now browsing by tag
As Christmas approaches, sightings of Santa Claus become more frequent. Santa, in his characteristic bright red suit and white beard, makes frequent appearances around malls, toy stores, parks and other public places. Emma Farnan | The Observer Notre Dame freshmen Kent Hardart, left, and Will Ostergard, right, pose with psychology professor Anré Venter, who is dressed as Santa Claus. Venter was one of several well-known campus personalities who dressed up as Santa Clause for the annual event Snapshots with Santa, put on by Irish Fighting for St. Jude.Members of the South Bend community were able to have their photo taken with Santa at Irish Fighting for St. Jude’s annual event, Snapshots with Santa, which took place on Monday night at the Dahnke Ballroom. For the price of $5, participants were able to take a snapshot with their favorite Santa, who was brought to life by different Notre Dame campus celebrities, including several athletes and professors, as well as decorate cookies and write cards for the patients. The event benefits pediatric cancer research and treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.This year, Irish Fighting for St. Jude managed to enlist the help of athletes and more high-profile Notre Dame figures, accounting for more Santas than ever before. For the first time, the event was hosted in the Dahnke Ballroom and included raffle items by Fighting Irish men’s coach Mike Brey, explained senior Abe Mansour, president of Irish Fighting for St. Jude.“This year we definitely have amped it up quite a bit […] This is the biggest year yet,” Mansour said.Santa impersonators included football players junior quarter back Ian Book, graduate student punter Tyler Newsome, senior linebacker Jerry Tillery and senior wide receiver Chris Finke, as well as professors Chris Stevens, Eric Sims, Anré Venter and Fr. Joseph Corpora.Book said he was inspired by the event’s objective.“Like two weeks ago I got an email, and once I found out what it was for, it was a no-brainer. I knew I could help out in any way, so I was down to do that,” he said.Finke said he was excited to embrace his role as Santa.“I’ve never been Santa, so I hope I’m alright at it,” he said. “It will be fun to sit here with the kids and ask them what they want for Christmas. Hopefully they’re not too scared of me.”Many people went to the event to support their favorite athletes. Such was the case of junior Brandon Hardy. Participating in Snapshots with Santa for the first time, Hardy said he was looking forward to taking a picture with his friend, Tillery, as well as to get into the Christmas spirit of giving back.“This is what Notre Dame is about, about making a positive difference in the world. It’s cool to give back to your community,” Hardy said.Freshman Juliana Salvatierra, who is from Bolivia, said she was eager to take a picture with Venter, her psychology professor. She also referenced the prospect of helping others as her main reason for coming to the event.“I was really aware of the cause, and I really wanted to help too because in my country I don’t have the opportunity of doing many of these things,” Salvatierra said.For his part, Venter, a veteran of the event, said he was pleased to reprise his role as Santa. He has participated every year since Snapshots with Santa began, and said he truly enjoys meeting the children and students, and he describes the experience as “wonderful.”“It’s really cool to see little kids who still think that Santa’s real … it’s magical to them, and that’s really cool,” he said. “The other thing that I really like is seeing students outside of the classroom. It’s nice.”Another professor who took on the role of Santa Claus was business professor Chris Stevens. As the faculty advisor to Irish Fighting for St. Jude, Stevens said he was happy to undertake a different role to advance the club’s mission.“Santa is about spreading joy, and about bringing joy and happiness to others. And so, it’s the holiday season — Christmas is upon us — and it’s just a wonderful opportunity to really get into the Christmas spirit early in the season,” Stevens said.Stevens said he knows the poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” by heart, and said he may recite it for the children. He said he was approaching his role as Santa with an air of excitement and responsibility. He recognized the power of the role of Santa.“This is the time of giving, and 80 percent of the population in this world lives on less than $10 a day, and we’re all very, very blessed to be able to be here at Notre Dame, and do what we do,” he said. “So I think that during the holiday season, [students should] do things that bring happiness. It is impossible for students to sprinkle happiness on others and not get some on themselves.”Tags: Chris Finke, christmas, Ian Book, Irish Fighting for St. Jude, Jerry Tillery, Santa Claus, Tyler Newsome
