The millennial blues: Rent padding and fair lending

first_imgI read earlier this year that between the ages of 22 and 30, millennials paid an estimated 45% of their income towards rent. Compare that to 41% of income paid toward rent for Generation X and 36% paid by Baby Boomers. Housing simply costs proportionally more than it used to. Add to that an average balance of $40,000 in student debt, and many millennials are delaying homeownership or foregoing living alone entirely. Approximately 22.5% of millennials between the ages of 24 and 36 opt to live with their parents, especially in metropolitan areas where the housing cost is most expensive.However, when someone walks into a credit union to apply for a car loan or signature loan, and indicates that their housing cost is “$0,” it’s natural to raise an eyebrow. Most people pay a rent or a mortgage. The need to pay to put a roof over your head is a constant existential threat of adult life; they made a whole musical about it. Sometimes financial institutions want to add a housing cost where the borrower has asserted none as a matter of policy. This is sometimes referred to as “rent padding.” However, it’s a practice that can have significant fair lending implications.A Potential Disparate Impact on Young ApplicantsRegulation B prohibits discrimination against an applicant for credit on a prohibited basis, including their age. 12 CFR §§ 1002.2(z); 1002.4(a). Having a blanket policy to pad housing costs when none are listed is not discriminatory on its face. But because those living at home and paying no rent costs are usually younger, having a blanket policy may disproportionately affect applicants on the basis of their age. Comment 2 to paragraph 6(a) of Regulation B explains how this can also be discrimination: continue reading » 7SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Garage Taco introduces contactless dining

first_imgBINGHAMTON (WBNG) – Garage Taco in downtown Binghamton has introduced a new way of in house dining to keep its customers safe. You can order your entire meal on your phone. Once your food is ready, a member of the restaurant will bring you your meal. If everything goes according to plan, this will be your only interaction with a staff member. “Serving people food is our job, but it also comes with a responsibility of keeping people safe,” said Sharp. “Everyone is used to shopping online. You go to your Amazons or whatever you order, so I think it is second nature for most people,” said Sharp. Contactless dining begins at the point of arrival where customers can seat themselves at an open table. Through a barcode you scan on your phone, the restaurant’s menu pops up. “What’s the best way to keep us safe but also keep people coming to the garage?” said Garage Taco owner Daniel Sharp. Sharp told 12 News he can re-purpose his other staff members to other jobs around the restaurant. He said that they can use this as a chance to improve their food service. You can then pay your bill the same way you ordered your food. An idea that Sharp brought to the restaurant with the hope of keeping everyone safe. “Just because we’re not taking your order doesn’t mean we’re not here to make sure your experience is going well,” said Sharp.last_img read more

USACE Collaborates with Schools to Careers Partnership

first_imgThe USACE’s New England District has once again collaborated with the Schools to Careers Partnership to sponsor a daylong event as part of the Program’s three-day Bioengineering Symposium.“This is the second year the District has done a full site tour – last year we toured Muddy River – but this is the fourth year we have participated in the overall event,” said Mark Anderson, STEM Coordinator for the New England District. “The first two years were just a USACE 101 discussion with the students.”Twenty-two 10th and 11th grade students gave up some of their April vacation to attend the symposium. The students came from a variety of schools to include Holbrook, Blue Hills Regional Technical, Avon, Canton, Dedham, Milton, Norwood and Randolph.New England District team members started the day by meeting the students at the Blue Hill Regional Technical High School for a USACE 101 discussion.“Following the briefing, students traveled to New Bedford, Massachusetts and received a tour of the entire New Bedford Harbor Superfund site before returning home,” said Anderson.The educational partnership agreement between the District and the School to Careers Partnership has been in place since July 28, 2014. The agreement is one of several the District has with local educational institutions. The partnership is in keeping with the Corps of Engineers objectives to shape the workforce of the future and to increase STEM and Wounded Warrior initiatives, USACE said.last_img read more

