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Category Archives: Rockall
Posted: September 18, 2020 at 1:18 am
Fall is around the corner, meaningits time to change into your favorite cold-weather styles.
Youre probably looking for jackets, sweaters and comfy footwear. Plus, we know theres nothing quite like a pair of trendy UGG boots to add to your fall wardrobe.
And youre in luck because a variety of UGG styles are on sale at both Zappos and Nordstrom Rack this week.
For a limited time, you can enjoy discounts of up to 70% off boots, mittens, raincoats and more at the retailers.
And with such a wide range of UGG markdowns, youre sure to find something cute and affordable youll want to rock all fall.
So go ahead and grab your faves and get ready to make a cozy step into the new season.
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On the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh: The way of the sword, and the way of the monk – Moneycontrol.com
Posted: at 1:18 am
In the year of the Water Hog, Chhnmo-phag-lo, the wrath of god rose in the land of Sog-yul, and broke on the people of Ladakh. The armies of the great Genghis Khan, chronicles record, swept aside the forces of Ladakhs ruler and laid waste to the land. From 1685 CE to 1687 CE, the fighting raged on. The desperate Ladakhis appealed to the Mughal governor of Kashmir for help. Nawab Fateh Khan, sensing peril to his own imperial domains, led an army of six lakhs in fact 6,000, regrettably prosaic modern historians estimate and chased back the invaders.
The Mughals soon left, though, and the Sog-po, the people of Sog-yul, returned in 1689CE. This time, the Ladakhis turned to the wise monk Brug-pa-pham-langpo, who mediated a peace agreement. In return for the district of Rudok, the Sog-po agreed to withdrawand a great black rock in the village of Demchok came to mark the permanent frontier.
Now, troops of the Indian Army and Peoples Liberation Army are staring out at each other on either side of that very rock, all the way northwards along the Line of Actual Control to Pangong, the Galwan valley, and the bleak Depsang plains.
The two countries face the same choice the regions medieval rulers confronted: ought they pick the way of the sword, or the way of the monk?
Even as Indian television exults at the incredible bravery of soldiers who have occupied tactically-significant heights south of Pangong Lake, any genuine answer to this question must rest on a dispassionate appraisal of the strategic situation, not emotion. The Indian Army has a line of sight to the PLA garrison at Spanggur and returning the favour bestowed by it in April, north of Pangong. These gains are only of significance if China proves willing to trade-in its gains to avert further conflict.
Likely, China instead wishes to use its key advantage, a technologically advanced military which began a radical modernisation process in the 1980s, to bleed India over a protracted period of time. Forcing India to expend massive resources, will compel New Delhi over time to accept terms it would not do todayand serve as a lesson to other would-be challengers.
In essence, a few minutes with maps (above) make clear the PLA now controls much of what China calls its 1959 claim-line, the territories it asserted prior to the 1962 warand briefly occupied, before withdrawing to easily sustainable positions of the Tibetan plateau. New Delhi cannot reverse that situation without either risking waror a persuasive diplomatic deal.
For India, the situation in fact marks the worst all worlds. Even though it has been unable to reverse Chinas assertion of the 1959 line, it is now committed to holding back the PLA through a brutal, logistically-draining and resource-sapping occupation of positions at extreme altitude that can stretch for years, if not decades.
Although no official figures are available, the cost of sustaining 30,000-40,000 additional troops through the winter imported extreme-weather equipment, road maintenance, the wear of equipment like tanks and artillery, and additional flying hours for fixed-wing and heavy-lift aircraft could by informal estimates stretch upwards of Rs 8,000 crore per month. Indeed Indian military presence on the Siachen Glacier alone is estimated to cost upwards of Rs 5 crore a day, not counting logistical infrastructure investments.
This expense, given the gap between the size of the two economies, inexorably asymmetric. This year, Chinas declared military budget is $117 billion, up from $106.4 billion in 2012-2013 and $91.5 billion in 2011-12. For the past decade, Chinas military budget has expanded at about 12percent, ahead of its economic growth. The scholar Abhijnan Rej has documented in granular detail the growing gap between Indias military means and those of China.
Kangana Ranaut said it best: tumharey paas, aur tumharey Pita-ji key paas to duniya bhar ka paisa hai.
Expense is, of course, entirely justifiable in the face of compelling national interests but only if there are clear strategic ends, and it is far from clear if that is the case. The strategic community in India errs in mirroring its own mntalit in assessments of the thinking of its adversary. The PLA is not and never has been a prisoner of the occupy-and-hold-every-inch fixation Indian politics has imposed on military thinking. Land is not the PLAs end; it is merely a means.
Fearsome as Chinas military build-up might be, moreover, it isnt clear India need to be terrified into a reflexive matching of force. Eight of China's 18 Group Armies the equivalent, roughly, of an Indian corps face out on its south-eastern seaboard. Throughout Chinas military modernisation drive, the United States Defence Department noted in 2012, Taiwan contingency planning has dominated the agenda.
The asymmetry of resources, though, does make it imperative that Indias strategic community thinks smart rather than be drawn into the trap of fighting the kind of war the PLA has chosen to impose.
In large parts made up of only sons the products of the one-child family policy and sensitive to the pressures that a large-scale loss of life would entail in a relatively affluent society where ageing parents are dependent on their single child. Thus, it will most likely avoid limited war, or even skirmishing.
However, as the scholar PS Suryanarayana has observed, Beijing will only enter into a border agreement when it recognises that the cost of not settling the issue outweighs the cost of a continuation of stalematewhich, put another way, is no time soon.
From that other Sisyphean enterprise the Line of Control with Pakistan there are some useful lessons to be learned. To any thinking commander in either India or Pakistan, it has long been evident that the Line of Control model mountain-to-mountain saturation with troops, all year round is militarily useless.
Technological means available today render the so-called benefits of such occupation lines of sight to enemy positions; preventing infiltration; securing territory largely irrelevant. The intense Indian Army presence LoC, moreover, did not prevent large-scale infiltration into Kashmir from 1988 to 2003; nor have years of skirmishes shown either side is deterred by the actions of the other.
