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Innovative radio technology keeps New Zealand’s Firefighters safe

We champion the advancement of communications within the emergency services, not only because it is an important part of their working day, but because they still have a long way to go before it is perfect. This news story comes from New Zealand and focuses on the fire service and is supplied by Motorola themselves.

Firefighters serving with New Zealand Fire Service will benefit from improved safety and communication while working in fire grounds through an innovative two-way radio solution.

The new solution from Motorola Solutions and Spark will enable the service’s 10,000 career and volunteer firefighters to stay connected to their colleagues in the field via reliable and robust voice communication.

Having attended around 73,000 incidents in the past year alone, New Zealand Fire Service needs the best tools for the job. The organisation will receive more than 4,500 new radios designed for use in the most severe fire ground environments.

A major feature of the solution is a cornerstone Motorola Solutions innovation, a remote speaker microphone that will be fully integrated within firefighters’ breathing apparatus. This will be combined with the radio’s convenient push-to-talk button, which enables firefighters to communicate easily and safely in the harshest conditions.

Paul Baxter, Chief Executive & National Commander of the New Zealand Fire Service, said,

“Communication is critical to safety on the incident ground, and much of that communication comes from the use of incident ground control (IGC) radio. That’s why we were so exacting in our requirements for these new radios.”

“The radios will help us to resolve radio interface issues with firefighters’ breathing apparatus while also delivering improved noise cancellation and battery life.”

By using a combination of single and multiband radios operating across both VHF and UHF bands, the solution aligns with the fire service’s vision of leading integrated fire and emergency services for a safer New Zealand.

“This radio solution enables us to move away from using a mix of models and frequencies and toward a nationally consistent standard that will make it easier to work with our emergency service partners,” Baxter said.

Murray Mitchell, Director ICT for the New Zealand Fire Service, said, “We wanted a solution that is safe, easy to use and doesn’t distract firefighters from their work during critical incidents.The design features incorporated in these new radios will help our firefighters work more safely and efficiently.”

Spark will provide in-country support including service management and a customer support desk.

Spark Digital CEO Tim Miles said: “Radios are life-saving tools for our emergency services, and great team communication can be the difference between a managed incident and a disaster. We are very proud to play a part in improving the on-ground experience for our Kiwi Fire Service heroes.”

Motorola Solutions Managing Director for New Zealand and Australia Steve Crutchfield said the solution drew on his company’s experience in providing tailored, mission-critical communications for public safety agencies all over the world.

“Firefighters depend on reliable and robust voice communications in emergency situations so they can concentrate on the job of protecting our communities and potentially saving lives,” Crutchfield said.

The radios are part of a five-year contract, giving New Zealand Fire Service operational and cost certainty throughout the life of the contract.

The contract also provides access provisions for related government agencies wanting to take advantage of the new radio technology.

Motorola Announces New Two-Way Radio for Use Extreme Conditions

ATEX Radios don’t get the coverage that they deserve, they are superior to most other radios and are designed for the most dangerous and explosive situations. In the past Motorola have designed ATEX radios on current models and the respective safety features added, but this 8000XE is a new model with features not seen before on previous ATEX radio. Hot off the Motorola News desk, you can find the original article here.

Motorola Solutions continues to design digital radio solutions for firefighters and has added the APX 8000XE two-way radio and APX XE500 RSM to its line of products. The newest entries into Motorola Solutions’ award-winning APX portfolio of Project 25 (P25) digital radios have been developed using the company’s well-established practice of hands-on research with firefighters and other first responders who need the most reliable mission-critical communications to do their jobs efficiently, effectively and safely every day.

The APX 8000XE features all-band functionality and is a rugged P25 two-way radio that can be used in either analog or digital mode across 700/800 MHz, VHF, and UHF bands. Time is of the essence for firefighters and they can be ready in moments by programming the radio remotely via WiFi and radio management software to operate securely on different radio networks, allowing them to quickly help neighboring counties during large-scale emergencies.

Motorola Solutions works closely with firefighters and other radio users to find out exactly what they need, and the APX 8000XE is the latest example of that thinking. It features the trusted ergonomics of the APX XE radio series, designed for easy operation in harsh conditions. The right-sized radio has a large top display, exaggerated controls for gloved hands, and a dedicated push-to-talk button. It also provides best-in-class audio with a 1-watt speaker, three built-in microphones and automatic noise suppression for clarity in the loudest of environments.

“The APX 8000XE is an all-band rugged and submersible portable radio made for firefighters,” said Lieutenant David Hudik, Elgin Fire Department. “With Wi-Fi access, we can reprogram the APX 8000XE on the fly when we are providing mutual aid assistance out-of-state.”

Most firefighters use a remote speaker microphone with their radios and the APX XE500 RSM is designedspecifically for demanding environments, whether combating a fire or providing medical services at the scene of an accident:

With five strategically placed microphones and automatic noise suppression, the APX XE500  provides clear communications when worn on either shoulder, center chest, or over the shoulder.

It can be submersed in two meters of water for up to 4 hours.

It withstands heat conditions of up to 500°F (260°C) for up to five minutes.

A channel knob automatically controls the channels of the user’s portable APX radio.

“With the APX XE500 RSM, I can completely control my APX radio without having to hunt under my bunker coat for it,” said Lieutenant David Hudik, Elgin Fire Department. “With improved water porting, you can carry the APX XE500 upright or upside down for fast water drainage while maintaining clear voicecommunications.”

“Customer input is essential to our design and the Elgin Fire Department was right at our side as we tested the capabilities of the APX 8000XE and APX XE500 RSM,” said Claudia Rodriguez, vice president, Devices Product Management, Motorola Solutions. “The latest XE radio means firefighters will be able to talk with other first responders at the scene and across municipalities and regions. The new rugged RSM means they can communicate clearly in the loudest fireground environments, including blaring horns and wailing sirens.”

The APX 8000XE and XE500 RSM will be available in North America.

Innovative radio solution protects and preserves Chinese forests

We all know how important radio communications are, and Motorola Solutions have captured a massive coup by providing the radios for protecting the Chinese forests, a feather in the cap for Motorola because Hytera, their biggest competitor at the moment, originating from china, interesting! We found this article on this website.

Motorola Solutions (NYSE:MSI) with its channel partner Beijing Dyne Rcomm Technology are helping to keep China’s Hunan forestry region safe with a MOTOTRBO digital radio system that increases safety and security for employees while helping them to work more efficiently.

China’s Hunan province is rich in flora and fauna resources that are essential to the region’s economy. However, these vast areas which make up around 60 percent of the province’s total surface area can be risky places to work for forest rangers. Forest workers depend on reliable communications to be aware of potential bushfire risks and other emergencies.

The innovative radio system integrates MOTOTRBO digital two-way radios and repeaters, a dispatch console for centralised control and monitoring of the network at all times and Motorola Solutions’ IP Site Connect digital solution to extend radio network coverage over the internet throughout the counties and cities.

“Rangers depend on access to clear and reliable communications. They need to stay constantly connected to their colleagues working in control rooms who have visibility of the entire operation and can help to keep them safe at all times,” said Michael Jiang, China President and Country Manager, Motorola Solutions.

“It’s absolutely essential for forest rangers to know where their co-workers and resources are at all times, especially in times of emergency.

“Hunan’s new radio network provides extensive coverage throughout the region, enabling rangers working across a wide geographic area to report the very first signs of fire so that resources can be deployed quickly and effectively to protect lives and natural resources,” Mr Jiang said.

