Today, guitarist Al Schnier of moe. celebrates a birthday. In honor of Schnier’s birthday, we’re taking a look back at the moe.’s February 7th, 2015 show at Denver’s Ogden Theatre, when Al got the chance to play the late Jerry Garcia‘s Travis Bean TB500 #11 guitar, an axe that Garcia used in 1976.Back in 2015, after he played Garcia’s TB500 #11, Al spoke to Live For Live Music about the experience. In the interview, he explained how the situation came to pass: “Preston Hoffman, our lighting designer, told me maybe a month before, ‘I’ve got something for you that I’m going to have at the Denver show.’ And I said ‘Okay, cool!’ The last time he said that, he showed up with a pair of socks for me. (Laughs) And they’re great socks, he got me these really great wool socks. He found these socks that he loved and he bought them for everybody in the band. It was a really nice gesture. So I’m thinking to myself, ‘Maybe it’s underwear this time.’”He continues, “So a month had gone by, and I had completely forgotten about it and I show up and the Travis Bean is sitting onstage and I’m thinking ‘Oh! That’s what you were talking about!” I knew that he knew the guy, we had talked about it. I didn’t know what the deal was with it. I didn’t know how long it was going to be there. I thought maybe just for the sound check…whatever. Then I found out it was gonna be there the whole weekend and I was going to get to play it as much as I wanted. That was awesome! That guitar happened to be my favorite guitar of Jerry’s.”You can watch video of Al playing the Grateful Dead‘s “Deal” on the TB500 at the Ogden below (via YouTube user Mike Maciunski):You can also listen to audio of the full show below, via archive.org user moewu4u: Happy birthday, Al! Here’s to many more!SETLIST: moe. | Ogden Theatre | Denver, CO | 2/7/15 Set 1: Jazz Wank> Buster, Deep This Time, Shoot First, Silver Sun> Deal1Set 2: Hi and Lo> Big World> Ricky Marten> Down Boy> Billy Goat> Skrunk> McBainEncore: 32 ThingsNotes: Al Schnier played Jerry Garcia’s Travis Bean ’75-’76 #11[cover photo via Jay Blakesberg]
I previously talked about the Rise of Deep Learning in the Enterprise and how its use is dramatically augmenting human capabilities. Gartner is predicting that the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Augmentation market will be $2.9 trillion by 2021. Let’s think about that number. Globally, there are only three countries with a GDP larger than $2.9 trillion, which means the AI market will be larger than most countries’ total GDP. Just a hint here: if you struggle to get an IT project green lighted, try incorporating an AI initiative into it. The value of AI is one of the primary reasons why enterprises are fast-tracking AI infrastructure projects. In this new blog series, we’ll focus on specific types of Deep Learning (DL) use cases and their impacts in the enterprise. The first one is Natural Language Processing (NLP).Natural Language Processing is the original end state dream of AI researchers. In fact, a key basis of the Turing Test is determining the ability of a machine to understand human language and respond. It was created by Alan Turing in 1950 to determine whether a computer can think. The basic tenet is to test if a machine can use language to fool a human into thinking it is a human being. Even 70 years later we have yet to convincingly pass the Turing test because, to put it simply, human language is hard.Ever had a text or email lost in context? Chances are it happens every day. Not only do we have different languages that we speak, but we have different dialects within those languages. If we humans have a hard time understanding our language, then machines will struggle too. Now with the use of innovative DL models, machines are beginning to understand human language. In the enterprise, these applications are taking shape in three impactful areas: chatbots, text summarization, and voice interfaces.NLP ChatbotsChatbots are not new, but the technology has really improved in the last few years. Today you may not even be aware when you’re speaking to a machine (the Turing Test aside). Imagine using all your emails as training data to build an NLP DL model for a chatbot. All those with quick easily repeatable