Still No Explanation for Matter/Antimatter Imbalance

first_imgAn astrophysicist explains that the predominance of matter in our universe is just weird, and has no explanation.The big bang should have produced equal parts matter and antimatter, but it didn’t. If it had, our universe might not be possible, because the oppositely-charged particles would have annihilated each other in a blaze of energy. Antimatter is so rare, that if it survived, annihilation events would be visible throughout the universe, but we don’t see them. This failed prediction of the big bang theory has been known for decades. What is the latest thinking about it?Before getting into the meat of the issue, we can dismiss a new claim from CERN put forth in Nature that “Physicists see new difference between matter and antimatter.” The alleged difference in some D meson particles “is too small to completely explain the dominance of matter,” they admit, “but it presents a new avenue to unravelling the problem,” according to a particle physicist. There’s nothing solid to lean on. They only found a new storytelling platform.In the short term, the finding will also help theorists to better understand the mechanism behind this behaviour in D mesons and similar particles — it is the only laboratory example of nature ‘choosing’ matter over antimatter that physicists have been able to confirm.The announcement on March 21 was apparently a reason to clap and drown their sorrows in drink (they broke out the champagne, the article continues). But “The effect in D mesons is so small that it is technically extremely difficult to measure.” It opens the possibility that somebody made a calculating mistake in their heavily theory-laden methodology.Expert Voice: “We Don’t Know”In Space.com‘s “Expert Voices” series, astrophysicist Paul Sutter admits that the “antimatter problem” in astrophysics remains unsolved:The origins of the asymmetry between matter and antimatter is an outstanding problem in physics. A problem that pushes the boundaries of current knowledge and pushes our understanding of the universe into some of its earliest moments. A problem that, you could say, really matters.Now that we have seen his conclusion, let’s look at his list of weird ideas that big-bang cosmologists have considered in their attempts to figure it out:1. Sutter doesn’t like the response that our universe was just born this way. “‘That’s just the way it is, folks’ isn’t the most compelling argument in scientific circles,” he quips.2. Maybe “something happened,” he says, appealing to the Stuff Happens Law. “A strange process that produced more matter than antimatter.” That seems hardly better than #1. “It would indeed have to be a very peculiar set of conditions to cause such an imbalance,” he confesses.3. Maybe a perfectly-balanced event broke the rules of physics. This begins sounding like intelligent design.Whatever interaction, whatever process, led to matter’s ultimate victory had to be strange indeed. It had to start with producing not just an excess quantity of regular matter, but also an excess quantity of charge to counterbalance it. Otherwise, because total charges must stay the same throughout a process, that matter-loving route would’ve been perfectly balanced by a twin antimatter-loving road.4. Maybe the antimatter went away. Sutter offers some “hints and suggestions” about the weak force permit speculating, but it’s not enough.We understand these interactions only dimly, especially the way they would occur in the early universe, but even there our best guess for its matter-favoring ability put it far, far below the minimum needed to explain our present situation.Credit: Illustra MediaIn a 7.5-minute video in the article, Paul Sutter humorously yet seriously explains these problems, but ends with an admission of ignorance. He shrugs and says, “This is an unsolved problem in physics.” Unsolved for secularists, that is; and it has been for decades.Theistic answers do not reduce to “That’s just the way it is,” because God had a purpose that we can infer from the evidence. If you see a stack of rocks defying all known laws of physics, you can infer that someone did it, even if you didn’t watch the process. You could guess that the person did it to mark a trail, or to make a piece of art. The finer the details, the more purpose you can infer. Something as finely tuned as our universe shouts design.If you prefer, you can believe “something weird happened” and chalk it up to the Stuff Happens Law. Or, you can believe God designed our universe so that it would be habitable. The latter has the advantage of Eyewitness testimony. God told Isaiah that He didn’t make the world in vain; He made it to be inhabited (Isaiah 45:18). The plan in the mind of God came first; the organization of matter was fit to accomplish that purpose. Intelligence and mind has the causative power to organize matter to fill requirements for an intended result. If you prefer sitting in ignorance with the big bang cosmologists, be our guest. Just don’t call it science.Exercise: Answer an atheist who says, “Sure, we don’t know the answer, but isn’t it better to admit we don’t know and keep looking rather than give up and say, ‘God did it’?”. (Visited 517 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Machine-Powered Medical Info: HealthBase Semantic Search

first_imgTags:#health#Semantic Web#web dana oshiro 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…center_img Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… We’ve all seen how semantic technologies improve search results, but rarely do we see those results put to use in such a targeted way. Jens Tellefsen, VP of Marketing and Product Strategy at NetBase Solutions spoke to ReadWriteWeb about today’s launch of healthBase – a medical search and discovery application. Using a variety of semantic indexing techniques, the company crawls the web’s leading medical and health players including the Mayo Clinic, PubMed (US National Library of Medicine) WedMd, Medical News Today and Discovery Health. What makes this a truly unique technology is that rather than requiring any data manipulation from humans, Netbase’s search results are completely automated. Says Tellefsen, “Rather than using keywords or basic entities to search through billions of documents, NetBase can actually read and extract linguistic meaning from entire sentences and concepts.” According to Tellefsen, healthBase can determine causal relationships, treatments and conditions and automatically aggregate that data into meaningful answers. Given the fact that more than 75% of the population seeks out online health information, a semantic tool with sentence-level understanding can potentially help dispel medical myths on a massive scale. NetBase employs the same principals across a variety of enterprise tools, but healthBase is its first foray into consumer-facing products. While the company is used to powering corporate, federal and market research, healthBase allows NetBase to show off its content intelligence tool in a way that gives us insight into our selves and our bodies. Because NetBase is not reliant on manual annotation or custom taxonomies, the system is also very scalable. It took roughly 2 days to produce all of the data in healthBase – a feat that would never be possible by a combination human and machine system. “It’s important for us to address real issues with semantic technologies outside of a lab,” Says Tellefsen. To try healthBase visit healthbase.netbase.comlast_img read more

