Just as Michelle Cobb was making a name for herself as a capable playmaker for De La Salle, she went on a slump that not only affected her, but her whole team as well.ADVERTISEMENT Phivolcs records 2 ‘discrete weak ash explosions’ at Taal Volcano It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew MOST READ Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours First it was Jasmine Nabor’s dominance in National University’s five-set win over La Salle wherein the Lady Bulldog tallied 53 excellent sets to Cobb’s 27.And Cobb was once again in the middle of La Salle head coach Ramil De Jesus’ post-game talk wherein the 10-time champion mentor said his setter needs to play better.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkLa Salle lost in four sets to Adamson University, 25-18, 15-25, 25-19, 25-22, in a match where Lady Falcon setter Fhen Emnas, who dished out 43 excellent sets, outplayed Cobb.“Our setter needs to experience this kind of a big game so she can overcome the pressure that is brought upon her shoulders,” said De Jesus in Filipino Saturday at Filoil Flying V Centre. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Roque says Vicente left UE for ‘personal reasons’ Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Sea turtle trapped in net freed in Legazpi City “This is for her own good and for the improvement of the whole team as well. She has to see what adjustments she needs to make and how she can handle these types of situations.”Cobb’s lackluster play has coincided with La Salle’s subpar performance and the Lady Spikers have slipped to 4-2 and their loss was their first at the hands of Lady Falcons since dropping a 23-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-16 decision in Season 70.The sophomore setter has proven herself as La Salle’s main distributor most notably in the Lady Spikers’ 25-21, 25-22, 26-24 win over University of the Philippines.Cobb finished with 10 points and 32 excellent sets for La Salle against the Lady Maroons that saw the 19-year-old score three straight aces to cap off the victory.“I think Cobb’s maturity as a setter is still lacking because there were times where her decision-making wasn’t apt to what was happening on the floor,” said De Jesus. “She’ll eventually get this experience along the way.”ADVERTISEMENT UK plans Brexit celebrations but warns businesses may suffer Phivolcs records 2 ‘discrete weak ash explosions’ at Taal Volcano View comments LATEST STORIES GALLERY: Barangay Ginebra back as PBA Governors’ Cup kings Nueva Ecija warehouse making fake cigarettes raided, 29 Chinese workers nabbed Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next
Attempted murderRecaptured prison escapee Stafrei Alexander of Laing Avenue, Georgetown was on Thursday found guilty of attempting to kill his neighbour Curtis Thom, whom he was said to have shot twice in March 2015.The 12-member jury returned an 11-to-one verdict after more than two hours of deliberation.After perusing a probation report from Alexander’s previous trial, which had ended in November last year, Justice Sandil Kissoon sentenced Alexander to life imprisonment even as his attorney, Stanley Moore, appealed for mercy in a plea of mitigation that lasted for more than 30 minutes.After the sentence was imposed, the judge revealed that life imprisonment was the maximum sentence prescribed for the offence. After brief back-and-forth legal discussions in open court, Moore was advised by Justice Kissoon to retain certain arguments for another arm of the court system.In the probation report, it was revealed that the defendant was born in New Amsterdam, Berbice, and grew up with his grandparents rather than his parents; and Alexander admitted that this had impacted upon him.Alexander maintained his innocence as Police led him off in tight security. According to the indictment, the 35-year-old man attempted to murder Thom by way of discharging a loaded firearm in his direction. Thom was shot hours after his daughter’s christening.The court heard that, based on his beliefs, Thom proceeded to walk into his home backwards after the christening, when Alexander mumbled remarks and pointed a gun at him. The victim was hospitalised for seven weeks, during which he obtained surgery to correct his injuries. Based on the account of an expert witness, a .38 revolver was the firearm of choice on the night in question.At the end of his previous trial before Justice Brassington Reynolds in November 2017, Alexander was set to be sentenced after being found guilty, but prior to deliberations on October 30, 2017, it was discovered that one of the jurors was below the age of 18.That juror was discharged, and the remaining 11 deliberated and found Alexander guilty by a 9-2 proportion for the March 23, 2015, attempted murder.However, Justice Reynolds conceded that he had “erroneously” formed the opinion that a verdict of such proportion could be accepted by the court.Alexander is an inmate who had fled lawful custody multiple times. Also known as Stafrei Hopkinson Alexander, he was apprehended in late July 2017 after a special operation in Berbice. His apprehension came weeks after he had fled the Camp Street Penitentiary during an inferno that occurred around the same time when several prisoners, including death row inmate Mark Royden “Smallie” Williams and now dead former policeman and prisoner Uree Varswyck had fled.Prison officer Odinga Wickham was killed during that ordeal, which flattened the century-old sections of the prison. Alexander had previously fled lawful custody for six months before finally being recaptured at Kurupukari Crossing in the Rupununi, Region Nine (Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo) in May 2016.Attorneys Lisa Cave and Orithia Schmidt appeared for the prosecution. (Shemuel Fanfair)
