Author Archive: Martha Lee

Central bankers face political shocks, and hope to avoid the worst

Central bankers face political shocks, and hope to avoid the worst

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. (Reuters) – Global central bank chiefs know their job is to keep the economy out of the ditch.

FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney chat during the three-day “Challenges for Monetary Policy” conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, U.S., August 23, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Crosby

What became clear at the U.S. Federal Reserve’s central banking conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, over the past couple of days is that not only do other people hold the wheel, some seem intent on steering toward trouble.

“We are experiencing a series of major political shocks; we saw another example of that yesterday,” Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe said on Saturday, a day after China and the United States slapped more tariffs on each other’s goods and U.S. President Donald Trump called on American companies to shut down their operations in the Asian nation.

As those political shocks slow growth, Lowe said in a panel discussion, “there is a strongly-held view that the central bank should just fix the problem … The reality is much more complicated,” and not something monetary policy can likely repair.

His comments spoke to an uncomfortable truth that hovered over an annual symposium where the mountain backdrop and two days of technical debate often seem distant from the world of realpolitik. Even as central bankers and economists referred to the deep connections that now tie the world’s economies together, a U.S.-driven trade war seemed to be driving them apart and raising the specter of a broad global downturn.

Worse, it’s a downturn none of the central bankers seemed confident about how to fight – coming not from a business- or financial-cycle meltdown that they have a playbook to combat, but from political choices that threaten to crater business confidence.

If that’s the problem, Lowe and others said, lower interest rates – something demanded by Trump to get an upper hand in the trade war with China – will do little to help.

“The problem is in the president of the United States,” former Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer said at a lunch event on Friday. “How the system is going to get around some of the sorts of things that have been done lately, including trying to destroy the global trading system, is very unclear. I have no idea how to deal with this.”

It was a rare calling out of Trump, though his presence infused other remarks. Fed Chair Jerome Powell, handpicked by Trump to run the central bank but now an object of the president’s ire, noted in his opening speech that the Fed had no chartbook for building a new global trading system.

‘LAST MOMENT’

Central banks have asked politicians for years to use fiscal policy more constructively and address structural problems plaguing economies.

What they’ve gotten instead is a fast multiplying set of risks, with the U.S.-China trade war at the epicenter but also including the possibility of a disruptive British exit from the European Union, an economic slowdown in Germany, a political collapse in Italy, rising political tensions in Hong Kong, and longstanding international institutions and agreements under pressure.

European Council President Donald Tusk described this weekend’s G7 leaders summit in the French seaside resort of Biarritz as a “last moment” for its members – the United States, Britain, Germany, Japan, France, Italy and Canada – to restore unity.

Amidst all the tumult, and with interest rates across the globe already lower than they’ve been historically, monetary policy may be no match.

“There is not that much policy space and there are material risks at the moment that we all are trying to manage,” Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said here on Friday.

Small countries like Sweden and Turkey, buffeted by volatile capital flows as central banks worldwide cut rates, are now struggling to deal with the possibility that the global trading order may be changing for good.

Meanwhile, large nations worry they will slip into a rut that may be hard to escape.

For the U.S. central bank, if trade uncertainty drives down business investment and starts to hurt consumer spending, it may find itself cutting rates back to zero with the economy still muddling along, forcing Powell and his fellow policymakers to weigh whether to restart crisis-era tools even outside a crisis or recession.

“There’s only so much a monetary policy action can do,” Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester told Reuters on the sidelines of the conference on Saturday. “You have to recognize that the U.S. economy is affected by what’s going on in the rest of the world … I do worry about this whole undermining of institutions globally.”

In a development that has cheered some policymakers, Germany has signaled it may deliver some fiscal stimulus to offset a manufacturing slump. But with the European Central Bank signaling it too is ready to battle slowing growth by easing policy further, Powell’s Fed may be forced to act despite its desire to stay above the day-to-day fray of changing trade policy.

“You need to respect that we are part of the global economy; the global economy is slowing, other central banks are easing, and they are responding to a common global slowdown,” Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida said on Friday.

“What monetary policy can do is to use its tools to do the best it can to keep the economy close to full employment and stable inflation; depending upon the shock hitting the economy and depending upon the response to that shock, the insulation may not be perfect,” Clarida said.

Reporting by Ann Saphir and Howard Schneider; Editing by Paul Simao

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Selling Your Cannabis Business? Here’s What You Need to Know.

Selling Your Cannabis Business? Here’s What You Need to Know.

When preparing to sell your business, it’s important to be realistic and understand how valuations are determined

Is your business special? Sure it is! Just like a homeowner who puts his or her house on the market and expects that it will achieve a premium value because it is “special,” almost every business owner thinks their business should achieve a multiple of value in excess of the averages being paid. That’s not necessarily a bad position to hold; it shows that you, the owner, take great pride in what you’ve achieved over many years of hard work building up the business. That said, in preparation for the sale of your business, it is important to understand the valuation process and have a realistic expectation of the valuation range.

Valuations

What’s realistic? You can readily secure a valuation range from the investment banking firm representing you in the sale of your company. (The investment banker may also be referred to as a “broker,” an “IB,” a “sell-side rep,” or an “M&A advisory.”) But that investment banking firm really should understand the idiosyncrasies of the cannabis-related business sectors. It’s important that your investment banker demonstrates that expertise, along with the normal and traditional practices required to get any deal done. For instance, when researching valuations, if your investment banker pulls down values for pharmaceutical testing labs, when he should have looked specifically at cannabis testing labs, that error could result in you leaving a substantial sum of money on the table. That’s because these two types of companies may be selling at different multiples of earnings. Even small errors in valuation estimates can have dramatic effects on the company value obtained in a sale.

