UK HOLIDAYS: Natural sights most popular for holidaymakers in 2017

London – VIJAY SHAH and SWNS digital

 

A recent poll on holidays and days out choices among British tourists has found that trips to the country’s peaks are the most popular. The scenic Lake District area of north England topped the choices at number one attraction people most want to visit, overtaking the Peak District in the county of Derbyshire and Wales’ highest mountain, Snowdon.

While mountains were the most popular options for communing with nature, the poll participants also voted for seaside locations like piers and beaches, as well as museums. The results were drawn from a list of fifty leading U.K. attractions devised by transport firm National Express. A thousand people were surveyed for the poll.

National Express’ managing director, Chris Hardy, said: “They say the best things in life are free and we hope our list inspires people to get out and explore somewhere new – without breaking the bank.

“It’s great to see that Brits appreciate the natural sights that the UK has to offer, and the sheer volume of beauty spots on this list goes to show that you’re never far from something stunning to see on a day out.”

Despite being the epicentre of British tourism for both national and international visitors, London made a poor showing in the results, with only one of the capital’s prime attractions, the Natural History Museum, making the top ten locations for days out. The museum only made it to ninth place. Twenty-three other museums across the country also featured, including smaller, region-specific museums such as the Royal Pump Rooms in Leamington Spa, central England. A few cathedrals also made the list.

SOURCE/IMAGE CREDIT:

“Natural Views and Scenery Dominate in List of UK’s Favourite Days Out” – SWNS digital/72Point (23 April 2017) http://www.swnsdigital.com/2017/04/natural-views-and-scenery-dominate-in-list-of-uks-favourite-days-out/

SULLEE J: ‘Yaar Ve’ with Sunny Brown and Baba Kahn

 

Baltimore’s globally acclaimed artist Sullee Justice (aka Sullee J) is back with an epic remix to “Yaar Ve” by Sunny Brown and Baba Kahn and produced by ZKL. A brilliant mix between hip-hop, Punjabi rhythms & Bollywood speaking on the bounties of love.

Stay tuned for his new single coming out soon Crooked Justice featuring Shady Records artist KXNG Crooked! May 1st.

You can hear ‘Yaar Ve’ now at the following link: https://soundcloud.com/sulleej/bollywoodmix

Twitter: @SulleeJ @TeamSulleeJ 
Soundcloud: /SulleeJ
Instagram: /SulleeJ
CREDITS:
Sullee J Management

HEM NEWS AGENCY: 5th anniversary + blog makeover

 

London – VIJAY SHAH

Hey everyone,

As you may have noticed, the blog is looking a little different nowadays. Today is the fifth anniversary of its founding (back in April 2012) and I decided that to mark the occasion, I would give the blog a makeover. We got rid of the old theme we were using (Mystere) and brought in a more modern looking one from WordPress, named ‘Plane’. The blog has also been officially renamed. It is now to be known as ‘HEM News Agency’, to better reflect the content and premise of the blog. The old name “The Half-Eaten Mind Blog” is still acceptable however, and we are keeping it as an unofficial pseudonym (not sure if this would be the right word for it).

Nowadays, an increasingly number of websites are going for the flat design trend, shafting the gradients and gimmicks of old and going for a cleaner and simpler look, with block colours and basic typefaces. The Half-Eaten Mind has joined the fray, and I have spent around 2-3 hours creating new headers and branding with the help of graphic design website Canva. I have spent a good chunk of this morning putting the new branding in place (we had massive trouble with the blog header however, wrong size meant it had to be redone, don’t ever take WordPress’s recommended header measurements as gospel, let me warn you!). The branding also applies to our social media accounts and any related sites like Gravatar. The colours I have used (dark green, sky blue, and slate blue, were chosen as they firstly fit well together, and also they relate to the history of what used to be known as the HEM Blog, in terms of the blog’s previous design. As a mark of respect to how we used to do things, I carried over the famous HEM street sign, which was our semi-official logo for a couple of years. Something new, something old, as people who organise baby showers would say.

 

 

We are also introducing new flags at the beginning of our articles. The 7+ year old flags made by FamFamFam (leeched on via StatCounter) will now be replaced by a new set of flags designed by Turkish graphic artist Muharrem Senyil and originally featured on designer’s hangout Dribbble. These flat design-inspired elements suit the new look of HEM News Agency very well, in my opinion.