Photo: Talisman Energy’s Senior Community Engagement Advisor Julie Hindbo, and Community Engagement representative Leona Small, present the cheque to NLC’s Susan Soutar (centre) for the 2009 awards program. – submitted For its sixth year in a row, Talisman Energy has made a financial contribution to support student awards at the Northern Lights College. Representatives from Talisman Energy presented a cheque for $18,000 to the College on Tuesday. – Advertisement -The company has been supporting the NLC foundation’s awards program since 2003. In 2009, Talisman contributed more than 20 student awards, with a focus on Trades Apprenticeship, and Career and College Preparation. For more information on student awards available through the NLC Foundation, contact Executive Director Donna Kane at 1-866-INFO-NLC, or check the website at nlc.bc.ca.
SAN FRANCISCO — A June swoon, you ask?Not around the foggy confines of China Basin, where the Giants are playing their best baseball in a full year.For the second time this month, the Giants have won three in a row as they took down the Milwaukee Brewers 5-3 on the strength of three home runs, a solid night from starter Drew Pomeranz and four innings of one-run ball from a quartet of relievers.Pablo Sandoval, Kevin Pillar and Mike Yastrzemski all homered for the Giants as they turned the …
The “tree of life,” a branching pattern of evolutionary diversification, was the only illustration in Darwin’s Origin of Species. In 1859, it only existed in his imagination as he speculated, with only circumstantial evidence based on similarities, that all living things descended from a common ancestor. The fossil record did not show such a tree. Darwin expected the record would be filled in by subsequent discoveries (but cf. 04/23/2006). He could not have anticipated the revolution in genomics of the 20th century. Neo-Darwinists met these discoveries with great anticipation that Darwin’s tree of life would now become visible in the genetic codes impressed in the cell of every organism. Richard Dawkins predicted in A Devil’s Chaplain (2003, p. 272),…there is, after all, one true tree of life, the unique pattern of evolutionary branchings that actually happened. It exists. It is in principle knowable. We don’t know it all yet. By 2050 we should – or if we do not, we shall have been defeated only at the terminal twigs, by the sheer number of species.We are now at a stage where enough data have been published, including complete genomes of dozens of plants and animals, such that an assessment is now possible to see if a tree is coming into focus. In addition, we have decades of comparative studies of proteins from different organisms. A status report of sorts was published this week by Antonis Rokas and Sean B. Carroll in PLoS Biology.1 Though they began with Dawkins’ optimistic prophecy, the news is not good. They see multiple bushes, not a tree. These two evolutionary biologists admit that not only is a tree pattern indecipherable, it may never become visible, even as more data are added:Genome analyses are delivering unprecedented amounts of data from an abundance of organisms, raising expectations that in the near future, resolving the tree of life (TOL) will simply be a matter of data collection. However, recent analyses of some key clades in life’s history have produced bushes and not resolved trees. The patterns observed in these clades are both important signals of biological history and symptoms of fundamental challenges that must be confronted. Here we examine how the combination of the spacing of cladogenetic events and the high frequency of independently evolved characters (homoplasy) limit the resolution of ancient divergences. Because some histories may not be resolvable by even vast increases in amounts of conventional data, the identification of new molecular characters will be crucial to future progress.This frank admission by two believers in common ancestry demonstrates that molecular genetics has not delivered the hoped-for pattern: “Obtaining an accurate depiction of the evolutionary history of all living organisms has been and remains one of biology’s great challenges.” In addition to the problem of homoplasy (convergent evolution, or the independent origin of similar traits), the authors point to unexpected groupings that came out of molecular studies. One study resulted in a grouping of “strikingly different mammals including elephants, aardvarks, manatees, and golden moles” in the same clade. The pace of change presents another problem: some molecular events were explosively rapid, while others remained undisturbed (conserved) for hundreds of millions of years. Opposite conclusions are sometimes reached depending on the method used. Rokas and Carroll give an example of two papers within the same issue of Molecular Biology and Evolution that confirmed and falsified the existence of a certain group. It’s not simply a matter that some methods are more accurate than others. “The observed conflicts are not dependent on the optimality criterion used,” they said. The problem is real, and it’s pervasive. It’s hard to tell if this paper is an admission of failure and hopelessness, or a call for a brief time out before an optimistic new charge:Here we discuss how and why certain critical parts of the TOL [tree of life] may be difficult to resolve, regardless of the quantity of conventional data available. We do not mean this essay to be a comprehensive review of molecular systematics. Rather, we have focused on the emerging evidence from genome-scale studies on several branches of the TOL that sharply contrasts with viewpoints—such as that in the opening quotation—which imply that the assembly of all branches of the TOL will simply be a matter of data collection. We view this difficulty in obtaining full resolution of particular clades—when given substantial data—as both biologically informative and a pressing methodological challenge. The recurring discovery of persistently unresolved clades (bushes) should force a re-evaluation of several widely held assumptions of molecular systematics. Now, as the field is transformed from a data-limited to an analysis-limited discipline, it is an opportune time to do so.Most of the paper is taken up with examples. For instance, despite what the media have often claimed, there is conflicting evidence linking humans to chimpanzees: “Specifically, analyses of almost 100 genes (under two different optimality criteria) show that ~55% of genes support a human-chimpanzee clade, 40% are evenly split among the two alternative topologies, with the remaining genes being uninformative” – and this is for two species considered so closely related, some political activists are advocating granting human rights to chimpanzees. To exhibit the scale of the problems, they list four notable “bushes” in the tree of life. Notice how these are spread all over the evolutionary time scale:(A) The human/chimpanzee/gorilla tree (5-8 million years ago).