Pressure Drop: From Grim Dawn to a Brighter Tomorrow

first_imgPressure Drop: From Grim Dawn to a Brighter TomorrowHow crowdfunding helped Crate Entertainment invert the usual third-party developer difficulty curveBrendan SinclairManaging EditorFriday 19th August 2016Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleCrate EntertainmentEarlier this month, Crate Entertainment released the survival mode for its action-RPG, Grim Dawn. It was the final remaining stretch goal from the game’s Kickstarter campaign, which launched more than four years ago. Crate still has to send out physical boxed copies to backers and has committed to a “making of” book and a proper expansion to the game, but Grim Dawn itself is essentially done.You might think that delivering on the Kickstarter campaign’s obligations three full years after the originally estimated August 2013 reward delivery date would have been a huge relief to the people behind the project. But as Crate founder Arthur Bruno told GamesIndustry.biz last week, the pressure might have hit its apex before the crowdfunding campaign was even a consideration.Bruno had been lead designer at Titan Quest developer Iron Lore Entertainment when the studio shut down in early 2008. He soon founded Crate Entertainment with an eye toward continuing the studio’s work. He acquired the rights to Black Legion, an Iron Lore IP that had received some interest before the studio’s closure, and began pitching it to publishers as a AAA action-RPG that would be co-developed with another outfit. But with the industry even more risk-averse than usual thanks to the global financial crisis, it was a bet few were willing to take.”After Iron Lore, I felt like we really needed to somehow break out of the publisher-funded development cycle. It’s just really brutal.” “Ultimately I just felt defeated by it,” Bruno said. “After Iron Lore, I felt like we really needed to somehow break out of the publisher-funded development cycle. It’s just really brutal. You get an advance on royalties that allows you to hire up a team quickly and put out a game in a reasonable time frame, but now you’ve got this burn rate. And when the game releases, the paychecks stop coming in and you suddenly have no money but this whole team you’re trying to support.”That was when Bruno had the idea to push forward with a smaller scale project, one that didn’t need publisher backing and didn’t have the same creative risk as Black Legion. So he licensed the Titan Quest codebase (but not the IP, which was still owned by THQ) and set about creating a spiritual successor in Grim Dawn. There weren’t really any other action RPGs on the market at the time, it wouldn’t need much programming support since the engine was essentially finished, and he had plenty of ex-Iron Lore contacts willing to freelance work on it. He wouldn’t even need publisher funding because Grim Dawn was intended to be a “small-scope, not very polished, BBB title.” And even then, Bruno figured it could adopt an episodic format and launch chapters through Steam to help fund the game’s continued development.Grim Dawn wears its Titan Quest inspiration on its sleeve–and under the hood.But by this point, the landscape had changed a bit. The ARPG torch had been picked up by Torchlight (appropriately enough), and Runic Games had a sequel on the way. At the same time, Diablo III was starting to really take shape and the long-in-development sequel’s release seemed almost imminent. Suddenly the bar for action RPGs got a lot higher. Bruno knew he’d need considerably more time–and money–to compete.”In 2011, I was becoming increasingly desperate,” Bruno said. “Development slowed down. Some of the guys who’d been helping us out basically couldn’t any more because they’d gotten too busy with their new jobs, or had kids. Life moved on. So as other RPGs were releasing on the horizon, I was feeling ever more pressure to do more with the game, but development was increasingly slowing down.”At that point, you get into that gambler’s scenario. You’re at the slot machine, the blackjack table or whatever, and you’ve put so much money down you feel like you can’t leave until you make it back.” “At that point, you get into that gambler’s scenario. You’re at the slot machine, the blackjack table or whatever, and you’ve put so much money down you feel like you can’t leave until you make it back. I was kind of in that scenario where I’d invested some of my savings and basically a year-plus of my career into making this happen, so it was hard to walk away from.”Apparently unaware of how that scenario usually plays out, Bruno pressed onward. By the end of 2011, he had a working demo in place, but no content. A friend had been suggesting he turn to Kickstarter to raise funds for the game, but Bruno balked at the idea. Even if Crate raised $40,000 through a Kickstarter campaign–and that was on the high end of what game projects were raising to that point–Bruno didn’t think it would be enough to make a difference in anything except the pressure he felt to get the game finished.Of course, Double Fine Adventure changed everything. That campaign convinced Bruno that crowdfunding was “probably the only way Grim Dawn was going to get made at that point.” A little over a month after Double Fine raised $3.3 million through its own campaign, Crate Entertainment launched the Grim Dawn Kickstarter with a $280,000 goal. They nearly doubled that, bringing in more than $537,000. Crate would be able to go forward with Grim Dawn development after all.”But then like, a week later, the burden of what you’ve promised people sets in,” Bruno said, adding, “As much as you try to manage expectations, once you’re hyping something on Kickstarter and you start to develop a loyal fanbase, people have their expectations grow over time. So we also felt this pressure from our audience to produce more and go bigger.””As much as you try to manage expectations, once you’re hyping something on Kickstarter and you start to develop a loyal fanbase, people have their expectations grow over time.” He remembers waking up sick to his stomach over what he’d promised people and had to deliver, and having a fixed amount of funding to do it all with wasn’t helping. But the real break happened in 2013, when Steam rolled out its Early Access program. “Once we hit Early Access and got a surge in funding, it was a big relief because I felt it wasn’t a finite source of funding,” Bruno said.Early Access gave Crate the wherewithal to spend the time and money trying to realize Grim Dawn’s full potential. Development had progressed far enough and the monthly income was strong enough that Bruno felt comfortable reinvesting proceeds into the game, bringing on a couple more employees. If the ongoing revenue started to dry up for some reason, he could always tie the game off and push it out in a respectable state without sinking the company.Alternative funding models may alleviate financial restrictions, but they can bring other pressures, Bruno noted. Following the Kickstarter campaign, he felt tremendous pressure to get something playable out to his backers. The backers may love that, but Bruno noted that it slowed down development considerably. And perhaps worse, it created more pressure to continue releasing updated builds because he didn’t want to let that engaged audience go too long without an update and lose interest.”But every time you pause development to wrap up a build and playtest it and make sure it’s ready for release then put it out there and address any post-release problems, it’s like throwing a wrench in the works,” Bruno said. “It pauses development for a while. Coders can’t check anything new in. You have to be really conservative, even with putting some assets into the game. And then you have to spend some time polishing and bug-fixing instead of just plowing forward and continuing to work on the game and get new content and features in.”It was bad on Kickstarter, but possibly even worse once the game hit Early Access. It seems many customers were buying Grim Dawn through Early Access and expecting it to perform like a finished game. And contrary to what you might expect, the most vocal contingent of people upset with the wait for new content weren’t necessarily the ones who’d been waiting the longest.”We actually had a bunch of pretty high-level backers who backed for $1,000-plus. And it’s funny, it was like pulling teeth trying to get people to actually claim their rewards or get back to us on stuff.” “The most loyal backers I feel were the most patient,” Bruno said. “It’s one of those things that’s tough to deal with in the modern age where you’re very connected with large groups of people online. Often there’s this silent majority that’s just content, or potentially just difficult to read. Then you have this very loud minority at times, where it can be hard to ignore the frequency of certain messages you’re getting, even though they may only be coming from a very small amount of people. And I think that was the case with people who were impatient.”Many of Grim Dawn’s backers–even some of the biggest ones–basically just threw their money at Crate and then tuned out until the game’s release.”We actually had a bunch of pretty high-level backers who backed for $1,000-plus. And it’s funny, it was like pulling teeth trying to get people to actually claim their rewards or get back to us on stuff,” Bruno said. “One of the rewards was to help design a quest or name some item in the game, and some people never did.”Even so, those backers and the Early Access customers who followed them helped build a stable foundation on which Bruno could build Crate Entertainment. Development on Grim Dawn proper is coming to an end, and Bruno estimates the game’s lifetime earnings have doubled or possibly even tripled the money spent making it. The studio is now working on an expansion for Grim Dawn that will launch early next year (probably), and has started work on a “totally different type of game” to launch after that, both of which will be funded by Grim Dawn.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games “Working on this project is like easy mode to some extent. We’ve already got the funding for it. I know how we’re going to release, just not necessarily at what point… I think that we have all the funding we need to complete it and whether we release on Early Access or not is more a question of to what extent we want early feedback on the game.”It’s not lost on Bruno that Grim Dawn has been an inversion of the publisher-funded development cycle he realized he swore off after pitching Black Legion.”In some ways, it’s a question of where you want your difficulty to be,” Bruno said. “With crowdfunding, your difficulty and risk is mostly at the beginning. Just getting something off the ground and getting attention is very difficult. Once you get to release, if you have even a reasonably successful game, it’s much easier to stay independent and go on to a next project.”Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesEA leans on Apex Legends and live services in fourth quarterQ4 and full year revenues close to flat and profits take a tumble, but publisher’s bookings still up double-digitsBy Brendan Sinclair 7 hours agoEA Play Live set for July 22Formerly E3-adjacent event moves to take place a month and half after the ESA’s showBy Jeffrey Rousseau 8 hours agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.last_img read more

