Hazardous material spurs evacuation at Oxnard business - Ventura County Star thumbnail

Hazardous material spurs evacuation at Oxnard business – Ventura County Star

, Ventura County Star
Published 11:46 a.m. PT Aug. 15, 2019 | Updated 3:07 p.m. PT Aug. 15, 2019


About 24 people were evacuated from a metal manufacturing business in Oxnard due to the release of a potentially hazardous material, fire officials said Thursday. 

The incident was reported at 10:24 a.m. at Alliance Finishing & Manufacturing, 1721 Ives Ave., according to the Oxnard Fire Department. The site is in an industrial area west of Rose Avenue, north of the juncture with Oxnard Boulevard.

The business was in normal operations when two unknown chemicals apparently mixed together and gave off a gas, said department investigator Berney Davidson.

Three people were evaluated at the scene for possible chemical exposure, Battalion Chief Sergio Martinez said Thursday afternoon. All declined transport to a hospital, he said.

Hazardous materials teams from Oxnard, Ventura County and the city of Ventura responded, Martinez said. In all, about 15 units were at the scene.

By early afternoon, crews had made entry into the building and found the fumes had stopped on their own, Martinez said. The business remained closed while investigators looked into what went wrong.

The fumes were apparently created during an attempted transfer of ammonium chloride from a 55-gallon drum to another container, Martinez said. The second container was apparently not clean. Hazmat investigators will look into the facility’s procedures, he said.

Ives Avenue was closed between Rose Avenue and Jones Way during the investigation.

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Megan Diskin is a courts and breaking news reporter with The Star. Reach her at [email protected] or 805-437-0258. 

Read or Share this story: https://www.vcstar.com/story/news/local/communities/oxnard/2019/08/15/hazardous-material-spurs-evacuation-oxnard-business/2021602001/

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Epic Says The Mech Was Added So More Players Can Win A Fortnite Match thumbnail

Epic Says The Mech Was Added So More Players Can Win A Fortnite Match

Fortnite’s giant mechanical Brutes have been contentious among players since they arrived at the start of Season 10. Players have been calling for them to be removed from the game, or at least from competitive play. Today, developer Epic responded to the calls to remove the mechs. Fortnite seems to be keeping them, because according to Epic, they give more players a chance at a victory royale.

In a blog post titled “Fortnite and the B.R.U.T.E,” Epic wrote, “The mission of Fortnite is to bring players of all skill levels together to have a fun experience where anyone can win. For example – everyone having a shot at that first elimination or Victory Royale moment.” Another part of Fortnite’s mission, the post says, is “to provide spectacle and entertainment when playing Fortnite… The B.R.U.T.E. was added at the start of Season X with this mission in mind. Since then, we have seen players who had previously struggled with getting eliminations acquiring more, while the number of eliminations earned by more experienced players remained steady.”

In the competitive Arena mode, Epic reduced the spawn rate of Brutes to account for the higher level of play. “Specifically for Arena we made the change to spawn rate in order to reduce late-game encounters. This is due to a higher number of players surviving to those circles compared to non-Arena modes. We’re happy with the results…” Two graphs included in the post showed the number of eliminations with the Brute in different game modes. The most Brute kills are found in Duos, with the least being found in Arena Solos.

Of course, eliminations aren’t the only indication of the Brute’s effects on play. On Twitter, professional Fortnite player Motor wrote, “Why don’t you show us the % builds broken// Material wasted // Damage dealt to players when used per BRUTE?” The Brute automatically gathers any materials it stomps over, making it easier for players to scoop up building materials. Its ability to quickly destroy structures makes it frustrating for build-focused players to survive. More skilled players may be getting the same amount of kills regardless of the presence of these mechs, but many feel it still has a negative influence on moment-to-moment play.

Professional player Nicks responded, “You don’t just throw an overpowered robot into the game hoping bad players will get good.” Fortnite has long struggled with the tension between competitive and casual play. The sequestering of the game’s siphon mechanic into only competitive modes was one example of this. Epic felt the mechanic, while vital for competitive play, made casual play too aggressive. Keeping the mech in competitive is, in some ways, the inverse of this situation, where an addition that makes casual play fun has supposedly disastrous consequences on competitive. Striking the balance will always be tough for Fortnite, especially as the game beefs up its esports presence.

