Cicero Yearly Archives


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Bill Maher on Recession, Donald Trump and endangered species


Comedian Bill Maher explained in a recent TV show that his calls for another economic recession would jeopardize President Trump’s chances at reelection in 2020 and he described as “very worth” to end Trump policies.

Speaking with journalists Betsy Woodruff and Carl Hulse, and also political consultant Rick Wilson;  Maher singled out Fox New’s presenter Sean Hannity who opposes the idea of rooting for a recession, saying he wasn’t a genie and “I do not have this power.” he added “I’m just saying we can survive a recession. We’ve had 47 of them. We’ve had one every time there’s a Republican president,” Then speaking recession in comparison to President Trump’s decision to roll back protections for endangered species he said; “They don’t last forever? You know what lasts forever? Wiping out species!”

The protections for endangered species now permit for economic factors to be weighed before adding animals to the list. The “Real-Time” host blasted Trump over the move.

Bill Maher said Americans have had over 40 recessions throughout Republican Presidencies 

Amy Winehouse – We only said goodbye in words

Amy Winehouse tragically died on 23 July 2011 at the age of 27.

The popular jazz singer shot to stardom in 2003 after her first studio album, Frank, was released and won her a raft of nominations and awards, including the Ivor Novello that year.

Winehouse was immediately distinctive, both in terms of music – in an era dominated by girl and boy bands hers was an incredible, authentic and big-selling jazz voice carrying the most original lyrics out – and style, with her winged eyeliner, beehive hair and growing collection of tattoos.

More than Frank, it was Back to Black that solidified Winehouse’s place firmly comfortably-alongside-but-also-outside jazz, and into popular culture and mainstream mass consciousness.

Jeremy Kyle Show Axed


This is Jon Culshaw’s impersonation of the “Jeremy Kyle show”, showing the protagonist in all his glory as judge and jury dealing with the lives of his guests. Some have described the show from the outset as a modern day form of live tv ‘bear baiting’. It has however consistently had a large share of afternoon television rating and was one of ITV’s most popular shows, it was the anglicised version of precursory show’s such as the US “Jerry Springer Show”, and in Britain “Trisha” (now shown on UK’s Channel 5). The Jeremy Kyle show format differed though in so far as the fact that ultimately it’s host gave his own opinion and judgement on his guest’s life situations.

What do you think do you like him or loathe him?

After 14 years on television and with guests saying the show changed their life or ruined it; the show’s final date was 10th May 2019 following the death of a guest participant, Steve Dymond who took his life due to his split with his partner following a lie detector result on the show which ITV has decided not to broadcast.

A former guest Dwayne Davison in an interview with the Guardian newspaper said following his appearance on the Jeremy Kyle Show he was labelled the most hated Jeremy Kyle guest ever.  He struggled for work and was mocked in the street as a result, and tried to kill himself after sustained public shaming.

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“It’s the worst thing that has ever happened in my life,” Davison said. “They put the spoon in and stirred around my whole life.”  Mr Davison said the show provoked participants into causing offence;  believing footage was edited in such a way to portray guests unfavourably and that attempts at aftercare belied due to the production team’s use of footage.

.I read a great article about the show a few years ago from the media section of the Guardian from an original article in the Observer on the modern day TV phenomena that is the “Jeremy Kyle Show”.

For the full article see:






Dido Elizabeth Belle – a pioneer of Britain

dido_elizabeth_belle_aloneDido Elizabeth Belle (1761–1804) was born into slavery as the natural daughter of Maria Belle, she married John Davinier from 1793–1804; until her death.

Dido Elizabeth Belle was an enslaved African woman in the West Indies, and Sir John Lindsay, a British career naval officer who was stationed there. He was later knighted and promoted to admiral.[2] Lindsay took Belle with him when he returned to England in 1765, entrusting her raising to his uncle William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield, and his wife Elizabeth Murray, Countess of Mansfield. The Murrays educated Belle, bringing her up as a free gentlewoman at their Kenwood House, together with their niece, Lady Elizabeth Murray, whose mother had died. Belle lived there for 30 years. In his will of 1793, Lord Mansfield confirmed her freedom and provided an outright sum and an annuity to her, making her an heiress.

