Tony Becca | Preparing for the heights

first_img BLACKWOOD UP TO PAR The only batsman who batted with any resemblance of a first-class player was Jermaine Blackwood, the Jamaican Test batsman, who promised so much, but who recently, including in the first innings, had earned the reputation of even his most avid fans as simply being a hit-or-miss batsman. Without Blackwood’s solid contribution, however, the Scorpions’ second innings would have been a replica of the first, which was a total disaster. On my way home, I remembered the words of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow of long ago: “The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upwards through the night?” I kept repeating those words because after remembering the Jamaica and West Indies batsmen of recent times, after remembering some other batsmen around the world, I came to the conclusion, as I did some time ago, that the region’s batsmen, most of them, are not ready for first-class cricket, or for Test cricket. I used to believe that maybe it was because of the lack of regular first-class cricket, but when I remembered the quality of batsmen of decades past, I said, no, that could not be the case. Again, I used to believe that it was because of poor coaching, or bad coaching, but then I remembered the quality of batsmen in times past, when there was none or very little coaching, and again, I said no, that could not be the case. On my way home at the end of the first day-night four-day regional game at Sabina Park last Sunday night, I felt really down, disappointed, and even embarrassed. Jamaica had lost the match scheduled for four days and nights in just under two days and nights, and like the other few spectators, or fans, many of whom, including a few former national players, had left the ground before the match had ended, I felt empty and cheated. The fans were angry, to the extent that some of them were fuming and uttering all sorts of unflattering things against Jamaica’s cricket in general and the players in particular. One man said to me: “Lord, God. Mr B, is Manchester a coming from, and is this mi come fi see?” All I could say to him was: “That’s how it goes, my friend. I only hope that it will be better next time.” I was being kind because I had seen better, much better, batting displays by Jamaican and West Indian batsmen of the past. This, however, was among the worst batting that I have ever seen, and it has being happening too frequently in recent times. The first day of the match was rained out, the second day saw the Leeward Islands Hurricanes reaching 32 for five in their second innings, and the third, the second day of play, saw the Hurricanes going on to 133 before dismissing the Jamaica Scorpions for 114, chasing 149 for victory. The first day of play saw 25 wickets falling for 159 as the Hurricanes totalled 71 and 32 for five and the Scorpions were bundled out for a paltry 56. QUALITY OF THE PITCHES What I never did believe, although it was sometimes true, was the cry that the pitches were not good, that the ball either kept low or that it bounced too high and awkwardly, that they were too slow or that they were too fast, that it was difficult to play the ball because they did unexpected things at different times, or that the batsmen were simply unlucky. And I did not believe that if only because there are good pitches and there are poor pitches, and whether they are good or they are poor, the batting is usually the same, more or less, and with the exception of something like the explosion in Antigua recently. What I now believe is that the region’s batsmen do not work hard enough, or train long and hard enough. The batsmen of recent vintage, barring a few, look good while batting for a short while and making a stroke or two, and they probably believe that they are, what is loosely called ‘talented’ or that they are gifted players and, therefore, they do not have to train as much or as hard as those who are not. One stroke, however, or one shot, regardless of the handclaps that follow, and whether it is an exquisite four or a thundering six, do not a batsmen make. Good batting, a good innings, calls for many fine strokes, defensively and aggressively according to the situation, for quite some time, most times on good pitches, and sometimes on poor pitches. REASON FOR PROBLEMS Clyde Walcott, the West Indies batsman who scored five centuries in the series against the 1955 Australians, once suggested to me that the reason for the West Indies batting problems may be because they probably believe that they are better than they really are; George Headley, the West Indies batsman who registered two centuries in one Test match on two occasions, once said, in my presence as a coach, that he will accept a mistake once, but not twice, especially twice in succession; and some Jamaican batsmen once complained to me that Rohan Kanhai, coach of Jamaica and, previously, a West Indies captain who scored many Test centuries, was preventing them from hooking. Kanhai, a good hooker himself, really wanted to prevent them from constantly hooking until they learned to hook. On Sunday night, all of that came back to me, and when I remembered how some of the Jamaica and West Indies batsmen, the vast majority of them, have got out recently, I realised that they really believe they are better than they are, that they make too many mistakes, and that they attempt to play strokes, which they cannot really play, or play properly, or should not have been played at the time they were attempted.last_img read more

