Heavy Construction News – #reuters #News

FRANKFURT U.S. missile maker Raytheon’s (RTN.N) cybersecurity unit could thrive were it to be listed separately, the head of the unit, Forcepoint, told German business daily Boersenzeitung in an interview published on Saturday.

“Raytheon has undertaken that Forcepoint will achieve for civilian cyber defense what Raytheon does for the defense of nation states, and we think that we could unleash enormous potential in our company via a stock exchange listing,” Matthew Moynahan said.

He said it was a little early to contemplate such a move, though, according to the newspaper.

Raytheon bought an 80 percent stake in Forcepoint, then known as Websense, from private equity firm Vista in 2015 for $1.9 billion and combined it with its own cybersecurity operations. Vista owns the other 20 percent.

Vista retains the right to exit the joint venture, including by requiring Raytheon to buy its 20 percent stake or by Forcepoint’s pursuing an IPO.

Forcepoint made sales of $566 million and operating income of $51 million in 2016.

(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; editing by John Stonestreet)

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For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Heavy Construction News – Metals from Bolivian mines affect crops and pose potential health risk, study suggests — ScienceDaily

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A University of Oklahoma Civil Engineering and Environmental Science Professor Robert Nairn and his co-authors have conducted a collaborative study that suggests exposure to trace metals from potatoes grown in soil irrigated with waters from the Potosi mining region in Bolivia, home to the world’s largest silver deposit, may put residents at risk of non-cancer health illnesses.

“In this high mountain desert, water is a critically precious resource and the use of metal-polluted waters for irrigation may have substantial detrimental impacts on the lives of subsistence farmers,” said Bill Strosnider, researcher on the project.

Potatoes are the primary dietary staple in the surrounding communities. The lack of water for quality irrigation throughout this arid region results in farmers using contaminated waters, leading to health risks from contaminated potatoes eaten locally or shipped to outlying areas. For children, ingestion of arsenic through potatoes was 9.1 to 71.8 times higher than the minimum risk level and ingestion of cadmium was 3.0 to 31.5 times higher than the minimum risk level.

“The fact that the hazard quotients of risk were so high through only one exposure route is concerning,” said Robin Taylor Wilson, Penn State College of Medicine professor and lead epidemiologist for the study. “Children in this region are exposed to contaminants through routes other than potatoes. If we consider these additional routes of exposure, the estimated risks will likely be much higher, but without further research, there is no way of knowing how much higher these risks might be.”

The hazard quotient is the ratio of estimated specific exposure to a single chemical over a specified period to the estimated daily exposure level at which no adverse health effects are likely to occur. Hazard quotients about one suggest the possibility of adverse non-cancer health risks. The minimum risk levels are established by the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

“Our findings allow the research community insight into the potential human and environmental impact that vast active and abandoned mining operations may pose all across the Andean region,” said Alan Garrido, researcher on the project.

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Materials provided by University of Oklahoma. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.

Originally posted 2017-05-24 17:11:43. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Dam Worries Resurface After Oroville Scare | 2017-05-24

Heavy Construction News

Dam engineers and safety experts say the drama that unfolded in February at California’s Oroville dam, when trouble with the main and emergency spillways led to the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents, could be a good thing for dam safety in the U.S.

“The Oroville event represents an opportunity,” says Martin McCann Jr., director of the National Performance of Dams Project and a civil engineering professor at Stanford University. “The dam didn’t fail. The spillway didn’t fail. No one got killed. So, let’s count our blessings and seize the opportunity.”

An expert panel of engineers this fall will present a forensics analysis to pinpoint the likely causes of the spillway failures. The more pressing concern is the lack of money to upgrade the 81,051 smaller, state-regulated dams, say dam engineers and officials.

In 2015, following a record rainfall, 51 of these smaller dams failed in South Carolina. Of the 90,000 dams in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ National Inventory of Dams, 58,000 are privately owned, and some, as in the state of Alabama, are not regulated at all. The Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) estimates the cost exceeds $64 billion to rehabilitate the nation’s non-federal and federal dams.

High hazard potential

The combination of these factors—not just the threat of big dams such as Oroville—led the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) to give dams a D grade in its latest report card. “We watch our federal dams really well,” says Dusty Myers, president of the ASDSO and chief of Mississippi’s dam program. “Our states are really stressed.”

Dam engineering and regulation has come far since the 1970s, when a series of failures killed dozens of people and caused billions of dollars in damage. Subsequent reviews showed that dam safety laws and regulations were inadequate. In response to those reviews, ASDSO was created in 1984.

Oversight is “definitely stronger,” says Mark Ogden, a technical specialist at ASDSO who helped to write ASCE’s dam report card. “Some states didn’t have a program back then.” Since about 2010, ASDSO has put a new focus on learning lessons from previous dam failures. Along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the group has created damfailures.org to share information about past failures. They expect that the Oroville case will yield a wealth of new information.

“You want to know the physical cause of the problem” but also what human factors may have contributed, says Mark Baker, chairman of ASDSO’s dam-failure committee.

