Another Fiendishly Tricky Maths Puzzle

As you know, here on Newsnibbles we are known for our focus on Pet Couture, and although Annie has been off touring the World (or America as it’s known to non-Americans) we have been a bit lax, this does not mean we’ve lost interest, so today’s Fiendishly Tricky Maths Puzzle has a pet theme. So, here it is:

If a dog has four legs, how many pairs of super sparkly shoes does she need to have one on each perfectly manicured paw?

No animals were harmed in the taking of this photograph.

No animals were harmed in the taking of this photograph.

Answers can be posted as a comment below, it’s just a fun one, no prize.  If you are really struggling with this one then you could always reach out to the Newsnibbles Facebook Community – as proved with the last Fiendishly Tricky Maths Puzzle they are more than happy to offer help and support.

Good Luck Nibblers.

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7 Questions

Seven Questions is a section of Newsnibbles where we ask one of our Twitter followers seven questions (duh).  Because we do it via email they are free to answer in more that 140 characters, which is nice.

Today we catch up with author and screenwriter Neil Jeffrey, or @SirBlimelyWindy as we know him.

1. What inspired you to write Mr. 11638600_10154006083327907_555846833_oRobbins? 
Well, that’s a toughie to start with. 26 years ago, when I was 20, I lost my dad to a horrible illness, pancreatic cancer, and when I finally decided to write my first novel, this seemed to be a natural motif to include in the novel, mainly because I wanted to raise awareness due tot he fact that survival figures for this form of cancer have scarcely moved in the intervening time.
As my story took shape, I envisaged it as a simple story about a man who takes one last ‘road trip’ before he loses his battle, but eventually this story seemed to write itself, with the introduction of a feisty Irish artist, a dog and much more romance than I thought I could handle without reaching for a bucket.
2. How did the idea for the film come about?
Well, five months after writing the novel I had a bout of ill health, and to pass the time I bought a copy of Screenwriting for Dummies, and had a go at turning ‘Mr Robbins’ into a screenplay. As I honed it and revised the screenplay to within an inch of its life I decided to submit it to production companies and eventually one said it would like to have a look at the whole project. To say I was gobsmacked was an understatement.
3. Tell us a bit about the process of having a film made.
Oooh, where do I start? We had numerous meetings about how we were going to do this, and we did some location scouting in Aberystwyth as the budget precluded spending lots of time in Sussex (the setting for the original novel).  We then decided that, as the project would involve crowdfunding and an established company’s first foray into feature films, we should make a prequel, which was released online in May 2015, This would again be scripted by me, but would serve to introduce the two main characters, Peter and Fiona by delving into their backgrounds in a way that isn’t dealt with in the original novel.
We then had to get funding for a short movie and I was very lucky that the production company see it as a partnership – so I was involved in casting and attended one day’s shooting over in Wales.
4.Being a writer is very autonomous, whereas when making a film requires working with lots of people. How do they compare?
This is tricky sometimes. As a writer I knew how the story played out in my mind, and I was lucky to find a production company that loved the story and they wanted to consult with me about production and how I saw it panning out, but I was very conscious that I may be a writer, but that doesn’t mean to say I know how to put it on screen. In other words it was a good thing I wasn’t too precious about my story, as I was passing it to someone to put into a visual medium.
5. How was the film funded?
The short was made on a small budget (I am not sure how much it was) and I am delighted to see how it turned out. Now we need to get ready for a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the feature, to approach companies and individuals, and to apply for funding from funding bodies – it’s a lot of work and it needs careful planning. Of course social media is fab for publicising etc  but it all needs to be done as a plan.
adayliketoday6. How would someone else go about turning their book into a film?
Well firstly I would never ever say I have all the answers, but I think it’s vital to find out how to write and format a screenplay, as a poorly formatted script will probably be thrown in the bin very quickly. In terms of the actual content, remember you only need to put down what happens on screen and let it flow. There’s no need for massive descriptions and you don’t need to give the actors tonnes of directions – they are actors, they are trained, and can work it out. Secondly, just don’t be precious and listen to all sources of advice, and thirdly, just because one person says no to it, it doesn’t mean everyone will!
7. If you could give one of your characters one piece of advice, what would it be and why?
The character I am closest to is, I think, Peter. His outlook shares a lot of mine, plus his character and temperament has similarities to my dad. Sometimes he spends his time fretting and overthinking, and I think he just needs to be told to go with the flow a bit. In fact, as the character of the psychiatrist Sidney in one of my all-time favourite programmes, M*A*S*H used to say ‘Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice, pull down your pants and slide on the ice!’

