Pollutionwatch: Africa increases its reliance on fossil fuels

By Anne workforce / November 8, 2019

Continent is embarking on a huge expansion of power stations, most of which will burn coal

Last week the UN secretary general, António Guterres, called for an end to new coal-fired power plants. Many European countries including the UK and Germany are decreasing their dependence on coal, but this is not the case everywhere. Across Africa many people rely on standby diesel generators to supplement erratic electricity supplies, leading to local air pollution problems and high emissions of climate-heating carbon dioxide.

Although Africa is in a unique position to leapfrog dependence on fossil fuels and utilise abundant renewable sources such as wind and solar, the continent is embarking on a massive expansion of fossil fuel electricity. More than 200 new power stations are planned, the majority of which will burn coal. Power ships – vast floating power stations, some burning highly polluting bunker oil – are already moored in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Mozambique.

Continue reading…

Read more: theguardian.com

Ford reveals 6 custom-modified trucks as part of a collection of 50 vehicles going on display at SEMA

By Anne workforce / November 8, 2019

Ford SEMA 4_RTR Rambler Ford RangerFord

Ford has revealed some of its upgraded trucks that will be on display at the 2019 Specialty Equipment Market Association Show (SEMA) on November 5-8.
Most of the upgrades are geared toward outdoorsy people, with the exception of the Tjin Edition Ford Ranger, which was lowered to a “street-ready stance.”
Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Ford is previewing six custom upgraded trucks that will be on display at the 2019 Speciality Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show.

More than 50 vehicles will be part of Ford’s exhibit at SEMA, making the automaker the largest original-equipment manufacturer display at the show.

“The automotive aftermarket space continues to grow at a tremendous pace from powerful street machines to the latest trends in overlanding and off-road,” Ford Vehicle Personalization and Accessories Global Director Eric Cin said in a statement.

“The Ranger and Transit are great fits for this space, capable of being modified in countless ways to give owners the flexibility to make their vehicle as unique as they are.”

SEMA runs November 5-8. Take a look at the six upgraded trucks ahead of their debuts:

The Advanced Accessory Concepts Ford Ranger is a “must-have accessory for exploration,” the automaker says.
Ford

It was built on the chassis of a 2019 Ford Ranger XLT with wheels that have been optimized for off-roading. The upgraded truck has stronger bumpers, a skid plate to shield its underbelly, rock sliders to protect the chassis, and Ford Performance features. 

There’s also an aluminum tray bed with a canopy, a tent, and a 50-quart refrigerator.

“This Hellwig 2019 Ford Ranger targets the ultimate adventure vehicle for outdoor enthusiasts who value sustainability,” the automaker said in a statement.
Ford

The truck — powered in part with solar energy — has an upgraded suspension, wheels, and tires. The sway bars stabilize the vehicle and a cat-back exhaust improves performance, rear-differential covers protect the car. There’s a recovery kit, too.

The tent, stove, and first-aid kit make the truck outdoor-ready. The Hellwig also has improved rock sliders and bumpers, lighting, and fender flares to protect the wheels and tires.

This Ford Performance Parts Ford Ranger is a part of the automaker’s overlanding series.
Ford

The truck has an additional two-inch front lift and upgraded wheels, tires, hood-hinge lights. There’s also rigid underbody rock lights, lightbars, a recovery kit, tow hooks, and cube lights in the fog light openings.

The additional rooftop tent, truck bed storage system, refrigerator and freezer optimizes it for the outdoors.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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I’m a 6-figure freelancer. This is exactly what I do every day.

By Anne workforce / October 30, 2019

kelly burch home officeCourtesy Kelly Burch

I work from home full-time as a freelance writer and am on track to break $100,000 this year.
I do most of my work from my home office, but also go to coffee shops once a week.
I try to get most of my work done without children around, but my daughters often sneak into work time. 
Read more personal finance coverage.

This year, I’m on track to crack $100,000 working from home as a freelance writer. When I used to think about six-figure jobs, I envisioned sleek suits and corner offices. My reality is far from that. 

Here’s what it really looks like: carving out large and small chunks of time to get work done when I can. Getting the 5 year old on the bus at 7:45 am and off at 3:45 pm each day, and the 1 year old to daycare on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Sometimes, it looks like taking a call in my car, or working in a parking lot while the baby sleeps, or trying to squeeze some exercise into my days and telling myself it’s brainstorming time. It looks like trying to get out of the house now and then. 

Here’s a glimpse.

