Media reaction, in Ireland, to this News Release was hysterical and grossly ill-informed !
“A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery ; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.”
2013-03-14: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was adopted on 13 December 2006 at the U.N. Headquarters Building in New York. The Convention was opened for signature on 30 March 2007, when there were 82 Signatories to the Convention, 44 Signatories to its Optional Protocol, and 1 Ratification. Historically, this is the highest number of signatories to a U.N. Convention on its opening day. It is the first comprehensive Human Rights Treaty of the 21st Century. It is also the first Human Rights Convention to be open for signature by regional integration organizations, e.g. the European Union (EU). The Convention entered into force, as an International Legal Instrument, on 3 May 2008.
According to the United Nations … this Convention is intended as a Human Rights Instrument with an explicit social development dimension. It adopts a broad categorization of persons with disabilities, and reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms. It clarifies and qualifies how all categories of rights apply to persons with disabilities and identifies areas where adaptations have to be made for persons with disabilities to effectively exercise their rights and areas where their rights have been violated, and where protection of rights must be reinforced.
I say … that most of the rights specified in this Convention are already contained in other long-established International Human Rights Instruments, e.g. rights to shelter, free movement, education, employment, voting, etc. The critical issue for people with activity limitations has always been, and remains to this day …Lack of Accessibility … which prevents them from effectively and independently exercising their basic rights and fundamental freedoms as individual human beings.
Substantively … this is a United Nations Accessibility for All Rights Convention.
The World Map below illustrates the situation, in October 2012, with regard to the very large numbers of States Parties to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) …
154 Signatories to the Convention ;
90 Signatories to the Optional Protocol ;
124 Ratifications and Accessions to the Convention ;
74 Ratifications and Accessions to the Optional Protocol.
Using the Map, it is simple to identify those ‘other’ countries (nudge-nudge-wink-wink) …
Since October 2012 …
Singapore signed the Convention on 30 November 2012
Cambodia ratified the Convention on 20 December 2012
Albania ratified the Convention on 11 February 2013
Barbados ratified the Convention on 27 February 2013
HOWEVER … far too many individuals and organizations seem to be content to just settle back and end this good news story at Ratification. They fail to understand that this is only the beginning !
The real challenge ahead will be to ensure that the Convention is Properly Implemented.
The Target before every State Party is … Effective Accessibility for All !!
2013-03-09: You may have heard about IT, but you didn’t believe any part of the story. BUT, here IT is … up close and personal !
Not just a toilet, or a WC … and not just any old toilet unit … this is ‘THE’ Toilet Unit … the ‘all-singing all-dancing wonder of the world’ ! Found throughout Japan … in locations which are private (e.g. residences and hotel rooms), as well as public (e.g. bus and railway stations).
The Toilet Unit in a hotel room shown here, TOTO TCF 521R, is an older model. Units in public places can have additional functions, e.g. playing music to ‘mask’ noises made by the person on the toilet. Notice the use of graphics on the control panel, texts in two languages (Japanese and English), separate spray settings for male and female, and a facility to alter spray water pressure and pattern (uniform or oscillating/pulsating).
Afterwards, you might consider visiting the Manufacturer’s WebSite (TOTO, in Japan) … http://www.toto.co.jp/ … to examine the advanced technologies driving the development of this product.
But beware of cheap imitations which are beginning to be promoted in Europe !
And just one more interesting bathroom feature from Japan … a heated section of a much larger mirror which remains clear in hot steamy conditions …
2013-02-20:Japan … so far from Western Europe … is at a critical juncture in its history. Soon to be overshadowed by a very large neighbour, China … it is still occupied by the United States of America (a fading imperialistic entity), which is quietly insisting that it become a nuclear power in the region … a story without a happy ending !
However … ‘Real’ Japan is a complete culture shock … both interesting and fascinating at the same time.
This is a bluffer’s guide to Japanese Chopsticks … ‘HASHI‘, in Japanese …
2012-06-09:Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city … still commonly referred to as Salonika by local people … is a very nice commercial city and an important city of culture, but not really a tourist city. One of the highlights of my recent stay there was a visit to the house where Ghazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938) was born … later to become an outstanding Turkish military commander during the ill-fated British and ANZAC Gallipoli (Turkish: Gelibolu) Campaign of the First World War, and afterwards First President of the modern Turkish State. The three-storey house is also a small museum, containing exhibits of his personal effects, many photographs, and documents.
Located at 17 Apostolu Pavlou … the AtatürkHouse is accessed through the Turkish Chancellery, which is around the corner on the main street called ‘Agiou Dimitriou’ …
2012-05-02: Last week, I attended joint meetings of CIB W14: ‘Fire Safety’ … and ISO Technical Committee 92: ‘Fire Safety’, Sub-Committee 3: ‘Fire Threat to People and the Environment’ & Sub-Committee 4: ‘Fire Safety Engineering’ … in Thessaloniki (Salonika), Greece.
The relationship between these two independent groups is symbiotic … ISO TC 92 develops International Fire Standards, while CIB W14 is the pre-normalization forum for discussion and action on a comprehensive approach to Fire Research and Innovation.
