Giants mailbag: Why hiring Kapler would be a huge risk, will Bumgarner return, what’s up with Pillar?

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO — This offseason figures to be among the busiest in recent memory for the San Francisco Giants, but the news cycle has been relatively slow so far.That’s expected to change after the World Series ends as the club will likely announce a new manager and general manager, place a qualifying offer on Madison Bumgarner and begin to focus on free agency.Each week during the offseason, our Giants beat reporter, Kerry Crowley, will answer your questions and provide his analysis of the …last_img

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The Facebook Privacy Debate: What You Need to Know

first_imgA Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit Facebook changed the world by helping 350 million people publish their thoughts, feelings, comments, photos, videos and shared links much more easily than ever before. It’s the King of social networking.The network grew with a big promise of privacy at the center of what it offered: your information was by default visible only to people you approved as friends. In December that changed, in a fundamental way. We offer below a summary of the changes that were made and key highlights from the debate that’s raging around the world about privacy, public information and Facebook. Given the role that Facebook plays in so many of our lives, this is high-stakes stuff.What changed in December: Facebook users are no longer allowed to restrict access to their profile photos and the list of pages they have subscribed to updates from. The list of any Facebook user’s friends were made irrevocably public but after a very negative reaction from users, users were given a way to hide those lists from human view and leave them visible only to machine access. User updates (“What’s on your mind?”), shared photos, videos and links used to be private (visible only to approved friends) by default. If you’d never tweaked your privacy settings, then in December they were shifted by default to public (visible to the entire web) unless you decided when prompted to switch them back to private.Those aren’t simple changes to understand and there has been a lot of confusion about them. Many people do not like the way this is going. Here are some of the highlights of that debate.Facebook’s Arguments in Favor of a Shift Towards Public InformationIn July we asked Facebook executives point-blank on a press call about some of the initial changes in privacy settings: are you pushing people towards sharing more information publicly on the site. Two out of three of those we asked said yes, they were. Why? The answers have been inconsistent and not very compelling.Facebook Product Manager Leah Pearlman told us that making more user data publicly visible would help users identify which people were their friends when search results showed multiple people with the same name. Facebook Director of Communications Brandee Barker told us that more public information would help users connect with new people who share common interests. Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly told us the July changes weren’t about decreased privacy, but about increased control for users over their privacy.When December’s changes went down, we had a long conversation with Barry Schnitt, Director of Corporate Communications and Public Policy at Facebook. Schnitt told us that the shift towards more public information was big; just like “it was a big change in 2006 when Facebook became more than just people from colleges.” “Facebook is changing,” he said, “and so is the world changing and we are going to innovate to meet user requests.” Schnitt said it was clear the world was changing away from a focus on privacy and cited as evidence the rise in blogging, Twitter and MySpace, comments posted on newspaper websites and the popularity of Reality TV. Schnitt also acknowledged that page views and advertising were part of the motivation.Then in January Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said publicly that if he were to create Facebook today, the privacy settings would have been from the start just what they are today. He said that notions of privacy are evolving and that the company changed its policies to reflect that. He cited the rise of blogging as his evidence of that change.Finally, the company has said for some time that more public information will lead to greater familiarity, understanding and empathy between people: that a change towards a public Facebook is good for world peace. This actually might be the most compelling argument of all and it’s not that compelling because of the matter of user trust.The Arguments Against Facebook’s ChangeTwo years ago Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg told us that Facebook users couldn’t be permitted to take their data from Facebook to other sites they wanted to use it on because privacy control “is the vector around which Facebook operates.” The company has changed its stance regarding privacy dramatically since then.Many people believe that Facebook is getting ready to file for an Initial Public Offering – to start selling stock in the company to the public. It’s widely suspected that this shift toward more public information is intended to increase website traffic and advertising: the more pages you can look at, unhindered by privacy settings, the more ads Facebook will be able to show you. The more ads Facebook can show you, the more its stock will be worth in the IPO.We’ve argued that the ways Facebook is justifying these shifts just aren’t believable. Last week we made these three arguments:Even if society is changing to move away from privacy – that doesn’t justify taking away the option to keep many things private. As Microsoft researcher danah boyd wrote this weekend: People still care about privacy because they care about control. Sure, many teens repeatedly tell me ‘public by default, private when necessary’ but this doesn’t suggest that privacy is declining; it suggests that publicity has value and, more importantly, that folks are very conscious about when something is private and want it to remain so. When the default is private, you have to think about making something public. When the default is public, you become very aware of privacy. And thus, I would suspect, people are more conscious of privacy now than ever.As