September 29, 2021
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first_img4 June 2010For most Johannesburg residents, a trip from Sandton to OR Tambo International Airport in a cool 10 minutes would probably be difficult to imagine. Not once you’ve travelled on the Gautrain.A few privileged passengers got a whiff of what is expected when South Africa’s new rapid rail link starts operating on Monday, 8 June. They got to take a practice run on Wednesday and, for those who timed the trip, it beat their expectations, coming in five minutes earlier than the 15 minutes the trip was billed to take.Passengers boarded the train at the Marlboro station to the north of Alexandra then departed for Sandton station, where the testing started.The train silently moved forward, no surge or jolt, reaching a speed of 160km/h with ease. People on the road below the elevated track stopped to take pictures with their mobile phones. People inside the coach looked around in wonder.Safe, secure travelInside, the coach looks startling in blue and gold – the tall-backed seating is a rich royal blue, with a blue and gold spotted carpet, with two stripes running up, and the gold Gautrain logo emblazoned on it.Hundreds of CCTV security cameras on the train and at the stations ensure the safety of commuters is not taken lightly. There will also be a 24-hour security presence at all the stations, train and parking areas.Stations have wheelchair access, toilets, lifts, fare gates, ticket offices and ticket vending machines.Along the way, the train stopped at Marlboro and Rhondesfield before reaching its destination.Ready for World CupThe Gautrain is set to carry its first passengers from OR Tambo International Airport to the Sandton Station – situated 15 storeys underground – on Monday, three days before the World Cup kick-off.Barbara Jensen, spokeswoman for the Gauteng province on the Gautrain, said four stations – OR Tambo, Rhodesfield in Kempton Park, Marlboro and Sandton – would be fully operational by Saturday, when the inauguration takes place.Although Sandton will be fully operational, construction will still be in progress for the next few months on the second phase, from Sandton to Park station in central Johannesburg.The fare will range from R16, but trips from the airport to Sandton are expected to be about R100 to R120, one way. From Sandton there will be feeder buses to stadiums and other locations.The line between Pretoria and Johannesburg is expected to open in 2011.SAinfo reporter and BuaNewsWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

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first_imgThe founding of Botswana by King Khama III; the bravery of Bilal Ibn Rabah; the quest of Adama in a foreign, war-torn land – Africa’s stories are being retold in a modern format, from an African perspective, to an audience who may not know them. I Am Khama is an animated biopic of King Khama III, the Tswana monarch who fought to protect his country, present day Botswana, from Britain. The film is one of three animated features to be released in the future dealing with Africa’s history. (Images: Homecoming Revolution) Shamin ChibbaAfrican history is about to get a reboot in one of the unlikeliest forms – animation. I Am Khama, Bilal and Adama will be told from the perspective of those who were oppressed, rather than that of the European colonisers.According to OkayAfrica.com, I Am Khama is based on King Khama III’s 1895 campaign to protect Bechuanaland (now Botswana) from continued plunder by British imperialist Cecil John Rhodes. The film follows the Tswana monarch as he visits Britain to lobby against the proposed annexation of his land by Rhodes.Director Mark Macauley called it “the tale of the true founding of Botswana”. Colin Salmon of Law & Order UK voices the king and Conleth Hill (Game of Thrones) is Rhodes.Though it is still in post-production and is scheduled for a 2018 release, Dynamic Africa said stories like I Am Khama were an important part of rewriting history from the perspective of those whose lives and experiences were erased and marginalised, rather than that of the oppressors. “Accounts like these may be well known in countries like Botswana, but for many of people in the UK, they are unknown.”Bilal is a 3D-animated adventure about Bilal Ibn Rabah, a freed slave of Ethiopian descent who converted to Islam and became a trusted companion of the Prophet Muhammad after he gained his freedom. The story follows Bilal as a seven-year-old who dreamed of becoming a great warrior. He is abducted and thrown into a world of greed and injustice, where he later finds the courage to raise his voice and make a change.Set in 1914, Adama tells the story of the 12-year-old title character from a remote village in West Africa. When his older brother, Samba, vanishes, Adama goes in search of him in Europe, which is at war with itself. “Adama is set in a specific historical context, but it is not a period piece,” the film’s creators told Torino Film Lab. “What matters to us is how Adama’s adventure resonates with contemporary issues.”The French-language film is set for release on 21 October.last_img read more