Then there’s the question of spectacle and entertainment value, another point of tension in Fortnite. Professional caster Balla wrote, “One person losing a game by getting shot by B.R.U.T.E. missiles is too many. Dying to it is one of the least FUN things I can think of. Ever. In gaming. It is the opposite of ‘fun’ for ALL players. It is not a good spectacle. It is not entertaining watching people get mad.” Fortnite owes at least some of its success to its popularity with streamers, but Epic Games’ emphasis on watchability sometimes comes at the cost of potential competitive strategies. In April, Epic banned stretched resolutions from competitive play, saying in part “The stretched characters and distorted views detract from Fortnite as an entertainment experience for all.” The stretched resolutions did provide a larger field of vision that some competitive players saw as a benefit, but Epic removed them anyway, in part in the name of “entertainment.” Similarly, the Brute’s destruction might be fun to watch on a stream, and videos of players raging might do well on YouTube, but that it is many ways a different issue than the experience that players have in the game, especially at competitive levels.

The player community’s passionate disagreement about the Brute, as well as Epic’s response, is emblematic of the tensions at the heart of the game. Epic wants to make a game that is both competitively viable and entertaining for casual players and viewers, and the Brute is the latest breaking point in the delicate bridge between different kinds of Fortnite players. As Epic continues to try to please everyone, we’re sure to see more cracks forming.

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Rotebro Sports Hall / White Arkitekter thumbnail

Rotebro Sports Hall / White Arkitekter

Rotebro Sports Hall / White Arkitekter

Rotebro Sports Hall  / White Arkitekter, © Thomas Zaar

© Thomas Zaar

© Thomas Zaar

© Thomas Zaar

© Thomas Zaar

© Thomas Zaar

+ 19

  • Architects

  • Location

  • Category

  • Architect in Charge

    Niklas Singstedt

  • Area

    2000.0 m2

  • Project Year


  • Photographs

  • Manufacturers


© Thomas Zaar

© Thomas Zaar

Text description provided by the architects. White Arkitekter designed a full-scale sports hall for schools and sports clubs in Rotebro in Sollentuna municipality, Sweden. Rotebrohallen – Rotebro sports hall – is a 20x40m concept hall and a first step in the regeneration of central Rotebro.

© Thomas Zaar

© Thomas Zaar

White Arkitekter developed a design which ensures that additional halls can be easily erected in further locations around the municipality, where schools require venues for PE and the general appetite for organised sports is on the increase. Rotebro is the first location to be built and put into use.









The sports hall is centrally located in Rotebro in an area under development where large buildings with robust materials and simple details are now joined by new buildings. Rotebrohallen has been given a design that relates to the scale of the location and adapts to the existing planning, adds qualities in the small scale and contributes with something modern and playful.

© Thomas Zaar

© Thomas Zaar

A sculptural shape and carefully crafted details have resulted in a building with character and quality. With a structural framing of wood and external walls of cement bound wood wool the building is mainly constructed of renewable material. In addition, solar panels are incorporated in the building and the roof is covered with sedum.

Floor Plan

Floor Plan

Location and design work together to create contact between the life inside and outside the hall, making it a lively place for meetings. This feeling is further enhanced by the new park and recreation spaces for play and spontaneous sports activity. Rotebrohallen, in spite of its size, is a natural addition to an urban environment going through development and densification.

© Thomas Zaar

© Thomas Zaar

Originally published on 17 February, 2017

View the complete gallery

Project location

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

Cite: “Rotebro Sports Hall / White Arkitekter” 07 Sep 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed .


© Thomas Zaar

Rotebro 体育馆 / White Arkitekter

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Jack Skellington Box #3DThursday #3DPrinting #Halloween thumbnail

Jack Skellington Box #3DThursday #3DPrinting #Halloween

Fbsrc2c6c8d8afc8ffsrcasrcd66285ae25dbf preview featured

Shared by DeJennes on Thingiverse:

This design is inspired by multi-material printers and the lack of always having them available. The box uses a cut-out on top which shows the colored insert.