In these years, her great-uncle, in his capacity as Lord Chief Justice, ruled in two significant slavery cases, finding in 1772 that slavery had no precedent in common law in England, and had never been authorized under positive law. This was taken as the formal end of slavery in Britain. In the Zong massacre, a case related to the slave trade, he narrowly ruled that the owners of the ship were not due insurance payments for the loss of slaves they had thrown overboard during a voyage, as their killing appeared to be related to errors by the officers.

What follows is the closing title them to “Belle” by Rachel Portman

Intel 500 Shooting Star Drone Display

Intel® Shooting Star Drone Display. A press release from Intel 03/11/2016

The Intel® Shooting Star drone is the company’s first drone created for entertainment light shows. The drone is designed with safety and creativity in mind with a super light-weight structure and virtually limitless color combinations. We’ve also worked with the FAA to receive a Part 107 Waiver to fly these drones as a fleet with one pilot at night in the U.S. This means we can now create beautifully choreographed images in the nighttime sky quickly and easily in the U.S. We are looking forward to using this new fleet of Intel Shooting Star drones publicly soon. Find more information on the Intel Shooting Star fact sheet.

MAVinci GmbH Acquisition

We believe drones are an important computing platform for the future and we are continuing to invest in technologies and companies that will enable us to provide the best compute, sensor, communications and software integration for the growing drone ecosystem. To this point, we have acquired MAVinci GmbH, a drone company based in Germany that offers best-in-class flight planning software.

With this transaction, we are gaining expertise in flight planning software algorithms and also fixed-wing drone design capabilities that complement the technology and knowledge Intel previously acquired from Ascending Technologies. This new acquisition will play a key role in providing solutions for industries such as agriculture, insurance, construction, mining and more.

These announcements represent a string of progress we’ve made in the drone space. In August, we introduced the developer-focused Intel Aero Platform and the Intel Aero Ready to Fly* Drone that will be available by end of the year. And prior to that, we collaborated with Yuneec, to launch the Yuneec Typhoon H with Intel RealSense Technology that provides industry leading collision avoidance features.

As we build new capabilities and enable products and solutions in the drone space, we will continue to demonstrate how far and how fast this exciting technology can advance.


Windows 10 and Hololens!


This week Microsoft unveiled it’s new plans to package a holographic headset to accompany it’s new operating system soon to be released, Windows 10.

The “Hololens” as it’s known, will be shipped with the new operating along with it’s voice activated software “Cortana” which is already available on it’s phones. The holograph headset, will allow users to wirelessly view holograms and both have a due date when they will be available it’s expected later in

the autumn period this year. Screen-Shot-2015-01-21-at-3.03.41-PM-780x432


This may also herald a new form of playing games, because it’s hoped that software that’s running on this operating system may also make use of this new form of virtual reality.  holographic

(Image :

It’s also expected that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8/8.1 users during it’s first year. Those who don’t upgrade or are not Windows 7 Vista users and upward operating system users will have to buy the product in full.  Currently it’s not known how much this will be as there is confusion on pricing but it’s expected that Microsoft will charge a one off licence fee and not move to having to subscribe to it. microsoft-satya-nadella

Microsofts new CEO, Satya Nadella said of his hopes for Windows in the future “We want to move from people needing Windows, to choosing Windows, to loving Windows, that is our goal.”


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President Obama responds to North Korean Sony Cyber-attack

The Interview After the FBI tying North Korea to a alleged cyber-attack on Sony Pictures, and its involvement for the film “The Interview” and following also it’s decision to withdraw its release this Christmas following continued further threats, President Barack Obama has vowed a US response but he also added that Sony had “made a mistake” in refusing to release a controversial satire depicting the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

On Friday US authorities linked North Korea to the hack, which saw sensitive studio information publicly released.

The film centres around two journalists who’s intention is to kill the North Korean leader. Many cinemas made the decision not to show the film, following the cyber-attacks on Sony and some people are calling for it to be made released and made available on the internet. Sony withdrew the film following  threats.

“We will respond,” Mr Obama said on Friday to reporters declining to be any more specific, “We will respond proportionately and in a space, time and manner that we choose…” adding “We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship in the United States.”

The US leader said it could have significant economic and social impacts  if both public and private cyber-systems were under attack and therefore important to protect these systems. On the question of Sony’s potential self-censorship he said  “Americans cannot change their patterns of behaviour due to the possibility of a terrorist attack,” he said. “That’s not who we are, that’s not what America is about.”


In the UK,  Phillip Hammond the foreign secretary said he was “deeply concerned at the findings of the US investigation, which seems to provide further evidence of North Korea’s blatant disregard for international norms and obligations”.


