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Take a Peek Inside The Leonard Cohen Exhibit In Montreal

Visitors to Montreal still have time to see Une brèche en toute chose (“A Crack in Everything”), a multimedia art exhibit that pays tribute to the late Leonard Cohen.

More than a year after his death, Montreal is still celebrating Leonard Cohen’s life. The poet, novelist, songwriter and singer is everywhere—from the Main Deli, where he enjoyed smoked meat in the second booth against the wall, to the Jewish Public Library, with which Cohen was affiliated. But one of the largest tributes began two years before Cohen’s death—at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC) as part of the city’s 375th anniversary celebration. It opened one year after his passing.

The exhibit contains no artifacts belonging to Cohen; no fedoras, long black coats or guitars—only his olive-green Olivetti manual typewriter on which he composed his first novel. What there is, though, is more impressive: filmmakers, musicians, contemporary artists and their takes on how Cohen influenced society.

The exhibit—which runs until April 9, 2018— titled Une brèche en toute chose(“A Crack in Everything”) features tribute pieces from filmmakers, musicians and contemporary artists.

With Cohen’s blessing, and with his complete artistic output made available to them, curators John Zeppetelli and Victor Shiffman, compiled the museum’s most ambitious exhibition, commissioning 20 works from 40 artists representing 10 countries to bring a unique vision to Cohen’s effect on music and literature.

Consider Berlin-based Candice Breitz’s offering: the life-sized projection of 18 ardent male fans aged 65 and older encircling the viewer as they sing, “I’m Your Man,” backed by the all-male Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue Choir (the synagogue Cohen attended throughout his life).

British Columbia-based Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller pay homage to Book of Longing with an interactive sound installation called “The Poetry Machine.” Pressing a single key on the vintage Wurlitzer organ generates Cohen’s voice reading an excerpt from the book from one of the gramophone horns. Play more than one key, and the room is filled with Cohen’s voice reading several selections simultaneously.

American Taryn Simon offers a mixed media installation of the front page of the New York Times, Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, with Cohen’s obituary published beneath a photograph of the first meeting between Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump. Cohen is doffing his hat in greeting or farewell.

By ARLENE STACEY | DECEMBER 12TH, 2017

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7 Must-Read Mysteries & Thrillers

From psychological suspense that recalls the best of Hitchcock to international espionage that strikes all too close to home, these page-turners top our must-read list – but be forewarned, they may have you burning the midnight oil.

 

 

THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW: A NOVEL (William Morrow) by A.J. Finn

The unreliable female narrator (alaGirl On a Train and Gone Girl) is all the rage in “grip-lit” these days, but Finn’s smart Hitchcockian thriller takes it to another level with his story of agoraphobic former psychologist, Anna Fox. Separated from her family, she spends her days drinking copious amounts of red wine, watching old movies and spying on her neighbours. But her predictable routine is turned upside down when she witnesses a murder in a neighbour’s house. Or does she? After police find no signs of a crime –believing her judgment is impaired from prescription drugs and the aforementioned wine — even Anna questions what she saw.

Touted as one of the year’s most anticipated debut, the much-buzzed The Woman in the Window shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list, and is already in development as a major film from Fox. A.J. Finn is a pseudonym for Daniel Mallory, an executive editor at William Morrow, the novel’s publisher.

 

THE PERFECT NANNY: A NOVEL by Leila Slimani

It’s every parent’s nightmare. The “perfect nanny” you trust to look after your children suddenly falls apart, and in the worst possible way. The prize-winning novel, which was a runaway hit in France, is inspired by the 2012 real life murder of two children in New York City by their nanny.

 

ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL (Atria) by Sarah Vaughan

The scandal in this story may sound uncomfortably familiar: A government minister, and boyhood friend of the Prime Minister, is accused of rape by his assistant, putting into motion a legal thriller that could have come straight from today’s #MeToo headlines. A riveting read about Britain’s powerful and long-entitled elite and the women caught up in their wake.