Governments have long known this. In 1992, the memoirs of former National Security Advisor JN Dixit record, then-Defence Secretaries NN Vohra and Salim Abbas Geelani, were poised to sign a mutual-withdrawal agreement.
Though the stated reasons for New Delhis eleventh-hour decision to walk away had to do with public backlash against appearing to cede territory, there was one unstated factor: Indian military commanders had no confidence the leadership would let them respond, should Islamabad take the territory later.
New Delhis playbook changed in 2002, when Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee ordered Indian combat jets to bomb a peak LoC Pakistani troops had occupied. There has been no attempted grab since.
Even if such tactics are infeasible against China, creative thinking is needed to ensure real costs accrue to violating Indias red lines. Generals need to be thinking of new ways of deterring China that do not commit the Indian Army to expensive and pointless ground-holding operations. Politicians and diplomats need to consider how time might be bought to develop the capabilities India today lacks.
The core question that ought be concerning New Delhi is not whether the PLA has taken a few kilometres of territory or a mountaintop here or there: Though these are excellent to pass the time on Twitter on TV debates, they are of no strategic consequence. Instead, the real need is to develop sharp clarity on what New Delhis real red lines are, and how it will respond should they be breached.
Bear in mind, the colonial civil servants Alexander Cunningham and PA Vans Agnew were ordered, as they began an effort to negotiate the border between British India and Tibet in 1846-1847, that, it is not a strip more or less of barren or even productive territory that we want, but a clear and well defined boundary in a quarter likely to come little under observation.
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Chris Rock talks about unmade all-black Oceans Eleven remake with Trump as the villain – Republic World – Republic World
Posted: at 1:18 am
Chis Rock is busy promoting his upcoming show Fargowhich is set to release later this month. In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the actor talked about anOcean's Elevenremake that was never made.This unmade project would have starred an all-black cast featuringChris Rock,Eddie Murphy,Dave ChappelleandChris Tucker in the lead roles. Moreover, according to Rock, this Black Ocean's Eleven movie would have featured a parody version ofDonald Trump as the main villain.
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In a recentinterview withThe Hollywood Reporter, Chris Rock revealed that he was once set to star in an all-blackOcean's Elevenremake. Chris Rock mentioned that this idea was pitched to him byEddie Murphy when they were both atproducerBrian Grazersoffice. The movie would star a cast of Black comedians who wanted to take down Donald Trump. The cast would featureChris Rock,Eddie Murphy,Dave ChappelleandChris Tucker, who would join forces and break into the Trump Tower.
Also Read |'The Longer Yard' Cast Is Headlined By Adam Sandler Alongside Several Prolific Actors
However, this movie was never made and instead, theTower Heistmovie starringBen Stiller andEddie Murphy released in 2011. Moreover,Tower Heistdid not feature Trump as a villain. Instead,Alan Alda played the role of a rich businessman who scammed people with hisPonzi scheme. The heroes of the movie decided to rob him after they were conned by one of his schemes.
Also Read |'The Ellen DeGeneres Show' To Return Post Alleged Toxic Workplace Accusations?
Further, Chris Rock also talked about the time he saw Donald Trump at aNew York City nightclub. Chris Rock revealed that this story took place long before Trump started his political career. The actor said that the moment Donald Trump entered the room, all the girls in the club ran in his direction. He talked about Trump's presence in the nightclub and how people instantly noticed him due to his height and status as a billionaire. Chris Rock jokingly added that if the room was a seesaw, he would have been in the air.
On the work front, Chris Rock will next be seen in the fourth season of the critically acclaimed show Fargo, which is set to release on September 27. The actor is also set to star in a 2021 horror movie titledSpiral: From the Book of Saw. This movie will be the ninth instalment in the Sawmovie franchise.Samuel L. Jackson will also feature in the movie in a prominent role.
Also Read |Anne Hathaway In Final Talks To Star In Doug Liman's Pandemic Film 'Lockdown'?
Get the latest entertainment news from India & around the world. Now follow your favourite television celebs and telly updates. Republic World is your one-stop destination for trending Bollywood news. Tune in today to stay updated with all the latest news and headlines from the world of entertainment.
Get Out and Vote / Municipal Elections Held TODAY (Tuesday, August 25th) in Cherokee County – weisradio.com
Posted: August 26, 2020 at 4:16 pm
We urge everyone to get out and vote today during the Municipal Elections; a large number of candidates have tossed their hat in the ring for public office this time around in Cherokee County.
In the City of Centre there are three candidates seeking the position of mayor; those include William Bubba Johnston and Mark Powell Mansfield along with current council member Cedric Williams. Current mayor Tony Wilkie has announced that he would not be seeking a fourth term, following his 12 years of service.
For Centre City Council those qualifying include Glenn Chandler, Don Cothran, Kay Davis, Greg Higgins, Jay Howell, Frankie Kelly, Harry Moon, Toby Pace, Phillip Roberts, Billy Pruitt and Bess Yarbrough.
In the Town of Cedar Bluff the mayors race has a full slate of candidates including current mayor Tammy Crane, Roger Griffith, Teanna Cannon and Vermelle Bonfanti.
For Cedar Bluff Town Council:
District 1 Tim Miller, Eugene Mann and Justin HerrinDistrict 2 Tommy Maxwell and Anna GraceDistrict 3 Bobbie Hicks, Jeff Smith and Jack BondDistrict 4 Angela Ritchie and Tom SweetDistrict 5 Current Councilwoman Leatha Harp is running unopposed
And in the Town of Leesburg, current Mayor Brandy Pierce will serve another term, as he is unopposed.
For Leesburg Town Council, those in places one through four are unopposed:
Place 1 Frankie BrewsterPlace 2 Joe SonatyPlace 3 Jimmy TilleryPlace 4 Wayne ByramPlace 5 Melissa Rodriguez and Jeremy Lee
In the Town of Gaylesville, Mayor Elizabeth Stafford is running unopposed.