It has been a great five years at the helm of HEM. I have learnt a lot and made many friends. This blog was originally set up partly to help me enter the journalism profession. While I did not ultimately realise that dream as of yet (stiff competition for jobs!), the blog indirectly helped me score a second job which I have now been working in for two years, as a writer, creative consultant and social media manager for a small consultancy focussed on finance and education between Africa and Europe.

I’m not going to sing like a canary and say it was all plain sailing. There were times when I felt like giving up the blog, as I have now have less time to write on weekends than when I first started. But then I would be giving up my dreams and talents needlessly, and I would disappoint a lot of friends, fans and supporters. I did feel the blog needed a makeover, as it was looking a bit outdated and stale, and hopefully this spring clean and makeover will help breathe new life into this baby of mine.

Don’t worry though, we will still be releasing the same news stories, features and personal blogposts that made HEM what it is. That is not going to change.

I hope you all like the new look and name and please feel free to comment or give your feedback if you prefer.

Let’s look forward to another five years of great news, features and writing, and many more memorable experiences and lessons along the way.

Vijay Shah,

Blogger and editor – HEM News Agency.

LOOKING GOOD?: UK pre-teens increasingly concerned with appearance

London, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH via SWNS digital

 

Increasing numbers of the United Kingdom’s pre-teens, children under thirteen years of age, are becoming concerned over their physical appearances, with the average child now worrying about how they look for ninety minutes a day, according to a study.

An astonishing 90 per cent of the study participants – sourced from different age groups – said they frequently worried about they look, as influences from media, society, picture-perfect celebrities, and the direct and indirect influences of more ‘popular’ classmates impinge on children’s body confidence at startling younger ages.

 

 

One in five surveyed teenagers claimed that they pretended to be ill in order to miss school or work due to low levels of self-confidence stemming from their appearance. The body shame even lasts into adulthood, as 86 per cent of the study’s older participants said they spend an average of one hour and thirteen minutes per day obsessing with what they see in their mirrors. The study found that most teenagers were worried about acne and ‘bad skin’, whereas adults were more concerned with weight. Both age groups were worried equally about bad hair, overall body shape and physique, along with the appearance of their stomachs. Lifestyle magazines for both men and women often devote large numbers of pages to achieving the perfect toned or flab-free stomach and chest.

Skin conditions tend to be the gripe of many people, the study found. Sixty-nine per cent of adults have been afflicted by common skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and conditions causing spots and similar. Ninety-one per cent of them had experienced breakouts of acne even in their post-teenage years.

More disturbingly, it was found that social media is increasingly harming people’s body positivity, with 71 per cent of teenagers and 53 per cent of adults feeling uncomfortable around the sharing of selfies and group photos of themselves on social media sites. Thirty-two per cent of teenagers have used filters and apps to perform virtual plastic surgery on their photos before releasing them to social media, and another 37 per cent have tried to excuse themselves from being photographed.

Outside of social media and the web, the study said that 30 per cent of adults have skipped social events due to fears about how they looked, with 17 per cent resorting to excessive amounts of make-up, 31 per cent covering up their figures with baggy clothing. Four per cent even cancelled dates over their lack of confidence in their looks

The research study was commissioned by the skincare brand Proactiv+, which surveyed 1,000 adults and 1,000 children via online survey service OnePoll. A  company spokesperson told SWNS digital: Almost everyone has concerns about their appearance at one time or another, but it’s staggering to see how young these concerns start.

“And it appears that this is a problem which doesn’t go away with age – the worries we have just change slightly instead.

“Teenagers have a lot to adjust to with puberty, a testing time at school as they approach exams and dealing with peer pressure, so the spot breakouts and acne can really affect their confidence.

“But for many these worries will also continue into adulthood leaving people really struggling with their self-esteem – especially as spots and acne are something most people only associate with the teenage years.”

 

SOURCE/IMAGE CREDIT:
“Pre-Teens Worry about their Appearance for More than 90 Minutes a Day” – SWNS digital/72Point (9 April 2017) http://www.swnsdigital.com/2017/04/pre-teens-worry-about-their-appearance-for-more-than-90-minutes-a-day/

GOOGLE SEO: What are the SEO trends in 2017?

