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Monthly Archives: July 2015

New York To Aid Bird Migration By Turning Out The Lights

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is backing a new scheme to turn off all nonessential lights in state-run buildings as a way of helping migrating birds to effectively navigate their routes.

Birds that migrate through the spring and autumn are thought to navigate by the light of the stars, using the tiny little pinpricks of light in the night sky to undertake their long and arduous yearly journeys.

However, according to ornithologists, many birds can become disorientated by artificial light, which can result in the birds flying into buildings and dying needlessly. This phenomenon is known as “fatal light attraction” and claims the lives of an estimated billion birds a year in the US alone.

Some birds die from the trauma of impacting into buildings, while others merely become lost and die from a combination of exhaustion and other hazards posed by an urban environment. A major ecological worry presented by fatal light attraction is that it can affect all areas of a bird population, killing even the stronger birds, which are vital to the maintenance of a healthy ecosystem.

The idea to preserve migratory routes by switching out – or else dimming – all nonessential lights was first put forward in the early 1990s by Toronto, Canadas FLAP program. This pioneering work was built upon by the National Audubon Society, who have so far either directly instigated, or else inspired projects similar to, their Lights Out initiative across at least 20 American cities.

According to the Audubon Societys website, “The strategy is simple: By convincing building owners and managers to turn off excess lighting during the months migrating birds are flying overhead, we help to provide them safe passage between their nesting and wintering grounds”.

Thanks to Governor Cuomos support for this initiative, the birds passing over New York City at night will now stand a much better chance of surviving than before.

“This is a simple step to help protect these migrating birds that make their home in New Yorks forests, lakes and rivers,” said Governor Cuomo in a statement.

In addition to this good news, the Governor also announced the launch of a new I Love NY Birding website, which will provide New Yorkers with information on bird watching and how to participate in the Lights Out program.

Away from state-run buildings, several prominent New York City landmarks, including The Rockefeller Centre, The Chrysler Building and Time Warner Centre have pledged to take action in support of the states massive bird population. Private citizens will also be encouraged to join in as well, making New York City a far safer place for our feathered friends.

I Won’€™t Tell Them How To Make Movies, If They Don’€™t Tell Me How To Solve The Mysteries Of The Universe€ Says Stephen Hawking…

Theoretical physicist, cosmologist and best-selling author Stephen W. Hawking appeared in holographic form at Australia’s world famous Sydney Opera House earlier this month. The professor engaged in a wide-ranging (and frequently very funny) discussion, which was streamed live from Cambridge University.

Long known for his keen wit and candid sense of humour, Professor Hawking tackled the issues of the day in his own inimitable way, at one point suggesting to grief-stricken One Direction fans that the pop band’s departed singer Zayn Malik still fronts the band in a parallel universe, and that fostering an interest in theoretical physics may yet help them to discover proof of this.

He also discussed the popularity of long-running science fiction franchise Star Trek, a series that Hawking has himself appeared in, saying “We have come to expect a steady increase in standard of living that science and technology have brought. But people distrust science because they don’t understand it or feel they can control it. (…) The popularity of science fiction like Star Trek is because this is a form of science with which people feel safe, but an understanding of science fact would allay their fears … much better.”

According to Hawking, it is imperative that a public interest in science is fostered and encouraged so that we can become better informed on issues such as climate change and genetic engineering.

As a for-instance, Hawking recalled that he had been warned not to add too much scientific detail to his International bestselling book, 1988’s A Brief History of Time. According to Hawking, he was told that each equation he included would effectively halve sales. “I included one – Einstein’s famous E=MC2. Perhaps I would have sold twice as many copies without it,” he said, only half joking.

The professor also discussed the recent biopic of his life, the Academy Award winning The Theory of Everything and was generally positive about the movie, especially actor Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of him.

Whilst he admitted to being initially apprehensive about the film, because it was adapted from a book by his ex-wife (as Hawking himself once said, “I’m no better than anyone else at understanding what makes people tick, particularly women”), Hawking was pleased with the script and enjoyed the finished film, calling it “surprisingly honest” about his life and marriage. “It was as close as I’ll ever get to traveling in time,” he said.

Hawking’s one issue with the movie was that he would have preferred “more physics and fewer feelings”, although he rushed to point out that this was how he felt about all films. However, on the subject of any nagging inaccuracies (which he insisted were minor), the great mind simply stated, “I won’t tell them how to make movies, if they don’t tell me how to solve the mysteries of the universe”.

Finally, Hawking commanded “Beam me up, Scotty!” and within seconds, his digital presence had disappeared in a flash of bright light. Now that’s showmanship!

