Thursday File Buzz

News, photos and quotes I have found interesting.

    Photo I: Henry Gonzalez cleaned after a pipe burst at City Winery in Napa. Credit Jim Wilson. // Photo II: Nola Rawlins surveyed the remains of her home - Peter Dasilva. // Photo III: The earthquake shook wine bottles at Van’s Liquors in Napa, Calif., off their shelves. Credit Justin Sullivan.
    Losses From California Quake Could Top $1 Billion
    Quentin Hardy reported from Napa, Calif., and Ian Lovett from Los Angeles. Rick Rojas contributed reporting from New York, and Jim Kerstetter from Napa. — AUG. 24, 2014 —
    NAPA, Calif. — Early Sunday morning, Franz Oehler’s house blew apart.
    “My girlfriend and I were thrown straight in the air, and the windows exploded,” said Mr. Oehler, a 44-year-old creative director, whose home is nestled among some of the country’s most celebrated vineyards.
    A magnitude-6.0 earthquake hit the Napa Valley at 3:20 a.m. Sunday — the strongest temblor in the San Francisco Bay Area in a quarter-century — destroying both opulent and modest homes, rupturing dozens of water and gas mains and causing injuries, mostly minor, to more than 100 people.
    Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency, and directed state resources toward a recovery effort in Napa.
    At least 120 people had been treated at the emergency room at Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, said Vanessa deGier, a hospital spokeswoman. Most of the injuries were minor lacerations or abrasions caused by falling debris. But three patients were in critical condition, including a child who had been crushed by a falling fireplace. No deaths had been confirmed as of Sunday evening.
    The shaking was felt as far off as Salinas, almost 120 miles away, and the United States Geological Survey estimated that economic losses could be up to $1 billion.
    Despite the widespread damage, scientists said California was fortunate to escape greater devastation from the earthquake, which exposed gaps in the state’s preparedness. The historic 1906 San Francisco earthquake was about 500 times larger than Sunday’s temblor.
    “It is truly small — small compared to what California has experienced in its recorded history,” said Ross S. Stein, a geophysicist at the United States Geological Survey.
    “We owe wine country in part to earthquakes,” which created the Napa Valley terrain that is so suitable to vineyards, he said. “We all want to enjoy the fruits of the quakes, so we all have to prepare for the downside, too.”
    However geologically small, the earthquake unleashed chaos in many parts of the Napa Valley, a serene escape known for its fine dining.
    At Mr. Oehler’s home, a skylight shattered and stone sculptures flew into the air. The swimming pool cracked open, flooding his steep hillside. “There was noise everywhere from the earthquake and the walls cracking,” he said.
    From the terrace he said he saw flames rising in the valley below.
    Several fires broke out following the earthquake, including one at a mobile home park that destroyed six homes, the authorities said.
    Two residents of the park, Lynda and Bob Castell-Blanch, both 60, were jarred awake by a loud thump, followed by rolling. The park soon shot up in flames.
    “It was violent,” said Mr. Castell-Blanch, whose home was not among those that burned. “Things were flying all over the place. There was a woman screaming from one of the houses, so loud it was total mayhem.”
    Because a nearby water main had ruptured, however, firefighters were unable to tap into the hydrant to fight the fire, and had to truck in water from elsewhere.
    The Castell-Blanchs said they had enough time to gather their cats and Mr. Castell-Blanch’s vintage guitars before fleeing. “That was all we had time for,” he said.
    They went to a nearby store, the Ranch Market, to try to buy water, but the shelves had been emptied. The smell of wine from broken bottles wafted through the store.
    Arik Housley, the store’s owner, estimated at least $100,000 in damage at the two markets he owned in the area. Like many people, he said he did not carry earthquake insurance because the premium was high.
    By Sunday evening, more than 10,000 people remained without power, and parts of the city still smelled of natural gas. About 600 homes were without water.
    Much of the heaviest damage was in downtown Napa, where large sections of brick had fallen from the county courthouse and other historic buildings. Three of the buildings that sustained severe damage had not been retrofitted to withstand earthquakes, city officials said, while the retrofits on some other older buildings did not hold, and large sections of brick and concrete collapsed onto the sidewalks.
    More than 30 buildings across the city were deemed uninhabitable.
    “Certainly, a few of the retrofits didn’t fare that well,” said a Napa County supervisor, Mark Luce. He added that many more buildings, including the county administrative building, had interior damage including broken sprinkler lines and fallen ceilings that would be costly to repair. “The newer buildings that met current standards fared better, but there’s still a lot of mess to clean up inside,” he said.
    “We’ll look at what happened with these couple buildings where we saw these failures, and see if there’s anything we missed,” Mr. Luce added. “We’ve had a live test of what a 6.0 earthquake will do.”
    Kelly Houston, a spokesman for the California Emergency Management Agency, said the quake was also a reminder that virtually the entire state — not just Los Angeles and San Francisco — was at risk.
    “This is definitely a wake-up call, especially for the people in Napa Valley,” Mr. Houston said. “Maybe folks there think they don’t have to worry as much because they don’t live in San Francisco.”
    In the hills outside this city, winemakers like David Duncan, whose family owns the Silver Oak Winery, rued the loss of “irreplaceable” wine that fell from the shelves in one of its cellars.
    “It was everything — hundreds of bottles of broke,” Mr. Duncan said.
    Mr. Oehler, as he picked his way through shards of marble and glass, also counted an irreplaceable loss, his home.
    “We spent a lot of money and love on this place” he said. “It’s all gone now. It’s cracking and sliding down the hill.”

