Working for the Greater Good

first_img24 July 2006Want to help charity, give back to your community, donate skills, time and money and generally change the world – but don’t know where to start? South African philanthropy is now just a click of a mouse away, thanks to Greater Good South Africa. Greater Good raises support for the work of South African charities and promotes a culture of philanthropy in the country, with the ultimate aim of “eradicating extreme poverty in our lifetimes”.Through its comprehensive interactive website, the organisation creates innovative ways for businesses and individuals to help the work of non-profit development organisations of their choice.Greater Good fosters a long-term relationship between people and causes, encouraging donations of money, second-hand and surplus goods, skills and time.In return, it provides details on the objectives, activities and performance of charities, including clear information on their needs. The organisation allows donors to “experience the gift of giving” by providing ongoing feedback on how their contributions have made a difference.Greater Good is sponsored by the Shuttleworth Foundation, Noah Financial Innovation, Cadiz, Deutsche Bank, SAA Voyager, eBucks, American Express and Kaehlo.Its website has a well-stocked community noticeboard allowing charities to request money and services, and donors to offer money, goods and time to specific causes and organisations.Greater Good also runs a number of campaigns with innovative ways of helping charities. Recent campaigns include the Giving Exchange, Teachers Dream, Do It Day and Donate-a-Book.The Giving Exchange“The Giving Exchange aims to raise the bar for giving and receiving in South Africa,” says Greater Good on its website. “The challenge is for South Africans enjoying a 21st century lifestyle to effectively get resources to where they are needed most in our communities.”The Giving Exchange allows ordinary people, businesses and charities to meet and come up with new and effective contributions that involve more than money. It allows causes to access the expertise, skills, talents and resources they need.Some 125 charities are selected – by vote – to participate in Giving Exchange expos, held in major centres. The campaign allows donors to compare and select who to support, based on their own criteria.Teachers DreamTeachers Dream, a partnership between Greater Good and the Shuttleworth Foundation, aims to improve education by connecting donors to educators who need grants for projects that improve education in South Africa.More often than not it is teachers who have brilliant ideas of how to make maths and science come alive, how best to demonstrate life skills, how to show children the geography of the land and how to explore the arts.Exciting and worthwhile proposals – projects, outings, and activities – from dedicated teachers are posted on the Greater Good website. Donors may then contribute to fulfil that dream. Most Teachers Dream proposals require grants of less than R5 000 – time and goods can also be donated.“Many great educator ideas could easily come to fruition with support of relatively small grants,” says Greater Good. “In real terms, it actually doesn’t cost that much to take a class of Grade 4 learners to the planetarium or the Grade 10s to an inspiring exhibition.”At its launch, the Teachers Dream initiative received warm praise from Education Miniser Naledi Pandor.“Teachers Dream is inclusive,” she said. “Its reach transcends geographical space, enabling school communities that are remote or rural to be as connected to South African giving communities as their urban counterparts.“This project will give pupils an opportunity to realise their full potential by exposing them to a variety of career prospects.”An important condition of a Teachers Dream donation is that successful educators report back to funders. They are given a disposable camera to record their dream and post it back along with written feedback. Their report is then posted on the Greater Good website.Do It DayDo It Day takes charity beyond money. Greater Good has set aside 28 October 2005 as the day “South Africans will be rolling up their sleeves and assisting causes to achieve specific one-day projects”.The campaign aims to connect causes to volunteers so they can benefit from work and skills not normally available.In July and August development organisations all over South Africa and submitted one-day projects that need volunteers. Do It Day projects range from developing business and marketing plans to building, renovating and gardening. There’s something for everyone.The Do It Day projects are posted on the Greater Good website, and volunteers can sign up individually or as a team.Projects include an action fun day for Aids orphans, planting a tea garden at the Sparrow Skills Centre, developing a marketing and communications strategy for a positive parenting organisation, and both training in bookkeeping and installing windows and doors for the Siyakhula charity.Donate-a-Book“In South Africa, poverty excludes many children from the enrichment that reading brings,” Greater Good says on its website.“A brighter, better future for all South Africans becomes more likely if we are busy now raising generations of thoughtful, independent life-long learners – and reading is the key to that.”Greater Good encourages online donations to buy books, in support of the work of organisations such as READ, Biblionef SA, the South African Children’s Book Forum and the Athlone School for the Blind Braille Production Programme.Donation vouchers range in price from R50, which buys a book for a pre-schooler, to R5 000 – buying a starter library for a poor school.SouthAfrica.info reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Air sealing solutions: Where two sidings meet

