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Tuesday somewhere over Deeside

Booker High Wycombe - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 18:10

Richard says: A great second day of flying up here in Scotland. From early morning we had good climbs (some of 8+ knots) to around 8,000 feet.

315 was kept busy running between the airfield and Braemar multiple times and Dave and Paul went exploring in C4.

Tomorrow looks another excellent day with the locals promising big cross country weather and high climbs.













Categories: Gliding

BGA Trophy winners

Booker High Wycombe - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 17:59
In recognition of their work in developing Handicapped Distance Tasks, Tim Scott and Jim White have been awarded a BGA trophy. The full citation is:

Creation of software and pioneer influence to support the introduction of Distance Handicapped Tasks. Tim has also supported the creation of scripts for BGA scoring over many years.

Congratulations both.

The trophy will be presented at the BGA annual dinner on 27th February.

And if anyone wants to try out HDT tasks there are still a few places available in the Booker Regionals - www.bookerregionals.co.uk.
Categories: Gliding

Report from Scotland

Booker High Wycombe - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 15:00
Here's what Richard has to say about Monday at Aboyne:

Yesterday was a classic Aboyne day. We awoke to blazing sunshine and hurried to the airfield to unpack the hangar.

The first flight was conducted by Richard and Paul who contacted wave the the lee of Morven and climbed to 8,000 feet. This was Paul's first ever wave flight and despite being an ex Lightning pilot and BA A380 training captain was blown away by the spectacular views.

Further flights were conducted by Glyn and Nick, Dave and Hugh.

The day finished off with Paul and Richard heading off for 2 and a half hours. They climbed to just over 10,000 feet and explored up the Dee Valley to Braemar, returning via Lochnagar and Mount Keen.

The forecast for today looks similar to yesterday with good climbs and excellent cross country opportunities.






And here's what Nick did on Sunday, ski-ing at the Lecht:





Categories: Gliding

February in Scotland

Booker High Wycombe - Mon, 02/08/2016 - 23:16
In order to escape Storm Imogen, a select band of Booker members headed north on Saturday to our favourite wave site - Deeside Gliding Club at Aboyne. Although the area has recently suffered dreadfully from flooding, they received the usual warm welcome from the locals. Today they took advantage of clear skies, glorious sunshine and calm winds with climbs to 10,000ft and even a short 130k task, a total of 6 hours flying.

The forecast looks good for tomorrow!


Glyn with Capt Bob the Logkeeper  Strange bright light in the sky  Logie Coldstone or thereabouts

Somewhere over Scotland

Loch Muick
Categories: Gliding

HRH Crown Princess Victoria is the Patron for National Geographic Society Science and Exploration Europe

National GeographicNewsFeed - Mon, 02/08/2016 - 16:05

National Geographic Society Science and Exploration Europe announced today that HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden will be the official patron for the organization for the next five years.

The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to change the world. Since 1888, the Society has funded hundreds of research and conservation projects around the globe each year and works to inspire, illuminate and teach through scientific expeditions, award-winning journalism and education initiatives.

“We are delighted to have Crown Princess Victoria as patron,” says Joakim Mörnefält, Executive Director, National Geographic Society Science and Exploration Europe.  ”Her support reinforces the continued importance of National Geographic’s legacy and mission to provide the world with scientific breakthroughs and discoveries that inspire people to care about the planet. Over the next few years, we hope that Crown Princess will participate in our activities and visit some of our National Geographic-funded Explorers in the field.”

In 2011, National Geographic Society Science and Exploration Europe was established with its head office in Stockholm. The regional office manages and administers a scientific grant program funding for Northern European scientists, conservationists and explorers for fieldwork around the world. Thus far, the program has supported 166 projects and among them, 16 projects from Swedish researchers and explorers. Included in the projects from Swedish researchers is the investigation of the Swedish King Erik XIV’s legendary 2,000 ton flagship Mars/Makalös which went down in a fierce battle in 1564. The Mars/Makalös shipwreck is located off the coast of Öland.

About National Geographic Society Science and Exploration Europe

National Geographic is a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. We fund hundreds of research and conservation projects around the globe each year. With the support of our members and donors, we work to inspire, illuminate and teach through scientific expeditions, award-winning journalism, education initiatives and more. For more information, visit: nationalgeographic.org/europe.

Swedish-language press release available here.

Categories: National Geographic

Spring has Sprung

Booker High Wycombe - Sun, 02/07/2016 - 18:58
KCZ beats into windThermals, blue cumulus laden skies, green grass, what more could you ask for?


Another 15 degrees C and 15kts less perhaps.
Hold it off Julian, just a few more yards.
New course member Luca
Categories: Gliding

Upcoming Instructor Courses

Water Sports Braylake - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 23:30
Instructor Courses

Some of our instructor courses planned for this year are now available for booking, spaces are limited so book early to avoid disappointment!

RYA First Aid

Sunday 20th March, 09:00-approx.18:00, £95

The RYA first aid certificate will provide a successful candidate with the ability to recognise life threatening conditions and be able to provide rapid assessment and prompt, appropriate treatment.

