Sundance Ceremony Part 2 The Buffalo Dance

first_imgAPTN National NewsThe Buffalo dance came to elder David Blacksmith in a dream. The Sprucewoods Sundance Chief later learned that it’s an ancient ceremony that was unheard of for decades. Now it’s one of the most important dances at his gathering.Blacksmith granted APTN access to his gathering in Manitoba and while there many agreed to speak about why they attend the sacred ceremony.APTN’s Shanneen Robinson now with part 2 of her series.last_img

Blue bin dos and donts City of Regina checking bins to educate

BRANDON HARDER / Regina Leader-Post Related City bringing new recycling pilot project to leisure centres Blue bin blues: Finding solutions to an ailing recycling industry Right now, Wilson said around 11 per cent of what ends up in the recycling cannot be processed. These items have to be sorted out and taken to the landfill by workers at the recycling processing plant, lengthening the process and upping the cost. She also reminded residents to leave their recycling loose in the bin instead of putting it in garbage bags as this also slows down processing.By letting people know where they could be improving, Wilson hopes the program will encourage people to recycle more and recycle right, saving the city some cash and keeping more waste out of the landfill. It will also give the city a chance to gather data on which items confuse people the most.Wilson reassured residents that city workers will not be digging through recycling carts or dumping anything out, but simply opening the lid and looking at what is on top.The program will run for six weeks, wrapping up at the end of October.lgiesbrecht@postmedia.com Pat Wilson, director of water, waste and environmental services for the City of Regina, speaks to reporters about new efforts to educate people on what they can and can’t put in their curbside recycling bins during a media event at a city property on McIntyre Street. As part of a city-wide education program, residents could soon see a pair of city workers flipping open the lid of their blue recycling bin and peering inside, looking for any any items that shouldn’t be there.Starting next week, the City of Regina is launching the CartSmart Program, where workers will be checking recycling bins. Bins with improper items will be given an “oops” tag clarifying what residents could improve on, and bins given the all clear will receive a “good job” sticker.Pat Wilson, director of water, waste and environmental services for the city, said even though the city’s recycling program has been in place since 2013, there is still some confusion about what should be sorted into the blue bin and what goes in the trash.“This program will give us a chance to find out what kinds of things are causing people problems and what we can do to better help people get the right things in the right places,” she said.“Folks might have come from another city where, for example, flimsy plastics like plastic bags might be accepted in one program, but our program doesn’t accept those just because of the kind of processing plant we have. Those flimsy plastics wrap around the equipment and damage it.”Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.Common items to avoid recycling include stretchy plastic bags like grocery bags, crinkly plastic packaging like chip bags, paper disposable cups and food and yard waste. read more

In letter to staff Annan outlines steps to improve security for UN

The Secretary-General announced the panel in a letter to all UN staff in which he promised to do his “utmost to ensure that such failures are not repeated either in Iraq or elsewhere.” Besides the work of the panel, he said he would personally review “the serious weaknesses that have been revealed in the management of our security system.” The letter also outlined steps he had taken immediately after the bombing. Mr. Annan indicated that his letter to staff was in response to the report of a UN-commissioned panel to investigate the bombings – led by Martti Ahtisaari, a former President of Finland – which found the UN security systems to be “dysfunctional” and lacking in accountability. Mr. Annan’s letter, addressed to “Dear Colleagues,” said, “Like all of you, I am gravely concerned at the findings of the Independent Panel which I appointed, after the disaster of 19 August, to look into the safety and security of UN personnel in Iraq. The Panel’s report reveals serious shortcomings in our provision of security to UN staff in Iraq. “We owe it to all those affected by the attack on our Baghdad headquarters – the dead, the injured, the survivors, and their families – to do our utmost to ensure that such failures are not repeated, either in Iraq or elsewhere. Indeed, we also owe that to ourselves and to each other.” Mr. Annan said, “I am appointing an independent team of experts to review the responsibilities of key individuals for the lack of preventive and mitigating actions before the attack on 19 August. “Secondly, I am reviewing the serious weaknesses that have been revealed in the management of our security system,” he said. The letter outlined other investigations and reviews he ordered immediately after the bombings, saying that the Ahtisaari report would help their work, and he reported that he had ordered the remaining international staff in Baghdad to relocate temporarily for consultations with security staff from UN Headquarters in New York. The relocation of the Baghdad staff had been announced yesterday. Mr. Annan said, “As Secretary-General, I will spare no effort in acting on the conclusions of the Panel’s report. I deeply regret the systemic failures that it has revealed, and I look forward to your support in our endeavours to rectify them.” read more

Moving away from the fear factor Bringing insects into mainstream diets

One Hop Kitchen’s Eli Cadesky poses with insect protein based pasta sauces and protein material in Toronto on Wednesday December 21, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn TORONTO – Imagine grabbing a mealworm powder smoothie for breakfast, snacking on chocolate chip and cricket cookies at work and coming home to a big bowl of pasta drenched in a cricket bolognese sauce.A number of entrepreneurs are banking on this environmentally friendly, nutritionally dense protein hopping into the average Joe’s diet and are cooking up products to help make these critters a pantry staple.“It’s moving away from the novelty. It’s moving away from the fear factor,” says Eli Cadesky, co-founder and CEO of C-fu Foods in Toronto.The company sells textured insect proteins that can replace traditional meat, soy, eggs or dairy when cooking. His second company, One Hop Kitchen, uses the product to make two bolognese sauces — one with crickets and the other with mealworm.The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations encourages entomophagy — or the eating of insects — because of its environmental and health benefits.Most insects likely produce less greenhouse gases, require less water and feed, and need less land than traditional livestock, according to the FAO. They also tend to be high in fatty acids, fibre and micronutrients, and don’t tend to transmit diseases to humans.A bottle of One Hop Kitchen’s pasta sauce costs US$9.99 in the U.S. and C$9.99 in Canada.People trying One Hop Kitchen’s products now do so because they want to be more conscious consumers, Cadesky says, with 25 to 50 year-olds identifying as vegetarian, vegan or flexitarian, meaning they sometimes eat meat, making up the bulk of his customer base.Around the world, humans eat more than 1,900 types of insects, including beetles, caterpillars and bees, according to the FAO — often because they’re a favoured food and not due to a lack of options. Most of the insects are consumed in Asia, Africa and Latin America.The trick to helping the protein become more commonplace in North America is to package it in ways that make it easy to add to the average person’s diet, says Esther Jiang, the CEO of Toronto-based Gryllies, which sells a pasta sauce made with crickets.“Everyone wants to eat better — whether it’s for themselves or the environment. But, there is a big learning curve associated with that,” she says. “So, we want to just essentially break down the barriers to make it more accessible to everyone.”Pasta sauce, for example, is something most everyone knows how to make. The only difference is that Gryllies and One Hop Kitchen’s products include insects.At Gryllies’s last visit to a local market, the company sold out of its tomato sauce before the day was over, she says, and staff had to return to the kitchen to create more for the next day’s event.Jiang finds about 80 per cent of passers-by of a Gryllies booth are willing to sample some sauce and buy into the environmental and health benefits.After they taste it and see how it can fit into their eating repertoire, she says, “it is such an easy sell. It just makes sense.”The market for edible insects is growing rapidly, says Alex Drysdale, who launched CrikNutrition, a Winnipeg-based company that sells a cricket protein powder, in the spring of 2015.Between 2016 and 2024, the edible insect market is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 6.1 per cent, according to a report published last August by Persistence Market Research. By the end of 2024, it will account for US$722.9 million.Drysdale says he fields calls nearly every week from individuals starting up insect farms or insect protein companies.Anticipating growing demand, all three companies plan to expand their offerings in the future. One Hop Kitchen is tinkering with a curry and a spicy Arrabbiata sauce, while Gryllies is eyeing other types of alternative proteins, like algae.Still, they recognize they can’t convert everyone right away.Sometimes, people refuse to stop by Gryllies’s booth at markets when they hear what the company is selling, says Jiang, who assumes they can’t overcome the emotional or mental barrier of eating something with the reputation of a creepy and crawly.She remains optimistic that most will overcome that reaction eventually.“With any new trend that comes with food, it does take some time,” says Jiang. “But I think it’s only a matter of time that it becomes more mainstream.”Follow @AleksSagan on Twitter. ‘Moving away from the fear factor:’ Bringing insects into mainstream diets by Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press Posted Jan 5, 2017 8:32 am MDT Last Updated Jan 5, 2017 at 9:40 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

At UN transition leader urges support as wartorn Central African Republic pursues

Catherine Samba-Panza told delegations that the Assembly’s high-level debate is taking place amid a “difficult situation” in her country. Political instability and internal conflicts had plunged the Central African Republic (CAR) into a state of extreme vulnerability. “The country has been shaken and its people are facing tragic situations,” she said. In January 2014, her predecessor resigned, Ms. Samba-Panza said, noting that subsequently, her leadership had given rise to hope. She was the country’s first female President; “a radical break from the past”. She had set out to address the myriad challenges, embarking on efforts to restore security and peace, address the humanitarian crisis, launch activities that fostered economic growth, and ensure the convening of free, transparent elections.The CAR has been embroiled in fighting, fuelled by what are believed to be inter-communal retaliatory attacks between anti-balaka and Séléka rebels, after the latter were ousted from power in January 2014. The UN estimates 2.2 million people are believed to be in need of humanitarian aid as a result.Today, Ms. Samba-Panza told the Assembly that her call for international support for her transitional Government had not fallen on deaf ears, and she welcomed the Security Council’s establishment of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). Since 15 September, authority had been transferred from the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA) to MINUSCA. The success of that transition depended upon the involvement of national security forces. Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration would require substantial international support.On the humanitarian front, she said the number of internally displaced persons has dropped; 81 per cent have left the camps and returned to their communities. Yet, the situation is nevertheless concerning, as it hinges on fragile security. In addition, the conflict had cut the country’s economic growth rate by 36 per cent in 2013, plunging it into recession. She expressed hope that the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on rapid disbursement of funds will put the country on a path of growth.On the political front, Ms. Samba-Panza said that she has focused on “disarming hearts and minds” through national reconciliation. The Ebola outbreak and the spread of Boko Haram and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), terrorist groups in neighbouring Nigeria and Cameroon were also worrying, she added.She supported efforts to cut the illegal flow of small arms and light weapons and expressed commitment to fight impunity, noting that her country was a party to the Rome Statute. She also supported the effort of France and Mexico to limit the veto power in the Security Council in cases concerning such serious crimes as genocide. On climate change, she urged Member States to ratify the Doha amendment to the Kyoto Protocol. read more

