Bicycle Law Changes in North Carolina

first_imgKey bicycle law changes under House Bill 959 are now in effect. Drivers must follow these rules to lawfully pass a bicycle or moped in a no passing area:— Drivers can only pass a bicycle or moped;— The bicycle or moped must be headed in the same direction as the vehicle;— The driver must provide at least 4 feet between themselves and the bicycle/moped or fully enter the left lane;— Don’t pass when the bicycle or moped is signaling a left turn.At night, bicycle riders must have:— A lighted lamp on the bicycle’s front visible from at least 300 feet;— A red light on the back of the bicycle;— Or wear reflective clothing/vest visible from 300 feet.Visit watchformenc.org for the complete law.last_img read more

Joburg, Clinton climate initiatives

first_img4 January 2008A unique relationship is developing between the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) and the City of Johannesburg, with the former committing substantial funding and technical support to help Johannesburg to become an energy-efficient, environmentally friendly city.CCI is a partnership between the Clinton Foundation and the Large Cities Climate Leadership Group (known as the C40), which aims to take practical and measurable steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy efficiency in large cities across the world. Usually, the foundation prefers to provide non-financial assistance.In July, the City launched its energy efficiency programme, which includes the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit system, the energy efficiency building retrofit programme, and the solar streetlight township electrification programme. The latter two are in pilot phase.Know-howIn all of these initiatives, the CCI is providing technical assistance to Johannesburg, especially as far as energy efficient procurement, information support on technology and products, and financial and cost analysis are concerned.But the City has also received grant assistance from the CCI. Firstly, the foundation provided a grant to hire the Institute for Transportation Development and Policy (ITDP), a leading international organisation promoting environmentally sustainable and equitable transportation worldwide, to develop the design and operational plan for Rea Vaya.The operational transport plan was submitted to the City in July. “According to the ITDP, Rea Vaya will reduce 311 586 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from the current ‘do nothing’ scenario,” a progress report on the partnership confirmed.Secondly, a grant was provided to hire a climate change and cleaner production deputy director for the City. The chair was filled in November.At the same time, the environmental management department gained the technical assistance of an acting director for project support, appointed by the Clinton initiative to give support in the implementation of joint City-CCI projects.“The Clinton Foundation has established a unique relationship with Johannesburg due to the City’s aggressive 2010 climate change goals and the executive mayor’s leadership in the C40 and International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives,” the executive director for environmental management, Flora Mokgohloa, stated in the report.So far, Johannesburg has received technical assistance from the foundation for waste management, energy efficiency, performance-based procurement and its operational transportation plan.The relationship between the two has strengthened since the foundation approached the City to form a partnership to fight climate change.In May 2007, Executive Mayor Amos Masondo joined a group of some 30 business and local government leaders in New York to discuss the role cities can play in reducing climate change. Called the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit, it was only the second summit of this nature to be held. The first was held in London in 2005.At that time the summit group also entered into a partnership with the CCI, led by former United States president Bill Clinton. The CCI assists by pooling the buying power of cities, mobilising expert assistance and facilitating the sharing of information about successful and replicable programmes.Key initiativesThe CCI hopes to reduce energy use in buildings worldwide through a landmark new programme and the City of Johannesburg has come on board, signing agreements to join the fight against climate change.A new procurement and financial model for 12 council-owned buildings is now in pilot phase, in which energy use will be drastically reduced through a number of measures. The pilot buildings are in Dobsonville, Ennerdale, Jabulani, Lenasia, Meadowlands, Newtown, Sandton, the Metro Centre, Museum Africa, Putco, the Roodepoort City Hall and Roodepoort Civic Centre.“It is the City’s intention to expand the programme to retrofit as many public buildings as possible by 2010,” Mokgohloa said. She stressed that the programme went far above and beyond lighting retrofits; it included boiler and chiller plant optimisation; improvements to electrical systems; roof, window and building improvements; and indirectly through procurement savings, among other things.A second initiative will look at solar power, still underutilised in sunny South Africa. City Power is identifying areas where solar street lighting can be implemented and appropriate technologies used. A flexible photovoltaic system, which can be laminated to most structures, is being explored and City Power is working closely with the CCI to plan a possible roll out.Lessons learned and alternative approaches are being looked at together with Beka, the company that was responsible for the Zandspruit solar street lighting pilot project.Apart from assistance with the BRT operational plan, the CCI is working with the City’s transportation department to analyse various propulsion systems and fuel types. The CCI is also exploring price discounts for BRT buses for C40 cities. A traffic congestion workshop will be held in December where C40 cities will share experiences in hybrid diesel and ethanol buses, station design, fare collection and financing.Another energy efficiency possibility is a landfill gas-to-energy project, with a report recently completed in which the eight proposal bids for gas extraction were evaluated. The project entails the trapping of the methane gas, generated as a result of landfill decomposition, into gas wells and then flaring or using the gas to generate electricity.Four open landfill sites, at Goudkoppies, Robinson Deep, Marie Louise and Ennerdale, and six closed landfill sites, at Linbro Park, Kya Sands, Mapetla, Panorama, Waterval, Meredale, in Johannesburg were identified to have good potential for gas extraction.Cities consume three quarters of the world’s energy and account for 75 percent of global carbon emissions. Delegates at the 2007 C40 summit agreed that “the fight against climate change will therefore be won or lost in cities”.The C40 cities, of which Johannesburg is one, have publicly declared that “the world’s largest cities have a critical role to play in the reduction of carbon emissions and the reversal of dangerous climate change”.They are Addis Ababa, Athens, Bangkok, Beijing, Berlin, Bogota, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Caracas, Chicago, Delhi, Dhaka, Hanoi, Houston, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Karachi, Lagos, Lima, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Melbourne, Mexico City, Moscow, Mumbai, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto and Warsaw. There are also 12 affiliate cities.Source: City of Johannesburglast_img read more