 

NEED TO KNOW (Random House) by Karen Cleveland

This domestic thriller also has a ripped-from-the-headlines story line, this time about Russian spies meddling in American affairs. While investigating a Soviet sleeper cell, CIA agent Vivian Miller is forced to face the fact her own husband may be a Russian spy, and she, his target. This debut novel from Karen Cleveland, herself a former CIA analyst, is already set to be made into a film with Charlize Theron.

 

 

 

THE UNDERTAKER’S DAUGHTER (Grand Central) by Sara Blaedel

From the author of the popular Louise Rick police procedural series (The Forgotten Girls, The Killing ForestThe Undertaker’s Daughter marks the launch of a new suspense series from Denmark’s most popular novelist. The story follows a young Danish woman who journeys to America after receiving an unexpected inheritance from a father she hasn’t heard from in three decades, only to find herself in the middle of an unsolved murder – and a killer who is very much alive.

Release date: Feb. 6, 2018

 

 

THE MITFORD MURDERS (Minotaur) by Jessica Fellowes

From the author of Downton Abbey—A Celebration: The Official Companion to all Six Seasons, it’s not surprising that Fellow’s foray into mystery fiction is rich in period detail. The story, based on the life of the famed Mitford sisters, involves a real unsolved murder in the 1920s.

 

 

DANGEROUS CROSSING: A NOVEL (Atria) by Rachel Rhys

Murder and mayhem on the high seas. In 1939, with Europe on the brink of war, a young Englishwoman running from a shadowy past boards an ocean liner in Essex, bound for Australia. But she is not the only one with a dark secret. In the tradition of Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile, the glamour of the voyage fades, setting the stage for something truly sinister.

By CYNTHIA ROSS CRAVIT | FEBRUARY 2ND, 2018

 

6 Ways to Stay Ahead of Common Online Scams

Online phishing scams
 Online phishing scams

Photo: Pixabay

Phishing scams, where fraudsters trick users into providing them with sensitive information, are one of the most common online threats. Here, six ways you can avoid becoming a victim.

You’re scanning through your inbox and see an authentic-looking email from your bank — right down to the logo. It says they’re verifying your online banking information, and so they ask you to click on a link and type in your credentials.

Sounds legitimate, no?

Unfortunately, this is a case of a “phishing” scam, a malicious attempt by a person (or program) to “lure” you into giving out personal info, such as banking info, a credit card number, or social security number — with the intent to steal your identity for financial gain.

Here are some suggestions to avoid being taken by these scams.

1. If you get an email, text message, or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information, don’t reply and don’t click on the link in the email. Your bank, financial institution or credible online payment service (such as PayPal) will never ask for sensitive information via email. When in doubt, call your bank or credit card company.

2. Anti-malware software (which includes virus detection), a computer firewall and web browser with an anti-phishing feature can all help act as an extra line of defense from some of these malicious phishers.

3. Look at the link in your email. You’ll notice the URL it wants you to click on isn’t an official site (e.g. td.com) — instead it’s something else (like tdbank100.cc).

4. To stay ahead of these scams it’s important to know what these phishing emails and text messages look like. They often indicate a sense of urgency so it’s important to look at the language used (“we need you to confirm your information right away to avoid any problems,” etc). You may also spot spelling and grammatical mistakes as these phishing attempts are usually generated in non-English countries (but not always).

5. Stick with reputable retailers when giving out financial information, like your credit card, and always be sure to look for indicators that the site is secure, such as a little lock icon on the browser’s status bar or a URL for a website that begins with “https:” (the “s” stands for “secure”).

6. Whenever you sign up for something online, try to use a secondary email account — such as a free webmail address from Gmail, Yahoo, or Outlook.com — and not your main email address at work or from your ISP (e.g. Rogers). That way you can better manage the “spam” (and resulting phishing scams) you might expect from registering online for gaming, shopping and social networks.