Students Confused Over School Opening Dates

first_imgWhile students were excited yesterday to return to school, the turnout at some of the campuses remained poor due to what some of the students described as “conflicting information” on the actual date for the resumption of academic activities.However, with a fight to observe the February 16 mandate from the government through the Ministry of Education (MOE) as the official date for the reopening of all schools, several schools immediately opened.Yesterday, the Daily Observer toured various school campuses in Central Monrovia and interviewed some of the administrators.Schools visited included Monrovia College and Industrial Academy, Muslim Congress High School and G.W. Gibson High School.At the G.W. Gibson High, the vice principal for Instruction, Paul Saydee, said over 600 students completed their registration but only 45 turned out yesterday.Mr. Saydee, however, attributed the poor turnout of students to the conflicting date of reopening schools by the MOE and the constraints faced by many parents in addressing the academic needs of their children.Benetta Natt, a student from G. W. Gibson, called on the government to help accommodate students leaving private institutions due to financial constraints.She said many parents were finding it difficult to settle their children’s school fees, especially with private institutions, and therefore, the government should support the process by allowing students to enroll into government schools.”  Muslim Congress Principal Zainab Assat disclosed that the school registered a poor number of students.  As a result, she said, “We had a little over 500 students prior to the outbreak, but up to date, we have registered about 300 students.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

PPP Congress passes resolution to:

first_imgAddress UNDP’s role in divisive Social Cohesion MinistryCall for IDB to investigate deliberate contract retenderingSupport Govt’s position on Guyana-Venezuela controversy Rally international support for reforms to ensure free and fair elections in 2020Urge international community to speak out against GECOM’s delaying tactics on elections petitionMembers of the PPP Executive at the headtable during the Party’s 31st Congress held last weekedDuring its recently concluded three-day Congress, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has agreed upon several resolutions that will see, among other things, the Party calling on the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to look into the coalition Government retendering contracts awarded for projects funded by the financial institution.These resolutions emanated from several workshops held during the 31st Congress of the PPP held at Cotton Field, Essequibo, last weekend.According to sources within the PPP, the Party agreed on a “Resolution calling on the Inter-American Development Bank to investigate the deliberate retendering of the institutions’ funded projects and the constant interference of the Government of Guyana in the evaluation process which subvert Guyana’s Public Procurement laws and processes.”The second resolution is urging the international community to speak out against the repeated legal and procedural artifices utilised by the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) to delay the hearing and determination of the PPP’s elections petition. This, the Party noted, is in contrary to the advice given by certain members of the diplomatic community to the PPP – that they had received assurances from the judiciary that the said elections petition would be heard and determined expeditiously as provided for and in accordance with the laws of Guyana.Following the May 2016 General and Regional Elections, which saw the PPP/C being ousted from office after 20 plus years, the Party filed the petition on June 24, 2015, in the name of Member Ganga Persaud. The petition is asking the court to grant a number of orders, including the nullification of the May 11 elections, as well as an order for new elections to be held.Moreover, another resolution was passed calling upon the international community to support the necessary reforms which would ensure free and fair elections in Guyana in 2020. For decades now, election observer groups – both internationally and regionally – have been recommending that while the Guyana Elections Commission’s (GECOM) purpose for existence is to administer free and fair electoral processes, Guyana should consider reforms that would reduce or eliminate the politicised composition of elections body in order to ensure independence and impartiality.Additionally, the fourth resolution agreed upon during the PPP Congress is urging the UNDP and other organisations which are offering technical advice and assistance to the Government of Guyana on social cohesion, to desist from collaborating in activities with the Social Cohesion Ministry that subvert, undermine or exclude the Ethnic Relations Commission; the constitutional organ, designed and intended to promote harmony among Guyanese of different ethnic backgrounds. “From all indications, this Ministry appears to be a slush fund for APNU/AFC’s political activities and has been nothing short of divisive in its outreaches and activities,” Party sources stated.The Party has been calling for the Social Cohesion Ministry, headed by Government Chief Whip Amna Ally, to be scrapped, with Party General Secretary Clement Rohee saying that the PPP will ensure that the Ministry does not succeed in its divisive manipulative, deceitful and bribe-sharing, divisive efforts to divide Guyanese socially, politically and along religious lines ostensibly for electoral purposes.“The PPP called for the scrapping of the Ministry of Social Cohesion since its principal role is to act as a smokescreen to promote racial and political discrimination in favour of the APNU/AFC,” Rohee had stated at one of the Party’s weekly press conferences.Meanwhile, the other resolutions passed were in relation to racial and political discrimination, the crime situation, alliance politics and political morality.On the other hand, the Congress of the PPP welcomed the decision of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to continue to pursue an agreement on the controversy in relation to the Guyana/Venezuela border controversy.The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon disclosed last week that there will be one more year of mediation to make a final determination on the Guyana/Venezuela border controversy. If, however, the Good Officers process fails to do so by the end of 2017, then the matter will be taken to the International Court of Justice for a final decision.According to the Party, “The PPP remains resolute in its support of and for any process intended and designed to protect the territorial integrity of our country.”Meanwhile, the PPP in a statement on Tuesday, outlined that its Congress, held under the theme “Strengthen the Party, Defend Democracy, Onward to Victory”, was one of the largest in terms of the participation of delegates and observers.It noted that one of the highlights of the Congress was the presentation of the Central Committee Report, which formed the basis for spirited and robust discussions at the several workshops. The main issues and recommendations from the workshops were presented to the plenary sessions for further deliberations, adoption and implementation.Additionally, a new 35-member Central Committee and five-Candidate members were elected by secret ballot.The Party added that the discussions both at the plenary and workshop levels centred on strengthening the Party politically and organisationally in order to win the next General and Regional Elections with an overwhelming majority.“The Congress ended on a high note of optimism and confidence in the capacity of the Party to defend the democratic and economic gains of the Guyanese people in the ongoing struggle against the anti-people policies and programmes being implemented by the Granger-led APNU/AFC regime,” the statement from PPP outlined.last_img read more