(B) The elephant/sirenian/hyrax bush (57-65 million years ago).(C) The tetrapod/coelacanth/lungfish bush (370-390 million years ago).(D) The metazoan superbush (>550 million years ago).They did not select these to be isolated examples. These cases, despite getting the most detailed analysis by molecular phylogenists, are representative of the problems pervading the entire record. Notice their use of words like “majority” and “large fraction” to indicate the scale of the challenge to Darwinian expectations:Three observations generally hold true across metazoan datasets that indicate the pervasive influence of homoplasy at these evolutionary depths. First, a large fraction of single genes produce phylogenies of poor quality. For example, Wolf and colleagues omitted 35% of single genes from their data matrix, because those genes produced phylogenies at odds with conventional wisdom (Figure 2D). Second, in all studies, a large fraction of characters—genes, PICs or RGCs2—disagree with the optimal phylogeny, indicating the existence of serious conflict in the DNA record. For example, the majority of PICs conflict with the optimal topology in the Dopazo and Dopazo study. Third, the conflict among these and other studies in metazoan phylogenetics is occurring at very “high” taxonomic levels—above or at the phylum level.If the best techniques applied to the most detailed data sets show these conflicts, it cannot be expected that poorer methods on smaller data sets will do any better. Clearly, this is not a crisis that is going to go away with more data. So are molecular phylogenists “barking up the wrong trees,” they ask? Is there “systematic bias” in tree-building efforts to date, that can “positively mislead phylogenetic inference”? (see 06/08/2006). Some sources of bias, like long-branch attraction, are understood. If not careful, researchers can create trees out of wishful thinking: “Thus, a priori expectations of obtaining fully resolved topologies combined with the use of large amounts of data (which generate high support values) can make trees out of bushes.” Researchers might just be engaged in self-fulfilling prophecy. If this were the only source of bias, it might be possible to account for it, but Rokas and Carroll have shown that no method is consistently resolving one tree out of the bushes. Now for the recommendations. Is there any hope? If so, it is not in more data:“Can we realistically hope to resolve diversification events spanning a few or even tens of millions of years that occurred in deep time? It is widely accepted that nucleotide data are of limited use for resolving deep divergences because of mutational saturation and homoplasy. Until the recent expansion in available data, it has not been possible to fully explore what the limits of the protein record might be. Like others in the field, we also had expectations that scaling up dataset size would be sufficient to resolve interesting groups. The evidence presented here suggests that large amounts of conventional characters will not always suffice, even if analyzed by state-of-the-art methodology. Just as it would be futile to use radioisotopes with modest half lives to date ancient rocks, it appears unrealistic to expect conventional linear, homoplasy-sensitive sequences to reliably resolve series of events that transpired in a small fraction of deep time. Although we have known this from theory, we are now confronted with the actual pattern of molecular evolution.The recommendations are: (1) the “prevalence and causes of homoplasy need to be better understood” and (2) “molecular systematics must now move beyond conventional characters and mine genomic data for new, less-homoplastic characters such as RGCs” [rare genomic changes]. This second plan, though is subject to confusion because of the widespread incidence of horizontal gene transfer and lineage sorting. Earlier in the paper, Rokas and Carroll expressed frustration that the very stems in the tree of most interest to evolutionists are the very ones with the most problems:Thus, absolutely or relatively short stems present distinct challenges that could be described as the bane of the molecular systematist. Yet, it is precisely these stems—associated with some of the most interesting episodes in life’s history—that most intrigue the evolutionist. Analyses of large molecular datasets from clades at different time depths of the TOL illustrate how short stems, whether placed just 6 million or 600 million years in the past, can confound phylogenetic resolution.What to do? When the tree of life is a lemon tree, make lemonade. The authors ended by asking, “What’s wrong with bushes?” Nothing, if you are willing to be called a heretic:A bush in which series of cladogenetic events lie crammed and unresolved within a small section of a larger tree does harbour historical information. Although it may be heresy to say so, it could be argued that knowing that strikingly different groups form a clade and that the time spans between the branching of these groups must have been very short, makes the knowledge of the branching order among groups potentially a