London, UNITED KINGDOM
MEHFUZ HUSSAIN (writer) with VIJAY SHAH (editor)

 

This article was written by Mehfuz Hussain, a digital marketing specialist based in London with expertise in online marketing concepts and Google Analytics.

Search Engine Optimisation has seen many changes in 2016 thanks to Google. From the launch of its ambitious AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) Project in February 2016, Google has shaken up the way traditional SEO worked. Understandably, Google knows well that the best way to dominate the industry is to be aware of how search engines are changing, and strategising SEO and content techniques accordingly. The world of SEO continues to evolve at high speed. While some SEO techniques have been a staple for several years, there will be many new ones that you will have to pay attention to. Here are some of the game-changing trends to help you stay ahead this year.

 

Photo credit: BigOakInc.com

 

1. Mobile-first Approach by Businesses

With ongoing improvements in the mobile computing field, browsing on mobiles has become equivalent to desktop browsing if not more In many countries, mobile browsing is more popular and dominant than via traditional desktops and laptops. In the last few years, the plethora of new smartphones with internet capabilities has changed the way search engine look at them. Remember Mobilegeddon?

A few months ago, Google said, “To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.” This influenced their latest search algorithm which prioritised ‘responsive’ websites at the cost of older, mobile-unfriendly sites.

So, in 2017, your top priority is to separate your desktop and mobile measurement plans to account for the fundamental differences between mobile and desktop behaviour.

 

2. Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Google Rank Brain

There is no doubt, Google’s main focus in 2017 is on Artificial Intelligence. If you followed the Google I/O event 2016, most announcements were related to AI. Google also said that the speech recognition errors have reduced from 25 to 8 percent. It’s been officially named Google’s third-most important ranking factor. Voice search will grow even more in 2017, with better voice recognition and understanding.

 

3. Infographics

Infographics make complex information eye-catching, shareable and easily digestible. An image coupled with information tends to stay in the minds of readers. Such content generates more social shares and also generates leads. Of course, your content should also be suitable enough to add Infographics to it, and they can really make it pop.

 

4. AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) takes centre stage

A great way to ensure better user experience is switching over to Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). More brands are using this option as Google also has begun to favour the use of AMP. It contains three sections – AMP HTML, AMP JS, and Google AMP Cache. Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) allows websites to make pages equipped for loading right away onto mobile screens. Interestingly, sites that have switched over to AMP are given more visibility with a special icon in Google searches.

 

 

5. Branding gets personal

There is no denying the power of personal branding. If used strategically, it can be a powerful tool in ensuring the success of SEO campaigns. Even social media platforms like Facebook refine their algorithms to favour individual posts over branded posts. Also, once you have a personal brand in place, it gets much easier to boost user trust and engagement. This, in turn, will up the traffic to your site.

 

6. HTTPS Everywhere

Google has inducted https as a ranking factor in its algorithm. Since then many companies hurriedly made the transition from HTTP to HTTPS in order to protect their own and their users’ privacy. It helps even more if there is money transactions happening on the website (e-commerce) and gives consumers extra confidence about their privacy. Let’s expect more websites switching to HTTPS than ever before in the history of the Web.

 

7. Focus on Content Curation

Though many people do not realise it, content marketing and SEO needs to work together for better results and visibility. Include all types of content in the mix: press releases and newsletters as well as articles and blog posts. A good content mix will help you increase backlinks on authority websites and establish you as an expert in your field. This strategy will help you boost your business to the top of Google’s SERPs.

 

2017 will see a massive hike in Internet usage. People are more concerned about the content they read. Now is the right time to prepare a well-developed strategy to survive in the market and beat the competition. As an SEO marketer, you have to be prepared for changes. Keep an close eye on SEO trends in 2017. All the best everyone!

 

IMAGE CREDITS:
“Google SEO Magnifying Glass” – BigOakFlickr, Flickr (1 July 2016) https://www.flickr.com/photos/31682982@N03/27940989741
“Free illustration: Seo, Web Page, Responsive – Free Image on Pixabay – 2016484” – Templune, pixabay https://pixabay.com/en/seo-web-page-responsive-web-design-2016484/

WORKING 9-5: Average British commuter spends £48k on travel in a lifetime

London, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH via SWNS digital

The average British commuter will spend around GBP £48,000 (USD $60211) of the course of a lifetime, just on travelling to their workplace, a recent survey of 2,000 commuters in the U.K. has discovered.

