Delta emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Delta Air Lines emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday, following a 19-month restructuring that left it with 6,000 fewer employees, US$3 billion less in annual costs, and a different mix of international and domestic routes.

While cutting back on domestic service, Delta has expanded into “over 60 new international routes,” according to its website. It is not known exactly what domestic service was cut or by how much to achieve the cost savings that allowed it to expand internationally.

Delta has faced pressure from low-fare airlines domestically and is hoping to benefit from the higher profit margins on international flights, which have not yet felt the same competitive pressure.

To reflect the airline’s new international focus, Delta unveiled a new logo Monday, with an updated Web site launched the following day. They are also in the process of re-painting their airplanes with a new livery, a process that could take up to four years.

As of Monday Delta’s shares were trading on a “when issued” basis at just above $20, giving it a market value of over US$8 billion, second only to Southwest Airlines among United States carriers. Shares are expected to begin trading Thursday, May 3.

August 4, 2019 in Uncategorized

Experience The Scotland Capital’s Tempting Offers Of Accommodations Pleasures Sightseeing Merry Making And Cookery

Experience the Scotland Capital’s Tempting Offers of Accommodations Pleasures Sightseeing Merry Making And Cookery

by

Izis Garrison

Weekends on Edinburgh Hotels

The 2-5 star accommodations in Edinburgh hotels will encourage you to have a weekend break in the Scottish capital. Edinburgh has a delightful mix of traditional and contemporary hotels that can provide your longed vacations from work or instant weekend getaways. Your fantastic weekend break in the booming and bustling city of Edinburgh starts with a hotel search. You can enjoy and explore Edinburgh s entirety even with such limited time from a hotel with an easy access for most attractions and landmarks. The flourishing Scottish capital, over and again, tops as a tourist spot among other European cities. Having the right hotel in Edinburgh is the perfect way to start a stay in Scotland s capital. Looking for a hotel in Edinburgh need not be a tedious hunt with the help of reservations through the internet and pocket-friendly prices. It is always sensible to arrange a schedule of tours with the chosen hotel before heading to Edinburgh.

Some Edinburgh Hotels and their History

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One of the most romantic and well-designed Edinburgh hotels is the Witchery Castle. Edinburgh s Lord Provost, Sir James Dick, once lived in a country mansion in 1687 and hosted noble receptions during the Georgian era and Scottish Enlightenment. All of these hotels are shelter to a vast collection of artifacts, classic toys, galleries, and museums pertaining to Scotland s rich history. These hotels soundly blend the history of this impressive city with and the utmost standards of time-honored hotel keeping. The reconstruction and preservation of its designs, such as leather-bound books and cozy four-poster beds, made it a classical yet world-class hotel for history enthusiasts. The hotels novel designs, priced heirlooms, and exhibits are reminders of Edinburgh s vibrant past. The Witchery Castle, for instance, depicts the romantic side of Scotland shown in the earlier times. In 1687, Edinburgh s Lord Provost (Sir James Dick) began living in city and opened his mansion doors for assemblies of royalties who ruled during the Georgian monarchy and Scottish Enlightenment.

Affordable Edinburgh Hotels for Families

Most cheap Edinburgh hotels have rooms that still come with modern-day facilities. They are in more or less thirty-six spots all over Edinburgh, such as the famous Royal Mile and Princes Street. You can try online search engines that will give detailed and real-time availability and prices, since rates and demand change during peak seasons. There are many ways to reserve low-cost Edinburgh hotels without much hassle. Competitive price ratios make it easy for groups to avail enjoyable ambience and suitable facilities from unlimited options. The varying of these values during festivals and holidays makes online booking and reservations handy. Edinburgh offers family hotels that provide quality services at low and discounted rates. The free market of the hotel industry drives these hotels to provide the finest possible accommodations for viable costs. These types of hotels help you minimize expenses for cabs because have easy access for public transpiration.

Choosing an Edinburgh Hotel

However, searching for the right place to stay at is not as easy as it looks like. Choices can be narrowed-down based on unique guidelines such position, lifestyle, and budget. There may be hundreds of hotels in Edinburgh, but a good research will help you find the selected few that will perfectly fit you. Limitless and varied kinds of hotels and lodgings are in Scotland s capital city. A hotel that is nearby the other areas that you intend to visit inside Edinburgh is a foremost option. However, particular areas in the city are identifiable with noted living standards; be sure to pick one that goes well with yours. You can solicit advices from relatives and colleagues who have already availed of some Edinburgh hotel services. These are your allocated budget, preferred surroundings, and needed location to get the most out of every moment of your trip. The chief thought before setting out a search of accommodation in Edinburgh is to come across hotel services that are worth your money.

Arranging a holiday in Edinburgh begins with having an

Edinburgh hotels

to stay in. Enjoy the irresistible selection of luxurious, affordable, or themed

cheap hotels

with delightful food and entertainment for your visit.