Hunan’s integrated system connects the surrounding cities and counties through clear voice communications enhanced with noise cancelling features that perform reliably in the nosiest environments. This system also supports data transfer across the radio network, using GPS to pinpoint the location of nearby team members and resources in emergency situations, while text messages and automatic alerts can be sent between the province’s central control room and radio users in the field.

Motorola Solutions has now deployed more than 5,000 radios to major forestry projects across greater China at locations including the Inner Mongolia, Hebei, Liaoning, Sichuan and Guangdong provinces.

The Best Styles of Bluetooth Earpieces

Bluetooth technology has been designed for many different purposes and situations. Consequently, when people want to buy a bluetooth ear piece for a specific situation, there are some things that they will need to consider. Specifically, based on their specific situation and circumstances, they will need to review the best style of bluetooth earpiece that is available on the market today. Since there are different styles that have been made for for one or more reasons, it’s important for each individual to do their research to see which style can accommodate their needs. It is also important to note that the kind the person purchases must be comfortable so that they can wear them for an extended period of time and they fit the devices that they will be used for. Listed below are three of the bluetooth styles that’s currently offered by manufactures all over the United States and abroad.

Bluetooth ear pieces for Mobile Phones

Most people take their mobile phones wherever they go. To work, school, church, parties and all kinds of other events that they may attend. Because these phones have become commonplace in many environments, people have a need to handle them and talk to others when their hands are free. This is also a great reason for individuals who work in certain settings to make sure that they are buying the right style that will best fit their needs.

One specific style that some people may choose is the ear cradle style of headphone. In fact, this kind of bluetooth earpiece is idea for people who want to spend their time working out and performing all kinds of other extracurricular activities. People are also encouraged to buy this kind of style because they may be driving when they receive a telephone call from a family member. Or, they may be working at the job typing a memo or walking around taking care of wide hosts of other kinds of activities that are not conducive to holding a mobile phone by hand to the ear. Whatever the situation, this style of bluetooth earpiece technology is great for many different situations and purposes.

Bluetooth ear pieces and Headsets for Music Lovers

In addition to the cradle style for mobile phones, people should also review other styles as well. One specific style that is also functional in many different settings is the DJ over the head headphones. This style has been designed for the serious music lovers, especially those who can appreciate making distinctions in sounds and beats that come from specific musical instruments like the bass, violin, trumpet and other popular instruments. For those who like and prefer this kind, they will also find that this is one of the best styles for keeping out outside noises that normally interfere with a person’s overall entertainment experience. Also, because they are wireless, they are great for people who like to stay mobile during the day instead of remaining in a sedentary position.

Bluetooth Ear Pieces for IPODs

In some situations, people may want to use bluetooth technology with their IPODs. Therefore, they should consider buying an additional popular style bluetooth earpiece technology. This style is known to be very popular, specifically because it is similar to an actual earbud. An ear bud is also another excellent choice for people who want to remain both active and hassle free. Though this is a great choice for people who like to remain mobile in a wide variety of different situations, one of its main draw backs is that they tend to fall out of the individuals ear. Which means, they can also be lost since it lacks additional support to keep them stabilized inside the ear.

Sepura Releases New SC20 Portable Radios

Sepura are masters of the tetra market, they have produced radios for many years for the emergency services. police and airport security, a forward runner for the digital systems we now see all around the UK. The SC20 is the new generation of Sepura radios ready for the modern day work force. We found this article on this website and thought that our readers would find it useful.

First orders of Sepura’s new flagship hand-portable radios, the SC20 series, will be shipped in February.

Shaped by user feedback, SC20 series hand-portable radios are resilient, intelligent and durable, providing intuitive operation and outstanding performance, even in the toughest conditions.

Broadband-ready, the SC2020 (380MHz-430MHz) and the SC2040 (403MHz-470MHz) combine the mission-critical security and advanced performance of TETRA with an optional second high-speed data bearer capability.

A new, powerful Class 3 TETRA engine is paired with a new receiver that surpasses the ETSI specification, a unique combination, extending operational range and stretching coverage into areas where it was not possible before.

The radios’ powerful 2W audio capability, enhanced by unique water-porting technology, allows for uncompromised audio clarity, even in continuous heavy rain. Uniquely, the SC20 series boasts IP66, 67 and 68 environmental protection rating, meaning that it is completely dustproof, submersible to a depth of two metres for one hour and impervious to jets of water. Its design also enables it to be easily cleaned by simply rinsing dust and dirt off under the tap.

Additionally, the radios’ high-resolution screen, the largest on the market today, is specifically designed to provide a richer user experience. The larger screen enables the display of more comprehensive data, suitable for future applications via high-speed data; it is also viewable in all light conditions, including direct sunlight.

“The SC20 has been designed to deliver the highest levels of robustness, endurance, audio clarity and power. It is designed to place and receive calls where it simply was not possible before,” commented Mark Barnby, Sepura’s head of product management – devices.

“This is the first product on our brand new technology platform. It is designed to meet the needs of mission-critical users today, whilst allowing high-speed data to be added in the future.”

Steve Barber, VP group strategy for Sepura, commented: “The SC20 confirms our vision for the future and demonstrates our ability to adapt to the fast-moving markets in which we operate.

“We continue to provide our global customer base with products that address their ever-evolving communication needs and the operational challenges they face every day. The SC20 provides undisputable proof that Sepura is going further in critical communications.”

His Grave Will Be Kept Clean: Ambassador of the Blues, B.B King Passes Away Aged 89

Internationally beloved singer, songwriter and guitar hero Riley B. B.B King passed away last year. He was 89 years old.

King was a celebrated figure in Blues music from the 1950’s onwards and remained popular both in concert and on record until the time of his death.

The future Blues Boy King was born on a cotton plantation in Itta Bene, Mississippi – not far from the Delta, in 1925. He began his musical career by busking on street corners for loose change, usually performing in as many as four neighbouring towns on any given Saturday night. Seeking his fortune, the young man hitchhiked to Memphis, Tennessee, with just his guitar, the clothes on his back and $2.50 to his name.

Whilst in Memphis, Riley stayed with his cousin Bukka (pronounced Booker) White, an established Blues performer who sharpened King’s already formidable musical instincts.

In 1948, B.B performed on Sonny Boy Williamson’s KWEM radio show, which opened the door for him to perform at the Sixteenth Avenue Grill in West Memphis and later to appear on all-black radio station WDIA. This led to King being given a regular slot on the station, beginning with Kings Spot and later evolving to The Sepia Swing Club. It was during this time that Riley’s stage name of Beale Street Blues Boy became shortened to the initials B.B.

During the 1950’s, a fight broke out between two men at one of B.B’s gigs. In the resulting fracas, a kerosene stove was knocked over, which set the place ablaze. B.B, dashed into the inferno to save his favourite guitar – an act that very nearly cost him his life. When he learned that the fight had been over the affections of a woman named Lucille, B.B named his guitar after the woman and, from that day on, all of his guitars bore the name Lucille.

King, now a local radio star as well as a very popular musician in his own right, soon had a number one hit on his hands with Three O’clock Blues, this set the boy from Beale Street touring the United States of America, something he would continue to do for the rest of his life.

Towards the end of the 1960’s, B.B found that his music was transitioning to a young, white audience that were eager to embrace his electric Blues sound. B.B, who had spent his professional life playing almost exclusively to black audiences, suddenly found himself receiving standing ovations and an unprecedented level of respect and appreciation from white audiences, as well.

When he recalled the times changing around him in the 2003 documentary film The Road To Memphis, produced by Martin Scorsese, he was legitimately moved to tears. His music had broken down racial barriers and ultimately won the hearts of people from all races, all walks of life.