responses could be cleared out of your email box without you having to manually reply. For example, a technical support engineer is commonly asked how to reconnect their email in their email client. The simple answer that covers 85% of the cases has been solved hundreds of times in their email box. The email archive can train a model to solve the problem for use with a chatbot. Not all emails or customer responses should be handled by chatbots, but think of this use to efficiently triage common problems and respond to them quickly.NLP Text SummarizationLet’s think back to high school. When school lets out, summer reading lists seem like they’ll be easy to tackle over the coming months, but too many fun things can get in the way. So, time flies, summer ends and those books were never opened before the first day of class. Enter CliffsNotes, the invaluable reference guides summarizing classic books for the student procrastinator or those needing a good review. NLP is helping to bring this functionality to the enterprise with text summarization. Now, hours of re-reading notes from a meeting that took place months ago can be reduced to minutes. Or what about career and professional development?Many people struggle to keep up with the research in their field. Text summarization can help consolidate the high-level points about what’s new and deliver an easily consumable brief. Another use case is reducing the amount of time customer support engineers spend getting up to speed on a critical support issue. Saving minutes or hours for the engineer allows them to more effectively resolve the problem. Thus, NLP text summarization won’t replace reading, but it can help speed up cognition and time to results.NLP Voice interfacesSmart speakers and voice assistants are prolific in the consumer space. For example, my 8-year-old uses her smart speaker to help with homework. NLP is at the heart of these emerging voice interfaces and now it’s being deployed in organizations. Remember my doctor visit story a few months ago? Does he really need to carry around a voice recorder only to have his notes dictated and transcribed later? Not with NLP. Once the doctor leaves the patient room their notes can be automatically transcribed, uploaded and made available to their laptop when they need them. Healthcare will benefit greatly from these developments, but voice interfaces will not stop at smart devices for dictation. Enterprise users will continue to request the use of voice as an interface for such tasks as generating sales reports to voice enabled research assistants. I predict there will be a surge of voice interfaces in the enterprise.Building an Architecture for Natural Language ProcessingThese three emerging NLP use cases, and many others for AI and DL, require an optimal IT infrastructure to deliver expected user experiences and results. For instance, training NLP models to understand different dialects, voices and tones requires massive amounts of data, perhaps ranging from terabytes to petabytes. And the NLP will also generate even more data. Since AI initiatives start with data first, it’s important to consider the storage required for this most valuable asset.It’s equally imperative to contemplate your partners for the journey. Dell Technologies and NVIDIA are focused on helping our customers realize the value of their data with innovative AI solutions. Customers trust our expansive portfolios of best of breed hardware and software offerings to deliver high performance and scalable IT Infrastructure from sandbox proofs of concept to large-scale enterprise production. To this end, we’ve delivered Dell Technologies Ready Solutions for AI as well as reference architectures based on Dell EMC Isilon scale-out NAS with NVIDIA DGX-1™ and NVIDIA DGX-2™. And we’re looking forward to building on these efforts with the release of the new NVIDIA DGX™ A100 system. In the upcoming months, we plan to begin testing, validating and certifying NVIDIA DGX A100 systems with our Emmy Award–winning Dell EMC Isilon scale-out NAS. Stay tuned for new solutions and reference architectures built around these essential elements of a high performance, scalable AI IT Infrastructure from Dell Technologies and NVIDIA.
