Sonnenhaus Village, a trio of student residences planned for the campus of Unity College, in Unity, Maine, is taking shape as a showcase for energy efficient student housing: the first of the three buildings not only demonstrates economy of space – accommodating 10 students in about 2,000 sq. ft. – it also is designed and built to perform to the Passivhaus standard.Dubbed TerraHaus, the building is touted as the first Passivhaus-designed student residence on a U.S. college campus. And it is as much a teaching and research tool as it is a piece of campus infrastructure. Students and faculty at Unity College, which specializes in environmental studies, assisted with the design and construction of the project, whose collaborators also included design-and-build firm G•O Logic, of Belfast, Maine, and landscape and urban design specialist Ann Kearsley Design, based in Portland.A perspective on certification requirementsDouglas Fox, director of Unity’s Center for Sustainability and Global Change, has been blogging about the progress of construction and commenting on the materials, wall system, and mechanical systems installed in TerraHaus. As student dormitories go, TerraHaus shaped up as an anomaly, or at least very unusual. At one point, though, Fox zeroed in on its compactness – “comfortable housing for 10 students in 2,000 sq. ft.” – to illustrate what he would add to Passivhaus certification criteria to help the standard address the footprints of apartments and college residence halls.“I wouldn’t ask the Passive House folks to shift away from an energy-per-unit-area requirement,” he wrote, “but perhaps a provision could be added to modify the energy requirement for apartments and college residence halls designed to accommodate more than one person in 500 square feet. The effect on energy conservation would not be reduced because building footprints would shrink.”Fox added that the design team incorporated a number of features to create a comfortable mix of comfort and compactness. His list:Careful attention to acoustical separation to provide privacy in bedrooms and bathroomsOpen design for the kitchen, dining area, and living areaGenerous mudroom space with “cubbies” for outdoor gearUse of white paint and large windows to increase the feeling of spaciousnessSeparated shower and toilet facilities for efficient privacyIndividual thermostats in each bedroomGood connection to outdoor spacesAs for cost, final figures aren’t in yet, Fox said, but noted that “preliminary data indicates that this type of construction is very cost-effective for college campuses – much lower cost per square foot and per student than reported for other new residence hall construction in the Northeast.”
Three persons, including two Chinese nationals, died when a boiler exploded at an animal feed manufacturing unit in Nuh, about 40 km from Gurugram, on Sunday.The deceased have been identified as senior engineer Jhin Jhin Yang, production engineer Jhang Yang and Vicky Rajput, an operator. Vicky was a resident of Sohna in Gurugram.Nuh SP Sangeeta Kalia said the incident took place around 3:30 p.m. when the boiler in Pusilin Biotechnology exploded during repair. “Vicky was carrying out some welding work to repair the boiler and the two Chinese nationals were standing close to him when the boiler exploded, causing a fire. All three were engulfed in flames and died on the spot,” she said. The company, which manufactures and trades in animal and poultry feed, was set up in 2017.Ms. Kalia said preliminary investigation suggested the incident was caused due to lack of proper maintenance of the boiler and the police were trying to contact the management. “A case will be registered against the management in this connection. We are trying to procure documents from them about the periodic maintenance of the boiler,” she said.Five fire tenders from Nuh and Sohna were sent to put out the fire. Locals claimed that the fire tenders took 30 minutes to reach the spot. The bodies were pulled out after the fire was doused and sent to Shahid Hasan Khan Medical College for post-mortem.
BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast MOST READ All the players fielded in by coach Boyet Fernandez scored for the Red Lions, who exploded for 44 points in the first half en route to their fifth straight victory.The Lions showed sharped form in blowing out the toothless Tigers, who absorbed their sixth loss in seven games in the preseason tournament.“We gave everybody a chance to play today and all our players played well,” Fernandez said. “It was a character test for us today. The starters dictated the tempo and everybody followed the starters.”Javee Mocon turned out to be the best scorer for San Beda with nine points. But it hardly mattered as the Lions led by as many as 83-55 in the final period.The Archers held the Warriors scoreless in the last three minutes to complete the comeback from 69-71 down. Melecio hit the go-ahead triple, before Baltazar put the finishing touches in the victory.ADVERTISEMENT “We didn’t play our game and there are also players who didn’t play their game so our depth was really tested today,” said La Salle coach Aldin Ayo.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next With Arvin Tolentino finding his groove early, the Tamaraws responded to their loss to University of the Philippines with a 72-53 tripping of Adamson.Aside from grabbing 10 rebounds, Tolentino, a transferee from Ateneo, finished with 22 points, including 17 in the first half where he nearly outscored the entire Adamson team, which struggled mightily from the field.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe Tamaraws opened up a 24-point lead following a Wendell Comboy triple at the 5:25 mark of the fourth period.“It isn’t everyday you are going to shoot that way, but I will take it,” said Tamaraws coach Olsen Racela, whose team routed the Falcons off the boards, 52-34. BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Flashing its depth, San Beda had 18 players scoring as it blasted University of Santo Tomas, 86-59, last Sunday to stay unbeaten, while Far Eastern U bounced back from a stunning defeat in the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup.Getting a huge lift from Justin Baltazar and Aljun Melecio in the endgame, La Salle also prevailed over University of the East, 77-71, for its fourth win in six games at Filoil Flying V ArenaADVERTISEMENT Palace: Duterte to hear out security execs on alleged China control of NGCP Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Pocari, BaliPure triumph, near PVL finals Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR BSP survey: PH banks see bright horizon amid dark global recession clouds Every 18 seconds someone is diagnosed with HIV View comments
The proposed women’s reservation bill provides for 33 per cent reservation in the legislature.The Centre may be struggling to implement the 33 per cent reservation for women in assemblies and in Parliament, yet the Maharashtra government has gone one step ahead and announced 50 per cent reservation for women in local bodies. This would mean municipalities, zilla parishads, gram panchayats and gram sabhas would all have 50 per cent women representatives.While both the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress have been fighting with each other to claim credit as they declare that it would be a huge step towards ‘women’s empowerment’ the majority of women in the state are neither excited nor enthused by it.One has to visit the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to know why there are so many sceptics. Take for instance Suhasini Chate (name changed), the chairman of one of the numerous committees in the BMC. She is known as a ‘rubber stamp’ because her husband, a former corporator, does all the work that she is supposed to do.He tells her which deals to sign and which proposals to oppose and as Suhasini is not much of a talker, her husband also attends official meetings along with her and ‘speaks’ to everyone from the ‘Municipal Commissioner’ to other civic officials on her ‘behalf’. On days when Suhasini is at home, probably cooking or sending the kids to school, her husband is actually seen sitting in her official chair.Interestingly, Suhasini is not an exception. Many of the 90-odd female corporators have husbands who do the same thing.advertisementSome of the men are even openly aggressive and will publicly rebuke their wives in front of other civic officials. Ironically, Suhasini and many of the current crop of female corporators have been elected through the 33 per cent reservation process, where a small number of seats in all local bodies have been set aside for women.The problem is that the reservation has been hijacked by male corporators who are loathe to let go of power, and have hence got their wives to contest knowing fully well who will call the shots once the seat has been won. The solution for this does not lie with the state government making more laws, but with political parties themselves, if they really claim to be agents of change and want to empower women then they should stop giving tickets to daughters and wives of corporators and instead give it to other deserving candidates, but would they actually do it is anybody’s guess.So, it is natural to question the government’s claim that this 50 per cent reservation bill would actually help women. If Prithviraj Chavan and company really wanted to do something for the women of the state then they should look at measures to stop the indiscriminate prenatal sexdetermination tests that make parents abort a girl child in favour of a boy.The ratio of girls in comparison to boys has been steadily declining.Till March 2009, there were 877 girls for every 1,000 boys being born, it came down to 866 in March last year. The state has still not been able to eradicate the menace of dowry and crimes against women are an entirely different story.The 50 per cent reservation bill, if passed by the Maharashtra assembly, could be challenged in a court of law. In 2009, when the Rajasthan government passed the Municipalities bill which provided a similar reservation for women in local bodies, it was challenged in the Rajasthan High Court. In a ruling given on March 2010, the court held that the ‘reservation to any category must be rational and not excessive’. The court held that the state had not provided for any survey to show that the population of women in the state was higher than men to justify the higher reservation. The court struck down the government’s order citing that it violated Article 14 of the Constitution of India which provides the right to equality to the citizens.