Article Source:

ArticleRich.com

August 4, 2019 in Boutique Hotels

Vestas occupation continues; left-wing political parties voice support

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Morale is “fine” inside the Vestas plant in Newport, Isle of Wight, England, as an industrial occupation of the wind turbine factory finished entered its fourth night, says one of the occupiers.

“Mark,” who prefers not to give his last name for fear of management reprisals, spoke to Wikinews and gave an update on the situation inside the plant, where 30 of the 525 workers whose jobs are slated to be lost at the end of July occupied management offices on Monday evening and issued a call for the British government to nationalise the plant.

A double fence now rings the plant, surrounded by police in riot gear. Five people have been arrested for attempting to enter the plant grounds. According to Mark, while police are now letting food onto the plant grounds, Vestas’ private security have been halting it at the gate; food for the occupiers is now being provided by Vestas management after the occupiers accused Vestas in the press of violating the Human Rights Act; commenting on the quality of the food, Mark said “it’s not been that good”. According to the BBC, the content has been mostly sausage rolls, pasties and crisps.

The occupiers were informed yesterday that if they did not leave the plant by 10:30 p.m. on July 22, they would be fired. They have since been served with papers charging them with aggravated trespass and are seeking legal representation; the court papers give them until July 29 to vacate, but according to Mark, the occupiers have no plans to leave: “we’re going to be in here for a while”.

Vestas has given no comment to the press about the occupation.

Political parties in Britain have begun responding to the Vestas situation, with the Green Party adding its support to the occupation following the early declarations of support, previously reported here, by the Socialist Party and Socialist Workers Party. Green Party Leader Dr Caroline Lucas MEP gave her “full support”, and said in an online statement, “We should be seizing the opportunity to create a renewable energy revolution through a favourable policy environment and massive investment in the new technologies that can see us through a transition towards a more environmentally and economically stable economy. The Government can make a genuine start along this road by pledging financial aid to help keep the Isle of Wight’s Vestas plant open for business”. The Greens held a demonstration in London supporting the Vestas workers on July 22. Environmentalist protesters have established a climate camp with dozens of people outside the perimeter of the fence and a mass demonstration is planned for Friday evening in Newport’s St Thomas’s Square.

In parliament, meanwhile, five MPs of the ruling Labour Party have signed a motion protesting the Vestas plant’s closure and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg stated, “This closure exposes the hollow truth of Labour’s climate change strategy”. Labour Party left-wing veteran Tony Benn is expected to appear with RMT general secretary Bob Crow and address a rally at the factory Thursday night. Opposition leader David Cameron of the Conservative Party has not yet commented on the Vestas situation, but Conservative MP Andrew Turner, who represents the Isle of Wight, held a confidential meeting with Vestas management, after which he said that nationalisation was “not on the table”. Earlier in parliament, Turner said that he found Vestas’s lack of negotiations with its employees “totally unacceptable”.

Late on Thursday, Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Minister, published an editorial in The Guardian, writing:

[W]e have to win a political argument that environmentally and industrially, onshore wind is part of the solution. In the meantime, there must be a strategy for the Isle of Wight to do all we can to help and there is. Not just support for the workers who are losing their jobs, but a strategy to work with Vestas.

Milliband went on to promise £120 million in government investment in offshore wind power production and £60 million in marine manufacturing.

Vestas attributes its pullout from the UK to difficulty in obtaining planning permission for wind farms. The Independent quotes a senior company executive as saying, “We needed a stable long-term market and that was not there in the UK. We have made clear to the Government that we need a market. We do not need money.” Vestas’s income is up 59% in the last quarter, although its stock has dropped 4.4% on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange since the occupation began.

Meanwhile in the United States, Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick cut the ribbon at the opening of a 300-turbine, 800-megawatt capacity wind farm built by Vestas in Holden, Massachusetts. Vestas is a finalist in a multi-million dollar government contract to build a new offshore wind farm to be constructed in Nantucket Sound by 2012.

August 4, 2019 in Uncategorized

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August 4, 2019 in Uncategorized

Wikinews interviews biologist Chris Simon about periodical cicadas

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

In May, periodical cicadas with 17 years life cycle emerged on the East Coast of the USA after underground development as juveniles since 1996. Researchers and scientists worked to map and study the rare wave, and the locals prepared for the noisy event. First recorded in 1666, the Magicicada septendecim species recently emerged in 1979, 1996, this year, with a next wave due in 2030.

This week, Wikinews interviewed Chris Simon, an ecology and evolutionary biologist at University of Connecticut, about the cicadas.

((Wikinews)) What caused your initial interest in periodical cicadas?

Chris Simon: As an undergraduate student, I was interested in the formation of species so when I went to graduate school I looked for a study organism that was likely to be in the process of forming new species. I chose periodical cicadas because they are broken up into reproductively isolated broods (or year classes). Reproductive isolation leads to speciation so I planned to study biochemical differences among the broods.

