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Matt Berry – The Small Hours

Like a British James Franco sporting a well shampooed badger on his face, Matt Berry operates on another level to us mere mortals. The foghorn-voiced Renaissance man s talents are capable of skipping across the screen, onto the stage, behind the pen and into a Volvic water bottle with ease; all while he campaigns ceaselessly as an ambassador for refugees, the multi-faceted cad. In addition to mastering the Rik Mayall school of acting through a run of brash, over-sexualised alpha male figures on British television, Berry has also found time to release a string of experimental prog-folk records that started with 2008 s Opium . The keen multi-instrumentalist can commonly be found recording every note of his musical output and often teaches himself new instruments from scratch in a matter of weeks. He may not look it, but Matt Berry is pretty much a modern Da Vinci, just with better hair and without the propensity for sketching weapons of mass destruction in his notepad margins. What we’re trying to say through all this awestruck gushing is that, if this article was a review of Matt Berry as a man, a leader of men and a passionate lover (or so I nightly imagine), he d get 10/10 every time. But, as those of you who ve cheated and scrolled down to the bottom of this page to see the score will know, this polemic sadly ends here.

Like its predecessor Music For Insomniacs , The Small Hours purports to have been drawn from that surrealistic period between midnight and dawn when the frayed edges of dreams seem to weave themselves into strands of inspiration. But while the luscious Insomniacs channelled Brian Eno at his most inspired, Hours channels Dave Gilmour at his sleepiest. This instinctive, stream-of-consciousness writing results in some pleasant melodies on tracks such as Beam Me Up and Say It Again . Overall, however, this exercise in easy listening is about the most dad-friendly thing Berry s done since that BBC Father s Day special. Opener One By One amounts to little more than the kind of straightforward acoustic rock ballad that could be churned out by any number of greying pub-bound bands scattered about the country, while elsewhere Gone For Good sounds like it could have been the result of David Gray s reggae phase in some horrifically dystopian parallel universe. Maybe it s just be the fact that Berry has been writing with his live band in the studio for the first time and has had to streamline his usually ambitious writing process; but the spark of unpredictability that defined his previous records is sadly lacking. For the first time in his musical career Matt Berry sounds like an aging comedian living out his rock n roll fantasies. I don t want to whack out a lazy Ricky Gervais comparison (they both starred in seminal ’00s BBC comedies! They both played hapless bosses stuck with outdated values! etc.), but there are shades of Life On The Road audible here that simply cannot be denied. That would be fine if his music was a similar extension of his comic persona, but there s no Brent-like goatee and nod to the camera for Berry to hide behind here. When moonlighting as a musician he has always been careful to drop his signature onscreen hamminess and affected gruff roar in exchange for a stripped back vulnerability. So when you hear him sincerely uttering lines like The peach said to her sister Oi there melon! This is heaven, on the godawful The Peach and the Melon , your toes can t help but curl up faster than a frightened hedgehog.

Most of these issues are confined to the safer first half of the album. Things improve drastically towards its back end when the instrumental jazzathon Night Terrors rocks up to the party with a lopsided grin and a picnic hamper of hard drugs. Like his past albums bloated highlights The Pheasant and Solstice , this winding nine minute-er demonstrates that Berry is at his best when he goes wildly off script. The similarly late in the day single Obsessed And So Obscure is instantly familiar in the best of ways, despite some bizarre lyrics about lusting after Christopher Lee (to reiterate, this is not a comedy album).

Still, despite this late-album salvaging, The Small Hours marks the first Matt Berry album that might merit a little stick to the day job heckling from its audience. With any luck this constitutes no more than a blip, a small blemish on the well-groomed polymath s sterling and varied career that will be overshadowed by his future endeavours. As it stands, though, this is a record that should only be bought if you feel like another pair of socks might just drive your dad to do something drastic this Christmas.