secondary concern. For example, the lack of phylogenetic resolution at the base of the tetrapod/lungfish/coelacanth clade has not hampered in the least evolutionary research on the anatomical changes that occurred early on in the evolution of the tetrapod lineage. Similarly, if the origin of most bilaterian phyla was compressed in time, more than 550 million years later it may matter little to know the exact relationships between most phyla to understand the evolution of the molecular tool kit that enabled the evolution of the body plans of the 35 or so animal phyla. We submit that if the current efforts to assemble the TOL have, by 2050 (if not much sooner), assembled an arborescent bush of life, Dawkins’ prediction will have come to fruition.Translated, this may either mean that evolutionary thinking can proceed without evidence for a tree of life, or that there is still hope that somewhere hidden in the foliage there is a single trunk waiting to be found: the disparate bushes will become a single “arborescent bush of life.” For now, it’s an article of faith foundering on confusing and contradictory evidence.1 Antonis Rokas, Sean B. Carroll, “Bushes in the Tree of Life,” Public Library of Science Biology, 4(11): e352. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0040352.2Abbreviations: TOL, tree of life; PIC, parsimony-informative character; RGC, rare genomic change.Folks, do you have any idea how damaging this paper is? Darwinism has been falsified. It’s over. We may as well dance on the grave of Charlie D, because both of the greatest hopes for confirming his tall tale have falsified it: the fossil record and the genetic record. For Rokas and Carroll to have any hope now is as pathetic as watching a Las Vegas gambler continue on after being told the slot machine is broken and there is no money in it. Incredibly, these evolutionists do continue on in spite of the lack of evidence. They do exactly what Charlie himself did: trust their imaginations. Dawkins believes that the magical tree exists. He accepts this myth, and the other evolutionists have so devoted their lies, their distortions, and their sacrilegious dishonor so much to it, that no amount of falsification will stop them. The search must go on, till 2050 or beyond (after they are long dead), so that Charlie’s Myth can inspire a new generation of dreamers. And Dawkins has the audacity to claim that creationists are the ones believing in fairy tales. You realize that a series of bushes does not look like evolution; it looks like creation. The universality of the genetic code ensures that the phyla did not evolve independently. Since they cannot connect the dots from a universal common ancestor to the plethora of organisms alive today, the dots are imaginary – no better than a Kipling tale. The evidence is very consistent, by contrast, with a single Creator who made separate groupings of plants and animals that reproduce after their kind (with variability), while still exhibiting a common underlying plan. The only claim to authority and public trust that the evolutionary biologist can appeal to is empirical evidence. This is what the Darwinists think makes their beliefs superior to religion. For example, if you go to a new BBC Education site for kids, it will continue to propound the idea that religious truth is based on faith, while scientific truth is based on empirical evidence.This same site also has a section on Evolution that blatantly presents known falsehoods about evolutionary evidence, including peppered moths, finch beaks and the horse series, while claiming that the fossil record proves evolution. Each of these icons has been refuted in scientific journals and scholarly books, often written by believers in evolution. Are the webmasters of Bite-Size Science merely uninformed about this, or are they deliberately deceiving students to promote an agenda?The assumption of empirical support has been the main thing the Darwin Party has preached gives them superiority in truth claims and the right to rule the schools. Only their myth gets exclusivity in “science” class. Everyone else’s view must be consigned to the funny farm known as “religious studies.” That was then. This is now. Their assumed empirical evidence has vanished, leaving them with nothing but vivid imaginations to keep their creation myth intact. Read what Rokas and Carroll have said, and then re-read what Marshall said about the fossil record in the 04/23/2006 entry (ignoring the spin, just examining the evidence). We no longer need to claim Darwinian evolution has been falsified; they did it for us. Q.E.D. Mission accomplished. Fait accompli. Done deal. Way to go. High five. Glory to God. Now, let’s get back on the road to the real Tree of Life. But this time, let’s follow the Manufacturer’s directions.Boy, was that a bad detour, or what? (11/30/2005).(Visited 42 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Christmas is upon us, and then the new year. Many interesting news stories have come prancing from the roof with too little time to unwrap them. We leave them hanging on the mantle, with our astute readers able to pick the fresh oranges from the fruitcakes, the hot picks from the lumps of coal.Morality: You’d never guess that couples that wait for sex till after marriage have more benefits later. PhysOrg seemed surprised.Morality: People lie to manage communications, PhysOrg claims, but then can you trust their reporters?Anthropology: A chilling site of child sacrifice has been found at an archaeological site in Peru, reported National Geographic.Anthropology: Claiming that “Shopping Differences Between Sexes Show Evolution at Work” seems overboard, even for a Science Daily holiday prank, which the editors apparently took seriously.Mammals: National Geographic got all excited about chimpanzees playing with sticks as if they were dolls. OK, so?Origin of Life: National Geographic also got excited about “life ingredients” in a superhot meteorite. Like