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From Dust to St. Patrick in 5 Billion Years Flat

first_imgBiblical creationists and evolutionists have one belief in common: we came originally from dust.  How that dust became organized is the difference.  Both views teach that our bodies are comprised of the same atoms found in dust, but creationists say an intelligent designer purposefully molded the dust into a fully-formed man and woman, whereas evolutionists claim the dust organized itself over aeons of time (see cartoon).  Several recent evolutionary articles seem to endow dust with nearly magical properties of self-organization.    As if pulling a rabbit out of a dusty hat, Astrobiology Magazine announced, “Galactic Dust Bunnies Contain Stuff of Life.”  The basic idea is that carbon, oxygen and iron may form in stars at the centers of galaxies like ours and blow the dust into the outer regions.  The Spitzer Space Telescope detected silicates and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), rich in carbon and oxygen, near the center of the Milky Way.  “These elements are the building blocks of all planets, including our own Earth (as well as of human beings and any other life forms that may exist in the universe).”  The implication is that there is an evolutionary connection between PAH molecules (which are like the dust in your tailpipe) and you.    The preoccupation with life-potentiating dust was also seen in another article on Astrobiology Magazine.  It began, “NASA scientists analyzing the dust of meteorites have discovered new clues to a long-standing mystery about how life works on its most basic, molecular level.”  That mystery is homochirality: the fact that all proteins in life use left-handed amino acids.  Science Now echoed the finding by Goddard astrobiologists who noticed slight excesses of one hand over the other in meteorites collected in Antarctica.  “In one of the rocks, the imbalance was 18%, the largest ever reported for a meteorite.”  The discoverers theorized that the amino acids made contact with melting ice in the parent asteroids, and become more biased toward left handedness when polarized light in space impinged on the molecules.  “Whatever the reason,” the article said (indicating these theoretical notions are not certain), “life as we know it could just as easily have been given a nudge toward the right-handed side in a different environment.”  Jeffrey Bada of UC San Diego remained skeptical.  “It’s a lot to ask from a natural geochemical process, which, basically, we know nothing about.”  Another astrobiologist mentioned the possibility that bacterial contamination of the meteorite biased the ratios.    Problems or not, the two articles on Astrobiology Magazine were optimistic that the secret of life is inherent in dust: “The study shows that biological molecules created in space and delivered to Earth by meteorites” [i.e., space dust] “ may have had a profound effect on the development of life.”  And as to the origin of the dust from stars, the other article said, “The research is helping astrobiologists understand how elements necessary for life are formed and distributed through the Universe.”  A few billion years later, St. Patrick walks the heaths of Ireland, bringing good news to people walking in pagan darkness and fear.Now we can add the Dust Bunny to Tinker Bell, Popeye and Yoda in the cast of characters in the evolutionary play, King Charles and His Magic Kingdom.  The Dust Bunny from space contains within herself all the potentialities of eagles, frogs, giraffes, starfish and humans: NASA tells us that galactic dust bunnies contain the stuff of life.  So the cosmic Dust Bunny, sent on a beam of starlight, falls to a planet that had just emerged from the dust of the sun.  All she needs is the awakening zap from Tinker Bell’s mutation wand, and her inherent potential begins to unfold.  Over billions and billions of years, left-handed amino acids, “for whatever reason,” join hands and invent codes, morphing into trilobites and squid and jellyfish and worms.  Under King Charles’ just laws, stuff happens: fins swim, legs walk, and eyes pop into existence.  The living dust morphs into mice and cavemen and Popeye the Sailor Man.  Minds emerge from the dust, till at the pinnacle of this long process, Yoda the scientist looks back, calls St. Patrick a fool, and explains how it all really happened.    More primitive versions of this philosophy were called pantheism.  Darwin Party Productions, Inc., has animated the ancient play into a new epic – Pantoonism – now playing in science journals near you.  Abadabadababacadabra, that’s all, folks.(Visited 12 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