This box is ideal for keeping small items such as screws or nuts.

Two files are included. Insert the black insert into the face part for a multi-colored effect.

Download the files and learn more


Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!

Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Join 13,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

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Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell with Google Hangouts On-Air is every Wednesday at 7:30pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

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Measuring changes in magnetic order to find ways to transcend conventional electronics

Researchers around the world are constantly looking for ways to enhance or transcend the capabilities of electronic devices, which seem to be reaching their theoretical limits. Undoubtedly, one of the most important advantages of electronic technology is its speed, which, albeit high, can still be surpassed by orders of magnitude through other approaches that are not yet commercially available.

A possible way of surpassing traditional electronics is through the use of antiferromagnetic (AFM) materials. The electrons of AFM materials spontaneously align themselves in such a way that the overall magnetization of the material is practically zero. In fact, the order of an AFM material can be quantified in what is known as the ‘order parameter’. Recent studies have even shown that the AFM order parameter can be ‘switched’ (that is, change it from one known value to another, really fast) using light or electric currents, which means that AFM materials could become the building blocks of future electronic devices.

However, the dynamics of the order-switching process are not understood because it is very difficult to measure the changes in the AFM order parameter in real time with high resolution. Current approaches rely on measuring only certain phenomena during AFM order switching and trying to obtain the full picture from there, which has proven to be unreliable for understanding other more intricate phenomena in detail. Therefore, a research team lead by Prof. Takuya Satoh from Tokyo Tech and researchers from ETH Zurich, developed a method for thoroughly measuring the changes in the AFM order of an YMnO3 crystal induced through optical excitation (that is, using a laser).

The main problem that the researchers addressed was the alleged “practical impossibility” of discerning between electron dynamics and changes in the AFM order in real time, which are both induced simultaneously when the material is excited to provoke order-parameter switching and when taking measurements. They employed a light-based measuring method called ‘second-harmonic generation’, whose output value is directly related to the AFM order parameter, and combined it with measurements of another light-based phenomenon called the Faraday effect. This effect occurs when a certain type of light or laser is irradiated on magnetically ordered materials; in the case of YMnO3, this effect alters its AFM order parameter in a predictable and well-understood way. This was key to their approach so that they could separate the origin and nature of multiple simultaneous quantum phenomena that affected the measurements of both methods differently.

Combining these two different measurement methods, the researchers managed to fully characterize the changes in the AFM order parameter in real time with ultrafast resolution. “The proposed general approach allows us to access order-parameter dynamics at timescales of less than one trillionth of a second,” states Prof. Satoh. The approach presented is crucial for better understanding the inner workings of antiferromagnetic materials. “Precise and thorough tracking of the variations in the order parameter is indispensable for understanding the complex dynamics occurring during ultrafast switching and other AFM-related phenomena,” explains Prof. Satoh. The tool provided by the researchers should now be exploited to carry out more research and hopefully bring about the development of revolutionary electronic devices with unprecedented speeds.

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Materials provided by Tokyo Institute of Technology. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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Various: Total Solidarity thumbnail

Various: Total Solidarity

On July 27, a month after World Pride brought some five million queer revelers to the streets of New York City, the city of Bialystok, in northeast Poland, held its very first Pride march. It ended in a terrifying display of vitriol and violence, spearheaded in large part by the Catholic Church. Women and children and men held an armed “family picnic” near the march, according to reports in The Guardian, then proceeded to kick the shit out of their fellow citizens. In an irony almost unbearably ridiculous, the brutes wore shirts reading “Fags Out” and chanted the slogan to the melody of the Village People’s (via Pet Shop Boys) “Go West.”

Appropriating gay culture to terrorize queer communities feels very 2019. But so does Total Solidarity, a marathon release compiled by Oramics, who work in Poland and throughout Europe “to empower women, non-binary and queer people in the electronic scene,” and Vincent Koreman of the crucial Dutch experimental house label New York Haunted. Its 121 tracks, spanning more than 10 hours, present a state of the union for global electronic music, an alphabetical assortment of the major figures (Catz ‘n Dogz, Danny L Harle, Ekoplekz, Rrose, Varg2™) and dozens of artists who, by evidence of their exemplary contributions, shouldn’t be unknown for long.

