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Mortgage Contracting Services Announces New Ownership

first_img About Author: Christina Hughes Babb  Print This Post Christina Hughes Babb is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, she has been a reporter, editor, and publisher in the Dallas area for more than 15 years. During her 10 years at Advocate Media and Dallas Magazine, she published thousands of articles covering local politics, real estate, development, crime, the arts, entertainment, and human interest, among other topics. She has won two national Mayborn School of Journalism Ten Spurs awards for nonfiction, and has penned pieces for Texas Monthly, Salon.com, Dallas Observer, Edible, and the Dallas Morning News, among others. 2020-10-05 Christina Hughes Babb Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Share Save Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Lewisville, Texas-based Mortgage Contracting Services (MCS), which provides specialized services to financial institutions, announced Monday that it has completed a recapitalization of the company.The company’s representatives say that, under new leadership, it will “recapitalize its balance sheet through substantial reduction in debt, obtain new long-term financing to facilitate growth, and execute strategy as high-quality service provider to financial, real estate sectors.”The company’s new ownership is made up of an investor group led by Littlejohn & Co., LLC, Lynstone SSF Holdings Sàrl, funds advised by Neuberger Berman Alternatives Advisers, and Crescent Capital Group.“We remain 100% focused on delivering the best customer experience while providing the market with a comprehensive service offering,” said MCS CEO Caroline Reaves. “MCS is a strong business because of our employees, our customer relationships, our sound business model, and strong leadership team. We are excited to partner with our new owners to further strengthen our operations and remain the industry’s provider of choice.”Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP served as legal counsel, and Houlihan Lokey and Portage Point Partners served as financial advisors to the company in connection with the transaction. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz served as legal counsel and MAEVA Group served as financial advisors to an ad hoc group of its existing lenders.”MCS provides critical specialized services to mortgage servicers and other financial institutions,” according to a company press release. “The company provides field services such as inspections and property preservation for mortgages in default and real estate owned (REO). MCS utilizes an asset-light model, delivering its services through a network of independent vendors by leveraging its proprietary technology platform to efficiently automate workflow and ensure regulatory compliant solutions.” The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Mortgage Contracting Services Announces New Ownership Home / Daily Dose / Mortgage Contracting Services Announces New Ownership Related Articles Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago October 5, 2020 10,533 Views Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Previous: Economic Analysis Points to Recovery Next: How Real Estate Professionals’ Lives Are Changing Subscribe Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago in Daily Dose, Featured, News The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Sign up for DS News Daily Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days agolast_img read more

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Pitt hires first Black head football coach

first_imgby Malik VincentAfter being responsible for the biggest turnaround in major college football at Miami (OH) last season, Michael Haywood garnered the trust of Pitt Athletic Director Steve Pederson and was named their 35th head football coach and the first African-American.After going 1-11 the previous year, the Miami Redhawks won the Mid-American Conference Championship, for the first time since current Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger led them there in 2003. TAKING OVER—Michael Haywood, right, holds a team jersey with Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson after being introduced as the Panthers new head coach during a news conference, Dec. 16. Haywood’s sister Paula smiles at center.  (Photo by J.L. Martello) The announcement was made by Pedersen at an introductory press conference at Pitt’s practice facility on the South Side, Dec. 16.“From my very first meeting with Michael Haywood, it was obvious that the qualities he exhibited were in line with the values of this great University,” Pederson said.Haywood, known for his fiery speeches and CEO-like leadership skills, was named MAC Coach of the Year in 2010. His career has spanned nearly 23 seasons, during which he has been a part of some of the nation’s top programs including Notre Dame, LSU, and Army. Most notably, he served at Texas under legendary coach Mack Brown as a running back coach/co-special teams coordinator, including a stint as their recruiting coordinator in 2004—the year that the Longhorns played in the Rose Bowl.“I would like to sincerely thank Chancellor Nordenberg and Steve Pederson for the opportunity to become the head football coach at the University of Pittsburgh,” Haywood said. “This is where I’ve always wanted to be.”Known for being a disciplinarian, Haywood is expected to come in and, “change the culture of the program,” according to Pederson. He’s also been noted for having his players participate in 6:00 a.m. morning practices, wear coats and ties before games, and making players sit in the first row of classes.“I want my players to be men of values, to be men of trust, to be men of integrity,” Haywood said.Haywood, who turns 47 in February, will take over the program from Dave Wannsteadt who coached Pitt to six underachieving seasons in which they never won the Big East title, outright— in a conference that has seen considerably lesser competition rise to prominence.Not to mention, the program has experienced some troubles off the field with the arrests of four players this season.“His history at outstanding programs with outstanding coaches gave him a rare combination of experiences and background,” Pederson added. “Most importantly, Michael is a man of character and integrity and will be an inspirational leader for our football program.”A Houston native, Haywood said his goal is to make his student-athletes “relentless players.”Note the famous character from the “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies, Freddy Krueger, who would return from the dead to cause mayhem and horror.“We used to watch Freddy Krueger movies (at LSU) as a team,” Haywood said. “The thing about it is, when you think he’s gone, he’s back. When they think you’re beaten, you’re back. And you keep comin’ and keep comin’.”“I just love to coach the game of football. When I wake up and look in the mirror, I notice that I am a Black man, but aside from that, I’m in it to become a successful coach,” was Haywood response when asked about being Pitt’s first Black coach.His wealth of experience in many areas of the country should help with recruiting in many states—he called it the ‘bloodlines’. Haywood also mentioned that he would like to keep all the players that have already committed to Pitt, and said that his recruiting base will be right here in Pennsylvania, pointing out New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Washington D.C. as other places of heavy consideration.No stranger to the Black Press, Haywood is blood related to the Campbell family, who owns and operates the Arizona Informant, an African-American newspaper that was founded in 1971.(Malik Vincent can be reached at [email protected])last_img read more