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first_imgVermont’s largest electric utility is beefing up its campaign to get ductless minisplit heat pumps into the homes of more people as it expands its no-money-down pitch to consumers in its entire service area.Homeowners who sign up get a heat pump from one of three manufacturers and finance the cost of the installation over 15 years, making loan payments from $49 to $81 per month for a single-head heat pump. There is no down payment, and Green Mountain Power says that heating bills in this Climate Zone 6 state can be reduced by between 25% and 50%. Maintenance is included.Efficiency Vermont, a ratepayer-financed program designed to lower energy consumption, will chip in $600. Green Mountain Power, which has some 265,000 residential and business customers, first started a heat pump program in 2013 in the Rutland area. It had planned to include up to 200 customers, but within a week more than twice that number said they were interested. Not everyone who applied could take advantage of the program, either because their homes did not have open floor plans to encourage heat circulation or because the wood stoves they had were already heating efficiently. But by 2014, the utility was renting 150 heat pumps.The pilot program that began in Rutland County now extends into Addison, Bennington, Washington, and Chittenden counties. GMP also offers a program called eHome, designed to help homeowners reduce energy consumption Impact on consumer billsNearly half of all Vermonters (44.6%) currently heat with fuel oil or kerosene, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, with another 32% using some form of gas. Only 4.6% of all households use electricity for heat, and another 17% take advantage of the state’s ample woodlands and heat with wood.At its website, Green Mountain estimates that a minisplit would use 5,300 kWh of electricity per year. At the residential rate of 14.8 cents per kWh, that customer would pay $784 more per year for electricity. The additional monthly use of electricity — 442 kWh per month — would almost double the amount of power an average Vermont household uses, according to the website Electricity Local. But homeowners would still save money because ductless minisplits produce more BTU per dollar than furnaces that burn oil or propane, according to GMP.Carlson said that Green Mountain generally uses five-year averages for gas and oil prices to calculate savings estimates.“We can do this on a customer by customer basis depending on fossil fuel usage and the space the customer would like the heat pump to heat and cool,” she said. “GMP takes the customer’s historic use (as they tell us) of annual fuel consumption, convert that to BTUs. Then we take a designated increase of kWhs for the heat pump size recommendation, convert that to BTUs so we have an apples-to-apples calculation to show how many gallons of heating fuel we are offsetting.” RELATED ARTICLES Heat Pumps Get a Leg Up in VermontHeat Pumps: The BasicsAre Ductless Minisplits Overpriced?Ductless Minisplit Heat PumpsJust Two Minisplits Heat and Cool the Whole HouseInstalling a Ductless Minisplit System Will Minisplits Replace Forced-Air Heating and Cooling Systems?center_img Impact on fossil fuel dealersGreen Mountain’s ductless minisplit campaign is unlikely to have much of an impact on the state’s 150 oil and gas dealers, says Vermont Fuel Dealers Association Executive Director Matt Cota. A number of them already install heat pumps, and even the up-to-date heat pumps that the utility is promoting won’t be able to replace conventional heating equipment completely.Instead, he said in a phone call, most heat pumps being installed in Vermont are going in as air conditioning units, with the heat they provide useful mostly in the shoulder seasons. When the heat pumps are “installed and used correctly,” he said, they might be able to offset as much as 30% of heating costs.