No go in Bordeaux

first_imgREADERS may recall that parts of the tram network in the French city of Bordeaux have a novel surface-contact power supply system known as Innorail, chosen to avoid littering the city centre with overhead wires and masts (RG 2.04 p89).There was trouble even when President Chirac inaugurated the first section of the 43·7 km network last December, but the issue shot up the city’s agenda following opening on July 3 of the final section of Line B to Pessac. The Innorail equipment caused more trouble, and matters failed to improve over the next few days; services were interrupted for 10h on July 7.All this was too much for Mayor Alain Juppé, who on July 8 wrote to supplier Alstom demanding at least 95 to 98% reliability by mid-September. The problem centres on the switching boxes set into the track, which have proved to be insufficiently robust and not fully watertight, made worse by inadequate drainage. Philippe Mellier, President of Alstom Transport, promised to have the issue resolved by the end of August. He said teams were working round the clock to replace the boxes, of which there are 980. We understand that they have been replaced at least once already.What happens if Juppé’s threshold is not attained is not clear, but one proposal would see Innorail abandoned for Phase 2. There is even a suggestion that the existing third-rail sections could be rebuilt with unsightly overhead wires. Oh là là!last_img read more

The claws come out: Visual effects artists aren’t laughing at the Oscars’ ‘CATS’ gag

first_imgCopyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved. Universal Pictures(LOS ANGELES) — One of the biggest laughs of Sunday night’s Oscars telecast was when Rebel Wilson and her CATS co-star, James Corden, came out in furry feline outfits to present the nominees for Outstanding Visual Effects.“As cast members of the motion picture CATS, nobody more than us understands the importance of good visual effects,” the pair said on the Oscars stage, to laughs.  The bit was the actors’ obvious swipe at their own movie, the visual effects for which were flamed online even before CATS‘ inglorious debut.However, visual effects artists on that film and others aren’t laughing.In response to Corden and Wilson’s catty comments, the Visual Effects Society released a statement to industry trades, including Variety, saying, “…the producers chose to make visual effects the punchline, and suggested that bad VFX were to blame for the poor performance of the movie CATS. The best visual effects in the world will not compensate for a story told badly.”The statement continued, “On a night that is all about honoring the work of talented artists, it is immensely disappointing that The Academy made visual effects the butt of a joke. It demeaned the global community of expert VFX practitioners doing outstanding, challenging and visually stunning work to achieve the filmmakers’ vision.”The statement added, “Our artists, technicians and innovators deserve respect for their remarkable contributions to filmed entertainment, and should not be presented as the all-too-convenient scapegoat in service for a laugh.”last_img read more

Study: Most of women’s college coaches are White and male

first_imgConnecticut head coach Geno Auriemma, right, jokes with Katie Lou Samuelson, left, Napheesa Collier, second from left, and Gabby Williams as the clock winds down on their 90-52 win over Oregon in a regional final game in the NCAA women’s college basketball tournament, Monday, March 27, 2017, in Bridgeport, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ On the 45th anniversary of Title IX, women and people of color remain on the outside when it comes to hiring head coaches in women’s college sports, according to a report Friday by sports institutes.The report found that the coaches hired were predominantly White and male in most of the eight conferences surveyed: the Power 5 conferences _ Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Southeastern and Pac-12 _ along with the American Athletic, Big East and Ivy League.The study was done by the Institute for Diversity & Ethics in Sport in collaboration with the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport and LGBT SportSafe.Title IX was signed into law June 23, 1972. It opened doors for girls and women by banning sex discrimination in all federally funded school programs, including sports.Seven of the eight conferences polled received a C or D grade for having female head coaches of women’s teams. The Big East, SEC and Big 12 fell below 40 percent. Only the Ivy League (55 percent) had more women than men as head coaches.The grades were far worse regarding race. Half the conferences (Big East, SEC, Big Ten, Ivy League) received a grade of F. The AAC was the lone league to have an above average grade of B, with 18 percent of its women’s coaches people of color.“I’ve never given an F as an overall grade in 25 years and there are four Fs in this particular report for lack of people of color of in head coaching positions for the women’s teams,” said Richard Lapchick, whose Diversity & Ethics group also puts out report cards on racial practices of the NFL, NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball, college football and college basketball. “That’s a damning statement that there could be four Fs in a single report like this.”According to the report, 27 of the 94 schools had no coaches of color leading their women’s sports. The SEC led all the leagues studied, with seven of its schools having all White coaches leading women’s teams.“It says people haven’t been paying attention,” Lapchick said, referring to the conference commissioners and athletic directors at the schools.When it came to gender, overall 57 percent of the coaches were male.“Title IX has dramatically changed the landscape of sport participation for girls and women but it in fact it has had the opposite effect on women in positions of power in women’s sport,” said Nicole LaVoi, co-director of the Tucker Center. “Title IX doesn’t really protect against that. There is nothing in the statute that says women have to coach women.”The Power 5 conferences were chosen because of their power and influence. The AAC is viewed by the authors as a league that could eventually join the power conferences. The Big East and Ivy League have female commissioners.Laphick and LaVoi urged conferences and their schools to become more inclusive and diverse in their hiring. This was the first time LGBT inclusion was examined in this report. As a result, the conferences were not graded in that regard.“All athletic directors need to undergo race and gender bias training because their beliefs and values influence their hiring practices,” LaVoi said. “It may not be intentionally but we all are biased.”last_img read more

More mental health support for students

first_imgA new mental health support program will soon be introduced to secondary school students across Pakenham and Kooweerup. The school-based…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription. By Jessica Anstice last_img