site where anti-apartheid activists honed their principles of non-racialism and human rights, where they educated themselves – and their prison warders – and strengthened their resolve to attain freedom.As African National Congress (ANC) stalwart and former Robben Island prisoner Ahmed Kathrada remarked around the time of Mandela’s release from prison: “While we will not forget the brutality of apartheid, we will not want Robben Island to be a monument to our hardship and suffering. We would want Robben Island to be a monument . reflecting the triumph of the human spirit against the forces of evil. A triumph of non-racialism over bigotry and intolerance. A triumph of a new South Africa over the old.”Kathrada’s wish has been realised. On 1 January 1997, Robben Island became the home to the Robben Island Museum, a national museum and monument that displays its astounding history to the many tourists who flock there in search of more information and understanding about South Africa’s past.Website: www.robben-island.org.zaA place to learn about SA’s democracyThe museum is also a place of learning, with workshops, tours and camps for children and adults keen to learn about both historical and modern-day South Africa and its embracing of a culture of human rights and respect for ethnic, cultural and religious diversity.Daily tours are offered, weather permitting, leaving from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront. The tour is three-and-a-half hours long, including the two half-hour ferry rides. It is a good idea to pre-book your ticket through the website.Visitors can expect an enriching experience. There’s plenty to see on the island: from the maximum security prison that held political prisoners, to the memorabilia of prisoners incarcerated there, to the quarry mines where prisoners were forced to dig, to the church, to the many buildings dating back to the Second World War. There’s a small village where the island’s main centre is located.Bird sanctuaryRobben Island generates its own electricity and is involved in a research initiative to draw electricity from the strong waves that pound its shores. It also gets its water from nine boreholes.The island is a natural sanctuary for bird life – the northern part is a bird sanctuary – and has about 132 bird species, some of which are endangered.Many birds use the island for breeding purposes, including the Crowned Cormorant and Black-crowned Night Herons that flock to the island in numbers. The African Penguin, once close to extinction, also breeds prolifically on the island.Plant life also thrives on Robben Island, but farming and the introduction of exotic species have upset the natural fauna to some extent. The spectacular veld flowers typical of the West Coast also occur on the Island during spring.There are 23 species of mammals, including small herds of bontebok, springbok, steenbok, fallow deer and eland. Ostrich, lizards, geckos, snakes and tortoises also call the island home.Marine life around Robben Island is also rich, and the ferry trip offers tourists a chance to spot Cape fur seals, southern right whales and dusky and heavyside dolphins.Source: South African History OnlineWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Vapor Barriers, Radon, Basement Slabs, and VOCs — How to Stop the Poison?