We aren’t talking about USB coffee warmers or pen holders. Here are 10 things you could actually use around your video editing workstation.Photos from Shutterstock and AmazonMake 14 hour editing sessions tolerable by getting your editing workstation in order. Here are some helpful things to have around your editing suite.Note: We’re not sponsored by any of the products or vendors listed below. We encourage you to purchase products at the retailer of your choice!1. Pen TabletMost video editors I know do their work with just a keyboard and mouse, but there are others, that simply swear by a tablet for a faster and more efficient editing experience. Wacom has made a name in recent years as the go-to manufacturer of pen tablets for creative professionals and their marketing to post-production pros, touting the benefits of better ergonomics, custom button mapping and a more fluid animating process.If using a tablet seems intimidating, you can get in at a lower price point for some of the entry level models under $200. Give it a try in your editing work. If it sticks, upgrade to the Intuos Pro line and have your starter tablet as an on-the-go solution.For more info on editing and animating with a tablet check out our previous post: Why Use a Wacom Tablet or Stylus for Post Production?2. USB HubWhen you have a project on multiple hard drives and you already have your mouse or Wacom tablet hogging a port, you are going to need more USB ports. This is especially true when working on a laptop. Expand your USB capabilities with a hub…but avoid cheaply made hubs that likely won’t hold up to long term use (or being tossed around in a backpack). We love these aluminum Mac inspired models:1byone USB 3.0 7-PORT Aluminum HUB – $29.99Xcellon 4-Port Powered USB 3.0 Aluminum Hub – $34.95Satechi Premium 4 Port USB – $24.993. Uninterruptible Power SupplyIf you’re not editing with a battery backup, I’d guess you haven’t lost hours of your video editing work…yet. It’s a must-have in every editing suite. Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is just a fancy name for a battery backup. APC is the market leader for UPS units. They will guard your system against power surges and when there is an outage, they can provide ample time to backup your work and shut down your computer.The main things to look for when purchasing a UPS are the output power capacity and the number of outlets. With many units, not all the outlets have battery backup (some may just provide surge protection). UPS units vary in the amount of power capacity they provide. To calculate the output power capacity you’ll need, you’ll need to determine the average wattage load of your computer system and how long you would want that system to power solely off the UPS. An in-depth post over at HowToGeek does a great job at explaining this in depth with calculations for figuring out how long your computer (and peripherals) could run on various UPS units. It’s worth checking out.Lastly, make sure your clients are covered. If you have a client desk/table in your edit suite it should also have a power strip with surge protection (important distinction!)4. Comfortable ChairThis stock photography model is obviously not sitting in an ergonomic desk chair!That rolling office chair you found in the dumpster may have been great in college, but when you sit in that chair for too long, your back and butt will hate you. You don’t need to spend $1000+ on a Herman Miller or Steelcase chair to be comfortable but you do need to take the following things into consideration when chair shopping.Adjustability/Ergonomics: Most chairs have up/down and recline but is the seat depth also adjustable? Can you set the armrest height?Material: Leather and vinyl chairs tend to trap body heat and reduce air circulation. Opt for breathable mesh that can make grueling edit sessions a little more bearable.Test Drive: You’re going to be married to your chair…and you wouldn’t marry someone without getting to know them first. If you can, go to a local showroom and try out the different chairs. However showrooms and furniture stores typically come with