When he opened for The Rolling Stones on their 1969 US tour, King’s international stardom was assured. From this point on, B.B King held a new ambition close to his heart; he wanted to be known, nationally and internationally, as the ambassador of the Blues.

In the 1970’s, B.B King was a big enough name to tour internationally, visiting Africa for a series of concerts that were filmed for commercial release as B.B King: Live in Africa. Throughout the next four decades, B.B toured the world, recording live albums in places as far afield as Japan, Great Britain and San Quentin State Prison.

King toured Europe, Australia, New Zealand and even visited the UK from time to time, where this writer was lucky enough to watch the late, great man ply his trade in front of an awestruck and mesmerized audience.

The list of guitarists influenced by B.B’s incendiary sound is a long and impressive one. Names include Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Freddie King, Albert King (neither are related to B.B) and Johnny Winter amongst many, many others. B.B King won at least 9 Grammy awards (among numerous other accolades), was honoured and admired by several American Presidents and touched a great deal of hearts into the bargain.

B.B King recorded 42 studio albums and many more live albums, including critically acclaimed masterpieces like 1965’s Live at the Regal, 1969’s Live & Well, 1970’s Indianola Mississippi Seeds and 2005’s birthday celebration album, simply titled 80.

Earlier this week, a procession of fans, musicians and well-wishers paid tribute to King’s memory. Walking through the streets of Memphis, a Dixieland Jazz band followed a black hearse down Beale Street, as local act The Mighty Souls Brass Band played, When the Saints Go Marching In in honour of a musical legend.

Later in the day, a tribute concert, featuring artists Bobby Rush, The Ghost Town Blues Band and Ruby Taylor amongst others, was held in B.B’s honour.

Upon hearing the news of B.B’s passing, US President Barack Obama sadly said, “the Blues has lost its king and America has lost a legend”.

King’s final studio album, 2008’s One Kind Favor, paid tribute not only to his own illustrious career, but also to an early influence of his, Texas Bluesman Blind Lemon Jefferson. On the title track, B.B covered one of Lemon’s best-known songs, See That My Grave is Kept Clean. There really isn’t much else to say about the staggeringly significant life and career of Riley B. King, perhaps better known as The King of the Blues except that his grave will most certainly be kept clean and that his legacy will live on until time immemorial.

Hytera Connectors are so unclear, which one do I want?

Split by a middle screw, the Hytera PD700 series is capable of connecting all Hytera radios from the same series. This includes the PD715, the PD755, the PD705, the PD785 and the PD795 radios. All of these radios bring something different to the table, in addition to Hyteras trademark solutions. These include an ergonomic design and generally good battery life. The PD715 is probably the most reliable of the bunch. It works really well even in a hazardous environment. It also meets all the ATEX and IEC standards.

The PD755 comes with an increased battery life and a partial keypad, as well as voice call capabilities. Compared to the PD755, the PD705 is a slightly less sophisticated design but it comes with a GPS and supports both analog and digital radios. The PD785 meets all DMR standards and has probably the most ergonomic design out of these models. The PD795 comes with all ETSI and DMR standards.

The Hytera PD500 series connects its radios with a 2 pin connector. The dimensions of the two pins are 3.5mm and 2.5mm. There is a securing screw at the back. This connector can link any combination of the Hytera PD500 series radios together . When I say any, I mean the two radios in that series, since the PD500 series only has two designs, the PD505 and the PD565. The PD505 is very light and somewhat surprisingly, it still has excellent range. Its compact housing results in an improved sound quality. Compared to the PD505, the PD565 has more functions and supports both analogue and digital radios.

PD400 and PD600 series

PD400 and PD600 series radios are connected with a 13 pin connector (which connects to another plastic adapter). This particular connector connects to devices both from the PD400 and PD600 series. The list includes the PD605, PD665, PD685, X1P, X1E, PD405 and the PD415 radios. The PD605 comes with a lightweight design and probably one of the best radios of Hytera when it comes to the prize to value ratio. It has a compact housing and like most of the company’s designs, supports both analogue and digital radios.

The PD665 is another high quality handheld device. It has a lightweight metal casing and a full keypad. The programmable keys and the LCD display are surely welcomed additions as well. The PD685 brings very similar traits to the table, the lightweight design and the full keypad can all be found in the PD665. The X1P is different, it’s a lot thinner and its main advantage that it will work even in very hazardous conditions.

The X1E meets all ETSI and DMR standards and probably the smallest design Hytera has. Those who want an entry level radio for a more than affordable price, will probably have to look at the PD405. This radio can go for about 16 hours in digital mode. The PD415 has an integrated RFID reader and is generally recommended for patrolling personnel. Just like the PD405, it can last up to 16 hours.

Great things about Purchasing a Two Way Radio for a Restaurant

Running a restaurant is hard. Personnel in different areas need to communicate well in order to provide the best dining experience for customers. The conventional way people restaurant staff communicate is by shouting or talking loudly at each other. While this can be an effective way to communicate – this method has worked for years – it turns a restaurant into a noisy and chaotic place. Many customers are actually looking to dine in peace. So having all those noises, even if they are meant to provide better service, can actually turn off customers. Restaurant staff can communicate without disturbing the dining experience of customers with the use of walkie-talkies. two way radios for restaurants provide plenty of benefits. The most important ones are discussed below.

A good Investment

Many restaurant owners are having second thoughts about buying walkie-talkies because of the additional investment that it entails. The hesitation is understandable since running a restaurant is expensive as it is without a communication system. But if you are a restaurant owner, you can look at buying a walkie-talkie as a good investment. Having a walkie-talkie for your restaurant can help you serve your customers more efficiently. It can improve customer turnaround time and it can help provide a better dining experience for your patrons. All of these improvement can translate to more profits for your restaurant. So if you are looking for a way to improve your operations and make more money in the process then improving communication system by getting walkie-talkies is a good idea.

Improve Communication

In any organization, good communication is important. A bad communication channel can ruin the good relationship among the staff and between a manager and the people around him. If you own a restaurant, then you probably already know that it is a pressure-packed environment. It doesn’t take much for someone to crack under this kind of pressure. A good communication tool such as walkie-talkie can help ease the pressure. It can avoid miscommunication. If you are a manager, for example, and you noticed that tables are not set yet. Instead of shouting across the room and creating an angry atmosphere in your restaurant, you can simply relay your instruction on the walkie-talkie.

Choosing the right Walkie-Talkie

Of course, not all restaurant walkie-talkies are the same . Some are better than others. Not all walkie-talkies are created equal. When choosing a walkie-talkie, the first thing that you need to consider is performance. The system should be able to provide clear audio that has the ability to break through the noise that is usually present in a restaurant. A bad walkie-talkie can affect your business as adversely as the absence of a walkie-talkie system. Can imagine a restaurant staff trying to decipher the message being relayed by his manager over a walkie-talkie that is sending choppy signal? This kind of scenario can turn into a tragedy very quickly. The next thing that you should look for is comfort. The walkie-talkie should allow freedom of movement for the staff to be able to perform their job well.

Too Much Monkey Business? US Lawsuit Attempts to Grant a Monkey the Rights to his Selfie (No, Really)

A group of idiots in America (where else??) are arguing that a monkey whose image was used in a wildlife book WITHOUT HIS PERMISSION should be receiving damages for copyright infringement.

