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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.

Review of the Motorola DP2600 Two Way Radio

When it comes to creating of digital communications throughout your company, MOTOTRBO digital radio solutions can help keep all your employees connected. The Motorola DP2600 is a hand-held two-way radio that comes with all the latest digital technological advances. These small portables deliver on affordability and high digital quality, allowing all of your employees to speak and hear clearly regardless the working conditions.

The Motorola DP2600 display model features programmable buttons, 16 channel capacity, and water protection IP55 specifications. The volume of the radio adjusts automatically to be able to compensate for any background noises. This best-in-class technology provides a scalable solution for any communication needs within the company. The crystal clear screen allows easy navigation and install call recognition.

The reason the DP2600 is so versatile is because it is available in both VHF and UHF frequencies, with a two-line display and simple to navigate keypad that is able to handle up to 128 channels. The three programmable buttons are simple to access, the tricolor LED provides crystal clear visual feedback on the status of the operating system of the radio. The screen is easily viewable day or night, and the large textured talk button is easy to find in any conditions.

Some of the reasons the DP2600 has become one of the popular choices in the construction and assembly line industry is the compact design and the noise reduction capabilities and safety features.. The ability to switch between group or individual calls is simple, while the PTT ID is designed to simplify the system disciple and efficiency of communication. The remote monitoring system ensures employee safety while on the job by enabling quicker assessment of the remote users status.

Calls received on the DP2600 connect on the first time thanks to the unique channel scanning technology. No tools are needed to attach remote accessories to the DP2600 because it comes equipped with an accessory connector. Through the software purchase you can upgrade the radio privacy feature, transmitting interrupt, and five tone signalling. The DP2600 comes with VOX capabilities and Intelligent Audio for automatic volume adjustment to compensate for any degree of noise within the workplace that could affect sound quality.

This hand-held two-way radio IP55 sealing ensures continued operation in the harshest of working conditions. Equipped to handle multiple site coverage with the IP site connector, the DP2600 will keep everyone in the pipeline in communications with each other via the Capacity Plus and Lined capacity Plus features.

How Does My Mobile Phone Work?

A mobile phone is a type of transceiver, meaning that it can both transmit and receive radio waves. The clever bit is that, unlike other transceivers such as walkie-talkies, it can relay both signals simultaneously. A mobile phone achieves this by running two separate signals, one for transmitting and one for receiving, at the same time.

Aside from that, there really isn’t a huge amount of difference between a mobile phone and a walkie-talkie. Just like a walkie-talkie, once you talk into the speaker, your voice is converted to an electrical impulse and relayed, via electrons housed inside a small antenna, to the intended recipient. Then, just like with a walkie-talkie, those same electrical impulses are converted (via a reversal of the initial process) back into your voice. Mobiles, like walkie-talkies, have small, compact aerials and use relatively small amounts of power.

However, unlike walkie-talkies, mobile phones can communicate with one another over much vaster distances. How? Well, this is the REALLY clever bit. The cellular network divides up land into cells and each cell has its own phone mast. The phone mast boosts the phone’s signal, in essentially the same way a signal tower does for a radio network, except that they relay the signal from your phone to other cell towers, allowing the signal to carry across much further distances without significant degradation.

Of course, there are only so many available radio frequencies in any given area. Walkie-talkie users prevent the mass chaos that uncontrolled broadcasting/transmitting would no doubt cause by licensing and heavily policing radio usage (in fact, we covered this exact subject earlier in the month).

Imagine if emergency services were unable to use their radio frequencies! Awful. It is therefore very important that frequencies in use are policed and this is why you cannot buy radios with a power output stronger than 0.5 watts without a license.

However, mobile phones operate differently. Each mobile essentially re-uses its own frequency, in a similar way to a licensed radio frequency might. It is rare that all possible frequencies are in use at the same time, but it actually does happen (think: New Year’s Eve).

The majority of the information in this article (basically, the bits we had to look up and/or double check) was sourced from this article on Physics.org.

Photographic Find of the Century Depicts Trench Life in WW1

Although it meant disobeying direct orders (and a court martial if he was discovered), Lance Corporal George Hackney obviously felt a duty to document The Great War from a soldier’s perspective. Now, to commemorate the centenary of the First World War, his incredible photographs are being displayed in public for the first time.

The astounding collection, which includes candid photographs taken in the British trenches – and at least one amazing shot of a German surrender in 1916, was compiled between 1915, when Hackney was first sent to the front lines, and 1918, when the brutal conflict finally ended, and the photographer returned home.