Why Should You Go For MSA Sordin Headset

Headphones are used for various purposes. While there is no doubt that it is most widely used for listening to music and also to enjoy movies in a private environment, there are many other reasons for which these devices are used. Cancelling noise is very important and it is applicable for different types of activities. Whether it is sports or other applications, these devices are extremely important. They play a big role in helping removing or blocking various types of noises and sounds. They work using a simple technology that is referred to as inverse sound wave. It is very useful while travelling in planes and the inverse sound wave will help prevent noise of the engines. While there are different opinions about these noise blocking headphones, there are certainly some obvious advantages that cannot be overlooked. Let us have a look at them over the next few lines.

Various Uses Of These Headphones

Previously these headphones were used very extensively in the aviation industry because of obvious reasons. Pilots use them even today for cancelling noise emanating from engines. It would also be pertinent to mention here that ground staffs who signal planes also use them not only in civil airlines but also in air forces. It is also very commonly used by shooters to shut down sounds emanating from guns which could affect their concentration.

There are many such brands available in the market today and MSA Sordin is often considered to be one of the most sought after ones. It would be pertinent to have a clear understanding about the various technical features of brands such as Sordin so that customers can get a better picture of the same. These sound cancelling devices are usually connected to a two way portable radios or walkie talkies, which are available in the market. The headphones and other accessories and attachments can also be used and there are many companies which manufacture them.

How It Actually Works On the Ground

The protector headsets come with a noise cancelling microphone which is also referred to as boom microphone. It also has a down load feature and PTT. The down load and PTT directly connect to the two radio systems as mentioned above. This is done with negligible or minimal interference that comes from the outside. Hence whenever there is a need to reduce or totally remove unwanted noise the MSA Sordin device always comes into play. Let us now have a look at some interesting features of these noise reducing headphones.

A Look At Some Useful And Pertinent Features

These devices are very feature rich and offer excellent value for money. The headphones are padded and the soft cushions well and truly provide the right type of comfort. The boom microphones are very useful for communication even in very noisy areas and locations. These devices are also available with or without audio limiters. Quite a few manufacturers allow customization of the audio limiters depending on the specific needs and requirements of customers.

How To Buy The Right Sound Cancelling Earphones

Before buying these devices it is very important to have some understanding about the difference between noise isolating earphones and noise cancellation headphones. What we are talking about in this article is the noise cancellation variants. Hence this point should be made clear before buying them. Audio quality is also an important point to be kept in mind while buying these earphones. You should also make a decision between wireless and wired earphones keeping in mind your specific needs and requirements. Though wireless phones are more user friendly and flexible, they are often more prone to signal interruptions. Price is also a very important consideration when it comes to buying these ear phones.

Going through the right due diligence process is also very important and unless you are sure about the quality, overall features and functionalities you should not go ahead with the purchase. When you buying from reputed online sites, you should look up quite a few brands and choose something that totally meets your specific needs. It is a time consuming process but you should be willing to invest the desired time and effort failing which you could end up choosing the wrong earphones.

Twelfth Doctor To Battle Vikings (And Other Series 9-Related Rumours)

Just a few short weeks after series 8 of the long-running sci-fi show garnered a Craft Award at the BAFTAs (for ‘Deep Breath’s excellent T-Rex sequences), shooting is already under way for Block 3 (that’s episodes 5 & 6, in case you were wondering) of Series 9. Phew! Don’t these guys ever take a break?

According to www.doctorwhotv.co.uk, series 9 will see everybody’s favourite Time Lord and his trusty companion having a Viking-themed adventure, guest starring Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams. Cast and crew have begun filming at Cosmeston Medieval Village, and leaked on-set photos appear to show crewmembers hard at work building period-specific boats. Other leaked info points to a showdown between The Doctor and the Norse God Odin. Should be fun.

The village will also be the setting for the brand-new monster that was officially unveiled by the BBC last week. Looking like a giant Warhammer figure brought magically to life, the monster may (or may not) be called The Cyclone and the teaser photos already have online fans buzzing.

Meanwhile, other on-set photos (leaked by Twitter user Amberlabamba) appear to show star Peter Capaldi in a new outfit, specifically, a pair of Tartan trousers that knowingly remind us of Twelve’s innate Scottishness, whilst also recalling some of the outfits worn by Second Doctor Patrick Troughton.

…He’s keeping the Doc Martens, though.

The costume change is also interesting because Capaldi’s initial series 8 outfit, a stylish, scaled back Crombie coat (designed specifically with cosplay in mind), also recalled an outfit worn by Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor during the 1970’s. It certainly looks like the BBC costume department are taking a bit of inspiration from the show’s early days. Its all good, just as long as he leaves the six-foot scarf at home – some things aren’t meant to be touched!