Whirlwind of thievery at Canterbury Archaeological Trust is as devastating as Palmyra

first_img“It is the heritage of Canterbury trampled and trodden on by a pair of thieves. We have been caught up in a whirlwind of thievery.” “The combs are so fragile that in their hands they will disintegrate,” added Mr Bennett.”They may end up on eBay or car boot sales for pennies whereas their real place is in a museum. They are our legacy for future generations.”These two people have been allowed to run rampant and steal our material. They are a couple of low lives who live locals. They must have a huge swag bag. Trust director Paul Bennett, who this week received an MBE from the Prince of Wales, said it was a ‘disaster’ for the country.“It is one of the biggest thefts of archaeological artefacts in the world,” he said.“It is almost like in Syria, Iraq and the archaeological sites there and Libya, where I also work.“It ranks with the theft of the Benghazi treasure in 2011 at the end of the revolution.“They have left such chaos it is difficult to determine what has been stolen. It is as bad as the Viking Sacking of Canterbury in 1011.” Pictures showing the amphitheatre in the ancient city of Palmyra in central Syria before and after Isil destructionCredit:AFP Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The raids left artefacts strewn across the floor at the Canterbury Archaeological Trust  A Kent Police spokesman said: “Officers from Kent Police are appealing for information after historical artefacts were stolen by burglars.”The items are reported to have been stolen from the Canterbury Archaeological Trust, in Kingsmead Road, overnight on 22 and 23 January and again on 23 and 24 January.Anyone with information is asked to contact Kent Police on 01843 222289 quoting ZY/4200/18.Alternatively contact Kent Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111. The raids left artefacts strewn across the floor at the Canterbury Archaeological Trust Credit: Canterbury Archaeological Trust Propaganda videos released by the terrorist group have shown militants dynamiting centuries old churches and mosques and rampaging through museums with pickaxes and sledgehammers.Isil claims it is destroying idol worship and correcting the history of Islam and has sold plundered artefacts to fund its campaign.However the attacks in Canterbury appear to have purely financial motives. The two thieves also stole copper cables from the building during the burglaries and one of the men was caught on camera stealing beer from a local shop.The trust was hit by four break-ins in the space of a week in January and the perpetrators took around 860 Anglo-Saxon beads as well as replica bronze axes, Iron Age coins, combs and pins and a plaster bust of Queen Victoria.center_img Hundreds of Anglo-Saxon beads were takenCredit:Canterbury Archaeological Trust The ancient Syrian city of Palmyra being blown up by Isil Thousands of rare Anglo-Saxon and Iron Age treasures have been stolen from an archaeological trust in a raid likened to Isis’s destruction of ancient archaeological sites in Syria and Iraq.Canterbury Archaeological Trust said its collection had been devastated by a ‘whirlwind of thievery’ in which precious artefacts, coins, beads and bones were snatched.Archaeologists are concerned that the nationally important hoard could end up on eBay or sold for scrap metal and are urging the public and antiques dealers to lookout for the items. The destruction of archaeology has hugely increased in recent years, fuelled by Isil’s war on cultural heritage which has seen sites like the Syrian city of Palmyra bulldozed and blown-up. Pictures showing the amphitheatre in the ancient city of Palmyra in central Syria before and after Isil destruction Hundreds of Anglo-Saxon beads were taken The ancient Syrian city of Palmyra being blown up by Isillast_img read more

Turtles evolve to use flippers like hands and karatechop prey

first_imgA green turtle swiping the stinging jellyfish (Cyanea barkeri) at Hook Island, Queensland, AustraliaCredit:Copyright Fujii et al. shared under Creative Commons CC BY  “It shows an important aspect of evolution – that opportunities can shape adaptations.” Sea turtles have evolved to use their flippers as hands, grasping jellyfish and even karate-chopping their prey, scientists have found.Previously it was thought that the brains of the reptiles were too small to handle the dexterity required for manipulating objects with their limbs.Instead, it was thought they simply used their flippers to swim and change direction.But after scouring photos and videos of marine turtles, researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California have discovered the creatures are surprisingly nimble.The images showed turtles karate-chopping and carrying jellyfish prey, rolling a scallop along the seafloor, grasping coral to eat the sponge clinging to its surface, and pushing against a reef for leverage while ripping loose an anemone.In fact, the researchers identified at least eight different kinds of flipper manipulation, including ‘holding’, ‘digging’, ‘striking’, ‘tossing’, ‘leveraging’, ‘swiping’, ‘corralling’, and ‘pounding’. They were even seen licking their ‘fingers’ after eating.Dr Kyle Van Houtan, science director at the Monterey Bay, who co-led the research, said: “Sea turtles don’t have a developed frontal cortex, independent articulating digits or any social learning.“And yet here we have them ‘licking their fingers’ just like a kid who does have all those tools. Three species were studied – the green turtle (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), and loggerhead (Caretta caretta).Similar behaviour has been observed in marine mammals with flipper-like limbs such as walruses, seals, manatees and sea ottersBut the resourcefulness of the turtles was unexpected given the small size of their reptile brains.The findings, reported in the journal PeerJ, provide insights into the evolution of four-limbed sea creatures and raise questions about “nature or nurture” – which traits are learned and which are hard-wired from birth.Dr Van Houtan added: “We expect these things to happen with a highly intelligent, adaptive social animal. With sea turtles, it’s different. They never meet their parents; they’re never trained to forage by their mom.”It’s amazing that they’re figuring out how to do this without any apprenticing, and with flippers that aren’t well adapted for these tasks.”Lead author Jessica Fujii added: “Sea turtles’ limbs have evolved mostly for locomotion, not for manipulating prey.“But that they’re doing it anyway suggests that, even if it’s not the most efficient or effective way, it’s better than not using them at all.”center_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. A green turtle swiping the stinging jellyfish (Cyanea barkeri) at Hook Island, Queensland, Australialast_img read more

This €186m hostelrestaurantmicrobrewery could be sitting in Galway Harbour by next spring

first_img[Image: Naomh Éanna Trust]And here’s what the proposed revamp would look like… THE TEAM HOPING to restore and relaunch heritage vessel the Naomh Éanna meet with Arts & Heritage Minister Jimmy Deenihan today to put their proposals forward.Businessman Sam Field Corbett, whose company also restored Dublin landmark the Cill Áirne, has been scrambling to put together a business plan since the Minister announced a temporary stay-of-execution for the ship last month. She had been due to be scrapped by Waterways Ireland, after safety concerns were raised in a hull inspection.Once used to carry passengers and supplies between Galway and the Aran Islands, the Dublin-built ferry had been berthed in the city’s Grand Canal Dock since 1989.Various businesses operated out of it, but following a hull survey Waterways Ireland — which manages the dock — announced the vessel was no longer safe and would have to be destroyed.The Naomh Éanna Trust — a campaign group established in 2005 aimed at saving the vessel — had wanted a longer reprieve period so a proper business plan for the revamp could be arranged.However, the Trust — in co-operation with Field Corbett’s company the Irish Ship & Barge Fabrication Company — now contend they’re ready to move ahead to the next stage of the proposed restoration process, having put together a ‘comprehensive’ plan.The proposed €1.86 million revamp would include…An 82 bed boutique hostelA 46 seat restaurantAn interactive museumA micro breweryA 60 seat  caféHowever, Field Corbett contends a proper inspection of the ship needs to be carried out before the plan can move to the next phase.Here’s how the ship looked in the late 198os… [Image: Naomh Éanna Trust]More recently… [Irish Ship & Barge Fabrication Company]“None of the investors would be willing to put their hands in their pocket unless the ship is properly surveyed,” Field Corbett said, noting that he would be putting that very point to the Minister at today’s meeting.He said that €1.86 million was the maximum budget his team had been able to secure, and warned that if the vessel turned out to be in a worse state than expected, the proposals would have to be abandoned.Field Corbett said he had contacted experts from Harland and Wolff, and that whey were ready to carry out a full inspection of the ship should Waterways Ireland and the Minister give their go ahead.“Engineers are confident the antique machinery in the ship can be returned to service and the ship will return to Galway under her own steam,” Field Corbett said.The vessel was moved to the NAMA-controlled ‘Graving Docks’ by Waterways Ireland last month. However, Field Corbett contends a specialist would need to be commissioned to dry-dock the ship properly in-situ before any further assessment could take place.“These actions would have to be taken as part of the scrapping method, and would not put additional costs on the state,” the businessman said.If all goes to plan, the restored ship could be fully operational in Galway by December at the earliest, but “realistically, this time next year”.It’s planned 45 people would be employed aboard the new business. Galway Port Company have already offered a berth for the heritage vessel.Read: Scramble to save heritage ship after Minister grants stay-of-executionRead: Groups outraged at exclusion from ‘relevant stakeholders’ meeting on ship destructionlast_img read more