Big Tobacco moves back into advertising

first_imgThis article is part of the special report: The Big Vaping Dilemma.It took decades, but tobacco companies have figured out how to get their ads back into heavy rotation: by not selling cigarettes.Fourteen years after an EU directive banned most cigarette advertising, tobacco companies are enjoying a marketing renaissance — and, some allege, skirting regulations — by pivoting their message to “potentially reduced harm” products like vape pens and heat-not-burn devices.While tobacco companies argue that they need to get the word out about “safer alternatives” to conventional cigarettes, some public health advocates fear that any advertising of nicotine products could produce yet another generation of addicts.This season, Phillip Morris International (PMI) and British American Tobacco (BAT) returned to direct branding on Formula 1 race cars for the first time in more than a decade, with harm reduction as the focus.“Ultimately, the tobacco industry is in the business of addiction” — Jo Cranwell, tobacco industry researcher at the University of BathSimilarly, 49 years after the U.S. Congress banned cigarette ads on television, BAT started airing a spot for an e-cigarette on American cable channels in March. “I think that shocked a lot of people in the organization, when we said we’re going to make a TV advert for our Vuse product there,” said Simon Cleverly, group head of corporate affairs at BAT.BAT and PMI have advertised with POLITICO this week.Tobacco companies say the goal is to help adults who already smoke cigarettes change to newer habits they claim are less risky to human health.“When we went in the Formula 1 again at the beginning of this year, I think there were a lot of people in the external world that went, ‘My god, Big Tobacco’s back in Formula 1, that must be a bad thing,’” said Cleverly. “It was a really important opportunity to talk about our brand.”Liberated in many cases from the restrictions on cigarettes, the new products also show companies abandoning classic messages of machismo or sophistication in favor of 21st-century ideas like transformation, technology, precision and innovation.Addiction businessAds on race cars, television and public billboards are increasingly drawing criticism from anti-tobacco activists.Experts disagree vehemently about whether marketing e-cigarettes actually reduces harm. Manufacturers argue they provide a safer alternative to people who would light up anyway. Critics contend that growing publicity is more likely to introduce people who never would have smoked, especially kids, to nicotine — a highly addictive chemical.The evidence differs internationally. While U.S. government officials have warned of an “epidemic” of youth e-cig use, statistics from the U.K. suggest most British vapers had already been smokers.While regulators have been more open to advertising vape pens and heated tobacco devices, manufacturers are still legally barred from promoting the idea that the new technology is less harmful than regular cigarettes.Some recent tobacco marketing has stressed a product’s ability to deliver on the pleasures of smoking, such as flavor. BAT’s spot for U.S. television starts out like a promo for green energy, with images of wind turbines and urban parks, before boasting that its Vuse Alto vape creates “what smokers really want: real draw, real taste, real satisfaction.”The specificity of online data makes it easier to cut off messages to those who shouldn’t be receiving them.Many public health activists fear that letting Big Tobacco rebuild its reputation marks a dangerous step backward after the decades-long fight to restrict tobacco advertising. Rules in countries like France and the U.K. limit the types of branding and decoration that may appear on cigarette packs.“Ultimately, the tobacco industry is in the business of addiction,” said Jo Cranwell, who researches the industry’s marketing techniques at the University of Bath in the U.K and as a partner with the Bloomberg Philanthropies-backed industry watchdog Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products. “At the end of the day, all they’re interested in is their business and maintaining it.”BAT and PMI say their advertising choices follow three criteria: Campaigns should be targeted at adults and at existing smokers — and they must be legal. And they’re asking for more latitude.“We strongly believe that more smokers would give up cigarettes if there were greater freedoms to communicate and accurately inform about better alternatives,” said PMI’s vice president for strategic and scientific communications, Moira Gilchrist, in a written response#Adultsonly?BAT and PMI are eager hirers of social media influencers to promote their smokeless products, often through outside agencies. They say social media’s ability to carefully select an ad campaign’s audience has made it easier to target adults.“Companies have an extraordinary ability to say, ‘All these people are exactly who you need, and that person isn’t,’ and that person then gets taken off the database,” said Cleverly.The specificity of online data makes it easier to cut off messages to those who shouldn’t be receiving them, he said. “We’ll make sure that we know exactly who that person’s followers are,” and hire just those influencers with adult fanbases.A man exhaling smoke from an electronic cigarette in Washington, DC | Eva Hambach/AFP via Getty ImagesHowever, some anti-smoking groups, like the U.S.-based Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and the U.K.’s Action on Smoking and Health say Big Tobacco’s social media efforts have at times targeted young people.The U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority is currently investigating BAT following accusations from the groups that the company is reaching young people using “concerted, consistent and systematic approach” to online promotion of its Vype e-pen.The groups pointed to the campaign’s use of hashtags around pop culture events and stars, like #Oscars2019, #bohemianrhapsody and #LilyAllen.Cleverly expressed confidence that the government watchdog will exonerate BAT. He said the hashtag campaigns were based on market research showing that the hashtags reached adults. Social media followers of actor Rami Malek, for example, star of the film “Bohemian Rhapsody,” were overwhelmingly adult, he said. “We don’t just chuck stuff out there and cross our fingers.”In the 1990s, cigarette brand Marlboro paid millions to splash its name across the chassis of Formula 1 race cars.Both BAT and, more recently, PMI have come under fire for using very young models on Instagram in ads for heated tobacco products. PMI said it was suspending its “product-related influencer campaigns” globally after Reuters reported on the use of models the newswire characterized as “rail-thin young women who revel in the high life” to promote the company’s IQOS device.Reuters found breaches of PMI’s internal guidelines that prohibit the use of models who are or appear to be under the age of 25.Neither of the officials from BAT or PMI could point to instances when they spiked their own campaign because it was reaching the wrong audience, without it first being highlighted in the media.“We have not seen any worrisome levels of unintended use either among youth or non-smokers and so have not needed to stop any of our activities,” said PMI’s Gilchrist in her statement.No filtersOn the other end of the spectrum from social media targeting, tobacco companies are taking advantage of looser restrictions to promote smokeless products in public places where cigarette ads aren’t allowed.With one of the highest smoking rates in Europe, Romania is a popular testing ground for alternative tobacco devices. Supporters argue that’s where the population can benefit most from less harmful nicotine products. PMI’s IQOS and BAT’s Glo products are sold from machines in bars.A picture taken on August 21, 2018 shows people inside the research and development campus ofa tobacco manufacturing company | Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty ImagesPMI hosts a 500-square-meter art space in a Bucharest mansion, known as Qreator, which has rooms devoted to fashion, theater and music projects, as well as a “meeting place for smoker adults who want to discover [IQOS].”But the big complaint from public health advocates are public billboards in places like malls that are popular with children and teens.“Anyone can understand to whom such an ad is addressed,” said Raed Arafat, a doctor and the head of the emergency situations department at the Romanian ministry of internal affairs, in a Facebook post featuring a picture of an ad for Glo at Bucharest’s Mall Baneasa. “I do not think a smoker is interested in what color the device has, whether it is black, gold or pink. But for teenagers and children this can be attractive.”Arafat joined calls to close what activists call a loophole in Romanian law that allows ads for heat-not-burn devices.“The most important policy to prevent children taking up smoking is preventing them from being exposed to advertising,” said Ramona Brad, project director of the 2035 Tobacco-Free Romania Initiative, noting that promotions for heat-not-burn products are now ubiquitous in restaurants, malls and convenience-store counters in Romania. “One wouldn’t do advertising in public spaces if it’s only meant for adults.”“Where we’re allowed to advertise, why wouldn’t we advertise?” — Simon Cleverly, group head of corporate affairs at BATCleverly said BAT sticks to “factual” messaging about the device in public ads where they have no control over the audience, but, indeed, they have no intention of passing up legal marketing opportunities just because kids might be exposed.“Where we’re allowed to advertise, why wouldn’t we advertise?” he said. “We’re a business, and these are really important for our business. But we believe for the first time that actually, from a public health perspective, we’re all on the same side.”Legal lines remain blurry, however; and the industry’s reputation remains tarnished.In the 1990s, cigarette brand Marlboro paid millions to splash its name across the chassis of Formula 1 race cars, hoping to draw a macho connection between the thrilling danger of auto racing and the health risks of cigarettes. Internal documents later revealed the strategy worked especially well in Japan, enticing many young men to take up smoking.A man on a bike, vaping | Ye Aung Thu/AFP via Getty ImagesBecause of that history, the recent BAT and PMI Formula 1 branding drew the ire of Australian regulators, even though neither explicitly hyped their products. Both teams dropped the logos for the Australian race that opened the 2019 season.Late last month, Ferrari said it would stop using its Formula 1 car emblazoned with “Mission Winnow,” PMI’s cryptic campaign stressing its commitment to innovation, for races in Canada and France.BAT is forging ahead with its slogan, “A better tomorrow” — except at a race in Bahrain, where rules are more relaxed. There, the name of BAT’s new e-cig “Vype” appeared emblazoned across the car.Carmen Paun contributed reporting from Bucharest. Also On POLITICO The Big Vaping Dilemma Are e-cigarettes helpful or harmful? Depends on who’s vaping By Katie Jennings The Big Vaping Dilemma Big Pharma battles Big Tobacco over smokers By Carmen Paunlast_img read more

New Forest Management Plan for Andrews Community Forest in Richmond

first_imgForest Tour October 5, Public Meeting October 28Vermont Business Magazine The Andrews Community Forest Committee is seeking comments on a new Forest Management Plan proposed for the Andrews Community Forest, a 428-acre conserved property in Richmond. Acquired by the Town of Richmond in 2018 with assistance from the Vermont Land Trust, this is one of Vermont’s newest town forests. The property, a beautiful and important piece of forested land with unique forest types and wildlife habitat, is now protected with a conservation easement held by the Vermont Land Trust and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.The Forest Management Plan was prepared by Ethan Tapper, the Chittenden County Forester with VT Forests, Parks, and Recreation, and provides detailed recommendations on the stewardship of forests, from invasive plant control to carbon sequestration and storage, wildlife habitat, and management for local, renewable resources. This plan will supplement the Management Plan developed by the Town of Richmond for the Andrews Community Forest in 2018.Before the plan is brought before the Richmond Selectboard for approval, the public is invited to read and provide input on it. There will also be two public events, where you can ask questions and provide comments in person:  Forest Walk Saturday, October 5, from 1:00 – 3:00 pm with Ethan Tapper and members of the Andrews Community Forest Committee.Location: Andrews Community Forest trailhead, Route 2 just east of Richmond Village (across from Maple Wind Farm)Walk takes place on and off trail through variable terrain.Public Meeting Monday, October 28 at 7:00 pmLocation: Richmond Town Hall, 203 Bridge Street in Richmond.These events are free, and all are welcome to attend. Comments can also be sent via email to [email protected](link sends e-mail), or submitted in person at an Andrews Community Forest Committee meeting on the fourth Monday of each month at 7:00 pm, at the Richmond Town Offices.The focus of this forest management plan is both to encourage the growth and development of a healthy, vibrant forest through responsible, modern forest management, and to use this management to demonstrate high-quality forest stewardship. By presenting the management of this forest in an open, transparent, and inclusive way, it is hoped that this property can improve the understanding and management of forests far beyond its boundaries.To read the forest management plan, visit: http://www.richmondvt.gov/boards-minutes/conservation-commission/richmond-town-forest/(link is external)last_img read more