    — 58 minutes ago with 1 note
    #TF What is up around us  #tf wine  #tf usa  #California  #napa  #tf earthquake 

    Swedish Tetra Pak factory to shut down
    August 27 2014 -
    A Tetra Pak factory in southern Sweden is set to shut down due to a decrease in demand, meaning 250 Swedes risk losing their jobs.
    The Lund packaging factory will be absorbed by other factories in Europe.
    "We’ve seen a drop in consumption of milk and juice, resulting in a significant drop in the need for packaging products," factory head Jerry Bengtson said, reported the TT news agency.
    Most of the customers that the company provides for are in Europe, and not in Sweden.
    As a result, production will shift to France, Spain, or Italy.
    "Lund really pulled the shortest straw in this one, we have factories around Europe that serve our customers better," Bengtsson added.
    The head of Tetra Pak’s global packaging production, Lars Wennberg, said the move was “a difficult decision”.
    "It weighs even heavier when you think it all more or less started in Lund," he said.
    It remains unclear what will happen to the 250 employees at the factory, however the jobs of the other 3,500 people employed by Tetra Pak in the area are not at risk.
    Tetra Pak is a Swedish company founded in 1951. The heirs to the Rausing family fortune live in the UK, and consistently feature in lists ranking the world’s wealthiest people.
    Siblings Kirsten and Jörn Rausing almost doubled their combined wealth in 2013, climbing four places on the Sunday Times Rich List to number eight.

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    #TF What is up around us  #Tetra Pak  #tf sweden  #Jörn Rausing  #Kirsten rausing  #rausing  #economy  #tf europe 
    Add your own caption - #18 ‘Great Egret chicks’ - photo by Jeff Clow—Join our weekly Digest published on Thursday morning -
TFD 640 - What do you think he is saying or thinking?

    Add your own caption - #18Great Egret chicks’ - photo by Jeff Clow

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    — 3 hours ago with 1 note
    #tf add your caption  #birds  #Great Egret  #chicks  #jeff Clow 

    Photo I: Rainbow Macaroons // Photo II & III: Catherine Cooper // Photo IV: Pastry chef Catherine Cooper, center, founder of Bon Macaron Chicago, works with assistants Anabel Cabrera, right, and Jaclyn Snoreck to fill the delicate French cookies called macarons.
    Taste the Rainbow from - August 27 2014
    Macarons are delicate. They’re miniature. They’re French. And they have a way of making you feel like an elegant cookie monster. 

    Now Chicago chef Catherine Cooper is putting an irreverent spin on the classic at her West Town bakery, Bon Macaron.
    Cooper studied macaron production in Paris, and her handcrafted macarons are gluten-free, technical perfection, with light-as-air shells and creamy, rich fillings made with chocolate and seasonal fruit.
    Then there are the flavors, which are all about fun. You’ll find PB&J, cherry pie, s’mores and, our favorite, birthday cake—complete with turquoise-and-pink shells, vanilla white-chocolate ganache filling and rainbow sprinkles. On the menu for fall are carrot cake and spumoni versions.

