December 23, 2016

Merry Chrismas and a Happy New Year!

Another year gone, another on the way.

Hopefully this one will be even better!

There are some adults in charge again!                                                                       


December 16, 2016

Sabrina:A Sumatran/Bengal tiger,



Sabrina, a Sumatran/Bengal tiger, was born in 1998.  She was clinging to life when authorities found her and two other tigers in the backyard of a rural Texas home.  Sabrina and her two sons were left to fend for themselves after their owner passed away.  It was ten days before anyone knew the owner had passed or that three tigers were baking in the Texas heat with no food and little water.  Sabrina had somehow escaped her enclosure and authorities had to sedate her to get her into a travel trailer.

See photos from Sabrina’s rescue here.
Unfortunately, her story doesn’t end there.  Sabrina was then left in the trailer for over a week before being brought to Pride Rock Wildlife Refuge in Texas. Here Sabrina got some much needed food and water as she was severely dehydrated and very malnourished.  After hearing Sabrina’s triumphant story of survival, we knew we had a place for her here at the Sanctuary.

Why Wild Animals Shouldn’t Be Pets: A article mentioning Sabrina’s story.

Sabrina arrived in the spring of 2010 very frightened and confused.  She had lost the only home she knew and was very nervous around new people.  After months of working with Sabrina, she finally came out of her shell.  It was a group effort to rescue Sabrina and her two sons and we thank Pride Rock Wildlife Refuge for their immediate help in the rescue, Peace River Refuge who provided a home for Sabrina’s sons and donors who provided support so we could help Sabrina.

Today, Sabrina is a totally different cat than when she first arrived.  She chuffs to her tiger neighbors and can sleep peacefully even when strangers are around.  She enjoys getting new enrichment and likes to shred any boxes.  She really likes snowmen and even made a huge snowball herself after rolling one of the segments around her habitat.  In the summer, she soaks in her pool and takes long naps on her perch.  Her amazing transformation inspires us all and reminds us that we can make a difference.

You can help provide daily care for Sabrina by becoming her sponsor.  

Your help will be greatly appreciated.

With many thanks to Wildcat Sanctuary 


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December 14, 2016

This Drone Captures Photos And Videos In Midair


Instead of extending your arm or using a selfie stick to snap shots of you and your crew, you could use a new pocket-size drone — dubbed the "AirSelfie" — to help you remotely capture aerial photos and videos.

The AirSelfie is the brainchild of Italian entrepreneur Edoardo Stroppiana, who came up with the idea in 2014. "AirSelfie is specifically designed and produced for people who used to think drone cameras are extremely complicated to use — too expensive and bulky," Stroppiana said.

The AirSelfie is equipped with a 5-megapixel camera that can shoot full high-definition (HD) 1080p video, as well as a 4GB microSD card. Using the AirSelfie, people, groups and companies can take pictures of themselves, their backgrounds and their projects from distances, heights and angles that they never could using their arms or a stick, Stroppiana said. [5 Technologies for the Selfie-Obsessed]

The drone's four rotors help it fly up to 65 feet (20 meters) in the air. The flying camera measures only about 3.72 by 2.65 by 0.42 inches (9.45 by 6.73 by 1.07 centimeters) — "smaller than a smartphone," Stroppiana said — and weighs 1.83 ounces (52 grams).

The drone uses sonar to measure its altitude and keeps itself stable with the help of a tiny extra camera to monitor its surroundings for signs of jitter. It is also equipped with gyroscopes, barometers and geomagnetic sensors that help it navigate as it flies, said AirSelfie Holdings Ltd. in London, the company that Stroppiana co-founded in 2016 to manufacture the drone.

The AirSelfie is controlled via a free iOS or Android app. The app can make the drone take off; adjust its height and direction; let it hover autonomously; and help users take an HD aerial shot or video with just a push of a button. Users can also activate a 10-second timer, giving people enough time to hide their phones so they don't appear in the picture or video. The drone can take up to eight consecutive shots, the company said.

The AirSelfie uses Wi-Fi to send photos and videos wirelessly to smartphones. The app also allows users to post photos and videos taken with the drone immediately on social media.

After snapping photos, the drone can return to its departure point automatically with the touch of a button. Users can also guide the AirSelfie back manually, and its manufacturers said it is safe for the drone to land on a person's open hand, or even for people to grab the drone while it is still hovering in midair.

A rechargeable lithium polymer battery gives the AirSelfie a flight time of 3 minutes, according to the company. An accessory known as the Power Bank slips over the AirSelfie like a smartphone case, and can recharge the drone in 30 minutes. The Power Bank can hold 20 such charges before it needs to be recharged, the company said. Users can also recharge the AirSelfie directly with a micro-USB cable.