Even as improvements have been made, dams are posing an increasing risk because they are getting older—in the U.S., the average age is 56, and about 4,400 are more than 100 years old. Further, the dams were not built to today’s seismic standards, and real-life storms and new storm models show many dams are inadequate to handle heavy rainfall. Dam owners’ responsibility for public safety has expanded with the growing number of people building and living in the dam-failure flood path. In the national inventory, the number of dams considered “high hazard,” or exhibiting the potential for fatalities after a failure, has grown to 15,500 in 2017 from 10,213 in 2005.

“It’s not because we are doing anything wrong,” says Bob Beduhn, director of dams and levees for HDR. “It’s that we are allowing people to live within the flood plain of the dam.” Beduhn adds that there’s a disconnect in the national flood insurance program, which doesn’t necessarily require flood insurance in dam flood plains.

To tackle the ever-increasing number of dams that need work, federal agencies, utilities and a growing number of states are turning to a risk-based approach to analyze and address problems at the nation’s dams. “It would be impossible to rehabilitate all the dams at once,” says Roger Adams, chief of dam safety for Pennsylvania.

By employing a risk-based approach to its 700 dams, the Corps of Engineers has avoided $7 billion of work, says Eric Halpin, deputy for dam and levee safety for the Corps. “We couldn’t afford not to do it,” he says.

Major work is ongoing at several dams, including the Corps’ Isabella Dam in California, which was created in the 1950s in a remote area of the state, but now puts more than 300,000 people downstream in Bakersfield at risk. A risk analysis determined the dam needed seismic updates, had seepage issues and could be overtopped.

Other federal agencies, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates the Oroville Dam, are currently incorporating risk-based practices.

States and individual owners have been slower to adopt a risk-based approach because of costs and resistance from owners.

The cost issue may be a red herring. Dan Wade, director of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s water improvement program, says the risk-based analysis doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated. Where a large dam might have a 100-page risk-management plan, a small dam may need a three- to five-page plan. “It needs to fit the project,” Wade says. “We need to get past the concerns about cost.”

Funding Shortfalls

However, after the problems have been identified, the biggest problem of all—funding—comes next. “We can issue orders, but what happens if they can’t come up with the funding, especially on private dams? Those are the biggest struggles,” says Jon Garton, who manages the dam safety program in Iowa. Only about half the states have some type of low-interest loan program to help pay for rehabilitation.

The Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation bill, signed into law last year, established a $445-million fund to remediate high-hazard dams, but Congress has yet to appropriate any money for the fund. “The only way that work is going to uptick is if funding is provided some way,” says Craig Harris, western water division director for MWH, a unit of Stantec.

That’s not to say that work isn’t occurring. Communities that use their dams for water and recreation, utilities and states are spending billions to upgrade and maintain their dams.

“Many communities consider their dams forever after and spend a lot of money to make sure they are operated safely,” said Mike Manwaring, business development director for Stantec’s water and dam division

For the past decade or more, new seismic modeling has driven much of the dam work. Even before Oroville, there was a great emphasis on spillway work. Most dams and spillways were built based on old weather data. Now, more recent information shows that dams don’t have adequate capacity for downpours or their spillways are undersized.

Adding Resilience

While it may be impossible to build all dams to withstand the 1,000-year event that occurred in South Carolina in 2015, dams can be built to be more resilient, says Hermann Fritz, a Georgia Tech civil engineering professor who led the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance team that analyzed the South Carolina dam failures. For the most part, South Carolina provided a model for what is not being done in dam management, design and operations. For example, Fritz says, there were old, unknown materials that created seams and points of failure in dams. Turbines couldn’t be operated because power failed; gates had to be opened manually in the deluge; spillways weren’t designed properly; stop logs, meant to be removed in the event of a storm, had been cemented in.

“It showed all of the challenges of operation of these smaller dams,” he said.

In the end, the international team that has come together to analyze and learn the lessons from Oroville represents the path forward for national dam safety and the mind-set that supports it.

Says James Demby, senior technical policy adviser for FEMA’s National Dam Safety Program, “Dam safety is really a shared responsibility.”

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I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Originally posted 2017-05-24 16:30:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Heavy Construction News – Photo traps reveal animal diversity, cats included — ScienceDaily – #Construction #News

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If you’ve been on the Internet lately, you’ve probably seen a cat selfie. Now, a Field Museum expedition to the Peruvian Amazon has elevated the animal selfie phenomenon to a whole new level. Earlier this year, a team of 25 scientists trekked to the unexplored reaches of Medio Putumayo-Algodón, Peru and spent 17 days conducting a rapid biological and social inventory of the area. As part of their efforts to document the region’s biodiversity, the team set up 14 motion-activated camera traps and used a drone to capture aerial footage of the rainforest. The results are amazing.

The camera traps revealed remarkable biodiversity in the area, showing animals like ocelots, giant armadillos, currassows, giant anteaters, tapirs, peccaries, and pacas up close and personal in their native habitat. Meanwhile, the aerial drone footage helped paint a picture of the overall landscape, sharing a never-before-seen look at the vast forest, which is only accessible by helicopter.

“No scientists have ever explored this area, let alone document it with cameras and drones,” explains Jon Markel, The Field Museum’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialist.

“These images are the first time this remote wilderness and the species that call it home are being recorded for science.”

