Blackwater chief defends firm

first_imgPrince refused to say whether former employees were guilty of murder and said it should be up to the Justice Department to pursue charges against contractors who commit crimes overseas. In the case of the Christmas Eve shooting, Prince said the company fired and fined the individual. He said he supports legislation that would guarantee his employees and other private security companies working for the State Department are subject to prosecution in U.S. courts. At the same time, Prince said the government’s decision to include the FBI in the investigation of the Sept. 16 incident is proof that oversight and accountability already exists. Waxman said he was concerned to learn the State Department advised the company on how much to pay the family of the Iraqi security guard shot by a drunken Blackwater employee in 2006. Internal e-mails later revealed a debate within the State Department on the size of the payment, Waxman said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! HEARING: Security contractor’s chairman says his employees “acted appropriately” in war-zone incidents. By Richard Lardner and Anne Flaherty THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON – Blackwater chairman Erik Prince vigorously rejected charges Tuesday that guards from his private security firm acted like a bunch of cowboys immune to legal prosecution while protecting State Department personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I believe we acted appropriately at all times,” Prince, a 38-year-old former Navy SEAL, calmly told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. His testimony came as the FBI is investigating Blackwater personnel for their role in a Sept. 16 shootout that left 11 Iraqis dead. The incident and others, including a shooting by a drunken Blackwater employee after a 2006 Christmas party, led to pointed questions by lawmakers about whether the government is relying too much on private contractors who fall outside the military courts- martial system. “We’re not getting our money’s worth when we have so many complaints about innocent people being shot,” said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, committee chairman, at the conclusion of a nearly six-hour hearing. “And it’s unclear whether they’re actually being investigated by the State Department, because we haven’t had any cooperation.” Prince cast his company as a scapegoat for broader problems associated with the government’s reliance on security contractors and the murky legal jurisdiction. He said his staff was composed of courageous individuals who face the same threats and high-stress environment as U.S. military personnel, and noted 30 Blackwater personnel have been killed and no Americans have died under the company’s watch. last_img read more