I should add, here, that CIB W14’s Aims & Objectives were substantially updated at our meeting in Thessaloniki … and I presented the CIB Research WG IV Reflection Document: ‘Structural Reliability & Fire-Induced Progressive Damage’ for discussion … which was lively, but far too short !
While I was away, however, the following question was posed by Mr. Panagiotis Kotsovinos, on the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE-USA) Page of LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=96627).
” I would like to please explain a bit more why the term ‘Fire-Induced Progressive Damage’ is preferred over ‘Fire-Induced Progressive Collapse’, and what is the confusion that exists widely as you say with the later definition ? “
Firstly, apologies for the late reply. This was due to my absence from base … I am not continuously ‘plugged-in’ to the virtual environment while travelling. But, I also wished to respond to this and other queries after some thought. The issues raised are important.
Very briefly … it was NIST, in its 2005 Report, which introduced the term ‘Fire-Induced Progressive Collapse’ to a wide audience. No definition, or elaboration, of this structural concept was provided in either the 2005 or 2008 Recommendations. There is no confusion caused by ‘Fire-Induced’.
The reason I have been so quick to focus in on the distinction between ‘Damage’ and ‘Collapse’ is because we went through this whole debate, in Ireland … starting at the end of the 1980’s and continuing on through to the middle of 1990’s. Because … in January 1987 … a Multi-Storey Apartment Block, called Raglan House, collapsed as a result of a gas explosion. Two people were killed. An examination of records at the time will reveal the same general confusion about technical terminology. And … following the collapse, the Structural Engineering Profession was in disarray.
After a considerable amount of time witnessing, at close hand, these events … I formed the strong opinion that the proper connection of vertical and horizontal structural elements in a building was, and continues to be, a fundamental principle of all good structural engineering design … no matter what the height of the building.
Tackling the current confusion over technical terminology …
In 1987, Raglan House collapsed in Dublin. In 2001, World Trade Center Building 7 collapsed in New York City.
In English … the word Collapse can have the following meanings, which are very broadly similar …
To fall down or cave in suddenly: the whole building collapsed ;
To fail completely ;
To break down or fall down from lack of strength ;
To fold (furniture, etc.) compactly or (of furniture, etc.) to be designed to fold compactly ;
The act or instance of suddenly falling down, caving in, or crumbling ;
A sudden failure or breakdown.
[from Latin, from collabi to fall in ruins, from labi to fall]
Please examine the photograph above. Ronan Point (later demolished) was a 22 Storey Residential Tower Block in London, England. In May 1968, this building suffered Disproportionate Damage as a result of a gas explosion. As is clear from the photograph … it did not Collapse.
The failure of a building’s structural system: (i) remote from the scene of an isolated overloading action; and (ii) to an extent which is not in reasonable proportion to that action.
Let me now return to the CIB Research WG IV Reflection Document: ‘Structural Reliability & Fire-Induced Progressive Damage’ … where I began by stating …
Fire-Induced Progressive Damage in Buildings is distinguished from Disproportionate Damage – a related but different structural concept – by the mode of damage initiation, not the final condition of building failure. Until this phenomenon is properly understood, and unless it is impeded, or resisted, by building design … Fire-Induced Progressive Damage will result in Disproportionate Damage … and may lead to a Collapse Level Event (CLE), which is entirely unacceptable to the general population of any community or society.
… and, later in the document, provided this definition …
Fire-Induced Progressive Damage
The sequential growth and intensification of structural deformation and displacement, beyond fire engineering design parameters, and the eventual failure of elements of construction in a building – during a fire and the ‘cooling phase’ afterwards – which, if unchecked, will result in disproportionate damage, and may lead to total building collapse.
Quickly Concluding …
‘Progressive Collapse’ is not the same as ‘Disproportionate Collapse’ … and while total building collapse may be the condition of final building failure, this will certainly not always be the case. Therefore … ‘Damage’ is the more correct word to use than ‘Collapse’.
To go even further … it should not be necessary to have to use the word ‘total’ in the first sentence above.
Reminder … Please Read the Reflection Document …
The purpose of the Reflection Document issued by CIB W14 Research Working Group IV is to examine the ‘hot form’ structural concept of Fire-Induced Progressive Damage, and to propose a critical update to fire engineering design practice. It is also intended to encourage a wider discussion about some of fire engineering’s fundamental tenets, and the future direction of our profession in a rapidly evolving trans-disciplinary approach to the design, construction and operation of a Safe and Sustainable Built Environment.
Let me repeat again … and as I emphasized in Greece … ALL comments on the Reflection Document are most welcome !
Further to last year’s post , on petrol/gasoline prices in Turkey … a recent few days of driving in Italy, over this Easter, was a shock to my financial system …
The photograph above shows the prices for petrol (gasoline) on 3 April 2012 … in Italy.
Unleaded Petrol (Senza Pb) is a staggering € 1.938 !
As if that wasn’t bad enough … there were significant price differences across the regions of Central Italy … varying to as low as € 1.829 for unleaded petrol in some places. Some petrol stations did not display prices at all … and you only discovered the price when you drove in and stopped at an individual pump.
BUT … just get a load of this …
Unleaded Petrol (Senza Pb) is an unbelievable € 1.999 in Amandola !!