During the inventory, biologists encountered an astonishing amount of wildlife, recording 1,820 plant, fish, amphibian, reptile, bird, and mammal species, including 19 species believed to be new to science. The team documented the largest number of frogs and snakes of any Field Museum rapid inventory, discovered large peat deposits, and found clay licks that provide salt essential to the health of local wildlife.

The social team worked with the nine indigenous groups living in the region to understand their use of the landscape and their aspirations for the future. They have a clear vision of wanting to protect these lands. However, the area is under threat from illegal mining and logging, as well as a proposed road.

“You can’t argue for the protection of an area without knowing what is there,” said Corine Vriesendorp, Director of The Field Museum’s rapid inventory program. “We discovered an intact forest inhabited by indigenous people for centuries and teeming with wildlife. We want it to survive and thrive long after our cameras are gone.”

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Materials provided by Field Museum. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.

Originally posted 2016-04-22 15:55:34. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Heavy Construction News – Millions of native orchids flourish at former mining waste site — ScienceDaily – #Construction #News

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Millions of native orchids are flourishing on the site of a former iron mine in New York’s Adirondacks, suggesting that former industrial sites — typically regarded as blighted landscapes — have untapped value in ecological restoration efforts.

Grete Bader, a graduate student at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in Syracuse, New York, who completed her master’s thesis on the site, said the plants are growing on a wetland that developed naturally on iron mine “tailings,” the waste left over from the process of separating the valuable part of an ore from the rock that has no economic value. She said that in addition to six types of native orchids, some of which have populations estimated at a million, the location supports New York state’s largest population of pink shinleaf, also called pink wintergreen, which is listed by New York as a threatened plant. The plant is rare in New York except at this location.

“The fact that this site restored itself from bare mine tailings to a diverse wetland plant community over the past 60 years is incredible, and the populations of orchids and pink shinleaf notably enhance its conservation value,” Bader said.

The wetland of about 100 acres developed at a site that holds the aftermath of iron ore extraction at Benson Mines in the northwestern Adirondacks. The Benson Mines operations were most intense from about 1941 until the facility closed in 1978. During its heyday, it was one of the most productive iron mines in the country and the largest open-pit magnetite mine in the world, producing about a million metric tons of iron annually during peak operations.

Bader’s major professor, Dr. Donald Leopold, a Distinguished Teaching Professor at ESF, said the number of orchids at the site — with colorful names such as grass pink, rose pogonia and hooded ladies’ tresses — is “extraordinary.”

“It’s unlike anything I’ve seen in more than 40 years of research, often in orchid-rich habitats throughout the United States,” Leopold said. “Until Grete did her research I had thought that there were hundreds of thousands of individuals of these orchid species here but Grete’s more careful assessment suggests that there are actually a million or more of some species.”

While people typically think of tropical species when they hear the word “orchid,” there are about 60 distinct species of terrestrial orchids native to New York state. All of them are protected by state law because of their beauty; many are also quite rare. With their three-petal flowers and colors ranging from delicate yellow to rich purple, they are widely sought after by nature enthusiasts.

Bader’s study suggests that several factors contribute to the number of thriving unique plant species at the site, including a range of soil and water pH, and a variety of mycorrhizal fungi that have a symbiotic relationship with plants. In general, mycorrhizal fungi colonize a plant’s root system and increase the host’s ability to absorb water and nutrients. In turn, the fungi benefit from the effects of the plant’s photosynthesis.

Orchids and pink wintergreen are among the species that depend on mycorrhizal fungi for germination and establishment. The mycorrhizal relationship is unique in these plants because, as seedlings, they essentially act as parasites on their fungi.

Dr. Thomas Horton, an associate professor at ESF and an expert on mycorrhizal symbioses, said the site’s industrial past might actually have contributed to the thriving wildflower scene.

“All the orchids and the wintergreen are dependent on mycorrhizal fungi for seed germination. Without the fungi, there would be no plants. Yet after the deposit of the mine tailings, the belowground system had to develop from scratch and now we see that all the elements have returned for incredible floral displays. Indeed, it could be that the plants and fungi are so abundant because of the disturbance history, and I feel this adds a wonderful element to the site’s conservation value.”

Orchids have a unique biology. Their flowers are highly adapted to specific insect pollinators, in some cases deceiving the pollinators into doing their job without a nectar reward. And they are among the most noted examples of the reliance of plants on mycorrhizal fungi — for, in this case, the fungi are needed for seeds to germinate and seedlings to survive.

Industrial sites are typically regarded as blighted landscapes but this site suggests that these locations have tremendous conservation value. In addition to the extraordinary number of orchids, the site has an extensive cranberry mat and acres of lowbush blueberries. Additionally, the site is culturally significant because the mines were economically important to the region in the mid-1900s.

Leopold said there are benefits to adding properties like the Benson Mines site to the Adirondack Forest Preserve, the 2.6 million acres of state-owned land that lies within the Adirondack Park. “Everyone thinks about adding the beautiful, pristine land,” he said. “But sometimes properties like this one can be more beneficial for the state to purchase. They have great value, both immediate and long term, for conservation and recreation purposes.”

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For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Originally posted 2016-04-27 13:51:01. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Heavy Construction News – #reuters #News

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc (SEAS.N) said on Friday it received a subpoena from the U.S. Department of Justice in connection with an investigation over disclosures made about the impact of the “Blackfish” documentary and trading in the company’s securities.