Weekly Roundup of Web Design and Development Resources: November 25, 2016

first_imgCreate mockups for smartphones, tablets, and laptops easily with the free Mockuuups desktop app for Mac and Windows. Also available as a premium app ($48) with support for Sketch & Photoshop import. With this useful wireframe checklist from Edric Lapniramai, you’ll stay on top of your wireframe process. Good discussion in the comments.Cathy Pearl takes a closer look at voice user interfaces (VUI) in this excerpt from Chapter 2 of her book Designing Voice User Interfaces. Would you add anything to the list?These 4 problems I see in many designs I come across often #uxLow contrastOveruse of uppercaseLack of whitespaceInconsistent spacing— Jitendra Vyas (@jitendravyas) November 23, 2016 In this week’s web design and development resources roundup, you’ll find a useful wireframe guide, learn why JavaScript is not the enemy of accessibility, discover how to use CSS inheritance in your designs, and more. If you’re new to my blog, each Friday I publish a post highlighting my favorite user experience, accessibility, WordPress, CSS, and HTML posts I’ve read in the past week. Hope you find the resources helpful in your projects!Want more resources like these on a daily basis? Follow me @redcrew on Twitter. Tweet of the WeekFor what are we born if not to aid one another? – Ernest Hemingway #quote #ThankfulThursday pic.twitter.com/kOjOwWulkj— Antonio Vieira Santos #️⃣#YourExpert🦉 (@AkwyZ) November 24, 2016User ExperienceDelight and usability in the services/products you create are a delicate balance. Make sure your delightful details don’t get in the way of usability.Delight has a shelf life, and even the most delightful details can start feeling stale after a while. Did you know how a11y on Twitter came to stand for accessibility? It’s a numeronym, a word that can be partially represented by numbers.WordPressThe WordPress 4.7 release candidate is available. With an expected ship date of December 6, 2016, they could use your help to test it (non-production sites only!). Have you ever wanted to remove all comments from your WordPress blog? If you’re heading to WordCamp US 2017, check out ThemeIsle’s post for everything you need to know before attending. Learn how to price your WordPress services appropriately so you don’t undercharge for projects.CSS and HTMLHeydon Pickering’s post on CSS inheritance is a reminder of the power of CSS as he walks you through the cascade, inheritance, and scope. It’s a long read, but Pickering’s post is my favorite post of the week. Remember to create fallbacks:If you’re loading your site’s content via JavaScript, you need a fallback for that content. HTML comes to mind. You may have heard of it.— Ian Devlin (@iandevlin) November 23, 2016 AccessibilityLuiz Perez shares his first impressions of VoiceOver on a MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar as he explains the buttons, gestures, and keyboard shortcuts.JavaScript is not the enemy of accessibility, says Marco Zehe in response to Jeffrey Zeldman’s post about this year’s Blue Beanie Day.To the web professionals working on accessibility, but whose work we may not know of:My thanks to all the unsung heroes of #a11y, designers and developers whom we never hear of but bc of their work tech is so much more usable— Victor Tsaran (@vick08) November 24, 2016 Hard to believe it’s been ten years since the first Blue Beanie Day. Now it’s more important than ever says Jeffrey Zeldman, one of the leaders in web standards.One small thing designers and developers can do is to make accessibility and usability Job 1 on every project. What an easy tool to use! The SimpleCSS online tool allows you to generate media queries for specific devices. What I Found InterestingI’ve used all but six of LifeHacker’s list of 50 free apps they’re thankful for. How about you?In-depth review of Mac vs. Windows computers as Jonathan Mosen explains why he’s saying goodbye to the Mac. It’s not for one reason, rather a combination of reasons: hardware, productivity, and accessibility. Did the U.S. election get you fired up to take action on a topic important to you? This infographic from Cordelia Dillon guides you through calling your representatives in government. If you like what you’ve read today, share the post with your colleagues and friends.Want to make sure you don’t miss out on updates? Subscribe to get notified when new posts are published.Did I miss some resources you found this week? I’d love to see them! Post them in the comments below.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading…RelatedOctober 19, 2018 Weekly Roundup of Web Design and Development NewsIn this week’s web design and development news roundup, you’ll learn about the relationship between information architecture and content strategy, find pragmatic rules for web accessibility, discover how and why you would use negative grid lines in CSS Grid, and more. If you’re new to my blog, each Friday I…In “Web design & development links”Weekly Roundup of Web Design and Development News: June 16, 2017In this week’s web design and development resources roundup, you’ll learn what Alan Cooper has to say about conversational interfaces, find out how to navigate a website with a keyboard, discover how to use fr in CSS Grid, and more. If you’re new to my blog, each Friday I publish…In “Web design & development links”Weekly Roundup of Web Design and Development Resources: January 2, 2015Welcome to the new year! If this is your first time visiting my blog, each Friday I publish a weekly roundup of the latest web design and development resources for user experience, accessibility, WordPress, CSS, HTML, and responsive design. In this week’s roundup, you’ll learn four simple ways to improve…In “Web design & development links”last_img read more