The cookies are currently available by special order with a one-week lead time, and there’s no minimum order. ($2 to $3 per macaron; email
    Cooper also sells her treats at Sunset Foods in Highland Park and Lake Forest, and come September, her brown-and-pink-themed storefront bakery will have retail hours on weekends.
    C’est bon.
    Bon Macaron, 1407 W. Grand Ave.; 312-228-4325 or

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    — 4 hours ago with 1 note
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    Photo I: A tank with a flag of Novorossia (union of Donetsk people’s republic and Lugansk people’s republic) drives in central Donetsk late on August 23, 2014 - Max Vetrov // Photo II: Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic Alexander Zakharchenko // Photo III: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov // Photo IV: Col. Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine’s National Security Council.
    Kiev reports movement of tanks, heavy weapons from Russia
    August 27 2014 — France24
    Kiev on Wednesday said a massive convoy of tanks and heavy weapons from Russia was travelling towards a government-held town in restive east Ukraine.
    A convoy of “up to 100” tanks, armoured vehicles and rocket launchers was seen travelling on a road toward Telmanove, a town about 80 kilometres south of rebel stronghold Donetsk and 20 kilometres from the Russian border, Ukraine’s army said in a statement.
    The army did not give details about the personnel on board the vehicles or when the column is thought to have entered Ukraine.
    A military source told AFP that the convoy had come from Russia.
    "We believe that this is Russian equipment. You cannot buy 100 tanks at a market in Donetsk or Lugansk," the source said.
    "Of course they have been moved from across the border," he added.
    It is unclear if this column is the same as an armoured convoy identified by Kiev earlier this week as having crossed from Russia’s Rostov region to Ukraine’s restive southern Donetsk region.
    On Wednesday, AFP journalists travelling on the same road heading south to Telmanove said they traces of tank tracks and heard explosions.
    Ukrainian military also said that a smaller group of vehicles had crossed the border from Russia about 110 kilometres east of Donetsk and travelled on to the rebel stronghold.
    The convoy included “six Grad rocket launchers, eight covered Kamaz (trucks) and two Ural trucks with manpower,” the statement said.

    Notes from Epoch Times - by Associated Press | August 25, 2014
    Over the past month, Ukrainian forces have made substantial inroads against pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine, taking control of several sizeable towns and cities that had been under rebel control since April, when the clashes began.
    But the advances have come at a high cost — more than 2,000 civilians reportedly killed and at least 726 Ukrainian servicemen. There is no independent figure for the number of rebel dead, although Ukrainian authorities said Monday that 250 rebels were in fighting around Olenivka, a town 25 kilometers (15 miles) south of Donetsk.
    Intense fighting and shelling persists for the two major rebel-held cities of Donetsk and Luhansk.
    Col. Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine’s National Security Council, told reporters that the column of 10 tanks, two armored vehicles and two trucks crossed the border near the village of Shcherbak and that shells were fired from Russia toward the nearby city of Novoazovsk. He said they were Russian military vehicles bearing the flags of the separatist Donetsk rebels. The village is in the Donetsk region, but not under the control of the rebels.
    The Ukrainian National Guard later said two of the tanks had been destroyed.
    In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday he had no information about the column.

    Ukraine and the West say that Russia is supporting and supplying the rebels. NATO says since mid-August, Russia has fired into Ukraine from across the border and from within Ukrainian territory. Moscow denies those allegations.
    Fighting continued elsewhere in the east, notably around Olenivka. Lysenko said Monday about 250 separatists had been killed in that fighting, but did not specify in what time period. On Sunday, rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko said two-thirds of Olenivka had been wrested away from Ukrainian control.
    Ukrainian forces had made significant inroads against the separatists in recent weeks, but the rebels have vowed to retake lost territory.