what, charcoal?Evolution: by heat shock? You figure out what Science Daily is saying.Biomimetics: A prototype solar device has been unveiled which mimics plant life, said BBC News.Biomimetics: Make like a trilobite eye and get the thinnest camera ever, New Scientist says.Solar System: The reality of Rhea is coming to light from Cassini’s latest flyby, reported JPL, and it’s got the blues and a surprising oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere, reported Science.Solar System: Speaking of Cassini, dramatic new images of the geysers of Enceladus were also posted by JPL from its 13th flyby on Dec. 20. If you look quickly, the Cassini website is temporarily decorated for Christmas.Solar System: Before leaving the Saturn system, Space.com said Titan’s southern lake is very shallow and virtually flat, holding far less liquid than hoped. And the best hope for an ice volcano was reported by BBC News. In its coverage, National Geographic couldn’t resist teasing with the L-word.Atmospheric Science: If biting winters are caused by global warming, as PhysOrg claims, when does the warming arrive?Mind and Brain: Placebos work, even when you know they are fake. That was a surprise reported by PhysOrg.Sociology: PhysOrg is all worried about how the Muslims are coping with the aftermath of 9/11. How about the rest of us?Geology: Israeli scientists are digging cores in the south end of the Dead Sea looking for evidence of earthquakes and climate change, reported Science Daily.Health: For those needing tissue reconstruction, there’s a good source of stem cells: fat. See PhysOrg.Health: Many cancer cells carry an “eat me” signal, said PhysOrg.Physiology: There appears to be an optimum temperature for keeping fungi away and yet not running so hot as to have to eat constantly. That temperature is – sound familiar? – 98.6°F. Read about it on Science Daily.Early man: Science Daily summarized a paper from Science that alleges a previously unknown human relative that interbred with us, but aren’t they making a big deal out of a finger bone?For a merry Christmas memory, look at this: PhysOrg posted the original broadcast of Apollo 8’s Christmas message from the moon. It’s worth hearing again.These are just a few of the recent stories that could have earned in-depth reporting and analysis. Come back when the calendar turns the page into 2011. The need for critical thinking about science news has never been greater. In the meantime, may the message of Christmas send light into a dark, lost world.(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Tags:#crowdsourcing#mobile#NYT#Product Reviews#web The latest edition of mobile navigation app Waze has just launched in the iTunes App Store and on the Android Market Place with the Symbian and Windows Mobile versions available on the Waze website. In this updated version, the company has added even more features to their already popular “munching” game which sends a Pac-Man like character loose on the roads to help build the company’s mapping database and validate the roads already in place. Unlike other mobile navigation apps, Waze “crowdsources” its map-making process, reliant on its users to switch the app on when driving around town. Then, using the phone’s built-in GPS capabilities, Waze uses the information sent back to create base maps and determine traffic patterns in order to warn other users of traffic jams ahead. Although Waze is an application dependent on critical mass to become successful, they’ve already had good results since their original launch in Israel. In less than a year’s time, Waze was able to map 91% of the country thanks to user involvement. The company believes they will have similar results here in the U.S. with highly populated urban areas being mapped first with the rest of the country following over the coming months. Making Maps is Just a Game To encourage users to contribute to the map-building process, the company came up with an idea to make it more of a game. Originally, the Waze character would appear and munch dots on the screen when you ventured onto a road that didn’t previously exist in the company’s database. Now, with Waze 2.0, the gaming elements have been enhanced even further. Users will now munch on other goodies like cherries, hammers, and small gift packages which generate bonus points. The extra goodies will be placed on locations where the map has issues with the higher-point items on maps with the most issues. To kick off this new release, the company is also hosting a contest dubbed the “Holiday High Points Challenge” which runs from November 25th through December 9th. During this time, which includes the busy traveling period of the Thanksgiving holidays, Waze hopes to tap into the high number of drivers who will be trekking around town and across the country to visit relatives. The top three users who earn the most points during this period will win Amazon gift cards in the amounts of $500, $300 and $200, for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places respectively. Crowdsourcing: Better Maps, FasterThe Waze application was one of the more innovative companies to appear at the most recent DEMO conference where they launched their turn-by-turn directions feature. Because they’re not using map data from Tele Atlas or Navteq – the two big names that license map data to other companies for use in applications – Waze saves money while also being able to sell their own data to other companies at reduced rates. The company also claims that their crowdsourced method has dramatically shortened the months-long update cycle for maps. While Waze may not be ready to replace your in-dash GPS just yet, it gets closer every day as more roads are mapped and more users join the service. Early adopters who want to contribute to the project can download the mobile application from the company’s homepage here. Related Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement sarah perez What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology
Grind-and-polish concrete? Not at our placeThe grind-and-polish look is something I really like. You need a concrete grinding machine with diamond discs starting with very rough grits of 80 and 120, which grind the top layer of concrete off and expose the pea gravel aggregate. Eventually, you work up to 800-, 1200-, and 2000-grit discs that give a highly polished look to the floor. You get a lot of interesting variation and different colors of the pea gravel coming through (although some people specify all gray or black pea rock if they want something more consistent).Crews prep the main floor before placing the concrete.For us, there were a couple of downsides with this approach. First, the concrete topper they were going to pour was only going to be 1 1/2 inches thick, which is pretty darn thin. Although you are only taking about 1/8 inch or so off the top, we had 1/2-inch PEX in-floor piping and metal concrete mesh overtop – grinding off too much could be a horrible thing.We had seen this first hand. A good friend had built an eco-house in town and wanted a ground and polished concrete floor. Unfortunately the contractor ground off about 1/4 inch too much. It looked great initially, but the layer of concrete over the in-floor heat was so thin that in the next few weeks the concrete started to crack badly following the pattern of the in-floor tubing. It looked so bad.Needless to say, I was a bit paranoid of that risk.The second consideration is that you need to grind and polish before drywall as it makes a crazy mess. And you can’t grind and polish until it has cured for one month. That would mean that we would have to put the interior on hold for a month, which we really did not want to do.The other option was simply to power-trowel the main floor, same as the basement. We have seen this look a lot in more modern homes and I really like the simplicity of it. It is not complicated at all and is, in fact, the simplest, cheapest, and easiest way to go. (Pour and trowel is about $2.50/square foot, while the grinding and polishing cost would be an additional $5 to $6/square foot above and beyond). You pour the floor, power trowel the crap out of it, and call it a day. (In 28 days you can seal it, buff it, wax it — whatever.)As I said, we liked how the basement floor turned out, particular the very “swirly” areas, as my wife calls them. I hoped that we could make the floors slightly different from the basement floor. I looked into the possibility of adding a bit of black pigment to darken the gray slightly; however, I abandoned this idea after I was told that the pigment dries the concrete faster and can lead to an uneven finish. Polyethylene Under Concrete Slabs Finishing a Basement FloorAll About BasementsGreen Basics: Basements It’s “too hot” to pourHe told me that they were planning to have the concrete poured in two days, but they would first need to finish laying the rebar and tying everything in. “I’ll be back at 6 a.m. tomorrow,” he said, before driving off headlight-less into the night. I came by the house at 7:30 a.m. and, not surprisingly, they were not there. Sometime during the day, however, they were back working away in the basement — this time, they’d brought a rusted old Honda. Apparently, this car had headlights and was more reliable.On Thursday, which was the day of the scheduled pour, they did not show up at all. (What other profession could you simply not show up to work and there be no repercussions?)The bossman called our general contractor later in the day, apologizing and saying that he had to fire the criminal-looking guy, but promised to complete the pour the next day. I told the contractor that it was tomorrow, or else he was off of the job.After a frustrating few days with their first concrete contractor, the owners found a substitute who got the job done with a minimum of fuss.On Friday, I received a phone call from our concrete contractors to say it was “too hot” to pour the basement slab. Granted, it was 34°C (about 93°F). He said that the concrete would cure too fast and they would not be able to guarantee a nice finish. I wondered to myself: Is this a convenient excuse for them in case the floors didn’t turn out? What am I to do? Ask them to pour it anyways?I called a couple of friends that I have in the concrete business and asked if they were pouring today. They were. I asked if there would be any reason to not pour a basement today and they told me that an insulated basement would be perfect in this weather — being at least 10 degrees cooler in there and not in direct sunlight.That afternoon, we made calls to find a replacement for our concrete guy. I couldn’t handle it anymore — how many chances do you give someone? That being said, we needed the floor done immediately. This idiot had already set back three other trades with his five-day delay. Especially when Taylor and Curtis worked so hard to be ahead of schedule despite some of the challenges they faced.Incredibly, we talked to Tyco Concrete Finishing, which was able to squeeze us in early the next week. That Sunday evening we met the owner on site. (I was relieved to see him drive up in new super-duty 4Ã—4 truck). He spent a couple hours with us going through everything, including checking what little work the other guy had done, making sure he knew how we wanted it finished, and confirming all of the dimensions and depths.Two days later, the floor was poured. Choosing the simplest optionEventually the decision came down to this question: What is the simplest option? Through this process we have found ourselves periodically down a rabbit hole wondering how we got there and how everything became so complicated. Our answer in those situations, or when we’ve debated about two or three different things, is this: simple is always better. The more complicated, the more things can go wrong.So I told the concrete guy, “Finish the concrete just like the basement — only more swirly, please.” (He