MARC SALTZMAN | FEBRUARY 6TH, 2018

Toronto Wolfpack plot financial path to Super League rugby

Toronto Wolfpack's Quentin Laulu-Togaga'eImage copyrightALAMY
Image captionToronto play in the second-tier Championship this season

With the new rugby league season about to kick-off, the sport’s most exotic club is ready to take to the skies again for a campaign of trans-Atlantic battle.

Canadian club Toronto Wolfpack created a stir when they joined the third tier of the English rugby league system last year, as it meant round trips of around 7,000 miles for away games.

The club and its main sponsor, Canadian airline Air Transat, paid – and will do so again this season – for their European opponents’ eight-hour flights to and from Canada for away games against the Wolfpack.

Toronto Wolfpack cheerleadersImage copyrightALAMY
Image captionThe club is looking to boost its presence in Canada and in the UK

After running away with the title last year, the Wolfpack will play in the second-tier Championship league this season, competing against a host of powerful English clubs, plus Toulouse in France.

The club admits it made a financial loss last year, but insists that was expected as part of a longer-term business plan designed to reach the riches of the top tier of rugby league.

‘Right trajectory’

“It is a five year plan to get to the Super League,” the Wolfpack’s general commercial manager Scott Lidbury, an Australian who grew up watching rugby league, tells me.

Toronto Wolfpack's Jonny PownallImage copyrightALAMY
Image captionThe club will face a number of historic and powerful English club sides this season

“We are in year two of that plan, we are in the Championship and things are on the right trajectory. Promotion this year is obviously the goal. We would be disappointed if we did not finish in the top four.”

Coming among the top quartet would give them a chance at promotion via the Qualifiers Super 8s playoffs.

Mr Lidbury adds: “It would not be the end of the world if we did not go up, but we feel confident, particularly with the players we have signed.”

He says if they were not promoted the business can sustain its various outgoings, from travel and stadium hire to player salaries and media operations.

Toronto Wolfpack's Quentin Laulu-Togaga'e (in white)Image copyrightALAMY
Image captionPromotion to the Super League is the club’s sporting and business goal

But promotion to the Super League would bring a huge financial boost in terms of TV rights money from Sky, and more and bigger sponsorship deals.

Last season’s budget was 3.4m Canadian dollars ($2.7m; £2m), and is set to be more this year as the club has moved out seven players from last season, but brought in 10 more.

Centre of excellence

The Wolfpack’s main financial backer is Australian mining tycoon David Argyle, who grew up playing rugby.

“David is 100% in it for the long term,” says Mr Lidbury. “He has a very strong vision, he is a big driver of Toronto as a regional centre of rugby excellence, for both codes.”

Toronto Wolfpack fanImage copyrightALAMY
Image captionThe club wants to increase its number of season-ticket holders

The Wolfpack play their games in blocks of away matches followed by home ones in the summer, to cut down on criss-crossing the Atlantic and also because the harsh Canadian winter extends into the start of the season.

This year they will play 11 away games, then two at home, then two on neutral English grounds, then eight at home.

Chief executive and club founder Eric Perez secured the use of 10,000-seater Lamport Stadium in Toronto, and last year average home gates were a healthy 7,000 (though half of those attending had complimentary tickets).

Eric PerezImage copyrightALAMY
Image captionEric Perez is the founder and chief executive of the Wolfpack

The team wants bigger gates this season, and to boost its 650 season-ticket holders by at least 50%.

A UK-based business development manager has also been appointed to bring in British commercial deals, and to deal with things like new Toronto player registrations and obtaining relevant visas for visiting players.

In addition, the club has now made the Platt Lane Sports Complex in Fallowfield, south Manchester, its full-time UK base.


The case of Barrow Raiders

Barrow RaidersImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionBarrow Raiders won the League 1 Cup last season

Each away team can travel free via Air Transat when they play in Toronto; being able to take a full squad, coaches and ancillary staff, at what has been promised by rugby league authorities as no cost.