Brendan Gleeson and family team up for a short film about a

first_img Share23 Tweet Email2 Short URL Feb 18th 2019, 8:01 PM THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT the short film. Like a short story, it has to pack an entire world into a small period of time. It’s the perfect way to get started in the industry, but it brings with it considerable challenges.How do you tell a story that leaves the audience wanting more, but not feeling short-changed? How do you set a scene when you’ve to do it in seconds? How do you balance exposition with moving the plot forward? It’s a real test of skills, but the pay-off can be amazing.At this year’s Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival (DIFF), which kicks off this Wednesday and runs until 3 March, there’s plenty of space dedicated to the short film. It’s an important thing for filmmakers – and all those involved in the film – because it might be their first stab at making something cinematic.Here, we take a look at three of the short films featured in the DIFF line-up – from one starring a Hollywood actor to one examining women and beauty, to one exploring masculinity and same-sex marriage. PsychicThe short Psychic is a family affair crammed with familiar faces. Brendan Gleeson (making his directorial debut), stars alongside his sons Domhnall and Brian in a film written by his son Rory.  Brendan plays a washed-up psychic who is father to two nefarious sons, played by Domhnall and Brian. The film was written by their brother Rory and produced by Juliette Bonass.Rory Gleeson describes Psychic as “a film about family, about showmanship, manipulation, illusion and self-delusion”. The idea came after his family showed him some flips of Tommy Cooper, the legendary stand-up, being interviewed. “Tommy Cooper had this super interesting life, but every time an interviewer gets close to something real, something personal, Cooper pulls something out of his pocket or starts making jokes,” he explains.“I started with the idea of someone like that, a performer, trying to avoid a grilling on TV, then began to flesh it out and make it a bit more cinematic, a bit darker.“I also just liked the idea of Dad having to wear a turban.”Producer Juliette Bonass points out that there’s a world of differences between features and shorts. “Well, speaking practically, it can take probably about five years (or even 10!) to make a feature from start to finish – including the funding and development stage, straight through to the marketing stage, involving several different expertise for all of the different steps,” she says. Monday 18 Feb 2019, 8:00 PM But a short can take as little as six months to complete and by fewer people. Obviously this is because there is less to shoot, so there is less to organise and shorts don’t usually get a wide release. The funding is usually far simpler than a feature, as budgets are smaller.The Gleesons had been itching to work together since the play The Walworth Farce. “[Dad] had his eye on directing for a while, especially for a feature, so this was a nice way of getting used to the role, the practicalities and the challenges of it, as well maximising the opportunities it presents,” says Rory. With the family all working together, there must have been some interesting moments. Rory Gleeson says that though it was “brilliant” to work “with people you love and people you admire”, it did get a bit tricky when arguments needed to be had.“Because on any project you do need to argue,” he admits. “Keeping the separation between the professional and the personal is hard. But it was a fantastic experience, and there were no punches thrown, so that’s a plus. ”Bonass says that shorts can “pack a punch or inspire an idea in someone by doing something very concise and simple”, explaining that you have to often get into the film quicker, and be more clever in your exposition (ie giving some of the back story).“You have to decide if you are just showing a few moments in real time that does the job of what you are trying to say, or craft it quite excellently that you are not cramming everything in,” she says. War PaintIn Yasmine Akram’s short, War Paint, there are some very intense moments in a dark tale that’s told in just 10 minutes. She plays a narcissist who befriends a despondent loner from a book club and drags her along on a gruesome misadventure.Taking in the themes of rape culture, femininity and male behaviour, it’s a very timely piece.Akram, an Irish actress best known for playing Janine Hawkins in Sherlock, wrote the film and acted in the lead role. She tells TheJournal.ie that she was initially going to write it as a book, but made the short film as a ‘proof of concept’ for a longer feature. She wanted to explore the idea of how women are treated because of their looks, and how they see themselves as a result of that. “It’s the greatest lie women get told, that if you are just beautiful enough you will be loved,” she says. “It’s something that is not really explored in many films.”In War Paint, the woman “unravels to the point where she is starting to lose her mind,” explains Akram. Making the short gave Akram space to explore her own thoughts on the issue of beauty and societal pressure. “A lot of this is based on aspects of my own personality when I was younger,” she says. “The sense of if I didn’t have my makeup and hair done… I would never understand if I met a guy out and about that he would think I was attractive, because I wasn’t trying my hardest to be a good-looking woman.”The film, of course, comes post-Weinstein and during the MeToo era. So the time is ripe to explore the knottier ideas around women’s looks and identity.“But I still don’t feel like a lot of the time we are talking about what women have to put up with,” says Akram. “The difficult contradictory ideas of what we are supposed to be and look. And we’re not supposed to age and if you do age and if you go to the dermatologist and decide to get botox or whatever, that somehow that makes you a failure. There are so many loopholes and trip wires for us.”Akram would like to move into directing, and is glad that more opportunities are opening up for women. At the same time, she is open to discussing what she calls ‘box ticking’. “The unspoken thing is you might be getting that opportunity because [like me] you tick a mixed-race box and woman box,” she says. “You do understand that, but at the same time there were no opportunities for us before so now they’re making room for us.”Making a short film enables people to flex a new creative muscle, without the bigger funds needed to make larger projects. The more Akram worked as an actor, the more she realised that she enjoyed it but “you are a cog in a machine – even though it’s creative you’re not part of the whole creative vision”. So she stepped behind the lens.Every creative step she has taken has led to this point. “I remember feeling a sense of ‘I just had an idea in my bedroom one day and that turned into something that has a life and all those people working on it’,” she says of her first play, 10 Dates With Mad Mary, which was later turned into a film. “That was the start of me realising there was a journey, there was a path for me to go to directing.”She says coming from an acting background really helped in the transition to directing, as she knows how to communicate with actors. You don’t have to walk on set and be Martin Scorsese, she adds. “I think I’m surprised at how straightforward it is. I’d always thought I’d never be a director, and they seemed like they’re in charge of things – and I’m an idiot,” she jokes.If you love film and you watch an awful lot of film, you know what you want, you know what a scene is suppose to look like. I was surprised at how supportive everyone is.She has her sights set on working in independent cinema and creating more of her own work to star in and direct.Juliette Bonass is positive about the support for women in film in Ireland. “The new initiatives set up to support female filmmakers have been excellent,” she says. “I think it has encouraged female talent, in particular female writers and directors, to pursue and keep working on their own projects.It would be great to get some initiatives set up for younger kids in schools to instil confidence for them from a young age to consider themselves in this industry. Especially for technical roles.Wren Boys Lalor RoddyIn the short film Wren Boys (which is beautifully shot on 60mm), we meet a priest who’s driving his nephew to prison to marry his partner, an inmate. Starring Lalor Roddy, Diarmuid Noyes and Fionn Walton, it’s produced by Sorcha Bacon. The film was Oscar long-listed, BAFTA and BIFA nominated and a winner at the Galway Film Festival. Like War Paint, it’s a very timely watch, exploring masculinity, violence, incarceration and same-sex marriage in just 15 minutes. It’s a short, sharp shock of a film. It doesn’t shy away from violence or disturbing scenes. “Harry [Lighton, the director] really wanted to do something based on the gay marriage referendum in Ireland and what that might look like for people in prison – whether or not it might be something that’s too late for that group of people in prison,” says Bacon. The wren hunt features briefly in the film, and acts as a metaphor for tradition and people’s resistance to change, as well as the violence inherent in the men’s’ lives. Bacon is experienced in making short films, and says that it can be quite a journey for a filmmaker to go on. “I think it’s really difficult. I think a lot of short film makers fall at the first hurdle while trying to tell a short story,” she says. “The themes are really broad and the actual story is really simple – it just happens on one day, one event, that’s it.”A lot of short film makers feel they have to cover a lot.. I think let’s think of a moment that happens and let’s think about these characters.“If you worry too much about the bigger picture you’re going to get completely lost,” she adds. “I’ve seen so many [short films that] danced around different locations.“One of my biggest takeaways is the beauty of doing something so simple and short. It’s really contained and allows the narrative to breathe within the confines of a limited space.”Wren Boys was shot near Rutland in the middle of England, which stood in for Cork during the winter. A shoot in Ireland during the summer didn’t work for logistical reasons, so they just had to find the next best place. Little props like Christmas trees helped evoke the right atmosphere. Bacon says that one thing she has learned in her job is that filmmakers don’t have to be obsessed with progressing from short to feature. “Actually there’s something quite beautiful about the short form project,” she says. “The short does such a good job of telling a story really compactly.”What advice would she give to people who want to make a short film? “To really trust the story that you’re telling and know that it’s worthwhile and you’re going to do something different,” says Bacon. “I think that’s why [Wren Boys] did so well – it moved dialogue forward, started a conversation. But it’s so simple.”“If you look at the Oscar nominations – simplicity is key.”Psychic will be featured in the DIFF shorts #1 programme on Saturday 23 February  – which features shorts funded by Screen Ireland – at the Lighthouse at 6pm, and will air on Sky Arts in March 2019. War Paint will be aired in the DIFF Shorts #2 programme on Sunday 24 February at the Lighthouse at 8.15pm. Wren Boys will be aired in the DIFF shorts #3 programme on Monday 25 February at the Lighthouse at 6pm. Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlecenter_img https://jrnl.ie/4499782 Brendan Gleeson and family team up for a short film about a psychic with terrible sons Plus: We talk to short filmmakers Yasmine Akram and Sorcha Bacon to find out more about the medium. By Aoife Barry 14 Comments 25,077 Views last_img read more

Cyprus leaders agree to boost talks

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that community leaders in Cyprus had agreed to intensify talks aimed at reunifying the divided island, adding he hoped for an agreement by October. “The leaders have agreed to enter into an intensive period of negotiations on the core issues when they return to their island,” Ban told reporters following talks in Geneva with Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias and Turkish-Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu. Describing the four-hour meeting with the rival leaders as “useful and productive,” the UN chief said, “I have every expectation that by October the leaders will be able to report that they have reached convergence on all core issues, and we will meet that month in New York.” Source: Kathimerinilast_img read more