  • The first aid certificate is a pre-requisite for all instructor courses.
  • You…

Categories: Water Sports

Nepali Mountaineer Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita Voted National Geographic’s 2016 People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year

National GeographicNewsFeed - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 18:10

WASHINGTON (Feb. 4, 2016)—Mountaineer Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita has been named the 2016 National Geographic People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year for her courageous efforts to help her fellow Nepalis after last year’s devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake. She was selected from a group of adventure innovators whose extraordinary achievements in exploration, conservation, humanitarianism and adventure sports distinguished them in the past year. The 10 honorees were announced on Nov. 13, 2015, and the public was invited to vote through Jan. 31, 2016, for the People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year.

“I am very humbled and happy to receive this award, although I believe there are many other adventurers who also deserve it,” Pasang Lhamu said. “I would like to thank my supporters back home in Nepal and around the world, and I am very appreciative to get all of their support. I would also like to thank National Geographic for recognizing our efforts helping Nepal. Personally, I hope receiving this award will encourage more women all over the world, especially in Asia, to enter the mountaineering world.”

Pasang Lhamu is considered one of the best women climbers in Nepal. She played a crucial and ongoing role in relief efforts in Nepal after the severe earthquake in April 2015. Using her social network, she raised money to buy and distribute supplies, including mobilizing local porters to reach remote villages.

Since then, Pasang Lhamu has helped provide more than 10,000 blankets to people in need in the most remote communities in the Dolpo region of Western Nepal, which is experiencing a particularly cold winter, and guided clients up two significant mountains: 22,349-foot Ama Dablam in the Himalayas and 22,838-foot Aconcagua in Argentina. Her focus is on supporting and advocating for girls education in disadvantaged Nepali communities.

In 2014, Pasang Lhamu ascended K2, the second-highest mountain in the world and arguably the most deadly, with two other Nepali women. She was also the first female mountaineering instructor in Nepal and has worked as a guide in the Himalayas and around the globe.

“Pasang’s motivation, strength, compassion and humility have distinguished her as a climber and humanitarian,” said Mary Anne Potts, editorial director of National Geographic Adventure. “Her tireless efforts to serve her fellow Nepalis have made her a role model for women, the people of Nepal and climbers.”

The full list of the other 2016 honorees:

  • Steve Boyes, a South African wildlife biologist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer, who led a team on a 1,500-mile, 120-day expedition by dugout canoe to collect data to help protect Africa’s wildest place, the Okavango Delta;
  • American ski mountaineers Chris Davenport, Christy Mahon and Ted Mahon, who, this past May, became the first people to climb and ski Colorado’s 100 highest peaks, all with summits over 13,800 feet;
  • Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson, a pair of American rock climbers who spent 19 days on the side of 3,000-foot El Capitan in Yosemite to complete the first free ascent of the Dawn Wall, a seven-year-in-the-planning odyssey;
  • The Afghan Women’s Cycling Team, a group of women in Afghanistan who have defied cultural taboos and endured harassment by riding bicycles with the goal of competing internationally, ultimately sparking a cultural debate about women’s rights in their country;
  • Swiss pilots André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, who completed the first trans-Pacific flight by solar plane, flying day and night for five days from Japan to Hawaii without using a single drop of fuel;
  • German long-distance kayaker Freya Hoffmeister, who finished her four-year solo journey in April to complete the first circumnavigation of South America in a sea kayak, a 16,700-mile voyage;
  • Ben Stookesberry, Chris Korbulic, Ben Marr and Pedro Oliva, a team of kayakers who made a source-to-sea first descent of one of the most remote and treacherous rivers on the planet, tucked away in the jungles of Papua New Guinea’s New Britain Island;
  • Wildlife photographer Joe Riis and biologist Arthur Middleton, who teamed up to chronicle the Yellowstone elk herd’s annual migration, using art and science to call on policymakers to protect the herd’s vital wilderness corridors; and
  • American ultrarunner Scott Jurek, who capped a 20-year career in trail running with a speed record on the iconic Appalachian Trail.

To learn more about each adventurer through photos, interviews and a video, go to http://adventure.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/adventurers-of-the-year/2016/.

National Geographic has named Adventurers of the Year for the past 11 years. Polish kayaker Aleksander Doba was voted the 2015 People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year for completing the longest open-water kayak crossing of the Atlantic Ocean at age 67.

About National Geographic Partners LLC

National Geographic Partners LLC, a joint venture between National Geographic Society and 21st Century Fox, combines National Geographic television channels with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic Studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, location-based entertainment, archival sales, catalog, licensing and e-commerce businesses. A portion of the proceeds from National Geographic Partners LLC will be used to fund science, exploration, conservation and education through significant ongoing contributions to the work of the National Geographic Society.

For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com and find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramGoogle+YouTubeLinkedIn and Pinterest.

 

Categories: National Geographic

National Geographic Partners Announces Leadership Appointment of Chief Financial Officer Marcela Martin

National GeographicNewsFeed - Mon, 02/01/2016 - 17:10

WASHINGTON (Feb. 1, 2016)—Marcela Martin has been named Chief Financial Officer (CFO), National Geographic Partners, overseeing Finance, Accounting and Budget Planning. Her appointment was announced by Declan Moore, National Geographic Partners CEO. She will report to Moore and Fox Network Groups CFO Del Mayberry.