((WN)) You study the emergence of the periodical cicadas. What do you study? What observations are you making?

CS: We record exactly where each cicada population emerges (using GPS automated mapping and crowd sourcing). We record the presence or absence of each of the three morphologically distinct species groups of periodical cicadas (Decim group, Cassini group, and Decula group). We collect specimens for DNA analysis. We look for cicadas coming up one and four years early and late. We dig up cicada nymphs and monitor their growth rates.

((WN)) What equipment do you use?

CS: Nets, shovels, automated GPS recorders, cameras, laptop computers, automated DNA sequencers.

((WN)) Do you study the periodical cicadas with anyone else? What is their role?

CS: Yes, there are a large number of people studying periodical cicadas in my lab and in other labs. My lab is made up of Research Scientists, Postdoctoral Researchers, a technician, graduate students, and undergraduates. Research Scientist John Cooley is the leader of the GPS mapping project; he invented the automated GPS recorder; he built our crowd-sourcing website, and he is instrumental in public outreach. Postdoctoral research David Marshall also participates in the mapping project and leads the part of the research related to the mapping of stragglers. John and Dave and Technician Kathy Hill all study periodical cicada mating behavior and conduct mating and hybridization experiments. One of my graduate students Beth Wade has participated in the nymph collections and will soon start genetic work involving genome wide association mapping designed to locate genes related to life cycle. My graduate student Russ Meister is studying the genes of the bacterial endosymbionts of cicadas. My current undergraduate honors student Erin Dwyer is also studying the development of Magicicada nymphs and is helping to design a lab exercise for college students around the eastern US to do the same. Many of my past undergraduate students have studied the biochemical genetics and development of periodical cicadas. See the Simon Lab website.
CS: We are collaborating with Teiji Sota at the University Kyoto and Jin Yoshimura at Shizuoka University in Japan. They are studying the phylogeography of Magicicada. We are collaborating with John McCutcheon of the University of Montana who is studying the endosymbiont genomes.
CS: We are also collaborating with ecologists Rick Karban and Louie Yang, both professors at UC Davis who have an interest in cicada population dynamics and nutrient cycling in the ecosystem.

((WN)) You studied the periodical cicadas in 1979 and 1996 too. What changes with time?

CS: I have studied periodical cicadas since I was a student back in 1974. What changes with time is increased human development constantly shrinking the patch size of cicada populations.

((WN)) What are your thoughts on the long life span of the periodical cicadas? Why could it be so? What advantages and what disadvantages does it have?

CS: Most or all cicadas have long life cycles compared to your typical annual insect. Examples have been found of two-year to 9-year cycles in different species. Periodical cicadas evolved an even-longer life cycle and I think that part of this relates to the evolution of their synchronized life cycles and peculiar safety-in-numbers strategy for survival. To become synchronized, periodical cicadas had to evolve an exact length life cycle and all adults would have to appear in the same year. Because the nymphs grow at different rates underground, a longer life cycle and a way of counting years must have evolved so that the individuals that get to the last nymphal (underground juvenile) stage first would wait long enough for all other individuals in the population to become ready to emerge.

((WN)) News reports mention this is ‘Brood II’ of the periodical cicadas. What are the distinctive features of this specific species and what is its full scientific name?

CS: The same species exist in multiple broods. No species is restricted to Brood II. The three species present in Brood II are: Magicicada septendecim, M. cassini, and M. septendecula. These same three species are found in every 17-year brood (except the farthest north which only has M. septendecim).

((WN)) At what depth do the cicadas juveniles live underground?

CS: Most live within the top foot of soil but some have been found deeper. We do not know if they go deeper in winter. We need to do much more digging to understand the nymphs.

((WN)) How do people prepare for the cicada emergence?

CS: Of course various people prepare in different ways. Ideally, everyone prepares by studying information available on the web (especially on our websites Magicicada Central and Magicicada.org).

((WN)) Do cicadas affect transport in the local area?

CS: No, not really. Occasionally individuals can be seeing flying across highways and sometimes they smash into cars.

((WN)) Do cicadas usually stay outside or do they also invade houses too?

CS: They stay outside. One might accidentally fly in through an open window but that would be rare.

((WN)) What do the cicadas eat?

CS: Cicadas suck xylem fluid (the watery fluid coming up from the roots of plants) in deciduous forest trees and herbs. Essential amino acids in the cicada diet are supplied by their bacterial endosymbionts. There are two species of endosymbionts. One makes 8 essential amino acids and one makes two essential amino acids.

((WN)) Do cicadas damage crops or city vegetation? What damage?

CS: Cicadas do not chew leave so they do not damage crops like other insects. They can inflict some damage by their egg laying. Cicadas lay eggs in pencil-sized tree branches. If there are not enough branches available, too many female cicadas may lay eggs in a single branch weakening it and making it susceptible to breakage by wind. This can sometimes cause damage in fruit orchards. If the branches break, the eggs die so this behavior is selected against by natural selection.

