ASEF: Journalism event on crisis reporting in November

The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) is launching a special event for journalists this November to explore and share best practice on reporting global crises. The 10th ASEF Journalists’ Colloquium on Crisis Reporting is being held in Luxembourg over three days from the 4-6 November 2014, according to a source with ASEF’s branch in Singapore.

The colloquium is being organised in conjunction with the 12th ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (ASEM FMM12), an important regional political meeting being held at the same time also in Luxembourg. A specially selected number of 25 practicing journalists from Asia and Europe to come together to discuss and learn different approaches, skills and tools used in crisis reporting from Asian and European perspectives.

(c) ASEF via Journalism.co.uk/Mousetrap Media.

From public health crises such as the E. Coli out breakout of 2011 in Germany, to environmental disasters such as the devastating 2013 cyclone Haiyan that struck the Philippines and this weekend’s earthquake in Nepal and India, the attendees will learn and build upon their understanding of the many issues these crises pose for Asian and European media. The recent terror attacks in places like France, and the ongoing war in Iraq and Syria also pose many challenges for reporters.

This colloquium will enable journalists to share their perspectives and best practices regarding international and regional challenges during crisis reporting from the different regional perspectives, as well as definitively understanding the role of the European and Asian media in reporting and witnessing such profound events. Journalists from ASEM countries (members of the Asia-Europe Meeting) can qualify to answer the call for applications. A list of participating ASEM nations can be found at http://www.aseminfoboard.org/members

Participating media professionals will see their recommendations and the event’s highlights published as the ASEF Media Handbook, which will be a ready reference for Asian and European journalists as well as for research and civil society organisations working in the field.

Founded in 1997, ASEF fosters understanding and dialogue between European and Asian countries through intellectual, cultural and people-to-people exchanges. This is with the goal to help encourage the growth of common development and stability, as well as contributing to world peace and prosperity. The Foundation particularly focusses on matters of concern such as war and famine in addition, and offers a range of collaborative events including seminars, workshops, conferences, lecture tours and exhibitions. In the past seventeen years, ASEF has seeded over 650 projects involving 17,000 direct participants over the two continents.

Interested journalists from ASEM countries can apply to take part at the colloquium. Application information can be found here: http://bit.ly/ASEFJC10

Travel (by economy class only) to and from Luxembourg and nearby hotel accommodation will be provided by the organisers for participants selected to attend this unique event. All applications should be submitted online by Tuesday, 12 May 2015, at the link above.

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HEM NEPAL EARTHQUAKE APPEAL

Nepal Quake Emergency Appeal pizap_opt

As many of you are well aware, Nepal was struck yesterday by the worst earthquake to be witnessed in its recent history. More than 1,200 people have lost their lives, mainly in Nepal, but also in India and Bangladesh. Much of the tourism infrastructure in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu has been obliterated, and thousands more are injured and without homes, food, and blankets for the harsh cold nights there.

The Half-Eaten Mind has joined forces with the international development charity Oxfam to support them in their Emergency Appeal. The top of the sidebar has a special link to Oxfam Great Britain’s giving page, where you can make donations securely via credit and debit card or PayPal. I am not aware if givers from outside the U.K. can donate via this link, but if you cannot, then please support any charities helping Nepal in your country.

Please donate what you can. Every little helps.

Thanks for reading.

Vijay Shah,

Editor and Blogger – the Half-Eaten Mind.

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SOURCES:
“Call for Journalists: 10th ASEF Journalists’ Colloquium on Crisis Reporting” – Debasmita Dasgupta, Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) via Journalism.co.uk/Mousetrap Media Ltd (24 April 2015) https://www.journalism.co.uk/press-releases/call-for-journalists-10th-asef-journalists-colloquium-on-crisis-reporting/s66/a564889/
“Project Updates” – Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) http://asef.org/projects/themes/sustainable-development/3412-10th-asef-journalists-colloquium#3511-call-for-applications-10th-asef-journalists-colloquium
“Upcoming Events 10th ASEF Journalists’ Colloquium 4-7 November 2015 (tbc)” – Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) http://asef.org/projects/themes/sustainable-development/3412-10th-asef-journalists-colloquium
“The History” – Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) http://www.asef.org/about/history
“What We Do” – Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) http://www.asef.org/about/what-we-do
IMAGE CREDIT:
“Call for Journalists: 10th ASEF Journalists’ Colloquium on Crisis Reporting” – Debasmita Dasgupta, Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) via Journalism.co.uk/Mousetrap Media Ltd (24 April 2015) https://www.journalism.co.uk/press-releases/call-for-journalists-10th-asef-journalists-colloquium-on-crisis-reporting/s66/a564889/