…And that goes TRIPLE for any Technicolor dream coats that the costume department might be planning to unleash on us.

In other Who news, it appears that director Hettie MacDonald, best known by Whovians for her sterling work on the Tenth Doctor episode Blink, will be returning to direct a couple of U.N.I.T-related episodes entitled The Magician’s Apprentice and The Witch’s Familiar, which are set to act as a two-part series’ opener. The adventure will probably feature the return of Jemma Redgrave as Kate Stewart, daughter of the legendary Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.

Other cast members announced (or rumoured) for series 9 guest slots are Game of Thrones and Ripper Street actor Paul Kaye, comedian Rufus Hound, The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Kelly Hunter (who may or may not be reprising her role as The Shadow Architect from Series 4’s The Stolen Earth) and Clare Higgins, who recently appeared in the Eighth Doctor mini-episode The Night of The Doctor as The High Priestess of The Karn Sisterhood.

Michelle Gomez will also return as Missy – the female incarnation of The Master, as seen throughout series 8.

A particularly juicy rumour (apparently started by The Daily Mirror) has the series returning The Doctor to the Dalek homeworld Skaro, whereupon the Time Lord must contemplate whether or not to murder his nemesis Davros, creator of The Daleks, during childhood. The episode, if indeed it is an episode at all, would therefore re-tread philosophical ground first walked during Terry Nation’s classic Fourth Doctor serial Genesis of the Daleks.

The story may also pick up on the as-yet unused Davros origin story written by former series boss Russell T. Davies, which was cut from series four’s The Stolen Earth/Journeys End two-parter (it can be read in Davies’ Doctor Who companion book The Writers Tale). If this is the case, then this proposed episode might also explain the return of Kelly Hunter to the Whoniverse, for obvious reasons.

Of course, you can never trust the rumour mill too wantonly, but if the idea of a series that features The Sisterhood of Karn, The Shadow Proclamation, Davros, The Master and Odin doesn’t float your (long)boat, then, quite frankly, I’m not entirely sure why you read this far…

How Much Does a Good Earpiece Cost?

Actually, quality two-way radio earpieces are not nearly as cost prohibitive as you might expect them to be.

In fact, you can get a professional quality model for as little as just over £10 (not including shipping costs). The linked model even comes with a special noise-reducing microphone included in the price.

Elsewhere, Amazon.co.uk has earpiece and headset deals for as low as £6.00. These won’t be top-end products, obviously, but they are unlikely to let you down either.

As with all things, it depends on what uses you have in mind. If you are unsure as to exactly what your needs are, then it is wiser to spend a little extra (we’re not talking a bank-breaking amount, after all) than it is to buy the cheapest model, saving £7 – £8 in the short term, only to end up disappointed with your final purchase.

You can get a ‘good’ (as in, generally reliable ‘all rounder’) earpiece for £10 – £20. These earpieces aren’t particularly flashy, but they can be relied upon to get the job done. As a general guide, some of the more professional quality pieces available will go up as high as £40 – £50. Depending on what these models are used for, all will do a fine job.

Of course, as with anything, there is a high-end and a low-end to the marketplace. However, unlike some markets, low-end earpieces do not represent an enormous loss in quality. They will work fine for basic/hobby use, but we recommend you spend out towards the higher end of the market for professional usage.

EarpieceOnline is a good place to get your earpiece from, especially since they offer free next day delivery on all their items.

Typically, earpieces are not an expensive item. In fact, they only cost a substantial amount when professional earpieces are bought in bulk for business use. However, the linked site is among the cheapest online and stocks a wide variety of different products.

Of course, all prices listed here are ‘ballpark figures’ unless otherwise stated. The sites/stockists you use may be cheaper, or more expensive, so it will probably pay to shop around a little bit.

If you are able to find any cheaper sites, then you might let us know, that way we can recommend them to other users.

British Screen Icon Richard Attenborough Passes Away, Aged 90

British actor, director and screen legend Lord Richard Attenborough passed away last August, he was 90 years old.

The iconic performer, known for a plethora of memorable film roles over a career spanning an impressive six decades, leaves behind a majestic legacy. What follows is an overview of Attenborough’s film work, both as an actor and a director and, after that, a few words about his contributions outside of cinema.

Beginning his career in the 1940’s, the young actor started out in numerous stage plays before attending The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), which he would later serve as president. His early film roles included the Noel Coward directed wartime film ‘In Which We Serve’ (1942), which starred John Mills, ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ starring David Niven (1946) and the original film version of ‘London Belongs To Me’ with Alastair Sim (1948).

