I did a giggly ride Sunday morning on a sweet little full suspension ride thanks to a Pivot demo at Motion Makers.I got there early enough to snag the carbon fiber Mach 5.7. I hate to sell my Stumphumper, but greener singletrack awaits. Besides, there are no more bike hooks left in my garage.I had ridden this bike already out in Utah last summer and had been dreaming of this delight beneath my buttocks ever since. While it was really fun on steep, rooty, swoopy and dry with rocky drops, I just knew in my heart that it would glide through Pisgah, floating above rock gardens and landing with grace. Ok, so maybe I wasn’t all that floaty and graceful, but I saw my potential. As we know, there’s nothing more exciting than imagining potential.My favorite part was the preflight compression where the frame’s angles pulled me quickly back into the sweet spot. The problem was controlling it midair as I floundered with a bobcat, heaving it more like a pregnant deer. My old bike is great and floats pretty well herself, but she’s heavy in comparison, requiring extra maneuvering.Some folks may say that a light, full-suspension bike makes the ride easier. They say that from the seat of a rigid singlespeed, feeling smug about their skillz. I don’t doubt their ability at all, and enjoy watching the beautiful finesse. The thing is, it’s an entirely different experience. The full-suspension rig is a much faster and bouncier line, encouraging bigger drops. Controlling the bike at speed is definitely a skill to hone. Just look at the people who shuttle for the descent on a downhill bike a couple times a year. A lack of experience on a super squishy ride can result in disaster – both the rider’s as well as the other on-looking trail victims, whether they be people, animals, or trees. Check out the bite marks on the trees in the curves sometime and you’ll see what I mean.Speaking of downhill, Pivot also has the Firebird specific for this. It’s debatable whether it can be used as a cross-country bike since its lighter than most, but its definitely going to up the downhill lover’s ante. As for the technical climbs, sometimes rolling terrain and tight turns of the Pisgah, I think the Mach 5.7 really offers more variety.Whatever new bike I get, I’ve decided that my Industry Nine wheels will be what carry me. It was this last ride that I really noticed the difference on the steep climbs between the pedal and the action of the wheel. I was also grateful for the pedal pro action on the Mach 5.7, which allowed a stiffer climb with a simple flick of the switch.It’s these demo days where we get suckered into using the credit card. Although perhaps the inspiration of having a steep APR can encourage a quicker off-load of the old bike. Now, to choose a worthy price for my old friend…so sad.
continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Catching up on some recent credit union tech implementations utilizing outsourcing on a cloud, creating a better omnichannel experience and ATM messaging.The Monett, Mo.-based Jack Henry & Associates’ Symitar division announced more credit unions expanding outsourcing beyond the core, by having a number of Episys clients move their IT infrastructure to a fully outsourced environment via Gladiator Hosted Network Solutions.Almost half of the credit unions on Episys run the platform in an outsourced environment for broader hosted support to keep pace with technology, compliance and security requirements, and disaster avoidance standards. To date, more than 115 credit unions and banks have shifted to Hosted Network Solutions.The $710 million Martinez, Calif.-based 1st Northern California Credit Union, which following an NCUA exam, realized the need for a more modern data center. In just eight months, the credit union migrated Episys to Jack Henry’s outsourced environment and moved its data center to Hosted Network Solutions.
continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Innovative technologies can empower credit unions to transform their member experience; and five approaches in particular can help credit unions not only survive, but thrive.Create a consumer-centric data viewTo deliver more value, use data to more deeply understand the customer journey. A solid data foundation can position your organization to deliver personalized, omnichannel customer experiences.Assess your customer experiences Identify pain points in the customer journey and formulate a technology and data-driven strategy to create a relevant, fluid journey across all channels and touch points. For example, make it easier for members to start a loan application on mobile and complete it on desktop.