The BBC website asks ‘ What is the FBI evidence?

Tommy Cooper – “Just Like That”

ITV to show life of Tommy Cooper - 30 years after his death Tommy Cooper was one of the best comedians and many of his peers in the Magic Circle actually believed him to be one of the most outstanding magicians that existed in Britain.

A man who towered in at he was 6′ feet 4″ inches in size and stature – a giant of a man who was gentle and lent his bumbling appearance, always smiling, as he tried to appear comfortable in his ill-fitting clothing. He appeared to almost desire confidence, showing fear as each magic trick went wrong. However the truth was he has very confident and had worked out that for every 3 tricks that went ‘wrong’ he would delight the audience with the fourth that went right (he’d calculated and rehearsed his timing perfectly)

With his trademark Fez hat and the utterance of the words “Not like that, just like that” Tommy Cooper became world-famous and was probably the most impersonated man on the planet during the late 60s and 70s. as he performed his comic magic and often delighted audiences as he appeared to surprise himself at getting a magic trick correct was all part of the clever ‘appearance’ of the bumbling magician her portrayed – behind this facade was actually a very talented magician who practiced getting a trick right before he then re-engineered the trick to appear to make it go wrong.

Like the famous George Formby; Tommy Cooper’s wife Gwen Cooper handled and managed his affairs, she also was aware of Tommy Cooper’s string of affairs and mistresses.
Barry Cryer a long time friend of Tommy Cooper remember that he once famously whilst performing at the Water Rat’s (the Actors and Performers Club) charity do asked members of the audience to pick a card at random; in attendance was the Duke of Edinburgh who shouted out a card to which Cooper replied “No, I want a normal audience member, not a drunk at the high table” – as Cryer say’s only Tommy Cooper could have got away with such a remark as his humor was actually inoffensive and childlike.

Behind the fun that Cooper demonstrated on stage lay his personal life. Tommy Cooper was an alcoholic, who at times could have bouts of violence and deep depression, he battled with his drinking until his death even after he was warned to stop drinking by doctors or suffer damage to his heath.

His health, did in fact deteriorate; and his normal ‘slurred’ delivery in speaking became more pronounced as the effect of alcoholism took it’s toll, and whilst still having thew ability to perform his magic on stage, he started to increasingly either appear drunk or suffering from drink on stage. His audience not realizing this,  but his friends could see the effect that drink was having on him.


His last performance, was in front of hundreds of people at Her Majesty’s Theater Haymarket in London at a Variety Performance. This performance was also televised to millions of people who watched him on “Live from Her Majesty’s” on London Weekend Television (LWT) at home. Tommy Cooper started his act, and after calling for an assistant help put on a coat he started to perform one of his tricks – taking items from within the coat – then sink to his knees in front of the audience who believing this to part of his routine howled with laughter – however, the truth was Tommy Cooper had suffered a massive heart attack. He was pulled through the stage curtains where St. Johns Ambulance failed to resuscitate him. He had died on stage.


To celebrate 30 years since his death, ITV will be showing a portrait of the great man on 21st April 2014 staring David Threwfel (an actor famous for his role as Frank Gallagher, the patriarchal drunk of the Gallagher Family in Channel 4’s “Shameless”)



Below is Tommy Cooper’s famous bottle trick



The Silk Road– A Documentary by NHK Television


The NHK Tokushu documentary series The Silk Road began on April 7, 1980. The program started with the memorable scene of a camel caravan crossing the desert against the setting sun. Kitaro’s music imparted a sense of timelessness, and actor Ishizaka Koji’s resonant narration began with the phrase, “The Silk Road begins in Chang’an and ends in Chang’an.” NHK Tokushu broadcast this series over 10 years. It was the start of an epic televisual poem.
The first journey described in the series began in Chang’an (now Xi’an), at the eastern end of the ancient route. On 450,000 feet of film, the NHK crew recorded the path westward to the Pamir Heights at the Pakistan border and this material was edited to make 12 monthly broadcasts. The program gradually revealed how ancient Japan was influenced by the other cultures along the Silk Road.
Seven years in the planning
Back then, it was generally thought to be impossible for TV cameras to penetrate the remotest regions of the Silk Road. But seven years of planning and negotiation overcame the various obstacles.
In September 1972, an NHK director was in Beijing for the TV relay of Prime Minister Tanaka Kakuei’s visit to China. The day after diplomatic relations between the two countries were restored, Chinese Premier Chou Enlai invited reporters to a reception at the Great Hall of the People. In a speech to them, the premier stated that China and Japan were no longer at war and asked for their support in introducing China to the rest of the world. He told them that this was their duty as journalists.