The figure is not surprising to many observers. Britain has some of the highest transport fares in Europe, with many tickets around ten times their European equivalent. In addition, the average Briton will also spend up to a year of their life on the commute, assuming they work for 47 years of their lifespan. The survey showed that 68 per cent drive to work, 11 per cent take the train and eight per cent get to the workplace via bicycle or motorcycle.

 

 

Interestingly, the survey also picked up the fact that a third of the £48,000 figure will be spent on snacks, refreshments and other items consumed or used during the journey, especially for those on long commutes.

The research was commissioned by the motorcycle insurance company Lexham. The firm’s head of sales and marketing, Andy Goodson, commented: While many commuters think their journeys to and from work are barely worth considering, the amount of time we spend on them shows we should give them a bit more thought.

“With an average commute time of almost an hour a day, for many Brits this is wasted time as they’re stuck behind the wheel in traffic.

“Some of the happiest respondents in our survey were ones who were able to walk to work – giving themselves the shortest commute possible.”

The average journey on a commute is seven miles (eleven kilometres) long, which means over a working life, commuters will have clocked up 171,080 miles (275,327 km) going to and fro from the office or work site – the equivalent of circumnavigating the Earth more than six times. Those who drive to work suffered the highest stress levels, according to the Lexham research, with biking the least likely to leave people grumpy when they arrive at their desks. Sixty-two per cent of commuters told researchers that a bad journey to work would wreck the rest of their day.

Over the course of their working life, the average commuter will read 67 books, 2248 newspapers and listen to 3617 albums.

They will also send 1710 work emails, consume 977 bananas and play 2,077 gaming sessions on their phones.

Andy Goodson said: “One of the best ways to make your commute happier is to cut down how long it is.

“Motorbikes and scooters are a convenient way to bring down your commuting time, as they can beat traffic so easily.

“Nobody wants to have their day made any more stressful than it needs to be – and sitting in traffic, other commuters’ personal hygiene and constantly late trains definitely don’t help.”

 

A LIFETIME OF COMMUTING IN NUMBERS:

Distance travelled: 171,080 miles
Amount spent: £48,708.92
Time spent: 10,998 hours
Days late to work: 1906
Newspapers read: 2248
Coffees bought: 1759
Games played on phone: 2077
Social events planned: 1710
Albums listened to: 3617
Bananas eaten: 977

 

SOURCE/IMAGE CREDIT: 
“Brits Spend £48k Over A Lifetime – Just To Get To Work” – digitalhub/SWNS digital/72Point (2 April 2017) http://www.swnsdigital.com/2017/04/brits-spend-48k-over-a-lifetime-just-to-get-to-work/

WRESTLEMANIA 33: Ultimate wrestling extravaganza this Sunday

Orlando, UNITED STATES
VIJAY SHAH and SUNNY ATWAL with AARON CARR, PHIL HAIGH via Penn News and Metro

Fans of sports entertainment brand WWE are in for a treat this Sunday as the wrestling highlight of the year, WrestleMania 33, happens this Sunday. This will be a once-in-a-year chance to see some of the world’s greatest wrestlers face off against each other in the ‘squared circle’.

In its third decade of existence, WrestleMania will take place at the Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida, United States, the second time this venue has hosted the event since 2008. Around 70,000+ fans are expected to fill up the stadium for the highlight of the wrestling calendar. The matches will also be broadcast on the sports entertainment firm’s own WWE Network as well as sports channels across the globe.

 

 

Featuring a healthy selection of big names from the locker rooms of the bitterly competitive RAW and SmackDown brands, thirteen matches are scheduled, including title matches for the Universal Championship (RAW) and SmackDown’s WWE Championship. Goldberg will defend the Universal Championship against the seemingly unstoppable and brutal Brock Lesnar and Bray Wyatt will defend the WWE Championship against the famed ‘Legend Killer’, Randy Orton. Already, critics and observers have commended the line-up for the matches, and numerous rumours and predictions are doing the rounds all over the Web.