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    — 6 hours ago with 1 note
    #TF What is up around us  #tf Ukraine  #Alexander Zakharchenko  #tf russia  #Donetsk  #Sergey Lavrov  #Andriy Lysenko 

    Photo I: Manuel Valls has formed his second government in five months // Photo II: rebel ministers (from left) Arnaud Montebourg, Benoit Hamon and Aurelie Filippetti // Photo III: Emmanuel Macron is seen in San Francisco, California, during the visit of French President Francois Hollande to the United States, in Feb. 12, 2014. // Photo IV: Najat Vallaud-Belkacem  // Photo V: Fleur Pellerin

    France Hollande: New team named after ministers rebel
    August 26 2014 —
    French President Francois Hollande has named a new cabinet under PM Manual Valls, dropping ministers who rebelled against austerity cuts.
    The first government of Mr Valls, who was appointed less than five months ago, fell on Monday after a row with Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg.
    Mr Montebourg resigned along with two other ministers from the left.
    He will be replaced by Emmanuel Macron, a former Rothschild banker and ex-presidential economic adviser.
    President Hollande is seeking a coherent line on economic policy after recent criticism from the left wing of his Socialist Party.
    Many see it as his last chance to make a successful presidency, after his recent poll ratings sunk to 17%.
    Key portfolios unchanged
    For the first time, a woman - Najat Vallaud-Belkacem - will be put in charge of education, replacing Benoit Hamon who also lost his job.
    Ms Vallaud-Belkacem was minister for women’s rights in the last cabinet.
    Meanwhile, Fleur Pellerin has been made minister for culture, replacing Aurelie Filippetti who is also out of the government.
    Key ministers in the previous cabinet, like Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Finance Minister Michel Sapin, retain their posts.
    Mr Hollande’s former partner and the mother of his four children, Segolene Royal, will retain her post as environment and energy minister.
    President Hollande said earlier that the new cabinet should “cohere to the directions of the prime minister”, who is on the party’s right wing.
    Prime Minister Valls said he would hold a parliamentary vote of confidence in September or October, speaking in a TV interview after the new ministers were named.
    "And you will see, the majority will be there. There can be no other way. If the majority isn’t there on that occasion, it would be finished. We couldn’t finish our work," he told France 2 TV.
    He also defended the choice of a former banker for new economy minister, saying: “So what? Can one not in this country be an entrepreneur? One can’t be a banker?”
    The BBC’s Lucy Williamson, in Paris, says the new economy minister’s key selling point is that he shares the president’s pro-business, centre-right vision - unlike his predecessor.
    But, she adds, the fault lines in the Socialist party and its allies have not gone away, and there is a danger those divisions will simply switch to the National Assembly.
    Mr Montebourg quit after publicly urging the government to end austerity policies and focus on growth.

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    — 9 hours ago with 3 notes
    #TF What is up around us  #tf france  #Francois Hollande  #manual valls  #Najat Vallaud-Belkacem  #Emmanuel Macron  #Fleur Pellerin 

    Richard Attenborough (Richard Samuel Attenborough)
    Born: August 29, 1923, Cambridge, England
    Died: August 24, 2014 (aged 90), London, England
    Spouse: Sheila Sim (1945–2014; his death)
    Brothers: David Attenborough
    John Attenborough
    Brother-in-law: Gerald Sim
    former daughter-in-law: Jane Seymour (Michael Attenborough - 1971–73; divorced)
    Photo I: Richard // Photo II: Pinkie in Brighton Rock // Photo III: The Flight of the Phoenix-1965 // Photo IV:  10 Rillington Place