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first_imgHow’s this for a dicey scenario: Arlene DiMarino is a homeowner with chemical sensitivities who lives a couple of blocks away from an EPA Superfund site.“I am aware of a toxic plume of underground water that is close by,” she writes in a Q&A post. “I am concerned that these VOCs can permeate the cement floor and foundation.”She plans to pour another layer of concrete over the existing basement slab. This will give her an opportunity to insert a vapor barrier to block any toxins from migrating into the house. But what’s the best product to use?Alternatives to 6-mil polyAs GBA senior editor Martin Holladay points out, concrete itself is a good air barrier, as long as any cracks that develop are sealed with caulk.But, he adds, it’s important to install a vapor barrier — typically 6-mil polyethylene with taped seams — under any concrete slab. Air Barrier or Vapor Barrier? (podcast)RELATED ARTICLES 7 Steps to an Energy-Efficient House: 1. The BasementVapor Retarders and Vapor BarriersForget Vapor Diffusion — Stop the Air Leaks!Radon and Air TightnessGreen Basement Renovation: Adding Under a HomeGreen Basics: Foundation Drains Vapor Barriers Are a Good Thing, Right?CONSTRUCTION DETAILS RELATED MULTIMEDIAcenter_img Other points of view are quick to emerge, like this flat statement from Robert Riversong: “I would never use standard 6-mil polyethylene under a concrete slab.”Instead, Riversong recommends a product called Tu-Tuf, a robust, cross-laminated, 4-mm-thick plastic that’s advertised as free of pinholes. (It’s made by Sto-Cote Products and sold widely over the Internet.)David Meiland suggests a product called Stego Wrap, which is 15 mils thick and said by the manufacturer to resist tears, splits, and punctures.There’s also something called SlabShield, writes Andy Ault. SlabShield combines two layers of polyethylene and one of aluminum. The polyethylene sandwich protects the aluminum, a highly effective vapor barrier, from lime in the concrete. The manufacturer also claims that SlabShield provides a thermal break.Ault says he used SlabShield on a Habitat for Humanity LEED Platinum project and was pleased with the result.“It is much stronger than typical 6-mil, so it is designed for that type of rugged application that Robert alluded to,” Ault writes. “We had volunteers walking on it, and it never missed a beat. The ship-lap edge design also gave us a high comfort level that the taped seams will perform well.”Yet another possibility, writes Craig, is Red Guard, a waterproofing and crack-prevention membrane made by Custom Building Products.“Typically it is used under tile, and it is being used in some applications as a shower pan liner,” Craig says. “It seems perfect for a situation between slabs because it acts as a crack isolation membrane and vapor barrier, so it should seal any cracks in the original slab and prevent any new cracks from leaking vapor through. “A building scientist disagreesAs posters recommend tougher and tougher vapor barriers, Garth Sproule points to a conversation with Joseph Lstiburek, who couldn’t care less if a sub-slab layer of plastic has a few holes in it.Even if Arlene were to don a pair of golf spikes and walk all over her plastic vapor barrier, it would still do a pretty good job, Lstiburek says in a Green Building Advisor podcast. “So what’s the total surface area of the punctures compared to the total surface area of the plastic?” he says. “If I’m there for about two hours, maybe it’s 10 percent. So I basically have reduced the vapor control layer effectiveness of that plastic sheet by 10 percent.”When the barrier is topped by four inches of concrete, she’ll have a very effective air barrier and “a darn good vapor retarder.“So I haven’t increased, even from a measurable perspective, the amount of water vapor transmission from the ground into the floor with the ripped and torn plastic sheet,” Lstiburek says. “That’s why I always laugh at the people that say, ‘Well, you gotta tape the joints and you gotta be careful not to puncture it.’ Give me a break!”Replies Riversong: “I disagree with Dr. Joe. With a good sub-slab radon-mitigation system that effectively depressurizes the soil, an intact concrete slab might be good enough. But, if there is any positive soil gas pressure, then no concrete slab will be tight enough to prevent radon intrusion, which can pass through a crack too small for the eye to see.”What about a real radon-mitigation system?In new construction, the area beneath the basement slab is often vented to the outside, giving radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas, a way to escape. The vent can be passive or powered by a fan.This is the retrofit measure recommended by Riversong, who suggests removing the existing concrete slab, and adding a layer of crushed stone and a perforated pipe connected to a roof vent.Others agree. “Pulling everything existing and starting from scratch is never a bad strategy,” writes Ault, “but that will at least double your cost (if not more), so you need to be sure that the cost/benefit ratio makes sense for you.”As Ault points out, ceiling height also is a concern. If a new slab lowers the basement ceiling height to less than 7 feet, it could be a code problem should Arlene or a future owner want to make the basement a living space.Our expert’s opinionHere’s GBA Technical Director Peter Yost’s opinion:Looking at Arlene’s basement problem from the radon perspective is a good one, in my bookIn my own home, with a leaky basement floor and no spare head height at all, and a radon problem exacerbated by the installation of spray foam insulation on the basement walls, I tried a variety of ways to air seal the radon out, to no avail.If you can’t keep it out, flush it outAnd when I called a local radon technician to see about a sub-slab depressurization system solution, he let me know that it was unlikely that he could pull hard enough with even two fans to depressurize such a leaky slab. So our solution was a heat-recovery ventilator servicing just the basement.But exhaust fans use energyThe HRV drove the radon concentration well below the EPA threshold of 4 pico-curies per liter. It was a practical, easy solution to a soil gas problem, albeit with a steady energy penalty (our FanTech HRV pulls about 1 watt per cfm on any of the three 100/150/200 cfm settings).If you can’t give up the height, and you don’t have the stomach to completely redo your basement slab, I would go after any potential or actual soil gas problem with some sort of exhaust strategy, purchasing the highest-efficiency fan your money can buy (there are HRVs in the GBA Product Guide with efficiencies up to more than 5 cfm per watt).One way to offset the extra energy useOne last note: I reduce the energy penalty of our HRV in the late fall/winter/early spring by hanging our wash in the basement. The HRV easily handles (by exhaust exchange) the 4 pounds of water left in a load after our horizontal-axis washer is done with it. And I’ve checked the interior relative humidity in the basement to verify that this approach is not a problem; it barely bumps the interior RH. Sub-Slab Retrofit for Radon VentUnderground Water Barrier Retrofit (Rubber Membrane)Underground Water Barrier Retrofit (6-Mil Poly)last_img read more

