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Category:June 10, 2010

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Furry fans flock to Further Confusion 2007

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Furry fans flock to Further Confusion 2007

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

San Jose, California –Cell phones, cigarette lighters and glowsticks are raised in tribute as Circle of Life begins playing. Soon cheers drown out the song as the multicoloured performers appear on stage. A somewhat unusual introduction; but this is no ordinary show, and these are no ordinary attendees. This is Further Confusion, the second largest furry convention in the world.

The volunteer organizers have something to cheer about, too; Furry fans have gathered from far and wide at the DoubleTree Hotel to indulge their love of anthropomorphics, and Further Confusion’s 9th year is its largest, with a paid attendance of 2061. Their gains mirror those of Midwest FurFest, a similar convention held in Schaumburg, Illinois which grew 35% last November.

Both events feature art shows and auctions, live puppetry performance, masquerades, variety shows, games and parades, as well as panels that range from science and technology to society, sex and spirituality. Filling out the schedule, the hotel walls are lined with announcements of public and private room parties for separate groups. At night, the disco floor fills with dancing cats, dogs, and dragons.

For some, dressing up plays a large part of the convention – almost 300 brought a full costume. There are few professional mascots here, though, and only one or two of the costumes would be recognized by even the most avid cartoon-watcher. Instead, each act is planned and performed by other attendees, wearing “fursuits” of their own design. Many play off the year’s secret-agent theme — “Fur Your Eyes Only”.

Other fans seem content to restrict themselves to small accessories — perhaps some combination of paws, ears, or tail. Each fur bears a 3″x2″ badge detailing their personal character, or “fursona“. Often these characters are better-known than the people who play them.

It may seem lighthearted, even frivolous, but these conventions are becoming big business. Furry fans spent over $180,000 for lodging during the five days (Jan 18-22) of Further Confusion, and another $50,000 at the art auction. Attendees also purchase all manner of merchandise from attending dealers and artists, from on-the-spot art commissions and comic books of all ratings to prints, sculptures, and plush toys – even their very own fluffy tail.

Of course, any business has risk, and conventions can drain wallets when the sums just don’t add up. The first furry con, ConFurence in Southern California, ran successfully for over a decade, but cost its new organizer an estimated $60,000 in its last four years due to falling attendance before folding in 2003.

Anthropomorphic Arts and Education board member Peter Torkelson says that won’t happen to Further Confusion. Indeed, the convention ran a healthy surplus of almost $30,000 on $125,000 revenue last year, allowing it to pay off the last of its old debts and save for the future. As Torkelson explains: “The idea is if for some reason, say an earthquake happens, and it cripples the revenue stream, the convention will be able to survive into the next year. It does help our staff to know that we have [a reserve].”

The reserve also gives AAE the financial flexibility to fund charities throughout the year, a big part of its 501(c)(3) mandate. Over the nine years of the convention, attendees have raised over $60,000 for a variety of animal sanctuaries, wildlife refuges, and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

Further Confusion’s hopes for the future are high. Chairwoman Laura Cherry noted that, unlike previous years, the board has “gone all out” for next year’s tenth anniversary, booking as many rooms as the hotel could offer. The host for 2009 has yet to be decided, but for many fans the question was not whether the current hotel will reach a limit, but when – and where – the convention will find a new home.

Iraqis accept constitution

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Iraqis accept constitution

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Iraqi voters have accepted the draft constitution, the Independent Electoral Commission announced Tuesday. 78% voted in favor, 21% against. Two, mostly Sunni, provinces rejected the constitution with a two-thirds majority; three rejections by provinces by two-thirds majorities would have caused the constitution to fail.

Voters in the provinces of Anbar and Salahuddin overwhelmingly opposed the draft, casting 97% and 82% “No” respectively. The deciding swing-province in the referendum was Nineveh. While 55% of the voters in the predominately Sunni province opposed the constitution, that was below the 66% threshold necessary to bring the draft to a halt.

Electoral Commission official Farid Ayar called the vote “100% correct” and said that there were “no cases of fraud that could affect the results of the vote”.

But the Sunni official Saleh al-Mutlaq said the referendum was a “farce” and accused the government of stealing ballot boxes in areas where most people voted “No”.

Observers from the United Nations dispute that statement. A senior official, Carina Perelli, said the result is “accurate” and that it was checked by her organisation.

The voting turnout was 9.85 million votes, or 63% of eligible voters. This was one million more votes than cast in the interim government election held in January.

Parliamentary elections are now scheduled for December 15, 2005.