TWITTER WEED WHACKERS: Solving the bot crisis with SM Cadman

If you’re a Twitter user like me, you’ll know that the social media network with the cute blue bird is full of great advantages. A cool interface, brevity of messages, lots of photos and now videos to comb through, and the level of interaction with other users is second to none. You can keep updated on things that matter to you, whether your favourite sports teams, celebrities, artists, politicians etc. as well as your family and friends closer to home. And of course block or mute anyone who does your head in.

But nothing is perfect in life. Not even Twitter. Aside from the occasional and mildly annoying drunken tweet or unsolicited direct message (DM) ….not withstanding the recent controversies surrounding racist and sexist trolls abusing people on Twitter…there is also the scourge of bots. Fake accounts with dodgy names and quotes clearly slurped off a website somewhere, gift-wrapped with a stolen display picture (usually some random meme or woman), or that God-forsaken egg that usually is served up as default, sadly not with some sausages or bacon as well.

These bad eggs are the bane of the Twitterati. Although the admin behind the site are very good at obliterating most of the fake followers, new ones take their place with the speed and intensity of mushrooms on the forest floor after a long rainy spell. Talk about putting too many eggs in one basket.

(c) P. Morris/SearchMuse

According to a filing made by Twitter with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2014, it is believed that bots and spam bots account for 14% of Twitter’s active user base. That is around 23 million accounts out of the 271 active users on there. Many of these bots are programmed to retweet garbage or clickbait articles. Not all bots are bad, indeed some are fun (such as the Wiener Schnitzel bot that retweets you every time you mention that phrase) but there are concerns that some may be a gateway for hackers or data miners. Other bots are created to boost up follower numbers in that never ending popularity contest of ‘Who has the most followers?’. There are some companies that will for a small fee get fake accounts to follow your every move and tweet, and inflate not only your follower count but also presumably your ego as well. They do a relatively roaring trade despite Twitter rules of usage prohibiting tweeters from enlisting the services of such ‘follower farms’.

No-one, and I mean no-one is safe from the attention of the bots. Not even celebrities or politicians. United States presidential hopeful Hilary Clinton is said to have once had 2 million fake or inactive followers and that only 44% of her followers are real, living, breathing people. She has also been accused of plumping up her 3 million follower figures with fake accounts, according to British newspaper The Daily Mail. Over here in the UK, former Member of Parliament Louise Mensch found herself in a bit of bother after a Twitter statistics and auditing website determined that 97% of her followers are counterfeits. Several other ministers and low-level politicians in her party, the Conservatives, also found their accounts’ popularity called into question amid flying accusations of wholesale fake follower shopping to boost party morale.

Personally I’ve seen more than my fair share of bots and dodgy Tweeters. On both my individual and blog accounts, I often receive up to five add requests from suspicious looking accounts. They are either accounts with Russian names and bios written in the Cyrillic alphabet or English language accounts with really strange names combining different ethnic origins. For example, recently I’ve been befriended by a Yuriko Dille, a Manika Boag, a Eustachius Knowler… other with half Arab or Indian or Japanese names affixed to Anglo-Saxon, Scottish or German surnames. They must shred up phone directories and randomly piece the names together like some sort of hellish Yellow Pages puzzle.

You can usually pick them off because their feeds are full of spammy retweets and their bio is some sort of quote. Other bots have nonsensical handles like @fnerit_elephantfartunicorn which is one of the main things I look out for when evading bots and fake accounts.

Last weekend I was having a Twitter conversation with a fellow blogger and keen writer, SD Cadman (a.k.a Sarika and Luna Elektra). Since we met on WordPress, we often have little chats of 140 characters or less, but this time there was a serious topic on hand. The conversation was inspired by an article I posted on @halfeatenmind about obtaining quality followers rather than just breaking numbers. We then got talking about fake followers, and how Sarika mentioned that they may well be bots sniffing out data for possibly nefarious purposes. We agreed that the worst bots were, in Sarika’s words, those that “act bloody human” or the “nonsense Factoid accounts”. We joked that we needed a weed whacker (a nice sharp blade) to remove these bots from Twitter like those pesky dandelions that never seem to give up sprouting over your smart well-manicured lawn.