‘Africa’s greenest hotel’ opens its doors

first_img29 August 2013South African hospitality group Bon Hotels has opened what it says is the continent’s greenest hotel.The R170-million, 145-room Hotel Verde, situated 400 metres from Cape Town International Airport, was officially opened on Tuesday, with Bon Hotels saying it aimed to raise environmental awareness and help preserve the natural wetlands in the area around the airport.“The team at Hotel Verde have gone to the greatest extent yet seen on the continent – from locally sourced suppliers to sustainable practices on the building site to multiple ways in which they can generate their own electricity and reduce waste to almost zero,” Bon Hotels said in a statement.Hotel Verde was constructed with concrete slabs comprising recycled materials called cobiax void formers – polypropylene hollow spheres that saved over 1 000 tonnes of concrete.Geothermal pumps have been installed through 100 boreholes 65 metres underground, where a constant ground temperature of 19 degrees Celsius will be used to maintain ventilation and air-conditioning in the hotel.Hotel Verde’s bar will make use of the geothermal pumps to maintain the temperature in the wine cellar. It also includes a “living wall”, made up entirely of plants.‘Boosting efficiency, sustainability’Photovoltaic panels, three wind turbines and a grey water recycling plant are other measures that have been introduced to boost efficiency and reduce operational costs.Water from guest showers will be treated in the recycling system and then be used in all toilets in the building; the system is expected to reduce the hotel’s water consumption by about 37%.Public areas such as lifts, toilets and passages have been equipped with movement- sensor-controlled lighting.The hotel gym has also been made part of the greening solution. “Hotel Verde will be the first in South Africa to use power-generating equipment – these machines pump power back into the hotel as you work out and shows the amount of energy you are generating,” Bon Hotels said.Guests are also able to use the outdoor gym equipment or run along the 320 metre jogging trail set amid a fynbos garden and along the surrounding wetlands.“We had the opportunity to change the status quo here,” said Hotel Verde’s sustainability consultant, Andre Harms. “We looked at different ways of doing everything, right from the word go.”Hotel Verde has applied for green certification through the internationally recognised, United States green building certification system Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and is hoping to achieve this rating shortly, following its opening.Data will be collected for a further year before the hotel will apply for LEED Gold for existing buildings.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Are We Really Better Off With Building Codes?