Nick O’Neill wrote on his own blog AllFacebook: When Facebook decided that they would start making these decisions on behalf of users, they crossed the line. Facebook doesn’t need to update their system to ‘reflect what the current social norms are’. Instead, Facebook should give users complete control of their privacy and as a result, user settings in aggregate will effectively ‘reflect what the current social norms are’. Simplifying a system which gives users complete control of their privacy isn’t easy but the value of such a system is priceless and for Facebook it’s necessary.Privacy isn’t just about keeping things secret, it’s about respecting the context of communication and not pushing peoples’ communication out of the context it was intended for. Thus, the fact that “nothing is secret on the internet” is beside the point. As University of Massachusetts-Amherst Legal Studies student Chris Peterson writes in a research paper Saving Face: The Privacy Architecture of Facebook (PDF), people today feel their privacy has been violated if what they say to one group of people gets shared with another group in different circumstances. By pushing personal information out of the restricted access of “friends only” – that’s what Facebook is doing.There are many people who need to maintain control over their personal information, to restrict access to it to trusted friends, as a matter of personal safety. As online identity technical consultant Kaliya Hamlin wrote here last month, Facebook’s push away from privacy represents a violation of its contract with users. Scientists have been able to determine peoples’ sexual preferences by analyzing their friends lists. People with religious or political preferences that are unpopular where they live or work and people who are escaping abusive relationships used to be able to keep their private information (like interests in the form of Fan pages) between trusted friends on Facebook but can no longer.Here’s how danah boyd explained a similar argument:Power is critical in thinking through these issues. The privileged folks don’t have to worry so much about people who hold power over them observing them online. That’s the very definition of privilege. But most everyone else does. And forcing people into the public eye doesn’t dismantle the structures of privilege, the structures of power. What pisses me off is that it reinforces them. The privileged get more privileged, gaining from being exposed. And those struggling to keep their lives together are forced to create walls that are constantly torn down around them. The teacher, the abused woman, the poor kid living in the ghetto and trying to get out. How do we take them into consideration when we build systems that expose people?…People care deeply about privacy, especially those who are most at risk of the consequences of losing it. Let us not forget about them. It kills me when the bottom line justifies social oppression. Is that really what the social media industry is about?Finally, thinker and author Nick Carr weighed in this weekend as well with a withering article titled “Other Peoples’ Privacy.” He discussed both Facebook’s shift away from privacy and Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s recent statement that “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”Carr drives home the significance of these anti-privacy moves and statements by calling them a threat to human liberty. Reading through these wealthy, powerful people’s glib statements on privacy, one begins to suspect that what they’re really talking about is other people’s privacy, not their own. If you exist within a personal Green Zone of private jets, fenced off hideaways, and firewalls maintained by the country’s best law firms and PR agencies, it’s hardly a surprise that you’d eventually come to see privacy more as a privilege than a right. And if your company happens to make its money by mining personal data, well, that’s all the more reason to convince yourself that other people’s privacy may not be so important.There’s a deeper danger here. The continuing denigration of privacy may begin to warp our understanding of what “privacy” really means. As Bruce Schneier has written, privacy is not just a screen we hide behind when we do something naughty or embarrassing; privacy is ‘intrinsic to the concept of liberty’:For if we are observed in all matters, we are constantly under threat of correction, judgment, criticism, even plagiarism of our own uniqueness. We become children, fettered under watchful eyes, constantly fearful that – either now or in the uncertain future – patterns we leave behind will be brought back to implicate us, by whatever authority has now become focused upon our once-private and innocent acts. We lose our individuality, because everything we do is observable and recordable.Privacy is not only essential to life and liberty; it’s essential to the pursuit of happiness, in the broadest and deepest sense of that phrase. It’s essential, as Schneier implies, to the development of individuality, of unique personality. We human beings are not just social creatures; we’re also private creatures. What we don’t share is as important as what we do share. The way that we choose to define the boundary between our public self and our private self will vary greatly from person to person, which is exactly why it’s so important to be ever vigilant in defending everyone’s ability and power to set that boundary as he or she sees fit. Today, online services and databases play increasingly important roles in our public and our private lives – and in the way we choose to distinguish between them. Many of those services and databases are under corporate control, operated for profit by companies like Google and Facebook. If those companies can’t be trusted to respect and defend the privacy rights of their users, they should be spurned.Privacy is the skin of the self. Strip it away, and in no time desiccation sets in.Desiccation means to dry something out by removing the water from it; Carr argues that the removal of privacy from our lives would suck dry our liberty, our individuality.Those are the arguments being made. We don’t expect this debate to die down anytime soon. Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Related Posts center_img Tags:#Analysis#NYT#social networks#web marshall kirkpatrick The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videoslast_img read more

