In a pattern that sounds familiar, an insect fossil has been found that (1) is the oldest ever discovered, and (2) shows that “winged flight may have emerged earlier than previously thought.” Estimates put this fossil at about 400 million years old, among the first creatures to colonize the land. Though wing impressions were not found, the specimens may have belonged, based on other detectable features, to an order of winged insects.Source: BBC News, based on the finding by Engel and Grimaldi published in Nature.1 The authors say, “In fact, Rhyniognatha has derived characters shared with winged insects, suggesting that the origin of wings may have been earlier than previously believed. Regardless, Rhyniognatha indicates that insects originated in the Silurian period and were members of some of the earliest terrestrial faunas.”1Michael S. Engel and David A. Grimaldi, “New light shed on the oldest insect,” Nature 427, 627 – 630 (12 February 2004); doi:10.1038/nature02291.Anybody see evolution here? The first bugs are already bugs. The authors make a valiant attempt to fit these into some kind of evolving lineage, but the discussion is all inference based on guesswork. A set of disconnected links does not comprise a chain.(Visited 23 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest This week last year versus this year:Corn futures:2017 — $3.702016 — $3.65Carryout2017 — 2.3 billion bushels2016 — 1.7 billion bushelsSomething doesn’t add up.Basis has continued to slide lower and lower. Values are about 20 cents less than last year at this time, possibly adjusting to the irrational futures prices.Another survey showed U.S. farmers plan to plant significantly more beans than corn in 2017. Acre estimates show corn and beans may be around 90.5 million each. If this happens, it would be a 4 million corn-acre reduction and a 6 million bean-acre increase.Many “experts” say farmers “love” to plant corn and these estimates just won’t happen. I don’t think these “experts” have run the numbers, because farmers can pretty much guarantee a profit growing beans, while corn is shaky. Corn on corn farmers may be in the red at current price levels.Personally, I think farmers will run the numbers and bean acres will increase next year. What does that mean for the markets going forward?That is the billion dollar question. Weather through the summer and then yield at harvest will have the biggest impact.While weather its unpredictable, widespread severe weather is unlikely. For instance, widespread severe droughts have only happened seven out of the last 30 years (22%).Similar to weather, widespread severely low yields are unlikely:66% — Corn yield is at or above trend line12% — Corn yield is slightly under trend line22% — Corn yield is significantly below trend line.If carryout and demand remain steady, the market may have some good upside potential if:Trend line yields with reduced corn acres would put carryout under 1.6 billion (lowest since 2013). This could mean $4.50 futures.Trend line yield with “expert” estimated acres would put carryout near 1.9 billion. This would make $4.50 more difficult without a major weather issue. What about beans?While South American production is still unknown, it looks favorable. The U.S. needs to plant over 87 million acres to maintain current stocks. A 90 million acre crop with trend line yields (i.e. 46 bushels per acre) would likely mean a small carryout increase and make a rally difficult.While bean prices will continue to be volatile, the corn/bean ratio will likely keep bean prices from falling too far. For example, if corn trades at $4.25 this fall, even with the lowest ratio in the last five years, beans would still trade above $8.Experts can try to predict the market, but no one knows for sure. Don’t get too caught up in all the talk. The experts don’t know what’s going to happen in the future any more than you do. All farmers can really do is have a marketing plan in place and price goals ready. I already have orders placed for 70% of my 2017 production. I always want the market to rally and when it does, I’ll take advantage. Bottom line, I want to be profitable every single year. Jon grew up raising corn and soybeans on a farm near Beatrice, NE. Upon graduation from The University of Nebraska in Lincoln, he became a grain merchandiser and has been trading corn, soybeans and other grains for the last 18 years, building relationships with end-users in the process. After successfully marketing his father’s grain and getting his MBA, 10 years ago he started helping farmer clients market their grain based upon his principals of farmer education, reducing risk, understanding storage potential and using basis strategy to maximize individual farm operation profits. A big believer in farmer education of futures trading, Jon writes a weekly commentary to farmers interested in learning more and growing their farm operations.Trading of futures, options, swaps and other derivatives is risky and is not suitable for all persons. 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While our homes and cars get most of the attention relative to energy savings, our materials stream also has a huge impact on energy use. Nationally, the U.S. generates about 236 million tons of municipal solid waste each year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That works out to about 4 pounds of waste for every American every day.Recycling our waste saves a lot of energy. Just how much depends on the material. With very energy-intensive materials, like aluminum, carpeting, and copper, a phenomenal amount of energy is saved because the new materials take so much energy to produce. Recycling just one ton of aluminum cans saves 209 million British Thermal Units (Btu), according to EPA; with 5.8 million Btu in a barrel of crude oil, that’s equivalent to 36 barrels of oil.Here’s how much energy is conserved from recycling one ton of various other materials according to the same 2005 EPA report: carpeting–106 million Btu (18 barrels of crude oil); copper wire–83.1 million Btu (14 barrels); high-density polyethylene milk jugs–51.4 million Btu (8.9 barrels); steel cans–20.5 million Btu (3.5 barrels); newspaper–16.9 million Btu (2.9 barrels); and glass–2.7 million Btu (0.47 barrels).Nationally, our recycling rate is 30.6% (it’s about 17% in Brattleboro, Vermont), and that recycling saves the country roughly 1.5 quads of energy per year, according to the report (one quad is equal to one quadrillion or thousand-trillion Btus), or about 1.5% of our nation’s total annual energy consumption. Boosting the national recycling rate to 35% would increase the total savings by another 0.23 quads–an amount equivalent to nearly 41 million barrels of crude oil. That’s over ten times the highest estimate of the amount of oil that has entered the Gulf of Mexico from BP’s Deepwater Horizon spill during the last two months–not an insignificant amount of energy savings!Recycling not only saves energy, it also preserves natural resources and reduces pollution. A ton of virgin paper requires about 20 trees, and Americans use, on average, 730 pounds of paper (about a third of a ton) per year. Virgin aluminum is made from bauxite, much of which is mined in ecologically fragile regions, such as Brazil’s rainforests. Copper is produced from deep, open-pit mines around the world that create some of the worst water pollution anywhere. The processing of all these materials generates huge quantities of air pollution.The easiest way to encourage recycling is to make it economically attractive to do so, and the easiest way to do that is to charge people for throwing away trash. That’s the intent of pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) municipal waste programs, such as the program being considered for Brattleboro. When we pay a flat fee for trash collection, we don’t have an incentive to generate less trash and recycle more.Paying a flat fee for trash pick-up (whether that fee is hidden in property taxes, like in Brattleboro, or paid directly) is sort of like paying a flat fee for heat. Think about it. If I didn’t pay more when I use more heating oil, I wouldn’t have a financial incentive to tighten up my house or use a setback thermostat at night. That’s the fundamental flaw with standard trash collection; we don’t have any incentive to produce less.Putting market forces to work with PAYT would not only increase recycling rates, but it might also encourage us to buy stuff with less packaging and to avoid throw-away paper plates and plastic utensils. It’s great when people want to save energy because it’s the right thing to do (helping the environment, reducing our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, etc.), but to change the habits of a lot of people we need to make it economically attractive to do so. That’s why PAYT makes so much sense. Establish a price for waste generation, and let market forces change our habits.I invite you to share comments on this blog. Any experience to share on how PAYT works in your community?Alex Wilson is the executive editor of Environmental Building News and founder of BuildingGreen, LLC. To keep up with his latest articles and musings, you can sign up for his Twitter feeds.
I can’t blame the installers; they are just trying to make a living, and it’s not fun work. The insulation contractors get away with deficient work because most general contractors don’t call them on it, and on the rare occasion that they do have to come back and rework a job, they probably just absorb the costs (or make their installers redo it on their own time) and go back to doing the same poor-quality work on the next job. If installers were paid a fair wage to do a high-quality installation, we would have better-performing buildings and, ultimately, happier clients. But in an ever more competitive construction environment, this is not likely to become a mainstream practice anytime soon.Can we outlaw a product?In our free society, it is tough to make something illegal—unless, of course, it makes someone happy; then someone, somewhere, will definitely want to stop people from using it. So, if we can’t make fiberglass batts illegal, maybe we can limit their use to trained contractors whose work is supervised and inspected regularly, and who are held accountable for the quality. That would probably raise the installed cost of the product, likely to a level at or above the generally superior blown-in materials.I actually don’t have a problem with batts as a product, but as an installed system, they rarely make the grade. I realize that there are some high-quality installers who are capable of doing an excellent job, but they are few and far between. We get what we pay for, and when we only pay bottom dollar for fiberglass batts, we get the performance we deserve. Unfortunately, the person who suffers is the homeowner who usually doesn’t know any better. OC Installation Brochure.pdf A significant amount of my work these days is certifying homes under one or more of the available green building programs in my area, including EarthCraft House, LEED, and the National Green Building Standard. Recently, I have inspected several homes that were insulated with fiberglass batts, and, not surprisingly, the quality of the installation was dismal. What I saw could have been an instruction manual on how not to insulate a house. Batts were cut 2 to 3 inches wider than the stud spacing and crammed into the cavities. Not a single batt was split around a wire or pipe, nor were they cut around electrical boxes. Air barriers everywhere were missing. In most cases, the contractor used batts because the homeowners were unwilling to pay the extra cost of a blown-in product, and the contractor was unwilling to absorb the cost of the upgrade.What about just doing the job right?I have contended for a while now that even though fiberglass batts are definitely very cheap, like most things, you get what you pay for. Unfortunately, most insulation contractors pay their installers by the square foot, regardless of the quality, and they just blow through their jobs, cramming in batts as fast as they can, ignoring building codes and manufacturer’s instructions as they go. RELATED ARTICLES Batt Insulation is Still Making Me BattyInstalling Fiberglass RightGrading the Installation Quality of InsulationGBA Encyclopedia: Batt and Blanket Insulation