first_imgBut aren’t we just building what buyers want?Joe Wilson recalls visiting a house well along in construction during an open house in his area. The builder was the head of the local building association for years. The house Wilson toured had five bedrooms and three and a half baths and would sell for $430,000 or more.“I spent some time going through and noting the 2×6, 16-in. on-center traditional (non-OVE) framing, the numerous unplugged gaps at penetrations, the builder grade vinyl windows, the lack of caulk or sealant or gaskets at plates and sills, a ripped piece of housewrap dangling from under the brick,” he writes. “Rolls of glass batt were in the garage, ready to go.”But three couples he saw at the open house were focused on the square footage, the size of the closets, and the granite, all of which brought a smile to the builder’s face.Later, the builder said no one had ever inquired about the possibility of building with a more modern approach.“He didn’t seem greedy, just like he saw his work as a business and that he wasn’t ‘custom,’” Wilson says. “He even offered me the names of three builders he said did custom work. ‘You’ll pay for it, but you’ll get what you want.’”He wonders whether builders and buyers can be taught to look at houses differently, but he doesn’t seem especially hopeful. After restoring historic buildings for more than three decades, Roy Harmon seems a little disillusioned, if not outright confused, with the current state of residential construction.Most of the buildings he’s worked on are more than a century old, built at a time when carpenters served apprenticeships but building codes did not exist. The only reason the buildings eventually fail is because of neglect, not inherently poor construction.In contrast, there are a “myriad” of building code requirements these days, but no training requirements to become a home improvement contractor or carpenter.“As a result, for the past 20+ years, thousands of plastic shacks called homes have been thrown together, by greed-driven developers that seem to dabble in the grey zone just below ‘minimum code requirements,’ ” Harmon writes in his Q&A post. “The untrained, inexperienced workers are all that this process seems to have afforded.”Harmon wonders whether we’re better served by skilled builders who really know what they’re doing, or a strict code enforced in an age of poorly trained labor and a focus on the bottom line. And in our haste to build green, are we sure that LEED standards and green materials will meet the test of time? RELATED ARTICLES Are Energy Codes Working?Code Green Blogs by Lynn UnderwoodReport from the ICC Code Hearings Free Digital 2009 International Energy Conservation CodeWrestling With the Bay State’s “Stretch” Code ProposalAverage Cost of Meeting 2009 IECC? Not MuchGearing Up for California’s New Green Building CodeEnergy Code Gets Slightly More Stringent Q&A Spotlight: Home Appraisal Woes Building codes are not the issueCodes are the result of the problem, not its cause, says Tony Olaivar. If it weren’t for building codes, shacks would still be common. Moreover, he adds, “I’d be willing to suggest that the shacks contemporary to your historic homes did not stand the test of time.”Codes, he adds, are actually improving over time: “Every time a house burns or collapses or an insurance claim is filed, there are statistics gathered. There’s plenty of science that goes into all of it. Don’t get discouraged.”“All current codes exist because of prior failures and catastrophes (both natural and man-made),” writes Andy Ault. “Codes don’t cause the substandard results, they exist because of them. And with the adoption of new requirements into some of the upcoming 2012 codes (such as air leak testing in the IECC) they are finally moving past simple life safety and actually getting into VERIFIED building performance.”GBA Senior Editor Martin Holladay makes another point: although it’s easy to take a rosy view of old-time carpentry practices, the longevity of buildings was not always assured. While he’s seen lots of solid historic homes where he lives in Vermont, the opposite also is true. “I’ve also see older homes with failing foundations that lean or bulge and older homes with rotten sills and sagging ridges and undersized rafters that look like a sway-backed old mare,” Holladay writes. “Plenty of builders in the old days didn’t use a span table and cut corners by framing their homes to what they considered were the minimum requirements — and they guessed wrong.”While imperfect, building codes are intended to eliminate those kinds of problems.“With rare exception I can’t think of many aspects of building codes that don’t add to the safety or performance of houses, although enforcement is sometimes limited because of budgets of the municipalities,” Allan Edwards says. Does the appraisal process contribute to the problem?Steve El thinks so. Because we’re a mobile society, families have to keep resale in mind, and lending is based on the appraised value of a home.“This is where a big problem creeps in, in my opinion, and that is the manner in which values are placed on homes is broken,” El says. “Take two next door houses on identical lots, where the houses have the same basic floor plan. One home is built to code minimum and the other is superbly built to a much higher standard.“For mortgage appraisal purposes, the two homes will appraise almost the same. There will be just enough ‘extra’ tagged on to the superbly built home’s appraised value to make the mortgage appraisal process look — repeat LOOK — legitimate. But in my opinion, the process has nothing to do with value.”Were buyers better educated to demand value and fix the appraisal process, then builders would be forced to follow suit or be out of a job, he says.Actually, says Riversong, the appraisal business isn’t broken. Appraisals “very accurately” reflect market value because they’re based on comparable sales in the same area.“If we want to have the intrinsic qualities of a thing valued then we need to be willing to acknowledge that kind of value in the marketplace,” he says. “Everything in our culture is superficial, shallow, short-term and narrowly-focused. It is our society which is broken. Until we fix that, we cannot expect our valuation formulas to be based on anything other than what we are willing to pay for.” Corporate model discourages quality outcomeOld World apprenticeships and craft guilds have been left behind, writes Robert Riversong, as the building industry adopted a standard corporate model for success.“We quickly became an industrial society with adversarial labor unions to attempt to win a few concessions from the bosses,” he says. “The corporate model of business, with profit as the guiding principle, became the standard for all enterprise — and the easiest way to maximize profit is through mass production and minimizing costs, including both materials and labor.“Both government regulation and building codes were the reaction to the problem, not the problem itself.”As Tony Olaivar put it, “all jobs have gone the way of McDonald’s,” with scant training for employees because that made it easier to fire them “at the drop of a hat.”Riversong sees workers in this system are “just another economic input which can as easily be undercut or outsourced as any resource input.”To add to these troubles, labor has become so specialized that building projects now require overseers to draw all the players together. Even then, there aren’t many “Master Builders” around who can see a project through from design to finish details.“When we return to understanding house building as a trade or craft and not a business, we might rediscover some of the pride in workmanship that was once the hallmark of well-crafted and durable architectural design and fabrication,” Riversong says. “And we will need to find ‘profit’ in our sense of satisfaction of a job well done rather than in adding cost that makes such a basic human need as shelter unaffordable for the masses.”There are efforts underway to train young workers, says Andy Ault, including Skills USA and Construction Challenge .“It’s no small task to try to convince tech savvy kids that it’s desirable (and maybe even ‘cool’) to be a contractor these days,” Ault writes. “So we all have to do our part to support and volunteer for these groups and put our time and effort where our complaints are. “ That’s the subject of this week’s Q&A Spotlight. Our expert’s opinionHere’s what GBA Technical Director Peter Yost has to say:I think there are really three separate but related issues in this discussion: codes, performance-based value, and education.First, a quote from an Environmental Building News feature article entitled “Sustainability and Building Codes” (EBN Vol. 10, No. 9), which I co-authored with David Eisenberg of the Development Center for Appropriate Technology (David is the director of DCAT, the leading organization for green building codes in the U.S.):“Building codes have long been used by societies to protect individual and general welfare, and to hold practitioners accountable for their work. As long ago as 1750 B.C., Hammurabi, the Babylonian king of Mesopotamia, created his famous Code of Laws covering a wide range of public and private matters. Number 229 of this Code states: “If a builder build a house for someone, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built fall in and kill its owner, then that builder shall be put to death.” This type of “performance” code must certainly have had an impact on quality of construction, but it very likely stifled innovation!”We need and benefit from the codes because they, by-and-large, make for safer and better buildings. But I think codes must be performance-based (including third party performance verification) or we get silly prescriptions, such as “warm-in-winter” vapor retarder locations or “seal all holes” for air tightness.And we not only need performance in the codes, we need it in all aspects of the building industry; from design to construction to appraisal to sales. The single most significant purchase almost all of us make in our lives is a home, and yet most of us do NOT approach the purchase as a performance-based value proposition. That is just crazy, because we do performance-based purchasing for other large, long-lived products such as cars, and computers, and appliances, why not homes?And the need for education of how buildings really work is just as pervasive. We are asking more of our homes, but not asking more of all those who touch them—architects, builders, code officials, realtors, and homeowners. Every sector needs building science education about how buildings work; the codes can’t and were never meant do it on their own.last_img read more