Lord Attenborough’s big break came in 1947, when he starred as unscrupulous gang leader Pinkie Brown in the film adaptation of Graham Greene’s novel ‘Brighton Rock’ (which also stars future ‘Doctor Who’ actor William Hartnell). Attenborough’s portrayal was nothing short of mesmerizing in its coldness and cruelty and, by 1949, he was considered to be among the most popular British actors of the day.

Throughout the 1950’s, Attenborough starred in war films such as ‘Dunkirk’ – again with John Mills (1958) and comedies like ‘Private’s Progress’ (1956), he also dazzled as Stoker Snipe in the 1950 film adaptation of ‘Morning Departure’, a highly moving piece about a submarine crew stranded at the bottom of the sea, which also starred John Mills.

In 1960, Attenborough portrayed factory worker Tom Curtis in ‘The Angry Silence’, a British ‘kitchen sink’ movie that saw his character refuse to join his fellow workers on strike as himself and his family dealt with the consequences. He also appeared in the classic crime drama ‘The League of Gentleman’ in the same year.

In 1963, Attenborough starred in ‘The Great Escape’ playing Bartlett ‘Big X’ alongside an all-star cast that included Steve McQueen, James Garner, Donald Pleasence, Charles Bronson and James Coburn.

1965’s Oscar nominated ‘The Flight Of The Phoenix’ saw him playing alongside Hollywood screen legend James Stewart. In 1967, Attenborough portrayed Albert Blossom in the musical film ‘Doctor Dolittle’ and, in 1969, he directed his first feature, the musical ‘Oh, What A Lovely War!’

In 1971, Attenborough performed one of his most memorable roles as the serial killer John Christie, acting alongside John Hurt and Judy Geeson in ‘10 Rillington Place’. He was reluctant to take the part at first, but appears to have done so in order to take a stand against capital punishment.

In 1975, he starred alongside John Wayne in ‘Brannigan’. In 1977, he directed ‘A Bridge Too Far’, a war story that starred Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Gene Hackman, James Caan and Anthony Hopkins.

In 1981, Attenborough completed a true labour of love and his most noted work as a director, the epic biopic ‘Gandhi’, starring Ben Kingsley. The film earned Attenborough two Academy Awards, one for directing and one for producing. In 1987, he directed Denzel Washington in ‘Cry Freedom’, which celebrated the life of anti-Apartheid activist Steve Biko. He would next produce and direct a biopic in 1992, directing Robert Downey, Jr, Marissa Tomei, Dan Akroyd and Geraldine Chaplin in ‘Chaplin’, a film depicting the life of influential movie star Charlie Chaplin.

Attenborough’s two most famous late career roles occurred within one year of each other. In 1993, he portrayed impresario John Hammond in Steven Spielberg’s ‘Jurassic Park’ (a role he would reprise in the 1997 sequel ‘The Lost World: Jurassic Park’) and in 1994, he joyously appeared as Father Christmas in the re-make of ‘Miracle on 34th Street’, both roles won Attenborough critical acclaim, as well as an entire generation of new fans. In 1998, he appeared as Baron William Cecil in ‘Elizabeth’, an historical drama also starring Cate Blanchett, Christopher Eccleston and Geoffrey Rush, which focussed on the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

Attenborough directed his last film, ‘Closing The Ring’ in 2007 and gave his final acting performance in 2004, lending his voice to the film ‘Tres En El Camino’.

Away from acting, Lord Attenborough was active in politics; he was appointed as a life peer (as Baron Attenborough) in 1993 and chose to sit on the Labour party benches at The House of Lords. He was a vocal opponent of South African apartheid and a lifelong advocate of racial equality. In 1983, he was awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Non-violence Peace Prize by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Centre For Non-violent Social Change.

A passionate advocate of education at all levels, Attenborough served as Chancellor of the University of Sussex for 10 years (from 1998 until 2008) and he was a patron of University College, Leicester, where his father had served as principal.

He also worked tirelessly on behalf of several charities, including The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, The Richard Attenborough Fellowship Fund (which also aims to fund research into neuromuscular conditions) and UNICEF, for whom he served as Goodwill Ambassador and donated many of the proceeds from ‘Gandhi’ to. From ‘Gandhi’ alone, he raised in excess of a Million Dollars for the charity.

Lord Attenborough received a CBE (Commander of The British Empire) in 1967 and was fully knighted in 1976. From 1969 – 1982, Attenborough, a dedicated football fan, served as the director of Chelsea Football Club. Between 1993 and 2008, he was also the club’s Honorary Vice President.

Richard Attenborough’s career was truly groundbreaking in every sense of the word. He was unquestionably one of the greatest actors of all time as well as a man of moral courage and noble spirit. As an artist, philanthropist, educator and man of conscience, this world will be much poorer without him.