Now, as we all know, the only thing more dangerous than an idiot with too much free time is a cluster of idiots with too much free time. In this way, the truly brainless can form a conglomeration of sorts, meaning that they can then work in shifts, creating a sort of stupidity barrage, which can be rather tough to avoid. High profile examples of this phenomenon include creationism, the people who called Kim Davis a civil rights icon and, a little closer to home, UKIP voters.

…You just don’t expect it from PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals), an organisation that has been around for 35 years.

OK, here’s the skinny; four years ago, British wildlife photographer and animal rights activist David Slater was visiting a nature reserve on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. He left his camera unattended, so a cheeky monkey named Naruto picked it up and snapped a couple of selfies. One of the pics was used in a wildlife book (for which Slater was paid) and now he’s being sued…For ripping off a monkey.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed (with a straight face, amazingly) by the U.S District Court in San Francisco, the pictures came from “a series of purposeful and voluntary actions by Naruto, unaided by Slater,” as a result, says the lawsuit, “Naruto has the right to own and benefit from the copyright … in the same manner and to the same extent as any other author,”

…Except for the fact that he ISN’T an author. He’s a f*cking monkey.

This whole thing brings to mind that old joke, lets see if I can remember how it goes: when is an author not an author? Oh yeah…WHEN HE’S A F*CKING MONKEY!

And once more, just to highlight the stupidity of the whole debacle…THE AUTHOR OF THE PHOTOS IS A F*CKING MONKEY, WHO TOOK A BREAK FROM FLINGING FECES ALL OVER THE PLACE TO PLAY AROUND WITH A CAMERA, TOOK A PRETTY DECENT PHOTO AND THEN F*CKED OFF BACK TO THE RAINFOREST TO GO ABOUT HIS MONKEY BUSINESS.

…It might be different if the monkey had actually PAID for the camera, or made the purposeful and voluntary action of ordering his own camera from eBay, or even if he’d gone online and hired Slater to photograph him. Then he might actually have a case (especially if Naruto had contributed to Slater’s travel expenses). But no, none of that happened. Why? Because he’s a f*cking monkey, that’s why.

To be fair, how was Slater supposed to have obtained permission?

PETA is demanding that the monkey be paid (in bananas, presumably) damages for the unauthorized use of his photos…Which is stupid like there isn’t a word for.

Apparently, US copyright law says nothing about monkeys asserting copyright over their works (which could pose a problem if they ever do manage to type out the complete works of Shakespeare) and, as a result, PETA feels that this is sufficient grounds to take a struggling photographer to court on behalf of a monkey who, quite frankly, doesn’t give a damn.

Damn those shortsighted copyright laws. Why didn’t the authors consider that, just 40 years after they were written, monkeys would benefit from their not being specifically named anywhere in the document? So now we live in this dystopian future where only those as super-smart as I are left alive to bitterly cry “DAMN YOU, YOU MANIACS!!!, DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!” (Thank you, Jay).

The only thing about the lawsuit which isn’t stupid is that the money (presumably after PETA recouped a lot of expenses) would go to the maintenance of Naruto’s natural habitat, which is doubtless a good thing.

Naruto is a rare crested macaque, a species that is listed as critically endangered. Their numbers have decreased by something like 90% in the last 25 years, largely due to extensive habitat loss.

…Except that, hang on, aren’t donations to PETA supposed to be going to that kind of thing, as opposed to dumbass lawsuits aimed at wildlife photographers who are just trying to capture the beauty of nature for us all to enjoy? I’m confused.

Oh wait, no I’m not. In fact, I could be in a lot of trouble, because my family’s cat once climbed up onto my desk and typed out a Facebook status, which I then posted. Ah jeez, I hope he doesn’t read this article, because that’s the last thing I need (he’s still mad at me about the whole castration thing).

Wrestling Legend Rowdy Roddy Piper Dies At 61

The world of professional wrestling is in mourning following the death of the legendary Rowdy Roddy Piper last month. Piper suffered a cardiac arrest whilst at his home in Hollywood, California. He was just 61 years old.

For many kids (including myself) that first became fans in the mid-late 1980’s, Roddy Piper was the definitive wrestling heel (industry jargon for a bad guy). Whether hosting his notorious Piper’s Pit segment, or facing off against Hulk Hogan & Mr. T (with partner Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorf) at the inaugural WrestleMania event, Piper was one of the industry’s biggest starts during one of its most popular and lucrative periods.

He was also instrumental in making the WWF (now WWE) brand the biggest in professional wrestling. In addition to headlining the very first WrestleMania event (a pioneering Pay-Per View extravaganza that could easily have ruined the company had it proved to be a failure), Piper also featured in one of WrestleMania II’s three main event matchups, thus securing his position as one of wrestling’s most bankable stars.

His undercard matches at WrestleManias III, VI and (the stone cold classic against Bret The Hitman Hart at) VIII are absolute highlights of a classic era of pro wrestling. He even acted as a guest referee for the main event of Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna at WrestleMania X. Younger fans, however, will undoubtedly remember Piper teaming with fellow veterans Ricky Steamboat and Jimmy Superfly Snuka to face Chris Jericho at WrestleMania XXV.

In an era defined by outlandish babyface characters with bodybuilder physiques and sometimes questionable in-ring abilities, Roddy Piper stood out as a genuine wrestler’s wrestler, an authentic tough guy – and the necessarily evil counterpoint to the simplistic, superheroic good guys being featured at the time by the WWF.

Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1954, Roderick Toombs was always an unruly personality. Expelled from school at a young age and subsequently falling out with his father, (a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) Toombs hit the road, staying in various youth hostels and earning a buck wherever he could. Eventually, the tempestuous youth wound up in a wrestling ring, making his in-ring debut at the tender age of just 15-years-old.

The kid was tough (he had a Black Belt in Judo), displayed a natural affinity for the ring and he had a roguish charisma all of his own. In addition, he really could play the bagpipes. After early stints jobbing in Verne Gagne’s AWA, NWA Houston and Fritz Von Erich’s Big Time Wrestling promotion in Dallas, Texas, Piper debuted for Mike and Gene LeBell’s NWA Hollywood promotion and soon became the outfit’s top heel. A slew of regional Championships followed.

Whilst working for promoter Roy Shire in the NWA’s San Francisco territory, Piper developed his character and ring work. In Los Angeles, he feuded with Chavo Guerrero Sr, Hector Guerrero and ultimately locked up against their father, Mexican wrestling legend Gory Guerrero (father of future WWE Champ Eddie). In The Pacific Northwest, he unseated former NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion Jack Brisco for Mid Atlantic’s version of the World Heavyweight Championship, a title he would go on to hold twice more.

In the mid 1980’s, Piper entered Vince McMahon’s insurgent WWF. He was billed as being from Glasgow, Scotland and was well known for being the only wrestler to wear a kilt to the ring. Fans ate it up. Feuding with such stars as Hulk Hogan, Adrian Adonis, Andre The Giant, Jimmy Superfly Snuka, Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase, Jerry The King Lawler and Bret Hitman Hart, to name but a few, Piper always brought out the best in his opponents and it was with the WWF that he became a household name, as well as one of the industry’s biggest ever stars.

In the mid-1990’s, Piper wrestled for WCW (World Championship Wrestling), where he debuted as one of the company’s headline stars. He feuded, once again, with Hulk Hogan and also battled old rivals such as Ric Flair, Bret Hart and ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage. Whilst working for WCW, he was even chosen to headline ‘Starrcade’, the company’s flagship Pay-Per-View event.

In his later career, Piper made sporadic reappearances for the WWE, briefly worked for TNA, enjoyed a reasonably successful acting career and also hosted his own podcast. He battled Hodgkin’s Lymphoma after being diagnosed with the illness in 2006, but had completely beaten it into remission as of last year. Despite the setbacks caused by his ill health, Piper wrestled his last match in 2011.