However, last season Barrow Raiders, which played in Canada twice, found there was a financial price to pay.

It had to pay for things like coach travel to and from the airport, extra baggage, visas for some players at £80 each, and food and drink for 25 players and staff. It cost the club around £4,000 for the regular League One fixture in Canada.

When the teams played again in the Super Eight playoffs in Toronto, fans set up a funding page and raised nearly £3,000 to cover the club’s expenses. And while 30 fans made the trip for the first game, none went for the second.

The clubs will play home and away again in the Championship this season.


‘Major partner’

Principal sponsor Air Transat, signed on a three-year deal, provides 540 airline seats a year, which sees the club fly with 35 people when it visits Europe, and opposition clubs offered 25 free transatlantic return flights.

Air Transat owns Canadian Affair travel website, which offers away team fans weekend packages in Toronto, including hotel and match ticket.

“They are a major partner for us and play a crucial role in our operations,” says Mr Lidbury. “They are the perfect example of a brand who can benefit from association with ourselves.

“Like one of our other major partners, Maple Leaf Diamonds, they are a Canadian brand looking to be stronger in the UK.”

Conversely, the club’s UK sponsors such as Manchester Metropolitan University get coverage in Canada.


A fan’s view: Steve Newcombe, London Broncos Supporters Association

London Broncos (grey/black) v HalifaxImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionLondon Broncos play their home games in Ealing, west London

“They knocked us out of the Challenge Cup in London last year, and their visit created a buzz. They are a brash organisation and good luck to them, they wear their hearts on their sleeves.

“They also have healthy crowds at their home games. They will be looking to build fan support not only in Toronto, but among Canadians in the UK.

“I won’t be going to Canada for our away Championship game, but a couple of dozen fans will go to Toronto.

“With the Wolfpack having a major base in Manchester they are buying English-based players who might have gone to other clubs here, and that has caused debate among rugby league fans.”


‘TV revenues’

The Wolfpack has an unusual TV arrangement whereby it films its own home matches and gives the footage free to CBC Online and cable channel Game TV.

Although they lose money on the operation they feel it is vital in generating wider awareness.

“Our goal is to grow our reach, and develop our revenue streams, and broadcast is something we are working on all the time, developing Wolfpack TV platforms,” says Mr Lidbury.

“We hope that in year three we would be able to start driving some TV rights revenues. We believe we have a very bright sporting and business future.”

Sprawling Maya network discovered under Guatemala jungle

A split image with one side showing an aerial look on Mayan ruins in Guatemala's northern jungle, and the other side showing a digital landscape that strips away the forest canopy to reveal structures under the ground.Image copyrightWILD BLUE MEDIA/CHANNEL 4
Image captionThe Maya city of Tikal was found to be just a fraction of an immense hidden metropolis

Researchers have found more than 60,000 hidden Maya ruins in Guatemala in a major archaeological breakthrough.

Laser technology was used to survey digitally beneath the forest canopy, revealing houses, palaces, elevated highways, and defensive fortifications.

The landscape, near already-known Maya cities, is thought to have been home to millions more people than other research had previously suggested.

The researchers mapped over 810 square miles (2,100 sq km) in northern Peten.

Archaeologists believe the cutting-edge technology will change the way the world will see the Maya civilisation.

“I think this is one of the greatest advances in over 150 years of Maya archaeology,” said Stephen Houston, Professor of Archaeology and Anthropology at Brown University.

Mr Houston told the BBC that after decades of work in the archaeological field, he found the magnitude of the recent survey “breathtaking”. He added, “I know it sounds hyperbolic but when I saw the [Lidar] imagery, it did bring tears to my eyes.”

A Lidar image showing hundreds of previously unseen structures.Image copyrightWILD BLUE MEDIA/CHANNEL 4
Image captionMost structures are believed to be stone platforms for pole-and-thatch homes

Results from the research using Lidar technology, which is short for “light detection and ranging”, suggest that Central America supported an advanced civilisation more akin to sophisticated cultures like ancient Greece or China.

