The Wright View: Super sporting spectacle

first_imgLast weekend provided a smorgasbord of sports that was just enough to make it the fantastic one the romantics promised. As I settled in front of the television, the English Premier League (EPL) set the tone on Saturday morning, with six games before noon and one game after. The 1-2 loss by Manchester United to Sunderland ensured that their manager/coach Louis van Gaal will definitely be looking for new employment later on this year. The afternoon game had a resurgent Chelsea Football Club, under the leadership of ‘super sub’ manager/coach Gus Hiddink, demolishing hapless Newcastle, whose players must now be looking at the possibility of life in the second tier of English football. Then, Saturday night served up two fantastic cricket matches, both one-day internationals (ODI). First, was the final of the ICC Under-19 World Cup, with the West Indians facing India, who were unbeaten in this tournament and had not lost an ODI since a defeat to England in the quarter-finals of the 2014 tournament. The ‘outsiders’ were the youngsters from the West Indies, who lost their three warm-up games against hosts Bangladesh, and who were beaten by England in the first game of the tournament. Later on that night, England and South Africa met in the final game of a five-match series, with both sides winning two games each, as South Africa rebounded from losses in the first two games. Then we came to ‘Super Sunday’ in the EPL, with third place Arsenal against leaders Leicester, and second place Tottenham against fourth place Manchester City. The supporters of Arsenal and Tottenham certainly felt the love permeating Valentine Sunday, as victories for both these clubs left them joint second in the League, with Tottenham ahead on goal difference. However, losing sleep to watch both cricket matches on Saturday night (which takes some doing) was well worth it, as the games were of an exceptionally high standard. In the England-South Africa game, the South Africans prevailed due in no small way to the batting of captain AB de Villiers and previous captain Hashim Amla. England lost the series mainly because after going two up, they formed the impression that South Africa were soft and changed their previously successful game plan to one of non-stop aggression. This was brilliantly exploited by the South Africans. The moral there – never count your chickens before they are hatched. In the Under-19 World Cup finals, the underdogs, the West Indies, triumphed because of (a) talent, (b) character and (c) a determination to relax and enjoy the game. After winning the toss and sending in the favourites to bat, the fast bowling duo of Alzarri Joseph and Chemar Holder ensured that India were always going to play catch up. They never batted out the allotted 50 overs and were dismissed for a paltry 145. The first wicket claimed by the West Indies appeared to be a ‘Mankad’, as I do not recall the wicketkeeper for the West Indies, Tevin Imlach, warning the Indian batsman, Rishabh Pant, that he had wandered out of his crease before removing the bails. The decision is recorded as a stumping as Pant was not attempting a run, but had in fact left his crease. According to the rules of the game he was OUT. Yet, not one murmur from those who condemned Keemo Paul for a similar dismissal in the match against Zimbabwe. I suppose that since it was the first wicket and India were supposed to win, that ‘Mankad’ was OK! Hmmm. Then in the run chase we saw a lesson in batting concentration from the young West Indian Keacy Carty, whose 152-ball 52 was instrumental in the victory, belying the fact that for the entire tournament, Carty had faced 132 balls and scored 60 runs. This victory validates my suggestion that the West Indies (senior team) withdraw from Tests and ODIs until this group of young men have two more years of experience playing international cricket. Then, and only then, should the West Indies return to international Test cricket and ODIs, thus ensuring that we have a legitimate chance of returning to a place in the top echelons of world cricket, instead of the present scenario where we are represented by people who don’t appear to care one iota for the West Indian fan! Well done young WI!last_img read more

Field day features world’s oldest no-till fields

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest A field day scheduled for Aug. 29 will look at the old and the new in tillage practices.The Ohio No-Till Field Day will feature panelists with a combined 250 years of no-till experience, as well as a tour of the historic Triplett-Van Doren No-Tillage Experimental Plots. It will also include updates on recent research regarding cover crops, soil health, and more.The event takes place on the Wooster campus of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University.The Triplett-Van Doren plots, established in 1962, are known as the longest continually maintained no-till research plots in the world.“Long-term research plots are incredibly important because soil can take longer than three to five years to respond to management practices,” while most research projects are supported by just three- to five-year grants, said Steve Culman, assistant professor of soil fertility for the School of Environment and Natural Resources in CFAES.“These plots have shown the positive effects that minimizing disturbance can have on soils. They have paved the way for conservation efforts targeted to reduce disturbance for better soil health and soil management,” he said.Culman will be speaking about grain yields during the field day, while Glover Triplett, co-founder of the historic no-till plots, will be among the panelists. Other panelists will include Bill Richards, no-till farmer and former chief, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service; Don Myers, retired from Ohio State University Extension, CFAES’s outreach arm; Bill Haddad, NewDay AG Consulting; and Dave Brandt, no-till farmer and owner of Walnut Creek Seeds.The event is sponsored by the Ohio No-Till Council and is $65. To register, visit go.osu.edu/CX7Q. For more information, visit go.osu.edu/CX7S. Sessions will be held at Fisher Auditorium, 1680 Madison Ave., in Wooster.last_img read more