Proceeds of Solidarity will go to grassroots LGBTQIA+ organizations throughout Poland, who surely need actual funding and not just the social-media currency of “awareness.” Good intentions don’t always make good albums; luckily, as a whole, Solidarity astonishes with its consistency of quality, if not genre, offering versions of virtually every kind of big room, side room, chillout area, bedroom, backroom, and interzone soundtrack.

How to approach such a bounty? Put it on shuffle while hosting a sign-painting party for the next demonstration? Listen while you work your desk job or shift at the food co-op or animal shelter? Feed it through Bluetooth speakers to drown out the Proud Boys stans across America? Many of the inclusions are dancefloor dreams come true: Violet takes two trends seemingly past their prime, broken-beat breaks and dubstep’s wobble, and fashions an irresistible charmer called “Self-Inspection” that couldn’t sound fresher. Kai van Dongen’s “Dancing in the Dark,” with its plush toms and pads, is exactly what you’d want to hear while doing just that, unless the minimalist sleaze of Dale Cornish’s “Raise Your Voice” or the hardcore/Cabaret Voltaire mixup “Accepted” by Graham Dunning get you off quicker. Others eschew beats altogether. Kamil Szuszkiewicz’s “Power Ballad” is a slow fanfare of what sound like clusters of horns, bursts of static, and held resonance. Peder Mannerfelt’s “A Drone Against Homophobia” is pretty and aptly titled. Best of all, Object Blue’s “Pure” is an ominous swoon that dissolves into a quick snatch of field recording, as if a dream becoming a nightmare reality.

Some artists look back, like Le Chocolate Noir, whose “Act” is woozy proof that trying to sound like Chris & Cosey is an excellent start; Mirt summons the goopy dub of Pole or vintage Orb for “Remake the Past,” which does in a lovely kind of way. Lee Gamble’s “89” is as catchy as anything he’s put out in ages, with a submerged electro beat, loosey-goosey bassline, and industrial accents that tease Depeche Mode’s wan plea for tolerance, “People Are People,” without kitsch. Drzewna’s “There’s a Man” and Baasch’s “Sneaker Fairytale” are perfectly queer New Wave gems. Others look ahead: “Geneva Drive” by drmcnt is house like a Zaha Hadid building, all slick and swoopy curves. Liar’s “Americana” builds a screaming diva epic out of screeching eagles and gunshots and should be the intro music for next year’s presidential debates.

In 21st century queer diasporic fashion, I listened to Total Solidarity almost entirely in one sitting, on a flight from Sao Paulo to New York, sunk into my chair beneath a couple Spanish Valium and four or five fingers of Kentucky bourbon. I was moving from a country with a new fascist dictator who, several people told me with a kind of shell-shocked quizzical sigh, hadn’t (yet) quite followed through on his promises to literally disappear Brazil’s queer communities. I was entering a country whose white supremacist president is gleefully installing institutions of terror against LGBTQIA+ Americans, particularly those who are trans and of color, that will last for generations to come. In my climate change-accelerating flying tube, I had a panic attack: I lucid dreamed about an installation I saw by the artist Vulcânica PokaRopa in which video testimonies of trans Brazilians played in a half-moon between blood-spattered floors and rabble-rousing banners and flying mannequins; I stood in the bathroom and let Felicita’s “oooh heavy” melt my brain. How you hear Total Solidarity, like how you hear “Go West,” depends on how free you really are. Meanwhile, since Bialystok, things have only gotten worse in Poland, with right-wing forces joining up with Catholics to establish “LGBT-free” zones throughout the country. These PR stunts proceed on the assumption that the existence of queer people is somehow optional. Fuck that. We are everywhere: Just listen.

