first_img“I thought the \ gubernatorial debate was just an embarrassment,” Levine said. “We have a democracy that depends on citizens making informed decisions. If we’re not having full debates, citizens aren’t able to make informed decisions.” Levine insists his bill isn’t intended to give either party an advantage, saying that since the seat will be open, nobody knows who the nominees will be in 2010. He hopes his bill will be picked up in the spirit of reform as legislators consider bills on redistricting, term limits and campaign finance. Three debates open up the possibilities, experts say, for more insight into the character, personality and philosophies of the candidates. “It’s important because it’s one of the few opportunities where voters can decide for themselves,” said Barbara O’Connor, director of Sacramento State’s Institute for the Study of Politics and the Media. “They can watch someone answer questions without a script in front of them. They can frame how they feel about someone non-verbally. They view debates as more truthful because they know people can’t mask discomfort in a live setting.” Ned Wigglesworth, policy advocate for California Common Cause, said moving to three debates would send a clear message that the gubernatorial race is critical and that the issues are not so easily condensed into 30-second sound bites. “It would mean greater reflection among voters, greater investment in the elections,” he said. “A lot of voters want easy, clear choices, information in easily digestible forms. A lot of people would rather have information spoon-fed to them rather than take the time to do the research on candidates. Having three debates during the week at night makes it easier for them to take part.” Voters apparently want debates, even if dismal ratings might suggest otherwise. Typically, according to surveys since 1998 by the Public Policy Institute of California, nearly three-fourths of voters say debates are somewhat or very important in deciding their vote. But others see debates as a relic of a previous age, especially in this day of the ubiquitous remote control in the hands of an audience with an increasingly shortened attention span. By their nature, debates create a distance with viewers now accustomed to interactive media, said San Francisco State professor Melissa Camacho, an expert on mass media and culture. Candidates come off as well-coiffed, stage-managed, overly prepared mannequins, throwing out practiced one-liners that only appear rehearsed and manipulative, she said; they hew to stale talking points and policy positions that make little sense to the real lives of people. “We’re a public that demands more connection with our political leaders,” Camacho said. “Debates don’t do that, not in the way they’re structured. There have been efforts to make them more palatable, like the town-hall forums that Bill Clinton started, but they really haven’t been successful. The problem is that the only way you can get a lot of viewers’ interest in politics is through entertainment.” Stan Statham, who is president and CEO of the California Broadcasters Association, also isn’t sure voters would tune in to more debates. He also acknowledges that it would cost stations millions in advertising dollars to air more debates. Still, Statham is ready to support Levine’s legislation. “Anything that would inspire and/or force candidates to participate in debates, we’d love it,” said Statham, a former Republican legislator who moderated the 2006 debate. “The only problem is that by the second and third debates, people are watching the fifth reruns of `M*A*S*H*.’ They’ve made up their minds.” [email protected] (916) 441-2101 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Assemblyman Lloyd Levine has a plan to transform California’s apathetic masses into avid political consumers – or at least better informed ones. Levine, D-Van Nuys, is pushing a bill that would require not one, not two, but three general election debates between the two major candidates for governor. The bill, AB 970, which is scheduled for its first hearing later this month, would also create a debate commission that would tinker with various formats to generate greater interest. “It’s the marketplace of ideas,” said Levine, a third-term lawmaker who also has proposed banning less efficient light bulbs and mandating greater care of elephants, and is a co-author on a bill to allow assisted suicide. “Will it spur interest? I hope so. Some will see all three, but they’ll at least have more opportunities to see one. Those who do see all three will be more informed to make a decision.” But whether that comes to pass is subject to its own debate. Levine is bucking California’s history of limited debates, not to mention television viewers who are more inclined to watch sitcom reruns, a general hostility toward politicians, and everyday distractions. “Everyone’s busy. They’re all multi-tasking,” said Arthur Asa Berger, an author on numerous books on the media and culture. “There are so many distractions and news is so bad, people are tuned out. People find ways to keep their lives busy, so I don’t know if more debates will make that much difference.” Debates will continue to be useless, Levine said, if incumbent governors are able to dictate the terms, largely to insulate themselves from exposure that could hurt them in the polls. Since the 1970s, no incumbents have agreed to more than two debates, and no incumbents have been unseated in that time. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger continued the tradition last year, even refining the art of limiting his exposure by holding the sole debate on a Saturday night – typically the lowest night for viewership – up against playoff baseball and college football games. His campaign advisers also carefully set the rules, requiring both candidates to sit at a table with the interviewer, giving more the impression of a friendly conversation than a back-and-forth debate. His Democratic challenger, Phil Angelides, complained to no avail that it signaled to voters that it wasn’t a serious confrontation. last_img