Yahoo Unveils Homepage Redesign

first_imgThe largest web portal in the U.S. officially unveiled its redesign Wednesday, a move that Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer hopes will boost declining user engagement.Though more drastic alterations had been rumored since October, today’s changes are more notable in utility than in surface appearance.The site has added infinite scroll capabilities, a customizable newsfeed, improved recommendation algorithms and enhanced Facebook integration. Yahoo.com has also been mobile and tablet optimized and, Mayer says, runs faster. “We wanted it to be familiar but also wanted it to embrace some of the modern paradigms of the web,” she told NBC’s Today Show.The redesign comes in the wake of falling engagement numbers like unique visitors, total page views and minutes spent-statistics all made publically available by the company until it decided to stop the practice at the midway point of last year. As first reported by AllThingsD.com, consistent declines in overall growth, and more specifically, its media properties, were apparent.Homepage traffic has been shaky recently as well. Monthly unique visitors dipped 17 percent year-over-year in November, while posting a modest 4-percent gain in December, according to comScore.While enhanced Facebook integration was expected–”A lot of the strengths of Facebook are available to Yahoo users. That’s something we want to build upon,” Mayer commented to an investor conference last week–the new Yahoo.com does not readily link to one of its more popular features, the image-sharing site, Flickr.Flickr usage spiked 25 percent recently following a mobile app redesign of its own and the unpopular Terms of Service announcement from competitor, Instagram.Stay updated on the latest FOLIO: news, follow us on Facebook & Twitter!More on this topic Yahoo! Expands With $10 Million Start Up Acquisition Hachette Partners with Mobile Ad Network Bonnier Redesigns Skiing Marissa Mayer Nick Reid Wondertime Increases Rate BaseJust In Editor & Publisher Magazine Sold to Digital Media Consultant Bonnier Corp. Terminates Editor-in-Chief for Ethics Breach Meredith Corp. Makes Digital-Side Promotions | People on the Move BabyCenter Sold to Ziff Davis Parent J2 Media | News & Notes Four More Execs Depart SourceMedia in Latest Restructuring PE Firm Acquires Majority Stake in Industry DivePowered bylast_img read more

Jann Wenners Biography May Finally Arrive Industry Notes

first_img First announced back in 2014, the Wenner/Hagan/Knopf collaboration follows a series of abandoned attempts to pull off the same project — most recently, a deal with Random House’s Speigel & Grau imprint and writer Rich Cohen, reportedly worth seven figures, fell through when Wenner backed out in 2011. That followed a similar 2004 deal with Knopf and writer Lewis McAdams, which also reportedly deteriorated when its subject grew cold feet. The news was first broken by Politico’s Hadas Gold, who adds that the exit was abrupt, and staffers were “totally caught off guard,” according to a source. Rothkopf’s most recent contribution to Foreign Policy was dated May 10. Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine — penned by New York magazine’s resident profiler, Joe Hagan —arrives on bookshelves this October, publisher Knopf Doubleday, a division of Penguin Random House, revealed today. PaperClip Communications also earned five finalist nods for its Parent Institute division, as well as a sixth for a training binder aimed at helping college and university administrators respond to sexual assault investigations with sensitivity to the alleged victims. A group of around 40 industry judges selected a trio of finalists for each of 29 categories, including the David Swit Award for best investigative reporting and the Margie Weiner Award for best marketing campaign. In the interest of keeping up with the trends, new categories added this year include “Best Use of Data” and “Best Lead Generation Program.” The spokesperson provided the following statement, which includes a quote from Rothkopf, on behalf of the company: Whether the third time will be the charm for Random House, of course, remains to be seen. But with Wenner on the media circuit in recent weeks promoting Rolling Stone ‘s 50th anniversary this year, the time appears ripe for a long-awaited tell-all.  David Rothkopf has stepped down as CEO and editor-at-large at Foreign Policy, a role he’s held since 2012, a spokesperson for the bimonthly title confirms to Folio:.  The Eddie & Ozzie Awards are now open for entries… View the full list of finalists here.More on this topic High Times Sold to Investor Group | Industry Notes AMI Acquires Men’s Journal from Wenner Media Michela Abrams Steps Down at Dwell | Industry Notes 2015 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Award Winners Farewell from the 2016 Folio: Show September Is Becoming Just Another Month for Fashion MagazinesJust In Four More Execs Depart SourceMedia in Latest Restructuring The Atlantic Names New Global Marketing Head | People on the Move Bonnier Corp. Terminates Editor-in-Chief for Ethics Breach Meredith Corp. Makes Digital-Side Promotions | People on the Move Editor & Publisher Magazine Sold to Digital Media Consultant This Just In: Magazines Are Not TV NetworksPowered by The biography, Knopf teases, is based on both “extensive interviews” with Wenner as well as original reporting — including yet-unseen volumes of Wenner’s own correspondence and on-the-record interviews with Annie Leibovitz, Tom Wolfe, David Geffen, and a litany of entertainment icons like Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, and Elton John. Naturally, Knopf’s announcement also promises a healthy serving of “secret deals and pacts, near-fatal drug overdoses, and epic infidelities and sex triangles.” SIPA — the Specialized Information Publishers Association — announced today the finalists for the 38th annual SIPAwards competition, the winners of which will be revealed and recognized at SIPA’s annual conference, June 5–7 in Washington, D.C. The long awaited and historically ill-fated Jann Wenner biography may soon be here, after all. At the very least we have a tentative release date.  Earn industry-wide recognition for the hard work put in by you or your colleagues by entering the annual Eddie & Ozzie Awards, the only editorial and design competition serving the full breadth of the national magazine industry. Honorees will be recognized at the annual Eddie & Ozzie Awards Luncheon in October as part of the Folio: Show. But act quickly — the entry period closes June 16. Click here for more information. SIPA Reveals Finalists for 38th Annual SIPAwards David Rothkopf is leaving his role as CEO and Editor of the FP Group effective immediately. Rothkopf said, “Working with the team at FP has been one of the great privileges of my career and I am extremely proud of the growth we have achieved as an organization editorially and from a business perspective.” Rothkopf indicated that he will be pursuing other new business and writing projects in the months ahead.   Of the 70-plus entries deemed finalists, three outlets lead the way with six nods each: Clarivate Analytics (formerly Thomson Reuters’ science and intellectual property division, which became an independent company last year); DecisionHealth, a financial news provider to the healthcare industry; and petroleum industry pricing and news agency OPIS. Rothkopf Out at Foreign Policy “It was originally Jann Wenner’s idea,” Hagan told Entertainment Weekly in an interview published Monday. “That began a sometimes knotty conversation. How would it work? We finally agreed the book had to be independent. I would report and write it, and he would provide all the access I needed. But he would not have approval over the material.” Save the Datelast_img read more

PM Hasina tells physicians to work properly or face music

first_imgPM Sheikh Hasina. File PhotoPrime minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday warned that physicians posted in the upazilas will be sacked if they do not discharge their duties properly, reports UNB.”Strict measures will be taken swiftly if [doctors] posted in upazilas don’t stay there. If necessary, they will be fired,” she said while inaugurating the five-day annual conference of the deputy commissioners (DCs) at Shapla Hall of the Prime Minister’s Office.She said without taking this kind of tough punitive step, it will not be possible for the government to ensure medicare services for the grassroots people.Sheikh Hasina said there are problems as physicians, surgeons and anesthetists are not staying at upazila level hospitals.She pointed out the lack of residences at the upazila level for the absence of physicians.In this connection, she mentioned that she had already instructed to construct multi storied buildings in the upazila level for mitigating the accommodation problem.”The transferred government officials will stay there,” she said.Sheikh Hasina also mentioned that the government is thinking of accommodating physicians in there.”We’re doing many things but we aren’t able to keep the physicians there (upazila level) in any way. This is a great problem,” she said.last_img read more

Firefox 6802 release information

first_imgFirefox 68.0.2 release information by Martin Brinkmann on August 14, 2019 in Firefox – 7 commentsMozilla plans to release Firefox 68.0.2 and Firefox ESR 68.0.2 on August 14, 2019 to the stable release channel. Firefox users who run the Stable version of the browser will be updated to the new version if they have not disabled automatic updates in the web browser.Mozilla released Firefox 68.0 and Firefox ESR 68.0 on July 9, 2019 to the public. The bug fix release Firefox 68.0.1 followed on July 18, 2019.Firefox downloads and installs updates automatically by default. You can speed up the process (after update release) by selecting Menu > Help > About Firefox from the main menu of the browser. Firefox runs a check for updates to download any that it finds.Downloads will also become available on the official Mozilla website after the official release of the update.Firefox 68.0.2Firefox 68.0.2 and Firefox ESR 68.0.2 are bug fix releases that fix several issues in the browser. The issues are not security related.Here is what is fixed in the new release:A bug caused some characters, e.g. #, $, or %, to be cut off when users searched from the URL bar of the browser. In other words: some special characters were not included in searches from the URL bar.Fonts may be loaded via file:// instructions if the web page referencing the resource is loaded locally.The Outlook web app printing issue is fixed. Firefox would print only the header and footer when printing emails in the web version of Outlook.A bug that caused some images not to be displayed anymore on reload. The issue did affect several sites and services including Google Maps.An issue that prevented some file and protocol handlers from working correctly when set up to start external applications using URI handlers.Firefox users who are affected by at least one of the bugs may want to consider updating the browser to the new version immediately to fix these issues.The next stable version of Firefox, Firefox 69.0, is scheduled for a release on September 3, 2019.Now You: Did you run into any of these issues?SummaryArticle NameFirefox 68.0.2 release informationDescriptionMozilla plans to release Firefox 68.0.2 and Firefox ESR 68.0.2 on August 14, 2019 to the stable release channel.Author Martin BrinkmannPublisher Ghacks Technology NewsLogo Advertisementlast_img read more