Liliesleaf: keeping the memory alive

first_imgNelson Mandela’s old room at Liliesleaf. He lived on the farm under the false identity of David Motsamayi, the caretaker of the property. (Image: liliesleaf.co.za) A 3D interactive table allows visitors to pull up videos, images, audio and text about the farm’s history, using two aluminium navigator orbs. (Image: pixelproject.com) Liliesleaf farm, situated in what is todaythe upmarket suburb of Rivonia, north of Johannesburg, was considered the nerve centre of the liberation struggle. (Image: gautengcc.co.za) MEDIA CONTACTS • Maria Dawborn  Liliesleaf Trust   +27 11 803 7882RELATED ARTICLES • ConCourt art tells SA’s story • Tribute to Arthur Goldreich • Peace Prize focus on women’s rights • Cash boost for Baartman memorial Wilma den HartighLiliesleaf farm in Johannesburg – the site of the infamous raid in 1963 that led to the Rivonia treason trial in which top African National Congress (ANC) leaders were tried for sabotage – brings to life the memories, fascinating stories and events of a turning point in South Africa’s history.Denis Goldberg, member of the ANC’s armed wing Umkhonto we Sizwe, clearly recollects the day when the raid on Liliesleaf took place.In a recent filmed interview, Goldberg says he remembers how he felt at that moment when the security police swooped on the farmhouse on 11 July 1963; it was a cold winter’s day, and he says that at that moment it suddenly got “even colder”.Perhaps one of the reasons why Liliesleaf captures the imagination of so many people is because it is a place of memory, legacy and inspiration.“It’s keeping the memory and legacy alive of a particular time in South Africa’s history and ensuring that this story is told,” says Nicholas Wolpe, CEO of the Liliesleaf Trust.Through stories such as the one told by Goldberg, visitors get a revealing glimpse into the lives of the freedom fighters who candidly speak about their personal struggles, memories of Liliesleaf and their contribution to building a democratic South Africa.More than a historical siteLiliesleaf farm, situated in what is today the upmarket suburb of Rivonia, north of Johannesburg, was considered the nerve centre of the liberation struggle.Arthur Goldreich, a member of the South African Communist Party, and his family fronted as the white owners of Liliesleaf farm, while the thatched cottage and outbuildings were used to conceal underground activities.The farm was a secret meeting place for top ANC and Communist Party leaders and it is here that Umkhonto we Sizwe was founded. It was also a hideout of former South African president Nelson Mandela, who lived on the farm under the false identity of David Motsamayi, the caretaker of the property.The raid on Liliesleaf uncovered extensive incriminating evidence that was used by the police to cement their case against several ANC members.Among the most important finds were journals and diary entries written by Mandela, discovered in the coal bunker outside the main house. Operation Mayibuye, the plan which outlined how the resistance movement intended to overthrow the apartheid regime, was also discovered on the farm.“It is a site of immense significance,” says Wolpe.Through the establishment of the Liliesleaf Trust and Legacy Project, the site has been restored, preserved and developed into one of South Africa’s most prominent liberation landmarks.About 60% of the building infrastructure consists of original brickwork. During the excavation process, more than seven different types of brickface were uncovered and any post-1963 brick was discarded.This brickwork was used in the restoration of the historical buildings and structures, which today constitute the museum component of Liliesleaf, a project which began in mid-2004.Interactive museum experienceA visit to Liliesleaf is much more than