told us that the metal blades of the power trowel are what make the surface swirled and darker; troweling longer and on a higher speed can darken the concrete further).The finished result: Swirly.The morning of the pour was crazy again. Our builder did not realize the concrete truck would be there so early, and he’d left a bunch of stuff around the house. I received a text at 6:30 a.m. from the concrete guy: “Someone has to get over here and move all this stuff. Truck is here.”Fortunately, we were living very close by, so I threw on some clothes and was out the door. We frantically (concrete starts to cure as soon as it leaves the plant – being 30 minutes from the city, every extra moment counts) moved a trailer, two big garbage bins, scrap wood, plywood, and all sorts of junk.Meanwhile the rest of the concrete crew was even more frantically throwing down the concrete mesh (which provides structural support, like rebar, in thinly poured floors like ours). This stuff was crazy heavy and looked so cumbersome to work with, but these guys were pros. They had the whole floor laid and secured in about 20 minutes.And so the pour began again. I could not stay and watch, and truthfully, I did not want to see it. Seeing that gray/brown sludge of mud being rolled in and dumped on the floor simply made me nervous. I just wanted to see it looking pretty at the end.When we got home, all was quiet again. We went to the back door and peaked our heads in.So swirly!So very swirly! Main floor concreteWe were very happy with how the basement concrete slab turned out. Tyco Concrete had come through for us on short notice and they had done a really nice job. So one week later we had them come back in to do a second pour, this time for the main floor.We had really debated about how we would like to finish the concrete, but I should digress for a moment and simply state our reasons for a concrete floor in the first place.First, it’s thermal mass. Thermal mass has the ability to absorb and store energy (heat in particular). For passive solar heating in the winter months, the concrete floor acts like a battery, gaining heat during the day and releasing the heat in the evening. You could use a tile or brick floor to similar effect. Conversely, in the summer and shoulder months (April and October), you really don’t want the sun shining on the thermal mass, as this can lead to overheating. (Thus the importance of passive shading and overhangs).We still needed a heating system, and a concrete floor would accommodate in-floor tubing for hydronic heat.Finally, concrete is sexy.Okay, so now that that is cleared up, we had to decide on how we would like to finish the floors. We had already decided that acid staining and dyeing the concrete was really not our thing — much too fancy-pants for us. That basically left us with two options: power trowel (same as the basement) or grind and polish. We really like both looks. Editor’s note: Kent Earle and his wife, Darcie, write a blog called Blue Heron EcoHaus, documenting their journey “from urbanites to ruralites” and the construction of a superinsulated house on the Canadian prairies. Their previous blog on GBA was called Adding Walls and Roof. The blog below was originally published in July 2015. (A complete list of Kent Earle’s GBA blogs is provided in the “Related articles” sidebar below.) Some notes on finding a contractorWe knew that we wanted the concrete floors to be a simple, natural, gray concrete, power-troweled and sealed to complement the exposed concrete walls. No fancy finishing, dying, staining or grinding.Being that the basement concrete slab was to be our finished floor, it was pretty important to me that it not look like crap. Therefore, the quality of the contractor needed to be top-notch. Unfortunately for us, that was not how we entered into this venture. I did not meet the contractor before he was actually on site prepping to pour. Darcie had driven home early that day and came upon a most peculiar sight before she reached the house: a rather criminal-looking fellow standing beside a broken-down early 1990s sedan. He was holding booster cables. Our place is a bit out of the way, so this was not a sight one would expect.Of course she stopped to see what the problem was (as the next passerby would probably not be coming along until much later on). He proceeded to tell her that he needed a boost. He’d gotten in a fight with his boss and left from “that house being built down there,” he said, pointing in the direction of our house. My wife boosted his junk car, and asked if he was going back to work? Nope, he said, and drove off.My wife drove to the site and found a lone guy working in the basement: no truck, no car, no nothing. She told him she might have just met his worker on the road and asked how he was getting home. He had no idea. Because she was leaving the property, she called our general contractor and asked that he come pick him up. But as she was about to leave, his buddy returned with the car.When I stopped by later to check on the situation, they were still there. “Working late, boys?” I asked. “Yup,” the boss said, “but we gotta get home, we’re losing light and we don’t have any headlights.” (He wasn’t joking). RELATED ARTICLES BLOGS BY KENT EARLE Adding Walls and RoofDealing With Really Bad WaterMaking an ICF FoundationLet Construction BeginPicking High-Performance WindowsHow Small Can We Go?Choosing a Superinsulated Wall SystemHeating a Superinsulated House in a Cold ClimateIs Passivhaus Right for a Cold Canadian Climate? I do love concrete. It is one of those rare man-made products that border on being a living thing, like plaster or linen. It has such a rich texture and variation of composition that it seems to beckon you to get up close for a better look and touch it.Of course, not everyone will share my appreciation of concrete. Traditionalists have tended to cover up the concrete or at least treat it extensively with stains and dyes to make it more palatable. Not us. When I told an interior designer about our exposed basement concrete walls, his response was, “Now that’s modernism with a capital ‘M’!”