The investigation relates to the disclosures and public statements made by the company, certain executives and individuals on or before August 2014, the company said.

“Blackfish”, which was released in 2013, led to widespread criticism of the marine park operator as the documentary depicted the captivity and public exhibition of killer whales as inherently cruel.

Seaworld, which has reported falling revenues for the last three years, said in 2016 it would stop breeding killer whales in captivity.

The company said it has also received subpoenas from the staff of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and has set up a committee comprising independent directors to deal with these inquiries. (bit.ly/2rLd1QU)

Seaworld also said Chairman David D’Alessandro, who was voted out by at a shareholder meeting this month, will continue as the board’s non-executive chairman till Dec. 31.

Reuters reported this month that SeaWorld’s shareholders turned against D’Alessandro, opposing a bonus incentive payout to certain employees.

The board rejected D’Alessandro’s offer to resign immediately in view of certain challenges that the company was facing, including the federal investigations, Seaworld said in a regulatory filing.

SeaWorld’s shares were down 2.4 percent in after-market trading at $15.29.

(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is.

Heavy Construction News – #reuters #News

If Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) hopes to revolutionize grocery delivery, then its bid to buy Whole Foods Market Inc (WFM.O) for $13.7 billion will be just the start of a long and costly process.

The e-commerce giant would need to add a large network of specialized grocery distribution warehouses, former AmazonFresh employees and logistics experts said. This is something Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) and other competitors have already done. Whole Foods, with a relatively small distribution footprint of its own, does little to change the picture for Amazon, they said.

Amazon has a little more than 3 million square feet of U.S. warehousing dedicated to its existing AmazonFresh and Prime Pantry grocery programs – a tenth of the warehouse space Wal-Mart has for specialized food distribution, according to logistics consulting firm MWPVL International Inc.

“AmazonFresh really was for lack of a better word an after-thought,” said Brittain Ladd, who until March was a senior manager for the grocery delivery program, which launched in 2007.

One key to Amazon’s success in general retail sales has been its speed in delivering products to consumers, facilitated by warehouses located strategically throughout the United States. As of 2016, the company had about 100 million square feet of space in its fulfillment and data centers, some of it outfitted with state-of-the-art robotics to boost efficiency.

Facilities for distributing fresh food are far more complicated than ordinary warehouses. A single facility can need a half dozen or more temperature settings to house products from Popsicles to berries. Some require certification from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and extra care must be taken to keep shelves clean and prevent pests from contaminating food.

Whole Foods has over 1 million square feet of warehouse space for distribution to its markets, and a chunk of its inventory goes straight from suppliers to stores, MWPVL said.

“It’s a peanut. It’s nothing,” MWPVL President Marc Wulfraat said of Whole Foods’ distribution. “If Amazon wants to become a dominant grocery company in a short period of time, then there would be an investment required, and it would be big.”

Amazon, which did not return requests for comment, has not detailed its plans for Whole Foods.


Amazon’s fulfillment expenses jumped 31 percent in 2016 – a bit faster than in prior years and faster than its retail sales growth – to $17.6 billion, according to its annual regulatory filing.

Industry experts estimate the company would have to add a dozen or more grocery warehouses, particularly if it wanted to supply Whole Food stores in addition to homes. The cost to do that is unclear.

They said Amazon would likely continue to rely on United Natural Foods Inc (UNFI.O) to supply Whole Foods with hard-to-source products, but would probably aim to cut costs and handle more of the distribution for conventional items.

Even using Whole Foods stores to provide food for delivering to nearby urban shoppers would have hard limits, since many outlets lack the floor space to handle thousands of online orders.

“It’s a space issue for stuff coming through. It’s a labor issue for people tripping over each other,” said Tom Furphy, former vice president of consumables and AmazonFresh, and now chief executive of Consumer Equity Partners. There would also be a risk that “the quality starts to go down because the e-commerce orders are getting better product.”

(Reporting By Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; Editing by Sue Horton and Cynthia Osterman)

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You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

Kirby-Smith Promotes Jason Rogers to Service Manager, Pipeline Services :: Story ID: 34434 :: Construction Equipment Guide

Heavy Construction News

📅   Wed May 24, 2017 – National Edition

Jason Rogers service manager, pipeline services at Kirby-Smith Machinery Inc.

Kirby-Smith Machinery Inc., a Komatsu distributor, recently promoted Jason Rogers to service manager, pipeline services. He was promoted from his previous role as product service manager in Tulsa.

As service manager of Kirby-Smith’s pipeline division, Rogers will support the needs of the equipment distributor’s customers throughout the United States. He has more than 20 years’ experience in the heavy equipment industry, providing him with hands-on equipment knowledge and product application, as well as experience in the oversight and management of large scale projects.

A Komatsu master service technician, his prior experience as both a supervisor and field technician puts Rogers in a unique position to provide pipeline contractors with a full-service solution.

Rogers is excited about the new opportunity and has already begun working with pipeline contractors in the field.

“I know the challenges my customers face,” said Rogers. “The key is to keep issues simple and have an open mind in solving them. We are going to work together to maximize machine uptime and productivity so they can meet their project goals.”

Joe Trapani, director of Kirby-Smith pipeline services, believes Rogers will prove to be a significant asset for the pipeline division as he supports Kirby-Smith’s customers nationwide.