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Firefox Gets Crash Protection

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Mozilla just launched the latest update to its popular Firefox browser. This new version (3.6.4) introduces a number of stability and security fixes, but most importantly, Firefox now protects Windows and Linux users from browser crashes when the Adobe Flash, Apple QuickTime or Microsoft Silverlight plugins freeze. Instead of taking the browser down with them, the plugins now run in a separate process and while they can still crash, this won’t lead to a full-blown browser crash anymore. Instead, users will simply see a gray background where the Flash, QuickTime or Silverlight content was supposed to be.Only for Windows and Linux So Far – OSX Crash Protection Coming in Firefox 4This crash protection feature is not available for Mac OSX users yet. According to Mozilla, “the technology used for crash protection requires major changes to Firefox on Mac OS X.” Crash protection will be available for OSX in Firefox 4, however. Mozilla also plans to add support for additional plugins in future Firefox releases. Tags:#Browsers#news#web Related Posts frederic lardinois Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… While Mozilla didn’t specify how often these plugins lead to browser crashes, Mozilla’s Director of Firefox Mike Beltzner notes that “Firefox 3.6.4 will significantly reduce the number of Firefox crashes experienced by users who are watching online videos or playing games.”Crash Protection as a Default Feature in Modern BrowsersCrash protection is slowly becoming a standard feature for most browsers. Google’s Chrome, for example, also protects users from plugin crashes by running every tab in a separate process and Apple has offered a similar crash protection feature since the release of Safari 4. Google also plans to ship a special version of Flash with its browser in the near future. This, according to Google, will allow the company to ensure that Flash works well in its browser and that users always run an up-to-date and secure version of Adobe’s plugin. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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Can a MiniSplit Live Happily in the Attic?

