18 Dec

Scientist gets mine drainage patent

first_imgProf Jannie Maree has successfully received a patent to treat acid mine drainage.(Image: www.savingwater.co.za) Masters students Vhahangwele Akin Bologo and Dineo Maila, with Prof Jannie Maree.(Image: Prof Jannie Maree) MEDIA CONTACTS • Professor Jannie Maree   Rand Water Chair, Faculty of Science, Tshwane University of Technology  +27 12 382 6343. RELATED ARTICLES • Working towards sustainable mining • CSIR at the World Water Forum • Mining history for new solutionsAneshree NaidooWhen the Witwatersrand Gold Rush began 127 years ago, it birthed the city of Johannesburg, affectionately known in Zulu as eGoli, the City of Gold. But years later, as the ground gave up its last golden nuggets, the abandoned mines have filled up with acidic water that poses a significant pollution threat to the city’s water resources.But South African academics and scientists have been hard at work on solutions to tackle the corrosive mining by-product, and one has successfully applied for, and received, a United States patent for an acid mine water treatment process.A world-leading scientific processProfessor Jannie Maree, Rand Water chair in water utilisation in Tshwane University of Technology’s Faculty of Science, says the magnesium-barium-hydroxide (MBO) process, which removes metals and sulphate from mine water, offered South Africa a technically sound and cost-effective solution for the acid mine water problem.Acid mine drainage is highly acidic water, usually containing high concentrations of metals, sulphides and salts from mining. This acid runoff also dissolves heavy metals such as copper, lead and mercury into ground or surface water, threatening the health of rivers by disrupting aquatic organisms’ growth and reproduction. Further problems include the acidic runoff corroding infrastructure like bridges. Most importantly though, the drainage pollutes groundwater, which contributes to the drinking water supply. In a water-poor country like South Africa this poses a significant problem.So much so that in his 2012 State of the Nation address South Africa’s President Zuma said that R248-million was to be invested over the next two years to deal with acid mine drainage on the Witwatersrand, an extensively mined area in the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Area in the province of Gauteng.Gold mining began in 1886 on the Witwatersrand, which stretches 50km from Krugersdorp to the west, to Boksburg to the east. From the 1950s mines across the region started closing down and the last remaining operational mine, East Rand Propriety Mines in Boksburg, closed its operations in 2008.During the mining period, there was infrastructure in place to pump water out of the mines. But as they closed down, the underground voids created from mining operations have filled up as the pumps have ceased. Accumulated water has also flowed into adjacent mines, filling up the entire void.Laboratory success, real world applicationMaree said removing metals and sulphate with the MBO process could produce water that contained levels low enough to be acceptable as drinking water. “This was provided the levels of sodium and chloride in the treated water was low.”He added that the “patented process was used with great success at laboratory level”, where water from coal and gold mines was used. The success of the process success was recorded in Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) postgraduate student Hangwi Bologo’s master’s dissertation.Maree describes the income-generating side to the process, saying “the saleable products from the process would be sulphur, calcium carbonate and the treated water. Depending on the water quality other saleable compounds could be metals and magnesium hydroxide.”He adds: “SA imports its sulphur. Sulphuric acid is produced from sulphur which is an important raw material in the manufacturing of fertiliser.”The water treatment stage is ready for full-scale implementation.  The thermal stage where barium sulphate is processed to barium hydroxide needs to be demonstrated on a pilot scale.  This will be done by September 2014. For full-scale implementation the process will compete with technologies such as reverse osmosis, ion exchange and biological sulphate removal.Acid drainage filtrationAnother academic working on, among others, the acid mine drainage problem, Professor Sunny Iyuke of the University of the Witwatersrand School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, has, with the help of PhD students, developed a membrane to separate waste from water. The membrane has applications across industry, water purification and even medicine.According to Iyuke the membrane (similar to a household water filter) could be used to catch water waste from mines before it entered drains or the water table.last_img read more