If you’d like to answer 7 Questions give us a tweet.

You can watch A Day Like Today below.

A DAY LIKE TODAY – The Prequel to ‘Mr Robbins’ from Wild Edric Media on Vimeo.

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Nibblets

It’s all about Angles

As you know here at Newsnibbles we enjoy a good Pet Couture story, and this summer in Japan it’s all about angles.  Multiple news organisations have commented on the cube shaped canines and the picture we have embedded here – because nothing we could recreate with a cereal box and a boxer dog (and we did try) comes close to explaining exactly what leaps the Japanese stylists have made when it comes to dog fashion – has come from MTV.com where you will find similarly cubed creatures, if you care to click.

Our fashion correspondent Annie Butler had this to say on the subject of angles in fashion:

 


So, maybe we will see sharply angled dogs at Crufts this year.  Who knows?

A Pussy Riot Update

As you know, here at Newsnibbles we like to keep you apprised of what is going on with Russian Punk Rock band Pussy Riot.  Just because they are out of prison now does not mean that their struggle has ended, and it is important that we keep remembering them here in the West.  At Newsnibbles we have literally tens of readers, so these little updates are sure to help.

We missed the fact that they released an English Language song in February about a prisoner who died after being placed in a choke hold in America (see it happens there too).  We blame this dropping the ball on the fact that we don’t speak or read Russian, which makes following them on Twitter problematic.  If anyone would like the honour of being a translator for us, we would give you a virtual embrace and allow your photo to appear on the “about us” page. Who could refuse such an offer?! Anyway, it seems we are rambling.

This week Vice reported that two members of the band were arrested (again) this time for sewing a Russian flag in the street.  There are so many confusing laws in Russia it does not seem to be a good idea as a holiday destination.  What if you ripped your trousers and needed to do an emergency repair? You ripped them in an embarrassing place, you could either hurry back to your hotel and risk some sort of police action for revealing too much of yourself on the streets (it’s possible right?) or attempt to sew them and be arrested for publicly sewing trousers.  Either way this would not end well for you.  We don’t know if this law only extends to flags, in which case your trouser sewing would be fine, again this is where a translator would come in useful, because at the moment this is pure rambling conjecture.

Anyhoo, Vice provides you with their account so do check it out if you’re interested.

Vice Video

And finally, whilst reading Pussy Riot’s account of their flag sewing incident we discovered this report from Vice on the effects of the “Anti-Gay Propaganda” law in Russia.  Whilst we were aware in theory what was going on, this harrowing report really does send it home.  This final Nibblet is not designed to be funny, but to draw your attention to something serious that perhaps you weren’t aware of.  If you chose to click and watch the video below please be aware that there are some upsetting and disturbing images of violence and abuse.

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7 Questions

Seven Questions is a section of Newsnibbles where we ask one of our Twitter followers seven questions (duh).  Because we do it via email they are free to answer in more that 140 characters, which is nice.

This week we chat to author Maggie James or 829 resized 2@MJamesFiction as we know her.

1. Tell us about your most recent project?

I’m not far off publishing my latest non-fiction book, entitled ‘Write Your Novel!’ It’s aimed at anyone who’s always wanted to write a book but either lacks the confidence or doesn’t know where to start. I took decades to get around to writing my first novel, which is a shame. I wish I’d done it sooner and if I can help anyone else to become a novelist, I’d be delighted.

2. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and as a child I assumed that’s what would happen. Things didn’t turn out that way. As an adult, I procrastinated, shoving my dream aside because writing a novel seemed an insurmountable task. 

3. Who do you admire and why?

Stephen King amazes me, both for being so prolific and for the fact many of his books as so long. How he maintains such quality over 700 – 900 pages astounds me. He’s been called a master of the writing craft, and deservedly so.

4. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Learn everything you can about the craft of being a novelist. Then delve into the practicalities of formatting, marketing and self-publishing. Think of writing as a business, with you being the managing director.

5. You can take three books to a desert island, what are they, and why?

I’d take 11.22.63 by Stephen King because it’s one of the best books I’ve read in recent years. It’s huge, so would keep even a fast reader like me absorbed for ages. King’s books are so multi-faceted I’m sure I’d discover new aspects to it every time I read it.

What else? I’m a sucker for motivational books, so I’d take The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, one of the best books of its kind I’ve ever read. Good for keeping up my morale if I’m to be stranded on the desert island for any length of time!

Lastly, I’d cheat and take a compilation volume of several books by a classic author, perhaps Jane Austen or George Orwell.

6. If you could give one of your characters some advice, what would it be and why?

I’d advise Beth Sutton, my protagonist in ‘The Second Captive’, not to go on a date with Dominic Perdue.

‘Listen, Beth,’ I’d say. ‘Don’t be swayed by his good looks and superficial charm. Underneath he’s warped. You’ll regret getting in a car with him.’

Will she pay attention? Of course not. She’s eighteen, sure she knows what’s right for her. Dominic, however, has a dark and disturbing plan for Beth

7. Describe your writing style in one sentence.

Hmm, difficult one! I’d go with this comment, received in a review for His Kidnapper’s Shoes: ‘She writes in a raw, visceral style.’

Is it true? Partly. His Kidnapper’s Shoes was my first novel and like any author, the way I write is evolving. I’d say I was maybe less raw and visceral these days, with a softer tone to my work.

You can follow Maggie all over the place, and she probably won’t even get a restraining order!! See below. And if you’d like to answer 7 Questions then give us a tweet!

Website and blog: http://www.maggiejamesfiction.com

Facebook: http://en-gb.facebook.com/pages/Maggie-James-Fiction/191644207648375

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mjamesfiction

 LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/maggie-james/64/381/727

 Google+ : https://plus.google.com/101511690389687930651

 Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/828751.Maggie_James

 Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/maggiejamesfict/

 Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Maggie-James/e/B00BS9LVMI

http://www.amazon.com/author/maggiejames

 Authorgraph: https://www.authorgraph.com/authors/mjamesfiction

Sales links: http://smarturl.it/hiskidnappersshoes

http://smarturl.it/sisterpsychopath

http://smarturl.it/guiltyinnocence

http://smarturl.it/thesecondcaptive

 

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Proud to be Less Ordinary

Monica Chereches is the author of Less OrdinaryLess Ordinary,  a compelling novel that explores hard hitting subjects such as male rape, and the taboos associated with polyamory in modern Western society.  She will be reading a section of her book at Pride Arts Festival, London 2015 and we caught up with her to find out a bit more.

Less Ordinary is your first novel, what inspired you to write it?

A few years ago I read an interview about Benedict Cumberbatch’s carjacking in South Africa. He said it was a horrible experience, but he added that he was thankful that nothing worse has happened to him, like being raped or killed. For some reason I couldn’t get the story out of my head and it got me thinking: what if it would have been worse and if what he was afraid of actually happened? So I started doing some research on how often people get carjacked/kidnapped in certain parts of the world and how often the victims are raped. What is the percentage of male victims? How do the victims deal with what happened to them? I also read a study on PTSD to learn about how it works and what  the symptoms and effects are.

And lastly, I saw a documentary on the National Geographic channel about Polyamory, when more than two people are involved in a romantic relationship. It was interesting to see how some people can actually make this work and in the middle of all this I started writing the book!