Although he never held a recognised World Heavyweight Championship, Piper will be remembered as one of the greatest WWF Intercontinental Champions of all time, a reign that was attested to during his appearance at this year’s WrestleMania XXXI, where he congratulated then-IC Champion Daniel Bryan on his victory. He also held other notable belts, such as the United States Championship, the WWF/E Tag Team Championship (with Ric Flair) and the NWA World Light Heavyweight Championship.

Piper was a member of the WWE Hall of Fame and the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame, as well as the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. He was also a member of the Cauliflower Alley Club.

On the August 3rd edition of RAW, the entire WWE roster, each member clad in Roddy’s signature Hot Rod t-shirts opened the show with a very moving ten bell salute in tribute to the fallen legend.

WWE boss Vince McMahon said, “Roddy Piper was one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in WWE, beloved by millions of fans around the world. I extend my deepest condolences to his family.”

UFC Bantamweight Champion Rowdy Ronda Rousey dedicated her 34-second victory over Bethe Correia to Piper’s memory, “I just want to say that we lost a really close friend, Rowdy Roddy Piper, who gave me permission to use his name as a fighter (…) And so I hope him and my dad had a good time watching this today.”

Former WWE and WCW Champion (and Piper’s frequent in-ring rival) Bret Hart wrote, “I can’t find the words to describe the sorrow in my heart upon learning the news of my dear friend, Roddy Piper, passing away. He was my closest friend in the business, a man that schooled me and guided me throughout my career. In fact, if it wasn’t for Roddy Piper reaching out to help me, I’m sure I would’ve been a mere footnote in wrestling. He was always there for me. He was family to me.” Hart also recalled that, following his stroke in 2002; Piper was the only wrestler who visited him in hospital.

Hulk Hogan, another of Piper’s famous adversaries, said of Piper that, “He was my best friend. He is a legend. God’s gain is our loss. May his family in this time of need, find peace”

Other friends, colleagues and admirers of Piper’s included former WWF Champ The Iron Sheik, who said “Roddy Piper. I love you forever. God bless you Bubba” and multi-time World Champion Chris Jericho Tweeted, “Sorry to hear of the passing of my friend and Wrestlemania rival #RoddyPiper. One of the greatest who ever lived, but more importantly a legit sweet family man with a good heart”. Former WWE Divas Champion Paige called Piper a “legend” and Tweeted a picture of a broken heart, an image which reflected the feelings of many a wrestler and wrestling fan.

Roddy’s son, Colt, said that his father was his “best friend” and a “great man” saying that he would miss him forever and “always try to be the man he raised me to be”.

Rowdy Roddy Piper lived a life littered with accomplishments. Not many of us will ever be declared as legendary by our peers and fewer still will be able to stack 30+ Championship reigns anywhere on our resume, but those weren’t the man’s proudest achievements. Piper had been married to his wife, Kitty, since 1982 and is survived by her and the four children they lovingly raised together. My thoughts are with them, as well as everyone else who knew, worked with, or simply enjoyed to watch the late, great man work his magic in front of a capacity crowd. R.I.P Roddy.

How to boost 2 way Radio range?

A walkie talkie is one of the most essential communication devices which we use these days and its use can be found across a wide range of industries such as construction, military and aviation. To the layman, a walkie talkie is nothing but a radio transceiver which utilizes radio wave signals to facilitate two-way communication for relatively short ranges. Hence, it is also commonly known as a two-way radio. When it comes to walkie talkies, there are several well-known brands that manufacture them. But Motorola has always outperformed its competitors and has constantly come up with start-of-the-art walkie talkie models that are embedded with the latest technologies and features. So let us look at two of its successful two way radio models and then move on to learn more about how to boost walkie talkie range in order to achieve maximum efficiency.

The Motorola DP2400 and DP4400 two-way radios

The Motorola DP2400 is the ideal choice if you are looking for a reliable yet cost effective two-way radio that discharges its duties with flair. Not only does this model offer scalable communication solutions, it also comes with a host of noteworthy features like support for both UHF and VHF, waterproof capability and intelligent announcements based on audio and voice. It comes with 3 programmable buttons and can be operated across 16 different radio channels depending on your choice.

Moving on to the Motorola DP4400, this model makes sense if you want the best and unrivaled audio quality available in modern day two-way radios. In a bit to boost its USP, this model also comes with Bluetooth and GPS capabilities. It supports both the VHF and UHF frequency bands and has five programmable buttons along with an additional button for emergency scenarios. Plus, it can work seamlessly across 32 different radio channels and is designed to withstand splashes and submersions in water.

Tips to boost walkie talkie range

Boosting the range of your walkie talkie is pretty easy if you have understanding of their basic functionality and how they actually work. In case you are not interested in knowing the specifics, you can always rely on the following tips to boost your walkie talkie range-

  • Use fresh batteries – Using fresh batteries have proven to improve the communication range of walkie talkies and make them perform at their peak. Hence, you will be at a lesser risk of experiencing signal drops and disturbances in your communication.
  • Make use of a digital repeater –If your walkie talkie is analogue interoperable like the Motorola DP2400, you can opt for a digital repeater to extend its range. The job of a repeater is to listen to communication at one frequency and then transmit the same in another frequency. So linking multiple repeaters together allows them to cover a large area and thereby boost your walkie talkie’s range significantly.
  • Communicate from higher ground – This is obviously one of the basic thumb rules of walkie talkie communication. When experiencing disturbance in your communication channel or lack of range, it is always advisable to reach for higher ground and then try communicating with your partner at the other end. Communicating from higher ground will eliminate all obstructions that prevent a radio signal from reaching its destination.
  • Take advantage of moist weather – Arid weather conditions are not at all conducive for radio communication as the signals don’t tend to travel as far as you would like to. But that is not the case during moist weather conditions. Studies have shown that radio signals tend to travel much farther when the weather is moist and humid. So always take advantage of moist weather conditions to improve the range of your walkie talkie.
  • Stay clear of large buildings and structures –Any large building or structure will surely impact the range of your walkie talkie and it is advisable to stay clear of them when communicating through it. A radio signal needs to have a clear line of sight in order to travel the farthest distance possible and this is only possible if it does not have any barriers in its path.

Environmental and physical factors are often the culprits for a drop in the range of a walkie talkie. By making use of the above mentioned tips, you can easily understand how to boost walkie talkie range and benefit from it whenever the need arises.

New Tomb, New Queen Discovered in Egypt

The tomb of an ancient Egyptian queen previously unknown to history has been discovered this month.

Queen Khentakawess III (also referred to as Khentkaus III) lived in the fifth dynasty and is believed to have been the wife of Pharaoh Neferefre and the mother of Pharaoh Menkauhor Kaiu.

Until this discovery, this ancient queen was completely unknown to recorded history.

The tomb was found in Abu-Sir, South-West of Cairo, within the funeral complex of Pharaoh Neferefre. It is thought to be some 4,500 years old. Reliefs in the tomb referred to Khentakawess both as “wife of the king” and also as “mother of the king”, which suggests that she was the wife of Neferefre and the mother of his possible son, the Pharaoh Menkauhor Kaiu.

When archaeologists discovered that the name Khentakawess had been inscribed on the walls, they dubbed her Khentakawess III, as there are two prior queens to have used the name, including the mother of Neferefre.

The queen’s tomb held around 30 utensils fashioned from limestone and copper.

