Archive for Říjen, 2011

A Family of Italian Twins That Took a Different Approach

Pondělí, Říjen 31st, 2011

The pride is felt in Italy, of course, not America, and the company, which sold its first bikes in 1921, does not date back nearly as far as Harley-Davidson. But like Harley, it has a rich history, and its current array of models seems to promise a competitive future for this niche brand.

A winner on the racetrack from its earliest days, with a string of world championships and memorable machines, including outrageously complex V-8 grand prix bikes in the 1950s, Moto Guzzi has, like Ducati, MV Agusta and other Italian brands, a devoted following. More than 20,000 fans arrived in the brand’s hometown, Mandello del Lario, for its 90th anniversary celebration last month.

And like other Italian makes, it has changed hands a number of times, rarely a precursor of product integrity. Moto Guzzi’s fortunes in the United States have had highs and lows, the company struggling at times as its bikes were overshadowed by the features and technology of Japan’s makers. Worldwide, the company is projected to sell fewer than 6,000 motorcycles in 2011.

But nine decades after its founding, Moto Guzzi is part of Piaggio, the conglomerate that also makes Vespa scooters and Aprilia motorcycles. Though Guzzi is small, the Piaggio parentage has given it the ability to develop a diverse line of bikes in the touring, naked and custom cruiser categories — and even a lithe sports entry.

What ties the models together is a common architecture of 90-degree V-twin engines with a literal twist: the cylinders jut left and right, with the crankshaft in line with the bike’s frame rather than across it. This makes it logical and simple to engineer a shaft-drive system, a brand hallmark that Guzzi’s current models use.

This engine layout solves other problems, too, making cooling somewhat simpler (a Harley-type V-twin, with cylinders placed fore and aft, typically runs hotter on the rear cylinder). But it also brings challenges, including a characteristic torque reaction, felt when the engine is revved, that wants to rotate the bike to the right. A rider soon acclimates, but a new owner would find it disconcerting.

The latest of Moto Guzzi’s big twins use a four-valve-per-cylinder design that the company has been spreading to a wider selection of models. For instance, the Norge GT 8V, a large-scale touring machine with a deep sporting streak, now carries the Quattrovalvole engine in 102-horsepower form.

The Norge feels lighter than its 567 pounds, agile in traffic and easy to manage in stop-and-go situations. The thrill of riding it is in shooting through the gears with the engine pegged around 5,000 r.p.m. (At a stoplight, though, figuring out which gear the transmission is in can be tricky; finding neutral is easy, but the indicator light doesn’t always come on.)

The seat is very comfortable, meaning you could easily cruise for hours. It feels quite capable, though it doesn’t have the set-it-and-forget-it feel of stately ocean liners like the Honda Gold Wing or BMW’s touring flagships.

Restaurant Review: The 401 Diner

Pátek, Říjen 28th, 2011

I’ll be the first to admit that I was saddened when the pride & joy of Conshy, The 401 Diner, mysteriously closed last year. Granted, it wasn’t necessarily the greatest dining experience you’d ever have (think of greasy diner food, a few impolite waitresses, and an outdated pink decor that reeked of the late 80s). Yet, whenever you wanted a hearty breakfast, or wanted a late-night meal after the bars closed, the diner was open and waiting for you to peruse their jukebox. So once I heard that The 401 Diner was reopening in September with a new owner, I couldn’t wait to stop by.

As we approached the entrance of the restaurant, it appeared as though not much had changed; the fluorescent lights were still glowing and the time on the clock facing Fayette St. was still wrong. It wasn’t until we walked into The 401 Diner that we were stunned at the overhaul that had taken place. Simply, the diner has been completely transformed. The linoleum has been replaced with hardwood floors, the lamps with modern light fixtures, and even the coat hooks on the booths have been handcrafted; the new management certainly has an attention to detail, which did not go unnoticed.