17 Dec

Farm to School Programs invest nearly $800 million in local economies

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Schools across the United States purchased $789 million in local foods from farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and food processors and manufacturers in school year 2013 – 2014, according to results from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm to School Census released today. That represents a 105 percent increase over the 2011-2012 school year when the first census was conducted, signifying the deepening commitment of schools nationwide to bring local food into the cafeteria and strengthen their local economies.“An investment in the health of America’s students through farm to school programming is also an investment in the health of local economies,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Nearly half of schools report that they intend to buy even more local foods in future school years, indicating that farm to school programs will continue helping our children and our communities flourish.”Schools report that farm to school programs can increase the number of students purchasing school breakfast and lunch, improve consumption of healthier foods at school, and reduce plate waste. The programs are often also heavily focused on nutrition education, helping teach children where their food comes from and exposing them to lessons about healthy eating. The census data show that school gardens, which can be both teaching tools and a sources of fresh produce, have nearly tripled over the past two years.At the national level, 42 percent of school districts that responded to the census are operating farm to school programs as of the 2014-2015 school year, and another 16 percent – more than 2,000 districts – have plans to start in the future. The census results show that farm to school programs exist in every state in large and small, rural and urban schools alike. These schools are incorporating local foods throughout the day including school lunch, school breakfast, supper programs, and/or snacks.The newly updated Farm to School Census website allows users to find information about farm to school programs in their state and in their particular school or district. The site also names three top school districts in each state that boast higher than average investment in local food purchasing. In addition, users can vote for a school that they believe administers a creative, innovative, and/or exemplary farm to school program for the “One in a Melon” award. Nominations will be accepted through April 15.In order to establish realistic goals with regard to increasing the availability of local foods in schools, USDA conducted the first nationwide Farm to School Census in 2013. USDA conducted a second Farm to School Census in 2015 to measure progress towards reaching this goal. In 2015, USDA surveyed over 18,000 public, private and charter school districts and 12,585 school districts responded for a response rate of approximately 70percent. Data were collected through an online survey and through a printable mail-in questionnaire. To view the full results, visit https://farmtoschoolcensus.fns.usda.gov.Farm to School is part of the Office of Community Food Systems and is one of many initiatives of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) aimed at improving the health of our next generation. FNS administers America’s fifteen nutrition assistance programs, including, but not limited to, the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, the Summer Food Service Program, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Together these programs make up the federal nutrition safety net.The Farm to School program is a core element of the USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative, which coordinates USDA’s work to support local and regional food systems. F2S Census data and F2S grant award information is available on the KYF2 Compass Map, which identifies USDA investments in local foods and is updated regularly to reflect new information.last_img read more

17 Dec

Timetric Makes Web Data Useful with Time Series Analysis

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… jolie odell Tags:#start#startups A winner at this year’s mini-Seedcamp in London, Timetric is an app from Inkling Software, a three-principal shop composed of chemistry and physics PhDs.The premise is fairly simple: Timetric was created to store, share, and analyze data over time. For predicting trends, proving assertions, and recommending actions, time series analysis is a highly valuable tool. It’s Facebook’s Lexicon all grown up and actually useful, pulling data from all over the web and querying this huge database to serve significant results.Calling to mind truly hot topics such as Facebook’s rumored sentiment analysis engine, the parsing of real-time data, and the need for data over facts in modern journalism, Timetric addresses one facet of a growing gap between what information is now available online and how much we actually know about what that information means.Here, one of the principals of Inkling, Andrew Walkingshaw, talks about how time series analysis works. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts In our recent post on data in journalism, we wrote: “The voracious appetite for data… has been apparent for months. It is less about turning good ideas into stories and more about seeing how data informs our understanding of events happening right now. Each new initiative is another piece of low-hanging fruit picked.”Timetric is one of those low-hanging fruits, gathered with a minimal amount of patience over a period of time and put to great use by any number of entities. With regard to journalism, the Guardian’s Data Blog uses Timetric to report on anything from long-term inflation trends to the relative purity of cocaine seized by police.We ourselves were able to pull in data from a time series library to create charts on the incidence of men with full beards over a number of years:Once uploaded, data is downloadable and embeddable by users in a number of formats. Users can also designate tags and licenses, and the team has developed a REST-based API for other Timetric-based apps.Quick visualization and analysis of time-dependent data has never been simpler. We hope that the functions and forms become even richer as Timetric grows.last_img read more

