The Minister of Commerce and Industry (MOCI), Axel M. Addy, said an innovative economy is a dynamic and attractive one, and showcasing progress on the Information Communication Technology (ICT) front can help Liberia to attract investment and promote micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) across the country.Minister Addy made the assertion Thursday at the kickoff of this year’s MSME conference held at the Liberian Marketplace in Sinkor, which was graced by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; United States Ambassador Christine Elder; John B. S. Davies, President of the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI); Frederick B. Norkeh, Minister of Post and Telecommunications; Chief Executive Officer of Orange Liberia, Mamadou Coulibaly; as well as members of the National Legislature and innovative entrepreneurs of Liberia among others.He called Liberian innovators, MSME stakeholders and policy-makers to embrace this year’s MSME conference to exchange ideas and share lessons learned, in order to derive innovative solutions and policy recommendations to ensure ICT’s full potential will be exploited.“Through ICT innovation, MSMEs can combine growth with social impact, uplifting not only the economy, but also solving the social challenges our fellow Liberians may still face. Because of this inclusive growth it generates, ICT innovations hold a great promise for the future of our country and of our people,” Minister Addy said.He observed that in order to fully seize this opportunity and continue to push the frontiers of technology, this year’s focus on “Promoting Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Liberia” will highlight the vital role of innovation in our economy.Minister Addy said the MSME conference is also intended for key stakeholders from the public and private sectors to meet to discuss the challenges the country still faces to fully play a role in the digital revolution and what policy-makers, business community and civil society organizations can do to encourage and facilitate innovation in Liberia.“We all share a responsibility in exploiting these new opportunities and expanding our productive frontiers through innovation, in order to truly enable Liberia to take off. MSMEs need to adapt innovative solutions for their business development. Policy measures and public programs must encourage ICT usage and innovation by fostering a conducive business environment,” he added.He said “To create a middle-income Liberia, both grand and small innovations are necessary. This conference is not only the opportunity to proudly present cutting-edge innovations, but also to prove that innovation is accessible to all. Marginal adaptations of technology to everyday products can profoundly impact our routines.”Minister Addy said this year again, “Our Entrepreneur-Plus (“E+”) program, a two-year business incubation program awarding US$100,000 in seed funding to reward the most promising young entrepreneurs, will take place in cooperation with the Embassy of Sweden and Mercy Corps. We are also hosting a business innovation pitch competition to award prizes worth US$20,000 to ICT innovators.”Minister Addy said Vice President, Amb. Joseph N. Boakai will reward the best innovators on Saturday, as everyone enjoys a day of shopping and music at the concert organised by Orange.He said “From international marketing strategies to streamlining daily processes, inventory tracking, e-payments and cashless transactions, ICT is already present in many aspects of our MSMEs lives. But seeing that the sector already represents 7% of Africa’s jobs, and that 12% of the world’s cross-border trade in goods happens through e-commerce, it becomes evident that while digital innovations have impacted everyday life in Liberia, much of the revolution’s potential remains untapped.”Christine Elder, United States Ambassador to Liberia, said while the conference focuses on ICT, entrepreneurship is only partly driven by technology, stating “Entrepreneurship involves having a vision and taking risks.”According to her, technology can help entrepreneurs to be more efficient and successful, whether working in a market stall, storefront or from the kitchen table, describing info technology and this year’s location as excellent choices for the conference.She said a modern ICT sector has the potential to contribute to Liberia’s progress from increased economic growth to improved agricultural productivity and enhanced access to education and health.“The United States applauds Liberia for committing to develop a robust ICT sector and for acknowledging the central role this can play in strengthening the country’s economy and development, adding “The United States remains committed to help Liberia achieve this goal.”In addition, Madam Elder said the United States provides support for e-government and digital financial systems that can bring financial service to Liberians currently not being served by the formal banking sector. “We are also providing technical assistance on policies to help Liberia develop the regulatory and policy environment to grow its ICT sector.President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said she was impressed with the level of contribution made to the sector MSME by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI), and its partners which has impacted the sector largely.“The present of entrepreneurs here today and our partners demonstrate the gains being made and will continue to contribute to the development of the sector. I am proud to see our market women speaking and demanding of what they want,” she said.Keynote speakers Mlen-Too Wesley and Charles D. Cooper, founders of Cookshop.biz, called on Liberian innovators to partner in order to make progress within the sector.“Liberia needs more ICT innovators and working together as innovators will greatly help in achieving such a milestone. Liberia can make serious progress within this sector when everyone comes together and continue to build collaboration,” they noted. They said Liberia will achieve more within the ICT sector if innovators can see partnership as key to the general development of Liberia.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