Phahaoh Neferefre’s reign is believed to have been a short one. Modern scholars contend that he only reigned for one, or maybe two years at best. This is corroborated by data from the Turin King List and the fact that his tomb was never properly completed, but was seemingly rushed to competition following his premature death (detailed analysis of the king’s remains suggests that he died in his early 20’s).

Today, Egyptologists know the tomb of Pharaoh Neferefre as ‘The Unfinished Pyramid’.

Pharaoh Neferefre was succeeded by his brother Nyuserre Ini, who is thought to have reigned for at least 24 years. Nyuserre Ini was himself succeeded by his nephew, Menkauhor Kaiu, apparently the son of Kentakawess III.

Pharaoh Menkauhor Kaiu ruled for 8-9 years and was eventually interred in a badly damaged tomb today known as ‘The Headless Pyramid’

Tracking the lineage of Egypt’s ancient kings and queens is a tricky task and the notion that Khentakawess III was the wife of Neferefre and the mother of Menkauhor Kaiu is disputed. However, at the time of writing this, the consensus seems to be that this is her likeliest place in history.

Egyptian antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty was hopeful that the discovery of this new tomb/monarch would help archaeologists and historians understand more about the Fifth Dynasty, which, along with the latter days of the Fourth Dynasty “witnessed the construction of the first pyramids”.

Boys From The Dwarf: Classic Sci-Fi Comedy Show To Return For Two New Series

The boys from the Dwarf are back! UK TV channel Dave has announced that it has commissioned two new series of the long-running science fiction comedy, the first of which (series XI) will be set to air in 2016.

Series co-creator Doug Naylor, who has been in sole charge of the franchise since 1997’s seventh series, said, “[We were] originally asked for more shows back in 2012 (…) but frustratingly it’s taken until now to get our ducks in a row and all the boys available at the same time. Now they are, we’re all absolutely delighted.”

Craig Charles, who portrays Dave Lister on the show, has reportedly left his long-running role as Lloyd Mullaney on British soap opera ‘Coronation Street’ in order to better commit to the part.

“Lloyd has become a huge part of my life and I’ve had an absolutely fantastic ten years,” the poet-turned actor told Empire Online. “…But I feel I owe it to my colleagues on Red Dwarf to join them in filming the new series and finding out what is in store for Lister and the others.”

The BBC initially aired 8 series of Red Dwarf from 1988 – 1999. From there, Dave optioned the rights to the series and produced a three-part special entitled ‘Red Dwarf: Back To Earth’ in 2009. Fan reaction to this new series was mixed and many saw it as a creative miss-step. However, both viewing figures and DVD sales for the specials were strong and so Dave commissioned a new series, ‘Red Dwarf X’ in 2012. This time around, with the characters returning to the original ‘sit-com in space’ format, the fan reaction was much more positive, which left many fans hungry for more.

Although the viewing figures for Series X were not as strong as they were for the ‘Back To Earth’ specials, the series was still Dave’s highest rated show of 2012.

Since then, however, it’s been a long wait. Having said that, three years between series is nothing for fans of Red Dwarf. After Series III wrapped in 1989, fans had to wait until 1991 for Series 4. Then, after Series VI ended (on a cliffhanger, no less), viewers had to wait four years until Series VII kicked off in 1997. Two years passed before 1999 saw the release of Series VIII and from there it was a decade before Dave aired the three part special, ‘Red Dwarf: Back To Earth’. Even after that venture proved to be (financially, if not entirely critically) successful – it was still three more years before fans saw any new episodes coming their way.

The two new series will be shot back-to-back towards the end of this year and are being co-produced by Baby Cow Productions. Welcome back, Dwarfers, the slime’s coming home!

Titanic, Avatar and Star Trek Composer James Horner Dies In Plane Crash

James Horner, one of the best known and most respected composers in cinema history, has died, aged 61. He leaves behind him a musical legacy that helped to define an era.

Throughout an incredibly successful career, Horner scored in excess of 100 movies. First Oscar nominated for his work on ‘Aliens’ (1986) and again for ‘Field of Dreams’ (1989), amongst others, Horner’s work would eventually earn him two Academy Awards, two Golden Globes, ten Oscar nominations, seven Golden Globe nominations and three Bafta nominations.

The list of films scored by James Horner is a long and impressive one. From ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’ (1982) and its sequel, 1984’s ‘The Search For Spock’, to more recent hits such as ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ (2012), ‘The Karate Kid’ (2010) and ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ (2008), Horner scored more Hollywood blockbusters than some people have seen.

His rich, fluidic tones and warm, sweeping scores were occasionally offset by moments of experimentation, such as the African-style vocal harmonies used in his score for ‘Avatar’ (2009) or the steel drums used in cult Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle ‘Commando’ (1985), all with the effect of serving the plot and the director’s vision. He was also an extremely versatile mind, every bit as capable of scoring hard-hitting drama as flippant comedy or high-octane action. Perhaps this was why James Cameron chose Horner to score ‘Titanic’ (1997), a decision that proved to be very fruitful indeed. Both the score, and the song ‘My Heart Will Go On’ (performed by Celine Dion) won Oscars, while the song itself sold 15 million copies worldwide.

However, the list of hit films helped along to box office success by Horner’s talents doesn’t end there. 90’s crowd-pleasers ‘Braveheart’ (1995), ‘The Mask of Zorro’ (1998), ‘Deep Impact’ (1998), Apollo 13’ (1995), ‘Casper’ (1995) and ‘Jumanji’ (1995) all benefited from Horner’s orchestrations, as did later films like ‘Troy’ (2004), ‘The Legend of Zorro’ (2005) ‘The Forgotten’ (2004), ‘Iris’ (2001), ‘A Beautiful Mind’ (2001), ‘Bicentennial Man’ (1999), ‘Windtalkers’ (2002) ‘The Perfect Storm’ (2000) and ‘Enemy at the Gates’ (2001).

The list of films upon which Horner worked, or conducted for, is longer still. After you’ve read this piece, head on over to IMDB and be amazed.

James Horner was born in Los Angeles, California in 1953. His father, Harry Horner, was an Oscar winning art director and set designer who had won the coveted awards for his work on 1949’s ‘The Heiress’ and 1961’s ‘The Hustler’, respectively. James learned to play the piano at age 5 and went on to study at the Royal College of Music in London, before studying music at the University of Southern California and doing postgraduate work at the University of California, Los Angeles.

His early successes included the movies ‘48 Hours’ (1982), ‘Cocoon’ (1985), ‘*Batteries Not Included’ (1987) and ‘An American Tail’ (1986) – which earned him an early Oscar nomination.

From there, Horner became one of Hollywood’s most in-demand composers, scoring ‘Willow’ (1988), ‘Honey, I Shrunk The Kids’ (1989), ‘The Rocketeer’ (1991), ‘Ransom’ (1996) and ‘Mighty Joe Young’ (1998), amongst (many) others.

On the 22nd June it was reported that one of Horner’s private planes had crashed into the Los Padres National Forest near Ventucopa, California. He was the sole occupant of the craft when it crashed. Our best wishes and sincerest condolences go out to Horner’s family, friends and fans. He shall be missed.

Ancient Chinese Statue Contains Mummified Remains …And Those Remains Contain Fascinating Artefacts.

A 1,000 year-old Chinese statue of the Buddha, which contains the mummified remains of a long-dead Buddhist master, has been scanned to reveal hidden artefacts that were tucked inside the body centuries ago.

The statue was scanned prior to being exhibited in the Netherlands as part of an exhibition of mummies, receiving multiple CT scans, DNA testing and an endoscopy, some of which revealed a few unlikely surprises hidden within the corpse.

