Over60

News

Thu, 16 Jul, 2020

Sam Stosur faces online hate after baby announcement

Sam Stosur faces online hate after baby announcement

It seems Australia still has a long way to go.

And that was proven after Sam Stosur was on the receiving end of many ignorant comments after her baby announcement on Tuesday.

The Aussie tennis champion took to social media to reveal she’s a mother for the first time, announcing partner Liz Astling gave birth to a baby girl last month.

Stosur said she and Astling welcomed baby Genevieve into the world on June 16.

“Life in lockdown during coronavirus has been challenging in many ways but personally it's been one of the most exciting and happy times of my life,” Stosur wrote on Instagram alongside two photos of Genevieve.

“It has been a whirlwind time but we could not imagine life without her now.

“Mum and Evie are doing well and it's so amazing to be home with them both. We are absolutely in love with this little bundle and rolling with the happy chaos.

“We can't wait for what's to come and to watch little Evie grow up....Although not too quickly we hope.”

While the majority of fans and colleagues were overjoyed by the surprise announcement, there were some disgusting comments that followed.

Stosur has never explicitly spoken up about her sexuality or relationship with Astling, but she did thank her after winning the Spirit of Tennis Award at the Newcombe Medal night in 2019.

“To my Mum, Dad, … and my partner Liz, you have given me the love, support and every opportunity to pursue my dream and I’ll be forever grateful,” she wrote on social media at the time.

She also criticised Margaret Court after she made a comment saying that “tennis is full of lesbians” and suggested players should boycott Margaret Court Arena at the Australian Open.

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Joel Callen

News

Fri, 6 Mar, 2015

Meet 100-year-old Eileen Kramer. She’s the longest-living working choreographer and dancer

Meet 100-year-old Eileen Kramer. She’s the longest-living working choreographer and dancer

At age 100, Eileen Kramer is defying a lot of stereotypes. The centenarian is about to showcase her new dance production in Sydney titled The Early One – an original work exploring ideas of human evolution she created and choreographed.

Truly proving age is no barrier, even to what many consider the physically demanding world of dance, Eileen’s still as passionate about dance as she was at the beginning of her extraordinary 75 year career.

“If you can move, and be free, it’s a state of mind and you can translate that into physical movement,” she says.

Eileen still recalls the moment where dance took a hold of her.

“I was 24, and I saw the Bodenwieser style of dance for the first time. It was the opening of the Blue Danube waltz. I fell for it straight away,” she recalls fondly.

Day 1b -2

Eileen soon joined the Bodenwieser Dance Company, Australia’s first contemporary dance company, and toured the world. The taste for travel and the arts saw Eileen living in India for three years where she studied Indian dance and costuming, choreographing dances in London and Paris and eventually settling down in West Virginia, United States where she was part of the Trillium Performing Arts Collective.

However, just in time for her hundredth birthday, Sydney-born Eileen decided to return home. Why? Simply put, she “missed the kookaburras.”

She also hopes her and her production will change tired old assumptions about age.

“I don’t like people to talk about age. I hate people to come up to me and say, ‘Oh, when I am your age I hope I will be like you!’ I get very cross and say, ‘Well, what is my age? I don’t know.’” she says, continuing, “I say, don’t use the word ‘old’. The word ‘old’ has gotten old. Just say, ‘I’ve lived on this planet a long time.’”

Day 1j -3

For someone who has lived on a planet for a century, it is worthwhile listening to her wisdom and experience. And perhaps ironically, Eileen’s secret to positive ageing is simply not to think about age.

“Don’t think about it. Just go ahead and do things,” she says, adding, “The other day it occurred to me that we really never lose our childhood. It’s always there; it’s part of our life. So I still do things in a way that I discovered how to do them as a child. I’ve had a journey of self-teaching and self-discovery along the way. I continue to live in this way.”

So what’s next for the centenarian? Well, don’t expect her to be retiring anytime soon. 

“It’s my life and I’ve never thought about retiring. I don’t retire - it’s out of the question.”

Eileen will be working on a book about masks – her second book - and would love to tour The Early Ones around Australia.

For Eileen, a lifetime of passion for dance and the arts has meant a life positively lived.

“When I looked back at a video of this dance work I’d created called Budda’s Wife, and there was a moment that I was so thrilled with it that I said, ‘Thank you God for letting me do this.’”

The Early Ones will be performed at the Independent Theatre in North Sydney, New South Wales on March 13 and 14.