Before he was called up, Hackney was a keen amateur photographer, and it shows. His pictures demonstrate a very accomplished sense of composition, but never feel forced or especially posed for (as some photography from the era can). In fact, the images are easily among the most intimate and credible pictures that exist from the conflict.

Among the most remarkable shots is a poignant image of a lone soldier writing a letter home, as well as another showing a group of soldiers (in full uniform) casually napping on the deck of the ship that would eventually deliver them to the front lines.

At the time these photographs were taken, no unofficial photography was allowed on the front lines. However, using a portable folding camera about the size of a modern smart phone, the Northern Irishman was able to document the war effort discreetly and respectfully.

Hackney then gave the photographs to his own family upon his return. In addition, many of his pictures were given as gifts to the families of the men photographed, sometimes offering grieving loved ones a chance to see their missing husband, brother or son, one final time.

To cite one such example, Hackney’s Sergeant, James Scott, was killed at the Battle of Messines in May 1917. After Lance Corporal Hackney returned home, he presented Scott’s family with three pictures of him, including a striking depiction of the officer looking proud and dashing on horseback.

The Sergeant’s descendant, Mark Scott, was instrumental in uncovering the stories behind these wonderful, and often profound, images…

Hackney’s pictures also provide excellent accompaniment to the war records of the men in question, rendering them as much more than simply names and numbers, or even as symbols of pure courage and sacrifice. Hackney’s photographs present these remarkable men to a new generation as simple Human beings fighting through an incredibly difficult time to be alive.

A photograph taken at County Antrim, which depicts Hackney’s friend John Ewing writing a diary entry (or possibly a letter home), adds a Human element to the historical facts that Ewing was eventually promoted to Sergeant and subsequently won the Military Medal for bravery in the field…

Stories like this abound in Hackney’s work, which ably presents the war in a far more evocative way than the official press photographs and propaganda of the time could ever have hoped to.

When George Hackney passed away in 1977, his family donated the pictures to the Ulster Museum, where they stayed in the Museum’s archives for over 30 years. These unique, powerful documents were, in turn presented to TV Director Brian Henry Martin by museum curator Dr. Vivienne Pollock, in 2012. Martin was shown the images alongside a collection of Hackney’s personal diaries and was captivated by them.

Lance Corporal Hackney eventually became the subject of a BBC Documentary, directed by Martin, entitled, ‘The Man Who Shot The Great War’. The show aired in Northern Ireland earlier this month.

In addition, Hackney’s work is soon to be the subject of a major exhibition at the Ulster Museum.

Mr. Martin is now bringing 300 of Hackney’s images to the BBC for future use, although it is estimated that there are around 200 more that are undiscovered at the time of writing.

Amanda Moreno of the Museums of The Royal Irish Regiment, told Yahoo! News that, “As a collection of photographs of the First World War, they are totally exceptional.”

Interviewed for the film, Franky Bostyn, Chief of The Belgian Ministry of Defense said, “I think you made the photographical World War One discovery of the century.”

100 years on, George Hackney’s unique, vivid and (above all) brave photography presents us with a deeply Human portrait of life in the trenches of The Great War.

Experts Investigate Antares Rocket Explosion

Experts are presently investigating the destruction of the unmanned space rocket Antares, which exploded during its launch on Tuesday, October 28th. Official investigations began on the 29th, but no definite cause for the accident has been identified so far.

Almost immediately upon leaving the launch pad at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, Antares became engulfed in flames and was destroyed in midair. The falling wreckage caused considerable damage to the launch pad itself.

Although the cargo was lost, there were no casualties.

Antares was carrying around 5,000lbs (2,200 kgs) of supplies, which were intended for the six astronauts currently occupying the International Space Station. The rocket’s cargo included over 1,300lbs (600kg) of dried food, as well equipment for various scientific experiments.

Despite the loss of important supplies and equipment, the astronauts aboard the ISS will still have enough provisions to continue their work.

Frank Culbertson, executive vice-president of Orbital Sciences Corp, the firm that built the rocket, is confident that the cause of the explosion will soon be determined. He told BBC News that,

“We will understand what happened, hopefully soon, and we’ll get things back on track (…) we’ve all seen this happen in our business before, and we’ve all seen the teams recover from this, and we will do the same.”

Mr. Culbertson has also urged locals not to go “souvenir hunting” along the beach, as the rocket had been carrying hazardous materials.

Some business experts are now predicting that Orbital may suffer greatly in the face of harsh competition to supply the ISS.

The investigation could take weeks, or even more, before analysts are satisfied that they have found the root cause of the problem.

In any instance, it seems highly likely that the investigators will place considerable emphasis on the rocket’s AJ-26 engines, which were used to lift Antares from the launch pad.

