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Letterkenny cements its links with Scotland with Friendship Charter

first_imgA new Friendship Charter has been signed between Letterkenny Municipal District and West Dunbartonshire Council in Scotland. The signing took place at a special event in Clydebank Scotland on Saturday last when Mayor of Letterkenny MD Cllr. Ian McGarvey travelled with Donegal County Council Director of Service, Liam Ward  to Scotland to sign the Friendship Charter alongside Provost William Hendrie and Bailie Denis Agnew of West Dunbartonshire Council.West Dunbartonshire is one of the 32 local government council areas of Scotland. The area lies to the west of the City of Glasgow and contains many of Glasgow’s commuter towns and villages, as well as the city’s suburbs and has a population in the region of 89,600. Speaking following the signing Mayor McGarvey acknowledged the many historical and family links that Donegal and indeed the Letterkenny Municipal District has with Glasgow and the West Dunbartonshire Council.He said “The link between our two regions is of important historical and social significance to both our communities.  For generations Donegal people travelled to Scotland mainly for work and many remained in Scotland, set up home and raised their families while all the time retaining a strong link and affinity with Donegal.“So the signing of this Friendship Charter is a very special occasion for us all and it is an important step forward in recognising and acknowledging our historical ties while at the same looking to future opportunities that will strengthen our educational, sporting, tourism and economic links.“We enter into this agreement in the spirit of mutual cooperation and friendship for the benefit of our two communities.” The formal friendship agreement was signed between West Dunbartonshire Council and Letterkenny Municipal District at 1pm on Saturday 30 March 2019 and through this Friendship Charter both Councils undertake to encourage educational, sporting, tourism, economic and individual links between the citizens of the two areas.Letterkenny cements its links with Scotland with Friendship Charter was last modified: April 2nd, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Friendship CharterletterkennyScotlandlast_img read more

Transportation is key for the future of U.S. agriculture

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Agriculture in the United States has long benefitted from having the best transportation infrastructure in the world.There are a number of key transportation projects going on right now that can help build upon and secure this advantage in the future. One important current transportation infrastructure measure is the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015 that would extend federal highway funding for the next six years.The House and Senate are working to send the bill to the White House for a signature before federal transportation funding expires on Nov. 20.“Eighty percent of America’s corn crop is trucked to market, so this issue affects all of us,” said Chip Bowling, National Corn Growers Association president. “Safe roads and bridges allow us to get our products to market quickly, safely, and efficiently. When roads and bridges aren’t properly maintained, it’s not just a nuisance — it puts our safety at risk and hurts our bottom lines.”The longer-term nature of the bill is very important for projects at the state level around the country, according to Mike Steenhoek, of the Soy Transportation Coalition.“It is very important for Congress to provide some kind of predictability of what their intentions and strategies will be for improving our nation’s surface transportation system. Building bridges and roads and maintaining them is very capital intensive and requires years of planning, but unfortunately Congress has responded to that need with unpredictable short-term legislative actions. What the states are requiring is a federal partner that is predictable. I would rather have the federal government be predictably good than sporadically great,” Steenhoek said. “It is important for them to come along side the states in order to preserve, maintain and improve the surface transportation system. The fact that Congress is actually getting close to a multi-year bill is a step in the right direction.”There was an effort to get the bipartisan Safe, Flexible and Efficient (SAFE) Trucking Act included in the bill that had broad support from agricultural organizations.“Unfortunately there were some missed opportunities. This SAFE amendment would have offered some enhancement and benefits for agriculture but Congress failed to embrace that opportunity,” Steenhoek said. “The legislation would have allowed states to permit six-axle, 91,000-pound semis on their interstate system. On our side we had facts and data. The other side had the opportunity to confuse, marginalize and frighten — and they used that very effectively. They simply made the statement that increased weight limits equal a more dangerous system. Unfortunately for many members of Congress that is all they needed in order to vote against that amendment.“The facts are that if you increase the weights with that extra axle, the stopping distances are actually less. You also have a given amount of freight transported by fewer trucks and less congestion and less probability of accidents. Unfortunately this requires more explanation and conversation with members of Congress who are really not open to it. The amendment was defeated. This issue is not going away, though. The U.S. economy continues to demand more trucking — about a 50% increase between now and 2040 — and Congress needs to address how we are going to adjust to this increased demand and congestion in a safe responsible way. This amendment was a missed opportunity for agriculture and many other industries, but overall it is good to have a bill moving along.”At the same time transportation is being discussed in Congress, the world is watching as the massive expansion of the Panama Canal is being completed.“The Panama Canal expansion will be completed by the end of this calendar year and will open for business in April of 2016. This is one of the links in our logistics chain and as it gets stronger and more robust, it will provide opportunities to U.S. agriculture. With the expansion in the Panama Canal, we will be able to load ocean vessels that hold easily 500,000 more bushels of soybean per vessel. A typical ocean vessel today is loaded with 2.1 or 2.2 million bushels, so adding 500,000 bushels is substantial. This is just shaving cents off the eventual delivered price at a time when agriculture is facing some headwinds from a strengthening U.S. dollar, a devaluation of the Brazilian Real, and a softening economy in China. This is a wonderful opportunity to provide benefits to U.S. agriculture by making our transportation system more efficient and making ourselves more competitive in the international marketplace.”last_img read more