Here’s a GIF she sent me to illustrate the frustration with these meddling dregs of AI….

(c) Tumblr via Giphy

 

In a nutshell, what Sarika proposed is that Twitter should have some kind of ‘Weed Whacker Award’ for the person who culls the most bots. That can mean ignoring them when they coming knocking at your account’s door, reporting them to Twitter, but most importantly of all, not adding them, as that gives them legitimacy and access to your followers list. Twitter does often undertake regular purges of fake followers, exterminating them like the filthy rats they are, but new ones keep cropping up. The winner of the bot wipeout can receive a certificate in the post or possibly a badge to go on their header or sidebar et cetera on Twitter. A sort of virtual Neighbourhood Watch against the fraudulent and fake. This would be a bit of fun, but also encourage people to look out for each other and protect against malicious hackers and other cyber-criminals and general online trouble makers.

Inspired by Sarika (SM Cadman), I’d thought I’d come up with a couple of designs for a ‘Weed Whacker Award’ badge if Twitter did such badges. If Dick Costolo, the Twitter CEO, is reading this, you can hire me and Sarika as your ‘creative consultancy team’ or whatever they call them in Silicon Valley. Free lunches and Segways would be a bonus.

 

Weed Whacker Award 1 pizap.com14299598637681

Weed Whacker Award 2 pizap.com14299625569931

Weed Whacker Award 3 pizap.com14299644459731

 

You can find out more about Sarika at her Twitter account @SMCADMAN or visit her blog at http://lunaelektra.com/ . She is a Canadian author, writer and blogger.

 

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Part of the sourcing and writing of this article was done using my work computer at Informa in Euston. Many thanks to them –  informa.com
ADDITIONAL SOURCES:
“Twitter acknowledges 23 million active users are actually bots” – Judy Mottl, Tech Times/TECHTIMES.com (12 August 2014) http://www.techtimes.com/articles/12840/20140812/twitter-acknowledges-14-percent-users-bots-5-percent-spam-bots.htm
“More than 2 MILLION of Hillary Clinton’s Twitter followers are fake or never tweet – and she’s already under fire for ‘buying’ fake Facebook fans” – David Martosko, Mail Online – News/Associated Newspapers Ltd () http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3038621/More-2-MILLION-Hillary-Clinton-s-Twitter-followers-fake-never-tweet.html
“Does Louise Mensch have 80,000 fake followers on Twitter?” – Alex Hern, New Statesman (24 July 2012) http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/alex-hern/2012/07/does-louise-mensch-have-80000-fake-followers-twitter
Sarika (now L. of teh Internets), Twitter/Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/SMCadman
IMAGE CREDITS:
“HOW YOU LOOK ANIMATED GIF” – Tumblr, Giphy http://giphy.com/gifs/machien-gun-how-you-feel-weed-whacker-zqkRtj9uERDr2?tc=1
piZap http://pizap.com/pizap
“Blank white badge” – PSDgraphics/PSDgraphics.com (16 May 2011) http://www.psdgraphics.com/backgrounds/blank-white-badge/
“Common Malware Types: Cybersecurity 101″ – Nate Lord, Veracode/VERACODE (12 October 2012) https://www.veracode.com/blog/2012/10/common-malware-types-cybersecurity-101
“Accueil” – Université d’Orléans http://www.univ-orleans.fr/
“BLANK – Create On-Site – Write-On – Solid Backgrounds, Borders, Parking” – ComplianceSigns.com/ComplianceSigns, Inc. http://www.compliancesigns.com/BLANK-Solid-Border-Parking.shtml
“A Cute Collection Of Despicable Me 2 Minions | Wallpapers, Images & Fan Art” – ZQ, DesignBolts.com/Design Bolts (18 July 2013) http://www.designbolts.com/2013/07/18/a-cute-collection-of-despicable-me-2-minions-wallpapers-images-fan-art/
“Millennium Bug V20.12″ – Paul Morris, SEARCHMUSE (28 May 2012) http://www.searchmuse.com/blog/2012/05/28/millennium-bug-v20-12.html
CC Search, Creative Commons http://search.creativecommons.org/
“Dandelion wish (88/365)” – John Liu, Flickr (29 March 2011) https://www.flickr.com/photos/8047705@N02/5572197407/

MY JOURNEY THROUGH A LENS: New e-book by Mother Nature’s Alex Smithson

Photographer and blogger Alex Smithson is soon to release his third book detailing his blogging and photography skills and experience with his blog “Mother Nature”.