5/10

Words: Josh Gray

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References

  1. ^ Buy Clash Magazine (www.clashmusic.com)

A Review of The EVGA GTX 1070 SC ACX 3.0

A Review Of The EVGA GTX 1070 SC ACX 3.0 Written by: 1

2016/08/10 7:09 PM

EVGA is the Largest Supplier of Nvidia GPUs to the US, and Today We ll Be putting their Newest Mainline aftermarket design to the task of mining Ethereum One of the last bastions of GPU rig profitability, and certainly the most prominent at present. We ve seen a huge jump in hash power per watt from AMD2 with their move to Polaris, as we covered here. EVGA s Gaming ACX line, while not as extravagant as some of the other 1070 offerings currently on the market (e.g. Their FTW and Classified series cards), comes with several nice features out of the box, including a much needed cooling solution upgrade from the reference design, and in the case of the the base model (This is a review of the SC edition3, but after making common adjustments like under-volting and clock rate tweaks, the two should perform near identically) a lower price tag as well. Will the increase in power efficiency and better thermal characteristics that Pascal enjoys while gaming carry over to mining applications? If so, We ll be evaluating if this card will be better suited to it than the Founders Edition designs.

Read Also: Florida Man Robs Bitcoin Enthusiast, Caught Orange Handed 4

Specifications:

  • CUDA Cores: 1920
  • Texture Units: 120
  • ROPs: 64
  • Base Clock: 1594 MHz (6% factory overclock)
  • Boost: 1683MHz
  • Memory: 8 Gbps (Effective) GDDR5; 8192 MB onboard
  • Bus Width: 256 bit
  • Die Process: 16nm FinFet
  • Theoretical Peak Performance: 6.5 TFLOPS
  • Cooling Solution: Air (Open-Air design, EVGA ACX 3.0)

Build Considerations

A Review Of The EVGA GTX 1070 SC ACX 3.0

The Industrial Design of the ACX line has changed a lot

With the numbers out of the way, Let s Get right into the Card s Features. It has a less spartan industrial design than previous EVGA ACX products, Boasting white LEDs that light up the logo emblazoned on the card s top, the cooler shroud, and the PCI slot face plate. While this detail is superficial to our performance tests, it may be of concern to those installing smaller nodes in the home depending on their space limitations. The Board seems to be the same as the Reference Card, with the same form factor and power delivery. It also comes with a back plate, as seems to be the standard these days, which may help with shorts in open air rigs running in dusty or humid environments.

Test Methodology

Because there are many more variables from card to card in GPU mining than in typical applications, we try to give each card the best chance at performing well within reason. Our goal is to inform the consumer of each GPU s best-case performance for mining, as the average miner will be highly optimized for that application. By doing some of that optimization for our audience, we give them a good starting point should they decide to purchase a particular GPU. Short of building custom kernels, BIOS tampering, and hardware modification, we tailor the software environment to each card in a similar manner to an individual attempting to build an optimized mining setup. We run A short and long-run test in our standardized benchmarking environment to give the reader a wealth of information, as well as any other tests we think will help give a better idea of each GPU s performance.
What Changes:

  • OS
  • Drivers
  • Mining Software
  • Fan Speeds/Profiles

A Review Of The EVGA GTX 1070 SC ACX 3.0

EVGA 1070 SC in our test-bed

What Does Not:

  • Test Bed Hardware
  • Card Bios
  • Core/Memory Clock Speed
  • Benchmark Data Collection

With that explained, here is the system information on our EVGA Gaming SC ACX 3.0 GTX 1070 Benchmark:

  • CPU: i7-6700k @ 4.3 GHz
  • RAM:16 GB DDR4 2400
  • PSU: 700W 80+ Titanium PSU
  • SSD: 120 GB Kingston SSD
  • GPU (Tested Component): EVGA Gaming SC ACX 3.0 GTX 1070
  • OS: Arch Linux, Kernel 4.6.4-1-ARCH (headless to improve GPU overhead)
  • Ethereum Client/Miner: C++ Implementation of Ethereum, version 1.2.9, Protocol Version 63
  • Driver: NVIDIA driver version 367.35-linux, CUDA 7.5
  • Case: Corsair 200R (We run the benchmarks in a closed case to simulate less-than-ideal thermal conditions common to mining setups.)