Busy weekend at Crystal Cup and Sid Davis Youth Memorial

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – It was a busy weekend on Charlie Lake as over 82 hockey teams participated in the 8th Annual Crystal Cup and Sid Davis Youth Memorial.On Saturday night, the Mighty Tucks faced the Ace Holes for the Crystal Cup final.After a well-fought game, the Mighty Tucks would take over The Crystal Cup title, beating the Ace Holes 14-11.- Advertisement –The Mighty Tucks took on the Ace Holes for the Crystal Cup Final on Saturday night. Source FacebookAlso on Saturday night, the VI Blackhawks and the Net Sticks and Chill faced off for the Sapphire Cup.After a well-played game, the VI Blackhawks won the game and beat the Net Sticks and Chill, claiming the Sapphire Cup title.Advertisement The VI Blackhawks faced the Net Sticks and Chill for the Sapphire Cup Final on Saturday night. Source FacebookThen on Sunday, 38 teams competed in the Sid Davis Youth Memorial.It was a cold, but a very sunny day as teams competed in the Sid Davis Youth Memorial.One of the many games that took place for the Sid Davis Youth Memorial on Sunday. Photo by Scott BrooksAdvertisement The winning teams for the Sid Davis include:Pre-Novice – The EaglesNovice – The Mighty PucksAtom – The Quikstix BanditsPee-Wee – The Junior HighlandersBantam/Midget – The Outdoor Rink Kingzlast_img read more

Police hope to locate suspects after wallet stolen

first_imgAnyone with information about this incident or the two people is asked to contact the Fort St. John RCMP detachment at 250-787-8100 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. – Advertisement -Fort St. John RCMP are asking for the public’s help to identify two people who were in possession of a stolen credit card.Police say a wallet was taken from a vehicle that was broken into at the Peace Country Trailer Park. The vehicle was broken into sometime between 7 p.m. on April 9 and 4 a.m. on April 10.Then, at 4 a.m. on April 10 someone tried to use one of the credit cards from the wallet at Munchies Convenience Store and then later at two other locations in Fort St. John.Police are looking to identify a native female and native male who attempted to use the stolen credit card.They are also reminding people to lock their vehicles at night and not to leave any valuables inside where they might be visible.Advertisement Photo: Fort St. John RCMP have released this surveillance photo of the two people they are asking for help identifying./Submittedlast_img read more