first_imgAfter ending a one-year stay with Inter Milan in 2012, Forlan has played for five clubs, including Mumbai City in the Indian Super League last year.But Forlan, who has now played for clubs in eight different countries, said he is enjoying a new lease of life with Kitchee, where he is regularly finding the net.“It’s great. Great relationship, good guys from different countries, so I’m really enjoying my time here,” Forlan said in an interview with AFP.Diego Forlan trains with Hong Kong and says he still loves playing at the age of 38 © AFP / ANTHONY WALLACE“I really enjoy (it), it’s beautiful. It’s been my work for almost 20 years and it’s been great. I don’t feel (it is) like working, it’s something that I enjoy playing, something that I’m privileged (to do), so that’s why I’ll keep going and keep playing.”Forlan isn’t the only footballer to enjoy a late-career flourish in Asia, whose increasingly wealthy leagues have attracted a steady stream of veteran players.This week he will return to Japan, where he had an 18-month spell with Cerezo Osaka in 2014-15, as Kitchee face Kashiwa Reysol looking for their first win in the AFC Champions league.– Trophy treble –After losing 3-0 at Tianjin Quanjian in China and 6-0 at home to South Korea’s Jeonbuk Motors in Group E, Forlan said the debutants “need to improve a lot”.“We know it’s a difficult competition, so we hope we can do much better than the way we’ve done it in the first two games,” he said.“For the next game it’s going to be difficult,” added Forlan, ahead of Tuesday’s match in Kashiwa, about 50 kilometres from Tokyo. “Every game is difficult for us, we know they have really good teams.“Going back to Japan is going to be nice, I really enjoyed my time there with family.”Forlan twice topped the La Liga scoring charts in Spain, with Villareal way back in 2004-05 and Atletico Madrid in 2008-09.He acknowledged that becoming the first Hong Kong club to reach the knockout stages of Asia’s premier club competition is going to take a remarkable turnaround.But Forlan has his sights set on a domestic treble with the reigning Hong Kong champions, who are 11 points clear of Pegasus in the current domestic standings.“We hope we can win the league. We have a big lead over the second and third team,” he said.Diego Forlan trains with Kitchee in Hong Kong © AFP / ANTHONY WALLACE“And then to see (if we can win) the FA Cup and also the Sapling (League) Cup, that will be awesome for us.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Diego Forlan takes a breather during training with Kitchee in Hong Kong © AFP / ANTHONY WALLACEHONG KONG, China, Mar 5 – Former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan said he hasn’t lost his passion for football and has no plans to retire as he embraces his latest challenge: firing Hong Kong’s Kitchee in the Asian Champions League.Uruguay’s Forlan, now 38, has shone on the sport’s biggest stages with Manchester United and Atletico Madrid, and also when he won the golden ball at the 2010 World Cup.last_img read more

first_imgIt all started with a trip to Europe to visit his brother a year and a half ago. From then on, Gus Johnson’s desire to play football overseas after his career at Humboldt State came to an end was something he always thought could be a possibility.It’s now become a reality.Johnson, who was the Jacks’ starting right guard this past season, has signed a contract to play in Spain for Murcia Cobras Club de Football Americano, a team that is located in the southeastern part of the country and a …last_img read more