The company said it developed a fully functioning prototype in August. On Nov. 17, the company launched a Kickstarter campaign to make the AirSelfie available via preorder, and it met its $47,714 goal in less than three days. The campaign, which is scheduled to end Dec. 24, has raised more than $500,000 from more than 2,300 backers. In addition, the company has received $3 million from private angel investors in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and China, Stroppiana said.

The first preordered drones are scheduled for delivery in March. The drone is expected to hit the market in 2017 for a retail price of $300.

By Charles Q. Choi

With many thanks to Live Science.

December 13, 2016

Happy Birthday Christopher Plummer! 87 Years Young!


Arthur Christopher Orme Plummer was born in Toronto, Ontario. He is the only child of Isabella Mary (Abbott), a secretary to the Dean of Sciences at McGill University, and John Orme Plummer, who sold securities and stocks.

 He is a great-grandson of John Abbott, who was Canada's third Prime Minister (from 1891 to 1892), and a great-great-great-grandson of Anglican clergyman John Bethune. He has Scottish, English, and Anglo-Irish ancestry. Plummer was raised in Senneville, Quebec, by Montreal.

Until the 2009 Academy Awards were announced, it could be said about Plummer that he was the finest actor of the post-World War II period to fail to get an Academy Award. In that, he was following in the footsteps of the late great John Barrymore, whom Plummer so memorably portrayed on Broadway in a one-man show that brought him his second Tony Award.

In 2010, Plummer finally got an Oscar nod for his portrayal of another legend, Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station (2009). Two years later, the first paragraph of his obituary was written when the 82-year-old Plummer became the oldest person in Academy history to win an Oscar. He won for playing a senior citizen who comes out as gay after the death of his wife in the movie Beginners (2010). As he clutched his statuette, the debonaire thespian addressed it thusly: "You're only two years older than me darling, where have you been all of my life?"

Plummer then told the audience that at birth, "I was already rehearsing my Academy acceptance speech, but it was so long ago mercifully for you I've forgotten it."

The Academy Award was a long time in coming and richly deserved.

Aside from the youngest member of the Barrymore siblings (which counted Oscar-winners Ethel Barrymore and Lionel Barrymore in their number), Christopher Plummer is the premier Shakespearean actor to come out of North America in the 20th century. He was particularly memorable as Hamlet, Iago and Lear, though his Macbeth opposite Glenda Jackson was -- and this was no surprise to him due to the famous curse attached to the "Scottish Play" -- a failure.

Plummer also has given many fine portrayals on film, particularly as he grew older and settled down into a comfortable marriage with his third wife Elaine. He thanked her from the stage during the 2012 Oscar telecast, quipping that she "deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for coming to my rescue every day of my life."

Like another great stage actor, Richard Burton, the younger Plummer failed to connect with the screen in a way that would make him a star. Dynamic on stage, the charisma failed to transfer through the lens onto celluloid. Burton's early film career, when he was a contract player at 20th Century-Fox, failed to ignite despite his garnering two Oscar nominations early on. He did not become a superstar until the mid-1960s, after hooking up with Elizabeth Taylor on the set of Cleopatra (1963). It was Liz whom he credited with teaching him how to act on film.

Christopher Plummer never made it as a leading man in films. Perhaps if he had been born earlier, and acted in the studio system of Hollywood's golden age, he could have been carefully groomed for stardom. As it was he shared the English stage actors' disdain -- and he was equally at home in London as he was on the boards of Broadway or on-stage in his native Canada -- for the movies, which did not help him in that medium, as he has confessed. As he aged, Plummer excelled at character parts. He was always a good villain, this man who garnered kudos playing Lucifer on Broadway in Archibald Macleish's Pulitzer Prize-winning "J.B.".

Though he likely always be remembered as "Captain Von Trapp" in the atomic bomb-strength blockbuster The Sound of Music (1965) (a film he publicly despised until softening his stance in his 2008 autobiography "In Spite of Me"), his later film work includes such outstanding performances as the best cinema Sherlock Holmes--other than Basil Rathbone -- in Murder by Decree (1979), the chilling villain in The Silent Partner (1978), his iconoclastic Mike Wallace in The Insider (1999), the empathetic psychiatrist in A Beautiful Mind (2001), and as Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station (2009). It was this last role that finally brought him recognition from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, when he was nominated as Best Actor in a supporting role.

Plummer remains one of the most respected and honored actors performing in the English language. He's won two Emmy Awards out of six nominations stretching 46 years from 1959 and 2005, and one Genie Award in five nominations from 1980 to 2004. For his stage work, Plummer has racked up two Tony Awards on six nominations, the first in 1974 as Best Actor (Musical) for the title role in "Cyrano" and the second in 1997, as Best Actor (Play), in "Barrymore".