Transnet offers bursaries to engineering students

first_imgTransnet is fully owned by the South African government but operates as a corporate entity. It has five operating divisions: Transnet freight rail, Transnet rail engineering, Transnet national ports authority, Transnet port terminals, and Transnet pipelines. (Image: MediaClub.com)• Viwe Tlaleane Media LiaisonTransnet+27 11 308 2384Viwe.Tlaleane@transnet.net• A boost for engineering skills • Investing in African youth • Maths and science the fun way • Can drive raises R8.5m for education • More women engineers for South AfricaMelissa Jane CookOver the centuries, the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World have inspired people with their engineering feats. They have motivated generations to create their own enormous structures that are both beautiful and functional.But it is not all about inspiration; there is also a lot of hard work involved. The first step to constructing such ventures is a sound education in engineering. Transnet, which needs infrastructure for the smooth running of transport across the country, needs engineers. With this in mind, it offers bursaries in the engineering disciplines of civil, electrical (heavy current), electronics, mechanical, mechatronics, industrial, and metallurgy (physical).The number of bursaries awarded by the enterprise each year is determined by the employment needs of Transnet and its capital investment programme, the Market Demand Strategy. Engineering students who receive Transnet bursaries are potential employees, depending on what vacancies are available in the parastatal once they have successfully completed their studies. In the financial year to March 2013, it continued to sponsor more than 300 students in their second, third and fourth years of study. It also awarded 122 full-time engineering bursaries to first-year students in various disciplines, compared to 60 in the previous financial year.Skills development is an important pillar of Transnet’s R307-billion ($27-billion) Market Demand Strategy, which covers its investment in infrastructure. It places a specific emphasis on developing and training engineers, technicians and artisans. There are as many as 2 000 apprentices undergoing training at any given time.“The company will spend R8.275-billion on training by 2018/19, including R4.7-billion on bursaries and grants,” says the group chief executive, Brian Molefe.Freight logisticsThe parastatal is the largest and most crucial part of the freight logistics chain in the country, and is behind South Africa’s national transport businesses, including ports and rail. Transnet is fully owned by the South African government but operates as a corporate entity. It has five operating divisions: Transnet freight rail, Transnet rail engineering, Transnet national ports authority, Transnet port terminals, and Transnet pipelines.In the financial year to March 2013, Transnet had 64 352 employees. The company has operations in all nine provinces. “The five operating divisions, supported by company-wide specialist functions, give meaning to our philosophy of ‘One Company, One Vision,’” Molefe says. “State-owned companies and major business have a responsibility to step forward, invest and create jobs.”Matriculants who qualify for tertiary level studies in engineering are encouraged to apply for a bursary to study at a South African institution. Requirements include:• Grade 12/matric;• Pure mathematics with a minimum pass of 60%;• Physical science with a minimum pass of 60%; and,• Pre-entry medicals.The bursary covers tuition fees, accommodation and meals, book allowance, a computer from second year if required, and on-the-job training. Applicants are screened based on their academic results at school or at tertiary level, as well as their medical fitness. This means that students who are in their second year onwards can also – and are encouraged to – apply.Work experienceBased on academic performance, candidates are then invited to an interview. Students awarded university bursaries are required to work for Transnet for the equal number of years they are sponsored. The bursary may be renewed annually, depending on the student’s academic performance.Transnet also offers holiday work during the mid-year and end-of-year holidays. Those wanting to apply for a post during the holidays must indicate their preferred periods and cities. The parastatal also provides work integrated learning, or internships, to help students at universities of technology to complete the qualification requirements set by their respective training institutions.These students who get internships may be considered for permanent employment if there are vacancies at the company when they qualify. The bursary scheme is an opportunity for students to study and be exposed to the work environment. The parastatal takes on more students that it requires, so that it contributes to the national pool of skilled people.Applications for bursaries close on 31 July annually for the following year.last_img read more

Social Media in Africa, Part 3: Democracy

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Mzalendo is an aggregation platform for tracking the actions, activities and communication of Kenya’s Parliament. For people who want to make sure their elected officials are staying on task, it’s invaluable.When Moroccan blogger Mohamed Erraj was jailed for disparaging the government in his online magazine, Hespress, it was through the efforts of other bloggers (like the writers at GlobalVoicesOnline) and people using applications like Twitter that his story made international news. The added pressure of having the whole world paying attention is perhaps what convinced the Moroccan government to let him free where traditionally his actions could have resulted in much harsher punishment.Rethinking AfricaIn conclusion, Africa is producing some very unique and innovative technologies. There’s more to the continent than the things you see on TV – something people, especially in the tech industry, seem to forget. Where most other markets in the world are incredibly saturated, Africa offers the opportunity to start afresh: new ideas and a billion new people to use them. It’s a big place; nearly one billion people and a land mass where the sum is greater than that of China and the United States combined. For social entrepreneurs and investors, the innovation occurring here is a huge sign of progress that could potentially change the continent’s world standing forever. The most exciting aspect for me, however, is the decreased reliance on developmental aid and foreign groups to provide these solutions. The number of African developers who are beginning to create applications that offer solutions for their own communities is increasing and that, more than anything else, will shape the future of Africa.“If Africa is surprising, then you’re not paying enough attention.” Ethan Zuckerman at PICNIC08You can read more articles by Jon Gosier at Appfrica.net.See also:Social Media in Africa, Part 1and Social Media in Africa, Part 2: Mobile Innovations jonathan gosier 1 Traditionally, the greatest power that governments have held over their people has been information. The promise that connectivity brings to Africa is that people are now using that abundance of information for oversight of government and more interaction with administrations. To say that the propagation of internet and mobile connectivity in Africa has been disruptive is an understatement. A number of web and mobile applications are undermining the efforts of dictators and totalitarian governments, allowing them to be more readily be held accountable for their actions. In this post we profile some of them.Democratizing Information Through TechnologyWhen the Ethiopian government instituted an SMS filtering service to censor mobile communication, the developers behind Feedelix responded swiftly. They created their product Feedlix, a java-based client that supports Amharic, Chinese and Hindi characters. The application then uses GPRS, through internet protocols, to mimic SMS and bypass the censoring filter put in place by the government.Sokwanele is a civic action support group campaigning for freedom and democracy in Zimbabwe. Their website includes an ‘election violence map’ that provides detailed information related to localized occurrences of violence related to the election. During the most recent crisis in Zimbabwe, Sokwanele was used to get information out of the country when the government began restricting communication. Tags:#international#web Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