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Sustainable, high-quality homes for low-income people in Las Vegas thumbnail

Sustainable, high-quality homes for low-income people in Las Vegas

The dome shape makes it highly resilient to natural disasters.
| Photo source Geoship

Architecture & Design

Using disaster-resilient bioceramics, the company’s geodesic domes are recyclable, energy-efficient, quick to build and repair

Spotted: California start-up Geoship is changing the construction industry through its use of bioceramic domes. Obtained from wastewater, the bioceramics are largely phosphate-based and self-adhesive. When combined, they form domed buildings that resemble footballs. 

The tiles are energy-efficient, quick to install and naturally repellent to insects and other pests. The dome shape makes it highly resilient to natural disasters, including earthquakes, floods and hurricanes. As a result, the homes should last more than 500 years. Costs range from around €50,000 for the smallest building to €250,000 for the largest one.

No additional materials are needed for construction, which helps to keep costs down, as does the rapidity of installation. Should any damage to the building material occur, a liquefied version of the bioceramic re-seals the structure. In addition, there is the possibility that the structures will eventually become carbon negative thanks to the bioceramic tiles’ capability of absorbing carbon dioxide. 

The project will also provide free homes for a number of homeless people in Las Vegas. Production of the geodesic domes is likely to begin in 2021 and the company plans to include renewable energy systems as an option for each building. 

9th September 2019

Email: [email protected]

Website: geoship.is

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Gilgeous-Alexander prepares to help fill Westbrook’s role

Published 6:09 p.m. ET Aug. 22, 2019 | Updated 9:03 p.m. ET Aug. 22, 2019


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander wants to temper expectations. Maybe that is understandable.

He is preparing to step into the point guard position Russell Westbrook held for 11 years for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 10.8 points and 3.3 assists as a rookie for the Los Angeles Clippers last season. He joined the Thunder in the deal that sent All-Star Paul George to the Clippers.

He has a massive hole to help fill. Westbrook was the 2017 NBA MVP and two-time scoring champion, two-time All-Star MVP and two-time assist leader who averaged a triple-double the past three seasons with the Thunder before he was traded to the Houston Rockets this summer.

“I am not Russell Westbrook,” Gilgeous-Alexander said matter-of-factly Thursday. “We don’t have the same name, the same body type, nothing like that. So I’m going to try to be myself and be the best me, and everything else will take care of itself.”

Thunder general manager Sam Presti has said Gilgeous-Alexander has star potential, yet he will likely split time with new addition Chris Paul next season.

“Regardless of the situation, I’m going to continue to work hard and play my game,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “I know that eventually it will come out and things like that. I don’t worry about starting. I don’t worry about accolades or anything like that. I just work hard, keep my head down and be true to who I am.”

Gilgeous-Alexander relishes the opportunity to be mentored by Paul, a nine-time All-Star who averaged 15.6 points and 8.2 assists last season. He has worked with Paul since joining the Thunder, but wouldn’t share all that he has learned.

“Some of the things I like to keep a secret,” he said, laughing. “I’ve learned a lot from him in terms of thinking the game, angles, things like that. He’s obviously a really good player. He’s been a really good player for a really long time, and a guy that I looked up to growing up. I’ll continue to learn from him as long as I get to.”

The Thunder have a slew of draft picks for future years, and Gilgeous-Alexander, just 21, could be a key building block.

“I think where Shai is today is not close to where ultimately he’s going to be,” Presti said last month. “But we have to be really patient with that process. But he’s got great tools, and he’ll have to follow the same track that a lot of these other players have, but we think he has a bright future.”

Danilo Gallinari, a key piece who helped the Clippers reach the playoffs last season, also joined the Thunder in the Paul George deal. The forward averaged career highs of 19.8 points and 6.1 rebounds per game last season and made 43.3 percent of his 3-pointers.

“Really skilled,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “Competitive as well, and even a better guy. One of my vets from my rookie season, and I’m happy to have him still with me.”

Gilgeous-Alexander looks forward to working with Steven Adams, a 7-foot center who averaged 13.9 points and 9.5 rebounds for the Thunder last season while shooting nearly 60 percent from the field.

“Honestly, he was very annoying,” he said. “His screens are rock — very annoying to get over. Having him on my side of the playing field will be a lot better this year.”


Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CliffBruntAP


More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Burning boat takes clues of fatal fire down to watery grave - KOLO thumbnail

Burning boat takes clues of fatal fire down to watery grave – KOLO

By &nbsp|&nbsp


LOS ANGELES (AP) – Officials vowed to find what sparked the inferno aboard the dive boat Conception that killed 34 people in waters off Southern California but vital evidence may have gone down with the ship or drifted out to sea.

The main piece of evidence, the charred remains of the boat, rests on the sea floor in 60 feet (18 meters) of water. Other items that could provide valuable clues could have been carried away by the tides or destroyed in the blaze that burned so hot DNA was needed to identify the dead.

“All of that will be a very large hurdle to overcome,” said George Zeitler, a former Coast Guard inspector, who runs his own marine investigation firm. “It will definitely make for a complex investigation.”

Investigators will want to produce a timeline of the ship’s final voyage from the moment it pulled from a Santa Barbara dock early Saturday morning until dispatchers received the frantic mayday call of the breathless captain overwhelmed by smoke, experts said. They will look at the ship’s layout and whether the bunk room below deck was too cramped and had enough exits, review maintenance records, even study photos and videos from people who have been on the boat to look for valuable evidence.

As the investigation into the Labor Day tragedy expands on land and sea, federal and local authorities will be looking not only at determining what went wrong but also seeking lessons that could lead to changes in regulations for commercial vessels.

“Our mission here while we’re on scene is to determine how this happened, why it happened and what safety improvements are needed to prevent it from ever happening again,” said Jennifer Homendy of the National Transportation Safety Board.

The deadly fire, which is being investigated with help from the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, is being treated as an accident and there’s nothing to suggest anything “nefarious,” said Santa Barbara County Sheriff Lt. Erik Raney.

The Conception, owned by Truth Aquatics, was being chartered for three days by a commercial dive outfit based in Santa Cruz to explore the rugged Channel Islands, sometimes referred to as the Galapagos of North America, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Santa Barbara.

The mayday call came at 3:15 a.m. Monday as passengers would have been sleeping while the boat was anchored just off Santa Cruz Island.

While initial details were limited, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said fire above deck blocked the one stairway and an emergency exit hatch where 33 passengers and one crew member were sleeping in their bunks. It’s not known if any alarm sounded or what the people below deck may have done to try to escape.

“If an emergency exit is blocked due to fire and prevents one from escaping, it’s a horrific situation,” said Hendrik Keijer, an investigator with Robson Forensic who captained cruise ships and operated cargo boats. “Vessels are mazes.”

The five survivors were all crew members, including the captain. They apparently jumped from the bow, where the stairway led to the sleeping quarters, and swam to the stern, where they escaped in a dinghy and were taken aboard a nearby boat.

Attorney James Mercante, a former merchant marine officer who has defended thousands of maritime casualty cases, said it was unusual that only crew members survived, but that is likely because they were above deck.

Mercante said he would want to find out what the crew did upon being alerted to fight the fire and how long they had before they abandoned ship.

“Something was ignited that spread a fire rapidly,” Mercante said. “It must have spread awfully quickly if nobody but the crew got out.”

Even with limited physical evidence, fire investigators should be able to pinpoint where the fire began, though finding the cause will be more difficult, Mercante said.

The leading causes of boat fires are, specifically, electrical problems and, generally, stupidity, said Walter Godfrey, who has investigated more than 2,000 boat fires in a career spanning a half-century.

By all accounts Godfrey has seen, Truth Aquatics had a good reputation and a clean record of service and wasn’t the type of outfit to employ do-it-yourself electrical wiring.

“I don’t think they’d be cutting those kind of corners,” Godfrey said. “I would think just off the top of the head this would have to have been something totally accidental and not something … you would anticipate.”

Coast Guard records show fire safety violations on the Conception in 2014 and 2016 were quickly fixed. There were no deficiencies found in February or August 2018 inspections.

The same problems that lead to house fires every day can also sink ships: kitchen fires, unextinguished cigarette butts and gas leaks.