Surprisingly, he did not win (though he was nominated) for his masterful 2004 performance of "King Lear", which he originated at the Stratford Festival in Ontario and brought down to Broadway for a sold-out run. His other Tony nominations show the wide range of his talent, from a 1959 nod for the Elia Kazan-directed production of Macleish's "J.B." to recognition in 1994 for Harold Pinter's "No Man's Land", with a 1982 Best Actor (Play) nomination for his "Iago" in William Shakespeare's "Othello".

He continues to be a very in-demand character actor in prestigious motion pictures. If he were English rather than Canadian, he'd have been knighted long ago. (In 1968, he was awarded Companion of the Order of Canada, the country's highest civilian honor and one which required the approval of the sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II.) If he lived in the company town of Los Angeles rather than in Connecticut, he likely would have several more Oscar nominations before winning his first for "The Last Station".

As it is, as attested to in his witty and well-written autobiography, Christopher Plummer has been amply rewarded in life. In 1970, Plummer - a self-confessed 43-year-old "bottle baby" - married his third wife, dancer Elaine Taylor, who helped wean him off his dependency on alcohol. They live happily with their dogs on a 30-acre estate in Weston, Connecticut. Although he spends the majority of his time in the United States, he remains a Canadian citizen.

His daughter, with actress Tammy Grimes, is actress Amanda Plummer.

 IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood 


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December 12, 2016

Dream Eco-Home Of Russian Hemp Tycoon Will Be Noosa’s Priciest Abode


An international industrial hemp trader is building one of Australia’s most expensive and ­spectacular eco-homes at Queensland’s exclusive Sunshine Beach.
Russian Evgeny Skigin has commissioned a leading architect to build a $14 million six-bedroom, seven-bathroom contemporary home nestled into the hillside next to Noosa National Park.
The Australian has viewed planning documents for the “Skigin House”, on almost a hectare of absolute beachfront vacant land purchased by Liechtenstein-based Universal Property Company Establishment in late 2013 for $5.4m. The multi-million-dollar house is set to be one of Australia’s finest homes, in one of the nation’s best settings.
Early works have started on the site, after Universal Property Company Establishment awarded a $14m tender to Queensland builders Hutchinson for the challenging two-year construction.
The curved concrete and timber home spans more than 1400sq m of living space across three levels. It is designed for privacy in a structure that blends into the environment, with green awnings and a green roof.
Prominent architect Noel Robinson, whose workbook ­includes Brisbane’s equal-tallest tower, Skytower, said the client was confidential. He said the home was designed to sit unobtrusively in the natural surrounds and the client had allowed “a generous budget”.
“It’s a very special building and a very special site,” he said. “You only get one chance at this site and we’re privileged to work on it.”
Hutchinson’s Sunshine Coast area manager Michael Michell, who also declined to comment on the client, said the house was set to be a spectacular but unobtrusive landmark. He said the build would be difficult and complex due to engineering and scale.
“It is more commercial than residential,” he said. “It’s going to be a fairly impressive build.”
The house will be largely “off-grid”, with solar panels, batteries, water storage, a greywater system, natural pool filtration and a green roof and panelling.
Mr Skigin, understood to be aged in his 30s, is listed as a representative of the Cyprus-registered hemp company Konoplex Ltd, a member of the European Industrial Hemp Association.
The Australian was unable to contact Mr Skigin by email or phone.
The lowest level will include a large lounge spilling out to a pool terrace alongside a leisure pool and a lap pool. Inside is a cinema, gym, steam room, sauna and ice bath with changing facilities.
The lift takes residents up to the main living level. There the dining area and living space look out to uninterrupted views of the ocean. The kitchen includes a separate butler’s pantry, freezer room and cold store.
Five bedrooms all face the ocean and have ensuites. On the top level is a guest suite, workshop and study. There is parking for six cars.
The Lions Head pocket of Sunshine Beach is home to some of Australia’s most prominent identities. A neighbouring home is owned by television producer John Stainton. Down the road, tennis star Pat Rafter’s home is on the market.
Local real estate agent Peter Butt said the Sunshine Beach waterfront market was confined to just 54 homes and it was only increasing in prestige.
“It’s a very strong market,” he said. “Another $20m asset at the northern end of Sunshine Beach is quite a significant sign. It will be the most expensive single residence in Noosa.”

By Roseanne Barrett and Mark Schliebs

With many thanks to The Australian 

Here is another one:


The Most Expensive Things in the World