“What they won’t do is replace your [heating] load in the middle of the winter, during the 90 coldest days of the year when you need wood, gas, oil heat, or kerosene in order to keep the pipes from freezing,” he said. “Unless we’re talking about a newly built, net-zero house — yeah, in that case forego the oil, but that’s not going to happen in 99% of the cases.”Vermont homes traditionally have been heated hydronically, meaning they’re equipped with boilers rather than ducted furnaces. “We largely have radiant-heat, boiler-based homes, and as a result there is less ductwork,” he said. “More boilers, less furnaces.”Cota also suggested the minisplit program is helping Green Mountain offset the impact of more rooftop solar. As the number of solar households goes up, and net metering payments increase, fewer customers are helping to pay for the poles and wires that distribute the power, he said. Increasing the consumption of electricity for heat and transportation fuel can help offset the decline.“That’s really what’s unique about Green Mountain Power’s plan — they’ve embraced that,” he continued. “Now, because we have so much net metering, it’s not about using less so we don’t have to build less power plants. It’s about selling more so we share the costs and we don’t have to raise rates that way.” Kristin Carlson, GMP’s vice president for strategic and external affairs, said in an email that the utility has now installed 1,125 heat pumps. GMP arranges for the installation with a contractor. The heat pump brand and model is chosen by the contractor; installed brands include Daikin, Fujitsu, and Mitsubishi, with outputs ranging from 9,000 Btu/h to 18,000 Btu/h. Loans have an APR (interest rate) of 10.74%.GMP says that payments will range from $49 to $81 per month, depending on the model of heat pump that’s installed. At $49 a month, a homeowner would end up paying $8,820 for a single-head minisplit over the 180-month payback period; at $81, a homeowner would pay a total of $14,580. That doesn’t include the electricity required to run the unit.Should a homeowner sell the house before the loan is repaid, GMP says it can offer a buy-out price for the heat pump, or the new owner could pick up the payments.last_img read more

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Velocity is still certainly at play in these nastier breaking balls: Increased velocity generally leads to an increase in spin rate. (The average curveball spin rate this year is 2,536 rpms, up from 2,315 rpms in 2015). More spin (specifically, transverse spin) creates more of the phenomenon known as Magnus Effect, which plays a key role in determining a pitch’s movement.But velocity hasn’t surged as dramatically as pitch movement has in recent seasons. And it isn’t just that fresh faces with killer breaking balls have replaced older, craftier pitchers: 86 pitchers who threw at least 50 curves in 2017 and 2019 averaged an increase of 1.4 inches of greater vertical break, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis. Something else must be at work.One possibility is that new methods of training, and new technologies, are playing a role in creating better breaking balls. For example, when Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer revamped his slider in the 2017-18 offseason, he wanted a pitch with zero inches of vertical movement and an elite level of horizontal movement. At Driveline Baseball, a data-based training center, he used new pitch-tracking technology, allowing for improved feedback of the pitch-in-progress. Specifically, he wanted to create a certain spin axis, which determines the direction the ball moves, while spin rate determines how much the pitch can move. Breaking balls typically have greater whiff rates than fastballs, and breaking balls are being thrown more frequently.On sliders, pitchers are often looking for more horizontal break — and less vertical movement — than on a curveball. They’re getting both this season: Major League Baseball seems to be on an unstoppable pathway to more and more strikeouts. After a record share of plate appearances ended in a strikeout last season (22.3 percent), this season is winding up to set another record: If the to-date strikeout rate of 23 percent holds or increases over the season, it would mark the 12th straight year of a record set for strikeout rate.Fastball velocity is often cited as the source of the strikeout surge, along with hitters willing to trade contact for power. The constantly increasing fastball velocities of recent years are such a concern that MLB is partnering with the independent Atlantic League next year to move the mound back by 2 feet — to 62 feet, 6 inches from home plate. Still, there may be another culprit behind all of the K’s: Breaking balls have never moved more. According to a FiveThirtyEight analysis of PITCHf/x and Statcast data at Baseball Prospectus, sliders and curveballs this season are darting away from bats at their greatest levels in the pitch-tracking era (since 2008). White Sox left-handed reliever Aaron Bummer became yet another pitcher to look into designing a pitch this winter. In a Driveline-like facility called Dynamic Velocity in Omaha, Nebraska, he created a cut fastball to better combat right-handed hitters. After righties hit .338 against him last year, they are batting .095 this season. Bummer has allowed only one earned run in his first 11⅓ innings this season. His cutter and fastball rank among the best in the game.