The director recalled how the Han and T’ang dynasties were eras of great cultural transfer to China, how China had accepted the cultures of many lands and made itself the most prosperous country. The Silk Road was the medium that made this phenomenon possible. He felt The Silk Road could be a TV program that responded to the hopes of the Chinese premier.

A broadcaster’s dream
The executives of NHK’s General Broadcasting Administration strongly supported this idea. Gaining access, however, was a problem. In a previous program, the camera crews for Legacy for the Future (1974-75) had not been able to enter the Silk Road region.
How were China’s doors to be opened? Various negotiating routes were available, and the breakthrough came at the end of October 1978, with Deputy-Premier Deng Xiaoping’s visit to Japan. The program director boarded the special train on which Deng was traveling and managed to talk to his secretary, passing on NHK’s request to shoot scenes in the Silk Road region. On New Year’s Eve, permission was granted and the enormous joint project began.
Seventeen years after the program was conceived, the project was completed. Writer Shiba Ryotaro described The Silk Road series as “the most fruitful Sino-Japanese cultural exchange in postwar history.”

The Silk Road– A NHK Production

Shock and Awe–The Story of Electricity

The BBC produced a marvellous history of the origins of electricity a number of years ago – the series was presented by Professor Jim AlKhalili on BBC Four’s  and was entitled “Shock and Awe – The Story of Electricity”.

The Story of Electricity  is quite incredible from the work of Alessandro Volta and Humphrey Davy up to the invention of electro-magnetism of Michael Faraday work and the foresight of Nikola Tesla  – this is recounted captured beautifully.

What follows is the series of three parts in full (

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Skydive from Space

This is film footage of Felix Baumgartner breaking the record for the highest skydive ever – from the edge of the earth’s atmosphere  in  space. The Free Fall  from 39km hit 525 miles per hour (MPH) just under the speed of sound, and was sponsored by Red Bull. He was guided down by the technical expertise of staff from the  Roswell Space Center in Arizona.

BBC 3 – It Could Happen Here!

Stacey Dooley has been examining Europe‘s hardest hit countries in her new series .  This very caring an understanding journalist has produced a thought-provoking documentary series and it was so painful tonight to see the young people in Japan suffering from our worldwide recession.

Personally my belief is that the If the world economy‘s decline has been the product of the banking industries non-regulation and over-specularising on assets – toxic sub-prime mortgages and investments that completely crippled the US financial market and loans and investment on future returns that never were – in short a complete future investment catastrophe – banks were proving loans for the future based on a boom that was short-lived. The collapse of Lehman brothers was just the start of a horrible web of greed to show a ‘Alice in wonderland’ boost in banking profits.

Investment banks and hedge fund managers were delighting themselves in complete illusion while no regulation existed. They should hang their heard in shame everytime someoner in Japan or Greece takes their own life.

But at least Bob Diamond of Barclay’s‘s has secured his £2 million handshake from Barclay’s before he left the trough.


George V – The Hard King

A two-part portrait of Elizabeth II’s grandparents, King George V and Queen Mary, which examines the lasting legacy of the couple who rescued the monarchy from potential disaster, and whose influence persists to this day.

Episode one focuses on King George V. George could not have been a more unlikely moderniser. Born and brought up in the Victorian age he was conservative to his fingertips. Yet in the face of unstoppable social change after the First World War he turned out to be a remarkable innovator, creating the House of Windsor, embracing democratic reform, and reinventing many of the royal traditions that we know today. When he celebrated his silver jubilee in 1935 the monarchy was more popular than ever.

But as a parent King George V was far less successful – he bullied his children and alienated his eldest son and heir, Prince Edward. As one courtier remarked at the time, ‘the royal family are like ducks, they sit on their children’. By contrast, King George had a loving relationship with his granddaughter, and much of Queen Elizabeth’s style and commitment to duty can be traced back to this early influence.

Part2 here:

Courtesy : BBC Four and Producers

Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Royal Flotilla

Among the highlights of the Queen‘s diamond jubilee celebrations this weekend was the grand river pageant on the river Thames.

