Julia’s (Parents’) Best Week Ever, July 20, 2017: River Cruising

first_imgDuring their day in Strasbourg, they also toured the Strasbourg Cathedral de Notre Dame, with its beautiful Renaissance-era stained-glass windows.The next day was in Mannheim, Germany, with a highlight of the trip for my father–a visit to the Mercedes-Benz and Porsche Museums in Stuttgart.For a car aficionado, these museums were an incredible experience. They certainly don’t make them like this anymore!The Porsche Museum had an extensive collection of luxury and race cars from many different eras. On display were more than 80 different cars. This one was one of the favorites that my dad photographed. I can just picture this car zipping around winding roads on a street race through the Italian countryside (or maybe blasting off into space).And my dad had to take a picture of this one for me, of course. (Yeah, that one is my favorite from the museum, for obvious reasons.)Because my mom’s interest in cars extends about as far as “Will this get me from point A to B”, she visited Heidelberg Castle. Although much of the castle has been destroyed over the centuries, impressive bits of its architecture still remain today, including the famous castle gate, making this a popular tourist attraction with hosts dressed in costumes from different periods of the castle’s history.Traveling along the Rhine through Germany, my parents were astounded how many castles there were along the shore. Some were in ruins, while others were stately monuments to the glory of ages gone by.In Rudesheim, Germany, my parents experienced something that will become quite familiar to guests at Walt Disney World in the future–a gondola ride. The gondola that they traveled on was an open-air version that could hold 2-4 people and traveled through the countryside and up to the Niederwald Monument.The view from the gondolas was absolutely breathtaking.Probably the most impressive sight that my parents saw during their trip was in Cologne, Germany–the famous Cologne Cathedral. With its spires, it is 515 feet tall. To put that in perspective, take Cinderella Castle, put another Cinderella Castle on top of it, and then you’ll still be coming up short compared to this. Pictures can’t do it justice. To get an idea of how big it is, look at the person at the bottom of the picture for scale.Even more impressive are the carvings around and throughout the cathedral. The amount of carvings and the intricacy were simply unbelievable.Also in Cologne, there was a tour of a chocolate museum. My parents were gracious enough to bring back some freshly made chocolate for us to try. The rich flavors of the different kinds were far beyond what we can buy here in the United States.The remainder of the trip finished up in Amsterdam in The Netherlands. One part of the tour that surprised both my parents with how much they enjoyed it was a painting class taught at the Van Gogh museum. Everyone got to try their hand at making a painting to take home.Another activity that they enjoyed in Amsterdam was a trip to the Royal Delft Earthenware Factory. The amount and variety of Delftware on display was impressive, and the visit also included a chance to try your hand at painting your own Delft piece.And, of course, what trip to The Netherlands would be complete without a tour of the countryside to look at the historic windmills. Most windmills in The Netherlands have been replaced with the tall, white modern kind, but some of the classic windmills still exist. Share This!When my parents got married 45 years ago, they had a wonderful cruise planned for their honeymoon. Unfortunately, the Navy had other plans for my dad, and eventually he ended up on a Med cruise (without my mom, of course). It is only fitting that for their anniversary, they took a cruise of a different kind: an Adventures by Disney River Cruise on the Rhine. They have been gracious enough to share their photos, and looking through all the activities they did and sights that they saw, it truly qualifies as a Best Week Ever.This is the second river cruise that they’ve done with Adventures by Disney, previously having sailed on the Danube River. Both cruises are done through Ama Waterways, and this cruise was on the AmaKristina, sailing from Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam, The Netherlands. And while it would be impossible to share everything that they did on their cruise, here are some of the highlights.My parents arrived in Basel a day early to get used to the time change, and had a lot of fun window shopping and exploring the town. One thing they found very interesting are the light rail streetcar-like public transportation.After leaving Switzerland, the next stop was France. On an Adventures by Disney trip, your daily trips are included, and you generally have two or three options of activities in the morning and afternoon, so there’s usually something for everyone and every activity level. Instead of canoeing around town, my parents opted to take a guided canal boat on the Batorama Canal Boat through Strasbourg. I’m so thrilled that my parents had this amazing opportunity to travel through these beautiful countries for their 45th Anniversary. And when it comes to tours like this, they can’t speak highly enough about Adventures by Disney. It made them feel comfortable traveling abroad to a new place, but also provided a wide variety of activities and experiences to let them see some of the best that the region had to offer.Happy Anniversary, mom and dad. Here’s to many more years of Best Weeks Ever!last_img read more