Inside the AllFemale Trek to the North Pole

first_imgMariam Hamidaddin crawled into the tent shaking with cold. Her teammates knew she needed warmth, so they began melting ice on their gas stove to prepare hot soup.When Hamidaddin removed her gloves, there was a line dividing the frozen top third of her fingers and the healthy skin below: textbook frostbite.Hamidaddin’s teammate Nataša Briški quaked as she pulled off her own gloves. “I looked at my fingers and saw that clear line,” she recalls. “I was like, ‘Oh my god.’” She wracked her memory for when the cold had crept into her fingers, but couldn’t think of any particular moment she would’ve been susceptible to the elements. “I didn’t feel cold at all,” she says. “I mean, you’re cold all the time, but it was nothing out of the ordinary.” Granted, at -36 degrees Fahrenheit, even the briefest of exposure can freeze skin. Use your bare fingers to prime the stove, fiddle with a stuck zipper pull, or wipe after shitting, and you could end up with frostbite in a matter of minutes.Getting treatment would not be easy. Briški and her 10 teammates were skiing along a floe of sea ice at 89 degrees north, making a bid for the North Pole. The group of women were hand-selected for this this trek—the Women’s Euro-Arabian North Pole Expedition—by the mission’s creator, Felicity Aston, and as part of the mission the group allowed scientists to study their vitals to learn more about the effects of cold exposure on the female body. The women came from all corners of Europe and the Middle East—Qatar, Sweden, Oman, Iceland, France, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Cyprus, Slovenia, Kuwait, and the UK—and their ages ranged from 28 to 50. Eleven days before the expedition, Briški is doing the opposite of skiing to the North Pole: She is laying as still as she can. For half an hour, she’s muzzled by a plastic mask dispensing oxygen, making each of her breaths sound like Darth Vader’s. The mask is connected to a hand-held machine measuring her resting oxygen consumption, which at the end of the session will print a read-out detailing each minute with a dizzying jumble of numbers. Until then, though, she’s sternly been told she must relax: no moving, no talking, no coughing, no reading, and absolutely no sleeping.That proves harder than usual, given the early hour. It’s 7:30 am, and Briški and four of her teammates have trundled over to the Longyearbyen hospital—or, as it’s called in Norwegian, the Sykehus, a cognate for “sick house”—for physiological testing ahead of the expedition.Like many other public buildings in Longyearbyen, there’s a taxidermied polar bear to greet visitors in the main lobby; the team is gathered in a suite of rooms just outside the surgical unit, which the head nurse says is rarely used by the town’s 2,000 or so residents, aside from major accidents or routine vasectomies.“You’re going to be spitting a lot, but it’s a hell of a lot better than having you pee in the middle of the North Pole,” Audrey Bergouignan says to another expeditioner. Bergouignan, a physiology researcher with a joint appointment at the University of Colorado at Denver and the French National Center for Scientific Research, is the mastermind behind all this testing. She’s just explained the day’s tasks—the resting oxygen consumption test Briški is laying down for, blood samples, medical interviews, weight and body composition measurements—and she moves into the laundry list of tasks the team will undertake on the ice. It was only the first day of the expedition. That day bled into the previous one, which had started 40 hours before and 550 miles away, in Longyearbyen, the northernmost human settlement in the world and base for most North Pole expeditions, located on a Norwegian archipelago called Svalbard. The team woke up that morning unsure of when they might leave for the pole, but by their 5 pm dinner, of moose burgers and fries, plans firmed up for an Antonov An-74 to ferry them up from the Longyearbyen Airport to Camp Barneo. The women hailed from nations around the world, including Qatar, Sweden, Oman, Iceland, France, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Cyprus, Slovenia, Kuwait, and the UK.Animation by Casey Chin Barneo—named by its Russian architects because it’s “not Borneo”—is a makeshift landing strip on an ice floe at around 89 degrees north; every year, in late March, its keepers select a floe, build a small village of tents, construct a landing strip, and maintain it for around three weeks as flights bring in tourists seeking the opportunity to walk, ski, or be helicoptered to the pole.The team tried to rest before they were due at the airport in advance of their midnight flight, but the anticipation made it hard to get any quality shuteye. At 11 pm, they piled into two taxi vans that took them to a special hangar at the Longyearbyen airport. A few women called or texted their families one last time before their departure, while others snapped selfies. After a final round of tearful hugs, it was off to Barneo.Because Barneo drifts, its latitude changes. The team wanted to ski the last latitudinal degree to the pole, so they were picked up by an Mi-8 Russian cargo helicopter and deposited at exactly 89 degrees north. Despite the sleepless night of travel, at 6 am the women took off on skis, each pulling sledges filled with 90 pounds of food, clothing, and shelter they’d needed to survive on the ice over the next several days, during which they were to cover the 50 or so miles to the pole. By analyzing that urine, Bergouignan can deduce each woman’s baseline energy expenditure levels, but this carefully engineered water costs around $2,300 per person. Bergouignan estimates the sensors and testing equipment she brought were worth around $70,000, which she lugged around in a gargantuan suitcase weighing more than 175 pounds. Luckily, Bergouignan was not obliged to bring a centrifuge to spin blood samples; though she had initially considered bringing the machine, roughly the size and heft of a late ’90s laser printer, she was relieved to find that the Longyearbyen hospital already had one.All these carefully laid plans are dependent on the expedition schedule, which, of course, can change at any moment. As Devitt sat in a Lyft taking her to the Denver airport, she received an email from Bergouignan saying that permit roadblocks had pushed the expedition dates by at least 10 days, and that there was a possibility it wouldn’t happen at all. “Maybe it’s better you know now?” counseled her Lyft driver, and for a moment Devitt debated whether to make the three-plane, 24-hour journey. “But Audrey’s email was so upbeat—‘We’re going to have a grand adventure! Cheers!’ So I got on the plane and figured we’d deal with it once we got there.” (I received a similar email from Bergouignan, which I read at the baggage claim in the Longyearbyen airport—too late to consider making alternate plans.)That roll-with-the-punches attitude serves Bergouignan and Devitt well. Here at the hospital, they’ve hit some minor logistical snags with blood draws. While the first couple proceeded without incident, they’re having trouble finding the right vein in expedition leader Felicity Aston’s arm. “Perhaps it’s a good thing that my body doesn’t give up blood easily,” she jokes after the third attempt. It’s all relative; a few pricks are nothing compared with Aston’s impressive record of enduring sufferfests. She has also completed a 156-mile ultramarathon in the Sahara Desert and is a new mom. As this expedition’s leader, she has set the tone for the rest of the team to welcome all this guinea-pigging. “Comfort isn’t an issue,” she told Bergouignan and Devitt after the team’s initial meeting with the research team. “We’re all keen to get you the data you need.”Briški, for one, is enjoying herself. Beaming, she exits the room where Bergouinan is measuring women’s body mass, broken down into fat, bone, and water weight. The machine also spits out a judgment of each woman’s metabolic age, and Briški is delighted by her results. “I just found out I’m 30 years old,” she announces.A willowy Slovenian, Briški is in her forties but certainly has the levity and athleticism of someone younger—and with just a tinge of pink in her white-blonde pixie cut, she looks it, too. Later, during her blood draw, Devitt compliments her on having strong, easily locatable veins. “I feel so privileged to be told all this,” she says, “that I’m 30 and have good-looking veins!” It wasn’t until late 2015 that Aston announced she was seeking applications for a Euro-Arabian North Pole Expedition. “No experience necessary but passion, enthusiasm, and willingness to work hard are essential,” she wrote in a Facebook post kicking off her recruitment efforts.That post somehow made it to Susan Gallon’s feed, and her interest was piqued. A marine biologist, her research on seals led her to field work in Tasmania, Brazil, and Scotland, but she’d never undertaken an expedition like this. She didn’t know it at the time, but she was already ahead of the game by knowing how to ski. In extreme cold, the heart beats faster as the body struggles to stay warm.Elizabeth RenstromBergouignan studies the human metabolism—how the body uses energy—and how physical activity (or lack thereof) affects it. Trailing a North Pole expedition team is hardly the strangest thing she’s done in this line of work; she’s paid women to lay motionless in bed for months at a time and worked with the European Space Agency to study what a stint on the International Space Station does to astronauts’ bodies.From the moment she heard about the expedition, her mind reeled with hypotheses. The extreme arctic cold paired with days of grueling physical activity was a researcher’s dream, promising a rare window into how the body adapts in the most demanding conditions.There just aren’t many scientific studies of polar explorers’ metabolisms. Previous studies focus on a very small number of participants, between two and five, and the methods used in that existing body of work are growing stale; the handful of papers published this century on energy expenditure of polar voyagers primarily use data collected between 1957 and 1996.Moreover, that data focuses exclusively on men. With expedition data already hard to come by, data on the comparatively few women who have voyaged to the poles is essentially nonexistent. After a trip to the North Pole Expedition Museum in Longyearbyen, Hamidaddin reported, with more than a hint of disdain in her voice, that there were no women mentioned. In a 2010 review of the past six decades’ worth of data on long stays in Antarctica, physician Alistair Simpson noted the same thing, and suggests researchers seek out different participants. “Women are often resident in Antarctica now, and research investigating their response in terms of energy dynamics and aerobic fitness would be valuable,” he says.So when the opportunity to study this expedition team presented itself, Bergouignan knew she had to take it. That opportunity was years in the making; the seed for the expedition was planted in 2009, after Aston, this expedition’s leader, had led a different expedition of women to the opposite pole.Among her most memorable experiences on the way to the South Pole was learning about the backgrounds and cultures of her teammates, who came from Singapore, Brunei, India, New Zealand, and Cyprus. For years, she dreamed of putting together a team of women from the East and West, providing a more explicit opportunity for cultural dialogue and, in a world long on male explorers, to show that women are capable expeditioners. Compared with the harsh reality of the elements 50 miles from the top of the world, the memory of worrying about the expedition’s start seems quaint. It’s the eighth day of the expedition, and Briški’s first task upon waking up, like the six mornings before it, is to spit into a tube.She’s supposed to lie motionless in her sleeping bag for another 10 minutes before collecting a second sample, but she’s antsy to get her day started; even in all her layers inside the sleeping bag, she’s freezing, and she could be preparing her gear for the day’s departure, melting ice into water for coffee and breakfast, or, more urgently, emptying her bladder.Since that first day, Hamidaddin was helicoptered back to base camp at Barneo, and the prognosis for her frostbite was good. “Not too serious,” the camp doctor said. “No chop.” To Briški’s relief, her fingers have stayed fairly healthy, mostly through her obsessive focus on rotating among her pairs of gloves and a meticulous regime of applying healing balm.She’s ready to go home, though; over the last few days, she’s battled her sledge, which flipped at the slightest hint of uneven terrain. After the expedition, Briški posted on Facebook about her beloved sledge, which tipped over upwards of 30 times a day. “Kindly told him, ‘Behave or be thrown out of the helicopter on our way back to Barneo.’” Once the blood draws, the oxygen tests, the body composition measurements, and the gear assignments are completed, Bergouignan, Devitt, and I grab burgers and beers, but it’s clear that Bergouignan’s brain is still moving a hundred miles a minute. The trip delay has torpedoed many of her plans, but luckily she is the queen of making things work. (One of the first times we spoke, she apologized that she’d forgotten I was going to call because her house had been robbed that week, and then her car stolen. But, she says, she’d just stolen back her own car, and all was fine.)She runs through a list of what she needs to coordinate to get the project back on track. First up are more test tubes, but she discovers that having them shipped to