American Bar Association denounced President Bush’s warrantless domestic surveillance program

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American Bar Association denounced President Bush’s warrantless domestic surveillance program

Sunday, February 19, 2006

On Monday, the American Bar Association denounced President Bush’s program of domestic surveillance without court issued warrants. The program has been the subject of much debate, with the opposition claiming it is unconstitutional, and supporters saying that it is constitutional and that it helps to catch terrorists.

In the past, wiretap warrants could be secretly obtained from a special court created by the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or publicly obtained from any federal court. The Bush administration maintains that the congressional measure authorizing war in September 2001 empowered eavesdropping without any court issued warrant. The ABA has also asked Congress to affirm that granting such authority was not its intention.

President Bush has claimed that only a small number of Americans were subject to NSA eavesdrop without the usual requisite warrants. But, Russell Tice, who worked for the NSA for 20 years, has disagreed, saying that millions of Americans could be affected “if the full range of secret NSA programs is used.”

Mr. Tice said that individual conversations can be isolated based upon keywords, such as ‘jihad’, but such technology is most often used for keyword based traffic analysis of the conversations of suspects, as well as their acquaintances.

The ABA sets academic standards for law schools and controls the code of ethical standards for lawyers.

Last May, the NSA revoked Tice’s security clearance based upon so-called psychological concerns, and later dismissed him. Tice has responded that this is simply the NSA’s way of dealing with whistleblowers. NSA has made no further comment.

Category:Graffiti

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Category:Graffiti

This is the category for graffiti.

Refresh this list to see the latest articles.

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Bat for Lashes plays the Bowery Ballroom: an Interview with Natasha Khan

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Bat for Lashes plays the Bowery Ballroom: an Interview with Natasha Khan

Friday, September 28, 2007

Bat for Lashes is the doppelgänger band ego of one of the leading millennial lights in British music, Natasha Khan. Caroline Weeks, Abi Fry and Lizzy Carey comprise the aurora borealis that backs this haunting, shimmering zither and glockenspiel peacock, and the only complaint coming from the audience at the Bowery Ballroom last Tuesday was that they could not camp out all night underneath these celestial bodies.

We live in the age of the lazy tendency to categorize the work of one artist against another, and Khan has had endless exultations as the next Björk and Kate Bush; Sixousie Sioux, Stevie Nicks, Sinead O’Connor, the list goes on until it is almost meaningless as comparison does little justice to the sound and vision of the band. “I think Bat For Lashes are beyond a trend or fashion band,” said Jefferson Hack, publisher of Dazed & Confused magazine. “[Khan] has an ancient power…she is in part shamanic.” She describes her aesthetic as “powerful women with a cosmic edge” as seen in Jane Birkin, Nico and Cleopatra. And these women are being heard. “I love the harpsichord and the sexual ghost voices and bowed saws,” said Radiohead‘s Thom Yorke of the track Horse and I. “This song seems to come from the world of Grimm’s fairytales.”

Bat’s debut album, Fur And Gold, was nominated for the 2007 Mercury Prize, and they were seen as the dark horse favorite until it was announced Klaxons had won. Even Ladbrokes, the largest gambling company in the United Kingdom, had put their money on Bat for Lashes. “It was a surprise that Klaxons won,” said Khan, “but I think everyone up for the award is brilliant and would have deserved to win.”

Natasha recently spoke with David Shankbone about art, transvestism and drug use in the music business.


DS: Do you have any favorite books?

NK: [Laughs] I’m not the best about finishing books. What I usually do is I will get into a book for a period of time, and then I will dip into it and get the inspiration and transformation in my mind that I need, and then put it away and come back to it. But I have a select rotation of cool books, like Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés and Little Birds by Anaïs Nin. Recently, Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch.

DS: Lynch just came out with a movie last year called Inland Empire. I interviewed John Vanderslice last night at the Bowery Ballroom and he raved about it!

NK: I haven’t seen it yet!

DS: Do you notice a difference between playing in front of British and American audiences?

NK: The U.S. audiences are much more full of expression and noises and jubilation. They are like, “Welcome to New York, Baby!” “You’re Awesome!” and stuff like that. Whereas in England they tend to be a lot more reserved. Well, the English are, but it is such a diverse culture you will get the Spanish and Italian gay guys at the front who are going crazy. I definitely think in America they are much more open and there is more excitement, which is really cool.

DS: How many instruments do you play and, please, include the glockenspiel in that number.

