Baker recognised in New Year’s Honours list

first_imgCynthia Stroud, founder and director of business Pretty Gorgeous Cakes, has been recognised in the 2017 New Year’s Honours list.Stroud was awarded an MBE her services to business and the community in Hertfordshire. She started her own business from home called Cakes by Cynthia in 2009, but changed it to Pretty Gorgeous Cakes when she moved into a high street shop in 2013.The baker has taken a number of students into her company and taught them skills needed to help create bespoke wedding and celebration cakes.Stroud told British Baker that she was not expecting to be named on the list at all.“When I came home and opened the letter from the Cabinet office, I went into complete shock and I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone about it until New Year’s Eve. The only person I told was my mum,” she said.Stroud added that she has been making the official cake for the music event The Brit Awards for the past six years and is also the resident cake-maker for Queen Charlotte’s Ball.“I heard The Brit Awards were asking suppliers to bake a cake for the after-party and I sent them my proposal. They asked if I could bring along some samples and I couldn’t believe it when they chose me. They offered me a contract and the relationship has grown ever since,” she said.“In terms of the Queen Charlotte’s Ball cake, they contacted me two years ago and said they were impressed with my work. When I presented them with the cake, they asked if I could stay on.”Also on the New Year’s Honours list was Melanie Andrews, who is the director and founder of the Scottish Baking Awards and Alison Swan Parente, founder of the School of Artisan Food charity.Andrews was rewarded with an MBE for services to baking and the community in Helensburgh, Scotland, while Parentre also gained an MBE for her dedication to services to the charity and education sectors.Andrews told British Baker she was delighted to have been on the list for 2017, while Parente said that she was pleased that the charitable work of the School of Artisan Food is being recognised.last_img read more

‘Wonderful things,’ indeed

first_imgBritain’s Lord Carnavon asked famed archaeologist Howard Carter what he saw as he first peered into King Tut’s tomb.“Wonderful things,” Carter supposedly replied.Carter would eventually catalog thousands of objects from the tomb of Tutankhamun, the boy king, including some of archaeology’s most recognizable artifacts. The 1922 find sparked a craze for all things ancient Egypt, but that was just the latest wave of “Egyptomania” to wash over the world, according to Bob Brier, a Long Island University senior research fellow and Egyptologist with a particular expertise in mummies.The phenomenon started in force more than 200 years ago, Brier says, with Napoleon Bonaparte’s 1798 invasion of Egypt, where he defeated a Mamluk army in a battle fought near Cairo, within sight of the pyramids. French rule of the country wouldn’t last long, collapsing after British Admiral Horatio Nelson destroyed the French fleet days later in the Battle of the Nile.But Napoleon did not go away empty-handed. His gains included the records of more than 100 artists, engineers, and scientists who, as the fighting raged, collected, drew, and documented the natural and manmade wonders of Egypt. The publication of their work in France fed a curiosity that hasn’t faded. According to Brier, it flows largely from three spheres of interest: mummies, the mystery of hieroglyphics, and the allure of a lost civilization, epitomized by Carter’s discovery of Tut’s tomb.Egyptian mummies capture the imagination, Brier said, because they represent a form of immortality: The leaders who ordered the creation of monuments such as the pyramids and the sphinx are still here, and viewable. Hieroglyphics, he said, are a matter of deep intrigue. The last was carved in 394 A.D., after which the ability to read them was lost for thousands of years. Finally, he said, comes the irresistible pull of a lost civilization.“You’ve got mummies that scream immortality. You’ve got mysterious hieroglyphics that seem beautiful but are indecipherable, and you’ve got that sense of lost worlds waiting to be discovered,” Brier said.Brier, whose up-close experience with mummies goes beyond the Egyptians to include the Medici family and Vladimir Lenin, spoke Tuesday at the Yenching Auditorium, in a lecture sponsored by the Semitic Museum, one of the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture. The talk, introduced by the museum’s director, Philip J. King Professor of Egyptology Peter Der Manuelian, covered material featured in Brier’s latest book, “Egyptomania: Our Three Thousand Year Obsession with the Land of the Pharaohs.”Since the Battle of the Pyramids, several events have fueled interest around ancient Egypt, said Brier, citing as especially important the delivery of Egyptian obelisks to France, Britain, and the United States.The first, which left Egypt for France in 1832, required more than three years for transport and placement in the Place de la Concorde in Paris. The British obelisk, which left Egypt in 1877, towed behind a steamship in a specially built vessel, was lost at sea in a storm, salvaged, and had to be bought back by the government. The last obelisk was erected in Central Park in 1881. It took 112 days to slowly move the 244-ton, 71-foot, hieroglyphic-inscribed obelisk to the park from the banks of the Hudson River.Each of these events — capped by the discovery of Tut’s tomb in 1922 — stoked public enthusiasm, Brier said. Egyptian-themed products — jewelry, songs, and tobacco — followed.  Egypt sells, Brier said, and people hustled to cash in.Much of the talk dealt with history, but Brier was quick to point out that the artifacts and mystery of ancient Egypt haven’t lost any of their power.“Egyptomania is still alive and well today,” he said.last_img read more