For Gaylesville Town Council:
Place 1 Daniel Steele, Rickey WheelingPlace 2 Tommy StoreyPlace3 Gay Van PeltPlace 4 David Hanks, Jean WatwoodPlace 5 April Givens
And in the Town of Sand Rock all candidates are running unopposed, including Mayor Gene Farmer
On the Sand Rock Town Council:
Place 1 Brody MosesPlace 2 Julia C. SmithPlace 3 Jonathan CashPlace 4 Greg OliverPlace 5 currently vacant
Again, we here at WEIS Radio urge you to exercise your right to vote!
Posted: at 4:16 pm
"So please dont talk about fighting climate change like its just something that will never happen! The fact is that if we do NOT make it happen, we can kiss our world goodbye."
The Standard-Times verifies and reviews all letters to the editor we receive. The letters represent the views of the letter writers, not those of The Standard-Times.
This letter is in response to Scott Langs letter about this race where he was advocating voting for Congressman Joe Kennedy III, rather than Senator Ed Markey.
The first part of his letter I find deceptive and simply an attack that you would have expected from a Republican conservative.
He called the Green New Deal legislation aspirational and even idealistic. I remember this saying about ideals from when I was in 7th grade. Ideals are like stars. You do not succeed in touching them with your hands. But like the sea faring man on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them you reach your destiny. Obviously Scott Lang didnt learn that lesson. Perhaps he also felt the same way when former President John F. Kennedy said we need to put a man on the moon by 1970! Yes it was aspirational and idealistic, but we then did it because we set our mind to it.
So please dont talk about fighting climate change like its just something that will never happen! The fact is that if we do NOT make it happen, we can kiss our world goodbye.
I would also challenge Mayor Langs statement about Congressman Joe Kennedy being a true progressive leader. I listened to his 2018 response to President Trumps State of the Union Address, and I was totally unimpressed by his response. He didnt seem like the true progressive leader that Mr. Lang referred to. Now I dont doubt that Joe Kennedy may have become more progressive over the past 2 years! If he didnt, he would have to have been living under a rock all that time!
Theres a reason why the Boston Globe has endorsed Senator Ed Markeys re-election campaign. They called him the True Progressive in this race.
I also remember an instance where Joe Kennedy III wasnt there for us Letter Carriers and the U.S. Postal Service last year when we asked him to become a co-sponsor of the Postal Fairness Act (H.R. 2382), which would have ended the ridiculous requirement for the U.S.P.S. to pre-fund our future retiree health benefits for the next 75 years within 10 years!
As members of the Massachusetts State Association of Letter Carriers, we were tasked with getting our Massachusetts Congresspersons to co-sponsor that bill. Several of us had called or written to Congressman Joe Kennedy in hopes that he would sign on right away. He was the last Congressperson from this state and also one of the last Congresspersons in the United States to become a co-sponsor.
The last time I called his office I actually spoke to one of his staff members and asked why they would expect us to vote for him as a Senator, when we couldnt even rely on him to act on our behalf as our Congressman! I still have at least one of the letters I sent to his office on my Desktop!
Those are things us working people do not forget about when someone fails to come to our aid. Thats just one of the big reasons I voted for Senator Ed Markey!
Richard Drolet is a New Bedford resident and Chairperson of the N.B. Democratic City Committee.
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Posted: at 4:15 pm
Division of Laura Lee (left to right): Viktor Lager, Jonas Gustafsson, Hkan Johansson, and Per Stlberg. Photo by Erik Toresson Hellqvist
A little over 15 years ago, an envelope from Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitzs Epitaph record label crossed my desk. Inside was a CD by a Swedish band Id never heard of: Division of Laura Lee. The name made me think of those Sara Lee fruit pies you see in the freezer section.
With not-high expectations, I popped Das Not Compute into my drive and, as banal as it sounds, it marked the beginning of a musical turning point for me. Not because the music was necessarily pioneering, but because the unique mix of alternatingly careening and fuzzed-out garage-punk and melancholy shoegaze atmospherics was simply refreshing. For music journalists, the daily deluge of PR-hyped albums can jade you after a while. But Das Not Compute struck me as much for its raucous energy, moody textures, and cool guitar sounds as it did for its lack of affect and pretentionthink My Bloody Valentine meets Sonic Youths more song-oriented side. I soon tracked down the quartets 2002 Black City (also on Epitaph), as well as a compilation of their straight-hardcore 90s work, 97-99, and Ive eagerly awaited every album since, from 2007s Violence Is Timeless to 2013s Tree and, finally, this years Apartment.
Why am I telling you this and thus committing my biggest journalistic pet peeveinserting myself into a story thats not about me? I guess its because so many of the people Ive introduced Division to over the years have really dug them. Why havent I heard of these guys before? Theyre awesome! To me, its a bit of a travesty theyre hardly knownespecially after landing such a promising deal with one of the U.S.s foremost proponents of punk and post-hardcore bands.
Its bittersweet in that it was the best of times, says guitarist/vocalist Per Stlberg of the short-lived Epitaph deal and their time touring with influential post-hardcore outfit Thursdaywhich ended abruptly halfway through and saw DOLL heading back to Gothenburg. We toured a lot and had a really good connection with those guys, but we did a lot of wrongs, toowe were snotty kids. Im so proud of what we did, though, because we never compromised. Asked to expound on the compromise bit, the still-avid skateboarder says it was the typical manager thing. Like, Dude, I broke my arm. I cant tour. Oh, well, lets bring another guy on tour. No! No, we wait. And we waited. Is that good for your career? Probably not, but honestly I dont give a shit. Id rather be me than somebody else. We would probably be bigger if we stuck on and did them, but we didnt. We cant change that now. Adds cofounding bassist/vocalist Jonas Gustafsson, I guess if we had made it a bit bigger, it would have struck way harder. I dont think we would still be around now if we were famous for, like, 15 minutes and then lost it all.
But Stlberg, Gustafsson, and founding drummer Hkan Johansson didnt leave empty-handed, as the bands stateside stint had seeded a lot of growth back home. Violence Is Timeless did really good in Europe and especially in Swedenwhich was the opposite of before, Stlberg explains. Except for the hardcore scene, nobody really cared about us in Sweden when we were touring the U.S.or maybe thats when they found out about us. But [the hardcore crowd] thought we sold out because we played too much [straight-ahead] rock all of the sudden.