Report on Our Ductless Minisplit Heat Pump

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first_imgIt’s been pretty chilly outside, if you haven’t noticed. A number of people have asked me how our air-source heat pump is making out in the cold weather. I wrote about the system last fall, well before we had moved in. Is it keeping us warm? We’ve only been living in the house for a few weeks, but here’s a quick report.So far, so good. Our 18,000 Btu/hour Mitsubishi mini-split heat pump (MSZ FE18NA indoor unit and MUZ FE18 outdoor unit) is doing remarkably well in keeping us comfortable. We don’t have any oil or gas heating in the house, only the electric heat pump and a small wood stove that we’ve fired up twice so far. The indoor heat pump unit is mounted on a wall next to our kitchen, and it’s been operating pretty steadily in this cold weather. (Even though we’ve heated with wood for decades and have all the wood we could ever use, I’ve been curious how the house will do just on electricity, so have refrained from using the wood stove.)A thermometer in a bookcase on an outside wall diagonally across the kitchen-dining-living space from the heating unit is reading 66°F as I write this, with the outside temperature about 12°F. A thermometer in our upstairs bedroom read 70° when I got up this morning, and has typically been about 68° — and remarkably uniform. RELATED ARTICLES GBA Encyclopedia: Ductless Minisplit Heat PumpsJust Two Minisplits Heat and Cool the Whole House Will Minisplits Replace Forced-Air Heating and Cooling Systems?Installing a Ductless Minisplit SystemTwo Years With a Minisplit Heat PumpLooking for the Best Minisplit OptionMinisplit Heat Pumps and Zero-Net-Energy HomesHeating a Tight, Well-Insulated HouseNew Englanders Love Heat PumpsLoving My MinisplitsAre Seven Heads Better Than Three? Alex is founder of BuildingGreen, Inc. and executive editor of Environmental Building News. In 2012 he founded the Resilient Design Institute. To keep up with Alex’s latest articles and musings, you can sign up for his Twitter feed. Monitoring our energy consumptionWe have an eMonitor (made by PowerWise Systems of Blue Hill, Maine) installed to track the home’s overall electrical consumption as well as the consumption of a number of individual loads. The monitor has clips that clamp onto different circuits in the electrical panel as well as the electrical main coming into the panel, and it somehow measures electricity flow through those cables. We’re tracking consumption separately for our heat pump heating system, our heat-pump water heater, and our heat-recovery ventilator.Most of the time the air-source heat pump has been drawing about 2,500 watts, with very brief spikes up to about 3,400 watts (I suppose those spikes occur when a pump or fan kicks on). To put this in perspective, the 2,500 watts in the standard heating mode is about twice what our KitchenAid toaster draws (1,200 watts), though of course the toaster operates for only short periods of time.Since we hooked up the eMonitor and started collecting data (five days ago), our Mitsubishi heat pump has used 221 kWh of electricity — during a fairly cold stretch. This is about what the entire solar-electric system on our barn cranked out during this period — and roughly three times the output of that portion of our PV system allocated to the house. (It’s a “group-net-metered” system, with two-thirds of the output going to neighboring homes.)It will be interesting to look at this data over the course of months and years to see how the electricity consumption averages out over time and  how that compares to our solar production. Heat distribution with point-source heatingBecause our heat source is on a downstairs wall, I had been very curious how effectively heat would be distributed throughout our 1,600-square-foot house. The main kitchen-dining-living space keeps a fairly even temperature in the high-60s. A downstairs study or guest room at the far corner of the house and separated from the heat pump by a hallway and doors (with the door open) stays a little cooler, though watching a movie there last night was fine with a sweater.Upstairs, the bedroom on the north side of the house has maintained a remarkably constant 68-70°F on all but the coldest nights. When the outside temperature dipped to -6°F, our bedroom dropped to the mid-60s. Last night, with the outside temperature down to 7.5°F, we actually closed our door to keep the bedroom a bit cooler, and the temperature dropped from 70°F to 67.8 by morning.I don’t have a thermometer in the south bedroom, which is being used as a home office by my wife, but it feels about the same. There are two double-hung windows instead of a single casement window, so there is certainly more air leakage, but there is also solar gain through those windows. The bottom lineAll in all, we are very satisfied with the air-source heat pump. It works well, in large part because our house is so energy efficient. This is a superb heating option (and cooling, by the way) for a house with a very well-insulated building envelope. Once we install the low-e storm windows on the double-hung windows on the south and east sides of the house, we should do somewhat better. (With our superinsulated house, the south and east windows are a weak point, both relative to air leakage and R-value.)And on a cost per delivered BTU basis, with the air-source heat pump we’re spending just 58% of what we would spend on oil heat (assuming an Energy Star oil boiler operating at 83% efficiency with #2 heating oil at $3.91 per gallon vs. electric heat in an air-source heat pump with a coefficient of performance of 2.25 and electricity costing 15¢ per kWh). (You can plug in your own assumptions and compare fuels on BuildingGreen’s online calculator.)Plus, on an annual basis we should be producing as much electricity with solar as we consume — net-zero-energy. So we’re pretty happy. Warm and happy. When the mercury dropped to –6°F a few days ago, the house got colder. I saw one reading on the outside wall downstairs as low as 61°F and our bedroom got down to about 65°F. It was chilly enough that I fired up our small wood stove for the first time, and that fairly quickly raised the downstairs temperature to a comfortable 68°F. With our tight construction there are few drafts.last_img read more