“It’s actual proof that your ball is moving, not someone sitting behind you and saying, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s a great pitch. That looks really good,’” Bummer said of the tech-aided pitch development. “You have instant feedback that tells you, ‘Did that pitch do what it’s supposed to do?’ To me that was a huge deal. The belief behind it.”While the effort to create better pitches began with curious (and/or motivated) players going outside the game to independent facilities, teams are hiring more and more outsiders to pitch-design roles within their organizations. Over the offseason, the San Francisco Giants hired former Driveline pitch-design guru Matt Daniels, and the Philadelphia Phillies hired another design specialist in Eric Jagers. The industry is so interested in pitch design that the Edgertronic SC1, the most common high-speed camera, is selling more quickly than Sanstreak can produce it. This year, the Edgetronic and Rapsodo devices were seen in spring training bullpen mounds all over Arizona and Florida. The Orioles held “mandatory group spin axis seminars” this spring.Pitchers’ pitches will likely keep getting better, moving faster and with more movement. There is seemingly no end to the increasing frequency of strikeouts. While the home run surge has masked other areas of offensive decline, technology and training is giving pitchers a new edge.Check out our latest MLB predictions. Detroit Tigers starter Matt Boyd, who also designed a slider at Driveline, has quietly become one of the top pitchers in baseball. His slider ranks as the game’s seventh best since 2018, in terms of runs saved compared to the major league average per pitch type. “I’ve worked on it at Driveline a ton in recent years,” Boyd told FanGraphs. “At Driveline, we were on the Rapsodo [pitch-tracking tech] and the Edgertronic [high-speed camera] a lot. … Again, we were working that thing, working that thing.” The technology allowed him to monitor the spin rate and spin axis of the pitch. High-speed cameras showed him how his grip was imparting spin on the ball. The work paid off: In 2017, Bauer saw just 2.83 inches of horizontal movement on his slider, which ranked him 131st in baseball. But this season, he’s up to 11.1 inches, putting him third. read more

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OSU quarterbacks, redshirt sophomore J.T. Barrett (16) and redshirt junior Cardale Jones (12), and redshirt senior H-back Braxton Miller (1) participate in pregame warmups before OSU played Rutgers on Oct. 24 in Piscataway, New Jersey. OSU won, 49-7. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo EditorComing off a bye week, No. 3 Ohio State is set to get back in action against the visiting Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-4, 1-3) on Saturday. Here are five things The Lantern’s sports editors Ryan Cooper and Kevin Stankiewicz will be on the lookout for when the Buckeyes and Golden Gophers square off at 8 p.m. at Ohio Stadium.Will Cardale Jones take advantage?The entire college football universe will have its eyes fixated on OSU’s quarterback Cardale Jones on Saturday night. The redshirt junior is back in the starting role he occupied for the Buckeyes’ first seven games following a one-week hiatus after being benched for redshirt sophomore J.T. Barrett.But Barrett is suspended after being cited for operating a motor vehicle while being impaired on Halloween morning, so Jones, whose performance so far in 2015 has been more unpredictable than Ohio’s weather, has the reins to OSU’s offense for at least one more time.OSU coach Urban Meyer — who said a little tinkering with the offensive gameplan now that Jones is back at the helm has occurred —  has reiterated his confidence in the Cleveland native all week long. Jones’ teammates have done so as well.However, the type of performance from Jones that emerges under the lights at Ohio Stadium against Minnesota remains to be seen. The last time Jones, who still boasts an unblemished 10-0 mark as OSU’s starter, played in primetime at the ‘Shoe, against Penn State, he was benched in