Robert Dumont’s Superinsulated House in Saskatoon

first_imgThe first time I saw Rob Dumont’s house, I was unimpressed. I was visiting an ex-girlfriend in Saskatoon, I mentioned that I was doing some research into sustainable homes, and she said, “There’s one near here. We should walk by it.”It looked just like any other house. The Dumont house is in the colonial style. It’s simply built and doesn’t stand out in the neighborhood, which has a suburban feel to it (though it’s not far from the downtown). I’m used to seeing half-million dollar ecohomes. When you take away the architect and expensive finishes, solariums, thermal mass walls, radiant floors, etc., the Dumont house is hardly recognizable as an ecohouse.I arranged to go back later and visit Rob Dumont, who gave me a tour of his home and some other projects he was working on. What initially turned me off about the Dumont House (because it challenged my preconceptions) now makes it one of my favorite sustainable homes. “Always have your sails up”Rob Dumont, like many of the builders and designers I’ve met, started his work in the 1970s, and spent some time wandering (metaphorically) alone in the desert in the ’80s and ’90s.“Society has got a very short attention span,” he said. “There are waves of interest, but mother nature bats last. I started working in the ’70s on the Saskatchewan Conservation House. One had to really keep the faith through a part of the time since, because not many people were very interested. I must admit that back in 1973, with the oil shock, I thought the reasonable thing to do would be to change the way we do our houses radically. That was my youthful naïveté at the time.”He showed me a book of solar homes that was written in the late 1970s, a sort of hippie version of what I’m trying to do, and I realized that I’m just the latest emissary of societal interest, something Dumont has seen come and go. I feel like this time it may be different, but I’m not sure. “It’s encouraging,” said Dumont, but “it’s not nearly at the level I’d like it to be. E.F. Schumacher put it nicely: he said the wind may not always blow, but at least we should have our sails up. That’s the way I feel.”Rob and his wife Phil took me to see a college basketball game, in which the home team, the Huskies, thoroughly trounced the competition (both women’s and men’s teams). I pictured Rob in his younger days playing basketball, fit and idealistic, believing he could change the world. And he did – it just changes very slowly.I wonder, when I look back in another twenty or thirty years, how I will remember this time. As the beginning of real change, or as lost opportunity? All I know is that my visit with Rob Dumont left me more optimistic than when I arrived. RELATED ARTICLES Forgotten Pioneers of Energy EfficiencyThe History of the Chainsaw RetrofitSolar Versus Superinsulation: A 30-Year-Old DebateThe History of Superinsulated Houses in North AmericaGBA Encyclopedia: Double-Stud WallsGBA Encyclopedia: Drain-Water Heat Recovery The Best-Insulated House in the World? Michael Henry is a straw bale house builder who is curious about all aspects of green building, and blogs about it at The Sustainable Home. He’s also the author of Ontario’s Old-Growth Forests. There are about 16,000 pounds of cellulose in the house – but what makes this insulation system really special is that the two walls have very little framing between them, so there are far fewer pathways to lose heat through the wall, either through leakage where the insulation doesn’t meet the wood perfectly, or by thermal bridging through the wood itself.It may seem obvious, but it needs to be said: wood is way worse insulation than insulation is. A 2×6 stud wall with R-20 insulation batts has an overall insulation value of about R-13. Rob Dumont’s walls are R-60, the attic is R-80, and the windows are R-5. The whole house is carefully air sealed. It takes less than 1/4 of the energy to heat Dumont’s house that it would for a conventional house. (In 2000, Dumont wrote an article describing the energy efficiency features of his home.) The walls are 16 inches thickWhen Dumont built this house in 1992, it was recognized as one of the world’s most highly insulated homes – but the house, like Dumont himself, is understated. Dumont took the double-wall system from the Saskatchewan Conservation House, stretched it out to a full 16-inch-thick wall cavity, and filled this space with blown-in cellulose insulation (which is just recycled newspaper with borax added for fire proofing and pest control). Drainwater heat exchangerAs we continued the house tour, Rob showed me some things that really could be added to any existing house. The first was a drainwater heat exchanger, which is just a copper tube wrapped around the shower drain. As hot shower water comes down the drain pipe, the cold incoming water in the coil is warmed. “On a shower it will recover about half of the heat that’s otherwise going down the drain,” said Dumont.He quipped, “I’m worried that with the price of copper, in a home invasion someone will steal it.” Still, barring home invasions, the economic payback is pretty quick: if your hot water heater is electric, the heat exchanger will pay itself off in 5 or 6 years; with gas heater, maybe double that.Next we looked at the hot water heater itself, which is a standard tank but wrapped with batt insulation and a thermal blanket adding up to about R-28. “Without the insulation, it loses about 100 watts of heat continuously,” Dumont said. “With the insulation, it’s down to about 25 watts.”Because of the simplicity of the Dumont house, it wasn’t expensive to build. The insulation, upgraded windows, and solar thermal system added about 7% to the building cost. “If I’d put brick on the outside of the house instead of hardboard siding,” said Dumont, “the brick would have cost more than all of the energy conservation features. I’d much rather have an energy efficient house than a brick house.”In fact, the energy-efficiency measures (which cost $13,000) finished paying for themselves in 2008, after 16 years. Now the measures are turning a profit. And he pointed out other non-monetary benefits: no draftiness, no cold feet, and the nice aesthetic of the deep window ledges.last_img read more