Over 1,000 gaily decorated private boats were present on the Thames, creating a seven-mile flotilla. The pre-event buzz and thousands of visitors flocked to the banks – including the Thames Embankment to view the spectacular event.

The cost of the River Pageant said to run to approximately £12 million, plus £2 million in VAT. And although television historian David Starkey described the flotilla as “lunacy”, and warns that the queen may not favour exuberant celebrations, but it’s unlikely such criticism is likely to have much effect on those out today watching the Thames Diamond Jubilee Flotilla. Yesterday the Queen was in Ascot.

In London it’s estimated 3000 plus street parties took place with many more across the South of England and also in the North. The Bank holiday will conclude on Tuesday.

Video : Associated Press

BBC – The Story of Electricity

The BBC are again showing  Professor Jim AlKhalili on BBC Four’s “Shock and Awe – The Story of Electricity”. The Story of Electricity  is quite incredible from the work of Alessandro Volta and Humphrey Davy up to the invention of electro-magnetism of Michael Faraday work and the foresight of Nikola Tesla  – this is recounted captured beautifully.

There is debate about as to where the music for the series has come from – many people on the internet seem to think it may originally be from Hans Zimmer.

What follows is the series of three parts in full (courtesy of the BBC)

Only Boys Aloud – Calon Lan

I’d not ask a life that’s easy,
Gold and pearls so little mean,
Rather seek a heart that’s joyful,
Heart that’s honest, heart that’s clean.
(Chorus)A Heart that’s clean and filled with virtue,Fairer far than lilies white,Only pure hearts praise God truly,Praise him all the day and night.
Why should I seek earthly treasures,
On swift wings they fly away,
Pure clean hearts bring greater riches
That for life eternal stay.
Dawn and sunset still I’m searching,
Reaching on a wing of song,
Give me Lord, through Christ my Saviour
That clean heart for which I long.

Virgin Banking

Sir Richard Branson

Sir Richard Branson now owns a small part of the banking industry in the UK and Worldwide – he now owns a Northern Rock Bank. His Virgin Money group is getting into banking – but what does he intend to do? Well he has said he’s going to transform banking. He WILL make investors happy – he always has! , but what of the customer – he plans to revolutionize our savings and investment ? But perhaps our money is okay after all he owns:

AirAsia X — long-haul budget airline operating from Malaysia (16% owned by Virgin Group)
Marussia F1 — a Formula One team established in 2010. Formerly called Virgin Racing, Virgin are still a part-owner, despite having sold naming rights to Marussia.
V Festival — two-day music festival held in two separate locations in the United Kingdom
V Festival (Australia) — an Australian version of the V Festival
Virgin Festival — a North American version of the V Festival
Virgin Active — a health club chain in Australia, South Africa, Spain, Portugal, Italy and the UK
Virgin America — a United States budget airline based at San Francisco International Airport (25% owned by Virgin Group)
Virgin Atlantic Airways — an international carrier based in Crawley, West Sussex, UK (51% owned by Virgin Group)
Virgin Balloon Flights — a hot air balloon operator
Virgin Australia Holdings Limited
Virgin Australia — an Australian-based airline
Virgin Samoa — a Samoan-based airline
Blue Holidays — The holiday programme of Virgin Australia, now a joint venture between Virgin Australia
Virgin Books — publisher, retailer and distributor of books (10% owned by Virgin Group)
Virgin Brides — now-defunct bridal wear shop in Manchester, UK
Virgin Cars — internet automobile retailer
Virgin Charter — a private jet online marketplace
Virgin Comics — comic book producer
Virgin Drinks — drink manufacturer
Virgin Cola — carbonated cola soft drink
Virgin Vodka — alcoholic beverage
v-Mix – spirit mixers
Virgin Energy — a former UK energy supplier
Virgin Experience Days — corporate and consumer experience events
Virgin Flowers — Internet florist
Virgin Galactic — a venture to market and operate commercial space flights, using spacecraft designed by Scaled Composites
Virgin Games — online games, online casino, online poker, online bingo (previously video games for home computers)