a dry history lesson. The interactive displays and beautifully restored buildings tell the story of commitment, dedication and selfless sacrifice of many people who fought for freedom from an oppressive apartheid government.A key component of the Liliesleaf Legacy Project has been the interviewing of numerous individuals linked to Liliesleaf, to build-up a comprehensive audiovisual archive of the farm’s history.The interactive tour takes visitors on a journey, retracing the footsteps of prominent anti-apartheid activists who spent time on the farm.At each point in the tour, visitors have an opportunity to experience a first-hand account of the events and circumstances leading up to the raid of the Rivonia farm, through interviews with struggle veterans.In the manor house, a large 3D interactive table allows visitors to pull up videos, images, audio and text about the farm’s history, using two aluminium navigator orbs. Tour guide Zein Khumalo says the table is the only one of its kind in the world.The electronically-controlled cabinet of curiosity holds an account of each event that culminated in the Rivonia trial. As each cabinet is pulled out, the accounts are automatically read out.A telephone rings in the corner of one of the manor house’s rooms – it’s one of those old bulky black phones with a dial, and on picking up the receiver, the telephone plays recorded stories of spy agents, terrorists and infiltrators.The award-winning touch screen technology, telephone stories, sparse furnishings and dark rooms convey the sense of secrecy, fear and tension that the struggle leaders must have lived with every day.In search of a historical artefactIt has been 40 years since the raid took place, yet Liliesleaf remains a living monument to the fight for freedom in South Africa.According to Wolpe, the vision for Liliesleaf Farm took root after a Rivonia trialists’ reunion on the site in 2001. This led to the farm being re-purchased and its original structures were uncovered by archaeological diggings.But after all the excavations, one important item is still missing – the search for Mandela’s highly prized Russian Makarov pistol is still on.Although it was reportedly only buried about 20 paces from the farmhouse kitchen, an extensive search still hasn’t delivered the artefact, now valued at about R22-million (US$3-million).The semi-automatic pistol is believed to be the first weapon of the war against apartheid. It was given to the young Nelson Mandela in 1962 by Colonel Biru Tadesse of the Ethiopian Riot Battalion in Addis Ababa, when Mandela was on a trip to seek military assistance.Mandela hid the pistol, and 200 rounds of ammunition, in a pit deep enough so that a plough could not uncover it, near an oak tree on the farm. At the time he hoped to retrieve it soon, but he never got the chance. A few weeks after he buried the firearm he was arrested and imprisoned.The 93-year-old Mandela can no longer remember the details of where he buried the sought-after weapon.Celebrating South Africa’s journey to freedomAs the search for the valuable firearm continues – and Wolpe thinks that renewed efforts will be successful – the Liliesleaf museum remains an important part of South Africa’s history.“Liliesleaf is our connection to South Africa’s past, a link to the present and a bridge to the future,” he says.What makes a visit to Liliesleaf worthwhile is that the individual memories of the struggle are conveyed by people who were actually there.It represents the beliefs, inspiration and aspirations of a fearless group of leaders who were committed to bringing about socio-political transformation based on democratic principles.“It is important that the memory and legacy of South Africa’s struggle for freedom is preserved in the hearts and minds of all South Africans,” he says.last_img read more