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Lease Options in Hot Market

first_imgFacebook68Tweet0Pin0 Submitted by Dan Martinez, Real Estate Broker, Keller Williams Realty South SoundVaun Mathis used Lease Option to sell her rental.Houses are selling quickly.  Interest rates remain at historic lows.  Rents are climbing.  You want to buy a home but don’t qualify for a loan due to some remaining credit problems or income history. You want to sell a property but don’t have enough equity to cover the costs of the sale or make needed repairs and updates.If you would like to be part of the current favorable real estate market and the traditional purchase and sale systems are blocking you out, then a Lease Option may work for you.With a  Lease Option, buyers who have difficulty obtaining a commercial loan, yet have solid employment can still enjoy the benefits and pride of home ownership while improving their credit status.  Sellers who want or need to move can take that next step with little out-of-pocket expense and less worry than a standard rental tenant.Investor Vaun Mathis of Washington Real Estate Investors recently used a Lease Option to sell one of her rental properties.  “After renting for three years I wanted to sell but didn’t want to spend a lot of money to update the property.  I advertised by placing a Rent to Own sign in the yard and marketing the home on various real estate sites like Zillow. I received an overwhelming response from interested buyers and was easily able to find a qualified buyer.  I sold my property for a price that was attractive for me and the future buyer, without needing to make repairs and updates.”Benefits to the buyer include:Move in quickly – credit issues OK. – However, you will need a knowledgeable mortgage lender to help resolve your credit issues and purchase the home at the end of your option period.Typically, lower upfront payment required. Caution:  This is usually non-refundable.Can build credit while living in their future home.Option to lock in purchase price today or pay market value later.Not obligated to purchase the home.Juliana Berg has a plan for home buyers needing credit assistance.Juliana Berg assists buyers with credit issues as a Mortgage Development Specialist with Qualstar Credit Union. “I have a 9 step home buying process which has been helpful for first time home buyers.  If buyers don’t yet qualify for a loan, I assist them in re-establishing credit as soon as possible and saving enough for the down payment so they know when they can purchase a home.  I have been able to establish credit for some clients in 3 months.  Once I assist buyers in developing a plan, I follow up with them monthly and can usually tell within 2-3 months if they are on track to qualify for a mortgage.”Advantage for SellersTypically can sell home more quickly and for higher price than listing the home.Leave property now with potential cash and monthly payments covered.More available buyers.Maintain tax write offs.Buyer tenants care for the property as an owner and assume more maintenance responsibilities.Property is actually on track to sell instead of renting indefinitely.Purchase your next home now while interest rates are low.Bean, Gentry, Wheeler, Peternell attorney John Kesler explains that Lease Options tie three agreements together:The Rental LeaseOption ContractPurchase and Sale AgreementAs  with all real estate transactions, Lease Options come with their own set of potential risks.  Seeking counsel of knowledgeable professionals such as a lawyers and lenders early in the process is strongly recommended.John Kesler III can creates contracts which are “tried and true”.Kesler advises that “Potential buyers and sellers who enter a lease option agreement should know they have a landlord-tenant relationship at the outset.  There are numerous rights and responsibilities under Washington law, including the Landlord-Tenant Act, which the parties should understand. The ability to blend different agreements (e.g. part of the rent under the lease may be a credit towards a negotiated purchase price) is often what makes a lease option attractive.  A lawyer can assist in making sure all of the elements of a valid contract are present for each piece of the agreement and may be able to suggest certain wording that is tried and true.”A knowledgeable Real Estate Broker can assist you through the process and recommend trusted resources in addition to finding potential Lease Option properties.Lease Options are certainly not for everyone, but may provide that window of opportunity for buyers and sellers to achieve their real estate goals. Resources…..Vaun Mathis, Investor,   Washington Real Estate Investors,Juliana Berg, Mortgage Development Specialist, Qualstar Credit Union,John Kesler III, Attorney,  Bean, Gentry, Wheeler, PeternellDan Martinez, Real Estate Broker, Keller Williams Realty South Soundlast_img read more

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FSJ Figure Skaters wow judges at Kelowna competition

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A dozen members of the Fort St. John Figure Skating Club were in Kelowna last weekend, competing at the Kelowna Super Series Final Competition.Kirstyn Beech competed in two events at the competition: Gold Women and Gold Interpretive, placing 9th and 6th in those events respectively. Emma Stevens skated to a 16th place finish in the Star 6 skate, and improved to 8th in the Silver Interpretive skate.Five of the club’s skaters were in competition in the Star 5 U13 category. Emma Shipalesky topped the list of Energetic City figure skaters, placing 6th. Sophie Stevens finished 10th, Emma Eggiman placed 19th, Ashlyn Goertzen was right behind Eggiman in 20th, and Jillian Stone finished 22nd. Stone, Shipalesky, Eggiman, and Goertzen also all finished with Gold Reports in the Intro Interpretive skate, while Stevens finished 1st in the Bronze Interpretive.- Advertisement -Haley Patterson unfortunately had to withdraw from the Star 4 13 & Over skate, but did earn a Silver Report for her Intro Interpretive. Samantha Jenkins placed 12th in the U13 Star 4 skate, and like Patterson also finished with a Silver Report in the Intro Interpretive. Addison Stone skated to a 2nd place finish in the Star 4 skate in the U10 age group, and added a Gold Report for her Intro Interpretive.Rounding out the twelve, Shaye and Madyn Peebles both earned Gold Reports for their technical skates, Shaye competing in Star 3 and Madyn in Star 2. The two also added Silver Reports from the Intro Interpretive.last_img read more