The following thirteen matches are scheduled to take place around WrestleMania this weekend, with ‘(c)’ indicating the current title holder with their belt on the line:

  1. 2017 André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal (Battle royal for the André the Giant Memorial Trophy)
  2. Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries (Singles match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship)
  3. Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Randy Orton (Singles match for the WWE Championship)
  4. Goldberg (c) vs. Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) (Singles match for the WWE Universal Championship)
  5. The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns (Singles match)
  6. Seth Rollins vs. Triple H (Non-sanctioned match)
  7. Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles (Singles match)
  8. Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax (Fatal 4-Way elimination match for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship)
  9. Chris Jericho (c) vs. Kevin Owens (Singles match for the WWE United States Championship)
  10. John Cena and Nikki Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse (Mixed tag team match)
  11. Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Baron Corbin (Singles match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship)
  12. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson (c) vs. Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. Cesaro and Sheamus (Triple threat ladder match for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship)
  13. Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Becky Lynch vs. Natalya vs. Mickie James vs. Carmella (with James Ellsworth) vs. Naomi (Six-pack challenge for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship)

Many of the matches are the culmination of storylines in the WWE shows, where wrestlers frequently challenge each other, not only for belts and bragging rights, but also for the hearts and minds of their legions of fans.

The event, often known among fans as the ‘The Ultimate Thrill Ride’ and the ‘Show of Shows’ will take place on Sunday, 2nd April 2017, but will be broadcasting early morning the next day in the United Kingdom due to time differences. British subscribers to the WWE Network can catch the match live, and television viewers can view WrestleMania on Sky Sports Box Office, channels 491 and 492, with the pay-per-view broadcast costing £19.95.

This past Friday, as the build-up to WrestleMania 33 has already reached boiling point, long-time WWE veteran Kurt Angle hosted the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Angle joins Diamond Dallas Page, “Ravishing” Rick Rude, Beth Phoenix, The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson) and Theodore “Teddy” Long in the 2017 class.

SOURCES:
“WrestleMania 33” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WrestleMania_33
“WrestleMania 2017: How to watch WWE’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony” – Aaron Carr, Penn Live/PA Media Group (31 March 2017) http://www.pennlive.com/sports/index.ssf/2017/03/wrestlemania_2017_how_to_watch.html
“When is WrestleMania 33? Date, UK time, TV details and full card of matches for 2017 spectacular” – Phil Haigh, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (20 March 2017) http://metro.co.uk/2017/03/20/when-is-wrestlemania-33-date-uk-time-tv-details-and-full-card-of-matches-for-2017-spectacular-6522578/
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:Wrestlemania XXVII Stage.jpg” – KinkESizemore, Wikimedia Commons (3 April 2011) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wrestlemania_XXVII_Stage.jpg This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

STURGEON’S OFFER: Scottish first minister invites Remainers to settle in Scotland if independence occurs

Aberdeen, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH via PATRICK GRAFTON-GREEN and Evening Standard

The first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, has invited residents of the other parts of the UK who were disappointed with the outcome of last year’s Brexit referendum to settle in her country, as she petitions for a new referendum on Scottish independence.

In a report by London-based newspaper The Evening Standard, the first minister announced an open invitation to the forty-eight per cent of Britons who voted ‘yes’ to staying in the European Union to relocate to Scotland, which plans to rejoin the EU should the outcome of the second ‘indyref’ be in favour of Scotland departing the United Kingdom and going it alone. Sturgeon presided over the first referendum, in 2014, which saw fifty five per cent of voters opt to stay in the UK, and forty-four per cent lean towards independence.

 

 

Sturgeon has expressed that those who have experienced discomfort with the actions of Westminster could relocate to Scotland and be part of a “outward-looking, compassionate country”. The open invite is the latest in a war of words between Sturgeon and UK prime minister Theresa May, who is open in her desire to realise Brexit and complete EU withdrawal by 2019. May has condemned Sturgeon for demanding a new referendum before Brexit negotiations with Brussels are complete, and has refused to give federal government permission for it to go ahead, angering Sturgeon and the Scottish National Party (SNP) which she heads.

In an address she made at the SNP conference in Aberdeen recently, Sturgeon has said that her party will completely guarantee the rights of EU nationals residing in Scotland. This is at odds with May’s approach, where she has refused to give a final ruling on EU settlers’ status in a post-Brexit Britain. May’s critics have accused her of using European nationals in the UK as a ‘bargaining chip’ in order to force the EU to guarantee settlement rights of Britons living in countries like France and Spain. At the address, Sturgeon also said that Scotland had potential for massive opportunities, and criticised the Conservative Party, who are the dominant political party currently in the UK, claiming they were trying to interfere with Scotland and accused them of maintaining a condescending attitude towards the country since the 1980s.