While experts did not want to speculate on a cause, Godfrey said he would want to know more about the built-in barbecue on board and where gasoline was stored for the dinghy. He said electrical fires are most common because a boat – even when docked – is always moving and wires get chafed and exposed. They can arc and spark or ignite gas vapors.

A fire on board can rapidly become a terrifying situation with no help nearby.

“It’s very difficult to fight fires without outside help,” Keijer said. “You’re really on your own in most instances. It’s up to the vessel’s crew to fight fires. It’s not like one can easily escape a vessel. You walk out of a building if a fire occurs on land. That’s not as easy on vessels.”

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Nike’s kids’ sneaker subscription is here to create a new generation of Nike devotees thumbnail

Nike’s kids’ sneaker subscription is here to create a new generation of Nike devotees

For two years, Nike has been testing a subscription plan for kids sneakers, without letting on that it was an in-house Nike project. Formerly known as Easy Kicks, the initiative is now being rebranded as Nike Adventure Club, a program Nike says is intended to make it easy for parents to keep up with their kids’ fast-growing feet and tendency to trash sneakers quickly.

Of course, it’s also a way for Nike to start building loyal customers as young as age two, and continue growing its increasingly important direct-to-consumer business.

The program already built a base of 10,000 members in its “burner brand” stage, according to Dave Cobban, who helped launch it as Easy Kicks and is now general manager of Nike Adventure Club. It offers parents three subscription tiers meant for kids ages two through 10. They can sign up to get four pairs of sneakers a year for $20 a month, six pairs for $30 a month, or 12 pairs for $50 a month. Parents are able to change their level at any time, and the kids will get about 100 different sneaker styles to choose from in sizes 4c-7Y.

That may seem like a lot of sneakers to be buying a child. Indeed it is, according to Alan Bass, a board-certified podiatrist in Manalapan, New Jersey, and spokesman for the American Podiatric Medical Association. “There’s no way that any kid needs six pairs of sneakers a year, from a functional standpoint,” he says. After age two, kids’ feet generally aren’t growing fast enough to warrant four or more new pairs of shoes a year, and as for wear and tear, Bass tells patients who are avid runners and athletes they need two to three pairs of new shoes a year.

Cobban says they developed the tiers through testing. Originally they thought one plan for up to four pairs a year would be sufficient, but while running their “burner brand,” as he calls it, they found parents wanted options with more shoes.

“Generally what we see in the acquisition behavior is people come in on the $20-a-month plan, but over the course of a few months after they join, they upgrade,” he says. Now Cobban estimates roughly a third of the participants are in each plan, an evolution he says was “not what we expected at all.”

The kids probably aren’t complaining. Dominique Shortell, director of retention and member experience for Nike Adventure Club, and her team created the experience to be fun for kids, from the printed box that shows up with their name on it—opened with a pull tab to dispense with scissors, and made to be drawn on—to the adventure guides that arrive with each delivery.


Nike enlisted a specialized children’s content company to come up with the material in the adventure guides.

For Nike, the program offers a few benefits. “One is to build a deeper relationship with kids from a younger age,” Cobban says. “If we can serve kids with this delightful membership, they’re going to be loyal to us longer in the future, is our hypothesis.”

It also makes it easier for parents to buy their kids Nike sneakers. A large share of the families that signed up in the program’s incubation period were rural and suburban, and might not have had easy access to a wide selection of Nike shoes for kids.

This last point is particularly important as small retailers and mall-based stores have shuttered. One way Nike has responded to the struggles of these brick-and-mortar businesses has been to increase its own sales straight to shoppers. Adventure Club lets it do just that.

So how was Nike able to run the program for so long without parents realizing it was a Nike business? For one thing, it offered shoes by Nike and Converse, and many people still don’t associate the two as being the same company, Cobban says, even though Nike has owned Converse since 2003. Easy Kicks also advertised that it was working “in partnership” with Nike.

Nike had recently started to acknowledge that it was backing the business, but Cobban explains that it waited to reveal its full engagement because it wanted to know if there was a need and market for the service regardless of Nike’s involvement. It also wasn’t sure what the final version would look like.

The 10,000 members it signed up as Easy Kicks answered the first question. Now Nike Adventure Club has answered the second.

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