Dear Mountain Mama,How do I juggle long runs with parenting young children? My husband and I work opposite schedules, which cuts down on our need to use child care. But it also means my husband is working when I’m off work and can squeeze in long runs. I’ve considered a babysitter, but I feel guilty about starting the weekend by leaving my kids at home while I go running. Any suggestions?Yours,Running Mama Dear Running Mama,As parents, we all want what’s best for our children. Given the staggering rates of childhood obesity, we know getting them active and outside is important. We also want to spend as many non-working hours with them as possible. That includes taking them for walks and bike rides, getting them outside and active. But as parents, we also need to raise their own heart rates.Taking care of our bodies helps us become the best parents we can – relaxed and present for the full plates we constantly juggle. Knowing that, we need to take scheduled exercise as part of our daily lives, scribbling it on our calendar as if it were an appointment.I plan my long runs as a must-do, non-negotiable on my to-do list. And I have a babysitter who meets me at the park where my running group runs. I pack snacks, toys, and a stroller so she and my son can set off for a hike as I run with my friends. He waves good-bye as my friends and I trot into the woods in front of him and disappear between the oaks and hemlocks. On the drive home, we swap stories about our adventures in the woods.The good news is that the younger kids are, the more they want to hang out with you. Take advantage of that and get them in the habit of exercising for fun. And just as important as making sure our kids exercise is modeling good exercise habits for our children. Lead by example. When our children see us socialize with others outside and exercise, they see that a healthy lifestyle is fun.All too often we exercise outside the view of our kids, either when they’re asleep or in the care of others. They see us walk out the door, but they have no idea we’re going for running, paddling, or biking. When they actually see our commitment to the outdoors, they’re more likely to believe when we tell them that we exercise to stay healthy, to be strong, and to have more energy.Reinforcing an outdoor lifestyle as a family value early in life is highly correlated with enjoyment of the outdoors later in life. According to the findings in the 2012 Outdoor Recreation Participation Report, the more time kids spend outside during the childhood is the number one predictor of the amount of time they spend outside as adults. And youth report spending time with family and friends as a top reason why they enjoy the outdoors. So the more we can engage our youth and integrate them with outside pursuits, the more likely we are to foster a generation passionate about the outdoors.Think outside the box and you’ll be able to spend time with your kids and get in that long run.Happy Trails!Mountain Mama
The government’s response In the last four months of 2011, DIRANDO arrested more than 20 Colombians involved in trafficking drugs to the United States and Europe, officials said. Many of them operated on instructions from Mexican transnational criminal organizations, which also collaborate with Shining Path rebels, Yaranga said. “The drug traffickers use Shining Path terrorists as their security service. They are commanded by Orlando Borda Casafranca, alias Comrade Alipio,” Yaranga said. A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) report confirmed that Shining Path has developed a mutually beneficial relationship with transnational criminal organizations, such as the Sinaloa cartel, which are operating in Peru. “Shining Path provides protection to criminal organizations that operate in their territories, and they (the Shining Path) use the drug proceeds to finance their own anti-government agenda,” the report stated. Peru has now surpassed Colombia in terms of the capacity to produce pure cocaine, the DEA report stated. “For 2010, we estimate that 53,000 hectares were under coca cultivation in Peru, compared to 100,000 hectares in Colombia,” said the DEA report. “However, due to the higher yield in the Peruvian fields, Peru could have potentially produced 325 tons of pure cocaine, compared to only 270 tons in Colombia.” A quarter of the cocaine produced in Peru is destined for the United States, and is controlled almost exclusively by Mexican cartels, the report stated. Overall, cocaine production in Peru increased by 44 percent from 2009 to 2010, and is at its highest level since 1995, according to the DEA report. The Sinaloa cartel and other Mexican organized crime organizations consider Peru and Bolivia key nations for expanding their operations. In fact, the Peru-Bolivia border has become an ideal base for transnational drug trafficking operations, the DEA said. Mexican organized