How to Make Time for Innovation: Kindling’s Idea Recommendation Engine

first_imgIT + Project Management: A Love Affair Getting employees to actually submit ideas into innovation management software may be an issue for some enterprises. But for others, idea overload is the real issue. Kindling, a SaaS innovation management vendor, learned that executives at two of its major corporate clients stopped using Kindling because they were overloaded with ideas. Kindling is trying to change that by introducing a new feature: an idea recommendation engine. klint finley Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Although innovation management has been around for years, pioneered by companies like Imaginatik, interest has accelerated recently. We recently identified three key trends in idea management, but the are continues to, well, innovate.Kindling’s recommendation engine starts off with a short questionnaire aimed at determining users’ interests – it’s similar to the ones presented when you start using Netflix or Hunch. Users can opt to answer only a few questions or continue to answer many questions. Users can display the reason a particular idea was suggested and downgrade certain selection criteria to improve Kindling’s recommendations. Although the recommendation engine’s utility remains unproven, Kindling product manager Tim Meaney is optimistic that this transparency and feedback mechanism will help make it very smart very quick.Other new features include a redesigned backend and support for user groups.Existing features for organizing ideas include the ability to list ideas by popularity, votes, number of comments, the “Ideas I’m Watching” section that allows users to follow the comments and activity on particular ideas, and a highly configurable e-mail notification system.Kindling can act as a stand alone solution or integrate with Microsoft‘s Outlook and SharePoint. Users can export ideas to Excel, or use the application’s API to export ideas in a variety of ways. “We don’t feel entitled to your data,” Meaney says, “If you decide to leave Kindling at any time, you can bring your data with you – we won’t keep any of it.”Kindling was spun out of the New York City based consulting firm Arc90. The product was released in 2009 (see our coverage) and has landed several big-name clients like The Motley Fool, Symantec and Medtronics.center_img Related Posts Tags:#enterprise#news#Products 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…last_img read more

Court rejects Trump’s appeal in fight over financial records

first_img(AP) — A federal appeals court will not take up President Donald Trump’s appeal of a ruling that his accounting firm must turn over financial records to Congress.The order was handed down Wednesday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.It is almost certain that Trump will appeal to the Supreme Court.A three-judge appellate panel rejected Trump’s arguments last month after the president’s lawyers went to court to prevent Mazars USA from turning over the records. But Trump petitioned for the full court to reconsider the case.The House Committee on Oversight and Reform subpoenaed records from Mazars in April.They include documents from 2011 to 2018 that the House wants for investigation into the president’s reporting of his finances and potential conflicts of interest.last_img read more

10 months agoSNAPPED: Rashford talks up Solskjaer’s glory days after Man Utd training