“Cool,” I said. “What’s modernism with a little ‘m’?” To which he sheepishly did not have a response. (I’m an ass.)After the foundation walls had cured for 28 days, we had to seal the concrete. We wanted to get this done before the slab went in, because if we waited to do the floors and walls at the same time, not only would there be framing and drywall in the way, but we would also run the risk of having the drywallers slopping crap all over the walls and making a mess of our beautiful concrete finish.Like an idiot, I decided not to purchase a $25 wand sprayer to apply the sealant and instead used a nap roller. A job that would have taken me 30 minutes ended up being closer to five hours, rolling every inch of the wall on multiple passes. (Lesson learned.)Notice the levitating water tank and soaker tub.Next, we had to lift the giant water tank and Japanese soaker tub off of the floor and strap them to the steel beams. (Getting the tub in the basement was another adventure in and of itself; I’ll write about it someday.)The under-slab insulation was then cut and laid. We elected to use 7 1/2 inches of insulation, which is likely overkill but it does bring the floor insulation to R-30. (Our last house had no insulation in the basement at all.) First, there’s a 5-inch thick layer of Nudura EPS, then a 2 1/2-inch thick layer of Hydrofoam, also made by Nudura. This EPS insulation was pretty cool. Having a honeycomb pattern as the top layer allowed for incredibly easy installation of the PEX piping for in-floor hydronic heating.
Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … The move is the latest in T-Mobile’s move to position itself vis-à-vis its competition—Verizon, AT&T and Sprint—as the “un-carrier.” The JUMP program ties into T-Mobile’s move to rid itself of smartphone contracts and subsidies that it announced it March this year. Instead of signing up for a two-year contract to get a cheaper price on a smartphone, T-Mobile users can pay a monthly Equipment Installment Plan (EIP) for their smartphones until the device is fully paid off. With the JUMP program, after the initial six months, a T-Mobile user can trade in their smartphone and the carrier will waive the rest of what is owed on that device through the EIP program for any reason. If a user doesn’t like their phone, just wants the latest and greatest or it has a little wear and tear, T-Mobile will trade in a smartphone with the JUMP program as long as it is in decent working order.JUMP is part of T-Mobile’s smartphone insurance program. Hence, if a device is broken or has water damage, the user will have to pay a deductible (between $20 and $170 depending on the phone) to upgrade to a new device.The move to allow users to upgrade twice per year while starting a new installment plan for their phones is in direct contrast to the two biggest mobile carriers in the U.S.—AT&T and Verizon—which both recently announced that they are extending the ability to upgrade users smartphones to a full 24 months, or the full length of their contracts. Consumers previously could upgrade after 20 months on either carrier. Related Posts The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Tags:#Carriers#Cell phones#lte#T-Mobile#wireless carriers Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement T-Mobile will also roll out a marketing program called #Hate2Wait for JUMP with the theme of “730 days”—a reference to that 24-month waiting period other carriers’ customers face. Former Saturday Night Live actor Bill Haider stars in it.T-Mobile also announced today that its 4G LTE network now covers 157 million people in the United States. While the connotations and speeds of what LTE actually represents can be ambiguous and vary greatly from area to area, any LTE from T-Mobile is a lot better none, which a lot of industry analysts figured would be the company’s LTE footprint two years ago.Finally, A Carrier Does It DifferentlyT-Mobile wants to come off as transparent and consumer friendly as possible. This is not a normal trait for a mobile operator in the United States, which are often tight-lipped except to point to marketing slogans touting how awesome they think they are. T-Mobile is also guilty of trying to tout itself and show that it is edgy and different and that its Pink is better than the Red, Blue and Yellow of its competitors. See also: T-Mobile Kills The Smartphone Contract, But It Doesn’t Save You MoneyT-Mobile has its faults and all the marketing the company will hit consumers with in the following months should be heavily scrutinized against the reality of the industry. T-Mobile’s plans may not actually be that much cheaper than other carriers, its LTE may not be faster. These are variable situations depending on consumer choice and location. What T-Mobile offers consumers that its competitors do not is freedom. From the ability to not be tied into a two-year contract and the ability to get a new smartphone twice a year, T-Mobile at least wants to present the appearance of standing for consumer choice. At least T-Mobile is thinking outside the box and offering something different. That is not something that the other operators have done in a long, long time. T-Mobile is the mobile carrier that wants to disrupt the mobile carriers. And it is making a pretty good show of it. Today, T-Mobile announced a program called JUMP: Just Upgrade My Phone. It allows T-Mobile users to get new smartphones from the carrier up to twice per year. For $10 a month, users can enroll in the program and be allowed to trade in their old T-Mobile smartphone for a new device after a six-month waiting period. “We are going to redefine a stupid, broken and arrogant industry,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere said today in New York City at an event announcing JUMP. dan rowinski