“Marcela is a seasoned financial executive with more than 15 years of experience directing, streamlining and growing revenues for a global media company,” Moore said. “I got to know Marcela when I started serving on the board of the National Geographic Channels International, and she always impressed me with her command of the complex financials for our global channels business where I observed her role in its growth. Her proven track record with business reorganizations and integration of financial systems is impressive.  She will be a valuable asset to my leadership team.”

Prior to joining National Geographic Partners, Martin had served as Executive VP & CFO of Fox International Channels since 2007.  In that position, she was responsible for presiding over financial and tax planning, budgeting and control of quarterly forecasts, cash flow, and revenue and expense allocation analysis. Martin was repeatedly tapped to streamline the launch of new global businesses — including more than 30 in 2009 alone — with oversight of legal and tax advisor teams throughout Latin America, Europe and Asia. During her tenure, she helped propel the business from $40 million in revenue to more than $3 billion in revenue spanning over 60 countries. She has been with Fox International Channels since 1998. Previously, Martin served as Chief of Accounting, Tax & Administration for Ladbroke Argentina.

“I am very grateful to Declan and to the Board of Directors of National Geographic Partners for this tremendous opportunity. I have had the honor to have worked for the National Geographic brand for many years on the channels side. I am very excited to join this terrific team and look forward to working together to further develop the business,” Martin said.


About National Geographic Partners LLC

National Geographic Partners LLC, a joint venture between National Geographic Society and 21st Century Fox, combines National Geographic television channels with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic Studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, location-based entertainment, archival sales, catalog, licensing and e-commerce businesses. A portion of the proceeds from National Geographic Partners LLC will be used to fund science, exploration, conservation and education through significant ongoing contributions to the work of the National Geographic Society.

For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com and find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramGoogle+YouTubeLinkedIn and Pinterest.

Categories: National Geographic

Lectures, Flying, and Winter Thermals

Booker High Wycombe - Sat, 01/30/2016 - 21:57
Much activity in the clubhouse today with TWO excellent lectures - the morning one from William Parker on "Human factors", and the afternoon slot on "Mountain soaring" delivered by Geoff Tabbner, whose enthusiasm for the subject was enjoyed by the full-to-bursting lecture room audience.
Meanwhile, outside, Richard was kept busy on a windswept field, including completing George's BI training - well done, George!  A few members took to the sky finding some strong lift (and sink!) for this time of year.





Categories: Gliding

Weekday Rigging and Flying

Booker High Wycombe - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 21:47
Some of the weekday regulars turned up for a bit of winter sun and fresh air.  There was even some rigging and quite a bit of flying as 318 was coaxed out of its trailer to cope with demand.  Thanks to some selective airfield use we managed to find a good dry takeoff run despite the overnight rain.  There were thermals, though none of us quite managed to make them work. A good time was had by all.

Categories: Gliding

National Geographic Partners Names Laura Nichols Senior Vice President, Chief Communications Officer

National GeographicNewsFeed - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 17:06

WASHINGTON, D.C.  (Jan. 28, 2016)—Laura Nichols has been named Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer, National Geographic Partners. Her appointment was announced by National Geographic Partners CEO Declan Moore, to whom Nichols reports. In her newly created role, Nichols will oversee all communications and media relations for National Geographic Partners, coordinating among all divisions including the National Geographic cable channels, magazines, books, licensing, events and travel businesses.

“As National Geographic broadens its horizons and expands our business across new channels and new platforms, Laura is the perfect person to lead our communications efforts,” Moore said. “Laura brings tremendous media expertise to this position, and we look forward to collaborating with her to build on National Geographic’s status as the world’s preeminent source of storytelling about science, adventure and exploration.”

Nichols was previously Executive Vice President, Global Communications, at the Motion Picture Association of America. At the MPAA she was responsible for all aspects of the MPAA’s communications, including media relations; messaging research and marketing strategies; digital strategy; public events and programming; public affairs and outreach. She also led strategic efforts to focus industry advocacy on promotion of studio innovations and efforts to provide consumers with greater access to a wider array of options for viewing content.

Prior to the MPAA, Nichols served as Senior Vice President, Communications & Strategy, for the Center for American Progress, where she was instrumental in the founding, conception and programming activities of the Washington-based non-profit, multi-issue think tank. She has also served as a Partner at First Tuesday Media, Senior Vice President at the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and Communications Director for House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt.

About National Geographic Partners LLC

National Geographic Partners LLC, a joint venture between National Geographic Society and 21st Century Fox, combines National Geographic television channels with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic Studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, location-based entertainment, archival sales, catalog, licensing and e-commerce businesses. A portion of the proceeds from National Geographic Partners LLC will be used to fund science, exploration, conservation and education through significant ongoing contributions to the work of the National Geographic Society. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com and find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramGoogle+YouTubeLinkedIn and Pinterest.