We arrived at 5:15 on a Sunday evening to find The 401 Diner moderately busy. We were seated as soon as we walked in and given very detailed menus. The first thing I noticed (besides the vast assortment of entrees) was how fresh the meals were prepared. Almost every selection on the menu had either “organic,” “local,” or “free-range” it its description…three phrases I’ve never seen within miles of a standard diner menu.

To start, we decided on sharing a cup of Organic Veggie Chili, as well as the Spinach & Roasted Artichoke Dip. Brought out within five minutes, the Chili was served piping hot, chock full of black beans, tomatoes, carrots, peppers, and prepared with just the right amount of spices. As for the other appetizer, we were both impressed by not only the toasted pita chips, but also the fresh ingredients within the dip itself; unlike many spinach & artichoke dips, this was full of large artichoke hearts that had clearly just been chopped. The garlic was also freshly sliced and the creamy texture was perfect and not too greasy.

As we finished our appetizers, the waitress made sure to check on us whenever she thought that a drink might be running low. For some reason, there are so many restaurants that just don’t utilize this simple gesture which normally always results in a satisfied customer (and a healthier than normal tip); fortunately, the waitstaff at the new and improved 401 Diner has been trained well.

Within another 10 minutes, our entrees were served. Though breakfast is served all day, my girlfriend decided on the Salmon Burger with Side Salad and was more than satisfied. When she was originally ordering her entree, the waitress mentioned that someone had ordered the same sandwich earlier in the day and the customer had complained that it was ‘fishy.’ Though we appreciated the heads up from the waitress, and agreed that salmon should indeed be ‘fishy,’ we were a little apprehensive but still ordered the meal. The entree was a patty of nicely seasoned fresh salmon topped with aioli, freshly roasted red peppers, greens, red onion, and tomato, presented on fresh brioche; also, the fresh side salad with white balsamic vinaigrette complimented the sandwich properly.

Light, sweets, new clothes mark Diwali in Delhi

Čtvrtek, Říjen 27th, 2011

Their houses lit up in festive spirit, people in the national capital today celebrated Diwali with fervour and gaiety, exchanging sweets, bursting crackers and sharing the joy with near and dear ones.

Houses and shops were at their decorative best, with lights all around the walls, flowers donning the insides and colourful ‘rangolis’ welcoming people at the entrances.

People had been flooding markets throughout this week in frenzied shopping and early on in the day too, many people rushed to their nearby shops to make sure they have enough sweets and crackers for the day.

The day began with many people in new clothes performing puja at home while others visiting temples.

Chants of prayers and wafts of fragrance from incense sticks permeated the environment early in the day, following which people stepped out of their houses to exchange greetings with neighbours, friends and relatives.

Many also took to Facebook to wish ‘Happy Diwali’ to their friends and some also used the social networking site to exhort their friends to follow safety norms while bursting crackers.

As evening descended, candles and oil lamps dotted around the houses as revellers took to open spaces to burst crackers.

As always fire officials were on their toes to ward off any incidents in the city.

They received as many as 85 calls for fire-related incidents since midnight last till 8.00 pm. In Hauz Khas, a restaurant caught fire in the main market area and 10 to 12 fire tenders were sent to control it.

While for many, the festival is all about celebrating, for some it is also about sharing of love and compassion.

Nandita, who celebrates Diwali with friends, made it sure she took out an hour to go to a school run by a charitable trust and distribute some books and stationary to underprivileged children. “It is great if some children would feel happy by the effort,” she said.

Saving Money, Staying Warm: Winter Energy Efficiency Tips from Energy Star

Středa, Říjen 26th, 2011

The average family spends $2,200 a year on energy bills, nearly half of which goes to heating and cooling. With winter approaching and Americans heading indoors, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star program is offering easy energy saving tips that increase household efficiency while helping Americans save money and stay warm.