Benchmark Results

Linux had a 2MH/s lead out of the box, so we went with a headless CLI setup for the test to further reduce software overhead, and used the latest stable drivers and CUDA package for our tests. All data is collected directly from the ethminer and nvidia-smi packages. Our first run shows some interesting results:

A Review Of The EVGA GTX 1070 SC ACX 3.0

The thermal characteristics of EVGA s ACX 3.0 Heatsink show promise, as the card hits a maximum of 75 degrees Celsius under a mining workload, a full 8 degrees under the thermal solution on the reference blower style card (granted, blower cards are almost universally worse for mining applications, as they are optimized for use in a small metal box.) We re seeing some odd behavior with the card s hashrate as it warms up, though:

A Review Of The EVGA GTX 1070 SC ACX 3.0

Here we see the card moving from a relatively stable range of 25.1-25.7 MH/s to destabilizing as it reaches 74 Degrees. About one minute more into the test and we plummet to an average of 23.1 MH/s as we approach 75 C. Obviously, this card is performance limited by its temperature far below the expected thermal limit. Given Ethereum s Reliance on memory bandwidth, it s interesting to note that with the identical GDDR5 chips on the 1070 and 8gb RX 480, they post similar performance levels despite compute and architectural differences.

So with our disappointing first run results, we decided to tweak the fan profile to be far more aggressive by enabling Coolbits=28 in our configuration files. Note that overclocking and voltage control are not yet supported on 10 series cards in Linux, so Windows may indeed turn out to be a better option until drivers are updated. The Results are night and day:

A Review Of The EVGA GTX 1070 SC ACX 3.0

The fan profile kicks in at 63 C, and pushes it down past the regular idle temperature of 56 degrees in some places! More significant is the steady hashrate of 25.6 MH/s once we hit the temperature maximum of 59 C. This could possibly be pushed up even further when voltage and clock settings are added to the Nvidia blob later this year.

EVGA 1070 Analysis: Power Efficiency at an Up-Front Premium

Pascal is going to be a beast to characterize moving forward, as each card in the lineup so far has had different bus widths, memory chips, and power characteristics coming off the line. However, the EVGA 1070 offers an attractive alternative to the current Mining Golden Boy, the RX 480. It offers nearly equal performance while drawing only 140 Watts under load, 13% less than the 480 s 159 W. While the MSRP of 380 USD has proven to be effectively false at this point, the superior thermal and power characteristics of the 1070 may be of interest to those looking to build a larger scale operation as the marginal energy savings add up. Here s the per watt performance data from our earlier Radeon Overview Piece5, with the 1070 thrown in for reference:

A Review Of The EVGA GTX 1070 SC ACX 3.0

At stock settings the 1070 Wins out on efficiency at only 5.5 Watts per Megahash to the 480 s 6, and the ACX 3.0 Coolers on EVGA s Products certainly helps solidify that lead over the RX 480 s reference cooler. So the Question of the practicality of this card, and indeed all 1070 s seems to come down to three main factors: mining operation scale, the cost of power in your area, and the availability and price of aftermarket 480s. Smaller operations and hobbyists: the 480 is still our firm recommendation. However, the 7-8% power savings hash-for-hash and the increased price of AMD products in many parts of the world make the EVGA 1070 a real contender at scale and abroad. I d recommend this card over the reference blower design any day, as it comes in at the same price with a far better cooler. That in mind I m still far more interested in cards closer to that phantom MSRP Nvidia Quoted to the public at launch, as well as the 1060, if it can hold its own with these two cards in the marketplace. If we do see a well-cooled 380£ 1070 hit the market, it ll mean a lot for people setting up CUDA-based mining systems, and shift the power balance of mining as the big fish in the ecosystem retool.

Want to see more hardware reviews? Thoughts on our analysis? Leave them In the comments below!


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A Review Of The EVGA GTX 1070 SC ACX 3.0

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References

  1. ^ (bitcoinist.net)
  2. ^ We ve seen a huge jump in hash power per watt from AMD (bitcoinist.net)
  3. ^ This is a review of the SC edition (www.evga.com)
  4. ^ Florida Man Robs Bitcoin Enthusiast, Caught Orange Handed (bitcoinist.net)
  5. ^ Radeon Overview Piece (bitcoinist.net)

Corporate governance and safeguarding public assets — Part 1

Jamaica

is currently processing the annual cycle of the tabling of special audit reports in Parliament by the auditor general, Pamela Monroe Ellis. Snippets of recent reports have been aired in the media and the findings generally highlight the continuing abuse of public assets and of corporate governance processes within public bodies.

