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Re: And in other news....

Postby Western » Sat Nov 28, 2020 7:24 pm

Blackpool's giant mirror ball to be restored by Illuminations team

Blackpool's giant mirror ball artwork is to be given its "sparkle" back by the Illuminations team, the town's council has said.

All 47,000 tiles of the revolving seafront installation will be replaced by the council's team and students from Blackpool and the Fylde College.

The council said the sea air had "taken its toll" on the 4.5-tonne ball, which has stood on the promenade since 2002.

A spokesman added that it would be reinstalled for the 2021 summer season.

The £60,000 refurbishment cost will from the council's maintenance budget.

The work - They Shoot Horses, Don't They? - was created by artist Michael Trainor and takes its name from the 1969 film.

The movie tells the story of a seaside dance marathon and its advertising poster featured a large mirror ball.

The council's spokesman said the restoration would take about six months and would see restorers use about 1,000 tubes of tile adhesive.

He added that the work would also include an overhaul of the internal bearings to ensure it can fully rotate every minute.

Councillor Gillian Campbell said the town was looking forward to the mirror ball "returning to sparkle for people to enjoy".

"Our natural environment is beautiful, but inevitably, the sea salt air takes its toll on the mirror tiles over a long period of time," she added.

The 19-year-old mirror ball was last restored in 2010.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-l ... e-55019488
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Re: And in other news....

Postby Western » Sun Nov 29, 2020 6:35 pm

New apple variety discovered by Wiltshire jogger

A new variety of apple has been discovered by a nature lover while he was out running.

Archie Thomas, from the Nadder Valley in Wiltshire, came across across a windfall apple on a wooded trackway near his home earlier this month.

Experts have confirmed the "highly unusual" fruit, which "tastes quite good", is a new variety, which Mr Thomas hopes to propagate and name.

"It is unlike any apple I'd seen before," he said.

Mr Thomas, who works for wild plant and fungi conservation charity Plantlife, said the fruit came from a lone old apple tree in a hedgerow.

"While I am certainly no fruit expert, it immediately struck me as highly unusual, unlike any apple I'd seen before," he said.

"Excited by the pale and mottled oddity, I set about trying to get it identified with a view to perhaps one day being able to name it.

"That was the dream, but I did half suspect it would turn out to be something much less exciting than it is."

Mr Thomas sent examples to the Royal Horticultural Society's fruit identification service at RHS Wisley.

The RHS's Jim Arbury said the fruit was not a planted cultivar, but a new variety which Mr Thomas could propagate and name.

"It is a very interesting apple. It is clearly not a planted tree, but a seedling that could be a cross between a cultivated apple and a wild Malus sylvestris, a European crab apple," Mr Arbury said.

"It tastes quite good. It's a cooking apple or dual purpose - you can eat it."

Mr Arbury said the tree from which the apples came could be more than 100 years old and was not the result of a dropped modern supermarket apple.

Apple trees grown from seed are all different, so cultivated varieties, or cultivars, are propagated by taking cuttings from existing trees and grafting them on to rootstock to ensure the new tree and its apples are the same.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-w ... e-55109414
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Re: And in other news....

Postby Western » Sun Nov 29, 2020 6:50 pm

Krispy Kreme price swap PC sacked for gross misconduct

A police officer accused of trying to buy a £9.95 box of doughnuts for seven pence by sticking on a cheaper barcode has been sacked for gross misconduct.

PC Simon Read, from Cambridgeshire Police, was found to have switched the price for the cakes at a Wisbech supermarket on 10 February.

A misconduct hearing found he had breached professional standards of honesty and integrity.

PC Read, who had denied the charges, was dismissed without notice.

At the two-day hearing in Peterborough PC Read said he had made an honest mistake at a Tesco Extra self-service till.

While in uniform, he said he purchased four items from the store - the tray of 12 doughnuts, the carrots, a sandwich and a drink.

The hearing was told he scanned the carrots barcode twice and failed to scan the doughnuts barcode, paying around £4 for the items instead of about £14.

He said: "I simply scanned where I believed the barcodes were and placed them down (in the bagging area)."

The panel ruled his explanation was "lacking in credibility".

Sharmistha Michaels, chairwoman of the disciplinary panel, said: "On the balance of probabilities we are satisfied that PC Read did intentionally scan the wrong barcode."

PC Read had previously said: "I didn't check the screen. I wish I had have done."

Ms Michaels said CCTV footage showed him looking at it at the time as he selected his method of payment.

