Small-scale farmers are key to Africa’s agricultural growth. Moorosi Nchejana is one of 40 farmers in Mabalane village, Lesotho, who participated in a pilot programme by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation to strengthen farmers’ capacity to adapt to climate change(Image: Irin) Business and government should increase investment in agriculture in Africa. More research is also necessary to promote the genetic improvement of Africa’s neglected food crops such as sweet potato, cassava and millet.(Image: World Bank / Scott Wallace)MEDIA CONTACTS• Karl HaechlerSenior consultantArcay Burson-Marsteller+27 11 480 8532 Wilma den HartighIn 2050 there will be nine-billion people in the world and in Africa alone, the UN estimates there will be almost two-billion people living on the continent in 38 years’ time. The big question is not only how we are going to feed so many people, but also how to do it nutritiously.This presents both challenges and opportunities to produce enough wholesome food for everyone – and many of the solutions are in Africa.At The Economist’s recent Feeding the World conference in Johannesburg, global leaders from agribusiness, food production, science and NGOs discussed how Africa can take ownership of its food security agenda, accelerate agricultural growth and develop sustainable and competitive agriculture sectors.The world is looking to Africa to take up its role in solving the global food crisis. The continent has more than enough land (Africa has 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land) and willing farmers to develop robust, sustainable and competitive agriculture sectors.Speakers highlighted the need for food security and nutrition solutions that involve civil society organisations, individuals, governments and the private sector, working in partnership with each other.The event was organised by the conference division of The Economist newspaper, and is one of numerous global conferences on important issues such as food security, health, infrastructure and science. Food and nutrition securitySpeaking at the event, Sean de Cleene said food security in the world has reached a tipping point, and he is optimistic about the opportunities that lie ahead. Cleene is the senior VP of Yara International, a global firm specialising in agricultural products and environmental protection agents.“I am more optimistic today than ever because we see Africa starting to take control of its own growth agenda,” De Cleene said.“We are reaching a tipping point with more investment into localised agriculture. We are seeing unprecedented interest in collaboration to solve these challenges.”Various speakers agreed that it is important to establish a link between agriculture and health, by improving the nutritional qualities of food. Improved nutrition would address issues such as under-nourishment, which causes the death of millions of children every year.“We should not just focus on improving productivity of farmers,“ said Shenggen Fan, director-general of the International Food Policy Research Institute. “In the past agriculture was designed to achieve maximum production, not nutrition.”Fan said agriculture has a role to play in addressing undernourishment, lack of access to food and hidden hunger – a situation where the consumer is unaware that food is not providing enough nutrition. “We have to slow down this trend,” he said.He suggested interventions such as subsidies for fruit and vegetable production, and suggested that unhealthy food be taxed, making money available to promote healthy food production and research. Business and subsistence farmers working togetherOne of the main messages coming from the conference is the need for public-private partnerships to create robust agricultural industries in Africa and promote food security – and there are already success stories.Mario Reis, managing director of dairy products producer Danone Southern Africa, said it is important for corporates to invest in Africa. This approach is already showing positive results for Danone and hundreds of pastoral farming families in Senegal, who have been farming with milk-producing livestock for generations.“In Senegal, 90% of all milk consumed is imported. However, this is an aberration because 30% of the population rear cattle that produce milk,” Reis explained.Danone started a venture to help pastoral farmers to utilise their milk, by setting up a facility that collects local milk for processing into value-added dairy products. The project is also providing technical advice and veterinary services for farmers, which has helped them to increase milk output and take good care of their animals.The venture, which started in 2006, has made it possible for 650 farmers to stay on their land, farm profitably and live exclusively from milk production.“This is an example of helping a whole community – all through agriculture and related activities,” Reis said. The project is also bringing about rural development as farmers are earning a living, their families can eat more nutritious food and children can attend school.Frank Braeken, executive VP for fast moving consumer goods company Unilever in Africa, added that food security and economic opportunity can be aligned.“The main objective is to convince sceptics of the important role that business can play in this area,” Braeken said.He added that new business models should allow companies to target growth, while contributing to the fight against hunger and malnutrition.“The question and challenge is so big that we need a dramatic shift in thinking about how we do business,” he said. “There is no doubt that discussions around food security must zone in on Africa.“Sub-Saharan Africa holds the most of potential for future agricultural expansion. Whatever role African countries will play must be in the interest of their people.” Optimising food productionJason Clay, senior VP for market transformation at the World Wildlife Fund, said the agriculture sector must find ways to intensify production sustainably, using the same amount of natural resources.“By 2050, 9.4-billion people will need twice as much food and fibre, and this means every system of production has to double,” Clay said. “We have to figure out how to optimise what we have.”He identified food waste, which occurs by either throwing away food or post-harvest losses, as one where food production can be optimised. “If we can eliminate waste, we have to produce half as much of the new food we would need by 2050,” he explained.Improving Africa’s neglected food cropsImproving crop genetics is another possibility. Clay said more research is needed into producing crops with a higher nutritional content, using the same number of hectares.Various speakers pointed out that more research is necessary to promote the genetic improvement of Africa’s neglected food crops. Farmers should also be encouraged to grow a more diverse range of local crops such as sweet potato, cassava and millet. Many farmers moved away from these nutrition-rich crops to maize production, mainly because of market opportunities and price.Clay pointed out although Africa and the world will need much more food by 2050, innovative thinking throughout the food production value chain could reduce the pressure on farmers to meet this demand.
