49ers mailbag: 20 questions answered in hurry-up mode

first_imgSANTA CLARA – Fresh off a rare win, the 49ers next get a chance to spoil the Seattle Seahawks’ playoff pursuit. But first let’s answer 20 questions in hurry-up mode for this week’s 49ers mailbag, as fielded via Twitter and Instagram:1. Why didn’t they pass Kittle the ball in the second half? (@ortiz_a49)Kyle Shanahan gave a 375-word answer to this Monday. Simply put: He tried calling George Kittle’s number, the Broncos adjusted their scheme, and (stuff) happens when winning is the top …last_img read more

South Africa’s competitive advantage in the developing world

first_imgWhen the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) published its Human Development Report in 2013, it contained powerful insights about the increasingly important role developing countries, such as South Africa and Brazil, are playing in the 21st century.A WEF finding notes that South Africa’s infrastructure is the best developed in the region. (Image: SA Tourism)Miller Matola, CEO of Brand South AfricaThe South (developing nations and emerging markets) are responsible for half the world’s economic output according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). To illustrate the shift in global economic power, the UNDP points out that the combined GDP of eight developing countries – Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa and Turkey – equals the GDP of the United States. The implication, in the opinion of the UNDP, is that developing and emerging markets have become major drivers of economic growth and forces of change in the developing world.These changes have made South Africa an important economy in the changing global, and by extension geopolitical, climate. That South Africa is able to benefit is down to policy decisions guided by long-term socioeconomic vision of the government.Our success, in terms of its global perception and rankings in key influential indices – such as the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report, the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index, the World Economic Forum Travel and Tourism Index – could set a benchmark for other emerging countries to follow.Ongoing improvementA study of these research reports show a pattern of South Africa matching and outperforming other peer developing countries. These indices – in critical areas of national competency – are important indicators to utilise in the process of positioning South Africa as a reliable trade partner, and attractive investment destination.As South Africa heads towards celebrating 20 years of democracy, the country occupies an increasingly strong position globally. We remain a developing nation, a work in progress. However this continuing improvement is attributable to strong and highly focused policies that support the country’s regional and global aspirations.In the context of developing nations, global economic indicators highlight South Africa’s unique competitive strengths. These are being leveraged to good effect to enhance the country’s standing in the global marketplace. The country’s competitiveness, when measured against other developing nations, and inclusion in the Brics grouping is testament to this.Ease of doing businessThe most recent World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index ranks the country’s financial services sector, banks and stock exchange as the top global performers, while the country places 15th globally for the quality of its air transport infrastructure.Furthermore, South Africa, if compared to the other Brics nations, comes first in five of the 10 criteria the World Bank uses to assess ease of doing business:starting a business,dealing with construction permits,getting credit,protecting investors,and paying taxes.These indices are reassuring to foreign direct investors and instils confidence that the country is open for business. Investors are reassured that the country offers business-friendly environment where new trade, investment, and related economic interactions can be fostered.The 2013 World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index recognizes the government’s commitment to creating a business friendly environment. South Africa ranks first among Brics nations in six critical criteria. As a nation that offers several competitive advantages, an open business environment is an important feature to utilise as a selling point for South Africa as a business destination. The country can make a strong business case to attract trade partners, investment, and clients from fellow Brics members.New government policies introduced now make starting a business in the country easier than ever, by implementing new company law that eliminates the requirement to reserve a company name and simplifies the incorporation documents. South Africa has also made transferring property less costly and more efficient by reducing the transfer duty and introducing electronic filing.Government policy addresses the need to decrease the time, cost, and red tape companies have to deal with to get products to port and shipped to international markets. (Image: Clive Reid)In addition, a new reorganisation process has been introduced to facilitate the rehabilitation of financially distressed companies. South Africa has also improved its performance on the trading across borders rank. In the same World Bank Index, South Africa has significantly improved its rankings (by 29 positions), due to the roll-out of government policy that addresses the need to decrease the time, cost, and red tape companies have to deal with to get products to port and shipped to international markets.Travel and tourismSouth Africa is also praised for its government policies, rules and regulations relating to travel and tourism, and their conduciveness to the sector’s development. The country now ranks 29th out of 140 countries globally in the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Index, indicating that it has been making steady improvements in this area over the past few assessments.South Africa ranks third in the Sub-Saharan Africa region after Seychelles (first) and Mauritius (second). Other WEF findings indicate South Africa as high as 17th place for its natural resources, and 58th for cultural resources. This, according to WEF, is due primarily to the country’s many World Heritage sites, rich fauna, creative industries, and the many international fairs and exhibitions hosted. The latter can be interpreted as a strong selling point for the country, with communications implications.The wealth of cultural experiences South Africa can offer, adds to its tourism appeal. (Image: SA Tourism)A further positive finding WEF indicates is that South Africa’s infrastructure is well developed for the region, directly supporting the growth of the travel and tourism trade, with air transport infrastructure ranked 43rd, and a particularly good assessment of railroad quality (46th) and road quality (42nd).The golden thread that ties together and underpins all of these world ranking achievements is the strength and innovative nature of its government policies.  from the National Development Plan to the National Infrastructure Plan. Such strong government policy making, embodied in the National Development Plan and the National Infrastructure Plan, and implementation sends a clear message to the world that South Africa is open for business and is a destination of choice for investment, based on solid and trusted fundamentals.This is a strategic, best practice approach that could be replicated for the benefit of fellow emerging market countries around the world.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa materiallast_img read more