crime groups are attracted to the Andean region’s temperate climate, its strategic geographic location, and its huge expanses of territory. Since taking office in July 2011, the Ollanta Humala administration has emphasized the war on drugs as one of its top priorities. Since 2008, Peru has spent more than $120 million to fight drug trafficking. The government should provide additional logistical support for its national police force, Yaranga said. “The very professional work of the National Police is producing the most arrests. What we need in Peru is more intelligence work and better security.” The Sinaloa cartel and other transnational criminal organizations won’t be leaving Peru and other Latin American countries any time soon, Yaranga said. “As long as they can continue the illegal cultivation of coca in Peru, Bolivia, and Colombia, the cartels will continue to operate, collaborating with many different groups who receive money, collect the drugs and send it to the processing labs.” By Dialogo March 19, 2012 Mexican cartels directing drug trafficking in Peru Sinaloa cartel’s long history in Peru The Sinaloa cartel has been active in Peru since the 1990s. In 2010, Peruvian prosecutors filed a criminal complaint alleging that the cartel operated two armed bands in the mountains of Piura dedicated solely to the production of cocaine and marijuana. The Sinaloa cartel had “between 40 and 60 people outfitted with long range weapons, grenade launchers, hand grenades and satellite communications equipment,” in Peru, according to the complaint, filed by prosecutor Luís Arellano Martínez. The cartel has installed coca processing plants in Bolivia, which shares Peru’s southeastern border. “The entire Chapare Valley and the Cochabamba zone [in Bolivia] have become the preferred area for the Sinaloa cartel,” Yaranga said. “Due to the lack of control existing in Bolivia, many coca processing labs have been installed in this area.” The majority of the coca from Peru goes directly to Bolivia for processing, and the DEA notes a significant increase in the amount of coca base sent from Peru to Bolivia for processing. Regional authorities are alarmed by the penetration of Mexican drug cartels into Peru and their alleged funding of Peru’s Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) terrorist group. Cooperation between Shining Path and the Sinaloa cartel — led by fugitive billionaire kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán — is well-documented, said Pedro Yaranga Quispe, a Peruvian drug trafficking analyst. Shining Path is the group that waged a bloody civil war in Peru between 1980 and 1992. “We have detected the presence of the Sinaloa cartel in the Lochegua district, in the valley of the Apurimac and Ene Rivers in the Ayacucho region,” Yaranga said. Shining Path members have become in effect a full-service security firm for the Sinaloa cartel. They protect laboratories, oversee the cultivation, harvesting and refinement of coca (the raw material for cocaine) and offer transportation services at $40 per kilo of drugs, Yaranga said. In December, Peruvian police dismantled a huge drug lab and seized 200 kilos of cocaine and 300 kilos of coca paste, which can be processed to make cocaine. The lab was disguised as a barn on Los Pecanas, a ranch about 38 miles south of Lima in the coastal area of Canete. Fifty agents armed with machine guns took down a lab that had equipment worth about $50,000, authorities said. Eight Peruvians, five Colombians and one Ecuadorian worked at the lab, said officials with the Peruvian National Police Narcotics Directorate (DIRANDO). “It has been many years since we have come across a lab of this type, very similar to the ones used by the Colombian drug lords,” Raul Salazar, director general of police, said in a press release. The workers at the labs processed the coca “very rapidly, with the method utilized in Colombia,” Salazar said. The lab had sophisticated processing and drying equipment, he said. Mexican cartels directing drug trafficking in Peru. I share the concern, after having observed the intense “fishing” activity during the night on the North Coast (Paita) 10 miles from the coast facing the resort of ColÃ¡n, without existing any control or patrol of the Navy, DEA or any entity in the fight against drugs. Also, what is vox populi in the province of Sullana (a half-hour away from Paita) the thing is burning – and not exactly because because of the intense heat but because of the heat coming from the “kitchens” that after the agrarian reform, are all over the place in what was once the productive Chira Valley. What a shame the end of the leftists. I would love to be part of your command. I am 17 years old and I am graduating from fifth year. The scholar Yaranga is a person who is or pretends to be a fool. The Sinaloa cartel is operating in Peru under the DEA protection and the Government