Managing a project with many masters

first_imgINTRO: Ken Turnbull of Bechtel, who is Project Director of Rail Link Engineering, told Richard Hope how the £4bn Channel Tunnel Rail Link survived last year’s crisis, and is now running smoothly despite complex client-contractor relationships resulting from the rescue deal reached in June 1998JUST 12 MONTHS AGO, the fate of the long planned high speed railway joining central London to the Channel Tunnel hung in the balance. It was saved only by the personal efforts of Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who announced a rescue package on June 3 and turned the first sod on October 15 1998.Government guaranteed bonds to a total value of £2·65bn were sold by promoter London & Continental Railways in February, enabling Prescott to announce financial close of the rescue package on February 18. Now it is up the engineers to complete Section 1 from Eurotunnel’s UK terminal to Fawkham Junction, where Eurostars from Paris and Brussels will join Railtrack’s existing network to reach London Waterloo.Charged with designing both sections of the CTRL, while ensuring that the contractors hand over Section 1 in October 2003 within the Target Price of £1·7bn, is Ken Turnbull, Project Director of Rail Link Engineering. Turnbull is a senior executive with Bechtel, which has a 50% stake in RLE; the other partners are Arup, Halcrow and Systra.Channel Tunnel first; now CTRLA Bechtel team was heavily involved in managing the Channel Tunnel project, having been brought in by Sir Alastair Morton after he was appointed Co-Chairman in 1987.Planning for a Channel Tunnel Rail Link dates back to 1973, when the government accepted in principle the case for constructing a 250 km/h line electrified at 25 kV to a new terminus at White City in west London. It died with the Tunnel project in 1975.Four possible CTRL routes were published by British Rail in 1988. After the 1990 setback, the present route was suggested by engineering consultants Arup and chosen by the government in 1991. A further bidding process saw London & Continental Railways selected in February 1996 to build a line passing under the River Thames 30 km east of London and terminating at St Pancras. Construction was to commence in September 1997 with completion set for March 2003.The construction cost was estimated at £4bn, and LCR was promised assets as well as grants valued by the government at £1·4bn. In return, LCR took over Eurostar (UK) Ltd, which was (and still is) loss-making, and Union Railways, the company established by BR to plan the CTRL. Union Railways Ltd (URL) now acts as the client for the engineering and construction of the project (p285).The original engineering and finance team from Bechtel, Arup, Halcrow and Warburg were joined by National Express, Virgin and later by SNCF’s consultancy arm Systra and London Electricity to make up LCR.To act as arm’s length designers and project managers, London & Continental Engineering was formed, comprising Bechtel, Arup, Halcrow and Systra.The Reference Design was the basis on which LCR had bid. It was also the foundation for the Development Agreement with government that set out what LCR must do. ’Through this, the client LCR set the scope of the project and implemented it through its URL subsidiary – until the January 1998 crisis’.Near death experienceOn January 28 last year, Prescott announced that he had rejected a plea from LCR for £1·2bn of extra public funding. LCR faced insolvency. In addition to Eurostar losses continuing at a higher level than planned, Turnbull attributes the collapse to the fact that ’the financial institutions, through their technical advisers, were clearly looking for much higher contingencies on construction costs than LCR had assumed at the time of its bid. ’By January, I had around 850 staff on the project. The tunnel boring machines had been selected, we were ready to award contracts for three of the four major civil packages, and April had been fixed as the official start date.’ While desperate efforts were being made to put a rescue package together, Turnbull ’had to let 450 people go … we had to work on the assumption that LCR would be out of business by May.’Fortunately, the government was persuaded that work securing planning consents from local authorities should continue whilst the rescue package was being negotiated. ’In May, when the lights were switched back on, the team that had been doing consents could be added to, so we accelerated rapidly back up to the 800 people that we have in RLE now.’Meanwhile, Bechtel had been appointed to represent LCR shareholders in negotiations with Railtrack over the rescue package which required CTRL to be built in two stages. ’At RLE we revised the construction plans to allow for this, and Railtrack and the government accepted these in April. We said construction could start in October 1998, which was achieved, so we only lost six months – quite a short delay when you think what had happened.’URS becomes the S1 clientThough URL still exists, its role has been taken over by two new entities: Union Railways South is responsible for Section 1, and Union Railways North for Section 2.Still legally owned by LCR, which is funding construction through its bond issues, URS is for all practical purposes a Railtrack subsidiary. URN, along with URL, is headed by retired Bechtel executive Walt Bell, whose last job was on the Seoul – Pusan high speed line in Korea.Turnbull explains that RLE takes instructions from Chris Jago who has been appointed Managing Director of URS. Railtrack is clearly interested in what happens on Section 2, but has no locus to issue instructions to Bell until it exercises the option to purchase it. The latest possible date for this is June 1 2003.The government is represented through its Project Representative, consulting engineers Mott Parsons Gibb. The PR’s task is to ensure that LCR, URS and URN implement the Development Agreement, for example by complying with environmental conditions. In practice, Railtrack’s decisions – on train control, for example – must affect the design of both sections, and staff exchange between URS and URN as necessary.Meanwhile, Turnbull says that RLE will continue the process of engineering design and obtaining planning consents for Section 2, as well as supporting a fully funded land acquisition programme and preparing early contract documents. He believes that some construction will commence in July 2001, even if Railtrack defers a decision until 2003. ’In the meantime, Section 2 will have been in construction for two years, so there is an overlap.’The Bechtel WayRLE has contracts with URS and URN to deliver the project to time and budget. ’We will share in any overrun or underrun, so we are motivated to accomplish this work on schedule and at lowest cost. It is important that safety, quality, cost and schedule are all issues that are well understood, along with the risks that go with them.’Whereas Eurotunnel appointed separate design consultants, Turnbull states firmly ’We much prefer CTRL implementation to be hands on and to have control.’ The philosophy which Turnbull sees as ’a natural order is the client has an idea of what he wants, and uses RLE to expand on his ideas and produce the design. We take that information and turn it into a procurement process which gets the best people constructing the job. Then we manage the contractors.’Another aspect of RLE’s approach to a major project like CTRL is to spend a lot of time planning the logistics, so that when powers to acquire the land are being sought, construction sites and access issues have been properly thought through.One aspect of this careful preparation was upset by last year’s decision to build the line in two sections. Ballast and other materials were to have been delivered by ship to the Swanscombe peninsular, adjacent to the Thames tunnel. This is no longer possible as access is in Section 2, so the ballast will be unloaded at Grain and railed to Beechbrook Farm 6 km west of Ashford where existing and new railways run side-by-side.Contracts drawn up by RLE and awarded by URS are on a target cost basis using a modified version of the new engineering contract reimbursable basis.’Once a target cost is agreed’, says Turnbull, ’the contractors come into the office and review the design we have prepared over a couple of years. If they see a way of reducing the cost by changing the design, and we are convinced, we share the saving.’Likewise, ’down at site level, the contractor’s team and our team will come up with ways of reducing costs. It’s very important on a project as large as this to bring the contractor in on the project, and make him feel part of the team.’Avoiding safety pitfallsThe Channel Tunnel and some other major rail projects have fallen foul of ever rising safety standards, which can have a major impact on capital and operating costs when coming late in the schedule.Turnbull concedes that is ’a possibility on CTRL’. However, ’in order to manage the risk of that happening, we are getting HM Railway Inspectorate to advise us as we go that they see no objection to the designs we are producing. When we produce the safety case, as they have been through the process with us, HMRI are more likely to agree it.’ He also adds that the reference design prepared by URL on which the four short-listed consortia (including LCR) bid in 1995 ’included a letter of non-objection from HMRI’.RLE also had to take account of developments following the major fire in the Channel Tunnel in November 1996. Turnbull highlights two things that changed.’One was the fire resistance of tunnel linings.’ This was achieved by replacing steel bar reinforcing with steel and polypropylene fibres. ’We have undertaken tests to show that this is beneficial’, he says.’The other issue which we have taken on board is simplification of the tunnel ventilation system. In the unlikely event that evacuation from a train in the London tunnels becomes necesary, cross passages have been located at predetermined stopping locations close to the ventilation and fire services intervention shafts. This applies in particular to the two twin-bore tunnels from Dagenham to St Pancras, which are 20 km long with an open box for Stratford station in the middle; the other tunnels do not require forced ventilation.Turnbull points out that ’we and URL are fundamentally involved in the design process, so our programme is tailored to completing the safety case process successfully. nCAPTION: Formation taking shape between the North Downs tunnel (left of view) and the Medway Bridge in the distance. The M2 motorway is alongside on the right, and is due to be widened with extra lanes during CTRL construction Photo: QA Photos LtdCAPTION: Below right: In the shadow of the M2 crossing of the River Medway, piling for the foundations of the bridge carrying the high speed line is under way. The bridge will copy the road bridge profile to minimise its visual impact Photo: QA Photos LtdManaging a project with many masters.The project to build the first 69 km of the long-planned Channel Tunnel Rail Link is now proceeding smoothly, with six civil engineering contracts let for work between the Tunnel and Fawkham Junction near Gravesend. Tenders for track, electrification and signalling are about to be called, but just 12 months ago the project hung in the balance. It survived thanks to the efforts of British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott and a rescue package that split the job into two stages. Richard Hope explores with Ken Turnbull of Bechtel, who is Project Director of the project management consortium Rail Link Engineering, the complex client-contractor relationship that has been drawn up to get the line builtMaîtriser un projet aux intervenants multiplesLe projet de construire les premiers 69 km de la ligne nouvelle, prévue de longue date, entre le tunnel sous la Manche et Londres, avance tout doucement, avec six contrats de génie civil signés pour les travaux entre le tunnel et Fawkham Junction, près de Gravesend. Les appels d’offres pour la voie, l’électrification et la signalisation sont sur le point d’être lancés, mais voici tout juste douze mois, le projet était encore dans la balance. Il a survécut grâce aux efforts du vice-premier ministre John Prescott et à un plan de secours répartissant en deux étapes les travaux à réaliser. Avec Ken Turnbull, de Bechtel, directeur de projet pour le consortium Rail Link Engineering, Richard Hope examine les relations client-fournisseur complexes mises en ??uvre pour aboutir à la construction de la ligneEin Projekt mit vielen HerrenDas Projekt für die ersten 69 km des seit langem geplanten Channel Tunnel Rail Links kommt gut voran. Die Verträge für die Arbeiten zwischen dem Kanaltunnel und Fawkham Junction bei Gravesend sind mit 6 Tiefbauunternehmungen unterzeichnet worden. Die Offertverfahren für den Oberbau, die Elektrifizierung und die Sicherungsanlagen sind am Laufen. Vor 12 Monaten hing das Projekt noch stark in der Schwebe. Es überlebte dank den Bemühungen von Vize-Premierminister John Prescott und eines Rettungspaketes, welches die Aufgabe in zwei Phasen unterteilte. Richard Hope erläutert zusammen mit Ken Turnbull von Bechtel, Projektleiter beim Projekt- Management-Konsortium Rail Link Engineering, die komplexen Beziehungen zwischen Kunden und Unternehmungen, welche zu einem erfolgreichen Abwickeln des Projekts führen sollenGestionar un proyecto con muchos jefesEl proyecto para la construcción de los primeros 69 km del enlace entre Londres y el Túnel del Canal de la Mancha, planeado ya hace mucho tiempo, estlast_img read more