Ilmarinen, the €36.5bn Finnish pensions insurer, has decided it may now accelerate its ongoing strategic shift in its listed equities investments towards the US due to the political uncertainties unleashed in particular by the UK vote to exit the European Union (EU), Donald Trump’s surprise win in the US presidential election and the referendum in Italy.Italy’s prime minister Matteo Renzi resigned in early December after losing the popular vote on his proposed reform of the country’s constitution, in developments that are seen as further weakening the EU.Ilmarinen has been in the process of adjusting its listed equities portfolio – which makes up around 30% of the overall investment portfolio – to reduce its significant structural overweight to Europe for 5-6 years.The shift will mean increasing the allocation to US stocks to 20-30% from just under 20% now. Ilmarinen CIO Mikko Mursula told IPE: “We might now speed it up a little because there are more uncertainties in the political landscape, but we will stick with the original plan.”Asked whether Brexit, the Trump victory or the Italian referendum result had been the trigger for the decision to up the pace of the asset-allocation change, Mursula said they did not trigger it but were of course things that needed to be taken into account when making global asset-allocation decisions.“If you think about the year 2017, with elections coming up in Germany, France and Holland, nobody knows what will happen,” he said.“These events will have an influence on strategic investment thinking, and they certainly won’t make European political decision-making any easier.”Already, the timescale for Brexit is a major contributor to the general uncertainty, he said, with the timescale of the EU exit quite unknown, and the series of national elections next year making it even harder for decisions to be made about this process.At the moment, the listed equities portfolio is invested around 50% to Europe and just under 20% to the US, with Finnish equities – included in the European allocation – having a 30% weighting.The remainder is invested elsewhere in the world.Mursula said the portfolio, therefore, had a significant structural overweight to Europe, which has a weighting of around 23-25% in the MSCI World Index, and underweight to US stocks, which have a 57-58% weighting in the benchmark.While some degree of home bias can be seen in the portfolios of most European investors, he said Ilmarinen was keen to redress some of the underweight it carries to US stocks.“But all of this is subject to finding investment opportunities that are interesting enough from the valuation point of view in the US, so we are not forced to do anything,” Mursula said.He pointed out that the valuation gap between the US and European stock markets had been widening in the last year or so, and one reason for this was the growing political uncertainty in Europe.“So we have already seen it having an influence here,” he said.The shift towards US stocks will be higher in absolute terms than it appears to be in percentage terms because Ilmarinen is also intending to decrease its allocation to fixed-income investments due to the low-yielding environment, with the money going instead into real assets and listed equities.Geographical diversification is also a theme in Ilmarinen’s real estate investment, and Mursula said that, as the pensions provider increased its allocation to property, it would focus more heavily on buying assets abroad than in Finland.In five years’ time or more, the proportion of the real estate portfolio invested outside Finland is expected to rise to 30% from 20% now, he said.“I would say, going forward, we will actively seek real estate opportunities in both Europe and the US, but as real estate is such an illiquid asset class, it doesn’t make sense to speed this change up,” he said.“But, of course, the political uncertainty has an influence here as well, and we are probably looking a little more closely at real estate opportunities in the US than we were one or two years ago.”
Share 796 Views one comment Share BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Feb 11 2016 (Barbados TODAY) – A concern that Barbadians are eating too many unhealthy foods is fuelling calls for them to pay for their overindulgence.During last night’s town hall meeting on the financing of health care, Director of the Chronic Disease Research Centre at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Dr Alafia Samuels was among those arguing strongly that Government should “tax the fat”.Many participants also expressed the view that the combination of an aging population and rising obesity placed an added strain on the public health care system.However, while getting old was unavoidable, the general sentiment was that non-communicable diseases were the result of unhealthy habits and therefore should be taxed.“We need to put on a fat tax,” Samuels told the meeting, while warning that “all of this deep fat fried food that we are eating is leading to heart attacks and strokes.“So if you eating it now, put down a little money to pay for the heart attack down the road,” she said.Samuels also painted the scenario of a portly man, who had reportedly suffered a “sudden” heart attack.However, “somebody said it wasn’t sudden, he worked on it for years,” she said, arguing that self-indulgence over the years was a build up to the medical emergency.