New Owners Looking to Sell Former RBI Construction Group Titles

first_imgShortly after Reed Business Information announced in April that that it was shuttering 23 magazine brands, former group publishers Tony Mancini and Rick Blesi formed a company called MB Media and in May acquired the 13 brands published within RBI’s Construction Media Group. Now, a little over a month later, MB Media is actively looking for a buyer for the group, FOLIO: has learned.According to sources, Mancini and Blesi have “very aggressively” been searching either for a buyer or an angel investor and have already talked to several media companies. Cygnus Publishing president Mike Martin confirmed that Cygnus (whichpublishes several brands in the construction market) had been approached by MB Media and that the company agreed to take an initial look atthose properties. Those conversations, however, have so far been“informal,” Martin says.”They were probably more or less given these products with no working capital and no infrastructure, and now they’re finding they don’t have the resources to actually operate these products,” says one b-to-b publishing CEO who does not wish to be identified. A number of other trade publishers that have construction-related brands within their portfolios could also be potential suitors. When contacted byFOLIO:, representatives at Hanley Wood, McGraw-Hill Construction andtrucking/construction publisher Randall-Reilly all declined to comment.One source, who wishes to remain anonymous, says Mancini and Blesi are shopping the brands together as a unit and requested that final offers from interested parties be submitted by the first week in June. Another source says the men are asking to remain with the properties, even if they wind up under new management. Whether or not any offers were submitted was not immediately clear. Mancini, who serves as MB Media’s CEO, did not immediately return requests for comment. MB Media is made up of Building Design+Construction, Custom Builder, Construction Equipment, Housing Giants, Professional Builder, Professional Remodeler, Construction Bulletin, SpecCheck, BDCnetwork.com, LogInAndLearn.com, VisibleCity.com, ConstructionEquipment.com, and HousingZone.com.Not the First Turnaround SaleLast month, Dan Hogan, who acquired HOTELS and Foodservice Equipment and Supplies after they shut down, sold HOTELS to Chicago-based Marketing & Technology Group. Hogan, who had served as publisher of HOTELS under RBI, is said to have passed ownership of Foodservice Equipment and Supplies to a former colleague (a source says Hogan “purchased” the magazine on behalf of that colleague). Hogan at the time did not return an e-mail seeking comment.Seperately, newly-formed CFE Media LLC (which acquired Control Engineering, Consulting-Specifying Engineer and Plant Engineering after RBI shut them down) and Peerless Media (acquired Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, Supply Chain Management Review and Material Handling Product News) have established partnerships with RBI’s marketing data services arm Mardev-DM2 to manage their subscriber lists.last_img read more

NOW HIRING 10 New Job Openings In Wilmington

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — Below are some of the newest job openings in Wilmington:Full-Time Customer Service Representative at Security InnovationFull-Time Graphic & Technical Designer by PetRageous DesignsFull-TIme Special Hazards Technician at Hiller CompaniesFull-Time Fire Alarm Technician & Installer at Hiller CompaniesFull-Time Telecommunications Cable Technician at MTS Services Inc.Full-Time Human Resources Intern at Charles River LabsFull-Time Technician I at Charles River LabsFull-Time Delivery Driver at Optima ShippingPart-Time Spanish Teacher at Abundant LifeFull-Time & Part-Time Mover at Two Men And A Truck(NOTE: Wilmington businesses — Feel free to send me your job postings at wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedNOW HIRING: 10 New Job Openings In WilmingtonIn “Business”NOW HIRING: 50 New Job Openings In Wilmington (Week of August 18, 2019)In “Business”NOW HIRING: 10 New Job Openings In WilmingtonIn “Business”last_img read more