Low on WNV

first_imgBy Faith PeppersUniversity of GeorgiaMany public health watchers predicted this to be a very active year nationwide for West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses. But so far, all’s quiet on the Southern front.”As for WNV, things have been pretty quiet up to this point,” said Elmer Gray, a University of Georgia Extension entomologist and a member of the Georgia West Nile Virus Task Force. “The common thought is that we will have a similar case load as last year (55 cases and 4 deaths).”Many thought the area would continue to see eastern equine encephalitis activity throughout the season, but dry weather may have squelched this activity, Gray said. “The vectors for EEE are swamp mosquitoes (Culiseta melanura), and I suspect that the swamps have less water than normal,” he said.His suspicions are confirmed. Dry weather a plus”The Suwanee River coming out of the Okeefenokee Swamp has set daily low-record flows for this time of year,” said State Climatologist David Stooksbury. “I’m not sure what that does to the mosquito population, but [the river] is low.”Most would think that wet weather leads to more mosquitoes. If standing water is left around homes following rain, that’s true. However, it’s dry weather that brings the boom of mosquitoes to urban areas.”The [WNV-carrying mosquitoes] breed in storm drains of downtown city areas,” Gray said. “When it rains, it actually flushes out the drains. Cases of WNV or St. Louis encephalitis actually come on after a dry spell when water has been laying [stagnant], giving mosquitoes a chance to breed.”Weather could aid in the fight against mosquito-borne illnesses this year. “The early part of this summer, rainfall has been less and therefore less standing water is around to serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes,” Stooksbury added.Plan working?That could lessen mosquito numbers, but Gray has another theory. The state has made great strides in improving its ability to conduct surveillance for all mosquito-borne diseases. And the public health field, in general, is much better prepared and able to detect mosquito-borne viral activity of any type. With this in mind, Gray notes there has been very little WNV activity detected and dead bird submissions are behind previous years.”We in the mosquito field would like to think that our larval suppression programs have contributed to the lessening of WNV activity,” he said, “but that is very difficult to measure. Particularly since no one wants to be the control (untreated) group that would be necessary for a legitimate study.”Use cautionEven though the state is seeing low numbers of mosquito-borne illnesses, it’s still important to use the proper precautions.”As always, it is important that people remember to try to avoid peak periods of mosquito activity (dawn and dusk), eliminate standing water around homes and wear insect repellents containing DEET when in areas with mosquito activity,” Gray cautioned. “It’s quiet now, but it’s still early. Things could change later in the summer.”For more information on West Nile Virus and how to avoid it, visit the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences WNV Web site.last_img read more