Svalbard will take weeks she doesn’t have. Instead, she sets a new plan into motion: She texts her fiancé in Colorado asking him to mail a package of them to expedition team member Susan Gallon’s mom, Laure, in France, so that Laure can fly with them when she visits her daughter in Svalbard the following week. It’s convoluted, but it’ll get the job done.Meanwhile, the team is trying to put on a good face about the expedition’s delay. One night, as we’re making pasta at the guesthouse where some team members are staying, Asma Al Thani plays us a 20-minute video of clips from dozens of people wishing her well on her journey. “Don’t get eaten by a polar bear,” her best friend’s daughter warns. “When you come back, we should make an Asma Barbie with a sledge and kit, complete with a pee bottle accessory,” suggests another friend.Al Thani, whose great-grandfather founded Qatar, is royalty in her country, and if she succeeds in reaching the pole she’d be the first Qatari to do so. Being the first comes with unanswered questions—like how to pray toward Mecca. “Technically, you can pray at any angle since it’s all south,” she says. “No one has written anything about this, and I asked elders but they all said they weren’t sure. I think they’re afraid to say anything because it’s never been done before.”After the video, she checks her phone and announces that a Qatar lifestyle Instagram account has reposted her most recent photo from Longyearbyen. “They have 65,000 followers,” she says, smiling, but her face falls quickly to neutral and she stares blankly out the window. “I really hope we make it to the North Pole now.” Bergouignan, one of Gallon’s close friends, encouraged her to apply. The two have had their share of adventures together: They met as young women at a summer research program in Slovenia, where they snuck out of their strict host family’s house and hit the bars in their pajamas, and years later they went on to hitchhike from Hungary to France and drive through hurricane-force windstorms in Iceland. Bergouignan knew Gallon had the drive and athleticism to make it to the pole, and, she joked, on the off-chance Gallon was selected, what fantastic research she could do on the team. Each woman’s body temperature was monitored by a penny-sized thermometer held in place by a cotton cuff.Elizabeth RenstromUnder her clothes, there’s another temperature tracker in her bra, and an accelerometer strapped around her waist tracking her every step and turn. A micro-needle patch sits high on her left arm, measuring her blood sugar. That morning, she’d spit into plastic test tubes, meant to serve as a record of her cortisol levels—a good proxy for how stressed she felt—and filled out a psychological questionnaire. Together, those measurements would tell scientists the story of her journey. All the women who participated agreed to be subjected to a battery of scientific measurements that monitored their physiological status. From bottom left corner clockwise, Lamees Nijem from Kuwait, expedition leader Felicity Aston, Olga Rumyantseva from Russia, Asma Al Thani from Qatar, Anisa Al Raissi from Oman, Natasa Briski from Slovenia, Misba Khan from the United Kingdom, Susan Gallon from France, Stephanie Solomonides from Cyprus, and Ida Olsson from Sweden.Euro-Arabian ExpeditionBesides science, Aston’s hope was that a shared objective—reaching the North Pole—would bring European and Arabian women together, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of each other’s cultures. In an interview before the expedition, Swedish team member Ida Olsson told the BBC that over the team’s two training trips she’d gained a new understanding of why Middle Eastern women wear head coverings: “In my mind, it always felt forced—that men forced the women to do it. But when the girls here talk about it, it’s something they actually want to do; they’re not forced to do it. That was completely new to me.”She also wanted to show girls and women that you didn’t need to be a superhero to complete a big objective; while several members of the group were ultra-marathoners or worked as wilderness guides, others had never skied before signing on to the expedition. At one point the team members had to port their sledges across rock-like outcroppings of ice.Euro-Arabian ExpeditionSledges were even more of a pain while the team crossed mounds of ice rubble; often, they’d just form a line across the rubble and hand sledges through rather than tugging them. And the sledges were a real hazard at frozen water crossings, where an unlucky step could break the fragile ice, plunging skiier and sledge into the frigid sea. “In a few places, before we started, we joked about making our final goodbyes,” Briški says. “The ice looks solid, but you never know. How fast would I actually be able to untie myself from the sledge?” Gallon said that before each crossing, she made sure to unscrew the gate on her caribiner connecting her harness to her sledge, just in case she fell in and needed to make a quick getaway.Taking measurements for Bergouignan’s study was another added challenge. “Let’s just say, politely, that we were cursing the whole time,” Briški says. “It took an effort.” Though Bergouignan made every effort to simplify the procedure, popping open small test tubes for saliva collection proved difficult with clunky gloves on, and removing buffs or balaclavas to free up the mouth for spitting was less than pleasant in the cold. Briški says her samples got a little gross. “I wasn’t very good at spitting, so it usually ended up all around the tube.”At 7 pm on that eighth day, the team’s GPS finally reads out 90 degrees north. Aston puts her poles down to commemorate the spot, and for just a few minutes, that is the North Pole. Even after the ice drifts them south, that patch remains their North Pole. Each team member unfurls her nation’s flag and poses for photos. They call Barneo for a helicopter and are delighted to find Hamidaddin has hitched a ride, rightfully joining her team at the pole after all. The women knew they had to stay together—if they were to encounter a polar bear, there’s safety in numbers—but they also needed to move quickly. Since the ice below them moves along the ocean, every moment not in motion could mean drifting further away from their goal. Running on adrenaline, the team knocked out 6 miles that first day.It’s a lot to ask of the body. Extremely cold temperatures are known to trigger a host of bodily defenses; the heart beats faster as the body struggles to stay warm, and blood vessels constrict, which leads to lower blood pressure and leaves extremities more susceptible to frostbite. Adjusting to the cold also burns more calories; pair that with intense physical activity, like skiing for days at a time while pulling a heavy sledge, and the body quickly amasses a significant caloric deficit.The combination of physical demands and the emotional strain of an expedition—managing team dynamics, anxiety about frostbite and other injuries, the threat of encountering polar bears—cause the body’s levels of the stress hormone cortisol to spike. And to top it all off the sun never sets this close to the pole; it just circles overhead, throwing off the body’s internal clock and disrupting its natural sleep patterns, cortisol production, and blood sugar levels. These physiological responses were all targets of the researchers’ scientific inquiry.Over the course of this first day, as Briški’s thoughts flit from moving one ski in front of the next to panic about her frost-nipped fingers, a suite of gadgets record her vitals—the same array each of her team members is wearing. On her right wrist is a clunky device resembling a calculator watch, measuring her heart rate and sleep quality; on the other wrist, a cotton cuff holds a penny-sized temperature tracker against her skin. To use an extreme example, consider taking food on a space mission. “It costs 10,000 euros to carry half a kilo of food to space,” Bergouignan says. “If you overestimate the amount of food you need to bring, it’s going to have a tremendous economic impact; on the other hand, if you don’t bring enough, you may risk starvation of the crew. It’s extremely important to be able to assess this with accuracy.”There are also good reasons this research hasn’t been done before. To put it mildly, it’s a logistical nightmare, and expensive to boot. Just figuring out which country to ask for ethical oversight, a mandatory step for anyone running a study using human participants, took months; unsurprisingly, the North Pole doesn’t have its own review board, so Bergouignan was left to figure out whether she’d have to ask the local Svalbard government, the EU, the US, or each expeditioner’s home country for approval. (She went with the US.)Then, there’s the gear. That tracker that looks like an ’80s calculator watch is actually a research-grade heartrate and sleep monitor and runs $1,000 a pop. Bergouignan has also brought bottles of doubly labeled water, a special type of H20 in which the H and 0 have been lab-manufactured to contain atypical isotopes, which allows researchers to trace those elements once the water exits the body as urine. Before departing for the pole, technicians drew blood from each participant as part of a comprehensive assessment of their base metabolisms.Elizabeth RenstromShe was the first person to ski more than 1,000 miles across Antarctica alone, a feat that took 59 days in 2012. She also took part in the first all-female British expedition across Greenland and led a team to the South Pole, which landed her the honor of being a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Gallon was one of roughly 1,000 applicants, and much to her delight, Aston sought her out for a Skype interview. After a couple calls with Aston, she got the official invitation to join the expedition while visiting her mom, Laure, in France. “Felicity said, ‘Welcome to the team,’ and Susan started crying,” Laure says. “She said it was better than winning the lottery.”Lucky for Bergouignan, the team was receptive to the idea of being studied while en route, so she set about making preparations for her studies. She dubbed the project the POWER study: Physiological adaptiOns in WomEn during a NoRth Pole expedition.A bit of a tortured acronym, perhaps, but she felt it captured the spirit of the expedition and the research, and she assembled an all-female team to collect and analyze the data. “We just have so little information on women, so this is a really great opportunity to see what the body does under these extreme conditions,” says Jessica Devitt, a family medicine doctor at University of Colorado at Denver assisting Bergouignan with testing. Polar expeditions are just one of many niche areas in which women’s data is sparse. “Even in routine drug trials—what we base medical decisions on—many focus on men,” Devitt says.Men have long been used as the default in medical research, despite evidence that women’s bodies often operate differently. This is especially true in the case of exercise and metabolism; women tend to have more body fat but also rely on those fat stores more for energy during physical activity. On any expedition—to one of earth’s poles, into the desert, even to outer space—knowing what each expeditioners’ body needs can be advantageous. The team took off from an ice floe at 89 degrees north and headed toward the pole, which was 50 miles away.Elizabeth RenstromThat first day was rough. They were poorly rested, and the -36 degrees was markedly colder than comparably balmy 14 degrees they’d grown accustomed to in Longyearbyen. Pulling heavy sledges was awkward, and the team struggled to find a rhythm that suited everyone; slower skiers fell to the back of the pack, while faster skiers waited up ahead for them, trying to keep warm. The team reached the pole after eight days, unfurling their home countries’ flags in celebration.Euro-Arabian ExpeditionOnce they return in Longyearbyen, Bergouignan and Devitt are long gone, so Gallon and Briški take over scientific duties themselves. All that skiing, sledge-pulling, shivering, and sled-pulling meant a big calorie deficit; preliminary results indicate that nearly everyone on the expedition gained muscle while losing fat, and, on average, dropped around four pounds over the week-long expedition. “Some of us got younger too,” Briški grins, eager to share her metabolic age results. “Now I’m 29.”It will take months for Bergouignan to pore over the specifics of the results, but she’s already planning ahead: six months after the expedition, she’s planning to send each team member a small research kit with instructions on how to measure their daily energy expenditure in a less extreme environment. (One exception is Russian team member Olga Rumyantseva, who’s already alerted Bergouignan that she’s running a four-day, 170 kilometer ultramarathon and will probably be in better shape in October than she was for the expedition.)I ask Briški what kind of data Bergouignan should expect from follow-up. She lays out her typical day: waking up around 7, working until 4 or 5 while trying to fit in a run during lunch hour, then going out for dinner or to the theater. “Oh, and I’ll have a normal toilet,” she adds, “and a shower.”Reporting for this story was supported by the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists. More Great WIRED StoriesThe diplomatic couriers who deliver America’s secret mailY Combinator learns basic income is not so basic after allPHOTO ESSAY: An environment under siegePhone numbers weren’t meant as ID. Now we’re all at riskInside Puerto Rico’s year of fighting for powerGet even more of our inside scoops with our weekly Backchannel newsletterlast_img read more