In partnership with the Arts Health Institute a Pozible crowdfunding campaign has been started, with a goal of raising $26,000 to help pay for the modest fees for the nine dancers, their costumes, the musicians and the music composition, the theatre hire and the technical and support crew. Any extra funds will go to support Eileen, who currently lives day to day in a hostel for people at risk of homelessness. 

Related links:

Meet the 91-year-old woman working as a tech designer in Silicon Valley

Watch these Bolivian grandmothers playing handball

This Paramatta woman is still a tireless champion of gay rights at 86

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Over60

News

Thu, 16 Jul, 2020

Sam Stosur faces online hate after baby announcement

Sam Stosur faces online hate after baby announcement

It seems Australia still has a long way to go.

And that was proven after Sam Stosur was on the receiving end of many ignorant comments after her baby announcement on Tuesday.

The Aussie tennis champion took to social media to reveal she’s a mother for the first time, announcing partner Liz Astling gave birth to a baby girl last month.

Stosur said she and Astling welcomed baby Genevieve into the world on June 16.

“Life in lockdown during coronavirus has been challenging in many ways but personally it's been one of the most exciting and happy times of my life,” Stosur wrote on Instagram alongside two photos of Genevieve.

“It has been a whirlwind time but we could not imagine life without her now.

“Mum and Evie are doing well and it's so amazing to be home with them both. We are absolutely in love with this little bundle and rolling with the happy chaos.

“We can't wait for what's to come and to watch little Evie grow up....Although not too quickly we hope.”

While the majority of fans and colleagues were overjoyed by the surprise announcement, there were some disgusting comments that followed.

Stosur has never explicitly spoken up about her sexuality or relationship with Astling, but she did thank her after winning the Spirit of Tennis Award at the Newcombe Medal night in 2019.

“To my Mum, Dad, … and my partner Liz, you have given me the love, support and every opportunity to pursue my dream and I’ll be forever grateful,” she wrote on social media at the time.

She also criticised Margaret Court after she made a comment saying that “tennis is full of lesbians” and suggested players should boycott Margaret Court Arena at the Australian Open.

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Georgia Dixon

News

Mon, 19 Dec, 2016

3 ways to teach mindfulness to your grandkids

3 ways to teach mindfulness to your grandkids

Kids are naturally curious creatures who want to find out how things work. This gives parents and grandparents a great opportunity to spend time with children, teaching them new things, and allowing mindfulness to become part of their daily life.

But we don’t need to tell them that ‘today we are going to learn how to be mindful’ because, let’s be honest, that doesn’t sound terribly appealing.

Instead, teaching through play is a great way to show kids how to enjoy the everyday moments. Here are some ideas you could try.

1. Explore nature

Put together a checklist of things to find out in the park, at the beach, or on a walk in the woods. They might need to find a bug, an interesting leaf, a spider web – or anything that you fancy looking for.

2. Watch the grass grow

Kids love to help in the garden, so why not set up a little patch or a big pot just for them. Choose fast growing plants (or even grow some cress in the shell of an egg) and encourage them to take a picture each day to see how fast it grows.

3. Make an ant picnic

Leave some crumbs out on the garden path and then use a magnifying glass to look at the ants that come to the party. See how they can carry a heavy load, and observe how they work together. Add some obstacles such as a stick or a leaf and see how they get around them.

Do you have any routines or regular activities with kids that encourage mindfulness? We would love to hear your ideas in the comments below.

Related links:

5 lessons kids need to learn the hard way

6 DIY projects to try with your grandkids

7 ways to build confidence in your grandchildren

Courtney Allan

News

Wed, 3 Jul, 2019

The harrowing childhood incident that shaped Delta Goodrem's career

The harrowing childhood incident that shaped Delta Goodrem's career

The Voice Australia coach and Aussie songstress Delta Goodrem shared a very personal story ahead of the semi-final of the show where she explained how she turned to music.

During her mentoring session with Daniel Shaw, Delta revealed that she was born three months premature as her mother was induced into early labour after a car crash.

Delta and her mother made it through the ordeal without lasting damage, but her father bought a piano that sparked her successful music career.

"My dad bought my mother a piano as a present for her going through such an intense ordeal and I ended up being the one who played piano," Delta said, according to The Daily Mail

"That was how piano came into the house."

Originally, the piano was meant as a gift for her mother but when a “six or seven-year-old” Delta played the musical instrument, her talents were too strong for her parents to ignore.

Despite Delta’s fame, her core has stayed the same. She told TV Week about her struggles:

"I feel I was the same back [2002] then as I am now," she admitted. 

"My moral compass was set very young; I had a clear calling in music and people. I definitely haven't diverted from that."