a higher price tag than online options like Amazon. Although you can return items that come from Amazon direct, may Amazon resellers have policies that don’t allow you to return furniture…especially if you assembled it. Be sure to thoroughly check the return terms before you purchase a chair online.Product Reviews: We furnished our office with chairs purchased online, but used customer reviews to guide the decision on which product to buy. The trick is to look for follow-up reviews, those reviews created after the customer has spent some serious time with the chair. Most chairs are comfortable at first, so hearing from someone that’s given it a thorough sit will provide the best feedback.5. Speaker StandsSome video editors spend loads of cash on high-end speakers but miss a key component in their audio setup: speaker stands. A pair of nice stands can:Reduce speaker rattling on your desk (especially with bass-heavy audio)Angle speakers to your earsMinimize sound reflection off your deskYou can get a pair of good stands online for less than $50 – a worthwhile investment for any serious video editor. Image above from AudioEngine USA.6. Quality HeadphonesAre your headphones still comfortable after wearing them for an hour? What about three hours? Ten hours? If not, look into getting a quality pair you can actually keep on.Avoid consumer focused headphones, like Beats or Skullcandy, which often have over pumped bass. Instead, look for monitoring headphones (also called reference monitors). Video editor and PremiumBeat blogger Jonny Elywn recently did a post on his picks on the best headphone options for film and video editors. One takeaway:For comfort, you will definitely want circumaural headphones – which basically means the pads sit around the earlobe, rather than pressing down on them.Check out Jonny’s post for tons of good options.7. Video Editing Shortcut KeyboardKeyboard shortcuts save time when video editing…we know this. But unfortunately it’s difficult to get into a groove using shortcuts (for new video editors) or knowing every shortcut for your application (for experienced video editors). A dedicated video editing shortcut keyboard solves this issue.We’re really digging this new model from EditorsKeys (shown above). Each key is backlit so you can see the shortcut icons in the dark of your editing suite – very useful.8. Gaff TapeGaff tape isn’t only for on-set. Although pricey, it’s also a versatile product to have around your edit bay. You can use it to label hard drives, tape down and secure any equipment wires, or mark any steps or light switches in your dark edit bay (also called “spiking“). What we love about gaff tape is that it doesn’t leave behind a sticky residue when removed.Rosco GaffTac Gaffers Tape, 2 Pack – $33.96ProTapes Pro Gaff Tape – $13.37Devek Neon Spike Tape, 4 Pack – $35.009. Extra Cables & AdaptersEvery video editor needs a toolbox with extra cables. I’ve been sent hard drives with footage…but without any cables. Luckily, I keep a variety of extras on hand: problem solved. A few cables I always have:Micro USB to USBUSB to Firewire 400USB to Firewire 800USB to HDMIHDMI to VGAUSB extension cablesMini DisplayPort to HDMIUSB to RCAUniversal Power CordsAmazon has their own line of cables and adaptors that are inexpensive and highly reviewed.10. USB MicA mic in an edit suite – why would you need that? Scratch tracks. Having a decent mic on-hand is a quick way to rough in voiceovers or pick-up audio. For instance, when editing I’ll often record myself reading a voiceover part and add it to the timeline just so I can get a good sense of the timing. There’s no need to wait until you have the final VO track recorded from your voice talent.The Yeti Microphone by Blue is a great choice because it’s verstaile and USB powered (no need for an external audio interface). You can easily change the patterns (Cardioid, Omni, Stereo and Bi) and it comes complete with a little stand that won’t take up a lot of real estate on your desk. Image from BWOne.comBonus: A PlantPhoto from Jamey BethHey, it worked for Léon the Professional. It might sound crazy but there have actually been a number of studies in recent years that tout the health benefits of having plants in your work area (reduces stress, improves attentiveness). Small bamboo plants are a good option in super low light conditions, like a video editing suite. It’ll also create a nicer environment for when clients come to visit.Got your own suggestions? Let us know in the comments below!