Class 390 Pendolino, Virgin Trains service at Rugby
Virgin Green Fund (originally known as Virgin Fuels) — venture capital firm for investing in petroleum alternatives
Virgin Health Bank[4] — a business enabling parents to store their baby’s stem cells
Virgin Healthcare provides a selection of healthcare services tailored to local demand
Virgin HealthMiles
Virgin Holidays — UK travel agency and tour operator for worldwide destinations served by Virgin Atlantic and its partner companies
Virgin Holidays Cruises — UK cruise holiday agent
Travel City Direct – UK Online Travel Agent for holidays to Florida. Acquired from the now defunct XL Leisure Group after it went into administration.
Travel City Direct Cruises — UK cruise holiday operator for holidays to Florida and the Caribbean
Bales Worldwide Ltd – Small UK Tour Operator
Virgin Limited Edition — exclusive hotel operator
Kasbah Tamadot — exclusive Moroccan holiday destination
Lady B — luxurious Catamaran available for Caribbean charters
The Lodge — ski lodge
Natirar — private spa located in Somerset County, New Jersey
Necker Island — exclusive island in British Virgin Islands for private hire
The Roof Gardens and Babylon — 1.5 acres (6,100 m2) open air gardens, venue, nightclub and restaurant in Kensington, London
Ulusaba — exclusive game reserve in South Africa
Virgin Limobike — passenger bike service in London
Virgin Limousines — chauffeured limousine service in San Francisco and Northern California

The New Virgin Media logo. It is also used for Virgin Mobile UK.
Virgin Media — provider of home telephone, cable television, broadband and mobile services to the United Kingdom
Virgin Megastores — CD, DVD and games retailer chain with high—street and online stores
Virgin XS — Factory Outlet—orientated format of Virgin Megastores
Virgin Mobile — brand used by several companies providing mobile phone service around the world
Virgin Mobile UK — provides mobile phone service in the United Kingdom, now part of Virgin Media
Virgin Mobile Australia — provider of mobile phone service in Australia – license held by Optus
Virgin Mobile Canada — provider of mobile phone service in Canada – owned by Bell Mobility with branding from Virgin Group
Virgin Mobile South Africa — provider of mobile phone service in South Africa – joint venture with Cell C
Virgin Mobile USA — provider of mobile phone service in the United States – brand rights held by Sprint Nextel
Virgin Mobile France — provider of mobile phone service in France – Virgin Group owned
Virgin Mobile India — provider of mobile phone service in India – franchise agreement with Tata Teleservices
Virgin Mobile Qatar – brand license to Qatar Telecom
Virgin Mobile Chile – Future provider of mobile phone service in Chile, using the Movistar mobile network. [5]
Virgin Money — providers of financial services
Virgin Money US — provider of financial services in the United States
Virgin Credit Card
Virgin Money Giving — Online fundraising website
Virgin Oceanic – sea exploration
Virgin Nigeria — A former subsidiary of Virgin Atlantic Airlines
Virgin Play — a Spanish publisher of video games, once part of the now defunct Virgin Interactive.
Virgin Produced — a film and television development, packaging and production company formed in 2010 and led by Chief Executive Officer Jason Felts and Chief Creative Officer Justin Berfield.
Virgin Radio — Virgin branded radio stations around the world.
Virgin Radio Asia — collection of station operating in India and Thailand including Virgin Soft, Hitz, Easy FM and Oui
99.9 Virgin Radio FM — a Canadian radio station broadcasting a hot adult contemporary format in Toronto, Ontario.
Virgin Radio 95.3FM — a Canadian radio station broadcasting a hot adult contemporary format in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Virgin Radio 96 FM — a Canadian radio station broadcasting a hot adult contemporary format in Montreal, Quebec on 95.9 MHz.
98.5 Virgin Radio – a Canadian radio station broadcasting a contemporary hit radio format in Calgary, Alberta.
104.9 Virgin Radio – a Canadian radio station broadcasting a contemporary hit radio format in Edmonton, Alberta.
Virgin Radio (France) — (Lagardère Active) a rebranding of the “Europe 2” radio station
Virgin Radio Italia
Virgin Radio Dubai
Virgin Radio India
Virgin Radio Jordan
Virgin Radio Thailand
Virgin Radio Turkey
Virgin Records — record label now owned by EMI
Virgin Spa — shop chain retailing Virgin Cosmetics product
Virgin Trains — a railway operator in the United Kingdom
Virgin Trains ExpressCoach — Intercity bus & coach services
Virgin Unite — charitable foundation
Virgin Vacations — U.S. travel agency
Virgin Vie At Home — retailer of body care, cosmetics, homeware and jewellery products through the Internet, direct selling and Virgin Vie stores (Sent into Administration in 2009, having been rebranded 9 months earlier as Effective Cosmetics (However still selling Virgin Vie branded products)
Virgin Wines — A Californian-based Internet wine retailer, created in 2005 and producer of Red and White wines
Virgin Voucher — gift voucher scheme, also functions as a staff reward scheme
Virgin Ware — clothes brand and retailer
Virgin Management — Custodians