first_imgSome of the huge crowd in the Diamond tonight. Pic courtesy of Donegal Bay Waterbus.One very important passenger may have been missing from their entourage as Donegal GAA manager Jim McGuinness and his team returned home tonight.But even without the Sam Maguire cup, an estimated crowd of more than 5,000 people thronged The Diamond in Donegal Town to welcome home the county’s senior and minor teams. Despite a double-defeat to Kerry in their respective All-Ireland finals, Donegal fans gave them a boisterous welcome home from their weekend adventure in Croke Park.Fans began gathering around the streets from 5pm in anticipation of the teams’ arrival.Michael Murphy is inconsolable at Croke Park as he is hugged by that man Donaghey. Pic by Brid Sweeney.But despite failing to win their county’s third ever senior All-Ireland title, the Donegal team were met by a huge roar when the finally arrived in The Diamond just after 9pm.Many fans, many still wearing their Donegal jerseys, had made up new posters with new logos welcoming the team home. One of Donegal’s other famous sons Daniel O’Donnell, a huge GAA fan, entertained the crowds.He revealed he told a group of Kerry fans who jibed him about their win “You are longer without Sam than we are.”He also said that Jim McGuinness and his team had brought a light to Donegal when almost all other lights were out due to emigration and other things.Addressing the crowd, Donegal GAA County Chairman Sean Dunnion said he would love to see manager Jim McGuinness continue in his job.“We would love to see you staying but if your decision is otherwise then I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for al you have done for us,” he said.The crowd then chanted ‘Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy.” Jim McGuinness addressed the crowd and admitted this was a difficult night for himself and the players.“We didn’t expect such a homecoming tonight and it has been very, very humbling to come back after having lost an All Ireland final. I’d be lying if I said there is not a lot of pain and emotion on this stage. We wanted more than anything else in the world to bring the Sam Maguire back to Donegal.“I have been working with teams since I was 16 years of age. That’s; 25 years but these people behind me are the best people , not talk about players, that I have ever worked with.“What they have given over last number of years had been second to none. We push them as hard as we can and led by an unbelievable I captain in Michael Murphy, every night they turn up and that is the special part for me. It is testimony to the clubs and the families and to themselves,” he said. And he added “We have done 128 training sessions outside of gym and every night they want to work and learn and improve and as a coach that is the holy grail. That’s a very special thing and that’s why this team have delivered three Ulster championships and an All-Ireland in four years.”McGuinness, who is finishing his fourth year as team manager, said he will now take time to reflect on his position away from the emotion of the All-Ireland Final.“WE WANTED MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD TO BRING BACK SAM” – McGUINNESS was last modified: September 23rd, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:donegalDonegal TownGAAHOMECOMINGJim McGuinnessTHE DIAMONDlast_img read more

IFA to host meeting to discuss flood damage relief for Donegal farmers

first_imgThe IFA is to hold an immediate meeting this Thursday, September 14th in the Inishowen Gateway Hotel at 8:30p.m to discuss the announcement of the Flood Damage Relief Package.In attendance on the night will be Gerry Gunning – IFA Rural Development Executive and officers from Teagasc Carndonagh to go through the terms and conditions of this scheme in detail. The IFA will also have application forms for all in attendance on the night.This meeting follows on from a previous meeting which IFA had held last night in the Lake of Shadows Hotel Buncrana to discuss the immediate flooding situation in Inishowen. The IFA meeting was attended by over 200 farmers, where Teagasc and Donegal County Council all gave updates on where the situation is in each of their respective areas. Insight Inishowen gave an overview of the services available to those affected by mental stress from the recent events.Speaking at the meeting, IFA Flood Project Chairman Padraic Joyce said applications for aid by farmers in Donegal impacted by recent floods must be processed without delay, and payments made over the coming weeks.The IFA President meets Minister Creed on flood scheme.At the meeting, farmers raised their concerns and highlighted the need for all losses to be taken into account. The scheme must cover fodder losses, structural damage, land damage, crop losses, fencing, farm roadways, and stock losses.Padraic Joyce urged Minister Creed to deliver this support speedily and to all farmers who have been affected. IFA President Joe Healy and Donegal IFA Chairman Michael Chance met with Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed twice to press for an aid package in the immediate aftermath of the flooding, Joe Healy visited Donegal, met with Minister Creed and secured his commitment to an assessment of losses as a first step.IFA made clear to the Minister that financial support was necessary for the loss of crops, livestock and fodder, and for damage to land, farms, and fencing. Michael Chance said it is very positive that these requirements have been taken on board in the scheme. He said aid must also be available to cover the cost for farmers who suffered extensive damage to their farms during the flooding.Michael Chance paid tribute to the positive reaction from the Department and Government officials and to Donegal politicians for their support in securing the delivery of an aid package by the end of this week.IFA to host meeting to discuss flood damage relief for Donegal farmers was last modified: September 13th, 2017 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegalfloodIFAlast_img read more