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is relishing the “luxury” of the multiple attacking options he hopes will enable the club to compete across all competitions this season.Alexis Sanchez, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil started together for the first time in the 5-2 Premier League rout of Everton last Sunday, while Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere were on the bench.As Arsenal prepared to face Norwich City in the fourth round of the League Cup later on Tuesday, Wenger said the talent at his disposal would enable him to rotate his front line without any dilution of quality.”That’s the luxury I have at the moment and the difficulty I have as well,” Wenger told the club’s website. (www.arsenal.com)”All these players do well, play well and they deserve to play.”Fortunately, we have important games every week, so I can give competition to everybody. We have so much offensive force on the bench as well. It’s really a strong point of the club at the moment.”Arsenal’s attack will further be boosted when striker Danny Welbeck and midfielder Santi Cazorla return from their respective injuries.In over two decades at Arsenal, the Frenchman has yet to win the League Cup but believes the current squad depth will allow the club to challenge for the trophy.”I always focus on winning trophies in the Premier League and FA Cup domestically, and always used the League Cup as an education for our young players,” Wenger added.”But with this team I have the squad to go further, so let’s see. Let’s focus on winning the match against Norwich and then we’ll see where we will go.”advertisement
Reimer said based on the preliminary data he’s seen so far he would eat anything of Lake Melville.“And I would feed it to my grandchildren as well,” he said.“But I want an expert to look at that and that’s some of the first information we’ll get out on the website.”Reimer is wading into new territory.A reservoir for a dam has never been cleared before.In general, the issues around mercury poisoning are dealt with after the fact with warning signs about consumption.But he says even in a megaproject three quarters done, there’s still time to take action.“I do think we’re in time,” he said. “If the data, and again, I want to be cautious here, I don’t want to draw conclusions prematurely, but I think that we do have time to implement, if we decide something like topsoil removal, targeted topsoil removal is going to be an effective strategy, then we think there’s still time to do that.”The committee already issued three recommendations in September.It asked Nalcor to do a feasibility study on removing soil and vegetation, to improve both its water monitoring program and its own model for predicting methylmercury production.But the mistrust of Nalcor Energy runs deep in Labrador.“Recommendations are not a mandate. It’s not an order,” said Cole. “They come so late. Everything is so late. So as these little small wins are gained by us, Nalcor is proceedings at turbo speed with this project.”But Reimer said the recommendations do carry weight.“I have felt a sense of cooperation from all parties,” said Reimer. “When I ask Nalcor for something, information or data, they are very timely in getting it to me. They take the work of committee very seriously. I’ve certainly not been frustrated in any way by waiting for any request to be satisfied. I’m hopeful.”Optimistic, but also working under tight deadlines.Reimer’s contract as chair is up in March. He’s confident the work of the committee will continue whether he stays on or not.In the meantime, Reimer is expecting a lot of data to land on his desk by Christmas, from soil samples to water monitoring results, to reviews of previous studies on the amount of methylmercury in both food and people in Labrador.He’s hoping to have information and updates posted on the committee’s future website by the New Year. (The Churchill River in Labrador – APTN Investigates) Trina Roache APTN InvestigatesA committee set up to address key concerns about the hydro project at Muskrat Falls in Labrador says people can expect information to start flowing soon.“We want to be completely transparent. People can be critical of us because we’ve been sort of invisible at the moment because we’ve been too busy trying to get some answers,” said Ken Reimer, chair of the Independent Advisory Committee.The committee was set up as a key part of a deal brokered between the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Innu and Inuit leaders. That deal effectively ended a five-day Indigenous-led occupation of the Muskrat Falls site in October 2016. (The $12-billion Muskrat Falls project is expected to start producing energy in 2020. Photo Trina Roache)The Lower Churchill project at Muskrat Falls is a $12 billion dam under construction about an hour’s drive west of Happy Valley-Goose Bay.When up and running in 2020, it will produce 834 megawatts of power.Billed as a key part of a low carbon economy, dams are central to Canada’s green energy plan and produce over 60 per cent of the country’s electricity.“It’s not clean energy,” said Beatrice Hunter, an Inuk grandmother, and Labrador land protector.