Madison Plains FFA members awarded highest honor

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Three graduate members from the Madison Plains FFA chapter recently received the highest degree attainable in the FFA, the American Degree.The three were recognized at the 87th annual National FFA Convention in Louisville Kentucky. The Degree requires the recipients to meet specific extensive requirements. This year’s recipients included Roger Mason, Rachel Garrison, and Ethan Fryer. These three members combined made a total community economic impact of $98,000 over their four years of agriculture education. And dedicated over 9,509 hours of their time to their home chapter.The Madison Plains FFA Chapter is very proud to see its members go so far and would like to congratulate them on their hard work.last_img read more

Nathan Louiso joins Axis Seeds and creates Axis Ohio

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Axis Ohio is representing Axis Seed as an Independent Regional Company for all counties in Ohio. According to owner Nathan Louiso, his company will sell corn and soybeans with the most advanced and selected genetics available. This will be the first crop year for Louiso in selling Axis Seed. He is the 19th seed company to become affiliated with Axis.Louiso has worked with the seed industry for 16 years and brings that experience to help farmers make the right decisions for their growing conditions and geography.“I understand the unique and challenging environment that Ohio presents. Every farm is different. What works well in Iowa or Illinois might not be best for my customers. What works in Hancock County won’t necessarily grow well in Highland County,” Louiso said.As an independent regional company for Axis Seed, Axis Ohio has access to all current trait and technologies. Complete information about the varieties that Axis Ohio carries is available on its web site at www.axisohio.com.Axis Ohio identifies the best soybeans and hybrid corn that will work on individual growers’ farms — matching genetics and traits with farmers’ specific growing conditions and production strategies. Axis Ohio strives to build long, mutually rewarding relationships with their customers while providing the best service in the industry and making their business profitable.last_img read more