The Croydon based blogger is now in the final stages of preparing his new publication, entitled “My Journey Through a Lens“, the third instalment in his highly informative series of self-authored and published e-books made available via his blog.

Alex, whose previous titles were “My Journey Through Photography” and “A Year in Photography“, is currently putting the finishing touches to his latest work, which is slated for release during either this month or in May. A definite date is not yet available, as Alex is having to fit the book writing in between college studies and his blogging on WordPress, but he is already beyond 50,000 words into the manuscript for My Journey Through a Lens, which will weigh in at 303 pages, Alex’s biggest entrance in the e-book world to date. The books chronicle Alex’s experiences and lessons as a blogger showcasing local scenic photography, news stories, historical facts and popular music culture, as well as his experiences in further education.

Indeed the book is set to be Alex’s loftiest project yet, as he will not only include the best articles from Mother Nature over the past year, but will also bring a whole new range of articles from outside the blog, including possibly photography projects from his A-Level course at Croydon College, of which he is currently a first-year student on their Photography course.

In addition to his wide ranging nature and scenery portfolio, My Journey Through a Lens will also feature case studies of famous British historical figures such as Winston Churchill and King Henry VIII, as well as his homages to modern music, most notably his special write-ups on evergreen pop songstress Madonna, and fellow Croydonian and X Factor winner Ben Haenow.

As with his previous titles, Alex Smithson plans to make the e-book free of charge to blog visitors via the online cloud site Dropbox, along with the earlier books in his blogging career. The cover of the book is also designed by Alex, who is a formidable graphic designer in his own right, and incorporates his new blog logo, a black cube with the blog’s initials and slogan in thick chunky white and orange letters.

Exclusively on the Half-Eaten Mind, Alex has supplied some artwork for My Journey Through a Lens. His conceptions for the front and back covers of the e-book, with sharp lines and solid colour influenced by the Mother Nature blog’s design can be seen below, along with a composite image showing the development of the front cover as Alex got the book together. The back cover features several dedications to people that have influenced Alex, include the editor of this very blog. You can visit Alex’s site at the blue-coloured link below and subscribe via email for further updates on his brand new e-book. WordPress bloggers also have the option of clicking on the follow button on the black menu bar at the top of the site in their browser window to follow Mother Nature in their Readers.

(c) A. Smithson

(c) A. Smithson

Front cover – depicting the new MN logo.

(c) A. Smithson

(c) A. Smithson

Back cover – includes special mentions.

(c) A. Smithson

(c) A. Smithson

Side-by-side composite image of Alex’s temporary book cover designs alongside his final draft.

Mother Nature

https://asterisk15.wordpress.com/

 

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SOURCE:
“My Journey Through a Lens | Out Soon!!!” – Alex Smithson, Mother Nature (29 March 2015) https://asterisk15.wordpress.com/2015/03/29/my-journey-through-a-lens-out-soon/
IMAGE CREDITS:
Images designed and supplied by Alex Smithson.
Web Resizer, Webresizer http://www.webresizer.com/resizer/

THIRD ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL: HEM turns 3 and hits 100,000 views

Everyone gather round…quick…quick…you there!!…stop swinging off that chandelier!.

It’s been a special week for this blog. We’ve been expanding our services into online newspaper making by teaming up with online media curation site paper.li to launch two new e-papers.

But that’s not been the only good news here at HEM HQ (Half-Eaten Mind Headquarters).

On the 12th April 2015, the blog reached a very special milestone. It passed the 100,000 views mark and has in fact surged ahead. With more than 350 articles, of which a handful have gone viral worldwide, we have given people all over a lot of great news and features to read and enjoy. It’s been a hard slog to get there, but it is a proud achievement and one that fills my heart with joy. Even I’m in shock that there’s that many views now, but this just goes to show where hard work, graft, persistence and dedication to your ideals and dreams can take you.