EPA recommends taking the following steps this winter:

Maintain your heating equipment. Dirt and neglect are the top causes of heating system failure. If your heating equipment is more than 10 years old, now is a good time to schedule a pre-season checkup with a licensed contractor to make sure your system is operating at peak performance. Check your system’s air filter every month and when it is dirty, change it. At a minimum, change it every three months.

Use a programmable thermostat. Control your home’s temperature while you’re away or asleep by using one of the pre-programmed settings. When used properly, programmable thermostats can save up to $180 every year in energy costs.

Seal air leaks in your home. If rooms are too hot/cold or you have noticed humidity or excessive dust problems you should consider taking action to seal air leaks. Sealing air leaks with caulk, spray foam, or weather stripping will have a significant impact on improving your comfort and reducing energy bills. If you are adding insulation to your home, be sure to seal air leaks first, to ensure you get the best performance from your insulation.

Utilize the Energy Star website. Use Energy Star’s Home Energy Yardstick to compare your home’s energy use to similar homes across the country and see how your home measures up. Energy Star’s Home Energy Advisor can give recommendations for energy-saving home improvements for typical homes in your area.
Look for Energy Star qualified products. Whether you are replacing light bulbs or appliances in your home, Energy Star qualified products can help you save energy and reduce energy bills. The label can be found on more than 60 types of products ranging from heating and cooling equipment to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).

Energy Star was introduced by EPA in 1992 as a market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy-efficiency. Energy Star offers businesses and consumers energy-efficient solutions to decrease energy consumption, save money, and help protect the environment. More than 20,000 organizations are Energy Star partners, committed to improving energy-efficiency in homes, products, and businesses.

Harley-Davidson to recall more than 308,000 motorcycles to fix brake light switch problem

Úterý, Říjen 25th, 2011

Harley-Davidson Inc. is recalling about 308,000 motorcycles to fix a switch problem that can cause failure of the brake lights and possibly even the rear brakes themselves.

The company said in documents filed last week with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that brake light switches can be exposed to too much heat from the exhaust system. The heat can cause the LED diving flashlight to fail, and the problem also can cause fluid leaks and the loss of rear brakes, the documents said.

The problem affects Touring, CVO Touring and Trike motorcycles from the 2009 through 2012 model years. They were built between June 6, 2008 and Sept. 16, 2011.

Harley says it will notify owners of the recall. Dealers will install a rear brake light switch kit free of charge.

The recall affects about 251,000 motorcycles in the U.S. alone, with the balance in other countries.

Harley said it noticed the problem in June of 2010 when it got a report of a Trike model motorcycle that lost its rear brakes due to the problem. The company began investigating, and in July of 2010, it sent investigators to a dealership in Louisiana to inspect another bike that was involved in a crash. Harley has not determined yet if the problem caused the Louisiana crash, which injured one person, company spokeswoman Maripat Blankenheim said Monday. She did not know how seriously the person was hurt, but said Harley is not aware of any other crashes or injuries.

Harley said in the documents that there have been no more reports of the problem occurring since July of 2010.

The company also said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it expects the recall to cost $10 million to $12 million, which will be charged as an expense in the fourth quarter.

Shares of Harley-Davidson rose $1.22, or 3.2 percent, to $38.82 in afternoon trading Monday.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Sunita Narain: Will Durban be any different?

Pondělí, Říjen 24th, 2011

It’s That Time of the year again. Climate change talks are heating up, with the next conference of parties scheduled a meet in Durban in November. But there is no heat light. To put it simply: The Negotiations are stuck Even with the dangerous and potentially catastrophic climate change-related extreme weather events are spinning out of control.

Not much is EXPECTED from Durban, except the usual shadow-boxing. The European Union (EU) is leading the pack of climate champions. Wants it the world’s fast-track Negotiations for a single-Legally binding treaty on cutting Emissions. It does not say (loudly) That Its Real plan is that the Kyoto Protocol junk, That Which demands industrialised Countries Cut Emissions would be roughly six per cent compared with 1990 levels over the period 2008-2012. The agreement Is that rich countries, by major historical and current Emitters, Would go first; Their Reductions Would create ecological and economic space for the rest of the world’s Developing Increase Emissions. In time, the rest Would follow. This advance action in the Developing and emerging world, technology and Funds Would Be committed.