Categories: National Geographic

National Geographic Kids Announces Grand-Prize Winner of International Photography Contest for Kids

National GeographicNewsFeed - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 15:42

WASHINGTON (Jan. 28, 2016)—With his photo titled “Bridge of Mystery,” 13-year-old Logan Wagner has captured the grand prize in the U.S. competition of the National Geographic Kids International Photography Contest, winning an eight-day National Geographic Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion National Parks Family Adventure.

Wagner’s photo was selected from nearly 3,000 U.S. entries from young photographers across four categories: Amazing Animals (photos of pets, zoo animals or wild animals); Dare to Explore (photos of outdoor scenery); Weird But True (photos that capture something odd or funny); and Wild Vacation (photos taken during vacation travels).

Open to children ages 6 to 14, the four category winners in the U.S. competition were:

  • Kathryn Kovacic, 9, Kennesaw, Georgia — Amazing Animals
  • Logan Wagner, 13, Cornelius, North Carolina — Dare to Explore
  • Chase Rodi, 13, San Diego, California — Weird But True
  • Henry Downing, 11, McCamey, Texas — Wild Vacation

The photos from each of the four U.S. category winners, along with the worldwide grand-prize winner, will be featured in the May 2016 U.S. edition of National Geographic Kids magazine, reaching approximately four million U.S. readers.

“Photography is an excellent way for people — and especially kids — to show their perspective on the world. What they produce is eye-catching, inventive and sometimes surprising, and we continue to be impressed by the contest entries,” said Rachel Buchholz, editor-in-chief of National Geographic Kids magazine (U.S.). “This year, we not only expanded our contest to Australia/New Zealand and Portugal, but we also received the largest number of entries in the worldwide competition. It’s encouraging to see kids actively participating in photography and engaged in the world around them.”

In the worldwide contest, 13-year-old Senne Mensink from the Netherlands won the 2015 International Photography Contest grand prize for her close-up portrait of a grasshopper peeking through a leaf. She has won a five-day, four-night trip to Washington, D.C., and a tour of National Geographic headquarters.

The worldwide competition was conducted in partnership with the U.S. edition of National Geographic Kids magazine and 11 local-language editions. This year’s worldwide winning photos were selected from more than 17,500 entries — an increase from last year’s program — from the United States, Australia/New Zealand, Bulgaria, China, Egypt, Germany, Indonesia, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Each country held a national contest and, in the final round, sent one photo from each of the four categories to National Geographic headquarters for judging in the worldwide contest.

The four category winners in the worldwide competition of the International Photography Contest were:

  • Senne Mensink, 13, Netherlands — Amazing Animals
  • Radostina Georgieva Todorova, 8, Bulgaria — Dare to Explore
  • Tadhg Verdier, 11, Ireland — Weird But True
  • Henry Downing, 11, United States — Wild Vacation.

To view the grand-prize-winning image and other top images from the international contest, visit natgeokids.com/contests/ipc-winners.

National Geographic Kids magazine launched in the United States in 1975 as National Geographic World magazine. There are now 17 local-language editions, the most recent being the Portuguese edition, which launched in December 2015, and the Australia/New Zealand edition, which debuted in June 2015. Other local-language editions are available in Bulgaria, China, Egypt, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Slovenia, South Africa (Afrikaans and English), Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom. National Geographic Kids has a worldwide circulation of approximately 1.6 million.

NOTE: Captions, credits and images can be downloaded at http://bit.ly/IPC_NGKIDS or contact Carol King Woodward at ckingwoo@ngs.org.

###

About National Geographic Kids

National Geographic Kids teaches kids about the world and how it works, empowering them to succeed and make it a better place. National Geographic Kids inspires young adventurers through award-winning magazines, books, apps, games, toys, videos, events and a website, and is the only kids brand with a world-class scientific organization at its core. You can follow National Geographic Kids on Twitter and Facebook.

Categories: National Geographic

George Stone Appointed Editor-in-Chief, National Geographic Travel

National GeographicNewsFeed - Wed, 01/27/2016 - 14:25

WASHINGTON (Jan. 27, 2016)—George W. Stone has been appointed editor-in-chief of National Geographic Travel, where he will lead all of the travel content, including serving as editor of National Geographic Traveler magazine and spearheading National Geographic’s digital and social media travel strategy. Stone has worked as a writer and editor for Traveler for 18 years, most recently as an editor at large based in Singapore. He will report to Susan Goldberg, editorial director of National Geographic Partners and editor-in-chief of National Geographic magazine.

“George’s passion about the power of travel to transform lives and connect cultures is evident in his work as a writer and editor for Traveler for nearly two decades,” Goldberg said. “George has a knack for creating print and digital features that resonate with new audiences — and reflect his spirit of adventure and fun. I’m delighted that George will be working with our cross-platform team to help our readers and viewers explore the world with insight and energy.”

In addition to the print magazine, Stone will oversee National Geographic Travel’s digital offerings, including its annual photo contest and blogging network as well as its social media presence. National Geographic is a leader in the social media travel category, with nearly 14 million followers across all platforms.