first_imgA Crack in the ArmorSiding joints are a break in an otherwise continuous surface. When the siding types are different thicknesses, outside and inside corners are created that require extra attention. When one of the materials is brick, this detail gets even trickier. See this construction drawing in our Strategies and Details LibraryLearn more about why air sealing the envelope matters.last_img

How AI Can Cut Costs and Help You Keep Your Competitive Edge

first_imgThe conversation around artificial intelligence tends to focus on how it can make companies more efficient and productive. And that stands to reason — implemented effectively, such automation really does lead to greater output in less time at a lower cost.Of course, AI customized for your business doesn’t grow on trees. One software development firm, for instance, estimates that a simple chatbot could cost between $6,000 to $12,240, while a more complex bot’s price tag could be closer to six figures. But even with AI’s short-term costs, the tech could be a worthwhile investment that lowers your business’s long-term expenditures.As marketplaces become more crowded and competitive, companies will need to look for every advantage to remain relevant and appealing. AI plays a big part in that, cementing a company’s reputation as an innovator in the process. Here are four ways you can use AI to cut costs for your business:Use Automation to Improve Efficiency and Reduce ErrorsErrors aren’t just disruptive; they’re wasteful. In healthcare, for example, unnecessary tests and procedures cost U.S. consumers an astounding $210 billion a year. Part of the problem is that each patient is likely receiving medical treatment from multiple service providers, making it difficult to effectively organize a treatment schedule. AI, however, can spot duplicate procedures in the scheduling process and reduce scheduling errors as well.CHRISTUS Health, for instance, worked with Experian Health to automate up to 80 percent of its preregistration-related tasks, such as inputting new patients’ health history. As a result, productivity increased by 60 percent while errors plummeted. Staffers reallocated the time that was being spent on menial tasks to helping out with more important needs. Increasing efficiency and decreasing errors benefits both patients and providers.Improve Your Production Output With Stronger WorkflowsThe cumulative effects of inefficiency can cause end-to-end production processes to lag and accrue extra costs. Automating workflows ensures that they run automatically, consistently, and with less oversight. AI can replace human inputs while helping to manage the inputs humans still make, improving every aspect of production in the process.For example, a major paper packaging manufacturer was looking to reduce its scrap rate, so it implemented Sight Machine’s sensor-enabled, AI-driven application suite to track the production process in depth. This enabled the company to monitor every instance when a machine came into contact with paper and analyze the resulting production data in real time, eliminating many inefficiencies and QA issues in the process.Free Up Your Employees’ Time for Higher-Level TasksPeople are your biggest asset, so save their valuable time by automating some of their menial duties. For example, Botkeeper uses human-assisted AI to handle bill paying, accounts receivable, financial reporting, and myriad other accounting tasks. To date, the solution has automated more than 1,200,000 hours of bookkeeping for its 1,000 clients. With the time saved, companies can either reduce the number of accountants they employ or repurpose the existing ones to work on more strategic accounting efforts.Once AI has time- and labor-intensive processes running on autopilot, remaining employees can redirect their focus to more important things. By one estimate, employees who saved 240 hours due to automation return $9,240 in value to their employers. The numbers are even higher when it’s executives’ time that’s being repurposed.  Automate the Sticking Points of Customer ServiceAutomation in the form of chatbots and digital assistants leads to better customer service overall because customers can reach these AI helpers 24/7. This technology is so beneficial for all involved that Gartner predicts that 85 percent of customer service interactions will take place between humans and AI by 2020.That prediction’s believable when you consider an example like Autodesk Virtual Assistant. AVA is able to handle 30,000 interactions a month, speeding up response times from 1.5 days to 5 minutes. Call centers are quickly becoming obsolete as automation learns to answer the same queries as human representatives in less time. In turn, companies can offer customers superior service.AI can optimize companies’ operations in ways that both improve their bottom line and enhance the customer experience. AI-driven automation is an advantage now, but moving forward, companies will consider it a critical asset for remaining competitive. China and America want the AI Prize Title: Who … Tags:#AI#artificial intelligence#business expenses#chatbot#cost reduction#customer service#operations#productivity Brad AndersonEditor In Chief at ReadWrite How OKR’s Completely Transformed Our Culture AI: How it’s Impacting Surveillance Data Storage Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com. last_img read more