The team that scanned the remains included Buddhism art and culture expert Erik Bruijin, gastrointestinal and liver specialist Raynald Vermeijden and radiologist Ben Heggelman, all of whom were fascinated to discover the presence of an unidentified material (in place of the internal organs) within the abdominal cavity, this material was joined by mysterious scraps of paper with Chinese writing upon them.

The body is known to be that of a Buddhist monk named Liuquin, a follower of the Chinese Meditation School who died around the year 1100.

Experts have suggested that the mummy of Liuquin may be a case of self-mummification, a slow (and presumably rather painful) exercise that included starvation, poisoning oneself and ingesting materials designed to aid in the preservation of the body after death.

One ancient Japanese method of self-mummification known to historians would entail a 1,000 day diet of nothing more than nuts, seeds and water, this was then followed by another 1,000 days of eating nothing but roots and pine bark and drinking a special tea made from the sap of a Chinese lacquer tree. The tea was toxic, but it apparently repelled maggots and destructive bacteria, thus aiding the preservation process. At the culmination of this severe diet, the monk would be sealed in a stone tomb and effectively buried alive.

1000 days after the monk had passed on, the tomb was then opened and if the had been preserved, he would become a venerated temple relic.

Those that had decomposed simply remained sealed in the tomb.

It is likely that master Liuquin preserved himself using similar methods.

Although this may sound unfathomably grisly to modern ears, it should be kept in mind that, to the practitioner, such an action was likely considered to be among the highest level of meditation and the monk’s colleagues may well have viewed his statue as a sort of ‘living Buddha’ for a great many years.

At present, Liuquin will be on display in the Budapest Museum of Natural History, but there are plans to send him over to Luxemburg in the summer.

This mummy-housing statue is the only one of its kind ever discovered. The piece offers scientists, theologians and historians a privileged insight into the spiritual practices of the supremely dedicated Chinese monks that lived and died a thousand years before us.

The Shakespeare Code: Does a 400-Year-Old Portrait Offer a New Image of The Bard?

Historian and botanist Mark Griffiths claims to have cracked a centuries old code, revealing a brand new image of William Shakespeare.

The picture appears on the title page of the 1598 volume ‘The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes’ by the horticulturist John Gerard.  Apparently, Griffiths was able to decode a Latin cipher “of the kind loved by the Elizabethan aristocracy” which then revealed the identity of the man in the picture as William Shakespeare.

If he is correct, then this picture is the only demonstrably authentic portrait of the famous playwright that exists from his lifetime. But remember, I said ‘if’ – Mr. Griffiths is by no means the first person to make such a sensational ‘discovery’.

It is a spectacular claim for sure, but one that is fast gaining currency in the international news media. The only accepted images of The Bard are the famous picture from the cover of Shakespeare’s First Folio and the effigy on his monument in Stratford-Upon-Avon, both of which were created some time after his death.

Griffiths, who is presently writing a book about Gerard, came across the picture whilst browsing a first edition copy of ‘The Herball’. The image appears to have been created by William Rogers, the first English engraver and a man of much renown in his own right. Copperplate engravings, such as the ones he made of Queen Elizabeth I, are key pieces of historical evidence for the study of England in Tudor times.

Rogers’ title page shows four male figures surrounded by flowers and symbols, so Griffiths decided to try and discern the identities of the four men.

One of the men is apparently Gerard himself, whilst the second image appears to depict the Flemish botanist Rembert Dodoens. The third man is assumed to be Lord Burghley, who was an adviser to the Queen and a patron of the book’s author. The three aforementioned men could be readily identified using existing portraits from the period. However, the identity of the fourth figure, clad in classical Roman garb, wearing a laurel wreath and holding a both an ear of sweetcorn and a fritillary flower, eluded him.

Griffiths began to read up on the sort of codes, ciphers and hidden messages frequently used in Tudor times and, from his research, he concluded that the identity of the fourth man had to be Shakespeare himself.

For Griffiths, there can be no doubt at all that this is the definitive image of William Shakespeare, “For me, it is not about doubt or supposition. I’m faced with a series of facts that I can’t gainsay, as much as I try. This is what these facts are, these are what the plants are, this is what they signify, this is what the symbol decodes as. All of that adds up to Shakespeare. I can’t make that – and believe me I’ve tried – add up to anybody else but Shakespeare.”

However, some of the ‘clues’ unearthed by Griffiths do seem to be somewhat strange, to say the least. For example, the image around the fourth man shows an arrowhead with an ‘E’ stuck to it, alongside a figure four. For Griffiths, this equates to the Latin word Quater, which was (apparently) a slang term for the number 4 in games of chance. Add the ‘E’ on the end of the word and it becomes quatere, which is the infinitive of the Latin verb quatior, meaning ‘ to shake’. Accordingly, Griffiths believes that the number 4 seen nearby can also be interpreted as a spear. Literally, this means ‘shake spear’.

Another ‘clue’ is the presence of the word ‘Or’. Apparently, Shakespeare’s father was presented with a golden coat of arms around the time that ‘The Herball’ was being written – and the heraldic symbol for gold is ‘Or’.

Elsewhere, he also points out references to various Shakespeare writings, particularly Venus and Adonis, in which a fritillary flower appears. He even goes as far as to suggest that the ear of sweetcorn is a reference to a single line of dialogue from Titus and Andronicus.

So, is it Shakespeare’s picture, or is Griffiths simply getting carried away looking for clues as to the identity of a so-far-unknown man who lived 400 years ago? Opinion is so far divided and, given the age of the text and the many-fold interpretations offered by the image, it seems doubtful that anybody will be able to either conclusively prove, or disprove, Griffith’s theory.

Professor Michael Dobson, Director of The Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham said that, “I can’t imagine any reason why Shakespeare would be in a botany textbook. It’s a lovely picture. Everybody is very fond of it. But that doesn’t mean that he had anything to do with it apart from the fact that he read it. (…) It’s a man in a toga, holding a little bit of a corn on the cob in one hand and a fritillary in the other.”

In his defense, Mr. Griffiths has posited that Shakespeare may have been patronized by Burghley and that he could potentially have worked with Gerard on the book, hence his appearance on the cover, but critics of the theory find this hard to swallow, especially due to the lack of any hard historical evidence to back it up.

World-renowned Shakespeare expert Stanley Wells took his disdain to Twitter, saying (slightly flippantly) “So apparently Shakespeare went around in fancy dress holding a fritillary in one hand and a cob of corn in the other.” Of course, the ‘fancy dress’ could be symbolic of the man’s connection to the theatre, but equally, it could be a romanticized portrait of a nature spirit.

As reported by The Guardian, Griffiths hit back at his critics, saying, “What we have here is a series of incontrovertible facts. I dare say people will think: ‘Oh no. It’s not him.’ But there is no other construction that can be placed on these facts. It is not an assumption that he is Shakespeare, it is algebra … it is an equation.”

Erm…No it isn’t. It is a series of educated guesses, aided and abetted by what seems to be more than a little wishful thinking.

The image and indeed the story as a whole, may put science fiction fans in mind of the 2007 ‘Doctor Who’ adventure ‘The Shakespeare Code’, in which a young and handsome Shakespeare portrayed by Dean Lennox Kelly (and eerily similar to the man pictured in ‘The Herball’) aids The Doctor and his companion Martha Jones in expelling Carrionite witches from The Globe Theatre. Indeed, Griffiths himself compared the image of a young, good-looking Shakespeare to the appearance of a contemporary film star.