At National Geographic, Stone has led several editorial initiatives including Traveler magazine’s “Travelers of the Year” list, which celebrates everyday people who travel with passion and purpose, and the annual “Traveler 50” project, which tackles the future of travel and intelligent urban design. Stone’s work has focused on travel and tourism issues ranging from conservation and sustainability to destination stewardship, cultural tourism, storytelling, photography, travel trends and emerging destinations.

“Travel is about discovery. It’s a social exchange on a global scale, an exchange that we can all access,” Stone said. “My goal is to empower our audiences to embrace travel as a tool for exploration, cultural engagement, creative expression and personal growth. I’m proud to build on National Geographic’s 128-year legacy of exploration to encourage our readers to wander near and far, to see the world for themselves and to make discoveries that enrich our lives.”

Stone has spent the last three years in Singapore creating editorial content and covering global travel trends and emerging markets. He’s worked to strengthen National Geographic Travel’s global brand by building new strategic relations with travel and tourism industry stakeholders and by fostering ongoing relationships with partners.

Stone is the author of two books published by National Geographic, “From Mist and Stone: The Folklore of the Celts and Vikings” and “Raging Forces: Life on a Violent Planet,” and one from HarperCollins, “Extreme Earth: A Journey Through the World’s Most Dangerously Beautiful Places.” He has written and edited articles that have received awards from the North American Travel Journalists Association and the Society of American Travel Writers (Lowell Thomas Award). Stone has appeared on NBC and CNN International, written television scripts for Investigation Discovery and created heritage travel initiatives for the United Nations Foundation. He is also a judge for the National Geographic World Legacy Awards and a frequent speaker at travel and tourism conferences.

A native of Toledo, Ohio, Stone has a B.A. from Kenyon College. Follow him on Twitter @travelerstone and on Instagram @georgewstone.

About National Geographic Travel

National Geographic Travel creates authentic, meaningful and engaging travel experiences through National Geographic Traveler magazine; National Geographic Expeditions; National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World; digital travel content; travel books; maps; and travel photography programs. National Geographic Traveler (six issues per year) has 13 international editions. National Geographic Expeditions, the travel program of the Society, offers a variety of unique travel experiences led by top experts to more than 80 destinations across all seven continents. Travel opportunities include family and student expeditions, active adventures, journeys with G Adventures, private jet trips and voyages on the six expedition ships in the National Geographic-Lindblad fleet, as well as photography workshops, expeditions and seminars. The National Geographic Travel digital group shares its inspiring and authoritative digital content such as trip ideas, photo galleries, blogs and apps with its @NatGeoTravel community of nearly 14 million. National Geographic Travel books bring readers curated travel advice, photography and insider tips. Follow National Geographic Travel @NatGeoTravel on TwitterFacebookTumblr, PinterestInstagram and Google+.

About National Geographic Partners LLC

National Geographic Partners LLC, a joint venture between National Geographic Society and 21st Century Fox, combines National Geographic television channels with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic Studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, location-based entertainment, archival sales, catalog, licensing and e-commerce businesses. A portion of the proceeds from National Geographic Partners LLC will be used to fund science, exploration, conservation and education through significant ongoing contributions to the work of the National Geographic Society. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com and find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramGoogle+YouTubeLinkedIn and Pinterest.

Categories: National Geographic

Guide to France windsurfing holidays

Windsurfing - Mon, 01/25/2016 - 20:15

France has some of the best windsurfing in Europe with a multitude of beaches and resorts providing great facilities and awesome wind conditions. With two very distinct coastlines – The Atlantic and the Mediterranean – offering very different conditions for France windsurfing holidays. France windsurfing holidays: Atlantic Coast North-West France...

The post Guide to France windsurfing holidays appeared first on AWE365.

Categories: Wind Surfing

NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC.COM SHOWCASES SOUTH AUSTRALIA’S ADVENTURES OF A LIFETIME IN NEW EDITORIAL HUB

National GeographicNewsFeed - Thu, 01/21/2016 - 22:17

WASHINGTON (Jan. 20, 2016)—From camping with kangaroos in the Flinders Ranges and discovering the laneways of Adelaide, to cruising down Australia’s longest river (Murray River) on a houseboat, NationalGeographic.com today shares 30 of the most amazing adventures available in South Australia.  South Australia’s Adventures of a Lifetime can be accessed via the new dedicated online hub, at: http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/south-australia-adventures/.

The hub is a result of an ongoing partnership with the state of South Australia, where each of the 30 articles featured showcase a unique experience in the region. In addition, the hub includes stunning photo galleries, an interactive map, a South Australia guide with basic information for those looking to plan a visit, and videos that bring the destination and its experiences to life.

“We are excited to share with our consumers the vast array of experiences South Australia has to offer,” says Kimberly Connaghan, vice president and publisher of National Geographic Travel. “We began this program by sending photographers, Dan Westergren and Spencer Milsap, on assignment in South Australia in November. The photographers used NatGeoTravel’s Instagram account (now up to 7.7MM followers) to create excitement about the project and the response was overwhelming. Shortly after posting, photos received over a million likes. The images capture the authenticity of South Australia, from its people to the beauty of the landscape and natural world.”

