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    Vancouver Sun: Life next to derelict million-dollar Vancouver home is far from rosy

30 11, 2014

Vancouver Sun: Life next to derelict million-dollar Vancouver home is far from rosy

A Vancouver woman has a cautionary tale for anyone living next to an abandoned house after she battled city authorities for months to stop strangers from partying on the decaying back porch of a rundown house across her lane.

Laura De Munain moved into her family’s Oak Street house on the outskirts of the tony Shaughnessy neighbourhood in April. While working from home, the pregnant lawyer soon noticed groups of two or three people regularly stumbling around her back alley in a daze.

She went to check out the house. After walking through the rubbish-strewn carport, she climbed a rotting back staircase and found a large porch littered with aerosol cans, garbage and a camping stove. Above, a mouldy piece of drywall drooped down from the ceiling, exposing the rafters. With its back door unlocked and kitchen windows open, anyone could, and did, easily slip in.

Police answered her first call to their non-emergency line and toured the property, but they “said […]

21 07, 2014

You Have A New Kind of Mortgage Broker Victoria

Well its about time it happened.  You have a new kind of mortgage broker Victoria.  This full service mortgage broker is working hard to find the exact product for a range of client situations including those with bad credit or recently out of bankruptcy. “It’s a moral issue.”, says mortgage broker Andrew Libera. “Obviously the majority of mortgage products out there are designed for people with a 680 beacon credit score or higher, but there are many hardworking people that have just had some tough breaks, and if they have a strong covenant we will work hard to get them into a home of their own.  Sometimes its a short one or two year solution that can get them back on track.  Rates are great right now and that sure helps. ”

Victoria’s Best Mortgage is a full service mortgage broker right in the heart of Cook Street Village, Victoria, BC.  According to Mr. Libera, “We have a wide range of […]

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    British Columbia Supreme Court judge has certified a class-action suit against CIBC Mortgage Inc.

10 07, 2014

British Columbia Supreme Court judge has certified a class-action suit against CIBC Mortgage Inc.

Thank you to The Straight

A British Columbia Supreme Court judge has certified a class-action suit against CIBC Mortgage Inc. in connection with its prepayment penalties.

In a June 30 judgment, Justice Jeanne Watchuk ruled that Erin Sherry is a “very appropriate” representative plaintiff in the case after she was hit with a $47,868.91 prepayment fee when she paid off her mortgage in full.

Watchuk’s decision also stated that “the certification is conditional on the plaintiff establishing for the court an identifiable class which is not overbroad.” She instructed lawyers for both parties to set a schedule to determine how to define which customers would be eligible to be included as plaintiffs in the class-action suit.

Sherry’s lawyer, Kieran Bridge, told the Georgia Straight by phone that the case involves mortgage prepayments made from 2005 onward. He pointed out that CIBC owns CIBC Mortgage, which offers mortgages through the FirstLine Mortgage and President’s Choice brands.

“I would estimate that across the country, CIBC probably […]

23 02, 2014

Sudesh Kumar on Investing in Gold

This opinion comes from India.  If you don’t know, India is the country that often foretells the future of Gold.

Sudesh Kumar: “Gold should be seen as one of the numerous investment options for accumulating wealth. The price of gold, which is primarily a commodity, tends to rise over time. Since investors do not adjust the price for inflation, they see the increase as positive. Kumar should understand that the long term return from gold could be the same as the rate of inflation.

However, the prices of assets are not always driven by long-term trends. There are short-term events that can move the price significantly above or below the long-term average. Gold is valued for its ability to act as a substitute for any other asset, including currency. Therefore, the demand for gold rises when all other assets, such as equity, debt and currency, are falling. Whenever there is a crisis in the markets, investors seek refuge in gold.

Kumar’s good […]

15 02, 2014

Cornhusker Economics Outlook March 3-7

According to the Grant Island Independent the 9th annual Cornhusker Economics Outlook meetings are set to take place in March 2014.  Among other items on the agenda will be perspectives on the policy environment in Washington.  Also details on the much anticipated farm bill.

Stemming from efforts or lack thereof by Congress in January and early February, producers finally appear ready to focus on farm program decisions instead of politics. Policy outlook and program alternatives will be addressed aimed to help producers more effectively combine farm programs, marketing strategies and crop insurance.

Local University of Nebraska at Lincoln educators will provide additional input during the outlook meetings.  This includes a discussion of current land and leasing economics among other topics. With the recent increase in farmland prices and rental prices plus declining crop price.  Profitability projections for 2014 call for sharper decisions on land acquisitions and production plans.

Please click here to see a more thorough analysis and links to the updates […]

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    TELUS Opens $75 Million Next-Generation Cloud Computing Data Centre In Kamloops

31 01, 2014

TELUS Opens $75 Million Next-Generation Cloud Computing Data Centre In Kamloops

TELUS officially opened its state-of-the-art Internet Data Centre in Kamloops. One of eight TELUS Internet Data Centres across Canada, the Kamloops Internet Data Centre will serve as the foundation of TELUS’ next-generation cloud computing services for thousands of Canadian businesses. Designed to be scalable, the centre has the capacity to increase its physical footprint and information storage capacity to meet the expanding information technology needs of clients well into the future.