Giving Back: Managing Stress and Money During the Holidays

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first_imgBy: Molly Herndon, MS and Jason M. Jowers, MS MFTPixabay[Christmas Snowman by PublicDomainPictures on April 5, 2014, CC0]The holiday season is here and with it comes holiday cheer and, often, holiday stress. Self-care is very important in working through emotional and financial stress during the holidays. Read more about ways to manage holiday stress here.The holiday season is a great time to talk with your kids about money. When children ask for big-ticket items, use the moment as an opportunity to talk about money and budgeting. Dr. Jennifer Hunter shares some great tips on Holiday Shopping on a Budget in this podcast.Neale Godfrey, our latest presenter in our Family Finances webinar series, is an expert in raising financially responsible children. Godfrey’s recent webinar covered ways our own financial management style influences our children’s, and ways we can improve their understanding of smart money management. The recording of this webinar is available now. Click here to watch the recording and to find quizzes and other resources to support parents working to teach their children financial responsibility, under Event Materials.Charity is a huge component in instilling the values of giving back to their community and to those less fortunate. Look for ways you and your children can work together to benefit those in need this season. And don’t forget, one of your most important asset to share with others is your time – this is an important lesson to share with kids, too.  Here is a list of volunteer opportunities for families. This blog was written by Molly Herndon, Programming Coordinator for MFLN Personal Finance and Jason Jowers, Programming Specialist for MFLN Family Development.last_img read more

Archer Tagle settles for silver in recurve event

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first_imgNicole Marie Tagle. Photo from Philippine Sports Commission Facebook pageArcher Nicole Marie Tagle settled for silver in the individual women’s recurve, bowing to Diananda Choirunisa of Indonesia in the gold medal match in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games Sunday at National Sports Complex in Bukit Jalil, Malaysia.Engaged in a tight battle, the final went down to the fifth set before the 15-year-old Dumaguete native yielded to the top-seeded Choirunisa, 4-6.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Read Next UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension LATEST STORIES LIST: Class, gov’t work suspensions during 30th SEA Games LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games Uichico, Gilas confident as PH shoots for 18th basketball gold SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief MOST READ Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics PLAY LIST 00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games00:50Trending Articles01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH03:04Filipino athletes share their expectations for 2019 SEA Games02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games SEA Games: PH’s Alisson Perticheto tops ice skating short program Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses Tagle earlier beat Myanmar’s Thida New in the semifinals, 6-2, to assure herself of the podium finish.It was still a triumphant campaign for Tagle, who gave the Philippines its second silver medal in the biennial meet.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutMale standouts Luis Gabriel Moreno and Florante Matan missed out on advancing to the semifinals of the individual men’s recurve.Rogelio Miguel Tremedal, Mark Javier, Pia Elizabeth Biduare, Kareel Meer Hongitan, and Mary Queen Ybañez all failed to progress to the quarterfinals. View comments WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s weddinglast_img read more