((WN)) Thank you.

CS: You’re welcome. I am happy to have this opportunity to communicate with your readers!

July 27, 2019 in Uncategorized

A portrait of Scotland: Gallery reopens after £17.6 million renovation

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Today saw Edinburgh’s Scottish National Portrait Gallery reopen following a two-and-a-half-year, £17.6m (US$27.4m) refurbishment. Conversion of office and storage areas sees 60% more space available for displays, and the world’s first purpose-built portrait space is redefining what a portrait gallery should contain; amongst the displays are photographs of the Scottish landscape—portraits of the country itself.

First opened in 1889, Sir Robert Rowand Anderson’s red sandstone building was gifted to the nation by John Ritchie Findlay, then-owner of The Scotsman newspaper and, a well-known philanthropist. The original cost of construction between 1885 and 1890 is estimated at over 70,000 pounds sterling. Up until 1954, the building also housed the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland who moved to the National Museum of Scotland buildings on Chambers Street. The society’s original meeting table now sits in the public part of the portrait gallery’s library, stared down on by an array of busts and phrenological artefacts.

Wikinewsie Brian McNeil, with other members of the press, received a guided tour of the gallery last Monday from Deputy Director Nicola Kalinsky. What Kalinsky described as an introduction to the gallery that previously took around 40 minutes, now takes in excess of an hour-and-a-half; with little in the way of questions asked, a more inquisitive tour group could readily take well over two hours to be guided round the seventeen exhibitions currently housed in the gallery.

A substantial amount of the 60% additional exhibition space is readily apparent on the ground floor. On your left as you enter the gallery is the newly-fitted giant glass elevator, and the “Hot Scots” photographic portrait gallery. This exhibit is intended to show well-known Scottish faces, and will change over time as people fall out of favour, and others take their place. A substantial number of the people now being highlighted are current, and recent, cast members from the BBC’s Doctor Who series.

The new elevator (left) is the most visible change to improve disabled access to the gallery. Prior to the renovation work, access was only ‘on request’ through staff using a wooden ramp to allow wheelchair access. The entire Queen Street front of the building is reworked with sloping access in addition to the original steps. Whilst a lift was previously available within the gallery, it was only large enough for two people; when used for a wheelchair, it was so cramped that any disabled person’s helper had to go up or down separately from them.

The gallery expects that the renovation work will see visitor numbers double from before the 2009 closure to around 300,000 each year. As with many of Edinburgh’s museums and galleries, access is free to the public.

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The expected significant increase in numbers has seen them working closely with the National Museum of Scotland, which was itself reopened earlier this year after extensive refurbishment work; improved access for wheelchair users also makes it far easier for mothers with baby buggies to access the gallery – prompting more thought on issues as seemingly small as nappy-changing – as Patricia Convery, the gallery’s Head of Press, told Wikinews, a great deal of thought went into the practicalities of increased visitor numbers, and what is needed to ensure as many visitors as possible have a good experience at the gallery.

Press access to the gallery on Monday was from around 11:30am, with refreshments and an opportunity to catch some of the staff in the Grand Hall before a brief welcoming introduction to the refurbished gallery given by John Leighton, director of the National Galleries of Scotland. Centre-stage in the Grand Hall is a statue of Robert Burns built with funds raised from around the British Empire and intended for his memorial situated on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill.

The ambulatories surrounding the Grand Hall give the space a cathedral-like feel, with numerous busts – predominantly of Scottish figures – looking in on the tiled floor. The east corner holds a plaque commemorating the gallery’s reopening, next to a far more ornate memorial to John Ritchie Findlay, who not only funded and commissioned the building’s construction, but masterminded all aspects of the then-new home for the national collection.

Split into two groups, members of the press toured with gallery Director James Holloway, and Nicola Kalinsky, Deputy Director. Wikinews’ McNeil joined Kalinsky’s group, first visiting The Contemporary Scotland Gallery. This ground-floor gallery currently houses two exhibits, first being the Hot Scots display of photographic portraits of well-known Scottish figures from film, television, and music. Centre-stage in this exhibit is the newly-acquired Albert Watson portrait of Sir Sean Connery. James McAvoy, Armando Iannucci, playwright John Byrne, and Dr Who actress Karen Gillan also feature in the 18-photograph display.

The second exhibit in the Contemporary gallery, flanked by the new educational facilities, is the Missing exhibit. This is a video installation by Graham Fagen, and deals with the issue of missing persons. The installation was first shown during the National Theatre of Scotland’s staging of Andrew O’Hagan’s play, The Missing. Amongst the images displayed in Fagen’s video exhibit are clips from the deprived Sighthill and Wester-Hailes areas of Edinburgh, including footage of empty play-areas and footbridges across larger roads that sub-divide the areas.

With the only other facilities on the ground floor being the education suite, reception/information desk, cafe and the gallery’s shop, Wikinews’ McNeil proceeded with the rest of Kalinsky’s tour group to the top floor of the gallery, all easily fitting into the large glass hydraulic elevator.