Ten years later…..

first_img Share this post Posted April 5, 2014 Posted April 5, 2014 0 210 Forums Home Sign in to follow this   Favourite Logos:Detroit Red Wings, 80’s Detroit Tigers logo, Robo Penguin, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, teal and purple Diamondbacks, Montreal Expos, Philadelphia Phillies 70s-80s maroon,, teal Florida Marlins, throwback Lions logo 53,285 posts 1,151 Ten years later….. Recommended Posts mcrosby CubsFanBudMan Cult of the Black Flame Cult of the Black Flame 493 1 I dig that logo and think yours is a very nice update. I’d get that tee if I didn’t feel like I was betraying my school, George Mason. 493 Share this post 18 Location:somewhere in Kansas… Gothamite Share on other sites TheRicSlick Share on other sites 0 844 Share on other sites 229 Link to post All Activity Favourite Logos:MSU Spartan Head, Kansas Jayhawk’s new rebrand, TB Buccaneers 97-13 primary, Jordan era Wizards logo,Charlotte Bobcats, Cubs Share this post Favourite Logos:Pat Patriot, The Brownie Elf, The Wake Forest Demon Deacon, 1970-74 Alouettes, Quebec Nordiques, Hartford Whalers, WFL Charlotte Hornets SportsLogos.Net Harmening mcrosby Members Posted April 5, 2014 399 0 Well done, sir. Very well done. Posted April 5, 2014 Followers 0 Members Share this post 3,147 95 844 2,565 posts Nice. 210 Location:Okoboji, IA Share this post 229 B-Rich Forums Home Share this post 844 Member No. 14 18 161 posts Sports Logo News SportsLogos.Net Link to post TheRicSlick Members 1,151 B-Rich 5,735 posts Share on other sites 3,147 Link to post TheRicSlick Link to post Members 210 Members Share this post Link to post 3,965 posts Share on other sites Link to post Link to post 0 Sports Logo News Vamos Hector! 0 229center_img 0 Favourite Logos:MSU Spartan Head, Kansas Jayhawk’s new rebrand, TB Buccaneers 97-13 primary, Jordan era Wizards logo,Charlotte Bobcats, Cubs Posted April 5, 2014 5,735 posts Members 22,644 0 2,052 posts Followers 0 3,147 Sign in to follow this   Tigers6884 Location:Old Metairie, LA Members Members Members This topic is now closed to further replies. 844 Link to post Share on other sites ptaylor 1,151 95 ptaylor A little over 10 years ago, I posted this:As many of you are no doubt aware, the University of Richmond’s team name is the Spiders– very unusual and very cool. Various logos and branding used by the teams include webs, spiders, etc.However, years ago, in the late seventies/early eighties, I remember seeing a different UR logo that I’ve been unable to find since. The logo fit in more with Richmond’s history as the capital of the Confederacy than having to do with spiders. It was clearly a more traditional, older logo, very cartoon-style, and features a man-like spider dressed in a Confederate colonel or general’s uniform, complete with sabre at the side. It looked like something out of an old black and white ‘Merrie Melodies’ or ‘Looney Tunes’ cartoon. The spider stood upright on two legs, and the uniform jacket had six sets of arms. The spider was wearing a wide-brimmed cavalry type hat, not the typical Civil War infantryman’s kepi, and I think two antennae were poking out.I saw it in a football game program from Southern Miss. Richmond was one of their opponents that year, and they had a page listing opponents, each with a logo, etc.Does anyone have ANY knowledge about this logo, or maybe a copy? I’d love to see it again…Then, the other day in perusing through the Updating Vintage Logos thread, I saw this…It’s not perfect, and I’ve changed a few things, but this one has been out there for a while: I got lazy on the clenched fist and used Bucky Badger’s. TEN YEARS!!! TEN YEARS!!! But finally, THERE IT IS!!! So cool to finally see this. I guess I was wrong about one thing; he has four legs and four arms, not two legs and six arms. But all in all, not bad in terms of remembering something I saw briefly before many of you were born….Now the idea is what to do with it. I’m thinking of making a t-shirt or sweatshirt; that design is too cool to just let go. 844 Share on other sites five boroughs, one City. All Activity I dig that logo and think yours is a very nice update. I’d get that tee if I didn’t feel like I was betraying my school, George Mason.Good to see another Mason man on here! You could probably get that tee and feel guilt-free if we were still in the CAA.I love unique logos especially with a lot of bland, middle-of-the-road designs popping up these days. And I think it’s safe to say this is a unique logo, one of a kind. HailGoldPants 3,182 posts Link to post Share on other sites It’s such a fun logo, hope you liked my update. 569 posts 0 0 493 95 Congratulations. Share this post By B-Rich, April 5, 2014 in Sports Logo News Share this post 22,644 Share on other sites Location:Wisconsin Vamos Hector! HailGoldPants Found my white whale .. There is a t shirt for sale on EBay with that same logo on it.Vintage-Looking University of Richmond T-Shirt Spiders Posted April 5, 2014 TheRicSlick Posted April 5, 2014 Harmening 399 7,233 posts Posted April 5, 2014 Go To Topic Listing Posted April 5, 2014 Share this post Members It’s such a fun logo, hope you liked my update. It really is quite beautiful. Tigers6884 Members Ten years later….. Gothamite That is a solid update. The only thing I’d change would be the “THE”. It’s a little crooked – on the original, the top is closer to parallel with the belt, in a complimentary angle to the “R”. If you brought that over to your update, it’d be near-perfect. Share on other sites 18 Sports Logos Link to post Location:Michigan Posted April 6, 2014 844 CubsFanBudMan 22,644 Link to post Competent Goofball Dad Sports Logos Cool. Posted April 5, 2014 0 Location:somewhere in Kansas… Share this post Ten years later….. Share on other sites 399 154 postslast_img read more

Whitewater hosts Teck Kootenay Zone Race

first_imgThe Teck Kootenay Zone Race at Nelson’s Whitewater Resort, has come and gone, but the excitement is yet to wind down for all those involved. More than 115 skiers and their families traveled from Lake Louise, Kimberly, Fernie, Rossland and Golden to test their skills in four races spread across two days.Saturday and Sunday both dawned clear and cold, with perfect bluebird skies and firm chalk on Bonanza — a classic Whitewater groomer easily visible from the base lodge. The slalom track started gently on a sunny bench before taking a hairpin left turn into the shadows and plunging straight down to valley bottom. A combination of gates, stubbies, and panels challenged 117 skiers through four races, bringing U12, U14, U16, and Masters level athletes together for a weekend of sportsmanship, competition, and big fun. Behind the scenes, a small army of tireless volunteers worked ten hour shifts to solve problems, support the racers, and keep everyone safe.Saturday night featured a kids’ awards banquet and volunteer appreciation event at The Hume Hotel in downtown Nelson. Sunday afternoon saw athletes take to a snowy podium at the Whitewater base area, where they were wreathed in medals and ribbons by the legendary Bobby Swan — who along with Leigh Brousson competed in the Masters category. Whitewater posted impressive results, with top ten finishes across all categories.The Whitewater Ski Team wishes to thank the many dedicated coaches, volunteers, ski patrol, and Whitewater Ski Resort for the truly unbelievable level of support they continue to show our young athletes.last_img read more

Donie Greene Memorial Tournament to take place this weekend

first_imgThe tournament will see Basketball Ireland Super League teams including Maree, Moycullen, Templeogue, Belfast Star and Griffith College Swords Thunder go head-to-head for top honours, setting the scene nicely for the tip off of the 2018/19 season the following weekend. The action gets underway at 10am with Local sides Maree and Moycullen locking horns and runs throughout the day with further games on Sunday morning before the final at 3pm. The schedule is below:Saturday, September 22nd, 2018:Maree v Moycullen, 10amTempleogue v Griffith College Swords Thunder, 11.30amBelfast Star v Moycullen, 1pmTempleogue v Maree, 2.30pmGriffith College Swords Thunder v Belfast Star, 4pmMoycullen v Templeogue, 5.30pmMaree v Griffith College Swords Thunder, 7pm Sunday, September 23rd, 2018 Belfast Star v Templeogue, 10amGriffith College Swords Thunder v Moycullen, 11.30amMaree v Belfast Star, 1pmFINAL, 3pmprint WhatsApp Facebook Twitter Emailcenter_img The second annual Donie Greene Memorial Tournament will take place at Calascantius College, Oranmore, Co. Galway on Saturday and Sunday, September 22nd and 23rd.last_img read more

Saints Grad Arie Postmus Embraces Sutter-Immersion

first_imgAfter retiring from the NHL, Sutter purchased the Red Deer Rebels in 1999 and has been the owner/president ever since. Other than a five-year break to coach in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils and Calgary Flames between 2007 and 2012, Sutter has also been the Rebels head coach. In that time he has brought the central Alberta city a Memorial Cup in 2001 and also coached Canada’s World Junior Team to a pair of gold medals in 2005 and 2006.“It’s awesome, they preach professionalism right off the start,” Postmus says of the organization that also includes Brent’s son Merrick and his nephew Shaun. “Brent has put me in, has shown me the ropes and introduced me to some pretty well known people in the hockey community. I’m just trying to soak it all in and learn every day. I really cherish this opportunity and it is an important start in the hockey world.”Postmus is no stranger to organizations that strive for excellence in a family-like setting. He grew up in Fruitvale and after midget started playing for the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s Beaver Valley Nitehawks. One of the most storied Junior B teams in Western Canada, Postmus was part of a juggernaut squad that won the league title in 2012 under the guidance of head coach Terry Jones.“That was a pretty special team,” Postmus says about his hometown club. “Terry Jones is the greatest coach I ever had, hands-down. He preaches on-ice performance, but he wants to develop good people. I feel like a lot of what shaped my personality and who I am today is growing up in hockey schools with him as a young kid and then getting a chance to play for Beaver Valley. It was unbelievable. I owe a lot of my success and where I am today to Terry, he helped me grow as a person. He puts people in positions to succeed.”From junior, Postmus joined the Selkirk College Saints in the 2013-2014 season where he fit into a line-up fresh off its first British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) title. A key member of the Saints’ blueline, Postmus helped the team to three more championships as part of an incredible four-in-a-row run of provincial titles between 2013 and 2016.“I have those three rings in my room and everyday I see them and think ‘wow.’ What we accomplished during those years was pretty special,” Postmus says. “Both [former Saints coaches] Jeff Dubois and Alex Evin did such a great job of recruiting guys that brought excellence not only on the ice, but off the ice as well.”After graduating from the Business Administration Program at Selkirk College, Postmus transferred to Red Deer College where he played two seasons for the school’s hockey team while working on completing his Business Degree.Now well on his way to a career in the sport he loves so much, Postmus looks back to his time at Selkirk College as pivotal in his current success.“I’m grateful to [Selkirk College Athletics Coordinator] Kim Verigin, Jeff Dubois and Alex Evin who took me in right away and put me in a leadership role,” he says. “Through that I was able to have some experiences that I might have not gotten as a young guy. I really cherish the time I spent at Selkirk College, I wouldn’t be here today if not for that time.” For his first off-ice hockey job, Selkirk College alumnus Arie Postmus could not have landed a better boss to show him the ropes.This past summer, the former Selkirk College Saints defenceman secured a position with the Western Hockey League’s Red Deer Rebels as the team’s Hockey Operations Administrator that includes a focus on player education and wellness. His boss is Brent Sutter, one of the most decorated men in professional and junior hockey, and member of the legendary family of hockey brothers who grew up on a farm in Viking, Alberta.“I have always wanted to work for a hockey team and stay involved in the sport, it’s my true passion,” says Postmus, who suited up with the Saints between 2013 and 2016. “I have been playing hockey since I was four and it’s just a part of me. I didn’t think this opportunity would come along so soon and there is no better person to start your hockey career than with Brent.”His role with the Rebels is dynamic and providing Postmus with a hands-on education about how an organization operates on a daily basis. Postmus looks after the logistics of road trips like hotels, meals, ice times and schedules, along with helping the coaching staff with analysis during games. The 27-year-old is also charged with working with younger players to ensure their education and life outside the rink is on track for success.His duties with the team are under the guidance of Sutter, the fourth of the famous family of six to play in the NHL and the most successful of his clan. Brent Sutter won three Stanley Cups with the New York Islanders and was a member of three Canada Cup championship teams during a feisty professional playing career lasted between 1980 and 1998.last_img read more