All this WOULD HAVE ice and the real deal. But it was not It Be. The U.S. and Its Allies walked out of the Kyoto Protocol and the EU now Even Wants to dump it. It Finds That it can not meet ITS Commitment to Reduce Emissions domestically.

So Will the EU climate action advocate and the Proposal for a Legally-binding treaty Will get Predictable responses. The U.S., The World’s Biggest When It Comes Renegade’s climate and one pulls the strings That Will opposte this. Its Objective is to a little at home and, more importantly, Avoid being made Responsible for Taking action based on Contribution to the problem. It Wants the Firewall Between the Past and Present polluters Be it removed. Most importantly, it Wants no discussion on legal instrument - a single or double. The Other big guns Polluting - Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Canada - will stand behind the U.S..

In the play, the script for the rest is Also a pre-cast. The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), Which is rightfully angry about all talk and no action, Will go with the EU-designed approach. It Will See No Choice But to back this proposal, Even though it knows the stalemate That Will only deepen. On The Other Hand, China and India Will side with the U.S. and join the deniers. They know too much is at stake - once They accept a single instrument, They Will Have To Be One in Taking action on costly, with no resources. The Rest Will wait for the Game to Be Played Out, with Small Differences.

So What Would Change the Outcome? I Believe There Is No Other Way But for the Developing World’s regroup and Assume leadership. Our world is worst hit. We do not need to Be preached about the pain of climate change. We know it.

This leadership is standing behind Will require tough demands, however inconvenient. It Will Mean Effective demanding action: Drastic emission-reduction targets in the rich world. But it is equally important our world That does not hide behind the intransigence of the U.S.. Our world must explain That it is already doing much reduce, the emission intensity of the ITS growth - renewables in China, reduction of deforestation in Brazil, Energy Efficiency in India and with him. It CAN and Will into the sea. However, the Real Costs of the transition - the expensive options to move Towards a low-carbon trajectories - Must be paid for. It must make this clear. This planet, people and the Coalition of the Willing Must be firmly based on Principles of Climate Justice and Effective action.

Fashion designers put their marques on bicycles

Čtvrtek, Říjen 20th, 2011

Ralph Lauren, Missoni and Kate Spade, better known for fashionable clothing, are now taking up a new product line, designer bicycles — and they are selling fast.

Three-speed bicycles with the trademark zig-zag and striped patterns of Italian fashion house Missoni nearly sold out the day of their introduction at Target this month, and only a few are still available in scattered stores.

The two-wheelers, which cost $399, got a jump-start from a covetous celebrity tweet by actress Jessica Alba. One version — with a distinct copper-colour pattern — sold out the first day and has resold for as much as $1,279.95 on EBay.

They were snapped up by customers such as Connie Chen, a Portland, Ore., industrial engineer and occasional bike rider.

“I was really drawn to the patterns of the paint and the fact that it was a designer bicycle and was very classic with a leather seat and a basket,” Chen said.

Fashion designers like bicycles because, unlike cars, they are comparatively easy and inexpensive to customize in ways that produce dramatic visual results and “become moving billboards” for their work, said Constance Winters, who runs the popular blog Lovely Bicycle. In addition to writing on the technical issues of cycling, she has been following the intersection of bicycles and high fashion.

Designers are putting their imprint on the two-wheelers through special colour schemes, logos and component selection, often leaning to leather saddles, grips and handlebar tape.

“Bicycles also require accessories, such as handlebar bags and panniers, which is right up fashion designers’ alley,” Winters said.

This month, Ralph Lauren’s Rugby division will unveil a $2,200 limited-edition men’s two-speed leather-saddled “roadster” bicycle and accompanying line of tweed cycling clothes, the fashion house’s interpretation of what sporting men and women might have worn before World War II.

