Public meeting to take place over insurance reform in Donegal

first_imgA public meeting will be held on Thursday by Sinn Fein to outline the party’s insurance reform plan to take on the industry and end the rip-off.Pearse Doherty will be hosting the public meeting at 8pm in the Finn Valley Centre, Stranorlar on November 7th.The meeting will be open to the public and will discuss the extortionate costs of insurance throughout the state for businesses and ordinary consumers. Speaking ahead of Thursday’s event, Teachta Doherty said: “Insurance costs have become extortionate, ripping off consumers and closing down businesses. Since 2016 Fine Gael have done nothing to tackle rising insurance costs.“The insurance industry tells us that fraudulent claims and the cost of personal injury awards are causing premiums to rise. Their figures don’t add up. Despite the total number of motor insurance claims reducing by 22% between 2014 and 2017, the average motor insurance premium has increased by 53% between 2013 and 2017.“Premiums are rising. The only other thing that is rising are insurance company profits. Sinn Féin want to take on the industry and end the rip-off. Our policies and legislation would stamp out fraud, protect consumers, ban price discrimination and reduce premiums for everyone.“Only last month, I submitted a 133 submission to the Central Bank and convinced them to open up an investigation into price discrimination by the insurance industry. My Consumer Insurance Contracts Bill would increase consumer protection and become law by the end of the year. “I will be conducting a number of public meetings across the state where we will be meeting with the public to discuss our plan to tackle insurance costs and end the rip-off. And we want to hear how people across Donegal who are being affected by insurance costs, and what we can do to stop it.“We will be talking about Sinn Féin’s plan to set up a Garda Insurance Fraud Unit to tackle insurance fraud when and if it takes place and ban Dual Pricing by the Insurance Industry.“Also, we’ll be discussing my Consumer Insurance Contracts Bill law which, if enacted, proposes to abolish Premium Levies and put €230 million back in consumers’ pockets while also introducing State Intervention to address the market failure. “The issue of insurance is such a huge one and affects the lives of ordinary people and businesses alike throughout Donegal, so therefore it’s important that we see a large turn out this Thursday as part of Sinn Féin’s ongoing campaign to end the Insurance Rip-Off.” Public meeting to take place over insurance reform in Donegal was last modified: November 4th, 2019 by Shaun KeenanShare 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)last_img read more

A New Way to Generate Solar Electricity

first_imgA natural replacement for toxic flame retardantsAlternating layers of clay and chitosan (a polymer derived from crustacean shells) have shown promise as a possible flame retardant in lab tests at Texas A&M University. When applied to foam and exposed to a direct flame for ten seconds, the coating formed a protective thermal barrier that kept the foam from igniting or melting — giving researchers hope that coatings made from renewable materials could eventually replace toxic brominated flame retardants (BFRs), which are ubiquitous in consumer items.Unlike BFRs, which chemically disrupt a fire that has already begun, this coating is designed to prevent ignition, Grunlan explained. Chitosan between the clay layers does flame up briefly, but the clay quickly “collapses,” he said. “The polymer gets eaten out by heat and fire initially, and what’s left behind is a layer of clay-rich coating which acts as a heat barrier.” A new way to generate solar electricityResearchers in applied physics at the University of Michigan have discovered a method that uses the magnetic component of light to generate electricity without using semiconductors or photovoltaic (PV) panels.When the electromagnetic waves in light passes through certain transparent materials, the magnetic waves are amplified, causing electrons to move away from their nuclei, and creating a static electric field. Conductive materials can be placed on either end of the transparent material to collect the voltage generated across the field, a method that could potentially achieve close to 100% conversion efficiency, because it does not rely on the heat-creating light absorption that limits efficiency of PV panels. The researchers have applied for a patent and are currently investigating suitable transparent materials to use in further experiments. Converting waste plastics into crude oilOregon-based alternative energy start-up Agilyx says it has developed a system to convert difficult-to-recycle discarded plastics into synthetic crude oil. The technology has been in development for a year and a half, and the company predicts that it will be ready for commercial applications in mid-2012.The system vaporizes the plastics and then condenses the vapor into oil. The modular system currently under development, according to the company, will be capable of converting 10,000 pounds of plastic into 60 barrels of synthetic crude oil a day. Once the technology is developed, Agilyx plans to sell the modules to trash companies, which would own and operate the machinery and sell the synthetic crude oil to refiners.Technologies like this one, dubbed “resource recovery,” are becoming increasingly attractive as solid-waste stockpiles grow and extraction of virgin materials becomes more costly. Agilyx predicts that its systems will provide owners a 25% rate of return on their investment, and major players in the trash industry, such as Waste Management, have already invested in the company. Windows that allow in light but not heatResearchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories have developed a technology that reduces solar heat gain without blocking visible light, allowing for “smart windows” that can respond to outdoor conditions without a visible change in the window. At present, electrochromic window coatings can block near-infrared radiation, which causes heat gain, but only by darkening the window at the same time; this can lead to increased use of indoor lighting and offset the energy benefits of smart windows.The new technology uses a transparent “nanocrystal” coating of indium tin oxide — a semiconductor used in flat-screen TV displays. The coating could allow for the creation of smart windows programmed to work in tandem with ventilation and lighting systems by selectively allowing heat to pass and always allowing light to pass — thereby reducing heating, cooling, and lighting loads.center_img An environmentalist dies and reports to the pearly gates, but there is a mix-up and she is sent to the gates of hell. Once in hell, she is horrified by the air and water pollution, global warming, and habitat destruction. But she gets to work to improve the situation, and soon the hellscape is covered with grass and plants, the food is organic, the air is clean, and the people are happy.One day, God calls Satan up on the telephone and says with a sneer, “So, how’s it going down there in hell?” Satan tells God about the improvements brought by the environmentalist, and God says, “What? You’ve got an environmentalist? That’s a mistake — send her up here or I’ll sue.” Satan laughs and answers, “Yeah, right. And just where are you going to get a lawyer?”It takes all types to deal with our environmental problems — and today I’d like to focus on the researchers who are toiling away in laboratories, trying to eke out greater efficiencies from technologies that most of us never give any thought to. Here are some recent highlights that I have dug up. Hydropower that’s safer for fishThe Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has received $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to field-test a new hydroelectric turbine developed by research engineers at Alden Research Laboratory. The turbine is designed to maximize the use of hydroelectric resources without further jeopardizing migrating fish populations.Preliminary testing indicates that the Alden turbine can maintain high efficiencies while allowing fish migrating downstream to pass with a 98% survival rate; upstream migration issues must be addressed separately with other mechanisms, such as fish ladders.Instead of the six or more blades common in older turbine designs, the Alden turbine has only three blades, reducing the chance that fish will be struck by a blade. The blades also have a semi-round edge, which pushes enough water in front of the spinning blades to move the fish out of their path.If the Alden turbine proves successful in field tests, it could open the door to maximizing the use of hydropower resources currently being lost to dam spillover and through-fish bypasses meant to protect migrating fish populations. Researchers estimate domestic hydropower capacity lost to fish protection measures to be as much as 25,000 megawatts.Have you seen some cool research items? Let me know!Thanks to my colleague Evan Dick for his work in compiling some of this information.Tristan Roberts is Editorial Director at BuildingGreen, Inc., in Brattleboro, Vermont, which publishes information on green building solutions.last_img read more