Onion Flats, a Philadelphia design-build firm that last year completed Pennsylvania’s first certified Passivhaus project, is transforming the one-time site of horse stables into a 27-unit townhouse project built to the Passivhaus standard.The Stables was originally planned as a 70-unit condominium project, but that was derailed by the collapse of the housing industry in 2008, says Onion Flats President Tim McDonald. By the time the financial picture had improved, the company had become more interested in Passivhaus design and decided to rework the project. Its partner on the project is Domani Developers, also of Philadelphia.The 2,500-square-foot townhouses, located in the Northern Liberties neighborhood just north of the Old City, will be divided into three “bars” of nine units each, McDonald says. Three modular units have been completed, and two of those have been sold. When the third unit has been sold, work will continue on the remaining units in the first bar, with the whole project potentially wrapped up in another year.McDonald says a blower-door test on one of the completed units meets the airtightness requirements in the Passivhaus standard. “Everybody is confident that it’s going to be certified,” he said, “but that’s a process that we have to go through.”In order to win certification, a Passivhaus building must show no more than 0.6 air changes per hour at a pressure difference of 50 pascals, while also demonstrating that (according to energy modeling software) that the building is likely to meet an energy consumption limit.Townhouses also have the potential of meeting all of their own energy needs as net-zero energy structures. The townhouse currently on the market is listed at $749,000 by The McDonald Group. Townhouses could be energy self-sufficientEach townhouse is sold with a 4.23-kW photovoltaic array, with the option of doubling capacity to 8.5 kW. With only two of the project’s eventual 27 units occupied, there’s not much of a track record on energy consumption to date, but McDonald says early signs are encouraging.Townhouses are equipped with “heavy duty” monitoring systems that measure temperature, humidity, CO2 levels, and electricity consumption. In one unit that’s been occupied for four months, energy consumption so far has been what’s appropriate for a Passivhaus design, McDonald says. “If they keep going the way they’ve been going, they’re really going to hit the mark,” he says. “With that in mind, if they had an 8.5-kW system, if they doubled the size [of the array], then it could be a net-zero building.”Mechanical engineer Robert Benson designed the heating and cooling equipment, which McDonald says starts with a PTAC (packaged terminal air conditioner), a through-the-wall unit with the condenser and evaporator built into the same box. At The Stables, the units combine a heat pump with an energy-recovery ventilator, so each unit’s duct system provides both heating and cooling as well as ventilation.“It’s a really, really cool system that was modeled off these products in Europe that we can’t quite get yet here in the states called magic boxes,” McDonald says. “They’re about the size of a refrigerator and they do heating, cooling, ventilation, and domestic hot water.”Benson managed to get three of those functions out of his own design. Domestic hot water comes from a heat-pump water heater.This is Onion Flat’s second foray into Passivhaus construction. Its first was the three-unit Belfield town homes, which McDonald says was the first certified Passivhaus project in the state. It was finished in 2012 and is listed as a certified project by Germany’s Passivhaus Institut. Four levels, plus a finished basementAs described by a sales brochure for the project, each townhouse occupies a 16-ft. by 40-ft. footprint, not including a 26-ft. long carport in the back.The first level is designed as a flexible space that could be what McDonald calls a “grandmother suite,” a media room, an office or a fourth bedroom. The combined kitchen/dining/living area, plus an exterior terrace, take up the second floor, with two bedrooms, a bath, and laundry on the third floor. The fourth floor includes the master bedroom and bath, a walk-in closet, and a balcony.There are three full baths, with optional upgrades that would make the 640-sq. ft. basement a finished living space and create a 170-sq. ft. rooftop terrace.McDonald says the modular units making up the townhouses have 2×6 walls insulated with dense-packed cellulose and an additional 2 in. of XPS rigid foam on the exterior. The roof and floor also are insulated with a combination of cellulose and rigid foam, with total R-values of R-34 in the exterior walls and R-52 in the roof.The doors and triple-glazed windows are manufactured by Intus.To meet city requirements for storm-water management, the vegetated roof is designed to absorb and reuse the first 1 inch of rainfall. McDonald says. Onion Flats has a division called GRASS (Green Roofs and Solar Systems) that designs the roof system, which the company uses on its projects whenever possible.