Says Rodney Harrex, Chief Executive of the South Australian Tourism Commission, “We are thrilled that Nationalgeographic.com has captured such a compelling portrayal of our state’s stunning vacation experiences. Their stories truly demonstrate that South Australia is a place that curious-minded travelers must visit.”

Additional experiences featured on the site include:

  • Live the station life: Staying in workers’ quarters on an outback cattle or sheep station
  • Hike the Heysen: Australia’s longest hiking trail
  • Sail away to Kangaroo Island: A refuge for wildlife, fine scenery and beaches off the coast
  • Track the outback: Focusing on the outback tracks of the northern desert region
  • Explore an ancient culture: From ancient Aboriginal sites and rock art to indigenous guided tours in the Flinders Ranges
  • Ride the Ghan: Australia’s most iconic rail trip from Adelaide north through the central Australian desert
  • Tour the wine trails: Explore South Australia’s renowned wine districts
  • Head underground in Coober Pedy: Stay in the famous opal mining town where the searing heat drives residents underground
  • Flightsee Lake Eyre: See Australia’s largest lake, a huge white salt pan when dry, teeming with life when deluged by infrequent rains
  • Ride a camel: Follow in the footsteps of the early cameleers
  • Cook up a storm: Join celebrity chefs for cheese making, gourmet retreats and world cooking feasts
  • Spot elusive wildlife: Wildlife parks and locations in the wild for sightseeing Australia’s weird and wonderful fauna
  • Whale watch: Best coastal venues for spotting southern right whales on their migration
  • Swim with the wildlife: Swim with dolphins or sea lions
  • Celebrate a festival: South Australia’s best events
  • Cycle the state: Best rides and trails in South Australia
  • Head for the hills: Escape to the city to Germanic Hahndorf and other towns of the Adelaide Hills
  • Fossil hunt: Overview of fossil hunting and sites such as Ediacara Hills in the Flinders, Emu Bay (Kangaroo Island), Naracoorte Caves, opalized fossils in Coober Pedy and more
  • Dive a shipwreck: Best wreck dives in South Australia
  • Walk the wilderness: From coastal walks to Flinders Range
  • Drive the road less traveled: Coastal, winery, hill and desert drives
  • Comb the best beaches: A rundown of beaches, popular and deserted
  • Learn about wine: Courses, tastings and all things wine
  • Explore local markets: From Adelaide’s bustling Central Market to regional repositories of local produce
  • Surf the breaks: From the Nullarbor to Kangaroo Island
  • Tour the outback: Four-wheel-drive tours well off the beaten track
  • Go caving: From the Nullarbor to Naracoorte, Aboriginal rock art and stalactites to technical exploration
  • Laneways of Adelaide: A tour of Adelaide’s rejuvenated streets and laneways such Peel Street, Bank Street, Leigh Street and Gilbert Place

On March 1, NationalGeographic.com will host a sweepstakes, offering a chance to win a South Australia Adventure of a Lifetime. The winner will receive a trip for two and get to experience many of the adventures listed above.

About National Geographic Partners LLC

National Geographic Partners LLC, a joint venture between National Geographic Society and 21st Century Fox, combines National Geographic television channels with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic Studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, location-based entertainment, archival sales, catalog, licensing and e-commerce businesses. A portion of the proceeds from National Geographic Partners LLC will be used to fund science, exploration, conservation and education through significant ongoing contributions to the work of the National Geographic Society. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com and find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramGoogle+YouTubeLinkedIn and Pinterest.

About South Australia

South Australia is home to Kangaroo Island (known for its abundant wildlife), the famed Barossa wine region, and the charming capital, Adelaide. The fourth largest of Australia’s six states, South Australia is located in the southern half of the country. Described as the “perfect host city”, Adelaide was named one of the “Top 52 Places to Go” in 2015 by The New York Times. Surrounded by parklands and home to just over 1 million people, the central business district is one square mile – perfect for exploring the popular museums, historic buildings, wide streets and renowned cafes and restaurants. The celebrated Central Market, the largest covered market in the southern hemisphere, bursts with atmosphere all year round. From fresh seafood to gourmet cheeses and baked goods – the market is a special place for locals and visitors alike. South Australia is also a haven for wine lovers. Over 60% of all exported Australian wines come from the state’s top wine regions including the Barossa, the Clare Valley and Coonawarra. Outdoor adventure activities such as hiking, diving and mountain biking are abundant in this nature-filled state. South Australia arguably has the most accessible native wildlife in the country. Thrill seekers can swim with sharks on the Eyre Peninsula or others after something a little less daring (but just as spectacular) can catch a glimpse of a sea-lion colony on Kangaroo Island. Known as the “Gateway to the Outback,” South Australia is also home to Coober Pedy, the world’s opal mining capital. For more information on travel to South Australia, contact the South Australian Tourism Commission at 323.503.4210 or visit www.southaustralia.com, and find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Categories: National Geographic

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PARTNERS ANNOUNCES LEADERSHIP APPOINTMENT OF CHIEF MARKETING AND BRAND OFFICER AND NAMES SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, GLOBAL MEDIA

National GeographicNewsFeed - Wed, 01/20/2016 - 21:18

NEW YORK (Jan. 20, 2016)—Claudia Malley has been named Chief Marketing and Brand Officer (CMBO), National Geographic Partners, heading Brand Marketing, Membership and Market Research. Her appointment was announced by Declan Moore, National Geographic Partners CEO, to whom Malley reports. John Campbell has been appointed Senior Vice President, National Geographic Partners, overseeing all advertising and partnership opportunities across all digital and print platforms. Campbell will report to Ward Platt, Chief Operating Officer, National Geographic Partners.