Sniffing Out House Problems

first_imgShower smell: Check the bath fanIf you can smell that moist, shampoo-scented air from the shower and you are not in the bathroom, then you either don’t have a bathroom exhaust fan, it’s not on, or it’s not powerful enough.Unvented bathrooms can cause your home to rot from the inside out — costly and bad for your health. Put in a bath fan if it’s missing (see GreenSpec guidance on bath fan selection), and get the electrician to have it come on with the light or with a humidistat. Attic smell: Air leakage problemsAttics smell different: it’s some combination of the insulation, the wood dried to a crisp by the summer heat, and probably some history of squirrels, mice, or both.When I smell this in the upstairs of a house — not in the attic — I read it as a telltale sign of extreme air leakage: lots of holes in the basement and attic floor that allow air to leak out, and to move in the other direction on some windy days. Solution: seal up the air leaks in your home, particularly between the attic and the living space. (See GreenSpec guidance on products that help form a home’s air barrier, and recent posts on where to look for air leaks in existing homes.) Basement smell: Dampness, leakageIt’s alarming when you can smell that musty basement smell on the first floor. Even the basement should not smell that way — if it does, work on improving exterior drainage, putting vapor barriers over damp walls and floors, and dehumidifying, among other things.If that smell is migrating upstairs, look for air leakage from the basement up through plumbing and electrical penetrations, and moisture problems migrating up from damp basement walls through sill plates. Check the bottoms of exterior walls for signs of mildew or mold, and manage the water at its source. Combustion gases: Safety issueIf when inside you smell the exhaust from your wood stove, furnace, boiler, or other combustion appliance, your health may be in jeopardy from the particulate matter in the smoke, or from carbon monoxide (CO) — which is odorless but often accompanies other gases. In all these cases, bring in the appropriate technician as soon as possible (the fire department may also be willing to measure CO levels for you), particularly if you’re due, in case there is an immediate problem with the heating appliance.If you only smell these smells on a windy day, or when a low-pressure system has settled overhead, the issue may be that the normal weather patterns that help gases exhaust from the home are working against you. This topic is more than we can delve into today, but if it’s a regular occurrence it is worth investigating with a contractor’s help. One quick point: if it’s a building with a high-capacity range hood, beware of “depressurizing” your home with that fan, leading exhaust to get pulled into your house from your furnace.Do you have carbon monoxide detectors? Why not? Kitchen smells: Install a range hoodSometimes it’s nice to smell what’s cooking all through the house, but in the long run it’s bad for indoor air quality, particularly due to the moisture generated by cooking. Install a range hood and run it when cooking, but look out for problems with high-capacity range hoods. (See GreenSpec guidance on kitchen range hood selection.) Dryer exhaust: Moisture, fire hazardSmelling dryer exhaust inside the house is a red flag indicating lack of a vent, or a plugged vent. Lack of a vent risks moisture problems inside your house, and coating everything with dryer lint.A plugged vent is a serious fire hazard. Take immediate action!center_img Tristan Roberts is Editorial Director at BuildingGreen, Inc., in Brattleboro, Vermont, which publishes information on green building solutions. Stuffy smell: Need more fresh air?Does the building smell stuffy? Many homes and offices don’t have enough fresh air, for a variety of reasons.In commercial buildings, the most common problem is poorly designed or malfunctioning ventilation equipment. Calling in an indoor air quality expert or a commissioning agent would be wise. In homes, it’s likely that there is no ventilation system bringing in fresh air, and because of weather patterns or because the home is relatively tight, you’re not getting enough fresh air. A ventilation expert can help. Off-gassing: Keep harmful chemicals outTo maintain good indoor air quality (IAQ), avoid bringing smelly stuff into the house. If something smells bad, get rid of it. In the world of building materials there is a lot to keep up with here, but at a minimum look for low-VOC coatings, and other products with IAQ certifications such as Greenguard Children & Schools, and FloorScore. (See BuildingGreen’s guide to key product certifications for more info.)I’ve just scratched the surface here — keep your nose out and let me know what you’ve been smelling!For more information, listen to Joe Lstiburek’s indoor-air-quality podcast, and find out why your eyes, nose, and the back of your hand are surprisingly accurate IAQ diagnostic tools. A victim of a hepatitis E infection she picked up unknowingly in Brazil, Genevive Bjorn’s liver rebelled against her one night in Hawaii. Her body almost shut down on her, but with help from the hospital, a battery of tests, her watchful boyfriend at her side, and a diet of nothing but rice porridge, she squeaked through.This is what happened next, as she wrote last year in The New York Times: “My liver began barking at smells and substances I’d barely noticed before. I considered myself an earthy minimalist, but my house turned out to be a chemical minefield. I developed a doglike olfactory sense that guided me as I sniffed, recoiled and pointed out to Adam what had to go. He tossed out most of our bathroom and kitchen products, along with everything preserved or petroleum-based.”Her talent for nose for the faintest of smells makes her a “super sniffer,” one gifted with this sense. As Bjorn recounted recently on her blog, The Daily Smell, while sniffing around a friend’s new home at the friend’s request, she rapidly sniffed out the previous location of the kitty litter box which had been moved two weeks prior, rancid vegetable oil in the kitchen, possibly unsafe coatings on kids’ furniture and toys, and even the spot in the living room where the previous owner had died months before.You don’t need to be super sniffer, though, to pick up on scents in buildings that tell us some interesting things. Here are some that I’ve noticed.last_img read more

