Odds & Ends: Tony Winners Ali Stroker, André De Shields Among Stars Teaching from Home & More

first_img Here’s a quick roundup of stories you might have missed recently.Tony Winner Ali Stroker & More Join Bridge to BroadwaySome incredible talents have joined the already star-studded Bridge to Broadway event, stage alum Erik Liberman’s online initiative that pairs aspiring musical-theater performers with Great White Way professionals. The program offers conversations and Q&As with Broadway luminaries working both onstage and behind the scenes. A percentage of the proceeds benefits The Actors Fund. The next round of guests includes Ali Stroker, André de Shields, Michael McElroy, Ted Sperling, Arian Moayed, Michele Shay, Michael Berresse and Austin Pendleton and Jay Duplass.2020 Powerhouse Theater Season Has Been PostponedNew York Stage and Film and Vassar College announced that the 2020 Powerhouse Theater season has been postponed to 2021 as a result of the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Each year, the Powerhouse season runs in June and July and serves more than 400 professional artists, 50 student writers, directors and actors in its training program, 25 interns and 10,000 audience members. Last year, the season included a reading of Ingrid Michaelson’s stage adaptation of The Notebook. New York Stage and Film will continue to serve artists throughout the course of the full calendar year with workshops, readings and residencies.Les Miserables—The Staged Concert Available for DownloadProducer Cameron Mackintosh has announced the digital debut of the Les Misérables -The Staged Concert on digital download in the U.K. and Australia, which will also raise funds for performers, musicians and the National Health Service. For every £9.99 digital download, The Mackintosh Foundation will also donate £5.00 to be shared amongst the charities Acting for Others, the Musicians Union Coronavirus Hardship Fund and Captain Tom Moore’s Walk for the NHS fund. In addition, Mackintosh has launched the fundraising by donating £100,000 from his foundation. Hear the people sing, and make your own contribution here.Disney Brings Theater Magic Home with The Lion King ExperienceDisney Theatrical Productions is now offering a free virtually accessible version of The Lion King Experience, a unique holistic arts education program that provides students and educators an immersive introduction to theater making through the lens of the Broadway smash hit. The web-based, multi-media curriculum was originally designed to be facilitated in a classroom by an instructor as an enhancement for schools producing kids and junior adaptations of The Lion King, but with new step-by-step instructions, students can explore the full experience at home. Through the curriculum, students examine theatrical processes including playwrighting, directing, designing, technical theater and more. For more information, click here.Denise Gough & More Set for Unprecedented: Real Time Theatre from a State of IsolationAs previously reported, BBC Arts has joined forces with the theater company Headlong and Century Films for Unprecedented: Real Time Theatre from a State of Isolation, a series of short, digital plays written and performed in isolation, which will be broadcast. Written by celebrated playwrights, including Ink’s Tony-nominated scribe James Graham, the plays will respond to how our understanding and experiences of community, education, work, relationships, family, culture, climate and capitalism are evolving on an unprecedented scale as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The cast of over 50 U.K. actors will include Tony nominee Denise Gough, Arthur Darvill, Patricia Allison, James Norton and many more. Using digital conferencing technology and combining live and pre-recorded material, these intimate new works will be broadcast on the BBC this May. Ali Stroker(Photo: Emilio Madrid for Broadway.com) View Commentslast_img read more

