Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The American Farm Bureau Federation calls the growing problem of not enough agriculture workers a national issue. Farmers across the United States continue to tell lawmakers there just aren’t enough workers to meet demand.The federal government currently has the H-2A visa program, which allows short term visas, so crops can be harvested.However, many growers say the U.S. Government is not keeping up with demand and that is a serious problem for farmers.“If you have a crop ready to harvest, your harvest window is narrow and your workers show up late, you’re going to lose that crop,” said Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau. “For rural America to not be able to bring workers here to harvest our crops is just really ridiculous.”The H-2A issue is not only causing too many delays in its current form, but there’s also too much red tape. A concern for farmers, yes, but consumers should also be worried about the lack of movement to resolve H2-A slowdowns.We’re going to have to make a choice if we do not fix this problem,” Duvall said. “We either have to import our labor and have them harvest our crops or we’ll have to import our food.”A video released last week by the American Farm Bureau shows the struggle farmers face when it comes to labor. The video can be found here.
Looking hard at where we liveIf PHIUS is going to claim consultants should be auditing embodied energy/carbon in projects (which we completely agree with) – then maybe we should also be taking a really hard look at how and where we live. After all, food and transportation can significantly affect one’s overall CO2 footprint – especially in extreme locales, and especially in low-energy homes.So are we unbending purists? Nattering nabobs of negativity? I’d like to think we’re just asking the difficult questions that deserve some face time. What do you think? Drawing conclusions from only 100 buildingsRegarding process, Kat writes, “PHIUS is proposing to the PHIUS Tech Committee — composed of industry and policy leaders from the United States and Canada — to leverage the PHIUS dataset of 100 buildings, and to solicit feedback from the consultant community to create a new protocol that will allow Passive House professionals to determine practical modifiers to the standard to address climate, small home and retrofit scenarios.” I see two parts to this – first, it’s good to see there will be oversight on something like this, and second (and probably even more important), consultant buy-in/feedback. EnerPHit seems to address the PH retrofit question rather well. It’ll be interesting to follow this process.There also seems to be an inherent liability in utilizing the first 100 projects (buildings?!?) given that a number of these were probably shoehorned. Plus, after building the first – the process is streamlined and optimized – there is a significant learning curve! Finally, and perhaps this is jumping the shark, but revisiting the standard with a very non-representational sampling seems premature, and would potentially be better served at 500 buildings or when more consultants have built and/or certified several projects.On some level, I see relaxing the standard as an “out” for product manufacturers needing to developing better performing products or getting consultants/designers to work hard to really optimize their projects. It also doesn’t force folks to deal with the hard philosophical questions that may be worth asking. “The Passive House is not a brand, it is a building concept which is open to all.” – Anton KralerI have to say, I completely agree with Kraler. I don’t view Passive House as a brand, but a concept that belongs to the greater built environment (Passivhaus is a greater good!). And as a concept, I find it very sound and worthwhile. So it was interesting to be forwarded the inaugural blog post from the PHIUS blog, Klingenblog (I’m not making that up!).Yes, PHIUS has jumped on the PHlog (Passivhaus+Blog) bandwagon, and the first post seems a prelude to opening Pandora’s box and watering down the standard. Fresh off being criticized for merely questioning the implications of banning certain products that would influence maybe 2 or 3 projects/year, I find this line of thinking to be in the same vein. Mike Eliason is a designer at Brute Force Collaborative in Seattle, Washington. Should the standard be relaxed for buildings in extreme environments?Katrin calls for letting go “of the illusion that there is a God-given magical number that can cost-effectively be adhered” (the 15kWh/m2a) – that the cost of “meeting the mark” in certain climates is both problematic and costly. This is due to the “difficulty” (perceived and real) of achieving Passivhaus in extreme environments (especially for single-family houses or small buildings). We don’t view this as a flaw – in fact, this is the inherent aspect of Passivhaus that makes the most sense to us, plus our belief that there are no small-house penalties, only bad design ones. Call us purists, we honestly don’t mind!Relaxing the standard in extreme climates also seems to give blessing to maintaining the status quo instead of addressing the structural problems of said extremes. Maybe any single-family home, Passivhaeuser included, in isolated, Ã¼ber-cold climates can’t truly ever be sustainable. Indeed, maybe in extreme environments, buildings should cluster together for warmth and affordability (across a number of scales). read more
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) completely decimated the four-party grand alliance in the general election, establishing its dominance again in mineral-rich Jharkhand on Thursday. Showing its utter superiority in the electoral battle, the NDA was all set to romp home to a 12–2 victory. By 10 p.m., the BJP’s poll percentage was estimated at a staggering high of 50.80%. The Congress came a distant second with 15.60%. In 2014, the BJP had won 12 of the 14 seats. This election, it had left the Giridih seat to the All Jharkhand Students’ Union. Shibu Soren losesShibu Soren, a seven-time MP and a cult figure in Jharkhand politics, could not overcome the BJP juggernaut in Dumka, a bastion of the JMM. He lost by over 40,000 votes.Barring the Lohardaga and Khunti constituencies, where there was a semblance of opposition challenge, the NDA candidates had either inflicted crushing defeats on the grand alliance candidates or taken a comfortable lead. In Hazaribagh, Dhanbad, Palamu and Kodarma constituencies, the margin of lead was in excess of four lakh votes.Jayant Sinha, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, comfortably defeated Congress candidate Gopal Prasad Sahu by 4.79 lakh votes.Following the unprecedented victory, Chief Minister Raghubar Das reached the party office and expressed his gratitude to the people of Jharkhand. read more
Twitter Co-founder Biz-Stone Advertisement Twitter Co-founder Biz-StoneIt’s not every day that the founder of one company decides to tell a competitor how to run its business, but Biz Stone decided to do just that this week.Stone, one of Twitter’s three co-founders, revealed in a post on Medium that he recently started using Facebook again after taking a long hiatus from the social network because he became “overwhelmed” by the “thousands of settings, features and choices” that were added since it launched.[related-posts] – Advertisement – Now that he’s back on Facebook, Stone says he’s come to recognize its ads are not “particularly useful or engaging,” and he believes the social network should offer a premium option that would let users pay $10 a month to get rid of the ads — similar to the way music-streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify operate.In general, the ads on Facebook don’t seem particularly useful or engaging. However, ads on the service are universally tolerated because that’s what makes Facebook free and free is nice.Anywhoo, now that I’m using it and thinking about it, I’ve got an idea for Facebook. They could offer Facebook Premium. For $10 a month, people who really love Facebook (and can afford it), could see no ads. Maybe some special features too. If 10% percent of Facebook signed up, that’s $1B a month in revenue. Not too shabby.Stone certainly isn’t the first to suggest that Facebook consider a freemium model, but his comments are all the more notable considering he comes from a rival service. Of course, the obvious question is whether Stone would also push for Twitter to introduce a premium option to get rid of all the promoted trends and tweets, but perhaps he’ll address that in a future Medium post.Stone left Twitter in 2011 to work with cofounder Ev Williams on other startup ventures at The Obvious Corp, a startup incubator, which helped launched several projects including Medium. Earlier this year, Stone confirmed that he is working full-time on his next startup, Jelly, which will be a mobile app to help people “do good.”Do you agree with Stone’s idea? Share in the comments.Credit: Mashable read more