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say SNAPPED: Rashford talks up Solskjaer’s glory days after Man Utd trainingby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United mad Marcus Rashford admits he’s living a dream playing for new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.Rashford snapped a moment involving teammates Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial along with Solskjaer during training in Dubai yesterday.Rashford then posted to Twitter with a reference to Solskjaer’s iconic winner against Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final.”Seconds left.. Becks whipped in a perfect corner. Teddy flicked it on. The rest is history” @ManUtdpic.twitter.com/JFGqwUHZLP— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) January 7, 2019 last_img read more

Video: USC AD Pat Haden Collapsed On The Sideline Prior To Tonight’s Game

first_imgPat Haden collapses on the field of the USC game.Pat Haden CollapseUpdate: Looks like Haden is fine and is headed back to California with the team. Good signs. Pat Haden checked out at local hospital and was OK. Is on his jet back to USC, per announcement.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) October 18, 2015Earlier: There was a very scary moment on the sidelines in South Bend just before tonight’s USC-Notre Dame game kicked off. USC AD Pat Haden took ill and collapsed on the field. NBC’s television cameras and media on the sideline captured the scary scene.Video of #USC AD Pat Haden on the sideline pregame from NBC. pic.twitter.com/J491No5BFZ— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) October 17, 2015#USC AD Pat Haden wasn’t feeling well on the sidelines before the game. Medical staff huddled around him. pic.twitter.com/NMzPb2R3yV— Daily Trojan Sports (@DT_Sports) October 17, 2015Reportedly, Haden is feeling better, which is a great sign. It’s unclear what exactly happened to him.Per USC- Pat Haden took a knee on sideline, felt light headed. Went with medical staff to locker area and is sitting up, appears to be OK.— Ashley Adamson (@AdamsonAshley) October 17, 2015He is stable and sitting up in locker room, spokesman said.— Gary Klein (@LATimesklein) October 17, 2015Haden has certainly been under a lot of stress lately. Hopefully he is okay.last_img read more