Yandow to step down as Vermont Lottery director

first_imgFamous for his deadpan television commercials, the Vermont Lottery Commission has announced that longtime Executive Director Alan Yandow would not seek another biannual appointment to the position. After nearly 14 years as Executive Director, and working with three governors, Yandow will leave state service.Yandow said, ‘I step down from one of the most interesting positions in state government.  It has been an honor and pleasure to serve the State of Vermont and lottery players over the last fourteen years’.  Governor Peter Shumlin stated, ‘I am grateful to Alan Yandow for his 14 years of service to Vermont. As all profits from the state lottery go to the Education Fund, an efficient and effective state lottery provides crucial resources for educating Vermont’s students, and I thank Alan for his dedication over those many years’.Vermont Lottery Commission Chair Martha O’Connor added, ‘I join with the Governor in also expressing my gratitude for Alan’s many years of service, and what he has done for the growth of our state lottery. And, I thank him for how he has represented us to the public, both in our state and with national organizations’.(more)Yandow also served as Lottery spokesperson for the ‘Good.Clean.Fun’ campaign initiated in 1999 to demonstrate to Vermonters that the Lottery was run by ‘real’ people, it was a credible organization, and should be played for fun, and not if you needed to win. This campaign relied heavily on a ‘reality- based marketing message’, rather than promising big prizes.During Yandow’s tenure, the Lottery worked closely with the Vermont Council on Problem Gambling, and established one of the earliest and strongest  ‘Play Responsibly’ programs in the country. This program helped create a national and international awareness of the need to assist problem gamblers. Yandow also is the only lottery director to serve on the National Council on Problem Gambling board of directors.On the national level, Yandow was elected to serve as President of the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL), Chair of the Powerball Group; and, Vice-President of the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL). Other changes occurring during Yandow’s tenure included: going through two (2) conversion of the entire gaming system, including terminals, with two (2) different vendors to acquire state-ofthe-art equipment for the Lottery, players and lottery retailers; increasing overall sales by 29%, as well as achieving record lottery sales; and, bringing in two (2) large jackpot games (Powerball & Mega Millions), as well as other new games, to the Lottery.‘Over the last fourteen (14) years I have worked with the most talented lottery professionals in North America, including our own Vermont Lottery staff’, said Yandow, ‘and wish them all the best as they move forward with new challenges’.  Berlin, VT; February 24, 2012-last_img read more

Cognitive psychology experiment reveals the invisible world of human perception

first_img“The visual system really cares about objects,” says postdoctoral fellow J. Eric T. Taylor, who is the lead author on the paper. “If I move around a room, the locations of all the objects – chairs, tables, doors, walls, etc. — change on my retina, but my mental representation of the room stays the same.”Objects play such a fundamental role in how we focus our attention that many perception researchers believe we are “addicted” to them; we couldn’t stop paying attention to objects if we tried. The visual brain guides attention largely by selecting objects — and this process is widely believed to be automatic.“I had an inkling that object-based attention cues require a little more will on the observer’s part,” says Taylor. “I designed an experiment to determine whether you can ‘erase’ object-based attention shifting.”Taylor put a new twist on an old and highly influential test known as a “two-rectangle experiment.” The original experiment was instrumental in demonstrating just how deeply objects are ingrained in how we see the world.In the original experiment, test subjects stare at a screen with two skinny rectangles. A brief flash of light draws their attention to one end of one rectangle — say the top end of the left rectangle. Then, a “target” appears, either in the same place as the flash, at the other end of the same rectangle, or at one of the ends of the other rectangle.Observers are consistently faster at seeing the target if it appeared at the opposite end of the original rectangle than if it appeared at the top of the other rectangle – even though those two points are precisely the same distance from the original flash of light.The widely accepted conclusion was that the human brain is wired to use objects like these rectangles to focus attention. Alternately referred to as a “bottom-up” control or a “part of our lizard brain,” object-based attention cues seemed to evoke an involuntary, uncontrolled response in the human brain.Taylor and colleague’s variations added a new element: test observers went through similar exercises, but they were instructed to hunt targets of a specific colour that either matched or contrasted with the colour of the rectangles themselves.“They activate a ‘control setting’ for, say, green, which is a very top-down mental activity,” says Taylor. “We found that when the objects matched the target color, people use them to help direct their attention. But when the objects were not the target colour, people no longer use them — they become invisible.”Test observers are aware of the rectangles on the screen, but when they’re seeking a green target among red shapes, those objects no longer affect the speed with which they find it. In everyday life, we continually create such top-down filters, by doing anything from heeding a “Watch for children” sign to scanning a crowd for a familiar face.“This result tells us that one of the ways we move attention around is actually highly directed rather than automatic,” Taylor says. “We can’t say exactly what we’re missing, but whatever is and is not getting through the filter is not as automatic as we thought.” Stage magicians are not the only ones who can distract the eye: a new cognitive psychology experiment demonstrates how all human beings have a built-in ability to stop paying attention to objects that are right in front of them.Perception experts have long known that we see much less of the world than we think we do. A person creates a mental model of their surroundings by stitching together scraps of visual information gleaned while shifting attention from place to place. Counterintuitively, the very process that creates the illusion of a complete picture relies on filtering out most of what’s out there.In a paper published in the journal Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics a team of U of T researchers reveal how people have more “top-down” control of what they don’t notice than many scientists previously believed. Share Email Pinterestcenter_img Share on Facebook LinkedIn Share on Twitterlast_img read more