Separately, the auditor general s report for year ending March 31, 2015 notes a number of problematic issues with respect to the functioning of public bodies. For the reporting period she …thought it necessary to assess governance practices within public sector entities paying special attention to monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. (p 5) The auditor general highlighted the fact that audits conducted revealed departures from established rules and guidelines. Instances of such departures abound in the recent reports regarding Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ), Factories Corporation of Jamaica (FCJ), and Port Authority of Jamaica (PA), inter alia. Reactions to these reports of troubling behaviour run along a continuum: neophytes and some of those who may have heard it all before but whose antennae are still sensitive are shocked. Jaw-dropping reactions still occur. Others may be inoculated and do not expect any changes in the system to correct the abuses seeing it all as part of the game where the favoured will continue to eat heartily at the trough of public assets. Others, who seek to participate in the feeding frenzy, salivate at the prospects and will position themselves for appointment to boards or public agencies at operational levels in order to secure personal benefits as long as the culture of impunity is allowed to continue.

Negative return on public assets

Fayval Williams, minister of state at the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, recently referenced an International Monetary Fund/World Bank Study to decry the low rate of return on Government of Jamaica assets. She advised the Parliament during her presentation in the sectoral debate on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 that there was a (negative) rate of return of -2.8 per cent on GOJ assets totalling approximately £1.1 trillion during 2000-2014. She noted that this inefficiency has been a drag on economic growth . I doubt that anyone would seriously disagree with her assessment; this is a non-political issue. According to reports in the press, Williams indicated that the Holness Administration was giving thought to the efficacy of public bodies and reviewing the application of options such as accelerated commercialisation, and partial or full restructuring. This strategic review is both timely and welcome. However, I posit that any assessment of the reasons related to the negative return on public assets and actions to correct same must incorporate a dispassionate effort to evaluate and strengthen, where necessary, the corporate governance framework for the public sector. If not, the several instances of non-compliance with guidelines and policy frameworks, the prioritisation of political patronage, the failure to apply due diligence in the acquisition and/or disposal of public assets, and challenges with evaluation and monitoring will continue to the detriment of the public interest.

Factories Corporation of Jamaica

In order to remove Minister Williams comments and concerns from the abstract domain, I would like to apply them in reflection on a few aspects of the recent report (May 2016) of the auditor general on the FCJ as tabled in Parliament. The auditor general s report posits several concerns. For the purposes of this article I will focus on the appointment of several directors to management positions within the company and the disposal of land to the Southwest St Andrew Trust. It is a clear breach of the corporate governance principle of the separation of oversight and management to have directors appointing themselves to act in executive roles which they oversee as chairmen of subcommittees for the administrative portfolio or even of the board itself. This is clearly asserted in the Corporate Governance Framework for Public Bodies in Jamaica, with the chairman leading the board in policy and direction and the chief executive leading the day-to-day management of the organisation.

Despite this clear principle, we had a situation where the then chairman of the FCJ reportedly acted as managing director, while remaining as chairman of the board. Further, the chairman of the board subcommittee on finance was also reportedly appointed in an executive capacity to coordinate and direct the activities of the FCJ s Finance Department while simultaneously remaining as chair of the oversight subcommittee. The auditor general noted that the then board defended its actions by pointing to provisions within the FCJ Articles of Association (dated October 1987). She notes that this document does not recognise the reporting responsibility of the board to the portfolio ministry and the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service (Auditor General, 2016, p 18). The then board utilised a dated Articles of Association to facilitate its actions, which breach the corporate governance framework and general principles currently in force, while at the same time acknowledging the reporting relationship to the portfolio minister who appointed it, and appealing to the Ministry of Finance for approval of actions it took which are actions not required of the board by the said articles. The auditor general subtly and succinctly notes the irony and hypocrisy inherent in the actions of the then board; I concur. In order to remove this option for other boards of public bodies, perhaps the Government should immediately mandate each ministry and public body to review foundation documents with a view to ensuring that they are compliant with the current policy framework. Legislation may be required here, but more anon.

