Saturday, January 27, 2018

Alphabet L Song

Friday, January 26, 2018

Egyptian school aims to make archaeology fun for youth

CAIRO — Established right in the heart of Marina el-Alamein, one of Egypt's most treasured archaeological sites, a school aims to teach the younger generation the importance of archaeology with both theoretical and practical lessons.

The Young Archaeologist School, which targets children ages 6-16, is overseen by the Department of Museum Education and Archaeological Awareness in the archaeological area of Marina. It is one of several programs nationwide targeting young people, such as the Young Guides program. In a country where the smuggling of artifacts is rampant, these programs seek to instill in young people the importance of preserving antiquities, so that they would take a stance against illegal excavations, smuggling, and buying and selling stolen artifacts.

Read the Article >> Egyptian school aims to make archaeology fun for youth

Flint children's librarian to tell final tale after 3 decades of storytelling

FLINT, MI - The children set aside their Legos and computer games, scrambling to the carpet as Brenda Harris' lilting singsong fills the library.

It's story time with Miss Brenda.

Read the Article >> Flint children's librarian to tell final tale after 3 decades of storytelling

Animals on the run: Police corral wandering herd near LA; half a world away, escaped cow joins bison

A cow that escaped a farm in Poland to join a herd of bison is staying with its new friends, but closer to home a bunch of wandering animals had to rounded up by police officers.

In the animal incident near Los Angeles, police said a donkey led more than a dozen sheep and goats on a stroll through a suburban West Covina neighborhood east of LA.

Read the article >> Animals on the run: Police corral wandering herd near LA; half a world away, escaped cow joins bison

Monday, January 22, 2018

Hero homing pigeon called Mary awarded blue plaque

It is a mark of recognition usually reserved for people and places which have significantly shaped Britain's history.

But last week a homing pigeon that delivered top secret messages during WWII became the first animal to be given a blue plaque to commemorate where she lived.

The prized pigeon called Mary lived in West Street in Exeter, Devon, where the blue plaque was placed on Saturday.

Mary was dropped behind enemy lines where she was repeatedly attacked by gunfire. She then delivered secret messages across the English Channel to her home. Her time with the National Pigeon Service saw Mary awarded the Dickin Medal in 1945 - an honour bestowed on hard-working animals during wartime.

Mary escaped her loft in Exeter uninjured despite being bombed on three occasions. And the tenacious pigeon was attacked by German hawks stationed in Pas-de-Calais but escaped - returning home with wounds to her neck and right breast.

She recovered and was put back in service two months later. Mary returned with the tip of one wing shot off and three pellets were removed from her body on a second flight - but recovered and returned to service.

During her final trip, her neck muscles were damaged by shrapnel. Mary's owner, pigeon breeder Cecil "Charlie" Brewer - made her a leather collar and took her out of service.

Exeter Civic Society unveiled the blue plaque at at Brewer's home and shoemaker shop of 63 years. It is the civic society's first blue plaque to commemorate a heroic animal and its owner.

In 1922, the year of his marriage, Brewer and his wife Ena moved to the road and set up a workshop to breed and train homing pigeons.

He was made a special constable in 1941 with responsibility for general control of war pigeons in the area and decorated in 1945 for war services.

Mary of Exeter died in 1950 and is buried with other animal heroes in the PDSA Pet Cemetery in Ilford, Essex. She is commemorated in Northernhay Gardens, Exeter, as well as in the mosaic under the Exeter St Thomas railway bridge and on the animals war memorial in Hyde Park.

Charlie Brewer died in 1985, aged 90. To be awarded a blue plaque, the proposed recipient must have died at least 20 years ago.

This is to help ensure that the decision about whether or not to shortlist a candidate is made with a sufficient degree of hindsight.

Blue plaques are as much about the buildings in which people - and animals - lived and worked as about the subjects being commemorated.

Source >> Hero homing pigeon called Mary awarded blue plaque

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Nintendo Unveils the Future of Video Games, and It’s … A Cardboard Piano?


Nintendo is placing a considerable bet on the old saw about kids ignoring their new toys and playing with the cardboard boxes they came in. On Wednesday, they announced Nintendo Labo, a series of cardboard toys that, when assembled, come to life with the help of the Nintendo Switch, their newest console. As you probably know, the Switch can be disconnected from the TV and used portably, and Nintendo is leveraging that technology to the fullest; their introductory video shows the Switch working in devices as disparate as a cardboard fishing rod, cardboard motorcycle handlebars, and a Schroeder-sized one-octave cardboard piano.