Machine Learning: Google’s Open-Source TensorFlow Platform Targets Deep Learning

first_imgIn November 2015, a group within Google called ‘Google Brain’ introduced an open-source API called TensorFlow for numerical computing and managing deep learning and artificial intelligence tasks like speech and image recognition.  TensorFlow can be deployed on anywhere from one to a distributed set of CPUs or GPUs.Matthew Zeiler, founder of AI service Clarifai, said that “Neural nets are getting used everywhere these days… Deep learning is a huge opportunity right now because it enables developers to create applications in a way that was never possible before. Neural networks are a new way of programming computers … It’s a new way of handling data.”With TensorFlow, tasks are broken down into a dataflow-graph representation.  The nodes of the graph represent CPUs or GPUs that perform the computations.  The edges of the graph represent the flow of the data between the nodes.  The data is organized as large multidimensional arrays or tensors that flow into and out of the processing nodes, which is the reason for the name ‘TensorFlow’.  TensorFlow itself is written in C++, but processing at the nodes is performed in Python.Greg Corrado, a senior search scientist at Google, said that “machine learning is the secret sauce for the products of tomorrow.  It no longer makes sense to have separate tools for researchers to use machine learning and people who are developing real product. There should be one set of tools that researchers can use to try out their crazy ideas. And if those ideas work they can move them directly into products without having to rewrite them.”Michael A. Cusumano, a professor at MIT, told the New York Times that “the software itself is open source, but if this is successful, it will feed Google’s money-making machine.  There are so many applications of machine learning to the bread and butter of what Google does.”last_img read more

Dorian makes landfall near Halifax Canada as dangerous cyclone

first_imgOttawa: Dorian made landfall in Canada on Saturday night south of Halifax with ferocious 100 mph (155 kph) winds and torrential rains, meteorologists said, toppling trees and whipping up debris. The storm churned up 65-foot (20-metre) waves which pounded the coast near the port city that is home to Canada’s Atlantic fleet. As it moved north from the US after devastating the Bahamas, the storm was now being called a “very intense post-tropical cyclone,” but the Canadian Hurricane Centre warned that it was still packing winds equivalent to those of a Category 2 hurricane. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US”We’re talking about a very dangerous storm,” Bob Robichaud of the Canadian Hurricane Centre told a briefing. Officials also said it had already dropped more than 100 millimeters (four inches) of rain on Nova Scotia, which could double by Sunday morning. Storm surges were causing widespread flooding. And more than 450,000 households were without electricity after winds knocked down power lines. According to reports, a crane collapsed onto an apartment building under construction in downtown Halifax. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsPublic Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said federal assistance was being provided. The military was mobilized to deliver aid and help with evacuations, while roads and bridges in the region were closed. Overnight, Dorian was expected to track northeast through the Maritimes region with “destructive winds and heavy rainfall,” the Canadian Hurricane Centre said, passing near eastern Prince Edward Island around midnight, and then over the eastern Gulf of St. Lawrence waters and western Newfoundland by Sunday morning.last_img read more