“Claudia’s energetic leadership and proven track record working with our marketing partners globally — combined with her grasp and knowledge of what makes National Geographic unique — gives me great confidence in her ability to extend our reach and boost our brand power, connecting with consumers and commercial partners in innovative and engaging ways,” Moore said. 

Malley was previously Executive Vice President, Global Corporate Partnerships, National Geographic Society, overseeing all global corporate partnerships and sponsorships. Through custom integrated programs and larger Society partnerships, Malley has worked to provide both consumers and corporate partners with new ways to interact with National Geographic. Platforms created include New Age of Exploration and Great Energy Challenge. She joined National Geographic in 2003 as Associate Publisher of National Geographic magazine. She became Vice President and U.S. publisher of National Geographic magazine in 2004 and Executive Vice President and Worldwide Publisher in 2010.

Malley has more than 25 years of experience in media brand management, sales and marketing, working across media disciplines including print, television and digital. She began her career at WNET/PBS NY, moved to Ziff-Davis and then to Rodale, where she was publisher of Runner’s World magazine from 1999 to 2003.

As Senior Vice President Global Media, Campbell will be responsible for revenue and partnership opportunities across all National Geographic print, digital and social platforms and events including National Geographic magazine, National Geographic Traveler, National Geographic Kids and nationalgeographic.com. He will work closely with Malley and Fox Network Group (FNG) Sales to build and sell custom integrated programs and partnerships, around premium long-form content, for like-minded brands and create new revenue opportunities across the portfolio. Campbell will oversee both domestic and international sales teams, ad operations and planning, working with FNG offices globally.

Campbell joined the National Geographic Society in 2007 as a sales executive at National Geographic Traveler, quickly rising to Vice President, Global Partnerships and U.S. Publisher of National Geographic magazine and digital. Prior to joining the Society, Campbell was at Bonnier Corporation as an Integrated Account Executive and before that, a Planning Supervisor on the Strategy Team at MindShare North America.

Both Malley and Campbell work and reside in New York.


About National Geographic Partners LLC

National Geographic Partners LLC, a joint venture between National Geographic Society and 21st Century Fox, combines National Geographic television channels with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic Studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, location-based entertainment, archival sales, catalog, licensing and e-commerce businesses. A portion of the proceeds from National Geographic Partners LLC will be used to fund science, exploration, conservation and education through significant ongoing contributions to the work of the National Geographic Society. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com and find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramGoogle+YouTubeLinkedIn and Pinterest.

Categories: National Geographic

‘Squishy’ Robot Fingers Aid Deep-Sea Exploration

National GeographicNewsFeed - Wed, 01/20/2016 - 20:37

WASHINGTON (Jan. 20, 2016)—During a 2014 talk on his exploration of deep-sea coral reefs, Baruch College marine biologist David Gruber showed a video of clunky robotic hands collecting fragile specimens of coral and sponges from the ocean floor. Harvard engineer and roboticist Robert J. Wood was in the audience — the two scientists were being recognized as Emerging Explorers by the National Geographic Society — and a lightbulb went off.

“They were using rigid Jaws of Life-type grippers designed for the oil and gas industry that were totally overpowered and were destroying things,” Wood recalls. “It immediately clicked that there was a soft robotics solution that may be viable.”

In the months that followed, the pair collaborated to design, fabricate and test soft robotic grippers for deep-sea collection of fragile biological specimens. Their recent expedition to Israel’s Gulf of Eilat in the northern Red Sea — a unique marine ecosystem that houses one of the world’s largest and most diverse coral reefs — marked the first use of soft robotics for the non-destructive sampling of fauna from the ocean floor.

The new technology could enhance researchers’ ability to collect samples from largely unexplored habitats thousands of feet beneath the ocean surface, areas that scientists believe are biodiversity hotspots teeming with unknown life. The soft grippers also could be useful in underwater archeology.

As described in a paper published today in the journal Soft Robotics, the team successfully developed two types of grippers and, in the process, demonstrated a new fabrication technique that allows for the rapid creation of soft actuators. Gruber and Wood funded their research with a 2015 National Geographic Innovation Challenge Grant. The Innovation Challenge Grants are designed to foster collaboration between two or more National Geographic Society Explorers.

Gruber, associate professor of biology and environmental science at Baruch College of the City University of New York and research associate with the American Museum of Natural History, explores deep-ocean ecosystems with a particular focus on organisms that display bioluminescent and biofluorescent traits. (Bioluminescent animals produce their own light; biofluorescent animals absorb light and re-emit it as a different color.)