NK: [Laughs] I think the number is limitless, hopefully. I try my hand at anything I can contribute; I only just picked up the bass, really—

DS: –I have a great photo of you playing the bass.

NK: I don’t think I’m very good…

DS: You look cool with it!

NK: [Laughs] Fine. The glockenspiel…piano, mainly, and also the harp. Guitar, I like playing percussion and drumming. I usually speak with all my drummers so that I write my songs with them in mind, and we’ll have bass sounds, choir sounds, and then you can multi-task with all these orchestral sounds. Through the magic medium of technology I can play all kinds of sounds, double bass and stuff.

DS: Do you design your own clothes?

NK: All four of us girls love vintage shopping and charity shops. We don’t have a stylist who tells us what to wear, it’s all very much our own natural styles coming through. And for me, personally, I like to wear jewelery. On the night of the New York show that top I was wearing was made especially for me as a gift by these New York designers called Pepper + Pistol. And there’s also my boyfriend, who is an amazing musician—

DS: —that’s Will Lemon from Moon and Moon, right? There is such good buzz about them here in New York.

NK: Yes! They have an album coming out in February and it will fucking blow your mind! I think you would love it, it’s an incredible masterpiece. It’s really exciting, I’m hoping we can do a crazy double unfolding caravan show, the Bat for Lashes album and the new Moon and Moon album: that would be really theatrical and amazing! Will prints a lot of my T-shirts because he does amazing tapestries and silkscreen printing on clothes. When we play there’s a velvety kind of tapestry on the keyboard table that he made. So I wear a lot of his things, thrift store stuff, old bits of jewelry and antique pieces.

DS: You are often compared to Björk and Kate Bush; do those constant comparisons tend to bother you as an artist who is trying to define herself on her own terms?

NK: No, I mean, I guess that in the past it bothered me, but now I just feel really confident and sure that as time goes on my musical style and my writing is taking a pace of its own, and I think in time the music will speak for itself and people will see that I’m obviously doing something different. Those women are fantastic, strong, risk-taking artists—

DS: —as are you—

NK: —thank you, and that’s a great tradition to be part of, and when I look at artists like Björk and Kate Bush, I think of them as being like older sisters that have come before; they are kind of like an amazing support network that comes with me.

DS: I’d imagine it’s preferable to be considered the next Björk or Kate Bush instead of the next Britney.

NK: [Laughs] Totally! Exactly! I mean, could you imagine—oh, no I’m not going to try to offend anyone now! [Laughs] Let’s leave it there.

DS: Does music feed your artwork, or does you artwork feed your music more? Or is the relationship completely symbiotic?

NK: I think it’s pretty back-and-forth. I think when I have blocks in either of those area, I tend to emphasize the other. If I’m finding it really difficult to write something I know that I need to go investigate it in a more visual way, and I’ll start to gather images and take photographs and make notes and make collages and start looking to photographers and filmmakers to give me a more grounded sense of the place that I’m writing about, whether it’s in my imagination or in the characters. Whenever I’m writing music it’s a very visual place in my mind. It has a location full of characters and colors and landscapes, so those two things really compliment each other, and they help the other one to blossom and support the other. They are like brother and sister.

DS: When you are composing music, do you see notes and words as colors and images in your mind, and then you put those down on paper?

NK: Yes. When I’m writing songs, especially lately because I think the next album has a fairly strong concept behind it and I’m writing the songs, really imagining them, so I’m very immersed into the concept of the album and the story that is there through the album. It’s the same as when I’m playing live, I will imagine I see a forest of pine trees and sky all around me and the audience, and it really helps me. Or I’ll just imagine midnight blue and emerald green, those kind of Eighties colors, and they help me.

DS: Is it always pine trees that you see?

NK: Yes, pine trees and sky, I guess.

DS: What things in nature inspire you?

NK: I feel drained thematically if I’m in the city too long. I think that when I’m in nature—for example, I went to Big Sur last year on a road trip and just looking up and seeing dark shadows of trees and starry skies really gets me and makes me feel happy. I would sit right by the sea, and any time I have been a bit stuck I will go for a long walk along the ocean and it’s just really good to see vast horizons, I think, and epic, huge, all-encompassing visions of nature really humble you and give you a good sense of perspective and the fact that you are just a small particle of energy that is vibrating along with everything else. That really helps.

DS: Are there man-made things that inspire you?