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Little Chloe McCauley, aged six, is going to donate her blonde hair to charity and raise money for a special baby at the same time.Chloe will be having a haircut fundraiser on December 20th which is going to be in aid of baby Aoibhinn McGowan and her family. One-year-old baby Aoibhinn was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in July and has been getting treatment in John’s Ward, Crumlin Children’s Hospital. Chloe’s mother, Charlotte McCauley, said she was personally affected by Aoibhinn’s story and was inspired to help her family. She suggested to Chloe that she could help the family as she planned to get her long hair cut.“Myself and my husband would do a lot of charity work ourselves. We had a stillborn daughter some years ago and now raise awareness for bereavement charities. When I heard about Aoibhinn’s story I knew was it was like for the family. I felt sorry for them because I know what her family is going through,” Charlotte said.Baby Aoibhinn’s mother Maeve is originally from Gortahork and her father Dean is from Arranmore. They have three young girls – twins Aoibhinn and Alice and their younger sister Ava. Aoibhinn McGowanLittle Chloe was talking about her next haircut when Charlotte had the idea to tell her about the Little Princess Trust. The charity accepts donations of hair to be made into wigs for sick children.Charlotte then thought of combining Chloe’s hair donation with a fundraising event for Aoibhinn.“Aoibhinn has just started a new dose of chemotherapy. We are worried now that she is going to be very sick over Christmas. We just want to help the family as Aoibhinn will be going down a tough road over Christmas,” Charlotte said.Chloe’s blond hair reaches far down her back, and even though she loves her locks, Charlotte said that she is happy to donate it. “She herself calls it her ‘Rapunzel hair,” Charlotte said.Peter Mark in Letterkenny have sponsored the haircut, and Charlotte plans to do a livestream of the event. Chloe’s long locks will be chopped up into a bob, or as long as she can leave it that is appropriate for school.“Chloe understands that she is helping somebody, and she’s very proud that her hair is going to help a wee girl that is sick,” Charlotte said. “Everyone is sending messages to say how proud they are for her being so young to do it.”“She’s an emotional little girl. She was only very young when we lost our baby,” Charlotte said, looking back on when she and her husband William’s baby was stillborn in 2013.Charlotte has set up a Go Fund Me campaign page ahead of Chloe’s haircut on December 3rd in Peter Mark Hairdressing. She said that Chloe is asking for donations of as little as €1 or €2, with all proceeds going to Aoibhinn’s fund.Visit the GoFundMe page for more information. Brave Donegal girl plans to donate her hair for charity was last modified: November 23rd, 2016 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:charityfundraising
A swarm of bees made from about 400used paper cups.(Image: Such Initiative) The Such Initiative plastic bottle topmosaic tapestry.(Image: Such Initiative) The hippo sculpture made from driftwood.(Image: Such Initiative)MEDIA CONTACTS • Hannelie Coetzee Such Initiative+27 82 810 1835RELATED ARTICLES• Waste drive reaps rewards• Plastic recycling major job spinner • UK sculpture honour for Pistorius• Isandlwana: past lessons apt today• Ndebele car art in New York Wilma den HartighWhen visual artists Hannelie Coetzee and Usha Seejarim decided to establish the Such Initiative in 2009, a participatory public art organisation, they had no idea that the project would generate so much interest.The idea came about in 2009 when Coetzee and Seejarim were sharing studio space. “We realised that if we work together we could achieve more and we were both keen to do community work. We also realised that we can take on bigger projects when we work together,” Coetzee says.Since starting the initiative they have been awarded numerous high-profile commissions to create large-scale works of art using recyclable materials.With each new work of art, waste material is transformed into something beautiful and their hope is that waste gains a currency, instead of being viewed as disposable items without value.“Everything we do at Such is made from recyclables or material considered to be waste. We use whatever we see lying around,” she says.Waste for a purposeWhat inspires them the most is the participatory nature of their work and the involvement of communities in every project.If people can experience the versatility of waste through the creation of art, it encourages discussion about recycling, has a unifying effect on communities and people start taking responsibility for their actions and the environment.