Young Professionals Identify Challenges to London’s Shipping Role (UK)

first_imgA survey by The Shipping Professional Network in London (SPNL) has confirmed London’s pre-eminent position as a global maritime centre. But almost seventy per cent of the young shipping professionals who responded to the survey warned that London faces the risk of declining influence over the next ten years unless specific measures are put in place to address the key challenges to its future development.The survey, conducted in co-operation with leading accountant and shipping adviser Moore Stephens, canvassed the opinions of young professionals working primarily in the shipowning, shipbroking and management, chartering, advisory and associated industries.Respondents were provided with a list of key challenges facing London in its attempts to remain a relevant global maritime centre, and asked to choose the three options which they considered to be most important, in order of priority. ‘Competitiveness’ was the leading choice of respondents, followed by ‘taxation’ and ‘the ability to adapt to a fast-changing environment.’A number of respondents acknowledged London’s traditional strength in the professional services sector relating to the maritime industries, with one emphasising, “The high-value professional services such as finance, insurance, P&I, law and shipbroking underline the prime importance of having a central London office.” Another said, “As long as IMO, the P&I clubs and NGOs are based in London, it will always be a maritime business hub.” Elsewhere it was noted, “London must concentrate on its strengths in the legal, insurance and financial sectors to raise its shipping profile and attract fresh talent,” and, “London is competitive because a huge proportion of global commodity trade is centred there.”Others, however, saw threats to these traditional strengths. While acknowledging that, “London is a leading service hub and a one-stop-shop for all ancillary shipping services,” one respondent warned, “Unless it comes up with a way to retain more of the highly educated and trained people coming out of British universities, London’s attractiveness will decline.” Another said, “There is only a shipping industry in London because of the use of English law in contracts. But English law has become very expensive and uncertain. Currently there seems to be nothing better, but this is changing, and the legal and shipping professions are not stepping up to the changing times.”A number of respondents to the survey identified the prohibitive cost of operating in London. “London is a great city, but too expensive,” said one, “and this, together with high labour costs, makes it uncompetitive.” Another noted, “The cost of operating in London is now outweighing the importance of having a London address. Now it is only foreign shipowners setting up in London, and even the oil majors are moving out.” Elsewhere it was noted, “Unless London faces up to the fact that many other centres are competing on costs, it will see progressive erosion of its premier status.”Respondents were more or less of one mind in identifying London’s biggest competitor over the next ten years as a centre for maritime business – the Far East and, specifically, Singapore. “London has to remain more attractive than Singapore and Asia for brokerage and shipping industry-related services,” said one. Others, meanwhile, felt that this was unlikely, with one commenting, “It is natural that Singapore and Hong Kong will gradually take over from London.” Others still acknowledged that “places like Singapore and Hong Kong are trying to steal the attention,” and, “The best people now are going to Singapore instead of coming to London.”One respondent suggested, “Work with Singapore, not against it,” while another said, “Companies should partner with Far East organisations so that, if nothing else, London is their European hub.”UK taxation was cited by a number of respondents as an implicit threat to London’s reputation as a maritime centre. “The UK needs to come up with a more hospitable environment in terms of taxes and regulations in order to attract more shipping companies,” said one. Others advocated “a beneficial tax regime”, “lower tonnage tax”, “an improvement in the tax regime for foreign professionals who are not dependent on public services”, and “changes to corporate taxation.”Technology was also perceived by a number of respondents as a competitive threat to London. One noted, “There is a need to understand the potential in new technology and its benefit to global trade. Asia understands this and is open to exploiting technological advantages much more than London, where a conservative approach still dominates.”SPNL chairman Claudio Chistè says, “The survey is a timely reminder of the challenges which London faces over the next ten years if it is to retain its pre-eminent position as a provider of global maritime services. Our members showed a proper understanding of London’s strengths as a maritime centre, combined with a keen sense of what is happening elsewhere. These are people who are working at the coalface, as it were, who are absorbing new technology and new ideas, and who have the prospect of long careers ahead of them. They want London to succeed.“The survey also showed that, overall, SPNL members are confident that the markets in which they operate will continue to improve over the coming twelve months, after a very difficult period for the shipping industry.”Richard Greiner, a shipping partner with Moore Stephens in London, says, “The SPNL survey contained a number of constructive observations. Of course, reducing the cost of operating in London is actually outside the control of the maritime industry, and London is by no means the only city in the world where costs are increasing. But there are things which the shipping industry in London can do, and is already doing. The UK operates a very successful tonnage tax regime, for example, which provides participating companies with a low level of tax on shipping activities, the potential to pay no tax when vessels are sold, and predictability on future tax liabilities. The UK also continues to offer significant tax advantages for individuals resident but not domiciled in the UK.“London should embrace competition, and use it as a platform to expand and improve. The SPNL survey is a welcome addition to the ongoing debate about London’s role as a global centre for maritime services. Recognising the challenge is the first and most important step towards meeting it.”Claudio Chistè concludes, “London has shown over centuries that it has the mettle and the determination to compete. The SPNL believes that it will continue to do so, provided it can meet the challenges which have been identified.”[mappress]SPNL, September 10, 2013last_img read more