The Prodigy – Englands Super Band

the prodigy

the prodigy

The Prodigy are an English electronic dance music group formed by Liam Howlett in 1990 in Braintree, Essex.  The Prodigy have been credited as pioneers of the big beat genre, which achieved mainstream popularity in the 1990s and 2000s. They have sold over 25 million records worldwide.The group has won numerous music awards throughout their career, including two Brit Awards—winning Best British Dance Act twice, three MTV Video Music Awards, two Kerrang! Awards, five MTV Europe Music Awards, and have twice been nominated for Grammy Awards.[3][4] The group’s brand of music makes use of various styles ranging from rave, hardcore techno, industrial, and breakbeat in the early 1990s to big beat and electronic rock with punk vocal elements in later times. The current members include Liam Howlett (keyboardist and composer), Keith Flint (dancer and vocalist), and Maxim (MC and vocalist). Leeroy Thornhill (dancer and very rare live keyboardist) was a member of the band from 1990 to 2000, as was a female dancer and vocalist called Sharky who left the group during their early period. The Prodigy first emerged on the underground rave scene in the early 1990s, and have since then achieved immense popularity and worldwide renown.

Source: Wikipedia

On Hold – the hated automated service!

Last night Channel 4’s Dispatches showed “Richard Wilson On Hold” (see #onhold at Twitter for comments) for myself it was one of the best and most accurate and even entertaining summary of the dreaded introduction of automated services that while modern companies believe enrich our lives and make our customer service better – Richard Wilson proved the complete reverse, showing beautifully how the modern consumer is fed up with these awful technological abominations!

In the programme Richard Wilson covered everything from automated telephone systems that allow the customer to not only listen to a voice recording but keep us listening interminably and at a call cost running into pounds – how they are not user-friendly and often confuse the elderly and vulnerable or the probably 99.9% of us who are either not so savvy with technology or quite simply don’t know or forget the option choices we are forced to press on our telephone keypads while listening to these awful machines!

He showed beautifully what most of us knew – that when we try to get cinema tickets we now can’t ask for them in person we have to try to talk to a voice recognition programme on an answer service that never works. When parking a car how trying to obtain a ticket via an automatic payment call service not only doesn’t work but is only there to save local Councils money through not having payment staff or wardens to help issuing tickets and checking meters.

And the dreaded service machine that keeps telling you ‘unexpected item in the bagging area‘ keeps telling you to ‘place item in the bagging area – please wait for assistance’! All again to save on cashier staff costs,  and cause the customer aggregation and the risk of early strokes.

As Richard Wilson himself commenting on the programme ” ..automation has become a ubiquitous part of modern life – be it at the supermarket, when booking the cinema or trying to park your car. Retailers and service providers say that these systems offer us more choice, improve service and free-up staff to focus on helping us customers in other ways. But I want to know if this is really the case.”

“Like the rest of the UK, I welcome technology that makes my life easier – I would hate to have to give up shopping online and I love being able to make bank transfers over the phone. But not all automated systems are time-savers. In fact, many of them seem to make my life considerably more difficult, costing me time and money.”

The full programme link can be seen on the right of this page on my Vodpod videos, below is an except from the programme

Related Articles:

A Movie! Sweetie, Darling …

Edina & Patsy

absolutely fabulous

CRACK open the Bolly sweetie darlings, Jennifer Saunders has confirmed she is going to make Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.

The comedy was one of the biggest successes on the BBC this Christmas, pulling in nine million viewers with another episode to come on New Year’s Day.

Asked about the prospect of a movie, Saunders, 53, who plays Eddy alongside co-star Joanna Lumley, 65, said: “I’m definitely going to do it.

II’m aiming to shoot this in a beautiful part of the Riviera. I fancy the south of France in the spring.”

She will hope the film, likely to be released in 2013, will rival the success of The Inbetweeners Movie.

It was 2011’s biggest grossing British movie, taking £45million at the box office and selling more than a million DVDs, despite a budget of just £3.5million.

There will be another Ab Fab in 2012, with a storyline set around the Olympics.

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World Animal Protection – The Life of an Animal

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