the third quarter for Barrett, ultimately losing his job after Barrett played well.Jones’ season has not been a complete struggle — he threw for a career-high 291 yards against Maryland — but now, facing off against an inspired Minnesota team coming off a narrow loss against Michigan and the Golden Gophers’ No. 16 pass defense, he will have his hands full.The added fluidity that exists with Barrett in the lineup is noticeable, but for OSU to fend off Minnesota on Saturday, Jones will need to do his best replication of it.Braxton playing quarterbackMeyer said earlier in the week that redshirt senior quarterback-turned-H-back Braxton Miller will back up Jones on Saturday. The depth chart confirmed as much, as Miller was listed as the starter at H-back as well as the backup signal-caller.It will be interesting to see if the two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year gets to relive his former days calling plays for any stretch of time.While Miller has lined up behind center in every game this season, it has been in running packages. The only throw Miller has attempted this season was a pitch only about a foot in front of him.Miller has said that this arm strength is back following last year’s shoulder surgery, and senior left tackle Taylor Decker said the same on Monday. If a game exists for Miller to showcase his abilities to throw the ball downfield, it could be Saturday’s.It is also possible that Meyer continues to only use Miller’s legs, but in an increased role, which brings up…Red zone efficiencyIn the seven games that Jones started before Barrett retook the job, one of his main shortcomings was his struggle to lead the offense in the red zone.In OSU’s sixth game, Meyer made the decision to use a two-quarterback system in which Barrett came off the bench to take over the offense near the 20-yard line.Meyer said Barrett’s skill set better suits the offense inside the red zone than Jones’ because of Barrett’s running ability. He said Jones’ 6-foot-5, 250-pound frame made it harder to find space to operate on the shrunken field.With Barrett sidelined for the game, it is very possible that it is Miller leading the offense in the red zone.Redshirt senior H-back Braxton Miller (1) carries the ball during a game against Maryland on Oct. 10 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won 49-28.Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Photo EditorMeyer said on Monday that the coaches were “having those conversations now” about the possibility of using Miller in short-field situations, but no decision had been made at the time.If the ability to scramble is as important in Meyer’s red zone sets as he has said, it would make sense for the speedy Miller to take over with Jones watching from the sideline.Can Jack Willoughby be trusted?For the first time this season, redshirt senior kicker Jack Willoughby was listed as the sole starter on the depth chart. Up until this point, the transfer from Duke had an “or” behind his name, essentially listing him as the co-starter with sophomore Sean Nuernberger.Meyer said earlier in the year the player who kicked better during the week in practice would be the guy getting the nod come gameday. But with the depth charts being announced early in the week on Tuesday, the decision to drop the “or” this week must mean that Meyer has seen enough out of Willoughby to mint him the sole starter. Despite Meyer’s move, Willoughby has been far from a sure-fire kicker this season. The former kickoff specialist for Duke has not missed an extra point through eight games (41-of-41) but it’s on field goals that the redshirt senior has been struggling. Willoughby has split the uprights on seven of his 10 attempts for a .700 clip, which ranks in the bottom half of the country. All three of his misses have come from at least 40 yards out. But last season, Nuernberger wasn’t much better, converting on just 13 of his 20 attempts.Fortunately for the Buckeyes, they often find themselves getting into the end zone, which takes a little emphasis off the placekicker. But as the season progresses and the meat of the schedule arrives, it will be interesting to watch Willoughby’s success rate on field goals, namely those outside of chipshot range.If OSU would ever need a game-winning field goal, could it trust Willoughby knock it through?Can Webb rescue the depleted secondary?OSU’s secondary is in the cream of the crop nationally, sitting at No. 2 in the country behind San Jose State, allowing just 149 per game. The injury bug, however, has infiltrated the unit as of late. Two safeties — junior Cam Burrows and sophomore Erick Smith — are now lost for the season. But seemingly on cue, one