first_imgCost may be a factorNor is Inverter a fan of ceiling-mounted cassette minisplits. He thinks the 2-foot-square unit would look “massive” in one of the smaller bedrooms, and he doubts he would be able to buy three cassettes and an outdoor compressor for less than $20,000.Not so, Dorsett says. He’s certain that Inverter could get a three-zone compressor and three cassettes for “well under” $20,000, possibly even less than $10,000 if he put the job out to bid. Buying the hardware on line is about $6,000, he said, and a competitive bid shouldn’t be any more than twice that, even in an expensive market like New Jersey. Units with a smaller capacity would be even less.Yes, adds Walter Ahlgrim, with enough equipment in the attic it would be possible to keep the second floor of the house cool — but don’t start there.“In my opinion, the contractor’s solution is the one that puts the most cash in the contractor’s pocket,” says Ahlgrim. “It is also the solution with the highest operating costs. Putting equipment and or ductwork in any unconditioned space is not just a bad idea, it is a stupid, dumb, and lazy idea. The real solution starts with an energy audit including blower door testing with [infrared] photography. This will help you identify and fix the air leaks and get you get the correct insulation installed. If you still have a problem, get a Manual J calculation to tell you if need more equipment or better ductwork.”Air-sealing and insulation will cost less than buying new equipment, he adds. “The real payoff will come from savings on your electric bills for years to come,” he says. “Adding more equipment will only raise your monthly bills.” Insulation and air-sealing may be to blameThere is one more preliminary before we get to that, says Yupster.“It sounds like you have an existing forced-air system in the basement. If this is the case, the likely cause of your uncomfortable rooms is a combination of things,” Yupster writes. “Poor insulation and poor air sealing will make any room uncomfortable regardless of how much energy you pump into it.”Air sealing is a particular concern, and that’s something that Inverter can solve fairly easily. With air leaks reduced, Yupster suggests calling in an HVAC contractor who can measure air flow through the ductwork to the upstairs bedrooms and correct any imbalances in the system. To do that, Inverter will have to find the right contractor.“The key is getting someone who is willing to do measurements, static pressure, flow at the register, temperature change through the system, etc.” Yupster says. “I design these systems every day and measure and commission as many systems as I can.”Plus, Yupster adds, correcting any problems with Inverter’s existing heating and cooling system may prove far less expensive than installing new equipment.“As far as your ductwork goes, often you can’t get appropriate air flow upstairs because something in the system is too restrictive,” he writes. “Sometimes it’s a high-efficiency filter, sometimes it’s a cooling coil with a high pressure drop, sometimes it’s undersized ductwork. All of these can be remedied at significantly less cost (usually) than a whole new system.”Air-sealing the house would reduce the tendency of indoor air to stratify, and thereby lower cooling loads upstairs, he adds. If the air ducts are too small, reducing the flow of air through them is one way of making them the right size, and air-sealing and insulation would allow Inverter to do that.There are other optionsDavid McNeely points to some potential problems with the ducted minisplit option, and, like other readers, suggests that Inverter have a look at some alternatives.A ducted unit will require return air in the form of a 400-square-inch grille, he says, and if Inverter wants a MERV filter in the system he should plan on a grille of about 20 inches by 25 inches. In addition, he’ll need service access, plus another 12 inches on the side where controls are located.“So that’s a lot of square footage out of a ceiling, and don’t think you can stick it in a closet or bathroom ceiling without cutting a major hole in the closet door or wall, because a 400 cfm draw requires it to come from the whole upstairs,” he says.For these and other reasons, McNeely, Yupster and Dana Dorsett all suggest that Inverter look at some alternatives, such as wall-mounted ductless minisplits or ceiling cassettes.Dorsett, for example, says three half-ton heads (6,000 Btu/hour each) would do it with one installed in each of the three bedrooms. Or, he adds, install one unit of 6,000 to 9,000 Btu/hour in the master bedroom, and a shared 9,000 Btu/hour ducted unit in a closet between the other two bedrooms.Walls that might be used for a ductless minisplit are interior walls, Inverter replies, and there’s a problem with what wall-mounted units look like. “I am aware that nothing performs as well and as efficiently as a wall unit, but it really is not an option,” he says. “There is no closet between the bedrooms that can be used, so that’s not an option either.” RELATED ARTICLES Keeping Cool in a Two-Story HouseMy House is Too HotAll About Furnaces and Duct SystemsAir Conditioner BasicsWindow-Mounted Air Conditioners Save EnergyGBA Encyclopedia: Air ConditioningUsing Ceiling Fans To Keep Cool Without AC The units seem oversizedWhat strikes Chris King first, though, is the capacity of the minisplits that the contractor has recommended. At 20,000 Btu/hour, King says, they seem “incredibly overpowered” for cooling just three bedrooms.“I also live in N.J. and use a 18,000 Btu/h unit for 1,500 square feet of 1960s poorly insulated home,” King says. “Seems like your biggest issue is that your current system is single-zone.”Each of the units the contractor recommends, however, can be dialed back to 3,800 Btu per hour, Inverter says, and the output of the outdoor condenser can be lowered to 6,000 Btu/h. That means that if both units are running, each can operate at between 3,800 and 12,000 Btu/h.Another option, he adds, would be to install a single SEZ model with a capacity of 18,000 Btu/h — but a single unit would not allow the room temperatures to be controlled separately.That said, it’s the proposed location of the units rather than their capacity that has prompted Inverter’s question. And on this count, Yupster and others are unequivocal in counseling against putting the minisplits in an uninsulated attic.“This is a terrible idea,” he says. That’s the underlying question for this Q&A Spotlight. A GBA reader named Inverter0815 lives in a two-story colonial in New Jersey that’s hard to keep comfortable in summer. In order to get the three upstairs bedrooms down to a relatively comfortable 75° in July and August, Inverter must set the thermostat on his single-zone 2 1/2-ton air conditioner to 67°.An HVAC contractor has taken a look at the house and has a recommendation, Inverter explains in this Q&A post: install two Mitsubishi SEZ model ducted minisplits in the attic. One will cool the master bedroom, the other will cool the two bedrooms where Inverter’s children sleep.There’s one snag. The attic at Inverter’s house is unconditioned.“What got me thinking is that Mitsubishi recommends installing the SEZ units in a dropped ceiling or closet,” Inverter writes. “Can these be installed in an unconditioned attic as well? The [temperature] gets up to 130° on a sunny day in the summer, so I am a little worried. Would a traditional air handler be a better idea?” Our expert’s opinionPeter Yost, GBA’s technical director, had this to say:I think Yupster and Ahlgrim have this right: This is an enclosure/ducting problem looking for a mechanical system solution. Inverter did not respond to Yupster or Ahlgrim with any information about building enclosure performance, and we don’t know enough about existing ducting to know if an approach such as Aeroseal could completely change the air delivery problem to the second floor.Inverter should be looking for:An HVAC contractor who can do a Manual J load calculation for his current home and system size and who can give him more information on his duct system.An auditor certified by the Building Performance Institute who can do a performance assessment of his enclosure. Inverter should use those results to prioritize enclosure improvements before installing any additional cooling capacity.last_img read more