“We are motivated by a need to make meaningful contributions on a social, environmental and aesthetic level through public art,” she says.There is no limit to the type of work they take on – they have created artworks across the country in the most unusual of locations.For one of their projects, they spent a week on a beach to create a large hippo sculpture made from driftwood. The artwork, which was about 4m high and 30m long, was created in partnership with artists in St Lucia in KwaZulu-Natal.All works of art are site-specific and created to tell a specific story in a place. “We find inspiration from the places where we work. We always visit the site before getting started to see how we can respond to the site in a visual way.”Their willingness to salvage any waste item has led to the creation of thought-provoking and innovative art.Such Initiative’s first corporate commission, awarded by Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), required them to make a swarm of bees from about 400 used paper cups from the company’s canteen.RMB commissioned the Such Initiative to create the public artwork at their head office in Sandton earlier in 2011. The installation was to coincide with World Environment Day and the goal was to raise awareness about the need for recycling and waste separation at source.The swarm of bees also made reference to other concepts such as black economic empowerment, or BEE; corporate culture; corporate workspace; collective thinking and collaboration.Hundreds of handmade bees were suspended in the building’s atrium, using fishing gut. “What was wonderful about the site is that all the offices look onto the atrium and everyone could see the bees,” Coetzee says.Although employees at first seemed reluctant to get involved with the project, many couldn’t contain their curiosity.“As we were working people started asking questions and many people even brought their used coffee cups to us where we were making the bees.”Although the installation was temporary, the artwork is to be included in a catalogue of all RMB art.Coetzee said that the RMB commission achieved its purpose to encourage employees to think differently about their contribution to waste in the workplace.Award-winning bottle top tapestryThe Such Initiative plastic bottle top mosaic project, commissioned by Arts Alive, an annual arts festival project of the City of Johannesburg, recently won an award.The project claimed top honours in the Business and Arts South Africa Awards’ new Arts and Environment category. The bottle top project was sponsored by waste removal company Pikitup.The mosaic project started during the 2010 Fifa World Cup in eight community centres in Johannesburg. Children were invited to participate and, in return, they learnt about art, recycling and eco-conscious living.The tapestry, displayed on Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown in Johannesburg’s city centre, was made from 90 000 discarded plastic bottle tops. Its construction involved the eight community centres, 140 children, 30 disabled adults and 31 crafters.Earlier this year the tapestry was exhibited at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.Coetzee says the 14m-high tapestry was an ambitious project. All the bottle tops had to be woven in keeping with a pattern. “We were surprised at the accuracy with which the children completed their task and the youngest weaver was only eight years old.”Recycling for changeCoetzee hopes that they continue to receive more commissions. The educational approach of each project is already making a visible impact in communities.She says the responses to a survey conducted after the plastic bottle top drive showed that people were more likely to recycle following their involvement with the project.“This is good news as it suggests that perceptions about waste are changing.”
A mosquito repellent patch, made using non-toxic substances, is being developed to curb diseases such as malaria. Developed by Olfactor Laboratories in the US, the company hopes to release its innovation in the first quarter of 2017.A patch has been created that will help beat malaria by repelling mosquitoes. (Image: Indiegogo)Brand South Africa reporterA sticker patch could be the next step in malaria prevention in Africa. It is being developed in California by Olfactor Laboratories. People wearing the patch became invisible to mosquitoes, said the company, and could be guarded against bites for up to 48 hours.Called the Kite Patch, it uses safe chemicals that stop mosquitoes from detecting the carbon dioxide humans breathe out, which the insects use to track people.“Our goal is to be ready to ship Kite Patch in Q1 2017,” reads the campaign page on the crowdfunding website, Indiegogo.“When you wear Kite, the product makes you practically invisible to mosquitoes,” said chief researcher Dr Michelle Brown in a video. “And we’ve been able to accomplish this using food-grade FDA approved compounds, removing the need to use toxic and dangerous chemicals that are currently found in today’s products.”Watch the video:Kite Patch from SPARKHOUSE on VimeoBrown said science was integral to fighting malaria, but there was no silver bullet. “However, we are confident that our work to make humans invisible to mosquitoes will be transformational in the broader war against mosquito-borne diseases.”Funding and field studyThe project was co-funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and money was raised using the crowdfunding methods on Indiegogo.Innovative @KitePatch blocks a mosquito’s ability to sense humans. Interesting approach in fight against #malaria: http://t.co/mNMXSgrnTy— Bill Gates (@BillGates) August 26, 2013The team travelled to Uganda as part of their field survey.