    Richard Attenborough 1923 - 2014
    BBCnews - August 24 2014
    During a career spanning 60 years, the irrepressible Richard Attenborough became one of Britain’s best-known actors and directors: a man of charm, talent and old-fashioned liberal principles.
    What one writer described as “an apparently unquenchable appetite for doing good”, Attenborough himself attributed to his upbringing in Leicester.
    Richard Samuel Attenborough was born on 29 August 1923.
    He and his brothers David, the television naturalist, and John were brought up by fervently do-gooding parents - their father was principal of University College, Leicester.
    Both father and mother were Labour Party activists whose commitment extended to adopting two Jewish refugee girls from Germany when World War II broke out.
    Attenborough inherited a belief in the importance of community and society. Apart from a brief flirtation with the Social Democrats he was a lifelong member of the Labour Party, and much of his work reflected his political beliefs.
    He made his film debut while still a drama student in 1942, playing a cameo role as a cowardly young stoker on a naval destroyer in Noel Coward’s In Which We Serve.
    Over the next 30 years - interrupted by three years’ service in the RAF - he became a star and one of Britain’s most reliable character actors.
    Christmas fixture
    His most astonishing performance was his chilling portrayal, in 1947, of the teenage hoodlum and murderer Pinky in Brighton Rock.
    On stage he was part of the original cast of Agatha Christie’s long-running whodunnit, The Mousetrap.
    He later became a fixture of a score of British television Christmases as Bartlett in 1963 prison camp drama The Great Escape.
    In 1964 he won a best actor Bafta for his portrayal of the downtrodden husband of a deranged spiritualist in Seance on a Wet Afternoon.
    The award also recognised his performance as a martinet sergeant major facing a native uprising in Guns at Batasi.
    His greatest skill as an actor was the sympathetic embodiment of ordinary though never mundane men in extraordinary circumstances.
    It served him especially well in 1971 when he played the mass murderer John Christie - outwardly normal, in reality a psychopath - in 10 Rillington Place.
    He was knighted for his efforts in 1976. But he had become frustrated with acting, in which he only ever interpreted other people’s work.
    He began producing films, then making them. “Becoming a director enabled me to do things I couldn’t do as an actor,” he said.
    He was a film-maker with a mission, believing popular cinema had a capacity to make the world a better place.
    His greatest achievement was his 1982 epic Gandhi, starring Ben Kingsley as the outsider hero whose moral courage and sense of purpose enabled him to change the world.
    Political statements
    Gandhi won eight Oscars, including best actor and best director. But it took Attenborough 20 years to raise the money to make it.
    He mortgaged his house, sold possessions and took roles in films he described as “terrible crap” to help pay for what became an obsession.
    Along the way he directed other films. There was a version of Joan Littlewood’s anti-war satire Oh! What a Lovely War. There was Young Winston, about Churchill’s early years, and the war epic A Bridge Too Far.
    After Gandhi came his adaptation of the musical A Chorus Line. It was followed by Cry Freedom, the story of the murdered South African black activist Steve Biko and Donald Woods, the white journalist who took up his cause.
    Like Gandhi, Cry Freedom was a box office and critical success. Like Gandhi, it was anti-racist, anti-imperialist and impeccably liberal, as well as a strong, eminently watchable drama.
    Both films wore their political hearts on their sleeves. And both were occasionally criticised for being overblown, overlong, sentimental and even patronising.
    Some of his films were flops. His 1992 biopic of Charlie Chaplin failed to make money, while Grey Owl, about a pioneering Canadian Indian environmentalist who turned out to have been born in Hastings, went straight to video in the US.
    His final film, 2007’s Closing the Ring, was judged to be a muted finale to a distinguished directorial career.
    But Shadowlands, released 14 years earlier with Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger, was a commercial and critical success.
    Committees full of ‘darlings’
    The story of children’s writer C S Lewis and his late love affair with American poet Joy Gresham was an unashamed and astonishingly effective tear-jerker.
    It befitted a film by a man who was himself famous, even notorious, for weeping in public.
    Late in life Attenborough resumed his own acting career in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park in 1993, the year he became a life peer.
    He also starred as Santa Claus in Miracle on 34th Street and had a cameo role in 1998’s Elizabeth.
    As well as being one of Britain’s foremost actors and directors, Lord Attenborough was also one of its most active public figures.
    His vast entry in Who’s Who listed more than 30 organisations of which he was or had been a director, trustee, fellow, chairman or president.
    They included the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, the British Film Institute, Capital Radio, Channel 4, the Tate Gallery, the Muscular Dystrophy Group and Chelsea Football Club.
    He put down his habit of addressing everyone as “darling” to serving on so many committees with so many famous people he was never able to remember their names.
    At a Downing Street seminar in the early 1980s on the parlous state of the British film industry, the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher expressed deep concern.
    "Why wasn’t I told?" she asked. "Darling, you never asked," Attenborough is said to have replied.
    His personal life was apparently irreproachable. His marriage to the actress Sheila Sim was one of the longest-running in showbusiness.
    They wed in 1945 and had three children, including the theatre director Michael Attenborough.
    Tragedy struck the family in 2004 when the Asian tsunami killed his 14-year-old granddaughter Lucy Holland, as well as his daughter and her mother-in-law, both called Jane.
    Charming but determined
    Lord Attenborough broke down in tears as he paid tribute to them at a service in London’s Southwark Cathedral the following year.
    He went on to channel his energies into supporting the Khao Lak Appeal, in aid of a Thai village struck by the tsunami. The appeal raised more than £1 million.
    Lord Attenborough had great charm and immense energy and knew how to use both. The public saw a gregarious theatrical extrovert, but beneath the gush there was a determined and decisive man.
    Throughout an extraordinarily busy life he remained passionately committed to his chosen craft of film-making.
    And he always believed films should be more than merely entertainment - while never forgetting that before they could do anything else, they had to entertain.