Delta added, "Have I grown? Hopefully, yes. I've changed in many ways and gone through different chapters. But my core has stayed the same."

Her career has always been about the love of music.

"I've always been in love with music and people, and want to share my heart through songwriting," she says. 

"I never had a cast of glamour over what I thought this was. I believed in magic and making songs that people could escape into."

Courtney Allan

News

Wed, 3 Jul, 2019

The harrowing childhood incident that shaped Delta Goodrem's career

The harrowing childhood incident that shaped Delta Goodrem's career

The Voice Australia coach and Aussie songstress Delta Goodrem shared a very personal story ahead of the semi-final of the show where she explained how she turned to music.

During her mentoring session with Daniel Shaw, Delta revealed that she was born three months premature as her mother was induced into early labour after a car crash.

Delta and her mother made it through the ordeal without lasting damage, but her father bought a piano that sparked her successful music career.

"My dad bought my mother a piano as a present for her going through such an intense ordeal and I ended up being the one who played piano," Delta said, according to The Daily Mail

"That was how piano came into the house."

Originally, the piano was meant as a gift for her mother but when a “six or seven-year-old” Delta played the musical instrument, her talents were too strong for her parents to ignore.

Despite Delta’s fame, her core has stayed the same. She told TV Week about her struggles:

"I feel I was the same back [2002] then as I am now," she admitted. 

"My moral compass was set very young; I had a clear calling in music and people. I definitely haven't diverted from that."

Delta added, "Have I grown? Hopefully, yes. I've changed in many ways and gone through different chapters. But my core has stayed the same."

Her career has always been about the love of music.

"I've always been in love with music and people, and want to share my heart through songwriting," she says. 

"I never had a cast of glamour over what I thought this was. I believed in magic and making songs that people could escape into."

Melody Teh

News

Wed, 27 May, 2015

A 2m tall, 95kg kangaroo has been terrorising residents of a Brisbane suburb

A 2m tall, 95kg kangaroo has been terrorising residents of a Brisbane suburb

A two metre-tall kangaroo who weighs 95 kilograms (and has a physique to rival any champion bodybuilder) has stunned residents of a quiet Brisbane suburb after he was spotted casually wandering the streets over the past week.

Nicknamed “Dave” by the locals, the intimidating kangaroo made world headlines after North Lakes local Linda Hellyer posted a video of him online when she encountered him on a footpath while walking her dogs.

MREC-TAG-HERE

“I looked up he was standing in the middle of the road,” Ms Hellyer told Daily Mail Australia.

“He was watching me and my dogs and they were watching him. I didn't get too close but I took a quick photo and video and left him alone.”

Ms Hellyer said she has seen large kangaroos like Dave in the bush but has never come across one in a residential area. While the giant kangaroo looks dangerous, Ms Hellyer said she felt safe.

“If we got too close to them they'd have the opportunity to hurt you,” she said, adding, “But they're quite accustomed to seeing people and seeing dogs because we haven't been pestering them.”

“They would be [dangerous] if you got too close, like anything else, but if you keep your distance they're OK.”

'Dave' the giant, thuggish-looking kangaroo has stunned residents of a North Lakes, a quiet suburban Brisbane neighbourhood

Related links: 

This video of dogs trying to use cat doors will have you in stitches

Do you know the difference between a cold and the flu?

5 surprising uses for bicarb soda you should know about

Over60

News

Thu, 4 Jun, 2020

Grandma bans grandchild, 5, from visiting her home

Grandma bans grandchild, 5, from visiting her home

A shocked mum has lashed out at her husband’s family after the grandmother banned their five-year-old daughter from visiting.

The reason for the ban is due to a nickname given to the grandchild by the grandmother.

The couple’s daughter is named Collette, but her mother-in-law has given her a nickname called “Letters”.

Mum admits that “it’s not the greatest nickname in the world”, but it hasn’t been a problem until now.

Her daughter recently asked her mum why grandma calls her letters.

“Why does grandma call me letters? My name is Colette," she said.

Mum explained that it was a nickname, but Colette quickly decided that it was weird and didn’t like it being used.

Mum took charge and politely said to Colette that she can asked to be called by her name if she doesn’t like the nickname.

Shortly after the exchange, her husband took their daughter Colette to visit his family, but received an angry phone call from her mother-in-law after the visit.

"She tells me that it was really rude for Colette to say she didn't like her nickname and that I shouldn't have told her to say that,” the mum explained.

"She said I was raising her to be bratty. She also said that Colette couldn't come over until she apologised and says that she likes being called Letters."