“Jason brings an extraordinary skill-set to his new role. He has a stellar reputation in this industry, a wealth of product knowledge and experience, and the willingness to go the extra mile for our customers.”

For more information, visit kirby-smith.com.

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But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.

Originally posted 2017-05-24 05:00:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Aging Golf Course Looks to Remain Competitive :: Story ID: 34430 :: Construction Equipment Guide

Heavy Construction News

📅   Wed May 24, 2017 – West Edition #11

Kaanapali Golf Course on Maui’s west coast has announced it will be modernizing its facilities to remain competitive as a resort destination.

The golf course plans to fix underused buildings that have been in operation since the 1960s, The Maui News reported.

The course’s project summary states reduced golf play at the resort has created opportunity for revitalization in other areas.

Golf will remain at the core, though. The property currently includes two 18-hole championship golf courses. Developers want to create a 27-hole championship course and a nine-hole, par-3 course.

Other plans include constructing a 136-room boutique hotel; adding 80,000 sq. ft. (7,432 sq. m) of retail space; developing 56 oceanfront condominiums and 100 to 200 multifamily ocean-view residences; building a new beach club and public signature restaurant; and upgrading golf holes and a lagoon. The total project area is 164 acres, or more than half of the total 305-acre property that includes some beachfront property near Black Rock.

The development will need an amendment to the West Maui Community Plan land use map and a change of zoning.

Construction is scheduled between 2020 and 2025. The developer is Lowe Enterprises Investors of Los Angeles.

Past upgrades including the construction of Hyatt’s Residence Club and Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club time-share towers have fed into the expansion project as well.

For more information, visit mauinews.com.

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The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

Originally posted 2017-05-24 05:00:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Heavy Construction News – #reuters #News

By Caroline Valetkevitch and Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK Heading into second-quarter earnings season, investors are looking for a continuation of strong U.S. company results to justify high stock valuations, now trading near their loftiest levels since 2004.

However, drilling a hole into that hopeful scenario is the current bear market in oil prices and an economy showing signs of growth below the pace expected earlier in the year.

“A lot of the expectation for a recovery in earnings is predicated on oil prices being around $47-$50 a barrel,” said Hugh Johnson, chief investment officer of Hugh Johnson Advisors LLC in Albany, New York. “So if you don’t get those numbers, you don’t get the strong earnings the stock market needs. This is not trivial stuff. It creates a lot of uncertainty and volatility in forecasts.”

U.S. crude futures CLc1 have been pressured lower by a supply glut. They’ve averaged over $48 per barrel so far this quarter, but traded around $43 on Friday and are down more than 20 percent from February, when they hit an 18-month high.

U.S. stocks are in the ninth year of a bull run which has been fueled of late by bets on pro-growth policies from U.S. President Donald Trump. However, with the timetable for reforms stretching further into the future, earnings are seen as a critical support for stock prices.

With indexes near record highs, there is speculation among Wall Street analysts about whether a correction is due.

Earnings expectations have dropped for 10 of 11 industry groups since early April, with only industrials looking better than they did then.

The benchmark S&P 500 stock index as a whole is expected to deliver 7.9 percent profit growth, down from 15.3 percent in the first quarter, and below the 10.2 percent forecast in April, Thomson Reuters data shows.

On Thursday, Nike (NKE.N) will be the first Dow component to report earnings for the most recent quarter. The season heats up in the second week of July.

Technology earnings are seen posting double-digit growth, helped by gains in semiconductor companies, and financials are close behind with estimated 8.1-percent profit growth.

While lower energy prices can help some sectors such as industrials and transports, as well as boosting consumer sentiment, high expectations for energy earnings growth mean any stumble will be felt broadly.

Energy sector profits are seen up a whopping 683 percent from a year ago, when many companies posted losses, according to Thomson Reuters data. Without energy, profit growth estimates drop to 4.8 percent for the quarter.

Expectations for the sector will probably have to come down for the second half of the year if low oil prices persist, said David Joy, chief market strategist at Ameriprise Financial in Boston.

“The one wild card right now is the price of oil. Expectations that are baked into full-year forecasts assume a higher price for oil certainly than we have now,” he said.

Energy has been the weakest performing sector so far this year, with the S&P energy index .SPNY down near 15 percent.


The drop in oil prices notwithstanding, some analysts have cautioned that Wall Street has been too optimistic about overall earnings.

Michael Purves, chief global strategist at Weeden & Co, cut his 2017 S&P 500 earnings estimates from $127 to $116, below the $131.51 consensus, as economic growth and inflation are not as high as expected.

“I’m looking for CEOs to start taking down their forecasts for the year,” Purves said.

In fact, the Citigroup U.S. economic surprise index .CESIUSD, a gauge of economic data compared to expectations, this month fell near a six-year low.

An Atlanta Federal Reserve model recently forecast second-quarter economic growth coming in at a 2.9-percent annualized pace, down from a previous 3.2 percent.

Another hurdle for earnings growth: declining corporate buybacks.

“Over the past two years, more than 20 percent of S&P 500 issues have given at least a 4 percent tailwind for (earnings per share) via reduced share counts,” Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a note.

For the first quarter of 2017, that rate fell to 14.8 percent of companies, and there are indications of “even less support” in the second quarter, he said.