Smoke ConnectFX: Glow and Gradient Nodes

first_imgThey seem like obvious nodes, but there is a lot of hidden power in the Glow and Gradient Nodes inside Autodesk Smoke.  Find out how to use them in your next project.It’s great to get back into some of the more creative nodes in Smoke’s ConnectFX. Utility nodes and tools are great, but being creative is where all the fun is when you are editing and compositing.  The Glow and Gradient Nodes are much more complex than their simple names imply.  These nodes can be pushed beyond the obvious…let’s find out how.Smoke’s Gradient Node:As we saw with the Color Frame Node,  you can make very simple 2 color Horizontal, Vertical, and fixed Radial Gradients. This worked fine, but it was very limited. Smoke’s Gradient Node can make very complex, multi-color gradients in a variety of blend shapes and directions.You can feed the Gradient Node with a clip,  and use Smoke’s blend nodes to mix the clip with the gradient.  The node also accepts a matte input to isolate the gradient colors to.  The resolution of the node will conform to the clips input resolution.The node can generate a gradient without an input, and then you have the choice to make the gradient any resolution you want.There are 4 gradient types to choose from: Directional, Radial, Spline, and Point.  With each type you will get on-screen widgets to gesturally create your gradient with splines and vertices.  You can also numerically adjust the widgets with the Gradient Controls Menu. Different gradient styles have some specialized settings, like Roundness for a Radial pattern.  A new Shape Tab will appear to numerically adjust these settings. The settings in the Gradient Controls Menu can be keyframed to animate your gradient.There is an Extrapolation pop-up button to “loop” the colors of your gradient. Constant will create no loop and retain the start and end colors. Repeat will cycle the colors from beginning to end again.  Mirror will reverse the gradient going from beginning to end and then end to beginning.  Buy animating the Offset Cycle Value, you can create a rolling gradient pattern.Directional and Radial Gradients create basic line and circle patterns.  The Spline Gradient will give you a flexible spline shape, that you can add points to and create complex shape patterns.  The Space+A shortcut hotkey will add points to the spline. Space+M to move the points.  You can also use the menu setting options as well.The Ramps Menu Setting is where you set the colors for your gradient.  The default gradient will start out with 3 points: A Beginning, Middle and End color.  The triangles below the ramp colors control the color selections and placement in the gradient.  You can Add and Delete as many points as you want. When a point is added,  a new color triangle is added to the right of the currently selected triangle. Press Ctrl while clicking add will copy the selected triangle color.  A new mid-point triangle is also created which shows you the blending edge between the 2 colors.Once you have your gradient colors, you can copy that color ramp to the other gradient shapes, or each shape can have it’s own unique color ramp.  The color ramp can also be copied to the Gradient Ramp of the Matte channel, the result will be a grayscale alpha ramp.You can set the gradient ramp to Smooth or Linear interpolation between colors and there is a quick Reverse button to flip the gradient.  You can set all of the points to be even spacing to each other…or you can keep it more organic and free. The Color and Alpha Locators menu will numerically set the postion of the selected color pot and it’s midpoint.When you choose a Point Gradient, the color ramp menu is replaced by the Points Settings Menu Tab.  You can add multiple color points and numerically position the points in X/Y or use the on screen widgets.  Each color point also has a corresponding matte color adjustment.  The Weight of the color refers to the amount that that color will blend into a nearby color as the 2 points get closer to each other.  The size of the point  is controlled by the Radius value.  The Sharpness value controls the level of edge sharpness between the gradient point colors. The Softness field controls the level of blur added to the gradient.So, you have a lot of options and controls to create color blend gradients, that can animate if you keyframe the settings.  Most of the time you think of soft gradient color blends. But if you move the color points (triangles) very close to one another, you can create very hard edges to your colors. By adding multiple points and creating hard edges, you can use the Gradient Node to create some interesting shapes and line patterns that can be used in motion graphic design.The UV Swap Button will alter the mapping of the gradient on the image plane.  This can be best seen with the Radial pattern, as the circle gets unwrapped and can be used to create a radar sweep type of effect.As stated earlier, you can blend the gradient with an input clip or you can output just the gradient itself. You can combine the matte input with the gradient alpha as well. You can sometimes use the Gradient Node to perform some interesting color grades to clips.  The Point Gradient allows you to specifically place and animate color spots to give a unique style to your video.Smoke’s Glow Node:The Glow Node is built on a the same foundation as the Blur Node.  There are 5 Glow types: Box, Gaussian, Directional, Radial (Twist/Spin), and Radial Stamp.  Very similar to Blur, no?Each Glow type will display custom menu settings that pertain to the individual glow type. For example, You can track the center point for the Radial Glow.The Input settings can adjust the color settings (Hue, Saturation, Gamma, Gain, Contrast, Offset) of the input clip which will be the fill for the glow.  The Input adjustments directly affect the intensity and look of the glow. The default Gain Value is 150.  A value of 100 will create no glow on the image.  The offset value will also affect the glow result.The Glow Menu Adjustments will change slightly based on the glow type, but ultimately it controls the size and intensity of the glow.There are 2 color wheels that control the color style of the glow.  You can activate either one or both.  The 2 colors, if used, are additively blended together to create the result glow color.You can create a more unique and stylized glow by adjusting the weight and X/Y offsets for the RGB color channels. A slight adjustment in this menu setting will help separate the additive mix of the 2 color wheels giving you some subtle color shades in the glow result.The Matte Blend settings are yet another way to influence the look of the resulting Glow. The Matte Blend is only applied to the result when the Blend Matte is enabled in the Blend Menu. By choosing to use the blend matte, the matte wil constrain the glow effect.If you hit F4 once you will see the glow result with the video.  If you hit F4 twice, you will see the outmatte from the node. You can choose to lock the blur of the matte, which affects the width of the glow to the glow width…or you can control it separately.  The outmatte can also be expanded which will fatten (or contract with negative values) the matte, creating more (or less) spread for the glow.  You can invert the matte or premultiply the matte with the front clip.  The AutoMatte button will generate a grayscale matte from the luminance values of the front input.  Automatte is the same thing as piping the front image into the matte input.The standard Blend Modes are available to mix the glow over the front image. Again, activating the Blend Matte will use that matte in the result. You can also output the Blend Matte to use further in your ConnectFX schematic or you can output a LumaMatte of the Glow result. The option is there to also just output the glow without the front image to composite it later in your comp.There are several Presets available for the Glow Node so you can see how different effects are generated. The Glow node is very powerful and has lots of options. In a way, it almost too complicated when you just want to do a quick glow on an object.  So take some time to explore how the different settings for the front glow and the matte blend react to create the final result.last_img read more