The fashion house plans a Tweed Run on Saturday in New York to pitch the new line. It is patterned after an annual 10-mile recreational bike ride by the same name through London that is a favourite of enthusiasts of vintage bicycles and clothing.

Earlier this year, Kate Spade New York partnered with boutique Manhattan bicycle retailer Adeline Adeline to offer a European-style women’s single-speed two-wheeler in a distinctive green and bicycle bags to sell at the shop and Kate Spade stores nationwide. Kate Spade advertises that the “enclosed chain case keeps hemlines safely out of harm’s way.”

“Many companies are looking for any association that they feel is cool and links with youth or a product which is very fashionable,” said Paul Smith, the English fashion designer. “A bicycle is no exception.”

Although demand for these bicycles is rising, they still make up only a tiny portion of what’s sold annually in the U.S.


Středa, Říjen 19th, 2011

Liquid Image Co, LLC dives into a new distribution agreement with Trident Diving Equipment, one of the largest dive supply wholesalers in North America. By partnering with Trident, Liquid Image further expands its growth within the Dive Equipment industry. Trident Dive Equipment will begin marketing the full range of diving sport cameras including the award winning Liquid Image Camera Masks, LED lights, filters and accessories to their customers nationwide during the DEMA (Dive Equipment Marketing Association) show in early November 2011.

This strategic distribution agreement gives Liquid Image the opportunity to remain focused on expanding product development and worldwide marketing while still reaching the range of the Dive Equipment retail shops which is dominated by local independent owners and regional chains.

At the 2011 DEMA show Liquid Image products will be on display at the Liquid Image booth 902 for demonstration and on sale at Trident booths 2527 - 2537. Trident will offer a Show Special on Liquid Image at the DEMA show. Order $500 in Liquid Image Product and receive 10% off. Select products will also be viewable at the New Product Showcase booth 901, Scuba Demonstration Pool 501, and at the Silent Auction 1209. The DEMA show will be held Nov 2nd-5th at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL.

Liquid Image, a leader in wearable technology, integrates cameras into sports equipment to record action on the go. The range of products addresses a growing consumer demand for hands free POV action video. The innovative concepts developed by Liquid Image, are quickly propelling the company to a leadership position in sport tech and wearable CE. The Liquid Image Xtreme Sport Cams  feature True POV footage, ergonomic design, ease of use, quality of craftsmanship and affordable price points.

The successful new line of consumer electronics/sport products fall under multiple channels of distribution, allowing for greater market flexibility. Liquid Image products have been distributed in over 100 countries and across multiple sales channels that include: Scuba, Sporting Goods, Powersports, Snow Sports, CE, Photo, Gift, Gadget, Marine, Resort and Rental markets.

Trident Diving Equipment will provide Liquid Image with the long standing relationships that US Dive retailers depend upon in testing new dive products and accessories. The company is in its 27th year, and has the largest selection of diving accessories in the world.

Trident Diving Equipment, located in Chatsworth, CA is the world’s largest supplier to retail stores and distributors of sport diving and watersports accessories. They stock over 5500 different products, and have them available for shipping within 24 hours most days of the year.

Shiny and Tawdry: Glen Fogel at the Contemporary Arts Museum

Úterý, Říjen 18th, 2011

At the opening last night of Glen Fogel’s new show at the Contemporary Arts Museum “With Me … You,” the bright fluorescent lights on the ceiling came on every three minutes or so (signaled by a text-message chime) and reliably startled the audience. In the dark, we had been surrounded by cool video images of wedding rings in enormous close-up, made into monuments that rotated and pivoted almost exactly as they would on the Home Shopping Network. It was while watching HSN, in fact, in a hotel room with his boyfriend on the way home from a family wedding, that the artist began to conceive this show.