The top (2nd) floor of the building is now divided into ten galleries, with the larger spaces having had lowered, false ceilings removed, and adjustable ceiling blinds installed to allow a degree of control over the amount of natural light let in. The architects and building contractors responsible for the renovation work were required, for one side of the building, to recreate previously-removed skylights by duplicating those they refurbished on the other. Kalinsky, at one point, highlighted a constructed-from-scratch new sandstone door frame; indistinguishable from the building’s original fittings, she remarked that the building workers had taken “a real interest” in the vision for the gallery.

The tour group were first shown the Citizens of the World gallery, currently hosting an 18th century Enlightenment-themed display which focuses on the works of David Hume and Allan Ramsay. Alongside the most significant 18th century items from the National Portrait Gallery’s collection, are some of the 133 new loans for the opening displays. For previous visitors to the gallery, one other notable change is underfoot; previously carpeted, the original parquet floors of the museum have been polished and varnished, and there is little to indicate it is over 120 years since the flooring was originally laid.

Throughout many of the upper-floor displays, the gallery has placed more light-sensitive works in wall-mounted cabinets and pull-out drawers. Akin to rummaging through the drawers and cupboards of a strange house, a wealth of items – many previously never displayed – are now accessible by the public. Commenting on the larger, featured oils, Deputy Director Kalinsky stressed that centuries-old portraits displayed in the naturally-lit upper exhibitions had not been restored for the opening; focus groups touring the gallery during the renovation had queried this, and the visibly bright colours are actually the consequence of displaying the works in natural light, not costly and risky restoration of the paintings.

There are four other large galleries on the top floor. Reformation to Revolution is an exhibition covering the transition from an absolute Catholic monarchy through to the 1688 revolution. Items on-display include some of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery’s most famous items – including Mary Queen of Scots and The Execution of Charles I. The portrait-based depiction of this historical age is complemented with prints, medals, and miniatures from the period.

Imagining Power is a Jacobite-themed exhibition, one which looks at the sometime-romanticised Stuart dynasty. The Gallery owns the most extensive collection of such material in the world; the portraiture that includes Flora MacDonald and Prince Charles Edward Stuart is complemented by glassware from the period which is on-loan from the Drambuie Liqueur Company which Kalinsky remarked upon as the only way Scots from the period could celebrate the deposed monarchy – toasting The King over the Water in appropriately engraved glasses.

On the other side of the upper floor, the two main naturally-lit exhibitions are The Age of Improvement, and Playing for Scotland. The first of these looks at societal changes through the 18th and 19th centuries, including Nasmyth’s 1787 portrait of the young Robert Burns and – well-known to past visitors to the portrait gallery – Raeburn’s 1822 depiction of Sir Walter Scott. These are complemented with some of the National Gallery’s collection of landscapes and earliest scenes from Scottish industry.

Playing for Scotland takes a look at the development of modern sports in the 19th century; migration from countryside to cities dramatically increased participation in sporting activities, and standardised rules were laid down for many modern sports. This exhibition covers Scotland’s four national sports – curling, shinty, golf, and bowls – and includes some interesting photographic images, such as those of early strong-men, which show how more leisure time increased people’s involvement in sporting activities.

Next to the Reformation to Revolution gallery is A Survey of Scotland. Largely composed of works on-loan from the National Library of Scotland, this showcase of John Slezer’s work which led to the 1693 publication of Theatrum Scotiae also includes some of the important early landscape paintings in the national collection.

The work of Scotland’s first portrait painter, the Aberdeen-born George Jamesone, takes up the other of the smaller exhibits on the east side of the refurbished building. As the first-ever dedicated display of Jamesone’s work, his imaginary heroic portraits of Robert the Bruce and Sir William Wallace are included.

On the west side of the building, the two smaller galleries currently house the Close Encounters and Out of the Shadow exhibits. Close Encounters is an extensive collection of the Glasgow slums photographic work of Thomas Annan. Few people are visible in the black and white images of the slums, making what were squalid conditions appear more romantic than the actual conditions of living in them.

The Out of the Shadow exhibit takes a look at the role of women in 19th century Scotland, showing them moving forward and becoming more recognisable individuals. The exceptions to the rules of the time, known for their work as writers and artists, as-opposed to the perceived role of primary duties as wives and mothers, are showcased. Previously constrained to the domestic sphere and only featuring in portraits alongside men, those on-display are some of the people who laid the groundwork for the Suffrage movement.

The first floor of the newly-reopened building has four exhibits on one side, with the library and photographic gallery on the other. The wood-lined library was moved, in its entirety, from elsewhere in the building and is divided into two parts. In the main public part, the original table from the Society of Antiquaries sits centred and surrounded by glass-fronted cabinets of reference books. Visible, but closed to public access, is the research area. Apart from a slight smell of wood glue, there was little to indicate to the tour group that the entire room had been moved from elsewhere in the building.