Sturgeon also criticised Westminster for its attitude towards Europeans living in the UK, saying “You cannot lecture others about politics not being a game while you are using the lives of human beings as pawns,” to Prime Minister May.

She told the conference: “Imagine what will happen if Scotland chooses to stay.

“We will become a magnet for talent and investment from all across the UK.

“So let me issue this open invitation today – Scotland isn’t full up.

“If you are as appalled as we are at the path this Westminster Government is taking, come and join us.

“Come here to live, work, invest or study.

“Come to Scotland – and be part of building a modern, progressive, outward-looking, compassionate country.”

SOURCES:
Sonel BC.
BritCits, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/britcits1/
“Nicola Sturgeon tells UK residents: Move to Scotland if you don’t like Brexit” – Patrick Grafton-Green, EveningStandard – News – Politics (18 March 2017) http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/nicola-sturgeon-tells-uk-residents-move-to-scotland-if-you-don-t-like-brexit-a3493366.html
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:Welcome to Scotland sign A1 road.jpg” – Amanda Slater via oxyman, Wikimedia Commons (14 September 2008) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Welcome_to_Scotland_sign_A1_road.jpg

 

A BEACH IN LONDON?: Rooftop Beach to return to Brixton this May

 

London, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH

For Londoners, a trip to the seaside usually means a forty-plus minute drive through heavy traffic and with screaming friends/kids/radios to the Essex coast or Brighton, but from this May, you can be beside the seaside on a rooftop in south London, courtesy of Brixton’s Rooftop Beach. This event brings together sand, sun, buckets, spades, street food and seasonal cocktails for a fun day out without having to book the coach.

The Rooftop Beach, organised by fresh pop-up bar maestros Brixton Rooftop, takes place from May 26 to 29, 2017 over the Bank Holiday weekend. The event is a reincarnation of Brixton’s hugely successful Brixton Beach, a 1980s Miami themed occasion held in 2016 by the same people behind local events South Pole Saloon, Brixton Beach Boulevard and Big Apple Brixton. South Pole Saloon was rated “Best Pop-Up London 2015” by Design My Night. As the clocks turn back and the summer cranks up, the Rooftop Beach will feature bars and music, all on a few tonnes or so of imported sand for that squishy sandy feeling between your toes, minus getting tangled up in seaweed or a lost jellyfish. The beach’s massive interest among people looking for their next eclectic social fix can be gauged from their Facebook page alone, where 5,700 people have planned to attend with another 35,000 interested in visiting, so this promises to be a roadblock

The beach is part of a contemporary pop-up trend of temporary entertainments and establishments that have become a hallmark of city life in London. In the past years, temporary beaches have become a feature on the banks of the River Thames, for instance, drawing in thousands of tourists, office workers and locals looking for an easy way to enjoy the beauty of the coast without having to travel far or book off two weeks from work.

The Brixton Rooftop Beach is tickets only (see sources below) and takes place at Brixton Rooftop’s HQ at Pope’s Road, Brixton, SW9 8JH London, United Kingdom.

 

SOURCES:
“The Rooftop Beach is back in Brixton!” – Brixton Rooftop, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/events/292095127872148/
“RA: Brixton Rooftop” – Brixton Rooftop, RA/Resident Advisor Ltd. https://www.residentadvisor.net/promoter.aspx?id=68709
“About” – Brixton Rooftop, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/pg/BrixtonRooftop/about/
“BRIXTON BEACH BOULEVARD” – designmynight London https://www.designmynight.com/london/whats-on/pop-up/brixton-beach-boulevard
Sevim Tonbul.
IMAGE CREDITS:
“Ruislip Lido” – diamond geezer, Flickr (2 June 2013) https://www.flickr.com/photos/dgeezer/9061773614

PASSENGER PLANES: The story

VIJAY SHAH (writer) and SUNNY ATWAL (contributor)

From the earliest days of human civilisation, people have dreamt of taking to the skies. Our ancestors watched birds, insects and bats dominate the world above us, and imagined that one day, they too could travel above the ground and above the clouds.