Ethical Stem Cells Becoming Easier to Make and Use

first_imgDifficulties obtaining and using adult stem cells and IPSC’s are being overcome, and that’s good for all of us.Want to grow hair? How about repair your heart or bones? Regenerative medicine is on the march, thanks to recent advances in stem cells. These are not the stem cells derived from human embryos, with all the ethical problems they entail. These are stem cells made out of your own skin.Functional hair follicles grown from stem cells (Sanford Burnham Prebus Medical Discovery Institute). Male pattern baldness has a promising approach to a cure, thanks to work at SBP. First, they make stem cells from your blood. Then, they induce them into a stem-like state. Then, they implant them into a scaffold on the skin that starts a hair growing, follicle and all, in the right direction. After the hair takes root, the scaffold dissolves away like a dissolving stitch.The approach detailed in the ISSCR presentation, which was delivered by lead researcher Antonella Pinto, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher in the Terskikh lab, features a 3D biodegradable scaffold made from the same material as dissolvable stitches. The scaffold controls the direction of hair growth and helps the stem cells integrate into the skin, a naturally tough barrier. The current protocol relies on mouse epithelial cells combined with human dermal papilla cells. The experiments were conducted in immunodeficient nude mice, which lack body hair.The derivation of the epithelial part of a hair follicle from human iPSCs is currently underway in the Terskikh lab. Combined human iPSC-derived epithelial and dermal papilla cells will enable the generation of entirely human hair follicles, ready for allogenic transplantation in humans. Distinct from any other approaches to hair follicle regeneration, human iPSCs provide an unlimited supply of cells and can be derived from a simple blood draw.If it works in mice, it will probably work with people. Baldness causes anxiety in 80 million Americans, not only men but anyone with alopecia (hair loss) from various causes. Stem cells that know just what to do seem like the best possible solution to a very common condition.The start of a new era in stem cell therapy ( Scientists at Koc University and Oxford have made a major improvement in the process of making stem cells. Shinya Yamanaka had earned a Nobel Prize for turning adult cells into stem cells, but that method required four ingredients and a virus to inject them. Look how far the technique has come since then. The race is on to reduce the ingredients from four to two, and perhaps to zero!The challenge of the viruses used to transfer the Yamanaka factors to the skin cells sometimes acting rebelliously and inserting themselves to arbitrary parts of the chromosomes led Assoc. Prof. Önder to investigate the use of certain chemicals instead of viruses. After targeted trials, the team observed that two chemicals produced the desired results in turning skin cells to stem cells. This meant that two of the four Yamanaka factors were no longer necessary. And applying the method with two factors instead of four has reduced the waiting period to approximately a week. And even more importantly, the success rate increased up to as high as ten-fold.The next phase of the research will involve eliminating the other two Yamanaka factors as well. In this way, it will be much easier to apply the method in clinical settings; as viruses will no longer be needed, there will be no danger of manipulating with the wrong gene or involuntarily suppressing the effects of a particular gene.Negligible-Cost and Weekend-Free Chemically Defined Human iPSC Culture (bioRxiv). This announcement from the biological preprint site bioRxiv is good news: stem cell lab techs can have their weekends free again! Kuo et al. have developed a cheap and quick way to generate scads of iPSCs (induced pluripotent stem cells).Human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) culture has become routine, yet pluripotent cell media costs, frequent media changes, and reproducibility of differentiation have remained restrictive, limiting the potential for large-scale projects. Here, we describe the formulation of a novel hiPSC culture medium (B8) as a result of the exhaustive optimization of medium constituents and concentrations, establishing the necessity and relative contributions of each component to the pluripotent state and cell proliferation. B8 eliminates 97% of the costs of commercial media, made possible primarily by the in-lab generation of three E. coli-expressed, codon-optimized recombinant proteins: an engineered form of fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) with improved thermostability (FGF2-G3); transforming growth factor β3 (TGFβ3) – a more potent TGFβ able to be expressed in E. coli; and a derivative of neuregulin 1 (NRG1) containing the EGF-like domain. The B8 formula is specifically optimized for fast growth and robustness at low seeding densities. We demonstrated the derivation of 29 hiPSC lines in B8 as well as maintenance of pluripotency long-term, while conserving karyotype stability. This formula also allows a weekend-free feeding schedule without sacrificing growth rate or capacity for differentiation. Thus, this simple, cost-effective, and open source B8 media, will enable large hiPSC disease modeling projects such as those being performed in pharmacogenomics and large-scale cell production required for regenerative medicine.We can expect further advances with these breakthroughs. Maybe iPSCs will some day be made on demand in short order, right in the hospital or clinic.Great days ahead, if the progress continues. God has put into our own cells the complete instructions for making the whole body. Now we are learning ways to turn back the clock on cells that have differentiated, so that their genomes can be steered into making any kind of cell. That’s exciting, and moreover, the techniques are ethical – as long as no rogue scientist tries to turn them into sperm or eggs for a cloning experiment. Read Wesley J. Smith’s articles at Evolution News to keep up on bioethics issues. (Visited 212 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Fiberglass and Cellulose Makers Tangle Again