(Additional reporting and editing by Megan Davies; Editing by Daniel Bases and Nick Zieminski)

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But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Heavy Construction News – #reuters #News

There is a good chance there are fresh vegetables in your refrigerator that will end up in the garbage instead of on your dinner plate.

Not that anyone goes to the grocery store with the intention of later throwing the food in the trash, but we all do it more often than we probably realize. Ruth Litchfield, a professor of food science and human nutrition at Iowa State University, says we waste about 20 pounds of food each month. And that is per person.

“It’s a huge problem,” Litchfield said. “When you think that 40 percent of the food produced in the U.S. goes to waste, that is just irresponsible.”

There are several reasons why so much of our food ends up in the trash and eventually a landfill, which all relate to our mentality about food. Litchfield says we need to move past the idea that more is better. Whether it’s purchasing more than what we need at the grocery store or consuming large portions at a restaurant, our habits feed our tendency to waste.

According to a 2012 Business for Social Responsibility study on food waste, 44 percent of food going into the landfill comes from the home, followed by 33 percent from the food service industry. To do its part, the food service industry is employing a variety of initiatives, said Susan Arendt, a professor of hospitality management at Iowa State. Donating food to shelters or soup kitchens, incorporating leftover foods into other menu items — for example, using unserved green beans for vegetable soup the next day — and collaborating with farmers to feed unused food to farm animals are just a few examples.

“Some restaurants are also training servers to ask customers what they don’t want with their meal. For example, instead of bringing both butter and oil with bread, they’re asking the customer which one they prefer, rather than letting one go unused and have to be thrown out,” Arendt said.

How to limit your waste

Consumers can take similar steps at home to limit waste and ultimately save money, Litchfield said. She recommends:

  • Meal planning for the week. There are several benefits to making a weekly menu, not just cutting waste. If you know you’re going to be at a ball game or other activities during the week, cut back on what you’re buying at the store, Litchfield said. Make meals using frozen or canned vegetables and other non-perishable items that you can use the following week, if plans change.
  • Find an alternate use for produce. Consider freezing or donating fresh produce that you’re not going to eat before it starts to wilt or rot. Cut and package the fruits and veggies so that they’re easy to pull out of the freezer and add to a smoothie or casserole.
  • Composting. Some communities offer composting programs, but Litchfield says it’s relatively easy to do your own composting at home. Food converted to compost is waste diverted from the landfill, which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Understand sell by dates. Litchfield says we throw away 160 billion pounds of food that is fine to eat because of confusion over “sell by” or “best by” labels. The date that follows has nothing to do with the safety of the food, it’s related to quality, she said. Infant formula is the only product in the U.S. required to have an expiration date. A provision in the proposed Food Recovery Act of 2015 would standardize the language to reduce confusion.

Finding ways to make an impact

When discussing food waste in class, Arendt breaks it into two categories for students. There is product waste, such as eggshells or coffee grounds, and service waste or food that is served and not eaten. She says product waste is often unavoidable, although some items are good for compost, while with service waste there are several opportunities to make an impact.

For example, Arendt and a colleague conducted a milk waste study in elementary schools. By implementing simple changes, schools reduced the amount of milk waste. One school noticed students were throwing away unopened cartons of milk, and created a “share table” for students to leave unopened milk for other students to drink. She said another school limited technology in the lunchroom so students focused on eating, and not working or playing on their computers.

Portion control is another step the foodservice industry is taking, but health-conscious consumers are more often the motivating factor. Still, this can help with waste.

“Many restaurants are offering a half-portion size and a regular-portion size. Yes, customers want to receive ‘value,’ but it also depends on the type of customer,” Arendt said. “Customers who are more health conscious are open to smaller portion sizes.”

Policy that packs a punch

In 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture set a national goal to reduce food loss and waste by 50 percent by 2030. Litchfield is doubtful that many consumers are aware of this goal or are making an effort to do their part. She says it is going to take policy, similar to seatbelt laws or tobacco taxes, to motivate people to make change.

“If you look at when people really started using seatbelts, it was when there was potential for a fine,” Litchfield said. “In some communities you are charged for garbage service based on pounds or number of cans. If you were charged based on the amount of food waste leaving the home, it might change habits.”

Another contributing factor is the cost of food. Litchfield is not advocating for higher prices at the grocery store, but she says food in the U.S. is cheap compared to other countries. If it were more expensive people would be less likely to overconsume, and be smarter about their purchases so food is not going to waste.

Find more information online at: http://www.foodwastealliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/FWRA_BSR_Tier1_FINAL.pdf

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Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

Heavy Construction News – Making ferromagnets stronger by adding non-magnetic elements — ScienceDaily – #Construction #News

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Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory discovered that they could functionalize magnetic materials through a thoroughly unlikely method, by adding amounts of the virtually non-magnetic element scandium to a gadolinium-germanium alloy.

It was so unlikely they called it a “counterintuitive experimental finding” in their published work on the research.

“People don’t talk much about scandium when they are talking magnetism, because there has not been much reason to,” said Yaroslav Mudryk, an Associate Scientist at Ames Laboratory. “It’s rare, expensive, and displays virtually no magnetism.”