“So while he is working on his heart attack, we need some of his money to put down to supplement your national health insurance scheme, so we can have more cash to pay the bills, because the bills are going to be significant,” Dr Samuels told the gathering.Last night’s meeting at Queen’s College was organized by the Ministry of Health.Samuels, who was a panellist, also expressed support for the creation of a Government-run health insurance scheme, while saying that the proposed tax on fat would not only help to create an environment that promotes healthy living but take money from those who were deemed to be “high risk” to add to the financing pool from which payments are made.She also complimented the Freundel Stuart administration for its introduction last year of a ten per cent tax on sweet drinks, although she was of the opinion that the beverage levy should be higher.“However, as we increase the tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, we need to drop the tax on coconut water,” she suggested, adding, “I don’t know if we tax coconut water, but we need to find a way to subsidize it so that coconut water can become cheaper and the sugar-sweetened beverages can become more expensive.”In terms of the health insurance proposal, which would be funded by contributions from all workers, the Senior Lecturer in Public Health and Epidemiology argued that everyone would benefit, since “sickness is not something that you can predict. . . [and] you don’t know at what age you are going to get the sickness and you don’t know how much it is going to cost.“So you may feel that at age 20 you are just contributing in order to subsidize the 65-year-olds [but] you are also contributing in case you get something bad,” she said.In support of her comments, one audience member said: “We’ve been trying to be politically correct and we only putting the fat tax on the sweet drinks. Put the fat tax on the people.“It is not a case of rich versus poor, it is irresponsible versus responsible,” he said.His advice to Government was: “Start talking about cost reduction, rather than acquiring more money,”. The vocal participant also called for more measures to encourage behavioural change among Barbadians, which he said would lift the current burden on the state-run health system.“If you shift the paradigm from cost reduction, you’ll find it is much easier to do that,” he added.Chairman of the Diabetes Foundation Dr Oscar Jordan also stressed the need for a lifestyle change.“We have to start with children, we have to promote healthy lifestyles . . . 30 per cent of the school children are overweight,” he told the gathering.“And we need to introduce systems in the school where we ensure that adequate exercise and attention to proper meal-taking are instituted,” he added.One audience member complained that too many Barbadians drive to work and sit in their offices all day.“At some point in time we need to encourage our population to ride a little bit more, simple things like cycling to work . . . There are some of us who live very close to work who need to put down the car and cycle to work,” he argued, adding that adults should also be “encouraging our school children to ride to school”.He recommended a “United Kingdom programme” of giving financial incentives to doctors who were successful in getting their patients to lose weight.However, he complained that there was a lot of “hypocrisy” in the system since “we speak about weight loss and healthy lifestyles, but some of the people who talk about weight loss and healthy lifestyles need to engage [and lead by example]”.The meeting, chaired by Danny Gill, was the second of three town halls planned to get public opinion on an appropriate financing scheme to meet Barbados’ ballooning health care costs of $732 million annually.“How are we talking about financing health care through universal healthcare reform, when I have not seen any document which indicates that there has been a thorough review of the practices of the Ministry of Health?” asked Alan Corbin, who further questioned, “Where is there any figure that clearly outlines where the money is spent and what return we’ve got from it? Where is the analysis?”In response, Gill, who is the Director of Planning in the Ministry of Health indicated that there was such a document. However, only members of the head table had copies, but Gill said members of the public could obtain copies upon request.There nonetheless appeared to be general agreement that costs were escalating, and the option of a pooled health insurance system that takes minimal contribution from all workers on the island seemed to be accepted as a reasonable idea.But, this apparent acceptance of pooling also triggered discussion on penalties on those whose lifestyle habits encourage obesity, leading to avoidable illnesses that pressure the health care system. Tweet Share Sharing is caring! HealthLifestyleNewsRegional Barbados gov’t urged to tax fat people by: (Barbados TODAY) – February 11, 2016
TOPEKA, Kan. (May 7) – Heartland Park Topeka saw its first repeat winner of the season on Sunday night and the feat was accomplished by the winningest driver in the IMCA Hobby Stock division.Shannon Anderson is a six-time national champion and is closing in on 300 career wins in the class. He has made the long haul from Des Moines to Topeka for both races this season. He is quickly becoming a fan favorite and he is making it worth his while to attend each and every Sunday night.Anderson started off eighth in the main event and it took just a few laps to get up alongside leader Alex Boyden. Anderson capitalized when Boyden began having mechanical issues and took away the top spot.Tyler Hinrichs gave chase but Anderson, in just a short time, has become a master of Heartland Park Topeka’s Dirt Track. He sped off from the competition and picked up his second win of the season in as many races.Steven Bowers Jr. was the IMCA Modified winner and Casey Woken collected the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car checkers. Brian Davidson topped the Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMod 15-lapper.