Well, I think that’s about it :)

Less Ordinary touches on some very hard hitting subjects early on, are you afraid this might put people off?

Well, one of my readers described the first chapter as “harrowing” and another said that the kidnapping reminded him of the movie Reservoir Dogs which, in a way is flattering because I really liked that movie. But I also had people contacting me via social media to let me know that they loved the book and the fact that it touches on interesting subjects, and are waiting for the second part. I believe that people are drawn to the story because of the characters, the chemistry between them and the complexity of the situations they go through, and instead of being put off they welcome the “less ordinary” subjects.

How did you get involved in Pride Arts 2015?

I applied to be a volunteer and help out with the organising of the London Pride Parade, and this is how I met the curator of the Arts Festival, Duncan Day. We started talking and I told him about my novel and gave him a book. Later on he asked if I would be interested in doing a reading as part of the festival and I said yes I would be happy to. To be honest I was more than happy, I was ecstatic, but I did my best to not do a crazy dance right in the middle of the cafeteria. I think he might’ve changed his mind then :)

Where can our readers find you if they go, and what else should they look out for?

I can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. I’m currently working on a screenplay for Less Ordinary and started writing my second novel which is a fantasy themed one. I can’t really say much about the latest at the moment as it is in the first stages of development, but will keep you posted.

Who would you say inspires you?

My biggest inspiration is my Grandmother. I know this doesn’t sound as exciting as having a well know person as a role model, but my Grandmother was the one who always believed in me and taught me to never give up on my dreams. She used to say that if I work hard and stay focused I can achieve whatever I put my mind to. She had a hard life and wanted to make sure that her children and grandchildren will have a better one.  She was a determined woman, (haha), I learned a lot from her and she will always be in my heart.

If I’d have to pick an author as an inspiration, that would be Frank Herbert. Although his books are in different genre than mine, the amount of work and research he put into his novels has never ceased to astonish me. The Dune Saga is the best piece of sci fi literature I have ever read and I highly recommend it.

Have you ever wanted to pretend to be a vampire, just to freak people out? (you can tell us this, there is no judgement here)

Haha, yes, several times. In fact when I worked in Los Angeles with The Blank Theatre, whenever we had someone visiting, my colleagues liked to introduce me as “the Vampire girl from Transylvania”, and I always looked at the visitor with a very serious expression for a few moments, fixating on him/her without saying a word. Some people freaked out, others were just impressed by the fact that I’m from Transylvania and kept asking loads of questions :)

What advice would you like to give to aspiring authors?

I still consider myself an aspiring author and I think the most important thing is to keep writing. The more you practice the better you get. And read the best books in the genre you want to write in, to learn the language and see how other authors describe similar situation.

Anything you would like to add?

On the 22nd of June at 6pm I will be doing a Reading for “Less Ordinary” at the Bankside Space, 32 Southwark Bridge Rd SE1, London. This event is part of the Pride Arts Festival and it is promising to be a lot of fun. Please come by and say hello :)

Less Ordinary is available to purchase in bookshops and on Amazon Kindle.

And you can follow/bother Monica on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

 

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On Genre

I was recently talking to one of my writer

Warning! May or may not contain Overt Feminism

Warning! May or may not contain Overt Feminism

friends about writing, different genres and the trials of marketing.  He commented on the fact that I had taken a break from writing and that he was pleased that I was coming back with my new Sci Fi serial, which will shortly be released on Kindle.  I admitted that I had become a bit disillusioned after publishing The Book of Abisan, at the lack of response to the work.  I am my biggest critic, and I know that this book is some of my best work, and I can’t seem to get people to read it.  He went on to tell me that he enjoyed the story, and he has given me permission to quote him as he went on to say:

The only crit I could find was that it had an overtly feminist angle. I like that, I grew up in a feminist household, but it may have limited the readership.

I had deliberately created strong female characters as I feel that the Fantasy Genre as a whole is incredibly male dominated, and at first I felt quite pleased that this was the only criticism he could come up with.  After having time to mull it over I thought, ‘how is that actually a criticism’?