Colombia Displays Capabilities in Red Flag 2018

first_imgBy Myriam Ortega/Diálogo August 24, 2018 The advanced aerial combat training exercise Red Flag 18 came to an end August 3rd, at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. The exercise—held periodically since 1975—aims to provide pilots from partner nations the opportunity to practice and improve skills in real combat situations. Colombia participated for the second time as a guest nation. “The U.S. Air Force extended its invitation [for Red Flag] under strict mandatory compliance parameters,” Colombian Air Force (FAC, in Spanish) Brigadier General Pablo Enrique García Valencia, commander of the Colombian delegation, told Diálogo. “The guest nation must have superior experience in aviation, high performance in the battlefield and, preferably, real experience in military air operations.” Preliminary training Prior to joining Red Flag 18-3, FAC aircraft made way to David-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, from the Third Air Combat Command in Atlántico department, Colombia, July 2nd. FAC filed two flight plans, each with three Kfir aircraft and a KC-767 Tanker, which refueled the Kfirs in-flight five times. Colombian units stayed for five days at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base to carry out exercise Relámpago 3. Combat pilots from FAC, the Arizona Air National Guard, and Air Forces Southern, the air component of U.S. Southern Command, took part in the preliminary training, according to FAC’s strategic communications. Aircraft conducted high-precision air exercises, allowing Colombian pilots to get familiar with English communication and other standard procedures. Units from the air forces of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Peru also met at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base to learn about crew work, aircraft, logistics, and services required to carry out Relámpago 3. Integration and interoperability Colombian pilots carried out their first Red Flag 18-3 mission July 23rd, with air refueling operations for U.S. fighter aircraft. The exercise, under parameters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), called for the use of necessary procedures to operate with military forces of partner nations. “This year we have a great opportunity to work with FAC,” said U.S. Air Force Colonel Michael Mathes, 414th Combat Training Squadron commander, responsible for executing Red Flag. “We have a better understanding of how international threads are interconnected to criminal networks. This enables us to have a shared defense against a common enemy,” he told Diálogo. Two weeks of operations with F-18, MQ-9 Reaper, V-22 Osprey, Kfir, KC-767, and other aircraft followed, with missions carried out day and night. “Among [Colombia’s] achievements at Red Flag was sharing the airspace with more than 70 aircraft simultaneously,” Brig. Gen. García said. “It also marks a couple of milestones [for Colombia]: conducting an in-flight refueling mission to EA-18 aircraft from the U.S. Navy, and the opportunity for the commander of FAC’s 111th Kfir Squadron to command a fleet of U.S. bomber aircraft during a mission.” “An exercise such as Red Flag speeds up the development of our operators, maintenance, and the entire support team,” Col. Mathes said. “We are better prepared, faster to reach a place such as Red Flag, where we practice combat actions. So, we are better suited for faster combat.” The training Colombia previously took part in Red Flag in 2012. Since then, FAC has trained continuously with routine air operations. “We’ve conducted high-scale exercises at the First Air Combat Command since 2017 with all combat squadrons of FAC,” Brig. Gen. García said. During Red Flag, pilots conducted air-to-air and air-to-ground missions under NATO parameters to participate as hemispheric defense partners. “Colombia just recently joined NATO,” Brig. Gen. García said. “This allows us to conduct military operations with other countries in the near future, with aircraft, pilots, and crews, following standard procedures that enable interoperability anywhere in the world.” “It’s our second participation, with far more satisfactory results than the first,” Brig. Gen. García said. “It’s good for Colombians to get serious about the [exercise] training. Red Flag is relatively easy if the training is demanding,” Col. Mathes concluded.last_img read more

Social media ‘God Squad’ fraudster pleads guilty

first_img continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Darrin Hopkins, one of three men who ran the so-called “God Squad” social media group that deceived high school students to steal hundreds of thousands from credit unions and a bank in Oregon and Southwest Washington, will be sentenced in September after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud.In U.S. District Court in Portland, Ore., on June 13, Hopkins, 22, admitted that he and two other men, Tyrann Chambers, 21 and Jaidan O’Neal, targeted students at Grant High School in Portland to deposit more than $150,000 in counterfeit checks at branches of the $1.4 billion Advantis Credit Union in Clackamas, Ore., the $871 million Rivermark Community Credit Union in Beaverton, Ore., the $24 billion Pentagon Federal Credit Union in McLean, Va., the $1.6 billion SELCO Community Credit Union in Eugene, Ore., the $1.1 billion IQ Credit Union in Vancouver, Wash., the $5.6 billion OnPoint Community Credit Union in Portland, Ore. and U.S. Bank.Chambers and O’Neal have pleaded not guilty to bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Their jury trials are scheduled for August.last_img read more

How to get started with robotic process automation

first_imgRobotic process automation (RPA) is playing an increasingly important role in improving front- and back-office efficiencies, business scalability and customer service in all industries. For these reasons, PSCU began its RPA journey last year, furthering its commitment to help our Owner credit unions achieve a strategic, competitive advantage by delivering technology advancements.PSCU partners with credit unions to help them meet evolving member demands, leveraging digital technology in providing various types of payment solutions and services. The increasing scope and scale of PSCU’s business activities drove the company to search for ways to further add efficiency without sacrificing quality or member experience.One of the key tools we adopted for this purpose was RPA, which allows us to automate business-critical processes that are highly manual. One area that experienced challenges as a result of our growth, becoming more and more time consuming and costly, was the process for implementing federally-mandated index rate changes. Given the unpredictability and manual nature of the process, this made for an effective RPA pilot at PSCU.Since we implemented our first RPA bot, we have supported three federal rate change events (including the latest one following COVID-19) that triggered hundreds of issuers to make APR changes to their portfolio(s). Historically, due to the volume and unpredictability of these requests, as well financial/regulatory implications of meeting service-level agreements (SLAs), we would need to pull in additional company resources to assist the configuration team. Through RPA, we have been able to automate many of the administrative tasks associated with these changes, enabling the configuration team to prioritize and manage the volume, work the exceptions and maintain quality. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »last_img read more