===New top cop literally adds muscle to police Newly-appointed Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik has found a really strange way of instilling the fear of the law in the minds of criminals. He has hired two six-foot plus, wellbuilt men called Bhausaheb Bhonsle and Vijay Kakade to stand in his office and break coconuts with their bare hands, flex their biceps and give the by now quaking criminals a ‘hug’. The aim is to put the ‘ fear’ of cops on those who visit his office.Old timers who have served in the Mumbai police are not amused.advertisement”You don’t need to frighten a criminal with brute force. When we were in the force, criminals were scared even if they saw a cop in civvies sporting a crew cut. If you really want to make an impact, then you need not have muscles,” they claim. No one wants to say this to Patnaik’s face as they probably feel it is not a good idea to cross swords with Patnaik with Bhonsle and Kakade around. Govt ties itself in knots On Tuesday, the Home Department announced that it had recommended the suspension of DCP (railway police) Ashok Deshbrathar.Home Minister RR Patil said he would be suspended because in 2008 he had allegedly conducted a ‘sting’ operation on Hassan Ali who was arrested for having multiple passports. In the sting, allegedly conducted by the DCP himself, Ali is heard talking of his contacts with top politicians from the Congress and NCP. He even claims he was instrumental in the appointment of the then Mumbai Police Commissioner Hasan Gafoor. The state government which then ordered a CID inquiry found that the ‘sting’ was doctored to embarrass the people concerned.If Deshbrathar is really guilty, then shouldn’t he be sacked instead of just being suspended, specially as Patil himself has said that the CID found that Deshbrathar had also sought a bribe of Rs 1 crore from Hasan Ali? Also why has the government moved so late in the day? ===Mess with Pawar at your peril Arup Patnaik should take a leaf out of Ajit Pawar’s book.Sharad Pawar’s nephew is neither six feet tall nor does he sport rippling muscles, yet he still manages to instill fear.On Thursday, nine opposition MLAs belonging to both the NCP and Shiv Sena were suspended till the end of the year. Their crime: They were creating a ruckus when Ajit Pawar was reading out his maiden budget speech on Wednesday.There was no action against the MLAs on the same day, but the next day, MLA’s belonging to the Congress and NCP ruling party moved a resolution for the suspension claiming that the opposition had tarnished the image of the house with their unruly behaviour as the images were being telecast live. The jury is out on whether the MLAs would have been suspended if someone else had been reading the speech. ===’Marathon’ sweepers selection The BMC is the richest civic body in the country.However, when it comes to common sense, the civic body seems strangely bereft of it. A case in point: On a hot summer morning last Monday when temperatures in the city were close to 40 degrees Celsius, hundreds of men were being made to run around by the BMC. At stake were 3,916 posts for sweepers, and if you wanted to get the job then you had to prove that you could run 4 km within 15 minutes.How this would help in the job was unclear. Even the finest cadets at the National Cadet Corps (NCC) manage a timing of 16 minutes for six kilometres.advertisementSo, it was not surprising that not one of those who ran on Monday qualified and neither did 3 lakh other applicants who ran on other days. Chastened, the BMC has now decided to increase the timings for qualification.From the earlier 15 minutes, applicants for the sweepers’ post can now take 25 minutes to cover 4 km.While it remains to be seen how many of the men manage to qualify in the revised timings, what civic officials are unable to explain is the connection between running fast and sweeping.Surely, they don’t expect their staff to sweep as they run.
There was first the example. And the instant transmission of ambition. The year was 2000, and the extended Phogat household in Bhiwani district’s Balali village was electrified by the news from Sydney. Weightlifter Karnam Malleswari had won a bronze medal, India’s lone prize at the Olympics and the first ever,There was first the example. And the instant transmission of ambition. The year was 2000, and the extended Phogat household in Bhiwani district’s Balali village was electrified by the news from Sydney. Weightlifter Karnam Malleswari had won a bronze medal, India’s lone prize at the Olympics and the first ever for an Indian woman. And to hear it now from 24-year-old Babita Phogat, still to shake off the gold dust from her medal for freestyle wrestling at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, is to draw a direct line: from Malleswari’s medal to Mahavir Singh Phogat rounding up all the children in the extended household to hit the fields running to train for their big chance.Mahavir, a former wrestler, coached his daughters, son, nephews, nieces