New solutions for water conservation

first_imgSouth Africa is pressed to conserve its drinking water. (Image: Clever Green) Pupils in a Pretoria school using water. (Image: Bongani Nkosi) MEDIA CONTACTS • Sputnik Ratau   Spokesperson   Department of Water Affairs   +27 12 336 6813 or +27 82 874 2942  RELATED ARTICLES • Courts to protect South Africa’s water • Absa Campus generates its own power • R500m water deal for rural SA • Better water supply for SA schoolsBongani NkosiIt has become a “moral imperative” for major businesses operating in South Africa to adopt water saving schemes for their buildings, thereby helping the country sustain the declining resource.CEO of car rental company Avis, Wayne Duvenage, did not mince his words at the Sustainable Water Resource Conference and Exhibition. The event, held in Kempton Park on 16 and 17 August, was attended by leading water experts and businesspeople and supported by the International Marketing Council of South Africa – among a range of sponsors.Recycling water for reuse in buildings was the experts’ principal recommendation. Homeowners are also advised to go for recycling technologies.Avis saved 75-million litres of water in 2010 in its major centres in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.The Avis scheme kicked off in 2008 with a R1.9-million (US$264 000) investment, and started paying off in 2009 when the company saved 4.2-million litres.Avis has pumped an additional R1.5-million ($208 000) into the construction of underground water filtration and recycling facilities at its three main depots. The aim is to save at least 95-million litres of water each year.“We decided to recycle water because that was the right thing to do,” said Duvenage. “We’re recycling water that was going down the drain.”The company reprocesses grey water from washing machines and baths, which is then used to wash most of its fleet of 20 000 rental cars, while potable water from public sources remains available to employees for hygienic use.Harvesting rainwater is a focus of Avis’ recycling efforts. “You know how much it rains in Cape Town, so it’s nice to switch off municipal water and use rainwater,” said Duvenage.It’s always recommended for entities to study the impact of their business on the environment, he pointed out.Conserving a precious resourceSouth Africa is water-stressed, experts at the conference revealed. Reports have pointed out that the country runs the risk of facing critical shortages by 2020.“South Africa is stressed both in the quantity and quantity of water that we have,” Duvenage said.Alison Groves, a sustainability consultant at WSP Green by Design, said: “In South Africa we need to get beyond the idea that water is always going to be available.”New solutions are needed to sustain potable water availability, Groves added.Her consultancy group has established itself as an industry leader in the greening of major buildings, having helped big companies such as Absa, Nedbank and Woolworths introduce water-saving and eco-friendly schemes in their properties.Banking group Absa’s headquarters in downtown Johannesburg have been fitted with recycling and rainwater harvesting technology that allows it to save at least 43 000 litres of water every day.Retailer Woolworths’ distribution centre in Midrand, north of Johannesburg, is another facility with a large grey water reclamation system. Groves pointed out that the centre has “irrigation ensured for 10 months per year without using potable water”.Woolworths saves R1-million ($139 000) in municipal water bills per year thanks to its recycling efforts.Other companies, such as South African Breweries, are rolling out major water-saving schemes in a bid to help protect the precious resource.Duvenage pointed out that “business is starting to change its behaviour” in accordance with the green revolution, but there is room for improvement. “We believe business has to act much faster,” he said.Residences can reduce consumptionIt’s not only businesses and public entities that should assume the responsibility of saving water, but homeowners can play a major role as well.The grey water technology of Cape Town-based Water Rhapsody, a specialist water conservation company, has proven its efficiency in recent years.Its founder Jeremy Westgarth-Taylor said that water recycled and harvested through its system is suitable for irrigation, toilet flushing, cleaning and washing.Homes can reduce consumption from 280 litres to “as little as 100 litres per day” and save up to 90% of their municipal water bill by using the system.“But it’s done in such a way that you don’t change your lifestyle. You just take control of your own supply,” said Westgarth-Taylor.Water Rhapsody won the WWF Green Trust award in 1998 for product innovation. It’s helped the University of Cape Town reduce potable water consumption by over 90%.The late Kader Asmal, former Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, told Water Rhapsody, in a 2010 letter to the company, that its water recycling system helped nourish grass and shrubs in the garden of his Cape Town home.last_img read more