Facebook confesses to storing 600 million users passwords in plain text for

first_img Facebook Crashes And People Are Freaking Out (Representational Image)JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty ImagesAdding to the series of problems of security in Facebook, the social media platform on March 21, Thursday, admitted that millions of users’ passwords were stored in plain text for years and could have been read by anyone working in the company.The bug was unearthed during a security review in January and was reported by Brian Krebs, a cybersecurity writer. Facebook, in a blog post, explained the situation and said that they have fixed the bug. They also said that they will notify those whose passwords were stored in plain text. Around 600 million passwords were stored this way. This is almost one-fifth of the total 2.7 billion users on the social networking platform. “To be clear, these passwords were never visible to anyone outside of Facebook and we have found no evidence to date that anyone internally abused or improperly accessed them. We estimate that we will notify hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users, tens of millions of other Facebook users, and tens of thousands of Instagram users. Facebook Lite is a version of Facebook predominantly used by people in regions with lower connectivity,” Pedro Canahuati, VP Engineering, Security and Privacy, said in the blog on Wednesday.Canahuati added that while the passwords did not go public, over 2,000 engineers and developers had access to the data. He assured that Facebook would notify the Lite users, who were ones majorly at risk in the situation. Tens of thousands of Instagram users will also be notified. However, Facebook did not say how the bug managed to enter their system.Usually, passwords stored on the databases will not be stored in plain text and can’t be read. Facebook and other companies would salt and hash the passwords to scramble them. According to Techcrunch, this will help with the company to verify the password without knowing them. Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergReuters”In line with security best practices, Facebook masks people’s passwords when they create an account so that no one at the company can see them. In security terms, we “hash” and “salt” the passwords, including using a function called “scrypt” as well as a cryptographic key that lets us irreversibly replace your actual password with a random set of characters. With this technique, we can validate that a person is logging in with the correct password without actually having to store the password in plain text,” Canahuati said.Facebook listed the ways in which they have made various signals which will help detect any suspicious activity. Canahuati explained “For example, even if a password is entered correctly, we will treat it differently if we detect that it is being entered from an unrecognized device or from an unusual location. When we see a suspicious login attempt, we’ll ask an additional verification question to prove that the person is the real account owner.” Closecenter_img IBTimes VideoRelated VideosMore videos Play VideoPauseMute0:05/1:00Loaded: 0%0:05Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVE-0:55?Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedSubtitlessubtitles settings, opens subtitles settings dialogsubtitles off, selectedAudio Trackdefault, selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window. COPY LINKAD Loading …last_img read more

Mamatas police lathicharge Bengal BJP workers protesting in Kolkata streets

first_imgKolkata Police resorted to teargas shelling and used water cannons to disperse the mob.Twitter/ANIThe Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers were allegedly lathi-charged by the Kolkata Police during a massive protest march in the city. The cops resorted to teargas shelling and used water cannons to disperse the crowd as many gathered near the police headquarters.The BJP workers, who were protesting against the killings of their party workers in the state, clashed with the Kolkata Police. The incident happened as the workers tried to hold a protest march to Lalbazar near the police headquarters.Watch the video here:#WATCH: Kolkata police baton charge at BJP workers on Bepin Behari Ganguly Street. They were marching towards Lal Bazar protesting against TMC govt. #WestBengal pic.twitter.com/RxIGPSqBGd— ANI (@ANI) June 12, 2019Despite repeated appeals by the police to stop the protest, hundreds of party workers insisted on marching, triggering the clash. Here are a few visuals from the spot: To stop the protests from flaring up, cops erected barricades which were taken down by the BJP workers. A senior police officer told news agency IANS: “Barricades have been put up at all the important junctures across the nine possible entry points to Lalbazar.” “Personnel armed with water cannons and tear gas shells will be posted at various points,” the officer added.As Section 144 of CRPC was imposed near the Kolkata Police headquarters, around five Mahila Morcha workers of BJP were detained for violating the law. However, the protest was called off by the BJP leaders including Kailash Vijayvargiya, Locket Chatterjee and others.Post the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal, tensions between the BJP and the ruling Trinamool Congress have escalated as BJP managed to secure 18 out of the total 42 seats. The Trinamool Congress had to settle with 22 seats while the Congress party won two seats in the state.last_img read more