Capture - HEM 100000 Views Certificate

Oh we’re not done yet….

 

 

This past Wednesday (or Thursday if you count from when we began operations) marks the third anniversary of the establishment of the blog. Our very first article, way back in April 2012, was a feature piece on the Shard tower here in London, which was still under construction at the time and now looks very glimmering. Since then we’ve gone from strength to strength, changed a lot visually and in terms of our content, branched out into all sorts of things, shook hands with several clients and even self-published a book. But most importantly of all, I have made many new friends and followers.

Who knows what the next three years will bring?

 

HAPPY 3RD BIRTHDAY HALF-EATEN MIND!!!

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GALLERY

Capture - HEM WP 3rd anniversary trophy badge

Capture - Brainiac Stats

Capture - April 12 2015 HEM WP Stats

Capture - HEM Alltime Views Map

IMAGE CREDITS:
“FLYING AT FIFTY KAY: HEM receives 50,000 all-time views” – Vijay Shah, The Half-Eaten Mind (18 January 2014) https://halfeatenmind.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/flying-at-fifty-kay/
“Select a certificate design:” – Certificate Magic, Branchus Creations http://www.certificatemagic.com/create2.php?cat=1
piZap http://pizap.com/
“But wait! There’s more… – Business Cat” – Meme Generator http://memegenerator.net/instance/55210605
WordPress, Automattic Inc. https://wordpress.com/

NEWHAM GUIDE DOGS: Residents offered chance to train up puppies

The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association in the east London borough of Newham is offering local residents a unique opportunity to bring some puppy love into their lives by helping train the next generation of guide dogs (seeing-eye dogs), the Newham Mag reports.

The charity, which helps procure and train up dogs to assist blind and partially-sighted people in their day-to-day lives, is currently appealing for Newham residents to help give a temporary home to guide dog puppies. This volunteering role, known as Puppy Walking, also involves training and socialising of the young dogs, so as to prepare them for new careers living in owners’ homes. They can also learn to be comfortable around people and carrying out activities like crossing the road. Puppy Walking enables the puppy to be socially well behaved, affectionate and responsive to their future owner’s needs.

Would-be Puppy Walkers are needed to provide full-time care and education to a puppy from the ages of seven weeks to between twelve and fourteen months, when they will be returned to the Guide Dogs Association for advanced training to graduate as fully fledged guide dogs.

English: Golden Retriever Puppy

English: Golden Retriever Puppy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One resident from West Ham, Jackie Palmer, who already is an experienced Puppy Walking volunteer, told the magazine: “I have enjoyed every minute with my guide dog puppy. He is a joy to have and the kids love him. I have met so many people since becoming a Puppy Walker and I have seen and heard first-hand the benefits a trained guide has in the life of a visually impaired person”. Ms Palmer is looking after a black Golden Retriever puppy named Wolf.

Looking after a future guide dog requires a lot of time, commitment and love from volunteers and their families, but will result in a very special animal indeed, according to the Guide Dogs Association website. The charity advises volunteers to care for the puppy in much the same way as they would care for a young child, giving the puppy lots of love, affection and attention. Volunteers will need to be at least 18 years of age, due to the responsibility required. They must be able to commit the time needed to look after a puppy, with very young trainee guide dogs needing up to three hours of full-time care a day. Volunteers must also have suitable space in their homes including provision for a special hard-surfaced or gravelled toilet area, and be willing to take the puppy outside around busy places on a regular basis.

If you live in the United Kingdom, and you have what it takes to be a Puppy Walker, you can call the Guide Dogs hotline on 0845 371 7771. Alternatively email the charity at volunteer @ guidedogs.org.uk, visit the Puppy Walking information pages online at www.guidedogs.org.uk/puppywalking or visit the links listed under ‘Sources’ below this article.