Second Indo-Bhutan Friendship Car Rally flagged off

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first_imgItanagar, Nov 21 (PTI) Arunachal Pradesh Governor Brig (Retd) B D Mishra flagged off here today the second Indo?Bhutan Friendship Car Rally 2017 which has 17 participants. Addressing the participants prior to the flag off, the governor hoped that the event would help in cementing the age-old relationship between India and Bhutan and provide a platform for exposure of traditional and cultural association and their tourism potential.He said the rally would enhance people-to-people contacts between India and Bhutan.”It will also showcase the potential for adventure and motor sports in Arunachal Pradesh,? he said and called upon the participants from both the countries to carry the message of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that India and Bhutan would stand as one to face any adversity.The rally has been organised by the International Friendship Car Rally Association of Dirang and sponsored by state tourism department along with Hyundai and Nissan companies.The rallyists would travel through Itanagar?Basar ? Mechuka-Guwahati-Phuentsoling and end at Thimpu on November 28.The Indian team is being led by Everester from Arunachal Pradesh Anshu Jamsenpa. Karma Lhatrul Dorji Rinpoche is leading the Bhutanese team. PTI UPL KK KKlast_img read more

COUNCIL APPROVES PHASE TWO OF BRIDGEPORT WEST ROAD WORK

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first_imgThe second phase of road improvements in the Bridgeport West development near the new Seaboard Triumph pork plant was approved Monday afternoon by the city council.The council voted 5-0 to award a nearly 2.2 million dollar contract to Steve Harris Construction of Homer, Nebraska.The work includes improvements at multiple intersections including widening South Patton Street at Bridgeport Drive and Murray and placing traffic signals at the Murray intersection.There’s also plans for a traffic signal at Harbor Drive and Singing Hills Boulevard and adding a lane to the southbound I-29 exit ramp at Singing Hills.A realignment of Boulevard of Champions at Patton is also planned.The work is expected to begin August 14th and be completed by the end of the year.last_img

Photo: Thad Matta Promised His Ohio State Team An NBA Jam Arcade Game For A Winning Streak, He Delivered Today

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first_imgOhio State's new NBA Jam arcade game.No Big Ten men’s basketball team has been playing better of late than Ohio State. The Buckeyes (17-5, 6-3 Big Ten) have won three straight games, including back-to-back comfortable wins against two ranked foes in Indiana and Maryland. We now know why Thad Matta’s team has been performing at such a high level. The Ohio State coach promised his team an NBA Jam arcade game for their players’ lounge in exchange for a win streak. The Buckeyes are on a winning streak, so Matta delivered the game Friday. Is there a better arcade game than NBA Jam?Nope. Ohio State faces Purdue at Mackey Arena next Wednesday.last_img

SFL Offloads Another VLCC Oldie

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first_imgzoomIllustration. Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license Bermuda-based shipowner Ship Finance International Limited has agreed to sell the 2002-built VLCC Front Falcon as part of its fleet renewal efforts.Delivery to the unnamed new owner is expected later this quarter, and the net sales price will be approximately USD 30.7 million, SFL said.The company added that it doesn’t expect a material book effect from the transaction.Following the sale, SFL has three VLCCs remaining on charter to a subsidiary of Frontline Ltd.In October this year, SFL sold another VLCC oldie, the 2001-built VLCC Front Ariake, for USD 20.7 million.Three 2002-built VLCCs were sold in July to ADS Crude Carriers Ltd, a newly established company in which Ship Finance had acquired a 17 pct interest.Offloading of older tonnage is aimed at making room for new fleet additions. Namely, over the past six months, Ship Finance took delivery of over 19 vessels with long-term charters, increasing its fixed charter backlog by nearly USD 600 million.last_img read more