A list of those killed and injured in the Humboldt Broncos bus

first_imgThe driver of a transport truck who caused the deadly collision last April involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team bus was sentenced Friday to eight years in prison. Jaskirat Singh Sidhu had pleaded guilty earlier this year to dangerous driving. Judge Inez Cardinal began the sentencing by reading aloud each of the victim’s names.The 16 who died in the crash:Logan Alexander Boulet: A 21-year-old defenceman from Lethbridge, Alta.Adam Scott Herold: A 16-year-old defenceman from Montmartre, Sask.Logan William Hunter: An 18-year-old forward from St. Albert, Alta.Jaxon Christopher Joseph: A 20-year-old forward from St. Albert, Alta.Jacob Paul Benjamin Leicht: A 19-year-old forward from Humboldt, Sask.Conner Jamie Lukan: A 21-year-old forward from Slave Lake, Alta.Logan Evan Schatz: A 20-year-old forward from Allan, Sask.Evan Thomas: An 18-year-old forward from Saskatoon, Sask.Parker Allen Tobin: An 18-year-old goalie from Stony Plain, Alta.Stephen Wack: A 21-year-old defenceman from St. Albert, Alta.Tyler Anthony Bieber: A 29-year-old play-by-play announcer from Humboldt, Sask.Dayna Brons: A 24-year-old athletic therapist from Lake Lenore, Sask.Mark Travis Cross: A 27-year-old assistant coach from Strasbourg, Sask.Glen Doerksen: A 59-year-old bus driver from Carrot River, Sask.Darcy Haugan: The team’s 42-year-old head coach from Humboldt, Sask.Brody Joseph Hinz: The team’s 18-year-old statistician from Humboldt, Sask.—The 13 players who were injured:Graysen Cameron: The 19-year-old forward from Olds, Alta., can’t play hockey again after suffering back injuries, a concussion and an eye injury. He had surgery in November to remove metal rods and screws in an attempt to improve his mobility. He has become an assistant coach for the Red Deer Optimist Chiefs, a top-tier, triple-A hockey team in the Alberta Midget Hockey League.Brayden Camrud: The 20-year-old forward from Saskatoon overcame a severe concussion, loss of feeling in one of his arms and neck issues. He also had some cuts on his hands. He has returned to play with the Broncos this season and continues to attend physiotherapy.Kaleb Dahlgren: The 21-year-old forward from Saskatoon received a fractured skull, a puncture wound in his head, a brain injury and six broken vertebrae in his back and neck. He also had blood clots in one arm and behind one eardrum. He is still in rehabilitation and is seeing a neurologist to determine if he will be able to play competitive hockey. He attends York University in Toronto full time and has committed to play for the university’s Lions hockey team.Bryce Fiske: The 21-year-old defenceman from La Ronge, Sask., suffered a neck fracture, skull fracture, left shoulder fracture and pelvis fracture. His spleen was lacerated and his left lung was punctured. His jaw was fractured in four places, he’s missing two teeth and his tongue was severely injured. He is still in a significant amount of jaw pain and in treatment for his injuries. He is studying commerce and playing hockey for the Ridgebacks at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.Morgan Gobeil: The 19-year-old defenceman from Humboldt, Sask., has a traumatic brain injury. He sustained multiple skull fractures, three facial fractures, rib fractures and lacerations to his liver and spleen. He spent 333 days in hospital and was the last injured player to be released. He takes part in physical therapy, where he is working on balance, sitting on his own, standing on his own and taking steps.Matthieu Gomercic: The 21-year-old forward from Winnipeg had a separated shoulder, a concussion and cuts to his hand and chin. His spleen was enlarged, his teeth shifted and his jaw was slightly displaced. He gets headaches and has problems with one shoulder. He also continues to deal with emotional issues as a result of the crash on a daily basis. He has joined the Ridgebacks at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and is studying kinesiology.Xavier LaBelle: The 19-year-old defenceman from Saskatoon suffered a fractured skull, facial fractures and deep lacerations, as well as a brain injury that led to post-traumatic amnesia for two weeks. He has scarring on his face, neck, head, arms and back. The severe facial and other injuries made him unrecognizable after the crash, which resulted in a misidentification that led to further chaos and heartbreak for many. He continues to face daily challenges.Layne Matechuk: The 19-year-old defenceman from Colonsay, Sask., suffered a severe traumatic brain injury. He had extensive facial fractures and a sternum fracture. Both of his lungs collapsed. He was in a coma for a month and had to learn to walk and talk again. He is able to walk, but has a significant limp. He also has difficulty using his one arm due to the brain injury. The extent of his recovery from the brain injury is still not known.Derek Patter: The 20-year-old forward from Edmonton suffered bleeding outside his brain, as well as right shin and fibula fractures, a nasal bone fracture and significant cuts and bruises. He continues to struggle with his leg. He has returned to play with the Broncos this season.Nick Shumlanski: The 21-year-old forward from Tisdale, Sask., walked away from the crash despite having a fractured bone behind his ear and a lumbar avulsion fracture. He has been told the physical injuries to his ear may never heal but he doesn’t expect that will have a significant effect. His back seems to have healed, but he continues to deal with emotional issues as a result of the collision. He is playing hockey for the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers in Charlottetown, P.E.I.Tyler Smith: The 20-year-old forward from Leduc, Alta., had two broken ribs, a broken shoulder blade, a broken collarbone and a punctured lung. He had six inches removed from his small intestine due to the injuries. He also had a stroke and is required to take Aspirin daily. He is expected to require annual MRIs. He returned to play with the Broncos for about a month in the fall, but decided to step away so he can continue his recovery at home.Ryan Straschnitzki: The 19-year-old defenceman from Airdrie, Alta., suffered a brain bleed, concussion with memory loss, cracked right shoulder blade and a collapsed right lung. He was also paralyzed from the chest down and the injury is expected to be permanent. Straschnitzki played in an exhibition sledge hockey charity game in Calgary in September and is hoping to eventually represent Canada at the Winter Olympics.Jacob Wassermann: The 20-year-old goalie from Humboldt, Sask., suffered a brain injury, a broken shoulder blade, fractured ribs and nasal bone fractures. Both of his lungs collapsed and a spinal cord injury resulted in paralysis from the naval down. It’s expected to be permanent. He attends physiotherapy three times a week to get stronger. His father said in November that Jacob has started to have movement in his hips. He has turned to sledge hockey to keep his on-ice dream alive.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