Jones Tabbed to Lead Central Arkansas Volleyball

first_img“I am thrilled to be named the head volleyball coach for the University of Central Arkansas,” said Jones. “The rich tradition of success the UCA program has is something I look forward to continuing. I was extremely impressed with each athletics staff member and coach I had the opportunity to meet. It is very evident, from the longest-tenured coach to the most recent hire, that UCA is a place that you want to be a part of and that certainly resonates with the student-athletes as well.” Jones was a second-team All-Southeastern Conference performer for Florida as a senior in 1998, and helped lead the Gators to three straight NCAA Final Four appearances in 1996, 1997, and 1998. After being diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, an illness that causes temporary paralysis, in the middle of her college career, Jones returned to the court and earned the NCAA’s Honda Inspiration Award in 1999. She was also awarded the Springfield Women’s Intersport Courage Award in 2008 and the MVC Most Courageous Award in 2012. Jones, who has spent the previous 13 seasons at Missouri State, looks to continue the success that the Sugar Bears have experienced in the past. Since arriving at Missouri State in 2002, she has helped guide the Bears to seven NCAA Tournaments and 20 or more victories in 12 of 13 seasons. During her time in Springfield, Missouri State compiled a record of 291-132 (.690), including a mark of 184-60 (.754) against league opponents. Under Jones’ guidance, the Bears finished as one of the top two teams in the MVC in either the regular season or MVC Tournament all but four times. After beginning her coaching career as a student-assistant at the University of Florida, Jones joined the staff at Illinois State, helping the Redbirds to 36 wins over two seasons, including second-place finishes in the regular season and the Missouri Valley Tournament during her first season. Jones continued, saying, “With the vision and direction of President Courtway and Dr. Teague, the UCA athletic department is headed in an incredible direction for present and future greatness. UCA is a special place and I cannot wait to get to work with our student-athletes and administrators. I cannot thank Dr. Teague and Natalie Shock enough for this tremendous opportunity.”Central Arkansas Athletics will host a reception and press conference to welcome Coach Jones on Thursday afternoon in the Skyboxes located on the fifth floor of Bear Hall.center_img CONWAY, Ark. – Central Arkansas Athletic Director Brad Teague has announced the hiring of Jeni Jones as the ninth head coach in the history of Central Arkansas Sugar Bear Volleyball. “As with all of our coaching hires, we want to find great men and women to lead our student-athletes, and Jeni Jones certainly fits this characteristic,” said Teague. “Coach Jones is a solid person who knows collegiate volleyball very well. From her days competing at the highest level at Florida, to her role at the great program of Missouri State, Coach Jones understands what it means to be a collegiate athlete and what it takes to be successful in the classroom and on the court.” “We are very fortunate that Jeni Jones has accepted our head volleyball coaching position,” said Teague. “She has a great grasp on all aspects of a program, and she will ensure that our volleyball team members will be the best they can be in all aspects of life. I am very confident in entrusting the Sugar Bear Volleyball Program to Coach Jones. She will be a great addition to the UCA family and will mentor our young women to greatness. We are all proud to call Coach Jones a Sugar Bear.”last_img read more

Will We Be Able to Make the Case for HR De-Extinction?

first_imgMuch like scientists who classify living and fossil organisms into domain, kingdom, class, family, genus and species, we in HR often do the same:  small/medium-sized business or large business  industry A or industry B  traditional or cutting-edge  local or regional or global  stodgy industry or sexy industry  well-known brand vs. unknown local organization (“She worked for Nike while he only worked for Acme Community Bank.”)We use this shorthand in a misguided attempt to categorize the knowledge and competency of any given HR professional.  We make assumptions that if Debbie HR Director worked for a local entity she won’t have the ability to understand the complexity of a regional, let alone global, organization.  This also manifests itself in job postings that require specific industry experience; the assumption being that even though Debbie spent 20 years leading HR functions in health care and technology she would not have the capacity to immerse herself into learning and understanding the banking industry.We pigeonhole people for any number of reasons; in an attempt to screen candidates, when creating an invite list for an event or conference or, quite frankly, when being cliquish and elitist.Now there is, I have to admit, one demarcation listed up there that makes sense to me although I may have used the wrong terms. Perhaps they should be:Traditional: dreary, tedious, humorless, out-of-touch, rooted in the past, focused on HR as compliance…primarily.  Focused on HR as compliance … only.Cutting edge: future focused, ever evolving, not content with the status quo. Restless, curious, excited.  Ready to challenge and be challenged.********I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit as I’ve been preparing to head to Cleveland this week for DisruptHR. We’re going to talk about talent, culture, technology and people – in a new way – because DISRUPT is an information exchange designed to energize, inform and empower people in the HR field.Lord knows we needs some energizing.I’ve had a few moments over the last several weeks where, in various conversations with mid-career human resource professionals I hit anew a level of frustration.  Why, I wondered yet again, is there such aversion to acknowledging that the old-ways-you-learned-to-do-HR in 1991 are no longer sufficient?  Why, I marveled during one discussion, do HR practitioners sink in their heels and adamantly refuse to explore the potential benefits of change?Am I being cliquish and elitist myself?  Are those of us who attempt to push, pull and drag our colleagues to places where they don’t wish to go guilty of emphasizing these segmentations?I don’t think so.  Nor do I believe that’s the intent of any individual or group. Rather there’s a conviction that a rising tide lifts all boats; collective change is required for the survival of both the HR function and individual HR practitioners.At some point in the very near future the CEOs, COOs and CFOs who are hiring HR professionals will demand a different kind of HR. When the boomers in charge (finally) retire and the next C-level exec (born during the Reagan administration) in charge of hiring the HR leader takes over, s/he isn’t going to put up with traditional crap; no matter the industry.  No matter the size.  No matter the brand.  Stacks of spreadsheets, outdated and cumbersome hiring practices, love for command-and-control, and an aversion to technology already pegs many HR practitioners as out of touch dinosaurs; keeping up the same old same old means they will soon be merely fossilized remains.And if our profession perishes will anyone care enough to bring us back a la the Australian gastric-brooding frog?  Or will our business partners be happy to say good riddance – relegating us to museums to cuddle up alongside the skeletons of the wooly mammoth and the T-Rex?I don’t want to run the risk that someone, somewhere, will have to make the case for HR HR de-extinction. Unless we all push the boundaries a bit more I don’t think there will be a lot of support for the revival of the HR species.It’s time to face it; there’s already been disruption in the workplace.It’s time – well past time – to disrupt HR so we can catch up.To read the original article on shrm.org, please click here.last_img read more

Software Development: Are Microservices Always the Right Choice?

first_imgYesterday’s post detailed some of the benefits of microservices, like resiliency, flexibility, more controllable upgrades, the ability to blend heterogeneously created components, and better scalability. These benefits sound great. The InfoQ article notes that “De Vries argues that a monolith often is easy to deploy and run, and an architecture suitable for many applications. If something is failing, the whole applications is failing, and we know it’s failing. Most of the time we also know how to fix it, and can quickly redeploy. It’s robust and often withstands the test of time… The few microservices solutions he has come across have been quite fragile and refactored within three years after they were built.” DeVries comments that, if not properly architected, a project built on many microservices can result in “a big ball of mud”. Similarly, James Lim, Senior Staff Software Engineer at Affirm, wrote that “if an organization does not have specialized teams, it is a good idea to use a monolith. If most contributors have workflows that cut across multiple functions of a single product, forcing microservices too early will slow down the development process.” InfoQ describes a presentation by Jan de Vries, cloud solution architect, where he argues that monolithic solutions often have a lot going for them.center_img But microservices may not be a one-size-fits all. For small businesses or small projects in particular, microservices may be the wrong choice. Steven Czerwinski, Head of Engineering at Scaylr and former Google employee, said that “even though we had had these positive experiences of using microservices at Google, we [at Scaylr] went [for a monolith] route because having one monolithic server means less work for us as two engineers.”last_img read more