“Conventional wisdom says if you take compound A and compound B and combine them together, most commonly you get some combination of the properties of each. In the case of the addition of scandium to gadolinium, however, we observed an abrupt anomaly.”

Years of research exploring the properties of magnetocaloric materials, relating back to the discovery of the giant magnetocaloric effect in rare earth alloys in 1997 by Vitalij Pecharsky and the late Karl Gschneidner, Jr., laid the groundwork for computational theory to begin “hunting” for hidden properties in magnetic rare-earth compounds that could be discovered by introducing small amounts of other elements, altering the electronic structure of known materials.

“From computations, we projected that scandium may bring something really unusual to the table: we saw an unexpectedly large magnetic moment developing on its lone 3d electron,” said Ames Laboratory Associate Scientist Durga Paudyal. “It is the hybridization between gadolinium 5d and the scandium 3d states that is the key that strengthens magnetism with the scandium and transforms it to a ferromagnetic state.”

“Basic research takes time to bear fruit. This is an exemplary case when 20 years ago our team started looking into what are called the 5:4 compounds,” said Ames Laboratory group leader and Iowa State University Distinguished Professor Vitalij Pecharsky. “Only now we have learned enough about these unique rare earth element-containing materials to become not only comfortable but precise in predicting how to manipulate their properties at will.”

The discovery could greatly change the way scandium and other ‘conventionally’ non-magnetic elements are considered and used in magnetic materials research and development, and possibly creates new tools for controlling, manipulating, and functionalizing useful magnetic rare-earth compounds.

The research is further discussed in the paper, “Enhancing Magnetic Functionality with Scandium: Breaking Stereotypes in the Design of Rare Earth Materials,” authored by Yaroslav Mudryk, Durga Paudyal, Jing Liu, and Vitalij K. Pecharsky; and published in the Chemistry of Materials.

Story Source:

Materials provided by DOE/Ames Laboratory. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Heavy Construction News – Study looks at bacteria to remove metals from mine-impacted water — ScienceDaily – #Construction #News

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Researchers at Penn State are refining a natural, low-cost process that will help remove some of the most abundant pollutants, such as iron, from mine-contaminated water.

“In this study we researched how quickly ferrous iron was oxidized under set conditions and found out what microbial species lived under these different conditions,” said Bill Burgos, professor of environmental engineering at Penn State. “It’s not only important to know how fast a particular treatment process might be but also which microbes are involved.”

The team enriched iron-oxidizing bacteria from two acid mine drainage sites in Pennsylvania’s Appalachian coal basin and then measured the rates of iron oxidation at low-pH values.

The two sites were Scalp Level, which displayed the highest rate of iron oxidation, and Brubaker Run, which displayed an average rate. Both are in Cambria County.

At each site, the researchers first collected acid mine drainage and surface sediments to be used as “seed” material for microbial enrichments.

“The sediment is the freshly deposited iron oxides that are classically indicative of mine drainage,” Burgos said. “The sediments at Scalp Level hosted a different microbial community than the sediments at Brubaker Run.”

Once in the lab, microbes were extracted from the sediment samples and then enriched using a no-flow, fed-batch bioreactor where ferrous iron was intermittently added to enhance the growth of iron-oxidizing bacteria.

After enrichment, each culture was divided for two sets of experiments, one that varied the pH and another that varied the iron concentration. Using the four reactors (two per site), the researchers measured rates of iron oxidation under different conditions, then compared DNA extracted from biomass samples, noting changes to microbial communities.

“The flow-through experiments allowed us to mimic an engineered bioreactor,” Burgos said.

The results of these experiments, recently published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, showed that different microbial communities enriched from the two sites maintained distinct traits inherited from their respective seed materials. Long-term operation of these two systems did not lead to the same, or even more similar, microbial communities.

However, all of the bioreactors did oxidize iron and remove it at very similar rates. This suggests that the performance of bioreactors for mine-water treatment may not be strongly dependent on the “microbial seed” used for reactor startup.

“It is a sequential process,” Burgos said. “Each microbial community is acting as seeds for the next stage. Importantly, the rates of iron oxidation were essentially the same for the two sites, even though they varied dramatically in the field. What that means is you could go to any site and enrich these microbes in a bioreactor and they are all going to perform in a very similar way.”

From these results, the team was also able to show that certain organisms did indeed do better under certain geochemical conditions.

“There were some organisms that did exceptionally well when the iron concentration was low,” Burgos said. “And there were some organisms that did exceptionally well when the pH was very low, or conversely, they only did well when the pH was high.”

The next step for the researchers is to partner with a mining company and build a larger pilot-scale system.

“When you have exceptionally low pH and exceptionally high iron concentrations, that’s an expensive water to treat,” Burgos said. “The conventional means of doing it are not the most efficient, and they are certainly not the most cost-effective. Biological low-pH iron oxidation is economical and can be seamlessly integrated into an acid mine drainage treatment system.”

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If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Originally posted 2016-06-07 19:15:09. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Heavy Construction News – Hydrothermal vents, methane seeps play enormous role in marine life, global climate — ScienceDaily – #Construction #News

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The hydrothermal vents and methane seeps on the ocean floor that were once thought to be geologic and biological oddities are now emerging as a major force in ocean ecosystems, marine life and global climate.

