DNV GL has invited industry partners to start a Joint Industry Project (JIP) for improving the collection and assessment of site conditions data for offshore wind farms.Aiming to increase the efficiency of collecting site conditions, the new JIP will work with stakeholders from across the wind industry. The knowledge generated from the JIP is planned to be ultimately incorporated in a DNV GL recommended practice.The design of an offshore wind farm is dependent on the quality of the calculated site conditions used to derive the design parameters. To achieve an optimal quality in data collection and assessment, extensive and costly investigations are needed at a very early stage of the development, long before final investment decision is made. A recommended practice will allow stakeholders to improve their planning, investigation and design, DNV GL said.“The development of this recommended practice will create an industrial consensus on an agreed set of practices to follow for the analysis of the system and its validation. This will allow stakeholders to increase transparency and reduce the risk in the early phases of the development,” said Kim Moerk, Executive Vice President for Renewables Certification at DNV GL.The company said that incorporating the experience and objectives of stakeholders along the wind energy value chain will add significant value for all parties involved. They will be able to contribute and influence the development of the assessment criteria to ensure their concerns are covered, practices are acknowledged and the objectives of all stakeholders are met. The involvement provides early access and insight into the results, ensuring participants are best prepared for its implementation, DNV GL stated.
Assessing the Australian StudyNational Review Online 6 June 2013“Children of same-sex parents are happier and have healthier familial relationships than their peers with parents in straight relationships,” or so says what is purported to be the world’s largest study on the children of same-sex parents. As always in this domain, I read the early media input about this with immediate interest — and a bit of skepticism, too, given the glowing, confident enthusiasm displayed online. So I went fishing for more information about the interim report — not readily locatable yet — and about the Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families (ACHESS) in general, and found information about its methodology here. To summarize (and quote from) it:Initial recruitment will involve convenience sampling and snowball recruitment techniques. . . . This will include advertisements and media releases in gay and lesbian press, flyers at gay and lesbian social and support groups, and investigator attendance at gay and lesbian community events. . . . Primarily recruitment will be through emails posted on gay and lesbian community email lists aimed at same-sex parenting. This will include, but not be limited to, Gay Dads Australia and the Rainbow Families Council of Victoria.The ACHESS, about which I’m sure we’ll hear a great deal over the next few days and weeks, is thus a lot like the National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS), except that it’s larger and more recent in its generation. I realize that 500 cases is not a number to scoff at, and that such populations are a small minority to begin with. But until social scientists decide to do the difficult, expensive work of locating gay parents through random, population-based sampling strategies — and ones that do not “give away” the primary research question(s) up front — we simply cannot know whether claims like “no differences” or “healthier and happier than” this or that group are true, valid, and on target. Why? Because nonrandom samples are not a representative reflection of the population as a whole, but rather an image of those who actively pursue participating in the study (for whatever reason, which may matter). Who knows — the ACHESS sample of parents and children could be just like the average gay or lesbian household in Australia. I have my doubts, but it’s an unanswerable question.While noting the possibility of bias in such a sampling approach, the ACHESS architects assert that this is “not possible to overcome due to the hidden nature of the same-sex attracted population in Australia.” How hidden are they if the sampling design simply floated emails and flyers and attracted over 500 participants? “Hidden” here is shorthand for difficult to locate randomly. Difficult, but not impossible. Difficult equals expensive. But a random sample design is the gold standard in large-scale social science. And in a politically charged environment such as gay parenting, the public would do well to demand nothing less than the best-quality research designs. Snowball sampling — where motivated friends ask their own friends to participate — doesn’t cut it.Another cause for some healthy skepticism is the same reason I suggested that it was time to retire the NLLFS. Simply put, its participants are likely very aware of the political import of the study topic, and an unknown number of them probably signed up for that very reason. As a result, I’m just not sure I trust their self-reports, which may be subject to considerable “social desirability bias,” or the tendency to portray oneself on surveys as better than one actually is. Again, it’s unknowable here. But I think the temptation to do so in this sample, and on this topic, could be elevated. All the more reason to do a random study that doesn’t advertise its intentions beforehand.All these concerns are why the survey I oversaw, the New Family Structures Study (NFSS), elected to talk to the children after they had grown up, to skip the parents entirely to ensure a more independent assessment, to not broadcast our key research questions in the title or initial screener questionnaire, and to locate them randomly in a large population-based sample. “Junk science” it is not. But its initial results, as well as follow-up analyses in response to criticism, certainly differ from those in Australia making the headlines