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Latest: Wigan 0 QPR 0

first_imgQPR made a solid start to the Championship play-off semi-final first leg at the DW Stadium, where Armand Traore and Junior Hoilett were both named in the starting line-up.Wigan’s only early chance fell to Gary Caldwell, who headed straight at keeper Rob Green from Jordi Gomez’s cross.At the other end, Gary O’Neil had an effort blocked after being set up by Charlie Austin.Roared on by more than 3,000 travelling fans, Rangers have so far defended in numbers when needed and looked to hit on the counter-attack when possible. Wigan: Carson, Caldwell, Maloney, Gomez, McManaman, McArthur, Boyce, Beausejour, Perch, Kiernan, Fortune. Subs: Al Habsi, McClean, Espinoza, Barnett, Maynard, Waghorn, Collison. QPR: Green, Simpson, Onuoha, Dunne, Hill, Hoilett, Barton, O’Neil, Traore, Morrison, Austin. Subs: Murphy, Carroll, Yun, Doyle, Hughes, Henry, Kranjcar.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

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Do Evolutionists Have Extinctions Figured Out?

first_img(Visited 62 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Stories of periodic mass extinctions millions of years ago sound like factual accounts, till you look at the details and ask some simple questions.We read about them in textbooks. We see them on display in natural history museums. TV specials animate them: giant meteors hitting earth and wiping out nearly all life. Extinctions! They were a major factor in the evolution of life on earth, we are repeatedly told by the experts. In Cosmos 2.0, Neil deGrasse Tyson spent nearly a whole episode discussing them as he walked through a magnificent animated Hall of Extinction diorama. Some experts date the mass extinctions to three significant figures or more. They tell us what percentages of animals were wiped out, and what kinds. It all sounds very convincing.Something happened, because most animals in the fossil record are no longer here. But how certain are the stories about when, why, and how they vanished? Are the causes of extinction known? What questions are still being asked? What about those dates? Extinctions have come up for discussion in several recent papers and science articles, particularly the well-known event that supposedly killed off the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, often called the K-T (Cretaceous-Tertiary) extinction. Let’s test the scientific hubris on this matter.Survivor Whatever hit the dinosaurs didn’t affect a beaver-size mammal, because its teeth were found in New Mexico after the K-T extinction’s customary date. “Ancient Toothy Mammal Survived Dino Apocalypse” Live Science announces, with the BBC News joining the chorus. We find paleontologist Stephen Brusatte (U of Edinburgh) championing the tale of this survivor on The Conversation. Accompanied by artwork of a striped, alert animal looking something like a huge cat or raccoon, he warms up into storytelling mode, scaring the children with a tale fit for Halloween:Sixty six million years ago the world changed in an instant. A huge asteroid, some ten kilometers in diameter, smashed into what is now Mexico. It arrived with the force of several million nuclear bombs, and unleashed a deadly cocktail of wildfires, tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanoes.It wasn’t a good time to be alive. Scientists estimate that about 75% of all species became extinct, most famously among them the dinosaurs. But some of our furry ancestors managed to make it through the apocalypse. With T. rex and Triceratops now out of the picture, gutsy little mammals had a new world to colonize.One question that immediately pops up is why the new mammal, named Kimbetopsalis simmonsae, made it through the wildfires, tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanoes alive while dinosaurs did not. Many dinosaurs were the same size as this ‘prehistoric beaver’ mammal. Were there no “gutsy little” dinosaurs? They lived in all kinds of habitats, including the cold of far northern Alaska (9/29/15). Any extinction theory needs to explain the remarkable selectivity of the asteroid.K. simmonsae had good teeth. It belongs to an extinct group of mammals called multituberculates, possessing multiple cusps on its grinders. From the teeth, paleontologists infer it was a herbivore. What did it eat with all the plants burned up? Many dinosaurs also ate plants. Shush; we’re interrupting the story. Brusatte continues:And Kimbetopsalis wasn’t some lonesome pioneer navigating the wreckage of a destroyed landscape, but one of many mammals flourishing in ancient New Mexico at this time. Mammals were clearly prospering in this brave new world, getting their first taste of evolutionary success and laying the foundation for a whole new era in which they, not dinosaurs, reigned supreme. This burst of evolution led to primates, which eventually led to us.Kimbetopsalis is testament to how the history of life hinges on moments that can reset the course of evolution. T. rex and kin had ruled the Earth for over 100 million years. Then suddenly the world was thrown into chaos by rapid environmental change. Dinosaurs couldn’t cope and all of a sudden they were gone. Their size and strength couldn’t save them. Mammals fared better, and now one species of brainy ape occupies that dominant place in nature that was once held by the dinosaurs.Oooh. The children ponder that we are the kings of the planet now, all descended from this kitty cat. Jason raises his wrists and growls, “I’ll be the new T. rex!” “I’m Triceratops!” Dylan says as they engage in a mock battle. Their imaginations supply the visuals of the teacher’s tale, till Heather raises her hand. “I’m confused,” she says. Weren’t some dinosaurs as small as this cat-like thing? Didn’t they eat plants, too?”K-T ExtinctionThose and other questions come to mind as we read more about the K-T extinction. Brusatte’s confidence in the asteroid scenario was recently called into question by a paper in Science Magazine by Renne et al., “State shift in Deccan volcanism at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary, possibly induced by impact.” The story is changing. A long contest between the impact theory and the volcanism theory is apparently merging into a combo plate with two causes of extinction on opposite sides of the world: an impact that formed the Chicxulub crater in the Yucatan, and volcanoes that formed the Deccan Traps in India. Were they related? That’s a new hypothesis: a “double whammy” did the dinosaurs in.Sid Perkins says in Science that it’s not that simple. Argon dating of samples is leading the authors of the paper to postulate that the volcanoes began erupting 173,000 years before the impact, but then belched out lava faster after the impact. But then, the post-impact episodes were episodic, the new theory says.  