"That last part p***ed me off. I told her 'what the f***? You're banning a five-year-old from your house for not liking a stupid nickname'. Then I hung up on her."

Asking if she had overreacted to what happened, one Reddit user was quick to defend her daughter’s choice.

"Good for you for teaching your daughter to stand up for herself and for doubling down by standing up for her. MIL needs to apologise to the 5-year old for not respecting her name request,” one commenter said.

A second commented: "Your daughter is being more mature than her."

"I’m honestly just sort of in disbelief your mother-in-law could be old enough to be a grandma and act like that,” a third commenter said.

Over60

News

Wed, 30 Oct, 2019

“That is not activism”: Barack Obama quick to call out keyboard warriors

“That is not activism”: Barack Obama quick to call out keyboard warriors

Barack Obama spoke at the Obama Foundation’s annual summit in Chicago and spoke about the state of politics and activism within the US as well as the ‘woke’ culture that continues to grow in the world of politics.

Being ‘woke’ means being aware or attentive to injustices in society and some people use being ‘woke’ to ‘cancel’ people who do things wrong, whether that be spelling mistakes in tweets or using the wrong word to describe something.

The former US President was quizzed and got passionate about those who are ‘politically woke’.

“This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re politically woke, and all that stuff — you should get over that quickly,” he said, according to news.com.au.

“The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws. People who you are fighting with may love their kids and share certain things with you.”

He was also quick to mention the issue with young people thinking that they can spark change by pointing out spelling mistakes.

“One danger I see among young people particularly on college campuses is that I do get a sense among certain young people, and this is accelerated by social media, that the way of me making change is to be as judgmental as possible about other people and that’s enough,” Mr Obama said.

“Like if I tweet or hashtag about how you didn’t do something right, or used the wrong verb, then I consider that I can feel pretty good about myself because, ‘man did you see how woke I was, I called you out’,” Mr Obama said, prompting laughter in the crowd.

“That is not activism, that is not bringing about change.

“If all you’re doing is casting stones, you are probably not going to get that far.”

Former first lady Michelle Obama also spoke about the US’s problems with racism.

“Families like ours — upstanding families like ours who were doing everything we were supposed to do and better — as we moved in, white folks moved out because they were afraid of what our families represented,” she said.

“I always stop there when I talk about this out in the world because I want to remind white folks, ya’ll were running from us. This family. This family with all the values you read about, you were running from us.

“And you still running, because we’re no different from the immigrant families that are moving in. the families that are coming from other places to try to do better.”

“I can’t make people not afraid of black people,” she said.

“But maybe if I show up every day as a human, a good human, maybe that work will pick away at the scabs of your discrimination.”

Melody Teh

News

Mon, 1 Feb, 2016

Hero cat shows anxious dog how to escape

Hero cat shows anxious dog how to escape

A classic video has recently resurfaced of a cat showing a little white pup how to sneak out through a small hole in a wall.

At first the dog tries to push himself through the small hole but to no avail. The cat watches on and decides to teach her canine charge the art of feline movement. Encouraged by his feline friend’s example, the dog manages to pop through the hole. What helpful friends cats can make (when they want to be!). 

Related links: 

11 ways cats are like “psychopaths”

Dogs with no concept of perosnal space

Hilarious photos of animals hitchhiking

Danielle McCarthy

News

Wed, 4 Oct, 2017

7 good manners that should never be forgotten

7 good manners that should never be forgotten

A lot has changed in the world in the past few decades. There have been various fads and cultural norms that have influenced the manners and etiquette rules that people use.

Here are seven manners that should never go out of style.

1. Never speak with your mouth full

Not only is it distracting when someone talks with their mouth full but it can also be off-putting. If you know you have something important to say during dinner conversation, pace your eating.

2. Never use your own spoon for the sugar

Multiple people will be wanting to get sugar. It only takes a few seconds to get another spoon from the kitchen, if one is not present.

3. Hold the door for people behind you  

It’s never nice when you are walking behind someone and a door slams into you because they didn’t hold it open. Holding the door shows that you are friendly and thoughtful.

4. Remember people’s names

In a society that is “connecting” with so many people online and offline, remembering someone’s names shows your value and respect for them.

5. Look people in the eye when talking to them

When you look at technology instead of a person, you are essentially saying you don’t find what they are saying is interesting.

6. Welcome new neighbours

If someone moves in near you, introduce yourself and bring a small welcoming gift. Your gesture will go a long way and is the perfect opportunity to form a new friendship.

7. Leave a place as you found it

It is always appreciated when you value someone else’s property.