She added that if he intended to pay the correct price he could have checked that he scanned the right barcode and it if was a "genuine mistake" he had opportunities to put it right.

His actions were "incompatible with his role as a police officer".

Mark Ley-Morgan, a lawyer who set out the misconduct case, said it was "an officer effectively stealing while in uniform".

Carolina Bracken, PC Read's lawyer, said he had an "unblemished career", had served in the armed forces, before he joined Cambridgeshire police in January and had served with Thames Valley Police from 2008.

Ms Bracken said the case weighed heavily on him and he had received prank calls in the night from people offering him doughnuts.

PC Read has the right to appeal the decision.

After the ruling the Jane Gyford, deputy Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire Police, said: "The public should be able to trust that police officers in their duty will act with honesty and integrity at all times.

"I hope this outcome offers reassurance to our communities that our officers and staff will be held to account for their actions."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-c ... e-55089146
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Re: And in other news....

Postby Western » Mon Nov 30, 2020 6:57 pm

St Helens elephants: Doorstep mystery leaves police dumbo-founded

A mystery herd of ornamental elephants has appeared on doorsteps of the same street leaving residents and police dumbo-founded.

The 64-strong collection turned up on Vincent Street in St Helens overnight between Thursday and Friday.

Merseyside Police said the unexpected arrival had "caused concern" and asked for the owner to come forward.

As officers employed their grey matter, social media launched its own tusk force to explore various theories.

Police inquiries around the elephants' new stomping ground have so far failed to truncate the investigation.

Sgt Andy Halfpenny of Merseyside Police said: "There has been some speculation online about why they have been left, and one suggestion has been that it is has been left as an anonymous gift to mark a religious event.

"But we are keeping an open mind and appealing for the person who left them to come forward."

Annabel McDade posted on Facebook: "I don't think this is sinister at all. This is someone's collection, maybe someone departed, and a third party has had the idea to give them out as a little gifts. Sharing the happiness."

Police in St Helens replied to one of a number of people who suggested the elephants were good luck gifts.

The force posted: "Maybe you are right it's just so strange some houses had several little elephant ornaments some had none. Why? How do they decide who needs an extra helping of good luck and who doesn't?"

Brandon Delahunty posted: "For everyone commenting about how this is for luck or a gift, it's a lovely idea but this could also be a way for thieves to test if someone is home, leave an elephant on the doorstep and if it's still there a day or two later they know they can probably break in without drawing attention."

Despina Mooney tweeted: "In some cultures such as Brazilian and Chinese, elephants bring good luck, good health and are guardians of the home. Were the elephants found facing the door? In parts of India: a traditional symbol of divinity and royalty. They can also depict victory, war and triumph."

Others suggested the trinkets were destined for a white elephant stall or jumbo-sale but how they got there remains the elephant in the room.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-m ... e-55131376
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Re: And in other news....

Postby Western » Tue Dec 01, 2020 7:31 pm

St Helens elephants: Doorstep mystery was tribute to late wife

The mystery of why a herd of ornamental elephants appeared on doorsteps has been solved by a police tusk force.

The 64-strong collection appeared on Vincent Street in St Helens overnight between Thursday and Friday.

Some people were concerned and called Merseyside Police, where officers put out an appeal for information.

An elderly man later came forward and told police he had tried to share his late wife's trinkets to mark the first anniversary of her death.

Sgt Andy Halfpenny, of Merseyside Police, said: "I would like to thank those people who made us aware of the presence of the elephants out of genuine uncertainty about why they were there.

"Thankfully it has now been confirmed the motivation was sheer kindness and the ornaments were left on doorsteps as a touching gesture by an elderly man in honour of his late wife who had collected them."

The unexpected arrival had prompted residents to weigh in with their own theories and tall tales.

Brandon Delahunty speculated on Facebook that it could have been "a way for thieves to test if someone is home".

Despina Mooney tweeted: "In some cultures such as Brazilian and Chinese, elephants bring good luck, good health and are guardians of the home."

But Annabel McDade's Facebook post was the closest to the truth. She wrote: "I don't think this is sinister at all. This is someone's collection, maybe someone departed, and a third party has had the idea to give them out as a little gifts. Sharing the happiness."

The mystery is certainly one the people of Vincent Street will never forget.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-m ... e-55131381
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Re: And in other news....

Postby Western » Mon Dec 07, 2020 6:34 pm

Isle of Wight monolith: 'Magical' structure appears on beach

A monolith has mysteriously appeared in Britain - just days after similar ones were spotted in the US and Romania.