TELUS invested $75 million to build the centre, creating 200 local construction jobs. The centre has created 75 permanent Canadian jobs, 25 of them in Kamloops. This significant investment is part of $3 billion in infrastructure and facilities upgrades TELUS is making across British Columbia from 2012 through 2014 and builds upon the $29 billion TELUS has already invested in operations and technology throughout the province since 2000.

Built to LEED environmental standards, TELUS’ Kamloops facility is one of the most environmentally sustainable internet data centres in the world. A […]

11 08, 2013

Ancient Rainforest Discovered in Antarctica

Drilling of the seabed off Antarctica has revealed evidence of a rainforest that once flourished on the continent some 52 million years ago.

Scientists studying sediment cores discovered fossilized pollen that could only have come from a “near-tropical” forest covering the continent in the Eocene period, 34-56 million years ago. According to Australian scientist Kevin Walsh, analysis of “temperature-sensitive molecules” contained in the pollen showed the average temperature be near 68 degrees F.

There were forests existing on the land, there wouldn’t have been any ice, it would have been very warm,” Welsh told AFP of the study, published in the journal Nature. ”It’s quite surprising, because obviously our image of Antarctica is that it’s very cold and full of ice.”

Today, the average temperature of Antarctica is roughly -58 degrees F. Scientists say that during the Eocene period, even with polar darkness, the Antarctica region remained frost-free.

During this warm period, estimates are that carbon dioxide levels reached between 992 to a couple thousand parts […]

11 12, 2012

Book Review: The Human Quest

“Our challenge is not to save Earth, but to save ourselves,” writes Swedish scientist Johan Rockström in his new book, The Human Quest: Prospering Within Planetary Boundaries. “We believe this is the most important journey mankind has ever undertaken.”

The book, which was first distributed at the Rio+20 conference in June and is now available in a digital version, is not the first to call for urgent action in sustainability. However, it is somewhat unique in attempting to take a wholly comprehensive (though abridged) look at the environmental problems we face in 2012, and potential solutions to those problems. The book is also filled with gorgeous photographs from National Geographic photographer Mattias Klum.

Ice forms fantastic shapes in Grey Lake on the edge of Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park. Photo credit: Mattias Klum

The Human Quest begins with the idea that we are the first generation to understand that humanity has the power to destroy the Earth’s ability to support us. […]

11 11, 2012

Soft-Shell Robot Comes Complete With Cloaking Abilities

Cephalopods, like the octopus and cuttlefish, might not have the mass appeal of sharks or baby penguins, but they’re not any less amazing. When threatened (or hunting) these sea creatures are able to summon up instant camouflage, bathing their exterior in patterns and colors that allow them to blend in perfectly with their surroundings.

For centuries, this instinctive cloaking ability has existed only in nature, but now Harvard robotics experts are close to recreating this type of camouflage in a lab. This latest bit of bio-mimicry involves soft, silicone-based robots with a web of tiny channels flowing through their silicone skin. When triggered, these channels fill with dyes that allow the bots to blend in to their surroundings, or stand out in stark contrast.

The study, published in the latest edition of Science, proves that building robots to operate only like mammals might be a mistake. By incorporating the muscle structure of cephalopods, it could open up an entirely new world of flexible, self-camouflaging […]

11 10, 2012

8 Stunning Examples of Solar Architecture

There’s a lot more that goes into solar architecture than just strapping solar panels to the outside of a building. Green architects with an eye for solar also need to think of things like how to maximize exposure to the sun, how best to design a structure that comfortably distributes heat, and how to do it all without sacrificing any of the aesthetics that are so important to design.

More and more, architects are stretching the limits of solar technology, and it’s becoming increasingly important for the homes, buildings, stadiums, skyscrapers and cities of the future to be energy-independent and sustainable. In fact, you might say that solar architecture is on the verge of a golden age; Many of the world’s most spectacular structures in development today utilize solar energy in some way.


Sonnenschiff and the Freiburg Solar City

It’s one thing to build an energy independent home or building, it’s another thing to build an entire settlement that produces more energy […]

11 09, 2012

Volkswagen Building Massive Solar Park in Tennessee

Corporations everywhere appear to be eagerly embracing solar energy as a compliment to their traditional energy sources. From Apple to Wal-Mart to IKEA and General Motors, solar arrays are being built atop buildings and opposite plants and offices. Automaker Volkswagen has become the latest to pursue the latter, with the first photovoltaic panel being added yesterday to what will eventually number over 33,000.