brian s hall In The Lawnmower Man, an exceedingly not-bright man is befriended by the brilliant, handsome scientist (Lanier?). By integrating the dolt with virtual reality tools and linking him with a singularly giant computer, the subject gains incredible mental powers. But very quickly, he – and everything – goes terribly wrong.Lanier foresaw the rise of computing power, even if he whiffed on its actual execution, with a deep-seated fear that, well, ignorant rubes would use it to muck everything up. Perhaps what held Lanier back was his deep-seated fear of what would happen if and when the power of the technologies he worked on reached the masses.Lanier can be lauded for his concerns that giant computer companies may harm people, or that we may lose our humanity by merging man and machine. Too often, however, Lanier seems to be repelled by the thought of these grand technologies flowing to the very people he claims to care about.While technology, computing and the “mob” mind have moved forward so quickly, Lanier appears to be standing still, seemingly content to speak at TED, SXSW and other events. Lanier’s VR dreams were a shockingly intriguing experiment in the 1980s. Some 30 years later, however, while virtual reality remains mostly vapor, the world has changed in dramatic ways Lanier never saw coming.Note: ReadWrite reached out to Mr. Lanier via the email provided on his personal website. He did not respond. Top image of Jaron Lanier courtesy of Flicker/vanz. Tags:#Virtual worlds A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Jaron Lanier helped create virtual reality, all the way down to “VR” headsets and handgear. Smithsonian Magazine called him an 1980s “Silicon Valley digital-guru rock star.” Lanier was regularly featured in Wired Magazine, particularly during its early, glory days. Nearly 30 years before the introduction of Google Glass, Lanier saw deep into a future where individuals could access virtual worlds. Lanier’s sizable vision, however, appears to have resulted in few actual usable products – nor much in the way of human advancement.In 1985, Jaron Zepel Lanier and Thomas G. Zimmerman left their jobs at Atari and founded VPL Research. VPL was the first company to sell VR goggles and accessories. (The company filed for bankruptcy in 1990.) Lanier was later a “visiting scholar” at Silicon Graphics, served as an advisor to Linden Lab – makers of “shared creative spaces” and the much-hyped Second Life virtual world – and has also worked as “scholar-at-large” on Microsoft’s Kinect controller. With the possible exception of the Kinect device – which actually has been linked to virtual reality efforts – it’s difficult to view any of Lanier’s efforts as a success. Big ThinkerIn 2010, Lanier was named to the Time 100. He was listed under the “Thinkers” category, along with Steve Jobs. Time described Lanier this way:In the 1980s, Lanier’s pioneering work on virtual reality reshaped our concept of how sensory interfaces enable human-computer interaction. As a musician, he has fused Eastern and Western traditions with artistry and technology. His ability to synthesize these forces — so often held in opposition — is the hallmark of his mind and the guiding philosophy of his book, in which he celebrates the potential of the Internet but also laments the way its misuse can suppress the individual voice.Comparing anyone’s accomplishments with Steve Jobs may be unfair, but unlike the late Apple co-founder, Lanier’s pioneering work hasn’t amounted to that much. Moreover, Lanier’s strident warnings of giant mainframes run by a few to control the many missed so many critical trends that it now sounds like 1980s science-fiction. Giant computer brains aside, the 52-year-old Lanier has often come close to the truth – yet was never able to fully capitalize on his insights. His efforts in the 1990s promoting “telepresence” and “tele-immersion,” for example, no doubt spurred innovation in the field. But the real work of bringing such technologies from vision to product has been left to others. Many of whom, Lanier has found time to criticize. Writing for Wired in December 2000, Lanier lambasted Ray Kurzweil, so-called father of “the singularity,” and others for their “cybernetic totalism.” Lanier expressed grave doubts that humans should or could be replaced by computers within a few decades – though in large part because of his belief that software grows increasingly more bloated and complex over time. Lanier did not foresee the rise of small stripped down apps and the mobile operatings systems on which they run. Lanier’s oft-expressed view that our machines could make us less human seems to have utterly discounted the truly empowering aspects of the merger of man and computer – the ability today for children to learn on their own using an iPad, for example.The Bad CollectiveLanier appears to have repeatedly discounted the power of the collective Web to enhance individual power and connectivity. In his 2006 essay, “Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism” Lanier came close to