“We researched and tested various technologies, brought in experts and worked with development partners to make Kite Patch a possibility,” reads the Indigogo site. “Some approaches proved unscalable, some underperformed and all required a long regulatory approval processes.”However, researchers have said that at this stage, the patch is not yet as effective as other Kite mosquito repellents. “As we continue to develop it, we seek to make it a complementary product to Kite Shield [mosquito repellent spray].”Source: Biz NewsWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Ellen Essman and Peggy Hall, Ohio Law Blog, Agricultural & Resource Law Program at The Ohio State UniversityOhio’s House Energy & Natural Resources Committee was busy in early December. House Energy & Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on Senate Bill 2 that would implement a Statewide Watershed and Planning Program through the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA). Under the bill, ODA would be charged with categorizing watersheds in Ohio and appointing coordinators for each of the watersheds. ODA and the coordinators would work closely with soil and water conservation districts to manage watersheds. Ag groups such as the Sheep Improvement Association, the Cattleman’s Association, the Pork Council, the Dairy Producers Association, and the Poultry Association testified in favor of SB 2.In addition to SB 2, they also discussed House Bill 401. In the simplest terms, if passed, HB 401 would allow townships to hold a referendum on approved wind projects. This means that with a vote, townships could overturn decisions made by the Ohio Power and Siting Board (OPSB).In the committee hearing, wind industry representatives argued that such a referendum would be harmful, since it would overturn OPSB decisions after companies have already spent a great deal of money to be approved by the Board. They also argued that the bill singles out the wind industry and does not allow referendums on other energy projects. Republican committee members signaled that they may be willing to revise the language of HB 401 to allow a referendum before OPSB decisions.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress on Friday sparred over criminal cases, including that of the rape of a minor girl, pending against the Congress candidate for Panaji bypoll, Atanasio Monserrate.The BJP women’s wing alleged in a press conference that electing Mr. Monserrate, who has been chargesheeted for raping a minor girl last year, as an MLA would render the State capital unsafe for women. The Congress in response asked BJP as to how he had been appointed as a chairperson of a government authority by late chief minister Manohar Parrikar even after being booked for rape of a minor by Parrikar government’s own police. “The people of Panaji do not want a person accused of rape as an MLA. The State capital will be unsafe for women,” Goa BJP vice president Kunda Chodankar said at a press conference on Friday. Responding to the BJP charges, Congress, Goa president Girish Chodankar accused the BJP of doublespeak.
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Steel beams and giant cranes tower over a lot next to the Bradley Center, a busy construction site that will turn into the next home of the Milwaukee Bucks.A new downtown arena offers the most visible sign of progress for a franchise in transition.From the emergence of Giannis Antetokounmpo as an NBA All-Star to a return to the playoffs, this has been an important season for the Bucks. They return home on Thursday to host the Toronto Raptors in Game 3 of a first-round series tied at 1-1.“In a very real sense, we’re in the process of fulfilling the commitment we made … building the arena and building in downtown Milwaukee,” co-owner Wes Edens said. “Every time you go out there, you can see the arena rising before your eyes.”Edens was part of an ownership group that bought the franchise from former U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl in 2014. The goals seemed lofty back then: turning a 15-win team back into a winner while also building a new arena that would keep the Bucks in town.While the road to reaching both targets hasn’t always been smooth, the Bucks are brimming with optimism.On the court, Antetokounmpo blossomed into the team’s first All-Star since 2004, and first All-Star starter since 1986. He’s now in the top 10 of NBA jersey sales, the first Bucks player on that list since Gary Payton’s brief tenure with the team in 2003.A 6-foot-11 forward with freakish athleticism, Antetokounmpo is a triple-double threat every night.“His length is unbelievable,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “He plays so hard, the kid plays so hard. He has a heart as big as this table.”A first-round draft pick in 2013, the 22-year-old Antetokounmpo is part of a young group for the Bucks at similar points in their development, including fifth-year forward-guard Khris Middleton and third-year forward Jabari Parker. Middleton returned from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for the season’s first 50 games on Feb. 8, the same night that Parker was lost with a season-ending left knee injury.The Bucks still made the playoffs and finished above .500 for the first time since 2009-10 on the strength of tougher defense and winning close games in a 14-victory March.