There are databases available to investment bankers and brokers that show the actual valuations of businesses similar to yours that have recently sold. Since M&A activity in the cannabis business is relatively new, note that your M&A advisor may have to triangulate deals done in closely related industries until the valuation data builds up.

Knowing the average valuation range being paid for businesses like yours is a critical initial step, but it represents an average and not necessarily what you will get in terms of valuation for your business. Whether you receive offers above or below the average valuation range will all depend on factors beyond just the financial performance of your business.

Here’s a list of some of these factors:

– Market strength at the time of sale: Is your sub-sector within the cannabis market strong? Are the long- and short-term prospects for your sub-sector strong? That will have a direct impact on the valuations paid for your business. Make no mistake, the acquirer’s analysts will spare little expense to precisely determine those prospects. Other factors that affect valuations include interest rates, material costs, the cost of labor, the cost of health care and pension programs and even the cost of fuel or utilities.

– Strength of the management team: A buyer of your business will very likely want to keep the team in place that made the company as strong as it is today. If you have a strong “bench” of management talent, and they’re willing to stay with the company after the sale, that will heighten the value of your business. If you have a leadership team that is going to vacate their offices as soon as the transaction is complete, that will devalue your business, at least equal to the replacement costs of that missing talent. Good management, solid succession planning and leadership continuity invariably lead to a higher price paid for your company.

– Market position and competitive landscape: If your business is in a crowded market and you are fiercely competing for new clients — and/or fiercely competing to keep legacy clients — this will cause a downward pressure on your valuation. A buyer will look at where you are in the competitive landscape and determine your relative strengths against other businesses in your region or those that compete with you. A solid market position or a dominant presence in a competitive landscape will help you achieve the highest value possible.

– Product mix and services: If your product or services mix is overly concentrated in one area, that lack of diversity may not attract a shrewd buyer. Buyers like to see a balanced mix of products and services to show that the company is diversified, thereby lowering risks. If you have a good mix, it demonstrates that you have managed your company well and this should be reflected in a high valuation.

– Customer concentration: If you have one customer who accounts for more than 10% of your business, or one customer whose loss would affect earnings in a meaningful and negative way, a buyer will devalue your business accordingly. A diverse customer base is essential to a good valuation.

– Asset quality: The quality of the assets being sold will impact the multiple on your earnings. A company that has driven up its earnings by foregoing maintenance (on building, land or equipment), shorting inventory or undermining the strength of its management team with non-market-rate salaries is not going to be as attractive as a company that takes care of its equipment, its inventory and its employees.

– Quality of earnings: Are your earnings sustainable? Is a meaningful amount of your business predictably repeating? Or was a great recent year a “sugar high” of earnings, which is unlikely to repeat? Non-repeating business is more expensive to obtain than repeat business, and that’s something that will be examined in detail by a buyer.

The M&A Process

Selling your business is a one-time event and one of the most important business decisions that you will make. The execution of the sale of your business must be done with the utmost professionalism if you are to optimize its value. That process typically starts with an M&A advisory firm preparing an “informational memorandum” that builds a narrative around your business and explains the various financial declarations that it contains. (The informational memorandum is also called an “IM.” Some people call it an OM for offering memorandum, while others call it a “deal book.”)

In addition to presenting and describing your financials, leadership profiles and competitive landscape, among other aspects of your business, the informational memorandum should tell a powerful story about your company, its history and its culture. Done well, the informational memorandum should not only be well written, but look good graphically as well.

As the preparation process is completed and outreach is made to the broadest possible community of buyers, the M&A advisory firm should extract a premium valuation (with acceptable terms and conditions) through a controlled auction to a group of serious and pre-qualified buyers. Under this controlled auction approach, in a process entirely managed by your M&A advisory firm, buyers privately bid against one another for your business, while you decide what is the best offer, based on your sales objective.

Your M&A advisory firm should identify all potential qualified acquirers (or targets) who may have an interest in acquiring your business. It is not unusual for the list of potential targets to number in the hundreds or even thousands. There are databases that tell which strategic and financials buyers have been active in your sector, and your M&A advisor should have access to these resources.

In addition to the informational memorandum, your M&A advisory firm should prepare a one-page “teaser” that is initially sent to each of the targets. The teaser summarizes your business and lists recent financial performance without actually naming your business. Many targets will try to guess who you are, but the teaser is designed to reveal basic financial performance and the industry sector, hoping to get targets interested in seeing the full informational memorandum.

Confidentiality agreements are sent along with the “teaser” by the M&A advisory firm. No informational memorandums should be sent until the confidentiality agreements are signed.

Note that, as a seller, you have veto power over who gets to see the teaser. So carefully review the outreach list ahead of time.

Once everything is in place, outreach is made, usually via email, and your business goes to market.

Getting Started

Surrounding yourself with a strong advisory team to manage the sales process is critical to achieving your sales objective, and that team allows you to run your business during the sales process.

In addition to an accountant who can generate the reports and financial documentation required of a sale, here are two key components to put in place as you go to market:

– An M&A advisory firm (your investment banker) that really understands your business and the cannabis market. The M&A advisory firm should have the staff to prepare and execute the methodology and steps that have been described. M&A advisory is not done well by a one-person operation. Look for a firm that has executed a substantial number of high-value deals, in and out of cannabis.

– A transaction attorney who specializes in M&A transactions and can handle the letters of intent and sales agreements (also known as the asset purchase agreement or definitive purchase agreement) once you decide on the winning acquirer. An attorney with specialized knowledge of the cannabis businesses is essential, given today’s highly regulatory environment, and how regulations can vary state by state. Do not use the lawyer who drafted your will or reviewed your real estate lease. The legal practice of M&A transactions is a specialty practice.