5 Awesome Stop Motion Lego Videos

first_imgWe’re blown away by these stop motion Lego videos!With the recent success of The Lego Movie we thought it would be cool to take a look at the process of making stop-motion Lego videos. Lego animation, like claymation, takes a lot of time and patience. Just like making a regular movie, you will need to do a good amount of pre-production before you start. The following are 5 great examples of what can be achieved with good planning and a whole lot of patience.1. Battle of the BrickA Lego recreation of the Zanzibar map of the Halo franchise follows the epic battle between red and blue. Video from GameTrailers.com.2. Lego ThrillerThis video uses Legos as pixels, rather than stop motion characters, to create an awesome effect. Video from Berlin, Germany’s Talking Animals Animation Studio.3. Adventure Time Title in LEGOWith it’s stunning detail and complexity this amazing video is a Lego recreation of the cartoon series Adventure Time. Video by Screen Novelties.4. Lego Cl!ck Integrating both human and non-human elements together, this stop-motion video shows what happens when ideas just “click”. Video by visual effects studio a52.5. Lego ArcadeA Lego recreation of classic arcade games. Video by Michael Hickox.Do It Yourself!Feel inspired to make your own stop-motion Lego movie now? If so, the following video will demonstrate you how you can make your own Lego stop-motion video. All you need is a camera, Legos (or Megablocks if you can’t afford Legos) and a lot of patience. Video by Ffrangconator’s Animation.If you feel like making a Lego video but don’t have access to Legos you could always animate one using a 3D modeling software like the Lego Movie. C4DZone’s BrickGen can take your 3D models and make them “Lego-fied” in Cinema 4D. BrickGen is currently avaliable for about $12. The following video shows how it works.Have you ever made a Lego stop-motion video? Do you know of any other awesome Lego centered films? Share in the comments below.last_img read more