The $30M project, spearheaded by Phoenix Solar, will cover 65-acres just north of the German company’s assembly plant at Enterprise South industrial park in Tennessee. When it comes online later this fall, it will be the largest solar park in the state.

Thilo Brockhaus, VW Manager of Plant Construction told news station WDEF, “The solar installation can produce 9.58 megawatts DC, which is 7.6 megawatt AC. That provides you with 13.1 gigawatt hours annual power. You could power 1,200 house holds with that per year.”

Brockhaus added that the solar array will cover roughly 12.5% of the plant’s energy needs. […]

11 08, 2012

Report: United States Clean Tech Investment

The United States is under-investing in clean technology and will ultimately suffer a long-term market share loss if it doesn’t boost spending, according to a report commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund.

Despite having the second largest renewable energy manufacturing sales value worldwide, the U.S. lags behind China, Denmark, Germany and Brazil in those sales when considering the size of its overall economy, the report states.

Clean energy manufacturing sales increased 17 percent in the U.S. in 2011, a positive yet markedly slower pace than the 28 percent surge it experienced in 2010, according to the report.

The Clean Economy, Living Planet report ranks 25 countries based on the 2011 sales of the clean energy technology products manufactured in that country, such as solar panels and wind turbines. China had the largest market, followed by the U.S. and Germany, the report found.

Taiwan was the fastest growing market in 2011, with a 36 percent hike in sales. China earned the number two ranking with a 29 […]

11 08, 2012

Vegetable Gardens Under Attack

In Drummondville, Quebec, one couple decided to turn their useless front lawn into a productive vegetable garden. While this seems like wonderful news, city officials feel differently — and they’re ordering Josée Landry and Michel Beauchamp to cut down or move nearly three-quarters of their plants by July 24. After that date, the couple will be fined up to $300 a day until they have gotten rid of most of their garden.

In the fall, the bylaw will apply to all front lawns in the city. This attempt to unify residential properties will limit food gardens to occupy, at most, 30 percent of any front lawn. For residents like Landry and Beauchamp, whose front yard is the only location with enough sun exposure to grow vegetables, this effectively means they will be back to supermarket shopping.

“If this garden is deemed illegal, we’re in deep you-know-what,” said Roger Doiron, founder of Kitchen Gardeners International, a nonprofit that educates and empowers people […]

11 08, 2012

Do Electric Vehicle Owners Spend More Time Shopping?

The mass adoption of electric vehicles could be good for local retailers, as EV owners may be spendng more time shopping than their petroleum-burning counterparts.

Research being done by EV charger manufacturer ECOtality is showing that owners of electric vehicles spend considerably more time in stores when they are able to plug their vehicle in nearby. Looking at EV data gathered through the Department of Energy’s EV Project, ECOtality is able to study the behavior of shoppers at retail locations where the company has installed public chargers. The company has chargers installed at several retailers, including IKEA, Kohls, and Cracker Barrel.

“We are in the process of vetting information from retailers,” said ECOtality’s chief innovation officer Don Karner.

The EV Project, the largest deployment of EVs and charging stations in history, is partially paid for by a $115 million grant from the DOE and is in collaboration with several automakers as well as Idaho National Laboratory.

I am not normally one to promote […]

31 07, 2012

8 Plant Foods That Contain Complete Proteins For Vegans

8 Plant Foods that Contain Complete Proteins (For Vegans)

One of the prevailing dietary myths out there is the idea that vegans and vegetarians are at risk of protein deficiency due to their plant-based diets. The truth is, nearly all foods, whether from animals or plants, contain all nine of the essential amino acids that we must consume so our bodies can build enough protein. Protein is so ubiquitous in everything we eat that the odds of becoming protein deficient are virtually nil, provided that calorie intake meets daily recommended standards.
Like with most great myths, though, the “protein myth” isn’t completely steeped in falsehood. Its origin can be traced back to an inkling of truth — a remote fact, however inconsequential, that allows it to endure. In this case, the myth likely hails from the oft misunderstood distinction between complete and incomplete proteins.

While nearly all foods contain the nine essential amino acids we need, proportions do vary. Foods with amino […]

11 06, 2012

Beach Report: the Good, Bad and the Ugly

Headed to the beach this weekend? Before you go, check out NRDC’s annual beachwater quality report, which studied 3,000 beaches nationwide and ranked the top 200 most popular beaches. The report includes a handy tool to search by zip code for beaches in your area.

NRDC has studied beachwater quality for 22 years, and the news in the current report is not all good: 2011 had one of the highest number of closing and advisory days in two decades. Most of the closings happened after tests showed that bacteria levels in the water violated public health standards. The main cause? Pollution from stormwater runoff, with additional pollution coming from sewage overflows. The pollution can cause serious illness, ranging from hepatitis and neurological disorders to death.

The top pollution offenders
You might want to avoid the beaches on the report’s top 15 “Repeat Offenders,” which have suffered from consistently bad test results. These beaches have violated public health standards more than 25 percent […]