Mobile: Boosting Productivity and Quality in the Construction Industry

first_imgA recent survey of construction firms by ENR confirmed that mobile devices and applications are now common place in the field, and their use is transforming how the construction business works.  Workers are using applications to retrieve and view data, collaborate, standardize processes, and to collect data that can be used for calculating metrics. The benefits of real-time access to project data are huge.  With the new generation of mobile devices, remote workers are able to work more efficiently and their work is typically of higher quality.  Immediate access to construction drawings and data enables problems to be solved quickly while workers can remain on-site. Mobile devices are changing the way many jobs are being performed. The construction industry is one example where workers in the field are seeing big change.  Tablets, Smartphones, and a new breed of ‘rugged notebook computers’ are replacing older mobile devices like two-way radios and cell phones. The ENR survey also asked construction workers which apps on their mobile devices are most used for their work.  The top five mobile apps workers cited are: Bluebeam Revu for iPad – allows collaboration, markup and measurement capabilities to PDF filesAutoDesk BIM 360 Field – supports building Information Modeling (BIM) workflows for detecting clashes and visualizinf building dataPlanGrid – supports markups for a variety of drawing typesDropbox – allows the storage, transfer and viewing of filesGood Reader – supports file viewing and markuplast_img read more

Goodbye, Nokia Lumia—Hello, Microsoft Lumia

first_imgThe Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology adriana lee Two future Microsoft Lumia usersNokia’s outposts around the world are letting the cell-phone brand’s fans know that they’re saying goodbye: Microsoft is changing the name of Nokia’s smartphone business, which it bought last year, to Microsoft Lumia.Nokia France and Nokia UK will be among the first to usher in the new name, according to posts on the business’s country-specific Facebook pages, followed by other countries over the coming weeks. (The Verge was the first to report on the coming changes.) Cutting Off The RootsWith this, Microsoft officially sheds one of the last few vestiges of the old business from its acquired line of smartphones. It seems sudden: The Nokia name was emblazoned right on the front of the Nokia Lumia 730 and 830, unveiled just last month. But the writing has long been on the wall. The Redmond, Wash.-based corporation, which bought the Finnish company’s devices and services division last spring for $7.2 billion, renamed it Microsoft Mobile and laid off more than 12,000 employees. Nokia’s mobile site also started redirecting visitors over to Microsoft Mobile’s new site last month, right around the time when a leaked internal document indicated that Microsoft was preparing to drop the Nokia name.Nokia still exists—the remaining business, which consists of a digital mapping unit, telecom infrastructure, and intellectual-property licensing, will keep the Nokia name after Microsoft finishes excising it from the devices business. (Update: Microsoft has decided to keep the name for its lower-level phones. See below.)Microsoft didn’t have to dump “Nokia” this quickly. The original acquisition deal allowed the company to continue using both the “Nokia” and “Lumia” brand names for several years.But the company likely wants to clean up its smartphone branding. With Nokia continuing to operate as a separate company, removing the name from Microsoft’s primary smartphone business heads off confusion.It may seem brutal, considering how Nokia was practically synonymous with cell phones for decades. But the changes come during the run-up to the holiday shopping season. That’s a key time period for any gadget company—particularly one trying to push Windows up from a distant No. 3 position in smartphone operating systems.Photo courtesy of Nokia UKUpdate 10/24: Microsoft has agreed to keep the Nokia branding on entry-level phones, such as the Nokia 130.  Related Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfacescenter_img Tags:#Lumia#Microsoft#Microsoft Lumia#Nokia#Nokia Lumia What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagementlast_img read more

Give the accused fair chance to explain, pleads Imran

first_imgPakistan’s former cricket captain Imran Khan on Monday pleaded for the cricketers accused in the spot-fixing controversy in England to be given a fair chance to clear their names, but said if the allegations came out true it would be a “big setback”.”I think the initial impact of this new fixing scandal has shocked all of us but I think in all fairness it would be injustice to brand these players as fixers without first giving them a fair chance to defend themselves,” Khan said.”I would like to see them given a fair chance to give their side of the story before we reach conclusions,” the former cricketer turned politician said.Imran was also clear that if the players were found guilty of accepting bribes then they should not be spared and given strong punishment.”But first let’s be clear about this whole thing because it is not fair to jump to conclusions”.Imran had no doubt that if the allegations against the players were proved true it would be a great tragedy for Pakistan cricket.”It would be a big setback because we will lose many of our match winners and that definitely would be a big shock to our cricket,” he added.The former captain who led Pakistan to victory in the 1992 World Cup also feared that if there was truth in the fresh fixing allegations it would have a negative impact on cricket on the whole.”It would be difficult to draw in crowds and make people believe it was a fair cricket match being played anywhere in the world,” he said.advertisementIronically on Monday another former captain and great, Javed Miandad urged the Pakistan board to call back the players from England who have been accused of fixing.last_img read more