People aren’t put off from reading Lord of the Rings because Sam and Frodo have “bromance” which makes it hard for women to understand, do they?

Female authors are breaking through into the Genre, after all, The Hunger Games was written by a female author, and featured a very strong female lead.  The thing that ruined the series for me though, was the ending.  I had been unable to put it down, took the trilogy on holiday and finished it in a week.  But why did she have to conform?  Why did she have to choose one of her men to be with at the end?  It was never a question of will they won’t they, just which man will she choose?  I felt a sense of disappointment that after fighting for her life on multiple occasions, leading a revolution and instating a coup, in the end all she wanted was to get married and have children.  Surely there had to be a different kind of ending?

I suppose that’s the problem with endings.  If you enjoy it then you don’t want it to end, so any ending is disappointing, but somehow I expected more.

The problem with genre is it’s all about ticking boxes.  You are forced to choose a special pigeon hole to put your writing into.  You call it “Fantasy” and people say, “oh, I don’t read fantasy, I don’t like it”.  So you’ve read one book, probably not all the way through, and therefore you know you won’t like mine?  Heaven forbid that you label your work “Feminist”, then you’re putting it into a niche that no-one will touch with a barge pole.  Even women are afraid to be labelled feminist today, forgetting that what feminism means is equality.  No matter how we like to pretend we live in an advanced society we still aren’t equal, no matter how you paint it, and the only way we will change this is if people start speaking out for equality.  Equality for everyone or no-one is truly free.

It is for this reason that I try to avoid staying within one genre when I write, and probably why I find it so hard to market.  Because when you pick one you instantly shut yourself off to all the people who like other genres.  One reviewer said of The Book of Abisan

I found this book to be rather more like a crime thriller with some sorcery thrown in for good measure rather than out and out fantasy.

I think that if in general we stopped trying to label things and just took everything on face value, deciding whether we liked things on an individual basis the world would be a happier place.

When I was promoting A Reason To Stay on a writing forum I was bombarded by comments telling me that “Chick Lit” was not their cup of tea, so no offence, but they weren’t going to read it.  Well, I took offence, not because they didn’t want to read my book, but by the term “Chick Lit”.  It is incredibly patronising and automatically belittles whatever you’ve written into some sort of “only suitable for women, as their brains are not as big as those of men”.  It also puts men off from reading it.  Society is still so interested in putting people into niches (not just books, everyone needs a label, man/woman/gay/straight/him/her) that a man who chooses to read “chick lit” must have something wrong with him, surely?!

A Reason to Stay is comedy.  Men like it, women like it and a number of dogs on Twitter like it:

Unfortunately we are not going to see a miraculous change any time soon.  People will still look to label each other, and still want to put books, films and TV shows into categories, it’s just easier.

You can be the change though, try not asking someone a personal question just because you’re curious, instead think “is it relevant, actually?” And pick a genre that you wouldn’t normally read.  Go on, give it a go!!

You can find C H Clepitt on Facebook.

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A Voice to Dai For

In 2011 Dai Robs’ Single, Dai Robs“Waiting for You” was BBC Radio Wales’ single of the week.  Since then he’s been gigging and coaching rugby, but now he’s back with a brand new album, set to be released at the end of the year.  We caught up with him to find out a bit more.

1. Tell us a bit about your forthcoming album.

Well this is my first full length studio album. I have released a live album and an EP previously but this is the record I’ve been waiting to put out. I hope that everybody likes it but am finally writing for myself and not trying to be a pop star so if I like it and my Mum likes it then I’ll be happy enough. It definitely fits in the singer/songwriter genre. I hope it isn’t easily comparable to anybody but I’m listening to a lot of Ryan Adams and William Elliot Whitmore at the moment.

2. For people who have never heard of you, describe your sound in one sentence.

This is the hardest thing ever to do along with come up with band names and change duvet covers. Heartfelt, acoustic, country/soul!