The Leadership Playbook: Do As I Say, Not As I Do

first_imgAre you full of performative contradictions? Are you doing what you say one cannot—or should not—do?You say that your salespeople should block off time for their most important tasks, like nurturing their dream clients, prospecting, and following up. You want the members of your team to do the things that make a difference and produce results. Are you blocking time for coaching your sales team, the most important activity and the one that generates the highest return on effort?You tell your sales team to get out from behind their email and get in front of clients, to go where the action is and make a difference. You tell them not to waste time with the browser and their twelve open tabs. However, you dole out this direction from behind your CRM’s dashboard. Staring at the score never helped anyone win a game. How often do you see a coach with his back to the field of play?You want your salespeople to study so they’ll have the business acumen to create value for their prospects and clients, as well as distinguish themselves in a crowded field of “me too” competitors. You want them to read, to educate themselves, to do their homework. Are you better and more widely read than your sales team? Do you have the business acumen to be a peer when you are sitting in front of their clients? Or might you fail the test you ask your team to pass?Your people will follow your lead. They’re more likely to do what you do than what you say, especially when your words and your actions are in conflict. If you want your people to follow you, you have to lead them. That means you have to embody the values you want them to hold, and demonstrate the actions you want them to take.Your people will do as you do, not as you say.last_img read more