I dont give a shit what you thinkI havent wasted my life on punk rock. Per Stlberg
The first single from this years Apartment, a scathing brawler called Hollow Pricks, was released at the end of 2018. But otherwise its taken seven long years for Division of Laura Lee to produce the follow up to Tree. The big reasons for this include the fact that they lost longtime guitarist David Fransson, and each member, including Franssons replacement, Viktor Lager, now has kids, plays in other musical projects, and has a day job. (Stlberg operates Welfare Sounds studio in Gothenburg; Gustafsson, in addition to working in retail logistics, played in a TV talk-show house band; and Johansson works as a graphic designer.)
It wasnt just that life was busy, though. The ambitiousness of their previous LPtheyd convinced themselves they needed to mature into something more sophisticatedhad worn them out. Tree was a big step to the left for Division soundscaping and not so much riffing, says Lager, the bands newest member. It was very hard to play live. Gustafsson chimes in, [On Tree] we were working with [producer] Jason Lytle from Grandaddy and we were aiming at something else. So when we started talking about the new album, I had one rule: no vocal harmonies! Stlberg concurs: It didnt feel like we could write larger-than-life pop songs anymoreit felt really phony. We spent a lot of time talking about what the hell to do. Six to seven months after Hollow Pricks was released, we knew we only wanted to do punk songslike, really on-point and uncompromising: Here we are, take it or leave it. The rest of the songs came super fast and easy. Basically back to what we did in 97, but were way better now.
Then came the pandemic. Slated for a May 8 release in Europe, Apartment was delayed till August in hopes the global coronavirus situation might improve. In the meantime, in a move hearkening back to their DIY roots, DOLL both teased new tunes and revisited their deep catalog at an April 30 gig live-streamed from a Gothenburg drive-in theater. PG spoke to Stlberg, Gustafsson, and Lager a few days later.
Apartment was written long before COVID-19, but many of the lyrics seem inspired by the pandemic. Safe talks about Someday you will be safe / Ill be here, waiting for love / Take some time not worrying about your altered career and all of that B.S. Paris talks about having to fear for your life / The primal instinct to survive / Waiting for disaster / Stacking up supplies. And the urgency of the title tracksI need to get out / Out of the apartment Im trying to survive / But I cant get outfeels like a coronavirus cabin-fever anthem.Per Stlberg: I know, its insane. Especially Apartment! But we were actually done recording in May of last year. It just took forever to start with mixes. It was all mixed and mastered in December
Jonas Gustafsson: Its mainly the lyrics that I wrote, as wellmaybe Id seen too much of The Walking Dead [laughs]. I try to imagine other peoples agony, because Im quite a happy person. I grew up safe in a normal family, Ive got some money saved up, and everything is fine, but we have a lot of friends who have been damaged by drugs and violence.
Stlberg: When youre getting older, you cant really write about how you had a tough time growing up, you know? But the world is still a weird place. Sometimes you feel cornered or alone, even if you have a cool familyand we all do. But sometimes that 18- or 20-year-old dude in you crawls out again and you feel like a weirdo, totally alone. Thats when its really easy to write lyrics, I guess.
Hollow Pricks feels like a brutal indictment of the mainstream music industry. I need to wake up rich / And say bye, bye, bye, bye / You hollow pricks / Cause Im DIY and Im not yours to fix / I got my own plans, thoughts, ideas on how / To make us all be real and forever stay true. Whats the story behind that?Stlberg: It was inspired by a conversation I had with friends who said you can only do punk when youre young. I felt they were all wrong. I dont give a shit what you thinkI havent wasted my life on punk rock. I would never believe that. It doesnt matter who you are or how old you are. You can do whatever you want.
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Posted: at 4:15 pm
The Sony WH-1000XM4 is finally here. Their predecessors, the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones, stole the crown from Bose back when they were first released back in 2018and weve been waiting for a successor since then. Now Sony has released the new and improved headset that adds multipoint connectivity at the expense of aptX. But is it enough to compete in a crowded field of noise cancelling headphones?
In the box youll find everything you need to use the headphones.
In the box youll get the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones, a hardshell carrying case, a 3.5mm audio cable, airplane adapter which is a nice touch, and a USB-A to USB-C charging cable.
The Sony WH-1000XM4 dont look too different from the originals except for a few slight tweaks.
While the WH-1000XM4 headphones are almost identical in looks to their predecessor, there are some new features tucked away inside. Bluetooth multipoint makes them just slightly more convenient in everyday use by letting you connect to two devices at once (more on that later). It makes it easy transitioning from listening to music while working at your desk to watching a YouTube video on your phone, and back again, all without opening your Bluetooth settings. This was one of the biggest complaints with the WH-1000XM3, and having it here in the Sony WH-1000XM4 is definitely going to make plenty of people happy, with one big caveat. If youre going to use multipoint, both connected devices need to use the AAC Bluetooth codec.
The addition of Bluetooth multipoint means you can stay connected to two devices at once.
Aside from the ability to stay connected to two devices at once theres also a few new features you can only access if you download the Sony Headphones Connect app, such as the speak to chat functionality. When turned on this will pause your music whenever the headphones detect that youre speaking. While it definitely works, the feature treads a fine line between useful and annoying, especially considering how sensitive the detection is.
I found this more of an annoyance than a useful feature.
For example, while listening to a podcast, the headphones paused the media when I chuckled at a joke. Youre never really aware of how many weird sounds you make until youre wearing a pair of headphones that pause your music each and every time you make one. It could be useful to some people, but many will probably just turn it off.
The headphones have a new sensor in the left earcup that will auto-pause your music when you take them off.
Along the same lines is the auto-pause feature, which stops playback when you remove the headphones. On the inside of the left earcup is a small sensor that detects when youre wearing the headphones or not, and pauses music when you take the headphones off. Is it a must-have feature? Absolutely not, but its the kind of subtle touch that youd expect from a $350 pair of headphones and Sony nailed it here.