Brazilian Blogger Assasinated: This Week in Online Tyranny

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#NYT#TWiOT#web Brazilian blogger murdered. 36-year-old Brazilian blogger Ednaldo Figueira was shot down in the streets of his home town, Serra do Mel. After receiving death threats, Figueira was shot six times on June 15 by gunmen on motorcycles outside his workplace. In addition to being a blogger, he was a newspaper editor and an official in a trade union. This is the second time a blogger has been murdered by his government or, in Figueira’s case most likely organized crime figures attached to the government.Bahraini blogger gets life sentence. One blogger in the Gulf country of Bahrain has been sentenced to life in prison while another has received 15 yearsThe life sentence is the longest sentence a blogger has ever received. Blogger Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace was one of eight imprisoned Bahrainis to receive life sentences. Al-Singace. Another blogger, Ali Abdulemam, was given 15 years after being tried in absentia. Chinese artist and digital native released but muzzled. China’s best known artist, Ai Weiwei, has been stuck away in a Chinese jail since his arrest in early April. He was released last Friday but has remained completely silent regarding his detention, no doubt a result of the terms of his release. But why arrest Ai in the first place? He is an artist, free speech advocate and architect of global standing. Although he had never had a solo show in China, he designed the celebrated “Birds Nest” stadium that was the center of the Beijing Olympics. He allegedly had plans to relocate to Germany, where he had set up a studio. So, he is high-profile and has a big mouth, which he knows how to use. But his arrest was hardly the exception to the rule. At least 129 more people remain locked up in the latest spate of government detentions. Chinese blogger harassed in advance of her husband’s release. Zeng Jinyang has been bothered by Chinese security, and possibly placed under house arrest, in advance of her husband’s release after a three-and-a-half year prison term. Her husband, Hu Jia, is also a well-known blogger and environmental and AIDS activist. Zeng tweeted about being harassed by eight men when she disembarked in Beijing, where her husband will be released. “As I was getting off the plane, eight people came and took me away, they even took my luggage.” and “I think this is how life is going to be after [Hu Jia is released].”A third tweet, hours later, was so different in tone it made some suspicious. “I have just got home. I am going to cook tofu and tomatoes. I don’t know if it will be good. I saw Hu Jia today. I asked him if he was taking care of himself. There is still time for that. Media friends, my apologies and thank you for your concern.”Chile monitoring social networks. It’s not unusual to use “open source” methods for intelligence gathering. But doing so against the Chilean people itself has proven wildly unpopular for the users of social networks. Brand Metrics, a social media measuring company, “will be responsible for alerting authorities when there are ‘significant changes’ in people’s views on a topic, according to the government bid.”Apple removes ThirdIntifada app from store. Apple doesn’t exactly have a high bar to removal of apps from its store, as their (temporary) ban of Ulysses proves tidily. Whether this was warranted or not I’ll leave to you. It breached their TOS, according to Apple, by allegedly promoting violence. LulzSec disbands, rebands. LulzSec, the attention-grabbing hacking collective announced its end, or perhaps a transmogrification. AntiSec, which seems to be the successor group, in conjunction with Anonymous, is already hacking away. WordPress Blocked in Central Asia. WordPress’ Matt Mullenweg said on his blog, “As far as I know we’ve had no contact with KazakhTelecom. Typically this happens when they don’t like something a blog is saying, so they block or degrade service for everybody.” This is a common reaction to “offensive material” by many countries, who will wind up blocking the whole of, say, Facebook out of fear of one account, as happened last year in Saudi Arabia and as Pakistan is currently in the process of doing.China’s cloud districts censorship-free, for foreigners.The city of Chongqing will be the first in China to see the debut of a “cloud district.” Users within the district can access the Internet outside of the traditional Chinese censorship regime. This has upset many Chinese.Malaysia trying blogger for defamation. According to Article 19’s Dr Agnes Callamard, “Charles Hector is being sued for defamation at the High Court of Malaya in Shah Alam by the Malaysian subsidiary of Asahi Kosei Japan Co. Ltd, a Japanese electronics company. The defamation case centres around articles Hector posted on his blog in which he raises his concerns about the companies’ treatment of 31 Myanmar migrant workers. His findings were based on research he carried out.” How the laws in questions are interpreted by the court could deal a serious blow to bloggers’ free speech. Pakistan increases filtering. According to OpenNet Initiative, “Mobilink, one of the leading telecommunications companies in Pakistan, is now requiring that all users add proxy 10.215.2.32 port 3128 in order to browse the Internet. As a result of this development, Mobilink users are unable to search for several politically sensitive keywords, including the name of the country’s president, Asif Ali Zardari.”Zeng photo via Wikipedia Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts center_img curt hopkins Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

New York ~ Sales and Use Tax: Taxability of Web-Based Services Discussed

first_imgCCH Tax Day ReportA taxpayer’s provision of portal and trusted identity framework services are subject to New York sales tax under Tax Law §1105(c)(8) as protective services and should be sourced based on the location where the protected data resides, but its messaging and supplier connection services are not subject to sales tax. The taxpayer’s portal and trusted identity framework services perform a gatekeeper function for customers by ensuring that only authorized users gain access to the customer’s on-line resources. Thus, the crux of these services is the security function of verifying that persons seeking access to on-line resources are authorized to have that access. These electronic gatekeeper services qualify as protective services for purposes of Tax Law §1105(c)(8) because they prevent unauthorized persons from gaining access to its customers’ confidential data. Protective services are provided in New York (i.e., “sourced” to New York) if the property being protected is located in New York. Thus, to the extent that the data being protected is located in New York (e.g., resides on servers in New York), then the taxpayer is providing a protective service in New York. If the protected data is located both inside New York and outside New York, the taxpayer should collect tax only with respect to the data located in New York. In making the determination of where its protective services are being provided, the taxpayer may rely on a letter from the customer indicating the taxing jurisdiction(s) where the protected data is located, absent a showing of fraud or knowledge on the part of the taxpayer that the contents of the letter are untrue. Such a letter must be signed by the customer (or the appropriate employee or officer) and contain a statement acknowledging that it is being furnished for the purpose of allowing the taxpayer to determine the appropriate amount of New York state and local sales and use taxes due. The taxpayer must keep the letters furnished by its customers as part of its sales tax records, and be able to associate each letter with related sales, for at least three years after the date of the last sale to which the letter relates. The customer is required to update the letter if there is a change in where the services are being provided.However, the taxpayer’s messaging and supplier connection services are not subject to sales tax. The messaging and supplier connection services provide a central data messaging hub that routes business messages or data between business partner members of the service, who must provide their own telecommunication connections to the hub. These services are nontaxable bridging services. Thus, the taxpayer’s fees for setting up the relationship between trading partners and maintaining those relationships, as well as its mailbox set up and maintenance fees, are not taxable. In addition, the taxpayer’s charges for its mapping services are not taxable, as they constitute data processing charges.TSB-A-16(20)S, New York Commissioner of Taxation and Finance, May 27, 2016, ¶408-782last_img read more

Today is Be Your Donor Day

first_imgToday is Network for Good’s official Be Your Donor Day. Today is the day all nonprofits should review their digital fundraising channels through their donors’ eyes. Of course, while every day should be Be Your Donor Day at your organization, we want to encourage all fundraisers to devote some time today to experiencing their outreach and donation process from their donor’s perspective. A third of all online giving will happen in December—now is the time to make sure your donors will have an easy giving experience that inspires and delights them. Don’t let your hard work of creating a great year-end fundraising plan go to waste! Make it your mission to find and fix any problems that may trip up your donors before the busiest giving days of the year. So, what can you do to celebrate Be Your Donor Day? Here are some suggestions:— Visit our Be Your Donor Day headquarters for donor-centric fundraising resources, including a Be Your Donor checklist and year-end fundraising guide.— Pledge to set aside time to view your entire fundraising and donation process from your donor’s perspective.— Put on your “donor hat” and make a donation, submit a contact form on your website, and call your main phone line. What happens? Is the process what you’d expect? Is it easy?— Ask a friend or family member (someone not overly familiar with your organization) to help you test your website and donation page.— Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #BeYourDonor.We asked a few of our friends in the nonprofit space to share their suggestions for Be Your Donor Day. Read on and check out their amazing tips:Kivi Leroux Miller wants you to rethink your newsletter strategy. Make it a valuable resource for your donors.Social Media for Nonprofits co-founder Darian Rodriguez Heyman recommends you follow the Burrito Principle when timing your social media posts. Post important updates when your donors and supporters are most likely checking their feeds.Mark Rovner and Alia McKee of Sea Change Strategies encourage fundraisers to consider the appreciation you show your donors. Would your organization pass the Bulls-Eye Test?Joanne Fritz suggests you view your website from the donor perspective. In addition to having a nice, clean layout with a prominent DonateNow button, your website should also strive to answer your donor’s most important questions.Form connections and get to know your donors, supporters and prospects, says Nancy Schwartz. Do donors feel connected to you and your organization?Big Duck’s Farra Trompeter shared this gem from last year’s Be Your Donor Day: make sure your donors love you! Here are 11 ways donors show you they care about your organization. Take the pledge to Be Your Donor and make your emails, donation page, website, and social media more donor friendly!I’d love to hear your ideas — share how you plan to “Be Your Donor” in the comments below.last_img read more

Create a Fundraising Plan: Getting Ready

first_imgFor more about setting goals and calculating expenses, download a copy of the eGuide How to Create a Fundraising Plan. You’ll also have access to free Excel templates to help you map out your plan. The same principles apply when you are planning your fundraising for a new fiscal year. You need to know where you want to go, internal and external factors that may help or hinder the success of that plan, and the steps to take to reach the finish line. The new eGuide I co-authored with Network for Good, How to Create a Fundraising Plan, is a step-by step overview of how to create a plan that’s realistic. It will also help you build a sustainable fundraising model from which you can grow in future years. The key to crafting a plan is the prep work you do before you begin to map out your course. I call it the “Getting Ready” stage.The first and most important step is determining how much you will need to raise this year. When your organization begins its budgeting process for the next fiscal year, your senior staff (executive director, board, development director, senior leaders) can discuss anticipated overall expenses (be sure to include both programmatic and administrative costs!) and how much funding is needed to support your operations. This is essential. You want everyone on the same page when it comes to expenses so that you avoid unrealistic fundraising expectations and goals.Equally important to these planning discussions is ensuring everyone understands the fundraising trends you’ve experienced in your current and previous fiscal years. These can be one-off events, bequests, or other anomalies that may not be sustainable or guaranteed future sources of funding. Sit down with appropriate staff members and discuss anticipated income. Understanding what’s expected through committed and potential sources will help you better calculate your fundraising goal.After you have determined your projected expenses and income, you can then calculate your “left to raise” goal for the year. This is the gap between what you have identified as income from various sources that you know you can count on and your overall organizational budget for the fiscal year. The “new money” you need to raise is the missing part of the equation.If you can, think about adding up to 10% over that goal to start growing a financial cushion for your organization. When you start to write the plan, you’ll develop a fuller pipeline of prospects and anticipated solicitations. If you don’t think you will have the donors and asks needed to reach your budget, now’s the time to discuss this with senior staff so there are no surprises later in the fiscal year. It might mean you adjust the fundraising goal by scaling back new initiatives or programming. It could also be a call to action to engage your board and other volunteers to fundraise in new ways.Once you have a good handle on your financial needs and potential, take a look at revenue and expenses from your current fiscal year and the past few years to spot patterns in your donors’ behavior as well as overall industry and economic trends. This helps you identify where you should make course corrections in the future. For example, are there noticeable trends in giving to your issue area? How has donor confidence been generally? How has donor confidence been toward your organization? How did your fundraising revenue break down, and what were your fundraising expenses for each donor type? What motivates your donors? Do they tend to give through events or to restricted programs? Learn and grow from what you know.Don’t worry about spending too much time finding the exact answers to the broader industry analysis questions. It’s most important to understand your donors’ giving patterns and the external factors that can affect your organization’s fundraising (for example, remember the stock market plummet of 2008 and the many years it took to restore donor confidence?). Once you’ve assessed all of your data, you’re ready to start building your plan. In my next blog post, we’ll review how to use this information to set your course for the next year. “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” —Benjamin FranklinI’m what you’d call “a planner.” Before I take a trip—even if it’s a place I know—I research the latest restaurants, places of interest, stores, theater shows, and museum exhibits. I make reservations well in advance. I sketch out a general itinerary to make sure I maximize my time. I have emergency contact information and multiple contingency plans. It took one crazy cab ride late at night on what should have been a transit through (not throughout) Naples to teach me to have alternative backup plans. Having a full sense of my options, needs, and resources well in advance puts me at ease and makes my trips much more enjoyable.last_img read more