The desire for flight was a dream of many ancient peoples. The Hindu epics of ancient India, particularly the Vedas, mentioned flying machines known as vimanas, airborne chariots of the gods. The Greek legend of Daedalus and Icarus, prisoners of the island of Crete who made a bid for freedom with wings made from eagle feathers and wax, only for Icarus to fly too close to the sun, melting his wings and falling to his demise. The Saqqara bird, a bird-shaped model made from sycamore wood, dating from 200 BC and found in the tomb of the ancient Egyptian Pa-di-Imen in 1898, is in the shape of a falcon, but with wings uncannily similar to that of a modern glider aircraft.

However it was not until the technological awakening that accompanied the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century did flight by humans become more than just the stuffs of whimsical legends. At the turn of the 20th century, the skies above Europe and North America were dominated by the dirigible, also known as the airship or Zeppelin. These huge balloons, filled with hundreds of tonnes of hydrogen, became the first commercial success of the new aviation industry, ferrying both passengers and cargo across the world. The airship was prominent enough by the 1910s, that during the First World War, the Germans fitted out fleets of Zeppelins with bombs for attacks on cities in the U.K.

 

 

Sadly the popularity of airships as passenger transportation came to a sudden end with the Hindenburg disaster of 1937, when the passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg, which was on a Transatlantic route from Frankfurt, Germany, to New Jersey, USA, crashed as it moored at the Lakehurst Air Naval Station. The Hindenburg burst into flames and was burnt to a shell, killing 36 people. The ill-fated aircraft, which had previously undertaken several journeys across both Atlantic Oceans, was carrying 36 passengers and 61 crew. For a long time, this was the worst air disaster in history.

As the use of airships declined, a new beast was taking to the skies. The first manned flight was the simple wooden biplane flown by the American Wright brothers in 1903. The brothers, Orville and Wilbur, first began experimenting with gliders at their bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio in 1896, and by 1902, had made more than 700 successful flights with their homemade glider, using the gentle winds at a beach in Kitty Hawk. On December the 17th, 1903, Orville Wright sat in the cockpit of his biplane in North Carolina, about to make aviation history. Though the flight was small in both elevation and duration, with the pilot travelling for 12 seconds at 20 feet height for a distance of 120 feet, an important milestone in human flight was marked for ever more.

Eleven years later, the first ‘airliner’ appeared. The Sikorsky Ilya Muromets, which was a large model of biplane built by Russians, made its maiden flight on December 10, 1913. Historians largely consider the Sikorsky the first definitive passenger plane, as it has a separate cabin for travellers, with on board facilities such as toilets, bedrooms, and even a set of wicker chairs. It was frequented by the wealthy elite of pre-Soviet Russia but its time was cut short by the outbreak of the First World War, otherwise Russia would have probably become a world leader in intercontinental aviation.

The United States, now a dominant force in commercial aviation in terms of plane manufacturing, quickly picked up where the Russians left off. The first U.S. commercial plane was a Curtiss JN 4, operated by the Elliott Air Service, which was used as a touring plane as well as for training.

Commercial flights for tourists began to appear by the 1930s, with the establishment of national airlines with their own fleets of branded planes, as well as the first full-scale construction of airports for handling holidaymakers and their cargoes. Flights at that time though were incredibly expensive, with only the very rich being able to afford the fares. A transatlantic flight from London to New York costed in the region of £300,000. Nevertheless, new airlines began to spring up, such as Imperial Airways (the forerunner to current flag bearer British Airways) in the U.K., Lufthansa (which still operates) in Germany, KLM in the Netherlands, and America’s United Airlines. Planes moved into having multiple engines which allowed for larger craft carrying more passengers.

By the end of the 1940s, the first true jet, the de Havilland Comet (DH 106 Comet) was developed and flown here in the U.K. in Hertfordshire. Debuting in 1952, the early jet became renowned for its comfortable and quiet passenger cabins, however its success was impeded by numerous faults, flight problems and Comets falling apart during test flights. The Comet was however the first multi-passenger aircraft bearing a strong resemblance to today’s planes, with a separate cockpit, galley, washroom facilities and seats separated by a central aisle for passengers and crew to walk down.

The Fifties and Sixties saw not only the consolidation of the modern airline industry as we know it, but also the appearance of the first ‘package holidays’ offering people on more modest incomes to travel to holidays, opening their world to a luxury previously only afforded to aristocrats and flight engineers. In the U.K. tour operators started offering cheap breaks to places like Spain and Italy.