There is no more exciting time in the life of the business owner than when he or she can sell a business for meaningful profit after many years of building the business value. The cost of hiring an M&A advisor is a small price to pay to prepare your business for sale, to make it as attractive as possible to a potential buyer, to maximize the value obtained and to allow you to run your business successfully during the process.

This article is adopted from the book M&A Basics For Cannabis & Hemp Companies: A Company Owner’s Guide to Key Deal Elements & Common Practices of Mergers & Acquisitions, by John D. Wagner and Carl Craig, Ph.D. The book is available from Amazon. For more information, visit www.1stWestMA.com. Wagner can be reached at [email protected].

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Hanna Boutique Hotel / Persian Garden Studio

Hanna Boutique Hotel / Persian Garden Studio

Hanna Boutique Hotel / Persian Garden Studio

Hanna Boutique Hotel / Persian Garden Studio, © Afshin Ghaderpanah

© Afshin Ghaderpanah


© Afshin Ghaderpanah


© Afshin Ghaderpanah


© Afshin Ghaderpanah


© Afshin Ghaderpanah






+ 62



  • Architects

  • Location

  • Category

  • Lead Architects

    Mahsa Majidi

  • Design Team

    Anousheh Ahmadi, Danial Akhavian, Pantea Parhami, Naeime Beigi, Mehdi Nikkhah, Mina Nabavi, Peyman Tajik

  • Area

    1200.0 m2

  • Project Year

    2018

  • Photographs


© Afshin Ghaderpanah

© Afshin Ghaderpanah

Text description provided by the architects. Around 90-years ago, six buildings were constructed in the center of Tehran, creating its one and only symmetrical street. These remaining structures on Lolagar Alley are some of the best examples of architecture from the First Pahlavi era, a time when modern architecture was beginning to appear in Tehran. Initially all six of these buildings were residential, but over time, like many other buildings in downtown Tehran, they were left unoccupied. Hanna Project, which includes a hotel, restaurant, gallery, and multipurpose spaces, was designed in one of these buildings, with the intention of bringing life back to Lolagar Alley and Tehran’s city center.


© Afshin Ghaderpanah

© Afshin Ghaderpanah


© Afshin Ghaderpanah

© Afshin Ghaderpanah


© Afshin Ghaderpanah

© Afshin Ghaderpanah

Part of the design intention was to reconnect the building to Lolagar Alley, but this time with more occupants. As such, new layers were designed around the building and in deference to the original structure, it invite users to move around and inside this historic building.


© Afshin Ghaderpanah

© Afshin Ghaderpanah


Diagram

Diagram


© Afshin Ghaderpanah

© Afshin Ghaderpanah

With their simple forms and muted colors, these new volumes accommodate some of the building’s new functions, while also putting the user in contact with the building at different heights and from different perspectives. The new pathway they create gives variety of circulation paths around the building. These new layers are constructed using contemporary material, and while they contrast the building’s original material, they attempt to remain subtle and less seen. The juxtaposition of new and old layers presents its occupants with the building’s history as well as efforts for its restoration.


© Afshin Ghaderpanah

© Afshin Ghaderpanah


Plans

Plans


© Afshin Ghaderpanah

© Afshin Ghaderpanah

The new volumes create the project’s garden, recessed courtyard, part of the restaurant, and gallery. These new layers also seep inside the original building, bringing new functions inside, while maintaining its original layers and structure. An added neutral volume on the east elevation is used to house the hotel bathrooms, and rises to the roof to create the hotel’s multi-purpose space. This space provides a panoramic view of the surrounding areas, while remaining hidden from street level. In the extensions construction metal frames were added to reduce the boundary between inside and outside. These frames define the gallery entrance, and make the border between the gallery and Lolagar Alley transparent. These frames are also used on the building’s façade to provide more light and views to the hotel guests.


© Afshin Ghaderpanah

© Afshin Ghaderpanah


Sections

Sections


© Afshin Ghaderpanah

© Afshin Ghaderpanah

Because the building was left unoccupied over the years, there was much damage to its structure, which made its structural reinforcement quite complex. Concrete walls and continuous concrete slabs, columns, and metal trusses were added to reinforce the existing structure.


© Afshin Ghaderpanah

© Afshin Ghaderpanah

The concrete slabs serve a structural purpose and are also the finished interior flooring material. Shear walls and metal structures are also left exposed to familiarize the building’s visitors with its renovation process.


© Afshin Ghaderpanah

© Afshin Ghaderpanah

Hanna project attempted to return people to the center of Tehran, and reacquaint them with abandoned buildings. New added layers that are a product of their time, help the building accommodate users now and in the future, while also displaying the glory of its historic architecture.


© Afshin Ghaderpanah

© Afshin Ghaderpanah

View the complete gallery

Project location

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.

Cite: “Hanna Boutique Hotel / Persian Garden Studio” 02 Aug 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed .

想阅读文章的中文版本吗?