3. “Waiting for You” was single of the week on BBC Radio Wales, were you expecting the sort of reception you received for it?

Not at all. I was really happy with it but never expected that. As a Welshman I was super proud when it was suddenly played on Bethan Elfyn’s show and picked as single of the week. Regretably all my efforts went into that track and the rest of the EP wasn’t as strong. Not a mistake I’ll be making this time.

4. Who do you admire?

I’m full of admiration for a lot of people. As I’ve got older I’ve become far less self centred and see a lot more good in the world. It’s amazing what you see when you open your eyes. I’m a part time rugby coach as well as musician and have a lot of respect for all the volunteers around that give up their time to help young people have things to enjoy.

5. Which three people out of history would you invite to a dinner party, and why? – Yes, we went there.

Never considered this before. A toughy indeed. Ummmm. I’m gonna go with Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and Sam Cooke. A proper boys night in!

6. Where do you stand on the topic of Pet Couture?

I have a beagle who is currently shedding hair at an incredible rate so I’d be in favour of a 3 piece beagle suit that would keep all the hair in that I could empty once a day. Really though, I can honestly say that I have never thought of investing in a winter coat for her.

7. When are we likely to hear more from you?

Well the album is due for release on December 21st which as well as been the shortest day of the year is also my 34th birthday. There won’t be many shows this year as everything is going into the record but a UK and European tour is currently being put together for 2016 to promote the new record.

8. Music and Rugby, what’s the connection and how do they combine?

I love coaching rugby having played since I was a kid. I also love singing. Takes both to make me tick to be honest. I’m holding out for the job of singing the Welsh national anthem before an international at Cardiff! Perfect combination!

9. Anything you’d like to add.

Thank you for the interview and for making me address my feelings towards dinner parties with dead people and coats for cats. It’s really helped me!

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Badger’s Eurovision Round Up, Part Deux

Well, we said if you asked we would, and we are true to our word.  Amadeus said the following:

Hello Badger,
I liked the songs of Italy and Belguim too. Please let me know what you thought of those songs?
And what about Australia to enter the competition?
Thanks big berenknuffel
Amadeus

So…

Australia

Well there is a reason I didn’t touch on this one in the first roundup, and that’s because I was trying to pretend it didn’t happen, but you did ask.

There seems to be a growing fashion amongst younger men to wear trousers with elasticated bottoms, and what appears to be deck shoes?  The sooner those of you with a Y chromosome realise that this is totally unacceptable and move on, the less traumatised the rest of us will be.  Men should wear socks, fact.  Why have I digressed into fashion when that is clearly Annie’s area of expertise?  Well, Australian entry, first impressions count I’m afraid, and those trousers certainly made an impression.  Cream coloured and tight around the calves and ankles, but with a low hanging crotch, the nearest caparison I can make is with a badly fitted pair of jodhpurs.  With the navy suit jacket and tie combo he looked like he was ready to enter a dressage competition, where the judge would have told him to tuck his shirt in and sort his tie out.  But it’s fashion, what do I know?  That’s Annie’s area, so I has asked if she would like to do a Eurovision fashion report.

The problem was of course, that this outfit, along with the hotpants that I haven’t touched on distracted from the song, and made it very difficult to give a fair review!  So, having closed my eyes the nearest comparison I can make is to 911’s early work.  You remember 911 don’t you? ’90s diminutive boy band? Sure you do.  So, for a 90’s boy band impression the song was fine I guess.  Did not really touch on the building bridges theme, but Australia is so far away they probably don’t know about the troubles in Europe.  Also they obviously spent a lot of time and effort choosing their outfits, so well done for that, chaps.  For a first try it was OK.  Form your own opinion below.

Belgium

With more strobes than a bad horror movie I am surprised half the audience didn’t end up fitting during the Belgium entry.  Opening on what looked like an interpretive dance troop all in white, the singer was contrasted in a black suit, which did serve to make him stand out.  There was a backing beat, but the backing music came from the people in white, which was a very clever idea, and the song itself was entirely unique and very clever.  The choreography was interesting, there was a point when he was stroking his own face, presumably he forgot his comforter, and another point where he was randomly lying on the floor.  I did worry that the strobes had got him, but it seems he was supposed to be down there.