The Seventies saw the dawn of the aircraft we know and love today, the Boeings and Airbuses. The Boeing company, with roots dating back to the wooden biplane era of the 1910s, began constructing airliners in 1958, with its first model christened the 707. In service until 1979, the Boeing 707 could carry up to 219 passengers. It beacme a hit commercially and dominated the nascent air travel industry, ushering in the ‘Jet Age’.

Planes began to get a lot more interesting when Concorde landed in March 1969. The Anglo-French creation was the world’s first supersonic jet, with a maximum speed over twice the speed of sound at Mach 2.04 (1,354 mph or 2,180 km/h at cruise altitude), with seating for 92 to 128 passengers. Frequented by British Airways and Air France, who were the sole permitted users, Concorde, with its distinctive pointy nose and highly aerodynamic wings, could reach the US in half the time of a competitor airliner, and it became a by-word for airborne luxury. The plane last flew in 2003.

 

 

Nowadays most commercial jets are from the Boeing hangar, comprising 777s, 727s and 767s. The European consortium Airbus has recently challenged Boeing’s supremacy, and is also the company that has heralded what could be the biggest change to the jet industry since the Jet Age began.

Airbus is the firm behind the A380, which is quite unique among modern plane in that it has two floors, a double-decker structure, similar to buses like London’s Routemasters. The A380 was born from top-secret plans first begun in the 1980s for a future series of ultra-high-capacity airliners (UHCA). At a cost of €8.8 billion, the first delivery of a live A380 took place in 2007, with Singapore Airlines the buyer, and the 200th was sold in 2016. Most of the main parts of the aircraft’s fuselage and operational elements are constructed in four countries (France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom) and many of these parts are so large that special transportation equipment had to built to carry them to various plants.

The A380, which resembles a chubbier version of a normal Airbus jet, can carry up to 888 passengers and can fly from Hong Kong to New York non-stop. The wings alone are an impressive feat of engineering, with 32,000 major parts, 750,000 rivets, 23 miles of wiring and, when assembled, a pair will have a span wider than a football pitch. Each plane costs USD $436.9 million (£359 million). It is much quieter inside than other commercial airliners, with fifty per cent less cabin noise, and has fifty per cent more space and legroom too. This fits up to 10 seats across in economy class. The two levels of the A380 are connected by wide stairways. Many are said to be equipped with bars, restaurants and duty-free shops. Planes owned by Emirates airlines come with showers and Qantas A380s are equipped with relaxing bar lounges. The plane’s wide aisles and plentiful space make it much easier for passengers to mingle and socialise, with 220 or so windows, providing a lot of natural light in the plane. It is also the greener alternative with the lowest cost per seat and the lowest emissions per passenger of any large aircraft. The planes also spend less time occupying runways in comparison to older models.

The A380 and its descendants could well be the future of air travel, drastically opening up international journeys to a wider audience and making an already small world seem even smaller.

SOURCES:
“Saqqara Bird” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saqqara_Bird
“Hindenburg disaster” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindenburg_disaster
“The Wright Brothers – First Flight, 1903”, EyeWitness to History, http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2003). http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/wright.htm
“Airliner” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airliner
“de Havilland Comet” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland_Comet
“Boeing” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing
“Boeing 707” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_707
“Concorde” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concorde
“Airbus A380” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_A380
“Top 10 Most Commonly Sold Commercial Jets to Airlines” – Sammy Said, TheRichest (24 May 2013) http://www.therichest.com/business/technology/top-10-most-commonly-sold-commercial-jets-to-airlines/
“Wings of desire” – Aida Edemariam, The Guardian/Guardian News and Media Limited (23 February 2006) https://www.theguardian.com/business/2006/feb/23/theairlineindustry.travelnews
“The 10 best features of the A380” – Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi – Innovation Hub/Etihad Airways (14 November 2014) http://innovation.etihad.com/the-10-best-features-of-the-a380/
IMAGE CREDITS:
“Wright Brothers’ First Flight” – David Erickson, Flickr (8 August 2007) https://www.flickr.com/photos/e-strategycom/1053324103
mrminibike, Pixabay (20 July 2008) https://pixabay.com/p-788573/?no_redirect