Most importantly, Perkins reveals big controversies between the scientists over what killed the dinosaurs.How the asteroid impact half a world away from India bumped up lava production is a mystery, Renne says. He speculates that its effects rippled along the boundaries of nearby tectonic plates until they reached the volcanoes, expanding the size of subterranean magma chambers and thus increasing the volume of magma they could spew during any given eruption.Not all scientists are convinced. “This is a wonderful piece of work, but I don’t think it will solve the problem” of what killed the dinosaurs, says Jay Melosh, an impact crater expert at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. According to Melosh, several studies have suggested that ecosystems largely remained intact until the time of impact. To him, that diminishes the effect of Deccan volcanism, which had been chugging along at that point for well over 100,000 years. Brian Huber (Smithsonian) is unconvinced, too. Dinosaur fossils near the K-T boundary are rare, but phytoplankton are not, and they show no decrease from the period of volcanism. The double-whammy hypothesis is hurting, not helping:“Ironically, by more closely linking the date of the impact with the increase in Deccan volcanism, Renne and his team may have made it more difficult to tease out the relative contribution of each phenomenon to the die-offs, Melosh says. “These findings will add greatly to the controversy of volcanism versus impact.”New Scientist points to another problem: “other impact craters as big as the Chicxulub one have been found, but they don’t seem to match with extinction events.” The pro-volcano lobby thinks that lava flows were implicated in an earlier mass extinction, the Permian event that supposedly killed off 90% of species 252 million years ago.Permian ExtinctionThat support, however, was knocked off equilibrium by a different paper in Science Magazine by Roopnarine and Angielczyk, “Community stability and selective extinction during the Permian-Triassic mass extinction.” Selective extinction is the operative phrase. These guys don’t even mention lava or impacts, but talk about the collapse of food webs during the mass extinction. Moreover, they believe that the current extinction (supposedly human-caused) is fundamentally different from the Permian mass extinction. Commenting on this paper in Science, paleontologist Charles Marshall wonders why food webs were stable during a two-phase extinction interval, which lasted ” ∼120,000 years or possibly much longer.” Do Roopnarine and Angielczyk solve the problem? “The study raises some fundamental questions,” he ends, leaving 4 unresolved issues for further research.Ediacaran ExtinctionEach extinction event seems to have a different cause. Astrobiology Magazine ponders “Evidence that Earth’s first mass extinction was caused by critters, not catastrophe.” That first extinction was the loss of the Ediacarans, mysterious colonial organisms that vanished before the Cambrian explosion. The opening sentences are revealing:In the popular mind, mass extinctions are associated with catastrophic events, like giant meteorite impacts and volcanic super-eruptions.But the world’s first known mass extinction, which took place about 540 million years ago, now appears to have had a more subtle cause: evolution itself.Here we see evolutionists using their theory to account for the origin and disappearance of species. How can that be? The “Garden of Ediacara,” we are told, lost out to a burst of evolutionary innovation:After 60 million years, evolution gave birth to another major innovation: animals. All animals share the characteristics that they can move spontaneously and independently, at least during some point in their lives, and sustain themselves by eating other organisms or what they produce. Animals burst onto the scene in a frenzy of diversification that paleontologists have labeled the Cambrian explosion, a 25-million-year period when most of the modern animal families – vertebrates, molluscs, arthropods, annelids, sponges and jellyfish – came into being.How one gets animals to “burst on the scene” by mutation and selection is not explained. This explanation raises bigger questions than the one it tries to solve.Generalities“Life in the Aftermath of Extinctions” is Pincelli Hull’s offering in a special issue of Current Biology about the History of Life on Earth (16 articles, open access). The Yale geophysicist proposes “earth system succession” as a driver of evolution: “Earth system succession occurs when global environmental or biotic change, as occurs across extinction boundaries, pushes the biosphere and geosphere out of equilibrium.” Knock earth off its balance, she thinks, and evolution will take over from there. “For mass extinctions, earth system succession may drive the ever-changing ecological stage on which species evolve, restructuring ecosystems and setting long-term evolutionary trajectories as they do.”The K-T controversy apparently didn’t reach her ears, because she repeats the children’s version: “the KPg mass extinction is tied to the impact of a massive bolide, likely an asteroid, into the Yucatan Peninsula — a geologically instantaneous event.” What, no lava? No matter; her scenarios are broad and sweeping, tetrapods invading and radiating onto the land, then returning to the water as whales and sea lions. Simple. “This discussion is not meant to demote mass extinctions as important drivers of the evolution of life, but rather to question how truly unique they are in their evolutionary effects.” Most species that went extinct, she says, did not die off in the big mass extinctions. But who really knows?It is clear that mass extinctions have profound ecological and evolutionary effects