of the secondary’s key contributors will be back in action on Saturday against Minnesota. Meyer announced on Tuesday that sophomore cornerback Damon Webb is back practicing with the team after a six-game absence for a foggy reason. Following fall camp, Webb was the team’s starting nickel corner and played well in the role against Virginia Tech and Hawaii, registering eight tackles. The defensive backfield was able to make due without the Detroit native during the six games he was out due to the play from Burrows and Smith. But now with the said duo sidelined, Webb should slide back into his old role, helping the secondary’s smothering season continue. Webb might not get that many snaps against the Golden Gophers because Meyer will probably want the 5-foot-11 sophomore to ease his way back into the flow of things, but also because Minnesota’s passing attack is nothing to write home about. Nevertheless, Webb will prove to be a boost for Meyer’s Buckeyes over course of the final four regular-season games. read more

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OSU then-sophomore forward Maddy Humphrey (23) during a game against California on Oct. 25 at Buckeye Varsity Field. OSU won 6-3. Credit: Lantern File PhotoA late rally by Ohio State (2-1) in the second half wasn’t enough to make up for early missed opportunities as the Buckeyes suffered their first loss of the season Tuesday to Kent State (2-4), 2-1.Coming into the match, both teams had faced Louisville in their last respective matches. Ohio State beat the Cardinals 2-0, while Kent State was blown out in a 5-1 loss.Ohio State got off to a quick start, dominating possession by forcing turnovers and connecting on several challenging passes.Early in the first half, the Buckeyes defended Kent State’s breakaway opportunity well, but it still helped the Golden Flashes gain momentum for the first time in the game.That surge in momentum led to Kent State’s first score as back Jamie Fries was able to find the back of the net with 16:02 left in the half.Senior forward Maddy Humphrey tied the game at one goal apiece as she scored, knocking the ball over the head of the goalie nearly five minutes later. As time was expiring, the Buckeyes had a corner opportunity and failed to convert, as they hit the ball off the post.Ohio State began the second half with a breakaway six minutes in but it was well-defended by Kent State to prevent a go-ahead goal. Evenly matched for the first 10 minutes in the second half, the Buckeyes were given a corner opportunity at the 23:50 mark and the Golden Flashes denied Ohio State the opportunity as the ball bounced past the net and out of play.With nine minutes to go, Kent State had a two-on-zero breakaway opportunity, but a pass was just out of the reach of the diving stick from a Golden Flashes player, preventing the potential goal.Kent State drew a pair of corner opportunities with just under five minutes left to take a 2-1 lead, thanks to the goal by senior Ines Delpech. Ohio State came short on three straight corner opportunities late in the second half ultimately giving Kent State the 2-1 victory. read more

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first_imgFacebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享ENSTAR Natural Gas employees donated more than 2,000 books for local students and handed out more than 1,500 slices of pizza to students at Willow Crest Elementary in Anchorage and Mountain View Elementary in Kenai. Moira Smith with ENSTAR: “ENSTAR has three divisions: Anchorage, the Mat-Su Valley, and Kenai. We do a book drive at one school in each division, and have done so each year for the last four years or so.  In Anchorage, we do it with our partner school, Willow Crest Elementary.  In Kenai, it’s Mountain View. And in the Mat-Su, it’s Finger Lake Elementary.” The annual giving event typically takes place in December, closer to the holidays, but was postponed this school year due to the November 30 earthquake. Smith: “ENSTAR pays for the pizza for each school. We go to the school in the morning and set up the books on a table. The kids come in and pick out a book. They then return to their classes and a short while later, when lunchtime happens, ENSTAR employees serve the pizza to the kids. The kids just love getting a new book and having pizza. They are happy to have the injection of fun and the gift from their community gas company.” ENSTAR employees contribute the books for each division. According to Smith, there is a healthy competition among divisions and among employees for who donates the most — this year, the Mat-Su won.last_img read more

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