© Afshin Ghaderpanah

Hanna 精品酒店,源自巴列维王朝时期的建筑改造 / Persian Garden Studio


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Xizhou Li’s Residence / Studio MOR

Xizhou Li’s Residence / Studio MOR

Xizhou Li’s Residence / Studio MOR

Xizhou Li's Residence / Studio MOR, © Yan Zhang

© Yan Zhang


© Yan Zhang


© Yan Zhang


© Yan Zhang


© Yan Zhang






+ 26



  • Architects

  • Location

    Xizhou, Xiangshan, Zhejiang Province, China

  • Category

  • Lead Architect

    Le Li

  • Client

    Anjun Li, Shixiang Zhou

  • Area

    258.0 m2

  • Project Year

    2017

  • Photographs

  • Manufacturers

    Loading…


    © Yan Zhang

    © Yan Zhang

    Text description provided by the architects. The site is located near the main intersection of Xizhou Town; right in front of a triangle-shaped park attached to a small parking lot. There are village roads on the north and south side of the house, neighbor’s building on the east side, and open space on the west. The open space on the west side interestingly formed a semi-public courtyard with a well in the center, where villagers often drop by to do their daily washing.


    © Yan Zhang

    © Yan Zhang


    © Yan Zhang

    © Yan Zhang

    The building is not only designed for residential use, but also includes the function of a Laundry Shop that my family has run for years. The Laundry Shop is on the north side of the ground flooring, facing the triangle-shaped park. You can get a clear view of the façade and its structure from the park in front. The west and south side of the house are both receded from the boundary. The receded gray space is filled with garden and a balcony, to create a gentle interaction with the neighbors.


    © Yan Zhang

    © Yan Zhang


    Section A

    Section A

    Kitchen and foyer are located on the ground floor to form a casual gathering place for both the family and visitors from the neighborhood. Living room, tea room, and balcony/garden are interconnected as a large open space on the 2nd floor. Settle changes are applied on both the ceiling height and floor level to imply the change of function and compose a sense of ambiguity. Space becomes more private towards the top floor, where guestroom and bedrooms are located.


    © Yan Zhang

    © Yan Zhang

    The use of material also embodies a sense of ambiguity; white paint, brick walls, various marble stones, Corian, matte and polished tiles, mosaic tiles, bluestone slabs, metal plates, and aluminum; all in different textures. Wood material selection are, Walnut, Cherry, Lapacho, Fir, Pine, etc; different finish colors but similar texture. There are few metal objects placed throughout the house to enhance a paradoxical state; such as: railings, lightings and handles.


    © Yutian Zhang

    © Yutian Zhang


    © Yan Zhang

    © Yan Zhang

    For this particular project, all contractors are sourced locally to ensure that they can apply familiar skills, on the other hand they can also practice various construction skills at the same location to enhance diversity and inclusiveness.


    © Yan Zhang

    © Yan Zhang

    View the complete gallery

    Project location

    Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.

    Cite: “Xizhou Li’s Residence / Studio MOR” 28 Jul 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed .

    想阅读文章的中文版本吗?

    © Yan Zhang

    西周李宅 / Studio MOR


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    aulets arquitectes restores mallorca heritage building for the study of wine

    aulets arquitectes restores mallorca heritage building for the study of wine

    aulets arquitectes presents the restoration of a derelict heritage building in felanitx, mallorca, programed for the science and study of wine. the new ‘felanitx oenological station,’ occupies a former residence dating back to the early twentieth century. the proposal is defined by three actions: to make use of the pre-existing structure in a way that showcases the original structural elements and materials, to work with local builders and craftsmen, and to contextualize the building within the world of wine. the inception of the project comprised of the preservation of the salvageable elements, such as masonry walls, the stairs, both the interior and exterior handrails and an original concrete basin. these elements served as a foundation which defined and configured the interior, characterized by expressive brickwork, without alteration nor the addition of elements that undermine them.

    aulets felanitx wine

    all images by josé hevia

    in the design of the felanitx oenological wine station, aulets arquitectes integrated materials which serve to reinforce the presence of the pre-existing ruin. the exterior facades together with interior door and window thresholds are finished in a locally sourced lime mortar, reflective of the original rough stone surfaces. a new concrete slab and wooden roof are supported by the thick masonry walls. ceramic thermal blocks with integrated bottle racks generate new vertical elements, such as the elevator shafts, bathroom, and furniture elements. the roof is both ventilated and insulated with a thick sheet of cork, allowing the building a good performance in response to the demands of the extreme climate conditions in summer and winter. the project makes use of recycled and modified materials, such as the original windows.

    aulets felanitx wine

    the felanitx building originally housed a vineyard in its rear yard which was used to study the attributes of the different varieties of grapes and wine. the intervention aims to express the recovery of the site’s oenological origins with the reintroduction of a small vineyard surrounding the building, generating a wine-making landscape both inside and out. the entry of the building is situated beneath a metal pergola made of the same rebar material as the framework of the vineyards. this metallic structure penetrates the building as a framing for hanging light fixtures. to achieve this effect the concrete beams are installed upside down, exposing this metallic latticework in a way that allows the lights — and vines — to hang. the design team comments on the detail: ‘suddenly the vineyard floor is under the building’s roof.’

    aulets felanitx wine aulets felanitx wine aulets felanitx wine aulets felanitx wine aulets felanitx wine aulets felanitx wine aulets felanitx wine aulets felanitx wine aulets felanitx wine aulets felanitx wine aulets felanitx wine aulets felanitx wine

    project info:

    project name: reform of oenological station

    architecture: aulets arquitectes

    location: felanitx, mallorca, españa

    structural engineer: alfons romero

    client: ajuntament de felanitx

    collaborators: ernest bordoy, lluis martorell

    construction: construcciones marín

    built area: 230 m2

    project date: 2017

    photography: josé hevia

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    GitHub intern project: Building courses on full stack development

    GitHub intern project: Building courses on full stack development

    The GitHub Internship Program welcomes its summer 2019 students as we celebrate four years. After 5,000 applicants and a tremendous amount of planning, our interns are here and ready to tell you about their experiences with all things GitHub. In this blog series, students share their insight about using the GitHub Student Developer Pack, working with GitHub Learning Lab, and more. Check out the series and come back for more intern posts.