The unusual mirrored structure was discovered on the Isle of Wight, an island off the south coast of England.

Resident Alexia Fishwick said she "was dumbstruck" when she came across it during a beach walk on Sunday and described it as "really quite magical".

A monolith found in Utah last month created wild speculation on social media and apparent copycats.

Many observers have presumed they were art installations left by sculptors.

The metal edifice in Utah was found planted in the ground before it disappeared just days later.

Two other shining metal towers later appeared in Romania and southern California.

Ms Fishwick said: "I'd read about the one in Utah and then Romania, so I knew the significance. Many people took no notice of it."

She said people first thought she had photoshopped the images when she put them online.

Lee Peckham, a lawyer living on the island, said: "I saw it and wondered what it was and thought it a rather strange thing to see on the beach. I wondered who put it there and why."

DJ Rob da Bank, another island resident, was also among those who took a stroll to see the sight for themselves.

He mused: "I'm not sure if it's aliens, a Coldplay PR stunt or a local mirror dealer drumming up trade, but it got us all down the beach anyway."

The National Trust, which owns the site, said it had no immediate plans to remove the monolith, which it said was erected without permission.

A spokesman said: "We were unaware of the monolith's presence until this morning, but we've now visited Compton Beach and it seems secure on a wooden plinth and is made from mirrored sections of plastic or perspex material.

"We need to monitor over the next few days to ensure the beach remains safe and does not become overcrowded."

An anonymous collective called The Most Famous Artist has taken credit for the monoliths in Utah and California.

It posted an image of the Utah monolith on Instagram, with a 45,000 US dollar (£34,000) price tag.

However, when asked about the Isle of Wight structure, it said: "The monolith is out of my control at this point. Godspeed to all the aliens working hard around the globe to propagate the myth."

News of the monolith on the island has caused a stir on social media with some posting in jest - that the monolith - which already has its own Instagram page - could be a portal to another dimension.

In 2001: A Space Odyssey - the 1968 film directed by Stanley Kubrick - imposing black monoliths created by an unseen alien species appear in the movie, based on the writings of novelist Arthur C Clarke.

Most observers reflecting on their trip to the mysterious monolith suspected it was left by an artist rather than an alien species.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-h ... e-55212336
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Re: And in other news....

Postby Western » Tue Dec 08, 2020 9:10 pm

Take a look at the Atlantic's first underwater roundabout!

The Faroe Islands are set to open an undersea roundabout following more than three years of construction.

The underwater tunnels are due to open on 19 December 2020 and will connect the islands of Streymoy and Eysturoy in a network that is 11km long. The deepest point of the tunnel network is 187m below sea level.

The Faroe Islands, a series of 18 islands in the North Atlantic located between Shetland and Iceland, are owned by Denmark but have their own government and manage their own affairs. Another tunnel is currently under construction, connecting the islands of Sandoy and Streymoy.

The roundabout in the middle of the network will contain artwork by Faroese artist Trondur Patursson. The art will comprise sculptures and light effects. Trondur has created an 80m-long steel sculpture for the roundabout which represents interlinking human figures doing a Faroese ‘ring dance’ where unlimited numbers of people join hands and keep time with simple side to side steps to a traditional ballad.

The tunnels will be a big help to residents, dramatically cutting down the travel time between the capital Tórshavn and the key fishing port of Klaksvik.

In order to ensure the safety of those using the tunnel, the steepest slope is no more than a 5% gradient, the company behind the tunnels confirmed.

A test-run involving emergency services is scheduled for 17 December, according to local news reports.

The tunnels are one of the biggest infrastructure projects ever made on the Faroe Islands. Those using the tunnels will be required to pay a toll fee to travel and officials expect the new sub-sea tunnel to become a tourist attraction in its own right.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/55216715
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Re: And in other news....

Postby Western » Thu Dec 10, 2020 8:46 pm

Banksy sneezing woman artwork appears on Bristol house

A piece of street art by elusive graffiti artist Banksy has appeared on a house in Bristol.

The creation entitled "Aachoo!!" on the side of a semi-detached house in Totterdown, depicts a woman in a headscarf sneezing and her dentures flying into the air.

Resident Dale Comley, said he saw a "bulky guy in a high vis jacket" early on Thursday who he thinks was Banksy.

The artist has since authenticated the work on his website and Instagram page.

It is understood the art, on a house on the corner of Vale Street and Park Street, was covered up before being revealed early on Thursday morning.