The actual earcups are also slightly thicker than the previous pair, which results in better isolation even when noise cancelling is turned off. On the other hand the headband itself is thinner with a little less padding, and I have to say I felt the difference here. While these are definitely comfortable, there was an ever-present pressure at the crown of my head that only became more pronounced with longer listening sessions.
The headphones controls havent changed much. Both earcups are still touch-sensitive and you control playback with a series of taps and swipes. Unfortunately, the double-tap to pause function only actually works some of the time. Swiping to control volume and skip between songs works seamlessly, but for some reason the headphones struggle to register taps. Sometimes its easier and quicker to simply take off the headphones and let them auto-pausethe pause functionality worked roughly 25 percent of the time for me.
Cupping your hand over the left earcup activates ambient mode which is still one of my favorite features.
Cupping your hand over the left earcup activates ambient mode, which is still one of my favorite features. It dramatically lowers the music and uses the microphones built into the headphones to play whats going on around you. Not a huge deal for anyone still spending most of their time at home like I am, but super useful if you need to quickly catch an announcement from the pilot or train conductor while commuting.
The earcups are slightly larger than the previous version and the padding is a little less plush, but still comfortable.
If you were hoping for an improvement in noise cancelling with the WH-1000XM4, these are going to make you very happy. Somehow, the team at Sony made the ANC even better than before.
The WH-1000XM4 are better than the WH-1000XM3 when it comes to noise cancelling.
Plots like the one above give a rough idea of how much noise is cancelled across the audible spectrum of 20Hz 20kHZ (the limits of human hearing). Taller peaks in the chart above correspond to more noise being removed. The WH-1000XM3 wasnt a slouch where the noise canceling was concerned, but the Sony WH-1000XM4 is better in its ability to attenuate lower-frequency sounds like the low hum of an air conditioner, or the constant rumble of a jet engine.
Pairing to the Sony WH-1000XM4 is as simple as tapping your phone to the back of the NFC logo on the left earcup and following the prompt that appears on your smartphone. If your smartphone doesnt have NFC, youll need to pair the old fashioned way by going into Bluetooth settings.
To pair a second device, its a similar processexcept the headphones wont automatically enter pairing mode when you turn them on since theyre already paired to another device.
To pair to a second device:
The Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones opt for a slightly thinner headband.
The Sony WH-1000XM4 are rocking Bluetooth 5.0, have Bluetooth multipoint, and support SBC, AAC,and Sonys own LDAC, which has the highest streaming quality possible if youre willing to deal with a somewhat less-stable connection. If youre using something that isnt compatible with any of these codecs then it will default down to SBC, which is the most basic codec shared by all Bluetooth audio devices. Devices that dont have Bluetooth at all can always connect via the included 3.5mm audio cable too.
Represented is the max transfer rate (kbps) of each respective Bluetooth codec (greater is better). Each waveform depicts a transfer rate of 100 kbps.
However, multipoint capability is only available if youre using AAC, and not LDAC or SBC. Depending on what youre looking to do it might be worth it, but its not for me, as I spend most of my time using at least two devices.
The WH-1000XM4 have a ton of Bluetooth codec options but thankfully still have a place for a standard 3.5mm audio cable as well.
I live in a fairly average-sized two-bedroom apartment, and in my testing I didnt have any issues with range. While the headphones connected to my laptop I was able to walk around my entire apartment with no skips. The same held true with my Pixel 3 smartphone which managed to remain connected regardless of which pocket the phone was in.
Lower notes in deep voices wont come across as loud as some of the higher ones, but the mic is still more than good enough for phone calls.
The microphone on the Sony WH-1000XM3 was good, and there isnt much different here. There is a slight drop off in the frequency response under around 150-200Hz which isnt unusual for Bluetooth headphones, but its more pronounced than on the previous version. Its likely an attempt to keep the proximity effectthe pesky phenomenon that makes some podcasts and other recordings overly bassyat bay. It should still be good enough to get you through your phone calls and Zoom meetings.
Sony WH-1000XM4 mic demo:
While the app isnt the prettiest it does give you access to all the customization options you need and even some special features.
To get the most out of the WH-1000XM4 headphones, you will have to download the accompanying Sony Headphones Connect app that I mentioned earlier. While youre able to rip the headphones out of the box and use them as is, you wont be able to customize anything about them or use some of the cooler new features unless you use the app. For example, the second button on the headphones can be customized to either activate the assistant on your phone or toggle noise cancelling.
Unfortunately, you cant have bothand downloading the app is the only way to choose whichever one you want. These are compatible with both the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa so whichever one you prefer you can use these seamlessly.
The headphones can be customized to either activate the assistant on your phone or toggle noise cancelling on/off, but not both.
There are two other features unique to the app: noise cancelling optimization and 360-degree sound. While the noise cancelling is already excellent out of the box you can optimize it for whatever situation or level of air pressure youre currently in via the app. You can also adjust the mix of ambient sound thats fed through the headphones to your ear, so you can hear whats going on around you. Of course, you can always cup your hand over the right earcup to allow a full passthrough so you can order a cardboard-tasting lunch from the friendly flight staff in economy class.
In the app theres also a way to EQ the headphones to sound how you want them to. This isnt exactly a new feature, but downloading the app is the only way to access it.
A slightly cooler feature thats only available via the app, is access to Sonys 360 Reality Audio. This is a new way of mastering music Sony has really been pushing and admittedly: its pretty awesome. You can only stream it on high-quality music services like Deezer, Amazon Music HD, or Tidalif youre already a subscriber, these are just that much more attractive, but if youre on Spotify youll be missing out.
When it comes to battery life, Sony claims these will get you about 30 hours of constant playback which is the same as the previous WH-1000XM3. In our testing, we play music on a constant output of 75dB with active noise cancelling turned on and we found that these lasted exactly 19 hours and 59 minutes (sorry Sony, we test down to the minute).
This is obviously still great and more than good enough for most people, but I found it odd these dont last as long as their predecessors, which clock in at about 24 hours. Its entirely possible that as the unit we tested is a pre-production unit, theres some software gremlins yet to be solved, so well re-test and update this review once the production unit comes in.