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    Add your own caption - #17 'Great Horned Owl' by Nathan Rupert

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TFD 639 - What do you think he is saying or thinking?

    Add your own caption - #17 'Great Horned Owl' by Nathan Rupert

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    Halifax looks forward to the opening of its very own library of the future
    by Jane Taber, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada — The Globe and Mail — Sunday, August 17 2014
    It is being billed as the “city’s living room.” Its rooftop patio offers stunning views of Halifax harbour. There is a 300-seat theatre, two cafes, gaming stations, two music studios, dedicated space for adult literacy, a First Nations reading circle and boardrooms for local entrepreneurs.
    Oh, and it will lend books, too.
    Halifax’s new $57.6-million gleaming glass library of the future is to open later this fall – a 129,000-square-foot building in the city’s downtown with a unique cantilevered rectangular glass box on the top, suggesting a stack of books. Fully accessible, culturally sensitive, environmentally sustainable and architecturally stunning, with elegant angles and lines, it is the first piece of modern architecture to be built in Halifax in decades, and the first major central library to be built in Canada in several years.
    Libraries are competing with Google, the Internet and even Chapters and Starbucks, but they are holding their own.
    In Canada, library use has increased slightly year after year, according to statistics from the Canadian Urban Libraries Council. From 2008 to 2013, the CULC tracked an 18-per-cent increase in library use, which includes the population served, attendance at programs and number of programs offered.
    That is the story in Halifax, where so-called “in-person” visits have increased 2.9 per cent from 2012-13. Website visits were also up by 1.8 per cent. About 15,000 residents signed up for a library card this year and 8,340 library cardholders signed up for the library’s digital download service, according to Halifax Public Libraries’ performance report, released in June.
    Libraries are also competing for taxpayers’ dollars – and making progress. New libraries are being built; some are being renovated. An architect was recently hired for Calgary’s Central Library, which is expected to open in 2018; the Toronto Public Library is completing a five-year, $34-million revitalization of its reference library.
    All this change has forced libraries to become more than passive book lenders. “They are extremely creative and innovative,” says Valoree McKay, executive director of the Canadian Library Association, about the way libraries are adapting. “It is not what you envisage your library being – books and librarians with buns saying ‘shhh.’”
    At the Toronto Public Library, for example, public-health nurses give vaccinations while other customers can self-publish books or print off a résumé. In Ottawa, librarians are teaching people how to Photoshop or make video clips; the Edmonton Public Library has an entire gaming section that allows visitors to play or make their own games.
    In the United States, Sari Feldman, president-elect of the American Library Association, says in the future libraries “will be less about what we have for people and more about what we do for people.”
    For Danish architect Morten Schmidt, whose firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen designed the Halifax library with its Nova Scotia partners, Fowler, Bauld & Mitchell, modern libraries are “much more places for social gathering.”
    His firm, which has designed large libraries in Europe, including the extension of the Royal Library in Copenhagen, is now designing the New Central Library in Christchurch, N.Z. The 2011 earthquake destroyed the library. New Zealand officials toured the new Halifax library recently, and Mr. Schmidt says elements of it are being incorporated into the Christchurch design.
    “A public library is probably as important as a church today or even more important than a city hall because it’s the people building and everyone can come there,” he said in a telephone interview from Denmark.
    Haligonians have wanted a new library since the 1980s to replace the Spring Garden Road Memorial Public Library, which opened in 1951 as a tribute to the city’s war dead. It took a recession and federal infrastructure dollars to finally get it going in 2009 – and after extensive public consultations, construction began in November, 2011, on a site just across the street from the old library.
    The federal government contributed $18.3-million, the province gave $13-million and the municipal government’s portion is $26.3-million, of which the library has had to contribute several million, raised through donations.
    The new Halifax Central Library is full of light and wide-open spaces. An atrium opens up the five storeys, and from the cantilevered glass rectangle you can stare out at both the harbour and Citadel Hill. Mr. Schmidt says he wanted to “reach out to these two points” because they are important symbols of Halifax’s history. Environmentally sustainable, the library also features a green roof and rainwater is used to flush the toilets.
    As for the exterior architecture, George Cotaras, the Nova Scotia lead architect, believes it will be a catalyst for the city: “Halifax has had a very conservative attitude [that] good architecture has to look like old architecture. Well, I think that is going to change.”
    Bruce Gorman, director, Central Library and Regional Services, says being able to grab a latte, use the free wireless and on a nice evening sit out and watch sailboats in the harbour is “not what people expect to see when they are going into a public library. We are shifting people’s thoughts about what public libraries are.”