Mr Comley, 27, who lives on the street, said he was making coffee at around 07:00 GMT and looking out the window when he saw a man he thought "was a really keen scaffolder".

"I saw a man in a high vis jacket leaning against the railings opposite - he was looking at the wall the whole time," he said.

"Then about an hour later I looked out and saw loads of people in the street."

Vale Street, in the city's aptly named Totterdown suburb, is one of the steepest streets in the country.

Each year the 22-degree gradient slope attracts crowds with its Easter Sunday egg rolling contest.

The artwork, which has appeared at the bottom of Vale Street, has attracted much attention locally.

Tom, 34, said he changed his jogging route so he could come and admire the artwork.

"I saw people talking about it on Twitter, I think it's pretty good - it's certainly topical," he said.

Jason Bartlett, 47, who grew up nearby, said he did not think Banksy had created work in the area before.

He said: "I heard it on the news and I thought I've got to go and take a look. I've always been a big fan of his.

"It's going to get interesting for whoever owns the house I suppose."

Fred Loosemore, 28, a furniture maker who rented a room in the property until recently, told the Press Association he was going to screw a piece of clear acrylic over the artwork to protect it.

"We wanted to come up because people will deface it, and luckily we've got a workshop and a massive piece of acrylic we've got left over," he said.

"The artwork is so nice. It's so relevant, isn't it?."

In October, a Banksy artwork depicting a girl hula-hooping near a real bicycle with its back wheel missing appeared in Nottingham.

While in July, a pandemic-inspired piece by Banksy encouraging people to wear face masks was stencilled on a Tube train in London.

In September, Art Attack presenter Neil Buchanan dismissed rumours Banksy was his secret alias.

Banksy began spray-painting trains and walls in his home city of Bristol in the 1990s, and before long was leaving his artistic mark all over the world.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-55257267
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Re: And in other news....

Postby Western » Sat Dec 12, 2020 9:28 pm

Glastonbury Tor: 'Not Banksy' monolith appears on hill

A mysterious metal monolith bearing the words "Not Banksy" has appeared on top of Glastonbury Tor.

Walkers discovered the large chunk of metal lying on its side on Wednesday morning - it is believed to have been placed there overnight.

Michelle Cowbourne said "I couldn't believe my eyes" when she spotted the monolith at the National Trust site.

Since a monolith was photographed in Utah last month, similar structures have popped-up around the world.

A stencil drawing of a rat, similar to the style used by the Bristol street artist Banksy, featured on the structure.

Ms Cowbourne saw it at about 07:30 BST on Wednesday while on her regular morning walk.

"I walked up the long slope side and this was on the other side and when I saw it I couldn't believe my eyes," she said.

"I just thought what on earth is that."

She said it was lying on its side but with the help of some other walkers on the ancient hilltop, they moved it upright - with difficulty.

"There were two big metal bolts but they hadn't been fixed to the ground properly. It's a big chunk of metal and it was really heavy," Ms Cowbourne added.

She said she has seen some "random" things up on the hill but this was the strangest.

"I've seen a bagpiper, someone in a suit of armour and some fairies," she said.

"I don't think it is a genuine Banksy work. I don't think he would have left it half done like that, but I suppose if someone came along at the time he may have had to leave it."

The Utah monolith turned out to be the work of an anonymous art collective but it has seemingly inspired copycats all over the globe.

Designer Tom Dunford admitted he had installed a "monolith" that appeared on the Isle of Wight at the weekend in tribute to others that had popped-up.

The Glastonbury monolith was removed by the National Trust at about 16:00 GMT on Wednesday.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-55248257
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Re: And in other news....

Postby Western » Wed Dec 30, 2020 7:53 pm

Check out the world's longest multi-coloured ice slide!

This multi-coloured ice slide in China has been officially given the award of the longest ice slide in the world.

The 429-metre-long ice slide in the park was checked out by the World Record Certification Agency.

The award came after the national Ice and Snow Sports Competition for School Students kicked off at Changchun Ice and Snow New World in Changchun, Jilin province on Tuesday.

Thousands of people attended the opening ceremony including athletes, students and teachers.

The ice park was constructed in Changchun ahead of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

Changchun is the capital of Jilin province in central China, and the park is part of a project to make the area a winter tourism destination.

Jilin is not hosting a Beijing 2022 event, but is participating in the Chinese Government's campaign to get more people participating in winter sports by the time of the Games.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/55467273
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