“One of the things that I’ve learned is that no one feels sorry for you. At one point (we were) 22-30 and struggling,” Edens said. “It starts with the very high play of Giannis. … Khris came back and he’s such a good basketball player, you see him down the stretch being so effective.“Look at the record in close games, were much better down the stretch. More broadly, the team is a very deep team,” Edens added.After the new ownership group took over, the Bucks began using the slogan “Own the Future.” They’ve tweaked that slogan on a highway billboard in recent days to read “Come See the Future,” a nod to the playoffs and the arena project.“We have a two- to four-year plan to be an extremely successful, sustainable NBA franchise,” team President Peter Feigin said. “You tell the promise and then you deliver on it.”The $524 million project is expected to be completed before the 2018-19 season. A public financing plan covered $250 million toward construction, with current and former team owners having committed $250 million and expected to cover any cost overruns.The Bucks are scheduled to move into a new 60,000 square-foot practice facility across the street from the new arena this summer, what the team says will be a state-of-the-art space that will be among the best in the league. It promises to be a big upgrade over the current facility just outside Milwaukee.The new downtown project would be the centerpiece of a multi-purpose entertainment district on what was 30 acres of mostly vacant land or parking lots. The goal is to turn the area into “a vibrant neighborhood activated by sports, entertainment, residential and office uses,” the team has said.A playoff berth for the Bucks allows the rest of the NBA to also get a glimpse of the team’s future.“It means a lot for the franchise and the city of Milwaukee,” Middleton said. “We’ve come a long way.”GENARO C. ARMAS, AP Sports WriterTweetPinShare0 Shares
In an interview last January, Odenkirk said he was regretting Jimmy’s evolution into Goodman.“Jimmy is mutating and changing,” the actor said on the set of the series, shot in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “There are parts of this guy that are shutting down. The lesser angels of his nature are coming to the surface. It’s a shame to have to say goodbye to him.”Executive producer Peter Gould, who developed the Goodman character on Breaking Bad, spoke to the Times in a phone interview last week about his long-awaited arrival and what may be in store for viewers as Better Call Saul moves closer to merging with Breaking Bad. Advertisement Login/Register With: Advertisement The moment that fans of the AMC drama Better Call Saul (the quirky prequel to the landmark drama Breaking Bad) have been waiting 2-1/2 seasons for finally arrived Monday night: the introduction of the title character.Better Call Saul has focused on con-man-turned-lawyer Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk), a likable attorney who often resorts to bending the rules of law. In the current season, the drama has moved closer to McGill’s evolution into Saul Goodman, his shadier alter ego who became the legal protector of drug kingpin Walter White in Breaking Bad.Goodman arrived with a flashy flourish in Monday’s episode, “Off Brand.” In the instalment, a ruling in a disciplinary hearing pitting Jimmy against his most bitter opponent, his brother Chuck McGill (Michael McKean), results in Jimmy being suspended from practising law for one year. The penalty presents Jimmy with a dilemma: he’s purchased $4,000 of local air time advertising his services, money he is in danger of losing.Jimmy comes up with a scheme to advertise to sell the time. In a disguise accented by a black cap, sunglasses and facial hair, Jimmy goes into hyper-huckster mode in a commercial where he appears as ad salesman “Saul Goodman.” Twitter Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement
Facebook Advertisement Advertisement Gene Simmons, legendary frontman and co-founder of KISS, one of rock’s most successful and longest-running bands, announces three Ontario appearances this November. After an epic and storied 45-year career, and hot on the heels of “End of the Road,” his final world tour with KISS, Gene Simmons sits down with Canadian audiences for an intimate and candid conversation. (CNW Group/UP Next PR) Twitter Audience members will be invited to take part in the conversation through an interactive Question & Answer period that promises to generate an interesting discussion.Simmons’ three Ontario appearances begin in London on November 6th at The Start.ca Performance Stage at Budweiser Gardens. A stop in Niagara Falls follows on November 8th at the Scotiabank Convention Centre. The final appearance will take place in Peterborough on November, 9th at the Peterborough Memorial Centre. Information on how to participate in the Q&A will be announced soon! Tickets for the London show go on sale Friday, June 21st at 12 NOON EST. Tickets for the Niagara Falls and Peterborough shows go on sale Wednesday, June 26th at 10 AM EST for further event information visit