Nonavian dinosaur found to have laid blue eggs

first_img(A) Pair of oviraptorid Heyuannia eggs (NMNS CYN-2004-DINO-05) from the Chinese province of Jiangxi before sampling. Porosity measurements and calculations of water vapor conductance are based on these eggs. Pieces of eggshell from each of the four zones depicted in (B) were used in porosity measurements. (B) Egg model separated into four zones used for zonal porosity measurements. Credit: PeerJ (2017). DOI: 10.7717/peerj.3706 This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. (Phys.org)—A team of researchers from Germany and the U.S. has found that a non-avian dinosaur living in what is now China laid colored eggs. In their paper published on the peer-reviewed site PeerJ, the team describes their study of the egg fossils and what their findings suggest about the evolution of colored eggs in modern birds. More information: Jasmina Wiemann et al. Dinosaur origin of egg color: oviraptors laid blue-green eggs, PeerJ (2017). DOI: 10.7717/peerj.3706AbstractProtoporphyrin (PP) and biliverdin (BV) give rise to the enormous diversity in avian egg coloration. Egg color serves several ecological purposes, including post-mating signaling and camouflage. Egg camouflage represents a major character of open-nesting birds which accomplish protection of their unhatched offspring against visually oriented predators by cryptic egg coloration. Cryptic coloration evolved to match the predominant shades of color found in the nesting environment. Such a selection pressure for the evolution of colored or cryptic eggs should be present in all open nesting birds and relatives. Many birds are open-nesting, but protect their eggs by continuous brooding, and thus exhibit no or minimal eggshell pigmentation. Their closest extant relatives, crocodiles, protect their eggs by burial and have unpigmented eggs. This phylogenetic pattern led to the assumption that colored eggs evolved within crown birds. The mosaic evolution of supposedly avian traits in non-avian theropod dinosaurs, however, such as the supposed evolution of partially open nesting behavior in oviraptorids, argues against this long-established theory. Using a double-checking liquid chromatography ESI-Q-TOF mass spectrometry routine, we traced the origin of colored eggs to their non-avian dinosaur ancestors by providing the first record of the avian eggshell pigments protoporphyrin and biliverdin in the eggshells of Late Cretaceous oviraptorid dinosaurs. The eggshell parataxon Macroolithus yaotunensis can be assigned to the oviraptor Heyuannia huangi based on exceptionally preserved, late developmental stage embryo remains. The analyzed eggshells are from three Late Cretaceous fluvial deposits ranging from eastern to southernmost China. Reevaluation of these taphonomic settings, and a consideration of patterns in the porosity of completely preserved eggs support an at least partially open nesting behavior for oviraptorosaurs. Such a nest arrangement corresponds with our reconstruction of blue-green eggs for oviraptors. According to the sexual signaling hypothesis, the reconstructed blue-green eggs support the origin of previously hypothesized avian paternal care in oviraptorid dinosaurs. Preserved dinosaur egg color not only pushes the current limits of the vertebrate molecular and associated soft tissue fossil record, but also provides a perspective on the potential application of this unexplored paleontological resource. Citation: Non-avian dinosaur found to have laid blue eggs (2017, September 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-09-non-avian-dinosaur-laid-blue-eggs.html Explore furthercenter_img Journal information: PeerJ © 2017 Phys.org Tracing the evolution of bird reproduction Many modern birds lay colored eggs—some are monochrome, like blue robin’s eggs; others are multi-colored like those of the dove. But until now, it was believed that all dinosaur eggs were white because dinosaurs laid their eggs in protected nests. In this new effort, the researchers have found an example of a dinosaur that laid blue or green eggs.The team reports that theirs was the first effort to seriously study color in dinosaur eggs. It came about after the team noted some Heyuannia huangi fossilized eggs that had a bluish tint—researchers had previously assumed the tint was due to mineralization, but the new team thought maybe there was more to it. Prior research had shown that Heyuannia huangi were dinosaurs with parrot-like beaks that walked on hind legs. The team used mass spectrometry and chromatographic separation to take a closer look at the eggs and detected traces of biliverdin and protoporphyrin, pigments commonly found in modern colored bird eggs. The eggs were also dated back to the Late Cretaceous period, which ran from 100 to 66 million years ago.The oviraptor Heyuannia huangi were also feathered dinosaurs—many of their fossils have been found over the years, but until now, no one suspected that they laid colored eggs. The coloring, the team suggests, is a strong indication that the eggs were laid in open nests—the coloring would have served as camouflage. In modern birds, only those that lay them in open nests are colored. Their finding also shows that egg coloring began before the evolution of modern birds—it started with non-avian dinosaurs and was passed down to modern ancestors.The researchers report that as a result of their find, they are taking a look at other fossilized dinosaur eggs to see if perhaps some of those also were colored.last_img read more