first_imgApplegate based its advertising claims on three studies, but NAIMA complained that the data were incomplete, misleading, and out of date.“It was the challenger’s position that none of these reasonably support Applegate’s claims because they are outdated, limited in scope, fail to disclose information necessary to assess their reliability, and did not address fiber glass insulation products currently on the market,” a NAD document on the case says.One of the studies, for example, was more than 25 years old, NAIMA pointed out. It compared air leakage in a building insulated with cellulose to one insulated with fiberglass batts. The buildings were rooms, really — 8 feet square — at the University of Colorado. A second study was conducted by the Housing Authority of the City of Leominster, Massachusetts, on a single building in 1986 and showed, according to Applegate, that cellulose provided 32% energy savings over buildings insulated with fiberglass. The third study came from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the 1990s and looked at the loss of R-value in extremely cold temperatures.NAIMA attacked the studies on a number of fronts, claiming that “Applegate systematically fails to inform consumers which products it is comparing in its advertisements… any of Applegate’s unqualified and general claims that Applegate’s (or any other) cellulose performs better than fiber must be supported by comprehensive side-by-side testing of its specific Applegate Cellulose Insulation formulations versus each and every type of fiberglass insulation on the market today,” the NAD document says. “Applegate’s reliance on three, irrelevant and outdated tests suggest that no such testing or data exists.”The safety of borate fire retardants in cellulose was another issue. NAIMA pointed to claims by Applegate that “some studies have shown boron might lower the risk of some cancers and is a chemical commonly found in vegetables, such as almonds, apples… and pears.” Applegate claimed that the fire retardant is six times less toxic than table salt, NAIMA said, when in fact the Occupational Safety and Health Administration lists boric acid as a hazardous substance.NAIMA also claimed that Applegate’s R-value claims about cellulose violated Federal Trade Commission regulations.In short, NAIMA’s filing was another broadside against a rival in a fight that dates back at least two decades. Green Basics: Insulation ChoicesFiberglass versus CelluloseInstalling Fiberglass RightHow to Install Cellulose InsulationBorrowing a Cellulose Blower From a Big Box StoreBlown Insulation for Attics: Fiberglass vs. CelluloseUnderstanding R-Value Another jab from fiberglassThat should have been the end of it, but NAIMA couldn’t stop itself from taking one more poke at the cellulose industry. Well, actually three more pokes. They arrived in the form of articles posted at three different websites: a post by John Burnett at the Huffington Post; a post by Erin Mundahl at Inside Sources; and one by Peter Roff at RealClear.None of the authors appears to have any particular expertise or interest in construction issues. For example, John Burnett’s bio at Huffpost describes him as a “financial services executive,” and “urban financial freedom fighter, and a Republican strategist.” Roff is identified as a contributing editor at U.S. News & World Report who writes about politics. (“Congressional Republicans Need to Stick by Donald Trump During Media Attack” was one of his recent articles.) The article at Real Clear was apparently his first post at that website. Mundahl has a long list of writing credits at InsideSources on a variety of topics. While she has written a number of articles about energy policy, none of the stories listed at the website concern the building industry other than her April 7 article about insulation.All three of the blogs referenced the NAD findings, and that was the problem — using NAD findings for promotional purposes is against the rules. The ASRC subsequently issued a statement making clear that “parties to an NAD case are prohibited from using NAD decisions for promotional purposes.” The statement continued: “A public relations company working on behalf of NAIMA commissioned articles in three separate publications that used the NAD decision to promote fiberglass insulation.”In a telephone call, Linda Bean, director of communications for the ASRC, would not identify the PR firm and referred that question to NAIMA. She did, however, say she was surprised to see the blogs nearly a year after the original NAD decision was issued.