10 Reasons to Celebrate the Health of Moms—and Those Working to Improve Maternal Health—this Mother’s Day!

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on May 11, 2012March 14, 2018Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Mother’s Day 2012 provides a good occasion to celebrate accomplishments in the field over the past year. The Maternal Health Task Force shares ten exciting developments.The State of the World’s Midwives report provided the first comprehensive analysis of midwifery services in countries where the needs are greatest.The MHTF & PLoS launched an open-access collection on quality of maternal health care.UNICEF & UNFPA launched the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities, to increase access to maternal, child, and newborn health commodities.Joyce Banda, an advocate for women’s health & rights, became Malawi’s first female president.The White Ribbon Alliance, along with many partners, developed the Respectful Maternity Care Charter: The Universal Rights of Childbearing Women.Direct Relief International, Fistula Foundation, & UNFPA partnered to develop the first-ever Global Fistula Map, outlining the global landscape of the issue.The first-ever estimates of preterm birth rates by country were published in a new report, Born Too Soon: A Global Action Report on Preterm Birth.Save the Children’s 13th State of the World’s Mothers report focused on nutrition during the period from pregnancy through the child’s 2nd birthday, the first 1,000 daysThe World Health Organization added Misoprostol to the List of Essential Medicines, a critical step toward preventing post-partum hemorrhage.Melinda Gates announced plans to help raise $4 billion to dramatically increase access to family planning around the world by 2020.Please add to the list in the comments!Share this:last_img read more

Maternal Health, HIV, and AIDS: Examining Research Through a Programmatic Lens

first_imgPosted on June 3, 2013November 27, 2017By: Kate Mitchell, Manager of the MHTF Knowledge Management System, Women and Health Initiative; Samantha Lattof, Project Manager, Maternal Health Task Force, Women and Health InitiativeClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)This post is the first in a blog series on maternal health, HIV, and AIDS. To view the entire series, click here.Women and girls are increasingly and disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic and now comprise over half of those living with HIV. According to recent estimates from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, not only is the proportion of pregnancy-related and maternal deaths attributable to HIV higher than expected, but pregnant women with HIV are eight times more likely to die than women without HIV. The feminized HIV and AIDS epidemic is one factor limiting progress in the reduction of maternal mortality. As the global community discusses bold visions for new targets to reduce maternal mortality, researchers from both the HIV and maternal health communities must come together to share knowledge and build a path to improved women-centered programming.Over the next several weeks, the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) will share a series of guest blog posts from our colleagues who are working in maternal health, HIV, and AIDS. The posts will cover topics such as:An exploration of a particularly groundbreaking approach used in a specific country to integrate and improve maternal health and HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, or careExperiences managing HIV-related comorbidities and obstetric complicationsAnalyses of a persistent barrier to integrating and/or improving quality of maternal health care and HIV/AIDS care for womenCountry responses to the World Health Organization’s new guidelines for prevention of mother-to-child-transmission of HIV and antiretroviral therapy as well as country experiences in implementing these guidelinesExperiences addressing the demand side—or how to facilitate interest on the part of women and their families to demand higher quality maternal health and HIV servicesImplications for policymakers on the measurement of direct and indirect causes of maternal deaths related to HIVIn addition to the blog series, the MHTF will convene the technical meeting Maternal health, HIV, and AIDS: Examining research through a programmatic lens starting on 10 June 2013, in collaboration with USAID and CDC. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss emerging research linking maternal health and HIV, identify research gaps, and consider programmatic implications. While there is a need for significant investment in this issue around the globe, the focus of this particular meeting is Africa.Finally, our Maternal Health, HIV, and AIDS topics page highlights resources, recent publications, videos, and blog posts, along with the organizations working on maternal health, HIV, and AIDS.  The page is a work-in-progress. Please check back frequently for new content. The MHTF is always looking for new resources, research, and news.  We welcome any feedback or resources you have to share on our topics page.Stay tuned to the MHTF for upcoming blog posts about maternal health, HIV, and AIDS as well as daily summaries and a final report from the meeting. If you are interested in sharing your maternal health, HIV, and AIDS research and expertise on the MHTF Blog, please contact Kate Mitchell ([email protected]) or Samantha Lattof ([email protected]).To view the blog series, click here. For additional information about maternal health, HIV, and AIDS, visit our topic page. To follow the meeting on Twitter starting 10 June 2013, use #MHHIV.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

The Lancet Features Series on Health in Bangladesh

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on November 21, 2013November 17, 2016By: Sarah Blake, MHTF consultantClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)This week, The Lancet launched a series on the remarkable progress and remaining challenges for improving health in Bangladesh, focusing on what The Lancet’s Bangladesh study team calls the Bangladesh paradox: remarkable progress on health-in spite of persistent economic hardship. In a commentary that highlights the country’s commitment to gender equity, economist Amartya Sen argues, “It is important to understand how a country that was extremely poor a few decades ago, and is still very poor, can make such remarkable accomplishments particularly in the field of health, but also in social transformation in general.”Along with the remarkable health gains in Bangladesh, the series also highlights critical challenges. As The Lancet’s Pamela Das and Richard Horton write: “This is a story not only of unusual success, but also one that describes the frailties and challenges that lie ahead as the country charts a course towards universal health coverage.” Among the major issues that articles in the series tackle are the persistent challenges for improving health in the country’s growing urban slums. In one article, authors Kaosar Afsana and Syed Shaba Wahid of BRAC point out that in urban slums:Many women die in slums during pregnancy and childbirth. Mortality of children younger than 5 years in slums is almost double that in rural areas. Two-thirds of these deaths could be avoided if timely, appropriate services were available. Unfortunately, antenatal care, skilled birth attendance, and full childhood vaccine coverage are quite low in urban slums. Primary health-care clinics regularly held in slums are not open at convenient times for working women. Community mobilisation to improve health services hardly exists.For more on the series, tune in to The Lancet’s most recent podcast.Share this:last_img read more

Achieving Better Outcomes With Maternal and Newborn Integration

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on November 10, 2014June 12, 2017By: Ana Langer, Director of the Maternal Health Task Force and Women and Health Initiative; Joy Riggs-Perla, Director, Saving Newborn Lives at Save the ChildrenClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)This post is part of the Maternal and Newborn Integration Blog Series,which shares themes of and reactions to the “Integration of Maternal and Newborn Health: In Pursuit of Quality” technical meeting.“Students often ask me, how come a neonatologist is working on maternal health? To me the response is obvious. When I was a clinician, most of my interactions were with the mothers. I learned very soon that for the newborn to be healthy the woman needed to be healthy.”– Ana Langer, Maternal Health Task ForceWhen thinking about the term integration for maternal and newborn health care we need to keep our focus with the intended outcome. Our attention should be on providing equitable, high-quality care for both the mother and the newborn.At a hospital in Petrolina, Brazil, new mothers Elvira and Ana Cristina have been taught the importance of exclusive breastfeeding and how to practice Kangaroo Mother Care with their newborn premature babies. Photo: Genna Naccache/Save the Children“Integration of Maternal & Newborn Health Care”—the recent technical meeting hosted by the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) and Save the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives program (SNL)—provided the jumping off point for discussing what integration really means, the current knowledge base, promising approaches, and models and tools that exist to move this agenda forward. We believe that, with the global consensus on the importance of the continuum of care approach, we have a unique opportunity to decrease the gaps in care and find actionable and practical ways to foster integration where appropriate.There were two days of in-depth discussion by more than 50 participants who came from around the world to dive deep into analyzing the challenges of, and opportunities for, integration. This group represented academics, NGOs, governments, multilateral organizations and more from global and national organizations. Country perspectives from Ecuador, Nigeria, Nepal, Mozambique and many others were discussed by the presenters, panelists and audience and gave us a better sense of the power of context and localized solutions to gaps in care. We strongly believe that to bring about meaningful and equitable integration, it is essential to understand and take into consideration the epidemiological and health systems’ realities and specific social contexts of countries and communities.Meeting participants discuss the challenges to and opportunities for increased maternal and newborn health integration and service delivery at the local, national and global level. Photo: Ian P. Hurley/Save the ChildrenPerhaps the most critical component of the meeting was to develop a list of actions that the maternal and newborn health communities can take to ensure greater programmatic coherence and effectiveness. Among critical actions, participants saw team-based quality improvement processes, co-location of services, functional referral systems, and simplified and unified maternal and newborn health (MNH) data collection and use, as important steps that countries could take to more effectively deliver quality and equitable care for women and newborns. The group also called for donors and technical cooperation partners to support MNH integration-oriented implementation research to build convincing evidence for policymakers and to align their investments and technical support with national strategies, taking a country-centric approach. The final action item list included well over 60 steps. The just released final report delves deeper into what these are.The SNL program and the MHTF are committed to the pursuit of quality and equity in maternal and newborn care, and seek to increase collaboration in the delivery of integrated approaches of care. The rich and honest discussion that took place among those gathered in Boston is only a beginning. We hope you will join us in this ongoing effort to find ways to most effectively provide services to mothers and their families. In the end, we must keep the patients at the center and work to achieve better outcomes for them.This post originally appeared on the Healthy Newborn Network Blog.Share this:last_img read more