CNOOC Starts Production from Kenli 3-2 Oil Fields

first_imgCNOOC Limited announced that its Kenli 3-2 oilfields have commenced production.Departure of the first Wellhead Module for Kenli 3-2 project.The Kenli 3-2 oilfields, located in the southern Bohai Sea, consists of Kenli 3-2, Bozhong 34-6/7, southern part of Bozhong 29-4 and Bozhong 35-2 oilfields.The average water depth is approximately 20 meters. The primary production facilities include 7 offshore platforms and 1 onshore oil processing terminal.The peak production of the oilfields is estimated around 35,000 barrels per day.The Company holds 100% interest of the oilfields.Press Release, May 12, 2014; Image: CNOOClast_img read more

Heavy lift operation to save historic coast guard boathouse

first_imgThe equipment and manpower to raise and move the boathouse was donated by a local businessman who owns an equipment company in gratitude for their rescue of him as a young man. The initial planned lift was delayed for 24 hours because of a burst hydraulic hose on the crane but was successfully completed the following day. Riggers used a cradle of steel H-beams to support the building during transport.last_img

JH Parabia adds Tiiger girder bridge

first_imgThe Tiiger-STB-550 has a capacity of 550 tonnes and is designed to handle heavy loads such as stators and transformers. The width and length of the girder bridge can be adjusted according to the dimensions of the load.www.jhparabia.comwww.tii-group.comlast_img

Farrers cleared of negligence over £5m trust fund

first_imgThe High Court has rejected a negligence claim against a law firm from a woman who had expected to receive a substantial sum from her late friend.Tina Chantal Joseph, who was described as ‘close and intimate’ with multi-millionaire Canadian Peter Cundill, brought legal proceedings against his firm of solicitors, the high-end London practice Farrer & Co.But the case was thrown out as it was found Farrers had no duty to preserve trust payments, and the firm was praised for looking after Cundill’s best interests.Cundill died in 2011 aged 72 and had attempted before his death to give Joseph $10m from a trust fund of which he was a discretionary beneficiary.His trustees rejected that request, but eventually agreed in 2008 to pay Joseph, who was much younger than Cundill, a total of £5m through periodical payments.Joseph brought negligence proceedings against the law firm after the trust stopped all future payments after 2009, after Cundill had dismissed his housekeeper at her insistence. Joseph said Farrer & Co should not have allowed the payments to cease, and the firm should have kept her informed about the concerns regarding care arrangements into which she was supposedly interfering.She claimed to be a party to Cundill’s retainer and, given the firm was instructed to ensure the proposed gift should take place, it owed her a contractual or tortious duty.In Joseph v Farrer & Co LLP, His Honour Judge Purle QC rejected this submission and ruled that Farrer owed no duty of care towards Joseph in relation to the work carried out.Cundill had told both his lawyers and the trustees that he was happy with his living and care arrangements and would not alter them, only to then appease his friend by saying he wished to change them.This tension, said Purle, made it inappropriate for any duty to be imposed. The claimant ran the risk of the trustees changing their mind and there was no duty on Farrers, or its partner Richard Parry, to prevent the payments ceasing.’It seems to me that there is no sustainable claim for negligence against Farrers,’ said Purle.’ Indeed, it is impossible not to read the many reams of paper that have been put before me without feeling a great deal of admiration for the obvious conscientiousness towards the interests of his client, Mr Cundill, that Mr Parry showed and the delicate balance that he sought to achieve between giving effect to his client’s wishes and ensuring that he was not the victim of his own folly.’At the conclusion of the case, Farrers senior partner, Anne-Marie Piper, said: ‘Our clients have a wide range of legal needs and differing personal circumstances.’As a firm, we always strive to provide our services in a conscientious and appropriate way and it was gratifying to see the court recognise Richard’s considerable efforts in what was a very sensitive matter.’last_img read more