first_img11 January 2006The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank, has awarded a US$3-million (about R18-million) grant to South African company IST Holdings and US partner Plug Power to install 400 fuel cells in remote locations and cities of South Africa over the next three years.The fuel cells will provide a reliable source of electricity and will replace polluting technologies such as diesel generators. Fuel cells use an electrochemical reaction, rather than combustion, to produce electricity.Announcing the project on 15 December, New York-based Plug Power said in a statement that the company would produce the five-kilowatt fuel cell systems which IST, based in Pretoria, would import, distribute, install and maintain.According to Plug Power the project, worth a total of $14-million (about R85-million), will represent the largest number of commercial fuel cells to be installed in a developing country to date.“When completed, the fuel cell installations will have the capacity to generate about two megawatts – equivalent to the electricity needed to power 1 300 households,” the company said. The electricity is targeted initially for use in backup and prime power applications in telecommunications and other industries across South Africa.The cells installed using this grant “will provide a reliable source of electricity for industrial and information technology applications and for telecommunications systems, including wireless infrastructure,” Plug Power said.“They will help displace highly polluting and noisy diesel generators, providing electricity more efficiently, emitting very little greenhouse gas emission, and operating virtually noise-free.”The International Finance Corporation (IFC) grant is the first under a $54-million programme, funded by the Global Environmental Facility, that aims to bring clean, reliable electrical power to places in developing countries where grid power is unavailable or unreliable. Its long-term objective is to catalyze the creation of sustainable markets for fuel cells in developing countries.Rachel Kyte, the IFC’s director for environment and social development, said the project would not only provide a clean energy source in South Africa, but would also provide reliable electricity to remote areas of the country.Plug Power chief marketing officer Mark Sperry said the initiative would have a positive impact on businesses and customers in South Africa’s telecoms and utility markets who are often affected by power outages.SouthAfrica.info reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

first_imgDownload the FREE Unstitched 360 Video FootageHow This 360° Stitching Method WorksAs mentioned earlier, this method is ideal for any 360° camera that has two fish-eye lenses and allows you to access the unstitched footage from the camera. (Some cameras will save each view as their own file. Others, like the Samsung Gear 360, will save both views into one file. Either way is fine.)The first step is to separate each fish-eye view into their own composition. We’ll then add both views into a new “output” composition that has a 2:1 aspect ratio. A 2:1 aspect ratio is ideal for the stitched equirectangular 360° footage. (Resolution size of your output composition will depend on the original size of your footage, but the aspect ratio should be 2:1.)Next, we will use the Immersive Video effect VR Converter on each of our fish-eye views, changing their output to equirectangular. (This will convert each view so that it covers up 180° of the equirectangular composition.) From there we can add masks and adjust the VR Converter FOV (field of view) to blend/stitch both views together. You can continue to make refinements using the VR Comp Editor, which can be used to remove seamlines. In this easy-to-follow video tutorial, we take a look at how to manually stitch dual-lens 360° footage in Adobe After Effects.If you own a consumer-level 360° camera (which usually have two fish-eye lenses), you may have realized your options for manually stitching the footage are quite limited. Most consumer 360° cameras include some form of basic stitching software that will automatically stitch your footage. However, the results are often less than desirable and almost always have noticeable seamlines. (And in some cases, the stand-alone software can actually degrade your 360° footage even more.)In this tutorial, we’ll look at how we can manually stitch dual-lens 360° footage entirely in Adobe After Effects with the new Immersive Video tools. This can benefit people who don’t own an expensive stitching program but do have After Effects. With this method, users can now stitch their own footage, which often yields much better results than the basic stitching software that comes with consumer-level 360° cameras.Ready? Let’s dive into the tutorial. (Make sure you download the free unstitched 360° footage clips to follow along!) Looking for more After Effects tutorials? Check these out.Video Tutorial: How to Loop an Animation in Adobe After EffectsHow to Export Illustrator Icons to Use in After Effects and Premiere ProNew 360 Video effects in After Effects and Premiere Pro CC 2018Precision Editing with Adobe Premiere Pro’s Trim ModeMake Dynamic Montages with This Easy Video Editing Techniquecenter_img Keys to Remember During StitchingTurn on GPU Acceleration in the After Effects Project Settings, which is required for the Immersive Video effects.Each shot composition needs to be 1:1 aspect ratio. (Each shot composition will be perfectly square.)The output composition needs to be 2:1 aspect ratio, which is ideal for the equirectangular 360° format.Adjust the FOV of VR Converter to make both shot compositions overlap. Feather one of them with a mask so they will blend together.Use the VR Comp Editor after you have stitched your footage to paint out seamlines.Render your equirectangular 360° output from After Effects. After that, you can compress that file to H.264 format in Adobe Media Encoder. (Make sure you check “Video is VR” before exporting from Adobe Media Encoder.)last_img read more

first_imgKolkata: An under-construction shed collapsed at Shalimar railway station in Howrah district on Monday, injuring a few workers, a spokesperson of the South Eastern Railway (SER) said here. The construction work was being carried out by IRCON, a turnkey government-undertaking, the official said. The injured have been hospitalised, he said, adding that the incident occurred outside the passenger area. Further details are awaited.last_img