There’s a real wow factor to watching someone fold flat sheets of cardboard into a piano that actually plays, and some of the games look like fun, particularly a cardboard house with switches and knobs that seems—based on the short time it’s on screen—like it has sort of a GNOG feel. And mixing physical and virtual worlds in ways like this will almost certainly be the future of gaming, whatever form it ultimately takes. But these are foldable cardboard toys with moving parts, which seems like a recipe for catastrophe, unless the assembly is impossible to screw up. Otherwise, Nintendo Labo might treat kids to both the frustration of building model airplanes and the agony of losing at video games. Also, the finished products don’t look like the most durable contraptions in the world, particularly the telescoping fishing rod. And then there’s the price. “Toy-Con 01: Variety Kit” includes everything you need to build 5 separate projects: RC cars (2 models), 1 fishing rod, 1 house, 1 motorbike, and the piano. But this list of the contents doesn’t seem like $69.99 worth of raw materials:

• 28 sheets of cardboard
• 3 reflective sticker sheets
• 3 sponge sheets
• 1 orange string
• 1 blue string
• 1 set of gray eyelets
• 1 set of blue eyelets
• 2 large rubber bands (plus spares)
• 6 small rubber bands (plus spares)

It also comes with the software that lets you play with the assembled toys, and the retail price for a Switch game is about $60, but it seems unlikely these games will have the replay value of Breath of the Wild. (It’s almost worth buying just to see how on earth the action on a thirteen-key piano works with only 8 rubber bands and 3 sponges that to potentially drive the key return, but I’m not sure that’s $70 worth of curiosity.) For $79.99, they’ll sell you “Toy Con 02: Robot Kit,” which is a backpack-like contraption that pairs with a game where a giant robot mimics your motions—so, sort of like Kinect, but with strings tied to your feet and hands, plus a backpack and visor. An additional $9.99 gets you the “Customization Set,” a set of stencils and stickers you can put on your Nintendo Labo creations. The worst case scenario here is a toy that combines the impermanence of those Polaris submarines they used to sell in comic books with the uselessness of the Nintendo R.O.B. Still, the last time Nintendo bet on making their video game consoles more toy-like, they came up with the Wii, and early Twitter reports of kids “losing their shit” at the trailer make it seem like Nintendo Labo is going to sell well, at least at first. The question will be how long the assembled toys last in the wild. We’ll find out on April 20, when Nintendo Labo hits stores.

Source >> Nintendo Unveils the Future of Video Games, and It’s … A Cardboard Piano?

Polar bears at NC Zoo enjoy snow day

ASHEBORO - While some North Carolinians slogged through snow and scraped windshields, residents at the state’s zoo were happy to see the fluffy white stuff.

The North Carolina Zoo’s polar bears – and its other Arctic critters – enjoyed their snow day Wednesday.

Asheboro didn’t see the near foot of snow parts of central North Carolina did, but the inch or so was enough to get its Arctic animals excited, along with wind chills in single digits.

Polar bears Nikita and Anana were fed whole fish as a special snow day treat, according to the zoo.

A video of the animals showed an otter, bobcat, Arctic fox and the bears spending time in the snow on Wednesday.

Nikita is a newer addition to the zoo. The 11-year-old male was relocated to North Carolina from the Kansas City, Mo., zoo in 2016. Nikita and 18-year-old Anana now share an exhibit in the hope that the two would be a breeding pair. Polar bears tend to breed in the winter.

Less than 20 percent of American Zoological Association-accredited zoos have polar bears and only 60 polar bears are on exhibit in the United States. This means that all polar bears in zoos are genetically important for the species.

Nikita was born at the Toledo Zoo. He arrived in Kansas City in 2010 when he was 3 years old. Anana, whose name means “beautiful” in Inuit, was born at the Seneca Park Zoo (Rochester, N.Y.) in November 1999. She arrived at the Lincoln Park Zoo in 2001 and was moved to the North Carolina Zoo in September 2014.

Because of the snowstorm, the zoo was expected to remain closed through Thursday.