CDG Express tries a new route

first_imgREVISED proposals for the planned express rail link between Paris Est and Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle Airport were unveiled to local municipalities by Réseau Ferré de France on February 4. The target is to have the line opening in 2012, to support the Paris bid to host that year’s Olympic Games.CDG Express is intended to cut the journey time between the airport and city centre to around 15 or 20min, compared with 30min for the present stopping service from Paris Nord on RER Line B. The original proposal envisaged running from Paris Est alongside the existing main line to Noisy-le-Sec and then diverging northwards to run in a long 10m diameter tunnel below Bondy, Aulnay sous-Bois, Sevran and Villepinte, before picking up a surface alignment parallelling TGVInterconnexion into the airport station from the south.Known as the ’Virgule’ from the shape of the line, the revised option would make use of the pair of conventional tracks alongside RER Line B. These tracks are used by regional trains to towns beyond Mitry-Claye and some freight services, but have not carried long-distance passenger services since the opening of TGV Nord. A 1·5 km tunnel below Porte de la Chapelle would carry the Airport Express trains from the planned terminal at Paris Est to reach the Mitry route near La-Plaine-Stade-de-France. Rather than using the existing Line B branch into to the airport, CDG Express would continue on the conventional tracks as far as Villeparisis, from where a new line would be built alongside TGV Interconnexion to reach the TGV/RER station at Terminal 2. By reducing the amount of tunnelling, RFF estimates that the Virgule route would cut the cost of CDG Express from €845m to €635m, although the length would increase from 14 km to 25 km. The infrastructure authority envisages that the private sector will fund between 75% and 95% of the project cost, recouping its investment from a premium fare of around €15. Around 8 million passengers a year are predicted to use the service.If the revised proposal is approved by the Ile de France transport authority STIF, RFF will lodge an application for powers to build the line. It hopes to obtain a Declaration of Public Utility by the end of 2006, so that construction work could begin the following year.CAPTION: The TGV Interconnexion station at Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle is served by Thalys trains linking Brussels with the south of Francelast_img read more

CP completes Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern takeover

first_imgUSA: Canadian Pacific Railway marked its first day of operational control of Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad Corp and its subsidiaries Iowa, Chicago & Eastern Railroad and Cedar American Rail Holdings on October 30. This followed the end of a 30-day regulatory standstill after the Surface Transport Board finally granted approval for the US$1·48bn acquisition, which had been announced in September 2007. CP could pay a further $1bn dependent on the development of the Power River coal project. ‘We acquired the DM&E and IC&E railroads because of the opportunity for sustained double-digit top-line and EBITDA growth’, said CP President & CEO Fred Green. ‘Given the year-to-date performance, and our current outlook, we are anticipating that it will surpass our estimate of $0·15 to $0·17 contribution to our 2008 earnings per share.’ The DM&E is the only Class II railway that connects and interchanges traffic with all seven Class Is. It has 1 100 employees, 4 000 km of track in eight US states, 150 locomotives and 7 200 wagons. ‘Over the next three years we will invest $300m into the DM&E and IC&E networks’, said CP Chief Financial Officer Kathryn McQuade. ‘This capital investment reinforces our commitment to safe and fluid operations for our shareholders, our employees, our customers and the communities we serve.’last_img read more