The sport is normally associated with the beaches of Southern California, but professional tournaments occur around the country - some of beaches and some with huge piles of sand trucked in for the occasion.
My connection is through a friend who will be playing at the AVP Coney Island, NY tournament later this week. The qualifiers have a high level of play and are free (I think). Many of the athletes are approachable in this sport. By the time the tournament really begins on Friday the level of play will be very high.
These are the questions driving a fledgling organization called the Foundation for Art & Healing. With the help of an eclectic group of researchers, artists and health-care providers, the Brookline, Mass., foundation is mapping out a research agenda intended to determine whether artistic expression could be a valid clinical intervention—along with exercise, healthy diets and medicines—for reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease.
“We expect doctors to ask us if we smoke,” says Jeremy Nobel, a lecturer at Harvard School of Public Health and founder of the organization. “Should we expect them to ask us, ‘Do you have a creative outlet?’ ”
The idea has already attracted notable supporters. Johnson & Johnson, the health-care giant that markets health and wellness programs, and the U.S. unit of Philips Electronics NV are early corporate sponsors for the foundation. Laurel Pickering, executive director of the New York Business Group on Health, is an adviser.
“It could be an additional tool in our pocket to improve health outcomes,” Ms. Pickering says. But “the business community, in order to support this, is going to have to have some evidence that it does work.”
In many parts of the East it is firefly season - in NJ we are at the richest part now. Our development has so much spraying for things that probably don't need to be sprayed that the displays are on the lame side, but trips to "unimproved" regions can be spectacular.
a news release from The British Society for the History of Science:
Let’s hear it for head gardeners 29 June 2009 British Society for the History of Science The head gardener has achieved far more than just a pretty garden. In fact, through advances in plant physiology, pathology and breeding, head gardeners have left an indelible stamp on today’s horticultural science. It’s time to celebrate the scientific contributions of these often overlooked individuals, says Toby Musgrave, a leading authority on garden history and the author of The Head Gardeners (Aurum Press Ltd, 2009). Musgrave will be championing the head gardener in a talk at the annual meeting of the British Society for the History of Science.
It was in Victorian and Edwardian Britain that the head gardeners’ star reached its zenith. But these polymath servants, a creation of their time and masters of an array of interdisciplinary sciences and arts, did more than create and maintain vast and diverse gardens. “They also rapidly and comprehensively advanced horticulture,” says Musgrave. “Today, however, these invisible artisans and their diverse, influential works are largely overlooked.”
Musgrave will shine light on these forgotten heroes at the BSHS’ annual meeting in Leicester, UK on 3 July. He will reveal how Sir Joseph Paxton’s glasshouse designs turned the wealthy classes onto conservatories, which in turn stimulated plant hunting expeditions to jungles all over the world to collect new hothouse plants such as orchids.
Head gardeners like John Caie, John Gibson and John Fleming rose to the challenge of presenting tender summer annuals in bedding displays, a form of planting that came to epitomise the Victorian garden and which remains fashionable today.
And, says Musgrave, head gardeners are also responsible for breeding many of our favourite garden plants and edible crops. For example, Anthony Parsons' passion was “the improvement of various florists’ flowers” and his pioneering work his work on dahlias, pansies, verbenas, petunias, hollyhocks and achimenes resulted in dozens of new hybrids, the forefathers of many we grow today.
“The head gardeners’ advances and discoveries made in the sciences of horticulture, botany, plant physiology plant pathology, and plant breeding, as well as engineering and architecture shaped the emergence of modern horticultural science and popular gardening,” concludes Musgrave. “Understanding the head gardeners’ role in developing new garden styles is central to understanding the conditions of their making, the evolution of the garden art form, and the continued influence these forgotten heroes exert on garden styles today.”
Currently, traffic lights either have fixed timer controls or a centralized, control system. The widely used Split, Cycle and Offset Optimization Technique (SCOOT) is popular with those responsible for traffic control. It computes a single cycle time for all intersections, splits this cycle time into green times for each intersection and then adjusts offset times in order to minimize waiting times. SCOOT’s primary aim is keep traffic flowing smoothly and pedestrians safe. Modern traffic-responsive Urban Control (TUC) additionally takes public transport into account.
However, although these systems have been developed over many years, they do have several technical shortcomings and traffic jams do occur more frequently than drivers would like because problems with flow control. Fixed timers are obviously flawed as they do not respond to traffic itself and even centralized systems cannot respond optimally to the changes in traffic movements out on the roads. This leads to jams and waste drivers’ time, vehicle fuel, and to higher levels of localized pollution in towns and cities than might otherwise be present.
Prothmann and his colleagues used the organic computing approach to develop a decentralized traffic control system and compared its impact on traffic flow with a conventional system. The organic approach is based on industry-standard traffic light controllers. These have been adapted to have an observer/controller architecture that allows the traffic light to respond to traffic flow and to pass on information to the other traffic lights on neighboring roads.
Tests at busy junctions in Hamburg demonstrated that the average number of vehicle stops can be cut significantly, delays avoided, and journey times reduced, all of which has benefits for drivers, pedestrians and city dwellers, and, in terms of fuel use and pollution, the environment.
Can a company claim to be "green" in its promotion when it is sponsoring Nascar and F1 racing - probably spending much more on those sponsorships than their green initiatives?
Companies need to be called out on these mixed messages.
It might be OK if the sponsors forced Nascar and F1 into a type of race that focused on energy efficiency, but that seems unlikely. Even KERS isn't all that impressive in the scheme of things - motor racing is not directly advancing greenhouse gas emission reductions in the cars the rest of us buy. Maybe if rules defined a small amount of fuel that could be used (say two liters of gasoline per 100 km of racing), but most feel that would dilute the sport.
I don't have any trouble with companies supporting green causes and I don't have any problems with the support of activities like auto-racing. I do wonder about companies who spend millions on racing and also try to present themselves as "green" But then most companies are probably into greenwashing more than actually doing something.