The War at Sea exhibit, a collaboration with the Imperial War Museum, showcases the work of official war artist John Lavery. His paintings are on-display, complemented by photographs of the women who worked in British factories throughout the First World War. Just visible from the windows of this gallery is the Firth of Forth where much of the naval action in the war took place. Situated in the corner of the room is a remote-controlled ‘periscope’ which allows visitors a clearer view of the Forth as-seen from the roof of the building.

Sir Patrick Geddes, best-known for his work on urban planning, is cited as one of the key influencers of the Scottish Renaissance Movement which serves as a starting point for The Modern Scot exhibit. A new look at the visual aspects of the movement, and a renewal of Scottish Nationalist culture that began between the two World Wars, continuing into the late 20th century, sees works by William McCance, William Johnstone, and notable modernists on display.

Migration Stories is a mainly photographic exhibit, prominently featuring family portraits from the country’s 30,000-strong Pakistani community, and exploring migration into and out of Scotland. The gallery’s intent is to change the exhibit over time, taking a look at a range of aspects of Scottish identity and the influence on that from migration. In addition to the striking portraits of notable Scots-Pakistani family groups, Fragments of Love – by Pakistani-born filmmaker Sana Bilgrami – and Isabella T. McNair’s visual narration of a Scottish teacher in Lahore are currently on-display.

The adjacent Pioneers of Science exhibit has Ken Currie’s 2002 Three Oncologists as its most dramatic item. Focussing on Scotland’s reputation as a centre of scientific innovation, the model for James Clerk Maxwell’s statue in the city’s George Street sits alongside photographs from the Roslin Institute and a death mask of Dolly the sheep. Deputy Director Kalinsky, commented that Dolly had been an incredibly spoilt animal, often given sweets, and this was evident from her teeth when the death mask was taken.

Now open daily from 10am to 5pm, and with more of their collection visible than ever before, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery will change some of the smaller current exhibits after 12 to 18 months on display. The ground-floor information desk has available five mini-guides, or ‘trails’, which are thematic guides to specific display items. These are: The Secret Nature trail, The Catwalk Collection trail, The Situations Vacant trail, The Best Wee Nation & The World trail, and The Fur Coat an’ Nae Knickers Trail.

July 5, 2019 in Uncategorized

Study: Herd animals detect Earth’s magnetic field

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Large herd animals may have the ability to detect earth’s magnetic field, concluded scientists in Germany in a report published in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences after performing studies of cattle and deer grazing and sleeping patterns. The animals tended to face north-south oriented toward the earth’s magnetic poles. Hynek Burda of the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany led the team that announced the unconfirmed study. Burda and his team gathered cattle data via analysis of Google Earth images.

The team originally intended to test for possible human magnetic field detection by studying the orientation of sleeping bags in outdoor campers, but it proved difficult to obtain data because humans usually slept under tents. Cattle were easier to observe, and 8,510 head of cattle at 308 locations demonstrated a strong tendency to align body orientation in accordance with the earth’s magnetic field. Other possible factors such as wind or sunlight direction did not supply a better explanation for the behavior.

I think the really amazing thing is that hunters and herdsmen and farmers didn’t notice it.

To compare against a second large species, Burda and his team analyzed data on 2,974 deer studied through photography, direct observation, and snow imprints. The deer demonstrated a similar pattern. “I think the really amazing thing is that hunters and herdsmen and farmers didn’t notice it,” said Burda according to a National Public Radio report.

Other scientists found the results of the study intriguing. Peter August of the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, commented: “I was really amazed at the consistency with which they found north-facing cows and deer. It was really intriguing.” No independent study has yet confirmed the Duisburg-Essen team’s findings.

This is the first study that indicates magnetic field detection in large mammals. Burda’s previous research involves naked mole rats, a small blind mammal species whose behavior indicates an internal magnetic compass. According to a report by Jeremy Hsu at MSNBC, “Previous research has shown that animals such as birds, turtles and salmon migrate using a sense of magnetic direction, and small mammals such as rodents and one bat species also have a magnetic compass.”

June 22, 2019 in Uncategorized

Mobile Audio: Top Ten Tips For Practicing Drumming Anytime, Anywhere, Without Waking The Neighbors

Mobile Audio: Top Ten Tips For Practicing Drumming Anytime, Anywhere, Without Waking The Neighbors

by

Mark Etinger

Three questions:

1. Are you one of those mobile audio freaks who can’t rock out without drumming the steering wheel, the dashboard and the passenger beside you when you cruise down the road with some phat tunes blasting?

2. Are you a drummer who’s sick of hauling heavy equipment and setting up an elaborate kit every time you want to play your music someplace new? (I mean, transporting a dusty rug? Are you kidding me?)

3. Have your neighbors ever (be honest) complained about the noise you made practicing the drums, rather than just being appropriately grateful that they were exposed to the sickest rhythms they’d hear all day?