through the mass death of taxa and by allowing state changes in macroevolutionary dynamics and ecosystem structure. In their aftermaths, a large number of evolutionary events also occur over a relatively short time as clades re-diversify, but how important (or distinct) these times are for macroevolution relative to the intervals between them is still an outstanding issue. Does the unique selective regime suggested by earth system succession in the aftermath really matter for macroevolution? This is a question for future studies to address.This leads to a quizzical thought: “Macroevolution is shaped as much by those who survive as those who did not.” Can the dead tell the living how to evolve? Maybe she means that it opens up a new wild west where innovators can invade the graveyard. “As such, mass extinctions should not be considered as macroevolutionary point events, but rather as prolonged intervals of varying selection spanning the mass death and subsequent radiation of taxa.”Her ending paragraph is remarkable for its hubris in spite of profound ignorance.Beyond this, a general macroevolutionary understanding of the importance of mass extinctions relative to other events in earth history will require an understanding of why innovations and radiations characterize the intervals in between extinctions perhaps even more so than the aftermaths of the extinctions themselves. This is an exciting area of research as detailed paleontological, geochemical, geological and phylogenetic datasets are just now becoming available to compare between them. Only an estimated 4% of species extinctions in the last half billion years of life coincided with one of the Big Five mass extinctions, but most species that have ever existed are now dead and those losses have shaped the history of life. An integrative understanding of the role of extinction and speciation in macroevolution has yet to be achieved but is central to understanding the evolution of life.Perhaps the best recent description of evolution is given by Mark Buchanan in Nature, where he swoons over a new book by Matt Ridley entitled, The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge. Entranced, he sees the big picture. Evolution is all, and all is evolution.Evolution is an almost magical idea. First proposed by Charles Darwin in 1859 as an explanation for the manifold diversity of biology, the concept has turned out to be much more profound than its inventor could have imagined. Evolution is a general strategy, or class of strategies, for finding solutions to very difficult problems through iterative, combinatorial exploration in high-dimensional spaces of possibilities. Organisms evolve, and so do algorithms for image recognition or for financial trading.So what do evolutionists really know about the history of life on earth? Not a whole lot, but keep the funding flowing and the experts employed as teachers of the unwashed masses. We’re much better off than ancient peoples, after all, who believed that old myth that a worldwide flood killed off the animals. Incidentally, a new chapter of the Epic of Gilgamesh surfaced, Live Science reports. The heroes appear to have the first known appreciation for ecology, in that they feel remorse for cutting down the forest, worrying that “reducing the forest to a wasteland is a bad thing to have done, and will upset the gods.” An expert says “this kind of ecological awareness is very rare in ancient poetry”.Now we know. The Epic of Darwin destroys the ecology and recreates it over and over, like magic. Just don’t ask for details.The whole Darwinian amusement park, with all its props teaching millions of years, five mass extinctions and bursts of magical innovation comes crashing down with one inconvenient truth: the bones of T. rex, Triceratops and many other dinosaur species, found in thick mass graves deposited by a flood, still contain their original soft tissue.Those ancient clay tablets had parts of the truth hidden amid the embellishments and fanciful additions. The straight story of earth history was recorded by eyewitnesses who left records compiled by Moses. In straightforward narrative, we read, “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened…. Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died…. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark. And the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days.”We’re given the exact day this happened. It’s a plausible account of mass extinction passed on by survivors. Why would a myth-maker tell you it was the 17th day of a particular month in an exact year of a man’s life? This has the ring of truth, not myth. Why would the record provide a plausible geological and atmospheric cause? There’s no fanciful tale of gods partying in the clouds, upset with people making noise and capriciously deciding to punish them with a flood. There is one omnipotent Creator grieving that the Earth was filled with violence, rewarding a righteous man and his family, giving the world a fresh start.A global flood explains the fact of extinction and soft tissue in the dinosaur bones. The post-flood migration of peoples and languages fits what we see in the archaeological record. Genesis doesn’t require evolutionary “magic” inventing animals by blind chance. It explains the intelligent design of life, the free choice of man to choose sin, the consequences, and the purposes of a wise, just, loving God to bring restoration and salvation after mankind chose evil. Flood layers and fossils around the world bear silent witness to the watery catastrophe. Cultures around the world retain memories, often corrupted, of people saved in a floating vessel to repopulate the world after a global flood. Dragon legends around the world retain memories that dinosaurs were seen by humans recently, not millions of years before man evolved from some beaver-like mammal. If Occam’s Razor has any value, apply it here! One cause, not multiple magical events, explains it all.Jesus confirmed the truth of Noah and the ark, as did Peter and the other Bible writers. The evidence is there. The record is there. If you agree the Darwinians are clueless, ever changing their story, filled with unanswered questions, prone to making up magical myths, you have an alternative that fits the evidence and makes sense.last_img read more