I mostly work from my home office.
Courtesy Kelly Burch

Although the lines are blurred between home and work, it’s important to me to have designated work space.

I do about 80% of my work in my home office. Sometimes I’m at my desk, but often I’m in my rocking chair. I initially bought it for rocking babies, but in reality it’s nurtured more stories than infants because it’s just so comfortable. 

One of the biggest challenges about working from home is being able to ignore the mess. Putting in a load of laundry, sweeping the floor, or stopping into the grocery store are all quick tasks, but combined they can take hours from my work day. 

Having a clean office space where I can shut the door on the endless household tasks allows me to really focus on work.

It’s tough, but I manage to balance full-time work with parenting two young daughters.
Courtesy Kelly Burch

Peeking into my week, it’s sometimes hard to tell where work stops and home life begins. I work about 30 hours a week, with most of that concentrated Monday through Thursday.

I reserve Fridays for email, light work, or any necessary catch-up, but I’m usually too mentally exhausted by then to do any in-depth work.

My oldest daughter is in school every day, but my little one (15 months) is not. She goes to daycare two days a week (and I add a third day if it’s a busy week). 

Still, that means I do a significant chunk of work while she’s home. Sometimes, that means letting her make a mess while I type away. 

I break up my day by taking a purposeful lunch break.
Courtesy Kelly Burch

When you work at home, for yourself, there’s no structure to the day. Instead, I have to find my own. Generally, I aim to be “butt in seat” working by 9 am (on the days the kids are both gone). That gives me a solid three hours before lunch. This is my best working time, perfect for writing long stories or delving into reporting. 

Then, I take a 30-minute lunch break, which doubles as a mental reset. Usually I’m working on a different assignment in the afternoon, so I like to clear my head during lunch by avoiding anything work related. Sometimes, that means making cookies, but more often it’s heating up leftovers and maybe turning on a podcast.

Early afternoon is my most challenging time of day because I need to motivate myself when I would much rather be napping (and my bed is oh-so close). That’s when I head outside to work in the sunshine, or at least with a view of nature. This is always a good stretch to work, since my baby is napping if she’s home

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Elon Musk called the lawyer who interviewed him for a Tesla shareholder lawsuit ‘a bad human being’ and other insults during a bizarre deposition (TSLA)

By Anne workforce / October 30, 2019

elon muskREUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Tesla CEO Elon Musk repeatedly expressed his frustration with a lawyer interviewing him during a June 1 deposition, calling him “a shameful person” and other insults.
“You seem like a very, very bad person. Just a bad human being,” Musk said. “And I hope you come to regret your actions in the future, but you probably won’t. And that’s sad.”
Musk suggested that his irritation stemmed from a belief that the lawyer’s conduct represented an effort to undermine the work Tesla has done to promote sustainable energy.
The tone of Musk’s comments was reflective of his brash personality, and echoed prior exchanges with financial analysts, reporters, and critics.
The deposition was part of a 2016 lawsuit filed by Tesla shareholders alleging that the members of Tesla’s board of directors, which included Musk at the time, acted in their own best interests, rather than in those of Tesla’s investors, when they approved the $2.6 billion acquisition of the solar-panel company SolarCity in 2016.
Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk repeatedly expressed his frustration with a lawyer interviewing him during a June 1 deposition, calling him “a shameful person” and other insults.

“You seem like a very, very bad person. Just a bad human being,” Musk said to Randall Baron. “And I hope you come to regret your actions in the future, but you probably won’t. And that’s sad.”See the rest of the story at Business Insider

NOW WATCH: How to take full advantage of the iPhone’s new dark mode

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SEE ALSO: 149 Tesla, classic muscle, and luxury cars that were seized by the FBI earlier this year just went up for auction, selling for $8.23 million


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Research suggests that boys have a comparative advantage in math because they’re worse at reading than girls

By Anne workforce / October 29, 2019

math class green chalkboardREUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

Alex Tabarrok is the Bartley J. Madden chair in economics and an economics professor at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
He’s been writing on the research and economics of gender imbalances in different fields. 
Notably, he writes, boys have a “comparative advantage” in math because they are generally worse at reading than girls.
Men may be overrepresented in STEM fields because they are underrepresented in reading fields.
Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In an earlier post, “Do Boys Have a Comparative Advantage in Math and Science?” I pointed to evidence showing that boys have a comparative advantage in math because they are much worse than girls at reading. (Boys do not have a large absolute advantage in math.) If people specialize in their personal comparative advantage this can easily lead to more boys than girls entering math training even if girls are equally or more talented. As I wrote earlier:

“[C]onsider what happens when students are told: Do what you are good at! Loosely speaking the situation will be something like this: Females will say I got A’s in history and English and B’s in science and math, therefore, I should follow my strengthens and specialize in drawing on the same skills as history and English. Boys will say I got B’s in science and math and C’s in history and English, therefore, I should follow my strengths and do something involving science and math.”See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Brussels allows UK to subsidise fossil fuel generators

By Anne workforce / October 25, 2019

Green light clears way for payments of £990m to gas, coal and nuclear power firms

The UK’s largest fossil fuel generators may be back in line for almost £1bn in backup power subsidies this winter after the European commission approved the UK’s flagship energy scheme, which was ruled illegal last year.

A shock European court ruling brought the government’s “capacity market” to a standstill last November, triggering an in-depth investigation into whether the UK’s plan to pay power plants to stay open was compatible with EU state aid law.

Continue reading…

Read more: theguardian.com

See inside the 300-square-foot tent that a couple transformed into a tiny home for their family

By Anne workforce / October 24, 2019

tent home 12Zac Ruiz

Zac and Katie Ruiz, a New Mexico-based couple, have been living in a 300-square-foot tent with their children for two years.
The tent, built in just eight weeks, features a kitchen, two beds, a dining area, and a composting toilet. The tent runs on solar power, and it has an outdoor shower.
Zac told Insider that the tent has no central heating or air, so the family has to bundle up in jackets and sweatpants full time during the colder months.
The Ruiz family also travels in a small RV for much of the year, exploring the country.
Their home was featured in Brent Heavener’s book “Tiny House.” You can read more about it on Amazon, or follow the Ruiz family on Instagram.
Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories. 
Meet Zac and Katie Ruiz, a New Mexico-based couple who have been living in a 300-square-foot tent with their young children for two years.
Zac Ruiz

Zac and Katie lived in an apartment in California during the early years of their marriage. As they started to have children, they realized they wouldn’t be able to afford the lifestyle they wanted there because of the high cost of living, as Zac told Insider.

They decided to go to Katie’s hometown in New Mexico when she became pregnant with their second child. After they’d been living in New Mexico for about a year, Katie’s mom told them Katie had an acre of land to her name. 

Immediately, they wanted to move onto it so they could “break the cycle” of just working to pay for rent, Zac said.

The couple wanted to move onto the land as soon as possible, and a tent was the quickest and most affordable way to get there.
Zac Ruiz

They couldn’t afford to build or buy a home, and after doing some research, they decided a tent was the cheapest and most functional solution for their family.

“That’s $1,500 a month we don’t have to spend if we can get on this property,” Zac said of their decision to live in a tent.

They bought a cheap camper to get on the property as quickly as possible, and after they had been on the land for about four months, they moved into the tent. 

The 300-square-foot tent, which features a main level and a raised loft, took about eight weeks to build.
Zac Ruiz

The space only has what the family needs. You can see the sleeping area, kitchen, and dining area when you enter.

The tent also features a four-foot by eight-foot closet on the wall near the kitchen, and a four-foot by three-foot bathroom with a composting toilet on the other side of the tent.

“We evolved our mindset of working with less,” Zac said of the minimalist approach. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Labour unveils plans for carbon-neutral energy system by 2030s

By Anne workforce / October 24, 2019

Strategy includes 30 recommendations including insulation upgrades for every home in UK

Labour will unveil plans to create a carbon-neutral energy system by the 2030s including insulation upgrades for every home in the UK and enough new solar panels to cover 22,000 football pitches.

The party will set out its fast-track climate strategy on Thursday after adopting plans to work towards a net-zero carbon economy two decades ahead of the government’s legally binding 2050 target.

Continue reading…

Read more: theguardian.com

UK to use £1bn meant for green energy to support fracking in Argentina

By Anne workforce / October 23, 2019

Documents show government’s plans to prioritise loans in support of major oil companies

The UK is planning to invest in Argentina’s controversial oil shale industry using a £1bn export finance deal intended to support green energy, according to government documents seen by the Guardian.

UK Export Finance, the government’s foreign credit agency, promised in 2017 to offer loans totalling £1bn to help UK companies export their expertise in “infrastructure, green energy and healthcare” to invest in Argentina’s economy.

Continue reading…

Read more: theguardian.com

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