SOURCES:
“Help train guide dogs” – The Newham Mag <Issue 313>, Newham Council (10 April 2015)
“Puppy walkers” – Guide Dogs, The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association http://www.guidedogs.org.uk/supportus/volunteering/what-can-i-do/puppy-walkers/#.VSpY3_nF8rU
“Essential criteria for puppy walking” – Guide Dogs, The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association http://www.guidedogs.org.uk/supportus/volunteering/what-can-i-do/puppy-walkers/essential-criteria-for-puppy-walking#.VSpag_nF8rU
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:Golden Retriever puppy 2010.jpg” – Mtlchung, Wikimedia Commons (5 February 2010) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Golden_Retriever_puppy_2010.jpg

 

RAGS TO RICHES: Beckton schoolchildren raise money for Tuberous Sclerosis Association

Children at a school in Beckton, in the London borough of Newham, have done themselves proud and made a noble contribution toward charitable causes after organising a clothes collection on behalf of the Tuberous Sclerosis Association, the Newham Mag has reported.

Pupils from the Ellen Wilkinson Primary School and Children’s Centre, off Tollgate Road in the south of the borough, got together with parents and teachers to collect old and unwanted clothes for the charity. Eleven children from the ‘We Day‘ citizenship group at the school took on the responsibility of going around classes and encouraging fellow students to rummage through their wardrobes and cellars for clothes they no longer wanted.

(c) G. Vojtko/U.S. Navy/Wikimedia Commons – file photo

Charity Clothes Aid, who were also involved in the garments drive, then pooled all the clothes gathered from Ellen Wilkinson pupils and parents together and were able to net an impressive £285, which will be donated to the Tuberous Sclerosis Association, which was launched in 1977 to support sufferers of this genetic condition and their families. The TSA was chosen by the students to be the beneficiary of their clothes collection donations.

Lara, one pupil at the school said to the Newham Mag: “I have now learned what helping charities means and I would like to help others in future”. Her classmate Alexandra added: “I would really love to do this again because helping others makes you feel better”

Tuberous sclerosis is a rare genetic condition that causes benign tumours to develop in the body, especially in the brain, heart, eyes, kidneys and lungs. Although not fatal in itself, tuberous sclerosis can cause complications such as epilepsy, learning disabilities, kidney disease and heart problems, and there is currently no cure.

If you are residing in London, UK. and wish to set up your own clothes collections for charity, please call the Clothes Aid helpline on 020 7288 8545 or visit www.clothesaid.co.uk

SOURCES:
“Rags to riches” – The Newham Mag <Issue 313>, Newham Council (10 April 2015)
“About The Tuberous Sclerosis Association” – Tuberous Sclerosis Association http://www.tuberous-sclerosis.org/about-us.html
“Tuberous sclerosis” – NHS Choices/National Health Service http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Tuberous-sclerosis/Pages/Introduction.aspx
IMAGE CREDITS:
cc Search, Creative Commons http://search.creativecommons.org/
“File:US Navy 111123-N-HW977-185 Sailors weigh Thanksgiving food drive donations before delivery to the Corona-Norco Settlement House.jpg” – Greg Vojtko & United States Navy, Wikimedia Commons (23 November 2011) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_Navy_111123-N-HW977-185_Sailors_weigh_Thanksgiving_food_drive_donations_before_delivery_to_the_Corona-Norco_Settlement_House.jpg

HEM BLOGGERS’ NEWS: Brand-new e-paper celebrating our Community

Hot on the heels of our new online newspaper, The Half-Eaten Times, which was officially launched on the 5th of April, 2015 in association with online media curator site paper.li, we have decided to start a new publication specifically promoting the content of the HEM blogging community.

Called simply “HEM Bloggers’ News, this new e-newspaper from Half-Eaten Mind and paper.li is exclusively designed to showcase and promote articles, photos, musings and much more from the great friends and compadres we have made in the WordPress community and beyond. As with our news version, HEM Bloggers’ News will come out twice daily, with links disseminated on Twitter.

Why not check it out, see what other bloggers are talking about and make some new friends. The community has given so much to the Half-Eaten Mind. Now this is one small way we are paying back the love.

HEM Bloggers’ News is available for viewing at the below URL and on the side toolbar:

https://paper.li/halfeatenmind/1428750547

 

(c) HEM/paper.li/others.

(c) HEM/paper.li/others.