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Legal with Leah: LEBOR update

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest  1 CommentThere have been many developments on the Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR) front since the law was passed by Toledo voters. In the latest Legal with Leah, Ty Higgins visits with Ohio Farm Bureau’s Policy Council Leah Curtis about the actions being taken by both sides of the issue and why farmers should keep up with LEBOR updates, whether they live in the watershed or not.ExceptsTy Higgins: I know you’re getting a lot of calls from farmers saying you know what does this mean for me and we’re getting into you know April here. Farmers are starting to think about getting into the fields when they can, when things dry out and work the fields getting ready for planting and this is just one thing on their mind. So you know looking short term, long term what’s next for LEBOR?Leah Curtis: So as far as the litigation goes, you know litigation can move kind of slowly but certainly I think, you know, they’re trying to move as fast as they can and how long it will take we can’t really say but certainly having the injunction in place is a very good thing that should, you know, give people a lot of peace of mind as they do get to that you know into planting this year and into prepping their fields and getting ready. What can happen next is, you know, hard to say but hopefully we will see things move quickly and come to a final result. And that way we’ll hopefully have LEBOR put to bed. But the fact is that things like LEBOR could happen anywhere, anywhere in this state. And so it’s always a good idea to 1) pay attention to the things that are being collected… signatures are being collected for in your area because you want to make sure you know what you’re signing if something gets presented to you. And then we’ve talked a lot about ag districts as one possibility. The ag district program does provide a nuisance offense. It may be useful if one of these lawsuits would go forward. And so we’d always encourage our farmers to look into that as a possibility for their as another layer of protection for their farm.Ty Higgins: You mentioned it could happen anywhere else. They’re talking about doing something in Cleveland about this and even talk about a statewide initiative going on the ballot at some point down the road. So you know if you’re a farmer in the Lake Erie watershed you know about this you’ve been told what to do to protect yourself. If you’re a farmer in central or south central Ohio…’All of this doesn’t pertain to me; I don’t have to worry about it,’ but they kind of do.Leah Curtis: Definitely we have seen the same group that has put forth LEBOR that wrote LEBOR we have seen them in counties in southern Ohio in years past pushing very similar types of ordinances. We’ve seen them in Youngstown doing lots of ballot initiatives there and as you said there was an approval by the ballot board for them to collect signatures for a statewide constitutional amendment which would allow local jurisdictions to create these rights of nature ordinances. So it really could happen anywhere and water quality really should be something that everyone cares about. We’re all a part of it. We all contribute. We all need to you know make sure we’re being the best stewards of the land that we can be and we know our farmers are doing that. We know that they’re doing everything they can. And so all across the state we really should be talking about it.Full transcriptionListen to Legal with Leah, a podcast featuring Ohio Farm Bureau’s Policy Counsel Leah Curtis discussing topics impacting farmers and landowners.  1 Commentlast_img read more

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Kicking off the new marketing year