What manners do you think are most important? Let us know in the comments below. 

Over60

News

Tue, 30 Jun, 2020

Cake and champers! Sam Armytage's happy weekend gathering

Cake and champers! Sam Armytage's happy weekend gathering

Samantha Armytage, 43, has shared a special and intimate weekend with her fiancé, Richard Lavender and close friends.

Armytage and her 60-year-old partner appeared to have enjoyed a private celebration together with a few friends over the weekend to mark their momentous engagement.

The Sunrise host was photographed holding a Champagne flute on what appeared to be Richard's property in New South Wales' Southern Highlands in a photograph posted to her Instagram.

The Channel Seven star uploaded two photos of herself in the arms of her fiancé earlier this month, with a glimmering diamond ring on her wedding finger.

The TV star was dressed in a gorgeous and effortless ensemble, which included a moody blue pencil skirt, knee-high boots and a beige cardigan.

It seems Samantha is more than ready to move onto the next phase of her life, as just five days after announcing her engagement, the Channel Seven star put her North Bondi home on the market.

She purchased the property for $2.15million back in 2014, and it has now been listed with a $2.8million price guide.

Reports say Samantha is selling the property, which is described as a “tropical garden retreat”, in order to downsize for a smaller apartment in the heart of Sydney city.

Scroll through the gallery to see Samantha’s North Bondi home.

Melody Teh

News

Tue, 31 Oct, 2017

Can you solve this tricky Halloween brainteaser?

Halloween is here so test yourself with this Halloween-themed brainteaser.

Posted on A Fun Zone, the maths-based riddle is a little tricky.

“Halloween was almost over, and Mr Green had less than 20 sweets left. When the doorbell rang, he thought he would give all the sweets away.

“When he opened the door, there were two trick-or-treaters. He wanted to give away the sweets evenly, but he noticed that when he divided the sweets in two, there was one left over.

“At that point, he saw another trick or treater behind the first two. Again, he tried to divide the sweets evenly among the three of them, but again one was left over.

“Finally, another trick or treater came to his door, making it four trick or treaters altogether. Mr. Green still had one sweet left over after dividing the left-over sweets into fours.”

“So how many sweets did Mr. Green have left when the doorbell rang?”

Have you figured it out? Scroll right on the gallery above to discover the answer.

 

Over60

News

Wed, 8 Jul, 2020

"Best I've ever had!": 2-step ALDI cake hack goes viral

"Best I've ever had!": 2-step ALDI cake hack goes viral

An experienced baker has shared her secret hack for making the best cupcakes on a popular Facebook group.

Home cook Elaine said that she decided to combine ALDI's White Mill Vanilla Super Moist Cake Mix with a packet of Cottee's Instant Pudding which was purchased from Coles, with delicious results.

She said that the results were so good that she might never make another cake from scratch again.

“I have baked cakes for many years and sold them,” wrote Elaine on the ALDI Mums Facebook page.

“However last week on a whim, I made cupcakes with this packet … and extra egg and this vanilla pudding, which I bought at Coles. Well, I don’t think I will bother with scratch vanilla cakes any more. It was fabulous.”

Elaine explained that she mixed up the ALDI cake mix following the packet instructions and added an extra egg as well as the whole packet of Cottee's instant pudding.

She said she didn't mix the pudding and just added it to the cake mix as is.

The pudding mix, explained Elaine, “just gives a little more flavour and a little more moisture” to the cake.

The hack thrilled group members, with many sharing their results.

“Made it once before and it was the best cake if ever tasted,” said one.

Added another: “I did some cake making classes and I kid you not the lady taught me this trick with a packet mix and the pudding.”

Over60

News

Tue, 19 Mar, 2019

"Super-recognisers" accurately pick out a face in a crowd – but can this skill be taught?

"Super-recognisers" accurately pick out a face in a crowd – but can this skill be taught?

Yenny is 26 years old, lives in Melbourne, and has a very specific talent.

One day, she was driving her car when she recognised a man who had been several years below her at high school and whom she hadn’t seen for more than ten years. What makes this particularly impressive is that she recognised him from the briefest glimpse in her rear-view mirror while he was driving the car behind hers.

Yenny recounts many such amazing feats of recognition and is one of a very small proportion of the population known as “super-recognisers”. She was the top performer on a national test of face recognition abilities in Australia, coming first out of 20,000 participants.

Could you learn to spot a face as well as Yenny? Well … maybe. Our new research shows that many training courses offered in this field of expertise are ineffective in improving people’s accuracy in face identification.

But other ways of learning how to identify faces may work; we’re just not yet sure exactly how.