IMAGE CREDITS:
Paper.li https://paper.li/

OLYMPIC LEGACY: London 2012 ‘oak tree’ transformed into a primary school’s learning tool

In warmer climes, the tree makes a good spot for idle chit-chat and outdoor picnics, not forgetting to mention its natural beauty and life-giving properties, but a Surrey primary school has given a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘tree of learning’, while honouring the nation’s Olympic legacy at the same time.

Three years after London played host to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, with its spectacular opening and closing ceremonies masterfully organised by 28 Days Later and Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle, Epsom Primary & Nursery School has transformed one of the artificial oak trees used at London 2012 into a learning suite for its 547 pupils.

As part of the redevelopment at the school, which caters for children aged 3-16, the oak was taken out of storage and donated by the company that made it specially for the elaborate opening ceremony three years ago in Stratford, east London. The school then undertook an educational project over fifteen months to incorporate the tree into a new ‘learning suite’ with modern interactive technology for pupils to enhance their learning. The new facility, dubbed the “Enchanted Learning & Technology Suite” drew inspiration from the Enid Blyton children’s classic stories compilation Magic Faraway Tree, a favourite of the school’s deputy head teacher, as well as Epsom School’s emblem, a green stylised tree.

On the new suite’s opening at the school in Pound Lane, Epsom on the 18th March, which was covered by the local newspaper, the Epsom Guardian , children sat on specially-designed tree stumps to read books under the Olympic learning tree. In its earlier role at the critically acclaimed Olympic Games ceremony, the tree was seen rising out of a mound of grassy earth representing Glastonbury Tor, as more than a billion people watched Danny Boyle’s ceremony to kick off the London games.Workers streamed out from beneath the roots as the tree was lifted into the air and ‘an industrial revolution transformed the rural scenery’. The oak traditionally has a long association with British culture and was revered as a sacred tree by the Celts.

The tree once again takes centre stage after it was converted into a nature-themed staircase by local architects. Pupils can ‘climb’ up the learning tree to reach a mezzanine floor where the suite is located. Once there, they can access technology such as e-readers and tablets to reinforce classroom learning or do homework. Other uses planned for the suite and its accompanying tree include as a base for after-school clubs, breakfast clubs and as a facility for drama classes and computer activities.

London 2012 banner at The Monument.

London 2012 banner at The Monument. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Michelle Pollard, the deputy head at Epsom Primary School said: 

Securing the Olympic tree was the icing on the cake for our new library project. We wanted the new room to ignite a love of reading in the school – we couldn’t have asked for a more magical design. The tree was given to the school by Souvenir Scenic Solutions, the specialist company who built it for the Olympics, we are so grateful for their support and generosity.

Simon Kenny, a specialist working with the scenery builders told how his team assembled the tree to accommodate the space within the new library as well as creating the stumps.

He said: “We were happy to donate the labour and time to the school because we want to support education in these hard times. We are very happy for the tree to have another life.

It was great to see everybody’s faces and how excited they were. The room they created is like a magic world.

The library has been created to ensure current and future generations of students at Epsom Primary School develop a love of reading and research. Additional funding for the construction of the learning and technology suite came from the School Commissioning and Early Years Education Departments at Surrey Borough Council, the local authority administering the school.

SOURCES:
“Olympic ‘Oak Tree’ becomes ‘Tree of Learning’ at Epsom Primary School” – Journalism.co.uk – Press Release/Mousetrap Media Ltd (31 March 2015) https://www.journalism.co.uk/press-releases/olympic-oak-tree-becomes-tree-of-learning-at-epsom-primary-school/s66/a564650/
“Recent News” – Epsom Primary School http://www.epsomprimaryschool.co.uk/news-recent
“Olympics opening ceremony tree placed at heart of library at Epsom Primary and Nursery School” – Alice Foster,  Your Local Guardian.co.uk – Epsom (24 March 2015) http://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/local/epsomnews/11875295.Olympics_opening_ceremony_tree_placed_at_heart_of_school_library/
VIDEO CREDITS:
“Recent News” – Epsom Primary School http://www.epsomprimaryschool.co.uk/news-recent
“Enchanted Learning & Technology Suite” – EPS Calendar, Epsom Primary School, YouTube GB (20 March 2015) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_x6LTivjBkg&feature=youtu.be
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:15-11-05 101 Monument.jpg” – Michael Pead, Wikimedia Commons & michaelpead.co.uk (5 January 2006) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:15-11-05_101_Monument.jpg

 

 

THE HALF-EATEN TIMES: The blog’s very own e-newspaper

While being the next Rupert Murdoch or Lord Northcliffe is probably a very unlikely event for me any time soon – a lack of a gold-plated triple-password protected Swiss bank account not withstanding – it is however, stupidly possible for me, or indeed anyone, to have their own newspaper with content that interests them and their friends. No messy printing ink, whiny subeditors, or pleading with newsagents required. Just an invisible, hands-free, fuss-free ‘editor-bot’ who will pull off a carefully-ish curated selection of tweets, website links etc. to make that virtual front page.