So, a clever song, and using voices as a backing track was both innovative and different from anything I’ve heard in a long time.  Sort out the strobes and the slightly weird gyrating (don’t get me wrong, I’m sure lots of people liked the gyrating, just not really my cup of tea) and this would have had more votes I think.  It’s hard to pick up the phone and vote if you are trying to avoid severe over strobing (if this isn’t a thing it is now).

Video posted below, but be warned, it contains flashing images, strobe lights and what appears to be interpretive dance.  You click at your own risk.

Italy

Last but not least the Italian entry. Rather like the three tenors (because there were three of them, and they were tenors) this entry was rather good.  Classical voices singing in Italian, in the classical style.  They are classically handsome in classic suits too, which was obviously going to help.  Someone obviously told them to make love to the camera too, which led to them trying a bit too hard in my view, and I did have to contain a shudder.  You’ll spot it now I’ve mentioned it.  Have a look below.

Have we missed something you would like us to touch on? Or perhaps there is something you feel would really benefit from a Newsnibbles review?  Post a comment below and we will do our best to accommodate you.

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Obhoyaronno – Protecting The Dogs of Bangladesh

Founded in 2009  by Rubaiya Ahmed, Obhoyaronno Obhoyaronno is the first (and to date the only) animal welfare charity in Bangladesh.  As rabies is still rife in India dog culling is not uncommon, and the culling of her own dog inspired Rubaiya to set up the charity and advocate for animals in Bangladesh.

We caught up with Manita Swati to find out more.

What made you decide to become involved in Obhoyaronno?

 

– I have always been an avid animal lover and have worked with organizations such as WWF (World Wildlife Fund) however I was not aware of the widespread dog culling practiced in Bangladesh until I joined Obhoyaronno. Obhoyaronno is the only animal welfare organisation, not just in the main city of Dhaka, but also in all of Bangladesh! When I discovered the important work they were doing, my next thought was -advocacy! While many in Bangladesh know of Obhoyaronno, few in the western world have heard of them. We live in a very digital world, so advocating our cause through social media became a very important tool for us.

 

What does Obhoyaronno mean?

 

– Obhoyaronno is a Bengali word that closely translates to ‘Sanctuary’.

 

What are the organisation’s goals for the next 5 years?

 

– Since we began, the cause of animal welfare has witnessed a slow but steady growth in Bangladesh. We hope to continue this expansion in numerous ways:

 

  1. Establishing a second clinic in Dhaka to continue with our mass CNVR (Catch-Neuter-Vaccinate-Release) program for street dogs;
  2. Introduce pet merchandises by partnering up with Jatra, a local Fair Trade franchise specialising in sustainably sourced fashion, lifestyle and arts and crafts products. This will enable the organisation to become more financially independent;
  3. Modernise the rather outdated Cruelty to Animals Act 1920 of Bangladesh by working with lawyers, legislators and the Government and infiltrate animal welfare awareness at the policy level of the country;
  4. Work with Bangladesh’s City Corporations to introduce similar programs across the country’s major cities.

 

What would you say was the organisation’s most significant achievement to date?

 

– While it is hard to pinpoint one specific achievement, there are few deserving mention:

  1. Secured Dhaka City Corporation’s commitment to end dog killing in Dhaka. Obhoyaronno signed an MOU with Dhaka City Corporation (North) and Dhaka City Corporation (South) to manage the city’s dog population on behalf of DCC;
    b. Set up the country’s first CNVR clinic in Boshila, Mohammapur to sterilise, vaccinate and treat street dogs;
    c. Secured partnerships with government and international development agencies;
    d. Secured partnerships with local academies and schools to deliver humane education for children;
    e. First Bangladeshi team of vets and paravets trained from India on modern sterilization and humane dog catching.