“The three articles in quick succession in very diverse publications, all written by people who did not appear to have connection to the insulation industry, did make us ask what is going on here,” she said. “So we did go back to the advertiser [NAIMA] and say you may not use the decision for promotional purposes. We’re seeing some stories about this. Do you know where they’re coming from? The advertiser did some searching and determined that there was a PR agency that was working on their behalf but not necessarily under their direction that had figured out a way to get a little more attention around this and had farmed out some stories.”NAIMA, in turn, apologized for the lapse and promised it wouldn’t happen again, Bean said.GBA attempted to contact each of the three authors to find out why they chose to write about insulation, particularly now, and what talking points, if any, were provided by the PR agency working for NAIMA. Neither they nor representatives from NAIMA returned calls.However, an article posted at Canadian Contractor said that a NAIMA spokesman initially denied NAD’s claims but later said, “Maybe I’ll have to discuss that internally. Maybe we need to clean up the language to make that a little more clear, but [NAIMA’s denial] is what we want to convey.” What NAD decidedAfter looking at both NAIMA’s original complaint and Applegate’s responses, NAD made a number of suggestions.(1) Applegate’s “unqualified nationwide superior energy savings performance claims must be supported with reliable evidence that consumers in any region can actually achieve the touted energy savings and consequent reduction in the amount of their utility bills.”(2) Applegate’s products were not used in any of the three tests it cited, nor were any type of fiberglass insulation other than batts. Fiberglass available today is not the same as it was when those tests were conducted, and the tests are of limited scope. “NAD determined that the results of the Colorado study, the Leominster, Massachusetts study, and the Oak Ridge Study do not reflect the real world conditions under which fiberglass would be installed today… NAD recommended that these claims be discontinued.”(3) Applegate should stop claiming that some studies show boron (used in the fire retardant) “might lower the risk of some cancers.” Further, reports from two federal agencies “do not support a finding that borates are ‘non-toxic.’” NAD suggested that Applegate stop claiming that fire retardant additives are non-toxic and that boric acid is “six times less toxic to humans than table salt.” NAD added that Applegate shouldn’t be prevented from making “an appropriately qualified claim” about the safety of its product.(4) Applegate did not violate FTC’s R-value-per-inch rule.(5) NAD recommended that Applegate should drop claims that its insulation “quiets a home better than fiberglass,” and that it should stop using its “sound bucket” demonstration in future advertising.The decision seemed largely in favor of the fiberglass industry, and Applegate pledged to take NAD recommendations into account, even if it disagreed with some of the findings.“NAD has apparently been misled to believe fiberglass companies have developed higher design density loose fill products specifically for cold climates, while just the opposite is true,” Applegate said. “However, out of respect to NAD and the inability to allocate the resources to appeal (our total sales don’t even come close to equaling the marketing and advertising budgets of NAIMA’s members), we will take the NAD’s recommendations into account for current and future advertising materials.” RELATED ARTICLES The original complaintNAIMA took its beef with Applegate before the National Advertising Division last year. It objected to a number of claims that Applegate made about cellulose: that it could reduce energy bills by as much as 40%; that it’s better at sound suppression than fiberglass; that its fire retardant additive is non-toxic; and that its R-value per inch was nearly twice that of fiberglass.center_img A long-running feud between the fiberglass and cellulose insulation industries has broken out in a new round of mudslinging, drawing a public rebuke from an agency that oversees truth and accuracy in advertising.The latest spat started with the publication of three online articles that challenge the performance claims for cellulose while suggesting that the insulation, made mostly from newspaper, is a potential fire and safety hazard.The articles, which appeared in March and April, prompted a statement from the Advertising Self Regulatory Council (ASRC) in early May chastising fiberglass insulation manufacturers for breaking advertising industry rules.The dispute hinges on a case brought before the National Advertising Division, a part of the ASRC, last year in which the North American Insulation Manufacturers’ Association (NAIMA), a trade group representing fiberglass insulation makers, challenged claims by Applegate, a Michigan-based cellulose manufacturer. But it goes much deeper than that, and the most recent round of bickering underscores the depth of the divide between these two industries and has a lot to say about how a public relations war can be waged. Participation is voluntaryBean said that there should have been no confusion about what is permitted under industry rules.