www.genesimmonscanada.comAbout Gene Simmons:Gene Simmons is a multi-hyphenate entrepreneur and one of the world’s most recognized personalities. Born in Haifa, Israel in 1949 named Chaim Witz, when Gene was just eight years old, his mother decided to move to the United States. They settled in New York City, and she felt that he needed to have a name that sounded more American, so she changed his name to Eugene Klein. He would not know wealth until after he became a well-known musician and performer with KISS the hard rock band that rose to unbelievable heights of fame. Simmons co-founded KISS, America’s #1 Gold Record Award Winning Group of all time, in all categories (RIAA). KISS also boasted over 3,000 licensed/merchandise items and in 2014 was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Simmons film and television accolades include the film titled “Detroit Rock City.” Simmons went on to create a reality television show, where he starred alongside his wife, daughter, and son in the series “Gene Simmons: Family Jewels.” With a fortune at his disposal, he could do anything that he wants. He chooses to travel and to share his wisdom with others. LONDON, ON – Gene Simmons, legendary frontman and co-founder of KISS, one of rock’s most successful and longest-running bands, announces three Ontario appearances this November.After an epic and storied 45-year career, and hot on the heels of “End of the Road,” his final world tour with KISS, Gene Simmons sits down with Canadian audiences for an intimate and candid conversation. Simmons who rose to fame in the ’70s as the blood-spitting, fire-breathing, bass-playing Demon will share his life stories in this tell-all moderated discussion on how he approached his band as a business, stepping up to new opportunities and taking massive risks. The entrepreneur, author, television personality and Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famer, who with KISS sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, will unleash his acumen and lay out his secrets on what it takes to climb the ranks to join the wealthy and powerful in his unstoppable and unapologetic style. Advertisement Login/Register With: LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment
This has not been an enormously surprising NFL season. The four teams remaining in the playoffs — the Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts — were well liked by Vegas bettors before the season began. There are a couple of compelling story lines surrounding Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. (Is Manning finished? Not necessarily. Is he a playoff choker? Not really.) But betting favorites have won six of eight playoff games so far, and the two upsets (Indianapolis over Denver last week; the Baltimore Ravens over the Pittsburgh Steelers two weeks ago) were fairly ordinary.One of the great things about being a sports fan is that you can take some pleasure either way. Upsets are fun when they happen. But when they don’t, you get to see higher-quality opponents remain in contention. The joy football fans might take from the remainder of this NFL season is tilted toward the latter: We should have two compelling conference championship games this weekend, and they ought to produce a compelling Super Bowl.In fact, the four remaining teams rank Nos. 1 through 4 in FiveThirtyEight’s NFL Elo Ratings. The Colts were ranked No. 7 last week, but their big win over the Broncos was enough to vault them into the fourth position.None of the remaining teams is a slouch. And one has a chance to finish among the best NFL teams of all-time.The Elo ratings have a bird crush on the Seahawks. Only four previous teams (the 2004 and 2007 Patriots, the 1997 Packers and the 1983 Washington Redskins) have entered the conference championship game with a higher Elo rating.So, is this the best conference championship field of all time? No, that’s getting a little carried away. But it’s well above average. Based on the average Elo rating of the four conference championship teams, it ranks seventh among the 45 seasons since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. We’ve seen a shift away from the parity of the late 1980s and 1990s toward more dominant franchises.Seattle remains the Elo favorite to win the Super Bowl — as it was at the start of the season. Its chances of a repeat are up to 45 percent — not quite even money, but close — followed by the Patriots at 30 percent and the Packers and Colts at 12 percent each.These probabilities are almost identical to those established by betting markets. Accordingly, the point spreads that Elo sets for the conference championship games — Elo has had a pretty good year against Vegas, but we don’t recommend that you bet on these — are largely in line with the gambling consensus:Elo has Seattle favored by a touchdown over Green Bay, just as prevailing betting lines do. This is a bit surprising given how much Elo likes the Seahawks and how it’s been comparatively down on Green Bay. But Elo does not consider that the Seahawks may have an especially large home-field advantage.In the AFC Championship game, Elo favors the Patriots by five points — consensus betting lines have New England as 6.5-point favorites instead. That’s a marginal difference. And as I’ve said, we wouldn’t recommend placing bets based on Elo ratings, especially given that it’s been unwise historically to wager against Bill Belichick and the Pats.