9 Dec

The Stupid Idea of Being a Closer

first_imgEvery week I receive an InMail or a connection request on LinkedIn from a person who describes them as a “high ticket closer,” an inaccurate description of both the individual and their skill set. Also not something a salesperson should ever strive to become.First, let’s dispatch with the idea of “high ticket.” The idea that $2,997 is a “high ticket” is an indication that the person describing themselves in this way is not a “high ticket” anything, that number being minuscule. Real Estate Agents, automobile salespeople, and a reasonably good tailor all have average sales that are many times larger, and business-to-business salespeople would find that description laughable.Second, let’s deal with the idea of “being a closer.” Your intentions in sales matter. Who you are matters. Your character matters. What you do and how you do it projects these things to others. The idea that one should be a closer suggests that what matters most is a signed contract, making the entire interaction about the outcome the person selling wants and not about the person buying and their results. I am forced here to use the clumsy description “the person selling,” because such a person is not worthy of calling themselves a salesperson.These “closers” have been taught to manipulate and pressure individuals to buy by con-artists and charlatans who used the very same tactics to sell them a get rich quick scheme (another unfortunate, but accurate, term as these snake oil salesmen are not selling a solution as much as they are selling the individual a dream, and nothing more). These would-be wolves don’t know they’re sheep.Your Philosophy and Your IntentionsIn The Lost Art of Closing: Winning the 10 Commitments That Drive Sales, I wrote about the importance of having a philosophy of sales that guides your intentions and your actions. I summed up this other-oriented philosophy with this idea: “Selling isn’t something you do to someone. It is something you do with and for someone.” Once one understands and embodies this philosophy, selling is a whole lot easier.The idea that one needs “to close” their prospective client suggests that the person is doing something “to” their prospect—not for them or with them. The idea that one needs to close a sale in a single interaction and that pressure must be applied is evidence that the person selling doesn’t know how to sell. Pressure, force, and manipulation are the tactics and tricks of those who don’t know how to sell. You’ll have to forgive my strong language here, but it also makes you a five-star, gold-plated asshole.These are the approaches of those who wish to get rich quick. It’s what one does when they know no better, and when they are looking for a result without having to do the necessary work. They are looking for a way to hack the outcome. It is an immature mentality, the mindset of a small child, the tactics of one who is not mature enough to delay their gratification. You should outgrow this by around the age of six or seven.Grown Up SalesI don’t need to write what follows. If you are a professional salesperson, nothing I say here is going to provide you with anything more than a confirmation of who you are and what you already believe. What follows is for those who may need a more accurate understanding of what closing means to real salespeople.In sales, it is essential to gain commitments (video). Those commitments are what allows a salesperson and their prospective clients to have the conversations necessary to explore change, collaborate and evaluate potential solutions, determine the appropriate and necessary investment, review the solution, and resolve the prospective client’s concerns. The commitment to decide to move forward is the easiest and most natural outcome when a salesperson helps their potential client by creating value through this process (or something like it).If the commitment to move forward isn’t easy for you to obtain, it’s an indication that you didn’t do an excellent job throughout the sales conversation. It might also be that you have been taught to be a smarmy, self-oriented person who mistakenly believes what they are doing is selling, in which case, your approach repels your prospects. Great salespeople don’t have to resort to high pressure, which is why we call what we do “selling” and not “closing.”All of the people I have heard describe themselves as a “closer” couldn’t close a door with both hands and an instructional manual. The ability to win business is inversely proportional to the individual’s willingness to describe themselves as a “closer.”Trusted. Advisor. Consultative. Salesperson.If you ask a salesperson what they aspire to be, you will hear them describe their desire to be a trusted advisor (video). You will also hear them suggest they want to be consultative.Real salespeople won’t sell something to their prospective clients if they don’t believe it will serve them. Not selling someone something isn’t right for them is how salespeople create and retain trust. Once you break that trust, your prospective client is no longer going to listen to your advice, nor should they. A professional salesperson values their relationships over the individual transaction.Those who call sales their profession don’t try to close people, nor do they try to use a one-call close (video) when it isn’t appropriate. Nor do they pressure their future clients.A real salesperson creates a preference to buy from—and work with—them by creating value for their prospective client, most of which occurs long before the potential client decides to buy. If you can’t sell effectively, the right solution is to learn to sell better, not to use manipulation, force, or pressure. If you don’t want to learn to sell effectively, you should find another line of work. Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

3 Dec

180 relief camps in flood-hit Tripura

first_imgTripura government has set up 180 relief camps to accommodate thousands of flood-affected people in the state. Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Wednesday made an aerial survey in north Tripura to take stock of the situation.Mr. Deb also visited Kailashahar in Unakoti district, the worst hit in the current floods. Numerous areas in Khowai, Dhalai and South Tripura districts were also submerged, rendering people homeless.Three people died and several injured over the past two days owing to incessant rains and landslides. The Chief Minister announced ex-gratia payment for the kin of the deceased.Officials said 6,054 families from submerged areas of the state were housed in the camps. “The state government has opened 180 relief camps in seven districts of Unakoti, North Tripura, Dhalai, Khowai, West Tripura, Gomati and South Tripura,” Sanjay Kumar Mishra, Officer on Special Duty to the Chief Minister, told The Hindu.last_img read more

19 Nov

Mahindra pulls the plug on automatic variant of Scorpio

first_imgNew Delhi, Jun 25 (PTI) Utility vehicle major Mahindra & Mahindra has discontinued sales of automatic variant of its popular sports utility vehicle Scorpio.The Mumbai-based company has already removed the Mahindra Scorpio AT variant from its official website.When contacted, a Mahindra & Mahindra spokesperson confirmed the development.”The automatic transmission that served the Scorpio well for all this time has come to the end of its cycle,” a company spokesperson told PTI.Going forward the company will take a considered call on introducing automatic transmission in Scorpio based on the markets requirements, the spokesperson added.M&M had launched the automatic variant of the new generation Scorpio in 2015 priced between Rs 13.13 lakh and Rs 14.33 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).The company had launched the new generation Scorpio, which has been built on an all-new platform, in September 2014.According to industry sources, the company is already working on a facelift of the SUV. The company is also said to be in the process of developing the fourth generation and launch it by 2020.The Scorpio range is currently priced between Rs 9.78 lakh and Rs 14.32 lakh.The Scorpio Getaway, on the other hand is tagged at Rs 9.29 lakh and Rs 10.28 lakh (all prices ex-showroom Delhi). PTI MSS SBT SBTlast_img read more