of Ollanta Humala itself. It is not true that SL protects that cartel.It is true that SL has its pawns to cultivate, process PBC and transport it to the refining centers of cocaine hydrochloride. But who are the closest to this Sinaloa cartel, that, according to Yaranga, is led by Joaquin “El Chapo GuzmÃ¡n”? This is a false. Therefore, I ask Yaranga to go to the EP General, head of the 7th. Division of Lambayeque to ask him and he has a more accurate data: the head of that cartel is called Ulysses Gabriel and he has held a high-level meeting with other generals of the EP in Lambayeque. Then he went to Piura, just two days ago. But all of this after the Mexican has participated in the meeting of countries convened by Ollanta Humala to combat to the TID. This is funny, isnÂ´t it? Mr Yaranga, I am a military in activity and am I ready to make everything in order to bring down the Sinaloa Cartel and the one formed by Alberto Santiago and Keiko Fujimori and Vladimiro Montesinos. So this Government, the DEA, the FBI and the CIA are the national partners of those cartels. THE PROBLEM WITH DRUGS IS NOT THE PRODUCERS, NOR THE CONSUMERS: THE PROBLEM ARE THE ONES THAT COMBAT THEM, BECAUSE DRUGS PRODUCE A LOT OF MONEY. JUST ASK GENERAL ROZO JOSE SERRANO, GENERAL NARANJO, CHAVEZ, URIBE VELEZ, VENEZUELAN POLICE, COLOMBIAN POLICE, MEXICAN POLICE, THEY ARE THE PROBLEM. THE MASSACRES COME FROM THEM… WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE DEATH PENALTY FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING?… ANALYZE IT AND I HAVE THE CURE TO THE SCOURGE OF DRUG TRAFFICKING COCAINE is not refined in PERU or COLOMBIA or BOLIVIA but by Americans themselves. If it is consumed in “those countries of the first world”, it is PERU, COLOMBIA or BOLIVIA’s fault. Then your police is CORRUPT because they allow HUGE amounts of “drug” to your country. If you want a better support, just forget the unjust foreign debt of these countries and thus we, the citizens of these countries, will think about eradicating our great coca leaf. So, little gringos, to maim your noses and LONG LIVE THE COCA LEAFâ€¦ I AM AN A RETIRED PNP OFFICER (former PIP). I WORKED IN THE LORETO JUNGLE AND I DID IMPORTANT WORK AGAINST DRUG TRAFFICKING AND WITHOUT DEA SUPPORT. MY GROUP WAS FORMED BY ONLY THREE POLICEMEN, HOWEVER OUR WORK WAS FRUITFUL CONSIDERING OUR POSSIBILITIES. WE WORKED FOR THE CAUSE. NOW, NOBODY SWEATS OR GETS TOO COMMITTED BECAUSE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR THEM IS TO FILL THEIR POCKETS. OF COURSE, IN MY TIME THERE WERE CORRUPT COLLEAGUES, ALWAYS HAVE BEEN AND WILL BE, BUT I TELL YOU ONE THING FRIENDS, AS LONG AS WE CAN DO GOOD THINGS FOR OUR SOCIETY, WE WILL USE THE BEST MEANS OF DOING SO. I BELIEVE THAT THROUGH INTERNET WE DO NOT HAVE ANY LEGAL WEIGHT, IF SOMEONE HAS VALUABLE INFORMATION AND WANTS A HEALTHY SOCIETY, WITH VALUES AND PRINCIPLES, THE CLAIMS SHOULD BE, IN MY OPINION, ADDRESSED TO THE NATIONAL PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE, SINCE WE ARE TALKING ABOUT CHARACTERS THAT HAVE POWER AND ABOVE ALL INFLUENCES ON THE STATE ITSELF. IN ANY CASE, YOU HAVE TO HAVE CONFIDENCE IN OUR POLICE AUTHORITIES, BECAUSE I BELIEVE THAT THERE ARE HONEST PEOPLE AND IN MY TIME THERE WERE. The drug trafficking â€“ government â€“DEA marriage in Peru is very old, and it has gotten stronger with the SHINNING PATH phenomenon and the THIEF Government of the rat FUJIMORI-MONTESINOS and the army of corrupt politicians in the Governments of Toledo and Garcia, and even in the current one, which proclaims its open fight against the illicit business of drug trafficking (even the Congress appoints as consultant to the former coca grower NANCY OBREGON, who was appointed as personal advisor to the President of the Parliament DANIEL ABUGATTAS), with the approval of the U.S. IN PERU, there is a parallel business, protected by OH and that moves millions of dollars. GARCIA is the number one responsible, and his political party APRA, isn’t he? Carlitos Lambergh, Crazy Fly, Mantilla, Polay, Los Camellos, etc. Mexican in Peru is drug from SINALOA, TIJUANA or JALISCO. COLOMBIANS are chemicals, Spaniards are pimps, BOLIVIANS are BURREROS and so, PERU floats in the white powder and the airports are up their NOSES of European mules checking out their BACKPACKS for their consumption and BUSINESS. Ask yourself why so many rock bands come to see Machu Picchu?,or to carry backpacks? If we grow it and we could export it, there wouyldn’t be poverty here, but not to smoke the necessary amount. Evil without remedy. I am addicted and I ask all those people why they do not live and let live quietly. I like to do drugs and I will consume them whenever I want to. That is what I think, and the same think more than 200 million addicts that there are in the world. My people are not stupid. Allow us to live our lives. marihuana and coca are like rice or