Thanks to the internet, the Half-Eaten Mind now has an accompanying online rag, the Half-Eaten Times.

(c) HEM/paper.li via Pagepeeker.com

(c) HEM/paper.li via Pagepeeker.com

(c) HEM/paper.li

(c) HEM/paper.li

This special newspaper was launched on the 4th April 2015, just before its parent blog’s third anniversary. Created with the help and hosting of the Swiss curated newspaper site paper.li, the Half-Eaten Times draws on the sharing activity of lists and followers on the blog’s Twitter social account @halfeatenmind and curates interesting and newsworthy content, presented in a New York Times format for easy accessibility and browsing.

Like any good broadsheet, The Half-Eaten Times has a respectable and diverse selection of categories for our readers. Updated every 12 hours (twice daily), our e-paper features the latest picks of the current headlines in the HEM world, as well as subtopics covering leisure, entertainment, technology, sciences and business matters. Every contributor is a blogging citizen journalist (excusing the ones who are already journalists, of course) and every follower has the potential to make the news. News media at probably its most democratic.

In addition, there will be also plenty of news from all the world, supplied by our media partners.

Although I own the e-paper, I am not responsible for the content, which is picked up automatically by the curation technology that paper.li makes available to its users.

You can subscribe to the newsletter via email or social media, and special tweets and posts will be sent out every time a new edition of the Half-Eaten Times goes on the newsstand.

Have a leaf-through the Half-Eaten Times at the link below.

https://paper.li/halfeatenmind/1428178623

In other words….. “Read all about it!!”

I’ve also produced a banner advert for this new feature which may be included in the sidebar of this blog for maximum visibility, however my final decision is still pending. Using the now familiar HEM street sign logo, I was lucky enough to find the right visual elements to make this advert tie in with HEM’s header design (the original sunrise one with the silhouetted buildings) in the same way the e-newspaper’s name ties in with the blog’s name. Smart thinking eh?

(c) V.Shah/HEM/piZap and others.

(c) V.Shah/HEM/piZap and others.

The Half-Eaten Times….out now at your local PC screen and at all good tablets….for the cover price of £0.00 ($0.00 US/Canada; Rs 0.00 Mauritius, ₹00/= India)…you get my drift…Get your copy today! :)

Let me know what you think. I can also help you set one up if you need.

(c) paper.li

(c) paper.li

(c) V. Shah/HEM/paper.li

(c) V. Shah/HEM/paper.li

 

 

 

 

 

 

(c) V. Shah/HEM/paper.li

(c) V. Shah/HEM/paper.li

Vijay Shah
Paper.li http://paper.li/
piZap http://pizap.com/
pagepeeker, pagepeeker SRL. http://pagepeeker.com/
“Showing (19) Pics For (Click Here To Learn More Button Png)…” – pixshark.com http://pixshark.com/click-here-to-learn-more-button-png.htm

GIF MOMENT: Easter bunny praises spinach diet

Well, as it is the Easter weekend, I’d thought to share with you this GIF spotted on my regular current affairs haunt, the UK tabloid newspaper Metro.

It’s a cuddly rabbit.

That really loves her spinach.

She’s definitely bought into the benefits of a diet of fresh organic greens.

Strangely mesmerising too.

Om nom nom.

HAPPY EASTER!!!

(c) Metro

Dedicated to the memory of Ruby and her children Rab and Bit. RIP.
IMAGE CREDIT:
“Two helpings of spinach a day can knock 11 years off you” – Alison Lynch, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (1 April 2015) http://metro.co.uk/2015/04/01/two-helpings-of-spinach-a-day-can-knock-11-years-off-you-5130024/
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