City’s hopes of retaining their Barclays Premier League title may appear slim but Aguero and his team-mates produced the perfect response to their damaging – and dismal – surrender at Southampton just over a week ago by brushing aside npower Championship outfit Leeds 4-0 in the FA Cup. The Argentinian struck twice and attention now switches back to the league with City trailing rivals Manchester United by 12 points, with 12 games remaining, ahead of Sunday’s clash against third-placed Chelsea. Aguero told City TV: “This helped us to do things well and give us confidence for the Chelsea game.” Press Association Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero feels confidence has been restored at the Etihad Stadium and the champions can finish the season strongly. He added: “It will be a good match, difficult, but obviously we need to go out and win. I think against Southampton none of us played well and it was a bad day for us all – an error which we hope not to repeat. “We will try not to lose any more points in the league so we can keep all three points. I think we’ve played well and reached the next round. We need to continue like this.” City outclassed a Leeds side who continue to labour in pursuit of a play-off place in their own division. The result did not seem in doubt after Yaya Toure combined with David Silva and Carlos Tevez before opening the scoring after just five minutes. Aguero quickly added the second from the penalty spot after he was deemed to have been pulled back by Tom Lees and created the third for Tevez early in the second half. Aguero wrapped up the win when he clipped a well-weighted ball from Silva beyond Jamie Ashdown and in off the post 16 minutes from time. Manager Roberto Mancini, who made clear he was not fearing for his position prior to a game billed as vital for his future, intends to carry on fighting on both fronts. He said: “I had a negative energy after Southampton but I am happy after this game. I wanted a response after Southampton and we played well. Now it is important we continue. “We are a top team. If we lose an important game we should continue to work hard. In football it is never finished.”
UEFA president Michel Platini confirmed on Monday that the FFP rules would be eased – and it is understood that the changes will allow more money to be invested into clubs by wealthy owners. Wenger believes UEFA’s restrictions have not really worked. The Arsenal boss said: “I got the noises internally, as you get in your own job. I could see it coming: resistance in France, many countries, in Italy for example, where people want to sell their clubs. “If Milan is for sale, Roma is for sale, people who want to invest money want to make sure they can do what they want with their own money. “And UEFA might be under threat as well, all these people once they go together and say ‘look, we are a force, let us do what we want or we move away’. That is certainly the fear.” Wenger suggested there had been some improvements from the introduction of FFP criteria. “If you look well at the wages, despite the improvement of the money available in England, you can see that the increase in wages was only six per cent in the last two or three years, so the positive effect started to come in,” he said. “We have to see what happens now, what will be respected in the Financial Fair Play and what will go out of the window, I don’t know.” UEFA’s executive committee is expected to ratify changes to the FFP rules at a meeting in Prague on June 29/30. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger accepts he may have lost his battle for Financial Fair Play across Europe, but maintains the fight for a level playing field will always remain a worthwhile cause. While he insisted the proposed changes will not affect the Gunners, who rely on the income generated from their 60,000-capacity Emirates Stadium rather than an individual investor, the French coach will always champion the need for clubs to balance the books and not risk financial meltdown in search of a quick fix. “I have no problem to lose the battle. I just did fight for what looks to me to be logical: that any business, to have a continuity, should live with the resources that it creates. It doesn’t look like anything absolutely unbelievable,” said Wenger. “If you open any shop tomorrow, you do not expect your neighbour to come in say ‘I help you and give you some money, even if it doesn’t work’. “You want as well to protect your business. If somebody comes in and goes tomorrow to Totteridge (where I live) and says ‘I want to create a world-class team’, puts the money in, and after he moves away, then Totteridge goes down again. “If you produce cars and he produces cars, and somebody comes in and says ‘I can sell the cars at half price for five years just to make you die’, then you die. “We have to protect the clubs to live with their own resources, and as well for fair competition. “It is a Formula One race, where you have Super Formula One, Formula Three, Four, Five and Six, so the days where Nottingham Forest could win the European Cup have gone.” Wenger believes the new £5billion Premier League domestic TV rights deal has provoked clubs in the rest of Europe to demand changes, and a “fear” of what could happen if they were not able to invest because of strict FFP. Press Association