foreseeing the global rise of Twitter and Facebook. Instead of being awed at how this new level of connectivity might improve humanity, however, Lanier railed against those who “start to believe that the Internet itself is an entity that has something to say… and making ourselves into idiots.” Lanier sounded an alarm that not only fell on deaf ears, but suggests that the “collective” – basically, masses of people – are what we should fear most. From his essay: What we are witnessing today is the alarming rise of the fallcy of the infallible collective.Lanier continued, revealing his perception of the so-called wisdom of the crowd:The hive mind is for the most part stupid and boring. Why pay attention to it?Perhaps Lanier believes we have always been stupid. In his 2006 essay, “Beware the Online Collective,” Lanier stated:I wonder if some aspect of human nature evolved in the context of competing packs. We might be genetically wired to be vulnerable to the lure of the mob.The man who once sought to alter our very reality, create new worlds and prevent an anonymous cabal from controlling the masses, seems to possess a deep distrust of most people. Perhaps Virtual Reality was Lanier’s escape from this world?What’s to stop an online mass of anonymous but connected people from suddenly turning into a mean mob, just like masses of people have time and time again in the history of every human culture? It’s amazing that details in the design of online software can bring out such varied potentials in human behavior. It’s time to think about that power on a moral basis.It’s a valid concern, but Twitter-enhanced protests during the “Arab Spring,” for example, reveal that an “online mass” can be a force for liberation, not just a “mean mob.” Nonetheless, in his 2010 book, You Are Not a Gadget, Lanier returned to the theme of anonymous groups manipulating the masses.Much to CriticizeLanier has claimed that real-time, social sharing platforms, which he groups under the term “Web 2.0,” has glorified the collective. He has labeled Facebook and Google as “spy agencies.” Lanier has criticized aspects of open software. He suggests that collective-generated content, such as might be found today on Wikipedia or Quora, for example, “removes the scent of people,” whatever that means. Over and over again, Lanier has not only missed the rapid growth of the future just as it was about to strike, he also badly misunderstood the disruptive power, creative ability and even wisdom it confers to the very people he reputedly sought to protect from its rise.The Lawnmower Man As Prophecy?Here’s the perfect example. Lanier’s home page lists his books, musical works and upcoming speaking engagements and includes such “Celebrity Fluff” as:The 1992 movie Lawnmower Man was in part based on him and his early laboratory- he was played by Piers Brosnan (sic). 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting
Myla Pablo earns PVL MVP SEPANG—The Philippines and Myanmar Under-23 football teams have arrived with similar targets – to reach the semi-finals of the KL SEA Games.Myanmar head coach Gerd Zeise believes his team can achieve the target based on their silver-medal finish at Singapore 2015, when they lost 3-0 to Thailand in the final.ADVERTISEMENT The Philippines head coach, Marlon Maro, boldly predicted that Malaysia would win the gold medal.Thailand are the favourites to retain the gold after winning the last two editions but Maro, 52, feels that Malaysia could nick it based on the improvement shown by Datuk Ong Kim Swee’s charges.“Thailand are a good team, but I pick Malaysia as favourites for the gold medal. If you look back at history, Malaysia have a good record as hosts, having reached won gold in 1989 and silver in 2001,” said Maro.He also said that his players were better prepared this time compared to Singapore 2015 as “we have played a series of friendlies in Japan and Cambodia”.“We all know that we have two strong teams in our group – Thailand and Vietnam. So, we will take it one game at a time.ADVERTISEMENT Read Next “We must first clear the preliminary hurdles before thinking about the semi-finals. I’m confident my boys will be ready for the challenge,” Zeise told reporters after the team’s arrival at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) here Saturday.The 64-year-old German, however, warned his men not to underestimate the other teams in Group A, including hosts Malaysia, Singapore, Laos and Brunei.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“Malaysia are certainly the favourites to reach the semi-finals as hosts,” said Zeise, who was previously in charge of Myanmar’s senior team.Myanmar will kick off their campaign against Singapore at the Selayang Municipal Council Stadium on Monday. “Our main objective is to reach the semi-finals,” said Maro.The Philippines, who failed to advance to the knockout stage in 2015, are in Group B with Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Timor Leste.They will open their campaign against Cambodia at the Selayang Municipal Council Stadium on Aug 15.
Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netBanKo Perlas skipper Sue Roces said Wednesday it’s her team’s lack of teamwork that’s been the major factor in their skid at the start of the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference.The Perlas Spikers started the tournament 0-2 and their latest defeat was at the hands of Pocari Sweat in four sets, 25-21, 22-25, 25-19, 27-25, at Filoil Flying V Centre.ADVERTISEMENT “We haven’t been complete since the start of the conference,” said Roces who had 12 points in the loss. “We really lack the players so we really can’t rotate our pieces, and we still lack the teamwork.”“Just a little more, but we still need to be complete as a team.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsBanKo started its campaign in the Open Conference without Kathy Bersola, Nicole Tiamzon, who were on vacation after graduating from University of the Philippines, and Rysabelle Devandero.Roces said they’re able to practice but some players have day jobs and they couldn’t organize off-court activities where the players can bond outside of volleyball. Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games PLAY LIST 01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games00:50Trending Articles02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Beermen celebrate with fans as Grand Slam talks continue Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend LATEST STORIES Nikki Valdez rushes self to ER due to respiratory tract infection China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong “We’re able to practice every day but some of us are working, some are only able to join us at night,” said Roces. “We don’t have any time to bond so I guess that’s another thing we have to work out.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next View comments Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera MOST READ
BRADENTON, Fla.— Esmil Rogers, trying to cement a spot on the New York Yankees’ pitching staff, tossed two scoreless innings March 5 in a 2-1 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates.Rogers gave up just a double by Korean rookie Jung Ho Kang and also struck out one. If he makes the team, Rogers could be used as a long reliever and spot starter.First baseman Garrett Jones had two hits, including an RBI double in the fifth inning. Tyler Austin put the Yankees ahead with a towering solo home run in the eighth inning.Left-hander Francisco Liriano and right-hander Charlie Morton each tossed two scoreless innings for the Pirates.Liriano, the Pirates’ likely opening-day starter, gave up two hits, walked one and struck out two. Morton, who is recovering from offseason hip surgery, allowed two hits, walked two and struck out one.Alex Rodriguez did not make the trip with the Yankees.TweetPinShare0 Shares
TORONTO — The federal government says Ontario is being “alarmist” in its fight against Ottawa’s carbon pricing law.It says there is no merit to the province’s claim that Ottawa will gain vast new powers.A provincial lawyer on Monday told Ontario’s top court the law is unconstitutional because it strays far into provincial powers.He said the federal government could be able to tell people when to drive or where to live if the law stands.Today, a lawyer for the federal government disputed that notion.She says Ottawa’s only aim is to curb dangerous climate-changing emissions, which do not respect provincial boundaries.In her submissions to the Ontario Court of Appeal, Sharlene Telles-Langdon stressed the urgency in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to stop global warming scientists say will be catastrophic. The provinces, she said, simply can’t do it on their own.“There is a gap in Canada’s ability as a nation to meet the challenge as it now faces,” Telles-Langdon told the five-justice panel. “The federal power is directed toward a national measure, one that cannot be adopted by the provinces. This act is on the right side of that line.”At issue is the validity of federal legislation that kicked in on April 1 and which imposes a charge on gasoline and other fossil fuels as well as on industrial polluters. The law applies in those provinces that have no carbon-pricing regime of their own that meets national standards.Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government under Premier Doug Ford has denounced the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act as an illegal tax grab that will force up the price of gasoline and heating fuel.Telles-Langdon, however, argued the act respects provincial jurisdiction and recognizes the validity of provincial systems in relation to local industry regulation.“It’s the same throughout Canada,” Telles-Langdon said. “What it does is ensure a national system.” The Canadian Press