North Bengal likely to receive light rain mercury to go down slightly

first_imgKolkata: Some of the North Bengal districts may receive light to moderate rainfall in the next 24 hours, predicted the Regional Meteorological Centre at Alipore.According to the weather office, a low pressure trough has formed over Nepal and the Northern parts of Bihar, which will bring rainfall in North Bengal districts including Alipurduar, Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling and Kalimpong. There may be some rainfall in Sikkim as well. It has been said that the low pressure trough will become weak in the next four days. People in the city and other adjoining districts have been experiencing a breeze for the past few days. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseIt may be mentioned here that the temperature in the city has dropped by a few notches due to the uninterrupted flow of the northwesterly wind. Some parts of the city and its adjoining areas witnessed slight rainfall on Saturday evening. The weather office also said that the sky will remain clear on Monday but the temperature may further go down by a few notches in Kolkata and in some South Bengal districts. The temperature may slide down in the western parts of the state as well, including the districts of Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore. The average temperature in the city is expected remain between 13-15 degree Celsius. The constant flow of the northwesterly wind will contribute to the cold situation in the state. Earlier, the Met office had predicted that the cold wave situation would continue in the state till Saraswati Puja.last_img read more

Photo Editing Smorgasbord

first_img Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global December 14, 2009 2 min read Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Everyone who’s ever wanted to tap into their inner graphic artist can become a photo editing pro with picnik.com, which lets users grab photos from anywhere and easily edit and share them for a fraction of the price of programs like Photoshop.Now boasting about 13 million unique monthly visitors, Picnik garners about 20 percent of its revenue from advertisers and nearly 80 percent from its Picnik Premium subscriptions. Limited features are available on the site for free, but the full experience runs $24.95 per year, $19.95 for six months or $4.95 for one month.”It’s what I would call the classic ‘freemium’ model,” says Jonathan Sposato, CEO and co-founder. “You give away enough of the product for free to drive out innovation and value to the marketplace, then people don’t mind paying for some really great advanced features.”Picnik has capitalized on the efficiency of the web to help undercut traditional desktop software competition. As a cloud-based application, Picnik doesn’t need to be downloaded–it’s instantly available from any browser, which lowers operating costs.”The Internet will tell you very quickly whether your product is good or bad,” Sposato says. “If it’s good, people will respond with mouse clicks and by pulling out their credit cards.”BadgeTo help spread the word, Picnik offers official badges that are easily copied and pasted onto blogs, social network profiles, websites or “wherever else you want to add some Picniky goodness.” Picnik also garners lots of coverage in the blogosphere, which draws new subscribers.Edit PhotosUsers can grab photos directly from their computer or from websites such as Flickr, Facebook, Photobucket and MySpace and quickly edit, enhance, share and print them from any browser. Picnik Premium subscribers can upload 100 photos at one time, create digital collages and artfully layer photos stored in their Picnik Basket.BlogComplete with a Twitter feed, the blog increases visitor loyalty and gives users a sense of community, Sposato says. Everything from company and staffer news to new features on the site and Featured Picnikers is covered.Picnik ToolsUsers can grab an image directly from any website with the Bookmarklet, capture a screen shot with the Internet Explorer or Firefox Extension tool, and upload a photo directly to Picnik via the draggable-and-droppable Yahoo! Widget. This story appears in the January 2010 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » Register Now »last_img read more

Cayman Islands taps Raymond Mathias as BDM Canada

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Cayman Islands, People Monday, October 24, 2016 Share Raymond Mathias, Cayman Islands BDM for CanadaTORONTO — The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism has appointed Raymond Mathias, to Business Development Manager, Canada.Mathias will play a critical role in working with the global marketing management team in the development and execution of strategic marketing plans for the Canadian market. He will be responsible for leading the team in marketing, sales, advertising, public relations and social media outreach designed to grow Canadian visitation to the Cayman Islands.“The Canadian market is very important to us and we are extremely pleased to have Raymond on board, forging meaningful trade and industry relationships and strengthening our outreach campaigns across the country,” said, Rosa Harris, Director of Tourism for the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism. “We have a strong affinity with Canada, as not only are Canadians choosing to visit us in increasingly larger numbers, but many live and work in Cayman, making them an integral part of our tourism product.”An industry expert with more than 20 years in the field of international tourism marketing, Mathias previously served as the director, International Marketing at the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation (OTMPC) where he oversaw consumer marketing, travel trade and media relations in 10 key markets. His experience also includes serving as the marketing manager at VisitBritain Canada and marketing manager USA for Visit Wales.To contact the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, Canada, call (416) 485-1550.last_img read more