“Everything is turned on its head,” Ithaca College archaeologist Thomas Garrison told the BBC.

He believes the scale and population density has been “grossly underestimated and could in fact be three or four times greater than previously thought”.


How does Lidar work?

Described as “magic” by some archaeologists, Lidar unveils archaeological finds almost invisible to the naked eye, especially in the tropics.

  • It is a sophisticated remote sensing technology that uses laser light to densely sample the surface of the earth
  • Millions of laser pulses every four seconds are beamed at the ground from a plane or helicopter
  • The wavelengths are measured as they bounce back, which is not unlike how bats use sonar to hunt
  • The highly accurate measurements are then used to produce a detailed three-dimensional image of the ground surface topography

Revolutionary treasure map

The group of scholars who worked on this project used Lidar to digitally remove the dense tree canopy to create a 3D map of what is really under the surface of the now-uninhabited Guatemalan rainforest.

Lidar is revolutionising archaeology the way the Hubble Space Telescope revolutionised astronomy,” Francisco Estrada-Belli, a Tulane University archaeologist, told National Geographic. “We’ll need 100 years to go through all [the data] and really understand what we’re seeing.”

Three surveyors looks at a large digital screen showing a Lidar image of a Mayan city.Image copyrightWILD BLUE MEDIA/CHANNEL 4
Image captionThe Lidar images have surprised surveyors

Archaeologists excavating a Maya site called El Zotz in northern Guatemala, painstakingly mapped the landscape for years. But the Lidar survey revealed kilometres of fortification wall that the team had never noticed before.

“Maybe, eventually, we would have gotten to this hilltop where this fortress is, but I was within about 150 feet of it in 2010 and didn’t see anything,” Mr Garrison told Live Science.

While Lidar imagery has saved archaeologists years of on-the-ground searching, the BBC was told that it also presents a problem.

“The tricky thing about Lidar is that it gives us an image of 3,000 years of Mayan civilisation in the area, compressed,” explained Mr Garrison, who is part of a consortium of archaeologists involved in the recent survey.

“It’s a great problem to have though, because it gives us new challenges as we learn more about the Maya.”

In recent years Lidar technology has also been used to reveal previously hidden cities near the iconic ancient temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

Hidden insights

Maya civilisation, at its peak some 1,500 years ago, covered an area about twice the size of medieval England, with an estimated population of around five million.

“With this new data it’s no longer unreasonable to think that there were 10 to 15 million people there,” said Mr Estrada-Belli, “including many living in low-lying, swampy areas that many of us had thought uninhabitable.”

Most of the 60,000 newly identified structures are thought to be stone platforms that would have supported the average pole-and-thatch Maya home.

The archaeologists were struck by the “incredible defensive features”, which included walls, fortresses and moats.

They showed that the Maya invested more resources into defending themselves than previously thought, Mr Garrison said.

One of the hidden finds is a seven-storey pyramid so covered in vegetation that it practically melts into the jungle.

Another discovery that surprised archaeologists was the complex network of causeways linking all the Maya cities in the area. The raised highways, allowing easy passage even during rainy seasons, were wide enough to suggest they were heavily trafficked and used for trade.

“The idea of seeing a continuous landscape, but understanding everything is connected across many square miles is amazing,” said Mr Houston.

“We can expect many further surprises,” he added.

The Lidar survey was the first part of a three-year project led by a Guatemalan organisation that promotes cultural heritage preservation. It will eventually map more than 5,000 sq miles (14,000 sq km) of Guatemala’s lowlands.

The project’s discoveries will feature in a Channel 4 programme called Lost Cities of the Maya: Revealed, airing in the UK on Sunday 11 February at 20:00 GMT.