 

How is it funded?

We are funded largely through the Humane Society International and FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). Though we are also supported by Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) who practised dog culling before 2012. However through continuous advocacy programs and relentless activism, we managed to get them on board and partner with us to introduce a humane dog population management program. Conversely, a great bulk of our funds comes directly from individual patrons who donate both monetarily and in-kind to support our cause and activities.

 

If you could give one piece of advice to pet owners what would it be and why?

 

– It would be to adopt (not shop!) wisely and be reminded that pet ownership is a lifelong commitment that requires investment of time, resources and compassion. To consider pets as members of the family and be considerate of their needs, accordingly. Too often in Bangladesh, we see pet owners getting pets based on breed or “cuteness”, but abandoning them to fend for themselves once they get old, sick or difficult to care for. This is especially hard for foreign breeds that are not suited to the local environment and climate. Sadly, the fascination for foreign breeds as a fashion trend exists in our culture and this problem needs widespread attention. One should not discriminate when loving an animal. A local street dog deserves just as much love as a carpet dog!

 

What can the international community do to help support your efforts?

 

– While we primarily serve the function of a clinic, there is a common misconception out there that Obhoyaronno is a shelter and as such we often have to care for unwanted animals. As such our facilities are always full, our resources often exhausted and our staff overworked. This means that our supplies and finances can often get scarce. Hence, donations are always appreciated whether monetarily or in-kind. Currently, we are working to create an international donation channel online. Once that has been set up, we hope this will make things easier for both potential donors and ourselves.

 

Anything you would like to add?

We have an Obhoyaronno Facebook and Twitter account.

You can find out more about the project by clicking here

 

 

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The Sperm is Coming!!

Nibblers, this is a public service

We don't have any sperm pictures, but this one is kind of spermy, right?

We don’t have any sperm pictures, but this one is kind of spermy, right?

announcement.  Today, on Twitter, Badger made a disturbing discover.  Sperm is out to get you.  According to a random MEME (is that what you call words that are turned into pictures? Who cares) all sperm that you have ever come into contact with burrows into your brain, body spinal column, eyebrows etc and lives with you forever.  Essentially you are taking on part of any sperm contact you have ever had.  It lives forever!! If your eyebrows seem to take on a life of their own, it could be sperm trying to get out.  You know you can get pregnant from the swimming pool, too, right?

Here is the original tweet:

meme

Eeek, right? Suppose if you aren’t an “independent female” you only have your husband’s sperm escaping through your ears?  Marriage means accepting sperm ears. Fact. Being a hard hitting news reporting organisation, and getting almost as excited by this piece of breaking news as we were by  the whole Badger/Ramsey Lookalike Sex Scandal  of 2012 we decided to do some research. According to The Mayo Clinic (not like Mayonnaise, hopefully)

The life span of sperm after ejaculation depends on the circumstances. Ejaculated sperm remain viable for several days within a woman’s reproductive tract or in nutritive liquid (culture medium) in a lab setting. Fertilization is possible as long as the sperm remain alive — at least five days. Sperm also can be preserved for years when semen is frozen.

It says absolutely nothing about it working its way into your brain and staying with you for the rest of your life, interesting, we must dig deeper.  Surely this meme was based on some sort of scientific fact? It can’t just have been made up to scare gullible people, can it? We sought another expert to see if they could verify the factual accuracy of the meme… Our newly appointed last minute science correspondent, @TheWallStreetBull told us.

He went on to say:

That post sounded as if someone read some herpetology reproduction texts, then took LSD, then watched MST3000, then dissociative-tweeted.

Immortal burrowing sperm? “Um hmm, yes, I see. Tell me more about accidentally catching your parents have sex when you were 4 years old.”
So, there you have it, folks. You have nothing to fear but fear itself, and possibly getting lost in trying to research crazy Twitter memes for any kind of logic.  Don’t worry though, that’s what we’re here for. You want your meme explained, contact the newsdesk.  If we care enough to open your email we may well do a report on it.  Or not.
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