potatoes: those who want to consume them can do it, if others do not want to, then just not do it. Just as rice sugar have to be bought, in the same way the coca and marihuana must be paid, and not as some Governments who steal the merchandise that they confiscate and actually put it on the market. How is it that despite so much technology, New York is awash in cocaine, marihuana, etc. Why do they blame the seller and not the poor consumer as me, without will. I want to tell you that the war that any Government of any country, regardless how powerful it is, declares against coca and marihuana, is a lost war from day one.And if you do not give a true solution, we, the addicts, will make an alliance with the sellers to give the final coup to a corrupt society. The crazy gringos consider themselves angels. Indeed they are demons and they enjoy TO BE STIMULATED THROUGH THE NOSE AS WELL AS MYSELF. ONLY BECAUSE IN EVERY COUNTRY THEY DO NOT MAKE A POPULAR SURVEY ASKING IF THE ADDICTS ARE VALUABLE PERSONS. THERE IS EQUALITY BETWEEN BLACKS AND WHITES. THERE IS EQUALITY BETWEEN DRUG ADDICTS AND NOT DRUG ADDICTS. WHY SOMEONE HAS TO DECIDE IF I CAN SNORT COCAINE OR NOT. I WOULD LIKE THAT COCAINE AND MARIHUANA BE LEGALIZED IN EACH COUNTRY. 200 MILLIONS OF ADDICTS WILL BE ARMED WITH AK-47 TO DEFEND THE POOR MERCHANT THAT RISKS HIS LIFE IN ORDER THAT WE CAN HAVE GOOD MERCHANDISE. VIVA MEXICO.
UPDATE: —– The conference will be held at 3 p.m. 12 News will broadcast the conference on television and its Facebook page. (WBNG) — Information from Garnar’s news conference can be found by clicking here. Typically, the County Executive holds news conferences on Wednesdays. ORIGINAL STORY: In yesterday’s conference, Garnar announced over 1,000 Broome County residents were in quarantine. (WBNG) — Broome County Executive Jason Garnar will hold a news conference Thursday afternoon to address the elevated number of active cases in Broome County. This announcement follows the county reporting 50 new positive cases in a single day. The county total is at 243 active cases as of Wednesday.
Mar 21, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – World Health Organization (WHO) officials will propose new ideas about producing H5N1 avian influenza vaccines to Asian health ministers next week in Jakarta in the hope of resolving an impasse with Indonesia over sharing of virus samples, according to press reports.The WHO said it would press pharmaceutical companies to expand vaccine manufacturing in developing nations to lower the cost of the vaccines to those countries, Bloomberg News reported today.”Some companies might be able to transfer some of their bulk capacity to developing-country industries,” David Heymann, WHO’s acting director-general for communicable diseases, told Bloomberg, adding that the solution could take 10 years to achieve. He said WHO officials will discuss the plan with as many as 12 countries at the Mar 26 and 27 meeting in Jakarta.In early February, Indonesia announced it would stop sharing H5N1 samples with the WHO because the government believes it is unfair for foreign countries to use the samples to develop vaccines that poor nations can’t afford. The country also signed a memorandum of understanding with US vaccine producer Baxter International that laid the groundwork for future collaborations or supply agreements.Unrestricted sharing of avian flu virus samples is vital to the research community for developing vaccines and monitoring the virus’s evolution and global spread.On Feb 16 Indonesian Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari met with Heymann, and it appeared that Indonesia had agreed in principle to resume sharing its H5N1 samples. However, the agreement has not been finalized, and Supari announced on Mar 14 that Indonesia would not share any more samples until it has a “legally binding” guarantee that the samples won’t be used to develop vaccines that the country couldn’t afford.Supari told reporters today that an inability of poor countries to access vaccines during an influenza pandemic could threaten world peace, Reuters reported. “If we want the world to be a harmonious place, the poor should be helped with the technology. If the situation remains like this, poor nations will become poorer, sicker, and more helpless,” she said.Heymann told Bloomberg that WHO Director-General Margaret Chan will meet with flu vaccine manufacturers after the Jakarta conference to discuss options for maintaining access to samples.However, he told Canadian Press (CP) today that it is difficult to discuss access to vaccines when the world capacity for making them is so limited. The WHO has estimated the world’s annual production capacity for trivalent flu vaccine at a maximum of about 350 million doses.Despite this limited capacity, Heymann said his team could still make proposals to the developing nations that are concerned about access to vaccines, CP reported. One option is to create a “virtual stockpile” from supplies held back by vaccine producers that would be earmarked for use by developing countries in the early days of an emerging pandemic, he said.See also:Mar 14 CIDRAP News story “Indonesia wants legal pact on sharing H5N1 samples”