Putting The Lancet Maternal Health Series Into Action: Five Next Steps

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on November 2, 2016May 23, 2017By: Kayla McGowan, Project Coordinator, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Last week, experts in maternal health convened at the Wilson Center to mark the recent launch of The Lancet Maternal Health Series, discuss its implications and brainstorm how to translate findings into improvements for global maternal newborn health. The dialogue, What Next? Putting The Lancet Maternal Health Series Into Action, was part of the Maternal Health Task Force’s Advancing Dialogue on Maternal Health Series in partnership with UNFPA and the Wilson Center. Panelists included authors of the series as well as leaders in maternal health policy, advocacy and practice.Lynn Freedman, event moderator and Director of the Averting Maternal Death and Disability Program (AMDD) and Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, opened the discussion by stating that the series proposes a vision of maternal health for the next era: Every woman, every newborn, everywhere has the right to good quality care. To achieve this imperative, the speakers called for the following five actions:Address diversity and divergence of maternal health.While global maternal deaths have decreased in the last quarter century, maternal deaths due to a wide range of indirect causes – ranging from asthma to obesity – have increased, which represents the growing diversity in maternal health. Furthermore, the burden of poor maternal health is far from equally distributed, which indicates increasing divergence. As Clara Calvert, Assistant Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, identified, as of 2013, the pooled maternal mortality ratio (MMR) for the 10 countries with the highest levels is 200 times greater than the ratio for the 10 countries with the lowest MMRs. To improve maternal health for every woman everywhere, we must address the range of underlying causes of maternal morbidity and mortality (diversity) as well as the disparities among and within populations (divergence).Reach vulnerable women in all contexts.One of the key takeaways from the series is the “too little, too late and too much, too soon” framework, which outlines two extremes in maternal health: ‘Too little, too late’ is absent, delayed or inadequate care often linked to insufficient resources such as staff, supplies, medicines or training; ‘Too much, too soon’ represents medicalization of pregnancy and childbirth that often results in unnecessary interventions. As Suellen Miller, Director of the Safe Motherhood Program and Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Health Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, explained, we often associate maternal health care that is ‘too little, too late’ with low-income settings, but women in all settings are susceptible to receiving inadequate care. As Suellen highlighted,“Vulnerable women exist in every country… What we found is that ‘too little, too late’ also exists in high-income countries, middle-income countries and anywhere there is diversity, vulnerable women or marginalized populations.”Similarly, while the practice of ‘too much, too soon’ is considered an issue in high-income areas, over-medicalization of childbirth is a growing problem in middle-income countries as well. In fact, the world’s highest cesarean rate is in the Dominican Republic (58.9%), followed by Brazil (56.7%) and Egypt (51.8%).Prioritize quality, equity, resilience, financing and local evidence.As Marge Koblinsky, Independent Consultant, Maternal and Child Health, explained, the global maternal health community must come together to respond to the series’ call to action. This means ensuring high quality maternity care, promoting equity through universal health coverage of maternal health services, strengthening health systems, guaranteeing sustainable financing related to maternal and perinatal health and increasing the accessibility and use of local data. As Laurel Hatt, Health Finance Lead at Abt Associates, emphasized, “We need to shift the paradigm and focus on how better quality actually promotes better efficiency; investing in poor quality is the biggest waste of money.”Engage more deeply at the local level.According to Kathleen Hill, Maternal Health Lead, Maternal Child Survival Program, “If we want a system that delivers the right care for every woman, every time, [we must prioritize] the performance of a local system.” While focusing on targets and metrics related to global maternal health is immensely important, we cannot neglect the local actors on the ground. We must work with providers at the district and community levels and develop strategies to improve adherence to evidence-based guidelines and measure progress in context-appropriate ways.Put women at the center of their own care.Improvements in maternal health begin with listening to the women who receive care. As Elena Ateva, Maternal and Newborn Health Policy and Advocacy Advisor at the White Ribbon Alliance advised, we must ask women how they experience care and what they would recommend for improvements. According to Elena, “When we do this, the most amazing thing happens – these women become their own advocates!” Elena relayed stories of women who faced challenges, including lack of privacy and accessibility, while delivering in health facilities in Uganda. As Elena stated, “The voices of women, families and communities must be the starting point, not the afterthought, when we prioritize efforts at the local or national level.”Missed the dialogue? View the webcastRead more from The Lancet Maternal Health Series on the MHTF blogAccess resources from The Lancet Maternal Health SeriesCheck out the social media discussion below and join the conversation using #MHDialogue and #MaternalHealthNow.Photo Credit: Lancet Series, courtesy of the Wilson Center Maternal Health InitiativeShare this:last_img read more

New Chatter App Connects Celebrities And Fans For Charity

first_imgCelebrities are no strangers to charities, but because of filming, publicity and tour schedules, their time is limited. They typically write a check or appear at fundraisers to help drum up publicity and donations. Recently launched, Chatter is a simple app that can help crowdfund rapid donations to favorite charities and maximize a star’s time and celebrity status.How Chatter WorksChatter connects celebrities with their favorite fans who want to talk over a video chat. But instead of just giving fans a chance to follow their Twitter feed or Instagram account and leave comments, Chatter gives loyal followers a chance to actually talk directly to celebrities.Fans can bid on a video chat with a celebrity for just $5. If that fan wins the raffle, they get to connect with the celebrity for up to 10 minutes.The Celeb ListSo far, stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Drake are signed up to chat with their fans. New celebrities and stars are being added, and the list of stars you bid to speak with changes.Stars can sign up to participate directly on the Chatter app, and their identity is verified before bidding for a video chat takes place.The AppThe Chatter app is currently available for download on iOS and Android. You can use any device you want, but it’s crucial to pick a reliable device with a quality camera and reliable signal. You don’t want your once-in-a-lifetime, one-on-one chat with Leonardo DiCaprio to end with a dropped signal and grainy film quality.The CharitiesThe celebrities themselves aren’t pocketing the $5 per bid. Instead, the app helps raise funds for the celeb’s charity of choice. The Chatter app helps crowdfund charity fundraising efforts, all while getting both fans and celebrities involved in the process.Chatter provides a charitable outlet for celebrities to support instead of flying across the country to attend dinner galas and Hollywood events. As an alternative to an expensive fundraising gala, the app can raise unlimited funds in a short period of time.The ChatAsk your favorite celebrities anything you want from what they’re working on to who they’re hanging out with. They might even give you some insights on making it in the business and a personal anecdote about their personal lives.Want to prepare in advance? Before you launch your winning video chat session, take a peek at your favorite celebrity’s social media feeds to see what they’re talking about to bring some fresh questions to the table.last_img read more

Talimalaws death a great loss to Indigenous journalists across globe

first_imgAPTN National NewsAPTN is mourning the loss of a close friend and colleague.Patagaw Talimalaw, 32, was working in APTN’s Winnipeg office for the past two months as part of a two-year placement with the World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network.Talimalaw passed away suddently on Sunday from an epileptic seizure.Her death was a shock and is a great loss to Indigenous journalists around the globe.APTN’s Shaneen Robinson has a look at who Patagaw was.last_img

92M contract awarded to expand Corpus Christi Ship Channel

first_imgCORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — An Illinois company has won a $92 million contract to deepen and widen the Corpus Christi Ship Channel to accommodate larger oil tankers.The Port of Corpus Christi on Thursday announced the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers selected Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company. The federal government and the Port of Corpus Christi are funding the overall $360 million ship channel project.Plans include expanding the Corpus Christi Ship Channel from the Gulf of Mexico to Harbor Island. The depth would increase from 47 feet (14 metres) to 54 feet (16 metres) from the jetties at the entrance to the channel.The project comes amid replacement of the Harbor Bridge, which opened in 1959 and has a 138-foot (42 metres) clearance, with a larger span.The Associated Presslast_img read more

Crews responding to house fire in Charlie Lake

first_img Fire Fighters are working to extinguish a fire in Shady Acres Trailer Park – John Luke Keiper CHARLIE LAKE, B.C. – The Charlie Lake Fire and Fort St. John Fire Department are responding to a house fire in the Shady Acres Trailer Park.The fire was reported by eyewitnesses to have started at around 5 p.m. Five fire trucks from the Charlie Lake Fire Department and Fort St. John are on scene fighting the fire.We understand the fire has only affected only one home in the trailer park. Residents are asked to stay away from the area to allow emergency crews the room they need to fight the fire.As we get more information we will update this story. Fire Fighters from Charlie Lake and Fort St. John are fighting the fire in Shady Acres Trailer Park. Fire Fighters from Charlie Lake and Fort St. John are fighting the fire in Shady Acres Trailer Park. 1 of 3 last_img read more

Urban Bangalore gives cold response to LS polls

first_imgBengaluru: Almost half of Bangalore’s urban voters didn’t vote during the second phase of Lok Sabha elections on Thursday, as voter turnout in India’s tech hub continued to remain stagnant and the lowest in Karnataka. “Comparison of voting percentage in the city’s three Lok Sabha constituencies and its 28 Assembly segments during the parliamentary and Assembly elections shows no change in the apathy of the urban electorate in exercising their democratic rights,” a poll official told IANS on Friday. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ Out of the 28 Lok Sabha constituencies in Karnataka, fourteen seats in the state’s central and southern regions went to the polls on Thursday. The average voter turnout in the city was 53.87 per cent, with Bangalore North registering 54.63 per cent, Bangalore Central 53.53 per cent and Bangalore South 53.47 per cent. “In contrast, Bangalore Rural polled 64.07 per cent, although the rural constituency is 40-50 km from the city centre,” admitted the official. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K Interestingly, in the Assembly elections held on May 12, 2018, the apathy of the urban voters was by and large the same in the city’s 28 Assembly seats under 3 parliamentary constituencies. “The average turnout of Bangalore Urban in the Assembly elections was 54.72 per cent, while in Bangalore Rural it was 84.03 per cent,” recalled the official. In the 2014 general elections, the average turnout in Bangalore was 55.97 per cent, with Bangalore North registering 56.53 per cent, Bangalore Central 55.64 per cent and Bangalore South 55.75 per cent. “It is unfortunate that about half of Bangalore’s electorate of 72.69 lakh don’t care to vote in either Lok Saba or Assembly elections despite being registered voters in the city. “We need to find out the reasons for the low turnout in the city despite the best efforts of the poll panel to educate, promote and encourage the voters about exercising their franchise,” Congress official K.E. Radhakrishnan told IANS. According to the final electoral list for the 2019 general elections, Bangalore North has the highest number of registered voters in the city and the state — 28,48,402 — while Bangalore Central has 22,04,853 voters and Bangalore South 22,15,533 voters. In contrast, Bangalore Rural has 22,15,533 voters.last_img read more