Image: Phantom 4 via DJIHobbyist Flight RulesFly at or below 400 feetKeep the UAS (Drone) in visual line-of-sight at all timesKnow the airspace requirements of your locationDaylight-only operations (30 minutes before official sunrise to 30 minutes after official sunset)Do NOT fly near airportsDo NOT fly near other aircraftDo NOT fly over crowds of peopleDo NOT fly over stadiums or sporting eventsDo NOT fly near emergency response effortsDo NOT fly under the influenceDo NOT fly at speeds at or over 100mphNo operations from a moving aircraftNo operations from a moving vehicle, unless the operation is over a sparsely populated areaNo careless or reckless operationsNo carriage of hazardous materialsImage via ShutterstockCommercial Flight and UAS Remote Pilot CertificationIf you intend to sell your aerial photos and footage, you fall under commercial use of an aircraft. While the rules and guidelines are similar to hobbyists, commercial use requires a Small UAS Remote Pilot Certification. Essentially, this is a much lower level of a pilot’s license, similar to a driving permit versus a driver’s license. At around $150 for testing, it’s much cheaper than a pilot’s license too.For those familiar with Section 333 Exemptions, that convoluted process is no longer necessary for drones under 55lbs. If your aircraft weighs more than 55lbs, you will need both a UAS Remote Pilot Certification and a Section 333 Exemption.Image via FAARequirements for UAS Remote Pilot CertificationMust be 16 years of age or olderAble to read, speak, write, and understand EnglishBe in a physical and mental condition to safely operate a small UASMust pass an Aeronautical Knowledge Test at an FAA-approved testing center (every two years)Must undergo a Transportation Safety Administration TSA background security checkFile FAA Form 8710-13 for a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating through the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) UAS WaiversIf your drone operations don’t meet the new standards, you can apply for a waiver from the FAA. Waivers could permit you to fly at night, beyond visual line-of-sight, or above the 400ft ceiling. The FAA has confirmed that they have already processed 76 waivers within the first days of the new regulations. Processing time depends on the complexity of the request — however, the agency strives to respond within 90 days. You can read more about UAS waivers here.Have you gone through the FAA certification process? Share your experience in the comments below. Fly your drone for commercial use with the FAA’s new Remote Pilot Certificate. Here’s everything you need to know about the new process.Top image via ShutterstockCommercial drone use is now officially FAA official. That’s right, it’s now legal to fly your drone for commercial use in the United States. The Federal Aviation Administration has released the steps to attaining a UAS Remote Pilot Certification as well as any additional commercial waivers.For those solely flying for hobbyist recreation, the pilot certification is not required. However, all pilots must register their Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems with the FAA. All aircraft weighing over 0.55 lbs must be registered and tagged with its registration number. It’s a simple online process that costs $5. If you want to fly outside of the US, or if your aircraft weighs more that 55 lbs, you must use the paper registration form.Hobbyist UAS FlightGIF via FAAIf you have no intention to ever sell your footage or photos, the use of your UAS falls under the hobbyist category. This allows you to fly your aircraft for fun. Hobbyists can still upload and share their footage online to sites like YouTube and Vimeo. For filmmakers wanting to make a short film, they may fall under hobbyist use if there are no financial gains. They must be made not for profit.Hobbyist pilots must be a U.S. Citizen or legal permanent resident over the age of 13.Registering Hobbyist AircraftFor US-based flights with aircraft weighing 0.55-55 lbs (250 grams-25 kilograms), you can register your aircraft online.Go to registermyuas.faa.govClick RegisterCreate an Account (Must be 13 years or older)Select Model AircraftEnter your personal information, click Proceed to CheckoutEnter your payment information for the $5 Fee, click SubmitPrint a copy of your certificate for your recordsWrite the Registration Number on the body of your UAS (Drone) Take the Free FAA Part 107 Course and Aeronautical Knowledge Practice Test (create an FAA account to view)Register and take the Aeronautical Knowledge Test at a Nearby FAA-approved testing facilityPass the 60-question multiple choice Aeronautical Knowledge Test with a minimum score of 70%Complete FAA Form 8710-13 for a Remote Pilot Certificate using the FAA IACRA system.Register with the FAA IACRALogin with username and passwordClick on Start New ApplicationApplication type — PilotCertifications — Remote PilotOther path informationStart application Steps to Pass the Aeronautical Knowledge TestRead and study the following documents:Airman Certification StandardsRemote Pilot Knowledge Test GuideRemote Pilot Small UAS Study GuidePilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical KnowledgePart 107 Advisory CircularAlternatively, you can supplement your studies with the Drone Pilot (UAS) Test Prep App iOS ($39.99) | Android ($49.99) Sign the application electronically and submitWait 6-8 weeks for processingRepeat the test after two years Follow application promptsEnter the 17-digit Knowledge Test Exam ID