“Sometimes companies are very surprised when I call and say you can’t do that,” she said. “The rules are pretty clear… What is also often the case is the legal department in a particular company absolutely understands exactly what the participation agreement looked like because they are the ones who signed it. But word never made it down to the marketing intern who read about the decision somewhere and thought that made a great post for the company’s blog. It’s the part where the information doesn’t cycle fully through the information ecosystem. It’s not that anybody set out to do something wrong.”Bean added that the self-regulatory nature of the process means that participating companies give up some privacy along the way.“Self-regulation is a voluntary process,” she said. “It requires the parties that come here to let us finger our way through all kinds of confidential information. So they come here voluntarily knowing we are going to poke around and ask questions. It can feel uncomfortable. But because they have some sort of commitment to truth and accuracy in the marketplace, they do it anyway. And so even companies that get an adverse decision, you have to appreciate the fact they to that voluntary. That says good things about a company even if the decision isn’t the one they wanted. I think that’s a good thing. We never look at these as bad guys.” Applegate repliesApplegate, of course, didn’t agree with much of anything that NAIMA had to say. It called the studies it relied on credible, even though they were decades old.“The advertiser rejected NAIMA’s characterization of these studies as ‘outdated,’ noting that the fact that information may be 25-30 years old does not invalidate it,” the NAD case summary says. Further, while Applegate acknowledged the fiberglass industry has introduced new products since the studies were conducted, they may not be any better than the old stuff.“These products may or may not offer thermal performance equivalent to cellulose, and NAIMA offers no evidence that they do,” Applegate claimed.The company added that numerous blower door tests showed “significant reductions” in air leakage in cellulose-insulated houses compared with uninsulated or fiberglass-insulated houses; and it cited a Building Science Corporation report showing a 50% reduction in air flow for cellulose over two brands of fiberglass.Applegate also said that numerous reports “from the real world of buildings” showed cellulose is a better thermal insulator than fiberglass, including a study of a Pennsylvania tract development where cellulose-insulated homes used 34% less energy for heating with heat pumps and 26.6% less with “baseboard heating” compared to houses insulated with fiberglass.Down the list Applegate went, rebutting each of NAIMA’s complaints with assertions and citations of its own. It’s message: Back off, we’re on firm ground here. Cellulose trade group fires backIn a lengthy rebuttal titled “Fake News!” Lea took aim at the posted articles as well as the NAD recommendations to Applegate about its advertising.“A suspicious person might conclude there is a planned and coordinated competitive campaign against cellulose insulation underway,” Lea wrote. “That turns out to be the case. These largely false and misleading items were ‘planted’ by DCI, a Washington, D.C., public relations firm.”Lea said that the recent articles were reminiscent of a campaign to discredit cellulose in the 1990s organized by NAIMA, involving CertainTeed, Owens Corning, and Johns Manville, all members of a “Cellulose Committee tasked with eliminating cellulose as a serious competitor to their products.” He said that the companies were behind ads, videos, a white paper aimed at discrediting cellulose, as well as attempts to influence code-writing organizations.He revisited the NAD proceedings to defend some of Applegate’s advertising claims, and added: “Not content to stick with basing their attacks on NAD’s report, Burnett, Mundahl, and Roff,apparently following a script provided by to them, proceed into areas not mentioned by NAD — firesafety, for instance.”Lea was particularly critical of Burnett’s article, “Cellulose Insulation: Is it Lumber Liquidators 2.0?” an apparent reference to allegations that flooring sold by the firm contained hazardous amounts of formaldehyde.“Burnett’s introduction of Lumber Liquidators is unconscionable. Cellulose insulation has been used inlarge amounts for nearly 70 years. During those seven decades the only health hazard allegations have come from manufacturers of a competitive product that apparently can’t be sold on its own merits, not from credible authorities. Cellulose insulation and its components have never been cited as probable or even possible carcinogens. Fiber glass, on the other hand, has been classified by the National Toxicology Program and IARC as a probable human carcinogen. After years of lobbying by fiber glass interests this was changed to insufficient data to classify – hardly the total whitewash fiber glass manufacturers represent it to be. Fiber glass was once identified in a Cornell University study as a possible cause of sick building syndrome.”GBA placed a call to DCI in Washington and will update this report if the firm responds.last_img read more