Cheating DeathWatch: ARM Holdings Holds Out

first_imgThe ReadWrite DeathWatch is known for serving up plenty of doom, gloom and grumpiness. But for the Holiday Season, we’re taking a slightly different tack – highlighting companies and technologies that Cheated Death. Companies that might have died, but didn’t.At the plate this week is ARM Holdings, a company that was never going to go out of business, but very well might have settled for a comfortable position in a single market. Instead, it built on the low-power processing that gave it dominion over all things mobile, and now it’s poised to attack Intel on the chip giant’s own turf. Tags:#ARM#Deathwatch#IBM#Intel#microprocessors#microsoft surface Where ARM Is NowARM technology powers more than 90% of cell phones and 80% of digital cameras. It has a less-dominant but still substantial position in embedded devices, such as toasters, TVs, pacemakers and everything else in the Internet Of Things.And then there are the tablets. The iPad uses an ARM chip. So do the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the Kindle Fire and the Google Nexus. Even Microsoft hedged its bets with the Surface RT, the lower-cost, lower-power sibling to the Intel-based Surface Pro. Theres a war going on, and ARM is selling everyone guns. If a device doesn’t have a keyboard, there’s probably an ARM design inside.New PlatformsIt’s good to be king, but where do you go once you’ve cornered a market? You find another market. Instead of resting on its laurels and waiting for its lead to erode, ARM has spent the last year recruiting allies that bring the fight to Intel’s doorstep. While the Surface RT got less-than-glowing reviews, Microsoft’s tentative support could eventually lead to more head-to-head competition for Windows devices.There’s also been talk of a shift toward ARM-based Macs, though you shouldn’t hold your breath. Consumer Macs and Windows PCs are both on the long-term horizon, particularly in the ultraportable market, but power-gulping Intel chips still outperform ARM by a wide margin, and performance is still important for many computing applications. Surprisingly, then, the far more likely near-term expansion for ARM is in the datacenter. March Of The WimpsAccording to a Gartner report, energy accounts for 12% of all datacenter expenditures, and that percentage is growing. Huge arrays of low-power, cooler-running chips are a natural fit, and ARM’s minions are rushing to own the microserver market. Samsung has licensed ARM’s 64-bit server chip designs for a 2014 release, and struggling AMD is pinning much of its recovery hopes to ARM-based Opteron chips the same year. Can ARM Stay On Top?Intel sees the opportunity in mobile and embedded devices, and it haven’t conceded anything. It continues to push its low-voltage Atom processors toward those markets, and its 14nm Airmont chip (also scheduled for a 2014 launch) could be very competitive. Intel also claims to be focused on the microserver market, though that may be causing some internal conflict.One way or another, ARM will likely lose at least some of its mobile and tablet market share to Intel. The question is where. An Apple move on the iPad or iPhone would be surprising, as would a Samsung defection on anything running Android. Intel’s immediate fortunes in the space are probably tied to Microsoft, as always.Meanwhile, any losses ARM suffers to Intel in its core markets should be more than offset by the overall rising tide and ARM’s potential to attack Intel’s core strengths.To see more ReadWrite DeathWatches, check out the ReadWrite DeathWatch Series, which collects them all, the most recent first. Where ARM WasFrom its founding in 1990, Advanced RISC Machines (later changed to ARM Holdings) was a different kind of processor company. Unlike fellow chip designers IBM and Intel, ARM didn’t actually manufacture or sell the chips it created. Instead, like (pre-Nexus) Google and (pre-Surface, pre-XBox) Microsoft, ARM licensed its designs and its relationships with foundries to semiconductor companies. It even IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now cormac foster Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of… Related Posts last_img read more