Calculating the Embodied Energy Payback for Passivhaus Buildings

first_imgA common Passivhaus topic that rears its head every now and again is the embodied energy of construction. While this can be an important issue, we generally feel it’s a moot point for Passivhaus projects – especially the ones we design (owing to better optimized assemblies and less insulation!).This was what prompted a previous blog post (“Operational Energy Trumps Embodied Energy Unless Efficiency is Achieved”). However, as this topic has come up again and again, and since the Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS) has strangely floated the idea that embodied energy calculations could be required for certification, we figured a few research papers could add more credibility to the topic. Mike Eliason is a designer at Brute Force Collaborative in Seattle, Washington. Feist: Incremental embodied energy has a one-year payback periodSecond, this issue has already been addressed by the Passivhaus Institut in Germany and presented at multiple PH conferences. Wolfgang Feist’s research showed that the “primary energy investment” of a Passivhaus compared to typical construction was not necessarily greater, and could even be lower — and that on average, the incremental embodied energy is paid back in under a year. This is due to the significant operational energy savings achieved by meeting the Passivhaus standard.Given that U.S. energy codes aren’t as strict as those in central Europe, that could mean the embodied energy might be higher here… Could – although we’re finding that even on a small project, when optimized like crazy, the delta betwixt code minimum and Passivhaus can be relatively small.The Passivhaus Institut report also notes that the cumulative primary energy of an “Autarkic” building (that is, a self-sufficient off-grid building) is higher than that of a Passivhaus building. This is owing to the increased embodied energy of the renewable energy system (the photovoltaic array, batteries, etc.) over 80 years, resulting in a higher total energy than a Passivhaus building. Another win for Living Building Challenge projects meeting Passivhaus! The Passivhaus approach differs from the LEED approachFirst, our take is that the embodied energy issue is mostly a holdover from programs like LEED – where operational energy has largely been ignored in favor of “greener/lower-embodied energy” materials. Up to 2003, some of the least utilized credits were for energy efficiency greater than 30% or for the inclusion of renewables; I’d imagine that’s still probably pretty accurate (but can’t verify, as this info isn’t readily available).We’ve never shied away from the fact that we believe that the inverse should take priority. To really make an impact in cumulative embodied energy (construction + operational), focus on the operational side first. Then, once you’ve gotten that significantly reduced (e.g., by meeting the Passivhaus standard), set your sights on the construction embodied energy. An Oregon study says that the payback period is seven yearsThird, a recent University of Oregon study completed for a multifamily project compared Passivhaus construction to typical construction, and ended up with fairly comparable results to other Passivhaus life cycle analyses. The Daily Journal of Commerce reported, “According to the life-cycle analysis, the energy savings born out of the Passive House building will outweigh the materials’ added climate change potential in about seven years.”So even in the U.S., where our energy codes are less strict, the environmental payback should be relatively short. Research reportsSo, on to the literature… Here is a brief assortment of papers on the subject of Passivhaus embodied energy, though there are plenty more for those who really want to get wonkish:Life Cycle Assessment of Passive Buildings with LEGEP – A LCA-Tool from Germany (pdf): “The application to passive buildings shows clearly the advantages of these types of buildings over conventional buildings both in the short and long run.” Life Cycle Assessment of a Single-Family Residence built to Passive House Standard (pdf): “This means that when constructing a passive house and assuming both houses are using the same electrical heating system, it takes only 5 years before the increased material production and transport for the passive house are equalized to the TEK07 house [that is, a house meeting current building codes and standards, presumably in Norway] climate change impacts.” The life cycle race – silver and bronze – go to … Passive house and low energy house by Andreas Hermelink (pdf): “…The passive house is the clear winner in this comparison either from environmental perspective or from economical perspective.”The interesting result from the last paper (and the point referenced in the title) is that while Passivhaus leads to better environmental and economic results – the grid is still too dirty, and thus a combination of renewables (or greening of the grid) + Passivhaus would get the “gold.” Some Passivhaus buildings have lower embodied energy than conventional buildingsFinally, as alluded to above, it’s entirely plausible to construct a Passivhaus with lower embodied energy than a “code minimum” house — especially if your Passivhaus utilizes natural materials (e.g. straw, cellulose, wood, etc). But even if you don’t use all-natural materials — maybe you’re a modernist with a hankering for concrete and glass — it’s really not the end of the world as long as your house is über-efficient.The bigger takeaway: When comparing similar construction types, Passivhaus clearly comes out on top in the long run because of lower operational costs, lower environmental footprint, and lower cumulative primary energy… If you toss in superior comfort and great indoor air quality, it’s a no-brainer. So we consider the issue pretty much settled, and furthermore believe that requiring a life-cycle analysis to obtain certification would be a waste of time and money.last_img read more