The Sony WH-1000XM4 charge via USB-C, and the quick charge feature will get you five hours of playtime after only 10 minutes of charging, which is fantastic if youre already late to catch the bus or train.
The flat bass response allows for more clarity in the lows even if theyre not as strong.
Sound quality for the Sony WH-1000XM4 is one of those subtle things Sony also improved over the last model. Thats not to say that the XM3 headphones sounded badthey sound greatbut the older model definitely has more of a consumer-friendly bump in the low end. The difference between the bass notes in the WH-1000XM3 and the newer WH-1000XM4 is subtle, there is less emphasis on everything lower than middle-C with the new XM4 headphones.
The flatter frequency response in the lows translates to a sound that doesnt get a huge bass boost like youll find on some other headphones. While it isnt for everyone, most people (besides bassheads) wont have a problem here. If you do want more low-end emphasis, you can always just change the EQ preset in the app.
As is, the bass is perfect for subtle performances like Bachs Violin Partita No. 2 in D Minor by Hilary Hahn, where the low notes hit at just the right volume. The rumbles at the beginning of Pixel Empire by Madeon also sound great, and you can hear the variations in the rumbles throughout the intro.
That same attention to detail carries over to the mids. This can help vocals stand out from instrumentation because everything isnt as loud, and comes in handy when listening to genres like rock, where vocals can be hard to hear over the guitars.
The lyrics in Constellations by Darwin Deez are clearly audible throughout the entire song regardless of whats going on. Cymbals, shakers, and claps throughout the song also benefit from the slight increase in volume. In short, these sound great.
While the WH-1000XM4 are clearly great, there are other options worth considering. All of the following picks are more or less in the same price range, so if youre looking to save a lot of money, check out our list for the best noise cancelling headphones under $100you wont get all the bells and whistles, but there are still lots of great options.
The headphones have a small NFC logo on the left earcup for easy pairing.
Theyre older, but the Sony WH-1000XM3 are hardly yesterdays trash. These headphones sport top-notch noise cancelling, A+ battery, and mainly only trade the multipoint Bluetooth for the addition of aptX and aptX HD support. If lack of multipoint doesnt matter to you, you might as well save yourself some cash and pick them up when they inevitably go on sale.
Bose redesigned its flagship headset from the ground up in order to make it more appealing to the modern listener.
If you just want a gorgeous pair of over-ears that will get the job done, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are still some of sleekest headphones Ive reviewed. Theyre more expensive and have fewer codecs, but their minimalist design looks really nice, though performance still lies with Sony.
The Shure Aonic 50 includes a protective carrying case that takes up a great deal of space.
The Shure AONIC 50 headphones definitely dont have as much hype as products from Bose and Sony, but theyre awesome. They rock all the latest specs and Bluetooth codecs just like the WH-1000XM4, can use a USB-C cable as a wired connection, and they also look pretty damn great too. The premium build quality, great sound, and impressive noise cancelling earned these an editors choice award. However, they are more expensive at about $399USD, so this is definitely the upgrade pick.
The headphones can lie flat but lack any folding hinges.
Microsoft came out swinging with the new Surface Headphones 2. They dont sound as great as the Sony WH-1000XM4 and the noise cancelling isnt up to par. But they have superb multipoint connectivity, intuitive controls, and a sleek design. They also cost about $100 USD less than the Sony WH-1000XM4.
The PXC is a great, portable headset for listeners in need of silence wherever they go.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II lack a few of the top-tier features youd expect of headphones in 2020 (like USB-C charging), but for $199 USD theyre an almost-unbeatable pick. Youll get a sleek design, superb noise cancelling, Bluetooth multipoint, and great sound quality to boot. Definitely give these some consideration if youre not sure how much money you want to spend.
The headphones have hinges so you can fold them to toss in your bag and the earcups can rotate 90 degrees.
If youre in the market for the best pair of Bluetooth headphones you can get, then yes, the Sony WH-1000XM3 should be on your shortlist. The previous WH-1000XM3 are still one of our most recommended headphones, and Sony made them even better. Bluetooth multipoint makes them way more convenient, and subtle improvements to the noise cancelling and sound quality make these a compelling buy.
If you have the Sony WH-1000XM3 already, there really isnt a huge need to upgrade unless you absolutely need multipoint connectivity. However, if youre looking to invest in your first big pair of noise cancelling headphones, almost everyone will love these.
Posted: July 23, 2020 at 11:31 am
ITS time to reset the UK consumers relationship with the UK fishing industry.
Fishing rights are regularly in the news as the UK/EU trade negotiations rumble on. And while fishing is a relatively small economic issue, its certainly a big political one. Any research on the topic will quickly reveal huge industry complexities, a host of different organisations, sustainability issues and historical policies and licences all permed with hot multi-national politics.
Little discussed however is the relationship between UK fishing and the UK consumer, and at the heart of this story is a tale of separation, abandonment and decline.
Lets start with the decline. In 1895 the seas were open, fishing villages flourished all around our isles, and what was landed by local boats was what you ate. Peak UK fishing.
In Skye, the staple diet was salmon. If you were indentured to work on a farm, part of the deal was you could be fed salmon no more than four times a week. In London you ate a lot of eels, and somewhat reluctantly, pike.
Since 1895, its all been downhill. The total number of fishermen employed in the UK has fallen from just under 50,000 in 1938 to less than 12,000 today. The number of fishing vessels in the UK fleet has fallen by 30 per cent since 1996 to some 7,000 vessels.
So what is behind this decline? One key culprit is demand. The top two fish we land are mackerel and herring the perfect oily fish for a healthy diet, but very much out of fashion in the UK.
Also, despite cooking being an increasingly popular pastime, many people simply dont know their fish, or how to cook it. We export fabulous crab, scallops and langoustines to the Mediterranean and then fly out there to enjoy them at a restaurant.
But the biggest factor behind the decline is the separation of UK consumers from their own produce. The Marine Conservation Society explains that we currently export around 75 per cent of fish caught and landed in the UK, but were the ninth largest importer of fish in the world, with around 70 per cent of the seafood value entering the UK fish supply chain coming from overseas.