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Insulated Sheathing in a Cold Climate

first_imgJeff Smith is building a house in North Dakota and is far enough along to have installed insulated sheathing on the exterior. He’s chosen Zip R6 sheathing, a product made by Huber Engineered Woods that combines OSB structural sheathing and rigid foam. “Our intent was to create a tight, energy-efficient home, and to deaden sound,” Smith writes in a post at the Q&A forum. “However, now that we have the sheathing on and are siding, I have read people stating that R-sheathing is not well suited for cold climates and that we should have used a thicker foam and placed it on the exterior side of the sheathing.” His concern is moisture. When a continuous layer of foam on the exterior of a building is too thin, the risk is that moisture making its way through exterior walls will condense and freeze on the inside face of the sheathing during the winter.RELATED ARTICLESCombining Exterior Rigid Foam With Fluffy InsulationCalculating the Minimum Thickness of Rigid Foam SheathingThe 2012 Code Encourages Risky Wall StrategiesRethinking the Rules on Minimum Foam ThicknessThe Exterior Rigid Foam is Too Thin! “So my question is this: What should we do, at this point, to ensure our walls do not have moisture issues or that they dry appropriately when moisture does enter the wall?” Smith asks. “For what it is worth, the siding is LP Smartside.” That’s the topic for this Q& A Spotlight. Right church, wrong pew Zip-R can work in Climate Zone 6, but it would have been better to choose Huber’s R-12 version rather than the R-6, Michael Maines tells Smith. However, because the inside of the walls is still open, a solution is still very much within reach. “You can add closed-cell spray foam to the interior to create a flash-and-batt detail. Just make sure at least 35% of the R-value is on the exterior,” Maines writes. “A riskier solution that could work (no guarantees) is to install a variable-permeance membrane on the interior, such as Siga Majrex or Pro Clima Intello, and to keep a close eye on your interior humidity levels.” Maines normally wouldn’t recommend spray foam, but this situation seems well suited to it. An inch or two of closed-cell foam will create an effective air barrier, and Smith can fill the rest of the wall cavity with less expensive fluffy insulation — either fiberglass or mineral wool would be typical choices. Does the placement of the foam layer matter? Smith points out that Huber’s R-sheathing places the foam layer on the inside. So, the condensing surface for moisture exiting the house would be on a layer of foam, not OSB. “I assume the concern here is that the interior face of the foam might act as a condensing plane. Is that correct?” Smith asks. “So, by adding spray foam against the foam, there would no longer be a condensing plane within the wall cavity. With or without the spray foam, the OSB portion of the sheathing will remain cold , so I assume we are not concerned about moisture accumulating on the OSB in either scenario. Is that correct?” That’s right, Maines replies. That’s the idea behind making sure that 35% of the insulation is outside the sheathing in Smith’s climate zone. With the layer of closed-cell foam in place, the inner face of the sheathing may be cold, but it won’t be getting much moisture from the interior, he says. A rainscreen would make the assembly more resilient. He suggests that Smith specify closed-cell foam (2 lb. per cubic foot), and preferably one that uses an HFO (hydrofluoroolefin) blowing agent rather than the more environmentally destructive HFC. “In theory, you shouldn’t need the interior vapor retarder,” Maines says. “Latex paint on drywall will meet the code requirement of a Class 3 vapor retarder. But a variable-permeance membrane won’t hurt anything either.” Is racking a potential problem? In conventional wood-frame construction, sheathing (either panels or boards) is nailed directly to the studs. This provides good resistance to racking — the risk that the wall will collapse like a cardboard box under a load. Racking, says John Clark, is a possible risk with the use of Zip-R sheathing. “Unlike sheathing attached directly against the framing, Zip-R panels with thicker foam cannot be relied upon to provide racking resistance,” Clark claims. “Typically, this is remedied with the addition of diagonal bracing. You may want to double check local codes and Huber recommendations.” Winter condensation on the back of the panel isn’t an issue, he adds, because the foam layer is vapor impermeable. Wrong on both counts, Maines replies. First, Huber has tested its Zip-R products for shear strength and developed appropriate nailing schedules. The R-12 sheathing would require 4-inch-long nails (Bostich makes a nail gun that will handle nails of that length). “I answer questions from builders regularly about Zip-R thickness,” Maine says. “One last night from a builder I work with a lot, who got a design from someone else that shows Zip-R too thin for our climate zone, just like Jeff’s situation. I predict an eventual class action lawsuit against Huber, not because they have a bad product, but because they have not successfully conveyed the critical thickness issue.” Is spray foam the only option? The potential for off-gassing from the spray foam is a factor for Smith. He cites some specific health concerns in this family that makes him want to avoid spray foam. “That being said,” he adds, “in your opinion, is spray foam the only safe step we can make at this point to not risk failure of our walls?” No, replies Dana Dorsett, Smith does not have to use spray foam. With the addition of an inch of foam, exterior walls can remain relatively vapor-open without the risk of moisture accumulation on the back side of the sheathing, he said. But the wall can still be safe without foam if other means are used to keep moisture out. “There are thousands, even tens of thousands of existence proofs in Canada that a 2×6 fluff-filled wall with R-5 [rigid foam] on the exterior and a 6 mil polyethylene vapor barrier on the interior isn’t a moisture problem,” he writes, “but the air sealing of the vapor barrier and wall gypsum needs to be done well.” Installers in Canada are well trained, he says, but here in the U.S., Smith may have to be his own inspector. Either polyethylene sheeting or a smart vapor retarder can be used successfully — just don’t be too sloppy about the air-sealing details, Dorsett recommends. After suggesting a