Astronomers Creep Up to the Edge of the Milky Ways Black

first_imgPast that, “there’s an even more exciting opportunity on the horizon,” said Broderick. “If you’ll forgive the pun.”The next horizon—quite literally—should come from the Event Horizon Telescope, or EHT, a separate effort now straining to resolve the space-time right around the Milky Way’s central black hole. The EHT team is currently crunching through their data, with hopes to publish at some point in 2019, they say.EHT also hones its impossibly sharp vision through interferometry. But it operates in radio wavelengths, a thousand times longer than the infrared emission GRAVITY traces. And its component observatories span the entire world, not just a mountaintop in Chile. As Earth rotates, these observatories sweep across space, collecting even more information. To Loeb, a light source flying around this fateful rim is a gift from Mother Nature. A black hole’s mass and its rotation speed determine where the ISCO is, plus how long a hot spot will orbit at a given radius. Beyond mass and spin, general relativity holds that nothing else determines how an object orbits an astrophysical black hole. These two values should be the only distinguishing characteristics.Ghez and Genzel have already established this particular black hole’s weight. And while they can’t yet calculate its spin, subsequent flares, especially brighter ones, should help nail it down.A black hole’s spin drags the space around it, changing how long it takes nearby objects to orbit. As GRAVITY builds up a catalog of flares, probing how long they take to orbit at different radii around the black hole, they’ll be able to infer what the black hole’s spin is.Of course, that’s assuming that general relativity is correct, and the orbits of objects around a black hole are determined solely by the black hole’s mass and spin. If it appears that something else is going on—that there exists some other factor affecting these orbits—it could hint that Einstein’s theory needs a tune-up. Now, though, theorists hope the hot spots may be able to shine a harsh interrogation-room lamp on Einstein’s theory of gravity itself.Reading the HorizonConsider a trip to a black hole. As you approach, popular accounts say, you have one last chance to turn back—the event horizon that marks the black hole’s edge. But perhaps a better place to rethink your approach would be earlier, at what astrophysicists call the innermost stable circular orbit (ISCO). The hot spots around the black hole at the center of the galaxy seem to orbit just a little outside this boundary.That such an orbit exists is a key difference between Newton’s and Einstein’s theories of gravity. In Newtonian gravity, you can orbit an object as closely as you want, provided you keep increasing your speed. But in Einstein’s view, rotational energy summons more gravity. At some distance, going faster will only hasten your fall. “If the black hole is the drain where things disappear,” said Loeb at Harvard, “this innermost circular orbit is sort of the sink.” For the first time, scientists have spotted something wobbling around the black hole at the core of our galaxy. Their measurements suggest that this stuff—perhaps made of blobs of plasma—is spinning not far from the innermost orbit allowed by the laws of physics. If so, this affords astronomers their closest look yet at the funhouse-mirrored space-time that surrounds a black hole. And in time, additional observations will indicate whether those known laws of physics truly describe what’s going on at the edge of where space-time breaks down.Astronomers already knew that the Milky Way hosts a central black hole, weighing some four million suns. From Earth, this black hole is a dense, tiny thing in the constellation Sagittarius, only as big on the sky as a strawberry seed in Los Angeles when viewed from New York. But interstellar gas glows as it swirls into the black hole, marking the dark heart of the galaxy with a single, faint point of infrared light in astronomical images. Astronomers call it Sagittarius A* (pronounced “A-star”).For 15 years researchers have watched that point flicker—and wondered why. Occasionally, it flares up 30 times brighter in infrared light and then subsides, all within just a few minutes. Now, though, a team based at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany, has measured not just this speck’s brightness but its position with staggering precision. When it flares, it also moves clockwise on the sky, tracing out a tiny circle, they find.“They have clearly seen something moving,” said Shep Doeleman, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who did not participate in what he calls the team’s “extraordinary” measurements, which was published this week in Astronomy & Astrophysics. “What it is, is not exactly clear.”But one particular interpretation stands out, the team argues. This wobbling likely comes from “hot spots,” glowing blobs of magnetically heated plasma orbiting right above the black hole’s gaping maw at almost one-third the speed of light. As these hot spots circle, the black hole’s immense gravitational forces twist space-time itself into something like a lens, one that flashes beacons of light across the cosmos like a galactic searchlight beam. The idea, first proposed in 2005 by Avery Broderick, now at the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics and the University of Waterloo in Canada, and Avi Loeb of Harvard University, would explain why the black hole appears to flare. Light from the four telescopes at the Very Large Telescope array in Cerro Paranal, Chile, can be combined to create, in effect, a single, enormous telescope.ESOGravity’s BeamSince the 1990s, Ghez’s group at UCLA and the European team, led by Reinhard Genzel of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany, have used ever-sharper techniques to resolve the orbits of stars right around the galactic center. Earlier this summer, Genzel’s team published a measurement of how general relativity is affecting the light of a star now passing close to the black hole; a similar paper by Ghez’s team is now under review. “It’s a remarkable moment, in terms of these experiments’ ability to start probing how gravity works near a supermassive black hole,” Ghez said.But since last year, the European team has had a unique tool—the power of four giant telescopes working together in a project called GRAVITY. On a typical night, the European Southern Observatory’s four 8-meter telescopes on Cerro Paranal, overlooking Chile’s Atacama desert, loll in different directions on the sky. GRAVITY pulls them together using a technique called interferometry that combines observations from multiple telescopes to produce artificial images that only a preposterously huge real telescope could make.To do this in infrared wavelengths—close to what human eyes can perceive—requires blending light in real time to avoid losing crucial information. So on July 22, when Sagittarius A* flared, the light collected by each scope traveled through a Rube Goldberg–like setup of mirrors and fiber-optic cables that traced out a path with a total length that varies no more than 1/1,000th the width of a hair, said Frank Eisenhauer, a physicist at Max Planck in Garching and the leader of GRAVITY. Then, inside a 3-ton freezing toolbox of optical tech, these light waves mixed together, their peaks and troughs combining and canceling to produce position measurements with impossible crispness. [embedded content]Even after all that, GRAVITY still didn’t have high enough resolution to make movies of the three flares it saw—the one on July 22 and two others. But its measurements of the faint speck wiggling on the sky promises to narrow down the multiple options of what’s causing Sagittarius A* to flicker in the first place.If you could see them up close, the flares might be lumps of hot plasma shot outward from the black hole, in jets of material focused and launched away by magnetic fields. Or they could be hot clumps out in the wide Frisbee of gas draining into the black hole, or other possible disk structures like spiral arms. In all these cases, the flaring and dimming of light would come from the material itself glowing hot, then cooling off.Broderick and Loeb’s idea also involved plasma blobs zapped by heat. They would form close to the black hole, not unlike what happens in a solar flare. Above the surface of our sun, a briar patch of magnetic fields snag together, spurting out flares of heated plasma when the fields snap into new shapes. Something similar could happen in the gas right around a black hole, which also hosts strong, tangled magnetic fields.In this case, though, the modulation in brightness would come not from the blob itself but from the blob’s orbit. As it whipped around in the thrall of a giant black hole, the warped space-time predicted by general relativity would focus the hot spot’s light into a beam. And as that beam swept across Earth, we would measure the black hole flickering. “The black hole is like this lighthouse lens that’s causing this thing to flash at us as it goes around,” Broderick says.center_img If jets caused the black hole’s flickering, that motion would be linear, as blobs traveled outward and cooled, Eisenhauer said. If clumps in the disk around the black hole were responsible, the motion wouldn’t go in any particular consistent direction. But the circular motion supports orbiting hot spots, the team argues.“There’s one particular fact that makes me inclined to trust this result,” said astrophysicist Gunther Witzel of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, who has worked with the galactic center teams on both sides of the Atlantic. GRAVITY also found that the light emitted during a flare shifts in polarization, following the same rough timescale as the apparent orbital motion. That fits, too. The light emitted by a hot spot would be polarized. As the spot traveled through warped space-time, its polarization would twist throughout its orbit.For astrophysicists, this glimpse at plasma under unique circumstances is interesting in and of itself. “We have a totally new environment, which is totally unknown,” said Nico Hamaus, a cosmologist at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, who also developed the early hot spot theory. “That’s why there were such vague ideas of what was going on.” More Great WIRED StoriesiPads are officially more interesting than MacBooksThe AI cold war that threatens us allSelf-improvement in the internet age and how we learnA drone-flinging cannon proves UAVs can mangle planesUS weapons systems are easy cyberattack targetsLooking for more? Sign up for our daily newsletter and never miss our latest and greatest stories While GRAVITY measured the black hole’s position with staggering accuracy every 30 seconds during a flare, the EHT aims for something different: a long-exposure picture of radio waves warping inside the ISCO, right around the black hole’s edge.But the hot-spotlike wobbles that GRAVITY found provide a new opportunity. “If these events happen quite often, and it looks like they do, that’s great news for everybody,” said Doeleman at Harvard, who directs the EHT.“We could be testing the same thing, just in a very complementary way, with different instruments,” said Doeleman. “That’s really what science is all about.”Original story reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine, an editorially independent publication of the Simons Foundation whose mission is to enhance public understanding of science by covering research developments and trends in mathematics and the physical and life sciences. “It seems like they’ve got something really exciting here,” added astronomer Andrea Ghez, a longtime competitor to the European team at the University of California, Los Angeles.If these rotating flares are due to hot spots in the way that Broderick and Loeb imagined, additional flares will help reveal the black hole’s “spin,” a measure of its rotation. And it could also provide a new way to poke and prod Einstein’s theory of general relativity in the flexed space-time at the mouth of a black hole.“To occasionally be right makes up for all the other times when I scratched my head at the blackboard,” said Broderick. “This is what makes being a scientist so much fun.”last_img read more