When he wants to visit a coral reef below the maximum depth that human divers can tolerate, Gruber must rely on a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). But there’s a problem: The standard-issue robotic “hands” of underwater ROVs are ill-suited to collecting delicate coral, sponge and other samples. That’s because the equipment was designed for undersea construction and to install and repair submerged pipelines.

Manipulating and grasping fragile organisms from the sea floor requires something that can mimic the dexterity and soft touch of a human diver’s hand. Wood, Charles River Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and founding core faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, recognized that soft robotics is tailor-made for the task.

Design, fabrication and grasping vegetables

Wood and Wyss Institute mechanical engineer Kevin Galloway set about designing two types of hands to replace the ROV’s factory-furnished metal gripper, each capable of gently recovering objects of different sizes and shapes. One, inspired by the coiling action of a boa constrictor, can access tight spaces and clutch small and irregular-shaped objects. The other, a bellows-style model, features opposing pairs of bending actuators.

To facilitate rapid in-field modification and repair, the team emphasized simple construction, inexpensive materials and a modular design. This meant they could try multiple configurations and make them in quantity. Harvard’s Office of Technology Development has filed a patent application on the team’s method for the manufacture of bellows-type soft actuators. The method is scalable, opening up a wide range of commercial, biomedical and industrial applications for this type of actuator.

The biggest design challenge, Wood said, was a lack of precise specifications. They weren’t designing a robotic arm to repetitively attach doors to car bodies in an auto assembly plant. The team had no way of knowing the size, shape or stiffness of the objects they would be sampling on the ocean floor. To approximate likely specimens, they visited the produce aisle and brought back an assortment of vegetables — celery, radishes, carrots and bok choy — tied them to a metal grate and dropped them into a test tank at the University of Rhode Island. After exhaustive tank tests, the devices were put through their paces at depths greater than 800 meters off the Rhode Island coast.

Field testing took the team to the Gulf of Eilat in May 2015. There they conducted more than a dozen dives ranging from 100 to 170 meters (558 feet, or as deep as the Washington Monument is tall). Most dives involved “catch-and-release” maneuvers to test system performance. But they did manipulate the grippers to retrieve samples of delicate (and relatively abundant) red soft coral as well as difficult-to-snag coral whips, bringing them to the surface undamaged in the ROV’s cargo tray.

Next steps

Simply collecting hard-to-harvest samples isn’t the end game. Researchers like Gruber hope to apply these techniques to conduct in situ measurement of organisms and, eventually, gene expression and transcriptomic analysis. Conducting this work on the seabed floor rather than bringing samples to the surface means that organisms are not exposed to stress from changes in temperature, pressure and light, and there is less disturbance to the reef system.

On the robotics side, Wood has a list of performance enhancements he hopes to pursue. Current-generation ROVs rely exclusively on visual feedback — a live video feed from an onboard camera — but he’d like to add tactile feedback, applying his lab’s expertise in soft sensors to let an operator actually “feel” what the gripper is touching. He is also interested in experimenting with bilateral rather than single-arm manipulation to achieve improved dexterity. Finally, the team wants to go deeper — literally. During the Red Sea dives, the system operated at depths under 200 meters. They envision conducting fieldwork in unexplored worlds 6,000 meters below the surface.

Along with Gruber and Wood, coauthors of the paper include Galloway, Harvard SEAS graduate student Kaitlyn Becker, University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography students Brennan Phillips and Jordan Kirby, University of Rhode Island Assistant Professor of Ocean Engineering Stephen Licht and Dan Tchernov, marine biology department head at the University of Haifa.

Funding for the research was provided by a National Geographic Innovation Challenge Grant and by the National Science Foundation (10400321).

About the National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to change the world. The Society funds hundreds of research and conservation projects around the globe each year and works to inspire, illuminate and teach through scientific expeditions, award-winning journalism and education initiatives. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.org and find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTubeLinkedIn and Pinterest.

NOTE: For photos and video related to the National Geographic Society/Squishy Robot Fingers announcement, please contact Claire Gwatkin Jones at cgjones@ngs.org.

Categories: National Geographic

National Geographic Magazine, February 2016

National GeographicNewsFeed - Tue, 01/19/2016 - 23:12

Full-size PDF version of press release available here.

Categories: National Geographic

Busy Saturday

Booker High Wycombe - Sat, 01/16/2016 - 21:29
A frosty sunny Saturday with no wind - and not much mud - a pleasant change from December. There was certainly plenty going on. In the clubhouse Jim was giving a lecture on Met for x-c with an enhanced set of visual aids. This year he created a cloud in a bottle, maybe next year he'll be doing rabbits out of hats. In the afternoon, Tim gave a briefing on how to set Handicapped Distance Tasks, so more people can set tasks on good x-c days.

'......before your very eyes.......Meanwhile a bunch of instructors were being put through their paces for their 3 and 5 year checks. Richard and Doug worked hard all day going up round and down.

Launchpoint
Here we go again...
Also under instruction was Alun, being trained by Graham for his advanced Aerobatic Instruction rating.

'Not sure what this bit's for'
George seemed pretty impressed with his first flight in his new toy.

Me and my Ventus
Flying went on until shortly before official night, after which we all retired to the clubhouse for a warm up!




Categories: Gliding