In-demand expertise

Super-recognisers are used by police and security agencies to spot targets in crowded train stations, monitor surveillance footage, and track people of interest.

During the 2011 London riots, for example, super-recognisers from the Metropolitan Police identified more than 600 people from very poor-quality surveillance footage – a task that not even the best facial recognition software can perform reliably.

So can anyone become a super-recogniser? Can you make up for a lack of superpowers through training? In our paper we assessed the effectiveness of training courses given to practitioners who make facial identification decisions for a living.

We reviewed 11 training courses that comply with international training standards from Australia, UK, US and Finland.

We found that training courses typically teach facial anatomy – focusing on the muscles, bones and shape of the face – and instruct trainees to inspect faces feature by feature. Novices and genuine trainees completed one of four training courses and we tracked their identification accuracy from before to after training.

Surprisingly, we found the training courses had almost no effect on people’s accuracy. This was especially surprising to the people who took the training – an astonishing 93% of trainees thought the training had improved their ability to identify faces.

Our research shows that even the world’s best available training – used to train police, border control agents, forensic scientists and other security personnel – does not compensate for talent in face recognition.

This is consistent with recent research suggesting that our face identification abilities are largely predetermined by genetics.

Forensic facial examiners

This may come as disappointing news to people who hope to become a super-recogniser. But all is not lost.

Scientists have recently discovered that some specialist groups of practitioners show very high levels of accuracy. Forensic facial examiners routinely compare images of faces to turn CCTV images into informative face identification evidence in criminal trials. Recent work shows that they too outperform novices in very challenging tests.

Forensic facial examiners present a paradox for scientists. They perform face identification tasks with a high degree of accuracy, and this ability appears to be acquired through professional experience and training.

Our study suggests there is no benefit of face identification training courses when tested immediately before and after.

In addition, previous work has suggested that merely performing face-matching tasks in daily work is not sufficient to improve accuracy. Some passport officers have been working for 20 years and perform no better than others who have been working for just a few months.

This paradox suggests there is something particular about the type of training and professional experience that forensic facial examiners receive that enables them to develop visual expertise in identifying faces, and which isn’t provided by standard training courses.

How do they do it?

In our current research we are working closely with government agencies to uncover the basis of forensic facial examiners’ expertise. For example, we now know that part of their expertise comes from using a very particular comparison strategy, where they break the face down into individual facial features and then slowly and systematically assess the similarity of each feature in turn.

Interestingly, the nature of this expertise appears to be qualitatively different to that of super-recognisers – Yenny recognised her old classmate using a quick, intuitive process as she glanced in the rear-view mirror.

However, these snap judgements made by super-recognisers may not be suitable for the type of identification evidence that forensic facial examiners give in court, where a careful analysis of facial images is necessary to support identification decisions. Importantly, forensic facial examiners provide detailed reports of the observations used to support their decisions, which can then be cross-examined in court.

Trainable vs hardwired

Super-recognisers and forensic facial examiners use distinct routes to high performance in face identification.

Effective training appears to target the slower, deliberate and analytical visual processing that characterises forensic facial examiners.

The faster and more intuitive skill that enabled Yenny to recognise faces of relative strangers in her rear-view mirror is likely to be untrainable, and hard-wired.

This raises the question of how to balance these different sources of expertise. It may be that super-recognisers are best suited to surveillance-type roles, such as monitoring CCTV or searching for targets in large crowds.

Forensic facial examiners may be better suited to providing identification evidence to the court, which requires thorough explanations of how and why the expert came to their decision.

Alternatively, it may be possible to train super-recognisers in the expert skills characterising forensic facial examination, or to form teams that include both types of expert.

The aim of our work is to integrate these sources of human expertise with the latest face recognition software to improve the accuracy of face identification evidence. Such a system can make society safer, but also fairer, by reducing the likelihood of wrongful convictions.

Can you beat Yenny’s high score of 88% on the super-recogniser test? Find out here.

Written by Alice Towler and David White. Republished with permission from The Conversation.

Over60

News

Thu, 16 Jul, 2020

Calls for new COVID symptom to be officially recognised

Calls for new COVID symptom to be officially recognised

A skin rash can be the only symptom shown on people infected with COVID-19, a new study has found.

Researchers at King’s College London said skin rashes and ‘COVID fingers and toes’ can occur in the absence of any other symptoms, and should be considered as key diagnostic signs of the virus.

Data collected from 336,000 people on the COVID Symptom Study app revealed that 8.8 per cent of people testing positive for the disease in the UK had experienced skin rash.