Guatemalan jungle with a mound covered in foliage in the background.Image copyrightWILD BLUE MEDIA/CHANNEL 4
Image captionSome sites could not be seen under the jungle foliage
An image of jungle foliage superimposed with a Lidar image of the same location, revealing a mound in the distance is in fact a pyramid.Image copyrightWILD BLUE MEDIA/CHANNEL 4
Image captionBut Lidar technology revealed an undiscovered seven-storey pyramid
BBC News

Tintin, the subject of 200 million comics sold, was likely based on a real 15-year-old …

 

In the overcrowded world of fictional characters, there are few faces as adorable as Tintin’s. Unlike Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman, Tintin, the young investigative reporter, is not a household name in America, but he is definitely one of the most beloved figures in Europe.

With no specific magic powers, he is the antithesis of a superhero, but that didn’t prevent him from being widely admired by both children and adults. Charles de Gaulle once declared that Tintin is his only international rival, saying that “nobody notices, because of my height. We are both little fellows who won’t be got at by big fellows.”

Tintin and his fox terrier, Snowy, appeared for the first time on January 10, 1929, in the children’s supplement of the Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siecle. What started as the subject of a supplement went on to become a symbol of the 20th century, appearing in an inde­pen­dent comic book, on television, and even on the big screen in Steven Spiel­berg’s animated movie The Adven­tures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.

Tintin is one of the most beloved figures in the comic book world.Author: Joi/Flickr-CC By 2.0

Georges Prosper Remi, known by the pen name Hergé, is the man behind the creation of Tintin. With almost no formal training, Hergé began drawing the legendary comic-book character in 1929, but little did he know that by doing so he would give birth to an entire European comics publishing industry.

Tintin and his fox terrier Snowy appeared for the first time in 1929. Author: karrikas/Flickr CC By 2.0

Since 1929, Tintin comics have sold more than 200 million copies, and over the years, this beloved character served as an inspiration for many people and influenced the ways comic book readers perceive the world around them. But what actually inspired Hergé to create the iconic character?

Debate still exists on what exactly inspired Hergé to come up with the snub-nosed teenage reporter, but most people agree that it was a real life person known by the name Palle Huld. It is one of the most original of origin stories in the comic book world.

Less than a year before Tintin made his first appearance, in the children’s supplement of  Le Vingtième Siecle, a 15-year-old Danish Boy Scout named Palle Huld won a competition organized by a Danish newspaper to mark the centennial of Jules Verne.

 

Palle Huld, during his trip around the world in 1928, almost certainly influenced Hergé to create Tintin.

The winner of the competition would re-enact Phileas Fogg’s voyage from Verne’s famous novel Around the World in Eighty Days. Strangely enough, only teenage boys were allowed to take part in the competition, and the 15-year-old was the perfect match. There was another twist: The winner had to complete the journey within 46 days, without any company and without using planes.

Hundreds of Danish teenagers applied to participate in the competition, and Palle was lucky enough to be chosen. He started his journey on March 1, 1928, from Copenhagen and traveled by rail and steamship through England, Scotland, Canada, Japan, the Soviet Union, Poland, and Germany.

His journey made the headlines at the time and when he arrived in Denmark, he was already a celebrity. Over 20,000 admirers greeted their hero when he came back home.

The next thing he did was write a book about his journey, which was quite popular among his admirers, and published in several languages. That book also came into the hands of a Belgian cartoonist known by the name of Hergé and that same year, when Huld’s book was published, Tintin made his debut.

Huld himself suggested on several occasions that he was the inspiration for Tintin. However, others believe that the inspiration behind the character was actually the French travel photojournalist Robert Sexe, whose journeys were exactly in the same order as Tintin’s first three books.

With no specific superpowers, Tintin is the antithesis of a superhero. Author: Hicham Souilmi CC By 2.0

Nonetheless, true Tintin fans couldn’t care less. For them it is all about the character, a hero they all know and love, representing something that others don’t have: uncompromising vigilance and the need to succeed no matter what the cost.

Tintin proves that a hero doesn’t need to be big or strong, he or she just needs to be tenacious and stubborn enough to do what needs to be done.

By Goran Blazeski