How The Winter X Games Designs Its Courses

The winter X Games in Aspen1FiveThirtyEight is owned by ESPN, which also runs the X Games. began on Thursday, which means extreme skiers and snowboarders performing tricks that will make your stomach drop, even if you’re just watching from the comfort of your couch. Each year these athletes attempt to jump higher, fly further, spin faster and generally do more ridiculous stunts than they did the year before. And as the competitors progress, the courses they ride have to evolve, too. To deliver the thrills that audiences and athletes want, course designers must find ways to allow riders to go bigger without compromising their safety.Chris Gunnarson is the president of Snow Park Technologies, which for 21 years has been building, among other things, snow features for these games, including jumps from small to massive. I asked Gunnarson to walk me through some of the math involved in building courses for two of winter X Games’ most iconic events: big air and slopestyle. Big air is just one massive, terrifying jump where the goal is for athletes to land the biggest trick they can. Slopestyle is a long run that starts with a relatively level section at the top, where skiers and snowboarders grind and do tricks off rails and boxes, before the course descends rapidly into a series of three increasingly large jumps.As the courses and performances get bigger and more innovative, athletes are continually giving SPT feedback on how the jumps feel and whether they allow the latest tricks. But as important as rider feedback is, Gunnarson bases much of the course design on the cold realities of physics.“A simple ballistics calculator” — like one a hunter might use — “is one tool used to look at what gravity will do to a moving object, like an arrow being shot from a bow,” Gunnarson told me. “The initial angle and speed of the arrow will dictate the distance it will go and the arcing path it will follow.” Similarly, if you know the speed at which the skier or snowboarder hits the jump, how much they weigh and what angle they take off at, you can draw the arc of their trajectory and more or less pinpoint where they will land.The jumps on both the big air and slopestyle courses will have a final launch angle of 32 to 35 degrees, and each landing area has a “sweet spot,” which has a grade of somewhere between 34 and 37 degrees. Given a typical rider’s speed and the angle at which they take off, that slope is the best way to allow them to come down, set the edge of their board or skis, and gradually change the downward momentum they picked up while falling back into forward momentum. If the landing zone is too flat, all that downward force goes directly into the rider’s legs, which may result in more impact than they can handle. If it’s too steep, the rider can’t slow themselves down and regain control.On the slopestyle course, Gunnarson says, the lip of the jump is typically four to eight feet above the top of the landing area, which helps the athletes get more hang time than the ramp alone would give them. The horizontal distance between the lip and the landing area increases with each jump to account for the rider’s ever-increasing speed as they come screaming down the mountain.While these calculations seem simple enough in theory, SPT’s builders must also take into account a number of confounding real-world variables that make the equations much more complicated. The quality of the snow changes how much friction is dragging on the board or skis, making the jump faster or slower, and of course each rider’s mass affects their speed through the air. The way competitors hit the jump matters, too. “One rider might ‘pop’ off the takeoff, thereby increasing their launch angle and potentially increasing their height in the air and the distance they travel,” Gunnarson said. “Another rider might ‘press’” — bend their knees as they take off — “by absorbing the takeoff, thereby decreasing their launch angle, which may also decrease their height in the air and the distance they travel.”These factors can create a tremendous amount of variation in where the rider comes down, which creates a potentially dangerous problem. Even when conditions are ideal, a handful of riders are injured every year simply because they are pushing their limits. (ESPN stated that it does not publicly share event injury statistics.) So building a landing area that helps keep athletes safe is all about putting the sweet spot in a location where riders taking a wide range of trajectories can hit it.SPT has found that for both slopestyle and big air, the sweet spot should begin between 55 and 75 feet from the lip of the jump and should maintain a consistent angle for at least 100 feet before it starts to fade into the normal slope. Essentially, the course designers make it nearly impossible to overshoot the landing, even when riders cover a huge distance — some of the snowboarders in the 2016 big air event flew more than 100 feet.The jumps that course designers build for the X Games are very different from the features you’d typically find at a ski resort. Everything is scaled up and built for elite riders who are constantly redefining what is possible in their sport. And neither the designers nor the athletes could pull it off without the math that determines how the courses can keep up with riders while also keeping them safe. read more