This two-way motorway of fish is absurd: economically wrong and also an ecological disaster. We are net importers of fish, while the fishmonger with fresh fish down the road is in decline.
We generally export in bulk, and buy consumer packaged, losing out on the processing jobs. We import from places as far away as China, India and Vietnam, at a horrendous cost in product miles: marine diesel, bulk packaging, and waste incurred during transport.
So, some pundits might say that the politicians have a history of abandoning UK fishing. But the facts show us that, as a whole, the UK population are often less supportive of our fishing industry than they realise.
Its therefore quite easy to be pessimistic about the future of the UK fishing industry. However, that would be wrong. Compared to the EU countries, the UK fleet has the second-largest total catch (in terms of landed weight) and the second-largest fleet size (in gross tonnage terms).
More than 80 per cent by value of the UK fleets landings are from UK waters. A further factor is that, despite the fall in the number of fishermen, this has been counterbalanced to some extent by increased productivity with modern equipment and trawlers.
But imagine how much better the outlook would be if we reconnected with UK fishing. As individual consumers we all have the power to help change this. Eating locally-caught fish would reduce our product miles and provide crucial support for the UKs fishing industry and its local communities.
Alan McCulla, CEO of the Anglo-North Irish Fish Producers Organisation, spells out the opportunity: We need people to care where their fish comes from, and for us the direct-to-consumer market is growing in importance, particularly as people are worried about sustainability.
The five most popular fish in the UK are also the UKs top five fish imports: salmon, cod, tuna, prawns, and haddock. But there are other excellent fish which are sustainable UK-caught alternatives: such as megrim (from Rockall, the northern North Sea, and West of Scotland), turbot (North Sea), coley (North Sea and Rockall) and lemon sole (the English Channel).
There are three ways to support UK fishing: visit your local fishmonger, ask at the supermarket fresh fish counter, or get your fish fresh direct from harbourside businesses and collectives. All UK-landed fish can be found atyouk.co, which offers a unique approach to finding sustainable UK-landed fish.
Go on, give UK-landed mackerel, herring, coley and shellfish a go!
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Posted: at 11:31 am
With its thunderous riffs, piercing vocals, driving groovesand all too memorable licks, Back in Black has rock anthem after rock anthem engraved throughout. Although it follows the same formulaic method as their previous records, the album managed to revitalise rock and roll forever, elevating the band to new commercial heights at a crucial point in their career.
After the breakthrough release of Highway to Hellonly a year prior, it looked like AC/DC were onan upwards trajectory, winning the hearts of fansand storming albumcharts around the world. Shortly after its release, however, tragedy struck. The groups charismatic front man, Bon Scott, heartbreakingly died from asphyxia caused by alcohol poisoning.
The loss of Bon Scott had left AC/DC with a deep wound, ultimately pushing them to consider ending it all.With these terrible circumstances looming, it wouldn't be a travesty if AC/DC packed it all up and called it a day - instead, the group kept on chugging and delivered what many believe to their best effort ever, and certainly one of rock's all time greatest albums.
After some encouraging words from Scotts parents to carry on, andmyriad failed auditions, AC/DC reached out to a frontman that Bon himself had highly regarded:32-year-old Brian Johnson of the English band Geordie. Upon being called in for an audition, Johnson delivered an astoundingrendition of Tina Turners Nutbush City Limits to the delight of the Young brothers, and as they say,the rest was history.
Despite concerns from their fanbase, the transition of the band's lead singers was ultimately seamless. Unlike other singers joining a pre-existing band,Johnson didnt attempt to hijack or change theirtrajectory. Instead, he knew his place. And like the other members, he did his part to make the best rock and roll they possibly could. Even with all this change, Scotts influence still loomed large; some new songs had already taken shape while the legendary frontman was still alive. The very essence of the album still felt like Bon was around, and this was something the original members werent willing to change.
Regrouping to the Bahamas with producer Mutt Lange,AC/DC bunkered down to beat a seven-week turnaround imposed on them by their label. Fuelled by the desire to create a profound effort to honour Scott's memory and double down on their own prowess, Lange and AC/DC worked in the studiopersistently, andunder extraordinary circumstances, miraculously put together one of thebest-selling albumsof all time.
Like its namesake, the albums opener Hells Bells begins with a haunting bell, alluding to the band coming out of a dark place, one of memorial and mourning. Enveloping listeners with a sombre mood, Angus Youngs entrancing riff and Phil Rudds drumming enters in perfectly. The power of Brian Johnson's voice mesmerises audiences. With everything so tightly knit, this was the opener of all openers. If anyone had ever doubted, AccaDacca were back.
On Shoot to Thrill, an upbeat riff and faster tempo takes audiences out of the gloomy mood completely - Johnsons electrifying voice now more controlled, but equally as loud: I shoot to thrill, and Im ready to kill. The ending sees a floaty riff, tight drumming andsome groovy bass, all before an uproar of rock crescendo comes crashing down.
A product of its own era, the middle section of Back In Blackis pepperedwith more than a fewquestionable lyrics about sexuality, and also puts forthsome rather damning lyrics about women. Although the music itself is at the same level of excellence as the previous songs, many criticshave questioned the lyrical content and its appropriateness in retrospect, and honestly, we can't blame them.
Regardless of this, AC/DC carry on with similar themes. Have A Drink On Me, follows the bands same harrowing lyricism. Seemingly unfitting due to the way Bon Scott passed, the song sits perfectly with the bands wit and dark sense of humour. The title track is a highlight of the album. Consisting of more intricate lyricism: yes Im let loose, from the noose, and forget the hearse, cause I never die, I got nine lives. Angus and Malcolm'srhythm and lead parts cleverly interweave, resulting in one of the most recognisable guitar riffs of all time. Cliff Williams bass is dominant, while Paul Rudds drumming is perfectly timed, making a heavy impact.
Back in Black not only marks the commercial peak of a legendary outfit: it is also a fitting tribute to a frontman who helped the band reach grand heights. Without Bon Scott, AC/DC would not be where they are now, let alone in a position to create their magnum opus.