Liam Plunkett puts England back into ascendancy in World Cup final

first_imgTwitter/Cricket World CupJust when New Zealand started looking dangerously assured of posting a big first-innings score, their middle-overs specialist Liam Plunkett pulled them back by delivering two big blows. First, he dismissed the captain and best batsman in Kiwi side Kane Williamson who was looking in good form and striking the ball nicely. What worked for Plunkett against the Black Caps captain was a cross seam delivery that bounced a bit extra and got the outside edge of Williamson’s wicket as the latter tried to play a drive. Then, Plunkett added to the woes of New Zealand by picking up the wicket of well-set Henry Nicholls. He had just completed his fifty and was also looking on his way to a good score but a fullish delivery took the inside-edge and clipped the leg-stump. Williamson was out for 30 and Nicholls got 55. New Zealand now are 123/3 after 29 overs. The responsibility to take the Kiwis to a good score lies on the shoulders of Ross Taylor and Tom Latham. While the former has a lot of experience, the latter is also a very capable batsman.last_img read more

Poor infra major barrier to increasing exports

first_imgState minister for finance and planning MA Mannan (R) and president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Siddiqur Rahman take part in the roundtable, jointly organised by Prothom Alo and HSBC Bank, on Thursday at Prothom Alo`s Karwan Bazar office. Photo: Prothom AloBangladesh’s exports will suffer unless infrastructure deficiencies are addressed immediately, observed a Prothom Alo roundtable on Thursday.The discussants drew attention to poor conditions of roads, inadequate power supply affecting industries, and delay in shipment of exportables at the Chittagong port.They also blamed public organisations such as National Board of Revenue (NBR) for creating problems that hamper smooth operation of business.Bangla daily Prothom Alo, in collaboration with HSBC Bank, organised the roundtable on ‘Export potentials and catalyst forces’ at its Karwan Bazar office in Dhaka.“The country’s roads are really, really in a bad shape,” president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Siddiqur Rahman told the meeting.Dwelling on the constraints of exports, Leathergoods and Footwear Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association of Bangladesh (LFMEAB) president Md Saiful Islam said, “The more the lead time [time between initiation and execution of a business process] is, the more unfavourable is the condition for doing business.”He pointed out that Chittagong port authorities have four gantry cranes and of them, two remained non-functional now. “They don’t seem to have any contingency planning for serving the businesses,” he regretted.The business leader stressed the need for improving infrastructures for reaching the initial target of increasing export earning to 25 per cent from the sectors other than readymade garments (RMG) sector which accounts for 82 per cent of annual national exports.He also recommended raising capacity of Shahjalal International Airport’s cargo handling for helping the exporters.BGMEA’s Siddiqur Rahman partially blamed the traders themselves for the congestion at Chittagong port, saying that many of them do not want to take deliveries in time, especially during the Eid holidays and monsoon season.Referring to 6 per cent annual growth or $15 billion added to the economy, Viyellatex Group chairman KM Rezaul Hasanat questioned: “Do we have infrastructures to use that money to add value?”Former president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) Fazlul Haque cited the example of the government plan to import LNG (liquified natural gas) as altenative source of energy and said, “As an investor I don’t know what its price would be.”Sadat Jute Industries Ltd managing director Mahmudul Huq described state-run Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) as a cancer-ridden entity for its failure to run public sector jute mills profitably.He mentioned that the country exported 20,000 tonnes of jute yarn in 1980, when the public sector played the key role in jute exports. The export has now increased to 675,000 tonnes a year, thanks to private sector participation, he pointed out. “This happened without any government help,” he added.State minister for finance and planning MA Mannan assured the businessmen of looking into the issues raised.He, however, admitted that it is not easy to bring reforms, especially in organisations such as NBR that brings money for the government.Former chairman of Bangladesh Finished Leather and Leather Goods and Footwear Exporters Association (BFLLFEA) Abu Taher, IT firm Brain Station 23 chief executive officer Raisul Kabir, CPD’s Zafar Sadiq, HSBC Bangladesh chief executive officer Francois de Maricourt, and HSBC Bangladesh’s country head of global trend and receivable finance Md Shahiduzaman also addressed the roundtable moderated by Prothom Alo associate editor Abdul Quayum.last_img