    Parth Shah is a student at UC Berkeley, a teacher of computer science in the East Bay, and the recipient of the 2018 National Student Teacher of the Year award. In this post, Parth details his experience with building a learning pathway for full stack development for Learning Lab as part of his course architect internship at GitHub.

    From learning to teaching computer science

    In college, I realized that I wanted to do more than learn computer science—I also wanted to teach it. I completed a teaching credential program that allowed me to teach part-time at high schools in the East Bay. That teaching experience directly inspired my intern project. This summer, I wanted to build courses that would help learners understand the basics of full stack development, give them employable skills, and allow them to better engage with the GitHub platform. 

    From my own college experience, I know that many students are interested in learning about web development. Front-end and back-end development are usually taught separately, and I wanted to develop an end-to-end curriculum that would cover both types of material. As a result, I decided to build a full stack development learning path consisting of two courses, one on React and the other on Express and PostgreSQL. In these courses, students learn the material and then apply their newfound knowledge by building a full stack project from front to back. Building these courses was also the perfect way for me to try out the new course builder UI.

    Building a learning pathway for full stack development

    After determining the material I wanted to cover, I had to learn about my target audience. From meeting with members of the Education Team and Campus Experts, I decided that the audience for my courses should be those with basic coding experience. Since a majority of full stack courses are geared towards new learners, I wanted to fulfill a need that wasn’t being adequately met. 

    To create both courses, I used the new course builder. The course builder made it easy for me to choose what actions I should take when the learner does something in my course. I also used it to validate my config.yaml file, which saved a lot of time. It was a really great experience to be one of the first testers of the course builder and to provide feedback to improve the course authoring experience.

    GitHub Learning Lab is structured around project-based learning, so I needed to create a project for students to build. I decided that the end goal of the courses would be for the students to build a single page gradebook web application. They would need to create functionality to add assignments, students, and grades. This application was simple, but it also addressed many important learning standards. I wanted to challenge the learner, but at the same time, I didn’t want to discourage them. In the React course, students would create the entire frontend, while the Express and PostgreSQL courses would teach them to create the API and add a database.

    While building the courses, I also had to consider the different ways a student might make an error. Since I wouldn’t be interacting with these students face-to-face to help them debug, I had to figure out how to best integrate feedback into the course so anyone could move on, even if they made a mistake. In my own classroom experience, visualization has been a great tool in providing clarity to my students, and I applied that to the courses I made for Learning Lab by including clear visuals and concrete explanations of concepts. 

    Takeaways from the summer

    This summer, I gained new insight into developer education. I was able to witness firsthand how education technology like Learning Lab can benefit people who have never coded before and also help students and developers who are continuing to learn how to code. 

    This internship also helped me further hone my abilities as an educator. By building courses on Learning Lab and working with fellow GitHub Team members, I learned how to create a course that flows smoothly and naturally. In the past, I’ve worked on creating a curriculum as a component of a course, but I’ve never had the opportunity to design a full course flow. As I continue to build new courses in the future, I can apply the tools and knowledge I gained this summer to create engaging and interactive content that will hopefully make programming more accessible to students and new developers.

    Get started with Learning Lab

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    Moon 2069: lunar tourism and deep space launches a century on from Apollo? – MENAFN.COM

    Moon 2069: lunar tourism and deep space launches a century on from Apollo? – MENAFN.COM

    (MENAFN – The Conversation) We’ve just celebrated the50th anniversary of the first moon landing , glorying in the achievements of three astronauts and the team of engineers and scientists behind them. From that perspective, we can look back and see what we have learned from the mission. But what if we take a giant leap forward in time and look back at the legacy of Apollo from 2069 – a century after the historic event?

    It was thanks to the rocks collected by the Apollo astronautsthat scientists could work outthe age of the moon, its evolutionary history and how the Earth and other planets evolved. Continued study of the samples, complemented with new information from orbiting spacecraft, also showed that the moon was not the dry and desiccated body we had thought.

    To the moon and beyond is a new podcast series from The Conversation marking the 50th anniversary of the moon landings and looking ahead to the future of space exploration and the moon’s place within it.Listen and subscribe here .






    Lunar rock.

    NASA/Arizona State University, Tom Story

    Rather, the moonhas abundant water reservoirs , stored as ice below its surface and in shadowed craters at the poles. There’s also water locked within specific minerals and absorbed into the lunar soil from impacts of tiny meteorites.

    This finding led to a resurgence in the idea of the moonas a starting pointfor exploration of the further reaches of the solar system. That’s because water can also be used as a fuel. If you separate the hydrogen and the oxygen that make up water, you can then let the two gases react with each other – this is essentially what goes on in a rocket engine. The oxygen can also be used to provide breathable air for astronauts, opening up new opportunities for habitation and long-distance space travel alike.

    But how do you extract these gases from water ice? The moon’s permanently shadowed regions are close to areas that are sunlit for more than 80% of the time. If the sunlight could be harvested using solar panels, sufficient energycould be generated for electrolysis– chemical decomposition splitting the extracted water into pure hydrogen and oxygen by passing an electric current through a liquid or solution.

    Current plans

    Today, discussions about lunar exploration have moved away from establishment of a permanent lunar base as a preliminary for extended exploration. Instead, there has been a significant advance in planning the construction of the Deep Space Gateway – a space station in orbit around the moon. This is aninternational projectbetween a number of different space agencies.