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AFTER: The property celebrates new age brick. AFTER: Large glass panels give it a light feel. The Gray brothers Andrew and Rob (standing) when they bought the home in 2016. AFTER: The pool and the new extension. Artist’s impression of the side of the property. Original roof in the back right.The brothers had bought the property under their Graya Developments business in September 2016 for $940,000, then proceeded with getting all their paperwork in order to add this to their growing list of accomplishments. AFTER: That bathroom and walk-in robe combination is just divine.The design by Tim Stewart Architects balancing concrete, timber, brickwork, a white paint finish and glass. Bespoke cabinetry, an abundance of space and loads of natural light have jettisoned the 1955 home from a tidy but tired old house into a suave, family-friendly oasis. FOLLOW SOPHIE FOSTER ON FACEBOOK Tim Stewart Architects had this vision to modernise the front of the property. AFTER: The kitchen in the new wing.Graya has developed a strong following given the high quality of their work and through close liaison with leading Queensland architects like Tim Stewart and Shaun Lockyer turning old homes into 21st century havens. The Bardon home hit the market as a 511sq m building on a 736sq m block. AFTER: 23 Mahara Street Bardon, QLD, 4065BRISBANE high-end home renovators Rob and Andrew Gray have ticked off yet another amazing transformation, receiving $2.31m for a post-war house they reimagined in Bardon.The deal for the five bedroom, three bathroom, double car garage house at 23 Mahara Street, Bardon, had apparently been struck months ago, they told a growing number of followers on Instagram. AFTER: That’s one way to add a new garage. BEFORE: The neat and tidy facade was created in 1955. More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus20 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market20 hours agoCelebrating the $2.31m sale of the same home, redefined. Source: GrayaConstruction/Instagram.“We have been keeping a secret for the last couple of months as the sale was agreed at 9:30pm on New Year’s Eve.”“We received heaps of interest in the property and numerous offers, also importantly Andrew and I are very happy its new owners are a lovely young family who were a pleasure to deal with throughout the negotiations and will enjoy living in this amazing home.” BEFORE: How the backyard looked before the renovation project.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has presented a model to government for the much-anticipated “pension dashboard” .The dashboard was designed to allow consumers to view all their pension savings through one interface. The ABI led the move, co-ordinating with 17 pension firms and six technology companies in an effort to meet a 2019 deadline for implementation set by the government.However, Duncan Howorth, chairman of ITM, one of the technology groups that contributed to the dashboard’s development, said some providers could still be reluctant to engage and provide access to data.“Even once the technology infrastructure is designed, connecting the sheer volume of data out there is a crucial challenge that has held this development up until now,” he said. “The dashboard prototype clearly proves that a fully functioning service is achievable but it’s just a start. A reluctance to engage may be coming from some quarters, caused in part by legacy issues, but this system will only succeed if the industry works together and agrees an approach to data sharing.”The UK Treasury has fully endorsed the development of the dashboard, and the Department for Work and Pensions gave information to help include state pension payments in the dashboard’s data.Howorth urged providers yet to engage with the project to voluntarily participate in the continuing work, as they might risk being forced to by the government.“We would argue that being ‘forced’ to provide consumer benefit isn’t the smartest reputational move,” he said. “So, the sooner all parties get involved, the better for everyone. For those willing to step up to the plate, any challenges should pale into insignificance when compared to the long-term efficiencies and lower costs generated by the dashboard.”Simon Kirby, economic secretary to the Treasury, said: “Harnessing the power of technology to give people easier access to their information will help them be more informed when planning their retirement – one of the most important financial decisions in a person’s life.” The prototype will be officially unveiled during the UK’s FinTech Week, beginning on 12 April.Aon’s small scheme fiduciary modelAon Hewitt has launched a fiduciary management service specifically aimed at UK schemes as small as £5m.The service, called “Fruition”, will design bespoke plans for pension funds, combining growth portfolios with liability-matching portfolios. These can be designed to reflect each scheme’s liability profile, Aon Hewitt said.Sion Cole, senior partner and head of European distribution at Aon Hewitt, said smaller schemes’ needs were “distinctive and require services that meet them more specifically” than generic fiduciary management pooled arrangements.