Earlier versions of these same engines were developed for Russia’s N1 moon missions, which came to an ignominious end after all four launch attempts failed. The second attempt, in 1969, resulted in a calamity that completely destroyed both the rocket and the launch tower.

Another of these power units actually exploded during ground testing earlier this year.

Whatever the cause, this malfunction is expected to set any further Antares rocket launches back for a considerable amount of time.

Microsoft Co-Founder Discovers Last Resting Place Of Legendary Japanese Warship

More than 70 years after American forces sank it, the legendary Japanese battleship Musashi has been discovered resting on the seafloor at a depth of 3,280 feet (1KM) below the water’s surface.

The expedition, headed up by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, discovered the wreck of the Musashi off the coast of The Philippines.

Allen’s private yacht, the 414-foot-long (125 meters) M/Y Octopus located the wreck in the Sibuyan Sea earlier this month, but the team has declined to offer details regarding the ship’s exact location.

Mr. Allen is known to have been fascinated by the riddle of the lost battleship and has been searching for its final resting place for 8 years.

The Mushashi met its end during the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1944, and it is thought that over a thousand men, almost half of the ships 2,399-strong crew compliment was killed during the sinking.

The Musashi is a well-known battleship of the era because it was considered to be one of the largest –and most technologically advanced- warships ever built at the time. The Musashi was 862 feet long and weighed in the region of 66,225 metric tonnes. However, despite her immense size and reliable eyewitness accounts of her sinking, the precise location of the wreck remained unknown for over 7 decades.

The Musashi’s sister ship, The Yamato, met its end in 1945. The wreck was lost until the 1980’s, when shipwreck hunters discovered her remains 180 miles southwest of Kyushu. The ship was split in two and was found at a depth of 1,120 feet (340 m).

Some underwater footage of the Musashi has been released to the public already. The footage reveals the catapult system once used to launch planes, a 15-ton anchor and the turret from a naval gun.

The ship took her name from the famous Japanese samurai, philosopher and artist Miyamoto Musashi. Musashi was known for his psychological approach to duelling, as well as his unorthodox fighting style. His ‘Book of Five Rings’ (Go Rin No Sho) is considered a classic text on the subject of conflicts and personal discipline.

Musashi made his first kill at just 13 and won his most famous bout by killing the renowned samurai Sasaki Kojiro on the island of Funajima (using a modified oar that he had taken from the boat that carried him to the island). He is the founder of the Niten Ichi-ryu (‘the school of the strategy of two heavens as one’ – loose translation) School of swordsmanship. Musashi partook in around sixty duels, many of then to the death. He retired undefeated and died in 1645, probably from cancer.

Returning to the present, a statement on Paul Allen’s website says that, by discovering the legendary battleship, his team hopes to “bring closure to the families of those lost”.

Mr. Allen has further pledged that he and his team plan to work closely with the Japanese government in order to ensure that the wreck of The Musashi is treated “respectfully and in accordance with Japanese traditions.”

Motorola Earpieces For All Types of Industry

Are you in the security industry? Using Motorola Walkie Talkies? Need the ability to not have your conversation overheard, or need to silent on an event or restaurant service area, yet still in contact with your team? Do you need to walk and talk, so that you can multitask, or get other tasks completed while you are on the phone?

Then Motorola is the company, and the earpiece, for you and your team.

If you are in security, events or hotel management, you wouldn’t necessarily want everyone to be able to see that you are wearing an earpiece, and there are a variety of ways to minimise the “I have a radio in my pocket and I boss people around” kind of look.

First clip the charged radio on to your belt. Select the station or frequency that you will be using. Make sure that the team are all on the same station. Attach the Motorola earpiece to the radio, by slotting the two prongs at the bottom of the cable in to the side of the Motorola walkie talkie. You will see there is a big prong and a small prong, make sure you have them the right way round.

Run the length of the earpiece cord under your shirt, and pop the top out by the collar or top button of your shirt, thereby hiding the wire from site. You will see a clip portion with a little speaker button it. That can be clipped on to your tie, shirt front or collar to allow you to speak in to it easily.

The Motorola earpiece is a curved half moon shape. Make sure the wire is tucked securely in to the casing, as it can sometimes come out during storage and insertion. Clip the half moon shape over the ear and insert the round black earpiece in to the ear. The earpiece is covered with a removable soft cover that can be taken off and washed if the radio’s are used by different people, in the interest of best hygiene practises.

If you are going for minimal look, arrange your hair to cover the earpiece or cord if possible. There are also high security options that run up the back of the neck and over the ear, and come in see through, clear tones to minimise the obviousness of them. These can be secured in to place using see through tape made especially for this purpose.