An additional online survey of nearly 12,000 individuals with skin rashes found that 17 per cent of those with COVID-19 reported a rash as their first symptom of the disease. About one in five (21 per cent) of the people who were diagnosed with the virus had rash as their only symptom.

The rashes can come in three forms: hive-type rash with itchy, raised bumps; chickenpox-type rash with small, itchy red bumps; and ‘COVID fingers and toes’ with sore, reddish or purplish bumps on fingers or toes.

“Many viral infections can affect the skin, so it’s not surprising that we are seeing these rashes in COVID-19,” said Dr Veronique Bataille, consultant dermatologist at King’s College London and the study’s lead author.

“However, it is important that people know that in some cases, a rash may be the first or only symptom of the disease. So if you notice a new rash, you should take it seriously by self-isolating and getting tested as soon as possible.”

The recognised symptoms of COVID-19 by the World Health Organisation currently include fever, tiredness and dry cough along with loss of taste or smell, skin rash and discolouration of fingers or toes.

Melody Teh

News

Fri, 13 Feb, 2015

Loyal dog travels 20 blocks to reach owner in hospital

Loyal dog travels 20 blocks to reach owner in hospital

Any pet owner will understand the devastation felt when a pet disappears from the family home. It’s what happened to the Franck family when Cissy, their miniature schnauzer, went missing for four hours last Saturday.

But Cissy wasn’t running away from home. She was just trying to find her beloved owner, which led her 20 blocks away to the Medical Centre. Her owner, Nancy Franck, had been at the hospital undergoing surgery for ovarian cancer.

“We looked up and there was this dog just that was just running across the lobby,” Mercy Security Officer Samantha Conrad told KCRG.

Cissy2

“We started looking at the tags and it had the address and we saw how far away this dog had lived, as far as going at least 15 blocks to get here. So it was quite an amazing journey that this dog made.”

Dale Frank, Nancy’s husband, said Cissy had seemed quite anxious the past few days.

“She wanted to go see her mom,” he said. “She was on a mission but she couldn't find the right elevator to take.”

The Frank’s daughter, Sarah Wood, went to the hospital to pick up Cissy but not before visiting their mother.

“I said '’did you sneak this dog in here?'’ She said '’no, she sneaked herself in here, mom''',' Mrs Franck said.

The Frank family still don’t know how Cissy found her way to Nancy. She had never been to the hospital before but we’re guessing Cissy just knew her mum needed some cheering up. 

“That was great just being able to see her,' Mrs Franck said.  “I’m glad she thought of it.”

Image credit: KCRG-TV

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Ponant: It’s French for inspired luxury expedition cruising

Ponant: It’s French for inspired luxury expedition cruising

First impressions count, as we know, which is why I was struck when entering the foyer area onboard one of Ponant’s four near-identical sister-ships, Le Soleal, while embarking recently on one of their luxury expedition cruises. No sign of vintage brass portholes, no ubiquitous aroma of marine oil, paint and varnish that often permeates ships ‘of a certain age’.

The reception area is light and bright, spacious, more boutique hotel foyer than fusty club. Taupe colours and light grain timbers set the scene reflected throughout the ship in public areas, as well as in the staterooms and suites. The only timber panelling is in the spa.

© PONANT Christophe Dugied

The desk staff is bright, energetic, helpful. The crew immaculately presented.

“Welcome aboard.” Thank you, Captain. He is in evidence throughout the voyage.

The world leader in luxury expeditions

Owning and operating the youngest fleet of luxury expedition ships in the world, Ponant takes cruising the world’s seven seas seriously – 30 years of consistent growth is reflected in the company taking more passengers to the polar zones than any other cruise company. Their ships explore the globe with hundreds of voyages a year stretching well beyond the Antarctic and Northern Europe to warmer destinations such as the Mediterranean, South Pacific, the Kimberley coast in Australia, Asia and more.

This has helped establish Ponant as the recognised world leader of luxury expedition cruising. To maintain this position, they are in the process of building six new slightly smaller ‘Explorer Class’ ships, each with just 92 staterooms and suites, all with ocean view and balcony. While the world has gone mad for behemoths, Ponant finds good reason to reduce the size of their ships, without compromising space or facilities.

Small ships, big benefits

Compact external dimensions create cruising opportunities denied larger ships, providing the sort of intimate experiences us ‘over-60s’ seek. All Ponant’s ships are small enough to access and moor in places few others can. Passing under Tower Bridge in central London to moor next to HMS Belfast on the Thames, along with squeezing through the famed Corinth canal (with barely a metre spare on each side at one point) while en-route to or from Athens is on my ‘must do’ list for future cruises.