number of specific steps Smith might take to reduce air leaks, Dorsett says that if the siding hasn’t been installed yet, there’s still time to add more foam on the exterior, specifically 1 1/2 inches or more of unfaced Type II EPS. Our expert weighs in Peter Yost, the technical director at GBA, adds this: There are building science/moisture management relationships between rainscreen claddings, types of cavity and exterior insulation, and the class of interior vapor retarders (particularly for cold climates). The 2015 codes do try and weave these together, but it is not an easy task. Since this blog is focused on Huber’s Zip system R-sheathing, let’s start by recognizing the web resource the company has, as well as its well-staffed tech support system. Huber technical representatives can also be reached by phone (800-933-9220, ext. 2716). Zip-R sheathing systems are well-suited for cold climates. It is important that the full wall assembly be configured based on climate; hence, this online resource: “Designing with continuous insulation – Learn how to determine the right amount of exterior insulation to ensure your project meets code” (a CEU webinar course). I see three options for Jeff Smith: Flash the appropriate depth of closed-cell spray foam  and complete the cavity fill with air-permeable insulation (the layer of closed-cell foam plus the rigid foam in the sheathing should equal at least 35% of the total wall insulation R-value). This moves the first condensing surface to the interior face of the spray foam, moving it far away from dew point in this assembly and enabling a Class III interior vapor retarder. So the cavity has good drying potential to the interior should moisture get into the framing cavity. Fill the cavity with air-permeable insulation with a smart vapor retarder (SVR) on the interior. SVRs move from borderline II – III (1 perm) when dry to vapor open (greater than 10 perms) when wet, so this meets code and can work well, so long as this approach is coupled with reasonable interior relative humidity in the home during the winter. Add rigid insulation to the exterior of the Zip-R sheathing. This will shift the proportion of R-value sheathing-to-cavity fill, elevating the temperature of the first condensing surface (the interior surface of the polyisocyanurate rigid insulation in the ZIP-R). This approach will  accommodate a Class III interior vapor retarder, promoting cavity drying to the interior. The type of exterior rigid insulation will affect the drying potential of the OSB sheathing in the Zip-R. A vapor-open rigid mineral wool would promote the most drying, while additional polyiso rigid would sandwich the OSB between two layers of a Class II material. While the code addresses many of the factors determining moisture performance, the codes do not address the type of exterior rigid insulation. What about venting the backside of the cladding? The code recognizes this moisture management approach as well by permitting a Class III interior vapor retarder with vented claddings in cold climates. It’s interesting that three very different configurations — vented cladding, exterior insulation, and different interior vapor retarders — all address managing wintertime moisture and drying potential. What about the structural performance of the Zip-R, given that there is non-structural rigid insulation between the framing and the OSB? Huber analyzed the structural performance of Zip-R when the product was developed. As with any structural wall system, the connection of the sheathing to the framing is driven by the type, number, and spacing of fasteners. All the information needed is easily obtained here. Is it easy to keep all of the building science, the codes, and their divergence/alignment straight? Unfortunately, no, particularly when even the various codes do not align. Here is how Allen Sealock, Zip System product director, summarizes the code issues in cold climates: “The problem is the disconnect between the Energy Code [IECC] requirements and the vapor retarder requirements in the IRC for Climate Zones 6 – 8.  This first table below is from the energy code. In Climate Zones 6 – 8, the energy code prescriptively calls for 20+5 for 2×6 walls or 13+10 for 2×4 walls. (This means R-20 cavity plus R-5 continuous insulation, or R-13 plus R-10 in continuous insulation.) “The table below is from the 2015 IRC.  Notice that the R-values of exterior insulation required to enable the use of a Class III vapor retarder are completely different than the ones above from the energy code. I often remind people that the energy code is based solely on energy usage.  A 20+5 wall will conduct the same amount of heat as a 13+10 wall. “The R-values specified in the IRC for vapor retarders has nothing to do with energy usage. It is how much insulation is needed to keep the first condensing surface above the dew point. The confusing part to most people is that the exterior insulation R-values between these two codes don’t match up for Climate Zones 6 – 8. “However, it is completely allowed by code to build a 20+5 wall in Climate Zone 6 as long as it has a Class I or II vapor retarder [See Figure 3 below]. “The table below is from the 2015 IBC. The IBC changed the language in an attempt to prevent the double vapor barrier scenario.” Sometimes, the code — and the options within the codes — can make our lives as building professionals easier. Unfortunately — and maybe more often than not — the reverse is true. I firmly believe that knowing the building science behind the code is the only way to really understand and implement the building code.   Note: Steve Baczek and I are conducting a series of workshops across the country entitled Homebuilding Crossroads. The theme is the relationship between high-performance building driven by building science and the 2015 codes. It’s not a simple topic. Following the code does not mean that architects and builders are freed from mastering building science-driven moisture management. Huber Zip-R system is one of the sponsors of the Homebuilding Crossroad workshops. Full disclosure: Do I have a special relationship with Huber? To the extent that they pay me to develop and conduct these workshops with Steve, the answer is yes. Do they exert any influence or direction over the content and the conduct of the workshops? No, they hired Steve and me only under the condition that we develop the content independently. Huber’s only stipulation was this: Get the code and the building science right.last_img read more