It’s a Menai adventure

first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img

CalWave Looks for Mechanical Engineer

first_imgCalifornia-based CalWave Power Technologies is seeking a mechanical engineer to further advance its wave energy converter technology to a commercial unit.The selected individual will work closely with CalWave engineers and CalWave’s industry and R&D partners (including UC Berkeley, Sandia National Labs, NREL, others) for the systems design, manufacturing and testing of our drive train test bench and support activities leading towards manufacturing, build-out, and pre-deployment testing of our upcoming open water demonstration prototype.The ideal candidate should have industry and/or project expertise in mechanical engineering and demonstrate superior skills in CAD designing, systems engineering, product development, fabrication and machining, and assembly and commissioning of complex mechanical systemsCalWave’s mission is to provide a solution to secure clean, affordable and reliable electricity and freshwater for coastal communities.In January 2019, CalWave received an additional multi-million dollar award by DOE to build a commercial scale drive train.This development is taking place in parallel to our ongoing open water demo awarded in 2017.Applications for the mechanical engineer position should be submitted by June 30, 2019.last_img read more

GSU Study: The longer person uses marijuana the more risk for conditions linked to heart disease

first_imgGeorgia State study says marijuana use can lead to metabolic syndromeLedger-Enquirer 29 June 2017Family First Comment: “…the duration of marijuana use seems to be a significant factor associated with metabolic syndrome which is a cluster of symptoms that increase a person’s risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.”#saynopetodopeA study by researchers in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University says the longer a person uses marijuana, the more the risk increases for developing conditions linked to heart disease, stroke and diabetes.According to a report on the Atlanta school’s website, the duration of marijuana use seems to be a significant factor associated with metabolic syndrome which is a cluster of symptoms that increase a person’s risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.The study found “every year increase in marijuana use is associated with at least a 5 percent increase in odds of having metabolic syndrome.”The report says that to examine the relationship between marijuana use and metabolic syndrome, the researchers gathered data on 3,051 adults age 20 and older from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2011-2012.The survey included subjects who reported using marijuana or hashish even once during their lifetimes. Participants were classified as regular marijuana users if they responded they had used marijuana at least once a month for more than a year. The relationship of their years of marijuana use with metabolic syndrome was assessed in the study using different criteria for defining metabolic syndrome.According to the school report, the study noted that the most common form of marijuana consumption is smoking, but the original survey also included participants who consumed edible marijuana products and hashish. It did not ask participants to specify how they used marijuana.READ MORE: more here: read more

Premier League clubs spend big

first_img Premier League figures released in November disclosed a total of £100million was paid to agents, including for domestic transfers. After the Premier League, Italian clubs were the next biggest spenders on overseas transfers (£286million), followed by France (£253million), Spain (£192million) and then Germany (£144million). Spanish clubs, however, were the biggest net earners for transfers, with net income of £150million. The report also highlighted the growing influence of ‘super clubs’ such as Manchester City, Paris St Germain and Monaco, where wealthy owners provide huge sums for fast-track team strengthening. The report states that across the world there were a total of 12,309 international transfers in 2013, 4% more than in 2012, and 90 per cent of these were free transfers with no fee paid. “Players with Brazilian nationality were also represented most in the international transfer market with 1,558 transfers (13% of total transfers),” says the report, with 236 players moving to and from Brazil and Portugal. FIFA’s transfers matching system aims to provide a clearing house for all international transfers, with clubs having to register agents involved plus any fees and add-ons. The system should be able to shed some light on the complicated deal that took Neymar from Santos to Barcelona, with much of the fee going to a company headed by the player’s father. Premier League clubs once again dominated the international transfer market in 2013, topping the 1billion US dollar-mark for the first time. Spanish prosecutors are investigating the deal after it emerged that Barcelona’s original announcement that Neymar cost £48million did not include a further £25million in other fees. Mark Goddard, general manager of the FIFA Transfer Matching System, would not be drawn on the case however. He said: “Obviously the Neymar transfer was in the system and that has generated some recent interest – and we are now going to do everything we are required to do to make sure our obligations are met.” The row over the fee led to a change of president at Barcelona with Sandro Rosell quitting the post. The English clubs, plus Swansea and Cardiff from Wales, spent 1.1billion dollars (£660million) on overseas transfers last year, and of that more than £50million went straight into the pockets of agents. The figures – revealed in the Global Transfer Market 2014 report, published by FIFA – only include international transfers between different countries. Press Associationlast_img read more