NK: Things that are more cultural, like open air cinemas, old Peruvian flats and the Chelsea Hotel. Funny old drag queen karaoke bars…

DS: I photographed some of the famous drag queens here in New York. They are just such great creatures to photograph; they will do just about anything for the camera. I photographed a famous drag queen named Miss Understood who is the emcee at a drag queen restaurant here named Lucky Cheng’s. We were out in front of Lucky Cheng’s taking photographs and a bus was coming down First Avenue, and I said, “Go out and stop that bus!” and she did! It’s an amazing shot.

NK: Oh. My. God.

DS: If you go on her Wikipedia article it’s there.

NK: That’s so cool. I’m really getting into that whole psychedelic sixties and seventies Paris Is Burning and Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis. Things like The Cockettes. There seems to be a bit of a revolution coming through that kind of psychedelic drag queen theater.

DS: There are just so few areas left where there is natural edge and art that is not contrived. It’s taking a contrived thing like changing your gender, but in the backdrop of how that is still so socially unacceptable.

NK: Yeah, the theatrics and creativity that go into that really get me. I’m thinking about The Fisher King…do you know that drag queen in The Fisher King? There’s this really bad and amazing drag queen guy in it who is so vulnerable and sensitive. He sings these amazing songs but he has this really terrible drug problem, I think, or maybe it’s a drink problem. It’s so bordering on the line between fabulous and those people you see who are so in love with the idea of beauty and elevation and the glitz and the glamor of love and beauty, but then there’s this really dark, tragic side. It’s presented together in this confusing and bewildering way, and it always just gets to me. I find it really intriguing.

DS: How are you received in the Pakistani community?

NK: [Laughs] I have absolutely no idea! You should probably ask another question, because I have no idea. I don’t have contact with that side of my family anymore.

DS: When you see artists like Pete Doherty or Amy Winehouse out on these suicidal binges of drug use, what do you think as a musician? What do you get from what you see them go through in their personal lives and with their music?

NK: It’s difficult. The drugs thing was never important to me, it was the music and expression and the way he delivered his music, and I think there’s a strange kind of romantic delusion in the media, and the music media especially, where they are obsessed with people who have terrible drug problems. I think that’s always been the way, though, since Billie Holiday. The thing that I’m questioning now is that it seems now the celebrity angle means that the lifestyle takes over from the actual music. In the past people who had musical genius, unfortunately their personal lives came into play, but maybe that added a level of romance, which I think is pretty uncool, but, whatever. I think that as long as the lifestyle doesn’t precede the talent and the music, that’s okay, but it always feels uncomfortable for me when people’s music goes really far and if you took away the hysteria and propaganda of it, would the music still stand up? That’s my question. Just for me, I’m just glad I don’t do heavy drugs and I don’t have that kind of problem, thank God. I feel that’s a responsibility you have, to present that there’s a power in integrity and strength and in the lifestyle that comes from self-love and assuredness and positivity. I think there’s a real big place for that, but it doesn’t really get as much of that “Rock n’ Roll” play or whatever.

DS: Is it difficult to come to the United States to play considering all the wars we start?

NK: As an English person I feel equally as responsible for that kind of shit. I think it is a collective consciousness that allows violence and those kinds of things to continue, and I think that our governments should be ashamed of themselves. But at the same time, it’s a responsibility of all of our countries, no matter where you are in the world to promote a peaceful lifestyle and not to consciously allow these conflicts to continue. At the same time, I find it difficult to judge because I think that the world is full of shades of light and dark, from spectrums of pure light and pure darkness, and that’s the way human nature and nature itself has always been. It’s difficult, but it’s just a process, and it’s the big creature that’s the world; humankind is a big creature that is learning all the time. And we have to go through these processes of learning to see what is right.

Failed UK suicide bomber Mohamed Saeed-Alim aka Nicky Reilly dies

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Failed UK suicide bomber Mohamed Saeed-Alim aka Nicky Reilly dies
By | Posted in Uncategorized

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Mohammed Rashid Saeed-Alim, a failed English suicide bomber better known by his birth name Nicky Reilly, has died while serving a life sentence. He was 30.

Originally from Plymouth, Alim attempted to bomb the Giraffe restaurant in Exeter in 2008 when he was 22. He used glass bottles filled with nails, caustic soda, and paraffin but one went off prematurely as he prepared them in the restaurant’s bathroom.

Alim was hospitalised with facial wounds that required skin grafts, then prosecuted for the bombing. He admitted attempted murder and preparing an act of terrorism later that year and was sentenced to life with a minimum term of eighteen years. He had considered alternative targets including a police station.