today.Finally, a note about children born via assisted reproductive technology (ART) or adoption, which no doubt make up a significant share of the ACHESS. A central reason that could set this non-random group apart from “average” others — even if data were collected randomly and independently — is the expense involved in acquiring them. If you’re talking about ART or adoption, you’re talking about parents with notable means — money and commitment. That is, when children are not born in the usual way — via the products of vaginal sexual intercourse, half of which are unplanned (but not necessarily unwanted) — it implies an initial outlay of wealth to adopt or donor conceive that is not consonant with the average heterosexual couple’s life or experience. (A random sample of average Australian parents appears to have been the comparison group in this “interim” report.) In other words, there are no unplanned or unwanted pregnancies among monogamous gay and lesbian couples, and that matters. But “diminished kinship” remains — meaning at least one parent lacks a biological tie to the child — and that matters for child development, too, at least on average.In the era the NFSS investigated, ART births appear to have been much less common. Nor did its nationally representative, population-based sample reveal very many stably coupled same-sex households with children. Things could be different today. But I stand by the NFSS — and always will — because it captured the social reality of the era it studied: the growing-up years of people ages 18 to 39 today. The ACHESS and the NLLFS capture some sort of reality — perhaps subject to significant social-desirability bias — among a self-selected elite of participants who were actively recruited to take part in a study loaded with possible political import. But given the limitations outlined here, what we can learn from it about the overall population of same-sex households with children — which is what the media headlines convey — is pretty modest. We learn what’s possible, not necessarily what’s probable.– Mark Regnerus is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin and a research associate with the university’s Population Research Center. He is also the principal investigator of the New Family Structures Study.http://www.nationalreview.com/node/350317/
Press Association “Gracias a todos por los mensajes. Gracias a dios fue solo un mal momento/ thank you all for your messages. thank god it was nothing,” The Argentinian wrote. United believe Rojo, who speaks only limited English as he has only been in the country for two months, made something of a mistake in his translation of the Spanish part of his tweet. “Solo un mal momento” translates as “only a bad moment”, rather than “nothing”, and the club believe the defender’s injury is serious. Rojo was discharged from hospital on Sunday evening and the club have confirmed that the defender had suffered a dislocation. Medical estimates of a recovery time from such an injury range from six weeks to three months. in 2011 Rojo’s team-mate Rafael was out for three and a half months with a dislocated shoulder. That means Van Gaal is likely to field Carrick as a centre-half alongside either Tyler Blackett or Paddy McNair this weekend. One thing in Van Gaal’s favour is that behind his makeshift back four he will be able to field arguably the most in-form goalkeeper in the top flight. David de Gea pulled off some stunning saves to deny Everton in United’s last game at Old Trafford and he once again proved his worth against City, who could have scored many more had it not been for the Spanish stopper. De Gea has been very pleased with his recent performances, but he would prefer it if United were winning as well. “My form is very good. I am playing the best football of my career and I want it to continue, but the most important thing is that we all play well as a team,” De Gea told Press Association Sport after the derby defeat. “The next match is at home and we will train hard all this week to make sure we get all three points.” Van Gaal will not have enjoyed looking at the Premier League table on Sunday night, when United dropped to 10th. Despite his enthusiasm and self-confidence, the fact remains that Van Gaal has endured a worse start to his reign than David Moyes, who was sacked after 10 months. But Wayne Rooney retains supreme faith in the man who appointed him United captain in the summer. Rooney told MUTV: “We’re working on different things, which a lot of us haven’t been used to. We’re certainly heading in the right direction.” Michael Carrick is happy to solve Manchester United’s injury crisis by playing at centre-back in the coming weeks. The United manager is set to be without Phil Jones for some time as the England centre-back is suffering from shin splints – his second injury of the season. Jonny Evans has not played for over six weeks because of an ankle injury while Chris Smalling is serving a one-match ban for his careless dismissal for two petty fouls on Sunday. Carrick has played at centre-back on occasions throughout his career and he would have no problem starting there in Saturday’s game against Crystal Palace. “If I need to play there then fine I have not had a lot of football recently so I will play anywhere,” said Carrick, who suffered a serious ankle injury just before United embarked on their pre-season tour of the United States of America. “It’s not somewhere I have played an awful lot of games. “I have had spells of playing there over the years, playing two or three or four games in a season. “But I don’t mind. I will play anywhere.” Rojo raised hopes of a speedy recovery on Monday when he tried to play down the extent of the injury on Twitter. Carrick made his first appearance of the season on Sunday when he came off the bench to replace injured centre-back Marcos Rojo in United’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City. United expect Rojo, who dislocated his left shoulder sliding in for a tackle, to be out for some time which is a blow to Louis van Gaal as he is already short of options at centre-half.