Why Slack Which Goes Public Today Is Counterproductive for Business Owners

first_img 7 min read Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Enroll Now for Free Slack Technologies (or WORK as its new NYSE ticker is called) will start trading on the New York Stock Exchange today, making this company the latest in a parade of highly valued tech outfits to go public this year.Related: How to Get a $1 Billion Valuation in Just Eight MonthsThis is a tool you’ve surely heard of: Slack’s chat and collaboration platform has become a workplace tool to more than 500,000 organizations and was valued privately last year at more than $7 billion dollars. So it must be the latest, greatest way to communicate, right? Well not so fast…“Spend enough time in a state of frenetic shallowness and you permanently reduce your capacity to perform deep work,” Cal Newport, once said. He’s associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University and the author of six self-improvement books. And in my opinion, that particular quote from his book Deep Work nailed the problem with Slack: Because, when I think of Slack’s impact on productivity, I think of words like frenetic, shallow and reduced focus (a.k.a. deep work).Today, Slack will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange as a direct listing (meaning no underwriters, no new shares, no offering price — just existing shares). Some estimates from investors are pegging the value just south of $20 billion dollars. And that may be fine for investors and for those who like chat-room tools. Slack after all is an excellent real-time messaging, chat- room application.But it’s also, to my mind, a drain on productivity and deep work when it is used as intended. Here’s why:The ASAP cultureSlack capitalizes on the current ASAP culture shaping our world. From the instant nature of search engine results, to on-demand grocery delivery, to Uber, and real-time updates across the world on Twitter, we are all now accustomed to “instant everything.” Waiting for anything is increasingly regarded as a negative experience by those people doing the waiting.Combining the ASAP culture with a group-chat application promotes an unhealthy level of “always on” and real-time everything. And real-time business communication provides a false sense of productivity: The reason is that it provides us with a figurative hit of dopamine via the “instant gratification” we receive when we get immediate feedback or answers (even if they aren’t the best-thought-out answers).Consider the famous, maybe infamous, “Marshmallow Experiment.” You’ve probably heard of this research, which was carried out in the 1960s by a team at Stanford University led by a professor named Walter Mischel. The short version:Children were brought into a room and had a marshmallow placed in front of them.They were told that if they didn’t eat the marshmallow for 15 minutes, they would be given a second marshmallow as a reward.The choice was, Eat one marshmallow now or wait 15 minutes and eat two.Most children did not make it to 15 minutes, but some did.Follow-up studies were conducted on each child over the next 40 years. The children able to delay instant gratification outperformed those that couldn’t in areas such as SAT scores, physical fitness, social skills and stress management.The research was later challenged and, some say, debunked. But at the time, its conclusion seemed clear: If you delay the need for instant gratification in the setting of business communications, you’ll produce better work by being able to focus more deeply on the work you are doing.Related: Stop Fooling Yourself. Productivity Tools Like Slack Are Secret Enemies of CollaborationShallow and synchronous conversationsThe demand for synchronous (real-time) conversations leads to a lack of depth. Researcher Linda Stone coined the phrase “continuous partial attention” in 1998. This is not to be confused with multitasking. Where multitasking is a conscious choice, continuous partial attention is something we do without even thinking about it.Stone described continuous partial attention as paying “continuous partial attention in an effort not to miss anything. “It is an always-on, anywhere, anytime, anyplace behavior that involves an artificial sense of constant crisis,” she said. “We are always in high alert when we pay continuous partial attention. This artificial sense of constant crisis is more typical of continuous partial attention than it is of multitasking.”So, how does this relate to Slack? Slack both promotes synchronous communication and feeds into prolonged continuous partial attention, neither of which promote healthy business communication or focused work.And this is what leads to generally shallow conversations in Slack. We look to fulfill our desire for instant gratification by providing answers and making decisions while we are in a constant state of continuous partial attention.Lack of organization Slack recently introduced threading to help solve the problem of conversation organization. However, this is a only a partial solution to the larger problem of organization in Slack. Take Basecamp or Teamwork as examples of better ways to organize communications. You can create a message in either of these tools and give it a proper category to make information retrieval much easier. All files and comments are automatically placed under that specific message. In Slack, you have to rely on users to make sure they keep everything in a thread (among a sea of streaming real-time chats), and there’s no way to categorize these for later.Files constitute another issue, as do tasks. Using Slack for team communication necessitates the need for at least one additional tool and likely more than that. In this scenario, you have Slack as your communications tool along with Product A for task management. Slack does integrate with services like Dropbox and Google Drive, but there’s no organization within Slack as there is in competing tools.Do you comment on a task in Slack or have the conversation in the task-management product? Does everyone follow this rule? Is integrating with a project=management tool that simply copies the conversation into Slack worth it? Is the file linked in Slack, or the project management system, or neither?As becomes obvious, a lack of organization feeds into unnecessary sub-conscious decisions and thought processes, which produce needless cognitive load and distract from actual work.Notification fatigueThe notification indications on channel names promote notification fatigue. Unless you have super-specific channel names, you really have no idea what the context of the notification is. You need to go into the channels, one by one, to discern what needs your attention and what doesn’t. Imagine doing this in a marketing agency with channels for each client as well as broader internal channels.Real-time chat promotes fear of missing out in addition to all the other issues I’ve talked about here, especially when it’s used as the primary communications tool in business. This is especially true for entrepreneurs who may have team members from various time zones.Your time and attention are your most important assets. You need to ruthlessly guard and manage these assets; otherwise someone else will manage them for you, and your work will suffer.Managing notifications is important. Ideally, you’d want your notifications to be based on specific context (“Where is this file?” vs. “Someone hacked the client’s website.”), so you can respond appropriately rather than having only a general idea of what the notification is all about.What to do in place of Slack.First, you can invest in tools and processes that allow you and your team to participate in focused work. Real-time chat has its place in business, but using it as your primary mode of communication poses many, many issues you should strongly consider before implementing it.Also, thankfully, emergencies are uncommon: There are few instances in which pulling someone off his or her work is worthwhile to the end product. Some of this is company culture and some of it is a byproduct of the tools a company implements.Related: Slack Is Adding Email Conversations and Calendar IntegrationsSlack, all told, is a fantastic real-time group chat tool. But, ask yourself: Is a real-time tool the right choice for your business. This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. June 20, 2019last_img read more

Lady injured in crash on Bergville road

first_imgA female driver was injured in a crash on Wednesday morning (June 6) on the Bergville road (R616).It is believed that the lady was travelling towards Ladysmith in a VW Polo when she lost control of the vehicle, which rolled down an embankment.The woman was treated on scene for moderate injuries before being taken to hospital.Also read: Breaking News: 5 tragically killed in horror crash on Van Reenen’s PassAlso read: Watch: Community loot stationery from truck after crash in Ezakheni Emergency personnel and a towing service responded to the scene.The VW Polo was towed away from the scene.Click to receive news links via WhatsApp. Or  for the latest news, visit our webpage or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Join us there! WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite last_img read more

Parkside Lending Offering 95 Percent LTV on Jumbo Mortgages

first_img Share 95 Percent LTV Jumbo Mortgage Parkside Lending 2015-09-24 Staff Writer September 24, 2015 649 Views Parkside Lending Offering 95 Percent LTV on Jumbo Mortgagescenter_img in Headlines, News Parkside Lending, LLC, recently announced it will now go to 95 percent LTV without mortgage insurance on its expanded Jumbo program.The company designed the new Jumbo offering to help creditworthy borrowers with a down payment or equity as low as 5 percent fit into a traditional Jumbo loan.Specifically, Parkside will go to 95 percent LTV/CLTV on loan amounts up to $1,000,000 without mortgage insurance on a 1 unit, Owner Occupied Purchase or Rate and Term Refinance:An alternative to High Balance loans (minimum loan amount: $417,001)740 minimum credit score24 months reserves (borrower’s own funds)35 percent maximum DTIMinimum down payment of 5 percent (borrower’s own funds)Parkside Lending also offers Jumbo loans on Non-Owner Occupied transactions, and will go to 65 percent LTV/CLTV, 1-4 units.  In addition, there is no price hit for occupancy on LTVs up to 60 percent.“We believe our new Jumbo loan offering is an important financing alternative for a specific segment of creditworthy borrowers,” said James Lamparter, EVP of Sales, Parkside Lending. “We continue to grow our Jumbo product line as we identify different needs in the marketplace. Delivering the right loans to the right people with a caring approach is what Parkside Lending is all about.”last_img read more