Alim had a mental age of around ten. He also had Asperger’s syndrome and his mother said he had been manipulated by others. Police said at the time he discussed his plans online and they suspected Pakistani individuals to be responsible for his radicalisation following conversion to Islam. Alim himself left a note in his bedroom saying amongst other things he had not been manipulated. His mother pursued a complaint against police in 2010 over claims he had told people of his plans to perform a bombing but police allegedly ignored this.

His body was found on Wednesday at HMP Manchester. Greater Manchester Police said there were “no suspicious circumstances” while the Prison Service simply noted the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will carry out a routine investigation. The Plymouth Herald reported unconfirmed claims Alim was found hanged.

Alim served most of his sentence at Broadmoor high-security psychiatric hospital. This July he was sentenced for an attack on Broadmoor nurses with an accomplice. The pair used mugs and snapped DVDs as weapons after a change to rules on group Muslim prayers. One of the victims was Muslim.

Last year Kazi Islam, 19, was sentenced to eight years after being convicted of trying to pressure an autistic man into building a pipe bomb. Islam said he was inspired by Alim’s case.

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Gastric bypass surgery performed by remote control

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Gastric bypass surgery performed by remote control
By | Posted in Uncategorized

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A robotic system at Stanford Medical Center was used to perform a laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery successfully with a theoretically similar rate of complications to that seen in standard operations. However, as there were only 10 people in the experimental group (and another 10 in the control group), this is not a statistically significant sample.

If this surgical procedure is as successful in large-scale studies, it may lead the way for the use of robotic surgery in even more delicate procedures, such as heart surgery. Note that this is not a fully automated system, as a human doctor controls the operation via remote control. Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is a treatment for obesity.

There were concerns that doctors, in the future, might only be trained in the remote control procedure. Ronald G. Latimer, M.D., of Santa Barbara, CA, warned “The fact that surgeons may have to open the patient or might actually need to revert to standard laparoscopic techniques demands that this basic training be a requirement before a robot is purchased. Robots do malfunction, so a backup system is imperative. We should not be seduced to buy this instrument to train surgeons if they are not able to do the primary operations themselves.”

There are precedents for just such a problem occurring. A previous “new technology”, the electrocardiogram (ECG), has lead to a lack of basic education on the older technology, the stethoscope. As a result, many heart conditions now go undiagnosed, especially in children and others who rarely undergo an ECG procedure.

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Dental Oahu Solutions Available For Broken Teeth

byAlma Abell

Broken teeth result from a fall, accident, facial trauma or tooth decay. Whatever the cause of broken teeth is, it affects your appearance. Some teeth are so broken that they affect one’s speech and the ability to chew with ease. These factors may greatly affect your self-esteem, social life and you unknowingly become unhealthy because you are not able to eat enough healthy foods. However, thanks to science and technology, you can opt for any of the following dental Oahu options to correct your problem.

Bonding

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Bonding is a cheap and quick method of achieving the look you want. You can have the procedure done with only one visit to the dentist. The dentist first examines you to see if you qualify for the procedure after which he will roughen the damaged tooth’s surface. Roughening of the tooth is known as etching that is done to enhance proper bonding. After etching, the dentist will then bond the resin to the tooth. The resin can be made of durable plastic made in different shades, and you choose one that matches the rest of your teeth. Visit the site for complete details.

Veneers

There are two types of veneers, those made from composite material and those made from porcelain material. Porcelain veneers are more expensive, and best imitate the nature of the teeth. On the first appointment, the dentist files off parts of the enamel on the targeted tooth. An impression of the tooth will then be taken to the lab for the veneers to be made. Your dentist will give you a next appointment for the veneers to be placed. After 2 weeks the teeth are etched then using a special adhesive, the veneers are placed on the teeth.

Crowns

The dentist takes an impression of the teeth then it is taken to the dental lab for the crown to be made. Crowns can be made from ceramic, porcelain, metal or resin. After the crown is finished, normally after 3 weeks, you will be given a different appointment for the dentist to fit it. Special cement is used to hold the teeth and crown together.

With any of the options above from Dr. Garrett T. Hayashi DDS, it will be all smiles. For more information about dental Oahu services, click www.Abishopstreetdental.com.

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Communist Party candidate Johan Boyden, Toronto Centre

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Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Communist Party candidate Johan Boyden, Toronto Centre
By | Posted in Uncategorized

Friday, October 5, 2007

Johan Boyden is running for the Communist Party in the Ontario provincial election, in the Toronto Centre riding. Wikinews interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.

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