“If it was clean energy we wouldn’t be getting methylmercury poisoning.”Methylmercury is a naturally occurring toxin created by mercury and organic carbon found in soil and vegetation.The neurotoxin accumulates as it goes up the food chain and can make people sick.With the first phase of flooding imminent in the fall of 2016, a sense of urgency kicked the protests into high gear.More than a year after the protests, the reservoir has been partially flooded.Reimer wasn’t appointed as chair of the advisory committee until this past August.Hunter is disappointed and frustrated.She’s facing civil and criminal charges for breaking a court injunction at Muskrat Falls.She spent eleven days in jail last June when she refused to promise a judge she’d stop protesting at the Muskrat Falls site and stay one kilometre away.“I was angry that I had gone to jail and Muskrat Falls is still running – they’re not taking concerns seriously,” said Hunter.“We’re still here waiting for mitigation of methylmercury poisoning. We’re still waiting. It’s a year later.”“It is true that they should have known”-Ken Reimer, chair of the Independent Advisory Committee on the permanent flooding in Labrador (Denise Cole at Nalcor Energy’s offices in St. John’s. Photo Trina Roache/APTN) In late September, Labrador land protector Denise Cole led a dozen people from Labrador to St. John’s to the head office of Nalcor Energy, the provincially-owned crown corporation in charge of the Lower Churchill project at Muskrat Falls.“It’s to send a message,” said Cole. “That it’s not okay. It’s not okay to poison people downstream with methylmercury.”The group blocked the entrances to keep Nalcor employees from getting to work and Cole read a statement.“To Nalcor CEO Stan Marshall, we say directly, make your engineers explain publicly why the methylmercury agreement has been broken,” the statement said.The reason for raising the reservoir water levels in 2016 was to protect infrastructure under construction at the dam during the winter months.Part of the deal with Indigenous leaders included a promise that the water would be released come spring.Methylmercury is formed when the trees and topsoil breakdown, unlikely in frigid water.But spring came and went and the water levels stayed higher than normal.After the summer and a report from SNC-Lavalin, an engineering consultant on the project came news that the water levels will never go down again because of soil erosion along the banks of the river.“It is true that they should have known that and I think some people did know that from the beginning,” said Reimer.“Certainly, SNC-Lavalin knew that, I don’t know how it wasn’t communicated properly earlier.”Reimer said the committee has Nalcor’s geotechnical reports under an independent review by the Geological Society of Canada and is expecting results soon.“I’m comforted by the fact that because the water levels didn’t go up as much,” he said. “Only a very small proportion of newly flooded land was affected.”Reimer flew over the site in September and said quite a few trees in the area of the future reservoir have been cut down.According to Nalcor Energy, six hectares have been cleared.But Reimer said mitigation is not as straightforward as clearing the reservoir.Soil testing is underway to see what areas contain the toxic ingredients – organic carbon and mercury.Rocky places won’t.“The early environmental assessment, it did surprise me that it didn’t include Lake Melville”-Ken ReimerAreas previously flooded, even naturally, probably won’t either. And Reimer said it’s possible that the potential methylmercury trouble spots could be covered up instead of dug up.Methylmercury is not a new problem when it comes to dams.But a study by Harvard researchers in 2015 indicated the impacts could travel further downstream from Muskrat Falls than first thought.“The early environmental assessment, it did surprise me that it didn’t include Lake Melville. Certainly, the Harvard work has demonstrated that that potential definitely exists,” said Reimer.Lake Melville stretches 140 kilometres in from the coast of Labrador, dotted by communities like Sheshatshiu, Rigolet and Happy Valley-Goose Bay.“It wouldn’t be a summer for me if I didn’t go get my salmon,” said Inuit land protector Marjorie Flowers.Flowers lives in Goose Bay now but grew up in the Inuit community of Rigolet.She was arrested and charged with breaking the court injunction during the 2016 protests.Like Hunter, she went to jail for defying the judge’s orders.On the day APTN interviewed her last month, she bustled around her kitchen, cleaning a salmon her father caught during the summer in Rigolet.“This is the way I grew up, this is what I lived on,” said Flowers. “It was imperative for my father to have salmon and trout in the summer. That’s what he fed his family on. To have that in jeopardy, because it is in jeopardy now, it becomes like a strip off of me.” (The October 2016 protest at Muskrat Falls. Photo Trina Roache)At the heart of the protests were concerns that trees and topsoil left in the reservoir will poison the waterways and contaminate traditional foods.“I realize there’s been frustrations because there seemed to be an absence of activity but as soon as I got on board we’ve been going fast and furious,” said Reimer.“We’re working on getting a website up and running before Christmas.”The goal of the committee is threefold; to mitigate, monitor and come up with a long-term plan to manage any impacts from methylmercury.“If we had more time, we could have consulted with people,” said Reimer. “If we’d been at this earlier, maybe we could have been in the public and able to calm fears at this point, anyway.”Instead, the committee has been working flat out for the past few months to go over all the data collected so far related to water quality.“It’s not okay. It’s not okay to poison people downstream with methylmercury”-Denise Cole, Labrador Land Protector