in what he knew best, and how he knew. But even he could not have known what he’d start. His eldest daughter, Geeta, struck gold in the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010, and in 2012 became the first Indian woman wrestler to qualify for the Olympics. Babita had a silver in Delhi, and upgraded to gold in Glasgow. Cousin Vinesh, not yet 20, too is back home from Glasgow with gold, trying to blink away sleep as she strikes a pose in the family training centre at the edge of their fields. The family is not quite done yet. Younger cousins stray in and out, and count off the cadet or junior level titles they hope to target. Oblivious to the commotion and the hunt for the misplaced Glasgow medals, young Jenny, not yet five, is training away at the machines. Far-off branches of the Phogat family tree are winding back to the Balali homestead to enlist in Uncle Mahavir’s gold quest.advertisementCousins Vinesh (left) and Babita Phogat Glasgow Commonwealth games gold-winners, at their home in Bhiwani, HaryanaLegend has built over time about the social norms the Phogat girls combated-or glided by, depending on the narrator’s inclination. But back home for a victory chakkar of the village, the state capital, Delhi’s television studios, before leaving for training and trials for the Asian Games, Babita and Vinesh wear the struggle lightly on their skin. Yes, there was chatter back then in the early days, says Babita, when they entered the akhara with its mud patch. (The mat came later, with the first stirrings of success.) “What will happen, folks in the village said,” recalls Babita. “We were practising with boys, we talked to them, we wore shorts.” “But we were children then,” Vinesh adds. “What do children know about all this (social convention)?” The medals put a firm lid on such objections anyway.Who would ostracise a champion? But Babita, in the open-faced, large-hearted, cheerful manner of India’s contact sportspersons, concedes the significance of her achievements in India’s, and particularly Haryana’s, context, of their collective edge as examples that defy the systematic exclusion of women, starting with female foeticide. “Don’t kill them,” she pleads. “Look at us. We are also girls. They can get ahead of us.”Perhaps they underplay their defiance of gender stereotype in order to present themselves as role models for their sport and its tradition of lifelong dedication. Babita notes the upsurge of interest locally in wrestling each time they win at a big tournament. “But they want quick results,” she says. “They don’t see that it took us 10-12 years of training to get this far.”Babita’s moment of glory in GlasgowThose bygone days of training are a subject of much nostalgia in the Phogat household, a spark for shared memories to be recounted and, it appears, in each telling, to acquire a more cohesive and dramatic narrative line. “Papa would have us up at 3.30 a.m.,” Babita recalls as much with a faux groan as a wistful yearning for the times back when they were all children (“bachpan ke din”). “We would practise for two/two-and-a-half hours. In the fields Papa had made a ground for running. We would then rest at home for 20 minutes, bathe, eat and go to school. In class, we would often nod off, especially when the teacher was at the blackboard. Sometimes she would just let us sleep. Then home and an hour’s rest. Then train again. On Sundays we would get rest from school, but not from training!” Vinesh, younger and more slightly built than her cousins (she competes in the 48 kg category, Babita and Geeta in 51-55 kg), recalls being reluctant to hit the mud patch with her cousins for fear of getting hurt. “Tauji (Mahavir Phogat) would ask, tu gulab ka phool hai (are you a rose or what)?”Mahavir was a strict taskmaster, and Babita chuckles over the tricks they’d attempt to get out of training. Sometimes he would wander off and return to check them for sweat as proof of training. The children would wet their foreheads with dew from mustard leaves. He had installed an inverter, so power outages would not disrupt training. They’d hook it up to the refrigerator, so that when there really was an outage, the battery was already drained.advertisementNow they don’t need the spectre of punishment to keep them on the mat. But even as they work on their technique and speed, the stories nominate them as mascots for a sport that suddenly needs its women athletes that much more. Wrestling is still recovering from the threat last year of exclusion from the Olympic Games, and making itself more inclusive by increasing the number of categories for women while cutting some for men. Babita’s eyes gleam as she rattles off the new equation: “For men, two medals less, from 7 to 6 each in freestyle and Greco-Roman.For women, two more, from 4 to 6. So it’s even, 6-6-6.” (Women only compete in freestyle.) Wrestling dates back to the ancient Olympics, but to clinch its modern salience it desperately needs to be seen to be doing right by its women, who were admitted to Olympic competition only in 2004 at Athens.The Phogats say they intend to be at the 2016 Rio Olympics in large numbers, but for now are off to Lucknow, for training and trials. The World Championships overlap with the Asian Games, and such is the Japanese and Chinese domination of women’s wrestling that the first placed will head to the Asian meet in Incheon, South Korea. Women before, like mountaineer Santosh Yadav, had started breaking out of the inherited gender mould in Haryana. Wrestlers before, like Delhi’s Sushil Kumar, got 21st century India interested in an ancient calling. The Phogats’ unique role as change agents may be to invite ever more aspirants into their capacious, and flamboyantly told, family saga.To read more, get your copy of India Today here.