If you answered yes to those questions, this article is for you.

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In case you haven’t guessed, I am a person who would answer yes to those questions! I could not even roll forward downhill in my car if I didn’t have mobile audio, and it would be humanly impossibly for me to listen to the sweet sounds being emitted by my car audio speakers without pounding out the beat.

Anyway, I have compiled my own TOP TEN list of tips for practicing the drums anytime, anywhere, and (most of them) without making the people around you crazy.

1. Chopsticks. Ha. Anytime I’m out for Chinese or Thai, I take the opportunity to practice drumming.

2. Pot lids. Heck, yes. Just like in the movies.

3. Garbage cans. A variation on pot lids, I know, but have you seen some of these guys set up on the street or in the subway stations? They’re awesome.

4. Finger strengthening: squeeze a hacky sack ball while you’re on the phone with your mom. It helps.

5. Push-ups, pull-ups or rock climbing. Upper arms and forearms, man. The stronger you are, the longer and harder you can hit the drum skins.

6. Use a soundproof practice room at a school or university. Make nice with a security guard or a band teacher.

7. Get an electronic drum kit. I have one (Electric Thunder PED02M, if you must know all my secrets) that has an MP3 recorder on it. Sweet. It feels like real drums, but all the noise goes into your headphones. Plus, how rad is it that you can record it and play it later in the car? For that matter, how rad is it that it’s like the easiest thing to carry in the car if I do want to go play a gig without carrying my whole freaking kit?

8. On the other hand, I don’t have to carry anything at all in the car if I don’t want to. What’s wrong with good old dashboard pounding while I’ve got the mobile audio turned up? Isn’t that what stoplights are for?

9. Toothbrush. Live with someone? Borrow theirs to make it even. Don’t tell them, though. Especially if you practice tossing them and it lands in the toilet. People are sensitive about that.

10. Visit the music store, man! Practice on the stuff you dream of owning someday! Best thing is, you don’t have to dress up, since all the real rich rockers look just like we do, ripped jeans and T-shirt. All they have to do is check out your arm muscles to know you’re for real.

In conclusion, may I say: party hard but respect your neighbors. And most of all…drum on!

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June 20, 2019 in Music

Explicit Canadian workplace safety ads pulled from TV due to Christmas season

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Controversial and explicit Canadian workplace safety ads have been pulled from television, and paper ads from some bus shelters for the Christmas season. However, the ads will return to air in January.

“It’s totally erroneous to suggest we’re pulling anything,” chairman of the Workplace Safety and Information Board of Ontario, Steve Mahoney said. “Our plan from Day 1 was to stop the ads around the middle of December when most of the advertising that’s in the media is focused on Christmas and purchasing gifts. We just didn’t want to be competing with all that stuff.”

In one of the TV ads a woman accidentally slips on grease on the floor and a large steaming pot falls onto her face, and she starts screaming to death. The ads end with the message “There really are no accidents”.

A paper ads shows a construction worker who is in a pool of blood with a forklift operation manual stuck in his chest. Another with a man who is slit by a “Danger” sign with his leg stuck in a machine. They show the messages: “Lack of training can kill” and the other “Ignoring safety procedures can kill”.

“The critics amount to about 25 per cent rating, and I’m delighted they’re upset about the ads because I wouldn’t want anyone to enjoy watching them.”

The videos have been viewed more than 70,000 times on the Board’s website and are gaining large amounts of views on YouTube.

The transit authorities of Hamilton and Mississauga will show modified advertisements. The transit authority of Guelph will show the ads in bus shelters, but the transit authority of Windsor will not because of the graphic nature.

“We’re not against workplace safety, but this is too graphic,” said Caroline Postma, chair of the Transit Windsor board.

Mississauga city councillour Carolyn Parrish said: “My son-in-law was telling me that they shouldn’t be on in prime time because when [my grandson] watches them he just about bursts into tear. Now he follows his mom around the kitchen to make sure she doesn’t spill grease. And he’s only four. There’s too much of a chance that … people are really badly affected by it, and can’t really do anything about it anyway.” She suggested the ads only be aired to workers with the jobs shown in the commercials.

Mahoney changed the earlier promise to air the ads only after 8:00pm to after 9:00pm at last nights meeting with Mississauga city council.

Mahoney said the commercials and paper ads are not “too graphic at all”. And they are “absolutely appropriate and they’re doing what they’re intended to do, they’re creating what I call a water cooler topic of conversation.”

Ninety-eight Canadian workers so far have been killed on the job this year.

June 19, 2019 in Uncategorized

Clash of cultures: Somali and Latino workers at U.S. meat packing plants

Friday, October 17, 2008

Muslim Somali workers at a meat packing plant in Grand Island, Nebraska wanted to pray. Their colleagues from Latin America wanted to work. A dispute over the company’s break schedule led to formal discrimination claims, mass job walk-offs and public protests by both sides last month, and a reported 200 firings.