    Commercial companies are also playing an important role in this project, which is much more than an extension of the International Space Station. The spacecraft will be a hub of scientific and engineering activity. It will be serviced by theOrion moduleand will act as a test bed for astronauts preparing for longer duration missions, such as to Mars. Missions could also eventually be launched from there, saving money on fuel as the rockets won’t have to make it through the Earth’s enormous gravity.

    The experiments scientists could do there – such as monitoring the external environment of the moon, including radiation levels – would certainly help prepare us to send missions to Mars and beyond. And testing the physiology of astronauts in a low gravity environment would not only be of use for planning future space missions, but may also lead to the development of medical interventions to alleviate the effects of ageing.

    Different space agencies have separate visions for how lunar exploration could progress, with varying levels of detail published. NASA’s programme of lunar exploration is based on using the gateway to facilitate aregular series of visitsto the moon by astronauts. The European Space Agencyhas a similar set of objectivesand is working closely with Russia’s RosCosmos todrill at the lunar south poleand with Japan’s JAXAto return samplesfrom the moon.

    Resources available on the moon’s surface include metals from the lunar soil (especially titanium) and solar energy to provide power. This could eventually enable infrastructure to be built, allowing humans to create an actual lunar base soon – even though plans are now focussing on getting the gateway done first. One exciting possibility that is actively being explored is the idea of a lunar base built from modules that are3D printed on the lunar surfaceusing fuel extracted from the lunar soil as an energy source and building material.

    Most likely scenario

    Between 1969 and 1972, 12 men landed on the moon, spending, in total, just over three days exploring the lunar surface. They planted the flag of a single nation, collected rocks and undertook a few simple experiments. Between 2019 and 2069, what might we actually hope to see? A permanent, international lunar base on the moon’s surface, surrounded by flags of all the nations involved, would certainly be possible.


    Read more:

    How to build a moon base

    There would have to berefreshed space lawto make this possible though, including a specificLunar Treatyreinforcing the idea that only peaceful use of the moon is permitted, that international cooperation is paramount and commercial exploitation of resources forbidden. Currently, the legal framework iscontradictory and confusing .

    There would most likely be a changing roster of (male and female) astronauts of all nationalities in continuous occupation of this base. They would be not be ‘astronauts’ per se though. They would be scientists undertaking experiments and collecting data from instruments based on the moon (including the far side) as well as engineers designing, building and maintaining infrastructure for further exploration, plus ancillary support staff. A regular shuttle service would operate between the lunar surface and the Deep Space Gateway and also between Earth and the Deep Space Gateway, for personnel and resources.






    Lunar base concept.

    NASA

    It is likely that the tourist trade will be burgeoning, necessitating a transport infrastructure on the lunar surface, plus a hotel, with its attendant caterers, cleaners, tour guides and so forth.

    All this activity would require a spaceport, not just for transfers between the Earth and the moon, but also for spacecraft using the moon as a launchpad for exploring further afield. Indeed, by 2069, we could be seeing the start of regular journeys to Mars.

    This will be too late for me: by 2069, my travelling days will be over – I will be 111 years old. But maybe if the medical benefits from occupation of the moon are transferred into terrestrial health services, I might still be sufficiently alert to receive messages from my grandson and his family as they holiday on the moon.



      Moon

      Space tourism

      Space exploration

      50th anniversary of Moon landing

    MENAFN3107201901990000ID1098826990


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    NanShan B&B Hotel / Priestman Architects

    NanShan B&B Hotel / Priestman Architects

    NanShan B&B Hotel / Priestman Architects

    NanShan B&B Hotel / Priestman Architects, © Luyi Photograph

    © Luyi Photograph


    distant view. Image © Luyi Photograph


    facade. Image © Luyi Photograph


    interior. Image © Luyi Photograph


    guest room. Image © Luyi Photograph






    + 45



    • Architects

    • Location

      Nanshan, Chongqing, China

    • Category

    • Architect in Charge

      Matthew Priestman

    • Project Architects

      Michele Julieana Vaz, Zhiruo Ma

    • Design Team

      Haosu Xie, Jingting Zengwu, Kuiyu Gong, Junye Zhou, Liyuan Zhou

    • Structure

      Qiang Long

    • Area

      600.0 m2

    • Project Year

      2019

    • Photographs


    distant view. Image © Luyi Photograph

    distant view. Image © Luyi Photograph


    entrance. Image © Luyi Photograph

    entrance. Image © Luyi Photograph

    Text description provided by the architects. A gentle recluse, this six bedroom lodge nestles in the cool wooded hills of NanShan high above the heat of busy Chongqing City. The project, initiated by a group of Chongqing residents, builds on the rising demand for casual ‘MingSu’ culture and ‘slow life’ which is expanding as counterpoint to the Chinese 24/7 work pattern in fast-growing cities.


    facade. Image © Luyi Photograph

    facade. Image © Luyi Photograph


    rain scene. Image © Luyi Photograph

    rain scene. Image © Luyi Photograph

    Accessed by a winding path, the site is on steep and fertile terrain typical of Chongqing with fine views of unspoilt hills and indigenous forest, and has tall trees, abundant bamboo and small fields. Working closely with this special site, we have kept and adapted an original adobe farm house, rebuilt a newer building behind, added platforms and re-landscaped to create relaxing indoor and outdoor spaces. There are sitting rooms, small dining rooms, six diverse bedrooms, majong and activity rooms designed for families, groups of friends, individuals or quiet work.