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Man drunk and speeding before crash that killed BC Mountie Crown

first_imgCOLWOOD, B.C. – A man who sped his truck through a red light and rammed a RCMP cruiser, killing the officer inside, had a blood-alcohol level more than three times the legal limit, the Crown said Wednesday.Crown attorney Tim Stokes told Kenneth Fenton’s sentencing hearing the man’s truck was estimated to be going as fast as 90 kilometres an hour in a 50-kilometre zone when it entered the intersection and slammed into Const. Sarah Beckett’s vehicle in April 2016.Stokes told the court, Fenton, 29, had been drinking beer and was distraught over the recent suicide of a friend. He refused to provide a breath or blood sample, but police obtained a warrant within an hour of the crash to analyze blood taken from Fenton while he was at the hospital, the court heard.Fenton’s blood-alcohol reading was .287 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, Stokes said. The legal blood-alcohol limit is .08.The Crown is seeking a sentence of between three and five years in prison. Defence lawyer Dale Marshall said an appropriate sentence would be three years in prison.Stokes said the court must consider Fenton’s level of impairment and vehicle speed in the sentence.“He was quite oblivious to the fact he was entering an intersection where the light was red,” he said.Marshall said Fenton pleaded guilty almost immediately and will address the court to express his remorse.Fenton’s sentencing hearing was expected to be completed Wednesday, but it was adjourned late Wednesday until July 6 to set another date to for the hearing to continue.At the time of the crash, Fenton’s truck was being followed by another RCMP vehicle after that officer noticed the tail lights were out, Stokes said.He described the crash as an explosion of glass and smoke to a full courtroom in Colwood, B.C., as people sitting in the gallery held tissues and wiped away tears.Stokes said the truck hit Beckett’s vehicle on the driver side and an autopsy determined Beckett’s death was caused by blunt force trauma.He said a witness at the accident scene reported hearing Fenton say “one stupid decision.”Fenton pleaded guilty last month to charges of impaired driving and dangerous driving causing the death of Beckett, a mother of two boys who had recently returned to the West Shore RCMP detachment from maternity leave.Beckett’s husband, Brad Aschenbrenner, read his victim impact statement to the court.His hands shook and his voice was low and cracked at times when he told the court about losing the love of his life and the mother of their young sons, Lucas and Emmett.The hardest thing after his wife’s death was telling six-year-old Lucas “mommy wasn’t coming home,” Aschenbrenner said.His youngest son was two years old when his mother died and “will have no memory of her at all,” he added.He said the family tries to celebrate Christmas, Halloween and Thanksgiving, but “there’s always the undercurrent of sadness and loss.”He has not been able to work, and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety, he said.Aschenbrenner said he left his family in Idaho to come to Canada to be with Beckett. He is scheduled to get his Canadian citizenship at a ceremony on Friday.In a written victim impact statement submitted to the court, Beckett’s mother, Gurcharn Beckett said she is haunted by her daughter’s cruel and sudden death.“I wonder did she see death rushing at her? Did she have a moment?”last_img read more