    — 1 week ago with 4 notes
    #TF What is up around us  #libraries  #tf canada  #Halifax  #Nova Scotia 

    Photo I: Iris Marossek of Deutsche Post, the German mail service, delivers mail to 1,500 people a day with the assistance of an e-bike. Credit Gordon Welters // Photo II: “They are really nice and they are only getting better,” said Iris Marossek, of the e-bike she uses to deliver mail. “You’re not as exhausted as you would be with a regular bike.” Credit Gordon Welters // Photo III: A bicycle shop assistant demonstrating an e-bike in Beijing. Tens of millions of e-bikes are already on the road in China. Credit How Hwee Young
    E-Bike Sales Are Surging in Europe
    by Danny Hakim / Chris Cottrell contributed reporting. —August 18, 2014 —
    BERLIN — With a faint electric whir, Iris Marossek pedals her bicycle through concrete apartment blocks in the heart of old East Berlin, delivering mail to 1,500 people a day.
    Painted yellow and black like a bumble bee, her bicycle is a nod to both past and future. It is decorated with an image of a curving black horn, harking back to earlier centuries when German postal workers trumpeted their arrival. But the twin battery packs under her seat also reveal it is more than the average bike.
    Ms. Marossek rides one of the 6,200 e-bikes in service for Deutsche Post, the German mail service. E-bikes use electric motors to make them easier to pedal and have been gaining popularity in bike-loving countries like Germany, appealing to older people, delivery businesses and commuters who don’t want to sweat.
    “They are really nice and they are only getting better,” Ms. Marossek said. “You’re not as exhausted as you would be with a regular bike.”
    With tens of millions of e-bikes already on the road in China, e-bike sales are now surging in Europe, especially in northern countries with long cycling traditions. For some markets, e-bikes have recently been the only area of growth.
    There are 250,000 on the road in Switzerland, according to the European Cyclists’ Federation. In Germany, bike sales were down 5.5 percent last year, but sales of more expensive e-bikes were up almost 8 percent and now command about 11 percent of the market. In the Netherlands, which has Europe’s highest per capita bicycle usage, the overall bike market fell slightly last year, but e-bike sales rose more than 9 percent.
    So far, the appeal seems largely limited to countries with a strong bike culture. In China, consumers often use cheap e-bikes with lead-acid batteries, a bane of environmentalists, instead of scooters, and they have also made headlines for leading to more accidents in a country known for its dangerous roads. In Europe, e-bikes are more expensive and evolving out of the traditional bike market.
    In other areas, it still represents a niche. The United States has yet to significantly embrace e-bikes, and in New York State, they are still regulated like motorcycles, presenting challenges to mass adoption.
    With the market evolving quickly, a plethora of manufacturers — companies as varied as Europe’s Accell Group, Chinese exporters and even auto giants — are competing. Daimler’s Smart brand is offering zero percent financing on its $3,000 e-bike in Britain, while BMW introduced its own e-bike for about $3,600 this year.
    The higher profit margins have saved many a bike shop in recent years. A typical e-bike sells for about $2,700 in Europe, retailers said. The average price of a bicycle, which has been bolstered by the new motorized versions, sells for about $1,300, according to the federation.
    “It’s really exploded the last six or seven years,” said Lars van der Wansem, product manager of Bike Europe magazine, adding “the Netherlands, Denmark, the north of Germany is at the forefront” of e-bike growth.
    In Germany, where e-bikes have been particularly popular, the postal service tends to use them for steeper or longer routes. They also ease the burden for an aging work force.
    “We noticed that our employees weren’t getting any younger, and we wondered how we could relieve them,” said Frank Kolaczinsky, Ms. Marossek’s boss. (In Canada the PM just gets rid of their jobs, cutting out ‘home delivery’. - Steve)
    “They were sweating, too,” said Ms. Marossek with a chuckle, while standing next to her bicycle near a health clinic on her route.