    site plan

    site plan


    terrace. Image © Luyi Photograph

    terrace. Image © Luyi Photograph

    Working with views of nature has been our starting point; each of the spaces have distinct framed views out of the building to trees and hills beyond. Here is the timeless human condition where we are both immersed in nature outside and safely sheltered within. This condition is so beautifully expressed in the lonely pavilion in landscape so often found in classical Chinese painting. And it is also a primary phenomenon in architecture, where the porous boundary of the building touches its context. In this project the careful placing of openings is made both from an external view point and whilst considering internal uses.


    interior. Image © Luyi Photograph

    interior. Image © Luyi Photograph


    terrace. Image © Luyi Photograph

    terrace. Image © Luyi Photograph


    terrace. Image © Luyi Photograph

    terrace. Image © Luyi Photograph

    How do we balance shared spaces, semi-private spaces of the dining rooms and platforms with the quiet privacy of bedrooms in limited (600sqm) internal floor areas? The direct solution of using separate external staircases gives sense of separation, whilst those spaces are still visually combined into a whole. The building is planned as two wings, each with platforms extending outwards and into trees and bamboo. Between them a natural water course is exaggerated as a planted wet landscape. Here deliberate moves articulate and enrich the plan with subtleties of division through simple means.


    activity area. Image © Luyi Photograph

    activity area. Image © Luyi Photograph

    Not least, our focus has been on the authenticity of the adobe farmhouse and questions on how to re-plan, insert new stabilising structures, and openings, repair the roof and otherwise make best use of the original – locally sourced – material of the walls which have so much character. The new building – conceived as a ‘carved’ modern setting for the farmhouse between it and the steep land outside the site – is simply painted blockwork. This passive approach for the new building emphasizes the adobe material, which is finally cleaned and sealed to bring out the lustrous, tactile and cultural qualities of this wonderful material.


    interior. Image © Luyi Photograph

    interior. Image © Luyi Photograph


    interior. Image © Luyi Photograph

    interior. Image © Luyi Photograph

    Contrasting space in the project – the natural, ancient farmhouse and modern architecture – is bound together through carefully balanced massing, similar proportion and material for doors and windows, internal connections between old and new, and a series of interconnected landscaped treatments.


    guest room. Image © Luyi Photograph

    guest room. Image © Luyi Photograph


    under the terrace. Image © Luyi Photograph

    under the terrace. Image © Luyi Photograph

    View the complete gallery

    Project location

    Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.

    Cite: “NanShan B&B Hotel / Priestman Architects” 19 Aug 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed .

    想阅读文章的中文版本吗?

    © Luyi Photograph

    南山别处民宿 / 重庆普林斯曼建筑设计事务所


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    Do tiny home owners actually live more sustainably? Now we know

    Do tiny home owners actually live more sustainably? Now we know

    By Maria Saxton5 minute Read

    Interest is surging in tiny homes—livable dwelling units that typically measure under 400 square feet. Much of this interest is driven by media coverage that claims that living in tiny homes is good for the planet.

    It may seem intuitively obvious that downsizing to a tiny home would reduce one’s environmental impact, since it means occupying a much smaller space and consuming fewer resources. But little research has been done to actually measure how people’s environmental behaviors change when they make this drastic move.

    For my doctorate in environmental design and planning, I sought to fill this gap in knowledge by developing a study that could provide measurable evidence on how downsizing influences environmental impacts. First I surveyed 80 downsizers who had lived in tiny homes for a year or more, to calculate their ecological footprints in prior housing and current ecological footprints in their tiny houses. Then I conducted nine in-depth interviews to learn about behaviors that changed after downsizing.

    I found that among 80 tiny home downsizers located across the United States, ecological footprints were reduced by about 45% on average. Surprisingly, I found that downsizing can influence many parts of one’s lifestyle and reduce impacts on the environment in unexpected ways.

    The unsustainable U.S. housing model

    In recent decades, the building trend has been to “go big.” Newly constructed homes in the United States generally have a larger average square footage than in any other country in the world.

    In 1973, the average newly constructed U.S. home measured 1,660 square feet. By 2017, that average had increased to 2,631 square feet—a 63% increase. This growth has harmed the environment in many ways, including loss of green space, increased air pollution and energy consumption, and ecosystem fragmentation, which can reduce biodiversity.

    The concept of minimalist living has existed for centuries, but the modern tiny house movement became a trend only in the early 2000s, when one of the first tiny home building companies was founded. Tiny homes are an innovative housing approach that can reduce building material waste and excessive consumption. There is no universal definition for a tiny home, but they generally are small, efficient spaces that value quality over quantity.

    People choose to downsize to tiny homes for many reasons. They may include living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle, simplifying their lives and possessions, becoming more mobile, or achieving financial freedom, since tiny homes typically cost significantly less than the average American home.

    Affordable housing is a common obstacle for veterans. The people at Build Us Hope are coming up with tiny living solutions in AZ! ???? ???? ???? #tinyhouse #tinyhomes #tinyhouses #tinyhomemovement #smallstructures https://t.co/sHfePxnXVn

    — Tumbleweed (@tumbleweedhouse) March 20, 2019

    Many assessments of the tiny-house movement have asserted without quantitative evidence that individuals who downsize to tiny homes will have a significantly lower environmental impact. On the other hand, some reviews hint that tiny home living may lend itself to unsustainable practices.

    Understanding footprint changes after downsizing

    This study examined tiny home downsizers’ environmental impacts by measuring their individual ecological footprints. This metric calculates human demand on nature by providing a measurement of land needed to sustain current consumption behaviors.

    To do this, I calculated their spatial footprints in terms of global hectares, considering housing, transportation, food, goods, and services. For reference, one global hectare is equivalent to about 2.5 acres, or about the size of a single soccer field.