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLCCollege football just began and every team still has the chance to win their conference or, more importantly, find their way into one of the playoff spots. Some fans believe this is the year they will have a perfect record at the end of the season, while others are worried that their team will not even make it to a bowl game. For many, Saturday’s first game answered some questions about their team’s prospects for the season but undoubtedly some questions will linger and won’t really be known until the season has progressed.Last weekend also marked the beginning of a new marketing year in the USDA balance sheets for the corn about to be harvested. Just like not knowing how your football teams will do this season, the corn market has a lot of time to still have a great season or maybe still disappoint the farmer.December corn continues to hover around $3.70 as the new season starts. Like the die-hard fans of several college teams in the country, I’ll hear these fans suggest why their team should win it all. These same die-hard market participants think corn has to rally back to $4.50 or higher. On the other side of the spectrum there are those who are very pessimistic about their team’s chances this year and are offering rationale why their team isn’t going to be able to even make a bowl game or why corn could still drift to $3.40.There are so many variables affecting any football team’s chances this season to win the national championship, just as there are many variables the corn market will have to work through this season. It’s important to understand, and put into context, many of those variables so I can make the most informed decisions possible for my marketing plan. Historical patterns?The general trend of the corn market is to move lower until harvest starts, then trade sideways through the winter, until the next summer weather scare happens when the market moves higher.In the previous 6 years, there’s been no clear price pattern between the end of August and Thanksgiving. In ’15 and ’16 the market hit its bottom in late August. In ’14 there was a nice bounce at the end of September. In ’13 and ’17 the market trended lower now through Thanksgiving and then like last year went sideways for several months. Prevent plant dates and frost concernsInsurance sets prevent plant dates based upon historical data showing when “normal” frost dates should happen. This year has been far from normal, so the first frost will be more critical than usual to final yields and ultimately prices.Farmers in the east who planted corn around June 10 need the first frost to come after Oct. 15 to avoid significant yield loss. Typical first frosts in the east occur around Oct. 15, so they are cutting it close. Still, farmers there seem optimistic, especially since they’ve had reasonably good growing conditions the past month. One farmer in west central Ohio told me he planted corn last year on June 10 and his final yield was only 5 bushels below his farm’s trend line yield. He indicated that with the right weather in September he could still produce those kinds of yields this year. September weather will be criticalWeather predictions this past week suggest frost dates might now be normal or later, which is a change from a month ago when early frost chances were higher. Frost is hard to predict though, because unlike droughts that damage a crop over 3 to 4 weeks, frosts will damage a crop in 3 to 4 hours. Plus, it also matters how widespread the frost will be. There’s a big difference between isolated pockets and multiple states being affected.Also, widespread cool September weather could impact yields too. With so many weather variables that can still impact prices, we may not know the extent of the weather’s full impact until harvest is nearly over. It will likely be a long harvestThe western states look to start on time or maybe a week late, while the eastern states could be 3 to 4 weeks behind. The crop in the east will be harvested very wet. This will mean long elevator lines and limited dumping space while everyone waits for the grain to dry. A longer than normal harvest isn’t likely to negatively impact prices as much as fast harvests can. When crops are harvested fast, there isn’t as much time to find space for the crop, which means cash prices tend to weaken. A slow drawn out harvest allows for end users to grind more of the crop while the farmer is forced to use their fields as temporary storage. Still a lot of longs in the marketAverage speculators went long (bought futures) between $4 and $4.50 before the August report, with most averaging around $4.20. Largely these speculators have held onto those positions hoping for a rally down the road. This could mean it will take a major shift in the current USDA production estimates to see prices exceed the levels where these speculators bought their corn futures. Too much old crop still stored?End users and elevator managers claim there is a limited supply throughout the U.S. and suggest the high basis prices mean a futures rally is needed. However, given the negative sentiment and frustrations among farmers after the late June acreage report and especially the mid-August report, it seems likely the USDA estimates of significant old crop still in storage could be supported.Elevator managers in the western Midwest states say there were hardly any new crop sales made when the market rallied. Because farmers missed their opportunity before the report, they may be looking for any rally to sell their remaining ’18 crop and get a start on the ’19. This could limit any big rally potential without an unseen production problem. Funds could handle either directionLast spring funds were short nearly 300,000 corn contracts. When the market rallied, they ended up long nearly 50,000 contracts in June. Currently, they are short around 100,000 contracts. This suggests they aren’t expecting a huge futures market rally, but aren’t sure they should push the market lower yet. It seems the funds are listening to the USDA numbers, but haven’t totally discounted the fact that weather could still play a major roll in the final yield potential of this crop. End users may not need to buy more corn until 2020Many end users prepared for higher prices before the August report by having strategies in place to cover corn needs through the end of the year with $4 type levels targeted. Then like everyone else, they were caught off guard as their buy orders quickly filled shortly after the August report. Now end users aren’t in as big of a hurry to buy more, even at these lower futures values.If end users aren’t buying and funds aren’t interested in going long, who’s left to buy this crop in the next few months? This could be a challenge facing farmers going forward. Basis is giving mixed signalsBasis levels at end users across the country are at levels not seen since 2014. This normally would indicate a possible upcoming futures rally. However, lack of exports has pushed export basis prices down to levels not seen since 2017. Current US corn prices aren’t competitive globally, which doesn’t help farmers or necessarily warrant a futures rally. Ethanol has problemsPOET (one of the largest ethanol producers in the U.S.) announced they are slowing grind. They blame margins and the EPA who has been helping the oil industry. If POET is having problems, it’s likely a large percentage of the ethanol community is having problems. This week another ethanol plant in Minnesota discussed shutting down.The president said there will be something “giant” for farmers announced soon. If so, hopefully it will take effect in the next few months to help corn prices, because increasing mandates in 2021 won’t be beneficial in the short term. Corn has a wheat problemThere is an overabundance of hard red winter wheat that is putting downward price pressure on prices. In the southern plains the price of cash wheat and cash corn is nearly the same. This is making wheat more attractive to end users to feeding wheat over corn this season. If the wheat situation isn’t corrected, it could hold back corn prices longer than many expect. Market correctionsJust like when the board runs hard up, it runs down hard too. It needs to find a correction at some point. Lack of farmer selling and strong basis could indicate an upcoming correction, and spreads between contract months have been running unusually tight for such a large expected carryout. If farmers remain convinced the USDA has overvalued yield and/or acres planted, they may hold out until after the January report hoping for a rally, which could keep spreads tighter than normal. This may also mean post-harvest basis values could stay at current elevated levels, helping to propel futures up. Hoping for another 2010In 2010 the USDA and most analysts were surprised by the final yield compared to the August and September reports. Farmers are hoping this happens again. It seems farmers are waiting until harvest to see if the yield is really there before taking much action. This lack of action could help keep futures prices from dropping even further.There’s still a lot of uncertainty until harvest results become available. If the USDA’s numbers would prove to be correct, then corn could trade even lower. However, an early frost or cool September could reduce final yields and propel prices upward. The bigger the problem the higher the prices can go. Anyone who guesses the final harvested acres and yield correctly will be rewarded the most. Please email [email protected] with any questions or to learn more. Jon grew up raising corn and soybeans on a farm near Beatrice, NE. Upon graduation from The University of Nebraska in Lincoln, he became a grain merchandiser and has been trading corn, soybeans and other grains for the last 18 years, building relationships with end-users in the process. After successfully marketing his father’s grain and getting his MBA, 10 years ago he started helping farmer clients market their grain based upon his principals of farmer education, reducing risk, understanding storage potential and using basis strategy to maximize individual farm operation profits. A big believer in farmer education of futures trading, Jon writes a weekly commentary to farmers interested in learning more and growing their farm operations.Trading of futures, options, swaps and other derivatives is risky and is not suitable for all persons. All of these investment products are leveraged, and you can lose more than your initial deposit. Each investment product is offered only to and from jurisdictions where solicitation and sale are lawful, and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations in such jurisdiction. The information provided here should not be relied upon as a substitute for independent research before making your investment decisions. Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC is merely providing this information for your general information and the information does not take into account any particular individual’s investment objectives, financial situation, or needs. All investors should obtain advice based on their unique situation before making any investment decision. The contents of this communication and any attachments are for informational purposes only and under no circumstances should they be construed as an offer to buy or sell, or a solicitation to buy or sell any future, option, swap or other derivative. The sources for the information and any opinions in this communication are believed to be reliable, but Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy of such information or opinions. Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC and its principals and employees may take positions different from any positions described in this communication. Past results are not necessarily indicative of future results.last_img read more