However, even as researchers learn more about their role in sustaining a healthy Earth, these habitats are being threatened by a wide range of human activities, including deep-sea mining, bottom trawling and energy harvesting, scientists say in a report published in Frontiers in Marine Science.

Researchers from Oregon State University first discovered these strange, isolated worlds on the ocean bottom 40 years ago. These habitats surprised the scientific world with reports of hot oozing gases, sulfide chimneys, bizarre tube worms and giant crabs and mussels — life forms that were later found to eat methane and toxic sulfide.

“It was immediately apparent that these hydrothermal vents were incredibly cool,” said Andrew Thurber, an assistant professor in the OSU College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, and co-author on the new report.

“Since then we’ve learned that these vents and seeps are much more than just some weird fauna, unique biology and strange little ecosystems. Rather than being an anomaly, they are prevalent around the world, both in the deep ocean and shallower areas. They provide an estimated 13 percent of the energy entering the deep sea, make a wide range of marine life possible, and are major players in global climate.”

As fountains of marine life, the vents pour out gases and minerals, including sulfide, methane, hydrogen and iron — one of the limiting nutrients in the growth of plankton in large areas of the ocean. In an even more important role, the life forms in these vents and seeps consume 90 percent of the released methane and keep it from entering the atmosphere, where as a greenhouse gas it’s 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

“We had no idea at first how important this ecological process was to global climate,” Thurber said. “Through methane consumption, these life forms are literally saving the planet. There is more methane on the ocean floor than there are other forms of fossil fuels left in the oceans, and if it were all released it would be a doomsday climatic event.”

In reviewing the status of these marine geological structures and the life that lives around them, a group of researchers from 14 international universities and organizations have outlined what’s been learned in the past four decades and what forces threaten these ecosystems today. The synthesis was supported by the J.M. Kaplan fund.

These vents and seeps, and the marine life that lives there, create rocks and habitat, which in some settings can last tens of thousands of years. They release heat and energy, and form biological hot spots of diversity. They host extensive mussel and clam beds, mounds of shrimp and crab, create some prime fishing habitat and literally fertilize the ocean as zooplankton biomass and abundance increases. While the fluid flows from only a small section of the seafloor, the impact on the ocean is global.

Some of the microorganisms found at these sites are being explored for their potential to help degrade oil spills, or act as a biocatalytic agent for industrial scrubbing of carbon dioxide.

These systems, however, have already been damaged by human exploitation, and others are being targeted, the scientists said. Efforts are beginning to mine them for copper, zinc, lead, gold and silver. Bottom trawling is a special concern, causing physical disturbance that could interfere with seeps, affect habitat and damage other biologic linkages.

Oil, gas or hydrate exploitation may damage seeps. Whaling and logging may interfere with organic matter falling to the ocean floor, which serves as habitat or stepping stones for species reliant on chemosynthetic energy sources. Waste disposal of munitions, sewage and debris may affect seeps.

The range of ecosystem services these vents and seeps provide is just barely beginning to be understood, researchers said in their report. As many of these habitats fall outside of territorial waters, vent and seep conservation will require international collaboration and cooperation if they are going to continue to provide ecosystem benefits.

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For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.

Originally posted 2016-05-31 18:32:17. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Heavy Construction News – #reuters #News

By Scott DiSavino


NEW YORK Oil futures climbed almost 1 percent on Friday on lift from a falling dollar but remained down for a fifth week in a row and close to a 10-month low as OPEC-led production cuts have failed to substantially reduce a global crude glut.


Brent futures LCOc1 were up 40 cents, or 0.9 percent at $45.62 a barrel by 11:52 a.m. EDT (1552 GMT), pushing the front-month out of technically oversold territory for the first time this week.


U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 was up 37 cents, or 0.9 percent, at $43.11 per barrel.


Both Brent and U.S. futures remained on track to decline for a fifth week in a row, which would be the longest slumps for the front-month contracts since August 2015.



“Crude is getting a good pop off the fall in the dollar,” said Phil Davis, managing partner at PSW Investments in Woodland Park, New Jersey.


The U.S. dollar .DXY was down 0.4 percent against a basket of currencies, on track for its biggest daily percentage decline since early June after weaker-than-expected U.S. economic data. This boosted greenback-denominated oil.


Still, oil prices remain down about 20 percent this year despite an effort led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to cut production 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd).



That puts the market on course for its biggest first-half percentage fall since the late 1990s, when rising output and the Asian financial crisis led to sharp losses.


“We doubt that demand growth will accelerate sufficiently to break the current downward price momentum,” analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a note on Friday, citing surprisingly weak recent economic data in the United States, China and Asia.



OPEC-led efforts to reduce production and end the oil glut have been frustrated by soaring output from the United States and OPEC members Libya and Nigeria, which are exempt from the cuts.


Thanks to shale drillers, U.S. oil production C-OUT-T-EIA has risen more than 10 percent in the past year to 9.35 million bpd, close to the level of top exporter Saudi Arabia.


“Rising U.S. output continues to stress markets, with increasing evidence that improved efficiency and technology makes many of the shale plays profitable below $40 a barrel,” analysts at Cenkos Securities wrote.


(Additional reporting by Karolin Schaps in London and Henning Gloystein in Singapore; Editing by Dale Hudson and David Gregorio)


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So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.