Saints, despite being written off at the start of the campaign after losing several star names, finished seventh and could yet qualify for the Europa League. Alderweireld said: “I really enjoyed the Premier League. I’ve had a fantastic year at Southampton and I want to thank the fans and the club for giving me the opportunity. “The diversity is nice, the tempo, the atmosphere at games and the language is better for me than in Spain. “I’ve had a fantastic year, I can’t lie about that, so yes I’d like to stay in the Premier League. “I really want to go to a club that really wants me. Southampton gave me that opportunity and it paid off, I think.” The Belgian has enjoyed a successful loan at St Mary’s from Atletico Madrid. Southampton do have an option to buy for around £6.8million but it understood Atletico could revoke that by making a payment. Southampton’s on-loan defender Toby Alderweireld hopes his future can be resolved quickly. Press Association If that occurred the Spanish club could either keep him or sell elsewhere, and both Manchester City and Tottenham have been linked with the 26-year-old. Alderweireld admits he does not know what lies ahead but, after moving from Ajax to Atletico in 2013 and then to Saints last year, wants it sorted out soon. He said: “I hope to know where my future is before pre-season starts because it’s two years in a row that I have done a pre-season with a club and then on August 31 I have left. “So I hope this time I can do a pre-season with the club that I will be playing with and have a good year. “The situation is frustrating and I don’t know what will happen. I would like to make a decision but the club has to decide first. “There are three options – stay with Atletico, stay with Southampton or go to another club. So we will see what happens. “It’s not up to me so I can’t say a lot about it but I hope the decision is quickly made.” Alderweireld feels he settled in well at Southampton and enjoyed playing in Ronald Koeman’s impressive team.
… Five members from ICC World Cup-winning squad includedA 14-MEMBER West Indies Under-19 squad is to participate in the upcoming Regional Super50 Tournament that begins next week.The squad includes five players – all-rounders Shamar Springer and Keemo Paul; middle-order batsman Kirstan Kallicharan; wicketkeeper/batsman Emmanuel Stewart; and left-arm fast bowler Obed McCoy – who were members of the team that won the ICC Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh last year.Shamar SpringerTheir participation in the Super50 tournament will form part of the squad’s preparation for the ICC Under-19 World Cup, to be played in New Zealand next year.However, Springer, Paul and McCoy will not be eligible for that tournament, but have been selected as part of their continued development and monitoring.“We have a really fantastic group of players selected for this tournament and we believe they will do very well. We had a camp in Grenada before Christmas, which went really well.“We will have another camp here in Antigua in the build-up to this event, which should get us in the right frame of mind as we play against older and more experienced opposition,” said head coach Graeme West, while outlining details behind the team’s preparations.“On the team, we have included three ‘overaged’ players – Springer, Paul and McCoy – to add a bit of strength, especially to the seam bowling department. They are three qualityBhaskar Yadrambowlers, and they can bat as well, and we believe will serve West Indies cricket very well in the future.”The West Indies Under-19s will play in Zone A which is based in Antigua. They will play against defending champions Trinidad & Tobago Red Force, Windward Islands Volcanoes, Kent Spitfire and host team Leeward Islands Hurricanes.The full squad reads: Te-Shawn Alleyne, Alick Athanaze, Joshua Bishop, Shian Brathwaite, Kirstan Kallicharan, Mikyle Louis, Obed McCoy, Matthew Patrick, Keemo Paul, Jeavor Royal, Javier Spencer, Shamar Springer, Emmanuel Stewart and Bhaskar Yadram.