    Trendy hotels like the Hotel New York in Rotterdam rent out small fleets of e-bikes. At Au Guidon Vert, a small bike shop in the Etterbeek neighborhood of Brussels, the owner, Nicolas De Keghel, said one in four bikes he sold was now an e-bike, accounting for half of his income.
    An e-bike made by Velo de Ville, a German brand, was on sale at his shop for 2,150 euros, or nearly $2,900, next to a regular bicycle by the same company for about $940. A circular motor made by Bosch, the auto supply giant, was nestled between the e-bike’s pedals.
    For buyers who commute, the sweat factor seems to be a significant one.
    Noel Regan, one of Mr. De Keghel’s customers, bought a Velo de Ville e-bike about a year ago. Mr. Regan, 35, is an Irishman who works for an energy industry association in Brussels.
    “I have a regular bike,” said Mr. Regan, who paid about $4,000 for his e-bike. “But I wanted something I could commute to work in so I wasn’t hot and sweaty when I arrived.”
    His bike takes about an hour to recharge and he can get about four commutes between charges.
    “I got quite an expensive one, but I think it was worth it,” he said. “It’s something you look forward to, to go home in the evening.”
    Others see e-bikes as a way to avoid car traffic.
    David Stellini recently bought an e-bike with a cargo carrier in front to carry his two small children around. He works as a spokesman for the European People’s Party, the largest center-right political party in the Parliament, and has been commuting to work by car.
    A recent traffic snarl during a visit by President Obama pushed Mr. Stellini, 37, over the top.
    Getting to work “took me two hours or more, two-and-a-half hours, and I live 20 minutes from the Parliament,” he said.
    “When you buy this cargo bike you need a motor, especially in Brussels because it’s hilly,” he said. “I could have bought a cargo bike which is not electric, but I rode my bike without the electricity switched on, and it’s quite difficult.”
    In Europe, they are the latest sign of divergence between north and south, as the economically fragile south has largely remained cool to e-bikes because of their fatter price tags, executives said. The industry has not taken off in countries like Italy and Spain, while in France, e-bike sales rose more than 17 percent last year, but off a low base; sales totaled 56,000 e-bikes, compared with 410,000 sold in Germany.
    “To imagine going into Italy and establishing an e-bike sector, apart from one or two wealthy cities like Milan, you’re really going to struggle,” said Kevin Mayne, the cyclists’ federation’s director of development.
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    “In the Netherlands, in Germany, people are used to paying 600, 700, 800 euros for a daily bicycle,” he said. “In a lot of other countries a daily bicycle might be a €100 bicycle from a supermarket.”
    The European Union limits e-bikes to a top speed of 25 kilometers per hour. Any faster than that and they are regulated like a motorcycle and require riders to wear a helmet and manufacturers to obtain special certifications.
    Nonetheless, faster bikes are catching on in Germany, said Hielke H. Sybesma, the chief financial officer of the Accell Group, one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of e-bikes.
    “What we see now in Germany are performance e-bikes,” he said. “The average age of the user is coming down, and especially in the performance bikes.”
    The e-bike Ms. Marossek uses for the postal service has a throttle, unlike most e-bikes that are sold at the retail level, but its top speed is capped at about 21 kilometers an hour.
    She is what is known as a jumper, shifting mail routes depending on the day. Some days, she rides an e-bike and some days a regular bike. With heavy mail cartons on the front and back of her bike, she says, “sometimes you can come to hills and it can be very exerting.”
    “The other bikes really give you a workout,” she said. “I notice the difference because sometimes I use a regular bike.”
    Not that there aren’t drawbacks. She smiled broadly while astride her e-bike. “This bike isn’t as good for my figure.”

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