Motorola also makes very hi-tech options for security personnel, with items that can clip on to sunglasses, shirt cuffs etc, and give a very FBI, protecting the president look, but are extremely functional. They ear buds are also more fitting and are snug in the ear, to allow for better audio.

To speak through the microphone portion bring the unit close to your mouth. Press the button in and wait one second before speaking, to allow time for the radio’s to connect. When you are finished speaking, release the button. Wait for your team member to respond to your message. Remember to talk slowly and clearly. Although Motorola radios are really great quality, you are still a distance away from each other, and things such as mobile phones nearby, thick walls or ceilings, being underground etc can interfere with the signal and reception.

If you are a Motorola mobile phone user, then there are also a wide variety of Motorola earpieces available, that won’t make you look like a call centre agent, or hurt the inside of the ear if you wear them for long periods at a time. The Whisper Smooth Talk, comes with a retractable boom with 4-mic CrystalTalk and offers the user cutting edge clarity and wind noise reduction, especially useful if you are calling from outside, or talking while you are walking.

Bluetooth headsets clip over the ear, and allow you to connect wireless to your phone, which can be in your pocket or bag, and allow you to walk along and talk, without any cables or wires hanging around and getting in the way.

Motorola has been innovating in the phone and walkie talkie industry for many years, and the constant innovation and bettering of their Motorola earpieces and products for ease of use and comfort is inspirational.

Radio Headphones, What, How and When

Like most people you may think that you can only listen to a radio via the traditional means. Introducing the element of headphones for radio can however change all that. Radio headphones can be used by different types of people particularly to listen to a radio. Still you have to consider several factors to determine the effectiveness, functionality and general efficiency of a given earpiece. When selecting headphones for radio, you would want to choose those that only pick AM and FM frequencies for listening purposes. But where you also want to talk over the radio, then you would require a headphone that allows for two-way communication. Such headphones usually come as headsets complete with miniature speakers plus a microphone.

Most headphones for radio are often larger if you compare them to other models commonly used. Comfort can therefore be an issue that you can grapple with. For a gratifying listening experience as a user, lightweight headphones or those that are easier to wear will suit you better. Sound quality is also another key factor that you should consider. This is because the headphone you pick will determine whether the audio sound you are receiving is coming distinctly without static or other forms of interference. The added advantage with most radio earpieces is that they are designed in such a way that they can cancel noise. Depending on what your preference is, this property may or may not be beneficial to you.

There are basically two types of headphones for radio, the 2-way and the AM/FM headphones. The 2 way headphone comes as headset and will only suit you if you want to establish a hands-free radio communication. Otherwise, for listening purposes only, the AM/FM radio headphones allows you to tune into radio channels and listen to music. They may look similar to the communication headsets in term of construction and appearance but they serve a very different purpose which is to listen to audio sounds.

Most headphones for radio are larger than common units. Therefore, they are heavier and bulkier too which can cause you some level of discomfort especially if you are using them for the first time. As mentioned earlier, a lightweight earpiece will not only work best for you but will also fit perfectly over your ears and not irritate them or the side of your face. If you must wear the headphones for hours, then this is an important factor that you should not overlook.

With the best headphones for radio, the sound has to be clear enough without static interference. If there is interference, it should be minimal. For both communication and listening purposes, then you would want to consider a 2-way headphone that allows for both incoming and outgoing audio sound. Communication headphones must produce clear sounds when you talk into the speaker. To hear other people accurately, the sound from the earmuffs also have to be distinct.

Also bear in mind that as with all audio devices or components, the sound quality on the headphone is an important feature. This is because it will determine the type of earpiece you should choose for easy listening. If you are mostly concerned with the incoming sound quality, then headphones that pick up AM/FM frequencies will work best for you.

Since most headphones for radio have noise-cancelling features, there won’t be much interference while using them. This is because they have larger earmuffs which will prevent noise from interfering with the incoming audio sound. This will not only maintain the audio quality but will also provide for a rewarding listening experience. Noise-cancelling devices can however be hazardous especially if you are working in a construction site or any other related situation. Using headphones for radio in such environments will only expose you to potential dangers. That is why it is essential that you choose a style of earpiece depending on the environment in which you plan to use it.

As much as radio headphones are made with varying audio reproduction capabilities, the best will prevent other people from hearing the same sound thereby promoting privacy or disturbance especially in public places. Their quality is also unrivalled by loudspeakers of similar cost. Remember to limit the volume level as well because blaring audio sounds may cause temporary or even permanent hearing impairment.