A second impetus, Fogel says, was having recently received an actual paper letter from a friend, such a strikingly novel act, and once so commonplace. He began poring through piles of his old letters for resource material, notes from friends and ex-friends in the days before electronic communications supplanted nearly all paper writing.

These letters are anguished and embarrassing, written to Fogel on the eve of the collapse of this or that relationship, using what museum director Bill Arning calls “hostage-taking language.” They are emotionally manipulative while pretending to be nakedly honest. They are in fact both hilarious and embarrassing to read. “There is no hope,” says one, “that you will change, or become real, or ever care about me.”

Like the rings, they are made into monuments, blown up to four feet tall and painted on canvas. The video rings and the painted letters both comment on rarity and temporariness and value. You can almost hear the HSN barker urging us to act, there are only a few left at this price, and time is running out.

In fact, the lights stay on for just about 30 seconds before switching off again, so reading the letters becomes a time trial. In darkness, the video projections offer the only illumination. They are comforting, coolly pivoting, cast as silhouettes, then gleaming in full color before brilliant green and blue backgrounds.

Then you notice that the rings are rather ordinary looking, scuffed — a couple are missing their stones. They belong to the women in the artist’s family. As tokens of legal marriage, they come already heavily weighted with symbolic significance, that false promise (or threat) of eternal and changeless love, or else ownership. The letters, meanwhile, expose a way of life and love that many gay people recognize and honor, that love changes or grows or fades. When the lights come on, it’s time to grab your things and go.

From the UCA Archives: Factors that led to UCA being located in Conway

Pondělí, Říjen 17th, 2011

According to Ted Worley, author of “A History of the Arkansas State Teachers College:” “Benton offered $50,000 and the choice of three tracts of land, containing 40, 80, and 100 acres. Fort Smith offered the same amount in cash and the choice of three tracts, each containing 20 acres. Russellville’s bid was $36,000 and the choice of three pieces of land of 50, 70 and 100 acres. Quitman offered the plant of Quitman College together with 22 acres estimated to be worth $45,000.

“Conway bid $51,753 in cash and the pick of three tracts of 20 to 80 acres.

“In a supplementary offer, Conway bound itself to provide such water supply as might be necessary, a septic tank, electric light connections, concrete sidewalks from town to the normal grounds, and a strip of ground on the north side of the campus 50-feet wide and about one-eighth mile long for street purposes.”

Worley further stated that the reason Conway’s bid was slightly higher than that of Benton and Fort Smith had to do with a Conway citizen who overheard a conversation on a train.

Supposedly, someone from Conway was riding a passenger train and overheard a Benton woman state that Benton was offering $50,000 for the Arkansas State Normal School. Once the Conway resident returned to town he or she let it be known to the committee working to acquire the Normal School for Conway what had been overheard on the train. Accordingly, Conway increased its bid slightly to be above that of Benton.

There were other reasons that Conway was chosen for the location of the Normal School.

The following is from the 1908 Arkansas State Normal School Bulletin. “Conway is a thriving town of 3,500 inhabitants, located 30 miles west of Little Rock on the Fort Smith and Little Rock Railroad with three passenger trains daily each way, affording every convenience in the way of accessibility.”

Transportation is important now and it was important at that time. People traveling between towns most often rode the train, so having three trains a day in each direction was a big plus for Conway.

Another factor in locating the Normal School here was the atmosphere of the community.

Conway was seen as a town where the residents adhered to Christian principles.

According to the 1908 Arkansas State Normal School Bulletin, “Hendrix College, the leading Methodist institution in the state, with an attendance mainly of young men, and Central College, the only Baptist institution in the State exclusively for young ladies, are located here and enjoy a good patronage. The moral tone of the community is of a high order. The sale of intoxicants is prohibited, and the effort of the citizens to drive from the town those of immoral and depraved habits has been in large measure successful. The leading denominations have churches here, and the attendance on the same indicate that a Christian sentiment pervades the community.”