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Meet Canada’s Newest LEED Platinum Home

first_imgDesigners of a high-performance demonstration home in rural Quebec province didn’t think it was enough to plan for low on-site energy costs, so they figured in how much extra electricity would be needed to power a plug-in vehicle to and from work 40 minutes away, and then brought the whole thing in for an estimated $2.30 in electricity per day.The Edelweiss House in Wakefield, Quebec, a picturesque town on the Gatineau River northwest of Ottawa, is also the first home in Canada to be certified under the new version of LEED for Homes with the top ranking of Platinum.It’s the work of Ecohome, a firm offering a variety of consulting services for the construction of high-performance houses.The 1,552-square-foot house, completed this August, was built for $250,000 Canadian (about $190,000 U.S. at current exchange rates), or $161 a square foot (about $122 U.S.). It includes a long list of environmentally friendly materials, and takes the smorgasborg approach to mechanical systems with not one but three interwoven options for heat.One of its most impressive calling cards may be its extremely low energy demands and operating costs. Energy modeling software predicts the house will use an average of 24.6 kilowatt hours of electricity per day, or an average over the year of $1.39 (Canadian) per day based on current electricity rates from Quebec Hydro. For a full year, heating, cooling and interior plug loads should add up to about $507 ($385 U.S.)Suppose the owners drove the 33 kilometers to Ottawa every day for work in an electric vehicle? Using the charging station at the house, that would bring total energy consumption to about $2.30 per day ($1.75 U.S.).Edelweiss House was designed and built by two founders of Ecohome, Emmanuel Cosgrove and Mike Reynolds.“It’s not that hard,” Reynolds said by telephone. “You don’t have to blow the bank to have a high-performance house. You just don’t. That’s why we did this project, to show that it could be done affordably.”The house, currently for sale, is used as a teaching venue and is available for rent via Airbnb, the web-based service that matches homeowners with travelers. Renewable energy system not neededPhotovoltaic or wind-energy systems that offset building energy demands are commonplace on high-performance homes, especially as the cost of solar modules continues to fall. But in the case of the Edelweiss project, Ecohome didn’t think they would contribute enough to offset their initial investment.“You can get so much more if you invest first in efficiency,” Reynolds said. “There are enough houses that are going net-zero energy popping on solar arrays. But we kind of wanted to bring it down to the basics and just show how little [energy] a house needs to use. Yes, we could have installed solar panels on top of it, but there’s so little consumption as it is.”Also, he added, utility power in this region comes from hydro sources in Quebec, not coal or other fossil fuel, so Ecohome “was OK” with the power source.Ecohome also decided against seeking Passivhaus certification, even though its energy consumption for heat and its level of airtightness are at or near the required levels.“Yes,” Reynolds said, “we met the Passivhaus heat requirement and had virtually the same on air change. Passivhaus is a great initiative, but the targets don’t reflect a Canadian climate on the whole, and LEED is a far more encompassing system.” Three options for heatBecause it is a demonstration house designed to showcase a variety of building systems and materials, the Edelweiss House has more features than an average buyer would want or need. Case in point is the heating system: there are actually three.First and foremost, Reynolds said, is the passive design of the house. “The primary heat source is the sun,” he said. “The majority of the heating requirement is met by the windows. Our primary heat source would be passive solar gain.”Then there is a 10-zone hydronic radiant floor distribution system paired with an electric boiler. There were a couple of reasons for including this, Reynolds said. First, Uponor donated the materials and designed the system, so it didn’t add anything to Ecohome’s out-of-pocket expenses. Second, and more important, no one wanted to risk the chance of having cold floors, even with R-32 worth of mineral wool under the slab.Finally, there’s a ductless minisplit air-to-air heat pump (donated by Mitsubishi). A single, wall-mounted evaporator/air handler is adequate for the single-story, open design of the house.The heat pump should operate at three times the efficiency of the electric boiler, he said, so it’s the first heat option when solar isn’t enough. But the hydronic radiant heat guarantees the slab will never get icy.“This is a demo house,” Reynolds said. “We’re trying stuff. The evolution of building is not over. What we’re trying to find out is where the sweet spot is, how much insulation would you have to add so your floors stayed at the ambient, comfortable temperature. Maybe there’s a point where you can drop an extra $4,000 on insulation and that saves me installing $10,000 in a radiant floor. That doesn’t cost more, it costs less. It’s a bit of a laboratory. It’s an experiment in finding the right levels of insulation.”The Mitsubishi ductless minisplit also is a boost for both domestic hot water and air conditioning. As Ecohome explains it at its website, “With a 3-to-one efficiency ratio, the heat pump feeds the AO Smith air-to-water heat pump, effectively reducing the domestic water heating consumption by two thirds. In summer, the water heater also acts as an air conditioner…”“So, we get more efficient heat in the winter, more efficient hot water in the winter, and in the summer you effectively have free air conditioning or free hot water, however you want to look at it,” Reynolds said by phone. “We never had to put the minisplit on cooling mode.” Offering another way of rating heat performanceThere’s one more component to the Edelweiss House — it’s an opportunity for Ecohome to introduce what it calls the “Passive Solar Index,” or PSI, a numerical value for how much energy it will take to heat the house. The scale ranges from 1 to 50, measured as kilowatt hours per square meter per year.Values are determined by the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP), the same modeling software that Passivhaus designers use to measure compliance with the German-based standard. Passivhaus limits heating demand to 15 kWh/sq. meter/year, but houses modeled at 16 kWh flunk — there’s no middle ground. Reynolds thinks prospective homeowners would benefit by knowing just what the heat demand will be, and the PSI is a way of supplementing a rating system such as LEED, where such factors such as proximity to public transportation and indoor air quality could be valued as much as energy use.“A [LEED] house might not be a great performer,” he said. “You just don’t know. What PSI is trying to do is attach a number to a house so you can compare one to another.”Using a HERS rating has the same potential drawbacks as relying solely on LEED certification, Reynolds said.“You could have a poorly performing house loaded with solar panels and get a great HERS rating,” he said in a followup email. “PSI, on the other hand, tells you on a scale of 0-50 how much heat you can expect to lose through the building envelope, no matter how you choose to heat it. “An explanation at the Ecohome website puts it this way:“While obtaining the Passivhaus certification requires a power consumption not exceeding the threshold of 15 kWh/m² annually, PSI considers that the Canadian climate is far more harsh than that of Germany, where Passivhaus standards originate,” the Ecohome website explains. “PSI recognizes buildings that consume 50 kWh/m² of conditioned space (or less) over a whole year, a performance value that would represent a 50% reduction in energy consumption over a single-family house built to code.”PSI allows buyers to compare one house against another without having to weigh maintenance and replacement costs of renewable energy systems that might be present, Ecohome says.To that end, the website offers a chart comparing construction costs, heating costs and mortgage costs of three houses — a house built to minimum code requirements, a “high-performance” house that uses 49 kWh/m² for heat, and an “extremely high-performance” house using 12 kWh/m² annually for heat. Heating costs for the high-performance house are $60 in this example, vs. the $210 in the house built to code and the $16 in the extremely high-performance house. But in the end, the high-performance house has the most attractive monthly cost total of mortgage and heating, 6% less than a house built to code.“The biggest message we’re after is not to look at the building code base requirement as a target to achieve, and then just resign yourself to spending tons of money every month to pump heat into your house,” Reynolds said. “Rather, invest that in insulation and the payback is immediate. People think the payback is going to be 25 years, and it’s not. The payback starts when your neighbor turns on the heat and you don’t.” Many sustainable features and materialsEcohome went to great lengths to choose finishes, materials and fixtures with low environmental impact (a complete list, including links to manufacturers, is available under the Demo House tab at the company’s website).Among them:Low-flow plumbing fixtures that help the house use about 60% less water than a conventional home.Reclaimed and recycled materials, including a Silestone Eco Line quartz countertop made with porcelain plates, bottles and mirrors; a wood ceiling made from reclaimed sunken river wood; sandblasted antique interior doors; locally sourced slate for bathroom floor and shower walls, and lightweight gypsum with high recycled content.Mineral wool insulation, including that used under the slab.LED lighting fixtures and bulbs.Interior paints and floor adhesives with zero volatile organic compounds.A vegetative roof.Exterior walls assemblies include 8 inches of semi-rigid mineral wool insulation on the outside of the sheathing, and another 5 1/2 inches of mineral wool batts in stud cavities.All of these features are packaged in a high-performance building envelope. Exterior walls of the slab-on-grade house have a total of 13 1/2 inches of mineral wool (5 1/2-inch batts followed by 8 inches of semi-rigid insulation) for a total R-value of 58. There is R-32 worth of mineral wool under the slab, and R-95 of mineral wool in the ceiling. (For more information on the installation details for this home’s sub-slab mineral wool, see Sub-Slab Mineral Wool.)Windows are triple-pane, argon-filled units made by Elite. Airtightness was tested at 0.69 air changes per hour at a pressure difference of 50 pascals. That, Ecohome notes, is nearly five times tighter than the average new home.A number of corporate sponsors contributed materials to the project. Reynolds said the total came to about $65,000. However, to keep an accurate tally of construction costs for comparison’s sake, Ecohome added the list price of donated services or products to actual costs.last_img read more