“Fiduciary management has tended to be seen as an option for medium-sized schemes,” Cole added. “But for the smaller scheme, an adapted version of the established approach was needed to make it both effective for the members and economical for the scheme.”Aon Hewitt and other investment consultants providing fiduciary services are under intense regulatory scrutiny following a report from the Financial Conduct Authority, published last year. The UK regulator has recommended investment consultants be referred to the Competition and Markets Authority for a full investigation of competition standards and pricing transparency.
“And I think that in my view there are strong arguments to say that that will continue for the long-term, but obviously that remains to be seen – but that’s the belief we have at Alecta,” Billing said.The other three drivers behind ESG investing for Alecta cited by Billing were the clear message from the pension fund’s customers that their money should be invested in a sustainable manner; the advanced integration of ESG factors into the business models of the companies in which Alecta invested; and regulatory changes.The pension fund CEO also said customers were now placing greater importance on the social and governance aspects of ESG than they had before.“Climate has been an area that’s been very concrete and tangible and at the top of the minds of many of our customers for many years. And I think what’s changing right now is the social aspect, the S of ESG, is coming more at the forefront,” he said.This shift came down to the pandemic, he said.“We are seeing parts of society being extremely negatively affected by COVID-19 and probably will have scars for the foreseeable future,” Billing said, adding that in his view, this would translate into even more demand from the customer side to take a social-aspect investment approach. Stockmarket performance during the COVID-19 crisis has clarified that equities with higher environmental, social and governance (ESG) ratings are the “winners of tomorrow”, according to the head of Sweden’s largest pension fund, who described the revelation as a new driver for sustainable investing.Speaking at this morning’s Sustainable Investment Forum Europe Digital Event, Magnus Billing, chief executive officer of Alecta, said: “I think what has become the fourth driver [behind ESG investing] is what is coming now when we see the effects of COVID-19.”Admitting it could be too early to say whether performance so far in the crisis was evidence of a long-term effect, Billing said the data clearly showed that companies with high ESG scores were performing better than their competitors with lower rankings.“So clearly there is a strong argument to say good performers in the ESG space are the winners of tomorrow,” he said. “There is a strong argument to say good performers in the ESG space are the winners of tomorrow”Magnus Billing, Alecta’s CEO“Then on the G side, the governance side, we are starting to interpret our customers in such a way that we should take more of a stakeholder view rather than a shareholder-for-profit view,” he said.Billing said despite earlier misgivings, he now had high expectations for the European Commission’s Sustainability Taxonomy.“I was initially, I must confess, a little bit sceptical about the whole process because it was extremely difficult and technical and challenging, but the work that the group has done on the taxonomy is nothing less than very impressive and I think it will have a fundamental impact across the investment chain on how it will operate,” he said.Answering an audience question about greenwashing, Billing said the taxonomy could help investors avoid products and services that fell short.“I think we need to be a little bit cautious about initiatives around green supporting requirements on the capital requirement side,” he said, adding that such initiatives would encourage greenwashing or provide impetus for it.“But currently in the market space, I’m not that concerned about it as the market stands right now,” he said.The SEK963bn (€93bn) Swedish pension fund is a founding member of the UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance.Looking for IPE’s latest magazine? Read the digital edition here.