Junior all-around gymnast Jake Martin has claimed multiple accolades during his time as a Buckeye.Credit: Courtesy of OSU AthleticsBig Ten athletics are, more often than not, associated with football or men’s basketball.But that’s not what comes to mind for Jake Martin.When Martin thinks of the Big Ten, the first things that come to his mind are: Ohio State, gymnastics at Michigan and gymnastics at Illinois, the OSU all-around gymnast said.“I think gymnastics in general is underrated,” he said.Martin, a junior from Oviedo, Fla., has been a three-time U.S. Junior National Team member, and claimed fifth in the all-around at the 2014 NCAA Championships, along with picking up multiple Gymnast of the Week titles.When Martin was growing up and was asked where he wanted to attend college, he would mention OSU, and typically hear about the quality of its football team, he said. But he’d instead respond with names of top gymnasts that competed for the Buckeyes.“Blaine Wilson went here, Raj Bhavsar went there, the Hamm twins,” Martin said. “I know a lot of these things about the school that a lot of people wouldn’t know.”Wilson is a gymnast who won the Nissen-Emery Award in 1997, which is men’s gymnastics’ equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. He is also a silver medal recipient from the 2004 Athens Olympics. Bhavsar won the bronze medal in the 2008 summer Olympics and twins Paul and Morgan Hamm are American gymnasts who helped the U.S. win multiple medals in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics.Gymnastics was Martin’s biggest factor when it came down to attending college, he said. The freezing cold temperatures of Ohio are certainly not what he’s used to from growing up in central Florida, but it was a reasonable trade-off because of OSU’s impressive gymnastics program.Now with the Buckeyes, Martin has at least one teammate who thinks he’s at the top of the sport.“(Martin) is one of the best gymnasts in the United States in my opinion,” sophomore all-around Sean Melton said.While he might be one of the best by his teammate’s standards, there were some who told Martin to take his talents to a different sport when he was younger.Growing up tall, gymnastics wasn’t the first sport that came to people’s minds for Martin.“A lot of people told me going into high school, ‘You should probably think about doing other sports to get a scholarship,’” he said. “I did get some kind of grief from people.”Martin said people sometimes told him “gymnastics is a girl’s sport”, but he just laughed it off.“I didn’t do gymnastics for anyone,” he said. “I did it for me. So I just thought to myself, ‘If it’s a girl’s sport, I’m just going to enjoy it.’”Along with honing his craft as a gymnast, Martin said he has high aspirations in the classroom as well.As a junior international studies major, he’s preparing to take the LSAT in June and is preparing as much as he can to attend law school. Martin said the athletic department and school itself have been helpful during his times of frantic scheduling.Growing up, Martin appreciated the support he got from his family and friends. Now in college, the two-time All-American has noticed that the atmosphere OSU has sets it apart from the rest.“You have people in the crowd that you don’t know,” Martin said. “But they’re wearing scarlet and gray so you know they’re cheering for you and you know they’ve got your back.”Melton said Martin brings more to the team than anyone could ever ask for.“I think he’s a great leader,” Melton said. “To have him on my team is definitely something we’re happy about and I can’t speak more highly of him.”Martin discovered his interest in gymnastics when he was a child with a growing curiosity. His cousins taught him how to do a back handspring off of an old mattress, which he mimicked off of his couch, resulting in a sprained thumb.Shortly after, he was signed up for gymnastics class and within a year, he was signed up for a pre-team because of his impressive progression.“Once I started gymnastics, that was it … I just decided that this is exactly what I want to do,” he said.Martin considers gymnastics a sport in which one must always work at perfecting their skill.“The main goal (in a lot of other sports) is to score,” Martin said.For gymnastics, however, he said displaying one’s perfectly crafted skills is the main goal.“We’re using our bodies differently,” he said. “When people think of brute strength, they think of weightlifting. But when you look at still rings, you have to hold these positions and it’s the same thing except our toes are pointed.“Gymnastics brings this element of brute strength, but we have to make it look good.”While the 2016 Olympics aren’t for some time, Martin said he uses every practice and competition to hone his skills into becoming a better athlete and an Olympic hopeful.“It’s nerve-wracking and I try not to think about what’s going to happen a little over a year from now,” he said. “But it is coming up and I have been thinking about it.”