The second instance is that of the transfer of 11.58 acres of land by the FCJ to the Southwest St Andrew Trust. The auditor general found that, despite a Cabinet decision to divest the property, some fundamental issues emerged in her review of the transaction. The auditor general notes that since the Southwest St Andrew Trust was not registered at the time with the Registrar General s Department, the department was not able to review the trust deed to validate the beneficiary of the trust . Additionally, no caveats or restrictions were placed on the title to limit or proscribe the disposal of the property in whole or in part. Essentially, the auditor general has identified the lack of safeguards to assure that the property would be used for the declared purpose the benefit of the target community. When the news of this property transfer emerged in the auditor general s report remarks attributed to a member of Trust to which the property was disposed were published in the press (

Sunday Observer, June 26, 2016). His reported remarks were quite contemptuous of the auditor general s report, which highlighted the valuation of the property at £164 million and the contention that the asset s disposal represented a loss amounting to £163 million to the FCJ (and by extension the people of Jamaica). He allegedly said that inner-city land can have no such value ridiculous. But, is this really so in this specific instance? Where is this property located? It is adjacent to the Tinson Pen Airfield, and fronts Marcus Garvey Drive going in an easterly direction to downtown Kingston.? I confess that I am a layman in matters of property valuation, but this location seems to be prime property. Further, given the history of the property where a company (that operates a business adjacent to the property, and which presumably employs persons from the nearby communities) had actually reached an agreement (mediated) with the FCJ for the purchase of a little over one acre of the said property for approximately £11 million, then the auditor general s concerns seems to be more than legitimate. Indeed, I wonder, given that the transaction occurred in 2012 and the current demand for land in that part of Kingston for the expansion of the port facilities and associated logistics activities, what is the price per acre for the property?

I have no compelling quarrel with the Cabinet of Jamaica taking a decision to dispose of property to a trust, where the intention is to develop a sports park with appropriate infrastructure, and where the community has been using the land for such purposes over time as witnessed by the bleachers and the football field. I do, however, have a major concern where this divestment occurs in a context where there are no embedded safeguards to ensure that the asset, once disposed, is solely utilised for the intended purpose. Public assets cannot be treated in such a cavalier manner; they are held in trust for the welfare of the nation and people of Jamaica. Another proposal for action that emerges at this point relates to the provisions that govern the disposal of public assets. The Cabinet and all ministries and agencies should be guided by a statutory mandate that establishes minimum requirements of the entities to which assets are being sold or transferred. In the instance of the transfer of property to a trust where the beneficiary is a community, then the elements (including restrictions in the covenant whereby it may even be required that where the original intent changes then Cabinet approval may be required at that time) noted by the auditor general should be required. In this way, all stakeholders in a transaction would be protected as long as they adhered to the statutory requirements.

FCJ s return on assets

Let me tie the above together and relate it to Minister Fayval Williams comments on the negative return on assets. I only referred to two aspects of the auditor general s special report on the Factories Corporation of Jamaica, but these are sufficient to make the case. The board of directors, presumably, approved a scheme whereby a number of them were appointed to salaried executive positions within the company, and while this was in train they facilitated the transfer of property to a trust that resulted in the loss of £163 million to the company (per the valuation applied by the company itself). But there is a comment within the auditor general s report that is really painful and shows the failure in the execution by the board of its fiduciary responsibility. Hear the auditor general in her own words, Excluding fair value adjustment, FCJ s return on assets averaged only 0.01 over the review period, further underscoring inefficient use of assets to generate profit from core activities. (p 25)

In 2013-2014 the ratio (return on assets) was 0.14 per cent, the highest for the period of review, which was the outcome of fair value adjustment not improved productivity. The company did not use its working capital efficiently to generate income over the review period . Herein lies the problem facing Jamaica and the Andrew Holness Administration. NEXT WEEK: Read Black s proposal for action and what he calls The Golden Example .

Dameon Black is a public affairs analyst and commentator. Send comments to the Observer or

[email protected]

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