Serenbe: a Green Town in the Making

first_imgBiophillic featuresNygren appreciates nature and wants to facilitate greater appreciation of our outdoor environments. He is creating at Serenbe an institute focused on biophilia to promote and teach about biophilic features of land use. (Biophilia, a termed coined by Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson, is the innate affinity — or love — that humans have for nature.) Much of the landscaping in the development reflects this priority. I spent a while Friday afternoon photographing swallowtail butterflies on some gorgeous plantings of butterfly bush by the Inn at Serenbe and the Farmhouse Restaurant.Many of the traffic-calming bump-outs (extensions of curbs into the streets to slow traffic and demark on-street parking) are planted with edible landscaping. Nygren told me that the blueberry bushes and fig trees are favorites for the students who attend the Montessori school next to the Bosch Experience Center. Fruit trees that have been planted there will become popular as they reach fruit-bearing age. Naturalized wetlands for sewage treatmentBefore my presentation Saturday morning I explored some of the wild areas at Serenbe — or at least I thought they were wild. When I later talked with Nygren, he explained that part of the area I had walk through is actually an extensive constructed wetland for wastewater treatment. RELATED ARTICLES Green Neighborhood in North CarolinaAn 11-Home Community Built for Energy EfficiencyA New Net-Zero CommunityA Cohousing Community Readies for ConstructionA Net-Zero Energy Apartment Complex Opens in San DiegoA Net-Zero-Energy Community Near BoulderNew, Affordable, and Green in a Historic Neighborhood Alex is founder of BuildingGreen, Inc. and executive editor of Environmental Building News. In 2012 he founded the Resilient Design Institute. To keep up with Alex’s latest articles and musings, you can sign up for his Twitter feed. Michael Ogden, of Biohabitats, headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, whose work I have long admired, designed this system, which will be able to treat the wastewater from all 220 homes and townhouses once build-out is complete, along with two schools and significant areas of commercial development. Rather than being cordoned off with chain link fences, as one might expect with wastewater treatment, this sewage treatment area hosts a network of trails and a boardwalk for all to enjoy. New Urbanist development patternsConventional development today is sprawling, with each home served by a driveway and usually a garage facing the street; most houses are on cul de sacs, which discourage walking. At Serenbe, the houses are located right along the streets, with on-street parking in front and, often, alley access behind. Townhouses provide greater density and more urban feel in the town centers of the community.Saturday afternoon, as I was leaving for the airport, a “tailgate party” of Georgia Tech football fans with a live band on one of the homes’ porches, had spilled out into the street as an impromptu block party — something the community is designed to encourage.Many of these buildings feature live-work arrangements with commercial or retail space on the street level and apartments above. I stayed in a very pleasant in-town apartment that is managed by the Inn at Serenbe. After working on my presentation in my room Friday night, I walked downstairs and down a few doors on the sidewalk to discover a musician performing at the Blue Eyed Daisy Bakery Café.I bought a beer and joined the 20 or so others enjoying the music. It isn’t quite East Village, but I can see how this will become a more and more vibrant area as the build-out continues.Serenbe is different from Seaside, probably America’s most famous New Urbanist town (on Florida’s panhandle). Serenbe is more spread out, with a lot more open space that separates the higher-density neighborhoods and three town centers (the construction of one of which has yet to begin). To get from one neighborhood to another some people drive (either by car — 15 mph speed limit, controlled by rather robust speed bumps — or electric golf carts, which are very popular). An extensive network of trails also connect these areas.As more of the development is completed at Serenbe, I think it will gain more of a “critical mass” feel. Nygren pointed out places where clusters of additional homes will be built, along with several hundred thousand square feet of commercial space, including retail shops, offices, a hotel, and (notably) a brew-pub. Farming at SerenbeIt was partly out of an interest is supporting local agriculture and farm-to-plate initiatives that Serenbe was first created. Currently eight acres of land are being actively farmed in a certified organic and Biodynamic operation, and 25 acres are set aside for farming. The farm is managed by Paige Witherington with several interns, and it supplies food to a 125-person CSA (community-supported agriculture operation), the Saturday farmers’ market in one of the town centers, two acclaimed restaurants at Serenbe, and the Blue-Eyed Daisy Bakery.There are also horse pastures and stables, with trails extending through the undeveloped portions of the property.Next week I’ll cover some of the energy features at Serenbe. I’m just back from Atlanta, where I spoke on Saturday at the new Bosch Experience Center located in the unique Serenbe Community thirty miles southwest of Atlanta.I gotta say, I was impressed!Serenbe is the creation of Steve Nygren, who was kind enough to show me around and point out some of the community’s green features after my presentation. It is a 1,000-acre new town development that is one of the best examples in the country today of what a green development can be.For starters, the larger area — about 62 square miles — was incorporated by Nygren and some other developers as its own municipality, the City of Chattahoochee Hills, allowing them to establish some highly unusual zoning regulations. For example, at least 70 percent of the land in any development must remain as open space, which can include agriculture, recreation, or natural area.last_img read more

Premiere Pro Shortcut: Switching Between Panels in the Editing Interface

first_img SHIFT and 3 = Timeline SHIFT and 4 = Program Monitor  SHIFT and 5 = Effects Controls SHIFT and 6 = Audio Mixer  SHIFT and 7 = Effects SHIFT and 8 = Media Browser Activate Premiere Pro panels in rotation to the right:Hold down CTRL and SHIFT and tap the period key.Activate Premiere Pro panels in rotation to the left:Hold down CTRL and SHIFT and tap the comma key.A gold line appears around a panel when it’s selected:Interested in learning more Adobe Premiere Pro shortcuts?Check out our previous post showing you how to customize your own.center_img Save time in post by quickly navigating the Premiere Pro interface with a set of keyboard shortcuts.If you’re already a Premiere Pro shortcut user, you can give your edits an additional speed boost by learning the shortcuts for switching between the panels.  Sure, you can use your mouse and click the panels to select them, but reaching for your mouse will slow you down.Either use one of the following shortcuts to select an exact panel or cycle through the each of the panels in the Premiere Pro user interface.   Shortcuts increase your editing efficiency – use them!  SHIFT and 1 = Project Panel SHIFT and 2 = Source Monitorlast_img read more