    I found that among 80 tiny home downsizers located across the United States, the average ecological footprint was 3.87 global hectares, or about 9.5 acres. This means that it would require 9.5 acres to support that person’s lifestyle for one year. Before moving into tiny homes, these respondents’ average footprint was 7.01 global hectares (17.3 acres). For comparison, the average American’s footprint is 8.4 global hectares, or 20.8 acres.

    My most interesting finding was that housing was not the only component of participants’ ecological footprints that changed. On average, every major component of downsizers’ lifestyles, including food, transportation, and consumption of goods and services, was positively influenced.

    As a whole, I found that after downsizing, people were more likely to eat less energy-intensive food products and adopt more environmentally conscious eating habits, such as eating more locally and growing more of their own food. Participants traveled less by car, motorcycle, bus, train, and airplane, and drove more fuel-efficient cars than they did before downsizing.

    They also purchased substantially fewer items, recycled more plastic and paper, and generated less trash. In sum, I found that downsizing was an important step toward reducing ecological footprints and encouraging pro-environmental behaviors.

    To take these findings a step farther, I was able to use footprint data to calculate how many resources could potentially be saved if a small portion of Americans downsized. I found that about 366 million acres of biologically productive land could be saved if just 10% of Americans downsized to a tiny home.

    [Image: courtesy of the author]

    Fine-tuning footprint analyses

    My research identified more than 100 behaviors that changed after downsizing to a tiny home. Approximately 86% had a positive impact, while the rest were negative.

    Some choices, such as harvesting rainwater, adopting a capsule wardrobe approach, and carpooling, reduced individual environmental impacts. Others could potentially expand people’s footprints—for example, traveling more and eating out more often.

    A handful of negative behaviors were not representative of all participants in the study but still are important to discuss. For instance, some participants drove longer distances after moving to rural areas where their tiny homes could be parked. Others ate out more often because they had smaller kitchens, or recycled less because they lacked space to store recyclables and had less access to curbside recycling services.

    It is important to identify these behaviors in order to understand potential negative implications of tiny home living and enable designers to address them. It is also important to note that some behaviors I recorded could have been influenced by factors other than downsizing to a tiny home. For instance, some people might have reduced their car travel because they had recently retired.

    Nonetheless, all participants in this study reduced their footprints by downsizing to tiny homes, even if they did not downsize for environmental reasons. This indicates that downsizing leads people to adopt behaviors that are better for the environment. These findings provide important insights for the sustainable housing industry and implications for future research on tiny homes.

    For instance, someone may be able to present this study to a planning commission office in their town to show how and why tiny homes are a sustainable housing approach. These results have the potential to also support tiny home builders and designers, people who want to create tiny home communities, and others trying to change zoning ordinances in their towns to support tiny homes. I hope this work will spur additional research that produces more affordable and sustainable housing choices for more Americans.


    Maria Saxton is a PhD Candidate in Environmental Planning and Design at Virginia Tech. This post originally appeared on The Conversation.

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    This tech company says offsets aren’t enough—it’s time to pay for negative emissions

    This tech company says offsets aren’t enough—it’s time to pay for negative emissions

    Like many companies, the payment processing company Stripe is trying to eliminate its emissions. For the emissions it can’t find ways to mitigate, it buys carbon offsets to help reach its goal. But the company recently announced that it would take the more radical step to start also investing in negative emissions—like direct air capture plants that suck CO2 from the atmosphere so that it can be stored underground.

    “We were thinking, how could we and other companies have the most possible impact?” says Christian Anderson, head of merchant intelligence at Stripe. “And one area of increased impact that we saw was to look further down the technology learning curve at technologies that climate science tells us are likely to be very important.”

    For the world to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees or 2 degrees Celsius, every scenario from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change includes “negative emissions” as part of the solution. One recent report from an independent research group estimated that we’ll need to pull as much as 1,850 million metric tons of CO2 from the air each year to reach the widely accepted goal of net-zero emissions by midcentury; shifting to renewable energy and other approaches like reforestation aren’t enough on their own. Negative emissions tech exists but is in a nascent stage—and paying for a ton of CO2 from a direct air capture company can be 100 times more expensive than paying for a simple carbon offset from, say, a tree-planting project.

    Stripe will continue to buy carbon offsets, but now plans to begin paying for negative emissions at whatever price is necessary; it plans to spend at least twice as much on the program as it does on offsets, at a minimum commitment of $1 million. The money may go to any of a number of technologies in the space, such as enhanced weathering, a process that speeds up the natural process of carbon sequestration in rocks. For an industry like direct air capture, where new plants are in the earliest stages of operation, this type of commitment could make a material difference.

    “This is really essential right now because what is missing is a customer for early negative emissions projects. I think there’s good academic analysis that says, if you start building negative emissions projects, they will come down in costs,” says Noah Deich, executive director of Carbon180, a climate-focused nonprofit. “The collective action problem is everyone wants to wait until somebody else has built the first couple of projects, so the one that they buy is cheaper. What Stripe is doing is just saying, nope, we’re going to be a leader. We are going to potentially pay more on a dollar-per-ton basis for early projects. But we know that this is the way that technology costs come down in the future.” The same thing, he says, has happened for other critical technology such as solar power.

    The million-dollar commitment is significant, Deich says, but the biggest role that Stripe can play is convincing other companies to follow suit; Stripe says that it is already talking to others in the tech industry. “If they could pool the buying resources of companies that understand the importance of negative emissions in meeting climate goals, they could pool together tens if not hundreds of million of dollars per year and use that funding to really drive down the cost of the technology that can achieve negative emissions, much more quickly than they can do alone,” Deich says. “I think everybody would benefit from that.”

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