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Foldable phone maker shows off flexible keyboard at CES 2019

first_img Now playing: Watch this: 0 Royole’s flexible keyboard. Sarah Tew/CNET Even before arriving at CES 2019, Royole made headlines in November when it launched the FlexPai — a 7.8-inch phone with a flexible AMOLED screen — during a time when Samsung was only rumored to do the same.It was hard to imagine that this largely unknown startup managed to make, let alone sell, such a product before Samsung and other giants like LG and Huawei were able to debut their own. (Samsung did eventually give a sneak peak of its foldable phone a month later.) 1:44 $1,318 Mentioned Above Royole FlexPai 14 Photos Gadgets Share your voice Tags See it Riding the hype of that launch, Royole is at CES 2019 showing off not only the FlexPai but several other devices that implement thin, foldable displays. Namely, a smart speaker, a flexible keyboard and a smart-touch selfie stick.The smart speaker has a 7.8-inch AMOLED touchscreen that bends at 100 degrees. You can swipe through the screen to play music, watch movies or just tap the interactive home screen.Though it wasn’t set up while we were taking a look at it, the speaker also has an 8-megapixel camera up top that pops up and rotates 180 degrees for taking pictures and video calls. The speaker is also integrated with Alexa and Google, so you can ask it different queries and command it to control your smart home devices. Royole’s Flexpai phone and flexible keyboard rolls into your pocket CES Products Amazon Google LG Samsung CES 2019: Royole demos all the quirky stuff its flexible… CES 2019 CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Royole demoed its flexible QWERTY keyboard as well, which can be laid on any smooth surface and connected to your phone via Bluetooth. It can work wirelessly and when you’re done, push the button twice and it’ll roll up so you can carry it around in your pocket. On standby I’m told its battery lasts for months. Though it was a little hard to type on, it looks really cool and the transparent surface is thin and flexible.  04-smart-speaker-flexible-screenRoyole’s smart speaker has a curved touchscreen. Sarah Tew/CNET Lastly, the company showed off its smart-touch selfie stick. It’s already available in China at Brookstone stores, and is expected to come to the US in 2019. It features multi-touch sensors around the handle. This allows you to navigate through a dedicated camera app so you can switch between different editing features on the phone.Official pricing has not been announced yet, but Royole plans to sell the flexible keyboard globally by Q2 2019 through its site and other retailers like Amazon. As for the smart speaker, Royole is still reaching out to retail partners for distribution.Royole also brought along two other devices that are already available on its site and Amazon: the digital writing pad RoWrite and an immersive 3D movie headset called Moon. They retail for $130 (£102 and AU$183, converted) and $600 (£471 and AU$842), respectively.CES 2019: See all of CNET’s coverage of the year’s biggest tech show.CES schedule: It’s six days of jam-packed events. Here’s what to expect. Royole FlexPai Preview • Royole FlexPai: First foldable phone beats Samsung to the punch Post a commentlast_img read more

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Public Asked To Comment On New Regional Traffic Safety Plan

first_img To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: H-GAC Transportation Planning Director Alan Clark said those crashes cost the region a staggering amount of money.“Vehicle crashes are a leading cause of congestion and delays,” said Clark. “They take community resources like emergency management providers, emergency rooms at our hospitals.”The region has seen a lot of new residents but Clark said despite that growth, the increase in crashes is still extremely high.H-GAC’s new Regional Safety Plan cites drunk driving, distracted driving, and speeding as some of the major factors behind those collisions. There are also issues with aging road design. Clark explains the goal of the plan is to not only drill down on why those crashes are happening but to look for solutions to make streets safer.The public is invited to comment on the draft safety plan at a public meeting Wednesday night. It’s from 5:30 to 7:00 at H-GAC’s offices at 3555 Timmons.Clark said they’re also taking public comment online. Listen Gail DelaughterHouston Police stop traffic after a crash on rain-slick I-45 North.The Houston-Galveston Area Council said between 2012 and 2014, traffic crashes rose by 40 percent in the region. Fatalities were up by 20 percent. center_img 00:00 /00:53 X Sharelast_img read more

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Homeless babies at risk of poor health

first_imgBabies born to homeless women are more likely to have poor health and development outcomes, says a study.The findings showed that babies who experienced both pre- and post-natal homelessness and those who experienced homelessness for longer than six months were at a highest risk of negative health outcomes. “These findings back up what we already knew about how the stress of homelessness affects children’s heath,” said Megan Sandel, paediatrician at Children’s HealthWatch, from the Boston Medical Centre (BMC) in the US. “But this helps us determine which children are at greatest risk, and makes the argument that policymakers and providers need to intervene to change the trajectory of a child’s development,” Sandel added.The study, published in Pediatrics, shows that the earlier and the longer a child experiences homelessness may have a larger cumulative toll of poor health and development outcomes.last_img read more

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