The reason they resonate with their listeners is that theyre a no-nonsense type of band. You either love them or you hate them; they couldnt give a rat's ass. Their brutal, catchy riffs pull listeners in, captivating them into feeling like they belong to something important. Accadacca make anthems: anthems for the hard-working, the battlers, the ordinary person that just wants a go. For many, Back in Black encapsulates all of this, cementing AC/DC as rock and roll royalty who changed the genre forever.
While you're here - revisit the legacy of Malcolm Young with this tribute to the steady right hand of AC/DC.
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Posted: at 11:31 am
Josh Morrissey knows who hed have included on his list of Hart Trophy finalists, if he had a say in the matter.
The masked man behind him, standing guard at the Winnipeg net, would have received the Jets defencemans vote.
"Obviously, theres so many great players in our league. Theres a lot of players who add big-time contributions to their teams. Thats the nature of any award. Its not a statistical-based award. Any time theres some discussion or potential for different players, thats what makes it exciting and fun and keeps talk shows busy, for sure. In my opinion, he should have been in the conversation," Morrissey said Wednesday.
"I dont think we would have been where we were at without him, thats for sure. Hes been our rock all year, hes been so solid for us... Im pretty sure in most guys minds in our room, hed be in (that group of) three players."
MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck is a finalist for the Vezina trophy.
The winner of the Hart Trophy, determined by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and presented to the leagues most valuable player, will be either Edmontons Leon Draisaitl, Colorados Nathan MacKinnon or Artemi Panarin of the New York Rangers.
The finalists were announced by the NHL on Tuesday. The same three all-stars were named finalists for the Ted Lindsay Trophy, honouring the leagues most outstanding player as voted on by players.
Hellebuyck wasnt ignored, however. He joins Tuukka Rask of Boston and Andrei Vasilevskiy of Tampa Bay as the three finalists for the 2019-20 Vezina Trophy, awarded annually to the NHLs top goaltender.
Its the second time in three years the 2012 fifth-round draft pick has been up for the award.
"It motivates me because I want to prove myself even more," Hellebuyck said, from the Iceplex as the Jets continue their summer training camp. They battle the Calgary Flames in a qualifying round next month. "But now its playoffs, so no matter what youre coming with the right mindset and the right motivation because everyone wants to win a Cup, right?
"The other thing is, its a little bit of satisfaction that I finally have got a little bit of an achievement for all the hard work I put in. Its not chosen yet, but just being in that group of goaltenders is itself a milestone. I like them both so now Im using it as motivation but Im also happy that my hard work is paying off a little bit."
Hellebuyck was, unequivocally, Winnipegs most valuable player during the 2019-20 NHL season before it was cut short owing to the coronavirus pandemic. The Michigan product, who turned 27 in May, led all goalies in appearances (58), shots faced (1,796), saves (1,656) and shutouts (six), and ranked second in starts (56), wins (31) and minutes (3,268:33).
"Hes in that elite status," said Jets coach Paul Maurice. "I think all of these Hart players, they put a number of years together before you can have a good year, but you need put together two or three of those kind of years together before you start to get your name out there. Connor is moving into the time where his name will start coming up in that, I think."
The look of the Jets power play has a consistency to it, with right-shot defenceman Neal Pionk on the point along with Patrik Laine, Mark Scheifele working the slot, Kyle Connor down low and splendid playmaker Blake Wheeler working the wall.
Its Pionks responsibility to snap the puck over to the sharp-shooting Finn for a one-timer, but opponents have long clued in.
On Wednesday morning the Jets added a wrinkle, with Wheeler spinning from the boards and quickly swapping spots with Pionk, who sent a cross-ice feed to Laine for a rocket past goalie Laurent Brossoit.
Some shrewd scheming by the coaching crew, perhaps?
JASON HALSTEAD / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES
Winnipeg Jets Defenceman Neal Pionk.
"I think the driver in that was boredom. We ran our power play three or four days. The guys want to try stuff and we like them to do that," Maurice admitted. "They are also now, and I dont want to get into any of the details of how were running this, theyre starting to explore the different places they can go with their power play.
"You know that Calgary knows exactly who is coming off the bench first, where everybody is standing and how the puck flows, how it moves through Blake Wheeler. Theyre going to have a plan for that and you want another place to go if its not working and you want that place to be really, really effective. If it doesnt score you goals, you want the place you take your power play to at least let you return to your original spot and be more successful."
The Jets got a reprieve Wednesday from coronavirus testing. Those nasty nasal swabs aptly called the "brain tickler" by forward Andrew Copp last week, happen every other day.
Thats still too often for Hellebuyck, who said players dont get to watch each other get tested so its difficult to know whos the squeamish one of the bunch.
"Well the tests are timed so were not around each other but I would definitely say talking with guys after, some guys, it hurts them a little bit. Some guys like me cant stand it and some guys just get over it. Its not that bad but over and over and over again, it grinds on you a bit," said Hellebuyck.
Maurice and his staff dont get a pardon from the medical staff.
"No (its not a lot of fun), but were coaches, so we did a pre-scout (of people doing the tests)... we know exactly who (laughs) gets it on the first try and who can put you down. Im teasing. Weve got great professionals here," he said. "No, its not a lot of fun. I was amazed that there was that much room in the human head. Theres probably lots of you that think hes full of air anyway. So, I was impressed by how deep he was able to get that swab in.
"You know what? When I do my last test, I wont be coming back for another one. That will be it."
Veteran defenceman Anthony Bitetto is listed in Thursday's Group 2 morning skate. He has yet to make an appearance at summer camp, although the team has not given a reason, as per the NHLs current rules.
The Jets will scrimmage Thursday, take Friday off, practise Saturday and then travel to Edmonton on Sunday.
Jason BellAssistant sports editor
Jason Bell wanted to be a lawyer when he was a kid. The movie The Paper Chase got him hooked on the idea of law school and, possibly, falling in love with someone exactly like Lindsay Wagner (before she went all bionic).
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