Tensions at the plant began after a Federal government raid in December 2006 removed 200 undocumented workers. An equal number of employees quit shortly afterward. Altogether, six government immigration raids at meat packing plants of Brazilian-owned JBS Swift & Co. had removed 1,200 employees from the company’s work force, which caused substantial production problems. Management at the Nebraska plant responded by hiring approximately 400 Somali immigrants who resided in the United States legally as political refugees. Stricter Federal enforcement of immigration laws has had a significant impact on the meat packing industry because few native-born Americans are willing to work in its low-wage factories. Employers advertise to immigrant communities and after the immigration crackdowns the company turned to the Somali community, which was unlikely to be targeted for deportation.

They shouldn’t be forced to choose between their job and their religion.

Many of the new Somali workers were observant Muslims who wanted to practice the traditional religious prayer schedule, and few spoke English. The existing union contract had been negotiated before Muslims became a significant part of the factory work force, when religious needs had not been an issue, and break times were assigned according to a rigid schedule to ensure continuous production and prevent workers from working too long without a break. The sharp knives the meat packers wield for their job pose a substantial risk of accidental injury.

At first the Somali workers prayed during scheduled breaks and visits to the rest room. A few Somalis were fired for “illegal breaks” they had spent praying. Rima Kapitan, a lawyer who represents the Muslim meat packers of Grand Island, told USA Today, “they shouldn’t be forced to choose between their job and their religion.” The Somalis offered to let their employer deduct pay for time at prayer, but supervisors considered it unworkable to lose the labor of hundreds of people simultaneously, even if the interruptions lasted less than five minutes.

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Plant worker Fidencio Sandoval, a naturalized United States citizen who was born in Mexico, had polite reservations. “I kind of admire all the effort they make to follow that religion, but sometimes you have to adapt to the workplace.” An immigrant from El Salvador was less sympathetic. “They used to go to the bathroom,” said José Amaya, “but actually they’re praying and the rest of us have to do their work.” Raul A. García, a 73-year-old Mexican meat packer, told The New York Times, “The Latino is very humble, but they [the Somalis] are arrogant… They act like the United States owes them.”

Differences of opinion arose over whether the prayers, which are a religious obligation five times a day for practicing Muslims and vary in exact time according the position of the sun, constitute a reasonable accommodation or an undue burden upon non-Muslim coworkers. Abdifatah Warsame, a Somali meat packer, told The New York Times that “Latinos were sometimes saying, ‘Don’t pray, don’t pray’”.

I kind of admire all the effort they make to follow that religion, but sometimes you have to adapt to the workplace.

As the Muslim holy month of Ramadan approached during 2007 the Somalis requested time off for religious reasons. Observant Muslims fast throughout daylight hours during Ramadan. Management refused, believing it would affect the production line. Dozens of Somali workers quit their jobs temporarily in protest. Negotiations between the Somali workers and management broke down in October 2007. Some of the fired Somalis filed religious discrimination complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Problems resurfaced after September 10, 2008 when Somali workers approached plant general manager Dennis Sydow with a request to start their dinner half an hour before the usual schedule in order to break their Ramadan fast closer to sundown. Sydow refused due to concern the request would slow production and burden non-Muslim workers. During the same month a Somali woman complained that a plant supervisor had kicked her while she was praying. The union investigated the charge and the supervisor responded that he had not seen her while she bent in prayer and had only kicked the cardboard that was underneath her.

Somali workers walked out on strike September 15 and protested at Grand Island City Hall, asking for prayer time. The following day the union brokered a compromise with plant management to move the dinner break by 15 minutes. Plant scheduling rules would have reduced the work day by 15 minutes with resulting loss in pay for the hourly workers.

A Somali worker, Abdalla Omar, told the press “We had complaints from the whites, Hispanics and [Christian] Sudanese“. False rumors spread about further cuts to the work day and preferential concessions to the Somalis. Over 1,000 non-Somalis staged a counterprotest on September 17. Union and management returned to the original dinner schedule. Substantial numbers of Somali workers left the plant afterward and either quit or were fired as a result. Sources differ as to the number of Somalis who still work at the plant: The New York Times reports union leadership as saying 300 remain, while Somali community leaders assert the number is closer to 100.

The EEOC has sent staff to determine whether treatment of Somali workers has been in compliance with the The Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under the law, employers must make reasonable accommodation for religious practices, but the law grants exceptions if religious practice places substantial hardship on an employer’s business.

Doug Schult, the JBS Swift manager in charge of labor relations, expressed frustration at the inability to resolve the problem, which had surfaced in a Colorado plant as well as the Nebraska plant. He told The Wall Street Journal that his office had spent months trying to understand and comply with new EEOC guidelines in light of conflicting pressures. Local union chapter president Daniel O. Hoppes of United Food and Commercial Workers worries that similar problems could continue to arise at the plant. “Right now, this is a real kindling box”.

June 17, 2019 in Uncategorized