So, when we gaze upon this Elizabethan image, are we looking at the only authentic picture of William Shakespeare? Maybe we are, maybe we aren’t, however the fact that Mr. Griffiths is now claiming to have uncovered a new play by Shakespeare does suggest, that, whether he manages to convince us or not, we’ll be hearing more from him in the future.

2 Way Radio Headset for Music Events

If you have ever been involved with the planning or organizing of an event then you’ll know just how important it is to keep everyone informed with what’s going on. Failing to properly communicate with other event planners can have disastrous consequences and the whole event could fall apart.

Walkie talkies have a wide range of applications, but they are used primarily at events — whether it’s by event planners and organizers or the security personnel at the door.

A Quick Introduction to Walkie Talkie Headsets

A walkie talkie can be a great way to communicate, especially during events. The majority of events are now held at large venues, have a lot of attendees, and require proper communication amongst planners and organizers.

Walkie talkies are a standard way to help you communicate with everyone involved with the planning and organizing of the event. A headset takes it a step further and allows you a hands free operation of the walkie talkie, which is crucial in many circumstances.

Walkie talkies have two main uses: to ensure proper communication with event planners and organizers, and to ensure that security personnel can handle threats accordingly.

Where Can Walkie Talkie Headsets Be Used?

When it comes to events, walkie talkies have a wide range of uses, including the following:

• Nightclubs

• Festivals

• Sporting events

• Charity events

• School/college events

• Shopping centres

• Outdoor activities

Finding the Right Headset for You

The best important thing when it comes to choosing the right headset for your walkie talkie is brand. Two of the most reputable brands are Sordin and Peltor. These two brands offer headsets to suit just about any occasion, whether you need an aviation headset or an in-ear device.

If you are anticipating loud noises at the event then you’ll also want to think about noise cancellation for your headset, you have two options here: active noise reduction and passive noise reduction. We won’t get into technicalities, but active noise reduction will give you the best results.

Also, don’t forget about accessories for your walkie talkie. Depending on the type of event you are planning, you might want to think about accessories such as earpieces, microphones, carry cases, spare battery packs, headsets, and more. Make sure that any walkie talkie you are planning to use is compatible with the accessories that you need.

Not Quite Ready to Buy?

So, after reading all of the advice and guidance provided for you above, you probably have a good idea about the headset you are planning to purchase. However, what if you’re not quite ready to purchase it just yet? Well, that’s completely fine!

The vast majority of two-way radio retailers will allow you to hire your chosen radios and accessories. This is an ideal option for anyone who wants to try before they buy or just need the equipment for a few days.

Closing Notes

Hopefully you now have a much better understanding about walkie talkies and how they are so important for events. You should also know that just any standard walkie talkie won’t get the job done right, you need to have a specific criteria so you can be sure that your equipment will be good enough.

The information provided above will help you make the right decision when it comes to choosing a walkie talkie headset for events. It should also help you decide whether you should rent the equipment or buy it.

What Is 2-way Communication?

Two-way communication is actually a process through which two parties communicate with one another in a reciprocal manner. Basically, it is something that lets you know that the other person has listened and understood you just perfect. Sometimes, it can also can also be referred to as a form of public relations process where a company and another group share ideas. Here is a detailed description of two-way communication and its applications in the field of business.

The Model

Two-way communication involves an individual or group expressing an idea, which is then received and comprehended by any other group or individual. The message is processed by the receiver who then returns with a message. This message is further received by the first sender, thereby letting both parties to communicate with each other and understand the ideas.

The detailed two-way communication model comprises of several specific steps. The first step is to create an idea that a party wants to deliver. The mode of transmission is chosen by the sender to organise symbols and words for transmission. Then the message is transmitted via the selected method. The next step is about allowing the other party to receive a message, that also transfers the initiative to the receiver. Further, the receiver decodes the message to understood it exactly how it was meant to be according to the sender. Some employers tend to ignore this when providing instructions and assume that telling someone is enough. But it is important to realize that communication is ineffective until there is proper understanding. The last step is the use of the message or communication by the receiver who may discard it, complete the job as directed, save the information etc.

Modes and Applications

People and organisations engage in two-way communication in several different ways through a variety of modes and devices. One of them is face-to-face contact which involves two or more people gathering within the same space and talking to each other directly, thereby allowing for the greatest or best possible communication ranges ensuring the perfect transmission of verbal or non-verbal signals. Another very effective mode is telephone that also lets the voice tone and inflection to help in communication to the meaning of the message. Written formats, whether letters, text messages or emails, can also prove to be quite effective, but usually they lack the nuance and subtlety often found in verbal modes of communication.

When it comes to the features and parameters associated with two-way communication systems, the list ranges greatly from basic hand held two-way transceivers using an individual channel to the very complex systems enabling the sharing of different channels between a large number of users. A number of elements such as geographical location, frequency band, system costs, number of people involved and purpose of communication work as the deciding factor while selecting the type of system. A very essential feature for all types of two-way communication systems is the compatibility and co-ordination of each and every component.

Two-way communication systems have always been used by a large number of businesses for staying connected with their staff or employees while working inside or outside the office premises. Some spheres that use two-way communication regularly are mass communication, public transportation, construction businesses, aviation, advertisement, security, marketing and several others. Police department, fire personnel and emergency response teams also use the two-way communication systems such as telephone, computerized dispatches or radio that allows the professionals to stay informed and updated about the activities of their teams or employees.

Types of Two-Way Communication

When it comes to public relations or marketing, two-way communication basically involves two types of processes – Asymmetric communications and Symmetric communications.

Asymmetric communication takes place between two parties with one of them usually holding more control or power over the process. Typically, this happens in case of a huge company that engages in Public Relations to communicate a variety of ideas to specific markets or general public.

Symmetric two-way communication involves two parties being equal in the process. Such process is generally used by a company to let customers give more feedback that works for bringing improvements to the business. The expression also makes the customer feel a sense of value to the company.

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.

Does The Old Two Cans on a String Thing Actually Work?

It does indeed. The old children’s favourite may have been supplanted somewhat by the relentless march of technology, especially now that almost every kid has a mobile phone and/or access to the Internet, but there is still a lot of fun to be had there.

For those reading this that don’t know, the two cans on a string game involves taking two empty (and preferably washed out) tin cans, the kind you might buy baked beans in, punching a small hole in the bottom of both cans and then threading a length of string in between each hole, tying it in a knot big enough to secure it in the can. Then, when the string is pulled tight, it is possible for one person to speak into the can and another to listen and reply. It also works with polystyrene cups, albeit to a slightly lesser extent. You’d be amazed also at the distance your voice can actually travel using this method.

It is not advisable to use stretchable string for the cans as it just makes life more difficult!

The science behind this game is actually very simple. The vibrations of your voice shake the bottom of the can and that, in turn, vibrates the string. Provided the string is pulled taut and isn’t touching anything, there should be no reason at all for your voice not to travel along the string to be received by your companion at the other end.

In fact, this game actually qualifies as a sort of rudimentary telephone; the theory behind it is very similar.

If you happen to be a parent, this game can keep the kids entertained on rainy afternoons, as well as providing a useful scientific lesson for them. I have many happy childhood memories of playing this game. However, it is very important to make sure that the cans have no sharp edges around the inner rim, for older kids, a simple ‘safety brief’ will probably do, but younger kids might be safer with a little electrical or duct tape stuck around the top of the can (in each child’s favourite colour, maybe? Just a thought). It shouldn’t affect the sound too much, if at all.

It’s amazing the fun you can have with a couple of old cans and a length of string. Hope that helps.