BCCI says no to DRS for England series next month

first_imgIndia’s opposition to the Decision Review System continues with the BCCI refusing to allow its usage in next month’s four-Test cricket series against England.According to The Daily Telegraph, “The Board for Cricket Control in India sent official notification to the England and Wales Cricket Board that it does not want the system to be used in the series (in July).”Consent of both the Boards is required for the system to be used in a series.Sachin Tendulkar is critical of the DRS system. APTop Indian players such as Sachin Tendulkar and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni have been vocal critics of the DRS but English players like spin spearhead Graeme Swann have backed the use of technology.”The reason India do not want it is because it will favour our bowlers,” said John Emburey, the former England off-spinner.”It (DRS) has been massive for spinners because they are now getting wickets against batsmen playing on the front foot coming forward. It’s a massive advantage to the spinner. The system has shown balls would go on to hit the stumps and umpires have now got it in their minds that they can now give batsmen out,” he explained.Emburey said the DRS has forced batsmen to offer genuine shots against spinners.”What DRS has done is make batsmen play with their bat rather than hide behind the pad which gives bowlers more chances of edges and catches because they have to play at the ball,” he said.- With inputs from PTIadvertisementlast_img read more

Nico Hulkenberg to leave Force India for Sauber: Report

first_imgSahara Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg will be driving for Sauber in the 2013 Formula One season, BBC reported on Sunday.The report said Mexican Esteban Gutierrez will be Hulkenberg’s teammate next year, leaving Kamui Kobayashi without a seat.Kobayashi’s current teammate at Sauber, Sergio Perez, will be shifting to McLaren in 2013.”Sauber have not yet officially confirmed Hulkenberg but the deal is understood already to be done,” said the report.The report also claimed that former Force India driver Adrian Sutil is in the reckoning to be Hulkenberg’s replacement at the Silverstone-based team. Force India parted ways with Sutil last year and elevated Hulkenberg from the role of a reserve.The report added that Kobayashi, former Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi and Jamie Alguersuari are also in the running for the Force India seat.Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta form the current line-up for Force India.When asked about his future, Hulkenberg told IANS, “I really enjoy this team (Force India), I know everybody really well and I enjoy working with the guys. At the moment my focus is simply on 2012 and doing the best job I can.”Hulkenberg battled through the 55-lap race to finish sixth in the Korean Grand Prix on Sunday, pushing him to 12th spot in the drivers’ championship with 45 points from 16 rounds. Di Resta is a a place below the German with 44 points.Force India are in seventh place in the constructors’ championship with 89 points, behind Sauber on 116.last_img read more