© PONANT Matthieu Germain

Small ship experiences offer unexpected benefits. Take accessing the centre of Saigon in Vietnam and St Petersburg in Northern Europe, stepping off the ships to be in the middle of the action, while large ships are forced to moor at the mouth of rivers and arrange ground transport to shuffle passengers to and from the city.

Likewise, your senses will be amplified when in expedition mode while unfolding the secrets of the Amazon, the Russian Far East, Northwest Passage, Black Sea or, for example, mingling with rarely-visited tribes in New Guinea – unmarked turn-offs revealing destinations-of-dreams.

Expedition cruises with an edge

A growing number of voyages feature a National Geographic Expeditions guest expert and a Nat Geo endorsed photographer. This additional duo adds a further dimension to Ponant’s expedition cruises; working with the regular onboard expedition teams, they provide additional specialist insight into the places visited.

Depending on the designated Ponant National Geographic voyage selected there may, for example, be a specialist vulcanologist, glaciologist, anthropologist or geomorphologist onboard to add further perspectives.

The photographer will share experiences, perhaps relating how he or she managed to capture a special series of stunning images – offering insight into how guests, too, can improve their photographic skills. You may as well learn from the best, whether enthusiastic amateur or smartphone happy snapper.

© PONANT Nick Rains

With new ships come innovative designs, for example Ponant’s world exclusive ‘Blue Eye’, an underwater lounge with cetacean-inspired glass windows and aquatic microphones to capture the sights and sounds of the surrounding marine environment. Add to this the very latest in award-winning eco-sensitivity, spanning from tin-free anti-fouling hull paint to onboard/onshore recycling, the exclusive use of high-grade marine fuel and guest briefings on the environments encountered. In 2021, the launch of a new polar exploration ship utilising low emission LNG and electricity hybrid power will herald a new era in marine eco-sensitivity. With Ponant, beauty isn’t skin deep.

© PONANT Laurence Fischer

On my recent luxury expedition voyage, guests onboard had joined the ship from around the world, a core of French supplemented by guests from Australia and New Zealand, the UK and USA, Switzerland and Germany, Japan … a commingling of nationalities. This creates a United Nations of travel, with animated interchange, points of view and perspectives creating fascinating conversations and interaction, whether on a Zodiac heading to shore with Expedition Team members or sharing a table at dinner. For those travellers who enjoy a global perspective, these voyages are the place to be.

The French touch

Of course, Ponant is French, and that means a relaxed elegant style balanced by sophisticated ambiance throughout, including nice touches such as Hermes toiletries for all, daily fresh patisserie, real French butter and, not unexpectedly, a variety of exquisite cheeses. The gastronomique restaurant offerings are influenced by Ducasse Conseil. Veuve Clicquot is sloshed around at functions, (while fine ‘everyday’ champagne is all part of the Open Bar offerings), along with fine French wines, occasional treats such as caviar tastings… and, agreeably, no penguin suits needed onboard, although you will see plenty ashore in the Antarctic regions.

© PONANT François Lefebvre

For me, fulfilling travel is a combination of elements, Ponant representing the epitome of modern-day expedition cruising, where luxury merges with adventure. It starts with the quality of the ships, the fine accommodation, unobtrusive service and attention to detail, then raises a level with the range of facilities, food and wine all adding to the pleasure and enjoyment of the experience.

Espresso to start the day, explore ashore, spa treatment, Arpège by night.

© PONANT Arnaud Delayen-Kotor

Perhaps at this stage it is just as important to know what Ponant ships do not have – casinos, jostling queues, crowds, shopping malls, go-kart tracks, faux climbing walls, happy hour or schoolies. What is offered is luxury quality yacht-style cruising and exciting expeditions, all the while enjoying French ambiance and a certain je-ne-sais-quoi.

Is PONANT the apotheosis of luxury and expedition cruising? There’s only one way to find out.

 

Joel Callen

News

Mon, 16 Feb, 2015

Seal and octopus fight to the death

Seal and octopus fight to the death

A rare sight has been captured on camera as a seal fought its prey – a giant octopus.

The10-minute battle for survival occurred just off Ogden Point in Victoria, Canada, where amateur photographer, Bob Ianson, was walking with his family.

Mr Ianson has said he originally believed both shapes in the water were harbour seals, before the seal emerged triumphant, coming to the surface to show off its prey. At one stage during the struggle, the octopus was wrapped entirely around the seal’s head, according to Ianson.

Image credit: Bob Ianson/Facebook

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